Broadway Week Discounts!

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Broadway Week, the annual two-for-one ticket promo-a-ganza returns September 5-8. Tickets are now on sale at

This year’s participating shows are:
An American in Paris
Beautiful: The Carole King Musical
Chicago The Musical
Cirque du Soleil Paramour
The Color Purple
Fiddler on the Roof
Holiday Inn
The Humans
Jersey Boys
Kinky Boots
The Lion King
Matilda the Musical
On Your Feet! 
The Phantom of the Opera
School of Rock
Something Rotten!

What are you waiting for?! Grab a friend and see a Broadway show for cheap!

Broadway Carols for a Cure Vol. 21: Album Review

Carols for a Cure Volume 21

Since 1999, Broadway Cares/Equity Fight Aids has released 21 editions of its annual Broadway Carols for a Cure album. In keeping with the organization’s mission, the proceeds of Carols for a Cure (in addition to BCEFA’s other fundraisers like Broadway Bares) go to the fighting of AIDS and the support of people living with AIDS in America. The series is known for featuring the casts of popular Broadway musicals performing their own exciting interpretations of holiday songs. Featuring the casts of Hadestown, Mean Girls, and Frozen, this year’s Carols for a Cure Volume 21 is no exception.

The album opens with “Carol of the Bells” by the cast of Beetlejuice, which starts out traditional enough before an interruption from Alex Brightman’s title character turns it into a much more characteristic Danny Elfman-style romp (with a “Day-O” interpolation for good measure), before proceeding to include tracks like Barbra Streisand’s infamous “Jingle Bells” interpretation by the cast of Tootsie, and an all Yiddish performance of “Drey Dreydele” by the cast of Fiddler on the Roof.

Each cast brings the flavor of their respective shows to their selections (the cast of Temptations musical Ain’t Too Proud brings straight up soul to “O Come All Ye Faithful”, while the cast of Oklahoma! brings a full country vibe to “Auld Lange Syne”), as well as an expected sense of theatricality (like the spoken intro in Waitresshilarious “Secret Santa”).

Standouts here include the all-instrumental “A Prayer for Peace” by the Local 802 AFM Theater Musicians (who recently started an informational “Musicians of Broadway” website), and an irresistible jazzy cover of “What Child Is This?” from the cast of Hamilton. The latter trades the show’s signature rapping for beautiful piano solos but does it just as excellently, saving the rapping for another Lin-Manuel Miranda created show, Freestyle Love Supreme who flex their lyrical acrobatics on a track called “Christmas Tree”. The Dear Evan Hansen cast’s beautiful cover of “Hine Ma Tov/Together” uses that show’s own song “Only Us” as a jumping off point, a brilliant move that will make fans of the show instantly happy. The most recent winner of the Best Musical Tony Award, Hadestown, is saved for last here…and does not disappoint, with the cast’s haunting acapella interpretation of the lesser known “Midwintersong”.

The 18-song collection is a winning combination of diverse voices and interesting selections, whether they’re fun interpretations of instantly recognizable classics (like Mean Girls’ gender-swapped “Baby it’s Cold Outside”) or exciting arrangements of less-covered songs (like the Broadway Baby Mamas’ “Coventry Carol”). Ultimately, Broadway’s Carols for a Cure Volume 21 is another excellent addition to the holiday music canon from BCEFA’s enduring series, well worth its charity-bound $25 cost.

Broadway’s Carols for a Cure Volume 21 (as well as the other 20 volumes) can be purchased exclusively on BCEFA’s official website, or by phone at 212-840-0770.


AWARDS SEASON 2018: Drama Desk Award Nominees

The Drama Desk Award noms are in, and unlike some years, most everyone seems to be in agreement about the winning shows for this season. SpongeBob SquarePants and Mean Girls are once again at the head of the pack, but the most love was given to this year’s revival of Carousel.

Join the conversation, bookmark our awards page, subscribe to the blog, and follow us on Facebook and Twitter as we post the winners, and stay tuned for the Tony Award nominees, which will be announced Tuesday, May 1.

Here are the 2018 Drama Desk Award Nominees:

Outstanding Musical
Desperate Measures
Mean Girls
Old Stock: A Refugee Love Story
SpongeBob SquarePants

Outstanding Play
Mary Jane
Miles for Mary
People, Places & Things
School Girls; Or, The African Mean Girls Play

Outstanding Revival of a Musical
Amerike-The Golden Land
My Fair Lady
Once on This Island
Pacific Overtures

Outstanding Revival of a Play
Angels in America
Hindle Wakes
In the Blood
Three Tall Women

Outstanding Actor in a Play
Johnny Flynn, Hangmen
Andrew Garfield, Angels in America
Tom Hollander, Travesties
James McArdle, Angels in America
Paul Sparks, At Home at the Zoo

Outstanding Actress in a Play
Carrie Coon, Mary Jane
Denise Gough, People, Places & Things
Glenda Jackson, Three Tall Women
Laurie Metcalf, Three Tall Women
Billie Piper, Yerma

Outstanding Actor in a Musical
Jelani Alladin, Frozen
Harry Hadden-Paton, My Fair Lady
Joshua Henry, Carousel
Evan Ruggiero, Bastard Jones
Ethan Slater, SpongeBob SquarePants

Outstanding Actress in a Musical
Gizel Jiménez, Miss You Like Hell
LaChanze, Summer
Jessie Mueller, Carousel
Ashley Park, KPOP
Daphne Rubin-Vega, Miss You Like Hell

Outstanding Featured Actor in a Play
Anthony Boyle, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
Ben Edelman, Admissions

