Casting Announced for Classic Stage Company’s “Allegro”

August 28th, 2014 View Comment(s)

allegro_800x315

Classic Stage Company has announced casting for its production of the rarely performed Allegro by Rodgers & Hammerstein. Directed by Tony Award-winner John Doyle (who directed CSC’s production of Passion last year), the cast will feature George Abud (Charlie Townsend), Alma Cuervo (Grandma Taylor), Elizabeth A. Davis (Jenny Brinker), Claybourne Elder (Joseph Taylor Jr.), Malcolm Gets (Joe Taylor Sr.), Maggie Lakis (Hazel), Megan Loomis (Beulah), Paul Lincoln (Brook Lansdale), Jane Pfitsch (Emily), Randy Redd (Dr. Bigby Denby), Ed Romanoff (Ned Brinker) and Jessica Tyler Wright (Marjorie Taylor).

Allegro marks the second installment of CSC’s Musical Theater Initiative, which launched last year with the company’s hugely successful production of Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine’s Passion, directed by Doyle.Considered one of Richard Rodgers’ and Oscar Hammerstein II’s most personal and groundbreaking works, Allegrowas their third collaboration and first premiered on Broadway in 1947.

Scenic design for Allegro is by John Doyle, costume design is by Tony Award winner Ann Hould-Ward, lighting design by Jane Cox and sound design by Dan Moses Schreier.

Classic Stage Company is the award-winning Off-Broadway theatre committed to re-imaging the classical repertory for a contemporary American audience. Founded in 1967, CSC uses works of the past as a way to engage in the issues of today. Highly respected and widely regarded as a major force in American theatre, it has become the home to New York’s finest established and emerging artists, the place where they gather to grapple with the great works of the world’s repertory. CSC has been cited repeatedly by all the major Off-Broadway theatre awards: Obies, Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle, Drama League and the Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Body of Work.

Previews for Allegro begin Saturday, November 1. The official opening night is Wednesday, November 19 for a limited engagement through December 7.  Tickets go on sale to the public Thursday, October 2 at 12 p.m.

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Categories: The Buzz

Larry Krone BRAND and the House of Larreon Arrive at the Public

August 26th, 2014 View Comment(s)
Bridget Everett and Larry Krone (photo by Todd Oldham via The Broadway Blog).

Bridget Everett and Larry Krone (photo by Todd Oldham via The Broadway Blog).

As part of Joe’s Pub at The Public’s new artist-in-residence initiative, artist/entertainer Larry Krone will premiere a selection of photos from his forthcoming art book, LOOK BOOK. The book showcases the inspired creations of Larry Krone BRAND and the House of Larréon in photos by designer and photographer Todd Oldham. Running in conjunction with The Public Theater’s 2014-15 season presentation of Bridget Everett’s Rock Bottom, the exhibition will be on view from September 2-25 on The Public Theater’s Philip and Janice Levin Foundation Mezzanine. There will be an opening night party on Tuesday, September 2 at 5:30 p.m.

The House of Larréon was born in 2010 when Krone joined forces with his friend and muse, alt-cabaret superstar Bridget Everett. His mission was to create gowns that would thrill Everett’s audiences while underscoring her identity as a supremely powerful woman, fearless in body and soul. Before all this, inspired by the contradictory yet fundamental relationship between showmanship and authenticity in mainstream country music, Krone introduced Larry Krone BRAND in 1997 with Western costumes he made for his Larry Krone and Family shows.

Todd Oldham brings his trademark vision of vibrant, uncomfortable beauty to the main photos of LOOK BOOK, which are accompanied by photos by acclaimed concert photographer Kevin Yatarola and snapshots taken by Krone. LOOK BOOK’s primary model for House of Larréon is Everett, while Krone models his own Larry Krone BRAND Western wear. Other models in the book include Jim Andralis, Becca Blackwell, Kathleen Hanna, Erin Markey, Neal Medlyn, Adrienne Truscott and more.

