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With dozens of castings announced and new projects coming down the pipeline each week across television, film, and theater, it can be near-impossible to keep up. Luckily, Backstage is here to help. Every Friday, we’re rounding up the week's industry news you shouldn’t miss so you can be sure you're firmly in the know! Idina Menzel will return to the New York stage in non-musical form.Menzel, who originated the role of Maureen in “Rent” and Elphaba in “Wicked” (for which she won a Tony Award), will star in the Off-Broadway play “Skintight,” by playwright Joshua Harmon (“Significant Other”). Last seen onstage in 2014’s “If/Then,” Menzel will begin previews for the production at Roundabout’s Laura Pels Theatre on May 31, 2018. Daniel Aukin will direct the dramedy about a woman coping with her husband leaving her for a younger woman, while her father shacks up with a younger man. »
Tony winner Idina Menzel will return to Off Broadway in spring 2018 to star in the world premiere of Joshua Harmon’s new play “Skintight,” Roundabout Theatre Company announced Tuesday. Daniel Aukin will direct the production, which will begin performances on May 31, 2018, and open officially on June 21, 2018 at the Laura Pels Theatre in the Harold and Miriam Steinberg Center for Theatre. Menzel, who last appeared on stage in 2014 in the Tony-nominated musical “If/Then,” will play a woman who is reeling from her ex-husband’s engagement to a much younger woman and seeks out her father, a famous fashion »
- Thom Geier
A version of this article originally appeared on EW.com.
Fudge yeah! A modern classic holiday film is becoming a live musical on Fox: The 1983 film A Christmas Story is getting a TV makeover for a three-hour telecast this December with new songs from the team behind La La Land. The production will be adapted from both the film and the Tony Award-nominated Broadway production of A Christmas Story: The Musical.
- James Hibberd and Derek Lawrence
“Rent” is heading to television.
The award-winning musical is being adapted as one of Fox’s next live productions, Variety has learned. Fox’s show comes as the musical celebrates its 20th anniversary this year.
“Rent” tells the story of seven artists struggling to follow their dreams during a time of great social and political turmoil, under the shadow of AIDS. Set in New York City’s gritty East Village, the show is a re-imagining of Puccini’s “La Bohème.”
With the estate of the late original playwright Jonathan Larson, Marc Platt — who worked on Fox’s “Grease: Live” musical,” “La La Land” and “Wicked” — will executive produce the event. Other executive producers are Adam Siegel, Julie Larson, Al Larson and Revolution Studios’ Vince Totino, Scott Hemming and Marla Levine.
More details and casting will be announced later. No premiere date has been set for “Rent.”
“We are so honored to partner with the estate of the »
- Elizabeth Wagmeister
The pair starred as Elphaba and Fiyero, respectively, to packed audiences back in 2003, along with Kristin Chenoweth. In a video posted on her Instagram, Menzel, 45, and Butz, 50, sang a rendition of “As Long As You’re Mine,” in which their two characters pledge their love to each other, at a benefit event last week.
“15 years since we performed together in #Wicked. Thank you @norbert_leo_butz for supporting @abroaderway! #ElphabaAndFiyero,” Menzel wrote.
The singer and actress won the 2004 Tony Award for best actress in »
- Alexia Fernandez
13 Reasons Why showrunner signs two-year deal with Paramount TV.
The 13 Reasons Why showrunner and executive producer has signed a two-year deal with Paramount TV.
The overall deal gives Paramount TV exclusive rights to develop, produce and distribute all television projects from Yorkey across broadcast, cable and digital services.
The announcement comes on the heels of the recent second season renewal of Paramount TV’s series for Netflix, 13 Reasons Why, which was adapted for television by Yorkey from Jay Asher’s bestselling Ya book.
“From Next to Normal’to 13 Reasons Why, Brian has the innate ability to create both heart-warming and heart-breaking moments that fully immerse the audience and leave an indelible impact,” Amy Powell, president of Paramount »
Disney and Lucasfilm will release Star Wars: Episode IX May 24th, 2019, Variety reports. Disney announced the premiere date along with a slew of other upcoming films including the Han Solo standalone film, Frozen 2 and a live-action remake of The Lion King.
