PLAYBILL THEATRE WEEK IN REVIEW, Feb. 16-22: Miss Firecracker, Velocity, Shia LaBeouf Won't Play Broadway (For Now)

By Robert Simonson
22 Feb 2013

The Broadway debut of a 30-year-old Beth Henley play starring a relative nobody and directed by an actor? In the fierce economic reality of today's Times Square, it seemed too good to be true.

Amber Tamblyn
photo by Joseph Marzullo/WENN

And it was. The mounting of Henley's comedy The Miss Firecracker Contest, which had been announced for spring 2013 starring Amber Tamblyn, and directed by Judith Ivey, has been postponed. Lead producer Larry Kaye told the New York Times that a scheduling conflict "stood in the way of getting our particular dream cast." Kaye hopes to mount the production during the 2013-14 season, although plans are not definite at this time, and Kaye has yet to finish raising the capitalization for the play.

Another Kaye production, Eric Coble's new two-character play, The Velocity of Autumn, which was scheduled to open on Broadway this spring with a cast led by Academy Award winner Estelle Parsons and two-time Tony winner Stephen Spinella, has also been postponed.


While the hopes of Firecracker and Velocity were dashed, those of the American Repertory Theatre production of Tennessee Williams' The Glass Menagerie are on the rise.

The production, staged by Tony Award-winning Once director John Tiffany, and starring Cherry Jones, opened Feb. 6 to lavish praise from the critics, including a notice from the New York Times. The Times reports that producer Jeffrey Richards, who also transferred A.R.T.'s Porgy and Bess, has been in talks with executives there about bringing the classic to Broadway. A timeline for Menagerie's New York arrival is still murky.

If it comes in, it will mark yet another Williams revival on a Broadway that has seen many in the past decade, including the current Cat of a Hot Tin Roof. The last time Menagerie played Broadway was in 2005, in a poorly reviewed staging starring Jessice Lange. The play more recently ran Off-Broadway in 2010, in a well-received production starring Judith Ivey.


According to reports, a musical version of A Bronx TaleChazz Palminteri's seemingly deathless coming-of-age story set in New York's most northerly borough—is in the works. Palminteri, who made his name in 1993 with the film version of the story, starred in a one-man show that played an extended run on Broadway in 2007.

Now word comes that Robert De Niro, who directed the original film, plans to direct the musical, which will feature a book by Palminteri and a score by David Bryan, of Memphis. Sergio Trujillo will choreograph the production, which is being produced by Tommy Mottola.

No official announcement about a musical version of A Bronx Tale has been made.


Really Really, playwright Paul Downs Colaizzo's mysterious, cynical tale of the aftermath of a college party, opened to positive reviews last week, and quickly extended.

Those who are curious about the drama's author—whose first play this is—can find out more Feb. 23-24, when Colaizzo will step into the role of Johnson, normally played by actor Kobi Libii, while Libii shoots a comedy pilot for Amazon Studios.

Who does Colaizzo think he is? Tracy Letts?