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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

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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

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: The Outsiders

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These boys are taking Broadway by storm Jason Schmidt, Sky Lakota-Lynch, and Brody Grant. In Tulsa, Oklahoma, 1967, the hardened hearts and aching souls of Ponyboy Curtis, Johnny Cade and their chosen family of “outsiders” are in a fight for survival and a quest for purpose in a world that may never accept them. A story of the bonds that brothers share and the hopes we all hold on to, this gripping new musical reinvigorates the timeless tale of “haves and have nots”, of protecting what’s yours and fighting for what could be.

The Outsiders opened on Broadway at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre, 242 W 45th Street.

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We Say Good Bye To Costume Designer Extraordinaire Carrie Robbins

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I met Carrie Robbins at an art gallery with Louise St Louis, Baayork Lee and Judy Jacksina. The four of us stayed well into the morning talking, laughing and having a fabulous time. Carrie and I bonded after that as she turned to playwriting. It broke my heart to learn that on the evening of April 12, 2024 Costume Designer extraordinaire Carrie Robbins passed away.

Carrie’s work has been featured in over 30+ Broadway shows, including Class Act, Grease (original), Agnes of God, Yentl, Octette Bridge Club, Sweet Bird of Youth (Lauren Bacall), Frankenstein, Happy End (Mary Streep), Boys of Winter, Cyrano (Frank Langella), & Shadow Box (Mercedes Ruehl).

Her awards and nominations included: 2012 recipient of the Irene Sharaff Lifetime Achievement Award presented by the Theatre Development Fund & the tdf/Costume Collection with the support of the Tobin Theatre Arts Fund. 2 Tony (Noms.), 5 Drama Desks, Maharam, USITT/Prague International, L.A. Dramalogue, Henry Hughes, F.I.T-Surface Design, & Audelco, among others.

Robbins’ costumes for the Irving Berlin musical White Christmas played major cities in the USA, Broadway, and Great Britain. Her regional work included M. Butterfly and On the Verge, for director Tazewell Thompson (Arena Stage) and the Gershwin musical American in Paris by Ken Ludwig for director Gregory Boyd (Alley Theatre, Houston) as well as The Tempest (Anthony Hopkins as Prospero) & Flea in Her Ear (director Tom Moore at Mark Taper Forum), many productions for the Guthrie (MN), Williamstown, and many others from Alaska to Buffalo.


Locally, in NYC, Robbins designed for many productions for The Lincoln Center Repertory Theatre, Chelsea Theatre at BAM, Acting Company at Juilliard and NY Shakespeare Festival.

She also designed for the Opera and they included Death in Venice for Glimmerglass (’08 Prague International Design Exhibit), Samson et Dalila (San Francisco Opera, Houston Grand, more), and many productions for Sarah Caldwell’s Opera Company of Boston. Her work has also been seen at the Hamburg StatsOper.

For film Robbins designed the movie “In The Spirit” (Elaine May, Peter Falk, Marlo Thomas); TV design included: Saturday Nite Live, PBS Arts in America, & several unseen pilots.

Robbins has designed clothes for several seasons of Queen Esther Marrow and The Harlem Gospel Singers’ European Tour. She also did the designs for The Cincinnati Ballet’s new Nutcracker, in December of 2011

Robbins was an MFA grad from the Yale School of Drama and was Master Teacher of Costume Design at the NYU Tisch School of the Arts for many years. She is extremely proud of the extraordinary number of award-winning, successful young costume designers and costume teachers across the country who came out of her classes.

Besides being a costume designer Carrie also was a playwright. In August 2010, her play, The Death & Life of Dr. Cutter, a Vaudeville, based on the true stories told by her husband Dr. R.D.Robbins, had its 4th reading at the Snapple Theatre Center; it was chosen by Abingdon Theatre Co, NYC, to be part of its First Readings Series in Fall, 2009. In 2011-12 the  League of Professional Theatre Women chose The Dragon Quartet as part of its 30th year anniversary celebration. In 2012-13, La MaMa (oldest off-off-Broadway theater in NYC at 51 years) chose The Diamond Eater for its “Concert Reading Series”. In 2013: TACT (The Actors Company Theatre, chose Sawbones for part of its newTACTics New Play Festival. In 2014 both The Diamond Eater and Sawbones  received 6 Nominations from N.Y. Innovative Theatre Awards (the most nominations given out in the 2014 season). In 2015, Le Wedding Dress, was a semi-finalist in NYNewWorks Theatre Festival. In 2016: Obsessions Of An Art Student chosen by NYNewWorks Theatre Festival. In 2016, The Actress, was a finalist in NY Thespis Summer Festival. In 2017, My Swollen Feet, chosen by NY Summerfest Theatre Festival/ Hudson Guild Theatre. In 2018 The Diamond Eater , semi-finalist at the 14th St. Y competition War + Peace/2018/19 season and The Dragon Griswynd, was chosen by Theater for the New City for its “Dream-Up Festival” In 2019 Pie Lessons, was invited by Crystal Field, Exec. Artistic Director of Theater for the New City, to be part of “Scratch Night at TNC”.

