Connect with us

Broadway

“The Shark is Broken” & “Back to the Future: The Musical” Attack Broadway Big and Loud

Published

on

I must admit something. Well, actually two things. One of them was a confession that was hard for my friend to believe. But I had to come clean as we sat down in one of the two different Broadway theatres to watch two very different Broadway shows; one a big loud musical and the other a simple boat of a play. But both had their mechanical roots firmly tied to two old classic movies that are still as widely known today as they were back in their time. My time, basically. And both are somehow inexplicably linked, oddly enough, to the one and only Steven Spielberg. One of these, I had never seen before, except for snippets here and there, but never from start to finish, and the other I did see once, and only once, cause I could not, and would not, watch it again, or I would not, could not, ever go back into the ocean water again. Can you guess which films I talking about?

The first is “Back to the Future“, a 1985 American science fiction film directed by Robert Zemeckis, written by Zemeckis and Bob Gale, presented by Spielberg, and starring Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, and Lea Thompson. Now, the movie has been turned into a big-budget Broadway musical, transferring over from London’s West End, with music and lyrics by Alan Silvestri & Glen Ballard, book by the same Bob Gale, and starring Roger Bart and Casey Likes. I’m not sure why I never saw this movie when it first came out, or on television years after. Nothing against it, but somehow it bypassed me.

The other floats its wobbly ship around the infamous and troubled making of Steven Spielberg’s 1975 horror classic “Jaws” and the film’s difficult mechanical beast of a star; a bunch of malfunctioning ocean-not-so-worthy sharks that continually fail to do the job being asked of them, basically almost sinking the project alongside them. This new play, based on those days at sea on hold, is a Waiting for Godot-like creation, obviously titled The Shark is Broken, written by Joseph Nixon and one of the star’s actual son, Ian Shaw, directed by Guy Masterson, and starring the same Ian Shaw, alongside Alex Brightman and Colin Donnell. And I’m not overstating the chilling effect it had on me.

Yet, these two staged productions are a crazy pairing, seen one night after the other during the summer of 2023, and I wish I could say that they are both blockbuster hits like their legendary cinematic counterparts, but unfortunately, I can not. And although both are pretty spectacularly presented and somewhat entertaining in some very different and unique mannerisms, both left me wandering out into the streets of Broadway hungry for a much bigger fish to fry in the future and wishing for a whole lot more than what was being served up in these Broadway houses.

Colin Donnell, Alex Brightman, and Ian Shaw in Broadway’s The Shark is Broken at Broadway’s Golden Theatre. Photo Credit: Matthew Murphy.

It’s no surprise that The Shark is Broken begins with that ominous and epic threat of a soundtrack sound. Even if it is only a vague tip of the hat to that iconic soundtrack. Those notes are well known to anyone who has seen the movie, and they could (and probably have) mimicked them at one point in time or another. Most likely when a friend or younger sibling has entered the ocean for a nice refreshing swim. Or, I must admit, heard in my head whenever I go for an ocean swim. When played here at Broadway’s Golden Theatre, they make the audience rapturously happy, clapping and laughing because of the connective strings being pulled. This, it turns out, is the theme of both shows; giving you that familiar thread and making everyone pretty reminiscently happy to play along. That is if you have a strong good connection to the source material. But what if you don’t?

On a miraculously well crafted and designed floating ship-slash-waiting room, courtesy of set and costume designer Duncan Henderson (The Roundhouse’s Bloodlines), with devilishly good lighting by Jon Clark (Broadway’s A Doll’s House), solid sound and original music by Adam Cork (Almeida/MTC’s Ink), and the most impressive video design one could imagine by Nina Dunn for Pixellux (West End’s Bonnie & Clyde) – so good it almost made me sea-sick, The Shark is Broken delivers forth a backdrop and location the excels on all fronts. It’s the perfect playground for the film’s three stars to wile away their time in between shots, embodied by three very fine actors giving us uncanny and definitive portrayals, drinking, arguing, gambling, and attacking one another’s egos with glee.

