It didn’t take long for the Nederlander Organization to fill the gap at the Palace Theatre left by the soon-to-depart Holler If Ya Hear Me. As Deadline reported previously, the producers of An American In Paris — the musical with old Gershwin songs and new everything else, including staging and dances by superstar choreographer Christopher Wheeldon and a book by Craig Lucas (Prelude To Kiss) — were hoping to firm up a transfer even before the show opens in the City of Light in November.
With many of Broadway’s premiere houses locked in with long-running shows, it’s a seller’s market and most theaters have prospective tenants lined up three-deep, circling weaker shows and waiting to pounce. So while the Shuberts pick and choose the next tenant for the Winter Garden, where Rocky will soon close up shop (a possible plus for Harvey Weinstein, who is looking for Finding Neverland possibly to land there after its upcoming tryout at the American Repertory Theatre in Cambridge, MA) and Jason Robert Brown’s Honeymoon In Vegas booked into the Nederlander’s Brooks Atkinson, the inventory is fast shrinking. Now the ghost-filled 1,700-seat Palace, jointly owned by Nederlander and Stewart F. Lane, is booked as well.
Paris will begin previews Friday, March 13, 2015 and open Sunday, April 12, 2015, the producers announced today. That follows its world premiere run at the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris, beginning Saturday, November 22 and officially opening Wednesday, December 10.
The creative team includes Tony Award winners Bob Crowley (sets and costumes) and Natasha Katz (lighting), who will be very busy, as they are also the design team for the smash revival of David Hare’s Skylight, with Bill Nighy and Carey Mulligan, another likely Broadway transfer, this one from the West End; Jon Weston (sound); with musical score adapted, arranged and supervised by Rob Fisher, orchestrations by Christopher Austin and musical direction by Brad Haak. Casting is by Telsey + Company/Rachel Hoffman.
The Paris tryout will be in English featuring the 26-member Broadway cast and a score including the songs “I Got Rhythm,” “‘S Wonderful,” “But Not For Me,” “Stairway To Paradise,” “Our Love Is Here To Stay”, “They Can’t Take That Away” and orchestral music including “Concerto in F,” “2nd Prelude,” “2nd Rhapsody” and “An American In Paris.”
Encores! Off-Center, the summer version of City Center’s enormously popular Encores! series of semi-staged concert revivals, continues apace through this weekend with Pump Boys And Dinettes, an easygoing, just-shy-of-twee bit of nostalgia from the ’80s. The original show starred Cass Morgan and Debra Monk as the Dinettes, those sisterly waitresses Prudie and Rhetta Cupp at the Double Cup Diner off Rte. 57, and John Foley, Mark Hardwick, John Schimmel and Jim Wann as the Pump Boys, estwhile mechanics/gas jockeys at the adjacent garage. The show ran forever off-Broadway and even had a good run in what was officially a Broadway theater called the Princess but which was, in fact, the Latin Quarter, famously owned by Lou Walters, father of Barbara “What Kind Of Tree Would You Be?” Walters.
There’s no plot to speak of, just some breezy C&W-inflected music-making, with the guys playing actual instruments and the girls banging on kitchen stuff. OK, it’s harmless. And the current cast — Jordan Dean, Hunter Foster, Mamie Parris, Randy Redd, Katie Thompson, Lorenzo Wolff and Austin Moorehead — in addition to being first-rate musicians, is wholly adorable, especially when they goof on Off-Center artistic director Jeanine Tesori. It all goes down in 90 pleasurable minutes including intermission.
I wish I could be as positive about The Long Shrift, a new play by Robert Boswell that James Franco directed in his spare time while performing on Broadway in Of Mice And Men and doing all the other things he’s famous for, including teaching at UCLA, writing hither and yon and making a few movies.
Set in Texas, The Long Shrift is a perfectly terrible play about a young man who is released from prison after serving five years when the woman he was found guilty of raping recants. Haltingly staged and performed by a company of actors who seem as unconvinced of what they’re saying as we are listening to them, the story begins with his parents — Dad is wholly behind their boy; Mom, played with saving grace by Ally Sheedy, has her doubts — and ends at the high school reunion. The only thing missing from this excruciating mock-prom scene in which he confronts she is a bucket of pig’s blood.