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 Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown

The 2011 Drama Desk Award Winners

Outstanding Musical
winner The Book of Mormon
In Transit
Priscilla Queen of the Desert: The Musical
See Rock City & Other Destinations
Sister Act
The Kid

Outstanding Play
winner Nick Stafford, War Horse
Jon Robin Baitz, Other Desert Cities
Adam Bock, A Small Fire
Stephen Adly Guirgis, The Motherf**ker With the Hat
Samuel D. Hunter, A Bright New Boise
Rajiv Joseph, Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo
David Lindsay-Abaire, Good People

Outstanding Revival of a Musical
winner Anything Goes
Hello Again
How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying

Outstanding Revival of a Play
winner The Normal Heart
Born Yesterday
The House of Blue Leaves
The Importance of Being Earnest
The Merchant of Venice
Three Sisters

Outstanding Actor in a Play
winner Bobby Cannavale, The Motherf**ker With the Hat
Charles Busch, The Divine Sister
Al Pacino, The Merchant of Venice
Geoffrey Rush, The Diary of a Madman
Mark Rylance, Jerusalem
Michael Shannon, Mistakes Were Made
Paul Sparks, Dusk Rings a Bell

Outstanding Actress in a Play
winner Frances McDormand, Good People
Nina Arianda, Born Yesterday
Stockard Channing, Other Desert Cities
Laurie Metcalf, The Other Place
Michele Pawk, A Small Fire
Lily Rabe, The Merchant of Venice

Outstanding Actor in a Musical
winner Norbert Leo Butz, Catch Me if You Can
Colin Donnell, Anything Goes
Daniel Radcliffe, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying
Andrew Rannells, The Book of Mormon
Tony Sheldon, Priscilla Queen of the Desert: The Musical
Christopher Sieber, The Kid

Outstanding Actress in a Musical
winner Sutton Foster, Anything Goes
Beth Leavel, Baby It’s You!
Patina Miller, Sister Act
Donna Murphy, The People in the Picture
Sherie Rene Scott, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown

Outstanding Featured Actor in a Play
winner Brian Bedford, The Importance of Being Earnest
Christian Borle, Peter and the Starcatcher
Boyd Gaines, The Grand Manner
Logan Marshall-Green, The Hallway Trilogy
Zachary Quinto, Angels in America
Tom Riley, Arcadia
Yul Vazquez, The Motherf**ker With the Hat

Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play
winner Edie Falco, The House of Blue Leaves
Lisa Emery, The Collection & A Kind of Alaska
Julie Halston, The Divine Sister
Sarah Nina Hayon, A Bright New Boise
Celia Keenan-Bolger, Peter and the Starcatcher
Linda Lavin, Other Desert Cities
Judith Light, Lombardi

Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical
winner John Larroquette, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying
Adam Godley, Anything Goes
Brian Stokes Mitchell, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown
Rory O’Malley, The Book of Mormon
Bob Stillman, Hello Again
Tom Wopat, Catch Me if You Can

Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical
winner Laura Benanti, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown
Kerry Butler, Catch Me if You Can
Victoria Clark, Sister Act
Jill Eikenberry, The Kid
Nikki M. James, The Book of Mormon
Patti LuPone, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown
Laura Osnes, Anything Goes

Outstanding Director of a Play
winner Joel Grey and George C. Wolfe, The Normal Heart
Trip Cullman, A Small Fire
Moises Kaufman, Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo
Davis McCallum, A Bright New Boise
Daniel Sullivan, The Merchant of Venice
Kirjan Waage and Gwendolyn Warnock, Baby Universe

Outstanding Director of a Musical
winner Kathleen Marshall, Anything Goes
Rob Ashford, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying
Joe Calarco, In Transit
Jack Cummings III, Hello Again
Jack Cummings III, See Rock City & Other Destinations
Casey Nicholaw and Trey Parker, The Book of Mormon

Outstanding Choreography
winner Kathleen Marshall, Anything Goes
Rob Ashford, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying
Scott Graham and Steven Hoggett, Beautiful Burnout
Steven Hoggett, Peter and the Starcatcher
Casey Nicholaw, The Book of Mormon
Siudy, Between Worlds

