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 Casting

The People in the Picture, starring Donna Murphy, is a new addition to the 2010-11 Broadway season

The latest entry into the next season on Broadway is that of The People in the Picture, a brand new musical, which will make its world premiere at The American Airlines Theatre this spring without any sort out-of-town tryout. But unlike Women on the Verge, the other new musical to open sans-tryout this season, The People in the Picture is not based on well-known source material.

With a story and lyrics by Iris Rainer Dart (who wrote the screenplay for the feature film Beeches) and music by Mike Stoller (Smokey Joe’s Cafe) and Artie Butler, the show’s press release describes the show thus:

Once the darling of the Yiddish Theatre in pre-war Poland, now a grandmother in New York City, Bubbie has had quite a life. But what will it all mean if she can’t pass on her stories to the next generation? Though her granddaughter is enchanted by her tales, her daughter Red will do anything to keep from looking back. A fiercely funny and deeply moving new musical that spans three generations, THE PEOPLE IN THE PICTURE celebrates the importance of learning from our past, and the power of laughter.

It will star Donna Murphy (Passion, The King and I), who will play two generations of women, and be directed by Leonard Foglia. Other casting has not yet been announced.

I’ve been wracking my brain trying to think of another original musical that premiered on Broadway, and am having quite a hard time coming up with anything. There have been plenty of shows that have gone straight to Broadway, but most have been based on a book, play or movie, and plenty of original musicals have hit the Great White Way, but most have premiered Off-Broadway, on the West End, at a festival or out of town.  Can you think of anything? I know this isn’t the first…

(And yes, I’m humming the song Original Musical from [title of show] right now…)

Closings, castings, previews and the chance to become a producer

There’s been lots of news this last week. Here are the big items:

Closing Soon

West Side Story and Promises, Promises have just announced that they will close on Broadway on January 2, after playing 748 and 291 performances, respectively. West Side Story has had quite the run – an admirable revival that played to positive reviews and celebrated great attendance throughout. Promises, Promises, which opened to very poor reviews, ended up pulling in many more patrons than anyone thought after Sean Penn’s Tony Award appearance (and on-screen heterosexual kiss with his co-star, Kristin Chenoweth). The closing comes soon after announcements that Kate Finneran, who received much critical acclaim and a Tony Award for her performance in the show, would be departing the production.

Fela! will also be closing its doors on January 2, after a bit of celebrity casting in the role of Fela’s mother, Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti. Pop star Patti LaBelle has stepped into the role created by Lillias White and will continue until the show’s final performance in January.

Casting Announcements

Elf has now been fully cast and will star Sebastian Arcelus (Jersey Boys, Wicked, Rent) opposite Amy Spanger (Rock of Ages, The Wedding Singer) alongside an ensemble of big name stars, including: Beth Leavel (The Drowsy Chaperone, Mamma Mia!), Mark Jacoby (Sweeney Todd, Show Boat), George Wendt (“Cheers,” Hairspray), Matthew Gumley (Addams Family), Valerie Wright (Steel Pier), Michael McCormick (Curtains) and Michael Mandell (Big River).

The biggest casting excitement is over that of the star-studded Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, which includes the likes of de’Adre Aziza, Laura Benanti, Danny Burstein, Nikka Graff Lanzarone, Patti LuPone, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Mary Beth Peil, Sherie Rene Scott and now Justin Guarini. If star power is worth anything, this show will bring in the crowds. Whether they’ll recoup with the size of the checks they’ve got to be writing for this cast is another question altogether…

As to casting changes, American Idol winner Jordan Sparks has joined the cast of In the Heights and gave a stunning rendition of “Breathe” at this year’s Broadway on Broadway. Constantine Maroulis left Broadway’s Rock of Ages to tour with the production, and has been replaced with Broadway newcomer Joey Taranto. Ryan Jesse will be stepping into the role Sebastian Arcelus is vacating in Jersey Boys on October 12, but most everyone else appears to be staying put.

