Tuesday, February 28, 2012


* Broadway will dim its lights at 7 PM for one minute in memory of Howard Kissel.

* War Horse opens at Toronto’s Princess of Wales Theatre.

* Assistance, starring Michael Esper and Bobby Steggert, opens at Off-Broadway’s Playwrights Horizons.

* fml: how Carson McCullers Saved My Life opens at Chicago’s  Steppenwolf Theatre.

* Traces opens at Costa Mesa’s Segerstrom Center.

* Once, starring Steve Kazee and Cristin Milioti, begins previews on Broadway at the Bernard Jacobs Theatre.

* Spamalot previews at LA’s Pantages Theatre.

* A conversation with Zoe Caldwell at 7 PM at NYC’s Players Club.

* Love Never Dies screened at 7:30 PM local time in movie theaters across the U.S. (also March 7).  Find a theater near you.


Broadway Grosses for the week ending Feb. 26:

Frontrunners (by Gross)
1. Wicked ($1,872,679)
2. The Lion King ($1,732,972)
3. Spider-Man, Turn Off the Dark ($1,643,155)
4. The Book of Mormon ($1,468,595)
5. Jersey Boys ($1,018,596)

Underdogs (by Gross)
5. Venus in Fur ($369,176)
4. Godspell ($356,350)
3. Shatner’s World: We Just Live In It ($312,767)*
2. Wit ($244,804)
1. The Road to Mecca ($219,854)

Frontrunners (by Capacity)
1. The Book of Mormon (102.63%)
2. Anything Goes (100.07%)
3. The Lion King (100.04%)
4. Wicked (100.00%)
5. War Horse (99.44%)

Underdogs (by Capacity)
5. Wit (77.04%)
4. The Road to Mecca (68.72%)
3. Priscilla Queen of the Desert (68.53%)
2. Shatner’s World: We Just Live In It (68.16%)*
1. Sister Act (58.97%)

*  Number based on seven regular performances.
**  Data Provided by the Broadway League.


Reviews for London’s THE KING’S SPEECH:

Evening Standard (Henry Hitchings):  “In Adrian Noble’s lucid production the central performances don’t eclipse the memory of Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush in the film. This is relevant, as the audience for the stage version is surely people who have seen the film, rather than those who haven’t. Yet the relationship is movingly portrayed. Charles Edwards is superb as the King, suggesting his humanity even as he conveys his mix of irascibility and diffidence.”

The Guardian (Susannah Clapp):  “Adrian Noble’s production of The King’s Speech is a sheerly accomplished piece of staging: a West End transfer has already been announced. He makes it immediately plain that David Seidler’s play is not a piece of celluloid flung from the screen and thrown whimpering on to the stage.”

WhatsonStage (Michael Coveney):  “So this classy touring production, adroitly directed by former RSC supremo Adrian Noble and smartly and glossily designed on a revolving stage by Anthony Ward, is the play of the play, not even the play of the film. Oddly, many of the scenes are cinematically envisioned, and the stage show doesn’t always have the fluency of Tom Hooper’s movie.  Nor, of course, does this version have Colin Firth as Bertie, as the king was more generally known, or Geoffrey Rush as Lionel Logue. But it does have the superb Charles Edwards – who bares his bum, shock horror, before assuming a royal rig-out (“I look like a Christmas tree”) and the vulpine, charismatic Jonathan Hyde in those roles, as well as Emma Fielding as a charming Queen Elisabeth, Daniel Betts as the flippantly debonair abdicating elder brother, Edward VIII, and the ever delightful Charlotte Randle as Logue’s homesick Aussie wife in the couple’s suburban, down-at-heel backwater.”


Happy Leap Year! On Feb. 29, Broadway’s Leap of Faith is offering $29 seats in the orchestra and mezzanine for the first week of previews, April 3-7, at the St. James Theatre.

These special tickets are on sale only on Feb. 29 for 24 hours. Purchase your tickets in person at the box office (246 W. 44th Street, open 10 AM – 8 PM), by phone (212-239-6200), or online.  Tickets are subject to availability.


Tickets for the Chicago run (Dec. 11 – March 3, 2013) of Book of Mormon at the Bank of America Theatre will go on sale for:

* American Express cardholders March 2 (at 10 AM) – 15.

* The general public 12:01 AM – 7 AM March 19 at the Bank of America Theatre box office (18 W. Monroe) only.

* At all Ticketmaster outlets and via phone at (800) 745-3000 starting a 10 AM on March 19.


Elaine Stritch Singin’ Sondheim…One Song At A Time will be presented at San Francisco’s RRazz Room May 23 – June 10.


Video:  Highlights from the Broadway-bound One Man, Two Guvnors.


The Collegiate Chorale will present The Mikado, featuring a host of Broadway artists, April 10 at 6:30 PM at Carnegie Hall.

Directed and conducted by Ted Sperling, the evening will boast the talents of Victoria Clark, Chuck Cooper, Jason Danieley, Christopher Fitzgerald, Amy Justman, Kelli O’Hara, Lauren Worsham and the American Symphony Orchestra.


