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Review: ‘On Your Feet!’

November 18th, 2015 Comments off

by Laura Grimmer

Ana Villafañe and the cast of 'On Your Feet!' (photo: Matthew Murphy via The Broadway Blog.)

Ana Villafañe and the cast of ‘On Your Feet!’ (photo: Matthew Murphy via The Broadway Blog.)

To be honest, I was astonished at the sheer number of Gloria Estefan songs I not only knew, but knew well enough to heartily sing along. Which made me just another member of the crowd at a recent production of On Your Feet! now playing at Broadway’s Marquis Theatre.

And to be sure, the crowd is a friendly, lively and easy-going group there to enjoy a night of pop hits, over-simplified love and family relationship stories and melodramatic recoveries from horrific bus accidents. And yes, it’s a good time.

Directed by Jerry Mitchell (a two-time Tony Award winner as a choreographer, most recently for Kinky Boots), On Your Feet is the dramatized life story of Gloria née Fajardo, whose parents left Cuba when Castro came to power and settled in Miami, and Emilio Estefan, the Latin music impresario who discovered her and managed the meteoric, cross-over success of their band, Miami Sound Machine. (Gloria and Emilio share music, lyric and orchestration credit for the show.)

Josh Segarra and Ana Villafañe in 'On Your Feet!' (Photo: Matthew Murphy via The Broadway Blog.)

Josh Segarra and Ana Villafañe in ‘On Your Feet!’ (Photo: Matthew Murphy via The Broadway Blog.)

Broadway newcomer Ana Villafañe is a knockout as Gloria, with her looks and the timbre of her voice evoking the superstar while bringing energy, passion and depth to the by-the-numbers book by Alexander Dinelaris, an Academy Award-winner for the screenplay of Birdman.

Opening with a snippet of Rhythm is Gonna Get You from Gloria in concert, the first act lays out the Estefans’ never-stop work ethic and tells the back story of Gloria’s father (Eliseo Roman), a one-time Cuban policeman and Batista family bodyguard who served as a U.S. soldier in Vietnam before falling ill with multiple sclerosis. Gloria’s abuelo (grandmother, played by Alma Cuervo) plays the role of both historian to explain things when needed to further the action and matchmaker between Gloria and Emilio (a quite dashing Josh Segarra), then the band leader of the Miami Latin Boys.

“Anything for You” is Gloria’s performance piece to audition for Emilio’s band, 1-2-3 (“1-2-3-4, Come on, baby, say you love me”) is the vehicle for showcasing Gloria’s rise from shy, reluctant singer to superstar-on-the rise, and “I See Your Smile” illustrates the young couple’s evolving emotional connection.

There’s a somewhat predictable mother-daughter conflict as Gloria’s career takes off and her mother, also named Gloria and played beautifully by Andréa Burns, relives her past glory as a performer in Cuba before her father (and presumably, the revolution) killed her dreams.

While the music had the audience bobbing up and down throughout the night, one of the best applause-inducing moments of the play came when Emilio is trying to convince record executive Phil (Lee Zarrett) that Miami Sound Machine’s music, already a hit in the Latin market, can be a bonafide cross-over hit with an album in English.

“While you’re dominating the Latin markets, the next single is gonna be in Spanish!” Phil says. “It’s that simple. You really wanna cross over? Fine. Get rid of the horns, simplify the percussion, change your name. Then we’ll talk.”

“When I first got to Miami,” Emilio says, seething, “there was a sign in front of the apartment building next to ours. It said, ‘No Pets. No Cubans.’ Change my name? It’s not my name to change. It’s my father’s name. It was my grandfather’s name. My grandfather, who we left behind in Cuba to come here and build a new life. Now, for 15 years I’ve worked my ass off and paid my taxes. So, I’m not sure where you think I live, but this is my home. And you should look very closely at my face, because whether you know it or not, this is what an American looks like.”

Needless to say, Conga went on to blow up the Billboard chart, and eventually Gloria Estefan went on to make 38 hits and win seven Grammy Awards.

Ana Villafañe as Gloria Estefan in 'On Your Feet!' (Photo: Matthew Murphy via The Broadway Blog.)

