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It Ain't Necessarily So...

It Ain't Necessarily "Porgy". Director Diane Paulus is turning The Gershwins' (and DuBose Heyward's) Porgy & Bess from an opera into a commercial Broadway musical, with a more upbeat ending. Stephen Sondheim takes issue with this bold reinterpretation. [more inside]
posted by crossoverman on Aug 10, 2011 - 52 comments

The Angry, Outspoken, Activist Larry Kramer

It begins: “Thank you for coming to see our play. Please know that everything in ‘The Normal Heart’ happened. There were and are real people who lived and spoke and died, and are presented here as best I could.” The letter goes on to name some of the people on whom he based his characters (the central figure, Ned Weeks, is based on himself) and describe what became of them. [more inside]
posted by hippybear on May 18, 2011 - 53 comments

Hellzapoppin'

Produced by a pair of Vaudeville comedians just as the Vaudville era was era was coming to a close, the musical revue Hellzapoppin' became a runaway smash hit, and for a time, was the longest running show on Broadway. It was a crazy quilt of frequently updated comedy and musical bits stitched together, featuring risque humor, fourth-wall breaking audience participation, skits abandoned halfway through, dwarfs, pigeons, clowns and Adolph Hitler with a Yiddish accent. [more inside]
posted by empath on May 15, 2011 - 20 comments

"The Book of Mormon" on Broadway

From Trey Parker and Matt Stone, the creators of South Park, and Robert Lopez, of Avenue Q, comes the new Broadway show "The Book of Mormon." The show "tells the story of two young Mormon missionaries sent off to spread the word in a dangerous part of Uganda" while gently (and no so gently) lampooning organized religion and traditional musical theatre. The entire show is now streaming on NPR. Songs are extremely Not Safe For Work.
posted by ColdChef on May 9, 2011 - 84 comments

Let's get the chicks and kick it. Tony?

Arthur Laurents (wiki), writer of the libretti for West Side Story and Gypsy, among many other things, has died at the age of 93. [more inside]
posted by Lutoslawski on May 6, 2011 - 15 comments

The Voice of Some of Phil Spector's Greatest Creations, a One-Woman Wall of Sound: Darlene Love

On March 14th, the 26th Annual Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony will add 5 new performers to the growing list of well-known musicians. As previously discussed, the 2011 inductees are Alice Cooper, Neil Diamond, Dr. John, Tom Waits and Darlene Love. Though the last name may not be as famous as the four fellows, the chances are you know her voice, from Monster Mash, Rockin' Robbin, or Da Doo Ron Ron. Except her name wasn't credited first on any of those recordings, if it was mentioned at all. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Feb 18, 2011 - 23 comments

Direct investment for homelessness?

Homelessness: Cutting out the middle men (Economist) "The most efficient way to spend money on the homeless might be to give it to them". [more inside]
posted by asymptotic on Feb 18, 2011 - 64 comments

Dentō!

Fiddler on the Roof, in Japanese. [more inside]
posted by overeducated_alligator on Dec 1, 2010 - 27 comments

Caught in the web

This week, the world will finally get its first look at Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark. But the most expensive musical in Broadway history has already had an epic run—battling bankruptcy, broken wrists, unruly technology, and one comic villain disguised as a Post columnist. And at the center of it all, perched over her “God mike,” is the relentless and inventive Julie Taymor. (previously)
posted by Joe Beese on Nov 23, 2010 - 49 comments

Only guy with crabs on Broadway is Sebastian

Defamation by Twitter Broadway actor Marty Thomas has filed papers in court asking that the identify of the "bwayanonymous" Twitter account (cache) be revealed, after the account made a post alleging Thomas has crabs.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero on Oct 14, 2010 - 37 comments

Lunch at Sardi's every day

Producer Ken Davenport announces he will be "crowd-funding" an upcoming Broadway revival of the musical Godspell. [more inside]
posted by ThePinkSuperhero on Sep 15, 2010 - 25 comments

I wish I could tell you about the South Pacific...

