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 (, a directory of Broadway musicals with the story, songs, merchandise, video clips, lyrics, tickets, rights & awards for almost 200 shows.

Archive for Gina Gershon

Bye Bye “Birdie,” Hello New Work and New Horizons

Bye Bye “Birdie”

The universally panned production of Bye Bye Birdie, starring John Stamos and Gina Gershon, closed on Broadway on Jan 24 after playing 117 performances. Though selling at 90% capacity, producers decided the show’s success would dwindle upon the departure of its stars and so closed as planned, rather than extending its run.

Hello New Work

Wildhorn’s Wonderland

An exciting new musical that’s been getting lots of buzz in the social media sphere Frank Wildhorn (Jekyll & Hyde, The Scarlett Pimpernel, The Civil War) and Jack Murphy’s (The Civil War) Wonderland, a new take on Lewis Carol’s “Alice in Wonderland.” The show opened on Jan 20 at the Alley Theatre in Houston.

The cast includes a lot of Broadway names, including Janet Dacal (In the Heights, Good Vibrations), Jose Llana (The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee), Karen Mason (Sunset Boulevard, Mamma Mia!), Darren Ritchie (Dracula: The Musical), Nikki Snelson (Legally Blonde), Ed Staudenmayer (Forbidden Broadway) and Tad Wilson (Rock of Ages).

This show definitely has Broadway aspirations, though no dates or official plans have yet been announced. Cross your fingers that its sooner rather than later.

Duncan Sheik’s The Whisper House

Spring Awakening‘s Dunkan Sheik celebrated the world premiere of Whisper House, which opened Jan. 21 at the Old Globe Theatre in San Diego. The show, which features a hauntingly beautiful score, has hopes of making it to Broadway sometime in the next couple of years.

The Pee Wee Herman Show

Another show with Broadway aims is the Pee Wee Herman Show, which opened on Jan 20 at the Los Angeles’ Club Nokia @ L.A. LIVE. Paul Reubens stars the title role he created back in the 1980s and looks to be having just as much fun today as he did back then. Though more a show with music than a musical, I couldn’t not include it on the blog here. I mean, it’s Pee Wee Herman!

A Spice Girls Musical?

Yep. Pee Wee Herman isn’t the only pop-culture icon to be brought to the stage. Mamma Mia! producer Judy Craymer is turning her attention to a jukebox musical that will use the songs (and we can only hope, the personalities) of that crazy English girl-group of the 90s – the Spice Girls.

New Horizons

Original Foursome will Make their Broadway Debuts with Million Dollar Quartet

The original foursome from the Chicago production of the musical Million Dollar Quartet, Eddie Clendening, Lance Guest, Levi Kreis and Rob Lyons, will reprise their roles in the show’s Broadway premiere, all making their Broadway premieres. They will be joined by two Broadway veterans: Hunter Foster (Urinetown, Little Shop of Horrors) and Elizabeth Stanley (Cry-Baby, Company).

Showtime to Document the Process of Taking a Musical from Concept to Broadway

If you’ve kept up with the blog here, you know that Speilberg is producing a new Showtime series tracing the evolution of a new musical.

Composers Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman (Hairspray, Catch Me If You Can) were previously announced as being on board, and now a writer has surfaced – Theresa Rebeck – the author who penned the recent off-Broadway hit the Understudy and has a fair number of TV shows under her belt.

I don’t know about you, but I’m excited to see this show get off the ground, and if the success of Glee and the long string of casting shows series, I’m not the only one that’ll be eating it up.

Norbert Leo Butz on TV

Norbert Leo Butz (Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Wicked, The Last Five Years) is starring as Rowdy Kaiser on ABC’s “The Deep End,” a new drama series about five first-year lawyers starting out at a top firm. If you missed last week’s premiere – check it out on ABC’s website.

