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CLICK/TAP THE TABS ABOVE TO ACCESS OUR ARCHIVE OF SHOW AND MEDIA REVIEWS, AS WELL AS FEATURES LIKE BROADWAY WHO'S WHO AND ONE THAT GOT AWAY. COLLECTORS WILL BE INTERESTED IN OUR LIGHTS OF BROADWAY CARDS AND PLAYBILLS FOR SALE!

BROADWAY RETURNS: Hadestown - Resumes 9.2.21 Chicago, The Lion King, Hamilton and Wicked - Resume 9.14.21 Come From Away - Resumes 9.21.21 Moulin Rouge! - Resumes 9.24.21 THE 74TH TONY AWARDS - 9.26.21 Aladdin - Resumes 9.28.21 To Kill a Mockingbird - Resumes 10.5.21 Tina - Resumes 10.8.21 Girl From the North Country - Resumes 10.13.21 Ain't Too Proud - Resumes 10.16.21 Jagged Little Pill - Resumes 10.21.21 The Phantom of the Opera - Resumes 10.22.21 The Book of Mormon - Resumes 11.5.21 Dear Evan Hansen - Resumes 12.11.21

NEW ON BROADWAY: Pass Over - Previews 8.4.21 Opens 9.12.21 SIX - Previews 9.17.21 Opens 10.7.21 Freestyle Love Supreme - Opens 10.7.21 The Lehman Trilogy - Previews 9.25.21 Opens 10.12.21 Thoughts of a Colored Man - Previews 10.1.21 Caroline, or Change -Previews 10.8.21 Opens 10.27.21 Trouble in Mind - Previews 10.8.21 Opens 10.27.21 Diana - Previews 11.1.21 Opens 11.17.21 Mrs. Doubtfire - Previews 10.21.21 Opens 12.5.21 Flying Over Sunset - Previews 11.4.21 Opens 12.6.21 Company - Previews 12.20.21 Opens 1.9.22 Skeleton Crew - Previews 12.21.21 Opens 1.12.22 MJ: The Musical - Previews 12.6.21 Opens 2.1.22 The Music Man - Previews 12.20.21 Opens 2.10.22 Paradise Square - Previews 2.22.22 Opens 3.20.22 Birthday Candles - Previews 3.18.22 Opens 4.10.22 The Minutes - TBA Plaza Suite - Previews TBA American Buffalo - TBA Take Me Out - TBA 1776 - TBA Sing Street - TBA Our Town - TBA

COMING UP THIS WEEK: 6/21: 1970s Broadway Musical Logo Madness! The Championship! - 6/22: This Week in Broadway History - 6/23: At This Performance - 6/24: One That Got Away - 6/25: Broadway Game!

Contact us: jkstheatrescene@yahoo.com (Email); @jkstheatrescene (Twitter); jkstheatrescene (Instagram)

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

At This Performance: Matthew James Thomas in Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark

At This Performance:
Matthew James Thomas in
Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark

Given Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark's injury record and notoriously difficult preview period, it should not have been a surprise that the second time we saw the show (don't judge), Matthew James Thomas was on for Reeve Carney in the title role. Still, it was a bit of unexpected news, because even though Thomas was the alternate, he was not scheduled for that particular performance. But we thought, "What the heck? Why not?" After all, the show (and its myriad of potential changes) was what we were there to see. Seeing a different take on the role is usually an interesting proposition. Let's see what this young man had!

Like Carney, at this point in the genesis of the musical, a lot of Thomas' work was about hitting marks, flying around without hitting the walls or the floor, and dodging various pieces of scenery and decked out cast members. And again, as with Carney, he handled all of that injury-free and with finesse. Could Mr. Thomas do all of that and still find room in his performance to find some depth and emotion so as to not get lost in all of the pageantry?  Mr. Carney could. And so did this wonder-alternate.

For me the devil is in the details. First up, was the insane bullying his character, Peter, had to withstand. He was sensitive and sympathetic. Next, was his evolution as a suitor for Mary Jane (Jennifer Damiano) believable? Could we see the relationship grow from awkward infatuation to good friendship to young love? Well, I'm pretty sure even the folks up in the rear balcony of the Foxwoods Cavern Theatre could feel their palpable attraction. That he can emote and sing would normally be a given, but the level of his talent (especially under these circumstances) was truly impressive.

