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SAMPLE ISSUE: Thursday, October 15, 2015

Today’s Highlights:

Primary StagesPerfect Arrangement, by Topher Payne, directed by Michael Barakiva, featuring Julia Coffey, Robert Eli, Mikaela Feely-Lehmann, Christopher J. Hanke, Kelly McAndrew, Kevin O’Rourke, and Jennifer Van Dyck, opens at Off-Broadway’s Duke on 42nd Street.

Keen Company‘s Travels With My Aunt, by Graham Greene, adapted by Giles Havergal, directed by Jonathan Silverstein, featuring Daniel Jenkins, Jay Russell, Thomas Jay Ryan and Rory Kulz, opens at Off-Broadway’s Clurman Theatre.

New Yiddish Rep‘s Death of a Salesman, by Arthur Miller, performed entirely in Yiddish (with English super-titles), directed by Moshe Yassur, featuring Avi Hoffman (Willy Loman), Daniel Kahn (Biff), Shane Baker (Charley), Suzanne Toren (Linda), Lev Herskovitz (Happy), Arielle Beth, Amy Coleman, Itzy Firestone, Ilan Kwittken, Ben Rosenblatt, Shayna Schmidt and Adam Schwartz, opens at Off-Broadway’s Castillo Theatre.

* Waterfall, by Richard Maltby, Jr. & David Shire, directed by Tak Viravan & Dan Knechtges, featuring Laura Griffith, Thom Sesma, J. Elaine Marcos and Bie Sukrit, opens at Seattle’s 5th Avenue Theatre.

* Uncle Vanya, translated by Annie Baker, directed by Robin Larsen, featuring (double cast) Arye Gross & Don R. McManus (Uncle Vanya), Harry Groener & Lawrence Pressman (Professor Serebryakov), Rebecca Mozo & Linda Park (Yelena), Andrew Borba & Jeffrey Nordling (Astrov), Shannon Lee Clair & Rebekah Tripp (Sonya), Anne Gee Byrd & Mimi Cozzens (Maria), Morlan Higgins & Clay Wilcox (Telegin), Dawn Didawick & Lynn Milgrim (Marina) and John Allee & Paul Baird (Yefim), opens at North Hollywood’s Antaeus Theatre.

* Turn of the Screw, adapted by Jeffrey Hatcher, directed by Julie Shaw, featuring Charles Fugate and Nicole Marie Green, opens at Kansas City’s Spinning Tree Theatre.

* NAMT‘s 27 Annual Festival of New Musicals opens at Off-Broadway’s New World Stages. See details in the article below.

* Kerry Butler in concert, with Seth Rudetsky, opens at Feinstein’s/54 Below.

* Dada Woof Papa Hot, by Peter Parnell, directed by Scott Ellis, featuring John Benjamin Hickey, Patrick Breen, Tammy Blanchard, Alex Hurt, Kelli Overbey, John Pankow, and Stephen Plunkett, begins preview at Lincoln Center‘s Mitzi Newhouse Theater.

* Kansas City Choir Boy, written by & starring Todd Almond & Courtney Love, directed by Kevin Newbury, begins previews at LA’s Kirk Douglas Theatre.

* The Seedbed, by Bryan Delaney, directed by SuzAnne Barabas, featuring Gina Costigan, Kevin Hogan, Michael Louis Serafin-Wells, and Cathryn Wake, begins previews at New Jersey Rep.

* Safe at Home: An Evening with Orson Bean, directed by Guillermo Cienfuegos, begins previews at Venice, CA’s Pacific Resident Theatre.

Master VoicesThe Pirates of Penzance (or The Slave of Duty) concert, by Gilbert & Sullivan, directed & conducted by Ted Sperling, featuring Deborah Voigt, Hunter Parrish, Phillip Boykin, Douglas Hodge, Julia Udine, Montego Glover and Betsy Wolfe, at 8 PM at NY City Center (also Oct. 16).


