PLAYBILL THEATRE WEEK IN REVIEW, May 26-June 1: A Car Talk Musical, a Chaplin Confirmed, Kelli O'Hara in Far From Heaven

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01 Jun 2012

Rob McClure
Rob McClure

Rob McClure has been cast in the title role of the new Broadway musical Chaplin, which will open on Broadway on Sept. 10 at the Barrymore Theatre.

The announcement was not a huge surprise. McClure starred as the silent film star in the 2010 La Jolla Playhouse staging of the show, which has music and lyrics by Christopher Curtis and book by Curtis and Thomas Meehan (Annie, Hairspray). Warren Carlyle (Finian's Rainbow) directs and choreographs the production.

The casting seems to be the producers' way of sending the message that the show is the star here. McClure has plenty of credits off and on Broadway, as well as in regional theatre (where he's won a couple of awards), but is far from a marquee name.

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Playwrights Horizons announced a bit of pitch-perfect casting, confirming that Kelli O'Hara — of the china-doll face, peachy complexion and crystalline voice — will star as Cathy in the musical Far From Heaven. If any of today's Broadway musical stars looks like she could pass as an ideal 1950s suburban wife and mother, it's O'Hara.



A four-time Tony nominee, O'Hara will test the Eisenhower era-set Far From Heaven this summer in a July 19-29 tryout at Williamstown Theatre Festival in Massachusetts. PH will present the show's full world premiere in New York City in May 2013.

The score is by Michael Korie and Scott Frankel, whose Grey Gardens was also set in the East Coast in the past, looking at the disintegrating lives of people whose world had once seemed so perfect. Michael Greif directs. The libretto is by Richard Greenberg.

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You thought Off-Broadway's Classic Stage Company was through with its multi-season Chekhov romp, having done The Seagull, The Cherry Orchard, Uncle Vanya and Three Sisters? You're wrong! You forgot about the Russian's fifth full-length, Ivanov. (Most people do.)

Austin Pendleton — who directed Three Sisters, the most highly praised of the previous productions — will stage Ivanov with Ethan Hawke as the exhausted government official, in the 2012-13 season. He will be joined by Roberta Maxwell, George Morfogen, Juliet Rylance and Louis Zorich, all veterans of past Chekhov Cycle offerings.

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Boyd Gaines
photo by Krissie Fullerton

Manhattan Theatre Club announced its upcoming season, which will include a new version of Henrik Ibsen's An Enemy of the People starring Boyd Gaines at the too-outspoken community activist Dr. Thomas Stockmann and Richard Thomas as his mayor brother Peter. It will be directed by Doug Hughes.

The nonprofit also confirmed two Off-Broadway titles: the New York City premiere of Terrence McNally's Golden Age and the world premiere of Liz Flahive's The Madrid starring Edie Falco.

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Finally, people are apparently so hard up for good source material that they are mining NPR for ideas.

The popular National Public Radio show "Car Talk" — in which Tom and Ray Magliozzi, the two bemused, mechanically savvy hosts, dispense car-care advice amid near-non-stop laughter — has inspired a new musical that will debut this summer in Cambridge, MA, just miles away from the radio show's home, the Good News Garage.

Car Talk: The Musical!!! — it's pronounced "Cah Tawk" — is presented by Underground Railway Theater and Suffolk University, and has book, lyrics and direction by Wesley Savick and original music by Michael Wartofsky. It has character with names like Rusty Fenders, Beaulah Gasket and Miata C. LaChassis. The show was first presented in a 2011 developmental student production at Suffolk University. It will run June 14-Aug. 12 at the Central Square Theater.

Is it possible to sing with a Boston accent?