As Halloween approaches, the news from the theater world is all about thrillers—from campy frights to the truly terrifying.
The stage rights for Alfred Hitchcock’s 1954 classic Rear Window have been secured—with an eye for the Great White Way—by producer Charlie Lyons (several Bring It On films) and director Jay Russell (Tuck Everlasting).
No writer or creative team has been announced to adapt the story, about a wheelchair-bound photographer (played by Jimmy Stewart in the film) who believes he’s witnessed a murder in a neighboring apartment. Tim Guinee (NBC’s Revolution), who is also part of the producing team, could be pegged for the Stewart role—though no one’s been named to fill Grace Kelly’s heels as his doting girlfriend.
We’re actually more interested in the potential for set design: Imagine a colorful and intricate stage panorama peeking through layers of busy apartment windows. Simply dazzling! [Variety]
Are stage thrillers with crippled men the new thing? An adaptation of Stephen King’s Misery–about a novelist held prisoner in a remote country house by a rabid fan–starts performances November 24 at Bucks County Playhouse in New Hope, Pennsylvania.
Oscar-winning screenwriter William Goldman, who penned the hit 1990 film version, is also writing this version for the stage.
Misery may feel like a strange choice for the stage, but it could be brilliant: A single set and small cast make it relatively easy to produce. Plus, Goldman is one of the most savvy dramatists of the last 40 years—and even wrote the seminal Broadway tome The Season. And who could make audiences squirm more than deranged romance-novel fan Annie Wilkes? No one, Mister Man! [Playbill]
THE NEW NORMAL
The film version of Larry Kramer‘s The Normal Heart, is well underway, now that Ryan Murphy got the film rights after Kramer bitchslapped them away from Barbra Streisand. And they may not have known it, but the tween fans of Glee helped get the project made: “It was a property that I paid for out of my own pocket and then fought to get made,” Murphy recently told The Hollywood Reporter. “ I really want young people to know what it used to be like and how that disease is still with us in a very deadly, horrible way.”
Normal Heart is one of the most significant works in contemporary theater. Let’s hope Murphy, who sometimes dabbles in stereotypes, delivers the nuances in this riveting drama. If not, well, Hell hath no fury like a ticked-off Larry Kramer. [Hollywood Reporter]
The scariest news of all comes out of Chicago, where two stage parodies of Fifty Shades of Grey open in November. (Who knew heterosexual BDSM would prove so popular?)
The first, Fifty Shades! The Musical, opens in a ladies book club and includes dance numbers, a live band and original songs like “I Don’t Make Love-I Fuck!” and “There’s a Hole Inside of Me.” The other, described as having “sexy musical numbers in the style of SNL and the Chippendales,” goes by the more subtle title Spank!
Either (or both) of these shows could be a riot, but can we please put a moratorium on self-reverential exclamation points in titles!!!!