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.

The Reviews for Let It Be: A Celebration of the Music of the Beatles are In…

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The reviews for Let It Be are in, and though the press found the all of the performers talented, they couldn’t have been more nonplussed, most deeming the show merely a concert by a talented cover band. All brought up how similar in content it was to 2010′s Rain (whose rights’ holders think it’s so similar as to warrant a 50/50 split of revenue) and 1977′s Beatlemainia, which ran for two years. But whether they thought it was a concert or a revival with a different name, they all saw baby boomers and young people alike smiling, dancing and having a great time. If you’re uninterested in Beatles nostalgia and don’t deem this a real Broadway production, go see another show, but if you’re looking to relive your childhood or enjoy to a bunch of songs you know and love, performed well…Let It Be may be just the show for you.

NEW YORK TIMES

“Yes, another Beatles tribute is on Broadway. Wasn’t it just yesterday that Rain opened at the Neil Simon? Pretty much. It was 2010, and Charles Isherwood, reviewing it for The Times, called it “enhanced karaoke.” In long-ago 1977, Beatlemania — “not the Beatles, but an incredible simulation” — opened at the Winter Garden and ran for two years. In his review for The Times, John Rockwell decreed it “an unobjectionable diversion.” Gentle mods and rockers of a certain age, I saw them both. I cringed at the 1977 show. (I mean, all four of the real guys were still alive and in their 30s.) I let myself get carried away at the second. And I can happily report that Let It Be is by far the best of the bunch. The word “celebration” in the subtitle is well chosen, and the performers are outstanding, as nostalgia substitutes and as musicians in their own right. ‘This is not really a Broadway show, is it?…It’s a concert.’”

Read the Full Review

ASSOCIATED PRESS

“Even fake Beatles can bring back good memories of the real thing, when they’re truly talented…If you can check your nostalgia at the door, the tribute show Let It Be that opened Wednesday night on Broadway at the St. James Theatre stands on its own as a lively, multimedia concert and a rocking good time…There’s no question who these enthusiastic musicians are portraying. In fact, it’s a little creepy for those who were around during the originals to see the two deceased Beatles accurately reincarnated. Visually invoking Lennon, Reuven Gershon performs with appropriate cool, while John Brosnan is nicely intense as lead guitarist George Harrison. Enacting still-living Beatles, James Fox incorporates eye-rolling, winking mannerisms and soaring vocals reminiscent of the young McCartney, while drummer Luke Roberts has a head-bopping good time as Ringo Starr. Those four musicians performed in an energetic preview that often had the crowd up on its feet, clapping and singing along…The production is visually appealing, with an array of colorful, sometimes trippy graphics and the grainy news clips or photos projected above, behind and sometimes all around the band.”

Read the Full Review

HOLLYWOOD REPORTER

“Another year, another Beatles tribute show on Broadway. Less than two years after the Fab Four were last resurrected in Rain, the similarly conceived and executed Let It Be has arrived to satisfy the nostalgic demands of aging baby boomers. Indeed, this show is so closely patterned after Rain that its creators have initiated a lawsuit arguing copyright infringement. But whatever legal complications ensue, there’s no doubt that the experience is virtually the same…It’s essentially a concert by an excellent cover band, featuring elaborate visual trappings. Your enjoyment of the experience will depend both on your affection for the music and willingness to suspend disbelief. If you squint, the four bewigged figures onstage are an approximate visual representation of John, Paul, George and Ringo. And their delivery of the classic material — most of which, ironically, the Beatles never actually performed live — is certainly accomplished enough to be enjoyable. Audiences may well wonder whether the experience is worth paying up to $135 for tickets (more for premium seats), especially when a real live Beatle, Paul McCartney, has been touring this summer. But then again, there’s no underestimating the ageless appeal of this legendary band.”

Read the Full Review

AM NEW YORK

Let It Be is the latest in the never-ending parade of cheap, cheesy Beatles tribute concerts on Broadway that has previously included such titles as Beatlemania in the late 1970s and Rain just three seasons ago. They all represent slight variations on the same formula, in which a handful of competent singer-musicians, while not technically playing the Fab Four as characters, stand in and dress up like them and earnestly pay homage to their vocal and musical abilities and accents. In addition to trippy computer graphics, video clips show fans going wild at the original concerts. In contrast, the performers of Let It Be actively need to encourage their dazed audience to clap along or stand up to get their juices flowing. Seeing as those attending Let It Be probably already appreciate all the best-known Beatles songs, they are likely to have a somewhat pleasant experience despite the generally unexciting and derivative nature of the enterprise. In just a few months, a lot of very exciting things will be happening on Broadway. Let It Be is just an unambitious, summertime space filler. Just let it be. Soon enough it’ll go away — and another Beatles tribute show is sure to come along eventually.”

