Connect with us

Broadway

Come From Away on Apple+ Via Broadway, Via Newfoundland

Published

on

What an emotional day, evening, weekend. So it seemed utterly relevant and important to take in and land on the streaming of Broadway’s most beautiful musical ode to 9/11, Come From Away last night, with special thanks to Apple TV Plus. This viewing must have been the fourth time that I watched this magnificent show, and, honestly, I cried just as much (or more) as the first time I saw it at David Mirvish’s Royal Alexandra Theatre in Toronto over the Christmas holidays of 2016. The second and third were on Broadway with out-of-town friends. I must also admit that I was equally as excited to see it again last night as I was when it first came to Broadway in 2017 (it’s returning to Broadway this September 21, 2021).  The filming of this critical and financially successful Broadway musical is simply perfection, performed miraculously live at Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre for an audience that included 9/11 survivors, front-line workers, and their family and friends, while also featuring the entire original cast, including the dynamic Jenn Colella, who earned a Tony nomination for Best Actress in a Musical.

Come From Away, which received seven 2017 Tony nominations including Best Musical, and a much deserved win for Best Direction of a Musical, is a joy to behold, especially on the night before this historic day. The show was definitely one of my favorite new musicals of that year, and I talked it up to the skies to anyone who would listen.  When I spoke of the show to someone who didn’t know it is about 9/11, their first reaction was usually shock; shock that a musical could or would be written about such a horrifying day, but their fears were unjustified. The genius Canadian writing team of Irene Sankoff and David Hein (Book, Music, and Lyrics) found their way, navigating a potentially dangerous terrain while creating an astonishingly beautiful, respectful, and complicated emotional version of that day and that week, all through the eyes of the true-to-life residents of a small town in Newfoundland and the “plane-people” who were stranded there. 

[2]_The cast of COME FROM AWAY

Come From Away, the commercial and critical Broadway success story has happily found a new home on Apple TV Plus. Filmed in front of a live audience, this very specific and wonderful story of that infamous horrible day is as refreshing and warm as it was live on stage. The very humane tale streaming out to the world still solidly shoves a lump into your throat, with tears of love and compassion running down your cheeks. But not only is it tender and warm, it also finds a way to install a big grin on your face for the love and joy it radiates outward.  Not once does the show mention ‘World Trade Center’, nor do they resort to images or descriptives that will upset, which I am grateful for. Somehow, this writing team does what one would think would be impossible, it lands the most musically loving story centered around one of the most horrific tragic day in our history in the most humanly kind way possible. A magnificent feat if there ever was one.

The first few moments of this show deliver a truth that is perfection. Ask anyone where they were on that terrible day in history, no matter where they were living in this big wide world, most remember, and will tell you their story.  I have one as well; standing on the corner of 26th Street and Broadway on that stunningly beautiful September morning in between client appointments, watching with others on that sidewalk as the world changed before our very eyes. It’s a moment that still makes me shudder. This 100 minute one-act musical, with the filming produced and financed by Entertainment One, and directed impeccably by Christopher Ashley (Memphis, Xanadu, Leap of Faith), tells the story of the townsfolk of Gander, Newfoundland and how their generous and giving spirit changed the lives of thousands, and in turn, millions. On that historic September 11th morning, the residents wake to a beautiful yet typical day, drinking coffee at Tim Horton’s, and arguing over the normal affairs of a small town. “Welcome to the Rock” is exactly the right first step. It sets the stage of this very Canadian Maritime story, perfectly showcasing the talented company of actors, who work seamlessly as a strong unified force of nature, just like their real-life counterparts did that very day.

[6]_Kendra Kassebeam and the cast of COME FROM AWAY

As the tragic news roll through the town, it becomes clear that this small town with one very large airport (dating back to a time when planes had to refuel before crossing the ocean), is going to be dramatically called into action in a way that they could never have anticipated. The town and the airport are about to play host to 38 large planes that were on their way to North American when all the airports and the air space in the States were shut down. The population of Gander, they soon realize, is about to double in size within hours, and the residents are going to have to figure out a way to accommodate this surge. It’s really a monumental construct, if you really think about it, and what this musical does so well is give us numerous different angles to showcase just how spectacular this town delivers care to all of these new arrivals that have ‘Come From Away.’ And how they find their way through, interact, and cope with every aspect of this difficult complex situation. It’s powerful and enlightening, in a way that is unexpected, warm, detailed, and utterly glorious.

