Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Light the Lights: A Broadway Marquee Game

Time for some fun! I don't know about you, but I can't wait to see a Broadway show. You know, walking down 45th Street, the marquees all aglow... Anyway, here's a little something to whet your appetite for that day to come.

Here are 5 Broadway marquees. Can you name the show on each one?

Light the Lights!
A Broadway Marquee Game






P.S.: Don't forget to vote in this week's Broadway Heat Poll! HERE


Monday, March 30, 2020

Broadway Heat: The Company Edition: The Results!!

Company Edition: The Results!
1st Place: Matt Doyle

2nd Place: Etai Benson
3rd Place: Kyle Dean Massey

Congratulations, Matt! Good luck in the end of the season finals!
HOT on Broadway (adj.) - fierce, talented, has potential; has "buzz," has the "it factor."


Friday, March 27, 2020

The Friday 5: 5 Broadway Things We've Done to Pass the Time

Empty 44th Street
Sigh. Here we all are. It's a nightmare if you think about it too much, really. But, and I'm not surprised, whenever there's a crisis, who can we turn to? The Broadway community! This time around, it's a little more difficult since Broadway is shut down for the foreseeable future. Necessity is the mother of invention, and we are forced to be even more creative!

In our corner of the world, we are coping in several ways and reaping the benefits of the community's ingenuity. None of this week's Friday 5 is revolutionary, and you probably are already doing most of these, or you've at least heard about them. Mostly, we want the therapy writing all of this down will provide.

Finally, we would love to hear what "Broadway stuff" is getting you through. Please Tweet or email (see above on the title bar).

The Friday 5:
5 Broadway Things We've Done to Pass the Time

In no particular order...

Reliving fond memories of Broadway through my Playbill Collection.
Regular readers know about my obsession with all things Playbill. Well, this is the perfect time to go through them! I have nearly 600 of them, which I found out when I cataloged them in my new Playbill collection spreadsheet. In the process, I've had the chance to look at them closely. I've discovered some great things - people I miss seeing in shows, people who were in the ensemble years ago who are now award-winning Broadway celebrities. Each one has holds a special memory, and it has been a nice way to balance the horror of reality.

Dusting off original cast recordings.
I have hundreds of these, too. And I am reacquainting myself with shows I haven't even thought of in ages. Recent re-discoveries include Floyd Collins, The Wild Party, the Debbie Allen Sweet Charity (man I love that version of the title tune, sung by Tony-winner Michael Rupert) and Barnum. Soon, I'll be delving into flops and super oldies. I've got my eye on Henry, Sweet Henry and The Canterbury Tales.

Seeing Broadway stars in their homes!
Thank you, Seth Rudetsky and Rosie O'Donnell! Bringing us awesome content and doing fundraising for The Actor's Fund. Listening to Ragtime stories straight from Audra and Stokes, listening to Audra, Kelli and Darren sing... and if you haven't had the chance you must check out Patti LuPone's basement series! She'a a little crazy, totally candid, and funny as hell! Then there is the Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber/Lin-Manuel Miranda dueling piano thing. What joy they bring with their talent and their warm humor. Did any of you see Betty Buckley's road trip home to Texas from New York? Fantastic!

Recreating the theater experience through video.
So far, I've enjoyed the Jesus Christ Superstar video from 2000 and the "ladies in red" sequence from the Sondheim Birthday Celebration. I'm thinking of combining the cast recording, video recording and book experience for each Sondheim show. Can't think of a better way to celebrate the great man's 90th birthday!

Theater books!
As many of you probably do, I have a pretty decent sized collection of Broadway books gathering dust. And so, I've begun (actually, re-begun) the two Sondheim books, Finishing the Hat and Look, I Made a Hat. Here's my plan: read the chapter about each show, play the CDs, and, if there is one, watch the video. That should hold me over until I finally get to see the Company revival, right?

Also, I recently bought a copy of Anastasia's Mark MacKillop's Room XIV, a collection of artistic NSFW photos from his world travels (underwear, mostly), including a personalized inscription, and a nice forward by Billy Porter. He sells them himself, supplementing his income - which he really needs now. To order, contact him via Twitter @mark_mackillop . He accepts Venmo and PayPal. It is a really wonderful book.


Thursday, March 26, 2020

Musical of the Month: Curtains: The Cast

Curtains was a unabashed old-fashioned Broadway musical. Big sets, lots of costumes, splashy production numbers and a large cast. The book boasted an impressive twelve principal roles and a sizable ensemble. Full of up and comers, staples in the ensemble world of the early 21st century, and a cornucopia of Broadway stars. So what has the cast been up to in the nearly twelve years since it closed? Let's find out!

Musical of the Month:
The Cast

David Hyde Pierce (Lt. Frank Cioffi): Since winning the Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical for Curtains, he's been in a couple of plays, directed a new musical (It Shoulda Been You), and has been Tony-nominated twice more, for Vanya, Sonia, Masha and Spike, and for the mega-hit revival of Hello, Dolly! In 2010, he was the recipient of the Isabelle Stevenson Award.

