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BroadwayCon is thrilled to announce a celebration of Disney’s The Lion King featuring Tony Award-winning director Julie Taymor in conversation with Whoopi Goldberg, who originated the role of Shenzi in The Lion King animated movie, to discuss the hit Disney musical celebrating its 20th year on Broadway.

BroadwayCon will host Twenty Years On Pride Rock, celebrating Disney’s The Lion King on Friday, January 27. More than 85 million people have seen it, it’s the third-longest running show in Broadway history, it has 24 global productions, and it has garnered 70 awards internationally including the Tony Award for Best Musical.  Join us on the MainStage at BroadwayCon for an incredible chance to hear from the creator of The Lion King, Tony Award-winner Julie Taymor, in discussion with Tony, Oscar, Emmy, and Grammy winner Whoopi Goldberg to discuss the creation and success of this Broadway masterpiece now celebrating 20 years on Broadway.

Julie Taymor

Julie Taymor

Julie Taymor won the 1998 Tony Award® for Best Direction of a Musical and for Best Costumes for The Lion King. It also garnered Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle and Drama League Awards for Taymor’s direction; three Moliere Awards, including Best Musical and Best Costumes; and myriad awards for her original costume, mask and puppet designs. Taymor made her Broadway debut in 1996 with Juan Darien: A Carnival Mask (Lincoln Center), nominated for five Tony Awards. Other theatre work includes The Green Bird (New Victory Theater, La Jolla Playhouse, the Cort Theatre on Broadway); Titus Andronicus; The Tempest; The Taming of the Shrew (Theatre for a New Audience); The Transposed Heads (Lincoln Center and American Music Theatre Festival); Liberty’s Taken (Castle Hill Festival); and Spider-Man Turn Off the Dark (Foxwoods Theatre on Broadway). Her opera productions include the Pulitzer finalist, Grendel, composed by Elliot Goldenthal (Los Angeles Opera and the Lincoln Center Festival); Mozart’s Die Zauberflote, in repertory at the Metropolitan Opera since 2004; and Oedipus Rex with Jessye Norman, conducted by Seiji Ozawa, for which she earned the International Classical Music Award for Best Opera Production and an Emmy for a subsequent film version. Her first film, “Fool’s Fire,” an adaptation of an Edgar Allan Poe short story, aired on PBS in 1992. Her feature films include Titus, starring Anthony Hopkins and Jessica Lange; Frida, starring Salma Hayek and Alfred Molina (six 2002 Academy Award nominations, winning two); Across the Universe (2008 Golden Globe nomination for Best Musical/Comedy); and The Tempest, starring Helen Mirren, Djimon Hounsou, Russell Brand and Ben Whishaw. She recently directed the play Grounded, starring Anne Hathaway at the Public Theater, and completed a cinematic version of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, filmed during her critically acclaimed, sold-out stage production that ran at Theatre for a New Audience’s new home in Brooklyn. Taymor has received a MacArthur “genius” Grant, a Guggenheim Fellowship, two Obie Awards and the first annual Dorothy B. Chandler Award in Theater, among many others. A book spanning her career, Julie Taymor: Playing With Fire, is in its third edition from Abrams.

 

Whoopi Goldberg

Whoopi Goldberg

Whoopi Goldberg is one of an elite group of artists who have won the Grammy, the Academy Award, the Golden Globe, the Emmy and Daytime Emmy and a Tony Award.  She is equally well-known for her humanitarian efforts on behalf of children, the homeless, human rights, education, substance abuse and the battle against AIDS, as well as many other causes and charities.

Born and raised in New York City, Whoopi worked in theatre and improvisation in San Diego and the Bay Area, where she performed with the Blake Street Hawkeyes theatre troupe.  It was there that she created the characters which became “The Spook Show” and evolved into her hit Broadway show, Grammy Award-winning album and the HBO special that helped launch her career.

