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More Theatre News:  James Monroe Iglehart, Bonnie Milligan, J. Harrison Ghee, Santino Fontana, Len Cariou, Peter Filichia and Patricia Birch

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After winning rave reviews in New Orleans and Chicago, Tony Award winner James Monroe Iglehart (Disney’s AladdinHamiltonSpamalot) will star as jazz legend and American icon Louis Armstrong in A Wonderful World: The Louis Armstrong Musical on Broadway in Fall 2024.

Tony Award winner James Monroe Iglehart will play
Louis Armstrong in A Wonderful World: The Louis Armstrong Musical,
opening November 11, 2024 at Studio 54. ©Jeremy Daniel

Produced by Thomas E. Rodgers, Jr., Renee Rodgers, Martian Entertainment (Carl D. White and Gregory Rae) and Vanessa Williams and Elizabeth Curtis, A Wonderful World will open on Monday, November 11, 2024 at Studio 54 (254 West 54th Street). Previews will begin on October 16, 2024. Tickets will be available at CriterionTicketing.com, with the on-sale date to be announced in coming weeks.  With a book by Aurin Squire (“This Is Us,” “The Good Fight”) and featuring songs made famous by Louis Armstrong, A Wonderful World is co-conceived by Drama Desk Award winner and Tony Award nominee Christopher Renshaw (The King and ITaboo) andAndrew Delaplaine, and directed by Renshaw.  Cast and full creative team for A Wonderful World: The Louis Armstrong Musical will be announced soon.  Last fall, Iglehart starred in the pre-Broadway production of A Wonderful World in New Orleans and Chicago, where he won raves for his performance. The Chicago Tribune called him “just fabulous! – a knockout Louis Armstrong.” The Chicago Sun-Times, cheered, “James Monroe Iglehart gives a phenomenal, dynamic and vivacious lead performance as the wondrous Louis Armstrong.”  “I am so excited to bring this wonderful brand-new musical to Broadway,” James Monroe Iglehart commented. “American music wouldn’t be what it is today without Louis Armstrong and what is Broadway if not American music? ‘Pops’ doesn’t get enough credit for his contribution to our entertainment industry or our country. I know I have never studied, researched, or prepared for anything as much in my career as I have for this role. I feel such a strong connection and an obligation to bring his voice, his music, and his story to the one place where it can be presented in all its glory – Broadway! I can’t wait for you all to become a part of A Wonderful World.”

Maestra Music, the Obie Award-winning nonprofit organization founded by Georgia Stitt to support the women and nonbinary musicians in the musical theatre industry, is pleased to announce hosts Tony Award-winner Bonnie Milligan and Tony Award-winner J. Harrison Ghee for this year’s Amplify 2024, directed by Jessica Ryan (Between Riverside and Crazy Live Broadcast). This fourth-annual concert and fundraising event features stories, conversations, and musical performances from an impressive array of Broadway stars, composers, music directors, and more. Amplify 2024 will take place on Monday, March 25, 2024, at 8:00 pm at Sony Hall (235 W 46th St, New York, NY 10036). Tickets for the in-person event are on sale now at maestramusic.org/amplify/.

Amplify 2024 celebrates the rich creativity and ingenuity of Maestras in musical theatre, ranging from legendary to emerging talents.

The performers showcasing the musical brilliance of renowned composers and lyricists in this diverse and dynamic lineup embody the spirit of creativity and inclusivity in musical theatre including Tony Award-winner Santino Fontana (Tootsie), Two-time Tony Award-nominee Amanda Green (Mr. Saturday Nightand Hands on a Hardbody), Brooke Ishibashi (Into the Woods, Broadway), Jay Armstrong Johnson (Parade, Broadway), Mary Kate Morrissey (Wicked, Broadway), Liam Pearce (How to Dance in Ohio, Broadway), Jasmine Amy Rogers (BOOP! The Musical, Chicago), Sushma Saha (Interstate, Off-Broadway), Jordan Tyson (The Notebook, Broadway), Joy Woods (Six, Broadway), and Grammy Award-winning Nicole Zuraitis.

