The Broadway community mourns the loss of acclaimed director and performer Gene Saks, who passed away on Saturday at age 93. The marquees of Broadway theatres in New York will be dimmed in his memory on Wednesday, April 1st, at exactly 7:45pm for one minute.
The accomplished actor who became one of Broadway’s most prominent directors and won three Tony Awards® in addition to receiving multiple nominations, helmed many Neil Simon plays on Broadway including Biloxi Blues, Brighton Beach Memoirs, Jake’s Women, Rumors, Lost in Yonkers, Broadway Bound, The Odd Couple, and California Suite.
Saks won his first Tony Award® for Best Direction of a Play in 1977 for the Cy Coleman – Michael Stewart musical I Love My Wife, and two more for Neil Simon plays, Brighton Beach Memoirs in 1983 and Biloxi Blues in 1985. He also received nominations for Half a Sixpence (1965), Mame (1966), Same Time, Next Year (1975), and Lost in Yonkers (1991).
Charlotte St. Martin, Executive Director of the Broadway League, said, “Gene Saks was a notable presence on Broadway for six decades as an acclaimed performer and celebrated director. His legendary collaboration with Neil Simon contributed unparalleled magic and laughter to Broadway, and he will be missed. Our thoughts are with his family, friends, and fans.”
Additional Broadway directing credits include Enter Laughing, Nobody Loves an Albatross, andRags. His final Broadway production was the bio-play Barrymore, which won a Tony for Christopher Plummer in 1997.
Saks, who was born in Manhattan and grew up in Hackensack, N.J., began his career as an actor. Saks made his acting debut on Broadway in South Pacific in 1949. On stage he also appeared in A Shot in the Dark, The Tenth Man, and his best-known stage role in A Thousand Clowns. He also appeared in the films Nobody’s Fool and Deconstructing Harry.
Among Saks’ film directing credits included Simon adaptations of The Odd Couple, Barefoot in the Park, Last of the Red Hot Lovers, and Brighton Beach Memoirs. He also directed the 1969 Cactus Flower, which won Goldie Hawn the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.
He is survived by wife Keren, their daughter, Annabelle, and three grandchildren. He is also survived by sons Matthew and Daniel from his marriage to his first wife, actress Bea Arthur.
Who’s next to tackle the role of Rose, made famous by Ethel Merman in the original 1959 production of Gypsy? We’ve seen Angela Lansbury, Tyne Daly, Bernadette Peters and Patti LuPone all take star turns as the ultimate stage mom. Now it’s time for Olivier Award-winning Imelda Staunton to storm the stage as the Chichester Festival Theatre production transfers to the West End this spring.
Staunton is known for both her stage work as well as film roles, including several installments in the Harry Potter series. A cast album is already planned for Gyspy fanatics. Want a sneak peek? Take a look…
Producers of Off-Broadway’s The Fantasticks have announced that the long running musical will close on Sunday, May 3rd—the 55th anniversary of the opening of the show in 1960. At the time of its closing the production will have played a total of 20,672 performances in New York City: 17,162 at the Sullivan Street Playhouse and 3,510 performances at the Snapple Theater Center.
A modern twist on Romeo and Juliet, The Fantasticks (music by Harvey Schmidt, book, lyrics, and direction by Tom Jones) is the quintessential story of a boy and girl who fall in love and then quickly grow apart when they realize they want to experience the world. What follows is a hilarious and heartwarming story appropriate for all ages. The score, which includes the hit songs “Try To Remember”, “Soon It’s Gonna Rain” and “They Were You”, is as timeless as the story itself.
During its original run at the Sullivan Street Playhouse in Greenwich Village, The Fantasticks logged a record-breaking 17,162 performances. When the original production closed in 2002, news of the closing made the front page of The New York Times. In 2006, the revival opened at The Theater Center, directed by Tom Jones (author and lyricist). Variety calls the revival, “A close re-creation that happily replicates the original’s charms.” The Fantasticks continues to run at The Theater Center, making record-breaking history with each performance.
The play has become a true New York institution. For many people, seeing The Fantasticks when visiting New York is as important as seeing The Statue of Liberty or The Empire State Building. In fact, Mayor Michael Bloomberg attended the New Year’s Eve performance of the show before ringing in 2008 in Times Square. In 1992 The Fantasticks won The Tony Award for Excellence and remains the only Off-Broadway show ever to have won a Tony.
