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What to Expect on Broadway in January 2011

What to expect on Broadway in January 2011? There is one thing for sure – not a lot.

For the second year in a row, I’ll be in New York City during the 3rd weekend of January and both visits will be right after the mass closings on Broadway at the beginning of the new year. It’s when Broadway becomes a ginormous unemployment line. It’s going to be dismal this upcoming January.  From big Tony Award winning hits like In the Heights to Christmas fare like Elf and last season’s hits: Promises, Promises, A Little Night Music and Fela! all seem to be getting the axe. Now, two new musicals this season are closing: The Scottsboro Boys and Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson.

What will be worth your time?

Spiderman: Turn off the DarkThis is on top of my list to see in January. It’s the first new musical opening on January 11th and it will be after a six-week preview time. A guest writer, Sean O’Conner, talked about his experience at the first preview on The Broadway Critic. He concluded, “The real reason to attend Spider Man: Turn Off the Dark is to witness the magical and original stage craft, but we all already knew that. The flying sequences are truly remarkable. I imagine the spectacle will be enough to get an audience in building. The sets by George Tsypin and costumes by Eiko Ishioka are the stuff of theatre legend. You can see the money on the stage and it will take your breath away. Taymor has done nothing but turn her ultimate dreams into reality, and for that she deserves our respect and praise. Well done Julie!”

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American IdiotAmerican 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.

Here is my latest review of American Idiot when I saw it on Broadway on 10/10/10. The best part is that Billie Joe Armstrong is coming back to play St. Jimmy for 50 performances between the beginning of January to the end of February. Luckily enough, I’ll be at there on one of the weekend’s he is performing. I can’t wait!

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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. They are only contracted to stay in the show until February. (Make sure you see them now!)

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!)

WebsiteTickets

Honorable Mention:

  • The Addams Family at Lunt-Fontanne Theatre – You’ll probably have a little while to see this show. They just announced that Roger Rees will be taking over for Gomez (Nathan Lane). Last week they were at 91% capacity. Critics be damned with this show!
  • Memphis at Sam S. Schubert Theatre – Here’s a show I didn’t particularly enjoy. I thought the book was terrible and the music was so-so. It won the Tony Award for Best Musical. It probably will be on Broadway for awhile; it’s going strong.
  • Million Dollar Quartet at Nederlander Theatre – This show I’m surprised that it’s still playing. I thought it was going to close at the end of summer. It’s only playing 51.7% capacity last week, so I wonder how long it can sustain without a huge profit margin. It probably has an extremely low running cost, but still, with the new London production opening in February 2011, I won’t be surprised to hear about Million Dollar Quartet‘s closing notice soon.

Broadway Standards:

  • Billy Elliot at Imperial Theatre – Not a fan. I saw it twice – the little kids just don’t do it for me — plus that damn set, particularly the bed. I can’t stand it. 2 out of 5 stars
  • Chicago at Ambassador Theatre – Great show, with sizzling music and an even better plot. Must see. 5 out of 5 stars
  • Jersey Boys at August Wilson Theatre – I saw this in Las Vegas and absolutely loved it. Great show for a family with teenagers. 5 out of 5 stars
  • Mamma Mia at The Winter Garden Theatre – I’ve never seen this. Thoughts?
  • Mary Poppins at New Amsterdam Theatre – A childhood dream come true; I absolutely loved the choreography. Good for kids (ages 6-adult). 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • The Lion King at Minskoff Theatre – Another show I saw in Las Vegas and never on Broadway. I loved it. Fantastic imagery — might be a little long for ages 3-7. 4 out of 5 stars
  • The Phantom of the Opera at Majestic Theatre – I loved the Las Vegas production, but never seen the Broadway version. It’s a staple.
  • Rock of Ages at Brooks Atkinson Theatre – Try to win the lotto on this one. It’s an rockin’ 80′s show that is good for a laugh or two. 3 out of 5 stars
  • Wicked at Gershwin Theatre – It’s still selling out after seven years. 4 out of 5 stars

Two Plays:

  • Time Stands Still at Cort Theatre – I saw this on a whim, last January, and loved it. Here’s my review. Closing, January 30th, 2011
  • Lombardi at Circle in the Square Theatre – I’ve heard really great things about this play and I think it definitely has some staying power until at least the Tony Awards in June.

What will you be seeing in January?

