‘Mamma Mia’ hits 10th anniversary
Pop the pink champagne, put on your spandex jumpsuit, and waive your arms to the tune of “Waterloo.” “Mamma Mia” celebrated its 10-year anniversary on Tuesday night. Mayor Bloomberg, appearing onstage before the show, officially declared it “Mamma Mia! Day” and noted to the crowd that "only in New York can a show written by a British playwright with an Italian title set in Greece with a soundtrack by a Swedish pop group be this successful.” For the occasion, the Empire State Building was lit in blue, pink and white colors. After the performance, the cast, accompanied by a fireworks display, performed outside the Winter Garden Theatre for another large crowd that took over and shut down Broadway between 50 and 51st Streets.
‘Peter and the Starcatcher’ set for Broadway run
It was announced Wednesday that “Peter and the Starcatcher,” an imaginative retelling of the back story behind “Peter Pan” that played Off-Broadway last season, will transfer to Broadway in the spring. I suspect that Adam Chanler-Beret, who originated the role of Peter and is currently playing Mark in the new Off-Broadway production of “Rent,” will return for the Broadway bow.
Jude Law to tackle ‘Anna Christie’ next fall
I ran into the ridiculously busy Rob Ashford on Tuesday night during the “Mamma Mia!” festivities. He’s choreographing the new Broadway revival of “Evita” and directing the musical versions of the films “Leap of Faith” and “Finding Neverland,” which are still being workshopped. He also confirmed that his hit revival of Eugene O’Neill’s “Anna Christie,” which sold out its London run, is expected to transfer to New York next fall with its original star Jude Law. Frankly, I’d like to see his scaled-down production of the musical “Parade,” which he directed in London and Los Angeles, come to town.
Block to take over for Foster in ‘Anything Goes’
Stephanie J. Block, who has appeared on Broadway in “9 to 5” and “Wicked,” will temporarily take over the role of Reno Sweeney in “Anything Goes” next month while Sutton Foster takes a leave of absence to film “Bunheads,” a television pilot for ABC Family written by “Gilmore Girls” creator Amy Sherman-Palladino.
Sharon and Kelly Osbourne rumored for ‘Chicago’ run
“Chicago” has already attempted quite a lot of stunt casting during its 15-year history, but this would certainly raise some eyebrows: Sharon and Kelly Osbourne. We hear that the mother-daughter duo might take over the roles of Mama Morton and Velma Kelly respectively. Interestingly, Kelly Osbourne previously played Mama Morton in London four years ago and scored decent reviews. But even with her “Dancing with the Stars” experience, could she actually handle the dance-intensive role of Velma?
‘King Kong’ musical to debut in Melbourne
Crazy as it may sound, the long-rumored musical version of “King Kong” is actually happening. Seriously. It will premiere in Melbourne, Australia in 2013 prior to a planned New York run. The 40-plus cast will include actors, singers, dancers and puppeteers. No word yet on whether the title character will sing or not.
‘Newsies’ has 50-50 shot of Broadway transfer
A source at Disney Theatricals told me that “Newsies,” which finished its run at New Jersey’s Paper Mill Playhouse last weekend, has around a 50-50 shot of transferring to Broadway by the spring. Many have pointed out that Jeremy Jordan, who won raves for his portrayal of Jack Kelly at Paper Mill, is about to start previews for “Bonnie & Clyde.” However, word is spreading that if Disney decided to move forward with “Newsies,” it would be willing to buy out Jordan’s contract. Then again, considering how quickly musicals written by Frank Wildhorn (“Dracula,” “Wonderland”) tend to close, that might not even be necessary.
Uproar erupts at ‘Godspell’ previews
Quite a few theater geeks who attended the first previews of “Godspell” last week were not too impressed. In fact, they seemed curiously infuriated. One went online and suggested that the revival must have been directed by (gasp!) Julie Taymor in light of two female cast members that have already suffered injuries. Others were put off by a joke regarding Steve Jobs’ recent death and extensive new choreography. But a trusted friend of mine who caught the show said it is “definitely not the horror show described on All That Chat” and added that even I might like it. For now, I’ll keep my views open and take things “Day By Day.”
Strouse premieres MLK musical Off-Off-Broadway
Most critics, myself included, agreed that the new Broadway play “The Mountaintop,” with its corny, supernatural plot twists, hardly does justice to Martin Luther King’s legacy. Luckily, another show might do the trick. “Martin,” a new musical about Dr. King with a score by Charles Strouse (“Annie,” “Bye Bye Birdie”), began performances on Wednesday night at the tiny Kraine Theatre in the East Village. For better or worse, “Martin” also has an afterlife theme in which Dr. King explains his struggles contemporary urban high school students, who attend a school named after him but have little idea of what he stood for.
‘Addams Family’ producers won’t bother adding revisions for Broadway run
The new national tour of “The Addams Family” apparently includes numerous changes to the script and score that have made the show, which received dreadful reviews when it opened, comparatively better. However, I hear that the producers won’t bother adding those revisions to the Broadway production, which is already set to close at the end of the year. Even if it would cost money and require additional rehearsals, it would be a way to end the Broadway run on a positive note.
Stephen Sondheim at “Sons of the Prophet”…Matt Damon at Joe’s Pub…James Cameron at “The Lion King”…Perez Hilton and Cheyenne Jackson at “Godspell”…Joan Rivers and Debbie Reynolds at “Follies”…Alicia Keys, Star Jones, Spike Lee, Magic Johnson and Harry Belafonte at opening night of “The Mountaintop”