Scott Alan‘s as-yet-untitled new CD will be mostly recorded at his April 30 (7 PM) concert at Birdland.  A fall release is expected.

Lending their talents to the recording will be Shoshana Bean, Stephanie J. Block, Sierra Boggess, Liz Callaway, Ann Hampton Callaway, Louise Dearman, Kerry Ellis, Christopher Jackson, Jeremy Jordan, Mykal Kilgore, Caissie Levy, Stuart Matthew Price, Lea Salonga, Melissa van der Schyff, Oliver Tompsett, Willemijn Verkaik, Natalie Weiss, Raena White, Ramin Karimloo and Hadley Fraser, as well as recording artists Marc Broussard and RJ Helton.  **Due to Monday-night Broadway schedules, some talent will record their tracks prior to the concert.

In addition to the performers announced, Alan is providing an opportunity for an unknown talent to be featured on the album and record a new song by the composer. For more information on the “I’m a Star” contest by Alan and Michael Buckley, click here. The contest ends March 15, and the winner will be announced April 1.


A one-night-only performance of the fantastical rock musical Weaker People… A Dangerous Notion will be presented at The Stephen Sondheim Theatre (home to Anything Goes) March 19 at 8 PM.  The performance will benefit Operation Respect, which was founded by Peter Yarrow of Peter, Paul and Mary fame.

The musical performance will feature the talents of Chris Causer, Christina Caravella, Jennifer Tanarez, Warren Freeman, Kario Pereira-Bailey, Paul Daniel Cloeter, Stephanie Gandolfo, Jessica Galo Murphy and Lexy Romano. Nicco Franklin directs.


Andrew Lloyd Webber has revealed one of the subject he is considering for his next musical: the Profumo affair that famously rocked British politics in the early 60’s when John Profumo, the UK’s Minister of State for war, was revealed to have been having an affair with Christine Keeler, who was the reputed mistress of an alleged Russian spy.

One of the central figures in the Profumo affair was Stephen Ward, an osteopath who had introduced Keeler to Profumo, and was charged with living off the profits of prostitution after the case.


Video:  Highlights from the Off-Broadway production of Hurt Village at the Signature Theatre.


MCC Theatre‘s Carrie, now in previews at Off-Broadway’s Lucille Lortel Theatre, has extended its run by popular demand, and will now continue through April 22.


Loni Ackerman, Brad Bradley, Gene Castle and Karla Shook will star in TIN PAN ALLEY (The Original iTunes), which is now in previews for an open-ended Off-Broadway engagement at NYC’s Actors Temple Theater (339 West 47thStreet between 8th and 9th Avenues). Opening Night is set for March 19 at 7 PM.

The 75-min. show is a musical revue of the golden age of American popular music from the 1890s through the 1930s.


Additional performers have been announced for the Public Sings! benefit on March 5 at 6:30 PM at Joe’s Pub.

Directed by Daisy Prince, with musical direction by Chris Fenwick, the line-up includes the previously announced Laura Benanti, David Byrne, Alan Cumming, Raul Esparza, Montego Glover, Gabriel Kahane, Ethan Lipton, Kelli O’Hara, Jesse L. Martin, and Benjamin Walker.

Newly added are Tituss Burgess, John Ellison Conlee, Lili Cooper, Matt Doyle, Renee Elise Goldsberry, Greg Hildreth, Eli James, Celia Keenan-Bolger, Justin Levine, Norm Lewis, Betsy Morgan, Jessica Phillips, Bobby Steggert and Katie Thompson, along with Stanley Bahorek, Joan Almedilla, Mary Kate Morrissey, Rocio Del Mar Valles and Corey Mach.


Pasadena’s A Noise Within present Tony Kushner’s adaption of Pierre Corneille’s The Illusion, directed by Casey Stangl,  March 10 – May 19, opening March 17.  A pay-what-you-can performance is scheduled for March 15.

The cast includes Nick Ullett, Jeff Doba, Deborah Strang, Graham Hamilton, Devon Sorvari, Abby Craden, Freddy Douglasand Alan Blumenfeld.


The Imperial Theatre box office for the new Broadway musical comedy Nice Work If You Can Get It will open March 1 with special giveaways for early birds.   Performances begin March 29. Opening night is April 24.

Beginning at 10 AM at the Imperial, at 249 W. 45th Street, fans can win tickets to preview performances, gift certificates, signed items, and “other treats” through surprise giveaways and “by answering trivia questions about the show’s stars and songs.”

Among the treats: The first 100 patrons will be offered free cupcakes from Sprinkles Cupcakes; Broadway Dance Center will provide five free classes and one winner will go home with a Broadway Dance Center workout top and pants; Feinstein’s at Loews Regency will provide five pairs of tickets to The Broadway Hootenanny, the one-hour musical revue on Thursday nights at 11 PM; Fishs Eddy, the New York City dish and glassware shop, will provide a pair of its famous NYC skyline “212” glasses for five winners; The Empire Room Cocktail Lounge, located in the Empire State Building, will provide $25 gift certificates to eight winners; Tony’s DiNapoli, New York City’s family-style Italian restaurant, will provide five “dinner for two” gift certificates.


