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 Opening soon

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…

1.185491

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.

patsy-cline-poster

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…

scrow200

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!

A look at the musicals eyeing 2012-13 Broadway runs…

Now that this season is officially over, we thought it worth taking a look at the shows who have announced Broadway runs for the 2012-13 season.

First up is an adaptation of Bring It On with music by Tom Kit of Next to Normal and Lin-Manuel Miranda of In the Heights. This show has been touring the country after opening to so-so reviews in Los Angeles, making changes in preparation for its Broadway run. Likened to Lysistrata Jones, which only enjoyed a limited run on Broadway and Legally Blonde, a film adaptation that lived a much longer Broadway life, the show is hoping to avoid the pitfalls other recent film adaptations, like Leap of Faith, have seen. Can the stage version find more depth than the silly film it was based on? We’ll just have to wait and see…

And then we have Ever After, another film adaptation with book and lyrics by Marcy Heisler and music by Zina Goldrich, who you might know because of the songs “Taylor the Latte Boy,” made famous by Kristin Chenoweth, and “Alto’s Lament,” a song about an alto who longs to sing the melody. The musical was first set to open in San Francisco in 2009, but was indefinitely postponed for undisclosed reasons. It’s now set to hit Broadway in the 2012-13 season, directed by Kathleen Marshall, who’s got three Tony Awards and two Drama Desk Awards in her den and nominations for direction and choreography for this season’s Nice Work if You Can Get It. Think the talent be enough to turn the movie into a solid musical? And will it be too similar to another show eyeing a Broadway run…

Cinderella, by Rodgers and Hammerstein, which was originally telecast in 1957 starring Julie Andrews, but never enjoyed a Broadway run, is getting a rewrite by Douglas Carter Beane of Xanadu and headed to Broadway next spring. Starring Laura Osnes, nominated for her portrayal of Bonnie in this season’s Bonnie & Clyde, the show has blockbuster promise. Will it play as well on stage as it did on television? We can only hope.

And then there’s a brand new musical – Chaplin – based on the silent film star adored and emulated by so many. Directed by Warren Carlyle, who was nominated for Drama Desk Awards for his direction of Finian’s Rainbow in 2009 and written by Christopher Curtis, a pianist who wrote the theme song to the film “The Break,” and Thomas Meehan, the Tony Award-winner who penned The Producers, Annie and Hairspray, many are excited to see something new on the menu of offerings.

One of Meehan’s best known hits, Annie, is also headed back to the Great White Way. The show’s original run in 1997 enjoyed an incredible 2,377 performances, will the new revival, directed by James Lapine of Into the Woods, Passion and The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, do even better?

Another revival of a big hit is headed to Broadway. The Mystery of Edwin Drood, whose original run won five Tony Awards and had a cast starring Betty Buckley and featuring George Rose, Cleo Laine, John Herrera, Howard McGillin, Patti Cohenour, Jana Schneider, who were all nominated for 1986 Tony Awards for their performances, as well as Donna Murphy, Judy Kuhn and Rob Marshall who would all go on to celebrated careers in the theatre. This will be the show’s first Broadway revival and fans couldn’t be more thrilled to see if return. Chita Rivera is set to star and Scott Ellis to direct.

The final musical on the docket as of this writing is an international transfer of Rebecca, which premiered in Vienna, Austria in 2006 and ran for three years and has since been mounted in Finland, Japan and elsewhere. Set to hit Broadway in the fall of 2012 starring Karen Mason, Howard McGillin, James Barbour, Donna English, Nick Wyman, Henry Stram and co-directed by Michael Blakemore and Francesca Zambello, the story made famous by Alfred Hitchcock’s film has played very well to audiences elsewhere. What will Americans make of it?

An exciting mix of revivals, new works and adaptations await us in 2012-13 and more shows will be announced soon. What are you most excited about seeing next season?

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.

An Exciting New Season Begins!


I hope you all had a wonderful summer. I escaped to Maine and I’m afraid summer-stock ate up all of my free time, so that (and the lack of any real exciting Broadway news) has keep the blog pretty quiet this summer. But never-fear, I’m back again and vow to maintain a more consistent posting schedule this Broadway season.

We’ve got some gems opening in the next year, lots of movie adaptations, Off-Broadway transfers and a couple infamous big-spenders who’ll soon be making splashes. Here’s the line-up:

  • Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson – October 13
  • The Scottsboro Boys – October 31
  • Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown – November 4
  • The Pee-Wee Herman Show – November 11
  • Elf – November 14
  • Zorba – Fall 2011
  • Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark – Dec 21
  • How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying – March 27
  • The Book of Mormon – March 2011
  • Priscilla, Queen of the Desert – March 2011
  • Anything Goes – April 7
  • Wonderland – April 17
  • Phantom: Love Never Dies – April 2011
  • Sister Act – April 2011
  • Catch Me If You Can – Spring 2011
  • Unchain My Heart – Spring 2011

I’ll be tweeting live from Broadway on Broadway, where a couple new shows will be performing for the first time alongside many of the long-running hits.

There’s a lot of star power behind a lot of these shows, but unlike last season, it appears (for the most part) to be homegrown Broadway talent, rather than Hollywood ringers – exciting news for those who got up-in-arms around Tony Award time last year.

What are you most excited about in this upcoming season?

I’ll be back next week with an update about cast changes and announcements.

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.

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