Ana Villafañe as Gloria Estefan in ‘On Your Feet!’ (Photo: Matthew Murphy via The Broadway Blog.)

The second half of On Your Feet is dominated by the March 1990 bus accident that resulted in a traumatic spine injury and more than a year of grueling rehabilitation for Gloria, culminating in her triumphant return to the stage with the Billboard number one hit, “Coming Out of the Dark.”

Sergio Trujillo (Jersey Boys, Memphis) choreographed the Cubano dance-driven numbers (and there are many). Smoothly performed by the lithesome company with terrific energy, I wasn’t the only audience member whose shoulders were twitching to shimmy during the dance segments.

David Rockwell’s set design (On the Twentieth Century, Kinky Boots) makes clean, efficient use of revolving panels to carry the story from a Miami Sound Machine concert to Gloria’s Miami childhood home, to a hospital and to Gloria’s triumphant return to the stage. Lighting by Kenneth Posner (Kinky Boots, Finding Neverland) provides a needed assist to elevate the drama in the at-times sparse story.

The costumes, by Esosa (Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill, Motown) capture the classical Miami look and feel up through the 1980s and 90s fashion so intrinsic to the MTV generation.

In the genre of so-called jukebox musicals based on singers and/or popular songs (Beautiful, Jersey Boys, Mamma Mia), On Your Feet fares well as a cohesive blend of story-telling via this singer’s pantheon of hits.

On Your Feet!
Marquis Theatre
46th Street between Broadway and 8th Avenue
Open ended run.

A former reporter for the Associated Press, Laura Grimmer is an avid theatergoer with an admittedly bourgeois fear of seeing someone naked on stage. Follow her on Twitter at @lauragrimmer.

‘Gotta Dance’ Drafts Its Whole Team For Broadway Bound Production

October 15th, 2015 Comments off
'Gotta Dance' (photo: Matthew Murphy via The Broadway Blog.)

‘Gotta Dance’ (photo: Matthew Murphy via The Broadway Blog.)

Producers Dori Berinstein and Bill Damaschke announced today the complete cast for Gotta Dance, the new Broadway-bound musical about professional basketball’s first ever aged 60-and-older dance team. The pre-Broadway World Premiere of Gotta Dance begins this winter at Broadway In Chicago’s Bank of America Theatre (18 W Monroe St, Chicago). Gotta Dance begins performances on December 13, 2015 and runs through January 10, 2016.

Joining the Gotta Dance team are Joanna Jones (NBC’s “Sing Off”), Madeleine Doherty (Gigi), Tracy Jai Edwards (Legally Blonde), Diane Findlay (Fish in the Dark), Lenora Nemetz (Gypsy), Jonalyn Saxer (Honeymoon in Vegas), and Kay Walbye (Urinetown), along with Alexander Aguilar, Adinah Alexander, Sydni Beaudoin, Holly Ann Butler, Paula Castelon, Ari Groover, Colby Lewis, Lance Roberts, Elise Santora, Austin Scott III, and Virginia Ann Woodruff.  They join previously announced stars including Tony® Award nominee André De Shields, five-time Emmy® Award nominee Georgia Engel, Tony Award-winner Lillias White, television and film icon Stefanie Powers (in her Broadway debut), Haven Burton, Lori Tan Chinn, and Nancy Ticotin.

Gotta Dance brings together an all-star creative team that includes a book by Tony Award- nominee Chad Beguelin (Aladdin) and Tony Award-winner Bob Martin (The Drowsy Chaperone), music by Tony and Emmy Award nominee Matthew Sklar (Elf) and lyrics by Tony Award-nominee Nell Benjamin (Legally Blonde), with additional music by Marvin Hamlisch (an Emmy, Grammy®, Tony and Oscar® winner) and direction and choreography by Tony Award-winner Jerry Mitchell (Kinky Boots), with co-choreography by Nick Kenkel.

'Gotta Dance' (photo: Matthew Murphy via The Broadway Blog.)

‘Gotta Dance’ (photo: Matthew Murphy via The Broadway Blog.)

