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He Says: Frozen An Elated Hazel Sees a Serviable Snowy Show

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This was going to be an exciting evening at the theatre for me. Not for the reason you might first expect, but for another, because this time would be the first time I was going to the theatre with my young niece, Hazel, just the two of us. This was not her first time in a Broadway house, mind you, she had sat on my lap while watching Cinderella a few years back at the Broadway Theatre (currently the home of Rocktopia), and my guest to see Annie at the Paper Mill Playhouse last fall, so she knows the ropes and how to behave, but this was the first time that Mother Cheryl wasn’t sitting close by. This time, Hazel was dropped off and her parents watched as us enter the St. James Theatre, on our own, primed and excited to see the new Disney Broadway musical, Frozen. We sat in heightened anticipation, watching the Northern Lights dance across the curtain, with Hazel so excited she didn’t want to close her eyes, in case she might miss something.

Frozen, the Broadway musical
Caissie Levy (Elsa), Patti Murin (Anna) and Company. Photo by Deen van Meer.

The musical, as I’m sure everyone is well aware, is based on the ever-so popular animated movie that is one of Hazel’s favorite sing-along stories. With music and lyrics by the fantastic team that brought you the animated movie musicals, ‘Coco(Oscar Award for Best Original Song: “Remember Me“) and ‘Frozen’ (Oscar and Grammy Award for “Let It Go“) and a book by Jennifer Lee, the talented Oscar-winning writer of Walt Disney’s ‘Frozen‘, which she also directed with Chris Buck, this Broadway adaptation was the perfect show for young Hazel, it gave her everything she could have hoped for, a story line she knew, some great songs that she loves and knows by heart, but what it didn’t really give her is the idea that you can have something as wonderful as the film ‘Frozen‘ and spin it far beyond the land of serviceable, and into a new realm, one that is artistically creative, advancing, and expanding.  For that, we will have to go see Julie Taymor’s Lion King, because invention and dynamic wonderment isn’t going to be found under the standardized snowy landscapes of director Michael Grandage’s creation, Frozen, the Broadway Musical.

Frozen, the Broadway musical
Caissie Levy (Elsa). Photo by Deen van Meer

All the main ingredients are present though.  The wonderfully regal Elsa, played strongly at first by the young Brooklyn Nelson (Mathilda), morphing into the impressive and very talented Caissie Levy (Broadway’s 2014 Les Misérables, Ghost, Public’s First Daughter Suite).  Her strong voice and presence add weight and beauty to the lovely new song, “Dangerous to Dream” and the one Hazel and everyone else was breathlessly waiting for “Let It Go“, which was skin-tingling in its dramatic rendition.  Bravo Caissie. And even though I’m still attached to Idina Menzel’s brilliant version, especially in the way she closes the song on that perfect last line reading, Levy doesn’t disappoint one audience member.  Hazel was awe-struck, wide-eyed and unbelieving, writing in her wonderful review: “If you blink while Elsa changes, you’ll miss it, cause it just falls and it happens really fast…She changes from her queen dress to an icy beautiful dress….I liked the play ALOT!

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Patti Murin (Anna), John Riddle (Hans). Photo by Deen van Meer

But for me, the joy of the evening lies in the hands of both the young and soon-to-be a star, Mattea Conforti (Sunday in the Park with George), and the most wonderful Patti Murin (Broadway’s Lysistrata Jones), who brings such fun and frolic to the young sister, Anna.  In Murin’s portrayal, the piece finds its connection and attachment, falling in love with her goofiness and sense of wonder just as fast as she falls in love with Hans during the wacky and wonderful number, “Love Is an Open Door“.  John Riddle (Broadway’s The Visit), who plays the handsome too-good-to-be-true Prince of the Southern Isles, convinces us at the beginning that he is her shining knight, just like we are told in the fairy tale books, even though somewhere in the back of our minds, we are well aware how this will all turn out in the end.  He’s a bit too stiff in his other moments, especially his signature song, “Hans of the Southern Isles” but together with Anna, we join in their fun, embracing each and every hilarious pun and jokie playful grimace that Murin gives us on that wonderfully expressive and elastic face of hers.

