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Three to See: Final Curtain Edition

December 3rd, 2014 Comments off

Broadway Blog editor Matthew Wexler takes a look at some of Broadway’s biggest hits, which are bidding adieu this January. 

Keke Palmer and Joe Carroll in "Rogers + Hammerstein's Cinderella" (photo: Carol Rosegg via The Broadway Blog.)

Keke Palmer and Joe Carroll in “Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella” (photo: Carol Rosegg via The Broadway Blog.)

As 2014 comes to an end, so do the runs of many of our favorite Broadway shows. The current crop of new productions hasn’t been revelatory (perhaps with the exception of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time), so it will be especially sad to bid adieu to some of our favorite standbys. But with a slew of vacant theaters comes January, perhaps some new blood will transfuse the Great White Way and get our hearts beating again. In the meantime, let’s take a last look at three of our favorites (plus a couple of bonuses) before they take their final bows…

Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella

The original television musical, which aired in 1957, was magically reinvented for the Broadway stage. Originally starring Laura Osnes, the show has seen a several star turns since, including Carly Rae Jepsen and now Keke Palmer. Beyond the gorgeous tunes and innovative design, Douglas Carter Beane retooled the book to make it appealing for a new generation.

Closes January 3, 2015

Josh Kaufman in "Pippin" (photo: Joan Marcus via The Broadway Blog.)

Josh Kaufman in “Pippin” (photo: Joan Marcus via The Broadway Blog.)

Pippin

It was Bobby Fosse at his best when the original production of Pippin opened on Broadway in 1972. The fantastical reimagining by director Diane Paulus with circus creations by Gypsy Snider took the story to a whole new level. Andrea Martin brought the house down (and won a Tony Award, to boot) with a levitating performance, and the show itself snagged the award for Best Revival of a Musical. It now stars the winner of season five of The Voice, Josh Kaufman, and A Chorus Line vet Priscilla Lopez, who appeared in the original production.

Closes January 4, 2015

 

Once
Guy loses love and inspiration. Guy meets new girl. They put a band together and make music. Add to that Stephen Hogget’s now legendary foot-stomping choreography (or just go see The Last Ship) and you’ve got a show that swept the 2012 Tony Awards, including a win for Best Musical. Running for nearly three years, the show has managed to avoid the star-above-the-title machine, instead relying on a hardworking ensemble tasked with acting, singing, dancing, and playing the entire score. Hey, nobody said it was easy being a gypsy.

Closes January 4, 2015

The cast of Once (photo: Joan Marcus via The Broadway Blog.)

The cast of Once (photo: Joan Marcus via The Broadway Blog.)

Take the jump for two more shows worth checking out…

Read more…

Last Chance: See Pippin Through January 4

November 17th, 2014 Comments off
Matthew Kaufman as Pippin (photo: Joan Marcus via The Broadway Blog.)

Matthew Kaufman as Pippin (photo: Joan Marcus via The Broadway Blog.)

 

In a last hurrah, the creative team behind the Tony Award-winning revival of Pippin have pulled out some interesting star power. Taking over the title role is Josh Kaufman, season six winner of NBC’s The Voice.

This is Kaufman’s Broadway debut, and though he may not be as boyishly intriguing as the role’s originator Matthew James Thomas, he brings a crystal clear voice to the role, as exemplified in this acoustic version of “Corner of the Sky.”

 

 

Priscilla Lopez as Berthe (photo: Joan Marcus via The Broadway Blog.)

Priscilla Lopez as Berthe (photo: Joan Marcus via The Broadway Blog.)

And for another ’70s throwback. Priscilla Lopez joins the cast. She was in the original production, taking over for the role of Fastrada in 1974, and most noted for originating the role of Morales in A Chorus Line. She returns to Pippin as Berthe, Pippin’s acrobatic grandmother.

THEATER BUFF: Erik Altemus of “Pippin”

August 20th, 2014 Comments off

Every third Wednesday of the month, a fabulous actor/singer/dancer fills out contributor Tom Mizer’s nosey little questionnaire and offers a glimpse of what he looks like from a bit closer than the mezzanine. For August, we’re getting back to nature with our man of the month…

Erik Altemus. Photo by Kevin Thomas Garcia.

