Tuesday, April 3, 2012


* Primary Stages‘ The Morini Strad, starring Mary Beth Peil, Michael Laurence and violinist Hanah Stuart, opens at Off-Broadway’s 59e59 Theatres.

* Superior Donuts opens at Rochester, NY’s Geva Theatre.

* Mamma Roma, written and performed by Anne DeSalvo, opens at NYC’s Cherry Lane Studio Theatre.

* Leap of Faith, starring Raul Esparza, Jessica Phillips and Kendra Kassebaum, begins previews on Broadway at the St. James Theatre.

* A Streetcar Named Desire, starring Blair Underwood, Nicole Ari Parker and Daphne Rubin-Vega, begins previews on Broadway at the Broadhurst Theatre.

* Jeff Goldman and Justin Long begins their runs in Broadway’s Seminar at the Golden Theatre.

* Good People, starring Jane Kaczmarek, begins previews at LA’s Geffen Playhouse.

* The City Club begins previews at Off-Broadway’s Minetta Lane Theatre.

* The Vandal benefit reading, featuring Alan Rickman, Noah Robbins and Sigourney Weaver, at 7 PM at NYC’s Museum of Jewish Heritage. Reservations: 212-226-0051 ext. 102.

* “Julie & Carol: Live at Carnegie Hall” and “Julie & Carol: Live at Lincoln Center” available on CD and mp3 on Masterworks Broadway.

* “War Horse” film available on Blu-ray and DVD. Order the 4-disc combo (Blu-ray, DVD and digital) here.


Reviews for Broadway’s End of the Rainbow:

NY Times (Ben Brantley):  “As befits a play about Judy Garland, a woman known for liberally mixing her pills, Peter Quilter’s End of the Rainbow is a jolting upper and downer at the same time. After watching Tracie Bennett’s electrifying interpretation of Garland in the intense production that opened on Monday night at the Belasco Theater, you feel exhilarated and exhausted, equally ready to dance down the street and crawl under a rock. In other words, you feel utterly alive, with all the contradictions that implies. That’s what comes from witnessing acting that is this unconditionally committed, not to mention this sensational — in every sense of the word.”

Associated Press (Mark Kennedy):  “Bennett doesn’t simply play the fading actress and singer – she IS Garland: haughty, mannered, funny, arch, kittenish, pleading, needy, imperious, tortured and savage. The play, by Peter Quilter, could be maudlin and precious in other hands, but Bennett sings and inhabits an American icon in her final days with such skill and fearlessness that the seams are hidden.”

Newsday (Linda Winer):  “It is a gutsy portrayal of an artist who, apparently, was too much for herself, who put more into her performances than she got back as a person. I get the message. I just don’t get the point.”

NY Post (Elisabeth Vincentelli):  “Big Broadway performances are polished, sometimes to a fault: They’re perfectly enjoyable, but they often lack a certain unpredictable battiness.  Not so with Tracie Bennett’s tour de force in End of the Rainbow, which opened last night at the Belasco. By the time she reaches the finish line, you’re almost as drained as she is…. Rather than turn in another technically fine, ultimately safe Garland impersonation, Bennett gives us the Garland mystique. This is all the more key since Peter Quilter’s West End import isn’t very good. It’s a decent vehicle for a drunk driver.”

Hollywood Reporter (David Rooney):  “In a full-throttle performance that holds nothing back, Tracie Bennett channels an off-the-rails Judy Garland near the completion of her downward spiral, giving End of the Rainbow a fiercely dynamic center. But there’s a gulf between the vehicle and the vulnerable human being that the actress rarely traverses in this bio-drama with songs, thanks to writing by Peter Quilter that hits every obvious note except the pathos, and to Terry Johnson’s unrelentingly emphatic direction.”


Video:  Highlights from Broadway’s End of the Rainbow.


Neil Patrick Harris will return to host the 66th Annual Tony Awards, which will be broadcast June 10 live from the Beacon Theatre in New York City.


