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 Scandalous

Cast Album Roundup

There are tons of new Broadway and Off-Broadway cast albums out and/or available for pre-order and we wanted to help round them up for you so you can keep building your ultimate musical theatre collection. Click on the cast album cover to view/purchase it:

pippincd2 anniecd2012 cinderella2013 scandalouscd kinkycd edwincd2 chapcd bringcdnew dogfight giant passion-off nowhere

Which do you have? Which do you love? Which are you most likely to have on repeat for the next couple months/years?

LIVE: Tony Awards Coverage

Screen Shot 2013-06-09 at 4.28.47 PM

It’s our favorite night of the year – the Tony Awards. We loved live updating with you.

All nominees are listed. Winners are bolded and accompanied by a winner.

Congratulations to all the winners!

Until next year!!!

BEST MUSICAL

Bring It On: The Musical
A Christmas Story, The Musical
winnerKinky Boots
Matilda The Musical

BEST PLAY

winnerVanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
The Testament of Mary
Lucky Guy
The Assembled Parties

BEST BOOK OF A MUSICAL

Joseph Robinette, A Christmas Story, The Musical
Harvey Fierstein, Kinky Boots
winnerDennis Kelly, Matilda The Musical
Douglas Carter Beane, Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE (MUSIC AND/OR LYRICS) WRITTEN FOR THE THEATRE

Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, A Christmas Story, The Musical
Trey Anastasio and Amanda Green, Hands on a Hardbody
winnerCyndi Lauper, Kinky Boots
Tim Minchin, Matilda The Musical

BEST REVIVAL OF A PLAY

Golden Boy
Orphans
The Trip to Bountiful
winnerWho’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

BEST REVIVAL OF A MUSICAL

Annie
The Mystery of Edwin Drood
winnerPippin
Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE IN A PLAY

Tom Hanks, Lucky Guy
Nathan Lane, The Nance
winnerTracy Letts, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
David Hyde Pierce, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
Tom Sturridge, Orphans

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE IN A PLAY

Laurie Metcalf, The Other Place
Amy Morton, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
Kristine Nielsen, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
Holland Taylor, Ann
winnerCicely Tyson, The Trip to Bountiful

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE IN A MUSICAL

Bertie Carvel, Matilda: The Musical
Santino Fontana, Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella
Rob McClure, Chaplin
winnerBilly Porter, Kinky Boots
Stark Sands, Kinky Boots

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE IN A MUSICAL

Stephanie J. Block, The Mystery of Edwin Drood
Carolee Carmello, Scandalous
Valisia LeKae, Motown The Musical
winnerPatina Miller, Pippin
Laura Osnes, Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A FEATURED ROLE IN A PLAY

Danny Burstein, Golden Boy
Richard Kind, The Big Knife
Billy Magnussen, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
Tony Shalhoub, Golden Boy
winnerCourtney B. Vance, Lucky Guy

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A FEATURED ROLE IN A PLAY

Carrie Coon, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
Shalita Grant, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
Judith Ivey, The Heiress
winnerJudith Light, The Assembled Parties
Condola Rashad, The Trip to Bountiful

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A FEATURED ROLE IN A MUSICAL

Charl Brown, Motown The Musical
Keith Carradine, Hands on a Hardbody
Will Chase, The Mystery of Edwin Drood
winnerGabriel Ebert, Matilda The Musical
Terrence Mann, Pippin

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A FEATURED ROLE IN A MUSICAL

Annaleigh Ashford, Kinky Boots
Victoria Clark, Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella
winnerAndrea Martin, Pippin
Keala Settle, Hands on a Hardbody
Lauren Ward, Matilda The Musical

BEST DIRECTION OF A PLAY

winnerPam MacKinnon, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
Nicholas Martin, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
Bartlett Sher, Golden Boy
George C. Wolfe, Lucky Guy

BEST DIRECTION OF A MUSICAL

Scott Ellis, The Mystery of Edwin Drood
Jerry Mitchell, Kinky Boots
winnerDiane Paulus, Pippin
Matthew Warchus, Matilda The Musical

BEST CHOREOGRAPHY

Andy Blankenbuehler, Bring It On: The Musical
Peter Darling, Matilda The Musical
winnerJerry Mitchell, Kinky Boots
Chet Walker, Pippin

