Kelsey Grammer, who played Captain Hook and producer Charles Frohman in the musical “Finding Neverland” when it opened on Broadway in April but left the cast shortly afterward, will return for seven weeks beginning on Jan. 19. In a statement, Grammer exclaimed that he has “found ‘Neverland’ again.”
‘Lion King’ debuts 360 video, Lloyd Webber complains
On Wednesday, “The Lion King” released a 360-degree music video of its spectacular opening number “The Circle of Life,” touting it as the first time that virtual reality video technology has been used in a Broadway theater. In reaction, Andrew Lloyd Webber issued a statement pointing out that the new musical “School of Rock” (which he wrote music for) debuted its own 360-degree music video a month ago, although it was filmed in a classroom rather than a theater. “Big cats shouldn’t be copycats!” Lloyd Webber said.
Marilyn Monroe musical ‘Bombshell’ in the works
“Bombshell,” the Marilyn Monroe musical that was being prepared throughout the course of the short-lived, Broadway-themed television series “Smash,” is set to finally come to the stage, producer Craig Zadan told Entertainment Weekly this week. In June, a one-night concert version of “Bombshell” was presented on Broadway.
London ‘Miss Saigon’ revival coming back to Broadway
“Miss Saigon,” one of the mega-musicals of producer Cameron Mackintosh that dominated Broadway in the 1990s, will return to New York in spring 2017 in a new production based on the current London revival. In an unusual move, Mackintosh announced that it will only play Broadway through January 2018 and then embark on a national tour. Jon Jon Briones and Eva Noblezada, stars of the London production, will play The Engineer and Kim on Broadway.
Ferguson is ‘Fully Committed’
Jesse Tyler Ferguson, who has appeared in multiple Shakespeare in the Park productions in recent years, will come to Broadway this spring in “Fully Committed,” Becky Mode’s one-man comedy about an out-of-work actor working at a trendy restaurant. Under the direction of Jason Moore (“Avenue Q”), Ferguson will play more than 40 characters.
‘Holiday Inn’ musical set for Studio 54 next season
“Holiday Inn,” a new musical based on the Christmas-themed movie of the same name and incorporating well-known Irving Berlin songs, will play Studio 54 next season in a coproduction between Roundabout Theatre Company and Universal Stage Productions. It will probably be similar to “White Christmas,” another stage musical based on an Irving Berlin movie musical.
Roundabout to stage ‘The Cherry Orchard’ next year
Playwright Stephen Karam, whose hit Off-Broadway play “The Humans” will transfer to Broadway later this season, has been enlisted by Roundabout Theatre Company to write a new adaptation of Chekhov’s “The Cherry Orchard” that will be staged on Broadway next fall under the direction of Michael Mayer. Karam and Mayer’s film version of Chekhov’s “The Seagull” will be released next year.
Sondheim to finally get Presidential Medal
A year ago, it was announced that Stephen Sondheim would receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom, apparently the only major award he had still not received. However, because he was unable to attend the ceremony, he will instead receive the award this year along with Barbra Streisand and Gloria and Emilio Estefan (“On Your Feet!”). Speaking of Sondheim, in a new interview with Billboard, the composer-lyricist revealed that some of his favorite pop artists include Radiohead, The Association and Steely Dan. He also confirmed that he is still working with playwright David Ives on a new musical based on two Luis Buñuel films.
‘Lord of the Dance’ flagging at box office
The dance spectacle “Lord of the Dance: Dangerous Games,” which did not bother inviting theater critics to review the show, is not faring too well at the box office. Last week, it grossed just $396,917, selling only half the seats at the 1,896-seat Lyric Theatre. On the other hand, “School of Rock” and “The Color Purple,” both in previews, are grossing high numbers.
Rachel Weisz and UN Ambassador Samantha Power at “Eclipsed” … John Waters, Alan Cumming, Zachary Quinto and Rob Reiner at “Misery” … Ron Howard at “Ruthless!” … Angela Bassett at “Hamilton.”