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 Priscilla Queen Of The Desert The Musical

Closings, castings, previews and the chance to become a producer

There’s been lots of news this last week. Here are the big items:

Closing Soon

West Side Story and Promises, Promises have just announced that they will close on Broadway on January 2, after playing 748 and 291 performances, respectively. West Side Story has had quite the run – an admirable revival that played to positive reviews and celebrated great attendance throughout. Promises, Promises, which opened to very poor reviews, ended up pulling in many more patrons than anyone thought after Sean Penn’s Tony Award appearance (and on-screen heterosexual kiss with his co-star, Kristin Chenoweth). The closing comes soon after announcements that Kate Finneran, who received much critical acclaim and a Tony Award for her performance in the show, would be departing the production.

Fela! will also be closing its doors on January 2, after a bit of celebrity casting in the role of Fela’s mother, Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti. Pop star Patti LaBelle has stepped into the role created by Lillias White and will continue until the show’s final performance in January.

Casting Announcements

Elf has now been fully cast and will star Sebastian Arcelus (Jersey Boys, Wicked, Rent) opposite Amy Spanger (Rock of Ages, The Wedding Singer) alongside an ensemble of big name stars, including: Beth Leavel (The Drowsy Chaperone, Mamma Mia!), Mark Jacoby (Sweeney Todd, Show Boat), George Wendt (“Cheers,” Hairspray), Matthew Gumley (Addams Family), Valerie Wright (Steel Pier), Michael McCormick (Curtains) and Michael Mandell (Big River).

The biggest casting excitement is over that of the star-studded Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, which includes the likes of de’Adre Aziza, Laura Benanti, Danny Burstein, Nikka Graff Lanzarone, Patti LuPone, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Mary Beth Peil, Sherie Rene Scott and now Justin Guarini. If star power is worth anything, this show will bring in the crowds. Whether they’ll recoup with the size of the checks they’ve got to be writing for this cast is another question altogether…

As to casting changes, American Idol winner Jordan Sparks has joined the cast of In the Heights and gave a stunning rendition of “Breathe” at this year’s Broadway on Broadway. Constantine Maroulis left Broadway’s Rock of Ages to tour with the production, and has been replaced with Broadway newcomer Joey Taranto. Ryan Jesse will be stepping into the role Sebastian Arcelus is vacating in Jersey Boys on October 12, but most everyone else appears to be staying put.

Show Previews

Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, Elf and Priscilla Queen of the Desert all had premiere performances this last week, the first on Good Morning America and the other two at this year’s Broadway on Broadway. Check out the songs below. What do you think?

Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark

Elf

Priscilla: Queen of the Desert

Become a Producer

And then there’s a new category of news – Ken Davenport is producing Godspell on Broadway and is inviting anyone with $1,000 to help him do so. It’s what he’s calling “the first ever community produced Broadway musical.” Shares are available at $100 a pop, with a minimum purchase of 10. For more information or to become a producer, go to www.peopleofgodspell.com.

An Exciting New Season Begins!


I hope you all had a wonderful summer. I escaped to Maine and I’m afraid summer-stock ate up all of my free time, so that (and the lack of any real exciting Broadway news) has keep the blog pretty quiet this summer. But never-fear, I’m back again and vow to maintain a more consistent posting schedule this Broadway season.

We’ve got some gems opening in the next year, lots of movie adaptations, Off-Broadway transfers and a couple infamous big-spenders who’ll soon be making splashes. Here’s the line-up:

  • Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson – October 13
  • The Scottsboro Boys – October 31
  • Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown – November 4
  • The Pee-Wee Herman Show – November 11
  • Elf – November 14
  • Zorba – Fall 2011
  • Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark – Dec 21
  • How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying – March 27
  • The Book of Mormon – March 2011
  • Priscilla, Queen of the Desert – March 2011
  • Anything Goes – April 7
  • Wonderland – April 17
  • Phantom: Love Never Dies – April 2011
  • Sister Act – April 2011
  • Catch Me If You Can – Spring 2011
  • Unchain My Heart – Spring 2011

I’ll be tweeting live from Broadway on Broadway, where a couple new shows will be performing for the first time alongside many of the long-running hits.

There’s a lot of star power behind a lot of these shows, but unlike last season, it appears (for the most part) to be homegrown Broadway talent, rather than Hollywood ringers – exciting news for those who got up-in-arms around Tony Award time last year.

What are you most excited about in this upcoming season?

I’ll be back next week with an update about cast changes and announcements.

