Can’t wait to hear the original Broadway cast recording of Kinky Boots, with music and lyrics by Cyndi Lauper? The Broadway Blog snagged this behind-the-scenes video of the cast in the recording studio. Our prediction: Ms. Lauper better make room on her mantle for a Tony award… and maybe even a Grammy.
Click Here for our review of Kinky Boots.
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 May, we’re bending over backwards for a handsome, talented (and flexible) performer…
Name: Philip Rosenberg
Hometown: San Francisco, California
Current Show/Role: Pippin / Player and Acrobatic Captain
The best part of the show I’m working on now is: I have to say that the best part of Pippin is getting to work with such an incredibly talented cast. I don’t think I ever in my career worked in a show in which every single member of the cast brought such such energy, creativity and skill to the stage. I normally work solely with other circus artists, so the whole world of musicals are generally new to me. Coming into the project, I knew little about singing or dancing in the style of Mr. Fosse, but I feel I couldn’t have been luckier to be introduced to this by my fellow cast mates, most of whom are Broadway veterans. We couldn’t ask for a better group of circus artists as well. In my opinion some of the greatest talents spanning the globe. So I guess I have to say that it is extraordinary people in this show that really makes Pippin extraordinary.
The most challenging job in show business I ever had was: One of the most challenging jobs I ever had was also one of the most rewarding. I was working with a small canadian circus called “Vague de Cirque” touring across the country in a small circus tent. Every town, with a group of about 15 people, we would set up the tent from early morning to night. If it was hot outside, it was miserably hot inside the tent, and if it was cold, freezing cold inside. We slept in little trailers surrounding the tent, and spent the greater part of our days preparing for the show. It was hard work, but an experience and new family that I will never forget.
Thankfully Donald Trump has no part in the seventh annual Broadway Beauty Pageant, a benefit for New York’s Ali Forney Center. Instead, you can count on some of the hunkiest men of Broadway participating in talent, interview and yes – swimsuit competition.
We got our hands on some sexy preview photos of this year’s participants, which include Callan Bergmann (Silence! The Musical), Julius C. Carter (SPIDER-MAN Turn Off The Dark), Yurel Echezarreta (Matilda The Musical), Matthew Goodrich (The Nance), Orion Griffiths (Pippin), and Paul HeeSang Miller (Mamma Mia!).
Four-time Tony nominated and Drama Desk Award-winning actress Tovah Feldshuh will host the event as contestants go head to head in front of a panel of celebrity judges, but ultimately, the final vote is in the audience’s hands. Andrea Martin (Pippin), Billy Porter (Kinky Boots), and Michael Urie (Buyer and Cellar) have been tapped to judge the event.
The Ali Forney Center (AFC) was started in June 2002 in response to the lack of safe shelter for LGBT youth in New York City. The Center is committed to providing these young people with safe, dignified, nurturing environments where their needs can be met, and where they can begin to put their lives back together. AFC is dedicated to promoting awareness of the plight of homeless LGBT youth in the United States with the goal of generating responses on local and national levels from government funders, foundations, and the LGBT community.
The Broadway Beauty Pageant will take place on Monday evening, May 20 at 8:00p.m. at the NYU Skirball Center for the Performing Arts.
CLICK HERE for tickets.
Tickets range from $25 – $150. All VIP tickets include a pre and post-show VIP cocktail reception, gift bag, and premier seating.
Want more than a taste? Take the jump for a preview video…
Forget Gypsy Rose Lee… the men of the Great White Way were greased, sprayed, tanned and buffed last week for a special preview performance of Broadway Bares, the notorious burlesque-style show that raises money for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS (BC/EFA).
This year’s edition, Greetings from the United Strips of America, will play June 23 at 9:30 p.m. and midnight at Roseland Ballroom — but you better snag tickets quickly as the late-night show is already sold out.