One remarkable dance team.  One big chance.  One small twist.  You gotta be over 60.  Gotta Dance is the incredible true story of ten determined dreamers who audition to dance at half time for a major NBA team. They have three things in common: they love to dance, they have something to prove, and they are all over 60. It isn’t until they make the cut that they find out they won’t be dancing tap, salsa or swing—they are going to bring down the house with a style that’s entirely new to them: hip hop. Don’t miss this original Broadway-bound musical about a group of ordinary seniors with extraordinary dreams as they battle prejudice, self-doubt and each other for a chance to bust a move at center court in front of 20 thousand screaming fans.

The creative team of Gotta Dance reunites Mitchell with his Kinky Boots collaborators, including five time Tony Award nominee David Rockwell (Scenic Design), Tony Award-winner Gregg Barnes (Costume Design) and Tony Award-winner Kenneth Posner (Lighting Design), four-time Tony Award nominee Peter Hylenski (Sound Design), Tony Award-winner Larry Hochman (Orchestrations), Charlie Alterman (Musical Director), with casting by Telsey + Company/Craig Burns, CSA.

The Pre-Broadway World Premiere of Gotta Dance will be a part of the Broadway In Chicago Fall 2015-16 Season Subscription Series.  Tickets ($42-$102) can be purchased by visiting www.BroadwayInChicago.com .  Group tickets for 10 or more can be purchased by calling Broadway In Chicago Group Sales at (312) 977-1710.

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Box Office Open! ‘On Your Feet’ Heads to Broadway

August 17th, 2015 Comments off

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The Marquis Theatre Box Office (46th Street between Broadway & 8th Avenue) officially opens today, Monday, August 17 for ON YOUR FEET!the new Broadway musical based on the life story of seven-time GRAMMY winning international superstar Gloria Estefan and her husband, nineteen-time GRAMMY winning producer-musician-entrepreneur Emilio Estefan. ON YOUR FEET! opens on Broadway on Thursday, November 5, 2015, following preview performances beginning Monday, October 5, 2015 at the Marquis Theatre.  The musical, directed by two-time Tony Award winner Jerry Mitchell (Kinky Boots, Hairspray) and choreographed by Olivier Award winner Sergio Trujillo (Jersey Boys, Memphis) with an original book by Academy Award winner Alexander Dinelaris (BirdmanThe Bodyguard Musical), lands on Broadway following a world premiere summer engagement at the Oriental Theatre in Chicago.

Emilio and Gloria Estefan have sold over 100 million records, won more than two dozen GRAMMY Awards, and sold out stadiums across the world – but their music is only half the story. From the heart of Havana to the streets of Miami came a cultural phenomenon unlike anything the music industry had ever seen.  ON YOUR FEET! is a new Broadway musical that follows the Estefans’ journey to superstardom, set to their chart-topping, smash hits, including “Rhythm Is Gonna Get You,” “Conga,” “1-2-3,” “Get On Your Feet,” “Mi Tierra,” Don’t Want To Lose You Now,” and “Reach,” in addition to an original song written by Gloria and her daughter Emily Estefan.

In the fall of 2014, the production launched an international casting search, Reach Gloria (#ReachGloria) which offered performers around the world a chance to audition for the cast of ON YOUR FEET!. Thousands of Broadway hopefuls – from Los Angeles, to Australia, to Colombia, to Singapore – auditioned for roles by submitting videos online, or attending one of two open casting calls held in New York City and the Estefans’ home-city of Miami, Florida.  A lifelong fan of Gloria Estefan – who even attended the same Miami high school as the pop star – Cuban-American singer and actress Ana Villafañe learned of the Miami open casting call last fall and, although she was unable to attend, sent the casting office a video audition.  Within three days, she was called to audition for Jerry Mitchell and the Estefans.

“She walked into the room, and I immediately thought to myself – ‘this is it’,” said director Jerry Mitchell. “Not only was she beautifully reminiscent of a young Gloria, but she embodied her energy and spirit in such a captivating way. And then she fully rose to the occasion by giving a sensational audition.”

