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Broadway News Round Up #7

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 Promises, Promises and Elf.

  • Obviously the two biggest stories this past week were the announcements that Come Fly Away, the new Twyla Thorp musical, will be opening on Broadway at the Marquis Theatre on April 25th, 2010 and American Idiot is opening at the St. James Theatre on April 20th, 2010. It’s now between – American Idiot, Come Fly Away, Fela, Addams Family and Memphis – for the Tony Award for Best Musical. (If Spiderman does open before May, then they’ll be in the running as well.) I’m rooting for American Idiot 100%!
  • Two revivals are closing soon: Ragtime and Finian’s Rainbow. It’s a bit surprising that both are closing, but then at the same time, it’s not. Finian’s Rainbow suffered from a non-recognizable title yet the reviews and word-of-mouth were fantastic, but it seems the producers of American Idiot were fighting for the St. James Theatre, and ultimately American Idiot is much more profitable then Finian’s Rainbow. At least Finian’s Rainbow can say they ran quite a bit longer than the other unsuccessful revival, Ragtime. I will have missed the production by six days – my ticket is for January 16th.
  • Casting is finished for Roundabout’s production of Sondheim on Sondheim. Here’s the cast list: Tony Award winner Barbara Cook, Vanessa Williams, Tom Wopat, Leslie Kritzer, Norm Lewis, Euan Morton, Erin Mackey and Matthew Scott. Previews start March 21st, 2010.
  • Denzel Washington and Viola Davis will star in the first Broadway revival of Fences directed by Kenny Leon. Opening at the Cort Theatre will be April 26, after previews that start April 14. This is a limited 13-week engagement. This sounds pretty amazing!

Take this poll! What Broadway show are you most excited about opening this Spring?:

Look for the results next week and until then…

 
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Posted by on 01/07/2010 in Broadway, News

 

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Top 15 Broadway Posters of the 2000s

As 2009 is winding down, it’s time to celebrate what a great decade the 2000′s have been for theatre. At the end of the 90′s, it seemed that everyone thought that the Broadway musical was doomed. Then in 2001, The Producers, rolled into town and won 12 Tony Awards and became a smash hit, turning a huge profit and boosting ticket prices to astronomical prices. (I still hate them for that!) Instead of debating what shows were the best or worst of 2000, this list focuses on: The Top 15 Broadway Posters of the 2000s.

15. Ragtime Revival – I haven’t seen this production yet, but I just absolutely love how everything is bursting from the piano/Statue of Liberty. I don’t think it could describe the show any better. It’s a fresh adaptation – especially from the original clunky poster which I never really understood.

Window Card

14. The Light in the Piazza - I find this poster so beautiful, much like Adam Guettel’s score. It’s whimsical yet full of mystery. I think I might like the simplicity of the poster from the vocal selections book better though. Either way, a beautiful show and artwork.

13. Mary PoppinsI think Disney did a fantastic job of reimagining a classic and iconic poster. In my mind, that is one of the hardest things to do because everyone already “sees” something when you think of Mary Poppins. It’s simple, colorful and the accented red on the title really pops out.

12. 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling BeeIt’s unique, catchy and fun. It represents the show so well by using caricatures of the spellers on the front cover. You instantly know it’s not a serious night of theatre. It’s a perfect set-up for such a larger-than-life show.

11. South PacificJames McMullan’s artwork is so impressive. McMullan has created a whole line of beautiful posters for The Lincoln Center that you can see on McMullan’s website. It’s stunning, just like the production is.

10. XanaduSeriously. I just love this poster because you see it and think, “Oh, what a hot 80′s mess.” But then you read “Seriously.” and you realize that it’s hot 80′s mess on purpose and you can’t resist the luscious locks of Clio – I mean Kira. Have you seen the rainbow-fabulous version?

9. The Drowsy Chaperone - “The Funniest Musical on Broadway.” True, true, true. I absolutely adored this show and I loved how they took a risk with this poster. They were banking on just the musical alone and not hoping that a big name would sell this show. The risk paid off!

8. In the Heights – This poster is bursting at the seams with energy, just like the production. It seriously makes me want to dance just looking at it.

7. Hair - I have this poster in my office and everyday I “let the sun shine in”. I love how the peace sign is the center of the poster, but not so big that it becomes cliche and boring. This poster is so much better than the original!!

Broadway Cast Poster

6. 110 in the Shade – What an incredible picture of the star, Audra McDonald. If I was her, I would get an original and frame that in my house. It’s gorgeous. The color, rain and pure joy that is on McDonald’s face becomes irresistible.

5. Avenue Q - What’s not to like when the tag lines are “What the FUZZ are you looking at?” and “Warning: Full Puppet Nudity”? It’s genius. A perfect way to sell an adult show with Jim Henson-like puppets. Hysterical marketing for a hysterical show.

