Showing posts from March, 2014


So I’m absolutely obsessed with Sorkinese. Any chance I get I will relate real-life events to situations or quotes from some Aaron Sorkin-penned project. And when references to Sorkinese come up, or when Sorkin himself reuses a Sorkin trope in a new project, I get giddy and do a little dance. But it doesn’t have the same effect on everyone else. Not everyone has pored over Sorkin scripts and watched the first four seasons of The West Wing to the point where they could be dropped in the middle of a season three episode and recite every line from that point forward. Those people don’t get the same joy as I do out of new Sorkin projects, and when we watch something Sorkin together, they tend to look at me like I'm an alien. Sitting through Heathers: The Musical, I felt like one of those non-Sorkin-obsessed people. 
I’ve seen Heathers the movie (which starred Winona Ryder and Christian Slater, as well as a pre-90210 Shannen Doherty) a few times and have always liked it. But I have not …


What if? It's a short question, something we often wonder throughout our lives (maybe even multiple times each day). On the surface, it's a simple question, too. What if? What if just one seemingly innocuous choice changes your fate—or does it? What if there were a musical that asked us to grapple with this? Then it would be If/Then.

This original Broadway musical, which reunites team Next to Normal, Tom Kitt (music), Brian Yorkey (lyrics and book) and Michael Greif (direction), tells Elizabeth's stories. Recently divorced and in her late thirties, Elizabeth (Idina Menzel) moves back to New York. One friend, Kate (LaChanze), says "Liz" moved to NYC to find true love. Another friend, Lucas (Anthony Rapp), says "Beth" returned to pursue her dream career. (As part of her reinvention, Elizabeth decides between calling herself Liz and Beth.)

At the top of the show, Elizabeth meets up with Kate and Lucas in Madison Square Park and each asks her to tag along f…

Week in Review 3.28.14

Original Broadway Cast Recordings Galore!
The original Broadway cast recording of The Bridges of Madison County will be released digitally on April 15 and will be in stores on May 20. You can pre-order now at The Bridges of Madison features a score by Jason Robert Brown (The Last Five Years), and it's one of the most glorious scores I've heard in years. You'll definitely want to pick up a copy so you can swoon over Kelli O'Hara and Steven Pasquale singing songs like "One Second and a Million Miles" and "It All Fades Away." To learn more about The Bridges of Madison County and to purchase tickets, visit

There will be an If/Then cast album, and it will be released on June 3!!!!!!! Playbill has more. (In other news: Idina Menzel will perform on the Today show on April 3.) If/Then is the original Broadway musical from Brian Yorkey and Tom Kitt. The pair have reteamed with their Next to Normal director Mi…

Breathing Time

With Breathing Time, Beau Willimon has crafted a thoroughly engaging, provocative play about human connection. Genuinely funny at times, poignant at others and deliciously acerbic in between, Breathing Time is, essentially, a character study seeking to find out what happens when strangers are thrown together, linked by a bond of shared experience.

The three-scene play (directed by Aaron Rossini) begins with the arrogant Jack (Craig Wesley Divino, who delivers with a smarmy yet appealing performance) walking into the office he shares with Mike (Lee Dolson). Jack is still hungover from the previous night’s festivities, but he has an important, possibly career-changing presentation to give in one hour and fourteen minutes. (Jack’s precise and, in this play, timing is important.) Most of this first scene, which takes up the majority of the play, is deceptively innocuous—two guys nattering on about this or that. Some exchanges are raunchy and funny, others are sincere and intense, but the…

Les Miserables

Les Miserables has been around for a long time. From the Victor Hugo novel to various stage and screen adaptations, the story of Jean Valjean, who was turned into prisoner 24601 because he stole a loaf of bread, has entertained audiences for generations. But believe it or not, I had never seen the Claude-Michel Schonberg-Alain Boublil musical on stage until this most recent revival, which opened tonight at the same theatre that was home to its original Broadway run, the Imperial. I am a little disappointed to report that I didn’t develop more ardent feelings for the musical as a whole, but there are absolutely knock out moments in this production.

A quick recap of the story: Valjean (Ramin Karimloo) is paroled from prison life but continues to be pursued by Inspector Javert (Will Swenson). While being pursued, he promises the dying Fantine (Caissie Levy) that he’ll look after her daughter, Cosette (Angeli Negron as a little girl, Samantha Hill as an adult), who has been looked after by…

Week in Review 3.21.14

Ask a Star with Kelli O'Hara and Steven Pasquale
The Bridges of Madison County stars sat on's comfy-looking couch and answered fans' questions! (There's also a great profile of Pasquale in the New York Times.)