Whoopi made her motion picture debut in Steven Spielberg’s film version of Alice Walker’s “The Color Purple,” for which she earned an Academy Award nomination and a Golden Globe Award.  Her performance in “Ghost” earned her the Academy Award and a Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress and she has starred in such films as “Jumpin’ Jack Flash,” “Clara’s Heart,” “The Long Walk Home,” “Soapdish,” “Sister Act,” “Made in America,” “Boys on the Side,” “Ghosts of Mississippi,” “How Stella Got Her Groove Back,” “Girl, Interrupted,” and “The Lion King, among others.  She appeared in the 2015 feature film adaption of Adriana Trigiani’s beloved novel, “Big Stone Gap,” opposite Ashley Judd, Patrick Wilson and Jenna Elfman.

Whoopi’s many television credits range from series, mini-series and talk shows to movies and specials.  She currently moderates ABC’s Emmy Award-winning “The View,” for which she has won a Daytime Emmy Award.

Whoopi has also produced numerous series, specials and movies for television, as well as theatrical productions on Broadway and around the world, including the Tony Award-winning “Thoroughly Modern Millie” and the Tony-nominated “Sister Act: The Musical.”  She produced and made her directorial debut with the Emmy Award-nominated documentary, “Whoopi Goldberg Presents Moms Mabley,” which premiered at the 2013 Tribeca Film Festival before its critically-acclaimed run on HBO.    Whoopi and her partner Tom Leonardis produced the docu-series “According to Alex” for BET and “Strut,” an original series for Oxygen which follows a group of transgender models breaking down barriers in the world of fashion.

Whoopi’s Broadway credits include “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum,” “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” and “Xanadu” and she made her West End stage debut in a special limited run as Mother Superior in “Sister Act: The Musical” in 2011.

In 1992, Whoopi made her debut as an author with her first children’s book, “Alice.”  She also wrote “Whoopi’s Big Book of Manners” and the “Sugar Plum Ballerinas” book series for young readers and her books for adults include “Book,” “Is It Just Me?” and “If Someone Says ‘You Complete Me’…Run!”

BroadwayCon is theatre’s answer to comic-con, tailor made for fans. From January 27–29, 2017, join some of Broadway’s biggest fans, performers, and creators from classic and current shows as we gather at the incomparable Jacob K. Javits Convention Center to perform, discuss, debate, and celebrate theatre. BroadwayCon 2017 will feature panels, performances, interviews, workshops, singalongs, and more, all packed into an epic three-day weekend. Past panels have included previews from upcoming Broadway shows, conversations with the casts and creatives of this season’s hits, and discussions featuring the industry’s top producers and designers, not to mention the giant Opening Ceremony, the nighttime concerts, and the dance parties. BroadwayCon is produced by Mischief Management and Playbill. The BroadwayCon Artistic Director of Headline Programming is David Alpert.

For more information and to purchase tickets, please visit www.BroadwayCon.com.

 

Suzanna, co-owns and publishes the newspaper Times Square Chronicles or T2C. At one point a working actress, she has performed in numerous productions in film, TV, cabaret, opera and theatre. She has performed at The New Orleans Jazz festival, The United Nations and Carnegie Hall. She has a screenplay and a TV show in the works, which she developed with her mentor and friend the late Arthur Herzog. She is a proud member of the Drama Desk and the Outer Critics Circle and was a nominator. Email: suzanna@t2conline.com

Broadway

Ken Fallin’s Broadway: The Outsiders

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These boys are taking Broadway by storm Jason Schmidt, Sky Lakota-Lynch, and Brody Grant. In Tulsa, Oklahoma, 1967, the hardened hearts and aching souls of Ponyboy Curtis, Johnny Cade and their chosen family of “outsiders” are in a fight for survival and a quest for purpose in a world that may never accept them. A story of the bonds that brothers share and the hopes we all hold on to, this gripping new musical reinvigorates the timeless tale of “haves and have nots”, of protecting what’s yours and fighting for what could be.

The Outsiders opened on Broadway at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre, 242 W 45th Street.

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Broadway

We Say Good Bye To Costume Designer Extraordinaire Carrie Robbins

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I met Carrie Robbins at an art gallery with Louise St Louis, Baayork Lee and Judy Jacksina. The four of us stayed well into the morning talking, laughing and having a fabulous time. Carrie and I bonded after that as she turned to playwriting. It broke my heart to learn that on the evening of April 12, 2024 Costume Designer extraordinaire Carrie Robbins passed away.

