amBroadway | ‘Days of Wine and Roses’ coming to Broadway, remembering Michael McGrath and more

Brian d’Arcy James and Kelli O’Hara in "Days of Wine and Roses" on Broadway.
Brian d’Arcy James and Kelli O’Hara in “Days of Wine and Roses” on Broadway.
Photo by Ahron R. Foster

‘Days of Wine and Roses’ will transfer to Broadway

The new musical “Days of Wine and Roses,” which premiered Off-Broadway over the summer, will transfer to Broadway this season, with previews beginning at Studio 54 on Jan. 6. Adapted from the 1962 film of the same name, the musical (which has songs by Adam Guettel, book by Craig Lucas, and direction by Micahel Greif) depicts a married couple (played by Kelli O’Hara and Brian d’Arcy James) in 1950s New York whose lives are shattered by alcohol addiction. The score, which is intended to reflect the show’s difficult emotional circumstances, is sharp, jazz-like, and jarring. Although technically an old-fashioned family melodrama, the Off-Broadway production left me shaken.

Lincoln Center Theater to stage ‘Uncle Vanya’ on Broadway

Lincoln Center Theater, one of the city’s most robust theater nonprofits, has not exactly been on a winning streak since returning from the pandemic shutdown, with three big-budget Broadway shows (the new musical “Flying Over Sunset” and revivals of “The Skin of Our Teeth” and “Camelot”) all opening to disappointing box office returns. Just a few weeks ago, it was rumored (but never confirmed) that “The Lehman Trilogy” would return to Broadway and rent out LCT’s Vivian Beaumont Theatre. While LCT is not producing a show on Broadway in the fall, it has announced that it will present the classic Chekhov drama “Uncle Vanya” during the spring, using a new translation by Heidi Schreck (“What the Constitution Means to Me”), and with direction by Nila Neugebauer (“The Wolves”). As it happens, “Uncle Vanya” just received an unconventional Off-Broadway production in which the play was staged in a private loft space in the Flatiron District.

Savion Glover will both dance and direct in new ‘Pal Joey’

Tap dancer and choreographer Savion Glover will appear in City Center’s upcoming production of Rodgers & Hart’s “Pal Joey,” which will run from Nov. 1 to 5 and serve as the company’s annual gala presentation. As co-directed by Glover and Tony Goldwyn, this reconceived version of the 1941 musical will depict nightclub artist Joey Evans (Ephraim Sykes) as a Black jazz singer who tries to succeed in Chicago while staying true to his roots. According to a press release, Glover will play one of several “descendants of ancestral spirits that speak in the language of dance.” The score of the revised show will incorporate songs from other Rodgers & Hart musicals such as “Babes in Arms” and “The Boys from Syracuse.” In the 1990s, City Center presented an Encores! production of the original version of “Pal Joey” with Peter Gallagher, Patti LuPone, and Bebe Neuwirth, which received a cast album.

Remembering Michael McGrath

Last week, Tony-winning character actor Michael McGrath died at the age of 65. McGrath appeared in numerous musicals and plays (specializing in old-fashioned musical comedies) including “Nice Work If You can Get It” (for which he won the Tony Award for Best Featured Actor in a Musical), “Spamalot,” “Tootsie,” “She Loves Me,” and “Wonderful Town.” Last year, he served as Matthew Broderick’s standby in the Broadway revival of “Plaza Suite.” Personally speaking, my favorite performance by McGrath was in a 2017 Off-Broadway adaptation of Gogol’s 19th century farce “The Government Inspector’ in which he played the hapless mayor of a rural Russian province.