Hollywood’s budding love affair with Broadway just continues to grow, doesn’t it? Justin Long is set to join Jeff Goldblum in the comedy Seminar when the Alan Rickman-led cast exits on April 1. Brad Pitt joined the star-studded reading of 8, the Proposition 8 play by Dustin Lance Black which already includes names like Clooney and Sheen (Martin, not Charlie). Beloved book-turned-children’s film Matilda is headed to Broadway following an acclaimed run in London’s West End. Even Hollywood insiders got in on the action with the opening of Assistance (pictured above), an Off Broadway play penned by Harvey Weinstein’s former personal assistant (EW has the Q+A here). EW’s critics took in that and two other Off Broadway shows in this week:
Senior editor Thom Geier flashed back to the 1980s at the MCC Theater’s new revival of Michael Gore’s musical adaptation of Carrie – yes, that Carrie. The original 1998 Broadway production was a famous flop, so how did the new cast of blood-drenched high schoolers fare? “Underwhelming” and “robbed of any sense of fun,” wrote Geier, giving the over-the-top story a lowly C.
Writer Melissa Rose Bernardo got a healthy dose of Hollywood realism from Assistance, Leslye Headland’s “sharp, punchy comedy” about the unfortunate souls who toil for an unseen figure that bears a striking resemblance to Headland’s former boss, movie-studio chief Harvey Weinstein. EW awarded the show a B+, praising Headland’s “snappy, stylish script” and her “enviable gift for making hollow, slightly despicable characters oddly appealing.”
Bernardo also took a visit to the intimate Romulus Linney Courtyard Theatre for Hurt Village, a “sprawling, cacophonous elegy on Dubya-era life in a Memphis, Tenn., housing project.” She praised the script by The Mountaintop playwright Katori Hall, as well as standout cast members Tonya Pinkins (“incredible”) and 23-year-old Joaquina Kalukango (“a star-making performance”). The drama scored a B+.
For more stage news and reviews, check out EW.com’s stage hub.