Read the Full Review

USA TODAY

“Watching the new Beatles homage Let It Be (* * ½ out of four), certain audience members are bound to feel a sense of déjà vu — not for the Fab Four themselves, but for the last Broadway salute to them. Creators of Rain, in fact, filed suit against producers of Let It Be in June, contending that the latter show borrows many elements from the former one…Yet while the shows are strikingly similar in tone and structure…there’s a certain irony in claiming creative ownership of a purely re-creative act. Let It Be, which premiered in London last year, aspires to be nothing more than a nostalgia trip, and as such it’s about as engaging as you could expect…The between-song patter can seem as contrived as their accents, and there are patronizing appeals to older audience members — as when Lennon asks if they remember “when CDs were black” and had two sides, holding up an old LP with reverent affection. Luckily, Let It Be‘s company, which includes supporting musicians, is competent enough as singers and instrumentalists to make the numbers compelling…But more driving, muscular favorites, from Ticket to Ride to Come Together, were executed with enough panache to make you appreciate their magic, even without fully recapturing it. Which pretty much sums up both the appeal and the limitations of Let It Be — and other shows like it.”

Read the Full Review

Debuting Broadway Hopefuls

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There are a number of fantastic new musicals opening around the world that we can only hope soon make their way to the Great White Way. None of these shows have officially announced Broadway runs…yet, but boy are folks buzzing about them!

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (West End)

A Sam Mendes production starring Douglas Hodge (La Cage Aux Folles, Cyrano) with music by Marc Shaiman and lyrics by Scott Wittman and Marc Shaiman (Hairspray, Smash), with a book by David Greig (The Bacchae, Tintin In Tibet).

Disney’s The Jungle Book (Chicago)

Mary Zimmerman (Metamorphasis) has re-imagined the animated film and original book by Kipling, with new songs by Richard M. and Robert B. Sherman, arrangements by Doug Peck and choreography by Christopher Gattelli (Newsies, Godspell, South Pacific).

King Kong (Australia)

The most exciting element of this production is the giant puppet that plays King Kong – the largest ever created for the stage! Directed by Daniel Kramer with a book and lyrics by Craig Lucas (Marry Me A Little, The Light in the Piazza) and music/arrangements by Marius de Vries (Moulin Rouge, Romeo + Juliet), with additional contributions by Stephen Pavlovic from Modular People.

Secondhand Lions (Seattle)

A new musical based on the movie of the same name, directed by Scott Schwartz (Jane Eyre), with a book by Rupert Holmes (The Mystery of Edwin Drood, Curtains) and a score by songwriters Michael Weiner and Alan Zachary (First Date).

Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots (Los Angeles)

Inspired by the album from Grammy-winning band The Flaming Lips, this Des McAnuff (Jersey Boys, Jesus Christ Superstar) directed production features glowing LED costumes, projections and a 14-foot robot puppet.

Cast Album Roundup

There are tons of new Broadway and Off-Broadway cast albums out and/or available for pre-order and we wanted to help round them up for you so you can keep building your ultimate musical theatre collection. Click on the cast album cover to view/purchase it:

pippincd2 anniecd2012 cinderella2013 scandalouscd kinkycd edwincd2 chapcd bringcdnew dogfight giant passion-off nowhere

Which do you have? Which do you love? Which are you most likely to have on repeat for the next couple months/years?

FREE Download of “King of New York” from Newsies!

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For all you Newsies fans out there, we’re thrilled to share a free download of “King of New York!”

After you listen and fall in love, you’ll likely want to purchase the entire album. And we’ve got good news – if you order it through Amazon.com right now, you’ll automatically get a FREE digital copy of the album to tide you over until your CD arrives in the mail.

So…come on and seize the day. Order the cast album now!

How to Become a Broadway Actor or Actress

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We get questions every day from people of all ages who are interested in becoming a Broadway actor or actress, are just getting started and have no idea where to start.

Like those at the top of their game in any profession, it’s easy to be inspired by those on The Great White Way, but like other professions, you don’t start out as the CEO of a company or an olympic athlete. You start at the bottom and with a lot of hard work, determination and luck, might get a shot if you take every opportunity that comes your way.

There are basics that every single person who has made it has taken. Though their paths have all been different, here are the things you can do to begin your path to Broadway:

Train, Train, Train

There is nothing natural about standing in front of large groups of strangers, speaking someone else’s words or singing someone else’s songs, while turning partially away from the person to whom you’re talking.