 
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Posted by on 12/01/2010 in Broadway

 

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Theatre Review: “La Cage aux Folles” @ Broadway by the Bay, 09/18/10

La Cage aux Folles is the only Broadway show in history to win the Tony Award three times for best production – once in 1983 (Best Musical), again in 2005 (Best Revival) and then in 2010 (Best Revival, again)! With all of this acclaim, I still walked out of the San Mateo Performing Arts Center on Saturday night wondering why. I just wasn’t convinced. It’s a fun show, with a lot of heart, but the music written by Jerry Herman wasn’t my favorite and the script, while funny, wasn’t poignant enough for me. It’s a great summer romp through St. Tropez, France but the ending statement of love and acceptance wasn’t as strong as I thought it could be (especially in this political climate).

Broadway by the Bay’s production of La Cage Aux Folles is great and hits most of the right notes but yet, I somehow didn’t feel connected to the material or the characters at first. In retrospect, I think the sound was the culprit. It sounded like a giant wind tunnel for the first part of the show in that massive theatre.  I think it negatively affected my ability to connect with the characters. There were several instances where I couldn’t understand a word anyone was singing. I did seem to grasp the overall concept of the story fairly quick but I’m sure I missed a lot nuances and cleverness that come from a script written by Harvey Fierstein.

There’s very minimal “plot action” in the story until the second act. The entire first act focuses on developing the characters and allows the audience a look into the complex relationships between the main characters: George (Curt Denham) and Albin (Ray Mendonca). And of course, there is a lot of humor thrown in. The song, “Masculinity” was one of my favorites. By the end of the first act, I had fully connected with show, especially Albin. Mendonca’s performance in “I Am What I Am” was heartbreakingly beautiful — the best song of the evening. Song after song, scene after scene, Mendonca delivers his unique “Albin-isms” with charm and wit. He instantly became the heart of the show.

Robyn Trubuzi’s polished choreography twirled, kicked and tapped it’s way into the audience’s heart. Trubuzi showcased the cast’s talents in the best way possible featuring an awesome tap routine, some incredible jumps landing in the splits and a whole lot of twirling and kick-lines. It was varied, interesting and well-done. The likable dancing/singing Cagelles were a highlight throughout the show!

The costumes were absolutely drag-tastic throughout the entire production as they shined/glimmered/sparkled, especially in the opening number, “We Are What We Are”.

Overall, La Cage aux Folles is a huge crowd pleaser! Though it wasn’t a sold-out audience (by any means), they still absolutely loved it.

My first visit to La Cage aux Folles was a bit underwhelming, though I don’t place the blame on Broadway by the Bay – my expectations were through the roof! I think next time I’ll be a bit more prepared and I might just fall in love the musical that has taken Broadway by storm over and over again.

 

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2010 September Bay Area Theatre Guide

Can you believe it? School is starting, summer is nearing it’s end and generally it should be very depressing, right? Wrong. There’s so much great theatre happening in September that it should keep you totally occupied from the fall blues. Currently, I have 10 shows scheduled to see in September and I have a feeling that there might be a few more that I sneak in there! It should be a great time to catch up on my shows! Lately, I’ve been so busy with performing in RENT I haven’t had time to see the shows in the area, but September is a different story.

Here’s my schedule and what I recommend seeing:

Smokey Joe’s Cafe – Bus Barn Stage Company: Opening September 2nd and running through October 2nd, 2010, this sizzling cast does more than justice to this smokin’ hot score of 1950′s standards like: “Kansas City”, “Jailhouse Rock” and “Saved”. I can 100% say that this show is not to be missed! (I’m co-musical directing this show.) You can learn more about the cast on the Bus Barn Stage Company’s website and get tickets there.

Get out of the September heat with the jukebox musical that was the most acclaimed of 1995 and nominated for the Tony Award for Best Musical!

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The Broadway Critic’s Review: Chicago @ Hillbarn Theatre – 2.5 out of 5 stars

Chicago – Hillbarn Theatre: In roaring twenties Chicago, chorine Roxie Hart murders a faithless lover and convinces her hapless husband Amos to take the rap…until he finds out he’s been duped and turns on Roxie. Convicted and sent to death row, Roxie and another “Merry Murderess” Velma Kelly, vie for the spotlight and the headlines, ultimately joining forces in search of the “American Dream”: fame, fortune and acquittal. This sharp edged satire features a dazzling score that sparked immortal staging by Bob Fosse. Chicago won six Tony Awards!

Chicago is one of my favorite musicals and very interested in checking this one out because I’ve never seen an amateur production of Chicago. Here’s hoping it’s sexy! Runs September 2nd – 26th, 2010.

