THEATRE WEEK IN REVIEW, May 24-30: A Prince Returns to Pippin and Audra Records Billie Holiday Live

Has Melissa Errico entered her cougar years?

Melissa Errico
Melissa Errico

Apparently, for the musical stage actress will be starring in the Susan Sarandon role in a Broadway-aimed musical version of the lusty baseball movie Bull Durham, to be mounted this September at the Alliance Theatre in Atlanta.

The book for the show is written by the film's original screenwriter Ron Shelton, who is known for his sports-themed movies; and the music and lyrics are by Susan Werner, who has composed a score that Shelton characterized as "roadhouse" music.

Courting Errico's baseball-mad seductress will be Will Swenson as veteran player Crash Davis (the Kevin Costner part) and John Behlmann as a wild-armed rookie pitcher Nuke LaLoosh.

Swenson currently stars as Javert in the Broadway revival of Les Miserables. He will go on hiatus from Les Miz July 22-Oct. 5 for the Atlanta premiere of the new musical.

Kip Fagan—who has a name that sounds like it should be on a baseball roster—will stage the production that runs through Oct. 5.

***

They'll be a homecoming at the Music Box Theatre this summer.

John Rubinstein, who originated the title role in the original 1972 Broadway production of Pippin, will join the cast of the Tony Award-winning revival of the Stephen Schwartz-Roger O. Hirson musical for a limited engagement this summer.

Rubinstein will step into the role of Charles during Terrence Mann's leave of absence from the production June 20-July 27. Mann originated the role of Charles in the Tony Award-winning revival that opened April 25, 2013.

Audra McDonald
Photo by Evgenia Eliseeva

***

Will London—a city largely free of snow, and full of people who say "Happy Christmas" instead of "Merry Christmas"—warm to the yuletide served up Irving Berlin- Bing Crosby-style?

We'll find out this fall, when White Christmas—the stage version of the 1954 Irving Berlin film musical of the same name which has visited Broadway during the holidays from time to time—is to receive its West End debut. It will play at the newly refurbished Dominion Theater, beginning performances Nov. 8 prior to an official opening Nov. 12, for an eight-week run through Jan. 3, 2015.

It will star Aled Jones, who has previously appeared in White Christmas in regional U.K. theatre runs of the show in 2007 and 2009, and Tom Chambers. They will play two ex-army pals as they team up with a pair of sisters to put on a show to save their former General's remote Vermont ski lodge that's fallen on hard times.

***

Audra Comes Alive!

PS Classics records a great many Broadway shows. But those recordings are usually executed in a studio.

They'll be doing something different with the Broadway cast album of Lanie Robertson's play with music Lady Day at Emerson's Bar and Grill, starring Audra McDonald as late singer Billie Holiday. The album is being recorded live during the May 27-31 performances, just like a rock concert album. It will be produced by Tommy Krasker, who previously helmed Ms. McDonald's first three solo albums. PS Classics will release the cast album July 15.

"Recording live allows us to capture some of the richness and depth of this production in a way we never could have in a studio album," said Krasker.