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Theatre News: Roundabout Theatre Company Chita Rivera, Andrew Lloyd Webber TheaterMakers Summit, Paradise Square, Ephraim Sykes Black No More, The Lanford Wilson Project and Cheek to Cheek: Irving Berlin in Hollywood

Theatre News: Roundabout Theatre Company Chita Rivera, Andrew Lloyd Webber TheaterMakers Summit, Paradise Square, Ephraim Sykes Black No More, The Lanford Wilson Project and Cheek to Cheek: Irving Berlin in Hollywood

Roundabout Theatre Company (Todd Haimes, Artistic Director/CEO) announces the 2022 Gala “Paint the Town” will honor RTC alumna and friend Chita Rivera (The Mystery of Edwin Drood, Nine) on Monday, March 7 at 7pm at the Ziegfeld Ballroom in New York City.

The evening will celebrate Ms. Rivera’s contribution to the theater and include the presentation of The Jason Robards Award for Excellence in Theatre, named after the late Jason Robards for his longstanding relationship with Roundabout and memorable body of stage work. It is given to those who have made an indelible impact on both theatre and Roundabout.

The evening will also feature dinner, a live auction and special concert performance with a musical artist to be announced soon.

For more information: https://gala.roundabouttheatre.org

Andrew Lloyd Webber delivered the keynote address at 5th Annual TheaterMakers Summit, this weekend.
The TheaterMakers Summit
 is the destination for all theatermakers. This two-day event aims to unite aspiring writers, producers, directors, actors, and other theatre professionals and fans alike with industry leaders to learn about and discuss the business of Broadway. The weekend will offer a series of panels and presentations on topics including Advancing Equity for BIPOC TheaterMakers Onstage And Off; The Non-Negotiable Must-Knows on Access & Inclusion in Theater; Level Up Your Social Media For You And Your Show; Why Broadway Investors Invest; The Next Gen of Broadway Producers; Musical Theater TikTok; Getting Your Show Produced on the Best Unconventional Platforms; Artistic Directors Tell You What They’re Looking For In Your Show; Designing Broadway, Off-Broadway, Virtual Theater; How You Get Tony Award-winning Lead Producers To Produce Your Show; and many more were discussed. In attendance were : Sierra Boggess, Alex Brightman, Stephen Byrd, Jenn Colella,  Andrew Lippa, Jerry Mitchell, Eva Noblezada, Ryan Scott Oliver, Clint Ramos, Daryl Roth and many more

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Paradise Square releases music video for “Someone to Love,” featuring stars Joaquina Kalukango and Chilina Kennedy. Paradise Square is now playing a pre-Broadway engagement at Chicago’s James M. Nederlander Theatre (24 West Randolph Street). The production plays through December 5, 2021. Visit www.broadwayinchicago.com for details

Chilina Kennedy as Annie Lewis (Beautiful: The Carole King Musical on Broadway) comforts her sister-in-law, Nelly O’Brien, played by Joaquina Kalukango (Best Actress Tony Award nominee for Slave Play), as both characters try to cope with an unimaginable loss.  

Ephraim Sykes joins the previously announced Walter Bobbie (Tony Award-winning Director, Chicago), Jennifer Damiano (Next to NormalAmerican Psycho), Brandon Victor Dixon (Hamilton, “Power”), Tamika Lawrence(Caroline, or ChangeCome From Away), Tracy Shayne (Bronx BombersChicago), Theo Stockman (American IdiotAmerican Psycho), Tariq “Black Thought” Trotter (The Roots) and Lillias White (Fela!The Life).  Additional casting will be announced at a later date. 

Black No More, a new musical inspired by George S. Schuyler’s Afrofuturist novel set during the Harlem Renaissance, is the story of Max Disher (Brandon Victor Dixon), who’s eager to try the mysterious machine invented by Dr. Junius Crookman (Tariq Trotter) that guarantees to “solve the American race problem” —by turning Black people white. Through a fusion of music by two-time Grammy Award winner Tariq “Black Thought” Trotter (The Roots), and choreography by two-time Tony Award winner Bill T. Jones (Spring Awakening and Fela!), with book by Academy Award winner John Ridley (12 Years a Slave) and directed by The New Group’s founding Artistic Director Scott Elliott, Black No More is one Black man’s journey colliding with truths of race and identity.   

A strictly limited engagement plays January 11 – February 27 at The Pershing Square Signature Center (The Irene Diamond Stage, 480 West 42nd Street), with Opening Night on February 8. 

