PLAYBILL.COM'S THEATRE WEEK IN REVIEW, June 18-24: Hal Prince's New Show, Frank Wildhorn's Return

ICYMI   PLAYBILL.COM'S THEATRE WEEK IN REVIEW, June 18-24: Hal Prince's New Show, Frank Wildhorn's Return
 
Broadway has seen revues dedicated to the work of composers (Jerry's Girls, Oh Coward!, Side by Side by Sondheim) and choreographers (Jerome Robbins' Broadway, Fosse). But a revue focused on the oeuvre of a director?

Hal Prince
Hal Prince Photo by Joseph Marzullo/WENN

Well, I guess if such a genre is to be launched, Harold Prince, The Man With All The Tonys (more than 20), is the right subject to begin with. The legendary stage pilot will be celebrated in Prince of Broadway, to be directed by Prince himself in collaboration with co-director and choreographer Susan Stroman. The show will be composed of songs from Broadway musicals directed and/or produced by Harold Prince — and that's a lot of shows, my friend. It's an interesting idea, given that Prince didn't write any of the songs that will be sung (not did Fosse or Robbins, for that matter), and didn't create any of the choreography that might accompany them. But many critics have argued that a Harold Prince show carried a certain identifiable artistic stamp.

Prince produced or directed some of the most famous and long-running musicals of the past 60 years, including The Pajama Game, West Side Story, Fiddler on the Roof, She Loves Me, Cabaret, Company, Follies, A Little Night Music, Sweeney Todd, Kiss of the Spider Woman, Parade, The Phantom of the Opera and more. My guess is this will be the only Broadway revue in history to feature music by both Stephen Sondheim and Andrew Lloyd Webber.

The Broadway-bound show will launch in summer 2012 in Toronto, and proceed to a fall 2012 Broadway berth. David Thompson (The Scottsboro Boys) is writing the book and Prince protege Jason Robert Brown is writing vocal and dance arrangements. Loyalty is a beautiful thing.

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Producer Stephen C. Byrd, who brought Broadway an all-African-American Cat on a Hot Tin Roof in 2008 — and made money doing it — has gotten busy banging the drum about his upcoming multi-racial A Streetcar Names Desire. Last week, he announced that the forthcoming Broadway revival will star the usually polished actor Blair Underwood as the distinctly unpolished Stanley Kowalski, and that Emily Mann will direct. This week, Byrd let it be known that Grammy Award-winning jazz trumpeter Terence Blanchard — known for scoring many a Spike Lee film — will score the the show, which is aiming for a spring 2012 arrival.

Can't wait for next week's press release.

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Jeremy Jordan and Laura Osnes
photo by Frank Atura

Composer Frank Wildhorn is either a glutton for punishment or has skin as thick as an elephant's hide. How else to explain his willingness to return to the street that has sent him packing so often? Just as we were forgetting about Wonderland, the short-lived Wildhorn whirl on Lewis Carroll's rabbit hole, the man is back with Bonnie and Clyde, a new rockabilly-and-blues-infused musical about the Depression-era American outlaws, which played La Jolla Playhouse in 2009 and Asolo Rep in 2010. It will begin previews Nov. 4 at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre with an official opening scheduled for Dec. 1.

Playing the roles of Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow will be Laura Osnes and Jeremy Jordan. Jeff Calhoun directs and provides musical staging.

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The LCT3 production of Amy Herzog's world-premiere play 4000 Miles, starring Mary Louise Wilson and directed by Daniel Aukin, opened to strong critical notices on June 20, quickly leading to an extension of its current run through July 9 at the Duke on 42nd Street and an announced spring 2012 transfer to Lincoln Center Theater's Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater.

The play is the biggest success to date for LCT3, a three-year-old program which serves as the new works developmental lab for Lincoln Center Theater. The production is the first of LCT3's new works model to graduate to a full Off-Broadway run at Lincoln Center Theater.

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The world can't get enough of Mormons these days, be they Presidential candidates or the subject of smash musicals.

So, why shouldn't Barrington Stage Company hope on the merry Utah bandwagon? The theatre's Musical Theatre Lab will present the world premiere of Mormons, Mothers and Monsters, a new musical with book and lyrics by Sam Salmond and music by Will Aronson. The cast will feature Taylor Trensch, Stanley Bahorek, Jill Abramovitz and Adam Monley. The run is July 14-31.

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Jenn Harris and Jeff Hiller.
photo by Ben Strothmann

Here's a switch. Usually, August brings the New York International Fringe Festival and then the fall sees commercial transfers of one or two of the Fringe's noted successes. But this summer, were getting the commercial transfer before the festival. Silence! The Musical, a musical parody on "The Silence of the Lambs" featuring a book by Hunter Bell and music and lyrics by Jon and Al Kaplan, will play a limited run a Theatre 80 beginning June 24. Silence was one of the hits of the 2005 Fringe. That's a mighty long shelf life for a Fringe show. Someone's been eating his fava beans.

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