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Keen Company Awards Its First Commission of a New Musical to Adam Gwon(Ordinary Days, Scotland, PA)

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Keen Company is proud to announce its first musical commission: a new musical by Adam Gwon (Ordinary Days, Scotland, PA). Keen presented Gwon’s Ordinary Days in Fall of 2018 to great acclaim, including a nomination for the 2019 Drama League Award for Outstanding Revival of a Musical (Broadway or Off-Broadway).

“I am so grateful to the NEA and The Ted & Mary Jo Shen Charitable Gift Fund for their support in helping Keen commission and develop a new musical by Adam Gwon. When I assumed the Artistic Director position, it was my dream to commission a new intimate musical. Smaller musicals that speak honestly and poetically are rare to find, yet they are in high demand for companies around the country. Ever since I met Adam Gwon, and subsequently produced and directed his musical Ordinary Days, it became clear that he would be the perfect fit for Keen’s first ever musical commission. His heartfelt writing and skillful drawing of complex relationships, coupled with his emotional searing melodies, beautifully examine today’s world.  Thanks to the NEA’s and The Shen’s support, we look forward to working with Adam closely over the next few years to bring more of his work to fruition,” said Keen Company Artistic Director Jonathan Silverstein.

Partial support for this commission comes from a Grant for Arts Projects award from the National Endowment for the Arts. “The National Endowment for the Arts is proud to support arts projects like this one from Keen Company that help support the community’s creative economy,” said NEA Acting Chair Ann Eilers. “Keen Company in NYC is among the arts organizations nationwide that are using the arts as a source of strength, a path to well-being, and providing access and opportunity for people to connect and find joy through the arts.” 

Additional support for the commission has been provided by The Ted & Mary Jo Shen Charitable Gift Fund, which concentrates its musical theater grants on providing funding support for the works of exceptionally gifted and highly original musical theater composers. The Foundation’s mission is to encourage originality, innovation and high artistic aspiration in the musical composition component of musical theater, and its grants are made to selected not-for-profit organizations to support original commissions, theatrical productions and, in certain circumstances, cast recordings of the works of composers who have the potential to advance the art form. Currently, the Foundation’s grants are focused almost exclusively on its commissioning programs and on major New York productions of works by its commissioned composers. The Foundation’s Musical Theater Composers Initiative concentrates its funding support on the works of a select group of exceptionally gifted musical theater composers whose writing is distinguished by originality, innovation and an advanced harmonic sensibility. To date, that group of composers has remained relatively small and consists primarily of Stephen Sondheim and, among the next generation of composers, Michael John LaChiusa, Ricky Ian Gordon, Adam Guettel, Gabriel Kahane, Marisa Michelson, Jeanine Tesori and Joseph Thalken. Since 2002 the Foundation has committed grants to not-for-profit organizations to commission 20 new musicals, primarily through Signature Theatre (Arlington, VA) and the Public Theater (NY); and to provide major funding for more than 35 productions of works by Stephen Sondheim, more than 75 productions of works by commissioned and other contemporary composers, and more than 20 cast recordings.