The cast of The Lanford Wilson Project – Photo credit: Maria Baranova

Open Circle Play Factory, under the Artistic Direction of Mac McCarty announced it will present a limited engagement Off-Broadway run of The Lanford Wilson Project, its inaugural endeavor aimed at making vital the works of Lanford Wilson for a new audience and rekindling the spirit of ensemble acting for which he wrote. Wilson was one of the founders of the Circle Repertory Company, and a Pulitzer Prize winner – and developed his work within the historic context of the Off-Off Broadway theatre movement. The Lanford Wilson Project is a continuation of that legacy and features The Mound Builders and Sympathetic Magic, both directed by Mr. McCarty and performed in repertory over a four-week run Tuesday, November 23rd – Saturday, December 18th at Theater Five, Theater Row.

Past secrets and present ambition lead to tragic ends in The Mound Builders: Disunion, Part 1 of The Lanford Wilson Project. It is a mystery set around an archeological dig in Southern Illinois and is filled with characters both funny and exasperating. It looks at themes of ambition, privilege versus aspiration, the dangers of patriarchy, the repression of women, and the tragic results that occur when these issues collide in acts of hubris. The cast of The Mound Builders: Disunion features Carson Alexander, Angela Atwood, Steve Carlsen, Kelsey Claire, Stella Marcus, Tamra Paselk, and Jeffrey C. Wolf. 

The turmoil of the cosmos is mirrored in the human condition in Sympathetic Magic: Coming Together – Part 2 of The Lanford Wilson Project. It follows a group of intense and clever San Franciscans — artists, scientists, spiritual searchers and lost souls — who continue to struggle with the themes of Part 1. While dealing with artistic failure and scientific uncertainty in the midst of a pandemic, they endeavor in their fierce and lively way to overcome the tragedies of the past and rise up. The cast of Sympathetic Magic: Coming Together features Matthew Bechtold, Taylor Lynn Carter, Pethio Dav, Katherine King, Mitch Lerner, Phil Rafferty, Alexander Spears, and Athena Torres. 

The York Theatre Company (James Morgan, Producing Artistic Director; Evans Haile, Executive Director), dedicated to the development of new musicals and rediscovery of musical gems from the past, presents the world premiere of Cheek to Cheek: Irving Berlin in Hollywood, a song and dance celebration featuring the music and lyrics of the legendary Irving Berlin. It is The York’s first mainstage production since the pandemic began in March, 2020 and the flood which forced them from their home of 30 years at St. Peter’s Theater in January 2021, and is produced in association with Riki Kane Larimer.

Joseph Mederios, Victoria Byrd, Kaitlyn Davidson,
 Jeremy Benton, Melanie Moore, Phillip Attmore.
Photo Credit: Courtesy of York Theatre Company.

Performances begin Wednesday evening, November 24, 2021 at 7:00PM for a limited engagement through Sunday afternoon, January 2, 2022 at 2:30PM at The York’s temporary home, The Theatre at St. Jean’s (150 East 76th Street, between Lexington and Third Avenues). Opening Night is Thursday, December 2, 2021 at 7:00PM.

Conceived, directed, and choreographed by four-time Tony Award nominee Randy Skinner (42nd StreetDames at SeaIrving Berlin’s White ChristmasAin’t Broadway Grand), with book by Barry Kleinbort (13 Things About Ed Carpolotti) and music direction by David Hancock Turner (York’s Desperate Measures). The six-member cast is made up of Phillip Attmore (Shuffle Along, Hello, Dolly!), Jeremy Benton (42nd Street, Cagney at The York), Victoria Byrd (Peter Pan, A Chorus Line, Chicago), Kaitlyn Davidson (CinderellaBright Star), Joseph Medeiros (WickedYank! at The York), and Melanie Moore (Fiddler on the Roof, winner of “So You Think You Can Dance”).

Cheek to Cheek: Irving Berlin in Hollywood is an all-singing, all-dancing celebration of the most famous songs that the legendary Irving Berlin composed for the silver screen. Mr. Berlin understood the impact dance had on the public and his melodies, rhythms, and lyrics reflected his love of that art form. Six spectacular performers will showcase these magnificent songs and will also tell the stories behind the man who made the music that made the movies dance. Four-time Tony nominee Randy Skinner directs and choreographs an evening featuring an array of classic Berlin tunes from such classic films as Top HatAlexander’s Ragtime BandHoliday InnEaster ParadeWhite Christmas, and many more! Cheek to Cheek: Irving Berlin in Hollywood is presented through special arrangement with Concord Theatricals and the Irving Berlin Estate, and is made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Kathy Hochul and the New York State Legislature

Broadway

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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