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The Broadway Critic’s review: She Loves Me @ Center Rep Theatre – 3 out of 5 stars

She Loves Me – Center Rep: She Loves Me is a musical and movie with a book by Joe Masteroff, lyrics by Sheldon Harnick, and music by Jerry Bock. The musical is the fifth adaptation of the play Parfumerie by Hungarian playwright Miklos Laszlo, following the 1940 James Stewart-Margaret Sullavan film The Shop around the Corner and the 1949 Judy Garland-Van Johnson musical version In the Good Old Summertime. It would surface yet again in 1998 as the Tom Hanks-Meg Ryan feature You’ve Got Mail.

This show is a classic: “the crown jewel of the golden age musicals”. I saw a university production almost 10 years ago and loved it. I can’t wait to see this particular cast because it stars: Dane Paul Andres, Noel Anthony, Evan Boomer, Derek Travis Collard, Jackson Davis, Lynda Divito, Ryan Drummond, Richard Farrell, Zachary Franczak, Emma Goldin, Jason Hite, Mary Kalita, Brittany Ogle, Sharon Rietkerk, Kelsey Venter. I’ve had my eye on Hite, Kalita and Ogle!

Opens September 3rd – October 10th, 2010.

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The Broadway Critic’s review: Black Pearl Sings @ San Jose Rep – 4.5 out of 5 stars

Black Pearl Sings at San Jose Rep: Black Pearl Sings! is the compelling musical drama that tells the story of two extraordinary women – a jailed African-American songstress and a white Library of Congress folk music researcher – whose fates have become intertwined.

A West Coast premiere that you won’t want to miss.

Runs September 2nd – 26th, 2010.

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The Light in the Piazza at Theatreworks: Beneath the Tuscan sun in 1953, this illuminating Broadway hit celebrates the many facets of love with a vibrant heart. A protective American mother is vacationing with her radiant but fragile daughter, who falls head over heels for a passionate young Florentine. To the soaring melodies of what The New York Timescalled “the most intensely romantic score since West Side Story,” all three embark on a life-changing journey beyond danger into light.

This is one of my favorite musicals of all time. Guettel’s score is absolutely magnificent. I’m hearing great things about this production and I’m highly looking forward to revisiting this show at Theatreworks.

Runs August 25th – September 19th, 2010

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Jerry Springer the Opera at Ray of Light Theatre: The only work in history to earn “Best Musical” honors from all four major British award groups, Jerry Springer the Opera is a fascinating mix of high art and low culture. Inspired by America’s most lurid TV talk show, Jerry Springer the Opera channels all the mayhem and excitement that held worldwide television audiences in utter rapture. After opening in London to unprecedented raves, this outlandish, shockingly hilarious opera will rage at the Victoria Theatre in the Mission for six weeks.

Can I say excited? I have the London cast recording, but I think I’m going to wait to listen to it until after I see it because I wanna be shocked!

Running September 10 – October 16, 2010.

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Dreamgirls at Curran Theatre (San Francisco): The all-new stage production of Dreamgirls is coming to the Curran Theatre August 24 through September 26! Full of onstage joy and backstage drama, Dreamgirls tells the story of an up-and-coming, 1960s singing girl group, and the triumphs and tribulations that come with fame and fortune. Featuring the unforgettable hits: “And I’m Telling You I’m Not Going”, “One Night Only” and “Listen”, Dreamgirls returns to the stage in this brand new production that sparkles like never before!

I can’t wait to see my first professional production of Dreamgirls.

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The Broadway Critic’s review: Compulsion @ Berkeley Rep – 5 out of 5 stars

Compulsion at Berkeley Rep: Tony and Emmy Award-winning actor Mandy Patinkin makes his Berkeley Rep debut as Sid Silver, a man obsessed. When he learns about a young girl named Anne Frank and her extraordinary diary, Silver makes it his mission to ensure her tale is heard. But is the manuscript a work of art? A cultural treasure?

A moving story that combines stellar acting with marvelous marionettes, this world-premiere production takes us on a journey from passion to Compulsion.

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The Broadway Critic’s review: La Cage Aux Folles @ Broadway by the Bay – 2.0 out of 5 stars

La Cage Aux Folles at Broadway By the Bay: Travel to St. Tropez where the best of times will happen when family values and outrageous comedy collide in Jerry Herman’s legendary musical La Cage aux Folles. Winner of 6 Tony Awards, including Best Musical, this unforgettable and funny tale of unconditional love, and above all, the need to celebrate who we are, features the anthem “I Am What I Am” and the beloved “Song on the Sand.”

