The National Theatre London Streams Loud and Clear Laughter with One Man Two Guvnors
Just in the nick of time, when so many of us are losing our sanity wondering how to fill the days with our work possibly evaporating and the outside air feeling as scary as a stroll through a bee farm, the National Theatre of London has our back. They are unleashing one of the things we all need in this time of self-imprisonment (or should I say, self-isolation…sorta feels like the same thing, to be honest) by pulling out this comedic treasure for their inaugural YouTube broadcast: Richard Bean’s One Man, Two Guvnors, a play by the very talented Richard Bean, based on Servant of Two Masters (Italian: Il servitore di due padroni), a 1743 Commedia dell’arte comedy by the Italian playwright Carlo Goldoni. This National Theatre production made a star out of its leading man, James Corden, taking home a Tony Award once it transferred to Broadway in 2012. “Being in One Man, Two Guvnors is what I consider to be the high point of my career,” Cordon beautifully tells us in an Attitude Magazine interview. “I can almost chart my professional life as anything that happened before One Man, Two Guvnors and anything that happened after. Any of the things that happened in my life subsequently are only due to my being in that play.” That game-changing play opened at the National Theatre in 2011, toured the UK to great success thereafter, and then opened in the West End in November 2011, with a subsequent Broadway run beginning April the year after.
One Man, Two Guvnors beautifully resets the Italian period table setting down in 1963 Brighton where an out-of-work and desperate skiffle player by the name of Francis Henshall finds himself comically over-employed by two very different and demanding men. It’s a simple straight-forward comic set up but etched within playwright Richard Bean’s brilliantly crafted play, there is a silly sense of chaos that comes scurrying across the table at almost every turn, sometimes even up from the audience rows of the theatre. “Hummus” anyone?Powered by wordads.coSeen ad many timesNot relevantOffensiveCovers contentBroken
As directed with a special gift for hilarity by Nicholas Hytner, James Corden and crew shine as brightly as some well-polished cutlery, with Corden serving up comic courses as the easily confused and very hungry Francis Henshall. He’s center stage for this riotous farce that combines majestically the original’s iconic structure with a very British verbal and physical sense of humor layered in and on top. The result is a perfect fourth-wall demolishing explosion of ridiculousness and slapstick silliness, dished out by experts in the field, all for our at-home quarantined amusement. We couldn’t have asked for anything better, whether we knew we wanted that dish or not.
Francis Henshall sits desperate outside a pub that excitedly serves food. He dreams of something to wet his whistle and fill his forever empty stomach when, out of the blue, he falls almost headfirst into the difficult situation of being separately employed by two very different men, each with their own heavy trunk filled with secrets. One calls himself, Roscoe Crabbe, played wonderfully by very game Jemima Rooper. ‘He’s’ a gangster with a twin sister and a shared secret, while the other is an upper-class handsome fool by the name of Stanley Stubbers, lovingly played by Oliver Chris. He also has a secret that, honestly, doesn’t seem to be sitting so heavy on his jovial heart, for he is in love, and love is everything to this silly snob. Francis tries with all his might to keep the two from ever meeting, but in order for each of his “guvnors” to never find out about the other, he’s got to be very careful what he says here and there, as a wise and cunning mind is required at almost every turn. Unfortunately, Francis Henshall has neither and is forever finding ways to make matters worse and more complicated. Making matters even more convoluted, tough guy Roscoe isn’t really what he says he is, as he is really his twin (not identical, obviously) sister, Rachel in disguise. You see, Rachel, after learning that her twin brother Roscoe has been killed by her boyfriend, who, as it must turn out, is the ridiculously snooty (and handsome) gentleman, Stanley Stubbers, a scheme is hatched to get the two of them to Australia, even though they both don’t really like opera. Trust me, that’s a thing. Naturally, in order to complicate things even further, the local mobster Charlie the Duck, a very good Fred Ridgeway, has previously arranged for his daughter, the very sweet but dim Pauline. played smartly by Claire Lams, to marry Roscoe to settle a debt, despite her undying love for the over-the-top amateur actor Alan Dangle, played to silly perfection by Daniel Rigby. Throw in a handful of easily digestible letters, a very heavy trunk, several unlucky audience members, an extremely old waiter right out of a Mel Brooks film, and Francis’ complicated love for Charlie’s dynamite bookkeeper, Dolly, deliciously portrayed by the very funny Suzie Toase, that is easily matched by his other true love, food and drink, and what we have is a very full and tasty meal indeed, with or without the requested sandwich. When asked whether he prefers eating or making love to a beautiful woman, Corden delivers a master class of concentrated internal confusion and insight into the man, replying simply and perfectly, “Tough one that, innit.”