In the Star Wars universe, the still-untitled Han Solo anthology film will arrive May 25th, 2018. The movie stars Alden Ehrenreich as the young space smuggler, Donald Glover as Lando Calrissian and Game of Thrones' Emilia Clarke, Woody Harrelson and Michael Kenneth Williams. Phil Lord and Chris Miller will direct. »
The follow-up to the smashing success Disney animated film is set to arrive in theaters on November 27, 2019, Disney and Bell shared Tuesday.
"Quick weather forecast from your favorite Disney princess' sister," the 36-year-old actress, who voices Anna in the movie, tweeted. "Theaters are gonna get Frozen on November 27, 2019! Woo Hoo!!!!"
The wait will be long, but it's great to know that when 2019 finally hits, we'll be "Letting It Go" just in time for the holidays!
Bell revealed to Et at the 2017 Golden Globes that while her daughters -- 4-year-old Lincoln and 2-year-old Delta -- do love the movie, they don't need »
Here it stands, and here it’ll stay.
Disney’s Frozen 2 has received its official release date — Nov. 27, 2019 — confirming what had previously been announced as just an “Untitled Disney Animation” slot.
Directors Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee will return for the 2013 blockbuster’s sequel, which was announced in March 2015 by Disney creative chief John Lasseter, CEO Bob Iger, and the voice of Olaf himself, Josh Gad (whose Frozen costars Kristen Bell and Idina Menzel are expected, although not officially confirmed, to reprise their roles).
Prior to the 3D sequel’s release, a stage musical adaptation of Frozen will make »
- Marc Snetiker
Relive the powerful story of lifelong friendship in an all-new remake of the classic movie when Beaches arrives on DVD at Walmart on May 9 from Lionsgate. Tony Award® winner Idina Menzel and NAACP Image Award Winner Nia Long star as two very different women who share an unexpected friendship that, even with its ups and downs, lasts for decades. This new version of the 1988 film includes performances by Menzel of iconic songs from the original movie such as “Wind Beneath My Wings” and “The Glory of Love,” in addition to Menzel’s new original song, “Last Time.” The Beaches DVD will be available at Walmart for the suggested retail price of $14.98.
In this contemporary remake, Beaches »
- Tom Stockman
In Night 1 of The Voice’s Season 12 Live Playoffs, a dozen vocalists took to the stage, half of them performing what would turn out to be their swan songs, and two of them previously eliminated competitors who were returned to the contest via the Coach Comeback, which made a comeback of its own. Who survived Team Alicia and Team Blake’s cuts? Read on…
RelatedTVLine Items: Shania Advises Voice, Shooter Adds Criminal Vet and More
Felicia Temple, “Defying Gravity” — Grade: C+ (eliminated) | Blake’s comeback artist bravely tackled Idina Menzel’s soaring Wicked showstopper, but unfortunately, it kinda never managed to achieve takeoff. »
The magic of Disney is coming to life in the ballroom!
It's week five of Dancing With the Stars, and the remaining nine couples will each be dancing to catchy tunes while dressed as some of the brand's most iconic characters as "Disney Night" kicks off Monday at 8 p.m. Et on ABC.
Ahead of their sure-to-be fun, lively and energetic performances, Et's breaking down everything you need to know!
Watch: 'Dancing With the Stars' Week 4 Dance Recap: Best Lifts, Kicks, Tricks and Flips!
Who's on top of the leaderboard?
Who's in danger of elimination?
Erika Jayne and Gleb Savchenko were in the bottom two last week, and after receiving the lowest score (30/40) from the judges during Most Memorable Year night, we have a feeling this might be it for #TeamPrettyXxspensive. However, [link »
The annual White House Easter Egg Roll is right around the corner, so what better time to look back at how past presidents have hosted their egg rolls?
This tradition dates back to 1878, when President Rutherford B. Hayes welcomed local children to the White House South Lawn for the first official egg roll. The event, held each year on Easter Monday, has only ever been canceled due to bad weather, World War I and World War II.
