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Broadway News/Blog Round Up #21

Each week, The Broadway Critic will be featuring the news that you don’t want to miss! A lot has happened since last week, so make sure you keep up to date!

  • Besides the American Idiot drama, there has been some cast announcements.  Most exciting is that Laura Benanti joins the cast of Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown. Check out the Lincoln Center website here. Can’t believe it starts previews in two months! I’ll be there! (See above, the Broadway cast poster.) Here’s the wiki page.
  • BroadwayWorld TV’s Los Angeles correspondent Michael Sterling, got up close and personal today with the cast of RENT at rehearsals for the Hollywood Bowl presentation of the groundbreaking musical August 6 through 8, 2010. Watch the video here. I would love to drive down and see this if I wasn’t performing in RENT this weekend at City Lights Theatre Company.
  • Frank Wildhorn’s new musical, Wonderland is headed to Broadway in the Spring. Directed by Gregory Boyd — the artistic director of the Alley Theatre in Houston, TX — the new musical will officially open on Broadway April 17, 2011. You can hear a bunch of the songs here.

Broadway Blog Round Up:

  • Steve on Broadway – A great review of Harry Connick Jr.’s concert on Broadway. If you missed, don’t fear, “While this concert gig closed on Saturday, my performance was filmed, presumably for television. So you’ll likely have a chance to see exactly what I saw sometime in the near future.”
  • Stage Notes – Check out this picturesque post about Idina Menzel in concert at Bethel Woods Center for the Arts. They said it was the “perfect evening under the stars.” Wish I was there!
  • Musicals in LA – Have you heard about Robin and the 7 Hoods? If not, check out this review. We are hearing reports that it might be headed to Broadway.
  • JK Theatre Scene – A very interesting point of view on how theatre has changed with the invention of the internet… very interesting post. Read it and comment!
  • Gratuitous Violins - Have you been to Joe’s Pub? Esther hadn’t and she loved it. I love Joe’s Pub! It’s such a fantastic intimate venue. She mentions that you should check out the Broadway Impact concert in August at Joe’s Pub. I tend to definitely agree with her! (Plus, her blog’s new look is quite awesome! Congrats on the update!)
  • Everything I Know I Learned From Musicals – Caggiano is back, snarky as ever – this time about Catherine Zeta Jones and her Tony Award. But the best part of this post, is that he loved the new cast in A Little Night Music which just makes me ecstatic that I’m going to be able to see this in October with such an epic cast!
  • Chicago Theatre Blog – A very interesting 2-star review of the pop musical, Bare.

What was your favorite Broadway news story this week? Any great Broadway blogs that I’ve missed? Let me know in the comments!

 
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Posted by on 08/04/2010 in Broadway, News

 

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The October Broadway Vacation

After a long discussion with Delta, I finally secured my very inexpensive tickets from San Jose to New York City for October. I had tickets this past Spring to New York City, but an unexpected health issue arose and I wasn’t able to make it. Luckily, (or unluckily) I was hospitalized and because of that I was able to keep my unused Delta tickets without any fare change fees. I still have $200 left (maybe another quick get away this Winter when more shows have opened).

While, I’m not totally certain of my itinerary, these are the shows that I would like to see if I can score tickets to all of them.

MUST SEE:

Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown @ Belasco Theatre - With the cast they announced this week – Patti LuPone, Brian Stokes Mitchell and Sherie Rene Scott – I will not miss this one. Currently, it’s only slated to run until January 23rd, 2011, so you don’t want to miss this one. Plus, I love Yazbek!

From Playbill.com: “In Madrid, the intertwining lives of a group of women with relationship issues lead to a tumultuous 48 hours of love, confusion and passion.”

The Scottsboro Boys @ Lyceum Theatre: This started Off-Broadway to great reviews. I’m really interested in seeing this one! I hope it lives up to all of the hype. I’m going to try to see the first preview.

From Playbill.com: “In rural Alabama in 1931, nine young African-American males are arrested and tried for a crime involving two white women. Performed as a minstrel show, the musical gives voice to the persistent theme of justice in America.”

Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson @Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre: An emo-rock musical? Yes, please. I’m there. Yet, another brand new musical, that’s transferring from Off-Broadway that I will not miss.

From Playbill.com: “Rock star Andrew Jackson (also our seventh president) encores after busting up the Public Theater last season. Starring the charismatic Benjamin Walker.”

WANT TO SEE REALLY BAD:

Playbill Cover

A Little Night Music – Walter Kerr Theatre: So I missed the Tony Award winning actress, Catherine Zeta-Jones and the incredible Angela Lansbury, but now, I get to see Bernadette Peters and Elaine Strich. I’m also really excited to see this particular production of A Little Night Music as I’ve never seen the show before.

La Cage Aux Folles – Longacre Theatre – Everyone has been talking about this production for a long time it seems – first in London and then on Broadway. All I’ve seen is great reviews from everyone.  I’ve never seen La Cage Aux Folles so it’s the perfect time for me to check out this revival.

SUNDAY EVENING:

Next to Normal @ Booth Theatre: It’s a no brianer that I would pick this show to see on Sunday evening when the only other options are Billy Elliot and Rock of Ages. I’m very excited to see the new cast. Of course, I’ll miss Alice Ripley and the rest of the original cast but I’m also excited to see the differences the new cast brings to the show.

MONDAY EVENING:

American Idiot @ St. James Theatre: I saw this show three times in it’s own-of-town tryout at the Berkeley Rep. I absolutely loved it. It’s energy was so infectious that I had to keep coming back for more. I’m really interested in seeing all of the changes and see Stark Sands perform (whom I hear great things about)! Also, there’s no other shows on Monday night that I even remotely want to see!

DEPENDING ON SCHEDULING:

Promises, Promises @ Broadway Theatre: If for some reason I can’t get into any of the above shows, then this show is the next one I really want to see. I would love to see Sean Hayes and Kristen Chenoweth in this, but I’m not dying to see it. It’s a great alternative and if I stayed one more day (or if they had a Sunday or Monday evening show), I’d be there.

The Addams Family @ Lunt-Fontanne Theatre: I’m not really a huge Addams Family fan, so I’m not dying to see this. I think it would be kinda cool to see Nathan Lane perform, because I’ve never seen him live, but there’s too many other shows that I want to see before this one. Again, if it performed on Sunday or Monday evening, I might be there.

NOT TO MISS: (Still deciding)

I just realized that I’ll be in town during the New York Musical Theatre Festival 2010. I know, one thing for sure, that I’ll be seeing Anthony Rapp’s “Without You”. I hope to see a few others as well depending on schedules.

Without You: Anthony Rapp presents his turbulent journey through the convergence of two life-changing events: the early days of Rent – including the untimely passing of Jonathan Larson – and the illness and death of his own mother. Based on his New York Times best-selling memoir, Rapp uses a mix of original music and songs by R.E.M. and Larson in a stunning one-man show about grief, hope, and triumph.

What are your thoughts? Any shows that I’m missing? What shows would you see? Let me know what you think!

 
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Posted by on 07/29/2010 in Broadway

 

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Five Shows You Should See on Broadway – #3

I get asked this question a lot: “What shows should I see on Broadway?” I get asked from friends who are visiting New York City for the weekend, teachers who are taking their students on an extended field trip and even friends who live in the city. Now, I usually try to answer that question, keeping in mind, what my friends or students would be interested in seeing – making sure its content and style appropriate.

Back in November, I posted my top five favorite shows and since then two have closed and the other three have significant cast changes. Then back in March, I posted my new list, but that was before all of the new Broadway shows had opened and there have been several that have opened but it’s still a very similar list.

Here’s my top 5 that you should check out this summer in New York City:

1. Next to Normal at Booth Theatre – Next to Normal continues to be #1 on my list for a number of reasons, even with the new cast changes. Husband-and-wife actors Jason Danieley and Marin Mazzie will join the cast of the Pulitzer Prize-winning musical in July. Next to Normal is a breath of fresh air, especially when comparing it to such shows as Billy Elliot or even Disney’s Mary Poppins (which I happen to love).

