12:00: Broadway Cast of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella Reunion By The Rodgers and Hammerstein Organization The Broadway cast of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella, including Laura Osnes, Santino Fontana, Victoria Clark, Ann Harada, and Gildred Smith.
1pm: LAO at Home: Backstage at LAO By LA Opera The company’s beloved Music Director, James Conlon, hosts an informal chat, Coffee with Conlon, taking on questions submitted online with a special focus on Wagner’s Ring cycle.
2pm: Live With Carnegie Hall: Audra McDonald musical director Andy Einhorn to showcase new repertoire selections and speak with Mo Rocca.
Music has the undeniable power to comfort, uplift, connect, and inspire. In response to this unprecedented time, we invite you to join us for an entirely new online series: Live with Carnegie Hall. Tune in for unforgettable episodes that feature some of the world’s finest artists as they share behind-the-scenes stories, excerpts from past performances, and live musical moments.
2:30: Songs For A New World The Other Palace Jason Robert Brown’s first musical is presented online by this UK company with a starry cast: Rachel John, Ramin Karimloo, Cedric Neal and Rachel Tucker, “Filmed entirely in isolation” Tickets: £12.50
3pm: Christina Bianco Lockdown Live By TDF Forbidden Broadway star sings in support of TDF’s Lifeline Campaign: Protect Today, Rebuild Tomorrow campaign. Bianco’s former Forbidden Broadway and NEWSical the Musical co-star Michael West will make a guest appearance. TDF will also host a watch party on Facebook.
3:30pm: Moment Matinee Presents Songs of the Decade: The Roaring TwentiesMichael Lavine is presenting a special Webinar Zoominar benefit series: Moment Matinee Presents Songs of the Decade. The first of the three decades will be The Roaring Twenties, with live performances from Broadway and cabaret acclaimed artists as well as some premiere recordings.
Performers for the 2nd program will include Steve Ross, the incomparable singer – pianist. He has been declared “The Crown Prince of New York Cabaret” and has performed throughout the world to universal acclaim. KT Sullivan, singer actress, is artistic director of The Mabel Mercer Foundation & New York Cabaret Convention. She starred in the Broadway revival of Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, as well as in other shows in New York and across the country. Also Daisy Egan, the Tony Award winning star of The Secret Garden will be heard. The talented actress has appeared in numerous shows, films and television. She will perform a duet with Michael that will be on his upcoming CD, “Me… and My Girls”. There will be other surprises. Tickets are $25 – $60.
4:30: Playbill’s Stream Stealers: Ben Miles Stream Stealers continues with The Lehman Trilogy star Ben Miles. The stage and screen star played Emanuel Lehman in the West End and on Broadway.
Prior to that, he played Peter Townsend in The Crown on Netflix. Additional credits include Coupling and The Romanoffs.
Up next the performer stars in Capture on NBC Peacock.
4pm–9:30pm: Marie’s Crisis Virtual Piano Bar Tonight’s scheduled pianists are Alex Barylski (@Alexander-Barylski) and Adam Michael Tilford (@Adam-Tilford-1).
5pm: Watch Me Work: Suzan Lori Parks She’s back. A meditation on the artistic process, and an actual work session, featuring Suzan-Lori Parks working on her newest writing project. Traditionally hosted on the mezzanine of The Public Theater Lobby, this new version will bring the program to your home via Zoom sessions and HowlRound livestreams.
6pm: Classic Conversations: André De Shields By Classic Stage Company hosted by Artistic Director John Doyle. The series continues with Tony winner André De Shields (Hadestown, The Wiz), who that same year performed in Doyle’s staging of As You Like It at CSC in 2017.
6pm: Shakespeare in Vegas, Starring Karen Ziemba and Patrick Page By TheatreWorks. Tony Award winner Karen Ziemba (Contact, Curtains, Prince of Broadway) and Tony Award nominee Patrick Page (Hadestown) will head up a dynamic cast when TheatreWorks Silicon Valley presents a benefit online reading of Shakespeare in Vegas, a rollicking comedy by Suzanne Bradbeer.
Presented by TheatreWorks’s New Works from Home program in partnership with Vegas Theatre Company, this comedy shines a spotlight on an unlikely pairing, as a wiseguy producer with a dream and a despondent New York actor join forces in their attempt to bring the Bard of Avon to Sin City.
Helmed by Las Vegas native and TheatreWorks’s Artistic Associate and Director of New Works Giovanna Sardelli, Shakespeare in Vegas will be offered via video streaming from 6pm (PT), Thursday, July 23, 2020 until 6pm (PT), Monday, July 27, 2020.
