Like that out-of-control bus in the movie Speed, Priscilla Queen of the Desert, the stage adaptation of the 1994 cult movie, careened onto Broadway last week – out sassing other sing-along fare like Momma Mia! in a truly over-the-top spectacle that must be seen to be believed. As in the film, the stage version, which originated in Sydney and is still playing in London, follows the epic adventure of three drag queens as they race across the Outback in the titular bus, Priscilla. The ostensible purpose of the trip is for Tick/Mitzi (Will Swenson) to meet his long-lost son living with his mother in the desert outpost of Alice Springs.
In the second act of That Championship Season, one of characters vomits into a trophy commemorating the high school state basketball championship win by the assembled group of dissolute men from a small Pennsylvania town some 20 years ago. It's an apt metaphor for the state of the men's lives vividly depicted in this riveting revival of the 1972 Pulitzer-Prize winning Season, which opened March 6 on Broadway. The years since their Glory Days have not been kind to the group – which features a full-firmament of Hollywood stars including Kiefer Sutherland, Chris Noth, comedian Jim Gaffigan and Jason Patric, whose late father Jason Miller wrote the play.
For the first seven months of its run, Trevor Nunn’s revival of Steven Sondheim's acclaimed 1973 musical A Little Night Music—its first on Broadway after three in the West End—boasted both a Broadway legend in Angela Lansbury (taking on the entirely wheelchair bound role of Madame Armfeldt) and a Tony-winning turn by Catherine Zeta-Jones in the role of Desirée Armfeldt: the actress's musical theater debut after winning an Academy Award in 2003 for her work in the musical film adaptation of Chicago.
This holiday season Broadway is serving up two Norwegian fruitcakes in Elling, a nutty confection sure to give you a sugar rush. The titular character Elling, played with manic verve by Denis O'Hare, is released from a mental institution to live in a small Oslo apartment with 40-year-old virgin Kjell Bjarne, played by Brendan Fraser in his Broadway debut, who gives a somewhat heavy-handed but ultimately winning performance. The agoraphobic Elling becomes strangely attached to his oafish and sex-crazed roommate as he dabbles in writing and finds a mentor in a noted Norwegian poet (Richard Easton), who may or may not be trying to to steal his work.
Continuing their fine tradition of non-profit arts initiatives, The Public Theater once more returns to The Delacorte in New York's Central Park for the summer season, this year presenting - free to the public - productions of Shakespeare's comedies: A Winter's Tale, and a Merchant of Venice, headlined this year by the venerable Al Pacino. An 1800 seat open air arena The Delacorte is a unique experience, with (weather permitting) performances preceding through Twilight and into the warm summer nighttime.
Of all the playwrights working today you’d be hard pressed to find one who has had more critical acclaim lavished on him than David Mamet. And while he may, at times, be treated as the second coming, most of that praise is well deserved as any time you sit down for one of his plays (or films) you are guaranteed to have your long standing beliefs challenged in a format that is wildly entertaining yet downright brutal to those who refuse to keep up. Plus he’s never been one to pander to those upper class types who regularly fill the nation’s theatres.
Danielle Panabaker's Top Pop Picks
"I'm really into the Avett Brothers as of late."
"My girlfriends are I - we are very nerdy. We started a book club and the first book we read was Gone Girl."
"I thought it was a great film and I thought Jennifer Lawrence was incredible, you know those angry tears, I've certainly experienced that."
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