It was announced a while back that Rumer Willis would be taking on the role of Roxie Hart in the long-running revival of Chicago for a few weeks in autumn. The run would coincide with daddy Bruce Willis' stay in the stage adaptation of Misery, also on Broadway. That way father and daughter could enjoy after-show dinners and walks through Central Park and other heartwarming New York scenarios.
But this week, that gig started to feel a little bit like a rumor. Rumer (whose name is continually corrected by my spellcheck) was supposed to start her stay in August. That changed to Sept. 14 to allow her time to fully recover from a foot injury, according to production sources. And on September 14, this past Monday, that date moved to Sept. 21.
We’ll see what next week brings. If she shows up, she'll remain with the Broadway production for six weeks through Nov. 1.
Carolee Carmello and Andrew Keenan-Bolger will reprise their performances in the Broadway bow of Tuck Everlasting, the new musical based on Natalie Babbitt's best-selling 1975 novel of the same name. The two played mother and son when the musical premiered earlier this year in Atlanta.
Carmello was most recently in Finding Neverland. Keenan-Bolger’s last Broadway show was Newsies.
The musical will play the Broadhurst Theatre, the recent home to the Broadway hit Mamma Mia!, which closes this past week. The musical will begin previews March 31, 2016.
Speaking of Mamma Mia!, the ABBA musical wrapped up a long Broadway stay on Sept. 12, and the takeaway of its experience in New York is pretty much "The Winner Takes It All."
Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus international hit musical played its 5,773rd and final Broadway performance Sept. 12 at the Broadhurst Theatre. It closed as the eighth longest-running show in Broadway history. It had its world premiere in London, and opened in New York Oct. 18, 2001, at the Winter Garden Theatre, where it continued through Oct. 19, 2013. The production then transferred to its current home, the Broadhurst, on Nov. 2, 2013. In its various productions the show has grossed a reported $2 billion worldwide.
At the final performance, there were just as many Mamma Mia! stars in the audience as there were on stage. Among those in the crowd were original cast members Judy Kaye and Karen Mason as well as those who joined the company throughout its record-breaking run, including Carolee Carmello, Alan Campbell, Dee Hoty, Olga Merediz and dozens of former chorus members.
Always an interesting gauge of what plays in Peoria, theatre-wise, is the annual American Theatre Magazine list of the Top Ten Most-Produced Plays of the season (that are not Shakespeare or A Christmas Carol). This week, it released the list for the already-underway 2015-16 season.
Showing a certain daring and artistic health among the nation's theatres was the news that the most-produced play of the upcoming season will be Ayad Akhtar’s challenging Pulitzer Prize winner Disgraced, which opened on Broadway last October. The play will see 18 productions.
At number six was Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike by Christopher Durang, which continued to go strong; it was the most-produced play of last season. It will get eight more stagings this coming season.
Other plays on the list include Peter and the Starcatcher (16 productions); Outside Mullingar (11); Mr. Burns, a post-electric play (7); and, interestingly, the nearly 30-year-old Fences by August Wilson (7).
Last year, the short-sighted owner of the Edison Hotel kicked its beloved, long-time, ground-floor tenant, the Cafe Edison, to the curb after more than thirty years of providing Times Square and the theatre community with tasty, inexpensive food and heartfelt service. The hotel owners said at the time that the "Polish Tea Room," as it was fondly known, would be replaces by a fine-dining, white tablecloth establishment — an idea that nobody liked much.
Well, turns out that was all a bit of hot air. The landlords entertained more than 50 offers from a variety of bidders. And the one they settled on (no doubt because it was attached to the biggest rent payday) came from not a fancy chef but a restaurant chain. Friedman's Lunch, the eclectic comfort food restaurant with four locations across Manhattan, sealed the deal to branch into Times Square.
The food will be much like that at the Cafe Edison — Jewish and eastern European staples — making people wonder why they got rid of the Edison in the first place. The prices, however, will not be reminiscent of the old joint. For instance, The Edison's reuben sold for $8.50, while Friedman's grilled comes with a $17 price tag. The chicken matzoh ball soup ranges $5-$8; Edison’s was three bucks and change.
Jeff Roseman, the broker who closed the deal, told the Daily News that the Edison landlord wanted "something warm" and was keen to steer clear of high-end, celebrity chef tenants.
Hm. Sounds like a place I used to go to on West 47th Street.