Monday, October 14, 2013

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Today’s Highlights:

* Seth Rudetsky & Jack Plotnick’s Disaster! A 1970’s Disaster Movie…Musical, with Mary Testa, Tom Riis Farrell, Michele Ragusa, Jennifer Simard and Rudetsky, begins previews at Off-Broadway’s St. Luke’s Theatre.

Red Bull Theater‘s Samson Agonistes staged reading, by John Milton, with Robert Cuccioli, Ron Cephas Jones, Richard Easton, Alfredo Narciso, Dakin Matthews, Roberta Maxwell, Christina Rouner, Robert Stanton and Marc Vietor, at 7:30 PM at Off-Broadway’s Lucille Lortel Theatre.

Pecadillo Theater Company‘s The Second Man staged reading, by S.N. Behrman, with Greg Hildreth, Jordan Baker, Heather Lind and Aaron Serotsky, at 7 PM at Off-Broadway’s Theatre at St. Clements.

* Ron Paolillo’s The Lost Boy staged reading, with Blake Hammond, Guiseppe Bausilio, Arthur Atkinson, Lucy Sorlucco, Megan Thomas, Gus Ferrari and Merlinda & Wendy Darling, at 7:30 PM at Off-Broadway’s Actors Temple Theatre.

* The Actors Fund‘s Nothing Like a Dame – Lorna’s Pink Party benefit concert, with Lorna Luft, Liza Minnelli, Nick Adams, Ann Hampton Callaway, Liz Callaway, Jim Caruso, Kelly King, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Phyllis Newman and Marcia Strassman, at 7 PM at NYC’s Birdland (also Oct. 21).

* Uptown/Downtown benefit for NYC’s Abrons Arts Center, with Kyle Abraham, Joey Arias, Jack Ferver & James Whiteside, Ellen Greene, Robert La Fosse, Bebe Neuwirth and Philippe Petit, at 6:30 PM at the Center.

* Will Van Dyke and Friends concert, with guests Billy Porter, Annaleigh Ashford, Tamika Lawrence, Mike Wartella, Alex Brightman, Jason Gotay, Randy Blair, Matt Doyle, Katie Gassert, Preston Sadleir, Ben Crawford, David Josefsberg and Sally Wilfert, at 9:30 PM at 54 Below.

* Musicals Tonight!‘s At This Performance concert, with Eric Ankrim, Michelle Dawson, Andy Jones, Kevin Smith Kirkwood, Ellyn Marie Marsh, Vasthy Mompoint, Bethany Moore, Carla Stickler, Julius Thomas III, Billy Harrigan Tighe, Branch Woodman and Candice Marie Woods, at 7 PM at Off-Broadway’s Lion Theatre.

* Three Way Street concert, featuring the work of songwriters Christine Toy Johnson, Michael Mott and Bradford Proctor, performed by Mimi Bessette, Jake Boyd, Hannah Elless, Ali Ewoldt, Ben Fankhauser, Beth Glover, Brad Greer, Adam Kaplan, Janet Krupin, Anastacia McCleskey, Jacqueline Petroccia, Diane Phelan, Matt Shingledecker, Shauna Goodgold, Lindsay Rider and Bruce Landry, at 11:30 PM at 54 Below.

Linda Eder‘s “Christmas Where You Are” released on CD, sold exclusively here.


Reviews  Reviews for Gettin’ the Band Back Together at George Street Playhouse:

NY Times (Anita Gates):  “A 40-year-old man sings ‘I slept with your mother’ to a horrified buddy from high school. A rabbi break-dances in an exhilarating hip-hop version of ‘Hava Nagila.’ A ‘Welcome to Sayreville, N.J.’ sign gets entrance applause when it is rolled onstage.  The George Street Playhouse in New Brunswick is presenting the world premiere of Gettin’ the Band Back Together, a playful, good-natured, mildly irreverent and genuinely funny musical whose creators know how to mix the feel-good experience with touches of meanness.”

