HERE'S WHAT'S NEW:

CHECK OUT THE TABS ABOVE FOR PREVIOUS ARTICLES, INCLUDING STANDING @ ZERO, ONE THAT GOT AWAY, #TBT, THE FRIDAY 5! CHECK IT OUT!
AND DON'T FORGET TO SCROLL DOWN THE WHOLE PAGE FOR LINKS TO FEATURED ARTICLES, REVIEWS, SHOW SITES, AND THEATER-RELATED STUFF!

COMING UP ON BROADWAY:
A Christmas Carol - Opens: 11.20.19 Jagged Little Pill - Opens: 12.5.19 A Soldier's Play - Previews: 12.27.19, Opens: 1.21.20 Grand Horizons - Previews: 12.20.19, Opens: 1.23.20 My Name is Lucy Barton - Previews: 1.6.20, Opens: 1.15.20 West Side Story - Previews: 12.10.19, Opens: 2.6.20 Girl From the North Country - Previews: 2.7.20, Opens: 3.5.20 Six - Previews: 2.13.20, Opens: 3.12.20 The Minutes - Previews: 2.25.20, Opens: 3.15.20 Hangmen - Previews: 2.28.20, Opens: 3.19.20 Company - Previews: 3.2.20, Opens: 3.22.20 Diana - Previews: 3.2.20, Opens: 3.26.20 The Lehman Trilogy - Previews: 3.7.20, Opens: 3.31.20 Caroline, or Change - Previews: 3.13.20, Opens: 4.4.20 Mrs. Doubtfire - Previews 3.9.20, Opens 4.5.20 Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? - Previews: 3.3.20, Opens: 4.9.20 Plaza Suite - Previews: 3.13.20, Opens: 4.13.20 American Buffalo - Previews: 3.24.20, Opens: 4.14.20 Flying Over Sunset - Previews: 3.12.20, Opens: 4.16.20 Birthday Candles - Previews: 4.2.20, Opens: 4.21.20 How I Learned To Drive - Previews: 3.27.20, Opens: 4.22.20 Take Me Out - Previews: 3.31.20, Opens: 4.23.20 Tony Awards Cut Off - 4.23.20 Tony Awards Nominations - 4.28.20 Tony Awards - 6.7.20 MJ: The Musical - Previews: 7.6.20, Opens: 8.13.20

COMING UP ON THE SITE: 11/20: Opinion: West Side Story - 11/21: #TBT: Broadway Cast Recording: Kiss of the Spider Woman - 11/22: The Friday 5 Quiz

CONTACT US: (Email) jkstheatrescene@yahoo.com (Twitter) @jkstheatrescene (Instagram) jkstheatrescene

Monday, November 18, 2019

Broadway Heat: Jagged Little Pill Edition: The Finals!

We are head over feet about Jagged Little Pill , and it looks like you are, too! Last week, you voted in a new record number! This week, your vote will determine THE WINNER! Who do you think it'll be? A leading lady? An ensemblist? Or maybe a swing? This week, you can vote for up to 3 of the remaining cast members. When this round is over, you'll have named the cast member who will compete at the end of the season to be THE HOTTEST BROADWAY MUSICAL CAST MEMBER OF 2019-2020!

The poll starts after the instructions!

🔥🔥BROADWAY HEAT🔥🔥
Jagged Little Pill Edition: 
The Finals!




HOT on Broadway (adj): fierce, talented, big potential; 
has "buzz"; has "it" factor.

REMEMBER:
  • You may vote for UP TO 3 cast members in this round. There is a photo and check box for each person. You may tap or click to make each selection.
  • You will need to scroll down the ballot box to see all of them.
  • When you have made all of your selections, scroll to the bottom of the ballot and tap/click the "CLICK HERE TO MAKE YOUR VOTE COUNT" button. You MUST tap/click this button or your vote WILL NOT count! (The little "OK" button does NOT complete your ballot.)
  • Your vote/device information is completely anonymous. The ballot is secure and is NOT collecting any data other than votes.
  • You may vote more than once!
🔥🔥THIS POLL WILL CLOSE AT 5 PM ON FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 22!🔥🔥


Create your own user feedback survey

#2211

Friday, November 15, 2019

The Friday 5: 5 Favorite Jane Krakowski Roles

While reminiscing about Grand Hotel's 30th anniversary, I of course got to thinking about one of its great stars, Jane Krakowski. Whenever I hear her name attached to any project, my ears perk up and I hope it'll mean her return to the stage. Here's hoping it'll be sooner rather than later! In the meantime, this week's Friday 5 is all about her best Broadway roles.