But this is a superhero show. Could we believe that nerdy Thomas' Peter Parker was also strong enough to be Spidey? Well, literally, yes. He looked great in the suit, of course, but he was completely believable as he faced off against a gallery of villains, and especially with The Green Goblin (Patrick Page). Thomas was a perfect match for Page's trademark acerbic wit and comic book delivery. They had every bit as much chemistry as he had with Ms. Damiano.

He was, simply put, terrific in the title role. We were not in any way short-changed. In point of fact, though we enjoyed both actors in the role, we admitted we preferred Mr. Thomas. The best part of the whole Spider-Man experience was being able to see two young actors excel at the start of their careers, and to see both of them headlining later shows to great acclaim, Reeve Carney in Hadestown, and Matthew James Thomas in Pippin. I'm sure we are not alone in looking forward to long careers on the stage from both.

#2582

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

This Week in Broadway History: June 22 - 28

 This Week in Broadway History:
June 22 - 28

🎭OPENING NIGHTS🎭 

June 22, 1976: One of the most produced and beloved musicals of all time, Godspell, debuted on Broadway at the Broadhurst Theatre. It ran 527 performances.


June 25, 1998:
 1999's Tony Award-winning Best Plays, Side Man, opened at The Criterion Center Stage Right. Later, it moved to the Golden Theatre, and ran for 517 total performances.

June 26, 2021: The first performance on Broadway since the COVID 19 shutdown will be Springsteen on Broadway, a return limited engagement of the smash hit theatrical concert from 2017-18.


June 28, 1987:
 Contrary to popular belief, there has been a revival of Dreamgirls. It opened at the Ambassador Theatre and starred Lillias White. It played 177 performances.


🎂HAPPY BIRTHDAY🎂

June 22: Composer/actor Cyndi Lauper (Kinky Boots), actor Meryl Streep (Happy End), director/choreographer Gower Champion (42nd Street, Hello, Dolly!)

June 23: Actor Christy Altomare (Anastasia, Mamma Mia!), actor Anna McNeely (Cats, Gypsy), legendary director/choreographer Bob Fosse (Chicago, Sweet Charity, Pippin)

June 24: Scenic Designer Anna Louizos (High Fidelity)

June 25: Actors Annaleigh Ashford (Sunday in the Park with George, Sylvia), Hunter Foster (Grease, Hands on a Hardbody), John Benjamin Hickey (Cabaret, The Inheritance), playwright/activist Larry Kramer (The Normal Heart. As-Is)

Christy Altomare     Bob Fosse

Ariana Grande     Jason Tam

June 26:
 
Actor Ariana Grande (13), actor Sean Hayes (Promises, Promises), lighting designer Kevin Adams (Head Over Heels, American Idiot)

June 27: Actor Kimiko Glenn (Waitress), actor Michael Ball (Aspects of Love), director Michael Mayer (Spring Awakening, Hedwig and the Angry Inch)

June 28: Actor Jason Tam (Be More Chill, A Chorus Line), actor Kathy Bates ('night Mother), composer Richard Rodgers (Carousel, South Pacific)


📆ON BROADWAY THIS WEEK IN 1961📆

I
f you were a Broadway fan 60 years ago, here's what you might have had tickets to: for challenging drama, you might have headed to the Lyceum for Zero Mostel, Eli Wallach, Anne Jackson and Jean Stapleton in Rhinoceros. One of the longest running plays ever, Mary, Mary was brand new at the Helen Hayes, and a new comedy called Come Blow Your Horn at the Brooks Atkinson, by a new playwright named Neil Simon. (Interesting factoid: later in the run of that play, Joel Grey made his Broadway debut as a replacement!) I would have been camped out at the Booth Theatre to catch my beloved Angela Lansbury and a young man named Billy Dee Williams in A Taste of Honey.

