Odds & Ends: Laura Benanti, Robert Sean Leonard & More Join The Gilded Age‘s Second Season
Here’s a quick roundup of stories you might have missed.
Laura Benanti & More Board HBO’s The Gilded Age
More Broadway stars are joining HBO’s The Gilded Age for its second season. As previously announced, the stage star-packed show was renewed following the release of only three episodes. The show stars Tony winners Cynthia Nixon and Christine Baranski and comes from Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes. The nine-part series centers on the orphaned daughter (Louisa Jacobson) of a Southern general who moves in with her aunts Agnes van Rhijn (Baranski) and Ada Brook (Nixon) in 1880s New York City and is thrust into high society. Audra McDonald, Carrie Coon, Katie Fineran, Claybourne Elder, Michael Cerveris, Kelli O’Hara and Denée Benton were just a few of the first season’s stars, which premiered on January 24. Deadline reports that Tony winners Laura Benanti and Robert Sean Leonard are set to recur on the period drama. Benanti will play glamorous Newport widow Susan Blane, while Leonard is set to portray Reverend Matthew Forte, the new rector of the church attended by New York society members. Other recurring guest stars will include Broadway alums Christopher Denham, David Furr, Matilda Lawler, Dakin Mathews and Michael Braugher as well as Ben Lamb, Nicole Brydon Bloom and Rebeca Haden.
Gregory Doran to Step Down as Artistic Director of the RSC
Gregory Doran, who has been the artistic director of the Royal Shakespeare Company for the last decade, will step down after 35 years with the organization. The RSC announced the news on Twitter on April 22. Doran is set to direct a production as part of the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s first folio next year, which will mark his 50th production for the RSC. Doran will begin rehearsals next week for Richard III with Arthur Hughes in the title role. He will also deliver ongoing training for artists on Shakespeare’s verse throughout the year. “We have made many strides in making our theater more inclusive, accessible, diverse and accountable, but there is always more to do, and I wish whoever succeeds me joy in continuing that work,” Doran said in a statement. “I am honored to have been granted the title of Artistic Director Emeritus until the end of 2023.”
Broadway Alum Utkarsh Ambudkar Sets Rap Musical Comedy Feature at Disney+
Utkarsh Ambudkar, who wowed Broadway audiences with his hip-hop improv skills in Freestyle Love Supreme, has conceived, co-written, produced and will co-star in the feature film World’s Best for Disney+, according to Deadline,. The movie tells the story of a young math kid who vows to become the world’s best MC. Roshan Sethi, who made his feature directorial debut with 7 Days, the 2022 Independent Spirit Award winner for Best First Feature, is set to direct. Freestyle Love Supreme director Thomas Kail will produce the film. Ambudkar’s screen credits include CBS’ Ghosts, Hulu’s The Dropout, Netflix’s Never Have I Ever and more.
Cast Announced for Billy Elliot the Musical at Curve
Curve has announced the cast for its upcoming Made at Curve production of Billy Elliot the Musical. The U.K. production is directed by Nikolai Foster and will run at the Leicester Theatre July 7 through August 14. Opening night is scheduled for July 14. The title role will be performed by Leo Hollingsworth, Alfie Napolitano, Samuel Newby and Jaden Shentall-Lee. Billy’s dance teacher Mrs. Wilkinson will be played by Sally Ann Triplett. Michael, Billy’s best friend, will be performed by Bobby Donald, Lucas Haywood, Ethan Shimwell and Prem Masani. Pearl Ball, Caitlin Cole, Lola Johnstone and Ellie Copping will share the role of Debbie, Mrs. Wilkinson’s daughter. Joe Caffrey, who previously performed in the West End production of Billy Elliot the Musical, will join the cast as Billy’s father Jackie, while Rachel Izen will play Billy’s Grandma Edna. The cast will also include Luke Baker, Jessica Daley, Craig Armstrong, Minal Patel, Cameron Johnson, Micky Cochrane, Robin Paley Yorke, Christopher Wright, Michael Lin, Jonathan Dryden Taylor, Tori McDougall, Louie Wood, Steph Asamoah, Anna Rossa, Willow Adamson, Maddie Seren Ashley, Oliver Back, Aneeka Kaur Bains, Ella-Rose Blackburn Price, Harvey Clarridge, Lily Corkill, Miley Dalton, Matisse Didier, Isabelle Francis, Ethan Galeotti, Rahul Gandabhai, Isla Granville, Uzziah Gray, Orlaith Rae Hunt, Ava Rose Johnson, Ava Mia Komisarczuk, Kyrelle Lammy, Lienna-Jean Langdon, Tahlia Maddox, Lorcan Murphy, Nesisa Mhindu, Hayden Polanco, Sophie Pirie, Gopal Thacker and Mirabelle Varakantam.