THEATER: “Soapdish”, A New “Les Miz” Tune, And Raves For “Virginia Woolf”

Bitchiness reigns over this week’s theater round-up, so we tossed in an item about one of the stage’s nice guys for soothing relief.


Now here’s a film that would make a fantastic Broadway musical. A reading of Soapdish: The Musical—based on the 1991 comedy about the off-camera drama at a TV soap opera—takes place later this month with the glitziest of casts. Imagine all that backbiting with the likes of Kristin Chenowith, Jane Krakowski, and everlastingly handsome John Stamos. We’re rubbing our hands in anticipation.

The reading will be directed by Rob Ashford (the recent revivals of Promises, Promises and How to Succeed in Business) and tunes from composer George Stiles and lyricist Anthony Drewe (the team behind the new songs in Mary Poppins). The book is by Steel Magnolias playwright Robert Harling, who has also been busy penning the Miss Pettigrew musical.

With the script’s stage-chewing divas and whip-cracking banter, a splashy Broadway version could finally cement Soapdish into the pantheon of camp classics. The cast for the reading isn’t guaranteed for the Great White Way but, with this trio up on stage, audiences will be on their feet long before the final curtain. [Broadway World]


No, you showtune queen, you cannot sing every note of Les Miserables from beginning to end. For the December film version, songwriters Claude-Michel Schonberg, Alain Boubil and Herbert Kretzmer wrote a brand new song you’ve never heard before called “Suddenly” for Hugh Jackman‘s Jean Valjean. It comes at the point when Valjean rescues Cosette from the abusive masters of the house, the Thenardiers, and he realizes he can “suddenly” feel a connection with another human being. (Do you hear the people collectively “Awwwww…”?) The big question is, does the epically hours-long Les Miz need another song?

According to the songwriters, Yes! After they saw Jackman’s one-man Broadway show back in 2011, the muse hit: Jackman needed specialty material. (Plus, how else would it nab an Oscar nomination for Best Song?)

“It’s kind of an amazing honor they came to see the show and I was singing for two-and-a-half hours,” says Jackman. “They saw every possible color of my voice and they said, ‘Right, now we’re going to write it for you.’ I’ll do my best not to screw it up.”

Modesty is Jackman’s sexiest trait. [Broadway.com]


The latest Broadway revival of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? opened on Saturday at the Booth Theater to glowing acclaim, as both the New York Times and the New York Post gave the production rave reviews.

Playing a married couple who publicly annihilate each other for sport, Tracy Letts  and Amy Morton deserve all the praise, having added an unforeseen additional layer of humanity to George and Martha, avoiding slipping into blustering caricature.

The Times’ Charles Isherwood wrote that, “Under the tightrope-taut direction of Pam MacKinnon (“Clybourne Park,” Mr. Albee’s “Peter and Jerry”), Mr. Letts brings a coiled ferocity to George that all but reorders our responses to a play that many of us probably thought had by now vouchsafed all its surprises.”

The highest critical accolades were given to playwright Edward Albee—his masterwork may be half-a-century old, but as the Associated Press wrote, “Time has not dulled a word of the play.”

We caught the stunning production during an early preview, and can’t recommend it enough: With supreme nastiness being the order of day (check out almost any reality show), Virginia Woolf is a master class of the most brutal sort. The dialogue’s poisoned barbs would leave today’s cattiest queen cowering in a pool of his own tears.

Photo: Michael Brosilow