Tom Kitt’s beautifully crafted rock opera deals directly with heartache in a way that’s never been presented in musical theatre.  With the difficult level of the score, intensity of the acting and fiery energy that the actors bring to the show every night, I thought that it might actually get “tired” as the run went on. My friend saw it last week and said it was the best he’s ever seen it! (It was his 5th or 6th time seeing it.) You have till July 18th to see the Tony-winning performance by Alice Ripley.

It’s my all-time favorite show I’ve seen on Broadway. Don’t miss it!

WebsiteTickets

2. American Idiot at St. James Theatre – American Idiot didn’t win the Tony Award for Best Musical, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t see this show! It did win the Tony Award for the lighting and set design (which were well-deserved). I saw it four times at Berkeley Rep in it’s out-of-town try-out and I can tell you it will blow your mind. It was the musical that actually inspired me to start this website.

“Finally, someone has come along and given musical theatre the electro shock therapy it has needed for so long. While Tom Kitt’s newest musical, Next to Normal, deals directly with the affects of electro shock therapy, American Idiot is electro shock therapy for the audience. It screams independence and acceptance in a way that is nothing short of brilliant.” You can read the full review here.

WebsiteBuy tickets

Playbill Cover3. A Little Night Music at Walter Kerr Theatre: I actually gave up my ticket to see this to see the closing performance of Finian’s Rainbow.(Read the full story here.) I’ve only heard fabulous things about this production and that Angela Lansbury and Catherine Zeta-Jones are exquisite in their roles. Zeta-Jones did just win the Tony Award for Best Actress on Sunday.

In the New York Times Catherine Zeta-Jones is said to be, “…drop-dead gorgeous in David Farley’s wasp-waisted period dresses, Ms. Zeta-Jones brings a decent voice, a supple dancer’s body and a vulpine self-possession to her first appearance on Broadway.” This is your last week to see Miss Zeta-Jones and Miss Lansbury as their final performance is on June 20th. But on July 13th, you’ll have a chance to see two other theatre legends take over the roles: Bernadette Peters and Elaine Stritch. I have a feeling that this is a show you won’t want to miss!

Website | Tickets

4. La Cage aux Folles at Longacre Theatre: First off, you have to congratulate La Cage aux Folles for being the first musical in history to win “Best Musical” or “Best Musical Revival” three times! Talk about a huge triumph and making musical theatre history! The Menier Chocolate Factory’s acclaimed revival hits the Broadway stage, starring Douglas Hodge (Olivier Award and Tony Award) as Albin, a drag performer with a heart of gold, and Kelsey Grammer as his partner Georges.

I haven’t seen this production yet, but from what I’ve heard, you don’t want to miss it – the Cagelles are worth the price of admission. (Did you see them on the Tony Awards? Talk about fierce!)

Website | Tickets

5. In the Heights at Richard Rodgers Theatre – In the Heights won the 2008 Tony for “Best Musical” and has been a hit on Broadway ever since. I caught the In the Heights tour in San Francisco last month and absolutely fell in love with the show all over again. (Read review, here)

I took 35 theatre/music students to this production on Broadway in March ’09 and they absolutely fell in love with it, just as I had when I saw it for the first time. The infusion of Latin/Rap/Pop music into musical theatre isn’t groundbreaking or new, but Lin-Manuel Miranda’s lyrics are. The end of Act I, when they sing “Blackout” — fireworks literally and figuratively go off on stage. It’s electrifying!