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Jelani Alladin (Kristoff). Patti Murin (Anna). Photo by Deen van Meer.

It is when she finally engages with the absolutely heart-melting Jelani Alladin (Signature’s Sweetee), giving a comically gentle and engaging performance as the lowly ice merchant Kristoff, that the romantic tugging starts and the slim storyline finds its warm heart, especially in the very enjoyable added song, “What Do You Know About Love?“. That, alongside one of my favorites, “Reindeer(s) Are Better Than People“, make us glad that Kristoff, and his most amazing, trustworthy, and sadly under-used Sven, created impressively by Andrew Pirozzi (NBC’s “Hairspray Live!“), make us glad his sled has arrived into the land of Arendelle, and even more joyful that Anna runs into him on those snowy slopes.

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Jelani Alladin (Kristoff), Andrew Pirozzi (Sven). Photo by Deen van Meer.

Along side these main characters, magic is the central core of this show, and some of it can be found in a few other nicely structured and appealing representations from the film. The second act opener, “Hygge“, lead by Oaken, hilariously portrayed by Kevin Del Aguila (Broadway’s Peter and the Starcatcher) is great fun and a joy to behold. The King and Queen of the Trolls are magnificently reinterpreted by the impressive Timothy

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Hazel writing her review.

Hughes (Broadway’s Chaplin) and Olivia Phillip (Broadway’s Waitress) in their joyful number, “Fixer Upper“. Hazel wrote that she “loved the part when the trolls helped Anna’s frozen head“, it was one of the truly inspired magical moments of creation that lifted up the standard to the spectacular, giving us a new vantage point over the snowy slopes of Frozen.

Olaf, created by master puppet designer, Michael Curry, (Lion King) works fairly well and totally looks the part, but is sadly just mediocre in conceptualization. The manipulations and performance by Greg Hildreth (Roundabout’s The Robber Bridegroom) as that comic sidekick snowman serves the grander structure well, is playful and fun, especially in his fun rendition of “In Summer“, but for some reason, the separation of puppeteer and puppet never really seems complete.

Frozen, the Broadway musical
Patti Murin (Anna), Jelani Alladin (Kristoff), and Company. Photo by Deen van Meer.

In some way, this is very representational of the whole production. Director Grandage (West End’s Merrily We Roll Along, Broadway’s Frost/Nixon), with some help from choreographer Rob Ashford (Park Ave Armory’s Macbeth, Broadway’s Evita), set and costume designer, Christopher Oram (Broadway’s Wolf Hall Parts 1 &2) with special effects by Jeremy Chernick, lighting by Natasha Katz, sound design by Peter Hylenski, and video design by Finn Ross fail to add that extra layer of magic that would take this show from a very acceptable adaptation of an animated film into something that could stand on its own two feet. Without the memory of the better film propping it up and attracting a crowd, Frozen wouldn’t be the success it is destined to be because it rarely steps beyond the expected. As Hazel writes: “The voices and clothes were awesome” and I agree whole heartedly, but without the added layer of snowy surprise and excitement, the musical stays somewhere just above a theme park ride or stage show, barely reaching above the standard.  We needed visionary stage magic to lift us up, not a snowflake patterned curtain of crystals or some ice shards jutting out from the side in a feeble attempt to frighten. Elsa’s dangerous abilities are much more dynamic and dangerous than that, and with the rather simplistic representations, we are never transformed or dazzled into submission.

Frozen, the Broadway musical
Caissie Levy (Elsa) and Company. Photo by Deen van Meer.

