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 April, 2013

Awards Roundup and New Shows on the Horizon

Kerry Ingram in Matilda the Musical

All of the nominations are out for the various awards, with most expecting Matilda and Kinky Boots to take home the big prizes this year. It’s always surprising to see flops, like Hands on a Hardbody (which closed after only 28 performances) and Scandalous (which closed after 29) make the lists at all, but there will be a lot of close categories this year. (For a full list of all nominees for all of the various awards, click here.)

Here’s when all of the award ceremonies will take place:

Tony Awards: June 9, 8pm EST
Drama Desk Awards: May 19, 8pm EST
Drama League Awards: May 17, 12pm EST
Outer Critics Circle: Announced May 13
(NOTE: The Theatre World Awards have yet to announce dates…)

And all of the nominated shows…

ChaplinHands on a HardbodyMatildaPippinKinky BootsA Christmas StoryCinderellaAnnieMystery of Edwin DroodMotownBring It OnScandalous

But enough awards talk, on to exciting NEW things!

first

First up is one that is confirmed (and already marquee’d) for Broadway: First Date – a new musical about a horrible blind date. It’s slated to begin previews July 9 and open August 4. The show played well to the Seattle crowd and is still undergoing more changes before hitting, the Great White Way – seems a bit better suited for Off-Broadway, but who knows, maybe it’ll be next season’s runaway hit…

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The other confirmed musical is Big Fish, an adaptation of the film that’ll star the oh-so-talented Norbert Leo Butz and Kate Baldwin. With Susan Stroman at the helm, there are a lot of big names attached to the project, which is now doing it’s out of town try out in Chicago, so it’s likely going to be a difficult investment to recoup.

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Next up is Always… Patsy Cline, a jukebox musical telling the story of Patsy’s life through the eyes of her most devoted fan. Motown is still doing well box-office-wise, so the jukebox musical isn’t likely to die anytime soon. We’ll see if Patsy’s songs can fare better than some of the more recent attempts in this genre.

PrinceJM200

Prince of Broadway is another jukebox musical looking to open in the fall – celebrating the shows Hal Prince helped make into the big hits they were, this musical will have a bit more self-awareness than other jukebox musicals and a fantastic cast, including: Linda Lavin, Sebastian Arcelus, Sierra Boggess, Daniel Breaker, Josh Grisetti, Shuler Hensley, Richard Kind, Amanda Kloots-Larsen, LaChanze, Caroline O’Connor, David Pittu and Emily Skinner. But apparently that cast is part of the reason the show didn’t open when it was originally slated to do so. Will this one end never making it to opening night? We’ll just have to wait and see…

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Then we’ve got Diner, with Sheryl Crow penning the score and lyrics and Barry Levinson, the film’s director and writer on the book. Bosting an Academy Award, Emmy Award and Grammy Award between them, this pair is hoping to add some Tony’s to their shelf too.

Beyond that are a number of shows that have tentative and out-of-town announcements, including:

Rocky: The Musical (a German transfer based on the film and directed by Alex Timbers)
Houdini (with music by Stephen Schwartz and starring Hugh Jackman)
Ever After (based on the film and directed by Kathleen Marshall)
Bullets Over Broadway (based on the film and directed by  Susan Stroman)
Les Miserables (with fresh scenic and narrative elements and new orchestrations)
Aladdin (based on the Disney film and directed by Casey Nicholaw)

Some exciting stuff in there…hopefully they all make it to Broadway!

What are you most looking forward to seeing?

We’ll have more news on the way soon (plus some giveaways!), so if you haven’t already – be sure to bookmark, subscribe via rss or sign up for email updates of the blog!

And the Nominees Are… The 2013 Tony Award Nominations

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The 2013 Tony Award Nominees were announced this morning and the new musical Kinky Boots led the pack with 13 nominations, with Matilda on its heals with 12 nominations in many of the same categories. This year’s surprises were that Motown and its star, Brandon Victor Dixon, got snubbed in the big categories and Bring It On, a show snubbed by all the other major awards, is up for the Best Musical Tony.

The 2012 Tony Awards will be presented on June 9, 8pm EST at Radio City Music Hall and broadcast live on CBS.

Once again, we’ll be live bloggingtweeting and facebooking with you throughout the ceremony, and you can follow our full awards coverage on The Broadway Musical Home.

These are the last of the nominee announcements, so we’ll soon be moving on to announce winners. Stay tuned or subscribe to the blog, to ensure you don’t miss out on anything!

Who do you think is going to win big this year?

Here is the full list of the 2013 Tony Award nominees:

BEST MUSICAL

Bring It On: The Musical
A Christmas Story, The Musical
Kinky Boots
Matilda The Musical

BEST PLAY

Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
The Testament of Mary
Lucky Guy
The Assembled Parties

BEST BOOK OF A MUSICAL

Joseph Robinette, A Christmas Story, The Musical
Harvey Fierstein, Kinky Boots
Dennis Kelly, Matilda The Musical
Douglas Carter Beane, Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE (MUSIC AND/OR LYRICS) WRITTEN FOR THE THEATRE

Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, A Christmas Story, The Musical
Trey Anastasio and Amanda Green, Hands on a Hardbody
Cyndi Lauper, Kinky Boots
Tim Minchin, Matilda The Musical

BEST REVIVAL OF A PLAY

Golden Boy
Orphans
The Trip to Bountiful
Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

BEST REVIVAL OF A MUSICAL

Annie
The Mystery of Edwin Drood
Pippin
Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE IN A PLAY

Tom Hanks, Lucky Guy
Nathan Lane, The Nance
Tracy Letts, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
David Hyde Pierce, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
Tom Sturridge, Orphans

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE IN A PLAY

Laurie Metcalf, The Other Place
Amy Morton, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
Kristine Nielsen, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
Holland Taylor, Ann
Cicely Tyson, The Trip to Bountiful

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE IN A MUSICAL

Bertie Carvel, Matilda: The Musical
Santino Fontana, Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella
Rob McClure, Chaplin
Billy Porter, Kinky Boots
Stark Sands, Kinky Boots

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE IN A MUSICAL

Stephanie J. Block, The Mystery of Edwin Drood
Carolee Carmello, Scandalous
Valisia LeKae, Motown The Musical
Patina Miller, Pippin
Laura Osnes, Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A FEATURED ROLE IN A PLAY

Danny Burstein, Golden Boy
Richard Kind, The Big Knife
Billy Magnussen, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
Tony Shalhoub, Golden Boy
Courtney B. Vance, Lucky Guy

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A FEATURED ROLE IN A PLAY

Carrie Coon, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
Shalita Grant, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
Judith Ivey, The Heiress
Judith Light, The Assembled Parties
Condola Rashad, The Trip to Bountiful

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A FEATURED ROLE IN A MUSICAL

Charl Brown, Motown The Musical
Keith Carradine, Hands on a Hardbody
Will Chase, The Mystery of Edwin Drood
Gabriel Ebert, Matilda The Musical
Terrence Mann, Pippin

