Monday, June 24, 2024

Late Night News: James Corden Hire Makes Broadway Producers Scramble for New “Forum” Star


Tony winner James Corden has thrown a major monkey wrench into the planned spring Broadway revival of “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum.” Corden was set to play Pseudolus in the musical comedy that last saw Nathan Lane in the main role. Nothing had been signed, but that was the understanding. Corden himself told me so in July at the “Begin Again” premiere in New York.

But now it looks certain that Corden is abandoning his theater career to host “Late Night” aka the Craig Ferguson show on CBS following what will be “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.” What a shame. Corden is just brilliant on stage. But it’s money and security, isn’t it? The CBS gig will set him up for life.

So now what? “Forum” producers are set to announce a new star, a theater and an opening night. The news., I am told, will be imparted in the next two weeks. Corden’s news leak (a scoop for indefatigable Jeff Sneider over at The Wrap) definitely threw them off kilter. But I am assured many people have been met and looked at, and a new star is minutes away.

Who could follow Zero Mostel, Phil Silvers, and Nathan Lane? Frankly, I’d poach James Iglehart Monroe, the Tony winning genie from “Aladdin.” Or how about Bobby Moynihan from “Saturday Night Live”?

If you want to find out more about Corden, go see him “Begin Again,” currently in theaters. He steals every scene he’s in.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also 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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