Stephen Sondheim and Hal Prince, Old Friends/Now You Know

“Putting together an evening of Sondheim material has become almost impossible,” explained David Loud, who just put together an evening of Sondheim songs — some of the most melodious the composer has ever written. But Loud, the artistic director of Lyrics and Lyricists at the 92nd Street Y , decided to focus just on Sondheim’s collaborations with producer and director Harold Prince.

There were practical and personal reasons for this — and aesthetic as well.  “A Good Thing Going: The Stephen Sondheim and Harold Prince Collaboration,” which ran last weekend, made for an enlightening concert,  performed by a six-piece band and sung by a sextet of sexy and accomplished Broadway belters and cabaret crooners:

The title for the concert came from one of the songs from “Merrily We Roll Along” the last and least successful of the six shows on which Sondheim and Prince collaborated between 1970 and 1981 — in order, “Company,” “Follies,” “A Little Night Music,” “Pacific Overtures,” “Sweeney Todd” and finally, “Merrily We Roll Along.” But Loud, as it turns out, was cast in the 1981 Broadway production when he was still a college student — a production that lasted only 16 performances.

What was most revealing about the concert was how much it gave the lie to one of the usual charges against Sondheim — that his songs are unhummable, or can’t be taken out of context. On the other hand, I am now eager to see “Pacific Overtures,” the only one of the six musicals I haven’t seen in its entirety.

The stand-out performance for me was by Liz Callaway as the nervous bride in “Getting Married Today.” She jumped off the stage and confided to us, her audience, before climbing — awkwardly, laboriously, and hilariously, back into the stage.


From Merrily We Roll Along
Good Thing Going (sung by Jason Danieley)

From Company (Opened on Broadway April 26, 1970)
Company (full cast)
Another Hundred People (Heidi Blickenstaff)
Sorry-Grateful (James Clow, Jason Danieley, Jeremy Jordan)
Getting Married Today (Kate Baldwin, Jason Danieley, Kate Baldwin)
Being Alive (Jeremy Jordan)

From Follies (April 4, 1971)
Beautiful Girls (Jason Danieley)
Losing My Mind (Heidi Blickenstaff)
Could I Leave You (Kate Baldwin)
The God-why-don’t-you-love-me Blues (Jeremy Jordan)

From A Little Night Music (February 25, 1973)
Remember? (Most of the cast)
Send in the Clowns (Liz Callaway)
A Weekend in the Country (Cast)

From A Pacific Overtures (January 11, 1976)
The Advantages of Floating in the Middle of the Seas (Cast)
Poems (Jeremy Jordan and Jason Danieley)
Pretty Lady (Jason Danieley, Jeremy Jordan, James Clow)

From Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (March 1, 1979)
The Ballad of Sweeney Todd (Cast)
Johanna (Jason Danieley)
A Little Priest (Heidi Blickenstaff and James Clow)

From Merrily We Roll Along (November 16, 1981)
The Hills of Tomorrow (Kate Baldwin)
Old Friends/Now You Know (Liz Callaway)
Not A Day Goes By (Heidi Blickenstaff)
Our Time (Cast)


Social Justice Theater. Last Supper at Cafe Edison. Meryl Streep’s Annual Christmas Special? Week in New York Theater

New Broadway shows announced this week include: School of Rock, Something Rotten, Bombshell (about Marilyn Monroe) and Sherlock Holmes – the last two have a catch to them (scroll to 18)

Much of the activity this week focused on how theater artists can respond to the recent spate of tragedies and outrages that have spawned a movement — or at least a hashtag #BlackLivesMatter. Below are excerpts or links to transcripts of some of the conversations and other theatrical responses, including six plays.

Raymond J. Lee has created another one of his Broadway music videos, this one with his fellow cast members from Honeymoon in Vegas:

(Here is my post about Lee and his previous videos)

Week in New York Theater December 15-21



Broadway Christmas Week Schedule (and holiday shows)



My review of Every Brilliant Thing

Every Brilliant Thing,” a funny, fun and moving show about a boy who begins writing a list of “everything worth living for” to cheer up his suicidal mother, comes from Great Britain, where “brilliant” is used the way Americans say cool or awesome. As it turns out, though, “Every Brilliant Thing” is brilliant in the American sense too.

This is largely thanks to Jonny Donahoe, who portrays the central character, the unnamed narrator, in Duncan MacMillan’s hour-long play, which has now opened at the Barrow Street Theater, where it is scheduled to run through March 29, 2015. I say the central character, even though he is the only paid actor in the show, because the cast includes just about every member of the audience.

Full review of Every Brilliant Thing


2015 season for Encores Off-Center series.
William Finn’s A New Brain starring Jonathan Groff – June 24-27
Andrew Lippa’s The Wild Party, starring Sutton Foster, July 15-18
Little Shop of Horrors with original cast member Ellen Greene, July 1


My review of Pocatello 10 Unhappy People In A Dying Diner In A Dead-End Town, starring T.J. Knight

“There are plenty of unhappy people in the world, why should we be the ones who get to be happy?” says one of the ten characters in “Pocatello,” the new play at Playwrights Horizons by the newly anointed MacArthur Foundation “genius” playwright Samuel D. Hunter. “Maybe we’re just unhappy people.”

That’s for sure. All ten characters we see in a tacky chain restaurant in the dead-end town of Pocatello, Idaho are unhappy, each in their own way.

Full review of Pocatello



Something Rotten to skip Seattle and open on Broadway, April 22

Top 10 Shows of 2014 that you can still see (but hurry)

Seven new judges for the Obie Awards:

1 Playwright Adam Bock

2 Orchestrator Bruce Coughlin

3 and 4. Directors Lear deBessonet and Liesl Tommy

5. Scenic designer Mimi Lien

6 and 7. Critics David Rooney and Tom Sellar

STUPID FU**ING BIRD “sort of adapted” by Aaron Posner from Chekhov’s The Seagull Jan 30-Feb 1 modern classics series at the Pearl Theatre Company.


Jeremy Jordan will play Leo Frank and Laura Benanti his wife, in the Manhattan Concert Production of Parade by Jason Robert Brown, Avery Fisher Hall, Lincoln Center February 16, 2015

Jordan will also be joining a cast that also includes Kate Baldwin  in the concert “Stephen Sondheim and Harold Prince Collaboration”at the 92nd Street Y, January 10-12.

Shakespeare was the NOT most popular playwright of his era. So how did “bardolatry” happen?


kelli12 Kelli O’Hara talks about The King and I, Peer Pan Live, The Merry Widow at the Met..and how she’d love to see The Music Man on NBC. — and why The Sound of Music makes her both happy and sad:  “A lot of families have Christmas traditions and one of mine growing up was always to watch THE SOUND OF MUSIC – even though it’s not a Christmas show. So, whenever I hear a song from that show, it reminds me a little of Christmas. Actually, “My Favorite Things” is one of the very first songs I ever sang in my life – when I was like 10!” The role of Maria role “is the reason I am here! Julie Andrews is such a big part of why I sing. Honestly – and, unfortunately – it’s the one Rodgers & Hammerstein role that has gotten away that I have never gotten to play.”


Artivism excerpts:
“If you alter, even by a millimeter, the way people look at reality, then you can change it.” – James Baldwin,

quoted by sponsor of the #TheatreTalk, Lark

How does writing in a time of political strife & social conflict make you feel & impact your work?

