Monday, June 25, 2012



* Chicago, starring Patti Murin, Natascia Diaz and Jackie Hoffman, opens at St. Louis Muny.

* As Bees in Honey Drown, starring Randy Graff, opens at MA’s Cape Playhouse.

* Chicken begins performances at London’s Trafalgar Studios 2.

* I take your hand in mine…. benefit reading, featuring Kevin Kline and Diane Wiest, at 7 PM at NYC’s Hunter College Kaye Playhouse. Information and tickets800-838-3006.

* Pump Up the Volume concert, featuring Constantine Maroulis, Nancy Opel, Leslie Odom, Jr., Bryce Ryness, and more, at 9:30 PM at Joe’s Pub.

* Gay Bride of Frankenstein concert version, featuring Constantine Maroulis, Rachel Potter, Louis Hobson, Ashley Kate Adams, Megan Kane, Wade Elkins and Derek Carley, at 11:30 PM at Joe’s Pub.

* Musical Mondays free concert, featuring Lillias White, Allison Case, Jay Armstrong Johnson, Keala Settle, and cast members from Hands on a Hardbody, at 10 PM at West Hollywood’s Eleven Nightclub (8811 Santa Monica Blvd).

* Broadway Sings for Pride’s Gay Pride concert, at 7 PM at NYC’s Mainstage Theatre.

* Trevor Live event, featuring Eric McCormack, Debra Messing and Anthony Rapp, at 6 PM at NYC’s Chelsea Piers – Pier 60.

* The Bread Winner reading, featuring Justin Scott Brown, Gregg Edelman, Ryan Garbayo, Betty Gilpin, Patricia Kalember, Emily Kunkel, Doug Stender and Maria Tucci, at 7 PM at Westport Country Playhouse.

* July and Half of August reading, starring Kerry O’Malley and Aaron Mathias, at 7 PM at Off-Broadway’s Vineyard Theatre. Reservations:

* Jack Lechner’s Here Goes Nothing concert, with special guests Jill Abramovitz, Nancy Anderson, Chris Critelli, Desmond Dutcher, Jeannine Frumess, Jose Llana, Andy Monroe, Jeremy Schonfeld, Lucas Steele, and Karen Ziemba, at 7 PM at NYC’s Birdland.

* Celebrity Autobiography: The Next Chapter reading, featuring Tony Danza, Rachel Dratch, Marsha Mason, Sherri Shepherd, Michael Urie and Alan Zweibel, at 7 PM at NYC’s Triad Theatre.

* We’re Having A Dinner Party: A Jubilee of Delicious Music concert, featuring Babs Rubenstein, Liam Forde, Whitney Bashor, Alyssa Fox and Corbitt Williams, at 9:30 PM at NYC’s Laurie Beechman Theatre.



This week’s quiz – The 1930’s, by Laura Frankos:

1.  In Flying High (1930), Bert Lahr starred opposite Kate Smith.  What was Lahr’s character?

2.  In The Band Wagon revue (1931), who was not in this show?  Fred and Adele Astaire… William Gaxton… Tilly Losch… Helen Broderick… or Frank Morgan?

3.  In the Earl Carroll Vanities (1931), what was the highlight of the show?

4.  Jerome Kern wrote an updated operetta with Otto Harbach about the conflict between classical music and pop and jazz that continued many of the lessons from Show Boat, using underscoring for effect and integrating songs into the action.  One of the hit songs was “Try to Forget.”  What show was this?

5.  Americana (1932), used a talented stable of writers (Harold Arlen, Vernon Duke, Jay Gorney, Yip Harburg, Burton Lane and Johnny Mercer), but the show lasted only a few months.  However, it gave the nation which Depression anthem?  “Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?”… “Let’s Have Another Cup of Coffee”… “I’ve Got Five Dollars”… We’re In the Money”… or  “We’d Like to Thank You, Herbert Hoover”?

