Refocus Project: Spunk The series continues with Zora Neale Hurston’s Spunk, to be directed by Lili-Anne Brown. The play centers a guitar-playing transient who becomes the talk of a rural Florida town when he develops a love affair with a married woman. Based on her 1925 short story, Hurston penned the theatrical adaptation a decade later, but it was never published and considered lost until 1997.
Roundabout Theatre Company has joined forces with Black Theatre United to launch a multi-year initiative seeking to elevate and restore marginalized plays to the American canon. The Refocus Project will encompass Broadway productions, play readings, resource libraries, panel discussions and more.
The Door You Never Saw Before: A Choosical Musical The world premiere of Matt Schatz’s live, virtual and interactive theatrical adventure for young audiences premieres as part of Geffen Playhouse’s Geffen Stayhouse Series. Directed by Katie Lindsay, The Door You Never Saw Before: A Choosical Musical is designed to take frustrated kids in quarantine on an outrageously fun journey. Available through June 27.
5pm: Sip & Sing, Kyle Barisich hosts this virtual weekly sing-a-long event that welcomes new Broadway stars each episode. Sip & Sing is presented by iHeart Broadway and Bay Street Theater, Sag Harbor Center and Milojo (Kelly Ripa and Mark Consuelos’ production company).
7:30pm: Susan Froemke’s The Audition A leader in the cinema verité style—where one does not script or narrate a film but rather lets the events themselves tell the story—Oscar-nominated documentarian Susan Froemke turned her eye to the Met’s storied National Council Auditions in 2007. The result was The Audition, which follows a dozen of opera’s brightest young stars as they prepare to compete in the Grand Finals Concert on the Met stage. Pulling back the curtain on one of the world’s most prestigious vocal competitions, the film offers its fair share of triumphs and tragedies and features a number of artists who would go on to have major international careers, including Angela Meade, Jamie Barton, Michael Fabiano, and Alek Shrader.
8pm: ‘Stand Up’ for Asian Americans ‘Stand Up’ for Asian Americans is a weekend of variety shows celebrating Asian American Pacific Islander performers.
The lineup includes comedian Margaret Cho, Broadway favorite Telly Leung, drag performers Jasmine Rice Labeija and Kiko Soirée, actress Poppy Liu, burlesque star Calamity Chang, actor Damian Dragon, DJ and promoter Frankie Sharp, and more.
Producers Daniel Nardicio, Sam Benedict, and Taylor Shubert created the event in response to the rise in AAPI hate crimes, and will donate all proceeds to Red Canary Song, a grassroots collective of Asian and migrant sex workers.
8pm: Breathe, Starring Brian Stokes Mitchell, Kelli O’Hara, More Novelist Jodi Picoult makes her theatrical debut with the new musical Breathe, conceived and written with playwright Timothy Allen McDonald. The show will make its world premiere virtually on OVERTURE+ May 14, with a cast recording released the same day via Broadway Records.
Breathe consists of five interlocking suites and examines the impact of COVID-19 on five different relationships. The cast includes Tony Award winners Kelli O’Hara and Brian Stokes Mitchell, Broadway couples Patti Murin and Colin Donnell and Matt Doyle and Max Clayton, Tony nominee Denée Benton, Rubén J. Carbajal, Daniel Yearwood, T. Oliver Reid, and Josh Davis.
8pm: Broadway Stories & Songs w/ Ted Sperling The first edition of Broadway Stories & Songs will feature Sperling in song and conversation with an exciting group of Broadway talents, including Betsy Wolfe, Jose Llana, Elizabeth Stanley, Jason Danieley, Victoria Clark, and Meghan Picerno + John Riddle.
The weekly, hour-long, live concert events will stream live from the DiMenna Center in New York City.
8pm: Treasure Island at Radial Park (and from home) Resounding’s outdoor festival of in-person immersive audio continues at NYC’s Radial Park—and you’re invited to enjoy in-person or from home.
Tony nominee Rob McClure stars in Treasure Island as Long John Silver and Narrator, with Maggie Lakis as Jim Hawkins, Victoria Huston-Elem, Christian Elan Ortiz, Kurt Uy, and Stuart Williams.
Yo-ho-ho and a bottle of rum! Avast, ye lubbers! There be pirates and treasure ahead… Prepare to go on the greatest pirate adventure of all time and set sail for Treasure Island!
Come aboard the fabled sailing ship Hispaniola with young Jim Hawkins as he and the crew seek the lost treasure of Captain Flint with only a scrawled map to guide them.
But beware, for there’s mutiny aboard as well, with the cunning and roguish Long John Silver ready to kill all who stand between him and the buried booty awaiting them on the isle. Immerse yourself with the crashing roar of the high seas, the roar of cannon fire, swashbuckling cutlasses and feats of derring-do as only Resounding can deliver.
10pm: We Are Family Concert, Hosted by Judith Light Tony winner Judith Light will host We Are Family: Songs of Hope and Unity, which will premiere on PBS and its streaming apps.
Filmed in front of a small, socially distanced audience at the Meridian International Center in Washington, D.C., the evening features Tony nominee Laura Osnes, Gabrielle Ruiz, Morgan James, Rayshun LaMarr, and Nova Y. Payton. The performers will be backed by The American Pops Orchestra under the baton of Maestro Luke Frazier.
Christiane Noll: Coming Alive Again TheaterWorks Hartford and Goodspeed Musicals announced today present Christiane Noll: Coming Alive Again.
Fourteen months of quarantine, a Broadway shut down, a roller coaster of good news and bad news, but Tony-nominee Christiane Noll is optimistic. With a little caution and a lot of hope, she’s ventured out of her home to share an intimate cabaret. A thoughtful, moving and funny (virtual) concert experience exploring themes of motherhood and complex women, through the lens of a Broadway artist navigating a crazy COVID-paralyzed world.
Broadway, the Maye Way Cabaret legend Marilyn Maye celebrates her 93rd birthday with a new streaming concert at Feinstein’s/54 Below. Filmed live at the venue, audiences can enjoy the show through May 29.
Missed Connections Jon Tai and Alex Gruhin’s live, interactive play with magic begins its run of livestreamed performances as part of 59e59 Theaters’ Plays in Place series. Inspired by the work of writer Haruki Murakami, philosopher Marshall McLuhan, and magician Derek DelGaudio, Missed Connections is a magician’s cosmic love story—one that explores the fleeting bonds that can emerge between total strangers. Audiences can experience the magic for themselves through May 20.
