PLAYBILL.COM'S THEATRE WEEK IN REVIEW, June 21-27: Lindsay Lohan Takes on David Mamet and Newsies Will Carry the Banner on Tour

News   PLAYBILL.COM'S THEATRE WEEK IN REVIEW, June 21-27: Lindsay Lohan Takes on David Mamet and Newsies Will Carry the Banner on Tour
Something about David Mamet's 1988 play Speed-the-Plow brings out eyebrow-raising casting decisions in producers.

Lindsay Lohan
Lindsay Lohan

When the Hollywood-insider comedy debuted on Broadway in 1988, stage vets Ron Silver and Joe Mantegna were paired with theatre newbie Madonna, then at the height of her pop diva fame. The Material Girl played an ambitious secretary known only as Karen. Critics found her, uh, serviceable.

That same role will be played in a new London staging by the tabloid fodder and sometime actress Lindsay Lohan. And, like Madonna, she'll be making her professional stage debut. The production will play London's Playhouse Theatre. Performances will begin Sept. 24 and continue through Nov. 29. Opening night is scheduled for Oct. 2. Lindsay Posner will direct. Who will have the privilege of sharing the stage with Lohan is yet to be learned; additional casting will be announced at a later time.


The Tony Award-winning Broadway production of Newsies will close after over 1,000 performances Aug. 24 at the Nederlander Theatre prior to the launch of the national tour this October, Disney Theatrical Productions announced June 22.

It's a short run by Disney standards — The Lion King, Beauty and the Beast and Mary Poppins all ran longer — but not an unsuccessful one. Newsies gave Disney Theatrical its first batch of solid reviews in a decade when it opened March 29, 2012, after originating at the Paper Mill Playhouse in New Jersey. When it closes, it will have played 1,005 performances at the Nederlander Theatre. The North American tour launches in October and will play in 25 cities over 43 weeks during the 2014-15 season.


The British mega-musicals of the 1980s never really close. They just take breathers every now and then.

Andrew Lloyd Webber's Cats, which ran for a then record-breaking 21 years during its original run at the New London Theatre, is to return to the West End for the first time since it closed there May 11, 2002. It is scheduled to play a 12-week season only, beginning performances in December at the London Palladium.

Phylicia Rashad
Photo by Joseph Marzullo/WENN

Based on T. S. Eliot "Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats," Cats is directed by Trevor Nunn, with Gillian Lynne as associate director and choreographer. The famous designs (giant flying tire, etc.) are by John Napier. Chrissie Cartwright, long-term associate director of Cats, will work for Nunn and Lynne in re-directing the production for the London Palladium. ***

Director Kenny Leon and actress Phylicia Rashad, who previously collaborated on the 2004 Broadway revival of A Raisin in the Sun, will collaborate in a different way this summer.

The two will co-star in Bernard Slade's two-hander about genteel, recurring adultery, Same Time, Next Year, for Atlanta's True Colors Theatre. Leon, a Tony winner for the 2014 revival of A Raisin in the Sun, is also the artistic director of True Colors Theatre. Performances will run July 8-Aug. 3 under the direction of Chris Coleman.


Actor Shia LaBeouf has yet to act on a Broadway stage, but he continues to provide the Broadway world with excellent entertainment. LaBeouf was infamously ousted from the 2013 Broadway production of Orphans during rehearsals and then proceeded to tweet furiously about the episode, becoming a living lesson in how not to use social media in connection to your stage work.

This week, LaBeouf exited another Broadway show in noisy fashion. He was escorted out of the June 26 performance of Broadway's Cabaret in handcuffs. Theatre representatives said he was disruptive during act one and taken out of Studio 54 at intermission.


The theatre lost two greats this week, both of whose activities were inextricably connected to other stage artists.

As the daughter of a famous musical theatre composer (Richard Rodgers), a musical theatre successful composer herself (Once Upon a Mattress) and the mother of a musical theatre composer (Adam Guettel), Mary Rodgers held a singular place in the history of the American theatre. She was the middle link in a musical theatre dynasty the like of the stage is not likely to ever again see. She died June 26 at 83.

Eli Wallach, who died June 24 at 98, had one of the most far-ranging and long-lived acting careers of his era and was one of the last exemplars of a post-WWII generation of American actors who brought the earnest and hard-hitting style of Method acting to stage and screen. In many of these productions, he co-starred alongside his wife Anne Jackson, whom he married in 1948. In theatre circles, the couple were as legendary for their long marriage — and equally long artistic collaboration — as had been Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne, or Jessica Tandy and Hume Cronyn.

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