Broadway Beat: What Philadelphians need to know about the Great White Way

This is the first of a new monthly column to keep Philadelphians up to date on Broadway. The obvious place to start is with the Tony Awards: Congratulations to all the winners and nominees, even if our glittering locals — Tina Fey (Mean Girls) and David Morse (The IcemanCometh) — did not walk away with  statuettesAnd now we can​ move on to post-Tony land, leaving those who weep and those who gloat to their enjoyments.​ By the way, did you know that each Tony statuette​ costs $2,500?

Editor’s note: Toby Zinman has been a freelance theater critic for the Inquirer since 2006. She will clue you in to all the Broadway happenings you need to know about, from cast changes to ticket deals. Look for it every second Tuesday of the month.

‘The Cursed Child’s’ cursed aisle

If you (or the children in your life) are in the mood for magic, this season’s massive theater experience is the two-part Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. The total run time is close to five hours.

Reports have it that after a $33 million renovation of the Lyric Theatre especially for this show, there seems to be a curse on the center aisle: people (notably notable critics — uh, oh) keep tripping and falling over small unexpected steps.

Dog day on Broadway

Broadway Barks is taking over Shubert Alley Saturday, July 14, for the 20th anniversary of the star-studded dog and cat adoption event that benefits New York City animal rescue groups. The event, cofounded by Bernadette Peters and Mary Tyler Moore, features Broadway celebrities who use their star power to help find loving homes for animals in need from 28 participating N.Y.C.-area shelters.

This year, Peters will host with Victor Garber, her costar in the Tony Award-winning revival of Hello, Dolly! 

Over the last 20 years, more than 2,000 up-for-adoption cats and dogs have stolen Broadway’s spotlight and the hearts of all who come to the event. Approximately 85 percent of these furry friends have found forever homes.

The event, produced by Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, will take place in Shubert Alley (between 44th and 45th Streets and Broadway and Eighth Avenues). Festivities begin at 3 p.m. for a meet-and-greet with all the adoptable pets. From 5 to 6:30 p.m., adoptees make their Broadway debut on stage alongside some of Broadway’s favorite stars.

The event is free and open to the public.

Coming shows of note

* Straight White Men by Young Jean Lee — who is Asian American and female — has just completed its starry casting: Kate Bornstein (complicating the title as a self-identifying “gender outlaw”) as Person in Charge #1, Josh Charles as Jake, Ty Defoe as Person in Charge #2, Armie Hammer as Drew, and Tom Skerritt as Ed.  First preview is June 29, with opening slated for July 23.

* Bitter Wheat, a new play by David Mamet about Harvey Weinstein. Yikes! There is talk of John Malkovich in the lead.  A companion piece to Oleanna

* Pretty Woman, a musical adaptation of the movie that starred Julia Roberts and Richard Gere begins previews on July 20, and opens officially Aug. 16. The reviews from its tryout production in Chicago were pretty much raves, and the show is likely to make a star of Samantha Barks, as the movie did for Roberts. Her costar will be Andy Karl, joining the cast after Steve Kazee had to withdraw when his father’s house burned down.

Quick, before they close

* Heads up, Lea Salonga fans: she will leave the cast of the Tony-nominated Once on This Island on June 24.

* If you’re in the mood for funny, act fast — two of the best are about to close: Tom Stoppard’s brilliant Travesties (brainy funny) ends performances June 17, and Mischief Theatre’s hilarious The Play That Goes Wrong (fall-on-the-floor, mop-your-eyes funny) will close on Aug. 26.

* If you’re in the mood for serious, there are three major dramatic revivals on the boards:  Edward Albee’s stunning Three Tall Women (closing June 24) offers the rare chance to see the magisterial Glenda Jackson (returning to the stage after 23 years as a member of Parliament) and triple-threat Laurie Metcalf

* Eugene O’Neill’s immense The Iceman Cometh starring Denzel Washington, running nearly four hours, closes July 1

* Tony Kushner’s superb Angels in America has just been extended to July 15. It runs more than seven hours, in two parts. It’s exciting if exhausting to see it all in one day, with dinner between the matinee and evening performances).  In a new initiative, Angels is providing $5 tickets to New York City LGBTQ and HIV/AIDS service organizations.

* Another major revival about gay men is The Boys in the Band, celebrating the 50th anniversary of this groundbreaking comic drama about the bad old days before Stonewall. One of its stars, Jim Parsons (of The Big Bang Theory), has noted that all nine actors — not just their characters — are gay. The title comes from Judy Garland’s classic sign-off: “Let’s hear it for the boys in the band.” Last show is Aug. 11 in a strictly limited 15-week run.