Countdown to Christmas Day Our Holiday Gift Guide: Give The Gift of Broadway With A Little Giving On The Side
Every year people panic to find the perfect gift. We at T2C have been collecting idea’s all year long to bring you the perfect gift guide at all price levels. When you’re at the end of your rope trying to find the perfect Christmas present this year, come to this guide for some great suggestions.
Producer Dori Berinstein and creator Justin “Squigs” Robertston announced today the 2021 edition of the fan-favorite The Lights of Broadway Showcards. The highly anticipated new edition contains 129 new cards featuring illustrations of Broadway’s brightest stars, shows on and Off-Broadway, historic theaters, iconic opening numbers, and more.
The Lights Of Broadway Showcards™ pays tribute to the new and notable on Broadway, as well as the legendary and revered. Actors and actresses, writers, directors, designers, personalities, organizations, theaters and related locales, theatre lore, traditions, and tall tales. Each card comes with fun facts to learn and share, highlighting the stuff that makes this vital, collaborative, and exciting art form thrive. New editions are published semiannually.
In addition to the core cards, the 2021 edition also contains a rare roster including additions to the Ensemblist, Golden Age, If It Only Runs A Minute, and Broadway Up Close Theater card series. To view all of the cards in the 2021 edition and to purchase, please visit thelightsofbroadway.nyc.
Artist and creator Justin “Squigs” Robertston said, “after such a long period of darkness in theaters around the world, it feels like such a celebration as Broadway stage lights are glowing and curtains are rising once again! In this 2021 Edition – dubbed the ‘Curtain Up! Light the Lights! Edition’ by our collectors – we herald the return of gathering together for shared stories and new possibilities.”
“We’re so excited to get this special Edition out into the world. Squig’s work is truly breathtaking. It’s a beautiful celebration of all things theatre,” said producer Dori Berinstein.
A portion from all of The Lights of Broadway Show Cards will benefit charities close to the collective heart of the Broadway community including. Broadway Cares/Equity Fights Aids and The Actors Fund. This year’s edition also brings back the cards’ Giving Back program, featuring special signed cards Ashley Park, Eva Noblezada & Reeve Carney, Jennifer Simard & Christopher Sieber, and Rob McClure, each highlighting a different charity. This year’s Giving Back stars have chosen to highlight Broadway Advocacy Coalition, Breast Cancer Research Foundation, Darkness Rising, and Spread Ari’s Light, respectively.
The Broadway Advocacy Coalition unites artists, experts, students, and community leaders to use storytelling and artistry to combat systemic racism. Led by a team of visionary artivists, educators, and advocates, BAC is creating a new way to collaborate towards a just world. broadwayadvocacycoalition.org.
The Breast Cancer Research Foundation is a nonprofit organization committed to achieving prevention and a cure for breast cancer. They provide critical funding for cancer research worldwide to fuel advances in tumor biology, genetics, prevention, treatment, metastasis and survivorship. Learn more at BCRF.ORG
Darkness Rising is a mental health awareness nonprofit offering free community wellness workshops geared toward people of color, inspirational cover songs, visual albums, and concerts created by Black Broadway and theatre professionals; inspiring conversations about mental health, addressing issues which directly affect the Black community, connecting attendees to resources, and erasing the stigma. Learn more at darknessrisingproject.org
Spread Ari’s Light Foundation was founded in memory of Arianna Dougan, who was diagnosed with cancer at age three and lost her battle eight years later. Ari loved to dance and her parents found that the dance therapy she received while in treatment had a tremendous impact on her well-being and brought joy into her all-too-short life. This inspired SAL to bring dance and movement therapy programs to other young cancer patients and critically ill children. Learn more at spreadarislight.org
Ken Fallin’s Broadway: A Dolls House: Arian Moayed and Jessica Chastain
I went with T2C’s editor to A Dolls House, which inspired this caricature. You can read Suzanna’s review of the show here.
T2C Sends Our Prayers to Andrew Lloyd Webber and Lea Michele
Saturday, March 25, 2023
A Statement From Andrew Lloyd Webber
I am shattered to have to announce that my beloved elder son Nick died a few hours ago in Basingstoke Hospital. His whole family is gathered together and we are all totally bereft.
Thank you for all your thoughts during this difficult time.
The 75-year-old Oscar-winning composer son Nicholas followed in his father’s footsteps and was a successful composer in his own right, having written Fat Friends The Musical. He was married to musician Polly Wiltshire, who appeared on the soundtrack of his father’s 2019 movie Cats.
During his career, Nicholas also scored music for an adaption of The Little Prince as well as composing numerous TV and film scores, including for the BBC1 drama Loves, Lies, and Records.
Nicholas previously spoke about making his own way in the theatre world away from his famous family name in a 2011 unearthed interview.
He said he wanted to be ‘judged on his own merits’ so dropped his surname when working to see what the reaction would be.
Our hearts and prayers go out to his family.
Also on Saturday Lea Michele updated her fans on the status of her two-year-old’s health via her Instagram after he was hospitalized earlier this week. Her son Ever was in the hospital, but is now out due to a ‘scary health issue. She posted a picture backstage in her dressing room ahead of her Broadway performance in Funny Girl. Lea had been out to focus on her family.
“I just wanted to say thank you to everyone for just so much love and support this week. I really really appreciated it”.
Parade: A Musical That Asks Us Do We Have The Eyes And Ears To See.