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A FEATURED ROLE IN A MUSICAL

Annaleigh Ashford, Kinky Boots
Victoria Clark, Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella
Andrea Martin, Pippin
Keala Settle, Hands on a Hardbody
Lauren Ward, Matilda The Musical

BEST DIRECTION OF A PLAY

Pam MacKinnon, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
Nicholas Martin, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
Bartlett Sher, Golden Boy
George C. Wolfe, Lucky Guy

BEST DIRECTION OF A MUSICAL

Scott Ellis, The Mystery of Edwin Drood
Jerry Mitchell, Kinky Boots
Diane Paulus, Pippin
Matthew Warchus, Matilda The Musical

BEST CHOREOGRAPHY

Andy Blankenbuehler, Bring It On: The Musical
Peter Darling, Matilda The Musical
Jerry Mitchell, Kinky Boots
Chet Walker, Pippin

BEST ORCHESTRATIONS

Chris Nightingale, Matilda The Musical
Stephen Oremus, Kinky Boots
Ethan Popp & Bryan Crook, Motown The Musical
Danny Troob, Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella

BEST SCENIC DESIGN OF A PLAY

John Lee Beatty, The Nance
Santo Loquasto, The Assembled Parties
David Rockwell, Lucky Guy
Michael Yeargan, Golden Boy

BEST SCENIC DESIGN OF A MUSICAL

Rob Howell, Matilda The Musical
Anna Louizos, The Mystery of Edwin Drood
Scott Pask, Pippin
David Rockwell, Kinky Boots

BEST COSTUME DESIGN OF A PLAY

Soutra Gilmour, Cyrano de Bergerac
Ann Roth, The Nance
Albert Wolsky, The Heiress
Catherine Zuber, Golden Boy

BEST COSTUME DESIGN OF A MUSICAL

Gregg Barnes, Kinky Boots
Rob Howell, Matilda The Musical
Dominique Lemieux, Pippin
William Ivey Long, Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella

BEST LIGHTING DESIGN OF A PLAY

Jules Fisher & Peggy Eisenhauer, Lucky Guy
Donald Holder, Golden Boy
Jennifer Tipton, The Testament of Mary
Japhy Weideman, The Nance

BEST LIGHTING DESIGN OF A MUSICAL

Kenneth Posner, Kinky Boots
Kenneth Posner, Pippin
Kenneth Posner, Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella
Hugh Vanstone, Matilda The Musical

BEST SOUND DESIGN OF A PLAY

John Gromada, The Trip to Bountiful
Mel Mercier, The Testament of Mary
Leon Rothenberg, The Nance
Peter John Still and Marc Salzberg, Golden Boy

BEST SOUND DESIGN OF A MUSICAL

Jonathan Deans & Garth Helm, Pippin
Peter Hylenski, Motown The Musical
John Shivers, Kinky Boots
Nevin Steinberg, Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella

REGIONAL THEATRE AWARD

winnerHuntington Theatre Company, Boston, MA

ISABELLE STEVENSON AWARD

winnerLarry Kramer

SPECIAL TONY AWARD

winnerBernard Gersten
winnerMing Cho Lee

SPECIAL TONY AWARD® FOR LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT IN THE THEATRE

winnerPaul Libin

TONY HONORS FOR EXCELLENCE IN THE THEATRE

winnerCareer Transition For Dancers
winnerWilliam “Bill” Craver
winnerPeter Lawrence
winnerThe Lost Colony

winnerThe four actresses who created the title role of Matilda The Musical on Broadway – Sophia Gennusa, Oona Laurence, Bailey Ryon and Milly Shapiro

TONY NOMINATIONS BY PRODUCTION
Kinky Boots – 13
Matilda The Musical – 12
Pippin – 10
Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella – 9
Golden Boy – 8
Lucky Guy – 6
Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike – 6
The Mystery of Edwin Drood – 5
The Nance – 5
Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? – 5
Motown The Musical – 4
The Trip to Bountiful – 4
The Assembled Parties – 3
A Christmas Story, The Musical – 3
Hands on a Hardbody – 3
The Testament of Mary – 3
Bring It On: The Musical – 2
The Heiress – 2
Orphans – 2
Ann – 1
Annie – 1
The Big Knife – 1
Chaplin – 1
Cyrano de Bergerac – 1
The Other Place – 1
Scandalous – 1

And the Nominees Are… The 2013 Drama Desk Award Nominations

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The nominations for the 2013 Drama Desk Awards were announced by Linda Lavin and John Lloyd Young today at 54 Below — and the short-lived Hands on a Hardbody led with an impressive 9 nods. The awards ceremony will take place on May 19 at Town Hall.

As always, we’ll be live bloggingtweeting and facebooking with you as the nominees and winners are announced!

Check out our full awards coverage here.

The complete list of the nominees is as follows:

OUTSTANDING MUSICAL

A Christmas Story: The Musical
Giant
Hands on a Hardbody
Here Lies Love
Matilda
Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812
The Other Josh Cohen

OUTSTANDING PLAY

Annie Baker, The Flick
Christopher Durang, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
Joe Gilford, Finks
Richard Greenberg, The Assembled Parties
Amy Herzog, Belleville
Deanna Jent, Falling
Richard Nelson, Sorry

OUTSTANDING REVIVAL OF A MUSICAL

Passion
Pippin
Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella
The Golden Land
The Mystery of Edwin Drood
Working: A Musical

OUTSTANDING REVIVAL OF A PLAY

Edward Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
Golden Boy
Good Person of Szechwan
The Piano Lesson
The Trip to Bountiful
Uncle Vanya

OUTSTANDING ACTOR IN A PLAY

Reed Birney, Uncle Vanya
Daniel Everidge, Falling
Tom Hanks, Lucky Guy
Shuler Hensley, The Whale
Nathan Lane, The Nance
Tracy Letts, Edward Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

OUTSTANDING ACTRESS IN A PLAY

Maria Dizzia, Belleville
Amy Morton, Edward Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
Julia Murney, Falling
Vanessa Redgrave, The Revisionist
Miriam Silverman, Finks
Cicely Tyson, The Trip to Bountiful

OUTSTANDING ACTOR IN A MUSICAL

Eric Anderson, Soul Doctor
Brian d’Arcy James, Giant
Jim Norton, The Mystery of Edwin Drood
Billy Porter, Kinky Boots
Steve Rosen, The Other Josh Cohen
Ryan Silverman, Passion
Anthony Warlow, Annie

OUTSTANDING ACTRESS IN A MUSICAL

Kate Baldwin, Giant
Stephanie J. Block, The Mystery of Edwin Drood
Carolee Carmello, Scandalous
Lindsay Mendez, Dogfight
Donna Murphy, Into the Woods
Laura Osnes, Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella
Jenny Powers, Donnybrook!

