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It’s been a crazy couple of months and I’m afraid my blogging has fallen to the wayside. Sadly when you simultaneously start doing eight shows a week and begin a 40-hour-a-week day job, something has to get left behind, and I’m afraid this blog was one of the casualties. But the show is winding down and the job becoming more manageable, so I am back in full force and hoping to be a more consistent blogger this time around.
Lots of exciting shows are opening in the next few weeks, the world’s favorite joke – Spider-man has delayed its opening yet again and the weather is finally starting to turn with an eye towards spring. Keep an eye on the blog – I’ll post all of the critical reviews as they come in and I’ll do my best to pull out all the juicy news and happenings.
The Broadway Musical Blog lives again!
Due to the snow storm, producers and worried theatres won’t be filled for today’s matinee and evening performances, which is great news for those of you willing to make your way to a Broadway theatre. You can get these deals at the box office or online at BroadwayOffers.com. Here are the deals I’ve been able to find:
Billy Elliot: Use code BEGNA1201
Mamma Mia: Use code MMRES104
Memphis: Use code ME4FANS
La Cage Aux Folles: Use code LCGNA1117
Driving Miss Daisy: Use code MDINC13
The Importance of Being Earnest: Use code IBSNOW
The Milk Train Doesn’t Stop Here Anymore: Use code MTSNOW
Lombardi: Print this coupon
Those are the only shows who’ve made announcements announcements so far, but if any others are announced, I’ll update the page here.
If you’re dying to see a show that’s not on the list, I’m guessing they’ll be plenty of extra seats tonight, so if you’ve never rushed a Broadway show or visited the TKTS booth, today would be a very good day to try.
A guest blog by Ken Davenport
It’s the time of year for the ol’ look back. What memorable moments have the last 12 months brought us that could help define the next 12 months?
Here are my top 10 Broadway moments for 2010 . . . in no particular order.
1. It’s a bird, it’s a plane! No, it’s actually a performance of Spiderman!
Will it? Won’t it? Everyone in the biz has been asking this question about Spiderman for years. And, well, a new era of musical theatre began when the curtain (finally) went up after the first (long) preview. Obviously, the drama isn’t over yet . . . but come on, 2 years ago when work halted at the Hilton, did you think we’d ever see Spidey on stage?
2. 39 Steps transfers again, but this time, from Broadway to Off.
When one show does it (Avenue Q), some might call it a fluke. When two shows do it, it’s officially a trend. And rumor has it that a third recently shuttered Broadway show is headed for the 499 that 39 Steps is vacating. My prediction? When Chicago finally loses its steam at the Ambassador, it’ll transfer to the Little Shubert and run for another 10 years.
3. Billie Joe Armstrong puts his guitar where his mouth is.
Getting your creative team behind your production is important. But when your creative team is a humongo rock star, it’s essential. Billie Joe stepped into the spotlight when asked and played 8 performances [of American Idiot] and literally stopped traffic on 44th Street in the process. He’s on his way back to the St. James this winter to boost the box office again.
4. Did you see who took that photo?
In a related story, check out this article in the New York Times about the Billie Joe appearance. What’s so memorable about it? Well, the photo was taken by someone in the audience, and the Times used it, which shows you where journalism is headed over the next 10 years. And the audience member who took it? It was Jordan Roth, owner of Jujamcyn Theaters. And that shows you where theater is headed over the next 10 years.
5. Sean Hayes is gay?
Newsweek caused quite a fuss over its article that questioned whether Sean Hayes could convincingly play a heterosexual man [in Promises, Promises]. It got everyone fired up, from his costar Kristin Chenoweth, to Aaron Sorkin, to just about every single poster on All That Chat. Sean got the last word when he hosted the Tonys and did a fantastic job.
6. La Cage Aux Folles is back. Too soon?
Last year’s production of Ragtime had everyone saying that there is a minimum number a years a show needs to be off the boards in order for a revival to work. Then in struts La Cage, less than five years after its last revival, proving to everyone that it’s not always about the . . . timing. It’s about excellence.
7. Scarlett Johansson debuts A View From The Bridge . . . and she’s good!
Alright, alright, I’ve got a soft spot for Scar (as I call her), but after her performance in Bridge and her acceptance speech on Tony night, who didn’t fall in love? Crushes aside, her performance was exactly what we hope for when an A-lister hangs out with us for a while. I guarantee that other Hollywood hotties were saying, “I wanna try that.” And that is good for all of us. Because like it or not, stars have the ability to bring new audiences to the theater.
8. Glee makes singing cool again.
Matt Morrison was on the cover of Details last month. Lea Michele is in US Weekly almost every week. Who knew we’d have some Broadway hotties making a splash out West and serving as singing and dancing role models.
9. One agency goes, and another one comes.
2010 saw the end of the Eliran Murphy Group, an ad agency which serviced the majority of the Off-Broadway shows in town. But it also saw the arrival of a bigger dog on the block. AKA, an advertising force from the UK, arrived on our shores over the summer, and snatched up bunch of high profile players at competing firms. We all knew there was room for another agency in town. But no one knew it would be something with the experience of AKA. Things just got real, yo. With three major players on the street (Serino, Spot and AKA), there’s actually some real competition and a choice for Producers.
10. The NFL puts a play in its playbook.
Who says big business won’t back Broadway? Here comes the NFL, one of the biggest businesses of all, with more eyeballs every Sunday than we could dream about in a year, sponsoring Lombardi. The odds were on Lombardi not making it to the playoffs, but thanks to the NFL, the show looks destined to run past Super Bowl Sunday and beyond.