BEST ORCHESTRATIONS

Chris Nightingale, Matilda The Musical
winnerStephen Oremus, Kinky Boots
Ethan Popp & Bryan Crook, Motown The Musical
Danny Troob, Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella

BEST SCENIC DESIGN OF A PLAY

winnerJohn Lee Beatty, The Nance
Santo Loquasto, The Assembled Parties
David Rockwell, Lucky Guy
Michael Yeargan, Golden Boy

BEST SCENIC DESIGN OF A MUSICAL

winnerRob Howell, Matilda The Musical
Anna Louizos, The Mystery of Edwin Drood
Scott Pask, Pippin
David Rockwell, Kinky Boots

BEST COSTUME DESIGN OF A PLAY

Soutra Gilmour, Cyrano de Bergerac
winnerAnn Roth, The Nance
Albert Wolsky, The Heiress
Catherine Zuber, Golden Boy

BEST COSTUME DESIGN OF A MUSICAL

Gregg Barnes, Kinky Boots
Rob Howell, Matilda The Musical
Dominique Lemieux, Pippin
winnerWilliam Ivey Long, Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella

BEST LIGHTING DESIGN OF A PLAY

winnerJules Fisher & Peggy Eisenhauer, Lucky Guy
Donald Holder, Golden Boy
Jennifer Tipton, The Testament of Mary
Japhy Weideman, The Nance

BEST LIGHTING DESIGN OF A MUSICAL

Kenneth Posner, Kinky Boots
Kenneth Posner, Pippin
Kenneth Posner, Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella
winnerHugh Vanstone, Matilda The Musical

BEST SOUND DESIGN OF A PLAY

John Gromada, The Trip to Bountiful
Mel Mercier, The Testament of Mary
winnerLeon Rothenberg, The Nance
Peter John Still and Marc Salzberg, Golden Boy

BEST SOUND DESIGN OF A MUSICAL

Jonathan Deans & Garth Helm, Pippin
Peter Hylenski, Motown The Musical
winnerJohn Shivers, Kinky Boots
Nevin Steinberg, Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella

REGIONAL THEATRE AWARD

winnerHuntington Theatre Company, Boston, MA

ISABELLE STEVENSON AWARD

winnerLarry Kramer

SPECIAL TONY AWARD

winnerBernard Gersten
winnerMing Cho Lee

SPECIAL TONY AWARD® FOR LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT IN THE THEATRE

winnerPaul Libin

TONY HONORS FOR EXCELLENCE IN THE THEATRE

winnerCareer Transition For Dancers
winnerWilliam “Bill” Craver
winnerPeter Lawrence
winnerThe Lost Colony

winnerThe four actresses who created the title role of Matilda The Musical on Broadway – Sophia Gennusa, Oona Laurence, Bailey Ryon and Milly Shapiro

Awards Roundup and New Shows on the Horizon

Kerry Ingram in Matilda the Musical

All of the nominations are out for the various awards, with most expecting Matilda and Kinky Boots to take home the big prizes this year. It’s always surprising to see flops, like Hands on a Hardbody (which closed after only 28 performances) and Scandalous (which closed after 29) make the lists at all, but there will be a lot of close categories this year. (For a full list of all nominees for all of the various awards, click here.)

Here’s when all of the award ceremonies will take place:

Tony Awards: June 9, 8pm EST
Drama Desk Awards: May 19, 8pm EST
Drama League Awards: May 17, 12pm EST
Outer Critics Circle: Announced May 13
(NOTE: The Theatre World Awards have yet to announce dates…)

And all of the nominated shows…

ChaplinHands on a HardbodyMatildaPippinKinky BootsA Christmas StoryCinderellaAnnieMystery of Edwin DroodMotownBring It OnScandalous

But enough awards talk, on to exciting NEW things!

first

First up is one that is confirmed (and already marquee’d) for Broadway: First Date – a new musical about a horrible blind date. It’s slated to begin previews July 9 and open August 4. The show played well to the Seattle crowd and is still undergoing more changes before hitting, the Great White Way – seems a bit better suited for Off-Broadway, but who knows, maybe it’ll be next season’s runaway hit…

1.185491

The other confirmed musical is Big Fish, an adaptation of the film that’ll star the oh-so-talented Norbert Leo Butz and Kate Baldwin. With Susan Stroman at the helm, there are a lot of big names attached to the project, which is now doing it’s out of town try out in Chicago, so it’s likely going to be a difficult investment to recoup.

patsy-cline-poster

Next up is Always… Patsy Cline, a jukebox musical telling the story of Patsy’s life through the eyes of her most devoted fan. Motown is still doing well box-office-wise, so the jukebox musical isn’t likely to die anytime soon. We’ll see if Patsy’s songs can fare better than some of the more recent attempts in this genre.

