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 Gossip

WEEKLY DEAL ALERT: $10.94 for Seth Rudetsky’s Broadway Nights

Every week we scour the web to find the best musical theatre deals on cast albums, videos, sheetmusic, tickets, merchandise and more, but many items are available at these great prices for a limited time only, so grab them while you can…

$10.94 for Seth Rudetsky’s Broadway Nights

 

Get the deal!

(Or get it for Kindle for $7.69)

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Which Broadway star wore it better?

Which of these Broadway divas wore this Maggie London Printed Faux Wrap better? Kristin Chenoweth or Megan Hilty?

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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Rumors are flying about Lea Michele and a Jeff Buckley jukebox musical

Perhaps because real Broadway news has been slow this week, the rumor mill has been active circulating rumors about new shows.

First – the New York Post reported that the New York Theatre Barn is wooing Lea Michele for a new musical based on the real-life attempts of a high school in Texas to produce Rent. The show, called Speargrove Presents, has a role written for her, but with her Glee filming schedule, taking time out to star in a non-profit’s musical just may not be in the cards. That said, she has been a fan of the Theatre Barn for years. I’m waiting to see whether any other names come on board for the project. Until they do – they can pine for her all they want – were I her agent, I’d tell her to politely decline.

Also rumored, this time by Variety, is that the Jeff Buckley jukebox musical adaptation of Romeo and Juliet called The Last Goodbye is eyeing a Broadway premiere during the 2010-11 season. A concert version of the show was presented this past May at Joe’s Pub with a cast that included Kelli Barrett (The Royal Family, Rock of Ages) and Theo Stockman (Hair, American Idiot). After doing a workshop at Gotham and an out-of-town tryout somewhere yet-to-be announced, they’re hoping to hit the Great White Way. Anyone catch the Joe’s Pub performance? I think this show could either be really good, or do a big old flop.

In other news….

The Phantom Love Never Dies soundtrack is being released on March 9. We hooked you up with a sample of some music from the show. Be sure to pre-order your copy of the full cast album now!

The Matt Stone and Trey Parker Morman Musical, starring Cheyenne Jackson, will officially make an appearance Off-Broadway in the 2009-10 season. I am so on board with this show.

The Lion King officially became the 8th longest show in Broadway history, surpassing Rent, which previously held that position. Julie Taymor’s brilliant puppetry combined with a large Disney budget made this wonderful movie into a truly unique stage experience – and one that just keeps rolling along…

Speaking of Julie Taymor – the now $45 million dollar production of Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark that was supposed to start previews earlier this month under her direction – “will open before the end of the year” according to U2′s the Edge. They’ve already run into hurdle after hurdle, found an entirely new set of producers, and returned money to those excited fans who bought their tickets months in advance. I really want to think the best of this production, but have to admit, I’ve grown wary. So, the Edge: Thank you for trying to inspire confidence, and I hope for the sake of those who gave you all the $45 million you’ve already spent, that you do, in fact, go up before the end of the year, but I have to tell you – I’ll not be holding my breath.

In West End news – Tony and Olivier Award-winning director Trevor Nunn will direct Aspects of Love, the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical for the Menier Chocolate Factory this summer. This wonderful theatre has contributed a lot to Broadway in recent years (Sunday in the Park with George, La Cage aux Folles, A Little Night Music), so if its a successful revival over there – it’s likely to make its way across the Pacific.

And finally in other redo moves – Variety is reporting that Karen McCulluh and Kirsten Smith, the writers of the film Legally Blonde, are set to create a big screen remake of The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas. The film will be produced by Marty Bowen and Wyck Godfrey, of the “Twilight” franchise. First of all – why redo it? Secondly – what a weird assortment of people. I can only hope this new version will feature vampire prostitutes with chihuahuas!


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Bye Bye “Birdie,” Hello New Work and New Horizons

Bye Bye “Birdie”

The universally panned production of Bye Bye Birdie, starring John Stamos and Gina Gershon, closed on Broadway on Jan 24 after playing 117 performances. Though selling at 90% capacity, producers decided the show’s success would dwindle upon the departure of its stars and so closed as planned, rather than extending its run.

Hello New Work

Wildhorn’s Wonderland

An exciting new musical that’s been getting lots of buzz in the social media sphere Frank Wildhorn (Jekyll & Hyde, The Scarlett Pimpernel, The Civil War) and Jack Murphy’s (The Civil War) Wonderland, a new take on Lewis Carol’s “Alice in Wonderland.” The show opened on Jan 20 at the Alley Theatre in Houston.