And that’s about it, in a nutshell. The movie stars are instantly recognizable to anyone who knows the film well and extremely well performed by the trio of stage actors here, with the most obvious being the hilariously neurotic and sea-sick Richard Dreyfus, played perfectly by Alex Brightman (Broadway’s Beetlejuice), alongside the cool intellect of black turtleneck-wearing Roy Scheider, played beautifully by Colin Donnell (NYCC Encores’ Merrily We Roll Along). The third is an actor I recognized, but can’t say I knew much about; Robert Shaw, an English actor, novelist, playwright, and screenwriter who dutifully portrayed shark hunter Quint in the film, and is played on stage here by his dead-ringer-of-a-son, and co-playwright Ian Shaw (NT’s War Horse), growling the time away with his co-stars in between nips from the bottle as they wait for the mechanical shark to get its act together. It’s a great set-up for a confined interaction, worthy of the artists that have come together for this piece.

The three actors deliver the goods stupendously, finding authenticity and humor with every wave and rock of the boat, and as directed with a clever wit by Gus Masterson (Edinburgh Fringe Festival/West End’s Morecambe), The Shark Is Broken tries to find some fucked up familiarity in the Godot-like framework. The play gives the three movie stars-played-by-actors plenty of space to unload baggage and take out their frustrations on each other and the sea. And they dive right into the rough waters with glee, but will it be enough? That is the question.

Alex Brightman and Ian Shaw in Broadway’s The Shark is Broken at Broadway’s Golden Theatre. Photo Credit: Matthew Murphy.

The filming off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard is legendary for its troubled sea shoots, managed and orchestrated by a young unproven director, Spielberg, for a worried movie studio, on location with some pretty fussy mechanical sharks who are almost the most difficult things on that ship and in the film. But it’s Brightman’s Dreyfus who takes center stage after the star shark, even with his third-billing poster status. He struggles to keep his fragile sanity and food down while tossing and turning on that ship constantly being provoked by his fellow actor, Shaw, drinking his unknown sorrows down regardless of the time of day. Shaw, as beautifully embodied by the actor’s son, can’t seem to help himself, finding fault and poking at the insecure actor, Dreyfus, every chance he gets. It’s a comedy show of sorts, with Dreyfus’ desperation for stardom, and Shaw, the pretentious artist, writer, and famed stage actor, ridiculing the man for his obvious ambition. Scheider is the calmer force, reading and sunning his slim (most excellent) body in the sun, patiently doing his time as well as he can, until the moment he can’t hold it in anymore.

At one point, after endless rounds of storytelling regarding fathers and fame; drinking and debauchery, the question of the day is finally asked from one actor to another; “What is this film about?” It’s a question asked for pure curiosity-sake, and I couldn’t have wished for a better one. Dreyfus responds metaphorically, Donnell’s Scheider answers symbolically, but it’s Shaw, the perpetual artist, who answers simply and directly. “It’s about a shark!” he exclaims, impatiently. But I wish we could ask the same of this play. For us all to be more certain what the actual play that we are watching is all about. Because, to be honest, the more it went on and on, and the more these three wrangled and drank the days away, the less energy I spent trying to figure it all out. And the less I cared.

Colin Donnell and Ian Shaw in Broadway’s The Shark is Broken at Broadway’s Golden Theatre. Photo Credit: Matthew Murphy.

I guess the on-set difficulties of this film, detailed in Carl Gottlieb’s memoir, The Jaws Log, are widely known and heralded, but does that, in essence, make this unpacking and unloading more, or less interesting? It certainly explains the title, but even at a brisk 95mins, The Shark is Broken fails to make me want to lean in and make sense of the wild sea laid out before us. The known fact that the filming would finally make it to the last day and wrap, only makes the meanderings and the recreations of that one infamous scene more meaningless to me. I know it was meant to delight and drive the ship forward, but I couldn’t get on board. I must admit that every joke made about the future of film making; dinosaurs and extra-terrestrials et al., is well received and amusing, making me chuckle a bit here and there, but the play is not as funny as how loud and big the guy behind us was laughing. Obviously, it didn’t bite me as hilariously as it did him. Maybe this slight sea-worthy ship should have docked at a smaller, more intimate off-Broadway port. It might have made more sense tied to a smaller dock.

