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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.
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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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James Franco Closing Disney Deal For ‘Oz: The Great And Powerful’

Mike Fleming

While James Franco and Anne Hathaway have been busy pulling it together to host Sunday’s Oscarcast, Franco’s CAA reps and Disney have closed his deal to play the title role in Oz: The Great and Powerful. That puts the film on track to begin production in July, with Franco reuniting with his Spider-Man director Sam Raimi in the prequel to the L. Frank Baum novel that was scripted by Mitchell Kapner and David Lindsay-Abaire. Joe Roth is producing.

There had been much discussion around town lately about Disney’s gyrations in trying to pare the budget of the film down to a mere $200 million, but they must have figured it out if they locked in Franco. For Franco, the multi-tasking marvel’s dance card for 2011 now looks like this: he’ll first star in the Noah Baumbach-directed While We’re Young, and then will shoot Oz. That brings him to the late fall/winter, when he’ll star in Sweet Bird of Youth, the David Cromer-directed revival of the Tennessee Williams play that will be produced by Scott Rudin. Kidman will play Alexandra Del Lago, the aging voracious movie star, while Franco will play her gigolo paramour Chance Wayne. While Franco has starred in eclectic indies and is even a recurring soap opera star, he has event film experience from the Spider-Man films with Raimi, and stars this fall in Fox’s Planet of the Apes prequel Rise of the Apes. Still, this is a … Read More »

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James Franco Sets Broadway Date With Nicole Kidman In ‘Sweet Bird Of Youth’

Mike Fleming

James Franco has formalized his intention to star on Broadway next fall in Sweet Bird of Youth, the David Cromer-directed play that will be produced by Scott Rudin. Negotiations are underway, but both Franco and Kidman are fully committed, I’m told. Cromer last directed Our Town. Franco is Oscar-nominated for 127 Hours and is hosting the Oscarcast with Anne Hathaway, while Kidman is Oscar-nominated for Rabbit Hole. She also won her Oscar for The Hours, which Rudin produced. In the revival of the Tennessee Williams play, Kidman will play Alexandra Del Lago, the aging voracious movie star, while Franco will play her gigolo paramour Chance Wayne. Just like that, Broadway has another hot ticket. CAA reps Franco and Kidman.

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