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Theatre News: The Music Man, MJ, Speakeasy – Times Square, Waiting For Gadot and The Alchemist

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Hugh Jackman (c) Ben Watts

Producers Barry Diller, David Geffen, and Kate Horton announced today the complete cast for the hugely anticipated revival of Meredith Willson’s The Music Man. Starring two-time Tony Award®, Grammy Award®, and Emmy Award®-winning star Hugh Jackman as Professor Harold Hill, and also starring two-time Tony Award winner Sutton Foster as Marian Paroo, preview performances of The Music Man are set to begin on Monday, December 20, 2021, with Opening Night scheduled for Thursday, February 10, 2022 at the Winter Garden Theatre (1634 Broadway). 

Jerry Zaks commented, ““The Music Man is a valentine to America, a story about two people who can’t help but fall in love with each other. We have assembled the kind of irresistible cast that our audiences would, similarly, fall hopelessly and helplessly in love with night after night. I feel so lucky to preside over this remarkable group of performers.”

Sutton Foster

The production, directed by four-time Tony Award winner Jerry Zaks, with choreography by Tony Award winner Warren Carlyle, will also star, as previously announced, Tony Award winner Shuler Hensley as Marcellus Washburn, Tony Award winner Jefferson Mays as Mayor Shinn, Tony Award winner Jayne Houdyshell as Mrs. Shinn, and Tony Award winner Marie Mullen as Mrs. Paroo. Joining the principal cast are Remy Auberjonois as Charlie Cowell, Gino Cosculluela as Tommy Djilas, and Emma Crow as Zaneeta Shinn. Joining the cast are Benjamin Pajak as Winthrop, Kayla Teruel as Amaryllis, Garrett Long as Ethel Toffelmier, Linda Mugleston as Alma Hix, Jessica Sheridan as Maud Dunlop, Rema Webb as Mrs. Squires, Phillip Boykin as Olin Britt, Eddie Korbich as Jacey Squires, Daniel Torres as Ewart Dunlop, Nicholas Ward as Oliver Hix, and Nick Alvino, Jordan Beall, Ronnie S. Bowman Jr., Maria Briggs, Audrey Cardwell, JT Church, Max Clayton, Kammie Crum, Aydin Eyikan, Carlee Flanagan, Ethen Green-Younger, Emily Hoder, Curtis Holland, Eloise Kropp, Ethan Lafazan, Kayla LaVine, Andrew Minard, Sean Montgomery, Tanner Quirk, Lance Roberts, Daniel Patrick Russell, Ann Sanders, Sherisse Springer, Mitchell Tobin, Kathy Voytko, Branch Woodman, and Ryan Worsing rounding out the Ensemble. 

One of the most universally cherished treasures of the American musical theater, The Music Man was an instant smash hit when it premiered on Broadway on December 19, 1957. It went on to win five Tony Awards, including the prize for Best Musical, and ran for 1,375 performances. The original cast album held the number one position on the Billboard charts and stayed on the album charts for 245 weeks. The recording won the first-ever Grammy Award for Best Original Cast Album. The Smithsonian Institution ranks The Music Man as one of the “great glories of American popular culture.”

The Music Man reunites the creative team of the Tony Award-winning and record-breaking revival of Hello, Dolly! starring Bette Midler, including (in addition to Zaks and Carlyle), four-time Tony Award winner Santo Loquasto (Scenic & Costume Design), Tony Award winner Scott Lehrer (Sound Design), David Chase (Vocal and Dance Arrangements), and Luc Verschueren for Campbell Young and Associates (Hair, Wigs, & Makeup). Tony Award winner Jonathan Tunick will create Orchestrations, and Patrick Vaccariello and five-time Tony Award winner Brian MacDevitt join the team as The Music Man’s Musical Director and Lighting Designer, respectively.

Producers Lia Vollack Productions and The Michael Jackson Estate, announced today that Walter Russell III from Harlem, New York, and Christian Wilson from Norfolk, Virginia, will alternate in the role of “Little Michael.” Also announced was Devin Trey Campbell from Bronx, New York, who will play the role of “Little Marlon” in the highly anticipated new musical, MJ. 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). 

