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ron simons

Ron Simons

Though executive producer Ron Simons has had his indie hits and Broadway shows, his roots has been acting — and he continues performing to this day. But he’s been awarded a lot of attention for his uncanny instincts as a producer of films and theater.

His company, SimonSays Entertainment, was founded in 2009 with a focus on narratives that dig deeply into underrepresented communities’ struggle for dignity and acceptance. His award winning film projects include Night Catches Us (FIPRESCI Prize, Best American Feature), Gun Hill Road (Sundance Film Festival, Grand Jury nominee), Mother of George (African-American Film Critics Association, Best World Cinema), Blue Caprice (Black Reel Awards, Outstanding Independent Feature) and 25 to Life (American Black Film Festival, Best Documentary).

His Broadway productions include Gershwin’s Porgy & Bess (winning a Tony Award for Best Revival of a Musical), A Streetcar Named Desire, The Gin Game and Forest Whitaker’s current Broadway debut, Hughie. Simons has also produced other Broadway hits such as Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike (Tony, Best Play) and A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder (Tony, Best Musical).

Easter Mysteries

Easter Mysteries

Most recently though, he’s been involved with an unusual project being supported through Fathomevents — the theatrical screening of Easter Mysteries, a musical created around the Passion Play. It will screen throughout their network in one theater in Manhattan and in select U.S. cinemas for one night: Tuesday, March 22, at 7 p.m. local time.

Easter Mysteries

Easter Mysteries

Directed by Danny Goldstein, Easter Mysteries was staged and captured before a live audience. This first-rate production offered the audience a chance to see, feel and hear real peoples’ experience of this touchstone story in a fresh and moving way. The music, libretto and lyrics are by Tony Award-winning Broadway producer John O’Boyle with musical arrangements and music direction by Milton Granger.

Easter Mysteries

Easter Mysteries

The recorded performance features veteran Broadway actors and singers from the stages of Les Misérables, Mary Poppins, The Phantom of the Opera (including Wallace Smith who plays Jesus and Phillip Boykin who plays Caiaphas) and more. In addition to the feature content, a timely interfaith discussion between Christian, Jewish and Muslim leaders on the essence and power of Passion plays will complete the event.

The following is an exclusive one on one with  Simons on this unique production.

Q: I bet your last name sometimes creates confusion…

RS: It’s Simons, not Richard Simmons, J.K. Simmons or any other Simmons — it’s Simons [laughs].

Q: You’ve been known publicly first for the several indie features that you produced and then for the Broadway shows; now you are involved in this unusual musical.

RS: The next thing that’s coming up is Easter Mysteries…  I never heard of Easter Mysteries until John O’Boyle, who is the composer and writer, connected with me. We met because we were both producers on Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike.

We started talking last year at the conference of the Broadway League in Florida. And he said, “Hey I want to talk to you about this project, Easter Mysteries…” The more I learned, the more interested I got. Initially I was just going to be an Executive Producer, but I became a hand-on producer on the show.

Q: The poster seems to emphasis the presence of Peter almost more than Jesus…

RS: The largest face on the poster is a black man… The one hovering above — that is Jesus. We wanted to capture the show’s ethereal feeling.

Q: How is this different from other Passion plays?

RS: What makes it different from other Passion Plays is the story is told from Peter’s perspective. That’s why it’s very important to prominently show him. Most Passion Plays are just about Jesus. You follow Jesus, and everybody else is secondary, and it’s not only all about what Jesus thinks, feels, does.

In this case it was the first time I had seen a project that said, “Let’s look at it from someone else’s point of view,” and I liked that. I didn’t care if it was from Mary’s, or Peter’s, or Judas’ or whoever. That is part of telling the story in a fresh way and in a way that helps you understand the foibles of the humaness of these people.

Q: This show has a unique take on the disciples.