The story line is pretty straight forward, just as it is in the movie, which in itself is a bit messy and oddly nonsensical.  But for me the subtext of this tale is the most fascinating part: the story of a young person being seen by her parents as containing a quality that makes her different from the rest, and instead of encouraging her to embrace it and be proud, she is told, quite plainly, to “keep it inside” and hide it away.  When her secret finally comes out, literally, she has to run away and create her own kingdom where she can embrace her specialness and be herself.  Her sister follows her trying to convince her that she can and will be accepted back home, but it takes a special act of courage and true love to finally come home and be accepted by her community. Once she is, she finally feels some freedom to be herself and can rejoin the family that she almost discarded. In all honesty, and this has been said a thousand times before, it sounds like any number of coming out stories I have heard over the years from members of the LGBT community regarding their childhood and young adulthood experiences, and why big cities like New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, and San Francisco are seen as gay meccas and safe kingdoms for escape.  I will say that I think it’s a fascinating parallel and one wisely told, but a bit problematic in that Elsa has no romanic prospects or future partnership plans. She is given just a life of regal solitude basking in the loving relationship that she can watch from the sidelines of her more ‘normal’ younger sister and her partnership and romantic life.

But I might be asking a bit too much from a Disney musical adaptation from an animated kids movie musical (or am I?). It seems this Broadway stage tale had a hard enough time finding the little magic it did in this transfer, and although the legions of adoring fans will gather and make this musical a hit, I’m not sure it will rise up to the regal levels of other Broadway royals, like The Lion King or even Aladdin. It’s definitely not a Tarzan, the disastrous 2006 adaptation directed and designed by Bob Crowley, just a purely serviceable Disney adaptation of the most successful animated movie of all time. And it will be a hit, no matter what any one says.

Regardless, this was an awesome night for Hazel and myself, the first of, what I hope will be many when my young theatre-junkie in-the-making will accompany me to the theatre for future plays and musicals.  Soon she will be old enough to take the train in all by herself, just to meet me for pre-theatre dinner and then a Broadway show. But for now, it was with great pleasure that I was able to have her as my +1 and share with her a show that she loves and adores; “I really liked this play!!!!!!!!!” I just had to make sure she didn’t join in with the actors, and start to sing along with Elsa when that epic song, “Let It Go” concluded the first act and filled the air with anticipation and excitement.  She was not disappointed, she was elated.

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Patti Murin (Anna) and Caissie Levy (Elsa) with Jacob Smith in Disney Theatrical Productions’ Frozen, the new Broadway musical, music and lyrics by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez and book by Jennifer Lee, opening night March 22nd, starring Caissie Levy (Elsa), Patti Murin (Anna), Jelani Alladin (Kristoff), Greg Hildreth (Olaf), John Riddle (Hans), Robert Creighton (Weselton), Kevin Del Aguila (Oaken), Timothy Hughes (Pabbie), Andrew Pirozzi (Sven), Audrey Bennett and Mattea Conforti (Young Anna), Brooklyn Nelson and Ayla Schwartz (Young Elsa). Michael Grandage: director. Photo by Deen van Meer. 
For more go to frontmezzjunkies.com

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

Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet Times Three

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It’s going to be some Shakespeare-heavy months ahead, especially around those famously doomed lovers named Romeo and Juliet, as I fly into the Stratford Festival (formally called the Stratford Shakespeare Festival) here in Ontario, Canada for their first big opening week of six shows. The week will start with Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night followed by the musical comedy about Shakespeare, Something Rotten, and then Shakespeare’s Cymbeline on night three. The fourth night will be the opening of Ibsen’s Hedda Gabler; the fifth, La Cage Aux Folles, followed by, lastly (at least for this coming week) the final opening of this particular opening week, show number six, Shakespeare’s ultimate romantic tragedy, Romeo and Juliet. (Much more follows over the summer of Canada’s fantastic Stratford Festival.)

As directed by Sam White, the founding Artistic & Executive Director at Shakespeare in Detroit, Shakespeare’s great romance Romeo and Juliet slides in at the Festival Theatre on Saturday, June 1st, 2024, starring Jonathan Mason (Stratford’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream) and Vanessa Sears  (CS/Obsidian/Necessary Angel’s Is God Is) as those starcrossed titular characters and lovers. As with the whole season, I’m hoping this production, and all the others, will live up to the festival’s high standards, and be just the beginning of a spectacular year of Shakespeare. And of these two young lovers.

Kit Connor and Rachel Zegler. Photo by Sam Levy.