If you’re headed to Fire Island this summer, you can catch a special island edition. Fire Island: Calendar Girl, a co-production with the Fire Island Pines Arts Project, will have performances on June 1 at 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. Tickets will be available in the harbor Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Of course, if you can’t see the real thing, you can always visit the BC/EFA website to keep up with eye candy. The site posts a “Stripper of the Month” and also has an online gift shop perfect for those naughty minds. My favorite find is a vintage DVD of the original 1992 Broadway Bares featuring Tony award-winning Jerry Mitchell, the event’s founder executive producer.
Mitchell’s goal was to draw upon the immense talent — and gorgeous bodies — of the Broadway community to raise funds and awareness for HIV/AIDS. To date, the 22 editions of Broadway Bares have raised more than $9.8 million. So head to the ATM, and withdraw some Andrew Jacksons. That’s a $20 for those of you used to tipping less, but these hotties will be worth it and all of the funds go toward a great cause.
Now… the video you’ve all been waiting for:
Want to see more?
CLICK HERE for tickets.
Our new West Coast correspondent, Heather Cassell, catches the premiere act at the new Feinstein’s at the Nikko.
San Francisco doesn’t know anything about a woman’s desperate need for air conditioning in a sweltering New York summer, but Sutton Foster heats up the room causing a need for a burst of cool air at the new Feinstien’s at the Nikko Hotel in San Francisco.
Foster broke the proverbial bottle of champagne to a sold out crowd opening night on May 8 and you can still catch one final performance through May 12. If you miss her, she’s destined to return to the newly opened cabaret.
Belting out the busty overture to finding a man with an air conditioner to escape the sweltering heat, Foster leaves the room roaring in laughter as many of her songs this evening do. The two-time Tony-award winning Broadway star Foster treats us to beloved show tunes and tongue-in-cheek racy original ballads from her forthcoming album composed with musical collaborator Michael Rafter, who accompanies her on the piano this evening.
It’s an exemplary evening with Foster singing hit Broadway songs from Anything Goes, Little Women, Annie, The Drowsy Chaperone, and Thoroughly Modern Millie to yesteryears hits, such as John Denver’s “Sunshine on My Shoulders” to name a few out of her 18-song performance. She delights us with her opening with a mash-up of her signature musical theater songs, displaying her impressive soprano voice that swiftly drops into an alto tone. It is clear that she enjoys not only playing with her voice, but also with songs about single women — alternating between broadsy female anthems to soft and tender love songs.
Away from the lights of Broadway and Hollywood, she’s left the humidity of New York after 15 years for the dry desert heat of Los Angeles for her new show, ”Bunheads”, which airs June 11. In a performance was intimate, personal and humble, she gushed that she didn’t miss New York as she feared she would, but instead she loves L.A. At one point during the show she brought the man in her life, her dog Linus, up on to the stage. He sat in her lap as she sang one of her favorite new songs on her forthcoming album a medley of “It Only Takes a Moment” and “Time After Time” they end the performance with a double hi-five.
Dressed in a simple blue dress with beige heals and her wavy brown locks easily tumbling down her back, it is almost as if she returned to being the 17-year-old girl who first performed in the first national tour of The Will Rogers Follies at the Golden Gate Theater in San Francisco. That was many years ago and many performances later, including a brief cabaret in San Francisco a few years ago, as she’s now clearly an accomplished artist that we will hopefully see more of in the near future.
Foster attracts star power from Broadway and the small screen, my girlfriend and I spotted Florence Henderson, from the 1970’s “Brady Bunch” fame, but who is an accomplished singer in her own right, to many music and theater admirers to the cabaret that once was the home of the now closed Live at the Rrazz Room.
A popular cabaret for the past 14 years in New York, Feinstein’s at Loews Regency, closed at the beginning of this year at the same time as Feinstein’s at the Nikko emerged. Feinstein’s in New York and San Francisco is lead by the venerable Michael Feinstein, a renowned singer, pianist, and bearer of the Great American Songbook.
