Variety Announces Inaugural Power of Broadway Breakfast

Variety has announced its first Broadway-focused event, the Power of Broadway, which will take place Oct. 1 in New York. “Theater is going through a rebirth with a renewed interest in Broadway reflected in record-setting ticket sales,” said Variety group publisher and CRO, Michelle Sobrino-Stearns. “As Variety began 113 years ago reporting on theater and vaudeville, we […]



Cher Is Gifting Us With A Broadway Musical Based On Her Life

Thanks to Cher, we’re ready to leave this soggy, half-eaten sandwich of a year behind and fast forward to the bright (and likely beaded) future of 2018.

In a tweet heard ‘round the divasphere on Tuesday night, the Goddess of Pop announced that a musical based on her life is set to arrive on Broadway next year. It will have actors. It will have dancers. It will have singers. And, according to our best guesses, it will have the greatest costumes and wigs to ever grace the Great White Way.

The show will feature hits from throughout Cher’s decadeslong career. So far, we know that Jason Moore (”Avenue Q,” “Pitch Perfect”) is set to direct the musical, Rick Elice (”Jersey Boys”) is set to write the book, and Jeffrey Seller (”Hamilton”) and Flody Suarez (”Rise”) are set to produce. 

The Hollywood Reporter noted that Cher previously tweeted approval of the musical back in January ― after an “an ultra-secretive reading of the show” featuring Jillian Mueller, Lena Hall and Lesli Margherita as different Chers ― exclaiming, “I sobbed & laughed, & I was prepared not 2like it. Audience clapped after songs, & gave it standing ovation.”

A November 2016 casting notice revealed that characters dubbed Babe, Lady and Star will represent Cher at various times in her life. A few other figures we can expect to see cast in the musical: Sonny Bono, Cher’s parents, Bob Mackie, David Geffen, Gregg Allman, Robert Altman, Rob Camilletti and, yes, Sigmund Freud.

Cher has yet to reveal more details since her Tuesday evening tweet. In fact, shortly after her all-caps announcement, she resumed her usual social media duties: calling out President Donald Trump.

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Broadway Star Leslie Odom Jr. Makes the Case for Simple Style

The Hamilton lead on how he developed his look—and his self-confidence.

Style – Esquire


Off Broadway Review: Annie Baker’s ‘The Antipodes’

When good playwrights are unable to write, they sometimes write bad plays about being unable to write.  Annie Baker, who is normally a very good writer (of plays including Pulitzer Prize for Drama winner “The Flick”), has written such a play in “The Antipodes.” A team of brainstorming screenwriters — played by a cast that includes Josh… Read more »



Sara Bareilles to Star in ‘Waitress,’ The Broadway Musical She Wrote

Singer-songwriter Sara Bareilles will play the lead role in “Waitress,” the Broadway musical for which she wrote the score, during a 10-week run that begins in late March. She’ll step into the role following the departure of Jessie Mueller, the Tony Award winner (“Beautiful”) who originated the part in the show based on Adrienne Shelly’s… Read more »



Donald Trump–From Broadway Producer to President


By Helaine Feldman, ZEALnyc Contributing Writer, February 14, 2017

He was 23 years old, had a degree from the prestigious Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and had an extremely profitable family business waiting for him.

But Donald Trump thought he would like to be a Broadway producer. He met with David Black, a successful producer (George M! with Joel Grey and Bernadette Peters; The Impossible Years with Alan King; and Ready When You Are, CB! with Julie Harris, among others) and they joined together–Black providing the experience and know-how and Trump putting up a sizeable chunk of the money–for a new comedy, Paris Is Out, slated for the 1969-70 season.

The play starred Molly Picon, who in 1962 received a Tony nomination for her appearance in the Jerry Herman musical, Milk and Honey and was a popular performer who began her career in the Yiddish theatre, and Sam Levene, a Broadway veteran, the original Nathan Detroit in Guys and Dolls and star of the classic, Three Men on a Horse. The playwright was Richard Seff, who was adding a new credit to an already impressive resume.

From original Playbill program; courtesy of

Richard remembers: “I did not actually meet young Trump, except briefly and informally, for he was an investor and I didn’t even know he was involved until after we opened. I do recall standing next to him on two occasions during our 13 week run, at the back of the orchestra, where we both stood, watching the play. He had arrived on his own, in his white convertible, stayed awhile, then drove off.”

The play had a modest run, but ran into some bad luck along the way. Variety had a headline around the ninth week of the run which read: “Broadway down, Paris Up.” “For each week that we ran,” says Seff, “despite mixed reviews, our gross was creeping up to the point where the house manager told me, ‘If we get through Easter and Passover (traditionally bad for business), we’ll be here all summer.’ Alas, on Easter Sunday, there was a blizzard in New York and three ‘nervous hits,’ (Broadway talk for a production that was always on the edge of closing), were forced to shut down the next week. They were Noel Coward’s Private Lives with Tammy Grimes and Brian Bedford; Sheep on the Runway by Art Buchwald, and my Paris is Out!

All of us had about three months. We ran for 104 performances (including previews); audiences loved the play, and Brooks Atkinson, the dean of American critics (for whom a theatre is named), offered us a great quote: ‘A delightful family comedy in which Molly Picon and Sam Levene are in top form.’ Only we couldn’t use it because Mr. Atkinson had retired as New York Times critic and he did not want to undermine his replacement. Not a good break for us.”

The play did, however, have an afterlife. With original star Molly Picon in it, it broke house records at the Philadelphia Playhouse in the Park after closing on Broadway. Film star Pat O’Brien somehow was sent the play, loved it and toured for 48 weeks in dinner theatres around the country. “People thought it was a Jewish play because of Sam and Molly,” Seff told an interviewer, “but it had a 48 week tour with Pat O’Brien and his wife. Suddenly it was about an Irish family–without one line changed” Ann B. Davis (from TV’s The Brady Bunch), toured it, too. And, Seff adds, “A couple of years ago, 40-odd years after we closed on Broadway, a dinner theatre in Paradise, Pennsylvania played it for 11 weeks with great success.”

Today, of course, Donald Trump has gone on to other things…

But, what about Richard Seff? Now 89, he has been the quintessential hyphenate: an actor, agent, playwright, librettist, novelist, memoirist and critic. His book, Supporting Player: My Life Upon the Wicked Stage, catalogues his long career. “I have done everything in theatre,” he says, “but sell tickets.” His apartment reflects this and is filled with memorabilia: books, records, CDs and photos, lots of photos, of his friends and former clients including Chita Rivera and lyricist Fred Ebb (Chicago and Cabaret, to name a few). His latest gig is writing reviews of New York theatre for the website DC Metro Theater Arts.

Richard Seff; photo courtesy of artist

In 2004, he created an award, the Richard Seff Award, presented by the Actors’ Equity Foundation each year to a character actor and actress, supporting players, who have devoted at least 25 years to their profession, have not achieved “stardom,” but continue to work as featured players–like he was–and is!

Cover: Donald Trump in 1976; photo: Bettmann Archive.

Helaine Feldman, a Contributing Writer for ZEALnyc, writes about theater performance and related features.

For more features from ZEALnyc read:

The Public Theater and The New Yorker Team Up to Talk Trump

‘Outside the Box’ Ways to Celebrate Valentine’s Day

The Honest, Touching Emotion of ‘Milk and Honey’ at the York

Pedrito Martinez–A Look Back on the Journey Thus Far

For all the news on New York City arts and culture, visit ZEALnyc Front Page.

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Broadway Scores at the Oscars


This year’s Academy Awards nominations honor many familiar names from the New York stage

By Christopher Caggiano, ZEALnyc Contributing Writer, February 7, 2017

Since the advent of moving pictures, there’s been a considerable amount of traffic back and forth between New York theater and Hollywood movies. That tradition continues to this day, as evidenced by the recently announced nominations for the 89th Academy Awards.

It’s no surprise that Broadway and Off-Broadway frequently feature some of the best performers and writers of any given age. And over the years, many artists have found success in both the theatrical and cinematic spheres. But theater isn’t as close to the center of American culture as it has been in the past. So, it’s hard not to think about this year’s nominations as a validation of the great work that theater folk do, after so many years of feeling culturally marginalized.

Here’s a sampling of this year’s Oscar nominees with Broadway and Off-Broadway ties.

The big story at this year’s Oscar nominations was the romantic musical comedy La La Land, which received a record-tying 14 nominations, including one for best picture. It used to be that a year couldn’t go by without a musical garnering an Oscar nod, but movie musicals sort of disappeared for about 30 years. Then, when Chicago snagged the Best Picture Oscar in 2002, suddenly film musicals were back in vogue.

