The theatre lost some great artists and T2C’s feels a special loss for the loss of the great Barbara Harris. Ms. Harris was a stage, screen and improv actress, died today from metastatic lung cancer at 83. Ms. Harris, was a founding member of the Second City improvisational theater. It was Second City that led Harris to make her Broadway debut in 1961 with the troupe’s musical revue From Second City. Next came a role Off-Broadway in Oh Dad, Poor Dad, Mamma’s Hung You in the Closet and I’m Feelin’ So Sad, for which she won the 1962 Obie Award for supporting actress, a role which she recreated for the film adaptation. Her next Broadway stint was in a brief 1963 revival of Mother Courage and Her Children, after which she planned to return home to Chicago. She was approached by both Richard Rodgers and Alan Jay Lerner to star in new musicals they were writing. The show was On a Clear Day You Can See Forever. That led to Bock and Harnick’s, The Apple Tree, which won her a Tony Award.
Harris went on to appear in the films Plaza Suite, A Thousand Clowns, Freaky Friday, Robert Altman’s Nashville, Peggy Sue Got Married, and Who Is Harry Kellerman, and Why Is He Saying Those Terrible Things About Me?, for which she received a 1972 Academy Award nomination for Best Actress in a Supporting Role.
Vivian Matalon, Tony-Winning actor director, has dies from complications of diabetes. He was 88. His spouse, was the playwright and actor Stephen Temperley. Matalon’s last Broadway credit was Temperley’s play Souvenir, with Judy Kaye and Donald Corren, in 2005. The play is based on the true story of Florence Foster Jenkins, which ended up as a movie starring Meryl Streep. While performing in The Iceman Cometh in 1958 — playing the part of Donald Parritt, a teenager, he had a revelation. In 1970 in London, he directed William Inge’s Bus Stop, which with a cast that included Keir Dullea and Lee Remick. “I stumbled into directing,” he said in a 1999 panel discussion for the American Theater Wing series “Working in the Theater.” In 1966, just after directing the Coward play, he directed After the Rain, John Bowen’s play about survivors of a flood. It came to New York the next year, and Matalon had his first Broadway credit. Matalon, after directing Noël Coward in London in his final stage appearance became a regular on Broadway. Noël Coward in Two Keys, came to Broadway in 1974, with a cast that included Hume Cronyn and Jessica Tandy. Matalon’s, busiest year on Broadway was 1980, where he briefly had three shows running at once — Morning’s at Seven, the revival of “Brigadoon” and the Arthur Miller play The American Clock. In 1983, he directed the musical The Tap Dance Kid, which earned him a nomination for best direction of a musical, as well as a 1983 revival of The Corn Is Green starring Cicely Tyson.
Brian Murray was a South African actor and director. Arriving in New York in 1964 with the Royal Shakespeare Company touring production of King Lear, the show would go on to earn three Tony Award nominations. His onscreen credits include The Angry Silence, The League Gentlemen, and voice work in Disney’s Treasure Planet and the independent animated feature My Dog Tulip. Murray made his Broadway debut in All in Good Time in 1965 and has gone on to celebrated performances in Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, Sleuth, Da, Noises Off, The Little Foxes, Twelfth Night, Uncle Vanya, The Crucible, and The Rivals, a Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Featured Actor in a Play for The Little Foxes, and seven Tony and Drama Desk nominations. He made his directorial debut in 1973 with a revival of The Waltz of the Toreadors and directed productions of Hay Fever, Arsenic and Old Lace, Blithe Spirit, and The Show Off. He died at 80 of natural causes.
Producer Craig Zadan, love for musical theater allowed films like Chicago, Hairspray and Gypsy, starring Bette Midler, Footloose and the television show “Smash”. He also brought back the TV musical along with his producing partner Neil Meron. Zadan produced all of NBC’s recent live musicals, and was tapped to produce the live musical version of “Hair” in the spring of this year. On Broadway, Zadan and Meron produced the revivals of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying in 2011 and Promises, Promises in 2010. Zadan directed the Broadway revue Up in One in 1979. Zadan died from complications following shoulder replacement surgery.
Theatre News: Doubt: A Parable, Here Lies Love, Prayer for the French Republic, Eisenhower and Hell’s Kitchen
Tyne Daly and Liev Schreiber will star in a revival of Doubt: A Parable on Broadway. The production is to begin performances next February at the American Airlines Theater.
The new production is produced by the Roundabout Theater Company, and will be directed by Scott Ellis, who has been serving as the nonprofit’s interim artistic director since the death of artistic director Todd Haimes in April.
The play, by John Patrick Shanley, is about a nun who suspects a priest has sexually abused a student at a Catholic school. In 2005, the year it first opened on Broadway, it won both the Pulitzer Prize for drama and the Tony Award for best play; it was later adapted into a film and an opera.
Daly, who will play the nun who serves as the school principal, and Schreiber, who will play the parish priest, are both Tony winners. Daly, is known for her role in “Cagney & Lacey”. She won the 1990 Tony Award for her portrayal as Mama Rose in the revival of Gypsy. Schreiber, is the star of Showtime’s “Ray Donovan.” He won a Tony Award in 2005 for a revival of Glengarry Glen Ross.
