Theater Talk: Fall 2015 Season Preview


>>HASKINS: Coming up on “Theater Talk”…>>RIEDEL: We are gonna be talking about the upcoming and exciting — sort of — new Broadway and Off-Broadway season here in New York City. So let’s get right to it, Patrick. Before we jump into all the new shows coming up, I just want to get one thing out of the way. “Razzle Dazzle: The Battle For –” I’m kidding. [ Laughter ]>>PACHECO: Drinking game.>>HASKINS: Drinking game.>>”Theater Talk” is made possible in part by… ♪♪ From New York City, this is “Theater Talk.” I’m Susan Haskins.>>RIEDEL: And I’m Michael Riedel of the New York Post, and I’m also the author of a new book called –>>PACHECO: All right, everybody. Drinking game.>>HASKINS: Drinking game.>>RIEDEL: It’s a new book called “Razzle Dazzle: The Battle for Broadway.” That’s out from Simon & Schuster in bookstores near you. And I’m joined by fans of my book — Patrick Pacheco from NY1 “On Stage.” You’re getting your autograph –>>PACHECO: And art info. I saw that on the “Remaindered” column in the Strand, Michael, as I was biking up here.>>RIEDEL: Thank you very much. And our friend Michael Musto from –>>MUSTO: out.com, which is a new thing, Michael, called the Internet. You should check it out instead of clinging to the dying book business. I’m also on the dying TV — [Chuckles] No, I’m also on TV in “Cocktails & Classics” on Logo.>>HASKINS: I love that show.>>RIEDEL: We like “Cocktails & Classics,” yes. I’d be delighted to come on and talk about my book.>>MUSTO: When hell freezes over. [ Laughter ]>>RIEDEL: My book “Razzle Dazzle: The Battle for Broadway.” And we’re also joined by our friend Jesse Green, the theater critic for New York magazine. And believe it or not, we’re not gonna be talking about my book that much tonight. [ Laughter ]>>GREEN: Forget it. I can’t do this.>>RIEDEL: We are gonna be talking about the upcoming and exciting — sort of — new Broadway and Off-Broadway season here in New York City. So let’s get right to it, Patrick. Before we jump into all the new shows coming up, I just want to get one thing out of the way. “Razzle Dazzle: The Battle For –” I’m kidding. [ Laughter ] I want to get “Hamilton” out of the way, all right? It opened in the summer. It has been lauded up the wazoo. You cannot pick up The New York Times without reading some puff piece, some slobbering job about how brilliant “Hamilton” is. Honestly, Patrick, is this the show that is changing everything?>>PACHECO: Well, I heard the pope couldn’t get tickets when he was in. I think it’s terrific. I think it’s great. I don’t know what your animus towards it is, Michael.>>HASKINS: Yeah, what’s the hostility towards “Hamilton”?>>RIEDEL: It’s overrated.>>PACHECO: It’s hiring — It’s employing a lot of people. It’s gonna be around for a long time. It’s fresh. It’s original. Lin-Manuel Miranda did a great job. I think it’s terrific.>>RIEDEL: Talk about talking points. All right, Michael, please.>>MUSTO: I loved it. Sorry.>>RIEDEL: Oh, God!>>MUSTO: I found it thrilling. It’s the new “Chorus Line.” But on Broadway, things don’t change the game, let’s face it. “Hair” opened in the 1960s. Everybody was like, “All the new shows are gonna be rock ‘n’ roll –” There were like two new shows that were rock ‘n’ roll.>>RIEDEL: [ Laughs ] They were terrible.>>MUSTO: Yeah, Broadway is set in its ways, but “Hamilton” is a thrilling new example of the way a musical can be. The rap was exciting even though it’s old-school rap. It’s not up-to-the minute rap.>>RIEDEL: Yeah, Lin-Manuel’s idea of rap music is something that I was listening — Well, I wasn’t listening to it, but I heard some of it in like 1991.>>MUSTO: Well, Broadway’s not ready for Nicki Minaj. They’re ready for, like, Sugarhill Gang.>>RIEDEL: Milli Vanilli, that’s what I like.>>MUSTO: Yeah.>>RIEDEL: All right, Jesse. You’re the critic on this panel. Please, are you with me on this? Is it overpraised? Is it overrated?>>GREEN: No.