musical theater

  Vermont's Weston Playhouse Theatre Company is turning 80 and their summer 2016 season boasts a line-up that includes groundbreaking partnerships, collaborations with major stars, and the Vermont Premiere of one of Broadway's longest-running hits.

Producing Artistic Director, Steve Stettler, joins us now to tell us all about it.

Tony Award-winning Fiorello! is a big-hearted look at Mayor La Guardia and his battle for the people of New York City. With music and lyrics by Tony Award-winners Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick and book by Tony Award and Drama Desk-Winner George Abbott and Jerome Weidman, the Berkshire Theatre Group production is directed by Playwrights Horizons founder, Bob Moss. Fiorello! is one of only nine musicals to have been awarded the esteemed Pulitzer Prize for Drama.

Berkshire Theatre Group presents Fiorello! through July 23rd on their Unicorn Theater in Stockbridge.

Cast members Katie Birenboim and Austin Lombardi join us now. They play Marie and the title character, Fiorello, respectively. 

  Over the past three decades, Jane’s Ice Cream, founded by sisters Jane and Amy Keller, has grown from their humble beginnings as a street side lunch spot in Phoenicia, NY, into a regional ice cream powerhouse.

Jane’s Ice Cream supplies the Tri-state area, Massachusetts, and some of New York City’s toniest hotels and restaurants, including the New York Palace Hotel and the Carlyle Hotel.

This year they’ve even connected with the only thing currently more popular than ice cream – Hamilton: An American Musical.

Jane’s is run by husband and wife team Amy Keller and Bob Guidubaldi and they join us this morning.

Barbara Walsh and Michael Rupert in Presto Change-O at Barrington Stage
Scott Barrow

  Presto Change-O, a new musical with book and lyrics by Eric Price and music by Joel Waggoner, is running on Barrington Stage Company’s St. Germain Stage through June 11th. Directed by Marc Bruni, choreographed by Chris Bailey, the show features a credit not usually seen in your everyday playbill -- illusions by Joseph Waternerchaney.

That’s right - the majority of actors in the piece has to - on top of acting, singing, and dancing - perform parlor and platform magic.

Presto Change-O is a World Premiere from BSC’s acclaimed Musical Theatre Lab and we are joined by actors Barbara Walsh and Michael Rupert - both of whom originated roles in the original Broadway run of Falsettos and have numerous other Broadway, Off-Broadway, Regional, and Television and Film credits on their resumes.

www.cirquedusoleil.com/paramour


  Cirque du Soleil's Paramour combines Cirque’s signature spectacle with Broadway's story-telling and song in a brand new production that opened this week 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 poet forced to choose between love and art.

Ryan Vona - who was most recently seen on Broadway in Once - plays Joey - in Paramour. We spoke with him a few weeks ago - before the show began previews.

Becky Mode, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, and Jason Moore
Walter McBride / Getty Images

  Fully Committed starring Jesse Tyler Ferguson opens tonight at the Lyceum Theatre in New York City.

The play, written by Becky Mode, follows a day in the life of Sam. His job is to man the red-hot reservation line at Manhattan's number-one restaurant. Jesse Tyler Ferguson (best known for his Emmy nominated work as Mitchell on ABC’s Modern Family) plays all 40 characters, acting out the coercion, threats, bribes, and histrionics of both the would-be patrons and the staff at the very chic eatery.

Jason Moore directs this production which is scheduled for a limited run through July 24th. Moore directed the films Sisters, starring Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, and Pitch Perfect. For Broadway he's directed Shrek The Musical and the Tony Award winning production of Avenue Q.

Jason Danieley
Justin Patterson

  This coming fall, Chicago, Kander and Ebb’s merry-murderess musical, will have been running on Broadway for 20 years.

To celebrate, six-time Tony Award-winning costume designer William Ivey Long will be revising some of his Tony-nominated designs for the show, there will be a special SummerStage concert in Central Park in August, and Takarazuka, the all-female Japanese musical revue troupe, will celebrate the centennial of their founding with its first appearance in New York in over 25 years with "Takarazuka Chicago," marking the first time ever that two identical productions in two different languages will be running at the same time in NYC. That’s happening in July.

