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  • AmericanTheaterWeb Original News & Reviews

  • Use the calendar above to find ATW News & Reviews for a specific day, or use the list to the right to go to a specific review or article. The site's updated 3-4 times a day generally. For you convenience, links below will take you to ATWTopNews (a quick listing of links to some of the day's top stories) and to ATWClips (the complete digest of the day's news from ATW).


Photo: Royal Court's production of The Seagull, starring Kristin Scott Thomas

Kristin Scott Thomas will star on Broadway in her Olivier Award-winning role of Arkadina in the critically acclaimed Royal Court Theatre production of Anton Chekhov’s The Seagull. The production, featuring a new version by Christopher Hampton and directed by Ian Rickson, will open Wednesday, October 1 at the Walter Kerr Theatre (219 West 48th Street). Previews will begin Tuesday, September 16. The production will play a strictly limited engagement of 14 weeks through December 21.

Kristin Scott Thomas in The Seagull
Kristin Scott Thomas in The Seagull. Photo: Johan Persson

The production will also star Peter Sarsgaard as Trigorin and members of the praised original Royal Court Theatre cast, including Mackenzie Crook as Konstantin, Art Malik as Dorn, Carey Mulligan as Nina, Pearce Quigley as Medvedenko, Peter Wight as Sorin, Christopher Patrick Nolan as Yakov and Mary Rose as the Maid. The production will also feature Zoe Kazan as Masha, with other casting to be confirmed.

Kristin Scott Thomas, who will make her Broadway debut, won the 2007 Olivier Award for Best Actress in a Play for her performance as Arkadina. She received an Academy Award nomination for her performance in ent, and has also been seen in memorable roles in such films as Four Weddings and a Funeral, Gosford Park, Random Hearts, Life as a House, The Horse Whisperer and Angels and Insects, among many others. Recent films include The Other Boleyn Girl, The Walker and the upcoming I’ve Loved You So Long, Easy Virtue and Confessions of a Shopaholic.

Performances will be Tuesday through Saturday at 8:00 PM, with matinees Wednesday and Saturday at 2:00 PM and Sunday at 3:00 PM. On Sunday, September 28 and October 5, performances will be at 2:00 PM and 8:00 PM. Ticket information for THE SEAGULL will be announced in coming weeks.

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ATW Review - Truly Entering a Noir World in Suspicious Package

Generally, I find the fourth wall at the theater to be a useful thing. I'm not a big fan of being drawn up onto the stage and participating. Comments directly to the audience, well, they're okay. But, let me sit in the theater. I have one exception to this rule of thumb – I don't mind participating when I'm aware going into it that participation is required of all of the audience members. I'm even a little intrigued to see how artists manage to create an interactive experience for theatergoers.

Given this, I went, without trepidation, to Gyda Arber's Suspicious Package, a noir that she has developed for an audience of four. Arber's premise may sound like it's a revision to cheesy interactive dinner mystery events, where a crime's been committed and the diners have to solve the crime, but it's really much, much more.

After arriving at the Brick Theater (where the show runs through July 26), the four audience members are assigned a role – detective, producer, showgirl or heiress. After donning a character specific costume piece, Arber leads the quartet of theatergoers to the streets of Williamsburg where she outfits each with a Zune Media player. Once the video has started running, the group splits up, following directions to assorted stops in the neighborhood, learning about their character's backstory – via voice-overed thoughts during strolls from one location to the next and via handsomely produced video sequences that feature Arber's professional cast of actors.

From time to time, the action is orchestrated so that a theatergoer playing one role has to interact with fellow audience member in his or her role. At these moments, lines are projected onto the screen of the player, like sides. A clear picture about one's own role in the mystery begins to emerge as one moves along this highly entertaining 45-minute piece, but it's not until after the show's climax, when you've had a chance to chat with your fellow players, that the entire story becomes clear.

Arber's achievement with "Package" is not to be underestimated. She's timed the show to near perfection. Voice-overs, flashback video clips, and underscoring are synched for each character in the tale, and generally these electronic elements end within seconds of the time when you're to begin your next scene with an audience mate or mate(s). Both the video and audio is high-quality (at least for the size of the screen on the Zune). But, most important, Arber's choice of music and images really does make you feel as if you might have traveled back in time some 50 or 60 years to a monochrome Brooklyn universe, when private dicks maneuvered through the streets on the trail of suspicious dames, just trying to make a buck.

Suspicious Package plays Saturdays and Sundays through the end of the month. It's a swell way to spend a late summer afternoon or evening at the theater – and don't worry about being part of the action – that's the point of this ingenious piece.

