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No Day Like Today: 25 Years of RENT – Measured in Love for the NYTW



Over a quarter century ago, a wise and talented Jonathan Larson delivered to the door of the New York Theatre Workshop a request and a proposal, to give a young artist and his musical, RENT, a chance and a space to thrive. The newly relocated theatre company was just about to open its doors on East 4th St. to a neighbourhood that is basically the beating heart of this wildly wonderful rock musical. Larson believed, as this strong and emotionally engaging virtual presentation for NYTW, 25 YEARS OF RENT: MEASURED IN LOVE states most beautifully, that this theatre and its community is where his rock adaptation of Puccini’s La Bohème truly belonged. The East Village was a place that fostured a strong and constantly evolving history of creating scrappy art and culture, and within those theatre walls and on that stage lived a place where his musical would thrive. It fit with the themes of his show, which spoke most passionately to a time, place, and movement that is etched inside and resonates throughout his music and lyrics. So, in 1996, thanks to some brave minds at NYTW, that seed was planted and given the room to grow. From these humble beginnings, the groundbreaking musical, RENT, found its way upward and outward. We see and hear about that birth, and feel in its bones that the show was “truly loved, cause it was conceived in Love.” Sadly Larson didn’t live to see the opening night at this downtown Off-Broadway theatre. Larson died suddenly at the age 35 of an aortic aneurysm the night before RENT’s first preview, but the rock musical went on, fueled by the same passion that created it, shaping a generation with its spectacular (award-winning) glory; a generation that included me as one of its ardent fans. After beginning its life in my first NYC neighbourhood, the East Village, the show flew itself up to Broadway, winning four Tony Awards and a Pulitzer Prize for its creator, before travelling across the nation and around the world, living and breathing the love that was at its heart and core. 

On March 2, 2021, NYTW held their biggest fundraising event of the year, 25 YEARS OF RENT: MEASURED IN LOVE. This virtual celebration of RENT and its impact on the collective cultural consciousness is of the greatest importance, as it and all the other theatres around the world are struggling to survive. The fundraiser features a selection of iconic songs by some of today’s most beloved recording and theatre artists, exclusive content uncovering how RENT came to life, and reflections on the driving force of Jonathan’s legacy in the American theatre. It’s a nonstop feast of glorious performances, tender recollections, and heartfelt proclamations. One such moment is with Abigal Bengson who shared her the love she has for NYTW, because without their support, we might also never have seen and heard the glorious Hundred Days on that East Village stage. She reminds us all of the great need we have for the daring theatre company that brought us RENT, and for the joy and excitement it can bring to the stage, and into our hearts and minds. 

Wilson Jermaine Heredia. Photo: Jon Burklund and Zanni Productions

The fundraising event will also bring tears of love, joy, and loss to your eyes as it did to mine time and time again. It reminds us of tragedy and loss, something akin to reading the heart-breaking The World Only Spins Forward” about the creation of Tony Kushner’s epic masterpiece Angels in America. But, here in this artfully produced (sometimes tech-plagued) presentation, we are gifted with the added power and sorrow of his dynamic songs, performed by the likes of Christopher Jackson (Broadway’s Hamilton) bringing “Glory; From the pretty boy front man” with his rendition of “One Song“; Ali Stroker (Broadway’s Oklahoma) and Tracie Thoms (Broadway’s Falsettos) delivering the “Take Me or Leave Me” goods most spectacularly; Ben Platt (Broadway’s Dear Evan Hansen) finding the heartbreak within “Without You” (even while making us miss the duet harmonies of the original that come later); Eva Noblezada (Broadway’s Hadestown) flying so high while wanting to go “Out Tonight“; and Billy Porter (Broadway’s Kinky Boots) giving us all the most intoxicating and endearing “I’ll Cover You (Reprise)”. 

