PLAYBILL.COM'S THEATRE WEEK IN REVIEW, July 6-July 12: Branagh's Macbeth Broadway Bound?, Silence! Goes Silent and Bountiful's Trip Extends

By Robert Simonson
12 Jul 2013

Kenneth Branagh
Kenneth Branagh
Photo by Ryan Miller/Capture Imaging

Did no one tell Kenneth Branagh that we had a Macbeth on Broadway this season (Alan Cumming's still-running version) and that we're expected another production of the Shakespeare tragedy next season (with Ethan Hawke), so we don't really need another rendition?

Apparently not.

The Macbeth starring Branagh, as part of the United Kingdom's Manchester International Festival, has sparked speculation of a Broadway transfer of the production, according to Variety. Co-directed by Branagh and Rob Ashford, the American director-choreographer who works as much in the UK as he does in the U.S., the production has received positive reviews from the international press.

Along with the possibility of too many Macbeths, the question of a venue would also factor into the play's transfer. Branagh's production is performed in a 300-seat deconsecrated church in Manchester. Last time anyone checked, there are no deconstructed, 300-seat churches among Broadway's few dozen theaters. The smallest, the Helen Hayes, has just under 600 seats.



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Cicely Tyson
photo by Joan Marcus

The new Broadway production of Horton Foote's The Trip to Bountiful, featuring Tony winner Cicely Tyson, hasn't been doing outstanding business. But the business it is doing must be good enough to cover costs, for the staging has again extended its run at the Stephen Sondheim Theatre.

The production, which officially opened April 23, had been scheduled for a 14-week limited engagement through July 7. It first extended an additional eight weeks through Sept. 1; the play will now conclude Oct. 9.

The revival has already bested the original run of the play, which lasted only 39 performances in 1953. If it does indeed last until Oct. 9, it will leave that old record in the Texas dust.

Tyson won the Tony Award for her performance as Mrs. Carrie Watts, as well as the Drama Desk Award and Outer Critics Circle Award.

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Silence! The Musical played its final performance at Off-Broadway's Elektra Theatre July 7 at 5 PM.

The production played a total of 529 performances and eight previews. Before transferring to its current venue, the show originally opened at Theatre 80 July 9, 2011.

That number easily makes Silence! the second-most successful show to have been spawned by the New York International Fringe Festival. The first, of course, was Urinetown, another musical spoof, which spent two and a half years on Broadway.

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