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Oh What a Night Seth Rudetsky’s Broadway Series With Megan Hilty and Jessie Mueller

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Jessie Mueller, Seth Rudetsky, Megan Hilty Photo’s by Luiz Cribeiro

Seth Rudetsky’s Broadway series, brought Tony nominee Megan Hilty and Tony winner Jessie Mueller on stage together for the first time. The two recently starred in the made-for-TV movie Patsy & Loretta.

Jessie Mueller, Seth Rudetsky, Megan Hilty Photo’s by Luiz Cribeiro

In case you have never been to a Broadway Series at Town Hall, the informative and insightful Seth Rudsky leads his stars to songs he wants, while pulling amazing stories out of them. Monday night was all about tag teaming. Using their middle names Megan Joy Hilty was first with “Just Keep Moving the Line” from Smash.

Megan revealed that Smash was really a big one for her. “Everything made sense until I read that Ivy was a triple threat. That she’d been in the ensemble for years—at least a decade. And I was like, “No, no, no thank you. That means this person is way more talented than I am. I cannot dance to save my life and I don’t want to put myself through dance calls because the ones I’d gone through are not pretty.” I told my manager, “I can’t audition for this. I was terrified when I got it.”

For Jessie Kathleen it was an uplifting “I Feel the Earth Move” from Beautiful.

Mueller hails from Evanston, Illinois and was in her high school production of  Once Upon a Mattress. We were treated to a rare wonderful version of  “Shy.” Ms. Mueller is truly funny and does a great Liza Minnelli impersonation.

Mueller went on to tell the audience about her audition for the revival of On A Clear Day You Can See Forever with Harry Connick, Jr. Working steadily in Chicago theater the casting director called her in. The entire room was there for American Idiot, but she sang “It Might As Well As Spring”, she was asked for a jazzier song and her entire book was full of the same type of material. She went over to the piano player and the jazz version she came up with was spectacular. It was so amazing that I now have a new found respect for Ms. Mueller. Continuing the story, Ms. Mueller couldn’t do the callback for the next day, as she was commitment to a friend’s musical reading. Instead she flew herself to New York and landed the Tony nominated role. Once in the show Jessie told how one night Connick went up on his lines and she had to rectify the situation. Mueller showed her remarkable range singing the jazzy “Every Night at Seven” from On A Clear Day.

Megan showed us her adorable new album, which is a Christmas ornament.

Megan Hilty wanted to be an opera singer, classically singing in vocal competitions since eleven. Having just graduated from Carnegie Mellon she and other seniors did a showcase in New York, for casting directors and agents. Megan thrillingly landed the role of Audrey in a tour of Little Shop of Horrors. When the tour fell apart the casting director had her audition for Glinda in Wicked. At 19 she was assigned as the stand-by for Glinda. She used that time to go on adventures (like finding the best chocolate cake) with her best friend. The first night she went on it was opposite Idina Menzel. Megan got the call that she needed to go on, two hours before showtime, Hilty had never rehearsed in full costume and was terrified. Menzel put her hand on Hilty’s shoulder and saying ‘You got this.’” Hilty still thinks about how incredibly gracious and supportive Menzel was. “I will never forget Idina’s kindness that night.” A rousing Popular was delivered.

Next up for Megan was a thrilling “I Could Have Danced All Night”, complete with high C.

Megan Hilty, Jessie Mueller

A tour de force “My White Knight” from The Music Man, had two people in the audience in charge and about every 10 seconds, they signaled Megan or Jessie to take over the song. The dueling soprano’s ended together on the high A flat. Now either of these two should play Marion.

Seth Rudetsky, Megan Hilty

Marc Shaiman (who wrote the music and co-wrote the lyrics) came onstage and played piano! Megan sang the stunning “Secondhand White Baby Grand” and then she and Jessie and duetted on “Let Me Be Your Star”!

Jessie gave us “She Used to Be Mine” from Waitress and “What’s the Use of Wond’rin/If I Loved You” from Carousel. Ms. Mueller proved what a tour de force she really is.

Ending with “For Good” from Wicked, The Broadway Series gave a satisfying ending, to a perfect night.

Photo’s by Luiz Cribeiro

This concert series raises funds for Sandy Hook Promise. Seth Rudetsky’s Broadway continues February 3 with special guest Patina Miller and April 13 with special guest Brian Stokes Mitchell. Visit TheTownHall.org for more.

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

Celebrity

The Glorious Corner

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Kjersti Long (David Kaptein)

G.H. Harding

GO LONG —- We’ve spoken before of 17-year-old Kjersti Long – on Origin Entertainment/ModSquad (ADA) Records. Her latest single “Sad Song” has become a digital-hit and a new album (her second) is in the works.