[5]_The cast of COME FROM AWAY

The crew of actors truly show us what it means to be a world-class ensemble. There is no lead or star here. Each actor has one or two important roles to inhabit, which they all do magnificently, with a great sense of detail and humor.  Each time I think of one actor to shine a brilliant light on, I think of another that is just as wondrous, engaging, and ever so real.  Astrid Van Wieren as Beulah, one of the Gander residents, and Q Smith as Hannah, one of the passengers, are spectacular, creating one of the most touching and authentic bonds of care and love in the show. Even writing about it now causes that lump in my throat to return. Jenn Colella as one of the pilots (Annette/Beverly and others) has the best, most beautifully engaging solo, “Me and the Sky“, that is quite the show stopper, mainly because it speaks of the power and simple beauty of a woman changing the rules against all odds. Jim Walton as the English passenger, Nick, and Sharon Wheatley as the Texan, Diane, are possibly the only other cast members who actually get anything close to a song of their own, with the touching and tender “Stop the World“. But I wouldn’t say that they had any more of a focus then the others: Paul Whitty (Oz and others), Joel Hatch (Claude and others), De’Lon Grant (Bob and others), Emily Walton (Janice and others), Tony LePage (Garth/Kevin T. and others), Caesar Samayoa (Ali/Kevin J. and others), and Petrina Bromley (Bonnie and others).  Each have magnificently funny and poignant moments of their own, filled with pain, love, humor, fear, engagement, and about every other emotional scenario that one could imagine. I could list a moment of true engagement for each and every one of this group, but I’m going to let you be as surprised with delight as I was (but the one that starts out as a hymn is so beautiful in style and content that it still stays with me). (And that BBQ grill story is pretty much as perfect a moment as one could hope for. It’s about one small moment of restructuring, that means something so much more, especially these days.)

[3]_The cast of COME FROM AWAY

Special thanks has to go out to Jennifer Todd and Bill Condon, who produced this filming alongside the original stage producers, Junkyard Dog Productions, as well as Mark Gordon. Brittany Hapner served as a co-producer. Irene Sankoff and David Hein, who wrote the stage show, also served as executive producers alongside Radical Media’s Jon Kamen, Dave Sirulnick and Meredith Bennett. The beautifully staging as filmed here by Radical Media is as strong as I remembered, thanks to the creative team made up of Beowulf Boritt (scenic design), Toni-Leslie James (costume design), Howell Binkley (lighting design), Gareth Owen (Sound Design), August Eriksmoen (orchestrations), Ian Eisendrath (musical supervision and arrangements), and musical staging (choreography) by the wonderful Kelly Devine

The story is sure to pull at all of our collective emotional heartstrings from beginning to end. It engages on so many levels, somehow with an ease that is heartwarming. Come From Away is one of the most singularly engaging musicals to come to the stage and to Apple TV Plus. It’s such a Canadian story, as well as a universal and global one. Musically, it’s gorgeous and sumptuous; so Newfoundlander, perfectly performed by an uber-talented band, one that we are more than thankful for at the curtain call when they can truly shine their light center stage. The moment, and the whole show carries a universal dose of humanity and warmth about a moment in time when these emotions were needed the most.  I’m thrilled that Come From Away has landed here for the world to see on Apple TV Plus, and glad there was no delays or cancellations. Each and every time that I will stream it, which will likely be many, it will receive a hero’s welcome from me, mainly because as it shines bright with such a loving humanity, an unselfish generosity, and strong dose of tender care. A few things that feel in short supply these troubling days, twenty years after that traumatic day.

[4]_Jenn Colella and the cast of COME FROM AWAY

Stream it now on Apple TV Plus, anif you’re interested in seeing the musical in person, Come From Away will return to Broadway on September 21, and is currently playing on London’s West End.

