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Three to See: July

July 7th, 2016 Comments off

The heat is on. Summer is in full swing and Broadway casualties are dropping like a dehydrated groupie waiting in line for Hamilton cancellation tickets. No more Shuffle Along, She Loves Me, Bright Star, American Psycho, The Crucible, or Fully beyond.

Daniel Radcliffe (Featureflash Photo Agency / Shutterstock.com via The Broadway Blog.)

Daniel Radcliffe (Featureflash Photo Agency / Shutterstock.com via The Broadway Blog.)

Privacy
Daniel Radcliffe returns to the New York stage in a new play by James Graham that explores our complicated relationship with technology and data through the funny and heart-breaking travails of a lonely guy Radcliffe), who arrives in the city to figure out how to like, tag, and share his life without giving it all away.

This provocative theatrical event will ask audiences to charge their phones, leave them ON during the performance and to embark on a fascinating dive online and into a new reality where we’re all connected… for better or worse.

Privacy
The Public Theater
425 Lafayette Street, NYC
Opening: July 18

 

CatsCATS
Jellicle cats come one, come all. Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical 1983 Tony Award-winning musical has been loved and loathed by theatergoers for more than three decades.

Trevor Nunn returns to remount the production with new choreography by Andy Blankenbuehler (based on the original by Gillian Lynne, who reportedly was none to happy about the decision to revisit her work.) Leona Lewis makes her Broadway debut in the role of Grizabella, for which Betty Buckley won a Tony Award. We’ll see how many lives this CATS has.

CATS
Neil Simon Theatre
250 West 52nd Street, NYC
Opening: July 31

 

War Paint

War Paint
Chicago’s Goodman Theatre premieres this new musical starring Patti LuPone and Christine Ebersole as iconic female entrepreneurs Helena Rubinstein and Elizabeth Arden. Their 50-year tug-of-war would give birth to the cosmetics industry. From Fifth Avenue society to the halls of Congress, their rivalry was relentless and legendary—pushing both women to build international empires in a world dominated by men. Directed by Michael Greif (Rent, Next to Normal).

War Paint
Goodman Theatre
170 North Dearborn, Chicago
Opening: July 18

 

Recap: Michael Feinstein at Carnegie Hall

March 28th, 2016 Comments off
Michael Feinstein (Photo: Jennifer Taylor via The Broadway Blog.)

Michael Feinstein (Photo: Jennifer Taylor via The Broadway Blog.)

Michael Feinstein gathered some of his favorite vocalists to join him last week at Zankel Hall to help celebrate Carnegie Hall’s 125th anniversary. Feinstein is a master of the Great American Songbook and has been wowing audiences for more than 30 years in live performances around the world. In addition, his impressive discography celebrates some of the most notable composers of the 20th century including Harold Arlen, George and Ira Gershwin, Jerry Herman, Jule Styne, and many more.

Christine Ebersole (Photo: Jennifer Taylor via The Broadway Blog.)

Christine Ebersole (Photo: Jennifer Taylor via The Broadway Blog.)

Opening with an inspired arrangement of “They All Laughed” and “I’ve Got Rhythm” (with a few final bars from “Rhapsody in Blue”), Feinstein quickly affirmed himself as both a virtuoso piano player as well as vocalist. In addition to his terrific musicality, Feinstein’s charm and in-depth knowledge shined bright as he reminisced about his first performance at Carnegie Hall in 1978.

In fact, Feinstein and friends continued to draw parallels between the cultural institution’s long history and the evening’s program. Special guest Liz Callaway referenced Judy Garland’s famous 1961 concert and paid homage to the evening with a rendition of “The Trolley Song.” Christine Ebersole was equally entertaining with “On the Atcheson, Topeka and the Santa Fe,” “Johnny One Note,” and an endearing duet of “Embraceable You” with Feinstein.

The evening concluded with Feinstein’s celebration of the 25th anniversary of ASCAP (American Society of Composers and Producers) that occurred in 1939, where Irving Berlin sang “Alexander’s Ragtime Band.” Berlin would have been proud of Feinstein’s bravado.

Don’t miss Carnegie Hall’s 125th Anniversary Gala on May 5, featuring Martina Arroyo, Emanuel Ax, Michael Feinstein, Renée Fleming, Marilyn Horne, Lang Lang, Isabel Leonard, Yo-Yo Ma, Jessye Norman, Itzhak Perlman, James Taylor, and more.

Standard Time with Michael Feinstein (Photo: Jennifer Taylor via The Broadway Blog.)

Standard Time with Michael Feinstein (Photo: Jennifer Taylor via The Broadway Blog.)

Breaking: LuPone and Ebersole to Star in New Musical

November 13th, 2015 Comments off
Patti LuPone (Everett Collection / Shutterstock.com)

Patti LuPone (Everett Collection / Shutterstock.com)

Christine Ebersole (JStone/Shutterstock)

Christine Ebersole (JStone/Shutterstock)

Things are heating up this summer when Tony Award winners Patti LuPone (Gypsy, Evita) and Christine Ebersole (Grey Gardens) head to Chicago’s Goodman Theatre to star in War Paint, a new musical about icons of the fashion industry.

