In Case You Missed It: What Will Be Different About Broadway's Newest House?

News   In Case You Missed It: What Will Be Different About Broadway's Newest House? Broadway squeaks in one more opening before the holiday break. Plus, exciting details about the plans for the Rialto's newest theatre, a big surprise in Boston and another record for Hamilton.

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The latest revival of classic musical Fiddler on the Roof was unveiled at the Broadway Theatre on Dec. 20. Bartlett Sher, who has previously worked his magic on such favorites as South Pacific and The King and I, was at the helm. One of his favorite go-to actors, Danny Burstein, pulls the cart as Tevye the Dairyman, thus graduating from supporting player to leading man.

As if to honor the occasion of Burstein’s graduation, many of the reviews focused on his performance, most of them in highly approving terms:

"Burstein is nothing short of a miracle, finding the modern mensch in Tevye," wrote Time Out New York, "as well as the hard-nosed, belief-bound peasant. Rather than bluster or roar his way through the role, Burstein has a delicate, almost motherly touch, kibitzing with God for laughs and tearing out our hearts by the end."

"Mr. Burstein unleashed his rich baritone with roof-raising force when Tevye’s emotion is at its height," said the Times, "bringing home the character’s indomitable will, often hidden beneath his self-deprecating humor and sorely tried by his rebellious daughters." Added Variety, "Burstein’s performance admittedly is more measures than the familiar and still appealing Topol model of burly physicality and bear-like masculinity. But Burstein does larger-than-life by subtler means."

Many reviews commented on the unorthodox scenes that bookended the production, in which Burstein appears in modern dress as a kind of present-day descendent of Tevye. They also noted, with mixed reaction, the two-dimensional scenic design by Michael Yeargan.

The Times found time to point out the contemporary relevance of the 50-year-old musical: "It’s impossible to watch the people of Tevye’s town, Anatevka, marching toward their unknown destinies in the shadow of a threatened pogrom without thinking of the thousands of families fleeing violence in the Middle East and elsewhere today."

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New Haven's Long Wharf Theatre has added an interesting new musical to its roster.

The non-profit will now conclude its 2015-16 season with the Kathleen Marshall-helmed My Paris. The new musical features music and lyrics by French singer Charles Aznavour, a book by Alfred Uhry and musical adaptations by Jason Robert BrownThe musical will tell the story the French painter Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, the tortured Parisian artist who left behind famous depictions of Montmartre and the world of Le Moulin Rouge. 

Charles Aznavour
Charles Aznavour

Though little known today, the still-living Aznavour was once world-renowned as a French songwriter, singer and all-around entertainer. His career began when he was still a child and arguably peaked in the 1960s and 70s. He is sometimes referred to as the "French Frank Sinatra," and remains a cultural icon in his homeland.

Aznavour wrote the music and lyrics for the new musical, which originated at The Norma Terris Theater in Chester in July. It features English lyrics and musical adaptations by Brown. Brown and Uhry, of course, worked together on Parade.

My Paris will be led by director and choreographer Marshall. Performances begin May 4, 2016.

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People in Boston like Nick Offerman or the novel A Confederacy of Dunces, or both.

Beantown’s Huntington Theatre Company’s stage adaptation of the Pulitzer-winning novel was the highest-grossing show in the company's 33-year history, according to the Boston Globe. The show, which starred "Parks and Recreation"'s Offerman, earned more than $2.1 million in box-office sales. Those are Broadway-style numbers.

Nick Offerman
Nick Offerman

Offerman takes on the lead, Ignatius Jacques Reilly in the show adapted by Jeffrey Hatcher from the 1980 novel by John Kennedy O’Toole, who committed suicide before he saw the great success of his book. The comedy follows the adventures of oddball Reilly, who lives at home with his mother.

The engagement concluded its run Dec. 20, following an extension due to overwhelming demand for tickets. Plans for a possible life beyond the Boston production have not been announced.

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Hudson Theatre, the soon-to-be-restored Broadway house, will contain a "private British-style [theatre] club," it was learned this week.

Ambassador Theatre Group, the British-based live-theatre company, recently announced plans to reopen and operate the 1903 vintage Hudson as a Broadway house. David Lazar, Ambassador’s chief executive for New York, said construction could begin in January, and the new club would be housed in a former residential apartment above the theatre.

The theatre is located on West 44th Street, just east of Times Square. The British company now owns two Broadway theatres; it purchased the Lyric Theatre on 42nd Street in late 2014. The Hudson will be Broadway's 41st theatre, and the first new one since the nearby Henry Miller's Theatre was demolished, rebuilt and reopened in 2010 as the Stephen Sondheim Theatre.

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Here is your Hamilton story of the week. The show, which has been breaking all kinds of records in its run at the Richard Rodgers Theatre, has added another record of a very modern stripe: It inspired more than one million tweets during the calendar year 2015, according to Twitter.

In a statement Twitter said, "In the past 30 days alone, there have been 220K Tweets about Hamilton the Musical. The conversation around Hamilton stands out, as @Lin_Manuel (Lin-Manuel Miranda) has utilized the power of Twitter to connect with his now 162K followers and fans regularly (this time last year he had 50K followers)."

A spokesperson for Hamilton said the production had "no comment" on the announcement by Twitter. How uncharacteristic.

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