Snapple Theater Center
210 West 50th Street
Through May 3.
Fun Home, the highly-anticipated, award-winning American musical that begins previews tonight, has announced an exclusive mobile lottery partnership with TodayTix. With music by four-time Tony Award nominee Jeanine Tesori, a book and lyrics by Tony Award nominee Lisa Kron and direction by Drama Desk nominee Sam Gold, Fun Home officially opens on Broadway at the Circle in the Square Theatre (235 West 50th Street), on Sunday, April 19th.
In lieu of a traditional lottery, Fun Home will partner with TodayTix to allow its members to enter a mobile lottery via the TodayTix app, available in the App Store or Google Play Store. The entry period will begin each day at midnight, and continue until winners are notified via push notification 3-4 hours before the selected performance begins. Winners will be offered the opportunity to purchase either one or two $32 tickets, and can pick up them up from the box office of the Circle in the Square Theatre. Lottery tickets and seat locations are subject to availability.
“Part of our mission is to bring an entirely new audience to the theater by enhancing accessibility. Fun Home is exactly the kind of show that these non-traditional audiences want to see: daring, brilliant and culturally relevant,” said TodayTix co-founder Merritt Baer. “We couldn’t be more excited to enter into this partnership, which extends our existing relationship with The Public Theater and the works that have been incubated there.”
Pronounced “a beautiful, heartbreaker of a musical” by the New York Times, Fun Home is the groundbreaking new Broadway musical based on Alison Bechdel’s best-selling graphic memoir. Fun Home introduces us to Alison at three different ages, revealing memories of her uniquely dysfunctional family – her mother, brothers and volatile, brilliant, enigmatic father – that connect with her in surprising new ways.
The cast of Fun Home includes Tony Award-winner Michael Cerveris, three-time Tony Award nominee Judy Kuhn, Beth Malone, Obie Award-winner Sydney Lucas, Emily Skeggs, Roberta Colindrez, Zell Steele Morrow, Joel Perez, Oscar Williams, Lauren Patten, Gabriella Pizzolo, Marrick Smith, Jim Stanek, and Nicole Van Giesen.
Fun Home opened to rave reviews at The Public Theater in October 2013, and was quickly extended four times due to popular demand. It was named Best Musical by the New York Drama Critics Circle, and received the OBIE, Lucille Lortel, Outer Critics Circle and Off Broadway Alliance Awards in the 2013-2014 season.
Hip-hop pioneer, Tony Award-winning producer and multi-hyphenate entrepreneur Russell Simmons has announced the development of The Scenario, a new stage musical that will be driven by the music that defined a generation: the greatest hits from a two-decade span of hip-hop – from the “golden age” of the mid-80s to mid-90s “when it seemed that every new single reinvented the genre” (Rolling Stone), to the chart-topping artists at the turn of the millennium.
Simmons, who is widely credited with ushering in a hip-hop cultural revolution with the launch of Def Jam Recordings in 1984, and creating the trailblazing Def Comedy franchise in 1989, will produce through his Los Angeles-based production company Def Pictures, alongside Tony Award-winning Broadway producer Big Block (Scott Prisand/Jamie Bendell) (Rock of Ages, Heathers, Gentleman’s Guide To Love And Murder). The Scenario will feature an original story written by acclaimed author and hip-hop historian Dan Charnas (The Big Payback), and aims to premiere in New York City in late 2016.
“Hip hop’s explosion was fueled by a generation with an incredible hunger to discover new ways of expression,” said Simmons. “These artists were always breaking the mold with new rhythms and new ideas, while at the same time telling so many important and timeless stories that over the decades have continued to remain just as relevant. This is why the music continues to strike a chord with fans worldwide. It felt like such a natural fit to weave the best of these sounds and stories into an energetic and thrilling musical that would transport audiences through one of the most innovative artistic movements of our time.”
“Part of what made the Rock of Ages experience so incredible for theatregoers was the joy of hearing the most beloved songs of an era serve as the storyteller,” said Scott Prisand. “Russell is the catalyst of all this extraordinary music that has already touched generations to the core around the world; we’re taking those beats everyone knows and loves, and setting them into a fun original story.”