>>RIEDEL: Bah! [ Laughter ]>>GREEN: It’s excellent. Sorry. Maybe if you would go.>>MUSTO: Let’s cut that nasty chapter out of “Razzle Dazzle.”>>RIEDEL: Don’t rip my — [ Laughter ]>>PACHECO: Drinking game.>>GREEN: I agree with what Michael and I think Patrick, too, said, you know, calling it historic and a game changer is usual flimflammery. It’s just a very good example of what it is, and, honestly, I don’t want to see the things that come in it’s train, trying to imitate that style, ’cause they’re gonna be hideous.>>RIEDEL: Just as Michael was saying about the rock musicals that came after “Hair.” They’re really terrible. It is diminishing returns. And, also, the great Broadway shows are really kind of one-offs in some way. I mean, what did “A Chorus Line” lead to? Nothing really, but –>>GREEN: Unemployment once they all broke through their feet.>>RIEDEL: Right, right, but why should any Broadway musical be seen as something that’s going to pave the way for something new? Great shows are unique and exciting and unto themselves.>>MUSTO: Like the Gloria Estefan show.>>RIEDEL: That’s what I think could topple “Hamilton,” actually.>>MUSTO: Okay, good night, everybody.>>RIEDEL: Let’s talk about the Gloria Estefan show, which is called “On Your Feet!” as opposed to “On Your Toes.” I think this could be the “Mamma Mia!” style. I think this is a show that’s not gonna be a “game changer,” but it’s gonna be fun.>>PACHECO: It’s a first-rate creative team. You’ve got Jerry Mitchell directing. You’ve got Sergio Trujillo choreographing. You have Alex Dinelaris — if I’m pronouncing it correctly — the screenplay writer for “Birdman” writing the book. It tried out in Chicago, got very good reviews in Chicago, it’s coming in with a head of steam, I think, into New York, and I think it’s gonna be a hot ticket.>>MUSTO: More than “Mamma Mia!” it’s the new “Beautiful,” but it’s “Beautiful” times two because it’s a couple. It’s Gloria and Emilio against the world, right? And it’s another one of these jukebox shows about an artist’s progression and their career, and this one has the love affair, the love story. I think it is gonna appeal to people. Everyone is gonna “Conga” for tickets, and I do like Gloria, but you start thinking, “What next, Jody Watley?” [ Laughter ]>>RIEDEL: Are these the kind of things that just make your flesh crawl when you see them coming, you know you’ve got to sit through these jukebox bio things again?>>GREEN: Well, “crawl” might be too strong. [ Laughter ] I do — You know, I’m not a fan of jukebox musicals. I don’t think — I can’t say I can think of one that I think is any good.>>HASKINS: “Jersey Boys.”>>GREEN: I hate “Jersey Boys.”>>HASKINS: Really?>>GREEN: I’ve said this a hundred times.>>RIEDEL: “Mamma Mia!”?>>MUSTO: “Beautiful”?>>GREEN: I don’t like any of them.>>MUSTO: You’re the grinch.>>GREEN: I’m the grinch. That’s right. No, because the books are terrible. They’re trying to squeeze material that was not written to tell a story into these rejiggered stories that are neither true to the biography nor make sense of the lyrics, and, dramatically, the whole thing’s a wash. It can be fun.>>HASKINS: “Jersey Boys” was so brilliantly directed.>>GREEN: Ew!>>PACHECO: Yeah, I agree with you, Susan.>>GREEN: Yes, well, I’m clearly an outlier on that one, but I’m willing to give it a chance. What I’ve noticed, though, about the “Hamilton” thing — This “On Your Feet!” is the only big show that seems to have dared to come in the wake of “Hamilton.” Because even almost all the way to the spring, there’s not a lot of new shows of large stature.>>PACHECO: It’s also a question of rent, you know, a theater. Timing is always when you can get a theater, whether it’s “Hamilton” or not.