Notes from New York: Importing two dames, James Corden, and An American In Paris
But fair's fair, so we're sending over Broadway hit ''Beautiful- The Carole King Musical''
It's October in New York City, so the convenience stores are stockpiling millions of bags of individually wrapped Halloween candies and Broadway is stocking up on new shows for the coming season. A number of those new shows are heading here from Europe. The West End, for instance, is sending over Dame Helen Mirren in a limited Broadway production of Peter Morgan's The Audience, as well as the recent revival of David Hare's Skylight, starring Carey Mulligan and Bill Nighy. Paris, meanwhile, will be providing us with a new stage version of the Gershwins' An American in Paris, which is premiering there next month.
New productions aren't all that are travelling across the pond. Beloved Broadway star Dame Angela Lansbury (who hasn't aged a day since 1966) is returning to the US to star in a tour of Blithe Spirit, reprising the performance that won her fifth Tony Award. Another of our favourite Brits, James Corden, is also coming to the United States for work - just different work than we originally anticipated. Corden, who had been rumoured to star in a Broadway revival of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, will instead be taking over for Craig Ferguson as the host of CBS' Late Late Show.
One production that both continents will soon be enjoying simultaneously is Beautiful, Broadway's jukebox musical chronicling the life of singer/songwriter Carole King. Here's hoping this new musical is as successful on the West End as it has been here, where it recently became the first new musical of 2013-14 to recoup. Though Tony winner Jessie Mueller has decided to stick around on Broadway, we're sure Katie Brayben will do Carole proud in London.
We're sure our British counterparts also shared an equal obsession with the recent ALS #IceBucketChallenge craze. Broadway couldn't get enough. Our favourite stars were dousing themselves with buckets of freezing water - from the casts of Once and Newsies to a couple of Broadway's biggest divas and Les Misérables stud Ramin Karimloo. Former Wicked witch Idina Menzel didn't even melt.
But some things, like the Broadway Flea Market for instance, still remain America-exclusive. Stars and memorabilia from shows like Wicked, Newsies, and The Phantom of the Opera propelled this year's iteration of the fundraiser to a record-breaking total. Broadway has also had the opportunity to exclusively enjoy (so far) the successful runs of Hedwig and the Angry Inch and Cinderella.
"It might well be worth making your travel plans for early December"
We've seen Hedwig cycle through Broadway favourites like Neil Patrick Harris (who's gone on since opening night to win a Drama Desk and a Tony and become a husband) and Andrew Rannells. Next up is Dexter's Michael C Hall. One lucky Tony winner, Lena Hall, has been rocking it out opposite each of the show's leading ladies - as well as in TheaterMania's kitchen. Cinderella is closing soon, but not before casting its first African-American Cinderella/evil stepmother mother-daughter duo. Check out Keke Palmer and Sherri Shepherd in video and photos from the production.
Sadly, NBC's Peter Pan Live!, the follow up to last year's The Sound of Music Live! will also be a United States-specific event. It might well be worth making your travel plans for early December (the broadcast is 4 December), however, because Broadway favourites Kelli O'Hara and Taylor Louderman have both been cast - as Mrs Darling and Wendy. In case you're not convinced, here are some images of Girls star Allison Williams as Peter and Christopher Walken as Captain Hook.
While we're on the topic of theatrical/movie crossovers, Disney has recently announced further plans to bring Frozen to Broadway. Plus, the Hunchback of Notre Dame stage musical is one step closer to fruition, with casting announced for the La Jolla Playhouse US premiere production. The Alan Menken/Stephen Schwartz musical will star Broadway veterans Michael Arden, Patrick Page, and Ciara Renée.
The announcements of shows and stars coming to Broadway in the next several months are equally exciting. Brian Dennehy and Mia Farrow have opened as the first cast of the revival of A.R. Gurney's Love Letters. The starry cast of It's Only a Play (including Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick), Ewan McGregor in The Real Thing, and Josh Radnor in Disgraced are all in previews. Emma Stone is set to join the cast of Cabaret. And Side Show and The Elephant Man are both opening soon - which is highly appropriate, because this season on Broadway is a carnival.