The cast includes a lot of Broadway names, including Janet Dacal (In the Heights, Good Vibrations), Jose Llana (The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee), Karen Mason (Sunset Boulevard, Mamma Mia!), Darren Ritchie (Dracula: The Musical), Nikki Snelson (Legally Blonde), Ed Staudenmayer (Forbidden Broadway) and Tad Wilson (Rock of Ages).

This show definitely has Broadway aspirations, though no dates or official plans have yet been announced. Cross your fingers that its sooner rather than later.

Duncan Sheik’s The Whisper House

Spring Awakening‘s Dunkan Sheik celebrated the world premiere of Whisper House, which opened Jan. 21 at the Old Globe Theatre in San Diego. The show, which features a hauntingly beautiful score, has hopes of making it to Broadway sometime in the next couple of years.

The Pee Wee Herman Show

Another show with Broadway aims is the Pee Wee Herman Show, which opened on Jan 20 at the Los Angeles’ Club Nokia @ L.A. LIVE. Paul Reubens stars the title role he created back in the 1980s and looks to be having just as much fun today as he did back then. Though more a show with music than a musical, I couldn’t not include it on the blog here. I mean, it’s Pee Wee Herman!

A Spice Girls Musical?

Yep. Pee Wee Herman isn’t the only pop-culture icon to be brought to the stage. Mamma Mia! producer Judy Craymer is turning her attention to a jukebox musical that will use the songs (and we can only hope, the personalities) of that crazy English girl-group of the 90s – the Spice Girls.

New Horizons

Original Foursome will Make their Broadway Debuts with Million Dollar Quartet

The original foursome from the Chicago production of the musical Million Dollar Quartet, Eddie Clendening, Lance Guest, Levi Kreis and Rob Lyons, will reprise their roles in the show’s Broadway premiere, all making their Broadway premieres. They will be joined by two Broadway veterans: Hunter Foster (Urinetown, Little Shop of Horrors) and Elizabeth Stanley (Cry-Baby, Company).

Showtime to Document the Process of Taking a Musical from Concept to Broadway

If you’ve kept up with the blog here, you know that Speilberg is producing a new Showtime series tracing the evolution of a new musical.

Composers Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman (Hairspray, Catch Me If You Can) were previously announced as being on board, and now a writer has surfaced – Theresa Rebeck – the author who penned the recent off-Broadway hit the Understudy and has a fair number of TV shows under her belt.

I don’t know about you, but I’m excited to see this show get off the ground, and if the success of Glee and the long string of casting shows series, I’m not the only one that’ll be eating it up.

Norbert Leo Butz on TV

Norbert Leo Butz (Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Wicked, The Last Five Years) is starring as Rowdy Kaiser on ABC’s “The Deep End,” a new drama series about five first-year lawyers starting out at a top firm. If you missed last week’s premiere – check it out on ABC’s website.

A Big Broadway News Roundup

Next to Normal Looking to Launch a National Tour

Brian Yorkey, the book writer and lyricist for Broadway’s Next to Normal, told Playbill.com, “A tour is in the works. David Stone’s at work putting it together. I think it will launch later this year, in the fall or winter.” In addition to a national tour here in the US, there is also apparently a group working on translating the show for a Scandinavian production.

Chicago Now Broadway’s 6th Longest Running Show

On Jan. 12, the Tony Award-winning revival of John Kander and Fred Ebb’s Chicago played its 5,462nd performance and became the sixth longest-running production in Broadway history, surpassing Beauty and the Beast, which previously held that position.

Finian’s Rainbow Cast Album Available Feb 2

The critically acclaimed revival of Finian’s Rainbow that just closed its doors on Broadway did have the chance to visit a recording studio before the death knells rang – capturing the beautiful voices of Kate Baldwin and Cheyenne Jackson singing some of the best songs in the Broadway musical cannon. Listen to a sample. The album is available for pre-order now.

Hair holding open casting

With nearly all of the original Broadway cast of Hair off to perform in the west-end transfer, producers are looking to cast a new group of Broadway hopefuls. Open auditions will take place from 10 AM-6 PM at the Public Theater on January 21. Actors are asked to prepare 16 bars of an up-tempo pop or rock song (with sheet music), and to bring a headshot and a resume.

Billy Elliot has Recouped its Investment

Producers of the Tony Award-winning Broadway musical Billy Elliot have announced that it has recouped its $18 million investment. The national tour of the show is set to launch in Chicago on March 18.

