Connecting Theater Degrees of Separation and Association
in the Current Season By Ellis Nassour
Tony and Drama Desk nom Christian Borle [Legally Blonde, Spamalot], prior to opening as Black Stache in the NYTW’s Lortel-nominated Outstanding Play Peter and the Starcatcher [Outstanding Actor nom] portrayed Prior Walter in the acclaimed Signature Theatre revival of Tony Kushner’s Angels in America.
But that’s only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to current six degrees of separation and associations this season.
For instance, Michael Urie replaced Borle as Prior Walter in Angels, now in its last weeks at Signatgure as Kushner’s much-anticipated The Intelligent Homosexual’s Guide to Capitalism and Capitalism and Socialism with a Key to the Scriptures prepares to open at the Public [a co-production with Signature and the Guthrie], under Michael Greif’s direction. Greif happens to be an artistic associate at the NYTW.
The play co-stars Tony/DD winner Stephen Spinella, who was Prior Walter in the original Angels. Spinella later joined the cast of Spring Awakening, which co-starred Tony winner and DD nom John Gallagher Jr. as Moritz. Gallagher, recently in American Idiot, is back on the Bway boards opposite Tony and DD winner Mark Rylance [Boeing-Boeing, and the recent La Běte revival] in the Royal Court production of Jez Butterworth’s Jerusalem, opening April 21 under director Ian Rickson [Hedda Gabler, The Weir].
Michael Urie, of course was part of the Drama Desk-winning Outstanding Ensemble of Jon Maran’s award-winning The Temperamentals, currently making its W.C. prem starring Dennis Christopher at L.A.’s Blank Theatre. Arnie Burton, also part of that play’s ensemble, is playing the scene-stealing role of Mrs. Bumbrake in PATS.
PATS has been adapted by Rick Elice, writer/lyricst of The Addams Family and co-writer of the Tony-winning Jersey Boys, from the novel by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson. Co-director Roger Rees is currently starring in the Addams Family role created by Nathan Lane. PATS has been extended through May 1, giving you an opt to catch this hilarious theatrical send-up.
Joe Mantello, back on the boards as actor in the soon-to-open revival of Larry Kramer’s The Normal Heart, as an actor and award-winning director must have 36 degrees of association to just about everyone in the business. He certainly has a connection to the brilliant DD/Obie winner Laurie Metcalf [original member of Chicago’s acclaimed Steppenwolf], who’s giving one of the standout emotional, high-drama performances of the season in MCC’s The Other Place by Sharr White [at the Lortel], directed by – don’t get ahead of me! – Mantello, who also directed her opposite Lane in David Mamet’s political comedy November.
You can catch Donna Murphy live in Roundabout’s musical The People in the Picture at Studio 54 and animated and in 3-D, singing and chewing the painted scenery to nubs, in the just released Disney Blu-ray of Tangled, a sort of prequel to the Rapunzel fairy tale.
This could go on and on, but won’t.
However, how ironic to have two shows with the same title playing at the same time.
They would be Bill Quigley’s Tomorrow Morning, about an artist visited by a mysterious stranger, Off Off at the HB Playwrights Theatre; which is not to be confused with Laurence Mark Wythe’s four-character musical Tomorrow Morning, about marriage and divorce, love and heartache, at the York.