The celebrated composers and lyricists include Kristen Anderson-Lopez (Frozen), Susan Birkenhead (BOOP! The Musical), Amanda Green (Female Troubles), Rebekah Greer Melocik (How to Dance in Ohio), Brandy Hoang Collier, Clare Fuyuko Bierman, and Erika Ji (Yoko’s Husband’s Killer’s Japanese Wife Gloria), Christine Lavin (InunDATED), with newly added Bree Lowdermilk and Kait Kerrigan (The Mad Ones), Melissa Li and Kit Yan(Interstate) Ingrid Michaelson (The Notebook), and Lynne Shankel.

Music Director Julianne B. Merrill (My Son’s A Queer) leads a band made up entirely of Maestra members: Monica Davis (violin), Ann Klein (guitar), Mary Ann McSweeney (bass),  Merrill (piano), Noelle Rueschman (reeds), Shirazette Tinnin (drums), and Clerida Eltimé (cello). Kristy Norter serves as the Music Coordinator and Lexi Vollero is music assistant.

  • Date & Time: Monday, March 25, 2024, 8:00 pm (doors open at 7:30 pm)
  • Venue: Sony Hall, 235 W 46th St, New York, NY 10036
  • Tickets: maestramusic.org/amplify/

Len Cariou

The Theatre World Awards Board of Directors has announced two of the individuals to be honored at 78th Annual Theatre World Awards to be held on Monday evening, June 10, 2024 beginning at 7:00 p.m. at a Theater Venue TBA. Tony Award winner Len Cariou (Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, A Little Night Music, Applause) will receive the 11th Annual John Willis Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre, while acclaimed theatre journalist Peter Filichia will receive a 2024 TWA Special Awardfor his quarter-century of service to the organization. The recipient of the 15th Annual Dorothy Loudon Award for Excellence in the Theater, and the 2024 Theatre World Award Honorees for Outstanding Broadway or Off-Broadway Debut Performance will be announced in early May.

Hosted annually by well-known theater journalist, Peter Filichia, the 78th Annual Theatre World Awards Ceremony will be produced by Theatre World Awards, Inc. Board of Directors/Dale Badway. The Musical Director is Michael Lavine.

Theatre World Award winner (1979) Ken Jennings who played ‘Tobias’ in the original Broadway production of Sweeney Todd will perform in a musical tribute to Len Cariou.

Patricia Birch, Harold Prince, Candide

Patricia Birch, Choreographer, Harold Prince, Director Photo Stephen Sorokoff

Amas Musical Theatre (Donna Trinkoff, Artistic Producer), New York City’s award-winning pioneer in diversity and multi-ethnic casting in the performing arts since 1968, will celebrate its 55th Anniversary at its annual Gala Benefit Concert on Monday, May 13, 2024 at Baruch Performing Arts Center (Engelman Recital Hall) One Bernard Baruch Way (25th Street -between Lexington & 3rd Avenues). For more information, please visit http://www.amasmusical.org/. The evening will benefit Amas Musical Theatre’s education programs.

The gala evening will begin at 6:00pm with a champagne toast. At 7:00pm the evening continues with a concert performance of “A Lotta Night Music,” directed by Jonathan Cerullo. A cast of Broadway luminaries will perform songs from such shows as Grease, They’re Playing Our Song, and A Little Night Music, among others. Teens from The Rosetta LeNoire Musical Theatre Academy will be part of the evening.

The evening will culminate with the presentation of the 2024 “Rosie” Award to Honorees award-winning choreographer and director Patricia Birch (A Little Night Music, Parade), Tony Award-wining actor Len Cariou (Sweeney Todd, Applause), and Butler Tibbets, a beloved corporate sponsor for Amas programs for many years.

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

Suffs We Still Have A Long Way To Go

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“There never was a young woman who did not think that if she had had the management of the work from the beginning, the cause would have been carried out long ago,” Susan B. Anthony.