La Cage Aux Folles Artwork Revealed

La Cage Aux Folles

Our Twitter and Facebook followers have had mixed opinions about it. What do you think?

An Obama Musical?

Yes. A company in Germany has created a show based on Obama’s rise to the Presidency. The title: HOPE. The video speaks for itself:

Casting changes

In the Heights

Janet Dacal (who originated Carla) and newcomer David Del Rio will be replacing Mandy Gonzalez (the current Nina) and Robin De Jesus (the current Sonny) when they leave Broadway’s In The Heights next month.

Wicked

Andy Karl (9 to 5, Legally Blonde) will join the Broadway cast of Wicked beginning Feb. 2, succeeding Kevin Kern in the role of Fiyero. Katie Rose Clarke and Jenny Fellner stepped into the roles of Glinda and Nessarose, respectively, on Jan. 14.

Chicago

Former Destiny’s Child member Michelle Williams (Aida) will replace Ashlee Simpson as Roxie Hart in Broadway’s Chicago beginning February 8.

South Pacific

On January 5, Laura Osnes (Grease, Bonnie & Clyde) returned to Broadway’s South Pacific taking over the role of Nellie Forbush from Kelli O’Hara.

Coming soon…

Zorba

The New York Post is reporting that Antonio Banderas (Nine) will be playing the title role in a Broadway production of the John Kander & Fred Ebb musical Zorba, to be directed by Gary Griffin (The Color Purple) and choreographed by Sergio Trujillo (Jersey Boys).

Monsoon Wedding

Mira Nair is working on a stage version of her film Monsoon Wedding hoping to make its Broadway debut a year from now. The show, co-written by Mira Nair and Sabrina Dhawan with music by Vishal Bharadwaj and choreography by Bill T. Jones, will combine circus acrobatics, aerial acting, theatre, music and dance.

Glee – Golden Globe, 2nd Season, Open Casting

The TV show Glee , which has featured show tunes and many Broadway actors, including Matthew Morrison (Hairspray, Light in the Piazza) and Lea Michele (Spring Awakening), took home the Golden Globe Award for Best Television Series (Comedy or Musical) and was picked up for a second season on Fox. Fans will be excited to hear that producers have announced casting for both professionals and amateurs ranging from ages 16-26. Are you enough of a gleek to make the show?

Delays…

All About Me

Previews for All About Me, the Michael Feinstein and Dame Edna show, will begin Feb. 22, three days later than originally announced.

Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark

Also delayed, not so surprisingly, was Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark. The show, which producers had vehemently assured patrons would begin previews on Feb 25, will now be open sometime in 2010 – no specific dates have yet been announced.

Broadway on TV!

John Tartaglia (Shrek, Avenue Q) will appear on the February 3rd episode of  Ugly Betty.

Catherine Zeta-Jones (A Little Night Music) will guest on “The Late Show with David Letterman” on Jan. 22.


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Tveit leaving N2N, Wicked Bway’s 20th longest running show, Nine and In the Heights news, cleaners strike possible

It’s official: Tveit is leaving Next to Normal, Massey stepping in

Kyle Dean Massey (Xanadu, Wicked, Altar Boyz), who played Gabe in the Tony-winning musical Next to Normal while Aaron Tveit took a leave of absenc, will assume the part of Gabe permanently beginning on Jan. 4. Tveit will play his final performance Jan. 3 at 7:30 PM.

Wicked sets yet another record – becoming Broadway’s 20th longest running show of all time

On Dec 15, Wicked played its 2,535th performance, surpassing Avenue Q‘s admirable run and becoming the 20th longest running show in Broadway’s history. And as the Thanksgiving weekend records showed, this musical is still more than holding its own on Broadway. Here’s hoping the wonderful show will continue running for years to come!

A digital soundtrack release and five Golden Globe nominations for Nine

The soundtrack for the Rob Marshall film version of Nine is now available for digital download on iTunes. Buzz about the movie is big – it was just nominated for five Golden Globes, including those for Best Motion Picture and Best Actor in a Motion Picture for Daniel Day-Lewis. The film opens to the general public on Christmas day.

Kenny Ortega will direct the In the Heights film; Lin-Manuel Miranda will star as Usnavy

Variety is reporting that Kenny Ortega, the man who helmed Newsies, High School Musical, This is It and Dirty Dancing, will direct Universal’s film version of In the Heights, starring Tony Award-winning songwriter Lin-Manuel Miranda in the role he originated on Broadway, Usnavy. The Tony-nominated librettist Quiara Alegria Hudes is adapting the screenplay. I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait for this film!!!

