PLAYBILL THEATRE WEEK IN REVIEW, Aug. 11-17: Into the Woods in the Park, Kinky Boots Finds Its Broadway Shoebox

By Robert Simonson
August 17, 2012

The Public Theater's Shakespeare in the Park production of Stephen Sondheim's Into the Woods got mixed reviews, included a pretty negative one from the New York Times. But the show may end up on Broadway this season anyway, the New York Times reports.

Joey Parnes, the former executive director of the Public Theater, who is represented on Broadway this year with End of the Rainbow, told the Times that he is currently working to raise funding for a $6 to $7 million Broadway transfer of Into the Woods. Parnes was also instrumental in transferring the Public Theater productions of Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, Hair and The Merchant of Venice to Broadway in recent seasons. The first did not score with theatregoers, but the latter two did.

Parnes told the Times, "Some critics made good points about the park production that we would take to heart, and it's worth remembering that when we moved Hair from the park to Broadway, it changed, it got tighter, it got better."


Kinky Boots, the new musical by '80s pop star Cyndi Lauper and Tony winner Harvey Fierstein — about a floundering British shoemaker who has his business saved thanks to some flamboyant clientele — will begin Broadway previews March 5, 2013, at the Al Hirschfeld Theatre. Daryl Roth and Hal Luftig will produce.

Based on the 2005 British film of the same title, Kinky Boots has direction and choreography by Jerry Mitchell. The show is about Charlie Price, who is forced to step in and save his family's shoe factory in Northern England following the sudden death of his father. Help comes in the form of an unlikely angel, a fabulous drag performer named Lola. Stark Sands is cast as Charlie Price, with Billy Porter as Lola.


Frankie Valli

So you've nabbed tickets to the never-not-hot Broadway hit Jersey Boys? Big deal.

The major Four Seasons-related Broadway event of this fall will be Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons On Broadway, a concert event which will visit the Broadway Theatre for a limited seven-performance engagement Oct. 19-27.

The show will feature the pop stars singing all their greatest hits, as well as Valli's solo hits. Whether they match up to what's now being delivered by their impersonators over at the August Wilson Theatre remains to be seen.


The Signature Theatre Company has the strongest association with the work of playwright Horton Foote of any New York theatre (remember Orphans' Home Cycle?), but Primary Stages has also shown a strong attachment to the dramatist's scripts. It is currently presenting Harrison, TX: Three Plays by Horton Foote, Foote's collection about the intimate daily encounters in small-town America, under the direction of Tony Award nominee Pam MacKinnon.

The first two plays, Blind Date and The One-Armed Man, take place in 1928, while The Midnight Caller is set in 1952. The town of Harrison is based on Foote's hometown of Wharton, TX.

The production has a nice cast, including the inevitable Hallie Foote, as well as Jayne Houdyshell, Mary Bacon and Devon Abner.


Joan Roberts died this week at the age of 95 as one of the final links to the original, ground-breaking production of Rodgers and Hammerstein's musical Oklahoma!. (Celeste Holm, who created the part of Ado Annie, died earlier this summer.) The soprano originated one of the major leading-lady roles in American musical theatre: Laurey, the love interest in the circa 1900-set piece, around which the entire plot revolved. Her final Broadway appearance was as faded operetta soprano Heidi Schiller in the 2001 revival of Follies.


We learned this week the the 2012 Tony Award-winning Best Musical, Once, recouped its $5.5 million investment. The intimate new Dublin-set musical which began its New York life at Off-Broadway's New York Theatre Workshop prior to Broadway, recouped its commercial investment after only 21 weeks (169 performances) at Broadway's Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre. The production officially opened March 18.

The musical, which took home eight 2012 Tony Awards, features a Tony-winning book by Irish playwright and screenwriter Enda Walsh, with music and lyrics by Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová. Steve Kazee won the Tony as Best Actor in a Musical for his turn as a directionless Irish singer-songwriter inspired by a Czech immigrant-muse (played by Tony nominee Cristin Milioti).