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. Tony Award winner Christopher Wheeldon will direct and choreograph. 

Casting is by The Telsey Office, Rachel Hoffman.

Producer / creator Holly-Anne Devlin and Bond 45 (221 W 46th Street) announced today that Speakeasy – Times Square, an all-in-one immersive mixology experience that combines the worlds of burlesque, cirque, illusionists, and musical theater with a decadent cocktail, dining, and nightclub experience, will return by popular demand after a sold-out summer engagement. Speakeasy will resume performances on Friday, November 12, 2021 at 8 PM. Tickets are now on sale.

Step into Madam Lulu’s sizzling Storyville Speakeasy, a world of magic and mixology where the speakeasy sirens rule the night and celebration is not only encouraged but expected. An unforgettable night of electrifying performances, five finely crafted cocktails and a delicious appetizer from the world class culinary team at Bond 45, Speakeasy is directed by Holly-Anne Devlin, with musical direction by Dan Garmon, costume designs by Tristan Raines, lighting design by Joe Beumer, video and projection designs by Joey Moro, sound design by Walter Trarbach, stage management by Franny Fernandez, along with Josh Roberts on Drums and Tony Glausi on trumpet. 

Speakeasy features the top cirque, burlesque, and theatrical performers in the world. Joining the company are Broadway veteran Kristin Yancy (The Cher Show, Summer) as Bessie Bourbon; three-time Burlesque Hall of Fame winner, LouLou D’vil; gravity defying acrobatic duo, Bassam Kubba and Mendel Roman; nightlife queen, Melike Konur; pole & pointe artist, Làszlò Major; international burlesque sensation, Dirty Martini; striptease artist, Mike Pugliese; renown contortionist, Allison Schieler; and fire and cirque artist, Syrena; The cast will also feature returning favorites, including Broadway and Off-Broadway favorites Joey Taranto (Kinky Boots); Sarah Meahl (Waitress) as Imogen; Lauren Mary Moore (Mamma Mia!) as Fleur de Lis; Megan Campbell (Chicago) as Estee; dance star, Alec Varcas (Aladdin); tap dancing sensation, Omar Edwards (Bring in Da Noise); and Oscar at the Crown star, Jada Temple as the mistress of ceremonies, Madam Lulu; along with internationally acclaimed burlesque artists, Tansy Burlesque, Audrey Love, Miss Miranda, and Peekaboo Pointe; with vogue dancer, Karma Stylez; “America’s Got Talent” contortionist, Aryn; and the brilliant pole artist and opera singer, Opera Gaga. Surprise special guest stars from Broadway will also make appearances throughout the run. 

Performances of Speakeasy begin Friday, November 12, 2021 and play Friday and Saturday evenings at 8 PM with additional performances on Wednesday, November 24; Sunday, December 19; Monday, December 20; Tuesday, December 21; and Wednesday, December 22. Tickets start at $85 on TodayTix and include a sinful snack and five decadent signature cocktails designed by the master mixologists of Fireman Hospitality Group. Dining packages are available before and after the show to complete the supper club experience. 

Godot II

The Congress for Jewish Culture has been commissioned to present director Moshe Yassur’s critically acclaimed 2013 Off-Broadway Yiddish language staging of Waiting For Gadot at the prestigious Royal Dramatic Theatre in Stockholm, Sweden next month. Shane Baker’s landmark Yiddish translation of Samuel Beckett’s first ever Yiddish language production to appear at Stockholm’s Royal Dramatic Theatre. The show stars Michael Wex as Estragon and Shane Baker as Vladimir, along with Allen Lewis Rickman, Luzer Twersky and Nicholas Jenkins. For more information, visit www.dramaten.se/en/repertoire/waiting-for-godot. Founded in 1948, the Congress for Jewish Culture is a secular organization based in New York City dedicated to its longstanding commitment to enriching Yiddish culture worldwide. This spring, the Congress will present the Off-Broadway premiere of the long-running comedy smash The Essence, which has been playing to sellout crowds for over a decade throughout the Northeast and Europe. 

