June 2005 Archives
The musical adaptation of The Color Purple is winding up a summer workshop with its star La Chanze before its upcoming Broadway run this season.
Production spokespersons previously confirmed (May 3) to Playbill.com what a casting notice revealed -- a June 13-July 12 workshop was being held in New York City with a projected production on Broadway this fall.
The new musical based on the well known Alice Walker novel (which inspired the better-known film) made its world premiere at Atlanta's Alliance Theatre in fall 2004 and is readying its New York debut. With a number of theatres now becoming available, an announcement regarding dates is expected shortly.
The story of "The Color Purple" centers on Celie, a woman who endures insurmountable hardships within her own family and struggles to find her identity and love. The production warns that it "contains adult situations."
Wow. Adult situations...I wonder if that means there will be a scene about
Celie going to the airport only to find her flight has been cancelled and she has to wait hours in line to re-book and then finds out she won't be able to fly home for two days 'cuz everything is booked. That's the situation this adult found herself in at La Guardia tonight!
Also, I can just imagine the Variety headlines:
If The Color Purple loses money: "The Color Purple is in the Red!"
If The Color Purple makes money: "The Color Purple is in the Black!"
Yes sirree, a musical based on the 1970s TV sitcom... You know, the whole gang, including The Fonz, Ritchie, Joanie, Chachie, Potsie, Ralph Malph, Mr. and Mrs. C...
The book is written by none other than Garry Marshalland the music and lyrics are by Paul Williams, of Kermit's "Rainbow Connection" fame, "An Old Fashioned Love Song", "We've Only Just Begun", and many other hits of the '70s. He also wrote the music to the Streisand hit "Evergreen". Kathleen Marshall is one of the producers.
Of course I asked her if the Happy Days Theme (It was written by Norman Gimbel and Charles Fox) was in the show, and yes, it appeared at the end.
Garry Marshall narrated the reading and apparently it was high-larious (big surprise -- he is just naturally funny!). It sounds like this was the very first reading and it's in somewhat of an embryonic stage. Apparently the music wasn't very rock 'n' roll-y, but more sentimental (very Paul Williams).
Exploring the depths of Arthur Fonzerelli's character should be quite the undertaking, so I'm interested in following the progress of this project.
So what's next from the '70s TV archives?
- Laverne and Shirley The Musical Revue?
- J.R. Does Dallas?
- "The Life" of T.J. Hooker?
- Three's "Company" (a salute to Sondheim...)
Colm Feore, the respected stage and screen actor who played Cassius in Broadway's recent Julius Caesar, will play Fagin in Oliver! in 2006 at the Stratford Festival, his artistic home in Canada.
Stratford artistic director Richard Monette announced a partial list of 2006 plays on June 27.
Oliver!, at the mainstage Festival Theatre, will be directed by Donna Feore, a Stratford veteran who, like husband Colm, has worked 14 seasons at the famed festival in Ontario.
First I see Colm Feore's mug on my Globe and Mail TV guide, and then last night after a long day I turned on the TV and caught the last 10 minutes of Colm Feore as Julius Caesar in the wonderfully swishy Senate stabbing scene of EMPIRE. Hey, nice alliteration!
Not as much blood as I hoped for (maybe it was all absorbed by the bedsheets they were wearing...) but still engaging. And his final death position on the floor was nicely art directed.
And now Stratford! I wonder how the whole husband/wife thing will work out. I'm used to telling my husband what to do and say, so maybe it will work out well for the Feores!
"I'm reviewing the situation..."
Suzy Conn turns 29...yet again!
To quote the infamous Holly Banks"...and that's why I'll stay 29 'til I die..."
Here I am in New York City, working on my musical...is there a better way to spend your birthday? Well, I guess if my family were here it would be better, but it's pretty darn good! And my friend (and New York producer on Plane Crazy) just treated me to a lovely continental breakfast (which included two much-needed Americanos). Now it's off to Midtown for more meetings...
Hey, this is cool. Venus Airlines, the featured airline in my new musical Plane Crazy which is part of this year's New York Musical Theater Festival, has just introduced a new "retro campaign" that harkens back to the airline's heydey in the 1960s.
"Venus Airlines was one of the stars of the mid-sixties Jet Age revolution, and our reputation for the sexiest "stews" in the sky was a big part of our success. As my grandfather used to say, "If you have to fake it, just shake it..." and our stews were shaking their bottoms for the bottom line.
And although Venus Airlines has gone through a rough patch over the last thirty years, being basically reduced to a single crop-dusting contract in southern Dakota, we feel that the time is right for the Venus Airlines message to emerge once again into the "sexy skies"...
I think the the buzz on Venus is on the move. Even Broadway shows likePlane Crazy are featuring Venus as an example of blossoming womanhood in the 1960s."
Say Gus: "Our new "Va-Va-Venus" campaign is a clever play on our "VA" (Venus Airlines) acronym, and the secondary meaning of "Va", which in Spanish is "Go". So, from the perspective of one of the sexiest countries in the world, it's "Go-Go-Venus", which is also a nice play on the "Go-Go Girl" sensibility of my grandfather's airline."
When asked about a potential backlash from millions of offended women across the country, Gus laughed and responded, "Dude, c'mon, everyone likes to look at sexy stews..."
In recognition of the support and friendship for Venus Airlines from Plane Crazy, Venus Airlines is supporting Plane Crazyby giving 100 Venus Airlines Mile High Club miles to everyone who attends a performance of Plane Crazy.
As a competitive response, other airlines are expected to soon follow suit.
Plane Crazy will be appearing this fall at The Beckett, 410 West 42nd Street
(south side of West 42nd Street, between 9th & Dyer Avenues).
Performance times are:
Thursday, September 15 at 8:00 pm
Saturday, September 17 at 4:30 pm and 8:00 pm
Thursday, September 22 at 1:00 pm
Friday, September 23 at 4:30 pm
Sunday, September 25 at 1:00 pm
OK, this is a bit of a stretch, but SO DAMN COOL. I would love this, if anyone is looking to give me a surprise...it's only 150,000 pounds.
I'm thinking this fort would make an amazing musical theater venue, just off the Welsh coast. It could be the new East West End...
Plus the guns that are still inside could come in handy with an unruly audience!
Stack Rock Fort, about 800 yards off the west Wales coast near Milford Haven, is for sale for 150,000 pounds.
The 19th Century fort -- complete with a couple of cannons -- dates back from the time of Napoleon, when it was initially built as a defence for the river Haven.
But it has nowhere to sleep at present, and the new owner will have to sort out sewage, water and power.
The fort, completely surrounded by water and with its own jetty, was built on a small island to protect the area from invasion.
Mary Joyce, manager at Haynes Agency in Pembroke, said they had never sold anything like it.The current owner bought it at auction, but hasn't done much with it -- I think he used to go there for picnics
"It is very rare -- inspection is going to be difficult, as it has to be by boat, although we have lined up someone up who runs a helicopter and they are checking out landing areas," she said.
"There are no services from what we can see -- there is damp inside and no accommodation, but there are a couple of guns inside."
Ms Joyce said there was no solid interest yet, but they had talked to a couple of developers, who had "talked about doing something in the tourist industry". "There has been a mention of a marine life centre, and someone talking about just using it as an island, a retreat," she said.
She explained that the previous Welsh-based owner had only visited the historic site a few times.
"The central part was built around Napoleon's time and the outer ring was built later -- around the 1850s," she said.
After building a musical reputation playing with a big name like West, Thompson got his big break in 1958 with a record deal from RCA. Signed alongside Esquivel, Billy May, Nelson Riddle and a crop of other musicians destined to be Hollywood stars, Thompson was asked to be the answer to Ray Conniff, on rival label Columbia. There was just one problem.
"Bob hated Ray Conniff," says Spenser Thompson. "My father thought Ray Conniff was a total square. You see, Bob was hip. Bob had soul."
Thrilled just to be playing music, Bob Thompson kept quiet and started making his records. It was the beginning of what was a somewhat badly marketed and mismanaged career. While Esquivel and Mancini easily carved niches in movies and on bachelor-pad record players, Thompson's music went largely misunderstood and underappreciated by RCA.
"Bob will tell you that they just didn't sell," says Spenser, who for years also took the LPs for granted, like an overlooked decoration in the family home. "But a lot of it had to do with Bob not having a management, no agent and no marketing, to direct his career."
Clearly ahead of his time, Bob Thompson brought new sophistication to studio technology, and the right people took note, says Van Dyke Parks, who produced Brian Wilson's classic album "Smile."
"Bob's records always had that snap, crackle and pop," says Parks, who befriended Thompson in 1969. "He was one of the first to create sounds in true stereo, like having a train sound as if it were traveling from your left to your right. This was new to the ear. And it was exciting."
For his final LP, "The Sound of Speed," and in a sort of orchestral punkish act of rebellion, Thompson made an album entirely based on the noises of modern transportation. But it would be many years before the album, filled with jazz harmonies and swing arrangements, would be fully appreciated and understood.
Thompson's most successful music was heard by millions of people every day, even though most of them never knew who he was. From 1961 to 1978, Thompson recorded the scores to more than 3,000 television commercials, from "Get That Great GM Feeling" and "Go-Go Goodyear" to "King Cobra -- Silver!"
DARN! I loved this movie, and I was really looking forward to seeing this show. However, it looks like some hard decisions were made, and The Mambo Kings is being shelved. And they've got a marquee and everything on Broadway!
Daryl and Jordan Roth will not make their first collaboration on Broadway with the musical The Mambo Kings. The mother-son producing team announced the show will not reach New York.
"We are deeply grateful for the amazing dedication and remarkable spirit of the entire cast, crew and creative team of The Mambo Kings," said Daryl and Jordan Roth. "While we had pursued several incredibly talented people to join the team and help us realize the full potential of the show, it became apparent to us all that the production could not successfully go forward on the current schedule."
The stage version of Oscar Hijuelos' Pulitzer Prize-winning novel made its world premiere at San Francisco's Golden Gate Theatre, opening May 31 to lackluster reviews. The work was next slated for a berth at the Broadway Theatre, starting previews July 20 and opening Aug. 18.
Speculation in the theatrical community in recent weeks had Tommy Tune and Maury Yeston as possible show doctors with names like Jerry Mitchell, Jason Robert Brown and David Ives also being bandied about. Production spokespersons did not confirm any change in the creative team.
Based on the Hijuelos' "The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love," the musical follows the same story of two Cuban brothers who travel to New York City in 1949 with dreams of becoming recording stars. The Latin siblings -- flashy, guitarist Cesar and his shy, trumpet-playing brother Nestor -- rise to fame from the dance halls to perform as Desi Arnaz's cousins on "I Love Lucy."
The novel was adapted for the film starring Armand Assante and Antonio Banderas directed by Arne Glimcher. Glimcher now provides book (with Hijuelos) and lyrics for the musical version which features music by Carlos Franzetti -- who also scored the film. Sergio Trujillo served as choreographer with Glimcher as director for the California premiere.
Bad luck befell the production two weeks prior to its California debut when previously announced star Billy Dee Williams left the production "due to an aggravated hip condition," a release stated. Williams was to play nightclub impresario Fernando Perez, a role that went to David Alan Grier (A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum).
Drowsy strikes again!
Tony Award-winner Sutton Foster is in discussions to star in the American premiere of the new musical comedy The Drowsy Chaperone for the Ahmanson Theatre, Playbill.com has learned.
Foster, who won the 2002 Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical for her alternately daffy, plaintive and heartfelt work as Thoroughly Modern Millie, would again be able to show off her comic side: The Drowsy Chaperone is a fractured musical spoof of 1920s musicals.
Foster, recently a Tony nominee for Little Women, would play Janet, the bride, in the show-within-a-show by Bob Martin & Don McKellar (book), Greg Morrison (music) and Lisa Lambert (lyrics).
Casey Nicholaw (Spamalot) will direct and choreograph the musical for the pre-Broadway Ahmanson run in Los Angeles November 8 to December 24. A New York City reading/workshop is planned for July. Casting for other parts is ongoing, although author Robert Martin will play Man in Chair, the musical comedy maven and narrator who introduces us to the plot and backstage tales of his favorite (fictive) musical, 1928's The Drowsy Chaperone.
The suspense is killing me!
A moment of silence please!
Four Broadway shows are closing today, Sunday June 26! Brooklyn, La Cage Aux Folles, On Golden Pond and Mark Twain Tonight! are all making their final performances today. Too bad they couldn't hold on until after the holiday weekend...
Also closing today is the hit touring company ofThe Producers...
After June 26, there will only be one company of The Producers playing in North America.
Following its last performance in Fort Worth, TX, on June 26, the second national tour of the smash Mel Brooks-Thomas Meehan musical will leave for a three-week Tokyo run and then shut down.
According to a statement, "As The Producers...is such a significant property, Mel Brooks and Susan Stroman want to personally supervise the creation of the next incarnation of the touring production. In doing so, the caliber of the show will be maintained while being able to meet the physical demands of the upcoming route. The scheduled tour has been delayed one year to accommodate the schedules of Mr. Brooks and Ms. Stroman, both of whom are committed to completing and promoting the film version of the musical..."
For all you airline nuts out there, here's something that sounds fantastic. It's the Airliners International Convention, to be held in Milwaukee from July 21st - 23rd.
Airliners International 2005 will be the 29th Annual gathering of airline enthusiasts from around the world. Every year there are regional airline shows (usually on a saturday or sunday) in the US, Canada, Europe, and Asia. These shows are usually in the same location every year. Since 1977 (in Cincinnati), Airliners International has been held each summer at a different location in the USA or Canada. Rather than just a one-day event, Airliners International is a weeklong event, with a tradeshow, tours, slide shows, model and photo contests, and more. Most shows average 1100+ attendees from around the world. Although some cities have held Airliners International more than once, it usually is in a different city each time. AI 2005 will be the first time Milwaukee will be the host city. Airliners International sites are chosen two years in advance; Milwaukee was awarded AI 2005 at AI 2003 in Columbus. Airliners International 2007's site will be chosen at AI 2005, on Friday, July 22, 2005.
I'm in training for theLOTR musical!
I went to the TKTS line in New York on Friday in the blazing heat and sun and thankfully most of the tourists were absent, the smarter ones staying cool in theHershey Times Square store or Virgin Megastore. I was able to quickly score a ticket for Edward Albee's Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf at the Longacre Theatre on 48th.
The play stars Bill Irwin (who won a Tony for leading actor in a play) as George; Kathleen Turner (who was nominated for a Tony for leading actress in a play) as Martha; Mireille Enos as Honey; and David Harbour as Nick.
This was my first play that had three Acts with two 12-minute intermissions! Act 1 is "Fun and Games", Act 2 is "Walpurgisnacht" and Act 3 is "The Exorcism".
Wow was it ever long -- it started at 8 pm and ended at 11 pm (way past my bedtime...). I kept myself alert and awake by changing seats after each intermission until the last hour found me in the Second Mezzanine with a handful of other people (it was cooler up there for some reason) with my legs comfortably draped over the empty chair in front of me. Those New York theaters are a bit hard on long-legged knob-kneed gals like me!
Don't get me wrong -- I loved it! The whole cast was great. My favorite was Bill Irwin -- he has such great body language that he uses to define a character, and so many levels of intensity -- you are always working to see if he is being jolly, sarcastic, furious or whatever, as you would if you were meeting someone for the first time, as his guests in the play were. My second fav was Mireille Enos. Honey is the smallest role as the somewhat proper wife of Nick, who gets drunk on Brandy and spends a fair bit of time vomiting in the bathroom. My guess is it's a hard role to play (doing drunk realistically is never easy) and make an impression amidst Irwin and Turner, but she did.
Kathleen Turner was great, a real powerhouse. But I found she sort of blustered through at one level of intensity.