A preview of the musicals opening next season on Broadway

As the 2009-2010 Broadway season has officially come to an end, I thought it timely to look forward to the shows on the docket for next season. There are a lot of movie to stage productions, couple of TV to stage productions, some Off-Broadway transfers, some revivals, a new jukebox musical and the messes that are Spider-Man and Love Never Dies. Last year sales went up slightly but audience attendance went down for the 4th year in a row. Will this next season get more “butts in seats”? Here’s hoping!

The Pee-Wee Herman Show – Opening October 26

Paul Reubens brings his iconic character Pee-Wee Herman to the stage in a show featuring the good ol’ Playhouse gang. The show premiered in Los Angeles earlier this year – attracting a die-hard cult fan-base who had nothing but good things to say about the show. It’s now headed to the Great White Way for six-week limited run at the newly christened Stephen Sondheim Theatre. Critics who saw it in LA named it a “phantasmagorical visual treat” and a “trip down memory lane;” hopefully it can retain its whimsical charm on a bigger scale.


The Scottsboro Boys – Opening October 31

After a successful Off-Broadway run, this new Kander and Ebb musical about the Scottsboro case that helped to ignite the civil rights movement is headed to Broadway after a brief fix-up at the Guthrie Theatre in Minneapolis, MN. Using a minstrel show treatment, critics found the Off-Broadway show thought-provoking and shattering (in a good way), with just a few kinks to work out. Hopefully they’ll make better fixes than American Idiot (which cut away at the poor book rather than adding more substance to it), before it makes its way to the Lyceum Theatre.


Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown – Opening October 2010

A stage musical based on the Spanish film of the same name is headed to Broadway this fall, starring Jessica Biel and possibly Salma Hayek, Matthew Morrison and Paulo Szot (who all participated in a reading). Some are skeptical about the casting, but then again, we’ve been surprised by more than one Hollywood starlet in recent years (just look at this year’s Tony nominees). The production will be directed by Bartlett Sher at the Belasco Theatre.


Unchain My Heart – Opening November 7

With a book by Pulitzer Prize winner Suzan-Lori Parks (Topdog/Underdog, The Book of Grace) and direction by Sheldon Epps, this musical biography of Ray Charles is opening this fall at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre and hoping to cash in on the recent success of jukebox musicals like Jersey Boys, Million Dollar Quartet and Mamma Mia. The show will star will star Brandon Victor Dixon, Nikki Renée Daniels, Harrison White and Tasha Taylor.


Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark – Opening November 2011

Now having spent nearly 50 million dollars, the Julie Taymor-directed musical with music and lyrics by Bono and the Edge is finally supposed to open at the Hilton Theatre in the fall. Reeve Carney is the only member of the original cast to remain. Patrick Page (How the Grinch Stole Christmas) has been offered the role of the Green Goblin, but they are still looking for a replacement for Evan Rachel Wood’s character. Will it ever actually open? For the sake of their investors, I sure hope so.


The Book of Mormon – Opening March 2011

The creators of Avenue Q have teamed up with those of South Park to bring a musical about Mormonism to the Great White Way. When they made their movie-musical “South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut,” many, including Stephen Sondheim, called it one of the best musicals of the past 15 years. The plot may seem a bit odd, but with those names on board, we can safely say we’re in for a fun show…


Priscilla, Queen of the Desert – Opening March 2011

Based on the movie of the same name, this musical, which has had great success on the West End, is now headed to Toronto and then making its way to Broadway. Simon Phillips will direct the show, which has a book by Stephan Elliott (director of the original film) and Allan Scott and will star Will Swenson (Hair) and Tony Sheldon, from the London production. Judging by the success La Cage Aux Folles has found on the Great White Way, campy fun like this may be just what Broadway audiences are looking for.


How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying – Opening Spring 2011

Daniel Ratcliff (Harry Potter) is headed back to Broadway, where he successfully played Alan Strang in Equus last year. This time he will be taking on a much lighter (and fully clothed) role – that of Finch in a revival of this fun musical directed by Rob Ashford, (Promises, Promises, Curtains). The original Broadway production starred Robert Morse (whose performance was captured on film in the Hollywood version) and a 1995 revival starred Matthew Broderick. Will Daniel be able to carry a show like this? I can’t be the only one waiting to find out…


Catch Me If You Can – Opening Spring 2011

A new musical based on Steven Spielberg’s film about young con artist Frank Abagnale, Jr. will be directed by Jack O’Brien, with choreography by Jerry Mitchell, a book by Terrence McNally and a score by Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman. Aaron Tveit (Next to Normal) and Norbert Leo Butz (Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Wicked) starred in the Seattle mounting of the show and are expected to appear in the Broadway version, though no official casting has yet been announced. Critics in Seattle were a bit negative, so a lot of work will need to go into sprucing up the production.