Show Previews

Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, Elf and Priscilla Queen of the Desert all had premiere performances this last week, the first on Good Morning America and the other two at this year’s Broadway on Broadway. Check out the songs below. What do you think?

Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark

Elf

Priscilla: Queen of the Desert

Become a Producer

And then there’s a new category of news – Ken Davenport is producing Godspell on Broadway and is inviting anyone with $1,000 to help him do so. It’s what he’s calling “the first ever community produced Broadway musical.” Shares are available at $100 a pop, with a minimum purchase of 10. For more information or to become a producer, go to www.peopleofgodspell.com.

Opening, Closing, Cast Changes and Albums: A Summer News Roundup

Summers are generally fairly slow on Broadway, with many recovering or reveling in the Tony Award results, hot weather and summer tourists; there’s still plenty going on, but not much in the way of news. There have been a couple exciting announcements, which are well worth sharing (thus this entry). If you want to get more frequent updates, follow us on Facebook or Twitter; I’ll post the juicy bits there and do another roundup here before the summer is out.

Opening Soon

Anything Goes starring Sutton Foster will officially open on Broadway on April 7th at the Stephen Sondheim Theatre. Directed by two-time Tony Award winner Kathleen Marshall, this old-fashioned dance-heavy musical has the Broadway community buzzing. The revival will feature a new book by Timothy Crouse and John Weidman.

The other big news item is that How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying will open on Broadway on March 27. The show will star Daniel Radcliffe, who, unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, you know as Harry Potter, and if you’ve been living in a theatre as that kid who got naked last season in Equus. The movie version of this show, starring Robert Morse, continues to be one of my favorites in the genre. Can’t wait to see what Mr. Radcliffe does with the role of Finch.

And then we’ve got the Off-Broadway transfers: Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson announced that it will hit Broadway on September 21 and The Scottsboro Boys that it will open on October 31. We can only hope they enjoy as much success on Broadway as they did off.

Big Casting Changes

Bernadette Peters and Elaine Stritch have taken over the lead roles in A Little Night Music and everyone is raving about their performances. Check out Peters’ performance of “Send in the Clowns”:

Two others, Marin Mazzie and Jason Danieley, have also stepped into some big shoes – the real life married couple are now playing Diana and Dan Goodman in Next to Normal on Broadway. Yes, they’re big shoes, but if Twitter buzz counts for anything, it sounds as though the show is in more than capable hands.

Closing Soon

In sadder news, Come Fly Away has announced that its final performance will be on September 5. This production, though short-lived on Broadway, does have plans to tour the US, so if you didn’t have the chance to see it on the Great White Way, you’ll have other opportunities.

Cast Albums

The revival cast of La Cage Aux Folles will be recording their work for their fans. The album will be released sometime in September. Pre-order it on amazon.com now.

And I don’t know about you, but I’m loving the newly released albums for Everyday Rapture and Promises, Promises, available online here and here. Trust me – these are albums you won’t regret buying.

Post-Tony Broadway News Recap

Whew … still recovering from the Tony Awards. Everyone thought Sean Hayes did a wonderful job as host (some ranking him higher than NPH), but overall found the ceremony to be a bit soul-less and not as much about Broadway as about celebrity (Hunter Foster has even created a Facebook group called GIVE THE TONYS BACK TO BROADWAY).

And word is out that next year the awards will be booted from the Radio City Music Hall, which they’ve called home for the past 13 years. Back when the Tony Awards were first televised in 1967 (and on through 1996) they were held in actual Broadway houses, rotating through to a different one each year. I’d personally love to see the Tonys return to this system, and the much less elaborate stagings of the musical numbers. Perhaps being kicked to the curb is a good thing and will require producers to rethink the whole event.

