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SAMPLE ISSUE:  Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Today’s Highlights:

* Ruben & Clay’s First Annual Christmas Carol Family Fun Pageant Spectacular Reunion Show, by Ken Arpino & Jesse Joyce, directed by Jonathan Tessero, starring Ruben Studdard and Clay Aiken, with special guests Farah Alvin, Ken Arpino, Julian Diaz-Granados, La’Nette Wallace, and Khaila Wilcoxon, opens at Broadway’s Imperial Theatre.

* Christopher Fitzgerald returns to the role of Ogie in Waitress at Broadway’s Brooks Atkinson Theatre.

* The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, directed by Marianne Elliott, featuring Joshua Jenkins (Christopher Boone), Julie Hale (Siobhan), Stuart Laing (Ed), Emma Beattie (Judy), Sean McKenzie (Reverend Peters), Eliza Collings (Mrs. Shears), Lucas Hare (Mr. Shears), Gemma Knight Jones (Punk Girl), Lynette Clark (Mrs. Alexander), Craig Stein (Mr. Thompson), and Sam Newton (Christopher at certain performances), with Kieran Garland, Emma-Jane Goodwin, Rose Riley and Joe Rising, opens at London’s Piccadilly Theatre.

The New Group‘s Clueless, The Musical, by Amy Heckerling, directed by Kristin Hanggi, featuring Dove Cameron (Cher Horowitz), Ephie Aardema (Tai), Lori Alan (Miss Geist/Ms. Stoeger), Sara Andreas (Heather), Gilbert L. Bailey II (Murray), Will Connolly (Travis), Chris Hoch (Mel/Mr. Hall/DMV Instructor), L’ogan J’ones (Max), Dave Thomas Brown (Josh), Danielle Marie Gonzalez (Lucy), Tessa Grady (Amber), Darius Jordan Lee (Sean), Justin Mortelliti (Christian), and Zurin Villanueva (Dionne), with Tiffany Engen, Katie Goffman,  Talya Groves, Jeff Kuhr, and Brett Thiele, opens at Off-Broadway’s Signature Center.

Celebration Theatre‘s Skin Like Milk FREE reading, by Ryan Fogarty, directed by Ryan Bergmann, featuring Nathan Frizzell, John Colella, Pat Towne, Kevin Fabian, and June Carryl, at 7:30 PM at the West Hollywood City Chambers.

* Taylor Mac’s Holiday Sauce concert, with special guests Machine Dazzle, Tigger!, Glenn Marla (as Sexual Consent Santa), and the local Dandy Minions, as well as surprise guests, at 8 PM at NYC’s Town Hall.

* The Skivvies: I Touch My Elf, starring Lauren Molina and Nick Cearley, with special guests JackBenny, Nick Adams, Scott Barnhardt, Heath Calvert, Lauren Elder, Jason Feddy, Emma Hunton, Heidi Miller, Dylan Mulvaney, Nicole Parker, Anita Tony, closes at Laguna Playhouse.


  Reviews for Noura at Off-Broadway’s Playwrights Horizons:

NY Times (Jesse Green): What does it mean to say an actor is radiant in a role? In the case of Heather Raffo’s performance as the title character in Noura… it doesn’t mean outgoing or gracious or glamorous… Home, it turns out, is a fraught issue for Noura. A Christian Iraqi refugee, born in Mosul but now living in New York, she feels irreparably incomplete, hungering for wholeness. It’s that hunger — and Ms. Raffo’s bone-deep understanding of it — that’s radiant, superheating her every word and gesture… The resulting play is compelling and ambitious but also, under Joanna Settle’s direction, a bit blurry… with surprises piling up in the final scenes, plot lines nurtured so carefully earlier are abandoned without comment…

Theatermania (Zachary Stewart): …Now receiving a darkly evocative production from director Joanna Settle at Playwrights Horizons, the occasionally too-wordy drama is likely to leave audiences with deeply unsettled feelings about everything — just in time for the holidays!… The truth of the relationship between these characters is only revealed by the end — and even then, we’re not sure we fully grasp every detail. We attempt to piece it all together from what we pick up through guarded exchanges and furtive glances. In both her writing and performance, Raffo harnesses the expressive power of the unsaid…  Unfortunately, certain choices undermine that enthralling silence… Noura is a messier play than A Doll’s House, but in many ways, it’s a more honest one…

New York Stage Review (Melissa Rose Bernardo): If you look closely at Heather Raffo’s Noura…you can connect the dots to Ibsen’s A Doll’s House, which provided Raffo with some inspiration… But Noura is no Ibsen retread; it’s very much Raffo’s own—an intriguing exploration of marriage, motherhood, heritage, and community that lingers long after its 90-minute conclusion… Raffo is a dynamic writer and performer, but she can be prone to speechifying… in the context of a dinner-table scene, even an emotionally loaded one, a line like “there are so many days I feel utterly extinct” sounds like it’s from another world.


