Friday, May 24, 2024

Broadway: Mariah Carey Likes It Hot, “Fiddler” a Gem in Yiddish is Back and Better Than Ever, Have Gumbo Downtown with The White Blacks


Theater news:

MARIAH CAREY has added her name to the new musical version of “Some Like it Hot” as a producer. This may give the show a box office boost, and that’s the idea, you know, when this sort of thing happens. “Some Like it Hot” opens December 11th on Broadway, it’s based on the famous comedy with Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis.

It’s not the first time “Some Like it Hot” has been tried as a musical. But this one is all new and stars Christian Borle. The buzz is good, and a good new original musical is what we need all the time. The director is Casey Nicholaw, songs are from Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman, the book is by Matthew Lopez and Amber Ruffin (from Seth Meyers’ show– I love her). How can it be bad?

What is Mariah’s connection? First of all, the great Neil Meron is the producer. Second of all, Mariah owns Marilyn Monroe’s white piano. So all she needed for Christmas was to join the show!

Everyone knows FIDDLER ON THE ROOF by heart. But when you see it at New World Stages in Yiddish, directed by Joel Grey, it’s a mesmerizing experience. You feel like you’re in it. The subtitles are projected on the sides of the stage but you almost don’t need them because the cast, led by Steven Skybell as Tevye, is exceptionally endearing.

But the whole point of “Fiddler on the Roof” is now more compelling than ever. “Fiddler” takes place in an imaginary village called Anatevka, in the Ukraine, south of Kyiv, in 1905. The Russian government conducts violent attacks against the Jews and then forces them from their homes. Sound familiar? One hundred and twenty two years later, nothing has changed. Russian violence against Ukraine continues apace.

You don’t have to be Jewish or know a word of Yiddish to enjoy this show. Three Asian ladies shared the elevator with me at New World Stages. They loved the show. “I want to send my children next,” one of them said. The audience is a mix of “Fiddler” fans from around the world. Don’t miss it!

THE WHITE BLACKS: GUESS WHO’S COMING TO DINNER has a few performances left this week at Theater for the New City. Melanie Maria Goodreaux‘s comedy has been sold out for its entire run but you might be able to get in this week. The play tells the story of the playwright’s Southern “Creole” family – a culture proud of its Black heritage, though burdened with grief over those seen as “passing as white” to flee racism and seek opportunity. The themes of this story are familiar and told with humor and authenticity. Melanie, the playwright, has eighteen animated actors (a depiction of a traditional Creole family coming together) providing the audience with a theatrical experience to savor. And there’s gumbo!

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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