Friday, April 21, 2017

OMG! Absolutely Stupendous, Unanimous Praise!

Hello Dolly with Bette Midler opened on Broadway last night and it has taken the town by storm.
Every reviewer has lavished praise on this new production of the classic 1964 musical -- a 53-year-old gem with a 70+ year-old star.
Forget the rap or hip hop (or whatever it is) around the corner or that millennial musical homage to social media, because Dolly is back in town and she's the new toast of Broadway.

Here's a sampling of the reviews:

Ben Brantley - New York Times:
The pinnacle of fine dining in New York these days can’t be found in a Michelin-starred restaurant, though it will probably cost you just as much. No, you’ll have to get yourself and your wide-open wallet to the Shubert Theater, where the savory spectacle of Bette Midler eating turns out to be the culinary event of the year.

Marilyn Stasio - Variety:
The audience claps at the overture and whistles at the set; and when Bette Midler makes her entrance, everyone falls into a dead swoon. “Hello, Dolly!” is back on Broadway, and it looks so fresh, you want to pinch its cheek.

Maya Stanton - Entertainment Weekly:
How to describe a force of nature? A blockbuster success even before the curtain went up on opening night, the new revival of Hello, Dolly! marks legendary performer Bette Midler’s highly anticipated return to Broadway, and thanks to a top-notch cast and an award-laden production team, it more than justifies the hype.

Charles McNulty - LA Times:
Rarely has an exclamation point in a title been earned as thoroughly as the one in the new Broadway revival of “Hello, Dolly!” starring Bette Midler.

Joe Dziemanowicz - NY Daily News:
Hello, blockbuster!
They don’t make ’em like they used to — and that goes double for Broadway’s dazzling revival of “Hello, Dolly!” thanks to the show itself and its above-the-title supernova, Bette Midler.
Frankly, there ought to be another exclamation point.

Robert Kahn, NBC, New York:
Hearing Midler sing “Hello, Dolly!” is such a tingly experience that you eventually sit back down and wonder: Is this what it was like when Carol Channing debuted “Dolly!” on Broadway half a century ago? And, was Midler put on Earth to carry forth that legacy? It sure feels that way. This “Hello, Dolly!” is as blissful an escape as anyone could want.

Linda Winer - Newsday:
If there were such a thing as a happiness meter at the Shubert Theatre these days, where, oh, where would that be placed? The obvious position is in the audience, where fans of “Hello, Dolly!” and fans of Bette Midler — which may well add up to just about everyone — have come together in a palpable bonding festival of hot-ticket excitement, contentment and raucous joy.

Jesse Green - New York magazine:
Suffice it to say that in the long line of memorable Dollys I’ve seen or heard — from the alienoid Carol Channing to the louche Pearl Bailey to the enameled Barbra Streisand — Midler is by far the most natural and inviting.

Chris Jones - Chicago Tribune:
With a grinning Midler coming down the staircase — and Zaks not only gives her a descent to remember but even her own little runway out in front of the orchestra and closer to her fans — that contrived chaos, choreographed throughout with a terrific sense of humor by Warren Carlyle, all makes sense.

David Rooney - The Hollywood Reporter:
I can't recall the last time I felt a crowd so frothed up with excitement at a Broadway show, and certainly in those terms, no production currently playing in New York can touch this perfectly upholstered revival of the indestructible 1964 musical chestnut. What's more astonishing is that the enthusiasm never wanes, sending wave upon wave of love across the footlights for two and a half vigorously entertaining hours. And in a testament to the spirit of the veteran showbiz troupers who are now a vanishing breed, Midler soaks it up like a heat-seeking beacon and then beams it right back out into the house.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

2017 Drama League Award Nominations Announced!

The nominees for the 83rd Annual Drama League Awards were announced at Sardi's today by Bebe Neuwirth and Patina Miller. The Drama League Award winners will be announced on Friday May 19th at the Marriott Marquis Times Square in the Broadway Ballroom (1535 Broadway). The ceremony will be hosted by Audra McDonald and Will Swenson.