August Schulenburg: We’ve always been in a time of strife & conflict. Difference now is social media makes them visible to all

Mona Mansour: 2014 was filled with horrific shit. The temperature of things,politically etc, just naturally seeps into my work

Keith Josef Atkins: A part of me feels artists should ONLY write about the specificity of now. I feel like the gun is at our heads

August Schulenburg: One challenge is getting past binaries of audience vs community, & aesthetic excellence vs social justice

Mona Mansour: Theater forces people to be in the SAME ROOM as the event, people, the feelings. No other art form does that

Dominique Morisseau: In seeing ourselves in others, we can see how systemic injustice becomes personal.That’s how to motivate masses. Plays that asks more questions than gives answers empowers audiences to solve.

August Schulenberg: I think there’s value in healing & community-building in so-called “preaching to the choir” that’s valuable. Also, there’s a lot more diversity of perspective within theatre community then people are aware of… When @FluxTheatre did “Understand Our Ground” there was wide range of persepective re: #Trayvon
if every lip-service artist became a fully-energized agent of social justice, we could make a huge impact and I’m holding myself accountable to reaching toward that goal. Not there yet, but trying.

Transcript of another online conversation, via New Victory Theater and the Queens Museum:  How do you teach young people community action through the arts? 




Script of all six ten-minute plays by black male playwrights commissioned by Keith Josef Adkins, entitled Hands Up

Poll: The Worst Broadway Show of 2014

Audra McDonald in Lady Day at the Emerson Bar and Grill

Audra McDonald in Lady Day at the Emerson Bar and Grill

Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill with Audra McDonald  will be filmed for HBO


Bryce Pinkham is leaving A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder for The Heidi Chronicles, but only temporarily. Jeff Kready to star in GG until Pinkham’s return.


Today (two and a half weeks before it closes) Side Show will be recorded for posterity by The Library for the Performing Arts and Lincoln Center.


Sting talks with kindergartner Iain Armitage “one of the hottest theater critics around.”  Sting says at the end: “That was one of the best interviews I’ve ever done.” (I told you kid would take our jobs.)



School of Rock, based on Jack Black movie, will be a Bway musical , w/new music by @OfficalALW. Opens Dec 6, 2015 Winter Garden

Cabaret is set for a 20-city tour across the USA beginning Jan 2016. (Cast and other specifics not yet announced.)

Sherlock Holmes, a new play by Rachel Wagstaff & Duncan Abel, is set for Broadway….in 2017. (if Manhattan hasn’t frozen over)

Bombshell, fictional Marilyn Monroe musical of Smash, is coming to Broadway – for one night (6/15/15) as a benefit for The Actors Fund.

After seven years, Second Stage aims finally to purchase Helen Hayes in February, but needs to raise more money. More women/people of color on Broadway?


The Dramatist’s g=Guild is part of a campaign to honor Arthur Miller with a United States postage stamp on 100th anniversary of his birth 10/15/15

Favorite Stage Performances of 2014


Missed Victory Gardens #WeMustBreathe gathering? Video on HowlroundTV (Starts at about 20 minutes in)

How can theater help w/ #BlackLivesMatter movement? Try these timely plays (some new) via American Theatre

Into-the-Woods Meryl Streep

August-Osage-County 10

You realize that Meryl Streep was in a play-to-film last Christmas too Will this become an annual event, like NBC’s live musicals?


Nella Tempesta 5

My review of Nella Tempesta at LaMaMa




Despite the petition with 10,000 signatures, and the letter-writing campaign to the owner of the Hotel Edison, the “Polish Tea Room” ends today



Newsies Ends on Broadway

It wasn’t supposed to be on Broadway at all. Then it was only going to run for five months. But “Newsies” lasted more than 1,000 performances over two and a half years. And after every performance, a huge crowd gathered at the stage door.

Cast members changed over the years, but the adoration remained.

Curtain speech at the closing performance by Disney theater head Thomas Schumacher

Here is my review of Newsies after it opened on March 29, 2012:

Wider than the gap between the one percent and the 99 percent, or between labor and management, is the one between those who grew up adoring the film “Newsies” and those who found it unwatchable.

The 1992 Disney musical, based on the true story of a strike in 1899 by New York’s newspaper boys, starred an 18-year-old Christian Bale as strike leader Jack. (Bale apparently now lines up with the unwatchable group; he has never appeared in another musical: “I just don’t like musicals, that’s all.”)

“Newsies” was a clear-cut flop: Made for $15 million, it grossed under $3 million. Movie critics were fairly unanimous in their assessment:
“Joyless, pointless”- Janet Maslin, New York Times
“All left feet, noise and clutter”- Desson Howe, Washington Post
“Warmed-over Horatio Alger”-Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times.
“I’ve loved the movie since I was five years old,” a woman in my row at the Nederlander Theater told me.
That adoration was apparently widespread. “Newsies” not only got a second life on video; schools and amateur theaters across the country were reportedly staging their own live productions based on the film. Its cult-like popularity convinced Disney to mount its own stage version. “Newsies The Musical” was put on last year at Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn, N.J.
It is that production that now has arrived on Broadway. So loyal are the fans of the film that Jeremy Jordan, who plays Jack, recently apologized to them in an interview for the changes made in the adaptation.
Newsies, the musicalYes, there are some changes: Five of the film’s songs by composer Alan Menken (The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Sister Act, Leap of Faith) with lyricist Jack Feldman have been cut, replaced by five new ones from the same songwriting team. Harvey Fierstein (“Torch Song Trilogy,” “La Cage Aux Folles”), who was brought on to write the book, has moved around some scenes, spruced up the dialogue, and turned the seasoned male reporter who covers the strike (played in the movie by Bill Pullman) into a rookie female journalist (Kara Lindsay) – a love interest for Jack.
The good news about “Newsies” is that the musical works far better on a stage. Even Tobin Ost’s set, with its three massive three-tiered skeletal metal towers moving around compulsively, is far more effective than the Hollywood backlot used as pretend-New York in the film. Menken’s dozen songs, spiced with some undeniably catchy tunes, get the treatment they deserve, backed by a live 12-piece band and put forth by a splendid cast (of young-looking adults playing children) that is not only as attractive as those in the movie; these performers can actually sing.

And dance. The choreography by Christopher Gattelli is dazzling. The vigorous tap routines and acrobatic moves – leaps and kicks, back flips and mid-air somersaults – put “Newsies” up there with “Memphis” and “Anything Goes” for the most thrilling dancing currently on Broadway.

Why they’re dancing is not always clear. At several moments in “Newsies,” I found myself asking: What exactly does this chorus line have to do with the plot? But perhaps this is just as well. “Newsies” may be based on a true story, but the story here feels largely synthetic.