THE FRIDAY 5:
5 Great Broadway Roles of
Jane Krakowski

Dinah the Dining Car - Starlight Express (Broadway debut)


Flaemmchen - Grand Hotel: The Musical (Tony nominee)


April - Company


Carla - Nine (Tony Award winner)


Ilona Ritter - She Loves Me (Tony nominee)



*****     *****     *****
ANSWERS TO LAST WEEK'S
FRIDAY 5 QUIZ: BROADWAY COSTUMES
CATS EDITION

1. Rum Tum Tugger


2. Jennyanydots


3. Mr. Mistoffeles


4. Victoria


5. Munkustrap


#2210

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Standing @ Zero: Frozen's Adam Perry (NSFW)

This month we give thanks for an ensemblist with seven Broadway shows (and three national tours) under his dance belt. His career spans classic shows, both revivals and modern, and he's worked with some of theater's best and brightest directors and choreographers. Dancing for charity also plays a major role in Adam Perry's resume; he has appeared in several Broadway Bares events. We are sure you'll be able to see why he's a fan favorite there! These days, he's a citizen of Arendelle, having been with Disney's Frozen since its beginning - a real Standing @ Zero hero!

CONTENT WARNING: Some of the photos below may be NSFW.


Standing @ Zero
Frozen's
Adam Perry





On Broadway, Adam has appeared in Wicked, A Chorus Line, Promises, Promises, Anything Goes, Nice Work If You Can Get It, Rocky and Disney's Frozen. His national tour credits include Wicked, Cats and Sweet Charity. He also appeared on TV's Smash.

with his A Chorus Line co-star, Tony Yazbeck


(above) rehearsing and performing Anything Goes

with his fellow ensemblists from Promises, Promises

The men of Nice Work If You Can Get It

Round 1! Rocky


 Broadway Bares and other NSFW pics






#2209

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

REVIEW: A Chorus Line (Signature Theatre)

Image result for a chorus line signature theatreReview of the Sunday, November 10, 2019 matinee at Signature Theatre, Arlington, Virginia. With Joshua Buscher, Zeke Edmonds, Adena Ershow, Samantha Marisol Gershman, Jeff Gorti, Ben Gunderson, Elise Kowalik, Lina Lee, Brian Charles Moore, Corinne Munsch, Zachary Norton, Kayla Pecchioni, Matthew Risch, Maria Rizzo, Trevor Michael Schmidt, Emily Tyra, Jillian Wessel, Daxx Jayroe Wieser and Phil Young. Originally conceived, choreographed and directed by Michael Bennett. Book by James Kirkwood and Nicholas Dante. Music by Marvin Hamlisch. Lyrics by Edward Kleban. Scenic design by Jason Sherwood. Costume design by Sarah Cubbage. Lighting design by Adam Honore. Sound design by Ryan Hickey. Choreography by Denis Jones. Direction by Matthew Gardiner. 2 hours with no intermission. Runs through January 5, 2020.

Grade: B+

I have to admit I went into Signature Theatre's production of A Chorus Line with a mixture of excitement and dread. Excitement for a new production of my absolutely all-time favorite show, and dread for a new production of my absolutely all-time favorite show. Much has been made of the fact that director Matthew Gardiner and choreographer Denis Jones would not be using Michael Bennett's staging or choreography (gulp!) - not even the iconic "line pose" (double gulp)!

The Line

Turns out all that dread was for naught. Seems that for all the "like you've never seen it before" hype was just that. Unless they meant visually, that is. Adam Honore's lighting design has a certain... neon/florescent vibe I haven't seen in this context before. And Jason Sherwood's boxy set including color changing vinyl (?) strips and a thin stripe of mirrors certainly wasn't your standard black box ACL. Ditto the majority of Sarah Cubbage's costumes (excluding a variation of the classic Cassie red dress) which felt like a very conscious effort to not mimic the originals. Was the design team going for timeless? I hope not, because while the script still contains all of the original 70's and before references (Robert Goulet, Steve McQueen, Ed Sullivan, Gwen Verdon), the set and lights are definitely 80's/90's and the costumes are mostly early 21st century.

"One"

What was not "radically different" was Matthew Gardiner's direction. No, it was definitely your standard production in that regard. I was relieved/thrilled that the company always ended up each number back in the "pose." To be fair, a few characters don't exactly match the Broadway line, but not by much. What is different, though, is the uneven pacing, particularly the post-injury, pre-"What I Did For Love" dialogue about life after dancing, which ground the show to halt. Interesting, then, that the pacing of a typical production trouble spot - the "And..." scene, had a vibrancy that I really enjoyed.

