GRACE NOTES: Monday, March 30, 2015

Today’s Highlights:

* Sweeney Todd semi-staged production, directed by Lonny Price, featuring Bryn Terfel (Sweeney Todd), Emma Thompson (Mrs. Lovett), Philip Quast (Judge Turpin), John Owen-Jones (Pirrelli), Matthew Seadon-Young (Anthony Hope), Katie Hall (Johanna Barker), Jack North (Tobias Ragg), Alex Gaumond (Beadle Bamford) and Rosalie Craig (Beggar Woman), with Madeleine Harland, Lydia Gerrard, Leah Penston, Frankie Jenna, Verity Quade, Susannah Van den Berg, Anna O’Byrne, Molly Lynch, Emily Bull, Gaia Wise, Alexandra Grierson, Vicki Lee Taylor, Katie Kerr, Ffion Emyr, Nancy Hill, Edd Campbell Bird, Alastair Brookshaw, Kane Oliver Parry, Scott Cripps, John Barr, Aaron Lee Lambert, Gary Tushaw, Ashley Robinson, Jeff Nicholson, Joseph Prouse, Gavin James, Marc Akinfolarin, Jacob Chapman, Ian Caddick and Adam Vaughan, previews at the London Colliseum.

MCC Theater‘s Miscast 2015 Gala, honoring Sarah Paulson & Fran Weissler, hosted by Aasif Mandvi, featuring Uzo Aduba, Laura Benanti, Linda Lavin, Jessie Mueller, Annaleigh Ashford, Christopher Fitzgerald, Joshua Henry, Jeremy Jordan, Ramin Karimloo, Cheyenne Jackson, Ana Gasteyer, Ben Platt and Leslie Odom Jr., at 6:30 PM at NYC’s Hammerstein Ballroom.

* Vineyard Theatre‘s annual gala, directed by Michael Mayer, hosted by John Waters, featuring Betty Buckley, Kathleen Chalfant, Holly Hunter, Tony Kushner, Matthew Morrison, Tonya Pinkins, Kate Mulgrew and Aaron Tveit, at 6:30 PM at NYC’s Edison Ballroom.

* York Theatre‘s The 100 Musicals in Mufti Concert Celebration benefit concert, directed by Michael Unger, hosted by John Tartaglia, featuring Nancy Anderson, Klea Blackhurst, Jenn Colella, Robert Creighton, Gretchen Cryer, Erin Davie, Stephen DeRosa, Ben Fankhauser, Debbie Gravitte, Jessica Grové, Judy Kaye, Richard Kind, Aaron Lazar, Michael McCormick, Patrick Page, Jim Stanek, Mary Testa, Nick Wyman, Karen Ziemba, Nancy Ford, Sheldon Harnick, Tom Jones, Richard Maltby, Jr. and David Shire, at 7:30 PM in NYC’s St. Peter’s Church sanctuary.

* Make Some Noise: A Concert to Welcome Home Gavin Creel benefit concert, featuring Celia Keenan-Bolger, Liz Callaway, Caissie Levy, Susan Blackwell, Whitney Bashor, Robbie Roth and members of the Broadway revival cast of Hair, at 9:30 PM at Joe’s Pub.

Rattlestick Playwrights Theater‘s Last Train to Paris benefit reading, by Michele Zackheim, starring Vanessa Redgrave, at 7 PM at Off-Broadway’s Cherry Lane Theatre.

* The Secret Court benefit reading (for the Trevor Project), written by members of the Plastic Theatre and conceived & directed by Tony Speciale, featuring members of the original Off-Broadway cast, at 7 PM at Off-Broadway’s Classic Stage Company.

* Seasons of Broadway concert, featuring Adam Pascal, Telly Leung, Mandy Gonzalez, Marcus Paul James, Eden Espinosa and Lindsay Mendez, at 7:30 PM at NYC’s BB King’s Blues Club and Grill.

