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 Sutton Foster

The Reviews for Violet are in…

violet

The reviews are in, and the critics love Violet and Sutton Foster, version 2.0.  In many ways, Violet and Ms. Foster is an unlikely pair — a deeply emotional musical about a farm girl with a disfigured face doesn’t typically call for a twirling, big-grin, big-Broadway star.  In this story, though, Ms. Foster reveals an ability to capture her character from all angles, revealing hope, vulnerability, despair, defensiveness, and what most critics call prickliness. By all accounts she’s captivating.  The Jeanine Tesori and Brian Crawley musical is only made more special by the touching story and songs (influenced by the setting of the American South in 1964).  It’s not glitzy or glamorous, and it certainly doesn’t showcase the Sutton Foster you know, but Violet is unique on Broadway and not a show to be missed without good reason.

NEW YORK TIMES

“When Sutton Foster appears on Broadway, she’s usually boasting a sunbeam smile, flapping away in tap shoes, clowning around amiably and generally behaving like a girl determined to nail the talent competition in a beauty pageant, and maybe take home the Miss Congeniality award, too. But pep-allergic people will not need to steel themselves to see the terrific, heart-stirring revival of Violet, the musical by Jeanine Tesori and Brian Crawley that opened at the American Airlines Theater on Sunday night, starring Ms. Foster in a career-redefining performance. Portraying a young woman from North Carolina desperately hoping an evangelist can pray away the deep scar on her face, Ms. Foster moves into thornier territory than she has occupied before in frothy musicals like Thoroughly Modern MillieThe Drowsy Chaperone and the recent revival of Anything Goes. By the show’s conclusion, her familiar megawatt grin has been unfurled, but the journey to sunrise on this occasion allows Ms. Foster to reveal the full range of her expressive gifts as a musical theater performer. She dazzles with the bright sheen of her voice, yes, and slings wry jokes with the ease of a diner waitress slapping down plates of eggs and grits. But she also brings a prickly emotional intensity to the moving story of a woman grappling with shame, self-delusion and the fear that a deformity will forever leave her standing alone outside the circle of humanity. “

Read the Full Review

TIME OUT NEW YORK

“It took 17 years, but Jeanine Tesori’s beloved musical about a woman with a facial deformity journeying through the 1960s South has made it to Broadway. Featuring the formidable talents of Sutton Foster and Colin Donnell (Anything Goes) and Joshua Henry (The Scottsboro Boys), this bittersweet period piece is directed by Leigh Silverman (Kung Fu). Adapted from Doris Betts’s short story The Ugliest Pilgrim, Jeanine Tesori and Brian Crawley’s 1997 musical follows the spiky title character on her trek to an Oklahoma faith healer who, she hopes, will remove the grotesque facial scar (invisible to us) that she received from an ax wound years before. It’s the darkest and richest role Foster has played, and she swings with marvelous speed from defensive prickliness to poignant hope.”

Read the Full Review

NBC NEW YORK

“Those expecting to see Sutton Foster belting and tap-dancing her way through her latest Broadway leading-role should be warned: the 39-year-old actress, who won Tonys for her turns in Thoroughly Modern Millie and Anything Goes, provides a restrained, intricate performance inViolet, the Jeanine Tesori-Brian Crawley musical now open at the American Airlines Theatre. It’s a startling turn from the Foster we’re used to seeing, but one that will transfix you all the same. Stripped of any glitzy costumes, wigs or makeup, Foster stands on stage in a plain sundress, her hair uncombed and pushed behind her ears, and breaths life into a complicated, flawed, hopeful character. You’ll feel as though you’re witnessing a star being reborn, 18 years into her career.”

Read the Full Review

HOLLYWOOD REPORTER

“Broad strokes and big effects often appear to be the default setting for Broadway musicals, so it’s always refreshing to see a modestly scaled show in which the cast and creative team trust in the value of emotional intimacy. Driven by a performance of incandescent yearning from Sutton Foster that’s all the more moving for its restraint, Violet is a delicate wildflower, craning toward the sun. Director Leigh Silverman’s spirited yet sensitive production of Jeanine Tesori and Brian Crawley’s country, bluegrass and gospel-flavored 1997 musical makes this poignant story of a facially disfigured farm girl’s journey to self-acceptance genuinely uplifting. The revival was hatched out of a one-night-only concert event last summer that drew love-letter reviews for Foster, a triple-threat Broadway baby seen here in a subdued mode. While the production retains a stripped-down feel, Roundabout Theatre Company has given it dimensions that are a perfect fit for the material, set in September 1964 in the American South.”

Read the Full Review

ASSOCIATED PRESS

“Some musicals are big and brassy, calling out for attention with their razzle-dazzle and sassy sets. Others are more demure, letting their simple beauty shine. How appropriate then that a show about inner loveliness chose the latter path. Violet, which opened Sunday at the American Airlines Theatre, makes a Broadway debut with just a few chairs, a simple bed, no big costume changes and a score so rich and sublime that you’ll hardly notice anything is missing.”

Read the Full Review

The Reviews for Anything Goes are in…

NEW YORK TIMES REVIEW

“Who needs a brass section when you’ve got Sutton Foster? As the nightclub evangelist Reno Sweeney in the zesty new revival of “Anything Goes,” which opened on Thursday night at the Stephen Sondheim Theater, Ms. Foster has the voice of a trumpet and a big, gleaming presence that floods the house. When she leads the show-stopping “Blow, Gabriel, Blow,” you figure that if no horn-tooting archangel appears, it’s only because he’s afraid of the competition. “

Click here to read the full “Anything Goes” review.