Reviews 1  Reviews for The Gin Game at Broadway’s Golden Theatre:

NY Times (Charles Isherwood): …James Earl Jones and Cicely Tyson, who are playing these roles in the excellent Broadway revival of Mr. Coburn’s flinty comedy, still seem to be in their glowing prime, actors with long and distinguished careers behind them who nevertheless keep seeking further heights to scale. Scale them they do… Mr. Coburn’s play cannot exactly be called an Everest of contemporary drama. Still, it proves a sturdy, humming vehicle, its gentle comedy undergirded by dark emotional coloring… These two superlative performers establish beyond doubt, if we needed any reminding, that great talent is ageless and ever-rewarding.

Newsday (Linda Winer): …Coburn’s slim, deceptively lightweight duet is so hard to wrestle into submission that, in my experience, only the originals — the married team of Jessica Tandy and Hume Cronyn — turned the leisurely and schematic showcase into a profound meeting of wills and even of magic. The partnership of Cicely Tyson and James Earl Jones comes very close. The multi-award-winning virtuosos, who have worked together at least five other times, manage to play off the intimate rhythms of one another while still making us believe that their characters begin as strangers… Directed with leisurely sensitivity by Leonard Foglia, the production lets the balance of powers shift and flow through the games of gin that Coburn uses as a device to weave the characters’ bond.

Variety (Marilyn Stasio): It’s true what they say about bona fide stars like Cicely Tyson and James Earl Jones — they could indeed hold us spellbound simply by reading the New York telephone book.  Not that “The Gin Game” is as insubstantial as the contents of the phone book. But despite having won the 1978 Pulitzer Prize in Drama for scribe D.L. Coburn, this two-hander really is a slip of a thing, elevated to dramatic art by captivating Broadway performances from two of the most enchanting actors you’d ever hope to see on the same stage… Both stars play to their strengths in Leonard Foglia’s beautifully paced production. Jones makes wonderful use of Weller’s superior size and strength to bully and bluster his way through every contested hand, while Tyson’s priceless skills in the gentle art of passive aggression make the oh-so-delicate Fonsia a fierce and formidable opponent. They really are a match made in theater heaven.

NY Daily News (Joe Dziemianowicz): There are six aces in the bang-up Broadway revival of The Gin Game. Four of them are in deck of cards used in the play. The other two are Cicely Tyson and James Earl Jones, stage vets whose performances are so natural and thoughtful that it’s like watching a couple of seniors eking out their lives, not actors filling out roles…. Under Leonard Foglia’s direction, Tyson and Jones hit all the right notes of charming, amusing, ornery and scary. Along the way Jones and Tyson hold you, like the cards, in the palm of their hands.


Reviews 1  Reviews for Eclipsed at Off-Broadway’s Public Theatre:

NY Times (Charles Isherwood): …I hope Ms. [Lupita] Nyong’o’s starlight draws audiences to this detailed and painfully moving exploration of the brutality and dehumanization that seem to be endemic to African conflicts. The play illustrates how women and girls are usually the first and most horrifically abused victims of such warfare. Although the events that inspired it took place more than a decade ago, Eclipsed remains dispiritingly topical… The superlative performances from all five actors, under Ms. Tommy’s sensitive direction, draw us so deeply into the lives of the women that this darkness nevertheless flickers with glimmers of light, humanity and even hope.

Variety (Marilyn Stasio): Playwright Danai Gurira — also the actress best known as Michonne on “The Walking Dead” — delivers politics with a passion in Eclipsed, a searing drama about the decisive roles women played in the second Liberian civil war — during which warlords conscripted child soldiers, ate each other’s hearts and performed human sacrifice. Superbly directed by Liesl Tommy and powerfully acted by a strong ensemble led by the Oscar-winning star of “12 Years a Slave,” Lupita Nyong’o, the play gives voice to women ranging from the wives of warlords to activists in Women of Liberia Mass Action for Peace, the political action group that brought an end to the war.

USA Today (Elysa Gardner): The particularly brutal ways in which women suffer during war could never be sufficiently documented, but the subject hasn’t escaped the notice of playwrights in recent years. A standout example would be Lynn Nottage’s Ruined, a Pulitzer Prize winner in 2009 for its darkly lyrical portrait of sexual violence and its fallout in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Danai Gurira’s harrowing, hypnotic Eclipsed (***1/2 out of four stars)… The five characters in this play, all female, compel our attention equally, as do the vibrant, nuanced performances delivered under Liesl Tommy’s muscular but tender direction.


