PLAYBILL.COM'S THEATRE WEEK IN REVIEW, Dec. 3-10: Tony Committee Meets, More Rain and Smaller Rock, Taymor-Mania!

News   PLAYBILL.COM'S THEATRE WEEK IN REVIEW, Dec. 3-10: Tony Committee Meets, More Rain and Smaller Rock, Taymor-Mania! Most of the shows they had to deliberate over will not be around when the 2011 Tony Awards are held next June. But the members of the Tony Awards Administration Committee assembled Dec. 9 to talk about them anyway.

Brief Encounter is eligible for a Best Play nomination
Brief Encounter is eligible for a Best Play nomination Photo by Joan Marcus

The 12 shows discussed included Brief Encounter, The Pitmen Painters, Mrs. Warren's Profession, Time Stands Still, A Life in the Theatre, Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, La Bete, Lombardi, Driving Miss Daisy, The Scottsboro Boys, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown and Colin Quinn Long Story Short.

Their decisions? Quinn's one-person show will be eligible as Best Play. So, too, will Brief Encounter, even though the text — albeit wildly reinterpreted in this stage version by director Emma Rice — was written by Noel Coward nearly a century ago. I feel certain that Coward would love being nominated at this late juncture in his career.

Christina Ricci will be considered eligible in the Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play category for her performance in Time Stands Still, and, weirdly, is the only person eligible from the production because the play was seen on Broadway last season. (Her castmates were eligible last season; the production went on hiatus and returned this season with newcomer Ricci replacing Alicia Silverstone.) Gonna be a lonely victory party if she wins.

Otherwise, there were no surprises.

*** Time Stands Still, Donald Margulies' Tony Award-nominated play about war correspondents returning home, will join a host of other Broadway attractions next month and end its run at Broadway's Cort Theatre Jan. 30, 2011, when the contracts of its four principals end.

The departure date of Laura Linney, Brian d'Arcy James, Eric Bogosian and Christina Ricci was previously announced, but not the closing date. There had been some discussion of recasting or further extension, but that did not become a reality.

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Jeffrey Tambor

Jeffrey Tambor, star of TV's "Arrested Development" and "The Larry Sanders Show" will make his Broadway musical debut as Georges opposite the previously announced Harvey Fierstein as Albin in the Tony Award-winning revival of La Cage aux Folles. It's an usually suave, dignified role for Tambor, who typically plays buffoonish, unctuous and comically villainous characters.

Tambor and Fierstein will begin performances Feb. 15, 2011, at the Longacre Theatre.

 

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There will be a game of musical chairs on Broadway this winter.

The limited Broadway run of Rain, the Beatles tribute show at the Neil Simon Theatre, is not so limited after all. Producers will move the show to another theatre in February for at least 16 more weeks. The producers of the new musical Catch Me If You Can had already booked the Simon for spring. So Rain, which began in October, will close Jan. 15, 2011 (a week later than previously announced), and then re-open at the Brooks Atkinson Feb. 8, 2011.  Rock of Ages — another pop-music-fueled entertainment — will move from its home at the Atkinson to the smaller Helen Hayes Theatre in March.

After seven weeks of performances, by the by, Rain sold enough tickets to recoup its $2 million Broadway capitalization, it was reported.

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There were years there when Julie Taymor wasn't a blip on the New York theatre radar, and now a week doesn't pass where there isn't some news of her work. Along with the Sisyphian task that is staging Spider-Man Turn Off the Dark at the Foxwoods Theatre, Taymor opened her new film version of Shakespeare's The Tempest (in New York and Los Angeles Dec. 10 prior to expanding to other cities Dec. 17.)

The new feature film stars Helen Mirren as "Prospera," as well as Russell Brand, Alfred Molina, Djimon Hounsou, David Strathairn, Chris Cooper, Alan Cumming, Ben Whishaw, Reeve Carney (who is now starring as Spider-Man), Felicity Jones and Tom Conti.

Those familiar with Taymor's screen adaptation of Titus Andronicus knew not to expect some Merchant Ivory costume drama. Reviews were mixed to negative, with the New York Times commenting, remarkably, this: "Her 'Tempest' looks, at some moments, like a '70s-era laser-rock planetarium show. At others it resembles a mid-'80s MTV video or a literal-minded college production of a Samuel Beckett play. The movie is a visual stew whose musical sauce, full of lumps and clashing flavors, is provided by Elliot Goldenthal, Ms. Taymor's partner and frequent collaborator."

Helen Mirren, Felicity Jones and Djimon Hounsou
Helen Mirren, Felicity Jones and Djimon Hounsou
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