Join Seth and James as Stars In The House hosts an Election Day Vote-A-Thon featuring Iain Armitage, Colleen Ballinger, Laura Benanti, Annette Bening, Stephanie J. Block, Brenda Braxton, Betty Buckley, Laura Bell Bundy, Andréa Burns, Ann Hampton Callaway, Liz Callaway, Tom Cavanagh, Michael Cerveris, Will Chase, Javier Colon, Gavin Creel, Marcia Cross, Charlotte d’Amboise, Darius DeHaas, Dana Delany, Colin Donnell, Jill Eikenberry, Melissa Errico, Victor Garber, Peri Gilpin, Josh Groban, Sean Hayes, Marilu Henner, Megan Hilty, Carly Hughes, Jeremy Jordan, Celia Keenan-Bolger, Judy Kuhn, Anika Larsen, Laura Leighton, Beth Malone, Melissa Manchester, Terrence Mann, Andrea Martin, Michael McElroy, Lindsay Mendez, Laurie Metcalf, Ingrid Michaelson, Lisa Mordente, Jessie Mueller, Patti Murin, Julia Murney, Kelli O’Hara, Karen Olivo, Adam Pascal, Lauren Patten, Christine Pedi, Rosie Perez, Anthony Rapp, Caroline Rhea, Alice Ripley, Chita Rivera, Jenna Russell, Lea Salonga, Glenn Scarpelli, Marc Shaiman, Martin Short, Elizabeth Stanley, Ben Stiller, Michael Tucker, Jenna Ushkowitz, Vanessa Williams, Schele Williams, Marissa Winokur, BD Wong, Tony Yazbeck and Bellamy Young.
On the one hand, so much to love with such an inordinate array of talent assembled to mark Sondheim’s 90th birthday. But on the other, where’s the editor, there’s a real sense of the rambling here too. Fortunately as this has been put together in lockdown (and very well too) it is easier than ever to skip to the bits you want (in the spirit of these times, I ain’t telling you who disappointed me).
For me, I loved the unexpectedness of Katrina Lenk’ ‘Johanna’, the cuteness of Beanie Feldstein & Ben Platt’s ‘It Takes Two’, and the energy of Alexander Gemignani’s ‘Buddy’s Blues’. And of the heavy hitters in the finale, Donna Murphy and Patti LuPone nailed ‘Send in the Clowns’ and ‘Anyone Can Whistle’ respectively, and there’s huge fun (if not finesse) in Christine Baranski, Meryl Streep & Audra McDonald giving us their ‘Ladies Who Lunch’. Continue reading “Lockdown Review: Take Me to the World: A Sondheim 90th Birthday Celebration”
I turn my attention to the latest set of Broadway cast recordings with Frozen, Prince of Broadway and Mean Girls
My cynicism about the quick turnaround of megahit film Frozen into a would-be megahit musical lasted for about 10 seconds as I popped on their cast recording. I mean, I loved the film and its songs by Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez and so who was I kidding?!
And it fulfils all of my Disney princess dreams. Caissie Levy (Elsa) and Patti Murin (Anna) lead the cast in fine full-voiced form, new songs from the Lopezes fit in well to the score though it does take a hot minute to get used to them. And the orchestral arrangement lends a note of excitement to the songs you know so well already.
Levy’s ‘Let It Go’ naturally takes the spotlight as the Act 1 closer (reprised to close the show as well) but Murin’s rendition of ‘Love Is An Open Door’ with John Riddle’s Hans gets my vote for its sheer warmth and joie de vivre. Of the new songs, Elsa’s ‘Dangerous to Dream’ probably ranks as my favourite. Definitely keen to see this once it hits the West End. Continue reading “Album reviews: Frozen / Prince of Broadway / Mean Girls”
Admissions, by Joshua Harmon, Lincoln Center Theater
Mary Jane, by Amy Herzog, New York Theatre Workshop
Miles for Mary, by The Mad Ones, Playwrights Horizons
People, Places & Things, by Duncan Macmillan, National Theatre/St. Ann’s Warehouse/Bryan Singer Productions/Headlong
School Girls; Or, The African Mean Girls Play, by Jocelyn Bioh, MCC Theater
Desperate Measures, The York Theatre Company
KPOP, Ars Nova/Ma-Yi Theatre Company/Woodshed Collective
Old Stock: A Refugee Love Story, 2b Theatre Company/59E59
SpongeBob SquarePants Continue reading “Nominations for the 2018 Drama Desk Awards”
John Gassner Playwriting Award
Kate Benson, [PORTO]
Jocelyn Bioh, School Girls; Or, the African Mean Girls Play
Lindsey Ferrentino, Army and the Orphans
Meghan Kennedy, Napoli, Brooklyn
Dominique Morisseau, Pipeline
Outstanding Actor in a Musical
Harry Hadden-Paton, My Fair Lady
Joshua Henry, Carousel
David M. Lutken, Woody Sez
Conor Ryan, Desperate Measures
Ethan Slater, SpongeBob SquarePants
Continue reading “Nominations for 2017-2018 Outer Critics Circle Awards”
Manhattan Concert Productions (MCP) is pleased to announce the following creative team for Broadway Classics in Concert, on Tuesday, February 20, 8:00 p.m., in Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage at Carnegie Hall.
