Monday, October 30, 2023

40 Years of Broadway: The Contest Entry Form

40 Years of Broadway:
The Contest Entry Form

The contest is over and the prizes have been awarded. Thanks for playing!

Beginning today, and for the rest of the week, we will be collecting your answers, and we will draw three winners - 1 grand prize and 2 runner up prizes. All of the prize details and the full rules can be found HERE.

⭐🎭 The official entry form is HERE🎭 
(Make sure you tap/click "Finish" when you are done!)

  • Fill it out completely by Monday, November 6th at 6PM Eastern.
  • The entry form and the site where it is kept is secure, and NO data beyond what is asked for on the form is collected.
  • Winners will be selected at random for all of those collected with the correct answers, and will be notified via email on Monday, November 6th.
  • You must live in the United States in order to receive any of the prizes.

Do you need to catch up on the questions? Click HERE to find links to all of them.

Good luck, and thanks for being a part of this site. We have the BEST readers and followers!

Friday, October 27, 2023

Broadway Games: Name That Theater!

Broadway Games: Name That Theater! 

These are the 15 longest-running shows in Broadway history. The originals ran for years (except Chicago and Oh! Calcutta!), but can you name the theater where they opened? Good luck!

1. The Phantom of the Opera
  A. The Winter Garden  B. The Belasco  C. The Majestic 

2. Chicago (revival)
  A. The Ambassador  B. The Richard Rodgers  C. The Shubert

3. The Lion King
  A. The Minskoff  B. The New Amsterdam  C. The Palace

4. Wicked
  A. The Gershwin  B. The Uris  C. The Lunt-Fontanne 

5. Cats
  A. The Neil Simon  B. The Winter Garden  C. The Majestic

6. Les Miserables
  A. The Broadway  B. The Broadhurst  C. The Imperial

7. A Chorus Line
  A. The Gerald Schoenfeld  B. The 46th Street  C. The Shubert

8. Oh! Calcutta! (revival)
  A. The Eugene O'Neill  B. The Marquis  C. The Edison

9. Mamma Mia!
  A. The Winter Garden  B. The Broadhurst  C. The Broadway

10. Beauty and the Beast
  A. The Lunt-Fontanne  B. The Palace  C. The Martin Beck

11. Rent
  A. The New Amsterdam  B. The American Airlines  C. The Nederlander

12. Jersey Boys
  A. The August Wilson  B. The Virginia  C. The Neil Simon

13. The Book of Mormon
  A. The Vivian Beaumont  B. The Eugene O'Neill  C. The Imperial

14. Miss Saigon
  A. The Broadway  B. The Palace  C. The Lunt-Fontanne

15. 42nd Street
  A. The Majestic  B. The St. James  C. The Winter Garden

If you don't want to know the answers, 
stop scrolling NOW!

1. The Phantom of the Opera
  C. The Majestic 

2. Chicago (revival)
  B. The Richard Rodgers

3. The Lion King
  B. The New Amsterdam

4. Wicked
  A. The Gershwin 

5. Cats
  B. The Winter Garden

6. Les Miserables
  A. The Broadway

7. A Chorus Line
  C. The Shubert

8. Oh! Calcutta! (revival)
  C. The Edison

9. Mamma Mia!
  A. The Winter Garden

10. Beauty and the Beast
  B. The Palace

11. Rent
  C. The Nederlander

12. Jersey Boys
  A. The August Wilson

13. The Book of Mormon
  B. The Eugene O'Neill

14. Miss Saigon
  A. The Broadway

15. 42nd Street
  C. The Winter Garden

Thursday, October 26, 2023

40 Years of Broadway: The Worst Shows

40 Years of Broadway:
The Worst Shows

Well, at last, we have come to the end of our celebration of four wonderful decades of seeing Broadway shows. Today will be the final article in this series. I'm actually a bit loathe to write it. I don't want to be negative during a celebration. Why write it then? Because when I asked you what you wanted to read about during this series, the overwhelming response was: What are the worst shows you've seen on Broadway?

I am so lucky to have the means to attend the theater and have learned so much from the experience. One of the biggest lessons has been the ability to recognize what I think are great shows, good shows, and, well, bad shows. But it isn't entirely about personal taste. It's also being able to recognize that I may not love a certain show, but can respect it for its quality and artistic merit. Hamilton is one such production. I've said this many times over the years on this site and to friends who go with me, and then graciously listen while I pontificate about what we've just seen. I think there is something to learn from every play and musical presentation.

Sadly, the ten shows listed below (in NYT alphabetical order, not by amount of disdain) offered little to nothing in the way of learning or appreciating the work. They committed the one cardinal sin of theater (at least to me): I felt "meh" about them. To feel euphoria is always the goal, but if it makes me angry or disgusted or even good old hate, at least I'm feeling something. The only thing these shows make me feel - even today - is the aggravation that I'll never get those wasted hours back. They include the only show I voluntarily left at intermission, one show that I laughed so loud during a quiet moment that a future Tony-winner looked out directly at me, one where I was, unfortunately, in the front row, and didn't clap - the cast saw me, and one show I fell asleep at more than once, and snored! 