Reviews 1 Reviews for Carrie the Killer Musical Experience at the Los Angeles Theatre:

LA Times (David C. Nichols): What a difference a second look makes. When Carrie: The Musical hit La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts in the spring, I found its immersive execution spectacular, its performances impressive and the material, well … The production’s return, billed as The Killer Musical Experience at the historic Los Angeles Theatre in downtown L.A., made me reconsider…. seems more accomplished than before… The fervent cast has grown into a fearless triple-threat unit, everyone displaying high-voltage singing, dancing and acting. It’s centered by dulcet-voiced, wholly invested Emily Lopez as woebegone Carrie, and the astounding Misty Cotton, her feverish turn as demented Margaret a career benchmark.

BroadwayWorld (Don Grigware): …the show has transferred to the refurbished Los Angeles Theatre at 615 Broadway downtown, and I enjoyed this mounting even more than the first. There is something about the atmosphere of this theatre that adds an eerie quality to the proceedings, but, as changes go, what I noticed first and foremost is that several scenes have been restaged in this larger space, making the storytelling sharper, clearer, more focused than before… with the same brilliant cast in tact… At the Los Angeles Theatre the show is indeed better, with the same brilliant cast in tact. Director Brady Schwind and choreographer Lee Martino are to be congratulated once more on their superior achievement.

haineshisway.com (Rob Stevens): … it is a very impressive staging of this still flawed musical curiosity… The look, sound and feel of the show make it a truly unique experience… Lee Martino’s choreography is top notch and one of the show’s main assets… the performances are stronger now that the cast has had time to grow into their characters. Emily Lopez gives a beautifully nuanced performance as Carrie White. Misty Cotton is a true force of nature as she takes religious fervor to new and very scary heights as the mother from hell, Margaret White. She is on full throttle throughout in a no holds barred performance. It is a bravura star turn by a true theatrical diva.


Festival 2  NAMT‘s 27th Annual Festival of New Musicals has announced its lineup:

(open to registered attendees with a Premiere, Select or Access Pass. There is a day-of standby line for the general public for free admission. Victoria Clark welcomes each creative team and chats with them about their show. Following the interview, two songs from the project are performed).

Thur. Oct. 15 (2-3 PM)

* The Hunter and the Bear, by PigPen Theatre Co. “The ghostly tale of a father who every day ventures into the woods in search of the monster who devoured his son.”

* Mortality Play, by Scotty Arnold & Alana Jacoby. “A rock musical about Todd, a 16-year-old in 1349 London trying to justify his desire to make music in a time of great need.”

* The Theory of Relativity, by Neil Bartram & Brian Hill. “A bold new song cycle inspired by true stories told by today’s millennial generation as they search for a place in the cosmos.”

* Zombies on Broadway, by Marshall Pailet & Jason Michael Snow. “A new musical comedy featuring an original Golden Age-style score, a mid-western township with a gun-toting mayoress, and two snake oil salesmen with banter to spare. And then the zombie apocalypse happens.”

Cast 10 (Songwriters Showcase): Robert Ariza, Michael Browne, Jane Bruce, Gerard Canonico, Victoria Cook, Stephen DeRosa
, Camille Eanga-Selenge, Alex Goley, Kendal Hartse, Kurt Hellerich, Erika Henningsen, Caitlin Houlahan, Gizel Jiménez, Rebecca Naomi Jones, Kyra Kennedy, Erin Kommor, Leigh Ann Larkin, Andy Mientus, Claire Neumann, PigPen Theatre Co. (Alex Falberg, Arya Shahi, Ben Ferguson, Curtis Gillen, Dan Weschler, Matt Nuernberger, Ryan Melia), Keith Potts, Mack Shirilla, and Lawrence Street.

