PLAYBILL.COM'S THEATRE WEEK IN REVIEW, July 9-15: Nathan Lane, Silence! and Lysistrata Jones

ICYMI   PLAYBILL.COM'S THEATRE WEEK IN REVIEW, July 9-15: Nathan Lane, Silence! and Lysistrata Jones
 
Nathan Lane. Eugene O'Neill. They're both Irish. But otherwise, you wouldn't put them on the same page.

Nathan Lane
Nathan Lane Photo by Joseph Marzullo/WENN

Then again, the same could have been said of Lane and Samuel Beckett a few years back. And yet the actor turned out a fine Waiting for Godot on Broadway in 2009. So why not O'Neill?

That was perhaps  what the man was thinking when he approached Goodman Theatre artistic director Robert Falls about playing Hicky in The Iceman Cometh. Falls is the man to go to these days if you've got O'Neill on your mind. He piloted several of the most acclaimed O'Neill revivals of the past decade or so, including the Long Day's Journey Into Night that appeared on Broadway in 2003.

That production starred Brian Dennehy, as has almost every other O'Neill drama Falls has directed. He even played Hickey back in 1993, when Falls staged the work at the Abbey Theatre in Dublin. Dennehy will be on hand in this new Iceman to help Lane out. He will play the supporting role of former anarchist Larry Slade. The show is scheduled to run April 22-June 10, 2012, at the Goodman.

Why Chicago? Said Lane: "If I was going to climb this mountain, I should do it in a city where I feel comfortable and with people with whom I feel comfortable."

Speaking of Dennehy, he's doing a bit of road work this week. The Tony Award-winning actor is playing Sir Toby Belch in Des McAnuff's new production of Twelfth Night, opening July 15 at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival in Canada. ***

Jenn Harris and Brent Barrett
photo by Carol Rosegg

Silence! The Musical—billed as the "unauthorized parody of 'The Silence of the Lambs,'" begging the question "What sort of source artist authorizes a parody?"—opened to positive reviews when it opened Off-Broadway July 9 at Theater 80. Critics thought it was daffy fun. (The Times called it "exuberantly gross"—probably the first time those words have been used as an encomium.)

The production, which had originally been scheduled to play through Aug. 13, has now extended to Aug. 27. Also, beginning July 28 the production will begin to offer Thursday evening performances at 8 PM.

Directed and choreographed by Christopher Gattelli, the cast is headed by Brent Barrett and Jenn Harris. Hunter Bell wrote the book and Al Kaplan penned the music and lyrics.

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Josh Segarra and Patti Murin in Lysistrata Jones
photo by Carol Rosegg

The producers of Silence! probably hope their future resembles the one that may await the summer's other willfully silly musical, Lysistrata Jones. That show, which transplanted the ancient Greek classic into the world of college cheerleaders and basketball players, was hailed by critics as fun, fun, fun. Now, it looks like it is headed for a Broadway life this fall.

An Equity casting notice confirms what had been previously mentioned in the media: Producer Alan Wasser is planning a Broadway run of the Aristophanes-inspired musical comedy by book writer Douglas Carter Beane and composer-lyricist Lewis Flinn. Director-choreographer Dan Knechtges will repeat his recent Off-Broadway work (which was staged in a gymnasium in Greenwich Village), but this time in a traditional proscenium theatre, most likely the Walter Kerr Theatre.

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Remember when the word on the street was that Stephen Adly Giuris' play Motherf**ker with the Hat, starring Chris Rock, would close shortly after opening?

Well, this week it recouped its investment.

Also announcing recoupment this week was Ghetto Klown, the solo show conceived by and starring John Leguizamo which opened to decent, but not fantastic reviews. It closed on July 10.

There are plans to bring the production, which was directed by Fisher Stevens, to audiences around the country and the world. In fact, Leguizamo will perform Ghetto Klown in other U.S. cities as well as in South America, where he will offer the show in Spanish. Now, there's versatility.

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