La La Land seems even more remarkable, as it was written directly for the screen, as opposed to adapted from a pre-existing Broadway musical. This provided Broadway’s rising stars, composer/lyricists, Benj Hasek and Justin Paul, with the opportunity to snag two Oscar nods for writing the lyrics (to music by Justin Hurwitz) for the songs “Audition (‘The Fools Who Dream’)” and “City of Stars.” Pasek and Paul are also currently represented on Broadway by the hottest ticket of the season so far, the heartrending Dear Evan Hansen.

Also from La La Land, Emma Stone garnered a nomination for Best Actress. Stone made her Broadway debut in the 2014 revival (of the 1998 revival) of Cabaret, receiving very strong notices in the process.

For theater fans, one of the biggest stories to emerge from this year’s Oscar nods is the fact that wonder boy Lin-Manuel Miranda has a chance to earn that most coveted of distinctions, the EGOT (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony). Miranda has won numerous Tonys, most notably for the smash hit Hamilton. He also won Grammys for the cast recordings of both Hamilton and In the Heights. He even snagged an Emmy writing music and lyrics for the 67th Annual Tony Awards. All that leaves is the Oscar, and Miranda seems a very strong contender indeed for his song “How Far I’ll Go,” from the Disney hit, Moana.

One major point of theatrical interest this year is the film adaptation of August Wilson’s Tony- and Pulitzer Prize-winning Fences. Even though Wilson passed away in 2005, he nonetheless received an Oscar nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay. Wilson is enjoying a good deal of interest this year, as his 1982 play Jitney is currently making its first Broadway appearance. Also from Fences, we have Oscar nods for Best Actor for Denzel Washington, who was last on Broadway in Raisin in the Sun, 2014, as well as Best Actress in a Supporting Role for Viola Davis, two-time Tony winner for King Hedley II and the 2010 revival of Fences.

Another esteemed playwright who received a lot of Oscar love this year was Kenneth Lonergan, who received Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay nominations for his Manchester by the Sea. Lonergan was recently featured on Broadway in a revival of his 1996 play, This Is Our Youth. Recognized for their acting in Manchester By the Sea were Michelle Williams, who was Tony nominated for her remarkable turn in the harrowing Blackbird in 2016, and Lucas Hedges, who is currently appearing in the MCC Theater production of Anna Jordan’s Yen.

Other Oscar-nominated actors with a theater pedigree include Michael Shannon for Best Actor in a Supporting role in Nocturnal Animals. Shannon was a Tony nominee last season for his crackling performance in the smashing Broadway revival of Long Day’s Journey Into Night. Andrew Garfield, a Best Actor nominee for Hacksaw Ridge, was seen on Broadway in the 2012 revival of Death of a Salesman.

In the not-so-recently-on-Broadway department, we have Natalie Portman, Best Actress nominee for Jackie, who made what is so far her only appearance on Broadway in the 1998 revival of The Diary of Anne Frank. Nicole Kidman, who has also only graced Broadway once, also in 1998 in The Blue Room, is likewise nominated this year as Best Actress for Lion.

And finally, perennial Oscar nominee Meryl Streep picked up a record-breaking 20th nomination this year for Florence Foster Jenkins. Although La Streep is rightly considered one of the best, if not the best, actor currently living, it’s a bit surprising that she hasn’t appeared on Broadway since 1977 in Happy End. (She has, however, appeared in a number of Off-Broadway productions, including Mother Courage and Her Children as part of The Public Theater’s free series of productions in Central Park.) I know I’m not the only one hoping that she deigns to grace Broadway with her presence again sometime very soon.

Cover: Lin-Manuel Miranda; photo: Matthew Murphy

Christopher Caggiano writes for ZEALnyc about theater performance and related topics.

Read more from ZEALnyc:

Hits by Herman Highlight the Season–and two are at the York

Cuba’s Pedrito Martinez–Percussionist and Vocalist Extraordinaire

Philip Glass Celebrates His Birthday with a World Premiere at Carnegie Hall

Celebrate Winter with Festivals in Canada!

For all the news on New York City arts and culture, visit ZEALnyc Front Page.

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August Wilson’s Jitney in its Broadway Debut: A Review

Now, a dozen years after his death, August Wilson is on a roll. Maybe the wide release of the movie of his stage play Fences will bring him a posthumous Oscar for Best Screenplay, but more, because Denzel Washington has vowed he would see all 10 plays of this bard of Pittsburgh’s Hill District produced. A new Manhattan Theater Club production of Jitney, a 1982 drama at the Samuel J. Friedman Theater, a Broadway debut for this early play, is a must-see.

Taking place in a gypsy cab depot, Jitney is a vision of a black community with lively characters, well defined by the poetry they speak, their world a microcosm of age-old themes. When Denzel Washington spoke about how he opened up Fences for the movie, he wanted to make Troy’s marriage to Rose, and his betrayal, the emotional core, but unmistakably center stage is the father-son story, and so too is this theme the focus in Jitney. Ancestry is a key value, and under Ruben Santiago-Hudson’s superb direction, the straight line between Becker (the formidable John Douglas Thompson) and Booster (Brandon J. Dirden), the son he has not seen for 20 years is the tough love around which the drivers swirl in syncopated speech.

Andre Holland, getting much attention for his role in the movie Moonlight, is hot and fiery as the Vietnam vet, Youngblood. At odds with Turnbo (Michael Potts), a meddling gossip who is also menacing with a gun, Youngblood wants to do right by his woman (Carra Patterson, the only female in this testosterone laden cast). The wall phone is a character in itself, and who ever answers gets to say, “Car Service.” By play’s end, with the wrecking ball of gentrification looming large over this fine-tuned ensemble, you are no more ready to leave the station than Jitney’s drivers are. RRRRring! It must go on.

A version of this post also appears on Gossip Central.

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Off Broadway Review: ‘The Band’s Visit’ Starring Tony Shalhoub

It’s impossible to resist the quirky appeal of “The Band’s Visit,” a  modest but charming musical directed by David Cromer and featuring Tony Shalhoub.  David Yazbek (music and lyrics) and Itamar Moses (book) have made magic from a slender fable about the accidental cultural exchange that takes place when an Egyptian military band finds itself… Read more »



Michelle Obama Brings Broadway To The White House

First Lady Michelle Obama hosted an event on Monday honoring some of the best performing arts students from around the country, inviting some special celebrity guests to hold panels and workshops for the students.

“We always think that there’s a good reason to invite a bunch of talented young people to the White House to make sure they know how special they are. The President and I and everyone on this stage, we know how extraordinary you guys are,” she told the students. “And these folks are here today to honor you and to hopefully inspire you. They’re also here with an important message for you about what it takes to succeed, not just on Broadway, but in life.”

Obama also showed off some of her dance moves with singer Gloria Estefan and choreographer Sergio Trujillo, who taught one of the workshops.

Actors Kristin Chenoweth, Matthew Morrison and Whoopi Goldberg, Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein and Broadway legends Andrew Lloyd Webber and Stephen Schwartz also joined the festivities.

At the event, called “Broadway at the White House,” the students got to learn about various aspects of musical theater, including acting, composing, dancing, costume design and, of course, singing, which Obama joked is “something I know nothing about.”

The day began on a somber note, with Obama acknowledging Friday’s terrorist attacks in Paris and holding a moment of silence to honor the victims.

“Our thoughts and prayers of course are very much with the victims, their families, and all of the people of France. And we will continue to keep them in our hearts in the days ahead,” she said. “As my husband said on Friday, this was an attack not just on France, our dear friend and ally, but on all of humanity and our shared values. And as we mourn, we know that we must continue to show the strength of those values and hopes that the President spoke about when he talked. And the beauty is that all of you here, our young people that are here, you all reflect that passion, that creativity. You all are a part of those values that the President talked about. That’s what we’re protecting. We’re protecting what you all represent.”

According to the White House, the event will be part of a TV special, “Broadway at the White House,” airing on TLC on Thanksgiving.

You can see more photos of the event below.

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Will Diversity on Broadway Attract New Audiences?

Broadway, the colossal $ 1.37 billion theatrical industry, is booming and bigger than ever. According to the Broadway League, Broadway attendance for the 2014-2015 season reached 13.1 million ticket buyers – 80% of whom were Caucasian. However, with the addition of culturally varied productions, we can look forward to audiences becoming more diverse.

Creators of new musicals are incorporating diverse casting choices and musical styles. Lin-Manuel Miranda’s new Broadway blockbuster musical Hamilton uses a diverse cast and hip-hop music influence to celebrate American culture today by telling a story of America’s past. Audiences are resonating with this new change in Broadway musicals as first-time theatergoers discover a new genre of theatrical storytelling. As Hamilton‘s hip-hop infused cast recording ranks higher in the billboard charts, rap enthusiasts will discover a musical that speaks their language all the while attracting an array of nontraditional theatergoers as well as widening the horizons of that 80%.