Right now, the role of Billy Flynn, the silver-tongued solicitor and suave defender of Roxy Hart, is being played by Jason Danieley. On Broadway, Jason played Candide in the 1997 revival of Candide, Malcolm MacGregor in The Full Monty, Aaron Fox in Curtains, and Frederich Kuhn in The Visit.

Roundabout Theatre Company's The Robber Bridegroom - Leslie Kritzer, center
Joan Marcus

  Based on the short story by Eudora Welty, The Robber Bridegroom is the Southern-fried Robin Hood tale of Jamie Lockhart, a dangerous, handsome, backwoods rogue who’s a gentleman by day and bandit by night. When he falls for the beautiful daughter of a wealthy planter, his world and code of ethics are turned upside down.

Roundabout Theatre Company in New York City has a rustic romp of a ‘Robber Bridegroom’ running at The Laura Pels Theatre. Director Alex Timbers brings his incomparable imagination to the show with book by Alfred Uhry and music by Robert Waldman.

The show stars Steven Pasquale, Andrew Durand, Evan Harrington, Greg Hildreth, Ahna O’Reilly, Nadia Quinn, Lance Roberts, Devere Rogers, and , our guest, Leslie Kritzer, as Salome.

Leslie made her Broadway debut in Hairspray, following that she was Serena in Legally Blonde, and then Jane Hurley in A Catered Affair. She was In Sondheim on Sondheim and played Jovie in the stage musical adaptation of Elf. In addition to numerous Off-Broadway and regional credits she received critical acclaim, a TimeOut New York Award, and a Special Achievement MAC Award, for Leslie Kritzer Is Patti LuPone at Les Mouches, a re-creation of Patti LuPone’s famed nightclub act. She is currently playing Ray Romano’s wife on the HBO show Vinyl.

Laura Benanti in She Loves Me
Joan Marcus

  As part of its 50th Anniversary season, Roundabout Theatre Company is currently presenting a revival of She Loves Me. The musical, with a book by Joe Masteroff, lyrics by Sheldon Harnick, and music by Jerry Bock, was the first musical Roundabout ever produced. That production opened in 1993 and was directed by Scott Ellis who returns to helm the show currently sparkling in jewel tones at Studio 54.

The musical is an adaptation of the play Parfumerie by Hungarian playwright Miklos Laszlo. The films The Shop Around the Corner and You’ve Got Mail boast the same source material. The cast includes Zachary Levi, Jane Krakowski, Gavin Creel and, our guest, Tony Award-winner Laura Benanti who plays Amalia Balash.

Laura Benanti won a Tony for her performance as Louise in Gypsy (with Patti LuPone as Rose); and she was nominated for Swing, Into the Woods, and Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown. Her television credits include Supergirl, Nashville, Nurse Jackie, Royal Pains, Law & Order: SVU, and Go On.

More than 75 million people around the world have experienced the awe-inspiring visual artistry, the unforgettable music, and the uniquely theatrical storytelling of the Broadway spectacular – Disney’s The Lion King.

And why not? Giraffes strut. Birds swoop. Gazelles leap. The entire Serengeti comes to life as never before. And as the music soars, Pride Rock slowly emerges from the mist. And, we are happy to report, The Lion King has now taken over Proctors through April 17th.

Winner of six Tony Awards, including Best Musical, The Lion King, brings together one of the most imaginative creative teams on Broadway. Tony Award-winning director Julie Taymor, Tony Award-winning choreographer Garth Fagan and some of Broadway’s most recognizable music, crafted by Tony Award-winning artists Elton John and Tim Rice.

This morning we welcome two of the leading actors who play the Lion brothers - Mufasa and Scar. Patrick Brown plays the villainous Scar and Gerald Ramsey plays the King lion – Mufasa.

Leanne Cope and Robbie Fairchild in An American in Paris
Sara Krulwich/The New York Times

  The Broadway musical, An American in Paris, has been running at The Palace Theatre in New York City since March of last year. Based on the Academy Award winning film of the same name and and featuring the music of George and Ira Gershwin, the production is directed and choreographed Tony Award winner Christopher Wheeldon.

Leanne Cope plays - and dances - the role of Lise. She’s been with the show from its workshop stage to it’s out-of-town run in Paris and for the last year, on Broadway - earning a Tony Nomination for her work and having to take a leave of absence from London’s Royal Ballet to pursue the project.

