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Don’t Miss: Broadway Cares Benefit at Don’t Tell Mama

March 24th, 2017 Comments off

rainbows and ribbons“Rainbows & Ribbons,” a new show by Ross Hewitt, will be presented tomorrow, Saturday, March 25, at 5:00 p.m. at Don’t Tell Mama (343 West 46th Street, New York City).  This is a benefit for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS and all proceeds will go the organization. Musical director for the production is Phil Hall.  Director is Alyson Reim Friedman.

The show will feature songs from musical theatre and films including: The Colors of My Life (Barnum), Hurry! It’s Lovely Up Here (On A Clear Day…), It Couldn’t Please Me More (Cabaret), Do You Love Me? (Fiddler On The Roof), A Little More Mascara (La Cage aux Folles), My Time of Day/I’ve Never Been in Love Before (Guys and Dolls) as well as other songs from Funny Girl, Hello Dolly, Oklahoma and other musicals.  Mary McKinley will also join Ross and perform other numbers.

Dr. Ross G. Hewitt has been involved with the AIDS epidemic since its beginning, caring for some of the country’s first patients as a medical student at Bellevue Hospital in 1981. He completed training in Internal medicine and Infectious Diseases and became the first Medical Director of the AIDS Designated Center Program at Erie County Medical Center in Buffalo, for 18 years.

Dr. Hewitt was an active clinical researcher, conducting trials that helped usher in the first 15 antiretroviral medications. He moved back to New York City, his hometown, in 2004 and since has worked in Harlem with the HIV programs at Heritage Health Care, North General Hospital and currently, the Institute for Family Health – Family Health Center of Harlem. He became the Associate Medical Director for HIV services at MetroPlus Health Plan in June, 2015, where he oversees the quality of care delivered to over 8,000 HIV+ members.

$20.00 cover/2-drink minimum.
Reservations can be made by calling (212) 757-0788 or by clicking here.

Theater Buff: Transport Group’s David T. Patterson

March 22nd, 2017 Comments off

This month’s Theater Buff offers you a slice of Americana via the good looks and charm of David T. Patterson, currently starring in Transport Group’s ambitious William Inge repertory of Picnic and Come Back, Little Sheba.

(Photo provided by David T. Patterson via The Broadway Blog.)

(Photo provided by David T. Patterson via The Broadway Blog.)

Name:
David T. Patterson

Hometown:
Tampa, Florida

You’re tackling two William Inge plays: Picnic and Come Back, Little Sheba. That must have been an intense audition process — what was it like?
The initial audition was just another day at Pearl Studios. But the callback process was a trip. It was a chemistry read with the four girls they were considering for Madge, and it was the scene (spoiler alert) where my character breaks down, kisses her passionately, and then carries her offstage.

I remember frantically googling “do you kiss in a callback” on the J train heading over that morning, ’cause I had no idea what the protocol was for that. In what felt like a truncated episode of The Bachelor, I did the scene twice with each different girl. The scene was so different every time, which I loved, and thankfully I brought ChapStick and Listerine breath strips that day.

David T. Patterson in 'Picnic.' (Photo: Carol Rosegg via The Broadway Blog.)

David T. Patterson in ‘Picnic.’ (Photo: Carol Rosegg via The Broadway Blog.)

For those not familiar with Inge’s work, how would you describe these plays in terms of their place in American theater history?
Inge was a contemporary of Tennessee Williams and Arthur Miller, and was actually more initially successful than they were. These plays explore American loneliness, and yearning like no other playwright since. Inge has a beautiful mix of the poetic and the quotidian.

Picnic is a true ensemble piece. There are no set changes and no real breaks in storytelling. Come Back, Little Sheba was also groundbreaking in that it was one of the first plays to ever open a discussion on alcoholism, gender roles and domestic abuse. Both shows have very strong, beautifully written female characters, and Come Back, Little Sheba is told completely from one of their points of views. Inge was way before his time in a lot of ways.

