broadway

Bob Goepfert Reviews "Mean Girls"

Apr 17, 2018
Mean Girls (pictured L to R): Erika Henningsen (Cady Heron), Ashley Park(Gretchen Wieners), Taylor Louderman (Regina George), and Kate Rockwell(Karen Smith)
Credit: © 2017 Joan Marcus

The female millennials finally have their own musical.  Just as past generations had “Grease,” “Hairspray” and even “Wicked,” young women (and some young men) now have a contemporary musical with which they can identify. 

Garth Fagan and Joe Donahue at UAlbany PAC
© Anthony Tassarotti / www.tassarotti.com

Garth Fagan is the Tony and Olivier award-winning choreographer of "The Lion King" and founder, artistic director and president of Garth Fagan Dance.

On March 28 he visited the University at Albany for an evening of conversation with WAMC's Joe Donahue as part of "The Creative Life" at UAlbany, a collaborative series created and produced by the University Art Museum, Performing Art Center and New York State Writers Institute in collaboration with WAMC.

John Cariani in "The Band's Visit"
Matthew Murphy / Playbill.com

The new musical, "The Band’s Visit," is currently running at The Ethel Barrymore Theatre on Broadway. Based on the film of the same name, "The Band’s Visit" features music and lyrics by David Yazbek, book by Itamar Moses, and is directed by David Cromer. The New York Times called the show “One of the most ravishing musicals you will ever be seduced by.”

The Alexandria Ceremonial Police Orchestra is traveling from Egypt to play a concert in Petah Tikva, Israel but after language confusion at the border end up in Beit Hatikva - a small city where civic pride is low.

Without a means of transportation out of town until the morning, the band is begrudgingly taken in by the locals.

John Cariani plays Itzik, one of the citizens of Beit Hatikva and he joins us. Cariani’s previous Broadway credits include “Something Rotten!” and the 2004 revival of “Fiddler on the Roof.” He’s also performed at nearly all of the regional theatres in our area you can think of and as a playwright is responsible for the praised and oft-produced plays, “Almost, Maine;” “Last Gas;” “Love/Sick;” and “cul-de-sac.”

John Bolton as Vlad in "Anastasia"
Dave Mack / https://www.franbro.com


  The Broadway musical "Anastasia" features a book by celebrated playwright Terrence McNally and a lush, new score by Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens; Tony Award-winning director Darko Tresnjak directs. Inspired by the beloved films with the same title, "Anastasia" transports audiences from the twilight of the Russian Empire to the euphoria of Paris in the 1920s, as Anya sets out to discover the mystery of her past aided by conmen Dmitry and Vlad - who attempt to teach Anya how to embody the missing princess, Anastasia Romanov.

 

Vlad is played on Broadway by our guest, John Bolton, whose previous Broadway credits include "Dames at Sea," "A Christmas Story," "Curtains," "Monty Python’s Spamalot," "Contact," "Titanic," "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying" and "Damn Yankees."

The original Broadway production of Kander and Ebb’s “Chicago: The Musical” opened in 1975. Set in Prohibition-era Chicago, the musical is a satire on corruption in the administration of criminal justice and the concept of the celebrity criminal. The show is eternally --and correctly-- associated with Bob Fosse who served as co-author, original director, and choreographer.

“Chicago” was revived on Broadway in 1996 and holds the record as the longest-running musical revival and the longest-running American musical in Broadway history. It is the second longest-running show in Broadway history, behind only “The Phantom of the Opera.” Walter Bobbie directed the revival and it was choreographed in the style of Bob Fosse by Ann Reinking.

The National Tour of “Chicago: The Musical” is bringing the ol' razzle-dazzle to Proctors in Schenectady this weekend – opening tonight and running through Sunday.

Broadway vet and friend-of-the-show, Jeff McCarthy, stars as silver tongue prince of the courtroom, Billy Flynn.

Astrid Van Wieren
broadway.com


  On March 12th of this year the new musical “Come From Away” opened at the Schoenfeld Theatre on Broadway. The show, written by David Hein and Irene Carl Sankoff went on to earn 7 Tony Award nominations - including Best Musical - and to win one for Best Direction of a Musical for Christopher Ashley.

