amBroadway: ‘Some Like It Hot’ sets closing date, Swenson says farewell and more

The cast of ‘Some Like It Hot.’
Photo by Marc J. Franklin

‘Some Like It Hot’ sets closing date

“Some Like It Hot” will play its final performance on Dec. 30. Despite acclaim for its splashy entertainment value and careful updating of the 1959 film version to have a diverse and inclusive sensibility, the Broadway musical has struggled at the box office since opening last fall. In fact, its closure is less surprising than the fact that it was able to stay open for so long. J. Harrison Ghee, who became the first non-binary actor to win a Tony Award for his gender-bending performance as Jerry, recently took a temporary leave from the show in order to undergo surgery; it is presently unclear whether Ghee will be able to return before the closing date. A national tour and London production are in the works. Industry insiders are currently wondering whether two other new musicals from last season, “Kimberly Akimbo” and “Shucked,” will also announce closing dates in the coming weeks, which would allow new productions to open at their theaters by the spring.

Swenson says farewell to playing Neil Diamond

Will Swenson, who originated the role of Neil Diamond in “A Beautiful Noise,” will give his last performance on Oct. 29. In a statement, Swenson said that “it’s been the thrill of a lifetime to stand in Neil’s shoes.” “A Beautiful Noise,” which did not receive any Tony Award nominations (but still snagged a performance slot on the awards broadcast), has so far not achieved the success of the best-known bio-jukebox musicals such as “Beautiful” (Carole King) and “Jersey Boys” (the Four Seasons). The production recently added a matinee performance on Thursdays, making it the only Broadway show with a performance at that time.

MasterVoices to present Sondheim’s ‘The Frogs’ with Nathan Lane

This is an exciting season for Sondheim fans, with both the first Broadway revival of “Merrily We Roll Along” and the Off-Broadway world premiere of “Here We Are,” Sondheim’s final work. But also worth noting is a three-performance run of Sondheim’s rarely-seen musical adaptation of the Ancient Greek comedy “The Frogs,” which was originally staged in the 1970s in a swimming pool at Yale and premiered on Broadway in 2004 with additional songs and a new book by Nathan Lane, who also starred as Dionysus.

The concert staging, which is being presented by MasterVoices on Nov. 3 and 4 at Jazz at Lincoln Center, will feature Lane as host, with a cast led by Douglas Sills, Kevin Chamberlain, Peter Bartlett (who appeared in the Broadway production) and Jordan Donica, plus an 18-piece orchestra and 120-member chorus. Last year, MasterVoices did an outstanding concert production of Sondheim’s early flop “Anyone Can Whistle.”

In “The Frogs,” the Greek god Dionysus ventures into the underworld to find the playwright George Bernard Shaw, who Dionysus believes can bring sense back to the world. The musical has not received any major productions since its Broadway premiere.

Taran Killam to play Lancelot in ‘Spamalot’, with Alex Brightman in the wings

Taran Killam, a six-season veteran of “Saturday Night Live,” will play Lancelot in the new Broadway revival of “Spamalot” through Jan. 7, after which the role will be inherited by Alex Brightman, who played Lancelot when the revival premiered at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. Brightman is currently on Broadway in “The Shark is Broken,” the comedy about the making of “Jaws,” in which he plays Richard Dreyfuss. The cast of “Spamalot” (which is based on “Monty Python and the Holy Grail”) also includes James Monroe Iglehart, Leslie Kritzer, Christopher Fitzgerald, Ethan Slater, and Michael Urie.