Foster is the perfect opener to satiate the void left by the closing of the beloved musical outlet, the Rrazz Room. If the forthcoming performers to grace Feinstein’s stage in the coming month – Mitzi Gaynor (May 15 – 18), Spencer Day (May 23 – 25), Ann Hampton Callaway and Liz Callaway (May 29 – June 2), Andrea Marcovicci (June 7 and 8), Clint Holmes (June 12 – 16), Barbara Cook (June 19 – 23) and Steve Tyrell (June 25 – 29) – are any indication of the high quality talent that will come to the Nikko Hotel, we will be mostly satisfied.
The only question is: Will Feinstein’s also showcase Broadway stars along with many of the same LGBT performers that made the Rrazz Room beloved by San Franciscans and unique in the cabaret world? The answer remains to be seen.
Sutton Foster’s final performance is Sunday, May 12, 7 p.m.at Feinstein’s at the Nikko Hotel, 222 Mason St., San Francisco. Tickets $75 – $95.
Can’t catch Foster’s final show tonight? Here’s one of our favorite clips:
Heather Cassell is a freelance journalist and travel writer with more than 20 years experience covering LGBT and women’s issues. When Heather isn’t wandering off learning and writing about women’s and LGBT issues, she covers business, health and other news for a number of publications as well as the syndicated “Out in the World” international LGBT news column.
The opening of The Memory Show begins with a brittle and sharp-tongued Catherine Cox in a doctor’s office, where she and the audience learn that her character, Mother, has Alzheimer’s Disease. It is a crisp and dynamic delivery, both in musical style and performance, but once that curtain pulls back and she returns home under the care of her early-midlife-crisis daughter (played by Leslie Kritzer), this two-character musical sometimes stumbles (and inevitably stutters) but eventually finds its footing.
That’s not to say that Cox and Kritzer aren’t giving it 100 percent. They tossle each other’s emotions, confide in the audience, lay in one another’s arms, ravage through props and do all of the things actresses are supposed to in dramatic musicals. Director Joe Calarco has given them room to breath and their movement feels organic throughout Brian Prather’s living room set.
What is less clear is their relationship to the audience. It is the same dramatic problem that derailed the miserable Breakfast at Tiffany’s earlier this season. I can see how the dramatic convention is needed to keep Sarah Cooper’s (book and lyrics) and Zach Redler’s (music) piece chugging along — there are only so many meltdowns, crying fits and warm hugs that the two women can possibly fit in the nonstop 80 minutes.
I admit to shedding a few tears, which arose at unexpected places. Who’s not going to cry given the subject matter? But what struck me most about these character studies was not the Alzheimer’s, but the family secrets that rise to the surface because of its inevitable impact. It is in these moments that the musical and its performers soar.
The Memory Show
The Duke on 42nd Street
229 West 42nd Street
Through May 18
What the critics are saying…
“Joe Calarco directs the Transport Group production and guides both actresses’ intense and very fine performances. Brian Prather’s intimate and evocative set is filled with photos and empty picture frames, illuminated at various times. It joins the deservedly acclaimed “Next to Normal,” about bipolar disorder, in pushing the envelope as to what subjects can make a musical. It also reminds us that noble intentions aren’t enough to make a musical sing and be fully satisfying. Easy to admire, “Memory Show” isn’t such a snap to like.” NY Daily News
“The words ‘‘musical’’ and ‘‘Alzheimer’s disease’’ aren’t often used together. Yet Sara Cooper’s new work, ‘‘The Memory Show,’’ turns out to be a poignant, sophisticated and often humorous musical about dealing with Alzheimer’s disease. Cooper has written an emotionally layered story about the frustrating effects of the disease on both patient and caregiver.” Associated Press via Boston.com
When the curtain speech finished with “All Aboard the S.S. Weimar” and the lights rose on an interesting set outlined in art of the era, I was excited to be transported to the Weimar Republic. This is a time period that gifted performer Mark Nadler is clearly passionate about and has chosen to write and perform about his new musical I’m a Stranger Here Myself. Unfortunately we’re never taken very far from our seats at the York Theatre Company, as the format of the show feels much more like a lecture Nadler would give on the subject at a university rather than a theatrical journey to the Weimar and beyond.
