February - Broadway's Launchpad for the Spring SeasonJanuary 30, 2012 - by Griffin Miller, Theatre Editor
Broadway’s complete spring lineup is rapidly coming together, so if you’re curious about what’s on the horizon, here is the “Ultimate Coming Attractions” roster for confirmed productions! [For your scheduling pleasure, shows are listed in order of preview dates.]
On the Great White Way, it’s also a golden time for a) catching the stars that have moved into major roles in hit shows, and b) being among the first wave to scoop up tickets to spring previews.
In category “a,” the musical hit How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying has a trio of new celebs. Daniel Radcliffe’s role as corporate-ladder climbing J. Pierpont Finch is now being played by teen heartthrob Nick Jonas of Jonas Brothers fame and a youthful Broadway resume that includes Annie Get Your Gun, Beauty and the Beast and Les Misérables.
Meanwhile, film and TV’s Beau Bridges has replaced John Larroquette as boss J.B. Biggley, the part that netted the one-time Night Court star a Tony last June. And finally, Michael Urie (known to Ugly Betty fans as Marc and Off-Broadway devotees for playing Rudi Gernreich in 2009’s The Temperamentals) recently replaced Christopher J. Hanke as Biggley’s hilariously smarmy nephew, Bud Frump.
[FYI: Larroquette has not deserted Broadway. He’ll be starting previews for Gore Vidal’s The Best Man on March 6 alongside former Boston Legal costar Candice Bergen. And a hefty heads up to scoring tickets early for Best Man as its must-see status has as much to do with its election-year cache as it does its awesome company featuring Tony nominee Kerry Butler (Xanadu), ex-Mayoral first lady Donna Hanover, Michael McKean, Eric McCormack and (drum roll please), Tony winners James Earl Jones, Angela Lansbury and Jefferson Mays.]
Another recent cast change, this one centering on the uplifting musical Sister Act, has two-time Tony nominee Carolee Carmello bringing down the house as Mother Superior -- the role recently vacated by Victoria Clark, who has joined the West Coast transfer of Follies, assuming the role played in New York by Bernadette Peters.
Carmello, who was last seen on Broadway as greeting card poetess Alice Beineke in The Addams Family, has a long history on Broadway including a couple acclaimed turns as Donna Sheridan in Mamma Mia! In Sister Act, she plays opposite Olivier Award nominee Patina Miller, who originated the role of Deloris Van Cartier in London and brought the show to New York the first quarter of 2011.
Of the long list of shows entering the Broadway arena this spring, only two shows are positioned to launch performances this month, but they rank in the season’s upper-est of echelons: a revival of Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman directed by Mike Nichols, with heavy hitters all-round, including Philip Seymour Hoffman as Willy Loman, Andrew Garfield as Biff, Linda Emond as Linda and Tony winner John Glover as Ben. (Previews for this limited 16-week run begin 2/13 for a 3/15 opening.)
The second February newcomer is Once, the stage musical based on the 2007 hit indie film bearing the same name. This love story about an Irish musician and a Czech girl that played to sold-out audiences a few months ago at Off-Broadway’s New York Theatre Workshop makes the transfer to Broadway on 2/28 with the same amazing leads: Steve Kazee (110 in the Shade) and Cristin Milioti (Stunning) (pictured above). Official opening date is 3/18.
And for anyone who missed Venus in Fur’s brief Broadway run late last year, you’re in luck. It’s returning (albeit in another limited edition: 2/7 through 6/17) and this time it will play at the Lyceum (vs. its former home at the Friedman). And yes, the actors who gave this electrifying two-person show its power surge -- Nina Arianda and Hugh Dancy -- will be back!