Wednesday, September 18, 2019

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A new player shakes up the world of theatrical licensing

Concord used to play a bit part in theatrical licensing, but in just three years it’s emerged as a giant in the small but...

Heidi Schreck on the past and the future of ‘What the Constitution Means to...

The critically-acclaimed Broadway run of “What the Constitution Means to Me” ended Saturday evening. But as its creator and star Heidi Schreck sees it,...

Lyricist Sheldon Harnick on the lasting legacy of ‘Fiddler on the Roof’

When developing “Fiddler on the Roof,” lyricist Sheldon Harnick and composer Jerry Bock worked separately, with Bock sending Harnick recorded melodies, or as he...

Opinion: Publicizing goats, puppets and Founding Fathers on Broadway

Some shows pose a greater challenge to a press agent than your run-of-the-mill Broadway musical or boulevard comedy. One might feature copulating puppets with...

Creating the stage spectacular of ‘Moulin Rouge!’

Within the “Moulin Rouge!” musical universe, the film has left an indelible impact.  Many of the Broadway cast members idolized the film. Members of the...

Opinion: The great reckoning on Broadway

The official report from the Broadway League at the end of the 2018-2019 season couldn’t have been more upbeat.  “For the 2018-2019 season, total attendance...

Opinion: How Cora Cahan transformed 42nd Street

An oversized, disembodied gold hand greets me as I enter Cora Cahan’s office. Its fingers, which dangle over Madame Tussauds across the street, appear...

How a Tony Award translates on tour

Winning a Tony Award not only impacts a show’s Broadway box office, it can help boost its profile on the road.  While theaters across the...

Opinion: A bland Tony Awards telecast with moments of sincerity

Terrence McNally has a history of getting cut off by the Tonys telecast. The first time was in 1995, when his drama “Love! Valour!...

On with the show: Campaigning for a Tony once the curtain has dropped

Campaigning for a Tony Award already involves a nonstop schedule of events, photo opportunities and jostling to best position each show on television broadcasts,...

Bob Mackie on bringing Cher’s fashion to the stage

“The Cher Show” recreates Bob Mackie’s decades-long collaboration with Cher in two ways. First, there’s the parade of Cher’s eye-popping looks, designed by Mackie...

‘Ain’t Too Proud’s’ Des McAnuff and Sergio Trujillo on crafting jukebox musicals

In taking on the story of the Temptations, choreographer Sergio Trujillo knew he wanted the dance moves to feel new, with a hint of...

Character study: The gods, Chers and cowboys taking over Broadway

This season, Broadway was populated by silver-tongued deities, a triumvirate of Chers and a band of edgy ranchers, to name a few. Some of this...

One-liners from ‘Tootsie’ scribe Robert Horn

“Penguins can rotate their heads 360 degrees. But only once.” So goes one of the many zingers in the musical “Tootsie,” crafted by book writer...

Opinion: ‘Be More Chill’ and the buying power of social media

Social media is such an important factor in the marketing of Broadway shows that Facebook, Twitter and Instagram have become not only ticket sellers,...

Choreographer Warren Carlyle on how ‘Kiss Me, Kate’ moves

In “Bianca,” one of the many dance-centric numbers in “Kiss Me, Kate,” Corbin Bleu zips up and down the staircase, tapping every surface until...

‘Oklahoma!’ through the eyes of director Daniel Fish

In Daniel Fish’s “Oklahoma!,” Curly plays guitar and a seven-piece bluegrass band accompanies him as crockpots bubble on the edge of the stage. Those...

Heidi Schreck on bringing the ‘Constitution’ to Broadway

For the past few years, Heidi Schreck has been sharing personal stories about her family, as seen through the lens of the U.S. Constitution,...

How ‘Beetlejuice’ composer Eddie Perfect booked two Broadway shows in a season

Composer Eddie Perfect had been taking meetings in New York for close to two years before he got his big Broadway breakthrough. Thanks to...

