In Case You Missed It: Cate Blanchett Is Coming to Broadway and Hamilton Will Hit the West Coast

News   In Case You Missed It: Cate Blanchett Is Coming to Broadway and Hamilton Will Hit the West Coast
 
Blizzard Jonas slammed Broadway, Cate Blanchett announces her impending Broadway debut, Andy Karl will lead a new musical in London and Hamilton announces its first tour.

This past Friday, Jan. 23, snow began to fall in the New York area. By Saturday morning it had transformed into a blizzard, dropping more than two feet on Manhattan and coming thisclose to setting a city record for snowfall.

City Hall issued a citywide ban on non-emergency traffic. Given that, The Broadway League had little choice but to cancel all the matinees and evening performances on Saturday. By the next day, however, with the city just beginning to dig out, it announced that all Broadway matinee and evening performances would resume as scheduled Sunday, Jan. 24.

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"'The show must go on,' especially for the large percentage of our audience who come in from out of town to see a Broadway show, and we don't want to disappoint them. As always, the safety and security of theatregoers and employees is everyone's primary concern," said Charlotte St. Martin, president of The Broadway League.

As expected, producers took a hit at the box-office. And, weren’t those Hamilton Jan. 24 ticket-holders upset?

*** Cate Blanchett has been a film star for so long, and returned to the stage so regularly, that you would have assumed she’d appeared on Broadway by now. But no. All her New York stage gigs have been at the Brooklyn Academy of Music.

That will soon change. Blanchett will make her long overdue Broadway debut with Richard Roxburgh next season in The Present, Andrew Upton’s drama based on Anton Chekhov's early play Platonov.

Theatre pros love their Chekhov. But they’ve never quite known what to do with Platanov. It was the Russian writer’s first play, penned in 1878. In it's original form, it ran five hours, and the author never really considered the work completely finished. Modern writers have generally agreed, adapting the material as they saw fit. The play has been presented under various English-language titles, such as Wild Honey, Fatherlessness and The Disinherited, the first, by Michael Frayn, being by far the best known and most popular.

The Blanchett version moved the original late 19th-century play to the late 20th century. The drama is now set "post-Perestroika in the mid-1990s at an old country house where friends gather to celebrate the birthday of the independent but compromised widow Anna Petrovna (Blanchett). At the center is the acerbic and witty Platonov (Roxburgh) with his wife, his former students and friends and their partners. They may appear comfortable, but boiling away inside is a mess of unfinished, unresolved relationships, fuelled by twenty years of denial, regret and thwarted desire."

Theatregoers will be coming to see Blanchett in the flesh and probably won’t care in which way Anton is being manhandled this time around.

Blanchett, as she usually does, originated her performance at the Sydney Theatre Company in her native Australia, where both she and the play were nominated for 2015 Sydney Theatre Awards. The play aims to premiere in late December 2016 at a Broadway theatre to be announced.

Roxburgh, who will also be making his Broadway debut, was seen with Blanchett on the New York stage in Sydney Theatre Company’s acclaimed production of Upton’s adaptation of another Chekhov play, Uncle Vanya.

***

Two-time Tony Award nominee Andy Karl will have the honor of waking up to the same 24-hour period over and over when the musical version of the beloved movie Groundhog Day has its London premiere.

The Daily Mail first reported news of Karl's casting in the production that will premiere at London's Old Vic in July ahead of a March 2017 Broadway arrival. Representatives for the production confirmed Karl's casting to Playbill.com.

Andy Karl
Andy Karl Photo by Monica Simoes

Karl — who’s best known for the musical version of Rocky — will take on the role originated by Bill Murray in the 1993 film. He'll play a snarky TV journalist sent to cover Groundhog Day festivities in Punxatawney, PA, who's forced to live the day again and again until he learns the errors of his ways and gets the day "right." (This state of affairs, of course, is nothing new to stage performers. They can live through the same plotline, day after day, for years.)

Groundhog Day's London development is part of a new musical commissioning fund at the Old Vic, in partnership with Scott Rudin and Sonia Friedman, which plans to commission a roster of new musicals during the next five years. Rudin and Friedman, acting together, have also established a partnership that will enable them to transfer Old Vic shows to the West End, Broadway and elsewhere in the U.K. and North America.

***

A world in which people don’t have to travel to New York to see Hamilton is coming closer every day.

The national touring company of the Broadway phenomenon has announced dates for its premieres in Los Angeles and San Francisco. The Lin-Manuel Miranda musical about founding father Alexander Hamilton will anchor the 2016-17 seasons at both the SHN Orpheum Theatre in San Francisco (with performances starting in March 2017) and the Hollywood Pantages Theatre in Los Angeles (Aug. 11-Dec. 30, 2017).

Specific dates for San Francisco and casting for the tour remain to be announced.

As previously reported, a separate sit-down production of Hamilton is planned to open Sept. 27, 2016 as part of the "Broadway in Chicago" series at the PrivateBank Theatre.

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