HOLLYWOOD—So many celebrities have started on Broadway, before her breakout film roles Meryl Streep made her Broadway debut as Miss Imogen Parrott in a revival of Sir Arthur Wing Pinero’s comedy Trelawny of the “Wells” in 1975. She made a memorable turn as the title character in the 2006 revival of Mother Courage and Her Children at the Delacorte Theatre in Central Park. She has picked up a whopping 18 Oscar nominations and three awards, most recently for her portrayal of Margaret Thatcher in “The Iron Lady.”
After shattering box office records at the Shubert Theatre and winning a Tony Award, Bette Midler has set the date she’ll say goodbye to Dolly. The veteran performer will take her final bow in the Tony-winning Broadway of “Hello Dolly!” January 14, 2018. The Jerry-Zaks helmed production opened officially April 20, but even before then, the lavish staging made a splash on the boards, breaking the record for the highest pre-show advance in Broadway history.
Joining the crowd is, actress Gwyneth Paltrow headed to Broadway, as the co-producer of a new musical based on the songs of new wave girl group The Go-Go’s. The band, fronted by Belinda Carlisle, 55, had hits including “Our Lips Are Sealed” and “We Got The Beat” in the early 1980s. Although they were known as one of the most debauched bands of the time, the musical will not focus on their story. Instead, Head Over Heels pairs their hits with a romance based on Sir Philip Sidney’s 16th century work Arcadia.
The story has been adapted for the stage by Jeff Whitty, who wrote the book for Avenue Q-the bawdy, puppet based show that won a Tony Award for Best Musical back in 2004. The new show tells the tale of Basilius, the Duke of Arcadia, who flees after an Oracle tells him his two daughters love lives will be beset by disaster. A statement on The Go-Go’s website described it as “a tantalizing odyssey wrought with mistaken identities, jealous lovers, romance and scandal.” An early version of the show premiered at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in 2015, to middling reviews.
A revised version of the show will premiere in San Francisco in April, prior to a move to Broadway for the 2018-2019 season. It marks Paltrow’s first production on Broadway. The “Shakespeare in Love” actress grew up in Los Angeles in the 1970s, around the same time The Go-Go’s became a must-see live act. Born out of the punk scene, the band faced sexism as they tried to get a recording contract, but were eventually signed by The Police’s manager Miles Copeland when he set up his own label, IRS Records.
The band earlier this year received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The band’s debut album “Beauty and the Beat” went on to become the first (and to this day, only) US number one entirely written and played by women. According to published reports, drug abuse and personality clashes forced the band to split in 1985. Carlisle went on to become an international pop star, with hits including “Circle In The Sand,” “Mad About You” and “Heaven Is A Place On Earth” -some of which also feature in Head Over Heels.
“If you told us 30 years ago that our songs were going to be in a musical, we’d have said, ‘Of course they’ll be on Broadway!,'” The Go-Go’s said in a statement. “None of us would have really believed it, though.” The show will be directed by Michael Mayer, who previously helmed Green Day’s American Idiot musical.
It’s finally out, The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s 2018 inductees have been announced and Nina Simone will finally have her rightful place amongst the greats. But it was LL Cool J’s snub who has some wondering how the hip=hop icon didn’t make the final list of inductees.