* Broadway’s Future Songbook FREE concert, featuring songs by Sam Carner & Derek Gregor, performed by Tituss Burgess,Leslie Kritzer, Natalie Weiss, Teal Wicks, Jackie Burns, Stephen C. Anthony, David Perlman, Danielle Wade, Mj Rodriguez, Elyse Moon, Sophie Moshofsky, Emily Schultheis, Nat Zegree and Michelle Beth Herman, at 6 PM at NYC’s Bruno Walter Auditorium.

* Kevin Earley: On the Record concert, at 8 PM at North Hollywood’s Sterling’s Upstairs at the Federal.

Cancelled 1: The Bubbly Black Girl Sheds Her Chameleon Skin reunion concert, by Kirsten Childs, directed by Jerry Dixon, featuring original cast members LaChanze, Cheryl Alexander, Duane Boutte, Angel Desai, Darius deHaas, Jerry Dixon, Jonathan Dokuchitz, Felicia Finley, Robert Jason Jackson and Debra Walton, at 7 PM at 54 Below.

Karen Mason: Mason at Mama’s closes at NYC’s Don’t Tell Mama.


Funday Monday!

Quiz GRACE NOTES QuizApril Foolery, by Jim Bernhard:

1. Actor-comedian Ed Wynn wrote and appeared in a Broadway revue, the title of which became his nickname. It was….The Crazy Fool….The Perfect Fool….The Foolish Fop.

2. Playwright Sam Shepard played the leading role in the movie adaptation of his play Fool for Love. Who played opposite him?…Jessica Lange…Meryl Streep…Kim Basinger.

3. Neil Simon’s Fools ran a disappointing forty performances on Broadway. Who directed it?…Mike Nichols…Jack O’Brien…Harold Prince.

4. Alan Bates and Frank Langella starred in the Broadway premiere of Fortune’s Fool, a Russian play written in 1848 by….Anton Chekhov…Boris Trigorin…Ivan Turgenev.

5. Shakespeare used the character of a fool in many of his plays. Which of these is not a fool?…Touchstone…Horatio…Feste.

6. “That, of course, is the great secret of the successful fool – that he is no fool at all.” This is a comment on Shakespeare’s fools by…William Shakespeare…Isaac Asimov…Charles Dickens.

7. Theresa Rebeck’s play Fool, which was premiered in 2014 at the Alley Theatre, is about…a competition between the fools of two medieval kings…an unnamed President of the United States…Ed Wynn.

8. The Fool in King Lear tells Lear he will make “two crowns” out of….one crown…an egg…a piece of gold.

9. Fool Moon is a Broadway show devised by Bill Irwin and David Shiner that features…no spoken lines…a chorus line of tap-dancing kangaroos…costumes by Andy Warhol.

10. In As You Like It, what kind of fool does Jaques report he met in the forest?…a foolish fool…a wise fool…a motley fool.

Scroll down for the answers…


Cast album The cast album of Keen Company’s John & Jen, starring Kate Baldwin and Conor Ryan, will be released June 16Order Pre-order the CD here.


Rolin Jones’ These Paper Bullets! will run Sept. 8 – Oct. 18 (opening Sept. 16) at LA’s Geffen Playhouse, directed by Jackson Gay, with songs by Billie Joe Armstrong.

Casting TBA.  I’ll post a link when it’s available.

“Meet the Quartos. Ben, Claude, Balth, and Pedro. Their fans worship them. Scotland Yard fears them. And their former drummer will stop at nothing to destroy them. Can these fab four from Liverpool find true love in London and cut an album in seven nights? These Paper Bullets! is a modish ripoff of Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing with a serious backbeat.”


RIP RIP: Six-time Tony Award nominee Gene Saks, a comic actor who made a memorable splash in the role of the desperately unfunny children’s TV host Leo “Chuckles The Chipmunk” Herman in the 1962 Broadway comedy A Thousand Clown and who went on to a major directing career as the interpreter of playwright Neil Simon on stage and screen, died Mar. 28 of pneumonia in East Hampton, Long Island at age 93.