RS: Before they were the disciples, before they were like The Four Tops, they were like kids, they were four human babies. They have all the same foibles as all humans have. They’re prone to mistakes, betrayal, love, and lying, and confusion, and forgiveness and all that stuff. That’s important because it gives us an accessibility into the work that I don’t feel when I see many other Passion Plays where everyone is lifted onto a cloud that has nothing to do with me, so I’m observing it from afar. Whereas if I can be relating to Peter or one of the other characters, I can feel their journey.

Q: How was the reaction to the original show and what do you expect from this screening?

RS: I want people to go, “Huh, what has this brought to me that I either didn’t understand, or didn’t know, or hadn’t looked at that way before?”

Q: The music isn’t the typical liturgical music or the stuff that comes from gospel…

RS: It’s oratorical music… and I think it appeals to people who love Broadway shows because it is beautiful harmonies. It’s not kick up your heels, hey let’s dance, jazz hands, but it is beautifully composed, beautifully rendered, and has beautiful harmonies, so it’s very uplifting, as it should be. It’s not heavy and sad as if we’re just talking about Jesus and the resurrection.

Q: IMDB lists it as having been recorded in 2013; how did you first get introduced to this project?

RS: I heard a recording of it from a year or two before. This project began, and what we would call “Act 1″ of The Easter Mystery, was done at a church in New England. John wrote this for a specific church to be performed, and it was. And he continued to develop it and from that genesis he actually recorded it and created a CD.

Q: So that’s what caught your ear?

RS: What I heard was enough to inspire me to go, “I need to hear more about this.” It’s really beautiful music that I never associate with the Passion Play.

Q: Well no one can say you’re risk averse…

RS: In many Broadway shows you have to take a risk. In some Broadway shows you may not see it until you go for the first preview, in which case you’ve already invested in it. So there is a sense of I’m trusting this creative team will deliver a quality product, AND not only will that happen but the audience will respond to it, AND the critics will like it, AND all these things.

Q: Doing this one time screening through Fathomevents is an unusual way to reach an audience…

RS: I would be pleased as punch if it got picked up to be shown on the O Network every year, or on ABC. This year is one of the few years you see a couple titles coming out around the Easter holiday.

Q: And then it’s back to films — you certainly generate some interesting productions…

RS: I’ve got three films coming up in the Tribeca Film Festival. One is called Live Cargo and is about human trafficking — it is in competition. Another one I’m in [as an actor] but didn’t produce.

When we did Gun Hill Road, there wasn’t all this attention on trangendered characters. And look what’s happening now. I am always trying to stay ahead of the curve. We had Anthony Mackie and  Kerry Washington in Night Catches Us and looks what happened to them since then.

I hope to do the same with other films and Broadway shows going forward. I don’t think that getting three Tony nominations was an accident, so we’ll see what will happen next.


Melissa Etherridge My Window A Rock Goddess Spiritual Journey



Oscar and Grammy winner Melissa Etheridge’s autobiographical musical My Window is an informative, riveting, raw, intimate and musically thrilling alsmost 3 hours of entertainment. With 22 albums to her name, Etheridge is a female rock goddess and is on par with Aretha Franklin, Tina Turner, Ann Wilson, Grace Slick, Joan Jett, Pat Benatar, Stevie Nicks, Debbie Harry and the incomparable Janis Joplin.

I originally saw this show when it opened at New World Stages almost a year ago and Etheridge’s theatrical solo show has only gotten better and tighter. She invites theatergoers into an exhilarating evening of storytelling and music. Starting with her birth, we learn about her childhood in Kansas, groundbreaking career highlights, coming out, her lovers, the drugs she has taken, her spiritual journey, her wives, her kids, cancer and what makes Melissa who she is. She is charming, revealing, illuminating as she bares her heart & soul to all who attend.

Photo by Jenny Anderson

In between learning about this bluesy warrior are her confessional lyrics, the raspy, smoky vocals and classics numbers  like “Like The Way I Do,” “Twisted Off To Paradise,”“I’m the Only One,” “Come to My Window,” “I Want to Come Over”.