Helena Rubinstein and Elizabeth Arden defined beauty standards for the first half of the 20th Century. Brilliant innovators with humble roots, both were masters of self-invention who sacrificed everything to become the country’s first major female entrepreneurs. They were also fierce competitors, whose 50-year tug-of-war would give birth to an industry. From Fifth Avenue society to the halls of Congress, their remarkable rivalry was ruthless, relentless and legendary—pushing both women to build international empires in a world dominated by men.

The two theatrical powerhouses will go head to head in this new musical about two legendary ladies who forever changed the business of beauty.

The creative team includes the acclaimed Broadway team of librettist Doug Wright(Grey GardensI Am My Own Wife, The Little Mermaid); composer Scott Frankel and lyricist Michael Korie (Grey Gardens, Far From Heaven); and director Michael Greif (Rent, Next to Normal, If/Then and Grey Gardens).

June 28 – August 7, 2016

Review: ‘Ever After’ at Paper Mill Playhouse

June 9th, 2015 Comments off
Margo Seibert (center) and the cast of 'Ever After.' (photo: Jerry Dalia via The Broadway Blog.)

Margo Seibert (center) and the cast of ‘Ever After.’ (photo: Jerry Dalia via The Broadway Blog.)

Ever After, Paper Mill Playhouse’s latest effort to produce a new musical with enough legs to get to Broadway, offers a few moments of musical theater bliss, but the hodgepodge retelling of the Cinderella-inspired 1998 film starring Drew Barrymore doesn’t yet have the spark or continuity needed to warrant a big budget move to the Great White Way.

Margot Seibert (l) and Christine Ebersole in 'Ever After.' (photo: Jerry Dalia via The Broadway Blog.)

Margot Seibert (l) and Christine Ebersole in ‘Ever After.’ (photo: Jerry Dalia via The Broadway Blog.)

Director/choreographer Kathleen Marshall (Living On Love, Nice Work if You Can Get It, Anything Goes) does a serviceable job with Marcy Heisler (book and lyrics) and Zina Goldrich’s (music) faithful adaptation. Danielle (Margot Seibert) becomes the family servant after the sudden death of her father, forced to attend to an icy cold stepmother Rodmilla (Christine Ebersole) and stepsisters (Mara Davi, Annie Funke). As expected, she crosses paths with an unhappy prince (James Snyder), first as a peasant, then as a not so cleverly disguised woman of means, in order to free one of her fellow servants from being shipped off to America (which doesn’t seem like the most terrible thing given the state of affairs in the kingdom).

Seibert, who garnered much attention for her turn as Adrian in Broadway’s short-lived Rocky, offers a feisty riff on the Cinderella template. Occasionally sulky with a voice that straddles between a chesty belt and foggy soprano, she’s a bit of an anti-hero. There’s no mistaking that this girl is tired of doing the dishes. As her conventional suitor, Snyder fulfills his princely duties. Ebersole (Grey Gardens, 42nd Street) is not so much the wicked stepmother (though locking Danielle in the cellar and giving away her wedding dress might imply otherwise) as a woman trapped by her own circumstance—funneling the rage for her own discontent life into the abuse of her stepdaughter.

As in the film, Leonardo da Vinci (Tony Sheldon) appears as quirky inspiration to help keep the storyline on track. Sheldon (Priscilla Queen of the Desert) is magnetic onstage and a far more captivating subplot than Prince Henry’s awkwardly anachronistic sidekick Captain Laurent (Charl Brown), who looks like he just stepped off the L train for a Halloween party in Bushwick.

Margot Seibert and James Snyder in 'Ever After.' (photo: Jerry Dalia via The Broadway Blog.)

Margot Seibert and James Snyder in ‘Ever After.’ (photo: Jerry Dalia via The Broadway Blog.)

Marshall does her best to razzle dazzle the script with a few well-intentioned but awkward dance breaks, including an odd number in Act One when a band of gypsies hail Danielle as their queen, as well as a royal court tribute to de Vinci, “Is There Anything Leonardo Can’t Do?” (The answer being, of course, get this show back on course.) Heisler and Goldrich have crafted some soaring melodies, including Rodmilla’s “After All” and the Act One finale, “Out of the Darkness.”

Ever After would be immensely served by the aid of a dramaturg, who might have been able to tighten up unraveling intentions and conflicting styles. By the very nature of the title, it’s a family show, but Ever After is neither magical nor transformative enough to capture the audience’s heart. The design team doesn’t help matters. Costumes lean somewhat toward late 13th century yet there’s a scene where Danielle, in disguise, is drinking afternoon tea with Henry’s mother, Queen Marie (Julie Halston), which feels more like 19th century England—huh? And that magical moment at the end of the film where Danielle appears with de Vinci-inspired angel wings is reduced to a flimsy recreation that produces chuckles more than awes.