  Reviews for Fabulation, or The Re-Education of Undine at Off-Broadway’s Signature Theatre:

Hollywood Reporter (Frank Scheck): Theatergoers seeing Fabulation, or The Re-Education of Undine are in for a delightful surprise… This 2004 satire being revived by Signature Theatre reveals the playwright working in a distinctly silly mode. Depicting the riches-to-rags story of a black female business executive forced to return to her roots, the play earns big laughs with its cheeky, audacious humor…. Telling its picaresque fable via short, snappy episodic scenes, Fabulation occasionally feels too sitcom-like in its approach. It’s also overly reliant on narration. But the play is often very funny indeed, delivering sharp observations about social and racial identity that feel even more relevant today than when it was written.

TimeOut New York (Raven Snook): Those who know Lynn Nottage only from her two plays that won Pulitzer Prizes…may be surprised at the frequent and hearty laughs in Fabulation, or The Re-Education of Undine… Lileana Blain-Cruz’s whirlwind staging of Fabulation… helped by a versatile cast of seven with a knack for sketching broad new identities at the drop of a wig. But as the play goes on, Undine and the audience start to see how racial and economic inequality are reinforced by ingrained personal prejudices…. You may be cackling too loudly to take it all in as it unfolds but, like a good fable, the play has a message that lingers past its scrappily-ever-after finale.

Theatermania (Haylett Levitt): The fact that Lynn Nottage considers Fabulation, or The Re-Education of Undine (a modern-day comedy about a hot-shot publicist’s fall from grace) a companion piece to Intimate Apparel (a drama about a black seamstress trapped in her lonely routine in 1905) says everything about the way Lynn Nottage does comedy… under the direction of Lileana Blain-Cruz with a jaunty balance of camp and commentary. But unlike trips to Nottage’s typical fare…you can leave your box of tissues and paper bag for hyperventilation at home… While acknowledging the tragedy beneath the comedy, Nottage and director Blain-Cruz have plenty of fun with the cultural stereotypes that infiltrate this homecoming story.


  Broadway Grosses for the week ending Dec. 9:

Frontrunners (by Gross)
1. Hamilton ($2,945,976.00)
2. Springsteen on Broadway ($2,415,700.00) *
3. The Lion King ($2,329,610.00)
4. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child ($2,035,259.00)
5. Wicked ($2,000,580.00)

Underdogs (by Gross)
5. The Play That Goes Wrong ($310,882.32)
4. The New One ($259,721.50)
3. Torch Song ($230,878.00)
2. Head Over Heels ($208,970.25)
1. Ruben & Clay’s First Annual Christmas Carol Family Fun Pageant Spectacular Reunion Show ($100,407.00) *

Frontrunners (by Capacity)
1. The Book of Mormon (103.64%)
2. Come From Away (101.73%)
3. Hamilton (101.57%)
4. Dear Evan Hansen (101.47%)
5. Network (101.34%)

Underdogs (by Capacity)
5. Torch Song (69.06%)
4. Summer: The Donna Summer Musical (56.92%)
3. The New One (51.83%)
2. The Play That Goes Wrong (50.81%)
1. Head Over Heels (46.66%)

* Number based on five performances
Source: The Broadway League


 After more than 15 years, Avenue Q will close Apr. 28 at Off-Broadway’s New World Stages, after 6537 performances (from its first Broadway preview on July 14, 2003)

The current cast features Nicholas Kohn, Jason Jacoby, Matt Dengler, Gizel Jimenez, Lacretta, Jamie Glickman, Michael Liscio, Jr, Imari Hardon, Katie Boren, Rob Morrison, and Grace Choi.


  A semi-staged concert version of The Music Man will run Feb. 6-10 at the Kennedy Center, directed by Marc Bruni, with choreography by Chris Bailey, and music direction by James Moore.

: Jessie Mueller (Marian Paroo), Norm Lewis (Harold Hill), and more TBA.


   Rob Bowman has returned to Broadway’s Chicago, replacing  longtime music director Leslie Stifelman.


