Category Archives: Broadway

Playbill is having a Summer clearance sale

The Playbill website lists more than 200 items on sale, including T-shirts, tote bags, posters, baseball hats, shot glasses, mugs from A (“Annie”) to Z, well, actually W (for the “Wonderland” poster). Up to 70 percent off of closed shows and overstocked merchandise. “Bullets Over Broadway,” anyone?

A recording of the live TV broadcast of

the-sound-of-music-live-dvd-2013-nbc-televison-event-5“The Sound of Music,” starring Carrie Underwood, Stephen Moyer, Audra McDonald, Laura Benanti, Christian Borle, is on sale for $9.95 (down from $22.98); a Hugh Jackman “Back on Broadway” poster for $10 (down from $20), and Rodgers & Hammerstein’s “Cinderella” Glass Slipper Socks $9.95 down from $19.95.

Click here to shop. 

‘The Good Wife’ books David Hyde Pierce

‘TGW’ mines Broadway for great actors

For 20 years, beginning in 1990, if you read the bios of actors in that Playbill program you get for free at a Broadway show, many actors listed “Law & Order” in their bios.  There was much weeping and wailing when that show ended and many actors lost “day” jobs.

For the past five years, though, stage actors have had “The Good Wife,” which shoots at Broadway Stages in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. Not only does the Emmy Award-winning show feature experienced stage actors like regulars Christine Baranski (most recently on Broadway as the surly housekeeper in “Boeing-Boeing”) and Alan Cumming (currently starring in “Cabaret”), it added Nathan Lane and Stockard Channing (both currently in “It’s Only a Play”) several seasons ago in recurring roles.

On Friday, “The Good Wife” creators and writing team, Michelle and Robert King and CBS, announced David Hyde Pierce will be returning to TV for the first time since “Frasier” in a recurring role as “a highly respected cable news legal commentator” who’s so outraged at the corruption and murder rate in Chicago (where the show is set) “that he decides to run for office in order to affect change,” according to CBS.

Continue reading ‘The Good Wife’ books David Hyde Pierce

Best ways to walk out of a show; options when you’re late

As the traditional performing arts season in Manhattan gets going, the New York Times ran two interesting articles today on best practices for walking out of a show, live or at the movies. It was partnered with what to expect when arriving late.

Apparently balletomane Princess Margaret arrived on time to regular performances, but specialized in holding up the curtain on gala nights up to 30 minutes, reports Alastair Macaulay in “The Delayed: To Sit or Not to Sit.” This happens often on gala nights in NYC as well, he says.

Getting to the theater late makes no one happy.
Getting to the theater late makes no one happy.

For people who miss curtain, the Metropolitan Opera  has a room with tiered seating, a large-screen TV and superb sound. That’s where latecomers to the met Opera sit until intermission. But not for latecomers to American Ballet Theatre performances in the same space. They get seated, much to the consternation of the folks they disturb getting to their seats, which always seem to be in the middle of the row down front.

Continue reading Best ways to walk out of a show; options when you’re late

New reviews of long-running Broadway musicals

Broadway_signThinking about catching a Broadway show that’s been around awhile and the original, sometimes award-winning cast, has left?

The New York Times Checking Back series has been revisiting hits such as “Pippin,” “Matilda,” “Mama Mia,” “Phantom,” and “Wicked.” The writers, all of whom saw the original production, note how some cast changes make for a better or more nuanced experience.

For instance, Laura Collins Hughes says that “square-jawed Kyle Dean Massey” as Pippin” is “looking a bit chiseled and mature to be so wide-eyed and, at least to start with, virginal.” On the other hand when Pippin catches the interest of the much older Catherine who considers the lad as possible husband material, she notes, it “no longer (has) that slightly creepy, cradle-robbing feel.”

The Diane Paulus directed musical “has become a warmer, giddier show in its 16 months at the Music Box Theater, and that’s really not a bad thing.” I’m sure the producers breathed a sigh of relief over that comment.

So if you’re thinking about plopping down a hundred dollars for a ducat to a long-running musical, check out the series. No clue if the Times is doing all Broadway musicals (I would think so), but it’s an assignment I sure would love to have.

Here’s what’s been published so far:

“Pippin,” “Matilda,” Mama Mia,” “Phantom,” and “Wicked.”


‘Paper Mill” reveals Broadway-bound ‘Can-Can’ cast

Paper Mill Playhouse has announced the cast for the first Broadway revival of “Can-Can” in 30 years. It will be the first revival in 50 years for the well-known musical theater playhouse that is within 20 miles of NYC.

Maybe that’s why are some high-profile folks involved in the show running in NJ from Oct. 1-26. I’m expecting great things.

First, the cast: it stars  Kate Baldwin as Pistache and Broadway veteran Jason Danieley as Aristide.

David Lee (“Frasier,” “Cheers”) will direct. Choreography is by Patti Colombo (Paper Mill’s “Peter Pan,” “On the Town,” “Seven Brides” for “Seven Brothers”). The show features a book by Abe Burrows (“Guys and Dolls,” “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying”) and a re-crafted script by Joel Fields (“Ugly Betty,” “The Americans”) and  Lee.