A link to stream the show will be available at TheatreWorks.org for no charge, although donations are encouraged to support the 2019 Regional Theatre Tony-winning TheatreWorks Silicon Valley, which like theatres across America has been forced to cancel in-theatre performances to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
For information the public may visit TheatreWorks.org or call (650) 463-1960.
6pm and 10pm: Pieces of the Moon Audiences can mark the 51st anniversary of the U.S. landing on the moon July 20 when Hammer Theatre Center and One Year Lease Theater Company (OYL) partner for a special presentation of Pieces of the Moon, a timely and compelling new play by Nick Flint adapted for radio, making its world premiere via live stream.
Originally commissioned and developed by OYL, this theatrical jazz riff explores the rise of the Black Arts Movement alongside the Apollo 11 mission which landed the first person on the moon, told from the perspective of “godfather of rap” Gil Scott-Heron.
Directed by OYL Co-Artistic Director Ianthe Demos, the world premiere of this radio play adaptation of Pieces of the Moon will be live streamed July 20 with rebroadcasts will be offered July 23 and July 26.
Streaming is free, but registration is required. For more information or to register, click here.
6pm: The Living Room Plays Workshop By The Old Globe tune in to learn how to write, develop, design, direct, and present your own “living room”–inspired short plays in a final live-streamed, site-specific presentation.
7pm: Quarantine Cabaret and Cocktails is produced and hosted by entertainer and LML Music founder, Lee Lessack, and actor and frequent SNL regular, Robert Bannon. The duo hosts a star-studded group of performers every week with laughs, music, and stories.
7pm: Mother of Exiles The New Group Part of the Facing the Rising Tide digital festival of plays, Jessica Huang’s play follows the Loi family’s journey through America across 200 years, from 1898 California to 2098 somewhere in the middle of the ocean.
7pm: We’re Still Here: A Virtual Cabaret by Alliance Theater a free variety show featuring Broadway stars Terry Burrell (Ethel) and Courtenay Collins (The Prom).Burrell and Collins will alternate as hostess, as they entertain audiences from home with songs, stories, special cocktails, and maybe a surprise guest or two.
7pm: Humanities Symposium Series: The Belle Epoque By Paper Mill Playhouse Join us on the stage of the 1996 production of Gigi. Moderated by Robert Johanson with noted panelists like scholars from Princeton, Rutgers, and Cooper Hewlitt/Parsons, with special guest, Costume Designer Gregg Barnes.
7pm: The Weir By Irish Repertory Theatre In a remote country pub in Ireland, newcomer Valerie arrives and becomes spellbound by an evening of ghostly stories told by the local bachelors who drink there. With a whiff of sexual tension in the air and the wind whistling outside, what starts out as blarney soon turns dark as the tales drift into the realm of the supernatural. Then, Valerie reveals a startling story of her own….
Conor McPherson’s The Weir is a haunting, evocative evening in the theatre you will never forget. This new production has been filmed remotely from quarantine and designed for a digital experience; it is the third Irish Rep production of The Weir. The 2013 Irish Rep production of The Weir was nominated for a Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Revival. Due to audience demand, The Weir was revived again in Irish Rep’s 2015 season.
Written by Conor McPherson
Directed by Ciarán O’Reilly
Starring Dan Butler, Sean Gormley, John Keating, Amanda Quaid, and Tim Ruddy
7pm: Humanities Symposium Series: From Page to Stage From Paper Mill Playhouse on the set of the 1997 production of Man of La Mancha where we take a look at classic novels turned into musicals. See performances by Cheryl Allison, Michelle Dawson, Veryl Jones, James A. Rocco, Susie Speidel, and John Stewart.
7:30: Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette Every bit as heartbreaking and kinetic as the Shakespearean original, Gounod’s ravishing opera features the most famous moments of the play dressed up in unforgettable musical finery. The star-crossed lovers at the center are assigned no fewer than four duets; Romeo’s swashbuckling friend Mercutio gets a first-act showstopper about Queen Mab; and Juliet’s vivacious entrance aria is a waltz so irresistible, anyone would be compelled to scale a balcony for her.
8pm: Stars in the House: Fame Movie Reunion with Debbie Allen, Michael Gore and More A Fame movie reunion, including Guests will include Oscar-winning composer Michael Gore, Oscar-winning lyricist Dean Picthford, and Emmy winner and Tony nominee Debbie Allen (who played Lydia), Lee Curreri (Bruno Martelli), Laura Dean (Lisa Monroe), and Antonia Franceschi (Hillary Van Doren).