Newsies was the nickname for street urchins – mostly homeless children– who made a living in the late nineteenth century by purchasing copies of newspapers from the publishers, and then hawking them on the streets. In the musical, newspaper mogul Joseph Pulitzer (yes, that’s who the Pulitzer Prizes are named after) decides, in order to increase his profits, to start charging the newsboys more for their batch of newspapers each morning.
Jack organizes a strike, which has its ups and downs, its turns and twists.
“Newsies” touches on some of the deplorable conditions of the day. Thugs beat up the strikers, for example, with the collusion of the police. Jack, played persuasively by Jeremy Jordan (who played Clyde in Frank Wildhorn’s short-lived “Bonnie & Clyde” on Broadway) is given speeches like: “For the sake of all the kids in every sweatshop, factory, and slaughter house in this town, I beg you… throw down your papers and join the strike.”
But nobody would mistake “Newsies” for Clifford Odets or even Mike Daisey. This is Disney, after all. And by that, I don’t mean it is a big corporation that itself has been accused of engaging in questionable labor practices – even, as recently as last year, benefiting from child labor.
Twitter Badge (.gif)The Newsies team seems to be attempting a synthesis of “Oliver!” and “The Bowery Boys.” The characters speak with toy New Yawk accents – Orphans have no muddahs, but they still have bruddahs — and say cute things that no children really say. (“Fame is one intoxicatin’ potion,” says the character Les, supposedly nine years old.) The twists in the story (which I won’t give away, and which are not of course what actually happened) are so pat as to be nearly incoherent.
“Newsies The Musical” retains from the movie the burlesque star who is friends with Jack and the other Newsies – in the movie played by Ann-Margret, here by Capathia Jenkins, just as incongruously, if not more so. She sings a new song full of sexual double-entendres. She also greets the newsboys with: “Welcome to my theater and your revolution!”
The newsies feel as revolutionary as the munchkins in “The Wizard of Oz.”
A legitimate response here would be: Oh, lighten up; it’s an entertainment. But it also may be a missed opportunity.
When little Les is astounded that he can see a showgirl’s legs, the burlesque star says to Les’s brother:
“Step out of his way so’s he can get a better look. Theater’s not only entertaining, it’s educational.”
But how educational is “Newsies”?


It is obvious that the team did some research, and that that research included Jacob Riis’ “How The Other Half Lives,” which includes a photograph Riis took – captioned “Getting ready for supper in the Newsboys’ Lodging House” – that surely inspired the morning waking-up scene at the beginning of the musical.

As Riis explains, the Newsboy’s Lodging House was set up by the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children – “the good it has done cannot easily be overestimated.” The lodging houses were an alternative to the boys’ normal abode, which included a boiler room in the sub-basement of the Post Office and, when that was raided by police, “the shore-end of one of the East River banana docks, where they had fitted up a regular club-room that was shared by thirty to forty homeless boys and about a million rats…

“Whence this army of homeless boys?” Riis asked. “Some are orphans, actually or in effect, thrown upon the world when their parents were ‘sent up’…A drunken father explains the matter in other cases, as in that of John and Willie, aged ten and eight, picked up by the police. They ‘didn’t live nowhere,’ never went to school, could neither read nor write….Grinding poverty and hard work beyond the years of the lad; blows and curses for breakfast, dinner and supper; all these are recruiting agents for the homeless army. Sickness in the house; too many mouths to feed.”
Riis’s work helped shock the nation into enacting a raft of reforms, including the outlawing of child labor.
“Newsies The Musical” is under no obligation to do anything but entertain. But one wonders what a musical theater composer like Adam Guettel (“Floyd Collins”) or Stephen Sondheim might have done with this story.


Newsies The Musical
At the Nederlander Theater
Music by Alan Menken; lyrics by Jack Feldman; book by Harvey Fierstein, based on the Disney film written by Bob Tzudiker and Noni White
Directed by Jeff Calhoun; choreography by Christopher Gattelli; music supervisor/incidental arrangements by Michael Kosarin; orchestrations by Danny Troob; sets by Tobin Ost; costumes by Jess Goldstein; lighting by Jeff Croiter; projections by Sven Ortel; sound by Randy Hansen; hair and wig design by Charles LaPointe; fight director, J. Allen Suddeth; production stage manager, Thomas J. Gates; dance music arrangements by Mark Hummel
Cast: Jeremy Jordan (Jack Kelly), John Dossett (Joseph Pulitzer), Kara Lindsay (Katherine), Capathia Jenkins (Nun/Medda Larkin), Ben Fankhauser (Davey), Andrew Keenan-Bolger (Crutchie), Lewis Grosso and Matthew J. Schechter (alternating as Les) and Kevin Carolan (Governor Roosevelt).
Running time: 2 hours 20 minutes.

Broadway Responds to Russia’s ‘Gay Propaganda’ Ban

Andrew Rannells in Russia Tea Room, one of dozens of Broadway stars appearing in the video entitled "Russian Broadway Shut Down - Government Deems All Theatre Homosexual Propaganda"

Andrew Rannells in the Russian Tea Room. He is one of dozens of Broadway stars appearing in the satirical video entitled “Russian Broadway Shut Down – Government Deems All Theatre Homosexual Propaganda”

Broadway responds satirically to official LGBT discrimination in Russia, and to a specific Russian law, enacted in June, 2013, punishing citizens “who disseminate information aimed at minors ‘directed at forming nontraditional sexual setup’ or which may cause a ‘distorted understanding’ that gay and heterosexual relations are ‘socially equivalent,'” according to an account by news wire service AFP.

The video, entitled “Russian Broadway Shut Down – Government Deems All Theatre Homosexual Propaganda,”  was created by John Walton West and composed by Jason Michael Snow.

Among those in the video:

Michael Urie, Andrew Rannells, Harvey Fierstein, Roger Rees, Laura Osnes, Joanna Gleason, Analeigh Ashford, Andy Karl, Santino Fontana, Andrea McArdle, Stephen Schwartz, Eric Anderson, Ann Harada, Michael Cerveris, Laura Benanti, Stephanie J. Block (these last two as lesbian cosmonauts!), Sierra Boggess, Leslie Kritzer, John Bolton, Jackie Hoffman, Lena Rocker Hall, Jeremy Jordan and Jonathan Groff (these last two as gay Olympian lovers!)


Six By Sondheim HBO Documentary

In the documentary Six by Sondheim: James Lapine, Stephen Sondheim,  Jackie Hoffman, America Ferrera, Darren Criss, Laura Osnes, and Jeremy Jordan

In the documentary Six by Sondheim: James Lapine, Stephen Sondheim, Jackie Hoffman, America Ferrera, Darren Criss, Laura Osnes, and Jeremy Jordan

Six by Sondheim, a documentary that debuts on HBO on Monday, December 9th, looks at six of Stephen Sondheim’s landmark songs:

“Something’s Coming” from West Side Story
“Opening Doors” from Merrily We Roll Along
“Send in the Clowns” from A Little Night Music
“I’m Still Here” from Follies
“Being Alive” from Company
and “Sunday” from Sunday in the Park with George

It includes extensive interviews with Sondheim. There is old film footage going back half a century, including Ethel Merman performing “Gypsy,” and performances by Bernadette Peters, Mandy Patinkin,Dean Jones, Yvonne De Carlo and Larry Kert. Three of the songs are given new interpretations.  Darren Criss, America Ferrera,  Jeremy Jordan and Sondheim himself (sort of) perform “Opening Doors.”

Audra McDonald sings “Send in the Clowns,” after (an odd highlight) a series of Youtube versions of that song.

The director of the film is James Lapine, and the producer is Frank Rich, former chief theater critic of the New York Times, who this week  writes about his half century as “young fan; critic and “enemy”; and, by now, old friend” with the musical theater composer, in The Sondheim Puzzle

Among the tidbits in the documentary:

Sondheim says he’s never written a lyric without first drinking some alcohol (not to the point of inebriation, just…lubrication.)

He wrote “I’m Still Here” thinking of the career of Joan Crawford.

He wrote “Send in the Clowns,” by far his most popular song,  with lots of pauses so that Glynis Johns (whose voice, let’s say, didn’t have the staying power of an opera singer) could catch her breath while singing it.