The epic pain and the glory of Porter’s performance echoes the difficult balance that exists in this show, and in the history of RENT. Larson’s sudden death is a moment that will go down as one of the most heart-breaking in musical theatre history. With that tragedy at its center, the presentation is filled to the brim with behind-the-scenes footage and interviews that will fill your heart with love, and your eyes with tears. The original Broadway ensemble tells us most engagingly about how the show changed their lives, and what his death meant to them personally and for the show spiritually. And in that love is where we find the soul of the NYTW fundraiser. It is a gift to us all, delivering a thoughtful dedication to the memory of Larson, his unquestionable genius, as well as a pure unadulterated show of adoration for his beautifully powerful and touching musical. The 90 minute piece honors Larson (Tick, Tick…BOOM!) with a simple honest beauty, in the same way he honored his friends from the East Village, who were living and breathing the life of the Bohemian, creating art, while also battling, “living, and not dying from disease“. It’s creation and birth is all about artistry and determination, but also about love and loss. Directed by Andy Señor, Jr., the documentary filled me completely, ushering me back to the time when this young theatre junkie found himself overflowing with tears in the balcony of the Nederlander Theatre on Broadway back in 1996 (the show opened on April 29, 1996). It was a moment of connection that I will never forget, and I love this NYTW virtual recorded fundraiser for taking me back to that place and time. Holding my hand. Allowing me to cry once again for RENT‘s savage beauty, its utter brilliance, for the loss of its creator, and all the others who died from AIDS who I knew (or didn’t know). So Text NYTW to 24365 and donate to keep the future of theatre alive and well. And while we are at, here’s to: “Emotion, devotion, to causing a commotion; Creation, vacation; Mucho masturbation; Compassion, to fashion, to passion when it’s new; To Sontag; To Sondheim; To anything taboo… To fruits, to no absolutes…To any passing fadTo being an us for once, instead of a them; La vie Boheme.” Thank you, NYTW, the magnificent Jonathan Larson, and everyone involved in the wondrous creation of RENT, it is and was life-changing.

Adam Pascal and Anthony Rapp in RENT

25 YEARS OF RENT: MEASURED IN LOVE was held virtually on March 2 at 8pm EST. Stream the entire recorded event by purchasing a streaming pass, valid through March 6th at 8pm EST.


MARCH 2, 2021—MARCH 6, 2021

With performances by:
Gilles Chiasson · Wilson Jermaine Heredia · Rodney Hicks · Christopher Jackson · Kristen Lee Kelly · Tamika Lawrence · Jesse L. Martin · Idina Menzel · Aiko Nakasone · Eva Noblezada · Adam Pascal · Ben Platt · Billy Porter · Anthony Rapp · Daphne Rubin-Vega · Ali Stroker · Tracie Thoms · Byron Utley · Fredi Walker-Browne

Original compositions from:

Joe Iconis · The Lazours · Pasek & Paul · Rona Siddiqui

Also featuring:
Sebastian Arcelus · Annaleigh Ashford · Martha Banta · Adam Chanler-Berat · Linda Chapman · Nicholas Christopher · Paul Clay · Wilson Cruz · Brandon Victor Dixon · Wendy Ettinger · Stephen Graham · Michael Greif · Janet Harckham · Jeremy O. Harris · Neil Patrick Harris · Victoria Leacock Hoffman · Mariko Kojima · Julie Larson · Telly Leung · Kamilah Marshall · Kevin McCollum · Lin-Manuel Miranda · Anaïs Mitchell · Shakina Nayfack · James C. Nicola · Dael Orlandersmith · Councilmember Carlina Rivera · Jai Rodriguez · Jeffrey Seller · Leigh Silverman · Ephraim Sykes · Bernie Telsey · Jennifer Ashley Tepper · Ivo van Hove · Tom Viola · Tim Weil · Angela Wendt · Marlies Yearby · And many more!

The original Broadway cast of RENT together again for NYTW’s 25 YEARS OF RENT: MEASURED IN LOVE

For more from Ross click here

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 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


Hadestown Celebrates Their 1000th Performances and The First Day of Spring With Lilies White, Anaïs Mitchell and Rachel Chavkin



Hadestown, the Tony® and Grammy Award®-winning Best Musical, celebrated both tomorrow’s first day of Spring and the beloved show recently achieving a milestone 1,000 performances at Broadway’s Walter Kerr Theatre (219 West 48th Street) with a surprise appearance by songwriter Anaïs Mitchell and director Rachel Chavkin.

