George S. Irving has died. Irving first appeared on Broadway in 1943 in Oklahoma!, only to be drafted into service two days later. He spent more than 60 years on stage, recently reprising a role he created in "So Long, 174th Street", which has been retitled, "Enter Laughing."
Dick Latessa, Broadway star of Follies, Brighton Beach Memoirs, Hairspray and The Lyons, among many other productions, passed away at the age of 87. Latessa won the 2003 Tony Award for Best Featured Actor in a Musical.
In 1801, Washington Irving wrote of attending the theater in New York City, where he was assaulted by apples, nuts and gingerbread thrown from the “gallery gods” — the people sitting in the cheap seats at the top of balcony — onto the heads of those in the audience below. [more inside]
No amount of casting people of color disguises the fact that they’re erasing people of color from the actual narrative.
Hamilton: not as revolutionary as it seems [more inside]
Hamilton: not as revolutionary as it seems [more inside]
"For Asian-American actors, there is a persistent fear of being left out of the conversation entirely, since “diversity” has often been conflated with black representation only. As Hamilton star Leslie Odom Jr. put it, “In America, things get boiled down into a black and white issue, but I want to see stories about Asian people, I want to see stories about trans people — diversity is not just a black and white issue. … We’ve still got some work to do when you talk about real diversity.” (Buzzfeed longform)
Two weeks ago, workers announced the highly publicized formation of Stardust Family United under the Industrial Workers of the World, which is supported by over 70 employees of Ellen's Stardust Diner, a restaurant in midtown Manhattan recently profiled for by the New York Times. Ken Sturm, owner, then fired six long-time employees in retaliation for their efforts to form a union to protect and improve their working conditions. Ellen's, a diner which primarily employs Broadway and off-Broadway singers, has been a mainstay source of income for many since 1995.
This year, Mr. Corden said he hoped to open the Tonys with “a song for, like, the theater kid who lives in Michigan or Nebraska, who just dreams of being on a stage. For them,” he continued, “this night being on TV is everything, and I wonder if we can open our show for them." [more inside]
Broadway Carpool Karaoke, featuring James Corden, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Jane Krakowski and Audra McDonald (SLYT)
"This is all hilarious, of course — a 14-year-old girl utterly fanatical about the Founding Fathers — that is until you realize that it isn’t going away." Joe Posnanski of NBC Sports on taking his 14 year old daughter, Elizabeth, to see Hamilton.
Twenty years after Jonathan Larson’s posthumous triumph arrived on Broadway, the cast and creative team relive the rise of a musical that changed theater.
He's done some things since, but In The Heights is what put Lin-Manuel Miranda on the map, winning 4 Tonys and running from 2008-2011 on Broadway. What is In The Heights? It's a musical about one summer weekend in the Latino community in Washington Heights, where personal relationships mingle with issues like education, gentrification, and legacy. Miranda started writing the show while in college at Wesleyan, and faced producers who didn't share his vision before finding the right team. The Tony performance gives a good sample of the flavor of the show. Below the cut, a lot more media about the show, almost all of it from an excellent roundup by tumblr user stickmarionette. [more inside]
When he first started working with Imagine Dragons, music producer Alex da Kid was looking for some inspiration for the Broadway musical, "Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark."--The songs that became Imagine Dragons' Night Visions are probably about Spider-Man.
"I thought they would be great to help me come up with ideas for U2," the Grammy-nominated English producer said.
There was just one problem: The demos they recorded were too good.
In “ ‘Hamilton’ Aside, Where the Real Tony Competition Lies' ", one of your theater critics, Charles Isherwood, says of “Hamilton”: “I do find it slightly puzzling that it was nominated in the book of a musical category, since the show is almost sung-through.” [more inside]
Cats, the popular musical composed by Andrew Lloyd Webber (based on the poetry of T.S. Eliot), will be adapted as a movie, to be directed by Tom Hooper. Noted for its longevity, Cats ran continuously on Broadway for 18 years, and on London's West End for 21 years. The show will return to Broadway in August, after a 16-year hiatus. Mee wow!
Doris Roberts, an ubiquitous stage and screen actor from the United States, passed away April 17th at the age of 90. [more inside]
"The statistics tell us that changing the way we think of race and ethnicity in the theater will not be easy. Of Equity’s 50,823 active members, 68% identify themselves as Caucasian." -- Actors' Equity President Kate Shindle, on the Hamilton casting debacle, and the real problem of diversity in theatre. [more inside]
He wanted to do not “Shuffle Along” but the making of “Shuffle Along” (official title: “Shuffle Along, or the Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed”). He would tell the story of the original creators and cast and how they pulled it off ... Interesting approach, you say, sounds great. But to make it work, you couldn’t stint on the dancing and the songs. Those were what made the show go: syncopation, fire, artistry.
On Monday, the cast of Broadway's Hamilton will be going to the White House today to test a pilot version of its educational program as well as perform a concert of “Hamiltunes” for the kids and the First Family. [more inside]
Shocking As It Is to Believe, the Theater May Be in a New Golden Age One reason: Audra McDonald, Broadway’s greatest voice, is back.
Star Trek + Hamilton = MY SPOCK -- a parody of "My Shot" retelling the story of a bastard, orphan, son of a Vulcan and a human, dropped in the middle of a forgotten spot in the Alpha Quadrant. (apologies to Lin-Manuel Miranda) (SLYT, via Birth. Movies. Death.)
