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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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Eddie Redmayne Joins ‘Les Miserables’

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Hot off My Week With Marilyn, Eddie Redmayne has been set to play the role of Marius in Les Miserables, the Tom Hooper-directed musical for Universal Pictures that stars Hugh Jackman as Jean Valjean, Russell Crowe as Inspector Javert and Anne Hathaway as Fantine. Universal has set the Working Title-produced musical for release in the center of next year’s Oscar race with a December 7, 2012 date. Cameron Mackintosh is producing with Working Title’s Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner and Debra Hayward. William Nicholson wrote the script and the music is by Claude-Michel Schonberg and Alain Boublil.

Redmayne, whose starring role opposite Michelle Williams in My Week With Marilyn has put him in the Oscar discussion, won a Tony Award for Red and he is preparing to star in Richard II, which is Michael Grandage’s farewell production as artistic director of Donmar Warehouse. That play opens December 1. Redmayne, who made a memorable debut in the Robert De Niro-directed The Good Shepherd, recently wrapped the Derick Martini-directed Hick alongside Chloe Moretz and Blake Lively, and the BBC two-part WWI miniseries Birdsong. Redmayne is repped by CAA, manager Gene Parseghian and United Agents in the UK.

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Anne Hathaway Joins Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe In ‘Les Miserables’

Mike Fleming

BREAKING: Anne Hathaway has closed a deal to join Hugh Jackman and Russell Crowe in Les Miserables, the Universal Pictures and Working Title Films musical adaptation of the stage play and classic novel. Hathaway will play Fantine, and her participation had been rumored for some time. Crowe plays Inspector Javert and Jackman is Jean Valjean. The film’s being directed by Tom Hooper, who helmed the Oscar-winning The King’s Speech.

Universal has set the picture for release in the center of next year’s Oscar race with a December 7, 2012 date. Cameron Mackintosh is producing with Working Title’s Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner and Debra Hayward. William Nicholson wrote the script and the music is by Claude-Michel Schonberg and Alain Boublil. Hathaway is currently playing Catwoman in the Chris Nolan-directed The Dark Knight Rises for Warner Bros.

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Special Theatrical Run For ‘Phantom’

By | Tuesday September 13, 2011 @ 4:40pm PDT

Andrew Lloyd Webber and Cameron Mackintosh’s 25-year anniversary production of The Phantom of the Opera will be coming to movie theaters this fall. A new stage production will be presented on October 2 in London’s Royal Albert Hall. NCM Fathom and Omniverse Vision will broadcast the opening night performance live to about 500 U.S. theaters at 2 p.m. EDT on Sunday, Oct. 2, and follow with pre-recorded broadcasts on October 5-6 and one final encore on Oct. 11. Ramin Karimloo will be “The Phantom” and Sierra Boggess is “Christine” in the new production.

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Universal Gets Russell Crowe And Hugh Jackman For ‘Les Miserables,’ Sets December 7, 2012 Release

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Universal has landed Russell Crowe to play Javert to Hugh Jackman’s Jean Valjean in Les Miserables, the live-action adaptation of the Cameron Mackintosh-produced stage musical that will be helmed by The King’s Speech director Tom Hooper. Universal has slotted the film for release on December 7, 2012, right in the center of Oscar season.

The film is produced by Working Title Films’ partners Eric Fellner and Tim Bevan, along with Mackintosh and Debra Hayward. Liza Chasin is exec producer. William Nicholson wrote the script based on the classic novel and the stage play. The music is by Claude-Michel Schoenberg and Alain Boublil. Said Mackintosh: “Even though I have dreamt about making the film of Les Miserables for over 25 years, I could never have imagined that we would end up with the dream director Tom Hooper, and the dream cast of Hugh Jackman and Russell Crowe as the two great protagonists Jean Valjean and Javert. Not only were they born to play these roles vocally, but they thrillingly inhabit this great score. Producing this film with Eric Fellner, Working Title and Universal Pictures is indeed a dream come true and I can’t wait to hear the people sing at my local cineplex.” Read More »

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If Hugh Jackman Plays Jean Valjean, Will Paul Bettany Play Javert In ‘Les Miserables’?

Mike Fleming

Universal and director Tom Hooper want Hugh Jackman for the role of Jean Valjean in Les Miserables. So who might stalk him in the role of Javert? I’m told that Paul Bettany is a candidate and that he read for the role and sang the songs from the Cameron Mackintosh-produced stage hit. Mackintosh is producing the film with Working Title partners Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner, and Bill Nicholson has written the script. The intention is to begin production before year’s end, somewhere in Europe. Let’s see if this goes anywhere.

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Universal Tuning Feature Version Of Green Day Stage Musical ‘American Idiot’

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Universal Pictures is negotiating to turn the Green Day-fueled Broadway musical American Idiot into a feature film. Dustin Lance Black, the Oscar-winning Milk scribe, is in talks to write the script, and Michael Mayer will direct. Mayer helmed the stage run of the musical, which is closing on Broadway April 24 and launching a tour in the fall. Black most recently scripted J. Edgar, the Clint Eastwood film that stars Leonardo DiCaprio as J. Edgar Hoover.

The musical, which uses the songs of the punk band’s seminal 2004 album to tell the coming-of-age story of three small-town guys, was optioned before its opening last spring by Playtone partners Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman. They previously turned the stage hit Mamma Mia! into a Universal film. It is expected that Green Day lead singer/songwriter Billie Joe Armstrong will be courted to play the role of the drug dealer St. Jimmy. Each time he did a stint in the role on Broadway, the grosses rose considerably at the St. James Theatre. The band was actively involved in the formation of the musical. Read More »

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‘King’s Speech’ Helmer Tom Hooper Closing On ‘Les Miserables’ As Next Pic

Mike Fleming

BREAKING: Looks like Universal Pictures has won the battle for the next film to be directed by Oscar-winning The King’s Speech helmer Tom Hooper. The dealmaking has started for Hooper to direct Les Miserables, a full-blown musical adaptation of the Cameron Mackintosh-produced perennial stage hit. This is the first film he’s begun negotiations on since winning the Oscar, but insiders in Hooper’s camp stopped short of saying it would definitively be his next film. I hear that’s how it will work out.

Mackintosh is producing with Working Title partners Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner, and Bill Nicholson has written the script. The intention is to begin production before year’s end, somewhere in Europe. After the success of The King’s Speech — a $13 million budget film that could reach $450 million worldwide gross when it’s through — Hooper had been widely courted for his next slot. The Weinstein Company tempted him with Tulip Fever, and I’m told there was talk of an adaptation of Macbeth, among others. Hooper was tempted instead to film the musical adaptation of the 1862 Victor Hugo novel, the struggle by ex-con Jean Valjean to outrun his past and his relentless pursuer Javert. The musical, which opened in London in 1985, features such songs as I Dreamed A Dream, On My Own, and Bring Him Home. It is certainly a different film from Universal’s stage musical foray … Read More »

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