Jukebox musicals are the guilty pleasures of Broadway and, ever more frequently, off-Broadway, offering well-heeled patrons the joys of nostalgia and the reassuring sense that the songs we grew up on were classics worthy of revisiting. How else to account for the extraordinary popularity of Jersey Boys, Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, Motown: The Musical, The Million Dollar Quartet, Smokey Joe’s Cafe, Mamma Mia! and Rock Of Ages (not to metion the good, if less successful Holler If Ya Hear Me and A Night With Janis Joplin)? Piece Of My Heart: The Bert Berns Story, which opened Sunday night on 42nd Street, is a bargain-basement jukebox musical as entertaining as the best of those shows.
But it’s also on an evangelical mission: To make the case that Bert Berns has a rightful place in the pantheon of American rock-music writing legends that includes Goffin and King, Leiber and Stoller, Holland-Dozier-Holland, Bacharach and David, Mann and Weil, and Barry and Greenwich.
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EXCLUSIVE: After her Tony Award-winning turn in Venus in Fur, Nina Arianda has gotten on Hollywood’s radar. She was just set to play Janis Joplin in the biopic to be directed by Martha Marcy May Marlene‘s Sean Durkin. Now, she has signed to play Italian film star Giulietta Masina, wife of filmmaker Federico Fellini, in Fellini Black and White. The film is being helmed by Henry Bromell, the consulting producer and writer of Homeland, and it’s produced by Andrew Lazar. Bromell wrote the script and shooting begins early next year. Arianda joins William H. Macy, Terrence Howard, Peter Dinklage, and Brazilian star Wagner Moura, who’ll play the iconic director.
Fellini Black and White takes place during Fellini and Masina’s visit to Los Angeles for the 1958 Academy Awards, where their film Nights of Cabiria won the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film. Often called his muse, Masina was married to Fellini for fifty years until his passing in 1993, and she died months after her husband.
Arianda has also recently joined the cast of The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby starring Jessica Chastain and James McAvoy. She emerged from NYU’s Graduate Acting Program and won the Venus in Fur audition with a single audition. She won the Tony for Best Lead Actress in a Play. She’s repped by ICM Partners.
EXCLUSIVE: After recently winning the Tony for best actress in a play for Venus In Fur, Nina Arianda will make her screen-starring debut playing 1960s rock icon Janis Joplin. Joplin, a film that looks back on the final six months of the singer’s life with flashbacks to her early career, will be directed by Sean Durkin, whose feature debut Martha Marcy May Marlene won him a slew of festival acclaim including Best Director at Sundance.
Joplin will be made for a budget under $20 million, with production to start early next year, said producer Peter Newman, who with his partners have spent the last 12 years trying to put an indie film together with rights that include exclusive use of 21 of Joplin’s best-known songs. He said Arianda will sing Joplin’s tunes in the film, and that she has the chops to do justice to Joplin’s signature gritty sound. Read More »