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Theatre News: Linda Lavin, Sesame Street the Musical, Immense Joy, The Acting Company, Tony Award-winning producer Carl Moellenberg and Weightless

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Linda Lavin

I am late on this news, but better late than never. The world premiere of You Will Get Sick, a new play by Noah Diaz directed by Tony Award nominee Sam Pinkleton.

The cast includes Marinda Anderson, Daniel K. Isaac, Linda Lavin, Nate Miller, and Dario Ladani Sanchez all of whom are making their Roundabout Theatre Company debuts.

You Will Get Sick begins preview performances on Friday, October 14, 2022 and opens officially on Sunday, November 6, 2022 at the Laura Pels Theatre in the Harold and Miriam Steinberg Center for Theatre (111 West 46th Street). This is a limited engagement through Sunday, December 11, 2022.

Tony, Drama Desk, Outer Critics’ and Helen Hayes Award winner Linda Lavin (Broadway Bound) returns to the stage having previously also starred on Broadway in The Lyons, The Tale of the Allergist’s Wife, The Last of the Red Hot Lover, The Diary of Anne Frank among many other Broadway and off-Broadway productions. Marinda Anderson was recently seen on TV in “New Amsterdam,” “High Maintenance” and “Gotham.” Daniel K. Isaac is known for his role as ‘Ben Kim’ in Showtime’s “Billions” and is also the playwright of Once Upon a (Korean) Time which will make its world premiere this fall off-Broadway at La Mama’s Ellen Stewart Theatre. Nate Miller’s recent stage credit was in the 2017 production of Junk at Lincoln Center Theater and Dario Ladani Sanchez was last seen last season in Selling Kabul at Playwrights Horizons.

Pinkleton makes his Roundabout directing debut on this new play.  Some of his recent work as director includes a party adaptation of Head Over Heels with Jenny Koons at Pasadena Playhouse and the Liz Swados’ youth-powered civic spectacular Runaways at City Center Encores and Shakespeare In The Park. He is a Tony nominated choreographer, movement director and creative director having worked on a number of productions on and off-Broadway. In You Will Get Sick, he reunites with Linda Lavin, with whom he last worked, having served as the assistant director for The Lyons.

Diaz wrote You Will Get Sick in 2018 while in graduate school at Yale School of Drama. In the play, a young man is shocked to receive a life-changing diagnosis. Overwhelmed, he turns to a stranger for help, hiring an older woman to break the news to his family and friends – thus setting into motion a series of events that will profoundly reshape both of their lives. This humane and piercing new play is a testament to the great challenges – and extraordinary joys – that come from having a body.

Rockefeller Productions, a leader in quality family entertainment, and Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit educational organization behind the iconic Sesame Street, announce that the world premiere of the new Sesame Street the Musical will feature new songs written by three of Broadway and the music industry’s brightest composers, Tom Kitt (Next to Normal, Almost Famous), Helen Park (KPOP), and Nate Edmondson (Disney’s Winnie the Pooh: The New Musical Stage Adaptation). A new teaser trailer for the show has also been released today featuring characters seen in the production. Sesame Street the Musical will take to the stage in New York starting on Thursday, September 8, 2022, through Thursday, November 27, 2022, with an opening night set for Monday, September 19. Performances will take place at Theatre Row (410 West 42nd Street). For all ticketing and further information please go to www.sesamestreetmusical.com.

Sesame Street’s” very own Elmo, Cookie Monster, Abby Cadabby, Grover, Rosita, Bert, Ernie, Oscar the Grouch, Gabrielle, and a host of Honkers, Martians, and other favorites will appear onstage in their very own musical. Filled with live puppetry, iconic songs fans know and love, new compositions by Kitt, Park, and Edmondson, and special celebrity guest stars, this production is designed for both the young and the young-at-heart, including things for fans of all ages. The show is written, directed, and produced by Jonathan Rockefeller.