The Tonys did feature appearances by a number of the headliners who’ll appear in musicals slated to open next season, including Daniel Radcliff who’ll be starring as Finch in How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, Ricky Martin who’ll play Che in the West-End transfer of Evita and Antonio Bandares in the title role in Zorba. Here’s the full list of the musicals on the docket to open soon:

  • The Scottsboro Boys – October 31
  • Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown – November 4
  • Unchain My Heart – November 7
  • The Pee-Wee Herman Show – November 11
  • Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark – November 2011
  • Elf – November 2011
  • Zorba – Fall 2011
  • Anything Goes – February 2011
  • The Book of Mormon – March 2011
  • Priscilla, Queen of the Desert – March 2011
  • Phantom: Love Never Dies – April 2011
  • How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying – Spring 2011
  • Catch Me If You Can – Spring 2011
  • Sister Act – Spring 2011
  • Annie – Fall 2012
  • Evita – Spring 2012
  • Yank! – TBA
  • Funny Girl – TBA
  • Godspell – TBA
  • Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – TBA

Meanwhile, Hair and Sondheim on Sondheim both closed their doors on June 27th. Everyday Rapture will be bowing out on July 11 and South Pacific on August 22. Surprisingly no shows have announced closings after suffering losses at the Tonys. Promises, Promises, which was trashed by the critics, got an unexpected boost from Sean’s emceeing and the big on-screen kiss with costar Kristin Chenoweth on the Tony Awards. And Addams Family, which didn’t even get to perform a number at the awards, is also doing very well in the box office. Seems the Tony Awards are no longer the predictor of audiences they used to be…

A number of big casting changes will be taking place next month. The biggest excitement is over the replacements for CZJ and Angela Lansbury in A Little Night Music. Rather than petering out after the stars’ departures, many are now predicting an increase in ticket sales, as their successors will be Broadway favorites Bernadette Peters and Elaine Stritch. Also exciting is that the real life married couple of Marin Mazzie and Jason Danieley will take over the roles of Diana Goodman and Dan in Broadway’s Next to Normal when Alice Ripley departs to join the show on its US Tour and Brian D’Arcy James to perform in Time Stands Still and a new HBO series. Kristin Chenoweth will be leaving Promises, Promises this September (don’t worry, they made sure to record a cast album first). Her replacement has not yet been announced.

April News Roundup

An awful lot has happened this month on the Great White Way – numerous shows have opened, squeezing in just in time for award consideration, and there’s been lots of exciting announcements and good old controversy. If you’ve been hiding under a rock, here’s what you’ve missed:

The Addams Family opened to dismal reviews, while the critics ate up the La Cage Aux Folles revival and had mixed things to say about American Idiot, Million Dollar Quartet, Sondheim on Sondheim and Promises, Promises.

Everyday Rapture, the last minute Sherie Rene Scott showcase, opens tomorrow night and released a very fun cast recording pre-opening. The buzz so far is that those who love the woman will adore the production, while others may be left scratching their heads. We’ll see what the critics have to say tomorrow.

There’s quite a break before the next round of shows look to make their way to Broadway. The big official announcements are that Catch Me If You Can, which had an out-of-town-tryout last year in Seattle, is looking at a spring 2011 Broadway opening. However, Jack O’Brien and Jerry Mitchell, who were involved in the Seattle mounting are already tied up in Phantom: Love Never Dies, which was pushed back to the spring in response to Andrew Lloyd Webber’s health problems, so everyone’s wondering which production they’ll stick with.

The other exciting spring openings are How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, which will feature Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe, The Book of Mormon, from South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone and Avenue Q composer and co-creator Robert Lopez and the Australian/West End transfer of Priscilla, Queen Of The Desert, whose producers are reportedly talking to Matthew Cavanaugh (West Side Story) and Will Swenson (Hair) about joining Tony Sheldon in the production.

The doomed Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark ran into another hiccup, when it’s only remaining headliner, Alan Cumming, bailed on the production. Originally slotted to open in the fall of last year, then in February of this year, the show now has no official start date or stars, save for the newcomer, Reeve Carney, who Taymor selected to play Spidey…

Plenty of rumors have popped up this month too. Rumor is that Gwyneth Paltrow and her mother Blythe Danner may be taking over for Catherine Zeta Jones and Angela Lansbury in A Little Night Music, when they depart the production in June. And Disney acquired the domain names DumboOnBroadway.com and NewsiesOnBroadway.com. The Post already told us about a potential Dumbo mounting on Broadway, but the Newsies purchase has sparked some positive buzz among our Twitter and Facebook followers.

