Ben Stiller Returns to Broadway

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While Jerry Seinfeld is headed to Broadway to direct, Ben Stiller is returning to a play that afforded him his stage debut. In 1986, Stiller played the son of the main character in a Broadway revival of the play The House of Blue Leaves. He will now play the father in the latest revival, opposite another Hollywood star, Edie Falco, recently of Sopranos and Nurse Betty.

The play is set in Queens, New York in 1965 while the Pope is visiting New York City. Artie Shaughnessy (Stiller) is a zookeeper with dreams of becoming a songwriter in Hollywood. Artie’s middle class existence conspires to derail these dreams, with a schizophrenic wife named Bananas (Falco) whom he plans to dump in a mental institution called The House of Blue Leaves as he runs off to Hollywood with his downstairs neighbor, Bunny. Apparently there are some nuns involved as well.

The 86 revival won 4 Tony Awards, including direction and one each for the two leads, John Mahoney and Swoosie Kurtz. It was also nominated for the best play award.

The 2011 revival will be directed by David Cromer and produced by Scott Rudin, and will play the Walter Kerr Theatre next spring. Little soon for ticket listings, but they’ll show up on our House of Blue Leaves Tickets page soon enough.

Jerry Seinfeld Directs Colin Quinn To Broadway

Everyone wants to direct, and Jerry Seinfeld gets his chance (well, second one, according to the IMDb) at it. This time it’s not a video package for The Concert for New York, though it’s in the same city, on Broadway, with Colin Quinn’s one man show Long Story Short.

While Seinfeld is fairly well known for the sitcom of the same name, Quinn is remembered for his run on Saturday Night Live, where he eventually became the “Weekend Update” anchor. He was okay, Miller is still the best. I say that only so you can all think “hey, now I know when you first started watching SNL.”

Quinn is also notable for having hosted the roundtable talk show Tough Crowd with Colin Quinn, which was an earlier attempt by Comedy Central to find a good programming match to air after The Daily Show. Having been one of the the apparently small number of people too lazy to change the channel after TDS was over, I do remember Quinn quipping one night about the show being up for renewal and how they should be nice to him or he’d leave…

Colin Quinn: Long Story Short, continues in the tradition of shows with Colin Quinn’s name in it, and will appear at the Helen Hayes Theater previewing October 22nd with an official opening date of Nov 9th. The “long story” in question is no less than a history of the world as seen through the eyes of various declining empires. Presumably jokes will be involved.

Spider-Man Can’t Catch A Break on Broadway

The AP reports that Alan Cumming, slated to play the Green Goblin, has dropped out of the new Spider-Man: Turn off the Dark musical due to “scheduling conflicts.” Considering he thought he’d be doing the part nearly a year before the show now “may” open, this shouldn’t really be a suprise. The show’s original Mary Jane Watson, Evan Rachel Wood, had pulled out of the production back in March. No word yet on who will replace either role.

So far Reeve Carney remains as Peter Parker / Spider-Man for an opening that is still not formaly set, though the target remains sometime in the Fall 2010 Broadway season at the Hilton Theatre.

Escape from Rachel York

98 To Go

98 To Go

Adorable Dalmatian puppies take note: Broadway and Hollywood actress Rachel York has been cast as Cruella de Vil in the upcoming touring production of 101 Dalmatians – The Musical. Based on the same book by Dodie Smith as the Disney animated movie from 1961, and subsequent live action version from 1996, the musical will follow the adventures of Dalmatian Pongo, his canine spouse, and their 10 Dalmatian puppies in London. Those 10 plus the other 91 dognapped Dalmatians add up to the number in the title. Like some encountering the story as a child, it took me a while to catch on to the fact that all 101 weren’t all from the same mother.

When not on Broadway or doing guest star roles, Miss York has done some voice over work in both animation and video games, including a guest stint as Wonder Woman nemesis Circe in the recent Justice League series and some minor roles in the game Neverwinter Nights 2. Yes, I’m the only person who would think to mention either one of those roles. Circe is notable primarily because it would make Cruella the second character Rachel York has played with very unique hair color.

The touring production of 101 Dalmatians – The Musical starts up this coming October at the Orpheum Theatre in Minneapolis. Directed by Tony-award winner Jerry Zaks, the production is said be from a “dog’s eye view” of the world, with humans as larger than life figures on stage. It will also feature actual Dalmatians, many of which were rescue dogs, as “extras”. The principle pups will be played by actors of the human variety, though. Tickets are listed for the tour on our 101 Dalmatians – The Musical tickets page.

The Sound of One Hand Clapping on Broadway

Hand bone thumbnail

Variety reports some big Hollywood names are interested in a new play set to premier on the Great White Way next March. The play, “A Behanding in Spokane”, written by Martin McDonagh, is about a man searching for his missing hand, encountering a couple con artists and a curious hotel clerk along the way. Presumably, this all takes place in Spokane, Washington, though Wikipedia says there one in Missouri, too.

The interested “big names” are Chris Rock and Sam Rockwell. Rock should be familiar to most, notable for various film roles, Saturday Night Live, and a long successful stand-up career. This would be Rock’s first “official” Broadway gig. Rockwell’s film career has been rather varied. I am a fan of his work from Galaxy Quest and as President of the Galaxy in the recent film version of the The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy. The play is described as a dark comedy, so Rock and Rockwell would make for an interesting paring, assuming the casting rumors come true.

The director, John Crowly, will arrive to the project after having directed “A Steady Rain”. That play involves a cannibal serial killer, this one a severed hand, so I’m sensing some thematic synergy between the projects… Currently there’s an opening date but no theatre attached. Sign up for alerts on the A Behanding in Spokane Tickets page to be updated when tickets hit the market.