Photo by Jenny Anderson

Winning a tiny trophy gave way to winning a Grammy for Best Female Rock Vocalist in 1998 and again in 1995. Before that in 1993 Etheridge came out publicly, early on in her career. In 2005 Etheridge took the Grammy stage after having cancer to join in a tribute to Janis Joplin. She appeared hairless. Etheridge also won an Oscar for Best Original Song in 2007 for “I Need To Wake Up” for the film “An Inconvenient Truth.”

Photo by Jenny Anderson

It turns out Etheridge has always loved musical theatre, as she treated us to a wonderful rendition of “On Broadway.” She did make her Broadway debut in a weeklong stint as St. Jimmy in Green Day’s American Idiot in 2011, but she doesn’t talk about that.

Melissa Etheridge My Window, is wonderfully is written by Etheridge with additional material by Linda Wallem-Etheridge (“Nurse Jackie” showrunner, “That ’70s Show”). The direction by Amy Tinkham is succent and well done.

Everything about this production is well done from the scenic design by Bruce Rodgers, lighting design by Abigail Rosen Holmes, fabulous projection design by Olivia Sebesky and the sound design by Shannon Salmon, which keeps this show clear and clean.

Kate Owens is hysterical as the Roadie/ Stage Manager. This little girl is a star in the making with her rubber face and facial expressions galore. She adds to this show immensely and I definitely want to see more of what she can do.

This is a must see show for anyone LGBTQIA. The message is positive and life affirming. This is a women who owns her talent, charisma and choices, which makes this a joy to watch.

Photo by Jenny Anderson

Melissa Etheridge My Window: Circle In The Square, 235 West 50th Street. Closes November 19th.

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Barry Manilow’s and Bruce Sussman’s Harmony Meets The Press Part 2



Yesterday we told you how the cast and creative’s met the press.

The cast and creatives

In today’s edition hear director Warren Carlyle, Barry Manilow and Bruce Sussman describe their show.

Then it was a treat as the cast sang 5 songs from the show. Including “Harmony,” Hungarian Rhapsody,” “Where You Go’ and “Stars in the Night.”

Hear The Harmonists Sean Bell, Danny Kornfeld, Zal Owen, Eric Peters, Blake Roman and Steven Telsey, along with Chip Zien, Sierra Boggess and Julie Benko.

The hit song of the show will be the gorgeous ballad “Every Single Day” sung by Danny Kornfeld.

Harmony begins previews at the Barrymore Theatre on Wednesday, October 18, ahead of a Monday, November 13 official opening night.

Photo’s by Genevieve Rafter Keddy


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The Glorious Corner



G.H. Harding

JESSE L MARTIN — We caught the debut of Jesse L. Martin’s The Irrational Monday night and really enjoyed it. I’ve been aware of Jesse since his role in Broadway’s Rent and he’s really tremendous. He was great on Law & Order as Ed Green (10 years and 9 seasons); and his role on the CW’s The Flash (as Joe West) was simply terrific.

The show, based on the book by Dan Ariely and created by Arika Mittman, certainly reminds one of The Mentalist or Instinct. This first case isn’t wondrous by any means, but Martin’s charisma carries it all through.

Lauren Holly (NCIS) is in it too, thought her one-scene was over and out in a flash.

I hear the third episode of the show is magnificent, so stay tuned. Don Johnson said many years ago that Don Johnson was made for TV … so is Martin!

Will Swenson and Neil Diamond

SWENSON OUT — (per Deadline) Will Swenson will play his final performance as Neil Diamond in Broadway’s A Beautiful Noise, The Neil Diamond Musical on Sunday, Oct. 29, producers announced today.

A replacement for the starring role will be announced at a future date.

“It’s been the thrill of a lifetime to get to stand in Neil’s shoes,” Swenson said in a statement. “It’s been such an incredible honor to get to know Neil, to tell his powerful story, and bring his amazing songs to Broadway audiences every night. I’m immensely proud of the moving, beautiful show we made. I will miss it very much.”

A reason for Swenson’s departure was not disclosed, but his planned departure date suggests a year-long contract coming to a close: He and the bio-musical began previews at the Broadhurst Theatre last Nov. 2 (official opening was Dec. 4).

