PLAYBILL.COM'S THEATRE WEEK IN REVIEW, Sept. 21-27: The Glass Menagerie Opens, City Center Has a Love Affair With Sondheim and The Great Comet Hits Midtown

By Robert Simonson
27 Sep 2013

Jessie Mueller
Photo by Joseph Marzullo/WENN

If Paltrow is not a strange enough producer for you, consider her partner: Donovan Leitch, an actor best known as the son of Donovan, the ethereal "Sunshine Superman" of '60s folk-pop. Though the show will use The Go-Go's music, it will not be about The Go-Go's rise and fall. That would be impossible, because the jukebox musical will be set in the 1600s. Why the 1600s? The producers' lips, for the moment, are sealed.


Bernadette Peters will reassume her role as a premiere Sondheim interpreter when she heads the cast of A Bed and a Chair: A New York Love Affair, a collaboration between Stephen Sondheim and jazz musician-composer Wynton Marsalis for New York City Center.

The program will feature more than two-dozen Sondheim compositions, each piece newly re-imagined by Marsalis.

Directed by John Doyle and choreographed by Parker Esse, this Encores! Special Event will play the famed Manhattan venue Nov. 13-17.

A Bed and a Chair is advertised as a show that "celebrates love in New York and love of New York. Native Manhattanite Sondheim and adopted citizen Marsalis (originally from New Orleans) will compare musical notes on their shared passion for our city."


Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, which is, uh, the new Carole King musical, began performances Sept. 24 at San Francisco's Curran Theatre. The production is scheduled to arrive on Broadway later this season. 

Jessie Mueller, whose stock has been rising steadily in the New York Theatre since she starred in the otherwise ill-fated revival of On a Clear Day You Can See Forever, stars as the famous titular singer-songwriter. The show is based on King's life and music and features a book by Douglas McGrath. Marc Bruni stages the production. Other characters are played by Jake Epstein (Gerry Goffin, King's songwriting partner and husband), and Anika Larsen and Jarrod Spector (as Cynthia Weil and Barry Mann, another prominent husband-and-wife songwriting team of the 1960s).


Dave Malloy's critically praised musical Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812 is back.

The unusual production, described as "nightclub-meets-musical," is based on a section of Tolstoy's "War and Peace." It took place under a big red tent, within a custom-built pop-up supper club called Kazino, in the middle of the Meatpacking District and won some of the best reviews of the year. Now the producers have taken their tent and pitched it in an empty lot on W. 45th Street and Eighth Avenue for a 14-week run.

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