Whether your training takes place in a high school classroom, in a well-established theatre conservatory, under the tutelage of a great teacher in a weekly class, or in each and every show you can get into, you can learn both from the critique you receive directly, and from watching others and listening to the critique they get.

Take acting classes, dance classes, voice classes (whether you’re looking to do musicals or not), get a voice teacher – and do things that seemingly have nothing to do with theatre…

Those who played an instrument had an upper hand in casting for the recent revival of Sweeney Todd; those who were cheerleaders got a leg up in Lysistrata Jones; ballroom dancers have gotten huge legs up in numerous shows. If you’re passionate about anything – continue to train there as well, you’ll never know if it might help you – and if nothing more, you’ll have something else that gives you joy, make you a healthier, more rounded person and expose you to more of the world and more of the incredible people you might one day play.

Network

Connections are a huge portion of this industry. The biggest legs up happen when someone you’ve worked with before recommends you. As much as the diva personality circulates as the norm in this industry, it’s unlikely to ever help you – divas get cast despite their eccentric nature. If you work hard, are fun to work with and are you – directors, writers, stage managers and producers will want to work with you again and might bring you in for consideration in their next project, or suggest you to a friend who’s looking for X for their next project.

Always Say Yes

If you’re asked to do a reading, to meet with someone for a quick lunch, to sing in a cabaret, to do an interview with Seth Rudetsky, anything – say yes. You’ll never know who will be in the audience, whether that writer may go on to become the next David Mamet, or be meeting with him later that afternoon.

See as Much Theatre as You Can

See as many shows as you can – both directly in your chosen area and outside of it. You can learn by watching others, noting what works and what doesn’t and trying to dig in to discover just what it was that made a performance work so wonderfully. And don’t just see Broadway shows, get Off-Broadway, Off-Off-Off-Off Broadway, see West End productions, dance productions, experimental art pieces, the show your cousin is doing at some summerstock theatre upstate. Then sit back and think about what worked and what didn’t and why.

Take Care of Yourself So You Look and Feel Good

And get to the gym – yes, everyone has as much trouble as you do getting there – but if you’re going to become an actor, your looks are part of your package, so tone it and get into the best shape you can.

Also take care of your skin and learn how to apply makeup, invest in clothing and shoes that look good on you, is comfortable and allows you to move.

As much as everyone would like to believe that looks are only a part of the equation — they are a big part and form your first impression. If you look good, hold yourself well and walk into a room feeling good about yourself, you have a leg up over at least half of your competition.

Show Up and Move On

You will be rejected over and over again. You will spend months preparing for an audition and not get a callback. You will not even be considered for a role you know you are perfect for because they decided they want a veteran actress playing it, or producers think Adele will bring in more ticket sales. You might be an inch taller than the man they want to cast as the male lead and so miss out. Or it may be some reason even more inane – the director just ended a relationship with someone who looks like you or he really wants someone with freckles  Most of the time you’ll never know and you’ll never hear back. You’ll have poured out your heart and soul and will be told “we’ll be in touch” and left in the dark.

But your job if you really want to work in this industry is to grow a thick skin, shake it off, and show up for the next audition. To again pour out your heart and soul – to invest every ounce of your being in the next one, most likely to be rejected once again.

Everyone has different techniques for dealing with this – one actress figured out that she would get a callback for every 18 auditions she did, so she would keep track. For every rejection she got, she would put a big “X” and think – I’m one rejection closer to a callback!

It’s an incredibly hard thing to do but it’s part of the job – no matter how famous, how talented, how successful, every actor faces rejection every time they step into a room or submit themselves for a part. But you’ll never get anywhere if you don’t show up first.

Work Hard

After you’ve celebrated when you do get a callback and the incredible day you get cast, hit the ground running – start your research, learn your lines and throw yourself head-first into the role.

During rehearsals, listen to your director, be nice to your stage manager, learn from and work with your fellow actors and soak it all up. Try to stay away from gossip, stay humble and be kind – hopefully you’ll work with some of these same people again in the future. Don’t make the reason you don’t get cast the next time that you snapped at the stage manager during the run of this show.

It’s a hard life and everyone says that if you can imagine yourself doing anything else you should do that instead. Just keep training, networking, saying yes, seeing theatre, taking care of yourself, showing up and working hard — because you know, like everyone in this industry, it’s worth all the heartache and effort, because there’s nothing like the moment the curtain rises and you open your mouth to say or sing your first word.