Tomorrow after 37 previews and 1000 performances, Broadway will bid farewell to the critically-lauded, award-winning, first-ever revival of the classic Rodgers & Hammerstein musical South Pacific. [more inside]
posted by cvp on Aug 21, 2010 - 17 comments

I'll Give You Stars and the Moon but not any sheet music

Theatre composer Jason Robert Brown (bio) tries to explain to a young fan why it’s wrong to download sheet music from the Internet for free. Via.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero on Jun 30, 2010 - 451 comments

However, nobody quite remembers how they decided on 11-year-old Ralph Carter (who is black) to replace 23-year-old Geer (who is white).

Dude. Articles on the failed musical Dude by Hair cocreator Gerome Ragni. Where to start? Well, there is this summary of the disaster by the New York Times, which is just mind-boggling: "He also made demands, phoning Adela Holzer at 2 A.M. to say he wanted a hundred butterflies let loose into the audience before each performance. No? Well then what about having a couple of oinking pigs and chickens run down the aisle at intermission?" [more inside]
posted by Astro Zombie on Jun 20, 2010 - 27 comments

Beloved Herring Maven, RIP

Actor, Playwright, Artist, Comedian, Magician, "Man of A Thousand Voices" (including Mighty Mouse,) "Beloved Herring Maven"
Mr. Ira Stadlen (Stage name: "Captain" Allen Swift) has passed away at the age of 87. Throughout his career, Mr. Stadler voiced characters in more than 30,000 television and radio commercials, as well as cartoons such as Underdog, Tom and Jerry and Diver Dan, but some might remember him most as the man who saved Howdy Doody. His nephew has posted a remembrance on his blog, which includes a link to a "novelty 45" mp3 recording of Swift's "Are You Lonesome Tonight." [more inside]
posted by zarq on Apr 28, 2010 - 13 comments

A "pictorial description of Broadway" in engravings

Broadway, block by block, 1899. (SLNYPL) "A 19th century version of Google's Street View, allowing us to flip through the images block by block, passing parks, churches, novelty stores, furriers, glaziers, and other businesses of the city's past."
posted by GrammarMoses on Feb 15, 2010 - 19 comments

An unfunny thing happened

Larry Gelbart, one of the great stage, screen and television writers has died.
posted by dances_with_sneetches on Sep 11, 2009 - 35 comments

They say the neon lights are bright on Broadway...

On Sunday New York City closed two of the busiest sections of perhaps the most famous street in the U.S. to traffic and created pedestrian plazas in the "Crossroads of the World" (and also in Herald Square) [brief plan / NYCDOT detailed plan]. [more inside]
posted by 2bucksplus on May 27, 2009 - 59 comments

*Now* have you found what you're looking for?

Only 325 days until Broadway's Hilton Theater hosts the first preview of Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, a $40 million musical directed by Juliet Taymor with music and lyrics by Bono and The Edge of U2. Investors hope it will fare better than another big-budget pulp adaptation.
posted by Joe Beese on Feb 25, 2009 - 35 comments

Who do you think you are?!

Patti Lupone freaks out - mid-song - at someone taking pictures during a performance of "Gypsy." Audio clip on YouTube. Dished about at Gawker and The Village Voice. [more inside]
posted by greekphilosophy on Jan 20, 2009 - 50 comments

Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?

Songs that clearly and directly address or reference economic hardships and injustice in America, not to mention that do so in a bitter, regretful tone, don't often become enormous hits. Matter of fact, it's such a rare phenomenon that you could count such songs on... um, one finger? Yes, Yip Harburg and Jay Gorney's iconic Brother Can You Spare a Dime is that song. Covered by a surprisingly wide range of singers through the years, the song still resonates. [more inside]
posted by flapjax at midnite on May 10, 2008 - 55 comments

"The Worst"

The Worst Flop in Broadway History? First staged in 1983 for only one night, Moose Murders (wiki) is legendary as the flop-of-flops in Broadway history--and is now being revived for its kitsch value. [more inside]
posted by ornate insect on Apr 20, 2008 - 15 comments

Can I Get A Napkin Here?

