Hey theatre peeps! Here’s a glimpse at what made the world of Broadway go ’round this week!

The lights of all Broadway marquis dimmed this past Wednesday at 7:45 PM for exactly one minute in honor of celebrated stage and screen star Julie Harris, who passed away August 24 at the age of 87. Harris was one of the most admired performers of her generation, widely acclaimed for her work, especially in the theatre where her career lasted more than six decades and in over 30 Broadway productions. She was the first person to win five Tony Awards for performance and was nominated 10 times, the most ever for a performer. Her Special Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre made a total of six Tony Awards. Harris also won three Emmy Awards, a Grammy, and was nominated for an Academy Award. She was awarded the National Medal of Arts in 1994, and in 2005 she was a Kennedy Center honoree.

Academy Award winner Cuba Gooding, Jr. gave his final performance in the critically acclaimed revival of Horton Foote’s The Trip to Bountiful on Tuesday due to a change in schedule for an upcoming film project. This was a Broadway debut for Cuba (which I had fun discussing with him on Broadway Names) and he can currently be seen nationwide in the hit film, Lee Daniels’ The Butler. Cast member Leon Addison Brown assumes the role of “Ludie” alongside Tony Winner Cicely Tyson, Emmy nominee and recording star Vanessa Williams, Tony nominee Tom Wopat and rising star Adepero Oduye. The production, which has been extended twice due to popular demand, plays through October 9 at the Stephen Sondheim Theatre.

It’s nice to know the First Family is a Broadway lovin’ family! First Lady Michelle Obama and daughters Sasha and Malia saw a couple of shows this past weekend, including one of Cuba Gooding’s last performances in The Trip to Bountiful and taking in the matinee of Motown the Musical the next afternoon. A play and a musical – how well rounded! Both shows greeted the ladies with uproarious applause and a standing ovation!

It’s been reported that Academy and Tony Award winner Geoffery Rush, most recently seen on Broadway in Exit the King, will play Man in Chair in a film version of the five-time Tony-winning musical comedy The Drowsy Chaperone. Rush played the role in the Australian premiere of the musical at the Melbourne Theatre Company in 2010, and is set to executive produce the film musical. Shooting is expected to begin next year.

I guess all good things must come to an end: Two-time Tony winner Andrea Martin will depart her high-flying role as ‘Berthe’ in the Tony-winning Best Revival Pippin. She’ll play her final performance on September 22 and begin work on a new TV series “Working the Engels” which will film in Toronto. Watch this space for casting news on Andrea’s replacement!

Rehearsals began in NYC this week for a world premiere play, The Snow Geese, starring
Tony and Emmy Award winner Mary-Louise Parker joined by four-time Tony nominee Danny Burstein, Tony winner Victoria Clark and directed by Tony winner Daniel Sullivan. The play reunites Parker with Sullivan, who directed her in Proof, for which both Parker and Sullivan received Tony Awards for their work. Previews begin October 1 for a strictly limited 11-week engagement at MTC’s Samuel J. Friedman Theatre.

Perhaps the only good thing about the unofficial end of summer is a new season of theatre! Lots of shows begin performances in September, so stay tuned here and on air for the full scoop!

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