Manhattan Theatre Club Cancels Both Spring 2020 Off-Broadway Productions
by Andy Lefkowitz on March 30, 2020 at 11:09 PM
Manhattan Theatre Club has canceled the previously announced springtime stagings of Qui Nguyen's Poor Yella Rednecks and Emily Feldman's The Best We Could (a family tragedy) due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Both plays were set to begin performances in May at New York City Center Stage I and Stage II. "It is with heavy hearts for both the artists and our audiences, but everyone's health and well-being is the most important thing right now," reads a joint statement from MTC Artistic Director Lynne Meadow and Executive Director Barry Grove. "MTC hopes to be able to reschedule both productions in a future season." The cancellations from MTC follow a slew of theater productions from across the world that have been canceled because of COVID-19.
Tony Winner Kelli O'Hara Reveals What Being in Quarantine Has Taught Her About the World, and Herself
by Michael Appler on March 30, 2020 at 8:54 PM
Even Tony winners and Broadway legends have bills to pay. “I realized, I can’t make a living at all, unless I have people,” Tony-winning soprano Kelli O’Hara said on #LiveAtFive: Home Edition with Broadway.com's Paul Wontorek. “One thing I’m worried about is, how can I pay my bills? I’m trying to figure that out.” Like all of Broadway—and millions of workers in the entertainment industry who rely on audiences and the thrill of live performance to make a living—the coronavirus pandemic has robbed O’Hara of her livelihood. She had been set to join Audra McDonald and Brian Stokes Mitchell in a Ragtime reunion concert this April, but it's been cancelled. Musing on what to do for money, O'Hara joked, “I’m gonna start doing voice lessons or something virtual...for a million dollars! A million dollars!” O’Hara, who is currently at home with her husband and two children, Owen and Charlotte, said the pandemic has been an awakening for her. “I think there's a great lesson in that: we're not in control,” she said. “We've never experienced the sort of thing where it says, ‘You stop your life.’” Earlier generations experienced the hard times and trauma ...
'Go Crazy': Watch Tony Winner Leslie Odom Jr. Perform His Hit Single from Home
by Michael Appler on March 30, 2020 at 7:40 PM
Leslie Odom Jr., the original and Tony-winning Aaron Burr of Hamilton, is going crazy—though not why you'd think so. Odom's so-named new song, featured on his recent album Mr., dropped last November, and the Broadway star says he's still riding high from his first recording of original music. "The fact that the song is still connecting and still reaching people thrills me to no end," he said on an episode of Live with Kelly and Ryan on March 30, appearing, of course, via video chat. Odom said that the COVID-19 pandemic has forced him home from the album's tour, and—while we'd much rather be in the room where it happens—Odom, backed by his virtual band, performed the single live. Watch Odom's performance below.
Get a Glimpse at Steven Spielberg's Upcoming West Side Story Movie
by Diep Tran on March 30, 2020 at 5:54 PM
Transport yourself somewhere with these new images from the upcoming West Side Story film. Directed by Steven Spielberg, West Side Story is based on the musical of the same name (which was running on Broadway until the coronavirus shutdown), about two lovers caught in the middle of a gang conflict in New York City. The original 1957 musical—a collaboration of Jerome Robbins, Leonard Bernstein, Arthur Laurents and Stephen Sondheim—was adapted into an Oscar-winning 1961 film. Tony-winning playwright Tony Kushner wrote the screenplay for this new version, which is expected to hew more closely to the original musical than the 1961 film. West Side Story is still scheduled to be released on December 18. Ansel Elgort and Rachel Zegler play the star-crossed lovers, Tony and Maria, respectively. They are surrounded by a cast of Broadway veterans: Tony nominee Ariana DeBose plays Anita, Maria’s best friend; Tony winner David Alvarez plays Bernardo, Maria's brother; and Tony winner Rita Moreno, who won an Oscar for starring in the original movie, plays Valentina, a new character created for this version. See photos of the cast below and get excited for this new West Side Story! Ariana DeBose as Anita and Danny Alvarez as her boyfriend, Bernardo, the leader ...
