amBroadway: Dustin Hoffman rumored to join ‘Our Town,’ Broadway won’t reopen with reduced capacity and more

9TH Governors Awards – Show – Los Angeles
9TH Governors Awards – Show – Los Angeles, California, U.S., 11/11/2017 – Actor Dustin Hoffman speaks on stage. (REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni)

Dustin Hoffman rumored for ‘Our Town’

Dustin Hoffman is in talks to star in a Broadway revival of Thornton Wilder’s “Our Town” directed by Bartlett Sher and produced by Scott Rudin, as per Broadway Journal. Hoffman (who would play the Stage Manager) has not appeared on Broadway since starring in “The Merchant of Venice” and “Death of a Salesman” in the 1980s. “Our Town” (one of the most famous American dramas) received an acclaimed Off-Broadway revival a decade ago directed by David Cromer, who also played the Stage Manager. “Another Day’s Begun,” a new book about “Our Town” by arts administrator Howard Sherman, will be published in February. 

‘Six’ to stage drive-in comeback in U.K.

The pop musical “Six,” which was scheduled to open on Broadway just hours before the shutdown began on March 12, will start performances again in the U.K. this summer – but in a most unusual manner in keeping with social distancing guidelines. It will play various open space locations in the U.K., with audience members watching from or near their motor vehicles. In other words, “Six” will be inaugurating a new kind of drive-in style of musical theater. One wonders whether the Broadway cast of “Six” may attempt something similar.

Photo by Liz Lauren

Broadway will not reopen with reduced audience capacity

Just in case there was any doubt, this week’s announcement by the Broadway League extending the shutdown of Broadway through the end of 2020 made it clear that Broadway producers and theater owners will only reopen when they can play again to packed houses – in other words, without rigid social distancing measures that would limit both the number of seats in the theater and probably make producing live theater economically impossible. “The alchemy of 1000 strangers bonding into a single audience fueling each performer on stage and behind the scenes will be possible again when Broadway theaters can safely host full houses,” Broadway League chair Thomas Schumacher said in a statement. 

Annual high school theater festival goes forward online

Approximately 2400 theater-obsessed high school students (and perhaps a few others), spanning eight countries and 46 U.S. states, took part in the 2020 Virtual International Thespian Festival last week. Highlights included appearances from the likes of Dolly Parton, Stephen Schwartz and Tina Fey, numerous workshops and panel discussions and highlights from filmed high school musicals ranging from “My Fair Lady” to “Zombie Prom.” The International Thespian Festival has been held for theater students each year since 1941.

Roundabout to produce ‘Trouble in Mind’

The Roundabout Theatre Company will present the first Broadway production of Alice Childress’s “Trouble in Mind,” a 1955 backstage drama about racism in the theater, during its 2021-22 season. (Interestingly, the original 1955 Off-Broadway production of the play was slated to transfer to Broadway but ultimately never did.) Roundabout still intends to stage the previously announced revivals of “Caroline, or Change” and “1776” in Spring 2021.

‘American Buffalo’ and ‘The Minutes’ announce new opening nights

Two shutdown Broadway productions – David Mamet’s “American Buffalo” at Circle in the Square and Tracy Letts’ “The Minutes” at the Cort Theatre – have scheduled new opening nights in Spring 2021 that are exactly one year from their original opening nights. However, it is unclear whether the casts will remain the same. “American Buffalo” was to star Laurence Fishburne, Sam Rockwell and Darren Criss.

This week’s streaming recommendations:

  1. Hamilton (the hottest ticket on Broadway, made instantly available along with “The Little Mermaid” and “Snow White” for a low monthly subscription fee), premieres July 3, Disney Plus.
  2. And So We Come Forth: The Apple Family, A Dinner on Zoom (Richard Nelson brings back the Apple Family for a second play written specifically for Zoom), now available,theapplefamilyplays.com. 
  3. The Line (new docudrama about first responders during the current pandemic), premieres July 8 at 7:30 p.m., publictheater.org.
  4. Summer Stock Streaming Festival (Off-Broadway’s Mint Theater streams archived recordings of three past productions of rarely-seen plays), July 6-19, minttheater.org.

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