“Making A Beautiful Noise with Will Swenson was a deep and wonderful experience,” said director Michael Mayer. “The true affection he has for Neil’s work and life is palpable in every aspect of his tremendous performance. I will miss him terribly, of course, but will always treasure our time together, and very much look forward to the next show we do.”

Swenson has been one of Broadway’s go-to leading men since his breakthrough performance in 2009’s Hair, and he has since starred on the New York stage in Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, Little Miss Sunshine, Waitress and Assassins, among many other shows.

In addition to Swenson, the cast of A Beautiful Noise features a principal cast of Mark Jacoby as the aged Neil Diamond, Robyn Hurder and Shirine Babb.

The musical includes a score of Diamond’s hits, a book by Anthony McCarten, direction by Mayer, and choreography by Steven Hoggett.

He’s pretty tremendous as Diamond. I didn’t see the show straight away, but absolutely loved it when I did. His exit of kind of short notice … but let’s see what happens.

SHORT TAKES — How about those snappy new graphics for NBC’s Today Show. Introduced a week ago, they certainly look more relevant and certainly more fun. They did the same for Nightly News a week ago. Per TVNewser:The network said the decision to unveil a new logo and graphics for Nightly was made as a way of appealing to younger viewers who primarily consume news using digital media. It’s safe to assume is true for Today, the youngest-skewing of the linear morning shows that boasts a robust digital presence. Here’s their whole story:,effects%20as%20the%20previous%20design%20%E2%80%A6

The Rolling Stones

The next Rolling Stones single, “Sweet Sounds of Heaven,” is tremendous. Mick hasn’t sounded this good in years and Lady Gaga is an added treat. Magnificent! Take a listen:

Donnie Kehr

Donnie Kehr and Cori Gardner’s Rockers On Broadway (their 30th edition) is coming up on Monday, October 16 at SONY Hall. 

Debbie Gibson

Joining honoree Melissa Etheridge will be KT Tunstall and Debbie Gibson, Simon Kirke, Dan Finnerty and Ty Taylor … Happy Bday Chuck Taylor!

NAMES IN THE NEWS –— Anthony Noto; Tom & Lisa Cuddy; Paul Lester; Ian Harrison; Magda Katz; Pete Townshend; Miko Blanco; Brad LeBeau; Mal Evans; Derek Taylor; Andrew Sandoval; Rick Rubin; Bill Adler; Cory Robbins; Manny Bella; Race Taylor; Scott Shannon; Buddy Blanch; Steve Walter; Benny Harrison; and BELLA!

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Theatre News: Here We Are, Some Like It Hot, A Beautiful Noise, All The Devils Are Here: How Shakespeare Invented The Villain and The Laramie Project



The curtain rose last tonight on the first performance of the final Stephen Sondheim musical. Here We Are, the new musical from David Ives and Sondheim, is on stage at The Shed’s Griffin Theater (545 W. 30th Street), with an Opening Night on Sunday, October 22, for 15 weeks only.

Directed by two-time Tony Award winner Joe Mantello, the cast of Here We Are will feature Francois Battiste, Tracie Bennett, Bobby Cannavale, Micaela Diamond, Amber Gray, Jin Ha, Rachel Bay Jones, Denis O’Hare, Steven Pasquale, David Hyde Pierce, and Jeremy Shamos. The understudies for Here We Are are Adante Carter, Lindsay Nicole Chambers, Bradley Dean, Mehry Eslaminia, Adam Harrington, and Bligh Voth.

Here We Are is inspired by two films, The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie and The Exterminating Angel, by Luis Buñuel.

Here We Are will include choreography by Sam Pinkleton, set design and costume design by David Zinn, lighting design by Natasha Katz, sound design by Tom Gibbons, orchestrations by Jonathan Tunick, musical supervision and additional arrangements by Alexander Gemignani, hair & make-up design by Wigmaker Associates, and casting by The Telsey Office.