For more from Ross click here

My love for theater started when I first got involved in high school plays and children's theatre in London, Ontario, which led me—much to my mother’s chagrin—to study set design, directing, and arts administration at York University in Toronto. But rather than pursuing theater as a career (I did produce and design a wee bit), I became a self-proclaimed theater junkie and life-long supporter. I am not a writer by trade, but I hope to share my views and feelings about this amazing experience we are so lucky to be able to see here in NYC, and in my many trips to London, Enlgand, Chicago, Toronto, Washington, and beyond. Living in London, England from 1985 to 1986, NYC since 1994, and on my numerous theatrical obsessive trips to England, I've seen as much theater as I can possibly afford. I love seeing plays. I love seeing musicals. If I had to choose between a song or a dance, I'd always pick the song. Dance—especially ballet—is pretty and all, but it doesn’t excite me as, say, Sondheim lyrics. But that being said, the dancing in West Side Story is incredible! As it seems you all love a good list, here's two. FAVORITE MUSICALS (in no particular order): Sweeney Todd with Patti Lupone and Michael Cerveris in 2005. By far, my most favorite theatrical experience to date. Sunday in the Park with George with Jenna Russell (who made me sob hysterically each and every one of the three times I saw that production in England and here in NYC) in 2008 Spring Awakening with Jonathan Groff and Lea Michele in 2007 Hedwig and the Angry Inch (both off-Boadway in 1998 and on Broadway in 2014, with Neal Patrick Harris, but also with Michael C. Hall and John Cameron Mitchell, my first Hedwig and my last...so far), Next To Normal with Alice Ripley (who I wish I had seen in Side Show) in 2009 FAVORITE PLAYS (that’s more difficult—there have been so many and they are all so different): Angels in American, both on Broadway and off Lettice and Lovage with Dame Maggie Smith and Margaret Tyzack in 1987 Who's Afraid of Virginai Woolf with Tracy Letts and Amy Morton in 2012 Almost everything by Alan Ayckbourn, but especially Woman in Mind with Julia McKenzie in 1986 And to round out the five, maybe Proof with Mary Louise Parker in 2000. But ask me on a different day, and I might give you a different list. These are only ten theatre moments that I will remember for years to come, until I don’t have a memory anymore. There are many more that I didn't or couldn't remember, and I hope a tremendous number more to come. Thanks for reading. And remember: read, like, share, retweet, enjoy. For more go to frontmezzjunkies.com

Broadway

Broadway in Bryant Park And You Are There With Hell’s Kitchen, Water For Elephants, The Wiz and More

Published

on

July 11, 106.7 LITE FM’s Broadway in Bryant Park kicked off its 2024 program, bringing the best of Broadway back together for free performances, every Thursday in July.

From AMDA College of the Performing Arts-Kyle Taylor Parker

From AMDA College of the Performing Arts-Kyle Taylor Parker, Charity Arianna , Destiny David, Ailadis Hernandez De Leon, Nyjair Wilkerson and Jackson Bateman

This week’s performances included: a preshow featuring students from AMDA

Ali Louis Bourzgui

Bobby Conte and Ali Louis Bourzgui

Bobby Conte, Ali Louis Bourzgui and Adam Jacobs

Ali Louis Bourzgui, Bobby Conte,

Lily Kren, Alexandra Matteo, Daniel Quadrino, Jenna Nicole Schoen, Nathan Lucrezio, Reagan Pender, Bobby Conte, Tyler James Eisenreich, Mark Mitrano, Haley Gustafson, Afra Hines, Dee Tomasetta, Adam Jacobs, Ali Louis Bourzgui, David Paul Kidder, Jeremiah Alsop, Andrew Tufano and Ronnie Bowman, Jr.

The Who’s Tommy (Ali Louis Bourzgui, Adam Jacobs, Bobby Conte, Haley Gustafson and more)

Isabelle McCalla and Ken Wulf Clark

Ken Wulf Clark

Joe De Paul and Asa Somers

Isabelle McCalla and Ken Wulf Clark

Isabelle McCalla and Ken Wulf Clark

Isabelle McCalla and Ken Wulf Clark

Joe De Paul, Asa Somers and Sara Gettelfinger

Joe De Paul, Asa Somers and Sara Gettelfinger

Joe De Paul, Asa Somers and Sara Gettelfinger

Joe De Paul, Asa Somers and Sara Gettelfinger

Ken Wulf Clark, Sara Gettelfinger, Joe De Paul and Asa Somers

Ken Wulf Clark, Sara Gettelfinger, Joe De Paul and Asa Somers

Ken Wulf Clark, Joe De Paul, Asa Somers and Isabella McCalla

Water for Elephants (Isabelle McCalla, Ken Wulf Clark, Asa Somers, Sara Gettelfinger, Joe De Paul)