Carrie’s work has been featured in over 30+ Broadway shows, including Class Act, Grease (original), Agnes of God, Yentl, Octette Bridge Club, Sweet Bird of Youth (Lauren Bacall), Frankenstein, Happy End (Mary Streep), Boys of Winter, Cyrano (Frank Langella), & Shadow Box (Mercedes Ruehl).

Her awards and nominations included: 2012 recipient of the Irene Sharaff Lifetime Achievement Award presented by the Theatre Development Fund & the tdf/Costume Collection with the support of the Tobin Theatre Arts Fund. 2 Tony (Noms.), 5 Drama Desks, Maharam, USITT/Prague International, L.A. Dramalogue, Henry Hughes, F.I.T-Surface Design, & Audelco, among others.

Robbins’ costumes for the Irving Berlin musical White Christmas played major cities in the USA, Broadway, and Great Britain. Her regional work included M. Butterfly and On the Verge, for director Tazewell Thompson (Arena Stage) and the Gershwin musical American in Paris by Ken Ludwig for director Gregory Boyd (Alley Theatre, Houston) as well as The Tempest (Anthony Hopkins as Prospero) & Flea in Her Ear (director Tom Moore at Mark Taper Forum), many productions for the Guthrie (MN), Williamstown, and many others from Alaska to Buffalo.


Locally, in NYC, Robbins designed for many productions for The Lincoln Center Repertory Theatre, Chelsea Theatre at BAM, Acting Company at Juilliard and NY Shakespeare Festival.

She also designed for the Opera and they included Death in Venice for Glimmerglass (’08 Prague International Design Exhibit), Samson et Dalila (San Francisco Opera, Houston Grand, more), and many productions for Sarah Caldwell’s Opera Company of Boston. Her work has also been seen at the Hamburg StatsOper.

For film Robbins designed the movie “In The Spirit” (Elaine May, Peter Falk, Marlo Thomas); TV design included: Saturday Nite Live, PBS Arts in America, & several unseen pilots.

Robbins has designed clothes for several seasons of Queen Esther Marrow and The Harlem Gospel Singers’ European Tour. She also did the designs for The Cincinnati Ballet’s new Nutcracker, in December of 2011

Robbins was an MFA grad from the Yale School of Drama and was Master Teacher of Costume Design at the NYU Tisch School of the Arts for many years. She is extremely proud of the extraordinary number of award-winning, successful young costume designers and costume teachers across the country who came out of her classes.

Besides being a costume designer Carrie also was a playwright. In August 2010, her play, The Death & Life of Dr. Cutter, a Vaudeville, based on the true stories told by her husband Dr. R.D.Robbins, had its 4th reading at the Snapple Theatre Center; it was chosen by Abingdon Theatre Co, NYC, to be part of its First Readings Series in Fall, 2009. In 2011-12 the  League of Professional Theatre Women chose The Dragon Quartet as part of its 30th year anniversary celebration. In 2012-13, La MaMa (oldest off-off-Broadway theater in NYC at 51 years) chose The Diamond Eater for its “Concert Reading Series”. In 2013: TACT (The Actors Company Theatre, chose Sawbones for part of its newTACTics New Play Festival. In 2014 both The Diamond Eater and Sawbones  received 6 Nominations from N.Y. Innovative Theatre Awards (the most nominations given out in the 2014 season). In 2015, Le Wedding Dress, was a semi-finalist in NYNewWorks Theatre Festival. In 2016: Obsessions Of An Art Student chosen by NYNewWorks Theatre Festival. In 2016, The Actress, was a finalist in NY Thespis Summer Festival. In 2017, My Swollen Feet, chosen by NY Summerfest Theatre Festival/ Hudson Guild Theatre. In 2018 The Diamond Eater , semi-finalist at the 14th St. Y competition War + Peace/2018/19 season and The Dragon Griswynd, was chosen by Theater for the New City for its “Dream-Up Festival” In 2019 Pie Lessons, was invited by Crystal Field, Exec. Artistic Director of Theater for the New City, to be part of “Scratch Night at TNC”.