The last thing Carrie was working on was For The Lost Children Of Paris. This play was about how the Nazis, with help from the Vichy Government, collected French-Jewish schoolchildren and delivered them to Auschwitz. Excellent German record-keeping revealed 11,400 children were taken. At the liberation, only 200 were found alive. This is the story of one classroom’s collection day and its aftermath.

She did this play using puppets as the children.

Carrie had a voice that she used in a multiple of ways. She was a caring friend, a dedicated teacher, a prolific writer and costume designer, who always cared about others first. Carrie you will be missed.

 





 

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Patti LuPone Returns to Broadway and The Big Screen

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Three-time Tony Award winner Patti LuPone, who gave up her Equity card in 2022, will star opposite Mia Farrow in Jen Silverman’s new play, The Roommate. The production will be directed by Jack O’Brien and will begin previews at the Booth Theatre in August ahead of a September opening.

The Roommate tells the story of Sharon, in her mid-fifties, who is recently divorced and needs a roommate to share her Iowa home. Robyn, also in her mid-fifties, needs a place to hide and a chance to start over. But as Sharon begins to uncover Robyn’s secrets, they encourage her own deep-seated desire to transform her life completely. A dark comedy about what it takes to re-route your life – and what happens when the wheels come off.

The Roommate premiered at the Actor’s Theatre of Louisville in March 2015, and has had several regional productions including at Williamstown Theatre Festival in 2017.

Ms. LuPone will star in the upcoming Marvel series, WandaVision spinoff series Agatha: Coven of Chaos. She’s in a coven of witches, playing Lilia Calderu, who is hot, with a great body and hair. Calderu, first appeared in Marvel comics in 1973 as a 450-year-old Sicilian witch whose power is divination and whose trial is tarot. The other witches are Kathryn Hahn, Aubrey Plaza, and a familiar who is played by Joe Locke. Locke, is currently on Broadway in Sweeney Todd.

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Cabaret Celebrated Broadway Legend Joel Grey’s Birthday

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Last night, Eddie Redmayne currently in previews as the ‘Emcee’ in Cabaret at the Kit Kat Club celebrated Broadway legend Joel Grey’s 92ndbirthday on stage at the August Wilson Theatre. Grey, who originated the role of the ‘Emcee’ on Broadway in 1966 and went on to star in the beloved film of Cabaret, took the stage as the entire cast, band, and creative team sang “Happy Birthday” while a custom cake, shaped like a giant pineapple, emerged from the stage.

 During his speech honoring Grey, Eddie Redmayne said, “Tonight is an extraordinarily special night for us because we are in the presence of an extraordinary human being without whom none of us would be here.” After thunderous applause, Redmayne continued “Your performance in this part changed my life and it was one of the things that made me want to be an actor.”

Joel Grey, Gayle Rankin, and Eddie Redmayne Photo by Jenny Anderson

The cast and Grey were also joined on stage by Cabaret composer John Kander.

Alongside Joel’s daughter Jennifer Grey and Kander, a star-studded crowd came out to fete the theater icon including Anderson Cooper, Candice Bergen, Jackie Hoffman, Jane Krakowski, Lin-Manuel Miranda, David Rockwell, and more. They were joined by numerous alum of Cabaret spanning the decades including Maude Apatow (Sally Bowles in London, 2023), Madeline Brewer (Sally Bowles in London, 2022), Joely Fisher (Sally Bowles on Broadway, 2000), Gina Gershon (Sally Bowles on Broadway, 2001), Mason Alexander Park (Emcee in London, 2023), Adam Pascal (Emcee on Broadway, 2003), Molly Ringwald (Sally Bowles on Broadway, 2002), Jake Shears (Emcee in London, 2023), and Brooke Shields (Sally Bowles on Broadway, 2001).

