PLAYBILL THEATRE WEEK IN REVIEW, July 21-27: Vanya Rules!, La Mama Rises, Bebe and Bobbie Bond

By Robert Simonson
27 Jul 2012

Bebe Neuwirth

Off-Broadway, Bebe Neuwirth will reunite with her Chicago director, Walter Bobbie, this fall when she stars in his staging of the New York City premiere of Terrence McNally's Golden Age for Manhattan Theatre Club.

With the play, McNally returns to a favorite subject — opera. Neuwirth will play Maria Malibran, a famous opera singer of the 19th century. Previews begin Nov. 13 prior to an opening of Dec. 4 in a limited engagement at MTC's home at New York City Center. The play was previously seen in Philadelphia and Washington, DC.



There were a couple limited-run additions to the fall Broadway schedule this week.

Running on Empty, the latest politically charged show from comedian Lewis Black — who is never at a loss for cultural material to spur his rage at humanity — will play a week-long Broadway engagement at the Richard Rodgers Theatre this October.

And A Christmas Story: The Musical!, based on the Jean Shepherd stories and 1983 film of the same title, will play a limited holiday engagement beginning Nov. 5 at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre, producers announced. The musical, which has a score by Justin Paul and Benj Pasek, launched a five-city U.S. tour last holiday season and was warmly received by critics nationwide. Much of that original touring creative team will repeat their work for the Broadway run, including director John Rando and choreographer Warren Carlyle.

One of the show's producers is Peter Billingsley, the former child actor who created the role of Ralphie Parker in the holiday film. The man obviously knows how to finesse a long career in the biz.


Finally, the new musical Sleepless in Seattle has its new songwriters, producers announced on the show's website. Composer Ben Toth and lyricist Sam Forman will pen the score for the show based on the hit film by Nora Ephron, who died earlier this summer.

As previously reported, the musical that will get its world premiere June 2, 2013, at Pasadena Playhouse has a book by Jeff Arch, who co-wrote the screenplay of the hit 1993 film comedy, and direction by Lonny Price.