Broadway leaps into spring
Some big-name actors return to the stage and stir up the classics.
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Country and pop legend Dolly Parton is finally landing on Broadway, but not in the way she first imagined. Parton had been toying with the idea of writing a musical based on her life when producer Bob Greenblatt approached her about adapting the 1980 hit comedy, "9 to 5," in which she starred alongside Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin as three working girls facing off against a dastardly boss. Thus was born "9 to 5: The Musical," a frothy new show about three tough-as-nails ladies tired of smacking their heads on the proverbial glass ceiling. Flaunting feminist sensibilities, the musical premiered in Los Angeles last fall to strong reviews. Parton wrote the score, and the famous title tune opens and closes the show. Emmy award-winner Allison Janney ("The West Wing") plays frustrated secretary Violet Newsted, Stephanie J. Block is the easily flustered new girl Judy Bernly, and Megan Hilty portrays the wisecracking assistant with the hourglass figure, Doralee Rhodes. (Previews begin April 7; opens April 30.)Skip to next paragraph
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Once scoffed at as "a play in which nothing happens – twice," Beckett's "Waiting for Godot" is now an unquestioned tragicomic masterpiece that has influenced everything from the plays of Edward Albee to sitcoms like "Seinfeld" and "Arrested Development." The story revolves around a couple of bedraggled hobos idling by a sad-looking tree and anticipating the arrival of someone who never shows up. The challenge for this star-studded cast is to stoke the play's deadpan comic rhythms, while leavening its brisk comedy with the loneliness and despair of characters facing the existential void. In his mime work and watershed role in "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" Bill Irwin (Vladimir) has proven himself more than capable of handling the shadows with the light. So, too, has Nathan Lane (Estragon). While it remains to be seen whether John Goodman (who plays Pozzo), and is well-known for his avuncular Dan Conner on "Roseanne" and impressive work with the Coen Brothers, can pull off this balancing act. (Previews begin April 3; opens April 30.)