Adam Gwon is a musical theater writer named one of “50 to Watch” by The Dramatist magazine and hailed “a promising newcomer to our talent-hungry musical theater” whose songs are “funny, urbane, with a sweetness that doesn’t cloy” by The New York Times. His musicals have been produced on six continents, in more than half a dozen languages.  Off-Broadway: Scotland, PA (Roundabout Theatre, Drama Desk Award nomination, New York Times Critic’s Pick), Ordinary Days (Roundabout Theatre; Keen Company, Drama League Award nomination – Best Revival), Old Jews Telling Jokes (Westside Theatre, New York Times Critic’s Pick); Regional: String (Village Theatre),Cake Off (Signature Theatre, Helen Hayes Award nomination; Bucks County Playhouse), Cloudlands (South Coast Repertory), The Boy Detective Fails (Signature Theatre), Bernice Bobs Her Hair (Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma); West End: Ordinary Days (Trafalgar Studios). Other projects include The Waves in Quarantine (a film collaboration with Lisa Peterson and Raúl Esparza), songs as a staff writer on the hit webseries Submissions Only, and for Stephen Schwartz and John Tartaglia’s The Secret Silk on Princess Cruise Lines. Adam is the proud recipient of the Kleban Award, the Fred Ebb Award, the Richard Rodgers Award, the Frederick Loewe Award, the Second Stage Theatre Donna Perret Rosen Award, the Weston Playhouse New Musical Award, the ASCAP Harold Adamson Award, and the MAC John Wallowitch Award, as well as commissions from Roundabout Theatre Company, Playwrights Horizons, Signature Theatre, South Coast Repertory, the Kimmel Center, and Broadway Across America.  His songs have been heard at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, the Kennedy Center, and more, performed by such luminaries as Audra McDonald, Kelli O’Hara, and Brian d’Arcy James. Recordings of Adam’s work include the cast album of Ordinary Days (Ghostlight Records), Audra McDonald’s “Go Back Home” (Nonesuch), “Artists in Residence” (Broadway Records), “The Essential Liz Callaway” (Working Girl Records), Tracy Lynn Olivera’s “Because,” and “Over the Moon: The Broadway Lullaby Project” (Entertainment One). Adam has been a fellow at MacDowell, Hermitage Artist Retreat, the O’Neill Music Theater Conference, and the Dramatists Guild, is a graduate of NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, and is a member of ASCAP and the Dramatists Guild. He served on the Tony Awards Nominating Committee from 2015-2018, and currently sits on the Board at Roundabout Theatre Company and Primary Stages.

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

Summer Listening: Here We Are, Water for Elephants, Days of Wine and Roses, Harmony, How to Dance in Ohio, The Great Gatsby, Lempicka, The Outsiders, Stereophonic and Suffs  

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Today Concord Theatricals Recordings released the original cast recording of Here We Are, on CD and digital platforms worldwide. The album will be available on 2-LP, 180g baby blue vinyl on Friday, September 6. Here We Are (Original Cast Recording) has music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, orchestrations by Jonathan Tunick, and music supervision and additional arrangements by Alexander Gemignani, conducting a 14-piece orchestra. The album was recorded and mixed by Ian Kagey and mastered by Oscar Zambrano. The album packaging was designed by Derek Bishop. Complete production credits can be found in the album booklet available for free download HERE.

Stream, download or purchase the album HERE.

The album features the cast of Joe Mantello’s celebrated world premiere production: Francois Battiste, Tracie Bennett, Bobby Cannaval

Ghostlight Records has announced that Water for Elephants: Original Broadway Cast Recording, which preserves the show’s soaring score by the acclaimed PigPen Theatre Co., is available in streaming and digital formats today, Friday, May 17. A CD is being planned for this summer. The show has been nominated for seven 2024 Tony Awards, including “Best Musical.” Produced by Peter Schneider, Jennifer Costello, Grove Entertainment, Frank Marshall, Isaac Robert Hurwitz, and Seth A. Goldstein, Water for Elephants is currently running at the Imperial Theatre (249 West 45th Street). Water for Elephants is based on the critically acclaimed and New York Times-bestselling novel by Sara Gruen. The new musical has a book by four-time Tony Award nominee Rick Elice (Jersey Boys, Peter and the Starcatcher) and is directed by two-time Tony Award nominee Jessica Stone (Kimberly Akimbo). The album is produced by Mary-Mitchell Campbell and Ian Kagey. Stream or download the album at ghostlightrecords.lnk.to/WaterForElephants

Water for Elephants is currently running at the Imperial Theatre (249 West 45th Street). The cast stars Grant Gustin (“The Flash,” “Glee”) in his Broadway debut, Isabelle McCalla (The Prom, Shucked), four-time Tony Award nominee Gregg Edelman (City of Angels), Drama Desk and Outer Critic Circle Award nominee Paul Alexander Nolan (Slave Play), Stan Brown (“Homicide: Life in the Streets”), Joe De Paul (Cirque du Soleil’s Dralion), Sara Gettelfinger (Dirty Rotten Scoundrels), and Wade McCollum (Wicked), and features Brandon Block, Antoine Boissereau, Rachael Boyd, Paul Castree, Ken Wulf Clark, Taylor Colleton, Gabriel Olivera de Paula Costa, Isabella Luisa Diaz, Samantha Gershman, Keaton Hentoff-Killian, Nicolas Jelmoni, Caroline Kane, Harley McLeish, Michael Mendez, Samuel Renaud, Marissa Rosen, Alexandra Gaelle Royer, Asa Somers, Charles South, Sean Stack, Matthew Varvar, and Michelle West.