The Company - "I Hope I Get It"

Denis Jones, a dancer/choreographer whose work I've enjoyed over the years, was also less radical than advertised - think Michael Bennett lite, Michael Bennett adjacent. The most significant changes were in "Hello Twelve, Hello Thirteen," which included some fun teen awkwardness, and far less formation driven tableaux. And the iconic "One" was also pretty standard, substituting the "wedge" and "circle trot" choreography with lots of lines and kicks. Both numbers were really quite fine - not disappointing at all - but were likely changed due to the demands limited space more than any revolutionary re-vision of the dances.

Kayla Pecchioni as Maggie
The great news here - and without this, any production of A Chorus Line would be ruined - is that the cast is uniformly terrific, and full of triple threats. There were some cast members who really shone.  Paul's monologue was beautifully wrought by Jeff Gorti, while Trevor Michael Schmidt's energetic, quirky presence brought a "That I Can Do" that was delightful. My favorite number, "At the Ballet" exceeded my already high expectations, with a superbly sung Maggie (Kayla Pecchioni) getting much deserved applause when she perfectly hit that amazing high note.

Two actors stood out in all the right ways in characters that don't generally get much attention: Ben Gunderson's utterly charming Bobby, and understudy (!) Zeke Edmonds' sweetly protective Al. Both gave great acting performances, and are fantastic dancers. Finally, Matthew Risch was a commanding Zach, and his chemistry with both his "assistant" (Joshua Buscher as Larry) and his ex (Emily Tyra as Cassie) was not only palpable and on point, but also added a sometimes missing dramatic tension. Good stuff!

Emily Tyra (Cassie) and Matthew Risch (Zach)

Signature Theatre has been down this path before, hyping their Miss Saigon as a "you've never seen anything like it, immersive experience," and not delivering that, but rather a very good production of a classic work. A Chorus Line is a similar case - not as "new" as it thinks it is, but definitely a solid production. It's worth seeing.

📸: C. Mueller

#2208

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

30 Years Ago Today: Grand Hotel: The Musical

Following 31 previews which began on October 16, 1989, Grand Hotel: The Musical opened on Broadway at the Martin Beck Theatre 30 years ago today.

Like most of you, I call many shows my "favorite." I have several that I would say are favorites for different reasons, and Grand Hotel is one of them. There are many reasons for this, but it largely comes down to this: it is a nearly perfect synthesis of story, character, and theme, told in a never ending swirl of movement and music. Many, many musicals try to achieve this, very few accomplish it. Today, I'd say both Come From Away and Hadestown are similar, albeit, in completely different ways.

Over the years, I've had the pleasure of seeing the show twice on Broadway, and almost a dozen performances of the national tour. If seen it regionally, and I've even directed it. To this day, each time I listen to the glorious Broadway cast recording, I seem to find something new to think about, a performance to savor, a rekindled memory.

It is, simply, a show that really sticks with me.


Grand Hotel: The Musical Facts & Statistics

  • 31 previews, 1,017 performances
  • Opened at the Mark Hellinger Theatre, where it played through January 27, 1992. It transferred to the Gershwin Theatre on February 3, and closed there on April 25, 1992.
  • The show is based on a novel by Vicki Baum, and the subsequent film.
  • Book by Luther Davis. Music and lyrics by Robert Wright and George Forrest and additional music and lyrics by Maury Yeston and music by Wally Harper.
  • The concept, direction and choreography was by Tommy Tune.
  • The score is a conglomeration of two scores, actually. There was a score written for an earlier attempt at musicalizing the property called At the Grand.


Sadly, the original Baron, David Carroll became ill not long after the show opened and left the production. As it took almost two years for the cast recording, Mr. Carroll was unable to contribute, and, in fact, passed away during the recording. Fortunately, a live version of him singing "Love Can't Happen" is included on the album. 

For me, the wonderful performances I've gotten to see also stick with me. Both Rex Smith and Brent Barrett were superb Barons, and Lynnette Perry and Delyse Lively-Mekka were fabulous Flaemmchen, and Chip Zien was a good Kringelein. But no one compared to the original turns by Jane Krakowski and Michael Jeter. Like I said, I sure have been fortunate.






Time flies. It is difficult to wrap my head around the show celebrating thirty years. It says a lot about a production when it is as vivid to me all these decades later. I'm not entirely sure I'd like a revival. It will be nearly impossible to replicate, let alone improve upon.

A link to a great Playbill article about the show HERE

Here's a great compilation of scenes from the original cast:




📸: M. Swope

#2207
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