Ever After
Paper Mill Playhouse
22 Brookside Drive, Millburn, NJ
Through June 21

Matthew Wexler is The Broadway Blog’s editor. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram at @roodeloo.

From Broadway with Love: A Benefit Concert For Sandy Hook

January 23rd, 2013 Comments off


It has been a little more than a month since tragedy struck Sandy Hook Elementary School and our nation mourned with the residents of Newtown, CT. As the town continues to recover, Broadway stars, producers, writers, and directors will lend their voices in support. “From Broadway with Love: A Benefit Concert For Sandy Hook” will take place on January 28, 2013 at 7:00 pm at the Palace Theater in Waterbury, CT, 20 minutes from Newtown. All proceeds and donations will go to United Way of Western Connecticut’s Sandy Hook School Support Fund.

“From Broadway With Love: A Benefit Concert For Sandy Hook” will feature song, dance, and other appearances from some of the biggest names on Broadway, together with select students from various Newtown choirs and dance groups.

Tony award-winner Christine Ebersole is one of the many talents scheduled to perform. (©Christine Ebersole)

Renowned Broadway performers scheduled to appear include Brian Stokes Mitchell, Linda Eder, Stephen Schwartz, Micky Dolenz, Marc Shaiman, Michael Cerveris, Christine Ebersole, Frank Wildhorn, Philip Boykin, Richard Kind, Nikki Blonsky, Mary Testa, Alan Muraoka, Jan Maxwell, Robin De Jesus, Julia Murney, Capathia Jenkins, Janet Metz, Lance Guest, Erik Hayden, Randy Redd, Dan Mills, and Victoria Matlock, Lee Rocker of the Stray Cats as well as members of the touring cast of “Sister Act” and Muppets and cast members from “Sesame Street”.

Brett Boles, author of the musical “Foreverman,” and Broadway producer Van Dean, both from the Newtown area, are the original conceivers of the benefit concert. The Tony Award-winning producer and the emerging musical theater writer decided to put together this concert as a way to lift the spirits of a town so close to their hearts and show that Broadway cares.

“The outpouring of love and support from the Broadway community has been incredibly heartwarming,” noted Dean, “and everyone was looking for a way they could use their talents to bring something positive to the community. ‘From Broadway With Love’ provides them with the perfect outlet to do so.”

“From Broadway With Love” provides a free night of entertainment for the impacted families, first responders, and the Sandy Hook Elementary community. The Palace Theatre seats approximately 2,600 and a limited number of tickets are now on sale for the general public, ranging from $50 to $250. To purchase tickets or make a tax-deductible donation, visit www.FromBroadwayWithLove.org.

This benefit event is made possible, in part, by the generous donations from many companies and individuals including Bermuda Limousine International, One Dream Sound, the Palace Theater of Waterbury, CT, Atomic Rental, Consulting for a Cause, The Silent Orchestra and more.

 

Win a Trip to NYC with “Priscilla” and More Theater News

February 24th, 2012 Comments off

"Priscilla Queen of the Desert ". Photo by Joan Marcus.

Find some room on the proverbial couch because we’ve got some casting news to report:

  • Ready to make your Broadway debut? The sashaying folks at Priscilla Queen of the Desert and Ticketmaster are offering a sweet opportunity to win a trip to NYC to meet the cast and dance on stage during the show. Tickets, airfare and hotel are all part of the deal. (You must enter by February 27, so get on it!)
  • It’s been long rumored but Meryl Streep will indeed be playing the pill-popping matriarch opposite Julia Roberts in the film version of August: Osage County. Seems a shame that this Pulitzer Prize winning property couldn’t attract any big movie stars.
  • Linda Lavin & Kate Jennings Grant in "The Lyons". Photo by Carol Rosegg.

    Remember how I said that this year’s Tony Awards are going to be crazy competitive in the Play categories? It just got more fun. Producers announced that The Lyons, the well-reviewed Off-Broadway play by Nicky Silver, is sneaking on to Broadway just in time to be eligible. Even better, it will make the move with the bravura performance from star Linda Lavin (the subject of our recent adoration); add another actress to the list of contenders including Cynthia Nixon, Nina Arianda, Tyne Daly, Rosemary Harris and many more.

  • Two great actresses (and favorites of my youth) have been added to upcoming Broadway productions: the delightful Margaret Colin (Arcadia and As the World Turns!) is joining The Columnist and the criminally under-appreciated Carol Kane will appear in the revival of Harvey. 
  • Don’t speak? Well, she’s going to have to when Woody Allen’s brilliant Bullets Over Broadway comes to the Great White Way as a musical next season. Word is that the script is by Mr. Allen himself and it will feature period songs, not original songs…but the important question is whether Dianne Wiest reprise her Oscar winning role?