BROADWAY SPRING PREVIEW: Matilda, Tom Hanks, Jekyll & Hyde, Nathan Lane, Cinderella and More

By Robert Simonson
28 Dec 2012

Shia LaBeouf
Men, too, have their troubles. They sometimes get kidnapped, for instance. That's the fate of the gangster played by Alec Baldwin in Lyle Kessler's Orphans, a staple of 1980s regional theatre. Daniel Sullivan directs the Broadway premiere of the three-hander, that also features two feral brothers (one of them played by young Hollywood star Shia LaBeouf) who have raised themselves in a ramshackle house. Opening April 7 at the Schoenfeld Theatre.

In Clifford Odets' Hollywood melodrama The Big Knife the kidnapping is more figurative, than literal. Actor Charlie Castle is being held hostage by his bullying studio ever since they helped cover up a secret in his past. Bobby Cannavale stars in the Doug Hughes staging, due March 22 at the American Airlines Theatre. It's the second major Odets revival this season, following Golden Boy.

The trials of a different sort of performer are depicted in The Nance, a new play by the busy Douglas Carter Beane, beginning March 21 at the Lyceum. Nathan Lane stars as Chauncey Miles, an actor who is a headlining "nance" — that is, a stereotypically effeminate character type — on the 1930s burlesque circuit.

Tabloid columnist Mike McAlary was considerably more fortunate than those above, but he has his bad days, too. Both sides of the man are shown in Lucky Guy, a play Nora Ephron wrote before her death last year. The production is lucky in its casting, having netted major film star Tom Hanks to play the central role. Richard Masur, Christopher McDonald and Peter Scolari and other will lend support. George C. Wolfe directs. Previews begin at the Broadhurst on March 1.

The problems shared by the men in Diner, a new musical based on the iconic 1982 film by Barry Levinson, mainly have to do with a group of Baltimore-based friends and their unwillingness to enter adulthood, with its inconvenient responsibilities. Kathleen Marshall, known for her musical revivals, directs the new work, which has a book by Levinson and a score by popdom's Sheryl Crow. It is expected in the spring (theatre and dates to be announced).