Brian Tyree Henry, Lobby Hero
Nathan Lane, Angels in America
David Morse, The Iceman Cometh
Gregg Mozgala, Cost of Living

Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play
Jocelyn Bioh, In the Blood
Jamie Brewer, Amy and the Orphans
Barbara Marten, People, Places & Things
Deirdre O’Connell, Fulfillment Center
Constance Shulman, Bobbie Clearly

Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical
Damon Daunno, The Lucky Ones
Alexander Gemignani, Carousel
Grey Henson, Mean Girls
Gavin Lee, SpongeBob SquarePants
Tony Yazbeck, Prince of Broadway

Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical
Lindsay Mendez, Carousel
Kenita R. Miller, Once on This Island
Ashley Park, Mean Girls
Diana Rigg, My Fair Lady
Kate Rockwell, Mean Girls

Outstanding Director of a Play
Marianne Elliott, Angels in America
Jeremy Herrin, People, Places & Things
Joe Mantello, Three Tall Women
Lila Neugebauer, Miles for Mary
Simon Stone, Yerma
John Tiffany, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Outstanding Director of a Musical
Christian Barry, Old Stock: A Refugee Love Story
Teddy Bergman, KPOP
Jack O’Brien, Carousel
Tina Landau, SpongeBob SquarePants
Bartlett Sher, My Fair Lady

The LaDuca Award for Outstanding Choreography
Camille A. Brown, Once on This Island
Christopher Gattelli, SpongeBob SquarePants
Casey Nicholaw, Mean Girls
Justin Peck, Carousel
Nejla Yatkin, The Boy Who Danced on Air

Outstanding Music
The Bengsons, The Lucky Ones
Ben Caplan, Christian Barry, Old Stock: A Refugee Love Story
David Friedman, Desperate Measures
Erin McKeown, Miss You Like Hell
Helen Park, Max Vernon, KPOP

Outstanding Lyrics
Nell Benjamin, Mean Girls
Quiara Alegría Hudes/Erin McKeown, Miss You Like Hell
Peter Kellogg, Desperate Measures
Helen Park, Max Vernon, KPOP

Outstanding Book of a Musical
Tina Fey, Mean Girls
Kyle Jarrow, SpongeBob SquarePants
Peter Kellogg, Desperate Measures
Hannah Moscovitch, Old Stock: A Refugee Love Story

Outstanding Orchestrations
Tom Kitt, SpongeBob SquarePants
Annmarie Milazzo and Michael Starobin (John Bertles and Bash the Trash, found instrument design) Once on This Island
Charlie Rosen, Erin McKeown, Miss You Like Hell
Jonathan Tunick, Pacific Overtures
Jonathan Tunick, Carousel

Outstanding Music in a Play
Imogen Heap, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
Justin Hicks, Mlima’s Tale
Amatus Karim-Ali, The Homecoming Queen
Justin Levine, A MidSummer Night’s Dream
Adrian Sutton, Angels in America

The Hudson Scenic Studio Award for Outstanding Set Design of a Play
Miriam Buether, Three Tall Women
Bunny Christie, People, Places & Things
Lizzie Clachan, Yerma
Maruti Evans, Kill Move Paradise
Louisa Thompson, In the Blood

Outstanding Set Design for a Musical
Louisa Adamson, Christian Barry, Old Stock: A Refugee Love Story
Beowulf Boritt, Prince of Broadway
Dane Laffrey, Once on This Island
Santo Loquasto, Carousel
David Zinn, SpongeBob SquarePants

Outstanding Costume Design for a Play
Dede M. Ayite, School Girls; Or, The African Mean Girls Play
Jonathan Fensom, Farinelli and the King
Katrina Lindsay, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
Ann Roth, Three Tall Women
Emilio Sosa, Venus

Outstanding Costume Design for a Musical
Gregg Barnes, Mean Girls
Clint Ramos, Once on This Island
David Zinn, SpongeBob SquarePants
Catherine Zuber, My Fair Lady
Dede M. Ayite, Bella: An American Tall Tale

Outstanding Lighting Design for a Play
Neil Austin, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
Natasha Chivers, 1984
Alan C. Edwards, Kill Move Paradise
Paul Gallo, Three Tall Women
Paul Russell, Farinelli and the King

Outstanding Lighting Design for a Musical
Louisa Adamson, Christian Barry, Old Stock: A Refugee Love Story
Amith Chandrashaker, The Lucky Ones
Jules Fisher, Peggy Eisenhauer, Once on This Island
Brian MacDevitt, Carousel
Jeanette Oi-Suk Yew, KPOP

Outstanding Projection Design
David Bengali, Van Gogh’s Ear
Andrezj Goulding, People, Places & Things
Peter Nigrini, SpongeBob SquarePants
Finn Ross and Adam Young, Mean Girls
Finn Ross and Ash J. Woodward, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Outstanding Sound Design in a Play
Brendan Aanes, Balls
Gareth Fry, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
Tom Gibbons, 1984
Tom Gibbons, People, Places & Things
Stefan Gregory, Yerma
Palmer Hefferan, Today is My Birthday

Outstanding Sound Design in a Musical
Kai Harada, The Band’s Visit
Scott Lehrer, Carousel
Will Pickens, KPOP
Dan Moses Schreier, Pacific Overtures

Outstanding Wig and Hair
Carole Hancock, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
Campbell Young Associates, Farinelli and the King
Cookie Jordan, School Girls, or The African Play
Charles G. LaPointe, SpongeBob SquarePants
Josh Marquette, Mean Girls

Outstanding Solo Performance
Billy Crudup, Harry Clarke
David Greenspan, Strange Interlude
Jon Levin, A Hunger Artist
Lesli Margherita, Who’s Holiday!
Sophie Melville, Iphigenia in Splott

The Chase Award for Unique Theatrical Experience
Derren Brown: Secret
Master, Foundry Theatre
Say Something Bunny!