Advice Directly from the Pros:

Betty Buckley: Study, study, study. Practice, practice, practice. : )

Constantine Maroulis: Do everything u can…community theater to school plays, work hard respect the craft and be good to all – never know who they become.

Nick Adams: Find a great acting teacher. Take as many classes as you can in all disciplines. Train. See everything!

Natalie Hill: Study & train & take classes from casting directors then go to open calls & nail it!

Diana DeGarmo: Be a sponge & take everything in-educate yourself! Music, shows, directors,  choreographers, dance, etc – all of it! & have FUN! :)

Erin Wilson: Get ready to work like you never have before. Research, be prepared, know your type, be kind, find an outside hobby – sanity!

Howard Sherman: You don’t become a “Broadway actor.” You become an actor and then, perhaps, you get cast in a Broadway show.

Nicole Tori: Lots of hard work, persistence, training, networking and LUCK!

Lexi Lawson: Pray! JK – my advice is to make sure you are fully prepared (though I always have a tendency of always messing up my dialogue) but I go in prepared. And go in loving what it is. The creative team will see if the passion in you pour out if it’s a project you absolutely love and want to be a part of. Good luck to my musical munchkins.

What’s Your Advice?

Do you have advice to share or questions for others who work in the industry? This is such a big question with so many answers — we’d love to hear your thoughts! How do you cope with rejection? What advice would you give someone just starting out? Use the comment form below and help make this post even better!

LIVE: Tony Awards Coverage

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It’s our favorite night of the year – the Tony Awards. We loved live updating with you.

All nominees are listed. Winners are bolded and accompanied by a winner.

Congratulations to all the winners!

Until next year!!!

BEST MUSICAL

Bring It On: The Musical
A Christmas Story, The Musical
winnerKinky Boots
Matilda The Musical

BEST PLAY

winnerVanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
The Testament of Mary
Lucky Guy
The Assembled Parties

BEST BOOK OF A MUSICAL

Joseph Robinette, A Christmas Story, The Musical
Harvey Fierstein, Kinky Boots
winnerDennis Kelly, Matilda The Musical
Douglas Carter Beane, Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE (MUSIC AND/OR LYRICS) WRITTEN FOR THE THEATRE

Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, A Christmas Story, The Musical
Trey Anastasio and Amanda Green, Hands on a Hardbody
winnerCyndi Lauper, Kinky Boots
Tim Minchin, Matilda The Musical

BEST REVIVAL OF A PLAY

Golden Boy
Orphans
The Trip to Bountiful
winnerWho’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

BEST REVIVAL OF A MUSICAL

Annie
The Mystery of Edwin Drood
winnerPippin
Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE IN A PLAY

Tom Hanks, Lucky Guy
Nathan Lane, The Nance
winnerTracy Letts, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
David Hyde Pierce, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
Tom Sturridge, Orphans

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE IN A PLAY

Laurie Metcalf, The Other Place
Amy Morton, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
Kristine Nielsen, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
Holland Taylor, Ann
winnerCicely Tyson, The Trip to Bountiful

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE IN A MUSICAL

Bertie Carvel, Matilda: The Musical
Santino Fontana, Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella
Rob McClure, Chaplin
winnerBilly Porter, Kinky Boots
Stark Sands, Kinky Boots

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE IN A MUSICAL

Stephanie J. Block, The Mystery of Edwin Drood
Carolee Carmello, Scandalous
Valisia LeKae, Motown The Musical
winnerPatina Miller, Pippin
Laura Osnes, Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A FEATURED ROLE IN A PLAY

Danny Burstein, Golden Boy
Richard Kind, The Big Knife
Billy Magnussen, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
Tony Shalhoub, Golden Boy
winnerCourtney B. Vance, Lucky Guy

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A FEATURED ROLE IN A PLAY

Carrie Coon, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
Shalita Grant, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
Judith Ivey, The Heiress
winnerJudith Light, The Assembled Parties
Condola Rashad, The Trip to Bountiful

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A FEATURED ROLE IN A MUSICAL

Charl Brown, Motown The Musical
Keith Carradine, Hands on a Hardbody
Will Chase, The Mystery of Edwin Drood
winnerGabriel Ebert, Matilda The Musical
Terrence Mann, Pippin

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A FEATURED ROLE IN A MUSICAL

Annaleigh Ashford, Kinky Boots
Victoria Clark, Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella
winnerAndrea Martin, Pippin
Keala Settle, Hands on a Hardbody
Lauren Ward, Matilda The Musical

