PLAYBILL.COM'S THEATRE WEEK IN REVIEW, June 4-10: Pre-Tony Buzz, Athol Fugard's Signature, Stro Goes Fishin'

ICYMI   PLAYBILL.COM'S THEATRE WEEK IN REVIEW, June 4-10: Pre-Tony Buzz, Athol Fugard's Signature, Stro Goes Fishin'
 
Broadway's holding its breath this week, as producers await the outcome of this weekend's Tony Awards, which are to be held for the first time at the Beacon Theatre on the Upper West Side, usually a home for rock concerts.

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The evening begins shortly after 7 PM June 12 with a pre-telecast addressing some "creative arts" nominees. The main ceremony begins at 8 PM Sunday on CBS, and will include performances from the casts of the 2011 Tony-nominated Best Musicals and Best Revivals of a Musical, including Anything Goes, Catch Me If You Can, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, Sister Act, The Book of Mormon and The Scottsboro Boys.

However, casts from other Broadway productions which were not nominated for Tonys will also take the stage at the Beacon. (The Tonys always try to keep everybody happy, even if that's pretty much an impossible task.) Expect to see performances Spider-Man Turn Off the Dark, John Leguizamo's Ghetto Klown and the cast of Priscilla Queen of the Desert.

Neil Patrick Harris in Company.
photo by Joseph Marzullo/WENN

Additionally, the Tony Awards will reassemble the all-star cast of the New York Philharmonic's April 2011 limited run of Company, including Stephen Colbert, Jon Cryer, Katie Finneran, Tony host Neil Patrick Harris, Christina Hendricks, Aaron Lazar, Patti LuPone, Jill Paice, Martha Plimpton, Anika Noni Rose, Jennifer Laura Thompson, Jim Walton and Chryssie Whitehead. This may or may not attract the viewership of "Mad Men" junkies, "Comedy Central" fans and people who wonder what happened to the other star of "Two and a Half Men."

As many speculated, Bono and The Edge, co-creators of the new musical Spider-Man Turn Off the Dark, will also be part of the proceedings. (That storied musical will finally officially open two days after the Tonys, on June 14.)

*** Broadway to Off-Broadway. This is becoming the new road to commercial success for New York theatre producers.

Avenue Q did it. So did The 39 Steps. And Rent. Now Million Dollar Quartet, the Broadway jukebox musical about the infamous 1956 recording session that united Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins, announced it will end its run June 12 and then move to New World Stages — the complex where all such transfers seem to go — in July.

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Susan Stroman
photo by Joseph Marzullo/WENN

Susan Stroman has signed on to stage the new Broadway-bound musical Big Fish, it was announced this week.

The fanciful new musical is based on the novel by Daniel Wallace and the 2003 Columbia Pictures film written by John August, about a son who tries to sort out truth from fiction in the fantastical life stories his dying father spins. It has music and lyrics by Andrew Lippa and a libretto by August. Big Fish producers are hoping to land a Broadway theatre for a spring 2012 launch.

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Signature Theatre Company, the respected Off-Broadway theatre, is getting all corporate. Its massive new Frank Gehry-built home — which will include three theatres, two rehearsal spaces and administrative offices all on one level and connected by a shared lobby with a cafe and bookstore — will be called Signature Center. And the company's central artistic feature — dedicating each season to a single playwright — has been branded Residency One, which kinda sounds like a NASA program.

The theatre has also gone international: the first cosmonaut to board Residency One will be South African playwright Athol Fugard. Hitherto, every Signature honoree has been an American playwright. Fugard's getting a lot of attention lately; he will collect a special Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement at the Tony Awards on June 12.

Tony Kushner's The Illusion is the last Signature show at the Peter Norton Space on West 42nd Street. There will be no Signature programming between the end of The Illusion and the opening of Signature Center in 2012.

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