Outstanding Fight Choreography
J. David Brimmer, Is God Is
Steve Rankin, Carousel
Unkle Dave’s Fight House, Oedipus El Rey

Outstanding Puppet Design
Finn Caldwell, Nick Barnes, Angels in America
Michael Curry, Frozen
Charlie Kanev, Sarah Nolan, and Jonathan Levin, A Hunger Artist
Vandy Wood, The Artificial Jungle


To Sean Carvajal and Edi Gathegi of Jesus Hopped the A Train ­­ whose last-minute entrances into the Signature production of this powerful play ensured it had a happy real-life ending

Ensemble Award: To Nabiyah Be, MaameYaa Boafo, Paige Gilbert, Zainab Jah, Nike Kadri, Abena Mensah-Bonsu, Mirirai Sithole, and Myra Lucretia Taylor of School Girls; Or, The African Play, whose characters learn the facts of life but whose portrayers taught us all a thing or two about the way things are.

Sam Norkin Award: To Juan Castano, whose varied performances this season in Oedipus El Rey, A Parallelogram, and Transfers not only make a complex statement about American life but also indicate great things to come for this talented performer.

A Buzzworthy on Broadway News Roundup

It’s been an exciting couple of months on Broadway with more excitement on the way —

A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder closed after a hugely successful run and Dames at Sea closed after a very paltry run, plus lots of fantastic shows opened on broadway to rave reviews! There have also been lots of announcements about shows that are headed to the Great White Way soon, including Cats and Hello Dolly, starring Bette Midler. Here’s what’s on the Broadway docket:

Previews begin Feb 9 Previews begin Feb 9 Previews begin Mar 7 Previews begin Mar 14 Previews begin Mar 24 Previews begin Mar 25 Previews begin Mar 31 Previews begin Mar 19 Previews begin July 14  Previews begin Sep 1  Previews begin Mar 13

Musicals on the little screen keep getting better and better

NBC’s live televised musicals have continued going strong, with The Wiz garnering much more praise than their previous televised shows. Next up: Grease on Sunday, January 31, starring a lot of Broadway folks (finally!), followed by Hairspray later this year.

A new Broadway theatre?

Rumors are flying that there may be an 18th Broadway theatre in the works. Michael Riedel reported that the “Shuberts plan to build a state-of-the-art, 1,500-seat Broadway theater between West 45th and 46th streets – sandwiched between Frankie & Johnnie’s steakhouse and the Shuberts’ Imperial Theatre.” However, Deadline’s Jeremy Gerard said: “A new Broadway theater, at a cost of $150 million? Ehhhh, I don’t think so.” If he’s right, it may just be a dream for the time being…but what a lovely dream!

Ticket discounts galore!

The dead of winter always brings lots in the way of ticket discounts. We’re now in the midst of the bi-annual Broadway Week, where you can get 2-for-1 tickets for lots of the big shows from now until Feb 5. And Kids Night on Broadway, where anyone under the age of 18 can go see Broadway shows for FREE is Feb 9. Hamilton tried to offer an online lottery and broke the internet, but you can still get lottery or rush tickets for it and many other shows at the box office.

Theatre geeks assemble at the first ever BroadwayCon

Finally, we’re pleased to announce that tomorrow we’ll be there to help kick off the first ever BroadwayCon, a new conference to help celebrate, geek out and talk about everything Broadway. They’ll be panels, workshops, autographs, Q&A sessions, performances, meet & greets, keynotes and VIP photos and we can’t wait. A few day passes are still available if you wanna join in the fun, otherwise be sure to follow us on Twitter and Facebook for full coverage of the conference!

Buzzworthy on Broadway This Week (x2)

Usually every week we round up the biggest news items and gossip into one big post so you can be sure you’re fully in the know. We took a small vacation last week, so here’s a giant two-week round-up for you. Follow us on Twitter or Facebook for more to-the-minute updates or subscribe to the blog to ensure you get the weekly buzz!

Photo by Kevin Parry
Photo by Kevin Parry

Deaf West Theatre’s Spring Awakening is officially headed to Broadway!

We now have official confirmation that Spring Awakening will get a Broadway revival. The Deaf West Theatre incarnation of the Tony-winning musical will begin performances at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre on September 8, open on September 27, and run only until January 9. Just like Deaf West’s Big River, this production will feature multiple abilitied actors signing and singing the songs. This is a truly limited run, as another show is slotted to begin performances at the theatre as soon as Spring Awakening closes, so snap up your tickets now!

Photo by Sara Krulwich/The New York Times
Photo by Sara Krulwich/The New York Times

It Shoulda Been You to close on Aug 9

Catch it before it’s too late! It Shoulda Been You just announced a closing date of August 9. At the time of closing, the new musical, which received no 2015 Tony nominations, will have played 31 previews and 135 regular performances.

Photo credit unknown

Jessica Hecht and Adam Kantor join the cast of Fiddler

Jessica Hecht (The Assembled Parties, Sideways) and Adam Kantor (Rent, Next to Normal, The Last Five Years) join Danny Burstein in the upcoming Broadway revival cast of Fiddler on the Roof! Performances will begin on November 12 at the Broadway Theatre. Opening night is set for December 17.

Photo by Joan Marcus
Photo by Joan Marcus

Bryce Pinkham returns to A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder

Bryce Pinkham will be returning as Monty Navarro, the role he originated, in A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder on Broadway starting July 28.

