In Case You Missed It: March 12-18

Week in Review   In Case You Missed It: March 12-18
 
She Loves Me opened to raves, Willy Wonka is coming to New York and Hamilton saves the $10 bill.
<i>She Loves Me</i>
She Loves Me Joan Marcus

The Roundabout Theatre Company’s new production of the classic musical comedy She Loves Me opened March 17 following previews that began February 19. The Broadway revival stars Laura Benanti, Zachary Levi, Gavin Creel, Jane Krakowski, Michael McGrath and Byron Jennings.

Broadway has had good luck with the 1963 work by Sheldon Harnick, Jerry Bock and Joe Masteroff over the years. The original was a success. And the 1993 revival (also furnished by Roundabout) reminded everyone how wonderful the show was. It ran for a year and was nominated for a slew of awards, winning a Tony for star Boyd Gaines. Scott Ellis directed that revival and he directs the new one, too.

Well, three was a charm for the show, which is based on a play by Hungarian playwright Miklos Laszlo about a couple of star-crossed lovers who are too busy hating each other to realize they’re a perfect match. (Over the years, the story has been adapted time and time again, including for the movies The Shop Around the Corner and You’ve Got Mail.) Critics loved the musical all over again.

The New York Times said it had been “rapturously revived” and added that “when embodied by a cast as expertly attuned as this one… it has a lingering and deeply satisfying sweetness usually lacking in brassier shows.”

AP applauded that the “astounding cast, a nifty story and memorable songs turn this revival into a celebration of classic musical construction. It's worth skipping work to see...Benanti charms from the moment she steps onstage but never coasts even though the role is firmly in her wheelhouse. She's genuinely buffeted by emotions that swing from disgust to fondness, and she is vocally in a league of her own, flawlessly knocking back the near-operatic demands of the part. Levi turns out to be no slouch either. The part requires a singer who can act and has comedic chops, and Levi nails it.”

“Designed as a pastel-colored, art nouveau jewel box,” wrote the Hollywood Reporter, “the 1963 show has been directed by Scott Ellis with effortless buoyancy and sophistication. It's also ideally cast, with an ensemble led by Laura Benanti, whose silvery soprano was born to sing this role. Add in Zachary Levi, projecting throwback charm with winning confidence, and Jane Krakowski in top form and you have a revival that will delight admirers of this musical favorite while providing a perfect introduction to those encountering it for the first time.”

Time Out New York continued the praise of the two leads by saying, “we all know that romantic comedies depend on chemistry-between leads. Laura Benanti and Zachary Levi have that in spades… The Roundabout gets so much right in a splendid, joy-stuffed production: casting, design and even the reduced orchestra.”

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A scene from the West End world premiere of Roald Dahl&#39;s <i>Charlie and the Chocolate Factory</i>, which starred Douglas Hodge as Willy Wonka.
A scene from the West End world premiere of Roald Dahl's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, which starred Douglas Hodge as Willy Wonka. Helen Maybanks

Soon, Donald Trump won’t be the only guy in New York who looks like an Oompa Loompa

Warner Bros. Theatre Ventures, Langley Park Productions and Neal Street Productions announced March 17 that Roald Dahl's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory will begin performances on Broadway in spring 2017 at a theatre to be announced.

The Olivier and Evening Standard Award-winning London production was directed by Sam Mendes and choreographed by Peter Darling. It opened in June 2013 at the Theatre Royale Drury Lane.

But Mendes is too busy to repeat his work on Broadway. So the Broadway production will be directed by Jack O’Brien—who, of course, is never busy. This apparently means that Darling, too, cannot make the trip. So the Broadway version will be choreographed by Joshua Bergasse.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory has music by Marc Shaiman, lyrics by Grammy and Tony Award winners Scott Wittman and Shaiman and a book by David Greig.

Design team, casting, theatre and dates will be announced at a later time.

If Matilda manages to hold on until Willy Wonka’s arrival, this means that Broadway will have two shows inspired by Roald Dahl stories.

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Three-time Tony Award nominee Marin Mazzie is coming back to Broadway.

She will succeed Kelli O'Hara as Anna Leonowens in the Tony Award-winning Broadway revival of The King and I, it was announced this week. O'Hara, who won the Tony Award for her performance in the role, will depart the production April 17. Mazzie is set to join the company May 3 alongside Daniel Dae Kim who will make his Broadway debut as The King.

This is Mazzie's first return to Broadway since her battle with ovarian cancer last year. In December, she and her husband, actor Jason Danieley, announced that Mazzie is now in remission.

The singing actress was last seen on Broadway in the short-lived Woody Allen musical Bullets Over Broadway.

"The decision to join King and I was very easy," Mazzie told Playbill.com. "They asked, and I said yes.”

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Is there nothing that Hamilton can’t do?

This past week, Lin-Manuel Miranda was in Washington, D.C., with members of the cast of the Broadway hit, performing a few numbers from the score for the White House staff and doing some free-style rapping with the help of President Obama.

While he was there, he took Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew‘s invitation to visit the Treasury Department. Miranda had a legitimate beef with Lew. Last June, the Treasury Department announce it might replace Alexander Hamilton on the ten-dollar bill with a different image, perhaps that of a woman. This, of course, did not sit well with the man who had built a entire musical around the guy. (A number of other historians and citizens weren’t too happy with the proposed change, either.)

But the musical’s success and notoriety may have helped reverse that decision. After a tour of Hamilton memorabilia at the Treasury Department, Lew reassured Miranda that his alter ego would continue to be honored on the currency.

The exact nature of that honor remains under wraps. No date for the release of the revised design or the new bills has been specified. In a statement released to the press March 17, the Treasury spokesperson said, “You will be hearing about that decision soon.”

A Treasury spokesperson additionally told Playbill.com on March 17 that Lew had also met with Miranda and the cast of Hamilton in August 2015 when he saw the musical on Broadway, and assured them they could trust “that he would be true to his commitment made from the start to continue to honor Alexander Hamilton” on the sawbuck.

See the good things that can happen when you get someone a couple tickets to Hamilton? Now, maybe if Miranda just got tickets for every Republican Senator, they might agree to meet with Merrick Garland.

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