Page: 1

Denzel Washington / Promises to London?

Broadway Star
Broadway Star
Denzel Washington / Promises to London?#1
Posted: 4/30/10 at 2:48pm

Denzel Washington is in the early stages of discussions about bringing the Broadway production of Fences, in which he and leading lady Viola Davis are creating the kind of theatrical magic that's rarely witnessed these days, to London.
Two-time Oscar winner Washington was initially dismissive when I asked about repeating his role as Troy Maxson, a man who finds he has not fully measured up to his expectations in life, in the West End.
'They want to take it to London. But can I go? I'd love to - but have you seen my bills?'
He mulled it over for a moment or two and added: 'I would love to go, but is it possible? I just don't know. I'm not ruling it out, though.'
The actor suggested I go and ask Scott Rudin, who produced Fences by August Wilson along with Carole Shorenstein Hays.
'I'd do it like a shot,' Rudin responded. But there are many hurdles to overcome.
The play is on at New York's Cort Theatre for a limited run until July 11, at which point Washington goes off on a month-long cruise with his family.

There are talks going on now to see if Washington and Ms Davis, who plays Rose, Troy's wife, are willing and able to resume their roles once Washington returns from his break.
Both have busy schedules. Washington's agent Ari Emanuel told me he wanted his client to do a movie, but there was enough of a hint of a smile to suggest that if the right deal could be struck, he wouldn't stand in the way of Washington playing a short season in London.
Fences, which is part of Wilson's celebrated cycle of plays that explore the experience of African-Americans through the 20th century, was last done in London about 17 years ago, but it wasn't a landmark production. (Another of Wilson's dramas, Joe Turner's Come And Gone, opens soon at the Young Vic.)
This version of Fences, directed by Kenny Leon, is a story of conflict between a father and his son, but it also brings out more of the relationship between Troy and Rose as they realise that the American dream didn't quite make it to their neck of the woods in post-World War II Pittsburgh.

Even though I knew the play, I was still stunned by the extraordinary revelations that dominate the second act, and judging by the audible gasps, the rest of the audience was as captivated as I was.
Ms Davis comes from the theatre and I have seen her on the New York stage before, but nothing she has done prepared me for the power of her performance, which I suspect people will be talking about for years.

Both she and Washington are leading contenders for Tony award trophies in June.
Ms Davis, some of you will recall, was the actress who all but stole the film Doubt from under Meryl Streep's nose a couple of years ago.
I asked her about London and I saw tears in her eyes and she wasn't able to answer me.
Her husband, Julius Tennon, was holding her hand and nodded his head.

'I think she'd love to do that, but she's not able to comphrehend a question like that tonight.'
If all the talks and negotiations work out, then the plan would be to bring the entire Fences company of Washington, Davis, Chris Chalk, Stephen McKinley Henderson, Russell Hornsby and Mykelti Williamson to London.
It would be a sensation if it came to pass.

Read more:

Daniel Radcliffe has been put under a tough regimen for his Brodway musical debut.
Rob Ashford, who has just opened Promises, Promises, will be directing Daniel in the Frank Loesser show How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying in New York early next spring.
'He's singing every day with a vocal coach in London and I've got my assistant putting him through his dance paces every other day. I'm covering all bases with Daniel - and he's delivering,' Ashford told me.
Candy Spelling, who will be one of the show's producers, told me she saw Daniel at a casting audition and a rehearsed run-through for backers and she was impressed with the nimbleness of his dance moves, and his singing voice.
Rose Hemingway, who has been cast opposite Daniel as his stage girlfriend Rosemary Pilkington, told me she did her audition with Daniel.
'He's been doing a lot of work and he's going to surprise people. He's not afraid to learn how to do things,' the 26-year-old actress from Philadelphia said.
Rose started life as Rose Szczerniak, later amended her surname to Sezniak and has just taken her future husband's surname Hemingway (no relation to the author).
Right now, Daniel is completing the two-part Deathly Hallows films - the final editions of the Harry Potter pictures.
Rehearsals for How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying will begin in February.

Read more:

Candy Spelling takes off one of her diamond earrings and explains why they're so large.

'I don't have pierced ears and I don't like the clips to show, so the diamonds have to be big enough to hide the clips,' she explained as she handed me one of the seven-and-a-half-carat, perfectly cut rocks.
That kind of savvy has served the 68-year-old widow of Aaron Spelling, the legendary producer behind Dynasty and Charlie's Angels, well over the years.
She has now turned producer herself and her name is one of several above the title of the revival of the Burt Bacharach-Hal David-Neil Simon musical Promises, Promises.