Broadway historically has shown a lack of Hispanic representation on stage and that could correlate as to why they are also the smallest group of ticket buyers. However, the 2015-2016 Broadway season has enough Latin flavor that the rhythm will get you. This month, international superstars Gloria & Emilio Estefan raised the curtain to their autobiographical musical On Your Feet!. The Queen of Latin Pop brings her sound to the Great White Way and is confident su gente will show up to celebrate. According to weekly data released by the Broadway League, audiences brought in a respectable $ 970,013 for its first seven-preview performance week. On its second week, On Your Feet! brought in $ 903,937 holding its own on the boards along side some of Broadway’s favorites. Word on the street is Ana Villafañe gives a star turning Broadway debut as Gloria Estefan and makes the perfect grand marshal for the Latin party-anthem titled musical.


This season alone brings one of the most diverse Broadway seasons in recent years. Here are 7 more shows to prove it:

Allegiance – Now playing at the Longacre Theatre: World-renowned singer Lea Salonga returns to Broadway alongside George Takei in a musical about Japanese-American internment camps.

The Gin Game and Hughie: James Earl Jones, Cicely Tyson, and Forest Whitaker are portraying characters that are usually played by white actors breaking casting stereotypes (Jones & Tyson in The Gin Game, Whitaker in Hughie opening this spring).

The Color Purple: This anticipated revival of The Color Purple (Produced by Oprah Winfrey) will celebrate Oscar & Grammy winner Jennifer Hudson, West End star Cynthia Erivo, and Orange Is The New Black star Danielle Brooks.

Shuffle Along: This spring, six-time Tony Award winner Audra McDonald will headline Shuffle Along with Tony Award winner Billy Porter (Kinky Boots), Brian Stokes Mitchell, Brandon Victor Dixon and Joshua Henry.

Eclipsed: Following rave reviews at The Public Theater Off-Broadway, Oscar winner Lupita Nyong’o will make her Broadway debut in Eclipsed by Danai Gurira (the only African-American female playwright represented this season) this spring.

Spring Awakening – Now playing at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre: This critically acclaimed Broadway revival, featuring a cast of both hearing and deaf actors, has become the must-see Broadway production this fall. Directed by Michael Arden, Deaf West Theatre’s reinvention is more thrilling than ever before.

Diversity on stage will give people of different backgrounds a reason to explore forms of entertainment new to them. Audiences want to relate to characters that look and sound like them. Often, I have found myself to be the only Hispanic (or of any ethnicity) at a Broadway play. This new trend will bring new ticket buyers to Broadway. And with shows like On Your Feet!, I always will be around mi gente.


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Misty Copeland Makes Her Broadway Debut

Just one week after becoming the first African-American principal dancer in American Ballet Theatre history, Misty Copeland announced another career milestone — she would make her Broadway debut in the revival of “On The Town” on August 25th.

The 32-year-old dancer may be one of the top ballerinas on the planet, but she’s never publicly sang in her life. With only two weeks of prep and one “put-in” rehearsal, she was scared.

“Stepping into this theater for the first time — I felt nervous and it’s been a long time since I’ve really felt nervous about performing,” Copeland said. “Having one ‘put-in’ rehearsal with the full cast did not feel like enough before making my debut.”

Watch the video above to see Copeland’s journey through rehearsals until her opening night.

 Also on HuffPost:

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Spring Broadway Entry Shuffle Along — a Revival?

A couple of weeks ago, my Twitter feed included a post from The New York Times referring to SHUFFLE ALONG, Or, The Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed, as a “revival.” My immediate reaction was: “Do they mean ‘revival’ not in a theatrical sense?” That is because I always thought about this show as a new musical. The original release said it was “a musical about the events that led to the creation of the groundbreaking Eubie Blake-Noble Sissle musical Shuffle Along.” That description didn’t lead me to think “revival,” even though I knew the songs were from the original show. But then I saw the latest release, announcing some stellar additional casting, which came complete with an introduction stating: “Please note that when classifying the show, it is more accurate to call it a revival than a new musical.” Why was I wrong? Or was I wrong?

The March press release stated: “In April 2016… SHUFFLE ALONG, Or, The Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed, will be a backstage musical telling the story of the creation of this transformative but now forgotten show.”

The August press release stated: “The 2016 SHUFFLE ALONG brings the original show back to glorious life, while simultaneously telling the remarkable backstage story of both its historic creation and how it changed the world it left behind.” The recent release also calls it “a striking new production that presents both the 1921 musical itself, and additionally details the events that catalyzed the songwriting team of Noble Sissle and Eubie Blake, and librettists F.E. Miller and Aubrey Lyles to create this ground-breaking work.”

The new release does indeed make the show sound more like a revival with some bonus extras. There are three possible explanations I can think of for this change in slant:

1) The show itself has changed since it was first announced in March. SHUFFLE ALONG, Or, The Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed has never been seen by an audience — it is in development. During the time when a show is developing, it often changes. Perhaps director George C. Wolfe, who is also providing the libretto, and his creative team have changed the concept in the past five months.

2) The original press release didn’t do a great job at accurately describing the show. This is not a slam on the press agents or anyone else involved in the writing and approval process; such things happen often. I’ve frequently written to press agents after seeing a show to say: “Umm… That wasn’t really what I thought it would be.” Under this reasoning, this release more accurately describes the show as it has always been. End of story. (Of course, the argument could be made that I simply didn’t do a great job at interpreting the original press release. Others thought the same thing as me though, so at least I’m not alone.)

3) It’s part of early Tony campaigning. The Tony Awards Administration Committee decides if a show is a “revival” for Tony purposes, and they don’t have to listen to anyone else, but if a show is always framed as a revival, it has a good shot at being considered a revival.

Not having read a script or seen SHUFFLE ALONG, Or, The Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed at any stage of its development, I cannot say which of the three alternatives is most accurate. I truly have no idea. I’m excited about the show regardless. This all said, because of my own love of talking about Tony rules, I’m going to write about what it takes to be a revival according to the Tony folks and what the race is like this year.

Basically, in relevant part, to be a “revival,” something has to have played on Broadway before in “substantially the same form” or be a “classic.” The classic category isn’t particularly relevant to this column, and I’ve written about it too many times already. What does “substantially the same form” mean? That is where the Tony Awards Administration Committee comes into play — they decide.

Remember that odd On a Clear Day You Can See Forever which bore little resemblance to the original other than its score (which was augmented with a song from the film)? That was a revival. Same with the rewritten Flower Drum Song, which had two trunk songs. The 2013 Cinderella was a revival, despite having trunk songs, never being on Broadway before (oh, yeah, sorry, another mention of a “classic”), and having a nice stepsister and a title character who doesn’t truly lose her shoe. So “substantially the same form” appears to mean: “with the same score or sort of the same score with maybe some deletions and some add-ons.” Crazy for You, which was based on Girl Crazy, did win the Tony Award for Best (new) Musical, but that was all the way back in 1992, and I believe only possessed five of the songs from the original.

The first release made SHUFFLE ALONG, Or, The Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed seem more like Crazy for You, except, you know, nothing like Crazy For You. I thought it would include some of the original show but really be removed from the original show–it would be a new show about the old show, as it said. This release makes it seem simply like the old Shuffle Along with a new book, which just happens to add book scene material about the making of the show and the subsequent reaction. What the show will be in March when it hits the stage remains to be seen.

Often years being a musical revival is easily the path of least resistance — some years there are barely enough entrants to have a category. (The award doesn’t sell as many tickets as the award for Best Musical, so it’s easier to get nominated, but there is less reward to winning.) This season however is a competitive one in terms of revivals. There is the highly anticipated Fiddler on the Roof directed by Bartlett Sher, Dames at Sea, The Color Purple, and a revival of She Loves Me starring Broadway’s beloved critical darling Laura Benanti and How I Met Your Mother star Josh Radnor. (Irrelevant, but I like Radnor’s film Liberal Arts better than Garden State.)

Of course, the Best Musical category is much more of a killer, as the juggernaut that is Hamilton exists. I got a call from a producer last week asking me if I thought it was unbeatable. My mind harkened back to a few years ago when I received similar calls regarding Matilda. I think Hamilton has more of a groundswell behind it – and it is American – but that year’s race is evidence that saying shows are “unbeatable” is not the best choice ever. (As if I didn’t know that from years of press agent Judy Jacksina describing to me how the dark musical Nine toppled the Dreamgirls behemoth.) Nevertheless, people are running scared from Hamilton. Many emails that came my way questioned whether the urge for Shuffle to be positioned as a revival doesn’t come in direct response to Hamilton mania. Honestly, prior to a couple of weeks ago I personally thought Shuffle would make it a real Best Musical race. It seemed like strong competition for the main prize.