What has been director Jack Cummings III’s approach to these plays?
It’s been all about the text and the acting with these productions, which is so exciting. It’s pared down. Simple set. With a beautiful, original score by Michael John LaChiusa featuring the vocal stylings of our very own Hannah Elless and some really gorgeous lighting. Jack gave the cast a lot of freedom to explore and embody these characters, which is so appreciated. He made a point to honor what Inge intended and focused on the humanity, loneliness, and yearning of the two pieces.

Transport Group

In Picnic, you portray Hal, a ‘drifter.’ If you were to wander off for a few months, where would you head and why?
I’d backpack through Europe. There is so much history and so many cultures to explore, as well as cuisines to try and people to meet. You can be in a completely different world in less than two hours. Also, I’ve always wanted to hike the Appalachian Trail. Make the jaunt up from Georgia to Maine, then roam around New England some. I love being in nature and I love eating lobster. Win-win.

If I weren’t a performer, I would be: 
In advertising. Don Draper, minus the chauvinism, womanizing, and secret past.

Places, Intermission or Curtain Call? 
Intermission. The show is under way, those initial nerves are gone, you’ve established a rapport with the audience. Plus, I can go back to the dressing room and goof off with John Cariani.

The best post-show cocktail in New York City is at:
Lillie’s Victorian Establishment on 49th Street in midtown is super classy and near all the theaters. Good Old Fashions, with a cozy Old World feel. And for a solid beer list and a quieter spot to talk, Hurley’s Saloon is a great spot to decompress after a show. Unless it’s fight night.

After you’ve hit all the traditional sites of New York City, you should totally go to: 
Either of New York City’s botanical gardens. They’re both far away, so it’s definitely a trek, but worth it! I’m a big fan of the Orchid Festival in the Bronx and the Cherry Blossom Festival in Brooklyn. I also love Smorgasburg, which is a huge food truck/stand outdoor market. The one in Williamsburg is great because it’s right on the water. And I love the Brooklyn Bridge Park. I’m a park guy. #sorrynotsorry

(Photo courtesy of David T. Patterson via The Broadway Blog.)

(Photo courtesy of David T. Patterson via The Broadway Blog.)

If I could live anywhere else in the world it would be:
Montana. Near Big Sky. On my own ranch.

My workout “secret” is:
Meal prep. Technically it’s outside of the gym, but the kitchen is where the real progress is made. Making/bringing your own meals isn’t only healthy, but it’s also cost effective. And don’t skip leg day.

(Photo courtesy of David T. Patterson via The Broadway Blog.)

(Photo courtesy of David T. Patterson via The Broadway Blog.)

When I’m looking for a date, nothing attracts me more than:
A great smile and laugh. A sense of humor is super important to me. As well as good dental hygiene.

My favorite website to visit that you may not have heard of is:
Duolingo. Technically it’s an app, but it’s free and can help you learn a language on the go. Factcheck.org is also a pretty useful site these days, too…

People would be surprised to learn that I . . .
Was very sickly and scrawny as a kid. Severe peanut allergy, severe asthma, plus lactose intolerant. I was “that” kid. The kid who sat alone in a corner every day during lunch because if I were near a PB&J I’d break out in hives and pass out.

When I was 10, I wanted to be just like:
Batman.

Ten years from now I’d like to be:
Batman.

Transport Group’s Picnic and Come Back, Little Sheba play through April 16 at The Gym at Judson. Click here for tickets. 

 

Matthew Wexler is The Broadway Blog’s editor. Follow him on social media at @roodeloo

‘Broadway Backstage’ Heads to Brooklyn

March 21st, 2017 Comments off
Daniel C. Levine in Broadway Backstage (Photo:  Daniel C. Levine Productions via The Broadway Blog.)

Daniel C. Levine in Broadway Backstage (Photo: Daniel C. Levine Productions via The Broadway Blog.)

On April 1, Broadway Backstage will give audience members a behind-the-scenes look at Broadway with an all new show. Six Broadway stars will belt out tunes from the world’s grandest stages and share backstage gossip, on-stage mishaps, “big break” moments, and other insider stories. The show will take the audience beyond the glitz and glamor and give them a rare opportunity to see what really goes on backstage during a Broadway show, with stories of how the stars got their big break, costume mishaps and more.

