Normally, the announcement of replacement actors in Broadway shows is not big news. But everything connected to Hamilton is big news.
Already learned earlier this summer was that longtime Alexander Hamilton alternate Javier Muñoz would assume the title role after Lin-Manuel Miranda left the show on July 9. Now Muñoz knows who he’ll be playing opposite.
As his nemesis Aaron Burr will be Brandon Victor Dixon, most recently of the soon-to-close Shuffle Along. (File under: when one door closes, a window opens somewhere.) He will begin mid-August. Joining the cast July 11 as Hamilton’s wife Eliza will be Lexi Lawson. They replace the exiting Leslie Odom, Jr. and Phillipa Soo, respectively.
Miranda, Odom, Jr. and Soo all play their final performances July 9. Ensemble member Ariana DeBose, who originated the role of the Bullet and has been with the production since its Off-Broadway run at the Public, also departs the show July 9.
Not every performer who won a Tony Award a month ago is leaving. Staying with the show will be Daveed Diggs as Marquis de Lafayette/Thomas Jefferson and Renée Elise Goldsberry as Angelica Schuyler. Moreover, Christopher Jackson, who originated the role of George Washington, Okieriete Onaodowan as Hercules Mulligan/James Madison, Anthony Ramos as John Laurens/Philip Hamilton, and Jasmine Cephas Jones as Peggy Schuyler/Maria Reynolds are all staying put.
Interesting career developments will not cease to visit the departing Hamilton stars. Leslie Odom, Jr., who has expressed a desire to work on his musical career, will perform a series of intimate, late-night concerts at the McKittrick Hotel in New York City. He will be performing from his recently released self-titled jazz album, which includes reinterpretations of “Look for the Silver Lining,” “The Guilty Ones” from Spring Awakening, Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “Love Look Away” and “Autumn Leaves.”
His residency at the McKittrick’s Manderley Bar will play three consecutive Thursday nights July 14-28.
Phillipa Soo’s next project is more surprising. She is writing the foreword to a new child-aimed biography of the real-life character she plays, Elizabeth Schuyler Hamilton (called Eliza in the show).
Schwartz & Wade Books, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books, will publish Eliza: The Story of Elizabeth Schuyler Hamilton, a picture book biography by Margaret McNamara. Publication is scheduled for fall 2017.
Eliza had an interesting life apart from her marriage to Hamilton. She founded New York City’s first private orphanage, raised funds to build the Washington Monument and preserved her husband’s legacy.
Roundabout Theatre Company has announced additional casting for Stephen Karam’s new adaptation of Chekhov's The Cherry Orchard, which will arrive on Broadway this fall under the direction of Simon Godwin.
As previously reported, film star Diane Lane will play the central figure of prima donna Ranevskaya in the play.
Lane will be joined by Joel Grey, the musical theater legend who rarely does plays. He will play the aged servant Firs. Also cast are Celia Keenan-Bolger (as Varya), Tavi Gevinson (Anya), the teenage fashion icon who has been steadily raking up theater credits in recent seasons, stage veteran John Glover (Gaev) and Harold Perrineau (Lopakhin).
The Cherry Orchard will begin previews September 15 and open October 16 for a limited engagement at the American Airlines Theatre.
Whenever a red-hot problem is gripping the nation, you need a theatre artist like Mike Daisey, who is adept as churning out cutting, contemporaneous monologues at breakneck speed.
Daisey is back this summer with The Trump Card, a new solo piece about you-know-who. The show will chronicle presidential candidate Donald Trump’s story from his early days to his current place in the political election.
He will premiere the show at Philadelphia’s FringeArts festival July 14 and 21, then perform the show July 24 and August 28 at Joe’s Pub, his usual home in New York, and August 2-7 at Woolly Mammoth in Washington.
The colorful production notes state, “Daisey takes on the reigning world heavyweight of self-mythologizing, the short-fingered vulgarian who captured a nation’s heart through bullying, charm, one-syllable explosions, and occasionally telling the brutal truth.”
New York City’s current cutthroat real-estate market doesn’t have much patience for tried and traditional New York institutions anymore. (Witness the imminent death of the iconic restaurant The Four Seasons, which is being kicked out of its longtime home in the Seagram’s Building this month.)
So it comes as no surprise that The Lambs, New York City’s oldest club for actors and other theatrical folk, had been having a bit of trouble with its landlord lately. The club, which was founded in 1874, had been facing a steep rent increase and was considering the possibility of having to move or even close for good.
However, recent news is that the club is close to an agreement with its landlord to stay at its 3 West 51st Street home. That landlord? None other than the Women’s National Republican Club, which wanted a 50 percent rent increase.
The club stated that it looks like the Lambs will be able to stay in its current location for at least another three years. If they did move, it wouldn’t be the first time. The club has moved several times during its history. It spent many years at 128 West 44th Street, but was forced to move in the 1970s when it found itself unable to pay the mortgage. The building was converted into the Chatwal Hotel in 2011. The restaurant on the site is known as the Lambs Club.