Photo by Matthew Murphy
Photo by Matthew Murphy

The Hunchback of Notre Dame to get a cast album

Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame, which played at San Diego’s La Jolla Playhouse and New Jersey’s Paper Mill may not be officially Broadway bound yet, but it will get a cast album! The American premiere studio recording will be released on November 20, featuring Michael Arden as Quasimodo, Patrick Page as Dom Claude Frollo, Ciara Renée as Esmeralda, Andrew Samonsky as Captain Phoebus de Martin, Erik Liberman as Clopin Trouillefou and more.

Credit: Allstar/UNITED ARTISTS/Sportsphoto Ltd./Allstar
Photo by Allstar/UNITED ARTISTS/Sportsphoto Ltd./Allstar

And the rumors AREN’T true

Sadly no James Bond musical is on the horizon. According to an official statement: “Danjaq and MGM jointly control all live stage rights in the Bond franchise, and therefore no James Bond stage show may be produced without their permission.”

Photos by Disney, Signature Theatre and Johan Persson
Photos by Disney, Signature Theatre and Johan Persson

But there are a few other shows in the works that might soon be Broadway-bound…

John Tiffany and Enda Walsh (Once) are setting out to create a stage-version of Disney’s Pinocchio, based on Carlo Collidi’s The Adventures Of Pinocchio, and the 1940 Disney animated film. The Daily Mail reports that a workshop will take place this year with hopes to premiere at the National in London in 2016. Let’s hope Broadway is next on the list.

News has also been spreading about the new Sheryl Crow musical Diner for years now, and after making its world premiere at Virginia’s Signature Theatre last holiday season, the production will now play December 2 through December 27 at the Delaware Theatre Company in Wilmington, Delaware. This new stop is likely a final try-out before heading to the Great White Way…

The stage adaptation of Shakespeare in Love will cross the pond after playing London’s West End, but it isn’t heading to New York just yet. The play by Tony winner Lee Hall will be part of Ontario’s 2016 Stratford Festival. Rumor has it producers have been trying to snatch up a Broadway theatre for a while now. Looks like we may have to wait just a little longer before seeing it in New York.

And finally:

Don’t try to charge your phone on a Broadway set or send a text while Patti Lupone is on stage. Turn your cell phones off, people, and enjoy the show!

The Reviews for Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill are In…


Few shows garner overwhelming critical applause like Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill, and few performers command undeniable respect and admiration like Audra McDonald.  The musical, now playing at Circle in the Square, shows Billie Holiday (McDonald) in a fictional final concert near the end of her hard-fought, tiresome life.  The glory of this production rests in Audra McDonald’s performance; it’s not only that she completely captures Holiday’s late-life sound and spirit, it’s also that some critics admit to once questioning her casting in the piece!  Rest easy, those critics eat their words in the very same sentence.  McDonald is, without a doubt, one of the most revered and captivating Broadway stars, and any doubters need only snatch tickets to this thoughtfully-staged and unforgettably-performed musical to experience the majesty for themselves.


“When Billie Holiday sang, history attests, her audiences tended to clam up. Even in the bustling nightclubs where she mostly performed, Holiday often insisted on total quiet before she would open her mouth. The quiet usually held, as one of the great singers of the last century turned jazz songs and standards into searching, and searing, portraits of life and love gone wrong that cast a shimmering spell. When Audra McDonald takes to the stage and pours her heart into her voice in Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill, a similar sustained hush settles over the Circle in the Square, where the show opened on Broadway on Sunday night for a limited run. With her plush, classically trained soprano scaled down to jazz-soloist size, Ms. McDonald sings selections from Holiday’s repertoire with sensitive musicianship and rich seams of feeling that command rapt admiration.”

Read the Full Review


Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill, Lanie Robertson’s elegiac lament for the jazz singer Billie Holiday at the end of her broken-down life, has been knocking around forever in regional theaters. But in all those years, this intimate bio-musical was waiting for a great singer like Audra McDonald to reach out and bring this tragic figure back from the grave. There’s an uncanny immediacy to this production, which helmer Lonny Price has shrewdly staged in the round, with theater patrons sitting and sipping drinks at little club tables while bearing witness to the final days of a lost Lady. The ungainly stage at Broadway’s Circle in the Square has proved an inspiration for set designer James Noone to recreate Emerson’s Bar & Grill, the seedy joint in North Philadelphia where Billie Holiday played one of her last club dates in 1959, three months before she died.”

Read the Full Review


“Audra McDonald has done it again. In Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill, a new Broadway drama imagining a late-in-life concert by the great jazz diva Billie Holiday, McDonald delivers a mesmerizing performance that is not so much an act of mimicry or even impersonation as it is a transformation. A record-breaking sixth Tony Award seems like a foregone conclusion. While McDonald’s vocal inflections can seem a tad overstudied in the show’s opening number, ”I Wonder Where Our Love Has Gone,” as she spits out breaths at the end of each musical phrase, the actress quickly settles into the role and erases all memory of her operatic belter’s soprano and her naturally bubbly personality. In their place: a voice both smoky and breathy, and a demeanor that suggests a hard-lived life in the first half of the 20th century. ”

Read the Full Review


“Only a fool would second-guess the transformative power of Audra McDonald, but when it was announced that this five-time Tony Award-winner was going to portray Billie Holiday in the Broadway production of Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill, I must confess that I had my qualms. When one recalls Holiday’s sublimely ruined sound at the end of her career, the period in which Lanie Robertson’s concert drama is set, one doesn’t think of McDonald’s soaring, Juilliard-burnished soprano, a gold medal voice still in its athletic prime.”