Avery Wilson

Kyle Ramar Freeman and Nichelle Lewis

Kyle Ramar Freeman

Kyle Ramar Freeman

Melody A. Betts

Kyle Ramar Freeman

Nichelle Lewis

Nichelle Lewis, Kyle Ramar Freeman, Avery Wilson and Polanco Jones Jr.

Kyle Ramar Freeman, Avery Wilson and Polanco Jones Jr.

Kyle Ramar Freeman, Polanco Jones Jr., Nichelle Lewis, Melody A. Betts and Avery Wilson

The Wiz (Avery Wilson, Kyle Ramar Freeman, Melody A. Betts, Nichelle Lewis, Polanco Jones Jr.)

Jelani Remy

JJ Niemann

Evan Alexander Smith and JJ Niemann

Evan Alexander Smith and JJ Niemann

Evan Alexander Smith and JJ Niemann

Evan Alexander Smith and JJ Niemann

Jelani Remy and JJ Niemann

Jelani Remy and JJ Niemann

Jelani Remy and JJ Niemann

Evan Alexander Smith, Katie Laduca, JJ Niemann and Aaron Alcaraz

Hannah Kevitt and JJ Niemann

Evan Alexander Smith, JJ Niemann, Jelani Remy and The Cast of Back To The Future that includes Hannah Kevitt, Cixtoria Byrd, Kimberly Immanuel, Jessie Peltier, Gregory Carl Banks Jr., Katie Laduca, Joshua Kenneth Allen Johnson and Aaron Alcaraz

Evan Alexander Smith, JJ Niemann, Jelani Remy, Hannah Kevitt, Cixtoria Byrd, Kimberly Immanuel, Jessie Peltier, Gregory Carl Banks Jr., Katie Laduca, Joshua Kenneth Allen Johnson and Aaron Alcaraz

Back to the Future (Jelani Remy, JJ Niemann, Evan Alexander Smith)

Gianna Harris and Lamont Walker II

Lamont Walker II

Jade Milan, Jackie Leon and Gianna Harris

Jade Milan, Jackie Leon and Gianna Harris

Donna Vivino

Donna Vivino

Donna Vivino, Gianna Harris, Lamont Walker II, Jade Milan and Jackie Leon and Jackie Leon

and Hell’s Kitchen (Gianna Harris, Vanessa Ferguson, Jackie Leon, Donna Vivino, Lamont Walker II)

106.7 Lite FM’s Helen Little

106.7 Lite FM’s Helen Little is joined by Co Host Kyle Ramar Freeman

with host Helen Little and co-host Kyle Ramar Freeman.

Continue Reading

Broadway

Get Ready For Broadway in Bryant Park

Published

on

The most popular shows on and off Broadway will perform their biggest hits in the park starting this Thursday the 11th! Head to the the lawn at Bryant Park and enjoy Broadway for lunch. The performances will happen on four summer Thursdays, hosted and presented by LiteFM.

This week from 12:30pm-1:30pm 106.7 LITE FM Host: Helen Little will host. For the pre-show: A special performance by the students of AMDA College of the Performing Arts. Then get ready for performances by Back to the Future, Hell’s Kitchen, The Who’s TOMMY, The Wiz and
Water For Elephants.

In coming weeks look from The Outsiders, SIX: The Musical, Moulin Rouge! The Musical, Wicked, Chicago and & Juliet.

Continue Reading

Broadway

Ken Fallin’s Broadway:​ Happy Birthday Audra McDonald

Published

on

On July 3rd, Audra McDonald celebrated her 54th birthday. The 1970 American Tony, Grammy and Emmy Award-winning theatrical and operatic singer, and stage and screen actress (Lady Day At Emerson’s Bar and Grill; Sweeney Todd; Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny; TV Private Practice, The Good Wife), was born in West Berlin, West Germany (now Berlin, Germany)

As been announced six-time Tony Award winner Audra McDonald will return to Broadway this fall, as Mama Rose in Gypsy.