Outstanding Music
winner Trey Parker, Robert Lopez and Matt Stone, The Book of Mormon
Brad Alexander, See Rock City & Other Destinations
Alan Menken, Sister Act
Marc Shaiman, Catch Me if You Can
Mike Stoller and Artie Butler, The People in the Picture
David Yazbek, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown

Outstanding Lyrics
winner Trey Parker, Robert Lopez and Matt Stone, The Book of Mormon
Rick Crom, Newsical The Musical – Full Spin Ahead
Jack Lechner, The Kid
Adam Mathias, See Rock City & Other Destinations
Glenn Slater, Sister Act
Scott Wittman and Marc Shaiman, Catch Me if You Can

Outstanding Book of a Musical
winner Adam Mathias, See Rock City & Other Destinations
Kristen Anderson-Lopez, James-Allen Ford, Russ Kaplan and Sara Wordsworth, In Transit
Iris Rainer Dart, The People in the Picture
Stephan Elliott and Allan Scott, Priscilla Queen of the Desert: The Musical
Trey Parker, Robert Lopez and Matt Stone, The Book of Mormon
Michael Zam, The Kid

Outstanding Orchestrations
winner Larry Hochman and Stephen Oremus, The Book of Mormon
Mary-Mitchell Campbell, Hello Again
Bruce Coughlin, The Burnt Part Boys
Simon Hale, Jim Abbott and David Yazbek, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown
Marc Shaiman and Larry Blank, Catch Me if You Can
Lynne Shankel, The Extraordinary Ordinary

Outstanding Music in a Play
winner Wayne Barker, Peter and the Starcatcher
Kathryn Bostic, Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo
Lars Petter Hagen, Baby Universe
Alan John, The Diary of a Madman
Tom Kitt, The Winter’s Tale
Dan Moses Schreier, The Merchant of Venice

Outstanding Revue
winner Rain: A Tribute to the Beatles on Broadway
Fyvush Finkel Live!
Newsical The Musical – Full Spin Ahead

Outstanding Set Design
winner Derek McLane, Anything Goes
Rachel Hauck, Orange, Hat & Grace
David Korins and Zachary Borovay (projection design), Lombardi
Derek McLane, Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo
Tony Straiges, Treasure Island
Mark Wendland, The Merchant of Venice

Outstanding Costume Design
winner Tim Chappel and Lizzy Gardiner, Priscilla Queen of the Desert: The Musical
Desmond Heeley, The Importance of Being Earnest
Ann Hould-Ward, A Free Man of Color
Martin Pakledinaz, Anything Goes
Ann Roth, The Book of Mormon
Paloma Young, Peter and the Starcatcher

Outstanding Lighting Design
winner David Lander, Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo
Jean Kalman, John Gabriel Borkman
R. Lee Kennedy, See Rock City & Other Destinations
Laura Mroczkowski, Spy Garbo
Ben Stanton, The Whipping Man
David Weiner, A Small Fire

Outstanding Sound Design in a Musical
winner Brian Ronan, Anything Goes
Lindsay Jones, The Burnt Part Boys
Michael Rasbury, Hello Again
Brian Ronan, The Book of Mormon
Jon Weston, In Transit

Outstanding Sound Design in a Play
winner Acme Sound Partners and Cricket S. Myers, Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo
Acme Sound Partners, The Merchant of Venice
Ian Dickinson, John Gabriel Borkman
Brett Jarvis, Baby Universe
Bray Poor, Wings
Eric Shimelonis, The Hallway Trilogy

Outstanding Solo Performance
winner John Leguizamo, Ghetto Klown
Daniel Beaty, Through the Night
Mike Birbiglia, Mike Birbiglia’s My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend
Juliette Jeffers, Batman and Robin in the Boogie Down
Colin Quinn, Colin Quinn Long Story Short
Joanna Tope, The Promise

Unique Theatrical Experience
winner Sleep No More
Being Harold Pinter
Circus Incognitus
Gatz
Play Dead
Room 17B

What Do You Think of the 2011 Tony Award Nominees?

The 2011 Tony Award nominees have been announced. So what do you think? You gonna tune in to the ceremony on June 12 to see who wins?

