PLAYBILL.COM'S THEATRE WEEK IN REVIEW, July 19-25: Bullets Will Fire Its Final Shot and Andrea Martin Will Return to the Trapeze

At one point it was expected to be the big musical of the 2013-14 season. In the end, it played six months.

Zach Braff and Marin Mazzie
Zach Braff and Marin Mazzie (Photo by Paul Kolnik)

The musical in question is Bullets Over Broadway, the musical comedy written by Woody Allen, based on the 1994 movie penned by Allen and Douglas McGrath. Susan Stroman directed and choreographed. It will play its final performance Aug. 24 at the St. James Theatre, it was announced this week by producers.

At one point, Bullets was such a hot topic of conversation that the press breathlessly followed the race among several actresses to play the lead female role, the vain stage diva Helen Sinclair. (The part eventually went to Marin Mazzie, who may be wondering right now why she went through all that agony to land the gig.)

But reviews for the production, which did not feature an original score, were mixed. Bullets did receive six 2014 Tony nominations, although it was not nominated for Best Musical. And that was one bullet too many for the show.

Upon closing, the musical will have played 156 regular performances and 33 previews.

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Tom Stoppard, now entering his sixth decade as a working — and highly successful — playwright, has another play!

Andrea Martin
Photo by Joan Marcus

It's called The Hard Problem, and it will have its world premiere at London's National Theatre in 2015, according to the Daily Mail. It will be Stoppard's first new, full-length play since Rock 'n' Roll, nearly a decade ago.

Outgoing National Theatre artistic director Nicholas Hytner will stage the production, which is set to begin performances in January 2015 at the Dorfman Theatre. The title could conceivably describe the process of writing any Stoppard play (e.g., for Jumpers: "How do you write a cohesive play about philosophers, astronauts and gymnastics?") But Stoppard nas not disclosed the plot.

"It's a bit premature to say much about it, to be honest," he told the Daily Mail. "But it's not about erectile dysfunction, anyway."

Meanwhile, Stoppard has a new Broadway revival of The Real Thing to keep him busy. It opens in October at the American Airlines Theatre.

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The Broadway revival of Pippin, which hasn't been doing as well at the box office as it had during in 2013, when it won all sorts of awards, will get a box office shot in the arm Sept. 2, when Andrea Martin returns to the production.

Martin won 2013 Tony, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle awards for her performance as Berthe — which involved some high-flying theatrics — in the Tony Award-winning revival. She will reprise the role for 24 performances.

Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick

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The dynamic duo of Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick still have some juice left in them.

Their newest vehicle, a star-studded Broadway production of Terrence McNally's comedy It's Only A Play has taken in $5.5 million in sales prior to its Aug. 28 start date, according to the New York Post. Theatregoers apparently have long memories: it's been a decade since the two last teamed up, for The Odd Couple and 14 years since they wowed the town with The Producers.

The production will play a limited 18-week engagement at Broadway's Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre with an opening night set for Oct. 9.