After that jam-packed week in Stratford, Canada, it doesn’t end for this theatre junkie and his faithful companion. Jetting off soon after to London, England, we have another week of theatre planned. As scheduled, the two of us will see an onslaught of plays, including Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard at Donmar, two National Theatreproductions; Hills of California and the Olivier-winning Standing at the Sky’s Edge, as well as Ian McKellen in Player Kings (Shakespeare’s Henry IV Part 1 & 2), the Royal Court Theatre’s Bluets, and (of course) the much-talked-about production of Romeo & Juliet, directed and produced by Jamie Lloyd. It just opened this week at the Duke of York’s Theatre, running from Saturday, May 11 through Saturday, August 3, starring Tom Holland as Romeo and Francesca Amewudah-Rivers as Juliet.

#RomeoJulietLDN production photography by Marc Brenner

From the photos popping up on Facebook, Lloyd’s pulsating new vision of Shakespeare’s immortal tale of wordsmiths, rhymers, lovers, and fighters is sure to be something to see. It will definitely be talked about all over the world, yet it was truly disheartening to read about all the hateful postings around the casting choice of Lloyd’s Juliet. It says, sadly, so much about our world right now, but it seems to have quieted down some (although the sting and stink must still be lingering in the air for us all), and although the reviews of this West End production came out today, I will try to stay away from them until long after. Whether the production will follow the successful path of other Lloyd hits, including the pared-down stagings of A Doll’s House that starred the incredible Jessica Chastain or the phenomenal Betrayal with Tom Hiddleston, Charlie Cox, and Zawe Ashton, remains to be seen, but I am curious if it will also find its way across the pond to Broadway.

If it does, it will have some pretty fierce competition, as another Romeo & Juliet, this one starring Heartstopper‘s Kit Connor and West Side Story‘s Rachel Zegler will begin Broadway performances on Thursday, September 26, at Circle in the Square Theatre, with an official opening night set for Thursday, October 24. The run, directed by Sam Gold, is a strictly limited, 16-week engagement, and I can not wait to get in to see it as well. All three really. And I won’t have to ask the forever question, “O Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo?” I’ll just have to ask which Romeo are we looking for? And which Juliet.

See video here. 

Often called the greatest love story of all time, Romeo + Juliet has captivated audiences and artists for centuries and provided the inspiration for hundreds of films, ballets, operas, novels, including the iconic Broadway musical West Side Story.

Stratford Festival’s production of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet officially opens on June 1 and runs until October 26 at the Festival Theatre. Tickets are available at stratfordfestival.ca

The West End’s Romeo & Juliet officially opened on May 23rd at the Duke of York’s Theatre, London, and runs until Saturday, August 3. Tickets are available (although probably sold out) at https://www.thedukeofyorks.com/romeo-and-juliet

The Broadway production of Romeo + Juliet at Circle in the Square Theatre, with an official opening night set for Thursday, October 24, and running for a limited engagement of 16 weeks. Tickets will be available at https://romeoandjulietnyc.com/

For tickets and more information, click here.

 

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League of Professional Theatre Women Invite the Public to Oral History Interview Of Broadway Playwright Theresa Rebeck