An Evening with Sheldon Harnick and Friends is an intimate evening giving audience members some of the celebrated songs Mr. Harnick has created in his astonishing 60+ year career, it includes his collaborations with composers such as Richard Rodgers, Joe Raposo, Michel Legrand, and—of course—Jerry Bock. Sprinkled with some behind-the-scenes anecdotes from such hit shows as Fiorello!, She Loves Me, and Fiddler on the Roof, as well as the lesser-known Tenderloin, The Rothschilds, Rex, and Dragons. A rare treat for musical theater buffs of all ages, this event was created by Mr. Harnick especially for The York Theatre. This evening is presented under the auspices of the Theater Authority, Inc. 7pm: Three-time Tony Award winner, Pulitzer Prize winner, and Oscar Hammerstein Award recipient Sheldon Harnick is joined on stage by Tony Award nominee Liz Callaway(Miss Saigon), Tony Award winner Karen Ziemba (Contact), and Rebecca Luker(The Sound of Music) in her last stage appearance. The music director is Jeffrey Saver, with Special Guest Margery Grey Harnick.
Leading into the evening, James Morgan, York Producing Artistic Director, shares a special birthday conversation with Sheldon and Margery.
Available on demand through Friday, May 14, 2021. Reservations are required.
Carry On Tony nominee Jeremy Jordan This event is being streamed online through BroadwayWorld Events. There will be no in-person audience.
Broadway’s Jeremy Jordan, known for his powerful voice and provocative storytelling, returns to the stage with his most ambitious and personal performance to date. Equal parts humor and heartache, Carry On takes us deep into Jeremy’s new life as a father. Unpacking and attempting to reconcile his own complicated childhood, Jeremy soon discovers there is more to being a parent than he could have ever imagined. Featuring an array of musical styles, as well as some never-before-heard songs, Carry On has been thoughtfully reimagined for the virtual stage after winning multiple awards for its premiere at Feinstein’s/54 Below just over a year ago. Featuring musical direction by Benjamin Rauhala.
Black Beans Project Huntington Theatre Company presents Black Beans Project, a world premiere digital work by Huntington artist-in-residence Melinda Lopez and Joel Perez.
In the play, created specifically for a virtual presentation, Lopez and Perez play siblings who reconnect online to share a secret family recipe that forces them to reveal secrets of their own.
Black Beans Project is available for on-demand streaming May through 30.
The Waves in Quarantine: A Theatrical Experiment Begins Raúl Esparza leads a star-studded cast, including Alice Ripley, Carmen Cusack, Nikki Renée Daniels, Darius de Haas and Manu Narayan, in this musical adaptation of Virginia Woolf’s The Waves for Berkeley Repertory Theatre. Watch through May 28.
Twelve remarkable singer actors and eleven musicians are creating a wholly original, completely Pastiche way of bringing you back in time with our latest technology.
Diverse and distanced, gorgeous and witty, liberating talent from Canada to Israel and all over the US, for Austen, Beethoven and musical theater fans all over the world. Ludwig calls the tune as we celebrate Jane Austen, and her ability to create happy endings in her stories, when real life so often sadly disappoints.
Slow Food A vacationing couple heads to a Greek restaurant in Palm Springs for their anniversary dinner — but will the marriage survive the service?
International City Theatre presents a virtual presentation of Slow Food, a tender, uproarious comedy by Wendy MacLeod, directed by Marya Mazor.
The Destruction of Jane Edgar Rice Burroughs will be spinning in his grave this spring. A new seven-part miniseries, inspired by the infamous film Tarzan the Ape Man, debuts this month.
The Destruction of Jane is an unauthorized parody of the King of the Jungle is told from the point of view of Miss Jane Parker.
Weekly installments premiere on Thursdays.
The miniseries stars stars Paul Pecorino and Rob Eco as Jane and Tarzan, respectively, and features special cameo appearances by Mario Cantone and Randy Rainbow. The show is written by Paul Pecorino and directed by Drue Pennella.
Set in the current COVID-19 pandemic, this comedy follows Jane to the African jungle where she meets and falls in love with the spectacular specimen we all know as the legendary Tarzan. The 1981 Tarzan film became a massive financial hit due to its dizzyingly unintentional bad taste, and screenwriter Paul Pecorino has set out to push these offensively vulgar boundaries even further.
The creative team includes director of photography Erik Paulsen, composers Drew Fornarola and David Nehls, musical arranger Paul Doust; costumes & wigs designer David Mitsch; makeup & wig styling designer Vera Stromsted and Donanyely Mejia and Marty Thomas; and specialty costumes designer Gail Baldoni. The Destruction of Jane is presented by Pure Motion Pictures.
Back to the Future: From Screen to Stage Ahead of the Back to the Future musical opening in the Adelphi Theatre on August 20, BFI at Home presents an online discussion with members of the cast and crew about how the hit film became a full-fledged stage musical.
Romeo & Juliet Jessie Buckley and Josh O’Connor star in a film of London’s National Theatre’s Romeo and Juliet. It premieres on PBS as part of the Great Performances series.
I Wish My Life Were Like A Musical West End regulars Luke Bayer, Charlotte O’Rourke, Lucas Rush and Charlotte Anne Steen star in this streaming production of Alexander S. Bermange’s musical revue. Audiences can watch the journey a wide-eyed drama school graduate takes to become a difficult diva through May 12.
The Woman’s Party Clubbed Thumb presents the world premiere of The Woman’s Party. Originally slated to premiere as part of the 2020 Summerworks Festival, the piece will now premiere virtually.
Written by Rinne B. Groff and directed by Tara Ahmadinejad, The Woman’s Party has been divided into three 30-minute episodes.
1947 is the year that the savvy politicos of the National Woman’s Party will finally get the ERA passed once they quash that insurgency—or oust the old guard. The Woman’s Party takes place 27 years after the ratification of women’s suffrage, when the Equal Rights Amendment was poised for passage.
The cast includes Rosalyn Coleman, Alma Cuervo, Laura Esterman, Marga Gomez, Marceline Hugot, Emily Kuroda, Lizan Mitchell, Socorro Santiago, Rebecca Schull, and Connie Winston.