Villafañe makes her Broadway debut as Gloria Estefan in ON YOUR FEET! Her film and television credits include: the award-winning Magic City Memoirs (executive producer Andy Garcia), “Los Americans” (alongside Esai Morales, Lupe Ontiveros and Raymond Cruz) created by Dennis Leoni (“Resurrection Boulevard”), Hiding (Anchor Bay), the Hulu Original Series “South Beach: Fever” set in her native Miami, and the female lead in the upcoming superhero feature film Max Steel (Mattel).

Villafañe stars opposite Josh Segarra as Emilio. Segarra has made a name for himself on the New York stage in roles such as ‘Boland’ in Second Stage Theater’s Dogfight directed by Joe Mantello, and as ‘Mick’ in the Broadway and Off-Broadway runs of the critically-acclaimed Lysistrata Jones.  His extensive film and television work includes Judd Apatow’s recent hit comedy Trainwreck, a starring role as ‘Billy Cepeda’ in the comedy series “Sirens” for USA, NBC’s “Chicago PD”, PBS’s “The Electric Company, and guest appearances in the Emmy-winning Showtime series “Homeland” and FOX’s “The Following”.

“It’s a rare and wonderful thing when you find an actor who wholly matches the material,” said Mitchell. “Josh has been a part of this project since the very first reading, and brings such an incomparable spark, passion, and humor to the role of Emilio, that we held onto him with all our might.”

Broadway Bares 24: Rock Hard!

June 16th, 2014 Comments off

bb24 copyThey’re at it again… those sexy singer/dancers will strut their stuff on June 22 to raise funds and awareness for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. Only a limited number of tickets are left, so you better snag yours soon so you can revel in all the rocking’ glory that will be overtaking Hammerstein Ballroom.

The fundraiser dates back to 1992, when seven of Broadway’s hottest men danced on the bar at the now defunct Splash bar. Jerry Mitchell choreographed the opening number and after the performance the guys did their own “solo strip” routines and the “Rotation” was born.

More than two decades later, Broadway Bares had raised more than $250 million for essential services for people with AIDS and other critical illnesses across the United States. BC/EFA awards annual grants to more than 400 AIDS and family service organizations nationwide and is the major supporter of seven programs at The Actors Fund, including the HIV/AIDS Initiative, the Phyllis Newman Women’s Health Initiative and the Al Hirschfeld Free Health Clinic.

CLICK HERE for tickets, but in the meantime, take a look at these sexy preview shots!

 

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photos: Andrew Eccles

Don’t Miss Broadway Bares: Solo Strips

May 11th, 2014 Comments off
Can't make Solo Strips? Purchase tickets for Broadway Bares: Rock Hard.

Can’t make Solo Strips? Purchase tickets for Broadway Bares: Rock Hard.

This Mother’s Day, give mom a gift she will always remember: an evening with 11 of the most delectable male dancers from Broadway Bares. Bring your mom to this Sunday’s Broadway Bares: Solo Strips and she will get in free with your paid admission at the door for the evening of sexy, choreographed stripteases benefiting Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.

Broadway Bares: Solo Strips (#bwaybares) will heat up Mother’s Day with one show only at 9 pm onSunday, May 11, at BPM Nightclub (516 West 42nd Street, NYC). Doors open at 8 pm. Purchase a general admission standing ticket at the door for a $15 donation and your mom will be admitted free. Moms must be with the ticket buyer when the ticket is purchased. No refunds on previously purchased tickets. Reserved table seating for the show is sold out. Additional standing room tickets can be purchased in advance for $15 at broadwaycares.org or by calling 212.840.0770, ext 229.

This year’s lineup of performers features Callan Bergmann (Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella), Joshua Michael Brickman (Broadway Bares 23), Anthony Rooar DeCarlis (Broadway Bares 21-23), Todd Hanebrink (Cirque du Soleil’s Zumanity), Vince Oddo (Rocky), Julius Rubio (WonderlandBroadway Bares 21, 23), Ricky Schroeder (Broadway Bares 22, 23), Michael Scirrotto (Broadway Bares 19), Dennis Stowe(AladdinBroadway Bares 9, 13, 14, 16, 17, 19, 20), Sheldon Tucker (Bring It On: The MusicalBroadway Bares 21-23) and Ryan Worsing (ChicagoBroadway Bares 21, 23). Hosting the evening will be Terren Wooten Clarke of Broadway’s The Book of Mormon appearing as Kizha Carr. See photos of all the performers at broadwaycares.org/solostrips.

