‘Comet’ and Bette lead 2017 Tony Award noms

Screen Shot of 2017 Tony nominationsLet’s hope that revealing the 2017 Tony Awards  nominations at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center encourage theater lovers to spend as many hours as I did excavating the Theater on Film and Tape Archive.

The Tony Award nominations include, “Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812” came out on top with 12 nominations, including Best Musical, Best Original Score for Dave Malloy, and Best Direction of a Musical for Rachel Chavkin, as well as nods for its two leads: Josh Groban and Denée Benton (both in their Broadway debuts).

Next, the woman whose LPs (look it up) I spent hours listening to in college: the great Bette Midler’s “Hello, Dolly!” earned 10 nominations, including Best Revival of a Musical and all four performance categories: Midler for Lead Actress, David Hyde Pierce for Lead Actor, Kate Baldwin for Featured Actress, and Gavin Creel for Featured Actor. I mean, was there any doubt!?

Continue reading ‘Comet’ and Bette lead 2017 Tony Award noms

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Last weekend to catch Two River Theater’s ‘Women of Padilla’

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Tony Meneses new play, “The Women of Padilla,” is about eight women who are married to eight brothers who are away fighting an unknown war for an unknown cause that seems never-ending.

The title refers to the family’s last name and seven of the women spend hours together daily talking, eating, arguing, and laughing in a series of short scenes during the 90-minute play featuring an all-Latina cast. Continue reading Last weekend to catch Two River Theater’s ‘Women of Padilla’

2017 Outer Critics Circle Awards Announced

Christy Altomare plays the title character in the Broadway musical production “Anastasia.” (PHOTO: Matthew Murphy)

The just-opened Broadway musical “Anastasia” and the rapturously received revival of Hello, Dolly! are the top nominees of the 2017 Outer Critics Circle Awards. Both Broadway and Off-Broadway productions are eligible.

“Anastasia” earned 13 nominations while “Hello, Dolly!” received 10, including –duh — nods for leading players Bette Midler and David Hyde Pierce, plus Kate Baldwin, and Gavin Creel.

Also showing well are “Come From Away” and the now-closed Atlantic Theatre Company’s  “The Band’s Visit,” which tied with seven nomination.  Paula Vogel‘s Broadway debut drama “Indecent” and Dan Sullivan‘s revival of Lillian Hellman‘s biting “The Little Foxes” each earned six nods.

Continue reading 2017 Outer Critics Circle Awards Announced

‘Million Dollar Quartet’ at Paper Mill Playhouse shakes up the house

Let’s just cut to the chase.  Nat Zegree practically steals the show at Paper Mill Playhouse playing the brash — let’s make that audacious — Jerry Lee Lewis  in “Million Dollar Quartet.” He ought to know what he’s doing by now as it’s the fifth time he’s played that part in the many productions of this jukebox musical about an unplanned event some say is a seminal moment in rock ‘n’ roll history.

The 2 1/2 musical features more than 20 classic hits including “Blue Suede Shoes,” “Folsom Prison Blues,” “Memories Are Made of This,” “Sixteen Tons,” “Great Balls of Fire,” “Hound Dog,” “(Ghost Riders in the Sky” and  “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On.”

Continue reading ‘Million Dollar Quartet’ at Paper Mill Playhouse shakes up the house

McCarter Theatre announces an exciting 2017-2018 season

McCarter Theatre just revealed a 2017-2018 season that includes the world premiere of Tony Award-winner Christopher Durang’s  “Turning Off the Morning News”; a revival of Regina Taylor’s gospel musical “Crowns” that had its world premiere here 15 years ago; a rare staging of Sam Shepard’s “Simpatico” in collaboration with Chicago’s A Red Orchid Theatre,  a recipient of this year’s MacArthur Award for Creative & Effective Institutions; Marie Jones’ Irish comedy “Stones in His Pocket” with two actors playing 15 plus characters. The musical biography “A Night With Janis Joplin,” written and directed by Randy Johnson, fills out the schedule.

Continue reading McCarter Theatre announces an exciting 2017-2018 season

Off-Broadway League announces Lucille Lortel Awards nominations

The Barrow Street Theater was converted into a pie shop for the immersive staging of "Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street."
The Barrow Street Theatre was converted into a pie shop for the immersive staging of “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street,” nominated for seven Lucille Lortel Awards.

The new musical “Hadestown,” a folk opera produced by the New York Theatre Workshop, and the immersive “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street,” currently at the Barrow Street Theatre, each earned seven nominations in the 32nd Annual Lucille Lortel Awards for Outstanding Achievement Off-Broadway, the Off-Broadway League  recently announced.