Another adaptation of film to the stage is officially in the works – as producer Matt Murphy has acquired the stage rights for a musical adaptation of Dances With Wolves. Murphy, who is pulling together a creative team now, is looking to team the composer “with a Native American musical expert to lend authenticity to the score.” And the NFL has invested in their first Broadway show, Lombardi, which will star Dan Lauria (“The Wonder Years”) and is slated to open at Circle in the Square on Oct. 21, 2010.

The biggest controversy this month was that Next to Normal took home the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, even though it was not among the nominees. The board members are reputed to have attended the show the night before making their decision and Charles McNulty of the Los Angeles Times cried foul while others sat wondering “what’s with all the N2N hate?” The show did just recoup its investment – a very exciting achievement that many hope will help producers see they don’t have to rely on Hollywood stars and spectacle to make a success – a good show will get “butts in seats.”

In other award news, nominees for the Outer Critics Circle Awards and Drama League Awards have been announced. The Drama Desk nominees will be out on May 3rd and the Tony Award nominees on May 4th. Here’s when all of the award ceremonies will take place:

Drama League Awards: May 21, 2010
Drama Desk Awards: May 23, 2010
Outer Critics Circle Awards: May 27, 2010
Theatre World Awards: June 8, 2010
Tony Awards: June 13, 2010

Cast albums are out for Everyday Rapture, American Idiot and A Little Night Music and The Addams Family, Fela! and Memphis all recently went into the studio to record their own. The Off-Broadway (and suspected soon-to-transfer-to-Broadway) production of The Scottsboro Boys also ducked into the studio to record an album.

In casting news, Brian d’Arcy James, who originated the role of Dan in Next to Normal‘s original Off-Broadway run, will be rejoining the cast, this time on Broadway.  J. Robert Spencer leaves the show on May 16 and James will start his run in the show the following day.

And the final bit of excitement I’ll leave with you is official confirmation that shooting for the In the Heights movie, directed by Kenny Ortega and starring Lin-Manuel Miranda,  begins this August.

New Musicals, News, Casting, Cast Albums, TV Appearances and More

New Musicals and Transfers

The Michael Grandage-directed production of Evita, which opened at London’s Adelphi Theatre in June 2006 is officially heading to Broadway next year. Elena Roger, who starred in the West End production, will repeat her performance in the Broadway remount. Rumor has it that Ricky Martin is in talks to play Che, though this has not been confirmed.

Disney was apparently in talks with Billy Elliot‘s Stephen Daldry to direct a stage adaptation of Dumbo. Though he turned down the job, they’re still on the hunt for a new director for the musical. We can only hope Dumbo will fare better than some of Disney’s recent attempts to adapt their animated films for the stage (ie. The Little Mermaid, Tarzan). No names have yet been attached to this project.

A new jukebox musical called Unchain My Heart will be heading to Broadway on Nov. 7 this year. Featuring the music of Ray Charles and a book by Suzan-Lori Parks, casting for the production has not yet been announced.

The Canadian Press is reporting that Mel Brooks is working on a musical adaptation of his  film, Blazing Saddles. Brooks has apparently already written two songs for the show though he’ll be taking his time bringing it to Broadway due to the “lukewarm” reception Young Frankenstein received.

Producer David Shor announced the creative team for the Broadway aimed Sleepless in Seattle – The Musical. Michelle Citrin, Michael Garin and Josh Nelson will serve as composers/lyricists, Jeff Arch (who co-wrote the movie’s screenplay) will be the show’s librettist and Joel Zwick will direct. The musical adaptation is hoping to make a Broadway bow on Valentine’s Day 2011.