Added Jake Stein, who is shepherding the project on behalf of Def Pictures and will also produce with Simmons, “These classic songs, stories and rhythms will find a new audience on the theater stage. We believe this show will be an entirely new entry point for appreciating hip hop as a transformative art that has shaped culture, fashion, music and entertainment of all forms, and we hope it will help open the door for other live theatrical experiences.”
Entrepreneur, author, activist and philanthropist Russell Simmons has launched scores of groundbreaking careers and innovative enterprises in arenas as varied as music, film, television, fashion, comedy, poetry, digital platforms, theater and finance. His lifelong mission has been giving a voice to extraordinary talent and empowering underserved communities as they in turn shape the mainstream of culture.
Are you ready to celebrate the best of Broadway? The Broadway League and United Airlines are hosting this year’s Stars in the Alley in legendary Shubert Alley. The two hour concert with live music will take place on Wednesday, May 27, 2015.
Stars in the Alley is a free outdoor concert held in the heart of the Theatre District that celebrates the end of the 2014 – 2015 Broadway season and adds to the festivities leading up to the 2015 Tony Awards. The event in Shubert Alley, west of Seventh Avenue between 44th and 45th Streets, will consist of performances from this season as well as numbers from current long-running shows. More details about Stars in the Alley to be announced.
For Broadway information in NYC as well as for shows on tour across North America and internationally, visit www.broadway.org.
It was one of our favorite new musicals of the fall, and now The Fortress of Solitude will celebrate the release of the original cast album at Joe’s Pub at the Public Theater on Monday, April 13. The evening will feature original cast members Ken Barnett, Kyle Beltran, Adam Chanler-Berat, Andre De Shields, Kevin Mambo, Britton Smith, Akron Watson and Juson Williams.
The show, which was produced by The Public Theater (Artistic Director, Oskar Eustis; Executive Director, Patrick Willingham), is based on the national best-selling novel of the same name by Jonathan Lethem, with a book by Itamar Moses, music and lyrics by Michael Friedman, and conceived and directed by Daniel Aukin. Time Out New York raved, “Michael Friedman’s score draws excitingly on period sounds” and according to The New York Times, “the score flows in undulating rivers of soul, funk, punk and rap.”
Ghostlight has also premiered a full advance preview track from the album. “The One I Remember” – featuring the full cast – is currently available to stream on YouTube here.
The Fortress of Solitude
CD Release Concert
Joe’s Pub at The Public Theater
425 Lafayette Street
April 13, 9:30 p.m.
For tickets ($12) call (212) 967-7555 or visit joespub.com, or visit in person at The Public Theater Box Office.
The Broadway transfer of The Royal Shakespeare Company’s Wolf Hall: Parts 1 & 2 announced that a same day general rush will be available at the box office of the Winter Garden Theatre (1634 Broadway, between 50th and 51st Streets). Tickets will be available for $49 each, with a limit of two (2) tickets per person.
The box office is open on Sundays from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Monday through Saturday from 10 a.mm to 8:30 p.m.
A limited number of student tickets will also be available for each performance for $27 per part, and will be available online at www.Tix4Students.com.
Wolf Hall: Parts 1 & 2, which explores the deceit, betrayal, and intrigue of the court of Henry VIII, is written by Dame Hilary Mantel and adapted by Mike Poulton. This special event invites theatergoers to be part of a unique theatrical experience, similar to the Royal Shakespeare Company’s award winning production of The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby.
Wolf Hall: Parts 1 & 2 features a company of more than twenty actors, headed by Ben Milesas Thomas Cromwell, Lydia Leonard as Anne Boleyn, and Nathaniel Parker as King Henry VIII, all under the direction of Olivier Award nominee Jeremy Herrin, who makes his New York City directing début.
While many tourists clamor to Broadway for their theater fix when visiting New York City, those in the know often opt for Off Broadway, where they’re closer to the action and usually paying half the price. In celebration of another year of fantastic new plays, revivals and musicals, the American Theatre Wing and The Village Voice have announced that the 60th Annual OBIE Awards will be held on Monday, May 18, 2015 at Webster Hall (125 East 11th Street). Tickets to the 2015 OBIE Awards are now available via www.ObieAwards.com.
As was previously announced, the American Theatre Wing has entered into a partnership with The Village Voice to co-present The OBIE Awards, Off Broadway’s Highest Honor.