Read the Full Review


“It’s Audra McDonald’s world—we’re all still just living in it. For proof, swing by the Circle in the Square, where the reigning Queen of the Rialto holds court in Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill, a late addition to this season’s Broadway calendar that showcases McDonald as jazz singer Billie Holiday. Over 90 minutes, McDonald interprets more than a dozen of the combustible artist’s recordings, among them “God Bless the Child” and “Strange Fruit.” The setting, a theatrical conceit, is a small bar in South Philly during spring 1959, a few months before Holiday will succumb to cirrhosis and heart failure.”

Read the Full Review


“Audra McDonald’s luxurious soprano with thoughtful lyric phrasing may not be the first voice that comes to mind when drawing comparisons to the emotionally thick, laconic blues of Billie Holiday. But then, Lanie Robertson’s 1986 theatre piece, Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill, despite its inclusion of over a dozen Holiday-recorded standards in a 90-minute performance, is not merely a re-creation concert. It’s a drama about how a great artist’s self-destruction permeates into her art, and for that, an actor of McDonald’s high caliber is certainly required. Robertson’s inspiration for the play came when a boyfriend described for her a 1959 Holiday performance he attended in a little North Philadelphia dive, roughly three months before her death. It had been twelve years since she served jail time for drug possession and though she had sung at Carnegie Hall and appeared on Broadway since then, New York City’s refusal to grant her a new cabaret license prevented her from doing what she loved best, singing in Manhattan nightclubs.”

Read the Full Review



The critics are clear, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder is an irresistible delight, despite its grim title and relatively unknown production team.  The musical comedy is based on both a 1907 novel by Roy Horniman and a classic British comedy, “Kind Hearts and Coronets”, starring Alec Guinness.  The compliments come in bunches for this production, with critics heaping praise on Broadway newbies Robert L. Freedman (book and lyrics), Steven Lutvak (music and lyrics), and director Darko Tresnjak.  Onstage, the excellent ensemble is topped with stand-out performances by Bryce Pinkham (Monty Navarro) and Jefferson Mays, expertly playing all eight of the D’Yysquith heirs on Navarro’s chopping block.  The title may be grisly, but this musical comedy is lots of fun and not to be missed — a fitting choice for the whole family, even around the holidays.


“Serial killers may be all the rage on bookshelves and television screens — so ubiquitous, you’d think they made up a major demographic of the world population — but they are comparatively rare in the peppier precincts of musical theater. Now, after a long dry spell, Broadway has a deadly sociopath to call its own. Please give a hearty welcome to Monty Navarro, the conniving killer who helps turn murder most foul into entertainment most merry in the new musical A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder.”

Read the Full Review


“While the source material credited for A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder is Israel Rank, an Edwardian novel by Roy Horniman published in 1907, the show’s key inspiration lies in the film adapted from that book, Kind Hearts and Coronets. That wonderful 1949 Ealing Studios black comedy cast the incomparable Alec Guinness as eight English aristocrats standing in the way of a murderous commoner’s noble birthright. The virtuosic comic turn here belongs to Jefferson Mays, taking on dizzyingly quick changes of costume and characterization with hilarious aplomb. But that’s by no means the sole enticement of this toothsome new musical.”

Read the Full Review


“Many actors would, if you’ll pardon the expression, kill for a great death scene. In A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder, the new musical at the Walter Kerr, Jefferson Mays doesn’t have to draw a drop of blood to get more than a half-dozen of them. Bees, freezing-cold water, a heart attack, a gun, and oh so many more implements of destruction give the actor opportunity after opportunity to expire in spectacular, balcony-baiting fashion — oh, and evoke gales of laughter at the same time. That’s the really important part. In fact, it’s tough to remember another Broadway outing since Martin McDonagh’s The Lieutenant of Inishmore that’s derived so much gleeful entertainment in the hastening of mortality.”

Read the Full Review


“Overkill has seldom been more enjoyable than in A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, a thoroughly delightful and uproarious new Broadway musical about an Edwardian serial killer who could be a well-heeled cousin of Sweeney Todd by way of P.G. Wodehouse’s Jeeves. His name is Monty Navarro (Bryce Pinkham, blessed with a crystalline tenor and the looks of a young Jude Law) and he’ll stop at nothing to avenge his late mother, disinherited by a titled British family for falling in love with the wrong sort. ”My father was ‘Castilian,’ he explains at one point. ‘And worse, a musician.'”

Read the Full Review


“‘For God’s sake, go!’ warns the black-clad chorus at the top of A Gentleman’s Guide To Love And Murder as they advise the more squeamish patrons who might be shocked at the evening’s gory dramatics to leave immediately. Don’t listen to them or you’ll miss a rollicking good time and a smashing Broadway debut for composer/lyricist Steven Lutvak, bookwriter/lyricist Robert L. Freedman and director Darko Tresnjak.”

Read the Full Review

The Reviews for Matilda: The Musical are In…


The critics agree that Matilda: The Musical is an incredibly imaginative delight for both children and adults.  Cleverness and magic abound in this new production, thanks to the direction of Matthew Warchus and the creative songwriting of Tim Minchin, who focus on the power of storytelling and the magic of books — unlike the 1996 movie, this musical is about people, not supernatural abilities. Engaging and entertaining performances make this production irresistible — Milly Shapiro and Bailey Ryon receive praise as two of the four possible Matildas you’ll see, and Bertie Carvel’s cross-dressed Mrs. Trunchbull is both scary and believable as the show’s antagonist.  The overwhelming consensus is that this musical is one of a kind and the best new work in recent memory — plain and simple, it’s not to be missed.


