Notes from New York: Broadway's post-holiday excitement, from Spider-Man to Frozen
WhatsOnStage is pleased to begin a new series with New York sister site TheaterMania.com. Associate editor Bethany Rickwald shares the exciting goings on in the New York theatre community as they relate to London
More than a month has passed since we here in New York had the opportunity to spend Christmas With the Sirs. It's hard to say what the best gift we received this year was, though the chance to have Mark Rylance and his band of thespians in NYC is certainly high on the list. Their presence even got TheaterMania contributor Michael Feingold in the Shakespearean spirit, and Twelfth Night actor/Brit extraordinaire Stephen Fry made our top ten Broadway debuts (along with his countryman, Matilda's Bertie Carvel). We are, however, pretty sure that the best gift we gave our readers was this inspiring Company supercut of six lunching ladies.
As we continue looking back at last season, we can't fail to mention our top "Did that seriously happen?" moments. 2013 had it all, from a New Jersey high school marching band's New York stage debut to Orlando Bloom gracing the Broadway stage... on a motorcycle. But perhaps the most startling news of all was that Broadway juggernaut Spider-Man Turn Off the Dark (you know, the show with a $75 million budget that singlehandedly made musicals headline-worthy) came to a close. According to longtime cast members Isabel Keating and Michael Mulheren, things had come a long way since "Spider-Man one-point-ohhhhh", and they were sorry to see it go.
But there's no sense dwelling on superheroes past, especially when there's much to look forward to in the coming year. In the next several months, Broadway will be welcoming a virtual cornucopia of celebrity, from the animated, in Disney's Aladdin to the one-hit-wondery, with Call Me Maybe's Carly Rae Jepsen stepping into Cinderella's glass slippers. Even Daniel Radcliffe will bring his magical self back to the New York stage in the Michael Grandage Company 's The Cripple of Inishmaan, which will open at the Cort Theatre this spring. Perhaps most excitingly, in April, James Franco, America's hipster prince, and Chris O'Dowd, Ireland's most adorable comedic export, will come together on the Great White Way to star in John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men. Gossip Girl's Leighton Meester has also been cast, so for better or worse, this is sure to be a revival to remember.
Recent Broadway announcements haven't stopped at 2014 news. There has been a blizzard of announcements for the 2015 season and beyond, beginning with Disney's new animated musical Frozen, which will be bowing on the main stem, making it even whiter than the constant snowstorms we've been having lately. In the flurry of excitement about this news, we couldn't help doing a bit of dream casting - with roles for everyone from film star Emma Stone to Broadway's Aaron Tveit. Also slated for 2015 are a revival of Michael Frayn's farce Noises Off along with the return of Tony winner Hugh Jackman in the new Jez Butterworth drama The River. Jackman, of course, is an Australian, but The River is yet another transfer from your fair country, having premiered at London's Royal Court Theatre in 2012.
The silver screen will also light up in the coming months, thanks to Broadway. The Clint Eastwood-directed Jersey Boys movie has set a release date for June, the film adaptation of Jason Robert Brown's The Last Five Years is in the can (and we're anxiously awaiting a release date), and of course, studly Broadway vet Billy Magnussen recently landed back stateside after filming Into the Woods (and meeting the "wonderful locals") in Londontown. Into the Woods is scheduled for release on 25 December in the US and in the UK on 9 January, so that's one thing we can anticipate together for next year's holiday season.
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