Connect with us

Broadway

The Original Johanna Sarah Rice Now Sings With The Angels

Published

on

I first met Sarah Rice in 1979, when she played Johanna in the original Broadway production of Stephen Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. She had gotten that job while working at Chock Full of Nuts down on 34th Street, which I always found so amusing.


Rice arrived in NYC with $100, two cats, and a piano and shortly originated the role of Marianne in a musical adaptation of The Miser called Hang On to Your Ribbons, off-off Broadway. From that she was cast as The Girl in the long-running original off-Broadway production of The Fantasticks. She continued in the role off and on for over two years. During that time she also played Anne in A Little Night Music, Cunegonde in Candide, at the Guthrie, Miranda in The Tempest and more.

It was on Broadway playing Johanna, for which she won a Theatre World Award and recorded on RCA that Sarah became known. This recording won a Grammy for best show album and Sweeney swept the Tony awards, including best show.

Sarah died Saturday January 6th of cancer. She was 68.

Rice also originated roles in off-Broadway productions such as Susan in New York Theatre Workshop’s The Waves, Eloise in Eternal Love on Theatre Row, and Elizabeth in Swan Song at the York Theatre Company. It was during Eternal Love that I really got to know Sarah, as her costar, who was also her boyfriend John O’Hurley lived in my then ex-husband’s building and we use to double date.

Her voice teacher was Laura Thomas, who I ended up studying with.

Sarah loved opera and wanted to sing more in that style. She was known for her Montreal performance of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom of the Opera, and her operatic performances in The Marriage of Figaro, The Barber of Seville, The Student PrinceDaughter of the RegimentThe Pirates of Penzance and sang with opera companies across the world, including Venice’s Gran Teatro la Fenice, Santa Fe Opera, Central City Opera, and Dallas Opera.

In film, she did an original docu-drama for HBO called “P. T. Barnum And His Human Oddities”, where she sang and played the role of Jenny Lind. She appeared as Maude Arthur in the PBS series “The Best Of Families”.

In 2009 she was voted favorite female cabaret debut performer by Cabaret Hotline Online readers and in 2010 she won the Bistro Award and 2011 a MAC Award, For Best Female Vocalist, for her critically acclaimed solo cabaret debut, Sarah Rice sings Screen Gems, Songs of Old Hollywood. Her recent shows include her Ivor Novello/Noel Coward show, celebrating the music of the era of Downton Abbey and The Mabel Mercer Foundation’s Cabaret Convention where she returned last year for their Sondheim Evening.

Throughout her life, she continued to perform and live in NYC, with the same piano and multiple cats.

Her death was announced in an Instagram by her friend and fellow performer Rebecca Caine, who remembered Rice for her love of animals. “May you be greeted by every animal you ever loved on the other side and may green finch and linnet birds sing you to your rest.”

Sarah was born March 5, 1955, in Okinawa, Japan, where her father was stationed while serving in the U.S. Air Force.

She was married to her producer John Hiller.

Sarah, you will be missed.

 

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

Continue Reading

Broadway

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

Published

on

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.

Continue Reading

Broadway

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

Published

on

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.

 

Continue Reading

Broadway

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

Published

on

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

 

 

 

Continue Reading

Broadway

The Wiz Eases Back Onto Broadway

Published

on

There is much to love about the Broadway revival of The Wiz, which opened tonight at the Marquis Theatre. This beloved musical originally opened on Broadway in 1975, was made into film in 1978 and is back with a score by Charlie Smalls, that sparkles due to the orchestrations by Joseph Joubert and vocal arrangements by Allen René Louise. I love the Lalo Schifrin sound.

Nichelle Lewis, Melody A. Betts Photo By Jeremy Daniel

Directed by Schele Williams and an updated book by Amber Ruffin, what this revival has is heart, what it is missing is style.

Deborah Cox


Now Dorothy (a terrific Nichelle Lewis, a newcomer making her Broadway debut) has moved to Kansas to live with her Aunt Em (Melody A. Betts, who shines as  the beloved Aunt, but isn’t evil enough as the wicked witch Evillene, due in part to the sound designer Jon Weston and costume designer Sharen Davis). Dorothy has lost her parents and apparently her dog (no Toto), is being bullied, feels lost and alone, until a tornado sends her hurling to Oz. Her house still kills the wicked witch of the East, but Dorothy is introduced to golden glittery Glinda (Deborah Cox), by Addaperle ( a vocal glorious Allyson Kaye Daniel). She is sent to meet the powerful Wizard (a phenomenally grounded Wayne Brady) to get back home. Along the way meets the scarecrow (Avery Wilson) in need of a brain, the tinman (Phillip Johnson Richardson) wanting a heart and a lion (Kyle Ramar Freeman) in need os some courage.