A Doll’s House, Part 2 
If I Forget
A Life
The Play That Goes Wrong
Tell Hector I Miss Him
The Wolves

A Doll’s House/The Father
The Beauty Queen Of Leenane
The Little Foxes
Master Harold And The Boys
Present Laughter
The Price
Six Degrees Of Separation
Troilus And Cressida

Amélie, A New Musical
Come From Away 
Dear Evan Hansen
Groundhog Day
Natasha, Pierre And The Great Comet Of 1812
Ride The Cyclone
War Paint

NOTE: This season’s revival of Sunday in the Park with George was not considered for awards eligibility, at the producers’ request.

Hello, Dolly!
Miss Saigon
Sunset Boulevard
Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber Of Fleet Street
Sweet Charity

One winner is selected from this category. The recipient can only receive this award once during his or her career.

Note: Due to receiving The Drama League’s 2017 Distinguished Achievement in Musical Theatre Award, Bette Midler will not be considered for this year’s Distinguished Performance Award.

Denée Benton, NatashaPierre and the Great Comet of 1812
Reed BirneyMan From Nebraska
Cate BlanchettThe Present
Ato Blankson-WoodThe Total Bent
Christian BorleCharlie and the Chocolate Factory; Falsettos
Leon Addison BrownMaster Harold and the Boys
Kate BurtonPresent Laughter
Daniel Craig, Othello
Johanna Day, Sweat
Marcia DeBonisSmall Mouth Sounds
Danny DeVitoThe Price
Jennifer EhleOslo
Carson Elrod, The Liar
Michael Emerson, Wakey Wakey
Sally Field, The Glass Menagerie
Sutton Foster, Sweet Charity
Josh GrobanNatasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812
Gideon Glick, Significant Other
Harriet Harris, The Roads To Home
Corey Hawkins, Six Degrees of Separation
Allison Janney, Six Degrees of Separation
Rachel Bay Jones, Dear Evan Hansen
Sarah JonesSell/Buy/Date
Andy KarlGroundhog Day
Kevin KlinePresent Laughter
John Leguizamo, Latin History for Morons
Kecia Lewis, Marie and Rosetta
Judith Light, All The Ways To Say I Love You
Laura Linney, The Little Foxes
Jefferson Mays, Oslo
Simon McBurney, The Encounter
Laurie Metcalf, A Doll’s House, Part 2
Joe Morton, Turn Me Loose
Cynthia Nixon, The Little Foxes
Eva Noblezada, Miss Saigon
Caroline O’Connor, Anastasia
Laura Osnes, Bandstand
Aisling O’Sullivan, The Beauty Queen of Leenane
David Hyde Pierce, A Life; Hello, Dolly!
Ben Platt, Dear Evan Hansen
Daniel Radcliffe, Privacy
Amy Ryan, Love, Love, Love
Nora Schell, Spamilton
Jeremy Secomb, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
Anna Deveare Smith, Notes From The Field
John Douglas Thompson, Jitney; A Doll’s House/The Father
Kate Walsh, If I Forget
Michelle Wilson, Sweat

The Drama League also wishes to acknowledge the previous recipients of the Distinguished Performance Award who appeared in New York productions this season. As the Award can only be won once in a performer’s lifetime, they are ineligible this season. Their exemplary work, however, is recognized and applauded.

Glenn CloseSunset Boulevard
Christine EbersoleWar Paint
Harvey FiersteinGently Down The Stream
Nathan LaneThe Front Page
Patti LuPoneWar Paint
Mary-Louise ParkerHeisenberg
Liev SchreiberLes Liaisons Dangereuses

The Drama League previously announced its 2017 Special Recognition Honorees: the legendary Bette Midler will receive the Distinguished Achievement in Musical Theater Award; Bill Berloni will receive the Unique Contribution to the Theater Award for his work in animal training for Broadway; and Michael Greif, represented on Broadway this season with both Dear Evan Hansen and War Paint, will receive the Founders Award for Excellence in Directing.

Distinguished Achievement in Musical Theatre 
Bette Midler

Unique Contribution to the Theatre
Bill Berloni

Founders Award for Excellence in Directing
Michael Greif

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

In The Search For That Elusive Smash Hit . . .

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Monday, April 3, 2017

Will YOU Meet YOUR Significant Other?

Significant Other, the new American play by Joshua Harmon is calling for submissions to help a lucky bachelor or bachelorette find their own significant other.

