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Jeremy Jordan Added to Cast of NBC’s ‘Smash’

By DAVE ITZKOFF

(Fred R. Conrad/The New York Times) Jeremy Jordan as Jack Kelly, his character in “Newsies the Musical.”

Extra, extra! Hey, look at the headline! By night (and on matinee days), Jeremy Jordanis a Broadway star playing the leader of a feisty gang of turn-of-the-century newspaper boys. Now, by day and in whatever free time he has left, he’ll be playing one of the aspiring Broadway stars hoping to hit it big in a developing musical about the life of Marilyn Monroe on “Smash.”

Mr. Jordan, a Tony Award nominee for his lead role in “Newsies the Musical,” will join the ever-evolving roster of performers on that NBC series in its second season, a person with direct knowledge of plans for “Smash” said on Thursday night. (The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the series has not officially announced its casting decisions.) A casting breakdown for Mr. Jordan’s character on “Smash” describes him as: “Straight, working class from Brooklyn. Sexy, charismatic, musically gifted, but also self-destructive and remote.” (The breakdown adds that the performer “Must be able to sing in a rock and/or soul voice” and that “Ability to play an instrument and dance a plus, but not essential,” which we think Mr. Jordan has down.)

Mr. Jordan is expected to remain in the Broadway production of “Newsies” while he works on “Smash,” whose second season will begin early next year.

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I swear I will Hulk-smash the new show-runners if he's inexplicably in love with Karen.
 
 
Current Mood: chipperchipper
Current Music: "Rumour Has It" by Adele
 
 


The last days of disco are approaching for the flashy musical Priscilla Queen of the Desert. The production will end its Broadway run on June 24 at the Palace Theatre. Starring Will Swenson, Nick Adams and Tony Sheldon, Priscilla opened on March 20, 2011 and will have played 23 previews and 526 regular performances at the time of closing.



Directed by Simon Phillips, Priscilla Queen of the Desert tells the story of three best friends (Swenson, Sheldon and Adams) on a wild road trip across the Australian Outback. Adapted from the film of the same name, Priscilla features over 500 dazzling costumes and hit songs including “It’s Raining Men,” “Material Girl” and “I Will Survive.”



In addition to the trio of stars, Priscilla also features Adam Lefevre, Julie Reiber, Jacqueline B. Arnold, Lisa Howard and Anastacia McCleskey. The musical was adapted for the stage by Stephen Elliot and Allan Scott and featured choreography by Ross Coleman.

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Aw, this show was such a blast. Sad to see it go.
 
 


Disney’s eight-time Tony-nominated musical Newsies will now play an open-ended Broadway run with its original Broadway company. Directed by Jeff Calhoun, the musical was initially scheduled to close on August 19. Starring Tony nominee Jeremy Jordan, Newsies opened at Broadway’s Nederlander Theatre on March 29.



Newsies features the movie's original music as well as additional songs by the Tony-nominated team of Oscar-winning composer Alan Menken and lyricist Jack Feldman, in addition to a book by four-time Tony winner Harvey Fierstein and choreography by Christopher Gattelli. Inspired by the real events of the Newsboy Strike of 1899, Newsies follows a young New York City newsboy (Jordan) who leads a group of orphans in a protest against Joseph Pulitzer, William Randolph Hearst and other powerful newspaper publishers.



In addition to Jordan, the musical stars Kara Lindsay, John Dossett, Capathia Jenkins, Ben Fankhauser, Andrew Keenan-Bolger, Lewis Grosso and Matthew Schechter.

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19 May 2012 @ 08:02 am
Harvey, Starring Jim Parsons, Begins Performances on Broadway



The Broadway revival of Mary Chase’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play Harvey begins previews on May 18. Starring two-time Emmy winner Jim Parsons and Tony nominee Jessica Hecht, Harvey will officially open on June 14 at Studio 54.

Directed by Scott Ellis, the Roundabout Theatre Company production will play a limited engagement through August 5.

Harvey tells the tale of Elwood P. Dowd (Parsons), an eccentric man with an unusual best friend—a six-foot-tall rabbit named Harvey. Harvey is invisible to everyone except Elwood, much to the frustration of his sister, Veta (Hecht). When Veta takes Elwood to the local sanitarium to save their family’s reputation, doctors mistakenly commit Veta instead. As Harvey and Elwood slip out of the hospital unbothered, the town erupts into a hilarious whirlwind of confusion and chaos as the town tries to catch Elwood and his invisible rabbit.