On Stage at Kingsborough, a leading performing arts presenter located at Brooklyn’s Kingsborough Community College presents its 2017 spring season, featuring world-class artists from around the globe. On Stage at Kingsborough brings internationally renowned performing artists to Southern Brooklyn with an eclectic roster spanning multiple genres including music, dance, theater and family programming. The full 2016-2017 season began September 24, 2016, and runs through May 20, 2017.

‘Concert for America: Stand Up, Sing Out!’ Heads to Chicago

March 18th, 2017 Comments off

concert for americaDon’t miss CONCERT FOR AMERICA: STAND UP, SING OUT! Featuring Chita Rivera, Melissa Manchester, Alice Ripley, Ana Gasteyer, the Chicago cast of Hamilton, Sharon Gless, Lynne Jordan, Marya Grandy and Emily Bear, the third edition of CONCERT FOR AMERICA will take place on Monday, March 20 at 8 p.m. at the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University in Chicago (50 E Congress Parkway).  Tickets are available at Ticketmaster.com.

A concert of songs, comedy, and commentary, CONCERT FOR AMERICA has been hailed by the New York Times as “striking for its emphasis on the importance of faith in the United States and optimism about its future.” The innovation of Seth Rudetsky and James Wesley, who also organized the Broadway For Orlando/What the World Needs Now is Love recording, CONCERT FOR AMERICA: STAND UP, SING OUT! debuted its monthly series at New York City’s The Town Hall on Inauguration Day and performed the second concert there in February.

Proceeds from CONCERT FOR AMERICA: STAND UP, SING OUT! will benefit five national organizations working to protect human rights: Southern Poverty Law Center, National Immigration Law Center, The Sierra Club Foundation, NAACP and National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

Tickets range from $18 to $103 and are available at my.auditoriumtheatre.org and at the Auditorium Theatre box office. Participating performers are subject to change.

For those unable to attend CONCERT FOR AMERICA in person, it will be broadcast via Facebook Live and at ConcertsforAmerica.com, beginning at 9 p.m. EST on Monday, March 20.

CONCERT FOR AMERICA: STAND UP, SING OUT! is created and organized by Seth Rudetsky and James Wesley, in association with Your Kids, Our Kids, as well as the generous support of The Actors Fund.  It is co-produced by Joey Monda and Frankie Dailey. CONCERT FOR AMERICA will be directed by Tony nominee Lisa Mordente.

The next CONCERT FOR AMERICA will return to New York in April.

Categories: Show Folk, The Buzz, Way Off Broadway Tags:

Telly Leung to Debut at The Green Room 42

March 17th, 2017 Comments off
Telly Leung (Photo: Lesley Bohm via The Broadway Blog.)

Telly Leung (Photo: Lesley Bohm via The Broadway Blog.)

Telly Leung — the Broadway and television star of “Glee,” Godspell and Rent, currently starring on Broadway in In Transit — will debut at the new concert space The Green Room 42 at Yotel (570 Tenth Avenue at 42nd Street) for one show only on Sunday, April 23 at 7:30 pm.. The show has a $30 cover with no minimum.

Leung, who recently returned to Broadway after a two–year hiatus with a “star turn” (NBC New York) in Allegiance opposite George Takei and Lea Salonga, will offer an intimate and deeply personal evening of music and personal showbiz anecdotes, in addition to highlights from his solo albums on the Yellow Sound Label – “I’ll Cover You” and “Songs for You” – and the musical talents of some of Broadway’s finest musicians.

Telly comments, “I have had an amazing time harmonizing and singing a-cappella with my Broadway cast mates at In Transit — but I’ve really missed making live music with a band! I am very excited to perform with some of my favorite musicians on Broadway, and also get the opportunity to perform in a chic, new, intimate venue in Hell’s Kitchen!”

Songs for You features familiar classic music from the worlds of Pop, Jazz, R&B, and Broadway done with a new and innovative twist, accompanied by lush musical arrangements. The album includes songs originally recorded by Michael Jackson (“Human Nature”), Oleta Adams (“I Just Had to Hear Your Voice”), Mama Cass Elliot (“Make Your Own Kind of Music”), John Denver (“Leaving On A Jet Plane”), Des’ree (“You Gotta Be”) and more.

