BroadwayHD Wins

BROADWAYHD WINS TWO GLOBAL BUSINESS EXCELLENCE AWARDS

November 20, 2020: BroadwayHD was named winner in the Outstanding Innovation category and the winner of the Outstanding Product/Service category at the 2020 Global Business Excellence Awards.

BROADWAYHD WINS TWO GLOBAL BUSINESS EXCELLENCE AWARDS

November 20, 2020: BroadwayHD was named winner in the Outstanding Innovation category and the winner of the Outstanding Product/Service category at the 2020 Global Business Excellence Awards.

Broadway has always been the pinnacle of live entertainment, but in March Broadway theaters and theaters across the globe shut down. Uncertainty remains as to when the curtains will rise again, but thanks to BroadwayHD, a media technology company, Broadway fans still have a way to watch full-length musicals and plays any time of day or night.

BroadwayHD, often described as the Netflix for Broadway, has more than 300 full-length, VOD (video on demand) recorded productions. Award-winning shows include Phantom of The Opera, 42nd Street, Kinky Boots, The King and I, Sound of Music, Cats, Les Misérables, Jesus Christ Superstar, Oklahoma, 42nd Street. There’s also Cirque du Soleil, Riverdance, and Shakespeare. BroadwayHD is making Broadway accessible to the world through Apple TV, Chromecast, Roku, The BroadwayHD Channel on Amazon Prime, and at BroadwayHD.com.

Launched in 2015 by Tony Award winning producers, Bonnie Comley and Stewart F. Lane, BroadwayHD is proving to be a win-win for everyone who loves Broadway by serving theater fans and ensuring a strong audience for the future.

Stewart Lane, Bonnie Comley (BroadwayHD) Photo: Barry Gordin

The Global Business Excellence Awards pride themselves on having a large panel of independent expert judges who select winners according to strict criteria for each category and sector; focussing on financial results, innovation, customer, employee, investor and community benefits. 

Commenting on BroadwayHD,  the chairman of the judges said: “The stage curtains might be closed but stage productions are still being viewed around the world thanks to BroadwayHD’s subscription streaming service. It is the only streaming service of its kind offering global audiences unlimited, on-demand access to full-length stage productions to 300+ theatrical performances for an annual subscription. By delivering live stage shows direct to people’s homes, BroadwayHD has made a huge contribution to theatre and given fans and those new to stage productions access to the greatest shows ever produced at the press of a button. This is a wonderful digital entertainment service that attracts new fans to theatre, gives people around the world access to their favourite productions and, in the midst of a pandemic, it’s an ideal way to keep interest in stage shows alive.”

“Broadway had an amazing growth rate for 30 years, and its appeal was greater than ever. In 2015 the timing was right to start a streaming business with full-length Broadway shows, so BroadwayHD was launched. We are committed now, more than ever, to make theater accessible and easy to stream at home”, said Comley. “We have enough content in the pipeline to add new shows every month for the next year and we are working with producers to create new content. We even have a series of shows created during the pandemic called COVID Creations,’” added Lane. 

The Global Business Excellence Awards are one of the world’s highest profile awards and winning this accolade speaks volumes about the quality of your work. Due to their high profile, the Awards attract a wide range of entries from across the world, from large international PLCs and public sector organisations to dynamic and innovative SMEs. The winners all have one thing in common – they are truly outstanding at what they do and BroadwayHD have proved this by winning a Global Business Excellence Award.

About the Global Business Excellence Awards
The Global Business Excellence Awards are open to private, public and third sector organisations of all sizes, based In any country around the world. Entrants to the Global Business Excellence Awards do not have to be operating globally to enter the awards, entries are judged against other entries from the same country. 

Visit http://www.gbeawards.com/ for further information 

About BroadwayHD

BroadwayHD, founded in 2015 by Tony in Award®-winning producers Stewart F. Lane and Bonnie Comley, is the only streaming service offering premium full-length stage plays and musicals captured specifically for multi-platform viewing to theatre fans across the globe. In addition to exclusive live-streamed content of the world’s best productions, BroadwayHD offers subscribers unlimited on-demand access to a library of more than 300 theatre productions from Broadway, The West End and beyond.  If You Can’t Get to Broadway, Get to BroadwayHD.