Website | Tickets

Shows I hope to see in August:

  • Promises, PromisesI can’t resist seeing a show with Kristen Chenoweth, Sean Hayes or Katie Finneran (who won the Tony for Best Supporting Actress) all in it! If you have time for one more revival, then this one should be on your list!
  • Next to Normal: It’s one of the rare shows that’s open on a Monday night and I can’t wait to see the new replacements: Jason Danieley and Marin Mazzie.
  • American Idiot: Yes, I know – with all of the shows that I haven’t seen on Broadway that are open, why see a show I’ve already seen four times! Well, I haven’t seen it on Broadway yet! And I want to see the changes and new discoveries they have made since Berkeley Rep.
  • La Cage aux Folles/A Little Night Music: It’s basically going to come down to which one will I be able to afford tickets to! I have never seen either show in any production, so I’m looking forward to seeing at least one!

It looks like, I might just have to return sometime in October to catch a few more…

 
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Posted by on 06/15/2010 in Broadway

 

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Broadway News Round Up #17

Each week, The Broadway Critic will be featuring the news that you don’t want to miss! A lot has happened since we posted about Catch Me if You Can and Addams Family.

Broadway Cast Poster

  • Playbill.com is reporting, “Brian d’Arcy James, who created the role of Dan Goodman in the original Off-Broadway production of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Next to Normal at Second Stage, will return to that musical on Broadway in May.” This just gives me another reason to revisit this show the next time I’m in New York. I think I can say for everyone, “Welcome Back!”
  • Rumor Alert: “Gwyneth Paltrow and her real-life mother, Blythe Danner, are being looked at as possible replacements for Catherine Zeta-Jones and Angela Lansbury in A Little Night Music, once the pair complete their run in the Sondheim revival after the Tony Awards in June.” (Via Broadwayworld.com) This would be an amazing replacement, if in fact, Paltrow can sing. I’d definitely buy a ticket for it!
  • Theatrefan555 posted a very interesting question on Broadwayworld.com: “If you see theatre with industry comps then…” Read more about this here.
  • The reviews have come in about Girlfriend – Berkeley Rep’s new two-person musical. You can read The Broadway Critic’s review here. There is also some more chatter about this on All That Chat.
  • American Idiot opened on Broadway on 4/20 (coincidental, I doubt it) and La Cage aux Folles opened on Broadway on 4/18. Both opened to stellar reviews! Read American Idiot reviews here and La Cage aux Folles reviews here. I have a feeling, that both of these shows are front-runners at the Tony Awards for Best Musical and Best Revival even though I want Finian’s Rainbow to win.
  • Photo Call: First look at Fences on Broadway.
  • Finally, “Sondheim on Sondheim, a unique musical that is part video documentary and part starry Broadway revue, opens at Studio 54 on April 22, offering the life story of Tony Award-winning composer-lyricist Stephen Sondheim.” (via Playbill.com) Sondheim has had quite the year this year!
  • Last but not least, did anyone see a preview of Everyday Rapture yet? I’ve heard some mixed reviews on this one. Please comment and tell us what you think – inquiring minds want to know!

New shows that are starting previews and/or opening on Broadway in the next couple weeks:

  • 4/22/10: Sondheim on Sondheim (opening)
  • 4/25/10: Promises, Promises (opening)
  • 4/27/10: Enron (opening)
  • 4/28/10: Collected Stories (opening)
  • 4/29/10: Everyday Rapture (opening)
  • 5/04/10: TONY AWARD NOMINATIONS

Until next week…

 
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Posted by on 04/22/2010 in Broadway, News

 

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Broadway News Round Up #16

Each week, The Broadway Critic will be featuring the news that you don’t want to miss! A lot has happened since we posted about Yank!, Hedwig & the Angry Inch, Dreamgirls and Little House on the Prairie.