Phantom: Love Never Dies – Opening TBA

Originally planned for a November opening, Andrew Lloyd Webber‘s doctor has caused producers to move the opening to the Spring. Jack O’Brien and Jerry Mitchell were originally on board to mount the production, but by spring will be busy with Catch Me If You Can, so the production team is now up in the air. The musical opened on the West End to mixed reviews, so the delay might be a good thing, allowing them more time to make fixes before heading to New York.


Zorba – Opening Fall 2011

The Scottsboro Boys isn’t the only Kander and Ebb musical headed to the Great White Way next season – a revival of Zorba is also hitting Broadway. Starring another big Hollywood name, Antonio Banderas, the production will be directed by David Leveaux (Nine, Fiddler on the Roof). When these two last collaborated in Nine, critics and audiences ate it up. Hopefully they’ll find that same magic in this show.


Yank! – Opening TBA

Yank!, another Off-Broadway hit dealing with the military’s Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy, will be making a Broadway transfer. The Off-Broadway production, directed by Igor Goldin, starred Bobby Steggert (Ragtime) and Ivan Hernandez (The Fantasticks), but no official director, cast or production team has been announced for the Broadway mounting. The producers were inspired to bring it to Broadway by “the success of other non-traditional musicals” like Next to Normal, Avenue Q and Spring Awakening and thank goodness.


Godspell – Opening TBA

Finally, producer Ken Davenport (Altar Boyz) has announced plans to try to bring the Stephen Schwartz (Wicked, Pippin) musical, Godspell to Broadway. The revival will be helmed by Daniel Goldstein, who directed the Paper Mill Playhouse production in 2006. No casting has yet been announced.

April News Roundup

An awful lot has happened this month on the Great White Way – numerous shows have opened, squeezing in just in time for award consideration, and there’s been lots of exciting announcements and good old controversy. If you’ve been hiding under a rock, here’s what you’ve missed:

The Addams Family opened to dismal reviews, while the critics ate up the La Cage Aux Folles revival and had mixed things to say about American Idiot, Million Dollar Quartet, Sondheim on Sondheim and Promises, Promises.

Everyday Rapture, the last minute Sherie Rene Scott showcase, opens tomorrow night and released a very fun cast recording pre-opening. The buzz so far is that those who love the woman will adore the production, while others may be left scratching their heads. We’ll see what the critics have to say tomorrow.

There’s quite a break before the next round of shows look to make their way to Broadway. The big official announcements are that Catch Me If You Can, which had an out-of-town-tryout last year in Seattle, is looking at a spring 2011 Broadway opening. However, Jack O’Brien and Jerry Mitchell, who were involved in the Seattle mounting are already tied up in Phantom: Love Never Dies, which was pushed back to the spring in response to Andrew Lloyd Webber’s health problems, so everyone’s wondering which production they’ll stick with.

The other exciting spring openings are How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, which will feature Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe, The Book of Mormon, from South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone and Avenue Q composer and co-creator Robert Lopez and the Australian/West End transfer of Priscilla, Queen Of The Desert, whose producers are reportedly talking to Matthew Cavanaugh (West Side Story) and Will Swenson (Hair) about joining Tony Sheldon in the production.

The doomed Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark ran into another hiccup, when it’s only remaining headliner, Alan Cumming, bailed on the production. Originally slotted to open in the fall of last year, then in February of this year, the show now has no official start date or stars, save for the newcomer, Reeve Carney, who Taymor selected to play Spidey…

Plenty of rumors have popped up this month too. Rumor is that Gwyneth Paltrow and her mother Blythe Danner may be taking over for Catherine Zeta Jones and Angela Lansbury in A Little Night Music, when they depart the production in June. And Disney acquired the domain names DumboOnBroadway.com and NewsiesOnBroadway.com. The Post already told us about a potential Dumbo mounting on Broadway, but the Newsies purchase has sparked some positive buzz among our Twitter and Facebook followers.

Another adaptation of film to the stage is officially in the works – as producer Matt Murphy has acquired the stage rights for a musical adaptation of Dances With Wolves. Murphy, who is pulling together a creative team now, is looking to team the composer “with a Native American musical expert to lend authenticity to the score.” And the NFL has invested in their first Broadway show, Lombardi, which will star Dan Lauria (“The Wonder Years”) and is slated to open at Circle in the Square on Oct. 21, 2010.

The biggest controversy this month was that Next to Normal took home the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, even though it was not among the nominees. The board members are reputed to have attended the show the night before making their decision and Charles McNulty of the Los Angeles Times cried foul while others sat wondering “what’s with all the N2N hate?” The show did just recoup its investment – a very exciting achievement that many hope will help producers see they don’t have to rely on Hollywood stars and spectacle to make a success – a good show will get “butts in seats.”