    This Friday night the new Broadway musical, Waitress, will begin previews at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre in New York City.

Based on the 2007 movie of the same name written and directed by the late Adrienne Shelly, Waitress is the first Broadway musical in history where the traditional four person creative team of book writer, composer, choreographer and director have all been women. Diane Paulus directs, Lorin Latarro choreographs, the music and lyrics are by five-time Grammy Award-nominated singer-songwriter Sara Bareilles, and the book is by our guest, Jessie Nelson.

Tony Award winner Jessie Mueller plays Jenna, a pregnant waitress in an abusive marriage. She takes (and makes) comfort by baking inventive pies and pursuing a romance with an unlikely newcomer to her town.

Bookwriter, Jessie Nelson, is the screenwriter of Stepmom, and I am Sam. She wrote, directed, and produced Corinna Corinna starring Whoopi Goldberg and Ray Liotta.

  The Proctors' Key Private Bank Broadway Series has been unveiled. The season includes An American in Paris, The Sound of Music and Cabaret among six touring musicals. Capital Rep's slate of original productions will consist of five shows, from a tribute to Janis Joplin to an adaptation of Homer's Iliad.

In another first, an offering on Capital Rep's season, Beautiful — The Carole King Musical, will be presented at Proctors and will be a touring show, not an original production mounted by Capital Rep. Subscribers to either theater will have the option of adding tickets to the touring production of Wicked, returning to Proctors for two weeks in March 2017.

There is a lot going on and we welcome CEO Philip Morris to tell us more.

Kaitlyn Davidson
Credit: Robert Mannis

  Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella is the Tony Award-winning musical from the creators of South Pacific and The Sound of Music that's delighting audiences with its surprisingly contemporary take on the classic tale. This lush production features an incredible orchestra, jaw-dropping transformations and all the moments you love—the pumpkin, the glass slipper, the masked ball and more. The show is at Proctors in Schenectady, NY this week.

The show boasts Rodgers and Hammerstein's most beloved songs, including "In My Own Little Corner," "Impossible/It's Possible" and "Ten Minutes Ago."

Kaitlyn Davidson plays Ella in the musical on the road with Cinderella where she was also part of the Broadway cast. She also starred in Broadway’s Nice Work If You Can Get It and the national tour of White Christmas.

  Michael Riedel has been a theater columnist for the New York Post since 1998. He worked at the Daily News for five years before returning to the Post, he is the cohost of Theater Talk with PBS.

In his first book, Razzle Dazzle, he pulls back the curtain on Broadway's stars, producers, and mega-hits to reveal all the shocking drama, intrigue, and power plays that happened off stage.

Razzle Dazzle is a provocative, no-holds-barred narrative account of the people and the money and the power that re-invented an iconic quarter of New York City, turning its gritty back alleys and sex-shops into the glitzy, dazzling Great White Way—and bringing a crippled New York from the brink of bankruptcy to its glittering glory.

  The timeless tale of joy and goodwill, White Christmas, filled with classic Irving Berlin songs and glorious dancing and lots of snow is now at Proctors in Schenectady through Sunday. We meet two of the stars of the show - Conrad John Schuck & Pamela Myers – this morning.

Conrad John Schuck plays General Waverly. He played Daddy Warbucks on Broadway and was in Nice Work If You Can Get It with Matthew Broderick. His film work includes: M*A*S*H, Star Trek IV & VI, and Woody Allen’s Curse of the Jade Scorpion. On TV he was Sgt. Enright in McMillan and Wife with Rock Hudson and he starred in one of my favorites – Holmes and Yoyo.

Pamela Myers plays Martha Watson in White Christmas. Her Broadway credits include: Company (where she was nominated for a Tony) and Into The Woods. She also had the pleasure of working with Charles Schulz creating the role of Peppermint Patty in Snoopy. Her TV credits include Happy Days, Alice, Major Dad, and she starred in and was the announcer for Sha Na Na.

  Since it first opened on Broadway in September, 1964, Fiddler on the Roof has constantly been onstage somewhere. The new Broadway revival starring Danny Burstein and Jessica Hecht opens at The Broadway Theatre in New York City on Sunday.

