Posts Tagged ‘Wicked’

Breaking News: Guess Who’s Peforming at the Tonys?

May 29th, 2014 Comments off
The Tony Award. Image via Google.

The Tony Award. Image via Google.

The Tony Awards have announced the line-up of performances for the 68th Annual Tony Awards, which will broadcast live from Radio City Music Hall in New York City, on CBS, on Sunday, June 8th 8:00 – 11:00 p.m. (ET/PT time delay).

The entertainment-packed evening will feature performances by 2014 Tony Nominee Neil Patrick Harris and the cast of Hedwig and the Angry Inch; 2014 Tony nominee Sutton Foster with the cast of Violet; Alan Cumming reprising his Tony Award winning role in a performance from the revival of Cabaret and 2014 Tony Nominee Idina Menzel performing from the new musical If/Then.   

The evening will also feature not-to-be missed performances by the casts of this year’s Best Musical and Best Musical Revival Nominees, as well as other new musicals: Aladdin, Les Misérables, Beautiful: The Carole King Musical and A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, Bullets Over Broadway and Rocky.

Idina Menzel in the original cast of "Wicked" (photo: via The Broadway Blog.

Idina Menzel in the original cast of “Wicked” (photo: via The Broadway Blog.

The cast of Wicked will return to Radio City Music Hall for the first time since 2004, when they won three Tony Awards. The cast will take the stage once again in what is sure to be a very special performance to celebrate Wicked’s 10th Anniversary. Also not to be missed: music legends Patti LaBelle, Gladys Knight and Fantasia, who will take the stage for an unforgettable performance with the cast of After Midnight.Sting will also perform a song from his upcoming musical, The Last Ship.

Hosted by Tony Award winner, Emmy Award-winning, Academy Award®-nominated and Golden Globe-winning actor Hugh Jackman, Broadway’s biggest night will feature appearances by Bradley Cooper, Kevin Bacon, Carole King, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Will Ferrell, Liev Schreiber, Emmy Rossum, Kate Mara, Zachary Quinto, Zachary Levi, Lucy Liu, Clint Eastwood, Patricia Clarkson, Leighton Meester, Ethan Hawke, Zach Braff, Matt Bomer, Anna Gunn, Gloria & Emilio Estefan, Tony nominee Audra McDonald, Fran Drescher, Wayne Brady, Kenneth Branagh, Tony Goldwyn, Vera Farmiga and Alessandro Nivola.

The Tony Awards will be broadcast in a live three-hour ceremony from Radio City Music Hall, on the CBS television network on Sunday, June 8, 2014. For more information on the Tony Awards, visit

A scene from "Les Misérables" (photo: Matthew Murphy) via The Broadway Blog.

A scene from “Les Misérables” (photo: Matthew Murphy) via The Broadway Blog.

Happy Birthday, Mr. Wizard

April 16th, 2013 Comments off
Stephen Schwartz’s 65th Birthday Celebration with the New York Pops at Carnegie Hall. (photo: Richard Termine)

While most teen boys probably want to sneak a six-pack and get drunk behind the bleachers for their 16th birthday, I reveled in a mix tape artfully crafted by two of my favorite show-choir girls. Their heartfelt (albeit somewhat flat and lacking vibrato) rendition of Stephen Schwartz’s “Day by Day” left me as inebriated on musical theater as if I had bathed in an overflowing tub of champagne — or in those days Bartles & Jaymes sparkling wine coolers.

It was my first introduction to Schwartz’s folk/rock chamber musical Godspell and I was hooked. I then discovered Pippin, followed by a spat of a piece called The Baker’s Wife, which everyone knows because of the mega-belting “Meadowlark” but I fell in love with “If I Have to Live Alone” because it was in my baritone range and suitably depressing for a teenager.

After a few commercial flops, Schwartz disappeared (and I moved on to Les Misérables). Not really. He went to Hollywood and cranked out lyrics for a bunch of Disney animated features only to return to Broadway in 2003 with Wicked, adapted from the fantastical novel by Gregory Maguire.