>>RIEDEL: There’s one coming, though, I saw the workshop of it, and I thought it was terrific. I didn’t even know what to expect, but “School of Rock,” which is Andrew Lloyd Webber’s new musical, based on the popular movie, and what’s interesting to me about this, Patrick, is Andrew Lloyd Webber seems to be deliberately to be sort of staying out of the spotlight. It’s not “Andrew Lloyd Webber’s show.” It’s just “School of Rock,” lyrics by Glenn Slater, additional music by Andrew Lloyd Weber, book by Julian Fellowes, who did “Downton Abbey.”>>HASKINS: “School of Rock” is a brilliant movie.>>MUSTO: Well, he’s box-office poison — Let’s face it — these days.>>PACHECO: Though you’re also using music from the Jack Black movie? Is that right?>>RIEDEL: And then Andrew has written several new good rock songs.>>PACHECO: Right, and as you just pointed out, Julian Fellowes — Again, somebody from writing for screen is now writing for the theater, as well. And they hosted a series of workshops — I think you saw at the Union Square Theatre. I thought that the word that came out about it was that the book needed some more work. Did it?>>RIEDEL: The book always needs work.>>PACHECO: Did it?>>RIEDEL: No, I –>>GREEN: I didn’t understand what the butler was doing in there. [ Laughter ] Explain that.>>RIEDEL: Why’s it take place at Sandhurst?>>MUSTO: It was a charming movie that I really enjoyed, and I took my friends to see it, and they were like, “Oh, we can get into this.” ‘Cause it’s a formula story of kind of a nebbishy weirdo who’s off the beaten track and finds his mission in life by teaching these kids.>>HASKINS: It will be interesting to see, though, because it was such a vehicle for Jack Black. Who’s this new guy who’s going into the –>>RIEDEL: Alex Brightman. He’s very good. The funny thing about Alex Brightman, though, because he’s onstage almost the entire time, and he’s jumping around like this — He’s supposed to be a schlubby guy. That’s kind of the joke — a schlubby loser.>>PACHECO: Right.>>RIEDEL: But because of the energy he has to expend in the show, he began losing weight, [Laughing] and they told him he has to go back to being fat and schlubby.>>GREEN: He has to hire a personal anti-trainer.>>RIEDEL: Exactly. Right. But I wanted to back to this what you said — Andrew Lloyd Webber box-office poison. Do you — Is he deliberately taking himself out so he won’t be the target, so he won’t –>>MUSTO: I think so because if people hear a new Andrew Lloyd Webber play, they’re gonna think — What? “Love Never Dies” was the disastrous sequel to “Phantom” that never made it to Broadway. “Whistle Down the Wind” never made it to Broadway. Unfortunately — Which one did make it to Broadway?>>Both: “Woman in White.”>>MUSTO: No, and another one about Mr. Jeeves or something.>>PACHECO: “By Jeeves” did come.>>MUSTO: Right, well, that’s his track record in the last couple decades.>>RIEDEL: The amazing thing about Andrew Lloyd Webber is he still looms so large because of those early shows, but he has not had a hit since “The Phantom of the Opera,” which is 28, going on 30 years ago.>>PACHECO: Well, because he’s taken on daring subject matter. I mean, he really has. He’s taken on very adventurous subject matter, and hats off to him, but I think, in this play, it looks like he’s actually going for a commercial hit this time around.>>RIEDEL: They cast these kids who manage to be adorable without being cloying, and they all really play the instruments. So you have this girl who’s about this high, and she plays a big double bass, and it’s really very cute.>>MUSTO: Do they keep the little gay kid who knows about Liza Minnelli? That was in the movie.>>HASKINS: Yes.>>MUSTO: Okay.>>HASKINS: No, I don’t know they did.>>MUSTO: Oh. [ Laughter ]>>HASKINS: Did you ever see the movie?>>RIEDEL: No, I’ve never seen the movie, but I’ve seen the workshop, and it’s great.>>MUSTO: I’ll tell you a show that I think is a hard sell is obviously gonna be “Allegiance,” which is a George Takei-involved musical about Japanese-American internment camps. Ya! [ Laughter ]>>RIEDEL: Give ’em the old “Razzle Dazzle.” [ Laughter ]>>GREEN: It’s based to some extent on George Takei’s own experience as an internee.