Friday, December 30, 2016

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

One Of Broadway's Bright Lights Has Gone Out

The distinctive comic character actor George S. Irving was a Broadway staple for decades, appearing in some of the most successful productions on the Great White Way. He was also well-known for his many TV apperances.

Irving was born George Irving Shelasky in Springfield, Massachusetts on November 1, 1922, the son of Abraham and Rebecca Shelasky (née Sack).

When Irving was 13 or 14, he sang in synagogues and churches as a boy soprano. By his final high school year in 1940, he heard about a dramatic school in Boston for those who were not quite draft age and who were tall and had deep voices, so he immediately received a scholarship. In 1942, he worked in the chorus of the St. Louis Muny Opera.

Irving made his debut in the original 1943 production of Oklahoma!, only to be drafted days later to serve in the United States Army in World War II. He received this role when one of the original actors lost his voice and Irving went on as his replacement. He explains the following: "I wrote to The Theatre Guild when they were casting Oklahoma! and asked them to remind Oscar Hammerstein that he knew me a little, and I got an audition and was cast in the chorus. Irving is best known to Broadway audiences for his role opposite Debbie Reynolds in Irene (1974) and his Tony nominated performance as Sir John in Me and My Girl (1987).

In 2008, Irving recreated the three roles he originally played in the ill-fated 1976 Joseph Stein musical So Long, 174th Street, now reworked, revised, and with its original title Enter Laughing at Off-Broadway's York Theatre Company, and received rave reviews for his rendition of "The Butler's Song". Irving performed his one-man cabaret show to great acclaim at Feinstein's in New York City in November 2008. On December 8, 2008, aged 86, Irving received the 17th Oscar Hammerstein Award for Lifetime Achievement in Musical Theatre.

One of his most prominent non-Broadway roles was a voice-over for The Year Without a Santa Claus, in which he played the embittered Heat Miser opposite Dick Shawn's Snow Miser. He did another voice-over for Rankin-Bass as Mister Geppetto in Pinocchio's Christmas and was the narrator of the animated cartoon series Underdog, as well as the voice of Running Board on Go Go Gophers. He also voiced Captain Contagious in Raggedy Ann and Andy: A Musical Adventure. Irving has also narrated the popular Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark Audio Books.

Irving returned to television in 2008 after an absence of more than a decade to reprise his role as Heat Miser in a new sequel to The Year Without a Santa Claus, A Miser Brothers' Christmas, which premiered on December 13, 2008, on cable's ABC Family. The show served as the network's first-ever original animated special. The production was nominated for an Annie Award for Best Animated Television Production Produced for Children by the Los Angeles Chapter of the International Animated Film Society.

Irving was familiar to television audiences of the 1970s as a result of his memorable guest-starring appearances on All in the Family as Russ DeKuyper, the loudmouthed husband of Edith Bunker's cousin Amelia. He was also a regular in the cast of the short-lived 1976 sitcom The Dumplings. Irving also did some work in commercials for While Owl Cigars in the early 1970s.

Irving was married to Maria Karnilova from 1948 until her death in 2001. They had a son, Alexander of Oceanside, California, a daughter, Katherine Irving of South Salem, New York, and three grandchildren.

Irving died yesterday in Manhattan at the age of 94

Friday, December 16, 2016

Broadway's Ten Best Christmas Songs? Try These . . .

Broadway musicals and Christmas have been going together for a long time.
And a good Christmas song is usually a sure way to brighten most any Broadway show. But, not all Broadway Christmas songs are bright and cheery. Some are a bit more gloomy.

Here are ten* of the best:

1) It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas from Here's Love.
2) We Need A Little Christmas from Mame.
3) Be A Santa from Subways Are For Sleeping
4) Hard Candy Christmas from The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas

5) Turkey Lurkey Time from Promises, Promises
6) Christmas Is My Favorite Time of Year from Catch Me If You Can
7) Lovers on Christmas Eve from I Love My Wife
8) I Don't Remember Christmas from Starting Here, Starting Now
9) A Greenwillow Christmas from Greenwillow
10) Christmas Child from Irma La Douce

*Note that we have not included songs such as White Christmas or Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas as these were written not for Broadway but specifically for movie musicals.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

LOTS Of Sizzle To Be Found Here . . .

The Bodyguard: The Musical starring Deborah Cox
For tickets visit

MAYBE You Can Get In; Maybe It's Worth A Shot

Actors Nathan Lane and John Goodman visit TODAY to discuss their roles in a new revival of the groundbreaking Broadway play “The Front Page,” which originally debuted in 1928. Goodman said the once-controversial comedy has held up all these years because it’s so well-constructed; Lane admits he still gets jitters before a performance and jokes that his solution is “prescription drugs.”

If you want tickets to The Front page on Broadway, you'd better hurry.
The show will positively close at the end of January. It's a limited run that began this summer and must end next month.
And, if you're going to see Nathan Lane in The Front Page, you'll have to be patient. This is a big, old-fashioned three-act comedy and Mr. Lane doesn't appear until nearly all of the character situations have been established and most of the action is well underway.
But why obsess over Nathan Lane when you've got John Goodman, Robert Morse, John Slattery, Jefferson Mays, Holland Taylor Sherie Rene Scott and many more to enjoy?
Plus, there's this classic tale penned by Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur and the crisp direction of Jack O'Brien.
Yes, The Front Page is nearly 90 years old. And yes, it takes much of the first act just to establish the time, the setting and the premise of the tale, such as it is. And yes, you sometimes need a score card to keep track of the more than two dozen characters in the story and the comings and goings of its many players. And finally, the whole thing all takes place in one big room -- the the dingy Press Room of Chicago's Criminal Courts Building, overlooking the gallows behind the Cook County Jail. So, don't expect any dazzling sets or stellar costumes or anything like that.
But when you see this perfectly-synchronized, star-studded mounting of The Front Page, you're going to see some of the best actors in the world at the top of their game. You're going to witness absolute masters of timing as they hit their marks and ply their craft in a manner that will take your breath away. You will watch each one of them perform in a masterful ensemble while they still pull out all the stops to top one another. You'll be tricked, misled, caught off guard and surprised at every turn as you chortle through the still-snappy lines, the hijinks and even some of the more nimble elements of the set as the story unfolds.
This is a great homage to Chicago in the 1920s and the era of speakeasies, gangsters and a plethora of big city tabloids -- a time when newspapers ruled all media and the highbrow notion of  a "journalist" was unheard of. Today, we'd be tempted to call these newspapermen "snarky" but such a term wouldn't even come close. They were grubby, gritty, often ruthless and downright profane. But they knew the makings of a good story when they saw or heard one. And they could be witty, seductive, wildly adaptable and pragmatic when they had to be. Above all, they were relentlessly competitive. Their lives depended on it.
Thrown into this mix, you'll find a bit of politics, anarchy, philosophy, pop psychology and a First Amendment soufflé.
And Mr. Lane? Well, let's just say he's more than worth waiting for. He's a rat-a-tat-tat machine gun of comic delight. He's a perfect match for John Slattery and the two of them tear up the stage.
The Front Page is a total screwball laugh fest that simply never lets up.
If you're lucky enough to have (or get) tickets you're in for a rollercoaster of risibility.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Broadway And Christmas? They're PERFECT Together!

The holidays are a perfect time to see a show. Broadway performs every day of the week at multiple curtain times to accommodate every schedule, including holidays. During Thanksgiving and Christmas weeks, some shows are changing their performance schedules.

“It’s a joy to see a Broadway show during the festive winter holidays,” says Charlotte St. Martin, President of The Broadway League. “Alternate curtain times – including special matinees and evening performances - provide a variety of opportunities to better accommodate the changing schedules of theatregoers throughout Thanksgiving and Christmas weeks.”

During Thanksgiving week, some shows will play on Thanksgiving Day, and many will play Friday matinees. TWELVE shows will be playing on Christmas! During Christmas week, alternate curtain times will also include Friday matinees and evening performances. Check to see the holiday performance schedules and easily find out where and when shows are playing.