Erik Altemus. Photo by Kevin Thomas Garcia.

Name: Erik Altemus

Hometown: San Ramon, California

Current Show/Role: Pippin / Lewis (Pippin us)

The best part of the show I’m working on now is: TThe blend of musical theater and circus.

The most challenging job in show business I ever had was: Playing Kurt in The Sound Of Music with a 105-degree temperature. Thanks to my Mom for the intermittent cold presses and TLC.

If I wasn’t a performer, I would be: A professional wild food forager!

Places, Intermission or Curtain Call? Curtain Call, straight up.

The best post-show cocktail in New York City is at: The Men’s Dressing Room at the Music Box Theatre. Read more…

Categories: Theater Buff Tags:

Our Favorite Broadway Love Songs

February 14th, 2014 Comments off
Margo Seibert and Andy Karl in "Rocky." Photo by Matthew Murphy via The Broadway Blog.

Margo Seibert and Andy Karl in “Rocky.” Photo by Matthew Murphy via The Broadway Blog.

There’s nothing more romantic (besides diamonds, a trip to Paris or a home cooked meal) than a Broadway love song. Here are our top picks for beautiful belters, dulcid duets and passionate patter songs.

No matter your style, there’s a wee bit of musical theater that can tell your story better than you.

From Kerrigan-Lowdermilk Live at last year’s New York Musical Theater Festival, Jeremy Jordan sings one of  the songwriting team’s signature tunes, “Run Away With Me.” And we’d like to do just that.

“One Second and a Million Miles” is one of Jason Robert Brown’s soaring melodies from The Bridges of Madison County, opening February 20 at The Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre.

While the revival of Pippin is receiving well-deserved accolades, this throwback clip of William Katt and Leslie Denniston singing “Love Song” holds its own special charm.

Want more? Take the jump!

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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!)

When You Wish Upon a Star: Tony Award Picks

June 9th, 2013 Comments off

2013 Tony Awards-nominees pose for a picture atop the Empire State Building. (photo: www.tonyawards.com)

The stars of Broadway are dusting off their patent leather shoes (do they really reflect up?) and breaking out the costume jewelry for the most celebrated night of the year: The Tony Awards. While we’re not going to give you a rundown of every category and projected winner, we do have a few favorites that we’re rooting for and a recap of some zingers from past reviews of our favorite performances.

From contributor Scott Redman:

The cast of "Pippin," directed by Diane Paulus. (photo: Joan Marcus)

Diane Paulus without a doubt is the most deserving of the Tony Award for Best Direction of a Musical. Paulus should win on her ability to put Pippin into a modern context that is relevant and theatrical. She has bonded a cast and creative team into a unified vision.

Using the circus as a setting isn’t just a clever excuse to have acrobats doing tricks, its supports the theme and characters in the show. The show feels fresh and is invigorating to watch: stellar cast, beautiful design and finally a show that sounds clear and vibrant.

Pippin also signifies the importance of a well done revival – a remount of an existing show that tells us something new about the material or sheds light on new ideas. Paulus has found her “corner of the sky” and I can’t wait to see what she does next. Good Luck Diane!

Lindsay B. Davis’s recap on two of the nominees for Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Play:
Holland Taylor [in ANN] almost dances across the stage as she entertains and tells jokes, some dirty, which she learned from her warm-hearted dad (Did you hear the one about the Terrier and Great Dane?). She speaks with the delight and skill of a seasoned cabaret artist or vaudevillian comedian. One can’t help but wonder if the real governor Richards was this entertaining but it doesn’t really matter. You’re too busy laughing to care.

I don’t know the last time you watched a radically entertaining, 70-year-old woman perform on stage, uninterrupted, for close to two hours. It commands respect and wins your love. So too, does this production.

