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June Squibb replacing Al Roker in 'Waitress,' and more theater news

"Bat Out of Hell" stops national tour; former White House chef cooking up dishes for "Network."

June Squibb will join the cast of "Waitress"

June Squibb will join the cast of "Waitress" on Nov. 19. It will mark her first time on Broadway in nearly 40 years. Photo Credit: Getty Images/Rich Fury

THE SHOW “Waitress”

THE DEAL June Squibb, who received an Academy Award nomination for the 2013 film “Nebraska,” will replace Al Roker in the hit Broadway musical for a short run beginning Nov. 19. Though Roker’s character is called Joe, the 89-year-old actress will play the role of Josie. Squibb made her Broadway debut in the original 1959 Broadway production of “Gypsy” as the stripper Electra.

THE SHOW “Bat Out of Hell”

THE DEAL Immediately following the recent announcement that the Meat Loaf musical “Bat Out of Hell” would play City Center this summer, its yearlong national tour suddenly shut down following its stop in Toronto. Producers insist that the tour has only been postponed and that the City Center engagement will go forward. Many cast members expressed outrage on social media over the turn of events. Cast member Bradley Dean wrote on Facebook that he had turned down a role in “King Kong” for “Bat Out of Hell.”

THE SHOW “Network”

THE DEAL William “Bill” Yosses, a former White House executive pastry chef, will curate an onstage culinary experience (to be known as “Foodwork”) — including a four-course meal and cocktails — for select audience members in the upcoming Broadway production. Onstage seating is selling for $399 apiece. Yosses recently served as the “official pie maker” of the Off-Broadway revival of “Sweeney Todd,” which created a working pie-shop environment. “Network,” which will star Bryan Cranston, is based on the 1976 film of the same name about a network news anchor undergoing a mental breakdown.

THE SHOW “Beetlejuice”

THE DEAL The Broadway-bound musical adaptation of the 1988 Tim Burton film comedy, which just opened its out-of-town tryout run in Washington, D.C., received a decidedly unenthusiastic review from Washington Post theater critic Peter Marks this week. Marks called it “overcaffeinated, overstuffed and virtually charmless.” Using similar language, Paul Harris of Variety called it “a frenetically paced and woefully overcooked endeavor that’s excessive in virtually every respect.” “Beetlejuice” is scheduled to open at the Winter Garden Theatre in the spring.

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