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Stage, film, television and novel writer Theresa Rebeck will be interviewed about her long and brilliant career at 6p.m., Monday, June 3, at the Bruno Walter Auditorium, at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center (111 Amsterdam Avenue at 65th Street), New York.
This event, which is FREE and open to the public, is part of the League of Professional Theatre Women’s (LPTW) Oral History Project in partnership with the Library and is a highlight of LPTW’s 41st season.
Theresa Rebeck is a widely produced writer for stage, film, television and novels, whose work can be seen and read throughout the United States and internationally. With five plays produced on Broadway, Rebeck is the most Broadway-produced female playwright of our time.
Rebeck’s Broadway credits include I Need That (starring Danny DeVito), Bernhardt/Hamlet (starring Janet McTeer), Dead Accounts (starring Norbert Leo Butz); Seminar (starring Alan Rickman); Mauritius (starring F. Murray Abraham). Other New York productions of her work include Dig (Outer Critic’s Circle nomination), Seared (starring Raul Esparza, DramaLeague Award) at MCC Theater, Downstairs (starring Tim Daly and Tyne Daly); The Scene (starring Tony Shalhoub), The Water’s Edge, Loose Knit, The Family of Mann and Spike Heels at Second Stage; Bad Dates, The Butterfly Collection and Our House at Playwrights Horizons; The Understudy at Roundabout Theatre Company; and View of the Dome at New York Theatre Workshop. Other notable plays include Poor Behavior, What We’re Up Against, and Omnium Gatherum (co-written), which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 2013.
As an author, Rebeck has written three novels: Three Girls and Their Brother (Random House/Shaye Areheart Books, 2008), Twelve Rooms with A View (Random House/Shaye Areheart Books, 2010) and I’m Glad About You (G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 2016), along with Free Fire Zone, a book of comedic essays about writing and show business.
Rebeck made her NYC Directorial debut with Rob Ackerman’s play Dropping Gumballs on Luke Wilson at The Working Theatre and directed the World Premiere of her new play Dig at Primary Stages in NY and Dorset Theatre Festival in Vermont. Her new podcast play, “Nightwatch” (starring Norbert Leo Butz), was released in 2023.
In television, Rebeck created the NBC showbiz drama “Smash,” and has written for “Canterbury’s Law,” “LA Law,” NYPD Blue,” “Law & Order: Criminal Intent,” “Dream On,” Brooklyn Bridge,” and many more.
Her produced feature films include the big-budget all-female spy thriller 355 (co-written with Simon Kinberg for Jessica Chastain’s production company); Trouble (writer/director), starring Angelica Huston and Bill Pullman; Harriet the Spy; Gossip and the independent features Sunday on the Rocks and Seducing Charlie Barker, an adaptation of her play, The Scene.
Theresa lives in Brooklyn with her husband Jess Lynn.
To attend this event, please RSVP HERE.
To view past oral history interviews, visit the Library’s Theatre on Film and Tape Archive, or visit the LPTW’s archive.
Women working in the theatre industry are eligible to join LPTW.  For more information on upcoming events and to join LPTW, visit: www.theatrewomen.org.
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Museum of Broadway Launches ‘Moulin Rouge! The Musical: Spectacular, Spectacular’ Exhibit

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Sparkle this summer with the most dazzling exhibit at The Museum of Broadway.

This week the beloved museum hosted the launch for the opening of Moulin Rouge! The Musical: Spectacular, Spectacular, presented in partnership with Chase Freedom.

Cast members and friends were on hand at the Big Apple opening nigh including Courtney Reed (Satine), Ashley Loren (OBC Satine), Jacqueline B. Arnold (La Chocolat), Jeigh Madjus (Baby Doll), Jessica Lee Goldyn (Nini), Krystal Joy Brown (Merrily, We Roll Along), Jay Armstrong Johnson (Parade), Charl Brown (Motown the Musical), and more gathered to raise a glass to the glitter.

The exhibit will run through September 8, 2024. Marking the fourth dedicated installation created exclusively for The Museum of Broadway, the new exhibit follows SIX: The Royal GalleryALL THAT JAZZ: The Legacy of Chicago The Musical, and The American Theatre As Seen by Hirschfeld. Entrance to the special exhibit is included in any ticket purchased to the Museum of Broadway and for museum members. The Museum of Broadway is open seven days a week – tickets start at $34.

FOR MORE INFO, CLICK HERE.

 

Photos by David Troncoso for The Museum of Broadway

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Chita Rivera Awards Part 2 The Interviews

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T2C was at the 2024 Chita Rivera Awards at NYU Skirball Center for the Performing Arts. We got to interview some of the best in dance and look forward to sharing this with you.

