COMING UP ON BROADWAY: SIX - Opens Company - Previews Diana - Previews The Lehman Trilogy - Previews Mrs. Doubtfire - Previews The Minutes - Previews MJ: The Musical - Previews 9.21 Plaza Suite - Previews TBA American Buffalo - Previews TBA Take Me Out - Previews 3.22.21 The Music Man - Previews 12.20.21 1776 - Previews TBA Caroline, or Change -Previews TBA Flying Over Sunset - Fall 2021 Birthday Candles - Fall 2021 Sing Street - Winter 2021 Our Town - TBA Thoughts of a Colored Man - TBA

COMING UP THIS WEEK: 3/1: NEW! 2010s Broadway Musical Logo Madness! Elimination Round 4! - 3/2: This Week in Broadway History - 3/3: One That Got Away - 3/4: At This Performance - 3/5: Broadway Game!

Contact us: (Email); @jkstheatrescene (Twitter); jkstheatrescene (Instagram)

Friday, March 5, 2021

Broadway Games: Which Leading Man...?

Broadway Games:
Which Leading Man...?
(use each answer only once)

A. Ben Platt     B. Steve Kazee     C. Norbert Leo Butz
D. Aaron Tveit     E. Danny Burstein
F. Matthew James Thomas     G. Reeve Carney
H. Lin-Manuel Miranda     I. Joshua Henry     J. Michael Cerveris

Which Leading Man...
1. ...wrote the scores for both of his leading roles on Broadway?
2. ...has been nominated for 7 Tony Awards, but has yet to win?
3. ...won both of his Tony Awards for roles in shows that did not win Best Musical?
4. ...departed Pretty Woman prior to its opening on Broadway?
5. ...played a ghost in one show and a real-life criminal in another?
6. ...played Spider-Man and a mythical character?
7. ...was the American Son?
8. ...has played a pinball wizard, a vengeful barber, a Presidential assassin and Alison's dad?
9. ...played Spider-Man and the son of Charlemagne?
10. ...was one of the two on the list who was in the pre-Broadway tryout of his show at Arena Stage in Washington, D.C.?


Answers to Last Week's Game:

Broadway Games:
Which Leading Lady...?
Which Leading Lady...
1. most recently starred on Broadway in American Psycho? I. Alice Ripley
2. is the only one that did NOT  win a Tony Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical? A. Laura Benanti 
3. appeared in The King and I and Kiss Me, Kate! ? G. Kelli O'Hara
4. played Rose in Gypsy and Dolly in Hello, Dolly!? H. Bernadette Peters
5. won at Tony Award and an Olivier Award for the same role?  J. Lea Salonga
6. once played Mother Superior? B. Victoria Clark
7. won a Tony for her role in Master ClassD. Audra McDonald
8. is the only one above who was appearing in a play when Broadway shut down due to COVID? E. Jessie Mueller 
9. took over the title role in Drood from another leading lady, Betty Buckley? F. Donna Murphy
10. played real life people Maria Callas and Helena Rubinstein? C. Patti LuPone

Thursday, March 4, 2021

At This Performance: Jordan Dobson and Mia Pinero in West Side Story

At This Performance:
Jordan Dobson & Mia Pinero in West Side Story

The last time I was in a Broadway theater, literally, was January 26, 2020. Ironically, it was the Broadway Theatre, and it was a show I was so excited to see. Sure there was a lot of controversy - casting, the cuts, the absence of Jerome Robbins' iconic choreography - but I was looking forward to something fresh for one of my all-time favorite musicals. Even with all that, I was optimistic. Then I went to the box office, where I saw the cast board. There it was: "At This Performance the role of Tony will be played by Jordan Dobson." Then below that: "The role of Maria will be played by Mia Pinero." Well, it was disappointing not to get to see Isaac and Shereen, but I was still excited to see a new West Side Story. One of the benefits of years of theater-going is knowing that the old adage, "today's unknown actor is tomorrow's marquee name" is, by and large, very true. Thankfully, in this case, it was very true.