Days of Wine and Roses written by Adam Guettel, features powerful songs like “Forgiveness” and “There Go I”, performed by Kelli O’Hara and Brian d’Arcy James. Stream the Tony Award-nominated score here.

Harmony has a score by Barry Manilow and Bruce Sussman. The cast recording was released last August. You can still stream the cast recording here.

How to Dance in Ohio released an original Broadway cast recording on January 19, 2024. To stream the album, which features “Building Momentum,” click here.

The Great Gatsby has a new score by Jason Howland and Nathan Tysen, they will release a cast album digitally on June 21, 2024. Ahead of the album’s release, hear a sneak preview of tunes “For Her” and “My Green Light”performed by Jeremy Jordan and Eva Noblezada.

Lempicka has songs that were fabulously sung by Eden Espinosa, Amber Iman, Andrew Samonsky, George Abud, Natalie Joy Johnson and Beth Leavel. The new score from Matt Gould and Carson Kreitzer will be available to stream on May 29, 2024.

The Outsiders new score by Jamestown Revival (Jonathan Clay & Zach Chance) and Justin Levine will be available to stream on May 22, 2024. The songs were written by Academy Award nominee and Grammy Award winner Will Butler. You can get a sneak preview of the song “Masquerade” here.


Well Suffs is the show that will win the Tony for Best Musical and Score. The book, composer, lyricist, and star is Broadway darling Shaina Taub. The cast recording, produced by Atlantic Records, will be available to stream on June 14, 2024.

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Cabaret

Karen Mason and Louis Rosen

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Karen Mason and Louis Rosen met back in the 70s in Chicago. Karen was a young singer accompanied by a the incomparable pianist-songwriter Brian Lasser. He was close friends with guitarist, pianist-songwriter, Louis Rosen. Mason and Lasser moved to New York and two years later Rosen was there as well. A little over ten years later Lasser died of AIDS. Rosen and Mason have made sure that Lasser’s music is remembered.

Karen Mason

Louis Rosen

Mason and Rosen are back together again celebrating nearly 50 years of collaboration and friendship. The evening is stripped down bare with Rosen on guitar and piano and Mason and Rosen on vocals. Most of the material is Rosen’s songs many from his most recent albums, but added are a few selections by  Lasser, that make you know he died way to soon.

Karen Mason

Louis Rosen

Rosen’s music is what singer/songwriters use to write, full of blues riffs, uplifting swing, folk melodies, jazz cadences and soulful powerful lyrics. It is like an old soul left their words to impart. This night so made me want to hear his newest album “Love and Ashes”. Rosen is a musicians musician.

“A master interpreter… Mason produces a depth of sound and brilliance of color that converge in the work of very few singers!” (Chicago Tribune)

Mason has an authenticity to her voice. She is a storyteller, rich in tone and truly excels on Lasser’s music. She is a belter at heart, but Rosen’s music has her venerable and exposed, which is a new side to her art.

It is always wonderful to watch two artists collaborate,

Luba Mason and Karen Mason

Louis Rosen

Karen Mason and Louis Rosen: Ages Since the Last Time: Chelsea Table + Stage, 152 West 26th Street.

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Broadway

The Glorious Corner

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G.H. Harding

SANBORN RIP — I was absolutely devastated to loss another friend Monday, musician David Sanborn. Still reeling from the loss of Sam Rubin, I just could not believe the news when I heard it.

