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.
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.
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.
Theatre News: Doubt: A Parable, Here Lies Love, Prayer for the French Republic, Eisenhower and Hell’s Kitchen
Tyne Daly and Liev Schreiber will star in a revival of Doubt: A Parable on Broadway. The production is to begin performances next February at the American Airlines Theater.
The new production is produced by the Roundabout Theater Company, and will be directed by Scott Ellis, who has been serving as the nonprofit’s interim artistic director since the death of artistic director Todd Haimes in April.
The play, by John Patrick Shanley, is about a nun who suspects a priest has sexually abused a student at a Catholic school. In 2005, the year it first opened on Broadway, it won both the Pulitzer Prize for drama and the Tony Award for best play; it was later adapted into a film and an opera.
Daly, who will play the nun who serves as the school principal, and Schreiber, who will play the parish priest, are both Tony winners. Daly, is known for her role in “Cagney & Lacey”. She won the 1990 Tony Award for her portrayal as Mama Rose in the revival of Gypsy. Schreiber, is the star of Showtime’s “Ray Donovan.” He won a Tony Award in 2005 for a revival of Glengarry Glen Ross.
Doubt is one of three plays to be staged by Roundabout this coming season. The others are I Need That, a new play by Theresa Rebek starring Danny DeVito alongside his daughter, Lucy, and Home, a 1979 revival, directed by Kenny Leon, by Samm-Art Williams.
David Byrne, Fatboy Slim and Here Lies Love are causing controversy with their July Broadway debut. The show’s extensive use of prerecorded music has the American Federation of Musicians’ Local 802, up in arms. The Local’s Broadway musical contract stipulate that productions employ 19 live musicians.
In response to the union’s concerns, Byrne and the show’s PR team released a statement on Instagram to lay out the production’s revolutionary format and genre-bending originality. Here Lies Love is not a traditional Broadway musical. The music is drawn outside of the traditional music genre. The performance of the live vocals to pre-recorded, artificial tracks is paramount to its artistic concept. Production has ripped out the seats in the theater and built a dance floor. There is no longer a proscenium stage. The Broadway Theater has been transformed into a nightclub, with every theatergoer immersed in the experience.
Here Lies Love is on Broadway because Broadway must support boundary-pushing creative work. Broadway is also the venue for a well conceived, high-quality show that highlights the valued traditions of specific cultures whose stories have never been on its stages. Here Lies Love does not believe in artistic gatekeepers. Here Lies Love believes in a Broadway for everyone, where new creative forms push the medium and create new traditions and audiences.
I saw Here Lies Love at The Public and not sure what kind of fast talking this is, but this statement rings false and full of how can we cut the costs while sticking it to the audience.
Prayer for the French Republic, by Joshua Harmon is coming to Broadway this season.This award-winning Off Broadway production played to rave reviews at The Manhattan Theatre Club. The production was the winner of the 2022 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Play and Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding New Off-Broadway Play. Broadway performances will begin previews on Tuesday, December 19, at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre, with an official opening night on Tuesday, January 9, 2024. David Cromer directs.
Off Broadway: Tony winner John Rubinstein starts previews June 13 at St. Clement’s in one-man show Eisenhower.
Alicia Keys’ musical Hell’s Kitchen will run at The Public Theater from October 24 – December 10, starring Shoshana Bean. Inspired by Keys’ own life, the new musical features an original score by the 15-time Grammy-winning singer-songwriter, with a book by Kristoffer Diaz. Hell’s Kitchen will be directed by Michael Greif and choreographed by Camille A. Brown.
Leading the cast will be Maleah Joi Moon as Ali, opposite Bean as Ali’s mother Jersey, with Brandon Victor Dixon as Ali’s father Davis, Chad Carstarphen as Ray, Vanessa Ferguson as Tiny, Crystal Monee Hall as Crystal, Chris Lee as Knuck, Jackie Leon as Jessica, Kecia Lewis as Ali’s piano teacher Miss Liza Jane, Mariand Torres as Maria, and Lamont Walker II as Riq.
Completing the cast are Reid Clarke, Chloe Davis, Nico DeJesus, Timothy L. Edwards, Raechelle Manalo, Sarah Parker, and Niki Saludez, with understudies Badia Farha, Gianna Harris, Onyxx Noel, William Roberson, and Donna Vivino.
The musical is described as a coming-of-age story set in a cramped apartment in the neighborhood of the title near Times Square, where 17-year-old Ali is desperate to get her piece of the New York dream. Ali’s mother is just as determined to protect her daughter from the same mistakes she made. When Ali falls for a talented young drummer, both mother and daughter must face hard truths about race, defiance, and growing up.
The production has set design by Robert Brill, costumes by Dede Ayite, lighting by Natasha Katz, sound by Gareth Owens, and projection design by Peter Nigrini.
Countdown to The Tony Awards: Who Will and Who Should Win in Best Performance in a Musical
The countdown is on and the winners of the 2022/2023 season will be announced in a live televised ceremony on Sunday, June 11.
Here is who we think will win and who should.
Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical
Annaleigh Ashford, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
Sara Bareilles, Into the Woods
Victoria Clark, Kimberly Akimbo
Lorna Courtney, & Juliet
Micaela Diamond, Parade
This to us is a no brainer … Victoria Clark performance has stood out since she brought Kimberly Akimbo to life off-Broadway in 2021. Though Annaleigh is a terrific performer this is Victoria’s year.