OUTSTANDING FEATURED ACTOR IN A PLAY

Chuck Cooper, The Piano Lesson
Peter Friedman, The Great God Pan
Richard Kind, The Big Knife
Aaron Clifton Moten, The Flick
Brían F. O’Byrne, If There Is I Haven’t Found It Yet
Tony Shalhoub, Golden Boy

OUTSTANDING FEATURED ACTRESS IN A PLAY

Tasha Lawrence, The Whale
Judith Light, The Assembled Parties
Kellie Overbey, Sleeping Rough
Maryann Plunkett, Sorry
Condola Rashad, The Trip to Bountiful
Laila Robins, Sorry

OUTSTANDING FEATURED ACTOR IN A MUSICAL

Stephen Bogardus, Passion
John Bolton, A Christmas Story: The Musical
Keith Carradine, Hands on a Hardbody
Bertie Carvel, Matilda
John Dossett, Giant
Andy Karl, The Mystery of Edwin Drood

OUTSTANDING FEATURED ACTRESS IN A MUSICAL

Annaleigh Ashford, Kinky Boots
Melissa Errico, Passion
Andrea Martin, Pippin
Jessie Mueller, The Mystery of Edwin Drood
Christiane Noll, Chaplin: The Musical
Keala Settle, Hands on a Hardbody
Kate Wetherhead, The Other Josh Cohen

OUTSTANDING DIRECTOR OF A PLAY

Lear Debessonet, Good Person of Szechwan
Sam Gold, Uncle Vanya
Ed Sylvanus Iskandar, Restoration Comedy
Pam MacKinnon, Edward Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
Lynne Meadow, The Assembled Parties
Ruben Santiago-Hudson, The Piano Lesson

OUTSTANDING DIRECTOR OF A MUSICAL

Andy Blankenbuehler, Bring It On: The Musical
Rachel Chavkin, Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812
John Doyle, Passion
Diane Paulus, Pippin
Emma Rice, The Wild Bride
Alex Timbers, Here Lies Love
Matthew Warchus, Matilda

OUTSTANDING CHOREOGRAPHY

Andy Blankenbuehler, Bring It On: The Musical
Warren Carlyle, A Christmas Story: The Musical
Peter Darling, Matilda
Josh Rhodes, Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella
Sergio Trujillo, Hands on a Hardbody
Chet Walker and Gypsy Snider, Pippin

OUTSTANDING MUSIC

Trey Anastasio and Amanda Green, Hands on a Hardbody
David Byrne and Fatboy Slim, Here Lies Love
Michael John LaChiusa, Giant
Dave Malloy, Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812
Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, A Christmas Story: The Musical
David Rossmer and Steve Rosen, The Other Josh Cohen

OUTSTANDING LYRICS

Amanda Green, Hands on a Hardbody
Amanda Green and Lin-Manuel Miranda, Bring It On: The Musical
Michael John LaChiusa, Giant
Dave Malloy, Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812
Tim Minchin, Matilda
David Rossmer and Steve Rosen, The Other Josh Cohen

OUTSTANDING BOOK OF A MUSICAL

Dennis Kelly, Matilda
Sybille Pearson, Giant
Joseph Robinette, A Christmas Story: The Musical
David Rossmer and Steve Rosen, The Other Josh Cohen
Jeff Whitty, Bring It On: The Musical
Doug Wright, Hands on a Hardbody

OUTSTANDING ORCHESTRATIONS

Trey Anastasio and Don Hart, Hands on a Hardbody
Larry Blank, A Christmas Story: The Musical
Bruce Coughlin, Giant
Larry Hochman, Chaplin: The Musical
Steve Margoshes, Soul Doctor
Danny Troob, Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella

OUTSTANDING MUSIC IN A PLAY

César Alvarez with The Lisps, Good Person of Szechwan
Jirí Kaderábek, Mahir Cetiz, and Ana Milosavljevic, Act Before You Speak: The Tragical History of
Hamlet, Prince of Denmark
Glen Kelly, The Nance
Eugene Ma, The Man Who Laughs
Steve Martin, As You Like It
Jane Wang, Strange Tales of Liaozhai

OUTSTANDING REVUE

Forbidden Broadway: Alive & Kicking!
Old Hats
Old Jews Telling Jokes

OUTSTANDING SET DESIGN

Rob Howell, Matilda
Mimi Lien, The Whale
Santo Loquasto, The Assembled Parties
Anna Louizos, The Mystery of Edwin Drood
Michael Yeargan, Golden Boy
David Zinn, The Flick

OUTSTANDING COSTUME DESIGN

Amy Clark and Martin Pakledinaz, Chaplin: The Musical
Dominique Lemieux, Pippin
William Ivey Long, Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella
Chris March, Chris March’s The Butt-Cracker Suite! A Trailer Park Ballet
Loren Shaw, Restoration Comedy
Paloma Young, Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812

OUTSTANDING LIGHTING DESIGN

Ken Billington, Chaplin: The Musical
Jane Cox, Passion
Kenneth Posner, Pippin
Justin Townsend, Here Lies Love
Daniel Winters, The Man Who Laughs
Scott Zielinski, A Civil War Christmas

OUTSTANDING PROJECTION DESIGN

Jon Driscoll, Chaplin: The Musical
Wendall K. Harrington, Old Hats
Peter Nigrini, Here Lies Love
Darrel Maloney, Checkers
Pedro Pires, Cirque du Soleil: Totem
Aaron Rhyne, Wild With Happy

OUTSTANDING SOUND DESIGN IN A MUSICAL

Steve Canyon Kennedy, Hands on a Hardbody
Scott Lehrer and Drew Levy, Chaplin: The Musical
Tony Meola, The Mystery of Edwin Drood
Brian Ronan, Bring It On: The Musical
Brian Ronan, Giant
Dan Moses Schreier, Passion

OUTSTANDING SOUND DESIGN IN A PLAY

Ien DeNio, The Pilo Family Circus
Steve Fontaine, Last Man Club
Christian Frederickson, Through the Yellow Hour
Lindsay Jones, Wild With Happy
Mel Mercier, The Testament of Mary
Fergus O’Hare, Macbeth

OUTSTANDING SOLO PERFORMANCE

Joel de la Fuente, Hold These Truths
Kathryn Hunter, Kafka’s Monkey
Bette Midler, I’ll Eat You Last: A Chat with Sue Mengers
Julian Sands, A Celebration of Harold Pinter
Holland Taylor, Ann
Michael Urie, Buyer & Cellar

UNIQUE THEATRICAL EXPERIENCE

Bello Mania
Chris March’s The Butt-Cracker Suite! A Trailer Park Ballet
Cirque Du Soleil: Totem
That Play: A Solo Macbeth
The Fazzino Ride
The Man Who Laughs

OUTSTANDING ENSEMBLE PERFORMANCE

winnerThis year the nominators chose to bestow a special ensemble award to the cast of Working: A Musical. “Marie-France Arcilla, Joe Cassidy, Donna Lynne Champlin, Jay Armstrong Johnson, Nehal Joshi, and Kenita R. Miller created a memorable ensemble of marvelously gifted singer-actors working together in pure artistic harmony.” Individual cast members receiving this award are ineligible for acting awards in the competitive categories.