How ‘The Ferryman’ sprang to life

Jez Butterworth did not set out to write “The Ferryman.” Rather, as is the case with many of his plays, inspiration took hold and...

‘Be More Chill’s’ Joe Iconis on why Broadway should be weirder

Joe Iconis likes his musicals to be a little weird. A little weirdness, after all, means that the audience won't know what to expect...

Director George C. Wolfe on finding the gore and guts of ‘Gary’

In “Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus,” the stage is filled with mountains of dummy corpses that are alternatively used as playthings, stepping stones...

Opinion: The revolution that propelled this year’s Tony nominations

Take a close look at the Tony Awards nominations announced Tuesday morning and a couple of things come into focus. Foremost is that a...

Review: In ‘Beetlejuice,’ death comes to life

For a musical jubilantly proclaiming that its overriding theme is death, “Beetlejuice” has a surprisingly lively spring in its step. As is well known...

Review: ‘Ink’ takes a multi-paged romp through tabloid journalism

“People like stories,” says Rupert Murdoch — a fictional Rupert Murdoch, that is — just before the lights dim on the last scene of...

Review: ‘Tootsie’ gets the laughs, but not the music

The familiar rap on flawed Broadway musicals usually goes something like this: “Well, the score is great...but the book has problems.” Enter “Tootsie,” red...

Review: A superb ‘All My Sons’ revitalizes a classic drama

There must be something in the cultural moment because two major and starry revivals of Arthur Miller’s “All My Sons” are opening this week....

Review: After the fall of the emperor, confusion reigns in ‘Gary’

There are no guarantees of success when attempting to stage ambitious new work. If one were seeking proof that the theater can be a...

Review: Skimming the surface of semi-fiction in ‘Hillary and Clinton’

Hillary: Likable or not? Likable enough? And if not, why not? Those much-discussed questions, asked and answered ad nauseam over the course of her two...

Review: An exhilarating ‘Hadestown’ revitalizes a classic love story

The road to hell is paved with heavenly music in “Hadestown,” the exuberant, exhilarating new musical that stands tall among a season of mostly...

Review: A blazing Adam Driver commands the stage in ‘Burn This’

Winter storms may be in the rearview mirror, but idle storm chasers should know that there’s a tempest being whipped up nightly at the...

Opinion: The Game Changers knocking down the walls of Broadway

At its penultimate meeting of the Broadway season, the Tony Administration Committee handed down a couple of eminently reasonable rulings, along with two mild...

The road to ‘Hadestown’

In the back of a London taxicab in the fall of 2018, composer Anaïs Mitchell pulled out her cellphone to show director Rachel Chavkin...

Review: A distracted ‘Oklahoma!’ skims the emotional surface

The new Broadway revival of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s “Oklahoma!” could be compared to a surrey with a little too much fringe on top, to...

Review: A scorching Glenda Jackson leads the way for the women of ‘King Lear’

Women are in firm control of the kingdom in Broadway’s Cort Theatre, where a new revival of “King Lear,” starring Glenda Jackson in the...

Where politics meets art in ‘Oklahoma!’ and ‘Jagged Little Pill’

Eva Price likes her art to be political. It’s not that it has to address politics directly, but rather it has to resonate with...

Review: An act of resistance in ‘What the Constitution Means to Me’

The layered and strategic structure underpinning Heidi Schreck’s “What The Constitution Means To Me” could easily be underestimated. That is because the wacky and...

How Disney chooses its next Broadway musical

Deciding which Disney property to bring to Broadway is a two-part process: there’s a brief, discerning look at the company’s empire, and then gut...

Review: ‘Ain’t Too Proud’ hits the steps, but not the story

Broadway’s proudest moments of the past couple of decades have rarely – er, make that never – included any of the long parade of...

Review: Kelli O’Hara soars in a revised ‘Kiss Me, Kate’

Spring was tardy this year, so if you are still suffering from seasonal affective disorder, you might try some therapeutic theater courtesy of the...

