PLAYBILL.COM'S THEATRE WEEK IN REVIEW, Aug. 17-23: Kenneth Branagh's Macbeth Stalks the Armory, Tyne Daly Returns to Broadway and Dames at Sea Swims to the Stage

News   PLAYBILL.COM'S THEATRE WEEK IN REVIEW, Aug. 17-23: Kenneth Branagh's Macbeth Stalks the Armory, Tyne Daly Returns to Broadway and Dames at Sea Swims to the Stage
 
There will be two high-profile productions of Macbeth in New York this season. But there will not be two productions on Broadway.

Tyne Daly
Tyne Daly Photo by Joseph Marzullo/WENN

Director Rob Ashford and actor Kenneth Branagh have found a Gotham home for their staging of William Shakespeare's tragedy, and it's far from Broadway (where the Ethan Hawke Macbeth will indeed play this fall). It will be staged in the old Park Avenue Armory's 55,000-square-foot Wade Thompson Drill Hall in June 2014.

The show will be a co-commission of the Armory and Manchester International Festival. The critically acclaimed production was originally mounted in Manchester in July and will be re-imagined for the Armory presentation.

This isn't the first time the Armory has hosted a theatre production. It was the setting for the site-specific mystery play Tamara, where attendees wandered from room to room in the cavernous hall, in the late '80s.

Since 2006, when the Park Avenue Conservancy took over management of the 1861 building, it has tried to revitalize the landmark by making it a center for unconventional works in the performing and visual arts, including operas and art installations. Branagh's Macbeth will be one of its most noteworthy catches to date.

"Utilizing the possibilities of the vast open space is a truly exciting prospect," said Branagh in a statement. "I am delighted that we have the chance to recreate Macbeth in this epic setting."

Let's hope he still knows how to project.

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In recent years, playwright Terrence McNally, who has won four Tony Awards for his Broadway productions, has been debuting his new works on smaller stages, such as Primary Stages, Second Stage and The Pearl Theatre Company.

This spring, Tyne Daly, who starred in the 2011 revival of McNally's Master Class, will bring him back to Broadway. Daly will star in Mothers and Sons, a new play which was recently seen in a world-premiere engagement at Bucks County Playhouse. Sheryl Kaller will direct, as she did at the Bucks.

The play tells of a mother who, twenty years after her son's death, turns up at the door of his former lover, who is now married to another man and has a young son.

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The London musical Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, which features a score by Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman, will have a Broadway run. But first it will have to wait for director Sam Mendes to be free, according to the Washington Post.

Shaiman confirmed to the Post that the new musical based on the Roald Dahl children's book will play Broadway. The timeline will be determined by Mendes' filming schedule for the yet-to-be-titled James Bond film. It doesn't even have a title? That sounds like a fairly long wait.

In the meantime, people who want to see the show can check out the London premiere at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane. After officially opening June 25, the London booking recently extended to May 2014. Tony winner Douglas Hodge plays Willy Wonka.

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The Bridges of Madison County, the new musical by Jason Robert Brown and Marsha Norman which appears to be on a very fast track indeed, will officially open on Broadway Feb. 27, 2014, at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre, it was announced. The musical recently had its world-premiere engagement at the Williamstown Theatre Festival.

Bartlett Sher will direct the musical, based on the 1992 Robert James Waller novel. Kelli O'Hara (who starred in Sher's productions of The Light in the Piazza and South Pacific) and Steven Pasquale will star as the story's 1965 Iowa lovers.

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A couple of entities called Infinity Theatre Company and Perry Street Theatricals (Martin Platt and David Elliott) announced Aug. 20 that Dames at Sea, the spoofy, late '60s Off-Broadway musical that is best remembered today as the show that helped launch the career of Bernadette Peters, will set sail on Broadway in 2014.

Dames at Sea will be directed and choreographed by Randy Skinner. The creators promised the show "will have more dancing than ever before," and "raise the bar much higher for our cast." Higher than Peters?

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