Stephen Schwartz (photo: Richard Termine)

With a career spanning more than 40 years (watch out for Houdini, slated for Broadway 2014), it seems only fitting that Schwartz recently celebrated his 65th birthday at Carnegie Hall with the New York Pops. Helmed by Music Director and Conductor Steven Reineke, the concert featured stars of stage and screen, including Jeremy Jordon, Julia Murney, Jennifer Laura Thompson and Norm Lewis, along with the Essential Voices USA choir.

The concert was the final hurrah in the Pops’ 30th anniversary season and its fifth sold-out event of the year. The program spanned Schwartz’s diverse career with selections from his musical theater compositions as well as lesser heard works from his opera Séance on a Wet Afternoon and a powerful choral piece titled “Testimony” that was originally written for the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus.

Julia Murney, who played Elphaba in Wicked on the national tour as well as on Broadway, shared a story of first auditioning for Stephen Schwartz back in 1996 for a review of the composer’s work. He was so taken with her voice that he asked her to sing “Meadowlark,” a notoriously difficult song. She did it on the spot (“after throwing up in my mouth a little bit”) and hadn’t sung the piece again since that audition.

Jennifer Laura Thompson (left) and Julia Murney. (photo: Richard Termine)

Revisiting the number, she shook the rafters of Carnegie Hall but was not to be outdone by Jennifer Laura Thompson, who tackled the equally difficult “West End Avenue” from The Magic Show. The men of the evening had their shining moments, too — particularly Jeremy Jordan, whose soaring tenor voice seemed to effortlessly glide over powerful ballads from Children of Eden, Godspell and Pippin.

Schwartz took to the stage to share some backstory on the creation of “The Wizard and I” from Wicked. Originally conceived as a song titled “Being Good,” he and writing partner Winnie Holzman revisited the song several times, taking into account original actress Idina Menzel’s strengths and crafting a song and situation that would fit more naturally with her voice. Murney delivered her rendition of the piece in an appropriately emerald green dress.

This was the final concert in this season’s series, but you can celebrate the New York Pops’ 30th birthday at their star-studded gala on April 29. The event honors artistic collaborations and the work of Frank Loesser, Jule Styne and Danny Kaye.

“I am thrilled,” says Dena Kaye, “and so very touched, that The New York Pops has chosen my father, Danny Kaye, to honor at their 30th Birthday at Carnegie Hall, as we continue a year-long tribute of the Danny Kaye Centennial. As my father was born and raised in New York, this is the perfect celebration for a man who has brought his laughter and joy to generations through his talent as an actor, singer, dancer, conductor, comedian and humanitarian.”

Next season’s performances have also been announced and include Chris Botti, Tony award-winner Montego Glover, Marin Mazzie, Jason Danieley and others. Season tickets start at $150.
Visit for more information.

We Love You Broaday, Part II

February 11th, 2013 Comments off

As part of this week’s series of our favorite Broadway love songs, I turned to Broadway producer extraordinaire, Eva Price. Her Broadway producing credits include “Annie,” “Peter and the Starcatcher” and “Kathy Griffin Wants a Tony” among others.

Our little secret: Eva’s got a soft spot for some of the best Broadway ballads as well as a couple of quirkier picks — a sure sign that she’s got an eye for what will be the next big hit. Here are some of her favorites…

“As Long As Your Mine,” Wicked
“This is a gorgeous, sexy, passionate song. Out of context it’s gritty and somewhat sexual. And then you stop and think, two people of two different races (essentially) who aren’t necessarily supposed to be together are so fused by desire that they are tearing each other’s clothes off, AND singing to each other. Totally beautiful!”

“Little Fall of Rain,” Les Miserables
“A totally heartbreaking moment. Unrequited love always gets me and this is a raw, real, and tragic ending to a love that will never be. Whoever sings this song (Broadway, West End, movie… even amateur productions that I’ve seen) blows my mind and breaks my heart with those killers voices and emotional delivery.”

