Broadway Beat: Walter White, Orphan Black, holiday shows, and more for Philly fans to know
Young choir singers from Philly and South Jersey are part of the holiday family musical 'The Little Dancer'
"I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take this anymore!"
You can say that again. And he will:
Network, an adaptation of the legendary movie, is poised to become the latest hot ticket on Broadway. It stars Bryan Cranston, who famously played Walter White on Breaking Bad, and Tatiana Maslany, the chameleonlike star of Orphan Black. The play is directed by Ivo van Hove (The Crucible), the current go-to guy for avant-garde stagings.
Previews started Saturday at the Belasco Theatre. Opening night is set for Dec. 6. It plays for a limited run of 18 weeks.
Details at networkbroadway.com.
Tables with a view
And to accompany your play, may we suggest dinner amid the action?
Network ticket buyers who purchase a "Foodwork" experience will sit at an onstage restaurant during the performance, where they will be served drinks and a small plates designed by former White House pastry chef Bill Yosses.
Actors perform scenes in the restaurant, so, yes, “you will be visible to your fellow audience members throughout the performance,” the play’s website advises. Tickets are limited, expensive ($399), and come with a dress code: “If you purchase a Foodwork seat, please wear dark, smart-casual clothing,” the production advises.
For more information and to view the menu, visit NetworkBroadway.com/Foodwork.
Four holiday shows for the family
Big Apple Circus plays under the big blue tent at Lincoln Center until Jan. 27. There are perfect sight lines from every row, comfortable seats, and, most important, no animal cruelty to worry about and no scary, creepy clowns.
The Illusionists at the Marquis Theatre (Nov. 23-Dec. 30) is a whiz-bang of a magic spectacular featuring a team of magicians. Each specializes in a specific kind of illusion, from mind-reading to escapology, aided by lots of super-duper lighting effects. Note that they're coming to the Merriam Theater May 10-11.
The Rockettes Christmas Spectacular is at Radio City Music Hall through Jan. 1. This year, the amazing high-kicking ladies will be joined for the first time by 100 high-kicking drones. The show is helmed by Sam Buntrock, who directed the Broadway production of Sunday in the Park with George and who clearly knows a thing or two about staging a spectacle.
Of local interest is The Little Dancer Musical (Dec. 1-23, at Theatre 71 at Blessed Sacrament, 152 W. 71st St.), whose chorus features 34 Philadelphia and South Jersey young people, chosen from the Garden State Girlchoir, the Keystone State Boychoir, the New Jersey Boychoir, and the Pennsylvania Girlchoir. Their are round-trip bus trips to some performances, leaving from the Presbyterian Church of Chestnut Hill. Details at thelittledancermusical.org/bustrip
Broadway trend alert!
Has anybody else noticed that so many of the recent, current, and coming shows are biographies? Consider this list of notables, each with his or her own drama or musical: Cher, Tina Turner, Gloria Steinem, Lenny Bruce, Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan, Donna Summer, Hillary Clinton, Josephine Baker, and Carole King.
And Harvey Fierstein is working on a new show about Bella Abzug, the hat-wearing feminist firebrand.
Drama Book Shop drama
Sad news. No sooner had I told you in October's column about the beloved Drama Book Shop on West 40th Street than news came that it was closing after nearly a hundred years because rent had gone up to $20,000 a month. Relocation is likely.
Some of Broadway's leading lights, including Lin-Manuel Miranda and Quiara Alegría Hudes, have visited to sign copies of their plays, which are being sold to help keep the lights on.
Toby Zinman's "Broadway Beat" appears monthly, on the second Tuesday of the month.