Read more…

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Broadway Revival of “Side Show” Reveals Poster Art

August 25th, 2014 View Comment(s)

SS-0000-C-WindowCard copyThe producers of the upcoming Broadway reimagining of Side Show have revealed the production’s alluring poster artwork, that features a portrait of leading ladies Erin Davie and Emily Padgett, and captures the show’s blend of vintage show business with the uniquely cinematic aesthetic that comes from the vision of Academy Award winner Bill Condon (Chicago, Dreamgirls, Twilight Breaking Dawn Parts 1 & 2). As previously announced, Mr. Condon is making his theatrical debut as director of Side Show, which opens on Broadway, this fall.

Stacey Lieberman-Prince, Executive Creative Director of Spotco, the advertising agency that created the artwork, stated, “The campaign was designed to capture the vividness that Bill Condon is bringing to the production and to evoke the intrigue that catapulted the Hilton twins to being one of the biggest entertainment celebrities of their time.  We didn’t want to give their whole story away in the initial image, instead we’re hinting at the fact that they’re conjoined.”  She went on to add, “The pose is very specific. Holding each other’s hands represents the emotional bond that they shared throughout their lives, and their faces looking off in opposite directions suggests that they were individuals who managed to live surprisingly unique lives. We worked with the celebrated fashion photographer Andrew Eccles to create the image that’s both glamorous and mysterious at the same time.”

Side Show is inspired by the remarkable true story of the Hilton twins, Daisy and Violet, who were legends in their time and the highest paid performers on the vaudeville circuit. Side Show is their heartwarming search for first love and acceptance amidst the spectacle of fame and scrutiny under the spotlight.  Mr. Condon’s vivid production of Side Show seamlessly blends the worlds of carnival, vaudeville, and Hollywood glamour.

The original musical, beloved by legions of fans, premiered on Broadway in 1997, and was hailed as “Something to marvel at” (Ben Brantley, New York Times). It went on to earn four Tony Award nominations including Best Musical, Best Original Score of a Musical and Best Book of a Musical.

Tickets are now on sale and can be purchased by visiting SideShowBroadway.com. Side Show will begin Previews on Broadway Tuesday, October 28 with an official Opening Night on Monday, November 17.

 

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Categories: The Buzz

Review of Motown: The Musical, First National Tour

August 24th, 2014 View Comment(s)
"Motown: The Musical," First National Tour (photo: Joan Marcus via The Broadway Blog).

“Motown: The Musical,” First National Tour (photo: Joan Marcus via The Broadway Blog).

When does a jukebox musical become a think-piece?

Already slightly less superficial and magnitudes more entertaining than the bulk of Broadway’s recent jukebox confections, Motown: The Musicaltook on extra resonance during the opening night of its seven-week run at San Francisco’s Orpheum Theater. At the curtain call, legendary record mogul Berry Gordy—credited with writing the show’s autobiographical book, and played by a nicely nuanced Clifton Oliver—bounded on stage along with director Charles Randolph-Wright and producer Kevin McCollum.

It was not so much Gordy’s “surprise” appearance that struck a deep emotional chord (He also materialized on opening night at the tour’s Chicago stop), as the parallel Randolph-Wright drew between American society during the civil rights movement—when Motown was at its commercial peak—and today, when race-based rage and violence are erupting in Ferguson, Missouri.

From the stage, the director suggested that the broad appeal of Motown helped build bridges between black and white America. But as Ferguson shows us, there’s a major difference between commercial musical harmony and deep-seated social harmony. Randolph-Wright’s comments simultaneously raise Motown: The Musical‘s aspirational value while undermining the self-satisfied pop kumbaya that the show would like to have audiences humming as they leave the theater.

That said, the humming—and smiling—is inevitable. While the plot of Motown’s history is rendered in cursory shorthand, dozens of instantly recognizable musical numbers—”Shop Around,” “My Guy,” “Stop in the Name of Love” —are delivered with full-throated vocals and physically intense choreography by a cast of over 30, most of whom play multiple roles (Another post-show discussion for intellectually-bent audience members: Consider the meaning of a single black male performer playing a Miracle, a Pip, one of Junior Walker’s All Stars, and Stevie Wonder. Is he a talented actor, a cost-conscious producer’s commodity, a stereotyped signifier, or all of the above?). Read more…

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Fabulous! The Queen of New Musical Comedies Begins Performances

August 23rd, 2014 View Comment(s)
(l to r) DaWoyne A. Hill, PJ Palmer, AJ Hunsucker & Aaron VanderYacht (photo: Rick Berube via The Broadway Blog).

