Posts Tagged ‘falsettos’

Don’t Miss: ‘Falsettos’ Cast Album Release Event on 1/27

January 23rd, 2017 Comments off

falsettosGhostlight Records will celebrate the cast album of the critically acclaimed Broadway revival of William Finn and James Lapine’s Tony Award-winning musical Falsettos with a special in-store performance and CD signing at Barnes & Noble on Friday, January 27 at 7:00 p.m.

The date also marks the album’s worldwide digital release, with physical copies also available and two-disc set available online and in stores. Barnes & Noble will welcome cast members Stephanie J. Block, Anthony Rosenthal, Tracie Thoms, Brandon Uranowitz and Betsy Wolfe, in addition to the show’s composer/lyricist William Finn as special guest. The store is located at 150 East 86th Street, between Lexington and Third Avenues on the Upper East Side. Fans who purchase the CD at the store will be offered priority seating. Call (212) 369-2180 for details.

'Falsettos' (Photo: Joan Marcus via The Broadway Blog.)

‘Falsettos’ (Photo: Joan Marcus via The Broadway Blog.)

The first-ever full cast album of the musical includes a 60-page full-color booklet with complete lyrics, production photos, and an essay from Lincoln Center Theater’s Producing Artistic Director, André Bishop and Musical Theater Associate Producer Ira Weitzman. The cast album was produced by Kurt Deutsch with Lawrence Manchester serving as co-producer.

William Finn and James Lapine’s groundbreaking, Tony Award-winning musical Falsettos (Best Book of a Musical and Best Original Scorerecently returned to Broadway in an all-new production from Lincoln Center Theater. Lapine returned to direct an extraordinary cast featuring Stephanie J. Block (The Mystery of Edwin Drood, Tony nom.), Christian Borle (Something Rotten!, Tony Award), Andrew Rannells (The Book of Mormon, Tony nom.), Anthony Rosenthal, Tracie Thoms, Brandon Uranowitz(An American in Paris, Tony nom.) and Betsy Wolfe.

Christian Borle and Andrew Rannells in 'Falsettos.' (Photo: Joan Marcus via The Broadway Blog.)

Christian Borle and Andrew Rannells in ‘Falsettos.’ (Photo: Joan Marcus via The Broadway Blog.)

“Growing up with Falsettos was a game changer musical for me. With its gorgeous score and trailblazing takes on love, life and crisis, Falsettos is one of our great musicals and we’re honored to preserve the new Broadway cast album on Ghostlight Records,” says the label’s founder Kurt Deutsch. “Having released Finn’s wonderful 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, we’re thrilled to add this recording to our catalog, especially featuring such an unbelievable cast breathing such magnificent life into this ‘tight-knit family.’”

According to The New York Times, “There’s hardly a moment in the exhilarating, devastating revival of the musical Falsettos that doesn’t approach, or even achieve, perfection. It feels as fresh and startling as it did back in 1992.”

Time Out New York raved, “few musicals have the range, idiosyncrasy and emotional punch of this profoundly unconventional and personal work.” Newsday called the show “brave and hilarious, a charming and deeply moving treasure” and added “Finn matches his jaunty and vaudevillian, then haunting, music to enormously quotable, conversational lyrics that catch in the throat as often as they stick in the mind.”

The Chicago Tribune heralded the show as “a musical that throbs with passion and compassion, a masterwork.  It is a unequivocal pleasure to let Finn’s music and lyrics return to your consciousness.”

Falsettos was directed by James Lapine, with choreography by Spencer Liff, sets by David Rockwell, costumes by Jennifer Caprio, lighting by Jeff Croiter, sound by Dan Moses Schreier, and musical direction by Vadim Feichtner, conducting Michael Starobin’s original orchestrations.


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Love is Blind: ‘Falsettos’ on Broadway

November 22nd, 2016 Comments off
'Falsettos' (Photo: Joan Marcus via The Broadway Blog.)

‘Falsettos’ (Photo: Joan Marcus via The Broadway Blog.)

Falsettos in many ways, is a love letter to a time gone by. Originally conceived as the second and third installments in a musical trilogy that follows Marvin and the evolution of his family as he embraces his homosexuality, the segments appeared individually at Playwrights Horizons and other theatres from 1979 to 1990. In Trousers (1979), March of the Falsettos (1981), and Falsettoland (1990) bear the mark of an era, including the haunting notes of the AIDS crisis.

The latter two premiered on Broadway in 1992 as a two-act musical and won Tony Awards for Best Score (William Finn) and Book (William Finn and James Lapine). By that time, AIDS had ravaged not only the theater community, but also the American psyche.

Lincoln Center Theater’s revival, currently playing at the Walter Kerr Theater in a limited engagement through January 8, is faithful to the original with some modern sensibilities, notably choreography (mostly staging) by Spencer Liff, who invigorates the material with plenty of movement and keeps the ensemble agile within the recitative-heavy score. David Rockwell’s set—a seemingly endless pile of grey building blocks—also distracts from the fact that Finn’s material doesn’t have a lot of forward momentum.

