Jason Alexander joining the cast of "Fish in the Dark"

1. April 2015 07:15 by Julie Merar in Theater  //  Tags:   //   Comments ()


Actor Jason Alexander is known to many as the character of George Costanza from "Seinfeld," better recognized as the exaggerated interpretation of Larry David, who co-wrote and produced the show along with Jerry Seinfeld. Now art is imitating life once again, as Alexander has been tapped to perform in another Larry David production, this time on the  Broadway stage instead of the television set.

Larry David's debut into theater is called "Fish in the Dark," a play that revolves around more than a dozen characters dealing with the death of a family member on their own, often comedic, terms. "Fish in the Dark" taps into the iconic comedy David has made a name for himself on with both "Seinfeld" and "Curb Your Enthusiasm," blending outlandish observational humor that borders between eccentric and absurd.

While David is currently playing the lead character to his Broadway debut, recent reports have indicated that Jason Alexander is set to replace him as the leading role later on in the year. Performances running until June 7, 2015 will feature David as the main character, and on June 9, Alexander will step in with leading role duties.

"Fish in the Dark" centers around the character of Norman Drexel, who possesses the trademark peculiar and inquisitive characteristics of George Costanza and David's fictionalized version of himself on "Curb Your Enthusiasm." Drexel's father has fallen seriously ill in the hospital, resulting in a gathering of his family, each portraying their own distinct personality flaws that translate into one humorous monologue after another.

Variety reports that "Fish in the Dark" has performed exceptionally well since its debut earlier this year, and as of March 5, 2015, the play had earned more than $13.5 million in sales, converting to more than $1 million generated per week. Reviews have continued to be positive for the play, indicating that fans of David's previous work will surely enjoy this outlandish and rip-roaring look into how humor helps this family come to terms with the mortality of a loved one.

While David has been noted to be a natural on stage, if there's anyone who can tap the eccentric outrageousness of the famous comedian, it's definitely Alexander. Alexander flourished as the role of George Costanza, who was created by David and Jerry Seinfeld as being a more exaggerated version of David himself.

'Kinky Boots' goes international

19. December 2014 11:45 by Julie Merar in Theater  //  Tags:   //   Comments ()


The musical "Kinky Boots" has become a hit since premiering on Broadway in early 2013. The book for the production was written by the Tony Award-winning playwright and actor Harvey Fierstein, known for his work in "Torch Song Trilogy"  and "Hairspray." Fierstein teamed up with 80s pop star Cyndi Lauper, who wrote the score for the production. Lauper​, of course, is best known for her catchy, timeless hit "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun." The production of "Kinky Boots" kicked off a national tour in Las Vegas in September 2014 with dates scheduled through summer 2015. Future productions have also been planned for international locales such as London. What's more, Playbill reports that Music Theatre International has acquired future worldwide licensing rights, meaning that "Kinky Boots" may soon be enjoyed in theaters around the globe. 

'Kinky Boots'
Fierstein and Lauper's production is based on a 2005 film of the same name that follows a young man named Charlie Price who inherits a shoe factory from his father. When Price takes over the factory is near bankruptcy, as it makes sturdy men's footwear that is falling out of fashion. He realizes he must find a new, reliable clientele to save the business. Fortuitously, he meets a drag queen named Lola, and notices that the high-heeled shoes of her and her friends do not adequately carry a man's weight. Price and Lola eventually come to an agreement to save the factory by creating thigh-high, kinky boots made especially for drag queens. 

"Kinky Boots" racked up five Tony Awards in 2013 and a Grammy Award for best musical theater album in 2014. The show's Tony Awards include best original score (Cyndi Lauper), best actor in a musical (Billy Porter), best sound design of a musical (John Shivers), best choreography (Jerry Mitchell) and best orchestration (Stephen Oremus). 

Lauper and Fierstein spent around four years writing the show, as both stars have extremely hectic schedules and pursued other creative ventures during their collaboration. Fierstein wrote other plays in this during this time, including the book for the musical production of "Newsies." Lauper​, in the meantime, recorded the album Memphis Blues and penned a memoir. According to the Los Angeles Times, the duo is slowly searching for another project on which to collaborate, hoping to have an idea that will allow them to work with a number of older female entertainers.

'Absinthe' stars take on side projects

8. December 2014 10:40 by Julie Merar in Theater  //  Tags:   //   Comments ()

Describing "Absinthe," the show taking place at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, may prove somewhat of a challenge. Often dubbed part cabaret, part circus, "Absinthe" is a performance one must see to fully understand. Perhaps more articulately explained, The New York Times simply sums it up as "Imagine Cirque du Soleil as channeled through 'The Rocky Horror Picture Show' and painted by George Grosz."

With that in mind, there's no way to pigeonhole the entertainers who provide the amalgamation of amazing acrobatic feats and comedy that make "Absinthe" so enjoyable. Therefore, it is no surprise that the emcee, known as Gazillionaire​, has launched an eponymous Web series. What's more, Gazillionaire's sidekick, Penny Pibbets​, reached her fundraising goal on Kickstarter as of Nov. 18, 2014, to fund a 13-run production of her solo show at Downtown's Art Square Theatre in Las Vegas. Simply titled "The Penny Pibbets Show," the production is slated to open Dec. 21, 2014. 

Gazillionaire Web series 
Gazillionaire's self-titled Web series premiered on YouTube on Sept. 22, 2014. The series takes a behind the scenes look at "Absinthe" and provides brief insight into how Gazillionaire and Penny came to be acquainted. Gazillionaire attributes much of the inspiration of the series to famous "Absinthe" fan Neil Patrick Harris. Each mini-show runs about four to five minutes, broadcasting over 11 weeks, with a new episode releasing every Tuesday. All episodes to date can be found at youtube.com/spiegelworldtv.

Gazillionaire also explained his interest in the Web series as a refreshing side project while still performing in "Absinthe." Prior to the release of the series, Gazillionaire told Las Vegas Weekly:

"You know you're doing the same show 1,700 times, and I figured if you watch some reality TV there's some pretty bad things out there, so I figured we'd make something, and at worst it would be better than 'Project Runway.'"

Penny Pibbets solo show 
According to Las Vegas Weekly, Penny Pibbets' Kickstarter venture had earned more than its $19,990 fundraising goal with support from over 300 backers with 36 hours remaining in the campaign. Pibbets did extensive marketing for her project, with regular video reminders and updates on the Web page to encourage people to contribute. Of course, she also garnered social media support from celebrities such as Holly Madison and Neil Patrick Harris. 

"Absinthe" is currently being performed at Caesars Palace, with tickets still available for many shows in late 2014 and early 2015.