Only time will tell whether Shuffle will be considered a revival for Tony purposes or seem like a revival to those who see it. All I know is with that team, no matter how it is classified, it is bound to be interesting. I’m excited.

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Broadway Medical Office Receive Tribute & Free Discount Cards by Charles Myrick of ACRX

ACRX Recognition Gallery: American Consultants Rx -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.

The American Consultants Rx discount prescription cards are to be given free to anyone in need of help curbing the high cost of prescription drugs.

Due to the rising costs, unstable economics, and the mounting cost of prescriptions, American Consultants Rx Inc. (ACRX) a.k.a (ACIRX) an Atlanta based company was born in 2004. The ACRX discount prescription card program was created and over 25 million discount prescription cards were donated to over 18k organizations across the country to be distributed to those in need of prescription assistance free of charge since 2004.

The ACRX cards will offer discounts of name brand drugs of up to 40% off and up to 60% off of generic drugs. They also possess no eligibility requirements, no forms to fill out, or expiration date as well .One card will take care of a whole family. Also note that the ACRX cards will come to your organization already pre-activated .The cards are good at over 50k stores from Walgreen, Wal mart, Eckerd”s, Kmart, Kroger, Publix, and many more. Any one can use these cards but ACRX is focusing on those who are uninsured, underinsured, or on Medicare. The ACRX cards are now in Spanish as well.

American Consultants Rx made arrangements online for the ACRX card to be available at where it can also be downloaded. This arrangement has been made to allow organizations an avenue to continue assisting their clients in the community until they receive their orders of the ACRX cards. ACRX made it possible for cards to be requested from online for individuals and organizations free of charge. Request for the ACRX cards can also be made by mailing a request to : ACRX, P.O.Box 161336,Atlanta,GA 30321, faxing a written request to 404-305-9539,or calling the office at 404-767-1072. Please include name (if organization please include organization and contact name),mailing address,designate Spanish or English,amount of cards requested,and telephone number.

American Consultants Rx is working diligently to assist as many people and organizations as possible. It should be noted that while many other organizations and companies place a cost on their money saving cards, American Consultants Rx does not believe a cost should be applied, just to assist our fellow Americans. American Consultants Rx states that it will continue to strive to assist those in need.

Rachel Resheff – Teenaged Broadway Veteran – Part 1


Rachel Resheff’s Twitter: @rachelresheff . Photo by Emily Soto.

Ever have a friend who fits so many things into one day that it’s impossible to understand where they find the time for everything? Well, that’s actress Rachel Resheff.

I can’t even imagine how she found the time for this interview! Rachel put so much heart and soul into her answers I had to break it up into two parts, so be sure you check out both pieces.

Now let’s see what makes this 15 year-old so incredible!

Be sure to check out Part II to find out who Rachel played on Netflix’s Orange is the New Black!

You’re currently on Broadway in Larry David’s Broadway play Fish in the Dark w/ Jason Alexander. What was your audition like for this role?

I read about Fish in The Dark coming to Broadway in the Equity audition announcements. My family and I anticipated its arrival with excitement because we are huge Larry David fans. After learning that there was a role for a young teenage girl, my agent secured me an audition for the project. The breakdown of the character “Jessica Drexel” (Niece of “Norman Drexel” – played by Jason Alexander and originally played by Larry David) called for a 14-year-old intellectual Jewish girl. I went into the audition dressed as myself, since I was a pretty accurate fit for the character description.

There weren’t any suggestions or notes about the role or the show itself. Larry David, along with the director, Anna Shapiro and producer Scott Rudin were seeking all of the various parts of a dysfunctional family and so I believe it was about the feel of the actors and their personalities, as well as their ability to hit the comedy of the play, which is very quick, sharp, and funny. I think they were looking for real and simple in “Jessica Drexel”, as she is a kind of centered presence in a world of very larger than life people, and that worked in my favor in the process.

A few weeks after my first audition with casting, I was called back in to do my lines in different ways with casting. A few days after my callback, I met with Anna Shapiro who worked with me, taped my audition and sent it to Larry David and Scott Rudin to watch. A few days after that, I found out I booked the part!

Which coast is your main residence? Where were you born? Do you have siblings that live with you?

I was born in NYC. I have always lived on the East Coast, and that is where my family lives as well. I have two older siblings, a brother and sister, who have very different passions and interests than I do. We are a close knit family so when my brother goes to college this fall, we will feel happy for him, but sad for us. My sister will leave for college a year later, and I might have to stow away in her suitcase.

What kind of lessons do you take now? What kind of lessons did you take when you were little?

I have studied ballet, tap, jazz, and hip hop since I was three years-old. Tap is my favorite because it has such a rhythmic and musical element. My dance teacher, Janine Molinari, is a huge tapper, and sets a bar I try to reach every day. Ballet is a foundation for all dance and I enjoy what it allows me to do as a performer.

My voice teacher helped me to see voice as a lifetime instrument, so it wasn’t until recently that I let my inner belt fly. Voice is an instrument that requires both patience and care. It has always been important to me to work on all different types and genres of music.

I also play guitar, which I taught myself, and have played the piano for five years. I currently am a student at Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts.

On July 26, you will have your debut at 54 Below. How did this come about?

During a music coaching session, Lindsay Mendez who’s an amazing mentor in my life, suggested the idea about how fun it would be to perform a one-woman show about my life as a teen performer. After a call with 54 Below, Lindsay came back to me saying they loved the idea and concept of the show. Knowing Lindsay would be the perfect director, I asked Steven Lutvak, who co-wrote and composed the Tony Award winning A Gentleman’s Guide To Love & Murder to musical direct the show. I was over the moon when he said he had time in his non-stop schedule. Steven has been my teacher, role model and friend since I first started in this business.

In “Unwrangled” I will chronicle what it is like to be a young professional actor growing up in the spotlight via a musical memoir; where I bring the wild aspects and spectrum of emotions to life. There are so many perceptions of who embarks on the type of journey I have had and what the path must be like. My goal is to bring people into that world and see why young performers have this unexplainable passion and how its collected moments are the reason us young actors keep doing what we do.

You’re 15 and already have been in five Broadway shows. (Fish in the Dark, The People In The Picture, Shrek, Billy Elliot, Mary Poppins.) You’ve also done non-Broadway theater. Tell us the difference between working on Broadway vs. non-Broadway.

Broadway is larger than life, and there is an exuberant energy that flows when the audience is with you. I am so lucky to have had the opportunities I have had to be in Broadway shows. In Shrek the Musical when I was only eight years-old, I first learned about the magnitude of a Broadway stage in the 2,000 seat Broadway theater. I would come out in a big tower and sing with Sutton Foster, and then I would watch on the stage monitor as each ensemble actor and dancer would bring to life their stories. Each show has such different spirit and life backstage and onstage. Mary Poppins and Billy Elliot were about the bonding of all of the kids. Most Broadway shows make a big effort to cast kids who get along with other kids. I think that’s probably why the processes can involve multiple callbacks. At age 10, when I entered my fourth Broadway show, The People in the Picture, written by Iris Rainer Dart who is now bringing her new show Beaches the Musical to Broadway, I had the chance to create a very big part opposite Donna Murphy who played my grandmother. Onstage I would watch Donna as she held her glasses or tilt her head a certain way, or change so slightly the lilt of her voice, and I was mesmerized by how the character was inside her body. At the end of the show, when I was crying as Donna’s character died, I was crying from a very deep place because I had connected so much to her. Shows are finely tuned machines, and every actor relies on the precision, heart, and energy of every other actor.

Plays, on Broadway and Off Broadway, require a very strong sense of timing and there is a rhythm that has to develop among the actors that draws the audience in, because there isn’t the music and dance and movement that musicals have to energize the audience. Larry David’s play feels like live comedy every night. Larry and Jason Alexander have brought such different things to the lead role, but each one has brought a larger than life element that sets a tone for each of the amazing actors in the play to weave into. One of the Off Broadway plays I did, The Big Meal, directed by Sam Gold and written by Dan LeFranc, had the feel of an orchestra, with different generations acting simultaneously and literally bouncing rapid fire off phrases which is a very true re-enactment of how real life can be. Another play I did, Everything is Ours, directed by Adrienne Campbell-Holt and written by Nikole Beckwith, challenged the audience to look at how to connect to other people and form families in an increasingly remote world. Sometimes in plays, there can be even more of an intimacy that develops with the audience in a play in both large and small theaters. Besides the huge laughter and fun of working with the Fish in the Dark cast, the highlight of my last few years was playing the title role “Carrie” in a teen production of Carrie the Musical, produced by The Broadway Workshop, a youth and teen theater company run by Marc Tuminelli. The cast members remain some of my closest friends. I think for me, I love immersing myself in the world of a production, and getting into my groove with whatever part I play on stage.

