PLAYBILL THEATRE WEEK IN REVIEW, Dec. 24-30: Best Man Gets a Former First Lady, Bonnie & Clyde Ends (and Begins), Idiot Tours

News   PLAYBILL THEATRE WEEK IN REVIEW, Dec. 24-30: Best Man Gets a Former First Lady, Bonnie & Clyde Ends (and Begins), Idiot Tours As is always the case when one theatre year folds into the next, and the powers that be in the stage world recharge their batteries through rigorous skiing and competitive champagne intake, little of note happened during the final week of 2011. It was, however, a busy week for the nation's Bonnie & Clyde fan clubs.

Laura Osnes and Jeremy Jordan
Laura Osnes and Jeremy Jordan Photo by Nathan Johnson

Bonnie & Clyde, the Frank Wildhorn-Don Black musical about the notorious Depression-era gangsters, closes (or closed, depending on when you read this) on Dec. 30 following a month-long run at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre. The company will record the cast album on Jan. 2.

Meanwhile, news surfaced about another B&C musical, Bonnie & Clyde: A Folktale, which has been bouncing around the musical circuit for a few years. Now that Wildhorn has made an exit, it's back to business for the more satiric take on the outlaw-populated show by librettist Hunter Foster (The Hollow, Summer of '42) and composer-lyricist Rick Crom (the Drama Desk-nominated writer/composer/creator of Off-Broadway's Newsical the Musical). Lonny Price will direct the new musical at Aurora Theatre in Georgia in late winter. The staging of the show will be the first production since its developmental premiere in the New York Musical Theatre Festival in 2008. Josh Rhodes is choreographing. Rehearsals begin Feb. 6 toward a March 15-April 8 run. A hybrid New York/Georgia cast will be employed.

According to Foster, commercial producers are still attached to the project, which comments on the nature of fame and celebrity in America.

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Hand to God, the Robert Askins comedy about a possessed Christian-ministry puppet, received a warm welcome from critics when it had its world premiere at the Ensemble Studio Theatre last October, earning an extended engagement. Now the play will enjoy a return engagement in February 2012 The Times reported that Hand to God will return for an eight-week run beginning the week of Feb. 20. Moritz von Stuelpnagel directs the production that features Boyer, Geneva Carr, Bobby Moreno, Megan Hill and Scott Sowers.

Producers Kevin McCollum and Roy Miller, who brought West Side Story, [title of show] and The Drowsy Chaperone to Broadway in recent seasons, are interested in bringing Hand to God to Broadway or Off-Broadway in the next season, the paper reported. If that indeed happens, it would be the first commercial transfer of an EST show in, well, forever.

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The new North American tour of American Idiot, the Broadway rock musical based on the Green Day album, officially debuted Dec. 28 at the Toronto Centre for the Arts in Ontario, Canada.

The run in Canada, to Jan. 15, follows Dec. 21-22 public "tech" performances at the Stanley Theatre in Utica, NY. Van Hughes, the standby for the trio of buddy roles in the Broadway run of the musical, plays Johnny, also known as Jesus of Suburbia.

More than a dozen U.S. markets follow the Toronto run.

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Finally, Donna Hanover, the ex-wife of former New York City mayor Rudolph Giuliani, has been cast in the upcoming Broadway production of Gore Vidal's The Best Man at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre. The former TV journalist, who has acted in Off-Broadway plays (including the recent Picked at the Vineyard) will portray a journalist covering a presidential election.

Also announced Dec. 28 were Jefferson Mays as a businessman and Dakin Matthews as a senator. Previews begin March 6 toward an April 1 opening.

The starry cast includes Candice Bergen, Angela Lansbury, James Earl Jones, John Larroquette, Eric McCormack and Michael McKean.

The cast in rehearsal
The cast in rehearsal Photo by Doug Hamilton
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