For the small slice of the American population that participated in high-school musicals, and the even smaller sliver that is actually proud of that experience, listen up: ABC is airing a delightfully nerdy, bittersweet gift to you all this Sunday at 10 p.m.Hosted by Kristen Bell, a theater kid herself before she became a Disney princess, .“Théâtre du Soleil is the dream of living, working, being happy and searching for beauty and for goodness. It’s very simple, really.”Outside Circle in the Square, the winter winds are starting to snap.But inside a different wind is blowing — literally.The production is directed by Des Mc Anuff and choreographed by Sergio Trujillo — a team that previously worked together on a similar project, the Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons jukebox musical “How are the children?
In 1964 in Paris, the 25-year-old Ariane Mnouchkine did what countless young theater artists, fresh out of school and full of ideas and ambition, set out to do: She founded a company with some friends.The troupe — a collective affair where each founding member put in 900 francs and committed to equal salaries for all — was called the Théâtre du Soleil.“We were looking for life, light, heat, beauty, strength, fertility,” Mnouchkine told the New York decades later, describing the origins of what had by that time become one of the world’s preeminent theater companies — unique in its communal spirit, the grand scope of its productions, and the multinationality of both its material and its membership.They get professional help to put on the show, but only a week of rehearsals to pull it all together. The play centers on three adult brothers (Hammer among them), who gather with their father (Tom Skerritt) and reckon with the privilege that comes with being straight white men — maybe in this version they also read Buzz Feed articles about themselves.For this particular cast of former theater kids, that means hitting pause on their lives as insurance salesmen, flight attendants, and stay-at-home moms to memorize pages of dialogue, remember tricky melodies, and dance while 32 weeks pregnant. According to is back onstage, lounging at the Hudson Theatre after a makeover for the age of Twitter and Trump.