8pm: Scar Tissue She NYC Theater Festival In this play by Victoria Fragnito, best friends Jessica and Sam each have scars from their pasts that haven’t healed. After years of denial, an impromptu lunch date and a surprise overnight guest forces them both to confront these wounds and face what they didn’t want to see head-on.
9pm: Under 30 Lab: The Bottoming Process Two writers meet at a WeWork and fall in love—or something like that. One is a famed novelist, and the other is a nobody who’s mostly funny on Twitter. One is nearing middle age, and the other is still fledgling as a twentysomething. One is White, and the other is not. But as they mate and date they’ll be foreced to come to grips with ideas of race, sex, power, and the model minority myth, in order to find out who’s really on top.
Click here to watch on Zoom.
Broadway’s Harmony Sounds Great But Lacks Emotive Power
I don’t think I knew, going in, that Harmony, the new musical from book/lyric writer, Bruce Sussman (Ted Tally’s Coming Attractions) and music writer Barry Manilow now on Broadway at the Ethel Barrymore Theater, is based on a true story. But as it sings itself out to us, it starts by taking us back to the Carnegie Hall stage of 1933, but then shifts even further back to Berlin, Germany 1927, giving us a clearer picture of what might be coming at us. Panning out in tones not so subtle and utilizing the narrative structure of a standard memory play, a narrator, played by the endearing Chip Zien (Broadway’s original Baker in Sondheim/Lapine’s Into the Woods), stands forward, center stage, ushering us into the past and this story. His name, he tells us, is Rabbi, and he once was, back in the day, a member of a comedic singing group in Berlin made up of six young men who could harmonize and craft a joke like few others could. The group, ‘The Comedian Harmonists‘, was an internationally famous, all-male German close harmony ensemble that performed between 1928 and 1934. As one of the most successful musical groups in Europe before World War II, they steadfastly rose to fame and fortune as the Nazis came to power in Germany, and within that historic framework, the dye has been cast and the stage set.
Zien is most definitely an affable figure, one guaranteed to take us through this complicated and emotional story with expert ease, and we feel safe in his testimony. The elder Rabbi pulls us in, ushering us back to the first days of the group, and joining in with the fun whenever he can. It’s a tender beginning, and as directed and choreographed with energy by Warren Carlyle (Broadway’s After Midnight), we are forever cognizant of where this all will be heading. Zien quickly lets us into the framework, informing us that he is the only surviving member of this long-forgotten troop of singers, and he’s here to tell us their story so they won’t be forgotten. Noting the historical landscape, we can’t help but know where we are being delivered to, and it’s not all that shocking where we will end up.
With a group name that doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue, they come together with a joyful clarity, delivering the cool notes of a well-cast harmonic group. The crew of six, including a very good Matthew Mucha (CFRT’s Memphis)-an understudy for the absent Danny Kornfeld (Barrington’s Fiddler on the Roof) who usually plays the parallel part of Rabbi, younger and sweetly entwined with the other five; Sean Bell (HBO’s “Succession”) as Bobby; Zal Owen (Broadway’s The Band’s Visit) as Harry; Eric Peters (National tour: Motown the Musical) as Erich; Blake Roman (Paramount+’s “Blue Bloods”) as Chopin; and Steven Telsey (National tour: The Book of Mormon) as Lesh; come together neatly. They all fit into nicely categorized stereotypes that sing, make scene jokes, and travel the world entertaining their audiences with an ever-increasing amount of success, all under the watchful, but pseudo-approving eyes of the Nazis.
The six singers, all delicious and delightful to watch, deliver the goods solidly, even with songs that aren’t exactly memorable. But they sure look and sound good (and sometimes even great). No wonder they are seen as good public relations personas to the world, especially with their diversity, but as an audience member who knows what’s coming, it doesn’t sit so easily in the pit of our stomachs. The Nazis, as embodied by Andrew O’Shanick (“Pitch Perfect“) as Standartenführer – who claims to be a fan – don’t even seem to mind that a number of the group members, but not all, are in fact Jewish. This comes as a surprise, as most Jews and their equivalents were being robbed of their livelihood, their money, and their passports. But not these boys. Even when they push the boundaries of their PR protections outside of Germany, nothing happens, at least not right away.