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: Mamma Mia, Bye Bye Birdie and South Pacific In the News

The Good

Mamma Mia, the 13th longest running show in Broadway history, celebrated 8 years on Broadway yesterday, Oct 18!

The musical currently stars Beth Leavel, John Dossett, Judy McLane, Allison Briner, Halle Morse, Michael Mindlin, Patrick Boll, Alyse Alan Louis, David Andrew Macdonald and Eric William Morris.

The Bad

Bye Bye Birdie, which opened on Oct 15, was panned by reviewers in almost every media publication:

The consensus – the bulk of the cast can’t sing, dance or act. Ouch!

The Ugly

The New York Post reported that the stage manager for Broadway’s South Pacific, Michael Brunner, has been arraigned for recording video of one of the actresses in her dressing room. Lincoln Center Theater has terminated his contract due to the incident.

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Bye Bye Birdie opens on Broadway tonight after a very rough final dress rehearsal

They say bad dress means a good opening. If that’s true, tonight’s performance of Bye Bye Birdie will tear down the house.

Bye Bye Birdie had a LOT of trouble at last night’s dress rehearsal when the electronically controlled set wouldn’t move off the stage for a full 20 min.

John Stamos, who’s playing Albert in the production, filled the time by calling out to audience members Don Rickles and Bob Saget. The former came up on stage and spoke through the mic rigged to Stamos’ forehead, saying, “I’m really glad your crotch is not miked.” Gina Gershon also came out and obliged the request to “do something from Showgirls” by performing the staple “jazz hands to the face” move.

Gotta love when things go wrong in live theater.

Be sure to send your love and “break a leg” wishes to the cast and crew!

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A whole lot of gossip and news

Nolan Gerard Funk #5914 photo credit David Giesbrecht
Curtain up on Bye Bye Birdie!

The Broadway revival of Bye Bye Birdie starts previews this evening. The production, which stars Gina Gershon, John Stamos and Nolan Gerard Funk will officially open on October 15 at the brand new Henry Miller’s Theatre.

O’Hara returns to South Pacific!
Another exciting bit of news: Kelli O’Hara, who took a leave of absence to welcome her first child back in March, returns to Broadway’s South Pacific on Oct. 13.

A new Woodstock musical is in the works
Michael Lang, one of the producers of the Woodstock Music and Arts Festival, is working on a Broadway musical based on his memoir, “The Road to Woodstock.” He’s reaching out some of the surviving artists from Woodstock for possible contributions to the production. No information about a cast or creative team has yet been announced.

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West Side Story no longer bilingual; Fez hat dance scene cut from Bye Bye Birdie

The bilingual West Side Story revival, which incorporated “the unprecedented element of selectively weaving Spanish throughout both the book and songs,” is reverting back to English.

This week, two songs that had previously been performed in Spanish – “A Boy Like That” (“Un Hombre Asi”) and “I Feel Pretty” (“Siento Hermosa”) are now being delivered mostly in English. The Spanish sung by the Sharks in the “Tonight” quintet is now some of the only Spanish that remains in the show.

Arthur Laurents who wrote and directed the musical said that “from the outset, the Spanish in West Side Story was an experiment. It’s been an ongoing process of finding what worked and what didn’t, and it still continues.”

Another big change is in store for a classic Broadway musical according to Gina Gershon, the actress playing Rose in Broadway’s upcoming production of Bye Bye Birdie. One of the big dance numbers in the show, in which Rose is traditionally chased by a number of men wearing fez hats, has been cut from the production because producers thought it “a little too gang rape-y.” Read the full article here.

I was pretty taken aback by these drastic (and in my opinion, unnecessary) changes. How about you?

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Full Cast and Creative Team Announced for Broadway’s Bye Bye Birdie

Director/choreographer Robert Longbottom has finished casting Broadway’s upcoming production of Bye Bye Birdie, which starts previews at Henry Miller’s Theatre on September 10 and opens October 15.

