Advertisements

Broadway on TV. Another Audra Award. Week in New York Theater

The nominees for the 69th annual Emmy Awards include, as usual, many whom theatergoers like to claim as our own. All the Emmy-nominated performers pictured above are Broadway veterans, although (let’s be honest), how many can we say are committed theater artists?

Still…

In any case, PBS will be broadcasting recordings of recent Broadway shows every Friday in the Fall. (See schedule below.)

This week in New York theater, Audra McDonald and Tommy Tune each got yet more theater awards; Hillary Clinton told of the healing power of Broadway; John Lithgow and Condola Rashad announced new starring roles on stage; Mandy Gonzalez dedicated a new Lin-Manuel Miranda song to Dreamers, and Barry Diller killed his dream of a floating theater in the Hudson.

Read more of this post

Advertisements

Viva Broadway Concert: Watch Latinx Stars Mandy Gonzalez, Lin-Manuel Miranda, John Leguizamo, Ana Villafane, et al

With Lin-Manuel Miranda (“Hamilton”) and John Leguizamo (“Latin History for Morons”) serving as co-hosts, the Broadway League presented its annual Viva Broadway concert Friday evening, as a kickoff to Hispanic Heritage Month, showcasing Mandy Gonzalez, who portrays Angelica Schuyler on Hamilton, singing a new song by Miranda, “Fearless,” as well as performances by:
Rodney Ingram, who’s playing Raoul in the Phantom of The Opera, and was raised in the tiny fishing village of Sayulita, Mexico;

Emma Pfaeffle, who is in the cast of “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” and is a Cuban-American born and raised in Los Angeles;

Ana Villafañe, who is of Cuban and Salvadoran descent, and was the star of “On Your Feet,” portraying Gloria Estefan.

“This is for the Dreamers,” Gonzalez, whose father was born in Mexico, says in the videos below, before belting out the title song of her forthcoming album.

 

Advertisements

Tickets to “Hamilton

Tickets to “Latin History for Morons”

Tickets to “Phantom Of The Opera” 

Tickets to “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”

 Tickets to “On Your Feet”

Broadway’s Longest-Running Shows and Biggest Hits

Here are some of the longest-running and most popular shows on Broadway, listed alphabetically, with brief descriptions that include my take, and links where available to my initial reviews.

To buy tickets to these shows, check out their websites, go to their box offices, or purchase on this page.

The Book of Mormon

The Book of Mormon

The Eugene O’Neill Theater

Opened: March 24, 2011
Director: Jason Moore and Trey Parker
Twitter feed: @BookofMormonBWY
This musical by Trey Parker and Matt Stone (book), the creators of South Park, and Robert Lopez, one of the composer-lyricists for “Avenue Q” (music and lyrics) and Frozen (both movie and musical), is about both the founder of the Church of Latter-Day Saints and modern disciples. It is outrageous, irreverent in one way, but also deeply reverent to (even while parodying) the best traditions of the Broadway musical.

My review of The Book of Mormon: Ridiculing Religion, Worshiping The Great White Way

Tickets to The Book of Mormon

 

Chicago

Chicago

Ambassador Theater (219 West 49th Street)

Opened: November 14, 1996

Twitter: @ChicagoMusical

A chorus girl in 1920′s Chicago murders her lover and becomes a star. This cynical, tuneful 1975 musical adaptation by John Kander and Fred Ebb (“Cabaret” team) of a 1926 play was revived to great acclaim by director Walter Bobbie and choreographer Ann Reinking in homage to original choreographer Bob Fosse. But it has gone through many, many cast changes since then. Some say this is the production that invented the modern Broadway practice of “stunt casting.”

Beginning in November, 2014, it became the second-longest running musical on Broadway.

 

Buy Tickets to Chicago The Musical

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hamilton

Richard Rodgers Theater

Opened: August 6, 2015

Twitter: @HamiltonMusical

The story of the first Secretary of the Treasury, told as a rap opera, is groundbreaking and breathtaking. It has become a phenomenon on Broadway — and elsewhere! I’ve seen it four times, and have written about it so many times that I’ve put together a post called Everything Hamilton

Hamilton tickets


Hamilton tickets

 

Kinky Boots

Kinky Boots

Al Hirschfeld

Opened: April 4, 2013

Twitter: @KinkyBootsBway

Cyndi Lauper’s Broadway songwriting debut, and the winner of the 2013 Best Musical Tony, adapts a 2005 British film about a traditional shoemaker who partners with a drag queen to make footwear sturdy enough for a man but fabulous enough for a woman. The show is familiar and safe, with a stand-out performance by Billy Porter as Lola/Simon.

My review of Kinky Boots

Kinky Boots Tickets

 

The Lion King

The Lion King

Minskoff Theater (200 West 45th Street)

Opened: November 13, 1997

Twitter: @TheLionKing

Based on the 1994 Disney animated film about the coming-of-age of a young lion in the African jungle, this musical offers African-inflected music by Elton John, lyrics by Tim Rice and the visual magic of Julie Taymor. Taymor is the director, and composer and lyricist for some of the songs. But above all, she is the designer of the costumes, masks, and puppets — and it is these visuals that make this show a good first theatrical experience — and worthwhile for any theatergoer no matter how experienced.

Buy tickets to The Lion King

 

 

The Phantom of the Opera
The Phantom of The Opera

Majestic Theater (247 West 44th Street)

Opened: January 26, 1988

Twitter: @TheOperaGhosts

The Phantom of the Opera, based on a 1911 French novel by Gaston Leroux, is about a disfigured genius named Erik who lives in the catacombs of the Paris Opera House and falls in love with Christine, an aspiring singer whom he helps…until an old flame of Christine’s named Raoul steps back into the picture.