6. The Great Waltz (1934) was an adaptation of Strauss’ Wlazer aus Wien (Waltzes from Vienna).  Who revised the book?

7.  In the 1936 edition of Ziegfeld Follies, what standard did Bob Hope and Eve Arden introduce in the show?

8.  In Pins and Needles (1937), in the song “Sing Me a Song of Social Significance,” the girls sing that they don’t expect their fellows to croon romantically, but they do require the boys to be familiar with all of the following except: FDR’s attempt to pack the Supreme Court… strikes… wars… breadlines… or front page news?

9.  Which of the following was not true of Hellzapoppin (1938)? It was heavily promoted by Walter Winchell… workmen would carry ladders through rows of house seats… a delivery man kept trying to deliver a potted plant, which was larger with each subsequent appearance… a gorilla dragged a screaming lady from her seat… or Eddie Cantor headed the national tour?

10.  In I Married an Angel (1938), there was a second-act ballet set in New York… which makes perfect sense for a show set in Hungary, right?  Which New York locale was the site for the ballet?

Scroll down for the answers…


Jennifer Hudson will play a Tony Award-winning Broadway star in a multi-episode arc in the second season of the NBC-TV musical series “Smash.” Her arc begins with the first episode.


Richard Adler died June 21 at his Southhampton home. He was 90.

Following a collaboration with Jerry Ross on the 1953 revue John Murray Anderson’s Almanac, the team hit it big with The Pajama Game. While Pajama Game was still running on Broadway, Adler and Ross scored again with Damn Yankees. Their collaboration was cut tragically short on Nov. 11, 1955, when Ross died from complications of lung disease at the age of 29, just five months after Damn Yankees opened on Broadway. Mr. Adler continued to compose, both alone and with other partners. But he never came close to matching the successes he shared with Ross.

Video 1: Adler’s arrangement of Marilyn Monroe’s “Happy Birthday, Mr. President.”

Video 2: “Everybody Loves a Lover,” with Doris Day.

Video 3: “Shoeless Joe,” with Vicki Lewis, on the 1994 Tony Awards.

Video 4: “There Once Was a Man” on the 2006 Tony Awards.

Video 5: “Steam Heat,” with Meg Gillentine, Julio Monge and Josh Rhodes.

Video 6: “Whatever Lola Wants,” with Gwen Verdon.

Video 7: “Who’s Got the Pain,” with Bob Fosse and Gwen Verdon.

Video 8: “You Gotta Have Heart” from the 1958 film.

Video 9: “A Little Brains, A Little Talent,” with Lee Remick, from the 1967 TV adaptation.

Video 10: “Two Lost Souls,” with Jane Krakowski and Cheyenne Jackson, from the Encores! revival.

Video 11: “Those Were the Good Old Days,” with Sean Hayes in the 2008 City Center production.

Video 12: “There Goes My Life” from A Mother’s Kisses, with Bea Arthur, from the 1974 Tony Awards.


Alice By Heart, the new musical by Steven Sater and Duncan Sheik, will get a special presentation today at London’s National Theatre.

Inspired by Lewis Carroll’s “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland,” the rock musical is reset within a darker historical context that brings a sense of urgency to the tale that explores leaving childhood behind.

Alice By Heart, which is set in London, is being staged as part of the National Theatre’s Connections program that unites youth theatres across the U.K. The National annually commissions ten writers to create short works for youth companies to perform around the U.K. Sheik and Sater were approached to pen an abbreviated version of Alice By Heart, which they had been developing over the past several years.

Over 30 theatre companies in the program chose to stage Alice By Heart, and productions began rolling out throughout the U.K. in March.

Young performers from the Flying High Theatre Company will present their 60-minute version of Alice By Heart, staged by Carrie Bird. The presentation at the National’s Lyttelton Theatre will be the culmination of the five-day long Connections Festival, which launched June 20.


Amelia, actor-playwright Alex Webb’s two-person Civil War drama about a wife disguising herself as a Union soldier to find her missing husband Down South, has been invited to appear at the National Portrait Gallery in the nation’s capital.

Again featuring Shirleyann Kaladjian as Amelia and Webb in many roles, the production will play July 2 at 7 PM. WSG artistic director Bill Largess again directs.


Video:  Laura Osnes in rehearsal for her for her Cafe Carlyle debut.