Published in celebration of Fiddler's 50th anniversary, Tradition!: The Highly Improbable, Ultimately Triumphant Broadway-to-Hollywood Story of Fiddler on the Roof, the World's Most Beloved Musical, is a book by Barbara Isenberg -- for which she interviewed the men and women behind the original production, the film and significant revivals to produce a lively, popular chronicle of the making of Fiddler.

  Alice Walker’s The Color Purple is an unforgettable story of enduring love and triumph over adversity.

Based on the Pulitzer Prize winning novel and the Warner Bros. / Amblin Entertainment motion picture, the musical version of The Color Purple is adapted for the stage by Pulitzer Prize and Tony award winner Marsha Norman, with music and lyrics by Grammy award winners Brenda Russell, Allee Willis and Stephen Bray.

The John Doyle directed Broadway revival of The Color Purple opens tomorrow night after a month of previews and boasts a fresh, joyous score of jazz, ragtime, gospel and blues. The cast includes Cynthia Erivo as Celie, Jennifer Hudson as Shug Avery, Danielle Brooks as Sofia, and our guest, Isaiah Johnson as Mister.

Matilda The Musical is the story of an extraordinary girl who, armed with a vivid imagination and a sharp mind, dares to take a stand and change her own destiny.

Rolling Stone called the show “hands down the best musical of the season.” Based on the beloved novel by Roald Dahl, Matilda continues to thrill sold-out audiences of all ages on Broadway and in London’s West End.

The show is playing through Sunday at Proctors in Schenectady.

  This holiday season, Capital Repertory Theatre in Albany presents A Christmas Story: The Musical.

The Chinese food, the Red Ryder BB gun, the frozen pole, and the leg lamp are all there in this musical based on the classic 1983 movie, which itself was based on stories by legendary radio humorist Jean Shepherd. The show features music and lyrics by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul and a book by Joseph Robinette. Maggie Mancinelli Cahill directs.

Preview performances for A Christmas Story: The Musical take place November 27th through the 29th. Opening night is Tuesday, December 1.

  Roundabout Theatre Company is celebrating its 50th Anniversary and today we wrap up a week-long series of interviews with Roundabout artists discussing this special season.

Next month, The American Airlines Theatre will become home to a host of backstage antics and slamming doors in Michael Frayn’s superb farce, Noises Off.

Jeremy Herrin directs a cast featuring Andrea Martin, Campbell Scott, Tracee Chimo, Daniel Davis, David Furr, Kate Jennings Grant,Rob McClure, Jeremy Shamos, and Megan Hilty.

Megan Hilty played Glinda in Wicked (on tour and on Broadway) and originated the role of Doralee Rhodes in the musical adaptation of 9 to 5. She has a great and growing concert career and portrayed Ivy Lynn, the upcoming diva that viewers loved to loathe on NBC’s Broadway musical series, Smash. She wil play Brooke Ashton in Noises Off.

  The Roundabout Theatre Company in New York City -- the largest not-for-profit theatre company in America -- is celebrating its 50th Anniversary this season. This week we’re highlighting some of their work.

Early next year, Roundabout will open a revival of She Loves Me. With a book by Joe Masteroff, lyrics by Sheldon Harnick, and music by Jerry Bock, She Loves Me is an adaptation of the Hungarian play, Parfumerie. The films The Shop Around the Corner and You’ve Got Mail used the same source material as this musical, which was first produced on Broadway in 1963.

In 1993, She Loves Me was the first musical Roundabout ever produced. It was directed by Scott Ellis and earned a Tony Award for Boyd Gaines and a Drama Desk Award for Best Revival of a Musical. Scott Ellis returns to helm this new production boasting a cast that includes Laura Benanti, Zachary Levi, Rene Auberjonois, Jane Krakowski, and Gavin Creel.

Creel originated the role of Jimmy in Thoroughly Modern Millie, for which he earned a Tony nomination. He played Claude in the 2009 revival of Hair, earning another Tony Nomination. He is currently playing Elder Price in The Book of Mormon and he’ll play Stephen Kodaly in She Loves Me.

  Featuring classic songs such as “My Girl” and “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” the Broadway hit: Motown The Musical is now playing at Proctors in Schenectady through Sunday.

