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 Finian’s Rainbow

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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Mid-November Broadway Musical News Roundup

Spider-man: Turn Off the Dark is gearing up again this time with a lead actor and producer

It’s official – Reeve Carney, the lead singer of the band Carney, will be playing Peter Parker (ie. Spideman) in the upcoming Broadway mega-spender Spider-man: Turn Off the Dark.

Why cast such an unknown in the lead role? Director Julie Taymor said they wanted a “Peter Parker who could really act and sing, but who still brings a kind of performance that could be new to Broadway audiences. We wanted something a little more authentically rock and roll.”

And to help with that rock and roll vibe, Michael Cohl, a rock concert promoter with ties to the Rolling Stones and U2, is stepping in as lead producer, hoping to stop all the speculation that the show would never make it to opening night.

The show, which is reputed to have spent $52 million to date, will open in 2010 at the Hilton Theatre in New York.

American Idiot will be making its way to Broadway

On November 9, the producers for American Idiot announced Equity Principal Auditions for a Broadway run of the nearly sold-out Berkley Rep production. According to spokesman Michael Hartman, “there is a Broadway future for the show, but at this time no dates or theatre are confirmed.”

RUMOR: Ashlee Simpson may star in Chicago on Broadway

Multiple sources are reporting that Ashlee Simpon-Wentz, the former Melrose Place star, will be playing Roxie Hart in Chicago on Broadway for a six week run this December. Though she did play the role on the West End, her Broadway appearance has not been confirmed by any official sources.

A bittersweet anniversary on Broadway for Shrek

On November 8, the cast of Broadway’s Shrek celebrated one year on Broadway, but the festivities were somewhat bittersweet. The show, which was nominated for 8 Tony Awards, will be closing January 3 after playing 441 performances and 37 previews. The national tour will launch at Chicago’s Cadillac Palace Theatre for a limited engagement, running from July 13 – September 5, 2010.

Title battle – Dame Edna’s It’s All About Me vs. Michael Feinstein’s All About Me

I don’t know if you’ve been tracking the hilarious banter between Dame Edna and Michael Feinstein, who have very similarly named shows headed to Broadway this fall. Of the mishap, Edna said “It’s All About Me is my title. While I was saddened to hear that Mr. Feinstein did not heed my sage advice to change the title of his show, I’m overjoyed to hear that he at least took my suggestion to open his show after mine. I’m sure Mrs. Feinstein is very proud of her son.”

Broadway Stars on TV this month

A number of big tars will be appearing on television in the next few months. Check out the list below:

“The View” ABC, daytime

  • Wednesday, Nov. 11: Finian’s Rainbow
  • Thursday, Nov. 19: John Stamos

“Jimmy Kimmel Live” ABC, late night

  • Tuesday, Nov. 17: John Stamos

“The Today Show” NBC, 7AM ET

  • Wednesday, Nov. 18: Liza Minnelli

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).

Video performances from Broadway on Broadway 2009

If you missed the fabulous performances at yesterday’s Broadway on Broadway concert, check out these video clips (NOTE: Some of the fan footage is better than others):

Next to Normal


Rock of Ages


Hair


Bye Bye Birdie


In the Heights


Burn the Floor


Chicago


Finian’s Rainbow


Shrek


Wicked


The Lion King


Jersey Boys


Mamma Mia


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Video clips from Finian’s Rainbow now online!

Finian’s Rainbow, which opens on Broadway on October 29th, has started posting some lovely videos from the Encores performances to start getting folks excited about the production. Check them out:


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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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