The Tank presents Immense Joy, a new work devised and directed by downtown luminary Anna Kohler in collaboration with performers Natalia de Campos, Justin Gordon, John Hagan, Fabio Tavares, and associate director Caleb Hammond. The piece was inspired by the writings of the Brazilian author Clarise Lispector. In Kohler’s interpretation, the literary material intertwines with personal remembrances and manifestos, the physical reality encounters its own recorded image, and the titular “immense joy” clashes with deep sadness and irony as the performers guide the audiences through a series of multimedia vignettes as poetic and chaotic as life itself. The performances run from September 8 thru 18, 2022 at The Tank (312 W 36th Street, 1st Floor, New York NY 10018). Tickets (starting at $15, with pay-what-you-can ticket tiers) can be purchased at https://thetanknyc.org/calendar-1/2022/7/26/immense-joy

Toree Alexandre as Juliet/Constance, Christopher Then as Romeo/Aramis, Travis Raeburn as Mercutio/Porthos, Darius Deon as Tybalt/D’Artagnan, William Oliver Watkins as Lord Capulet/Rochefort, Caro Zeller as Lady Montague/Anne, Zoe Anastassiou as Nurse/Lady Lannoy, Eunice Woods as Lady Capulet/Milady, Max Antonio Gonzalez as Paris/Buckingham, and Sonny James Lira as Prince/Louis
Photographed by Carol Rosegg

The Acting Company’s Artistic Director Kent Gash and Managing Director Erik Schroeder are pleased to announce casting for the national tours of The Three Musketeers and Romeo and Juliet launching in New York City and playing over 27 engagements in 16 states.The Three MusketeersWorld Premiere AdaptationWritten by Kirsten ChildsFrom the Novel by Alexandre DumasDirected by Kent GashThis world premiere adaptation commissioned by The Acting Company will draw inspiration from an astonishing secret—that Dumas’ father, General Alex Dumas, was the highest-ranking person of Color in a Western military until our own time. The Three Musketeers will tour nationally in 2022, this adaptation will shed new light on this swashbuckling adventure and give a favorite story new importance. An inspiring tale filled with laughter and adventure, The Three Musketeers is a reminder to all that courage, honesty, and valour can change the world.Gash says of the production, “What excites me about The Three Musketeers is that it is a raucous, dynamic, visceral, exciting production boys sort of growing up into being men and how we need to ultimately take responsibility for each other. It’s so much about brotherhood and honor and care and then it is just a great adventure story. And I’m really excited that we are adding the perspective of Dumas, the author, who was of Haitian descent. I think people don’t always know that The Three Musketeers springs from a Black imagination. And so I’m really excited to bring that additional layer of dynamic and cultural integrity into the story. Romeo and JulietWritten by William ShakespeareDirected by Leah C. GardinerWilliam Shakespeare’s iconic and timeless Romeo and Juliet is one of the greatest love stories in literature. The gripping drama spun out of the ancient grudge between two families makes Romeo and Juliet as relevant to modern society as it was to audiences four centuries ago. The star-crossed lovers follow their passion to the ultimate tragic end. In Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare offers some of the most glorious poetry ever written, spoken by complex and memorable characters, establishing the standard for all love stories written since. With gorgeous costumes and music, enchanting parties, moonlit nights, dank graveyards, and blood-strewn streets, The Acting Company’s fresh production breathes new life into this enduring tale.TOUR SCHEDULE

  • Queens Theater, Corona, NY, October 13 to 16 – These preview presentations of The Three Musketeers and Romeo and Juliet are in preparation for the upcoming New York premiere at the New Victory Theater on 42nd Street running November 11-27, 2022, www.newvictory.org.
  • Zeiterion Performing Arts Center, New Bedford, MA, October 20
  • New Jersey Performing Arts Center, Newark, NJ, October 25 to 26*
  • KCP Presents Performing Arts Series, St. Johnsbury, VT, October 27 to 28
  • J. Scheidegger Center for the Arts, Lindenwood University, St. Charles, MO, November 1 to 2*
  • Gertrude Castellow Ford Center for the Performing Arts, University of Mississippi, Oxford, MS, November 3
  • New Victory Theater, New York, NY, November 11 to 27
  • State Theatre New Jersey, New Brunswick, NJ, January 25*
  • Hampton Arts / The American Theatre, Hampton, VA, January 27
  • Center for the Arts, George Mason University, Fairfax, VA, January 28
  • Macomb Center for the Performing Arts, Clinton Township, MI, February 2
  • Hope College, Holland, MI, February 3
  • Jasper Community Arts Commission, Jasper, IN, February 5
  • University of Dubuque, Dubuque, IA, February 7
  • Mississippi State University, Starkville, MS, February 9
  • Lincoln Center, Fort Collins, CO, February 14
  • University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM, February 18 to 19
  • Lakewood Cultural Center, Lakewood, CO, February 22 to 23
  • University of Wyoming, Laramie, WY, February 24
  • WYO Theatre, Sheridan, WY, February 26
  • Alberta Bair Theater, Billings, MT, February 28
  • Helena Civic Center, Helena, MT, March 2
  • Idaho Falls Arts Council / Colonial Theater, Idaho Falls, ID, March 4
  • Warren Miller Performing Arts Center, Big Sky, MT, March 5-6
  • Capitol Theatre, Yakima, WA, March 9 to 10
  • Columbia Theatre Association, Longview, WA, March 11
  • Admiral Theatre, Bremerton, WA, March 12*Indicates engagements with only student matinees (no public ticketed performances).

