Theatre News: Closings, Outsourcing, and General Bad Behavior


Broadway World reports that the producer’s of Neil LaBute’s Reasons To Be Pretty (which was his Broadway debut nominated for three Tonys) will be closing down the production come June 14th; they were obviously holding out to see if the show could nab any statues before they went public with the news. In case you missed it before, we interviewed Neil about the play here back in February.

In other Tony-related news, the LA TimesCulture Monster cries out for American blood on Broadway, noting that last night “more than half of the Tonys given to plays and productions went to shows of foreign provenance. New York is a truly a melting pot, but these days U.S. thespians are in danger of becoming the minority.” They’ve got a point, but one that’s hard to drive home when a fantastic show like Reasons fails to deliver the crowds of something like Shrek. Do we take imported plays more seriously, or are foreign playwrights simply tackling topics that appeal more to an older, theatre-going crowd.

Speaking of crowds, this piece in the Wall Street Journal about audience members who misbehave almost makes us think that sparse attendance could be a good thing: “Mim Pollock was at a performance of ‘South Pacific’ last month when an audience member took off a shoe and propped her foot up on a rail in front of her. The woman, complaining of an injured knee, said she couldn’t sit comfortably any other way, recalls Ms. Pollock, chief usher at New York’s Vivian Beaumont Theater. Other patrons were not amused. The offenders’ toes ‘were practically in their nose,’ says Ms. Pollock. ‘And her feet smelled.'”

In more refined news, across the pond The Independent ran a story on Sir Ian McKellen’s cry for better stage roles for ladies of a certain age: “It’s a familiar cry from women friends of my age – or younger. It’s not fair that, particularly in the classics, although there are some great parts for older women, there aren’t nearly as many as there are for men in, say, Shakespeare. Judi Dench has really run out of parts to play in Shakespeare.” He makes a good point and wins bonus points for referencing the Dame, but if you look at last night’s female winners, Karen Olivo was the youngest at age 32. We’d argue that women have an easier time of it in theatre than they do in film or even music.

Also out of London: the official word that Kevin Spacey will star as Henry Drummond in a Trevor Nunn-helmed production of Inherit the Wind this fall at the Old Vic. (The same theatre where the The Norman Conquests, which took home the Tony for Best Revival of a Play, originated.) Spacey garned rave reviews when Nunn directed him in Richard II back in 2005, so we can’t wait to hear who else is rounding out this cast.