Don’t worry, this week’s blog title is not a sign I’m embracing my inner Woodstock or anything tragic like that. I write a lot on here about previews and openings, but wanted to talk about some of the projects that are lingering on the horizon—maybe even some you haven’t heard of—yet. I got the idea walking down West 13th past my favorite movie house, the village landmark Quad Cinema, which seems to be under renovation. At least, I hope so. Immediately following Hurricane Sandy, local restaurant Leon had a similar please excuse our appearance sign, only to never open again. Poof! Gone. That better not happen to the Quad, known for its indie and foreign film offerings. I started thinking about what the new Quad might look like when it’s done (or what will—heaven forbid—replace it when some greedy landlord raises the rent too high). What else will be rolling into town in the not-so-near future? What projects are FAR OUT?
Remember THE JUNGLE BOOK musical floating around a bit ago? It never made it to the Great White Way—makes those of us who’ve tried to push new works down the pike feel a bit less self loathing. As they say in FRIED GREEN TOMATOES, “There’s a special God for steadfast projects.” Seems like a surprise live-action version of the tale will be gracing screens next spring. The cast is littered with A-Listers: Ben Kingsley, Lupita (does she really need a last name?), the incomparable Bill Murray, ScarJo and my fellow high cheek-boned comrade, Mr. Christopher Walken. Maybe this adaption of the animated classic will get the stage version’s momentum going.
I haven’t liked a Disney character more than …NEMO’S Dory since Thumper. So, you can imagine how excited I am for the FN sequel-of-sorts, FINDING DORY, where the cuddly fish is not so much lost as looking for her own past. Ellen takes on the voice again—I’m not sure how many millions she’s netting for the film, but whatever it is, she’s worth it. Fellow TV stars Ed O’Neil and Ty Burrell (who I can never decide if I like or not) join the talk show queen along with Albert Brooks. I don’t see much chance of a stage adaption; the mediocre box office of …MERMAID (in comparison to mega hits LION KING and BEAUTY…BEAST), I imagine, will keep all things under the sea, under the radar.
Keeping with the Disney theme, I’m equally curious about Moana, the upcoming animated musical about a girl on a quest to find a fabled island in the South Pacific. It looks to be complete with volcano gods, villagers, regionally appropriate sidekicks, and rich Polynesian folklore. This is Disney’s 56th animated feature and first Pacific Islander-character. “The Rock” voices Maui, a demigod—because his ego needs that. The villain is a lava witch.
The rumors of what direct-to-stage projects are being shopped around are boundless, but here are some of my favorites (for good and for evil):
ROCKETMAN, THE MUSICAL, the life and music of Sir Elton John
THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA THE MUSICAL
FROZEN (with Tony-nominee Alex Timbers)
Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey’s musical adaption of FREAKY FRIDAY
MRS. DOUBTFIRE, THE MUSICAL, helmed by Harvey himself
Audra MacDonald as the SPIDER WOMAN (ugh… Alan Cummings was in the reading)
Sondheim’s new David Ives collaboration at the Public
The return of both MISS SAIGON and CATS TO NYC
A Hugh Hefner musical on B’Way
FIGHT CLUB, THE ROCK OPERA