Both of these performances were flawless, not even the smallest hint that they were understudies. Mr. Dobson found the balance between Tony's loyal bravado and desire to grow up. And his voice! A "Something's Coming" full of hope and optimism; a "Maria" that makes you ache with joy. Then there was Miss Pinero, who came on like gangbusters (no pun intended) with a strength and spunkiness that was intoxicating. No shy violet here; this Maria knows what she wants and will do what she has to to get it. Separately, they were wonderful. Together, they were superb. Their palpable chemistry made the tragedy of the story that much more so. A fresh take on a classic paired with a fresh take on two familiar characters made this one exciting revival.

Hindsight, they say, is 20/20. Given the events that followed that final trip to New York, I'm grateful that this challenging production was my last. I think of it often, and hope to see it again. I wonder if it'll be as good without that beautiful pair in the leading roles. No matter. I can't wait to see their names on more Broadway cast boards for years to come.


Wednesday, March 3, 2021

One That Got Away: Shuffle Along...

One That Got Away:
Shuffle Along

This month's One That Got Away didn't have to get away at all. You see, we went to the city specifically to see Shuffle Along, or the Making of the  Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed TWICE! While I'm happy for what we saw in place of it each time (that's for another time), every once in a while I think about it and kick myself for not seeing it anyway. Why didn't we see it? Well, both times we had tickets, Audra McDonald was out of the show. I certainly don't begrudge a pregnant woman days off when she's not feeling 100%, but she was the primary draw for us. 

But when I really think it out, it was silly to miss it the second time. There were several more reasons I should have seen it. First, it was a Tony nominee for Best Musical that season, and we try to see all of those. Second, two masters of the craft were putting it together, director George C. Wolfe and choreographer Savion Glover. And I love shows that demand the attention of the audience, something both artists always do. Third, as a lover of Broadway history, this was a no-brainer. This was an important show.

Mostly, though, the rest of the cast, even without Ms. McDonald was full of many of my absolutely favorite actors - Brian Stokes Mitchell, Joshua Henry, Brandon Victor Dixon, Billy Porter and Adrienne Warren - not to mention an ensemble filled with triple threats. I'm sure the understudy was wonderful, too.

Shuffle Along played 38 previews and 100 performances at the Music Box. It was nominated for 7 Drama Desk Awards, winning 4, including Outstanding Musical. The Tony Awards committee nominated the show for 10 awards, including Best Musical, and for both Wolfe and Glover. Ms. Warren and Mr. Dixon were nominated in the Supporting Actress/Supporting Actor categories.


Tuesday, March 2, 2021

This Week in Broadway History: March 2 - 8

This Week in Broadway History:

March 2 - 8


Bus Stop
  • March 2, 1955: The new William Inge play, Bus Stop, opens at the Music Box, and stars Kim Stanley and Elaine Stritch.
  • March 2, 1995: The revue Smokey Joe's Cafe begins its 2,036 performance run at the Virginia Theatre. The original company features Brenda Braxton, B.J. Crosby and Michael Park.
  • March 3, 2013: Though it was never before seen on Broadway, when Rodgers + Hamerstein's Cinderella opened, it was considered a revival. Laura Osnes, Santino Fontana, Harriet Harris and Victoria Clark starred.
The Goodbye Girl

  • March 4, 1993: Bernadette Peters and Martin Short did musical comedy combat in The Goodbye Girl at the Marquis Theatre for a modest 188 performances.
  • March 4, 1999: Bernadette Peters opened at the Marquis Theatre again six years later. This time, she'd win a Tony Award for her efforts. That show was Annie Get Your Gun and it ran an impressive 1,045 performances.
  • March 5, 1981: Chita Rivera tried to Bring Back Birdie, but he only stuck around for 4 performances at the Martin Beck.
  • March 8, 1961: One of Broadway's longest-running plays of all time, Mary, Mary opened its 1,572 performance run on this date.