Under the new leadership of Artistic Director Kent Gash and Managing Director Erik Schroeder, The Acting Company brings professional productions and education programs, in-school residencies and teacher training workshops to thousands of audience members and students in underserved communities and schools each year. Founded by John Houseman and Margot Harley, the company seeks to develop emerging actors and build enthusiastic, knowledgeable audiences for the theater in towns across the United States. The Acting Company launched the careers of nearly 500 actors, including Kevin Kline, Patti LuPone, Mary Lou Rosato, Keith David, Rainn Wilson, Lorraine Toussaint, Frances Conroy, Harriet Harris, Lisa Banes, Jeffrey Wright, Hamish Linklater, Jesse L. Martin, Roslyn Ruff, Jimonn Cole and Kelley Curran.Over 5,000 students in New York City and across the country benefit from The Acting Company’s in-school residencies and educator workshops every year. Annually, over 30,000 audience members see an Acting Company production across the country who otherwise lack access to professional classical theatre.www.theactingcompany.org Follow The Acting Company on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram

Tony Award-winning producer Carl Moellenbergs memoir, Broadway and Spirituality as a Path to Survival, will be released on Saturday, October 1, 2022, by Imagine and Wonder. It is now available for pre-order on Amazon, Barnes & Nobles and others.

Moellenberg’s story is one of overcoming enormous obstacles and changing course to find his passion and true self to live joyously as a long-term survivor. It is a journey of many transformations: from Midwestern boy most interested in music to a fast-paced Wall Street career; from investment banking to becoming a 13-time Tony Award-winner on Broadway; from overcoming several death-defying crises by finding healing, inspiration from a higher-being and deeper spirituality. Moellenberg hopes his story will inspire others who face seemingly overwhelming obstacles to find their passion, reason to live, and to find love.

Moellenberg grew up in Ohio and then transitioned to the world of NYC financial institutions for 19 years. A combination of passion for music and serious health issues and spiritual inspiration caused him to jettison that life for producing theater on Broadway. Since that most joyful life-changing decision, he now has produced over 70 shows worldwide and won 13 Tony awards. His incredible path was accomplished despite multiple threats to his survival which were warded off by his passion for Broadway, newfound healing practices, spirituality, and love.

WP Theater (Producing Artistic Director Lisa McNulty, Managing Director Michael Sag), are thrilled to announce that Weightless will play a limited engagement from September 17 – October 16, 2022 at WP Theater (2162 Broadway), with support from piece by piece productions. The off-Broadway stage premiere of this soaring and dynamic indie rock musical follows the smash success of Weightless on screen, which was reconceived for film and live-streamed by WP in a limited run in 2021. Featuring the propulsive and intimate musical storytelling of Bay Area indie rock band The Kilbanes – headlined by married songwriting and performing duo Kate Kilbane and Dan Moses – the production will be directed by Tamilla Woodward (Assoc., Hadestown; WP’s Where We Stand), and choreographed by nicHi Douglas (Assoc., Girl From The North Country).  Opening Night will take place on September 29, 2022.  

Sisterhood. Love. Vengeance. Flight. Inspired by a tale from Ovid’s Metamorphoses, Weightlesstells the story of two deeply devoted sisters, Procne and Philomela. Separated by circumstance, they must travel across worlds—facing devastating sacrifice and divine intervention—in order to reunite. The Kilbanes’ Weightless is a theatrical concept album driven by a deeply moving narrative, which weaves ancient myth with indie rock; the band and the cast are one and the same, blurring the line between actors and musicians, as well as between musical theater and rock concert.