>>MUSTO: And he’s in it in a dual role. I think he’s playing the grandfather, as well as maybe the older version of his –>>RIEDEL: But that’s also about his being a gay kid in a culture that he couldn’t be openly gay in –>>MUSTO: Wait a minute. The characters are not gay in “Allegiance.” I asked Lea Salonga, who’s also in it.>>RIEDEL: Oh. Well, I know she’s not gay, but — [ Laughter ]>>GREEN: Somebody’s gay. Who is it?>>MUSTO: Back to the Liza kid in “School of Rock.”>>RIEDEL: There’s actually a show on Broadway where there are no gay characters?>>GREEN: Franklin Delano Roosevelt.>>MUSTO: It doesn’t have a chance.>>PACHECO: “Color Purple.”>>GREEN: Ah, yes, yes.>>MUSTO: There was lesbianism in “Color Purple.”>>RIEDEL: The lesbians in “Color Purple,” yes, but let’s just finish the George Takei. [ Stammers ] I know you think it won’t sell, but it does sound interesting. We don’t see this story –>>PACHECO: It’s right out, I think, at The Old Globe Theatre, and it got respectful reviews. I mean, there’s always a problem when the subject matter is earnest, and I can’t see it being anything other than earnest, and –>>GREEN: You mean you don’t think they’re gonna mock the Japanese internment camps?>>MUSTO: It wasn’t written by “The Book of Mormon” guys.>>PACHECO: But it is fascinating subject matter, you know, and it’s a totally new creative team, as well. It’s written by young…talent that hasn’t –>>RIEDEL: [ Laughing ] Who’s names don’t even –>>GREEN: Who doesn’t have a name — so young, hasn’t been named yet.>>PACHECO: Jay Kuo is one of the writers, thank you very much.>>RIEDEL: I’d keep your eyes open. Let’s talk about a couple of the plays coming. Seems to me a lot of revivals, but I do like the Harold Pinter play “Old Times” with Clive Owen. I think that’s one of Pinter’s — It’s not exactly accessible, but you sort of can figure out what’s going in this one. Can you, Jesse?>>GREEN: Well, certainly I can, or I had better by the time I review it.>>RIEDEL: That’s true.>>GREEN: It is a tough one for a lot of people, and the buzz has been that people have no idea what’s going on. Luckily, it’s short. It’s 70 minutes, no intermission, although the original was done with an intermission. I guess they didn’t want to offer people the exit. I happen to like it, too. I haven’t seen this production yet, but it’s one of those things where, you know, if it’s even slightly less than perfectly acted, then nothing’s going on.>>RIEDEL: Let me ask you, Michael, aside from Lin-Manuel Miranda, is Harold Pinter the most overrated theater artist of all time? [ Laughter ]>>MUSTO: Should I pause for 20 minutes before answering? [ Laughter ]>>RIEDEL: Have we been sold a bill of goods with Harold Pinter?>>MUSTO: I think maybe some of his works have not held up as well as in the ’60s, when they seemed more groundbreaking. Now you can see through some of the charades going on. I’m more interested in Stephen King, frankly, ’cause last time he was on Broadway, it was “Carrie” the musical, and that was fabulous.>>RIEDEL: We’ll get to that in a minute. Patrick, are you still a big Pinter fan?>>PACHECO: Yeah, I am. I think he’s brilliant, and I think this is one of his most brilliant plays, and it’s being directed by Douglas Hodge, who won a Tony Award for “La Cage aux Folles” of all things, but has been a longtime collaborator with Pinter, both as an actor and as a director. And it’s got a crack cast with Eve Best and Kelly Reilly and Clive Owen, of course. And it sort of reeks of sex. It’s a very sexy play. I’m really looking forward to it.>>RIEDEL: Yeah, I think the only way you can really play Pinter is to do it, if you will, “straight.” You can’t make it seem important. You just have to deliver the lines very quickly with those little pauses here — I don’t even know what those pauses are — and let the play kind of work itself out. I hate it when they deliberately slow it down and they make it dark.>>GREEN: Well, they didn’t do that.>>RIEDEL: Oh, you saw it?