Alex Brightman, Ian Shaw, and Colin Donnell in Broadway’s The Shark is Broken at Broadway’s Golden Theatre. Photo Credit: Matthew Murphy.
Roger Bart and Casey Likes in Broadway’s Back to the Future: The Musical at Broadway’s Winter Garden Theatre. Photo Credit: Matthew Murphy and Evan Zimmerman.

But it’s all about nostalgia, right? Especially when we examine the parts and pieces that make up the film-to-stage show, Back to the Future: The Musical. The new and original musical, based solidly on the much-loved 1985 Robert Zemeckis film, drives fast and furious into Broadway’s Winter Garden Theatre after a very successful world premiere in the West End of London. The fanfare and excitement of the project, as it counts down to acceleration inside the theatre, is truly astounding, making me wonder about what I missed out on. This is the famed movie I had never seen, beyond snippets here and there, and my theatre buddy wondered out loud, as he excitedly informed me of its iconic puffy red vest and attacking Libyans (sadly cut), if I would be as into it as everyone else around me seemed to be. And I must admit, I did too.

From the man who wrote the screenplay of that iconic film, book writer Bob Gale doesn’t, I am told, stray too far from the source, driving in the well-known numbers, like “The Power of Love” and “Back in Time” as scheduled to the delight of all. With absolutely forgettable new music and lyrics by Glen Ballard (Jagged Little Pill) and Alan Silvestri, who also happened to be the person behind the film’s original theme. The musical attempts to shift itself into high gear with every trick in the visual book (as it certainly won’t be the music you remember), and in a way, it works. Under the hyper-direction of John Rando (Broadway’s Urinetown), Back to the Future: The Musical finds the decadent DeLorean dynamic in its radioactive construction and awesome visual effects, thanks to scenic and costume designer Tim Hatley (Broadway/West End’s Life of Pi), lighting designers Tim Lutkin (Old Vic’s Lungs) and Hugh Vanstone (Broadway’s The Boys in the Band), video designer Finn Ross (Almeida’s Tammy Faye), sound designer Gareth Oen (Broadway’s & Juliet), and illusions by Chris Fisher (Broadway’s Company). The spectacle is all there, delivering at every turn of the wheel. And the crowd eats it up. Just like The Shark…, every known element is greeted with cheers and applause, and even though those nostalgic bits were not hitting my gears in the same way, I can’t say I was ever not entertained. Did I care about the outcome in the end? Not really, as it was clear everything was going to turn out just swell, and the journey from beginning to swell ending just wasn’t musically or emotionally compelling enough to lean in, but I wasn’t exactly bored by it all either. No seat belts are required here, though, as nothing dangerous (or new) is going to happen.

From the first revving of its engine, the musical makes it clear that the McFly family of Hill Valley is destined for not great things. But it is also clear that lead actor, Casey Likes is on a pretty impressive film-to-stage roll having just closed out Broadway’s Almost Famous in a quick flash of rockstar light. In that new musical, just like this one, he is (and was) the perfect formulation for the part, playing out his need for connection and coolness with equal affability. He seems to be the perfect foil for adaptations, and in the BTTF universe, his girlfriend, Jennifer Parker, played to period perfection by Mikaela Secada (TheLex’s West Side Story), delivers one of the more engagingly simple moments in this loud and revved up musical, “Wherever We’re Going” to the “Got No Future” Marty McFly (Likes).

