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Category — The Path To Broadway

The Path to Broadway: Celia Keenan-Bolger

How the actress became an action heroine for “Peter and the Starcatcher”

There are eleven men in the cast and only one woman, but still, Peter and the Starcatcher is a boon for female audiences.

In Rick Elice’s action-adventure play, now at Broadway’s Brooks Atkinson Theatre, we learn the origin story of Peter Pan, Captain Hook, and all the other characters from the familiar classic. As they’re performing, the actors create the entire world, using ropes and sheets to suggest ships and islands and turning their own bodies into hallways and doors. The jumping, posing, and tumbling give the play a uniquely physical magic.

And Celia Keenan-Bolger is jumping with everyone else. She plays Molly, a clever girl who works with her father to keep magical “star stuff” from falling into wicked hands. In the midst of a mission, she meets a group of orphaned boys who have been captured by a cruel ship’s captain, and naturally, being brave, she rescues them. One of the boys is Peter (Adam Chanler-Berat), and as they become friends, they help each other through swordfights, ocean rescues, and the scary moment when you fall in love.

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April 19, 2012   2 Comments

The Path to Broadway: Bob Crowley and “Once”

Coincidence shapes a Broadway design

How’s this for a contradiction?

On stage, the musical Once, now in previews at Broadway’s Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre, is remarkably elegant. Based on the 2008 indie movie, it tells the bittersweet tale of two musicians who meet in Dublin, make folk music, and fall in love. Just like their songs, the production ripples with emotion. In one scene, a character sings for a banker to convince him he deserves a loan. The song is so devastating that the other bankers, sitting at their desks, lift their arms in unison. The quiet gesture tells us exactly how art has united them.

Yet for all its careful beauty, Once is also the product of coincidence. Barely a year ago, the creative team had a workshop at American Repertory Theater in Cambridge, Massachusetts. As they developed the show, they were inspired by what happened to be around them.

“We were all like college kids working together for four weeks,” says Bob Crowley, who designed the set and costumes. “We did this thing in a tiny little damp church hall basement, and the aesthetic evolved from the rehearsals.”

Take the set: Though scenes unfold in bedrooms, cafes, and recording studios, Crowley places the entire production in a pub. When they’re not performing, the actors sit on the side of the stage, holding instruments they frequently play. If you squint your eyes, you can almost imagine a rehearsal room.

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March 7, 2012   1 Comment

The Path to Broadway: Katori Hall


The playwright makes her Broadway debut with “The Mountaintop”

Note: TDF members can purchase discount tickets to The Mountaintop through December 24.

Playwright Katori Hall has the best kind of laugh—a loud explosion that almost forces you to laugh along. During a recent phone interview, she was so buoyant and effusive, laughing at herself and her own good fortune, that it was easy to imagine her slapping five with passers-by.

She’s got plenty of reasons to be in a good mood. The Signature Theatre just announced she’s one of five playwrights to receive a five-year residency award, meaning Signature will produce three of her plays in the next five years while offering health insurance and other support.

More immediately, Hall’s debuting on Broadway with The Mountaintop, now playing at the Bernard Jacobs. The play imagines a meeting between Martin Luther King, Jr. (Samuel L. Jackson) and a mysterious hotel maid (Angela Bassett), and when it premiered on London’s West End, it won the 2010 Olivier Award for Best Play—the equivalent of a Tony.

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December 16, 2011   2 Comments

The Path to Broadway: Jennifer Lim and Stephen Pucci



The “Chinglish” actors speak two languages in their Broadway debuts

At the moment, Broadway shows are set everywhere from the African plains to the Australian outback to the trenches of World War I, but no matter how cosmopolitan they are, they’re all performed in English. Except for Chinglish.

Sure, David Henry Hwang’s new comedy is frequently in English, but it also features monologues, arguments, and entire scenes in Chinese.

The overlapping languages are central to the play, now in previews at the Longacre Theatre. We follow an American businessman who wants to revive his career by landing a contract with the Chinese government, so he hires a British expat named Peter Timms to help him impress local officials. Things go awry when a Chinese minister named Xi Yan reveals that she understands enough English to know when an American is acting like a fool. From there, language barriers inform everything from an awkward dinner to a surprising romance.

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October 24, 2011   2 Comments

The Path to Broadway: Glenn Davis and Necar Zadegan

Riding a “Bengal Tiger” to a Broadway debut

Glenn Davis and Necar Zadegan are making their Broadway debuts with Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo, Rajiv Joseph’s tense and metaphorical drama about American soldiers, Iraqi civilians, and a thoughtful speaking tiger. But while they’re new to the Rialto, they’re no strangers to the play.

Like most of the seven-person cast, the actors were in Bengal‘s first two productions, at L.A.’s Kirk Douglas Theatre in 2009 and L.A.’s Mark Taper Forum in 2010. (Robin Williams, who plays the tiger, is the only newbie in the New York run.)

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March 23, 2011   No Comments