“Rejoice, my theatergoing comrades. The children’s revolution has arrived on these shores, and it is even more glorious than we were promised.  As directed by Matthew Warchus, with a bright, efficient book by Dennis Kelly and addictive songs by Tim Minchin, “Matilda” is as much an edge-of-the-seats nail biter as a season-finale episode of “Homeland”.  Above all it’s an exhilarating tale of empowerment, as told from the perspective of the most powerless group of all. I mean little children.  It’s principally [her] teacher that occupies our Matilda Wormwood, played the night I saw the show by the marvelous Milly Shapiro, who resembles an avenging cherub from a Renaissance day of judgment painting. (The part is played in rotation by three other actresses, Sophia Gennusa, Oona Laurence and Bailey Ryon.) And I promise you have never met a teacher who inspires fear and loathing as commandingly and wittily as Miss Trunchbull, portrayed by the incomparable Bertie Carvel in a performance that breaks the mold of cross-dressing on Broadway, as a fascist on the verge of a nervous breakdown.  The elements of storytelling have been laid out for us from the beginning. When first seen, [designer Rob] Howell’s set is an airy wonderland of large letter-bearing tiles and bookcases. It suggests the endless supply from which Matilda (and vicariously we) can draw to make words, which make sentences, which make stories.  [Songs by] Mr. Minchin deliver plenty of swipes at deserving targets, including parents who make their children their religion, in the opening number, “Miracle.” But he is never merely clever, a restraint that speaks to this musical’s point that intellect doesn’t have to trump emotion. He has written some lyrically expressive charmers for Matilda and Miss Honey, which identify them as soul mates in loneliness.  As for the child performers, who are supplemented by adults portraying children, I mean it as the highest praise when I say they are not adorable. Or aggressively bratty or scene stealing. They occupy most convincingly that anxious state of siege we call childhood.  Mostly “Matilda” exists entirely on its own terms, to serve and to celebrate the story, without the hard-sell tactics that are usually a musical’s lifeblood.  In the current landscape of Broadway…this show [feels] truly revolutionary.”

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“Welcome to the deliriously amusing, malevolent, heartwarming, head-spinning world of “Matilda: The Musical.”  You won’t want to leave.  Thank Roald Dahl, who wrote with such glee about drunk, stupid, lazy, cruel adults and bewilderedly abused, brilliant children, of whom Matilda is the paradigm.  As in London, where the show is a huge hit, ‘Matilda” is directed by Matthew Warchus with songs by Tim Minchin and a book adapted from Dahl by Dennis Kelly.  All are aghast at the girl’s obsession with books, a point nicely emphasized by designer Rob Howell, who has blanketed the front of the Shubert Theatre with letter tiles, looking like a Scrabble player’s hallucination.  Warchus and choreographer Peter Darling have devised “Matilda” as a mad cartoon. In one scene they pile the school children atop one another, their arms extended like some multilimbed god as Miss Trunchbull looks on in contorted fury.  To their great credit, the writers and Warchus have underplayed the telekinetic powers with which Dahl endowed Matilda. One of this show’s many strengths is its reliance on human, not technological, magic.  The ensemble, young and old, boasts terrific performances across the boards. But the true amazement is in the unaffected yet utterly self-composed and irresistible performance of young [Milly] Shapiro; I can only hope the other Matildas are equally enchanting.”

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“The new Broadway musical “Matilda,” based on Roald Dahl’s 1988 children’s fantasy novel, was originally conceived by the Royal Shakespeare Company as family-friendly Christmastime entertainment, not unlike the cheesy and overly sentimental shows that flood New York each holiday season.  But it turned out to be an incredibly intelligent, heartfelt and entertaining work that went on to achieve critical and popular success in London and now arrives on Broadway like a white knight sent to rescue a disappointing season for new musicals.  Singer-songwriter Tim Minchin’s unique and unpredictable score is as character-sensitive and penetrating as it is melodic and memorable.  Matthew Warchus’ (“God of Carnage”) inventive production does not shy away from depicting Matilda’s peers as unashamedly self-indulgent and the world around them as garish and threatening.  Bailey Ryon, who played the role [of Matilda] at the Saturday matinee I attended, gave a nuanced, spunky performance that more than captured the character’s determined spirit and vulnerability.  Bertie Carvel, who was brought over from the London production, gives a delightfully exaggerated performance as the monstrous Miss Trunchbull.”

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“A small army of [children] has invaded Broadway’s Shubert Theatre and, along with an astonishing adult performance by a heretofore unheralded British actor on these shores, Bertie Carvel, they form the captivating cadre of kids in “Matilda,” by some large and tickling measure the most splendiferous new musical of the year.  With a delectably clever score by Tim Minchin and a slyly evocative book by Dennis Kelly, the musical, minted by the Royal Shakespeare Company and adapted from the story by Roald Dahl (of “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” fame), is distinguished by its wonderful look and a caliber of choreography for young people you rarely ever experience.  If Milly Shapiro’s accomplished, confident, well-sung Matilda sets the standard, then any one of this pint-size quartet will make you — and any other grown-up or child who happens to tag along — happy to be a ticket holder.  Director Matthew Warchus, choreographer Peter Darling and set and costume designer Rob Howell conjure a universe of exotic and yet familiar flavors, [and] Carvel’s Miss Trunchbull is as close as you can imagine to a figure who’d swim in your head after consuming a tablespoonful of spoiled mayonnaise.  It’s as immersive and strangely moving — for adults, surely — as any new musical to come along in a while. Minchin, Kelly, Warchus and company have worked an incandescent sort of magic in turning a Broadway theater into a Dahl’s house.”