RED BULL THEATER (Jesse Berger, Founder and Artistic Director | Jim Bredeson, Managing Director) cordially invites you to the World Premiere of a brand new adaptation of Ben Jonson’s classic comedy, The Alchemist, adapted by Jeffrey Hatcher and directed by Jesse Berger, the team that created the hit comedy The Government Inspector.

Featured in the cast will be Nathan Christopher (Red Bull debut); Stephen DeRosa (Red Bull: The Government Inspector; Broadway: Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus, The Nance, Into the Woods, The Man Who Came to Dinner); Carson Elrod (Bway: Peter and The Starcatcher, Reckless, Noises Off;  Off-Bway: The Tempest, Measure for Measure, All’s Well That Ends Well – NYSF; The Liar, The Heir Apparent – CSC); Manoel Felciano (Red Bull: The Changeling; Bway: To Kill a Mockingbird, Amélie, Sweeney Todd – Tony nomination); Teresa Avia Lim (Bway: Junk – Lincoln Center Theater; Off-Bway: Caesar and Cleopatra – GTG, The Taming of the Shrew – Public Theater); Jacob Ming-Trent (Falstaff in Shakespeare in the Park’s Merry Wives, Lortel Award winner – Father Comes Home From the Wars…, Panda in HBO’s “Watchmen”); Louis Mustillo (“Mike & Molly,” Bartenders – OCC nomination Best Solo Performance);  Reg Rogers (Bway: Tootsie, The Royal Family – OCC  nominations; The Iceman Cometh, Present Laughter, The Big Knifeand Holiday – Tony and Drama Desk nominations. The Dazzle – OBIE and Lucille Lortel Awards); Jennifer Sánchez (Bway: Pretty Woman, On Your Feet, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown); and Allen Tedder (Bway: To Kill a Mockingbird,  King Lear – Shakespeare in the Park). 

Performances will be at New World Stages (340 West 50th Street) for a limited Off-Broadway engagement, through December 19th only. Opening Night is set for Sunday November 21st. 

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: Richard M. Sherman Songwriter for Mary Poppins and Jungle Book Passes On

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Richard M. Sherman, was a nine-time Academy Award nominee along with his brother Robert. The Sherman Brothers wrote more than 200 songs for some 27 films and 24 television productions. Their film credits include Mary Poppins, The Jungle Book, The Absent-Minded Professor, The Parent Trap, Summer Magic tv, The Sword in the Stone, That Darn Cat!, Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree, The Happiest Millionaire, The Aristocats, and Bedknobs and Broomsticks.

The won two Academy Awards for Mary Poppins, taking home the trophies for Best Score – Substantially Original and Best Original Song (for “Chim Chim Cher-ee”). They won three Grammy awards and received 24 gold and platinum albums and were inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2005 and received the US National Medal of the Arts in 2008.

They also wrote the score on Broadway for Over Here.

The brothers were portrayed in the 2013 film Saving Mr. Banks, which told the story behind the making of Mary Poppins.

Sherman died of age-related illness at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Beverly Hills. His brother Robert died in 2012.

 

 

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The Outer Critics Circle (OCC) Awards And You Are There Part 2

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Yesterday we gave you part 1 of The Outer Critics Circle (OCC), awards ceremony held at the Bruno Walter Auditorium at Lincoln Center’s New York Public Library for The Performing Arts 111 Amsterdam Avenue, NYC).

In this part Steve Guttenberg gives the award to Outstanding Featured Performer in an Off-Broadway Play: Jay O. Sanders – Primary Trust


Outstanding Lead Performer in an Off-Broadway Musical:
 Andrew Durand  Dead Outlaw

Current President David Gordon introduced Andrea Martin who gave away the awards for Outstanding Direction of a Musical: Jessica Stone – Water for Elephants

A special award was given to Harry Haun longtime OCC member who served on the board as well.

