PBOL'S THEATRE WEEK IN REVIEW, April 10-16: The Ice Breaks

News   PBOL'S THEATRE WEEK IN REVIEW, April 10-16: The Ice Breaks
Yes, MCC Theatre, there is a capitalization. Frozen, which last week looked frozen in its tracks as it struggled mightily to become the nonprofit's first Broadway show, broke through the ice this week. Bryony Lavery's chilling drama about a missing child, which became a late-season hit for MCC Theatre, will transfer to Broadway April 28. The space will be Circle in the Square. Opening night is May 4.

The Off-Broadway cast of Swoosie Kurtz, Brian O'Byrne and Laila Robins will remain the same. Doug Hughes directs. Circle in the Square's in-the-round space partially mirrors the Off-Broadway seating set up of the CSC venue on 13th Street where the drama played. Broadway observers expect that all three actors will be likely Tony Award nominees, and that the drama itself may give the Best Play Tony's leading contender, I Am My Own Wife, its stiffest competition. If it did win, it would perhaps serve as payback for the company for when its production of Wit was denied that honor. The Pulitzer Prize-winning Margaret Edson play—about a poetry professor suffering through cancer treatment—tried to transfer to Broadway, but was infamously turned away by a Broadway theatre owner who thought the work would prove too depressing for Time Square audiences. Apparently serial killing pedophiles are considered more commercial. In a season of Broadway debuts for playwrights, it was Eliam Kraiem's turn this week. His Sixteen Wounded, Broadway's first play to deal with the subject of terrorism since Sept. 11, 2001, opened April 15 to mixed reactions. The story, set in an Amsterdam bakery, concerns a Jewish baker, his Palestinian assistant, a Russian prostitute and even a Dutch girl.

Intimate Apparel, Lynn Nottage's new play about a sought-after African-American seamstress who sews elegant intimates for socialites and harlots in turn-of-the-20th-century Manhattan, opened Off-Broadway to mixed reviews, though star Viola Davis was widely admired. Bill Irwin, too, reached back in time for Mr. Fox: A Rumination, the final entry in the Irwin season at Signature Theatre Company. The play, about 19th century American mime George Washington Lafayette Fox, received disappointing notices. Luckiest among Off-Broadway opening was Martin Moran's autobiographical solo show The Tricky Part. The work dealt with the consequences of a 12-year-old altar boy's— Moran himself—introduction to sex at the hands of an adult man connected to the Catholic Church.

Kristin Chenoweth will leave Wicked—the beloved actress' first bonafide Broadway hit after years of praised turns in short-lived ventures—on July 18, when her contract expires. The producers of the show are probably not worried, however. Though Chenoweth is a star—in the limited terms of theatrical fame, anyway—her fairly frequent absences from the musical have not had an adverse impact on the box office. Wicked appears to have achieved that status so craved by moneymen—the show that is itself a star.

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