Flexing her masterful storytelling muscles and using her real ones (there is a good deal of physical work involved to establish and advance the story), Fiona Shaw in The Testament of Mary delivers a performance that is so visceral, skillful and raw that the 85 minutes performed without an intermission sprint by in a flash. It is a journey marked by incidents in the life of her son, some based on actual Biblical stories — such as when Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, healed the sick or turned water into wine, plus the crucifixion itself — and others completely imagined by the author. All manage to illuminate the mother not the messiah. She speaks not to advance the narrative of Christianity but to deeply reveal herself and come to terms with traumatic experience. As an audience it is impossible not to feel her deep torment and fight for survival.

Take the leap for thoughts from The Broadway Blog’s editor Matthew Wexler, including choreography from Matilda The Musical and our pick for “should have been nominated!”
Read more…

Inside the Casting of Broadway’s “Pippin”

June 6th, 2013 Comments off

Duncan Stewart (l) and Benton Whitley (r).

A handful of very fortunate (and talented) theater artisans are going to walk away with Tony Awards on Sunday night. But one category that does not receive nominations is that of Casting Director. With a keen eye for talent and social skills on par with a highly trained psychologist (have you ever been around theater people?), casting directors are responsible for helping to create the artistic vision for a show.

From A-list celebrities to chorus kids plucked right out of school, casting directors are a critical — and often overlooked — part of the creative process. The Broadway Blog sat down for an exclusive interview with Benton Whitley, Casting Director (CSA) and Partner at Duncan Stewart and Company. Known for their connections with high profile agents and managers, Duncan Stewart and Benton Whitley have been responsible for putting numerous stars, celebrities and international pop stars into theatrical productions including: Mary-Louise Parker, Kelsey Grammer, Christie Brinkley, Sofia Vergara, Harvey Fierstein and Liev Schreiber to name a few.

Their latest project is Pippin, the most nominated show of the year, including 10 Tony Award nominations, 11 Outer Critics nominations, 3 Drama League Nominations and 6 Drama Desk Nominations. We asked Whitley to share the company’s thoughts about casting its three nominated actors and here’s what he had to say:

The Broadway Blog:

Patina Miller as The Leading Player. (photo: Joan Marcus)

Patina Miller
Nominated for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical.
Patina Miller as the Leading Player is, hands down, spectacular. Was it your concept from the beginning to cast a female or were you looking at all different types? She also has a captivating way of engaging the audience – almost as if they are another character in the show. Was this something you were specifically looking for?

Duncan Stewart and Company:
It was a huge priority in the casting of the role that the actor could break through that fourth wall and engage with the audience. Director Diane Paulus said, “I’m looking for an actor to ingratiate with the audience.”

Somehow this ringleader has the ability to reel you in, from a five-year-old to an 80-year-old man — and not be scared! We saw many actors that had a dominating presence, but didn’t have the heart. It was pivotal in our search.

[Diane] was open to the idea of a female. It was written for a male, the keys, the script, everything was geared toward a man. In auditions we saw men and women, ranging in age from 20- to 60-years-old. It’s our understanding that they’re not sold that Leading Players in the future needs to be an African American female.

By casting Patina, the role has become a showcase for her skill set. She had the edge over people. She’s sexy. She’s young. She’s gorgeous. And (which most people didn’t know) she’s a phenomenal dancer. If she had said no, the dancing would have been a lot more minimal. When it’s time to recast, it’s the bar that we’ll be try reach for, but we believe directors should not try to have actors fit into cookie cutter molds of the originating actors.

The Broadway Blog:

Andrea Martin at Berthe and Matthew James Thomas as Pippin. (photo: Joan Marcus)

Andrea Martin, nominated for Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical.

Andrea Martin as Berthe — come on! She received a standing ovation in the middle of the show the night that I saw it. Without giving too much away to readers who haven’t see it yet, how did you know that she would be able to ‘rise to the occasion’?

Duncan Stewart and Company:
It’s the beauty of creating an original cast and the time in the rehearsal room. Andrea was hired “offer only,” which means she didn’t have to audition. We knew that she was the right type and fit for the role and this production. She did have one stipulation. She said, “I’m only going to do this if you’re not going to make me the old granny that sits on the stool where everybody dances around me. I want to be shot out of a cannon.” Well, we got pretty damn close.