Review: ‘Be More Chill’s’ slick production misses a moral center

Much has been made of “Be More Chill’s” unusual path to Broadway. Originally produced to middling response at New Jersey’s Two River Theater, the...

Opinion: Expectations vs. reality at ‘The Prom’

The only thing missing from the money reviews was the money. Critics greeted “The Prom” with cheers when it opened in November at the Longacre...

Review: A classic sibling battle gains new depth in ‘True West’

Toxic masculinity may be a growing blight on society, but for spectacular proof that onstage, at least, it can also be vital entertainment, look...

Opinion: In the battle for profit-sharing, it’s a question of risk

Should actors be paid for their contribution to shows that go on to be hits? I’ve been going to the theater regularly since I turned...

Opinion: On ‘All My Sons’ and breaking with tradition

In the midst of the usual year-end rash of “Best Of” lists and seasonal jolliness came news that a spring revival of Arthur Miller’s...

Review: ‘Choir Boy’ vibrates with emotion, moves with lyrical dialogue

Spiraling in the light, fog stealthily transforms schoolboys in their locker room into living sculptures, accompanied only by the insistent atonal plinking of dripping...

Broadway Roulette asks ticketbuyers to take a gamble

While theater die-hards may handpick their shows based on performers or creative teams, Broadway Roulette is catering to a different audience: those who just...

Review: ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ holds court, without the drama

“All rise!” is the exhortation upon which Aaron Sorkin’s new adaptation of “To Kill a Mockingbird” ends, and, sure enough, before the curtain could...

Review: Christmas gone wrong at ‘Ruben & Clay’

Toward the merciful end of “Ruben & Clay’s First Annual Christmas Show,” or as it is also called, “Ruben & Clay’s First Annual Christmas...

Review: A slick ‘Network’ showcases Bryan Cranston’s talent

If satire is what closes on Saturday night, as George S. Kaufman famously said, how can one explain the roaring success of Broadway’s “Network,”...

Why producers and theater owners turn to holiday bookings

Sometimes on Broadway, you have to mobilize quickly. Take producer Jeffrey Chrzczon. He scored a prime Broadway theater, the Imperial, for his new Christmas-themed show...

Review: ‘The Cher Show’ offers a bumpy ride through an icon’s career

Fame may be a “fleeting bitch,” according to the title character in “The Cher Show” — and who would know better? Temperamental she may be,...

Review: ‘The Illusionists’ is all tricks, but little magic

The Vegas-style entertainment show “The Illusionists” has returned to Broadway in time for the holidays. Unfortunately this latest iteration, the group’s fourth appearance on...

Building the ‘Dear Evan Hansen’ empire

At the 2017 Tony Award nominee luncheon, “Dear Evan Hansen” producer Stacey Mindich received some sage advice from Stuart Thompson. “If you win the...

‘King Kong’ director Drew McOnie wages gorilla warfare

“We tamed the beast—you and I—we brought him to this city,” crows Carl Denham, the filmmaker and impresario in the new Broadway musical “King...

Review: ‘The Prom’ finds meaning amid the glitz

“Make ‘em laugh, then make a point!” Borrowing a cultural meme to describe the new musical “The Prom” seems fair game because the show...

Opinion: To close or not to close?

Heading into the holidays, the Broadway season so far has been remarkable for the breadth of its appeal and the range of subjects. Along...

Review: With warm humor, ‘The New One’ tackles the question of procreation

In “The New One,” which has transferred to Broadway after a sold-out run off-Broadway this past summer writer and comedian Mike Birbiglia improbably begins...

Review: ‘King Kong’ is a lackluster vehicle for a star gorilla

He can’t sing a note. They definitely don’t make tap shoes in his size. And, aside from some extremely expressive growls and roars, he...