“Joel and I started collaborating on “Can-Can” at the Pasadena Playhouse over seven years ago,”  Lee explained in a PMP press release. “­With full permission of the Burrows and Porter estates the book has been updated without being modernized“Can-Can is still set in 1893—and although 90 percent rewritten it retains all of Abe Burrows’ original characters and intent.”
Continue reading ‘Paper Mill” reveals Broadway-bound ‘Can-Can’ cast

Broadway Bits and Pieces

National Theatre Live

Can’t make it to London — and not many of us can — there’s the National Theatre Live which broadcasts “live” well-film productions

Benedick Cumberbatch (left) and Johnny Lee Miller in the National Theatre Live production of "Frankenstein."/Courtesy National Theatre
Benedick Cumberbatch (left) and Johnny Lee Miller in the National Theatre Live production of “Frankenstein.”/Courtesy National Theatre

aired in locations around the world.  It might be better than a front row seat at the Cottesloe Theatre as cameras film from all angles on stage with close-ups. You could see the sweat on Benedict Cumberbatch’s brow and the pores on Johnny Lee Miller’s face during “Frankenstein.” Performances also include interviews and backstage tours of the costume or make-up rooms. Coming up: “Medea,” starting Sept. 4, “A Streetcar Named Desire” starting Sept. 16, David Hare’s “Skylight” in October. Find a theater near you, I hope. Visit the National’s website.

‘The Audience’ coming to Broadway

Speaking of the National Theatre Live, I caught its broadcast of Helen Mirren as Queen Elizabeth in the title role of  “The Audience”

Helen Mirren zs Queen Elizabeth in the National Theatre production of "The Audience."/Courtesy National Theatre
Helen Mirren as Queen Elizabeth in the National Theatre production of “The Audience.”/Courtesy National Theatre

at the Monmouth University venue in West Long Branch, NJ. Surprised to see it coming to Broadway as it’s about the various prime ministers Queen Elizabeth has dealt with during her more than 60+ year reign. I’d think most American audiences would be hard pressed to name half of the 12 PMs with whom she has audiences during the play.  And some knowledge of 20th century British history  would be helpful. But, heck, Mirren on stage in America is always a good thing. It’s not my money producing it. Scheduled from Feb. 17 through June 28.


Emma Stone may join ‘Cabaret’

Continue reading Broadway Bits and Pieces

‘Lion King’ on the subway

Poster from "The Lion King" musical./Courtesy Wikipedia
Poster from “The Lion King” musical./Courtesy Wikipedia

Riding the NYC subway system doesn’t have to be boring.

In this video from shot June 28, 2014,  some subway riders were treated to a rendition of the opening number from “The Lion King” by members of the cast.

Looked like everyone on board was smiling. And being New Yorkers, took it all in stride as just another day of getting around underground.

Watch it here.

Another great cast for a show about a show

What a cast, Part 2!!

Matthew Broderick.

Matthew  Broderick (left) and Nathan Lane star in the new comedy about producing a Broadway show "It's Only a Play."
Matthew Broderick (left) and Nathan Lane star in the new comedy about producing a Broadway show “It’s Only a Play.”/Courtesy TV Guide

Nathan Lane.

Rupert Grint.

F. Murray Abraham.

Stockard Channing.

Megan Mullally.

“It’s Only a Play,” written by Terrence McNally, directed by Jack O’Brien, is another limited run — performances Sept. 4 through Jan. 4.

According to the play’s website:

“It’s opening night of Peter Austin’s (Matthew Broderick) new play as he anxiously awaits to see if his show is a hit. With his career on the line, he shares his big First Night with his best friend, a television star (Nathan Lane),his fledgling producer (Megan Mullally), his erratic leading lady (Stockard Channing), his wunderkind director (Rupert Grint), an infamous drama critic (F. Murray Abraham), and a fresh-off-the-bus coat check attendant (Micah Stock) on his first night in Manhattan.”

Sounds hysterical. Actually, it sounds a little bit like the Marx Brothers’ movie “Room Service.”



Neil Patrick Harris Will Go From “Hedwig” to “Freak Show”

Neil Patrick Harris in "Hedwig and the Angry Inch." Looks like he's joining the "American Horror Story" franchise./Courtesy of Hedwig
Neil Patrick Harris in “Hedwig and the Angry Inch.” Looks like he’s joining the “American Horror Story” franchise./Courtesy of Hedwig

According to Variety, “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” headliner Neil Patrick Harris penned a letter to Ryan Murphy, the brains behind “American Horror Story: Freak Show,” saying he wanted to appear on the TV series.

Murphy then tweeted the Tony winner: “of course you can be on Freak Show! I have a role I think you’d love.”

Catch Harris in “Hedwig” on Broadway through Aug. 17.

Edward Albee back on Broadway with stellar cast

What a cast! Glenn Close. John Lithgow. Lindsay Duncan. Bab Balaban. Clare Higgins. Martha Plimpton.

All are on board for Edward Albee’s “A Delicate Balance.” Albee won a Pulitzer Prize for the dark comedy. It’s a limited run — Oct. 22 through Feb. 22  — at the Golden Theatre, and is directed by  Pam MacKinnon who earned a Tony at the helm of “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” It’s Scott Rudin’s second show this season. His “A Raisin in the Sun” starring Denzel Washington sold out.

It’s at the Golden Theatre, 252 W. 45th, St.

For more info and to order tkts, click here.

To read a bunch of articles about Albee in The New York Times, click here. 

Edward Albee/Courtesy The New York Times
Edward Albee/Courtesy The New York Times