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 Fela

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.

2010 Tony Award Winners and Losers

Thanks for joining us for our live coverage of this year’s Tony Awards. Hope you had as much fun as we did! Here’s who took home the awards and who walked away empty-handed:

Best Musical
Memphis
American Idiot
Fela!
Million Dollar Quartet

Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical
Douglas Hodge, La Cage aux Folles
Kelsey Grammer, La Cage aux Folles
Sean Hayes, Promises, Promises
Chad Kimball, Memphis
Sahr Ngaujah, Fela!

Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical
Catherine Zeta-Jones, A Little Night Music
Kate Baldwin, Finian’s Rainbow
Sherie Rene Scott, Everyday Rapture
Montego Glover, Memphis
Christiane Noll, Ragtime

Best Revival of a Musical
La Cage aux Folles
Finian’s Rainbow
A Little Night Music
Ragtime

Best Choreography
Bill T. Jones, Fela!
Rob Ashford, Promises, Promises
Lynne Page, La Cage aux Folles
Twyla Tharp, Come Fly Away

Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical
Levi Kreis, Million Dollar Quartet
Kevin Chamberlin, The Addams Family
Robin De Jesús, La Cage aux Folles
Christopher Fitzgerald, Finian’s Rainbow
Bobby Steggert, Ragtime

Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical
Katie Finneran, Promises, Promises
Barbara Cook, Sondheim on Sondheim
Angela Lansbury, A Little Night Music
Karine Plantadit, Come Fly Away
Lillias White, Fela!

Best Direction of a Musical
Terry Johnson, La Cage aux Folles
Christopher Ashley, Memphis
Marcia Milgrom Dodge, Ragtime
Bill T. Jones, Fela!

Best Sound Design of a Musical
Robert Kaplowitz, Fela!
Jonathan Deans, La Cage aux Folles
Dan Moses Schreier and Gareth Owen, A Little Night Music
Dan Moses Schreier, Sondheim on Sondheim

Best Scenic Design of a Musical
Christine Jones, American Idiot
Marina Draghici, Fela!
Derek McLane, Ragtime
Tim Shortall, La Cage aux Folles

Best Lighting Design of a Musical
Kevin Adams, American Idiot
Donald Holder, Ragtime
Nick Richings, La Cage aux Folles
Robert Wierzel, Fela!

Best Costume Design of a Musical
Marina Draghici, Fela!
Paul Tazewell, Memphis
Matthew Wright, La Cage aux Folles

Best Book of a Musical
Joe DiPietro, Memphis
Dick Scanlan and Sherie Rene Scott, Everyday Rapture
Jim Lewis & Bill T. Jones, Fela!
Colin Escott and Floyd Mutrux, Million Dollar Quartet

Best Original Score (Music and/or Lyrics) Written for the Theatre
Joe DiPietro and David Bryan, Memphis
Andrew Lippa, The Addams Family
Adam Cork and Lucy Prebble, Enron
Branford Marsalis, Fences

Best Orchestrations
Daryl Waters & David Bryan, Memphis
Jason Carr, La Cage aux Folles
Aaron Johnson, Fela!
Jonathan Tunick, Promises, Promises

Special Tony for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre
Alan Ayckbourn
Marian Seldes

Regional Theatre Tony Award
The Eugene O’Neill Theater Center, Waterford, Connecticut

Isabelle Stevenson Award
David Hyde Pierce

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!

The 2010 Outer Critics Circle Award Winners

The first award-winners of the season have been announced. There were a couple of big surprises, including the big win for Memphis in the Outstanding New Musical category. The committee also decided on ties for Outstanding Off-Broadway Musical, Outstanding Actress in a Musical and Outstanding Choreography. What do you think of their selections?

Outstanding New Broadway Musical
Memphis

Outstanding New Off-Broadway Musical
Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson
AND
The Scottsboro Boys

Outstanding New Score (Broadway or Off-Broadway)
Memphis

Outstanding Revival of a Musical (Broadway or Off-Broadway)
La Cage aux Folles

Outstanding Director of a Musical
Terry Johnson, La Cage aux Folles

Outstanding Choreographer
Bill T. Jones, Fela!
AND
Sergio Trujillo, Memphis

Outstanding Set Design (Play or Musical)
Phelim McDermott & Julian Crouch, The Addams Family

Outstanding Costume Design (Play or Musical)
Matthew Wright, La Cage aux Folles

Outstanding Lighting Design (Play or Musical)
Kevin Adams, American Idiot

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

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

Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical
Levi Kreis, Million Dollar Quartet

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

View the full list of noiminees

And Finally…The 2010 Tony Award Nominees

The nominees for the big one – the Tony Awards – were announced this morning. The only telecast ceremony of the bunch, these are the awards the average person on the street has heard of and oftentimes have a lot to do with whether a show continues its run for years or closes the next week. We will be announcing the winners live on Twitter and Facebook during the ceremony on Sunday, June 13, so be sure to follow or like us to stay posted and join the conversation. Here are the nominated musicals:

Best Musical
American Idiot
Fela!
Memphis
Million Dollar Quartet

Best Book of a Musical
Dick Scanlan and Sherie Rene Scott, Everyday Rapture
Jim Lewis & Bill T. Jones, Fela!
Joe DiPietro, Memphis
Colin Escott and Floyd Mutrux, Million Dollar Quartet

Best Original Score (Music and/or Lyrics) Written for the Theatre
Andrew Lippa, The Addams Family
Adam Cork and Lucy Prebble, Enron
Branford Marsalis, Fences
Joe DiPietro and David Bryan, Memphis

Best Revival of a Musical
Finian’s Rainbow
La Cage aux Folles
A Little Night Music
Ragtime

Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical
Kelsey Grammer, La Cage aux Folles
Sean Hayes, Promises, Promises
Douglas Hodge, La Cage aux Folles
Chad Kimball, Memphis
Sahr Ngaujah, Fela!

Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical
Kate Baldwin, Finian’s Rainbow
Sherie Rene Scott, Everyday Rapture
Montego Glover, Memphis
Christiane Noll, Ragtime
Catherine Zeta-Jones, A Little Night Music

Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical
Kevin Chamberlin, The Addams Family
Robin De Jesús, La Cage aux Folles
Christopher Fitzgerald, Finian’s Rainbow
Levi Kreis, Million Dollar Quartet
Bobby Steggert, Ragtime

Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical
Barbara Cook, Sondheim on Sondheim
Katie Finneran, Promises, Promises
Angela Lansbury, A Little Night Music
Karine Plantadit, Come Fly Away
Lillias White, Fela!

Best Direction of a Musical
Christopher Ashley, Memphis
Marcia Milgrom Dodge, Ragtime
Terry Johnson, La Cage aux Folles
Bill T. Jones, Fela!

Best Choreography
Rob Ashford, Promises, Promises
Bill T. Jones, Fela!
Lynne Page, La Cage aux Folles
Twyla Tharp, Come Fly Away

Best Orchestrations
Jason Carr, La Cage aux Folles
Aaron Johnson, Fela!
Jonathan Tunick, Promises, Promises
Daryl Waters & David Bryan, Memphis

Best Scenic Design of a Musical
Marina Draghici, Fela!
Christine Jones, American Idiot
Derek McLane, Ragtime
Tim Shortall, La Cage aux Folles

Best Costume Design of a Musical
Marina Draghici, Fela!
Paul Tazewell, Memphis
Matthew Wright, La Cage aux Folles
Santo Loquasto, Ragtime (Why was this nominee removed?)

Best Lighting Design of a Musical
Kevin Adams, American Idiot
Donald Holder, Ragtime
Nick Richings, La Cage aux Folles
Robert Wierzel, Fela!

Best Sound Design of a Musical
Jonathan Deans, La Cage aux Folles
Robert Kaplowitz, Fela!
Dan Moses Schreier and Gareth Owen, A Little Night Music
Dan Moses Schreier, Sondheim on Sondheim

2010 Outer Critics Circle Nominations

Yesterday, Hunter and Sutton Foster announced the nominees for the 60th annual Outer Critics Circle Awards, which honor the best in Broadway and Off-Broadway theatre. Winners will be announced on May 27 here on the blog. Here are this year’s musical theater nominees:

Outstanding New Broadway Musical
American Idiot
Come Fly Away
Fela!
Memphis
Sondheim on Sondheim

Outstanding New Off-Broadway Musical
Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson
The Scottsboro Boys
Tin Pan Alley Rag
Yank!

Outstanding New Score (Broadway or Off-Broadway)
Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson
Memphis
The Scottsboro Boys
Yank!

Outstanding Revival of a Musical (Broadway or Off-Broadway)
La Cage aux Folles
Finian’s Rainbow
A Little Night Music
Promises, Promises

Outstanding Director of a Musical
Christopher Ashley, Memphis
Terry Johnson, La Cage aux Folles
Susan Stroman, The Scottsboro Boys
Alex Timbers, Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson

Outstanding Choreographer
Rob Ashford, Promises, Promises
Bill T. Jones, Fela!
Susan Stroman, The Scottsboro Boys
Sergio Trujillo, Memphis

Outstanding Set Design (Play or Musical)
John Lee Beatty, The Royal Family
Beowulf Boritt, Sondheim on Sondheim
Phelim McDermott & Julian Crouch, The Addams Family
Donyale Werle, Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson

Outstanding Costume Design (Play or Musical)
Jane Greenwood, Present Laughter
Martin Pakledinaz, Lend Me a Tenor
Matthew Wright, La Cage aux Folles
Catherine Zuber, The Royal Family

Outstanding Lighting Design (Play or Musical)
Kevin Adams, American Idiot
Kevin Adams, The Scottsboro Boys
Ken Billington, Sondheim on Sondheim
Justin Townsend, Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson

Outstanding Actor in a Musical
Brandon Victor Dixon, The Scottsboro Boys
Sean Hayes, Promises, Promises
Douglas Hodge, La Cage aux Folles
Chad Kimball, Memphis
Nathan Lane, The Addams Family

Outstanding Actress in a Musical
Kate Baldwin, Finian’s Rainbow
Barbara Cook, Sondheim on Sondheim
Montego Glover, Memphis
Bebe Neuwirth, The Addams Family
Catherine Zeta-Jones, A Little Night Music

Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical
Kevin Chamberlin, The Addams Family
Christopher Fitzgerald, Finian’s Rainbow
Levi Kreis, Million Dollar Quartet
Dick Latessa, Promises, Promises
Bobby Steggert, Ragtime

Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical
Carolee Carmello, The Addams Family
Katie Finneran, Promises, Promises
Angela Lansbury, A Little Night Music
Cass Morgan, Memphis
Terri White, Finian’s Rainbow

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