Review: ‘American Son’ takes a piercing look at our country

“Everything’s coming apart,” cries Kendra, a distraught mother who’s awaiting news of her missing boy, in “American Son,” an arrestingly topical drama by Christopher...

Review: A reincarnated ‘Torch Song’ blazes with newfound comedy

Seeing the original “Torch Song Trilogy” off-Broadway in 1982 remains an indelible theater-going memory — so much so that I approached the current Broadway...

Investors in ‘Nerds’ musical file suit against producers

Investors of the failed “Nerds” musical are suing lead producers Carl Levin and Vicki Halmos claiming they mislead them into believing the musical had...

Review: An exquisite blend of humor and sorrow in ‘The Waverly Gallery’

To laugh or to cry? That mostly theoretical cliché becomes a matter of actual, uncomfortable urgency as you watch the superlative Broadway revival of...

Review: ‘The Ferryman’ brims with life as a threat looms

A man’s death casts a seemingly endless shadow over a family’s life in “The Ferryman,” the breathtakingly good, devastating drama by Jez Butterworth that...

Review: ‘The Lifespan of a Fact’ loses drama to the truth

Fact: I began my career in journalism as a fact-checker at a magazine in Los Angeles. Opinion: My experience with this oft-tedious task unfortunately did...

Opinion: Can off-Broadway intimacy survive a Broadway transfer?

“Will it move?” If you’re in the theater business, you know what that question is about. When a new show opens anywhere outside the Broadway...

‘Torch Song’s’ path to Broadway

“Torch Song” is heading back to Broadway thanks to an idea that almost simultaneously struck producer Richie Jackson and director Moisés Kaufman: Michael Urie...

Review: Colorful characters punch up ‘The Nap’

Snooker, anyone? Anyone? British plays may be as abundant on Broadway as mushrooms in a rain-soaked forest, but “The Nap,” by Richard Bean, may...

Opinion: Is $20 million-plus the new normal for Broadway musicals?

Every Broadway season boasts a show or two that promises big-screen thrills delivered on record-busting budgets. Back in 1987, the Shubert Organization swallowed the...

Review: An exploration of female power in ‘Bernhardt/Hamlet’

Playing the great Belle Époque actress Sarah Bernhardt, who is herself, preparing to play Hamlet, Janet McTeer proves to be a woman not only...

In ‘The Nap,’ audiences and actors learn the rules of snooker

“The Nap” has come to Broadway with a mission to popularize the sport of snooker. The first challenge: explaining what it is. Simply put, snooker...

At Sardi’s, a drink and a business opportunity

On an average Tuesday at Sardi’s, playwrights, producers and theater owners are sprinkled across the expansive dining room enveloped in deep red. They lunch on...

Opinion: Craig Zadan’s legacy will live on through Broadway, TV projects

As he accepted the fifth, and most important, Creative Emmy award for “Jesus Christ Superstar” last Sunday, executive producer Neil Meron said, “This is...

Shaping the next generation of creative producers

Before “The Band’s Visit” won 10 Tony Awards, its lead producer, Orin Wolf, learned the tricks of the trade from some of the industry’s...

Review: ‘Pretty Woman’ is a cardboard cutout of the movie

It’s very sweet that, as in the movie, the two unlikely lovers in the musical “Pretty Woman” end up rescuing one another from their...

Review: The same old story at ‘Gettin’ the Band Back Together’

Before the curtain rises on the new musical “Gettin’ the Band Back Together” at the Belasco Theatre, Ken Davenport, the show’s lead producer, who...

NYU launches Broadway Orchestra training program

New York University has launched a Broadway Orchestra initiative aimed at training the next generation of pit musicians. The initiative, which will launch with...

Grammy Awards update musical theater submission guidelines

The Recording Academy is making changes to Grammy Awards guidelines for musical theater in the hopes of revitalizing one of its leanest categories. For...