Theatermania (Hayley Levitt):  “Tying the production together is a score of catchy tunes by Mark Allen filled with plenty of blunt humor. It may not be Sondheim’s prose, but it’ll muster plenty of laughs and is sure to be rolling around in your head when you wake up the next morning. Though the book has clearly taken a few trips through the streamliner, it’s maintained an endearing rough-around-the-edges quality, as if we were truly watching an old group of friends rediscover the joy of jamming in a garage with their old high-school buds.”

Curtain Up (Simon Saltzman):  “This new musical takes pride, and without prejudice, in embracing well-worn cliches and in incorporating as many stereotypical aspects of human behavior as possible. It also empowers the kind of trite plot situation that would normally send shivers down your back. Actually, it has no right being as funny and as entertaining as it is. ”



Quiz GN QuizBiographical Musicals, Part II, by Laura Frankos

Match the individuals on the left with the musical about their lives on the right:

1.  Stew A.  Rex
2.  Edvard Grieg B.  Funny Girl
3.  Addison and Wilson Mizner C. The Love Song
4.  Edward Koch D.  Onward, Victoria
5.  Charles , Dauphin of France E.  Passing Strange 
6.  Jacques Offenbach F.  White Lilacs
7.  Frederick Chopin G.  Road Show
8.  Fanny Brice H.  Goodtime Charley
9.  Henry VIII I.   Song of Norway
10. Victoria Woodhull J.  Mayor

Scroll down for the answers…


When You Wish: The Story of Walt Disney continues through Nov. 3 (opening Oct. 16) at UCLA’s Freud Playhouse, featuring an original score of 18 songs with music and book by Dean McClure, directed by Larry Raben, with choreography by Lee Martino.

Cast: Tim Martin Gleason, Andy Umberger, Brandi Burkhardt, Melissa Fahn, Norman Large, Louis Pardo, Kade Pait and Jake Davidson, along with Jennifer Brausell, Kate Harvey, Aurore Joly, Lorenzo King, David Michael Laffey, Morgan Marcell,  Garett Marshall, Louis A. Williams, Thomas Adoue Polk, Kirklyn Robinson, Nick Tubbs, and Salvatore Vassallo.

When You Wish tells the inspiring story of how a young dreamer became the Walt Disney who changed the world.  The journey begins in 1906 with Walt as a six-year-old, drawing cartoons on the family toilet paper and concludes with his biggest dream of all, the opening of Disneyland in 1955.  Roy Disney, Walt’s older brother and business partner, serves as the story’s narrator, taking us on a journey of struggle, heartache, and enormous triumph; including the opening and bankrupt closing of Laugh-0-Gram Studios in Kansas City; the formation of Disney Brothers Studios in Hollywood; the marriage of Walt and Lillian Disney; the departure of his best and closest animator Ub Iwerks; and the creation of a mouse named ‘Mickey’ which ignited his career and the legacy that would forever be Walt Disney.”


Star Statue - smallMidtown International Theatre Festival Award winners:

Production of a Play: Division Avenue
Production of a Musical: Color of Life
Production of a Short Subject: 
Margarita and Max
Production of a Staged Reading: 
Another Girl
Lead Actor in a Play (Full Production):
 Jordan Felther – Division Avenue
Lead Actress in a Play (Full Production): 
Mary Rasmussen – Division Avenue
Lead Actor in a Musical (Full Production): Eric Morris – Angel On My Shoulder
Lead Actress in a Musical (Full Production): 
Shino Frances – Color Of Life
Lead Actor in a Short Subject: James Judd – Funny Stories
Lead Actress in a Short Subject: 
Kim McKean – Margarita and Max
Supporting Actor: 
Spencer Aste – Slain In the Spirit
Supporting Actress: 
Joanna Glushak – Division Avenue
Ensemble Performance: 
Division Avenue
Direction of a Play:
 Dean Nolen – Division Avenue
Direction of a Musical: Sachiko Ishimaru – Color of Life
Direction of a Short Subject or Staged Reading: 
David Hilder – Margarita and Max
Miki Bone – Division Avenue
Music & Lyrics: Sachiko Ishimaru & Yasuhiro Ito – Color of Life
Choreography: Greg Graham – Motel Rasdell


Labrynth Theatre Company has announced casting for Dominique Morisseau’s Sunset Baby, to run Nov. 6 – Dec. 6 at Off-Broadway’s Bank Street Theatre, directed by Kamilah Forbes.