Let’s be honest - dating in New York City sucks. In Significant Other, the character Jordan Berman (played by Gideon Glick) is desperately trying to find a date, but he's not the only one without any luck when it comes to the dating game. We all know at least one person looking for the perfect match. And that’s where the cast of Significant Other will come in. Starting today, Significant Other wants YOU to send us your eligible unattached friend (or yourself!). On Thursday, April 6th, the show will announce a lucky single to be a special guest at Significant Other on Broadway at The Booth Theatre (222 W. 45th) on Thursday, April 13th, for a chance to find love ON STAGE at the show!

But wait – there’s more! On top of selecting a lucky single as our special guest, from April 6th-11th we will be accepting submissions for THREE additional potential suiters to share the stage, April 13th, with our lucky single, where our cast will help make the match! So…who are these significant others? Well - you! If you think you or your friend is a perfect match for our dating game contestant, after April 6th, submit using THE SAME details below and FIND YOUR SIGNIFICANT OTHER AT SIGNIFICANT OTHER on Broadway!"

Check out our cast announcing this special event!

How To Enter:
*All Submissions Need Approval From The Person Being Submitted*
Send a photo of yourself (or friend) along with answers to the questions below to

Looking for a Guy or a Girl:
Current Job:
3 Fun Facts About You:

Tuesdays & Thursdays at 7:00 PM; Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00 PM; Saturdays and Sundays at 2:00 PM; Sundays at 7:00 PM

Significant Other now playing at The Booth Theatre (222 West 45th St.) officially opened Thursday, March 2nd. Tickets are currently available for purchase on-line at, by phone at 212-239-6200 or in-person at the box office. Groups can be booked through Broadway Inbound at or by calling 866-302-0995.

The Broadway debut of playwright Joshua Harmon is complemented by the Broadway debut of director Trip Cullman, who guided the play to its successful off-Broadway engagement. The cast includes: Gideon Glick (Spring Awakening), Barbara Barrie (Company). John Behlmann (Journey’s End), Sas Goldberg (Stunning), Rebecca Naomi Jones (American Idiot), Lindsay Mendez (Wicked) and Luke Smith (Peter and the Starcatcher Tour)

The creative team includes choreography by Sam Pinkleton (Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812, Amélie), scenic design by Mark Wendland (Tony Award nominee, The Merchant of Venice, Next to Normal), costume design by Kaye Voyce (The Real Thing, The Realistic Joneses), lighting design by Japhy Weideman (Tony Award nominee, The Visit, Airline Highway, Of Mice and Men) and sound design by Daniel Kluger (The Common Pursuit).

Significant Other began at Roundabout Theatre Company following the professional debut and world premiere of Joshua Harmon's play Bad Jews at Roundabout Underground’s Black Box in fall 2012. Bad Jews was the first play to transfer to the Roundabout's Laura Pels Theatre and became the third most produced licensed play last season. Significant Other becomes Roundabout’s second new play to transfer to Broadway following the success of Stephen Karam’s Tony Award-winning play, The Humans.

Significant Other is presented on Broadway by Jeffrey Richards, Roundabout Theatre Company, Rebecca Gold, Ronald Frankel, Spencer Ross, Ira Pittelman & Tom Hulce, Patty Baker, CandyWendyJamiePaula Productions, Gabrielle Palitz, Terry Schnuck, Mark S. Golub & David S. Golub, Caiola Productions, Adam S. Gordon, In Fine Company, Cody Lassen, Aaron Priest, Darren P. DeVerna & Jeremiah J. Harris, Will Trice and The Shubert Organization.


Sunday, April 2, 2017

This Is One Sunday You Don't Wanna Let Go!