Two Sisters and a Piano Emmy winner Jimmy Smits and Daphne Rubin-Vega star in a streaming production of Nilo Cruz’s 1999 play presented by the new streaming theater company New Normal Rep. Cruz also serves as director for the work that follows follows two sisters serving time under house arrest in Cuba, and the lieutenant assigned to their case who falls in love with one of them.
Cheyenne Jackson, Ted Sperling, More Sing Adam Guettel’s Myths & Hymns (Episode 3) By MasterVoices The central project of MasterVoices’ 2020-2021 season will be a virtual rollout of award-winning composer Adam Guettel’s theatrical song cycle, Myths and Hymns, in an online staging conceived by Ted Sperling.
The Wandering an immersive theatrical experience inspired by the music of Franz Schubert, is set to premiere online and in real life on April 15–May 15.
Part visual album, part queer drama, and part communal live experience, The Wandering transports participants into a wonderous environment that unfolds both online and via physical tasks and ephemera shipped directly to audiences.
At its heart, The Wandering uses a queer lens to examine the love and pain that divided Schubert while taking guests on a journey that radically reshapes how classical music can be presented.
The Wandering is created by newcomers Calista Small and Jeremy Weiss in collaboration with filmmaker Lara Panah-Izadi, designer Charlotte McCurdy, animator Zach Bell, theater artist Christine Shaw, graphic and print designer Irina Wang, web designer TanTan Wang, and executive producer Max Sauberman.
Fat Ham: world premiere of the digital production of Fat Ham by James Ijames from Philadelphia’s Wilma Theater will now stream April 29-May 23.
The play, a contemporary adaptation of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, is being filmed on location in Virginia, and shot as a one-take film to retain the real-time storytelling of a play.
It is directed by Morgan Green and stars Brennen S. Malone, Taysha Marie Canales, Kimberly S. Fairbanks, Jennifer Kidwell, Anthony Martinez-Briggs, Brandon J. Pierce, and Lindsay Smiling.
Shadow/Land Michelle Wilson, Te’Era Coleman, Lizan Mitchell, Lance E. Nichols, Lori Elizabeth Parquet and Sunni Patterson star in the world premiere of Erika Dickerson-Despenza’s audio play. The drama is set amidst the devastation of Hurricane Katrina and is part of the Public Theater’s digital stage.
Reverb Theatre Arts Festival through May 20th. Reverb Theatre Arts Festival presents the voices of artists with disabilities on the virtual stage. Artists from around the country submitted their works of original theatre—monologue, spoken word, dance, or music—based on creative prompts on the theme of Connection. The work is the result of twenty-four collaborations between Participating Artists and Collaborating Artists.
The Thanksgiving Play Spotlight on Plays returns with Larissa FastHorse’s The Thanksgiving Play, directed by Leigh Silverman. The cast features Tony nominees Heidi Schreck and Bobby Cannavale, along with Keanu Reeves and Alia Shawkat.
Whiterock Cliff Goode Productions presents a streaming production of Ryan McCurdy’s one-man Off-Broadway musical Whiterock Cliff will be performed live at New York’s Funkadelic Studios for a five-week virtual run.
The show features a book by Ryan McCurdy and Ellie Pyle, music and lyrics by McCurdy, and directed by Mary Chieffo.
Whiterock Cliff weaves together memory, music, mental health, the creative process, the stories we tell ourselves, and the ones we tell to each other.
This act is performed live each night with the permission of Actors’ Equity from a Times Square studio with one performer, three cameras, and eight musical instruments.
Wish You Were Here: The world premiere of Sanaz Toossi’s new work releases as part of the partnership between Williamstown Theatre Festival and Audible Theater. Nikki Massoud, Marjan Neshat, Nazanin Nour, Artemis Pebdani, and Roxanna Hope Radja star in the podcast production directed by Gaye Taylor Upchurch.
The musical follows two aspiring playwrights, Bud and Doug, as they attempt to secure producers for their new musical about printing press inventor Johann Gutenberg. The pair sing all the songs and play all the parts in the hope of a Broadway contract.
Romeo y Julieta Lupita Nyong’o and Juan Castano star in this free bilingual audioplay of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, presented by the Public Theater and WNYC Studios.
Lights on the Radio Tower Originally developed at the Adirondack Theatre Festival and Bloomington Playwrights Project, this thrilling two-hander rock musical tells the story of Molly and Jesse, a brother and sister who, after eighteen years apart, reunite at their decaying childhood home following the death of their father. The estranged rock duo’s competing recollections of their childhood, their last night together, and their final gig force them to face the painful truth of their past.
La Femme Theatre Productions: The Night of the Iguana The show will feature Golden Globe winner and Emmy nominee Dylan McDermott (Netflix’s “Hollywood”) as Reverend Shannon, Emmy nominee and Tony Award winner Phylicia Rashad (Broadway’s Cat on a Hot Tin Roof) as Maxine, Roberta Maxwell (Broadway’s Summer and Smoke) as Judith Fellowes, Tony nominee, Obie and Drama Desk Award winner Austin Pendleton (Broadway’s Choir Boy) as Nonno, and Jean Lichty (Off-Broadway’s A Lovely Sunday for Creve Coeur, The Traveling Lady) as Hannah, with Keith Randolph Smith (Broadway’s Jitney, American Psycho) as Jake, Carmen Berkeley (Off-Broadway’s Our Dear Dead Drug Lord) as Charlotte, Eliud Kauffman (Roundabout Theatre’s 72 Miles to Go) as Hank, Julio Macias (Netflix’s “On My Block”) as Pancho, Stephanie Schmiderer (No Exit, The Human Voice) as Frau Fahrenkopf, Bradley James Tejeda (Broadway’s The Inheritance) as Pedro, and John Hans Tester (Amazon’s ”Hunters” ) as Herr Fahrenkopf.
Waiting for Godot Directed by Scott Elliott, the classic features Tony nominee Ethan Hawke as Vladimir, Tony recipient John Leguizamo as Estragon, Wallace Shawn as Lucky, rapper Tarik Trotter as Pozzo, and Drake Bradshaw as Boy.
