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Behind the Curtain: Four characters axed from 'Smash' and more

Raza Jaffrey of

Raza Jaffrey of "Smash" (Getty) Credit: Raza Jaffrey of "Smash" (Getty)

Four characters axed from 'Smash' second season
We already knew that NBC intends for the second season of "Smash" to be different, with "Gossip Girl" producer Josh Safran replacing the show's creator Teresa Rebeck as showrunner. But just a week after the season finale, word is now spreading that the characters played by Brian d'Arcy James, Will Chase, Raza Jaffrey and Jaime Cepero will not be returning. Still, it wasn't their fault their story lines were terrible.

Met changes its mind about Opera News reviews
The Metropolitan Opera set off a firestorm of controversy on Tuesday when it was revealed that Opera News, a longtime magazine published by a Met affiliate, had been asked by the Met to no longer review its productions following a rash of negative articles criticizing the new "Ring" cycle and the controversial tenure of general manager Peter Gelb. In response to the outcry from operagoers - who are notoriously difficult to please - the Met relented by the end of the day and confirmed that the publication would still be able to review its shows.

Stagehands union protests outside Spiegelworld tent
Not everyone is happy to have circus is in town. Local One of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, the union representing the stagehands of Broadway, protested Spiegelworld's use of nonunion labor outside the show's tent on Tuesday. Spiegelworld, a sexy adult circus that previously set up camp at the South Street Seaport, is located at 45th Street and Eighth Avenue. "Local One IATSE can't stand by while a non-union entertainment operation pitches its tent, even temporarily, in the heart of the Broadway theatre district, the working home of thousands of entertainment professionals," Local One president James J. Claffey said in a statement. In response, the Spiegelworld producers noted that "this is not a Broadway show, the tent is not a Broadway house, and we don't charge Broadway prices."

'Spider-Man' offering cheap tix to real-life heroes
Another week goes by, another weird "Spider-Man" promotion comes along. Just in case your name isn't Tony (or something like it) and you don't qualify for a free ticket on June 10, the producers of the Broadway musical are now offering discounted "hero tickets" to active and retired members of the military, EMS, police officers and firefighters.

Jesus rises from the dead at "Godspell" ...sort of
Hunter Parrish, who originated the role of Jesus in the Broadway revival of "Godspell," rose from the dead on Sunday night, which was the final performance of cast member Lindsay Mendez. Parrish, who was sitting in the audience, got pulled onstage by Mendez to play Lazarus during one of the show's many skits.

'Annie' to play the Palace
Little orphan Annie has found a home on Broadway. The producers have confirmed that the upcoming revival will play the Palace Theatre, where "Priscilla: Queen of the Desert" closes next month. There's speculation that Jean Smart, who's been hinting that she will soon be on Broadway, got the role of the villainous Miss Hannigan.

Encores! to perform 'Fiorello!' and 'Superman'
Lots of City Center Encores! news. To mark the series' 20th anniversary next season, it will bring back the 1959 musical "Fiorello!," the first show that Encores! performed back in 1994. This will mark the first time that Encores! has done a show twice. It will also produce "It's a Bird ... It's a Plane ... It's Superman" - the first superhero musical - and the Rodgers & Hart dance tribute "On Your Toes."

Arthur Laurents estate available at auction
Want to own a piece of Arthur Laurents' legacy? Pieces of the late playwright-director's estate will be auctioned off on June 2 at Roland Auctions including art, furniture and theater-related items. Here's hoping original drafts of "West Side Story" and "Gypsy" will be available.

Schwimmer, Ryan move to Off-Broadway 'Detroit'
David Schwimmer and Amy Ryan will headline the New York premiere of "Detroit," which was originally slated to play Broadway but will instead be produced Off-Broadway at Playwrights Horizons. Lisa D'Amour's high-profile drama was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.

Spotted ...
Hank Aaron at "A Streetcar Named Desire" ... Neil Patrick Harris at "Peter and the Starcatcher" ... Charlotte Rae at "One Man, Two Guvnors."

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