Will Win: Victoria Clark
Should Win: Victoria Clark
Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical
Christian Borle, Some Like It Hot
J. Harrison Ghee, Some Like It Hot
Josh Groban, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
Brian d’Arcy James, Into the Woods
Ben Platt, Parade
Colton Ryan, New York, New York
This is another no brainer J. Harrison Ghee gives a textured layered performance. Ben Platt and Josh Groban cancel each other out, though both are riveting performances.
Will win: J. Harrison Ghee
Should win: J. Harrison Ghee
Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical
Julia Lester, Into the Woods
Ruthie Ann Miles, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
Bonnie Milligan, Kimberly Akimbo
NaTasha Yvette Williams, Some Like It Hot
Betsy Wolfe, & Juliet
Bonnie Milligan took the theatre community by storm in Head Over Heels, but it was not her time. This year Milligan commands the stage and you definitely remember her performance.
Will win: Bonnie Milligan
Should win: Bonnie Milligan
Alex Newell photo by Matthew Murphy & Evan Zimmerman)
Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical
Kevin Cahoon, Shucked
Justin Cooley, Kimberly Akimbo
Kevin Del Aguila, Some Like It Hot
Jordan Donica, Lerner & Loewe’s Camelot
Alex Newell, Shucked
Many think Alex Newell was snubbed in 2018 for his performance in Once on This Island. Newell gets standing ovations over at Shucked for “Independently Owned” and they are well deserved. Kevin Del Aguila to me was a breath of fresh air and made me love his performance not once, but twice.
Will win: Alex Newell
Should win:Kevin Del Aguila
National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene Summer Soirée With Barry Manilow, Julie Benko, Adam B. Shapiro, Michael Zegen and More
On June 19 the National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene Summer Soirée at The Lighthouse at Chelsea Piers is set to impress. Adam B. Shapiro (from the cast of the award winning Fiddler on The Roof in Yiddish), will be the Master of Ceremonies The celebrity address will be by Michael Zegen, co-star of “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” with a special performance by Julie Benko, the sensational breakout star of Broadway’s Funny Girl. Benko has joined the cast of Harmony coming to Broadway this fall.
Musical Moments from NYTF’s Upcoming Season including a performance by Danny Kornfeld from Barry Manilow and Bruce Sussman’s Broadway Bound New Musical ‘Harmony’
The evening will also feature performances from artists who have been part of NYTF’s stellar productions, including a special appearance by The Mameles, whose singing trio – Maya Jacobson, Raquel Nobile and Jodi Snyder – met while starring in Fiddler on the Roof in Yiddish.
Throughout the night, attendees also will be treated to performances by: Dani Apple, Joanne H. Borts, Aaron Diskin, Brian Glassman, Sophie Knapp, Annette Ezekiel Kogan, Yosef Kogan, Frank London, Avram Mlotek, Jenny Romaine, Rachel Yucht, Avi Fox-Rosen, Ilya Shneyveys, Dmitri Zisl Slepovitch, and Matt Temkin and the Schechter Bergen Children’s Chorus
Indulge in a delightful cocktail reception followed by an exquisite dinner as you prepare to be dazzled with exclusive previews of musical moments from NYTF’s upcoming 2023-2024 Season.
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Grey House Is Haunting in More Than One Way
Levi Holloway’s Grey House is a mental mind bend. It tries to come off as a haunted thriller with blackouts galore, moments left hanging, loud noises and flashes in the dark of dead things, but deep down it is a lot more than that. The script lacking in text, takes awhile to figure out the ins and outs.
We starts off as a blizzard rages outside, four feral teenage girls, a young boy (Eamon Patrick O’Connell) and their mother Raleigh (Laurie Metcalf), who is asleep on the couch or is she passed out, entertain themselves. There is Bernie (Millicent Simmonds) who is deaf, a cynical Marlow (Sophia Anne Caruso), the unpredictable Squirrel (Colby Kipnes), and the sweet A1656 (Alyssa Emily Marvin). The girls do what looks like a spell, as a car crashes bringing in Max (Clare Karpen, standing in for Tatiana Maslany) and Henry (Paul Sparks). From the beginning you know nothing good is going to happen.
Henry called Hank by the girls has broken his ankle and is given “moonshine” for the pain. The refrigerator mysteriously offers this liquid when it feels like it. Henry becomes addicted to the liquid as he encounters first Squirrel, then The Ancient (Cyndi Coyne).
In the meantime Max is manipulated into playing games with these strange children, as Raleigh throws caustic asides and distain to her.
As Henry gets more and more into his “moonshine” addiction he becomes the men who have abused all the inhabitants of this purgatory. The house it turns out is a cross over between heaven and hell or is it way station where karma is played out? It is a surprisingly that this play is written by a man, because at the crux of this play is men will always hurt, disappoint and destroy the female gender.
Director Joe Mantello (Wicked) has used set designer Scott Pask, sound designer Tom Gibbons and lighting designer Natasha Katz to make Grey House a living breathing entity that haunts from within. His cast is uniformly excellent with Sophia Anne Caruso bringing yet another haunting performance to life with a scalding clarity. Metcalf brings to mind every Stephen King novel and gives a masterclass in acting. Karpen gives us a women who is lost in mourning due to her father just passing and a long-dead sister whom she loved. We see the weight put upon her that ultimately binds her to this place. Sparks is the epitome of a week man who fight is within himself.
This play leaves more questions than answers that are left to the audience to figure out. At the heart of this story is grief and how we are trapped and make our own prisons instead of moving to the light.
Grey House: Lyceum Theatre, 149 W 45th Street, through September 23rd.
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