In Waiting for Godot two wanderers wait by a lonely tree, to meet up with Mr. Godot, who they hope will change their lives for the better. Instead, another couple of eccentric travelers arrive, one man on the end of the other’s rope.
The creative team also includes production designer Derek McLane, costume designer Qween Jean, sound designer Justin Ellington, director of photography Kramer Morgenthau, editor Yonatan Weinstein, and associate director Monet.
The New York Pops Up Festival a thousand in-person performances throughout the state from now through June. Most events associated with NY PopsUp will be unannounced (and unticketed) and will be designed so that New Yorkers happen upon them in their everyday lives. (Since we can’t have large gatherings right now, we want to bring a lot of small things to the public where they are) NY PopsUp is a surprise that you happen upon, rather than an event or concert you are alerted to via a notification or a schedule.
Julius Caesar, Starring Patrick Page By Shakespeare@ Tony nominee Patrick Page (Hadestown) stars in the title role with Jordan Barbour (The Inheritance) as Brutus and Keith Hamilton Cobb (American Moor) as Cassius. West End Harry Potter and the Cursed Child performers Jamie Ballard and James Howard co-star as Mark Antony and Metellus Cimber, respectively.
The production is also be available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Soundcloud, and Stitcher.
Produced by Jersey City’s Shakespeare@, this audio production is the third installment of the season, produced and adapted by Artistic Director Sean Hagerty.
Hagerty has crafted the production into four weekly parts and partnered with the Emmy-winning team at Sonic Designs to capture the lost art and thrill of radio drama all without leaving the confines of quarantine.
Julius Caesar features original music composed by Joan Melton with sound design by the Emmy-winning team of Dan Gerhard and Ellen Fitton of Sonic Designs. Justin Goldner is the music producer and supervisor, and casting is by Robin Carus. Sydney Steele serves as the associate producer.
Assassins Reunion: Original Off-Broadway Cast The original cast and creative team of the 1991 Off-Broadway debut of Stephen Sondheim and John Weidman’s Tony-winning Assassins will reunite virtually to celebrate the musical’s 30th anniversary.
The free online event is part of the Studio Tenn Talks: Conversations with Patrick Cassidy series and will feature Studio Tenn Artistic Director Cassidy as well as other original cast members Victor Garber, Greg Germann, Annie Golden, Lyn Greene, Jonathan Hadary, Eddie Korbich, Terrence Mann, Debra Monk, William Parry, and Lee Wilkof plus Sondheim and Weidman, director Jerry Zaks, musical director Paul Gemignani, and orchestrator Michael Starobin.
The Things Are Against Us Susan Soon He Stanton’s The Things Are Against Us will be the next production in MCC’s LiveLab one-act digital reading series. Ellie Heyman directs the cast, which includes Juan Castano, Emily Davis, Susannah Flood, Babak Tafti, and Danny Wolohan, in tthe play set in a mysterious house with a mind of its own.
SoHo Playhouse Presents Typical Soho Theatre and Nouveau Riche present the world premiere of Typical, the film version of the stage play, released exclusively on Soho Theatre On Demand
Written by Ryan Calais Cameron and directed by Anastasia Osei-Kuffour, Typical uncovers the man and the humanity behind the tragic true-life events of Black British ex-serviceman Christopher Alder and the injustice that still remains twenty years since his story emerged.
The Manic Monologues Current Slave Play Tony nominee Ato Blankson-Wood, Rent Tony winner Wilson Jermaine Heredia, Accidentally Brave playwright Maddie Corman, and more stage favorites will explore mental health this winter in a new digital production from the McCarter Theatre Center.
The Manic Monologues debuts February 18 with 21 true-life monologues that users can explore at their own pace and through an interactive element virtually respond.]
Live From The Hotel Edison Times Square Chronicles Presents Maury Yeston and Victoria Clark
I am so pleased to announce our guests for this Wednesday’s show on February 28th are two time Tony winner Maury Yeston and two time Tony winner Victoria Clark.
Yeston and Clark first worked on his musical Titanic, which was written in 1997 and he won two Tony Awards for Best Musical and Best Score and was nominated for Grammy Award. This year Titanic is part of the Encore series.
Victoria has two solo discs available through PS Classics:Fifteen Seconds of Grace and the recent reimagining of Maury Yeston’s acclaimed song cycle December Songs.
Maury Yeston is a composer, lyricist and music theorist. He has written the music and lyrics for several Broadway musicals, a classical orchestral and ballet composer.
His musical Nine in 1982, also won Tony Awards for Best Musical and Best Score and was nominated for Grammy Award. Rumor has it that this show could come back. He also was nominated for an Academy Award and a Golden Globe for two of his new songs in the film version of Nine.
His show Grand Hotel in 1989, received a Tony nomination for best score and Drama Desk Awards nominations for his music and lyrics, and one for his incidental music to The Royal Family in 2009.
His musical version of the novel The Phantom of the Opera, titled Phantom (1991), has received more than 1,000 productions worldwide and will be done in a concert version later this year.
His off-Broadway musicals include Death Takes a Holiday (2011), nominated for eleven Drama Desk Awards. Other works include December Songs, a classical crossoversong cycle commissioned by Carnegie Hall for its centennial celebration; An American Cantata: 2000 Voices (a three-movement choral symphony commissioned by the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts for its millennium celebration); Tom Sawyer: A Ballet in Three Acts, a full-length story ballet commissioned by the Kansas City Ballet for the opening of the new Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts in Kansas City; a cello concerto, premiered by Yo-Yo Ma; and other pieces for chamber ensembles and solo piano.
Yeston was an associate professor of music and Director of Undergraduate Studies in Music at Yale University for eight years, authoring two books on music theory. He also presided over and taught the BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theater Workshop in New York City for more than two decades beginning in 1982. Yeston has won two Tony Awards, two Drama Desk Awards and an Olivier Award, and has been inducted into The Theater Hall of Fame.
