Sunday, September 26, 2010

TheatreScene: Week of September 20 - 26



  • 1955: Threepenny Opera's most famous Broadway production opened at the Theatre de Lys, where it ran 2,611 performances.  Beatrice Arthur, Lotte Lenya, Jane Connell, Jo Sullivan and John Astin were among the original cast.
  • 2001: Urinetown: The Musical - After a delayed opening due to the terrorist attacks, this viciously funny comedy-satire musical was a huge hit.  It opened at  Henry Miller's Theatre, where it ran 965 performances and won 3 Tony Awards - Best Book - Greg Kotis, Best Score - Kotis and Mark Hollmann and Best Direction - John Rando.

The original cast of Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson

  • Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson begins Broadway previews at the Bernard Jacobs Theatre.  Populism, Yea! Yea!
  • Catch Me If You Can announces that it will begin previews March 7, 2011 and open April 10, 2011 at a Nederlander theatre to be announced.  Let the speculation begin - only the Minskoff and Gershwin seem to be hands off at this point.  The Lunt-Fontanne seems a long shot, but we'll see what happens to The Addams Family after either Bebe and Nathan announce their departure or how good/bad the BO is between now and the holidays.  The Nederlander itself is a definite contender, and wouldn't it be delicious if the O'Brien/Mitchell helmed show takes the Neil Simon, when Love Never Dies bites the bullet and quits while it's ahead.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY: Ted Neely, Actor (Original Cast - Jesus Christ Superstar)

  • 1821: An all black cast of Shakespeare's King Richard III, opened at the African Grove.
  • 1966: The Lincoln Center Musical Theatre production of Annie Get Your Gun opened at the Broadway Theatre, starring Ethel Merman and Jerry Orbach.  It ran 78 performances in a limited engagement, and a cast album was recorded.

  • A Life in the Theatre with Patrick Stewart and TR Knight begins previews tonight!
  • Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson Original Cast Recording is released.  Lots of snippets everywhere - Amazon, Playbill and the BBAJ website.  I hope what I see makes what I've heard better...  I'll let you know!
  • 9 to5 begins its National Tour.  Loved the show to begin with, but some of the streamlining I've read about, plus the addition of Miss Dolly herself (via video), and of course, the casting, makes me really want to see it again!  Read about it HERE!
  • Rock of Ages also starts its National Tour today, with original star Constantine Maroulis.  Better to keep my comments to myself, I've learned, when it comes to this guy.  May every night be a sell-out.
  • Broadway's Jekyll and Hyde David Hasselhoff is the first to get the boot from Dancing with the Stars.
  • Sarah Amengual begins performances as Maria in West Side Story.  Miss Amengual is making her Broadway debut.  Welcome to the family, Sarah!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY: Billy Porter, Actor (1994 Revival - Grease!; off-Broadway: Angels in America)

  • 1913: George M. Cohan's play, Seven Keys to Baldpate opened at the Astor Theatre and ran an impressive 320 performances.
  • 1964:  Theatre history changed forever on this date when the now classic musical Fiddler on the Roof opened at the Imperial Theatre.  Zero Mostel gave a revered and controversial performance as Tevye the Milkman, and his supporting cast included: Maria Karnilova, Bert Convey, Austin Pendleton and Beatrice Arthur.  3 theatres and 3,242 performances later, the show closed.  The show that brought us "Tradition," "If I Were a Rich Man," "Sunrise, Sunset," and "Matchmaker, Matchmaker," remains a classic and has been revived many times on Broadway.

Stephen R. Buntrock, Bernadette Peters and Bradley Dean

  • Stephen R. Buntrock is announced as A Little Night Music's next Fredrik, replacing the departing Alexander Hanson on September 28.  He joins Bradley Dean as one of two cast members who moved up from the ensemble to lead roles.  Dean recently replaced Aaron Lazar as Carl-Magnus.
  • The overnights for the second season premiere of Glee are in and ratings are up significantly!  The episode was a hoot and grounded with some nice emotional content.  I already love the new cast members Charice, Chord Overstreet and especially Dot-Marie Jones who threatens to steal every scene with Jane Lynch.  She is sharp as a tack, bitchy, mean and, get this... vulnerable.  And Overstreet is a major cutie!  Cheyenne Jackson's brief appearance, I hope, will not be his last...
HAPPY BIRTHDAY: Marc Kudisch, Actor (9 to 5, Assassins)


Wallack's Theatre

  • 1907: The oddest title of the week goes to The Hurdy Durdy Girl, a 24 performance musical which played at Wallack's Theatre.
  • 1974:  The Angela Lansbury Gypsy revival opened for a limited run at the Winter Garden Theatre.  Ms. Lansbury became the first Rose to win the Tony.