------ Andy Propst


Suspicious Package continues through July 26 at the Brick Theater (575 Metropolitan Avenue in Brooklyn). Performances begin at 4pm each Saturday and Sunday. Tickets are $20.00 and can be purchased online at www.ovationtix.com or by calling 212-352-3101. Further information is available online at http://www.bricktheater.com and at http://www.thefifthwall.org.

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Here's the YouTube Trailer for the show:


Damn Yankees at City Center Encores! - Feature articles

Some of the features for Damn Yankees

New York Times

Selling His Soul for the Part
Sean Hayes is making his New York stage debut in the Encores! revival of “Damn Yankees.”

New York Daily News

'Damn Yankees' had some great runs
What does it take to put "Damn Yankees" together? You've gotta have heart. The latest production of the 1955 musical appears to have just that.

From the Daily News Archives: 'Damn Yankees'
Here's a look at the New York Daily News reviews of the original "Damn Yankees" Broadway show, the 1958 movie, and the 1994 revival


Peter Filichia's Diary: I Had a Bolin Ball
She’s out and proud about being 91 years old. And, should we all be so lucky as to live that long, we could only hope to be in the wonderful physical and mental condition that Shannon Bolin enjoys. ...

Reuters/Hollywood Reporter

Hayes, Krakowski bring "Damn Yankees" to NY stage
There's an unwritten rule: Major stage shows just don't open in this town in the summer, which makes this coming New York weekend sound particularly inviting.


"Damn Yankees" Returns For Short Run At City Center


* Joe at Bat: Damn Yankees Begins City Center Run July 5
* DIVA TALK: Chatting with Damn Yankees' Jane Krakowski Plus News of Paige and Jones
* PHOTO CALL: Hayes, Krakowski Lead Damn Yankees for Encores!
* Lawrence Replaces Gasteyer in Encores! Damn Yankees
* Cox, Mulheren, Selya and Benjamin Join Encores! Damn Yankees Company

42nd Street's Theaters Chronicled in New Book

Story of 42nd StreetGot a fascinating package in the mail over the weekend. Actually, a very heavy envelope that had a very glossy promotional piece for a new book that's coming out in September: The Story of 42nd Street inside it. "Story" has been written by Mary C. Henderson (one-time curator of the theatre collection at the Museum of the City of New York) and Alexis greene (author of The Lion King: Pride Rock on Broadway and Lucille Lortel: The Queen of Off-Broadway).

Henderson and Greene's new undertaking is summed up best by the bok's subtitle: "The Theatres, Shows, Characters and Scandals of the World's Most Notorious Street," chronicling events on the street from the moment that the first theater went up there in 1899 through its reclamation in the 1990s.

The book is divided into chapters that are dedicated to each theater. Some of them are still with us, even if they've been renamed. Others are just memories – like The Eltinge and The Cnadler (built in 1912 and 1914, respectively). The promotional piece promises that within the chapters ther will be some 25 color illustrations and 125 black and white ones.

"Story" looks as if it's going to be a fascinating and probably "must have" release when it comes out in September from Back Stage Books.

For more information, visit: Back Stage Books. Amazon.com is also taking preoders. You can click here to see the listing there.

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Honeysuckle Rose Blooming Around the Country With Ain't Misbehavin'

Honeysuckle Rose seems to be springing up all over the country this summer – at least Fats Waller's 'Rose.' There are productions of Ain't Misbehavin' happening across the U.S.

Let me start with one that's just about to start performances here in New York. It's being produced by The Harlem Repertory Theatre, in residence at Aaron Davis Hall on the City College of New York. The production starts up on July 18 and continues through September 14.

In Chicago, the Goodman Theater has its own production of "Misbehavin'" and it's been extended. You can now catch it through August 3. Here are some links to reviews of this production.
* 'Ain't Misbehavin' ' revival fills Goodman (Daily Herald)
* 'Ain't Misbehavin'' kicks up its heels at the Goodman (Chicago Tribune)
* Goodman's 'Misbehavin' ' is big and bold spectacle (Chicago Sun-Times)

There's also a production of Ain't Misbehavin' that's playing right now in Houston. It's at that city's Ensemble Theatre and it continues through July 20. Here's a link to the Houston Chronicle review of this production: Ain't Misbehavin' sizzles in Ensemble's revival

Starting in September, there will be a production of the musical that features other songs like "Your Feets Too Big," "Fat and Greasy" and "Mean to Me" at CenterREPertory Company in Walnut Creek, California. This production will run September 4 through 11.

Finally come November there will be a National Tour of this show that will be directed by its creator, Richard Maltby Jr. The tour will star 2003 American Idol Ruben Stoddard and "Idol" and Broadway veteran Frenchie Davis. At this juncture, the tour's scheduled to run into May 2009. Among the cities where it's already scheduled to play: Atlanta (November 18-23), Birmingham, AL (February 3-8) and Salt Lake City (February 17-22).

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