Broadway Performance Times for Christmas Week

Monday, November 28, 2016

Two Remarkable Stars Headed To Broadway!

The acclaimed new musical War Paint , starring two-time Tony Award winners Patti Lupone and Christine Ebersole, will arrive on Broadway this spring, beginning previews March 7, 2017 and opening April 6 at the Nederlander Theatre (208 West 41st Street).  The musical played a sold-out run in Chicago this summer where it became the most successful show in Goodman Theatre’s history.  War Paint charts the extraordinary lives of two legendary, trailblazing women – cosmetics entrepreneurs Helena Rubinstein (LuPone) and Elizabeth Arden (Ebersole).
War Paint will also feature Tony Award nominees John Dossett and Douglas Sills, who are reprising their roles from the Chicago world premiere production. Dossett will portray Tommy Lewis, Miss Arden’s husband and chief marketing officer, and Sills will portray the ambitious Harry Fleming, Madame Rubinstein’s clubby confidante and faithful ally.
War Paint tells the remarkable story of cosmetics titans Helena Rubinstein (LuPone) and Elizabeth Arden (Ebersole), who defined beauty standards for the first half of the 20thCentury. Brilliant innovators with humble roots, both women were masters of self-invention who sacrificed everything to become the country’s first major female entrepreneurs. They were also fierce competitors, whose 50-year tug-of-war would give birth to an industry that would forever change the face of America. From Fifth Avenue society to the halls of Congress, their intense rivalry was ruthless, relentless and legendary—pushing both women to build international empires in a world dominated by men.
War Paint will be produced by David Stone and Marc Platt.
Additional casting and on-sale ticket information will be announced shortly.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Broadway's Sexiest, Most Seductive Show?

From the Tony Award®-winning producer of Red, Tony winners Janet McTeer (A Doll’s House, Mary Stuart) and Liev Schreiber (Showtime’s Ray Donovan, Glengarry Glen Ross) return to Broadway for a singular evening of multiple pleasures. Direct from London, McTeer reprises her role in The Donmar Warehouse’s critically acclaimed, sold-out production of Academy Award® winner Christopher Hampton's Les Liaisons Dangereuses. Re-imagined by Olivier Award nominee and Donmar Artistic Director Josie Rourke, this sensational staging breathes a bold new passion into one of the theater’s most provocative and intriguing plays. Evening Standard calls it "Theatre at its most seductive and sinister. Five stars!"

A tale of sex, power and betrayal, Les Liaisons Dangereuses begins with two ex-lovers who scheme to ruin the reputation of an innocent young aristocrat. As their game of manipulation becomes more intricate, they quickly discover that the stakes are higher than they bargained for… and their last encounter may be their most dangerous by far.

Friday, October 28, 2016

WOW! New Music From A Broadway Genius!

Here’s your first listen of “You’re Welcome,” the brand new song from Moana performed by Dwayne Johnson and written by Lin-Manuel Miranda! See it in the soon-to-be-released Disney film Moana.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

The Ten Best Musicals Of All Time!

Are these the 10 best Broadway musicals of all time?
Are they?
We say they are according to our totally arbitrary and subjective measuring rod.
Here goes:

1) Show Boat

2) My Fair Lady

3) Hello, Dolly!

4) Sweeney Todd

5) Chicago

6) Oklahoma!

7) The Phantom of the Opera

8) Guys and Dolls

9) The Music Man

10) Anything Goes

How did we concoct this list?
Well, we tried to have it represent the greatest of the greats. The best musicals from nearly all of Broadway's great songwriters: Jerome Kern, Lerner and Lowe, Jerry Herman, Stephen Sondheim, Kander and Ebb, Rodgers and Hammerstein, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Meredith Willson, Frank Loesser, Cole Porter.
In this manner, we've tried to put together a balanced, very representative list.
We've also tried to favor exuberance -- grand, old-fashioned American get-up-and-go  shows featuring an optimistic, high-style comic spirit. That's why we've included shows like Hello, Dolly!, Oklahoma!, Guys and Dolls, Chicago and The Music Man.
Now, you no doubt have your own list in mind. Start putting it together.

And, BTW: Here are our ten FAVORITE musicals of all time -- ones we can see again and again and again and not tire of:

1) Show Boat

2) Follies

3) Hello, Dolly!

4) Chicago

5) The King and I

6) The Music Man

7) 42nd Street

8) Company

9) Finian's Rainbow

10) Carousel

And here's just one more that we wish somebody would revive right now: Ragtime.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

One Of The All Time Greats Set For Long-Awaited Return!

GLENN CLOSE returns to Broadway in the tour de force performance that earned her the Tony Award® for Best Actress–and a place in Broadway history–in Sunset Boulevard. Featuring a 40-piece orchestra, the largest in Broadway history, ANDREW LLOYD WEBBER's Tony Award®-winning masterwork of dreams & desires in the land called Hollywood comes to the Palace Theatre in a brand new production for 16 weeks only beginning February 2, 2017.
This is the English National Opera production and it will arrive on Broadway from this year's production in London (see video above).
Click here for tickets and additional information!

Thursday, October 13, 2016

The Season's 'Don't Miss Show' At A Bargain Price!

Holiday Inn
Buy Tickets Online
Click Here and enter code HIMANIA2

Buy Tickets by Phone
212-719-1300 and mention code HIMANIA2

Buy Tickets at the Box Office
Show this email at the
Studio 54 Box Office
254 West 54th Street

For box office hours and performance schedule information,

-Jeremy Gerard, Deadline


Music & Lyrics By
Book By


Choreography By

Directed By


Evening Performances
Select Orch/Front Mezz
(Reg. $157)
Rear Orch/Select Mezz
(Reg. $137-$157)
(Reg. $102)

Matinee Performances
Select Orch/Front Mezz
(Reg. $162)
Rear Orch/Select Mezz
(Reg. $142-$162)
(Reg. $102)

18-35 YEARS OLD?

-Frank Scheck, The Hollywood Reporter


-Jesse Green, New York Magazine


-Christopher Kelly, The Star-Ledger


-Jennifer Farrar, Associated Press

Like Roundabout on Facebook or follow us on Twitter or Instagram


Friday, October 7, 2016

No Mere 'Let's Put On A Show' Show . . .

Jim leaves the bright lights of show business behind to settle down on his farmhouse in Connecticut… but life just isn’t the same without a bit of song and dance. Jim’s luck takes a spectacular turn when he meets Linda, a spirited schoolteacher with talent to spare. Together they turn the farmhouse into a fabulous inn with dazzling performances to celebrate each holiday, from Thanksgiving to the Fourth of July. But when Jim’s best friend Ted tries to lure Linda away to be his new dance partner in Hollywood, will Jim be able to salvage his latest chance at love?
Visit for tickets and more information