Many of Sondheim’s musicals were initially labeled as failures, sometimes viciously (Variety called Company “a show strictly for homos and old ladies”), even some that were eventually accepted as masterspieces. But there is only one Sondheim show that Sondheim himself calls a failure. Do I Hear a Waltz? “had no passion and no blood and no reason to be…that was the real failure.”

Top 11 Songs From Smash

Now that NBC has canceled “Smash,” what will happen to the original songs created for this TV series about Broadway? Here are 11 that should last. (Lyrics are below the videos)

1. Let Me Be Your Star, with Megan Hilty (written by Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman)

2.The National Pastime, with Megan Hilty (Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman)

3. 20th Century Fox Mambo, with Katharine McPhee (Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman)

4. Hang The Moon – duet between Bernadette Peters and Megan Hilty (Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman)

5. Second Hand Baby Grand, with Megan Hilty (Shaiman and Wittman)

6. Don’t Say Yes Until I Finish Talking, with Christian Borle (Shaiman and Wittman)

7. Broadway, Here I Come, with Jeremy Jordan (written by Joe Iconis)

8. Caught in the Storm, with Katharine McPhee (written by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul)

9. A Love Letter From The Times, with Christian Borle and Liza Minnelli (Shaiman and Wittman)

10. The Goodbye Song, with Jeremy Jordan and Katharine McPhee (Joe Iconis)

11. Don’t Forget Me, with Megan Hilty (Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman)

Let Me Be Your Star:

Fade in on a girl
With a hunger for fame
And a face and a name to remember
The past fades away
Because as of this day
Norma Jean’s gone
She’s moving on
Her smile and your fantasies
Play a duet
That will make you forget
Where you are
The music starts playing,
It’s the beat of her heart saying
Let me be your star
Flashback to a girl
With a song in her heart
As she’s waiting to start the adventure
The fire and drive
That make dreams come alive
They fill her soul
She’s in control
The drama, the laughter

The tears just like pearls
Well they’re all in this girl’s repertoire
It’s all for the taking
And it’s magic we’ll be making
Let me be your star
I just have to forget the hurt that came before
Forget what used to be
The past is on the cutting room floor
The future is here with me, choose me
Fade up on a star
With it all in her sights
All the love and the lights
That surround her
Someday she’ll think twice
Of the dues and the price
She’ll have to pay (She’ll Have to pay)
But not today (But not today)
She’ll do all she can
For the love of one man
And for millions who love from afar
I’m what you’ve been needing
It’s all here and my heart’s pleading
Let me be your star

The National Pastime

Fellas! (Yeah?)
Fellas! (Is it?)
Hey, team! (Off the benches, it’s Marilyn!)

I just got a date (She just got a date!)
With baseball’s Joltin’ Joe! (That lucky so-and-so!)
So run me ‘round the bases,
Put me through my paces,
And teach me all the things a slugger’s lover
Should know!

What’s that there? (That’s the pitcher’s mound!)
Have you ever seen a shape that is so perfectly round?
(Batter up!) Play ball!
(You better give it your all!)
‘Cause all men like to play at
The national pastime.

Who’s that man? (That’s the first base coach!)
Have you noticed that he signals every time I approach?
(Kill the ump!) Throw him out!
(Because there isn’t a doubt..)
That all men like to play at
The national pastime!

When I was just a little girl,
I liked being dainty and purty.
But now that I’m giving sports a whirl,
I find I kinda like to get dirty!

(Baby, what’s that there?) That’s the team bullpen,
And I like the odds I’m seeing: no girls, all men!
(Hit the deck, look alive!
Beware the lady’s line drive!)
Because my skill and my passion’ll
Elevate the national…

Hot Dogs! Crackerjack!
I don’t care, I don’t care if I ever get back!
(When the season’s over, the play won’t end…)
‘Cause a baseball diamond is a girl’s best friend!

Yes, my style and my fashion’ll
Elevate the national

The 20th Century Fox Mambo

At Paramount it’s “Oh la la”
The Warner Brothers “Cha Cha Cha”
And L.B. Mayer loves his schmaltz
so MGM made the great waltz.
But the 20th Century Foxtrot…
It’s precious but precious
It’s not hot!
To make the big boys hire me, please make that rhythm fiery
(Come on boys and girls, make me over)
In this factory where dreams can come true,
Are you ready to make someone new?
You’re the team that must teach me to do,
The 20th Century Fox Mambo!
Done the homework and I’ll pass the test,
I’ll do whatever my teacher suggests.
I can do it clothed or undressed,
The 20th Century Fox Mambo!
Make it up! Shake it up!
Let the fantasies begin!
Here’s the dope:
To get cast, change the past
Make the light just right for Cinemascope
Take a gamble cause it’s safe to bet
Mister Zanick ain’t seen nothin’ yet!
When we’re finished he’ll never forget
This 20th Century Fox!
Ah! Ah-ah! For fame… Play the game… Change your name… To the 20th Century Fox!
Make it up! Shake it up!
Make me feel like the main attraction
Change the clothes, fix the nose
And then 5,6,7,8, Action! (ACTION!)
Now I’m blonde but I ain’t so dumb (No!)
Hollywood will be under my thumb (Yes!)
I’ll change partners until I become…
The 20th Century Fox Mambo!

Hang The Moon
If our lives were a movie
I’d know what to do
I’d write every scene with my heart
An RKO picture that stars me and you
And this time I’d learn my part

I’d paint you some scenery
We’d sing, and we’d dance
From morning ’til late afternoon
And when that scene is done
Then I’d take down the sun
And for you darling, I’ll hang the moon

We’d wake up to sunshine
Like lights on a set
You’d reach out and there’d be my hand
All day there’d be music, a perfect duet
That flows from the white baby grand

At night when you’re frightened
I’d play you to sleep
That melody from Clair de Lune
And to fill up the sky
Past the clouds, I would fly
And for you darling, I’ll hang the moon

Hang the moon forever
So you’d never fear the darkness
The darkness I’ve known
Moon protect Norma Jean
So that she’ll never be alone
Never alone

If our lives were a movie
Then you’d be the star
‘Cause now I know the role I should play
To applaud all you do
All the things that you are
And just be there on opening day

I know in the past
That the lines were all wrong
And the music was never in tune
But the wish that I make
Is for just one more take
Because then darling
I’ll hang the moon

I’ll hang the moon above you
So you’ll never fear the darkness
The darkness of night
Then you’ll know I love you
Each time that you feel the light
Feel the light

If our lives were a movie
Then I’d cut away
All the moments when I wasn’t there
The scenes that are happy
Are all that will stay
The rest will dissolve into air

As the final reel ends
We might both shed a tear
For the ending is coming up soon
But when the screen fades to black
We can smile and look back
And for you darling I’ll hang the moon

Second Hand Baby Grand

My mother bought it secondhand from a silent movie star
It was out of tune but still I learned to play
And with each note we both would smile forgetting who we are
And all the pain would simply fly away
Something secondhand and broken still can make a pretty sound
Even if it doesn’t have a place to live
Oh, the words were left unspoken when my momma came around
But that Secondhand White Baby Grand still had something beautiful to give
Through missing keys and broken strings the music was our own
Until the day we said our last goodbyes
The baby grand was sent away, a child all alone, to pray somebody else would realize
That something secondhand and broken still can make a pretty sound
Even if it doesn’t have a place to live

Oh. the words are still unspoken now that momma’s not around
But that Secondhand White Baby Grand still has something beautiful to give
For many years the music had to roam
Until we found a way to find a home.
So now I wake up every day and see her standing there.
Just waiting for a partner to compose
And I wish my mother still could hear
That sound beyond compare
I’ll play her song till everybody knows.

