The Broadway Musical Blog – Musical theater news and gossip from the Great White Way

Dishing out daily (or almost daily) Broadway musical news and gossip. The companion site to The Broadway Musical Home (broadwaymusicalhome.com), a directory of Broadway musicals with the story, songs, merchandise, video clips, lyrics, tickets, rights & awards for almost 200 shows.

Archive for March, 2013

Broadway Fan Art T-Shirts

We got a new t-shirt featuring our Broadway Musical Home artwork (by the oh-so-talented Mark H. Adams) and just had to share. Doesn’t it look fab?!

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This shirt got me giddy thinking about the idea of featuring fan art on t-shirts!

Just think – you could spread your love for your favorite Broadway show with a t-shirt different from those worn by every the other fan. The site we got ours from (tshirtprinting.org) has no minimum order, so you could get a shirt only for you, for the entire cast of your high school musical, or for your favorite Broadway geek friends.

Can’t you imagine these amazing drawings and paintings on a t-shirt:



Have you created any fan artwork or t-shirts of your own? We’d love to see! Share in the comments below!

The Broadway Musical Home received a complementary copy of a t-shirt, but was not paid to endorse this product in any way.

The Reviews for Hands on a Hardbody are in…

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The reviews for Hands on a Hardbody are in and critics seemed pleasantly surprised by the production. You get the impression that they all went in expecting to hate a show about a group of people trying to keep their hands on a truck, but though they might have found the show static in parts, the combination of characters and song genres not often seen or heard on the Broadway stage offered a refreshing, definitively American tale. Though a little preachy here and there, a little too Phish-ily repetitive in song-styling and a little too truck-centric in movement terms, they found Hands charming and satisfying.

NEW YORK TIMES

“You can hear the sound of America singing in “Hands on a Hardbody,” the daring new musical that opened at the Brooks Atkinson Theater on Thursday night. With a bravado to match the gumption of its characters…this new show drives onto the Broadway lot without the high-gloss blandishments that adorn most big musicals…Of splashy song and dance there isn’t much. The skillful score, by Trey Anastasio of the indie jam-band Phish (music) and Amanda Green (music and lyrics), locks into a bluesy country-rock vibe early and hugs it tight. The characters’ hearts may yearn to dance free, but they are forced by circumstances to stand still…Although it’s far from fully loaded in a conventional sense, this scrappy, sincere new musical brings a fresh, handmade feeling to Broadway…The biggest challenge the musical faces is the inevitably static nature of the story line. It’s not a problem the show really overcomes…“Hands on a Hardbody” can’t always surmount the energy drain resulting from the characters’ inability to move for long stretches. I wish too that the musical’s authors were not quite so thorough in canvassing the headline-making troubles of Americans today…But if the writing occasionally wears its social concerns on its sleeve, the score cuts loose.”

Read the Full Review

ASSOCIATED PRESS

“If sales of Nissan pickup trucks tick up in the next few months, there may be an unlikely source: a Broadway musical….Anastasio and Broadway veteran Amanda Green have written a soundtrack of mostly fine songs in a nice mix of styles — blues, gospel, country and honky-tonk — that will fire you right up. Playwright Doug Wright has had some fun himself, the cast is committed and realistic, and the whole thing is a pleasing, tuneful, heart-filled ode to small towns and American dreams….Director Neil Pepe and Sergio Trujillo, who did musical staging, get full credit for making this show move delightfully despite the subject matter being an exhausting test of endurance…Trujillo has his actors duck under each other’s arms, jump and dance on the spinning truck, make it the object of a tug-of-war and even bring the house down in a “Stomp”-like song in which the actors knock out a beat on the Nissan itself, turning it into a big drum.”

Read the Full Review

AM NEW YORK

“One of the simplest, purest ways to create a drama is to expose a competition or game where various individuals are all motivated to win – preferably at any cost. There are two great musicals written from this vantage point: “A Chorus Line” and “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.” Now comes “Hands on a Hardbody.”…The musical, which has an underwhelming but heartfelt country-rock score by Phish frontman Trey Anastasio and Amanda Green and a penetrating book by Pulitzer-winning playwright Doug Wright, creates an environment where nearly all the participants are suffering economically and are in desperate need of a financial windfall. Neil Pepe’s production is quite gripping – most impressive is how the actors manipulate the vehicle and perform dance choreography while their hands are still attached to it.”

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VARIETY

“Well, Broadway finally got itself an all-American musical in “Hands on a Hardbody.” The question is, will an all-American audience go for it?…[with an] unusually articulate book and well-integrated score [that leaves] characters revealing unexpected aspects of themselves in both song and narrative — which makes [the musical] both musically unpredictable and dramatically credible….If the show has a weakness, it’s that the music is so consistently all-of-a-piece that some of the songs tend to melt into one another….With 10 people stuck to a truck for much of the show, a choreographer doesn’t have much of a chance to do his stuff. But helmer Neil Pepe and Sergio Trujillo, who did the musical staging, find a lot of ways to push that truck around the stage and make it look interesting.”

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ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY

“If you only see only one musical this year loosely based on a 1997 documentary about people in Texas trying to win a Nissan truck by being the last person to keep their hand on it, it may as well be Hands on a Hardbody…there is much to enjoy here, from Hunter Foster’s bullying portrayal of a two-time car-winning champion — if that’s the right word — to Keala Settle’s turn as the desperate, God-fearing Norma. The actors also include the great Keith Carradine, who is probably best known now for appearing on Showtime’s Dexter but who both sang and wrote the Oscar-winning song ”I’m Easy” for Robert Altman’s 1975 movie Nashville. Sadly, few of the numbers in Hands on a Hardbody are as memorable as that melancholic ditty. The tunes that work best find Anastasio and cowriter-lyricist Amanda Green at their musically Phishiest…But the pair’s excursions into country, blues, and a clutch of other genres rarely rise above the generic. Moreover, while the songwriters and book author Doug Wright clearly regard this insane competition as a prism through which to consider such weighty subjects as war, religion, and racism, it is rather difficult to engage with such ruminative choreography when the cast is literally dancing around an enormous car.”