Broadway Bares: Solo Strips will be directed by Tony Spinosa (La Cage aux Folles).

Broadway Bares began in 1992 when Jerry Mitchell, then a performer in The Will Rogers Follies, organized a benefit burlesque show featuring himself and six friends performing original strips at a bar for a $10 donation plus whatever tips the audience gave the dancers. Mitchell, now a Tony Award-winning director and choreographer, is executive producer of Broadway Bares, which is produced by and benefits Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.

Broadway Bares: Solo Strips is a sexy tease for Broadway Bares, one of BC/EFA’s annual signature events.Broadway Bares: Rock Hard! will feature 150 of New York’s most desirable dancers. The show will be directed by Nick Kenkel (Catch Me If You CanPeepshow, Legally Blonde), who also directed Broadway Bares 23.

Broadway Bares Kicks Off 2014 with Winter Burlesque

December 16th, 2013 Comments off
Promotional photo from Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS

Promotional photo from Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS

While the weather outside is frightful, inside it will be more than delightful as Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS presents a Winter Burlesque, January 26, 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. at XL Nightclub (512 West 42nd Street).

This year’s Winter Burlesque show, dubbed Calendar Girl, will be based on last summer’s Fire Island Pines sensation and inspired by 1999’s Broadway Bares IX: Calendar Girl. More than two dozen of New York theatre’s sexiest dancers will take the stage in a stimulating strip-a-month journey through the calendar.

Tickets ($25) are now on sale and a limited number of VIP tables and reserved seating are available. For more information, go to broadwaycares.org/winterburlesque.

Winter Burlesque starts a steamy Bares season that also will include Broadway Bares: Solo Strips in May and Broadway Bares 24 in June. Dates and other details about those shows will be announced next year.

Broadway Bares: Winter Burlesque will be directed by Michael Lee Scott. Tony Award-winning director and choreographer Jerry Mitchell (Kinky Boots) is executive producer and creator of Broadway Bares.

Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS is one of the nation’s leading industry-based, nonprofit AIDS fundraising and grant-making organizations. By drawing upon the talents, resources and generosity of the American theatre community, since 1988 BC/EFA has raised more than $250 million for essential services for people with AIDS and other critical illnesses across the United States.

Broadway Cares awards annual grants to more than 450 AIDS and family service organizations nationwide and is the major supporter of the social service programs at The Actors Fund, including the HIV/AIDS Initiative, the Phyllis Newman Women’s Health Initiative and the Al Hirschfeld Free Health Clinic.

Want a sneak peek?…

Tony Awards Recap: Let’s Get Kinky!

June 10th, 2013 Comments off

"Kinky Boots" live at the Tony Awards. (photo: tonyawards.com)

High heels and high theatrics seemed to be a theme for this year’s Tony Awards, which bestowed six awards on Kinky Boots and four for the revival of Pippin and the same number for Matilda The Musical. Neil Patrick Harris brought down the house with an electric opening number (featuring Mike Tyson) and “rapped” it up in a perfect bow for a finale that featured Audra McDonald.

Equally as entertaining was the mid-show riff featuring celebrated theater actors whose TV shows were recently cancelled. The all-star casualty list included Megan Hilty, Andrew Rannells and Laura Benanti. What fell awkwardly flat were the introductions and award presentations by actors in costume — and character — from currently running shows. It was especially painful to watch those standing around who didn’t have any lines to deliver.

Cyndi Lauper performing live at the Tony Awards. (photo: tonyawards.com)

The award speeches ran the gamut from Cyndi Lauper’s heartfelt ode to a lifetime appreciation of Broadway to Cecily Tyson’s… deliberate… final… ode… to… a… life… in… the… theater. And then there was Tom Hanks’ speech — oh, wait. He didn’t win.

Here’s the official winner’s list. But as so many of those making speeches indicated, it’s all about celebrating the community and artistry of live theater.