That something secondhand and broken still can make a pretty sound
Don’t we all deserve a family room to live
Oh. the words can’t stay unspoken until everyone has found
That Secondhand White Baby Grand that still has something beautiful to give.
I still have something beautiful to give

Don’t Say Yes Until I Finish Talking

A studio executive has no beliefs
That’s the way of the studio system
We bow to every rear of all the studio chiefs
And you can bet your ass we’ve kissed ’em
Even the birds in the Hollywood Hills
Know the secret to our success
It’s those magical words that pay the bills:
Yes, yes, yes, and yes

Gentlemen! Take a memo.
Today the Trades are all aglow
With grosses for our Miss Monroe
The things those vermin mustn’t know
Is what she puts us through
She makes directors wait all day
One line per hour is all she’ll say
And still, she thinks we’re gonna pay
She needs a talking to
Tomatoes like her must be put in their place
If she don’t shape up soon, she’ll soon be walking
‘Cause the buck stops with me

Yes you’re right, we agree!

Uh, don’t say yes until I finish talking
She’s got them all tied up in knots
Makes each producer faint in plotz
She thinks she’s queen and calls the shots
As she sits on a thrown
She needs to learn she’s only skin
The next girl’s waiting for a spin
I made a star of Rin Tin Tin and paid him with a bone
Tomatoes like her
Well, they’re easy to find
We throw them out as soon as they start squacking
So, get me some younger dish

We concur, as you wish!

Hey! Don’t say yes until I finish talking
And while you’ve got me on a roll
Let’s find a role for Nat King Cole
Tell Mankiewicz his script is trite
A little lower, to the right
I think that Brando is miscast
That television just won’t last
That I’m the king of Hollywood

All hail the king!

Oh, that feels good
Which brings me back to that dumb blonde
To her demands, I now respond
Some buy your act, but I’m not conned
You’d better fall in line
Your two bazooms are nuts to boot
I’ll keep you in a bathing suit
When you stop bringing in the loot
Well, go back to the vine
Tomatoes like you
They all wither and die
My powers, though, will never be diminished
So don’t bring me to my boiling point
You’re just a broad, I own the joint
I’m in control, you’re just a face
So allow me to cut to the chase
I’ll make another movie star
Could someone light my damn cigar?
And then say “yes”
Cause yes, men
I’m finished


Broadway Here I Come

I’m high above the city
I’m standing on the ledge
The view from here is pretty
And I step off the edge

And now I’m falling, baby, through the sky, through the sky
I’m falling, baby, through the sky
It’s my calling, baby, don’t you cry, don’t you cry
I’m falling down through the sky

Toward the street that I’m from

Oh Broadway here I come
Broadway here I come

The pressure it increases
The closer that I get
I could almost go to pieces
But I’m not quite there yet

See I’ve been braving crazy weather
Drownin’ out my cries
I’ll pull myself together
I’m focused on the prize

I’m falling, baby, through the sky, through the sky
I’m falling, baby, through the sky
It’s my calling, baby, don’t you cry, don’t you cry
I’m falling down through the sky

Its a tune you can hum
Oh Broadway here I come


Will I remain the same, or will it change a little bit
Will I feel broken or totally complete

Will I retain my name when I’m the biggest hugest hit

Or will I blend in with the rest of the street

The people all are pointing
I bet they’d never guess
That the saint that they’re anointing
Is frightened of the mess

But even though I fear it
I’m playing all my cards
Baby, you are gonna hear it
When I give them my regards

I’m falling, baby, through the sky, through the sky
I’m falling, baby, through the sky
It’s my calling, baby, don’t you cry, don’t you cry
I’m falling down through the sky

And I refuse to go numb

Oh, Broadway here I come
Broadway, here I come
Broadway, here I come
Broadway, Broadway, here I come
Here I come!

And the last thing I hear
As the impact grows near
Is it a scream or a cheer?
Well, never mind, I’ll never find out
‘Cause Broadway, I am here!

Caught In The Storm

You can push me away
I can take it
I can make you a promise
and break it
We know the way it goes by now

Running off just to see
if I chase you
I pretend I know how
to replace you
still we get tangled up

Hear it thunder
and I wonder
How long can I hang on

I’m caught in the storm
I’m caught in the rain
I’m caught in the rush
that hides this pain

I’m ready to drown
but it’s coming down
but I feel so alive

Just let me go
Just walk away
If you love someone
you never let them stay

caught in the storm

as the bars on the Bowery
are closing
you arrive at the door
standing frozen
you say you thought you’d find me here

tell me how I begin
to forget you
when you keep coming back
and I let you
Love me until you disappear

I’m caught in the storm
I’m caught in the rain
I’m caught in the rush
that hides this pain

I’m ready to drown
but it’s coming down
but I feel so alive

Just let me go
Just walk away
If you love someone
you never let them stay

caught in the storm

Let me wash away
you can find me after the flood
let me wash away

caught in the storm
caught in the rain
caught in the rush
that hides this pain

If you love someone
you find a way to stay
caught in the storm


A Love Letter From The Times

Today at tech where life’s a zoo
What irony, I missed my cue
Your birthday almost came and went
No wonder you were malcontent
And so tonight to right the wrong
I’ve written you a birthday song
But I ain’t gonna wing it
Look who I got to sing it

May each evening be a triumph
Where are the planets are aligned
With you, the star that hits the sky and climbs
And when you’re waking in the morning
Well, dear friend, I hope you find
A love letter from The Times

Then, an afternoon of roses
Like the At Home section brings
Just past the metro section and its crimes
They’re yellin’ on the sports page
But the Arts and Leisure sings to you
A love letter from The Times

A full page ad that’s full of quotes
About your face, your style, those notes
superlatives about your gifts prolific
The raves from me would never end
About the girl who’s my best friend
She’s wonderful, she’s special, she’s terrific

So that’s the gift I wish for you
And hope I can achieve
And someday when we both run out of rhymes
I don’t care about my notice
But I know that you’ll receive
A love letter from The Times

You’re older and I’m wiser
Ivy, look, I brought you Liza!

With a love letter from The Times

The Goodbye Song
The time has come
I’m flying away
Mouth is numb
Heart don’t know what to say

And although I’ll be out of sight, dear
Know I’ll be right here
Right here forever, ever, ever, ever

When you look to the night skies
Don’t think of goodbyes
Think how I’m right here ever, ever, ever


No, you can’t come with me


I wish I could

Goodbye aye-aye-aye

I know it’s hard to say


No, you can’t come with me


I wish I could

Goodbye aye-aye-aye

I know it’s hard to say


I know it hurts to say

I’d stay if I could
But the universe won’t let me
So please be good
And don’t you forget me

And although I’ll be out of sight, dear
Know I’ll be right here
Right here forever, ever, ever, ever

When you look to the night skies
Don’t think of goodbyes

Think how I’m right here ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever

Don’t Forget Me
They thought they could dispose of me
They tried to make me small
I suffered each indignity
But now rise above it all

Yes, the price I paid was all I had
But at last, I found release
And if something good can come from bad
The past can rest in peace

Oh if you see someone’s hurt
And in need of a hand
Don’t forget me
Or hear a melody crying from some baby grand
You don’t forget me

When you sing happy birthday to someone you love
Or see diamonds you wish were all free
Please say that you won’t;
I pray that you don’t forget me

