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Theatre News: The Karate Kid, Mystic Pizza, Wicked, Songs For A New World, MJ and Bruce Willis

Theatre News: The Karate Kid, Mystic Pizza, Wicked, Songs For A New World, MJ and Bruce Willis

The Karate Kid is the latest film adaptation to become a musical. Set for a 2022 Pre-Broadway Run” the show has a book by original screenwriter Robert Mark Kamen and music and lyrics by Drew Gasparini. Pacific Overtures‘ Amon Miyamoto will serve as director. There will begin a limited engagement on May 25, 2022,at The Kirkwood Performing Arts Center just outside St. Louis, MO. The musical will run through June 26, 2022. The 1984 film was so popular that is spanned five sequals, an animated television series and Netflix’s Cobra Kai, which will premiere its fourth season in December 2021.

Kyra Kennedy, Krystina Alabado & Gianna Yanelli Photo: Jeremy Daniel)

Mystic Pizza Musical will star Krystina Alabado as Daisy, Kyra Kennedy as Kat and Gianna Yanelli as Jojo, the roles played in the film by Julia Roberts, Annabeth Gish and Lili Taylor. Mystic Pizza, is scheduled to premiere at the Ogunquit Playhouse in Maine from September 1 through October 2. Sandy Rustin has adapted Amy Holden Jones’ original screenplay for the stage. The production will be directed by Casey Hushion and feature arrangements and orchestrations by the fabulous Carmel Dean. The cast will also feature Rayanne Gonzales as Leona, Joél Pérez as Tim, Garrett Marshall as Bill and Corey Mach as Charles. The company will also include Becca Petersen, Isabella De Souza Moore, Nicole Paloma Sarro, Jesse Swimm, Jake Swain, Graham Stevens and Forest VanDyke as well as swings Elaine Cotter and Joshua Bess. This juke box musical will include hit songs from the late 1980s and early 1990s. Expect hits by John Mellencamp, Debbie Gibson, Robert Palmer, Berlin, Van Morrison, The Supremes/Phil Collins, Kim Wilde, Mike and the Mechanics, Fine Young Cannibals, Tiffany, Bryan Adams and Starship.

Lindsay Pearce Photo: Joan Marcus

Wicked will return at the Gershwin Theatre September 14. Lindsay Pearce will be back as Elphaba and Ginna Claire Mason returns as Glinda, Sam Gravitte as Fiyero, Michael McCormick as The Wizard, Riley Costello as Boq and Michael X. Martin as Doctor Dillamond. Kathy Fitzgerald will be play Madame Morrible from September 14 through September 26, then Alexandra Billings will return to the role on September 28. Mili Diaz will make her Broadway debut as Nessarose. 

The cast is getting starrier for New City Music Theatre’s production of Jason Robert Brown’s Songs for a New World. This one-night only event is tonight August 26 at 7:30 PM at Radial Park at Halletts Point. The evening will mark the company’s first production under its new name; they were formerly known as Cleveland Musical Theatre. 

Look for Jason Gotay (Evita, Gossip Girl), Tony nominee Liz Callaway (Baby, Miss Saigon), Mary Kate Morrissey (Mean Girls tour), Ximone Rose (Once On This Island), and Jay Armstrong Johnson (On the Town). Gotay and Johnson replace, respectively, Derek Klena and Telly Leung, who withdrew due to scheduling conflicts. They join Christy Altomare (Anastasia), Shereen Pimentel (West Side Story), Ciara Renée (Frozen), Bonnie Milligan (Head Over Heels), Kyle Taylor Parker (Kinky Boots), Michael James Scott (Aladdin), Tony nominee Nancy Opel (Wicked), Bre Jackson (The Color Purple), Marc G. Dalio (Beauty and the Beast tour), Heath Saunders (The Great Comet), Darian Sanders (The Lion King tour), Grace Stockdale (Waitress tour), Nya (The Spongebob Musical tour), Nick Drake, and Rick Edinger, plus dancers Yeman Brown (Jagged Little Pill), Jennifer Florentino (Moulin Rouge), Zuri Noelle Ford (West Side Story), Yuka Notsuka, and Michael Anthony Sylvester.

NCMT Producing Artistic Director Miles J. Sternfeld directs, music direction by Edinger, choreography by Ahmad Simmons.

MJ Director and Tony Award-winning Director/Choreographer Christopher Wheeldon is proud to introduce a unique part of his creative team – Rich + Tone Talauega, who will focus on Michael Jackson movement. Inspired by the life and art of Michael Jackson, MJ, will begin performances on Broadway on December 6, 2021, with an opening night set for Tuesday, February 1, 2022, at the newly refurbished Neil Simon Theatre (250 W 52nd Street). 

The superstar brothers Rich + Tone Talaueg were discovered by one of Michael Jackson’s choreographers as teens. They began their careers as dancers on Michael’s HIStory World Tour and went on to dance and choreograph with Michael for years to come.  Rich + Tone are two of the most sought-after dancers and choreographers in pop music, working with artists raging from Madonna to Missy Elliott to The Backstreet Boys. 

As previously announced, Myles Frost will be making his Broadway debut as Michael Jackson. Joining Mr. Frost in the cast are Quentin Earl Darrington as Joseph Jackson / Rob, Whitney Bashor as Rachel, Gabriel Ruiz as Alejandro, Antoine L. Smith as Berry Gordy / Nick, Joey Sorge as Dave, John Edwards as Jackie Jackson / Ensemble, Ayana George as Katherine Jackson, Apollo Levine as Quincy Jones / Tito Jackson, Tavon Olds-Sample as Michael, Lamont Walker II as Jermaine Jackson / Ensemble, Zelig Williams as Marlon Jackson / Ensemble, withRaymond Baynard, Kali May Grinder, Oyoyo Joi, Carina-Kay Louchiey, Renni Anthony Magee, Aaron James McKenzie, Aramie Payton, Kamille Upshaw, Ryan VanDenBoom, and Darius Wright rounding out the ensemble.  

MJ features a book by two-time Pulitzer Prize® winner Lynn Nottage and a score made up of some of the best-loved, top-selling songs in recording history. 

The creative team will also feature Musical Supervision by David Holcenberg, Orchestrations and Arrangements by David Holcenberg and Tony Award winner Jason Michael Webb, and Music Direction by Jason Michael Webb. 

Acclaimed actor and producer Bruce Willis, Fourth Wall Productions and The Burgess Group will present Charles Cissel’s My Mother’s Severed Head, a mind-bending, dark comedy that will run September 10 – October 2nd in Theater One at Theatre Row, 410 West 42nd Street. Directed by Richard Caliban, the production begins previews on Tuesday, September 10th at 7:00 p.m., and will have its official opening on Monday, September 13th at 7:00 p.m.

Mourning a matriarch is hard enough without her head sitting on the alter talking to you every day. This situation is a reality for Robert, a dogged playwright stuck in the family business after the untimely decapitation of his mother. As Robert and his father go at each other’s throats, Mama plots the best way to reunite with the rest of her body.

My Mother’s Severed Head is based on a true event,” says playwright Cissel. “This family is about to explode over a tragedy.”

My Mother’s Severed Head features: Camilo Sanchez Lobo, Luis Alberto Garcia, Katelyn Sparks, Nana Ponceleon, and Giancarlo Herrera. 

Willis, a one-time bartender at Cafe Centro, has been supporting fellow bartender Cissel’s theatrical endeavors, most recently with MUST, which ran in 2017 at Theater at Sr. Clements. 


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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