The film of the 25th anniversary staging of The Phantom of the Opera at the Royal Albert Hall will be aired March 4 in the New York metropolitan area as part of PBS Thirteen‘s “Great Performances” series.  Check local listings.


The Rainforest Fund, co-founded by Sting and wife Trudie Styler, will present its 2012 benefit concert April 3 at 7 PM at Carnegie Hall.

The performance, which will be followed by a gala dinner, will feature Sting, Elton John, James Taylor, Meryl Streep, Katharine McPhee, Bryn Terfel, Rosanne Cash and Vince Gill, among others. The evening will also include live and silent auctions.


DOMA Theatre Company kicks off its 2012 season of musical theater with a revival of The Who’sTommy,  running March 23 – April 15 at LA’s MET Theatre. Hallie Baran directs, with musical direction by  Chris Raymond and choreography by Angela Todaro.

The cast stars Jess Ford, along with Anna Ty Bergman, Geoffrey Going,  Stephanie Hayslip, Timothy Hearl, Chris Kerrigan, Lisa Margaroli, Karl Maschek, Megan McDermott, Samantha Mills, Matt O’Neill, Steven W. Nielsen, Aidan Park, Brittany Rodin, Nik Roybal, Bradley Sattler and Tiffany A. Williams. Eight-year-old Donovan Baise and eleven-year-old Max K. Salinger double in the role of young Tommy, while the role of young Cousin Kevin is shared by teens Andy Scott Harris and Adam Simon Krist.


The Denver Center for the Performing Arts will host its 32nd annual signature fundraiser, Saturday Night Alive, on Sat. March 3 at 6:30 PM, now with the addition of smartphone bidding and three coveted opportunities to see The Book of Mormon. The legendary Three Dog Night will be the entertainer.

Guests at the fundraiser will enjoy elements that make this event an eagerly anticipated highlight of the social scene:

* A surprise Box Sale — a Saturday Night Alive original.

* A computerized Luxury Silent Auction and bidding via smartphone.

* Dinner, desserts and dancing in the elegant Seawell Grand Ballroom.

* Additional auction item highlights include: fabulous trips on United Airlines to Australia, London & Paris; more than 30 destination trips courtesy of Starwood Hotels & Resorts; a walk-on role in the Denver Center Theatre Company’s production of Irving Berlin’s White Christmas in The Buell Theatre; a Tim Tebow signed jersey; a  Paramount Studios VIP Tour and original works of art from more than 30 participating artists and galleries.

Click here for more information.


Alan Tudyk will lead the cast of The Artigiani Troupe’s That Beautiful Laugh, March 16-25 at NYC’s Club at La MaMa. The production is conceived and directed by Orlando Pabotoy.

That Beautiful Laugh is a high-energy comedy piece that features clowning and live music inspired by Pabotoy’s nightly bedtime ritual of developing stories with his five-year-old son. The cast will also feature Julia Ogilvie and Carlton Ward.


Maryland’s Olney Theatre Center production of The 39 Steps, originally slated to close on May 13, has been extended through May 20. The show opens April 18. Clay Hopper directs. Casting TBA.


Tate Donovan, Jane Kaczmarek, Robert Sean Leonard, and Leonard Nimoy will be among the performers in Selected Shorts at LA’s J. Paul Getty Museum, Getty Center, March 3-4.


The Blank Theatre’s Young Playwrights Festival is seeking submissions nationwide from playwrights 19 years of age and younger. The submission deadline is March 15.  Winning plays will be presented by professional actors and directors from May 31 – June 24 at Hollywood’s Stella Adler Theatre.

Click here for submission guidelines.


Why We Have a Body, featuring Tanna Frederick (who also directs), Barbara Bain, Cathy Arden and Alexandra Sedrowski, is currently in previews at Santa Monica’s Edgemar Center for the Arts, with an opening set for March 2.


PS Classics has begun pre-production on its next vintage restoration and studio recording: composer George Gershwin and lyricist B.G. DeSylva’s 1924 musical Sweet Little Devil, assemble cast and orchestra in a recording studio later this spring. No release date has been announced.  Sweet Little Devil opened on Broadway at the Astor Theatre on Jan. 21, 1924, and ran for 120 performances.


Alan Menken will make a guest appearance on Seth Rudetsky’s Broadway Chatterbox on March 1 at 6 PM at NYC’s Don’t Tell Mama.


Heather MacRae brings her Songs & Stories to NYC’s Iridium (1650 Broadway) on Tues. March 6 at 8 PM.  Mark Nadler is the Musical Director.


Chicago’s Goodman Theatre has announced that it present a new musical version of Disney’s The Jungle Book adapted and directed by Mary Zimmerman from June 27 – July 28, 2013.

Zimmerman will use songs and music from the 1967 film.


Jekyll and Hyde will be revived at London’s fringe Union Theatre in Southwark May 16 – June 16.  The production will be directed by Luke Fredericks, with musical direction by Dean Austin.  Casting TBA.


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