Opinion: How two Broadway musicals adapted to the #MeToo era

Rarely has the phrase “900-pound gorilla” seemed as apt as the dilemma facing Broadway producers and creatives this season — especially those who are...

Review: ‘Head Over Heels’ can’t find the beat

Summer is not officially the silly season on Broadway, but you might be forgiven for assuming so should you wander into the Hudson Theatre,...

Review: A lesson in sympathy from ‘Straight White Men’

In case you have been singing loudly with your fingers stuffed in your ears for, say, a year and a half, you have probably...

Opinion: Broadway profits keep nonprofits alive

“There’s no profit like nonprofit!” was a cherished mantra of the late Shubert Organization chairman Gerald Schoenfeld. Long before his passing in 2008, Schoenfeld...

Opinion: Raise a glass to the Tony voters

Some praise is due to the 850-plus Tony voters, a group more maligned than any industry group outside of the Golden Globes. They violate...

After the Tonys, the theater community goes to Israel

For the past 30 years, members of the theater community have attended the Tony Awards and then, win or lose, set off on a...

There’s the investment, then there’s the cost of the Tonys

Going to the Tony Awards could cost some attendees up to $4,000, and that’s not counting the hundreds of thousands of dollars it took...

Opinion: It’s time to break out of the confines of Broadway

The Tony Awards on Sunday are sure to paint a happy face on the Broadway season that just concluded with record high ticket sales...

Opinion: A radical proposal for Broadway plays

If you judged the state of playwriting by this year's Tony nominations for best play, you might think some unidentified virus had wiped out...

Tony honorees shine a spotlight on behind-the-scenes crafts

A few behind-the-scenes members of the Broadway community took a brief pause from work Monday night to celebrate their Tony Honors. At the Tony Awards Honors...

Broadway casting directors and League work toward settlement

Broadway casting directors and the Broadway League have made "significant progress" toward a settlement in the lawsuit concerning the unionization of the casting directors. In...

What it takes to put on the Tony Awards

After more than 15 years producing the Tony Awards, Ricky Kirshner and Glenn Weiss have learned the tips and tricks of putting on the...

Review: ‘The Boys in the Band’ still resonates beneath the laughs

“Thanks for the laughs,” says Harold, whose disorderly birthday celebration is the occasion on which the men in “The Boys in the Band” gather...

How ‘Mean Girls’ and more are leaning into video design

In “Mean Girls,” a large white wall can instantly transform from an African savanna to the hallway of a suburban American high school and...

Opinion: Make the Tony Awards more like the Grammys

All creative competitions are ridiculous, and in that respect, the Tony Awards are no different from the Oscars, the Grammys and the seasonal art...

As sports betting becomes legalized, the Tony Awards could be next

Betting on the Tony Awards could become more mainstream after a recent ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court. On May 14, the Supreme Court...

Opinion: Small musicals punch above their weight

Even before it got to Broadway, people were predicting that "The Band's Visit" would win the Tony Award for Best Musical. And, indeed it...

Opinion: Forget the Top 40, Broadway musicals still resonate

Channel surfing a few nights ago, I alighted on PBS and had the unexpected thrill of hearing a familiar tune that wasn’t from the...

Opinion: What if Broadway revivals dared to be more provocative?

Clubby and tradition-bound as Skull and Bones, Broadway has made worthy strides toward sunlight in recent years as conventions of sex and race finally...

Chita Rivera still eyes Broadway after decades in the business

Despite working more than 60 years on Broadway, Chita Rivera never thought she would receive a lifetime achievement Tony Award, much less one alongside...

How the ending of the ‘My Fair Lady’ revival came to be

Director Bartlett Sher has not changed the ending of “My Fair Lady.” Rather he says he has “interpreted” the ending in a manner that...

What drew George C. Wolfe, Denzel Washington to ‘The Iceman Cometh’

Director George C. Wolfe does not typically do revivals, but when presented with the opportunity to work with Denzel Washington on “The Iceman Cometh”...