The drama of the musical’s story is played out with conviction on a straightforward uncomplicated set by scenic designer Beowulf Boritt (Broadway’s New York, New York), with formula costuming by Linda Cho (Broadway’s Take Me Out) and Ricky Lurie (Gallery Players’ Godspell), inventive lighting by Jules Fisher + Peggy Eisenhauer (Broadway’s Gary), and a solid sound design by Dan Moses Schreier (Roundabout’s Trouble In Mind). It charges forward, but oddly, doesn’t hold us emotionally tight in its arms, running too long, and feeling soft-focused and sometimes generic in tone and form.
Can’t Wait For Boop To Come To Broadway
At the CIBC Theatre in Chicago, BOOP! The Musical, the new Broadway-bound musical extravaganza is making its debut . Actress Jasmine Amy Rogers is currently bringing her to life in Chicago, as she proves in this exciting song “Where I Wanna Be”.
The show is created by Tony Award®–winning director/choreographer Jerry Mitchell (Kinky Boots, La Cage aux Folles, Hairspray) who brings the Queen of the Animated Screen to the theater with celebrated multiple-time Grammy®-winning composer David Foster (“I Have Nothing,” “After the Love Is Gone,” “The Prayer”), Tony-nominated lyricist Susan Birkenhead (Working, Jelly’s Last Jam), and Tony-winning bookwriter Bob Martin (The Drowsy Chaperone, The Prom).
I am obsessed with the songs already. First was “Something To Shout About” and now “Where I Wanna Be”.
For almost a century, Betty Boop has won hearts and inspired fans around the world with her trademark looks, voice, and style. Now, in BOOP!, Betty’s dream of an ordinary day off from the super-celebrity in her black-and-white world leads to an extraordinary adventure of color, music, and love in New York City—one that reminds her and the world, “You are capable of amazing things.” Boop-oop-a-doop!
Ken Fallin’s Broadway: Michael Urie and Ethan Slater
With the holidays, my caricature of Spamalot is taking time, so I decided to highlight the two performers who for me stood out.
I have drawn Michael Urie several times, but I love this picture with him and my drawing of him in Buyer and Seller. Urie as Sir Robin, shows a new side of him that is truly funny.
Ethan Slater should have won a Tony for Sponge Bob Square Pants. My guess is he will be nominated again for his multiple roles in Spamalot.
Up next my caricature of Spamalot
Spamalot Gives Them The Olde Razzle Dazzle
Somehow I missed the original Monty Python’s Spamalot, based on the 1975 film “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” that played 18 years ago. So seeing this production at the St. James Theatre was fresh for me.
This show which runs over 2 1/2 hours is jammed packed with frat boy jokes, an uber talented cast and lots of razzle dazzle by director/ choreographer Josh Rhodes.
Satirizing the Arthurian legend, written by Eric Idle with music and lyrics by Idle and John Du Prez. The plot follows King Arthur (James Monroe Iglehart), as he is searching the kingdom for his Knights of the Round Table with his trusty sidekick Patsy (Christopher Fitzgerald). This is much like Don Quixote and Sancho, without those glorious songs. Instead we get “Look On The Bright Side Of Life.”
Arthur recruits Sir Bedevere the Wise (Jimmy Smagula), Sir Lancelot the handsome and incredibly violent (Taran Killam), Sir Galahad the Pure (Nik Walker) and Sir Robin the Not-Quite-So-Brave (Michael Urie). Arthur leads the knights to Camelot, but, after a Las Vegas Style review, he changes his mind, deeming it “a silly,” and they go off to find the Holy Grail.
In the meantime the Lady of the Lake (Leslie Rodriguez Kritzer) is rather peeved that her role has been cut. Kritzer tears down the house and the scenery with her vocal pyrotechnics and her attitude. She almost steals the show.
Ethan Slater plays the historian, not dead Fred, a baby, a nun, a mine and a minstrel, as well as wimpy Prince Herbert, and a demonic killer bunny. To each of these roles, he is like a chameleon and morphs into a comedic clown. He is truly funny.
Michael Urie, as Sir Robin, is hilarious and has the politically incorrect number “You Won’t Succeed On Broadway,” (if you don’t have any Jews). I am seriously surprised it has not been pulled considering parodies seem to be no longer appropriate.
Paul Tate dePoo III’s set is serviceable, but the projections are fabulous.
Many will like this show and if I had watched their performance on the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, I too would be buying tickets.
Monty Python’s Spamalot: St. James Theatre, 246 W 44th Street.
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