Who's Broadway's Biggest Fan? That's Up to You! Voting for Semi-Finalists Is Now Open
by Broadway.com Staff on March 30, 2020 at 4:48 PM
The Great White Way might be experiencing an extended intermission, but we're still on the lookout for Broadway's biggest fan! Semi-finalist voting for Broadway.com's #BroadwaysBiggestFan contest is now open. Meet our top 10 semi-finalists and vote for your favorite by April 5. Over the past month, a slew of theater lovers submitted videos proving why they're the biggest Broadway fan ever. Ten semi-finalists have been selected, and now it's up to you to choose your favorite. After voting of the top 10 concludes, a panel of celebrity Broadway judges and SiriusXM's Julie James will select the grand prize winner from the top three on April 20. So what are you waiting for? Check out the fan-submitted videos and vote for Broadway's biggest fan now.
Broadway.com #LiveatFive Home Edition with Kelli O'Hara
by Broadway.com Staff on March 30, 2020 at 3:38 PM
Broadway favorite Kelli O'Hara checks in with Paul Wontorek, live from her apartment.
Patrick Page, Lesli Margherita & More Featured on Podcast Recording of New Musical Little Did I Know
by Andy Lefkowitz on March 30, 2020 at 3:08 PM
A musically gifted group of stage stars can be heard on the upcoming original album of the podcast musical Little Did I Know. The recording, which features 22 original songs, is due out by Broadway Records on March 31, in conjunction with the release of the podcast's first three episodes. Stars who appear on the podcast album include Tony nominee Patrick Page, Olivier winner Lesli Margherita, Tony nominee Richard Kind, Kurt Hugo Schneider, Laura Marano, Sam Tsui, Alex Blue and Alexander Chaplin. Featuring a book by Lou Aronica (Full Spectrum) and music by three-time Tony winner Doug Besterman (Fosse) and Marcy Heisler (Ever After), Little Did I Know tells the story of a group of friends—recent college graduates—who bring a broken-down summer theater back to life in 1976. This summer will be different from any they expected, and what they experience will resonate through their lives.
New York City Center Cancels 2020 Encores! Off-Center Season
by Andy Lefkowitz on March 30, 2020 at 2:09 PM
New York City Center has announced the cancellation of its popular summer musical-theater series Encores! Off-Center. The reason for the cancellation is the COVID-19 pandemic, which has resulted in the temporary shutdown of theaters worldwide. Founded in 2013, Encores! Off-Center presents weekend-long stagings of off-Broadway musicals that pushed creative boundaries when they were first produced. Anne Kauffman is the Encores! Off-Center artistic director. Also due to COVID-19, City Center recently canceled its springtime Encores! staging of Thoroughly Modern Millie, in addition to the previously planned Encores! production, a new mounting of Love Life.
Showmance! Watch Matthew Broderick & Sarah Jessica Parker Talk About Playing Three Odd Couples in Plaza Suite
by Michael Appler on March 29, 2020 at 7:18 PM
"We had basically come to the conclusion, without ever having said it, that we will never really work together," Sarah Jessica Parker said on an episode of CBS Sunday Morning on March 29. "Every now and then, somebody would say, 'You guys should do something together,'" Matthew Broderick, her husband and Plaza Suite co-star added. "And we'd say, 'What?'" Yet, for the first time in their married life—and not since the would-be couple appeared on stage together in How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying (1995)—Parker and Broderick will soon be acting together in a play, Neil Simon's Plaza Suite, on Broadway. When Broadway temporarily suspended performances, the classic Simon comedy, about three pairs of couples (all played by Broderick and Parker) who check in to the same hotel suite, was in rehearsals, but now the run has been stalled indefinitely. Audiences will have to wait to see Parker and Broderick on stage together, but the legendary New York couple appeared on TV to talk about their Broadway turn, giving a tour of their yet-to-be-used Broadway set. Watch the segment below, featuring a shout-out to the couple's appearance on Broadway.com's one-night-only return of The Rosie ...
Elaine Paige Celebrates Hollywood Movie Musicals on This Week's Elaine Paige on Sunday
by Broadway.com Staff on March 29, 2020 at 2:00 PM
Olivier-winning actress Elaine Paige is giving Broadway.com listeners a chance to hear her BBC Radio 2 show, Elaine Paige on Sunday. This week, Paige presents the first of two special shows that celebrate the music of non-animated Hollywood musical films, with shout-outs to songs from The Greatest Showman (2017), Grease (1978), Moulin Rouge! (2001), Oklahoma (1955), Funny Girl (1968) and The Music Man (1962). Be sure to listen to the new episode below.