Shaina Taub

The new musical by Shaina Taub Suffs, has completely rewritten itself from when it played at The Public Theatre. What was an overstuffed story about the women’s movement, has become a polished version of how far and how little we have come. This is an uplifting tale and you will leave the theatre satisfied.


When Suffs begin,s we meet Carrie Chapman Catt (a terrific and staunch Jenn Colella) asking men to “Let Mother Vote.” Enter the young newcomer Alice Paul (Taub). Alice wants to do a protest march on Washington, to further the cause along, Catt wants women to be refined in their approach. Needless to say the two do not see eye to eye.

Hannah Cruz and Cast

Alice recruits Lucy (Ally Bonino) her friend from college, Inez Milholland (A star turn by Hannah Cruz, who commands the stage), “the it girl of her time,” who then recruits Ruza Wenclawska (another standout performance by Kim Blank), a militant labor organizer and Doris Stevens (Nadia Dandashi), who chronicles the movement.

Anastacia McCapaguy, Laila Erica, Nikki M.James

Enter Ida B. Wells (a fabulous Nikki M. James) and other Black suffragists such as Mary Church Terrell (Anastacia McCapaguy), the first president of the NAACP, to a march on Washington, however the Southern women and backers do not want them there and they are told to march in the back. Wells refuses singing the powerful ballad “Wait My Turn”. It is their story that pacts a punch.

Tsilala Brock, Grace McLean

The President at the time is Woodrow Wilson (the phenomenal Grace McLean), who “loves the ladies, with all his heart, until they start to speak,” He plays games with Alice and her cohorts, as well as with Ms. Catt. However Ms. Catt concedes to help the President, where Ms. Paul does not.

The new Suffs start their own organization The National Women’s Party (NOW) with the help of a rich socialite (a terrific Emily Skinner). They take their grievances public, get arrested, stage hunger strikes and finally win the vote.

The cast is entirely made of women, non-binary performers and musicians who are extremely talented. Ms. Taub does extremely well as Alice. I loved and hated Grace McLean’s outstanding portrayals. Nikki M. James almost steals the show, but it is Jenn Colella who really makes us understand the power play between women.

Leigh Silverman’s staging, keeps the show moving at 2 hours and 45 minutes. Riccardo Hernadez’s set keeps The White House always in play, and Paul Tazewell’s lighting warms it up. Mayte Natalio’s choreography is subtle, yet effective.

There are 33 songs by Ms Taub which are very musical theatre with hints of pop. Ms. Taub’s lyrics are smart, almost Hamilton esq. Especially clever are the lyrics to “If We Were Married.” Musically however, some of the songs bring to mind Beyonce’s “I’m A Survivor” and in “Ladies” “The Ballad of Guiteau” from Assassins. The stand outs are “Finish the Fight,” “This Girl,” “Wait My Turn,”  “Find a Way” and the anthem “Keep Marchin”. Musical director Andrea Grody and her orchestra should be commended. The underscoring is fabulous.

Ms Taub also penned the book, which sometimes misses the mark.

In the end the cycle between the established suffragettes and the newer, younger models will always be at odds.

Ironically what was cut was it was Mrs Woodrow Wilson who refused to sign for women to vote. After her husband had a stroke she states; “Now the presidential vote belongs to me. Support for Suffrage? Absolutely NO!” It was a women who turned the vote down.

Suffs: The Music Box Theatre, 239 W 45th Street.

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Live From The Hotel Edison Times Square Chronicles Presents at Addiss and Dan Lauria

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I am so pleased to announce our guests for next Wednesday’s show on April 24th are Producer Pat Addiss and Dan Lauria.