In other award news, nominees for the Outer Critics Circle Awards and Drama League Awards have been announced. The Drama Desk nominees will be out on May 3rd and the Tony Award nominees on May 4th. Here’s when all of the award ceremonies will take place:

Drama League Awards: May 21, 2010
Drama Desk Awards: May 23, 2010
Outer Critics Circle Awards: May 27, 2010
Theatre World Awards: June 8, 2010
Tony Awards: June 13, 2010

Cast albums are out for Everyday Rapture, American Idiot and A Little Night Music and The Addams Family, Fela! and Memphis all recently went into the studio to record their own. The Off-Broadway (and suspected soon-to-transfer-to-Broadway) production of The Scottsboro Boys also ducked into the studio to record an album.

In casting news, Brian d’Arcy James, who originated the role of Dan in Next to Normal‘s original Off-Broadway run, will be rejoining the cast, this time on Broadway.  J. Robert Spencer leaves the show on May 16 and James will start his run in the show the following day.

And the final bit of excitement I’ll leave with you is official confirmation that shooting for the In the Heights movie, directed by Kenny Ortega and starring Lin-Manuel Miranda,  begins this August.

2010 Olivier Award Nominations and Winners

The West End’s Olivier Awards nominations are out and lots of trans-Pacific transfers are on the list, including the Broadway transfer of Spring Awakening, now on the West End, and the West-End transfers of A Little Night Music and Billy Elliot, now on Broadway.

The official awards ceremony took place on March 21. Here are the categories that include musicals (winners are marked with a winner):

BEST MUSICAL REVIVAL

winnerHELLO DOLLY!
ANNIE GET YOUR GUN

A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC
OLIVER!

BEST NEW MUSICAL

winnerSPRING AWAKENING
DREAMBOATS AND PETTICOATS
PRISCILLA QUEEN OF THE DESERT THE MUSICAL
SISTER ACT

BEST ACTRESS IN A MUSICAL OR ENTERTAINMENT

winnerSamantha Spiro, HELLO DOLLY!
Melanie C, BLOOD BROTHERS
Patina Miller, SISTER ACT
Hannah Waddingham, A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC
Charlotte Wakefield, SPRING AWAKENING

BEST ACTOR IN A MUSICAL OR ENTERTAINMENT

winnerAneurin Barnard, SPRING AWAKENING
Rowan Atkinson, OLIVER!
Bob Golding, MORECAMBE
Alexander Hanson, A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC
Tony Sheldon, PRISCILLA QUEEN OF THE DESERT THE MUSICAL

BEST SUPPORTING PERFORMANCE IN A MUSICAL OR ENTERTAINMENT

winnerIwan Rheon, SPRING AWAKENING
Sheila Hancock, SISTER ACT
Maureen Lipman, A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC
Kelly Price, A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC

BEST THEATRE CHOREOGRAPHER

winnerStephen Mear, HELLY DOLLY!
Matthew Bourne, OLIVER!
Bill T Jones, SPRING AWAKENING
Anthony Van Laast, SISTER ACT

BEST LIGHTING DESIGN

winnerBURNT BY THE SUN, Mark Henderson
ENRON, Mark Henderson
SPRING AWAKENING, Kevin Adams
THREE DAYS OF RAIN, Jon Clark

BEST COSTUME DESIGN

winnerPRISCILLA, QUEEN OF THE DESERT- THE MUSICAL, Tim Chappel and Lizzy Gardiner
HELLO DOLLY!
, Peter McKintosh
MADAME DE SADE, Christopher Oram
THE MISANTHROPE, Amy Roberts

BEST SOUND DESIGN

winnerSPRING AWAKENING, Brian Ronan
EVERY GOOD BOY DESERVES FAVOUR, Christopher Shutt
JERUSALEM, Ian Dickinson
MOTHER COURAGE AND HER CHILDREN, Andrew Bruce and Nick Lidster

THE AUDIENCE AWARD FOR MOST POPULAR SHOW

winnerWICKED
BILLY ELLIOT

THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
WAR HORSE
WE WILL ROCK YOU

Priscilla Queen Of The Desert The Musical is headed for Broadway

The Palace Theatre’s production of Priscilla Queen Of The Desert The Musical, written by Stephan Elliott and Allan Scott, is apparently headed to Broadway on March 6, 2011.

Based on the movie of the same name, this is the story of three drag queens who hop aboard a bus named Priscilla with some fantastic dresses and have a gay old time (come on, you liked the pun!).

No theater or casting has yet been announced.

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