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Don’t Miss: An Evening with Bebe Neuwirth at Arena Stage

April 19th, 2017 Comments off

Bebe Neuwirth Arena Stage

Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater will host An Evening with Bebe Neuwirth on Monday, May 1, 2017. The exclusive benefit features the presentation of the second annual Beth Newburger Schwartz Award to Arena Stage Emeritus Trustee Arlene R. Kogod. The evening, helmed by event chair Susan Haas Bralove and diplomatic chair His Excellency Björn Lyrvall, Ambassador of Sweden, includes a VIP cocktail reception, three-course seated dinner, one-night-only performance and post-show music, wine and dessert reception.

Bebe Neuwirth, a two-time Tony and Emmy Award winner, plays the recurring role of Nadine Tolliver on the hit CBS series Madam Secretary. She was seen on Broadway as Nickie in Sweet Charity and Velma Kelly in Chicago. She later returned to Chicago to play both Roxie Hart and Matron in one of Broadway’s longest running musicals to date. She received two Emmy Awards for her role as Dr. Lilith Sternin Crane on television’s Cheers and reprised her role on Frasier. Her cabaret-style performance will weave together stories from her acclaimed career and feature some of her favorite tunes.

Dinner will feature the presentation of the Beth Newburger Schwartz Award to Arlene R. Kogod, in recognition of her unparalleled commitment to and support of the arts throughout Washington, D.C. (Arena Stage’s 200-seat theater, the Kogod Cradle, is named after Arlene and her husband Robert). The award was first presented to Arena Stage board chair Newburger Schwartz in 2016 and celebrates female leaders in the community.

“I have had the pleasure of knowing Arlene Kogod for many years, and am delighted to celebrate her special contributions to our community through the Beth Newburger Schwartz Award,” says Artistic Director Molly Smith. “Arlene is an inspirational leader among Washington women. She is a staunch supporter of the community and of the arts. I love seeing her name on our building every day I come to work. Arlene sets an example to all of us with her quiet and steady generosity of spirit. She deserves to be feted this way, and how better than with Bebe Neuwirth, a multi-talented and amazing artist. Bebe does it all—singing, dancing, acting—and is a great example of the strength of American women.”

“Arlene Kogod exemplifies all that is excellent in a patron of the arts,” adds Newburger Schwartz. “Her love of theater, fine art, music and literature is reflected in her personal collections and public contributions. I am honored that she will accept Arena’s award that recognizes outstanding women in the Washington community.”

All proceeds from the evening support Arena Stage’s award-winning artistic and community engagement programs.

Last Call: Arena Stage’s “Fiddler on the Roof”

January 5th, 2015 Comments off
"Fiddler on the Roof" at Arena Stage (photo: Margot Schulman via The Broadway Blog.)

“Fiddler on the Roof” at Arena Stage (photo: Margot Schulman via The Broadway Blog.)

 

If you can’t wait until next fall for the latest Broadway revival of Fiddler on the Roof, head to Arena Stage for their highly acclaimed production, which has become the theater’s highest grossing production in its 65-year history, shattering the record previously held by the 2011 return engagement of Oklahoma!

Celebrating the 50th anniversary of an American classic, the story follows Tevye, a humble Jewish father who finds his devotion to God severely tested by his headstrong daughters, who want to be their own matchmakers, and the increasingly ruthless government forcing him from his land. The jubilant and masterful score includes “If I Were a Rich Man,” “Sunrise, Sunset,” “Matchmaker, Matchmaker” and “Tradition.”

Illustration by Jody Hewgill.

Illustration by Jody Hewgill.

Tony Award nominee Jonathan Hadary (Golden Boy, Spamalot, Gypsy) makes his Arena debut as Tevye in this celebration of family, community and life’s unexpected miracles, large and small. Ann Arvia (Mary Poppins, Les Miserables) plays opposite him as Golde, and the pair is joined by 20 D.C.-area actors out of the 28-person company. The production features choreography by Parker Esse, who adapts the original Jerome Robbins choreography for an in-the-round configuration, and musical direction by Paul Sportelli.

Popular demand for Fiddler on the Roof led to a weeklong extension of performances, and the production continues through January 11, 2015 in the Fichandler Stage.

“We are a theater that focuses on American voices, and the American musical is our seminal art form,” shares Smith. “We produce the gold-standard musicals because they each tell important stories of our times. Fiddler on the Roof is such a story. Fiddler covers the idiosyncratic beauty and range of human experience: the tyranny and joy of families, the creation and destruction of traditions, young love and mature love, community, immigration and racial and cultural hatred. There is a pulsing heart in the middle of this production that breaks on a nightly basis and re-knits itself each day, becoming more powerful every time. As we feel our world cracking apart, don’t we need this beautiful story of family and community?”