Cast: John Earl Jelks, Harvey Gardner Moore and Dewanda Wise.

“East New York, Brooklyn. Nina’s estranged father, a former black revolutionary, reappears to obtain a piece of her deceased mother’s legacy. A powerful and honest story of one woman’s journey to survive the harsh realities of her world, Sunset Baby is an energetic, daring look at the point where the personal and political collide.”


Video Watch:  The San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus previews Andrew Lippa’s I Am  Harvey Milk.


The Foundry Theatre’s production of Brecht’s The Good Person of Szechwan, translated by John Willett, will run Oct. 18 – Nov. 24 (opening Oct. 29) at the Public Theater, directed by Lear deBessonet, with music composed and directed by César Alvarex and choreography by Danny Mefford.

Cast: Taylor Mac, Kate Benson, Ephraim Birney, Vinie Burrows, Clifton Duncan, Jack Allen Greenfield, Brooke Ishibashi, Paul Juhn, Mia Katigbak, Lisa Kron, Mary Shultz, David Turner and Darryl Winslow.

“Can we practice goodness and create a world to sustain it? In this comic and complex play, one of Brecht’s most entertaining characters, Shen Tei, the good-hearted, penniless, cross-dressing prostitute, is forced to disguise herself as a savvy businessman named Shui Ta to master the ruthlessness necessary to be a ‘good person’ in a cruel world of limited resources.”


Video  Watch: Highlights from Chita: A Legendary Celebration.


Complete casting has been announced for the industry reading of Tim Realbuto & Matthew Martin’s Ghostlight, which takes place Mon. Dec. 2 at NYC’s New 42nd Street Studios, directed by the writers.

Cast:  Carolee Carmello, Brad Rakushin, Abigail Ludrof, Ryan Rhue, Angelia Golden, Nathan Jentink, Elliot Lane, Jessie MacBeth, Taryn Tonelli, Tim Wessel and Emily Witte.

 Although the reading is closed to the public, the creators have initiated a raffle to anyone who donates to their IndieGoGo campaign. The winner of the raffle will receive two seats to the special event.

Donate Donate here.

Ghostlight tells the true story of infamous Ziegfeld Follies girl and silent film star Olive Thomas, whose ghost is said to still haunt Broadway’s New Amsterdam Theatre today. In Ghostlight, we see Olive’s meteoric rise to fame in the Follies alongside Fanny Brice, her affair with a married Ziegfeld, her falsely idealized friendship with Follies comedienne Molly Cook, her whirlwind Hollywood marriage to movie star Jack Pickford, and ultimately her tragic downfall, which led to her mysterious death at age 25 in Paris at the height of her fame.”


The Encores! special event, A Bed and a Chair: A New York Love Affairwill run Nov. 13-17 at NY City Center, directed by John Doyle, with choreography by Parker Esse.

Conceived by Peter Gethers, Jack Viertel and Doyle, the musical event features Stephen Sondheim’s music arranged and performed by the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Marsalis.  The program will feature more than two-dozen Sondheim compositions, each piece newly re-imagined by Marsalis.

Cast: Bernadette Peters, Norm Lewis, Jeremy Jordan and Cyrille Aimée, along with dancers Meg Gillentine, Tyler Hanes, Grasan Kingsberry and Elizabeth Parkinson.

A Bed and a Chair: A New York Love Affair “celebrates love in New York and love of New York. Native Manhattanite Sondheim and adopted citizen Marsalis (originally from New Orleans) will compare musical notes on their shared passion for our city.”


Thumbs Up Hugh Jackman – One Night Only Los Angeles concert on Oct. 12 raised $1.85 million for MPTF.


