Archive for Glee
A guest blog by Ken Davenport
It’s the time of year for the ol’ look back. What memorable moments have the last 12 months brought us that could help define the next 12 months?
Here are my top 10 Broadway moments for 2010 . . . in no particular order.
1. It’s a bird, it’s a plane! No, it’s actually a performance of Spiderman!
Will it? Won’t it? Everyone in the biz has been asking this question about Spiderman for years. And, well, a new era of musical theatre began when the curtain (finally) went up after the first (long) preview. Obviously, the drama isn’t over yet . . . but come on, 2 years ago when work halted at the Hilton, did you think we’d ever see Spidey on stage?
2. 39 Steps transfers again, but this time, from Broadway to Off.
When one show does it (Avenue Q), some might call it a fluke. When two shows do it, it’s officially a trend. And rumor has it that a third recently shuttered Broadway show is headed for the 499 that 39 Steps is vacating. My prediction? When Chicago finally loses its steam at the Ambassador, it’ll transfer to the Little Shubert and run for another 10 years.
3. Billie Joe Armstrong puts his guitar where his mouth is.
Getting your creative team behind your production is important. But when your creative team is a humongo rock star, it’s essential. Billie Joe stepped into the spotlight when asked and played 8 performances [of American Idiot] and literally stopped traffic on 44th Street in the process. He’s on his way back to the St. James this winter to boost the box office again.
4. Did you see who took that photo?
In a related story, check out this article in the New York Times about the Billie Joe appearance. What’s so memorable about it? Well, the photo was taken by someone in the audience, and the Times used it, which shows you where journalism is headed over the next 10 years. And the audience member who took it? It was Jordan Roth, owner of Jujamcyn Theaters. And that shows you where theater is headed over the next 10 years.
5. Sean Hayes is gay?
Newsweek caused quite a fuss over its article that questioned whether Sean Hayes could convincingly play a heterosexual man [in Promises, Promises]. It got everyone fired up, from his costar Kristin Chenoweth, to Aaron Sorkin, to just about every single poster on All That Chat. Sean got the last word when he hosted the Tonys and did a fantastic job.
6. La Cage Aux Folles is back. Too soon?
Last year’s production of Ragtime had everyone saying that there is a minimum number a years a show needs to be off the boards in order for a revival to work. Then in struts La Cage, less than five years after its last revival, proving to everyone that it’s not always about the . . . timing. It’s about excellence.
7. Scarlett Johansson debuts A View From The Bridge . . . and she’s good!
Alright, alright, I’ve got a soft spot for Scar (as I call her), but after her performance in Bridge and her acceptance speech on Tony night, who didn’t fall in love? Crushes aside, her performance was exactly what we hope for when an A-lister hangs out with us for a while. I guarantee that other Hollywood hotties were saying, “I wanna try that.” And that is good for all of us. Because like it or not, stars have the ability to bring new audiences to the theater.
8. Glee makes singing cool again.
Matt Morrison was on the cover of Details last month. Lea Michele is in US Weekly almost every week. Who knew we’d have some Broadway hotties making a splash out West and serving as singing and dancing role models.
9. One agency goes, and another one comes.
2010 saw the end of the Eliran Murphy Group, an ad agency which serviced the majority of the Off-Broadway shows in town. But it also saw the arrival of a bigger dog on the block. AKA, an advertising force from the UK, arrived on our shores over the summer, and snatched up bunch of high profile players at competing firms. We all knew there was room for another agency in town. But no one knew it would be something with the experience of AKA. Things just got real, yo. With three major players on the street (Serino, Spot and AKA), there’s actually some real competition and a choice for Producers.
10. The NFL puts a play in its playbook.
Who says big business won’t back Broadway? Here comes the NFL, one of the biggest businesses of all, with more eyeballs every Sunday than we could dream about in a year, sponsoring Lombardi. The odds were on Lombardi not making it to the playoffs, but thanks to the NFL, the show looks destined to run past Super Bowl Sunday and beyond.
So I’ve shown you mine, now you show me yours. What were your most memorably moments on or off Broadway in 2010?
Ken Davenport is a Broadway and Off-Broadway producer who helped bring 13 and Altar Boyz to New York and is now working towards mounting a revival of Godspell. For more like this, you can follow his blog at theproducersperspective.com or find him on Twitter or Facebook.
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!