Broadway Grosses for the week ending April 1:

Frontrunners (by Gross)
1. The Lion King ($1,843,641)
2. Wicked ($1,841,661)
3. Spider-Man, Turn Off the Dark ($1,519,872)
4. The Book of Mormon ($1,485,024)
5. Evita ($1,424,700) *

Underdogs (by Gross)
5. Other Desert Cities ($240,862)
4. Clybourne Park ($233,486) *
3. Peter and the Starcatcher ($143,579) **
2. Don’t Dress for Dinner ($110,317) ***
1. Magic/Bird ($102,073) ****

Frontrunners (by Capacity)
1. The Book of Mormon (102.63%)
2. Newsies (100.46%) *****
3. The Lion King (100.03%)
4. Death of a Salesman (99.86%) ******
5. Wicked (96.75%)

Underdogs (by Capacity)
5. Venus in Fur (67.34%)
4. Porgy and Bess (63.41%)
3. Other Desert Cities (55.83%)
2. Priscilla Queen of the Desert (53.40%)
1. Magic/Bird (46.19%) ****

*  Number based on eight preview performances
**  Number based on four preview performances
***  Number based on five preview performances
****  Number based on seven preview performances
*****  Number based on three preview and five regular performances
******  Number based on four regular performances
Data Provided by the Broadway League.


Audio:  Listen for free to the entire cast album of NEWSIES!


Roundabout Theatre Company‘s new production of Simon Gray’s comedy-drama The Common Pursuit, about college friends who are changed over the years, will feature Kristen Bush, Kieran Campion, Josh Cooke, Jacob Fishel, Tim McGeever andLucas Near-Verbrugghe.

Moisés Kaufman directs the play, which will begin performances May 4 at Roundabout’s Off-Broadway home at the Laura Pels Theatre. Opening is May 24.


The producers of Over the Moon: The Broadway Lullaby Project have confirmed that the list of participating composers and lyricists now boasts Tom Kitt, Tony Kushner and Stephen Sondheim.

They join a remarkable array of writers who have contributed music and lyrics to the project, including Scott Alan, Wayne Barker, Sean Barry, Susan Birkenhead, Jeff Blumenkrantz, Jeff Bowen, Sammy Cahn, Joshua H. Cohen, Michael Friedman, Jenny Giering, Zina Goldrich, Ricky Ian Gordon, Adam Gwon, Marcy Heisler, Nona Hendryx, Marva Hicks, Rupert Holmes, Timothy Huang, Christopher Jackson, Henry Krieger, Michael John LaChiusa, Dan Lipton, Kristen Anderson-Lopez, Robert Lopez, Marisa Michelson, Charles Randolph-Wright, David Rossmer, Bill Russell, Sandy Rustin, Jill Santoriello, Stephen Schwartz, John Patrick Shanley, David Shire, Lucy Simon, Charles Strouse, Sarah Wordsworth, BD Wong and Maury Yeston.

The project incorporates a two-CD, 26 song set, offering a lavishly-illustrated hardcover book of 17 songs from the album, a corresponding e-book encompassing the entire collection; and a documentary film

The project will raise money for respected breast cancer charities such as the Breast Cancer Research Foundation and Young Survival Coalition. The CDs and book will be released on May 8.  Pre-order the hardcover book here.  Pre-order the CD here.


Love Struck, an evening of one acts about LOVE, by Dale Griffiths Stamos and directed by Maggie Grant, will play May 11-27 at  the Beverly Hills Playhouse.

The cast features Barbara Bain, Peter Van Norden, Nick Ullett and Robert Miano, along with Matthew Brehner, Bob Ebinger, Kirt Enochs, Maggie Grant, Paul Jacek, Eric Charles Jorgenson, Molly Leland, Jeff Lorch, Natasha Charles Parker, Dave Roberts, Julianna Robinson, David Wells, and Tara Windley.


Casting has been announced for the world stage premiere of Chariots of Fire, adapted for the stage by Mike Bartlett and directed by Edward Hall.  It will begin performances at London’s Hampstead Theatre May 9, prior to an official opening May 22, for a run through June 16.

The cast stars Jack Lowden and James McArdle, along with Sam Archer, Joe Bannister, Antonia Bernath, Natasha Broomfield, Gareth Charlton, Henry Davis, Mark Edel-Hunt, Lloyd Everitt, Daniel Fraser, Nickolas Grace, Leemore Marrett jr., David Newman, Matthew Pearson, Simon Slater, Savannah Stevenson, Paul Tinto, Simon Williams, Tam Williams and Nicholas Woodeson.