Jake Gyllenhaal chats with Seth about his heart chakra and Mandy Patinkin's thoughts on his Broadway performance in Sunday in the Park With George.
When the New York City Center Encores series announced that, as a special event, it would present Hollywood heartthrob Jake Gyllenhaal in the title role of Stephen Sondheim's iconic musical Sunday in the Park With George the Big Question was: That's quite a coup, but can he sing? Sure, he had appeared on stage before and even in a musical but it was a smaller, novelty outing. The question remained: Does he have what it takes to carry a Big, Serious, Broadway Musical?
Well, Gyllenhaal & Co. are now on Broadway singing "Sunday" and the question's been answered. We'll get to that in a moment. But first, a bit of background.
Written by James Lapine with music and lyrics by Sondheim, Sunday in the Park With George has always seems a bit bifurcated. Like two mini-musicals, the first and second acts appeared to tell different stories. Part one examined the brief life of the tortured pointillist painter George Seurat and his effort to produce the iconic painting that gives the show its name. Part two looks into the modern, somewhat disjointed world of Seurat's presumed great-grandson (also named George and also an artist) who's exploring a 1980s sound and light form of experiential art. The problem isn't just the time gap between the two acts but the device itself. In the original (which we saw on Broadway in 1984) the jump from then to now seemed abrupt and somewhat gimmicky. Also, the music in the much shorter act two never seemed to match the more audacious first act.
This was in no way the fault of the two stars (Mandy Patinkin as George and Bernadette Peters as Dot) who brought both vocal heft and fine acting to their roles. In fact, they seemed so remarkably well-suited to their task that they set a very high bar for the future. No, the problem was that the dazzle of High Art at the start seemed to fizzle in the face of the contrived art (which was mostly left to our imagination) at the finish.
Still, the musical was a landmark work. It not only charted new ground and gave us some of Sondheim's most haunting music and lyrics but it set everyone to thinking about the nature of art itself and it's meaning in our lives, both then and now. Indeed, this daring original work won the Pulitizer Prize, an honor captured by fewer than 10 musicals.
The show remains enveloped with a tapestry of nuanced meaning and lingering irony that puts it right up there with Sondheim's Into The Woods as a sort of musical examination of timeless themes. And the songs (most notably Finishing The Hat, Putting It Together, Move On, Sunday, We Do Not Belong Together and Beautiful) are nothing less than unforgettable. Like the best of Sondheim, these songs never stoop to sentimentality. Though they still touch you deeply, above all, they make you think.
So, how does this new production surmount the leap from 1886 to 1984? Well, it does it in part with yet another device. But this time, it's a device that works. This time, we're treated to a dazzling dash of Broadway LED and laser special effects (with music) in the form of George's latest art installation, Chromolume #7.  What we see now at the Hudson Theatre probably wasn't possible in 1984 and, in its own way, it seems almost as inventive as Seurat's pioneering pointillism. Remember, pointillism foresaw the mosaic of modern photography, television and pixelated computer screens -- all "art forms" that required the viewer to assemble the picture in his or her mind. Now, the digital age has given us a sound and light attraction that combines human imagination and electronic derring-do. And, once again, you're engaged and challenged to "connect the [lighted] dots." In the second act, as the lights descend, ascend and dance all around you, you can almost hear the 1880s George singing: Dot, do, dot, dot . . . dot, dot, dot, dot . . . "
Now, the Big Question: Can Jake Gyllenhaal carry a tune? Indeed he can, thank you.
Not only does he sing beautifully but Gyllenhaal plays the role of George with such tortured intensity (particularly in the first act) that at times he seems to be overtaken by a kind of madness. It's more than an artist's obsessiveness. It's an all-consuming drive that finds itself immersed as much in the shear mechanics of art as the creative process itself. Stooped and disheveled, Gyllenhaal brings a darkness to the role that was not quite so evident in 1984. And, as Dot (Surat's love interest) Annaleigh Ashford is at times coquettish, stubborn, beguiling, childish, ornery and ultimately sensible. You'll see why Ashford is not only one of Broadway's most versatile stars but is also a Tony Award winner. Tony or not, she doesn't play the role as a diva. She gives us a Dot that seems a bit more accessible and somewhat more updated.
Directed by Sarna Lapine, this is a Sunday for the new century. But it's also a journey that remains true to the spirit and intent of the original. At it's core, it remains a study in the art of making art.
It was Picasso who said: "The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls." Take a needed couple of hours away from the everyday grind and leave the dust of daily life behind as you enter the world of Sunday in the Park With George. It'll be good for your soul. We promise!

BTW: Broadway and Hollywood are two vastly different realms. Not all screen actors can make it on the stage, and visa-versa. It says something about Gyllenhaal that's he's been able to make the transformation seem seamless. Broadway demands a stronger presence, larger body movements and much more emoting. Jake manages not only to pull it off but to do it with appealing believability. Beyond all that, he really seems to enjoy every moment of it. Bravo!