Friday, April 30, 2021

Broadway Games: Sondheim Lyrics

Broadway Games:
Sondheim Lyrics

Do you fancy yourself a real Sondheim fan? This week, put your devotion (and knowledge) to the test! Can you name the Sondheim song and show from the lyrics below?

1. "And are you beautiful and pale
With yellow hair
Like her?
I'd want you beautiful and pale
The way I've dreamed you were...
And if you're beautiful, what then
With yellow hair
Like wheat?
I think we shall not meet again
My little dove
My sweet..."

Song Title:                                        Sondheim Show:

2. "Feel how it quivers
On the brink
Gives you the shivers
Makes you think
There's so much stuff to sing
And you and me
We'll be singing it like the birds
Me with music and you the words
Tell 'em things they don't know
Up to us, pal, to show 'em"

Song Title:                                        Sondheim Show:

"I was younger then...
I saw everything...
I was hidden all the time...
It was easier to climb...
I was younger then...
I saw everything...
Where they came and where they went
I was part of the event!"

Song Title:                                        Sondheim Show:

4. "There are mouths to be kissed
Before mouths to be fed
And there's many a tryst
And there's many a bed
To be sampled and seen
In the meanwhile
And a girl has to celebrate what passes by..."

Song Title:                                        Sondheim Show:

5. "I thought I knew what love was
I wish we could have met so much sooner
I thought I knew what love was
I thought I knew how much I could feel
I thought I knew what love was
But now I do
It's what I feel with you"

Song Title:                                        Sondheim Show:


Answers to Last Week's Broadway Games:
3 Out of 4

1.    A. Sunday in the Park with George
      B. Next to Normal
      C. A Chorus Line
      D. Carousel

All of the above are Pulitzer Prize-winning musicals except Carousel.

2.    A. Georg Nowack
      B. Wendla Bergmann
      C. Melchior Gabor
      D. Moritz Stiefel

All of the above are characters in Spring Awakening except Georg Nowack, who is a character in She Loves Me.

3.    A. Kevin Adams
      B. Natasha Katz
      C. Catherine Zuber
      D. Tharon Musser

All of the above are Tony-winning lighting designers except Catherine Zuber. She's a Tony-winning costume designer.

4.    A. The Kit Kat Klub Emcee
      B. Harold Zidler
      C. Luther Billis
      D. Buddy Plummer

All of the above are Broadway roles for Danny Burstein, except The Kit Kat Klub Emcee. Danny was in Cabaret, but as Herr Schultz.

5.    A. Grand Hotel
      B. Hamilton
      C. Come From Away
      D. The Band's Visit

All of the above are one act musicals except Hamilton.

6.    A. Anna Leonowens
      B. Dolly Levi
      C. Sally Durant-Plummer
      D. Edwin Drood

All of the above are roles that Donna Murphy has played on Broadway except Follies' Sally Durant-Plummer.

Also possible: All of the above except Anna Leonowens are fictional characters. Anna was a real person/

7.    A. Tyne Daly
      B. Bernadette Peters
      C. Patti LuPone
      D. Laura Benanti

All of the above played Rose in Gypsy except Laura Benanti. She played Louise.

8.    A. "A Parade in Town"
      B. "Ribbons Down My Back"
      C. "Elegance"
      D. "Put On Your Sunday Clothes"

All of the above are songs in Hello, Dolly! except "A Parade in Town," which is from Anyone Can Whistle.

9.    A. Bess in Porgy and Bess
      B. Marie Christine in Marie Christine
      C. Carrie Pipperidge in Carousel
      D. Sarah in Ragtime

All of the above are Tony-winning roles played by Audra McDonald except Marie Christine. She was only nominated for that one.

10.    A. Come From Away
       B. Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812
       C. Dear Evan Hansen
       D. Groundhog Day

All of the above were nominated for the 2017 Tony for Best Musical. They all lost except Dear Evan Hansen.

Thursday, April 29, 2021

At This Performance: Stephanie Torns in Waitress

 At This Performance:
Stephanie Torns in Waitress

I'm a Jessie Mueller fan. Often, she's not just the best person in the show she's in, she's the only good thing about she's in. So, I would be lying if I said I wasn't disappointed when the white slip of doom fell out of my Waitress Playbill. "At this performance the role of Jenna usually played by Jessie Mueller will be played by Stephanie Torns." "Who knows? Maybe she'll be great, and I'll have discovered a new talent to follow," I thought.

