By Randy Gener
Nancy Opel | She looks for Mr. Right (or Right Now?) as CURVY WIDOW
NEW YORK CITY | Ever since Nancy Opel, a Tony Award nominee whom you may remember in Broadway’s HONEYMOON IN VEGAS and URINETOWN) came onto the scene, her work has been a mark of excellence and good entertainment. So it is with special joy to announce that she’s getting sassier in an upcoming witty musical comedy called CURVY WIDOW.In it, Opel will play a part named Curvy Window, which has been described as “a gutsy, recently widowed 50-something woman” who “immerses herself in the modern dating scene.”
It seems you should go through your black book to find your own date for this journey through the semi-autobiographical adventures charted by Bobby Goldman (book), Drew Brody (music and lyrics),and directed by Peter Flynn. Head out to the Westside Theatre (407 West 43rd Street between 9th and 10th Avenues). Performances for the open-ended engagement begin July 20 and opening night is set for August 3.The sex-charged comedy was inspired by the playwright’s experiences after her husband—writer James Goldman (THE LION IN WINTER and FOLLIES)— died suddenly. At 50-something, the attractive widow turned to dating to fill the real or imagined void in her life. This process, unpredictable under the best of circumstances, led her to a life-altering insight that she had not expected.
From exploring internet personal ads and surviving hilarious first dates, to weighing the pros and cons of married vs unmarried men, Opel’s widow romps her way through it all with humor and perseverance, and discovers unexpected truths about love, life and sex.
Tickets are $79.00 – $99.00 (including a $1.50 facility fee). Premium seats are available. Call Telecharge.com at 212-239-6200. For more information, please visit www.CurvyWidow.com. Telephone and internet sales begin May 24; Box office opens on July 5.
Sherie Rene Scott | Dressed as an Iranian queen, she goes Farsi on us
NEW YORK CITY | We haven’t heard about Sherie Rene Scott lately, have we? The last time she stood out, based on memory, was when she stood out in the stage version of WOMEN ON THE VERGE OF A NERVOUS BREAKDOWN. And oh yeah, there was also her autobiographical solo show EVERYDAY RAPTURE at the Roundabout Theatre Company way back when/
In any case, Scott will alight anew in as Gertrude in a strictly limited engagement of a new dual language (English/Farsi) version of HAMLET at the Sheen Center for Thought and Culture (18 Bleecker Street). Starring opposite Scott will be Tony Award nominees Arian Moayed as Hamlet and Micah Stock as Horatio, with direction by Drama Desk nominee Tom Ridgely. The show officially opened this past Sunday, May 21 and will play through June 3.Original music will be composed and performed live by singer-songwriter Mohsen Namjoo, “the Bob Dylan of Iran” (New York Times).
“When simply looking Middle Eastern means living with an identity under siege, and with the current political leadership thin on the ground, where can we as a culture turn?” said Waterwell artistic director Tom Ridgely. “This company of immigrants and first generation Americans is offering us a perspective on this seminal play that we simply haven’t seen before, which also marks the first professional production in the United States featuring an Iranian-born Hamlet.”
Set in Persia a hundred years ago, on the eve of World War I, Waterwell’s HAMLET wweaves passages of Farsi translation into the English of Shakespeare’s masterpiece of crisis and identity. In it, a traditional way of life is being threatened by an evolving world, the land is being threatened by encroaching foreign interests, and a young man finds himself uprooted and torn between opposing customs, values and codes.
Tickets are $30-$75 with a limited number of $20 same-day rush. Please visit https://sheencenter.org/shows/hamlet/ for more information and to purchase.
Victoria Clark | In Denmark, a full-fledged director emerges
DENMARK | Wow! Victoria Clark, who won the Tony Award for Leading Actress in a Musical for THE LIGHT IN THE PIAZZA, deserves to be commended for her artistic bravery. Since May 12, when her staging of a new musical called THE TROUBLE WITH DOUG began performances in Denmark, she is re-introducing herself as a bona fide stage director.