 

"Come from Away" is based on true events that took place in Gander, Newfoundland, Canada on September 11th, 2001. 38 planes were diverted from their original paths and forced to land in Gander. The planes carried passengers from all over the world; scared, confused, and all-but cut off from their loved ones the accidental visitors - or “come-from-aways” as the Newfoundlanders call them - nearly doubled the population of the region for the better part of a week. The locals opened their doors, pantries, hearts, and minds until the airspace was reopened.

 

The 12 actors in "Come From Away" each play multiple Newfoundlanders and "plane peple" and we are joined today by Astrid Van Wieren who has been with the show - as much of the cast has - since its early development.

Bob Goepfert Reviews Farinelli And The King

Dec 19, 2017
Iestyn Davies, Mark Rylance, Huss Garbiya and Melody Grove in the Shakespeare's Globe production of Farinelli And The King
(c) Joan Marcus

New York, N.Y.  – “Farinelli and the King,” one of the most anticipated plays of the Broadway season, opened Sunday evening.   Indeed, a sign of its popularity is that even before it opened scalpers were charging Hamilton-type prices for tickets.  Little should change.  This is a must-see show for anyone who loves theater.

Broadway Cast Of “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” at the Lunt-Fontanne Theater
Sara Krulwich / The New York Times


  The new Broadway adaptation of Roald Dahl’s beloved “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” which opening in New York City last April will end its run on January 14.

 

The show is directed by Jack O’Brien and features a book by David Greig, original music Marc Shaiman, and lyrics by Shaiman and Scott Wittman and Marc Shaiman. Kathy Fitzgerald plays Mrs. Gloop - the mother of Augustus one of the ill-fated golden-ticket holding visitors to Mr. Wonka’s fantastical factory.

 

Fitzgerald’s previous Broadway credits include “Swinging on a Star,” “The Producers,” “Wicked,” and “9 to 5.”

In 1919 Britain, Mrs. Conway is full of optimism during her daughter’s lavish twenty-first birthday celebration. The Great War is over, wealth is in the air, and the family’s dreams bubble over like champagne. Nineteen years later, though, the Conways’ lives have transformed unimaginably.

"Time and the Conways" is a time-jumping play by J.B. Priestley that takes place at the crossroads of today and tomorrow. Tony winner Rebecca Taichman directs "Time and the Conways" for Roundabout Theatre Company. The production runs through November 26 at The American Airlines Theater.

The play stars Elizabeth McGovern, Anna Camp, and our guests, Steven Boyer and Gabriel Ebert.

Harold Prince
Marc J. Franklin

Harold Prince is the most honored director/producer in the history of the American theater. His new book, Sense of Occasion, gives an insider's recollection of the making of such landmark musicals as West Side Story, Fiddler on the Roof, Cabaret, Company, Follies, Sweeney Todd, Evita, and Phantom of the Opera.

Prince writes about his mentor George Abbott and his many celebrated collaborators, including Leonard Bernstein, Jerome Robbins, Stephen Sondheim, John Kander, Boris Aronson, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Angela Lansbury, Zero Mostel, Carol Burnett, and Joel Grey.


  It’s summer on Sway Lake, the most glamorous lake in the Adirondacks - former playground of the jazz-age New York aristocracy. Music collector Ollie Sway recruits his only friend, a rowdy Russian drifter, to help him steal a 78 record from his own family’s estate. Ollie believes that this mysterious piece of music was hidden for him by his father before his suicide. The boys’ mission should be as easy, but the arrival of the Charlotte “Charlie” Sway - Ollie’s Grandmother - changes everything.

 

Directed by Ari Gold and co-written by Gold and Elizabeth Bull, The Song Of Sway Lake will screen at The Woodstock Playhouse as part of The Woodstock Film Festival on Sunday at 2:15.

 

Mary Beth Peil plays Charlie Sway and she joins us now. Piel is a venerated actor of stage and screen. She started her career in opera and currently plays The Dowager Empress in Anastasia on Broadway.


  If you look for it - you can find a lot of pretty swell life advice in musicals. For instance: you gotta get a gimmick, don’t throw away your shot, and whenever you feel afraid - hold your head erect and whistle a happy tune.