Starring alongside Kilbane (Procne/Bass) and Moses (Keyboards/Chorus) in the Off-Broadway stage premiere of Weightless are Lila Blue (Philomela), Kofy Brown (Iris/Percussion), Dan Harris(Percussion), and Joshua Pollock (Tereus/Guitar), all of whom reprise their roles from the 2021 film version. Set Design is by Peiyi Wong (Broadbend, Arkansas), Costume Design is by Dina El-Aziz (The Vagrant Trilogy), Lighting Design is by Stacey Derosier (sandblasted, Fat Ham), Sound Design is by Joanna Lynn Staub (Hatef*ck; Assoc.: Angels in America), and Projection Design is by Johnny Moreno (For All The Women Who Thought They Were Mad, Paper Piece). The Production Stage Manager is Ralph Stan Lee.  Weightless is produced with support from piece by piece productions. 

The world premiere of Weightless was developed and produced by Z Space (Lisa Steindler, Executive Artistic Director) and piece by piece productions in March 2018 at Z Space in San Francisco. In 2019, it played at A.C.T. in San Francisco, and BRIC House in Brooklyn as part of the Public Theater’s Under the Radar festival.  In these early iterations, the New York Times hailed the show for its “well-crafted form, and its spoken dialogue which melds beautifully with the propulsive score. Weightless is an accomplished work, and an entertaining one.” The San Francisco Chroniclewrote, “The Kilbanes could fly endlessly into space on a single, hypnotically executed chord…to watch this show is to be reanimated with a childlike sense that our choices have magical origins and magical ripple effects.” Following the piece’s extensive further development with director Tamilla Woodard, including at TheaterSquared as part of the Arkansas New Play Festival, WP Theater filmed the show at CalShakes, a spectacular outdoor amphitheater in the Bay Area, and streamed it online May-June of 2021. The Kilbanes’ subsequent release of the Weightless album, can be heard on Spotify and other streaming services.

 

Tickets are now available at www.WPtheater.org.  The ticket range is $39-89.  

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

Broadway

Ken Fallin’s Broadway: Sarah Paulson in Appropriate

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Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’ Appropriate not only got a second extension, but transferred  theatre. Slated to close March 3 at the Hayes Theater, Appropriate will now play a 13-week engagement at the Belasco Theatre, with performances beginning March 25. The strictly limited run will continue through June 23. The reason for the transfer was Paula Vogel’s Mother Play, was already slated to perform.

To read T2C’s review of Appropriate  click here and here.

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Broadway To Honor Hinton Battle

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Broadway will honor the memory of Hinton Battle, the three-time Tony Award-winning singer/ actor/ phenomenal dancer who was trailblazing. Mr. Battle passed away on January 30, 2024, at the age of 67. On March 12, 2024, the Committee of Theatre Owners will dim all the lights of all the Broadway theatres in New York for one minute at exactly 6:45pm, in his honor.Hinton Battle won three Tony’s and made his Broadway debut at 18,  playing the original Scarecrow in The Wiz.

You can see our tribute here. He was one of the great ones.

 

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Theatre News: Here We Are, Water For Elephants, Tuesdays with Morrie, The Tempest: A Surround Sound Odyssey, FIVE: The Parody Musical, Forbidden Broadway

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Producers Tom Kirdahy, Sue Wagner, John Johnson, and The Stephen Sondheim Trust announced today that the critically acclaimed world premiere production of Here We Are, the new musical from David Ives and Stephen Sondheim that debuted at The Shed’s Griffin Theater in 2023, was filmed by the Theatre on Film and Tape Archive (TOFT) at The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, and added to its collection. The complete show was filmed by TOFT in December of 2023 and is now available and free to view by anyone with a library card.

 Here We Are is directed by two-time Tony Award winner Joe Mantello, and features Francois Battiste, Tracie Bennett, Bobby Cannavale, Micaela Diamond, Amber Gray, Jin Ha, Rachel Bay Jones, Denis O’Hare, Steven Pasquale, David Hyde Pierce, and Jeremy Shamos.

The musical features a book by Tony Award nominee David Ives, music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, and is inspired by two films, The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie and The Exterminating Angel, by Luis Buñuel.

Here We Are opened on October 22, 2023 at The Shed and performed its final show on January 21, 2024.

Water For Elephants is announcing their Tent Talkback Series with members of the creative team following selected Saturday matinees between March 2 through April 6, at the Imperial Theatre (249 West 45th Street).  Creative team members will include book writer Rick Elice and composers and lyricists PigPen Theatre Co.  The Water For Elephants Tent Talkback Series will be a moderated 15-minute discussion about the creative process and development of the show and commence at the conclusion of selected Saturday matinee performances.