Although the play is long, it doesn't feel draggy. There is a lot of repetition in Albee's dialogue but it doesn't feel repetitive. Instead, it feels natural, the way people would actually talk to one another. Especially between the the old married couple George and Martha.
In the Playbill programme, Bill Irwin describes it this way:
Edward Albee is an alchemist. If his scripts were to show up without his name on them at a regional theatre, the dramaturg would probably say, "This is a talented guy, but we've got to get him to cut back." He repeats himself. But an alchemic magic happens. You feel it onstage. There's mundane back and forth language, and then it will elevate -- and then suddenly some storytelling revelation has taken place.
If you get the chance, go see Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf -- soon.
We'll be appearing atThe Beckett, which is located in Midtown as part of the Theatre Row complex on 42nd Street. It's a great theater, and it will be a great venue for Plane Crazy. The new Beckett Theater is located on the lower level of the Theatre Row complex. Housing 99 seats, this intimate space features fixed, plush seating as well as heat and air conditoning. Although it has the same name, this is not the same old Beckett Theater. This brand new, state-of-the-art theater has a wide stage and great sightlines in every part of the house.
Here are the details:
410 West 42nd Street
South side of West 42nd Street, between 9th & Dyer Avenues.
Directions: Closest subway: A, C, E to 42nd Street. Walk west on 42nd Street to the theatre.
Performance times are:
Thursday, September 15 at 8:00 pm
Saturday, September 17 at 4:30 pm and 8:00 pm
Wednesday, September 21 at 1:00 pm
Friday, September 23 at 4:30 pm
Sunday, September 25 at 1:00 pm
Tickets will go fast. Many of last year's shows sold out within days of the Festival's opening. In fact, Festival-wide, 85% of all tickets were sold! Since we expect Plane Crazy to sell out quickly, you might want to consider becoming a member of NYMF to guarantee a seat at Plane Crazy and all of your favorite shows.
When you become a member you will be the first to have access to NYMF '05 passes and tickets.
Passes will go on sale to members only on August 1st before being made available to the public on August 15th.
Individual tickets will go on sale September 1st.
Only members can take advantage of this opportunity so click here to join!
To read more about tickets to NYMF 2005, you can click here.
I've just had the pleasure of meeting (well not quite face-to-face yet) actress Leslie Becker.
Actually she's more like a quintuple threat -- writer, actress, singer, dancer, life coach...
Speaking with Leslie on the phone, I wasn't surprised to learn she wrote The Organized Actor, a best selling day/life planner for working actors. As Leslie says on her Web site:
It's hard to believe 10 years have passed since I pioneered the idea of a day planner for an actor. Little did I know back then, that my book would remain the #1 selling organizational tool for actors for all these years. As a working actress myself, It's been a dream of mine to have a site where actors can come to get resources, products and services for their acting career. OrganizedActor.com is the fulfillment of that vision!
Acting may be what I do. But inspiring others, and empowering them to achieve their dreams really pumps me up! It's never been enough for me to learn something for myself. I LOVE sharing what I've learned with others so that they can learn from the mistakes and pave their own path to success. I hope you'll use my products and services. I use them all myself to keep me organized and on top of my game. They can do the same for you while also inspiring and empowering you to take control of your career and to guide you on a path of career and life fulfillment! I hope you enjoy the site. Be sure to check back periodically as the site will continue to grow and grow. And don't forget to sign up for my FREE monthly newsletter Work IT! It's packed with great tips for workin' your acting career and your life!
Impressively, Leslie has been seen most recently on Broadway in Nine and she received critical acclaim for originating the role of The Queen in the new Broadway tour of Cinderella starring Eartha Kitt. She has also recently appeared as Mary Canty in the off-Broadway production of The Prince and the Pauper and as Meredith Parker in Bat Boy. She also starred in Private Lawrence, a one-woman play inspired by the life of Gertrude Lawrence in NYC. She’s also been featured in Hal Prince's Show Boat, Disney's Beauty and the Beast and as Mrs. Claus in the Radio City Christmas Show.
Now that's an organized actor!
The latest edition of Forbidden Broadway reopens June 24 at its new home, the 47th Street Theatre.
The long-running Gerard Alessandrini revue ended its run at the Douglas Fairbanks Theatre May 29. This revamped version of Forbidden Broadway: Special Victims' Unit will include new jabs at Sweet Charity's Christina Applegate, La Cage aux Folles' Robert Goulet, Doubt's Cherry Jones and Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf's Kathleen Turner.
The company at the 47th Street Theatre includes Ron Bohmer, Jason Mills, Megan Lewis, Jeanne Montano and David Caldwell at the piano. Created, written and co-directed by Alessandrini, the creative team also includes Phillip George (co-director), Alvin Colt (costume designer), Megan K. Halpern (set designer) and Marc Janowitz (lighting designer).
This edition of Forbidden Broadway pokes fun at such Broadway shows as Wicked, Avenue Q, Movin' Out, All Shook Up, Good Vibrations and Mamma Mia!. The show won the 2005 Drama Desk Award for Best Musical Revue.
Normally I wouldn't be wildly excited about this kind of parody, but my producer friend Michael Rubinoff insists that I see it. I must admit I have been curious to see it in the past, so hey, what the heck!
Inquiring minds want to know!
If you're interested to see what they're wearing under their kilts, check it out at http://fmtcurrent.blogspot.com
For more information on Foothill Music Theatre, check out their website at http://foothill.edu/fa/brigadoon
And remember, if it's not Scottish, it's crap!
Well, as I predicted I heard the song "Artificial Flowers" for the third time! But maybe it doesn't count because it was Kevin Spacey singing, not Bobby Darin. Last night I was feeling a little bummed, so I did what I always do.
I enjoyed it and glad I saw it but I don't think I'll need to see it again. According to the note at then end credits, it wasn't "strict" re-telling of the Bobby Darin life story, but a creative reenactment. I found out all sorts of stuff I hadn't known before (but to be honest I didn't know much about his personal life to begin with).
The woman he thought was his mother was actually his grandmother and the woman he thought was his sister turned out to be his mother. For some reason I'd had the impression he was a "bad" guy, beating up Sandra Dee etc., but the movie shows exactly the opposite. According to the movie, he had a real relationship with Sandra Dee, with real love and he was a "good" guy, if not perfect.
Apparently Sandra Dee never remarried -- and remained in love with Bobby until she died on February 20 of this year (Bobby Darin died in 1973 after heart surgery). His early death stemmed from the rheumatic fever he'd had as a kid (he wasn't supposed to live beyond 15.) Again, for some reason I thought it was hard living that did him in! So I was glad to get all this new information.
Two things bugged me about the movie.
Firstly, Kevin Spacey was too old and lacked the performing charisma to carry off Bobby Darin. I longed to hear the original tracks. Ironically Kevin Spacey's insistence to sing and perform all the songs really highlighted what a talent Darin was, since Darin didn't have that amazing a voice, but had "it". This is well described by his son, Dodd:
"Not to denigrate other artists," Dodd Darin says of his father, "but other people of that early-Sixties era, they just faded, because they really were kind of homogenized. This artist, my dad, was different. He came from the gut. Because he didn't have a great voice, he didn't have Fabian or Presley's looks. But what he had was the desire and charisma and talent. When you saw him on the stage, he was ten feet tall. All that came through in the music."
The second thing was the artificial/fantastical construction of looking back over his life. This worked beautifully in De-Lovely, but in Beyond The Sea, seemed forced and overly constructed. Go figure.
I think I'll go listen to "Artificial Flowers" and get my real third time in...
Tony Award winners Jerry Mitchell and Jack O'Brien are no longer attached to New Line's film version of the Tony-winning musical Hairspray.
Variety reports that choreographer Mitchell and director O'Brien, who were set to co-direct the film, departed the production when the start date was moved from fall 2005 to spring 2006. The industry paper also reports that Rob Marshall, who helmed the Academy Award-winning movie musical "Chicago," is at the top of New Line's list of hoped-for directors.
New Line now plans to release the film in summer 2007 rather than Christmas 2006. Filming will begin in Toronto next spring with "second-unit work" in Baltimore, the setting for John Waters' original movie.
How exciting! Another movie musical is shooting in Toronto! (Chicago was filmed there as well...) Is Toronto becoming the movie musical capital of the world? Do I hear a LOTR movie musical is in the works in the not so distant future? If they know what's good for them they'll get Elaine Overholt to vocal coach the Hairspray cast (she did that on Chicago for Renee Zellweger, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Queen Latifah, and Richard Gere).
And Rob Marshall would be a great choice for director of Hairspray the Movie...hey, how about Norman Jewison? His Jesus Christ Superstar is one of the most innovative movie musicals ever made, in my opinion.
Good Morning Toronto!
Inspired by the trials and tribulations of taste-monger and business icon Martha Stewart, writers John G. Ekizian and James-Allen Ford have created Martha! The Unauthorized Musical, the first act of which gets a June 27 reading in Manhattan.
The cast for the 7 PM industry reading includes Sally Wilfert (Assassins and Tom Sawyer) as domestic diva "Martha Blake" and Nora Mae Lyng (Forbidden Broadway and Into the Woods) as the working-class Polish mother who lovingly refers to her daughter as a "grandiose, opinionated, pain-in-the-ass."
According to the writers, "The show tells the life story of Martha Blake, who, with guile and glue gun, rises from her working class Polish roots to become doyenne of American domesticity and one of the most successful businesswomen in American history. There's also a nasty bit about insider trading thrown into the mix to assure that Martha! The Unauthorized Musical is a tale of Shakespearean proportions with a strong second act. No food icon goes unskewered as Martha gets help and advice from Julia Child (in a ballet, naturally) and Aunt Jemima…'the beloved yet politically incorrect icon associated with the inferior, mass-market pancake mix.'"
A loyal Blogway Baby reader asked me to suggest some books on writing and producing musicals. There are a million books out there and lots of ways of going about writing new musicals, but I thought I'd give a sampler of some of the books I've read along the way.
First off, listen to as many cast recordings, read as many librettos, and see as many shows on stage as you possibly can. I am a firm believer in learning through osmosis. Learn what you like and what you don't like and why. That will help guide you when start writing.
Secondly, if possible, find someone with whom you can collaborate. I know I wrote the book/music/lyrics to Plane Crazy, but every book you pick up will tell you to avoid that at all costs. I agree. Musicals are collaborative by nature so you can't avoid it, so get a good relationship going early. Even if its just someone to give you pep talks now and then and talk you down off the ledge!
Thirdly, find a topic/story/idea (preferably original or in the public domain!) that you really care about and have a great depth of interest in. This is a long, long process and you can't afford to get sick of your own material early on!
Fourthly (fourthly?) get into a musical theater writing program. BMI holds one in New York, Theatre Building Chicago holds one in Chicago, and more and more colleges and universities are offering workshop writing programs. Educate yourself.
Finally, be prepared to write, write, and rewrite. 'Nuff said.
Here are some of my fav books (inspiring and educational) that I've read (and re-read) along the way:
The Making of Series: The Great Broadway Musicals (My Fair Lady, Gypsy,West Side Story, Cabaret, Guys and Dolls). These books by Keith Garebian are golden. Not only are they full of great insider anecdotes and hilarious stories, they also show you firsthand that musicals are an evolutionary art and "classics" don't happen overnight. As they say, plays with music go into rehearsal and musicals come out of rehearsal.
Everything Was Possible: The Birth of the Musical Follies by Ted Chain. This is about the making of Sondheim's Follies and is considered a must-read.
Making Musicals: An Informal Introduction to the World of Musical Theatreby Tom Jones. This is by the lyricist/librettist of The Fantasticks, and is charming, funny, and very accessible for a beginner.
Also, Lehman Engel has a few on both writing and producing. Browse bookstores (Theatrebooks in Toronto is fab!), go online and just start reading! I always like to read as many as I can so I can start to see the similarities and universalities and weed out the personal biases or angles.
Most of all, enjoy what you are doing! Remember, "there ain't nothin' like a musical...nothin' in the world!"
"What A Glorious Feeling", a new musical about the making of the classic M-G-M picture "Singin' in the Rain" -- and about the strained relationship between co-directors Gene Kelly and Stanley Donen -- will get its world premiere in Michigan this summer.
Director Tom Mullen conceived the intimate small-cast show, which he calls "a play with music" and an "exploration of creative and romantic temperaments" set in the heyday of the M-G-M movie musicals. It's also a revealing portrait of the late dancer-actor-director-choreographer Kelly, played by Broadway Contact veteran Sean Martin Hingston.
"What A Glorious Feeling", however, might be considered the highlight of the season for its sheer ambition: A new piece -- with Broadway players in the cast -- borrowing legendary real-life show biz names and using songs from the M-G-M movie musical catalog.
The piano and percussion show doesn't use famous songs to advance plot (that characters aren't singing to one another, per se). The tunes show rehearsals, set a mood or create the atmosphere of the studio system in the 1950s.
Mullen told Playbill.com that Gene Kelly is not seen here as the clean-cut, fresh-faced character known from such pictures as "On the Town," "Anchors Aweigh" and "Singin' in the Rain." He's driven, conflicted, jealous and demanding.
In the show, as in life, his partnership with director Stanley Donen splinters professionally and personally. Dancer Jeanne Coyne, a dance assistant for the men, is the woman in the middle of a romantic triangle here. She eventually became wife to both men, at different times. Donen is the only one of the three still living.
The cast includes Broadway Contact veterans Sean Martin Hingston as Gene Kelly and Colleen Dunn as Jeanne Coyne, and Broadway veteran Michael Gruber ("Swing!", "Kiss Me, Kate", "My Favorite Year") as Stanley Donen, with Brynn Curry as a young Debbie Reynolds and Gordon Thompson as Arthur Freed and Busby Berkeley.
Mullen, a fan of the 1952 movie "Singin' in the Rain," which is considered by many to be the apex of M-G-M's musical films, read biographies of Gene Kelly and Stanley Donen, including a book by Kelly's ex-wife Betsy Blair, and "was intrigued that Kelly and Donen never spoke again after 'Singin' in the Rain' -- although they had to when they fulfilled a studio contract [for 'It's Always Fair Weather']."
When Mullen discovered there were professional and personal complications with dancer Coyne, Mullen felt he stumbled onto the stuff of good backstage musicals -- and, he said, the makings for a good episode of an "E! True Hollywood Story."
Jay Berkow (Off-Broadway's popular Jolson and Company) wrote the book to "What A Glorious Feeling".
Jamie Rocco is choreographing and has choice song material to work with, including tunes from "Royal Wedding," "Singin' in the Rain," "Cover Girl," "On the Town," "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" and obscurities cut from "Singin' in the Rain"
Mullen said the style of "What A Glorious Feeling" is unique and not traditional.
"It's a play with music and dance," he said. "You'll see the rehearsal process, fragments of routines and sections of famous numbers. There's very little singing it, there's a lot dance -- Jamie Rocco's calling it a hybrid show."
The skeletons of famous movie dance routines are seen in "What A Glorious Feeling", and Rocco also creates his own original choreography. Video will also be used in the show, but no M-G-M material is being screened.
Is it a negative view of Kelly? "I think it's a really great emotionally-hopeful piece," Mullen said. "You get to see this man who think you know so well. You see his madness and his genius and you feel incredibly sympathetic toward him."
Designers are Robert Wojik (costume), Jen Kules (lighting), George Lee (set) and Steve Tabor (sound). Michael Sobie is musical director.
WOW! I don't know about you, but that sounds really cool. I'm dying to see this. I'm not only a huge Singin' in the Rain fan, but I love Gene Kelly (I even went to see him in Xanadu...). I've read a lot about him, and I never got the impression he was a "bad" man -- ie. cruel, backstabbing, or racist.