To honor his Broadway roots, Telly also includes songs by his favorite theater composers Stephen Sondheim (“Being Alive”), Jerry Herman (“I Am What I Am”) and Stephen Schwartz (“Dreamscape”), in addition to the world premiere recording of “Second Chances” from the pre-Broadway engagement of AllegianceTelly’s debut CD I’ll Cover You is an eclectic collection that features a variety of genres. It includes songs from Broadway (“Before The Parade Passes By” from Hello, Dolly!, “Children Will Listen” from Into The Woods and the disc’s title track, which he performed in the final Broadway cast of Rent) and fresh interpretations of pop hits (“Firework” by Katy Perry, “Papa Don’t Preach” by Madonna and “Galileo” by The Indigo Girls).

Categories: Show Folk, The Buzz Tags:

Billy Porter: The Soul of Richard Rodgers

March 15th, 2017 Comments off

Billy Porter Soul of Richard Rodgers Album CoverTony and Grammy Award-Winner Billy Porter’s new studio album, Billy Porter Presents The Soul of Richard Rodgers, will be released April 14, 2017 and is now available for pre-order. The album, which features new, soulful takes on classic Richard Rodgers songs, includes solos and duets from the following artists (in addition to Porter himself): Tony and Grammy Award winners Cynthia Erivo (The Color Purple), Renée Elise Goldsberry (Hamilton) and Leslie Odom Jr. (Hamilton), Tony Award-winner Patina Miller (Pippin), Grammy Award winners Pentatonix and India.Arie, Tony Award nominees Brandon Victor Dixon (Shuffle Along), Joshua Henry (Violet), and Christopher Jackson (Hamilton), alongside YouTube sensation and Kinky Boots star Todrick Hall and multiple Grammy Award nominees Deborah Cox and Ledisi.

Billy Porter is a Tony and Grammy Award-winning singer, composer, actor, playwright and director from Pittsburgh, PA. As a recording artist, Porter’s solo albums include his first CD, Untitled, on A&M records, At the Corner of Broadway + Soul – LIVE on Sh-K-Boom Records, and Billy’s Back on Broadway, on Concord Records. He originated the role of ‘Lola’ in the Broadway hit Kinky Boots, which won him 2013 Tony, Grammy, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Awards.

As a director, Porter’s credits include Topdog/Underdog and The Colored Museum (both for Huntington Theatre Company); Film/TV: “Law & Order: SVU,” “So You Think You Can Dance” (as a guest judge), “The Broken Hearts Club,” “Shake Rattle & Roll,” “The Big C,” The Humbling, starring Al Pacino, Baz Luhrmann’s The Get Down.

Porter’s concerts credits include opening act for Rosie O’Donnell and Aretha Franklin, Carnegie Hall, John McDaniel and the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, as well as The Buffalo Philharmonic, Peter Nero and The Philly Pops, soloist for President Bill Clinton and various benefits throughout the United States.

The complete track listing for Billy Porter Presents The Soul of Richard Rodgers is as follows:

  1. Oh, What a Beautiful Morning (Pentatonix & Billy Porter)
  2. My Romance (Leslie Odom Jr.)
  3. If I Loved You (Renée Elise Goldsberry & Christopher Jackson)
  4. With a Song in My Heart (Brandon Victor Dixon & Joshua Henry)
  5. I Have Dreamed (Patina Miller)
  6. My Funny Valentine (Cynthia Erivo)
  7. I’m Gonna Wash That Man Right Outta My Hair (Todrick Hall & Billy Porter)
  8. This Nearly was Mine (Deborah Cox)
  9. Bewitched (Ledisi featuring Zaire Park)
  10. Carefully Taught (India.Arie & Billy Porter)
  11. Lady is a Tramp (Billy Porter featuring Zaire Park)
  12. Edelweiss (Billy Porter)

“I like to think of this as the Richard Rodgers version of the Hamilton Mixtapes,” Porter said.  “These are classic songs that everybody knows and loves, and I’m so excited for people to hear them in a brand new way.”

Billy Porter Presents The Soul of Richard Rodgers marks Porter’s fourth studio album, and his first as producer and content curator, with collaborators James Sampliner and Michael “Lofey” Sandlofer.