BEST DIRECTION OF A PLAY

winnerPam MacKinnon, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
Nicholas Martin, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
Bartlett Sher, Golden Boy
George C. Wolfe, Lucky Guy

BEST DIRECTION OF A MUSICAL

Scott Ellis, The Mystery of Edwin Drood
Jerry Mitchell, Kinky Boots
winnerDiane Paulus, Pippin
Matthew Warchus, Matilda The Musical

BEST CHOREOGRAPHY

Andy Blankenbuehler, Bring It On: The Musical
Peter Darling, Matilda The Musical
winnerJerry Mitchell, Kinky Boots
Chet Walker, Pippin

BEST ORCHESTRATIONS

Chris Nightingale, Matilda The Musical
winnerStephen Oremus, Kinky Boots
Ethan Popp & Bryan Crook, Motown The Musical
Danny Troob, Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella

BEST SCENIC DESIGN OF A PLAY

winnerJohn Lee Beatty, The Nance
Santo Loquasto, The Assembled Parties
David Rockwell, Lucky Guy
Michael Yeargan, Golden Boy

BEST SCENIC DESIGN OF A MUSICAL

winnerRob Howell, Matilda The Musical
Anna Louizos, The Mystery of Edwin Drood
Scott Pask, Pippin
David Rockwell, Kinky Boots

BEST COSTUME DESIGN OF A PLAY

Soutra Gilmour, Cyrano de Bergerac
winnerAnn Roth, The Nance
Albert Wolsky, The Heiress
Catherine Zuber, Golden Boy

BEST COSTUME DESIGN OF A MUSICAL

Gregg Barnes, Kinky Boots
Rob Howell, Matilda The Musical
Dominique Lemieux, Pippin
winnerWilliam Ivey Long, Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella

BEST LIGHTING DESIGN OF A PLAY

winnerJules Fisher & Peggy Eisenhauer, Lucky Guy
Donald Holder, Golden Boy
Jennifer Tipton, The Testament of Mary
Japhy Weideman, The Nance

BEST LIGHTING DESIGN OF A MUSICAL

Kenneth Posner, Kinky Boots
Kenneth Posner, Pippin
Kenneth Posner, Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella
winnerHugh Vanstone, Matilda The Musical

BEST SOUND DESIGN OF A PLAY

John Gromada, The Trip to Bountiful
Mel Mercier, The Testament of Mary
winnerLeon Rothenberg, The Nance
Peter John Still and Marc Salzberg, Golden Boy

BEST SOUND DESIGN OF A MUSICAL

Jonathan Deans & Garth Helm, Pippin
Peter Hylenski, Motown The Musical
winnerJohn Shivers, Kinky Boots
Nevin Steinberg, Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella

REGIONAL THEATRE AWARD

winnerHuntington Theatre Company, Boston, MA

ISABELLE STEVENSON AWARD

winnerLarry Kramer

SPECIAL TONY AWARD

winnerBernard Gersten
winnerMing Cho Lee

SPECIAL TONY AWARD® FOR LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT IN THE THEATRE

winnerPaul Libin

TONY HONORS FOR EXCELLENCE IN THE THEATRE

winnerCareer Transition For Dancers
winnerWilliam “Bill” Craver
winnerPeter Lawrence
winnerThe Lost Colony

winnerThe four actresses who created the title role of Matilda The Musical on Broadway – Sophia Gennusa, Oona Laurence, Bailey Ryon and Milly Shapiro

Deal Alert: Musicals on DVD and Blu-Ray

No doubt you already own many of these, but just in case you don’t, we wanted to spread the word and let you know the price is right if you’re looking to grow your collection of musicals on film. Here are our top picks based on savings, but there are oodles more available at amazing prices on Amazon.com right now.

Little Shop of Horrors (Keep Case Packaging)
Little Shop of Horrors
Format: DVD
List Price: $14.97
Price: $5.49
You Save: $9.48 (63%)

Learn more
Grease [Blu-ray]
Grease
Format: Blu-ray
List Price: $14.98
Price: $10.27
You Save: $4.71 (31%)

Learn more
Brigadoon
Brigadoon
Format: DVD
List Price: $19.97
Price: $6.47
You Save: $13.50 (68%)

Learn more
The Phantom of the Opera [Blu-ray]
The Phantom of the Opera
Format: Blu-ray
List Price: $14.98
Price: $8.49
You Save: $6.49 (43%)

Learn more
Paint Your Wagon
Paint Your Wagon
Format: DVD
List Price: $14.96
Price: $9.49
You Save: $5.47 (37%)

Learn more
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