Pat Flicker Addiss has been a producer on the following shows: Little Women​, Chita Rivera: A Dancer’s Life, Bridge & Tunnel, Spring Awakening, Passing Strange, 39 Steps, Vanya, Sonia, Masha & Spike, Promises, Promises, Gigi, Love Letters, Eclipsed, War Horse, A Christmas Story ​and Harmony on Broadway. Off-Broadway she produced Jane Anger and Buyer and Cellar starring Michael Urieher show, Dinner With The Boys with Dan Lauria and Desperate Measures, is currently playing around the country. A native New Yorker. She was a child model and actress. Went to Finch College where she majored and graduated in honors in Costume Design and Merchandising. She started her own Company Pat Addiss Enterprises which designed and manufactured all items and widgets with Corporate names and logos. For her work she was honored by the LPTW Oral History that was filmed for the archives of Lincoln Center Performing Arts Library. She was also given the Woman of Purpose Award by the “Three Tomatoes.”. With colleague, Magda Katz, she has initiated a formula to connect women through YaYa lunches, dinners and now the addition of upscale tea. She loves to speak to women over 50 “How to Reinvent Yourself.”

Dan Lauria is best known for playing the dad Jack Arnold on the TV series The Wonder Years. He also played NASA Administrator James Webb in the 1998 TV miniseries From the Earth to the Moon and Commanding Officer, USA in 1996’s Independence Day. More recently he has appeared as Police Commissioner Eustace Dolan in The Spirit. He appeared as Coach Hamstrung in The Three Stooges N.Y.U.K. on AMC in 2000. Lauria appeared on stage in New York in the summer of 2006 in an off-Broadway production of A Stone Carver by William Mastrosimone with Jim Iorio and Elizabeth Rossa. Lauria also had a small role in a season two episode of Army Wives, as well as a season one episode of The Mentalist. In 2009, Lauria has appeared as General Lee Whitworth, M.D. in Criminal Minds season 4. He has also appeared in an episode of Boy Meets World. In late 2009, Lauria returned to the off-Broadway stage, appearing as Jimmy Hoffa in Brian Lee Franklin’s Good Bobby, a fictionalized account of Robert F. Kennedy’s rise.

Dan is also a very familiar face to the off-off, off and regional theatre scene having performed, written or directed over 50 professional stage productions.  He has appeared as a guest star in over seventy television episodic programs and more than twenty ‘Movie Of The Week’ productions plus a score of motion picture credits.  

In 2010-11 Dan was seen on Broadway in the long running production of Lombardi as the legendary coach Vince Lombardi with the beautiful and talented Judith Light, directed by Thomas Kail of Hamilton fame and returned again in the 2013-14 productions of the Tony nominated A Christmas Story: The Musical, directed by John Rando. 

Dan and dear friend, the lovely and talented Ms. Wendie Malick have performed the play The Guys by Anne Nelson (about our first responders) for numerous theatre and fire departments, around the country. Wendie and Dan also perform Love Letters as a fundraiser for regional theatres, for the development of new plays.  

Dan has now wrote and starred in the off Broadway production of Dinner With The Boys produced by the one and only Pat Addis and the NJ Rep. This was followed by a off Broadway production of The Stone Witch  and the upcoming Regional production of Lee Blessings new play; Tea With The Boss with Gwenn and Wendie Malick.  

He is about to star inJust Another Day written by Lauria. The show will run May 3-June 30 at Theater555 and also stars Patty McCormack (The Bad Seed). Between them, Lauria and McCormack have over 100 years of live theatrical experience, as well as over 150 television shows and films.

“Live From The Hotel Edison Times Square Chronicles Presents ”, is a new show filmed in the lobby of the iconic Hotel Edison, before a live audience. To see our first episode click here second episode click here,  third episode click here, fourth episode click here, fifth episode here, six episode here, seventh episode here, eight episode here and ninth episode here.

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Move Over Daisy Jones & The Six Stereophonic Has Taken Up The Gauntlet

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Daisy Jones & the Six is a hit series on Amazon Prime that follows a rock band in the 1970s from their rise in the LA music scene to becoming one of the most famous bands in the world. This was based on Taylor Jenkins Reid’s book of the same name and was partly inspired by Fleetwood Mac. Stereophonic is like binge watching episodes of this TV series, live on stage for three hours. 


Opening tonight, David Adjmi’s high drama play is set in a recording studio in Sausalito, California in 1976, until the last act when they record in LA. The set by David Zinn, has us inside the control room where we can see inside the sound booth. In the beginning, it is hard to hear the words as everyone is talking over each other. Sex, drugs especially coke, alcohol, cigarettes, joints, infidelity and music are what’s at stake and we are eavesdropping in.