But I have read over and over again that he was EXTREMELY competitive in EVERYTHING he did. Whether concerning the business, women, or even a simple tennis game he might suggest his guests play at one of his many parties. This never surprised me, given his vision and impact on the biz, and his insistence on doing all his own stunts (which eventually left him crippled as an old man).
Normally I'm not overly excited about old songs recycled, (with songs of this caliber I don't mind so much) but this sounds so darned interesting, especially the focus on dance and resurrecting some of the old movie choreography! It sounds like they are creating this just for me!
We often talk about what happened to the movie musical, and it is clear that its heydey was driven by individuals (duh!) like Kelly and Donen and Freed (among others). Big surprise that big personalities got into feuds. When these personalities left the biz, the art form got temporarily waylaid.
My fabulous husband gave me a great book called Greatest Musicals, The Arthur Freed Unit by Hugh Fordin which looks like some kind of university press reprint but which contains in fascinating detail (budgets, sketches, letter) Freed's process of creating movie musicals. Once I finish it I'll give a more thorough report.
In the meantime, Gotta Dance!
I'll be with them in CD Blossom Time! Boy does this sound like an absolute BLAST ! I just got this email inviting me to:
SWING ROSIE's CD Release SWING DANCE PARTY!
You are invited to a special celebration:
The Mod Club Presents
SWING ROSIE's CD Release and Swing Dance Party!
Tuesday, July 5th
Dance to the girls' signature three-part harmony swing with Guest Star Christopher Plock and the Swingin' Outlaws
Doors at 8pm
722 College St. W.
We'll have lots of great music to dance to on that big dance floor, starting with a solid hour of swing featuring Guest Star Christopher Plock and his Swingin' Outlaws, and then of course, the main event: SWING ROSIE in concert! Invite all your friends and every Swing Rosie fan you know, to help us celebrate this great occasion and for ONE NIGHT ONLY, you can take home Sing Cool, Swing Hot for just $10. Don't miss it! Come and Dance the night away!
I've already said how great their CD is in a previous post and now -- what a bargain -- only $10! Check out Swing Rosie's website atwww.swingrosie.com and then jive on down to the Mod Club on July 5!
See you all you hep cats there!
Written by the original Annie team of Thomas Meehan (Book), Martin Charnin (Lyrics), and Charles Strouse (Music), Annie Warbucks opened July 6, 1993 and ran for 200 performances and 38 previews, all Off-Broadway. Although it wasn't the blockbuster of the originalAnnie which opened April 21, 1977 and ran for 2,377 performances, Annie Warbucks was favorably reviewed and has had a great second life in licensing because smaller regional theaters like to put Annie and Annie Warbucks on back-to-back, like an old-fashioned serial.
In the story, the action picks up right where Annie leaves off, when Child Welfare Commissioner Harriet Doyle arrives on the scene to inform Daddy Warbucks he must marry in sixty days so the newly adopted Annie can have a proper mother. In the end, Daddy Warbucks' whirlwind search for a fitting bride uncovers not only a plot by Doyle and her daughter to strip him of his fortune, but also his true feelings for Grace Farrell.
Full of peppy melodies, plenty of laughs, marvelous choreography, smart sets, bright lights and snappy costumes"
--The New York Times
"ANNIE WARBUCKS is an enormously entertaining evening!"
--The New York Daily News
"Surefire family fun! Charles Strouse's tunes are charmers. Well worth catching"
--New York Magazine
The production will be staged in late November at the Vaughn City Playhouse...stay tuned to Blogway Baby for dates and ticket information!
The Martin Short solo show "If I'd Saved, I Wouldn't Be Here" will have a Boston tryout prior to its Broadway arrival.
The show is currently being advertised on the Broadway in Boston website for a Sept. 27-Oct. 9, 2005 engagement. The site indicated the show will then travel to Broadway in spring 2006.
The venture was created by Short and the "Hairspray" writing team of Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman.
Shaiman told Playbill.com columnist Harry Haun that it would land on "Broadway next year" and is now being written as a "one-man show with cast." He said, "What do you call a one-man show that has four people helping out? They play the other million characters. Marty can only play a billion characters. We need others to help out. It's called "If I'd Saved, I Wouldn't Be Here: Martin Short on Broadway". Anyone who likes him will be a kid in a candy store.
I WANT CANDY! I've been a big Martin Short fan since I saw him onSCTV. One of my favorite skits is when he plays a guilty lawyer being interviewed 60 Minutes-style and he just sweats -- brilliant. Or the dancing executive of Scrapco -- "look at me, I'm Nureyev! [crash]" Not to mention all his billion other characters and Broadway roles.
He's just so darn watchable. Since I missed Billy Crystal in 700 Sundays [sob] I'll have to see Martin -- road trip to Boston!
If you're a Martin Short fan, you'll remember his 1993 star turn in The Goodbye Girl, , his 1999 Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical for his performance in the Broadway revival of Little Me, and his most recent starring role as Leo Bloom in the Los Angeles production of The Producers.
But what a lot of people DON'T know is that Martin Short got his start in musical theater in the original Toronto production of Godspellin 1972. Stephen Schwartz has a great article on that Toronto production here: That production of Godspell also included the talents of Andrea Martin (My Big Fat Greek Wedding, Hedwig and the Angry Inch) Victor Garber (Titanic,Alias), the late Gilda Radner (Saturday Night Live), Eugene Levy (A Mighty Wind, American Pie) and even the musical director Paul Shaffer (The Late Show with David Letterman).
Hey, I've got a great idea...how about a musical version of Father of the Bride? I think that Martin Short would knock a musical version of Franck out of the park...
So a fair question here would be: "How in God's name does the classic 1969 movie Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid relate to musical theater?" Well, I'm glad you asked, because there are four interesting connections.
I recently got the Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid Special Edition DVD, which has a fantastic documentary from 1969 produced by Yale University, and narrated by Director George Roy Hill, the famous Academy-Award winning director of movies like The Great Waldo Pepper, The Sting, andSlap Shot.
Before I go any further, here are the first two connections. Firstly, George Roy Hill was also the Director of Thoroughly Modern Millie with Julie Andrews and Mary Tyler Moore, which of course became the multiple-Tony Award-winning2002 musical (and star-maker for the fabulous Sutton Foster, who most recently starred in Little Women the Musical on Broadway).
Secondly, George Roy Hill was also nominated for a 1958 Tony Award as Best Director for Look Homeward, Angel.
Here's the third, really cool connection. In the documentary, George Roy Hill talks about one of the scenes in the movie:
The trip they made through New York on the way to Bolivia became one of our three musical sequences. Originally, it was to be done in live action like the bike sequence [Suzy: which popularized the BJ Thomas song "Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head"] and I wanted to shoot it at the Fox Studio where they'd built a magnificent New York street for Hello Dolly!. But since our release date was before Dolly's, Zanuck didn't want us showing the street to the public before Dolly did. So I decided instead to make the sequence out of old still photographs of New York during the late 1890s. We took still pictures of our stars at various spots on the Dolly street, then we cut them out and we pasted them into old photographs so they would actually seem to be a part of the period pictures themselves.
We printed the whole sequence in sepia to give it the same kind of period flavor as the opening of the movie. We worked out all these moves for an animation stand, and we shot them one frame at a time.
How cool is that...Hello Dolly! and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kidsharing the same set. I love it...musical theater is everywhere!
I think the fourth connection is obvious...the score is by Burt Bacharach, including the wildly popular BJ Thomas hit "Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head". Burt's connection to Broadway is of course as the composer ofPromises Promises (check out the amazing CD cover art), which is the musical version of the classic 1960 Jack Lemmon movie The Apartment.
Whew...I'm going to bed now...
Hey this sounds like fun! A union party! From an e-mail I received today:
Come out and support the Blue Man Boycott! Sunday, June 19, 5 pm, Panasonic Theatre on Yonge Street (south of Bloor at St. Mary)
Canadian Actors Equity, Toronto Musicians and IATSE need our help. The New York based Blue Man Group refuses to operate under the collective agreements of our sisters and brothers in the theatre community. Please come out to the opening night information picket and support the fight for fair wages and decent working conditions. The event will feature live entertainment and special guests. For more information on the Blue Man boycott go to www.bluemanboycott.com
Seriously, this is completely out-of-control. How could Blue Man Group let this get so out-of-hand? Check out the now quite amusing Blue Man Boycott site...I'm especially amused by the "Anti-Blue Man Experience" show that is going to happen Sunday, June 19 at 5:00 pm OPPOSITE THE PANASONIC THEATRE and featuring live entertainment and special guests. And Blue Man Group actually tried to quash this, which is so unbelievably naive it makes my teeth hurt. Check out this press release from the Blue Man Boycott site:
Sunday on Yonge Street: "Anti-Blue Man Experience" opening night rally to go ahead despite legal challenges by Blue Man Group
A major Yonge Street rally sponsored by the Blue Man Boycott Coalition will go ahead this Sunday, June 19, at 5:00 p.m. despite efforts by Blue Man Productions Inc. to legally quash it. A permit to hold the event on Yonge St. near the Panasonic Theatre has been issued by Toronto police.
"The Anti-Blue Man Experience" will coincide with the official premiere performance of the Toronto production of Blue Man Group being held at the Panasonic Theatre. The event will feature live musical entertainment headlined by the all-female all-star band, Blue(s) Woman Group, along with several special guests from the Canadian performing arts and political communities.
Last Thursday, Blue Man Productions Inc. applied to the Ontario Labour Relations Board for an injunction against the June 19 event. It asked the board to forbid picketing activity anywhere within two city blocks from the theatre, in all directions. A consultation on the application has been called by OLRB Chair Kevin Whitaker for Friday.
"We have the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms on our side despite Blue Man's efforts to silence us," says Susan Wallace, Executive Director of Canadian Actors' Equity Association (CAEA), one of the Coalition partners. The Toronto Musicians' Association (TMA) and Locals 58 and 822 of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) are the other partners.
"So besides this event being about the growing boycott of this rogue production, it is now also a celebration of the Charter, which turns 23 this year. It's great to be Canadian."
EVENT: The Anti-Blue Man Experience
DATE: Sunday, June 19, 2005
TIME: 5:00 - 7:00 p.m.
PLACE: Yonge & St. Mary (south of Bloor)
For more information or to arrange interviews with spokespersons for the Coalition, contact: Victoria Lord - 416.484.9047 x 224 or 647.519.8577. Additional contact: Bill Reno - 416.223.7366
Honestly, this has been so incompetently handled by Blue Man Group that SOMEONE SHOULD BE FIRED...and a sacrificial lamb may not be a bad strategy at this point...
This sounds exciting: A thrilling new production of Stephen Sondheim's Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, will open on Broadway on November 3rd at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre on 49th Street.
This version of Sweeney Todd premiered in London's West End, where it achieved virtually unanimous critical acclaim and became one of the most highly regarded theatrical events of last season.
This production of Sweeney Todd is highly unusual because there is no separate orchestra. Each of the actor/singers in the cast plays his or her own instrument (or instruments) and provide a full rendering of Sondheim's thrilling musical score. The scale of the production is intimate, with only nine actor/singer/players in the cast.
The production was brilliantly conceived -- and will be directed and designed on Broadway -- by John Doyle, artistic director of the Watermill Theatre, a small regional theater company in the South of England. It was subsequently produced at the Trafalgar Studios in the West End, and following its sell-out run there moved to the New Ambassador's Theatre.
Patti Lupone is one of Broadway's true musical theater stars. She's been honored for starring performances both on Broadway (winning a Tony Award -- and Drama Desk Award -- as Best Actress in a Musical for Evita, and Tony-nominated as the star of Anything Goes and of The Robber Bridegroom), and in London's West End (Olivier Awards as Best Actress in a Musical for Les Miserables and The Cradle Will Rock, and nominated for that award for Sunset Boulevard).
Michael Cerveris recently won the Tony Award for Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical, for his role in last season's Broadway production of Assassins. He was one of the stars of Titanic and won a Tony Award nomination for his work in Tommy. He's often appeared in movies and on television, and was the one male actor/singer who Stephen Sondheim approved without any audition. The one female actor/singer Sondheim felt no need to see was Patti Lupone.
My daughters love this musical: It's probably their favorite Sondheim musical, with Into the Woods running a close second. We can't wait to see it...we'll be at opening night!
Apparently, Broadway is contributing to a rosy economic picture in the U.S.
An article in the Money section of USA Today (Economic Picture Comes Up Rosy in Fed's "Beige Book", Thursday, June 16, 2005) featured a picture of Sara Ramirez performing at the Tony Awards. According to the article:
The Federal Reserve's "beige book" says the U.S. economy continued to expand in April and May. Job markets across the USA improved, and New York's Broadway theaters even tallied a 10% increase in attendance.
Give my regards to Broadway...
All but two cast members have been announced for the Maureen McGovern-led national tour of Little Women The Musical, which will launch Aug. 30 at San Diego's Civic Theatre.
The Civil War-era sisters of feisty heroine Jo March will be Renee Brna as Meg; Autumn Hurlbert as Beth; and Gwen Hollander as Amy.
Michael Minarik will be romantic John Brooke; Andrew Varela, a Little Women Broadway understudy, will graduate to the role of Prof. Bhaer; and Robert Stattel will reprise his Broadway role of gruff neighbor Mr. Laurence.
Aunt March will be played by Louisa Flaningan.
Casting for the roles of Jo and boy-next-door Laurie have not be announced.
Maureen McGovern will reprise her Broadway role of New England matriarch Marmee on tour. She was nominated for the Drama Desk Award for Best Featured Actress in a Musical for her steely yet warm performance as a mother raising daughters in a time of uncertainty.
A 30-city tour is planned, with San Jose, Columbus, Chicago, Atlanta, Birmingham, Ft. Lauderdale and at Washington D.C.'s Kennedy Center among announced dates.
I believe the casting of Jo will be key. Not only does she have to have the pipes of Sutton Foster, but also the comic timing and charm. Not easy shoes to fill.
I've said it before and I'll say it again -- a cross promotion with American Girlis meant to be. After all, they are stopping in Chicago...
The Great American Trailer Park Musical will return to New York at Off Broadway's Dodger Stages Aug. 20 with Shuler Hensley, Kaitlin Hopkins, Linda Hart and more in tow.
Producers Jean Doumanian (Democracy) and Jeffrey Richards (Glengarry Glen Ross) will team to present the work seen last summer at The New York Musical Theatre Festival to tentatively reopen in the new Off-Broadway venue Sept. 15, according to production spokespersons.
Featuring music and lyrics by David Nehls with a book by Betsy Kelso (who also directs the show), the country-rock and blues musical centers around "an agoraphobic housewife who must tear herself away from Dr. Phil long enough to leave her trailer and save her marriage.
Congratulations guys! I saw the showcase production of The Great American Trailer Park Musical at NYMF 04 and really enjoyed it. I was volunteering for the festival so I was able to grab a seat in a sold out performance (I just had to fold some programs). It was fun, trashy, fresh, goofy and a definite crowd pleaser.
Whatever rough edges there were, were more than overcome by the freshness of the piece, and the sense that it knew exactly what it was, and was delivering it come hell or high water. I also recall the cast being fabulous. There was only one moment in the show where it broke the fourth wall ("of course we'll have a happy ending, this is a musical") and despite the fact that it got a big laugh, was completely unnecessary to the charm of the show. (Sorry, those nudge nudge wink winks are a touchy spot for me). I wonder if they left it in...
Shuler Hensely's credits include Oklahoma! and Van Helsing -- just like Hugh Jackman! Sorry, I just can't go that long without a reference to the Mighty Jackman...
Whenever I'm in New York I love going toColony Records in Times Square (Broadway and 49th) to browse through the amazing CD, and more importantly, sheet music/vocal score selections. They have the best Broadway piano/vocal score selections I have ever seen (no disrespect meant to Song and Script in Toronto).
