PLAYBILL.COM'S THEATRE WEEK IN REVIEW, Jan. 11-17: Beautiful and Machinal Open on Broadway and Titanic Will Sail Back to the Stage

By Robert Simonson
17 Jan 2014

Jessie Mueller
Photo by Joan Marcus
Titanic has always had its believers, however, and some of them are bringing it back to Broadway this fall. Thom Southerland, who staged an acclaimed chamber production of the musical at London's Southwark Playhouse last year, will return for a North American staging at Toronto's Royal Alexandra Theatre from July 22 through Aug. 31. Following that run, it will transfer to a theatre-to-be-announced on Broadway.

Additional production details including creative team and casting will be announced at a later date.

The new revival of Titanic is produced by Barry and Fran Weissler, and David Mirvish.

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After a preview period of Nick & Nora lengths, Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, the new stage production that stars Jessie Mueller as the Brooklyn-born singer-songwriter responsible for a library of hit songs, officially opened on Broadway Jan. 12 at the Stephen Sondheim Theatre.

The general thrust of the reviews was that critics could take or leave Beautiful, but they would definitely take Mueller anytime.

The New York Times referred to the "tracing-paper script by Douglas McGrath," and added, "In its first act, the show seems to exhaust itself — it sure exhausted me — as it dutifully wedges such songs into production numbers."

"Beautiful seems less concerned with exploring King's story than with using it to string together familiar tunes," complained USA Today, while The Daily News observed, "Too bad a great musical isn't only about the music. The book is crucial, too — and this show's connect-the-dots story line is so simplistic that the extravagantly talented King's life emerges as a mundane version of the long-suffering little woman."

 Continued...