SPECIAL AWARDS

Each year, the Drama Desk votes special awards to recognize excellence and significant contributions to the theater. For 2012-2013, these awards are:

winnerThe New York Musical Theatre Festival (NYMF), Isaac Robert Hurwitz, Executive Director and Producer: for a decade of creating and nurturing new musical theater, ensuring the future of this essential art form.

winnerWakka Wakka (Gabrielle Brechner, Kirjan Waage, and Gwendolyn Warnock): for sophisticated puppet theater, as represented by this season’s SAGA, that explores with wit, imagination, and insight serious issues of ourtimes.

winnerJayne Houdyshell: for her artistry as an exceptionally versatile and distinctive Broadway and Off-Broadway performer.

winnerSamuel D. Hunter: His empathic and indelible The Whale affirms his arrival as a distinguished dramatist who depicts the human condition.

winnerMaruti Evans, the Sam Norkin Off-Broadway Award: for his ingenious lighting designs, reflecting an exquisite and bold theatrical aesthetic. This season’s The Pilo Family Circus and Tiny Dynamite confirm his incandescent creativity.

The Reviews for Pippin are In…

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The reviews are in for Pippin, the final show to open on Broadway this season — though the story for the show is as thin as the set’s tent poles, the lavish acrobatic spectacle and over-the-top performances have hardily won over the reviewers. Fosse’s choreography may have been the starting point, but it’s the combination of talented acrobats from Montreal and big Broadway stars that will give audiences front row seats to both a Broadway musical and a circus that make this revival so appealing. So get ready for some oohs and ahhs and get in line – you’ll get your money’s worth from this production.

New York Times

“What do I have to do to make you love me?…the question has seldom been posed as nakedly and aggressively as it is in Diane Paulus’s revival of Pippin, which opened on Thursday night at the Music Box Theater. Perhaps you’re tired of the plain old song and dance that many big-ticket shows give you. The performers in this hard-driving production of Stephen Schwartz and Roger O. Hirson’s 1973 musical can of course sing and dance (and “in the style of Bob Fosse,” to boot, as the program puts it.) They also hang from their toes from perilous heights, fly through the air, balance on wobbly towers…these folks will jump through hoops for you, literally, and the hoops keep getting higher and higher. As for the 99-pound that at the center of this muscle-bound circus…it’s there, too, if you choose to look for it. And if you choose not to, that’s fine…Ms. Paulus’s Pippin is in its way a natural extension of Fosse’s [original 1973 production], pushing the musical from seduction into sensory assault. This is a Pippin for the 21st century, when it takes more than style to hold the attention of a restless, sensation-hungry audience…And I would argue that in courting to its audience, this Pippin is ultimately more cynical than Fosse’s…Of all the cast members who aren’t acrobats, though, it’s the veteran comic actress Ms. Martin who truly scales the heights…[This is] crowd-pleasing show business as usual.”

Associated Press

“The last show to open this season on Broadway comes with plenty of bang, lots of flips and real value for money: A ticket buys you not just a musical but also a trip to the circus. The American Repertory Theatre’s thrilling revival of that coltishly cute Pippin opened Thursday at the Music Box Theatre as a hybrid that surely will keep everyone thoroughly entertained. Director Diane Paulus hasn’t just slapped some fresh paint on this beloved tale of self-discovery, she’s rebuilt it…Paulus has transformed the players into a troupe of circus performers, and it’s a stroke of genius…The cast members are amazing and clearly have all been to the gym. No sooner have you realized that one actor is busy stealing the show than another steps up to blow you away….the Gypsy Snider-led acrobats will thrill you…So when the cast sings, by way of invitation the eh opening number, ‘Join us, come and waste an hour or two,’ it’s highly recommended you do so. Little can get the blood going this way.”

USA Today

” **** out of four – the final and best musical production of this season…Schwatz’s score [is a] richly melodic mélange of pop and jazzier musical theater influence, and Bob Fosee’s original choreography, a dazzling parade of controlled carnality. Paulus, working with Fosse protégé Chet Walker and Gypsy Snider of the Montreal-based troupe Les 7 doights de la main, adds to that mix a circus element, incorporating acrobatics, sword-throwing and other, often comical evocations of derring-do. The result is a combination of epic theater, burlesque and soulful spectacle that recaptures the show’s shiny allure and its poignance while making it seem entirely fresh. The flawless company is led by Patina Miller as the Leading Player…and Matthew James Thomas as Pippin, The young stars work beautifully as both partners and foils. Other standouts include a lusciously limber Charlotte d’Ambroise, as Pipin’s scheming stepmother, and Andrea Martin, who nearly strops the show as his preternaturally perky – and movingly devote – grandma…This Pippin also offers a new ending, with a twist that provides all the ‘thrills and chills’ the Leading Player promises us earlier. By that point, she and her colleagues have delivered all the magic they guarantee in the opening number, and then some.”

And the Nominees Are… The 2013 Drama League Award Nominations

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Patina Miller and Michael Urie announced the nominees for this year’s Drama League Awards today at Sardi’s and it’s a big list! Only three Broadway musicals got a distinguished production nod this year, with Off-Broadway musicals bumping many others out of the picture! Who’s going to win?! Is the anticipation killing you yet? David Hyde Pierce will host the 79th Annual Drama League Awards ceremony, held May 17 at the Marriott Marquis Times Square, and like it or not, you’ll just have to wait until then…

Check out our full awards coverage here.

Here are the 2013 Drama League Award Nominees:

DISTINGUISHED PRODUCTION OF A MUSICAL

Dogfight
Here Lies Love
Kinky Boots
Matilda The Musical
Motown: The Musical
Murder Ballad
Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812

DISTINGUISHED REVIVAL OF A MUSICAL

Annie
Marry Me a Little
The Mystery of Edwin Drood
Passion
Pippin
Cinderella

DISTINGUISHED PRODUCTION OF A PLAY

The Assembled Parties
I’ll Eat You Last: A Chat with Sue Mengers
Lucky Guy
The Nance
Old Hats
The Testament of Mary
Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
The Whale

DISTINGUISHED REVIVAL OF A PLAY

As You Like It
Golden Boy
Macbeth
The Piano Lesson
The Trip to Bountiful
Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