Andy Blankenbuehler     Lilli Cooper

Donna Murphy     Matthew James Thomas
  • March 2: actor Bobby Steggert, actor John Cullum
  • March 3: Broadway's Pippin Matthew James Thomas, actor/dancer Nicole Fosse, Hamilton author Ron Chernow
  • March 4: actor Lilli Cooper, actor/skater/Xanadude Marty Thomas
  • March 5: Carrie composer Michael Gore, West End icon and Broadway favorite Elaine Paige
  • March 6: Tony-winner Shuler Hensley, composer Stephen Schwartz
  • March 7: Be More Chill's George Salazar, dancer (Fosse)/choreographer (Bandstand, Hamilton) Andy BlankenbuehlerChicago's Ruthie Henshall, two-time Tony-winner and Broadway favorite Donna Murphy
  • March 8: Spring Awakening's Camryn Manheim, acting legend Lynn Redgrave, dance legend Cyd Charisse


As is typical for seasons in modern Broadway history, the beginning of March is one of transition, with many shows getting ready to preview. In 2012, within the next two to three weeks, nearly every theater will be open. But if you were in New York this week nine years ago, there were still plenty of things to see.

Spicy thrills can be found at the Lyceum, with Hugh Dancy and Tony-winner Nina Arianda heating things up in Venus in Fur. Verbal sparring family style is on full display in the comedy-drama Other Desert Cities with Tony-winner Judith Light, Stockard Channing and Stacy Keach delivering what they do best. Seminar, a comedy starring Alan Rickman is in the middle of its limited engagement, while Wit, with Cynthia Nixon, is playing its final performances.

If danger is your thing, you could see the trilling headline-making 
Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark. Musical traditionalists have their pick of shows from major composers: Cole Porter's Anything Goes is enjoying a Tony-winning revival at the Sondheim, The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess is settling into its acclaimed run at the Rodgers, and Stephen Schwartz's Godspell is rocking the Circle in the Square.

Speaking of classic composers, you could be among the first to see a preview of Andrew Lloyd Webber's Jesus Christ Superstar at the Neil Simon. Other shows in previews this week include the eventual Best Musical, OnceArthur Miller's Death of a Salesman with Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Linda Emond, Andrew Garfield and Finn Wittrock, and then there is the all-star The Best Man, with a cast of Broadway and Hollywood who's who, including Dame Angela Lansbury, James Earl Jones, Candice Bergen, John Larroquette, Michael McKean and Kerry Butler, among others.

Of course, there is always The Phantom of the Opera, The Lion King, Wicked, Rock of Ages, Mamma Mia!, Chicago...

For the very bravest: the final performances of Shatner's World: We Just Live in It.


Monday, March 1, 2021

2010s Broadway Musical Logos Bracket Tournament - Region 4 Elimination Round!

Over the past months, we've been in search of the very best in Broadway musical logos, going back 40 years. And now, here we are starting a new tournament, looking for the very best logo of the most recent complete decade of the new millennium! The 2010s were a mix of everything, really. From movie-to-stage adaptations to bio-musicals to a few completely original works, variety was the name of the game. As usual, there were big hits and even bigger flops. There was even a genuine cultural phenomenon.

But how were the show logos? That's up to you to decide. We've created a bracket of 64 Broadway show logos from the decade. The Tony winners and hits and flops have been evenly distributed over four 16 "team" regions. This week, its the Elimination Round for Region 4. When this week is done, we'll be down to The Big 32!

See the full bracket below, including the winners from Regions 1, 2 & 3:  

2010s Broadway Musical Logo Madness!
Region 4 Elimination Round!

  • Each week, we'll open the voting for a different segment of the bracket, and you will select your favorite from each pairing.
  • Your selection should be based on the logo/window card ONLY. We are NOT looking for your favorite show! It is possible to like a logo from a show you've never heard of before!
  • We will provide pictures of the full window card (in most cases) or logo above each week's ballot, then you scroll down and make your selections. You MUST click/tap the "Click Me to Count Your VOTES" button at the bottom of the survey.


GAME 1:                                                                    GAME 2:

GAME 3:                                                                    GAME 4:

GAME 5:                                                                    GAME 6:

GAME 7:                                                                    GAME 8:

Friday, February 26, 2021

Broadway Games: Which Leading Lady...?