Says Ms. Clark, “THE TROUBLE WITH DOUG is ultimately about the range of the human experience, surrendering to circumstances in life we can’t control, and how we respond to change. Exploring this hilarious and moving material with this remarkable company has been the greatest gift a director could ever hope for.”In fact, Clark has been associated with THE TROUBLE WITH DOUG as a director since it appeared at the National Alliance for Musical Theatre Festival. Clark also directed the original musical NEWTON’S CRADLE by Heath Saunders and Kim Saunders for the 2016 New York Musical Theater Festival, for which she won the festival’s award for best director.
It turns out that unbeknownst to us she’s been a helmer for quite sometime. She has also directed for Texas Opera Theater, Philadelphia Opera, Chautauqua Opera, 92nd St. Y, the John Drew Theater, NAMT, and Pace University. Who knew?
THE TROUBLE WITH DOUG, a new musical from award-winning writers Will Aronson and Daniel Maté, is receiving its European premiere at Denmark’s Fredericia Theatre through June 2nd.
The whole scenario is, well, Kafkaesque. Described as “a contemporary, comedic reimagining of Kafka’s Metamorphosis, the show concerns “a happy, healthy young man transforms inexplicably into a giant talking slug. Thrust together awkwardly under the same roof, Doug, his family, and his fiancée all struggle to understand and respond to this strangest of crisis.” (That’s according to those pesky pressies who rep this tuner).
The Danish cast features Lars Mølsted as Doug. Mølsted is currently nominated for Denmark’s premier theatre award for his performance as Quasimodo in the Fredericia Theatre’s production of THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME. Also appearing are Thomas Jensen, Bjørg Gamst, Ulla Ankerstjerne, and Christian Damsgaard.
Fredericia Theatre, under the leadership of Creative Producer Søren Møller, will present the world premiere of the stage version of DreamWorks’ THE PRINCE OF EGYPT in April 2018. For tickets and more information: fredericiateater.dk
Lea DeLaria | Yukking it up as host of the Village Voice Obies
NEW YORK CITY | She’s a stitch, that one. She’s bright and brassy. And she’s beloved by the American Theatre Wing and the Village Voice.
How do we know? The comedian Lea DeLaria is returning as the host of the 62nd Annual Obie Awards, which will be held on Monday, May 22, 2017 at Webster Hall (125 East 11th Street). The Obie and Screen Actors Guild Award-winning actress is now on her third consecutive year as wacky emcee. Tickets to the 2017 Obie Awards can be purchased at http://www.ObieAwards.com .
“Lea DeLaria has come to personify the best of Off Broadway; she’s smart, edgy, and charges way less than she’s worth,” said Heather Hitchens, president of the American Theatre Wing. “At this point, we consider her family, and we are delighted to have her back.””I have come to personify the best of off-Broadway. I’m smart, edgy and charge way less than I’m worth. At this point I consider myself family and I’m delighted to be back,” said Lea DeLaria.
Judges for the 62nd Annual Obie Awards include Village Voice columnist and longtime Chair of the Obie Judges Michael Feingold, Obie and Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Ayad Akhtar, Entertainment Weekly theater critic Melissa Rose Bernardo, Obie-winning actress J. Smith Cameron, Obie-winning actor-singer Darius de Haas, Village Voice theater critic Miriam Felton-Dansky, and Obie-winning actress Daphne Rubin-Vega. Productions that wish to invite consideration from the judges should visit www.ObieAwards.com. Questions regarding invitations should be directed to ObieInvites@americantheatrewing.org
For more information, visit www.ObieAwards.com.
Lea DeLaria seems to have achieved overnight stardom with her SAG Award winning, stand-out role as ‘Carrie ‘Big Boo’ Black’ in the Netflix hit series “Orange is the New Black.” However, DeLaria’s multifaceted career as a comedian, actress and jazz musician, has in fact, spanned decades.
She holds the distinction of being the first openly gay comic on television in America which led to countless television and film roles portraying Police Lieutenants, PE Teachers and the Lesbian who inappropriately hits on straight women. A featured vocalist at the 50th anniversary of the Newport Jazz Festival, she has performed in some of the most prestigious houses in the world including Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, the Chicago Symphony, Hollywood Bowl, The Royal Albert Hall and the Sydney Opera House.
