musical theater

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.

 

Tony Award-winning jukebox musical, and epic night of rock 'n roll, Million Dollar Quartet brings you into the recording studio with icons, Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins, and Jerry Lee Lewis. Based on a true story, set on December 4, 1956, Million Dollar Quartet follows the tale of these four legendary musicians, as they come together for one monumental night of music at Sun Records in Memphis.

The Berkshire Theatre Group is presenting Million Dollar Quartet at its Unicorn Theatre through July 15th.

Directed and with music direction by James Barry the musical includes classic tunes such as: "Blue Suede Shoes,” "Fever,” "Walk the Line,” "Sixteen Tons,” "Who Do You Love?,” "Great Balls of Fire,” "Folsom Prison Blues,” "Hound Dog,” and more.

We are joined by Brycen Katolinsky who plays Elvis Presley; Ben Nordstrom who plays The Father of Rock ‘n’ Roll and founder of Sun Records, Sam Phillips; and Christy Coco who plays aspiring singer and Elvis’s girlfriend Dayanne.  


  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.

Joan Marcus

Innovative, heartbreaking, and wickedly funny, Hedwig And The Angry Inch is the American musical by John Cameron Mitchell and Stephen Trask is a genre-bending, fourth-wall-smashing musical sensation, with a pulsing score and electrifying performances which tells the story of one of the most unique characters to ever hit the stage.

Winner of four 2014 Tony Awards including Best Musical Revival, Hedwig And The Angry Inch played to record-breaking sell-out crowds on Broadway and now is in Schenectady for performances tonight and tomorrow at Proctors.

Hannah Corneau plays Yitzhak in the production. She is graduate of Shen High School.

The Roundabout Theatre Company production of Kander and Ebb’s classic Tony Award winning musical drama, Cabaret, is at Proctors this week. This touring production was directed by Sam Mendes and co-directed and choreographed by Rob Marshall.

To set the stage:

1930s, Berlin: The Kit Kat Klub is a seedy cabaret, a place of decadent celebration. The Klub's Master of Ceremonies, or M.C., is joined by the cabaret girls and headliner-of-sorts, Sally Bowles.

In a train station, Cliff Bradshaw arrives, a young American writer coming to Berlin to work on his new novel.

At Proctors this week, Jon Peterson plays the Emcee and Benjamin Eakeley plays Cliff.

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!

Some People Hear Thunder is a powerful musical love story - an uplifting tale of a young reporter, his true love in America, and Armenians fighting for dignity and survival in the face of brutality. Set between 1914 and 1915, in New York and southern Turkey, in the midst of shocking historical events, Some People Hear Thunder comes to life through song, dance and beautiful storytelling.

The show is running at The Capital Repertory Theater in Albany, NY through May 21.

To tell us more we welcome Gerson Smoger and Kevin McGuire. 

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.

Betty Buckley is an award-winning actress of stage and screen. She won a Tony Award for her performance as Grizabella in the original Broadway production of CATS. From 1977 to 1981 she played  on the ABC series Eight is Enough.

She joins us today to discuss her work in M. Night Shyamalan’s recent thriller, SPLIT (which is available this week from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment on Blu-ray and DVD) AND her new record, Story Songs - which was released last Friday by Palmetto Records.

In SPLIT, three girls are kidnapped by a man, played by James McAvoy, who is diagnosed with 23 distinct personalities, they must try to escape before the apparent emergence of a frightful new persona. Betty Buckley plays Dr. Karen Fletcher - the man’s psychologist.

Beautiful – The Carole King Musical - Queens College. Julia Knitel 'Carole King' and Liam Tobin 'Gerry Goffin'
Joan Marcus

Long before she was Carole King, chart-topping music legend, she was Carol Klein, Brooklyn girl with passion and chutzpah. She fought her way into the record business as a teenager and, by the time she reached her twenties, had the husband of her dreams and a flourishing career writing hits for the biggest acts in rock ‘n’ roll. But it wasn’t until her personal life began to crack that she finally managed to find her true voice.

Beautiful – The Carole King Musical tells the inspiring true story of King’s remarkable rise to stardom, from being part of a hit songwriting team with her husband Gerry Goffin, to her relationship with fellow writers and best friends Cynthia Weil and Barry Mann, to becoming one of the most successful solo acts in popular music history. Along the way, she made more than beautiful music, she wrote the soundtrack to a generation.

The National Tour of the award-winning musical is at Proctors in Schenectady this week and we are joined now by Julia Knitel who plays Carole King and Liam Tobin who plays Gerry Goffin.

