Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Random Happenings - July 2012

Skies explode on July 4th. 72 year old Congressman Barney Frank gets married. Good riddance TomKat. The Ziegfeld Theatre is in financial trouble. Kristin Chenoweth suffers head injury. 3C playwright gets cease and desist letter from Three's Company lawyers. First lady and daughters take in Spider-Man. Broadway Barks in Shubert Alley. Weiner wants to be mayor. Crazy gunman makes the nation mourn; gun control debate reignites. 113th anniversary of actual New York City paperboys’ strike. Katie Couric wants to star in a Broadway musical. The 2012 Summer Olympics begin. Woody Harrelson takes theatergoers back to 1983. Morgan James apologizes for nasty Into the Woods tweet. And lend me a ear...Mike Tyson is on The Great White Way. Gore Vidal fades...

Monday, July 30, 2012

The Stage Door: "Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark"

The two leads from the historical Broadway show - Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark.

Patrick Page as Norman Osborn/Green Goblin:

Reeve Carney as Peter Parker/Spider-Man:

Friday, July 27, 2012

Please Bow to The Omnipotent Jenifer Lewis

Theatergoers have not seen Jenifer Lewis on a Broadway stage since her short stint as Motormouth Maybelle in Hairspray a few years ago. And before that, I can only recall her one woman Off Broadway show at The Public Theater way back in 1994. Well theater lovers, wait no more and rejoice, accompanied by Marc Shaiman on piano, the sassy one is back in town through Saturday performing her first NYC cabaret show in 20 years, and she is divaliciously wicked, delectable and downright hilarious. Thanks to Playbill, we can check out a preview of the show:

Anyone who knows Jenifer Lewis' work knows that she is raw and brutally honest. Therefore, be prepared to hear tunes such as Black Don't Crack. Note that she will not shy away from her bipolar disorder as she covers Gnarls Barkley's Crazy. Eh-hem, there will be a few expletives. You may find yourself getting up and yelling something like "sang bitch." But most of all, you will most certainly be entertained by the limber 55 year old Ms. Lewis and be moved by her beautiful about falling in love and her tribute to her Grandma Smalls.

In a 2010 Huffington Post interview with the black mother of Hollywood, Jenifer Lewis says that she will return to Broadway one day to snatch a Tony. Ms. Lewis, after your cabaret show, we can only hope that you grace us again with your presence real soon...

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Quote from John Patrick Shanley's "Doubt A Parable"

Spoken by Sister Aloysius in John Patrick Shanley's Doubt A Parable:
The little sheep lagging behind is the one the wolf goes for.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Leslie Uggams Explains Funny "June is Bustin' Out All Over" Performance

There are several YouTube videos I go to on when I just need a chuckle. One of these videos is without a doubt Leslie Uggams singing June Is Bustin' Out All Over. Check it out; subtitles begin at around 1:27.

The video is so famous that several parodies have been made including the following: 

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Broadway Tweets

Adam Feldman ‏@FeldmanAdam
Seth Rudetsky asks Patti LuPone what she thinks of the three divas: Patti, Betty and Bernadette. Patti: "I only think of one diva." ‪#epic

Max von Essen ‏@MaxizPad
2 drunk unruly women in the 5th row (talking on the phone) were just thrown out of our theater. Pull it together people #manners #etiquette

Lynn Nottage ‏@Lynnbrooklyn
Boot camp. Felt the burn. 630 am. If only I could be this disciplined about my writing.

David Lindsay-Abaire ‏@lindsayabaire
F Train – a man lies across 3 seats, his head on the lap of his wife. She reaches down to pop a zit on his forehead for him. I nearly vomit.

Condola Rashad ‏@phloella
It's always very beautiful or very disappointing when people show you who they really are, or who they have chosen to become.
Harvey Fierstein ‏@HarveyFierstein
I've floated home giggling every night I've seen NEWSIES. Those children are joy personified. 28 cast members. 14 B'way debuts! Adorable.