Tent Talkback Series Schedule

Saturday, March 2, matinee performance

Saturday, March 9, matinee performance

Saturday, March 30, matinee performance

Saturday, April 6, matinee performance

Water For Elephants is based on the critically acclaimed and New York Times Bestselling novel by Sara Gruen. The new musical has a book by three-time Tony Award nominee Rick Elice (Jersey Boys, Peter and the Starcatcher), a soaring score by the acclaimed PigPen Theatre Co. (The Tale of Despereaux) and is directed by Tony Award nominee Jessica Stone (Kimberly Akimbo).

The cast stars Grant Gustin (“The Flash”, “Glee”) in his Broadway debut, Isabelle McCalla (The Prom, Shucked), four-time Tony Award nominee Gregg Edelman (City of Angels), Drama Desk and Outer Critic Circle Award nominee Paul Alexander Nolan (Slave Play), Stan Brown (“Homicide: Life in the Streets”), Joe De Paul (Cirque du Soleil’s Dralion), Sara Gettelfinger (Dirty Rotten Scoundrels) and Wade McCollum(Wicked) and features Brandon Block, Antoine Boissereau, Rachael Boyd, Paul Castree, Ken Wulf Clark, Taylor Colleton, Gabriel Olivera de Paula Costa, Isabella Luisa Diaz, Samantha Gershman, Keaton Hentoff-Killian, Nicolas Jelmoni, Caroline Kane, Harley Ross Beckwith McLeish, Michael Mendez, Samuel Renaud, Marissa Rosen, Alexandra Gaelle Royer, Asa Somers, Charles South, Sean Stack, Matthew Varvar and Michelle West.

After losing what matters most, a young man jumps a moving train unsure of where the road will take him and finds a new home with the remarkable crew of a traveling circus, and a life—and love—beyond his wildest dreams. Seen through the eyes of his older self, his adventure becomes a poignant reminder that if you choose the ride, life can begin again at any age.

The award-winning Sea Dog Theater’s production of Mitch Albom’s Tuesdays with Morrie, by Jeffrey Hatcher and Mitch Albom, based on the book by Albom, directed by Erwin Maas (NY Times Critic’s Pick for Poison and A Kid Like Rishi), starring Tony Award winner and Emmy nominee Len Cariou (Sweeney Todd original cast, CBS’s “Blue Bloods”) and three-time NYIT “Best Actor” nominee Chris Domig.Tuesdays with Morrie runs March 1 – 23 in a limited engagement at St. George’s Episcopal Church (209 East 16 St.) Opening night is March 7.Two post-show talkbacks are scheduled during the run. On Monday, March 4, Len Cariou and Judy Kaye will discuss working with Stephen Sondheim. On Monday, March 18, Len and Abigail Hawk will discuss working on CBS’s “Blue Bloods.”Tuesdays with Morrie is the humorous and poignant story of career-obsessed journalist Mitch Albom, who sixteen years after graduation serendipitously learns that his former sociology professor Morrie is battling Lou Gehrig’s Disease. What starts as a simple visit, turns into a weekly pilgrimage and the last class in the meaning of life.Featuring vocalist Sally Shaw. Original music written and performed on piano by Chris Domig.

The Perelman Performing Arts Center (PAC NYC, Executive Director Khady Kamara Nunez and Artistic Director Bill Rauch) announces complete casting and creative team for An American Soldier at the new performing arts center at the World Trade Center site in Lower Manhattan.  An American Soldier will premiere in New York during AANHPI Heritage Month with performances starting May 12 through May 19, 2024.

An American Soldier will feature principal cast members Hannah Cho, Alex DeSocio, Nina Yoshida Nelsen and Brian Vu. Ensemble members include Ben Brady, Cierra Byrd, James C. Harris, Shelén Hughes, Joshua Sanders, Christian Simmons and understudies, Misoon Ghim, Luke Harnish and Angela Yam. Photos of the company are available here.

An American Soldier features scenic design by Daniel Ostling, costume design by Linda Cho, lighting design by Jeanette Yew and multi-media design by Nick Hussong, joining the previously announced creative team members Huang Ruo (composer), David Henry Hwang (libretto), Carolyn Kuan (conductor), and Chay Yew (director).

On October 3, 2011, Chinese-American Army Pvt. Danny Chen was found dead in a guard tower at his base in Afghanistan. Based on his story and the ensuing courts-martial of Chen’s fellow soldiers, this New York City premiere opera tells the powerful true story of a young soldier from Manhattan’s Chinatown who sought to serve his country, only to find his biggest threat was the very people who swore to protect him.