The lights dimmed. 🎶 Sugar...butter...flour...🎶 In less than five minutes, I was sold. What a talent! Her performance was a heady mix of confidence and vulnerability. Smart and funny, Ms. Torns held the audience in the palm of her flour-dusted hands.

The highlight of the evening was when we got to "She Used to Be Mine." You could sense the audience pulling for her to nail the show's signature tune. Boy, did she deliver! The sustained applause when she finished was electric. I hope she felt our support. I mean, I know that it's her job to do just that, but still, it is a real accomplishment. I don't feel like I missed out on anything with her heading the company.

She delivered the kind of star turn theater lovers live for - the chance to brag that "I saw Stephanie Torns in Waitress." Apparently, I'm not alone in this adoration. The producers saw fit to give her her own stint as the above-the-title star of the show. One thing I know for sure: the next time she's cast in a show, I'll be sure to see it.


Wednesday, April 28, 2021

One That Got Away: My Favorite Year

One That Got Away:
My Favorite Year 

That old saying, "If I knew then what I know now..." is particularly apt when it comes to the biggest flop of the 92-93 Broadway season,
My Favorite Year. I could make excuses for why I missed this one: it had a short run, it played mostly over the holidays, I'm not a big Tim Curry fan. But really, it was all of those reasons, plus I was completely unfamiliar with the movie upon which it was based.

Of course, hindsight is 20/20, as they say, and I still kick myself for missing it.  It all started when I bought the cast recording, and fell in love with the opening number, "Twenty Million People" and the closing number, "My Favorite Year." It was just the second Broadway score by the soon to explode pair of Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty

Fast forward through the next 25 years or so. The cast was full of young actors who have become  big Broadway names: Tony winner (8-time nominee) Rob Ashford was a swing, 3-time nominee and future Horton Kevin Chamberlin was making his debut in the ensemble, 2-time Tony winner Katie Finneran was also in the ensemble, as was future Tony winner, Michael McGrath. Then there were the actors who, at the time, were established and known such as Mr. Curry, Evan Pappas, Ethan Phillips, and legendary funny lady Lainie Kazan. The big miss, though, was catching Andrea Martin in, not only her Broadway debut*, but in her first Tony winning role.

There were so many reasons why this show makes my One That Got Away list.

My Favorite Year began its 45 previews at the Vivian Beaumont Theater at Lincoln Center on October 31, 1992. The show closed on January 10, 1993, following 36 performances. The production was nominated for 3 Tony Awards: Best Actor (Tim Curry), Best Featured Actress (Lainie Kazan), and Best Featured Actress (Andrea Martin). Ms. Martin won the Tony, and was honored with a Theatre World Award.

* - Andrea Martin appeared in a Broadway play, The Freaking Out of Stephanie Blake, before My Favorite Year, but it never officially opened.


Tuesday, April 27, 2021

This Week in Broadway History: April 27 - May 3

This Week in Broadway History:
April 27 - May 3


April 27, 1986: Hey, big spender! The Bob Fosse directed revival of Sweet Charity starring Debbie Allen opened at the Minskoff and stayed there for 369 performances. 

April 28, 1988:
Checkmate! One of the most beloved flops in modern Broadway history, Chess, opened at the Imperial Theatre and played a mere 68 performances.

April 29, 1996: Roger lit Mimi's candle 5,123 times at the Nederlander, where Jonathan Larson' Rent set records and became Broadway's mega-hit of the 90s.

April 30,2009: Another beloved flop, 9 to 5 featuring a knockout score by Dolly Parton opened at the Marquis Theatre for a run of just 149 performances.

May 1, 1988: One of my very favorite "little" Broadway musicals, Romance/Romance opened at the Helen Hayes Theatre. This charmer starring Alison Fraser and Scott Bakula played an impressive 297 performances - considering that Phantom and Into the Woods were also big new shows.

May 2, 2005:
S. Y. Z. Y. G. Y. Syzygy. The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee took place at the Circle in the Square 1,136 times!

May 3, 1993: And the moon grows dimmer... Aurora gave Molina the Kiss of the Spider Woman 904 times at the Broadhurst Theatre before the Best Musical of 1993 closed.