It has just opened at the Broadway Theatre with Sean Hayes of television's Will & Grace fame and Kristin Chenoweth, who was in the original Wicked on Broadway and who is an occasional guest star on the C4 hit Glee.
Candy takes her producing duties seriously.

'I stood in line at the box office the other day. I had no make-up on, no diamonds - just jeans and a coat with a hood to keep the rain off.

'I listened to what people asked the box office staff and it was clear their priorities were Sean and Kristin,' Candy told me over lunch in the famous Grill Room at the Four Seasons.
Hayes is good as the lowly junior staffer who loans his bedsit to lecherous bosses, while Chenoweth, who has one of the best singing voices around, is woefully miscast and, at 41, too old to play a vulnerable ingenue.
Chenoweth didn't want to do it, Candy said.
Box office hit: Actors Sean Hayes and Kristin Chenoweth star in Promises, Promises
So the producers and director Rob Ashford added two Bacharach numbers that weren't written for the show - I Say A Little Prayer and A House Is Not A Home - to tempt her.
'In the movie, as good as Shirley MacLaine was, it was Jack Lemmon's movie. Same with the show. It's Sean's show, but those additional songs augment Kristin's role,' Candy explained.
The show could come to London with Hayes, but not Chenoweth. Also, a couple more Bacharach classics could be shoehorned in, such as Walk On By, because the rest of the score is as well known in the UK as it is in the U.S.
However, I loved two numbers new to me: Turkey Lurkey Time and A Fact Is A Beautiful Thing.
Candy studied ballet for a while when she was younger, but never wanted to go into the business. Instead, she married young TV executive Aaron Spelling who had, she told me, $14,000 equity in a $70,000 home.
'We had nothing,' she declared. But being a Hollywood native and an observer of the likes of Louis B. Mayer and other moguls, she understood that thinking big could pay off in the long run.

'I got Aaron a big office with a big desk and he looked the part,' Candy said. Later on she built a mammoth estate, with 80 or so rooms (although not the 100, as is often reported).

'I didn't intend for it to be so big. It just grew like Topsy. I didn't understand the drawing plans. And it just got larger and the builders never warned me. Why would they?'
The mansion in Holmby Hills is on the market for $150 million, but she's still living in it.

'I know every room,' she responded when I asked if there were some she'd never been in.

'It's tastefully done - not over the top. It's a comfy place. I've got to work out what's coming and what's not,' Candy said.
The art works will move with her to the two-storey apartment she has purchased atop a tower block in Century City, LA.

She will probably hang on to the two Warhols of her - one pink, the other blue. 'I keep them in the space that links the pool and the house, not with the main collection, because I think it's narcissistic to have art of yourself on full view.'
She added: 'I don't know where I'll put them in the new place now that I'm downsizing. I lived a lot of my dreams in the old house, but it's too big for me and my dog, Madison.'
Madison has her own website, by the way. Candy said she and daughter Tori are now reconciled and she sees her two grandchildren often.
She does a lot of work with charities that help children, and dogs, but her entry into the theatre world will continue with How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying.

Read more:


I could see Denzel Washington being a big draw just for showing up but I'm not sensing that much buzz around Fences. Has anyone on the WE board seen it and, if so, would it be worth bringing over?

I would LOVE to see Promises Promises come over with Hayes but I'm not convinced it ever would - The Addams Family would be a much easier sell and there don't seem to be any plans for that to transfer.

Btw, love the first entry in the Comments section: Everyone should ensure they go to the theatre at least once in their life. It's an entirely different experience compared to watching the telelvision. - Christine, London, England, 30/4/2010 08:26 Denzel Washington / Promises to London?

Seen some shows in my time....
Broadway Legend
Broadway Legend
Denzel Washington / Promises to London?#2
Posted: 4/30/10 at 3:00pm
Denzel would sell this show but he's a very busy actor which could prevent a potential transfer.

Broadway Legend
Broadway Legend
Denzel Washington / Promises to London?#2
Posted: 4/30/10 at 3:53pm
I was lucky enough to see the play this past Sunday. Incredible! I haven't heard an audience react like that for a play before. Washington and Davis were superb. Bring it over!
...fragment of the day...
songanddanceman2 Profile Photosonganddanceman2 Profile Photo
Broadway Legend
Broadway Legend
Denzel Washington / Promises to London?#3
Posted: 4/30/10 at 7:18pm
Wow its nice that that Spelling Witch (i love Aaron and Tori but this beast is horrid) has just dumped all over her star.

Oh and there is more chance of me turning in to Chenoweth than Promises Promises coming here
Namo i love u but we get it don't like Madonna