Lyricist Sheldon Harnick, who attended the opening night performance, adds, “I only wish that composer Jerry Bock and book writer Joseph Stein could have seen this superb production, directed so brilliantly by Molly.”

Fiddler on the Roof
Arena Stage
1101 Sixth Street SW, Washington DC
Through January 11


TO SEE OR NOT TO SEE: “Virginia Woolf” & “Cyrano”

October 18th, 2012 Comments off

There were two big Broadway openings in the last week and just because I haven’t had a chance to see them, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t! Let’s see what the critics have to say:

Tracy Letts, Amy Morton, Madison Dirks & Carrie Coons in "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf". Photo by Michael Brosilow.

WHO’S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF

In celebration of its fiftieth anniversary, the Edward Albee classic of marital gamesmanship returns to Broadway in a blistering Steppenwolf production starring Amy Morton (August: Osage County) and Tracy Letts (Pulitzer-winning playwright of August:Osage County).

“…the soul ache this superlative staging leaves behind is accompanied by a feeling far more emotionally enriching: the exhilaration of a fresh encounter with a great work of theater revitalized anew.” New York Times

“The story, in which two married couples share a boozy, increasingly unhinged night, has lost none of its power to keep an audience on edge.” New York Post

“These are both exciting, rich performances, and while they capture a different dynamic, they get the game-playing nature of Albee’s dialogue just right…” Variety

“In Letts’ and Morton’s capable hands, George and Martha emerge as historic icons, America’s first couple of passive-aggressive dysfunction.” Entertainment Weekly

Mizer’s Two Cents: I haven’t made it to the Broadway staging but I saw this production (with this same cast) when it was at the Arena Stage last year; I was astonished and riveted. Judging by the reviews, this sensational revival of a true American classic is still firing on all blazing cylinders.

Read more…

Happily “Ever After”, “Downton Abbey” on Broadway & More Theater News

May 18th, 2012 Comments off

The 2011 Alliance Theatre Production of "Bring It On". Image via BringItOn.com.

Sisters are doing it for themselves in a theater news round-up energized by some serious girl power…

  • The award-winning songwriting team of Marcy Heisler and Zina Goldrich had a great week with Heisler winning the coveted Kleban Prize (of $100,000) for most promising theater lyricist and the team’s film to stage adaptation of Ever After getting the green light for a Broadway launch in 2013.
  • "Priscilla Queen of the Desert". Photo by Joan Marcus

    Sad news though for the “gals” of Priscilla Queen of the Desert; the disco-tastic musical posted a closing notice for June 24 after more than a year on Broadway.

  • Gimme a B for Broadway because the cheerleaders of Bring It On are making a surprise limited-engagement trip to NYC this summer. Producers announced that the national tour will stop on the Great White Way in July.
  • Speaking of going back to school, the actress and (delightfully parodied) Fashion Plate Chloe Sevigny (Big Love) will head to Vassar this summer to star in a developmental workshop of Abigail/1702, a sequel of sorts to The Crucible by playwright Roberto Aquirre-Sacasa. Is it too much to hope that Tituba shows up?
  • OK, so this one is about a boy but somehow it still feels right. Dan Stevens, otherwise known to TV watchers as the dreamy, middle-class heir to Downton Abbey, will be wooing Jessica Chastain’s The Heiress when it opens on Broadway this fall. With these two roles, he is now officially the poster boy for marrying up.
  • Finally, Broadway Blog favorite Kate Baldwin is taking on another iconic role from the golden age of music theater; she’s Marian the Librarian in the Arena Stage production of The Music Man. If simply imagining that casting isn’t enough to get you down to DC (which it should), take a listen to her singing “My White Knight” in rehearsals (at 1:13 in the following video):

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WAY-OFF-BROADWAY: Curtain Rises on New Arena Stage

March 30th, 2011 Comments off

When there’s a month with a fifth Wednesday, I’ll be heading Way-Off-Broadway for a look at theatrical happenings outside New York City. (Perhaps we should call it a journey to the Fifth Dimension and start singing “Aquarius/Let the Sun Shine”.) First up, a quick trip down to Washington, D.C. to look at the new and improved Arena Stage…

Photo by Nick Lehoux courtesy of Bing Thom Architects

Regional theaters develop and produce the most adventurous and original theater in America today. (Did you hear that thunk? That was my gauntlet being thrown down.) Arena Stage, under the artistic direction of Molly Smith, is at the very front rank of these vibrant organizations, with an enviable track record of shepherding new plays and musicals, including the recent Pulitzer Prize-winning Next to Normal. Now, with their newly-opened Mead Center for American Theater, they have a architectural home that matches their theatrical ambitions.  Here’s what you need to know…

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