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Broadway’s Shubert Organization Netted $35M For Air; Now It’s Heading Underground

By | Friday July 25, 2014 @ 1:25pm PDT

Broadway’s Shubert Organization Netted $35M For Air; Now It’s Heading UndergroundEXCLUSIVE: Why did the Shubert Organization, which owns 17 of Broadway‘s 40 designated theaters, sign off on a deal to buy New World Stages, the five-theater underground off-Broadway complex owned by Dutch entertainment mogul Joop van den Ende? Sources tell me the answer has nothing to do with the arts and everything to do with real estate — along with the unique, not to say wacky, world according to Shubert, a $410 million nonprofit that coincidentally owns the most powerful commercial theater company in the U.S.

The company, whose Image (3) GerardColumn_badge__140512224655-150x150.png for post 735293theaters housed Les MiserablesA Chorus Line, CatsFiddler On The Roof, Amadeus and countless other legendary shows, has been Broadway’s reigning landlord for nearly a century. In recent years, the Shubert Organization has sold air rights above its landmarked Times Square theaters to the tune of $50 million. This spring, the Witkoff Group, a building consortium, paid $18.3 million for 45,000 square feet of air above the Shubert-owned Booth and Gerald Schoenfeld Theatres on West 45th Street. That deal will allow Witkoff’s project, the Times Square Marriott Edition hotel at 701 Seventh Avenue, to grow to 500 feet high.
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Aaron Tveit Toplines ‘Stereotypically You’; Jeffrey Donovan Joins ‘Sicario’; Courtney James Clark Cast In ‘Jurassic World’

By | Monday July 21, 2014 @ 7:49pm PDT

Aaron Tveit Toplines ‘Stereotypically You’; Jeffrey Donovan Joins ‘Sicario’; Courtney James Clark Cast In ‘Jurassic World’Aaron TveitAaron Tveit has the lead role in Stereotypically You, a romantic comedy from writer-director Benjamin Cox. Tveit plays Charlie, who goes on a hallucination-fueled post-breakup quest in New York City to find new love — and himself. Kal Penn, Shane McRae, Lauren Miller, Abby Elliot, Chris Elliot, Annaleigh Ashford, Lewis Black, Kelen Coleman co-star. Tveit also has landed a role in They Might Be Kennedys, which Neal McDonough is exec producing. The actor’s credits include the upcoming Big Sky and Undrafted along with Les Miserables, Premium Rush and TV’s Graceland. He is repped by CAA and Elin Flack Management.

Jeffrey DonovanJeffrey Donovan has joined the cast of Denis Villeneuve’s Sicario, which is filming in New Mexico. In the Lionsgate actioner starring Benecio Del Toro and Emily Blunt, he will play Steve Forsing, a no-nonsense DEA Agent who engages in an all-out firefight at the Juarez border while transferring a prisoner. Donovan starred on USA Network’s Burn Notice, which wrapped its seven-season run in September. His credits also include the upcoming feature Welcome To Harmony as well as J. Edgar, Changeling and Hindsight. He is repped by WME, 3 Arts Entertainment, and Hirsch Wallerstein Hayum Matlof & Fishman.

Courtney James ClarkCourtney James Clark has landed a role in Colin Trevorrow’s Jurassic World, from producer Steven Spielberg. She joins a cast that includes … Read More »

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R.I.P. ‘Blackadder’ Actress Patsy Byrne

By | Saturday June 21, 2014 @ 5:55pm PDT

R.I.P. ‘Blackadder’ Actress Patsy ByrnePatsy Byrne, who played the clueless, but loyal Nursie to Miranda Richardson’s Queenie on BBC‘s Blackadder died Tuesday at the age of 80 at Denville Hall, a retirement home for actors, in Hillingdon, London.  Her death comes less than two weeks since another Blackadder series regular Rik Mayall (Lord Flashheart) also passed away.  A native of Ashford, Kent, Byrne studied drama at Rose Bruford College before signing up with the Royal Shakespeare Company. She starred in a number of British TV series including opposite Tony Robinson in a Series 3 episode of Maid Marian and her Merry Men as well as the Tea Lady in the BBC children series Playdays. Notable film credits include Clive Donner’s Stealing Heaven, Bille Augusts non-musical version of Les Miserables starring Liam Neeson (in which she played the role of Toussaint) and the cult British comedy Kevin & Perry Go Large. Check out Byrne’s comedic timing opposite Richardson in this clip from Blackadder:

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Gangsta Rapper Tupac Shakur Rattles Broadway In ‘Holler If Ya Hear Me’

By | Thursday June 19, 2014 @ 5:00pm PDT

Gangsta Rapper Tupac Shakur Rattles Broadway In ‘Holler If Ya Hear Me’

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Tupac In The House Judy Garland Built

Saul Williams is impressive as the lead of a musical that is less about the iconic rapper and more about life on the streets set to his music. Deadline's Jeremy Gerard reports on opening night at the Palace.

