Friday, June 14, 2024

Broadway: “Death Becomes Her” Musical on the Way, So Are George Clooney, Robert Downey Jr., More Stars


The Hollywood strikes last year are now turning into a big win for Broadway.

Both George Clooney and Robert Downey Jr are coming to town next in plays for the first time. Clooney will star in a stage version of his movie, “Good Night and Good Luck” next spring for 2025 Tony Awards season. Downey will be here this fall at Lincoln Center in a play called “McNeal,” directed by Bartlett Sher.

Clooney will play legendary journalist Edward R. Murrow on stage. In the film, which he directed, David Straithairn played Murrow and Clooney was Fred Friendly. Patricia Clarkson played my old friend, Shirley Wershba. (Shirley and husband Joe were CBS News legends.) If Clooney can get Straithairn to play Friendly, and Clarkson to reprise her role, there will be lines around the block.

Also on the schedule now: “Glee” star Darren Criss will open a new musical called “Maybe Happy Ending,” this fall.

Rocker Elvis Costello is aiming toward Broadway when his musical adaptation of “A Face in the Crowd” opens at London’s Young Vic Theater this fall. The great Ramin Karimloo stars as the Andy Griffith character Lonesome Rhodes. (I’ve heard the songs– they are spectacular.)

But the big news this morning: the Meryl Streep comedy “Death Becomes Her” is also a musical. Coming this fall, “Death” stars Megan Hilty, Jennifer Simard, Christopher Sieber, and Michelle Williams of Destiny’s Child fame. They will play the parts originated by Meryl, Goldie Hawn, Bruce Willis, and Isabella Rossellini.

Broadway sick or dying? Never! Nearly every new show on the boards is selling out right now thanks to the Tony nominations. And also, it’s been the best season in years!

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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