Archive for La Cage aux Folles
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 Off-Broadway Musical
Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson
The Scottsboro Boys
Tin Pan Alley Rag
Outstanding New Score (Broadway or Off-Broadway)
Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson
The Scottsboro Boys
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 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
The 2010 Drama League nominees have been announced. Chosen by a group of theater professionals and patrons, these include both On and Off-Broadway New York productions. Winners will be announced on May 21. Without further ado, here are the musical theater nominees:
Distinguished Production of a Musical
Distinguished Revival of a Musical
Distinguished Performance Award
Barbara Cook, Sondheim on Sondheim
Brandon Victor Dixon, The Scottsboro Boys
Katie Finneran, Promises, Promises
John Gallagher Jr., American Idiot
Montego Glover, Memphis
Kelsey Grammer, La Cage aux Folles
Lance Guest, Million Dollar Quartet
Dean Hayes, Promises, Promises
The Ensemble of Brief Encounter
Douglas Hodge, La Cage aux Folles
Levi Kreis, Million Dollar Quartet
Nathan Lane, The Addams Family
Angela Lansbury, A Little Night Music
Jim Norton, Finian’s Rainbow
Karine Plantadit, Come Fly Away
Bobby Steggert, Ragtime, Yank!
Tony Vincent, American Idiot
Benjamin Walker, Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson
Vanessa Williams, Sondheim on Sondheim
Catherine Zeta-Jones, A Little Night Music
Distinguished Achievement in Musical Theatre
The verdict is unanimous: This scaled-down mounting of La Cage Aux Folles, a transfer from London’s Mernier Chocolate Factory, is a lovely, fun and nuanced take on the campy original. Doglass Hodge lived up to all expectations – blowing away every reviewer, particularly in his performance of “I Am What I Am” – and Kelsey Grammer exceeded what had been expected from him – using his voice (which is far better than anyone had supposed) and subtlety to balance Hodge’s (appropriately) over-the-top performance. And the two stars are backed up by a solid ensemble and hilarious supporting cast. As one reviewer said, this show leaves you feeling that “the best of times IS now.”
New York Times
“The ladies of the chorus from “La Cage aux Folles” have never looked more appealing than they do in the warm, winning production that opened Sunday night at the Longacre Theater… This deliberately disheveled show…is a far cry from the high-gloss original production of 1983 or the glamorous, soulless revival that opened less than six years ago… That’s partly because of the stylish yin and yang of its stars… Mr. Hodge, who originated the part [of Albin] in the London revival, brings a fluttery hyperintensity to the role that recharges it… You don’t realize how much pain and anger have gone into this self-construction until you hear him do “I Am What I Am,” the show’s signature anthem, at the end of the first act. Mr. Hodge breathes fire here, his hitherto scratchy, campy voice growing into a white-hot blaze. It is — and who’d a thunk it? — the most electric interpretation of a song on Broadway right now. Mr. Grammer provides the ideal counterpoint to this hysterical creature, in a cool, modest performance that has its own sneaky charm. That his singing voice is correspondingly quiet, with no muscle-flexing baritone bravado, makes Georges’s over-ripe sentimental ballads (“Look Over There,” “Song on the Sand”) palatable and even touching in their unaffected sincerity.” Read the full La Cage Aux Folles review.
“[Douglas Hodge] is giving the most exuberant musical-comedy performance of the season. Hodge is the primary reason this riotously funny and, yes, emotionally affecting revival of the Jerry Herman-Harvey Fierstein musical has returned to Broadway only five years after its last New York appearance. Yet there is more to the show than Hodge’s star-making performance. “La Cage,” which opened Sunday at Broadway’s Longacre Theatre, has been imaginatively reconceived by director Terry Johnson… Grammer has a surprisingly sturdy singing voice and an ingratiating stage manner, just right for the calm — well, relatively calm — voice of reason in the chorus of quirky, high-spirited characters who populate Fierstein’s plot of filial devotion.” Read the full La Cage Aux Folles review.
“Why bring back “La Cage aux Folles” — a major hit musical of the 1983-84 Broadway season, but certainly not a classic like “Gypsy” or “Fiddler on the Roof” — only five years after its first Broadway revival? Especially when that 2004-05 stint proved a tired and unnecessary affair, suggesting that the original production (with its six Tony Awards) was stronger than the material. The producers of this new edition, which premiered at London’s Menier Chocolate Factory in 2007, have a convincing answer: It’s funny, heartwarming and terrific.” Read the full La Cage Aux Folles review.
“Attending a performance of this La Cage, which opened Sunday at the Longacre Theatre, is a bit like spending an afternoon with an overactive but thoroughly charming child. An import of London’s Menier Chocolate Factory, the production retains one of its original stars: the British trouper Douglas Hodge, who won an Olivier Award for his portrayal of Albi… But if Hodge has some beautifully nuanced moments, he can also milk Zaza’s camp value, and that of the show, to distraction… Fortunately, Grammer settles into a more natural, endearing interpretation, and he and Hodge, for all their winking gestures, capably illustrate the affection and devotion binding this couple. They’re abetted, under Terry Johnson’s giddy direction, by a number of entertaining supporting performances… They all seem to be having a swell time, as will you — so long as you can keep up with them.” Read the full La Cage Aux Folles review.
“The show, newly revived on Broadway under the thoughtful direction of Terry Johnson, proves to be surprisingly sturdy… Hodge is practically perfect as the fey Albin, a tricky role in which an actor could easily slip into caricature or sentimentality. Hodge manages a careful balance, delivering a performance that is both hilarious and heartfelt; his character is admittedly over the top, but he always feels real. As his partner, the La Cage manager Georges, Kelsey Grammer proves to be an equal partner in carrying the show… Hodge and Grammer provide a solid grounding for the show, but the rest of the cast offers all the flourishes you’d expect from a show rooted in drag performance.” Read the full La Cage Aux Folles review.