 

Tim Federle’s new book, available from Running Press, shares advice he’s learned not from the lyrics in shows - but from performing in musicals on Broadway, around the U.S. and abroad. Life is Like a Musical: How to Live, Love, and Lead Like A Star features chapters entitled “Be a Good Scene Partner,” “Go Where the Love Is,” “Put on a Happy Face,”  and 47 others for a total of 50 tips pulled from years of theater experience.

 

Federle is the best-selling author of cocktail books Tequila Mockingbird and Gone with the Gin and the novels Better Nate Than Ever and The Great American Whatever.

The 2015 revival of The Color Purple – the musical adapted from Alice Walker’s novel, with book by Marsha Norman and music and lyrics by Brenda Russell, Allee Willis and Stephen Bray won the 2016 Tony Award for Best Revival of a Musical.

The Broadway run ended in January of this year and the National Tour is now originating its multi-city run at Proctors in Schenectady, NY.

With a soul-raising score of jazz, gospel, ragtime and blues, The Color Purple gives an exhilarating new spirit to this Pulitzer Prize-winning story. Tony Award winning Director, John Doyle, joins us to tell us more.

Doyle’s Broadway credits include, in addition to The Color Purple, Sweeney Todd starring Patti Lupone and Michael Cerveris, Company starring Raul Esparza, A Catered Affair starring Harvey Fierstein, and The Visit, starring Chita Rivera.

James Ludwig and Aaron Tveit in Company at Barrington Stage
Daniel Rader

This week, Barrington Stage Company in Pittsfield, MA announced an extension of its production of Stephen Sondheim and George Furth’s Company, directed by Julianne Boyd. The show was scheduled to play on The Boyd-Quinson Mainstage through September 2nd, and now Bobby will be side-by-side with his friends, driving his dates crazy, and waiting through the 10th.

Aaron Tveit plays Bobby at Barrington Stage. On Broadway he’s appeared in Hairspray, Wicked, Next to Normal, and Catch Me If You Can. He played Enjolras in the film of Les Miserables starring Hugh Jackman and Russell Crowe, television credits include Gossip Girl, Graceland, FOX’s Grease Live - and other programs not starting with "G".


  Mischief Theatre’s The Play That Goes Wrong has been doing so on Broadway since March of this year.

 

In the play, it’s opening night of The Murder at Haversham Manor where things are quickly going from bad to utterly disastrous. With an unconscious leading lady, a corpse that can’t play dead, and actors who trip over everything (including their lines) - the mad-cap romp meticulously disintegrates at The Lyceum Theatre on 45th Street.

Winner of the Tony Award for Best Scenic Design of a Play, The Play That Goes Wrong is directed by Mark Bell and written by Henry Lewis, Jonathan Sayer, and Henry Shields. Lewis, Sayer, and Shields also star -- and two of the actor/co-creators -- Henry Lewis and Jonathan Sayer - sat down with us in New York City.

Barbara Cook

Aug 9, 2017

We re-ran a portion of this interview in memoriam on The Roundtable this morning. Barbara Cook died yesterday, she was 89.

Barbara Cook is performing with John Pizzarelli at The Mahaiwe this Saturday. We speak with the Broadway, concert, and recording star.

Music - "Till There Was You" and "Glitter And Be Gay"

Bobby Conte Thornton
www.ibdb.com

Bobby Conte Thornton plays Calogero in A Bronx Tale: The Musical at the Longacre Theatre on Broadway. Based on Chazz Palminteri’s life and one-man show, the musical is co-directed by Robert De Niro, who directed the original film, and Jerry Zaks, who directed the one man show on Broadway in 2007.

The show features a book by Palminteri and original music by Alan Menken, and lyrics by Glenn Slater. The cast album is available from Ghostlight Records. A Bronx Tale is Bobby Conte Thornton’s Broadway debut and we spoke with him about working with the show's creative team and what's it's like when your dreams come true.

Corey Cott in Bandstand
Jeremy Daniel


  The Broadway musical Bandstand -- currently running at the Jacobs Theatre in New York City, brings the swing-fueled, against-all-odds story of singer/songwriter Donny Novitski and his band of mismatched fellow vets brilliantly to the stage.