She’ll also be in NYC for June’s Tribeca Festival and a prominent agency is stepping up to rep her and her play Relative Space is prepping for an opening in the West End.

Said NEW HD’s Zach Martin: “Kjersti Long, at just 17, stands as a beacon of talent and ambition in the music industry. Her journey from a prodigious debut at the tender age of 11 with the album “Stronger Than You Think I Am” on Broadway Records to becoming a significant influencer on platforms like Instagram and TikTok, Kjersti’s career trajectory is nothing short of remarkable​​. Her engagement with her fans and the music community through platforms like Instagram and TikTok, where she has garnered over 50 million views and more than 160,000 new followers, underscores her magnetic appeal and the resonant connection she forges through her music​​.”

She also has a song on the new Vanessa Williams album, “Legs.” Williams’ official video will be out April 26, but here’s an update on her from LifeMinute TV:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eD-Okb_T8CM

www.kjerstilong.com


RASCAL-ING AROUND —
(Via Forgotten Hits) Look for a new Rascals box set coming out May 31st.

The 7-disc set encompasses their entire recorded output with Atlantic Records, 1965 – 1971, including mono and stereo copies of their albums, special singles mixes and some previously unreleased tracks.  (I remember shelling out big bucks for an earlier CD edition of this set … but I’ve gotta tell you, this one has got the COOLEST looking cover!!!).

“The Rascals:  It’s Wonderful: The Complete Atlantic Studio Recordings features 152 remastered songs, including 14 previously unreleased tracks. The first four albums are presented in both stereo and mono, along with significant single edits and foreign language versions. The collection includes a 60-page booklet with detailed notes and rare illustrations from The Rascals archives.

Amazon’s got it for $69.99 (I paid 2 ½ times that much way back when for the original!) so pre-order now.  This is quite the collection!

Interesting that this box set is from the UK-based Cherry Red Records. Founded by Iain McNay in 1978, Cherry Red Records has continued to uphold the same fiercely independent values since day one. Check them out here: https://www.cherryred.co.uk/about

And don’t forget about Felix Cavaliere and Gene Cornish and The Rascals at SONY Hall on May 17.

https://www.amazon.com/Complete-Atlantic-Recordings-Rascals/dp/B0CZ3NHLGG?crid=3S8UG8TZCIC3M&dib=eyJ2IjoiMSJ9.fcz-QxVsrVNGCoS-EbSPkg.htVhtZLFLUN8n9NrR1H-6rJi5fsjLvQexjIPS6c2Ges&dib_tag=se&keywords=B0CZ3NHLGG&qid=1712320481&s=music&

Micky Dolenz at Troubadour (Stevo Rood)

SHORT TAKES — Check out Tone Scott’s review of Micky Dolenz at LA’s Troubadour in Goldmine: https://www.goldminemag.com/columns/micky-dolenz-songs-and-stories-raises-the-roof-off-the-troubadour-all-for-make-a-wish#gid=ci02dac725a00025c5&pid=thumbnail-3

RIP Eleanor Coppola, wife of Francis Ford Coppola at 87. Years ago, I was at a screening of Roman Coppola’s A Glimpse Inside the Mind Of Charles Swan with Charlie Sheen. I loved the movie and at a post-screening event, I met Francis Ford Coppola, who could not have been more approachable.

He invited me to sit at his table with his wife Eleanor. Both were terrific. She’ll be much-missed by the film community as well. From Deadline: https://deadline.com/2024/04/eleanor-coppola-dead-hearts-of-darkness-francis-coppola-wife-1235883537/Happy Bday Brit Brashear.

NAMES IN THE NEWS — Melinda Newman; Barry Fisch; Toby Rasmussen; Roy Trakin; Joel Diamond; Fred Armisen; Tom & Lisa Cuddy; Richie Kaczor; Jim Burgess; Tom Scott; Steve Walter; Dan Zelinski; Herb Alpert; Hubert Laws; Eppy; Craig Newman; Jane Blunkell; John Billings; Lora Evans; Andrew Sandoval; Chris Carter; Wen Fernandez; and ZIGGY!

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Events

Hot Happenings in April

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Hot happenings all over America are sizzling this season.

Jamie Foxx’s Wingstop order is going viral, the Oscar winner asking for/ordering hundreds of Lemon Pepper wings took to his piano and serenaded the order taker!  His latest video was posted to IG and X was super delicious.

Cover art by Photo by Seyedeh Hamideh Kazemi on Unsplash

 

 

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Broadway

Cabaret Celebrated Broadway Legend Joel Grey’s Birthday

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Last night, Eddie Redmayne currently in previews as the ‘Emcee’ in Cabaret at the Kit Kat Club celebrated Broadway legend Joel Grey’s 92ndbirthday on stage at the August Wilson Theatre. Grey, who originated the role of the ‘Emcee’ on Broadway in 1966 and went on to star in the beloved film of Cabaret, took the stage as the entire cast, band, and creative team sang “Happy Birthday” while a custom cake, shaped like a giant pineapple, emerged from the stage.