This month, Porter launches a national tour that kicks off in Bayside, NY on March 19. Full tour schedule below:

March 19 – Queensborough PAC – Bayside, NY
March 29 – Embassy Theater – Fort Wayne, Indiana
March 31 – Ocean Reef Cultural Center – Key Largo, FL
April 2 – Aventura Arts – Aventura, FL
April 3 & 4 – Crest Theater – Delray Beach, FL
April 6 – Nugent-Custer Performance Hall – Columbus, IN
April 7 & 8 – The Columbia Club – Indianapolis, IN
April 21 – Adelphi – Garden City, NY
April 22 – Kean University – Union, NJ
May 5 – Emelin Theater – Westchester, NY
May 14 – Venetian Room – San Francisco, CA
May 20 –Goodman Theatre Gala, Fairmont Hotel – Chicago, IL
June 17 – Playhouse Square Gala –Cleveland, Ohio
July 15 – Willow Valley Communities Cultural Center Theater – Lancaster, PA
August 14 – Bay Street Playhouse – Sag Harbor, NY
August 19 & 20 – Paramount Theater – Provincetown, MA

15 Minutes with Michael Cerveris

March 13th, 2017 Comments off

by Ryan Leeds

Michael Cerveris (Photo: Zack Smith via The Broadway Blog.)

Michael Cerveris (Photo: Zack Smith via The Broadway Blog.)

Michael Cerveris has sunk a ship (Titanic), shot a U.S. President (Assassins), slashed a few throats (Sweeney Todd), and committed suicide by throwing himself in front of a truck (Fun Home). It’s a dark resume, but one that has earned him four Tony nominations and two awards. Not that he’s counting. The mild-mannered Broadway star tends to shun the fanfare of ceremony, focusing more on the joy of stagecraft and performing with his band, Loose Cattle.

On Thursday night, his fellow folk/country music cronies will take to the stage at the Sheen Center, where audiences will be treated to selections from his albums, Dog Eared and Hinterland. He’ll also be playing tunes from his new album Piety.

On a recent rainy morning, the Chelsea resident grabbed coffee at the Grey Dog Cafe with The Broadway Blog to discuss his upcoming gig, his career, and why—with complete sincerity—he doesn’t consider himself “the best.”

The Broadway Blog: First and foremost, let’s clarify the pronunciation of your last name. 
Michael Cerveris: It’s “server-iss” (rhymes with hiss). I have close friends who mispronounce it and I have to say ‘You are my friend, but that’s not my name.’

BB: And you come from an artistic family?
MC: Yes. My brother is an actor, my sister was a ballet dancer and later a Broadway actor. My parents met at Juilliard. They tried to send us to good schools so that we’d have ended up in lucrative, stable careers but that just didn’t happen.

BB: How did Loose Cattle get started? 
MC: My girlfriend at the time, Kimberly Kay, and I were going through an argumentative phase in our relationship and decided to create something a little more productive. She loved to sing and I did, too. After years of being away from the South and then returning, I realized that my formative years were spent here (West Virginia). We decided to start a casual country band for fun, but it grew from there.

BB: How did the name originate? 
MC: I was singing backup for my friend, Laura Cantrell, at Hill Country Barbeque [in New York City.] There was a photo on the wall of a road sign in Texas warning people of “Loose Livestock.” I thought it would be a great name for a band, but I misremembered the sign as “Loose Cattle.”

BB: Your night at the Sheen Center will be billed as “Michael Cerveris and his Accomplices.” Who will be joining you? 
MC: Unfortunately, Kimberly won’t be able to make this show but I’ll have a string quartet, fiddle, and mandolin players. Joe McGinty will play piano and a few others.  It’s going to focus mostly on my Piety album, which has just been released. There will be 10 of us altogether.

BB: Which do you prefer: Performing in your band or on Broadway? They are vastly different. 
MC: They are totally different. I’m so grateful that I haven’t had to choose. To be able to have acting as a day job is pretty exciting, but my band is really a labor of love.

'Fun Home' (photo: Joan Marcus via The Broadway Blog.)

‘Fun Home’ (photo: Joan Marcus via The Broadway Blog.)