For plays, Paula Vogel’s “Indecent” and J.T. Rogers’” Oslo,” both currently on Broadway, each earned four  nominations, including for Outstanding Play.

Playwrights Horizons’ “A Life” also earned four nominations, including Outstanding Lead Actor in a Play for star David Hyde Pierce and Outstanding Director Anne Kauffman, earning her fourth career Lortel Award nomination; as did MCC Theater’s “YEN,” including one for recent Academy Award nominee Lucas Hedges for Outstanding Lead Actor.Lighting Designer Ben Stanton earned a nomination for the fifth consecutive year – and his seventh career nomination, including a win in 2011 – for his work on “YEN.” The newly added Outstanding Projection Design category netted a dual nomination for Peter Nigrini for his work on “Dear Evan Hansen” and  “Wakey, Wakey.”

Continue reading Off-Broadway League announces Lucille Lortel Awards nominations

World premiere ‘Orient Express’ to make next stop at Hartford Stage

The world premiere stage adaptation of Agatha Christie’s “Murder on the Orient Express” closes Sunday at  McCarter Theatre in Princeton but its next stop will be at the Hartford Stage, Conn., as part to its 2018 Spring s

McCarter Theatre Center couldn’t be more excited to have ‘Murder on the Orient Express’ at Hartford Stage as the play’s next step in its journey,” said McCarter Theatre Center Managing Director Timothy J. Shields. “Hartford Stage is an ideal partner to continue the process of bringing the enduring legacy of Agatha Christie’s fabulous characters to life for today’s audiences.”

Continue reading World premiere ‘Orient Express’ to make next stop at Hartford Stage

‘Multiple Family Dwelling’ play about family secrets

Two couples are deep into the booze following a long afternoon at a birthday party for an 8-year-old girl. The light-hearted conversation, though, begins to veer off course. A slight insult here. A confusing comment there. Innuendo everywhere.

From left, Tia (Dana Brooke) plans to move to move into the second floor apartment in the home of James (Dustin Charles) and Kelly (Maria Couch), with her fiancé.

Then there’s awkwardness as one couple starts making out. That would be Tia (Dana Brooke) and her fiancee Stuart (Jared Michael Delaney) who plan to move into the second floor apartment in the home of Kelly (Maria Couch) and James (Dustin Charles), a married couple who bought the place hoping gentrification gets there soon, real soon. It was their daughter Olivia’s party.

It made me think a little about “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolff,” another play with two drunk couples, an unseen child and toxic relationships that thrive on taunting, nefarious games and  emotional abuse.

Continue reading ‘Multiple Family Dwelling’ play about family secrets

Can’t stop watching 2013 Tony Awards opening

No doubt, at least in my mind, that this is the best Tony Award show opening number ever.  Even Broadway pros are looking around with their mouths hanging open in astonishment (look for Debra Messing’s swiveling head).  It’s not just the look, it’s the clever lyrics and jokes that bring the spectacle to a higher level.

But what else would you expect from the guys who wrote the specialty song “Bigger” — Tony Award winners Tom Kitt and the pre-“Hamilton” genius Lin-Manuel Miranda.

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Hercule Poirot makes stage debut in McCarter’s ‘Orient Express’ premiere

Agatha Christie's "Murder On The Orient" was adapted by Ken Ludwig for a world premiere starting tonight at McCarter Theatre in Princeton. Directed by Emily Mann, it's the first stage appearance of Hercule Poirot. (PHOTO: T Charles Erickson)
Agatha Christie’s “Murder On The Orient” was adapted by Ken Ludwig for a world premiere starting tonight at McCarter Theatre in Princeton. Directed by Emily Mann, it’s the first stage appearance of Hercule Poirot. Is it Broadway bound? (PHOTO: T Charles Erickson)

Agatha Christie + Hercule Poirot + Ken Ludwig. That’s a theater trifecta. And that’s also before you know who makes up the creative dream team for the world premiere of the stage version of “Murder on the Orient Express,”  beginning  three weeks of performances tonight at McCarter Theatre in Princeton. (Two more performances already have been added.)

Emily Mann, McCarter’s artistic director, is at the helm. Her team includes Tony Award-winning designers: sets by Beowulf Boritt (Act OneOn the Town); costumes by William Ivey Long (15 Tony noms.; 6 wins); lighting by Ken Billington (Chicago), and sound by Darron L. West (Peter and the Starcatcher).

This is headed to Broadway, right?

Continue reading Hercule Poirot makes stage debut in McCarter’s ‘Orient Express’ premiere

News and views of New Jersey's regional theaters, and bits about Broadway.

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