Outstanding Choreography (Broadway or Off-Broadway):Justin Peck —Illinoise

And the tie for Outstanding Lead Performer in an Off-Broadway Play: William Jackson Harper, Primary Trust

Outstanding New Off-Broadway Play: Primary Trust

Outstanding New Off-Broadway Musical: Dead Outlaw

Kelechi Watson presented the awards for Outstanding Featured Performer in a Broadway Musical: Kecia Lewis  Hell’s Kitchen

Outstanding Direction of a Play: Daniel Aukin – Stereophonic

Outstanding Lead Performer in a Broadway Musical: Kelli O’Hara  Days of Wine and Roses


Outstanding New Broadway Play:
 Stereophonic

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Outstanding New Broadway Musical: Suffs

Founded during the 1949-50 Broadway season by respected theater journalist John Gassner, The Outer Critics Circle is an esteemed association with members affiliated with more than ninety newspapers, magazines, broadcast stations, and online news organizations, in America and abroad. Led by its current President David Gordon, the OCC Board of Directors also includes Vice President Richard Ridge, Recording Secretary Joseph Cervelli, Corresponding Secretary Patrick Hoffman, Treasurer David Roberts, Cynthia Allen, Harry Haun, Dan Rubins, Janice Simpson and Doug Strassler. Simon Saltzman is President Emeritus & Board Member (Non-nominating) and Stanley L. Cohen serves as Financial Consultant & Board Member (Non-nominating). Lauren Yarger serves as the Outer Critics Circle Awards ceremony executive producer.

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The Stars Showed Up Michael Greif at The New Dramatists Luncheon

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The New Dramatists Annual Spring Luncheon at the New York Marriott Marquis honored Michael Greif, the acclaimed director of not one but three shows playing on Broadway, Days of Wine and Roses, The Notebook and Hell’s Kitchen. Tony Award-winning producers Kevin McCollum and Stacey Mindich served as honorary co-chairs.

Michael Greif

Michael Greif

Christie Brown, Michael Greif, Brian d’Arcy James and Emily Morse

Michael Greif, Brian d’Arcy James

Michael Greif, Brian d’Arcy James

New Dramatists also presented the inagural Konecky Award, named for New Dramatists’ beloved Board President Isobel Konecky and her husband, renowned entertainment attorney Ron Konecky, recognizes those in the theatre and entertainment industry, who serve the field with passion, dedication, excellence, and leadership. The inaugural Konecky Award will be presented to Concord Theatricals.

Attending were:

Ali Louis Bourzgui

Joy Woods

Jordan Tyson

John Cardoza

Betsy Aidem

Will Brill

Rick Elice

Brian d’Arcy James

Michael Greif, Hannah Greif and David Greif

Adam Pascal, Michael Greif and Daphne Rubin-Vega

Members and Creatives of Hell’s Kitchen that includes-Susan Oliveras, Lily Ling, Tom Kitt, Camille A. Brown, Michael Greif, Kecia Lewis, Desmond Sean Ellington, Badia Farha, Kristoffer Diaz, Aaron Nicholas Patterson and Oscar Whitney Jr.

Ryan Vasquez

Kecia Lewis

Camille A. Brown

Kristoffer Diaz

Schele Williams, John Cardoza, Victoria Navarro, Geoffrey Ko, Dorian Harewood, Michael Greif, Maryann Plunkett, Jordan Tyson, Bekah Brunstetter, Katie Spelman and Kurt Deutsch

Schele Williams and Michael Greif

Priscilla Lopez

Jennifer Whyte, Steven Skybell, Tom Scutt, Rebecca Frecknall, Julia Cheng and Henry Gottfried