I just bought the piano/vocal selections to Schoolhouse Rock at Colony, which I've been looking for everywhere! The Broadway connection is that some of the tunes ("Interplanet Janet", "No More Kings") were written by Lynn Ahrens, whose latest Broadway effort was Dessa Rose.
They also have a great selection of Karaoke CDs of Broadway shows (they claim to be the world's largest karaoke dealer and I believe them!) I've always been curious about those CDs. Obviously the producers of these CDs have the rights to the music and the arrangements are pretty good (we have theWicked Karaoke CD), but the artwork on the covers is bizarre. All the CDs look like they held a high school drawing/art contest and the winner got to be on the cover. I understand why they want to make them different from the cast recordings, (So people won't get confused and buy the wrong ones...) but the artwork is so amateurish it really makes you wonder. For example, theChicago karaoke CD cover shows an amateur rendering of the Dreamgirlslegs! What's with that?
I finally went to The Polish Tea Room on 47th between Broadway and 8th. I tookMichael Rubinoff and Kendra Bator (the producers on Plane Crazy) out for dinner (woohoo, big spender!). What a great coffee shop! Tons of Broadway posters, cool vaulted ceilings that look like iced wedding cakes (blue and pink) and inexpensive, good food.
And of course, Billy Elliot is now Billy Elliot The Musical, playing in the West End. The creative team includes:
ELTON JOHN - COMPOSER
LEE HALL - WRITER
STEPHEN DALDRY - DIRECTOR
PETER DARLING - CHOREOGRAPHER
IAN MACNEIL - DESIGNER
MARTIN KOCH - MUSICAL SUPERVISOR
PAUL ARDITTI - SOUND DESIGNER
RICK FISHER - LIGHTING DESIGNER
PHILIP BATEMAN - MUSICAL DIRECTOR
JULIAN WEBBER - ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR
NICKY GILLIBRAND - COSTUME DESIGNER
WORKING TITLE - PRODUCERS
OLD VIC PRODUCTIONS PLC - PRODUCERS
DAVID FURNISH - EXECUTIVE PRODUCER
Yeah, Sir Elton John!
We left determined to put a Plane Crazy poster up in this venerable institution.
The hotel was opened in 1931, just a few months after the opening of the present incarnation of the Waldorf Astoria...another art deco masterpiece, and Radio City Music Hall. Due to the Depression and World War II, the Edison was the last hotel to be built until 1957 When Loew's Summit opened on Lexington Avenue. So for all those years the Edison was New York's newest hotel!
The most prominent feature is the famous Art Deco Lobby and it's grand murals depicting New York Scenes as they once were. But don't just look up; look down at the beautiful inlaid tiles and around at the walls. Notice over the check in/out counter the clocks displaying time in various global zones, a subtle indication of the worldwide clientele this hotel serves.
There are several restaurants and a bar attached to the hotel. The loan-shark murder scene in The Godfather was shot in what is now Sophia's restaurant. The pink-and-blue (wedding cake looking filigree and plaster) of the Edison Cafe is a theater-crowd landmark consistently recognized as New York City's best coffee shop.It is a famous meeting place of Broadway producers and cast members, (Neil Simon has a regular), so much so, that it was nicknamed the Polish Tea Room. Playing on the fact that a lot of business deals were made at the Russian Tea Room and those that weren't willing to pay the high prices there would meet, eat and deal at the Cafe Edison and thus came the name, the Polish Tea Room.
The Russian Tea Room is gone, but the Polish Tea Room lives on...
Well, I finally got to see the full up production of Captain Louie. As you may have read in my previous post, I had seen the reading at NYMF last year. I went with my producer (and friend)Michael Rubinoff so we were able to get comps! Yahoo!
What I didn't know was that this piece started over 20 years ago! One of the producers, Meridee Stein (who also directs it; her husband Anthony Stein adapted the original children's book The Trip by Ezra Jack Keats for the musical) had approached Steven Schwartz about writing a children's musical and he signed on.
In 1983/84, The Trip played in New York City and then at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. In 2000 the creative team revisited the show and decided to expand it into an hour-long piece. New scenes and songs were added, as was a new character. The production was finally mounted at the York Theatre at Lexington and 54th. I found out that some of the original cast from 20 years ago have since grown up and brought their kids to see this production -- how cool is that?
Jimmy Dieffenbach plays Louie and is wonderful. I saw him at NYMF and some of the cast has changed but all are amazing young performers. The set, choreography and use of projections are charming. The music is extremely catchy and it's great to see a kid-targeted musical with sophisticated music and lyrics. But it's still loads of fun and extremely accessible. A delightful hour of theater!
BTW [ahem] -- My daughter Myrna would be perfect as Roberta/Mouse.
It closes today at the York Theatre and I’m not exactly sure where it is going next. It is a very urban musical and I think it would be great in a city like Toronto. I believe a certain producer friend of mine thinks so too...
Parent Advisory: If you're a huge RENT fan, you might not want to read any further...
OK, RENT was a cultural phenomenon without compare, in the late '90s. And Jonathan Larson's death on opening night (for the Off-Broadway Workshop) was so poetically tragic that it added to the legend.
Also, let's face it, this musical was feted almost beyond compare: 1996 Pulitzer Prize for Drama; four 1996 Tony Awards (including Best Musical, Best Book of a Musical and Best Score of a Musical); six drama Desk Awards (including Best Musical, Best Book of a Musical, Best Music and Best Lyrics); Best Musical Awards from the New York Drama Critics Circle and the Outer Critics Circle (Off-Broadway); and three Obie Awards (including Outstanding Book, Music and Lyrics); the Richard Rodgers Production Award; the Richard Rodgers Development Grant; the Stephen Sondheim Award and the Gilman & Gonzalez-Falla Theatre Foundation's Commendation Award.
So, honestly, who cares what I think? Well, I'm going to tell you anyway. In my opinion, RENT isn't finished. It's too long, and there are too many songs. It drags like crazy in the Second Act. And I'd like to believe that if Jonathan had survived to see it on the stage in front of an audience, he would have modified it.
I can't even imagine what the movie is going to be like...but since they always cut songs in the movie versions of musicals (although I'm watching Phantom of the Opera right now as I write this and it seems pretty unaltered...), there's a good possibility that the movie version of RENT will fix the length and song problems that bother me.
Who knows, like Chicago, this may be one musical that works well on film. Long live movie musicals!
Well, the Ticket King of Broadway did not disappoint. We had incredible seats for the Saturday show of The Light in the Piazza. TheVivian Beaumont at Lincoln Center is such an intimate theater anyway, but being so close and central really was the icing on the cake.
The sets are breathtaking and really did deserve the Tonywin for Michael Yeargan. The costumes by Catherine Zuber were gorgeous too -- love the pumps!. Overall I'm glad I saw it. The whole production makes you fell you are in Florence in 1953, you really do feel the romance.
The cast is amazing. Such beautiful voices, such effortless, glorious sounds. Victoria Clark is great and did deserve the Tony. But the whole supporting cast is amazing. Kelly O'Hara as the daughter is wonderful. I heard that in the out of town tryout that Celia Keenan-Bolger (who was nominated for Spelling Bee) was the original daughter but was dropped before they came to New York because she didn't have the Broadway look! Pretty interesting that they were both nominated in the same category!
Matthew Morrison was a great lovesick passionate Italian puppy. Michael Berresse (who plays his brother) who I saw in Kiss Me Kate and who directedTitle of Show in NYMF last year was great, although I would have liked to see him do more. And Mark Harelik who plays Fabrizio's father was superb. I recognized him from Will and Grace where he plays Jack's boss at the gay TV network!
The book was charming and a lot funnier than I expected, although it got a bit weighted down in the Second Act. There was one weird departure of tone that came when the mother of Fabrizio (played by Patti Cohenour) breaks the fourth wall and translates the Italian "because I thought you should know what was going on". It was comic schtick that belonged in a musical likeDirty Rotten Scoundrels, not The Light in the Piazza, and was totally unnecessary. Victoria Clark narrates the story, but that works because you feel like she is writing in a diary and it is done with a tone consistent with the whole production.
I can honestly say I didn't love the music. It felt like wallpaper without strong melody, almost like movie scoring. It wasn't unpleasant, but I didn't connect with the show at a visceral level and so I haven't any great desire to see it again. It's interesting that Adam Guettel's style is such a departure from his mother's style (Mary Rodgers wrote Once Upon a Mattress and The Mad Show) and his grandfather's style (Richard Rodgers who wrote (duh!) Sound of Music, The King and I, Oklahoma, and many other classics!)
I've recently started subscribing to The Slotkin Letter, subtitled Reviews for People Serious About Theatre, a "best-kept secret" amongst theater professionals.
Lynn Slotkin is a Fine Arts graduate from York University. She is a devout theatregoer who sees over 200 plays a year throughout North America and England. Her passion and criticisms are shared her monthly newsletter, titled The Slotkin Letter. Here's how Lynn traces the birth of The Slotkin Letter:
...this is all Jane Alexander's fault. She was playing Gertrude to Sam Waterston's Hamlet at Lincoln Center in New York in 1975. I went to see it (I've known Jane for years) and told her that I was about to go to London to see Albert Finney play Hamlet. Jane said, "Let me know what you think." The letter I sent her was hand-written on 1½ sheets of medium-sized paper, covered one play and was sent to one person. Over the years the letter 'grew' from being hand written to being typed on a typewriter, to being written on a computer. More friends besides Jane, (actors, directors, artistic directors etc.) received it or wanted to get it and passed it to their friends, who also wanted to get it. The last letter, before this 'spiffy monthly version', covered 27 plays, was 74 pages long and went to about 20 people.
Lynn's theatre reviews can also be heard regularly on CBC Radio.
It's hard to precisely describe Lynn's style. It certainly isn't classic Timestheater criticism. On the other hand, it's not an academic exercise either. I think I would describe it as "Super Fan on Acid", because she describes each show in such incredible detail that you feel like you've actually seen it. She has unbelievably detailed descriptions of the sets, costumes, and staging. And she has her opinions as well, but they tend to come off as "my opinion for whatever it's worth", as opposed to a definitive critical point of view, as someone like Ouzounian would provide. Nevertheless, each monthly newsletter is endlessly entertaining and worth the price of admission.
Lynn includes this article on her site that provides a nice overview of her life's work. Here's a brief excerpt:
I consider Lynn to be the theatre's greatest fan, not just here in Toronto, her home, but across the English-speaking world. She sees more shows than anyone I know, including professional critics.
Over lunch, I bombarded her with questions about her theatre-going. I even asked some very personal ones, like how much money she spends on theatre tickets in a typical year. She answered every question without missing a beat.
"I would say $6,000 to $7,000; but that's just a guess, it could be more," she says. "I do know that last year (1999) I saw 217 shows, but there have been busier years."
Imagine. That’s about five shows a week. If there were a thousand Lynns in the world, theatre producers would never need to worry about selling tickets.
"I see all that I can in Toronto and in places that are close by, like Stratford and Shaw. I travel to New York six to eight times a year, usually for the weekend. But the best are my visits to London, which I usually go to in July for 18 days. After many years, I've discovered that 19 days is too long and 17 days is too short; 18 days is ideal. It gives me time to see 30 shows."
Thirty shows in 18 days! How does she do it? I know people who can barely squeeze in four shows in a week's visit to London.
"Four shows! What's the matter with them? I could fit in 14. If you make it into a science and do your homework, you can see three shows on Saturday -- at 2 p.m. 5 p.m. and 8 p.m.; a matinee and evening on Sunday; one on Monday; and two each on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, because there are special matinees besides the evening shows. And on Friday, there are usually two performances, one early evening and one late."
The whole affect [sic] of this show is pure magic. I loved it from top to bottom. It's for kids, adults and those in between.
While she savaged The Woman in White:
I'm sure everybody thought this whole thing -- the music and those projections -- was a good idea at the time. Well it wasn't. I couldn't imagine sitting through this again.
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"Odd Couple" may sell entire run to AmEx cardholders
If you don't have an American Express credit card, you might not be able to see "The Odd Couple" on Broadway starring Matthew Broderick and Nathan Lane.
Earlier this week, pre-sale tickets for the show were made available for American Express cardholders, but "none" were held back for the general public, a spokesperson for the production told NewYorkology Travel.
Broderick and Lane were the stars of Mel Brooks' blockbuster "The Producers" when it opened on Broadway in 2001. A massive hit, tickets were almost impossible to buy. But still, the frothy anticipation was was nothing like this.
Neil Simon's "The Odd Couple" was originally staged in 1965 with Art Carney as uptight nearly divorced Felix Unger and Walter Matthau as his roommate Oscar Madison the sloppy sports writer. Matthau won a Tony for his role, as did Simon, scenic designer Oliver Smith and director Mike Nichols, (who won another Tony a week ago for "Monty Python's Spamalot.")
The show, scheduled to begin previews at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre on Oct. 4, has already sold $11 million worth of tickets. The tickets now on sale are for performances through Feb. 5, 2006 only. Some of those tickets are still available through Ticketmaster (212-307-4100) but if you're looking for a pair in the orchestra section, you're already too late; there are only singles remaining.
On June 20 at 10 a.m., a new batch of tickets will go on sale -- for performances from Feb. 7, to April 2, 2006. Lane's and Broderick's contracts run through April 2, the spokesperson said.
After all that, if there are tickets remaining, the general public will be able to buy them starting July 5.
When those tickets are gone, cancellations and standing-room-only tickets will be among the remaining options. The spokesperson for the show said it's "more than likely" that SRO tickets will be available for "The Odd Couple." At the Brooks Atkinson Theatre today -- where Hal Holbrook is starring in "Mark Twain Tonight" -- the gentleman at the box office said the theater usually makes about 20 SRO tickets available for each performance. Also, see Playbill's guide to standing-room-only tickets.
The schedule and prices for "The Odd Couple" are available at Ticketmaster. Orchestra and front mezzanine seats are going for $100 each while rear mezzanine seats are $60.
But with demand this high, you shouldn't be surprised that the tickets are already on eBay -- and bidders are driving up the prices. A pair in the orchestra, row J for Jan 29, is now going for $355; a pair in the mezzanine for Oct. 5th for $260; or how about a pair front-row center for $1,048 -- on Nov. 25, right after the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. Another route is through a broker where a pair in the orchestra during reviews will set you back about $600.
Thanks Amy! And NewYorkology is a great site! It was really helpful for quick info on today's Puerto Rican Day Parade (I need to cross Fifth to get to see Captain Louie, which I've talked about in this previous post) because, of course, my concierge knew nothing...
From this article in Playbill, four of the season's 11 new Broadway musicals were scored by songwriters making their Broadway debuts. It is so great to see new writers being welcomed on Broadway. As a writer myself (Plane Crazy) it holds out great hope that there is room for new voices and new styles.
My favorite line comes from Eric Idle, co-author of Spamalot, who describes the musical's success as follows: "It was a process, not a miracle," Idle says of the show's evolution. "Every day you move a little pebble."
How true that is...
"The Song That Goes Like This" may be delighting Spamalot audiences, but its songwriters, Eric Idle and John DuPrez, are actually part of something which, for champions of the musical theatre, is even more joyous. Four of the season's 11 new Broadway musicals were scored by songwriters making their Broadway debuts; seven songwriters in all. Joining Idle and DuPrez are Jason Howland and Mindi Dickstein of the recently closed Little Women, Barri McPherson and Mark Schoenfeld of Brooklyn, and 2005 Tony Award winner Adam Guettel of The Light in the Piazza.
Two other shows are second efforts, and a further two are musicals compiled from pop songbooks, also representing a kind of Broadway debut.
Here are the stories of the first-timers' creative collaborations, and their first taste of being produced on Broadway.