The last thing Carrie was working on was For The Lost Children Of Paris. This play was about how the Nazis, with help from the Vichy Government, collected French-Jewish schoolchildren and delivered them to Auschwitz. Excellent German record-keeping revealed 11,400 children were taken. At the liberation, only 200 were found alive. This is the story of one classroom’s collection day and its aftermath.

She did this play using puppets as the children.

Carrie had a voice that she used in a multiple of ways. She was a caring friend, a dedicated teacher, a prolific writer and costume designer, who always cared about others first. Carrie you will be missed.

 





 

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Patti LuPone Returns to Broadway and The Big Screen

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Three-time Tony Award winner Patti LuPone, who gave up her Equity card in 2022, will star opposite Mia Farrow in Jen Silverman’s new play, The Roommate. The production will be directed by Jack O’Brien and will begin previews at the Booth Theatre in August ahead of a September opening.

The Roommate tells the story of Sharon, in her mid-fifties, who is recently divorced and needs a roommate to share her Iowa home. Robyn, also in her mid-fifties, needs a place to hide and a chance to start over. But as Sharon begins to uncover Robyn’s secrets, they encourage her own deep-seated desire to transform her life completely. A dark comedy about what it takes to re-route your life – and what happens when the wheels come off.

The Roommate premiered at the Actor’s Theatre of Louisville in March 2015, and has had several regional productions including at Williamstown Theatre Festival in 2017.

Ms. LuPone will star in the upcoming Marvel series, WandaVision spinoff series Agatha: Coven of Chaos. She’s in a coven of witches, playing Lilia Calderu, who is hot, with a great body and hair. Calderu, first appeared in Marvel comics in 1973 as a 450-year-old Sicilian witch whose power is divination and whose trial is tarot. The other witches are Kathryn Hahn, Aubrey Plaza, and a familiar who is played by Joe Locke. Locke, is currently on Broadway in Sweeney Todd.

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Cabaret Celebrated Broadway Legend Joel Grey’s Birthday

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Last night, Eddie Redmayne currently in previews as the ‘Emcee’ in Cabaret at the Kit Kat Club celebrated Broadway legend Joel Grey’s 92ndbirthday on stage at the August Wilson Theatre. Grey, who originated the role of the ‘Emcee’ on Broadway in 1966 and went on to star in the beloved film of Cabaret, took the stage as the entire cast, band, and creative team sang “Happy Birthday” while a custom cake, shaped like a giant pineapple, emerged from the stage.

 During his speech honoring Grey, Eddie Redmayne said, “Tonight is an extraordinarily special night for us because we are in the presence of an extraordinary human being without whom none of us would be here.” After thunderous applause, Redmayne continued “Your performance in this part changed my life and it was one of the things that made me want to be an actor.”

Joel Grey, Gayle Rankin, and Eddie Redmayne Photo by Jenny Anderson

The cast and Grey were also joined on stage by Cabaret composer John Kander.

Alongside Joel’s daughter Jennifer Grey and Kander, a star-studded crowd came out to fete the theater icon including Anderson Cooper, Candice Bergen, Jackie Hoffman, Jane Krakowski, Lin-Manuel Miranda, David Rockwell, and more. They were joined by numerous alum of Cabaret spanning the decades including Maude Apatow (Sally Bowles in London, 2023), Madeline Brewer (Sally Bowles in London, 2022), Joely Fisher (Sally Bowles on Broadway, 2000), Gina Gershon (Sally Bowles on Broadway, 2001), Mason Alexander Park (Emcee in London, 2023), Adam Pascal (Emcee on Broadway, 2003), Molly Ringwald (Sally Bowles on Broadway, 2002), Jake Shears (Emcee in London, 2023), and Brooke Shields (Sally Bowles on Broadway, 2001).

Cabaret at the Kit Kat Club is now in previews on Broadway at the August Wilson Theatre (245 West 52nd Street). The production, directed by Olivier Award winner Rebecca Frecknall and designed by Tony Award nominee and Evening Standard Award® winner Tom Scutt, will have decadent twin opening night gala celebrations starting Saturday, April 20 and continuing into the following night, with the official press opening on Sunday, April 21. Tickets are on sale now at www.kitkat.club or via Seat Geek HERE.