Gangsta rapper Tupac Shakur died at 25, a few days after a drive-by shooting in Las Vegas, where his crew from Death Row Records tangled with members of the Crips gang. Officially, the murder is unsolved, but a long investigation by the Los Angeles Times pointed the trigger finger at gang warfare. Shakur left an impressive catalog of words and music about life in prison, on the street and in the relative sanctuary of the recording studio, where the F-word and the N-word and plenty of other raw, uncensored, blistering words were turned into digital zeros and ones and launched into the world. (He also had a budding film career that included the 1992 Juice.)

Screen Shot 2014-06-19 at 6.08.53 PMHoller If Ya Hear Me, taken from a definitive 2Pac anthem, is the title of the show that opened last night at the Palace Theatre — yes, the Palace that Judy Garland played. It’s not a bio-musical; instead, Shakur’s scorching, sometimes mournful words and driving music are set in a book by Todd Kreidler that tells a more generic tale: Of life for the hopeless young and armed restless on the mean streets of an unnamed city that reads a lot like Detroit.

There is some very good news in the Broadway debut of Saul Williams, a gifted rapper himself, as the Shakur character here called John. He makes his entrance descending from the flies in a prison cell: Teardrops and closed caskets, the three-strikes Read More »

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Alicia Vikander Landing Leads In ‘Light Between Oceans’ And ‘Danish Girl’

By | Thursday June 19, 2014 @ 10:11am PDT
Mike Fleming

Alicia Vikander Landing Leads In ‘Light Between Oceans’ And ‘Danish Girl’EXCLUSIVE: Swedish actress Alicia Vikander is getting two roles that all the brightest young actresses have been trying for. She is closing a deal to star with Michael Fassbender in the Derek Cianfrance-directed adaptation of the M.L. Stedman novel The Light Between Oceans for DreamWorks. At the same time, I hear that she is the choice of The King’s Speech director Tom Hooper to star opposite his Les Miserables guy Eddie Redmayne in The Danish Girl for Working Title. Her reps are right now working out the details so that Vikander can go from one film right into the other starting in the fall.

AliciaVikanderVikander is the latest thesp in a wave of Scandinavian talent to break on these shores. Raised in Stockholm, Vikander began as a dancer before turning to acting. She’s gorgeous, but she is no overnight discovery; she has earned her way to this place. Her breakout roles were the Foreign Language Oscar-nominated Nikolaj Arcel-directed A Royal Affair, and co-starring in Anna Karenina, another Working Title production. Upcoming, Vikander stars opposite Ewan McGregor in Son Of A Gun, and is currently starring alongside Dane DeHaan and Christoph Waltz in the Justin Chadwick-directed 17th century love story Tulip Fever. She also stars in Testament Of Youth for BBC Films, which just wrapped, and opposite Oscar Isaac in the Alex Garland-directed Ex Machina and in the studio films The Man From U.N.C.L.E. and The Seventh Son. Read More »

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Tony Awards Show Sings Hollywood’s Praises While Oscar Producers Return The Favor At PGA’s Produced By Conference

Pete Hammond

Presenting the two directing prizes on Sunday night’s Tony Awards, Clint Eastwood, who was on the show because he has2014 Tony Awards - Show directed the film version of the Tony winning Broadway musical Jersey Boys (6/20), summed it all up for me. “It seems like producers and directors from the stage and from movies are always looking for good new material, and sometimes they don’t find it. Sometimes they have to take it from one another with The Bridges Of Madison Country (Eastwood starred in and directed the film) or Bullets Over Broadway going to musical plays, and I’m proud to say that we’re bringing Jersey Boys to the movies and that will be after nine successful years on Broadway,” he said in introductory remarks. It was an understatement as most of the evening’s winners, spread among a larger number of shows than usual, have deep ties to movies-jersey-boys-stillHollywood and that included Bridges which picked up a couple of key Tonys for its composer Jason Robert Brown, despite closing last month. There’s also Rocky (Best Scenic Design of a Musical), Aladdin (Best Featured Actor in a Musical), as well as the two big musical winners of the evening (each with four victories), A Gentlemen’s Guide To Love And Murder (winner of Best Musical and which is derived from the 1949 Alec Guiness film  Kind Hearts And Coronets), and Read More »