But forget every man who I ever met
‘Cause they only lived to control
For a kiss they paid a thousand
Yet they paid fifty cents for my soul
They took their piece
The price of fame that no one can repay
Ah, but they didn’t buy me when they bought my name
And that is why I pray

That when you see someone’s hurt
And in need of a hand
You don’t forget me
Or hear a melody crying from some baby grand
You don’t forget me

When you sing happy birthday to someone you love
Or see diamonds you wish were all free
Please say that you won’t;
I pray that you don’t forget me

There are some in this world who have strength on their own
Never broken or in need of repair
But there are some born to shine who can’t do it alone
So protect them and take special care
Take care

And don’t forget me
Please take care
And don’t forget me
When you look to the heavens with someone you love
And a light shining bright from afar
Hope you see my face there
And then offer a prayer
And please let me be
Let me be that star

Hollywood Broadway Debuts: Shia LaBeouf Shooed From, Tom Hanks Lured To, Robert DeNiro Promised For, The Great White Way.

top to bottom: Shia LaBeouf, Tom Hanks, Robert DeNiro, Jane Lynch: Broadway DebutsIs Shia LaBeouf’s sudden departure from what would have been his Broadway debut a boost for Broadway in what would normally be a fallow February?  But this week actually has been fertile for theater folk – and, fittingly, considering this is Oscar week, much of it can be fit with Hollywood, such as the announcements that Les Miserables will return to Broadway, and the report that Robert DeNiro may be making his Broadway debut — as a director of a Broadway musical! Tom Hanks is talking about not just his Broadway debut, but his first stage role since 1981.

Also making her Broadway debut: Jane Lynch of Glee.

Speaking of TV: the auxiliary entertainment industry that has built up around Smash. And: What IS a dramaturg, and why are they always ridiculed on television?

The Week in New York Theater

Monday, February 18, 2013

New Memoirs

Rita Moreno,	Sachi Parker, Clive Davis

  1. Rita Moreno reveals that she was impregnated by Marlon Brando, who insisted she have an abortion. She also dated Elvis
  2. Sachi Parker, only child of Shirley MacLaine, writes in “Lucky Me” how Mom sabotaged her daughter’s acting career
  3. In The Soundtrack of My Life, Clive Davis writes he’s bisexual and currently living with a man. He details his efforts to get Whitney Houston off drugs.

Oddly, Clive Davis tells USA Today he plans to ask Anne Hathaway & Colin Firth to star in his planned 2014 Broadway revival of My Fair Lady

(Shouldn’t he tell the press AFTER he asks them?)

Sex in movies? Often great. Sex on Girls on HBO? Immersive. Sex on stage? Rarely works, says Chicago Tribune drama critic Chris Jones

Michael Urie (Ugly Betty, the canceled “Partners”) stars in Rattlestick Playwright’s Theater’s” Buyer and Cellar,” about a struggling actor who bonds with a Streisand-like superstar while cataloguing her collection. Opens April 3.

Tina Landau (‏‪@TinaLandau, director of “Old Hats” at the Signature Theater ): Directing in previews is a lot about making lists. I need lists. I love lists. Lists save me.


Yes, it’s happening; Les Misérables is returning to Broadway, its third run, set to open in March of 2014, producer Cameron Mackintosh announces

Boosted by ‪the Les Miz film, the Les Miz U.S. stage tour is doing $1 million a week. That’s what’ll be coming to Broadway

Should anybody from the ‪#LesMiz film do the Broadway version next year?

LesMizSamanthaBarksAaronTveitAndrew Marcinak (‏‪@Droid_boy): Hands down Samantha Barks and Aaron Tveit
Laura (@LauraBethD): Samantha Barks & Aaron Tveit!

Suzanne Du Charme (@SuzanneDuCharme): Hugh Jackman, Colm Wilkinson, some if the townspeople who already work in theatre
Kerri (what_a_dream) I say none of the leads in the Les Mis movie should be in the broadway production but the secondary cast should be

Andy Scott ‏‪@AndyDirects Perhaps Tom Hooper can also direct it so that there is nothing but religious symbols and water onstage

Jonathan Mandell (@NewYorkTheater) You forgot the giant noses

ShkBoom Records (@ShKBoom) Big news! We’re recording Pasek and Paul’s DOGFIGHT  with Lindsay Mendez and Derek Klena and the rest of the Second Stage Theater cast!

Adele Rufus Gaga

Which singer/songwriters do people most want to see writing for Broadway? Adele, Rufus Wainwright and Lady Gaga, according to the contest entries for tickets to “Kinky Boots,” Cyndi Lauper’s Broadway songwriting debut.

Ann window display

The window display at the Drama Book Shop for “Ann,” the solo show about the late Governor Ann Richards, starring Holland Taylor

(After first preview of “Ann”)


SmashPataphysicalSciMemorable lines
Tom (Christian Borle): “Art without torture. I don’t think it’s possible”

Dan Mason ‏‪(@djdan1033): Very true. Ask most of us who watch the show every week.

Producer Eileen (Anjelica Huston): He’s a professional dramaturg.
Tom: A dramaturg, are you joking?
Librettist Julia (Debra Messing): Laughs.
Eileen: It’s a common practice these days.

Peter the dramaturg (Daniel Sunjata): Dramaturgs are like dentists;no one wants to see them but you’re glad you went once the pain wears off”

(Why do dramaturgs get so little respect?)

Julie Felise Dubiner ‏‪(@jfdubiner): Too many of us expect it instead of earning it.

What IS a dramaturg?

A dramaturg is a murderer in “Icarus,” the episode of “Law and Order: Special Victims Unit” in which everybody thinks Cynthia Nixon playing a Julie Taymor-like figure was the perpetrator.  A dramaturg is a handsome man who lives in a very expensive New York apartment but who hurts the now-scarfless Debra Messing’s feelings in “The Dramaturg,” the latest episode of “Smash….But what is a dramaturg on stage rather than on the small screen? Answer

Broadway Abridged Smash

Smash – theater bloggers weigh in, from Broadway Abridge’s condensed episode scripts to the Smash Reality Index

Will we have “Smash” to kick around any longer? Whatever else the backstage Broadway TV show has been, it’s been an inspiration for many in the theater community – creating what you could almost call a subsidiary entertainment industry


Shia LaBeouf, who was to make his Broadway debut, has departed “Orphans,” the production announces, “due to creative differences.” No more details at the moment.

The raved-about American Repertory Theater’s production of Glass Menagerie wit Cherry Jones, Zachary Quinto, and Celia Keenan-Bolger is in talks to open on Broadway.

Robert DeNiro plans to direct a Bway musical of Chazz Palminteri’s  A Bronx Tale. So claims ‪Showbiz411

Jane Lynch will replace Katie Finneran as Miss Hannigan in ‪”Annie” starting May 16


FREE concert March 28 with the casts of Chicago, Phantom of the Opera, Avenue Q and others to celebrate the landmarking status given to Town Hall.  Tickets distributed first come, first served starting at noon on March 25 at the box office

Shia LaBeouf replaced by Ben Foster in Orphans

Shia LaBeouf replaced by Ben Foster in Orphans

On Twitter, Shia LaBeouf (‪@thecampaignbook) publishes e-mails that imply that his “creative differences” were with Alec Baldwin

Ben Foster will replace Shia LaBeouf

The Rascals: Once Upon a Dream,new concert written by Steven Van Zandt (E-Street Band,Sopranos) Ap 15-May 5 Bway’s Richard Rodgers

Terrific project by ‏ the New York Philharmonic to put its 170 years of history online. Check out its archives 


Shia LaBeouf Fired, NOT a feud with Alec Baldwin , says Michael Riedel in the New York Post

Last year’s Kennedy Center revue, “First You Dream,” renamed “Kander and Ebb’s Sing Happy,” is reportedly aiming for Broadway this Fall. Cast unclear.

