The New Group’s Black No More Rushes In and Awkwardly Dances Forward
Attempting to rewind the chains that bind, The New Group runs in from all sides with the fantastically complicated Black No More, a new musical that expands the smooth, dark edge with a clear and conscious delivery. With a compelling book by John Ridley (“12 Years A Slave“), smart lyrics by Tariq Trotter (who also plays the pivotal character, Dr. Junius Crookman), and some mostly invigorating music by the team of Trotter, Anthony Tidd, James Poyser, and Daryl Waters, the creators come together with clarity, digging deep into an abstract complicated idea, even when some of the rhythms fail to attach. The question that is asked is what would the outcome be if we found a manufactured way to try to “artificially solve the American race problem“. But will it really? one might continue to ask.
The show tries with all its heart and soul to deliver on its promising premise, flying with force in all directions, but not without a few pivotal problematic moments falling on the sidelines. Utilizing the electrifying title from the classic and complicated 1931 novel by George S. Schuyler about Black people passing as white, the show determinately struts and dances the issues out with a high energy deliverance that keeps us all tuned in.
It tries to find its smart steps in the intricate choreography, formulated by the obviously talented Bill T. Jones (CSC’s Carmen Jones). It reaches high and wide, but rarely finds its smooth and expertly physical formulation. It appears awkward at times, when it should be creatively fluid and graceful. Which is a fundamental flaw of Black No More, as it reminds us constantly of the artificiality of the premise and its internal disconnect.
Fascinatingly, Schuyler’s novel “Black No More” doesn’t necessarily appear that strongly in the musical translation. The book rarely shows us characters that we would like or admire, let alone care about, but here in the structure of this new musical, the team seems to be trying to uncover a very different approach to the souls that inhabit the stage. They stay complicated but more aligned, definitely leading us down a sympathetic pathway that leans to one side, with the villains of the story more easily identifiable and almost comically clear.
Inside The New Group’s Black No More at the Pershing Square Signature Center, the show presents a choice, centered around a breakthrough device brought forth by a complex figure, Dr. Junius Crookman (Trotter). Designed with a strong visual appeal by the creative team that includes: set designer Derek McLane (Broadway’s Burn This); costume designer Qween Jean (Off-Broadway’s On Sugarland); lighting designer Jeff Croiter (Broadway’s Bandstand); and sound designer Nevin Steinberg (MCC’s The Wrong Man), the air and space work. The magical chair sitting center stage, we are told, can lighten a person of color’s skin, giving anyone of African descent the opportunity to become, or at least appear, identical to a Caucasian. We, and all those that are being sold the idea, are told that this procedure will change the makeup of the country, eliminating the race problem in America by eliminating the visual disparity. Most of us though, including a few wise listeners of the sales pitch can see the fundamental flaw. Privilege always requires a pecking order, even if it has to be reorganized to keep the hierarchy in place. There will always be a race problem in America, even if the definition needs to be altered by those wanting to hold onto their power.
Theatre News: Bob Fosse’s Dancin’, Parade, The Shubert Organization 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.”
Asi Wind’s Inner Circle Where Cards Are Magical and Slight of Hand is Astounding
My guest absolutely loved Asi Wind’s Inner Circle, but if you have been to Speakeasy Magick at The McKittrick Hotel, much of what is here will seem repetitive, though still amazing.
Asi is good looking, charming, amusing and displays a wonderful sleight of hand. The Gym at the Judson has been designed and lit by Adam Blumenthal to make the space warm and inviting. The space only has 100 seats, so you are up-close and personal.
Before the show starts, audience members are asked to write their names and initials on a blank card with red or black sharpies. These are the cards he uses as his deck, so that each night the show is personalized.
Wind is a wonderful storyteller and loves his craft. He is infectious about his passion and so brings his audience in. Each trick is celebrated as he builds his momentum. You will have seen most of these tricks before if you have been to The McKittrick, but Asi makes it fun and exciting.
My guest could not wait to bring her grandson and thoroughly enjoyed the show. That alone made the performance special.
Asi Wind’s Inner Circle: Gym at Judson, 243 Thompson Street, until May 28th.
Theatre News: Andrew Lloyd Webber, Bad Cinderella, John Kander, KPOP and The Rewards of Being Frank
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 www.NewYorkNewYorkBroadway.com. 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 Recording – listen 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. https://ci.ovationtix.com/35099/store/donations/49755 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.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:
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