However, the story in the musical, written and composed by Andrew Lloyd Webber — with more than its share of 1980′s heavy power ballads — is starting to take second place to the story of the musical, which is the longest-running Broadway musical of all time, and probably the most profitable.

Webber has written a “sequel,” entitled “Love Never Dies,” which was set for Broadway in the 2010-2011 season, but, after scathing reviews in London, may never appear there. It is, however, on national tour.

Phantom Of The Opera Tickets

 

Wicked
Wicked

Gershwin Theater (222 West 51st Street)

Opened: October 30, 2003

Twitter: @WICKED_Musical

The musical tells the story of “The Wizard of Oz” from the witches’ perspective, more specifically from the Wicked Witch of the West, who was not, as a child, wicked at all, but just green-tinted, taunted, and misunderstood. There is so much to like about this musical, the clever twists on the familiar tale, the spectacular set, and music that is a lot more appealing in context (such as the song “Defying Gravity”) that I will forgive the contortions necessary to tack on a happy ending.


Buy Wicked tickets!

Broadway Poll: Most Intriguing Shows in 2017-2018 Season

Broadway logos 2017 2018 updatedChoose the three shows that you are most looking forward to. The list below is for shows that have opening dates in the Broadway 2017-2018 season as of this writing, and they are listed chronologically by opening date.
For more information about any of the shows, read my Broadway 2017-2018 Preview Guide.

Get tickets to Broadway hits!

New York CityPASS

 

Get tickets to Broadway hits!

Broadway’s Best on PBS This Fall

“She Loves Me,” “Falsettos,” “Noël Coward’s Present Laughter” “Irving Berlin’s Holiday Inn” and “Indecent” will all be broadcast on Friday nights this Fall on PBS, with the full episodes of each show streaming for free for two weeks after the broadcasts.

Here’s the schedule, with links to my original reviews:

 

10/20 She Loves Me

10/27 Falsettos

11/3 Present Laughter

11/10 In The Heights documentary “Chasing Broadway Dreams”

11/17 Indecent

11/24 Holiday Inn

Frozen Opens Tonight: First Pics

The first production photographs of Frozen the Musical, which opens tonight at the Buell Theatre in the Denver Center for the Performing Arts. It will move to Broadway’s St. James Theater on February 22.

Click on any photograph by Deen van Meer to see it enlarged.

Buy tickets to Frozen in Denver and/or Broadway

Hillary Clinton Says Broadway Helped Her Recover

hillaryatsunset

In the months after her defeat by Donald Trump in the race for President, Hillary Clinton was so devastated, she writes in her new memoir, “What Happened,” that she had trouble finding relief. Good friends suggested Xanax and recommended their therapists.  Instead, she writes:

“I went to Broadway shows. There’s nothing like a play to make you forget your troubles for a few hours. In my experience, even a mediocre play can transport you. And show tunes are the best soundtrack for tough times. You think you’re sad? Let’s hear what Fantine from Les Misérables has to say about that! By far my favorite New York City performance was way off Broadway: Charlotte’s dance recital.” Charlotte is her two-year-old granddaughter.

Among the shows she attended (unmentioned in her memoir but receiving much press and social media  attention at the time): The Color Purple, The Humans, In Transit and Sunset Boulevard. I happened to attend that last musical on the same night in February as she did, and, as I’ve observed, I was struck by how much was packed into the thunderous greeting she received by her fellow theatergoers — admiration, defiance, a shared history, shared emotion, a shared loss.

Hillary at Sunset Boulevard

What Happened book cover

Buy “What Happened”



Appreciating Michael Friedman: Review of His 2011 Occupy Wall Street Musical

In honor of Michael Friedman (September 24, 1975 – September 9, 2017) here is my October 29, 2011 review of “Let Me Ascertain You: Occupy Wall Street, Stories From Liberty Square,” a one-night only musical presented at Joe’s Pub by The Civilians, the theater company Friedman co-founded. (It’s astonishing this was only six years ago, no?)

OccupyonStage1 There is the man who was laid off a year and a half ago as the creative director for a children’s television production company, and showed up at Zuccotti Park a day ago after being evicted from his apartment. There is the firefighter from New Jersey who has served Read more of this post

Tommy Tune, Bandstand, Great Comet Among 2017 Chita Rivera Award Winners

Chita Rivera Awards logoTommy Tune lifetimeTommy Tune was presented with the inaugural Lifetime Achievement Award last night at the 2017 Chita Rivera Award, the newly named awards for dance and choreography in New York theater and on film. Diane Paulus was presented with the Award for Outstanding Contribution to Musical Theater as Director.

The competitive categories were awarded to choreographers and dancers from Great Comet, Sweet Charity and Holiday Inn — all shows that have closed — and to Bandstand, which closes Sunday.  Almost all the nominees that didn’t win were from shows that are still running. (Nominations were announced back in May.)

Outstanding Choreography in a Broadway Show

Andy Blankenbuehler, Bandstand
Read more of this post

Audra McDonald enters Theatre Hall of Fame, along with Matthew Broderick, The Public’s Oskar Eustis + 5

 

audra-mcdonaldAudra McDonald has been inducted into the Theatre Hall of Fame, along with Matthew Broderick, Oskar Eustis, Tina Howe, Arthur Kopit, Marin Mazzie, Daryl Roth and Ernie Schier.

The three actors, two producers, two playwrights and a critic-educator will officially be inducted as the 47th class on November 13 at the Gershwin Theater.
Read more of this post