Home Theater Modine, Linney, Stars Descend on Broadway

It’s March 1, and that means plenty of well-known names are arriving (or have recently arrived) on Broadway. It’s Tony season, with new plays and lots of A-list actors filling up our dance card through June.

On Friday night I caught Matthew Modine playing Helen Keller’s father in “The Miracle Worker.” This is a striking and sensational new production directed by Kate Whoriskey (”Ruined”) at the Circle in the Square. Modine brings new life to the role of Helen’s sympathetic but frustrated father, Dr. Arthur Keller,’ that should bring him accolades. Moreover, Abigail Breslin, of “Little Miss Sunshine” fame, a past Oscar nominee, shows off her burgeoning talents as Helen. Patty Duke will be proud to see who inherited her famous role. I’m told that the Patty Duke-Anne Bancroft film’s director, Arthur Penn, has already stopped in to give the new show his blessing…Richard Kind, of “A Serious Man” and “Spin City” fame, brought his eight year old daughter…

Laura Linney has already gotten rave reviews for her work in Manhattan Theater Club’s “Time Stands Still” written by Donald Margulies. She is exceptional but the whole cast is top notch including Brian D’arcy James, Alicia Silverstone, and Eric Bogosian. Linney plays a war journalist photographer, James is her husband who is also a journalist. At one point in the show he admits to Linney’s character that he’s caved in and done a celebrity profile for Vanity Fair. I asked James–who previously played Shrek on Broadway–who he thought his character was writing about. “I picked the most famous and outrageous person I could think of,” he said. “Lady GaGa!”… Emile Hirsch was in our audience…

…Meanwhile, Anthony Mackie of “The Hurt Locker” will miss the Oscars on Sunday because he’s opening in “Behanding in Spokane” this week with Christopher Walken and Sam Rockwell…And Jeff Daniels has returned to “God of Carnage,” but playing the role originated by James Gandolfini. That’s a first. Making this new round of “Carnage” intriguing is the addition of Janet McTeer, playing the role she originated in London. I would watch Janet McTeer read the phone book. She is amazing…

Author
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. He wrote the Intelligencer column for NY Magazine in the mid 90s, reporting on the OJ Simpson trial, as well as for the real Parade magazine (when it was owned by Conde Nast), and has written for the New York Observer, Details, Vogue, Spin, the New York Times, NY Post, Washington Post, and NY Daily News among many publications. He is the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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