The Village Voice created the OBIE Awards, at the suggestion of then editor Jerry Tallmer, soon after the publication’s own inception in 1955, to encourage the newly burgeoning Off Broadway theater movement and to acknowledge its achievements. The OBIES are structured with informal categories, to recognize artists and productions worthy of distinction in each theatrical year.
Over the decades, the OBIE Awards have played a major role in the Voice’s long history of championing work of innovative and exceptional quality Off and Off-Off Broadway. The Village Voice put the new downtown theater movement on the map with its in-depth coverage, becoming a forum for conflicting viewpoints which helped generate excitement over new works and new approaches to theater-making. The OBIES have become a theatrical tradition, a meaningful way to acknowledge the best artistic achievements of downtown theater.
The list of actors, writers, directors, and designers who have received OBIES at pivotal moments in their careers is a virtual who’s who of contemporary theater. While the categories of the awards have continued to change almost annually, the creative spirit remains the same. The OBIE Awards continue to salute a theatrical movement that’s as important, and as vibrant, today as it was in 1955.
The American Theatre Wing is dedicated to advancing artistic excellence and nurturing theatre’s next generation: on the stage, behind the scenes, and in the audience. For nearly a century, the Wing has pursued this mission with programs that span the nation to invest in the growth and evolution of American Theatre.
Traditionally, the Wing has encouraged members of the theatre community to share their off-stage time and talent directly with the theatre audience at large—whether it was singing for the troops in the Stage Door Canteen of the 1940’s, or sharing their stories on a podcast today. As the founders of The Tony Awards, the American Theatre Wing has developed the foremost national platform for the recognition of theatrical achievement on Broadway. Yet the Wing’s reach extends beyond Broadway and beyond New York.
The Wing develops the next generation of theatre professionals through the SpringboardNYC and Theatre Intern Network programs, incubates innovative theatre across the country through the National Theatre Company Grants, fosters the song of American theatre through the Jonathan Larson Grants, honors the best in New York theatrical design with the Henry Hewes Design Award, and illuminates the creative process through the “Working in the Theatre” program and media archive.
The American Theatre Wing has also entered into a long-term partnership with The Village Voice to co-present The OBIE Awards, Off Broadway’s Highest Honor, beginning this year, which will mark the Award’s 60th Anniversary in May 2015. Visitors to americantheatrewing.org can get inspired and gain insight into the artistic process through the Wing’s extensive media collection, and learn more about its programming for students, aspiring and working professionals, and audiences.
Though the new screwball Broadway comedy Living on Love begins performances on April Fools’ Day, it’s no joke that the play’s producers are offering $19.57 tickets, including a limited number of orchestra and mezzanine seats, at the first three performances only, April 1 through April 3. The special ticket price is a nod to the setting for the play – the glamorous world of New York City in 1957 when music, culture, & style reigned supreme.
The world’s most beloved opera singer Renée Fleming plays the world’s most beloved opera singer in this hilarious new screwball comedy. When her larger-than-life maestro husband (Sills) becomes enamored with the lovely young lady (Chlumsky) hired to ghostwrite his largely fictional autobiography, the diva retaliates by hiring her own handsome, young scribe (O’Connell) to chronicle her life as an opera star. Sparks fly, silverware is thrown, and romance blossoms in the most unexpected ways.
Four time Grammy Award winner Renée Fleming makes her Broadway debut alongside Tony Award nominee Douglas Sills, 2-time Emmy Award nominee Anna Chlumsky, Jerry O’Connell, Blake Hammond and Scott Robertson in Living on Love by two-time Tony Award winner Joe DiPietro, based on the play Peccadillo by Garson Kanin, and directed by three-time Tony Award winner Kathleen Marshall.
Tickets can now be purchased for these three performances for a limited time only in the following ways:
- At the Longacre Theatre box office (246 West 44th Street)
- Through Telecharge at www.telecharge.com or by calling 212-239-6200
Please note that $19.57 tickets are subject to availability and apply only specified performance date and times. All sales final (no refund or exchanges) and seating restrictions may apply. Telephone /internet orders subject to Telecharge.com service fees. Limit 4 tickets per order.
Living on Love begins performances on Wednesday, April 1, 2015 and opens on Monday, April 20, 2015 at the Longacre Theatre (220 West 48th Street). The production will play an 18-week engagement through Sunday, August 2, 2015. Tickets are now on sale to the general public. For more information, visit www.LivingonLoveBroadway.com