Check out Part II of my interview with RACHEL RESHEFF!

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Kelli O’Hara Receives “Our Leading Lady” Award for 15 Years On Broadway (VIDEO)


By Steve Schonberg; Video Producer: Meredith Ganzman


On Sunday, June 7, famed Broadway actress and fan favorite, Kelli O’Hara (who I profiled here, last year) was finally recognized by the Broadway League and the American Theatre Wing for her remarkable contributions to the stage, taking home her very first TONY Award following a total of six nominations over several years.

In the weeks leading up, fans took to social media with a fervor, debating who exactly should win for Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical. Many were in “Camp Kristin” for Chenoweth’s outstanding performance as Lily Garland in the Roundabout Theatre Company’s revival of On The 20th Century. Others rooted for theater legend Chita Rivera and her performance as Claire Zachanassian in Kander and Ebb’s final musical, The Visit (which Rivera has said will likely be her final role on Broadway).

However, the support for O’Hara was fierce, and her fans were ultimately vindicated on TONY night as she received the award for her stunning and complex performance as Anna Leonowens in the Lincoln Center revival of The King and I.

Weeks before the TONY Awards, our team at Center On The Aisle (#COTA – the website I run in addition to contributing here on The Huffington Post) was also split, but peace came by acknowledging exactly what this incredible recognition represents. All three of these women were frontrunners, and deserved to win for different reasons. However, if the TONY Awards have a weakness, it’s that other than its Lifetime Achievement awards, they celebrate only a single performance–not the performer’s body of work and total contribution to the art form.

Realizing this, our team did a little research and found out that this year did not just bring Kelli her sixth nomination, her performance in The King and I marked a total of 15 years on Broadway, and her 10th Broadway show.

To acknowledge this, the #COTA team (with the help of a special celebrity guest included in the video below!) decided to take matters into our own hands and recognize Kelli O’Hara for all of these incredible performances (whether she won the TONY Award or not), which collectively have made her one of the most recognizable and talented actresses on stage today.

Check out the video below to see me present Kelli with Center On The Aisle’s first ever award, titled “Our Leading Lady.”

Steve Schonberg is the editor-in-chief of

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Hugh Jackman Back on Broadway


Hugh Jackman in The River. Photo: Richard Termine

In the second scene of Jez Butterworth’s The River (enjoying over-packed houses at Circle in the Square), a character called “The Man”–played by Hugh Jackman, mind you–takes a three-pound silvery wild sea trout; slices it open; reaches in and viscerally pull out the guts, which he drops in a slop pail; washes it at a running faucet, up against the front row of seats; expertly chops a fistful of shallots and another of onions; cuts pockets in his trout, to stuff with onion wedges; and places the thing in the (make-believe) stage oven. Minutes later, out comes Mr. Fish; Mr. Jackman and actress Cush Jumbo stick in their forks, take two bites, pronounce it delicious, and forget about it. That pretty much describes the evening, which is so thoroughly sold out that nothing any of us drama critics say will matter in the least. All that busy work, and Hugh does look impressive in the kitchen; but Butterworth’s eighty-five minute play doesn’t make for a tasty meal.

The Man is at the family cabin on the cliffs, above the river, presumably in England. (The script has been at least slightly Americanized; one of the characters uses a yellow gummy bear for fish bait, instead of a pickled-onion Monster Munch. Which is some sort of a corn snack, methinks.) He has brought his date (called “The Woman”) to fish in the moonlight, telling her he really loves her like he’s loved no one else. And telling her he’s never brought a woman there before. Fish stories? He then takes a long sharp knife–long before he guts the trout–and cuts into her hand to remove a splinter. Trust me! he implores.

To tell you the plot of this mysterious ghost play–anything more than that Man brings Woman to the cabin and they eat two bites of trout–or to even discuss the dramatis personae, is to give away the author’s twists and turns of the evening. Although in this case, I wonder if the main secret is that Mr. Butterworth hasn’t quite figured out what the main secret is. (The author has layered on some masterful language, though; a speech two-thirds of the way through, about how The Man discovered fishing when he was seven, is altogether ravishing.)

The River–being Butterworth’s first play since the 2008 Jerusalem, which Mark Rylance played to great acclaim on both sides of the Atlantic–was a hot ticket at the 93-seat Jerwood Theatre Upstairs at the Royal Court. Ian Rickson’s production appears to have been carefully replicated here, although playing to 696 seats. The rustic cabin set, by Ultz, is perfectly eerie; the lighting design by Charles Balfour captures the mysterious mood, as does the music by Stephen Warbeck and Ian Dickinson’s sound design. Laura Donnelly–as “The Other Woman,” per the Playbill–recreates her role, although the rest of the cast is new.


Hugh Jackman and Cush Jumbo in The River. Photo: Richard Termine

One is impressed and admiring of Jackman’s choice of “The River” instead of something less challenging and more obviously commercial. It is a given, at this point in time, that the star will attract sellout audiences to any stage appearance and that most any producer in town will eagerly devise a project to suit his availability. A small-scale, esoteric intellectual play–which will bring him far less remuneration than his 2011 extravaganza Hugh Jackman: Back on Broadway–is not what you would expect.

The star makes The River an occasion, certainly, and it is most unlikely that anyone would have considered bringing the play to Broadway if Jackman hadn’t raised his hand and asked to play the role. One is left wondering, though, whether this atmospheric mystery might not have been more effective at the Royal Court. Not only because of the smaller space and less-than-100 patrons, but because of the lead performance. Dominic West–whom American audiences are watching just now as the star of the new Showtime series, The Affair–is one of those actors whose demeanor suggests something hidden and tortured, deep inside. Cloak the character of The Man in The River with this sense of unease, and Butterworth’s play might seem more mysterious, haunted and chilling.

Chilling is perhaps what most doesn’t come across at Circle in the Square. Jackman is one of today’s most celebrated performers, who can do just about anything from Wolverine to Oklahoma!; he positively exudes talent. But as The Man in The River, he is neither chilling nor seemingly dangerous. Just a nice, charismatic bloke cooking the fish.


The River, a play by Jez Butterworth, opened November 16, 2014 and continues through January 25, 2015 at the Circle in the Square
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Explosion on Broadway: You Can’t Take It With You

Moss Hart and George S. Kaufman’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play staged like a Feydeau farce! Doors slam on a boisterous set aclutter with tchotchkes and eccentrics as fireworks go off from the basement. Where there’s smoke, there’s… No, no, not revolutionary bombs! Scott Ellis’ revival of You Can’t Take It With You at the Longacre Theater sets the stage on fire!

But chemical petards aside, family values, class, and real life values provide the drama’s substance: Penny Sycamore is the epitome of unconditional love and acceptance. Kristine Nielson, the closest person to a bobble head figure I’ve ever seen, and who wowed everyone in last season’s Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, has reserves of unconditional love for her odd brood included grandpa, a wise James Earl Jones, her husband, the pyrotechnic Mark Linn Baker, dancer daughter Essie (Annaleigh Ashford, hilarious in Kinky Boots and Showtime’s Masters of Sex) who studies classical ballet with Boris Kolenkhov (Reg Rogers). The family generosity extends to a drunken Gay Wellington (Julie Halston). Daughter Alice, the delicate fine-boned Rose Byrne in her Broadway debut, loves the boss’s son (Fran Kranz), but fears that his rather proper upscale parents (Byron Jennings and Johanna Day) may not mesh well with her unruly kin. Class matters in this Depression era romp. But what can you say to a family that comes to a home-cooked dinner in black tie?

The ensemble, including a gorgeous Elizabeth Ashley as a down-on-her-heels Russian countess, adds hilarious gravitas to this production, done old school, with two intermissions. That’s just fine because you need a pause in the non-stop laughing.
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How Elaine Stritch Got Her Big Broadway Break

The multi-talented Broadway icon Elaine Stritch died Thursday at her Birmingham, Michigan, home at age 89.

Non-theatergoers will know her from her comic turn as Alec Baldwin’s imperious mother in 30 Rock. I remember her from a sweeter moment, after a performance of her Tony-winning one-woman show, Elaine Stritch At Liberty.

In that autobiographical tour de force, which ran at the Public Theater and then on Broadway early in the last decade, Stritch reprised “Civilization (Bongo, Bongo, Bongo),” the showstopper that marked her singing debut on the Great White Way in the 1947-48 revue Angel in the Wings.