Andrew R. Butler and Eli Gelb Photo by Julieta Cervantes

We first meet Grover (Eli Gelb), an untested producer who has lied to everyone about his credentials and his nerdy assistant Charlie (Andrew R. Butler), who are trying to keep the band who are very much like Fleetwood Mac on track. On lead guitar and vocals, Peter (Tom Pecinka) a control freak, perfectionist, lead songwriter and vocalist who is emotionally abusive. He is in a nine year relationship with Diana (Sarah Pidgeon), also the lead singer who is insecure, neurotic, an up and coming songwriter, who very much like Riley Keough in Daisy Jones & the Six. From England are keyboardist and singer Holly (Juliana Canfield) who is stable, warm and going through a terrible marriage to bassist Reg (Will Brill), who is an addict in every sense of the word. And finally Simon (Chris Stack), a drummer who parties to the hilt, as his marriage falls apart due to the recording of the album going way over the time frame given.

Photo by Julieta Cervantes

The question becomes; can this group of talented performers complete this album without killing each other or themselves? In the course of the 3+ hours, we start to really care about the outcome.

Sarah Pidgeon Photo by Julieta Cervantes

In the meantime, we hear fragments and whole songs that are really well done. Tender, yearning ballads of hope and despair written by Will Butler highlight this slice of life. The songs become the feelings that are unexpressed.

Chris Stack and Will Brill Photo by Julieta Cervantes

The cast is incredible, with each one giving us a complete profile. Gelb and Butler give us comedic dazed and confused nerds, whose chemistry is infectious. Gelb’s character is so out of his depth, as he is forced to be the one to keep this gang together despite Pecinka egocentric narcissistic personality. Pidgeon and Pecinka are perfect as lovers tearing each other apart. Stack gives us loss that is heartbreaking. Canfield gives us layers in a role that could be lost but it is Brill who steals the show with his brilliant portrayal as a rock star who lives his life to access.

Juliana Canfield Photo by Julieta Cervantes

Juliana Canfield Photo by Julieta Cervantes

Enver Chakartash’s costumes, Tommy Kurzman’s wigs and hairstyling, Jiyoun Chang’s  lighting, and Ryan Rumery’s multidirectional sound are groovy and out a sight.

Tom Pecinka and Sarah Pidgeon Photo by Julieta Cervantes

Director Daniel Aukin keeps this chaos intact, as the music exacts its reward.

Tom Pecinka, Juliana Canfield and Sarah Pidgeon by Julieta Cervantes

The music is so good that Sony Masterworks Broadway will release an original cast recording produced by Playwrights Horizons where the show originally played and features the original songs by Academy Award® nominee and Grammy Award® winner Will Butler, formerly of Arcade Fire wrote. The digital album arrives May 10, 2024, with the physical CD release set for June 14. The Album is available for preorder now.

Stereophonic: Broadway’s Golden Theatre, 252 W. 45th Street.

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Chip Zien Is Honored at Sardi’s and The Original Cast of Falsettos Unite

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The iconic Chip Zien was honored with his portrait at Sardi’s. Sierra Boggess roasted him to the hilt

Zien has spent almost 50 years on Broadway.


Zien was the Baker in the original 1987 production of Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine’s Into the Woods filmed by the PBS.

The Baker’s Wife Joanna Gleason

In the 90’s he replaced Michael Jeter is Grand Hotel.

Stephen Bogardus, Chip Zien, Alison Fraser, Mary Testa

In 1992 he was Mendel in the groundbreaking William Finn and James Lapine musical Falsettos. He appeared in all of the “Marvin Trilogy” musicals by Finn: In Trousers (1979), March of the Falsettos (1981), Falsettoland (1990) and Falsettos (1992).