And I must admit, that early on in this musical, I was filled with hope. But it didn’t last long. Cause in walks the overdone dead-ender dad McFly, George, played by Hugh Coles (the original Marty in West End’s Back to the Future). The performance starts out big with a long-legged capital B, flinging himself around the stage in a way, I am told, was reminiscent of the movie. So I guess it works, especially when being bullied by his current work boss/high school nemesis, Biff, played in a strong kinda expected way by Nathaniel Hackmann (Disney’s Beauty and the Beast). George’s wife, Lorraine, portrayed by Liana Hunt (Broadway’s Newsies) isn’t faring any better, pouring vodka down her throat in big gulps, while trying to guide her children in a manner that is sad in its avoidance. It’s over-the-top disastrous, but I guess nostalgia wins again, even if I didn’t quite join that bandwagon.

All seems sad and awkward in that family unit, even if Marty never really gives off the same overdone vibe that is coming big from the other members of his family. That is until he rushes to the assistance of his mad scientist friend and father figure, Dr. Emmett Brown, played strong and wild by the very game Roger Bart (Broadway’s The Producers). In a radiating flash of an eye, Marty finds himself in the driver’s seat, zooming his way from 1985 to 1955 in Dr. Brown’s time machine. Barned up in the DeLorean car, the invention and Marty find themselves stranded in the 1950s with no way back (I’d give you more info, but I’m sure you know the deal). So Marty must find the much younger Dr., convince him of his predicament, and find a way to generate the 1.21 gigawatts of electricity to power himself Back to the Future, musically, all the while trying to avoid inadvertently changing the course of history by meddling in the past. Which, to no one’s surprise, he has already done just that before he even finds the Doctor. Without realizing it, Marty has become the love object for his young and beautiful teenage mom, supplanting the affections she was going to have with his own father, and possibly erasing his entire future, one sibling at a time.

Casey Likes (center) and the cast of Back to the Future: The Musical at Broadway’s Winter Garden Theatre. Photo Credit: Matthew Murphy and Evan Zimmerman.

It’s a playground for time frames and period play, this new musical, playing with both the 80s and the 50s with not exactly equal pleasure, but with similar frames and fun. It’s America, and isn’t it great to be alive in the 1950s? Or so sings the ensemble. “It just feels right when / All of these white men / Get to have their cake / So let the women bake / We get to have our cake and eat it too.” There are smoking and drinking pregnant ladies and more, once we fly back in time, and opportunities and predictable outcomes between bullies and their prey, but Back to the Future: The Musical isn’t really here to reinvent anything, especially those wheels that are a wonder to watch.

I wasn’t in the position to notice the slight revisions in Gale’s book, but most seemed to work after being informed by my buddy, and maybe a few of them even fixed some cultural insensitivities or superficial plot points. What I do know is that in general, the musical does succeed in entertaining those in the know and those few of us who are not so in the know. The actors, even those that start out oversized and awkward, find their footing and their emotionality, driving their personas towards an ending that registers on more than just a familiar level. Likes, once again, inhabits a part made famous by someone else, giving us just the right amount of breathy vocal cracking to never let us forget the wonderful Michael J. Fox, yet never being so overdone that we are ourselves sent back in time to the film. Coles as his father, George, annoying at first, finds himself just in the nick of time in the well-formed, “Put Your Mind to It“. Sadly he has to also sing earlier on the ridiculously incoherent “My Myopia” while hiding in a tree. I might hide too if I was burdened with that number.

Jelani Remy (center) and the cast of Back to the Future: The Musical at Broadway’s Winter Garden Theatre. Photo Credit: Matthew Murphy and Evan Zimmerman.

Roger Bart, on the other hand, is instantly unique, barely giving us any Christopher Lloydisms, which is a blessing, although I could really do without his “21st Century” number that made no sense at the top of Act 2, and is only memorable because of its utter stupidity. But “For the Dreamers” is who he is playing this for, and his performance is completely embraced by all, including me. Hunt, as both messy adult Lorraine and young wide-eyed teenager Lorraine is a delight at every libido-raised turn, and Jelani Remy (Broadway’s Ain’t Too Proud) expands the part of Goldie Wilson every chance he gets, giving it his all when he “Gotta Start Somewhere“. It’s a show-stopping moment, even if it doesn’t really drive this musical all that forward. It’s more of an amazingly magnificent park and play moment, rather than a fourth gear acceleration.