Music by Jason Howland
Lyrics by Mindi Dickstein
Akin to his Broadway debut, Jason Howland's first musical score was adapting a classic. "In the eighth grade," he said, smiling. "Jack & the Beanstalk." The first song? "Jackie Can You Hear Me?," Howland says, laughing, "...in the key of F."
And while Mindi Dickstein wouldn't begin writing lyrics until adulthood, "I wrote my first play in the fourth grade," she proudly declares, "The Case of the Missing Jewels."
Joking aside, Howland and Dickstein's early works actually illustrate a dramaturgical instinct each brought to their five years composing Little Women -- a dedication to character and narrative drive. "It's all about telling a great story," Howland insists, "while fully integrating it with music. That's at the heart of the experience which I gained as a music director on Broadway for ten years."
In fact, Howland says his role as conductor and/or musical director of Jekyll & Hyde, Les Misérables and Taboo, among others, was invaluable to understanding how to make Louisa May Alcott's novel sing. For Dickstein, who received her MFA from NYU's Musical Theater Writing Program, collaborating with Howland was "a joyous journey." Further finessing Dickstein's abilities as a lyricist was the show's exceptional cast. "Having people like Maureen McGovern and Sutton Foster -- with these incredible voices -- didn't change the nature of what we were writing, but it certainly made it more specific."
Speaking of specific, Dickstein admits one of her favorite moments of the Little Women experience occurred on opening night. "I was sitting in the fifth row center, and Sutton is singing 'Astonishing.' And suddenly I hear my mother's voice -- who'd first heard the song at a reading and told me afterwards, 'it's you at 16!' -- and I just started bawling. Cause here was this wonderful actress singing this song I wrote that expressed the essence of who I was at that age. And I thought, here I am now, a grown-up person -- realizing that dream."
BROOKLYN, THE MUSICAL
Music and Lyrics by Mark Schoenfeld & Barri McPherson
After years of pitching a film concept of "Brooklyn to Hollywood," creators Mark Schoenfeld and Barri McPherson found themselves broke, bitter and back on the streets of New York. Soothing their Tinseltown wounds, the duo sat in Central Park, boom box in tow, singing Brooklyn's songs to passersby. Like a showbiz fairy tale, one of those who stopped was an aspiring theatre producer. "Scott Prisand heard us there," recalls McPherson, referring to the man who'd eventually become one of Brooklyn's lead producers. "He said, this is a Broadway musical!"
Confessing that "my dream was to write and sing in any genre I could find," the willowy McPherson says, "where ever it took me, I was willing to go." Via Prisand, it took the team -- who'd been writing partners since 1991 -- to "the best thing in the world that could've happened to us," she says: Jeff Calhoun.
Forever grateful to the director/choreographer's guidance, Schoenfeld describes their segue from street singers to Broadway composers. "Jeff would mold what he saw as the lyric of the song, and John McDaniel was excellent with the arrangements because he knew what was right for Broadway. Now that we're here," Schoenfeld chuckles, "we don't want to leave!" And despite a birth-by-fire reception from critics, the duo agree they'd do it again in a second. "The riches you get out of Broadway," Schoenfeld says, "is when people come over to you at the end of the show. They get its humanity, its spirituality. That's the currency Barri and I go home with. It's the greatest part of the whole process. I can't even imagine why other writers are not in the theatre enjoying that!"
THE LIGHT IN THE PIAZZA
Music and Lyrics by Adam Guettel
"I had a love song that had no title," says Adam Guettel of a composition he'd written for his best friend's wedding in the late nineties. "And that music just kept circling around me. I knew I wanted to write more music that could express the sound of being in love -- and of losing love, which is pretty much the same sound. So I started looking for a vessel for a love story, and came upon The Light in the Piazza."
Based on the same-titled 1959 novella by Elizabeth Spencer, the lushly romantic musical still holds the seed of Guettel's original inspiration, as the show's title song is the music from that wedding composition. Five years, three book writers, two workshops and two regional productions later, Piazza opened at Lincoln Center this spring. "And we're very lucky to be here," says the Yale graduate of his show's producing organization. After good reviews at the Goodman, Guettel recalls a slew of New York producers "came flooding into Chicago saying, 'We should take this to Broadway!' And I thought, 'Wow, wouldn't that be wonderful?' Interestingly," he says with a sly laugh, "they all sort of dropped away. But Lincoln Center pulled through."
Like with Guettel's 1996 break-out musical Floyd Collins at Playwrights Horizons, "because of the way you get threaded through the process at a not-for-profit," says the composer of his experience with developing Piazza, "it's so much more wholesome for the storytelling, for the growth of the score -- you're really able to maintain its singularity, its signature, its thumbprint. You're not always being asked to amp everything up, 'Bigger! Faster! Funnier!'"
As for making his Broadway debut, Guettel says, "in the most excited and positive way," he laughs, "I'm freaking out. I guess because, for my entire adult life, it's something I've hoped to achieve. And so I'm not able to forget, in a titular sense, that I have achieved that goal."
Guettel also has family history to help him through. His mother, composer Mary Rodgers, made her Broadway debut with Once Upon a Mattress in 1959, and his grandfather, Richard Rodgers, took his first Broadway bow with Poor Little Ritz Girl in 1920.
MONTY PYTHON'S SPAMALOT
Lyrics by Eric Idle
Music by Eric Idle & John Du Prez
"There's no solid set piece," says Eric Idle of his manner of collaboration with John Du Prez. "We've worked together so long we can do just about anything." Indeed, since meeting on the 1978 movie "Monty Python's Life With Brian," their talents have fueled more than two decades worth of Python films, TV programs, LPs and live concert shows. Was Broadway inevitable? "It was a process, not a miracle," Idle says of the show's evolution. "Every day you move a little pebble."
Three years, 12 drafts and 40 songs later, Idle says he believes their ability to straddle the cult material with the musical theatre structure rested in the score. "If you've got a wasp-ish lyric," Idle explains, "and you put a wonderful melody to it, you've got two things happening at once: The sentiment and the sentiment being mocked at the same time." In short, he says, "you get to an emotion, while taking all the laughs en route."
The latter, says Du Prez, is what differentiates their work from the satires of Gerald Alessandrini. "To set the record straight," Du Prez says, "I had never seen or heard of Forbidden Broadway until it appeared in the [pre-Broadway] Chicago reviews in December 2004. I had to ask what it was. Please note that Python has been spoofing songs since at least 1969."
Meanwhile, both Du Prez and Idle are honored to be making their Broadway songwriting debuts. "One of my proudest moments," Du Prez recalls, "was when the doorman of my hotel said, 'Thank you for coming to Broadway, we need good new work to keep us employed!'"
As for writing another show -- or perhaps performing in one, as Idle has done on tour -- "I'd love to," Idle admits. "But since Spamalot kept me on the road the past six months, I can't be absentee-dad any more. There's no total rush," Idle ponders, with a laugh. "'Cause the great thing about Broadway is you can be older on it."
With 11 new musicals having opened on Broadway in the 2004-05 season, it has been a boom year for the art form. Of course, any time new works are offered by Stephen Sondheim, Frank Wildhorn and William Finn there is reason for excitement. Also extremely welcome back are David Yazbek, making a timely return with Dirty Rotten Scoundrels after his Tony-nominated debut four years ago with The Full Monty, alongside the Chitty Chitty Bang Bang brothers, Richard M. and Robert B. Sherman -- whose previous Broadway score premiered in the Tony-nominated 1974 musical, Over Here!. Add to the mix a couple of Top-40 songbook shows featuring tunes made famous by The Beach Boys and "The King," and -- as Fats Waller once said -- this joint is jumpin'.
I'm in New York a lot and I love droppping by Ellen's Stardust Diner at 51st and Broadway.
It's a lot of fun and a great place to go on your own. It's a fifties diner with lots of wonderful kitchy decorations -- old albums covers on the wall (Sugar n' Peggy Lee, Sing-a-long withConnie Francis, Showtime with Doris Day, Johnny Mathis).
It's a big tourist place but we go 'cuz it is very kid friendly.
But the best part is that the waiters and waitresses, who are dressed up in fifties garb, sing to karaoke musical theater songs and standards.
Sometimes they even do it while they are serving which is lots of fun. What I love is that these performers seem to be having a blast singing and serving. These kids are great -- great voices, great presence and great interaction with the customers while they are performing.
Even the gruff maitre d' who won't seat you unless your whole party is present, will do a song (tonight he sang the Dean Martin hit "Ain't That A Kick in the Head").
Funny thing, this time I dropped by for a late snack and a beer (boy it's hot here!). The first song one of the waiters sang was "Artificial Flowers"! It's funny -- I hadn't heard that song before and now I've heard it twice (see my previous post). Usually these things happen in threes so I wonder where I'll hear it next...
A star is born?
During a commercial break in the Tony Awards Sunday night, host Hugh Jackman asked the audience if they had any requests? Somebody shouted out, "The Boy Next Door!" Hugh asked, "Who said that?" In the audience, Matthew Hoffman raised his hand and tentatively replied, "I did."
Jackman had him up on stage in a flash. He and Hoffman, who is (natch!) an aspiring singer-actor, began a duet of the famous song from Meet Me in St. Louis. But young Matthew wasn't giving it his all. Jackman stopped and said, "So, what else have you got?" Matthew said "I Can See It" (from The Fantasticks.) Hugh then stepped aside and gave Matthew the stage. Matthew offered a true Broadway performance. He hit the last notes just as the back-on-air signal came. Big applause!
Later, at the post-show parties, Matthew was stopped by many big names. He was congratulated on his impromptu moment in the spotlight. If he becomes a star, it'll be the best up-from-nowhere tale since Shirley MacLaine got lucky because of Carole Haney's broken ankle. For now, he is a singing waiter at Ellen's Stardust Diner.
I must admit I was a bit tentative about seeingDirty Rotten Scoundrels. The movie starringMichael Caine and Steve Martin has become a standard around our house, and Ruprecht is often quoted around our table.
I am happy to report I had an extremely enjoyable evening and left the theater humming (not hummer, humming) the last song "Dirty Rotten Number" which is the acid test for me. Finally a song I'd like to get up on stage and perform! I've found a lot of new shows have pleasant enough, but forgettable scores. But nothing that touches the performer in me and makes me want to BE in that number (Sweet Charity of course is filthy with them...) Not every number in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels was wildly memorable, but every number was fun.
I kinda felt it as soon as the orchestra started playing. The spirt of the piece said classic musical comedy, which I also like. So when they did break the fourth wall now and then it didn't bother me, because it didn't feel like the whole piece was one giant "nudge nudge, wink wink" parody. I even liked the "Great Big Stuff" pseudo rap number that Norbert does (and does really well!) despite my best intentions to hate it! The "Love Is My Legs" number (a big audience fav) almost crossed the line for me though, since it is a parody of a big Celine Dion ballad, but it managed to stay on my good side. Maybe because Norbert Leo Butz and Sherie Rene Scott are such fabulous performers and they do it with such heart.
John Lithgow, although not a great singer, has amazing charisma and is a joy just to watch, even "if he were reading the phone book", as they say.
The book was very close to the movie and very funny and moved along nicely. They did a nice job of embellishing Muriel Eubanks of Omaha's role for Joanna Gleason and the police chief's role for Gregory Jbara. For those of you who haven't seen the movie, I won't give away the ending!
The set design was wonderful as was the staging. When it's just John and Norbert on a bare stage in lounge chairs at the end singing the "Dirty Rotten" number it worked so beautifully.
The girls wanted t-shirts and I want to go out and buy the CD, and those are both good signs too.
There's a new man in my life: "The Ticket King of Broadway". He's opening my eyes to all sorts of new experiences -- cheap ticket buying experiences, that is...
Quite frankly, Broadway tickets have been a bit of a mystery to me over the years. Here's what I've learned from the "King":
1. You've gotta follow the release of house tickets like the stock market;
2. Wait for house tickets to be released, then book them instantly;
3. Use discount codes from "Broadway Box" to get the best price on tickets; and
4. Buy the tickets at the theater to avoid service charges.
Now, can the "Ticket King of Broadway" get me closing night tickets to La Cage Aux Folles? Inquiring minds want to know...
For years, New York's "I can get it for you wholesale" boast rarely applied to Broadway theater tickets. Apart from a few longstanding discount options, an out-of-towner's chances of scoring an orchestra seat at balcony prices were about as slim as a chorus girl's waistline.
But the Internet, helped by a floundering economy, a post-Sept. 11 tourism slump and a growing reluctance to plan vacations months in advance, is fueling a greater reliance on the airline model of demand-driven pricing -- and a growing number of theater discount sites aimed largely at bargain-hunting travelers...
The traditional, and most popular, way to nab a Broadway or off- Broadway discount is still by standing in line for a same-day show at one of New York's two TKTS booths, located at Times Square and South Street Seaport (which also offers matinee tickets for next- day performances). Operated by the non-profit Theatre Development Fund, the 30-year-old TKTS program sells seats at 25% or 50% off face value, plus a $3 per-ticket service charge.
But the hassle factor can be formidable. Payment is by cash or traveler's checks only, and the average wait ranges from 15 to 30 minutes but can often stretch more than an hour. Theatergoers intent on seeing a specific show may be disappointed: As the Theatre Development Fund's Web site notes, "changes in availability can occur on an hourly basis as cooperating theatres supply or withdraw tickets, depending on box office demand."...
By contrast, travelers who want to nail down a show before they leave home can browse among more than a dozen Internet sites that supply coveted discount codes -- theater-issued deals of 25% to 50% off.
Armed with the codes (typically a combination of letters and numbers), they can then buy through Telecharge or Ticketmaster, or at the theater box office when they arrive, thus avoiding service fees and handling charges when purchasing online or by phone...
Among those generating the biggest buzz is BroadwayBox.com, a reader-driven effort that collects and posts advance-purchase discount codes of up to 50%. This week, the site listed 22 discounted Broadway shows and 22 off-Broadway shows, from Mamma Mia! (tickets for $75 at select performances in September, down from $98.75) to Forbidden Broadway: 20th Anniversary Celebration ($20 or $32 per seat through October, vs. a published price of $55 to $57.50).
Yeth, of courth!
I saw Spelling Bee just before the Tonys and I had a B-L-A-S-T! With Book byRachel Sheinkin (who won the Tony!) and music and lyrics by William Finn,Spelling Bee has made an extemely successful transfer to Broadway.
Spelling Bee is playing in the Circle in the Square theater (right next to the Gershwinwhere Wicked is playing). You actually go downstairs to get into the theater, and the whole lobby and inside of the theater are decorated like a school gymnasium, with handmade signs -- very charming.
There is even a registration area for "new spellers". That's where you can apply to be one of the audience participants (if you get there early enough, which we didn't, but will make sure we do next time or else my daughters won't speak to me again). About 10 minutes before show time they come out and announce the four names who will be coming up on stage. Disappointed spellers get a piece of free wacky taffy as consolation!
We were seated in the floor section, which is right in the middle of the action. They aren't tiered seats, so if you go with small kids (which you may or may not want to do after listening to the soundtrack...) it might be hard to see. All the tiered seats have a good view. But the cast was singing right at us, they were running around us (lots of stuff takes place in the aisles and at the back -- as one of their songs says "Life is Pandemonium"), imparting a wonderful feeling of organized chaos.
The book is frikkin' hilarious and very clever and James Lapine's direction is fab. This book evolved with many contributors and was based on C-R-E-P-U-S-C-L-E, an original play by The Farm. I understand that the actors brought their specific characters (already named in some cases) to the project. They all have such specific "ticks" and characteristics that you can't really separate them from the book. My favs were Wiliam Barfee (rhymes with parfait, for heaven's sake!) and Leaf Coneybear. I won't divulge their specifics since the joy of discovering the characters is part of the joy of the evening. The actors themselves are fabulous and so very appealing The audience even gave a spontaneous "ahhh, too bad" sound when one of the contestants lost.