Ashley Park-Led Thoroughly Modern Millie Canceled at City Center Encores!
by Andy Lefkowitz on March 28, 2020 at 2:39 PM
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, New York City Center has announced the cancellation of its spring Encores! staging of Thoroughly Modern Millie. Tony nominee Ashley Park was slated to headline the production, originally scheduled for May 6-10. Playwright Lauren Yee was on board to offer a new perspective on the 2002 Tony-winning musical by Dick Scanlan and Jeanine Tesori, with Encores! Resident Director Lear deBessonet set to direct. As a result of COVID-19, City Center also canceled the previously scheduled Encores! production, a new staging of Kurt Weill and Alan Jay Lerner's 1948 musical Love Life, which was set to run from March 18-22.
QuaranToons: Catherine of Aragon of Six Is Keeping Cool and Not Losing Her Head
by Diep Tran on March 27, 2020 at 8:00 PM
Broadway.com illustrator Tug Rice has been thinking up what our favorite Broadway characters are doing while theaters are closed and they're at home social distancing. In this installment, there’s no (no no no no no no) way that Catherine of Aragon can sing with her fellow Six queens right now, so what is she meant to do? Some people who are still hung up on their ex would be trying to contact that person right now, but not Catherine. She doesn’t need Henry’s love and she’s reminding herself by keeping her cool and working on her aim. Hopefully she and the other Six queens figure out how to use Zoom so they can harmonize remotely.
Odds & Ends: Linda Lavin Is Performing Live Online to Celebrate Her New Album & More
by Andy Lefkowitz on March 27, 2020 at 7:29 PM
Here's a quick roundup of stories you might have missed recently. Linda Lavin Is Performing Live Online to Celebrate Her New Album Tony-winning stage-and-screen legend Linda Lavin isn't slowing down for a minute because of the COVID-19 crisis. Instead, she's inspiring fans with the release of a new album, Love Notes. Described as "an elegant and swinging mix of timeless standards, jazz classics and gems of the pop/rock era," the thoughtfully chosen compilation of songs is due out today from Club44 Records. To help promote the album and raise the spirits of theater lovers during this challenging time, Lavin is hosting a series of online concerts with music director Billy Stritch via Facebook Live. The next one is scheduled for April 1 at 3:00pm—be sure to tune in and watch the beloved star sing out. Terrence McNally Documentary Is Streaming Online Through the End of the Month This week starting off tough, with the sad news that trailblazing four-time Tony-winning playwright Terrence McNally had passed away. To honor the memory of the legendary scribe, PBS has announced that the documentary Terrence McNally: Every Act of Life is available to view for free online until April 1. McNally, who wrote dramas, comedies and musicals ...
Jennifer Nettles Sings 'Tomorrow' from Annie & Offers Hope in COVID-19 Crisis: 'We Will Get Through This'
by Andy Lefkowitz on March 27, 2020 at 7:17 PM
Jennifer Nettles might be most known as a country music superstar, but the powerhouse singer is a Broadway enthusiast with a big heart. Nettles, a former Broadway.com vlogger who played a 2015 stint as Roxie Hart in Chicago and sang from The Bridges of Madison County at 2019's Miscast benefit, is helping to raise theater fans' spirits amid the COVID-19 crisis. She recently lent her voice to a moving rendition of the Annie anthem "Tomorrow," recorded with three-time Tony winner Alex Lacamoire. "Moments after recording this song, Alex and I learned Broadway had closed its doors in response to the coronavirus. I am so blessed to have so many wonderful experiences, and amazing people I love, in the Broadway community," Nettles told Broadway.com. "I wanted to send them a message of comfort and hope, 'in their own words' so to speak, that we will get through this and be back up doing what we love soon."