So I’ve shown you mine, now you show me yours. What were your most memorably moments on or off Broadway in 2010?
Ken Davenport is a Broadway and Off-Broadway producer who helped bring 13 and Altar Boyz to New York and is now working towards mounting a revival of Godspell. For more like this, you can follow his blog at theproducersperspective.com or find him on Twitter or Facebook.
There’s been lots of news this last week. Here are the big items:
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.
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.
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
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.
Yesterday, the Obama family welcomed Broadway to the White house in an event hosted by Nathan Lane, which featured performances by Idina Menzel, Audra McDonald and Brian d’Arcy James, among others. The President opened the event with a reflection on musical theatre’s national significance:
“Now there’s nothing quite like the power and the passion of Broadway music….It’s one of the few genres of music that can inspire the same passion in an eight-year-old that it can an 80-year-old — and make them both want to get up and dance….In many ways, the story of Broadway is also intertwined with the story of America. Some of the greatest singers and songwriters Broadway has ever known came to this country on a boat with nothing more than an idea in their head and a song in their heart. And they succeeded the same way that so many immigrants have succeeded — through talent and hard work and sheer determination. Over the years, musicals have also been at the forefront of our social consciousness, challenging stereotypes, shaping our opinions about race and religion, death and disease, power and politics. But perhaps the most American part of this truly American art form is its optimism. Broadway music calls us to see the best in ourselves and in the world around us — to believe that no matter how hopeless things may seem, the nice guy can still get the girl, the hero can still triumph over evil, and a brighter day can be waiting just around the bend.”
The event was taped and will be broadcast on PBS on October 20, 2010.
The Broadway Musical Blog is officially one year old today! Thanks for joining us for the gossip, news, reviews and more. The online Broadway community is so wonderful and I’m happy to be a part of it all! Thanks for all the love and support. Can’t wait to see what the next year on Broadway has in store for us all…
I’ve been extremely busy updating the look and content of The Broadway Musical Home so get over there and check it out now!
Featuring fun new artwork commissioned especially for the site (can you name all the characters/shows pictured in the banner?) plus information about every Broadway mounting of each show (not just the premiere), video and music clips, info about the Broadway theaters themselves, interactive features (like a star rating system, discussion space and social media connections) as well as oodles of other good stuff … our sister site has transformed into something truly wonderful.
Check it out! Bookmark it! Tell your friends!
Win a pair of tickets to see Smokey Joe’s Café at The Papermill Playhouse. To enter, simply leave a comment below stating why you love musical theater.
The winner will be chosen using random.org on Friday, April 23. Be sure to include your email address below so we can contact you if you’ve won.
Smokey Joe’s Café is licensed through R&H Theatricals. To put on a production of Smokey Joe’s Café visit www.rnh.com
AND THE WINNER IS … Samantha Coleman!
Not you? Never fear! We’ve got another exciting ticket giveaway coming soon and our Phantom of the Opera CD Giveaway runs through June 1.
That’s right, it’s time for another massive news roundup. There’s a lot to catch up on, so without any further ado, here we go…
The Broadway premiere of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Love Never Dies will open at the Neil Simon Theater in the spring of 2011 due to some health complications of ALW’s part. The show, which was to open on Broadway in November of 2011, has been playing to somewhat mixed reviews on the West End. The big buzz about the delay is in regards to Jack O’Brien (director) and Jerry Mitchell (choreographer) because…
Catch Me If You Can is officially opening on Broadway in the spring of 2011! Producers Hal Luftig and Margo Lion have confirmed that rehearsals for the show that premiered at Seattle’s 5th Avenue will begin in January. A theatre and the exact dates of production have not yet been announced, but O’Brien and Mitchell are on board, and it is assumed that the big names associated with the production (Aaron Tveit, Tom Wopat, Norbert Leo Butz) will be headliners.
Another exciting transfer is that of Yank!, the Off-Broadway hit that just closed at the York Theater Company. Producers Pamela Koslow and Karl Held have announced plans to bring the ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ G.I. musical to the Great White Way during the 2010-11 season. No news as to whether Bobby Steggert and Ivan Hernandez will repeat the roles they originated on Broadway.
Another Off-Broadway hit, Sherie Rene Scott’s Everyday Rapture is headed to Broadway thanks to Megan Mullally’s sudden and late departure from Lips Together, Teeth Apart. Everyday Rapture will open on April 29, 2010, so it will be in the running for this year’s Tony Awards.
The other sudden departure was that of the show All About Me, which, after being panned harshly by critics, ended its Broadway run after only 20 performances. That, ladies and gentlemen, is what we call a flop.
But enough depressing news…here’s some happy news:
- Next to Normal officially recouped its investment!
- Henry Miller’s Theatre was renamed in Stephen Sondheim’s honor!
- John Cameron Mitchell’s Hedwig and the Angry Inch may be headed to Broadway in the fall!
And yes, it’s not technically Broadway, but since so many Off-Broadway shows are transferring these days, I thought it worth mentioning that Bloody Bloddy Andrew Jackson, a new musical about the guy you talked about in history class is generating nothing but great buzz. If you want to see it while the price is right, get over to the Public Theatre ASAP.
I got my hands on a song sample from Andrew Lloyd Webber’s new sequel to Phantom of the Opera, Love Never Dies:
What do you think?