The Easter Egg Roll is considered the most high-profile and elaborate public event thrown at the White House, as well as one of the most heavily promoted. »
- Tierney McAfee
Ian Somerhalder and Nikki Reed stepped out together for the Pttow! Summit: Love & Courage charity event in Rancho Palos Verdes, CA, on Tuesday. The couple cozied up to one another as they posed for pictures and linked up with 14-year-old Caine Monroy. In case you don't remember, Caine is the boy who, at the age of 9, created an entire arcade using cardboard and creativity called Caine's Arcade. The event aims to bring creative executives and influencers together, and the pair attended a similar event last year, along with Zoe Saldana, Charli Xcx, and Idina Menzel. Related:33 Snaps That Prove Ian and Nikki Are So in Love Now that The Vampire Diaries has come to an end, Ian is gearing up for the release of his upcoming film, Time Framed, while Nikki has been hitting the studio and is currently working on new music. »
- Monica Sisavat
EW caught up with the producer to discuss Disney’s gestating sequel, and though there’s been no mention of a production start or new cast members – save for the return of Alan Tudyk as the Duke of Weselton – the Mouse House is “hard at work” on Anna and Elsa’s next adventure, one which will purportedly portray the latter in a new light altogether. Perhaps a more playful version of Idina Menzel’s ice queen has something to do with Del Vecho’s comments?
Alas, it’s far too soon to tell given that Frozen 2 is still incubating in the formative stages of development. Per EW: “We’re working hard on it. We »
- Michael Briers
We’ve all been there: Those days when you’re totally feeling your outfit, only to find an embarrassing trail of toilet paper hanging from our shoe or major stain right on our shirt. Even celebrities aren’t immune to wardrobe malfunctions — from Chrissy Teigen’s high-slit slip (which she apologized for) to Britney Spear’s on-stage mishap. Most recently, 45-year-old actress and singer Idina Menzel called out her own embarrassing moment caught on camera before anyone else got the chance to.
Menzel headed to the airport feeling “cool” as ever, wearing rolled up skinny jeans with rips at the knees. »
- Kaitlyn Frey
Raise the curtains, Julie Andrews is here! Join Julie as she introduces kids to the magical world of the performing arts. Julie's Greenroom is now streaming, only on Netflix. Posted by Netflix on Friday, March 17, 2017 Julie Andrews's new show, Julie's Greenroom, premiered on Netflix on Friday, and the streaming giant has given us another look at what to expect. Created by Andrews, her daughter, Emma Walton Hamilton, and Judy Rothman Rofe, the children's series sets out to teach children and parents the importance of the arts. Andrews runs a performing arts workshop for kids in a theater built by her father, and guest stars include Alec Baldwin, Joshua Bell, Tituss Burgess, Carol Burnett, Josh Groban, Ellie Kemper, and Idina Menzel. Check out the teaser above! »
- Monica Sisavat
At 81 years old, Julie Andrews has done it all — but the legendary actress is the first to admit that she’s never going to stop learning.
Speaking with People ahead of the release of her new children’s show Julie’s Greenroom (streaming on Netflix Friday), the Hollywood icon opened up about the special advice that she would give to her younger self knowing what she knows now.
“What I know now is that there’s always something more to learn, because you never stop really,” Andrews said. “You don’t just grow up and get set, at least you shouldn’t. »
- Brittany King
Julie Andrews is coming to Netflix with Julie's Greenroom, a children's show, and she's got one goal in mind: To educate the next generation about the arts. "There's nothing like the joy of the arts and promoting the arts early in children is going to give them such a start in life in a way," Andrews told E! News during a recent interview. And she's not doing it alone. Along for the ride are a slew of guest stars like Alec Baldwin, Sara Bareilles, Idina Menzel and Carol Burnett. Plus, Andrews has her daughter Emma Walton Hamilton at her side. The two created the show and wrote episodes together. "My background is in arts education and we know, absolutely for a fact, that there »
“Julie’s Greenroom”: Netflix
The series showcases the impact the arts can have on a child’s life with Andrews playing the fictional leader of a performing arts company made up of a host of puppet characters created by The Jim Henson Company. Created with her daughter, Emma Walton Hamilton, an author and instructor at Suny Stony Brook Southampton, the show stars herself, Giullian Yao Gioiello (“The Carrie Diaries”), and a classroom full of puppets.