How Aladdin Star Michael James Scott Keeps It Light and Positive These Days
by Diep Tran on March 27, 2020 at 5:29 PM
Just because Michael James Scott is stuck inside does not mean he doesn’t dress up for virtual company. For his #LiveAtFive: Home Edition interview, the actor and former Broadway.com vlogger, who plays Genie in Aladdin on Broadway, put on a polka-dotted shirt and a bright blue blazer. “We all need to put on a blazer or a sequined jacket or boa or something and keep it up,” he told Broadway.com’s Paul Wontorek. “I was like, ‘I need to put on something! I can't just wear a T-shirt.’” Michael James Scott in "Aladdin" (Photo: Deen Van Meer)Scott appearedon #LiveAtFive from his home in California, where he lives with his husband, filmmaker Jeremy Merrifield. During this down time, they’ve been watching a lot of TV shows, such as Succession, PEN15 and catching up on RuPaul’s Drag Race. And Scott has been using the HouseParty app to stay in touch with his friends. “You can have up to eight or 10 people,” he explained. “You all can kiki in a room together. You can play games.” For Scott, it’s been helpful for him to not talk about the news with his friends. “The first week ...
West End Waitress Ends Run Ahead of Schedule Due to COVID-19
by Andy Lefkowitz on March 27, 2020 at 4:45 PM
The London transfer of Waitress has closed up shop earlier than planned. Originally announced to exit the Adelphi Theatre on July 4, the musical played its final performance on March 15, just ahead of the shutdown that closed all West End theaters due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It is with great sadness that we announce the closing of our beloved production of #WaitressLondon 💗 pic.twitter.com/RpBnxHo2nF — Waitress The Musical (@WaitressLondon) March 27, 2020 The most recent cast of the musical was led by its songwriter Sara Bareilles as Jenna and Gavin Creel as Dr. Pomatter, reprising their shared turns from Broadway. On March 13, the pair announced that they were exiting the production early to return home to the States because of COVID-19. Creel later shared that he has been experiencing symptoms of coronavirus.
Broadway.com #LiveatFive: Home Edition with Michael James Scott of Aladdin
by Broadway.com Staff on March 27, 2020 at 3:54 PM
Aladdin star Michael James Scott joins Paul Wontorek to check in from home.
Five Companies of Come From Away Sing 'Welcome to the Rock' in a Moving Tribute to World Theatre Day
by Andy Lefkowitz on March 27, 2020 at 2:47 PM
Today is World Theatre Day, and while most castmates are temporarily apart due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the heartwarming Tony-nominated musical Come From Away is promoting a message of celebration and togetherness. In a new video, the musical's five original casts from around the globe sing a foot-stomping compilation of the lively opening number "Welcome to the Rock." Watch the talented casts lend their voices to the uplifting tune below and gear up to see Come From Away back on stage when the pandemic subsides.
Exclusive! Colton Ryan, Lilli Cooper & More Sing a New Bop from Drew Gasparini's Upcoming Album
by Andy Lefkowitz on March 26, 2020 at 10:00 PM
Drew Gasparini might be at work on the upcoming Karate Kid musical, but that's not stopping the busy songwriter from releasing his new album We Aren't Kids Anymore. In advance of its debut, Gasparini has released a music video featuring five Broadway stars—Colton Ryan, Raymond J. Lee, Lilli Cooper, Nicholas Christopher and Bonnie Milligan—in a recording studio singing the energetic single "When I Go." Take a look at the delightful final product for yourself below and be sure to download Gasparini's full album when it's released on April 10.
Let Your Fantasies Unwind: Ben Crawford Says the Phantom of the Opera Is the 'Lady Gaga' of His Time
by Michael Appler on March 26, 2020 at 7:52 PM
Ben Crawford, The Phantom of the Opera’s current leading man—and former Broadway.com vlogger—is starting to go a little stir-crazy. “I made a boat out of some cardboard boxes, and I take the broom and push myself around the apartment,” he joked in a #LiveAtFive: Home Edition interview with Broadway.com's Paul Wontorek. To make matters worse, “You know what I can’t get out of my head?” he asked. “‘Music of the Night!’” Apparently, peace of mind during a viral pandemic that’s closed Broadway doesn’t entail escaping Andrew Lloyd Webber’s notoriously catchy score. “I mean, we all know that Lord Lloyd Webber can write some good stuff,” Crawford laughed, “but you sing it every day for almost two years and it becomes a real earworm, apparently.” Crawford, who began playing the Phantom in April 2018, said he has had a recent dramatic adventure, though. "I hadn’t been out in a couple days, and yesterday I got some masks from Amazon with filters," Crawford said. "I got a couple, cleaned them off, and I went out.” Crawford said the trip was worthwhile. He made an exciting score: soap. “It’s a weird ...