Take the jump for more of Eva’s picks…
Read more…

VIP Access: Megan Hilty, Broadway Backwards and more…

January 24th, 2013 Comments off

The theater season is kicking into high gear, not just on Broadway but also with special performances and benefits popping up all over town. File your taxes early and use that refund to snag seats to one (or all) of these unique events:

Megan Hilty (photo provided by Dan Dutcher PR)

Luck Be a Lady: Megan Hilty Sings Sinatra and More
March 8
Carnegie Hall

The New York Pops continues its 30th season with an evening of swinging favorites in “Luck Be a Lady: Megan Hilty Sings Sinatra and More.” Music Director and Conductor Steven Reineke – described by The New York Times as “young and vigorous, with a playful attitude” (and who doesn’t love that?) – will lead the orchestra as it tips its hat to the Rat Pack, Ella Fitzgerald, Marilyn Monroe and other stars from the golden age of entertainment. The performance features Broadway and TV starlet Megan Hilty and Ryan Silverman, one of Broadway’s favorite leading men. The program will include “Luck Be a Lady,” “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend,” music from “Smash” and more.

Tickets $18.50 – $112
Click here for tickets.



Read more…

Let’s Make a Deal: New York Theater on the Cheap

January 21st, 2013 Comments off

Your wish for discount theater tickets really can come true. (Kristin Chenoweth in the original Broadway production of "Wicked." Photo: Joan Marcus)

Even the most die-hard theatergoer cannot afford to see a show as often as he or she would like. With the top ticket price clocking in at $135.50, and premium seats soaring even higher, being a Broadway fan may be the best fad diet in town. Nobody should have to choose between a classic New York pizza and slice of cheesecake and a chorus of svelte dancers spinning triple pirouettes.

Fortunately, has come to the rescue, offering 2-for-1 Broadway seats from Jan. 22 – Feb. 7. While not every show is available (those boys at Book of Mormon are still at capacity,) there are a surprising number of great shows participating, including “Wicked”, “Jersey Boys” and the much talked about production of “Rogers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella”.

You can also upgrade your ticket for an additional $20 per person, which will get you out of the rear balcony and into orchestra or mezzanine.

The Great White Way isn’t the only place where bargains can be found. Off Broadway is offering the same 2-for-1 deal from Jan. 28 – Feb. 10. Seeing an Off Broadway show is a great way to have a more intimate theatrical experience. And these days, some productions that originated on Broadway, like the Tony award-winning “Avenue Q,” are now in Off Broadway theaters. You can also catch edgier works like “BARE: The Musical,” “My Name is Asher Lev,” and the Pulitzer Prize-winning “Water by the Spoonful.”

The cast of "Water by the Spoonful." (Photo: Richard Termine)

If you can’t make up your mind or pull it together in time to order tickets in advance, I’ve got one more option for you: 20at20. From Jan. 22 – Feb. 10, simply show up at the box office 20 minutes before curtain at a participating Off Broadway theater and request a “20at20” ticket. If available (yes, these shows will sell out so there is a risk factor to save a few bucks) you’ll have a good chance of snagging a $20 seat.

Whichever option you choose, winter can be the best time to enjoy live theater in New York City. And I want to know what you’re seeing! Visit The Broadway Blog’s Facebook page and tell us if the show you saw belongs on the discount rack or if you’ve discovered a hidden gem.


VIP ACCESS: Three Broadway Documentaries Go Behind-the-Curtain

July 25th, 2012 Comments off

Every fourth Wednesday of the month, the “VIP Access” column will serve up advice on how to make your theater-going experiences cheaper, easier and more fulfilling with inside scoop from the experts. This month, we’re going behind the curtain to see how Broadway shows really get to opening night…

2006 Broadway Revival of "A Chorus Line". Photo by Paul Kolnik.

It’s July and all is quiet on Broadway.

Or so it seems. Actually, right now in production offices, rehearsal studios and writers’ rooms around New York, the real drama is happening as the 2012-2013 theatrical season takes shape. Big decisions are being made with multi-million dollar investments on the line.

So how do we mere mortals get behind the scenes and find out what’s really happening? (And don’t say, “Watch the first season of Smash on my dvr.” It’s fun but a documentary it is not.) Fire up your netflix subscription and rent these three highly recommended, “warts and all” films about the state of the Broadway art…

Read more…

“King” Rules, “Carrie” Rises, “Wicked” Returns & More Theater News

April 13th, 2012 Comments off

"The Lion King". Photo by Joan Marcus.

