In Case You Missed It: Two Shows Announce They're Closing Up Shop – Satanic Puppets Out, Puritan Revivals In

News   In Case You Missed It: Two Shows Announce They're Closing Up Shop – Satanic Puppets Out, Puritan Revivals In
 
Every since the animated Disney film "Frozen" took over the world, becoming the most successful cartoon feature in film history, observers have been wondering how long it would take the Mouse House to convert the title into a stage show. It was never a question of "if," but "when."

Well, the transition has begun. While a Broadway version is currently being worked on, it seems Frozen will first come to life in a new theatrical production in summer 2016 at the Hyperion Theater at Disney California Adventure Park in Anaheim, CA.

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According to the Disney Parks Blog, the new show will immerse audiences "in the world of "Frozen" as never before, with elaborate costumes and sets, stunning special effects and surprising scenic transformations." A Disney exec said the stage show would "stay true to the heart and soul of the film," while offering "show-stopping production numbers and a few unique theatrical twists." The new attraction will replace the current Aladdin – A Musical Spectacular. A bigger Aladdin, of course, is currently on Broadway.

As previously reported, a Broadway musical version of Frozen is also in the works. Oscar-winning songwriters Robert and Kristen Anderson-Lopez are writing "about a dozen" new songs for the Broadway adaptation, according to an earlier report in The New York Times.

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The Tony Award-winning Best Musical of 2014, A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder, will play its final performance on Broadway Jan. 17, 2016, it was announced. At that time the production will have played 30 previews and 905 regular performances at the Walter Kerr Theatre, and its star, Jefferson Mays, will have died more than 6,000 deaths as various members of the ill-fated D’Ysquith family.

Jefferson Mays
Jefferson Mays in A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder Joan Marcus

Gentleman was a surprise victor on Tony night last year. The show was praised by critics, but with an unknown composing team and no real stars (Mays is well respected in theatre circles, but little known to the greater public), and a fairly grisly story (the protagonist murders his way to the top of a peerage), it wasn’t a likely Best Musical candidate. But it won anyway, as well as claiming the prizes for Direction of a Musical, Book of a Musical and Best Costume Design. In April, the show announced the recoupment of its entire Broadway production capitalization.

A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder will launch its first national tour later this month. The tour route includes stops in Los Angeles; Chicago; San Francisco; Dallas; Washington, DC; and Toronto, among other markets.

Taking the musical’s place at the Walter Kerr Theatre will be a new production of Arthur Miller's The Crucible.

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Also on its way out is the dark, dark comedy Hand to God, starring Steven Boyer as a boy with a foul-mouthed and very destructive hand puppet. The show will play its final performance on Broadway Jan. 3, 2016. The Tony-nominated show will have run nine months and 337 performances at the Booth Theatre.

Steven Boyer and Tyrone in <i>Hand to God</i>
Steven Boyer and Tyrone in Hand to God Photo by Joan Marcus

As with Gentleman, Robert AskinsHand to God had little notoriety — no stars, no name author — except a good play and production. The show took three years getting to Broadway, jumping from Off-Off-Broadway to Off-Broadway to the Cort Theatre. Critics hailed it as a breath of originality and edge in Times Square, and it won several Tony nomination. But it never did more than fair at the box office, even when it was the only straight play on the Broadway boards.

There's more in the play’s future, however. Upon closing, Hand to God will transfer to London’s West End, with performances beginning Feb. 5, 2016, at the Vaudeville Theatre. Casting is not known, but one would assume Boyer and Geneva Carr, who played his mother — both of whom were singled out by critics — would accompany the production.

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What’s with the theatre and funeral homes these days?

First we get Fun Home, a memory musical about a tortured family who run a funeral home (which the kids playfully call the "fun home"). Now comes news that Craig Zadan and Neil Meron’s Storyline Entertainment—producer of TV's "Smash," "Peter Pan," "The Sound of Music" and the forthcoming "The Wiz" — is co-developing an hour-long musical "workplace soap" inspired by the Boyd Funeral Home in South Central Los Angeles.

According to Deadline Hollywood, Boyd Funeral Home — located in one of the toughest areas of Los Angeles, known for its high rates of gang violence — is renown for its unusual services that feature music blaring from the hearse and pallbearers dressed in top hats and tails dancing the casket down the church aisle — celebrations that sound very much like the "second line" processions that have for decades commonly follow funeral motorcades in New Orleans.

The hour-long NBC-TV show, to be created and written by playwright-screenwriter Julie Brownell, will "approach funeral services as positive celebrations of life, not death — complete with song and dance." The show has no title yet. Fun Home is, of course, taken. Perhaps Flappy Boyd?

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