Why go to New York City to see this when you can see it here! It will be my first time seeing La Cage Aux Folles and I plan to see the Broadway revival in October!

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The Broadway Critic’s review: Burn the Floor @ Broadway San Jose – 4 out of 5 stars

Burn the Floor at Broadway San Jose – The international dance sensation Burn the Floor visits San Jose direct from its record-breaking run on Broadway! You’ve seen Ballroom dance on shows like “Dancing with the Stars” and “So You Think You Can Dance.” Now, with Burn the Floor, you will feel, live on stage, all the passion, the drama and the sizzling excitement of 20 gorgeous champion dancers, in a true theatrical experience, a performance with a grace and athleticism that The New York Times calls, “Dazzling!”

I missed this on Broadway, so I’m very happy that Broadway San Jose is bringing this to us! Can’t wait!

Runs only one week: September 21 – 26th, 2010. Don’t miss it!

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On My Radar (but don’t have a set date to see it yet):

  • Sweeney Todd at Sunnyvale Community Theatre: 1979′s Tony Award-winning Best Musical, is a rare theatrical event: a heart-pounding thriller told with a howlingly sharp wit, a darkly comic smile, and one of Broadway’s most impressive scores. It features Walter Mayes in the title role. Runs September 17 – October 10th, 2010. Website
  • The Music Man at South Bay Musical Theatre: This award-winning, critically acclaimed Broadway classic is an all-American institution, thanks to its quirky characters, charmingly humorous dramatic situations, and one-of-a-kind, nostalgic score of rousing marches, barbershop quartets and sentimental ballads that have become popular standards (“Seventy-Six Trombones,” “Till There Was You,” “Lida Rose.”) Runs September 25 – October 16, 2010. Website

Anything I missed? What are you most excited to see this upcoming September?

 

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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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Broadway News/Blog Round Up #20

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!

Broadway News:

  • Come Fly Away – the new Twyla Thorp musical – is closing on September 5th, 2010, only after 187 performances. I didn’t get a chance to see this one, but frankly I’m not that sad that I missed it. More info, here. Here’s a great speculation: “Priscilla, Queen of the Desert has the theatre. Catch Me If You Can is going into the Simon, and Sister Act is between the Broadway and the St. James, with American Idiot looking to transfer to the Walter Kerr or Nederlander.” I said that American Idiot should transfer to the Nederlander this morning! We’ll see if it actually happens.
  • Sondheim on Sondheim has been given a cast recording that is out on August 10th. You can hear a few samples here. I’m interested in hearing this CD since I missed this show!
  • Diana DeGarmo will be heading out on tour with the cast of 9 to 5. I’ve actually never seen DeGarmo live. Is she all that she’s hyped up to be? Curious.


Broadway Blog Round Up:

  • Adventures in the Endless Pursuit of Entertainment: She announces The York Theatre’s season which includes the Broadway musical, Coco. A dear friend of mine, Dottie Lester-White was a chorus girl in the original production and has a great story about running into Ms. Hepburn back stage. I hope I can catch this one!
  • Chicago Theatre Blog: Shrek, the musical opened in Chicago to great reviews. Chicago Theatre Blog called it “immensely entertaining”.  I call it, “Why the hell did this become a musical??”
  • Everything I Know I Learned from Musicals: Caggiano talks about his theatre obsessions. And I thought I was the only one that was obsessive at the theatre. I always take at least three playbills. One goes into the Playbill binder (with the ticket), the second gets it’s cover taken off and laminated and hung in my classroom and the third goes into a box for safety. Yes, there are others out there that are OCD!
  • Gratuitous Violins: A great review of La Cage Aux Folles. Yet another person who loved this revival! I’m planning on seeing this at the beginning of October! I can’t wait.
  • JK’s Theatre Scene: Best of the Decade: The Best Musicals, #4: Movin’ Out. Seriously, Movin’ Out is #4? Really? I liked it and all, but it definitely would not be even close to hitting in my top 10 best musicals of the decade.
  • Pataphysical Science: Check out this post to be introduced to the Midtown International Theatre Festival. Thanks for the great info! I had never heard about this particular festival.
  • Steve on Broadway: SOB says a fond farewell to Our Town.David Cromer‘s stunning revival has been nothing short of transcendent stage entertainment since it first arrived in New York City from Chicago in February 2009.” I wish I could have seen this!
  • The Producer’s Perspective: He poses the question, “Perhaps our two industries (theatre & restaurants) could join together to help fill more of each other’s empty stomachs and empty seats.” I agreed and commented. Check it out.

