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 Cheyenne Jackson

Rumors are flying about Lea Michele and a Jeff Buckley jukebox musical

Perhaps because real Broadway news has been slow this week, the rumor mill has been active circulating rumors about new shows.

First – the New York Post reported that the New York Theatre Barn is wooing Lea Michele for a new musical based on the real-life attempts of a high school in Texas to produce Rent. The show, called Speargrove Presents, has a role written for her, but with her Glee filming schedule, taking time out to star in a non-profit’s musical just may not be in the cards. That said, she has been a fan of the Theatre Barn for years. I’m waiting to see whether any other names come on board for the project. Until they do – they can pine for her all they want – were I her agent, I’d tell her to politely decline.

Also rumored, this time by Variety, is that the Jeff Buckley jukebox musical adaptation of Romeo and Juliet called The Last Goodbye is eyeing a Broadway premiere during the 2010-11 season. A concert version of the show was presented this past May at Joe’s Pub with a cast that included Kelli Barrett (The Royal Family, Rock of Ages) and Theo Stockman (Hair, American Idiot). After doing a workshop at Gotham and an out-of-town tryout somewhere yet-to-be announced, they’re hoping to hit the Great White Way. Anyone catch the Joe’s Pub performance? I think this show could either be really good, or do a big old flop.

In other news….

The Phantom Love Never Dies soundtrack is being released on March 9. We hooked you up with a sample of some music from the show. Be sure to pre-order your copy of the full cast album now!

The Matt Stone and Trey Parker Morman Musical, starring Cheyenne Jackson, will officially make an appearance Off-Broadway in the 2009-10 season. I am so on board with this show.

The Lion King officially became the 8th longest show in Broadway history, surpassing Rent, which previously held that position. Julie Taymor’s brilliant puppetry combined with a large Disney budget made this wonderful movie into a truly unique stage experience – and one that just keeps rolling along…

Speaking of Julie Taymor – the now $45 million dollar production of Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark that was supposed to start previews earlier this month under her direction – “will open before the end of the year” according to U2’s the Edge. They’ve already run into hurdle after hurdle, found an entirely new set of producers, and returned money to those excited fans who bought their tickets months in advance. I really want to think the best of this production, but have to admit, I’ve grown wary. So, the Edge: Thank you for trying to inspire confidence, and I hope for the sake of those who gave you all the $45 million you’ve already spent, that you do, in fact, go up before the end of the year, but I have to tell you – I’ll not be holding my breath.

In West End news – Tony and Olivier Award-winning director Trevor Nunn will direct Aspects of Love, the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical for the Menier Chocolate Factory this summer. This wonderful theatre has contributed a lot to Broadway in recent years (Sunday in the Park with George, La Cage aux Folles, A Little Night Music), so if its a successful revival over there – it’s likely to make its way across the Pacific.

And finally in other redo moves – Variety is reporting that Karen McCulluh and Kirsten Smith, the writers of the film Legally Blonde, are set to create a big screen remake of The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas. The film will be produced by Marty Bowen and Wyck Godfrey, of the “Twilight” franchise. First of all – why redo it? Secondly – what a weird assortment of people. I can only hope this new version will feature vampire prostitutes with chihuahuas!


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The reviews for Finian’s Rainbow are in …

Finian’s Rainbow opened on Broadway to universal critical acclaim. The consensus: featuring a brilliant cast and score and a sweet, simple staging – this production embodies everything a Broadway musical should be.

Here’s what the critics had to say, in their own words:

NEW YORK TIMES

Here is where you should head this fall to warm your soul amid the diversions of that ever-great and ever-endangered American art form, musical comedy. All the comforting pleasures of the genre — infectious song, exuberant dancing, jokes both lovably corny and unexpectedly fresh, and of course the satisfying pairing of a him and a her — are on abundant display in this thoroughly winning production, a welcome picker-upper in an uneven Broadway season. Read the full review

ASSOCIATED PRESS

That delectable bit of musical-theater blarney called “Finian’s Rainbow” has found its way back to Broadway for the first time in nearly half a century, its charms undiminished, particularly its buoyant score. Read the full review

HOLLYWOOD REPORTER

Things are great in Glocca Morra. A theatrical pot of gold awaits anyone who enters the St. James Theatre, where the magical revival of “Finian’s Rainbow” has opened. The classic musical, receiving its first Broadway revival in nearly half a century, has the kind of score, written by Burton Lane (music) and Yip Harburg (lyrics), that can still make any theatergoer swoon. Read the full review