4. Next to Normal – I might be a little biased since it’s one of my favorite musicals ever, but I think the poster is such a risk. In everyone of the posters above this one, there are depictions of the character(s) from the show on it but Next to Normal’s poster there is a suburban-looking house, two eyes, some music notes and a quote. There’s mystery behind th0se eyes that keeps you intrigued and the quote by Ben Brantley says it all, “…a feel-everything musical”.

Broadway Cast Poster

3. UrinetownWhat can I say? When I first saw this poster, I thought, “What the hell is this?” Your in Town? I absolutely loved it when Little Sally said, “Or a bad title, even? That could kill a show pretty good.” Yes, it’s a bad title, but that’s why I love the poster so much. Even in the poster it’s making fun of itself.

2. Finian’s RainbowWhat a remarkable poster. Even though there are some people that were comparing it to the Urban Outfitter’s logo, I just love it. What a great way to re-introduce this musical into everyone’s vernacular.

Broadway Cast Poster

1. WickedI’m choosing Wicked as the best Broadway poster of the decade for a couple of reasons. I remember when I was in New York the summer of 2003, there were big signs going up for Wicked and I knew I had to see this show. (This was before I knew anything about the production.) It’s also one of the most iconic Broadway posters of this decade. It’s become the new Phantom or Les Miserables.

Did we miss any that you think should be on this list?

 
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Posted by on 12/24/2009 in Broadway

 

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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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Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade 2009: Broadway Performances

If you missed the the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade (like I did) then here they are – all in one place – for your viewing pleasure:

Hair

West Side Story

Ragtime

Dreamgirls

Bye Bye Birdie

Shrek

Billy Elliot

Rockettes

Did I miss anyone? Let us know what your favorite performance was?


 
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Posted by on 12/01/2009 in Broadway

 

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“Ragtime” Opens on Broadway Today

Are you excited? Ragtime opens on Broadway today. Playbill.com tells us that “Christiane Noll, Robert Petkoff and Quentin Earl Darrington star as the leaders of three tribes that collide in 1906 New York City.” I’ve heard great things about this production and I’ll be seeing it in January.

Ragtime ticket prices are $46.50, $86.50 and $126.50 and are available by using Ticketmaster. For more information visit www.ragtimebroadway.com.

 
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Posted by on 11/15/2009 in Broadway, News

 

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Broadway News Round Up #2

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 A Million Dollar Quartet and the resurrection of Carrie.

  • addamsfamiliychicagocover2Yes, that’s right! The Addams Family Musical starts previews on Friday, November 13th, 2009 in Chicago. With a cast that features Nathan Lane, Bebe Neuwirth, Terrence Mann, Carolee Carmello and Kevin Chamberlin, you can be sure that it’s going to be fantastic. (Well, that’s what I thought about Memphis and that didn’t work out.) You can check out this awesome video of The Addams Family getting into costume and make-up for a Vanity Fair photoshoot. It’s all a bit too kooky, mysterious and spooky for the cast to look so much like the cartoon. We are hoping for some great reviews.
  • Big news hit twitter like wild fire on Tuesday when it was announced that Denzel Washington was coming back to Broadway. He will be starring in Fences, according to The New York Times. It’s kind of fun to see big Hollywood stars performing on Broadway but only if they are really good. Can Denzel deliver better than Jackman/Daniel do? (Not that the A Steady Rain‘s box office has suffered by any means by Jackman/Craig’s performance.) Playbill.com says, “Fences will begin rehearsals this February with an April 2010 opening, Variety is reporting. Denzel has signed on for a 14-week run through mid-July.” Hopefully, he won’t get “mercury poisoning”.
  • The producers of American Idiot are searching for a new Johnny, St. Jimmy, Will, Tunny and Whatsername. We are hoping that they are just looking for replacements/understudies, because all five of those characters should not be replaced. We have an idea who will be replaced when it finally gets to Broadway, but we don’t think it will be any of those five (maybe, but not willing to bet on it). The producers have confirmed that American Idiot will go to Broadway, just no one knows when or where. I hope it’s soon. (Be sure to get tickets for closing weekend!)
  • It was announced yesterday that Harvey Fierstein will be replacing Chaim Topol as Tevye in the touring production of Fiddler on the Roof. Am I the ONLY one that doesn’t want to see Fierstein play Tevye? Come on… anyone? I think I’ll skip this tour in San Francisco.
  • Be sure to check out these pictures from the new production of Ragtime.

Until next week…

 
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Posted by on 11/12/2009 in News

 

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Broadway Videos: #1 Which One Is Your Favorite?

1. Finian’s Rainbow‘s – “The Begat”

2. Fela! – Broadway Trailer

3. Ragtime – Behind the Scenes Look

4. Next to Normal – The Understudies sing “Just Another Day”

5. Bye Bye Birdie performing “Sincere” on Good Morning America

 
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Posted by on 11/11/2009 in Broadway

 

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Five Shows That You Should See on Broadway

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.

Here are the top five shows you should see on Broadway, as of November 4th 2009. It’s always changing!