 Broadway Games:
Which Leading Lady...?

A. Laura Benanti      B. Victoria Clark     C. Patti LuPone
D. Audra McDonald     E. Jessie Mueller     
F. Donna Murphy     G. Kelli O'Hara     H. Bernadette Peters
I. Alice Ripley     J. Lea Salonga

Which Leading Lady...
1. most recently starred on Broadway in American Psycho?
2. is the only one that did NOT  win a Tony Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical?
3. appeared in The King and I and Kiss Me, Kate! ?
4. played Rose in Gypsy and Dolly in Hello, Dolly!?
5. won at Tony Award and an Olivier Award for the same role?
6. once played Mother Superior?
7. won a Tony for her role in Master Class?
8. is the only one above who was appearing in a play when Broadway shut down due to COVID?
9. took over the title role in Drood from another leading lady, Betty Buckley?
10. played real life people Maria Callas and Helena Rubinstein?


Broadway Games:
Which Happened First?

1.  In order by Most Recent Revival:
C. Cats  (2016)
B. La Cage aux Folles  (2010)
A. Grease  (2007)
2. In order by Best Play Tony Award Win:
B. Clybourne Park  (2012)
C. Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike  (2013)
A. All the Way  (2014)
D. The Humans  (2016)

3. In order by performance by Bernadette Peters:
B. Sunday in the Park with George  (1984)
A. Song and Dance  (1985)
D. Into the Woods (1987)
C. The Goodbye Girl  (1993)

4. In order by Original Broadway Production of a Sondheim Show:
E. Company  (1970)
B. Follies  (1971)
C. Pacific Overtures  (1976)
A. Passion  (1994)
D. The Frogs  (2004)

5. In order of Broadway Debut:
B. Lea Michele  (Les Miserables c. 1990s)
C. Jonathan Groff  (In My Life  2005)
A. John Gallagher, Jr.  (Rabbit Hole 2006)
E. Keala Settle  (Priscilla Queen of the Desert  March 20, 2011)
D. Jessie Mueller  (On a Clear Day You Can See Forever  December 11, 2011)
F. Drew Gehling  (On a Clear Day You Can See Forever  December 11, 2011)

For the record, Jessie entered BEFORE Drew in Clear Day!)

Thursday, February 25, 2021

Favorite Designs: The Scenic Design of The Great Comet

At the risk of being repetitive, for the second month in a row, our Favorite Designs feature focuses on a scenic design. I promise there will be other design elements highlighted in future months, but how could I resist the siren call of the brilliant set design for Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812 by Tony-winner Mimi Lien

True, this design takes the concept of "immersive theater" to an entirely new level. And it really is impressive for its sheer scope. Before you even take your seat, or the first note is played, you are swept up in a new, provocative time and place. But its genius is really in the fact that it enhances the performance rather than overwhelms it. 

The Lobby:
I'll never forget walking into the Imperial Theatre and stopping short when I didn't recognize it. Gone were the marbled walls and floor. In their place, hard gray plywood covered in Russian propaganda posters, some partially ripped, ready to be replaced by new, more sinister messages, including the cast board. The wall sconces and crystal lighting fixtures replaced by dull/bright florescent lights. The smell was of machine oil, perhaps, but definitely industrial. The feeling was that of suppression and danger. 

The Theater:
If you've been in the Imperial Theatre, you know how tall the house is. So, whether you've seen the show or not, you can probably imagine the sheer enormity of a room that size covered in red velvet draperies, floor to ceiling. And then the shock of going from the austerity of that war bunker-lobby to the opulence of an art-covered, brass-railed space. It comes at you in waves, as you realize every seat is in the middle of the action, that the aisle right in front of you is big enough for dancing Russians to pass you snacks...or illicit notes. Multiple light fixtures dangle overhead, like so many stars in the sky. The orchestra is, well, all over the place, intermingling with the audience. The light dim slightly, and the cast joins the fray.  We are transported, the outside world gone.

Now, that is genius design,

📸: C. Batka;
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