Doubt is one of three plays to be staged by Roundabout this coming season. The others are I Need That, a new play by Theresa Rebek starring Danny DeVito alongside his daughter, Lucy, and Home, a 1979 revival, directed by Kenny Leon, by Samm-Art Williams.
David Byrne, Fatboy Slim and Here Lies Love are causing controversy with their July Broadway debut. The show’s extensive use of prerecorded music has the American Federation of Musicians’ Local 802, up in arms. The Local’s Broadway musical contract stipulate that productions employ 19 live musicians.
In response to the union’s concerns, Byrne and the show’s PR team released a statement on Instagram to lay out the production’s revolutionary format and genre-bending originality. Here Lies Love is not a traditional Broadway musical. The music is drawn outside of the traditional music genre. The performance of the live vocals to pre-recorded, artificial tracks is paramount to its artistic concept. Production has ripped out the seats in the theater and built a dance floor. There is no longer a proscenium stage. The Broadway Theater has been transformed into a nightclub, with every theatergoer immersed in the experience.
Here Lies Love is on Broadway because Broadway must support boundary-pushing creative work. Broadway is also the venue for a well conceived, high-quality show that highlights the valued traditions of specific cultures whose stories have never been on its stages. Here Lies Love does not believe in artistic gatekeepers. Here Lies Love believes in a Broadway for everyone, where new creative forms push the medium and create new traditions and audiences.
I saw Here Lies Love at The Public and not sure what kind of fast talking this is, but this statement rings false and full of how can we cut the costs while sticking it to the audience.
Prayer for the French Republic, by Joshua Harmon is coming to Broadway this season.This award-winning Off Broadway production played to rave reviews at The Manhattan Theatre Club. The production was the winner of the 2022 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Play and Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding New Off-Broadway Play. Broadway performances will begin previews on Tuesday, December 19, at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre, with an official opening night on Tuesday, January 9, 2024. David Cromer directs.
Off Broadway: Tony winner John Rubinstein starts previews June 13 at St. Clement’s in one-man show Eisenhower.
Alicia Keys’ musical Hell’s Kitchen will run at The Public Theater from October 24 – December 10, starring Shoshana Bean. Inspired by Keys’ own life, the new musical features an original score by the 15-time Grammy-winning singer-songwriter, with a book by Kristoffer Diaz. Hell’s Kitchen will be directed by Michael Greif and choreographed by Camille A. Brown.
Leading the cast will be Maleah Joi Moon as Ali, opposite Bean as Ali’s mother Jersey, with Brandon Victor Dixon as Ali’s father Davis, Chad Carstarphen as Ray, Vanessa Ferguson as Tiny, Crystal Monee Hall as Crystal, Chris Lee as Knuck, Jackie Leon as Jessica, Kecia Lewis as Ali’s piano teacher Miss Liza Jane, Mariand Torres as Maria, and Lamont Walker II as Riq.
Completing the cast are Reid Clarke, Chloe Davis, Nico DeJesus, Timothy L. Edwards, Raechelle Manalo, Sarah Parker, and Niki Saludez, with understudies Badia Farha, Gianna Harris, Onyxx Noel, William Roberson, and Donna Vivino.
The musical is described as a coming-of-age story set in a cramped apartment in the neighborhood of the title near Times Square, where 17-year-old Ali is desperate to get her piece of the New York dream. Ali’s mother is just as determined to protect her daughter from the same mistakes she made. When Ali falls for a talented young drummer, both mother and daughter must face hard truths about race, defiance, and growing up.
The production has set design by Robert Brill, costumes by Dede Ayite, lighting by Natasha Katz, sound by Gareth Owens, and projection design by Peter Nigrini.
Countdown to The Tony Awards: Who Will and Who Should Win in Best Performance in a Musical
The countdown is on and the winners of the 2022/2023 season will be announced in a live televised ceremony on Sunday, June 11.
Here is who we think will win and who should.
Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical
Annaleigh Ashford, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
Sara Bareilles, Into the Woods
Victoria Clark, Kimberly Akimbo
Lorna Courtney, & Juliet
Micaela Diamond, Parade
This to us is a no brainer … Victoria Clark performance has stood out since she brought Kimberly Akimbo to life off-Broadway in 2021. Though Annaleigh is a terrific performer this is Victoria’s year.
Will Win: Victoria Clark
Should Win: Victoria Clark
Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical
Christian Borle, Some Like It Hot
J. Harrison Ghee, Some Like It Hot
Josh Groban, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
Brian d’Arcy James, Into the Woods
Ben Platt, Parade
Colton Ryan, New York, New York
This is another no brainer J. Harrison Ghee gives a textured layered performance. Ben Platt and Josh Groban cancel each other out, though both are riveting performances.