Robert Cuccioli and Christina DeCicco will host A Web of Love – A Benefit Concert & Auction for Daniel Curry, who was injured during the Aug. 15 performance of Broadway’s Spider-Man when his leg was pinned by a piece of equipment. As previously reported, Curry is taking action in court against the show.

The benefit is set for Mon. Oct. 21 at 7:15 PM at NYC’s Nuyorican Poet’s Cafe (236 East 3rd Street, between avenues B & C).

Among the items up for auction are two orchestra seats to the Met Opera’s Rigoletto, as well as tickets to Pippin and Kinky Boots — all three featuring a backstage tour with a star from each show, artwork and more!  Click here for more information about the auction.


Miscast – Right Singer, Wrong Song will take place Mon. Oct. 21 at 8 PM at North Hollywood’s Sterling’s Upstairs at the Federal.

Performers: Mandy Kaplan, Todd Sherry, Jennifer Hall, Will Collyer, JP Karliak, Mandy Fabian, Chris Carlisle, Mona Chatterjee, Netta Most, Jeffrey Landman, Tom Metz III and Brett Ryback.


Video  Jeremy Jordan and Jeremy Kushnier strip down during the Oct. 11 The Skivvies concert at 54 Below.

Watch: Jeremy Jordan
Watch: Jeremy Kushnier


According to The Independent, Kenneth Branagh has been approached to succeed Sir Nicholas Hytner as the artistic director of The National Theatre in 2015. Sources have confirmed to the publication that Rufus Norris is also being courted for the spot.

Sir Anthony Hopkins first revealed the news, saying: “He wrote me an email and told me he’d been offered the directorship. I said do it, because he’s the only actor who could replace Olivier today. I told him he must accept. You see, Ken has got the teeth and the guts to do it.”

Though Branagh did not apply for the job, a spokesperson for the actor/director confirmed that he had met with Hopkins to discuss the potential position.

As previously reported, Branagh was also rumored to be the top pick to replace Kevin Spacey as The Old Vic’s artistic director in 2015.


Article Read:  Marshall Brickman on bringing Jersey Boys from stage to screen, plus Roy Rogers, Addams Family, Woody Allen, and more.


A limited 5-week engagement concert presentation of the new show Stars of David, conceived by Aaron Harnick and Abigail Pogrebin and based on the book “Stars of David” by Abigail Pogrebin, will run Nov. 13 – Dec. 15 at Off-Broadway’s DR2 Theatre, directed by Gordon Greenberg.

This funny and captivating concert presentation features original songs by the finest composers and lyricists of the theatre and celebrates the identity of some of the most well know Jewish personalities including Marilyn & Alan Bergman, Andy Cohen, Gloria Steinem, Kenneth Cole, Fran Drescher, Edgar Bronfman Sr., Aaron Sorkin, Leonard Nimoy, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Joan Rivers, Tony Kushner, Mike Wallace and Norman Lear, among others.

Their stories have been adapted into touching, humorous and often moving songs by Marvin Hamlisch, Marilyn & Alan Bergman, Sheldon Harnick, Duncan Sheik  & Steven Sater, Jeanine Tesori, Richard Maltby & David Shire, Tom Kitt, Michael Friedman, Amanda Green, Nathan Tysen & Chris Miller, Susan Birkenhead, Gaby Alter & Itamar Moses, Daniel Messé and others.

Cast: Janet Metz, Alan Schmuckler, Aaron Serotsky and Donna Vivino.


Quiz GN Quiz Answers – Biographical Musicals, Part II

1-E: Stew – Passing Strange
2-I: Edvard Grieg – Song or Norway
3-G:  Addison and Wilson Mizner – Road Show
4-J:  Edward Koch – Mayor
5 -H: Charles, Dauphin of France – Goodtime Charley
6-C: Jacques Offenbach – The Love Song
7-F: Frederick Chopin – White Lilacs
8-B: Fanny Brice – Funny Girl
9-A: Henry VIII – Rex
10-D: Victoria Woodhull – Onward, Victoria 

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


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