amNY on Broadway | ‘Beautiful Noise’ set to close, Ella Beatty joins ‘Appropriate’

Nick Fradiani as Neil Diamond in “A Beautiful Noise” on Broadway.
Photo by Julieta Cervantes/Provided

The Neil Diamond jukebox-bio musical “A Beautiful Noise” will play its final performance at Broadway’s Broadhurst Theatre on June 30, with a national tour launching in the fall in Rhode Island.  

“American Idol” winner Nick Fradiani recently took over the role of Neil Diamond from Will Swenson. At this time, “A Beautiful Noise” is the only show on Broadway that offers matinee performances on Thursdays.

Ella Beatty joins cast of ‘Appropriate’

Ella Beatty, the daughter of Warren Beatty and Annette Bening, who can currently be seen on the new FX series “Feud: Capote vs. The Swans.”  will join the Broadway cast of “Appropriate” when the show transfers from the Hayes Theater to the Belasco Theatre for an extended run. 

She’ll replace Elle Fanning as River, a young woman with a mystical, hippie-like attitude.

The cast of Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’ dark family comedy/melodrama also includes Sarah Paulson, Carey Stoll, and Michael Esper.

Metropolitan Opera unveils 2024-25 season

A scene from Beethoven’s Fidelio.Photo by Ken Howard/Metropolitan Opera

The Metropolitan Opera has announced the 18 titles that will comprise its 2024-25 season, four of which are Met premieres, including “Grounded” (based on George Brant’s one-woman play about a military drone pilot, which previously played the Public Theater), “Ainadamar” (which explores poet-playwright Federico García Lorca, with a book by David Henry Hwang), John Adams’ “Anthony and Cleopatra,” and “Moby-Dick” (with music by Jake Heggie of “Dead Man Walking”).

There will also be new productions of “Aida” (starring soprano Angel Blue in the title role) and “Salome.”

Even while the Met remains the largest performing arts company in the country, the size of the season marks a considerable reduction compared to pre-pandemic season.

‘Children of Eden’ receives one-night performance 

Despite the mega-success of “Wicked” (not to mention “Pippin” and “Godspell”), composer-lyricist Stephen Schwartz has also written many musicals that have flopped commercially, including “Working,” “The Baker’s Wife,” “Rags,” and “Children of Eden.” In fact, “Children of Eden’ (which premiered in London 30 years ago) has never received a major New York production.

It is instead best-known for a lavish 1997 Paper Mill Playhouse production that received a two-disc cast album that is sadly not available for streaming (well, at least not legally).

There are a number of theories as to why “Children of Eden” has been ignored, including its sheer size (calling for a large chorus, dancers, and puppetry) and its biblical subject matter (the stories of Adam and Eve, followed by Noah and the Ark), which is linked to modern-day violence and prejudice. It has, however, become a popular show among non-professional theater companies. Back in 1999, the theater camp I attended, French Woods Festival of the Arts, presented the show’s New York State premiere.

Last weekend, Manhattan Concert Productions, which has made a niche out of presenting one-night, full-orchestra, Broadway-caliber concert productions of musicals such as “Crazy for You,” “Ragtime,” “Titanic,” “The Secret Garden,” and “Parade,” presented “Children of Eden” at David Geffen Hall at Lincoln Center with a cast led by Norm Lewis, Nikki Renée Daniels, and David Phelps, plus hundreds of young choir singers that filled the stage and aisles.

The production (directed by actor Tony Yazbeck, with music direction by Kimberly Grigsby) was wonderful. And even if the show itself is unwieldy and mixed in quality, it is still far more compelling (both in terms of score and storytelling) than most other new musicals and deserves more than a one-night concert in New York. City Center should seriously consider presenting “Children of Eden” as its annual gala presentation (which typically receive multiple performances).

Next year, Manhattan Concert Productions will continue its apparent obsession with musicals associated with the 1990s by presenting a concert performance of “Anastasia.” Although “Anastasia” premiered on Broadway in 2017, the animated film upon which it is based debuted in 1997.