Best Musical
The Book of Mormon
Catch Me If You Can
The Scottsboro Boys
Sister Act

Best Play
Good People
Jerusalem
The Motherf**ker with the Hat
War Horse 

Best Book of a Musical
Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson Alex Timbers
The Book of Mormon Trey Parker, Robert Lopez and Matt Stone
The Scottsboro Boys David Thompson
Sister Act Cheri Steinkellner, Bill Steinkellner and Douglas Carter Beane

Best Original Score (Music and/or Lyrics) Written for the Theatre
The Book of Mormon Music & Lyrics: Trey Parker, Robert Lopez and Matt Stone
The Scottsboro Boys Music & Lyrics: John Kander and Fred Ebb
Sister Act Music: Alan Menken, Lyrics: Glenn Slater
Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown Music & Lyrics: David Yazbek

Best Revival of a Play
Arcadia
The Importance of Being Earnest
The Merchant of Venice
The Normal Heart

Best Revival of a Musical
Anything Goes
How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play
Brian Bedford The Importance of Being Earnest
Bobby Cannavale The Motherf**ker with the Hat
Joe Mantello The Normal Heart
Al Pacino The Merchant of Venice
Mark Rylance Jerusalem

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play
Nina Arianda Born Yesterday
Frances McDormand Good People
Lily Rabe The Merchant of Venice
Vanessa Redgrave Driving Miss Daisy
Hannah Yelland Brief Encounter

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical
Norbert Leo Butz Catch Me If You Can
Josh Gad The Book of Mormon
Joshua Henry The Scottsboro Boys
Andrew Rannells The Book of Mormon
Tony Sheldon Priscilla Queen of the Desert

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical
Sutton Foster Anything Goes
Beth Leavel Baby It’s You!
Patina Miller Sister Act
Donna Murphy The People in the Picture

Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play
Mackenzie Crook Jerusalem
Billy Crudup Arcadia
John Benjamin Hickey The Normal Heart
Arian Moayed Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo
Yul Vázquez The Motherf**ker with the Hat

Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play
Ellen Barkin The Normal Heart
Edie Falco The House of Blue Leaves
Judith Light Lombardi
Joanna Lumley La Bête
Elizabeth Rodriguez The Motherf**ker with the Hat

Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical
Colman Domingo The Scottsboro Boys
Adam Godley Anything Goes
John Larroquette How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying
Forrest McClendon The Scottsboro Boys
Rory O’Malley The Book of Mormon

Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical
Laura Benanti Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown
Tammy Blanchard How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying
Victoria Clark Sister Act
Nikki M. James The Book of Mormon
Patti LuPone Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown

Best Direction of a Play
Marianne Elliott and Tom Morris War Horse
Joel Grey & George C. Wolfe The Normal Heart
Anna D. Shapiro The Motherf**ker with the Hat
Daniel Sullivan The Merchant of Venice

Best Direction of a Musical
Rob Ashford How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying
Kathleen Marshall Anything Goes
Casey Nicholaw and Trey Parker The Book of Mormon
Susan Stroman The Scottsboro Boys

Best Choreography
Rob Ashford How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying
Kathleen Marshall Anything Goes
Casey Nicholaw The Book of Mormon
Susan Stroman The Scottsboro Boys

Best Orchestrations
Doug Besterman How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying
Larry Hochman The Scottsboro Boys
Larry Hochman and Stephen Oremus The Book of Mormon
Marc Shaiman & Larry Blank Catch Me If You Can

Best Scenic Design of a Play
Todd Rosenthal The Motherf**ker with the Hat
Rae Smith War Horse
Ultz Jerusalem
Mark Wendland The Merchant of Venice

Best Scenic Design of a Musical
Beowulf Boritt The Scottsboro Boys
Derek McLane Anything Goes
Scott Pask The Book of Mormon
Donyale Werle Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson

Best Costume Design of a Play
Jess Goldstein The Merchant of Venice
Desmond Heeley The Importance of Being Earnest
Mark Thompson La Bête
Catherine Zuber Born Yesterday

Best Costume Design of a Musical
Tim Chappel & Lizzy Gardiner Priscilla Queen of the Desert
Martin Pakledinaz Anything Goes
Ann Roth The Book of Mormon
Catherine Zuber How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying

Best Lighting Design of a Play
Paule Constable War Horse
David Lander Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo
Kenneth Posner The Merchant of Venice
Mimi Jordan Sherin Jerusalem