>>GREEN: No, but it’s 70 minutes.>>RIEDEL: Yeah. [ Laughter ] And very bright. All right, Michael, I know you love this American masterpiece, “Misery.” [ Both chuckle ] This is an adaptation of the Stephen King novel, the adaptation being done by William Goldman, who I believe did the screenplay, if I’m not mistaken, for that movie.>>PACHECO: That’s right.>>RIEDEL: And, what, you identify with this because you’re a writer? Or because you’re a shut-up –>>MUSTO: I identify with both characters.>>RIEDEL: [ Laughs ]>>MUSTO: I’m glad it’s not a musical. I don’t think “cockadoodie” would lend itself to an aria. [ Laughter ] And as I mentioned, Stephen King on Broadway last time around was “Carrie” the musical — Kill the pig, get the blood. Bad idea. This is a good idea, I think. Laurie Metcalf is a very respected actress and an Emmy winner, and Bruce Willis I think is gonna sell a lot of tickets ’cause people –>>RIEDEL: Can he act?>>MUSTO: I don’t care.>>RIEDEL: This looks, to me, like it’s all done just for a quick buck, Jesse.>>HASKINS: You think?>>GREEN: Really? [ Laughter ] Oh, excuse me, is that the drinking game? [ Laughter ]>>RIEDEL: Is it going to “razzle dazzle” you? [ Laughter ]>>GREEN: What would a Broadway season be without three or four of these, you know, visiting stars coming in for 13 weeks or whatever it is, 16 — Where’s the break-even on these days?>>PACHECO: It can be anything as low as 10, actually.>>GREEN: They can get by with 10 weeks?>>RIEDEL: If they can get the premium-priced –>>PACHECO: Right. Exactly. That’s what’s changed the game.>>HASKINS: Yeah, Al Pacino coming in with a David Mamet play — What’s it about? I don’t know.>>GREEN: It’s about a rich man and a plane. That’s all we’ve been told.>>MUSTO: It’s about 90 minutes.>>GREEN: [ Chuckling ] Yes.>>MUSTO: I love paying top dollar, by the way, for these shows — not that I do — and people are going, “Oh, at least it’s only 70 minutes.”>>RIEDEL: I know — “I’m paying $450 to see Al Pacino, and it’s only 70 minutes.” Great. I know it’s gone completely crazy. I just want to say, though, Patrick, about “Misery,” the thing that I’m hoping, the slot it fills — We don’t have these things anymore — but just fun, old-fashioned stage thrillers. We used to have the deathtraps and the sleuths. We haven’t seen one of these in a long, long time, and done well, they’re very enjoyable.>>PACHECO: Because they’re incredibly hard to pull off, and that was kind of the rap that “Misery” had when it tried out at the Bucks County Playhouse under a totally different cast, but same director. And he’s gonna have his hands full with Bruce Willis. I don’t think that Bruce Willis is the kind of actor that takes kindly to too much direction.>>RIEDEL: Yeah, but Laurie Metcalf is pretty tough herself, and I think, if Bruce Willis gets out of line, she’s the one holding the sledgehammer. [ Laughter ]>>GREEN: Let’s hope it’s a prop.>>RIEDEL: I saw this play in London, and it got good reviews — I thought it was a little boring, to be honest with you — “King Charles III.” And it’s about the queen finally dies, and Charles becomes king, but then is –>>GREEN: So it’s science fiction? [ Laughter ]>>MUSTO: Well, to me, it’s macabre ’cause, last year, Queenie got to watch Helen Mirren as herself. “[ English accent ] Oh, this is marvelous.” [ Normal voice ] Skip ahead a year — What if Queenie was hit by a truck?>>RIEDEL: [ English accent ] Still lovely, lovely. [ Normal voice ] Is this making the bid, Patrick, for the snob hit, the English thing that comes in with a pedigree that all the fancy people are gonna have to rush to see?>>PACHECO: It certainly does because I think it’s done in verse, right? Is it not? It’s done in verse. It also has the ghost of Diana. It’s very Shakespearean. It’s got all the characters that are straight from the tabloids, so it’s certainly gonna excite a lot of buzz. Whether it can maintain that, if you felt that it was boring, I don’t know.