Cabaret at the Kit Kat Club is now in previews on Broadway at the August Wilson Theatre (245 West 52nd Street). The production, directed by Olivier Award winner Rebecca Frecknall and designed by Tony Award nominee and Evening Standard Award® winner Tom Scutt, will have decadent twin opening night gala celebrations starting Saturday, April 20 and continuing into the following night, with the official press opening on Sunday, April 21. Tickets are on sale now at www.kitkat.club or via Seat Geek HERE.

In addition to Redmayne, Cabaret also stars Gayle Rankin as the toast of Mayfair ‘Sally Bowles, two-time Tony Award winner Bebe Neuwirth as ‘Fraulein Schneider,’ Tony Award nominee Ato Blankson-Wood as ‘Clifford Bradshaw,’ Obie Award winner and Drama Desk Award® nominee Steven Skybell as ‘Herr Schultz,’ Henry Gottfried as ‘Ernst Ludwig,’ and three-time Helen Hayes Award winner Natascia Diaz as ‘Fritzie/Kost.’

The cast of Cabaret includes Gabi Campo as ‘Frenchie,’ Ayla Ciccone-Burton as ‘Helga,’ Colin Cunliffe as ‘Hans,’ Marty Lauter as ‘Victor,’ Loren Lester as‘Herman/Max,’ David Merino as ‘Lulu,’ Julian Ramos as ‘Bobby,’ MiMi Scardulla as ‘Texas,’ and Paige Smallwood as ‘Rosie.’ Swings include Hannah Florence, Pedro Garza, Christian Kidd, Corinne Munsch, Chloé Nadon-Enriquez, and Karl Skyler Urban.

The Prologue Company, the dancers and musicians that welcome audiences to the club, feature dancers Alaïa, IRON BRYAN, Will Ervin Jr., Sun Kim, Deja McNair and swings Ida Saki and Spencer James Weidie. The musicians of the Prologue are Brian Russell Carey (piano & bass), Francesca Dawis (violin), Keiji Ishiguri (dedicated substitute), Maeve Stier (accordion), and Michael Winograd (clarinet).

For this thrilling production of Cabaret, the creative team have transformed the August Wilson Theatre into the Kit Kat Club with an in-the-round auditorium and custom spaces which guests will be invited to explore during the Prologue, the production’s pre-show entertainment. After purchasing tickets, guests will receive a “club entry time” to allow them to take in the world of the club before the show starts.

Patrons can upgrade their experience at the Kit Kat Club with exclusive dining or drinks packages that allow them to soak up the pre-show atmosphere. These various upgrades offer unparalleled service and unique experiences in the heart of the Kit Kat Club. Drinks can be enjoyed before and during the show, while food will be cleared shortly before the performance begins, ensuring uninterrupted and unmissable views of Cabaret. For a complete menu and more information on the upgrade packages, please visit www.kitkat.club/upgrade.

The 2021 Original London Cast Recording of Cabaret featuring Eddie Redmayne and recorded during a live performance is available on Decca Records as a CD and to stream on all major platforms. To order the album or stream it, please visit https://cabaret.lnk.to/ListenNow

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Stephen Sondheim Memorabilia to be Auctioned Off

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Stephen Sondheim

Doyle Auctioneers & Appraisers has announced the auction of the Collection of Stephen Sondheim on Tuesday, June 18 at 10am EDT. This landmark auction will offer over 200 lots of memorabilia, furnishings, antique puzzles and more from Mr. Sondheim’s Manhattan townhouse and his country home in Roxbury, Connecticut.

Poster for the 2006 Broadway revival of Company signed by Stephen Sondheim and George Furth

The lyricist of West Side Story and Gypsy and composer/lyricist of Company, Follies, Sweeney Todd, Sunday in the Park with George and Into the Woods, among many others, Stephen Sondheim was the twentieth century’s most brilliant and influential contributor to American musical theater. Fans of Mr. Sondheim’s musicals and collectors alike will delight at the memorabilia within the auction, from his gold record for West Side Story to his custom-embroidered asylum coat from Sweeney Todd.

In addition to professional accomplishments, Mr. Sondheim was a sophisticated collector. He lived among antiques and curiosities of the Victorian and Edwardian eras and assembled an unparalleled collection of early puzzles, games, rebuses, coin-operated machines and ephemera that reflected his endlessly inquisitive mind.

The public is invited to the exhibition on view from June 14 through 17 at Doyle, located at 175 East 87th Street in New York. Select highlights will tour Doyle’s regional galleries during the month of May. The auction catalogue will be available on May 20. Learn more about the auction at Doyle.com

 

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