Told through the multidimensional music of Huang Ruo (M. Butterfly, Book of Mountains and Seas) with libretto by Tony and Grammy winner David Henry Hwang (M. Butterfly, Soft Power), and directed by Obie Award winner Chay Yew (Cambodian Rock Band, Sweatshop Overlord), An American Soldier is a powerful and unforgettable experience.

Due to popular demand, Knock at the Gate producers Joseph Discher and Sean Hudock announced a two-week extension of their audio immersive streaming production of The Tempest: A Surround Sound Odyssey, now available to stream virtually through Saturday, March 16.

Tickets for the stream are $9.99 and are available for purchase at KnockattheGate.com. The broadcast is available worldwide on all internet connected devices with a dimmable screen and a pair of headphones. Audiences will receive a link and password to access the listening portal prior to the broadcast.

The cast includes Hale Appleman (SyFy’s “The Magicians,” FX’s “American Horror Story”) as ‘Ariel,’ Tony® and Grammy® Award nominee Emily Skeggs (Broadway’s Fun Home) as ‘Miranda,’ Joel de la Fuente (Amazon’s The Man in the High Castle) as ‘Prospero,’ and Derek Wilson (Amazon’s “Gen V,” Hulu’s “Future Man”) as ‘Caliban.’ Rounding out the cast are Michael Daly, Sean Hudock, Greg Jackson, Maurice Jones, Raphael Nash Thomspon, Shane Taylor, Patrick Toon.

Due to popular demand, producers of FIVE: The Parody Musical have put a new block of tickets on sale through April 21. The world-premiere production, initially announced as a limited four-week engagement, will now play an additional 6 weeks Off-Broadway at Theater 555 (555 W 42nd St, NYC). For tickets and further information, visit www.FiveTheMusical.com.

Look out SIX, here comes FIVE: The Parody Musical. Henry VIII and his six wives had nothing on Donald, the 45th, and these five ladies. Poised to make America laugh again, FIVE is an 80-minute, irreverent musical comedy revue starring some of the women in the life of America’s past President. Ivana, Marla, and Melania are joined by crowd favorite Stormy and daddy’s girl Ivanka as they each take the spotlight and sing their hearts out for your vote.

Presented by Five Musical LLC, FIVE: The Parody Musical features a book and lyrics by Shimmy Braun & Moshiel Newman Daphna, music and lyrics by Billy Recce (A Musical About Star Wars, Little Black Book), and direction and choreography by Jen Wineman (Dog Man: The Musical, F#%king Up Everything).

FIVE: The Parody Musical features Anyae Anasia as Ivana, Gabriella Joy Rodriguez (The Color Purple Tour) as Marla, Jaime Lyn Beatty (Stranger Sings! The Parody Musical, Starkid Founding Member) as Melania, Gabi Garcia as Stormy, and Hannah Bonnett (Legally Blonde National Tour) as Ivanka, with a special appearance by drag legend Jasmine Rice LaBeija as Hillary Clinton.

Forbidden Broadway will open on Broadway titled Forbidden Broadway on Broadway: Merrily We Stole a Song. It will begin previews on July 29 and open August 15 at the Hayes Theater. Creator Gerard Alessandrini, a Tony honoree for the musical’s Off-Broadway stagings, will direct the Broadway production and it will play a limited run through November 1.The musical revue will feature a five-person cast, who will be joined weekly by guest stars. The production will parody Back to the Future, Company, The Great Gatsby, Hell’s Kitchen, Into the Woods, Merrily We Roll Along, The Notebook, Sweeney Todd and Water for Elephants. Forbidden Broadway on Broadway is produced by Broadway & Beyond Theatricals (Ryan Bogner, Victoria Lang and Tracey Stroock McFarland) in association with John Freedson and Harriet Yellin.”

 

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Grand Hotel: The 35th Anniversary Original Broadway Cast Reunion Concert at 54 Below

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Grand Hotel original cast members Karen Akers, Timothy Jerome, Bob Stillman, David Jackson, David Andrew White, and Walter Willison, reunited last night at 54 Below. Even original bass player Ray Kilday was there.

Tim Jerome

The fabulous David Jackson, David White

54 Below was transformed into Berlin’s Grand Hotel for the event. The staging was immersive as Walter Willison, introduced, directed and produced. The choreography (originally done by Broadway legend Tommy Tune, was there celebrating his 85th birthday on Monday night).