It didn’t catch on on Broadway, but Kander & Ebb’s Scottsboro Boys will open at UK’s Young Vic,Susan Stroman director/choreographer again

Daughter of All That Jazz screenwriter recalls going to the Oscar ceremony without him. (He had died) 

Jeremy Jordan and Anna Kendrick to to star in film of Jason Brown’s musical about a frayed marriage, “The Last Five Years”


I reach 10,000 Twitter followers — and how I built that following

Joyce Carol Oates  (@JoyceCarolOates): Twitter makes of loneliness something rich & unexpected.But you must choose your travel-companions with care.

Tina Packer in Women of Will (Shakespeare)

Tina Packer in Women of Will (Shakespeare)

My review of Women of Will

Consider Marina – saved by pirates, who then sell her into a brothel, “but she had such a healing spirit that she convinced every man not to have sex with her,” Tina Packer says to us, greatly amused, near the end of “Women of Will,” a fascinating if flawed work of theater about Shakespeare’s female characters, created and performed by a woman who has been studying them for decades – and is, incredibly, making her New York stage debut.

Full review of Women of Will


Matt Cavenaugh made his Broadway debut in "Urban Cowboy" shortly after graduating college

Matt Cavenaugh made his Broadway debut in “Urban Cowboy” shortly after graduating college

New and Once-New Faces of Broadway ‪

Valisia LeKae is portraying Diana Ross this season in "Motown The Musical"

Valisia LeKae is portraying Diana Ross this season in “Motown The Musical”

The Times as usual features fresh faces of Broadway in its Spring preview. This year that includes performers in “The Nance,” “Pippin,”  “Motown The Musical,” “Kinky Boots” and  “The Flick”

But what has happened to the new faces of a decade ago. Good things, as it turns out. I catch up on actors Anthony Mackie and Matt Cavenaugh,  director Kenny Leon and playwright Kate Fodor.


Tom Hanks talks about his Broadway debut in “Lucky Guy” which begins previews on March 1 and opens on April 1:

“I still feel sometimes that I’d like to be as good as so-and-so actor…I see some other actors’ work, and I think I’ll never get there. I wish I could.”

Tom Hanks was last on stage in 1981, and never on Broadway.

“I lived around the corner from Broadway, but I couldn’t even get arrested,” he recalled. “I didn’t know how to dance, I hadn’t taken a voice lesson, and I wasn’t feeling confident.”

He is starring as the late newspaper columnist Mike McAlary, in a play written by Nora Ephron, who died while she was writing it.
“We’re just resorting to imagining the headlines for bad reviews — ‘Lucky Guy, Unlucky Audience!’ ‘Yucky Guy!’ ”

The Broadway Blizzard That Wasn’t. Smash 2. Richard III. Grammy:Once

Losing Nemo: The Times Square theater district on February 9, 2013, after the "blizzard"

Losing Nemo: The Times Square theater district on February 9, 2013, after the “blizzard”

New York City was lucky this time. The blizzard that the Weather Channel dubbed Nemo saved the worst of its ire for other regions, allowing all Broadway and most Off-Broadway shows to remain open. Whether or not the theaters were affected anyway because people stayed home will be clear within the next couple of days.

But there was plenty this week to keep the New York theater lover occupied — including news of the discovery of Richard III in a parking lot in England, and the debut of the second season of Smash.  Also below: American Idol’s Crystal Bowersox has big Broadway news; Broadway and big bucks; a Broadway show drops out; brilliant theater makers David Yazbek and Dave Malloy separately offer their manifestos on what’s wrong with New York theater.

The week in New York Theater

February 4, 2013:

Richard III Unburied

Richard III's skeletal remains

Richard III’s skeletal remains

Richard III’s remains found in Leichester parking lot. He really was a hunchback. Shakespeare wrote 100 years after the king’s death
Suzi Steffen ‏(@SuziSteffen):
“Where’d you leave the Mini Cooper, honey?”


Katha Pollitt ‏@KathaPollitt
Richard III not a hunchback — he had scoliosis of the spine from about age 10

Jonathan Mandell: Pardon me Dr. Pollitt

Katha Pollitt: Medieval chiropractor, if you will.

‘Richard III’ actors react to discovery of king’s remains: “Shakespeare was a dramatist, not a historian”

Disinterred Richard (@RichardNumber3 You would not believe what I owe to get out of this car park

Jonathan Mandell: This was inevitable

Anne Margaret Daniel ‏(@venetianblonde) Yes it was

Disinterred Richard: The secret mischiefs that I set abroach I lay unto the grievous charge of others. Know what I’msayin?

Anne Margaret Daniel ‏
I do, dear. Welcome back to the light of day

Disinterred Richard: The voice isn’t bad but the hair has GOT to GO.

I love this: Drilling Company’s Shakespeare In The Parking Lot (longtime series on Lower East Side) will be presenting Richard III this summer.

Despite mixed reviews, The Heiress has recouped its $3 million capitalization (translation: made $). It closes February 9th.

Broadway and Bucks

CNBC presented a half-hour show, “Betting Big on Broadway,” about investing in theater.

Some highlights:
Producer of Spider-Man Turn Off The Dark: “I think we’re somewhere between idiots and true believers…and lucky.”

Jujamcyn Theaters run by Jordan Roth grosses $200 million a year. Roth gambled early on a show called The Book of Mormon

“The Lion King” has grossed $5.2 billion in 17 years. It’s toured 96 cities worldwide, seen by 55 million people
71% of Disney stage shows have made a profit. (industry average: 25%)

Disney shows Tarzan and Little Mermaids bombed: “I got it wrong,” says Disney theater honcho Thomas Schumacher.

The first three weeks of Newsies on stage outgrossed the entire run of the original movie.

Despite star draw, in the end, Grace recouped only 90% of its investment. Mixed reviews and Sandy didn’t help.

In 1949, it was more expensive to see a first-run movie in Times Square than a Broadway play. Movie: $2. Play: 85 cents.

(from documentary “Broadway, The Golden Age”)

Andy Mientus (@AndyMientus): Last night’s sleep before I’m on TV. What will tonight’s dreams hold?




Smash, Season 2 — Critic’s Reviews: They are mixed

San Francisco Chronicle: Smash is back and again ready to become the hit it deserves to be.

New York Times: “no good right from the start…Broadway is a vicious, thrilling, glamorous place. Smash…has been small, wan & polite.”

David YazbeckDavid Yazbek ‏@DavidYazbek: Wrong on all counts.

Jonathan Mandell: Wrong about Smash, or wrong about Broadway?

David Yazbek: Both

Jonathan Mandell: So which adjectives would you select for Broadway, and which for Smash?

David Yazbek: Broadway=90% shit. Smash=99% shit.

Considered assessment by esteemed theater artist and musician David Yazbek (The Fully Monty, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown)
David Yazbek: Understand that those percentages are basically in the range of all popular arts and media.

During the two-hour premiere of season 2, many people “live-Tweeted” about Smash –

brief example:

Jonathan Mandell: The villain of #Smash, Eileen’s ex-husband, is Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Michael Cristofer.

Dan Mason ‏@djdan1033: Awesome. Can they recruit him to start writing the scripts?

