PLAYBILL.COM'S THEATRE WEEK IN REVIEW, March 5-11: Worldwide Wicked

News   PLAYBILL.COM'S THEATRE WEEK IN REVIEW, March 5-11: Worldwide Wicked Given the time of year, it was oddly quiet along Broadway this past week—no openings and only a couple shows—Julius Caesar and Jackie Mason's Freshly Squeezed—beginning previews.

Original stars Idina Menzel (left) and Kristin Chenoweth in Wicked
Original stars Idina Menzel (left) and Kristin Chenoweth in Wicked Photo by Joan Marcus

What news there was came from casting announcements. Kate Burton will return to Broadway in the title role in Roundabout Theatre Company's revival of Somerset Maughm's The Constant Wife. Whether it's because of her Helena Bonham-Carter-like cheeks or the way her hair looks so nice piled up on top of her head or whatever, Burton's become Broadway's choice for these sort of period roles. Mark Brokaw will direct her in the role, which was created by the lady of her period, Ethel Barrymore. May 27 is the start date.

***

Bob Saget—Mr. "Full House," Mr. "America's Funniest Home Videos," Mr. Affable—was the surprising choice to star as the felonious financier father in Second Stage's upcoming presentation of Paul Weitz's Privilege. The show follows two privileged Upper East Side teenagers whose lives are changed when their father is accused of insider trading. Weitz had a hit with his last play, Roulette.

***

Romance, which opened a couple weeks back to mixed reviews, has emerged as a hit in the wake of a second batch of highly favorable notices from such arbiters of taste as John Simon and John Lahr. Given the reception, the Atlantic Theatre Company had no choice but to extend until May 1. Meanwhile, down at the Public Theater, Mamet's tonal apostle, Neil LaBute, launched his latest, This Is How It Goes. The play opens March 27. We'll see how it goes. ***

Elsewhere Off-Broadway, two one-person shows unveiled themselves. In A Woman Before a Glass, at the Promenade, Mercedes Reuhl pretended to be art maven Peggy Guggenheim. In Ghetto Superstar, at the Public, Billy Porter pretended to be himself—or, rather, was himself, in the autobiographical piece based on Porter's experience growing up as a gay black artist.

***

Why should teenage girls have to travel to New York all the time to be simultaneously entertained and empowered? Now, if they're patient, they can go to Toronto, or Chicago or San Francisco. Wicked, the mammoth Broadway hit that has inspired countless teenyboppers to identify with a green-skinned witch, began an eagerly awaited North American tour March 9 at Toronto's Canon Theatre. From there it will head to Chicago's Ford Center for the Performing Arts, playing April 29-June 12; Hollywood's Pantages Theatre, June 17-July 31; San Francisco's Orpheum Theatre Aug. 4-Sept. 11; and other theatre palaces in Denver, Dallas, Fort Lauderdale and Philadelphia.

Before it even opened, the production empowered at least one girl. The scheduled Elphaba, Stephanie J. Block, suffered a minor injury during a dress rehearsal, causing the 42nd Street-style elevation of understudy Kristy Cates.

Today’s Most Popular News: