THEATER: Jane Lynch Steps Into “Annie,'” Shia LaBeouf Steps Out Of “Orphans,” And More


The orphans in the Broadway revival of Annie will be quaking in their bunks: Jane Lynch, sinister Sue Sylvester on Glee, is taking over the role of Miss Hannigan, the boozy headmistress of the musical’s orphanage, from Kate Finneran. (Ironically, Finneran is departing to work on a new sitcom for NBC—and the circle is complete.)

The Great White Way is notorious for stunt casting (glance towards Chicago), but Lynch is a stroke of genius. She’s frightening enough screaming at high school cheerleaders; imagine her snarling at 9-year-old waifs!

Plus, the bitch can sing—as evidenced by this clip of her and The Office‘s Kate Flannery doing a duet at a breast-cancer benefit. (The fun begins around 3:50). [NY Times]

shia labeoufSHIA BOY

Speaking of orphans, Lyle Kessler’s Orphans is still scheduled to open in April, but without temperamental actor Shia LaBeouf. The Transformers star, originally slated to star opposite Alec Baldwin in the drama about thieving brothers, has left the production due to that  age-old explanation, “creative differences.”

Taking his place is X-Men: The Last Stand actor Ben Foster—who has never done professional theater before. (Ouch.)

LaBeouf posted emails from the cast and creative team on his Twitter account. One is from director Daniel Sullivan:

I’m too old for disagreeable situations. you’re one hell of a great actor. Alec is who he is. you are who you are. you two are incompatible. I should have known it. this one will haunt me. you tried to warn me. you said you were a different breed. I didn’t get it. Dan

Haunt him? Let’s not get dramatic! The second email is from “AB”:

SL I’ve been through this before. It’s been a while. And perhaps some of the particulars are different. But it comes down to the fact that what we all do now is critical. Perhaps especially for you. When the change comes, how do we handle it, whether it be good or bad? What do we learn? I don’t have an unkind word to say about you. You have my word. AB

Such a cloud of mystery! Thoughts immediately turn to 2006, when Jan Maxwell left tan off-Broadway production of Entertaining Mr. Sloane due to Baldwin’s volatile personality. LaBeouf, however, only had a kind response to “AB”:

same. be well. good luck on the play. you’ll be great.

Our dreams of LaBeouf on Broadway will have to wait. [Playbill]


JulieHalston001DON’T MISS JULIE

Fans of comedic songstress Julie Halston should book it over to Birdland to see Classical Julie, her evening of irrepressible song and story. Playing Mondays in March, the raucous evening is will be everything you’d expect from Charles Busch’s number one gal pal, who starred in such notorious classics as Vampire Lesbians of Sodom, Red Scare on Sunset and The Divine Sister [Birdland]



She’s baaack. Because of the success of the Les Miserables film, producer Cameron Mackintosh is bringing the original musical back to Broadway in March 2014. For those with a short memory, it was just on the Great White Way in 2008 in a lukewarm revival. New York certainly doesn’t need another revival but Mackintosh knows where the money is. Tourists dying to see that movie they turned into a Broadway musical will line up in droves, oblivious to powerful new works playing blocks away. Detractors should resign themselves to the fact that Les Miz will never go away.

To spread the love, below is a video of Hugh Jackman singing “Bring Him Home,” as told by the gang over at Forbidden Broadway. [New York Daily News]