Money makes the world go round in this week’s clinking clanking round-up of theater news:

  • The Lion King proved it rules the entertainment jungle as it became the highest grossing Broadway show of all-time this week with $853.8 million in tickets. Previous title holder The Phantom of the Opera stands at $853.1 million. Suddenly, I don’t feel so bad for King’s director and partaker-of-royalties Julie Taymor (Spider-Man).
  • 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 musical with their wives, the guys-night-at-the-theater niche got its next entry (following the warm welcome for last year’s Lombardi) as Magic/Bird opened on Broadway Wednesday night. The reviews suggest 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 Wickedincluding 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…


PRIME CUTS: First Song Written for “Wicked”

March 5th, 2012 Comments off

Jackie Burns in "Wicked". Photo by Joan Marcus.

In our continuing series, we’re taking a look at songs cut from Broadway musicals to see what happens in the making of a show. Next up, the first song finished–and revised–from the mega-hit musical Wicked

Like the set of the wizardly Wicked, a musical has to click together like clockwork. Each piece should serve the greater whole and be intensely focused on the story and themes. In a conversation with Carol de Giere at, the composer Stephen Schwartz reveals how this idea played into the cutting of one early part of the score:

“Making Good” was the first song Stephen Schwartz finished for his witches of Oz musical Wicked, and the first to be revised. Scene two and its song were crucial for setting up Elphaba’s desire line for the entire show. “Making Good” explored her ambition to “making good” in both senses of the phrase, “that is, to do things which were good, and in doing so, to make good in the sense of succeed,” Schwartz explains. But there was something too mild about it, so he wrote a second version, which still wasn’t hitting the mark. Then the songwriter reconsidered what Elphaba wanted. “It’s got to be about the Wizard,” he said to bookwriter Winnie Holzman in their next phone call. “What does she want? She’s gotta want to meet the Wizard because she thinks that’s going to solve her problems, just like everybody else in The Wizard of Oz.” He asked Holzman to write a monologue that would express the ideas, and spun “The Wizard and I” from there.

Think he made a “good” decision? Listen to Stephanie J. Block singing the cut song “Making Good”: Read more…

SHOW FOLK: Cocktails with Bienskie, Gattelli and Hanlon

May 11th, 2011 Comments off

Once a month, a member of the theater community will pull up a chair to our cyber table and join us for a little conversation. I’ll edit the transcripts (removing the truly libelous parts) and post the results here every second Wednesday. For May, we’ve got a threesome…

Bienskie, Hanlon and Gattelli. Image via Hanlon.

From the beginning of this blog, I wanted to try to capture the sense of family that can exist in the theater community. I also wanted it to feel like a late night, fizzy conversation over cocktails with the gang. Well, no one combines booze and brotherhood better than three of the funniest friends in the business–as well as three of my favorite men of the stage–Colin Hanlon (Fiyero in the current Wicked tour), Christopher Gattelli (Tony-nominated choreographer of South Pacific, director of the upcoming Silence! The Musical) and, Christopher’s real-life partner, Stephen Bienskie (co-star of the hit web comedy Submissions Only). I recently popped the cork on a bottle of prosecco and corralled this boisterous trio for The Broadway Blog’s first ever triple play. Over a raucous hour of faux-insults and very real affection, we gabbed about the highs and lows of a life in theater, the challenge of having friends in the business and, of course, peeing your pants at auditions.

Warning: this interview contains some adults-only language. After reading, just imagine the even more horrible things that I had to cut out.

Where did you guys meet? How did this all begin?

Colin Hanlon: George Street.

Christopher Gattelli: At the George Street Playhouse, Tick Tick Boom.

All three of you?

Stephen Bienskie: Well, we [Christopher and Stephen] met doing Cats. The gayest story ever.

Which cats were you?

SB: Rum Tum Tugger and Mistoffelees.

CG: We had a number together.

CH: Messing up the make-up backstage.

CG: Colin!  (laughter) OK. It’s all fair game now.

SB: Here we go!

Read more…