PrinceJM200

Prince of Broadway is another jukebox musical looking to open in the fall – celebrating the shows Hal Prince helped make into the big hits they were, this musical will have a bit more self-awareness than other jukebox musicals and a fantastic cast, including: Linda Lavin, Sebastian Arcelus, Sierra Boggess, Daniel Breaker, Josh Grisetti, Shuler Hensley, Richard Kind, Amanda Kloots-Larsen, LaChanze, Caroline O’Connor, David Pittu and Emily Skinner. But apparently that cast is part of the reason the show didn’t open when it was originally slated to do so. Will this one end never making it to opening night? We’ll just have to wait and see…

scrow200

Then we’ve got Diner, with Sheryl Crow penning the score and lyrics and Barry Levinson, the film’s director and writer on the book. Bosting an Academy Award, Emmy Award and Grammy Award between them, this pair is hoping to add some Tony’s to their shelf too.

Beyond that are a number of shows that have tentative and out-of-town announcements, including:

Rocky: The Musical (a German transfer based on the film and directed by Alex Timbers)
Houdini (with music by Stephen Schwartz and starring Hugh Jackman)
Ever After (based on the film and directed by Kathleen Marshall)
Bullets Over Broadway (based on the film and directed by  Susan Stroman)
Les Miserables (with fresh scenic and narrative elements and new orchestrations)
Aladdin (based on the Disney film and directed by Casey Nicholaw)

Some exciting stuff in there…hopefully they all make it to Broadway!

What are you most looking forward to seeing?

We’ll have more news on the way soon (plus some giveaways!), so if you haven’t already – be sure to bookmark, subscribe via rss or sign up for email updates of the blog!

And the Nominees Are… The 2013 Tony Award Nominations

cn_image.size.kinky-boots-broadway

The 2013 Tony Award Nominees were announced this morning and the new musical Kinky Boots led the pack with 13 nominations, with Matilda on its heals with 12 nominations in many of the same categories. This year’s surprises were that Motown and its star, Brandon Victor Dixon, got snubbed in the big categories and Bring It On, a show snubbed by all the other major awards, is up for the Best Musical Tony.

The 2012 Tony Awards will be presented on June 9, 8pm EST at Radio City Music Hall and broadcast live on CBS.

Once again, we’ll be live bloggingtweeting and facebooking with you throughout the ceremony, and you can follow our full awards coverage on The Broadway Musical Home.

These are the last of the nominee announcements, so we’ll soon be moving on to announce winners. Stay tuned or subscribe to the blog, to ensure you don’t miss out on anything!

Who do you think is going to win big this year?

Here is the full list of the 2013 Tony Award nominees:

BEST MUSICAL

Bring It On: The Musical
A Christmas Story, The Musical
Kinky Boots
Matilda The Musical

BEST PLAY

Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
The Testament of Mary
Lucky Guy
The Assembled Parties

BEST BOOK OF A MUSICAL

Joseph Robinette, A Christmas Story, The Musical
Harvey Fierstein, Kinky Boots
Dennis Kelly, Matilda The Musical
Douglas Carter Beane, Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE (MUSIC AND/OR LYRICS) WRITTEN FOR THE THEATRE

Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, A Christmas Story, The Musical
Trey Anastasio and Amanda Green, Hands on a Hardbody
Cyndi Lauper, Kinky Boots
Tim Minchin, Matilda The Musical

BEST REVIVAL OF A PLAY

Golden Boy
Orphans
The Trip to Bountiful
Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

BEST REVIVAL OF A MUSICAL

Annie
The Mystery of Edwin Drood
Pippin
Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE IN A PLAY

Tom Hanks, Lucky Guy
Nathan Lane, The Nance
Tracy Letts, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
David Hyde Pierce, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
Tom Sturridge, Orphans

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE IN A PLAY

Laurie Metcalf, The Other Place
Amy Morton, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
Kristine Nielsen, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
Holland Taylor, Ann
Cicely Tyson, The Trip to Bountiful