April 27: actor Patrick Page (Hadestown), playwright August Wilson (Fences), choreographer/dancer Jack Cole (Man of La Mancha)

April 28: author Harper Lee (To Kill a Mockingbird), actor Lionel Barrymore (The Jest, Macbeth)

April 29: actor Celeste Holm (the original Ado Annie - Oklahoma!), composer Duke Ellington (Sophisticated Ladies)

April 30: lyricist Edward Kleban (A Chorus Line), costume designer Jane Greenwood (Passion, The Little Foxes), lyricist Sheldon Harnick (Fiddler on the Roof, She Loves Me)

Christine Baranski     Sheldon Harnick

Harper Lee     Chase Peacock

May 1: actor Chase Peacock (American Idiot), actor Isabel Keating (Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, The Boy From Oz), playwright Yasmina Reza (Art, God of Carnage)

May 2: actor Kate Baldwin (Hello, Dolly!, Big Fish), director Stephen Daldry (Billy Elliot, The Inheritance), actor Christine Baranski (Nick & Nora, Rumors)

May 3: actor Taylor Trensch (Matilda, Curious Incident...), actor Dulé Hill (After Midnight, The Tap Dance Kid), actor Robert Cuccioli (Jekyll & Hyde)


Sondheim fans know that seeing his shows in previews offer opportunities to see cut songs and other big changes. In 1994, those fans would have had a field day, as his new musical Passion was deep in previews at the Plymouth Theatre. Had we known it would be his last (to date) musical, it may have run longer. Another show deep in previews was The Best Little Whorehouse Goes Public over at the Lunt-Fontanne. (I actually saw it, and it was campy fun and knew it.) The other big "in previews" show proved to be much better for Tommy Tune than Whorehouse. The blockbuster revival of Grease was working out the kinks at the Eugene O'Neill, where it would stay for years.

The lavish Disney spectacular Beauty and the Beast proved to be the toughest ticket of the season over at the Palace. But it was revivals that got the most attention from ticket buyers, including She Loves Me, Joseph...Dreamcoat and Damn Yankees at the Brooks Atkinson, Minskoff and Marquis, respectively. But the granddaddy of revivals that year was Carousel at the Beaumont. At the time, we were just weeks away from Audra McDonald's first Tony. This was also your last chance to catch My Fair Lady at the Virginia, which closed on May 1. Turns out that the biggest hits from last season were really the ones that were filling seats - The Who's Tommy and Kiss of the Spider Woman.

Play fans had some great (and not so great) shows to catch this week, too, including the second part of the epic Angels in America, Perestroika. The first part, Millennium Approaches, was just as popular still at the Walter Kerr. Discounts were plentiful for the Joan Rivers vehicle, Sally Marr...and Her Escorts still in previews (at the Hayes), as was the case with the odd play The Rise and Fall of Little Voice, which played twice as many previews as actual performances at the Neil Simon.


Monday, April 26, 2021

1970s Broadway Musical Logos Bracket Tournament - Elimination Group B!

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. This week, we continue with the next group of 16 on our way to The Big 32.


1970s Broadway Musical Logo Madness!
Elimination Group B

  • 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, April 23, 2021

Broadway Games: 3 Out of 4

Broadway Games:
3 Out of 4

Three out of four things in each group below have something or someone in common. Which one doesn't belong? What do the other three have in common? Good luck!

1.    A. Sunday in the Park with George
      B. Next to Normal
      C. A Chorus Line
      D. Carousel

2.    A. Georg Nowack
      B. Wendla Bergmann
      C. Melchior Gabor
      D. Moritz Stiefel


3.    A. Kevin Adams
      B. Natasha Katz
      C. Catherine Zuber
      D. Tharon Musser

4.    A. The Kit Kat Klub Emcee
      B. Harold Zidler
      C. Luther Billis
      D. Buddy Plummer

5.    A. Grand Hotel
      B. Hamilton
      C. Come From Away
      D. The Band's Visit

6.    A. Anna Leonowens
      B. Dolly Levi
      C. Sally Durant-Plummer
      D. Edwin Drood

7.    A. Tyne Daly
      B. Bernadette Peters
      C. Patti LuPone
      D. Laura Benanti

8.    A. "A Parade in Town"
      B. "Ribbons Down My Back"
      C. "Elegance"
      D. "Put On Your Sunday Clothes"


9.    A. Bess in Porgy and Bess
      B. Marie Christine in Marie Christine
      C. Carrie Pipperidge in Carousel
      D. Sarah in Ragtime

10.    A. Come From Away
       B. Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812
       C. Dear Evan Hansen
       D. Groundhog Day


How Well Do You Know
Your Playbill Covers?

1.      2.      3. 

4.    5. 

6.    7.    8. 

9.    10. 

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