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 Michelle Williams

The Reviews for Cabaret are In…

cabaret

Cabaret has opened in Studio 54, and while the decadent, pre-World War II, night club musical is enjoyed highly by all, most critics needed to pinch themselves to make sure they hadn’t traveled back in time to 1998.  The Roundabout Theater Company production that won such praise the first time around is back and almost entirely unchanged — if you missed it in then, now is your chance to see what all the fuss is/was about!  Alan Cumming returns to play the Emcee, a role for which he won a Tony in 1998, and his performance is every bit as delicious this go around.  Other highlights include the awesome onstage band and the 360-degree design of the Kit Kat Klub setting.  If you didn’t see this production over a decade ago, head to Studio 54. Even if you did see this production over a decade ago, head to Studio 54 — ten years is a long time and you could always use more Cabaret.

NEW YORK TIMES

“Hot diggity dachshund, it’s old home week on the campus at Weimar Berlin, otherwise known as the Kit Kat Klub. And if we take off our glasses and squint, we can pretend that life is just as divinely, dangerously decadent as it was when we were all 16 years younger. Why, here’s that adorably creepy M.C., a little softer around the jaw, maybe (aren’t we all?), but still such a cutup. Look at him pretending to have sex with the school slut. (Or one of them; there were so many.) And isn’t that Sally Bowles over there in the pink boa? Looking good, Sal; love the platinum bob. But why so uptight? Don’t forget what you always said: “Life is … .” Uh, what was it you said again? A little more than 16 years after it first opened, and only a decade after it closed, it feels as if the popular Roundabout Theater Company production of Cabaret never left Studio 54, where it reopened on Thursday night.”

Read the Full Review

TIME OUT NEW YORK

Cabaret is on Broadway again: Willkommen home, you magnificent beast. Originally staged in 1966, then brought to a sordid cinematic life in Bob Fosse’s (heavily adapted) 1972 film, the Kander and Ebb classic was revived and reconfigured anew in Roundabout Theatre Company’s triumphant 1998 account. Now that version has returned with its original star: the supreme Alan Cumming as the Emcee of the Kit Kat Klub, a decadent nightclub in Berlin’s Weimar period. Why so soon? A better question might be: Why not? This Cabaret is a superb production of one of the great Broadway musicals of all time—an exhilarating, harrowing masterpiece.”

Read the Full Review

NBC NEW YORK

“Theatergoers walking into Studio 54 for the now-opened revival of Cabaret might be struck with a case of déjà vu. That’s because the Roundabout Theatre Company has produced an exact restaging of Sam Mendes and Rob Marshall’s 1998 Tony-winning production. From the Playbill cover design to the fringe on the lamps of the tables of the Kit Kat Klub, you’ll feel as if you’ve stepped into a time machine. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. There’s a reason the ‘98 revival was such a big hit, after all. Mendes and Marshall had reimagined John Kander and Fred Ebb’s classic musical, stripping away any glitz and glamor leftover from the 1972 film. Together with book writer Joe Masteroff, they gave us a dark, gritty take on Cabaret that amped up the asexual undertones in John Van Druten’s original play and Christopher Isherwood’s stories, forcing us to see the material in a whole new light.”

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VARIETY

“Alan Cumming must have sold his soul to the devil to acquire his divinely debauched persona as the Emcee of the Kit Kat Klub in Cabaret. It seemed nuts, but proved shrewd of Sam Mendes and Rob Marshall to retool their dazzling 1998 revival of the Kander and Ebb masterpiece, fit Cumming with a new trenchcoat for his triumphant return, and bring the decadent netherworld of 1920s Berlin back to Studio 54, the revival’s ideal venue. Inspiration flagged, however, in casting Michelle Williams, so soft and vulnerable in My Week With Marilyn, as wild and reckless party girl Sally Bowles. Smoking is verboten at Studio 54. The wait staff is not as scantily clad as the louche boys and girls at the Kit Kat Klub. The patrons aren’t even doing lines on the tables. But other aspects of this infamous club’s setting — the glitzy design of the house, the cabaret seating and drinks service, and the superb audio system for the fantastic onstage band — contribute to the show’s illusion that going out clubbing can still mean living dangerously.”

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ASSOCIATED PRESS

“Barely sneaking in under the Tony Award nomination deadline this season is a dear old friend to Broadway, the decadent Cabaret. The only appropriate salutation is: willkommen. Not a revival so much as a revival of a revival, this Cabaret — again produced by the Roundabout Theatre Company — opened Thursday night, with only hours to spare before its eligibility expired. Whatever it’s called, it’s as thrilling as ever, a marvel of staging that hasn’t lost its punch. If it looks a lot like the version that ran from 1998-2004, that’s understandable: Alan Cumming is back in his Tony Award-winning role as Emcee and director Sam Mendes and co-director and choreographer Rob Marshall are again pulling the strings on this show about life in pre-World War II Berlin. Orchestrations and costumes — what little there are — also are the same.”

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HUFFINGTON POST

“Sometimes the melancholy metaphor that claims “You can’t go home again” comes to mind unexpectedly. I’m sorry to say it has too recently occurred to me. It happened at the Studio 54 revival of the 1998 Cabaret so beautifully engineered then by Sam Mendes, Rob Marshall and Cynthia Onrubia. That’s the one that introduced the extraordinary Alan Cumming (also currently Eli Gold on The Good Wife) to Broadway. Let me quickly specify that Cumming, repeating the role that brought him a Tony 16 years ago, is every juicy leer as good now as he was then in his role of the deliciously decadent compere at the Third Reich’s Kit Kat Klub in Berlin, where, we’re assured, life is beautiful and the girls are beautiful. A decade and a half later, he uses the intervening years to supply the slinky fellow with a hint of the weariness that descends after cajoling too many patrons to cheer up over too many cheerless nights.”

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A Big Broadway News Roundup

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

La Cage Aux Folles

Our Twitter and Facebook followers have had mixed opinions about it. What do you think?

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:

Casting changes

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.

Wicked

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.

Chicago

Former Destiny’s Child member Michelle Williams (Aida) will replace Ashlee Simpson as Roxie Hart in Broadway’s Chicago beginning February 8.

South Pacific

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.

Coming soon…

Zorba

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).

Monsoon Wedding

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?

Delays…

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.


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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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