 

Starring Laura Osnes and Corey Cott and directed and choreographed by Andy Blankenbeuler -- who won a Tony Award this month for his incredible choreography, Bandstand features music and lyrics by Richard Oberacker and book and lyrics by the Capital Region’s own Robert Taylor.

 

The original Broadcast cast recording is available today from Broadway Records.

 

We spoke with intensely talented leading man, Corey Cott, in New York a couple of months ago -- right after the show opened and while they were recording the album.  Cott’s previous Broadway roles include Jack in Disney’s Newsies and Gaston in the 2015 revival of Gigi.

 


  Barrington Stage Company’s first Boyd-Quinson Mainstage musical this season is Ragtime -- which opens in Pittsfield, MA on June 21st and runs through July 15th.

 

Ragtime features a book by Terrence McNally, lyrics by Lynn Ahrens and music by Stephen Flaherty. It is based on a novel by E. L. Doctorow and is directed at Barrington Stage by Joe Calarco. The original Broadway production of Ragtime won Tony Awards for Best Book of a Musical and Best Original Musical Score.

 

Members of Barrington Stage’s cast join us at The Linda to discuss the show and perform a few songs.

We welcome Elizabeth Stanley (“Mother”); J. Anthony Crane (“Tateh”); Darnell Abraham (“Coalhouse”); Zurin Villanueva ("Sarah”); and musical director - providing piano accompaniment - Darren Cohen.

Barrett Doss in Groundhog Day at The August Wilson Theatre
http://www.groundhogdaymusical.com/

Groundhog Day is something of an American fable - I mean that equally of the February 2nd holiday and the 1993 movie directed by Harold Ramis, written by Ramis and Danny Rubin, and starring Bill Murray and Andie MacDowell.

What do you get when you combine the film with the British sensibilities of Tim Minchin and Matthew Warchus? You get an Olivier Award Winning and 7-time Tony Award nominated stage musical.

After an incredibly well-received run in London, Groundhog Day - directed by Matthew Warchus, with music and lyrics by Tim Minchin and a book by Danny Rubin, is currently running at The August Wilson Theatre on Broadway -- starring Andy Karl as cynical egotistic weatherman, Phil Connors, and Barrett Doss as Rita Hanson.

Doss recently appeared in the Broadway revival of You Can’t Take It With You, she’s a recurring character on the Netflix and Marvel series Iron First, and for you comedy TV minutia lovers out there - she played Liz Lemon’s great-granddaughter in the last 20 seconds of the last episode of the NBC series 30 Rock.

Will Pullen and Khris Davis in Sweat
Joan Marcus

Playwright Lynn Nottage made history last month as the first woman to win two Pulitzer Prizes for Drama. Her play Sweat — her first to be produced on Broadway — was awarded the honor. She received her first Pulitzer Prize in 2009 for Ruined, which was produced off-Broadway.

Sweat first premiered and was co-commissioned by the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and Washington, D.C.’s Arena Stage. After a sold-out run at off-Broadway’s prestigious Public Theater, the play moved to Broadway where it is now running at Studio 54 and is nominated for a Tony Award for Best Play.

Directed by Kate Whoriskey, Sweat takes place in Reading, PA and features characters whose way of life is falling apart after the decline of the manufacturing, steel, and coal industries. They work together and they drink together - and when layoffs and picket lines begin - they find themselves fighting each other in the hard fight to keep going.

We are joined now by actors Khris Davis and Will Pullen - they play best-friends, Chris and Jason in Sweat. (To learn more about Davis and Pullen - their bios are below.)

Jeremy Daniel

Based on the 2007 movie of the same name, the hit Broadway musical Waitress was directed by Diane Paulus and was nominated for 4 Tony Awards last year. The show has a book by Jessie Nelson and the music and lyrics are by Grammy Award-nominated singer-songwriter Sara Bareilles.

Bareilles is currently making her Broadway debut as Jenna -- a pregnant diner waitress and inventor of pies who needs to stop burying her hope and unhappy marriage in creative ingredients and make a change.

The other half of that unhappy marriage is Earl, the kind of guy who peaked in high school and never got over it. Earl is handsome but gruff, disconsolate, short tempered, beer-soaked -- and currently being played on Broadway by Will Swenson. His last performance at the pie-scented Brooks Atkinson Theatre will be on June 11th. (Sara Bareilles will leave then, too and Betsy Wolfe will begin performances as Jenna on June 13.)