Remembering Jonathan Larson, who died 20 years ago this week, weeks shy of his 36th birthday. The 20th anniversary tour of the show that began previews the night of his death, RENT, will launch this fall. [more inside]
It's an familiar fable in New York City: Dumped on the curb by the West Side Highway, a stranger to the city with no name and no connections, just a ferocious will. With a little luck and a lot of talent, a year later she's making her Broadway debut: The Story of Rose, a white rat. (SLNYTimes)
In the Room Where It Happens, Eight Shows a Week and 8 Places to Celebrate Alexander Hamilton's birthday in New York and Beyond
Indie auteur Richard Linklater pleasantly surprised audiences with his charming 2003 comedy School of Rock, in which a struggling musician (High Fidelity co-star and Tenacious D frontman Jack Black) hijacks a 4th grade prep school class and inspires them to become a killer rock band. Buoyed by likeable characters, a great soundtrack, remarkably talented kid musicians, and Black's lengthy, irrepressible, almost improvisational classroom scenes, the film earned rave reviews and inspired scads of copycat programs around the world (as featured in the '05 documentary and reality series Rock School). But while the cast kicked ass at their ten-year reunion concert in 2013, plans for a sequel fell through. Everyone loves an encore, though. And so this weekend saw the Broadway debut of the Andrew Lloyd Webber stage musical starring Alex Brightman, with a TV adaptation to air on Nickelodeon next year. Because there's no way you can stop... the School of Rock. [more inside]
"There's an intimacy to live performance that's removed through the medium of television, and in-studio audiences help restore it. After soaring, cathartic numbers, we need applause breaks. The collective gasp of appreciation when an impressive set piece dazzles, or the murmur of amazement when a section of choreography transfixes are parts of the lived language of musical theater. If you want to make a movie, make a movie. If you want to put on a show, don't play to an empty house." [more inside]
RIP: Workshops. WTF is a Lab? "Now you're confused. 'Then, what's a Lab?' 'It's the exact same thing as a workshop, but without the good shit." [more inside]
13 miles of typography on Broadway from A to Zabar's, New York City's showiest street shows off its signage (and yes, it includes an example of Broadway font)
At the A.V. Club, Caroline Siede examines how Hamilton and Allegiance might represent a new approach to historical drama.
The American Theatre Wing presents, Working in the Theatre: Marie's Crisis
"This is musical theater made by someone who knows rap to be all our cultural lingua franca, whose sense of humor is legible to people like us. It is songwriting done within rap's regulations and limitations. It's a work of historical fiction that honors the sentiments of rap, a play off collective memory that feels overwhelming personal." NPR is now streaming the Cast Recording of the hit broadway play Hamilton (previously).
Almost twenty years ago, RENT changed the way Broadway shows offered cheap "rush" tickets by introducing the first lottery for $20 front row seats. This year, Lin-Manuel Miranda, the composer/lyricist/book writer of Hamilton, introduced #Ham4Ham, a lottery show where Broadway actors from all parts of the community perform in front of the Richard Rodgers theatre while waiting to hear their names called for $10 rush seats.
Kyle Jean-Baptiste died in an accident on Friday at the age of 21. Mr. Jean-Baptiste joined the company of Les Miserables this summer after his college graduation, and became the first African-American man to play Jean Valjean on Broadway on June 23, while understudying the role. He recently announced on Facebook that he would be joining the Broadway cast of The Color Purple alongside Jennifer Hudson. His last performance as Valjean was on Thursday night. [more inside]
Actress Patti LuPone talks about the incident at Shows for Days at Lincoln Center on Wednesday night where she, without breaking character, Ms. LuPone walked into the audience and took an audience member's cell phone who had been texting during the play. Ms. LuPone is not a stranger to taking charge of similar incidents. [more inside]
After reading a "nicer" ending for the musical Hamilton proposed by a young fan, Lin-Manuel Miranda (as Alexander Hamilton) and Leslie Odom Jr (as Aaron Burr) decided to give it a shot. Written by and starring Tony-award winner Miranda and based on the Ron Chernow biography, Hamilton is a hip-hop musical about the life and times of the first Secretary of the Treasury. Hamilton starts previews soon on Broadway after an acclaimed and sold-out run at the Public. [more inside]
Deaf West Theatre in Los Angeles has announced it will bring its production of Spring Awakening to Broadway this fall. This will mark the first Deaf West production on the Great White Way for Deaf West since 2003's Big River.
Judy Kuhn sings ‘Colors of the Wind’ in different styles and talks about her eleven o'clock number in "Fun Home" (Fun Home previously)
In 1980 David Bowie starred as John [Joseph] Merrick in the play The Elephant Man. Tim Rice interviews Bowie for Friday Night Saturday Morning [more inside]
The brilliant Seth Rudetsky conducts a 19-minute deconstruction of Stephen Sondheim's "Opening Doors" from the 1981 musical "Merrily We Roll Along." [more inside]
This past Sunday, Café Edison, affectionately known as the Polish Tea Room, served its last bowl of matzos ball soup and shuttered. [more inside]
"One day early in 1954, Mary Martin and her husband, Richard Halliday, were driving on the Merritt Parkway, near their home in Norwalk, Connecticut. On the car radio came Frank Sinatra’s new hit, “Young at Heart.” It was perfect! That is, the song had the exact sentiment and feel they wanted for the pet project they’d long been planning, a musical version of J.M. Barrie’s 1904 play Peter Pan (original subtitle: “The Boy Who Wouldn’t Grow Up”). Right on the spot, they decided they’d hire whoever had written the song to compose the score for their production." [more inside]