After a heartfelt thank you from both, Mitchell and Tony Award winner Lillias White led the audience in a special performance of a classic springtime anthem. Then, as the audience departed the theater, the cast took to the Kerr’s fire escape overlooking West 48th Street and threw flowers to fans.

In addition to White, Hadestown also stars original Broadway cast member Jewelle Blackman as Persephone, Grammy Award® winner Reeve Carney as Orpheus, Tony Award nominee Tom Hewitt as Hades, and two-time Tony Award nominee Eva Noblezada as Eurydice. They are joined by Amelia Cormack, Shea Renne, and Soara-Joye Ross as the Fates. The chorus of Workers is played by Emily Afton, Malcolm Armwood, Alex Puette, Trent Saunders, and Grace Yoo. The cast includes swings Sojourner Brown, Brandon Cameron, Max Kumangai, and Yael “YaYa” Reich, Allysa Shorte, and Tanner Ray Wilson.

Hadestown originated as Mitchell’s indie theater project that toured Vermont which she then turned into an acclaimed album. With Chavkin, her artistic collaborator, Hadestown has been transformed into a genre-defying new musical that blends modern American folk music with New Orleans-inspired jazz to reimagine a sweeping ancient tale.

Following two intertwining love stories — that of young dreamers Orpheus and Eurydice, and that of King Hades and his wife Persephone — Hadestown invites audiences on a hell-raising journey to the underworld and back. Mitchell’s beguiling melodies and Chavkin’s poetic imagination pit industry against nature, doubt against faith, and fear against love. Performed by a vibrant ensemble of actors, dancers, and singers, Hadestown delivers a deeply resonant and defiantly hopeful theatrical experience.

Hadestown marks the first time in over a decade that a woman has been the solo author of a musical: writing the music, lyrics, and book, and is the fourth time in Broadway history a woman has accomplished this creative feat. It also marks the first time in Broadway history that a show’s female composer and female director both won Tony Awards for their work. Earlier this year, the landmark musical became the longest running show in the history of the Walter Kerr Theatre and holds the record for highest grossing musical in that venerated stage’s 100-year history.

The Original Broadway Cast Recording of Hadestown is one of the most streamed cast albums of all time with over 300 million streams to date. It topped Billboard’s Broadway Cast Recording chart and debuted at #8 on the Top Album chart. The CD edition features a 64-page booklet and a two-disc set, while the triple vinyl edition features a 16-page booklet. Both editions include complete song lyrics and photos of the Hadestown cast and creative team in the studio, and other exclusive content. A special limited-edition transparent green vinyl box set was just released on Friday.

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Ken Fallin’s Broadway: Pictures From Home



A few weeks ago, I saw my friend, Danny Burstein, along with Zoe Wannamaker, and Nathan Lane in the very funny and touching play, Pictures From Home.

Kenny & Danny Burstein Pictures from Home

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Theatre News: Andrew Lloyd Webber, Bad Cinderella, John Kander, KPOP and The Rewards of Being Frank



Andrew Lloyd Webber

A Statement From Andrew Lloyd Webber

I am absolutely devastated to say that my eldest son Nick is critically ill.

As my friends and family know, he has been fighting gastric cancer for the last 18 months and Nick is now hospitalised.

I therefore have not been able to attend the recent previews of Bad Cinderella and as things stand, I will not be able to cheer on its wonderful cast, crew and orchestra on Opening Night this Thursday.

We are all praying that Nick will turn the corner. He is bravely fighting with his indomitable humour, but at the moment my place is with him and the family.

Opening Night Performance of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s new musical Bad Cinderella is Thursday, March 23, 2023 at Imperial Theatre, 249 W 45th Street.