I first met David when he played with The Brecker Brothers band (brothers Michael and Randy, Will Lee, Steve Khan, Don Grolnick, Chris Parker) and we immediately hit it off and became fast-running buddies. David, who had already played with the Paul Butterfield, was on his way to super-stardom: playing with everyone from Stevie Wonder to David Bowie, with his superb sax work. When you heard his work, you immediately knew it was him. Listen to his work on Bowie’s “Young Americans.” Just stunning.


His solo work with equally as stellar. His first solo-album Taking Off was just great. His signature “Chicago Song” was sensational too. I’ll never forget his great work on Lorne Michael’s Night Music show – especially the time he paired up Eric Clapton and Robert Cray. If you’ve never seen this, take a look here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BngAj8xV3Os

He also worked with the late-Michael Kamen (and sting) on the Lethal Weapon soundtrack with Sting. Just exemplary work.

Check out his work with the Letterman band on a show in Vegas with Sammy Davis, Jr.: Sammy Davis Jr. on Late Night With David Letterman in Las Vegas (1987)

He was a lot of fun to hang with. I’ll miss his company – no question. Tremendous loss for sure.

David Salidor and Gene Cornish Photo by Bobby Bank/Getty Images

SHORTS TAKES — The Rascals’ “Good Lovin'” is in Jerry Seinfeld’s Unfrosted Netflix movie. Unfortunately, the movie’s taking a heavy beating in the media. I don’t think I’ll tune in, but a great music selection for sure … The first full-trailer for Coppola’s Megalopolis has just been released. Its rather sensational. Take a look here from Roger Friedman’s Showbiz 411: https://www.showbiz411.com/2024/05/14/watch-first-full-pre-cannes-teaser-trailer-for-coppolas-biggest-gamble-ever-with-astonishing-megalopolis-images

Alicia Keys announced the album for her play Hell’s Kitchen (13 TONY noms) will be out June 7. Interesting that she said album. Good for her … MTV has canceled their movie awards presentation for 2024. Low ratings the case? I’d bet on it. Also, parent-company Paramount might have a new owner or new owners. Check this out: https://www.showbiz411.com/2024/05/12/mtv-cancels-movie-and-tv-awards-for-2024-skips-barbenheimer-movies-after-2023-ratings-debacle

I started watching the original Let It Be film on Disney and loved it, just as I did when I originally saw it in 1970. As I’ve said before, this original (from director Michael Lindsay-Hogg) would never have come out again if there wasn’t a demand for it. What Peter Jackson did was great, but it wasn’t what The Beatles and Apple wanted. I loved it. Check this terrific article out on it: https://www.soundandvision.com/content/making-beatles-let-it-be-and-peter-jacksons-get-back?fbclid=IwZXh0bgNhZW0CMTEAAR2l_MOZXCWPMg2E5gNKfin7wIVgTKlmRvGWBwOHvqM4B_dphbY2bw-JcoM_aem_AXa5zighOQPj-_fICOPXlPDJP1wXUdXEx82NiZSzlevB … Happy BDay Crispin Cioe ; Jane Blunkell and Gene Cornish.

NAMES IN THE NEWS — Savannah Guthrie; Carson Daly; Paul Pesco;Alicia Keys; Tony Mandich; Judy Libow; Amanda Naylor; Tom & Lisa Cuddy; Len Berman; Michael Riedel; Bob Feiden; Sam Rubin; Paul Cooper; Anthony Noto; Ed Steinberg; Richard Johnson; Steve Carrel; Matt Damon; Matt Drudge; Bobby Orlando; Mark Berry; Marissa Armstrong; Heather Moore; and CHIP!

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Celebrity

The Glorious Corner

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G.H. Harding

SAM RUBIN — KTLA’s Sam Rubin passed on Friday. I first met Sam in 1986 while introducing a new artist around the LA scene, Sam immediately struck me as not only a terrific reporter, but a caring one and we immediately struck up a friendship that continued until last week. Sam was the type of guy who would ask the hard questions, but also gifted with a terrific sense of humor. If you saw him on the press-line, you’d go to him first. He wasn’t snarky; wasn’t unkind; wasn’t sneaky … just an honest-to-God good guy.

He was one of the few entertainment reports who would go onto question Mel Gibson about his off-screen antics. I always admired him for that.