(open to registered attendees with a Premiere or Select Pass. There will be a day-of standby line for Access Pass holders — due to space limitations, there is no standby line for the general public or General Pass holders for the Songwriters Cabaret)

Thurs. Oct. 15 (12:30 – 2 PM)
* Brian Lowdermilk & Kait Kerrigan
* Kim Sherman & Darrah Cloud
(featuring Avi Amon, Stephanie D’Abruzzo, Mallory Hawks, Crystal Lucas-Perry, and Ben Ross)

Fri. Oct. 16 (12 -1:30 PM)
* Douglas J. Cohen (featuring Marinda Anderson, Sandy Binion, Sara Jean Ford, David Hughey, Chelsea Packard, and Zachary Prince)
* Ty Defoe & Tidtaya Sinutoke (featuring Emily Borromeo, Sommer Carbuccia,Aaron Komo, and Krysta Rodriguez)


International The Phantom of the Opera will run Nov. 10 – Apr. 30 at Germany’s Stage Metronom Theater.

Cast 10: Brent Barrett (Phantom), Elizabeth Welch (Christine Daaé), Max Niemeyer (Raoul), Nicky Wuchinger (Phantom alternate), Daniela Braun (Christine alternate), Susan Gouthro (Carlotta), Guido Gottenbos (Monsieur André), Anton Rattinger (Monsieur Firmin), Raymond Sepe (Ubaldo Piangi), Michaela Christl (Madame Giry), and Ilenia Azzato (Meg Giry).

Video 1 Video: Preview


Concert 9 The Songs of F. Michael Haynie will take place Fri. Oct. 16 at 11:30 PM at Feinstein’s/54 Below.

Performers 4 Ben Thompson, Julia Mattison, Kasie Gasparini, Alex Brightman, Taylor Louderman, Daniel Quadrino, Andrew Kober, Drew Gasparini, Ephie Aardema, Joshua Boone, Curt Hansen, Sara Kapner, John-Michael Lyles, Ellyn Marie Marsh, and Donald Webber, Jr.


Video 1 Video: First-of-its-kind 360º music video — “You’re in the Band” from School of Rock.


Off Broadway 1 The world premiere of David Yazbek & Itmar Moses’ The Band’s Visit will run May 19 – July 10, 2016 at Atlantic Theatre Company, directed by Hal Prince.

Casting TBA.

“The musical is based on Eran Kolirin’s multi-award-winning hit film about an Egyptian Police Band which arrives in Israel to play a concert. Following a mix-up at the border, they are sent to a remote village in the middle of nowhere where they are taken in by the locals and forge unexpected connections.”


Lawsuit 3  Warner/Chappell Music has filed a suit against the DuBose Heyward Estate, claiming that the estate for the late lyricist and librettist has been interfering with the global copyrights of Porgy and Bess. The suit, which was filed in New York federal court, says that copyrights for the opera outside the United States are the property of Warner/Chappell, which is the publishing unit of Warner Music Group.

In the documents filed, Warner/Chappell asserts, “An actual controversy has arisen and now exists relating to Warner/Chappell’s world ex-U.S. rights in and to the [Porgy and Bess] compositions, which the Heyward fund wrongly and without any basis contends belong to it. Indeed, the Heyward fund is actually asserting these world ex-U.S. rights as if these rights belong to it, which they do not.”

Several agreements have been made over the years regarding the rights to the opera. According to law 360.com, the most recent agreement — made in 2005 — saw Warner/Chappell pay $1.1 million to the Heyward fund that confirmed Warner did indeed own rights to the musical outside the U.S.


Video 1 Video: Highlights from Maltby & Shire’s Waterfall at Seattle’s 5th Avenue Theatre.


Thumbs Up  The Gish Prize Trust has announced that playwright, novelist and songwriter Suzan-Lori Parks will receive the 22nd Dorothy and Lillian Gish Prize Nov. 30 at The Public Theater.

The prize is given annually to “recognize highly accomplished artists from all disciplines who have pushed the boundaries of their art forms, contributed to social change and paved the way for the next generation.”