BB: You mentioned in a NY Times article that you “have ambivalence about awards in the arts, especially competitive awards.” Why is that?
MC: In general, I think I’ve struggled with competition. I used to run cross-country in junior high school in the hills of West Virginia. I would love the practice runs but as the week would progress towards the track meets, by Saturday morning I would be a ball of nerves. I think I that have color to my personality, which has aversion to ambition and competition.

In the arts, there is no way to objectively compare two performances and say that one is better than the other. The year that I won [the Tony Award for] Fun Home is a perfect example. The job description for my fellow four actors is completely different. There is no way I could have done what Tony Yazbeck, Robert Fairchild, or Brian D’Arcy James did. So to say that I was better makes no sense. I wish they would take away the “best” moniker. I love the celebration of the work, but the actual competition part drives me crazy.

BB: Who has influenced you in the Broadway realm and in the country/folk genre? 
MC: Seeing Len Cariou in the original Sweeney Todd is what made me think that I could do serious musical theater. I’ve always admired Ed Harris. In music, my tastes are pretty varied. John Prine, Dan Fogelberg’s early work, Cat Stevens, Harry Chapin, and Jim Croce were also influences. I’ve also had my indie-rock and punk rock phases.

Now, I’ve rediscovered a lot of country music like Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, and those singer-songwriters who could capture a scene or character in the most commonplace words that take on a poetic essence. There are some modern bands I really like such as Blackberry Smoke and Drive-By Truckers.

Michael Cerveris & His Accomplices
Sheen Center
18 Bleecker Street, NYC
March 16
7:30 p.m.

Ryan Leeds is a freelance theater journalist who lives in Manhattan. He is the Chief Theater Critic for Manhattan Digest and a frequent contributor to Dramatics Magazine. Follow him on Twitter @Ry_Runner or on Facebook.

 

 

Exclusive: ShowTickets.com Interview with Telly Leung

March 8th, 2017 Comments off
Telly Leung (Photo: Leon Le Photography via The Broadway Blog.)

Telly Leung (Photo: Leon Le Photography via The Broadway Blog.)

“There’s no people like show people!” (Or so sang Ethel Merman.) The Broadway Blog is thrilled to announce our partnership with ShowTickets.com, one of the best online resources for choosing, purchasing, and saving on the most popular shows nationwide. We’ve combined creative forces to bring you exclusive interviews with some of Broadway’s biggest stars.

Our first column features Telly Leung, currently starring in In Transit on Broadway. Telly shares with readers about Broadway’s first a cappella musical, his audition experience, backstage insights, and his favorite NYC hot spots.

For the full article click here.

Justin Guarini and Telly Leung in 'In Transit.' (Photo: Joan Marcus)

Justin Guarini and Telly Leung in ‘In Transit.’ (Photo: Joan Marcus)

15 Minutes with LaChanze

February 26th, 2017 Comments off
LaChanze (Dirty Sugar Photography via The Broadway Blog.)

LaChanze (Dirty Sugar Photography via The Broadway Blog.)

One of Broadway’s biggest voices will be rolling into the Highline Ballroom on Monday, February 27, but don’t expect show tunes. LaChanze will be celebrating the launch of her new EP, Feeling Good.

The inspiration came from a cabaret set that the Tony Award-winning actress (The Color Purple) has been performing, coupled with work on her memoir. Together, she felt there were stories to tell that would showcase the music with key moments of her life.

LaChanze (Dirty Sugar Photography via The Broadway Blog.)

LaChanze (Dirty Sugar Photography via The Broadway Blog.)

“All of the moments are very specific — from my childhood through adolescence, adulthood and midlife,” says the actress, who, after several ensemble roles on Broadway, captured the hearts of audiences and critics alike in Once on This Island. The show, directed by Tamara Tunie, also touches upon some of the challenges she’s faced and the people who were influential in getting her back into her life after a personal tragedy.

One of LaChanze favorite moments, which she describes as “pure joy,” is from a specific moment from her childhood, expressed through Dianne Reeves’ radiant song, “Nine.” The multi-talented artist also showcases her own songwriting skills with “You’re Free.”

