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 Promises Promises

My Top 10 Broadway Moments in 2010

A guest blog by Ken Davenport

It’s the time of year for the ol’ look back. What memorable moments have the last 12 months brought us that could help define the next 12 months?

Here are my top 10 Broadway moments for 2010 . . . in no particular order.

1. It’s a bird, it’s a plane! No, it’s actually a performance of Spiderman!

Will it? Won’t it? Everyone in the biz has been asking this question about Spiderman for years. And, well, a new era of musical theatre began when the curtain (finally) went up after the first (long) preview. Obviously, the drama isn’t over yet . . . but come on, 2 years ago when work halted at the Hilton, did you think we’d ever see Spidey on stage?

2. 39 Steps transfers again, but this time, from Broadway to Off.

When one show does it (Avenue Q), some might call it a fluke. When two shows do it, it’s officially a trend. And rumor has it that a third recently shuttered Broadway show is headed for the 499 that 39 Steps is vacating. My prediction? When Chicago finally loses its steam at the Ambassador, it’ll transfer to the Little Shubert and run for another 10 years.

3. Billie Joe Armstrong puts his guitar where his mouth is.

Getting your creative team behind your production is important. But when your creative team is a humongo rock star, it’s essential. Billie Joe stepped into the spotlight when asked and played 8 performances [of American Idiot] and literally stopped traffic on 44th Street in the process. He’s on his way back to the St. James this winter to boost the box office again.

4. Did you see who took that photo?

In a related story, check out this article in the New York Times about the Billie Joe appearance. What’s so memorable about it? Well, the photo was taken by someone in the audience, and the Times used it, which shows you where journalism is headed over the next 10 years. And the audience member who took it? It was Jordan Roth, owner of Jujamcyn Theaters. And that shows you where theater is headed over the next 10 years.

5. Sean Hayes is gay?

Newsweek caused quite a fuss over its article that questioned whether Sean Hayes could convincingly play a heterosexual man [in Promises, Promises]. It got everyone fired up, from his costar Kristin Chenoweth, to Aaron Sorkin, to just about every single poster on All That Chat. Sean got the last word when he hosted the Tonys and did a fantastic job.

6. La Cage Aux Folles is back. Too soon?

Last year’s production of Ragtime had everyone saying that there is a minimum number a years a show needs to be off the boards in order for a revival to work. Then in struts La Cage, less than five years after its last revival, proving to everyone that it’s not always about the . . . timing. It’s about excellence.

7. Scarlett Johansson debuts A View From The Bridge . . . and she’s good!

Alright, alright, I’ve got a soft spot for Scar (as I call her), but after her performance in Bridge and her acceptance speech on Tony night, who didn’t fall in love? Crushes aside, her performance was exactly what we hope for when an A-lister hangs out with us for a while. I guarantee that other Hollywood hotties were saying, “I wanna try that.” And that is good for all of us. Because like it or not, stars have the ability to bring new audiences to the theater.

8. Glee makes singing cool again.

Matt Morrison was on the cover of Details last month. Lea Michele is in US Weekly almost every week. Who knew we’d have some Broadway hotties making a splash out West and serving as singing and dancing role models.

9. One agency goes, and another one comes.

2010 saw the end of the Eliran Murphy Group, an ad agency which serviced the majority of the Off-Broadway shows in town. But it also saw the arrival of a bigger dog on the block. AKA, an advertising force from the UK, arrived on our shores over the summer, and snatched up bunch of high profile players at competing firms. We all knew there was room for another agency in town. But no one knew it would be something with the experience of AKA. Things just got real, yo. With three major players on the street (Serino, Spot and AKA), there’s actually some real competition and a choice for Producers.

10. The NFL puts a play in its playbook.

Who says big business won’t back Broadway? Here comes the NFL, one of the biggest businesses of all, with more eyeballs every Sunday than we could dream about in a year, sponsoring Lombardi. The odds were on Lombardi not making it to the playoffs, but thanks to the NFL, the show looks destined to run past Super Bowl Sunday and beyond.

So I’ve shown you mine, now you show me yours. What were your most memorably moments on or off Broadway in 2010?

Ken Davenport is a Broadway and Off-Broadway producer who helped bring  13 and Altar Boyz to New York and is now working towards mounting a revival of Godspell. For more like this, you can follow his blog at theproducersperspective.com or find him on Twitter or Facebook.

Hurry Up and See Some Shows…Closing Soon on Broadway…

January usually marks the ending of many a Broadway show, but this season has more than the usual number of closings. Some have celebrated long runs but a few literally just opened; either way, if you were hoping to catch any of these, get moving!


The Scottsboro Boys

Closes Dec 12
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Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson

Closes Jan 2
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Fela!