Let's face it, Broadway wouldn't be Broadway if it didn't periodically reclaim the best of its old self and repackage it as new.
In fact, this is often one of the things Broadway does best.
And this should surprise no one, especially when it comes to musicals since it's hard to top Cole Porter, the Gershwins, Rodgers and Hammerstein, Lerner and Lowe, Comden and Green, Cy Coleman, Frank Loesser or Irving Berlin.
Did I say Irving Berlin?
Well, the champion pop tunesmith and grand master of musical comedy is back on Broadway with a brand "new" show even though he hasn't been around for 27 years.
Here's how it happened.
In May 1940, Irving Berlin signed an exclusive contract with Paramount Pictures to write songs for a film musical based on his idea of an inn that opened only on public holidays. Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire were the stars of Holiday Inn with support from Marjorie Reynolds and Virginia Dale. Produced and directed by Mark Sandrich, filming took place between November 1941 and February 1942. Holiday Inn had its premiere at the New York Paramount Theatre August 4, 1942. It was a success in the U.S. and the U.K., the highest-grossing film musical to that time.
It was expected that Be Careful, It's My Heart would be the big song. While that song did very well, it was White Christmas that topped the charts in October 1942 and stayed there for eleven weeks. Another Berlin song, Happy Holiday, is featured over the opening credits and within the film storyline.
The success of the song White Christmas led to a similar film in 1954 which takes it's name from the song and also loosely involves the opening of an inn. The second film also starred Bing Crosby but different actors assumed the other major roles.
Now, nearly 75 years later thanks to the Roundabout Theatre Company, Holiday Inn has finally arrived on Broadway with a new book by Gordon Greenberg and Chad Hodge,  directed by Gordon Greenberg and starring Bryce Pinkham, Lora Lee Gayer, Megan Lawrence, Megan Sikora, Corbin Bleu and Lee Wilkof.
And here's the deal -- not since the Gershwin's Girl Crazy was updated and snazzily reinvented as Crazy For You has Broadway witnessed a more stylish and delightful reincarnation. 
In addition to most of the songs from the original movie, more great Berlin songs have been lifted from other shows and added here, many with dazzling production numbers. These include Steppin Out With My Baby, Blue Skies, It's A Lovely Day Today, Shaking the Blues Away, Let's Take an Old-Fashioned Walk and Cheek to Cheek. 
And while you may think you know these songs all too well, you've never seen them come to life quite like this. When Megan Lawrence leads Pinkham and nearly the entire cast into Shakin the Blues Away it's a total show-stopper. And when Pinkham sits at a piano and gently croons White Christmas to Lora Lee Gayer you'll feel like you're hearing the song for the first time ever in context. It's a touched-with-pathos moment that will melt your heart proving that sometimes less is really more.
Which is to say that the wonderful thing about the Roundabout's Holiday Inn is that it never mocks or sneers at the tale's original concept. 
And while it's mostly played for laughs, it's all done lovingly. Oh sure, there are great, clever lines in this show and the new book crackles with a modern-day sensibility. It also moves along at a 21st century pace. But there's no hard-edged smugness, no gratuitous cynicism here. You've left all that when you've entered Roundabouts Studio 54 Theatre. Yet, while the show is affectionate, it never crosses the line into sentimentality.
Much of this is do to the deft hand of writer and director Greenberg and the talents of the fine cast led by Bryce Pinkham who is absolutely charming. In this show Pinkham gives us the closest thing you'll find nowadays to an old-fashioned matinee idol. Lean, graceful and self-effacing, Pinkham manages to dominate the proceedings while rarely calling undue attention to himself. It's quite a feat, but having seen Pinkham in A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder, we're not at all surprised. He's a total pro!
Kudos as well to Corbin Bleu who makes Denis Jones' choreography a joy to behold, to Megan Lawrence as the inimitable Louise, to Lee Wilkoff as the irascible Danny and to the shapely and fetching love interests Megan Sikora and Lora Lee Gayer. And while we're at it, let's not forget talented young Morgan Gao as Charlie Winslow in his Broadway debut and Will Burton (fresh on the heels of An American in Paris) who certainly gives his all to the ensemble. Yes, from top to bottom and all the way through this is a wonderful cast in a superbly mounted production!
BTW, are you wondering by now if this is the show that gave the Holiday Inn hotels their name? Well, yes -- the name Holiday Inn was given to the original hotel by its architect Eddie Bluestein as a joke, in reference to the 1942 film of the same name.
But this new Broadway production is no joke -- no mere moniker. It's the real deal. Hurry up and put it at the top of your list!

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Big New Musical's First Musical Teaser! Watch!

ANASTASIA begins previews on Broadway March 23 and opens April 24 at the Broadhurst Theatre.

Amex pre-sale tickets are now available to purchase. Single tickets go on sale October 7. For tickets and more information visit:

From Darko Tresnjak—2014 Tony Award winner for Best Director of a Musical for A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder—and the Tony Award-winning writers of the Broadway classic Ragtime.

Starring Christy Altomare as Anya, Derek Klena as Dmitry, John Bolton as Vlad, and Caroline O’Connor as Lily.


Sunday, September 18, 2016

Hurry! Broadway Salutes In Shubert Alley 9/20

The Broadway League and The Coalition of Broadway Unions and Guilds (COBUG) are pleased to announce that the eighth annual Broadway Salutes event will take place on Tuesday, September 20, 2016 in Shubert Alley (between Broadway and 8th Avenue and 44th and 45th Streets).  The event will begin at 3:30 p.m. with red carpet arrivals, and the public ceremony begins at 4:00 p.m.
The ceremony will be hosted by School of Rock The Musical’s 2016 Tony Award® nomineeAlex Brightman. Directed by Marc Bruni, Broadway Salutes will include special guest performers including Leslie Kritzer and Rashidra Scott. The Musical Director is Joel Waggoner. Also in attendance will be Julie Menin, Commissioner of the Mayor's Office of Media and Entertainment.
In this industry-wide public celebration, theatre professionals will receive special recognition for having worked 25, 35 and 50+ years on Broadway for their valuable contributions to the business. Broadway Salutes honors actors, agents, attorneys, box office treasurers, casting directors, choreographers, composers, designers, directors, dressers, managers, musicians, orchestrators, producers, publicists, stagehands, stage managers, stylists, theatre owners, ticket sellers, ushers, writers, and many more theatre professionals who have dedicated their careers to the success of Broadway.
"Broadway is one of the greatest tourist destinations in New York, and it takes a collaboration of many talented people to put on a show!  Broadway Salutes brings the community together to acknowledge the hundreds who work behind the scenes and onstage, to recognize our colleagues for their many years of service to the theatre industry and whose contributions provide countless hours of culture and entertainment for New Yorkers and visitors,” said Robert E. Wankel (The Broadway League) and Tony DePaulo (COBUG). "On this day, the artists as well as the crafts people and technicians, artist representatives and a myriad of others who are never seen by the audience will be honored for their remarkable talent. The dedication of these hard working individuals supports the industry that brings a significant source of revenue to our city annually. Broadway contributes nearly $12.6 billion to the economy of New York City on top of ticket sales and supports 89,000 local jobs. Broadway Salutes enables us to thank those whose tremendous talent and tireless work creates the extraordinary razzle dazzle experience that is Broadway."
“There’s only one Broadway in the world and we are fortunate that so many hard working New Yorkers are able to have flourishing and life-long careers in this industry,” said Julie MeninCommissioner of the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment. “The Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment is proud to join the Broadway League and The Coalition of Broadway Unions and Guilds to honor individuals who have long exceled in their professions by dedicating their time, skill, and energy to the Broadway community, and to all theatregoers who are witness to the premiere theatrical experience in the world.”
The Clear Channel Spectacolor electronic billboard located at Broadway and 47th street will scroll the names of the honorees during the afternoon and the electronic zipper in Shubert Alley will scroll the names during the ceremony.
The Broadway Salutes committee is comprised of: Tony DePaulo (IATSE), Nina Lannan (General Manager), Laura Penn (SDC), Hal Goldberg (Jujamcyn), Paige Price (AEA), Danielle Saks (General Manager) and Chris Brockmeyer (Broadway League). 
Connie Wilkin and Jennifer O’Connor, of Foresight Events, are the production team.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Special Holiday Schedule, Performances Announced

Producers of FIDDLER ON THE ROOF have cancelled the Tuesday performance on October 11th, which falls out on the evening of Yom Kippur, to give company members who observe the holiday the ability to do so. FIDDLER ON THE ROOF will instead play a special Columbus Day performance on Monday, October 10th at 8:00 PM, as well as a 7:30 PM evening show on bothSunday, October 9th and 16th.

Fiddler on the Roof began previews at The Broadway Theatre (1681 Broadway, at 53rd Street) on November 20, 2015 and officially opened on Sunday, December 20, 2015. Fiddler on the Roof, whichThe New York Times declared a “superb new production”, will play its final performance on Saturday, December 31, 2016 at 2:00 p.m.

