54 Below to showcase new musicals
In recent months, 54 Below has presented concerts of both well-known and rarely-seen musicals, but now the venue (under the spearheading of programming director Jennifer Ashley Tepper) will produce concerts of 10 new musicals that are still being developed including “Be More Chill” (songs by Joe Iconis) and “Sleepy Hollow” (book by actor Hunter Foster). “Part of the idea is to give audiences (from industry to fans) a real insider look at the shows,” Tepper said.
Travolta won’t appear in ‘Grease’ broadcast
Don’t look for John Travolta on Fox’s upcoming live broacast of “Grease.” The movie star, who rose to fame as Danny Zuko in the original 1978 film version, told E! News that he was asked to take part in the Jan. 31 broadcast but passed. However, other alumni from the film, including Didi Conn (Frenchy) and Barry Pearl (Doody), will make cameos.
‘Eclipsed’ wants to bring 10,000 girls to Broadway
“Eclipsed,” which starts previews next month on Broadway with Oscar winner Lupita Nyong’o (“12 Years a Slave”) in the cast, is waging a campaign to bring 10,000 young women who are not regular theatergoers to see the play. Danai Gurira’s intense drama depicts Libyan women during the country’s civil war. It was also announced this week that television personality Alani “LaLa” Anthony has signed on as one of the producers.
Grammer in, Morrison out at ‘Neverland’
Kelsey Grammer is extending his stay in “Finding Neverland.” The actor, who originated the role of Captain Hook last spring and returned to the show this week, will stick around until March 26. Matthew Morrison, who plays “Peter Pan” creator J.M. Barrie, leaves the show on Sunday and will be replaced by Tony Yazbeck (“On the Town”).
PBS to screen ‘Hamilton’ doc
The Broadway musical “Hamilton” will be the subject of a documentary on PBS this fall. Based on footage taken by filmmaker Alex Horwitz over a two-year period, it will depict Lin-Manuel Miranda and the cast as the show is being developed. PBS previously aired a documentary about Miranda’s breakout musical “In the Heights.”
‘Cats’ back on Broadway
Sixteen years after “Cats” (once the longest-running show in Broadway history) packed up and left the Winter Garden Theatre, the Andrew Lloyd Webber mega-musical will return to New York his summer for an open-ended run at the Neil Simon Theatre. The production will be staged by Trevor Nunn (who staged the original) and will incorporate new choreography by Andy Blankenbuehler (“Hamilton”). When previews begin on July 14, Lloyd Webber will have three musicals running simultaneously on Broadway: “Cats,” “Phantom” and “School of Rock.”
Robert De Niro and M. Night Shyamalan at “Misery” … Dr. Ruth at “Clever Little Lies” … Joel Grey and Bill Irwin at “Noises Off.”