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.

Shawn Stone, Digital Editor of The Alt joins us to talk about what he's seen lately and what cultural events are coming up this week in our region.

Seen: Wilson

Upcoming:

Music, comedy and great drama are on the schedule for the newly announced Summer season at the Berkshire Theatre Group's Colonial Theatre in Pittsfield and Fitzpatrick Main Stage and Unicorn Theatre in Stockbridge.

Here are some of the highlights: Arsenic and Old Lace, The Music Man, Million Dollar Quartet, a drama by an iconic American playwright, Edward Albee and Lost Lake, a new play by David Auburn.

BTG CEO and artistic director Kate Maguire joins us by phone this morning with a preview. 

Wicked, the smash-hit musical with music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz and book by Winnie Holzman is at Proctors in Schenectady through March 12th.

Based on the 1995 novel Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Albany’s own Gregory Maguire, Wicked brings the audience to Oz and asks “What made the Wicked Witch wicked?” Wicked opened on Broadway in 2003 and since then has dazzled audiences in New York and all over the world.

We are joined today by Isabel Keating who plays Madame Morrible. Morrible begins as Head Mistress at Shiz University and becomes Press Secretary to The Wizerd of Oz.

Keating garnered a Tony Award nomination and won the Drama Desk award for The Boy from Oz. Other Broadway credits include Hairspray, Enchanted April, Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, and It’s Only A Play.

Shawn Stone, Digital Editor of The Alt joins us to talk about what he's seen lately and what cultural events are coming up this week in our region.

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 critically acclaimed musical comedy Something Rotten!, directed and choreographed by Tony Award winner Casey Nicholaw, ended its Broadway run on New Year’s Day at the St. James Theatre. It had been nominated for 10 Tony Awards and played 742 performances.

The show now is going on the road and the first stop is Schenectady and Proctor’s Theatre. It opened their last night and will run through Sunday.

Set in 1595, Something Rotten tells the story of Nick and Nigel Bottom, two brothers who are desperate to write a hit play. When a local soothsayer foretells that the future of theatre involves singing, dancing and acting at the same time, Nick and Nigel set out to write the world’s very first musical. The man who plays that soothsayer joins us this morning.

Blake Hammond plays Nostradamus. He has been seen on Broadway in Living on Love, First Date, Sister Act, Elf, Billy Elliot, Hairspray, The Lion King and The Music Man.


  Cirque du Soleil's Paramour combines -- for the first time - Cirque’s signature spectacle with Broadway's story-telling and song in a production currently running at The Lyric Theatre in New York City. Set in the world of Golden Age Hollywood, the show spins the tale of a beautiful young actress named Indigo who is forced to choose between success and true love.

Ruby Lewis made her Broadway debut in Paramour when it opened in May.

Camelot At TheRep

Dec 7, 2016
Camelot Leenya Rideout as Guineviere, Oliver Thornton as Lancelot, and Kevin McGuire as King Arthur
Douglas C. Liebig / Optimum Exposure Photography

Camelot, one of America’s most beloved musicals, is now playing at Capital Rep in Albany through Christmas Eve. The four-time Tony Award-winning musical has one of the richest scores of the Broadway songbook.

This lusty, romantic tale is sure to inspire audiences with a celebrated score that includes the classics “If Ever I Would Leave You,” “The Simple Joys of Maidenhood,” “How to Handle a Woman” and the title song, “Camelot.”

We welcome two of the cast-members this morning: Jane Pfitsch and Leenya Rideout.

A Bronx Tale: The Musical begins previews on Broadway at the Longacre Theatre tomorrow night. The new musical features a book by Academy Award nominee Chazz Palminteri, music by Oscar, Grammy, and Tony Award winner Alan Menken, and lyrics by Grammy Award winner and Oscar and Tony Award nominee Glenn Slater. The show is co-directed by two-time Oscar winner Robert De Niro and four-time Tony Award winner Jerry Zaks, with choreography by Tony nominee Sergio Trujillo.

Based on the one-man show written and performed by Chazz Palminteri that inspired the now classic film, this streetwise musical will takes the audience to the stoops of the Bronx in the 1960s—where a young man is caught between the father he loves and the mob boss he’d love to be. Featuring an original doo-wop score, this is a tale about respect, loyalty, love, and above all else: family.

The musical premiered at the Tony Award-winning Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn, NJ to critical and popular acclaim earlier this year and officially opens on Broadway on December 1st.

Alan Menken joins us.

The award-winning, dance-filled Gershwin musical An American in Paris ended its critically acclaimed Broadway run on Sunday at the Palace Theatre - having played 623 performances.