A fresh production of Pal Joey, with a new book by theatre journalist Patrick Pacheco that re-casts the role of Joey as an African American, will debut at Ventura, CA’s Rubicon Theatre this fall. Peter Schneider will direct the musical, which opens the Rubicon season Oct. 17 – Nov. 11.  Casting TBA.

The newly conceived production incorporates additional songs from the Rodgers and Hart catalogue, including “The Lady Is A Tramp,” “Sing for Your Supper” and “Glad To Be Unhappy.” Several songs have been excised from the score, with gems like “Bewitched” and “I Could Write a Book” left intact.  The orchestrations have now been reconfigured for a trio of musicians. Arrangements are by Michael Reno.


FL’s 2012 Carbonell Award winners:

Best New Work: Stuff, Michael McKeever, Caldwell Theatre Company

Best Ensemble: The Irish Curse, Mosaic Theatre


Best Production: All My Sons, Palm Beach Dramaworks

Best Director: J.Barry Lewis, All My Sons, Dramaworks

Best Actor: Kenneth Tigar, All My Sons, Dramaworks

Best Actress: Deborah Sherman, Side Effects, Mosaic Theatre

Best Supporting Actor: Marckenson Charles, Superior Donuts, GableStage

Best Supporting Actress: Angie Radosh, Stuff, Caldwell


Best Production: Crazy for You, Maltz Jupiter Theatre

Best Director: Mark Martino, Crazy for You, Maltz

Best Actor: Matt Loehr, Crazy for You, Maltz

Best Actress: Catherine Walker, The Sound of Music, Maltz

Best Supporting Actor: Avi Hoffman, Hairspray, Actors’ Playhouse

Best Supporting Actress: Julie Kleiner, Hairspray, Actors’ Playhouse

Best Musical Direction: Helen Gregory, Crazy for You, Maltz

Best Choreography: Shea Sullivan, Crazy for You, Maltz

Click here for a complete list of winners.


NYC’s Signature Theatre has announced that David Henry Hwang will be the Residency One Playwright — the not-for-profit’s foundation program, covering a career of one writer — for the 2012-13 season at the company’s new home, The Pershing Square Signature Center.


Video:  New trailer for the “Rock of Ages” film.


Lindsey Broad, Lenny Jacobson and Mackenzie Phillips have been cast in the world premiere of Sukie and Sue: Their Story, a new play by Michael John LaChiusa, which will debut April 21 at Hollywood’s Blank Theatre.

Kirsten Sanderson directs the production that officially opens April 28 for a run through June 3.

The cast also includes Nick Ballard, Elena Campbell-Martinez, Eddie Driscoll, Rae Foster and Mary-Beth Manning.


The Royal Shakespeare Company has announced that the Dodgers will be its producing partner for the Broadway production of Roald Dahl’s Matilda The Musical, which will open on Broadway in spring 2013.


The Project Shaw series will continue April 23 at 7 PM with a reading of George Bernard Shaw’s Widowers’ Houses. at NYC’s Players Club.  David Staller produces and directs.

The cast features Richard Easton, Bobby Steggert, Mara Davi, Robert Petkoff, Jeremy Webb, Katherine Kellgren and David Cote. Donna Karger of NY1’s “On Stage” will be the evening’s host.


The Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation will award a grant of £125,000, to be paid over the next five years, to help launch the Theatres Protection Fund of the U.K.’s Theatres Trust.  Click here for more information.


The Sundance Institute has announced the eight works that will be developed during its annual July Theatre Lab:

* Fun Home, the new musical with book and lyrics by Lisa Kron and music by Jeanine Tesori, will be directed by Sam Gold. It is based on the graphic novel by Alison Bechdel.

* Branden Jacobs-Jenkins will be represented with his latest work Appropriate.

* Lemon Andersen, who was commissioned by Sundance and the Public Theater’s Under The Radar Festival to complete work on his new play ToasT, about the Black folklore hero Dolomite, will continue to hone the piece this summer under the direction of Elise Thoron.

* Useless Bay by Sarah Treem.

