Some of last night’s Tony winners were going to sweep the awards from the start, like The Book of Mormon, while other shows’ wins were delightfully surprising: Catch Me If You Can, War Horse, and Anything Goes. But they all had major buzz leading up to the awards. Now, we’ve got the lowdown on some of the shows debuting in the new few weeks or months, all of which have Tony dreams of their own.
Samuel L. Jackson will make his theater debut playing Martin Luther King, Jr. in The Mountaintop, Katori Hall‘s reimagination of the night before King’s assassination. Having retired to the Lorraine Motel after his famous “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” speech, King encounters Camae, a strange room-service woman. Halle Berry was long-rumored to take on this role, but her custody battle with ex Gabriel Aubry prevented her from committing to the production. The Mountaintop –which won an Olivier Award for its London run — begins previews on September 22, with an expected opening of October 13.
Victorious star Liz Gillies, who got her start in Jason Robert Brown‘s 2008 all-kid musical 13, just did a reading of a new Broadway musical, she told Crushable last week. First Kids follows a high school senior (the part Gillies read) who, while on a museum trip, encounters the children of the Presidents. “It’s a very cool story, because I wouldn’t do anything that was educational or childlike,” Gillies said. “Every number was big and theatrical — one of the songs was called ‘Epiphany,’ so very Broadway.” (Also at the reading was Ken Page, who did the voice of Oogie Boogie in The Nighmare Before Christmas.) When Gillies first explained it, I thought this sounded like Assassins but with the Presidents’ kids instead of their killers, though later research does make it sound like the audience will be a lot younger.
A whole bunch of movies are getting the musical treatment, ranging from obvious choices (The Bodyguard, Matilda) to “huh, I see what you did there” (American Psycho, Bridget Jones’ Diary) to WTF (Rocky, A Christmas Story). These are all in varying states of development, but worth knowing about if only to start conversations at your next party.
Wondering what all of George Takei‘s delightful “Road to Broadway” videos are leading up to? The 2012 premiere of Allegiance, a musical about a Japanese-American family in the WWII internment camps. Takei and Lea Salonga first participated in a staged reading back in 2009 and have been actively supporting the musical’s evolution. (Telly Leung, who plays Wes on Glee, will play the younger version of Takei.) Allegiance is set to premiere in San Diego, CA, in summer 2012, which will probably push it out of reach of next year’s Tonys — but maybe at those awards we’ll be treated to a big sneak peek starring Takei!