Jessie Mueller as carole King in Beautiful—The Carole King Musical

If Jessie Mueller were a song, she’d be No. One with a bullet. A not inappropriate way to refer to the actress who has been chosen to play singer/songwriter and pop immortal Carole King in the new Broadway musical, Beautiful, now in previews for a Jan. 12 opening night. Beautiful, indeed. Just two years ago this month, Mueller made her Broadway debut in the revival of On a Clear Day You Can See Forever, earning a Tony Award nomination for Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical. Two shows later (Nice Work If You Can Get It and The Mystery of Edwin Drood), and her name is above the title. What have these roller-coaster two years been like? "I have to pinch myself from time to time," she says in the following interview.

Sean Mathias is doubly blessed. Not only is he directing two of the Broadway season’s most anticipated plays, Harold Pinter’s No Man’s Land and Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot, opening Nov. 24 and playing in repertory thru Mar. 2 at the Cort Theatre, he is guiding Sir Ian McKellen and Sir Patrick Stewart—two actors who need no introduction—in both. Call it a tour de force whose time has come, as Mathias reveals in the following interview, conducted in late September when the plays were in rehearsal in New York.

I recently had the pleasure of chatting on the phone with actress Debra Jo Rupp. Rupp, beloved by millions of TV fans as Kitty Forman, the über-mother in the long-running FOX comedy series That '70s Show (1998-2006), is now starring Off-Broadway in the one-woman play, Becoming Dr. Ruth. That’s Dr. Ruth as in sex therapist Dr. Ruth Westheimer, a role many believe Rupp was born to play. What's it like being Dr. Ruth eight performances a week?

Purists usually pout at Matthew Bourne's ballets. The British choreographer is famed for refashioning the full-length classics with new librettos and dances to match.

I see Romeo and Juliet tonight. The production with Orlando Bloom and Condola Rashad as Shakespeare’s doomed teens. Am I looking forward to it? You bet.

Here’s why I enjoyed and can recommend the new Broadway musical First Date.

You've always been a little different. Distinct from the rest. One whose tastes were never mainstream; whose fantasies aren't cookie-cutter. A pomegranate among apples. Well, rest easy, black sheep.

It’s not every day I get to attend a sneak preview of a new Broadway show. Such was my luck on June 27, when the producers of Soul Doctor invited the press to a half-hour peak at the new musical about the real-life “Singing Rabbi” and father of popular Jewish music: Shlomo Carlebach. Who knew?

1. Reasons to Be Happy is a play by Neil LaBute, who does double duty and also directs the world-premiere production at the Lucille Lortel Theatre.

I’ve been a Roundabout Theatre Company subscriber for nearly two decades now, and the joys of membership are many. One is getting a guaranteed seat to shows that often become the hottest tickets in town (as when Harry Connick Jr. made his Broadway debut in The Pajama Game).


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