Broadway could have another strike in the works

According to the New York Times, members of the Service Employees International Union Local 32BJ — which includes porters, cleaners and bathroom attendants at over two-dozen Broadway theatres — unanimously gave its “union bargaining committee the authority to settle or strike.” Back in 2007, the stagehands union strike shut down Broadway for a full 18 days. A strike of even half that length in this economic landscape could mean the end for a number of struggling Broadway shows…

Closing, opening, cast albums, casting and more in a huge Broadway news round-up

A lot has been happening on Broadway these last few weeks. Here are the biggest of the announcements:

Closing soon

Bye Bye Birdie has offically announced that it will play its final performance on Jan 24. Though technically an extension of its limited run, many had expected this expensive production to run much longer, and producers are definitely walking away with losses.

RUMOR: Michael Riedel of the New York Post is saying things aren’t looking good for Broadway’s Ragtime: “Officially, the producers say, ‘there are no plans to close at this time.’ Unofficially, it’s likely to close Jan. 3 at a total loss, several production sources say.”

Though not Broadway, this one is a big blow for NYC theatre. Altar Boyz, the longest running Off-Broadway musical to open in more than a decade (the 9th longest of all time), will play its final performance at New World Stages on Sunday, January 10th at 7:30 PM.

Opening soon

Million Dollar Quartet will officially begin previews at the Nederlander Theatre on March 13, 2010 and open on April 11, 2010. The Broadway production will be independent of the Chicago company, which will continue there. Broadway casting has not yet been announced.

All About Me, which had announced an opening in a few months at the John Golden Theatre, will instead take over Henry Miller’s Theatre now that Bye Bye Birdie is vacating.

Producer Ken Davenport has announced that Stephen Schwartz’s Godspell, which had been scheduled to begin previews at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre in September 2008, is now aiming for a Broadway bow during the 2010-11 season. The revival will be directed by Daniel Goldstein. No casting has yet been announced.

Cast albums

PS Classics and Nonesuch will team to release the new Broadway cast album of Stephen Sondheim’s A Little Night Music. The cast of the Trevor Nunn-directed revival will record the album Jan. 4, 2010. No release date has yet been announced.

The cast album for the Broadway revival of Finian’s Rainbow will be available on Feb. 2, 2010 (though the disc will be at the St. James Theatre three weeks before that). The new Broadway cast album will be produced by PS Classics.

Broadway’s Memphis has recorded a cast album with Delray Records. The national release will be announced shortly, but in the meantime fans may purchase it at the Shubert Theatre where the musical opened in October.

Broadway casting announcements

Corbin Bleu of High School Musical fame is going to play the role of Usnavi in In the Heights starting January 25th. Regarding the casting (which has met with a lot of nay-saying online), Lin-Manuel Miranda had this to say:

Javi is amazing. Jon Rua is too.
Michael Balderrama makes the drama ring true.
They’re big footsteps; I wrote a really big shoe.
This one is Lin-approved: Mr. Corbin Bleu.

Producers have announced that the Broadway production of Sondheim on Sondheim, opening April 22, will star Barbara Cook, Vanessa Williams, Tom Wopat, Leslie Kritzer, Norm Lewis, Euan Morton and Matthew Scott.

Kelsey Grammer has signed on to star in the Broadway musical La Cage Aux Folles, as Georges. He will star alongside Douglas Hodge, who will continue in the role of Albin, the drag queen star, which he played to critical acclaim in London. The revival opens on April 18, 2010 at the Longacre Theatre.

Matt Cavenaugh will play his last performance as Tony in West Side Story on Dec. 13. His understudy Matthew Hydzik will resume the role on Dec. 15.

Broadway’s Mary Poppins welcomes Valerie Boyle to the role of household cook Mrs. Brill Dec. 4 and Tony nominee Jonathan Freeman to the company on Dec. 12 at the New Amsterdam Theatre.

Destiny’s Child member Michelle Williams will join the musical Chicago on Broadway starting Feb. 8. Williams is slated to star as Roxie Hart in the production until mid-April.

Grammy-nominated cast albums

The Grammy Award nominations were announced, and the Best Musical Show Album contained nominations for Ain’t Misbehavin’, Hair, 9 to 5, Shrek and West Side Story.

Wicked sets a new record

Wicked hit a major milestone Thanksgiving weekend, becoming the first Broadway production to report sales of more than $2 million for a single week.