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IMAX, Legendary, Universal Enter Multi-Picture Deal Through 2017

IMAX-logo__120222154733-200x105__130708183958IMAX, Legendary Entertainment and Universal Pictures are expanding their relationships with a new pact to release up to 15 of the studios’ films in IMAX theaters through 2017. Under the agreement, IMAX will be part of Universal and Legendary’s release strategy for such live-action tentpoles as Dracula Untold (October 2014), Seventh Son (February 2015), Fast & Furious 7 (April 2015), Jurassic World (June 2015), Everest (September 2015), Crimson Peak (October 2015) and Warcraft (March 2016). This is the first multi-picture deal IMAX has made with both studios. It has released recent Universal pics Despicable Me 2, Les Misérables and The Bourne Legacy in the format as well as Legendary’s Godzilla, although that film went through Warner Bros, pre-dating Legendary’s five-year deal with Universal. Read More »

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Broadway B.O. Dips In Week 1 As Michael Cohl’s ‘Superstar’ Road Show Goes Bust

By | Monday June 2, 2014 @ 1:28pm PDT

Screen Shot 2014-06-02 at 10.16.11 PMBroadway ended week 1 of the 2014-15 season on Sunday $3 million off from the week before but still ahead of the same frame a year ago. The story of the day, however, was the stunning collapse of a star-studded North American arena tour of the Andrew Lloyd Webber-Tim Rice Jesus Christ Superstar just as it was about to get underway in New Orleans.

Related: Broadway B.O. Soars in $1.27B Season Finale, Posting 11.4% Jump For 2013-2014

While the Broadway best-sellers continued full steam ahead, most other shows limped after the Memorial Day weekend highs. Total box office, according to figures released by the Broadway League trade association, was $27.9 million; the week before, the total was $30.9 million. The total one year ago was $23.3 million.

Related: Broadway B.O. Looks Up For The Season, But Is The `Honeymoon’ Over?

Aladdin, Toronto 2013Among new productions this season, Disney’s Aladdin was the top seller, with $1.2 million in sales and all of its seats filled. Add in the take from The Lion King ($2 million) and Newsies ($628,000) and Disney had a $3.8 million week on the Rialto. Other new shows that went SRO were A Gentleman’s Guide To Love And Murder ($701,000), A Raisin In The Sun ($1.2 million), Beautiful: The Carole King Musical ($1 million) and Hedwig And The Angry Inch ($979,000 ), though most were below their gross potential.

Related: Tony Watch: First, Kill All The Nominators – Plus: Eric Bogosian’s Master Class; Opera’s Latest Tempest

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Josh Radnor & Robert Morse Sign On For Powerhouse Presentation

By | Wednesday May 21, 2014 @ 2:37pm PDT

Screen Shot 2014-05-21 at 5.33.30 PMAMC Celebrates The Season 7 Premiere Of "Mad Men" - Red CarpetThe How I Met Your Mother star and Broadway and Mad Men regular will be among the players at New York Stage And Film’s Powerhouse Theater presentations this summer at Vassar College. Josh Radnor will appear opposite Leslie Bibb (Neil LaBute’s Reasons To Be Happy) in Richard Greenberg’s The Babylon Line (June 25-July 6), directed by Steppenwolf veteran Terry Kinney. That cast includes Tony winners Randy Graff (City Of Angels, Les Miserables) and Frank Wood (Clybourne Park, August: Osage County) plus Maddie Corman (Next Fall), Julie Halston (Hairspray), and Michael Oberholtzer. Tony winners Morse (for the original production of Frank Loesser’s How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying) and Debbie Gravitte (Jerome Robbins’ Broadway) are set for In Your Arms (July 5-13) along with Ryan Steele (Matilda) and the great Carole Shelley (Billy Elliot).  Read More »

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Hey Big Spender! Tony Awards For Sale, $2,500 – Get ‘Em While They Last!

GerardColumn_badgeI TOLDJA, didn’t I? that Broadway’s silly season would start as soon as the Tony nominations were announced, and here we are with today’s New York Times report that “producers” of shows nominated for best new and revived plays and musicals are in jeopardy of losing their right to drop $2,500 for a TonyAwardsTony medallion if their show wins. Primo Tony baloney, this is. Why? Because this has nothing to do with $2,500 baubles and everything to do with the fine romantic nuttiness that is the Tony Awards business. And business it is, with sales of Tonys adding $300,000 to the bottom line of the dysfunctional coalition that runs the awards (about which more later).