In the play’s most infamous scene, Francis is ordered to serve a multi-course dinner to each of his ‘guvnors’ at the same time in dining rooms across the central hall from one another, upstairs at the neighborhood pub. With associate director Cal McCrystal guiding the physical frivolity with every ounce of comedy served up cold and delicious, the combination of visual and verbal comedy deviously shines out strong and bright. Adding the octogenarian waiter, magnificently embodied by the brilliant Tom Edden, into the soup is a delightful ingenious move, serving up the dish with a pair of quivering hands and an elbow to our gut that doesn’t stop digging. Edden, who has this amazing ability to fall backward down a flight of stairs, rises up again and again and delivers the scene with aplomb mischievously blank and brilliant with every door slam. Alongside Corden and the rest of this talented crew of comedians, One Man, Two Guvnors mines for gold in a peculiarly funny English kinda way, combining genius physicality with seriously funny obstacles and plot twists, while giving us even more jewels to be devoured along the way, particularly when incorporating the front row audience members to satisfy our hungry appetite for laughs.
With Corden holding court like the supreme lovable jester, the rest of the cast flourishes in his self-created mess. Oliver Chris as Stanley and Daniel Rigby as a would-be actor/suitor are both as brilliant as can be, squeezing every possible laugh out of the solidly written but ridiculous material. Jemima Rooper as the disguised and hidden Rachel delivers a brother worthy of our trembling fear while giving us so much more to be dazzled by, and Suzi Toase serves up a strong smart dame worthy of our adoration as great as Francis has for her. The play is also gifted with some fascinatingly wonderful interruptions throughout the night with songs written and performed by a “skiffle” styled band stylishly led by composer Grant Olding called “The Craze”. Consisting of lead vocalist, Olding (guitar, keys, accordion, harmonica), Philip James (guitar, banjo, backing vocals), Richard Coughlan (double bass, electric bass, backing vocals) and Ben Brooker (percussion including washboard and spoons, drums, backing vocals), the band adds to the framework of vaudevillian pub-hall delight. Combined, they all make this adapted play a perfectly crafted delight, served up strong and hilarious by the National Theatre. The endless courses of verbal gags and pratfalls in One Man, Two Guvnors delight giving us some glorious at-home laughs that are ever so welcome during these desperate times and the difficult days ahead.
Fortunately, for the sake of our sanity, the National Theatre’s YouTube channel gives us a chance to screen one of their productions every Thursday at 7 PM GMT/2 PM EST, which will remain available for viewing seven days after. “Our ambition at the National Theatre is to create work which is challenging, entertaining and inspiring and we’re committed to continuing that through these difficult times,” as beautifully stated by Executive Director and Joint Chief Executive, Lisa Burger. “I’m thrilled that we’re able to fulfill this ambition in a different way through our collaboration with YouTube. I am exceptionally proud of the team at the National Theatre for working so hard to create National Theatre at Home and also to the rights holders who have been so supportive of this new initiative allowing us to bring theatre to households right across the world…. We will be streaming each production at the same time each week in order to recreate, where possible, the communal viewing experience and we hope this will be an opportunity for people to share their enjoyment together online.” Additionally, the series will include Q&As with cast and creative teams, post-screening talkbacks, and more. After One Man, Two Guvnors, Sally Cookson’s adaptation of Jane Eyre hits the digital stage April 9th; Bryony Lavery’s adaptation of Treasure Island on April 16th, and Tamsin Greig in Twelfth Night on April 23rd. Additional titles will be announced at a later date. Bravo, and thank you, National Theatre. You are saving us all feeding these delicious dishes for us all to devour weekly.
For more, go to frontmezzjunkies.com
Theatre News: Bob Fosse’s Dancin’, Parade, The Shubert Organization Donates to ECF and Millennials Are Killing Musicals,
Tovah Feldshuh, Huma Abedin, Hillary Clinton at Opening Night of Bob Fosse’s DANCIN’. Photo by Emilio Madrid
The curtain was raised last night at The Music Box Theatre (239 West 45th Street) as Bob Fosse’s Dancin’, the American showbusiness legend’s landmark musical tribute to the artform that defined his life, opened on Broadway 45 years after the original smash-hit production premiered. The production’s direction and musical staging is by Tony Award-winner Wayne Cilento, one of the stars of the original Broadway production, and is produced in cooperation with Nicole Fosse.
