Wrap gifts, sing along with ‘Sound of Music’

Image of scene from the movie version of "The Sound of Music."
Scene from the movie version of “The Sound of Music.”

In all the chaos of Christmas, with the running around, pressures of gift giving, try to carve out Sunday night (Dec. 21) to sing-a-long to  “The Sound of Music” with the family. It’s a perfect time to sit together, wrap gifts, and order takeout pizza and wings for dinner.

The Rodgers & Hammerstein musical based on the real-life on Trapp family will air on ABC from 7-11 p.m. The Tony Award- and Oscar-winning musical includes the great opening scene as the helicopter  skims over the tress and finds Julie Andrews on top of the mountain as she burst into the title song. Plus, there’s “My Favorite Things,” “Climb Every Mountain,” “Edelweiss,” “Do-Re-Mi,” “Sixteen Going on Seventeen” and “The Lonely Goat Herd” puppet scene.

P.S. If you can’t wait, there’s “Sound of Music Live” airing on NBC 8-11 p.m.  Saturday (Dec. 20), but it’s just not the same and never will be.

The real von Trapp family

Learn about the real von Trapp family and how it differs from the movie family here.

Visit the von Trapp family lodge here.

Maria Von Trapp and family in 1965 gather for reunion at family-owned hotel in 1965.(Photo courtesy of Ted Russell/Time Life Pictures/Getty Images)
Maria Von Trapp and family in 1965 gather for reunion at family-owned hotel in 1965.(Photo courtesy of Ted Russell/Time Life Pictures/Getty Images)

‘Side Show’ forced to close early due to Jujamcyn clause

“Side Show” posted a Jan. 4 closing — against it’s will — because the  Jujamcyn Theaters, the show’s landlord,   is exercising a contract  clause that allows it to close slow-selling shows that don’t gross $550,000 two weeks in a row.

According to a New York Times article (Dec. 13, 2014) by theater writer Patrick Healy “the fastest flop of the fall Broadway season” was doomed by poor ticket sales and the fact that another musical wanted the St James Theatre, a primo Broadway location at 46 West 44th St. between Broadway and 8th Avenue.

Continue reading ‘Side Show’ forced to close early due to Jujamcyn clause

Broadway agent Rick Miramontez blacklists critic Joanne Kaufman

Screen grab of The beginning of the online version of Joanne Kaufman's article about regularly leaving Broadway shows at intermission.
The beginning of the online version of Joanne Kaufman’s article about regularly leaving Broadway shows at intermission.

 

Theatrical press agent Rick Miramontez no longer will give comp tickets to Wall Street Journal  critic and culture writer Joanne Kaufman after she admitted in her Dec. 1 article “Confessions of a Broadway Bolter” that she often leaves shows at intermission and still writes reviews.

That is just appalling. And can’t you just hear the moaning of theater lovers everywhere who would love to have the primo seats she apparently disdains and  cost hundreds for dollars that most people have to save up for a one or two time per year Broadway visit.

Or maybe it’s just the shows she dislikes and left early, which include  “The Last Ship,” “The Country House,” “It’s Only a Play,” “Matilda,” “Kinky Boots,” “Pippin,” “Boeing-Boeing” and “Billy Elliott.”

Continue reading Broadway agent Rick Miramontez blacklists critic Joanne Kaufman

TDF, Paper Mill Playhouse create autism-friendly theater performances

Here are some of the tweets about the Theater Development Fund's first autism-friendly version of a Broadway play.
Here are some of the tweets about the Theater Development Fund’s first autism-friendly version of a Broadway play.

Today’s Broadway matinee of “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time” was re-created for people with autism and was a hit. Let’s hope more Broadway shows do the same. Paper Mill Playhouse in NJ is offering its second autism-friendly performance  on Dec. 23 for its holiday production of “Elf.”

If interested in taking someone with a disability to “Elf,” here are more details that also include sign-interpreted, open-captioned and audio-described performances, according to a recent Paper Mill press release.

Continue reading TDF, Paper Mill Playhouse create autism-friendly theater performances

Michael Coale Grey lands dream job at Paper Mill

Image of Santa (Paul C. Vogt) and Buddy (James Moye) in a scene from the Paper Mill Playhouse production of "Elf." Michael Coale Grey is the elf far left in red.
Santa (Paul C. Vogt) and Buddy (James Moye) in a scene from the Paper Mill Playhouse production of “Elf.” Michael Coale Grey is the elf far left in red./Photo by Matthew Murphy.


For some lucky few, it’s who you know that gets you your dream job.