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE IN A MUSICAL

Bertie Carvel, Matilda: The Musical
Santino Fontana, Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella
Rob McClure, Chaplin
Billy Porter, Kinky Boots
Stark Sands, Kinky Boots

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE IN A MUSICAL

Stephanie J. Block, The Mystery of Edwin Drood
Carolee Carmello, Scandalous
Valisia LeKae, Motown The Musical
Patina Miller, Pippin
Laura Osnes, Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A FEATURED ROLE IN A PLAY

Danny Burstein, Golden Boy
Richard Kind, The Big Knife
Billy Magnussen, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
Tony Shalhoub, Golden Boy
Courtney B. Vance, Lucky Guy

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A FEATURED ROLE IN A PLAY

Carrie Coon, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
Shalita Grant, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
Judith Ivey, The Heiress
Judith Light, The Assembled Parties
Condola Rashad, The Trip to Bountiful

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A FEATURED ROLE IN A MUSICAL

Charl Brown, Motown The Musical
Keith Carradine, Hands on a Hardbody
Will Chase, The Mystery of Edwin Drood
Gabriel Ebert, Matilda The Musical
Terrence Mann, Pippin

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A FEATURED ROLE IN A MUSICAL

Annaleigh Ashford, Kinky Boots
Victoria Clark, Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella
Andrea Martin, Pippin
Keala Settle, Hands on a Hardbody
Lauren Ward, Matilda The Musical

BEST DIRECTION OF A PLAY

Pam MacKinnon, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
Nicholas Martin, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
Bartlett Sher, Golden Boy
George C. Wolfe, Lucky Guy

BEST DIRECTION OF A MUSICAL

Scott Ellis, The Mystery of Edwin Drood
Jerry Mitchell, Kinky Boots
Diane Paulus, Pippin
Matthew Warchus, Matilda The Musical

BEST CHOREOGRAPHY

Andy Blankenbuehler, Bring It On: The Musical
Peter Darling, Matilda The Musical
Jerry Mitchell, Kinky Boots
Chet Walker, Pippin

BEST ORCHESTRATIONS

Chris Nightingale, Matilda The Musical
Stephen Oremus, Kinky Boots
Ethan Popp & Bryan Crook, Motown The Musical
Danny Troob, Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella

BEST SCENIC DESIGN OF A PLAY

John Lee Beatty, The Nance
Santo Loquasto, The Assembled Parties
David Rockwell, Lucky Guy
Michael Yeargan, Golden Boy

BEST SCENIC DESIGN OF A MUSICAL

Rob Howell, Matilda The Musical
Anna Louizos, The Mystery of Edwin Drood
Scott Pask, Pippin
David Rockwell, Kinky Boots

BEST COSTUME DESIGN OF A PLAY

Soutra Gilmour, Cyrano de Bergerac
Ann Roth, The Nance
Albert Wolsky, The Heiress
Catherine Zuber, Golden Boy

BEST COSTUME DESIGN OF A MUSICAL

Gregg Barnes, Kinky Boots
Rob Howell, Matilda The Musical
Dominique Lemieux, Pippin
William Ivey Long, Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella

BEST LIGHTING DESIGN OF A PLAY

Jules Fisher & Peggy Eisenhauer, Lucky Guy
Donald Holder, Golden Boy
Jennifer Tipton, The Testament of Mary
Japhy Weideman, The Nance

BEST LIGHTING DESIGN OF A MUSICAL

Kenneth Posner, Kinky Boots
Kenneth Posner, Pippin
Kenneth Posner, Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella
Hugh Vanstone, Matilda The Musical

BEST SOUND DESIGN OF A PLAY

John Gromada, The Trip to Bountiful
Mel Mercier, The Testament of Mary
Leon Rothenberg, The Nance
Peter John Still and Marc Salzberg, Golden Boy

BEST SOUND DESIGN OF A MUSICAL

Jonathan Deans & Garth Helm, Pippin
Peter Hylenski, Motown The Musical
John Shivers, Kinky Boots
Nevin Steinberg, Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella

REGIONAL THEATRE AWARD

winnerHuntington Theatre Company, Boston, MA

ISABELLE STEVENSON AWARD

winnerLarry Kramer

SPECIAL TONY AWARD

winnerBernard Gersten
winnerMing Cho Lee

SPECIAL TONY AWARD® FOR LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT IN THE THEATRE

winnerPaul Libin

TONY HONORS FOR EXCELLENCE IN THE THEATRE

winnerCareer Transition For Dancers
winnerWilliam “Bill” Craver
winnerPeter Lawrence
winnerThe Lost Colony

winnerThe four actresses who created the title role of Matilda The Musical on Broadway – Sophia Gennusa, Oona Laurence, Bailey Ryon and Milly Shapiro