In attendance on opening night were Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton, Nicole Fosse; original A Chorus Line cast members Baayork Lee, Donna McKechnie, Priscilla Lopez; Chita Rivera; Erich Bergen; Jordan E. Cooper; Tovah Feldshuh; J. Harrison Ghee; Jane Krakowski; Adam Lambert; Ralph Macchio; Abby Lee Miller; Audra McDonald; Casey Nicholaw; Justin Peck; Tiler Peck; Bernadette Peters; Tonya Pinkins; Tony Roberts; David Rockwell; Krysta Rodriguez; Christopher Sieber; Jennifer Simard; Will Swenson and more.
Dancin’is Fosse’s full-throated, full-bodied celebration of dancers and dancing. Utterly reimagined for the 21st century, this Dancin’brims with a level of warmth, emotion, and color seldom seen in modern interpretations of Fosse’s influential style and features some of his most inventive and rarely performed choreography. With New York’s hottest cast performing wall-to-wall dance, including Fosse classics such as “Mr. Bojangles,” and “Sing Sing Sing.” Dancin’ delivers the quintessential Broadway experience for Fosse fans and first-timers alike. You think you’ve seen dancing, but you’ve never seen Dancin’like this.
The cast, consisting of some of the best of Broadway’s elite dancers includes Ioana Alfonso (Hometown: Miami via DR/PR), Yeman Brown (Hometown: Tallahassee, FL), Peter John Chursin (Hometown: San Francisco, CA), Dylis Croman (Hometown: Dallas, TX), Jovan Dansberry (Hometown: St. Louis, MO), Karli Dinardo (Hometown: Melbourne, Australia), Tony d’Alelio (Hometown: Roanoke, VA), Aydin Eyikan (Hometown: Fairfield, CT), Pedro Garza (Hometown: Abilene, Texas), Jacob Guzman (Hometown: Brockton, MA), Manuel Herrera (Hometown: Charlotte, NC), Afra Hines (Hometown: Miami, FL), Gabriel Hyman (Hometown: Chesapeake, VA), Kolton Krouse (Hometown: Gilbert, Arizona), Mattie Love(Hometown: Layton, UT), Krystal Mackie (Hometown: Brooklyn, NY), Yani Marin (Hometown: Miami, FL), Nando Morland (Hometown: Colombia / Denver, CO), Khori Michelle Petinaud (Hometown: Centreville, VA), Ida Saki (Hometown: Dallas, TX), Ron Todorowski (Hometown: Pittsburgh, PA), and Neka Zang (Hometown: Scottsdale, AZ).
Bob Fosse’s Dancin’ is produced by Joey Parnes, Hunter Arnold, Kayla Greenspan, Rodger Hess & Michael Seago, Jay Alix & Una Jackman, Bob Boyett, The Shubert Organization, James L. Nederlander, Tim Forbes, Carson Gleberman, Park West Productions, McCabe Ventures, Fran Kirmser & Jodi Kaplan, Greg Young, The Fabulous Invalid, Julie Hess & Tommy Hess, and The Old Globe in cooperation with Nicole Fosse.
Bob Fosse’s Dancin’ originally opened on Broadway at the Broadhurst Theatre on March 27, 1978 and later transferred to the Ambassador Theatre. The production ran for 1,774 performances. Dancin’ was nominated for seven Tony Awards, including Best Musical, and brought Fosse his seventh Tony Award for Best Choreography.
This production of Bob Fosse’s Dancin’ premiered at San Diego’s Old Globe Theatre from April 19, 2022, to June 5, 2022.
Interscope Records is proud to announce the cast album for the “brilliant” (Variety) 2023 revival of Parade — Alfred Uhry and Jason Robert Brown’s award-winning musical, which opened on March 16 at New York’s Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre to rave reviews. Parade (2023 Broadway Cast Recording) features the vocal talents of Tony, Grammy, and Emmy Award® winner Ben Platt and Micaela Diamond and conducted by composer Jason Robert Brown, and will be released on Thursday, March 23. Pre-order it HERE.
Leo and Lucille Frank (Ben Platt and Micaela Diamond) are a newlywed Jewish couple struggling to make a life in the old red hills of Georgia. When Leo is accused of an unspeakable crime, it propels them into an unimaginable test of faith, humanity, justice, and devotion. Riveting and gloriously hopeful, Parade reminds us that to love, we must truly see one another.
The current revival of Parade, which is directed by two-time Tony Award nominee Michael Arden, has received overwhelming acclaim since its debut. Entertainment Weekly called it “a phenomenal production that feels more poignant and powerful than ever,” while Variety said, “Ben Platt stuns in a powerful Broadway production of an essential American musical.”