Fiddler on the Roof’s December holiday schedule is as follows: Saturday 12/24 at 3PM, Sunday 12/25 – Dark, Monday 12/26 at 3PM, Tuesday 12/27 at 2PM and 8PM, Wednesday 12/28 at 2PM and 8PM, Thursday 12/29 at 7PM, Friday 12/30 at 2PM and 8PM, and Saturday 12/31 at 2PM. The regular performance schedule is: Tuesdays at 7 PM, Wednesdays at 2 PM and 8 PM, Thursdays at 7 PM. Fridays at 8 PM, Saturdays at 2 PM and 8 PM, and Sundays at 3 PM.

Tickets are on sale online via, by phone at (212) 239-6200, and in-person at The Broadway Theatre Box Office (1681 Broadway, at 53rd Street).

A beloved theatrical classic from Tony Award-winner Joseph Stein, and Pulitzer Prize- winners Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick, Fiddler on the Roof is directed by Tony Award-winner Bartlett Sher (South Pacific, The King and I); choreographed by the acclaimed Israeli choreographer Hofesh Shechter; inspired by the original choreography of Jerome Robbins; and has musical direction by Ted Sperling.

Fiddler on the Roof, which boast a cast of 40 actors and an orchestra of 23 musicians, was nominated for three 2016 Tony Awards, including Best Musical Revival, Best Choreography (Hofesh Shechter) and Best Actor in a Musical (Danny Burstein). Additionally, Fiddler on the Roof took home two Drama Desk Awards for Outstanding Director of a Musical (Bart Sher) and Outstanding Actor in a Musical (Danny Burstein). Burstein was also awarded the Outer Critics Circle Award for the Outstanding Actor in a Musical.

The cast of Fiddler on the Roof features six-time Tony Award-nominee and Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Award-winner Danny Burstein as Tevye, Tony-nominee Jessica Hecht as Golde, Jenny Rose Baker, Michael C. Bernardi, Adam Dannheisser, Hayley Feinstein, Mitch Greenberg, Adam Grupper, Adam Kantor, Karl Kenzler, Alix Korey, Samantha Massell, Melanie Moore, George Psomas, Ben Rappaport, Nick Rehberger, Jeffrey Schecter and Alexandra Silber. The ensemble features Jill Abramotiz, Julie Benko, Stephen Carrasco, Eric Chambliss, Ben Cherry, Austin Goodwin, Jacob Guzman, Jesse Kovarsky, Reed Luplau, Brandt Martinez, Zach McNally, Matt Moisey, Sarah Parker, Marla Phelan, Tess Primack, Jessica Vosk, Silvia Vrskova, Jonathan Royse Windham, Andrew Wojtal, Aaron Young and Jennifer Zetlan.

Fiddler on the Roof has scenic design by Michael Yeargan (Tony Award-nominee, The King and I), costume design by Catherine Zuber (Tony Award-winner, The King and I), lighting design by Donald Holder (Tony Award-nominee, The King and I), sound design by Scott Lehrer (Tony Award-winner, South Pacific), and hair and wig design by Tom Watson. Casting is by Telsey + Co./Abbie Brady Dalton.

Fiddler on the Roof is presented on Broadway by Jeffrey Richards, Jam Theatricals, Louise Gundand Jerry Frankel.


Friday, August 19, 2016

Listen Here First: Josh Groban's New B'way Musical!

Listen to “Dust and Ashes” featuring Josh Groban from "The Great Comet," opening this fall on Broadway! Previews begin October 18. "Dust and Ashes" is now available for purchase. Visit to download.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

The Fiddler Fiddles Away On FREE Music Videos!

Fiddler on the Roof’s violin soloist, Kelly Hall-Tompkins is excited to announce she is releasing a new solo album "The Fiddler: Expanding Tradition” which will be released later this year and will feature all new original and commissioned Fiddler solo violin music from the creators of the Broadway musical, Arranger Oran Eldor and Music Director/Orchestrator Ted Sperling. In anticipation of the upcoming album, Hall-Tompkins has produced two music videos, which feature songs that will be on the album and these music videos stream free.

The two pieces featured in the videos are:
Hall-Tompkin’s arrangement of "If I Were a Rich Man," for violin solo. (
"Fiddler Rhapsody and Scherzo," arranged by Oran Eldor, commissioned by Hall-Tompkins and developed by her and Eldor. (

The videos were created by Audio Engineer Bill Siegmund, Cinematographer/Director William D. Caballero and features the designs of fashion designer Gilles Montezin. This recording features collaborating artists who are colleagues of Hall-Tomplins’ at the show: guitarist Jim Hershman, accordionist Joshua Camp and bassist Michael Blanco (on video, the guitarist is Stephen Benson). Expanding on the collaboration between John Williams and Isaac Stern for the 1971 film, Kelly Hall-Tompkins is the first "official" Fiddler to contribute new repertoire to the violin canon and Fiddler tradition.

Kelly Hall-Tompkins said: “Inspired by Danny Burstein's prodigious and endearing Tevye night after night, I have written my own solo violin version of ‘If I Were a Rich Man’ and dedicated it to Danny. When embarking on this role, I was inspired by the towering icons who have come before us, the Tevyes, the Fiddlers, the Broadway productions and film. In this new recording ‘The Fiddler: Expanding Tradition’, I am even more inspired to document our time and amazing cast in these iconic roles while also adding new tradition and repertoire to the canon."

Further information about the solo album will be announced soon. For more info on Hall-Tompkins, visit

Featured in the New York Times as the "versatile violinist who brings the music to life", on The NBC TODAY Show with Harry Smith for her "gorgeous violin solos," concert violinist Kelly Hall-Tompkins is the actual violinist who is heard in the current Broadway production of Fiddler on the Roof. Though never seen on stage, Hall-Tompkins shares this role together with dancer Jesse Kovarsky who plays the onstage Fiddler.

About Kelly Hall-Tompkins
Violinist Kelly Hall-Tompkins is forging a dynamic career as a soloist and chamber musician. Winner of a Naumburg International Violin Competition Honorarium Prize as well as a Concert Artists Guild Career Grant, Ms. Hall-Tompkins has appeared as soloist with orchestras including the Dallas Symphony, Jacksonville Symphony, Tulsa Philharmonic, Chamber Orchestra of New York, and Philharmonic of Uruguay, in addition to numerous concerts and recitals in cities including New York, Washington, Cleveland, Toronto, Chicago, Baltimore, and Greenville, South Carolina, and at festivals in France, Germany and Italy.

Featured as soloist in over 200 Broadway performances to date, plus a new cast album alongside a bonus track by Itzhak Perlman, Ms. Hall-Tompkins has been the subject on NBC’s Today Show with Harry Smith, NBC 4 New York with Janice Huff, WWFM radio and Strings Magazine among numerous other outlets for her role in Fiddler. A significant collaborating partner with violinist/composer Mark O’Connor, Ms. Hall-Tompkins has performed his Double Violin Concerto with O’Connor in concerts across the United States. As a passionate chamber musician, Ms. Hall-Tompkins is first violinist of the O’Connor String Quartet, which has performed concerts nationally, including Tanglewood, Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival and Lincoln Center’s Great Performer’s Circle, and a member of the Florida-based Ritz Chamber Players, including concerts in residence at Jacksonville’s Times Union Center for the Performing Arts, the Ravinia Festival’s “Rising Stars Series,” New York at Lincoln Center’s Allen Room, and in Baltimore in collaboration with BSO concertmaster and string principals, along with many other venues. She has performed at the Garth Newel Music Center, Chamber Music South Dakota, New York City’s Bargemusic, live on WNYC’s “Soundcheck”, at Miami’s Deering Estate Series and for the Raleigh Chamber Music Guild.