Debra Monk (Carmen Bernstein): After she won a Drama Desk Award for this show (and a Best Actress Tony nod), she's returned to Broadway only once. She co-starred as Big Mama in the 2013 Broadway revival of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. My favorite thing I've seen her in recently was the Amazon Prime series Mozart in the Jungle, as a salty oboist. 

John Bolton (Daryl Grady): Bolton has kept busy over the past dozen years, including A Christmas Story: The Musical (Drama Desk nominee) on Broadway, and two national tours of the same! Also on Broadway, he has appeared in Dames at Sea and Anastasia. Most recently, he wrapped up the national tour of Hello, Dolly!, opposite Carolee Carmello.

Jason Danieley (Aaron Fox): In 2010, Jason starred opposite his wife, the late, great Marin Mazzie in Next to Normal. After that, he co-starred in Kander and Ebb's The Visit, and most recently, in Pretty Woman: The Musical.

Edward Hibbert (Christopher Belling): Hibbert returns regularly to the stage, and since his days in Curtains, he's been in Mrs. Warren's Profession, It Shoulda Been You and Something Rotten.

Michael X. Martin (Johnny Harmon): One of Broadway's great utility players, Martin has appeared in 9 Broadway shows since Curtains closed! Maybe you saw him in 9 to 5, Ragtime, Catch Me If You Can, Nice Work If You Can Get it, The Bridges of Madison County, It Shoulda Been You, Bright Star, The Front Page or My Fair Lady?

Michael McCormick (Oscar Shapiro): Another terrific character actor, he's been on Broadway just three times since 2008 - in Elf, Chaplin and Hello, Dolly!

Jill Paice (Niki Harris): We loved her as Miss Honey in Matilda, and she was wonderful in An American in Paris. Somehow, we missed her in The 39 Steps.

Noah Racey (Bobby Pepper): Here's a guy we'd like to see on stage again. Since the show closed, he's been active regionally, and not just as a performer, but as a choreographer His sole post-Curtains Broadway credit was as movement director for The Terms of My Surrender.

Ernie Sabella (Sidney Bernstein): Mr. Sabella's most recent credit was Curtains.

Megan Sikora (Bambi Bernet): Sikora is one of the performers who is so amazing in everything she does, I am mystified as to why she's not a household name! She's toured in Guys and Dolls and Irving Berlin's White Christmas. Her subsequent Broadway credits include Promises, Promises, How to Succeed..., The Nance and Holiday Inn, The New Irving Berlin Musical.

Karen Ziemba (Georgia Hendricks): A Tony nominee for Curtains, this Broadway legend has since appeared on Broadway two times: in Bullets Over Broadway and, most recently, in Prince of Broadway.

NEXT WEEK! A new Musical of the Month... The Drowsy Chaperone!


Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Remembering Terrence McNally

It seems very fitting that Terrence McNally wrote a play called Love! Valour! Compassion! - especially including the exclamation marks. By all accounts he loved and was loved by all who knew him. His works showed amazing courage, taking on subjects that, in their time, were revolutionary and dangerous. But even as he boldly led the fight for gay rights and a myriad of other social issues, what makes his entire oeuvre is filled with compassion for his characters and the humanity they represent.

I count myself blessed to have seen many productions of his plays and musicals.  Three of them resonated with me in particular, and all for different reasons. The aforementioned Love! Valour! Compassion! made me think a lot about my place in the gay community, my friends (who were my family) and living as a gay men in harrowing times. Then there was Kiss of the Spider Woman, a show that is one of my all-time favorites. I could write a book about what it means to me, but I'll just say that the characters inspire me. The same can be said for my other McNally favorite, The Full Monty, but in entirely different ways.

Laughter. Tears. Compassion.

Thank you, Mr. McNally.

Rest in Peace.


Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Standing @ Zero: Company's Tally Sessions


Regional and off-Broadway audiences have seen this guy in a wide variety of leading roles, from Captain Von Trapp to Sweeney Todd. We've been fortunate enough to see his featured ensemble work in both Yank! and Queen of the Mist. No matter the size of the role or time on the stage, Tally Sessions is one of the theater community's greatest assets. These days (soon we hope), he's doing the hard work of understudying multiple roles in the revival of Company. Everybody rise! He's this month's Standing @ Zero Hero!

Standing @ Zero
Tally Sessions

Off-Broadway's Queen of the Mist (far right)

Off- Broadway's Yank! (far left)

In addition to his stage work, Tally also does an acclaimed cabaret act with his pal, Jeff Kready. They call it "A Fine Bromance."

His Broadway credits include: Company, Anastasia, War Paint, Falsettos, Cirque du Soleil's Paramour, School of Rock, Big Fish and The House of Blue Leaves.

The House of Blue Leaves

School of Rock


War Paint


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