PLAYBILL THEATRE WEEK IN REVIEW, Sept. 8-14: Chaplin Opens, Giant Is Populated, Rebecca Is Threatened

By Robert Simonson
14 Sep 2012

Brian d'Arcy James

The last couple years, the Tony Awards ceremony has been held at the Beacon Theatre on the Upper West Side. The switch in venue came in 2010, when the Tonys' longtime home Radio City Music Hall said the space was unavailable, having been rented to Cirque du Soleil's Zarkana. The shift was a disappointment at the time. But maybe people, including critics, were pleasantly surprised by the intimate feel of the Beacon, and how production numbers on its stage came off on television.

Despite that reaction, the Tonys apparently want to return to the cavernous Radio City. Negotiations, according to NY1, are currently underway for the 67th annual celebration of the Broadway theatre to once again be held at Radio City Music Hall. For the record, the Beacon and Radio City are not Broadway houses, but they are big!

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Kate Baldwin, Brian d'Arcy James and P.J. Griffith will star in the Public Theater engagement of the new Michael John LaChiusa-Sybille Pearson musical Giant, based on Edna Ferber's sweeping Texas-set novel about love, greed, power and race. The show will begin previews Oct. 26 Off-Broadway.

James will take on the role of wealthy Texas cattle man Bick (played by Rock Hudson in the famous film), opposite Baldwin as his wife Leslie (the Elizabeth Taylor role), and P.J. Griffith as the resentful upstart Jett. (Griffith is stepping into the shoes of James Dean, God help him.) Baldwin and Griffith originated their respective roles in the Dallas Theater Center production of Giant last winter. The musical is a co-production between DTC and the Public.

The cast is completed by Enrique Acevedo; Raul Aranas as Polo; Mary Bacon as Adarene and Mrs. Lyntonn; Miguel Cervantes as Angel, Jr. and Angel, Sr.; Natalie Cortez as Juana; Rocio Del Mar Valles as Analita; John Dossett as Bawley; Michael Halling as Lord Kafrey; Doreen Montalvo as Lupe; Allison Rogers as Heidi; Isabel Santiago; Martin Sola as Dimodeo; Matthew Stocke as Mike; Katie Thompson as Vashti; and William Youmans as Pinkie.

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Flop-collectors who feasted on the resuscitated corpse of Carrie during its Off-Broadway revival last season can fill up again this winter when The Beautiful Soup Theater Collective presents the rarely-seen Broadway disaster Moose Murders by Arthur Bicknell. The production, featuring a revised script (so it won't be the actual flop that 1983 audiences saw), will open Jan. 29, 2013, and run through Feb. 10 at The Connelly Theatre in the East Village.

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Finally, I guess it makes sense that London's National Theatre announced plans to open a New York office to oversee all of its North American activities. The British institution sends enough of its plays to Broadway to keep such an office busy.

The National is currently represented on Broadway by War Horse, which is also now on a North American tour. Its transfer of One Man, Two Guvnors, which closed there Sept. 2, recouped its investment. Other transfers have included The Pitmen Painters, The Seafarer, Coram Boy, Primo, The History Boys, The Pillowman, Democracy and Jumpers.

The office will be led by Tim Levy, who has previously worked at the National in London before moving to New York to work with the National's regular producing partner Bob Boyett on a number of productions. Certainly, Boyett will be one of the most frequent visitors to the new National office.