PLAYBILL.COM'S THEATRE WEEK IN REVIEW, June 22-28: Bullets Announces Broadway Casting, A Time to Kill Onstage and A Night With Janis Joplin Comes to New York

By Robert Simonson
28 Jun 2013

Mary Bridget Davies
Photo by Jim Cox

Written and directed by Randy Johnson, the production arrives in New York following acclaimed engagements at Portland Center Stage, Cleveland Play House, Arena Stage, Pasadena Playhouse and Milwaukee Repertory Theater. Opening night is scheduled for Oct. 10.

Mary Bridget Davies, who received the 2013 Cleveland Critics Circle Award for Best Actress in a Musical and was nominated for a 2013 Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Resident Musical, will reprise her role as the late Joplin on Broadway.

This isn't the first stage treatment of Joplin's life. Love, Janis, a musical tribute to the rocker adapted and directed by Randal Myler, played for two years at Off-Broadway's Village Theatre beginning in spring 2001. That production was best known for its inability to hold on to the actresses who played Joplin. The show opened with Catherine Curtin in the part, but quickly ran through a gamut of semi-famous and anonymous names, including Laura Branigan, Orfeh, Kristin Lee Kelly, Kate Forbes and Dana Fuchs. Hopefully, Roth & Co. have Davies on a long-term contract.


Nearly a half century after he hit the scene, Andrew Lloyd Webber is still writing new musicals.

The world premiere of his latest musical Stephen Ward will begin performances Dec. 3 at the West End's Aldwych Theatre, prior to an official opening Dec. 19. Public booking opens June 28, for performances through March 1, 2014. Christopher Hampton and Don Black co-wrote the book. The production will be directed by Richard Eyre.

Who is Stephen Ward? Well, he was an unfortunate, but perhaps hardly innocent, man who got crushed under the wheels of media and government during the infamous 1963 Profumo Affair, a British public scandal that brought down a government. Ward was an osteopathic physician who mingled freely among England's rich and powerful. He was the unlucky man who introduced British cabinet minister John Profumo to a showgirl named Christine Keeler, who was also having an affair with a Russian spy at the time. Once the scandal broke, he was accused of living off money earned from the prostitution of Keeler and other, and he committed suicide on the final day of his trial.


The current habit of casting multiple child actors to fill title roles in Broadway musicals has spread to the current revival of Annie.