History has shown that child actors on film and television often face tremendous “growing pains,” with many of them spiraling into drug and alcohol abuse and falling prey (in a variety of terrible ways) to older people that they trust. But according to one academic, child actors of today have it easy compared to child actors in the Elizabethan era.
Dr. Bart van Es of the University of Oxford says that child actors in the Elizabethan era underwent “systematic exploitation and abuse.” By studying court documents, Dr. van Es discovered that children were picked up off the streets and made to perform by “violence and force” (including whipping). Read more
Jane Lynch Talks Broadway, the “Mistake” of Moving to New York When She Was a Young Actress and the Advice Harrison Ford Gave Her
Five years ago Jane Lynch was best known for her hilarious appearances in Christopher Guest‘s ensemble mockumentaries and doing abbreviated runs on soon-to-be-canceled television series. Though she was a familiar face, she never seemed to reach her potential. Then came Glee and her career-changing starring role as Sue Sylvester… and Lynch’s world has never been the same since.
Now she is fulfilling one of her longtime dreams starring in Broadway’s Annie as Miss Hannigan. She gave a lengthy interview with The Star about how she got here and how she doesn’t really care where she ends up going.
Despite Miss Hannigan being a nasty character, Lynch admits that she’s really enjoying her Broadway turn. She says, “I’m having a blast. She’s an amazing character. She hates what she is, but she’s got enough energy to try and get past that. But don’t get the wrong idea. Once I’m doing a part, I just show up every day, put on the clothes and do my thing.” Read more
After hosting the Tony Awards, Neil Patrick Harris won’t be away from Broadway too long. It looks like as soon as he’s done with the last season of How I Met Your Mother, he’s headed back to New York to start in the Broadway premiere of Hedwig and the Angry Inch.
The musical, by John Cameron Mitchell and Stephen Trask, will open in the spring of 2014.
The remaining creative team members, additional casting, and the theatre will be confirmed at a later date.
Neil Patrick Harris said, “I am simultaneously ecstatic and terrified to be stepping into Hedwig’s heels. It is truly a once-in-a-lifetime role and I can’t wait to begin the journey.” Read more
As someone who writes reviews of films and theater, I’m no stranger to the creators of what I review lashing back at me if I say something critical about their work. Of course, this is nothing new — just recently Alec Baldwin called for the firing of New York Times theater critic Ben Brantley because he felt Brantley’s review of his recent play was too harsh and said nobody he knows likes Brantley anyway — but most people in the arts seem to understand that the simple act of making your work public immediately opens yourself up to criticism, both constructive and petty. However, because of the internet and social media, it’s easier for those criticized to bite back.
Such is the case with playwright Neil LaBute and a recent review of his play Reasons to be Happy, which is now running off-Broadway at the MCC Theatre and stars The Office‘s Jenna Fischer and Crossing Jordan‘s Leslie Bibb. Time Out‘s David Cole not only gave the play a negative review, but he called aspects of it boorish, monotonous, predictable, and banal. In fact, he began his review with, “If Neil LaBute were to teach a course on playwriting, I bet his lesson plan would look something like this: ‘Week 1: Dumbing down characters to pad out dialogue and pump up conflict’” and it just went downhill from there. Read more
Jersey Boys has not only been a Broadway hit since opening in 2005 at the August Wilson Theatre, but has been a popular favorite in in theaters all over the world. All in all, the various Jersey Boys productions have grossed over one billion in sales over the past eight years — so all those talented performers must have been doing something right.
Clint Eastwood seems to agree with that sentiment because now that he is directing the film adaptation of Jersey Boys he isn’t looking to cast Hollywood or pop music stars to tell the story of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. According to Deadline, Eastwood wants to cast the movie with the stage performers who have done those roles night after night all over the world. Read more
Nathan Lane Says He’s Finished with Musicals: “Perhaps if some tremendous thing came along, but I would really think twice about it”
It’s hard to think of any actor who has been more associated with Broadway in the last twenty-five years than Nathan Lane. The two-time Tony Award winner has rarely been off the New York stage during that time and he currently stars in The Nance, a play about a New York burlesque theater actor in the 1930s. Though he is probably best known for musicals — especially The Producers, one of the biggest hits in Broadway history — Lane made a few surprising revelations to The Los Angeles Times about his future on the stage.