Will win: J. Harrison Ghee
Should win: J. Harrison Ghee
Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical
Julia Lester, Into the Woods
Ruthie Ann Miles, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
Bonnie Milligan, Kimberly Akimbo
NaTasha Yvette Williams, Some Like It Hot
Betsy Wolfe, & Juliet
Bonnie Milligan took the theatre community by storm in Head Over Heels, but it was not her time. This year Milligan commands the stage and you definitely remember her performance.
Will win: Bonnie Milligan
Should win: Bonnie Milligan
Alex Newell photo by Matthew Murphy & Evan Zimmerman)
Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical
Kevin Cahoon, Shucked
Justin Cooley, Kimberly Akimbo
Kevin Del Aguila, Some Like It Hot
Jordan Donica, Lerner & Loewe’s Camelot
Alex Newell, Shucked
Many think Alex Newell was snubbed in 2018 for his performance in Once on This Island. Newell gets standing ovations over at Shucked for “Independently Owned” and they are well deserved. Kevin Del Aguila to me was a breath of fresh air and made me love his performance not once, but twice.
Will win: Alex Newell
Should win:Kevin Del Aguila
National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene Summer Soirée With Barry Manilow, Julie Benko, Adam B. Shapiro, Michael Zegen and More
On June 19 the National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene Summer Soirée at The Lighthouse at Chelsea Piers is set to impress. Adam B. Shapiro (from the cast of the award winning Fiddler on The Roof in Yiddish), will be the Master of Ceremonies The celebrity address will be by Michael Zegen, co-star of “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” with a special performance by Julie Benko, the sensational breakout star of Broadway’s Funny Girl. Benko has joined the cast of Harmony coming to Broadway this fall.
Musical Moments from NYTF’s Upcoming Season including a performance by Danny Kornfeld from Barry Manilow and Bruce Sussman’s Broadway Bound New Musical ‘Harmony’
The evening will also feature performances from artists who have been part of NYTF’s stellar productions, including a special appearance by The Mameles, whose singing trio – Maya Jacobson, Raquel Nobile and Jodi Snyder – met while starring in Fiddler on the Roof in Yiddish.
Throughout the night, attendees also will be treated to performances by: Dani Apple, Joanne H. Borts, Aaron Diskin, Brian Glassman, Sophie Knapp, Annette Ezekiel Kogan, Yosef Kogan, Frank London, Avram Mlotek, Jenny Romaine, Rachel Yucht, Avi Fox-Rosen, Ilya Shneyveys, Dmitri Zisl Slepovitch, and Matt Temkin and the Schechter Bergen Children’s Chorus
Indulge in a delightful cocktail reception followed by an exquisite dinner as you prepare to be dazzled with exclusive previews of musical moments from NYTF’s upcoming 2023-2024 Season.
Ken Fallin’s Broadway: Annaleigh Ashford and Josh Groban in Sweeney Todd
Grey House Is Haunting in More Than One Way
Levi Holloway’s Grey House is a mental mind bend. It tries to come off as a haunted thriller with blackouts galore, moments left hanging, loud noises and flashes in the dark of dead things, but deep down it is a lot more than that. The script lacking in text, takes awhile to figure out the ins and outs.
We starts off as a blizzard rages outside, four feral teenage girls, a young boy (Eamon Patrick O’Connell) and their mother Raleigh (Laurie Metcalf), who is asleep on the couch or is she passed out, entertain themselves. There is Bernie (Millicent Simmonds) who is deaf, a cynical Marlow (Sophia Anne Caruso), the unpredictable Squirrel (Colby Kipnes), and the sweet A1656 (Alyssa Emily Marvin). The girls do what looks like a spell, as a car crashes bringing in Max (Clare Karpen, standing in for Tatiana Maslany) and Henry (Paul Sparks). From the beginning you know nothing good is going to happen.
Henry called Hank by the girls has broken his ankle and is given “moonshine” for the pain. The refrigerator mysteriously offers this liquid when it feels like it. Henry becomes addicted to the liquid as he encounters first Squirrel, then The Ancient (Cyndi Coyne).
In the meantime Max is manipulated into playing games with these strange children, as Raleigh throws caustic asides and distain to her.
As Henry gets more and more into his “moonshine” addiction he becomes the men who have abused all the inhabitants of this purgatory. The house it turns out is a cross over between heaven and hell or is it way station where karma is played out? It is a surprisingly that this play is written by a man, because at the crux of this play is men will always hurt, disappoint and destroy the female gender.
Director Joe Mantello (Wicked) has used set designer Scott Pask, sound designer Tom Gibbons and lighting designer Natasha Katz to make Grey House a living breathing entity that haunts from within. His cast is uniformly excellent with Sophia Anne Caruso bringing yet another haunting performance to life with a scalding clarity. Metcalf brings to mind every Stephen King novel and gives a masterclass in acting. Karpen gives us a women who is lost in mourning due to her father just passing and a long-dead sister whom she loved. We see the weight put upon her that ultimately binds her to this place. Sparks is the epitome of a week man who fight is within himself.
This play leaves more questions than answers that are left to the audience to figure out. At the heart of this story is grief and how we are trapped and make our own prisons instead of moving to the light.
Grey House: Lyceum Theatre, 149 W 45th Street, through September 23rd.
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