The construct of having the words defined and then used in a sentence guaranteed you laughed every minute of the show's 1 hour and forty five minute (no intermission) running time. Although I do remember seeing a similar bit on the Will and Grace show when Jack is at the gay spelling bee! Hmm...
I was suspicious of the audience volunteer bit, but it does work without being too cutesy...
One of the things I liked the most was the way the kids would be up at the mic getting ready to spell and then they would flash back to a family/home moment, with the other spellers taking on new roles (say, of a father or a mother). It was seemless, and crystal clear.
The music is fine, but not wildly memorable. My two fav numbers are "Life Is Pandemonium" and the "Goodbye" chorus that is sung whenever someone is kicked out of the Bee.
It was a fun, refreshing evening of theater and we all left smiling. Moreover,Spelling Bee was my youngest daughter's pick for best musical. It didn't win, but at least Dan Fogler won for best featured performer.
Antihistamine -- luck of the draw!
Well, here's a nice Tonybounce: The Light in the Piazza has been extended to January 1, 2006...
Winner of Best Musical at Sunday night's Tony Awards,The Light in the Piazza is The big Tony winner of the season (with six awards, including Best Score, Best Leading Actress in a Musical for Victoria Clark and a clutch of design trophies). Most importantly, The Light in the Piazza had a surge in ticket sales of around $300,000 directly after the Tonys ceremony.
Adam Guettel and Craig Lucas' new musical The Light in the Piazza, which took home six Tony Awards on June 5, has extended its run at Lincoln Center's Vivian Beaumont Theatre through the end of the year.
The show, which opened on April 18 after a month of previews, will now play until Jan. 1, 2006. It was to have closed on June 12, but then extended until Sept. 4.
The big Tony winner of the season (with six awards, including Best Score, Best Leading Actress in a Musical for Victoria Clark and a clutch of design trophies), The Light in the Piazza, had a surge in ticket sales of around $300,000 directly after the Tonys ceremony, a production spokesperson confirmed.
Though it opened to mixed reviews, Piazza has since become a favorite of New York's awards organizations. Along with the Tonys showing, it led the Outer Critics Circle Awards nominations with 11 nods, while the Drama Desk organization also nominated it in 11 categories.
Craig Lucas penned the book for the show, which has already been seen in stagings at both Seattle's Intiman Theatre and, more recently, at Chicago's Goodman Theatre.
The Light in the Piazza is a love story of a young American woman, Clara (Kelli O'Hara), who, while on holiday, falls for a young Italian man. When the young woman's mother (Victoria Clark) learns of the affair, she opposes it for unknown reasons. The musical is set in Florence and Rome in the summer of 1953.
The musical's other leads include Michael Berresse (Kiss Me, Kate), Sarah Uriarte Berry (Taboo), Patti Cohenour, Beau Gravitte, Mark Harelik and Matthew Morrison (Hairspray). Bartlett Sher directs.
The cast of 18 also includes Glenn Seven Allen, David Bonanno, David Burnham, Laura Griffith, Prudence Wright Holmes, Jennifer Hughes, Felicity LaFortune, Catherine LaValle, Michel Moinot and Joseph Siravo.
The creative team includes Ted Sperling (musical direction), Michael Yeargan (sets), Catherine Zuber (costumes) and Christopher Akerlind (lights).
Piazza is based on Elizabeth Spencer's 1960 novella.
La Cage aux Folles won Tony Awards Sunday for Best Revival of a Musical and Best Choreography, but by Tuesday its producers told the company the show will close June 26.
It will have played 30 previews and 229 regular performances. The producers announced the Jerry Zaks-directed revival of Jerry Herman and Harvey Fierstein's musical comedy will play its final performance on June 26 Broadway's Marquis Theatre.
"I am so proud of this wonderful production," said producer James L. Nederlander. "Unfortunately, despite winning the Tony Award on Sunday, our sales have not increased. We've decided to set the closing date for June 26th to give theatregoers a window of opportunity to see this beautiful show."
La Cage stars Gary Beach and Robert Goulet, who, producers have said expressed an interest in touring the show. No plan has been announced.
Let's hope the Cagelles are coming to a theater near you!
I was taking a little walk down Memory Lane last night, and I ran across this great shot of a Plane Crazy poster in Times Square, circa 1965. How cool is that? I especially enjoyed the floods on the guy in the foreground of the picture...
In other Plane Crazy news, things are moving rapidly toward the NYMF 2005 staging. We're close on a Director, and lots of other pieces are falling into place.
The New York Musical Theatre Festival (NYMF) has a new Web site, which is a lot more elaborate than last year. Check it out!
Here's the latest press release on Plane Crazy:
The swinging 1960s Jet Age returns to New York: "Plane Crazy" to debut at World's Premier Musical Theatre Festival
Out of more than 400 submissions, Suzy Conn's "Plane Crazy" is among 18 jury-selected musicals chosen for the 2005 New York Musical Theatre Festival
May 24, 2005
"Plane Crazy", a musical comedy about the emergence of feminism set against the glamour and sex appeal of the swinging '60s Jet Age (http://planecrazythemusical.com), has been accepted into the Next Link Project at the New York Musical Theatre Festival (http://nymf.org).
"Plane Crazy" is set during an explosive time in history: The intersection of the dawn of the Jet Age; the introduction of the Pill; the genesis of the modern Women's Movement; and the Golden Age of Advertising.
"Plane Crazy" explores these clashing values in an engaging story that follows two young stews who are learning about love and life in the high-flying airline business circa 1965: A time "When Stews Were Sexy and the World Was SexistTM".
"Plane Crazy" has been reviewed as:
"...it was fantastic: funny, catchy, engrossing, with a really authentic sixties-kitsch feel: like Hair at 30,000 feet, with seasonings of Jesus Christ Superstar and Germaine Greer."
-- Cory Doctorow, BoingBoing.net
Suzy Conn, author (Book/Music/Lyrics), says, "My favorite shows have always had some innately non-commercial element, and I think that all theater needs that element of uniqueness for it to be commercial. With "Plane Crazy", I'm talking about feminism, which sounds like a real drag, but I've done it in a really fun, sexy way that will be entertaining for everyone. This is part of what makes the show different, and really worth seeing."
Suzy also outlined her personal goal for theater: "I want to make going to the theater groovy again, and write shows that seem retro, but are relevant to today. I'm happy with where I ended up with "Plane Crazy" because I feel that I've been able to accomplish that goal."
Suzy divides her time between New York and Chicago, where she is enrolled in the Theatre Building Chicago Musical Theatre Writer's Workshop.
Suzy is also the editor of Blogway Baby (http://blogwaybaby.com), one of the leading blogs on the Broadway scene.
"Plane Crazy" will be produced in late September, in New York, as part of the Festival.
The Producer for "Plane Crazy" at NYMF 2005 is Michael Rubinoff (firstname.lastname@example.org), and the Associate Producer is Kendra Bator (email@example.com).
According to the NYMF press release:
The New York Musical Theatre Festival has announced the 18 jury-selected musicals that will be part of the Next Link Project of the fest, to be held Sept. 12-Oct. 2 in midtown Manhattan.
After reviewing almost 400 scripts -- nearly double last year's submissions -- the NYMF selection committee has chosen a fresh, diverse collection of 18 new musicals to be presented September 12 - October 2, 2005 in Manhattan's Theatre District, alongside more than 100 invited shows, concerts, and other special events still to be announced.
Our jury included Rob Ashford (Tony winning Choreographer for THOROUGHLY MODERN MILLIE), Thomas Cott (former Artistic Director of Musical Theater Works), Joanna Gleason (Tony winner for INTO THE WOODS, Tony nominated for DIRTY ROTTEN SCOUNDRELS), Kevin McCollum (Producer of AVENUE Q and RENT), Susan H. Schulman (Director of LITTLE WOMEN, THE SECRET GARDEN and THE SOUND OF MUSIC), and Jack Viertel (Jujamcyn Theaters Creative Director, Encores! Artistic Director).
Last year more than 20% of the shows were optioned for commercial productions - including ALTAR BOYZ (2005 Outer Critics Circle Award) and Stephen Schwartz's CAPTAIN LOUIE (currently at the York Theater), as well as the forthcoming commercial productions of TITLE OF SHOW, SHOUT!, and THE GREAT AMERICAN TRAILER PARK MUSICAL -- an incredible record for a first year! Keep your eye on this year's crop to see the best and brightest new musicals.
Glad you asked.
My daughter Myrna is involved withCamp Broadway. Last year she spent a week at Camp Broadway taking dance, singing, and acting classes in the heart of the theater district and getting backstage looks at the workings of musicals such as Wickedand Fiddler on the Roof (how cool is that...).
Every year Camp Broadway runs a great Tony Master Class weekend. Sunday started with a two-hour dance class where they study the different dance styles from nominated shows (dancing like the Cagelles from La Cage Aux Folles, like Fosse fromSweet Charity, or hoofing it fromSpamalot). Then it's back to the hotel to get glammed up for the mocktail party at Alfredo's of Rome at Rockefeller Center.
Myrna looked amazing in a brand new pink dress from Camari, with black crinoline and two little black bows (very Sarah Jessica Parker, very New York). She wore sparkling little sandals and looked gorgeous. They had a group of about 20 kids at Alfredo's all dressed up, all very excited to be going to the Tonys. They offered a limited number of tickets to the parents -- so motherhood paid off big time and I got a ticket to the Tonys as well!
Even the tickets are classy -- all silver and black and glossy -- not yer average theater ticket, my friend. And it does say black tie only!
So my husband took Myrna over in style, in a pedicab, at 4:30pm while I started to get ready (the parents don't get dinner -- just the kids). I wore my best fancy black gown with my black pumps and sparkly black handbag. The best part of meeting the kids at 6:30pm is all the tourists looking at you, trying to figure out if you are somebody famous!
We filed in (squished in, really) to Radio City, opening our handbags to security. Once inside my daughter spied the I LOVE HUGH (I HUGH) t-shirts for sale. We went up to the second mezzanine where we bought one of those t-shirts and got our program. They are special bound versions -- one ticket, one program. We tentatively went to our seats and discovered all of Camp Broadway was front row second balcony -- w00t! Awesome seats! And there were two very large TV screens on either side of the stage. Myrna went nuts with excitement.
The beginning of the untelevised portion of the show was already in progress as we took out seats. Immediately we went on "celebrity watch" with our binoculars, scoping out famous people in the orchestra. Myrna "eagle-eye" Conn found Marcia Cross sitting in the front row and we followed her every move the whole night (stalkers anyone?). It was so much fun picking out the celebs -- including Kathleen Turner, Billy Crystal, and Matthew Broderick.
Then it started!! Of course the bit between Billy Crystal and Hugh Jackmanwas hilarious. We furiously passed the binoculars back and forth the whole night. The sound was awesome. Hugh sounded amazing in his opening number. The live numbers from the musicals were great, lots of energy and electricity. And of course nothing was bleeped out, so we were able to hear the lyrics "Hummer in my Hummer" sung by Norbert Leo Butz!
During commercials Hugh Jackman would come out and chat with the audience, occasionally bringing a seat filler or crazed audience member up on stage for some schtick. That man is so damned charming! Also, they played video bits (a la Letterman) after every show performance where a Tony reporter would be out on the streets of Manhattan asking questions (after Dirty Rotten, the intrepid reporter asked people what they thought of Norbert Leo Butz's name, and how would they rearrange the letters to come up with a new name!).
I thought it was an interesting choice to sing "Somewhere" from West Side Story to honor Sondheim's 75th...didn't it always bug him that he was only asked to do lyrics and not music as well on that project? And thank God he wasn't?
Myrna and I screamed and hooted and then hooted and screamed. And then we did it again, even louder. And then we got up and shook our respective booties! What a night! And I've already told you in another post about how Hugh Jackman confessed his love for Myrna.
It was kind of cool sitting up high. We could see the "Christina Applegate" stunt woman fall onto a mattress and then watch the real Christina crawl out of the pit.
Walking out after it was over we rubbed elbows with Celia Keenan-Bolger ofSpelling Bee and Adam Guettel who had won for Light in the Piazza (Myrna thought it was supremely cool that he was not only the grandson of Richard Rodgers, but the son of Mary Rodgers who had written the music for The Mad Show!)
Of course we took a pedicab home, pointing out all the celebrities and producers as we drove by, so elegantly outfitted in our Sunday finest.
It was an honor just to be there!
Broadway's lights will be dimmed tonight at 8 pm...
Tony Award-winning actress Anne Bancroft, who played tough, warm and funny roles throughout a respected stage and screen career, died June 6 of uterine cancer at New York's Mt. Sinai Hospital, a spokesman for her husband, Mel Brooks, announced.
She was 73. Ms. Bancroft played Annie Sullivan in the Broadway and Hollywood takes on Helen Keller's story, The Miracle Worker, by William Gibson. She won a Best Actress Tony Award for the role in 1960. She won the Academy Award for the role on screen (as did stage and screen co-star Patty Duke, as Helen).
By the time of her Best Actress wins in New York and Hollywood, she already had a Tony on her shelf for her work in Two for the Seesaw. She would later be Tony nominated for the playing Israeli prime minister Golda Meir in Gibson's Golda in 1978.
One of her famous Hollywood roles was playing wealthy middle-aged seductress "Mrs. Robinson" in Mike Nichols' "The Graduate." She was Oscar nominated for the turn.
Broadway's marquees will be dimmed at 8 PM June 8 in tribute to Ms. Bancroft, Mel Brooks' spokesman, John Barlow, told Playbill.com.
So here's to you, Anne Bancroft...
OK, that's enough on the Tonys...for now...
Back to my latest favorite obsession:My Fur Lady. I now have a couple of albums whisking my way, I can't wait to hear it and give everyone my feedback. I'm also looking forward to re-aquainting myself with my turntable...I hope it still remembers how to turn!
I really enjoyed Sara Ramirez' acceptance speech for her role as Lady of the Lake in Spamalot (Best Featured Actress in a Musical).
Her first thank you was toClaritin, followed by "her doctors".
That's an interesting little peak into the demands of performing 8 times a week on Broadway. And Sara is belting out every female role in Spamalot, so she must be under a lot of pressure.
It reminded me of Kristen Chenoweth's appearance on Letterman a few weeks ago (here's the post) where she talked about the damage she sustained to her neck by constantly flipping her hair in her role as Glinda in Wicked. She had actually damaged her neck vertabrae by constantly throwing her hair back over the two years that she had been inWicked (rehearsals, SF try-outs, and Broadway). She was still moving her head very stiffly...now that's dedication to the craft!
Sara Ramirez also managed to provide one of the most suspenseful moments of the evening, at least for my husband...
As she got up to accept her Tony, she started madly adjusting her dress, primarily by lifting up the top to adjust her boobs. She continued adjusting her boobs right up to the podium...it was even money that she would drop them right out. Alas, it was not to be, although Hugh Jackman later commented that after Sara's acceptance speech, there were no longer Twelve Angry Men in the room...
Here's alink to an archive of all the acceptance speeches from the 2005 Tony Awards.
There was an interesting moment during the Tonys when Alan Alda came up to present an award.
Earlier in the evening, he'd lost the Tony for Best Featured Actor in a Play to his castmate from Glengarry Glen Ross, Liev Schreiber.
So, when he got to the podium to present the award, Alan Alda said to the audience (and I'm paraphrasing here): "Can I read you my acceptance speech...it's really funny..."
That got me thinking. We always hear from the people who win. Wouldn't it be interesting to hear all the acceptance speeches that were written, BUT NEVER GIVEN?
Hey, how 'bout a musical called "Acceptance Speech"...I can see it already, the ghosts of moments of glory that never came to be, paraded before us in an alternate universe of might-have-beens...
