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 Ragtime

Opening/Closing on Broadway: Shrek, White Christmas, Finian’s Rainbow, Ragtime, Come Fly Away, American Idiot, Altar Boyz, Ragtime

As previously announced, Shrek closed on Broadway on Sunday after an admirable run of 441 performances at the Broadway Theatre. Also closing Sunday was the holiday favorite White Christmas, which played out its limited engagement at the Marquis.

And last week a shocker of an announcement hit Broadway audiences that another of the critically acclaimed productions that just opened – Finian’s Rainbow – will be playing its last performance on Jan 17. Coming on the heels of the Ragtime closing announcement, a number of big names like Matthew Broderick are doubting the lasting power of anything that’s not a “sure bet” in this economy…

But, along with the closings and bemoaning came some happier news: Producer James L. Nederlander announced that Come Fly Away, Twyla Tharp’s Frank Sinatra inspired musical, will open March 25. The musical, originally titled Come Fly With Me, played a sold-out engagement last year at the Alliance Theatre in Atlanta.

And it’s official: another out-of-town favorite, American Idiot, is taking over at the St. James on April 10. If you haven’t yet heard of this show, you soon will – the creative team is an incredible assembly of Broadway big-hitters, and if the reviews from its Berkely Rep run are any indication – this show may be a contender for many of those looking for one of Broderick’s “sure bet[s].”

Closing this week are Off-Broadway’s Altar Boyz and the extended run of Broadway’s Ragtime.

If we’ve learned anything from 2009 it’s this: if there’s anything on Broadway you’ve been dying to see, see it now! Unless it’s Phantom of the Opera or Wicked, there’s no guarantee it’ll be around beyond next week.

Make that Jan 10th…

Due to what Ragtime‘s marketers are calling a “miracle on 54th Street” – enough angry and saddened patrons hammered at the Neil Simon box office windows to allow producers to extend the dying show’s Broadway run by a week. Instead of closing on January 3 as previously announced, the production will now run through January 10.

It’s official: Ragtime is closing January 3rd

Ragtime, the Kennedy Center transfer that opened on Broadway on November 15 to very positive reviews, just hasn’t been able to pull in the numbers and has officially announced it will close on Broadway on January 3rd.

Producer Kevin McCollum said: “While we’re saddened and disappointed to announce that RAGTIME must close, bringing this beautiful and powerful production to Broadway has been a joyous experience. We couldn’t have asked for a more talented and dedicated company and creative team or a more passionate team of producers.”

It’s sad to see such a solid production departing Broadway so soon, but to anyone following the box office numbers, it didn’t come as much of a surprise (even though the New York Times tried to defend the show against the online rumors).

We can only hope the next show to play the Neil Simon Theater (whatever show that might be) will fare better.

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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The reviews for Ragtime are in …

The last time Ragtime appeared on Broadway, a whole new theater was built to house the gigantic production. This time, the show comes from a much humbler place and the critics couldn’t be more complimentary – its fresh, relavant and powerful.

Here are what the major publications had to say:

NEW YORK TIMES

The judiciously pared-down production that opened Sunday night at the Neil Simon Theater is a sprinting sylph compared to the opulence-bloated show that went under the same name a decade ago. … Warmly acted and agreeably sung, this “Ragtime” travels light. And if it still sometimes feels like an animated history lesson, delivered by a liberal but square teacher a shade too eager to make the past come alive, the show now neither drags nor sags under its big themes. Read the full review.

ASSOCIATED PRESS

The show’s themes and characters are introduced lickety-split in a thrilling combination of song, story and movement that goes a long way toward explaining what musical theater is all about. … There’s not a wasted moment in her production, which is a blessing considering the scope of the lengthy story these creators are trying to tell: a new American century getting ready to explode and make its mark on history. Read the full review.

USA TODAY

The score…is hardly A-list, but the songs are well-crafted and on occasion are genuinely soulful. And Terrence McNally’s book tugs at your heart and conscience with such artful aggression that only an ogre could resist the urge to weep at some points and smile at others. In this new Kennedy Center-based production, which opened Sunday, those assets are exploited by a supple cast under Marcia Milgrom Dodge’s vibrant direction. Read the full review.

VARIETY

No word has been more bandied about in American life the past two years than change. And no show investigates the nuances of that word as it relates to the American Dream — conveying hope, opportunity and success, but also the ugly flipside of pain, division, confusion and violence — more masterfully than “Ragtime.” The 1997 musical not only feels trenchant and timely, but its multistrand story is delivered with fresh clarity and emotional immediacy in director-choreographer Marcia Milgrom Dodge’s elegant revival … This is big-brain, bold-strokes musical-theater storytelling at its most vibrant. Read the full review.

HOLLYWOOD REPORTER

Bottom Line: This wonderful musical based on the classic novel by E.L. Doctorow gets a much deserved, stirring revival. Read the full review.

Have you seen the show? Add your review to the comments below!

Full cast announced for Ragtime on Broadway – Includes Bohmer, Darrington, Noll, Petkoff, Steggert and Umoh

The Broadway revival of Ragtime, which opens on November 15 at the Neil Simon Theatre, will star:

Ron Bohmer (Father)
Quentin Earl Darrington (Coalhouse Walker, Jr.)
Christiane Noll (Mother)
Robert Petkoff (Tateh)
Bobby Steggert (Mother’s Younger Brother)
Stephanie Umoh (Sarah)
Christopher Cox (The Little Boy)
Sarah Rosenthal (The Little Girl)
Mark Aldrich (Willie Conklin)
Aaron Galligan-Stierle (Henry Ford)
Jonathan Hammond (Harry Houdini)
Dan Manning (Grandfather)
Michael X. Martin (J.P. Morgan)
Michael McGowan (Stanford White)
Donna Migliaccio (Emma Goldman)
Josh Walden (Harry K. Thaw)
Savannah Wise (Evelyn Nesbit)
Eric Jordan Young (Booker T. Washington)

Ensemble members include: Sumayya Ali, Terence Archie, Corey Bradley, Jayden Brockington, Benjamin Cook, Carey Brown, Jennifer Evans, Carly Hughes, Lisa Karlin, Valisia LeKae, James Moye, Tracy Lynn Olivera, Mamie Parris, Bryonha Parham, Nicole Powell, Kaylie Robinaccio, Arbender J. Robinson, Benjamin Schrader, Wallace Smith, Catherine Walker, Jim Weaver and Kylil Williams.


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Ragtime reveals poster artwork!

What do you think of the design?

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