On this video watch Michael-Demby Cain, Joe Lanteri, Bernadette Peters, Debbie Allen, Justin Peck, Norm Lewis, Rick and Jeff Kuperman, Chita’s daughter Lisa Mordente, Kenny Ortega, Serge Trujillo,  winners for Water For Elephants Jesse Robb and Shana Carroll, winner Camille A Brown Hell’s Kitchen, Marina Tamayo, Lorin Latarro, David Petersen, Bruce Robert Harris, Ali Louis Bourzgui, Huey Lewis, Phil LaDuca, Riki Kane Larimer, Grant Plotkin and highlights from the show with Ali Louis Bourgzgui, Kristin ZChenoweth, Norm Lewis, Wayne Brady and more.

This was one spectacular night.

Video by Magda Katz

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Theatre News: The Drama League, Once Upon A Mattress , Swept Away, Chita Rivera Awards and Moulin Rouge!

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The Drama League announced the winners of the 2024 Drama League Awards. The event hosted by NY1 reporter Frank DiLella, was held at The Ziegfeld Ballroom (141 W 54th St, New York, NY). Sarah Paulson wins Distinguished Performance Award. Hell’s Kitchen wins Outstanding Production of a Musical. Stereophonic wins Outstanding Production of a Play. Merrily We Roll Along wins Outstanding Revival of a Musical. Appropriate wins Outstanding Revival of a Play. In the directing categories, Daniel Aukin took home the Outstanding Direction of a Play award for Stereophonic and Maria Friedman took home Outstanding Direction of a Musical for Merrily We Roll Along.

The competitive awards were presented by Lear DeBessonet, Alfred Molina, Bebe Neuwirth and Ben Platt.  LaTanya Richardson Jackson presented The Gratitude Award to Kandi Burress; Thomas Schumacher presented The Founders Award for Excellence in Directing to Schele Williams; Daniel Radcliffe and Lindsay Mendez presented The Distinguished Achievement in Musical Theater Award to Jonathan Groff; and Jim Parsons presented the Contribution to Theatre Award to Jessica Lange.

Tony Award-winning producers Seaview and Creative Partners Productions have announced that, on the heels of its record-breaking, sold-out run at New York City Center’s Encores! earlier this year, Once Upon A Mattress will open on Broadway this summer at The Hudson Theatre (141 W 44th St). Tony Award winner Sutton Foster (Anything Goes, The Music Man) will lead the Broadway cast, reprising her acclaimed performance as Winnifred the Woebegone, hailed by The New York Times as “perfectly goofy, and imprinted with an ebullient, joyful relish in the very act of performance.” The beloved musical returns to Broadway in a new adaptation by Emmy Award winner Amy Sherman-Palladino (“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”, “Gilmore Girls”), directed by Tony Award nominee and Drama League Award winner Lear deBessonet (Into The Woods). Previews begin Wednesday, July 31, 2024, with an Opening Night set for Monday, August 12, 2024, for the limited engagement through November 30, 2024.

Following its Broadway engagement, Foster will headline the production in Los Angeles for a four-week engagement at Center Theatre Group’s Ahmanson Theatre from December 10, 2024 – January 5, 2025.

An uproarious update of Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Princess and the Pea,” Once Upon A Mattress sets an unapologetic free spirit loose in a repressed kingdom, reveling in Winnifred’s ability to charm and transform with willpower, honesty, and a little bit of help from her friends.  Full of gloriously catchy melodies like “Shy” and “In a Little While,” the musical first premiered in 1959, with music by Mary Rodgers, lyrics by Marshall Barer, and book by Jay Thompson, Dean Fuller, and Marshall Barer.

The Broadway production will feature Choreography by Drama Desk Award nominee Lorin Latarro (The Who’s Tommy), Scenic Design by Tony Award winner David Zinn (Fun Home, SpongeBob SquarePants), Lighting Design by Tony Award winner Justin Townsend (Moulin Rouge! The Musical), Costume Design by Andrea Hood (Into the Woods), Sound Design by Tony Award winner Kai Harada (Days of Wine and RosesMerrily We Roll Along), and Hair and Wig Design by J. Jared Janas (Sweeney Todd, &Juliet). General Management is by Wagner Johnson Productions. Casting is by The Telsey Office (Bernard Telsey, CSA; Craig Burns, CSA). Orchestrations are by Tony Award winner Bruce Coughlin (The Light in the Piazza), and Drama Desk Award winner Mary-Mitchell Campbell (Company) will serve as Music Supervisor, Annbritt duChateau as Music Director, and Cody Renard Richard as Production Stage Manager.

