The final days of March proved busy for the stage world. Bret Michaels filed suit against the Tonys and CBS for the head injury he suffered during a Rock of Ages-inspired performance at the 2009 awards show. Stephen King and John Mellencamp’s musical collaboration, Ghost Brothers of Darkland County, got an Atlanta premiere date in April 2012. Brothers & Sisters’ Luke Macfarlane joined Broadway’s The Normal Heart; Jon Hamm and girlfriend Jennifer Westfeldt signed up to star in the L.A. production of Three Sisters; and Brooke Shields announced she’ll step in for the departing Bebe Neuwirth as The Addams Family’s Morticia in June.
And with only 27 days left before the cutoff for Tony eligibility, this week also marked the start of a month-long glut of big Broadway openings. Our critics saw Daniel Radcliffe in How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying and Robin Williams in Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo, as well as Laurie Metcalf in the non-eligible, off-Broadway The Other Place. Here’s what we had to say about them.
How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying: EW stage editor Thom Geier found Daniel Radcliffe’s high-kicking musical debut as corporate ladder climber J. Pierrepont Finch “a winning combination of youth, talent, and sheer willpower.” Writes Geier, giving the show an A-: “Your eyes keep being drawn to him, even if he always lets you see him sweat.”
Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo: As a potty-mouthed tiger who is killed for attacking a U.S. Marine, Robin Williams (playing the role sans cat costume) impressed critic Melissa Rose Bernardo with his “generous, understated, utterly ham-free performance.” However, she only rates the play itself a B-, adding “it’s a shame he doesn’t have a meatier story line.”
The Other Place: I gave this off-Broadway thriller a B and praised Roseanne-alum Laurie Metcalf’s “cold strength as an actress” for keeping the story of a dying neurologist with a mysterious past “a notch above a particularly exploitative Oprah episode.”