Lin-Manuel Miranda ‏@Lin_Manuel
Songs I wrote DURING rehearsals/previews on Heights? Alabanza, Champagne, Piragua Reprise. Previews are not the end of the process.

Jeremy Jordan ‏@JeremyMJordan
Penniless artists everywhere rejoice ‪#healthcareruling

Circle in the Square ‏@CircleBroadway
Nothing is easy. Things are simple, but not easy." Jacqueline Brookes. Circle in the Square Theatre School acting technique.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Extra! Extra!! I Liked "Newsies The Musical"

During this slow summer period on Broadway, I find myself seeing shows that are not high on my Theater Wish List. Last Wednesday, with the following New York Times theater review quote still in my head...

 But that doesn’t stop them from burning energy like toddlers on a sugar high at a birthday party.

...and a belly filled with Crisp hummus and ice tea, I headed to the outer perimeter of New York's theater district to see Disney's Newsies The Musical [Music:Alan Menken; Lyrics: Jack Feldman; Book: Harvey Fierstein]. 

Not long into the first act after watching the leaping, pirouetting newsboys, I began to feel like I did the first time I went on Mission Space at Disney's Epcot - a little dizzy, a little nauseous. However, using the cute and charming Jeremy Jordan as my anchor, I got pass this and was drawn this story of corporate struggle done Disney style.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Broadway Barks 14

Human/Furry Attendees at Broadway Barks 14

Broadway stars came out to support Broadway Barks 14 in finding homes for homeless cats and dogs. Some interesting facts from the Broadway Barks 14 playbill: 
  • One female dog and her offspring can produce as many as 76,000 puppies in a seven year period. 
  • One female cat and her offspring can produce up to 420,000 kittens in a seven year period. 
  • 18,000 homeless animals are still euthanized each year in NYC. 
Thanks to Broadway Barks and other animal shelter groups, the majority of cats and dogs leave the shelter system for homes. Just a few years ago, these furry creatures didn't make it out alive. 

Furry Attendees at Broadway Barks

Thursday, July 12, 2012

My First and Last Barnes and Noble CD Signing

On Tuesday, the two-disc CD set of the 2012 Encores! cast recording of Merrily We Roll Along was released by PS Classics. To celebrate the occasion and sell some CDs, composer-lyricist Stephen Sondheim and certain members of the the cast of the Encores! production appeared at the Upper East Side location of Barnes and Noble for a CD signing. 

Having enjoyed the City Center production and wanting to see one of the greatest Broadway composers of all time, I ventured to the UES, arriving at Barnes and Noble at approximately 3PM to a long line outside a filled events room on the lower level of the store. After some confusion, I was finally instructed to purchase the $22 CD which retails for $12 on Amazon.com and $15 on PS Classics' site and then go to a standby line. Reassured by a store rep that I had a good chance of getting the CD signed, I unwrapped the CD and stood in line. I made small talk with fellow Sondheim lovers around me, was tickled by youngsters leaving the events room with tears in their eyes, spotted a boy who I was told saw Godspell over 90 times, and snapped this photo of a budding musical theater composer and her friend.
Two endless hours later, an indifferent representative finally told us that no more CDs would be signed. Stuck with an opened unsigned CD, I left Barnes and Noble dejected vowing never to be suckered into purchasing their overpriced CDs ever again. 

Other Posts/Links
Link to Theatermania's review of Merrily We Roll Along

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The New York Times Broadway Review Isn't the Only One That Matters

There aren't many surprises in the recent NYU Stern School of Business study on Broadway Show Survival. Musicals run longer than plays. Definitely, just check out the sole little window at the Times Square TKTS booth for plays versus the many windows available for musicals. New musicals fare better than revivals. And of course, a Tony nomination and definitely a Tony win elongates the run period. 