Best Musical – Kinky Boots

Best Revival of a Musical – Pippin

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical – Patina Miller, Pippin

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play – Cicely Tyson, The Trip to Bountiful

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play – Tracy Letts, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical – Billy Porter, Kinky Boots

Best Lighting Design of a Play – Jules Fisher & Peggy Eisenhauer, Lucky Guy

Best Revival of a Play – Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

Best Lighting Design of a Musical – Hugh Vanstone, Matilda The Musical

Best Play – Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike

Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical – Andrea Martin, Pippin

Best Scenic Design of a Musical – Rob Howell, Matilda The Musical

 Best Scenic Design of a Play – John Lee Beatty, The Nance

Best Original Score (Music and/or Lyrics) Written for the Theatre – Music & Lyrics by Cyndi Lauper, Kinky Boots

Best Choreography – Jerry Mitchell, Kinky Boots

Best Direction of a Play – Pam MacKinnon, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

Best Direction of a Musical – Diane Paulus, Pippin

Best Book of a Musical – Dennis Kelly, Matilda The Musical

Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical – Gabriel Ebert, Matilda The Musical

Best Sound Design of a Play – Leon Rothenberg, The Nance

Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play – Judith Light, The Assembled Parties

Best Sound Design of a Musical – John Shivers, Kinky Boots

Best Orchestrations – Stephen Oremus, Kinky Boots

Best Costume Design of a Musical – William Ivey Long, Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella

Best Costume Design of a Play – Anne Roth, The Nance

Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play – Courtney B. Vance, Lucky Guy

Special Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre:
Bernard Gersten
Paul Libin
Ming Cho Lee

Regional Theatre Award:
Huntington Theatre Company, Boston, MA

Isabelle Stevenson Award:
Larry Kramer

Tony Honor for Excellence in the Theatre:
Career Transition For Dancers
William Craver
Peter Lawrence
The Lost Colony

The four actresses who created the title role of Matilda The Musical on Broadway – Sophia Gennusa, Oona Laurence, Bailey Ryon and Milly Shapiro

The Tony Awards are presented by The Broadway League and The American Theater Wing.

We asked the Broadway Blog’s Facebook fans which acceptance speech was most inspiring – congratulations, Patina Miller! (We want to know – who is going to write you a Tina Turner musical? Look at those arms!)

Broadway Bares 23: United Strips of America

June 4th, 2013 Comments off

Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words… or more. Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS returns with the 23rd installment of their annual fundraiser, which has helped raise more than $225 million for essential services for people with AIDS and other critical illnesses across the United States. And those dancers are damn hot.

Limited tickets are still available.
CLICK HERE. What are you waiting for?

Michelle Camaya as Alaska. (photo: Andrew Eccles)

Ian Paget, Kristen DeCesare, Allyson Carr and Angelina Mullins as California. (photo: Andrew Eccles)

Julius Carter as Colorado. (photo: Andrew Eccles)

John Paul LaPorte as Florida. (photo: Andrew Eccles)

John Paul LaPorte and Christina Black as Hawaii. (photo: Andrew Eccles)

We’re on a road trip… take the leap for more sexy photos—all for a good cause. Even if you can’t attend Broadway Bares, you can still donate online or shop in the online store.

Read more…

Gotta Dance! Astaire Award Nominees

May 30th, 2013 Comments off
Billy Porter in “Kinky Boots.” (photo: Matt Murphy)

After seeing A Chorus Line from the last row of the balcony on my very first trip to New York City, I spent about a week trying to replicate the opening dance sequence in my college apartment. Without the ability to touch my toes or do a single pirouette, it was a futile effort, but it did give me a great appreciation for the art form of dance.

This year’s Fred & Adele Astaire Awards will honor those masters of movement whose skill set is more developed than my own. The Astaire Awards is the only awards show to honor excellence in dance and choreography on Broadway and in film and were first started in 1982 by the late Fred Astaire and the late Douglas Watt (a critic and writer for the NY Daily News and The New Yorker).

Tony Award-winners Susan Stroman, Bebe Neuwirth, Cady Huffman, Kathleen Marshall and Karen Ziemba are set to present at the awards, taking place on Monday, June 3 at 7:30pm at New York University’s Skirball Center for the Performing Arts. Also set to present at the awards are Mary Testa, Christiane Noll, Harry Belafonte, Rex Reed, Michael Riedel, Anna Bergman, Lee Roy Reams, Dancing with the Stars’ Tony Dovolani, Carson Kressley and Countess Lu Ann de Lesseps.