“The chorus of six long-limbed drag queens in the latest Broadway revival of Jerry Herman’s “La Cage aux Folles” is half that of two earlier outings… Yet unlike the shrunken revivals of other big Broadway musicals, this one makes sense. Terry Johnson’s smart, tight, rough-edged and slightly tacky production gets closer to the sort of scene one might actually find in a transvestite club on the French Riviera… The box-office draw is Kelsey Grammer, of TV’s “Frasier,” as Georges, the soigne master of ceremonies. The main reason for seeing the show is Douglas Hodge as Albin, the aging headliner and Georges’s partner of 20 years.” Read the full La Cage Aux Folles review.
All About Me – March 18
This Dame Edna and Michael Feinstein spectacle got a lot of buzz when the two stars originally claimed to be mounting similarly titled solo shows, but since then buzz about the show has died down. Written by Christopher Durang and directed by Casey Nicholaw, the show seems to be testing what happens when you put four big personalities in a room together. Having seen each of their creations in the past, hopes are high that together they’ll pull off something wonderfully fun.
Come Fly Away – March 25
There’s been next to no buzz about Twyla Tharp’s Frank Sinatra inspired musical, which will feature a lot of dancing and a 19-piece band. Burn the Floor, which just closed on Broadway, proved that there is an audience for ballroom dance, and Mamma Mia has shown that audiences love a good jukebox musical, so maybe it’ll work; it’ll either flop hard and fast, or go on to become the next Contact. Let’s hope its the latter.
The Addams Family – April 8
Featuring Broadway vets Nathan Lane and Bebe Neuwirth, writers of this new show penned an original storyline, rather than attempting to adapt the movie or TV show – a very smart move considering the limited successes of some recent adaptations. The musical will likely need to enjoy a long run in order to recoup its investment and from what they’ve shown so far – it looks like they may have a shot.
Million Dollar Quartet – April 11
This Chicago transfer is hoping to capitalize on the jukebox musical phenomenon. Starring the four Broadway newcomers who originated their roles in Chicago, this musical tells the tale of a jam session that included Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins. Audiences and critics in Chicago adored this production largely due to the performances of the four leads – so Broadway theater-goers can count themselves lucky that producers are willing to take a risk on four unknowns.
La Cage Aux Folles – April 18
Douglas Hodge will recreate his Oliver Award-winning performance in this UK transfer alongside Kelsey Grammer. Many were startled to see the show is returning to Broadway so soon (the last production of La Cage aux Folles closed in June of 2005), but the Mernier Chocolate Factory has only sent over great productions in the past, so there’s little doubt this will be anything but a wonderful treat.
American Idiot – April 20
After playing to packed houses in Berkley, this show, created by a phenomenal production team of Broadway big hitters, has developed a devoted following and earned a reputation for being something entirely new. With music from the Grammy Award-winning album, a fantastic, youthful cast and an audience among the Next to Normal and Spring Awakening crowd, this show has only to live up to half of the hype to become a success.
Sondheim on Sondheim – April 22
A collection of fantastic actors (Barbara Cook, Vanessa Williams, Michael ARden, Leslie Kritzer and more) will be singing some of Sondheim’s best songs in this tribute to the man. Yes, Sondheim has had lots of musical reviews over the years, but this one may be worth it – if only to see some of these performers live again.
Promises, Promises – April 25
Finally Kristin Chenoweth is making her way back to Broadway! Joining her is another star of the small screen, Sean Hayes. This show isn’t likely to change the course of musical theater, but it is nice to know there will be some lighthearted old-fashioned fare on Broadway.
The West End transfer of La Cage Aux Folles, which opens April 18 at the Longacre Theater, previously announced its headliners Kelsey Grammer and Douglas Hodge.
Today, producers have added some additional names to the cast list, including: Tony Award nominees Veanne Cox (Company) and Robin de Jesus (In the Heights), Christine Andreas (Oklahoma!), A.J. Shively, Elena Shaddow (Nine), Chris Hoch (Shrek), Heather Lindell (Hairspray), Bill Nolte (The Secret Garden, Joseph, 1776), David Nathan Perlow, and Nick Adams (Guys and Dolls, A Chorus Line).
You’ve seen the artwork. How do you think the show is going to be received by theater-goers?
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.
A lot has been happening on Broadway these last few weeks. Here are the biggest of the announcements:
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
According to the New York Post, Tony Award winner Mandy Patinkin (Evita, Sunday in the Park with George, The Wild Party, The Secret Garden, Falsettos) is looking to take on the role of Georges in the transfer of La Cage Aux Folles.
Harvey Fierstein, who wrote the book for the musical, said of casting the role: “I can think of 20 people who could play Georges, and Mandy is right at the top of that list. First of all, he’ll sing those songs beautifully. Second, he’s a great actor. And third, I know how much he values his family, and that is what La Cage is really about—family.”
Casting is still unofficial … but we can only hope Mandy will be returning to the Great White Way!
The Olivier award winning London revival of La Cage aux Folles just announced plans to transfer to Broadway this spring. The production was created by the same company (The Mernier Chocolate Factory) that brought Sunday in the Park with George to Broadway in 2008.
The production’s original director (Terry Johnson) and choreographer (Lynn Page) will transfer with the production, as will Douglas Hodge, the actor who took home the Olivier award for Best Actor for his portrayal of Albin. La Cage aux Folles is based on the Jean Poiret play of the same name and features music and lyrics by Jerry Herman and a book by Harvey Fierstein.
The original production opened in 1983 and took home six Tony Awards, including Best Musical, and the 2004 Broadway mounting took home the Tony for Best Revival.
What do you think?