What they don't mention is that a certain 11-year old girl named Myrna Conn (that's MY Myrna) yelled out, 15 seconds to air in one of the commercial breaks "I LOVE YOU" to Hugh Jackman, who responded with "I love you too!" Hugh's reply was caught on air, so if you noticed a moment in the later part of the show where Hugh seems to be talking and smiling to someone in the audience, that's MY DAUGHTER HE'S TALKING TO...w00t!
A Night of Surprises
By Randy Gener
At the 2005 Tony Awards, everything is a surprise--the identities of the winners, the number of producers who will file onstage to receive a best play or best musical awards, the words the winners will say once they accept their trophies.
But, aside from who wins, there are other surprises that turn the annual ceremonies into a can't-miss event. And this year was no exception.
One surprise was that Billy Crystal, who won a 2005 Tony Award for Best Special Theatrical Event for his one-man show Billy Crystal's 700 Sundays, turned out not to be the host of this year's ceremony. Although it was widely known that Hugh Jackman is actually this year's emcee, some audience members at Radio City Music Hall were briefly puzzled when Crystal was the one who appeared at the top of the show began announcing that all the musical numbers this year "will be sung by Beyonce--in French".
Jackman soon returned to his place in center stage, and another unexpected happening occurred when Christina Applegate, the Tony-nominated star of Sweet Charity, twirled around an onstage lamppost and toppled over into a pit. It turned out to be an elaborately choreographed--and very funny--bit leading in to Applegate's presentation of the Tony Award for Best Choreography.
Later in evening the Reverend Al Sharpton made an unexpected appearance as a spelling-bee contestant. He put on a numbered placard and took his place on stage, joining the very young and very multicultural cast of The 25th Annual Putnam Country Spelling Bee. When his name was called, Sharpton approached the microphone and was asked to spell the word "dengue."
"Can you give me a definition please," Sharpton asked. And the reply was the dengue is a kind of hemorrhagic fever, caused by a virus, transmitted by mosquitoes and causing infected victims to feel skin rashes, headache, nausea and vomiting.
When the former presidential candidate failed to spell "dengue" correctly, the Spelling Bee cast escorted their bemused guest, in song, back to his seat.
A couple of other Tony surprises were improvised or choreographed moments that involved Hugh Jackman entertaining the Radio City Music Hall audience during TV commercials.
In one bit, Jackman publicly apologized to Matthew Broderick for Jackman's onstage antics when he danced with Broderick's wife, Sarah Jessica Parker, at the 2004 Tony ceremony.
Later Jackman took requests from the audience. Someone from the audience suggested that he sing "I Go to Rio" from The Boy from Oz, the show for which he won a Tony Award--and he did.
And to the delight of the Radio City audience, Jackman asked a couple of spectators (including a spirited female friend and a young man who sang from The Fantasticks) to come on stage. He gave them a chance to show their stuff. "Come on, go do it" Jackman suggested, egging the two on. "This house is full of Broadway producers."
Speaking of Jackman's irrepressible hosting antics, Radio City Music Hall audiences were amazed to find out, during a commercial break, that his well-received opening "Gotta Dance" solo number was written and arranged by composer Michael John LaChiusa, directed by George C. Wolfe, and choreographed by Kathleen Marshall. That's a lot of Broadway heavy-hitters.
Well, I'm still flying high from the Tony Awards last night...although I'm crushed that Sweet Charitydidn't win anything: They was robbed! In fact, having seen bothLa Cage and Sweet Charity, I would respectfully submit that the Tony voters made a mistake:Charity was a much stronger show.
Anyway, I've got a ton of things to report on last night's festivities, but let me start with a round-up of the winners and nominees:
So here's a quick look at the nominees and winners of the 2005 Tony Awards, which were presented June 5 at Radio City Musical Hall in New York City.
Winners below are indicated by boldface type and an asterisk:
Dirty Rotten Scoundrels
The Light in the Piazza
*Monty Python's Spamalot
The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee
Gem of the Ocean
BEST PERFORMANCE BY A LEADING ACTOR IN A MUSICAL
Hank Azaria, Monty Python's Spamalot
Gary Beach, La Cage aux Folles
*Norbert Leo Butz, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels
Tim Curry, Monty Python's Spamalot
John Lithgow, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels
BEST PERFORMANCE BY A LEADING ACTRESS IN A MUSICAL
Christina Applegate, Sweet Charity
*Victoria Clark, The Light in the Piazza
Erin Dilly, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
Sutton Foster, Little Women
Sherie Rene Scott, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels
BEST PERFORMANCE BY A LEADING ACTRESS IN A PLAY
*Cherry Jones, Doubt
Laura Linney, Sight Unseen
Mary-Louise Parker, Reckless
Phylicia Rashad, Gem of the Ocean
Kathleen Turner, Edward Albee's Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
BEST PERFORMANCE BY A LEADING ACTOR IN A PLAY
Philip Bosco, Twelve Angry Men
Billy Crudup, The Pillowman
*Bill Irwin, Edward Albee's Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
James Earl Jones, On Golden Pond
Brían F. O'Byrne, Doubt
BEST REVIVAL OF A PLAY
Edward Albee's Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
*Glengarry Glen Ross
On Golden Pond
Twelve Angry Men
BEST REVIVAL OF A MUSICAL
*La Cage aux Folles
BEST DIRECTION OF A MUSICAL
James Lapine, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee
*Mike Nichols, Monty Python's Spamalot
Jack O'Brien, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels
Bartlett Sher, The Light in the Piazza
BEST THEATRICAL EVENT
Dame Edna: Back with a Vengeance!
Whoopi, the 20th Anniversary Show
BEST PERFORMANCE BY A FEATURED ACTOR IN A MUSICAL
*Dan Fogler, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee
Marc Kudisch, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
Michael McGrath, Monty Python's Spamalot
Matthew Morrison, The Light in the Piazza
Christopher Sieber, Monty Python's Spamalot
BEST PERFORMANCE BY A FEATURED ACTRESS IN A MUSICAL
Joanna Gleason, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels
Celia Keenan-Bolger, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee
Jan Maxwell, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
Kelli O'Hara, The Light in the Piazza
*Sara Ramirez, Monty Python's Spamalot
BEST DIRECTION OF A PLAY
John Crowley, The Pillowman
Scott Ellis, Twelve Angry Men
*Doug Hughes, Doubt
Joe Mantello, Glengarry Glen Ross
BEST ORIGINAL SCORE (MUSIC AND/OR LYRICS) WRITTEN FOR THE THEATRE
Dirty Rotten Scoundrels
Music & Lyrics: David Yazbek
*The Light in the Piazza
Music & Lyrics: Adam Guettel
Monty Python's Spamalot
Music: John Du Prez and Eric Idle; Lyrics: Eric Idle
The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee
Music & Lyrics: William Finn
Wayne Cilento, Sweet Charity
Jerry Mitchell, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels
*Jerry Mitchell, La Cage aux Folles
Casey Nicholaw, Monty Python's Spamalot
BEST BOOK OF A MUSICAL
Jeffrey Lane, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels
Craig Lucas, The Light in the Piazza
Eric Idle, Monty Python's Spamalot
*Rachel Sheinkin, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee
BEST PERFORMANCE BY A FEATURED ACTRESS IN A PLAY
Mireille Enos, Edward Albee's Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
Heather Goldenhersh, Doubt
Dana Ivey, The Rivals
*Adriane Lenox, Doubt
Amy Ryan, A Streetcar Named Desire
BEST PERFORMANCE BY A FEATURED ACTOR IN A PLAY
Alan Alda, Glengarry Glen Ross
Gordon Clapp, Glengarry Glen Ross
David Harbour, Edward Albee's Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
*Liev Schreiber, Glengarry Glen Ross
Michael Stuhlbarg, The Pillowman
BEST SCENIC DESIGN OF A MUSICAL
Tim Hatley, Monty Python's Spamalot
Rumi Matsui, Pacific Overtures
Anthony Ward, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
*Michael Yeargan, The Light in the Piazza
BEST SCENIC DESIGN OF A PLAY
John Lee Beatty, Doubt
David Gallo, Gem of the Ocean
Santo Loquasto, Glengarry Glen Ross
*Scott Pask, The Pillowman
BEST LIGHTING DESIGN OF A PLAY
Pat Collins, Doubt
Donald Holder, Gem of the Ocean
Donald Holder, A Streetcar Named Desire
*Brian MacDevitt, The Pillowman
BEST LIGHTING DESIGN OF A MUSICAL
*Christopher Akerlind, The Light in the Piazza
Mark Henderson, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
Kenneth Posner, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels
Hugh Vanstone, Monty Python's Spamalot
BEST COSTUME DESIGN OF A PLAY
*Jess Goldstein, The Rivals
Jane Greenwood, Edward Albee's Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
William Ivey Long, A Streetcar Named Desire
Constanza Romero, Gem of the Ocean
BEST COSTUME DESIGN OF A MUSICAL
Tim Hatley, Monty Python's Spamalot
Junko Koshino, Pacific Overtures
William Ivey Long, La Cage aux Folles
*Catherine Zuber, The Light in the Piazza
Larry Hochman, Monty Python's Spamalot
*Ted Sperling, Adam Guettel and Bruce Coughlin, The Light in the Piazza
Jonathan Tunick, Pacific Overtures
Harold Wheeler, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels
SPECIAL TONY AWARD FOR LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT IN THE THEATRE
REGIONAL THEATRE TONY AWARD
Theatre de la Jeune Lune
The total number of awards received by each production:Monty Python's Spamalot - 3
Dirty Rotten Scoundrels - 1
The Light in the Piazza - 6
Doubt - 4
Edward Albee's Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? - 1
Glengarry Glen Ross - 2
The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee - 2
The Pillowman - 2
La Cage aux Folles - 2
The Rivals - 1
700 Sundays - 1
And, as faithful Blogway Baby readers know, I've been following the epic saga of this revival -- from the excitement to the tragedy to the disappointment back to the excitement in this series of posts:
January 31: Valentines Day...a little late!
March 14: Sweet Charity's Christina Applegate Breaks Her Foot...
March 15: A Bit Worse Than We Thought...
March 23: I'm So Excited for Charlotte d'Amboise
March 26: Oh, For Crying Out Loud, I Really Wanted To See This...
March 30: I'm Officially Confused: Sweet Charity Is Coming to Broadway After All...
April 12: BROADWAY TICKETS: Sweet Charity
May 23: Neil Simon OKs Product Placement in Sweet Charity
I've heard tales of the creative team getting calls as they got off the plane from Chicago that the star had broken her foot and that the show wouldn't make it to Broadway.
I've heard tales of a tenacious and determined Christina Applegate wrestling the infamous Weisslers to the ground ("pinned ya!"). I've also read reviews which says although the score is brilliant, the book doesn't hold up after all this time.
I'm not even involved, and I found just following the tortured journey of this musical to the Great White Way exhausting...
Well I am happy to report that Sweet Charity was worth the wait! I LOVED IT!
Such great energy, such amazing music and I loved the book. I felt that it held up just fine, thank you.
In fact, the book is more believable than the movie. It's funny, touching, and it has tons of heart. Denis O'Hare as Oscar Lindquist is fabulous. His character appears so much more human and flawed, and less cruel than his movie counterpart. And the scene in the elevator is high-liarious!
My favorite numbers are the "Rich Man's Frug" and "The Rhythm of Life". The color, the costumes, the sets, and the dancing have so much energy.
Christina is great. She has a great stage presence and is uniquely compelling to watch. I know this sounds trite, but she really exudes that elusive "star quality".
She has excellent comic timing (but we knew that already). The scene where she is stuck in Vittorio's closet is brilliantly handled by Miss Applegate and Paul Schoeffler. And it's unbelievable that she is dancing up a storm with a broken (but healed?) foot. Now that's a super trouper!
The kids thought it was pretty cool that the voice of Pumba (Ernie Sabella) was singing "I Love To Cry At Weddings"!
Hey, I suddenly got a craving for some Gran Centenario tequila...wonder why?
I totally want to see it again! Hmm...but not tonight, I have to go to the Tonys! I'll be rooting for Sweet Charity in Best Musical Revival, Christina Applegate for Best Actress (Musical), and Wayne Cilento for Best Choreography.
The body copy reads:
With just one click, you can see exclusive features like video clips from your favorite shows, interviews with the biggest stars and much more. You'll also get show descriptions, show times, ticket prices and all the inside scoop on the Broadway scene. And if you have an American Express Card, you can get tickets before anyone else, or special gifts from the hottest plays and musicals. So stop by broadway.yahoo.com today.
So I checked out the site, and it seems like a specialized channel for the American Express "front-of-the-line" product that they do in concert with Ticketmaster. Otherwise...gee guys, how do you spell "overpromise" (and no, I will not give you the definition or use it in a sentence). It seems that the "inside scoops" are simply powered by Playbill. So, it's sort of like a cut-down low-rent version of Playbill.com, with ticket sales powered by Ticketmaster.
Broadway has a new address indeed...
I love reading about the behind the scenes stuff of Broadway andthis article onPlaybill talks about performers first auditions. It's very heartening to know famous stars had less-than-illustrious first auditions!
My first high school audition for a leading role was greeted the comment: "Are you sure you don't want to try out for the chorus? You're such an animated chorus member. We really need you there..."
My first university audition (for Gladys Hotchkiss in The Pajama Game) went much better. Wearing my Commerce 86 jacket I overacted and undersang my way through "Adelaide's Lament" for the director (Michael Stotts) and the choreographer (David Ivey). I even brought a book (a prop!) to read from. They smiled and applauded -- bless their hearts. And I got the part.
Gary Beach, the drag-diva old-married of La Cage aux Folles, drove up from school in North Carolina in the late '60s for his first audition when he read that Lincoln Center was reviving Oklahoma! "I walked into a cattle call and waited around for hours. Finally I had to use the facility so I went to the men's room. I was standing at the urinal whistling, for some strange reason, 'Pore Jud Is Daid,' and I looked to my left and there was Richard Rodgers staring me in the face, like, 'Have you lost your mind?' Needless to say, I didn't get into the show. My fate, you could say, was met there at the urinal at Lincoln Center."
Wow, the news just keeps getting better for Drowsy!
This show has been bouncing around Toronto for six years...what suddenly happened?
The musical had a starry presentation in the National Alliance for Musical Theatre's Festival of New Musicals in October 2004. Producers and money people have been circling ever since, and Ahmanson's artistic director Michael Ritchie snagged the show for the U.S. premiere.
New York's the place to be, honey. In fact, New York is where I'd rather stay. I get allergic smelling hay. I just adore a penthouse view. Dah-ling I love you but give me Park Avenue...
Here's the whole article...GO DROWSY:
A New York City reading of The Drowsy Chaperone, anticipating the November American premiere of the musical at Los Angeles' Ahmanson Theatre, will be directed by 2005 Tony Award nominee Casey Nicholaw, Playbill.com has learned.
The choreographer of Monty Python's Spamalot will direct and choreograph the summer reading and fall staging of the musical spoof, about a rabid musical theatre maven who retells the story of his favorite musical, 1928's fictive obscurity The Drowsy Chaperone. It plays the Ahmanson Theatre Nov. 8-Dec. 24.
A Broadway run is expected to follow Los Angeles, but no dates or theatre have been announced for its New York commercial future following the (Equity LORT A) run in late 2005. The Ahmanson bills the run as a "pre-Broadway engagement."
The musical by Bob Martin & Don McKellar (book), Greg Morrison (music) and Lisa Lambert (lyrics) was a cult sensation in stagings in Toronto in recent years.
A July reading is planned for Manhattan. Casting is ongoing but star names are expected to be attached to both the reading and the fall production. Rehearsals begin in October.
In a casting notice, the show's author Robert Martin has been mentioned to play Man in Chair, the neurotic, precise musical theatre enthusiast who narrates the show (from an easy chair). Georgia Engel has been mentioned to play Mrs. Tottendale, a "dotty middle-aged (or older) socialite" who plays the ukulele.