The musical's national tour will open at Proctor’s Theatre in Schenectady on Friday, starring Garen Scribner and Sara Esty.

The new stage incarnation of the classic Gershwin film arrived on Broadway after a Paris world premiere. The new musical, inspired by the Oscar-winning film of the same name, features a score by George Gershwin and Ira Gershwin and a book by Craig Lucas.

 

An American in Paris received 12 Tony nominations, winning awards for Best Choreography, Best Orchestrations, Best Set Design and Best Lighting Design.

 

We are thrilled to have Stuart Oken with us this morning. He leads Elephant Eye Theatrical whose projects have included The Addams Family, Saved and Venice. As Executive VP at Disney Theatrical, he produced The Lion King and Aida. He produced the motion pictures About Last Night, Impromptu, and Queens Logic.

  Kinky Boots is the smash-hit musical that brought together four-time Tony Award-winner Harvey Fierstein and Grammy Award winning rock icon Cyndi Lauper - who won a Tony Award-winner for Best Score in 2013. The show took home six 2013 Tony Awards, the most of any show in the season and now the National Touring Company is playing at Proctor’s in Schenectady through Sunday.

Inspired by true events, Kinky Boots tells the story of Charlie Price who is struggling to live up to his father’s expectations and continue the family business of Price & Son. With the factory’s future hanging in the balance, help arrives in the unlikely but spectacular form of Lola, a fabulous performer in need of some sturdy new stilettos. You know, Kinky Boots.

Tiffany Engen plays Lauren in the touring company and she joins us.

  Mary Martin was one of the greatest stars of her day. Growing up in Texas, she was married early to Benjamin Hagman and gave birth to her first child, Larry Hagman. She was divorced even more quickly. Martin left little Larry with her parents and took off for Hollywood. She didn't make a dent in the movie industry and was lured to New York where she found herself auditioning for Cole Porter. Six years later, she became the Toast of Broadway when she starred in South Pacific. After that, she flew as Peter Pan, yodeled in The Sound of Music, took Hello, Dolly! on the road and shared a four-poster with Robert Preston in I Do! I Do!.

Her personal life was just as interesting and it's all covered in David Kaufman's book, Some Enchanted Evenings: The Glittering Life and Times of Mary Martin.

  What does a ''producer'' actually do? How does one travel from that great idea for a show to a smash hit opening night on Broadway?

John Breglio cannot guarantee you a hit, but he does take the reader on a fascinating journey behind-the-scenes to where he himself once stood as a child, dreaming about the theatre. 


  Michael Mayer is the Tony-Award winning director of plays, musicals, opera, and film and television who helmed the Broadway revival of Hedwig and The Angry Inch, and the original runs of the musicals of Everyday Rapture, American Idiot, Spring Awakening, and Thoroughly Modern Millie. He’s also directed revivals of A View From the Bridge, The Lion in Winter, After the Fall, and ‘night Mother. His breakthrough of sorts was Side Man.

 

Side Man had an early production in Poughkeepsie, NY at Vassar College and New York Stage and Film’s Powerhouse Theater -- it moved to off-Off-Broadway and then to Broadway winning the Tony Award for Best Play in 1999.

 

Michael Mayer has been coming back to Poughkeepsie in the summer for 20 years, working on shows in various stages of development and recently joining the New York Stage and Film board of directors.

He was in the Hudson Valley this summer working on a new musical entitled Head Over Heels which blends Sir Philip Sidney’s The Countess of Pembroke's Arcadia with the music of seminal 80s girl-group, The Go-Go’s. Jeff Whitty is writing the book and Tom Kitt will provide musical supervision.

  The Phoenicia International Festival of the Voice promotes the human voice as an instrument of healing, peace and artistic expression through presenting world class performances in Phoenicia, New York and surrounding areas.

This year’s festival - running August 4th through the 7th – celebrates Shakespeare and the British Isles.

We are joined by world renowned opera singers, Executive Director Maria Todaro and Artistic Director Louis Otey. 

  Poster Boy is a new American musical inspired by actual events surrounding the 2010 suicide of Tyler Clementi, a college student who brought national attention to cyber-bullying, In the show, a community of gay men in an online chat room come together to discover what drove one of their own to take his life.

Directed by Olivier Award-nominee Stafford Arima with movement by Danny Mefford, Poster Boy, is in its world premiere production on the Nikos Stage at the Williamstown Theatre Festival through August 7th.

Composer and lyricist, Craig Carnelia and bookwriter Joe Tracz join us.

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