Related: Broadway Loses ‘Velocity’, Gains Gladys Knight As Tonys Hit Silly Season

Start with the evolving concept of “producers.” There are 16 shows nominated in the top categories: Five for Best Play, four for Best Musical, four for Best Play Revival and three for Best Musical Revival. How many entities produced these 16 shows? 20, 50, 100, you say? How about 193? More, if you consider the fact that many of those entities are actually investor consortiums. These are people who know the meaning of the word agate and want no part of a below-the-title listing for their $50,000 stake. AfterMidnightThey want to say, to their friends and to the press, “I produced After Midnight!” (21 “producers”), and the actual producers accommodate because money talks and everyone walks to the podium on June 8, Tony Night, hosted by Hugh Jackman and telecast on CBS beginning at 8 PM, in case you didn’t know.

Topping the list: A Gentleman’s Guide To Love & Murder, 28 “producers,” and Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, 25. Carrying on the honored-in-the-breach tradition of one show/one producer: Cameron Mackintosh, the sole name above the title in the nominated revival of Les Miserables. Similarly, Tom Schumacher for Disney Theatrical Productions’ adaptation of Aladdin. And Manhattan Theatre Club’s joined-at-the-hip Lynne Meadow and Barry Grove, the sole producers of Best Play nominee Outside Mullingar. Read More »

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Telemundo Slate Includes New Novelas, Musical Competition Series & More

By | Tuesday May 13, 2014 @ 4:30pm PDT

telemundo_logo_detailTelemundo unveiled more than 800 original hours across all platforms for its 2014-2015 programming line-up, including five new primetime novelas and a new Sunday night primetime musical competition series. Joe Uva, Chairman of Telemundo-parent, Hispanic Enterprises and Content –  a division of NBCUniversal — officially announced Luis Silberwasser as the new President of Telemundo Network, to start in August. At New York’s Frederick P. Rose Hall, Uva also introduced the new brand positioning and programming line-up for mun2, accompanied by its newly appointed president, Rubén Mendiola. The presentation concluded with a performance by Prince Royce, current coach of Telemundo’s highly-rated singing competition La Voz Kids. Read More »

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`Theatre World’ Awards Salute Bryan Cranston, Chris O’Dowd Broadway Bows

By | Tuesday May 6, 2014 @ 8:16am PDT

85th Annual Academy Awards - ArrivalsBryan Cranston, starring on Broadway as LBJ in Robert Schenkkan’s All The Way, and Chris O’Dowd, co-starring with James Franco in the Broadway revival of Of Mice And Men, were among the winners of Theatre World‘s 70th annual awards this morning. Kudos give the nod to outstanding Broadway and off-Broadway debuts. Also cited were Mary Bridget Davies, whose uncanny imitation of Janis Joplin recently aborted its Broadway-to-off-Broadway move, and Zachary Levi, who debuted in the Broadway tuner First Date. The Dorothy Loudon Award for Excellence in the Theatre went to Celia Keenan-Bolger, Laura in the Tony-nominated revival of The Glass Menagerie. Canadian thesp Christopher Plummer got the John Willis Award for Lifetime Achievement. Willis was the founder and longtime editor of Theatre World and Screen World seasonal compendia. The awards will be handed out at a June 2 ceremony at Circle In The Square Theatre. A complete list of winners follows: Read More »

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Tony Watch: Nominations’ Box Office Blessings, ‘Rocky’ Vs. ‘Hedwig’, Alex Timbers

By | Monday May 5, 2014 @ 5:55pm PDT

HereLiesLoveThis is how the numbers broke down for the Tony contenders in the week following the nominations announcement.

Best play: Act One, up $25,000 to $399,000, 37% of its potential and playing to two-thirds-full houses. All The Way, up $20,000 to $1.14 million, 74% of potential and 81% filled houses. Casa Valentina, up $65,000 to $276,000, just under half its gross potential but 86% full houses. Mothers And Sons, down $20,000 to $173,000, 22% of gross potential and struggling to fill 43% of the seats. Outside Mullingar (closed earlier after a limited run).

