With Thanksgiving upon us, I thought you might be too distracted for our usual third Wednesday of the month “Theater Buff” profile. But not to worry, our man for November will be arriving next week.
To tide you over until then, we’re doing a little buff up — following up on some big news from some of our previous featured men — and giving you a sneak peek at our upcoming man of the month. I know…I’m such a tease.
Matthew Wilkas. Photo by Rick Day.
Matthew Wilkas, our May 2012 buff, is generating serious buzz. His movie Gayby has gotten rave reviews and now he’s been named one of Out Magazine’s OUT100. Check out his profile…among other things.
Every third Wednesday of the month, 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 September, our buff is a real high flyer with a heart of gold…
Reed Kelly. Photo by Richard Gerst.
Name: Reed Kelly / @thereedkelly
Hometown: Saint Paul, MN
Current Show/Role: Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark as the debut Spider-man, the evil villain Swiss Miss, and the u/s for the Green Goblin flyer. Also, a dancer on the upcoming second season of Smash on NBC.
The best part of the show I’m in now is: With Spider-Man I get to do such a wide variety of things every night; from playing a superhero and a villain, dancing, singing, to flying and puppeteering. It’s kind of like getting paid to just go out there and have fun every night doing crazy things, not to mention the amazing people I get to work with over there at the Foxwoods. Smash is a blast because what dancer wouldn’t love to dance great musical numbers with your friends, choreographed by Josh Bergasse and recorded to be broadcast to the nation?
The most challenging job in show business I ever had was: Likely it would be the preparation and filming of the movie I Am Legend staring Will Smith. I was one of the actors hired to play the infected. They put us through a very rigorous month-long training camp to get us in shape for the movie, which included everything from yoga, pilates, calisthenics, stunt training, parkour and endurance training to dealing with live explosions. After we finished our training we shot for the next six months in all sorts of crazy conditions, like two weeks of night shoots in the middle of February down in Washington Square Park wearing essentially nothing. Physically it was probably one of the most demanding jobs I had ever had the opportunity to participate in … but it was so much fun.
The cast of "Dogfight". Photo by Joan Marcus.
Just because we’re in the summer slump, it doesn’t mean there’s no news to round-up. Here’s some tasty tidbits from the world of theater…
- Up-and-coming composing team Benj Pasek & Justin Paul got their first big NYC premiere last night — prior to their A Christmas Story on Broadway this winter — with an adaptation of the indie flick Dogfight at Second Stage. I wasn’t given review tickets so I can’t speak for the show but the initial critical response is mixed but promising for the writers.
- Playwright Sam Shepard is an American legend for his plays like True West and Buried Child, so a new work from the Pulitzer-winner is always newsworthy. But how about being able to see the world premiere of his Heartless at Signature Theatre for only $25 a ticket? That’s front page news.
- Two Off-Broadway hits are getting new leases on life. The hit parody Silence! The Musical is moving uptown to a brand new theater on 42nd street, the Elektra Theatre, tomorrow night. Along for the rude and ribald ride is new cast member and cutie Randy Harrison of Queer as Folk fame. Further uptown, the revival of Maltby and Shire’s classic song cycle Closer Than Ever at the York is getting an extension, adding dates from July 23 – August 25. [I'm seeing it soon so I'll give you the scoop!]
Categories: The Buzz a christmas story musical, closer than ever, dogfight musical, heartless, jeckyl and hyde, maltby and shire, new musicals, new plays, pasek and paul, patrick page, robert cucciouli, sam shepard, silence the musical, Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, york theater
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 May, meet our very own superhero…
Matthew Wilkas. Photo by Rick Day.
Name: Matthew Wilkas
Hometown: Camden, Maine
Current Show/Role: Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark/ “Flash Thompson” (Also understudy for “Peter Parker/Spidey”). [Matthew is also starring in the film festival hit Gayby (watch the preview below), coming to a theater near you this year.]
The best part of the show I’m in now is: The people. I’m pretty much in love with everyone involved in this production. It’s a tight family and I feel really lucky to be a part of it.
The most challenging job in show business I ever had was: I have to say—by far—learning the Peter Parker/Spider-Man track has been unbelievably challenging in all respects—vocally, acting-wise, and especially FLYING! It’s pushed me so far beyond my limits and I’m so grateful for that. I’m loving every second of it.
If I wasn’t an actor, I would be: A playwright. I love writing plays. If I can manage it, I will do BOTH.
Places, Intermission or Curtain Call? Curtain Call. Time to relaaaax.
The best post-show cocktail in town is at: I’m not much of a drinker, so I’m gonna say Grom Gelato. They’re all over Manhattan. There’s one in Columbus Circle. I get the hot chocolate affogato once in a while after a show. It’s very decadent.
Nick Jonas & Rob Bartlett in "How to Succeed...". Photo by Joan Marcus.
What’s that smell in the Broadway air? Dance belt and shattered dreams? Well, yes. But I’m talking about the delightfully floral scent of a theater news potpourri..
- Michael Riedel at the New York Post broke the news this week that Tom Hanks (Bosom Buddies) will make his Broadway debut in a new play by Nora Ephron. He’ll play famed tabloid columnist Mike McAlary in Lucky Guy, January 2013. Sleepless in the Newsroom?
- Movie stars are coming up like weeds, it would seem, because Hanks isn’t the only film favorite coming to the Great White Way—although he is a bit more alive than the other arrival. The New York Times reports that a bio-musical about Chaplin (as in Charlie Chaplin) will begin previews August 10.
- Lay wreathes at two more Broadway theaters this week as the season ending culling continues. The new musical Leap of Faith, with only a single Tony nomination and disappointing sales, will shutter this Sunday, and the teen friendly reboot of How to Succeed… (currently starring Nick Jonas) will cash it’s last (investment recouped) check on May 20 after 473 regular performances. Expect the death toll to increase in the coming weeks.