Until next week…

 
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Posted by on 07/28/2010 in Broadway, News

 

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Photos from London’s Menier Chocolate Factory Theatre

Even though I didn’t really care for Paradise Found, (see full review here) I was really excited that I had the opportunity to check out the Menier Chocolate Factory. It was such a fun, intimate venue! Plus, so many wonderful shows have come out of that theatre in the last couple of years - La Cage Aux Folles, A Little Night Music and Sweet Charity to name just a few. Here’s a few pictures of the theatre from the outside and one of a signed La Cage Aux Folles poster.

Enjoy!

The outside of the Menier Chocolate Factory

The poster of “Paradise Found”

More outside pictures!

The La Cage Aux Folles poster featuring Tony Award winner, Douglas Hodge

Loved seeing this rehearsal note for Menier Chocolate Factory’s next production of Aspects of Love

 
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Posted by on 07/05/2010 in Broadway, London, News

 

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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!

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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…

 
3 Comments

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

 

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Broadway News Round-Up #9

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 the Finian’s Rainbow cast album and American Idiot on the Grammy’s.

  • Fantastic news: Masterworks Broadway announces that, “…[they] will eventually be Movin’ Out to us all the titles ever recorded in the ol’ days by Columbia and RCA Victor (and even Arista). Yes, the day will come when, through CD or downloads, we’ll have access to every one of the musical theater albums Sony has in its vaults — bar none.” Open up those wallets, folks! You’ve got some downloading to do.
  • The full casts for both La Cage aux Folles and Promises, Promises have been announced. Unfortunately, my friend – Taylor Frey (recently seen in Finian’s Rainbow) – is not on either of those cast lists. But other good news, one of my high school friends, Justin Badger, just got cast in the Hair.
  • The film “American Pyscho” is turning into a stage musical, thanks to Duncan Sheik (music) and Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa (book). Right now, I’m gonna love it because I love Duncan Sheik, but I might change my mind later.
  • Check out the pictures from the new Off-Broadway musical, Yank!: A New Musical.
  • Apparently, Fantasia had tumors on her vocal chords. OUCH! Is that why it sounds all scratchy? Maybe, Fiddler on the Roof‘s Harvey Fierstein should have his vocal chords checked out. Crazy.

My friend, Sean Grady, posted this video to his Facebook account and I couldn’t help but laugh at Ms. Elle Wood’s wig as well. It’s pretty much awful and hysterical all at the same time. Watch the London cast of Legally Blonde below.

 
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Posted by on 02/04/2010 in Broadway, News

 

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Broadway News Round Up #4

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 Nine, Girl Crazy and Ashlee Simpson-Wentz.

Broadway Playbill

  • According to the rumor mill, Ragtime might be closing on January 3rd. This is a major disappointment since I have tickets for January 16th. Let’s hope the producers pull a stunt like the Bye Bye Birdie producers and announce that the show is closing on the 10th and then extend the run till the 24th. I’m very happy that Bye Bye Birdie is closing early (they had originally extended the run into the Spring). It’s quite a disaster. Hopefully, American Idiot takes Bye Bye Birdie‘s theatre; that would be fantastic, even if they are eyeing the St. Jame’s Theatre. In order for that to happen, Finian’s Rainbow would have to close which would be a major travesty.
  • Oleanna is history on December 6th – poor Julia Stiles and Bill Pullman.
  • If you missed the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade then check out the videos we posted from the performances by: Hair, West Side Story, Shrek, Bye Bye Birdie, Ragtime and Dreamgirls. I understand that they want to have shows that the general American public will recognize, but why can’t they help promote new shows (or revivals) like Memphis, Fela and Finian’s Rainbow. The extra coverage would certainly boost ticket sales. (And Shrek is closing… what the hell.)
  • Big news! Kelsey Grammer is going to co-star in the upcoming Broadway revival of La Cage aux Folles. Pretty awesome if you ask me! Previews start April 6, 2010.
  • It’s becoming quite the fad among Broadway stars to perform in a sort of a “cabaret” act. It’s all the rage – Jason Robert Brown is doing it next at the Beechman on December 15th. Jonathan Groff and Lea Michele just performed at Feinstein’s at Loews Regency on November 29th. I heard they did a mash-up of some Spring Awakening songs. And even the lovely, Kate Baldwin, will be performing at Feinsteins on December 13th. Love this!

Until next time…

 
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Posted by on 12/03/2009 in Broadway

 

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