PLAYBILL THEATRE WEEK IN REVIEW: Jake Gyllenhaal On Stage, Raves for Detroit, Les Miz Back on Broadway?

By Kenneth Jones
21 Sep 2012

Jesse Eisenberg

Academy and Tony Award-winning actress Vanessa Redgrave will co-star with Academy Award nominee Jesse Eisenberg in the world premiere of his new play, The Revisionist, which will debut Off-Broadway in February 2013 in a staging by Rattlestick Playwrights Theater. Last season Eisenberg ("The Social Network") starred in his play Asuncion for the Rattlestick. His latest work will debut Feb. 6, 2013, at the Cherry Lane Theatre for a run through March 31, 2013. An opening night has been set for Feb. 21, 2013. Kip Fagan will direct.

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The North American touring production of the revised and redesigned musical Les Misérables, a road hit that launched in early 2011 and has recouped due to sellout crowds and bookings into early 2014, may appear on Broadway.



Nick Allott, managing director of Cameron Mackintosh, Ltd., confirmed that producer Mackintosh wants to see the new 25th-anniversary reboot staging — co-directed by Laurence Connor and James Powell, with reimagined scenery inspired by the paintings of Victor Hugo — on Broadway, where the original won the Tony Award as Best Musical in 1987.

Allott said, "We've got to decide what to do with the tour when it comes off the road at the beginning of 2014. It's all up for grabs, as they say, but nothing is scheduled, we haven't talked theatres, we haven't talked dates, we haven't talked about the rest of the cast. The tour is doing phenomenally well — there's obviously still a big, big appetite for it, and Cameron is keen to have that production seen on Broadway." He added, "It's a way off — a minimum of 18 months away, if it happens."

We also learned this week that the film version of the epic pop musical will be released wide on Dec. 25 rather than Dec. 7. Hugh Jackman stars as Jean Valjean.

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Lea Salonga and Telly Leung
photo by Henry DiRocco

The Old Globe production of Allegiance — A New American Musical, charting the lives of Japanese Americans who were placed in concentration camps on U.S. soil during World War II, opened Sept. 19 in San Diego. The cast boasts Paolo Montalban, Allie Trimm, Michael K. Lee, Ann Sanders, George Takei, Telly Leung and Tony Award winner Lea Salonga. Stafford Arima (Carrie, Altar Boyz, London's Ragtime) directs the world-premiere production of the history-inspired original musical by Jay Kuo (composer-lyricist) and Marc Acito, Kuo and Lorenzo Thione (co-librettists).

The Los Angeles Times review suggested that "though peppered with promising scenes and powerfully sung by the largely Asian American cast," the musical "retreats from the challenge of its own material and hasn't found a consistent focus, tone or musical idiom." Despite "its historical reach and welcome significance, the book drifts into two generic romances and in the second act meanders into sentimental warblings that family is 'what really matters.'"

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On Sept. 18, the music of late composer Marvin Hamlisch was performed by some of the greatest singers and artists of the age: Barbra Streisand, Liza Minnelli, Aretha Franklin, Itzhak Perlman and others, in a tribute evening in Manhattan.

Brought together by The Juilliard School (where Hamlisch attended as a child prodigy at the ripe age of seven), the audience at the Peter Jay Sharp Theater on West 65th Street was dotted with celebrities from all walks of life: Mike Nichols; former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi; Regis Philbin; Susan Lucci; Sarah Jessica Parker; Alan Cumming; Sheldon Harnick; Mary Rodgers; Paul Shaffer and Valerie Jarrett, Senior Advisor to President Obama, who came on behalf of the President and the First Lady

Read the Playbill.com report about the evening.

(Kenneth Jones is managing editor of Playbill.com. Follow him on Twitter @PlaybillKenneth.)