Additional performance highlights include a 2007 Benefit for the Victims of Darfur at Carnegie Hall. Ms. Hall-Tompkins was invited by actress Mia Farrow and conductor George Matthew to perform as soloist before an orchestra comprised of musicians from every major orchestra in the world. In 2002 Hall-Tompkins commissioned a new work for violin and percussion from the German composer Siegfried Matthus, which was premiered at Michigan’s Pine Mountain Music Festival and will give in 2016 with the Oakland East Bay Symphony the US Premiere of Professor Matthus’s new Violin Concerto. Ms. Hall-Tompkins’ performances have been broadcast in New York by WQXR, by Chicago’s WFMT and on the BBC.

Ms. Hall-Tompkins’ newest recording project is Imagination, a double video release of the Ysaÿe sonata No. 6 and her own jazz arrangement of “Pure Imagination” from the original film Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. The videos, released online and on Collector’s Edition DVD in early 2014, have garnered 1,000,000 You Tube views, were featured in Strings Magazine, hailed as “ground-breaking...sumptuous... a potent package,” and by Chamber Music America in a public presentation on creating music videos. She released her debut CD recording in 2002, featuring the Kodaly duo, Brahms D minor Sonata and the Ravel Tzigane. Ms. Hall-Tompkins released her second CD, entitled “In My Own Voice”, in 2008, featuring music by Kreisler, Saint-Saëns, William Grant, and David Baker. The album was praised by Fanfare for its “opulent intensity” and by The Strad, which described Hall-Tompkins’ “winning way,” noting her “mercurial charms [and] genial touch...impressive.”

Ms. Hall-Tompkins’ distinguished orchestral career has included extensive touring in the United States and internationally with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, including performances in Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Japan, Singapore, Scotland and a recording with countertenor Andreas Scholl. She also performed over 150 performances with the New York Philharmonic, under conductors including Kurt Masur, Leonard Slatkin, Andre Previn, Charles Dutoit and Valery Gergiev. Now regularly tapped as Concertmaster, Ms. Hall-Tompkins lead the 2016 Lincoln Center Benefit for the 10 Year Anniversary ofLight in the Piazza, an upcoming 2016 Live From Lincoln Center Broadcast with Lang Lang, numerous Carnegie Hall Concerts with the New York Pops and as founding member of the Chamber Orchestra of New York, which performed its debut concert in Carnegie’s Zankel Hall in the Fall ’07 with Ms. Hall-Tompkins also as soloist. From 1999-2012 she was a member of the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra.

Fiddler on the Roof began previews at The Broadway Theatre (1681 Broadway, at 53rd Street) on November 20, 2015 and officially opened on Sunday, December 20, 2015. The current regular performance schedule is: Tuesdays at 7 PM, Wednesdays at 2 PM and 8 PM, Thursdays at 7 PM. Fridays at 8 PM, Saturdays at 2 PM and 8 PM, and Sundays at 3 PM. Tickets are now on sale via or by phone at (212) 239-6200.

Fiddler on the Roof has been A beloved theatrical classic from Tony Award-winner Joseph Stein, and Pulitzer Prize- winners Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick, Fiddler on the Roof is directed by Tony Award-winner Bartlett Sher (South Pacific, The King and I); choreographed by the acclaimed Israeli choreographer Hofesh Shechter; inspired by the original choreography of Jerome Robbins; and has musical direction by Ted Sperling.

Fiddler on the Roof has scenic design by Michael Yeargan (Tony Award-nominee, The King and I), costume design by Catherine Zuber (Tony Award-winner, The King and I), lighting design by Donald Holder (Tony Award-nominee, The King and I), sound design by Scott Lehrer (Tony Award-winner, South Pacific), and hair and wig design by Tom Watson. Casting is by Telsey + Co./Abbie Brady Dalton.

Fiddler on the Roof is presented on Broadway by Jeffrey Richards, Jam Theatricals, Louise Gundand Jerry Frankel.


Saturday, August 13, 2016

Sutton Foster To Star In 'Sweet Charity' Revival!

The New Group has announced additional casting and creative team for its fall production of Sweet Charity, starring two-time Tony winner Sutton Foster.

Joining Foster in the off-Broadway cast will be Asmeret Ghebremichael (The Book of Mormon) as Nickie, Tony winner Shuler Hensley (Waiting for Godot/No Man's Land) as Oscar, Sasha Hutchings (Hamilton) as Rosie/Ensemble, Nikka Graff Lanzarone (Women on the Verge...) as Ursula/Ensemble, Emily Padgett (Bright Star) as Helene, and Joel Perez (Fun Home) as Herman/Vittorio/Daddy Brubeck. The ensemble will also include Yesenia Ayala, Darius Barnes, James Brown III, and Donald Jones, Jr. Lori Ann Ferreri and Ryan Worsing join the cast as swings.

The creative team includes scenic design by Derek McLane, costume design by Clint Ramos, lighting design by Jeff Croiter, sound design by Leon Rothenberg, orchestrations by Mary-Mitchell Campbell, and music direction by Georgia Stitt.

Sweet Charity will be directed by Leigh Silverman, with choreography by Joshua Bergasse. Featuring a book by Neil Simon, music by Cy Coleman, and lyrics by Dorothy Fields, the show is timed to the 50th anniversary of the classic musical. The story follows Charity Hope Valentine (Foster), the sassy, diehard romantic dancehall hostess whose naivety and overeager embrace of every man she meets keeps getting her in hot water.

Previews will begin November 2 in advance of a November 20 opening at the Pershing Square Signature Center. Performances will run through December 11. More casting will be announced at a later date.

For tickets and more information, click here.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

They're In Love But Don't Know It - Or Do They?

It's hard for a musical to survive on Broadway these days Very hard.
Huge costs and the public's appetite for surefire, blockbuster hits with [sometimes] big stars has pushed musicals into a formulaic near-death cycle that demands bigger, flashier, louder productions gushing with special effects and over-the-top moments.
Have you noticed? It can all become very Disneyesque.
So, many of the musicals that we've already reviewed here have closed, including quite a few that we've loved.
Now, we hear that both Bright Star and Shuffle Along (a real shocker, here) will be closing soon. Of course, American Psycho has already closed. Something Rotten has been around for more than a year and continues a healthy run. And, though it also had a nice run, Finding Neverland has closed.
Well, at least She Loves Me will be with us through July 10 and that's an extended run (and good news!) from the venerable Roundabout Theater Company, now celebrating its 50th anniversary.
She Loves Me boasts a book by Joe Masteroff, lyrics by Sheldon Harnick, and music by Jerry Bock.
The musical is the third adaptation of the play Parfumerie by Hungarian playwright Miklós László, following the 1940 James Stewart-Margaret Sullavan film The Shop Around the Corner and the 1949 Judy Garland-Van Johnson musical version In the Good Old Summertime. It would surface yet again in 1998 as the Tom Hanks-Meg Ryan feature You've Got Mail. 
The plot revolves around Budapest shop employees Georg Nowack and Amalia Balash who, despite being consistently at odds with each other at work, are unaware that each is the other's secret pen pal met through lonely-hearts ads.
The show premiered on Broadway in 1963, and subsequently had productions in the West End in 1964 and award-winning revivals on each side of the Atlantic in the 1990s, as well as regional productions.
So, yes you may be familiar with the story of She Loves Me but here's the deal: This is that rarity of rarities -- an honest-to-goodness strong, book-driven musical. There are no special effects, no wildly theatrical elements, no chorus lines and mega moments in She Loves Me. Instead, we're treated to delightfully romantic narrative, three-dimensional characters and a genuine Broadway score performed by totally top-notch cast including Laura Benanti, Zachary Levi, Jane Krakowski, Gavin Creel, Byron Jennings, Tom McGowan, Peter Bartlett and Nicholas Barasch. There is real character development in this musical story that moves along with all the smoothness and panache of its gorgeous, evocative set which garnered a Tony award for designer David Rockwell. 
No doubt you're familiar with Jane Krakowski and she gives a milestone performance here in a comedic featured role that will long be remembered. And her take on a vivid character is matched by Gavin Kreel who plays the part of the ultimate cad, milking every drop out of his performance and then some. 
But the leads (Benanti and Levi) are nothing less than irrepressibly engaging as opposites who alternately attract and repel -- until they fall hopelessly in love. Levi is one minute exasperating and the next positively charming as the tightly-wound store clerk who's underappreciated at every turn. And, his delivery of the title song is a tour de force. For her part, Benanti is irresistible in a role that calls for the full range of her talents -- both as a song stylist and an actress. When she sings Vanilla Ice Cream, you'll want to shout with delight at the joy of something so simple. 
Benanti is introduced in a scene that involves a music box which is meant to double as a candy container. But the rather ordinary box with its melodic attraction is really a jewel box and it's somewhat of a metaphor for the musical itself. It's a seemingly ordinary boy-meets-girl show that, with its novel approach and unexpected developments actually turns out to be an intricate jewel box.
Ultimately, the real secret of She Loves Me is that it holds back -- building, and building and building as expectations increase and tensions tingle until all its delicious delights burst forth.
In a word, this show is exquisite!