Christian Borle and Andrew Rannells in 'Falsettos.' (Photo: Joan Marcus via The Broadway Blog.)

Christian Borle and Andrew Rannells in ‘Falsettos.’ (Photo: Joan Marcus via The Broadway Blog.)

But those familiar with the composer/lyricist’s work (Little Miss Sunshine, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, A New Brain) know that Finn’s strengths lie in his ability to create character, and Falsettos offers juicy material for the seasoned ensemble. Marvin (Christian Borle) is at the plot’s epicenter. In Act One he comes to terms with the end of his marriage to Trina (Stephanie J. Block) and eventually the demise of his relationship with Whizzer (Andrew Rannells). Meanwhile, Trina falls for Marvin’s neurotic psychiatrist (Brandon Uranowitz), all the while trying to keep her pre-teen son (Anthony Rosenthal) from spinning out of control.

Act Two takes place two years later. Marvin has reconciled with Whizzer and the couple befriends the “lesbians from next door”: Charlotte (Tracie Thoms), a doctor facing the as-yet-unnamed virus, and Cordelia (Betsy Wolfe), her kosher caterer girlfriend. Jason’s Bar Mitzvah looms in the near feature as Whizzer faces a bleak diagnosis.

While it might be hard for millennials to grasp Finn and Lapine’s intentional vagueness, in 1981 there were 234 known AIDS-related deaths. The Gay Men’s Health Crisis had yet to be born and it would be another six years before ACT UP was founded. By the time the musical migrated to Broadway in 1992, this was still unchartered territory in the world of musical theater (the Gershwin mash-up, Crazy For You, won the Tony Award for best musical that year and Angels in America would arrive on Broadway a year later).

In short, show a little respect, kids. Falsettos is quirky in structure, a “tight-knit” family unraveling into something entirely new. Borle has been quoted regarding his enthusiasm to tackle a “three dimensional person” coming off of Something Rotten! and Peter and the Starcatcher. His restraint, though, often reads as negative and snarky. Marvin isn’t the most likeable character but the audience needs to understand why Trina and Whizzer have both fallen for him, and it’s only in the Act One finale, the beautifully touching “Father to Son” that we see a glimmer of his soft side.

As his ex, Trina, Block pulls out all the stops with a voice that reaches the rafters and comedic timing that stops the show midway through Act One with “I’m Breaking Down,” a song that laments her crumbling marriage. Unfortunately, busy staging masks her Act Two 10 o’clock number, “Holding to the Ground.” (Whizzer gets the 11 o’clock slot).

Uranowitz as her nebbishly hippy psychiatrist husband is quite the charmer with just enough shtick to offset the gravitas, while Rannells isn’t too off course from his character on HBO’s Girls. Thoms and Wolfe deliver due diligence in underwritten roles that appear out of nowhere (and go nowhere) in Act Two, while Rosenthal is more believable as a tween than a 13-year-old facing adulthood. Across the board, there’s not a lot of chemistry among the cast, which feels amiable but not deeply rooted.

Stephanie J. Block and Brandon Uranowitz in 'Falsettos.' (Photo: Joan Marcus via The Broadway Blog.)

Stephanie J. Block and Brandon Uranowitz in ‘Falsettos.’ (Photo: Joan Marcus via The Broadway Blog.)

What is most resonant about Falsettos in 2016 is its message of diversity, tolerance and acceptance—themes that are running amok these days in other circles. In the original script Whizzer’s passing is implied and not so literally staged as in this revival. As his family of choice gathers around his tombstone, Mendel sings:

Women with children.
Short insomniacs.
We’re a teeny tiny band.
Lovers come and lovers go.
Lovers live and die fortissimo.
This is where we take a stand.
Welcome to Falsettoland. 

Thanks for the reminder, William Finn. This is where we take a stand.

Walter Kerr Theater
219 West 48th Street, NYC
Through January 8

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

Opening Night: ‘Falsettos’ on Broadway

October 27th, 2016 Comments off

falsettosThe much-anticipated revival of William Finn and James Lapine’s Falsettos opens tonight on Broadway with an all-star cast that includes Stephanie J. Block (Wicked), Christian Borle (Something Rotten!, Peter and the Starcatcher), Andrew Rannells (The Book of Mormon, Hamilton), Tracie Thoms (Rent), Brandon Uranowitz (An American in Paris) and Betsy Wolfe (Bullets Over Broadway).

Co-book writer and original director James Lapine is back to helm this new production being brought to Broadway by Lincoln Center Theater, the company behind 2015’s Tony winning best revival The King and I.