Can I Get a Napkin Here? A food court musical brought to us by the fine folks of Improv Everywhere . For more musicals in public places, check out "Reach! A Lecture Musical!" and "Reading on a Dream: A Library Musical" both from Prangstgrup.
posted by Del Far on Mar 10, 2008 - 44 comments

New York, New York - It's a hell of a town!

The Battery's Down is a new musical web series about an aspiring New York actor, Jake Wilson - ostensibly playing himself. Written and directed by Wilson, it also contains cameos by Broadway actors - and feature songs composed by up-and-coming musical theatre composers (each song is also available for download). [more inside]
posted by crossoverman on Mar 9, 2008 - 3 comments

Who Can I Turn To?

Who Can I Turn To? - Anthony Newley, 1965 [more inside]
posted by post punk on Jan 25, 2008 - 29 comments

No Day But June 1st

Nearly 12 Years Old, ‘Rent’ Is to Close. The 1996 Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize winning musical will close its doors at New York's Nederlander Theatre on June 1st. The 7th longest-running musical in Broadway history, it is based on Puccini's La Boheme and is credited with bringing young people to musical theatre and the invention of Broadway Rush ticketing - it sold its first two rows for $20: first in , first served on the day of the performance. [more inside]
posted by crossoverman on Jan 16, 2008 - 77 comments

Broadway Deconstructed

Musical fans, meet Seth Rudetsky. Watch him (YT links) deconstruct "Turkey Lurkey" and Barbra Streisand or accompany Raul Esparza on "Defying Gravity." Learn from his Broadway 101 parts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6a and 6b.
posted by adrober on Dec 5, 2007 - 5 comments

Understanding the WGA Writer's Strike

As the Writer's Guild of America strike wears on into its second week, it seems appropriate to remember why they're striking in the first place. If you ask me, the terms seem almost too reasonable. But in the defense of the studios, I'm sure the businessmen involved have gotten used to spending those millions of dollars, and wouldn't want to see them go. Now that Broadway has shut down in allegiance to their Hollywood compatriots, things are looking grim for anything to be resolved without more financial bloodshed.
posted by GoodAaron on Nov 10, 2007 - 90 comments

She's not going.

Broadway's original Effie White, Jennifer Holliday, has been very open about how haunted and snubbed she felt during the production of the Dreamgirls movie. In particular she was hurt when, without permission, her own singing voice was used in a theatrical trailer to promote the production that had completely shut her out. Yesterday at the BET Awards she was finally given some overdue recognition and invited to join Jennifer Hudson onstage for a duet of the song she made famous. You may have heard the song a hundred times, but try to make it 101. 'Cuz seriously, the girls can sing. Previously.
posted by miss lynnster on Jun 27, 2007 - 46 comments

"Someone in a Tree" from 1976 Broadway Show, "Pacific Overtures"

"Someone in a Tree" -- an incedibly rare video from the original, 1976 production of "Pacific Overtures." I grew up listening to an L.P. of these same people perform this same song, but I've never before seen them perform it. I grew up in Southern Indiana, so actually seeing a Broadway show was out of the question. But I loved this song, and -- years later -- I read that it was Stephen Sondheim's favorite of all the songs he ever wrote. Today, I found this video on YouTube and it was like finally seeing someone after being blind for years. I still have chills running up and down my spine. Also: Sondheim forum, online journal, and various gems (and bombs) on youtube -- including the man himself teaching a master class and this 12-year-old's spirited performance!
posted by grumblebee on Apr 28, 2007 - 14 comments