  Mame will run Sept. 27 – Nov. 9, 2019 (opening Oct. 1) at Manchester’s Hope Mill Theatre, directed & choreographed by Nick Winston.

: Tracie Bennett (Mame Dennis), and more TBA.


  Slave Play, originally set to close Dec. 30, has been extended through Jan. 13 at Off-Broadway’s NY Workshop Theatre.


  VideoKiss Me Kate‘s Kelli O’Hara and Will Chase exchange Christmas gifts.


  Erich Bergen: An Early New Year’s Celebration will run Dec. 28-29 at 8:30 PM at Hollywood’s Catalina Bar & Grill, with music direction by Michael Orland.


  Sweeney Todd will begin performances in Oct. 2019 at Manila’s Theatre at Solarie (link TBA), directed by Bobby Garcia.

: Lea Salonga (Mrs. Lovett), Jett Pangan (Sweeney Todd), and more TBA.


 Complete casting has been announced for Violet, to run Jan. 14 – Apr. 6 at the Charing Cross Theatre, directed by Shuntaro Fujita, with choreography by Cressida Carré, amd music direction by Chris Ma.

: Kaisa Hammarlund (Violet), Jay Marsh (Flick), Maddie Sellman (Young Violet), and Matthew Harvey (Monty), with Simbi Akande, Angelica Allen, Kenneth Avery-Clark, Keiron Crook, James Gant, Danny Michaels, Janet Mooney, Amy Mepham, and Rebecca Nardin.


  Audio: Cheyenne Jackson‘s new holiday single, “Plans,” with Catey Shaw.


  Sarah DeLappe’s The Wolves will run Jan. 11 – Feb. 3 (opening Jan. 13) at Boston’s Lyric Stage Company, directed by A. Nora Long.

: Lydia Barnett-Mulligan, Sarah Elizabeth Bedard, Simone Black, Olivia Z. Cote, Chelsea Evered, Grace Experience, Laura Latreille, Julia Lennon, Valerie Terranova, and Jarielle Whitney.


  Complete casting has been announced for Follies, to begin previews Feb. 12 and open Feb. 19 at the National Theatre, directed by Dominic Cooke, with  choreography by Bill Deamer, and music supervision by Nicholas Skilbeck.

: Tracie Bennett (Carlotta), Joanna Riding (Sally), Alexander Hanson (Ben), Janie Dee (Phyllis), Peter Forbes (Buddy), Julie Armstrong (Christine Donovan), Lindsay Atherton (Young Carlotta), Felicity Lott (Heidi Schiller (Feb. 22 – mid-April), Josephine Barstow (Heidi Schiller, mid-April – closing), Rosanna Bates (Young Emily), Jeremy Batt (Young Theodore), Billy Boyle (Theodore Whitman), Anouska Eaton (Young Deedee), Vanessa Fisher (Young Stella), Caroline Fitzgerald (Sandra Crane), Geraldine Fitzgerald (Solange LaFitte), Bruce Graham (Roscoe), Adrian Grove (Sam Deems), Harry Hepple (Young Buddy), Aimee Hodnett (Young Sandra), Dawn Hope (Stella Deems), Liz Izen (Deedee West), Alison Langer (Young Heidi), Sarah-Marie Maxwell (Young Solange), Ian McIntosh (Young Ben), Claire Moore (Hattie Walker), Gary Raymond (Dimitri Weismann), Rohan Richards (Kevin), Lisa Ritchie (Young Hattie), Myra Sands (Emily Whitman), Gemma Sutton (Young Sally), Monica Swayne (Young Christine), and Christine Tucker (Young Phyllis), with Kaye Brown, Liz Ewing, Alyn Hawke, Jasmine Kerr, Ian McLarnon, Tom Partridge, Michael Remick, and Liam Wrate.


 August Strindberg’s Mies Julie, adapted by Yaël Farber, and The Dance of Death, adapted by Conor McPherson, will run in rep Jan. 15 – Mar. 10 at Classic Stage Company.

 (Mies Julie, directed by Shariffa Ali):  Elise Kibler (Julie), James Udom (John), and Patrice Johnson Chevannes (Christine).

 (The Dance of Death, directed by Victoria Clark): Cassie Beck (Alice), Richard Topol (Edgar), and Christopher Innvar (Kurt).


  Rita Wilson’s Liner Notes will run Jan. 10-13 at the Geffen Playhouse, offering intimate evenings of music and storytelling.

: Billy Steinberg, the Warren Brothers, and one more TBA.


