The year is 1981. My parents have a subscription to the Broadway series in Cleveland, Ohio.
The first show we see? “Annie,” of course. For the next three months I can be found singing “Tomorrow” in the stairwell of our split-level suburban home. Several months later they take me to see the second show in the series, “La Cage Aux Folles.” Seriously. I spend the rest of the summer belting out “I Am What I Am” with a towel wrapped around my head like Tallulah Bankhead.
Clearly ahead of their time, my parents will be happy to know that The Broadway League (with The New York Times as presenting sponsor) will enable children to see a Broadway show for free from Monday, February 25 through Sunday, March 3. Read more…
Video may have killed the radio star but it certainly seems to be helping the Broadway variety.
Theatrical publicists and performers are embracing the reach of online video…and we benefit because we get to see more behind-the-scenes sides of our favorite performers. In this little video round-up, we’ve got bloopers from a commercial shoot, a funny “woman on the street” comedy bit and a montage of cute chorus boys doing some heavy petting (with farm animals). How can we resist?
First up, the scalawags at Peter and the Starcatcher may have announced an official closing date…but it’s not until January 20, 2013. Until then, you’ve got plenty of time to catch the show and enjoy this bit of behind-the-scenes fun as Matthew Saldivar mugs it up in a blooper reel from their recent commercial shoot.
It might be nice if they eased us into a new theater season but, no, it’s full speed ahead! So today’s news roundup is going to be a light speed round the world tour…
New York: The 20th Broadway on Broadway Concert is this Sunday at 11:30 am in Times Square. A right of passage for all Broadway fans (like your Mandy Patinkin phase), the event is free and set to feature musical performances from Bring It On, Newsies, Once, a sneak peek at Season 2 of Smash and more.
Jennifer Coolidge. Image via PlaybillVault.com.
Los Angeles: What I wouldn’t give to be in the City of Angels this Sunday to see the 25th anniversary reading of Steel Magnolias. A benefit for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, the cast includes Alexis Bledel, Frances Conroy, Elizabeth Perkins, Annie Potts and…wait for it…Jennifer Coolidge. Seriously, get me on a Virgin (flight, that is) to LAX stat ’cause Coolidge is divine.
Chicago: According to Playbill.com, my Tony-winning talent-crush Norbert Leo Butz is officially headlining the musical adaptation of Big Fishin the Windy City spring of 2013. The world premiere based on the 2003 Ewan McGregor (speaking of crushes) fantasy will be directed and choreographed by Susan Stroman, with music and lyrics by Andrew Lippa and a book by the original screenwriter John August.
Detroit & Pittsburgh: Producers announced impending Broadway runs for two new musicals. Motown: The Musical, written by and based on the life of record label founder Berry Gordy, will jukebox its way into the Lunt-Fontanne on April 14, 2013. A few months later in August, that gritty film expose of steelworkers with ballet dreams Flashdance is hauling its welding tools and leg warmers onto the Great White Way. This follows a separate tour that will begin in its setting, Pittsburgh, January 2013. What a feeling, indeed
Richard Roxburgh & Cate Blanchett in "Uncle Vanya". Photo by Lisa Tomasetti.
Sydney: Speaking of hopping a Virgin, the 2013 season announcement for the Sydney Theater Company contains two flight-worthy productions. First up, an adaptation of Kate Grenville’s beautiful novel The Secret River by playwright Andrew Bovell (of Lincoln Center’s acclaimed When the Rain Stops Falling). And, building on the exquisite Uncle Vanya that came through New York a few weeks back, Cate Blanchett will be starring in Jean Genet’s The Maids opposite French icon Isabelle Huppert. Be still my film goddess-loving heart.
London-ish: The British smash War Horse posted a closing notice for its stateside run at Lincoln Center following a summer dip in ticket sales. You’ve got plenty of time to cry yourself silly, though; the final performance is scheduled for January 6, 2013
Heaven: The new Theresa Rebeck (Seminar, Smash) play Dead Accountsrevealed its complete cast and I am on cloud nine. Seriously, this just shot to the top of my must see list for fall. Joining the previously announced Norbert Leo Butz (him again) and Katie Holmes (work that divorce) will be the deliriously good Jayne Houdyshell (Follies, Well), the handsome and charming Josh Hamilton(The Coast of Utopia) and, I’m giddy here, the film scene stealer Judy Greer (The Descendants).
Finally, if you’d like to make sure new and original music theater finds its way to the stage, here’s a simple and inexpensive way to play your part. This year’s NAMT Festival of New Musicals is raising money to support demo recordings for the eight new shows being presented (full disclosure: I co-wrote one of them). There’s only a day left to contribute at Rocket Hub but as little as $5 will help artists focus on the writing and allow fresh songs to be heard.
