PLAYBILL.COM'S THEATRE WEEK IN REVIEW, May 4-10: Tony Tempers Run High and Off-Broadway Openings Abound

By Robert Simonson
10 May 2013

Alec Baldwin
Alec Baldwin
Photo by Joan Marcus

There was more Tony Awards nominations fallout—and fallout from that fallout—this week.

Lyle Kessler's three-person drama Orphans, which took three decades getting to Broadway, but garnered only two Tony nominations, will play its final performance May 19, producers announced. The play had been scheduled to run through June 30. Alec Baldwin, the star of the show—and not the recipient of either of those Tonys nominations—was not happy about this, and, being Alec Baldwin, he didn't keep his feelings to himself for very long. He went on the Huffington Post on May 7 and wrote about 1,000 words on how much Broadway had changed and how much he hated Ben Brantley, the New York Times chief drama critic, comparing him unfavorably to his predecessor, Frank Rich.

Tempers run high during awards seasons, and Baldwin wasn't the only Broadway bigwig who felt like taking the New York Times to the woodshed this week. Scott Rudin, a lead producer on the short-lived 2013 Tony Award-nominated Best Play The Testament of Mary—and, by reputation, not a man to cross—criticized New York Times theatre reporter Patrick Healy in the very pages of the broadsheet he worked for. Healy's interview with Testament playwright Colm Toibin was published May 1, in the Saturday Arts section theatre listings, and, apparently, Rudin didn't like it.

In the printed Testament of Mary advertisement in the May 4 issue of the New York Times, announcing the production's final three performances, a quote from Rudin read, "Let's give a big cuddly shout-out to Pat Healy, infant provocateur and amateur journalist at The New York Times. Keep it up, Pat—one day perhaps you'll learn something about how Broadway works, and maybe even understand it."



Also announcing its closing this week was the Broadway revival of the musical Jekyll & Hyde. It will shutter Sunday, May 12, after only 15 previews and 30 regular performances at the Marquis Theater. This news was not followed by an attack on the New York Times. I guess the producers of the Frank Wildhorn piece felt the paper had had enough.

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But there was some good news out there.

The new Broadway production of Horton Foote's The Trip to Bountiful, featuring Emmy-winning stage and screen star Cicely Tyson, extended its run at the Stephen Sondheim Theatre.

The production, which officially opened April 23, had been scheduled for a 14-week limited engagement through July 7. It has now extended an additional eight weeks and will continue through Sept. 1.

Bountiful was recently nominated for four Tony Awards, including Best Actress in a Play (Cicely Tyson), Best Featured Actress in a Play (Condola Rashad), Best Sound Design for a Play (John Gromada) and Best Revival of a Play.

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The Broadway revival of Annie—which did not reap a lot of Tony nominations—will get a shot in the arm on May 15 when Jane Lynch, known for playing a bullying cheer coach on TV's "Glee," will begin performances as orphanage matron Miss Hannigan. (Typecasting, no?)

Lynch, making her Broadway debut, will perform for a mere two months, through July 14. Katie Finneran, who created the role of Miss Hannigan in the new production at the Palace Theatre, will exit the production at a date to be announced, in order to begin filming a new NBC comedy series with Michael J. Fox.

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