Sunday, June 27, 2021

The Broadway Musical Revival Logo Tournament: The Trials Part One

Together, you've selected the best Broadway Musical Logos of the past 50 years through our 64-team bracket tournaments. (Thank you for playing along!) But what about all of those spectacular revivals over the years?

Well, this week, we are starting a NEW tournament, but with a twist. We have combed the archives for over 100 outstanding show logos from revivals, but YOU will be determining which of those will make it to the 64-logo bracket!


  • For each of the first 3 weeks, we will post 40 logos/window cards, and you will rate EACH of them on a scale of 1 Star to 5 Stars (5 being best). 
  • Your selection should be based on the logo/window card ONLY. We are NOT looking for your favorite revivals or how you think they compared to the original show!  
  • As usual, we will provide pictures of the full window card (in most cases) or logo above each week's ballot, then you SCROLL DOWN TO MAKE YOUR SELECTIONS. You MUST click/tap the "Click Me to Count Your VOTES" button at the bottom of the survey.
  • The survey/poll is arranged in 5 groups of 8. Remember, you are going to rate EACH of the 8 logos in each of the 5 groups.











Friday, June 25, 2021

Broadway Games: Musicals That Were Plays First

Broadway Games:
Musicals That Were Plays First

Part One:
Can you match the musical with the play on which it was based?

1. Wonderful Town                  a. The Rainmaker
2. Kiss Me, Kate                      b. The Comedy of Errors
3. The Boys From Syracuse      c. They Knew What They Wanted
4. Carousel                             d. The Matchmaker
5. Oklahoma!                          e. Taming of the Shrew
6. She Loves Me                      f. Liliom
7. The Visit                             g. My Sister Eileen
8. 110 in the Shade                 h. Green Grow the Lilacs
9. Hello, Dolly!                        i. Parfumerie
10. The Most Happy Fella         j. Der Besuch der alten Dame

Part Two:
 These musicals are based on plays with the same title. Can you name them?

1. Two Jazz Age gals murder others and join forces in prison.

2. He slices and dices 'em. She bakes 'em up.

3. Horny teens navigate the harsh realities of German societal rules and expectations.

4. Three best friends live their lives backwards.


The Andrew Lloyd Webber Edition

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

TRUE! It's 12 to 11, advantage ALW.

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

FALSE! Jesus Christ Superstar also opened on Broadway prior to The West End.

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.

FALSE: Both Jerry Herman and Richard Rodgers also accomplished this feat. But ALW beat that! For a brief time, he had The Phantom of the Opera, Cats, School of Rock and Sunset Boulevard on Broadway all at once!

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

FALSE: He has collaborated more with Don Black: Aspects of Love, Song and Dance, Sunset Boulevard, Stephen Ward. With Tim Rice: Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Jesus Christ Superstar, Evita.

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

TRUE! Lord Lloyd Webber was eyeing the Shubert Theatre, as a matter of fact.

Thursday, June 24, 2021

One That Got Away: Angels in America: Perestroika (1993)

I had the distinct privilege of seeing Angels in America: Millennium Approaches on Broadway at a matinee during New York Pride. The Walter Kerr Theatre was packed, and the place had a hum of electricity. There was something extra special about seeing this particular play with this particular audience. It was human. It was community. It was magic. I will never forget the raucous laughter. Or the angry murmurs during the explosive Roy Cohn scenes. Or the collective gasp, followed by a distinct moment of silence, followed by audible weeping, when Prior first reveals his AIDS lesions. At one point, the actors had to stop and graciously offered appreciative and knowing nods of understanding directly to us, so emotional was the response. 

I went there by myself, but I left as part of a family. The older gentleman who sat next to me (and who shared his grief over the loss of his partner during intermission) walked out with me, saying he hoped to see me that evening for the next part. No, I told him, I have to catch a train home. He looked disappointed. And then he hugged me and said, "Thank you." I watched him get lost in the Times Square post-theater crowd. I never did get his name, and I didn't fully realize why the hug and gratitude until I was well on my way home. We were there for each other - complete strangers - when being alone wasn't part of the experience. We were part of the very special gay community at a very particular point in time. When it was over, we were neither strangers nor alone.

All these years later, I think of him and of the play we shared. And of the play we missed sharing together.

One That Got Away:
Angels in America: Perestroika

In the years since, I have seen the second play in various forms: a college production, the HBO movie, and in the recent Broadway revival. It is my favorite of the two plays. The messy emotions, the politics, the fantasy all combine to give me a nearly perfect, inherently theatrical experience. And yet, despite my preference for part two, and despite how much I adored the revival version, I still have that nagging feeling that I really missed out by not seeing Angels in America: Perestroika that warm summer evening at the Walter Kerr.

I always wonder what that cast was like doing the show together that very same evening. Would they be exhausted? Would the staging be as awesome as part one? How would the Angel make her entrances this time? 
By most accounts, they were spectacular.

But I am equally (if not a little more) certain that I really missed out on the experience with that particular audience. Our own unique community, together again, but never again thereafter. And I wonder if my matinee friend enjoyed it, and if he went home alone, thinking about his loss. What would we have talked about during intermission? Would we tell each other our names?

Would we hug goodbye again? This time, I'd be sure to say "thank you."

Nearly 30 years later, I'm pretty sure he has passed on. I hope, if there is Heaven, that the Angel greeted him as he reunited with his partner. Like I said, I think of him often.


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.


Tuesday, June 22, 2021

This Week in Broadway History: June 22 - 28

 This Week in Broadway History:
June 22 - 28


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.


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)


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!

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