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Showing posts from June, 2014

tick, tick...BOOM!

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“Compromise or persevere?” This is the crossroads at which Jon, one week from turning 30, finds himself in Jonathan Larson’s autobiographical memoir/show, tick, tick…BOOM!, which just completed a celebrated one-weekend run at the Encores! Off-Center series. 
As program notes state, tick, tick…BOOM! was “first performed as a solo rock monologue by Jonathan Larson in 1990. After Laron’s untimely death in 1996 [on the eve of Rent’s off-Broadway opening], it was revamped by playwright David Auburn as a three-actor piece.” It played off-Broadway (with Raul Esparza (Company, Leap of Faith) as Jon) in June 2001, and a cast recording was released in September of that year. The show became a cult favorite and has had continued life over the last 13 years, but this Encores! production marks the first major production in New York since 2001.
I’ve been listening to this for 13 years. Jonathan Larson’s truth has always resonated. In fact, last year, on my 30th birthday, I listened to the opening num…

Week in Review 6.27.14

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Coming Soon
The 2014-2015 has already begun (Holler If Ya Hear Me opened last week), and several shows are getting ready to bow on Broadway. Herein, news about upcoming shows:
The Last Ship, the original musical written by Sting, Brian Yorkey (If/Then, Next to Normal) and John Logan (Red), directed by Joe Mantello (Casa Valentina), choreographed by Steven Hoggett (American Idiot,Rocky) and starring Michael Esper (American Idiot, Tales from Red Vienna) and Aaron Lazar (A Little Night Music, concert soloist) is running in Chicago (it opened this week), and is due in New York's Neil Simon Theatre September 30. (Opening night is October 26.) Broadway.com has a sneak peek at and Broadwayworld.com has production stills of the show, which focuses on a small, seaside "company town" in Northern England.

A revival of On the Town is coming to the Lyric (nee Foxwoods) Theatre, and this week, the three sailors traipsed around New York City to get ready for the show, which begins prev…

The Lion

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What makes a lion? That’s what Benjamin Scheuer endeavors to discover in his personal coming of age tale. He begins and ends by telling of the cookie-tin banjo his father made for him, his father giving his boy the gift of music. In between, Scheuer struggles with loss, love and sickness, all of which help him uncover the strength and people needed to be a lion. 
The accomplished musician (he records with his band, Escapist Papers) brings his story home to New York in a beautifully staged performance, using multiple acoustic guitars (and one electric), which make the most glorious sounds. Delicate and effective direction by Sean Daniels and a warm and intimate set by Neil Patel and lighting design by Ben Stanton bring us close to Scheuer (like Sawyer but with a “sh” sound to start), who is raw, charming and brave. 
He also is doing something so simple yet so important in sharing his journey. The Lion is storytelling + family + love, which is what our past, present and future are all abo…

Week in Review 6.20.14

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Casting Updates
Film—The incomparable Meryl Streep will star as Maria Callas in HBO's adaptation of Terrence McNally's Master Class. (McNally's Mothers and Sons star, Tyne Daly, played the role in a recent Broadway revival.) The HBO movie will be directed by Mike Nichols (Death of a Salesman). Filming will begin in January 2015. Broadway.com has more.

Broadway—The starry cast of It's Only a Play added a new player: Rupert Grint, of Harry Potter fame. Grint joins the already announced Nathan Lane (Guys and Dolls), Matthew Broderick (The Producers), Stockard Channing (Other Desert Cities), F. Murray Abraham (Homeland) and Megan Mullally (Guys and Dolls). It's Only a Play is written by Terrence McNally and directed by Jack O'Brien. Previews begin on October 9 at the Schoenfeld Theatre. Broadway.com has more.

Film—Before Andrew Rannells (The Book of Mormon) dons Hedwig's wig, he'll make an appearance in The Intern, a new film (shooting this summer) starring A…

Holler If Ya Hear Me

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Tupac Shakur is one of the most prolific hip-hop artists, garnering even more success and attention posthumously than he did in his brief life. (He would have been only 43 this year.) He’s also a poet and master storyteller, which makes him a natural fit for theatre. And Broadway will be richer for having his voice in the canon.

Holler If Ya Hear Me is a non-biographical musical that features music by the late rapper (I suppose you could call it a jukebox musical, but I think a mix tape musical is more apropos), with music supervision, orchestrations and arrangements by Daryl Waters and a book by Todd Kreidler. From a dramaturge’s perspective, Holler is plagued by some of the same pitfalls of other jukebox musicals: The book is often weak, feeling as if it’s written not to serve the story but to get to the next hit song. Which is not to say that the characters populating Holler are simply jibber-jabbering on stage; indeed, it seems that many of the conversations had on “the block” coul…

Much Ado About Nothing

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You must get to the Delacorte this summer to see the Shakespeare in the Park production of Much Ado about Nothing. Director Jack O’Brien finds tons of humor is one of Shakespeare’s great comedies, and the cast, led by the terrific pair of Lily Rabe and Hamish Linklater (who’ve sparred well together in the past, as in Seminar), is top notch. Rabe and Linklater, as Beatrice and Benedick, spark as they engage in a battle of wits, and both excel at the physical comedy that’s asked of them (especially Linklater). John Lee Beatty’s scenic design will make you feel like you’re in a villa in the Italian countryside, and being out under the stars in the middle of Central Park ain’t too shabby. It’s a great start to another season of Shakespeare in the Park! (King Lear starring John Lithgow is next. Get in line now.)
Bonus: the talented cast also includes John Glover (Death ofa Salesman); Pedro Pascal (Graceland, Game of Thrones); Steel Burkhardt (Hair); Brian Stokes Mitchell (Women on the Ver…

Week in Review 6.13.14

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An American in Paris World Premiere
We've known for several months that a full stage adaptation of the beloved movie musical, directed  by the great Christopher Wheeldon (Cinderella, Carousel (A Dance)), was on its way, premiering in Paris and then coming to Broadway in spring 2015. This week, dates for the world premiere Paris bow at the Theatre du Chatelet were announced (November 11, 2014–January 4, 2015), and it was officially announced that New York City Ballet principal dancer Robert Fairchild will star as Jerry Mulligan, taking on the role made famous by Gene Kelly!!! (Robbie has excelled in Wheeldon ballets, particularly in the recent A Place for Us.) He'll be joined by Leanne Cope as Lise. An American in Paris is a trunk musical featuring some of the Gershwin brothers' greatest tunes. Theatre veteran Craig Lucas is writing the book and Encores! stalwart Rob Fisher is serving as musical director and arranger. Recent Tony winnerNatasha Katz is on board as lighting d…