Every third Wednesday, a fabulous actor/singer/dancer will fill out my nosey little questionnaire and offer a glimpse of what they look like from a bit closer than the mezzanine. For August, we’re getting real (and reality show) with a headline grabbing man of the month…
Thayne Jasperson. Photo by Kevin Garcia for NEXT Magazine.
Hometown: Evanston WY/ Springville UT ( I grew up in both so I never know what to say.) I was raised a country boy.
Current Show/Role: Darcy/Jo Jo (short for Jorgelino Josefino De La Guerra)/Newsies.
The best part of the show I’m in now is: It’s about us. So it’s meaty for the Newsie ensemble. We dance hard, sing crazy high and are present the whole show. I love it!
The most challenging job in show business I ever had was:So You Think You Can Dance — you’re always at risk of being sent home. You have to create a new solo every time you’re in the bottom 3. No dance space to rehearse. Pressured for time. Live results show for millions of viewers. Crazy but amazing experience.
If I wasn’t an actor, I would be: choreographer/teacher… Or a traveling gypsy seeing the world piece by piece. I love travel.
Places, Intermission or Curtain Call? Definitely not curtain call; it’s the hardest dancing in our show for me. Probably Places. I have the prologue where I’m alone in the dressing room. I often meditate on life and this fantastic experience, warm up, sing along to “Santa Fe”…
The best pre-show dinner and post-shot cocktail in town are at: I don’t drink, but gimme some thick, rich, store-bought chocolate milk and I’m elated! Food: sushi or anywhere with a hearty chicken and vegetable spinach salad… And an almost doughy cookie.
With the Tony nominators meeting this weekend, I’d like to make a final plea for a few performances that I fear might be overlooked come Tuesday morning’s announcement (which I’ll be posting with my comments as they happen). We all know Newsies and Once and Death of a Salesman and Follies are likely to wrack up big nods, but please, Mr. Tony, don’t forget about:
Off-Broadway Production of "Lysistrata Jones". Photo by Carol Rosegg.
Talk about money in the bank, the casting for the Central Park Into the Woods gets better and better. Hot on the heals of Amy Adams’s addition to the cast, producers revealed that Donna Murphy (Passion) will be playing the Witch. If you’ve seen her sublime work in the animated film Tangled, you know Murphy will be one mother of an overprotective mother.
I still can’t get the songs from Newsies out of my head and I saw it weeks ago. Just to be sure I never forget a single “bruddah,” the cast album is now available for digital download. (PS. My favorite New Yawk rhyme in the show pairs “twirl it” with a very Flushing “terlet”.)
Molly Ranson in "Carrie". Photo by Joan Marcus.
Speaking of cast albums that will get inside your head (literally), the recent Off-Broadway production of Carrie is officially going into the studio to preserve it for all time on April 17. The CD will be released by and available for preorder from Ghostlight Records. Ghostlight and Carrie. Of course.
In, I assume, an attempt to cash in on men who don’t want to see a musicalwith their wives, the guys-night-at-the-theater niche got its next entry (following the warm welcome for last year’s Lombardi) as Magic/Birdopened on Broadway Wednesday night. The reviewssuggest that this tale of basketball greats is well-acted but a little lacking in big game drama.
I don’t know if you’ve noticed but there are a LOT of shows opening on Broadway this month. That’s because they are all going for the gold, aka Tony nominations, and they’ve got to hit before the end of the month to be eligible. Tony nominations will be announced on a live webcast at 8:30am, May 1 by Kristin Chenoweth and Jim Parsons. Join me, broadwayblogtom, on twitter that morning for some immediate reactions/analysis/grousing.
And finally, in seriously green news, Bloomberg published an amazing article about the way profits are split on the blockbuster hit Wicked–including almost $90 million for the writers. Like my agent always says, ” In music theater, you either make nothing or millions.” And the mailman won the lottery, indeed…
“Disney has unveiled its finest fairy tale in over a decade…Newsies will be many young fans’ first Broadway experience. They’ll emerge knowing they’re not alone, and that there’s not just strength in numbers, but rhythm and harmony, too.” New York Magazine
“…it’s the attractive young cast and the high-energy physicality of Jeff Calhoun’s production that make the show so engaging.” The Hollywood Reporter
“…Disney’s happiest outing since The Lion King.” Variety
“…all set in extra-large type, all goal-posted with exclamation points and all proclaiming essentially the same thing.”New York Times