In addition to Parsons and Hecht, Harvey stars Charles Kimbrough, Larry Bryggman, Carol Kane, Peter Benson, Morgan Spector, Holley Fain, Angela Paton, Rich Sommer and Tracee Chimo.

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Tale of the Floppy Disks: How Jonathan Larson Created ‘Rent’

By JENNIFER SCHUESSLER
Jonathan Larson at the New York Theater Workshop on Jan. 24, 1996, one day before he died.Sara Krulwich/The New York TimesJonathan Larson at the New York Theater Workshop on Jan. 24, 1996, one day before he died.

At 6:44 pm on Feb. 4, 1992, a little-known composer and playwright named Jonathan Larson hit “save” for the first time on a Microsoft Word file containing the lyrics to a half dozen songs loosely tied together with fragments of a story that over the next four years would grow into the mega-hit musical “Rent.”

The legend of that show is well known: Larson’s sudden death of an aortic aneurysm at age 35 on the morning of the show’s Off-Broadway opening; the rave reviews, followed by posthumous Tony Awards and a Pulitzer Prize for Larson; and a 12-year, 5,124-performance run on Broadway.

But now, almost exactly 20 years to the day after Larson made that initial “save” — or 10,520,000 minutes, as one of the musical’s best known songs might tabulate it — Doug Reside, the digital curator for performing arts at the New York Public Library, will give a public talk arguing that there is another way to tabulate Larson’s creativity: by minutely analyzing the bits and bytes he left behind left behind on 189 floppy disks.

Did you cheat on Mark a lot, would you say?Collapse )

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Current Mood: mellowmellow
Current Music: "We're Okay" from Rent, now
 
 
06 December 2011 @ 08:10 pm
YAY!  

Even Before Off-Broadway Opening, ‘Once’ Announces a Move To Broadway

By SCOTT HELLER and PATRICK HEALY

Just as the musical “Once” was about to open at New York Theater Workshop Tuesday night, the show’s commercial producers announced it would go directly to Broadway after the Off Broadway run.

Based on the 2007 movie of the same name, “Once” will begin previews at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theater on Feb. 28, 2012, with opening night set for March 18.

While widely anticipated, the announcement of the move came, unusually, even before the Off Broadway reviews were published. The film, which won an Academy Award for best original song, has a loyal following, but the rapid transfer is also confirmation that this year’s bounty of new Broadway musicals is thin.

With the addition of “Once,” the race for the coveted best musical Tony Award in June is likely set. Still to arrive in the spring are the Disney vehicle “Newsies,” the Gershwin songbook musical “Nice Work If You Can Get It,” and the movies-turned-musiçals “Ghost” and “Rebecca.” “Bonnie and Clyde,” “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark,” and “Lysistrata Jones” are already playing, with the latter show officially opening next week.

“Once” features music and lyrics by Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova, who starred in the film version as two songwriters who fall haltingly in love on the streets of Dublin. (Steve Kazee and Cristin Milioti star in the stage version.) Enda Walsh (“Penelope,” “Misterman”) wrote the book and John Tiffany (“Black Watch”) is the director.

Executives involved with “Once” said they moved up the timing of the transfer because rumors about it were intensifying; normally producers do not upstage a show’s reviews by announcing news of its transfer just hours before. The New York Theater Workshop run is scheduled to end Jan. 15.


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Current Mood: chipperchipper
Current Music: HIMYM
 
 
As reported Wednesday by the Los Angeles Times:

Alan Rickman had a special visitor to his dressing room at the Golden Theatre Monday night:  Daniel Radcliffe.
 

The actors from the Harry Potter movies — Rickman played Severus Snape and Radcliffe was Potter himself — are appearing on Broadway concurrently. Radcliffe spent his night off from the revival of “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying” taking in a preview of “Seminar,” the new Theresa Rebeck play in which Rickman plays a once-famous novelist who mercilessly baits and badgers a group of aspiring writers. "Seminar" opens Nov. 20; Radcliffe is with "How to Succeed" until Jan. 1.