TONY NOMINATIONS BY PRODUCTION
Kinky Boots – 13
Matilda The Musical – 12
Pippin – 10
Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella – 9
Golden Boy – 8
Lucky Guy – 6
Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike – 6
The Mystery of Edwin Drood – 5
The Nance – 5
Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? – 5
Motown The Musical – 4
The Trip to Bountiful – 4
The Assembled Parties – 3
A Christmas Story, The Musical – 3
Hands on a Hardbody – 3
The Testament of Mary – 3
Bring It On: The Musical – 2
The Heiress – 2
Orphans – 2
Ann – 1
Annie – 1
The Big Knife – 1
Chaplin – 1
Cyrano de Bergerac – 1
The Other Place – 1
Scandalous – 1

Award Time is Almost Here – The 2013 Eligible Shows

It’s one of the most wonderful times of the year — nominations will soon be out with the whole country buzzing about Broadway.

You can check out our 2013 Broadway theater awards calendar to see when and who will be making the announcements and when all the pretty prizes will be handed out.

As always, we’ll be live bloggingtweeting and facebooking with you as the nominees and winners are announced!

In the meantime, we wanted to do a rundown of the shows eligible for this year’s big categories:

Shows Eligible for Best Musical

  
  
 

Shows Eligible for Best Revival of a Musical

  
 

Who do you think is gonna take home this year’s biggest prizes?

The Reviews for Scandalous are in…

 

The reviews are in for Scandalous: The Life and Trials of Aimee Semple McPherson, and it seems as though critics would have enjoyed a whole lot more scandal.  Carolee Carmello brings to life the title role, and provides the only real entertainment of the night — her voice is powerful and emotional, making the most of otherwise uninteresting numbers.  A driving force behind the production, Kathie Lee Gifford is responsible for the tired book and lyrics while David Pomeranz and David Friedman put their names on the music.  If you seek a strong musical performance, go see Carolee Carmello, but audience beware, don’t try looking for anything more.

NEW YORK TIMES

““The Life and Trials of Aimee Semple McPherson,” as the show is subtitled, are actually much more fascinating than you would gather from this formulaic Broadway musical. With book and lyrics by Kathie Lee Gifford and music by David Pomeranz and David Friedman, “Scandalous,” which opened on Thursday night at the Neil Simon Theater, condenses and rearranges McPherson’s story to fit smoothly into the familiar grooves of celebrity biography. In the process the show reduces McPherson’s remarkable life to a cliché-bestrewn fable about the wages of fame….Broadway jackals suspicious of [Kathy Lee] Gifford’s bona fides were surely hoping for an epoch-making turkey in time for Thanksgiving. Sorry, guys. “Scandalous” isn’t so much scandalously bad as it is generic and dull….True, collectors of camp might find some minor pleasures in the splashy biblical pageants of the second act, when McPherson, portrayed with hearty gumption by Carolee Carmello, looks on with a twinkly eye as Adam and Eve chomp from a sequined apple, or vamps as an alluring Delilah as Samson groans in beefcake bondage….God and the good works (and mostly bad musicals) he inspires are almost reduced to a walk-on in “Scandalous,” which plays down McPherson’s extraordinary ministry and spends most of its time dramatizing the punishing peaks and valleys of her personal life.”

Read the full review

AM NEW YORK

“The Tony Award for fearless determination – if such a thing actually existed, ought to go to Kathie Lee Gifford. She has been developing and promoting her musical “Scandalous: The Life and Trials of Aimee Semple McPherson” – for which she wrote the lyrics, book and even some of the music – for more than a decade….The score – the work of no less than three composers – mainly consists of generic samplings from various genres: Irish jig, beer hall anthem, tambourine-shaking prayer and so on. Carolee Carmello, who has spent the past few years alternating between the tryouts of “Scandalous” and stints in “Mamma Mia!,” throws all of her dramatic and vocal intensity into the role, but it is an off-putting, aggressive performance. Tony winner George Hearn plays two negligible roles. Such is what happens when you get too old to play Sweeney Todd again”

