A: Firing On All Cylinders - Q: What is NYC’s Theatre Scene Doing This September?
Building on Broadway’s musical success stories over the past two years—Book of Mormon, Newsies, Nice Work If You Can Get It, Once, and Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, and long-running champions such as Wicked, Jersey Boys, Mary Poppins, Mamma Mia!, Chicago, The Lion King, and the grandfather of them all, Phantom of the Opera (inching up on its quarter century celebration in 2013)—is the new fall season, led by showbiz rags-to-riches-to-scandal dazzler Chaplin, with Rob McClure (below) in his breakthrough, tour de force performance as the Little Tramp.
Robert Cuccioli, who was nominated for a Tony Award for his electrifying split-personality run in Jekyll & Hyde (1997-2001), is now Spider-Man’s split-personality foe, Dr. Osborne/The Green Goblin, at Foxwoods Theatre. He recently replaced Patrick Page, who left the soaring mega-musical to play another villain—Comte de Guiche—in the Roundabout Theatre revival of Cyrano de Bergerac starring Tony winner Douglas Hodge (La Cage aux Folles) in the title role.
In honor of the 10th anniversary of one of Off-Broadway’s most powerful theatrical events, The Exonerated is returning to the Culture Project (aka the home of its award-winning genesis in 2002). Boasting original director Bob Balaban, the current revival will once again feature a rotating cast of first-rate stars including Stockard Channing, Brian Dennehy, and Brooke Shields (pictured). For those unfamiliar with the production, the verbatim work was created by Jessica Blank and Erik Jensen from interviews, letters, transcripts, and court records of six death row inmates—incarcerated and condemned for crimes they didn’t commit—whose convictions were overturned. Notably, Sunny Jacobs, one of the play’s “exonerated,” will join the company the week of September 25-30. In addition, actor/musician John Forte, whose sentence for drug trafficking was withdrawn four years ago, will be part of the cast.
Scheduled for a limited run from September 15 through November 11, this docu-drama was dubbed “jaw-dropping… intense and deeply affecting” by the New York Times. Visit cultureproject.org for more info.
Other celebrities in the Off-Broadway spotlight this month include Oscar nominee Jake Gyllenhaal (left) and Tony winner Brían F. O’Byrne in the American premiere production of If There Is I Haven’t Found It Yet at the Laura Pels Theatre in the Harold and Miriam Steinberg Center for Theatre (roundabouttheatre.org); and Amy Ryan (The Office; In Treatment), David Schwimmer, and two-time Tony winner John Cullum in Detroit, a new play by Pulitzer Prize finalist Lisa D’Amour currently running at Playwrights Horizons (through October 7; playwrightshorizons.org).
And, for any Broadway stargazers looking to get a jump on the near future, Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons will be celebrating their 50th anniversary with a limited, seven-performance Broadway Concert—their first ever—October 19 through October 27 at the Broadway Theatre (frankievallionbroadway.com). Plus, a few days later, Billy Ray Cyrus will be taking on the role of flashy attorney Billy Flynn in Chicago (November 5 through December 23).