He admits that he sometimes feels typecast after his role in The Producers — not by casting agents, but by audiences. He explains, “Everyone should have that kind of success in their lives, but there was a backlash. They want you to continue doing what they just loved you in. When I did Butley after The Producers, people were shocked that I was using a British accent even though I had made my debut in an old [Noel] Coward play.” He says that people who loved The Producers would even turn on it later, saying, “You’d hear, ‘Oh, it wasn’t that good.’ It was like they had awakened with a very expensive hooker and were ashamed that they had given away so much.” Read more
Last week, I analyzed examples of the most successful examples of star casting on Broadway in recent years. While those productions are on the top tier, other productions don’t fare as well – with some even closing early, which is usually considered a major embarrassment for the star in question in additional to the significant financial loses faced by the producers.
A recent example of a production that closed early is Orphans, which starred Alec Baldwin, which provides a microcosm of all the reasons why a production starring a famous actor can fail. Baldwin caused a minor commotion when he largely blamed the early closing of Orphans on New York Times critic Ben Brantley’s negative review. However, there are a myriad of other reasons that seem for more likely the cause of the early closure. First, it seems that the bad publicity stemming from Shia LaBeouf and Baldwin’s public feud – which both actors fed in the media – had a negative impact on potential audiences (in his rant Baldwin blamed this also, but didn’t exactly take his share of the blame). However, Baldwin’s $50,000 per week salary was more likely a major culprit considering that while Orphans sold well (an average of 82% capacity for its 64 performances), the average paid ticket price was $71.99, way below the top ticket price of $225. That indicates that few premium seats were bought at face value, which significantly hurt the amount of money the production made. Read more
My favorite musical number from the Tony Awards was from Kinky Boots, hands down. That was followed by Once, a show that I absolutely love.
Annie was pretty darn good as well, especially Jane Lynch. I’d go see the show just because of her. Matilda the Musical looked fun but I quickly got over all the shows that featured kids. Enough already.
And by far, the worst number of the show was Bring It On.
Check them all out below! Read more
For the fourth time, Neil Patrick Harris hosted the Tony Awards and for the fourth time, he killed it. I can’t think of anyone better suited to host the Tonys, can you?
His numbers were the highlights of the show. Besides Kinky Boots, what was better? Nothing that I can remember.
Check them out below. My favorite was the middle number about the cancelled TV shows. Megan Hilty was awesome! Read more
The Tony Awards, the best of all the awards shows in my opinion, crowned their winners last night and Kinky Boots was the clear winner with 6 total awards. The new show by Cyndi Lauper and Harvey Fierstein won Best Musical, Best Original Score and Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical for Billy Porter, among others.
The big shocker of the night was Tom Hanks not winning Best Actor in a Leading Role in a Play. That went to Tracy Letts. I saw Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf last December and while I’m not a fan of Edward Albee, I have to say, the actors in the show were outstanding and I didn’t think Letts winning was a long-shot at all.
The actual show started off with a bang. Neil Patrick Harris‘ opening number was freakin’ gold as was two other numbers he did during the show. Aside from Annie with Jane Lynch, the numbers with the kids (Matilda, Christmas Story) I could have done without. And how bad was Bring It On? No wonder it closed early.
The musical number I thought killed was Kinky Boots. How great did that look? I haven’t seen the show yet, but one thing I loved was that the chorus look like normal people. They weren’t your typical showgirls, guys… all buffed-up dancers. They looked like me and you (I suppose). Stark Sands and Billy Porter rocked the number.
Below is the list of winner. Check it out! Read more