In Case You Missed It: August 20-26

Week in Review   In Case You Missed It: August 20-26
Paula Vogel may finally get to Broadway, and a triple dose of Sondheim news.
Paula Vogel
Paula Vogel Joseph Marzullo/WENN

Playwright Paula Vogel has known a lot of different kinds of success in her long career, including a Pulitzer Prize for her best-known play How I Learned to Drive to Broadway. One kind of success she hasn’t experienced is that of seeing one of her plays on Broadway.

That may change soon. Producers Daryl Roth and Elizabeth McCann told the New York Times that they, along with producer Cody Lassen, would like to shepherd Vogel’s critically acclaimed play Indecent to Broadway, possibly this season, if a theatre becomes available.

The New York premiere of Indecent, a new play with music, created by Vogel and Rebecca Taichman and written by Vogel, officially opened its limited engagement at The Vineyard Theatre—Vogel’s longtime artistic home—on May 17.

The work features music composed by Lisa Gutkin and Aaron Halva and was inspired by the real-life controversy surrounding the 1923 Broadway production of Sholem Asch's God of Vengeance, the love story of two women.

Indecent had its world premiere in October 2015 at Yale Repertory Theatre. The original cast made the move to Off-Broadway, including Katrina Lenk, Mimi Lieber, Max Gordon Moore, Tom Nelis, Steven Rattazzi, Richard Topol and Adina Verson and Taichman returned to direct.


Jennifer Holliday
Jennifer Holliday

The Broadway revival of The Color Purple is good at coaxing Broadway royalty back to Broadway.

Jennifer Holliday, who won a Tony Award in 1981 for her volcanic performance as Effie White in the original Dreamgirls, will return to Broadway October 4. She will play the sexy, troubled cabaret singer Shug Avery in the Tony-winning revival.

Holliday replaces Heather Headley, another Tony-winning actress who took a long time getting back to Broadway. Headley will play her last performance October 2.

The last time Holliday was on Broadway was when she played Matron Mama Morton in Chicago back in 2001.

Stephen Sondheim
Stephen Sondheim

Buñuel, Stephen Sondheim's first new musical since Road Show in 2008, had a reading in New York last week. And, of course, the New York theatre press couldn’t let such a development pass without comment.

The New York Post, which has its ways, reported that the reading went well and quoted a source saying, “The music was gorgeous.” The reading was performed, the paper said, by a cast that included Norm Lewis, Shuler Hensley, Sierra Boggess, Nancy Opel and Marc Kudisch. Director Joe Mantello was in the audience.

Inspired by two surrealist films by Spanish director Luis Buñuel, the musical is being developed at The Public Theater under the working title Buñuel.

The Post's unnamed source was quoted saying, “It reminded me of [Sondheim's 1994 show] Passion, where Steve’s music flows in and out of the storyline. It’s not an old-fashioned Sondheim show—you know, song, dialogue, then a song. It’s much more seamless.”

The Post reports that only Act One is complete. So, there will be a wait before we see anything. Plenty of time for more speculative news pieces!


In other Sondheim news, the long afterlife of the short-lived Broadway musical Merrily We Roll Along—the 1981 work that birthed the careers of many of its young cast members, and killed the longstanding partnership of director Harold Prince and Sondheim—continues, this time on the screen.

Cast Photo.jpg
Members of the original cast of Stephen Sondheim’s Merrily We Roll Along Bruce David Klein

Best Worst Thing That Ever Could Have Happened, a film documentary about the show, will have its world premiere at the 2016 New York Film Festival.

Screenings are scheduled for October 9 in Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center, and October 10 at the Francesca Beale Theatre.

Lonny Price, who co-starred as lyricist Charley Kringas in the original production, directed and co-produced the film, which features interviews with Sondheim, director Harold Prince, and Price’s original co-stars, Ann Morrison and Jim Walton. Kitt Lavoie is credited as scriptwriter.

Merrily ran just 14 performances at the Alvin Theatre. The film’s title is drawn from a lyric in the show.

And more Sondheim news!

Tooting Arts Club’s immersive London production of the Stephen Sondheim-Harold Wheeler musical Sweeney Todd has come up with a nifty marketing hook.

The show, which premiered in a Fringe run at Harrington’s Pie and Mash Shop prior to a 2015 West End transfer, will arrive Off-Broadway this winter at the Barrow Street Theatre, which will be transformed to mirror the experience of Harrington’s, the oldest continuously operating pie shop in Britain.

Pie and mash will be served prior to each performance.

But if you’re really intent on seeing the production, you may want to choose to dine post-show.

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