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Theatre News: Harmony, Merrily We Roll Along, Take Me Out, Into The Woods and Little Shop of Horrors

Theatre News: Harmony, Merrily We Roll Along, Take Me Out, Into The Woods and Little Shop of Horrors

Julie Benko Joins Cast of Barry Manilow’s Broadway-Bound Harmony. Benko, is currently going on as the standby Fanny Brice in Broadway’s Funny Girl, is already rehearsing. Benko will play the role of Ruth, a role previously played by Jessie Davidson in the show’s recent off-Broadway run. Davidson was phenomenal, but Benko has the name.

Julie Benko photo Genevieve Rafter Keddy

Harmony is holding developmental rehearsals and it was the best musical of last year. They received a Drama Desk Award nomination for Outstanding Musical, eight Outer Critics Circle Award nominations, including Outstanding New Off-Broadway Musical, Outstanding Score of a Musical, Outstanding Book of a Musical and Outstanding Director and Choreographer of a Musical.

The Off Broadway revival of Merrily We Roll Along featuring Jonathan Groff, Daniel Radcliffe and Lindsay Mendez begins previews November 21, 2022 and now will run two-weeks longer due to ticket demand. The show also has a digital lottery for reduced-price tickets in partnership with TodayTix service.

The Stephen Sondheim-George Furth musical runs until January 21, 2023, at New York Theatre Workshop. Official opening night is December 12.

Olivier Award winner Maria Friedman will direct, choreography by Tim Jackson, and is presented by special arrangement with Sonia Friedman Productions, the Menier Chocolate Factory (Artistic Director David Babani) and Patrick Catullo.

I expect this show to go to Broadway.

Bill Heck

Casting for Richard Greenberg’s Take Me Out has Bill Heck (Broadway’s Cabaret, Hulu’s The Old Man), taking the role of Kippy, from Patrick J. Adams, due to scheduling conflicts with his CBC original series Plan B.

Returning are Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Jesse Williams, Michael Oberholtzer and the rest of the original cast. Oberholtzer and Ferguson were both nominated for a Tony Award with Ferguson winning the award.

Today Concord Theatricals / Craft Recordings announced that the cast recording of the critically acclaimed Broadway revival of the New York City Center Encores! production of James Lapine and Stephen Sondheim’s Into The Woods will be released on September 30 on streaming and digital platforms worldwide. The CD will be released on December 2, followed by vinyl on March 17, 2023.

The cast album features the original cast of the Broadway revival: Sara Bareilles as the Baker’s Wife, Brian d’Arcy James as the Baker, Patina Miller as the Witch, Phillipa Soo as Cinderella, Gavin Creel as the Wolf/Cinderella’s Prince, Joshua Henry as Rapunzel’s Prince, Aymee Garcia as Jack’s Mother,  Ta’Nika Gibson as Lucinda, Annie Golden as Cinderella’s Mother/Grandmother/Giant’s Wife, Albert Guerzon as Cinderella’s Father, Brooke Ishibashi as Florinda, Kennedy Kanagawa as Milky White, David Patrick Kelly as the Narrator/Mysterious Man, Julia Lester as Little Red Riding Hood, Nancy Opel as Cinderella’s Stepmother, Cole Thompson as Jack, David Turner as the Steward, Alysia Velez as Rapunzel. Delphi Borich, Felicia Curry, Jason Forbach, Alex Joseph Grayson, Cameron Johnson, Paul Kreppel, Mary Kate Moore, Diane Phelan and Lucia Spina are understudies.

Into the Woods, the first Broadway show of the 2022/2023 season, opened to rave reviews on July 10 at the St. James Theatre.

Lena Hall as Audrey photo by Emilio Madrid

Lena Hall joined Rob McClure as Audrey, in the three-time Best Revival Award-winning Little Shop of Horrors, now in its third year of performances at the Westside Theatre (407 W. 43rd Street). Hall (Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Kinky Boots, “Snowpiercer”) stepped into the role on September 6, and stars in the musical alongside Tony Award nominee Rob McClure (Mrs. Doubtfire the Musical, Beetlejuice the Musical), Andrew Call (Groundhog Day, Rock of Ages,‘Grease Live!”) as Orin Scrivello, D.D.S., Tom Alan Robbins (The Lion King, Head Over Heels) as Mushnik, and Aaron Arnell Harrington(RENT 20th Anniversary Tour) as The Voice of Audrey II. 

Rob McClure and Lena Hall photo by Emilio Madrid

Completing the current cast are Ari Groover as Ronnette, Cristina Raé as Crystal (through September 18), Khadija Sankoh as Chiffon, Josh Daniel, Camryn Hampton, Michael Iannucci, Weston Chandler Long, Chelsea Turbin, and Teddy Yudain. Tiffany Renee Thompsontakes over the role of Crystal on September 20; Tony nominees Brad Oscar (Something Rotten!, The Producers) and Bryce Pinkham (A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder) join the cast on September 27, as Mushnik and Dr. Orin Srivello, D.D.S., respectively.

Rob McClure and Lena Hall photo by Emilio Madrid

Rob McClure, Lena Hall, Tom Alan Robbins, Andrew Call photo by Emilio Madrid

Lena Hall as Audrey photo by Emilio Madrid

Rob McClure and Audrey II Photo by Evan Zimmerman for MurphyMade

Lena Hall as Audrey photo by Emilio Madrid



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:

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