Don Stephenson, Stage Director
Kevin Stites, Music Director/Conductor
Christopher Ash, Projection & Video
Jason Lyons, Lighting
Dave Horowitz, Sound
Gary Mickelson, Stage Manager
Telsey + Company / Craig Burns, CSA, Casting
MCP also welcomes Nikki Renée Daniels who will be joining the outstanding alumni cast for Broadway Classics in Concert.
The full alumni cast includes Michael Arden (Ragtime, Hunchback of Notre Dame), Sierra Boggess (The Secret Garden), Carolee Carmello (Broadway Classics 2013), Allan Corduner(Titanic), Nikki Renée Daniels (The Secret Garden), Quentin Earl Darrington (The Secret Garden), Ramin Karimloo (Parade, The Secret Garden), Norm Lewis (Ragtime), Laura Osnes(Crazy For You), Lea Salonga (Ragtime), Ryan Silverman (Titanic) and Tony Yazbeck (Crazy For You). Continue reading “News: Creatives and company for Broadway Classics in Concert”
“I try hard to keep detached,But I get carried away”
On The Town is an undoubtedly frivolous show, a plot as light as gossamer, but seeing it recently at the Open Air Theatre reminded me just how tuneful a musical it is, Leonard Bernstein’s 1944 score full not just of classic songs but gorgeous instrumental passages too, to allow the many dance sequences to really pop. This recording comes from the 2014 Broadway revival which received good notices but barely lasted a year altogether.
Who knows why it didn’t last. It has a strong trio of men as its sailors on 24-hour ship leave in New York – Tony Yazbeck, Clyde Alves, and Jay Armstrong Johnson – and some women who steal the show from them, most notably Elizabeth Stanley’s Claire de Loone, and Jackie Hoffman too for good measure. Stanley’s portrayal in particular really shines through, matching a strong soprano with serious comic skills and making her someone I want to find out more about. Continue reading “Album Review: On The Town (2014 New Broadway Cast Recording)”
“When you dance, you’re charming and you’re gentle”
The Floor Above Me was a successful summer ’14 cabaret show for US actor, singer and dancer Tony Yazbeck, whose profile subsequently rocketed after his Tony-nominated turn in On The Town which opened later that year. He’s reprised the show a couple of times since then and it has now been immortalised on record. In some ways, it’s a slightly odd choice as Yazbeck is a genuine triple threat and this was a show designed to show that off. So there’s tap-dancing segments aplenty, including a special tap-dancing guest in Melinda Sullivan, which in all honesty just doesn’t necessarily come off too well when listening to it.
Proving that the art of cabaret is a highly skilled one, his in-between songs patter lacks the vibrancy to really engage the audience outwith the club though. In person, one can imagine his sincere charm and understated passion coming across really well but here, it just ends up sapping pace and breaking the mood of the record. And the humble schtick about finding the girl of his dreams and being a performer born in the wrong era doesn’t really grab you, especially as his song choices don’t always necessarily reflect that professed notion. Continue reading “CD Review: Tony Yazbeck – The Floor Above Me (2016)”
“Here she is boys…here she is world!”
Listening to the 2008 Broadway Cast Recording of Gypsy hard on the heels of the London cast recording, I was a little worried that it might just pale by comparison, especially since I was able to see the show at the Savoy and pay endless tribute to Imelda Staunton. But with the formidable Patti LuPone at the helm, this is just as strong a Mama Rose, if dramatically and musically much different. This album has the added bonus of a suite of songs that were cut from the original production.
The production is perhaps most infamous for being the scene of one of LuPone’s first recorded outbursts against audiences members using devices in her presence (see video below) but having seen the show here in London and listened to LuPone’s rendition of the show-stopping Rose’s Turn, I don’t think you can blame her for criticising someone for shocking a performer out of in the intensity of such a moment (and not simply bathing in it themselves). Continue reading “Album Review: Gypsy (2008 Broadway Cast Recording)”