DISTINGUISHED PERFORMANCE AWARD

Alec Baldwin, Orphans
Danny Burstein, Talley’s Folly
Bobby Cannavale, The Big Knife and Glengarry Glen Ross
Bertie Carvel, Matilda The Musical
Tracee Chimo, Bad Jews
Lilla Crawford, Annie
Alan Cumming, Macbeth
Brandon J. Dirden, The Piano Lesson
Brandon Victor Dixon, Motown: The Musical
Jesse Eisenberg, The Revisionist
Edie Falco, The Madrid
America Ferrera, Bethany
Jake Gyllenhaal, If There is I Haven’t Found it Yet
Tom Hanks, Lucky Guy
Jessica Hecht, The Assembled Parties and Harvey
Shuler Hensley, The Whale
Bill Irwin, Old Hats
Judith Ivey, The Heiress
Brian d’Arcy James, Giant
Scarlett Johansson, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
Judy Kuhn, Passion
Nathan Lane, The Nance
Valisia LeKae, Motown: The Musical
Tracy Letts, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
Judith Light, The Assembled Parties
Constantine Maroulis, Jekyll and Hyde
Andrea Martin, Pippin
Rob McClure, Chaplin
Lindsay Mendez, Dogfight
Laurie Metcalf, The Other Place
Bette Midler, I’ll Eat You Last: A Chat with Sue Mengers
Patina Miller, Pippin
Amy Morton, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
Donna Murphy, Into the Woods
Kristine Nielsen, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
Jim Norton, The Mystery of Edwin Drood
Seth Numrich, Golden Boy
Laura Osnes, Cinderella
Tina Packer, Women of Will
David Hyde Pierce, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
Billy Porter, Kinky Boots
Lily Rabe, As You Like It
Vanessa Redgrave, The Revisionist
Chita Rivera, The Mystery of Edwin Drood
Paul Rudd, Grace
Roslyn Ruff, The Piano Lesson
Stark Sands, Kinky Boots
Tony Shalhoub, Golden Boy
Michael Shannon, Grace
Fiona Shaw, The Testament of Mary
Ryan Silverman, Passion
Phillipa Soo, Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812
Tom Sturridge, Orphans
Holland Taylor, Ann
Cicely Tyson, The Trip to Bountiful
Michael Urie, Buyer and Cellar
Courtney B. Vance, Lucky Guy
Anthony Warlow, Annie
Stephen Tyrone Williams, My Children! My Africa!
Vanessa Williams, The Trip to Bountiful

DISTINGUISHED ACHIEVEMENT IN MUSICAL THEATRE AWARD

winnerBernadette Peters

FOUNDERS AWARD FOR EXCELLENCE IN DIRECTING

winnerJerry Mitchell

UNIQUE CONTRIBUTION TO THE THEATRE AWARD

winnerMadison Square Garden Entertainment and The Rockettes

PREVIOUS DISTINGUISHED PERFORMANCE WINNERS

Norbet Leo Butz, Dead Accounts
Kathleen Chalfant, Red Dog Howls
Stockard Channing, The Exonerated
Patti LuPone, The Anarchist
Bebe Neuwirth, Golden Age
Francis Sternhagen, The Madrid

And the Nominees Are… The 2013 Outer Critics Circle Nominations

Robert Cuccioli and Laila Robins announced the nominees for the Outer Critics Circle Awards today at The Friars Club. Pippin received the most nominations (11), with Kinky Boots (9), Chaplin: The Musical (8) and Cinderella (8) not too far behind. The winners will be announced on May 13 with a ceremony to follow on the 23rd at Sardi’s.

Check out our full awards coverage here.

Without further ado, here are the 2013 Outer Critics Circle Nominees:

OUTSTANDING NEW BROADWAY MUSICAL

Chaplin: The Musical

A Christmas Story

Hands on a Hardbody

Kinky Boots

Matilda the Musical

 

OUTSTANDING NEW BROADWAY PLAY

Grace

Lucky Guy

The Nance

The Testament of Mary

Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike

 

OUTSTANDING NEW OFF-BROADWAY PLAY

Bad Jews

Cock

My Name is Asher Lev

Really Really

The Whale

 

OUTSTANDING NEW OFF-BROADWAY MUSICAL

February House

Dogfight

Giant

Here Lies Love

Murder Ballad

 

OUTSTANDING BOOK OF A MUSICAL (Broadway or Off-Broadway)

Cinderella

Chaplin: The Musical

Dogfight

Kinky Boots

Matilda the Musical

 

OUTSTANDING NEW SCORE (Broadway or Off-Broadway)

Chaplin: The Musical

Dogfight

Hands on a Hardbody

Here Lies Love

Kinky Boots

 

OUTSTANDING REVIVAL OF A PLAY (Broadway or Off-Broadway)

Golden Boy

Orphans

The Piano Lesson

The Trip to Bountiful

Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

 

OUTSTANDING REVIVAL OF A MUSICAL (Broadway or Off-Broadway)

Annie

Cinderella

The Mystery of Edwin Drood

Passion

Pippin

 

OUTSTANDING DIRECTOR OF A PLAY

Pam MacKinnon, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

Nicholas Martin, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike

Jack O’Brien, The Nance

Bartlett Sher, Golden Boy

Michael Wilson, The Trip to Bountiful

 

OUTSTANDING DIRECTOR OF A MUSICAL

Warren Carlyle, Chaplin: The Musical

Scott Ellis, The Mystery of Edwin Drood

Jerry Mitchell, Kinky Boots

Diane Paulus, Pippin

Alex Timbers, Here Lies Love

 

OUTSTANDING CHOREOGRAPHER

Warren Carlyle, Chaplin: The Musical

Peter Darling, Matilda the Musical

Jerry Mitchell, Kinky Boots

Josh Rhodes, Cinderella

Chet Walker, Pippin

 

OUTSTANDING SET DESIGN (Play or Musical)

John Lee Beatty, The Nance

Rob Howell, Matilda the Musical

David Korins, Here Lies Love

Scott Pask, Pippin

Michael Yeargan, Golden Boy

 

OUTSTANDING COSTUME DESIGN (Play or Musical)

Amy Clark & Martin Pakledinaz, Chaplin: The Musical

Gregg Barnes, Kinky Boots

Dominique Lemieux, Pippin

William Ivey Long, Cinderella

William Ivey Long, The Mystery of Edwin Drood

 

OUTSTANDING LIGHTING DESIGN (Play or Musical)

Ken Billington, Chaplin: The Musical

Paul Gallo, Dogfight

Donald Holder, Golden Boy

Kenneth Posner, Cinderella

Kenneth Posner, Pippin

 

OUTSTANDING ACTOR IN A PLAY

Tom Hanks, Lucky Guy

Shuler Hensley, The Whale

Nathan Lane, The Nance

Tracy Letts, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

David Hyde Pierce, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike

 

OUTSTANDING ACTRESS IN A PLAY

Tracee Chimo, Bad Jews

Amy Morton, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

Vanessa Redgrave, The Revisionist

Joely Richardson, Ivanov

Cicely Tyson, The Trip to Bountiful

 

OUTSTANDING ACTOR IN A MUSICAL

Bertie Carvel, Matilda the Musical

Santino Fontana, Cinderella

Rob McClure, Chaplin: The Musical

Billy Porter, Kinky Boots

Matthew James Thomas, Pippin

 