But not Michael Coale Grey. It’s what he knows and how well he can deliver it that got him the job as a member of the ensemble in “Elf,” this season’s holiday offering at the Paper Mill Playhouse, Millburn, NJ.

Grey, 22, spent nine years as a member of Paper Mill’s Summer Musical Theatre Conservatory — “I grew up there!” — getting to know members of the artistic staff and his way around a theater.

But for the Union, NJ, resident, it was his fourth audition for a show at the “Broadway in your backyard” theater that earned him a coveted spot in the “Elf” cast. (His previous PM auditions included “Newsies,” “High School Musical” and “Grease.”)

Continue reading Michael Coale Grey lands dream job at Paper Mill

Celebrate Mandy Patinkin’s birthday with ‘Princess Bride’ clip

Still image of Mandy Patinkin in "The Princess Bride" (1987).
Still of Mandy Patinkin in “The Princess Bride” (1987).

Today is Mandy Patinkin’s 62nd birthday and he seems to still be going strong. That’s good because he is well-loved by fans of Broadway, TV and movies (especially “The Princess Bride.”)

For an absolutely great  DVD extra from Rob Reiner’s “The Princess Bride,” featuring interviews with  Patinkin, Cary Elwes and Christopher Guest about learning to swordfight for the film click here.

Continue reading Celebrate Mandy Patinkin’s birthday with ‘Princess Bride’ clip

Stars of ‘Jersey Boys’ featured in NJTV’s live ‘Midtown Men’ concert

"Midtown Men" debuts  at 7 p.m. Nov. 29 on NJTV, followed by its  sister stations THIRTEEN (8:30 p.m. Nov. 29) and WLIW (7 p.m. Nov. 30) in the New York metro area, beginning followed by a national rollout beginning in March 2015.
“Midtown Men” debuts at 7 p.m. Nov. 29 on NJTV, followed by its sister stations THIRTEEN (8:30 p.m. Nov. 29) and WLIW (7 p.m. Nov. 30) in the New York metro area,  followed by a national rollout beginning in March 2015. They are, from left, Christian Hoff, Michael Longoria, J. Robert Spencer and Daniel Reichard. 

If you loved “Jersey Boys” you’re gonna love “The Midtown Men Live in Concert!” premiering tomorrow (Nov. 29) on NJTV. The special not only features  four members from the original cast of the hit Broadway musical–still packing houses–it will be the New Jersey station’s first nationally-distributed show.

And, according to NJTV General Manager John Servidio, “The Midtown Men” is the first of what he hopes will be many more live events  for local or national broadcast staged at New Jersey performing arts venues.

Continue reading Stars of ‘Jersey Boys’ featured in NJTV’s live ‘Midtown Men’ concert

Sting joins cast of ‘The Last Ship,’ his struggling Broadway musical

Sting says, “It’s not like I’ve flown in from Planet Rock Star to save the day,” about joining the cast of his Broadway musical “The Last Ship” from Dec. 9 through Jan. 10. But, he really, kinda, has.

According to the NYTimes (11/2414), the $15 million musical has been losing $75,000 a week since performances began Sept. 29 at the Neil Simon Theatre on 52nd Street, . That’s not a good business model. Continue reading Sting joins cast of ‘The Last Ship,’ his struggling Broadway musical

David (‘Cheers’) Lee directs slimmed-down ‘Camelot’ at Two River Theater

The Company performing “The Jousts” in "Camelot" at Two River Theater Company.
The company performing “The Jousts” in “Camelot” at Two River Theater Company in Red Bank, NJ, through Dec. 14.

Two River Theater Company opens Lerner and Loewe’s musical “Camelot” tonight, but it’s not going to be what you expect. Instead of a large cast in sumptuous costumes with a pit orchestra, you’ll get 8 musicians and 8 actors in Arthurian street clothes. Oh, and some nudity.

Continue reading David (‘Cheers’) Lee directs slimmed-down ‘Camelot’ at Two River Theater

Mike Nichols, 83, won 9 Tony Awards, Oscar for ‘The Graduate’

A immigrant from Berlin, Mike Nichols spoke virtually no English when he arrived in the U.S. He said he felt like an outside looking in for most of his life, which helped him greatly as a director./Photo courtesy PBS
An immigrant from Berlin, Mike Nichols spoke virtually no English when he arrived in the U.S. He said he felt like an outsider looking in for most of his life, which helped him greatly as a director./Photo courtesy PBS

Lots of tributes and remembrances for Mike Nichols following his death yesterday (Nov. 19, 2014) from a heart attack. The best one I’ve seen so far is, duh, on the New York Times website.

Read it here.

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

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