Friday, September 28, 2018

Remembering Joe Masteroff

Seems like we are always talking about scores we love. And that we are always blaming the book for a show's shortcomings. I'm generalizing, of course. But the passing yesterday of Joe Masteroff was a sad reminder that we don't think of book writers that much. He had three shows on Broadway (as a librettist - he was also an actor, and playwright), but when we talk about them, we seem to always say things like "how about that glorious Kander and Ebb score?" or "my favorite song from that is 'Vanilla Ice Cream' !"  In fact, the only time I really ever hear about Masteroff's third show, 70, Girls, 70 is the Kander and Ebb score is good, but that book is a mess!"

But today, as I take a few moments to reflect on this loss to the Broadway community, I'm reminded that his other two shows are masterpieces.  In fact, they are two of my all-time favorites. Both Cabaret and She Loves Me are classics, due in no small part, to Mr. Masteroff's intelligent, witty and provocative books. I remember studying musical structure in college, and the professor citing She Loves Me as the gold standard against which all others should be judged. I'm fairly certain that all three of his shows will be seen on Broadway again. And for that I thank you, sir. Rest in Peace.


The Friday 5: 5 Favorite Shows Based on Books

We talk so much these days about shows based on films. Rarely, it seems, much is discussed about shows that come from books. Some of the greatest musicals of all time are based on novels and short stories - Cabaret (Goodbye to Berlin) and Fiddler on the Roof (Tevye and His Daughters) are but two. This past season featured two - Once on This Island (My Love, My Love) and Mean Girls (Queen Bees and Wannabes). Here are 5 of my favorites (plus 3 GIANTS of Broadway history). I didn't realize until after I finished the list that all 8 are also Best Musical Tony Award winners!

The Friday 5:
5 Favorite Musicals Based on Books


CatsMusic by Andrew Lloyd Webber, Lyrics by T.S. Eliot
Based on Old Possom's Book of Practical Cats by T.S. Eliot

Les Miserables: Book by Claude-Michel Schonberg and Alain Boublil, 
Music by Claude-Michel Schonberg, Lyrics by Herbert Kretzmer
Based on the novel Les Miserables by Victor Hugo

The Phantom of the Opera: Book by Richard Stilgoe and Andrew Lloyd Webber, Music by Andrew Lloyd Webber, Lyrics by Charles Hart
Based on the novel Le Fantome de L'Opera by Gaston Leroux


Big River: Book by William Hauptman, Music and Lyrics by Roger Miller
Based on the novel The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain


Fun Home: Book by Lisa Kron, Music by Jeanine Tesori, Lyrics by Lisa Kron
Based on the graphic novel Fun Home by Alison Bechdel


Kiss of the Spider Woman: Book by Terrence McNally, 
Music by John Kander, Lyrics by Fred Ebb
Based on the novel Kiss of the Spider Woman by Manuel Puig


The Mystery of Edwin Drood: Book, Music and Lyrics by Rupert Holmes
Based on the novel The Mystery of Edwin Drood by Charles Dickens


Passion: Book by James Lapine, Music and Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim
Based on the novel Fosca by Iginio Ugo Tarchetti


Thursday, September 27, 2018

Welcome to the Theater! The Broadway Debuts of The Nap

The Nap
Opening Night: Thursday, September 27, 2018
Samuel J. Friedman Theatre

Congratulations to the following cast members making their Broadway debut tonight!

Alexandra Billings
(Waxy Bush)

 Ahmed Aly Elsayed
(Abdul Fattah/Baghawi Quereshi)

 Ethan Hova

 Bianca Leigh

 Jack Mikesell

Ben Schnetzer
(Dylan Spokes)

Here's to great reviews, a terrific run, and many more Broadway Opening Nights!

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