In addition to Redmayne, Cabaret also stars Gayle Rankin as the toast of Mayfair ‘Sally Bowles, two-time Tony Award winner Bebe Neuwirth as ‘Fraulein Schneider,’ Tony Award nominee Ato Blankson-Wood as ‘Clifford Bradshaw,’ Obie Award winner and Drama Desk Award® nominee Steven Skybell as ‘Herr Schultz,’ Henry Gottfried as ‘Ernst Ludwig,’ and three-time Helen Hayes Award winner Natascia Diaz as ‘Fritzie/Kost.’

The cast of Cabaret includes Gabi Campo as ‘Frenchie,’ Ayla Ciccone-Burton as ‘Helga,’ Colin Cunliffe as ‘Hans,’ Marty Lauter as ‘Victor,’ Loren Lester as‘Herman/Max,’ David Merino as ‘Lulu,’ Julian Ramos as ‘Bobby,’ MiMi Scardulla as ‘Texas,’ and Paige Smallwood as ‘Rosie.’ Swings include Hannah Florence, Pedro Garza, Christian Kidd, Corinne Munsch, Chloé Nadon-Enriquez, and Karl Skyler Urban.

The Prologue Company, the dancers and musicians that welcome audiences to the club, feature dancers Alaïa, IRON BRYAN, Will Ervin Jr., Sun Kim, Deja McNair and swings Ida Saki and Spencer James Weidie. The musicians of the Prologue are Brian Russell Carey (piano & bass), Francesca Dawis (violin), Keiji Ishiguri (dedicated substitute), Maeve Stier (accordion), and Michael Winograd (clarinet).

For this thrilling production of Cabaret, the creative team have transformed the August Wilson Theatre into the Kit Kat Club with an in-the-round auditorium and custom spaces which guests will be invited to explore during the Prologue, the production’s pre-show entertainment. After purchasing tickets, guests will receive a “club entry time” to allow them to take in the world of the club before the show starts.

Patrons can upgrade their experience at the Kit Kat Club with exclusive dining or drinks packages that allow them to soak up the pre-show atmosphere. These various upgrades offer unparalleled service and unique experiences in the heart of the Kit Kat Club. Drinks can be enjoyed before and during the show, while food will be cleared shortly before the performance begins, ensuring uninterrupted and unmissable views of Cabaret. For a complete menu and more information on the upgrade packages, please visit www.kitkat.club/upgrade.

The 2021 Original London Cast Recording of Cabaret featuring Eddie Redmayne and recorded during a live performance is available on Decca Records as a CD and to stream on all major platforms. To order the album or stream it, please visit https://cabaret.lnk.to/ListenNow

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Stephen Sondheim Memorabilia to be Auctioned Off

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Stephen Sondheim

Doyle Auctioneers & Appraisers has announced the auction of the Collection of Stephen Sondheim on Tuesday, June 18 at 10am EDT. This landmark auction will offer over 200 lots of memorabilia, furnishings, antique puzzles and more from Mr. Sondheim’s Manhattan townhouse and his country home in Roxbury, Connecticut.

Poster for the 2006 Broadway revival of Company signed by Stephen Sondheim and George Furth

The lyricist of West Side Story and Gypsy and composer/lyricist of Company, Follies, Sweeney Todd, Sunday in the Park with George and Into the Woods, among many others, Stephen Sondheim was the twentieth century’s most brilliant and influential contributor to American musical theater. Fans of Mr. Sondheim’s musicals and collectors alike will delight at the memorabilia within the auction, from his gold record for West Side Story to his custom-embroidered asylum coat from Sweeney Todd.

In addition to professional accomplishments, Mr. Sondheim was a sophisticated collector. He lived among antiques and curiosities of the Victorian and Edwardian eras and assembled an unparalleled collection of early puzzles, games, rebuses, coin-operated machines and ephemera that reflected his endlessly inquisitive mind.

The public is invited to the exhibition on view from June 14 through 17 at Doyle, located at 175 East 87th Street in New York. Select highlights will tour Doyle’s regional galleries during the month of May. The auction catalogue will be available on May 20. Learn more about the auction at Doyle.com

 

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