Two tango dancers (Michael Choi and Vanda Polakova), circled the room making their way to the stage for “I Waltz Alone.” The concert featured choreography by Michael Notardonato, who also served as associate director.

Bob Stillman Jennifer Bassey Davis

Ken Jennings

Willison, who also played Colonel Doctor Otternschlag) kept Maury Yeston’s entire glorious score. “I Want to Go to Hollywood” for example. That number was skillfully sung by Susan Wood Duncan, who played Flaemmchen in the touring cast.

Bob Stillman

Walter Willison

Ken Jennings stepped in as Otto Kringelein, leading the company in a moving “We’ll Take a Glass Together!” was sung in the bar area.

Diane J. Findlay

A highlight was Diane J. Findlay

Karen Akers

Jennifer Bassey Davis as Elizaveta Grushinskaya, and Akers as Rafaella, were haunting.

Susie McCollum

Harper Lee Andrews and Susie McCollum played the roles their mothers originated.

The cast

On Monday Happy Birthday closed the show to a reprise of “We’ll Take a Glass Together” and thus they did.

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More Theatre News:  James Monroe Iglehart, Bonnie Milligan, J. Harrison Ghee, Santino Fontana, Len Cariou, Peter Filichia and Patricia Birch

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After winning rave reviews in New Orleans and Chicago, Tony Award winner James Monroe Iglehart (Disney’s AladdinHamiltonSpamalot) will star as jazz legend and American icon Louis Armstrong in A Wonderful World: The Louis Armstrong Musical on Broadway in Fall 2024.

Tony Award winner James Monroe Iglehart will play
Louis Armstrong in A Wonderful World: The Louis Armstrong Musical,
opening November 11, 2024 at Studio 54. ©Jeremy Daniel

Produced by Thomas E. Rodgers, Jr., Renee Rodgers, Martian Entertainment (Carl D. White and Gregory Rae) and Vanessa Williams and Elizabeth Curtis, A Wonderful World will open on Monday, November 11, 2024 at Studio 54 (254 West 54th Street). Previews will begin on October 16, 2024. Tickets will be available at CriterionTicketing.com, with the on-sale date to be announced in coming weeks.  With a book by Aurin Squire (“This Is Us,” “The Good Fight”) and featuring songs made famous by Louis Armstrong, A Wonderful World is co-conceived by Drama Desk Award winner and Tony Award nominee Christopher Renshaw (The King and ITaboo) andAndrew Delaplaine, and directed by Renshaw.  Cast and full creative team for A Wonderful World: The Louis Armstrong Musical will be announced soon.  Last fall, Iglehart starred in the pre-Broadway production of A Wonderful World in New Orleans and Chicago, where he won raves for his performance. The Chicago Tribune called him “just fabulous! – a knockout Louis Armstrong.” The Chicago Sun-Times, cheered, “James Monroe Iglehart gives a phenomenal, dynamic and vivacious lead performance as the wondrous Louis Armstrong.”  “I am so excited to bring this wonderful brand-new musical to Broadway,” James Monroe Iglehart commented. “American music wouldn’t be what it is today without Louis Armstrong and what is Broadway if not American music? ‘Pops’ doesn’t get enough credit for his contribution to our entertainment industry or our country. I know I have never studied, researched, or prepared for anything as much in my career as I have for this role. I feel such a strong connection and an obligation to bring his voice, his music, and his story to the one place where it can be presented in all its glory – Broadway! I can’t wait for you all to become a part of A Wonderful World.”

Maestra Music, the Obie Award-winning nonprofit organization founded by Georgia Stitt to support the women and nonbinary musicians in the musical theatre industry, is pleased to announce hosts Tony Award-winner Bonnie Milligan and Tony Award-winner J. Harrison Ghee for this year’s Amplify 2024, directed by Jessica Ryan (Between Riverside and Crazy Live Broadcast). This fourth-annual concert and fundraising event features stories, conversations, and musical performances from an impressive array of Broadway stars, composers, music directors, and more. Amplify 2024 will take place on Monday, March 25, 2024, at 8:00 pm at Sony Hall (235 W 46th St, New York, NY 10036). Tickets for the in-person event are on sale now at maestramusic.org/amplify/.

Amplify 2024 celebrates the rich creativity and ingenuity of Maestras in musical theatre, ranging from legendary to emerging talents.

