Summer in the City - STAGE-SCAPE 2011
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One of Broadway’s most dynamic musical seasons ever is settling into summer with The Book of Mormon’s sell-out-status thermostat continuing to skyrocket and How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, starring Daniel Radcliffe at the Al Hirschfeld Theatre, flexing its box office muscle, propelled by the timely release of the final Harry Potter film (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2) on July 15.
Meanwhile, Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark -- re-imagined, retooled, and musically revamped -- has officially opened at the Foxwoods Theatre (garnering a major “Halleluiah!” from the superhero sector), while Hair: The American Tribal Love-Rock Musical is ensuring Broadway is blessed with yet another “summer of love” (the hit revival returns for a limited run July 5 through September 10).
On the non-musical front, the next several weeks mark last call for several limited-run/super-run productions: Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo starring Robin Williams and the much-extended The Importance of Being Earnest, featuring a not-to-be-missed Brian Bedford as Lady Bracknell, are set to close on July 3; while John Leguizamo’s latest tour de force, Ghetto Klown, and the exquisitely heartbreaking revival of The Normal Heart (with Joe Mantello, Ellen Barkin and John Benjamin Hickey) are scheduled to leave the Great White Way a week later.
Fortunately, at least one new play has chosen summertime to make its Broadway debut: the revival of Terrence McNally’s Master Class, with Tony winner Tyne Daly playing outspoken operatic diva Maria Callas. It arrives in gift-wrapped glory from its highly praised Kennedy Center premiere, with a “student body” that includes Sierra Boggess (last seen on Broadway as Disney’s Little Mermaid) in the role originated by Audra McDonald in the original 1995 production.