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Broadway’s Three to See

February 15th, 2017 Comments off

Broadway and beyond is delivering the goods this month, with star turns from Glenn Close and Jake Gyllenhaal, as well as the latest musical from legendary composer John Kander. Here are our picks of what not to miss.

Glenn Close in 'Sunset Boulevard.' (Photo: Joan Marcus via The Broadway Blog.)

Glenn Close in ‘Sunset Boulevard.’ (Photo: Joan Marcus via The Broadway Blog.)

Sunset Boulevard
Glenn Close returns to Broadway in her Tony Award-winning role as the wide-eyed Norma Desmond in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s epic Sunset Boulevard. John Napier’s towering sets for the original production have been stripped down to make room for the largest Broadway orchestra in 80 years.

In her mansion on Sunset Boulevard, faded, silent-screen goddess, Norma Desmond, lives in a fantasy world. Impoverished screenwriter, Joe Gillis, on the run from debt collectors, stumbles into her reclusive world. Persuaded to work on Norma’s ‘masterpiece’, a film script that she believes will put her back in front of the cameras, he is seduced by her and her luxurious life-style. Joe becomes entrapped in a claustrophobic world until his love for another woman leads him to try and break free with dramatic consequences.

Ben Brantley described Glenn Close’s Norma Desmond as “One of the great performances of this century.”

Sunset Boulevard
Palace Theatre
1564 Broadway
Through June 25

The cast of 'Kid Victory.' (Photo: Carol Rosegg via The Broadway Blog.)

The cast of ‘Kid Victory.’ (Photo: Carol Rosegg via The Broadway Blog.)

Kid Victory
Kid Victory, a haunting new musical, is the latest collaboration from the creators of Vineyard Theatre’s The Landing, composer John Kander (Cabaret, Chicago, The Scottsboro Boys) and playwright Greg Pierce (Slowgirl, Her Requiem).

Seventeen-year-old Luke returns to his small Kansas town after a wrenching one-year absence. As his friendship grows with the town misfit, Emily, his parents realize that in order to truly find their son, they must confront some unnerving truths about his disappearance. Directed by Liesl Tommy (Broadway’s Eclipse, recipient of The Vineyard’s Susan Stroman Directing Award) and choreographed by Christopher Windom (Pippin, Drama League Fellow Assistant Director) in their Vineyard debuts.

Kid Victory
Vineyard Theatre
108 East 15th Street
Opening night: February 22

 

sunday in the park with george
Sunday in the Park with George

One of Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine’s most celebrated musicals returns (again) for a limited run starring Jake Gyllenhaal making his Broadway debut, and Tony Award winner Annaleigh Ashford (Kinky Boots, Wicked). With a two-act structure that loosely follows the life of Impressionist painter George Seurat, Sunday in the Park with George has become a cult favorite since its original 1983 Off Broadway premiere at Playwrights Horizons. Past revivals have included the 2008 transfer of Menier Chocolate Factory’s production.

This production is based on the 2016 City Center concert and has a limited run through April 23.

Sunday in the Park with George
Hudson Theatre
139-141 West 44th Street
Opening night: February 23

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

 

 

Andrew Lloyd Webber Celebrates 4 Shows on Broadway

February 10th, 2017 Comments off
The casts of Andrew Lloyd Webber's current shows on Broadway. (Photo: Nathan Johnson via The Broadway Blog.)

The casts of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s current shows on Broadway. (Photo: Nathan Johnson via The Broadway Blog.)

Moments before the curtain went up on the Broadway revival of Sunset Boulevard, starring Glenn Close, the stars of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s productions came together to celebrate the legendary composer’s historic achievement of having four musicals running simultaneously on Broadway with a commemorative photo.

Lloyd Webber posed backstage at Broadway’s Palace Theatre with cast members from Sunset Boulevard (Glenn Close, Michael Xavier, Siobhan Dillon, Fred Johanson), School of Rock – The Musical (Eric Petersen, Jersey Sullivan, Rachel Katzke), CATS (Jessica Hendy, Harris Milgrim, Tanner Ray Wilson), and The Phantom of the Opera (James Barbour, Kaley Ann Voorhees).

She’s Back! Glenn Close Returns to Broadway in ‘Sunset Boulevard’

October 25th, 2016 Comments off
Glenn Close as Norma Desmond (Photo: Nick Wall via The Broadway Blog.)

Glenn Close as Norma Desmond (Photo: Nick Wall via The Broadway Blog.)

Producers Paul Blake and Mike Bosner announced today the Broadway return of three-time Tony Award-winner Glenn Close in her most iconic role, Norma Desmond, in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Tony Award-winning Best Musical, Sunset Boulevard.

Based on Billy Wilder’s classic Academy Award-winning film, Sunset Boulevard features a celebrated book and lyrics by Don Black and Christopher Hampton. Direct from a bravura sold-out engagement earlier this year at the English National Opera (ENO), which marked Ms. Close’s West End debut, this production of Sunset Boulevard will feature a 40-piece orchestra on the stage of The Palace Theatre (1564 7th Avenue). Directed by Lonny Price, performances will begin on Thursday, February 2, 2017, with an official opening night set for Thursday, February 9, 2017. Sunset Boulevard will play a limited 16-week engagement. Tickets go on sale today, Tuesday, October 25, 2016 at 11 am.

“Seeing Glenn Close revisit her Tony Award-winning performance in London’s West End was a transcendent experience for us both,” said producers Paul Blake and Mike Bosner. “We wouldn’t have thought it possible, but Glenn’s masterful performance is even richer and more layered than before. And hearing the sweeping, breathtaking score performed by a 40-piece orchestra only solidified why Andrew Lloyd Webber is a living legend.”

The ENO production of Sunset Boulevard was just nominated for two Evening Standard Awards, including “Best Musical” and “Best Musical Performance” nod for Glenn Close.

In her mansion on Sunset Boulevard, faded, silent-screen goddess, Norma Desmond, lives in a fantasy world. Impoverished screen writer, Joe Gillis, on the run from debt collectors, stumbles into her reclusive world. Persuaded to work on Norma’s ‘masterpiece’, a film script that she believes will put her back in front of the cameras, he is seduced by her and her luxurious life-style.  Joe becomes entrapped in a claustrophobic world until his love for another woman leads him to try and break free with dramatic consequences.

Sunset Boulevard originally premiered in London’s West End at the Adelphi Theatre in 1993, where it ran for almost four years and played to nearly two million people. The American premiere was at the Shubert Theatre in Century City, Los Angeles in December 1993 with Glenn Close as Norma. The musical was an instant success and played 369 performances before moving to Broadway in 1994 with, what was then, the biggest advance in Broadway history, at $37.5million.

When Sunset Boulevard opens on Broadway, Andrew Lloyd Webber will have the rare distinction of having four musicals running simultaneously on Broadway: The Phantom of the Opera, School of Rock – The Musical, CATS, and Sunset Boulevard.

 

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…

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