Victoria Clark is a Tony-Award winning actress, director and educator. She is currently starring on Broadway in her Tony award winning role as Kimberly Akimbo. Her first Broadway job was understudying in the original production of Sunday in the Park with George in the same theater she plays Kimberly in 38 years ago. Ms. Clark has starred or appeared in a total of twelve Broadway shows, and countless off-Broadway and regional productions. She received the 2005 Tony, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Awards for her luminous portrayal of Margaret Johnson in The Light in the Piazza, and received three additional Tony nominations for her work in Sister Act (Tony, Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle nominations), Cinderella, and Gigi
Clark is also an avid educator and director, Her breadth of experience and knowledge make her a highly sought-after star and collaborator in this country and around the world. Trained at Interlochen Music Academy, Yale University, The Mozarteum (Salzburg), and New York University’s Graduate Musical Theater Writing Program, Victoria’s experience spans across classical and contemporary idoms, encompassing both existing and new work, in plays, musicals, opera, film and television.
Other Broadway shows include The Snow Geese,How to Succeed…, Urinetown, Cabaret, Guys and Dolls and A Grand Night for Singing. Off-Broadway she was in When the Rain Stops Falling (Drama Desk nomination), A Prayer for My Enemy, The Marriage of Bette and Boo, The Agony and the Agony, Marathon Dancing, Follies (L.A.), Ma Joad in The Grapes of Wrath, and Katisha in The Mikado, both at Carnegie Hall. International: Madame Sousatzska in Sousatzska.
In film you can find her in The Happening, Cradle Will Rock, One Royal Holiday, Wanderland, Archeology of a Woman, Harvest, Tickling Leo and Main Street.
In television Pose, The Blacklist, Almost Family, Law & Order/SVU, The Good Wife, Mercy, and Carrie Mathison’s mother Ellen on Showtime’s Homeland.
She is also a wonderful director, directing: “Come to Jesus,” for MasterVoices’ virtual production of Adam Guettel’s Myths and Hymns; The Dance of Death by August Strindberg (Classic Stage Company); Love Life for New York City Center Encores! (cancelled due to CoVid-19); Scaffolding by Jeff Blumenkrantz starring Rebecca Luker for Premieres! (Barrow Group Theater); Paper Piano by Mary Jo Shen (Joe’s Pub); Hansel and Gretl and Heidi And Günther (Village Theater Festival of New Musicals); Newton’s Cradle, NAMT Festival, (Best Director Award); The Trouble With Doug/Fredericia Theater, Denmark; The Impresario (Philadelphia Opera Theater); eight productions for Texas Opera Theater, the touring arm of Houston Grand Opera, introducing students of all ages to opera and musical theater; Shakin’ The Blues Away: An Irving Berlin Revue (Goodspeed Opera House).
Loving the ability to give back she is a master teacher in U.S. and abroad. She is on the visiting faculty for Yale University, Artist-in residence, Duke University, and Pace School of the Performing Arts, where she directed The Light in the Piazza.
She is on the board of New York City Center and The Kurt Weill Foundation.
But her favorite role is Thomas Luke’s mom. Victoria resides in New York with her husband Tom Reidy and their rescue Golden Retriever Ollie.
“Live From The Hotel Edison Times Square Chronicles Presents ”, is a new show that will be filmed live every Wednesday from 5 – 6 in the lobby of the iconic Hotel Edison, before a live audience. To see our first episode click here second episode click here and for our third episode click here.
Hope you can join us for what will be one fabulous musical night.
The New Group’s “The Seven Year Disappear” Is a Sweet Wonderful Lollipop of Strong Whiskey and Sadness
“Have I got the complicated guy for you?” And with that commentary from one friend to another, The New Group‘s fantastically layered cocktail of whisky and sadness dives in. It’s a deliciously adept remark, related somewhere in the midst of this time-jumping fascination that revels in art and protest; personal and political. Or so The Seven Year Disappear, written with forceful intent and intelligence by Jordan Seavey (Homos, or Everyone in America), tells us. The complication and attraction are stated by one of the many wild and wonderful interactions had by the son and manager of the world-famous performance artist, played to detailed length by the wonderful Cynthia Nixon (“The Gilded Age“; MTC’s The Little Foxes). He, Naphtali, dynamically portrayed by Taylor Trensch (LCT’s Camelot; Broadway’s Hello, Dolly!), is that guy. He’s part of the art, but this time, he has been left out of the loop, abandoned by his mother after vanishing into thin air, as he stood, introducing her to a roomful of donors at an event organized by him to announce a new creation that she has been commissioned for by MoMA.
But, she was gone, yet also, as this play spins forward and back most savagely, she is everywhere. As the timeline zips up and down in the background, giving titles to framed artworks of time, Naphtali tries in his own way to cope with the sudden disappearance and move forward, playing the game, but not aware of the rules. The play, directed with preciseness by Scott Elliott (TNG’s The Seagull/Woodstock, NY), is a masterclass of performance and creation, taught by the incomparable Nixon. She presents herself as both the artist and the art, taking on all the faces of those Trensch’s desperate son engages with during those years; friends, lovers, coworkers, lovers, and flirtations. Nixon digs in with all her might, taking on accents and postures that resonate and reveal both their harshness and their care. It’s clever and fascinating in its construct, especially as it bounces around, unleashing all the responses one could have with such a mother as this.
And then she returns, suddenly from her disappearance act of art, taking a seat casually, requesting cooperation and involvement, when she has given him neither. Naphtali must confront her absence and neglect, something that has been painted on him from the day he was born, like a canvas. But it all comes to a centerpiece head with a request that baffles him, yet explains so much, without her answering the questions and inquires he has for her. It’s a compelling setup, that delicately transforms itself before us on that meticulously cold-formed stage, courtesy of scenic designer Derek McLane (Broadway’s Moulin Rouge!), with simple yet effective costuming by Qween Jean (TNG’s Black No More), complex and determined lighting by Jeff Croiter (MTC’s Cost of Living), solid and electric sound by Rob Milburn & Michael Bodeen (Broadway’s Sweat), and the meticulously well scrolled out projection design by John Narun (Life Jacket’s Gorey…).
It’s all “part of the art“, we are told by The New Group‘s The Seven Year Disappear, and part of the game, and it works, this sweet lollipop of art and attachment, reconstructing its own brilliantly crafted formula as a way to wrap up the discontent and connection. It’s captivating and fascinating, watching the attachment and anger flourish and recede into the performance art that is at its core. The two relish the wonderfully created interactions, finding layers of complication and attraction to interact with inside an installation of reconciliation and art. The range of ideas unspooled is relentless and ravishing in its determined approach to a mother and a son, and their complicated dance of love and misuse. And I was enthralled.
