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 Broadway

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!

Broadway Fan Art T-Shirts

We got a new t-shirt featuring our Broadway Musical Home artwork (by the oh-so-talented Mark H. Adams) and just had to share. Doesn’t it look fab?!

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This shirt got me giddy thinking about the idea of featuring fan art on t-shirts!

Just think – you could spread your love for your favorite Broadway show with a t-shirt different from those worn by every the other fan. The site we got ours from (tshirtprinting.org) has no minimum order, so you could get a shirt only for you, for the entire cast of your high school musical, or for your favorite Broadway geek friends.

Can’t you imagine these amazing drawings and paintings on a t-shirt:



Have you created any fan artwork or t-shirts of your own? We’d love to see! Share in the comments below!

The Broadway Musical Home received a complementary copy of a t-shirt, but was not paid to endorse this product in any way.

WEEKLY DEAL ALERT: The Book of Mormon: The Testament of a Broadway Musical

Every week we scour the web to find the best musical theatre deals on cast albums, videos, sheetmusic, tickets, merchandise and more, but many items are available at these great prices for a limited time only, so grab them while you can…

The Book of Mormon: The Testament of a Broadway Musical

Get the deal!

Read the rest of this entry »

The Reviews for Annie are In…

The reviews for Annie are in and critics couldn’t be more pleased with the timing of a dog named Sandy bounding onstage to help heal the woes left by the hurricane of the same name. The show’s big name, Katie Finneran, receives mixed reviews for her performance of Miss Hannigan, but Lilla Crawford as Annie and Anthony Warlow as Daddy Warbucks, both receive huge accolades for their tremendous performances. The critics agree that the show is exactly what New York needs right now, and though a few long for the original production, most are happy to have this revival sounding out: “The sun will come out tomorrow!”

NEW YORK TIMES

“Say what you will about the current version of “Annie,” which is directed with a slightly tremulous hand by James Lapine and features the virtuosic Katie Finneran as the villainous Miss Hannigan, you can’t fault the timing of its return to Broadway…. Even the dewiest, pluckiest ingénue would have a hard time staying fresh once she became an endlessly re-marketable brand name. That’s the challenge faced by Mr. Lapine and company, and it is met a tad uneasily…. It would seem that Mr. Lapine is hoping to introduce at least a tincture of psychological shading to a show that is only, and unapologetically, a singing comic strip…. The delicate-featured but indefatigable Ms. Crawford, who is possessed of both a golden glow and a voice of brass, is pretty close to perfect in the title role.”

Read the full Annie review

HOLLYWOOD REPORTER

“Could the timing be any better for a Broadway revival of Annie?… While it downplays the comic-strip origins in subtle ways, James Lapine’s production sensibly chooses not to reinvent the 1977 musical, which won seven Tony Awards and ran for close to six years its first time around. Returning to Broadway almost three decades later, this enduring ode to optimism remains a sterling example of expert musical-theater craftsmanship….Hardcore fans may find it lacking in the property’s traditional brash vibrancy, but what makes this revival disarming is that it’s cute without being cutesy and sweet without being saccharine….But the heart of the show, as it should be, is Crawford’s Annie. The 11-year-old actress has the vocal chops necessary to sock the songs across, but also the tough pragmatism to command a roomful of heavyweight politicians without coming off as obnoxious….Overall, this is a winning presentation of an unapologetically sentimental show that tips its hat to an earlier era in musical theater, before the age of cynicism and industrial spectacle redefined the Broadway model.”

Read the full Annie review

NEWSDAY

“For all the freight of timeliness, this remains a sweet spot of a family musical, full of adorable, but not sticky-adorable, waifs punching the air with their teeny fists and belting “Tomorrow” over and over until every cynic within earshot might be a believer. Director James Lapine’s handsome yet lovable vision finds the emotional core without losing the cartoon magic. There is a modesty, a humanity within the spectacle that helps the too-large theater feel embracing….As Annie, Lilla Crawford has a self-possessed intelligence — we’d call it gravitas if that sounded more like fun. She also has lungs to match her big presence, and a cool coiffeur that says Bernadette Peters more than a tot in an orange fright wig. I’ll hear no negative words about Katie Finneran, who, unlike her much-admired campier predecessors, makes Miss Hannigan both a cruel clown and a genuinely erotic creature whose thwarted ambitions seem just the slightest bit sad. Anthony Warlow makes an empathetic Daddy Warbucks, Brynn O’Malley has smarts as his assistant, and Clarke Thorell and J. Elaine Marcos are properly nefarious con artists.”