Best Lighting Design of a Musical
Ken Billington The Scottsboro Boys
Howell Binkley How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying
Peter Kaczorowski Anything Goes
Brian MacDevitt The Book of Mormon

Best Sound Design of a Play
Acme Sound Partners & Cricket S. Myers Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo
Simon Baker Brief Encounter
Ian Dickinson Autograph Jerusalem
Christopher Shutt War Horse

Best Sound Design of a Musical
Peter Hylenski The Scottsboro Boys
Steve Canyon Kennedy Catch Me If You Can
Brian Ronan Anything Goes
Brian Ronan The Book of Mormon

Special Tony Award® for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre
Athol Fugard
Philip J. Smith

Regional Theatre Tony Award®
Lookingglass Theatre Company (Chicago, Ill.)

Isabelle Stevenson Award
Eve Ensler

Special Tony Award
Handspring Puppet Company

Tony Honors for Excellence in the Theatre
William Berloni
The Drama Book Shop
Sharon Jensen and Alliance for Inclusion in the Arts

Hurry Up and See Some Shows…Closing Soon on Broadway…

January usually marks the ending of many a Broadway show, but this season has more than the usual number of closings. Some have celebrated long runs but a few literally just opened; either way, if you were hoping to catch any of these, get moving!


The Scottsboro Boys

Closes Dec 12
Get tickets Get Tickets


Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson

Closes Jan 2
Get tickets Get Tickets


Fela!

Closes Jan 2
Get tickets Get Tickets


West Side Story

Closes Jan 2
Get tickets Get Tickets


Promises, Promises

Closes Jan 2
Get tickets Get Tickets


Elf

Closes Jan 2
Get tickets Get Tickets


In the Heights

Closes Jan 9
Get tickets Get Tickets


A Little Night Music

Closes Jan 9
Get tickets Get Tickets


Next to Normal

Closes Jan 16
Get tickets Get Tickets


Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown

Closes Jan 23
Get tickets Get Tickets

And if you’re looking for gift suggestions for the Broadway musical lover in your life, be sure to check out our holiday gift guide. Happy holidays everyone!

The reviews for Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown are in …

Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown opened on Broadway last night … and ouch. It seems the more known entities a production has, the more willing the press is to slaughter it in reviews. Like The Addams Family, which was similarly panned after opening, critics found the material simply didn’t live up to its potential and universally bemoaned that a cast and creative team so good could have failed so entirely. Scott gets lost in the lead role, LuPone has poor material to work with, Mitchell gets the worst songs … only Laura Benanti seems to have been worthy of anyone’s praise – finding oodles of comedy in the role Pepa. Jeffrey Lane seemed fearful to change anything from the screenplay and the result is a weak copy with “latin Muzak” songs plugged in, accompanied by ADHD-inducing stage effects and projections. But as Promises, Promises and The Addams Family have proved, bad reviews don’t necessarily mean bad box office results…and with names like these, the show just might survive beyond such a massive press slaughter.

Here are the critical reviews:

The New York Times

Yes, attention-deficit disorder, the plague of American schoolchildren, has now claimed one of Broadway’s own. Packed with talent and creativity, and a cast and crew bristling with Tony Awards, “Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown” is nonetheless a sad casualty of its own wandering mind. Directed by Bartlett Sher (who did so beautifully by “South Pacific”), with a book by Jeffrey Lane and songs by David Yazbek, this tale of mad love in swinging 1980s Madrid feels hopelessly distracted from beginning to end. It keeps changing directions the way a teenage girl changes clothes before a first date. Read the full review

New York Post

Admittedly, the film hasn’t aged well, and Lane should have followed its stylish, oddball spirit rather than its letter. As it is, the biggest change is Ivan’s increased presence, which is a terrible decision. This thing is called “Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown” for good reason. Luckily, the show also has serious assets. Chief among them is Benanti, who brings the slightly dim, skimpily dressed Candela to outrageous, hilarious life. Benanti milks the lamest lines to the max, whips up laughs out of thin air and slays with a song, “Model Behavior,” that consists of a series of frantic phone messages delivered at lightning speed. Read the full review