Related: Broadway Box Office Drops $2.5M In Week After Tony Noms

Best Musical: After Midnight, up $35,000 to $523,000, 52% of potential and 78% filled houses. Aladdin, down $17,500 to $1.177 million, 91% of potential, full houses. Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, up $20,000 to $1.036 million, 94% of capacity and selling out. A Gentleman’s Guide To Love And Murder, up $109,500 (the biggest uptick of any nominated non-revival) to $580,300, 65% of its gross potential and 93% of the seats filled.

Among the non-nominated new shows, Bullets Over Broadway was down slightly, If/Then took a bigger hit with a $76,000 drop, about the same for Rocky. The Bridges Of Madison County continued to struggle, down $65,000 and playing to 58% of capacity. The Realistic Joneses was holding on to nearly 90% houses and 89.4% of gross potential, suggesting … Read More »

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Does Tony Love Oscar? Why Nominations Show The Complicated Affair Between Broadway And Hollywood

Pete Hammond

Despite numerous “snubs” to the so-called Hollywood contingent that has taken Broadway by storm, this season today’s Tonyaladdin-broadway-musical Award nominations really prove just how reliant the Great White Way has become on movies.  I’m not just talking those big stars such as Denzel Washington or Daniel Radcliffe (chief among today’s snubees), but the actual movies themselves. Nineteen of those nominations went to Broadway-Rocky-musical-to-open-on-Broadway-in-Februaryized musical versions of  Disney’s Aladdin, Woody Allen’s Bullets Over Broadway, Sylvester Stallone’s Rocky and Clint Eastwood’s The Bridges Of Madison County. Only Aladdin scored a Best New Musical nom. But Allen was nominated for his book (his first foray into musicals) based on his Oscar-nominated screenplay. Kelli O’Hara was the key nomination of four given to Bridges Of Madison County in the same role that won the original movie’s sole Oscar nomination for Meryl Streep. 1-bridges-of-madison-county_650Eight-time Oscar winner Alan Menken is among the five nominations for Aladdin by reprising his Oscar-winning score and adding just enough new tunes to qualify for the Tonys too. Rocky’s leading actor Andy Karl grabbed the Best Actor equivalent of Stallone’s Best Actor Oscar nom in 1976 but is likely, just as Sly did, to lose to much stiffer competition in the category. But the musical version’s scenic design, with its spectacular boxing arena, is certain to be victorious on Tony night.

Related: Tony Noms’ Many Celebrity Snubs Leaves CBS Mulling What Might Have Been
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68th Tony Nominations Make 2013-2014 The Year Of The Actor

UPDATED WITH ANALYSIS AND FULL LIST OF NOMINEES: The Tony nominations announced this morning made one thing quite clear:  On Broadway, it’s been the season of the actor. Especially the year of the actor in drag.

Jefferson MaysGENTLEMAN-articleLarge was nominated for playing more roles than I can count in the amusing musical murder thriller A Gentleman’s Guide To Love And Murder. British actor Mark Rylance came away with two nominations, one for his performance as a twisted king, in Richard III, a second for his performance as a lovestruck countess, in Twelfth Night.

Broadway and TV favorite Neil Patrick Harris is in the running for his title foray "Hedwig And The Angry Inch" Broadway Opening Night - Arrivals & Curtain Callin Hedwig And The Angry Inch, playing a sort-of transgender sort-of rock star. Audra McDonald is looking for her sixth Tony, for her astonishing performances as Billie Holiday in Lady Day At Emerson’s Bar & Grill. If she wins, she will have landed in the very exclusive club whose members have won Tony Awards for Outstanding Performance by a Leading Actress and Featured Actress in both plays and musicals, starting with her first win, for Carousel, in 1994.

Gentleman’s Guide led the pack with 10 nominations, including Best Musical, score, book and direction. James Lapine’s heartfelt dramatization of Act One, Broadway legend Moss Hart’s celebrated autobiography, took the most nominations for Best Play, though Lapine was overlooked for his staging of the show at Lincoln Center Theater’s Vivian Beaumont.
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‘Les Mis’ Duo Tom Hooper And Eddie Redmayne Re-Team On ‘The Danish Girl’

By | Monday April 28, 2014 @ 5:02pm PDT
Mike Fleming

edtomEXCLUSIVE: After teaming with Working Title partners Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner on Les Miserables, director Tom Hooper and actor Eddie Redmayne are reuniting with them on The Danish Girl, a film inspired by the novel written by David Ebershoff. The film is a love story about Danish painters Einar Wegener and his wife Gerda. In 1930, Wegener was one of the first men ever to undergo operations to become a woman.