>>RIEDEL: Jesse, is there just an inexhaustible appetite in this country for things about the royals? I mean, we had a revolution to get away from these people, and now we can’t embrace them fast enough on Broadway.>>GREEN: Well, apparently, a homegrown product doesn’t sell as well. And, you know, it is the Miller centenary, Arthur Miller’s 100th birthday. Thanks to Scott Rudin, we’re seeing some Miller plays, but other than that, you wouldn’t even know that there was a playwright named Arthur Miller. Tennessee Williams is pretty much, except for one or two plays, washed up on Broadway. Albee — Maybe every five years, you’ll get something. But put the queen in it, bring it every year.>>PACHECO: Or the Tudors –>>MUSTO: Then there is hope for Tennessee Williams. [ Laughter ]>>RIEDEL: Elizabeth II as Blanche Du Bois. I can see… I want to talk about those Miller plays, though, because “A View From the Bridge,” which is coming from Europe, I believe — Is it?>>GREEN: It’s Ivo van Hove is the –>>RIEDEL: You can pronounce his name. I’m very impressed.>>GREEN: Well, it’s just a bunch of consonants and vowels, Michael. He’s a world-renowned avant-garde director, usually not someone you think of in terms of Broadway. But he’s doing two Arthur Miller plays on Broadway, one in the fall and one in the spring.>>RIEDEL: “The Crucible.”>>GREEN: “The Crucible.” And he has recently done some amazing work that we’ve seen Off-Broadway.>>MUSTO: And of course we just saw “The Crucible” two weeks ago, but this one is barefoot.>>GREEN: We also saw “A View From the Bridge” not so long ago.>>HASKINS: Yes, we did, with Alison — No, no, P–>>PACHECO: Scarlett Johansson.>>GREEN: Scarlett Johansson.>>HASKINS: Hey –>>RIEDEL: But I agree with you. I think — I’m not a big “Crucible” fan, actually. I saw that at Minneapolis, and I think it’s kind of a pretentious, bloated, overrated thing, but –>>PACHECO: What?>>RIEDEL: Oh, yeah, you sit through it again, and all that –>>PACHECO: It was great. Liam Neeson’s last one was terrific.>>RIEDEL: ♪ Boring ♪ But I love “A View From the Bridge,” which I think is really –>>GREEN: And it’s important that we see these things, and I’m glad it is coming.>>RIEDEL: Right, right. Well, speaking of things that are also important, “Dames at Sea,” Patrick — [Laughing] one of the great musicals of all time. I mean, why? I mean, it was a piffle 30 years ago, and it’s coming back in a big Broadway production, a bunch of sailors jumping up and down? What?>>PACHECO: Well, I think it’s because it’s cheap. It’s three characters. It’s two pianos, I think.>>MUSTO: Six actors.>>PACHECO: Six actors, two pianos, it’s in the smallest theater, and it’s had a long life since 1966. It started at the Caffe Cino.>>RIEDEL: You saw it.>>PACHECO: Decades ago. It started at the Caffe Cino, and it starred, two years later, when it moved Off-Broadway, to the Lucille — then the Theatre De Lys — it starred Bernadette Peters and was her first major role. Since then, it’s had a long life at colleges and high schools, and perhaps they’re counting on the familiarity with that to kind of fuel box-office –>>GREEN: Wow, if they’re counting on the familiarity of it –>>RIEDEL: [ Laughing ] “Dames at Sea.”>>HASKINS: I’m thinking –>>RIEDEL: Wait — Michael wants to say something on “Dames at Sea.”>>MUSTO: I saw a press presentation, and it looked terrific to me, but it’s a hard sell because another shipboard pastiche is “Anything Goes,” but that has hit songs by Cole Porter, and that always has a star.>>GREEN: But I think producers often feel there’s a slot for — Like, there’s the wartime shipboard kind of musical. We had “On the Town” last year.>>MUSTO: Which limped along and, in a very bittersweet fashion, started selling for two weeks at the end ’cause they got a star — Misty Copeland.>>RIEDEL: Right, right, right.>>MUSTO: Don’t you think they thought, “Maybe we should’ve started out with a star”?