Performances begin Thursday, November 21st, at Broadway’s newly renovated Majestic Theatre. Happy Thanksgiving! The show will open on Thursday, December 19th. Merry Christmas and Happy Chanukah.

The last show to play the Majestic Theatre was The Phantom of the Opera, which concluded its 35 year-run on April 16, 2023.

This upcoming revival will be directed by the legendary five-time Tony Award-winning director George C. Wolfe. The choreography will be by four-time Tony Award nominated Camille A. Brown.  Additional casting and creative team members will be announced at a later date.

Continue Reading

Broadway

Coming In August Broadway Barks Returns to Shubert Alley

Published

on

The 26th anniversary of the star-studded dog and cat adoption event, Broadway Barks returns to Shubert Alley on Saturday, August 3, 2024 to benefit New York City animal rescue groups. The event, co-founded by Bernadette Peters and Mary Tyler Moore, features Broadway celebrities who use their star power to help find loving homes for animals in need from 24 NYC area adoption and rescue groups.

Bernadette Peters and Sutton Foster. Photo courtesy of Broadway Barks.

Bernadette Peters and Sutton Foster will co-host this year’s festivities! Other celebrity participants to be announced soon.

Photo by Daniel Roberts, © Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.

Barks begins at 3pm with a ‘meet and greet’ of all the adoptable pets; from 5–6:30pm, adoptees make their Broadway debut on stage alongside some of Broadway’s favorite stars for the celebrity presentations.Produced by Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, the adoption event takes place in Shubert Alley (located between 44th and 45th Streets, between Broadway and Eighth Avenues).

Photo by Daniel Roberts, © Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.

Continue Reading

Broadway

Shows to Keep Your Eyes On: Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, Death Becomes Her and The Queen of Versailles

Published

on

The new musical Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil is based on John Berendt’s 1994 non-fiction book and makes its world premiere this summer at Chicago’s Goodman Theatre. The book is by  Taylor Mac and music and lyrics by Tony winner Jason Robert Brown, performances are scheduled for June 25–August 4 in the Albert Theatre. Tony winner Rob Ashford will direct the production with choreography by Tanya Birl.

Tony winner J. Harrison Ghee, is The Lady Chablis; Tony nominee Tom Hewitt as Jim Williams; and Olivier nominee Sierra Boggess as Emma Dawes.

The company also includes Lance Roberts (The Best Man) as Bobby Lewis, Austin Colby (The Great Gatsby) as Danny Hansford, Bailee Endebrock (Parade) as Corrine Strong, Shanel Bailey (The Book of Mormon) as Lavella Cole, Jessica Molaskey (Sunday in the Park with George) as Alma Knox Carter, Brianna Buckley (the ripple, the wave that carried me home) as Minerva, Mary Ernster (War Paint) as Serena Barnes/Dawn Avery, McKinley Carter (Turn of the Century) as Vera Strong, Maya Bowles (The Wiz) as Stacey Brown, DeMarius Copes (Some Like It Hot) as Jeremiah Jones, Sean Donovan as Luther Driggers, Jason Michael Evans (Anastasia tour) as Colonel Atwood/Burt, Christopher Kelley as Bubbles/Gregory, Andre Terrell Malcolm (Hamilton tour) as Josiah Domingo, Aaron James McKenzie (A Beautiful Noise) as Jethro Myles, Wes Olivier as Jack the One-Eyed Jill, Kayla Marie Shipman as Millicent/Mary, and Rory Shirley as Stefanie Davis.

The show tracks an antiques dealer through four trials for murdering a male prostitute in Savannah, Georgia. The story is modeled on the real-life shooting of Daniel Lewis  Hansford. The work won the 1995 Boeke Prize and was a finalist for the 1995 Pulitzer Prize for non-fiction. A film adaptation was released in 1997 starring John Cusack and Kevin Spacey.

Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil was a seminal book for me as a young queer person, coming out in the late 1980s and early ’90s,” added Mac. “The eccentricities of Savannah, and how they were celebrated by such a large readership, seemed to say, the things that made me odd and an outcast in the world were actually things I should cherish. Likewise, musical theatre has always had a similar effect on me. Singing our thoughts is such an eccentric way of expressing ourselves—yet so perfectly aligned with my personal liberation and joy. So turning Midnight into a musical, and with such master craftspeople as Jason, Rob, and Tanya is essentially an extension of celebrating the joy and liberation from exposing what’s hidden.”