Because my dad, Carl Sigman, had known Elaine (he wrote the words and music to Angel with Bob Hilliard, a brilliant but less-than-organized songsmith whom Carl referred to as “that glob of talent”), an usher took my mom and me on stage to meet the star. We waited in estimable company, right behind actress/socialite/philanthropist Dina Merrill, to pay our respects.

When our turn came, Mom placed the original Playbill of Angel in Stritch’s hands. When she asked “Oh, how’s Carl” and Mom said he’d passed away not long before, Elaine paused and teared up, seeming to search for the right words. She quickly reverted to form, giving us an unforgettable send-off when she held out her hand, air kissed us and said, “Call me, darlings. I’m at The Carlyle.” (Stritch famously lived at Manhattan’s stylish Carlyle Hotel for many years.) She didn’t really want us to call and we didn’t really want to; why mess with perfection?


In the brief clip above from At Liberty, “Stritchy,” as that ultimate sophisticate Noel Coward called her, describes how she convinced the producers of Angel in the Wings — who’d hired her for a bit part — to give her a song. That the song turned out to be the one that brought down the house night after night was quite a bonus.

“Civilization” went on to become a standard, with covers by Bing Crosby, Glenn Miller, Woody Herman, Jack Smith, and Ray McKinley. Louis Prima’s hilarious rendering went Top 10 and Danny Kaye and the Andrew Sisters’ call-and-response version reached the top spot on Your Hit Parade. But the inimitable Elaine Stritch was the only performer to bongo, bongo, bongo in two Broadway shows more than half a century apart.

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Mary Rodgers, ‘Freaky Friday’ Author And Broadway Composer, Dies At 83

NEW YORK (AP) — Mary Rodgers, the daughter of Broadway icon Richard Rodgers who found her own fame as composer of the 1959 musical “Once Upon a Mattress” and as the author of the body-shifting book “Freaky Friday,” has died. She was 83.

Rodgers died Thursday at her home in Manhattan after a long illness, her son Alec Guettel said. Rodgers’ hit “Once Upon a Mattress,” a musical adaptation of the Hans Christian Anderson fable “The Princess and the Pea,” made a star of Carol Burnett. A Broadway revival in 1996 starred Sarah Jessica Parker. Her other shows include “From A to Z,” a revue featuring her songs, and two other short-lived shows: “Hot Spot” and “The Madwoman of Central Park West,” a one-person musical starring Phyllis Newman.

She was also a children’s book author who scored big with “Freaky Friday,” in which a mother and daughter trade bodies. The book was twice adapted into a Disney movie, most recently in 2003 starring Jamie Lee Curtis and Lindsay Lohan. Her other books include “A Billion for Boris,” ”Summer Switch” and “The Rotten Book.”

The daughter of “South Pacific” and “Flower Drum Song” composer Richard Rodgers and Dorothy Rodgers, Mary Rodgers was also the mother of a musical theater composer, Adam Guettel, a Tony Award winner for “The Light in the Piazza.”

She had been married to Henry Guettel, former executive director of the Theatre Development Fund, who died last year. She is survived by her sister, Linda Rodgers Emory, and five children.
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Theater: Savion Glover Prays; Broadway, Cabaret Stars Praise

SAVION GLOVER — OM ** out of ****
BROADWAY BY THE YEAR 1990-2014 *** out of ****

So much theater is here and then gone in the blink of an eye. Has it really been two and a half years since Newsies opened on Broadway? It closes in August and will rank as one of the few shows (just over 100) in history to run for more than 1000 performances. And yet it seemed to arrive yesterday. That’s even truer for one-time events, limited runs and those precious shows that simply don’t run nearly as long as they should. Before I review a limited run of Savion Glover’s latest and a one-time event that is already history, here are three events coming up.


Most great theater occurs in a few major cities like London and New York as well as on tour. But no matter where you are in the world, this Saturday or Sunday you can watch a free live streaming performance of the radio play Dubliners: A Quartet. Held at the Greene Space — a downtown performance space and home for WNYC and WQXR — it’s an evening of music and song and adaptations of four short stories taken from James Joyce’s classic work Dubliners. This work has already inspired a lovely stage musical and director John Houston’s moving final film. And since the live performances of August Wilson’s Century Cycle at the Greene Space was one of last year’s theatrical highlights, you shouldn’t miss this. And you don’t have to. Anyone can go online and watch a live streaming of the event Saturday night or Sunday afternoon. If you miss that, they’ll be releasing it as a podcast and on-demand video in July. Go here for more info and to see how you can join in this event for free.


If you’re lucky enough to be in NYC this weekend, Friday night features a one-night only performance of The Ambassador Revue, the toast of Paris in 1928. Porter had a Broadway hit that same year appropriately called Paris, a show that featured “Let’s Misbehave” and “Let’s Do It.” That success overshadowed his revue and Porter never looked back…and The Ambassador Revue never played in America till now. Bringing it to life is Tom Wopat, Jason Graae and Amy Burton among others, led by the marvelous Vince Giordano and the Nighthawks, specialists in the music of the 1920s and 1930s and the band I’d choose to perform at my wedding. Let’s hope someone is recording this one. Go here for ticket info.


The Ambassador Revue is a rare chance to glimpse musical theater’s past. If you want to glimpse musical theater’s future, head to the National High School Musical Theater Awards on Monday June 30 at 7:30 pm on Broadway at the Minskoff. Winners of competitions held all across the country get to perform on a Broadway stage and compete for the big prize, nicknamed the Jimmy. I attended a recent event that was the culmination of nationwide contests where teens performed monologues by August Wilson and it was great fun. You can check out the nominees (or to be more positive, the winners of their region) right here or hear them strut their stuff on Monday night.

Now on to the reviews.

SAVION GLOVER — OM ** out of ****

If the guest I brought to this performance were writing the review, it would be far less pleasant. “Savion Glover’s a genius! Why should he be bothered to entertain the audience?” asked my friend scathingly. Indeed, several dozen people left during this spiritual journey called Om, which is the antithesis of the delightful, crowd-pleasing STePz, one of my favorite shows of 2013. Indeed, the show seemed intent on making this private meditation as difficult as possible for those attending.

It began late, even though the show starts with a darkened auditorium and a lowered curtain while a lengthy jazz recording (Kenny Garrett’s “Calling,” apparently) played for five or ten minutes. Eventually, the curtain rose to a beautiful setting: a stage filled with candles and yellow lights, scattered with photos of Glover’s spiritual fathers, be they dance legends or religious figures like Gandhi. Five rectangular platforms were grouped towards the front, two roughly near each other at the center, one on stage left and two at an angle on stage right. Glover was on one of the two roughly at center and never moved from it for the entire evening. The lighting stayed dim, he tapped with his usual fluidity and grace and precision and power, and the evening progressed.

At first, we were given a few changes: more dancers arrived and took their places on the other platforms, some songs and chants were played, ranging from a spoken-word piece quoting Psalm 23 to selections from other faiths, a quick cross-cultural survey that captured the world-wide yearning for spirituality and faith. Another tune — which I couldn’t identify — might have been a spiritual or blues (Odetta? Maybe?). For a brief passage early on, all the dancers performed in unison. But then the music focused slowly on a piece (from India, I assume) that lasted for 30 or 40 minutes. Glover’s long-time collaborator Marshall Davis Jr. had more extensive work to due, especially on one concise duet but he left the stage for lengthy periods. The other dancers had literally nothing to do, posing in place, assuming spiritual or meditative poses, hitting a chime, moving briefly and then posing for minutes at a time and so on. Especially unfortunate were the disciples who came out and sat at their feet like adoring acolytes.

As the one piece of music went on and on — Glover dancing with his usual inventive brilliance — the static nature of the evening wore on you. It was almost rude if not self-indulgent to see so many talented dancers allowed only the most cursory moments to perform but otherwise be simply decorative. It was like a jazz combo filled with talented artists but most of the concert included only a drum solo while the other artists simply stood there and watched.

And yet I feel inclined to take Glover at his word. Perhaps this was a meditation best left in the rehearsal room or his private dance space, but surely it was sincere if misguided. He has often spoken of his increasing fascination with the percussive, rhythmic, musical nature of tap. And this evening focused on it like never before. The subdued lighting and almost entire lack of movement left you little else to focus on but the sound of his tapping. And it did indeed achieve moments of engaged, focus brilliance. I’ve listened to recordings of Fred Astaire with a jazz combo, singing his songs and then soloing on tap, which sounds silly. (Just listening to someone dance?) But it makes sense when it’s so musical and well-thought out…and lasting for brief passages in a song that usually lasts three or four minutes at most.

Glover was surely preaching to the converted here. But the best ministers know how to vary their sermons and mix in humor and stories and wisdom with the strong stuff of salvation and sin. With Om, Glover ended up talking to himself, leaving those hoping for uplift with the awkward feeling that he’s already been saved and in the Rapture and we’ve been left behind.