Video Video: 6-year-old theatre critic Ian Armitage on the art of collecting Playbills.


Patrick Barlow’s 39 Steps will begin previews Apr. 1 and open Apr. 13 at Off-Broadway’s Union Square Theatre, directed by Maria Aitken.

Cast 1: Arnie Burton, Billy Carter, Robert Petkoff and Brittany Vicars.

39 Steps is a comedic spoof of the classic 1935 film, with only 4 “insanely talented” actors portraying more than 150 characters, sometimes changing roles in the blink of an eye. The brilliantly madcap story follows our dashing hero Richard Hannay as he races to solve the mystery of The 39 Steps, all the while trying to clear his name. The show’s uproarious fast-paced 100 minutes promises to leave you gasping for breath… in a good way!”


Star Statue - small2015 MAC Award winners:

Female Vocalist: Gabrielle Stravelli
Male Vocalist:  Stearns Matthews, Sneak Peek; Spark
Major Artist: Stacy Sullivan, On The Air: Songs For Marian McPartland
Celebrity Artist: Mark Nadler, Runnin’ Wild: Songs and Scandals Of The Roaring 20’s
NY Debut – Female: Celia Berk, You Can’t Rush Spring
NY Debut – Male: Kristoffer Lowe, Waiting For the Light to Shine
Musical Comedy Performer: Ivan Farkas, Prisoner Of Love
Impersonation/Characterization/Drag Artist: Rev Roger Anthony Yolanda Mapes, Be The Love
Duo/Group: Ted Stafford & Lorinda Lisitza, The Ted and Lo Show: This May Hurt A Bit
Revue: Revolution, Dawn Derow and Kathleen France
Recurring Series: Salon, Tanya Moberly, Exec Prod., Mark Janas, Host
Special Production: Dancing With Death, starring Thomas Honeck
Director: Eric Michael Gillett – A Tribute to Adolph Green, Mandy Gonzalez, Marieann Meringolo, Lauren Stanford, The Amanda McBroom Project
Music Director: Tracy Stark for Barb Jungr, Marcus Simeone, MetroStar Talent Challenge, The Meeting*, Bret Shuford
Recording: Stearns Matthews “Spark”
Song: Bruce Kimmel, “Simply”
Comedy/Novelty Song: Amy Wolk & William TN Hall, “The Brit Song”
Show of the Year: The 54 Sings Series, created by Phil Geoffrey Bond, at 54 Below

Click here for the complete list of winners.


Wendy MacLeod’s Things Being What They Are will run Apr. 19 – June 21 (opening Apr. 23) at North Hollywood’s Road on Lankershim, directed by Andre Barron.

Cast 1: Chet Grissom and Bernie Zilinskas.

“Bill has just moved from the city to a new condo in the suburbs, and is awaiting the arrival of his furniture and his (unfaithful) wife. He meets Jack, a brash, irreverent, and divorced neighbor who drops by for a visit and simply will not leave. In this off-beat comedy, two regular guys form an unlikely bond as they debate the meaning of marriage, commitment, and mortality.”


Article Article: David Hyde Pierce never intended to be a director.


Kurt Weill’s The Road of Promise will take place May 6 (8 pM) & May 7 (7 PM) at Carnegie Hall, directed & conducted by Ted Sperling.

Cast 1Ron Rifkin, Anthony Dean Griffey, Mark Delavan, Philip Cutlip, AJ Glueckert, Lauren Michelle, Megan Marino and Justin Hopkins.

The Road of Promise is a new concert adaptation of Kurt Weill and Franz Werfel’s epic 1937 stage spectacle, The Eternal Road. Like the original stage work, The Road of Promise combines a story about a synagogue under threat of persecution with defining stories from the Old Testament. As the congregation awaits their fate, a 13-year old boy appears who knows nothing of his Jewish heritage or faith. The Rabbi enlightens him and gives the community strength by recounting the stories of Abraham, Jacob, Joseph, Miriam, Moses, Ruth, Isaiah, and more, all of which come alive through Weill’s magnificent musical score. The young boy listens to the stories unfold and emerges as the new hope for his people.”