Back to the Future: The Musical only really kicks itself into fifth when that magnificently designed car does its duty, riding fast and flying high, in the opposite yet similar way that the mechanical “Jaws” shark continually slammed on the brakes in the movie, but inspired The Shark is Broken. The visuals are what ultimately drive both of these vehicles, as well as America’s obsession with nostalgia and the known and already loved commodity. If it isn’t a sequel, it’s a remake. Or a remake of a sequel, or a prequel to a remade sequel. The list goes on, as Ian Shaw’s Robert Shaw, while waiting for the mechanical shark to take his place on set, states on that Golden Theatre stage, ironically, as Ian is, in a way, a sequel embodiment of his father, the great drunken British actor. I’m just happy to have a few originals lined up for the following few days of theatre, because that is where “Here Lies Love” lives somewhere on Broadway at “The Cottage” and beyond.

Roger Bart in Back to the Future: The Musical at Broadway’s Winter Garden Theatre. Photo Credit: Matthew Murphy and Evan Zimmerman.
For tickets and information, click here.
For more go to frontmezzjunkies.com

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 last...so 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 frontmezzjunkies.com

Broadway

Broadway in Bryant Park And You Are There With Hell’s Kitchen, Water For Elephants, The Wiz and More

Published

on

July 11, 106.7 LITE FM’s Broadway in Bryant Park kicked off its 2024 program, bringing the best of Broadway back together for free performances, every Thursday in July.

From AMDA College of the Performing Arts-Kyle Taylor Parker

From AMDA College of the Performing Arts-Kyle Taylor Parker, Charity Arianna , Destiny David, Ailadis Hernandez De Leon, Nyjair Wilkerson and Jackson Bateman

This week’s performances included: a preshow featuring students from AMDA

Ali Louis Bourzgui

Bobby Conte and Ali Louis Bourzgui

Bobby Conte, Ali Louis Bourzgui and Adam Jacobs

Ali Louis Bourzgui, Bobby Conte,

Lily Kren, Alexandra Matteo, Daniel Quadrino, Jenna Nicole Schoen, Nathan Lucrezio, Reagan Pender, Bobby Conte, Tyler James Eisenreich, Mark Mitrano, Haley Gustafson, Afra Hines, Dee Tomasetta, Adam Jacobs, Ali Louis Bourzgui, David Paul Kidder, Jeremiah Alsop, Andrew Tufano and Ronnie Bowman, Jr.

The Who’s Tommy (Ali Louis Bourzgui, Adam Jacobs, Bobby Conte, Haley Gustafson and more)

Isabelle McCalla and Ken Wulf Clark

Ken Wulf Clark

Joe De Paul and Asa Somers

Isabelle McCalla and Ken Wulf Clark

Isabelle McCalla and Ken Wulf Clark

Isabelle McCalla and Ken Wulf Clark

Joe De Paul, Asa Somers and Sara Gettelfinger

Joe De Paul, Asa Somers and Sara Gettelfinger

Joe De Paul, Asa Somers and Sara Gettelfinger

Joe De Paul, Asa Somers and Sara Gettelfinger

Ken Wulf Clark, Sara Gettelfinger, Joe De Paul and Asa Somers

Ken Wulf Clark, Sara Gettelfinger, Joe De Paul and Asa Somers

Ken Wulf Clark, Joe De Paul, Asa Somers and Isabella McCalla

Water for Elephants (Isabelle McCalla, Ken Wulf Clark, Asa Somers, Sara Gettelfinger, Joe De Paul)

Avery Wilson

Kyle Ramar Freeman and Nichelle Lewis

Kyle Ramar Freeman

Kyle Ramar Freeman

Melody A. Betts

Kyle Ramar Freeman

Nichelle Lewis

Nichelle Lewis, Kyle Ramar Freeman, Avery Wilson and Polanco Jones Jr.

Kyle Ramar Freeman, Avery Wilson and Polanco Jones Jr.