VARIETY REVIEW

“Why, one wonders, should Roundabout see fit to trot out “Anything Goes,” the frequently produced 1934 musical chestnut? Turns out it has a compelling reason: Sutton Foster. She doesn’t just deliver those Cole Porter hits, she knocks ‘em out of the park. Joel Grey gives his happiest performance in years as Public Enemy #13, and director-choreographer Kathleen Marshall has a field day, outdoing herself with several rousing dance numbers. This new “Anything Goes” is a daffy, shipshape romp.”

Click here to read the full “Anything Goes” review.

NEWSDAY REVIEW

“Ethel Merman used to say that “Anything Goes” was about “a girl on a boat.” And that’s pretty much the whole deal, except for the other girls, the guys and the fact that the boat is a deco ocean liner stocked with nonstop Cole Porter standards, standard-issue mistaken-identity convolutions and the usual bunch of ’30s musical-comedy mugs.”

Click here to read the full “Anything Goes” review.

AM NEW YORK REVIEW

“Cole Porter’s “Anything Goes,” widely considered the definitive musical comedy of the 1930s, is a giddy explosion of escapist romance, combining old-fashioned farce, extended dance breaks and light, breezy songs.”

Click here to read the full “Anything Goes” review.

THEATERMANIA REVIEW

“Over the last decade, no leading lady has wowed innumerable audiences with her silvery voice and eager charm more than Sutton Foster. Now, as sassy evangelist-cum-nightclub singer Reno Sweeney, the Tony Award-winning star is simply scintillating in Kathleen Marshall’s highly rousing revival of Anything Goes, now being revived by the Roundabout Theatre Company at the Stephen Sondheim Theatre. “

Click here to read the full “Anything Goes” review.

WALL STREET JOURNAL REVIEW

“Sutton Foster is a star without a sky. Like Kristin Chenoweth, she is a natural-born performer of good old-fashioned musical comedy who lives in an age when good old-fashioned musical comedies are no longer being written. A wholesome beauty with a voice as warm as summer sunshine, Ms. Foster has to date starred in only one first-rate show, “The Drowsy Chaperone,” and until now she’d never appeared in a Broadway revival of a classic musical. The Roundabout Theatre Company’s production of Cole Porter’s “Anything Goes,” directed and choreographed by Kathleen Marshall, isn’t exactly that, nor is the show quite right for Ms. Foster, but her performance is so full of zowie as to overcome all possible objections. If she weren’t already a star, this “Anything Goes” would make her one.”

Click here to read the full “Anything Goes” review.

Opening, Closing, Cast Changes and Albums: A Summer News Roundup

Summers are generally fairly slow on Broadway, with many recovering or reveling in the Tony Award results, hot weather and summer tourists; there’s still plenty going on, but not much in the way of news. There have been a couple exciting announcements, which are well worth sharing (thus this entry). If you want to get more frequent updates, follow us on Facebook or Twitter; I’ll post the juicy bits there and do another roundup here before the summer is out.

Opening Soon

Anything Goes starring Sutton Foster will officially open on Broadway on April 7th at the Stephen Sondheim Theatre. Directed by two-time Tony Award winner Kathleen Marshall, this old-fashioned dance-heavy musical has the Broadway community buzzing. The revival will feature a new book by Timothy Crouse and John Weidman.

The other big news item is that How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying will open on Broadway on March 27. The show will star Daniel Radcliffe, who, unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, you know as Harry Potter, and if you’ve been living in a theatre as that kid who got naked last season in Equus. The movie version of this show, starring Robert Morse, continues to be one of my favorites in the genre. Can’t wait to see what Mr. Radcliffe does with the role of Finch.

And then we’ve got the Off-Broadway transfers: Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson announced that it will hit Broadway on September 21 and The Scottsboro Boys that it will open on October 31. We can only hope they enjoy as much success on Broadway as they did off.

Big Casting Changes

Bernadette Peters and Elaine Stritch have taken over the lead roles in A Little Night Music and everyone is raving about their performances. Check out Peters’ performance of “Send in the Clowns”:

Two others, Marin Mazzie and Jason Danieley, have also stepped into some big shoes – the real life married couple are now playing Diana and Dan Goodman in Next to Normal on Broadway. Yes, they’re big shoes, but if Twitter buzz counts for anything, it sounds as though the show is in more than capable hands.

Closing Soon

In sadder news, Come Fly Away has announced that its final performance will be on September 5. This production, though short-lived on Broadway, does have plans to tour the US, so if you didn’t have the chance to see it on the Great White Way, you’ll have other opportunities.

Cast Albums

The revival cast of La Cage Aux Folles will be recording their work for their fans. The album will be released sometime in September. Pre-order it on amazon.com now.

And I don’t know about you, but I’m loving the newly released albums for Everyday Rapture and Promises, Promises, available online here and here. Trust me – these are albums you won’t regret buying.

Shrek many not have won many Tonys, but it’s doing something right!

Last week, Shrek saw the biggest gain of any Broadway show, with gross up $182,798! Maybe you think (like many in the industry have) that theirs was one of the worst presentations at the Tony Awards (watch the video here), but with numbers like that, you have to give them due credit – they know how to appeal to their audience.

The show stars Brian d’Arcy James (Outer Critic’s Circle winner), Sutton Foster (Outer Critic’s Circle winner), John Tartaglia, Daniel Breaker (Drama Desk Award winner) and Christopher Sieber, and has won awards for Costume Design (Tony, Drama Desk, Outer Critic’s Circle) and  Set Design (Drama Desk, Outer Critic’s Circle).

I also recently stumbled upon a video of the making of the Shrek cast album.

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