I actually spoke to him earlier last week about an exciting new project and he was immediately entranced and even gave me some intriguing suggestions. Stand-up guy? No question. He will be missed greatly by not only his KTLA staff, but by the whole of Hollywood.

We’ve lost one of the good guys!

Read Roger Friedman’s take on Sam: https://www.showbiz411.com/2024/05/10/rip-sam-rubin-64-legend-in-hollywood-tv-reporting-for-station-ktla

YOUNG SHELDON — I’ve been a big fan of TV’s The Big Bang Theory and when it went off (after 12 seasons), Young Sheldon appeared in its place; about the early-life of lead-character Sheldon Cooper. After 7 seasons, it’s coming to a close and I have to say that although it hasn’t generated the same sort of fervor as BBT did, it’s been just a sensational show in every way.

The cast, led by Iain Armitage (Big little Lies) has just been spot on; and last week was the penultimate episode where Sheldon’s father George (Lance Barber), suffers a heart attack and passes. It was foretold in BBT and everyone -from the cast on- knew it was coming, but it was handled so well and off-screen, that it immediately became the show’s shining moment.

Talk about the little show that could, that was Young Sheldon. Beautifully done in every way. Bravo!

SHORT TAKES — Apple TV’s Constellation has been canceled. No real surprise here as it looked great, but the story was terrifically hard to follow. Actually, we’re waiting for the channel’s Invasion to return … Cassidy Wixom (KSL.com)did a great piece on 17-year-old wunderkind Kjersti Long, who’s “Legs (Keep Dancing)” song from Vanessa Williams, hit #3 on the Billboard Dance Charts. Check it out here: https://www.ksl.com/article/51008484/meet-the-utah-teen-who-helped-write-vanessa-williams-new-single

Robert Funaro

The Soprano’s Robert Funaro was a guest on NYC’s PIX11 and talked his new projects. Check it out here: Catching up with ‘The Sopranos’ Robert Funaro (youtube.com)

David Kramer

Check out Zach Martin’s session with Director David Kramer on his Jimi Hendrix: The Documentary: https://newhdmedia.com/jimi-hendrix-medical-mysteries-wine-controversy-and-persistent-murder-theories/

Felix Cavaliere

Felix Cavaliere on WOR this morning with Len Berman and Michael Riedel. He and Gene Cornish are at SONY Hall Friday. It’ll be Gene’s 80th Bday … Happy Bday Denise Lopez … RIP Roger Corman (https://deadline.com/2024/05/roger-corman-dead-independent-filmmaker-1235912737/)

NAMES IN THE NEWS — Zach Martin; Greg Porto; Kimberly Cornell; Tom & Lisa Cuddy; Asha Puthli; Jim Burgess; Glenn Friscia; Richard Johnson; David Sanborn; Paul Butterfield; Eppy; Mitch Kanner; Bruce Schindler; Anthony Pomes; Terry Jastrow; Crimshaw; Peter Abraham; Dan Zelinski; Donna Quinter; Wayne Avers; Anthony Pomes; Peter Abraham; Dan Zelinski; and Sadie!


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Broadway

A Tribute To All Unsung Heroes on Mother’s Day

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As the world commemorates Mother’s Day, it’s not just a day about our biological mothers; it’s a celebration of the women who have embraced the role of motherhood in our lives. These unsung heroes often go unnoticed, yet their love, care, and guidance shape us into the individuals we become.

In every community, there are women who step into the role of mother figures, offering nurturing support and unconditional love. They may be aunts, grandmothers, older sisters, mentors, or even family friends. Regardless of their title, their impact is profound.

These women embody the essence of motherhood through their selflessness, compassion, and wisdom. They sacrifice their time, energy, and resources to ensure the well-being and happiness of those around them. Their influence extends far beyond the confines of traditional motherhood, leaving an indelible mark on the hearts and minds of those they touch.

As we honor these remarkable women on Mother’s Day, let us remember to express our gratitude not only to our biological mothers but also to the women who have embraced us as their own. Their love knows no boundaries, and their contributions to our lives are immeasurable. Today, and every day, let us celebrate the women who love us as mothers.

 

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