New Musicals and Transfers
The Michael Grandage-directed production of Evita, which opened at London’s Adelphi Theatre in June 2006 is officially heading to Broadway next year. Elena Roger, who starred in the West End production, will repeat her performance in the Broadway remount. Rumor has it that Ricky Martin is in talks to play Che, though this has not been confirmed.
Disney was apparently in talks with Billy Elliot‘s Stephen Daldry to direct a stage adaptation of Dumbo. Though he turned down the job, they’re still on the hunt for a new director for the musical. We can only hope Dumbo will fare better than some of Disney’s recent attempts to adapt their animated films for the stage (ie. The Little Mermaid, Tarzan). No names have yet been attached to this project.
A new jukebox musical called Unchain My Heart will be heading to Broadway on Nov. 7 this year. Featuring the music of Ray Charles and a book by Suzan-Lori Parks, casting for the production has not yet been announced.
The Canadian Press is reporting that Mel Brooks is working on a musical adaptation of his film, Blazing Saddles. Brooks has apparently already written two songs for the show though he’ll be taking his time bringing it to Broadway due to the “lukewarm” reception Young Frankenstein received.
Producer David Shor announced the creative team for the Broadway aimed Sleepless in Seattle – The Musical. Michelle Citrin, Michael Garin and Josh Nelson will serve as composers/lyricists, Jeff Arch (who co-wrote the movie’s screenplay) will be the show’s librettist and Joel Zwick will direct. The musical adaptation is hoping to make a Broadway bow on Valentine’s Day 2011.
News About Shows Opening Soon
Kristin Chenoweth will be singing the song “I Say a Little Prayer” in the revival of Promises, Promises. Though by the show’s composer, Burt Bacharach, the song was not included in the original production. Not exactly sure where they’re gonna put it, but I’m guessing it’s gonna be one of those where the guy behind you starts singing along…
Kelsey Grammer who is returning to Broadway in the role of Georges in La Cage Aux Folles, shared that he will take on the role of Albin six months into the musical’s run. In other casting news, the musical’s producers announced that Fred Applegate (The Producers, Young Frankenstein) will take on the roles of Edouard Dindon and M. Renaud in La Cage Aux Folles.
It may not even fit under this category anymore (though Julie Taymor is adamant that it will open this fall), but the big news is that Evan Rachel Wood, who was to play Mary Jane Watson in Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, has left the production due to “scheduling conflicts.”
Andrew Lloyd Webber’s sequel to Phantom of the Opera, Love Never Dies, opened to mixed reviews in London. The show is likely to undergo changes before heading to the Great White Way, so who knows what it will look like when it comes our way. Anyone here seen it on the West End?
Rumor is that Alice Ripley will be touring with the Next to Normal cast, which is exciting news for those who haven’t been able to make the trip to NYC! As to the Broadway replacement, producers are holding open Equity auditions. Wonder who they’ll find to replace her…
The new tribe for Broadway’s Hair has taken over and the OBC headed to the West End. Led by Diana DeGarmo, Ace Young, and Kyle Riabko, this American-Idol heavy group seems to be just as energetic and excited as their predecessors.
Emily Padgett (Grease, Legally Blonde) has succeeded Tony nominee Kerry Butler as Sherrie in the Broadway production of Rock of Ages. Derek St. Pierre and Katie Webber (Memphis) will join the cast on March 22.
Catherine Zeta-Jones and Angela Lansbury are leaving A Little Night Music on June 20 but the show will run through through Aug 29. It will be interesting to see who ends up stepping in for the last couple of months and if the show will last after its stars’ departure.
Karl Kenzler and Megan Osterhaus joined the Broadway company of Mary Poppins on March 1 in the roles of George Banks and Winifred Banks, succeeding Jeff Binder and Rebecca Luker.
Cast Album and DVD Releases
The cast album for Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Love Never Dies is now out in stores.
And the cast recording for The Addams Family, which opens on Broadway on April 8, will be available in June 2010.
“Glee” – Air dates TBA – Neil Patrick Harris, Idina Menzel
“Ugly Betty” – Wed, Mar 17 – Aaron Tveit and Carol Kane
“The View” – Thur, March 25 – Michael Feinstein and Dame Edna
“The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” – Tues, March 16 – Hugh Jackman
“The Today Show” – Wed, March 17 – Riverdance performance
Next to Normal Looking to Launch a National Tour
Brian Yorkey, the book writer and lyricist for Broadway’s Next to Normal, told Playbill.com, “A tour is in the works. David Stone’s at work putting it together. I think it will launch later this year, in the fall or winter.” In addition to a national tour here in the US, there is also apparently a group working on translating the show for a Scandinavian production.