Then, as now, musicals were a big draw, and there were plenty to choose from! Last season's co-winners of the Best Musical Tony, Fiorello! and The Sound of Music were still hot tickets at the  Broadway and Lunt-Fontanne, respectively. And this season's Best Musical, Bye Bye Birdie, was still several months from closing at the Shubert.

New musicals included The Unsinkable Molly Brown with Tammy Grimes over at the Winter Garden, and Julie Andrews and Richard Burton were holding court at the Majestic in Camelot, and the Styne-Comden-Green musical Do Re Mi was across the street at the St. James. Anna Maria Alberghetti, Kaye Ballard and Jerry Orbach were headlining Carnival! at the Imperial. And if you were a Francophile, the very French Irma La Douce at the Plymouth was where you wanted to be!

#2581

Monday, June 21, 2021

1970s Broadway Musical Logos Bracket Tournament - The Championship!

Over the past year, we've been in search of the very best in Broadway musical logos, going back 40 years. Now let's jump aboard the Broadway Time Machine and go waaay back to the 1970s and start a new tournament, looking for the very best logo of the decade of love! The 70s on Broadway were a mix of everything from traditional Broadway fare (Annie, Applause), to nostalgia pieces (Grease, Beatlemania), to psychedelic shows (Dude, Via Galactica).As usual, there were big hits and even bigger flops. It was the decade that gave us Bob Fosse and Stephen Sondheim in their prime, movie stars on stage - Katharine Hepburn, Lauren Bacall were but two, and a new guy named Andrew Lloyd Webber.

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. Your votes have previously pared down the 64 logos to The Final 4! And now... The Championship!!!

                 WHAT WAS THE BEST BROADWAY MUSICAL LOGO OF THE 1970s?
#2580

1970s Broadway Musical Logo Madness!
THE CHAMPIONSHIP!

HOW IT WILL WORK:
  • 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.
  • THIS ROUND WILL CLOSE ON FRIDAY, JUNE 25TH AT 5 PM!
Here we go again! May the best logo win! BE SURE TO CHECK OUT THE FULL LOGOS BEFORE YOU VOTE! THE ACTUAL BALLOT IS BELOW THE FULL-SIZE LOGOS/WINDOW CARDS!

THE FINALISTS:
     

    
 

Friday, June 18, 2021

Broadway Game: True/False: The Andrew Lloyd Webber Edition

Andrew Lloyd Webber sure is making headlines these days! Not only is he opening a new show, Cinderella, but he took on the U.K. government as well. Before it was all over, we thought we might just see a mug shot or two. 

Now it appears that he got his way, as the government will be using his new show as a test run for COVID protocols ahead of every other West End show. As you can imagine, a lot of people are unhappy about that! In honor of this rebellious theater-maker, we have today's game all about him!

Broadway Games:
True/False:
The Andrew Lloyd Webber Edition

1. ALW has more Tony Award nominations for Best Score than Stephen Sondheim.

2. School of Rock is the only ALW show that premiered in New York before London.

3. With Sunset Boulevard, Cats, and The Phantom of the Opera, ALW is the only composer to have had 3 shows running on Broadway at the same time.

4. ALW collaborated with Tim Rice more than any other lyricist.

5. Cinderella was originally supposed to open on Broadway prior to the West End.

#2579

ANSWERS TO LAST WEEK'S GAME:
The Colors of Pride


WHITE - Thoroughly Modern Millie




PINK - Mean Girls
 



LIGHT BLUE - Hairspray
 



BROWN - Peter and the Starcatcher
 



BLACK - The Phantom of the Opera
 



RED - Hello, Dolly!
 



ORANGE - Avenue Q
 



YELLOW - Beautiful: The Carole King Musical
 



GREEN - Tarzan
 



BLUE - Frozen
 



PURPLE - Aladdin
 

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Best Songs From Best Scores: 1990 - 1991

Today, we begin a new series, Best Songs From Best Scores, in which we take a look at the numbers from a season's Best Original Score Tony nominees. Of course, "best" is in the eye ear of the beholder, and we are pretty sure you won't always agree with our choices. So, please feel free to let us know what you think via email, Twitter, or comment below!

