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

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28 Jun 2013

Zach Braff
Zach Braff
Photo by Monica Simoes

Zach Braff will be Woody Allen on Broadway.

That is to say, he's been cast as the nebbishy, neurotic playwright David Shayne — a stand-in-for Allen — in the stage musical version of the Allen film Bullets Over Broadway. It will be the Broadway debut for the "Scrubs" actors, who has in recent seasons put in some time Off-Broadway, sometimes in plays of his own composition.

The cast will also feature Brooks Ashmanskas as actor Warner Purcell, Betsy Wolfe as Ellen, Lenny Wolpe as producer Julian Marx, Helene Yorke as the talentless moll and would-be-actress Olive Neal and Vincent Pastore as Olive's boyfriend gangster Nick Valenti, who is backing Shayne's show.

Additional casting, including the pivotal roles of manipulative older actress Helen Sinclair (originated on screen by Dianne Wiest, who won an Oscar for the performance), and Cheech, the artistically-leaning mobster who turns out to be betting at playwriting than Shayne, will be announced at a later date.

Susan Stroman directs and choreographs the musical that has been adapted by Allen from his 1994 film, which he co-wrote with Douglas McGrath. The musical incorporates pre-existing songs from the 1920s and 1930s for its score.

Bullets Over Broadway will begin previews March 11, 2014, prior to an April 10 opening night at the St. James Theatre.


Rupert Holmes

Rupert Holmes has spent recent seasons reminding us of his way with a musical (Curtains, the revival of The Mystery of Edwin Drood). Now that our memories have been suitably jogged, he's going to remind us of his other forte: murder mystery.

Producers Daryl Roth and Eva Price announced June 25 that Holmes' stage adaptation of A Time to Kill, John Grisham's best-selling crime novel, will begin previews Sept. 28 at the John Golden Theatre.

Though John Grisham has produced bestsellers for decades now, the play, which will officially open Oct. 20, is the first-ever Grisham property to be adapted for the stage. Ethan McSweeny will direct.

In association with Roth, Arena Stage in Washington, DC, gave the play its world premiere in May 2011. McSweeny directed there as well.

Courtroom dramas, once a regular staple on Broadway, have become a rarity in recent decades. The last notable success of the genre was A Few Good Men by Aaron Sorkin.

Grisham's book was made into a successful 1996 film starring Matthew McConaughey, Sandra Bullock, Samuel L. Jackson, Kevin Spacey and Oliver Platt.


A Night With Janis Joplin, the play about the doomed rock-blues '60s singer, which has played numerous regional venues around the country, will begin previews on Broadway Sept. 20 at the Lyceum Theatre.


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