THE WEEK AHEAD, Sept. 8-14: The Best Man and Rent Close; Chaplin Opens; Grace and Cyrano Begin

By Blake Ross
08 Sep 2012

Perez Hilton
Perez Hilton
Photo by Brian Doherty

Playbill.com's weekly planner reminds you that The Best Man bows out of the race… Paul Rudd returns to the stage… Perez Hilton reports the NEWS… and Nintendo and Broadway unite! Getting back to a non-summer work schedule can be a bummer. Here are some things to do to balance out your work/pleasure schedule this WEEK AHEAD.

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Saturday, September 8
GO→ Celebrity blogger Perez Hilton returns to his acting roots (he has a BFA in Drama from NYU's Tisch School of the Arts!) joining the cast of Off-Broadway's NEWSical the Musical. The ever-changing musical parody will incorporate Hilton in a number of different ways, adding in new spoofs about the Chick-fil-A vs. marriage equality fiasco and about Hilton's own influence on pop culture. The musical revue will also welcome Leslie Kritzer to the cast that currently includes funny lady Christine Pedi, Christina Bianco, Michael West, Tommy Walker, Amy Griffin and Ryan Knowles. (Theatre Row, 410 W. 42nd St., btwn. 9th & 10th Aves. Click here for Playbill Club discount tickets.)

Sunday, September 9
LAST CHANCE→ After two Tony nominations, several cast changes and two actual national political conventions, The Best Man wraps up its run on Broadway. Gore Vidal's political comedy takes place at an unnamed party's political convention in 1960 (you know, the days when candidates were actually chosen at the conventions) and focuses on two very different candidates as they climb (and scheme) their way to the top of the party's ticket. The cast currently includes James Earl Jones, Elizabeth Ashley, John Larroquette, John Stamos and Jefferson Mays. (Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre, 236 W. 45th St., btwn. Broadway & 8th Ave. Click here for Playbill Club discount tickets.)



LAST CHANCE→ The Off-Broadway revival of Jonathan Larson's Pulitzer Prize-winning Rent spends its last evening at New World Stages. Helmed by its original Broadway director Michael Greif, the gritty musical about a group of artists and dreamers struggling to survive amid the AIDS crisis of early 90s New York City features the now-classic tunes from the groundbreaking score like "Light My Candle," "I'll Cover You," "Over the Moon," "La Vie Boheme" and "Seasons of Love." (New World Stages, 340 W. 50th St., btwn. 8th and 9th Aves. Click here for Playbill Club discount tickets.)

Kathie Lee Gifford
photo by Krissie Fullerton

GO (FREE)→ Kathie Lee Gifford hosts the 20th Anniversary edition of Broadway on Broadway, a free outdoor concert celebrating the start of the new season on Broadway. This year's concert will feature performances from the casts of Once, Annie, Bring It On: The Musical, Chicago, Mamma Mia!, Newsies, Motown: The Musical, Peter and the Starcatcher, Scandalous, Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, Bare, Stomp and a sneak peek at the new season of NBC's Broadway-based show "Smash." (11:20 AM, Times Square, 43rd St. to 47th St. info.)

WATCH→ "Broadway or Bust," a documentary chronicling the path 60 eager students take to get to the National High School Musical Theater Awards (aka The Jimmys) premieres on PBS. Cameras followed the students from their hometown auditions to Manhattan where they compete (on a Broadway stage!) for the top Jimmy prize — college scholarships. The three-part series will air on consecutive Sundays through Sept. 23. (8 PM ET, PBS, check your local listings.)

Monday, September 10
OPENS→ Chaplin, the new musical about the life of silent film legend Charlie Chaplin, opens on Broadway. Rob McClure plays the famous Tramp as he becomes one of Hollywood's most alluring figures whose life takes some dark twists and turns as he becomes more and more famous. Featuring the songs of Broadway newbie Christopher Curtis and a book by librettist extraordinaire, Thomas Meehan. (Barrymore Theatre, 243 W. 47th St., btwn. Broadway & 8th Ave. Click here for Playbill Club discount tickets.)

Tuesday, September 11
GO→ Jason Robert Brown, the Tony-winning songwriter of Parade, 13 and The Last Five Years, will play Broadway's own speakeasy, 54 Below. Joining Brown and his band to perform songs from upcoming musicals like The Bridges of Madison County and Honeymoon in Vegas will be Wicked's Shoshana Bean. (Through Sept. 15, 54 Below, 254 W. 54th St., btwn. Broadway & 8th Aves. Info/tickets.)

Wednesday, September 12
GO→ Michael Feinstein returns to the stage at his eponymous nightclub to perform with cabaret fixture Marilyn Maye in Swingin' the Night Away. These two nightery legends will be singing (what else?) songs plucked from the Great American Songbook with some boogie-woogie classics thrown in for a swingin' good time. (Through Sept. 22, Feinstein's at Loews Regency, 540 Park Ave., at 61st St. Info/tickets.)

Thursday, September 13
PREVIEWS→ Paul Rudd returns to Broadway in Craig Wright's Grace, the story of a faithful couple who move to Florida with plans of opening a chain of gospel-themed motels. Their plans get thrown asunder when they meet an angry scientist (Michael Shannon) and a grouchy exterminator (Ed Asner). Officially opens Oct. 4. (Cort Theatre, 138 W. 48th St., btwn. 6th & 7th Aves. Click here for Playbill Club discount previews tickets.)

Friday, September 14
PREVIEWS→ Broadway gets a new swashbuckling poet, Douglas Hodge, when the Tony winner steps into the famous title role in the revival of Cyrano de Bergerac. Clémence Poésy costars as Roxane, the object of the "nosed one's" unrequited love, with Kyle Soller as Christian, the dashing suitor who uses Cyrano's words to woo the fair Roxane. Directed by Jamie Lloyd. Officially opens Oct. 11. (American Airlines Theatre, 227 W. 42nd St., btwn. 7th & 8th Aves., Click here for Playbill Club discount previews tickets.)

PLAY→ Ever find yourself at home playing Mario Bros. wondering, "Why, if only I could combine my love of playing this game with my love of musical theatre…boy, wouldn’t that be swell?!" Well gamers, your prayers have been answered. On Friday, Nintendo will release "Andrew Lloyd Webber Musicals: Sing & Dance," a new Wii game that will allow players to put themselves center stage to belt out numbers from Phantom, Cats and Evita. The voices of legendary Lloyd Webber cohorts including Elaine Paige (Sunset Boulevard, Cats), Michael Crawford (The Phantom of the Opera), Donny Osmond (Joseph…) and Sarah Brightman (The Phantom of the Opera) are featured on the game to "sing" alongside the gamer. If you need me, I'll be home in front of the TV annoying my neighbors… till the end of time. (Info, available wherever games are sold.)

Blake Ross is the editor of Playbill magazine. Follow her on Twitter @PlaybillBlake.

Watch highlights from Chaplin: