In Case You Missed It: Guard Your Chandeliers — The Phantom's Coming Back!

News   In Case You Missed It: Guard Your Chandeliers — The Phantom's Coming Back!
 
Like many New Yorkers these days, the Tony Awards is struggling with the high premium put on real estate today in what was rated by a Swiss study this week as the most expensive city in the world. (We’re number one!)

The Tonys have been told by Radio City Music Hall that the 6,200-seat theatre will not be available for the annual shindig next year. The news comes a day after Radio City announced plans to move its New York Spectacular from spring to summer, with performances scheduled to begin June 15, 2016. That’s just a week after the Tonys, which are planned for early June.

Host Neil Patrick Harris and casts of Broadway shows perform onstage at The 67th Annual Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall
Host Neil Patrick Harris and casts of Broadway shows perform onstage at The 67th Annual Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall

This isn't the first time the Tonys were forced to vacate Radio City. A scheduling conflict with Cirque de Soleil led to the ceremony being switched to the Beacon Theatre on the Upper West Side in 2011 and 2012, after which Radio City became available once again. And the Beacon is where the show will go again this year.

The Beacon has less than half the seats — 2,900 — of Radio City. That’s bad news for ticket sales. But many thought the shows that were staged at the Beacon benefited from the more intimate space.

The Tonys were held in Broadway theatres until the late 1990s when they switched to Radio City for the first time. And, of course, before that, the ceremony was a fairly small affair held in hotel lobbies and such.

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Andrew Lloyd Webber, who had a new show headed to New York this season in School of Rock, now has his follow-up ready to go.

The composer’s sequel to his most successful show, The Phantom of the Opera, called Love Never Dies, will launch a North American tour in 2017, Playbill.com learned this week. The tour will reflect not the London premiere in 2010, but the overhauled 2011 Australian production that was staged by Simon Phillips.

Samantha Barks
Samantha Barks Photo by Kevin Berne

The newish musical is now titled Love Never Dies The Phantom Returns (just in case folks don’t know its a sequel to that spooky opera show with the chandelier). The story continues ten years after the conclusion of The Phantom of the Opera. That would make it 1907. It follows soprano Christine Daaé to New York's Coney Island, where she is invited to perform for the mysterious Mr. Y. After Christine, her now-husband Raoul and their young son Gustav arrive in New York City, familiar characters begin to emerge, including one with whom Christine shares a dark secret. And it's a safe bet the secret isn't the recipe to Nathan's Famous hot dogs.

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Playwright Craig Lucas sure likes his French-flavored musicals these days.

Lucas, who had a critical success with the stage adaptation of An American in Paris, currently on Broadway, has since written the book to Amélie. The show is musical adaptation of the popular 2001 French film of the same name, about a whimsical waitress/waif in Montmartre.

The show — which features music by Daniel Messé with lyrics by Nathan Tysen and Messé and stars Samantha Barks in the title role — has extended its world-premiere run at the Berkeley Repertory Theatre for a second time. The new musical officially opened Sept. 11, and performances will now continue through Oct. 18.

Samantha Barks
Samantha Barks Photo by Kevin Berne

New York might be the show's next stop. The New York Post recently reported that producers are currently exploring potential theatres for a spring Broadway arrival for the musical. The show is directed by Tony Award winner Pam MacKinnon, who has plenty of Broadway experience.

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It wasn't too long ago when Harold Pinter was not any New York producer’s idea of a commercial sure shot. The British playwright’s oblique, menacing works were always respected, but hardly bankable properties.

The last few years, however, Pinter’s given Arthur Miller and Tennessee Williams a run for their money as the most produced late dramatist on Broadway. 2013 saw revivals of both Betrayal and No Man’s Land. (The former was a monster commercial hit, thanks largely to its star Daniel Craig.)

Kelly Reilly and Clive Owen
Kelly Reilly and Clive Owen Photo by Joan Marcus

Like most of Broadway’s Pinter revivals, Old Times has attracted top acting talent, in this case actor Clive Owen, who is making his Broadway debut, and Eve Best, the leading British stage actress who also starred in The Homecoming. Douglas Hodge, who is better known as an actor (La Cage aux Folles), directs the production.

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British playwright Alan Bennett and actress Maggie Smith have both had their share of successes in New York. But one show they collaborated on, The Lady in the Van, a hit in London, never made it to Gotham, deemed by Yankee producers as just too British in nature.

Bennett and Smith, poor things, will have to settle of the silver screen. "The Lady in the Van," the film adaptation of the West End hit, will arrive on screens Dec. 4 in New York and Los Angeles. The film, which made its world premiere at the Toronto Film Festival, will then open in limited release Jan. 15, 2016.

Smith reprises her stage role as an eccentric homeless woman who parks her van on playwright Bennett’s property and then refuses to leave — for 15 years. (The story is partly autobiographical and features Bennett as a character.) The Sony Pictures Classics film features direction by Nicholas Hytner.

This is Hytner's first film since "The History Boys" (also by Bennett) in 2006.

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