Read the full Annie review

WASHINGTON POST

“Infused with zip and charm by its sensational Annie, Noo-Yawk-tawkin’ Lilla Crawford, the show, slickly staged by James Lapine, tells you that any city or nation keeping faith with the future will rise again, come hell or high water….So it is with this handsome revival, infinitely superior to the previous Broadway incarnation, a woefully bedraggled 1997 staging…that ran for only 239 performances. One suspects that this kid- and adult-pleasing version, enhanced by Anthony Warlow’s gruff and robustly sung Daddy Warbucks, will be ensconced at the Palace for far longer….Accelerating quickly into shrillness…Finneran doesn’t let the audience fully embrace her joyous malevolence. We never feel enlisted in her quest to rise from the ranks of the losers. Thanks, though, to li’l Lilla and a superbly assembled cast of supporting orphans…the sentimental center of Annie holds, just fine.”

Read the full Annie review

ASSOCIATED PRESS

“The slow-to-start musical features an appealing 11-year-old Lilla Crawford in the title role, an overcooked Katie Finneran as Miss Hannigan and a first-rate Anthony Warlow as Daddy Warbucks…If Finneran is big and brassy and broad, Warlow is the opposite. This Australian actor brings gravitas and a sumptuous voice to Warbucks. His is a performance of subtlety, of small eyebrow movements….While Crawford is excellent, as is usually the case with “Annie,” a younger orphan often steals your heart. In this show, that would be Emily Rosenfeld as Molly, who is cuter than a dump truck of plush teddy bears.”

Read the full Annie review

WEEKLY DEAL ALERT: $10.94 for Seth Rudetsky’s Broadway Nights

Every week we scour the web to find the best musical theatre deals on cast albums, videos, sheetmusic, tickets, merchandise and more, but many items are available at these great prices for a limited time only, so grab them while you can…

$10.94 for Seth Rudetsky’s Broadway Nights

 

Get the deal!

(Or get it for Kindle for $7.69)

Read the rest of this entry »

In honor of #theatrethursday, your list of the top 50 Broadway musicals of all time

We asked and you responded. Here’s a list of your all time favorite Broadway musicals, in no particular order:

  1. Les Miserables
  2. Rent
  3. The King and I
  4. Sunday in the Park with George
  5. Wicked
  6. Guys and Dolls
  7. Sweeney Todd
  8. Ragtime
  9. West Side Story
  10. In the Heights
  11. Phantom of the Opera
  12. Into the Woods
  13. Next to Normal
  14. Cats
  15. Parade
  16. Company
  17. Chess
  18. A Chorus Line
  19. Man of La Mancha
  20. Best Little Whorehouse in Texas
  21. Rocky Horror Show
  22. The Music Man
  23. My Fair Lady
  24. Mame
  25. Jersey Boys
  26. The Last Five Years (technically off-Broadway, but enough of you voted for it that I had to include it)
  27. Candide
  28. The Drowsy Chaperone
  29. The Sound of Music
  30. Spring Awakening
  31. Little Shop of Horrors
  32. The Wiz
  33. Miss Saigon
  34. Hair
  35. Billy Elliot
  36. Gypsy
  37. Assassins
  38. Rock of Ages
  39. Hello Dolly!
  40. Cabaret
  41. The Lion King
  42. Hairspray
  43. Grease
  44. Avenue Q
  45. South Pacific
  46. Evita
  47. The Producers
  48. Pippin
  49. Chicago
  50. Dreamgirls

Is your favorite not on the list? Add it in the comments below!

Win a pair of tickets to see Memphis on Broadway!

Win a pair of tickets to see Memphis on Broadway on Friday, October 2 and write us a review of the show for the blog!