Legally Blonde on Broadway

Broadway.com has been doing a video diary of Legally Blonde: the Musical as it moves toward Broadway. See the first rehearsal with director/choreographer Jerry Mitchell, visit a costume fitting, or catch a sneek peek of the show's pre-Broadway tryout in San Francisco. Legally Blonde starts performance in New York City on April 3rd.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero on Mar 26, 2007 - 13 comments

The New Alternative to Being Discovered at the Soda Fountain

"Spotlight Live... puts guests in the limelight in a way that will surpass their wildest dreams. Guests can walk in the door for dinner and walk out the door a star" In the age of American Idol, why go to see a show on Broadway, when it's your birthright to be a show on Broadway, complete with your own professional back-up singers and dancers?
posted by stagewhisper on Mar 17, 2007 - 9 comments

Give My Regards to Yiddishe Broadway

I'm a Jewish Yankee Doodle Dandy and other Yiddish sheet music on topics ranging from the Dreyfus affair to interreligious romance. How Broadway evolved from Yiddish theater.
posted by jonp72 on Sep 22, 2006 - 10 comments

Barbara Cook's Master Class

You can keep your Simon, Randy and Paula, I'll take Barbara Cook any day. Here is the Broadway legend's two hour master class (it's a REALTIME video from The New York Public Library) and it'll teach you more about singing, phrasing and music than every moment of American Idol combined. At least watch the first 20 minutes, you'll be amazed.
posted by adrober on Apr 10, 2006 - 7 comments

I'm Movin' Out.... to a courtroom

Dancer Sues Movin' Out for breach of contract and sexual harassment she claims to have suffered during her run in the National Touring company of the Broadway hit. In an interesting move, the dancer, Alice Alyse, has created a lawsuit website to explain her side of the story. Perhaps she'll win, but will she ever work again?
posted by ThePinkSuperhero on Mar 23, 2006 - 29 comments

Tim Gracyk's amazing American Popular Music site

Buying Rare Race Records in the South. Music That Americans Loved 100 Years Ago. The Cheney Talking Machine. Just three among dozens of amazing articles about early recording machines and American popular music at the astonishingly detailed site of Tim Gracyk, author of Popular American Recording Pioneers: 1895-1925. Scroll down for bios of forgotten stars, including Nora Bayes - who performed in the Follies of 1907, before Flo Ziegfeld's name became part of the title, George W. Johnson - "the most important African-American recording artist of the 1890s," and piano player Zez Confrey, whose sheet music for the 1921 hit "Kitten on the Keys" sold over a million copies and became "the third most-frequently recorded rag in history."
posted by mediareport on May 17, 2005 - 39 comments

Robocoprock!

A couple years ago, they did SILENCE! the musical version of Silence of the lambs, now they're working on "RoboCop The Musical" with this track uploaded as a preview entitled "Murphy, It's You" performed by RoboCop and Anne Lewis.
posted by mathowie on Apr 25, 2005 - 24 comments

sometimes there's good news

Doris Eaton Travis. Doris Eaton returned to Broadway 87 years after her premiere. Her film debut was only 84 years ago. She wrote her award-winning autobiography when she was only 99.
posted by dances_with_sneetches on Apr 16, 2005 - 3 comments

Just Plane Crazy

"When stewardesses were sexy and the world was sexist" is the tagline of this years-in-making musical by Suzy Conn, who also runs the blogway baby musicals log (which talks about this musical quite a bit). It's meant to be based around the early 1960's, when airlines were truly a luxury, not unlike a sea cruise or a first-class train ride pre-Amtrak. (The website spends some time going on about Braniff International, and it's worth it to check out the history of that airline. This is also laid out on top of the era of Women's Liberation, although it does so using the aesthetic of 1960's music and phraseology, which was, basically, designed by male-dominated hollywood. For everyone who sits in the cheap seats, if you let the flash animation at the beginning of the site load, it plays the entire opening title song for you. Hey, free show!
posted by jscott on Apr 12, 2005 - 27 comments