BROADWAY BY THE YEAR 1990-2014 *** out of ****

Impresario Scott Siegel caps off his celebration of Broadway By The Year with this recap of key songs from the past 25 years of musical theater. If it wasn’t as great as the three earlier editions, well, surely that’s because the past 25 years haven’t been nearly as good as the 1930s and the 1950s and the 1970s. You can choose the best song from Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Aspects Of Love or Lysistrata Jones or Miss Saigon, but they’re still not going to be very good, are they? Time and again, as they worked their way from 1990 to 2014’s Beautiful, you saw Siegel wisely ask a Broadway or cabaret star to tackle a tune that may have appeared in a Broadway show in the past two and a half decades, but actually originated from a much more fertile time period in the past. Hence he cleverly padded the evening with “The Acid Queen”, “Fools Fall In Love,” “Sing Sing Sing,” “The Winner Takes It All,” “Stormy Weather” and “Fever.” Great songs that were born in the last 25 years? Nope. And thank goodness.

If you’re not familiar with Broadway By The Year, it’s an ongoing series. Traditionally, they tackle one year from Broadway and a rotating cast of Broadway greats, rising talent and cabaret stars perform some of the best gems of the year along with lesser-known fare that has unjustly slipped from view. This year, Siegel celebrated the series’ ongoing vitality by tackling 100 years with 100 stars over four nights. They’ll do it again next year, since of course the riches of Broadway make this an easy parlor game to play without having to scrape the barrel…at least until you hit the 1990s and noughts, apparently.

Like any evening of this sort, the evening was mixed bag, though Siegel’s venture always brings out the cockeyed optimist in me. Misfires like Lucas Steele’s misguided spin on ABBA’s “The Winner Takes If All” from Mamma Mia and Natalie Toro’s melodramatic spin on “With One Look” from Sunset Boulevard were easily outweighed by the pluses. Two dance pieces were lots of fun, though oddly they almost followed one another in the first act. Still, Mark Stuart and Mindy Wallace were fun in “Libertango” and Jimmy Sutherland was an excellent last minute replacement on “Sing Sing Sing.”

Siegel always helps you make some discoveries, thanks to showcasing the talent he finds in another of his many ventures, Broadway’s Rising Stars. (The next one presents the cream of the crops from the top arts programs and takes place July 14 at Town Hall.) For me, the ringer was the performer with the wonderfully absurd name of Oakley Boycott. She was a gangly, notably tall and eye-catching presence when the Broadway By The Year chorus took a spin through “Seasons Of Love” from Rent. But she really wowed when doing the comic number “He Vas My Boyfriend” from the ungainly Mel Brooks musical Young Frankenstein. Boycott nailed this number (easily the best in that show), milking every laugh like a seasoned pro.

When they turn Robert Altman’s movie Popeye into a Broadway musical, Boycott simply must play Olive Oyl. (Speaking of casting of future shows, Jeremy Morse tackled “Santa Fe” from Newsies but I spent his entire performance thinking, this guy has to play Mickey Rooney…or at least the lead in a revival of Babe In Arms. ) Another find — for me — was Jenn Gambatese, who sang “You Walk With Me” from The Full Monty with a lovely voice and a direct simplicity that was disarming. She’s starred in the Broadway musicals Tarzan and All Shook Up and clearly deserves better. And cabaret performer William Blake was a tonic, a truly unique voice that straddles the line between male and female. But this is no crooning, ambisexual Chet Baker; he’s a wickedly forceful personality who enlivened “Fever” by daring us to laugh with him as he sashayed and powered his way through that Peggy Lee standard.

Adam Jacobs of Aladdin proved he’s got the goods, giving his all to a so-so number from Miss Saigon, which remains as uninteresting to me as Les Miserables is strong. And Rory O’Malley was very funny with “I’m Not That Smart” from The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. But the ladies were strongest: Jeannette Bayardelle did acrobatics through “Fools Fall In Love,” NaTasha Yvette Williams did indeed stop the show with the always pointed and hilarious “Stop The Show” from Martin Short: Fame Becomes Me, and Terri White was a no-nonsense, astringent delight with “Stormy Weather.”

But as so often happens, I’ll be thinking longest about Bobby Steggert and his effortlessly charming performance of “What More Can I Say?” from Falsettos. That William Finn musical is clearly ready to be revived — at least in concert — and who better to tackle the role of Marvin then Steggert? If they can’t get Giant to Broadway (and they should), hopefully Steggert will get a chance to shine in this show. For the lucky few who caught the latest edition of Siegel’s event, they got the chance to see Steggert perform a great number from Broadway’s past and perhaps, just perhaps, see a glimpse of what might be in the very near future.


Beautiful: The Carole King Musical ***
Rodney King ***
Hard Times ** 1/2
Rosencrantz And Guildenstern Are Dead **
I Could Say More *
The Loneliness Of The Long Distance Runner **
Machinal ***
Outside Mullingar ***
A Man’s A Man * 1/2
The Tribute Artist ** 1/2
Transport **
Prince Igor at the Met **
The Bridges Of Madison County ** 1/2
Kung Fu (at Signature) **
Stage Kiss ***
Satchmo At The Waldorf ***
Antony and Cleopatra at the Public **
All The Way ** 1/2
The Open House (Will Eno at Signature) ** 1/2
Wozzeck (at Met w Deborah Voigt and Thomas Hampson and Simon O’Neill)
Hand To God ***
Tales From Red Vienna **
Appropriate (at Signature) *
Rocky * 1/2
Aladdin ***
Mothers And Sons **
Les Miserables *** 1/2
Breathing Time * 1/2
Cirque Du Soleil’s Amaluna * 1/2
Heathers The Musical * 1/2
Red Velvet, at St. Ann’s Warehouse ***
Broadway By The Year 1940-1964 *** 1/2
A Second Chance **
Guys And Dolls *** 1/2
If/Then * 1/2
The Threepenny Opera * 1/2
A Raisin In The Sun *** 1/2
The Heir Apparent *** 1/2
The Realistic Joneses ***
Lady Day At Emerson’s Bar & Grill ***
The Library **
South Pacific ** 1/2
Violet ***
Bullets Over Broadway **
Of Mice And Men **
The World Is Round ***
Your Mother’s Copy Of The Kama Sutra **
Hedwig and the Angry Inch ***
The Cripple Of Inishmaan ***
The Great Immensity * 1/2
Casa Valentina ** 1/2
Act One **
Inventing Mary Martin **
Cabaret ***
An Octoroon *** 1/2
Forbidden Broadway Comes Out Swinging ***
Here Lies Love *** 1/2
6th Annual August Wilson Monologue Competition
Sea Marks * 1/2
A Time-Traveler’s Trip To Niagara * 1/2
Selected Shorts: Neil Gaiman ***
Too Much Sun * 1/2
Broadway By The Year 1965-1989 ***
In The Park **
The Essential Straight & Narrow ** 1/2
Much Ado About Nothing ***
When We Were Young And Unafraid
Savion Glover’s Om **
Broadway By The Year 1990-2014 ***


Thanks for reading. Michael Giltz is the founder and CEO of the forthcoming website BookFilter, a book lover’s best friend. It’s a website that lets you browse for books online the way you do in a physical bookstore, provides comprehensive info on new releases every week in every category and offers passionate personal recommendations every step of the way. It’s like a fall book preview or holiday gift guide — but every week in every category. He’s also the cohost of Showbiz Sandbox, a weekly pop culture podcast that reveals the industry take on entertainment news of the day and features top journalists and opinion makers as guests. It’s available for free on iTunes. Visit Michael Giltz at his website and his daily blog. Download his podcast of celebrity interviews and his radio show, also called Popsurfing and also available for free on iTunes.

Note: Michael Giltz is provided with free tickets to shows with the understanding that he will be writing a review. All productions are in New York City unless otherwise indicated.
Entertainment – The Huffington Post
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Stage Door: Bullets Over Broadway, Violet, Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill


Is art worth killing for?

Woody Allen’s new Broadway musical Bullets Over Broadway, an entertaining romp, thinks so. Based on his 1994 movie, with zippy direction by Susan Stroman, the musical comedy is fun. It’s not quite the over-the-top craziness, with a dash of smarts, that made the film so memorable, but it’s close.

Now at the St James, Bullets Over Broadway is splashy, rather than electric, thanks to sensational costumes and sets — save the one of Greenwich Village, which is oddly misconceived. But as traditional musicals go, it mostly works — with a proviso. Set in 1929, it’s a musical without an original score. Glen Kelly, who adapted the period music, including great numbers like “Running Wild” and “Tiger Rag,” played perfectly by the Atta-Girls, terrific singers and dancers who capture the Roaring Twenties.