 During his speech honoring Grey, Eddie Redmayne said, “Tonight is an extraordinarily special night for us because we are in the presence of an extraordinary human being without whom none of us would be here.” After thunderous applause, Redmayne continued “Your performance in this part changed my life and it was one of the things that made me want to be an actor.”

Joel Grey, Gayle Rankin, and Eddie Redmayne Photo by Jenny Anderson

The cast and Grey were also joined on stage by Cabaret composer John Kander.

Alongside Joel’s daughter Jennifer Grey and Kander, a star-studded crowd came out to fete the theater icon including Anderson Cooper, Candice Bergen, Jackie Hoffman, Jane Krakowski, Lin-Manuel Miranda, David Rockwell, and more. They were joined by numerous alum of Cabaret spanning the decades including Maude Apatow (Sally Bowles in London, 2023), Madeline Brewer (Sally Bowles in London, 2022), Joely Fisher (Sally Bowles on Broadway, 2000), Gina Gershon (Sally Bowles on Broadway, 2001), Mason Alexander Park (Emcee in London, 2023), Adam Pascal (Emcee on Broadway, 2003), Molly Ringwald (Sally Bowles on Broadway, 2002), Jake Shears (Emcee in London, 2023), and Brooke Shields (Sally Bowles on Broadway, 2001).

Cabaret at the Kit Kat Club is now in previews on Broadway at the August Wilson Theatre (245 West 52nd Street). The production, directed by Olivier Award winner Rebecca Frecknall and designed by Tony Award nominee and Evening Standard Award® winner Tom Scutt, will have decadent twin opening night gala celebrations starting Saturday, April 20 and continuing into the following night, with the official press opening on Sunday, April 21. Tickets are on sale now at www.kitkat.club or via Seat Geek HERE.

In addition to Redmayne, Cabaret also stars Gayle Rankin as the toast of Mayfair ‘Sally Bowles, two-time Tony Award winner Bebe Neuwirth as ‘Fraulein Schneider,’ Tony Award nominee Ato Blankson-Wood as ‘Clifford Bradshaw,’ Obie Award winner and Drama Desk Award® nominee Steven Skybell as ‘Herr Schultz,’ Henry Gottfried as ‘Ernst Ludwig,’ and three-time Helen Hayes Award winner Natascia Diaz as ‘Fritzie/Kost.’

The cast of Cabaret includes Gabi Campo as ‘Frenchie,’ Ayla Ciccone-Burton as ‘Helga,’ Colin Cunliffe as ‘Hans,’ Marty Lauter as ‘Victor,’ Loren Lester as‘Herman/Max,’ David Merino as ‘Lulu,’ Julian Ramos as ‘Bobby,’ MiMi Scardulla as ‘Texas,’ and Paige Smallwood as ‘Rosie.’ Swings include Hannah Florence, Pedro Garza, Christian Kidd, Corinne Munsch, Chloé Nadon-Enriquez, and Karl Skyler Urban.

The Prologue Company, the dancers and musicians that welcome audiences to the club, feature dancers Alaïa, IRON BRYAN, Will Ervin Jr., Sun Kim, Deja McNair and swings Ida Saki and Spencer James Weidie. The musicians of the Prologue are Brian Russell Carey (piano & bass), Francesca Dawis (violin), Keiji Ishiguri (dedicated substitute), Maeve Stier (accordion), and Michael Winograd (clarinet).

For this thrilling production of Cabaret, the creative team have transformed the August Wilson Theatre into the Kit Kat Club with an in-the-round auditorium and custom spaces which guests will be invited to explore during the Prologue, the production’s pre-show entertainment. After purchasing tickets, guests will receive a “club entry time” to allow them to take in the world of the club before the show starts.

Patrons can upgrade their experience at the Kit Kat Club with exclusive dining or drinks packages that allow them to soak up the pre-show atmosphere. These various upgrades offer unparalleled service and unique experiences in the heart of the Kit Kat Club. Drinks can be enjoyed before and during the show, while food will be cleared shortly before the performance begins, ensuring uninterrupted and unmissable views of Cabaret. For a complete menu and more information on the upgrade packages, please visit www.kitkat.club/upgrade.

The 2021 Original London Cast Recording of Cabaret featuring Eddie Redmayne and recorded during a live performance is available on Decca Records as a CD and to stream on all major platforms. To order the album or stream it, please visit https://cabaret.lnk.to/ListenNow

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American Ballet Theatre Premiere of Wayne McGregor’s Woolf Works

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The superstar dancers of American Ballet Theatre (ABT) returned to Segerstrom Center for the Arts performing a never-before-seen-program. ABT performed the North American Premiere of Woolf Works.  Inspired by the writings of Virginia Woolf, Woolf Works is an ambitious three-act ballet stunningly choreographed by Wayne McGregor, with a luminous original score by Max Richter.