* Octavio Solis will direct Tanya Saracho’s Song for the Disappeared, the second work in her Border Trilogy.

* Playwright Ken Greller will be represented with Hands.

* Daniel Akiyama’s A Cage of Fireflies will be directed by Phyllis S.K. Look.

* Africa Kills Her Sun, which Sundance has been developing as part of its East Africa Lab, is also among the selected works. Adapter-performers Mrisho Mpoto and Irene Sanga created the work based on “Africa Kills Her Sun” by Ken Saro-Wiwa. It has music by Elidady Msangi, direction by Indhu Rubasingham and also features assistant director-performer Gilbert Lukalia.


New Worlds Theatre Project will present Welcome to America, a cautionary tale about the tensions within a Jewish immigrant family, beginning May 2 at Off-Broadway’s 45th Street Theatre. The limited engagement will continue through May 20.

Directed by Stephen Fried, the cast will feature Alice Cannon, Donald Warfield and Dathan B. Williams, along with Josh Odsess-Rubin, Jessica DiSalvo, Claire Kennedy, Alvin Keith and Anthony Peeples.


Adriane Lenox will lead Ethel Waters: Blues, Broadway, and Jazz May 1 and 2 (both at 7:30 PM) at Lincoln Center’s Allen Room.

Scott Siegel produces, Michael Feinstein hosts, and Ted Firth musical directs.


LA’s Center Group Theatre has revised scheduling for the following shows:

* Danai Gurira’s The Convert has been extended an additional week and will now have performances from April 17 through May 19 (opening April 19) at the Kirk Douglas Theatre in Culver City. Four student matinees have been scheduled in this additional week, plus a public performance May 19 at 8 PM.

* War Horse will now begin previews on June 14, and open June 29 at the Ahmanson Theatre. Performances will run through July 29.

* Scott Zigler will direct David Mamet’s November at the Mark Taper Forum, which will run Sept. 26 – Nov. 4, opening Oct. 7.


Stephen Schwartz will be honored with Desert Ensemble Theatre Company’s inaugural Melpomai Award at When You Believe: A Conversation With and Tribute To Stephen Schwartz May 19 at 8 PM at the Annenberg Theater at the Palm Springs Art Museum.

Directed and moderated by Scott Logsdon, the evening will include performances from Andrea McArdle, Pamla Vale Abramson, Garrett Hoy, Ben Reece and Laura L.Thomas, among others. Joel Baker will be the musical director and accompanist.


St. Louis’ 2012 Kevin Kline Award nominations:

New Play or Musical
Till We Have Faces by Deanna Jent, based on the novel by C.S. Lewis, Mustard Seed Theatre
The Montford Point Marine by Samm-Art Williams, the Black Rep
Falling by Deanna Jent, Mustard Seed Theatre
The Winners by David L. Williams, HotCity Theatre
Hit-Story by Carter W. Lewis, OnSite Theatre


Ensemble in a Play
In the Next Room, or the Vibrator Play, Repertory Theatre of St. Louis
The Real McCoy, the Black Rep
The Immigrant, New Jewish Theatre
Circle Mirror Transformation, Repertory Theatre of St. Louis
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Repertory Theatre of St. Louis

Lead Actress in a Play
Andrea Frye, Ruined, the Black Rep
Kari Ely, Sirens, New Jewish Theatre
Brooke Edwards, Danny and the Deep Blue Sea, Non-Prophet Theatre Company
Michelle Hand, Falling, Mustard Seed Theatre
Susan Louise O’Connor, God of Carnage, Repertory Theatre of St. Louis

Lead Actor in a Play
Gary Wayne Barker, Shadowlands, Mustard Seed Theatre
J. Samuel Davis, Ruined, the Black Rep
John Pierson, Closer, St. Louis Actors’ Studio
Bobby Miller, Awake and Sing!, New Jewish Theatre
Bob Thibaut, The Immigrant, New Jewish Theatre Brian Dykstra, Red,Repertory Theatre of St. Louis
Danny McCarthy, Circle Mirror Transformation, Repertory Theatre of St. Louis

