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 John Stamos

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.

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 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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Catch your favorite Broadway stars on TV

Lots of Broadway stars are making television appearances this week:

John Stamos (Bye Bye Birdie, Cabaret, Nine) will appear on ABC’s “Good Morning America” on September 29.

Kristin Chenoweth (The Apple Tree, Wicked, You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown) will appear on the “Late Show with David Letterman” on Thursday September 24.

New Yorkers can catch Constantine Maroulis (Rock of Ages, The Wedding Singer) at 5pm on WNBC.

Did you miss the recent Broadway cast appearances on television? Streaming video to the rescue…

The cast of Broadway’s The Lion King performing on Dancing with the Stars yesterday, September 23:

The cast of Chicago’s Jersey Boys performing on Oprah last weekend:


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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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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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