OUTSTANDING ACTRESS IN A MUSICAL

Lilla Crawford, Annie

Valisia LeKae, Motown: The Musical

Lindsay Mendez, Dogfight

Patina Miller, Pippin

Laura Osnes, Cinderella

 

OUTSTANDING FEATURED ACTOR IN A PLAY

Danny Burstein, Golden Boy

Richard Kind, The Big Knife

Jonny Orsini, The Nance

Tony Shalhoub, Golden Boy

Tom Sturridge, Orphans

 

OUTSTANDING FEATURED ACTRESS IN A PLAY

Cady Huffman, The Nance

Judith Ivey, The Heiress

Judith Light, The Assembled Parties

Kristine Nielsen, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike

Vanessa Williams, The Trip to Bountiful

 

OUTSTANDING FEATURED ACTOR IN A MUSICAL

Will Chase, The Mystery of Edwin Drood

Dan Lauria, A Christmas Story

Raymond Luke, Motown: The Musical

Terrence Mann, Pippin

Daniel Stewart Sherman, Kinky Boots

 

OUTSTANDING FEATURED ACTRESS IN A MUSICAL

Annaleigh Ashford, Kinky Boots

Victoria Clark, Cinderella

Charlotte d’Amboise, Pippin

Andrea Martin, Pippin

Keala Settle, Hands on a Hardbody

 

OUTSTANDING SOLO PERFORMANCE

Bette Midler, I’ll Eat You Last

Martin Moran, All the Rage

Fiona Shaw, The Testament of Mary

Holland Taylor, Ann

Michael Urie, Buyer & Cellar

 

JOHN GASSNER AWARD

(Presented for an American play, preferably by a new playwright)

Ayad Akhtar, Disgraced

Paul Downs Colaizzo, Really Really

Joshua Harmon, Bad Jews

Samuel D. Hunter, The Whale

Aaron Posner, My Name is Asher Lev

 

SPECIAL ACHIEVEMENT AWARD

winnerIrish Repertory Theatre Artistic Director Charlotte Moore and Producing Director Ciarán O’Reilly in recognition of 25 years of producing outstanding theater.

Award Time is Almost Here – The 2013 Eligible Shows

It’s one of the most wonderful times of the year — nominations will soon be out with the whole country buzzing about Broadway.

You can check out our 2013 Broadway theater awards calendar to see when and who will be making the announcements and when all the pretty prizes will be handed out.

As always, we’ll be live bloggingtweeting and facebooking with you as the nominees and winners are announced!

In the meantime, we wanted to do a rundown of the shows eligible for this year’s big categories:

Shows Eligible for Best Musical

  
  
 

Shows Eligible for Best Revival of a Musical

  
 

Who do you think is gonna take home this year’s biggest prizes?

The Reviews for Jekyll & Hyde are in…

jekyl-and-hyde-stage-review

The critical reviews for the first revival of Jekyll & Hyde aren’t much nicer than those for the original mounting. Ripping most ferociously into the abismal lyrics, “pea-fog thick” smoke and confused direction by Jeff Calhoun, most critics were impressed by Costantine Maroulis and Deborah Cox, R&B artists who  manage to bring moments of nuance and amazing vocal chops to an otherwise overcooked production. The show says: “Take me as I am.” — if you aren’t ready to embrace a campy, scantily-clad, over-amplified, steampunk Jekyll & Hyde, you’ll be much happier watching Cinderella down the street, but bad reviews or no, you can rest assured that Jekkies will line up nightly to take in this latest mounting of one of Wildhorn’s best shows.

NEW YORK TIMES

“Let us give a warm welcome back — or maybe just a shrug, a sigh and a tip of the bowler hat — to the return of Jekyll & Hyde…Mr. Maroulis meets the throat-thrashing challenges of Mr. Wildhorn’s score with aplomb, his high-reaching pop tenor evincing little strain when rising to the piercing climaxes. I was also impressed by Mr. Maroulis’s quietly intense performance as the obsessive Dr. Jekyll…Statuesque and beautiful, Ms. Cox brings a suffering dignity to this cliché in corsets. More important for those who have come to hear a pop diva do what pop divas do best, her dark, lustrous voice does nice justice to her character’s signature song, the power ballad ‘Someone Like You.’… I register no objections to allowing Mr. Maroulis to give his voice a rest by having the evil Hyde appear (via video) as a flame-haloed, glowering devil in a giant mirror, his half of the duet having been prerecorded. If anything, this innovation reduces the campy histrionics of having the same actor engage in a singing duel to the death with himself…Unfortunately there’s no way to digitally airbrush away the hokum that pervades the whole show, like the ample stage smoke puffing away throughout the proceedings, giving a most commendable featured performance as the fabled pea-soupy London fog. The actors portraying the sniveling or snobbish enemies of Dr. Jekyll all perform their chores with flavorsome relish…Mr. Wildhorn’s score is probably his most appealing, as it mixes equal parts Hammer horror, Andrew Lloyd Webber-style pseudo-operatics and adult-contemporary-radio anthems…Do the clichés in the lyrics outnumber the exclamation points, or vice versa?”

Read the Full Review

HOLLYWOOD REPORTER

“Technically impressive and well sung by its two leads, this revival of the bombastic, ballad-heavy musical would feel right at home in a Vegas casino…To do full justice to the campy excesses of Jekyll & Hyde, this review would most appropriately be delivered in the form of a power ballad. Such overbearing musical numbers permeate this 1997 musical by Frank Wildhorn (music) and Leslie Bricusse (book and lyrics), which previously enjoyed a four year run on Broadway despite critical brickbats. Audiences may also embrace this revival of the turgid tuner based on the classic horror tale by Robert Louis Stevenson despite a likely similar negative reception…Director-choreographer Jeff Calhoun (Newsies) has ratcheted up the show’s gothic elements in his high-intensity staging, featuring extensive projections, a deafening sound design and a Grand Guignol-style presentation. But for all the production’s excesses, it proves decidedly underwhelming, devoid of thrills or genuine emotion…Jekyll & Hyde never immerses us in its classic tragic tale. It’s akin to a well-designed haunted house from which you find yourself eagerly longing to escape.”

Read the Full Review

ASSOCIATED PRESS

“Yes, it is bombastic and overwrought. It’s true that there’s enough smoke to make three Whitesnake videos. OK, it sometimes makes The Phantom of the Opera seem small and staid. But there’s something to cheer about in the revival of Jekyll & Hyde that has rolled into Broadway after a 25-week national tour. It is what it is, and it does that very well. It’s a big, loud rock opera and makes no apologies for itself. Nor should it. If you wanted a subtle musical without stabbings and bondage, what exactly are you doing at Jekyll & Hyde? The new version…takes itself so seriously that it almost veers into camp, but it’s a stunningly beautiful steampunk vision with great costumes, projections and sets. Plus, the three main vocalists who came along to sing these Frank Wildhorn songs will make your ears bleed: Constantine Maroulis, Deborah Cox and Teal Wicks. Who cares if there’s way too much lightening and overacting? These three can deliver, some even while wearing naughty Victorian outfits…Sometimes when watching Jekyll & Hyde there are moments when it seems like what you’re watching is outtakes from ‘This Is Spinal Tap.’ But that’s this show’s charm. You’ll always be of two minds about it, so just give in to the silly side.”