To get things started, we decided to look at a season that was really an embarrassment of riches. Each score from the 1990 - 1991 season was not only worthy of a nomination, but each would have been worthy of taking home the prize. Thirty years later, each one holds up pretty well, and there are many worthy songs to consider. Here are the ones we like the best:

Best Songs From Best Scores
1990 - 1991

Nominee: Miss Saigon
Music by Claude-Michel Schonberg, lyrics by Alain Boublil & Richard Maltby, Jr.

Best Song: Ballad (group): "The Movie in My Mind" - Gigi, Kim & the Girls
After showing what they do to make ends meet in "The Heat Is On in Saigon," the girls under The Engineer's thumb reveal the pain and anguish of their lives as they desperately try to stay alive, and what they do to escape, even if it is only through dreams. The metaphor may verge on the trite, but it is an apt one, given the time period and unavoidable influence of America on every aspect of their lives.


Best Song: Presentation: "The Morning of the Dragon" - The Company
Yes, the visuals are stunning - the giant Ho Chi Minh statue, the advancing gun-toting company in perfect military precision. But the vocals are just as menacing even without the visuals - the halting, chant-like precision of the company vocals sting, and the lyrics are just as powerful, with evocative imagery ("The Morning of the Dragon, truth lit up the street, The tiger we were stalking walked on paper feet, And in the clear white heat of dawn, was gone.")

Nominee: Once  On This  Island
Music by Stephen Flaherty, lyrics by Lynn Ahrens

Best Song: Ballad: "Some Girls" - Daniel
Ti Moune has saved Daniel's life and nursed him back to health, and it is love at first sight for both. In this lovely, gentle song, he explains that "some girls you marry, some you love." His declaration has heartfelt honesty, and poignancy, and Ti Moune falls even deeper in love with this charming young man, but does not realize what he means. He can love her, but he can't marry her.


Best Song: Presentation: "The Sad Tale of the Beauxhommes" - Armand & The Storytellers
Even just listening to this song, you can get swept up in the sheer theatricality of this number. An embedded origin story fits right in with the rest of this tropical fairy tale. And it is one catchy number!

Nominee: The Secret Garden
Music by Lucy Simon, lyrics by Marsha Norman

Best Song: Presentation: "I Heard Someone Crying" - Mary Lennox, Archibald Craven, Lily & Company
This song is two-fer, really. It is a great song for developing the wants and needs of the characters, and it is very presentational in the way it builds and adds in the company. What a way to make something specific more universal.


Best Song: Ballad (duet): "Lily's Eyes" - Archibald Craven & Dr. Neville Craven
What a stunning duet this song is! And what a character reveal! That moment when you realize that two brothers loved the same woman... one was married to her and mourns his loss, while the other mourns what he never had. Both are now dealing with the arrival of Mary, and how she reminds them both of Lily.

Winner: The Will Rogers Follies
Music by Cy Coleman, lyrics by Betty Comden, Adolph Green

Best Song: Opening Number: "Will-a-Mania" - Ziegfeld's Favorite & Company
This may just be my favorite show opener of all time. Seeing it was breathtaking - the lit up staircase, a loin cloth wearing Jerry Mitchell on a drum... But it is just as effective without seeing it (no small feat). This is another song that ebbs and flows in a gradual building that climbs to a goose bump finish!


Best Song: Presentation: "Our Favorite Son" - Will Rogers, The Wranglers & The New Ziegfeld Girls
This is The Follies, right? So why not a super-catchy novelty number about politics? "The elephant trunk and democrat donkey will be down the drain and sunk, the day the people's victory is won!" 

#2578

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

This Week in Broadway History: June 15 - 21

This Week in Broadway History:

June 15 - 21

🎭OPENING NIGHTS🎭 


June 15, 1995:
 One of the 90s most interesting and underrated musicals, Chronicle of a Death Foretold, opened at the Plymouth Theatre, where it ran for 37 performances. It was nominated for 3 1996 Tony Awards, including Best Musical.

June 17, 1969: The original production of Oh! Calcutta! opened at the Eden Theatre. It bared all for 1,314 performances.