Now it’s a huge challenge for us moving forward. She’s contracted for a year but we’re already thinking about who could do what she does. There are few women in that age bracket who can do that, but the number has been shaped and we’ll do our best to maintain it.

The Broadway Blog:

Terrence Mann as Charles and Charlotte d'Amboise as Fastrada. (photo: Joan Marcus)

Terrence Mann, nominated for Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical.
As King Charles, Terrence brings both gravitas and humor (along with his real-life wife, Charlotte d’Amboise, who recently one an Astaire Award for her performance) to the production. How did that all come about?

Duncan Stewart and Company:
He tackles it like Shakespeare. Terry is a classically trained actor and it shows onstage. He also understands the comedy of the show. So many guys came in and played it like a puppet, but he also instilled a sense of realness. When we were pulling the lists together the lightbulb came on. Charlotte was on the list for Fastrada (King Charles’ wife) and we thought the two of them together onstage would be a great combination. They have different representation and were clear that they were both interested in the project independent of one another.

Diane said — and we agree — that Pippin is the definition of musical theater: glorious music, glorious acting and glorious dancing.

Gotta Dance! Astaire Award Winners

June 5th, 2013 Comments off

New Jersey's The Art of Dance. (photo: David Dubuy)

Guest contributor Lindsay B. Davis kicks up her heels at the Fred and Adele Astaire Awards.

For performers used to being seen not heard (unless they are triple threats who can skillfully sing, story tell and do a grand jeté), last night’s Fred and Adele Astaire Awards was an out loud affirmation of the art of movement. Broadway performers, Hollywood celebrities and cultural critics were on hand to honor the best in dance and choreography on Broadway and in film.

Well, someone’s died and gone to Heaven! That would be me, sitting second row, gaze affixed upon a little podium and very large stage filled with Bebe Neuwirth, Harry Belafonte, Marge Champion, Judith Jamison, Charlotte d’Amboise, performance selections from Contact, 42nd Street, and Carousel, plus video montages highlighting the nominees and honoring the career of Douglas Watt Lifetime Achievement Award recipient and 93-year-old dance legend, Marge Champion.

My working emotional age throughout the evening was probably around nine, which is how old I was when I gleefully interviewed Cassie and Diana from the original A Chorus Line in 1986 for a school project and could be found taking ballet, jazz and tap classes hoping to become their replacements (that didn’t happen). My guess is the audience that filled NYU’s Skirball Center for the Performing Arts for the entertaining, upbeat and oft-times very touching 2-½ hour ceremony held equally powerful memories and appreciation of the art form Martha Graham called “the hidden language of the soul.”

There were simply four categories, two achievement awards and one scholarship recipient (see full list of winners below) so the presenters and performances were as much a central focus as the actual awards. Performance stand-outs included “Simply Irresistible” from Contact (that Yellow Dress!) presented by American Dance Machine for the 21st Century, New York City Ballet dancers Tiler Peck and Robert Fairchild’s breathtaking rendition of “Pas de Deux” from Carousel, the “Audition” number from 42nd Street and “Dancin’ Fool,” presented by the adorable and energetic children of Chester, New Jersey’s Art of Dance. Pass me a tissue, please!

Presenters lit up the stage as well, including Broadway heavies Susan Stroman, Karen Ziemba, Cady Huffman and Kathleen Marshall, writers Rex Reed and Michael Riedel, plus TV personalities Carson Kressley, Dancing With the Stars’ Tony Dolovoni and The Real Housewives of New York City‘s  Countess LuAnn de Lesepps, but the night belonged to the winners. Each one shared personal stories about the importance of dance and arts community support in their lives.