“When I am deciding to start a new show, the two most important questions I ask myself are: 1) Does it sing? and 2) Do I get to work with fun people? With Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, I knew the answers to both questions immediately,” stated Brown. “The book’s milieu, so rich with mystery and romance and history, sings with every sentence, deeply passionate, slyly comic, emotions threatening to boil over on every page. And to work with Rob Ashford, whose transformative production of Parade at the Donmar Warehouse in 2007 reinvigorated not only the show’s reputation but my creative process, was a no-brainer. But then add to that the brilliant, joyful, radically inclusive mind of Taylor Mac, and there was no way I could resist. Creating this world with these mad geniuses is, in true Savannah tradition, a grand and great party. I can’t wait for the world to join in.”

Madeline Ashton (Tony Award® nominees Megan Hilty (Wicked, “Smash”)) is the most beautiful actress (just ask her) ever to grace the stage and screen. Helen Sharp (Jennifer Simard (Company, Disaster!)) is the long-suffering author (just ask her) who lives in her shadow. They have always been the best of frenemies…until Madeline steals Helen’s fiancé (Christopher Sieber (Spamalot, Company)) away. As Helen plots revenge and Madeline clings to her rapidly fading star, their world is suddenly turned upside down by Viola Van Horn, a mysterious woman with a secret that’s to die for.

After one sip of Viola’s (Grammy® Award winner Michelle Williams (Destiny’s Child, Chicago)) magical potion, Madeline and Helen begin a new era of life (and death) with their youth and beauty restored…and a grudge to last eternity.

Death Becomes Her, based on the classic 1992 film, is a drop-dead hilarious new musical comedy about friendship, love, and burying the hatchet…again, and again, and again.

Life’s a bitch and then you die. Or not!

Death Becomes Her is coming to the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre on October 23, 2024, ahead of an opening night on November 21, 2024.

The Queen of Versailles, the new Stephen Schwartz musical starring Kristin Chenoweth and F. Murray Abraham as billionarie-couple Jackie and David Siegel, begins performances at Boston’s Emerson Colonial Theatre on July 16 and will now run through August 25.

The cast will feature Stephen DeRosa (Boardwalk Empire) as John, Greg Hildreth (Company) as Gary, Tatum Grace Hopkins as Jonquil, Tony Award nominee Isabel Keating (The Boy from Oz) as Debbie, Melody Butiu as Sofia Flores and Nina White as Victoria Siegel.

The company will also include Anna Bakun, Stacie Bono, Yeman Brown, Amanda Jane Cooper, David Aron Damane, Drew Elhamalawy, Sara Esty, K.J. Hippensteel, Diana Huey, Cassondra James, Andrew Kober, Jesse Kovarsky, Pablo David Laucerica, Travis Murad Leland, Michael Mulheren, Michael McCorry Rose and Grace Slear.

The Queen of Versailles is an adaptation of the 2012 documentary of the same name about socialite Jacqueline “Jackie” Siegel, the book is by Lindsey Ferrentino (Ugly Lies the Bone) and direction by Tony winner Michael Arden (Parade).

From computer engineer to Mrs. Florida to billionairess, Jackie Siegel sees herself as the embodiment of the American Dream. Now, as the wife of David “The Timeshare King” Siegel and mother of their eight children, they invite us to behold their most grandiose venture yet: They’re building the largest private home in America in Orlando, Florida—a $100 million house big enough for her dreams and inspired by the Palace of Versailles. But with the Great Recession of 2008 looming, Jackie and David’s dreams begin to crumble, along with their lavish lifestyle. The Queen of Versailles explores the true cost of fame, fortune and family.

The production will feature choreography by Lauren Yalango-Grant and Christopher Cree Grant, music supervision by Mary-Mitchell Campbell, scenic design by Dane Laffrey, lighting design by Natasha Katz and sound design by Peter Hylenski, as well as costume design by fashion designer Christian Cowan.

Continue Reading

Trending

Copyright © 2023 Times Square Chronicles

Times Square Chronicles