Monday, March 20, 2023

Broadway Who's Who: Heather Headley

This month's honoree is Tony and Grammy Award winner, Heather Headley. With 5 studio albums - two certified Gold - she's made an impact on the music world. With starring roles in such television programs as Chicago Med and Sweet Magnolias, she's taken the small screen by storm. She starred in the West End production of The Bodyguard, earning a Best Actress in a Musical Olivier Award nomination. So why have we selected her as one of Broadway's Who's Who? Though she has only four Main Stem credits, she is definitely Broadway royalty. Whether she's originating roles in blockbuster musicals, making a role her own as a high-profile replacement, or guest-starring at a concert of international superstars, her impact is always important, breathtaking and cause for celebration.

Broadway Who's Who:
Heather Headley


    

   

DID YOU KNOW?
  • BIRTH DATE: October 5, 1974
  • BIRTHPLACE: Barataria, Trinidad and Tobago
  • FAMILY: Married to Brian Musso, 3 children
  • EDUCATION: Northwestern University
  • RECORDING HISTORY: This Is Who I Am (Gold), In My Mind (Gold), Audience of One (Grammy Award), Only One in the World, Broadway My Way

West End and Off-Broadway:

The Bodyguard
 - Aldelphi Theatre (West End); November 2012 - August 2013; Rachel Marron

⭐ Best Actress in a Musical Nominee: 2012 Olivier Awards and What's On Stage Awards
   

Into the Woods
-
City Center (Off-Broadway); 2022; The Witch










   



Broadway:

The Lion King
- New Amsterdam Theatre; 1997; Nala, Original Broadway Cast









   


AIDA - Palace Theatre; 2000 - 2001; Aida, Original Broadway Cast

⭐ Tony Award Winner! Best Actress in a Musical









   



Il Divo
-
Marquis Theatre; November 2013; Special Guest Star


The Color Purple
-
Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre; May - October 2016; Shug Avery, replacement
   

Friday, March 17, 2023

Broadway Eats: Hurley's Saloon

Happy St. Patrick's Day! What better way to celebrate than to talk about an Irish Pub? For years, we'd planned on trying out Hurley's Saloon on 48th Street - not sure why we haven't before - and this winter we finally got around to it. We left Leopoldstadt hungry, and the place was literally a few steps away. Being that it is right in the heart of the Theater District and Times Square, we thought it might just be a tourist trap. Boy, were we wrong! The place was boisterous and a lot of fun. 



LOCATIONTheater District/Times Square: 232 West 48th Street
Phone: 212-765-8981
CLOSEST THEATERSLongacre, Walter Kerr, Eugene O'Neill, Ambassador,
Friedman, Lena Horne
HOURS11:30am - 3am, Monday - Saturday; 11:30am - 1am, Sunday
WEBSITEhttps://www.hurleysnyc.com/
MEALS SERVEDIrish Pub Fare: Brunch, Lunch and Dinner; Theatre Pre-fixe Menu
BARFull bar - 3 Levels
OUTDOOR SEATINGYes - Heated

THE MENU


(Click each to enlarge)

Being an Irish pub, the menu indulges that cuisine with such items as Irish Shepard's Pie and Bangers & Mash. Being a saloon, the menu includes all of the typical bar food type things - burgers, chicken sandwiches and a wide variety of appetizers, like mozzarella sticks, potato skins and baskets of onion rings or fries. And since this is the theater district, they even have a theater pre-fixe. What isn't typical of such an establishment - and what sets Hurley's apart from the rest - is the variety of other meals they serve, from Tuscan roast chicken to fish and chips, char-grilled steaks,  pasta and several traditional comfort foods. There's something for everyone here.


THE PLACE

By Manhattan standards, this place is enormous: two very long bars with table and booth seating nearby, a spacious second floor dining room, and not one but two outdoor (seasonally heated) seating areas - the roof garden area and a curbside setup on the street. It is immediately both overwhelming and welcoming. I half expected the bar tenders and patrons to turn and shout, "Jeff!" as I entered! Even on a Sunday evening, it was pretty full, but we had no trouble finding two seats at one of the first floor bars. There were soccer games and football on the big screen tvs, and our time there was punctuated with loud cheers and the occasional taunt yelled after a bad play. With Playbills on the bar next to us, we were clearly not obvious sports fans, but that didn't stop the clientele near us from talking to us and asking where we were from, etc. The guy next to me was waiting for his date - Hurley's was apparently a halfway point between both of their residences. He was hilarious, and really into the football game. It was a nice feeling to be so welcomed by the neighborhood regulars.