The story is strictly screwball: David (Zach Branff), an earnest playwright, finally gets a shot on Broadway. The hitch is that his debut will be financed by a single backer, gangster Nick Valenti (Vincent Pastore), who brings a caveat of his own. Make his dopey girlfriend Olive (Helene Yorke) a star. That’s a tall order, especially since the show has enlisted legendary diva Helen Sinclair (Marin Mazzie) has ideas of her own.

Throw in the critically artistic eye of Cheech (Nick Cordero), the heavy assigned to keep an eye on Olive, and Bullets Over Broadway shifts into high gear. Everyone in the cast, including Betsy Wolfe as David’s girlfriend and Yorke as the goofy gun moll turned wannabe actress, hit their mark. Mazzie is convincing in her role, while Branff, making his Broadway debut, could use a few more sparks. Still, the crew’s general silliness clicks.

Cordero’s Cheech is a high point; it’s hard not to enjoy the kooky world that Stroman/Allen have created. Woody Allen, who wrote the book, economized on some of the film’s strengths, but the production still boasts good, old-fashioned showmanship.

By contrast, Violet, now at the American Airlines Theater, is a more intimate musical. The soulful country-style band sits backstage; the actors are downstage. Brian Crawley’s book, adapted from Doris Betts’ short story The Ugliest Pilgrim, is a sad tale of an adult’s quest for beauty as redemption.

Tony winner Sutton Foster stars as Violet, a young Southerner disfigured at 13. Early on, she refers to the “axe blade” that “split my face in two.” Desperate to be cured, she embarks on a bus trip from North Carolina to Oklahoma. There, she hopes to be transformed by a popular televangelist (Ben Davis), who makes outrageous healing claims.

The trip, which begins in a Nashville bus station in 1964, is meant as a journey of discovery. Stopping in Memphis, she meets two soldiers, a cocky white man named Monty (Colin Donnell) and a more sensitive black man called Flick (a moving Joshua Henry), who knows what it’s like to be judged by appearance. The trio bond, but the catch, and it’s a big one, is Violet doesn’t get her revelation.

Flick provides the reveal — that love is the only salvation — weakening the dramatic structure. Despite a genuine poignancy — Violet’s back story is told in scenes with her father (Alexander Gemignani) and a younger version of herself (a terrific Emerson Steele) — the play has moments of disconnect. Yet the raw humanity, especially in the segregated South, is touching.

The performances are strong, and Sutton Foster skillfully tackles both musical and dramatic moments. But even with Jeanine Tesori’s tender score, more exposition would add greater coherence.

Happily, Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill, a memoir turned musical at Circle in the Square, may not be more hopeful, but it strikes the right chord. Set in a Philadelphia club in 1959, a few short months before the great Billie Holiday died, it stars Audra McDonald. She brilliantly channels the legendary jazz singer — her inflections, charisma and misery. McDonald captures Holiday at the end of her life: broken but still capable of moving an audience. 2014-04-20-HuffPoLadyDaycopy.jpg

Lanie Robertson’s play is thin, but she pays respect to both the pathos and the grit of this jazz phenomenon. Stumbling and drinking, Holiday relates the traumatizing moments of her life, including being raped at 10, how her first and “worst love,” Sonny Monroe, got her hooked on heroin, and her relationship with saxophonist Lester Young, who dubbed her Lady Day, and her mother, “The Dutchess.” She recounts teaming with Artie Shaw; among the first black women to work with a white orchestra.

Numbers such as “God Bless the Child,” “What a Little Moonlight Can Do,” “Strange Fruit” and “T’ain’t Nobody’s Business If I Do” showcase Holiday’s essence — a proud artist ill-treated by abusive men and a racist America.

Smoothly directed by Lonny Price, this is a solo show, though McDonald is backed by an excellent jazz trio — Sheldon Becton on piano, George Farmer on bass and Clayton Craddock on drums. Billie Holiday’s life was tragic; yet as McDonald hypnotically illustrates, she has left us her singular artistry.

Bullets Over Broadway photo: Paul Kolnik; Lady Day photo: Evgenia Eliseeva
Arts – The Huffington Post
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IBM Microprocessors: IBM Rs64, Cell, PowerPC 600, PowerPC 400, Power1, Power6, PowerPC 970, PowerPC 7xx, Power7, Power3, Xenon, Power5, Power2, Power4, IBM Z10, IBM Z196, RISC Single Chip, Romp, Gekko, PowerPC A2, Broadway, IBM Rivina

IBM Microprocessors: IBM Rs64, Cell, PowerPC 600, PowerPC 400, Power1, Power6, PowerPC 970, PowerPC 7xx, Power7, Power3, Xenon, Power5, Power2, Power4, IBM Z10, IBM Z196, RISC Single Chip, Romp, Gekko, PowerPC A2, Broadway, IBM Rivina

New – Please note that the content of this book primarily consists of articles available from Wikipedia or other free sources online. Pages: 33. Chapters: IBM RS64, Cell, PowerPC 600, PowerPC 400, POWER1, POWER6, PowerPC 970, PowerPC 7xx, POWER7, POWER3, Xenon, POWER5, POWER2, POWER4, IBM z10, IBM z196, RISC Single Chip, ROMP, Gekko, PowerPC A2, Broadway, IBM Rivina, IBM Secure Blue. Excerpt: Cell is a microprocessor architecture jointly developed by Sony, Sony Computer Entertainment, Toshiba, a

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“Primacoustic Broadway 12″” x 12″” Scatter Blocks, Diffusion Absorptive Panels, Box of 24, 1″” Black”

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Broadway Scatter Blocks present an ‘easy to install’ solution for acoustic treatment where you want to control sound, but do not want to eliminate the natural ambiance. High density absorptive panels The ultimate in Soft Diffusion? Easy to install on practically any surface Great looking patterns and colors Made from high density 6 pound per cubic foot high density fiberglass, Scatter Blocks are designed to be randomly spaced on large wall surfaces to create an effect we call Soft Diffusion; an affordable alternative to full scale quadratic diffusion. By leaving reflective spaces in between the panels, some energy is absorbed while some is left to reflect back into the room. This helps control flutter echo and reduces standing waves while leaving a sense of ‘air’ or space in the room. This makes the Scatter Blocks an excellent choice in live-end, dead-end designs such as in studios and home theatres while also providing a cost effective alternative for larger spaces such as music practice rooms, dance studios, fitness centers and classrooms that need to be tamed in effort to reduce the reverberant time. Broadway Scatter Blocks come in choice of 2 thicknesses and 3 colors and are quickly mounted using Primacoustic Surface Impalers.

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Bryan Cranston To Make His Broadway Debut In ‘All The Way’ (VIDEO)

Bryan Cranston is moving from the small screen to the big stage.

The 57-year-old “Breaking Bad” star is set to make his Broadway debut later this winter in the political play “All The Way,” and HuffPost Live has the first look at his performance as President Lyndon B Johnson.

“All The Way” made its debut at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in July 2012 with actor Jack Willis in the starring role, then jumped to the American Repertory Theater in Cambridge, Mass., this past September, where Cranston joined the cast.

“[Cranston] is unassuming. He is funny. He is charming. He’s a wonderful team player. And he’s a natural on the stage,” the play’s producer, Jeffrey Richards, told the Associated Press.

The play, written by Rober Schenkkan and directed by Bill Rauch, follows LBJ in his first year as president. It is set to begin previews Feb. 10 at the Neil Simon Theater.

Check out a preview of Bryan Cranston as LBJ in the video above.
Arts – The Huffington Post
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Broadway Star’s ‘Fiddler On The Roof’ Wedding Performance Deserves A Tony (VIDEO)

When marrying a Broadway star, there’s a good chance he’ll do something really awesome at your wedding — like choreograph a surprise musical number involving the entire wedding party and your parents.

Tony-award-winner Lin-Manuel Miranda did just that when he tied the knot with Vanessa Nadal back in 2010. Now the video is making the rounds on the Internet again and we couldn’t be happier.

In the post-nuptial toast to his new wife, Miranda belts out a customized version of the classic broadway tune “To Life” from “Fiddler on the Roof” — remember he’s a pro — and he doesn’t do it alone.

In the video description on YouTube, Miranda writes, “My surprise for my wife Vanessa on our wedding day. All of Vanessa’s close friends and family rehearsed for a month in secret, leading up to the reception. What we lack in polish, we hopefully make up for in joy and love. In any event, everyone in this video has one thing in common: We’d do anything to show Vanessa how much we love her.”

D’awww! Check out the Broadway-caliber performance in the video above. Then, watch more amazing viral wedding videos in the slideshow below.

Keep in touch! Check out HuffPost Weddings on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.
Weddings – The Huffington Post
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