PLAYBILL.COM'S WEEK IN REVIEW Oct. 25-31: Did Critics Find The Real Thing and Will Matthew Morrison Be Back on Broadway?

News   PLAYBILL.COM'S WEEK IN REVIEW Oct. 25-31: Did Critics Find The Real Thing and Will Matthew Morrison Be Back on Broadway?
 
The second Tom Stoppard production of the season opened Oct. 30 when a revival of The Real Thing took its bow at the American Airlines Theatre. Along with Cynthia Nixon, who played the precocious teenager Debbie in the original 1984 production and now returns to play Debbie's mother, Charlotte, the cast features Josh Hamilton and Maggie Gyllenhaal and Ewan McGregor in their Main Stem debuts.

Maggie Gyllenhaal and Ewan McGregor
Maggie Gyllenhaal and Ewan McGregor Photo by Joan Marcus

Reviews were mixed. The Times was underwhelmed by the production, saying, "Evidence of real feelings, real chemistry and real life in general is dishearteningly scarce in this interpretation of Tom Stoppard's 1982 comedy about one all-too-witty writer's emotional block... The Real Thing often feels as teeth-grindingly brittle as a summer stock production of a W. Somerset Maugham drawing-room comedy."

Variety agreed, saying, "Stoppard is a witty brainiac who likes to tease and torment an audience, but helmer Sam Gold's mannered production is so steeped in artifice, it's almost antagonistic to the text... Missing the subtlety of the satire, [the cast members] seem to think this cutting comedy of manners is better played as earnest drama."

Time Out New York enjoyed McGregor and Gyllenhaal's performances, calling them "naturally charismatic, intelligent performers who deliver Stoppard's brainy badinage with nervy aplomb" and saying, "McGregor makes his Broadway debut with assurance, charm and sparkle."

Critics were not fans of the addition of cast sing-alongs held during scene changes, which, according to the Hollywood Reporter, were "sapping any tension that might otherwise build scene to scene. Stoppard's point may be that Henry is convinced love is best left to the sentimental pop tunesmiths, and not to his cerebral dramas. But this is an inelegant illustration of it."

*** David Hyde Pierce won a slew of Emmys for playing Niles on "Frasier" and a Tony for his star turn in Curtains in 2007. Now the lauded actor is taking a spin at directing. It Shoulda Been You, a new musical comedy about a chaotic wedding day, will open at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre on Broadway in the spring with Pierce, who directed the musical's 2011 premiere at the George Street Playhouse, at the helm. He has a starry cast lined up: Tony and Emmy Award winner Tyne Daly, Tony Award winner Harriet Harris, Sierra Boggess, David Burtka, Lisa Howard, Edward Hibbert and Steve Rosen.

***

Matthew Morrison
Matthew Morrison Photo by Joseph Marzullo/WENN

Tevye is coming back to Broadway.

Fiddler on the Roof, the story of a Jewish milkman struggling to maintain tradition against a rapidly-changing world, will return to Broadway in November 2015.

This marks the fifth revival of the musical, which first bowed on Broadway in 1964. Bartlett Sher, who helmed the award-winning 2008 revival of South Pacific and is on board to lead this spring's The King and I, will direct.

The question, of course, is who will play Tevye? The role won Zero Mostel a Tony and Herschel Bernardi, Topol and Alfred Molina all Tony nominations. Rumors have been swirling about Danny Burstein, a five-time Tony nominee who has collaborated with Sher on Golden Boy and South Pacific and was also nominated for his turns in Cabaret, Follies and The Drowsy Chaperone. Burstein is certainly rich in nominations; perhaps singing "If I Were a Rich Man" will finally land the actor a Tony Award. ***

Matthew Morrison, who hasn't been seen on Broadway since 2008 when he crooned "Younger Than Springtime" as lovestruck Lt. Cable in South Pacific, has hinted he will return to the Great White Way soon.

Morrison, who was last seen dancing on tables at 54 Below and has starred as the sweater vest-loving choir director Will Scheuster on "Glee" since 2009, told EOnline that "something is in the works" and "it's a brand-new show."

Fans are speculating that the Tony nominee will step (or fly) into the role of J.M. Barrie in Finding Neverland's Broadway bow, which is planned for spring 2015. Morrison was part of an early workshop of the show, but scheduling conflicts kept him from performing in the American Repertory Theatre production.

"I'm looking forward to getting back on stage," Morrison said. "Those are my roots. My heart is on the stage."

The actor received a Tony nomination for his performance as the romantic Italian Fabrizio in The Light in the Piazza and has also appeared in Hairspray, Footloose and A Naked Girl on the Appian Way. We're sure "Glee" fans will welcome him back with open arms.

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