It is the true story of Motown founder Berry Gordy’s journey from featherweight boxer to the heavyweight music mogul who launched the careers of Diana Ross, Michael Jackson, Smokey Robinson and many more.

We meet two of the stars this morning: Jarran Muse plays Marvin Gaye and Syndee Winters portrays Diana Ross.

  The Sundance Institute Theatre Lab will present an evening of work-in-progress musical theater in MASS MoCA’s Club B10 tomorrow, November 14, at 8pm.

The Sundance Institute’s renowned Theatre Program has produced and molded many future Broadway and Off-Broadway hits through their incubation process. This is the 5th year they’ve partnered with MASS MoCA.

This year they will present 3 in-progress musicals including a new work from Adam Guetel and Craig Lucas.

The Tony Award-winning composer-lyricist and Obie Award-winning playwright creators of Light in the Piazza re-team to reimagine a story that tells of a love affair between two average Americans, torpedoed by alcoholism.

Adam Guetel joins us now along with Philip Himberg is the producing artistic director of Sundance Institute Theatre Program.

  The National Tour of The Book Of Mormon opens tonight at Proctors in Schenectady.

Hailed by The New York Times as "the best musical of this century" and the winner of nine Tony Awards, The Book of Mormon is the blockbuster Broadway smash from South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone, and the Oscar-winning composer of Disney's Frozen and Avenue Q, Bobby Lopez.

David Larsen plays Elder Price in the show and he joins us to talk about the tour and his career.

Star of the original company of Hair, Falsettos, Merrily We Roll Along and A Catered Affair, Broadway veteran Heather MacRae brings her award winning tribute to her iconic film star father, Gordon MacRae in Songs for My Father at Helsinki on Broadway @ Helsinki Hudson on October 11th.

Dirty Sugar Photography

  The CENTER for Performing Arts at Rhinebeck will present Alice Ripley in concert this Saturday at their annual gala. Jennifer Damiano will join her.

The Tony-Award winning actress is a true Broadway icon whose credits include the original casts of The Who’s Tommy, Sunset Boulevard, Side Show, and the Pulitzer Prize winning musical, Next to Normal (for which she won her Tony Award).

We speak with her here about those shows and more.

  The New York New Work Theatre Festival brings aspiring playwrights and Broadway producers together in a room with new plays and musicals in an combination elimination-by-audience vote competition and workshop.

One show in this year's festival is Hotel California: The Musical. A half-hour version of a full-lengthy musical that tells a new story using the timeless music of The Eagles. Our friend Jayne Atkinson directs and performs in the piece and it is written by Denise Lynn McQueen.

Hotel California: The Musical will be performed on Monday, August 24 at 7 p.m. at The Elektra Theatre at the Times Square Arts Center in New York, NY.

Shervin Lainez

  Duncan Sheik and Kyle Jarrow’s new musical, Noir, is the final Martel Musical of New York Stage and Film and Vassar College’s Powerhouse Theater season. Sheik and Jarrow previously worked together on the musical Whisper House.

Noir tells the tale of a heartbroken man in LA who discovers and involves himself in a mystery unfolding just beyond his paper-thin walls.

Duncan Sheik joins us to talk about Noir; the Deaf West Theatre production of Spring Awakening (his Tony Award winning show penned with Steven Sater) coming to Broadway in the fall and about his musical version of American Psycho (with book by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa) which comes to Broadway early in 2016.

  At their childhood home after their mother’s funeral, Nate gets high and Jeremy focusses on work waiting for him in the city -- both brothers trying to send their minds anywhere but where they are.

This is the starting point of A Little More Alive - a Musical Theatre Lab production currently running on Barrington Stage Company’s St. Germain Stage in Pittsfield, MA through August 8th.

The musical, directed by Sheryl Kaller and featuring actors Van Hughes, Daniel Jenkins, Nicolette Robinson, Michael Tacconi, and Emily Walton, tells the story of dealing not only with the devastation of loss but the revelation that the person who has died had a secret. A secret that warps all of their memories of her and both monumental and mundane moment in their lives.

Nick Blaemire wrote the show - book, music, and lyrics. We speak with him here about the process.

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