Read the Full Review

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY

“‘It is the curse of mankind that these polar twins should be constantly struggling.’ The same could be said of the 1997 musical itself, now receiving an overamplified, dry ice-drenched Broadway revival following a national tour: It’s good and — well, not evil, but head-scratchingly, laughably, even painfully bad. And one that you’ll be constantly struggling to sit through…As the titular schizophrenic scientist, American Idol alum Constantine Maroulis — a 2009 Tony nominee for his turn in the ’80s jukebox show Rock of Ages — supplies hair-band-worthy locks and lungs of steel. His ”This Is the Moment” (the 11 o’clock number that comes 45 minutes in) is indeed momentous — a triumph of vocal pyrotechnics over clichéd phrases, misaccented lyrics, and throat-testing key changes. He also supplies an accent that travels the whole of the United Kingdom…Cox — as Lucy, the hooker with the heart of gold and bustier of steel — is quite terrific throughout. She even manages to make that ubiquitous cabaret tune/power ballad ”A New Life” audible over the stadium-level orchestrations. Oh yes, the tunes: Wildhorn has written some darn good ones. And they’ll get lodged in your head so firmly that you’ll need ”It’s a Small World” to clear them out. But, oh, the lyrics! Example: ”You’ve not heard/A single word I’ve said/My fear is he’s in over his head!”…Perhaps that’s why the music is amplified to eardrum-splitting levels! But there are so many puzzlements in this production, which is both over- and under-directed…Calhoun came up with a good idea — which then went terribly, terribly wrong. It is, I think, the curse of Jekyll & Hyde. C-“

Read the Full Review

The Reviews for Motown: The Musical are In…

15MOTOWN-popup

Ouch!  To say the critics laid into Motown: The Musical, Broadway’s latest attempt to make another Jersey Boys-style jukebox  hit, is a huge understatement. Though the soundtrack of the show will have your toes tapping, you’ll leave the theatre still searching for a story. With book-writer Gordy telling his own tale, the musical’s plot lacks intrigue and features undeveloped characters, drive-by plot points, and a one-sided and uninteresting perspective.  Character after character is jammed onstage, showcasing an unbelievable number of songs but not much else (save some great orchestrations and a phenomenal performance by little Raymond Luke Jr. as a young Michael Jackson). Does this mean the death knell for new jukebox musicals? Many seem hopeful. For those excited to see this new show, move quickly before it boogies off Broadway or even consider a night with friends and a good Motown record instead — you may have more fun!

NEW YORK TIMES

“More than 50 songs (!) are performed in Motown, usually, alas, in truncated versions. Most are simply presented as concert versions by the actors playing the artists who made them famous, but a few are shoehorned awkwardly into the story as “book” songs…Making way for so much music means that Motown breezily scrimps on storytelling. Characters come and go so quickly we barely have time to register their famous names, let alone get to know them…The dialogue is often vinyl-stiff, written in a shorthand meant to convey as much story as possible in as few words as possible…The performers put their songs across with verve and an admirable lack of self-consciousness…For all the richness of its gold-and-platinum-plated soundtrack, Motown would be a much more satisfying nostalgia trip if Mr. Gordy and his collaborators were more effective curators of both story and song, rather than trying to encompass the whole of the label’s fabled history in two and a half hours. Irresistible as much of the music is, I often had the frustrating impression that I was being forced to listen to an LP being played at the dizzying, distorting speed of a 45.”

Read the Full Review

BACKSTAGE

“If you are looking to bathe in nostalgia evoked by beloved tunes while watching talented and committed professionals do their industrious best to locate the magic of legendary performers, this is the show for you. If you prefer a well-written story with multidimensional characters that digs beneath the surface and uses song with dramatic acumen, then steer clear…Clichés abound…Director Charles Randolph-Wright’s fluid but old-fashioned staging complements the corn level. Choreographers Patricia Wilcox and Warren Adams excel at reproducing the funky moves of groups such as the Temptations, the Four Tops, and, of course, the Supremes, but when trying to represent the tumult of the 1960s in “War” or the anger and rage engendered by the assassination of Martin Luther King in “What’s Going On,” their effortful work falls short. Ethan Popps scintillating orchestrations and arrangements (done with Bryan Crook) pop beautifully under his superb musical direction…Stealing the show is Raymond Luke Jr. as the young Michael Jackson. It’s not just that Luke has the sound and the moves down cold; his innocent, radiant joy in performing momentarily elevates the proceedings to a whole new level. Though some fans may be disappointed that so many of the songs flash by in snippets, Gordy has gambled that Motown: The Musical is all about its music—and he’s probably right.”

Read the Full Review

AM NEW YORK

“Instead of having to endure perhaps a dozen different jukebox musicals based on various Motown icons in future years, Motown: The Musical allows us to get it all over with in one shot. It’s an unwieldy and unfocused attempt to package dozens of hit songs from all the trailblazing Motown performers of the 1960s and 1970s into a single sugarcoated, sanitized narrative revolving about workaholic megaproducer Berry Gordy. Still, this elaborate, very busy production ought to please anyone looking to take a nostalgia trip and overlook its problems…Although many famous performers and groups are ably impersonated both physically and vocally…they all receive the same superficial treatment. Gordy was closely involved with the musical and wrote its poor book…“Jersey Boys,” which is undeniably the best of the jukebox genre, unhesitatingly addressed the Four Seasons’ gritty past, while “Motown” hides all traces of scandal under the rug. Even the racial tensions of the period are addressed too fleetingly to make an impact. Ironically, while Motown bemoans how the music industry was ultimately swallowed up by corporate giants that wooed away Gordy’s major clients with wild offers, the musical is essentially a company history section of a corporate website. 2 stars “

Read the Full Review

ASSOCIATED PRESS

“The 2 1/2-hour show, about Motown Records under founder Berry Gordy, opened Sunday at The Lunt-Fontanne Theatre completely unbalanced: The songs are staggering, the book utterly flimsy. Both are due to one man: Gordy, who clearly knows what makes an indelible hit song, but also has an inability to write objectively about that skill. As the book writer, Gordy comes across almost divine, a true visionary who literally changed the world and race relations but was eventually abandoned by the artists he made stars when they sought to cash in. There are parts of the show that even a North Korean dictator would find excessively flattering…Charles Randolph-Wright proves a director with real skill, able to seamlessly juggle an insane amount of songs, dozens of scenes and harness some quite stunning performances, led by a go-for-it Brandon Victor Dixon as Gordy and Valisia LeKae as Diana Ross, who especially shines during an ad lib moment with the audience…To be fair, Gordy’s story is a remarkable one and should be told onstage, warts and all. His songs are the soundtrack of America, but letting him tell his own story has cheapened it.”