Swenson’s recent Broadway credits include Disaster!, Les Misérables, Priscilla Queen of the Desert, and Hair -- for which he was nominated for a Tony Award. In the summer of 2015 he played Jamie Tyrone in Eugene O’Neill’s A Moon for the Misbegotten at the Williamstown Theatre Festival - opposite is wife Audra McDonald; and last summer he served up a boisterous and bodacious Pirate King in The Pirates of Penzance at Barrington Stage.

Caroline O'Connor and John Bolton in Anastasia
Joan Marcus

The new Broadway musical Anastasia features a book by celebrated playwright Terrence McNally and a lush, new score by Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens. Tony Award-winning director Darko Tresnjak directs a cast that features Christy Altomare, Derek Klena, John Bolton, Ramin Karimloo, Tony Award nominee Mary Beth Piel, and our guest: Caroline O’Connor -- who has been nominated for a Drama League award and an Outer Critic Circle Award for her portrayal of Countess Lily.

This marks O’Connor’s third Broadway show - she’s performed on the West End, at the Royal Albert Hall and the Sydney Opera House. Some of her signature roles include Edith Piaf, Judy Garland, Velma Kelly in Chicago, Anita in West Side Story and Mabel in Mack & Mabel.

She’s well known in certain circles for playing Nini in Baz Luhrman’s 2001 film, Moulin Rouge!

Emily Padgett at opening night of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Emilio Madrid-Kuser / broadway.com

A new musical stage adaptation of the Roald Dahl classic, Charlie and The Chocolate Factory, opened on Broadway last Sunday.

Directed by three-time Tony Award-winner Jack O’Brien, the new musical features beloved songs from the 1971 film version, including “Pure Imagination” and “The Candy Man,” alongside a brand new score from the songwriters of Hairspray, Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman, a book from David Greig and choreography by Joshua Bergasse. The magic of Mr. Wonka’s factory is created through Mark Thompson’s sets and costumes, lighting by Japhy Weideman, projections by Jeff Sugg, and puppets by Basil Twist.

The cast features Christian Borle and Willy Wonkoa, the titular Charlie Bucket is played by three young actors, and his mother, Mrs. Bucket, is played by Emily Padgett.

Emily’s previous Broadway credits include Legally Blonde, Rock of Ages, the revival of Side Show, and Bright Star.


  Bandstand is a new musical at the Jacobs Theatre on Broadway tomorrow night.

Starring Laura Osnes and Corey Cott and directed and choreographed by Andy Blankenbeuler, Bandstand features book, music, and lyrics by Richard Oberacker and book and lyrics by former Capital Region habitant and arts participant, Robert Taylor.

Set just after World War II, musician Donny Novitski -- a veteran recently returned home to Ohio -- has to figure out where he fits now that the fighting is done. When a national contest to find America’s next music sensation offers a chance at fame and Hollywood fortune, he assembles a swing-band of fellow veterans and a young war widow and throws everything he has at winning.

Sharon Wheatley, Rodney Hicks, Geno Carr and Come From Away cast
Matthew Murphy

On September 11, 2001, the air-space over the United States was closed after two planes flew into the the Twin Towers in New York City, another into The Pentagon, and a fourth (headed for D. C.) into a field near near Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

Thirty-eight planes were diverted from their original paths and forced to land in Gander, Newfoundland, Canada. The airport at Gander is larger than makes sense in terms of the size and population of Gander. It’s a relic from the pre-jetplane era -- when flying to or from Europe commercial and private flights stopped there to refuel.

The 38 planes that landed on 9/11 carried passengers from all over the world. Scared, confused, and all-but cut off from their loved-ones, the accidental visitors - or “come-from-aways” as the Newfoundlanders call them - nearly doubled the population of the region for the better part of a week. The locals opened their doors, pantries, hearts, and minds until the airspace was reopened.

Those friendships - formed in upsetting and stressful circumstances - are the heart at the center of Come From Away - a new musical now running on Broadway The Schoenfeld Theatre.