Originally commissioned by The Royal Ballet, Woolf Works debuted in London to outstanding critical acclaim and now premiered for the first time in the United States.This week, leading the performance were Principal Dancers Devon Teuscher and  James Whiteside. Guests in attendance included  Sofia Vassilieva, Fernando Carsa, Damian Terriquez, Luke Lowrey, Queen Noveen and more.

You know it is Spring when the superstar dancers of American Ballet Theatre are home at Segerstrom Center performing a never-before-seen-program. Following in the tradition of such critical and creative successes as Whipped Cream, Of Love and Rage, and Like Water for Chocolate, we are thrilled to announce ABT will be performing the North American premiere of Woolf Works.  Inspired by the writings of Virginia Woolf, Woolf Works is an ambitious three-act ballet stunningly choreographed by Wayne McGregor, with a luminous original score by Max Richter.

Widely considered one of the most important 20th century novelists, Virginia Woolf’s works have continued to speak to generations and her themes of social class, female (dis)empowerment, and death have gained even more resonance in recent times.  Her stature in our society, and her influence on other artistic creators, can be seen in so many works throughout popular culture:  In film with Orlando starring Tilda Swinton or The Hours starring Nicole Kidman, Meryl Streep, and Julianne Moore, in plays like Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? by Edward Albee, and, most recently, in opera with The Hours starring Renee Fleming, Kelly O’Hara and Joyce DiDonato.

Woolf also gave inspiration to the award-winning British choreographer and director, Wayne McGregor. Internationally renowned for trailblazing innovations in performance that have radically redefined dance, McGregor’s insatiable curiosity about movement and its creative potentials, along with his embrace of technology, have ensured McGregor’s position at the cutting edge of contemporary arts for over twenty-five years.

In Woolf Works, McGregor has recreated the emotions, themes and fluid style of three of Virginia Woolf’s novels: Mrs Dalloway, Orlando and The Waves. Much like her novels, letters, essays and diaries, Wayne McGregor’s ballet triptych moves away from a traditional narrative structure, capturing the spirit of Woolf’s writing while delighting audiences with its sheer beauty. Woolf Works is structured into three acts: ‘I now, I then’, ‘Becomings’ and ‘Tuesday’, each starkly distinct in visual design and choreography.

Originally commissioned by the Royal Ballet, Woolf Works premiered in London to outstanding critical acclaim, going on to win McGregor the Critics’ Circle Award for Best Classical Choreography and the Olivier Award for Best New Dance Production. The Observer described it as “a compellingly moving experience” and The Independent raved that it “glows with ambition… a brave, thoughtful work.”

Be the first in the United States to experience Woolf Works, only at Segerstrom Center for the Arts!

Next performances are:

Friday, April 12, 2024, at 7:30 PM

Saturday, April 13, 2024, at 2:20 PM

Saturday, April 13, 2024, at 7:30 PM

Sunday,  April 14, 2024, at 1:00 PM

 

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Broadway

Stephen Sondheim Memorabilia to be Auctioned Off

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Stephen Sondheim

Doyle Auctioneers & Appraisers has announced the auction of the Collection of Stephen Sondheim on Tuesday, June 18 at 10am EDT. This landmark auction will offer over 200 lots of memorabilia, furnishings, antique puzzles and more from Mr. Sondheim’s Manhattan townhouse and his country home in Roxbury, Connecticut.

Poster for the 2006 Broadway revival of Company signed by Stephen Sondheim and George Furth

The lyricist of West Side Story and Gypsy and composer/lyricist of Company, Follies, Sweeney Todd, Sunday in the Park with George and Into the Woods, among many others, Stephen Sondheim was the twentieth century’s most brilliant and influential contributor to American musical theater. Fans of Mr. Sondheim’s musicals and collectors alike will delight at the memorabilia within the auction, from his gold record for West Side Story to his custom-embroidered asylum coat from Sweeney Todd.

In addition to professional accomplishments, Mr. Sondheim was a sophisticated collector. He lived among antiques and curiosities of the Victorian and Edwardian eras and assembled an unparalleled collection of early puzzles, games, rebuses, coin-operated machines and ephemera that reflected his endlessly inquisitive mind.

The public is invited to the exhibition on view from June 14 through 17 at Doyle, located at 175 East 87th Street in New York. Select highlights will tour Doyle’s regional galleries during the month of May. The auction catalogue will be available on May 20. Learn more about the auction at Doyle.com

 

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