Supporting Actress in a Play
Linda Kennedy, Pericles, the Black Rep
Peggy Billo, The Immigrant, New Jewish Theatre
Emily Baker, Just Desserts, St. Louis Actors’ Studio
Julie Venegoni, Savage in Limbo, OnSite Theatre
Linda Kennedy, Blood Wedding, Upstream Theater
Hayley Treider, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Repertory Theatre of St. Louis

Supporting Actor in a Play
Bob Harvey, The Price, Avalon Theatre Company
Chauncy Thomas, The Real McCoy, the Black Rep
Jason Cannon, Awake and Sing!, New Jewish Theatre
Gary Wayne Barker, The Immigrant, New Jewish Theatre
Jonathan Foster, Falling, Mustard Seed Theatre

Director of a Play
Andrew Moodie, The Real McCoy, the Black Rep
Edward Coffield, The Immigrant, New Jewish Theatre
Steven Woolf, Red, Repertory Theatre of St. Louis
Stuart Carden, Circle Mirror Transformation, Repertory Theatre of St. Louis
Jeremy B. Cohen, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Repertory Theatre of St. Louis

Production of a Play
In the Next Room, or the vibrator play, Repertory Theatre of St. Louis
Awake and Sing!, New Jewish Theatre
The Immigrant, New Jewish Theatre
Red, Repertory Theatre of St. Louis
God of Carnage, Repertory Theatre of St. Louis
Circle Mirror Transformation, Repertory Theatre of St. Louis


Ensemble in a Musical
Beehive, Repertory Theatre of St. Louis
Legally Blonde, the Muny
Singin’ in the Rain, the Muny
Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, the Muny Godspell, Mustard Seed Theatre

Lead Actress in a Musical
Lisa Estridge, Beehive, Repertory Theatre of St. Louis
Debra Walton, Beehive, Repertory Theatre of St. Louis
Denise Thimes, Black Pearl Sings!, the Black Rep
Alexis Kinney, The Secret Garden, Stages St. Louis
Alli Mauzey, Little Shop of Horrors, the Muny
Jenny Powers, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, the Muny

Lead Actor in a Musical
Leigh Wakeford, Disney’s 101 Dalmatians, Stages St. Louis
Tony Yazbeck, Singin’ in the Rain, The Muny
James Bleecker, Thrill Me, Max & Louie Productions
David Schmittou, Victor/Victoria, Stages St. Louis

Supporting Actress in a Musical
Jessica Vaccaro, A Chorus Line, Stages St. Louis
Michele Ragusa, Singin’ in the Rain, the Muny
Julia Cardia, The Secret Garden, Stages St. Louis
Melinda Cowan, Victor/Victoria, Stages St. Louis
Amy Loui, Godspell, Mustard Seed Theatre

Supporting Actor in a Musical
Curtis Holbrook, Singin’ in the Rain, the Muny
Ken Page, Little Shop of Horrors, the Muny
Lewis J. Stadlen, Bye Bye Birdie, the Muny
Steve Judkins, Victor/Victoria, Stages St. Louis

Director of a Musical
Andrea Frye, Black Pearl Sings!, the Black Rep
Rick Conant, Singin’ in the Rain, the Muny
John Miller-Stephany, Little Shop of Horrors, the Muny
Mark Schneider, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, the Muny
Deanna Jent, Godspell, Mustard Seed Theatre

Production of a Musical
Singin’ in the Rain, the Muny
The Secret Garden, Stages St. Louis
Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, the Muny
Victor/Victoria, Stages St. Louis
Godspell, Mustard Seed Theatre

Musical Direction
Michael Sebastian, Beehive, Repertory Theatre of St. Louis
Charles Creath, Black Pearl Sings!, the Black Rep
Lisa Campbell-Albert, The Secret Garden, Stages St. Louis
Michael Horsley, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, the Muny
Joe Schoen, Godspell, Mustard Seed Theatre

Kelli Barclay, Singin’ in the Rain, the Muny
Dana Lewis, The Secret Garden, Stages St. Louis
Pepper Clyde, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, the Muny
Dana Lewis, Victor/Victoria, Stages St. Louis
Alicia Gbaho, Black Nativity, the Black Rep

Click here for a complete list of nominations.