Take a look behind the scenes…

Three to See: October – Revival Edition

October 4th, 2016 Comments off

It’s show time! After a gloomy late summer when Broadway shows were shuttering like a hurricane was about to blow into town, things are picking up with a slew of new openings. This month, what’s old is new again with three revivals that hope to capitalize on big stars, Tony Award-winning composers, and creative visions for classic material. We’ll see what sticks!

The Front PageThe Front Page
Written by Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur, The Front Page first opened at the Times Square Theatre in 1928. Nearly 90 years later, this revival marks the sixth production to hit the boards.

The play takes place in the press room of Chicago’s Criminal Courts Building, which is buzzing with reporters covering the story of an escaped prisoner. When star reporter Hildy Johnson (John Slattery) accidentally discovers the runaway convict, he and his editor Walter Burns (Nathan Lane) conspire to hide the man from the other reporters, while they chase the biggest scoop of their careers.

Often cited as the greatest play ever written about the newspaper business, The Front Page has also been a hit on screen. A 1931 film version starred Adolphe Menjou as Walter Burns and Pat O’Brien as Hildy Johnson. The 1940 film adaptation, His Girl Friday, starring Cary Grant as Walter Burns and Rosalind Russell as a now-female Hildy Johnson, is considered one of the classics of the screwball comedy genre, and in 1993 was selected by the Library of Congress for preservation in the National Film Registry.

The Front Page
Broadhurst Theatre
235 West 44th Street
Opening night: October 20


The cast of Lincoln Center Theatre's 'Falsettos.'

The cast of Lincoln Center Theatre’s ‘Falsettos.’

What other show could open with “four Jews in a room bitching” other than William Finn and James Lapine’s 1992 look at love and life through the lens of the AIDS crisis?

The groundbreaking, Tony Award-winning musical Falsettos comes back to Broadway this fall in an all-new production from Lincoln Center Theater. Lapine returns to direct an extraordinary cast featuring Stephanie J. Block (The Mystery of Edwin Drood), Christian Borle (Something Rotten!, Tony Award), Andrew Rannells (The Book of Mormon), Anthony Rosenthal, Tracie Thoms, Brandon Uranowitz (An American in Paris) and Betsy Wolfe (The Last Five Years).

Falsettos revolves around the life of a charming, intelligent, neurotic gay man named Marvin, his wife, lover, about-to-be-Bar-Mitzvahed son, their psychiatrist, and the lesbians next door. It’s a hilarious and achingly poignant look at the infinite possibilities that make up a modern family… and a beautiful reminder that love can tell a million stories.

Walter Kerr Theater
219 West 48th Street
Opening night: October 27

Les Liasons Dangereuses

Les Liasons Dangereuses

Les Liasons Dangereuses
Talk about a power play. Live Schreiber, Tony Award winner for Best Actor in Glengarry Glen Ross and star of Showtime’s “Ray Donovan”; and Janet McTeer, Tony winner for Best Actress in A Doll’s House, return to Broadway in one of the sexiest plays ever written.

Les Liasons Dangereuses begins with two ex-lovers who scheme to ruin the reputation of an innocent young aristocrat. As their game of seduction and manipulation becomes more intricate, they quickly discover that the stakes are higher than they bargained for… and their last encounter may be their most dangerous by far.

Direct from London, McTeer reprises her role in the Donmar Warehouse’s critically acclaimed, sold-out production. Written by Academy Award winner Christopher Hampton, re-imagined by Olivier Award nominee and Donmar Artistic Director Josie Rourke, and brought to Broadway by the Tony-winning producer of Red, this staging promises to breathe a bold new life into one of the theater’s most provocative and intriguing plays. 

Les Liasons Dangereuses
Booth Theatre
222 West 45th Street
Opening night: October 30

Tony Award Time Machine: 1992

May 25th, 2012 Comments off

"Crazy for You". Image via Google.

In prep for the upcoming Tonys, we’ve been taking our time machine out for a spin and doing a little decade hopping. We saw those damn hippies take over Broadway in 1972 and Jennifer Holliday tear down the house in 1982. So what will we find on Tony night in the glorious year of 1992

…oh, sorry, I nodded off there. Sure, there are some solid and quite moving things from 1992. The Irish drama Dancing at Lughnasa kicking up its heals as Best Play. Another showdown between scrappy underdog and tourable crowd-pleaser in Best Musical (Falsettos vs ultimate winner Crazy for You.) And who can we fault any year when the grand dame Glenn Close gets some hardware (Best Actress in a Play for Death and the Maiden). So why does it all feel a little, ho hum? I suppose because as great as the performances are nothing cries out to be watched again and again at a gay bar on music theater mondays. None of this year’s clips have that train wreck quality or transcendent brilliance that makes them unforgettable.

But I have to spice this up somehow so as we watch the clips, I’ll reveal a little personal dirt. Yeah, now you’re hooked…

Read more…