>>HASKINS: I want to mention two revivals before — We’re almost done. Do we need another “Fiddler on the Roof,” albeit with Danny Burstein?>>PACHECO: Sure.>>MUSTO: Danny is terrific. I don’t know if he has the kind of volcanic personality that is usually required for that role. It’s the role that Zero Mostel made legendary.>>RIEDEL: [ Laughing ] I think Alfred Molina ruined.>>MUSTO: I thought he was terrific, too. But knowing Bartlett Sher, who’s directing, it will be a stripped-down and an introspective version, like when Kelli O’Hara played Nellie Forbrush — just a nice girl.>>GREEN: I don’t think Bartlett Sher is known for stripped-down.>>PACHECO: Not at all.>>MUSTO: Well, no, I’m talking emotionally more introspective.>>GREEN: Well, that sounds a lot better. [ Laughter ]>>HASKINS: Because the wife is being played by…>>GREEN: By…>>RIEDEL: Ethel Merman.>>MUSTO: Jessica Hecht.>>HASKINS: Thank you. Jessica Hecht, who is a very intense dramatic actress.>>GREEN: If they get Ethel — Actually, I hear the pope is being considered. [ Laughter ]>>HASKINS: Now, but — But are you gonna still talk about that show?>>GREEN: I just wanted to say one other thing about “Fiddler.” Sometimes we get these revivals not when one might think the audience is ready for them, but when the artists are ready for them. When this particular director who wants to do this show wants to do it, go for it.>>RIEDEL: Sounds to me like self-indulgence.>>PACHECO: Good point.>>HASKINS: I want to mention, before we go, a very major revival.>>ALL: ♪ It’s the bitch of living ♪ ♪ It’s the bitch of living ♪>>MAN: ♪ And living in your hand ♪>>ALL: ♪ In your hand ♪>>HASKINS: “Spring Awakening” for the deaf community.>>PACHECO: Michael, for the title –>>HASKINS: You saw it, Michael.>>MUSTO: It’s very good, and they use the signing — ‘Cause some of the characters sign while other actors sing and talk for them. Some of them do everything. Each character is approached in a different manner. But they use the deafness to comment on the ostracism and –>>RIEDEL: And the sense that the adults don’t listen to their kids.>>GREEN: Yeah, it’s a very apt metaphor.>>RIEDEL: Yeah, it’s a beautiful show. I love the original production.>>HASKINS: And it’s really creating a buzz around town, this production.>>MUSTO: And I can hear it. [ Laughter ]>>RIEDEL: That’s terrible.>>GREEN: I just wasn’t thinking we should go there.>>RIEDEL: [ Laughing ] That’s terrible.>>HASKINS: No, we shouldn’t.>>RIEDEL: It’s Michael Musto.>>HASKINS: Now they’re gonna cancel. They’re coming next week, and now they’re gonna cancel.>>RIEDEL: It’s Michael Musto. He’s a grotesque. He can get away with saying things like that.>>PACHECO: “Color Purple,” Susan?>>HASKINS: Isn’t he… [ Laughter ]>>MUSTO: Moving on.>>HASKINS: “Color Purple,” Patrick? “Color Purple.”>>PACHECO: That’s coming this fall, is it not?>>RIEDEL: God, do we need that?>>GREEN: That’s stripped-down. If you want to talk about stripped-down, this is John Doyle’s London –>>MUSTO: Stripped-down, but they’ve added an Oscar-winning star, Jennifer Hudson — not in the lead role, though.>>PACHECO: She’s Shug. She plays Shug.>>HASKINS: Oh, you’re kidding.>>PACHECO: Cynthia Erivo plays Celie.>>RIEDEL: Who makes the pants, right?>>PACHECO: Who makes the pants — Yeah, Celie makes the pants.>>RIEDEL: You make it sound like she’s in the stage crew.>>PACHECO: I hear she’s terrific. She walked away with the reviews when it was at The Chocolate Menier Factory, where it got –>>GREEN: Wait — No, The Menier Chocolate Factory. [ Laughter ]>>RIEDEL: In London.>>HASKINS: Why would Jennifer Hudson come to Broadway to do a secondary role?>>PACHECO: Well, because it’s a more glamorous role. She doesn’t want to play Celie. She wants to play the glamorous kind of bisexual –>>GREEN: Sexpot chanteuse comes in and electrifies all the town and gets them –>>RIEDEL: She’s got a couple of big powerhouse –>>MUSTO: She jazzed up “Finding Neverland,” remember? [ Laughter ]>>RIEDEL: You know, I want her, though — In “The Color Purple,” I do want her, ’cause they’re all poor, and I want her to come in with the glamorous –>>MUSTO: In a glitter gown out of “Dream Girls”…>>RIEDEL: [ Laughing ] Out of “Dream Girls.”