Radcliffe found the production to be inspiring, Rickman said.  “He told me, ‘This makes me want to do a play, I have to do a play,’ ” he recalled in his dressing room before a recent rehearsal.  “And I told him, ‘Daniel, you have years ahead of you ….'  And he not only has the time but the talent to accomplish  much on the stage.”

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I cannot for the life of me get an LJ-cut to work without deleting half of the text for some reason. Apologies.

Will London (By Way of Cyberspace) Be New Route for ‘Pippin’ To Broadway?

By PATRICK HEALY


A circus-like revival of the popular 1970s musical “Pippin,” which director Diane Paulus was aiming for Broadway in the 2012-13 season, is in limbo now that another production of the show – this one inspired by virtual reality games – will open this fall in London at the Menier Chocolate Factory, which has a track record of moving revivals to Broadway.

Stephen Schwartz, the “Pippin” composer and lyricist, said in an interview that he had opted to pursue a revival first with the Chocolate Factory because the director there, Mitch Sebastian, had initially pitched his concept before Ms. Paulus (“The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess,” “Hair”) and her producer, Barry Weissler (“Chicago”).

In recent years Mr. Schwartz had developed ideas with both teams, he said, but the Chocolate Factory and Mr. Sebastian were ready to mount their revival quickly. The London production, which will incorporate Bob Fosse’s original Tony Award-winning choreography, is set to run from Nov. 22 through Feb. 25, 2012.

The Chocolate Factory revival will put a modern twist on the musical’s original conceit of an acting troupe telling the 8th century story of a young prince named Pippin searching for purpose in the world, Mr. Schwartz said. Instead of a troupe of actors, this new “Pippin” will be told by a group of characters playing a computer game similar to “Second Life,” a popular program that allows users to explore a virtual world and socialize and do business with other residents.

“I found it to be a fascinating concept, even if I have no idea if it will be workable or not,” said Mr. Schwartz, who collaborated with book writer Roger O. Hirson on “Pippin,” which ran on Broadway from 1972 to 1977 and starred Ben Vereen (who won the Tony Award for best actor) as the Leading Player and John Rubinstein as Pippin.

“Just as the original ‘Pippin’ dealt with concerns of a young man coming of age at that time, this idea seemed to bring the enactment story into the present day without undercutting the tale that takes place around 800 A.D. The idea actually required very little change, just a couple of words here and there. It felt like it was worth a shot.”

“If it works out, the Chocolate Factory will make its own determination about the future of the show,” he added, referring to the possibility that the London “Pippin” might eventually come to Broadway. “And if it doesn’t work out, I’ve told Diane and Barry that if they’re still interested, we’ll pursue a ‘Pippin’ with them. There’s no bad blood. Everyone seems in agreement with just seeing what happens.”

As it happens, the Chocolate Factory last worked on Broadway with Mr. Weissler, on the transfer of “La Cage Aux Folles” from London in 2010; the theater company has also moved its revivals of “A Little Night Music” and “Sunday in the Park with George” to Broadway over the last four years.

Mr. Weissler, asked about the future of his “Pippin” on Wednesday, said, “I’m basically waiting to find out what Stephen wishes to do. Diane and I would love to do it. We think it’s a marvelous property.” The show, which includes songs like “Magic to Do,” “Corner of the Sky,” and “Morning Glow,” was nominated for 11 Tonys in 1973 and won five, including best director and best choreography for Mr. Fosse.

Ms. Paulus held a reading of “Pippin” last year, with the Tony-nominated actor Gavin Creel (“Hair”) in the title role, with the hope of mounting a tryout production at the American Repertory Theater in Cambridge, Mass. – where she is artistic director – and then bringing “Pippin” to Broadway, where it has never been revived. Her concepts included casting acrobats, jugglers, and others from Les 7 Doigts de la Main (or 7 Fingers), a Montreal troupe of street circus performers that is currently performing Off Broadway in the show “Traces.”

The story-within-a-story structure of “Pippin” has long lent itself to bold nterpretations by regional theaters as well as colleges and high schools, where it is a staple in the repertoire. In 2009, for instance, Deaf West Theater Company and the Center Theater Group adapted the musical for a cast of both hearing and hearing-impaired actors to convey, among other things, Pippin’s struggle with his own torn identity.