The show includes a thought-provoking selection of music, including work by Kurt Weill, Bertolt Brecht, Arthur Schwartz, Howard Dietz, Frederick Hollander, and Arno billing among others. Nadler is at his strongest skillfully playing the piano and singing with gusto, joined by Franca Vercelloni (accordion) and Jessica Tyler Wright (violin), as he evokes artists such as Lotte Lenya, Marlene Dietrich, and Gertrude Lawrence. These musical moments are the highlight of the piece and showcase Nadler’s musical talent, especially his passionate “Bilbao Song,” ”The Lavender Song,” and his endearing “Schickelgruber.” The two musicians are as gifted as Nadler, but at times the way they are incorporated could use a bit more finesse.
Where the show suffers is in between the music. Nadler is attempting to cover too much ground, from his own family history, story of moving to New York, and cabarets that used to exist here in addition to the background and inspiration of the artists whose work he’s performing, Hitler’s lineage, and the plight of Jews and homosexuals as the Weimar era was destroyed. The weaving of story-telling, history lessons, and musical performance isn’t particulalry seamless, and since it’s told in direct address to the audience and accompanied by a non-stop and at times distracting LCD presentation of images, I couldn’t help but wish this was a professor whose class I’d love to enroll in. And in educational format, Nadler really hits the audience over the head by poitning out recurring themes found in all of this music, rather than giving us a chance to make connections and discoveries of our own.
I’m a Stranger Here Myself is an ambitious piece, and Nadler’s performance is filled with passion and heart. If he had formatted this piece differently, perhaps I would have joined him to “Come A-Wandering With Me” or thought to myself “I May Never Go Home.”
I’m a Stranger Here Myself
Through May 19, 2013
York Theatre Company
619 Lexington Avenue
Jason Mitchell is an event planner, author, and playwright who resides in New York City.
I’ve had a crush on Michael Feinstein for 25 years. While most guys my age were listening to Sonic Youth and R.E.M. (it was the 80s after all), I was sequestered in my room — obsessing over his rendition of “I Won’t Send Roses/Time Heals Everything.”
Perhaps I was an odd teenager, but since the release of his first album, Live at the Algonquin, Feinstein has been wowing listeners with his tributes to the American songbook. He has breathed new life into the works of George and Ira Gershwin, Burton Lane, Jule Styne, Jerry Herman and countless others. Feinstein has also performed live around the world, including such prestigious venues as Carnegie Hall, Sydney Opera House and the Hollywood Bowl as well as the White House and Buckingham Palace.
On a more intimate scale, Feinstein’s at Loews Regency served as home to some of the world best vocalists for more than 14 years until the property temporarily closed for a major renovation. Fear not, lovers of velvety vocals and cabaret climaxes. Hotel Nikko in San Francisco is opening a new venue called Feinstein’s at the Nikko to continue this great tradition.
“It’s exciting beyond words to be bringing Feinstein’s to the Hotel Nikko in San Francisco,” says Feinstein. “My career as an entertainer began in San Francisco, and it presents special and profound meaning to be a part of such an amazing and special city. I look forward to giving back to the community by presenting world-class entertainment in a glamorous setting. I can’t wait!”
Feinstein’s at the Nikko will present a wide range of local, regional and national entertainers in an intimate 140-seat cabaret setting. Two-time Tony Award winner Sutton Foster (Thoroughly Modern Millie, Anything Goes, The Drowsy Chaperone) will take the stage May 8 – 12, 2013 for the inaugural performances.
