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 The Scottsboro Boys

The reviews for The Scottsboro Boys are in…

Another Off-Broadway transfer, The Scottsboro Boys, has moved to Broadway (after a quick fix-up out of town). The show is stronger than ever and critics are raving about the choreography, score, story and the amazing turn by newcomer Joshua Henry. The Scottsboro Boys‘ minstrel show treatment of very dark subject matter has critics split – some find the pairing genius and while others find the minstrel-show set up lessens the impact or is just outright smug.

Here’s what the major publications thought:

New York Post

A boldly stylized, defiantly razzle-dazzle look at true events…The story has a resounding emotional charge, but we also clearly see the cruel, almost cartoonish absurdity of it all…As grim as its subject is, the show is vibrantly alive…On the surface, The Scottsboro Boys is a hard sell in a Times Square dominated by escapist fluff…Yet this is also a thrillingly inventive and entertaining night at the theater. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll be moved. What could be more Broadway than that? Read the full review

Variety

Arguably the finest of last season’s new musicals when it appeared at the Vineyard in March…[it’s now] stronger, tighter and even more impactful…Director-choreographer Stroman, working on a far simpler scale than usual, delivers her most creative and effective work in years, and Kander’s music sounds great…Actors appear to be relatively cramped for space, resulting in a suitably claustrophobic feel and a jolt in voltage that helps account for the increased power of Scottsboro in its new home on Broadway. Read the full review

Backstage

Nestled snugly into the Lyceum Theatre, whose musty period interior enhances the show in ways the rather antiseptic Vineyard Theatre never could, this look at a monstrous, racially motivated miscarriage of justice in the Depression-era South, staged in the form of a minstrel show, packs quite a punch. It’s a satisfying finale for the legendary songwriting team…Thanks to some small but smart focusing, clarifying, and tightening of the book and director-choreographer Susan Stroman’s exemplary staging, the show now makes it clear that its purpose is not to tell the personal stories of these men. The musical is about what happened to them, and how that changed America…Here’s to the creative team for insisting on delivering the show it wanted. The Scottsboro Boys sets a high bar for Broadway musicals this season. Read the full review

The New York Times

Mr. Kander and Mr. Ebb have written a zesty if not top-tier score, but the pleasures of a jaunty ragtime melody and a clever lyric are hard to savor when they are presented in such an unavoidably grim context…Although the show’s momentum is hampered by both its essential singularity of tone and the tortuous history of the court cases, the production remains dynamic, thanks in no small part to the dauntless energy of the terrific cast, all fine singers and dancers. But the musical never really resolves the tension between its impulse to entertain us with hoary jokes and quivering tambourines and the desire to render the harsh morals of its story with earnest insistence. Read the full review

Wall Street Journal

It is impossible not to be thrilled by the electrifying craftsmanship…The problem is that all this formidable talent has been enlisted in the service of a musical so smug that I could scarcely bear to sit and watch it…I suppose there are places in America where such a show might still jolt its viewers, but to see The Scottsboro Boys on Broadway is to witness a nightly act of collective self-congratulation in which the right-thinking members of the audience preen themselves complacently at the thought of their own enlightenment…A musical that slathers this terrible tale in a thick coat of musical-comedy frosting that has been spiked with cheap, elephantine irony. I can’t imagine a nastier-tasting recipe. Read the full review

Have you seen the show? What did you think?

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.

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.

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.

2010 Drama Desk Award Winners – Memphis and La Cage Aux Folles Take Home the Big Prizes

The 2010 Drama Desk Award ceremony took place tonight. Thanks for joining us for the live-update. This year’s winners for the categories whose nominees included musicals are below:

Outstanding Musical
Memphis

Outstanding Revival of a Musical
La Cage Aux Folles

Outstanding Actress in a Musical
Montego Glover, Memphis
AND
Catherine Zeta-Jones, A Little Night Music

Outstanding Actor in a Musical
Douglas Hodge, La Cage Aux Folles

Outstanding Musical Revue
Sondheim on Sondheim

Outstanding Set Design
Phelim McDermott, Julian Crouch, Basil Twist, The Addams Family

Outstanding Sound Design
Acme Sound Partners, Ragtime

Outstanding Lighting Design
Neil Austin, Red

Outstanding Costume Design
Matthew Wright, La Cage aux Folles

Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical
Katie Finneran, Promises, Promises

Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical
Christopher Fitzgerald, Finian’s Rainbow

Special Drama Desk Award
Jerry Herman (for more than half a century of exuberant music and heartfelt lyrics)

Outstanding Director of a Musical
Michael Mayer, American Idiot

Outstanding Choreography
Twyla Tharp, Come Fly Away

Outstanding Orchestrations
Daryl Waters & David Bryan, Memphis

Outstanding Book of a Musical
Alex Timbers, Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson

Outstanding Lyrics
John Kander & Fred Ebb, The Scottsboro Boys

Oustanding Musical Score
David Bryan, Memphis

The 2010 Outer Critics Circle Award Winners

The first award-winners of the season have been announced. There were a couple of big surprises, including the big win for Memphis in the Outstanding New Musical category. The committee also decided on ties for Outstanding Off-Broadway Musical, Outstanding Actress in a Musical and Outstanding Choreography. What do you think of their selections?