Winner Charlotte d’Amboise (center) and Billy Porter (left). (photo: Charles Dubuy)

Outstanding Male Dancer in a Broadway Show recipient, Eric LaJuan Summers (Motown), recounted how he came to dance late in his career after training mainly as an actor/singer. He was moved to tears by the honor. Another team MOTOWN winner, Warren Adams, became a choreographer only after an Achilles tendon tear ended his dance career. His co-collaborator and winner, Patricia Wilcox, recounted her childhood in dance therapy that eventually led to dance performance followed by choreography. Charlotte d’Amboise (Pippin) won the Outstanding Female Dancer in a Broadway Show award and in her excitement actually dropped the trophy (which broke in half)—endearing her to the entire audience. She went on to thank her extraordinary cohorts at Pippin (three of whom were also nominated in the same category) and incredibly supportive husband, Terrance Mann.

Lifetime Achievement Award winner Marge Champion with Rex Reed. (photo: Charles Dubuy)

But the most heart-warming moment came when Marge Champion, of MGM musicals, Walt Disney, and The Marge & Gower Champion Show fame, accepted her Lifetime Achievement Award from Harry Belafonte. His introduction followed by her speech captured the essence of the night — that love and dance are inseparable. Dance, said Champion, taught her that other people can do the same thing but do it their own way. That dances are none other than love scenes and a graceful, curtsey never gets old. She closed by sharing one of her own favorite quotes, “Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass but learning to dance in the rain.”

The Winners:

Outstanding Choreographer in a Feature Film: Sidi Larbi Cherkaouit (ANNA KARENINA)

Outstanding Female Dancer in a Broadway Show: Charlotte d’Amboise (PIPPIN)

Outstanding Male Dancer in a Broadway Show: Eric LaJuan Summers (MOTOWN)

Outstanding Choreographer of a Broadway Show: A tie between Chet Walker (PIPPIN) and Patricia Wilcox & Warren Adams (MOTOWN)

Douglas Watt Lifetime Achievement Award: Marge Champion

Outstanding Achievement in the Preservation of Musical Theatre: Ted Chapin

Adele Astaire Scholarship Award: Connor Yockus

Lindsay B. Davis is an arts/culture journalist, actress, playwright and director. She resides in New York City.

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 Beauty Pageant Raises $50,000 for Ali Forney Center

May 22nd, 2013 Comments off
Orion Griffiths (Mr. “Pippin), winner of the Broadway Beauty Pageant. (photo: Jonathan Tichler)

The competition was stiff in more ways than one. Orion Griffiths, Mr. Pippin, was crowned as the winner of the sold out, seventh annual Broadway Beauty Pageant held Monday evening at the NYU Skirball Center for the Performing Arts.

The event raised over $50,000 to benefit the Ali Forney Center, which provides shelter to homeless LGBT youth in New York City.

The evening featured Callan Bergmann (Silence! The Musical), Julius C. Carter (SPIDER-MAN Turn Off The Dark), Yurel Echezarreta (Matilda), Matthew Goodrich (The Nance), Orion Griffiths (Pippin), and Paul HeeSang Miller (Mamma Mia!). Nathan Lee Graham (Priscilla Queen of the Desert) also performed.

Each of the contestants went head to head in front of a panel of celebrity judges, but ultimately, the final vote was the hands of the audience.

Judges Andrea Martin (Pippin), Billy Porter (Kinky Boots), and Michael Urie (Buyer and Cellar) kept the laughs coming but it was four-time Tony nominated and Drama Desk Award-winning actress Tovah Feldshuh that truly shined as the evening’s host. With a deep passion for the Ali Forney Center, appreciation for all of the performers hard work and a slew of foul-mouthed jokes, Felshuh deserved a crown of her own by the end of the night.

Host Tovah Feldshuh (photo: Jonathan Tichler)

The Ali Forney Center (AFC) was started in June 2002 in response to the lack of safe shelter for LGBT youth in New York City. The Center is committed to providing these young people with safe, dignified, nurturing environments where their needs can be met, and where they can begin to put their lives back together.

Given the alarming number of gay-related hate crimes plaguing New York City over the past weeks, it is more evident than ever that LGBT youth need a safe place to call home. Click Here to see how you can get involved.

The contestants of the Seventh Annual Broadway Beauty Pageant. (photo: Jonathan Tichler)

Judges (l to r) Michael Urie, Andrea Martin and Billy Porter. (photo: Jonathan Tichler)