OUR ORDER

Food-wise, Mike ordered exclusively from the appetizer menu: chicken tenders ($13) and a basket of fries ($9), while I ordered the fish and chips ($23). Truthfully, they were all pretty standard, nothing extra-special. But everything was served piping hot, and each item was high quality. The portions were large. Looking around, we could see delicious looking burgers and the onion rings looked good, too. We suspect that pretty much everything on the menu will satisfy hungry theatergoers.


THE SERVICE

Of course, you can't visit a saloon and not imbibe! As I said, we sat at the bar, and despite being very busy, our bartender, Matt (?) was friendly and very attentive... and very funny. It went something like this when we sat down:

Mike: How's your margarita?
Matt: It's awful. You'll love it!

It went on from there. And I'm happy to report that Mike's margaritas ($15) were, indeed, very good. For the record, my rum and coke ($15) was also quite good. And the service was excellent.

In closing, in a sign that Hurley's is a local hangout for Broadway fans and folk, we ran into, literally, cast members from none other than Sweeney Todd, including the very friendly, chatty Raymond J. Lee and Kristie Dale Sanders, and a sighting of a masked Josh Groban! They were all there celebrating their first rehearsals! 

We will definitely be back!

RATING: 🥄🥄🥄🥄 1/2 (out of 5)

Wednesday, March 15, 2023

Broadway Jeopardy! - Game 3

Broadway Jeopardy! 

It's game time again, Broadway fans! This. Is. Jeopardy!: one Jeopardy round, one Double Jeopardy round, and Final Jeopardy, plus one (not so hidden) Daily Double. Good luck!

Today's Jeopardy round category is size matters. We'll describe a song or show, you name the title of the work. Get those signalling devices ready... and go!

size matters


Count Carl-Magnus, Desiree and "Send in the Clowns"


Audrey, Oren, Mushnik and "Skid Row"


The Healy Family and "Ironic"


 The two "little" things Lola tells us we need 
in a Damn Yankees song


Sid Caesar, Martin Short & Victor Garber have all 
played the lead role in this Neil Simon, 
Cy Coleman, Carolyn Leigh musical

Now it's time for Double Jeopardy! Dollar values are doubled. Today's category is SIZE MATTERS. We'll describe a song or show, you name the title of the work. Grab those signalling devices! Good luck!
 
SIZE MATTERS


Huck, Jim and the Mississippi


"Do ya wanna have fun? Fun? Fun?" sing the 
Fan-Dango Ballroom girls in this Sweet Charity showstopper


Based on a Tom Hanks film, the title of this show 
says it all, at least according to Josh Baskin and Zoltar


Andrew Lippa, Norbert Leo Butz, 
a giant & Kate Baldwin


The last show for which Bob Fosse won a 
Best Choreography Tony Award

And now, Final Jeopardy! Carefully calculate your wagers, based on your knowledge of today's category: Musicalized Novels.

Musicalized Novels

This show, based on a 1896 novel by the same name, 
featured an "Astonishing" Sutton Foster
 

Monday, March 13, 2023

One That Got Away: Flying Over Sunset

Given the circumstances, it is a small miracle that Flying Over Sunset even opened. It was ready to begin previews when everything shut down for COVID, but Lincoln Center kept everything in place for more than a year. There were a few cast changes, but most everyone was ready to get back to work when things slowly began coming back.

Missing this one was due entirely to time. It simply ran out before we could get to it.

One That Got Away:
Flying Over Sunset

     

     

On paper, at least, this had everything I look for in new shows. There was a director/writer I have always enjoyed, James Lapine, and a score by one of my very favorites, Tom Kitt. The cast was full of actors I greatly admire, including Carmen Cusack and Tony Yazbeck. And, of course, a weird, intriguing story that promised a fresh perspective, thought-provoking themes, and an emotional experience. I'm guessing that that "weirdness" had a lot to do with its poor box office performance. People like me, who thrive on unusual theatricality, it would seem are few and far between. Of course, there was also the specter/fear of COVID that even today affects Broadway's comeback.


At least there is the cast recording and several rehearsal videos to revisit. Still, this is one that got away that I really regret.

Flying Over Sunset began its 36 previews at the Vivian Beaumont Theater at Lincoln Center on November 11, 2021, and opened on December 13, 3021. It was nominated for four 2022 Tony Awards: Best Actress in a Musical (Carmen Cusack), Best Original Score (Tom Kitt & Michael Korie), Best Scenic Design of a Musical (Beowulf Boritt & 59 Productions) and Best Lighting Design of a Musical (Bradley King). After 35 performances, the show closed on January 16, 2022.

📸: J. Marcus
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