  • Playbill.com is reporting that Catch Me If You Can is aiming for Broadway in Spring 2011. Already, it seems there’s going to be problems. Team members, Jerry Mitchell (choreographer) and Jack O’Brien (director) are double-booked. Love Never Dies, which they are both working on, has pushed back their opening date to Spring 2011 as well. So, how are they going to be doing two shows at once? Someone has got to give. I wonder where they are gonna end up. Both shows had mixed reviews so I don’t think there’s a clear answer there. (I heard a recording of CMIYC and had to turn it off, because it was so bad.) Maybe they should scratch both projects and work on something else. Both seem to be a bit of a disaster.
  • Addams Family is opening tonight, April 8th 2010. Did you see their performance on Letterman? It was cute and fun but I’m not totally sold that I could sit through 2 hours of that. Looking forward to seeing the reviews that come out tonight.
  • Apparently, Andrew Lloyd Weber fears bloggers (like me)! And, frankly he should. I’m tired of people complaining that they need previews to make the show “work”. If you are truly working on the piece and don’t want people to review it as the “final” production, then don’t charge up the butt for tickets. Yes, I know it’s pricey to produce a musical, and yes somethings just need tweaking, but it’s 2010 – the internet isn’t a new invention. Welcome to 2010, Sir Andrew Lloyd Weber. “I dread to think what anybody would have said about the first preview of Cats or, frankly, Les Misérables, which was a huge undertaking and wasn’t right at the beginning,” he said. I dread just thinking about what it was like to sit through a first preview of Cats – what a disaster.
  • A Little Night Music cast recording was released this past Tuesday. I posted a little preview of Catherine Zeta-Jones singing “Send in the Clowns”. I asked whether or not anyone liked the dialogue on the cast recording. I honestly hate it. It bothers me that I have to wait through two minutes of dialogue before I actually get to hear Zeta-Jones sing. Why couldn’t they have made them separate tracks? That way, if you want to listen to the entire script you can, and the days you just want music you could just listen to music tracks. There’s all sorts of opinions on Broadwayworld.com. Make sure you enter to win a copy!
  • Everyone is excited about the new production of Anyone Can Whistle at City Encores this weekend. I can’t wait to hear the buzz!
  • Last night, Duncan Sheik (composer of Spring Awakening and Whisper House) started a three-night engagement with the San Francisco Symphony. I’ll be there on Saturday night.
  • It seems that Million Dollar Quartet has a million different lawsuits. What a mess! The Missus saw this show and after was approached by one of the producers who asked her what she thought about it. She honestly replied, “Meh! It was okay, I guess.” Twenty minutes later, the producer got an ear full about the lack of plot, character inconsistencies and general boredom. I hope he does something with that information.

New shows that are starting previews and/or opening on Broadway in the next couple weeks:

  • 4/08/10: Addams Family (opening)
  • 4/08/10: Enron (opening)
  • 4/11/10: Million Dollar Quartet (opening)
  • 4/18/10: La Cage aux Folles (opening)
  • 4/20/10: American Idiot (opening)
  • 4/22/10: Sondheim on Sondheim (opening)
  • 4/25/10: Promises, Promises (opening)

Until next week…

 
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Posted by on 04/08/2010 in Broadway, News

 

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Contest: Win a Copy of “A Little Night Music”


A few reviews of A Little Night Music:

  • New York Observer: “A fantastic night at the theater, an entrancing, lovely, delightfully cast production of a Stephen Sondheim classic.” (Read full review)
  • New York Times: “In addition to being drop-dead gorgeous in David Farley’s wasp-waisted period dresses, Ms. Zeta-Jones brings a decent voice, a supple dancer’s body and a vulpine self-possession to her first appearance on Broadway” (Read full review)

I had the opportunity to see this show, but traded my ticket at the last minute to see the closing night production of Finian’s Rainbow (which will never be forgotten). Am I sad that I’m probably going to miss this show? Yes, of course. (I’ve had a crush on Ms. Zeta-Jones ever since Zorro.) But luckily, the cast recording will give us an opportunity to become familiar with this Sondheim revival.

The stars of the show – Angela Lansbury & Catherine Zeta-Jones – are set to leave the cast at the end of June, but tickets are still being sold until August 29th, 2010. Will another star-studded cast be in the works? Or, will this show fade into oblivion when its stars have left the theatre?

I will note that this cast recording seems to have more dialogue then I have ever heard on a cast recording. At the beginning of “Send in the Clowns” they talk for a full two minutes before Catherine Zeta-Jones starts singing. (Listen below.)