VARIETY

What better time for a show that makes gentle mockery of that incurable habit of building the illusion of wealth on nothing more than a dream and a credit line, while also offering the rose-tinted consolation that such folly will turn out fine in the end? But it’s not so much the uncanny appropriateness of its pixified fairy tale as the enveloping warmth of Burton Lane’s melodies and the spry wit of Yip Harburg’s lyrics that make “Finian’s Rainbow” such an infectious charmer. Rather than try to get around the 1947 musical’s daffy story by hammering the social satire, director-choreographer Warren Carlyle and his winning cast simply embrace its quaint idiosyncrasies. Read the full review

WALL STREET JOURNAL

I don’t think I’ve ever seen a more musically satisfying Broadway show than “Finian’s Rainbow.” Not only is the Yip Harburg-Burton Lane score a string of flawlessly cut gems, but everyone involved with the production takes the songs seriously, performing them with love and sensitivity. Best of all is Kate Baldwin, whose memorable appearances in such regional-theater productions as Huntington Theatre Company’s 2008 revival of “She Loves Me” have made me wonder why she doesn’t work regularly on Broadway. Ms. Baldwin is the real deal, a rich-voiced soprano who can also act. The way that she and Cheyenne Jackson sing “Old Devil Moon” is the stuff best-selling cast albums are made of. Read the full review

BACK STAGE

Lightning has struck twice at the St. James Theatre. First Arthur Laurents took his perfectly fine production of “Gypsy” in the Encores! Summer Series and elevated it into a stunning work of art. Now the folks behind Encores! concert version of “Finian’s Rainbow” have taken that pleasant if problematic presentation and transformed it into a magical production that should enchant both lovers of the Golden Age musical and those who favor more-contemporary fare. Personally, I would have called such a thing impossible. But this “Finian’s Rainbow” is for everybody, and I hope it runs forever. Read the full review

THE FASTER TIMES

The new production of “Finian’s Rainbow,” which has just opened at the St. James Theater half a century after its last try at a full-bore Broadway revival, tries hard to turn a dated show with a problematic book into an extraordinary theatrical experience. It succeeds in doing so, magnificently, thanks to an unusually talented cast of comic actors, singers and dancers, and 13 songs that are either evergreen favorites or rousing revelations; not a dog among them. Read the full review


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A casting, gossip and news round-up for October

Finian’s Rainbow opens tonight on Broadway

The Broadway revival of Finian’s Rainbow opens on Broadway tonight, October 29, 2009. Starring Jim Norton (The Seafarer) as Finian, Kate Baldwin (Wonderful Town) as Sharon, Cheyenne Jackson (Xanadu) as Woody,  and Christopher Fitzgerald (Young Frankenstein) as Og, we’re looking to see how the public responds to the show.

For years it was thought to be an unrevivable show due to its racist content, but with a reworking of the book and songs like “Old Devil Moon,” “If This isn’t Love” and “How are Things in Glocca Morra?,” we think it more than deserves a another run on the Great White Way.

Going to see it? Interested in writing a review for the blog here? Contact me!

Promises, Promises to star Chenoweth and Hayes; opens March 25

Producers have announced that Promises, Promises will officially star Sean Hayes and Kristin Chenoweth. This will be the first ever revival of the musical, will open at the Broadway Theater on March 25.

With a book by Neil Simon, music by Burt Bacharah and lyrics by Hal David, the show will mark Hayes first appearance on Broadway and Chenoweth’s happy return. The original 1968 production played 1,268 performances on Broadway, was nominated for 8 Tony awards and awarded a Grammy.

Run DMC musical eyeing Broadway

Hollywood producer Paula Wagner is working with the rappers Joseph Simmons (Run) and Darryl McDaniels (DMC) and the estate of Jason Mizell (Jam Master Jay) about creating a stage musical about Run DMC’s road to fame.

No dates, casting or other collaborators have yet been announced.

Mary Murphy to make guest appearance in Burn the Floor

Mary Murphy from Fox’s “So You Think You Can Dance” will make a one-night-only guest star appearance in Broadway’s Burn the Floor on December 22, partnering with ballroom champion Vaidas Skimelis.