Video Video: Highlights from Carrie the Musical at CA’s La Mirada Theatre.


Henry Krieger & Bill Russell’s Side Show will run Apr. 25 – May 10 at Fullerton, CA’s Plummer Auditorium, directed by T.J. Dawson, with choreography by Leslie Stevens and musical direction by Allen Everman.

Cast 1: Jeanette Dawson (Violet Hilton) and Afton Quast (Daisy Hilton), with Matthew Ballestero (Bearded Lady), Kathleen Borrelli (Harem Girl), Gary Brintz (Buddy Foster), Dustin Ceithamer (Geek), Adam Dingeman (Strong Man), Jay Donnell (Jake), Chelsea Emma Franko (U/S Violet and Daisy Hilton), Gregg Hammer (Terry Connor), April Jo Henry (Harem Girl), Jonah Ho’okano (Fakir), Nathan Holland (The Boss), Chris Holly (Sheik/Dance Captain), Natalie Iscovich (Harem Girl), Bren Thor Johnson (Roustabout), Emily King Brown (Tatooed Human Pin Cushion),  Tracy Lore (½ Man- ½ Woman), Tracy Rowe Mutz  (6th Exhibit), Dino Nicandros (Reptile Man,) Brandon Pohl (Roustabout), Robert Ramirez (Three-legged Man,) Christanna Rowader (Fortune Teller), Justin Matthew Segura (Roustabout), Deonne Sones (Dolly Dimples), Momoko Sugai (Snake Girl) and Josh Wise (Roustabout).


RIP RIP: B.J. Crosby, who first came to prominence and earned a Tony nomination as part of the original ensemble of the long-running Broadway revue Smokey Joe’s Cafe, has died at age 63.

Crosby played Effie in a national tour of Dreamgirls, and returned twice to Broadway, replacing as Mama Morton inChicago in 1996 and playing the role of Ma Reed in the Broadway debut of One Mo’ Time in 2002.


Update - YellowSeason: Off-Broadway’s Atlantic Theatre Company has announced its 2015-16 season:

* Cloud Nine (Fall), by Caryl Churchill, directed by James Macdonald. “Set in colonial Africa and 1979 London, the play is about power, politics, family, Queen Victoria and sex.”

* These Paper Bullets! (Nov-Dec), by Rolin Jones, with songs by Billie Joe Armstrong. “Meet the Quartos: Ben, Claude, Balth, and Pedro. Their fans worship them. Scotland Yard fears them. And their former drummer will stop at nothing to destroy them. Can these fab four from Liverpool find true love in London and cut an album in seven nights? These Paper Bullets! is a modish rip-off of Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing with a serious backbeat.”

* Skeleton Crew (Jan. 2016), by Dominique Morisseau. “A makeshift family of workers at the last exporting auto plant in the city navigate the possibility of foreclosure. Power dynamics shift, and they are pushed to the limits of survival. When the line between blue collar and white collar gets blurred, how far over the lines are they willing to step?”

* The Band’s Visit (Spring) world premiere by Itamar Moses & David Yazbeck, directed by Hal Prince. “An Egyptian Police Band arrives in Israel to play a concert. After a mix up at the border, they are sent to a remote village in the middle of the desert. With no bus until morning and no hotel in sight, these unlikely travelers are taken in by the locals. Under the spell of the desert sky, their lives become intertwined in the most unexpected ways.”

* The Purple Lights of Joppa Illinois (May-June), written & directed by Adam Rapp. “Ellis Shook lives alone in a small duplex apartment in Paducah, Kentucky. He works nights buffing floors, keeps to himself – and always remembers to take his medication. But when two teenage girls arrive at his doorstep one autumn afternoon, their visit will force him to confront a tragic past while also offering him a glimpse at hope.”

* One additional production TBA.