Los Angeles 3 Just Imagine: The Life and Music of John Lennon will run Nov. 7-8 at North Hollywood’s El Portal Theatre, directed by Steve Altman, with musical direction by Greg Piper.

Cast 10: Tom Piper

Just Imagine is the extraordinary rock ‘n’ roll celebration of the life and music of John Lennon starring look-and-sing-alike artist Tim Piper, which intertwines John Lennon’s songs with the stories behind them to create a unique and electrifying multimedia concert experience. Backed by rock band Working Class Hero (Greg Piper on bass; Jerry Strull  on guitar, Morley Bartnof on keyboards and Jim Laspera  on drums) Piper, who bears an uncanny resemblance to the late rock ‘n’ roll icon, channels Lennon in this critically acclaimed tribute.”


Regional 2 Timothy Mason, Mel Marvin & Albert Hague’s Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas will run Nov. 7 – Dec. 26 (opening Nov. 12) at San Diego’s Old Globe, directed by James Vásquez, with choreography by John DeLuca and musical direction by Elan McMahan.

Cast 10: Bernard Calloway (The Grinch), Taylor Coleman & Mikee Castillo (Cindy-Lou), Steve Gunderson (Old Max), Blake Segal (Young Max), Robert J. Townsend (Papa Who), Bets Malone (Mama Who), Geno Carr (Grandpa Who), Nancy Snow Carr (Grandma Who), Emily Sade Bautista & Breanna Laureti (Annie Who), Hourie Klijian & Gabriela Marin (Betty-Lou Who), Giovanni Cozic & Levi Laddon (Boo Who), and Brandon Saldivar & Elliot Weaver (Danny Who), with Scotty Atienza, Jacob Caltrider, David Kirk Grant, Elisa Guerra, Kyrsten Hafso-Koppman, Ava Harris, Katrina Heil, Brooke Henderson, Kennedy Nibbe, Clay Stefanki, Hannah Tasto, Jill Townsend, Kelsey Venter, Max Wieczorek, Braelyn Willis, and Catalina Jewel Zelles.


RIP  To mark the occasion of Jefferson Mays6,000th death in Broadway’s A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, the production held a funeral procession down West 48th Street.

Video 1  Video: Watch the entire event (only 3 minutes).  Very clever.


Concert 9 Half Hour 6: A Last Minute Concert, featuring Broadway understudies, will take place Sun. Oct. 25 at 9:30 PM at Off-Broadway’s Laurie Beechman Theatre, with musical direction by Benjamin Rauhala.

In the Half Hour concert, not even the performers know what they’ll be singing before they step up to the microphone. Instead, the audience will get to vote on what song each performer will sing.

Performers 4 Courtney Balan, Andrew Chappelle, Alysha Deslorieux, Camille Eanga-Selenge, Savannah Frazier, Thayne Jasperson, Stephanie Klemons, Morgan Marcell, Heather Parcells, Lauren Patten, Bret Shuford, Marrick Smith, and Jessica Vosk.


Article Article: Gretchen  Cryer on I’m Still Getting My Act Together, currently running through Nov. 1 at Laguna Playhouse.


Los Angeles 3  Ron House, Diz White, Alan Shearman & John Neville-Andrew’s El Grande Circus de Coca-Cola will run Nov. 5 – Dec. 13 (opening Nov. 7) at Burbank’s Colony Theatre, directed by Alan Shearman, with choreography by Tor Campbell.  The show is based on El Grande de Coca-Cola.

Cast 10: Marcello Tubert, Paul Baird, Olivia Cristina Delgado, Lila Dupree, and Aaron Miller.

Meet Pepe Hernandez, over-ambitious patriarch of the world’s most dubious family of entertainers, whose unflagging confidence cobbled from decades spent touring the bottom-rung nightclub circuit south-of-the-border, has inspired him to ascend into big-top territory and head north to…Burbank, legendary home of Walt Disney, IKEA, and now Pepe Hernandez! Nothing – not even the labyrinthine layout of IKEA – will hinder this fearless, feckless familia in their determined quest for international stardom.” 

Note: This production replaces the previously announced Humble Boy, which will now move to the theatre’s 2016-17 season.