June 19, 1978:
 The scandalous mega-hit The Best Little Whorehouse opened its brothel doors at the 46th Street Theatre, and stayed in business for a Texas-sized 1,548 performances.

🎂HAPPY BIRTHDAY🎂

June 15: Actor Rob McClure (Avenue Q, Doubtfire), actor Neil Patrick Harris (Hedwig and the Angry Inch), playwright Adam Rapp (The Sound Inside)

June 16: Actor Ali Stroker (Oklahoma!, Spring Awakening), actor Danny Burstein (Moulin Rouge! Cabaret), actor Laurie Metcalf (Three Tall Women, A Doll's House, Part 2)

June 17: Actor John Gallagher, Jr. (Spring Awakening, American Idiot), director Phyllida Lloyd (Tina, Mamma Mia!)

June 18: Actor Erin Davie (Diana, Side Show), actor Kerry Butler (Mean Girls, Xanadu), directors Mike Ockrent (Me and My Girl, Crazy For You), Jack O'Brien (Hairspray), and Michael Blakemore (City of Angels, The Life), actor George Hearn (La Cage aux Folles, Sunset Boulevard)

John Gallagher, Jr.     Phylicia  Rashad

Ali Stroker     Benjamin Walker

June 19:
 
Actor Hugh Dancy (Venus in Fur), director/producer Des McAnuf (The Who's Tommy, Jersey Boys), actor/director Phylicia Rashad (Gem of the Ocean, Into the Woods, Dreangirls)

June 20: Composer Jason Robert Brown (The Bridges of Madison County), actor Nicole Kidman (The Blue Room), actor John Goodman (Big River)

June 21: Actors Benjamin Walker (American Psycho) and Aaron Lazar (Mamma Mia!, The Light in the Piazza), writer/lyricist Don Black (Sunset Boulevard, Bonnie and Clyde), legend Judy Holliday (Born Yesterday, Bells Are Ringing)

📆ON BROADWAY THIS WEEK IN 1989📆

The 88-89 season that just ended was not a big one for big new shows. That doesn't mean there weren't plenty of places to spend your Broadway bucks! 

Among the small crop of new shows that were selling well were the spectacular blues revue, Black and Blue, at the Minskoff and the season's big Tony winner, Jerome Robbins' Broadway, a song and dance extravaganza at the Imperial that celebrated some of the greatest musicals of all time. (And it served as a rather pointed reminder of the dearth of quality product in the theater district. The former boasted the talents of no less than Ruth Brown, Charles "Honi" Coles and Savion Glover, while the latter featured Jason Alexander, Debbie Shapiro, Charlotte d'Amboise, Scott Wise and Faith Prince, as well as a corps of cream of the crop dancers from Broadway and the New York City Ballet. The other Best Musical nominee, Starmites, was playing its final week of performances at the Criterion Center.

On the straight play side of things, the Pulitzer Prize and Tony-winning The Heidi Chronicles by Wendy Wasserstein was selling out at the Plymouth, with headliners Joan Allen, Boyd Gaines and Cynthia Nixon. If farce was more your thing, you had two hilarious choices, Neil Simon's Rumors with newly minted Tony-winner Christine Baranski at the Broadhurst, and Ken Ludwig's Lend Me a Tenor with Phillip Bosco, Tovah Feldshuh, Victor Garber, Jane Connell and Ron Holgate at the Royale.

There were some audience favorites nearing the end of their runs, such as Into the Woods at the Martin Beck, the huge hit revival of Anything Goes at the Beaumont, Mikhail Baryshnikov in Metamorphosis at the Barrymore, Sarafina! at the Cort, and the record-breaking revival of Oh! Calcutta!

But it was holdovers from previous seasons that were playing to excited crowds. The British mega-musicals were showing no signs of slowing down - Cats at the Winter Garden, Les Miserables at the Broadway, and The Phantom of the Opera at the Majestic. Me and My Girl was still charming audiences who were leaving the Marquis doing "The Lambeth Walk." And the sensation of last season, M. Butterfly, with John Rubenstein and A. Mapa was a mysterious thrill for audiences at the O'Neill.

#2577
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