Micaela Diamond and Ben Platt Photo by Joan Marcus
I have always loved Jason Robert Brown’s score for Parade. “You Don’t Know This Man,” “This Is Not Over Yet” and the wonderfully romantic “All the Wasted Time” are just the tip of the iceberg for music that stirs your soul and tells a tale of heartbreak. There is a reason this score won the Tony Award in 1999.
The musical now playing on Broadway dramatizes the 1913 trial of Jewish factory manager Leo Frank (Ben Platt), who was accused and convicted of raping and murdering a thirteen-year-old Mary Phagan (Erin Rose Doyle). The trial was sensationalized by the media, newspaper reporter Britt Craig (Jay Armstrong Johnson) and Tom Watson (Manoel Feliciano), an extremist right-wing newspaper aroused antisemitic tensions in Atlanta and the U.S. state of Georgia. When Frank’s death sentence is commuted to life in prison thanks to his wife Lucille (Micaela Diamond), Leo was transferred to a prison in Milledgeville, Georgia, where a lynching party seized and kidnapped him. Frank was taken to Phagan’s hometown of Marietta, Georgia, and he was hanged from an oak tree.
The telling of this horrid true tale begins with the lush ode to the South in “The Old Red Hills of Home.” Leo has just moved from Brooklyn to in Marietta, where his wife is from and he has been given the job as as a manager at the National Pencil Co. He feels out of place as he sings “I thought that Jews were Jews, but I was wrong!” On Confederate Memorial Day as Lucille plans a picnic, Leo goes to work. In the meantime Mary goes to collect her pay from the pencil factory. The next day Leo is arrested on suspicion of killing Mary, whose body is found in the building. The police also suspect Newt Lee (Eddie Cooper), the African-American night watchman who discovered the body, but he inadvertently directs Starnes’ suspicion to Leo.
Across town, reporter Britt Craig see this story as (“Big News”). Mary’s suitor Frankie Epps (Jake Pederson), swears revenge on Mary’s killer, as does the reporter Watson. Governor John Slaton (Sean Allan Krill) pressures the local prosecutor Hugh Dorsey (the terrific smarmy Paul Alexander Nolan) to get to the bottom of the whole affair. Dorsey, an ambitious politician sees Leo as he ticket to being the Governor and though there are other suspects, he willfully ignores them and goes after Leo.
The trial of Leo Frank is presided over by Judge Roan (Howard McMillan). A series of witnesses, give trumped up evidence which was clearly is fed to them by Dorsey. Frankie testifies, falsely, that Mary said Leo “looks at her funny.” Her three teenage co-workers, Lola, Essie and Monteen (Sophia Manicone, Emily Rose DeMartino, Ashlyn Maddox), collaborate hauntingly as they harmonize their testimony (“The Factory Girls”). In a fantasy sequence, Leo becomes the lecherous seducer (“Come Up to My Office”). Testimony is heard from Mary’s mother (Kelli Barrett ) (“My Child Will Forgive Me”) and Minnie McKnight (Danielle Lee Greaves)before the prosecution’s star witness, Jim Conley (Alex Joseph Grayson ), takes the stand. He claims that he witnessed the murder and helped Leo conceal the crime (“That’s What He Said”). Leo is given the opportunity to deliver a statement (“It’s Hard to Speak My Heart”), but it is not enough. He is found guilty and sentenced to hang. The crowd breaks out into a jubilant circus.
Act 1, is not as strong as it should have been. I have attended three different incarnations, the last being with Jeremy Jordan as Leo and Joshua Henry as Jim in 2015. Part of the problem is Michael Arden’s direction. Instead of allowing his performers to act, he has them pantomime, as the solo goes forth. “Come Up to My Office” was not as haunting as in past productions. The same can be said of “That’s What He Said”. Who’s stands out in the first act is Jake Pederson as Frankie and Charlie Webb as the Young Soldier who sings “The Old Red Hills of Home.”
In Act 2, Lucille finds Governor Slaton at a party (the hypnotic “Pretty Music” sung wonderfully by Krill) and advocates for Leo. Watson approaches Dorsey and tells him he will support his bid for governor, as Judge Roan also offers his support. The governor agrees to re-open the case, as Leo and Lucille find hope. Slaton realizes what we all knew that the witnesses were coerced and lied and that Dorsey is at the helm. He agrees to commute Leo’s sentence to life in prison in Milledgeville, Georgia, which ends his political career. The citizens of Marietta, led by Dorsey and Watson, are enraged and riot. Leo is transferred to a prison work-farm. Lucille visits, and he realizes his deep love for his wife and how much he has underestimated her (“All the Wasted Time”). With hope in full blaze Lucille leaves as a party masked men kidnap Leo and take him to Marietta. They demand he confess and hang him from an oak tree.
In Act Two Parade comes together with heart and soul. Diamond, who shines brightly through out the piece is radiant, and her duets with Platt are romantic and devastating. Platt comes into his own and his huge following is thrilled to be seeing him live. Alex Joseph Grayson’s also nails his Second Act songs.
Dane Laffrey’s set works well with the lighting by Heather Gilbert.
Frank’s case was reopened in 2019 and is still ongoing.
Parade has multiple messages and the question is will audiences absorb it. I am so glad this show is on Broadway, making us think and see. This is a must see.
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Parade: Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre, 242 W 45th Street.