News About Shows Opening Soon

Kristin Chenoweth will be singing the song “I Say a Little Prayer” in the revival of Promises, Promises. Though by the show’s composer, Burt Bacharach, the song was not included in the original production. Not exactly sure where they’re gonna put it, but I’m guessing it’s gonna be one of those where the guy behind you starts singing along…

Kelsey Grammer who is returning to Broadway in the role of Georges in La Cage Aux Folles, shared that he will take on the role of Albin six months into the musical’s run. In other casting news, the musical’s producers announced that Fred Applegate (The Producers, Young Frankenstein) will take on the roles of Edouard Dindon and M. Renaud in La Cage Aux Folles.

It may not even fit under this category anymore (though Julie Taymor is adamant that it will open this fall), but the big news is that Evan Rachel Wood, who was to play Mary Jane Watson in Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, has left the production due to “scheduling conflicts.”

Andrew Lloyd Webber’s sequel to Phantom of the Opera, Love Never Dies, opened to mixed reviews in London. The show is likely to undergo changes before heading to the Great White Way, so who knows what it will look like when it comes our way. Anyone here seen it on the West End?

Casting Announcements

Rumor is that Alice Ripley will be touring with the Next to Normal cast, which is exciting news for those who haven’t been able to make the trip to NYC! As to the Broadway replacement, producers are holding open Equity auditions. Wonder who they’ll find to replace her…

The new tribe for Broadway’s Hair has taken over and the OBC headed to the West End. Led by Diana DeGarmo, Ace Young, and Kyle Riabko, this American-Idol heavy group seems to be just as energetic and excited as their predecessors.

Mandy Gonzalez, who originated the role of Nina in In the Heights, will assume that of Elphaba in the Broadway production of Wicked at the Gershwin Theatre on March 23.

Emily Padgett (Grease, Legally Blonde) has succeeded Tony nominee Kerry Butler as Sherrie in the Broadway production of Rock of Ages. Derek St. Pierre and Katie Webber (Memphis) will join the cast on March 22.

Catherine Zeta-Jones and Angela Lansbury are leaving A Little Night Music on June 20 but the show will run through through Aug 29. It will be interesting to see who ends up stepping in for the last couple of months and if the show will last after its stars’ departure.

Karl Kenzler and Megan Osterhaus joined the Broadway company of Mary Poppins on March 1 in the roles of George Banks and Winifred Banks, succeeding Jeff Binder and Rebecca Luker.

Cast Album and DVD Releases

The album for the current revival of A Little Night Music, starring Catherine Zeta-Jones and Angela Lansbury, will be available on April 6. It is now available for pre-order.

The cast album for Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Love Never Dies is now out in stores.

And the cast recording for The Addams Family, which opens on Broadway on April 8, will be available in June 2010.

The DVD and Blue-Ray version of Nine will be available in stores on May 4. It is now available for pre-order.

Television Appearances

“Glee” – Air dates TBA – Neil Patrick Harris, Idina Menzel

“Ugly Betty” – Wed, Mar 17 – Aaron Tveit and Carol Kane

“The View” – Thur, March 25 – Michael Feinstein and Dame Edna

“The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” – Tues, March 16 – Hugh Jackman

“The Today Show” – Wed, March 17 – Riverdance performance


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New tribe members for Broadway’s Hair include Spring Awakening’s Kyle Riabko and American Idol favorites Ace Young and Diana DeGarmo!

With the majority of the original Broadway cast headed to London’s Gielgud Theatre, producers held a huge casting call for new Broadway tribe members.

Today, they’ve announced that Kyle Riabko (Spring Awakening) and American Idol favorites Ace Young (Grease) and Diana DeGarmo (The Toxic Avenger, Hairspray) will play Claude, Berger and Sheila when the new cast takes over on March 9.

They will be joined by Annaleigh Ashford, Jeannette Bayardelle, Vanessa Ray, Wallace Smith and Jason Wooten and an ensemble that includes Justin Badger, Nicholas Belton, Larkin Bogan, Natalie Bradshaw, Catherine Brookman, Brianna Carlson-Goodman, Antwayn Hopper, Jay Armstrong Johnson, Rachel Bay Jones, Mykal Kilgore, Josh Lamon, Nicole Lewis, Anastacia McClesky, Paris Remillard, Armender Robinson, Kate Rockwell, Cailan Rose, Rashidra Scott and Jen Sese.