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The Reviews for A Christmas Story are In…

The critics were all pleasantly surprised to actually enjoy themselves at a Christmas show. Indeed, when all the best elements from the movie were transformed into silliness like kick lines with leg lamps, huge tap numbers involving a bedlam of 9-year-olds and a child who’s tongue is stuck to a flag pole, attempting not only to talk, but to sing, they couldn’t help but get carried away in the fun. Scored perfectly, directed tightly and choreographed brilliantly, even the most critical movie-aficionado and crankiest anti-Christmas Scrooge found “A Christmas Story” an absolute delight.


“You’d have to have a Grinch-size heart not to feel a smile spreading across your face when Luke Spring, a 9-year-old dynamo with feathers for feet, starts tapping his little heart out in “A Christmas Story” … Clad in a sleek black suit, his high-wattage grin beaming into the auditorium, this energetic little charmer raises such a merry clatter with his nimble dancing that it all but brings down the house….“A Christmas Story,” based onthe popular 1983 movie adapted from the writings of the radio personality Jean Shepherd, wins points for being less glitzy and more soft-spoken than the garish, overbearing musical versions of “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” and “Elf.”…Shepherd narrates the stage version in the likable person of Dan Lauria, former star of the similarly nostalgic television series “The Wonder Years.” I found the heavy doses of voice-over in the rather clunky movie to be obtrusive and irritating. Happily, the stage version lightens up a little on the cute, smart-alecky asides…making room for the music and allowing the story mostly to speak for itself. Not that there’s much story to speak of….Mr. Pasek and Mr. Paul have provided a likable, perky score that duly translates all of the major episodes in the story into appropriate musical numbers…But the sequences that make the children in the audience perk up and stop fidgeting are naturally the big dance numbers led by the smaller fry in the cast…They are wonderfully showcased in a couple of fantasy numbers that are the highlights of each act, and are choreographed with invention by Warren Carlyle.”

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“The show that opened Monday at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre is a charming triumph of imagination that director John Rando has infused with utter joy. It’s also a snappy piece of mature songwriting from a pair of guys barely as old as the original 1983 film. The duo, Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, are making their Broadway debuts with a score that is funny, nostalgic, warm and tender…The book by Joseph Robinette honors the film…The cast is led by a multi-talented Johnny Rabe as Ralphie – some performances star Joe West in the role – and a cast of skillful children, who can give the kids over at “Annie” a run for their money. One from the ensemble – 9-year-old tap dancing prodigy Luke Spring – brings the house down during a fantasy scene in a children’s speakeasy. Warren Carlyle’s inspired choreography manages to cut the sweetness with funny tart moments, such as the use of slow motion as a nod to the musical’s roots, or pyramids of people slightly off-kilter or manic elves at a department store…Purists may be upset to miss some film elements – such as Ralphie’s decoder ring – but few will walk away thinking “A Christmas Story” has been dishonored, itself a little Christmas miracle.”

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“No coal in the Christmas stocking for this entertaining family show, which sticks close to its source material while establishing an engaging personality of its own….A cut above the pack, it’s cute, corny, wholesome and sentimental – all basic requirements for family-friendly seasonal stage entertainment. But it also packs ample heart into its wistful glance back to a time when rewards were simpler, communities were closer-knit, and both parental and filial roles were less polluted by the infinite distractions and anxieties of contemporary life….Sturdily adapted by Joseph Robinette, it features a peppy, period-flavored score by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul. With their catchy lyrics and robust melodies, the songs strengthen the characters and situations, dropped in at just the right time to enhance and propel the story….Director John Rando and choreographer Warren Carlyle’s clever use of the dozen talented triple-threat kids in the cast is a winning ingredient. On the surface, Robinette’s work as book writer might appear elementary, but it takes skill to cover every vignette from a movie without merely checking obligatory references off a list…This is an ensemble show rather than a vehicle for star turns, but Lauria’s warmly authoritative presence provides a binding element, and Rabe gives Ralphie irrepressible spirit. Bolton deserves special mention, making Ralphie’s dad a gangly human cartoon, both gruff and affectionate….Unexpectedly, the show pulses with genuine feeling, which should guarantee return engagements.”

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“Don’t expect an exact replica of the movie….The film evokes a certain screwball nature that has become as synonymous with the holiday season as candy canes. But the stage adaptation plays like a heart-tugging, best-of version of the movie, with a saccharine score by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul and a book by Joseph Robinette that desperately panders for laughs….The most iconic moments from the original story have been morphed into entire scenes or songs or running gags…Some of it works beautifully…Odd[ly] yes, but somehow it works. In fact, most of the songs are solid, although there are no real new Christmas classics in the mix…[but] one of the classroom kids — the tiniest, cutest one, Luke Spring — breaks into a tap routine that would draw applause from the likes of Sammy Davis Jr….The musicals’ pleasures are far and wide: Dan Lauria is steady as an older version of Ralphie, who narrates the story. Johnny Rabe, who played Ralphie at my performance (Joe West plays some performances), did a nice job of wrangling the curmudgeonly, hopeful nature of his character…The show feels too long…And Ralphie’s mom (Erin Dilly) feels like a too-sugary shell of the kookily frazzled character…on screen. And of course, the whole production is super-duper schmaltzy….For the most part, A Christmas Story: The Musical is exactly what you expect.”

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The Reviews for The Mystery of Edwin Drood are In…

The word is out — The Mystery of Edwin Drood is a raucous good time, even if it does exchange sincerity for camp. The production features fully committed and highly entertaining performances from most of the cast, most notably Chita Rivera as Princess Puffer and Jim Norton as the MC.  Most known for letting its nightly audience indict the story’s bad guy, this revival of the 1985 production boasts energy and hilarity, focusing more on fun than on the actual mystery.  The critics seem to enjoy it, especially those expecting more silliness and less sophistication.