Carolee Carmella

Alison Fraser

Gregg Edelman, Barbara Walsh, Stephen Bogardus, Chip Zien,  Carolee Carmello, Mary Testa, Alison Fraser

Gregg Edelman, Barbara Walsh, Stephen Bogardus, Chip Zien, Carolee Carmella, Mary Testa, Alison Fraser

In 1998 Zien was featured in another Finn musical A New Brain. He received a 1999 Drama Desk Award nomination for Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical for this role.

Anne Nathan and Mary Testa

He appeared in the Off-Broadway play Isn’t It Romantic by Wendy Wasserstein and was nominated for the 1984 Drama Desk Award, Featured Actor in a Play.

Gregg Edelman, Carolee Carmella, Christine Pedi

In 2005, Zien played the part of Goran in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang on Broadway.

In 2007, Zien was a replacement in the Broadway revival of Les Misérables in the role of Monsieur Thénardier.

Richard Kind

From April 1 to June 19, 2011, Zien appeared in the Roundabout Theatre Company’s production of The People in the Picture, which played at Studio 54 on Broadway.

Sierra Boggess

Zien appeared in the Broadway musical It Shoulda Been You at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre.

Chip signing his portrait

In 1973, Zien made his television debut on an episode of Love, American Style. More guest roles followed. In 1981, he appeared on Ryan’s Hope and began a two-year run in Love, Sidney, then Reggie. He provided the voice of the title character in Marvel Comics’ Howard the Duck. Zien later starred on the short-lived CBS drama Shell Game in 1987.

Carolee Carmello, Joanna Gleason, CHip Zien

In the 1990s, Zien was part of the ensemble cast of the CBS sitcom Almost Perfect and had regular roles in the daytime soaps Guiding Light and All My Children, until 2001.

Stefano Da Frè, Chip Zien, Sierra Boggess

From 1999 to 2000, Zien had a recurring guest role on the CBS primetime drama Now and Again and  appeared repeatedly as Attorney Cromwell on Law & Order.

During the 2002–03 season, Zien was the announcer on daytime’s The Caroline Rhea Show, and in 2006, he appeared in the critically acclaimed film United 93 was in the vampire comedy film Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Undead.

Joy Hermalyn

He was also in Caroline or Change on Broadway.

Bruce Sussman

Sierra Boggess, Chip Zien, Danny Kornfeld

Blake Roman, Steven Telsey,Sean Bell, Chip Zien, Danny Kornfeld, Eric Peters, Zal Owen

His last show was Harmony, the musical by Barry Manilow and Bruce Sussman. His role as the adult Rabbi, the last surviving Harmonist was hailed by the critic’s and audiences alike. He was nominated for a Drama Desk Award for his portrayal.

It was so fitting that this prolific performer hang on these hallowed walls. Congregations this was well deserved.

Up Next for Chip Zien is Titanic at City Centers Encore series.

 

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Barry Manilow and Bruce Sussman for Hamony at The Museum of Broadway

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On Thursday, April 18th, The Museum of Broadway located at 145 W. 45th Street, just east of Times Square, presented a brief A Cappella performance by The Comedian Harmonists played by Steven Telsey, Blake Roman, Danny Kornfeld, Eric Peters, Sean Bell and Zal Owen, welcoming remarks were made by Julie Boardman, Co-Founder Museum of Broadway, Chip Zien the lead in Harmony was in attendance, as were Barry Manilow & Bruce Sussman.

The reason for this event was the unveiling of the Museum of Broadway’s Harmony-inspired window dedicated to The Comedian Harmonists.


In Berlin, 1927, The Comedian Harmonists were six remarkably talented young men form a singing group who become international sensations: They sold millions of records, starred in major motion pictures, and played the biggest theaters around the world. By 1935, they were never heard from again. What happened? That’s the extraordinary true story of Harmony that played on Broadway. Now The Museum of Broadway is keeping their memory alive.

Bruce Sussman and Barry Manilow

Barry Manilow

The Comedian Harmonists and Bruce Sussman and Barry Manilow

Julie Boardman, Co-Founder Museum of Broadway

Steven Telsey, Blake Roman, Danny Kornfeld, Eric Peters, Sean Bell and Zal Owen, and Chip Zien

 

 

 

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