 Roundabout Underground has announced the world premiere of Selina Fillinger’s Something Clean, to run May 4 – June 30 (opening May 30) at the Steinberg Center, directed by Margot Bordelon.

: Kathryn Erbe (Charlotte), Daniel Jenkins (Doug), and Christopher Livingston (Joey).

Through the eyes of a wife and mother, Something Clean examines the aftermath of a sex crime—guilt, the grief, and the ways we grapple with the unthinkable.


  Off-Broadway’s Sheen Center has announced its 2019 Winter/Spring Season:

* Ah, Wilderness (Jan. 25 – Feb. 17). Director and cast TBA.

* Haunted Files  (Feb. 20 at 7 & 9 PM). An immersive evening of theater, recreating through audience interaction, performance, and talkback, the history of scientific racism in America.

* Twelfth Night (Feb. 22 – Mar. 30), presented by Frog & Peach, directed by Lynnea Benson. Casting TBA.

* League of Professional Theatre Women Annual Awards (Mar. 25)

* Backstage Broadway: Kiss Me, Kate (Apr. 1). Alexander Gemignanai hosts a look into the collaborative process and sources of inspiration that make creative teams and cast tick. Special guests TBA.

* All Our Children (Apr. 6 – May 12), by Stephen Unwin, directed by Ethan McSweeny, and starring John Glover. January 1941. Nazi Germany. A terrible crime is taking place in a clinic for disabled children. The perpetrators argue that it will help struggling parents and lift the financial burden on the mighty German state. One brave voice is raised in objection. But will anyone listen?

* Backstage Broadway: Be More Chill (Apr. 15). A look at the success of this new musical, with special guest Joe Iconis

* Little Shop of Horrors (June 5-16), performed by a “neuro-diverse” cast (TBA)

* Sheen Center Theater Festival (June 19-22), celebrating the voices of emerging and established Catholic playwrights.


 Andrea McArdle & Donna McKechnie: Celebrating Stephen Sondheim and Marvin Hamlisch will take place Jan. 18 & 19 at Feinstein’s at the Nikko.


 The world premiere of Stephen Belber’s Joan will run Jan. 19 – Feb. 16 (opening Jan. 27) at HERE Arts Center, directed by Adrienne Campbell-Holt.

: Johanna Day (Joan),  Adam Harrington, and Marjan Neshat.

The life of a woman named Joan. She is restless. She is loving. She is gracious. She’s a jerk. She has a brother. She has a lover. She has a husband. She has a kid. She has a Mom. She lives. She dies.


 Carol Burnett will receive the first-ever Golden Globe Television Special Achievement Award.

Burnett is 5-time Golden Globe winner and the most decorated of all time in the television category,


  A Little New Music and ASCAP will spotlight emerging musical theatre talents on Thurs. Dec. 20 at 7 PM at Beverly Hills’ The Wallis, with music direction by Jan Roper, and co-hosted by Tom DeTrinis & Brooke Seguin.

: Eli Bolin & Mike Pettry….. Zachary Bernstein, Julia Meinwald & Gordon Leary….. Billy Recce, Tia DeShazor & Andy Roninson….. Jessica Fleitman & Rick Bassett….. Douglas Lyons & Ethan Pakchar….. Kathleen Wrinn & Jonathan Fadner….. Janine McGuire & Arri Simon….. Max Kasler & Gwen Wilkie, and Khiyon Hursey.

: A.J. Mendoza, Ayme Olivo, Bella Hicks, Jenna Gillespie, Laura Nicole Harrison,  Star), Kristina Miller, Alli Miller, Michael Shaw Fisher, Andrew Joseph Perez, Rena Strober, Steve Mazurek, and Zachary Bernstein, with Bralyn Medlock, Elizabeth Adabale, Dominique Kent, and Justyn Burney.


  Audio:  The cast of Broadway’s Choir Boy sings “I Couldn’t Hear Nobody Pray”


  Stranger Sings! An Unauthorized Parody Musical (of Netflix’s “Stranger Things”) will take place Thurs. Jan. 10 at 9:30 PM at 54 Below, written & directed by Jonathan Hogue, with music direction by Michael Kaish.

: Christina Bianco (Joyce Byers), Dean Cestari (Will), Jackson Walker (Mike), Eric Willingham (Lucas), Patrick Howard (Dustin), Blair Medina (Eleven), Peter La Prade (Steve), Emily Kay Shrader (Nancy), Nathan David Smith (Jonathan), Savannah-Lee Mumford (Barb), James Bock (Hopper), and Michael Pigliavento (Demagorgon).