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Theatre News: A Christmas Carol, Into the Woods, A Beautiful Noise The Neil Diamond Musical, Little Shop of Horrors and Black Theatre United

Theatre News: A Christmas Carol, Into the Woods, A Beautiful Noise The Neil Diamond Musical, Little Shop of Horrors and Black Theatre United

Tony Award® winner Jefferson Mays will play 50+ Roles in A Christmas Carol on Broadway. This strictly limited 66-performance engagement at the Nederlander Theatre (208 West 41st Street)). Mr. Mays, who is currently performing as Mayor Shinn ten blocks north in The Music Man, will depart that role on October 23rd.

Directed by two-time Tony Award nominee Michael Arden, adapted by Mays, Susan Lyons, and Arden, and conceived by Arden and Tony Award nominee Dane Laffrey,

“After everything we’ve been through in the past few years it seems fitting to tell the story of one man’s reflection and redemption on the Broadway stage” Hunter Arnold said. “In a time where the world needs each of us to look within and find our own best selves we are ecstatic to bring this iconic tale of metamorphosis and catharsis to audiences this holiday season.”

Preview performances for A Christmas Carol will begin Tuesday, November 8 with an official opening night set for Monday, November 21 in a strictly limited engagement through Sunday, January 1, 2023. Tickets for the production are on sale now at www.ticketmaster.com and can be purchased in-person at the Nederlander Theatre box office starting Tuesday, October 11. Group pricing for 10+ coming soon.

Jordan Roth, President of Jujamcyn Theaters, today announced that the hugely acclaimed and much beloved New York City Center Encores! production of James Lapine and Stephen Sondheim’s revival of Into the Woods at the St. James Theatre will be extended one final time through Sunday, January 8, 2023.

Into the Woods, the first Broadway show of the 2022/2023 season, is directed by Lear deBessonet, music direction by Rob Berman with The Encores! Orchestra, and choreographed by Lorin Latarro. This production is dedicated to the memory of Stephen Sondheim.

Casting announcements for the rest of the run will be made soon.

Tickets for the extension will be available beginning at 9:00AM EST via SeatGeek.com/into-the-woods.

Additionally, last night, Montego Glover, Stephanie J. Block, Sebastian Arcelus Krysta Rodriguez, Katy Geraghty, Jim Stanek, and Andy Karl all took their initial bows in the production as the show’s new cast began performances.

Casting for A Beautiful Noise, The Neil Diamond Musical which will begin preview performances Wednesday, November 2 ahead of a Sunday, December 4 opening night at the Broadhurst Theatre.

The cast is led by Tony Award® nominee Will Swenson as Neil Diamond – Then. Swenson starred in A Beautiful Noise’s world premiere this summer at Boston’s Emerson Colonial Theatre and his performance was universally hailed by critics. Don Aucoin of The Boston Globe said, “Swenson’s electric, sparkling performance nearly blows the roof off! His blend of magnetism, virtuosity, and dynamism blasts full throttle through Neil Diamond’s hits,” and Jared Bowen of WGBH said, “he was born to play this role.”

Swenson will be joined at the Broadhurst by his costars from the Boston run Tony Award nominee Mark Jacoby as Neil Diamond – Now, who Joyce Kulhawik called, “stunning,” Tony Award nominee Robyn Hurder as Marcia, who Jacquinn Sinclair of WBUR said is “an absolute force who brings down the house,” and Linda Powell as Doctor who was hailed by Leah Klein of Boston Living as “wonderful.”

They will be joined by Jessie Fisher as Jaye Posner; Michael McCormick as Fred Colby, Tommy O’Rourke; Tom Alan Robbins as Bert Berns, Kieve Diamond; and Bri Sudia as Ellie Greenwich, Rose Diamond.

The ensemble, swings, and standbys include Neal Benari (standby Neil Diamond – Now), Ninako Donville (swing), Nick Fradiani (standby Neil Diamond – Then), Kalonjee Gallimore (ensemble), Samantha Gershman (swing), Alex Hairston (ensemble), Makai Hernandez (swing), Jess LeProtto (ensemble), Tatiana Lofton (ensemble), Aaron James McKenzie (ensemble), Mary Page Nance (ensemble), Robert Pendilla (swing), Max Sangerman (ensemble), and MiMi Scardulla (ensemble).