Read the Full Review

The Reviews for Matilda: The Musical are In…

matil

The critics agree that Matilda: The Musical is an incredibly imaginative delight for both children and adults.  Cleverness and magic abound in this new production, thanks to the direction of Matthew Warchus and the creative songwriting of Tim Minchin, who focus on the power of storytelling and the magic of books — unlike the 1996 movie, this musical is about people, not supernatural abilities. Engaging and entertaining performances make this production irresistible — Milly Shapiro and Bailey Ryon receive praise as two of the four possible Matildas you’ll see, and Bertie Carvel’s cross-dressed Mrs. Trunchbull is both scary and believable as the show’s antagonist.  The overwhelming consensus is that this musical is one of a kind and the best new work in recent memory — plain and simple, it’s not to be missed.

NEW YORK TIMES

“Rejoice, my theatergoing comrades. The children’s revolution has arrived on these shores, and it is even more glorious than we were promised.  As directed by Matthew Warchus, with a bright, efficient book by Dennis Kelly and addictive songs by Tim Minchin, “Matilda” is as much an edge-of-the-seats nail biter as a season-finale episode of “Homeland”.  Above all it’s an exhilarating tale of empowerment, as told from the perspective of the most powerless group of all. I mean little children.  It’s principally [her] teacher that occupies our Matilda Wormwood, played the night I saw the show by the marvelous Milly Shapiro, who resembles an avenging cherub from a Renaissance day of judgment painting. (The part is played in rotation by three other actresses, Sophia Gennusa, Oona Laurence and Bailey Ryon.) And I promise you have never met a teacher who inspires fear and loathing as commandingly and wittily as Miss Trunchbull, portrayed by the incomparable Bertie Carvel in a performance that breaks the mold of cross-dressing on Broadway, as a fascist on the verge of a nervous breakdown.  The elements of storytelling have been laid out for us from the beginning. When first seen, [designer Rob] Howell’s set is an airy wonderland of large letter-bearing tiles and bookcases. It suggests the endless supply from which Matilda (and vicariously we) can draw to make words, which make sentences, which make stories.  [Songs by] Mr. Minchin deliver plenty of swipes at deserving targets, including parents who make their children their religion, in the opening number, “Miracle.” But he is never merely clever, a restraint that speaks to this musical’s point that intellect doesn’t have to trump emotion. He has written some lyrically expressive charmers for Matilda and Miss Honey, which identify them as soul mates in loneliness.  As for the child performers, who are supplemented by adults portraying children, I mean it as the highest praise when I say they are not adorable. Or aggressively bratty or scene stealing. They occupy most convincingly that anxious state of siege we call childhood.  Mostly “Matilda” exists entirely on its own terms, to serve and to celebrate the story, without the hard-sell tactics that are usually a musical’s lifeblood.  In the current landscape of Broadway…this show [feels] truly revolutionary.”

Read the Full Review

BLOOMBERG

“Welcome to the deliriously amusing, malevolent, heartwarming, head-spinning world of “Matilda: The Musical.”  You won’t want to leave.  Thank Roald Dahl, who wrote with such glee about drunk, stupid, lazy, cruel adults and bewilderedly abused, brilliant children, of whom Matilda is the paradigm.  As in London, where the show is a huge hit, ‘Matilda” is directed by Matthew Warchus with songs by Tim Minchin and a book adapted from Dahl by Dennis Kelly.  All are aghast at the girl’s obsession with books, a point nicely emphasized by designer Rob Howell, who has blanketed the front of the Shubert Theatre with letter tiles, looking like a Scrabble player’s hallucination.  Warchus and choreographer Peter Darling have devised “Matilda” as a mad cartoon. In one scene they pile the school children atop one another, their arms extended like some multilimbed god as Miss Trunchbull looks on in contorted fury.  To their great credit, the writers and Warchus have underplayed the telekinetic powers with which Dahl endowed Matilda. One of this show’s many strengths is its reliance on human, not technological, magic.  The ensemble, young and old, boasts terrific performances across the boards. But the true amazement is in the unaffected yet utterly self-composed and irresistible performance of young [Milly] Shapiro; I can only hope the other Matildas are equally enchanting.”

Read the Full Review

BACKSTAGE

“The new Broadway musical “Matilda,” based on Roald Dahl’s 1988 children’s fantasy novel, was originally conceived by the Royal Shakespeare Company as family-friendly Christmastime entertainment, not unlike the cheesy and overly sentimental shows that flood New York each holiday season.  But it turned out to be an incredibly intelligent, heartfelt and entertaining work that went on to achieve critical and popular success in London and now arrives on Broadway like a white knight sent to rescue a disappointing season for new musicals.  Singer-songwriter Tim Minchin’s unique and unpredictable score is as character-sensitive and penetrating as it is melodic and memorable.  Matthew Warchus’ (“God of Carnage”) inventive production does not shy away from depicting Matilda’s peers as unashamedly self-indulgent and the world around them as garish and threatening.  Bailey Ryon, who played the role [of Matilda] at the Saturday matinee I attended, gave a nuanced, spunky performance that more than captured the character’s determined spirit and vulnerability.  Bertie Carvel, who was brought over from the London production, gives a delightfully exaggerated performance as the monstrous Miss Trunchbull.”

Read the Full Review

WASHINGTON POST

“A small army of [children] has invaded Broadway’s Shubert Theatre and, along with an astonishing adult performance by a heretofore unheralded British actor on these shores, Bertie Carvel, they form the captivating cadre of kids in “Matilda,” by some large and tickling measure the most splendiferous new musical of the year.  With a delectably clever score by Tim Minchin and a slyly evocative book by Dennis Kelly, the musical, minted by the Royal Shakespeare Company and adapted from the story by Roald Dahl (of “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” fame), is distinguished by its wonderful look and a caliber of choreography for young people you rarely ever experience.  If Milly Shapiro’s accomplished, confident, well-sung Matilda sets the standard, then any one of this pint-size quartet will make you — and any other grown-up or child who happens to tag along — happy to be a ticket holder.  Director Matthew Warchus, choreographer Peter Darling and set and costume designer Rob Howell conjure a universe of exotic and yet familiar flavors, [and] Carvel’s Miss Trunchbull is as close as you can imagine to a figure who’d swim in your head after consuming a tablespoonful of spoiled mayonnaise.  It’s as immersive and strangely moving — for adults, surely — as any new musical to come along in a while. Minchin, Kelly, Warchus and company have worked an incandescent sort of magic in turning a Broadway theater into a Dahl’s house.”

Read the Full Review

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