Theatre lovers of the world, UNITE!  Here’s your weekly update for all the big Broadway stories you need to know:

Incredibly exciting news this week, the Tony-winning Sam Mendes and Rob Marshall production of CABARET will be revived by The Roundabout Theatre Company, returning to “The Kit Kat Club” at Studio 54!  Best of all, it will star Alan Cumming, reprising his role as the Emcee, the same role that won him his 1998 Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical.  Joining him is multi-Academy Award nominee Michelle Williams (Brokeback Mountain, My Week with Marilyn) as Sally Bowles, making her Broadway debut.  It will play a 24-week limited engagement, previews beginning March 21, 2014 and an official opening night on April 24, 2014.

Also arriving on Broadway early next year, Disney’s Aladdin, a new stage adaptation of the 1992 Academy Award-winning animated film musical, coming to the New Amsterdam Theatre February 26 with an official opening March 20, 2014.  Music by the great Alan Menken, lyrics from the film by the late Howard Ashman and Tim Rice, and a new book and lyrics by Chad Beguelin (Elf, Wedding Singer), and direction by Tony winner Casey Nicholaw (Book of Mormon).  No casting news just yet, but when I know, you’ll know!

Tony nominees Bertie Carvel (Miss Trunchbull) and Lauren Ward (Miss Honey) departed the company of Matilda the Musical at the end of last week.  Stepping in on Tuesday was Jill Paice (Curtains, Woman in White) who made her first performance as planned.  Unfortunately Craig Bierko (Music Man, Guys & Dolls) had to delay his first appearance as Miss Trunchbull due to a minor injury.  Understudy Chris Hoch (La Cage, Shrek) will continue to cover until a new start date is announced.

This Wednesday, the smash hit Wicked surpassed Miss Saigon and became the eleventh longest-running show in Broadway history, playing its 4,093rd performance!  What can I say, it’s “Pop-UUU-ler…uh, LAR”.

They’ll be celebrating their 10th anniversary at The Gershwin next month, and are about to launch a Spanish language production in Mexico City, making nine worldwide productions: New York, London, Japan, Australia/New Zealand, South Korea, a UK tour and two North American tours.

Welcome to Broadway Big Fish and The Glass Menagerie!  Both shows gave their first preview performances this Thursday.  The new musical Big Fish is based on the Tim Burton film and stars two-time Tony winner Norbert Leo Butz, Kate Baldwin (Finian’s Rainbow) & Bobby Steggert (Ragtime) with music/lyrics by Andrew Lippa (Wild Party, Addams Family), book by frequent Tim Burton collaborator John August, and direction by none other than five-time Tony winner Susan Stroman.  Listen out for a couple of unreleased songs on SIRIUSXM!  The revival of Tennessee Williams’ The Glass Menagerie has me very curious, with direction by Tony winner John Tiffany, who brings with him nearly the entire creative team from Once The Musical, and has incorporated music by Nico Muhly and movement by Stephen Hoggett.  How’s that for a straight play?  It also features the incredible Tony and Emmy-winning Cherry Jones (The Heiress, TV’s 24), Zachary Quinto (Star Trek, TV’s Heroes) making his Broadway debut, and two-time Tony nominee Celia Keenan-Bolger (Spelling Bee, Peter & The Starcatcher).

The downtown sensation Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812, which concluded a hit summer engagement last weekend, will take up residence in the Theater District, on West 45th Street, for a 14-week limited run beginning September 24. Since its first production at Ars Nova in the fall of 2012, the show has become a smash, leading to an expansion this summer to a 199 seat pop-up supper club built specifically for the production in the Meatpacking District. After playing to packed houses since May, producers will bring Dave Malloy’s acclaimed electopop opera, ripped from a slice of War and Peace, and its opulent custom venue – Kazino – to the heart of the theater district.  The show has also recorded its cast album, and a two-disc set is scheduled for release on Ghostlight Records.  “Natasha” continues a new trend in New York theatre toward immersive, interactive, experiential shows like Punchdrunk’s Sleep No More.  What do YOU think of this new approach to theatre?  Have you seen any?  Fan or foe?  Tweet me your thoughts @julie_james!

That’s all the “Great Big Stuff” for this week – see you on air and online & I’ll be back with you for next week’s scoop!

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