What do you think of the new cast?


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Broadway’s La Cage Aux Folles announces additional casting

The West End transfer of La Cage Aux Folles, which opens April 18 at the Longacre Theater, previously announced its headliners Kelsey Grammer and Douglas Hodge.

Today, producers have added some additional names to the cast list, including: Tony Award nominees Veanne Cox (Company) and Robin de Jesus (In the Heights), Christine Andreas (Oklahoma!), A.J. Shively, Elena Shaddow (Nine), Chris Hoch (Shrek), Heather Lindell (Hairspray), Bill Nolte (The Secret Garden, Joseph, 1776), David Nathan Perlow, and Nick Adams (Guys and Dolls, A Chorus Line).

You’ve seen the artwork. How do you think the show is going to be received by theater-goers?

A new Fiyero and returning Emile, N2N officially touring, Sister Act transferring, Finian’s and Vanities albums released

Broadway Casting Changes:

Andy Karl (9 to 5, Legally Blonde) joins the cast of Broadway’s Wicked in the role of Fiyero today, Feb 2.

David Pittsinger returns to the role of Emile de Becque in the Tony-winning revival of South Pacific today.

Big Announcements:

Next to Normal will officially tour the United States next year. The only venue that has been announced to date is San Diego’s Balboa Theatre; stay tuned to the blog for further announcements.

Whoopi Goldberg’s Sister Act, which has been setting records on the West End, is officially heading to Broadway in 2011. No details have yet been released, but it looks like Goldberg will transfer with the production when it makes the move to the states.

Cast Albums Released Today:


The New Broadway Cast Recording of Finian’s Rainbow


The Off-Broadway Cast Recording of Vanities

Cast for the Broadway Mounting of Green Day’s American Idiot Will Include John Gallagher Jr., Stark Sands and Michael Esper

Producers just announced that John Gallagher Jr. (Spring Awakening), Stark Sands and Michael Esper will star in Broadway’s American Idiot, the new Green Day musical opening April 20 at the St. James Theatre.

Director Michael Mayer (Spring Awakening) co-wrote the book with Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong. Music and lyrics are all by Green Day, with songs taken from their albums “American Idiot” and “21st Century Breakdown.”

The other creative team members include two-time Tony Award-winning composer and orchestrator Tom Kitt (Next to Normal), Olivier Award-winning choreographer Steven Hoggett, Tony nominated scenic designer Christine Jones (Spring Awakening), costume designer Andrea Lauer, two-time Tony Award-winning lighting designer Kevin Adams (Hair), Obie Award-winning sound designer Brian Ronan (Cabaret), video designer Darrel Maloney and music director Carmel Dean.

Gallagher Jr., Sands and Esper are joined by Rebecca Naomi Jones (Passing Strange), Christina Sajous (The Wild Party), Mary Faber (Avenue Q) and Tony Vincent (Jesus Christ Superstar) as well as an ensemble that includes: Declan Bennett (Rent), Andrew Call (Cry-Baby), Gerard Canonico (Spring Awakening), Miguel Cervantes (The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee), Joshua Henry (In the Heights), Van Hughes (Hairspray), Brian Charles Johnson (Spring Awakening), Joshua Kobak (Rent), Lorin Latarro (Movin’ Out), Omar Lopez-Cepero, Leslie McDonel (Hairspray), Chase Peacock, Theo Stockman (Hair), Ben Thompson, Alysha Umphress, Aspen Vincent and Libby Winters.

The cast will be appearing with Green Day at the Grammy Awards, singing “21 Guns.” (The Grammys will air on CBS on Jan 31 at 8-11:30 PM).

Can’t wait for this one to hit the Great White Way! Apparently, it’s turning musical theater on its head.

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