The performers showcasing the musical brilliance of renowned composers and lyricists in this diverse and dynamic lineup embody the spirit of creativity and inclusivity in musical theatre including Tony Award-winner Santino Fontana (Tootsie), Two-time Tony Award-nominee Amanda Green (Mr. Saturday Nightand Hands on a Hardbody), Brooke Ishibashi (Into the Woods, Broadway), Jay Armstrong Johnson (Parade, Broadway), Mary Kate Morrissey (Wicked, Broadway), Liam Pearce (How to Dance in Ohio, Broadway), Jasmine Amy Rogers (BOOP! The Musical, Chicago), Sushma Saha (Interstate, Off-Broadway), Jordan Tyson (The Notebook, Broadway), Joy Woods (Six, Broadway), and Grammy Award-winning Nicole Zuraitis.

The celebrated composers and lyricists include Kristen Anderson-Lopez (Frozen), Susan Birkenhead (BOOP! The Musical), Amanda Green (Female Troubles), Rebekah Greer Melocik (How to Dance in Ohio), Brandy Hoang Collier, Clare Fuyuko Bierman, and Erika Ji (Yoko’s Husband’s Killer’s Japanese Wife Gloria), Christine Lavin (InunDATED), with newly added Bree Lowdermilk and Kait Kerrigan (The Mad Ones), Melissa Li and Kit Yan(Interstate) Ingrid Michaelson (The Notebook), and Lynne Shankel.

Music Director Julianne B. Merrill (My Son’s A Queer) leads a band made up entirely of Maestra members: Monica Davis (violin), Ann Klein (guitar), Mary Ann McSweeney (bass),  Merrill (piano), Noelle Rueschman (reeds), Shirazette Tinnin (drums), and Clerida Eltimé (cello). Kristy Norter serves as the Music Coordinator and Lexi Vollero is music assistant.

  • Date & Time: Monday, March 25, 2024, 8:00 pm (doors open at 7:30 pm)
  • Venue: Sony Hall, 235 W 46th St, New York, NY 10036
  • Tickets: maestramusic.org/amplify/

Len Cariou

The Theatre World Awards Board of Directors has announced two of the individuals to be honored at 78th Annual Theatre World Awards to be held on Monday evening, June 10, 2024 beginning at 7:00 p.m. at a Theater Venue TBA. Tony Award winner Len Cariou (Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, A Little Night Music, Applause) will receive the 11th Annual John Willis Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre, while acclaimed theatre journalist Peter Filichia will receive a 2024 TWA Special Awardfor his quarter-century of service to the organization. The recipient of the 15th Annual Dorothy Loudon Award for Excellence in the Theater, and the 2024 Theatre World Award Honorees for Outstanding Broadway or Off-Broadway Debut Performance will be announced in early May.

Hosted annually by well-known theater journalist, Peter Filichia, the 78th Annual Theatre World Awards Ceremony will be produced by Theatre World Awards, Inc. Board of Directors/Dale Badway. The Musical Director is Michael Lavine.

Theatre World Award winner (1979) Ken Jennings who played ‘Tobias’ in the original Broadway production of Sweeney Todd will perform in a musical tribute to Len Cariou.

Patricia Birch, Harold Prince, Candide

Patricia Birch, Choreographer, Harold Prince, Director Photo Stephen Sorokoff

Amas Musical Theatre (Donna Trinkoff, Artistic Producer), New York City’s award-winning pioneer in diversity and multi-ethnic casting in the performing arts since 1968, will celebrate its 55th Anniversary at its annual Gala Benefit Concert on Monday, May 13, 2024 at Baruch Performing Arts Center (Engelman Recital Hall) One Bernard Baruch Way (25th Street -between Lexington & 3rd Avenues). For more information, please visit http://www.amasmusical.org/. The evening will benefit Amas Musical Theatre’s education programs.

The gala evening will begin at 6:00pm with a champagne toast. At 7:00pm the evening continues with a concert performance of “A Lotta Night Music,” directed by Jonathan Cerullo. A cast of Broadway luminaries will perform songs from such shows as Grease, They’re Playing Our Song, and A Little Night Music, among others. Teens from The Rosetta LeNoire Musical Theatre Academy will be part of the evening.

The evening will culminate with the presentation of the 2024 “Rosie” Award to Honorees award-winning choreographer and director Patricia Birch (A Little Night Music, Parade), Tony Award-wining actor Len Cariou (Sweeney Todd, Applause), and Butler Tibbets, a beloved corporate sponsor for Amas programs for many years.

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