News: streaming concert honoring Rebecca Luker to benefit Target ALS

Target ALS, a nonprofit organization founded by former NYC Deputy Mayor Dan Doctoroff — who lost his father and uncle to ALS — has announced a one-night only streaming concert honoring the life of famed Broadway star Rebecca Luker. Diagnosed with ALS in late 2019, Luker passed away in December 2020, leaving behind her husband, fellow Broadway star Danny Burstein, and countless family members, friends and fans. Affectionately titled Becca the show will feature stories and songs from Luker’s career, performed by Broadway’s best-known stars, and will raise much-needed funds for ALS research

The lineup of performers featured in Becca includes Laura Benanti (Tony winner, Gypsy), Sierra Boggess (The Little MermaidThe Phantom of the Opera), Michael Cerveris (Tony winner, Fun Home), Victoria Clark (Tony winner, The Light in the Piazza), Santino Fontana (Tony winner, Tootsie), Judy Kuhn (Tony nominee, Fun Home), Howard McGillin (Tony nominee, longest-running The Phantom of the Opera), Norm Lewis (Tony nominee, Porgy and Bess), Kelli O’Hara (Tony winner, The King and I) and Sally Wilfert (The Adventures of Tom SawyerAll the Girls). Continue reading “News: streaming concert honoring Rebecca Luker to benefit Target ALS”

Album Reviews: Love on a Summer Afternoon / The Maury Yeston Songbook / There’s Something About You – More Words and Music of Richard Kates

This trio of album reviews covers Love on a Summer Afternoon: Songs of Sam Davis, The Maury Yeston Songbook and There’s Something About You – More Words and Music of Richard Kates

“You don’t know what you do to me”

There’s something of a deliciously old-school feel about Love on a Summer Afternoon: Songs of Sam Davis, these vignettes of song that recall even Noël Coward in their ability to capture mood and tone as well as telling a damn good story. David Hyde Pierce’s ‘Goodbye to Boston’ is probably the best, most heart-breaking example, Gavin Creel’s ‘Greenwich Time’ coming a close second. There’s levity and humour too, ensuring the collection doesn’t become too downbeat, but there’s definitely a musical and lyrical gift here that deserves to be more widely known. Continue reading “Album Reviews: Love on a Summer Afternoon / The Maury Yeston Songbook / There’s Something About You – More Words and Music of Richard Kates”

The Curtain Up Show Album of the Year 2016 nominees

Best UK Cast Recording
American Psycho – Original London Cast Recording
Close To You: Bacharach Reimagined – Original London Cast Recording
Funny Girl – Original London Cast Recording
Half A Sixpence – 2016 London Cast Recording
Kinky Boots – Original West End Cast Recording
Mrs Henderson Presents – Original London Cast Recording

Best American Cast Recording
Allegiance – Original Broadway Cast Recording
The Color Purple – New Broadway Cast Recording
Fiddler On The Roof – 2016 Broadway Cast Recording
Lazarus – Original Cast Recording
On Your Feet! – Original Broadway Cast Recording
Waitress – Original Broadway Cast Recording

Best Solo Album / Non Cast Recording
Cheyenne Jackson – Renaissance
Lin-Manuel Miranda – The Hamilton Mixtape
Idina Menzel – idina.
Kristin Chenoweth – The Art of Elegance
Nadim Naaman – Sides
Samantha Barks – Samantha Barks

Album Review: Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (2011 Original Broadway Cast Recording)

I’m feeling kinda woozy. I’ve been crying for an hour,
And my boyfriend has an ooze and he doesn’t clean the shower”

David Yazbek’s musical take on Pedro Almodóvar’s Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown hasn’t had the best time of it really, managing four months on Broadway in the winter of 2010 and then repeating a run of a similar length in the West End in 2015 in a retooled version that evidently did little to help. The Spanish director’s work is so richly musical that one might have thought musical theatre would gel easily with it but the reality is far more complex and difficult.

And so the result is something really quite challenging, often on the cusp of making the breakthrough to become the musical it ought to be but all too rarely making it. The main problem lies in a distinct lack of purpose to both Yazbek’s score and Jeffrey Lane’s book, even as it cleaves closely to the original film with its web of Madrid women with intricately connected love-lives circling around the same feckless men over the course of a tumultuous 48 hours. Continue reading “Album Review: Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (2011 Original Broadway Cast Recording)”

Album Review: Allegro (2009 First Complete Recording)

“He’s just a lug
You’d like to hug
And hold against your heart.”

It remains a source of constant fascination that we continue to find scarcely-known works by some of our most famous writers – Tennessee Williams had plays coming out of his ears but we’ve recently been treated to things like Arthur Miller’s rediscovered first play and in the world of musicals, Southwark Playhouse will be bringing us the European premiere of a Rodgers and Hammerstein show of all things.

Allegro was written in-between Carousel and South Pacific and though the theatre is leading with the fact that it took the highest advance in Broadway history on its 1947 debut, it is less forthcoming about the decidedly mixed critical and commercial success it received. As such, it remains relatively unperformed and it took until 2009 for a first complete recording to be made of the score. Continue reading “Album Review: Allegro (2009 First Complete Recording)”

Winners of 2015-2016 Outer Critics Circle Awards

John Gassner Playwriting Award
Lindsey Ferrentino, Ugly Lies the Bone
Lauren Gunderson, I and You
Martyna Majok, Ironbound
WINNER – Marco Ramirez, The Royale
Anna Ziegler, Boy

Outstanding Actor in a Play
Reed Birney, The Humans
Gabriel Byrne, Long Day’s Journey Into Night
WINNER – Frank Langella, The Father
Mark Strong, A View From the Bridge
Ben Whishaw, The Crucible Continue reading “Winners of 2015-2016 Outer Critics Circle Awards”