Read the Full Review

The Reviews for Cinderella are In…

The reviews are in for the new adaptation of Cinderella, now playing at the Broadway Theater, and though critics found the new adaptation by Douglas Carter Beane a bit heavy-handed, they universally felt director Mark Brokaw successfully kept all in check, maintaining the old-fashioned integrity of the original story and pulling together a fabulous cast of talented folks including Laura Osnes and Santino Fontana, who sizzle in the lead roles. But the most excited members of the audience were not the critics, but the little girls and moms who squealed with delight at every magic trick, gorgeous gown and fairy tale kiss, not to mention the tiaras and other merchandise available for purchase in the lobby. If pre-opening sales and audience reception are any indication of run time, this show, even with with its lavish costume and special effect budget, is likely to recoup in no time at all and run happily ever after.

NEW YORK TIMES

“This ‘Cinderella’ wants to be reassuringly old-fashioned and refreshingly irreverent, sentimental and snarky, sincere and ironic, all at once…for a show that’s hawking T-shirts that read ‘I can be whatever I want to be’ (a Hammerstein lyric), it doesn’t seem to know quite what that is….The keynote songs from the original have been retained. And anyone who swooned however many decades ago over ‘Ten Minutes Ago,’ the prince and Cindy’s musical equivalent to Romeo and Juliet’s ‘palmers’ kiss’ scene, will find that it is sung quite fetchingly here. But a lot has been added and deleted….The silver-voiced Ms. Osnes seems to believe unequivocally in her character, which is winning in its own way but doesn’t quite match up with Mr. Fontana….The showstoppers in this version aren’t the songs so much as those instant costume changes from rags to riches by our girl Cindy.”
Read the Full Review

ASSOCIATED PRESS

“What kind of fairy tale is this? In the hands of playwright Douglas Carter Beane, a quite fine one actually…His script crackles with sweetness and freshness, combining a little ‘Monty Python’s Spamalot’ with some ‘Les Miserables.’…The second half action sags a little as the creators try to shoehorn in as many songs as possible, but there’s no denying this charming, witty adaptation…Director Mark Brokaw gets high marks for juggling a lot of dancing, special effects, heavy scenery and top-notch singing, all in service of a quirky, yet heart filled take on the classic story. They’re helped by a first-rate cast, led by Laura Osnes, who one suspects was born to play a princess. She’s so naturally earnest and sweet than she barely has to act…Beane has taken so many liberties with the classic story that you may not always know where the story is going, a big feat for such a classic tale…For the kids, there is pure magic. Cinderella’s gowns appear with the best Broadway sorcery, a fox and a raccoon become footmen, the horse-drawn carriage appears as if we were in a Vegas magic show and a giant tree monster is slayed.”

Read the Full Review

HOLLYWOOD REPORTER

“It’s a relief to see a show that softens its revisionist impulses within a warm embrace of sugar-frosted tradition. Reworked for Broadway from its bones as an original 1957 television musical, Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella gets off to a halting start and takes some questionable detours. But this pleasurable confection overcomes its conceptual missteps with old-fashioned stagecraft, enchanting design elements, smooth direction and choreography, and most of all, winning contributions from an ideally cast ensemble….The principal architect of this latest overhaul is Douglas Carter Beane, whose book is paradoxically its shakiest element…Thankfully, the classic Charles Perrault tale proves indestructible enough to withstand the meddling. The quintessential element that the production gets resoundingly right is the chemistry between downtrodden Cinderella (Laura Osnes) and her lovestruck Prince (Santino Fontana)…But perhaps equally important is the romantic power of the music….The feeling remains that, much like the glass slipper on all those wannabe princesses, the material is an imperfect fit for Beane’s snappy irreverence. But under the gently guiding hand of director Brokaw, this Cinderella makeover nonetheless has enough magic on tap to deliver crowd-pleasing family entertainment.”

Read the Full Review

VARIETY

“Watch out, ‘Wicked’ witches, here comes ‘Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella,’ a heavyweight contender for those precious audiences of little girls who attend the theater in princess gowns and glittery tiaras – faithful theatergoers who make regular pilgrimages to their beloved shows and get their mothers to buy them lotsa stuff at intermission. Stage treatments of this classic 1957 made-for-TV musical starring Julie Andrews are common enough. But with additional songs and a witty new adaptation by Douglas Carter Beane, this show counts as a legit Broadway premiere….Helmer Mark Brokaw…has cast this show shrewdly, with actors who can sing, get their laughs, and in one crucial case especially, even dance. That triple threat is Osnes, the brave little trouper who made ‘Bonnie & Clyde’ bearable. While her light soprano gives sweet voice to Ella [Cinderella's name in this version], Osnes’ acting chops and dancing skills make her as lovely to watch as she is to listen to. As her Prince (here called Topher), Fontana may not be as dashing as the dragon slayer of fairy-tale legend, but he’s certainly cute and funny – and limber enough to sing and move and look charming at the same time, an impossible task for many a leading man…The cheeky humor of Beane’s book comes from imposing modern sensibilities (and contemporary lingo) on timeless storybook figures…Cinderella has become a secondary character in a story about a guy who mans up and resolves his identity crisis.”

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