Avery Wilson, Nichelle Lewis, Phillip Johnson Richardson Photo By Jeremy Daniel

All shine in their performances and vocals though the sound design threatens to derails them. Ms. Cox who is gloriously in voice, is not well mic’d, nor is anyone else. I was in the sixth row and it was hard to hear and I really did want to as the vocals were terrific.

Wayne Brady and Emerald City Photo By Jeremy Daniel

The choreography, by JaQuel Knight, is clunky with numbers seeming not to gel with each other. Each number looks like it belongs in a different show. However the individual performances take the movement to levels that work. Mr. Wison’s scarecrow, is all limbs and displays his flexibility and acrobatic tricks to the nth degree. Mr. Richardson gives the tinman a heart with his soulful “What Would I Do If I Could Feel”. Freeman’s lion, is an amusing scaredy cat who breaks though.

Kyle Ramar Freeman, Nichelle Lewis, Wayne Brady, Phillip Johnson Richardson, Avery Wilson wanting a heart and a lion Photo By Jeremy Daniel

Wayne Brady is a standout as The Wiz and I was wow’d by him.
Lewis is a find as the teenager trying to find herself. “Home”, is now the final song and she nails it making us fall in love with this revival despite it’s designer flaws.

The Oscar-winning production designer Hannah Beachler and costume’s look like they were designed on acid with no filter and no funding. The color choices and styles all look tacky. I really wanted to rip the tablecloth looking skirt off the lion and still do.

I have such fond memories of this show and I left with them intact. Sometimes things do not have to be perfect in order to shine.

The Wiz: Marquis Theatre, 210 W 46th Street, until April 18th.

 

 

Continue Reading

Broadway

Barry Manilow, Bruce Sussman and More At The Museum of Broadway As Harmony Is Honored

Published

on

On Thursday, April 18th Barry Manilow, Bruce Sussman, The Comedian Harmonists Sean Bell, Danny Kornfeld, Zal Owen, Eric Peters, Blake Roman and Steven Telsey, as well as Company members including Chip Zien, Kate Wesler, Kyla Stone, Matthew Mucha, Stuart Zagnit, Zak Edwards, and more TBA will be at The Museum of Broadway to unveil a brand-new window display dedicated to the Broadway musical Harmony. Barry Manilow and Bruce Sussman brought the long-forgotten story of The Comedian Harmonists, a German singing group of six young men whose fame was abruptly cut short by the rise of Nazism, to life in the 2023 hit Broadway musical Harmony.

The Museum of Broadway will honor their story with a dedicated window featuring exclusive items donated by Manilow and Sussman, and historical items dating back to the 1920s.

The program will include a special a cappella performance by the OBC Comedian Harmonists.

Harmony, featured an original new score by legendary Tony, Grammy, and Emmy Award® winner Barry Manilow with lyrics and book by Drama Desk Award Winner, Bruce Sussman. Directed and choreographed by Tony Award winner Warren Carlyle (The Music Man, Hello Dolly!), this timely and captivating rags-to-riches story lost to history came to dazzling life with a sensational cast of Broadway favorites.

Based on an unbelievable true story, the musical told the tale of the most successful entertainers you’ve never heard of. . . until Harmony. In the 1920s and 30s, The Comedian Harmonists sold millions of records, made dozens of films, and sold-out the biggest theaters around the world. Their heavenly harmonies and musical comedy antics catapulted these six talented young men from singing in the subway tunnels of Berlin to international superstardom.  What happened next was the story of Harmony.

The female-founded award-winning Museum of Broadway is the world’s first-ever permanent museum dedicated to the storied history and legendary artists, creators and stars of Broadway musicals and plays, past and present. Offering unrivaled “backstage” access, the Museum of Broadway goes behind-the-scenes to show guests of all ages how a Broadway show is made from conception to curtain call.  A one-of-its-kind entertaining and educational celebration of Broadway for the theatre enthusiast and insider alike, the Museum of Broadway transports visitors visually through centuries of time.  Experience a stunning, ever-evolving curation from the 1700s-present day one dazzling, unforgettable exhibit, costume, prop, rendering and rarity at a time. Through each piece, the Museum of Broadway honors the legacies of those who paved the way for today’s Broadway and the next generation of theatregoers and creators.

Founded in November 2022, the Museum of Broadway highlights more than 500 showstopping and hidden gem productions across three floors of exhibits.  Open seven days a week and welcoming thousands of guests weekly from all over the world, the museum also offers free educational programming, special events with your favorite Broadway casts and creatives, a membership program, merchandise from your favorite shows, and so much more. A portion of proceeds from every ticket sold is donated to Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.

Be sure to follow @MuseumofBroadway on all social channels for the latest artifact drops, special offers, events and happenings and visit themuseumofbroadway.com to complete your perfect day on Broadway.

Continue Reading

Trending

Copyright © 2023 Times Square Chronicles

Times Square Chronicles