As previously announced, the show will star John Stamos (Cabaret, Nine) as Albert Peterson, Gina Gershon (Cabaret, Boeing-Boeing) as Rose Alvarez, Bill Irwin (Waiting for Godot, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?) as Mr. Harry MacAfee, Jayne Houdyshell (Coraline, Wicked, Well) as Mrs. Mae Peterson, Dee Hoty (Mamma Mia!, Footloose) as Mrs. MacAfee, Matt Doyle (Spring Awakening) as Hugo Peabody, Molly Ephraim (Fiddler on the Roof, Into the Woods) as Ursula Merkle, Jake Evan Schwencke as Randolph MacAfee, Allie Trimm (13) as Kim MacAfee and Nolan Gerard Funk as Conrad Birdie.

The rest of the cast will include Catherine Blades, Deanna Cipolla, Paula Leggett Chase, Riley Costello, John Treacy Egan, Colleen Fitzpatrick, Todd Gearhart, Patty Goble, Suzanne Grodner, Robert Hager, Nina Hennessey, Natalie Hill, Julia Knitel, Jess Le Protto, David McDonald, JC Montgomery, Jillian Mueller, Paul Pilcz, Daniel Quadrino, Emma Rowley, Tim Shew, Kevin Shotwell, Allison Strong, Jim Walton, Brynn Williams, and Branch Woodman.

On the creative team are Andrew Jackness (set design), Gregg Barnes (costume design), Ken Billington (lighting design), Tom Clark/Acme Sound (sound design), Howard Werner (projection design), David Holcenberg (musical direction), Howard Joines (musical coordination), David Brian Brown (hair  and wig design), Jonathan Tunick (orchestrations) and David Chase (music supervision).

The musical, with a book by Michael Stewart, music by Charles Strouse and lyrics by Lee Adams, took home four Tony Awards in its initial run on Broadway, including that for Best Musical, Best Featured Actor in a Musical, Best Choreography and Best Direction of a Musical.

With all the buzz this show has already generated, it looks like it may nab a few more in its return to the Great White Way!

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Complete Bye Bye Birdie Cast Announced

Fragments of casting announcements had been leaking out, but now the casting for the Robert Longbottom-directed revival of Bye Bye Birdie is complete. Here it is:

Nolan Gerard Funk as Conrad Birdie
John Stamos (“ER,” Nine) as Albert
Gina Gershon (Boeing-Boeing) as Rosie
Bill Irwin (Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?) as Harry MacAfee
Dee Hoty (Will Rogers Follies) as Mrs. MacAfee
Jayne Houdyshell (Well) as Mae
Allie Trimm (13) as Kim MacAfee
Matt Doyle (Spring Awakening) as Hugo Peabody
Molly Ephraim (Fiddler on the Roof) as Ursula Merkle
Jake Evan Schwencke as Randolph MacAfee

The rest of the cast includes Deanna Cipolla, Paula Leggett Chase, Riley Costello, John Treacy Egan, Colleen Fitzpatrick, Todd Gearhart, Patty Goble, Suzanne Grodner, Robert Hager, Nina Hennessey, Natalie Hill, Julia Knitel, Jess Le Protto, David McDonald, Jillian Mueller, Paul Pilcz, Daniel Quadrino, Devin Richards, Emma Rowley, Tim Shew, Kevin Shotwell, Alison Strong, Jim Walton, Brynn Williams and Branch Woodman.

The show will be directed and choreographed by Robert Longbottom (Side Show), with a book by Michael Stewart, music by Charles Strouse and lyrics by Lee Adams. Bye Bye Birdie‘s design team includes Andrew Jackness (scenic design), Gregg Barnes (costume design), Ken Billington (lighting design), Acme Sound (sound design) and David Chase (music supervisor).

Birdie will be the first show to open at the new Henry Miller’s Theatre (124 West 43rd St) on Oct. 15 and run through Jan. 10, 2010.

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