The 4th Annual Broadway Beauty Pageant
winner, Mr. Memphis, Charlie Williams

  • Mark your calendars, everyone!  The 5th Annual Broadway Beauty Pageant, the all-male contest (my favorite Memphis chorus boy, Charlie Williams, won last year), has announced its date and location.  March 21, 2011 is the date and The Peter Norton Symphony Space is the place.  The benefit event supports the Ali Forney Center, which provides shelter for troubled and kicked out LGBT youth.  Add this to my list of events I need to get to...
  • I might actually get to see God of Carnage now!  The film version cast has been announced, and it is a good one!: Jodie Foster, Kate Winslet, Matt Dillon and Christoph Waltz.  The Tony winning Best Play will be directed on film by Roman Polanski.
  • Is all right now in the world of the Jersey Boys?  Seems so.  Frankie Valli and the creators of Jersey Boys have apparently dropped their lawsuit against original stars Christian Hoff, J. Robert Spencer, Daniel Reichard, Robert Longoria, Matthew Scott and Drew Gehling.  The suit claimed that the stars, who tour together in a concert of sixties hits, including numbers by The Four Seasons, was "duping patrons" into thinking they were seeing the National Tour of the musical.  In exchange for no longer calling themselves The Boys in Concert, the suit was dropped.  Sounds like a fun evening to me... and maybe they actually get to sing every song through without interruption!  Info on that tour is at
  • Old News is new news, apparently.  A few years ago, when Baz Luhrman was in his Moulin Rouge/La Boheme heyday, plans for stage versions of his films Moulin Rouge and Strictly Ballroom were quickly announced, including elaborate plans for the former and promises that the latter would make ballroom dancing relevant in the U.S. once again.  Well, things died down, and nothing about these projects was heard again.  Until today, when it was announced that Ballroom was back on.  Of course, things have changed mightily in the intervening years, making the property a more likely hit in this country.  Back then, there was no Dancing with the Stars or Burn the Floor, various incarnations of both sweeping the Western world.  Then, too, is the emergence of hot Australian properties like The Boy from Oz and the forthcoming mega-musical, Priscilla: Queen of the Desert.

Lombardi started previews on Broadway

  • La Bete, Lombardi and Time Stands Still all begin previews on Broadway today!
  • We Have Always Lived in the Castle officially opens at Yale Rep tonight!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY: Jason Alexander, Actor (Broadway Bound, Jerome Robbins' Broadway)


The Original Broadway Revival Cast of Oh! Calcutta!

  • 1976: The revival of Oh! Calcutta! opened at the Edison Theatre.  It is noteworthy for being the longest running revival ever, until recently when Chicago overtook that title.  The nude revue ran an unbelievable 5,959 performances.
  • 1989:  Broadway made headlines around the world when bomb threats became a regular thing during the run of Orpheus Descending, which opened at the Neil Simon Theatre and starred the then-controversial actress Vanessa Redgrave.  Seems people in her native Britain didn't approve of her politics.  This sort of thing is NOT anticipated with her upcoming appearance in Driving Miss Daisy.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY: Paul Michael Valley, Actor (1776)


The Tony Award winning Best Musical of 1980

  • 1820:  The oldest Broadway opening - 190 years ago, a play called Virginius, starring someone named Mrs. Baker, opened at the Anthony Street Theatre.
  • 1979:  It was a new Argentina and a huge hit when Evita opened at the Broadway Theatre on this date, going on to win the Tony for Best Musical (1980) and a Tony for Patti LuPone.  The show, which ultimately ran 1,567 performances, made stars of LuPone and co-star Mandy Patinkin.  It is also one of, if not the, first shows to actually schedule a 6 show week for a star.  Ms. LuPone's alternate, Terri Klausner, performed the title role at Wednesday and Saturday matinees.
  • 2008: The youngest Broadway opening - 2 years ago, Daniel Radcliffe made his Broadway debut, naked no less, in Equus.  His Harry Potter co-star, Richard Griffiths, also starred.  It has been two years already!  Radcliffe is preparing for his musical debut in How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying!

Linda Lavin and James Lapine

  • The honorees of the 2010 Broadway Theater Hall of Fame were announced today.  They are actors Brian Dennehy, Linda Lavin and Fritz Weaver, conductor-musical director Paul Gemignani, writer-director-Pulitzer Prize winner James Lapine, and playwrights Caryl Churchill and Joseph Chaikin.  Honorees are selected from all of those theater professionals who have 5 major credits or more and 25 years since their first Broadway appearance.  For those keeping track, that would mean 1985 or later.  The honorees are selected by vote by the American Theater Critics Association and members of the Theater Hall of Fame.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY: to both Michael Douglas, Actor (Pinkville) and his wife, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Actor (A Little Night Music).


(Top to Bottom) The Opening at the Winter Garden Theatre;
Larry Kert and Carol Lawrence in the famous Promo;
and Chita Rivera as Anita

  • 1957:  Arguably, musical theatre grew up a little on this date when the controversial and now classic West Side Story opened at the Winter Garden Theatre.  Directed by Jerome Robbins and written by Arthur Laurents, Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim, it is hard to imagine that before this, "Maria," "America," and "One Hand, One Heart" were not a part of of our history.  Starring Larry Kert, Carol Lawrence and Chita Rivera, the show ran 732 performances.
  • 1985:  One of the longest running one person shows ever opened on this date: The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe.  Starring Lily Tomlin, who played 14 characters (and sometimes more), the show ran for 391 performances.

  • The big news of the day is happening as this is posted!  The 24th Annual Broadway Flea Market and Grand Auction is today, held outside (weather permitting) on 44th and 45th Streets and Shubert Alley.  It is a great time.  If you've never been, I strongly suggest planning on it next year!  You get to pick through all kings of fun trinkets and memorabilia that only a real theatre fan would love, hobnob with the stars of your favorite shows, and contribute (large or small) to a very worth cause, Broadway Cares.  My favorite find was 2 years ago... 10 bar cups, with lids from The Times They Are A-Changin', for $1!  My most valuable find so far? A poster for Doubt that is in mint condition and worth about $35...for $1.00!  I love it!!!  More later...
HAPPY BIRTHDAY: Philip Bosco, Actor (Lend Me a Tenor, Moon Over Buffalo)

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