(l to r) DaWoyne A. Hill, PJ Palmer, AJ Hunsucker & Aaron VanderYacht (photo: Rick Berube via The Broadway Blog).

After receiving popular acclaim from a limited sold-out off-off Broadway run last season, Fabulous! The Queen of New Musical Comedies a high seas musical romp will tap into the newly built Write Act Repertory Theatre at the Times Square Arts Center (300 West 43rd Street)

Performances begin today with an official opening scheduled for September 8. Fabulous! The Queen of New Musical Comedies features a book and lyrics by Dan Derby, music by Michael Rheault and is directed by Rick Hamilton with choreography by Mary Lauren along with musical direction by Mr. Rheault. 

It’s “Dames” at Sea …when two female impersonators on a cruise ship must keep their cool and concoct Some Like It Hot-styled confusions in this madcap musical where Anything Goes!

Fabulous! The Queen of New Musical Comedies
New Write Act Repertory Theatre at the Times Square Arts Center
300 West 43rd Street

Performances begin August 23, opening night September 8.

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Categories: The Buzz, Way Off Broadway

Preview: By You That Made Me, Frankenstein

August 21st, 2014 View Comment(s)
"By You That Made Me, Frankenstein" (photo: Harish Pathak via The Broadway Blog).

“By You That Made Me, Frankenstein” (photo: Harish Pathak via The Broadway Blog).

When a young Mary Shelly ran away to the home of mad poet, Lord Byron, an infamous writer’s circle began. In the long nights of drinking, ghost stories, and free love—both Frankenstein and the Vampyre were born. By You That Made Me Frankenstein, a world-premiere opera, captures the passion and madness of these complex relationships.

The Philadelphia Opera Collective continues to redefine opera with their second, completely internally created opera. Their ever-present mission to engage new audiences with the visceral, living art of opera continues with an English libretto created by the POC and music by Reese Revak and newcomer Josh Hartman. The show opens on the September 12 and will be held in the parlor of Philadelphia’s oldest writer’s club, The Franklin Inn Club (205 S. Camac St.).

By You That Made Me, Frankensteinwill explore the complex relationships of the artists living at Lord Byron’s estate during the summer of 1816 and the competition that would give the world Frankenstein. “That summer they redefined a genre! That is exactly our mission—to redefine opera. It is the perfect choice, then, to focus on Mary Shelley and Lord Byron during this exciting time in our company’s history” says producer Michael A. Lienhard.

“We all have monsters inside of us. More often than not we create the monsters present in our lives and we become the same to others. Shelley intended The Monster to be a personification of the damage we cause to our friends and lovers” Lienhard, who will be playing the Monster, goes on to say. This theme of dark exploration has become a trademark of the POC. “In order to appreciate the light inside of us, we need to identify the darkness. In 1816, those artists in Geneva felt the same way.”

The production will take place at the historic Franklin Inn Club. Founded in 1902, Philadelphia’s oldest literary club will provide an intimate and unique experience for audience members. The club was designed to reproduce the intimate parlor ambiance present in Ben Franklin’s time. What began as a watering hole for authors has become a haven for artists of all mediums… like opera singers. Sitting in well-worn armchairs and sofas and surrounded by books, the audience will sip on wine while watching the map poet, Lord Byron, initiate the Ghost story competition that would give the world Frankenstein.

Also, they will be breaking operatic ground by juxtaposing the operatically trained and untrained voice. Lienhardfeels that “the human voice is the most delicate and versatile instrument available to us. By casting opera singers andnon-opera singers we can explore this amazing instrument in all its glory while the audience can experience a once in a lifetime event.” The audience will be met on a very primal level and truly understand all the colors and shapes that opera can take.

By You That Made Me, Frankenstein
Philadelphia Opera Collective
The Franklin Inn Club, 205 S. Camac Street
September 12 – 21

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Categories: Opera, The Buzz

THEATER BUFF: Erik Altemus of “Pippin”

August 20th, 2014 View Comment(s)

Every third Wednesday of the month, a fabulous actor/singer/dancer fills out contributor Tom Mizer’s nosey little questionnaire and offers a glimpse of what he looks like from a bit closer than the mezzanine. For August, we’re getting back to nature with our man of the month…

Erik Altemus. Photo by Kevin Thomas Garcia.