Backstage

It took me a while to understand my disappointment in Lincoln Center Theater’s musical adaptation of Pedro Almodóvar’s 1988 film “Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown,” now at the spectacularly restored Belasco Theatre. There had been much to enjoy: Jeffrey Lane’s frequently funny book, David Yazbek’s perfectly professional Latin-infused songs, a stellar cast at the top of its game, and Bartlett Sher’s fluid staging that combines with a highly imaginative physical production to capture Almodóvar’s idiosyncratic visual style and editing rhythms. Yet the show hadn’t jelled. Eventually, a light dawned. “Women” is what composer Mary Rodgers calls a “Why?” musical. It has no compelling reason to sing; it’s just the original property with songs dropped in. Read the full review

Associated Press

Almodovar’s movie — a Spanish-language masterpiece that was in part a homage to the screwball American comedies of the 1930s and 1940s — has now been adapted for the American stage with non-Spanish actors using Spanish accents. That’s a lot of filtering — even with the filmmaker’s blessing and advice. It seems as though the cast is working from a faded copy of Almodovar’s singular vision, like a photocopy of a photocopy that has lost its crispness. That’s not to say there aren’t some pretty songs by David Yazbek (“The Full Monty,” ”Dirty Rotten Scoundrels”), among them Scott’s salty-sweet “Lovesick,” LuPone’s mournful ode “Invisible” and Mitchell’s velvety-smooth “Microphone.” Read the full review

USA Today

As the show’s central neurotic, Sherie Rene Scott inspires neither laughter nor empathy. Scott plays Ivan’s mistress, Pepa, whose search for him after he ends their affair propels the plot; her dry manner only emphasizes the hollowness of the character as defined here. No one is helped by Yazbek’s songs, which sound like Latin-flavored Muzak. LuPone’s Invisible follows a monologue that becomes, in her hands, the show’s dramatic high point. You half-expect her to launch into one of her showstopping arias, but all she gets is a loungey trifle. Read the full review

Variety

The recipe for gazpacho is scrawled large across the curtain at Lincoln Center Theater’s “Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown.” Like the dish in question, the new Almodovarsical is refreshing, peppery and palate-cleansing, but it is still, in the end, cold tomato soup — invigorating and highly spiced, but not satisfying enough for a full meal or a full evening’s entertainment. Tuner is blessed with some delicious performances and any number of items of interest, but the result can be summed up as women (and men) on the verge of a coherent musical. Read the full review

Talkin’ Broadway

The only performer allowed to have legitimate fun, and thus the only one who’s any fun to watch, is Laura Benanti… Whether trying to get Pepa on the phone (in an epic, pointless number called “Model Behavior”), vamping a couple of prying detectives, or even just absorbing the effects of that drugged soup, Benanti alone balances the joy of living with the aggravations of daily life. In doing so, she embodies Almodóvar far better than anyone else involved. The delight Benanti takes in being oblivious to the crumbling world around her is precisely the quality every character needs to have, but that Lane and Yazbek’s writing essentially prevent. In the goopy gazpacho of this musical Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, Benanti is both the sugar and the spice. Read the full review

Washington Post

In the rapid-fire patter of the song “Model Behavior,” Benanti scampers across the stage like a scandalized squirrel, dashing from phone to phone and contemplating the magnitude of her carnal folly. It’s the one interlude in which the musical, featuring such other solid Broadway citizens as Patti LuPone, Brian Stokes Mitchell and Sherie Rene Scott, fully lives up to its namesake, the breakout 1988 film extolling womanhood in extremis that put Almodóvar’s cinematic flair on display. Much of the rest of the time, the show — directed by Broadway whiz Bartlett Sher (“South Pacific”) — resorts to flashy projections and blatantly stagy gimmicks to shore up the weaknesses in character development and musical numbers. Read the full review

Wall Street Journal

To turn so fully realized a work of cinematic art into an equally successful musical demands that it be subjected to a complete and thoroughgoing imaginative transformation. Otherwise, the new version will seem superfluous—which is what’s wrong with the stage version of “Women on the Verge.” Instead of breaking new creative ground, Mr. Lane’s book tracks Mr. Almodóvar’s setting and plot slavishly, salting his script with unfunny one- and two-liners that serve only to dilute the crisp, elliptical dialogue of the screenplay. As for Mr. Yazbek’s songs, they’re as forgettable as Muzak in a noisy restaurant, with dull music and even duller lyrics (“Tell me when did the wires get crossed / Tell me where the connection was lost”). Read the full review

Did you see the show? What did you think?

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.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 26,022 other followers