But this time around, the cast of Smash was Tweeting during the show as well.


Lucky Guy castTom Hanks will be making roughly $100 per minute in Lucky Guy on Broadway! (He is reportedly worth $300 million; his pictures average more than $100 million)

Tom Hanks last performed on stage in 1979, in NYC, in a production of Machiavelli’s The Mandrake, in Columbia Universty’s Casa Italiana

James Carter ‏@jdcarter

Can’t believe I didn’t know this. Peter Scolari is in LUCKY GUY with Tom Hanks? BOSOM BUDDIES ARE BACK!

Pippin MarqueeSmash season 2 premiere had only 4.47 million viewers — down SEVENTY-ONE % in viewers aged 18-49 from season 1 premiere. However, the Joe Iconis song in the show,” Broadway, Here I Come,” is on the Top 100 on iTunes.

Friends of ailing playwright Maria Irene Fornes help bring her closer to home 

The “Pippin” marquee at the Music Box is animated. How do people feel about this?

Natalie ‏@n2natalie
I hate the digital marquee with every fiber of my being.
Jeffrey Miele ‏@jffmiele

I don’t like them at all. Takes all the class away from Broadway. It isn’t Vegas.

Stephanie Warren ‏@warrens4

I love it. It was animated for Dead Accounts too. Gives you a chance to share more info & the movement grabs your attention

Samuel Wilson ‏@samuel_james_w

no matter what anyone thinks of it, its representative of where so much of Broadway is at… #ridiculous


Will Smith’s daughter Willow drops out of doing film remake of Annie: “Daddy, I have a better idea, how about I just be 12.’”

Script for “Motown” is “still in flux,” producer tells Michael Riedel of the New York Post. Original writer Berry Gordy Jr. himself now has two “consultants”

Jersey Boys” plays its 3,000th performance on Broadway tonight:

Oh what a night!

Doo dit doo dit dit doo dit doo dit dit

All “Book of Mormon” seats #31.43 — in London, first preview Feb 25 at Prince of Wales Theatre (20 pounds actually)

Edward Watt (the husbands in Scandalous) will play Superman in New York City Center’s Encores’ concert of Charles Strouse’s It’s A Bird ..It’s A Plane…It’s Superman  Mar 20-24

Given up on your Broadway dream, and too young to be a stage mother? You can audition your cat next week for a role in the forthcoming “Breakfast at Tiffany’s

League of Independent Theater to hold Meet The Candidates on arts issues March 12 at the Players Club

Blizzard warning in NYC for tomorrow through Saturday. Unclear yet how this will affect theatrical performances.


The "blizzard" in Times Square, February 8, 2013, at 9:30 p.m.

The “blizzard” in Times Square, February 8, 2013, at 9:30 p.m.

Broadway and the Blizzard of 2013

CandiceElyse ‏@CandiceElyse

There’s nothing more eerie yet magical than an empty Times Square

Bobby Lopez@lopezbobby): I guess Nemo is finally coming to Broadway (laughs weakly)


Did you know Daniel Craig is married to Rachel Weisz? Well,did you know they want to star on Broadway in Harold Pinter’s Betrayal?

Miles Lott ‏@mlottjr

Will they get Hugh Jackman to play the other guy?



No Broadway shows were canceled. Some Off-Broadway and Broadway shows are offering snow deals.

“Pump Boys and Dinettes” was scheduled to open on Broadway April 8, but it has been “postponed indefinitely”

Closing tonight: The Heiress, with Jessica Chastain.

MarkofZorroNewVictoryMy reviews of the Spanish plays, “Fuenteovejuna” and “The Mark of Zorro.”  Zorro a Spanish play, you say? Well, in a way.

0bba454ff6033417848bff7ff41786dc“Always…Patsy Cline” on Broadway this summer? So says American Idol  runner-up  Crystal Bowersox to The Hollywood Reporter.  No firm dates or theater

Benny Berry (@TheBennyBerry) Wouldn’t she be better in “Always… Janice Joplin”?

Crystal Bowersox (@crystalbowersox); That aughta be next!!

The brilliant theater artist Dave Malloy (Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812) explains why he was completely silent for 90 minutes in a panel discussion on the future of theater: The many “crises of American theatre” are self-imposed and imaginary, based on a desire for more money.


Once beat out Newsies, Follies, The Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess, and Nice Work If You Can Find it to win the  Best Musical Theater Album Grammy

Smash Cast Hits Prime Time And Twitter Time

AndyMeintusmotherscookies“These are the cookies my mom is serving at her #Smash party in Pittsburgh. She’s a diva, “Andy Mientus Tweeted before the premiere of  the second season of Smash. He was not the only theater person to live Tweet this backstage Broadway TV series — it’s now something of a tradition —  but he also happens to be in the show now.  He plays Kyle, one-half of a musical theater team with a character named Jimmy, played by Jeremy Jordan.
Here is a scene of the two of them in the show. They’re presumably walking in Brooklyn, where their characters live.

That both of them, and several of the other cast members, were Tweeting during the show seemed more than a coincidence– more like an orchestrated campaign. But so what. They were fun to read. Here’s one from Jeremy Jordan

From Megan Hilty

Another new cast member:

Even guest star Jennifer Hudson got into the act:

JenniferHudsonpicsSmash Andy Mientus was the most prolific. Here’s a sample from the Twitter feed of Andy Mientus:

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Smash’s Bombshell, Marilyn Monroe Broadway Musical, Now An Album

Smash: Katherine McPhee playing  Broadway performer Karen Cartwright in the fake musical about Marilyn Monroe "Bombshell," which now has a real cast album.

Smash: Katherine McPhee playing Broadway performer Karen Cartwright in the fake musical about Marilyn Monroe “Bombshell,” which now has a real cast album.

A 22-song album of the music from “Bombshell” will be released on February 12, a week after the Tuesday, February 5th premiere of the second season of Smash. The first season of this Broadway backstage television series focused on the making of the fictional musical about Marilyn Monroe.

Remember when there was speculation about whether “Bombshell” would be produced on Broadway for real? The producers of the NBC TV series told reporters they would like to see that happen, and the talent is there: The real-life Broadway songwriting team of Marc Shaiman and Scott Whittman (Hairspray, Catch Me If You Can) are the ones supplying the original songs supposedly put together by the TV songwriting team of Julia Houston and Tom Levitt (Debra Messing and Christian Borle.)

Whether the album is a start or a substitute is unclear. One clue: Look to see if the creative team calls the recording a cast album or a soundtrack.

Here are the tracks:

Bombshell1. Let Me Be Your Star (Extended Intro)

2. At Your Feet

3. Smash!

4. Never Give All The Heart

5. The 20th Century Mambo

6. The National Pastime

7. History is Made at Night

8. I Never Met a Wolf Who Didn’t Love To Howl

9. Mr & Mrs Smith

10. Don’t Say Yes Until I Finish Talking

11. On Lexington & 52nd St

12. Cut, Print…Moving On

13. Public Relations

14. Dig Deep

15. Second Hand White Baby Grand

16. They Just Keep Moving The Line

17. Let’s Be Bad

18. The Right Regrets

19. (Let’s Start) Tomorrow Tonight

20. Our Little Secret

21. Hang The Moon

22. Don’t Forget Me

Smash pilot (only the first two minutes are free)

Smash season 2 teaser: Jeremy Jordan and Andy Mientus join the cast, and guest stars will include Jesse L. Martin, Sean Hayes, Liza Minnelli, Bernadette Peters and Jennifer Hudson.