Erik Altemus. Photo by Kevin Thomas Garcia.

Name: Erik Altemus

Hometown: San Ramon, California

Current Show/Role: Pippin / Lewis (Pippin us)

The best part of the show I’m working on now is: TThe blend of musical theater and circus.

The most challenging job in show business I ever had was: Playing Kurt in The Sound Of Music with a 105-degree temperature. Thanks to my Mom for the intermittent cold presses and TLC.

If I wasn’t a performer, I would be: A professional wild food forager!

Places, Intermission or Curtain Call? Curtain Call, straight up.

The best post-show cocktail in New York City is at: The Men’s Dressing Room at the Music Box Theatre. Read more…

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Categories: Theater Buff

67th Annual Tony Awards Wins Two Emmys

August 18th, 2014 View Comment(s)

tonyThe June 2013 broadcast of the 67th Annual Tony Awards was honored Saturday evening with two Primetime Emmy Awards at the Creative Arts Awards presentation in Los Angeles. The Awards won in the following categories:

Outstanding Special Class Program – Ricky Kirshner, Executive Producer, Glenn Weiss Executive Producer and Neil Patrick Harris, Host/Producer

Outstanding Original Music and Lyrics “Bigger!” – Music by Tom Kitt, Lyrics by Lin-Manuel Miranda

This is the third consecutive year that the Tony Awards have won in these categories.

The Awards are nominated in two additional categories – Outstanding Directing for a Variety Special, directed by Glenn Weiss, and Outstanding Writing for a Variety Special, written by Dave Boone, Special Material by Paul Greenberg – that will be announced at the Primetime Emmy Awards ceremony on Monday, Aug. 25, in Los Angeles.

“This show certainly was ‘bigger’, living up to the lyrics of the opening song,” Glenn Weiss and Ricky Kirshner said. “This could not have happened without the talents of hundreds of theater and television professionals working hand in hand. Our gratitude to everyone on the production and especially Neil Patrick Harris, whose talents helped the Tonys bring home another two Emmys.”

“The 67th Annual Tony Awards was certainly an outstanding production from the spectacular opening number to the moment the lights dimmed at the end of the show,” Heather Hitchens, Executive Director of the American Theater Wing, and Charlotte St. Martin, Executive Director of The Broadway League, said. “We are incredibly proud of the entire team for their hard work and are honored that the Awards continue to be recognized.”

Ricky Kirshner and Glenn Weiss of White Cherry Entertainment have acted as executive producers of the Tony Awards telecast since 2004. During White Cherry’s tenure, the Tony Awards have been recognized with an unprecedented 34 Emmy nominations and 18 Emmy wins, including the best show in its class for the last five consecutive years, and seven of the last eight outings.

The Antoinette Perry “Tony” Award, which was founded by the American Theatre Wing in 1947, is bestowed annually on theatre professionals for distinguished achievement on Broadway. The Tony is one of the most coveted awards in the entertainment industry and the annual telecast—the night America watches Broadway—is considered one of the most prestigious programs on television.

The opening number from the 2013 Tony Awards.

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Categories: The Buzz

Review: Lottie and Leo

August 15th, 2014 View Comment(s)

Contributor Marcus Scott takes a trip to the hospital with Lottie and Leo, one of the plays that appeared at the Midtown International Theatre Festival.

A pre-production photo from "Lottie and Leo" (photo by Tina Buckman, provided by Jay Michaels.)

A pre-production photo from “Lottie and Leo” (photo by Tina Buckman, provided by Jay Michaels.)

This generation of playwrights and songwriters, a coterie of in-betweeners, love crafting purgatory dramas. Why are they obsessed with waiting rooms? Weren’t they out of fashion when Jean-Paul Sartre made the bold statement that “Hell is other people” in his 1944 existential magnum opus, No Exit? And didn’t the French writer sort of hint at the dangers of being a hermit and you know, getting out? At the intimate 99-seat black box Dorothy Strelsin Theater, there wasn’t a dry eye in the house of the Lifetime movie special cum off-off-Broadway show, Lottie and Leo, a 50-minute play about two cracker-munching elderly shut-ins who meet a young man in the waiting room of a hospital. This wholesome lesson in respecting your elders plays like a PSA, with all of the sentiment and sugar of licorice.

