Curtain Call: Rouge, Plants, and Shakespeare
Broadway: Moulin Rouge! The Musical opened its velvet curtains on July 25th at the Al Hirschfeld Theater. Led by Aaron Tveit and Tony Award Winner Karen Olivo as Christian and Satine, Baz Luhrmann’s cult classic 2001 film adapts to the stage without sacrificing any of the glitz, glamour and extravagance of the original story. After premiering last year in Boston, Moulin Rouge! The Musical tickles fans’ ears with the familiar star-crossed ballads heard in the film along with a few original songs written just for the musical. Fans can look forward to an original cast album to be recorded in the Fall. Following the buzz of the Broadway debut, Melbourne’s Regent Theater prepares for the Australian debut of the new musical in 2021.
Tennessee Williams’s 1951 play, The Rose Tattoo, will return to Broadway with previews beginning September 19 and an official opening date of October 15. Led by Marisa Tomei, the Tony Award winning play will also feature Kecia Lewis-Evans and Paige Gilbert. The story follows Tomei’s character, Serafina- a widower who has a second chance at love with Emun Elliot’s character, Alvaro. Roundabout Theater Company will host The Rose Tattoo in the American Airlines Theater throughout its run.
Something’s coming. Something good. Following the buzz surrounding the Steven Spielberg West Side Story film remake to come out next year, fans of the classic story thrilled over the news that the musical would also be returning to Broadway in the coming year. Ivan van Hove plans a modern retelling of the age-old story. With the recent casting announcement of Isaac Cole Powell as Tony and Shereen Pimentel as Maria, van Hove promises a thrilling and transformative theater experience centered around dance and aesthetic. Previews begin on December 10th with a planned opening date of February 10, 2020.
Off-Broadway/Regional: Very Suddenly (Seymour), Little Shop of Horrors will take over both coasts this Fall with the announcement of the offbeat musical’s Off-Broadway return and premiere at the Pasadena Playhouse in California. Jonathan Groff and Tammy will lead in the East as George Salazar and MJ Rodriguez with Amber Riley as Audrey II take the stage in the West. Previewing at New York’s Westside Theater starting September 17 and running from September 17 to October 20 in Pasadena, both coasts can now experience the regrowth of an old classic.
MCC Theater recently announced their casting of a new musical entitled The Wrong Man featuring big names Joshua Henry, Ciara Renée and Ryan Vasquez. The musical will follow a man and a woman whose chance meeting occurs at the wrong place at the wrong time. Set to run from September 18 to October 27, multi-platinum singer-songwriter Ross Golan, along with the Tony award-winning director of Hamilton, Thomas Kail & three-time Tony award winning orchestrator Alex Lacamoire could produce the next Off-Broadway sensation.
The Off-Broadway Atlantic Theater will host the immigrant sector of Mixfest. This annual free festival features readings of new plays. Immigrant Mixfest will feature all immigrant playwrights with notable names such as Kemiyondo Coutinho, Rachel De-lahay and Shadi Ghaher sharing their latest work for the first time at this event. Mixfest offers a space for immigrant creators to share their work and for theater fanatics to hear the latest and greatest in new theater before anyone else. It will run at Atlantic’s Stage 2 August 14-20. Attendees can reserve their tickets at the Atlantic Theater website, where the various events of the festival are listed.
International: Nigerian theater company, Bolanle Austen-Peters Productions, produced Queen Moremi: The Musical, immortalizing the Nigerian heroine and Princess of the Yoruba. Nigerian superstars, Bimbo Manuel, Kemi Lala Akindoju, Omotola Jalade Ekeinde, Femi Branch and others grace the stage to honor her legacy. The production combines the 12th century fable of sacrifice and bravery with the magic of modern musicals.
Recipient of the Heckler’s 2016 Award for Best Director, Hong Kong’s most prestigious theater award, Rosalind Wang combines her Shakespeare troupe with the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra to create something completely original. Wang hopes to bring the genius relatability of Shakespeare’s iconic characters to the Hong Kong stage in a completely new way. Her student started Shakespeare theater group, Shax, has grown and expanded into a full-fledged production that recruits students and established actors alike to bring the poet’s classic plays to a new audience. The recent collaboration with the prestigious philharmonic facilitates the spread of Shakespeare’s messages and themes into Asian culture.
As Hong Kong becomes more familiar with Shakespeare, Japan prepares to get up close and personal with Samuel Beckett. The Kanagawa Arts Theater in Yokohama will produce two versions of the famous play, Waiting for Godot, with one taking place in the Showa and Heisei eras (1926-2019) and the other in the more recent Reiwa Era. Director Junnosuke Tada cast Hiroo Ohtaka and Takayasu Komiya as Vladimir and Estragon in the Showa/ Heisei version and Sennojo Shigeyama and Gota Watabe in the modern rendition. The large age gap of the actors in the respective productions shows Tada’s desire to show the adaptability of Beckett’s play, despite its context, country of origin or actors.