We eat ham and jam and spam a lot

We're Knights of the Round Table
We dance whene'er we're able.
We do routines and chorus scenes
With footwork impeccable.
We dine well here in Camelot.
We eat ham and jam and Spam a lot.
We're Knights of the Round Table.
Our shows are formidable,
But many times we're given rhymes
That are quite unsingable.
We're opera mad in Camelot.
We sing from the diaphragm a lot.
In war we're tough and able,
Quite indefatigable.
Between our quests we sequin vests and impersonate Clark Gable.
It's a busy life in Camelot.
posted by terrapin on Mar 11, 2005 - 43 comments

The Music Factory

The Brill Building, located at 1619 Broadway in the heart of New York's music district, is a name synonymous with an approach to songwriting that changed the course of music. Housing legendary songwriters like Carole King, Jerry Leiber, Neil Sedaka, and Burt Bacharach, the Brill Building created some of the greatest hits of the rock'n'roll era. [more inside]
posted by rocket88 on Dec 29, 2004 - 11 comments

Honking in Heaven

No longer happy and peppy. But still bursting with love, maybe. Broadway will honor the late Tony Randall tonight by dimming its lights at 8PM EDT. For those of us who can't stand pits, pits, pits in our juice, juice, juice, always remember: The world is a circus if you look at it the right way. Every time you pick up a handful of dust, and see not the dust but mystery, a marvel, there in your hand. Every time you stop and think, "I'm alive. And being alive is fantastic." Every time such a thing happens, you are part of the circus of Dr. Lao.
posted by Oriole Adams on May 18, 2004 - 11 comments

Remember me to Herald Square.

The Internet Broadway Database From The Prisoner of Zenda, which opened Sep. 4, 1895, to (well) Urinetown, due to close in January, a comprehensive hyperlinked database of official Broadway performances through the years.
posted by dhartung on Nov 6, 2003 - 10 comments

SILENCE!

Silence of the Lambs: The Musical - Featuring the showstopping tune "If I Could Smell Her..." Ummm...you know what? Just click the link.
posted by ColdChef on Jul 18, 2003 - 22 comments

Lord of the WHA

Lord of the Rings...THE MUSICAL. You heard it here first, folks.
posted by adrober on May 28, 2003 - 14 comments

Acts of Exclusion

Axing Foreign Acts — Now that immigration control falls under the rubric of Homeland Security [+ | +], ticket sales should pick up for Broadway shows: foreign culture exchange is on the wane down the drain, says the Voice's Don Mattingly this week. Students, too. Bureacratic transition pains or police-state policy? More info? Paranoid surmises?
posted by hairyeyeball on Apr 10, 2003 - 6 comments

Nathan Lane's Successor in "The Producers" Is Fired.

Nathan Lane's Successor in "The Producers" Is Fired. (NYT Link). Replacing the hottest Broadway actor in the hottest Broadway musical and getting fired 4 weeks later's gotta suck a lot.
posted by adrober on Apr 15, 2002 - 13 comments

Battle of the Blurbs.

Battle of the Blurbs. The producers of the badly reviewed Broadway show "The Smell of the Kill" have pissed off Times critic Bruce Weber. Good strategy or Bad Karma? Well, at least they didn't make up their own critic.
posted by adrober on Mar 30, 2002 - 3 comments

Madonna to make West End debut.

Madonna to make West End debut. (from Broadway.com)
posted by adrober on Mar 4, 2002 - 5 comments

The Show Must Go On.

The Show Must Go On. Is it appropriate for Broadway shows to be up and running again? True, the Mayor prescribed it as a way to show how unaffected we are by terrorism, yet I couldn't imagine sitting in the audience at The Producers, laughing at "Springtime for Hitler," mocking the foolishness of that regime of hatred when the product of another regime of hatred lays smouldering just a few miles to the south.
posted by adrober on Sep 20, 2001 - 16 comments

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