Kyle Ramar Freeman, Polanco Jones Jr., Nichelle Lewis, Melody A. Betts and Avery Wilson

The Wiz (Avery Wilson, Kyle Ramar Freeman, Melody A. Betts, Nichelle Lewis, Polanco Jones Jr.)

Jelani Remy

JJ Niemann

Evan Alexander Smith and JJ Niemann

Evan Alexander Smith and JJ Niemann

Evan Alexander Smith and JJ Niemann

Evan Alexander Smith and JJ Niemann

Jelani Remy and JJ Niemann

Jelani Remy and JJ Niemann

Jelani Remy and JJ Niemann

Evan Alexander Smith, Katie Laduca, JJ Niemann and Aaron Alcaraz

Hannah Kevitt and JJ Niemann

Evan Alexander Smith, JJ Niemann, Jelani Remy and The Cast of Back To The Future that includes Hannah Kevitt, Cixtoria Byrd, Kimberly Immanuel, Jessie Peltier, Gregory Carl Banks Jr., Katie Laduca, Joshua Kenneth Allen Johnson and Aaron Alcaraz

Evan Alexander Smith, JJ Niemann, Jelani Remy, Hannah Kevitt, Cixtoria Byrd, Kimberly Immanuel, Jessie Peltier, Gregory Carl Banks Jr., Katie Laduca, Joshua Kenneth Allen Johnson and Aaron Alcaraz

Back to the Future (Jelani Remy, JJ Niemann, Evan Alexander Smith)

Gianna Harris and Lamont Walker II

Lamont Walker II

Jade Milan, Jackie Leon and Gianna Harris

Jade Milan, Jackie Leon and Gianna Harris

Donna Vivino

Donna Vivino

Donna Vivino, Gianna Harris, Lamont Walker II, Jade Milan and Jackie Leon and Jackie Leon

and Hell’s Kitchen (Gianna Harris, Vanessa Ferguson, Jackie Leon, Donna Vivino, Lamont Walker II)

106.7 Lite FM’s Helen Little

106.7 Lite FM’s Helen Little is joined by Co Host Kyle Ramar Freeman

with host Helen Little and co-host Kyle Ramar Freeman.

Continue Reading

Broadway

Get Ready For Broadway in Bryant Park

Published

on

The most popular shows on and off Broadway will perform their biggest hits in the park starting this Thursday the 11th! Head to the the lawn at Bryant Park and enjoy Broadway for lunch. The performances will happen on four summer Thursdays, hosted and presented by LiteFM.

This week from 12:30pm-1:30pm 106.7 LITE FM Host: Helen Little will host. For the pre-show: A special performance by the students of AMDA College of the Performing Arts. Then get ready for performances by Back to the Future, Hell’s Kitchen, The Who’s TOMMY, The Wiz and
Water For Elephants.

In coming weeks look from The Outsiders, SIX: The Musical, Moulin Rouge! The Musical, Wicked, Chicago and & Juliet.

Continue Reading

Broadway

Ken Fallin’s Broadway:​ Happy Birthday Audra McDonald

Published

on

On July 3rd, Audra McDonald celebrated her 54th birthday. The 1970 American Tony, Grammy and Emmy Award-winning theatrical and operatic singer, and stage and screen actress (Lady Day At Emerson’s Bar and Grill; Sweeney Todd; Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny; TV Private Practice, The Good Wife), was born in West Berlin, West Germany (now Berlin, Germany)

As been announced six-time Tony Award winner Audra McDonald will return to Broadway this fall, as Mama Rose in Gypsy.

Performances begin Thursday, November 21st, at Broadway’s newly renovated Majestic Theatre. Happy Thanksgiving! The show will open on Thursday, December 19th. Merry Christmas and Happy Chanukah.

The last show to play the Majestic Theatre was The Phantom of the Opera, which concluded its 35 year-run on April 16, 2023.

This upcoming revival will be directed by the legendary five-time Tony Award-winning director George C. Wolfe. The choreography will be by four-time Tony Award nominated Camille A. Brown.  Additional casting and creative team members will be announced at a later date.