World Premiere: The New Group has announced complete casting for the world premiere of Jesse Eisenberg’s The Spoils, to run May 5 – June 28 (opening June 2) at Off-Broadway’s Signature Center, directed by Scott Elliott.

Cast: Jesse Eisenberg, Kunal Nayyar, Erin Darke, Annapurna Sriram and Michael Zegen.

“In this deeply personal and probing comedy, Ben’s been kicked out of grad school, is living off his parents’ money, and bullies everyone in his life, including his roommate Kalyan, an earnest Nepalese immigrant.”


Concert: Melba Moore in concert will take place Mon. Apr. 13 at 9:30 PM at NYC’s Metropolitan Room, with special guest Clifton Davis.


Tennessee Williams’ One Arm, adapted by Moisés Kaufman, will run June 10 – July 4 (opening June 12) at London’s Southwark Playhouse, directed by Josh Seymour.

Casting TBA.

“Exterior. New Orleans. Night. Close up: A beautiful young hustler solicits trade on the streets. He is Ollie Olsen, former light heavyweight champion of the Pacific Fleet. After a devastating accident ends his boxing career Ollie believes his once-invincible body to be irreparably broken. When his eyes are opened to the market value of his tragic beauty, Ollie turns to selling his final asset in order to survive. Through his encounters with the lonely souls of 1940s America, Ollie discovers an unexpected chance for redemption.”


Transfer 1The West End transfer of Claire Van Kampen’s Farinelli and the King will run Sept. 14 – Dec. 5 (opening Sept. 29) at the Duke of York’s Theatre, directed by John Dove.

Cast 1: Mark Rylance (King Philippe V of Spain) Sam Crane (Farinelli), Iestyn Davies & Rupert Enticknap (sharing the role of Castrato), Huss Garbiya (Doctor Jose Cervi), Melody Grove (Isabella Farnese), Colin Hurley (Metastasio) and Edward Peel (De la Cuadra).

“Italy, 1731. Farinelli, the world’s most famous castrato, is rich, adored and lauded with honours. His divine voice has the power to captivate all who hear it. Spain, 1737. King Philippe V lies awake. The Queen, desperate to relieve her husband of his insomnia and depression, begs the castrato to come and sing to the king. The effect is transformational. Philippe is healed, held captive by Farinelli’s voice – but so is Farinelli…”


Annie Baker’s The Flick will begin previews May 5 and open May 28 at Off-Broadway’s Barrow Street Theatre, directed by Sam Gold.

Cast 1 (returning from the 2013 Playwrights Horizons production): Alex Hanna, Louisa Krause, Matthew Maher and Aaron Clifton Moten.

“A study of boredom, yearning and dysfunction in a crew of New England movie-house workers.”


Quiz GRACE NOTES Quiz answersApril Foolery:

1. Ed Wynn wrote the book, music, and lyrics for the 1921 revue The Perfect Fool — which became his nickname.

2. Kim Basinger played opposite Sam Shepard in the movie version of Fool for Love.

3. Mike Nichols directed Neil Simon’s Fools, which opened on April 6, 1981, and closed May 9.

4. Ivan Turgenev wrote Fortune’s Fool, which had its first Broadway production in 2002.

5. Horatio is Hamlet’s school friend and confidant and not a fool. Touchstone is the fool in As You Like It; Feste is the fool in Twelfth Night.

6. In his Guide to Shakespeare, Isaac Asimov wrote, “’That, of course, is the great secret of the successful fool – that he is no fool at all.”

7. In Theresa Rebeck’s Fool, two medieval kings bet which of their fools is funnier and the winner of the competition gets to keep his head.

8. The Fool in King Lear tells Lear: “Give me an egg, and I’ll give thee two crowns…after I have cut the egg i’ the middle and eat up the meat, the two crowns of the egg.”

9. Fool Moon has no spoken lines.

10. In As You Like It Jaques says, “A fool, a fool! I met a fool i’ the forest, / A motley fool…”

Got a quiz you’d like to submit?  Send it on over.  Text only, 10 questions or less, please.


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