Adriane Lenox, Susie Mosher, Paul Schoeffler and Lynne Wintertsteller will star in the Thurs. June 28 edition of Broadway Ballyhoo, to be held at NYC’s Feinstein’s at 11 PM.


East Hampton’s John Drew Theater at Guild Hall has announced the new Broadway to Main Street series, which will feature live concerts celebrating songs from the Broadway musical stage July 8 – Aug. 12. Laurence Maslon will host.

July 8 at 7:30: Better When It’s Banned: Censored Songs from the ’20s and ’30s, with Emily Bergl, Adriane Lenox and Marc Vietor, with musical direction by Deb Lapidus.  Click here for more information.

July 29 at 7:30 PM: Broadway to Main Street: Comedy Tonight!, with David Costabile, Veanne Cox and Mary Testa, with musical direction by David Gaines. Click here for more information.

Aug. 12 at 7:30 PM: Broadway to Main Street: Mr. Gershwin Goes to Washington: A Presidential Satire, with Anne-Carolyn Bird, David Garrison, Marc Kudisch and Emily Swallow, adapted by Laurence Maslon and featuring musical direction by Steven Blier.  Click here for more infomation.


Rumor:  It looks like Kathie Lee Gifford and David Friedman’s Saving Aimee may be headed to Broadway this September.


Houston’s Alley Theatre has announced casting for its upcoming production of Agatha Christie’s Black Coffee, to be presented July 7 – Aug. 5 (opening July 8). Gregory Boyd will direct.

In the play, Poirot cunningly absorbs clues to solve the murder of Sir Claude Amory, an eccentric inventor of a new weapons formula.

The cast features James Black, Jeffrey Bean, James Belcher, Paul Hope, Chris Hutchison, Todd Waite, Laura E. Campbell, David Gorena,  Josie de Guzman, Jennifer Harmon, Joe Kirkendall and Jay Sullivan.


Video: First look at Off-Broadway’s The Last Smoker in America.


The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey continues its 50th anniversary season with David Ives’s new adaptation of Pierre Corneille’s The Liar, directed by Paul Mullins, July 4-29.

The cast includes Brian Cade, Clark Carmichael, Katie Fabel, Jim Hopkins, Kevin Isola, Maya Kazan, Jane Pfitsch and James Russell.


VA’s Barter Theatre has announced the line-up for the twelfth annual Appalachian Festival of Plays and Playwrights, which will run July 6-13:

Hanging Mary by Matthew Carlton (July 6 at 1 PM), Even Longer and Farther Away by Chelsea Marcantel (July 6 at 4 PM), In the Night Café by Evan Guilford-Blake (July 9 at 1  PM), Buffalo Gal by donnarkevic (July 9 at 4 PM), Thirsting By the River Gilgamesh by Ramona L. Morris (July 10 at 1 PM), Thicker Than Water by Douglas M. Parker (July 10 at 4 PM), Half a World Away by Ruth Tyndall Baker (July 13 at 1 PM), and The Boy In the Box by Sean O’Leary (July 12 at 4 PM).

In addition, from July 31 – Aug. 11 Barter will offer a limited run of a mini-production of Walking Across Egypt, adapted by Catherine Bush from the novel by Clyde Edgerton.


NYC’s Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theatre has announced that Executive Director Harold G. Baldridge will retire this summer after 32 years. He will continue to serve The Neighborhood Playhouse as an advisor and will hold the title of Executive Director Emeritus. No replacement has yet been announced.


CT’s Sharon Playhouse presents The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, June 28 – July 15, directed by John Simpkins.

The cast stars Adinah Alexander (Miss Mona) and Travis Mitchell (Sheriff Earl Dodd), along with Meggan Utech (Jewel), Rose Bisogno (Shy), Kathleen Weston (Angel), Ashley Sweetman (Doatsey), Emily Soell (Miss Wulla Jean), Tim Shea (Melvin P. Thorpe), John Champion (Governor), Duane Estes (Senator Wingwoah), Dave Cadwell (Bandleader/Edsel Mackey), Russ Sawicki (C.J. Scruggs), and Philip O’Reilly (Mayor Rufus Poindexter).