LaChanze is thrilled to be back at the Hammerstein Ballroom, where she played a Valentine’s Day concert in 2009 and fell in love with the space. In the heart of Chelsea and tucked under the historic High Line elevated park, the venue’s size sits comfortable between a cabaret and concert venue.

“The stage size is huge and equipped with terrific lighting. I love the venue. It’s open, expansive and easily transformed,” says LaChanze of the artistic hub that has welcomed such artists as Stevie Wonder, Lady Gaga, Carlos Santana and more.

LaChanze’s impetus to produce the concert and tour the show later this year (visit www.mslachanze.com for future dates) is multi-faceted. Creatively, it is a celebration of her professional and personal life through song, but it is also an opportunity to stay engaged and relevant in a notoriously fickle industry.

LaChanze (Dirty Sugar Photography via The Broadway Blog.)

LaChanze (Dirty Sugar Photography via The Broadway Blog.)

“For women in general, and not just women of color, when you become a certain age opportunities narrow. We’re viewed differently than men,” observes LaChanze. “Men have full careers in film and television. Women are often relegated to specific roles — the mom or the girlfriend. This happens across the board and even more for African American women.”

“One of the reasons I’m doing this show is because I don’t want to sit around and wait for the phone to ring,” she continues. “And we’re not a monolith. It’s a wide net that’s cast for a few roles, so I’m telling my own story.” LaChanze brought on director Tamara Tunie

In spite of the challenges, LaChanze continues to be in demand and has been working in television, film and voiceover. Broadway audiences will have to wait until at least 2018 for her return to the Great White Way until her daughter graduates from high school before the seasoned actress is ready to commit again to eight shows a week.

But for now, we’re feeling good knowing that LaChanze

LaChanze – “Feeling Good”
Highline Ballroom
431 West 16th Street
February 27
Doors open at 6 p.m.
Showtime 8 p.m.

Matthew Wexler is The Broadway Blog’s editor. Follow him on social media at @roodeloo

 

Florence Henderson Tribute Scheduled for 2/21

February 17th, 2017 Comments off
Florence Henderson (Photo: Helga Esteb / Shutterstock, Inc.)

Florence Henderson (Photo: Helga Esteb / Shutterstock, Inc.)

Friends and family of Florence Henderson will come together on Tuesday, February 21, at 1:30 p.m. at the Music Box Theatre (239 West 45th Street) to celebrate the treasured star. Alan Cumming, Michael Feinstein, Judy Gold, Whoopi Goldberg, Isabel Leonard, Chita Rivera, James Snyder, Bruce Vilanch and Barry Williams will share their memories and talent to honor Florence. Presented by Rich Aronstein, Kayla Pressman and Glen Roven, this memorial event is open to the public on a first-come-first-serve basis with doors opening to the public at 1:20 p.m.

Florence Henderson was one of the most beloved American entertainers of the last six decades.  Florence arrived in New York at the age of 17 to attend the prestigious American Academy of Dramatic Arts. Within a year of attending the Academy, Broadway beckoned with roles in Oklahoma, Fanny, The Sound of Music, South Pacific, and The King and I, among others.

The emerging medium of television piqued her interest and Florence accepted the job as the “Today Show” Girl alongside pioneering broadcaster Dave Garroway. Florence was also a mainstay on live performance shows like “Ed Sullivan,” the “Bell Television Hour” and others. That was all a warm up for mega-popular “The Brady Bunch,” the television series that has remarkably not left the airwaves in syndication since it ceased production in 1974 after 117 episodes. It still airs in over 122 countries. Carol Brady became one of the most popular mothers in television history.

In the aftermath of “The Brady Bunch,” Florence Henderson continued to star in major theatrical productions, headline in Las Vegas and perform live at major venues around the country, including in her autobiographical one-woman show All the Lives of Me.

In 2011, Florence released her memoir Life Is Not a Stage: From Broadway Baby to Lovely Lady and Beyond (Center Street/Hachette Book Group). The autobiography spent time on the New York Times Bestsellers List. In 2003, she was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.  Florence’s enthusiasm, professionalism, commitment to quality and artistry has made her one of the most respected and endearing performers of our time.Florence is survived by her four children, five grandchildren, one brother and two sisters.