Amazing Grace
still appreciate Christopher Gattelli (choreographer), Eugene Lee (set design), Ken Billington (lighting design), Harriet D. Foy, Erin Mackey, Chuck Cooper, Tom Hewitt (actors)

Baby It's You!
still appreciate Anna Louizos (set design), Howell Binkley (lighting design), Beth Leavel, Christina Sajous, Brandon Uranowitz (Broadway debut!) (actors)

Bullets Over Broadway
still appreciate Susan Stroman (director/choreographer), Santo Loquasto (set design), Peter Hylenski (sound design), Marin Mazzie, Nick Cordero, Brooks Ashmanskas, Zach Braff (Broadway debut!), Karen Ziemba, Casey Garvin, Paige Faure (actors & ensemblists)

Doctor Zhivago 
still appreciate Des McAnuff (director), Howell Binkley (lighting design), Paul Tazewell (costume design), Tom Hewitt, Paul Alexander Nolan, Tam Mutu (Broadway debut!), Bradley Dean, Robert Hager, Ericka Hunter (actors/ensemblists)

Gentlemen Prefer Blondes 
(1995 revival)
Seriously, I tried...

Jekyll and Hyde 
(2013 revival)
still appreciate Frank Wildhorn (composer), Jeff Calhoun (director/choreographer), Teal Wicks, Ashley Loren, Emmy Raver-Lampman (actors/ensemblists)

still appreciate Natasha Katz (lighting design), Carolee Carmello, George Hearn, Roz Ryan, Andrew Samonsky, Betsy Struxness (actors & ensemblists)

Soul Doctor 
still appreciate Eric Anderson, Amber Iman, Ian Paget, Heather Parcells (actors & ensemblists)

Swinging On a Star 
I still appreciate Kathleen Marshall (choreographer), Kathy Fitzgerald (Broadway Debut!), Michael McGrath, Eugene Fleming (actors & ensemblists)

The Pirate Queen 
I still appreciate Frank Galati (director), Eugene Lee (set design), Stephanie J. Block, Linda Balgord, Jeff McCarthy, Nick Adams (actors & ensemblists)

In looking over this list, I realized that nearly all of them have people attached to them that I have the utmost respect for, and I am a big fan of those people. Everyone has their bad moments, and they can use those to create something much better the next time. Ha! I guess I did actually get something out of each one on the list!

Contest Question #20:
How many of the 10 shows above are based on real-life people and events?

That's all the questions for this contest! Be sure to gather your answers and review the rules. We will post how to enter on Monday, October 30th. Tap HERE to see all the articles and questions.

Wednesday, October 25, 2023

40 Years of Broadway: The Culture Shifters

40 Years of Broadway:
The Culture Shifters

Over the past 40 Years, I've seen dozens of huge hits come and go. Really big hits. They run for what feels like forever. In fact, nine of the ten longest running Broadway shows either had the majority of their run or the entire run during the last four decades. These long runs are certainly testament to their popularity, but even with all that, most are not works that caused a cultural awareness beyond Times Square.

During my time with Broadway shows there have been exactly three shows that entered the American theater zeitgeist: A Chorus Line, Rent and Hamilton. Don't misunderstand. Cats, Wicked, The Phantom of the Opera and the like were and are popular works with legions of fans, but the other three became part of the cultural fabric of the world that goes far beyond fandom and financial success.

They have several commonalities. They all started off-Broadway and transferred for commercial runs. Two started at the Public Theater, the third at New York Theatre Workshop. 

One can't help but notice even their physical similarities in their logos, advertising and even an element of their stagings. 

All three have had similar critical acclaim and awards:
  • A Chorus Line: 12 Tony nominations, 9 wins, including Best Musical, Best Score, Best Book; Pulitzer Prize for Drama
  • Rent: 10 Tony nominations, 4 wins, including Best Musical, Best Score, Best Book; Grammy Award; Pulitzer Prize for Drama
  • Hamilton: 16 Tony nominations, 11 wins, including Best Musical, Best Score, Best Book; Grammy Award; Pulitzer Prize for Drama

But there are quite a few other important things about these shows that make them culturally significant:
  • They are of their time and timeless. Their stories were contemporary, but their meaning will resonate long after we are gone. Think Shakespeare.
  • They are about "everyday people." I know, you are thinking, "not every one is an aspiring dancer, Bohemian millennial or a Founding Father." But think about it, they are all common people of their time period. They all have goals and dreams; some achieve, some fail, but all are part of something bigger than themselves.
  • They represent significant strides in non-traditional casting, breaking ground in terms of sexual identity, gender identity, and ethnicity. Each pushed the envelope.
  • All three address their issues head-on, honestly and without shame. These characters have our problems and deal with them; we can identify with them on a human level. They were about representation
  • They have had lives in other media, enabling them to reach beyond the Broadway audience. Talk shows, variety shows, film versions. They are so well known, that they are part of sitcom jokes, referenced in TV dramas, and part of shows like Jeopardy and Wheel of FortunePeople who never go to the theater understand the jokes and references.
Like Oklahoma!, West Side Story and Hair before them, all three are genuine game-changers.

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