Neither Mr. Weissler nor the Chocolate Factory has announced official plans to mount “Pippin” in New York, but the musical seemed to have a future on Broadway given the pedigree of those involved and the show’s long absence there.

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Frankly, if someone's going to revive this, I'm seeing it. I don't care if it's puppets or pixels or if you're actually going to set it in 800 A.D. Diane Paulus did an amazing job with Hair (although the acrobat concept sounds more workable than virtual reality to me). The book is strange, but the music is amaaaazing. Possibly better than Wicked. I've been singing "Corner of the Sky" and "Extraordinary" and "Simple Joys" and "No Time At All" and "I Guess I'll Miss The Man" and "On The Right Track" and "Spread a Little Sunshine" since I discovered my parent's cassette tape! (Incidentally, I'm still surprised when the finale doesn't cut off in the middle of "Think about the moment/that's so close at hand!" like the tape did.)
 
 
Current Music: "Simple Joys" from Pippin, clearly
 
 
21 September 2011 @ 03:32 pm

Workshop Production May Help ‘Yank!’ March on Broadway

By PATRICK HEALY

“Yank!,” a musical that gained a following during its 2010 Off Broadway run, in part because of its provocative love story between World War II servicemen, has lead actors in place for a four-week developmental workshop this fall that might be a prelude to a Broadway production.

Bobby Steggert (“Ragtime”) will reprise his performance as the main character Stu from the York Theater Company production last year, while Santino Fontana (the recent Broadway revival of “The Importance of Being Earnest”) will succeed Ivan Hernandez in the role of Mitch, who falls by fits and starts into a romance with Stu. A spokesman for the Old Globe Theater, which is producing the workshop, confirmed the casting lineup on Wednesday.

Nellie McKay (“The Threepenny Opera”), Jeffrey Howard Schecter (the Broadway revival of “A Chorus Line”), Tyler Maynard (“Altar Boyz”) and Tally Sessions (who was also in the York production of “Yank!”) are among others in the cast. David Cromer (“Our Town,” “The House of Blue Leaves) will direct the workshop, which is scheduled to run Oct. 24 to Nov. 17.
Mr. Cromer said in an interview that the musical’s creators, David and Joseph Zellnik, who are brothers, had written several new songs and revised and sharpened the script. “It’s ultimately the same story as seen before, but David and Joe have made the joyous parts more explosive, and the painful love story even more powerful,” Mr. Cromer said.

No plans for a future production, on Broadway or elsewhere, have been announced. The theater producers Barry Weissler, Maren Berthelsen, Pam Koslow and Stuart Wilk are attached to “Yank!” for a possible commercial run in the future.


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Current Mood: chipperchipper
Current Music: "Kaleidoscope" by Imogen Heap
 
 
13 September 2011 @ 08:12 pm
Hugh Jackman Will Sing and Dance Again on Broadway
By PATRICK HEALY

Hugh Jackman is 2-for-2 at turning a profit on Broadway, with his 2003 musical “The Boy from Oz” and his 2009 play with Daniel Craig, “A Steady Rain” — a golden track record in a business where only 25 to 30 percent of shows even recoup their investment each year. Now Mr. Jackman has a chance at a hat trick: He will return to Broadway this fall with an 18-piece orchestra for his one-man show, “Hugh Jackman, Back on Broadway,” featuring a selection of his favorite musical numbers, the producers announced on Tuesday.

A version of the show earned gushing reviews when it played in Toronto and San Francisco earlier this year.

“Back on Broadway” is scheduled to begin preview performances at the Broadhurst Theater on Oct. 25 and open Nov. 10, running through Jan. 1, 2012; after that Mr. Jackman is expected to begin filming a movie version of the musical “Les Miserables” in which he will star as Jean Valjean.

Ten weeks is a relatively short period of time for the show’s producers, Robert Fox and the Shubert Organization, to recoup their investment on Broadway. Ticket prices were not announced on Tuesday, but you can assume that more than a few orchestra seats will be selling at hefty premium prices.

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Current Mood: working
Current Music: "Precious" by Depeche Mode