Tickets are on sale on

For each performance, a limited number of $25 tickets will be available via a weekly lottery, which will open for entries on the TodayTix app each Sunday at 12:01 AM for the coming week’s performances and will close at 12:00 PM on the day before each performance. Winners will be notified by push notification and email between 1 – 4 PM on the day before their selected show, and will have 30 minutes to claim their tickets in the app. Entrants may request 1 or 2 tickets, and entry is free and open to all.

Via TodayTix’s mobile rush program, a limited number of $40 same-day rush tickets will be available for that day’s performance of Here We Are at 9:00 AM each day on a first-come, first-served basis. Users can download the app and “unlock” rush tickets by sharing the program on social media ahead of their desired performance day.  

The most award-winning musical of the 2022-2023 season, Some Like It Hot, will play for 13 more weeks through Saturday, December 30, 2023, at Broadway’s Shubert Theatre (225 West 44th Street) before launching a national tour and West End production.

Awarded Best Musical by The Drama League, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle, Some Like It Hot received over 20+ major awards throughout the 2022-2023 season, including four Tony Awards for Best Lead Actor in a Musical (J. Harrison Ghee), Best Choreography (Casey Nicholaw), Best Orchestrations (Charlie Rosen & Bryan Carter) and Best Costumes in a Musical (Gregg Barnes). J. Harrison Ghee made history as the first non-binary performer to take home the Tony Award in their category.

A national tour will launch in September 2024 and a West End production will follow in 2025, produced by The Shubert Organization and Neil Meron in partnership with Ambassador Theatre Group.

At the time of the final performance, the production will have played the Shubert Theatre for over a year, for a total of 483 performances.

Will Swenson and the cast. Photo by Julieta Cervantes.

Will Swenson, who is electrifying audiences with his star turn in A Beautiful Noise, The Neil Diamond Musical, will play his final performance as ‘Neil Diamond – Then’ at the Broadhurst Theatre (235 West 44th Street) on Sunday, October 29. Casting for the role of ‘Neil Diamond – Then’ will be announced at a future date.

The unofficial commencement of “spooky season” takes place this Friday, September 29, when Tony Award® Nominee and Grammy Award® Winner Patrick Page returns to the New York stage in All The Devils Are Here: How Shakespeare Invented The Villain, a new work created and performed by Mr. Page, based on the villains of William Shakespeare. Directed by Simon Godwin, the solo show will play the DR2 Theatre (103 E 15th Street) beginning Friday, September 29, with an Opening Night set for Monday, October 16, for 14 weeks only.

Tickets are now available at, Telecharge  or by visiting the DR2 Theatre box office (103 E 15th Street).

Julie White

Julie White and Brandon Uranowitz will join Ato Blankson-Wood in a staged benefit reading of The Laramie Project. Moises Kaufman and the Members of Tectonic Theatre Project’s The Laramie Projectwill bedirected by Dustin Wills (Wolf Play, Wet Brain). The event, which will raise funds to support the work of The Trevor Project, will take place on Monday, October 16th at 7:00 PM at Peter Norton Symphony Space, and is being produced by District Productions. Additional casting is soon to be announced. For tickets and more information, visit

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Barry Manilow’s and Bruce Sussman’s Harmony Meets The Press



Harmony, has been in rehearsals for 3 weeks and yesterday morning, they meet the press.

Barry Manilow

Barry Manilow

Barry Manilow

Barry Manilow, wrote the original music.

Bruce Sussman

Bruce Sussman, who wrote the book and lyrics

Warren Carlyle

Warren Carlyle

director/choreographer Warren Carlyle

Ken Davenport

and producer Ken Davenport started the show off to a harmonious roll. Harmony begins previews Wednesday, October 18, ahead of a Monday, November 13 official opening night.

Many of the cast are making their Broadway debuts with Harmony, including 5 of the 6 actors playing the Harmonists.

The Harmonists, along with Chip Zien finished out the morning with a performance of the song “Stars in the Night.”

Chip Zien

The production also stars performers Sierra Boggess and Julie Benko.

Sierra Boggess

Julie Benko

Tomorrow meet the men of Harmony

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