PLAYBILL THEATRE WEEK IN REVIEW, May 5-11: Coal Miner's Daughter and Chaplin on Broadway

By Robert Simonson
11 May 2012

Topher Grace
Photo by Joan Marcus

New York may not have yet found room on Broadway or Off for Lisa D'Amour's hit Chicago play Detroit, which originally premiered in a production at Steppenwolf Theatre Company in 2011. But London has made a place for it.

The tale of suburban strife began performances at London's National Theatre May 8, prior to an official opening May 15. Austin Pendleton, who also directed it at Steppenwolf, directs a company that comprises Will Adamsdale, Clare Dunne, Stuart McQuarrie, Justine Mitchell and Christian Rodska.

The play will have its NYC debut at Playwrights Horizons later in 2012, in a production not piloted by Pendleton.



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Second Stage Theatre opened its production of Paul Weitz's Lonely, I'm Not, starring Topher Grace, on May 7. Trip Cullman directed the comedy, which is Weitz's fourth for Second Stage.

Like the Weitz plays that came before it, critics found Lonely on the slight side, but not without charm. Many commented on the cinematic qualities of the writing, and nearly all liked the winning performances of Grace and Olivia Thirlby. The production extended shortly after opening.

Not everyone was won over, though. The Hollywood Reporter offered this body slam: "Paul Weitz's Lonely, I'm Not joins the growing ranks of stunningly mediocre works that land major New York productions by virtue of their celebrity playwrights — actors or film directors whose names look good on the subscriber brochures of non-profit theatre companies, and who bring cachet to the casting process."

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Nick Jonas
photo by Joan Marcus

The Broadway revival of How to Succeed In Business Without Really Trying — which served as a vehicle for two young male heartthrobs, at the altar of which young tweens swoon: Daniel Radcliffe and Nick Jonas — will close up shop on May 20, the producers announced this week. By its end, the production will have played 30 previews and 473 regular performances.

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There have to be some rewards for enduring life as a cast member of Spider-Man Turn Off the Dark — besides the regular paycheck and sellout crowds, I mean.

The Tony Awards nominated not a single Spider-Man performer for a prize. But Patrick Page, who plays the story's villain, Norman Osborn/Green Goblin — and who was singled out by most reviewers as a bright spot in the ill-fated (and popular) production — got some recognition this week. He was named one of the winners of the annual Richard Seff Awards presented by the Actors' Equity Foundation. The awards honor a veteran female and male character actor for the best performance in a supporting role in a Broadway or Off-Broadway production. Laila Robins was the other recipient, for her work in Signature Theatre Company's The Lady From Dubuque.