Monday, June 13, 2016

Dan On Broadway Predicted ALL Major Tony Winners; 77% Overall!

Dan On Broadway correctly predicted all of this year's major Tony winners: Best Musical, Play, Actor in a Musical, Actor in a Play, Actress in a Musical, Actress in a Play, Featured Actor in a Musical, Featured Actor in a Play, Play Revival and Musical Revival. That's 10 for 10! Dan knows Broadway!
Following are our predictions, with the correct ones so marked:

Best Musical - Hamilton CORRECT!

Featured Actor, Play - Reed Birney, The Humans CORRECT!

Actor, Play - Frank Langella, The Father CORRECT!

Director, Musical - Thomas Kall, Hamilton CORRECT!

Musical Revival - The Color Purple CORRECT!

Score - Spring Awakening (Winner, Hamilton)

Book, Musical - Lin-Manuel Miranda, Hamilton CORRECT!

Costumes, Musical - Paul Tazewell, Hamilton CORRECT!

Orchestrations, Alex Lacamoire - Hamilton CORRECT!

Director, Play - Joe Mantello, The Humans (Winner, A View From The Bridge)

Scenic Design - David Rockwell, She Loves Me CORRECT!

Lighting, Musical - Justin Townsend, American Pyscho (Winner, Hamilton)

Play Revival - A View From The Bridge CORRECT!

Featured Actor, Musical - Daveed Diggs, Hamilton CORRECT!

Choreography - Savion Glover, Shuffle Along (Winner, Hamilton)

Featured Actress, Play - Jayne Houdyshell, The Humans CORRECT!

Costume Design, Play - Jane Grenwood, Long Day's Journey Into Night

Actress, Musical - Cynthia Erivo, The Color Purple CORRECT!

Scenic Design, Play - David Zinn, The Humans CORRECT!

Featured Actress, Musical - Renee Elise Goldsberry, Hamilton CORRECT!

Actor, Musical - Leslie Odom, Hamilton CORRECT!

Best Play - The Humans CORRECT!

Lighting Design, Play - Justin Townsend, The Humans (Winner, Long Day's Journey . . . )

Musical Revival - The Color Purple CORRECT!

Actress, Play - Jessica Lange, Long Day's Journey . . .  CORRECT!

Direction, Musical - Thomas Kail, Hamilton CORRECT!

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Tony Awards - Here's Who Will Win!

Here are our predictions for the winners of Sunday night's Tony Awards:

Best Musical - Hamilton

Featured Actor, Play - Reed Birney, The Humans

Actor, Play - Frank Langella, The Father

Director, Musical - Thomas Kall, Hamilton

Musical Revival - The Color Purple

Score - Spring Awakening

Book, Musical - Lin-Manuel Miranda, Hamilton

Costumes, Musical - Paul Tazewell, Hamilton

Orchestrations, Alex Lacamoire - Hamilton

Director, Play - Joe Mantello, The Humans

Scenic Design - David Rockwell, She Loves Me

Lighting, Musical - Justin Townsend, American Pyscho

Play Revival - A View From The Bridge

Featured Actor, Musical - Daveed Diggs, Hamilton

Choreography - Savion Glover, Shuffle Along

Featured Actress, Play - Jayne Houdyshell, The Humans

Costume Design, Play - Jane Grenwood, Long Day's Journey Into Night

Actress, Musical - Cynthia Erivo, The Color Purple

Scenic Design, Play - David Zinn, The Humans

Featured Actress, Musical - Renee Elise Goldsberry, Hamilton

Actor, Musical - Leslie Odom, Hamilton

Best Play - The Humans

Lighting Design, Play - Justin Townsend, The Humans

Musical Revival - The Color Purple

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Regional NJ Theater Gets Its TONY Sunday!

Paper Mill Playhouse (Mark S. Hoebee-Producing Artistic Director, Todd Schmidt-Managing Director) is proud to announce that it will be the recipient of the 2016 Regional Theater Tony Award. The Tony Awards® Administration Committee announced this year’s recipient for the Regional Theatre Tony Award on its website.

The Regional Theatre Tony Award will be presented at the 2016 Tony Awards on Sunday, June 12. The Tony Awards are presented by The Broadway League and the American Theatre Wing.

“Throughout its rich history, Paper Mill Playhouse has established itself as a foundational pre-Broadway venue for new productions and a welcoming home for world-class theatrical revivals. We are ecstatic to recognize their dynamic role in the tri-state area theatre community and unwavering commitment to fostering future Broadway audiences,” said Charlotte St. Martin, President of The Broadway League, and Heather Hitchens, President of the American Theatre Wing, in a statement.

“This is an incredible honor that belongs to everyone at Paper Mill Playhouse who has worked so hard to redefine our beloved theater in these recent years,”stated Mark S. Hoebee, Producing Artistic Director, and Todd Schmidt, Managing Director.

“For 78 seasons, Paper Mill Playhouse has been producing world-class theater that has been recognized throughout the country. We are thrilled to be acknowledged in this way by the Tony Awards® Administration Committee and to bring this honor back to the people of New Jersey.”

About Paper Mill Playhouse

Under the leadership of Producing Artistic Director Mark S. Hoebee and Managing Director Todd Schmidt, Paper Mill Playhouse is where American musical theater is celebrated, cherished, and pushed in exciting new directions. A beloved New Jersey arts institution since 1938 and a nationally renowned not-for-profit regional theatre, Paper Mill has been consistently recognized for the high-quality artistry of its re-imagined classic musicals as well as its commitment to supporting the development of new works and the careers of Broadway’s best talent and emerging artists both onstage and behind the scenes. Paper Mill Playhouse boasts award-winning access services and outreach initiatives as well as performer training programs that impact nearly 40,000 students each year.

Paper Mill Playhouse productions have launched national tours and gone on to Broadway—including Honeymoon in Vegas, Les Misérables, Disney’s Newsies, and The Bandstand (upcoming)—as well as television broadcasts on Showtime and PBS and original cast recordings. Most recently Paper Mill Playhouse produced the world premiere musical A Bronx Tale under the direction of Robert De Niro and Jerry Zaks with an original score by Alan Menken. This November, Paper Mill Playhouse will launch the national tour of the UK hit musical The Bodyguard in its US premiere starring Deborah Cox.

The education and outreach programs of Paper Mill Playhouse serve nearly 40,000 young people and educators annually in all regions of the state through in-school residencies, training and arts recognition programs, as well as the Children's Theatre Series. For nearly 30 years, Paper Mill Playhouse has been helping students of all ages and skill levels develop their passion for performance and communication—qualities that are invaluable in every career, from Broadway to the boardroom. Education programs include Paper Mill Theatre School, Adopt-a-School Project, Rising Star Awards, Summer Musical Theatre Conservatory, August Musical Theatre Intensive, Paper Mill Playhouse Broadway Show Choir, guest artist master classes, professional development seminars, and Theatre For Everyone classes.