This year, The Astaire Awards will also honor dance legend Marge Champion with its Douglas Watt Lifetime Achievement Award and special presentation by Harry Belafonte. Ted Chapin will be presented with a brand new award, Outstanding Achievement in the Preservation of Musical Theatre. Choreographer Warren Carlyle will present the pas de Deux from The New York Philharmonic’s performance of CAROUSEL with New York City Ballet’s Robert Fairchild and Tiler Peck as part of this tribute.

Taylor Trensch, Lesli Margherita and Gabriel Ebert in "Matilda The Musical." (photo: Joan Marcus)

This year’s nominees include:

Outstanding Female Dancer in a Broadway Show
Charlotte d’Amboise (PIPPIN)
Taylor Louderman (BRING IT ON)
Laura Osnes (CINDERELLA)
Patina Miller (PIPPIN)
Andrea Martin (PIPPIN)
Lesli Margherita (MATILDA)
Stephanie Pope (PIPPIN)

Outstanding Male Dancer in a Broadway Show
Eric LaJuan Summers (MOTOWN)
Rob McClure (CHAPLIN)
Andy Mills (CINDERELLA)
Billy Porter (KINKY BOOTS)
Charlie Sutton (KINKY BOOTS)

Outstanding Choreographer of a Broadway Show
Andy Blankenbuehler (BRING IT ON)
Warren Carlyle (CHAPLIN)
Peter Darling (MATILDA)
Jerry Mitchell (KINKY BOOTS)
Josh Rhodes (CINDERELLA)
Sergio Trujillo (HANDS ON A HARD BODY)
Chet Walker (PIPPIN)
Patricia Wilcox & Warren Adams (MOTOWN)

Outstanding Choreographer in a Feature Film
Sidi Larbi Cherkaouit (Anna Karenina)
Alison Faulk (Magic Mike)
Mia Michaels (Rock Of Ages)
Mandy Moore (Silver Linings Playbook)
Poonam Shyam (Trishna)
Jamal Sims, Christopher Scott, Chuck Maldonado & Travis Wall (Step Up Revolution).

The Details:
The 31st Annual Fred & Adele Astaire Awards
Monday, June 3
7:30pm
Skirball Center for the Performing Arts at New York University (566 LaGuardia Place).
Select tickets are available to the public priced at $425, $200 & $75
www.FredandAdeleAstaireAwards.com

Broadway Bares Video Preview: The Men of Broadway

May 13th, 2013 Comments off

"Broadway Bares: Greetings from the United Strips of America." (photos: Andrew Eccles)

Forget Gypsy Rose Lee… the men of the Great White Way were greased, sprayed, tanned and buffed last week for a special preview performance of Broadway Bares, the notorious burlesque-style show that raises money for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS (BC/EFA).

This year’s edition, Greetings from the United Strips of America, will play June 23 at 9:30 p.m. and midnight at Roseland Ballroom — but you better snag tickets quickly as the late-night show is already sold out.

If you’re headed to Fire Island this summer, you can catch a special island edition. Fire Island: Calendar Girl, a co-production with the Fire Island Pines Arts Project, will have performances on June 1 at 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. Tickets will be available in the harbor Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Of course, if you can’t see the real thing, you can always visit the BC/EFA website to keep up with eye candy. The site posts a “Stripper of the Month” and also has an online gift shop perfect for those naughty minds. My favorite find is a vintage DVD of the original 1992 Broadway Bares featuring Tony award-winning Jerry Mitchell, the event’s founder executive producer.

Mitchell’s goal was to draw upon the immense talent — and gorgeous bodies — of the Broadway community to raise funds and awareness for HIV/AIDS. To date, the 22 editions of Broadway Bares have raised more than $9.8 million. So head to the ATM, and withdraw some Andrew Jacksons. That’s a $20 for those of you used to tipping less, but these hotties will be worth it and all of the funds go toward a great cause.

Now… the video you’ve all been waiting for:

Want to see more?
CLICK HERE for tickets.