Senior New Yorker Drama Critic John Lahr will join playwright David Ives, currently represented on Broadway with Venus in Fur, for a lively conversation at 92YTribeca on the art of creating new works for the stage, April 17 at 7 PM.


Kansas City Rep has announced its 2012-13 season:

Pippin, directed by Eric Rosen (Sept. 14 – Oct. 7), The Mystery of Irma Vep, directed by Tom Aulino (Oct. 19 – Nov. 18),  A Christmas Carol, directed by Kyle Hatley (Nov. 16 – Dec. 26), Death of a Salesman, directed by Eric Rosen (Jan. 18 – Feb. 10), Waiting for You (On the Corner of 13th and Walnut), a new work commissioned by KC Rep. directed by Michael Rohd (Feb. 15 – March 17),  Carousel, directed by Kyle Hatley (March 15 – April 7) and American Buffalo, directed by Jerry Genochio (april 19 – May 19).


L.A Theatre Works and UCLA’s James Bridges Theater present a National Theatre Live HD screening of She Stoops to Conquer on Sun. April 29 at 5:30 PM at the James Bridges Theater.


Berkeley’s Aurora Theatre Company presents the third Aurora Script Club meeting of the season on April 30 at 7:30 PM with Anna Deveare Smith’s Fires in the Mirror.  Script Club is free and open to the public.


Amy Brenneman will star in the world premiere of Gina Gionfriddo’s Rapture, Blister, Burn, to run at NYC’s Playwrights Horizons May 18 – June 24, opening June 12. The production, focusing on two friends who take different paths, but end up coveting the other’s life, will be directed by Peter DuBois. The play

The cast will also feature Beth Dixon, Virginia Kull, Kellie Overbey, and Lee Tergesen.


Philadelphia’s Walnut Street Theatre has announced casting for its upcoming production of A Grand Night for Singing, to run May 1 – June 24 at Walnut’s  Independence Studio on 3.  Bruce Lumpkin will direct.

The cast will include Philadelphia actors Jennie Eisenhower, Michael Philip O’Brien, Fran Prisco, and Rebecca Robbins.


Casting has been announced for Long Island’s John W. Engeman Theater production of 42nd Street, which begins April 12 and continues to June 17. Mark Adam Rampmeyer directs.

The cast features Christianne Tisdale (Dorothy Brock), Patrick Ryan Sullivan (Julian Marsh), Darien Crago (Peggy Sawyer), Elise Kinnon (Anytime Annie), Tim Falter (Billy Lawler), Marci Reid (Maggie Jones), Kirk Bangstad (Pat Denning), Stephen Valenti (Abner Dillon), Evan Teich (Bert Barry), Drew Humphrey (Andy Lee), Ashley Peacock (Phyllis Dale), and. Nikki Della Penta (Lorraine). The cast also includes Laurie DiFilippo, Aisling Halpin, Megan Kelley, Nick Lorenzini, Kelly Marteney, Adam Mosebach, Jake Primmerman, Audra Rizzo, Robbie Smith, Amy Van Norstrand, and Todd Walker.


Jersey Boys cast members Jarrod Spector, Dominic Scaglione, Dominic Nolfi, John Edwards will join Eyewitness News anchor Phil Lipof for ROCK TALK: Conversations With The Doo Wop Project on Sun. April 15 at 6:30 PM at NYC’s Feinstein’s.


André De Shields brings his theatrical concert Black by Popular Demand back to the New York stage for three shows only, Friday evenings May 4, 11 and 18 at 11 PM at NYC’s Laurie Beechman Theatre.


Laurence Boswell will direct the UK Premiere of In the Next Room or The Vibrator Play at U.K.’s Theatre Royal Bath, May 10  – June 9.

The cast features Paul Hickey (Dr. Givings) and Katie Lightfoot (Catherine Givings), with Rakie Ayola, Edward Bennett, Tom Hodgkins, Flora Montgomery, and Lucy Robinson.


Finding the Burnett Heart by Paul Elliot will play at LA’s Lillian Theatre beginning on April 20 and continuing through May 27. Jeremy Aldridge directs.

The cast includes James Handy, Joel Johnstone, Colleen McGrann, Jeff Williams, Tracey Evans, David Lombard and Zach Zagoria.


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