The book, music, and lyrics are by married Canadian writing team Irene Sankoff and David Hein - who created the show by interviewing the real people involved in the events of that day and week. The show is directed by Christopher Ashley with musical staging by Kelly Devine. The cast of 12 plays both - and various - Gander-ites and Plane people.

Cast member Sharon Wheatley joins us now. Her previous Broadway credits include Avenue Q, Les Misérables, Cats, and The Phantom of the Opera. She is the author of the memoir, Til The Fat Girl Sings: From an Overweight Nobody to a Broadway Somebody.

Tony Sheldon and Phillipa Soo in Amélie
broadwayworld.com


  Amélie is a new musical that follows the quest of an inquisitive and introverted young French woman, played by Phillipa Soo, who morphs the streets of Montmartre into a world of her own imagining - while quietly creating moments of joy for the people she works with and lives near.

 

Directed by Tony Award winner Pam MacKinnon, Amélie has a book by three-time Tony Award nominee Craig Lucas, music by Daniel Messé and lyrics by Messé and Nathan Tysen.

The musical is based on the 2001 French film of the same name by Jean-Pierre Jeunet and Guillaume Laurant and in 2015 had its critically acclaimed world premiere at Berkeley Repertory Theatre. It opens tonight at The Walter Kerr Theatre on Broadway.

Tony Sheldon plays Dufayel - Amélie’s brittle-boned neighbor who paints Renoir’s Luncheon of the Boating Party over and over again for years. Sheldon also plays Collignon - the mean-spirited local grocer. In the vibrant production, all of the actors provide an ensemble of bright spirits who inspire and achieve what Amelie sees in her imagination.

Tony Sheldon is an award winning Australian actor who has worked frequently in his homeland, on London’s West End, and Off-Broadway. He was previously seen on Broadway in Priscilla Queen of the Dessert - for which he earned a Tony Award nomination.

Over the past few years, Proctors has become an important destination for Broadway shows readying for the road. The 2017–2018 Key Private Bank Broadway Series at Proctors will continue that tradition with the Tony Award-winning revival of The Color Purple, which will tech in Schenectady before traveling the rest of the country.

Proctors announced their upcoming season with shows including, the 2015 Tony Award winning Best Musical Fun Home, Finding Neverland, The Bodyguard, Rodgers & Hammerstein’s The King and I and On Your Feet! Plus, much, much more. We learn more about that from Peter Hughes; Heidi Nathanielsz and Michael Eck. 

The Manhattan Theatre Club's current Broadway production of August Wilson's Jitney, directed by Tony Award winner Ruben Santiago-Hudson, is the only work from the late two-time Pulitzer Prize winner's American Century Cycle that had never previously been seen on Broadway. The play has received rave reviews and plays at the Samuel Friedman Theatre through March 12th.

Set in the early 1970s, the play follows a group of men trying to eke out a living by driving unlicensed cabs, or jitneys. When the city threatens to board up the business and the boss' son returns from prison, tempers flare, potent secrets are revealed and the fragile threads binding these people together start to come undone.

We welcome this morning - three-time Tony Award-winning producer and actor Ron Simons, to discuss his role in producing the Broadway debut of August Wilson's Jitney.

Ron Simons is a leading Broadway producer with a list of credits that include the Tony-award winning revival of Porgy and Bess, the all-black Broadway production of A Street Car Named Desire starring Blair Underwood, and Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, which won the Tony award for "Best New Play."

Encore: Proctors At 90

Jan 23, 2017

When Proctors opened its doors in Schenectady, N.Y., in December 1926, it was the jewel in a chain of 50 vaudeville houses spanning the East Coast from Delaware to Maine; the greatest of gilded movie palaces in a bustling, industrial city packed with nearly two-dozen theatres. Within a half-century, it was the last hall standing, nearly derelict, presiding over a deserted downtown, another symbol of American blight.

The new book Encore: Proctors at 90 presents photographs and essays to construct a narrative of renewal and rebirth, a tale of a city and a theatre taking turns saving each other. Rescued by a hardy group of citizens, and nurtured by smart leaders, Proctors began its true resurrection at the turn of this century to become much more than a playhouse.

The commerative book Encore: Proctors at 90 is now out and we welcome the authors Michael Eck and Richard Louvrich to The Roundtable.

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