Continue Reading

Broadway

Coming In August Broadway Barks Returns to Shubert Alley

Published

on

The 26th anniversary of the star-studded dog and cat adoption event, Broadway Barks returns to Shubert Alley on Saturday, August 3, 2024 to benefit New York City animal rescue groups. The event, co-founded by Bernadette Peters and Mary Tyler Moore, features Broadway celebrities who use their star power to help find loving homes for animals in need from 24 NYC area adoption and rescue groups.

Bernadette Peters and Sutton Foster. Photo courtesy of Broadway Barks.

Bernadette Peters and Sutton Foster will co-host this year’s festivities! Other celebrity participants to be announced soon.

Photo by Daniel Roberts, © Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.

Barks begins at 3pm with a ‘meet and greet’ of all the adoptable pets; from 5–6:30pm, adoptees make their Broadway debut on stage alongside some of Broadway’s favorite stars for the celebrity presentations.Produced by Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, the adoption event takes place in Shubert Alley (located between 44th and 45th Streets, between Broadway and Eighth Avenues).

Photo by Daniel Roberts, © Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.

Continue Reading

Broadway

Shows to Keep Your Eyes On: Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, Death Becomes Her and The Queen of Versailles

Published

on

The new musical Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil is based on John Berendt’s 1994 non-fiction book and makes its world premiere this summer at Chicago’s Goodman Theatre. The book is by  Taylor Mac and music and lyrics by Tony winner Jason Robert Brown, performances are scheduled for June 25–August 4 in the Albert Theatre. Tony winner Rob Ashford will direct the production with choreography by Tanya Birl.

Tony winner J. Harrison Ghee, is The Lady Chablis; Tony nominee Tom Hewitt as Jim Williams; and Olivier nominee Sierra Boggess as Emma Dawes.

The company also includes Lance Roberts (The Best Man) as Bobby Lewis, Austin Colby (The Great Gatsby) as Danny Hansford, Bailee Endebrock (Parade) as Corrine Strong, Shanel Bailey (The Book of Mormon) as Lavella Cole, Jessica Molaskey (Sunday in the Park with George) as Alma Knox Carter, Brianna Buckley (the ripple, the wave that carried me home) as Minerva, Mary Ernster (War Paint) as Serena Barnes/Dawn Avery, McKinley Carter (Turn of the Century) as Vera Strong, Maya Bowles (The Wiz) as Stacey Brown, DeMarius Copes (Some Like It Hot) as Jeremiah Jones, Sean Donovan as Luther Driggers, Jason Michael Evans (Anastasia tour) as Colonel Atwood/Burt, Christopher Kelley as Bubbles/Gregory, Andre Terrell Malcolm (Hamilton tour) as Josiah Domingo, Aaron James McKenzie (A Beautiful Noise) as Jethro Myles, Wes Olivier as Jack the One-Eyed Jill, Kayla Marie Shipman as Millicent/Mary, and Rory Shirley as Stefanie Davis.

The show tracks an antiques dealer through four trials for murdering a male prostitute in Savannah, Georgia. The story is modeled on the real-life shooting of Daniel Lewis  Hansford. The work won the 1995 Boeke Prize and was a finalist for the 1995 Pulitzer Prize for non-fiction. A film adaptation was released in 1997 starring John Cusack and Kevin Spacey.

Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil was a seminal book for me as a young queer person, coming out in the late 1980s and early ’90s,” added Mac. “The eccentricities of Savannah, and how they were celebrated by such a large readership, seemed to say, the things that made me odd and an outcast in the world were actually things I should cherish. Likewise, musical theatre has always had a similar effect on me. Singing our thoughts is such an eccentric way of expressing ourselves—yet so perfectly aligned with my personal liberation and joy. So turning Midnight into a musical, and with such master craftspeople as Jason, Rob, and Tanya is essentially an extension of celebrating the joy and liberation from exposing what’s hidden.”