In a recent interview with the two women while on a visit to New York City to promote the show, Hamilton said that their collaboration came quite naturally.
“We’re both very passionate about the arts. Mom, of course with her arts background. I have a theater background and work with children. Mom has for a long time wanted to do a show about the arts for children, but for a variety of reasons, the time never presented itself,” Hamilton explained. “A year ago, Lisa Henson, from The Henson Company, came to us and said ‘let’s do a show, something about the arts.’”
“I said, ‘yes, please!’” Andrews added. “I jumped at it. It’s not a moment too soon. The fact is I’m now doing what I’ve wanted to do for so long. If theater stimulates children even a little bit, I’d be so happy.”
Each episode plucks from the series’ impressive roster of celebrity guests, and the two women said working with them all has been magical. “We bring in wonderfully, powerful guest stars who teach various lessons about the arts,” Andrews shared. The list includes artists such as musician Sara Bareilles, Broadway star Idina Menzel, and “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” actress Ellie Kemper.
The show couldn’t come at a better time, with the potential threat of the elimination of the National Endowment of the Arts. “The irony is that the arts are always the first budget to be cut, but we know that statistically there is no better way to teach skills like problem solving, critical thinking, communications, empathy, tolerance, teamwork, collaboration, and the value of the arts,” said Hamilton. “If the arts are in peril, we must do our small part to to fight the good fight and protect and preserve. Plus, if you start exposing children to this stuff when they’re young, it’s much more accessible. Later in life, it can seem elitist or scary, but if you’re submersed early enough, you feel like you belong.”
“The arts are a bridge between countries and cultures,” said Andrews.
“Julie’s Greenroom” joins a roster of kids’ series on Netflix that features several DreamWorks Animation shows, including “All Hail King Julien” and “Turbo Fast,” as well as other children’s series such as “Inspector Gadget,” “Popples” and the upcoming “Beat Bugs,” “ Lalaloopsy,” “Stretch Armstrong” and “The Greenhouse.” “Netflix is so amazing because they take chances. They’ll take a risk, be edgy, be quirky,” observed Hamilton.
“They’re worldwide. I love that the show is being released worldwide, instantaneously,” said Andrews.
The mother-daughter collaboration started 30 books ago. “It’s a long time ago now,” Andrews fondly recalled. “My publisher asked me if I had anything for very young children.”
Hamilton eagerly added, ”My son was very young at the time, this was 20 years ago. My mother said to me, ‘If you were looking for a book at the library, what would it be?’ I said it would have to be about trucks, so that was our first book together.”
The book was “Dumpy at School.” The literary mother-daughter duo are now also authors of “The Great American Mousical,” “The Very Fairy Princess,” and “The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles,” amongst many other titles.
“Now I don’t ever imagine writing without her because it reinforces the process,” Andrews said. “We have different strengths. She’s structure [and] nuts and bolts — the crafts person. It’s so helpful to have another creative mind to bounce ideas off. Can you imagine having had a little girl and having had her cling to your thigh and all that kind of thing then suddenly she grows up and you face yourselves as two equal women with a real connection of minds, stimulation, and respect?”
“She’s the inspiration, the one who woke up in the middle of the night recently and said ‘We need a duck on our show!’ I’m the one who says, ‘Ok, but how do we get from act one to act two?’” said Hamilton.
“Julie’s Greenroom” is aimed to preschoolers with thirteen 30-minute episodes. The two women are already hopeful it gets picked up for Season 2 so that they can teach people that theaters are often only steps away from their front door. “We purposely made this little theater resemble a regional theater because for many people, who don’t live in NYC, they might not realize that right down the road there’s a community theater or vocal workshop or dance hall to take advantage of,” said Hamilton.
Andrews added, “If we get picked up, I want to do a day of one of the kids saying ‘I’m bored.’ And we ask them what they want to do if they could, and we can recreate it on stage, using their imagination. I’d like to go to Paris for the day, for example. I also hope children will want to binge and watch these more than once.”
Julie Andrews Returns to TV to Teach Kids the Value of Arts Education in “Julie’s Greenroom” was originally published in Women and Hollywood on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story. »
- Holly Rosen Fink
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