And she’s got five records on the Warner Jazz and Classics label and her book Lea’s Book of Rules for the World is in its third printing at Bantam Doubleday and Dell. Her sixth record, “House Of David delaria+bowie=jazz,” was released in the Summer of 2015 to critical acclaim.
The Village Voice created the Obie Awards, at the suggestion of then editor Jerry Tallmer, soon after the publication’s own inception in 1955, to encourage the newly burgeoning Off Broadway theater movement and to acknowledge its achievements. The Obies are structured with informal categories, to recognize artists and productions worthy of distinction in each theatrical year. Over the decades, the Obie Awards have played a major role in the Voice’s long history of championing work of innovative and exceptional quality Off and Off-Off Broadway. While the categories of the awards have continued to change almost annually, the creative spirit remains the same.
Follow Lea on Twitter and Instagram @realleadelaria and FaceBook. www.delariadammit.com
Follow the Wing on Facebook.com/TheAmericanTheatreWing and Twitter.com/TheWing.
For more Obie information, visit www.villagevoice.com
Jen Collela | She sleeps with Helen Hayes and Antoinette Perry (aka the Tonys)
WASHINGTON, D.C. and NEW YORK CITY | She’s “mostly gay.” Yet she’s all talented. And when it comes to winning, she’s very polyamourous.
On May 15, Jen Collela took home the Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical. She got singled out for the delights she conveys in the critically acclaimed new musical COME FROM AWAY, which has been nominated for 7 Tony Awards including Best Musical.
Beverley Bass, the lady pilot who landed the musical’s central plane in Canada, is played by Collella who described herself as “mostly gay” singer/actress. She debuted on Broadway in 2003 in URBAN COWBOY and has many other credits to her name (including shows like HIGH FIDELITY and CHAPLIN).The real Bass, according to reports, adores the show so much, she’s a repeat viewer. “She’s seen it 62 times,” Collela says. “She loves it. She’s not just given it her stamp of approval, she cries and gasps every time as if it’s her first time. She was the first female captain on American Airlines. She was retired, but since the show, she started to creep back into flying. It ignited it again.”
When did Collela meet Bass?
“Not until the last preview in La Jolla (the California venue where it played pre Broadway),” Collela replies. “In a restaurant, we spotted each other across the room and she came up to me and said, ‘I think you’re playing me.’ I said, ‘I think you’re right.’ She has definitely helped inform some of the things people put into the show. There are more stories she shared with the writers that got integrated, and I started adding little mannerisms of hers to make it as authentic as possible.”
Did she experience misogyny as a female pilot? “Absolutely,” Collela told Out Magazine. ” ‘Me and the Sky’ [Jenn’s big song in the show] is almost directly taken from transcripts. She talks about the WWII pilots calling her ‘baby’ and literally saying women don’t belong in the cockpit.”
In any case: As if it were a prognostication, COME FROM AWAY won 4 Helen Hayes Awards in Washington, D.C., including Outstanding Musical Production for the 2016 out-of-town production of COME FROM AWAY at Ford’s Theatre in Washington DC. The company of COME FROM AWAY was honored with the Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding Ensemble in a Musical and 2017 Tony Award Nominee Christopher Ashley won a Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding Director in a Musical. The Helen Hayes Awards recognizes outstanding achievement in more than 90 professional theatres across the Washington metropolitan area.
COME FROM AWAY, which has been playing to standing room only audiences, features a book, music and lyrics by two-time Tony Award nominees and Outer Critics Circle Award winners Irene Sankoff and David Hein, direction by two-time Tony Award nominee and Outer Critics Circle winner Christopher Ashley (MEMPHIS), musical staging by two-time Tony Award nominee Kelly Devine (ROCKY), and music supervision by Ian Eisendrath (A CHRISTMAS STORY). COME FROM AWAY recently won 5 Outer Critics Circle Awards including Best Musical, and has been nominated for Best Musical by the Drama Desk Awards and Drama League Awards.
Tickets for COME FROM AWAY on Broadway are on sale at www.telecharge.com (212.239.6200) and the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre box office (236 West 45th Street), and range from $47 – $177 (including the $2 facility fee).