Tickets range in price from
$60-100 and are available now by calling
866.663.1063 or visiting www.ticketweb.com
Future performers of note include*:
Spencer Day – May 23-25
Day has been a perennial favorite in the San Francisco Bay Area since exploding on to the music scene as a performer at the 2007 San Francisco Jazz Festival. Since then, he has performed at some of the nation’s most prominent venues, including Joe’s Pub and Town Hall in New York City and Yoshi’s and the Great American Musical Hall in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Ann Hampton Callaway and Liz Callaway –May 29 – June 2
Barbara Cook – Wednesday, June 19-23
*Additional performers will be announced at a later date.
What’s it gonna be, Broadway? This season’s Tony Award nominations are all about girl power. Kinky Boots sweeps with 13 nominations while Matilda The Musical is on her very high heels with 12. Will the American Theatre Wing go for a little girl with a big imagination or a big girl with even bigger dreams?
Tune in on June 9 to find out.
The Assembled Parties
The Testament of Mary
Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
Bring It On: The Musical
A Christmas Story, The Musical
Matilda The Musical
Best Revival of a Play
The Trip to Bountiful
Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
Best Revival of a Musical
The Mystery of Edwin Drood
Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella
Best Book of a Musical
A Christmas Story, The Musical
Matilda The Musical
Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella
Douglas Carter Beane
Best Original Score (Music and/or Lyrics) Written for the Theatre
A Christmas Story, The Musical
Music and Lyrics: Benj Pasek and Justin Paul
Hands on a Hardbody
Music: Trey Anastasio and Amanda Green
Lyrics: Amanda Green
Music & Lyrics: Cyndi Lauper
Matilda The Musical
Music & Lyrics: Tim Minchin
Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play
Tom Hanks, Lucky Guy
Nathan Lane, The Nance
Tracy Letts, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
David Hyde Pierce, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
Tom Sturridge, Orphans
Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play
Laurie Metcalf, The Other Place
Amy Morton, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
Kristine Nielsen, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
Holland Taylor, Ann
Cicely Tyson, The Trip to Bountiful
Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical
Bertie Carvel, Matilda The Musical
Santino Fontana, Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella
Rob McClure, Chaplin
Billy Porter, Kinky Boots
Stark Sands, Kinky Boots
Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical
Stephanie J. Block, The Mystery of Edwin Drood
Carolee Carmello, Scandalous
Valisia LeKae, Motown The Musical
Patina Miller, Pippin
Laura Osnes, Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella
Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play
Danny Burstein, Golden Boy
Richard Kind, The Big Knife
Billy Magnussen, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
Tony Shalhoub, Golden Boy
Courtney B. Vance, Lucky Guy
Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play
Carrie Coon, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
Shalita Grant, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
Judith Ivey, The Heiress
Judith Light, The Assembled Parties
Condola Rashad, The Trip to Bountiful
Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical
Charl Brown, Motown The Musical
Keith Carradine, Hands on a Hardbody
Will Chase, The Mystery of Edwin Drood
Gabriel Ebert, Matilda The Musical
Terrence Mann, Pippin
Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical
Annaleigh Ashford, Kinky Boots
Victoria Clark, Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella
Andrea Martin, Pippin
Keala Settle, Hands on a Hardbody
Lauren Ward, Matilda The Musical
Take the leap for the rest of the nominations…
I’m having a flashback.
It’s my high school senior play (The Wizard of Oz… of course) and we all scramble out of homeroom to see the cast list. I was a shoe-in for the Scarecrow, or so I thought. We trampled each other toward the cast list that was posted during morning announcements. The anticipation… did I get it? Uh, no.
While I may have been relegated to a monkey (and not even a flying one at that), Broadway’s brightest talent had a bit more luck this season, and tomorrow morning – with the help of Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Sutton Foster, The American Theatre Wing announces this year’s nominations for the coveted Tony Award.
You can catch all the action, live! Click the link below and relive all of those memories in a live stream and be the first to know who has been nominated. Help us predict this year’s winners by posting your comments on our Facebook page or our Twitter account, @thebroadwayblog.
And remember… everybody’s a winner. Not really.
Tune in Tuesday, May 1, 8:15 a.m. by clicking link below:
Launch the 2013 Tony Awards Live