Broadway Cast Poster 1. Next to Normal at Booth TheatreNext to Normal is a breath of fresh air, especially when comparing it to such shows as Jersey Boys 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. Alice Ripley’s Tony Award winning performance alone is reason to buy tickets to this show. Ripley is stunning – you walk away thinking you’ve witnessed something extremely special. 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. When I saw it for a 4th time in October, the show has only become tighter, more emotional and somehow even more exciting. It’s my all-time favorite show I’ve seen on Broadway. Don’t miss it! Buy tickets here.

 

Broadway Cast Poster2. Finian’s Rainbow at St. James Theatre – The reviews have poured in and they have been nothing less than stellar. Variety.com reports “From the moment music director Rob Berman raises his lighter-than-air baton on the show’s soaring overture, blissful surrender is the only option.” It’s true; the score is stunning. It’s traditional musical theatre at it’s finest, yet somehow feels updated and fresh. With songs like “Old Devil Moon” and “Look to the Rainbow” you can’t help but fall in love with stars, Cheyenne Jackson and Kate Baldwin. I can not wait until the CD recording comes out (though no report has been made on whether a cast album is in the making). Christopher Fitzgerald stays true to the old theatre homage, “There are no small parts.” He’s a terrific leprechaun – perfect comedic timing and a fantastic voice. Watch this story about Terry White’s road back to Broadway. It will definitely pull on your heart strings. Finian’s Rainbow’s first-ever revived production is a classic that you must not miss. Ticket info here.

 

Broadway Cast Poster 3. In the Heights at Richard Rogers Theatre – Since it won the 2008 Tony for “Best Musical”, In the Heights has been a hit on Broadway. Luckily, if you aren’t traveling to Broadway anytime soon, you can catch the In the Heights tour coming to San Francisco in the Spring. You can follow them on twitter at #Heights_Tour. I took 35 choir students to this production on Broadway in March and they absolutely fell in love with it, just as I had when I saw it for the first time. You know it’s good, when I get a text from my wife at intermission saying, “This is the BEST thing I’ve ever seen on Broadway.” (And she’s the real critic! This was also before she had seen Next to Normal.) 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! Info here.

 

 

Broadway Cast Poster4. Hair at Al Hirschfield Theatre – Hair has been rocking audiences since the 1960′s. The new Broadway revival was my first introduction to Hair. Yes, I’ve heard the music. Yes, I knew there was the nudity! (gasp!) Yes, I had read about it in all of my musical theatre books. Hair changed musical theatre and finally I found out why! I purchased the cheapest seats I could, which ended being on the last row of the mezzanine, yet I still felt like I was on the front row. Why? Because, the performers literally come into the audience and perform in the aisle ways, even up to the last row. The musical is all about community and you feel like you are a part of the Hair tribe for a few hours. And everyone needs a chance to let the sun shine in. If you get a chance, run up to the stage at the end of the show! When else will you get a chance to dance with Broadway stars on a Broadway stage. Unfortunately I was too hesitant and I missed my chance. What’s there not to love? Info here.

 

Broadway Playbill

5. Ragtime at Neil Simon TheatrePlaybill.com describes it perfectly, “This much-loved musical explores themes ranging from immigration to racism and social unrest in the early 20th century. The recent (and acclaimed) Kennedy Center revival arrives on Broadway.” Though I haven’t seen this production, I’ve heard numerous wonderful things from people who’ve seen it. I had the opportunity to hear Christiane Noll sing at the Broadway Teachers Workshop this summer and I knew then I just had to see this. It’s definitely on my list of shows to see when I’m in New York City next. It’s only been eleven years since Ragtime opened on Broadway! Their slogan is “The Story is Ours. The Place is America. The Time is Ragtime.” Watch for Broadway newcomer, Stephanie Umoh – she’s a recent BoCo graduate. If you’ve seen it, please let us know what you think. Info, here.

Honorable Mentions:

  • The Toxic Avenger MusicalTechnically this is Off-Broadway, but if you loved shows like “Little Shop of Horrors” or “Bat Boy, the musical” then you will LOVE this show. It’s a toxic treat!
  • Rock of AgesFrom “Don’t Stop Believing” to “Every Rose Has it’s Thorn” — the 1980′s Rock classics are all in there. Go right now to see Kerri Butler (of Xanadu, Bat Boy, and Little Shop of Horrors fame) play Sherrie.
  • God of CarnageIf you are in the mood to see a play, then try to purchase scalped tickets to this one. It’s 90 minutes of pure brilliance — a voyeuristic look into two couple’s relationships.
  • South Pacific - With a ridiculously big orchestra, let Rodger & Hammerstein’s music sweep right over you. Even at three hours long, you won’t want it to stop. It’s a perfect revival of a golden-age classic. (And, the darling Kelli O’Hara is back playing Nellie Forbush!)
 
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Posted by on 11/04/2009 in Broadway

 

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