Outstanding New Broadway Musical
Memphis

Outstanding New Off-Broadway Musical
Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson
AND
The Scottsboro Boys

Outstanding New Score (Broadway or Off-Broadway)
Memphis

Outstanding Revival of a Musical (Broadway or Off-Broadway)
La Cage aux Folles

Outstanding Director of a Musical
Terry Johnson, La Cage aux Folles

Outstanding Choreographer
Bill T. Jones, Fela!
AND
Sergio Trujillo, Memphis

Outstanding Set Design (Play or Musical)
Phelim McDermott & Julian Crouch, The Addams Family

Outstanding Costume Design (Play or Musical)
Matthew Wright, La Cage aux Folles

Outstanding Lighting Design (Play or Musical)
Kevin Adams, American Idiot

Outstanding Actor in a Musical
Douglas Hodge, La Cage aux Folles

Outstanding Actress in a Musical
Montego Glover, Memphis
AND
Catherine Zeta-Jones, A Little Night Music

Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical
Levi Kreis, Million Dollar Quartet

Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical
Katie Finneran, Promises, Promises

View the full list of noiminees

2010 Drama Desk Award Nominations

As award season continues, another round of announcements are out – these for the coveted Drama Desk Awards, which include Broadway, Off-Broadway and Off-Off-Broadway productions. Without further ado, here are the nominees for the categories that include musicals:

Special Award
Jerry Herman

Outstanding Musical
American Idiot
Everyday Rapture
Memphis
The Addams Family
The Scottsboro Boys
Yank!

Outstanding Revival of a Musical
A Little Night Music
Finian’s Rainbow
La Cage Aux Folles
Promises, Promises
Ragtime

Outstanding Actor in a Musical
Brandon Victor Dixon, The Scottsboro Boys
Douglas Hodge, La Cage Aux Folles
Cheyenne Jackson, Finian’s Rainbow
Chad Kimball, Memphis
Nathan Lane, The Addams Family
Bobby Steggert, Yank!

Outstanding Actress in a Musical
Kate Baldwin, Finian’s Rainbow
Montego Glover, Memphis
Jayne Houdyshell, Coraline
Christiane Noll, Ragtime
Sherie Rene Scott, Everyday Rapture
Catherine Zeta-Jones, A Little Night Music

Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical
Kevin Chamberlin, The Addams Family
Robin De Jesus, La Cage Aux Folles
Jeffry Denman, Yank!
Christopher Fitzgerald, Finian’s Rainbow
Jeremy Morse, Bloodsong of Love
Bobby Steggert, Ragtime

Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical
Carolee Carmello, The Addams Family
Carrie Cimma, Lizzie Borden
Katie Finneran, Promises, Promises
Angela Lansbury, A Little Night Music
Kenita Miller, Langston in Harlem
Terri White, Finian’s Rainbow

Outstanding Choreography
Warren Carlyle, Finian’s Rainbow
Marcia Milgrom Dodge, Ragtime
Lynne Page, La Cage Aux Folles
Susan Stroman, The Scottsboro Boys
Twyla Tharp, Come Fly Away
Sergio Trujillo, Memphis

Outstanding Music
David Bryan, Memphis
Michael Friedman, Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson
Joe Iconis, Bloodsong of Love
John Kander & Fred Ebb, The Scottsboro Boys
Andrew Lippa, The Addams Family
Joseph Zellnik, Yank!

Outstanding Lyrics
Rick Crom, Newsical The Musical
Kevin Del Aguila, Click, Clack, Moo
John Kander & Fred Ebb, The Scottsboro Boys
Dillie Keane and Adèle Anderson, Fascinating Aïda Absolutely Miraculous!
Andrew Lippa, The Addams Family
David Zellnik, Yank!

Outstanding Book of a Musical
Joe DiPietro, Memphis
Joe Iconis, Bloodsong of Love
Dick Scanlan & Sherie Rene Scott, Everyday Rapture
David Thompson, The Scottsboro Boys
Alex Timbers, Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson
David Zellnik, Yank!

Outstanding Orchestrations
William David Brohn, Ragtime
Larry Hochman, The Scottsboro Boys
Tom Kitt, American Idiot
Tom Kitt, Everyday Rapture
John Oddo, All About Me
Daryl Waters & David Bryan, Memphis

Outstanding Musical Revue
Fascinating Aïda Absolutely Miraculous!
Million Dollar Quartet
Newsical The Musical
Simon Green: Traveling Light
Sondheim on Sondheim

Outstanding Set Design
Sandra Goldmark, The Boys in the Band
Phelim McDermott, Julian Crouch & Basil Twist, The Addams Family
Derek McLane, Ragtime
Christopher Oram, Red
Jay Rohloff, Underground
Karen Tennent, Hansel and Gretel

Outstanding Costume Design
Antonia Ford-Roberts & Bob Flanagan, The Emperor Jones
Santo Loquasto, Ragtime
Clint Ramos, So Help Me God!
Bobby Frederick Tilley II, Lizzie Borden
Matthew Wright, La Cage Aux Folles
David Zinn, In the Next Room or the vibrator play

Outstanding Lighting Design in a Play
Neil Austin, Hamlet
Neil Austin, Red
Christian M. DeAngelis, Lizzie Borden
Maruti Evans, John Ball’s In the Heat of the Night
Natasha Katz, The Addams Family
Dane Laffrey, The Boys in the Band

Outstanding Sound Design in a Musical
Acme Sound Partners, Ragtime
Jonathan Deans, La Cage Aux Folles
Ashley Hanson, Kurt Eric Fischer & Brian Ronan, Everyday Rapture
Peter Hylenski, The Scottsboro Boys
Scott Lehrer, Finian’s Rainbow
Brian Ronan, Promises, Promises

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