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amBroadway | ‘Clue’ opens at Paper Mill Playhouse, Off-Center series won’t return this summer and more

Clue #4
‘Clue’ at the paper Mill Playhouse.
Photo: Evan Zimmerman for MurphyMade

‘Clue’ opens at Paper Mill Playhouse

In the list of the most-produced plays by high schools during the 2020-2021 schoolyear, Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” ranked only third place. The most popular play turned out to be “Clue,” a murder mystery farce by Susan Rustin based on the characters and premise of the classic Hasbro board game. In the play’s biggest professional production to date, it is now being presented at New Jersey’s Paper Mill Playhouse.

As someone who regularly attends Paper Mill shows, I can attest that the recent matinee I caught of “Clue” was impressively packed. While “Clue” (which is not so different than the cult favorite 1985 film version) may not exactly be an inspired farce along the lines of “Noises Off,” the whodunit (directed by Casey Hushion) makes for 80 minutes of good, clean, brisk, silly fun. It’s not hard to imagine “Clue” succeeding in a commercial Off-Broadway run, which would add to its appeal as a property for amateur theater companies.

For those unable to make it to Paper Mill before the run ends on Feb. 20, livestream tickets are available for select performances. Or, one can find videos of various high school productions on YouTube.

City Center will not bring back Off-Center series this summer

City Center’s Encores! series officially returned last week with a concert revival of “The Tap Dance Kid,” which will be followed in the coming weeks by “The Life” and “Into the Woods.” With that in mind, I found it odd that City Center had not announced any plans for its summertime Off-Center series, which focuses on historic Off-Broadway musicals. According to the City Center website, the “program is currently on hiatus.” A City Center press representative confirmed to me that there will not be an Off-Center season this summer but they hope to bring it back next year. Since its debut in 2013, Off-Center productions have included “Violet,” “Songs for a New World,” “Little Shop of Horrors,” “The Wild Party,” and “Assassins.”

‘Richard III’ and ‘You Like It’ set for Shakespeare in the Park

This summer’s Shakespeare in the Park season, which will mark the 60th anniversary of the beloved Central Park tradition, will include a new production of the historical epic “Richard III” (with Danai Gurira in the title role) and the return of the Public Works’ musical adaptation of “As You Like It” (with professional actors joined by rotating ensembles of community members from all five boroughs). Shakespeare in the Park returned last year with a contemporary, all-Black adaptation of “The Merry Wives of Windsor” set in Harlem. Following the summer season, the Public Theater will begin the process of reconstructing the Delacorte Theatre in Central Park in order to improve its conditions. 

‘Diana’ receives 9 Razzie nominations

The Princess Diana bio musical “Diana,” which ended its Broadway run in December, was honored – or perhaps dishonored – this week with nine Razzie Award nominations for its pro-shot screen version, which debuted on Netflix before the show resumed performances on Broadway. Roe Hartrampf, who was nominated for Worst Actor for his performance as Prince Charles, tweeted that he “would like to thank the Razcadamy.” 

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