>>MUSTO: …come out of her limousine and sing, “I’m telling you I’m not going.” [ Laughter ] Works for me.>>GREEN: If I can just say, this is a show that, if there was a show that could stand to be stripped down, “The Color Purple” is the one because the original production was just — There was something very wrong about it.>>MUSTO: And bloated.>>GREEN: And bloated. Based on a really excellent –>>MUSTO: But another “American Idol” star, Fantasia, was actually sensational as a replacement for the lead role.>>RIEDEL: I saw “The Color Purple” when it opened, and I thought it was terrible. I went back to see Fantasia, and it was terrific. It’s one of those shows where, you have the right person in that role, and the whole thing feels different.>>MUSTO: So we’ll see how the pope does.>>PACHECO: I think Cynthia Erivo is the right person.>>RIEDEL: Okay, we got to wrap it up. Very quickly, though — A performance that you’re looking forward to this season, Patrick, an actor you like who’s coming back?>>PACHECO: I think Keira Knightley in “Thérèse Raquin.”>>RIEDEL: The Zola.>>PACHECO: Yes, it’s based on a…>>RIEDEL: Zola’s novel.>>PACHECO: A Zola novel and it — “Thou Shalt Not,” actually, the musical some years ago, that Harry Connick — was based on.>>RIEDEL: Yeah, but that was a terrible musical, but “Thérèse Raquin” is a great novel. So if it’s adapted well, I think it could be very effective.>>PACHECO: Totally.>>RIEDEL: Michael, an actor –>>MUSTO: There’s a revival of an A.R. Gurney play called “Sylvia” coming, and no jokes about who should’ve played the lead role of the dog, but it’s being played by Tony winner Annaleigh Ashford. She’s always delightful. I always look forward to her stuff.>>RIEDEL: Absolutely. Jesse, anyone –>>GREEN: You know, I take them as they come. Whoever.>>PACHECO: What’s striking about the fall is that Cicely Tyson, who is 90, and James Earl Jones, who is 85 –>>RIEDEL: Yeah, doing “The Gin Game.”>>PACHECO: Doing “The Gin Game.”>>MUSTO: But she looks 40 on the marquee. Have you seen the marquee?>>PACHECO: Yeah, but, I mean, the theater does relaunch –>>MUSTO: There are gonna be a lot of doctors backstage. [ Laughter ]>>PACHECO: Michael.>>HASKINS: Well, on that cue –>>RIEDEL: All right, thank you, Patrick Pacheco from NY1 “On Stage,” Michael Musto from outofthecloset.com. [ Laughter ] Where’s “Razzle Dazzle”? Where’s my book?>>PACHECO: Yep, yep.>>MUSTO: Let me take off the discount sticker. There you go. [ Laughs ]>>RIEDEL: Oh, my God. You upset the… [ Laughter ] And Jesse Green, from New York magazine. Thanks for being our guests on “Theater Talk,” and we’ll have you back to assess the spring, which will be around the corner.>>PACHECO: Amen.>>RIEDEL: Thank you very much. Good night.>>BRIGHTMAN: ♪ And if you wanna be the teacher’s pet ♪>>CHORUS: ♪ Ooh, la, la, la ♪>>BRIGHTMAN: ♪ Baby, you just better forget it ♪>>CHORUS: ♪ Ooh, la, la, la ♪>>BRIGHTMAN: ♪ Rock got no reason ♪ ♪ Rock got no rhyme ♪ ♪ You better get me to school on time ♪ ♪ Oh, yeah! ♪ [ Guitar solo ]>>GIRL: ♪ Oh, you know I was on the honor roll ♪ ♪ Got good grades, and I got no soul ♪ ♪ Ooh, raise my hand before I can speak my mind ♪ ♪ I’ve been biting my tongue too many times ♪>>BRIGHTMAN: ♪ And then the magic man said to obey ♪>>GIRL: Uh-huh.>>BRIGHTMAN: ♪ Do what magic man do, not what magic man say ♪>>GIRL: Say what?>>BRIGHTMAN: ♪ Now can I please have the attention of the class? ♪ ♪ Today’s assignment ♪ [ Clears throat ]>>CHORUS: ♪ Kick some… ♪ [ Jazz music plays ]>>HASKINS: Our thanks to the friends of “Theater Talk” for their significant contribution to this production. “Theater Talk” is made possible in part by…>>Announcer: We welcome your questions or comments for “Theater Talk.” Thank you.

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