Red Carpet arrivals of celebrity guests including Afyia Bennett, Senator Barbara Boxer, Alex Brightman, Tory Burch, Kandi Burruss, Jordan E. Cooper, Erin Dana Lichy, Lamar Dawson, Machine Dazzle, Bethenny Frankel, Mandy Gonzalez, Amber Gray, Jae Gurley, Amber Iman, Ashley Longshore, Carson Kressley, Judy Kuhn, Loosey LaDuca, Luann de Lesseps, Marcia Marcia Marcia, Martyna Majok, Ingrid Michaelson, Andy Mientus, Minnie Mills, Pablo Montalban, Justin Peck, Wendell Pierce, Zac Posen, T. Oliver Reid, Krysta Rodriguez, Daphne Rubin-Vega, Sylvester Stallone, Elizabeth Stanley, Alex Timbers, Tommy Tune, Tanairi Sade Vasquez, Ana Villafane, Anna Wintour and the cast and creative team of Bad Cinderella including Andrew Lloyd Webber, Linedy Genao, Carolee Carmello, Grace McLean, Jordan Dobson, Sami Gayle, Morgan Higgins, Cameron Loyal, Christina Acosta Robinson, Savy Jackson, Mike Baerga, Raymond Baynard, Lauren Boyd, Tristen Buettel, Alyssa Carol, Gary Cooper, Kaleigh Cronin, Josh Drake, Ben Lanham, Angel Lozada, Mariah Lyttle, Robin Masella, Sarah Meahl, Michael Milkanin, Chloe Nadon-Enriquez, Christian Probst, Larkin Reilly, Julio Rey, Lily Rose, J Savage, Dave Schoonover, Tregony Shepherd, Paige Smallwood, Lucas Thompson, Alena Watters and more.                                  

John Kander celebrates his 96th birthday on Saturday, March 18, six days before New York, New York, his 16th original Broadway musical begins performances at the St. James Theatre., giving him the distinction of being the oldest composer to open a new musical on Broadway. To honor the legendary composer Susan Stroman, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Colton Ryan, Anna Uzele and the cast and creative team of New York, New York surprised John Kander with a Big-Apple-sized rendition of “Happy Birthday.” You can watch the video here.

A titan of the American Theatre, John Kander made his Broadway debut as the rehearsal pianist for the original production of Gypsy starring Ethel Merman in 1951. The first Kander & Ebb musical, Flora The Red Menace, debuted in 1965 and starred Liza Minnelli in a Tony-winning performance. What followed was a string of legendary musicals including Chicago, Cabaret, Steel Pier, Curtains, The Visit and The Scottsboro Boys, all culminating in this new musical set in post-war New York, inspired by the 1977 Martin Scorsese film of the same name, which features the iconic song “New York, New York.” New York, New York marks the 15th Kander & Ebb musical to open on Broadway.

New York, New York marks the first new John Kander & Fred Ebb musical to open on Broadway since 2015’s The Visit, which was nominated for 5 Tony Awards including Best Musical. The legendary duo is also currently represented on Broadway with Chicago, which holds the distinction of being the longest-running American musical in Broadway history.

New York, New York stars Colton Ryan (Girl From The North Country, Hulu’s “The Girl From Plainville”) as Jimmy Doyle, Anna Uzele (Six, Apple TV+’s “Dear Edward”) as Francine Evans, Clyde Alves (On The Town) as Tommy Caggiano, John Clay III (Choir Boy) as Jesse Webb, Janet Dacal (In The Heights) as Sofia Diaz, Ben Davis (Dear Evan Hansen) as Gordon Kendrick, Oliver Prose as Alex Mann (Broadway Debut), Angel Sigala (Broadway Debut) as Mateo Diaz, and Tony Award nominee Emily Skinner (Side Show) as Madame Veltri. The ensemble includes Wendi Bergamini, Allison Blackwell, Giovanni Bonaventura, Jim Borstelmann, Lauren Carr, Mike Cefalo, Bryan J. Cortés, Kristine Covillo, Gabriella Enriquez, Haley Fish, Ashley Blair Fitzgerald, Richard Gatta, Stephen Hanna, Naomi Kakuk, Akina Kitazawa, Ian Liberto, Kevin Ligon, Leo Moctezuma, Aaron Nicholas Patterson, Dayna Marie Quincy, Julian Ramos, Drew Redington, Benjamin Rivera, Vanessa Sears, Davis Wayne, Jeff Williams, Darius Wright. New York, New York begins performances Friday, March 24, 2023 and officially opens Wednesday, April 26, 2023 at Broadway’s St. James Theatre (246 West 44th Street).