The 2016 Tony Awards

The American Theatre Wing’s 70th Annual Tony Awards, hosted by Tony Award winner James Corden, will air on the CBS Television Network on Sunday, June 12, 2016 (8:00–11:00PM, ET/delayed PT) live from the Beacon Theatre in New York City. You can stream the Tony Awards live across platforms with the CBS All Access subscription service. (Live stream is available in select markets. Visit for details.

The Tony Awards, which honors theatre professionals for distinguished achievement on Broadway, has been broadcast on CBS since 1978. The Tony Awards are presented by The Broadway League and the American Theatre Wing.

The Nominations for the 2016 Tony Awards will be announced live on Tuesday, May 3, 2016, from the Diamond Horseshoe at The Paramount Hotel in New York City.

See the official announcement by clicking here.

PAPER MILL PLAYHOUSE, a not-for-profit arts organization, is one of the country's leading regional theaters. Paper Mill Playhouse programs are made possible, in part, by funds from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts. Paper Mill Playhouse is a member of the National Alliance for Musical Theatre, the Council of Stock Theatres, and the New Jersey Theatre Alliance.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Rollicking, Propulsive Entertainment That Never, Ever Quits!

When director George C. Wolfe accepted the Drama Desk best musical award last night for Shuffle Along he noted that he was accepting the award on behalf of Noble Sissle, Eubie Blake, F. E. Miller and Aubrey Lyles, the four men who created the original book, music and lyrics for this groundbreaking 1921 musical. Wolfe explained that this talented quartet "had the very dumb, stupid, brave and heroic idea that they had a story to tell and they could do it on Broadway and that they actually might succeed."
"In honor of their bravery and their ability to change rhythm on Broadway and to change the complexion of Broadway, we are very proud to honor them," Wolfe concluded. Indeed they were brave. And, with Shuffle Along, they gave Broadway a jazzy score with sizzling syncopation, pulsating rhythm and its first ever love scene between two African-American characters built around the haunting melody Love Will Find A Way.
But don't misunderstand. As historic as this sepia-toned musical was, you won't find the original Shuffle Along at Broadway's Music Box Theater. Instead you will find a reimagined version titled Shuffle Along or The Making of The Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed. With a new book crafted by Wolfe and choreography by Savion Glover, that's am ambitious agenda no matter how one approaches it. But with a stellar cast headlined by Audra McDonald, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Billy Porter, Brandon Victor Dixon, Joshua Henry and Brooks Ashmanskas, it turns out to be an agenda not only worth pursuing but also largely fulfilled.
Even before the curtain goes up on this big, splashy musical you can hear the stomping and tapping taking place backstage as the company warms up and the excitement builds. And right from the start, the stars appear and are united with a superb company of players in the rousing Broadway Blues. Lest you wonder if a show that starts at this level can maintain its momentum, wonder not.
For Shuffle Along is no mere toe-tapping, hip-slapping, joke-cracking derivative of vaudeville. No way! This is a poignant backstage tale fueled by vivid characters, meaningful melodies, pent-up racial tensions, and moments of bluer-than-blue blues. Amidst it all there's a joyous energy that defies the struggle that uber talented black performers faced just to survive in the America of the 1920s, '30s and beyond.
While Shuffle Along tackles history, it's not an historical musical in the same manner as Hamilton. Unlike Hamilton, Shuffle Along is not built around the story of one person. And unlike Hamilton, it doesn't impose a new musical genre on an old tale.
Instead, it tackles the plight of five people -- Sissle (Joshua Henry), Blake (Brandon Victor Dixon), Miller, (Brian Stokes Mitchell), Lyles (Billy Porter), and performer Lottie Gee (Audra McDonald). Some have termed the show a musical documentary for the way in which it takes us across several decades of black (and to some extent, white) entertainment while remaining true to its origins. So, Shuffle Along is best termed a capacious musical journey -- one that pulls and tugs and ultimately teaches without being preachy or maudlin. But it does share with Hamilton significant chunks of narration to save time and keep the epic story moving along.
To be sure, without a central character to hold it together (the closest to that is Stokes Mitchell's Miller) the show can seem like a needle looking to be threaded. And, with so much ground to cover all at once and a second act focused on stark realities, the show's two sides can also appear disparate. Still, the entire creative team behind Shuffle Along has a way of reanimating the production to bring it into focus, especially with a conclusion that proves to be hauntingly (and refreshingly) thoughtful, ending not with a bang but with a nonetheless resonate whimper.
Among the memorable highlights of this stellar production: Dixon and Henry's evocative Affectionate Dan; McDonald and Dixon's Honeysuckle Time; Stoke Mitchell's soaring, acapella Swing Along with the entire company; the dancers' throbbing, thumping, super-charged Pennsylvania Graveyard Shuffle; McDonald's sexy, sensual Daddy Won't You Please Come Home; McDonald and the company's I'm Just Wild About Harry; the title song with McDonald and the dancing waiters; McDonald and Dixon's You're Lucky To Me; the reinterpreted Memories of You rendered powerfully by McDonald and finally, Billy Porters' astonishing 11 o'clock show-stopper, Low Down Blues.
Savion Glover gives us anguish, hope, frustration and joy in movement -- the best choreography on Broadway. Santo Loquasto gives us a pentimento of imaginative scenic design. Ann Roth provides evocative costumes that flatter both the performer and the moment. And George C. Wolfe's direction shows his usual deft touch in handling Broadway's biggest stars, giving them their due without forgetting the ensemble.
One final note: When Shuffle Along finally got to New York, it never actually opened on Broadway (aka The Great White Way). Instead, it had to settle for the shopworn 63rd Street Music Hall, uptown between 63rd St. and Central Park West. Such was the plight of black performers and black-themed shows. In fact, most black shows never even got this close to Broadway. If you haven't already done so, you owe it to yourself to learn about the plight of early African-America ("negro") performers who plied their trade in some of the dingiest spots imaginable, traveling from town to town under arduous and often dangerous conditions and forced to overnight with outcasts and vagrants in rodent-infested quarters. These were the true trailblazers who opened the door for all the entertainers of color who followed. This is their story!

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Drama Desk 2016 Award Winners!

Outstanding Musical
WINNER: Shuffle Along
Outstanding Revival of a Musical
WINNER: She Loves Me, Roundabout Theatre Company
Outstanding Play
WINNER: The Humans, Roundabout Theatre Company
Outstanding Revival of a Play
WINNER: A View from the Bridge
Outstanding Book of a Musical:
WINNER: John Caird, Daddy Long Legs
Outstanding Lyrics
WINNER: Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, Dear Evan Hansen
Outstanding Music
WINNER: Steve Martin and Edie Brickell, Bright Star
Outstanding Actress in a Musical
WINNER: Cynthia Erivo, The Color Purple
Outstanding Actress in a Play
WINNER: Jessica Lange, Long Day’s Journey Into Night
Outstanding Actor in a Play
WINNER: Frank Langella, The Father, Manhattan Theatre Club
Outstanding Solo Performance
WINNER: Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Fully Committed
Outstanding Director of a Musical
WINNER, TIE: Bartlett Sher, Fiddler on the Roof and John Doyle, The Color Purple
Outstanding Director of a Play
WINNER: Ivo van Hove, A View from the Bridge
Outstanding Choreography
WINNER: Savion Glover, Shuffle Along
Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play
WINNER: Saycon Sengbloh, Eclipsed, Public Theater
Outstanding Featured Actor in a Play
WINNER: Michael Shannon, Long’s Day Journey Into Night
Outstanding Music in a Play
WINNER: Philip Glass, The Crucible
Outstanding Orchestrations
WINNER: Larry Hochman, She Loves Me, Roundabout Theatre Company
Outstanding Set Design for a Musical
WINNER: David Rockwell, She Loves Me
Outstanding Set Design for a Play
WINNER: Christopher Oram, Hughie
Outstanding Projection Design 
WINNER: Finn Ross, American Psycho
Outstanding Lighting Design for a Musical
WINNER: Justin Townsend, American Psycho
Outstanding Lighting Design for a Play
WINNER: Justin Townsend, The Humans
Outstanding Sound Design in a Musical
WINNER: Dan Moses Schreier, American Psycho
Outstanding Sound Design in a Play
WINNER: Fitz Patton, The Humans
Outstanding Wig and Hair
WINNER: Mia M. Neal, Shuffle Along
Outstanding Costume Design for a Musical
WINNER: Ann Roth, Shuffle Along
Outstanding Costume Design for a Play
WINNER: Anita Yavich, The Legend of Georgia McBride 
Unique Theatrical Experience
WINNER: That Physics Show 
Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical
WINNER: Jane Krakowski, She Loves Me
Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical
WINNER: Christopher Fitzgerald, Waitress

Friday, June 3, 2016

This Is One 'Story' Worth Retelling!