Beautiful Original Broadway Cast Recording
A release date has been announced for the Beautifuloriginal Broadway cast recording, featuring Jessie Mueller and others singing Carole King's songs. The album will be available via digital outlets on April 1; physical copies (which you can pre-order now) will be available on May 13. Playbill has more. (Head over to the sh-k-boom Sound Cloud page to listen to Mueller's rendition of "Will You Love Me Tomorrow," which I think is utterly heartbreaking.)

Backstage at Pippin with Kyle Dean
Hey y'all, it's Kyle Dean! Kyle Dean Massey is back at it, once again vlogging for He'll soon take on the title role in the revival of Pippin, and if you watched his previous vlog (when…

Tales from Red Vienna

If you’re looking for a juicy soap opera, look no further than David Grimm’s Tales from Red Vienna. Set in Vienna circa 1920, Grimm’s tales follow Helena (Nina Arianda), who is trying to keep her life together—often by taking up the oldest profession—after losing her husband in the war. She’s been in mourning—wallowing in it, really—for almost a year when Bela (Michael Esper) enters her life and awakens in Helena something she thought was gone forever. Lots of other dalliances, twists and turns abound (truly; I’m leaving out four other characters and plot details) and it’s all quite fun.
While Tales from Red Vienna is set in the past, it is not meant to be a significant historical drama. While it deals with the fall out from the war, it is not meant to reveal layers of depth about political conflict and the costs of war. (There’s some commentary to that end, but it’s filler, mostly.) With moments of humor and soapy drama, Grimm and director Kate Whoriskey keep things just juicy enough.…

Week in Review 3.14.14

The Normal Heart on HBO
After a devastatingly beautiful and Tony-winning revival a few years ago, Larry Kramer's The Normal Heart is coming to HBO. Directed by Ryan Murphy, the adaptation will premiere on Sunday, May 25 at 9pm, as previously reported. I was almost inconsolably moved by the recent Broadway iteration, and after watching the just-released trailer of the small screen version, starring Mark Ruffalo, Matt Bomer and Julia Roberts, I'm certain I'll need several boxes of tissues to get through this, too. Watch the teaser trailer and then mark your calendar for May 25.

President Barack Obama Visits Zach Galifianakis on Between Two Ferns
...And the Internet rejoiced: (if the video below does not load, watch it on the Funny or Die website)

Between Two Ferns with Zach Galifianakis: President Barack Obama from President Barack Obama

While it should be illegal to hide Michael Fassbender's face beneath a mask for the entirety of a film (or ever, really), Lenny Abra…


Alex Timbers is a genius, and that’s why Rocky —as a musical and on Broadway—is worthy of your attention. 
Based on the 1976 Oscar-winning film, penned by and starring Sylvester Stallone, Rocky centers on 29-year old Rocky Balboa (Andy Karl), a sweet but simple guy from the south side of Philadelphia. (The show is set in 1975.) He has aspirations of becoming like his legendary namesake, Rocky Marciano, but instead he’s down on his luck, struggling to make ends meet and working as a loan shark’s muscle. He “trains” at a boxing gym, but for what is becoming less and less clear. He pines for his friend’s sister, Adrian (Margo Seibert), and that relationship becomes the emotional center of the show. When the heavyweight champion of the world, Apollo Creed (Terence Archie), is in sudden need of an opponent for a hyped up match (are there any boxing contests that aren’t hyped up?), he chooses Rocky, and our titular hero is itching to fight. 
(Karl (The Mystery of Edwin Drood) does an excellen…

Week in Review 3.7.14

Little Dancer to Debut at the Kennedy Center
Good news: dates have been announced for the debut of Little Dancer, the musical that is loosely based on the life and work of artist Edgar Degas. You might recall that NYCB principal dancer Tiler Peck is slated to play the title role, with four-time Tony Award winner Boyd Gaines and Rebecca Luker also along for the ride. Little Dancer is written by Lynn Ahrens (book and lyrics) and Stephen Flaherty (music), and is directed and choreographed by five-time Tony Award winner Susan Stroman(Big Fish, Double Feature). No doubt aiming for Broadway, Little Dancer will play at the Kennedy Center's Eisenhower Theater October 25-November 30. Visit Playbill for more information about the Kennedy Center's season, and head to the Kennedy Center website to learn more about Little Dancer and ticketing options. 

Coming to the Boards
It is now confirmed that On the Town, the Leonard Bernstein-Betty Comden + Adolph Green musical, will return to Broadwa…