Featuring music and lyrics by Tony, Emmy & Grammy Award winners and Academy Award nominees John Kander & Fred Ebb (Chicago, Cabaret), written by Tony Award nominee David Thompson (The Scottsboro Boys, Steel Pier), co-written by Sharon Washington (Audible’s Feeding The Dragon) and featuring additional lyrics by Pulitzer, Tony, Emmy & Grammy Award winner and Academy Award nominee Lin-Manuel Miranda (Hamilton, In The Heights), New York, New York will be directed and choreographed by five-time Tony Award winner Susan Stroman (The Producers, The Scottsboro Boys).

It is 1946, the war is over, and a resurgent New York is beginning to rebuild. As steel beams swing overhead, a collection of artists has dreams as big and diverse as the city itself.

Among them is New York native Jimmy Doyle, a brilliant but disillusioned musician looking for his “major chord” in life: music, money, love. The odds are against him getting all three until he meets Francine Evans, a young singer just off the bus from Philly, who is destined for greatness. If they can make it there, they can make it anywhere.

Tickets for New York, New York are now on-sale at Tickets start at $59.

This new musical is inspired by the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Motion Picture New York, New York written by Earl M. Rauch.

Sony Masterworks Broadway, along with producers Tim Forbes and Joey Parnes, share new track “Super Star” from KPOP – Original Broadway Cast Recordinglisten here. Featuring vocals from chart-topping Korean songstress and show lead Luna as well as the show’s talented cast of performers, “Superstar” is the second track to debut from the album, which arrives digitally on Monday, May 8 and on CD Friday, May 12. “Super Star” premieres today alongside an accompanying video featuring Luna – watch here.

Available for preorder and presave now, KPOP – Original Broadway Cast Recording was produced by Helen Park, Matt Stein, and Harvey Mason jr.(NCT 127, Red Velvet), and features music, lyrics, music production and arrangements by Park and music and lyrics by Max Vernon. The first-ever Broadway musical to celebrate Korean culture with Korean, Korean-American, and API representation on and off-stage, the album features a star-studded cast of performers from the world of K-pop, including chart-topping superstar and lead Luna, BoHyung (from the K-pop group SPICA and half of the duo KEEMBO), Min (from the K-pop group Miss A), Kevin Woo (from the K-pop group U-KISS), and more.

The Rewards of Being Frank, currently running through March 26, 2023 at the Mezzanine Theatre at ART/New York Theatres (502 West 53rd Street), is now available for streaming, also through March 26 only. The World Premiere play, written by Alice Scovell, is a sequel to Oscar Wilde’s immortal 1895 comedy, The Importance of Being Earnest. The Rewards of Being Frank is a co-production of New York Classical Theatre (Stephen Burdman, Founding Artistic Director, Matthieu Chapman, Literary Director) and Cincinnati Shakespeare Company (Brian Isaac Phillips, Producing Artistic Director). Mr. Burdman directs.  The streaming version of The Rewards of Being Frank is available for a donation of $10 or higher. You can watch the recording as often as you wish and at any time. The link will expire at 10:00 pm on Sunday, March 26, 2023. To order, or for more information, please visit: The cast for The Rewards of Being Frank feature Moboluwaji Ademide Akintilo (New York Classical’s The Importance of Being Earnest (Two Ways), Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream) as Frank, James Evans (The McKittrick Hotel’s The Woman in Black) as Algernon, Kelly Mengelkoch (Cincinnati Shakespeare Company) as Gwendolyn, Tora Nogami Alexander (The Acting Company’s Twelfth Night) as Cecily, Jeremy Dubin (Cincinnati Shakespeare Company) as Ernest, and Christine Pedi(Broadway’s Chicago, Talk Radio, Off-Broadway’s Forbidden Broadway) as Lady Bracknell.  Oscar Wilde’s much-loved The Importance of Being Earnest receives a hilarious sequel in this world premiere. Set seven years after Wilde’s play, see what happens to our characters when they meet Frank. After all, the only thing more Important than being Earnest, is being Frank! Performances are Tuesday-Sunday at 7:00 PM with matinees on Wednesdays at 2:00 PM. Running time is two hours including intermission. Tickets are available on the NY Classical website. Advance reservations are $35 per seat. These reservations are refundable—in cash, at the theatre—following each regular performance.* All NY Classical programs are free and open to the public. Pending seating availability, FREE admission will be available beginning one hour before curtain, on a first-come, first-served basis.

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