Chicago Now Broadway’s 6th Longest Running Show
On Jan. 12, the Tony Award-winning revival of John Kander and Fred Ebb’s Chicago played its 5,462nd performance and became the sixth longest-running production in Broadway history, surpassing Beauty and the Beast, which previously held that position.
Finian’s Rainbow Cast Album Available Feb 2
The critically acclaimed revival of Finian’s Rainbow that just closed its doors on Broadway did have the chance to visit a recording studio before the death knells rang – capturing the beautiful voices of Kate Baldwin and Cheyenne Jackson singing some of the best songs in the Broadway musical cannon. Listen to a sample. The album is available for pre-order now.
Hair holding open casting
With nearly all of the original Broadway cast of Hair off to perform in the west-end transfer, producers are looking to cast a new group of Broadway hopefuls. Open auditions will take place from 10 AM-6 PM at the Public Theater on January 21. Actors are asked to prepare 16 bars of an up-tempo pop or rock song (with sheet music), and to bring a headshot and a resume.
Billy Elliot has Recouped its Investment
Producers of the Tony Award-winning Broadway musical Billy Elliot have announced that it has recouped its $18 million investment. The national tour of the show is set to launch in Chicago on March 18.
La Cage Aux Folles Artwork Revealed
An Obama Musical?
Yes. A company in Germany has created a show based on Obama’s rise to the Presidency. The title: HOPE. The video speaks for itself:
In the Heights
Janet Dacal (who originated Carla) and newcomer David Del Rio will be replacing Mandy Gonzalez (the current Nina) and Robin De Jesus (the current Sonny) when they leave Broadway’s In The Heights next month.
Andy Karl (9 to 5, Legally Blonde) will join the Broadway cast of Wicked beginning Feb. 2, succeeding Kevin Kern in the role of Fiyero. Katie Rose Clarke and Jenny Fellner stepped into the roles of Glinda and Nessarose, respectively, on Jan. 14.
Former Destiny’s Child member Michelle Williams (Aida) will replace Ashlee Simpson as Roxie Hart in Broadway’s Chicago beginning February 8.
On January 5, Laura Osnes (Grease, Bonnie & Clyde) returned to Broadway’s South Pacific taking over the role of Nellie Forbush from Kelli O’Hara.
The New York Post is reporting that Antonio Banderas (Nine) will be playing the title role in a Broadway production of the John Kander & Fred Ebb musical Zorba, to be directed by Gary Griffin (The Color Purple) and choreographed by Sergio Trujillo (Jersey Boys).
Mira Nair is working on a stage version of her film Monsoon Wedding hoping to make its Broadway debut a year from now. The show, co-written by Mira Nair and Sabrina Dhawan with music by Vishal Bharadwaj and choreography by Bill T. Jones, will combine circus acrobatics, aerial acting, theatre, music and dance.
Glee – Golden Globe, 2nd Season, Open Casting
The TV show Glee , which has featured show tunes and many Broadway actors, including Matthew Morrison (Hairspray, Light in the Piazza) and Lea Michele (Spring Awakening), took home the Golden Globe Award for Best Television Series (Comedy or Musical) and was picked up for a second season on Fox. Fans will be excited to hear that producers have announced casting for both professionals and amateurs ranging from ages 16-26. Are you enough of a gleek to make the show?
All About Me
Previews for All About Me, the Michael Feinstein and Dame Edna show, will begin Feb. 22, three days later than originally announced.
Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark
Also delayed, not so surprisingly, was Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark. The show, which producers had vehemently assured patrons would begin previews on Feb 25, will now be open sometime in 2010 – no specific dates have yet been announced.
Broadway on TV!
John Tartaglia (Shrek, Avenue Q) will appear on the February 3rd episode of Ugly Betty.
Catherine Zeta-Jones (A Little Night Music) will guest on “The Late Show with David Letterman” on Jan. 22.
Alright, it’s not truly musical theater, but enough Gleeks are musical theater geeks that I thought it worth sharing on the blog here: the DVD for the 1st season of Glee, the fantastic Fox show starring Broadway favorites Matthew Morrison (South Pacific, The Light in the Piazza, Hairspray, The Rocky Horror Show, Footloose) and Lea Michele (Spring Awakening, Fiddler on the Roof, Ragtime, Les Miserables), is now available for pre-order!