Paper Mill Playhouse is proud to announce complete casting for Arthur Laurents, Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim's classic musical West Side Story, directed by Paper Mill Playhouse's Producing Artistic Director Mark S. Hoebee and Jerome Robbins’ original choreography recreated by Alex Sanchez. West Side Story is based on a conception by Jerome Robbins and features a book by Arthur Laurents, music by Leonard Bernstein and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim.

Leading the company are Matt Doyle as Tony, Belinda Allyn as Maria, Natalie Cortez as Anita, German Alexander as Bernardo and Mikey Winslow as Riff. West Side Story will run at the Millburn, New Jersey, theater from June 1 through June 26, 2016. The official press opening night is Sunday, June 5, 2016, at 7:00 pm. West Side Story's major sponsor is J.P. Morgan and the production is co-sponsored by The Horizon Foundation for New Jersey. Paper Mill Playhouse's 2015-2016 Season is proudly sponsored by Investors Bank.

West Side Story is the stunning, groundbreaking and legendary musical that set the bar for all musical theater. Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet is transported to 1950s New York City as two young idealistic lovers find themselves caught between warring street gangs, the Jets and the Sharks. Their struggle to survive in a world of hate, violence and prejudice is one of the most innovative, heart-wrenching and relevant musical dramas of our time.

West Side Story will be performed at Paper Mill Playhouse eight times a week, Wednesday through Sunday. Performance schedule: Wednesday at 7:30pm, Thursday at 1:30pm and 7:30pm, Friday at 8:00pm, Saturday at 1:30pm and 8:00pm and Sunday at 1:30pm and 7:00pm. Tickets are on sale now starting at $32. Tickets may be purchased by calling 973.376.4343, at the Paper Mill Playhouse Box Office at 22 Brookside Drive in Millburn, or online at Visa, MasterCard, Discover, and American Express accepted. Groups of 10 or more can receive up to a 40% discount on tickets and should call 973.315.1680. Students may order $20 rush tickets over the phone or in person at the Paper Mill Playhouse Box Office on the day of the performance.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

New B'way Musical To Close After 81 Performances

AMERICAN PSYCHO, the American premiere of the musical based on the iconic novel by Bret Easton Ellis announces that it will play its final performance on Sunday, June 5 at 7:30 p.m. At the time of its closing,AMERICAN PSYCHO will have played a total of 81 performances. AMERICAN PSYCHO is currently playing on Broadway at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre (236 West 45th Street).

Starring Drama Desk, Outer Critics’ Circle and Drama League Award nomineeBenjamin Walker (Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson) as Patrick Bateman,AMERICAN PSYCHO has music, lyrics and orchestrations by Tony and Grammy Award-winner Duncan Sheik (Spring Awakening), a book by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa (“Supergirl,” “Looking,” “Glee”), direction by Tony-nominee and Olivier Award-winner Rupert Goold (King Charles III), and choreography by Tony-nominee Lynne Page (La Cage Aux Folles).

Based on the best-selling novel by Bret Easton Ellis (which celebrated the 25th anniversary of its publication this spring), AMERICAN PSYCHO is set in the epicenter of excess: 1980s Manhattan. The musical tells the story of Patrick Bateman, a young and handsome Wall Street banker with impeccable taste and unquenchable desires. Patrick and his elite group of friends spend their days in chic restaurants, exclusive clubs and designer labels. But at night, Patrick takes part in a darker indulgence, and his mask of sanity is starting to slip…

Joining Benjamin Walker in the cast of AMERICAN PSYCHO are Outer Critics Circle Award-nominee Heléne Yorke (Bullets over Broadway, “Masters of Sex”), Tony Award-winner Alice Ripley (Next to Normal), Tony Award-nomineeJennifer Damiano (Next to Normal), and Drew Moerlein (Broadway debut). Also featured are Krystina Alabado (Lazarus, American Idiot), Dave Thomas Brown (The Legend of Georgia McBride), Jordan Dean (Shows For Days),Anna Eilinsfeld (Kinky Boots, Wicked), Jason Hite (Bare), Ericka Hunter(Rock of Ages), Holly James* (AMERICAN PSYCHO’s London cast), Keith Randolph Smith (Fences, King Hedley II), Theo Stockman (American Idiot, Hair), Alex Michael Stoll (West Side Story, Evita, If/Then), and Morgan Weed(Next to Normal, Saved). Also featured in the company are Brandon Kalm(American Idiot tour), Sydney Morton (Memphis, Evita, Motown), Anthony Sagaria (The Bad Years), and Neka Zang (Rock of Ages).

*Holly James is appearing with the support of Actors’ Equity Association. The Producers gratefully acknowledge Actors’ Equity Association for its assistance in this production.

AMERICAN PSYCHO has music direction by Jason Hart, and music supervision and vocal arrangements by David Shrubsole.

AMERICAN PSYCHO has scenic design by Tony-nominee and triple Olivier Award-winning stage designer Es Devlin (tours for Adele, Beyoncé, U2, Kanye West), costume design by Tony Award-winner Katrina Lindsay (Les Liaisons Dangereuses), lighting design by Tony-nominee and Obie Award-recipientJustin Townsend (Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, Here Lies Love), sound design by Obie Award-recipient Dan Moses Schreier, and video design by Tony Award-winner Finn Ross (The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time). Casting is by Telsey + Company/Craig Burns, CSA.

AMERICAN PSYCHO has been presented on Broadway by David Johnsonand Jesse Singer for Act 4 Entertainment, Jeffrey Richards and Will Trice, along with Greenleaf Productions, Rebecca Gold, John Frost, Trevor Fetter, Joanna Carson, Gordon Meli Partners, Clip Service / A.C. Orange International, Nora Ariffin, Jam Theatricals, Almeida Theatre, Center Theatre Group, Paula and Stephen Reynolds, J. Todd Harris and The Shubert Organization, in cooperation with Edward R. Pressman.

AMERICAN PSYCHO received eight Outer Critics Circle Award nominations (Outstanding New Broadway Musical, Outstanding New Score, Outstanding Director of a Musical, Outstanding Actor in a Musical for Benjamin Walker, Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical for Heléne Yorke, Outstanding Costume Design, Outstanding Lighting Design, Outstanding Projection Design) --- winning two Outer Critics Circle Awards for its Lighting Design (Justin Townsend) and Projection Design (Finn Ross) -- and also received two Drama League Award nominations (Outstanding Production of a Broadway or Off-Broadway Musical and Distinguished Performance for Benjamin Walker); eight Drama Desk Award nominations (Outstanding Director of a Musical, Outstanding Choreography, Outstanding Actor in a Musical for Benjamin Walker, Outstanding Set Design for a Musical, Outstanding Costume Design for a Musical, Outstanding Lighting Design for a Musical, Outstanding Projection Design, and Outstanding Sound Design in a Musical); and two Tony Award nominations (Best Scenic Design for a Musical for Es Devlin and Finn Ross, and Best Lighting Design for a Musical for Justin Townsend).