Katie Holmes may star in the stage musical version of Cocktail

Rumors are flying that Katie Holmes may be under consideration for a starring role in the Broadway musical version of the 80s movie, Cocktail, that is being penned for the stage by Heywood Gould – the original author and screenwriter. Producer Marty Richards is on board and though Gould said “it’s far too early to talk about casting,” he did mention he “like[s] Katie Holmes.”

Little Miss Sunshine musical workshop stars Bierko, Latessa and Rene Scott

The stage musical version of Little Miss Sunshine is workshopping with stars Craig Bierko (Guys and Dolls, The Music Man), Dick Latessa (Hairspray, Damn Yankees), and Sherie Rene Scott (The Little Mermaid, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Aida) in Florida right now.

The adaptation of the 2006 film features a score by William Finn with book and direction by James Lapine.

We can only hope it’s good-enough to take to Broadway with those names on board.

Judy and Sayle to star in the Broadway-aimed A Christmas Story, The Musical!

Later this month, another production eyeing Broadway, A Christmas Story, The Musical!, will open out-of-town. The cast features talent with many Broadway shows under their belts, including James Judy (The Scarlet Pimpernel), Zachary Carter Sayle (Chitty Chitty Bang Bang), John Bolton (Curtains, Spamalot) and Anne L. Nathan (Assassins, Sunday in the Park with George).

More Broadway showtunes and stars are in store for Glee!

Glee

If you follow this blog and somehow haven’t become a Gleek yet, I can’t understand why not.

The show, which stars Broadway favorites Lea Michele and Matthew Morrison, has already featured Broadway big-shots Victor Garber (Sweeney Todd, Assassins, Damn Yankees), Kristin Chenoweth (Wicked) and Debra Monk (Curtains, Chicago, Company) and  showtunes like “Maybe This Time” from Cabaret and “I Could Have Danced All Night” from My Fair Lady.

Broadway Gleeks can continue to get more excited: Lea’s Spring Awakening co-star, Jonathan Groff, has signed on to perform in at least 5 episodes of the show, and rumor has it that Cheyenne Jackson, the star of Finian’s Rainbow on Broadway, is scheduled to make a guest appearance in one of the upcoming episodes.

The show’s tunes are hidden a little better than its stars, but thanks to YouTube, we do know that we’ll be hearing Lea Michele and Chris Colfer singing “Defying Gravity” from Wicked. Check out a clip of the song:

Glee just keeps getting better and better for lovers of Broadway musical theater!


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Broadway Impact for Marriage Equality

Gavin Creel and his organization, Broadway Impact, brought together a large group of Broadway actors, directors, stage managers, fans, and producers to march on Washington for gay equality this past Sunday.

It was amazing event marked by performances/speeches by the cast of Broadway’s Hair, Audra McDonald, Cynthia Nixon, David Hyde Pierce, Douglas Carter Beane, Cheyenne Jackson, Speaker Christine Quinn and Governor Paterson – whose proposed bill to grant same-sex couples the equal right to marry in New York prompted Creel to organize.

Here’s the Hair tribe performing at the event:

Did anyone who follows the blog make it to Washington?

Complete Finian’s Rainbow Cast Announced

The complete cast for Broadway’s upcoming production of Finian’s Rainbow is official.

As previously announced, the cast will include Kate Baldwin (Wonderful Town, Thoroughly Modern Millie), Cheyenne Jackson (Xanadu, All Shook Up), Jim Norton (The Seafarer, The Weir), Christopher Fitzgerald (Young Frankenstein, Wicked), Chuck Cooper (The Life, Caroline, or Change).

Newly announced cast members include Guy Davis, Alina Faye, Brian Reddy (Gypsy, The Crucible, Alice in Wonderland), David Schramm (Tartuffe, The Three Sisters), Terri White (Barnum, Welcome to the Club) and William Youmans (The Pirate Queen, Wicked, La Boheme, Titanic, Big River).

Ensemble members include: Aaron Bantum, Tanya Birl, Christopher Borger, Meggie Cansler, Bernard Dotson, Leslie Donna Flesner, Sara Jean Ford, Taylor Frey, Lisa Gajda, Kearran Giovanni, Tim Hartman, Lauren Lim Jackson, Grasan Kingsberry, Kevin Ligon, Monica L. Patton, Joe Aaron Reid, Steve Schepis, Devin Richards, Rashidra Scott, Brian Sears, Paige Simunovich, James Stovall, Elisa van Duyne and Tyrick Wiltez Jones.

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