For more information and tickets, click here.
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Betty Buckley Returns to Joe’s Pub
Tony Award-winning, stage and screen icon Betty Buckley returns to Joe’s Pub in New York City for six live performances on May 16-18, 2024. She is joined by her long-time collaborator and Grammy® nominated pianist/MD Christian Jacob, Tony Marino on bass and Jamey Haddad on drums.
The Joe’s Pub concerts will take place on May 16-18, 2024 at 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. (Doors open at 6:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. respectively). Joe’s Pub is located at The Public, 425 Lafayette Street. Tickets now on sale HERE.
Most recently, Ms. Buckley is co-starring in the upcoming horror film Imaginary, set for U.S. release March 8, 2024, presented by Lionsgate and Blumhouse. From Blumhouse, the genre-defining masterminds behind Five Nights at Freddy’s and M3GAN, the film explores the universal idea of imaginary friends and childhood connections to them and what otherworldly realms they may inhabit.
Additionally, Ms. Buckley wrote, narrated and produced The Mayfly, an animated short film that will have its world debut on March 24, 2024 at the American Documentary and Animation Film Festival (AmDoc Film Festival) in Palm Springs, Calif. Tickets are available to the public HERE. The Mayfly is directed by award winning animator, Sue Perrotto, and the music is composed by Christian Jacob. BluBlu Studios in Poland is the animation house.
Ms. Buckley will also perform in a tribute concert A BROADWAY BIRTHDAY: Sondheim, Lloyd Webber, and Friends! in Costa Mesa, Calif. The show takes place at the Segerstrom Concert Hall on Thursday, March 28 at 8 p.m. Joining her in performance are Kerry O’Malley, Liz Callaway, Aaron Lazar and Alex Joseph Grayson. Visit www.scfta.org/events/2024/sondheim-lloyd-webber-and-friends for tickets and more information. Her upcoming calendar includes a Master Class and concert at Mercyhurst University in Erie, PA on April 19 and an evening with Christian Jacob at Adelphi University in Garden City, NY on May 11.
Betty Buckley is a legendary, multi-award winning actress/singer whose career spans theater, film, television and concert halls around the world. She is a 2012 Theatre Hall of Fame inductee and the 2017 recipient of the Julie Harris Awards from The Actor’s Fund for Artistic Achievement and received The Lifetime Achievement Award from The American Songbook Association in 2023.
She won a Tony Award for her performance as Grizabella, the Glamour Cat, in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s CATS and received her second Tony Award nomination for Best Actress in a musical for her performance as Hesione in Triumph of Love. She received an Olivier Award nomination for her critically acclaimed interpretation of Norma Desmond in the London production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Sunset Boulevard, which she repeated to more rave reviews on Broadway.
Ms. Buckley co-stars in the film Imaginary for Blumhouse Productions and to be released by Lionsgate in March 2024. She co-starred with James McAvoy in the M. Night Shyamalan hit film Split, one of the top international box office hits of 2017. She received a Saturn Award Nomination for Best Featured Actress for her work in the film.
Her other films include her debut in Brian de Palma’s screen version of Stephen King’s Carrie, Bruce Beresford’s Tender Mercies, Roman Polanski’s Frantic, Woody Allen’s Another Woman, Lawrence Kasden’s Wyatt Earp and M. Night Shyamalan’sThe Happening.
Her other Broadway credits include 1776, Pippin, Song and Dance, The Mystery of Edwin Drood and Carrie. She headlined the first National Tour of the new Broadway production of Hello, Dolly! in 2018/2019.
Off-Broadway credits include the world premiere of Horton Foote’s The Old Friends for which she received a Drama Desk Nomination in 2014, White Lies, Lincoln Center’s Elegies, the original NYSF production of The Mystery of Edwin Drood, The Eros Trilogy, Juno’s Swans and I’m Getting My Act Together and Taking It On the Road. Regional credits include The Perfectionist, Gypsy, The Threepenny Opera, Camino Real, Buffalo Gal, Arsenic and Old Lace, The Old Friends at Houston’s Alley Theatre and Grey Gardens at the Bay Street Theatre in Sag Harbor, NY and The Ahmanson Theater in Los Angeles in 2016 for which she received an Ovation Award Nomination.
In London, she starred in Promises, Promises for which she was nominated for An Evening Standard Award and in the 2013 British premiere of Dear World.
On television, Buckley has a recurring role on “Law & Order SVU” for NBC and guest starred on the Fox/Warner Bros. TV show “The Cleaning Lady.” She co-starred in the third season of AMC’s hit series “Preacher” and has guest starred on The CW hit “Supergirl”, the NBC Series “Chicago Med” and ABC Family’s “Pretty Little Liars.” For HBO, she has appeared on “Getting On”, “The Leftovers”, “The Pacific” and for three seasons on OZ. She starred as Abby Bradford in the hit series “Eight is Enough.” She appeared twice on The Kennedy Center Honors and was a guest star in numerous television series, miniseries and films for television including Evergreen, Roses for the Rich and Without a Trace. She has been nominated for two Daytime Emmy Awards® for her work on Taking a Stand, an After School special.
In 2022, she released the compilation recording Betty Buckley Sings Stephen Sondheim as a tribute to the late composer. The recording comprises 24 songs Buckley has recorded of Sondheim’s music over the span of her career. She has recorded 18 CD’s: including Ghostlight, produced by T Bone Burnett released in 2014, Story Songs in 2017 and Hope in 2018. Buckley tours in concert worldwide with her ensemble of musicians and in 2015 was featured in the Royal Albert Hall concert of Follies, in celebration of Stephen Sondheim’s 85th birthday.
She received a Grammy Nomination for Stars and the Moon, Betty Buckley Live at the Donmar. She received her second Grammy Nomination for the audio book The Diaries of Adam and Eve.
For over forty years, Ms. Buckley has been a teacher of scene study and song interpretation, giving workshops in Manhattan and various universities and performing Arts Conservatories around the country. She has been a faculty member in the theatre department of the University of Texas at Arlington and teaches regularly at the T. Schreiber Studio in New York City, The Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, TX and in Los Angeles, Denver and Oklahoma.