What do you think about dialogue on a cast recording? Do you like it? I find it a bit strange. Playbill.com states, “The two-disc, 25-track recording features 12 players and promises a more complete representation of the lush, waltz-kissed musical, including scenes from Harold Wheeler’s poignant and brittle libretto.” Interesting.

You’ll definitely want to buy the physical copy of this album because it comes with a beautiful booklet featuring lyrics and pictures from the production. Buy on Amazon.

Here’s how you can win a digital copy of A Little Night Music:

  • Follow @abroadwaycritic on Twitter and mention @abroadwaycritic and tell your followers to follow me and you’ll be entered to win a copy!
  • On Facebook – Become a fan and post The Broadway Critic fan page to your profile page (make sure you use the @ mention function, so we know that you did!) and you’ll be entered to win a copy!
  • If you aren’t on Facebook or Twitter, you can comment and tell us why you want the CD and you’ll be entered to win a copy!

There will only be one winner! You’ll be contacted through Twitter, Facebook or email (depending how you entered) and will be chosen by Random.org.

Listen to:

“Send in the Clowns”

 
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Posted by on 04/06/2010 in Broadway, Contest, Music

 

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Broadway News Round Up #14

Each week, The Broadway Critic will be featuring the news that you don’t want to miss! A lot has happened since we posted about Addams Family starting previews and Fela! transferring to London.

  • The idiots have started previews on Broadway!! The soundcheck sounded phenomenal and looked like everyone was rocking out. (Check it out, here!) Of course, you can read my review of American Idiot at Berkeley Rep, here. There is so much buzz around this show, that Tom Hanks is in talks to direct a movie version of the musical – pretty amazing if you ask me. MTV.com wants to cast Penn Badgley as the Will, Liam Hensworth as Tunny and Shia LeBouf as Johnny. Seriously, who’s writing that crap? Have they even seen the show? I’m all for making a movie, but they better use some real singers, or they are gonna end up with another Nine or Mamma Mia.
  • Come Fly Away opens tonight, Friday, March 25th at the Marquis Theatre. I’ve heard very mixed things about this show so far. One friend loved it and others have hated it. Blogger, Chris Caggiano absolutely hated it. He tweeted, “… [it’s] tedious. 4 interchangeable couples. No real story. Generic dance. Producers know but fear Twyla.” If I can get cheap tickets, I’ll keep an open mind on this one, but I don’t plan on spending a lot.
  • This video doesn’t make me want to see All About Me at all. I think their intentions are to “sell” the show, but I don’t think it’s that funny. Am I missing something?
  • More London transfers: Arthur Laurents is in talks to direct Gypsy with Patti LuPone. Apparently, LuPone is Laurents’ favorite Mama Rose. (Poor Bette!) You can read the full interview on Out.com. In other LuPone news: she’s hosting the Drama Desk Awards.
  • People are already talking about this year’s Tony Awards. The consensus is that Angela Lansbury will be winning her 6th Tony for her role in A Little Night Music. Everything else seems up in the air. I’m gonna say that either Fela! or American Idiot will win (depending on what critics say about American Idiot). Do you have any favorites or shoe-ins?
  • Happy Birthday to Andrew Lloyd Weber and Stephen Sondheim. Sondheim got the best birthday present ever: the Henry Miller Theatre is now the new Stephen Sondheim theatre. Pretty awesome 80th birthday present if you ask me.
  • Oh, and just so you know… my rumor about Alice Ripley wanting to go on tour with Next to Normal and transferring to London is true. There hasn’t been any contracts signed, but the negotiations are in process.

A bunch of new shows are starting previews & opening on Broadway in the next couple weeks:

  • 3/24/10: American Idiot (previews)
  • 3/25/10: Come Fly Away (opening)
  • 3/28/10: Promises, Promises (previews)
  • 4/01/10: Red (opening)
  • 4/04/10: Lead me a Tenor (opening)
  • 4/06/10: La Cage aux Folles (previews)
  • 4/11/10: Million Dollar Quartet (opening)

Until next week…

 
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Posted by on 03/25/2010 in Broadway, News

 

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