Reeve Carney & Rebecca Faulkenberry in "Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark". Photo by Jacob Cohl.
Turning the proverbial lemons into lemonade (Is there a lemon flower? Have I lost the thread of my organizing theme already?), the producers of Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark have cheekily and quite delightfully decided to acknowledge their underrepresentation at the Tony Nominations by celebrating “Tonys”. People named “Tony” or variations thereof will be eligible for free tickets to see the musical at the matinee on Tony Sunday. The rules and regulations are here; there may still be time for a legal name change should you so desire.
- Feeling like a bud vase of theater instead of a whole bouquet? Scrappy Milk Can Theatre Company is offering an evening of seven ten minute plays, The Snap Shot Plays, this weekend at Shetler Studios. The twist: each play was inspired by a local photographer’s work. Sounds interesting and worth a peak.
- Isn’t one supposed to throw roses at a diva? Well, get your dozen ready to toss at your TV because Christine (and her beloved Phantom) are making their way to PBS. A filmed performance of the much-discussed sequel to The Phantom of the Opera, Love Never Dies, will be presented in June. As they say, check your local listings.
- In the world of grand laurels, I have once again received the honor of being a guest on the radio show This Show is So Gay to discuss all things Broadway. As usual, I embarrass myself at least twice. How I suffer for my art.
Categories: The Buzz Chaplin Musical, How to Succeed, leap of faith, love never dies, Lucky Guy, milk can theater, Nick Jonas, Nora Ephron, phantom of the opera, Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, Tom Hanks, Tony Awards
Reeve Carney. Image via Vevo.
Let’s close out the week (and the month) with some big Broadway releases and a look back at our favorite stories of July:
- Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark continues to “Rise Above” with another $1.8 million weekly gross and the release of a glossy music video featuring fetching leading man Reeve Carney and composers Bono and The Edge. Watch it below, after the jump.
- Get a free sneak preview of the music from the Broadway-bound musical Bonnie and Clyde, with a score by the oft-debated Frank Wildhorn (Wonderland) and Don Black (Sunset Boulevard). With a twanging, period-influenced sound and some Wildhorn-ian radio-friendly hooks, the fully-produced recordings have me a lot more curious about what will hit the stage November 4.
- Tom Aldredge, a five-time Tony-nominated actor, passed away this week at the age of 83. He leaves an indelible string of performances including his work in the original On Golden Pond and as the iconic narrator in Sondheim’s Into the Woods. Once upon a time…
In case you missed them, here are some of our favorite posts from the last four weeks:
And without further ado, let’s watch Reeve Carney spin his web in a song from Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark:
"Lombardi". Photo by Joan Marcus.
Let’s take a quick look at the Broadway Scoreboard–and exhaust every sports metaphor I can dredge up from the sadly neglected locker room in my brain. (Let’s face it, the closest I got to playing football was singing along at a Chicago gay bar to “The Aggie Song” from The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas.) But I digress…
- A few shows took the expected post-Tony hit and are packing up their gear and going home. Even with a Tony nod for featured actress Judith Light, the football drama (and brave attempt at theatrical counter-programming) Lombardi posted a closing notice for May 22. The updated fairy-tale musical Wonderland, blizted with no nominations and rough reviews, will shutter this Sunday after 33 regular performances.
- Boasting a title that might actually be heard on a ball field, The Motherf—er with the Hat announced it is heading into extra innings, extending for three weeks through July 17. Featuring a starry cast that includes Tony nominee Bobby Cannavale and comedian Chris Rock, Stephen Adly Guirgis’ comedy/drama about not so clean living seems to be hitting a home run with critics and audiences.
- Down, but not out, (oooh, boxing) the long-shot (horse-racing!) musical Spider Man: Turn Off the Dark returns to the stage tonight for one more try at the brass ring (I have no idea what sport that might be). After closing down for an unprecedented rewrite and rehearsal process with a reconfigured creative team, the comic book musical will begin a new preview period working toward a June 14 opening night.
- The Tony-awards have called a real pro out of the bullpen for the save; Neil Patrick Harris, a sitcom star with real music theater chops, will return to host this year’s awards telecast. Let’s do the wave in celebration!
Well, all those bad metaphors have taken it out of me. Time to hit the showers…with those Aggie boys. After the jump, relive the first stirrings of puberty (and music theater love) in one slightly NSFW clip from The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas.
Sleep No More. Photo by Yaniv Schulman.
I’ve got a witches brew of unusual theater news to send you off into the weekend:
Image via Youtube
‘Tis the Season! Well, not that season—though there will be bells jingled. No, ‘tis the season for stripping or so it would seem from all the fundraisers planned in the run-up to Broadway Bares: Masterpiece, the annual burlesque-style charity event coming this June 19. The first package being unwrapped is a night of teases by some of the fittest—and bravest—men of the Great White Way called Broadway Bares: Solo Strips. Bring your dollar bills (it’s for charity—make ‘em tens) to Splash on Sunday, April 3 at either 8 or 10pm and catch cast members from Memphis, Spider-Man, Catch Me If You Can and more showing off their dance moves and their dance belts. In a sense, it’s a nostalgic return to 1992 and the very origins of Broadway Bares, when Tony-winner Jerry Mitchell and six friends climbed up on the bar at Splash to raise money. Or it’s just a reason to see sexy guys get almost naked. Either way, everybody—including the amazing programs of Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS—wins.
After the jump, see a video from last year’s Solo Strips but be warned: unless you’re a scout for Playgirl Magazine, this is not safe viewing for work.