PLAYBILL.COM'S THEATRE WEEK IN REVIEW, June 5-11: For Annie, Tomorrow's Another Day

ICYMI   PLAYBILL.COM'S THEATRE WEEK IN REVIEW, June 5-11: For Annie, Tomorrow's Another Day
 
For Annie, tomorrow is always only a day away, it seems.
Martin Charnin
Martin Charnin Photo by John Raoux

Has any musical of recent vintage been revived more? I doubt it. And no matter how many touring versions lyricist Martin Charnin whipped up — including one that got to Broadway in 1997 — they keep bringing it back, very likely due to the memory of the sunny show's original six-year run. Surely there was something in the show if it hit that big back then. (But don't mention that logic to the producers of the current revival of Promises, Promises.)

It was announced this week that producer Arielle Tepper Madover had secured the rights to the Charles Strouse-Martin Charnin musical about the spunky comic-strip orphan and is bringing it back to Broadway in fall 2012. But the show will be different this time. It's been decided that Annie is not as perfect as it used to be. Librettist Thomas Meehan will revise the show that he won a Tony Award for. So, will the GOP get a chance to rebut the Depression politics of FDR in this version? (Our guess is that reports of rewrites for the show have been overstated. Don't expect a radically changed Annie.)

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There were some juicy bits of casting this week.

In a "get" that probably has ticket brokers salivating, pop star Ricky Martin will play the role of Che, the part created on Broadway by Mandy Patinkin, in the upcoming Broadway revival of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice's Evita. Suddenly, that revival looks like a hot prospect — something it did not when the only names attached to it were director Michael Grandage (a Tony nominee this year for Red) and Argentine actress Elena Roger. It will land on Broadway in spring 2012.

Bernadette Peters and Elaine Stritch
photo by Joseph Marzullo/WENN

Arguably more exciting — as least for true-born theatre geeks — is the news that the Tony-nominated revival of Stephen Sondheim's A Little Night Music, which had previously announced a June 20 closing date at the Walter Kerr Theatre, will continue with two new stars, Bernadette Peters and Elaine Stritch! Are there two other female stage stars with more cachet among the dyed-in-the-wool theatregoing set? Peters and Stritch will succeed Catherine Zeta-Jones and Angela Lansbury, respectively, in the roles of the captivating actress Desiree Armfeldt and her worldly-wise mother Madame Armfeldt. The June 20 closing date marks the conclusion of Zeta-Jones and Lansbury's contracts. The show will temporarily close to allow the new leads rehearsal time. Night Music will reopen July 13 with Peters and Stritch heading the cast.

Peters hasn't been on Broadway in six years. Stritch has been absent for eight. Both have a primo Sondheim resume. Finally, former "Grey's Anatomy" star T.R. Knight has chosen the Broadway revival of Mamet's Life in the Theatre for his New York stage comeback. His co-star is Patrick Stewart. Previews Begin Sept. 23

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Roundabout Theatre Company, finding success with the pre-tested Everyday Rapture, has selected another show that has a proven track record with critics. It confirmed on June 7 that it will be presenting the acclaimed Kneehigh Theatre production of Noël Coward's Brief Encounter — an event that mixes romantic melodrama, music and film projections — at Broadway's Studio 54 starting in September. The last time the Roundabout took on a whimsical British import — The 39 Steps — it did quite well indeed.

Milo Twomey with a vision of Hannah Yelland in <i>Brief Encounter</i>
Milo Twomey with a vision of Hannah Yelland in Brief Encounter Photo by Steve Tanner
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