Closes Jan 2
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West Side Story

Closes Jan 2
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Promises, Promises

Closes Jan 2
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Elf

Closes Jan 2
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In the Heights

Closes Jan 9
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A Little Night Music

Closes Jan 9
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Next to Normal

Closes Jan 16
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Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown

Closes Jan 23
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And if you’re looking for gift suggestions for the Broadway musical lover in your life, be sure to check out our holiday gift guide. Happy holidays everyone!

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.

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.

A Preview of the 2010 Tony Awards

Tune into our LIVE coverage right now!

The Tony Awards are the only awards ceremony to be telecast nationally, which converts to free publicity for the out-of-town audience that makes up the bulk of Broadway ticket sales, and thus becomes a huge predictor of future success for the nominated shows. Tony wins often allow shows to run on for years – with audiences streaming in to catch this year’s Best Musical and performances by the best actors, while the losing shows sometimes fold the next day.

But the most exciting piece for me is that viewers get a chance to see performances of the big nominated musicals (with no expenses spared) plus all of the stars we’ve come to love (with tons of Hollywood celebrities thrown in this year!) all in one night. Sean Hayes, the star of the nominated Promises, Promises, will host the ceremony, which will feature the following performances:

  • A big opening number which will include Sherie Rene Scott’s “Up the Ladder” from her show Everyday Rapture and the cast of Memphis performing “Blue Suede Shoes,” among other bits of fun
  • Catherine Zeta-Jones’ rendition of “Send in the Clowns” from A Little Night Music
  • Performances from “Glee” stars Matthew Morrison and Lea Michele
  • A medley from Million Dollar Quartet
  • The title song from American Idiot, performed by the cast (and possibly Green Day)
  • Performance from the cast of Promises, Promises
  • Christiane Noll’s rendition of “Back to Before” from Ragtime
  • A medley from Memphis
  • A dance performance by the cast of Come Fly Away
  • Kelsey Grammer and Douglas Hodge performing “The Best of Times” from La Cage aux Folles
  • A montage of songs from Fela!

Presenters for the 64th Annual Tony Awards include many stars from Hollywood, television and the stage. They are (in alphabetical order): Paula Abdul, Antonio Banderas, Justin Bartha, Patrick Breen, Laura Benanti, Cate Blanchett, Laura Bell Bundy, Michael Cerveris, Kristin Chenoweth, Barbara Cook, Viola Davis, Michael Douglas, Kelsey Grammer, Rosemary Harris, Patrick Heusinger, Katie Holmes, Brian d’Arcy James, Scarlett Johansson, Angela Lansbury, Anthony LaPaglia, Laura Linney, Lucy Liu, Jane Maxwell, Idina Menzel, Lea Michele, Helen Mirren, Alfred Molina, Matthew Morrison, Chris Noth, Bernadette Peters, David Hyde Pierce, Daniel Radcliffe, Eddie Redmayne, Mark Sanchez, Liev Schreiber, Tony Shaloub, Will & Jada Pinkett Smith, Stanley Tucci, Denzel Washington and Racquel Welch.

I’ll be covering the ceremony live here on the blog, Twitter and Facebook. My coverage will start at 7 pm ET with the creative arts awards and continue until it ends late at night. Exasperated by or elated at the winners or losers? I wanna hear about it so don’t be shy about joining the conversation!

I don’t know about you, but I’m very much looking forward to this year’s Tony Awards!

Tune into our LIVE coverage right now!

2010 Drama Desk Award Winners – Memphis and La Cage Aux Folles Take Home the Big Prizes

The 2010 Drama Desk Award ceremony took place tonight. Thanks for joining us for the live-update. This year’s winners for the categories whose nominees included musicals are below:

Outstanding Musical
Memphis

Outstanding Revival of a Musical
La Cage Aux Folles

Outstanding Actress in a Musical
Montego Glover, Memphis
AND
Catherine Zeta-Jones, A Little Night Music

Outstanding Actor in a Musical
Douglas Hodge, La Cage Aux Folles

Outstanding Musical Revue
Sondheim on Sondheim

Outstanding Set Design
Phelim McDermott, Julian Crouch, Basil Twist, The Addams Family

Outstanding Sound Design
Acme Sound Partners, Ragtime

Outstanding Lighting Design
Neil Austin, Red

Outstanding Costume Design
Matthew Wright, La Cage aux Folles

Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical
Katie Finneran, Promises, Promises

Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical
Christopher Fitzgerald, Finian’s Rainbow

Special Drama Desk Award
Jerry Herman (for more than half a century of exuberant music and heartfelt lyrics)

Outstanding Director of a Musical
Michael Mayer, American Idiot

Outstanding Choreography
Twyla Tharp, Come Fly Away

Outstanding Orchestrations
Daryl Waters & David Bryan, Memphis

Outstanding Book of a Musical
Alex Timbers, Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson

Outstanding Lyrics
John Kander & Fred Ebb, The Scottsboro Boys

Oustanding Musical Score
David Bryan, Memphis

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