“When I am deciding to start a new show, the two most important questions I ask myself are: 1) Does it sing? and 2) Do I get to work with fun people? With Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, I knew the answers to both questions immediately,” stated Brown. “The book’s milieu, so rich with mystery and romance and history, sings with every sentence, deeply passionate, slyly comic, emotions threatening to boil over on every page. And to work with Rob Ashford, whose transformative production of Parade at the Donmar Warehouse in 2007 reinvigorated not only the show’s reputation but my creative process, was a no-brainer. But then add to that the brilliant, joyful, radically inclusive mind of Taylor Mac, and there was no way I could resist. Creating this world with these mad geniuses is, in true Savannah tradition, a grand and great party. I can’t wait for the world to join in.”

Madeline Ashton (Tony Award® nominees Megan Hilty (Wicked, “Smash”)) is the most beautiful actress (just ask her) ever to grace the stage and screen. Helen Sharp (Jennifer Simard (Company, Disaster!)) is the long-suffering author (just ask her) who lives in her shadow. They have always been the best of frenemies…until Madeline steals Helen’s fiancé (Christopher Sieber (Spamalot, Company)) away. As Helen plots revenge and Madeline clings to her rapidly fading star, their world is suddenly turned upside down by Viola Van Horn, a mysterious woman with a secret that’s to die for.

After one sip of Viola’s (Grammy® Award winner Michelle Williams (Destiny’s Child, Chicago)) magical potion, Madeline and Helen begin a new era of life (and death) with their youth and beauty restored…and a grudge to last eternity.

Death Becomes Her, based on the classic 1992 film, is a drop-dead hilarious new musical comedy about friendship, love, and burying the hatchet…again, and again, and again.

Life’s a bitch and then you die. Or not!

Death Becomes Her is coming to the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre on October 23, 2024, ahead of an opening night on November 21, 2024.

The Queen of Versailles, the new Stephen Schwartz musical starring Kristin Chenoweth and F. Murray Abraham as billionarie-couple Jackie and David Siegel, begins performances at Boston’s Emerson Colonial Theatre on July 16 and will now run through August 25.

The cast will feature Stephen DeRosa (Boardwalk Empire) as John, Greg Hildreth (Company) as Gary, Tatum Grace Hopkins as Jonquil, Tony Award nominee Isabel Keating (The Boy from Oz) as Debbie, Melody Butiu as Sofia Flores and Nina White as Victoria Siegel.

The company will also include Anna Bakun, Stacie Bono, Yeman Brown, Amanda Jane Cooper, David Aron Damane, Drew Elhamalawy, Sara Esty, K.J. Hippensteel, Diana Huey, Cassondra James, Andrew Kober, Jesse Kovarsky, Pablo David Laucerica, Travis Murad Leland, Michael Mulheren, Michael McCorry Rose and Grace Slear.

The Queen of Versailles is an adaptation of the 2012 documentary of the same name about socialite Jacqueline “Jackie” Siegel, the book is by Lindsey Ferrentino (Ugly Lies the Bone) and direction by Tony winner Michael Arden (Parade).

From computer engineer to Mrs. Florida to billionairess, Jackie Siegel sees herself as the embodiment of the American Dream. Now, as the wife of David “The Timeshare King” Siegel and mother of their eight children, they invite us to behold their most grandiose venture yet: They’re building the largest private home in America in Orlando, Florida—a $100 million house big enough for her dreams and inspired by the Palace of Versailles. But with the Great Recession of 2008 looming, Jackie and David’s dreams begin to crumble, along with their lavish lifestyle. The Queen of Versailles explores the true cost of fame, fortune and family.

The production will feature choreography by Lauren Yalango-Grant and Christopher Cree Grant, music supervision by Mary-Mitchell Campbell, scenic design by Dane Laffrey, lighting design by Natasha Katz and sound design by Peter Hylenski, as well as costume design by fashion designer Christian Cowan.

Continue Reading

Trending

Copyright © 2023 Times Square Chronicles

Times Square Chronicles