In 2009, Ms. Buckley received the Texas Medal of Arts Award for Theater and was inducted into the Texas Film Hall of Fame in 2007. In 2015, she was awarded The Stephen Bruton Award by The Lone Star Film Festival for her work in film and music. In 2018, she received the Sarah Siddons Award for outstanding theatrical performance in a Chicago theatrical production. She has two honorary doctorates from The Boston Conservatory and Marymount College and has been honored with three Lifetime Achievement Awards for her contributions to theater from the New England Theater Conference, The Shubert Theater in New Haven and the Terry Schreiber School in NYC.
The Connector at MCC
Journalism as a background topic seems never to fail to please an audience, from The Front Page to All the President’s Men and Network, and now to The Connector. MCC Theater has delivered a gut-punching story, the kind you’ll be talking about at your next party. The basic plot is simple enough, and a thoroughly capable and engaging cast directed by Daisy Prince tells the story succinctly, crisply and effectively.
I would be remiss if the set design were not in the spotlight. The title is projected onto a scrim the size of the stage in letters 75% the height of the space moving across like the Times Square Zipper. On this scrim one can see pages of the titled magazine neatly displayed. This partially obscures the orchestra.
Banker boxes of paper flank the stage and are used to simulate additional office space.
Lighting on the floor of the stage helps define the space from office to meeting space to cocktail lounge and works like a part of the set design. Hats off to Beowulf Boritt and Jeanette Oi-Suk Yew for a bit of magic before the actors set foot on the stage.
The audience must confront the following statements throughout, and they arrive like a splash of cold water in the face. The whole world changed and everything stayed the same. Truth is not about the facts—they can be manipulated. The whole world changed but the truth remained the same. Who cares if it’s true–is truth the same as fact? Truth is not what you say it is. We believe what we believe.
The main character is Ethan Dobson (Ben Levi Ross), a wunderkind whose secondary speciality is the ability to ingratiate himself with everyone of consequence. He is also an excellent writer. His boss Conrad O’Brien (Scott Bakula) sees in Ethan his younger self and becomes his champion. All this is observed by Robin Martinez (Hannah Cruz), a copy writer who feels neglected and underappreciated.
Shake these characters up a bit and they could be Perry White, Lois Lane and Clark Kent. It would be a disservice to reveal the ending, but suffice it to say that it is predictable while shocking. Elements of this work could have been ripped from newspapers now, which only underscores the eternal truth of the more things change, the more they remain the same.
The music by Jason Robert Brown works effectively to tell this tale and is modern and true to the times and topic. The audience was very receptive to it. Jonathan Marc Sherman’s book is riveting, and Daisy Prince keeps this fast-moving train on track beautifully. The ending is quite moving, and there is an element that could be regarded as a gimmick, but unlike most, it works beautifully and will not soon be forgotten. Nor will this play – see it now!
The Connector: MCC Theater Space, 511 W 52nd Street, through March 17th.
The Glorious Corner
GORDON OH GORDON — (from The Guardian) In the 1960’s and 70’s, no serious rock fan viewed the drummer Jim Gordon with anything but awe. By the 80’s, none of them viewed him with anything but contempt, a 180-degree turn that led to his virtual erasure from the culture. Even four decades later, when the veteran music journalist Joel Selvin first tried to sell publishers on a book meant to tell Gordon’s story with nuance and depth, they balked. “They would debate it for months and then say, ‘Nope, can’t do it,’” Selvin said. “It was almost impossible for them because of what he had done.”
In 1983, he entered his mother’s house and began to attack her with a hammer, crashing it into her skull four times before grabbing a knife and stabbing her repeatedly, the final time with such force it pinned her to the floor. Soon after her resulting death, Gordon was arrested, charged and convicted of murder, and spent the next four decades in prison, before dying this past March at 77. Over the years, several prominent articles have been published that tried to trace the outlines of Gordon’s story, ascribing his heinous act to an diagnosed case of schizophrenia that forced him to hear voices and experience hallucinations. Yet only in Selvin’s new book, Drums & Demons, does the reader get a feel for the full horror of his disease and the mess it made of his mind. “In one of his hallucinations, he thought he was in a jail cell that was on fire,” Selvin said. “To me, that was a metaphor for Jim’s whole life. For him, life was a jail cell that was always on fire.”
Despite the chaos that created, both for Gordon, and increasingly, for those around him, Selvin aimed to tell his story with empathy. Only after the drummer’s death was, he able to finally convince a publisher to go along. “The guy got so little compassion,” he said. “I wanted readers to know just how impossible Jim’s life was and how brave he was in battling the disease.”
At the same time, the author meant to “restore Jim’s peerless legacy. Who has done more to put his mark on our music than Jim Gordon?” Selvin said. “What a playlist he was on!”
Just tracing the surface of Gordon’s contributions reveals more than 100 classic songs powered by his invention and finesse. In his early studio work, he appeared on an entire chart’s worth of pop hits, by acts like the Beach Boys, Ike & Tina Turner, the Byrds and Glen Campbell. By the 70’s, he became a key member of pivotal rock bands, including Delaney & Bonnie, Mad Dogs & Englishmen, Derek and the Dominos and Traffic. Growing up in the San Fernando Valley of California, Gordon became entranced by the power of the beat from childhood. He played in bands by puberty and, by 17, helped flesh out demos for the publishing arm of Liberty Records. That same year, he joined the Everly Brothers on a tour of England and, afterwards, became part of the storied Wrecking Crew, a loose collection of studio musicians who played on a dizzying range of 60’s hits. “Back then, there were loads of great studio drummers,” said Lenny Waronker, a legendary producer and record executive whose career started in the same west coast studio milieu of the 60’s. “Jim was able to plow through that. All the other musicians were amazed by him.”
Gordon’s role on those storied sessions extended way beyond the simple task of keeping time. “He wasn’t just a backbeat guy,” Selvin said. “He was a fully musical drummer who embedded his playing into the core of the composition.”
For instance: in the 70’s hit, Grazing in the Grass, by the Friends of Distinction, Gordon’s drum elaborated the song. “Even though there was a chart in which every note was written out for him, he added a Latin boogaloo feel that exploded the whole record,” Selvin said.