Several times on this blog, I've referenced Patti LuPone's memoir and her comment that The New York Times theater review is the only one that matters. Well, lo and behold, this is not the case based on the NYU Stern study:
A positive critical review in the Daily News is associated with a longer expected run, but strikingly, given the review in the News, such reviews in the New York Times are associated with shorter expected runs. ...this suggests that tourists, who drive the business of especially successful shows, do not respond positively to the 'elitist' views of the Times’ reviewers...
So what does this mean? The New York Times theater reviews probably matter to the theater community, NYT readers and Off Broadway theatergoers only. However, when it comes to Broadway survival and box office sales, the Daily News matters more.

Monday, July 9, 2012

I Had a Gay Olde Time at 54 Below's Backstage

At 54 Below's Sunday evening Backstage show, Broadway talent can drop in and belt out whatever their hearts desire. And even though you may feel like you have intruded on some intimate Broadway insider party, the public gets to listen in for no cover and a $15 food/drink minimum.

At yesterday's party, host Susie Mosher was hilarious and all performers were enjoyable including TONY theater critic Adam Feldman. However, with blue eye shadow, a little silver dress and just a guitar, special guest Alice Ripley was the highlight when she rocked three tunes including penned single Beautiful Eyes.

54 Below Backstage takes place every Sunday from 5-7PM and the Next to Normal Tony Award winning Alice Ripley plays the Metropolitan Room several dates in July and returns to 54 Below some time in November.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Quote from David Lindsay-Abaire's "Good People"

Spoken by Margaret in David Lindsay-Abaire's Good People:
...That's normal. To struggle. For most people, it's normal. Most people I know at least. That's just how it is...

Friday, July 6, 2012

Audra McDonald Doesn't Want to Fail

Yesterday, Audra McDonald appeared on Good Day New York. In the five minute segment, she touched on various topics. What I found most interesting about the interview is that at age 42 and with five Tony wins under her belt, she finds success overwhelming and feels pressure to keep excelling. Thoughts like am I going to fail this time still creep into her psyche. Ms. McDonald is not the only successful woman to feel this way. In the interview, she talks about how Barbara Streisand was struck with stage fright when she became famous, and Judy Garland also wondered is this the time everyone finds out I'm a fake...

Monday, July 2, 2012

Broadway Bodies - A Dance Workout to Showtunes

With the recent musical fiascoes on Broadway, it may be hard for theater lovers to recall but oh what an experience it is to see a great musical. It can be intoxicating. My heart usually wants to sing and dance as I leave the theater or recall the experience. I imagine that is how Jeff Vilensky must have felt when he came up with the idea for Broadway Bodies. High impact cardio workouts to showtunes taught by dancers and Broadway professionals. One day, I must try out a class.

Broadway Bodies classes are open to all skill level and are held in Chelsea. Single classes cost $18 and run approximately 55 minutes. Yelp reviews are consistently good; reviewers describe the class as fun and a great alternative to yoga or the gym. 

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Random Happenings - June 2012

British queen has a jubilee. Spider-Man Turn Out the Dark celebrates one year on Broadway. Almost half of Americas reject evolution. Remnants of Curtain Theatre - Shakespeare's original theatre built in 1577 - discovered in Shoreditch East London. The 66th Annual Tony Awards celebrates the best on Broadway. Human Microbiome Project made me run out and get a probiotic drink. Yes, a dingo did eat Baby Chamberlain. Broadway Bares Happy Endings raises $1.2M. The Boston Globe’s Don Aucoin highlights theater audiences are growing older. Mike Tyson: Undisputed Truth is coming to Broadway in a Spike Lee joint; meanwhile Cher develops Broadway musical based on her life. Patti LuPone sings happy birthday to Meryl Streep at the new 54 Below. Thanks Delta Airlines, you made Michael Cerveris miss his first performance in eight years. Nora Ephron fades. Broadway says goodbye to Venus in Fur, Other Desert Cities, Don't Dress for Dinner, Million Dollar Quartet, Priscilla and Godspell 

Jesus Christ Superstar, Anything Goes, Sister Act, and Memphis, you're next.