A special fan pre-sale will begin on Tuesday, May 28, at 10:00AM ET – sign up atOnceUponAMattress.com for early access to tickets. Tickets will go on sale to the general public on Wednesday, May 29 at 10:00AM ET.

Further casting and creative team will be announced at a later date.

The Avett Brothers announced that their new musical Swept Away will begin previews on Broadway this fall at a Shubert theater to-be-announced. An odyssey of “mythic proportions” (San Francisco Chronicle), Swept Away features a book by Tony Award winner John Logan (Red, Moulin Rouge! The Musical), direction by Tony Award winner Michael Mayer (Spring Awakening, American Idiot) and choreography by Tony Award nominee David Neumann (Hadestown).

After sold out runs from coast to coast, Swept Away storms Broadway this fall.

The Swept Away creative team includes music arranger & orchestrator Chris Miller, music arranger & orchestrator/music supervisor Brian Usifer, music director Will Van Dyke, Tony Award-winning set designer Rachel Hauck, Tony Award-winning costume designer Susan Hilferty, four-time Tony Award-winning lighting designer Kevin Adams and Tony Award-winning sound designer John Shivers.For ticketing updates and more information, visit SweptAwayMusical.com.

Jared Grimes (Funny Girl) will host the Chita Rivera Awards, it was announced today. The 2024 Chita Rivera Awards will be presented on May 20 at 7:30pm at the NYU Skirball Center for the Performing Arts (566 LaGuardia Place off Washington Square Park), and are produced by Joe Lanteri, Founder and Executive Director of the New York City Dance Alliance Foundation, Inc. in conjunction with Patricia Watt.

Presenters include: Debbie Allen (Fame), Shoshana Bean (Hell’s Kitchen), Corbin Bleu (High School Musical, Little Shop…), Anthony Crivello (Kiss of the Spider Woman), Joel Grey(Cabaret), Huey Lewis (The Heart of Rock and Roll), and Joe Morton (Scandal, ART), Bebe Neuwirth (Cabaret at the Kit Kat Club, Chicago), Kenny Ortega (High School Musical), David Hyde Pierce (Here We Are, Spamalot), Brooke Shields (Suddenly Susan; The Adams Family), Ben Vereen (Pippin), and more.

The evening will feature performances by: Wayne Brady (The Wiz), Kristin Chenoweth (Wicked), Norm Lewis (Phantom of the Opera; Porgy and Bess), and Lea Salonga (Miss Saigon; Old Friends).

There will also be performances from the casts of Suffs, The Heart of Rock and Roll, and The Who’s Tommy.

At the May 20 Awards, Bernadette Peters will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award, Phil LaDuca will receive the Vanguard Award, for his outstanding contribution to the international dance community, and Mayte Natalio (Suffs; How to Dance in Ohio) will receive the Douglas and Ethel Watt Critics’ Choice Award.

The Douglas and Ethel Watt Critics’ Choice Award is bestowed by the journalists of the Chita Rivera Awards’ Broadway judging committee, to recognize outstanding work that falls outside the framework of the original categories. It is named for the longtime Daily News theater critic Douglas Watt and his wife Ethel, an original cast member of Carousel and Kiss Me, Kate who later became a producer.

Tickets to the Chita Rivera Awards are available to the general public atwww.ChitaRiveraAwards.com.

Pop the champagne! The Museum of Broadway will celebrate its newest special exhibit celebrating the 10-time Tony Award®-winning Best Musical Moulin Rouge! The Musical, presented in partnership with Chase Freedom and created exclusively for The Museum of Broadway. The exhibit, Moulin Rouge! The Musical: Spectacular, Spectacular, invites fans to step into the world of Belle Époque Paris and experience the splendor, eye-popping excess, and glittering extravagance of the hit show.

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