Hooper, who won the Best Picture Oscar for The King’s Speech, hasn’t declared a follow to Les Miserables. He’s attached to direct this, and Redmayne will play the artist in what will be a most challenging role. Lucinda Coxon adapted the screenplay. Gail Mutrux developed the film and will produce through her Pretty Pictures banner alongside Anne Harrison and Linda Reisman. Working Title’s Fellner and Bevan will produce with Hooper. Hooper’s repped by ICM Partners and Independent Talent Group in the UK, and Redmayne is repped by CAA and manager Gene Parseghian.

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NY Theater Awards Season Heats Up With Drama Desk Nominations

By | Friday April 25, 2014 @ 2:50pm PDT

DramaDeskAwardsThe Drama Desk announced nominations this morning for the 59th edition of its awards ceremony, which will take place June 1 at The Town Hall in NYC. The group, which includes writers, editors, academics and others, can take credit for its refusal to segregate Broadway from its off- and off-off- siblings, and therefore reflects a wider range of choices (and quality) than the Theater District-only Tonys. (The nominations also guarantee the group a high-profile in display advertisement in the run-up to the Tony Awards.) And so, for example, the competition for Best Musical includes not only Broadway’s Rocky, Aladdin, The Bridges Of Madison County, Beautiful: The Carole King Musical and A Gentleman’s Guide To Love And Murder but also the Public Theater’s well-received productions of Fun Home and Love’s Labour’s Lost. Best Play nominees include Broadway’s Outside Mullingar and All The Way as well as five plays presented off-Broadway. Here’s the complete list of nominees:

Related: ‘Violet’ & ‘Hedwig’ Ineligible For Tony Best Musical Category

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Broadway Says “Wilkommen” to Michelle Williams, Tony Race; Definitive Tennessee Williams; Introducing The Riedel Watch

By | Thursday April 24, 2014 @ 8:30pm PDT

DeadlineColumnsThe last new production of the 2013-14 Broadway season opened Thursday night with the familiar visage of Alan Cumming in whiteface, peering through the slotted entrance to the Kit Kat Klub in the revived revival of Cabaret. With his eyes blacked, his lips pursed and his nipples peeking from behind braces, the Scottish actor looks little changed from the Emcee role he began essaying under the tutelage of director Sam Mendes in 1993 at London’s Donmar Warehouse (and nothing at all like Cummings’ cunning Eli Gold of The Good Wife).

Cabaret02_605x329The other current draw is the Sally Bowles of Michelle Williams, game, gamine but miscast in her Broadway debut. Playing an almost-good siren can be tougher than playing the real thing. Williams just might be too fearless and fresh-faced to get under Sally’s brittle skin. Nevertheless, the Roundabout Theatre Company is hawking tickets to the solid production through next year.
TonyAwardsThe Tony nominations will be announced Tuesday morning (yes, we’ll be there), with some 44 new productions in the running. More important than that number is the amount of money — I’ll put it at least $60 million — riding on the choices of the 30-odd nominators (some odder than others, to be sure) and the 800-plus voters. This is, after all, the season in which $85 … Read More »

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Rick Santorum’s Faith-Based Film Company Eyes Churches Also As Movie Houses

By | Monday April 14, 2014 @ 4:16pm PDT

450461553EchoLight Studios, the faith- and family-based production entity headed by self-professed Christian politician and former GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum, said it will distribute four films a year starting in September 2014 then one a quarter after that. But here’s the twist: The films will be playing in churches throughout the country instead of theaters. One of those films is Hoovey, starring Patrick Warburton (Rules Of Engagement) and Lauren Holly — a true story about a Midwestern basketball family who, with God’s help, stayed in the game and won. Audrey's Shower patrick warburtonThe film is an unlikely candidate for the nation’s theaters to begin with, but there is a larger goal for Santorum, who is the CEO and not in politics any longer — to bring in flocks to the churches. “We want to be a part of empowering the church to elevate its role as a cultural change agent,” EchoLight President Studios Jeff Sheets said in a statement. “Our vision is not to create sermons wrapped in a movie but to create content that inspires, fascinates and incorporates a strong Christian worldview.”

Related: Biblical And Faith-based Films In Hollywood To Stay?

Uh, that’s taking the faith-based craze to a different level — using churches as theaters. The Franklin, TN-based company is developing content with “strong ministry value as tools for the Church to use in their in-reach and outreach ministries.” They also said that a portion of the revenues generated from these films will “fuel the missional needs of the hosting local church.” So instead of the money going into Hollywood coffers, it’s going back to Santorum’s churches. And therein lies the business model. Read More »

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