To enter to win, just comment below, tweet @broadwaymusical or email why you want to see the show!

Please note: I reserve the right
to make edits to the winner's 
review. Winner will be chosen
using www.random.org and will be
announced on Monday, September 
28 on the blog, 
broadwaymusicalhome.com,
Twitter and Facebook.


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September is Back2Broadway month – tons of awesome events!

Our friends over at ILoveNY have been busy preparing for what they’ve dubbed Back2Broadway Month. Watch their video and check out some of the awesome events:

Sirius XM Radio “Live on Broadway” Lunchtime Concerts
Sept 16th, 23rd and 30th - 12 pm
Inside the Times Square Information Center on 7th Avenue between 46th and 47th Streets

Star Chats
Sept 9th (Joe DiPietro, Rick Elice, Marshall Brickman) at Marriott Marquis
Sept 23rd at Sardi’s Restaurant
Sept 30th at TheTimesCenter
All Star Chats will take place at 5:30 pm
RSVP with the date you’d like to attend

Karaoke
Sept 10th, 17th and 24th - 5 pm
Broadway and 7th Avenue between 46th and 47th Streets

Open House Theatre Tours
Sept 12th: Al Hirschfeld Theatre, Broadway Theatre and Brooks Atkinson Theatre
Sept 19th: Al Hirschfeld Theatre, Richard Rodgers Theatre, and Winter Garden Theatre
Sept 26th: August Wilson Theatre, Majestic Theatre and Minskoff Theatre
All tours will take place from 10 am – noon

Broadway on Broadway concert
September 13th - 11:30 am
Times Square

Kids’ Night on Broadway – Kids Go Free!
Sept 15 and 16

Insider View Post-Show Talkbacks
Sept 15, 22 and 29 immediately following evening performances of Billy Elliot the Musical, Burn the Floor, Chicago, In the Heights, Jersey Boys, Memphis, Next to Normal, The Phantom of the Opera, Rock of Ages, The Royal Family, Shrek:The Musical, Superior Donuts, The 39 Steps, The Toxic Avenger, West Side Story

Broadway Dance Studio
Sept 18 and 26 - 5 pm
Duffy Square, Broadway and 7th Avenue between 46th and 47th Streets

Broadway Tweet-Up via Twitter
September 22 - from 12-2 pm

“Broadway Salutes”
September 22 – 4 pm
Duffy Square, Broadway and 7th Avenue between 46th and 47th Streets

The 23rd Annual Broadway Flea Market and Grand Auction
September 27
Shubert Alley, West 44th Street between Seventh and Eighth Avenues

Locations and more details are available on the I Love NY website.

Is anyone out there working on a Michael Jackson show for Broadway?

I have no Broadway connections (sadly) and get messages from people all the time who hope I do. These have varied from Julie Andrews autograph requests, to resumes/headshots/reels or pleas that I help get someone’s show produced on Broadway. I usually just write back a polite email wishing them the best of luck and lamenting the fact that I’m a nobody just like them.

Today I got an adorable email from an 11 year old named Spencer, and just feel horrible that I have to write back saying I can’t do a thing for him, so I thought, why not put it on the blog? Maybe some big shot working on a show will run across it on the interweb and Spencer’s dream can come true.

So without further ado, here’s the email. (If you’re someone working on the show email me and I’ll get you Spencer’s address.)

Dear to whom it may concern, my name is spencer and i am 11 years old. I am a big fan of broadway and movies and music and i was surfing the web yesterday when i came across that michael jackson’s thriller was supposed to be on broadway early january. Since I am somewhat of a big fan of michael jackson I just wanted to share some of my ideas:

Michael Jackson meets a girl and perhaps to flirt with her he sings “the way you make me feel” and then she leaves him in a few weeks and he sings “billie jean” (the name of the girl can perhaps even be, Billie Jean)  and then perhaps he meets another girl named anne and falls in love and sings smooth criminal. Then he realized he wants billie jean back and he goes on falls in love with billie and they live happily and then one day they come out of a film and michael explains that he is not like other guys and then he turns into a “monster” and sings the 1# hit, THRILLER!!!! let me know what you think and i look forward to hearing from you!

love, spencer

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