“With the explosion of social media inspiring a taste for talking back, the time seems especially ripe for the Roundabout Theater Company’s boisterous revival of “The Mystery of Edwin Drood,” the 1985 Broadway musical that allows audiences to savor the satisfactions of impersonating Miss Marple or Hercule Poirot, pointing an accusatory finger at a cowering culprit….The pleasure of fingering a killer is not the only one afforded by Scott Ellis’s exuberant production, which opened on Tuesday night at Studio 54. In an era when Broadway revivals of beloved musicals can seem dispiritingly skimpy, this handsome production offers a generous feast for the eyes, trimmed in holiday cheer for an added spritz of currency….And the evening’s performers — including a bona fide Broadway grande dame, Chita Rivera; a host of plush-voiced singers; and the jovial imp Jim Norton as the evening’s M.C. — throw themselves into the winking spirit of the show….Despite its varied charms, “The Mystery of Edwin Drood” remains a musical that ultimately adds up to less than the sum of its hard-working parts….The musical “Edwin Drood” at least leaves behind moments of shimmering musical pleasure to savor, long after the miscreant of the night has been booed off the stage.”

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“Perhaps the best part is watching the first-rate cast have so much fun — Stephanie J. Block shows real comedic power, Jim Norton is having a ball, Chita Rivera is giggly, Gregg Edelman is just silly and Will Chase is over-acting perfectly….Scott Ellis’ direction is tight — there’s almost 20 songs, more than 20 actors and multiple identities being juggled — and yet he’s allowed pockets of genuine mirth to open for the veterans on stage to goof around….The jokes are hoary, the songs are ditties (”Off to the Races” is the best known) and the mystery not so mysterious — “You might like to add that line to your list of suspicious statements!” says one character to the audience — but the fun is infectious, even if it seems that the folks on stage might be having more of it than the paying guests….Other highlights include an opium dream beautifully realized by choreographer Warren Carlyle and Anna Louizos’ sets that includes a terrific steam-puffing train. William Ivey Long seems to have had as much fun making the lush costumes…Although “The Mystery of Edwin Drood” won Tony Awards for best musical, best book and best score in 1985, this is the first time it has returned to Broadway. The reason may be simple: In the wrong hands, it can sit awkwardly in a Broadway house — too zany, too arch. But these are the right hands: There are veterans at every turn.”

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“Regardless of the accomplished cast and sparkling design and direction in Roundabout’s Broadway revival, nothing great can come of mediocre material. The show’s biggest selling point is the novelty of having the audience vote to decide the murderer’s identity at every performance. But the charms of this rollicking pastiche are otherwise intermittent….Holmes’ show scores points for ingenuity, but it often feels like being stuck for too long in front of an olde-worlde department-store window display. A vehicle running 2½ hours needs more memorable songs than these mostly interchangeable parlor ditties, and more engaging characters than this bunch, which by design, are cardboard cutouts enlivened by melodramatic flourishes. A genuinely intriguing mystery rather than a half-baked whodunit devoid of psychological complexity wouldn’t hurt either….Director Scott Ellis, set designer Anna Louizos and costumer William Ivey Long all do fine work conjuring London’s Music Hall Royale in 1895…And the cast appears to be having a ball. They double as characters within the evening’s presentation and the ensemble of second-rate resident players and guests hired to impersonate them, ranging from self-adoring stars to ambitious upstarts to shameless hams. Chief among them is the wonderful Irish actor Jim Norton…With his hoary double entendres, Norton makes an effortless master of ceremonies, as at ease with the stage business as he is with the winking innuendo of lining up companionship for single gents in the audience. Ad-libbing occasionally, he strikes the ideal jaunty tone to resuscitate this very British popular entertainment of a bygone era…But all the affectionately antiquated whimsy never quite adds up to robust entertainment.”

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“The Mystery of Edwin Drood, inspired by an unfinished Charles Dickens novel, is one of the most inventive, inspired and rousing musicals ever devised. And it is a pleasure to report that the Roundabout Theatre Company’s revival is thoroughly well-cast and extremely enjoyable….As atmospherically staged by Scott Ellis, with sprightly choreography by Warren Carlyle and excellent music direction by Paul Gemignani, this production is a reminder that well-known musicals do not need to be reconstructed or darkened for their revivals. If the show is strong, have faith in it and all will fall into place.”

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“This is a novelty item, tricked-up with cutesy tangents as a play-within-a-play at a provincial English music hall. Everyone in director Scott Ellis’ wonderful-looking production works very hard at jollying up the audience at the start, rallying a sing-a-long and, ultimately, conducting the voting. Then, the murderer confesses in song. The show does have some jaunty, quasi-operetta music with beautiful harmonic blends and a ravishing cast — including Chita Rivera as Princess Puffer, madam of the opium den, and Jessie Mueller as the slinky-to-her-eyebrows Helena Landless, who, with her brother (Andy Karl) brings a bit of Colonial commentary as the exotics from Ceylon. Jim Norton maneuvers around the fast-patter songs with aplomb as the emcee; Stephanie J. Block is authoritative as Drood, the young gentleman who disappears. His beloved (Betsy Wolfe) is coveted by the opium fiend-music teacher (Will Chase)….Instead of trusting the characters and the mystery to build the suspense, however, Holmes aims for the campy, tiresome and childish. To vote, one presumably cares about who does what to whom. Considering Dickens’ storytelling genius, the real mystery is why this isn’t fun.”

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