Musicals on the Silver Screen

Variety is reporting that “Shakespeare in Love” director John Madden is in talks to direct the film version of My Fair Lady with a screenplay by Emma Thompson. Keira Knightly and Daniel Craig have been rumored to star in the Cameron Mackintosh and Duncan Kenworthy produced movie musical.

Tony Award-winning actress Donna Murphy (Passion, The King and I) has joined the cast of the new Disney animated musical Rapunzel. Murphy will voice the role of the witch, alongside Mandy Moore and Zachary Levi. Academy Award-winning composer Alan Menken will compose and Byron Howard and Nathan Greno will direct.

Amateur rights available

Rights for the 2008 Tony Award winner for best musical, In the Heights, are now available through R&H Theatricals. For more information or to license the show, click here.

Musicals on Time’s Top Ten of Everything list

Time Magazine unveiled its “The Top 10 Everything of 2009,” rating news, entertainment, pop culture and more. Ragtime, Finian’s Rainbow and Fela! all appeared on the “Top 10 Plays and Musicals” list and Marion Cotillard on the “Top 10 Movie Performances” list for her turn in the film version of Nine.

New equity leadership

Actors’ Equity Association announced Dec. 11 that Mark S. Zimmerman has resigned as president, effective immediately. Equity’s vice president Paige Price will now carry out the duties of the president until a new president is elected.

Touring soon

Dreamgirls concludes its Harlem run Dec. 12 prior to embarking on a national tour. The production, starring Moya Angela, Syesha Mercado, Adrienne Warren, Margaret Hoffman, Chaz Lamar Shepherd, Chester Gregory, Trevon Davis and Milton Craig Nealy was directed by Robert Longbottom (Side Show, Flower Drum Song, Bye Bye Birdie), who co-choreographed with Emmy-nominated hip-hop artist Shane Sparks.


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Mid-November Broadway Musical News Roundup

Spider-man: Turn Off the Dark is gearing up again this time with a lead actor and producer

It’s official – Reeve Carney, the lead singer of the band Carney, will be playing Peter Parker (ie. Spideman) in the upcoming Broadway mega-spender Spider-man: Turn Off the Dark.

Why cast such an unknown in the lead role? Director Julie Taymor said they wanted a “Peter Parker who could really act and sing, but who still brings a kind of performance that could be new to Broadway audiences. We wanted something a little more authentically rock and roll.”

And to help with that rock and roll vibe, Michael Cohl, a rock concert promoter with ties to the Rolling Stones and U2, is stepping in as lead producer, hoping to stop all the speculation that the show would never make it to opening night.

The show, which is reputed to have spent $52 million to date, will open in 2010 at the Hilton Theatre in New York.

American Idiot will be making its way to Broadway

On November 9, the producers for American Idiot announced Equity Principal Auditions for a Broadway run of the nearly sold-out Berkley Rep production. According to spokesman Michael Hartman, “there is a Broadway future for the show, but at this time no dates or theatre are confirmed.”

RUMOR: Ashlee Simpson may star in Chicago on Broadway

Multiple sources are reporting that Ashlee Simpon-Wentz, the former Melrose Place star, will be playing Roxie Hart in Chicago on Broadway for a six week run this December. Though she did play the role on the West End, her Broadway appearance has not been confirmed by any official sources.

A bittersweet anniversary on Broadway for Shrek

On November 8, the cast of Broadway’s Shrek celebrated one year on Broadway, but the festivities were somewhat bittersweet. The show, which was nominated for 8 Tony Awards, will be closing January 3 after playing 441 performances and 37 previews. The national tour will launch at Chicago’s Cadillac Palace Theatre for a limited engagement, running from July 13 – September 5, 2010.

Title battle – Dame Edna’s It’s All About Me vs. Michael Feinstein’s All About Me

I don’t know if you’ve been tracking the hilarious banter between Dame Edna and Michael Feinstein, who have very similarly named shows headed to Broadway this fall. Of the mishap, Edna said “It’s All About Me is my title. While I was saddened to hear that Mr. Feinstein did not heed my sage advice to change the title of his show, I’m overjoyed to hear that he at least took my suggestion to open his show after mine. I’m sure Mrs. Feinstein is very proud of her son.”

Broadway Stars on TV this month

A number of big tars will be appearing on television in the next few months. Check out the list below:

“The View” ABC, daytime

  • Wednesday, Nov. 11: Finian’s Rainbow
  • Thursday, Nov. 19: John Stamos

“Jimmy Kimmel Live” ABC, late night

  • Tuesday, Nov. 17: John Stamos

“The Today Show” NBC, 7AM ET

  • Wednesday, Nov. 18: Liza Minnelli
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