Platt (Dear Evan Hansen, The Book of Mormon) and Diamond’s performances (The Cher Show) were singled out for praise. Deadline gushed “Ben Platt has no trouble reminding us just why he’s become one of Broadway’s most beloved performers. His vocals here are stunning in a pitch-perfect performance,” while The Guardian raved that “Micaela Diamond’s singing voice is luminous.” “Micaela Diamond, as Lucille Frank, breaks your heart with no affectation whatsoever, and a voice directly wired to her emotions,” wrote The New York Times in its Critic’s Pick review. Tickets are available now at www.paradebroadway.com.
Parade (2023 Broadway Cast Recording) showcases their voices, as well as other members of the all-star cast, while capturing the essence of a musical that, Entertainment Weekly writes, “is the most gorgeous production on Broadway.” Viewers will get a special preview of the musical on March 23 when Platt and Diamond perform its signature ballad “This Is Not Over Yet” on NBC’s Today accompanied by Jason Robert Brown on piano.
Out of the Box Theatrics (Elizabeth Flemming, Founder and Producing Artistic Director; Ethan Paulini, Associate Artistic Director) is pleased to announce that Grammy and Emmy Award winner Kristolyn Lloyd (Dear Evan Hansen) will star in the Off-Broadway developmental production of Millennials Are Killing Musicals, written by Drama League songwriting contest and NAMT Challenge winner Nico Juber. The production, to be directed by Ciara Renée(Waitress, Frozen), will play a limited engagement from May 7-28, 2023, at Theatre 71 at the Church of the Blessed Sacrament (152 West 71st Street). Opening night is May 15. Tickets are on sale now at Ovation Tix.
The Entertainment Community Fund, formerly The Actors Fund, the national human services organization supporting the needs of those working in the entertainment and performing arts industry, today announced that The Shubert Organization has made a $5 million gift to the Fund to support expansion of The Samuel J. Friedman Health Center for the Performing Arts in New York City, the Actors Fund Home in Englewood, New Jersey, and affordable housing and a community arts center at The Hollywood Arts Collective in Los Angeles.
The $5 million gift will be used to expand doctors’ offices and services at The Samuel J. Friedman Health Center for the Performing Arts in New York City, with additional support to the Actors Fund Home in Englewood, NJ. Funds will also be used to bolster the construction and programs of The Hollywood Arts Collective, a new affordable housing and community arts center located in the heart of Hollywood where the Central Gardens will be named in honor of The Shubert Organization.
The Shubert Organization has long supported the Fund’s ongoing work to help people in performing arts and entertainment. In 2017, The Shubert Organization unveiled The Shubert Pavilion: an expansion to the Actors Fund Home, an assisted living and skilled nursing care facility located in Englewood, New Jersey. The Shubert Pavilion houses a 25-bed short-stay rehabilitation center available to the general public and intended for people who are recovering from illness or surgery, as well as 14 assisted living beds. The facility also includes a fully equipped gym for physical, occupational and speech therapies.
Robert E. Wankel, Chairman and CEO of The Shubert Organization, also serves as Chair of The Actors Fund Housing Development Corporation Board of Directors, a role in which he supports and guides the development of affordable housing for the performing arts and entertainment community to improve lives, create jobs, foster economic development and revitalize communities. In 2022, Wankel received the Entertainment Community Fund’s Medal of Honor, an award presented at the Fund’s annual gala that recognizes individuals who have had a profound impact on the entertainment community.
“The Entertainment Community Fund is honored by the long-standing commitment of The Shubert Organization and the countless ways it supports our work to provide a safety net for people in the performing arts community,” said Fund Board Chair Brian Stokes Mitchell. “A special thank you to Bob Wankel for his continued leadership not only at The Shubert Organization, but also with the Actors Fund Housing Development Corporation Board of Directors.”
“The Shubert Organization is proud to strengthen the Entertainment Community Fund’s ability to provide affordable housing, medical care, emergency financial assistance and so much more to those in our industry,” said Robert E. Wankel. “We look forward to all that’s to come in our ongoing collaborations, from Englewood to Times Square to Hollywood and beyond.”
Kids Night On Broadway Is Tonight
Kids’ Night on Broadway, is where young people age 18 and under can see a participating Broadway show for free when accompanied by a full-paying adult*. A Kids’ Night on Broadway ticket also includes restaurant discounts, parking discounts, and more. Select shows will offer in-theatre activities for kids including talkbacks and activity books.
Participating shows include:
A Beautiful Noise
Bob Fosse’s Dancin’
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
Life of Pi
The Lion King
MJ The Musical
Moulin Rouge! The Musical
Peter Pan Goes Wrong
SIX (NOTE: due to show schedules, the Kids’ Night promotion for SIX took place yesterday)
Some Like it Hot
If you haven’t gotten your ticket,,,,it is time to do so.
Hadestown Celebrates Its 1000th Performance 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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