Ever since HBO’s Emmy-winning Behind the Candelabra reintroduced Liberace to the popular consciousness, it seems that theater artists have been tripping over themselves to bring the sequined virtuoso to the stage.
In July, the New York Post reported that two different Liberace musicals were in the works — one, an adaptation of Candelabra backed by the film’s producer, Jerry Weintraub, and another called Liberace: I’ll Be Seeing You. Now, it looks like Liberace will be coming to Broadway next season, but in yet a different vehicle altogether.
In today’s “Musto! The Musical!” column, Michael Musto interviewed actor Richard Kline (Larry Dallas from Three’s Company), who claims that he will be starring as Liberace in the original musical All That Glitters, which will open on Broadway after a fall 2014 premiere in Toronto.
“We did a showcase over a year ago,” Kline told Musto. “A $500,000 showcase—and then I didn’t hear a peep until a few weeks ago, and then all theatrical hell broke loose. They said it was greenlighted.”
Glitters is the brainchild of Alexander DeJong, who started his career as a chorus boy in Broadway productions of My Fair Lady and 42nd Street. DeJong will direct, choreograph, score and author Glitters. Other members of the creative team include James A. Walsh (book), Tom Nelson (music) and Bob Mackie (costumes). Important things to note about the largely unknown DeJong: Chita Rivera starred in a reading of his musical, Zarra, Unmasked at Last two years ago, and his show Steps in Time was a finalist for the Richard Rogers Award.
Although Glitters will cover some of the same ground as Candelabra, Kline told Musto that the musical presents a very different perspective on Liberace’s relationship with Scott Thorson.
He explained, “What’s great about All that Glitters is it starts as a father and son dynamic and it ends as a father and son dynamic, because Liberace tried to be the father Scott never had and vice versa… Michael Douglas was brilliant, but Matt Damon was just a hair old for the role. When Liberace met Scott, he was 16. That part should have belonged to Justin Bieber!”
We get what Kline is saying, but can you picture Biebs topping Michael Douglas? Can you picture Biebs topping anyone, for that matter?
At any given time, there are nearly as many Shakespeare productions in New York as there are rats in the subway. But right now, three standout British imports are wowing audiences and critics, despite (or because of) their severe approaches to the material.
Through November 9th, you can catch the highly-acclaimed Julius Caesar at St. Ann’s Warehouse in Brooklyn. The production, which originated at the Donmar Warehouse in London, features an all-female cast, led by the indomitable Dame Harriet Walter as Brutus and Frances Barber as Caesar. Phyllidia Lloyd directs, and you should know her name because she got Meryl Streep to do a jump split in the movie Mamma Mia! She works similar magic with the Bard.
On Broadway, two productions from Shakespeare’s Globe Theater in London began performances last week. Twelfth Night and Richard III, both directed by Tim Carroll, feature all-male casts, as was the custom in Shakespeare’s day. Adding to the Elizabethan authenticity, the plays are lit mostly by the light of 100 candles. Led by Tony-winner Mark Rylance and out-actor Stephen Fry (who notably topped Jude Law in the film Wilde), the repertory productions open in early November and run through the beginning of February. If cost is a concern, you can purchase on-stage tickets for $25 on the day of the performance when the Belasco Theater box office opens.
- Two-time Tony-winner Patti Lupone makes her American Horror Story: Coven debut this week. She plays an evangelical Christian who shares a heated moment with Jessica Lange’s character. As if this season of AHS couldn’t get any gayer. Check it out Wednesday at 10 p.m. on FX.
- Previews for the repertory productions of Harold Pinter’s No Man’s Land and Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot begin this week on Broadway. Patrick Stewart and gay icon Ian McKellen star.
- Producers announced plans to bring Eric Simonson’s play Bronx Bombers, about the New York Yankees, to Broadway early next year. Simonson has built a career on writing sports-themed plays, but none seem to make any money in New York. His last offering, Magic/Bird, closed after a month in 2012. Considering Bombers got mostly negative reviews when it ran off-Broadway—including a scaaaaaathing notice from The New York Times —Simonson should expect to continue his losing streak. But it’s not his fault. When are commercial producers going to learn — audiences don’t want athletes on Broadway unless they’re naked and wet.
- Fantasia Barrino, who may not love gay marriage but sure as hell loves her gay stylists, is back on Broadway. Barrino is the first of several guest stars booked to sing in the jazz revue After Midnight, which began previews last weekend and opens officially on November 3. She’ll stay with the show until February 9th, after which out singer-songwriter k.d. lang will assume the reins.