Will Swenson will play a schedule of seven performances per week with Nick Fradiani playing Neil Diamond – Then during the Wednesday evening performances.

Director Michael Mayer said, “I’m excited to bring our stunning company to the Broadhurst this fall to celebrate the music and life of Neil Diamond. His exceptional career speaks for itself, and I think A Beautiful Noise speaks to the extraordinary range and depth of his songwriting in all sorts of fresh ways. I can’t wait to share this special musical with Broadway audiences.”

Tickets for A Beautiful Noise are available at www.abeautifulnoisethemusical.com or www.telecharge.com. The Broadhurst Theatre box office will open on Wednesday, September 21.

The Little Shop of Horrors turns 40 this year, and I am excited to share news of a new book publishing tomorrow (Sept. 8) that delves into its fascinating trajectory. How does a B-movie shot in two days with a budget of $30,000 spawn one of the most-produced musicals? In Attack of the Monster Musical: A Cultural History of Little Shop of Horrors, scholar Adam Abraham chronicles the unlikely phenomenon.
Through 65+ interviews and newly unearthed material on the early development of the show–Ashman’s original outlines, drafts of songs, and cut lyrics–Abraham shows the development of this “strange and interesting” musical from the dreams of a b-movie fan to countless productions, including a successful 2022 off-Broadway revival.
Through extensive research, Attack of the Monster Musical shares such insights and revelations as,
  • For the role of Audrey in the 1986 Warner Bros. film, the producers considered Barbra Streisand, Liza Minnelli, Madonna, and Cyndi Lauper. Lauper was interested but wanted to write her own songs for the film (years later, she did write a Broadway musical). The producers finally agreed to shoot a screen test with Ellen Greene, and she won the part she had already played on stage in New York, Los Angeles, and London.
  • Ellen Green, a significant reason for the show’s success, also created a challenging rehearsal process.
  • The first-ever audience for Little Shop of Horrors hated it. Ashman and Menken basically ignored this reaction. However, some critical changes followed, including adding “Somewhere That’s Green,”–lending emotional depth to the piece.
Attack of the Monster Musical is chock-full of new and seen-in-a-new-light material. I’ve attached more information; please let me know if you’d like to see a galley (physical or digital).

 

Black Theatre United (BTU) is proud to announce their inaugural gala, “A Night to Remember,” will take place on Monday, October 3 at The Rooftop at Pier 17. Supported by Business for Good (BFG), the evening will begin with a concert featuring performances by America’s most sought-after Black Broadway and theater talent. Doors to the concert open at 5:30pm. The opening act, the popular R&B duo Lion Babe, will perform at 6:15pm and the special A Night to Remember” concert will begin at 7:00pm.

The star-studded concert will include performances by BTU Founders Vanessa Williams, Norm Lewis, Audra McDonald, LaChanze, Capathia Jenkins, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Darius de Haas, Natasha Yvette Williams, Lillias White, with special performing guests Josh Groban, Joaquina Kalukango, Chuck Cooper, Lilli Cooper, Eddie Cooper and special appearances by Sara Bareilles and Gavin Creel. The evening will be hosted by James Monroe Iglehart, directed by Jerry Dixon and Musical Directed by Michael Mitchell.

Throughout the evening, BTU will also honor trailblazing leaders in Black theatre who are inspiring the next generation of Black theatre professionals. Honorees will be announced at a later date.

Tickets for “A Night to Remember” begin at $40 and are available NOW at http://www.blacktheatreunited.com/gala/.

BTU Co-Founder Vanessa Williams said, “Black Theatre United is thrilled to have Business for Good be our lead sponsor for our first annual concert and gala. BFG invests in people to build better businesses, stronger communities, and a more equitable world. A perfect alignment for BTU’s vision and commitment. Diversity is a fact but inclusion is a choice “

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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

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