Other characters include a groom, a bride, gangsters, an aviatrix, a best man, a Latin lover, a chorine, a producer, a butler and more. Wild specialty turns from the characters will punctuate the show.
The musical had a starry presentation in the National Alliance for Musical Theatre's Festival of New Musicals in October 2004. Producers and money people have been circling ever since, and Ahmanson's artistic director Michael Ritchie snagged the show for the U.S. premiere.
The Drowsy Chaperonewas created by award winning Second City authors and was the sleeper hit of the 1999 Toronto Fringe Theatre Festival. After selling out at the Fringe, the show quickly transferred to Theatre Passe Muraille (an Off-Broadway-style theatre in Toronto), again to critical and audience acclaim. In 2001, Mirvish Productions realized a full staging at Toronto's Winter Garden Theatre where it was lauded by critics.
Fans of the cult hit in Toronto characterized it as a sort of postmodern musical comedy -- dry, darkly funny, melodic, daffy and slightly bitchy. In the work's opening monologue, a narrator longs for the days when theatre was fresh, original and exciting -- when it was entertaining.
The musical within the musical involves a wedding, one of the staple events of frivolous musical comedies of the 1920s and '30s.
The title character is a middle-aged lady in the mold of Eve Arden -- "boozy, sexy, jaded" with a dead pan and wisecracking way about her. Think Eve Arden.
Here's how the Ahmanson Theatre bills the show: "This pre-Broadway musical is a deliciously silly and affectionate love letter to the great musicals of the gay 1920s -- a time when the champagne flowed, the caviar chilled and all the world was a guilty pleasure. This fabled 1928 Gable & Stein musical classic tells the tale of a pampered Broadway starlet who wants to give up show business to marry. Her producer sets out to sabotage the nuptials or it's curtains for him. Enter the chaperone, the debonair groom, a dizzy chorine, the Latin lover, and a couple of gangsters. Ruses are played. Hi-jinks occur, and the plot spins completely out of control!"
Director-choreographer Casey Nicholaw is nominated for a 2005 Tony Award for Best Choreography for Monty Python's Spamalot. The show marked his Broadway debut as a choreographer. His New York credits include Sinatra: His Voice, His World, His Way featuring the Rockettes (Radio City Music Hall); Bye Bye Birdie (City Center Encores!); Can-Can (musical staging, City Center Encores!); and Candide (New York Philharmonic, PBS "Great Performances").
Regionally he's choreographed many original musicals including The Road to Hollywood (Goodspeed Musicals), Lucky Duck (Old Globe) and The Prince and the Pauper (5th Avenue Theatre, the Ordway).
Anonymous Commenter"Canadian" says:
My Fur Lady was fabulous! Knew all the songs, had the LP; now want a DVD or video of it, but alas no-one was thinking such devices then. Anybody know if a film was made, and if so whether it's been made available electronically?
My Fur Lady had an LP!?! Does anyone have a copy out there? We've gotta dig this on up an put it online...
It looks like there's a copy in theMcGill Archives, who describe it as "...an LP recording from the wildly popular 1957 theatrical production of My Fur Lady..."
But I can't find hide nor hair (sorry, couldn't resist -- you'll understand in a minute) of a used LP anywhere...
And I don't know who did the poster, but it's INCREDIBLE. Me wantey too!
Just for those who haven't been following the saga of My Fur Lady, it's a long-lost Canadian musical with Music by James Domville, Harry Garber and Galt MacDermot; Book and Lyrics by Timothy Porteous, Donald MacSween and Erik Wang and produced as a McGill University Student Production, 1957 (Premiere).
My Fur Lady originated with the McGill Red and White Revue. The Revue consisted of a new, student-produced play each year, whose general goal was to parody university life at McGill. In 1956, the task of writing the show fell to a group of law students, Donald MacSween, Timothy Porteous, and Erik Wang. They wrote a musical satire of Canadian culture and politics as seen by an outsider -- an Inuit princess -- and titled it My Fur Lady, a pun on the Broadway musical popular at the time.
The students mounted the play at Moyse Hall in February of 1957, and its original run sold out nearly instantly. They decided to put it on again in May of the same year, planning sixteen performances; but demand for the show was such that they ran for six weeks! The company was then invited to play at the fringe of the Stratford Theatre Festival, where their expected run was again doubled because of My Fur Lady's huge popularity. The show then embarked on a tour throughout Eastern Canada, including performances at Toronto's Royal Alexandra Theatre, Her Majesty's Theatre in Montreal, and a special gala in Ottawa, attended by several of the government officials who were lampooned in the play!
In fact, MacDermot's work spans the gamut of performing arts; musicals (Hair, Two Gentlemen of Verona, The Human Comedy), ballet scores (La Novela, Salome), film scores (Cotton Comes To Harlem, Fortune and Men's Eyes, Mistress), chamber music (Wind Quintet), the Anglican Liturgy (The Mass in F), poetry (The Thomas Hardy Songs), drama accompaniments (The Sun Always Shines For The Cool, The Shooting of Dan McGrew), and band repertory.
The son of a Canadian diplomat, Mr. MacDermot was born and raised in Montréal. After attending Bishop's University, he received a more extensive musical education at the University of Cape Town, South Africa, and then moved to New York in 1964.
Apparently, Galt MacDermot's recordings can be obtained through Kilmarnock Records, New York. Here's the contact info:
12 Silver Lake Road
Staten Island, NY 10301
Outside the USA
I'm going to drop Mr. MacDermot some mail to see if he's got a copy of My Fur Lady on hand...stay posted...
According to this article in Playbill, it sounds like the out-of-town tryout in San Francisco for Lennon: The Musical went really well, so they're bringing it straight to Broadway...as soon as they can dislodge Billy Crystal and his 700 Sundays from the Broadhurst Theatre.
I've always been more of a McCartney-ite...but this sounds like a ton of fun and it feels like this belongs in New York. I can't wait to see it.
Broadway-Bound Lennon Cast Set to Start Rehearsals in New York Next Week
By Ernio Hernandez
The cast for the upcoming Lennon are back in New York and will begin rehearsals next week for the show's Broadway debut, according to production spokespersons.
The new musical Lennon recently announced that it would skip its scheduled Boston run following its world premiere at San Francisco's Orpheum Theatre and head right to New York for previews starting June 28 and the original opening night, July 28. Then they rescheduled the start to July 7 and opening to Aug. 4 when Billy Crystal's 700 Sundays announced it would extend at the Broadhurst Theatre through June 12.
Billed as "A musical biography, a concert, and a celebration all in one," Lennon will take audiences "on a magical, mythical journey behind the greatest rock legacy and the boldest love story of our time — with words, images and some of the best pop songs ever written." according to show materials. "From the Beatles to the Bed-Ins, from his musical partnership with Paul to his life partnership with Yoko, Lennon will bring you back to a time when music could change your soul... and one musician could change the world."
Written and directed by Don Scardino (A Few Good Men), the new musical Lennon features nine actors portraying the late Beatles singer-songwriter John Lennon at various stages in his life backed by an onstage 10-piece band. 27 songs from the substantial Lennon oeuvre will be featured in the musical, among them "Imagine," "Instant Karma," "Give Peace a Chance," "(Just Like) Starting Over," and "Whatever Gets You Through the Night."
Will Chase (Aida), Chuck Cooper (Caroline, or Change), Julie Danao (Rent, Aida tours), Mandy Gonzalez (Aida, Dance of the Vampires), Marcy Harriell (Lucky Duck, "Ed"), Chad Kimball (Into the Woods), Terrence Mann (Les Misérables), Julia Murney (The Wild Party) and Michael Potts (Twelfth Night) comprise the ensemble cast of the new Broadway musical.
Producers Allan McKeown, Edgar Lansbury, Clear Channel Entertainment and Jeff Sine present Lennon by arrangement with Lennon's widow, Yoko Ono. Ono also gave permission for the production to use two unpublished Lennon songs "India, India" and "I Don't Want to Lose You."
Hmm, this might be a better expression of what I was ranting about last night regarding Equity membership and this whole Blue Man Group dust-up.
Elisa comes from an honest space, since she was a working actor for a time. She knows what she's talking about!
And just so everyone knows: I don't belong to Equity because I'm not an actor. I hire actors: And I always prefer to hire union because of their higher level of professionalism and training.
Here's a highlight from Elisa C's post:
When I lived in New York there were plenty of actors who I thought of as successful. Actors doing Shakespeare in the Park with Joe Papp. Actors in long-running, stable Off-Broadway shows. Those actors all had "real" jobs too to make ends meet. Why? Because the first tier of Equity contract that actually provides a living wage is probably the Broadway Chorus contract and above. The Off-Broadway contract won't do it. The Special Production contract won't do it. Many regional and summer stock contracts don't really do it. Actors who make a ton of money? They represent the very tip-top <1% crowd. The vast majority of actors make bupkes. But they pay their dues (yes, the actors pay union dues, and pay a percentage of income over a certain threshold too) and take their Equity contracts that make bupkes...why?
Because the non-union contracts are even worse. And they don't pay into even the possibility of a pension or health plan. And they don't have any rules to prevent them from working you 4 straight hours without even a 10 minute break. And they don't put any reserve aside so they're able to give severance (or airfare home if out on tour) if a show closes early. And they have no channel by which a cast member can complain about unsafe conditions and actually have some leverage. [If you don't think it happens, it does. Years ago at AMT SJ a show was delayed because the Equity members got together and expressed their fear for their lives over some unstable set machinery!]
According toRavishing Light:
I don't quite see how this is "blinking" on the part of the Blue Man Group, having taken out a full-page ad in the Globe & Mail this past Saturday, defending the use of non-union labour in their Toronto production.
I've never found the Blue Man Group particularly compelling - their presence in the running gags of Arrested Development aside - but if I was in Toronto and had the opportunity, I'd buy a ticket purely because they're showing some backbone in standing up against union goons, concerned only with their own sinecures and claims of entitlement. If the fact that the cost of union dues isn't necessarily being passed on to the end consumer means tickets might be a few dollars cheaper, that's a bonus.
Suzy Conn of Blogway Baby notes - pretty glibly, I think - "Methinks they've left out a few important details, which is the answer to the question: 'Why they can't use Equity members?'" I would suggest there's a fairly straightforward reason for the BMG's actions spelled out in the third paragraph of their open letter
If union members are individually best qualified for a job, great; if not, they'll hire non-union technicians and support staff. Union labour is not sacred; membership is often not to an individual's benefit, nor is the lack of union membership a guarantee of poor treatment. The one union job I've had, I was paid (and treated) worse than when working for Wal-Mart. I can understand precisely where the Blue Man Group is coming from: they're railing against the supposition that there's something inherently immoral or shameful about refusing to submit to the demands of those soak-the-rich socialists who tend to rise to union leadership positions, no matter the trade. Good on 'em.
OK, even though I'm over my eyeballs with stuff this week, I'm compelled to respond.
And if you think that you're the first person to call me glib, you'll have to get in line, honey.
First of all, since you obviously don't know anything about the structure of this business and unions, I can totally understand where you might be misled in your musings.
First of all, employers don't pay union dues. Union members pay union dues. Employers pay salaries. And I'm sure you didn't really mean that getting employers to pass on the savings of cheap labor to the customer (for example, say, our enjoyment of cheap clothes made by 10-year olds in Third World countries) is always inherently a good thing. Convenient, practical, and a reality, perhaps, but certainly nothing I would take a righteous stand on.
But that assumes that Equity scale is a lot of money, which it isn't. I made more right out of college picking my nose as a brand assistant at Procter & Gamble than most Equity performers do after 25 years in the business!
There is an imbalance of power in the entertainment business. What other business can you be equally skilled as another potential employee and lose the job because you're not pretty enough, or if they don't like the sound of your voice, or if you just don't "look right"? And it's perfectly legal! What about the extras in a film who are not union and are treated like cattle and work in horrible conditions?
I understand producers are under time and budget pressures, but checks and balances need to keep the situation from spiralling out of control.
Working conditions are often the issue, not salary, and in the heat of a production it is easy to let standards drop until they become dangerous. For example, during All Shook Up in the Chicago tryouts, the catwalks and bridges the cast had to dance across in high heels were too slanted to be safe. Without a union, the actors have no representation and could break an ankle (or worse) and then they are out of a job, perhaps forever.
I guess you could make the argument that if you don't like the conditions, find another line of work. But performers give their all and love what they do, and if they stopped acting we would all suffer in the long run.
Acting gigs can be few and far between and there isn't any "seniority" system in Equity.
As for the quality issue, it is my experience and the experience of others in the business who work with actors, that generally speaking, you get higher quality with Equity members. These are people who are committed to a career in the business, hone their skills on a regular basis and make the sacrifices necessary to stay in the business their whole careers.
In New York, Equity even makes allowances for struggling writers like myself by allowing me to pay actors showcase rates, which amounts to paying subway fare. Metropass and greed don't really belong in the same sentence. I want to use Equity actors because I know I will learn from them as well as gettting a great performance.
Unions can be a pain in the ass, and management can be a pain in the ass. But shouldn't it at least be a fair fight?
Oh boy, oh boy, am I ever excited...Tony Awards here I come! And my oldest daughter, Myrna, is going as well, all pretty in pink and looking like Sarah Jessica Parker!
Aretha Franklin, Jesse Martin and Bernadette Peters to Perform at Tonys
By Andrew Gans
In addition to the nominated musicals, the 2005 Tony Awards will feature other performances as well.
Tony Award winner Bernadette Peters, Grammy Award winner Aretha Franklin and original Rent star Jesse Martin will all lend their talents to the 59th Annual Tony Awards broadcast.
The 59th Annual Antoinette Perry "Tony" Awards will be broadcast on CBS-TV Sunday, June 5 from 8-11 PM ET. For the third consecutive year, Tony Award winner Hugh Jackman -- on Broadway last season in The Boy From Oz -- will host.
Visit www.tonyawards.com for more information.
Monty Python's Spamalot -- the Eric Idle-John Du Prez musical at the Shubert Theatre -- will perform "Find Your Grail." The song features Tony nominees Sara Ramirez and Tim Curry and the entire company of the musical, which has been nominated for 14 Tony Awards.
The revival of La Cage aux Folles -- the Jerry Herman-Harvey Fierstein musical at the Marquis Theatre -- will offer its title tune, "La Cage aux Folles," which spotlights the talents of Les Cagelles.
The Light in the Piazza -- the Adam Guettel-Craig Lucas musical at the Vivian Beaumont Theater -- will perform their opening number, "Statues and Stories," which features Victoria Clark, Kelli O'Hara and the Piazza company.
Dirty Rotten Scoundrels -- the David Yazbek-Jeffrey Lane musical at the Imperial Theatre -- will offer "Great Big Stuff," which features Norbert Leo Butz, John Lithgow, Gregory Jbara and members of the Scoundrels ensemble.
The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee -- the William Finn Rachel Sheinkin Rebecca Feldman musical at Circle in the Square Theatre -- will offer portions of two songs: their opening number, "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee," and "Prayer of the Comfort Counselor."
The revival of Sweet Charity -- starring Christina Applegate at the Al Hirschfeld Theatre -- will perform a medley of songs from the Cy Coleman Dorothy Fields-Neil Simon musical.
Pacific Overtures, which played Studio 54 this past summer and was nominated for a Tony for Best Revival of a Musical, will not be performing at the upcoming awards program.
Like the 2004 Tony Awards telecast, the opening number of the 2005 Tony Awards will feature host Hugh Jackman and cast members from most of the season's nominated musicals and musical revivals. The company of Spamalot will perform a portion of the song "Camelot" and Dirty Rotten Scoundrels will perform part of the "Dirty Rotten Number," among others.