The fills and intonations he added to Carly Simon’s You’re So Vain contoured the melody and directed the listener’s ear to the record’s subtler touches. “Jim orchestrated that entire song from the drum stool,” Selvin said. In Maria Muldaur’s number one smash Midnight at the Oasis, he added a key samba groove, while in Steely Dan’s Rikki Don’t Lose That Number, the tricky beat he devised deepened the song’s debt to jazz. In doing so, “Jim became an important part of the hit-making process,” Selvin said.
Mark Lindsay, frontman of the hit group Paul Revere & the Raiders, immediately noticed Gordon’s gift after he was hired to drum on their song The Great Airplane Strike. “He was doing this polyrhythmic thing with a kick, a snare and a high hat, accented by tom-toms,” Lindsay said. “He changed the song up so much that I wound up rewriting half of my lyrics to fit was he was doing! Jim became the conductor of the track.”
Waronker recognized the same level of creativity on Sundown, a song he produced for Gordon Lightfoot that became a number one hit. “His drum part made the song move in its own way,” he said. “It’s a specific rhythm that Jimmy picked up from Gordon’s guitar. It became one of the most important parts of the song.”
In the 70’s, Gordon expanded his range to work with rock’n’roll’s most cutting-edge bands on the road. “When you listen to his live work with Mad Dogs & Englishmen or Derek and the Dominos, he’s unleashed,” Selvin said. “The ideas just flow from him.”
At the same time, the voices that were roiling inside his head began to find disturbing external expression. In an infamous incident on the Mad Dogs tour, he hauled off and punched his then girlfriend, the singer Rita Coolidge, in the head. “Here was a guy who was noted for being gentle, smiling and laid back,” Selvin said. “But that was just the mask he wore.”
Some people were already beginning to see through it. “[The singer] Claudia Lennear said she always wondered about that smile,” Selvin said. “It was too simple. She felt he was hiding behind it.”
“Jim had such genius,” Lindsay said, “but I sensed there might be something lurking behind the curtain.”
To Selvin, Gordon’s talent can’t be separated from his torment. “The level of intuition that Jim displayed
in his playing requires a certain electro-chemical makeup,” he said. “His highly personal style had to come from the same place in the brain that produced his schizophrenia.”
At the same time, the focus and power involved in playing drums gave Gordon a refuge from the cyclone of thoughts whipping through his head. “The combination of the resonance of the drums and the rhythmic entertainment of the groove produces a hypnotic feeling that can lift you out,” Selvin said. “Nothing calms a schizophrenic faster than a Walkman and a pair of headphones. For Jim, the drums provided a place where the voices couldn’t follow.”
Strangely enough, the herculean amount of recreational drugs Gordon took at the time also had a calming effect. “You would think that the massive amounts of cocaine he did would make things worse,” Selvin said. “But I talked to psychiatrists who said that it would normalize his dopamine levels. He was doing blow to feel normal.”
Similarly, the crazy rock’n’roll lifestyle of the 70’s, which Gordon exemplified, served as a cover for his increasingly aberrant actions. “The rock scene of the time was nearly indistinguishable from psychotic behavior,” Selvin said with a rueful laugh. “Jim just blended into the background.”
It helped that, at the time, he was still soaring creatively. In 1973, Gordon devised a pair of drum patterns that proved crucial to the development of two separate genres. His work on the Hues Corporation’s smash Rock the Boat, with its high-hat syncopations and danceable beat, helped patent the rhythms of disco. Similarly, his extended break on the song Apache, paired with the congas of King Errisson, became a foundational pattern in hip-hop that was later sampled ad infinitum. “When Kool Herc found Jim’s long drum break on Apache, he discovered that he could make it bound from one turntable to another forever,” Selvin said. “He was driving crowds nuts with that sound.”
By late in 1973, however, Gordon’s beat, and sanity, were beginning to seriously waver. He viciously attacked his wife Renee Armand, cracking several ribs in the process, ending their marriage. His work with the would-be country-rock super group Souther-Hilman-Furay Band grew so erratic they had to sack him. While he managed to keep it together in the studio for a few more years, by 1978 Gordon proved too unreliable to be employed.
In a reporting coup, Selvin acquired research that helped fill in Gordon’s inner life during that pivotal time. He found two women who, in the late 80’s, had gained the drummer’s cooperation for a book that never got off the ground. The notes they took gave Selvin access to jail house interviews with Gordon along with his medical records and related court documents. (Selvin sent several written requests to interview Gordon himself but they went answered.) Regardless, the research he acquired from the women allowed him to put the reader deep inside the musician’s roiling mind.
The voices Gordon heard shamed him so deeply, he rarely told anyone about them, which contributed to him never getting a proper diagnosis. His mother, one of his closest witnesses, believed that drinking and drugs were his problem rather than a symptom of something far more corrosive. While Gordon began to imagine that many people were torturing him at the time, the main voice in his head was his mother’s. “Because Jim’s father was a practicing alcoholic, his mother became the sub rosa leader of the household,” Selvin said. “That’s why she became the major figure in this panoply of voices hectoring him.”
As a result, it was her voice that he felt the most urgent need to silence. Once details of the subsequent murder came out, some observers who knew Gordon in his high functioning days were floored. “When I knew him, he was a tremendously nice person,” Waronker said. “He was the all-American boy.”
Selvin’s book describes what led up to the murder in granular detail, but he doesn’t write much about Gordon’s subsequent decades in prison because, he said, he found it undramatic. Often keeping to himself, Gordon became a virtual zombie due to the anti-psychotic drugs the prison pumped him with. Rare as Gordon’s particular case was, one key reason Selvin said he wrote his book was to let readers know how common various forms of schizophrenia are. “To me, the single most astonishing fact of the research I did was that schizophrenia affects one in 100 people,” he said. “Let that sink in: Multiple sclerosis affects one in 10,000! We see these people out in the street, hearing voices all the time. Their world is totally frightening. And I have nothing but compassion for them. Unfortunately, society doesn’t.”
The other key reason Selvin wrote Drums & Demons, he said, was to restore Jim Gordon to the popular music world. “He’s gone,” he said, “and he needs to come back.”
Drums & Demons: The Tragic Journey of Jim Gordon is out on 27 February.
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I don’t know why Lorne Michaels would even want him back, except for some splashy ink – which wasn’t terribly kind. This appears to be Michael’s next-to-last year on the show and he’s clearly choosing to go out quietly. No more gas in the engine I fear …
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