The ensemble includes Stephen Beard, Drew Berezowitz, Amber Cameron, Livie Casto, Sarah Pearl Loman, Gena Loe, Zach Longstreet, Christian Lowery, Nick Savarese, Becky Sawicki, Jim Scofield, and Samantha Weinstein.


Article:  Richard Israel and his Leading Ladies talk farce.


NYC’s Cafe Carlyle has announced it fall season:

Judy Collins (Sept. 11-29), Andrea Marcovicci (Oct. 2-27), John Pizzarelli & Jessica Molaskey (Oct. 30 – Nov. 24), Steve Tyrell (Nov. 27 – Dec. 31) and Woody Allen and The Eddy Davis New Orleans Jazz Band (Monday evenings, Sept. 10 – Dec. 17).


Video:  Brian d’Arcy James, Part 2 on Shrek, Next to Normal, his show at 54 below, and more.


The Ustinov Studio at Theatre Royal, Bath has announced its third season of new commissions and UK premieres:

Julian Mitchell’s The Welsh Boy, adapted from James Parry’s The True Anti-Pamela , directed by Matthew Lloyd (Sept. 13 – Oct. 13), dedakidsongs, adapted and directed by Gary Sefton from the novel by Toby Litt (Oct. 18 – Nov. 17), and Fyodor Dostoevsky’s The Double, adapted by Meredith Oakes and directed by Laurence Boswell (Nov. 22 – Dec. 22).


Westport Country Playhouse will celebrate the life of producer and director Burry Fredrik on July 1 at 3 PM at the Lucille Lortel White Barn Center’s Sheffer Rehearsal Studio.  Fredrik, who died on May 22, won a Tony Award for co-producing Tom Stoppard’s Travesties.


The Hansberry Project will present Represent! A Multicultural Playwrights Festival July 17-22 at Seattle’s A Contemporary Theatre.

Represent! will feature readings of Paradise Blue by Dominique Morisseau, directed by Valerie Curtis-Newton (July 21),  Don Quixote and Sancho Panza, Homeless in Seattle by Rose Cano, directed by Lonnie Tristan Renteria (July 18), Tulika Kumar’s The Banyan Tree Trilogy directed by Agastya Kohli (July 19), and Kimber Lee’s Fight directed by Kathy Hsieh (July 20).

Each playwright will be on hand for a Q&A following the performance.

On the final day of the festival, July 22, audiences will be able to see all of the plays in repertory, beginning at 1 PM.


Article:  David Hyde Pierce‘s unique take on The Importance of Being Earnest, which is now set in Prohibition-era Noo Yawk.


Oxford University Press and the Readers on American Music Series have announced the publication of “The Irving Berlin Reader,” edited by performer and music historian Benjamin Sears.

The book explores Berlin’s life as a composer in Tin Pan Alley, on Broadway, and in Hollywood, featuring notes Berlin wrote on songwriting, as well as letters written to his friends, associates, and the performers of his songs.

Order the book here.


Billy Ray Cyrus makes his Broadway debut in Chicago Nov. 5  Dec. 23.


Answers to this week’s quiz – The 1930’s:

1. In Flying High, Bert Lahr played a mechanic who sets an aviation record since he doesn’t know how to land the plane.

2.  William Gaxton did not appear in Band Wagon.

3.  The highlight of the Earl Carroll Vanities was the 46′-tall dinosaur, which appeared with a girl in its mouth.

4.  The Cat and the Fiddle was the 1931 Kern-Harbach operetta.

5.  The iconic “Brother, Can You Spare a Dime” was the hit song from Americana.

6.  Moss Hart, not known for lush operetta, wrote the libretto the The Great Waltz.

7.  Bob Hope and Eve Arden introduced the song “I Cant’ Get Started with You” in the 1936 edition of Ziegfeld Follies.

8.  In Pins and Needles, FDR’s attempt to pack the Supreme Court with pro-New Deal justices was not mentioned in “Sing Me a Song of Solical Significance.”

9.  Jackie Gleason, not Eddie Cantor, headed the national tour of Hellzapoppin.

10.  The second-act ballet in I Married an Angel was set a Roxy Music Hall.

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


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