Priscilla Lopez and Michael Greif

Henry Gottfried

Tom Scuttt

Christine Ebersole and Michael Greif

Francis Benhamou

Steven Skybell

Jennifer Whyte

Julia Cheng

Michael Greif, Christine Ebersole, Priscilla Lopez and Doug Wright

Rebecca Frecknall

Eli Gelb

David Adjmi

Corey Stoll

Alison Luff

Isabelle McCalla

Amy Ryan

Amanda Green

Eden Espinosa

Sarah Pidgeon

Shoshana Bean

Quincy Tyler Bernstine

Michael Greif and Shoshana Bean

Justin Peck

Paula Vogel and Celia Keenan-Bolger

Juliana Margulies

Daryl Roth and Juliana Margulies

Jim Dale and Daryl Roth

Jim Dale, Daryl Roth and Juliana Margulies

Brody Grant

Lea Salonga

Lea Salonga

Sarah Paulson

Leslie Kritzer

Shaina Taub and Leigh Silverman

Amber Iman

Nikki M. James

John Weidner

Jessica Hecht

Andrew R. Butler

Casey Likes

Grant Gustin

Sean Patrick Flahaven

Doug Wright

Bradley King

Jamie deRoy

New Dramatists

 

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The Outer Critics Circle (OCC) Awards And You Are There Part 1

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The Outer Critics Circle (OCC), awards ceremony for the winners was held on Thursday, May 23, 2024, in the Bruno Walter Auditorium at Lincoln Center’s New York Public Library for The Performing Arts (111 Amsterdam Avenue, NYC).

Current President David Gordon and  Vice President Richard Ridge welcomed everyone. There were celebrity presenters and Tony Danza proved why he is a comedy star. The first award given out was to Outstanding Video/Projections: Peter Nigrini – The Who’s Tommy.

Danza also gave out the awards to Outstanding Orchestrations Marco Paguia – Buena Vista Social Club.

Outstanding Costume Design: Linda Cho – The Great Gatsby

Outstanding Lead Performer in a Broadway Play: Jessica Lange – Mother Play

Receiving the John Gassner Award for New American Play (preferably by a new playwright): Oh, Mary! and a tie for Outstanding Lead Performer in an Off-Broadway Play (tie): Cole Escola left a video message.


Next to present was Montego Glover who gave Outstanding Featured Performer in an Off-Broadway Musical (tie) Judy Kuhn – I Can Get It For You Wholesale

and to Thom Sesma – Dead Outlaw

Outstanding Book of a Musical and Outstanding Score Shaina Taub – Suffs

Outstanding Scenic Design (tie): Paul Tate dePoo III – The Great Gatsby

Outstanding Lighting Design: Brian MacDevitt  The Outsiders

Outstanding Featured Performer in a Broadway Play: Kara Young – Purlie Victorious

Next up Steve Gutenberg gave awards to Outstanding Revival of a Play: Appropriate

Outstanding Sound DesignRyan Rumery – Stereophonic

Outstanding Solo Performance: Patrick Page – All the Devils are Here

Founded during the 1949-50 Broadway season by respected theater journalist John Gassner, The Outer Critics Circle is an esteemed association with members affiliated with more than ninety newspapers, magazines, broadcast stations, and online news organizations, in America and abroad. Led by its current President David Gordon, the OCC Board of Directors also includes Vice President Richard Ridge, Recording Secretary Joseph Cervelli, Corresponding Secretary Patrick Hoffman, Treasurer David Roberts, Cynthia Allen, Harry Haun, Dan Rubins, Janice Simpson and Doug Strassler. Simon Saltzman is President Emeritus & Board Member (Non-nominating) and Stanley L. Cohen serves as Financial Consultant & Board Member (Non-nominating). Lauren Yarger serves as the Outer Critics Circle Awards ceremony executive producer.

Tomorrow Part 2.

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Ken Fallin’s Broadway: On The Town For Fleet Week

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Fleet Week is upon us, so, attached is a drawing I did of Channing Tatum a few years ago for The Los Angeles Times. This was done for Hail Caesar! choreographed by Christopher Gattelli.

Hail Caesar!  is by Joel and Ethan Coen (No Country for Old Men, Fargo), starring Josh Brolin, George Clooney, Alden Ehrenreich, Ralph Fiennes, Jonah Hill, Scarlett Johansson, Frances McDormand, Tilda Swinton, and Channing Tatum, Hail, Caesar! follows a single day in the life of a studio fixer who is presented with plenty of problems to fix.

Here is a video with Channing and the rest of the cast. Talk about a great Happy Memorial Day!

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