Twittling his fingers alone in the waiting room of an unspecified Memorial Sloan Kettering, Matthew, a cancer-stricken white male in his mid-thirties, is joined by an nonagenarian African-American couple Leo and Lottie. Together 75 years, Lottie tells the story of how the two met when she was a green performer with a desire to sing the American Songbook and Leo was a well-connected pianist and accompanist. Now Leo, 94, and Lottie, 93, are toward the end of their lives. Leo, a vet who served in World War II, wears a pacemaker and has developed an aggressive case of Alzheimer’s disease.

Though he has a sharp memory of the past, he forgets within moments what has taken place in the present. Lottie, the show’s protagonist, has beaten breast cancer and colon cancer but doesn’t look like she is having much luck escaping the clutches of multiple myeloma, a rare form of cancer affecting her bone marrow. It’s the same cancer affecting the chipper Matthew. Throughout Michael F. Bruck’s one act play, Lottie and Leo share their stories about falling in love and coming of age in the Golden Age of jazz in Harlem in the 1930s and ‘40s where they schmoozed and rubbed elbows with icons Ella Fitzgerald, Duke Ellington, Sarah Vaughn, Dizzy Gillespie and Billie Holiday. Jazz enthusiast and record collector Matthew is in seventh heaven with the stories. And for a while, we are smitten.

But then the story dabbles in the cliché. Matthew, wallowing in self-pity, broke up with his fiancé and the love of his life shortly after discovering he was diagnosed, and longs for a love he can call his own; understandably he doesn’t want his partner to sacrifice anything, which is exactly why Lottie was there to change his mind. Other moments of familiarity are the fact that Matthew’s grandfather was also a vet who served in the Korean War. But perhaps the moment of truism came when it was revealed that the couple’s child, who died in the Vietnam War, was also named Matthew. By show’s end, there’s a sigh of been there / seen it. Especially when the Lifetime TV stylized button at the climax sees Matthew offering to visit once a week to take care of the elderly couple; it truly inspires frustrations abundant.

Nothing in Lottie and Leo feels like it is screaming to be heard or examined. The play in this sense, only acts as a passive and slightly condescending war cry that the mature were once young and hip, too. Clearly written by younger writer, maybe the take away here is not that older people were once “with-it” but how younger writers superimpose ageism and obliviousness on narratives by older people in an effort to curtail their understanding of adulthood in a youth-obsessed America. If that’s the case, invest in a cryogenic chamber now. It’s all down hill from here.

 

Marcus Scott, an MFA graduate of NYU Tisch, is a playwright, musical theater writer and journalist whose work has appeared in Elle, Out, Essence, Uptown, Trace, Giant, Hello Beautiful and Edge Media Network.

 

 

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SING! A Musical Theater Master Class

August 14th, 2014 View Comment(s)
(clockwise from upper left) Sally Mayes, Ann Hampton Callaway, Wendy Lane Bailey and Liz Callaway (photo: Bill Westmoreland)

(clockwise from upper left) Sally Mayes, Ann Hampton Callaway, Wendy Lane Bailey and Liz Callaway. (photo: Bill Westmoreland)

For those clamoring to snag a role on a Broadway stage, book a gig at a reputable nightclub, or simply get feedback on their performance style, a three-night master class is being offered by Ann Hampton Callaway, Liz Callaway, Sally Mayes and Wendy Lane Bailey. These four women are masters of the American Songbook and will share their experience and guidance with participants.

Singers will explore a wide variety of genres and styles with a special emphasis placed on Jazz & American Popular Song, Story Songs, and Musical Theater. In addition, participants will learn how to structure a set and talk to an audience. Creating a personal on-stage style is also covered in the workshop. Students will have the opportunity to show what they’ve learned in a performance before an invited audience on the final night of the event. Class size is limited to allow maximum personal instruction time.

August 18-20
7 p.m. – 10 p.m.
Shetler Studios
244 West 54th Street
Cost: $600
Click Here for more information or call 646-831-0359 or email singoutworkshop@gmail.com.

Take a peak of Ann Hampton Callaway and Liz Callaway at 54 Below.

Take the leap to learn more about the award-winning instructors.

Read more…

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