Archive for Touring musicals
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
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:
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.
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.
Former Destiny’s Child member Michelle Williams (Aida) will replace Ashlee Simpson as Roxie Hart in Broadway’s Chicago beginning February 8.
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.
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).
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?
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.
A lot has been happening on Broadway these last few weeks. Here are the biggest of the announcements:
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
Shrek the Musical will play its final performance at the Broadway Theatre on January 3, 2010, following 441 performances and 37 previews.
The national tour of the musical based on the DreamWorks film will launch at Chicago’s Cadillac Palace Theatre for a limited engagement, July 13–September 5, 2010.
If you are looking for a family friendly new show, The 101 Dalmatians Musical may be the show for you.
101 Dalmatians, which had its world premiere at the Orpheum Theatre in Minneapolis, MN on October 13th, takes Dodie Smith’s 1956 novel from the page to the stage.
This new adaptation of Dalmatians is from the dog’s point of view. Humans are seen as pets, not owners. The dogs walk on two feet, not four. And the actors playing humans are on well-disguised stilts, which cause problems throughout the show (some of the actors walked around clumsily and there were a few who actually fell).
The Dalmatians, led by Pongo (James Ludwig) and Missus (Catia Ojeda), are the primary heroes of the story. Pongo and Missus suffer the agony of Missus’ pregnancy, then enjoy family life until their pups are stolen by Cruella De Vil (Rachel York).
Usually you wouldn’t root for a villainess who plans to murder and skin dozens of puppies for her fall fashion line, but when you see how much fun Rachel York is having in the role of De Vil, you come close. York steals the show with her loud screeching entrances, very glamorous and outrageous costumes and fun numbers.
The show also features 15 furry cast members who carry two scenes during the show, one at the end of each act. The Dalmatians add a much-needed boost to the show by performing “tricks.”
Beyond that, there really isn’t really much of anything that makes the audience go “wow.”
Former Styx member, Dennis DeYoung, wrote the music for the show and was co-lyricist with B.T. McNicholl. Dalmatians has some fun numbers and a few heartfelt ballads, but the music, though light and nice, leaves you with the feeling that you’ve heard all of it before.
When you see Dalmatians, you can leave the theatre with a light-hearted feeling – knowing that the good guys won and the bad guys got punished.
Amanda Blake is an avid theatre-goer and self-proclaimed “theatre dork” who regularly sees touring productions in Chicago, IL and Minneapolis, MN. Follow her on Twitter @th3heights.
Interested in guest reviewing a Broadway musical for the blog? Shoot me an email. I’m looking to assemble a great group of reviewers.
West Side Story recoups investment after 30 weeks
West Side Story has officially recouped its $14 million initial investment after running 30 weeks (247 performances)! A national tour of this production will begin in the fall of 2010 though it is likely the Broadway version will stick around for a good while longer.
American Idiot extends run at Berkley Rep
American Idiot has been extended at Berkely Rep through Nov 15! The show is now the top-grossing show in the Rep’s 41-year history with the biggest advance sale, the biggest day at the box office, and 17 of the top 20 days ever. Extended for three weeks even before it had its first performance, American Idiot now adds another two weeks. We can only hope it will next move straight on to NYC.
The Broadway Flea Market & Grand Auction was a great success
The Broadway Flea Market & Grand Auction that took place this past Sunday raised $403,929 for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS! Since its debut in 1987, the event has raised a staggering grand total of $8,161,752!
Shrek the Musical adds the song “I’m a Believer”
And … due to popular demand, the song “I’m a Believer” will now be sung in Shrek the Musical beginning Friday, October 2. Not sure what I think of this. They must be doing well-enough to pay those royalties …
It’s common for actors to drop out and rotate around as new things start up, but there’s an awful lot of moving around right now. Below is a consolidation of where Broadway is now “stealing” its talent from:
Stolen from other Broadway shows
Actors Savannah Wise and Wesley Taylor are leaving Rock of Ages on September 13 to start preparing for Ragtime and The Addams Family respectively. It’s not all bad though, as Kerry Butler and Tom Lenk will step in to play their first performances in the production on September 18.
Stolen from the West End
Broadway is also borrowing from the West End. Laura Michelle Kelly, who won a 2005 Olivier Award for her title role in Mary Poppins will be crossing the Atlantic to play Mary on Broadway starting on Oct 12.
Stolen from the Silver Screen
Big screen star Antonio Banderas, who stars in the upcoming movie version of Nine, claims he will star in Trevor Nunn’s upcoming production of Zorba, though no official information has been released about the show.
Stolen by a touring show
But one actor, 14-year-old Tommy Batchelor, one of the rotating Billys in Billy Elliot, will be actually leaving the Broadway production on Dec 11 to join the touring version of the show. The tour opens in Chicago on March 18. His Broadway replacement has not yet been announced. Who knows where they’ll steal him from?!