PLAYBILL.COM'S THEATRE WEEK IN REVIEW, Jan. 15-21: Jacobean Drama Gets a Globe Home; Quartet Gets a New Rocker

News   PLAYBILL.COM'S THEATRE WEEK IN REVIEW, Jan. 15-21: Jacobean Drama Gets a Globe Home; Quartet Gets a New Rocker
Shakespeare's Globe in London confirmed plans this week to move forward with the completion of an indoor Jacobean theatre, the shell of which already exists on the Globe site in Southwark.

The shell of the Globe's new indoor Jacobean theatre
The shell of the Globe's new indoor Jacobean theatre

According to press materials, this will be the most complete re-creation of an English Renaissance indoor theatre yet attempted. (The Globe is already the most complete re-creation of an English Renaissance outdoor theatre.) The fundraising campaign will launch in February, with a view to begin major construction work in November 2012, and launch the theatre, with a first winter season, in November 2013. The indoor theatre will seat around 320 people, with two tiers of galleried seating and an authentic pit seating area.

By restoring the indoor Jacobean theatre to its intended purpose, ithe Globe will be able to further its understanding of theatre practices at that time and explore the unique relationship between actor and audience in England's earliest indoor theatres.

Sam Wanamaker, the American actor who founded the Globe, had always intended it to extend beyond the "wooden-O" outdoor auditorium at its center. When Shakespeare's Globe finally opened in 1997 after more than 27 years of planning and four years of construction, the indoor Jacobean theatre was left as a shell, to be divided and partitioned into rooms for education workshops and rehearsals.


Kenneth Branagh

Elsewhere in the United Kingdom, actor Kenneth Branagh has decided to return to the stage. He will star in The Painkiller, a comedy by Francis Veber in a new adaptation by Sean Foley. Branagh and Foley will produce. Branagh and Foley first collaborated in 2001, with Hamish McColl, when their production of The Play What I Wrote, which won the Olivier Award for Best Comedy after its West End run. The Painkiller will play in Belfast. ***

Jon Robin Baitz's Off-Broadway drama Other Desert Cities, which had originally been intended for a Broadway premiere, may still get to the big stage.

Lincoln Center Theater announced that it intended to transfer the drama, which was praised by critics as possibly Baitz's best, to Broadway in the fall. It is currently playing the small Mitzi E. Newhouse Theatre. It can't transfer this spring owing to a lack of vacant theatres. That means it won't be up for the 2011 Tony Awards.


Did actor Anthony LaPaglia, who won a Tony Award for her performance in the 1997 revival of Arthur Miller's A View from the Bridge, feel a twinge of proprietary feeling when the drama was revived to critical claim on Broadway last season, in a production starring Liev Schreiber?

LaPaglia was announced to star in a film version, scheduled to begin shooting in Melbourne and New York in June.


Remember Smokey Joe's Cafe, the Lieber and Stoller musical revue that, despite unenthusiastic critical response, ran for years and years back in the 1990s? Part of what kept it going were endless guest shots by musical artists like Tony Orlando and Lou Rawls.

The producers of Million Dollar Quartet appear to be following that same playbook. It all began when the show invited legendary rocker Jerry Lee Lewis to make a cameo in the show, which dramatizes the real-life 1956 meeting at Sun Records of Lewis, Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash and Carl Perkins. Since then visitors have included Wanda Jackson, Lesley Gore, Ray Benson, Darlene Love and Melissa Etheridge.

Now former Stray Cats musician Lee Rocker joins the Broadway cast of Million Dollar Quartet Jan. 21 for a limited 12-performance engagement. This visitation actually makes a bit of sense, as the Stray Cats drew inspiration from the rockabilly style of Perkins and others.

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