Read the full review

NEWSDAY

“There is nothing remotely scandalous about “Scandalous: The Life and Trials of Aimee Semple McPherson,” the biographical musical that has book, lyrics and additional music by Kathie Lee Gifford. Despite the inevitable celebrity-lite target on Gifford’s back, the musical about the media-star Christian evangelist of the 1920s does not have the toxic aura of a vanity production. It is well-produced and professional. It’s also not interesting, alas, at least not interesting enough to sustain 21/2 hours of fast-forward storytelling and inspirational songs that almost always end in throbbing climax. At least as problematic is the bombardment of nursery-rhyme lyrics…But we have a reason to give thanks, and that is Carolee Carmello. One of our most deeply wonderful, inexplicably underutilized singing actors, Carmello finally gets a giant vehicle that needs her massive talents….Despite the monotony of the touch-what-you-dream songs (music by David Pomeranz and David Friedman), Carmello alone makes Aimee’s journey feel as adventurous as it clearly was.”

Read the full review

TALKIN’ BROADWAY

“The musical that just opened at the Neil Simon is distinctive in not one positive way, but it’s nearly impossible to wrench your gaze from its glitz-drenched train wreck thanks to its sublime star, Carolee Carmello. Gifted as an actress and even better as a belter, Carmello could hardly have begged for a more doting showcase vehicle for her considerable talents than this one about 20th-century evangelist Aimee Semple McPherson (1890-1944). Kathie Lee Gifford (book, lyrics, and additional music) and David Pomeranz and David Friedman (music) have provided Carmello with countless opportunities to flaunt her golden pipes, embody bone-deep glamor, and attract the audience with the kind of comforting embrace modern-day headliners are so seldom allowed to deploy….Carmello sails through all this, and quite a bit more, with such ease that you can’t help but be positive she does it 20 times before breakfast every morning, and sings an astonishing amount of vocally taxing material even though she spends all but a few scant minutes onstage, trying to win us over to her cause. That she comes within millimeters of succeeding is still more impressive given the obstacles she’s up against. For what the writers and director David Armstrong foist upon her — and by extension us — is enough to propel the most devout believer into a spiritual crisis…Carmello’s stunning singing, at once brassy and hypnotic and warm, cannot compensate for the utter lack of memorable music, even among the faux-energetic gospel romps, or a halfway-witty lyric, anywhere in the bulging song stack — a big problem for a musical promoting the importance show biz’s value as a medium of communication. The jokes are lame, yes (“I swear some of these Christians are so pious, they just pious me off!”), but the story is impossible to follow, with no character other than Aimee given so much as three minutes of close attention….Based on how high Carmello elevates Aimee beyond what’s on the page, no one need fear for her career. Scandalous itself, however, looks well beyond saving.”

Read the full review

BACKSTAGE

“The American Theatre Wing might as well give Carolee Carmello her Tony Award now. Just like her alter ego for the evening, early-20th-century evangelist Aimee Semple McPherson, Carmello is performing miracles, only hers are onstage at the Neil Simon Theatre. In “Scandalous,” the seasoned stage veteran’s top billing is a credit to her performance rather than to her bankability—there’s book writer and lyricist Kathie Lee Gifford for that—and Carmello deserves it, delivering one of the season’s must-see performances (she’s onstage for all but 11 minutes of the show’s two-and-a-half hours). Unfortunately, Carmello’s miracle work doesn’t extend to Gifford’s flimsy, expository musical, which features uncertain direction by David Armstrong….Gifford’s book and lyrics sound like she transcribed McPherson’s Wikipedia page and had it set to music. Carmello is asked to relay countless monologues, usually while stripping off Gregory A. Poplyk’s suitable period costumes to reveal another outfit. (The actor transitions from Aimee at 16 to Aimee at 50 with remarkable ease.) The reason to put a story onstage is to theatricalize it. When Carmello sings, there’s magic in the theater, even if David Pomeranz and David Friedman’s tunes are generic (Gifford also gets a credit for “additional music”). Joel Fram’s music direction and vocal arrangements, though, are an absolute delight. The revival scenes feel like a religious experience, thanks to a winning ensemble and Lorin Latarro’s peppy choreography….There will be bumps in the road this season—and “Scandalous” may be one of them—but there is absolutely no doubt that Carmello is a Broadway superhero.”

Read the full review

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