Broadway in Limbo

Tonys Delayed and Shows Reschedule

By: David Sheward

November 20, 2020: The lights on Broadway will remain dim for even longer due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Last month, the Broadway League announced that all 41 of its member theaters will be shuttered until May 30, 2021. This is the latest in a series of extended closures since the stages closed on March 13. In the wake of this announcement, many shows have had to reshuffle their schedules and the Tony Awards have been pushed back even further. Broadway’s highest honors for the abortive 2019-20 season have been delayed numerous times but the nominations were given out on Oct. 15 with Jagged Little Pill netting the most with 15 and Moulin Rouge garnering 14. Slave Play took 12. It was expected that the awards would be handed out online sometime in late fall. But with Broadway shows not returning until June of next year, Broadway League president Charlotte St. Martin has stated in an interview with Sirius XM host Julie James, “We don’t have  a decision date yet. Since we’re not opening in March, we have more planning time.” 

Tonys Delayed and Shows Reschedule

By: David Sheward

November 20, 2020: The lights on Broadway will remain dim for even longer due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Last month, the Broadway League announced that all 41 of its member theaters will be shuttered until May 30, 2021. This is the latest in a series of extended closures since the stages closed on March 13. In the wake of this announcement, many shows have had to reshuffle their schedules and the Tony Awards have been pushed back even further. Broadway’s highest honors for the abortive 2019-20 season have been delayed numerous times but the nominations were given out on Oct. 15 with Jagged Little Pill netting the most with 15 and Moulin Rouge garnering 14. Slave Play took 12. It was expected that the awards would be handed out online sometime in late fall. But with Broadway shows not returning until June of next year, Broadway League president Charlotte St. Martin has stated in an interview with Sirius XM host Julie James, “We don’t have  a decision date yet. Since we’re not opening in March, we have more planning time.” 

How much planning time do you need, Charlotte? It’s been eight months. On the surface this foot-dragging doesn’t make sense. All the other theater plaudits including the Drama Desks, Outer Critics Circle, New York Drama Critics Circle, Obie and Lortel Awards, were given out in modest, socially distanced ceremonies online or on New York-1, months ago. But when we consider the raison d’etre of the Tony is NOT to honor the best of the season, but to provide a commercial platform to advertise currently-running shows and stoke the box office, it adds up. Dispensing trophies several months before playgoers can buy tickets lessens the Tony impact to almost nothing. So the producers would rather wait until the awards can result in some cash. Will we have to wait until 2021 for the 2020 Tonys? Probably. I guess the producers of Moulin Rogue did not get the memo, because I just received a lavish promotional book on the show, the kind sent to Tony voters just as we are casting ballots.

In addition to gumming up plans for the Tonys, the latest delay means several shows which have announced opening dates for spring 2021 will have to reschedule again. Several have already released new dates. It’s looking like there will be no new shows on the boards before the fall of 2021. Perhaps because tourists will not feel safe to travel to the Big Apple until then. A recent study made the dire prediction that international tourism to Gotham will not return to pre-pandemic levels until 2025. 

The Music Man revival with Hugh Jackman and Sutton Foster, which has recently put its marquee up at the Winter Garden, will now begin previews Dec. 20, 2021 and open on Feb. 10, 2022. MJ, the Michael Jackson bio tuner, will commence performances in September of 2021 at the Neil Simon. 

A scene from Thoughts of a Colored Man. Credit: Michael Davis

We’ve had an announcement for a totally new play not previously seen on Broadway and not delayed by COVID. Thoughts of a Colored Man, Keenan Scott II’s rumination on the African-American experience previously seen Syracuse Stage Baltimore Center Stage, will open sometime in the 2021-22 season.

Rueben Santiago-Hudson in Lackawanna Blues. Credit: Robert Gauthier

Roundabout Theater Company and Manhattan Theater Club have released updated info on their rosters. For Roundabout, Caroline or Change and the Broadway premiere of Alice Children’s 1955 Trouble in Mind will now open in the fall of 2021 at Studio 54 and the American Airlines respectively, while Diane Paulus’ mixed-gender 1776 has been pushed back to spring 2022. (Jeffrey L. Page will co-direct 1776 with Paulus) Off-Broadway productions include Mansa Rah’s ...what the end will be at the Laura Pels and Dave Harris’ Exception to the Rule.

Meanwhile, Manhattan Theater Club has shifted its plans to include a newly-announced revival of Lackawanna Blues, Rueben Santiago-Hudson’s solo play about his childhood, previously seen Off-Broadway at the Public in 2001 and as an HBO film in 2005. Santiago-Hudson will repeat his performance in his own play on the stage of the Samuel L. Friedman in the fall of 2021. Then the following spring sees the revival of Paula Vogel’s Pulitzer Prize-winning How I Learned to Drive with original stars Mary-Louise Parker and David Morse on the same stage. Off-Broadway at the City Center Stage I space, MTC will present Simon Stephens’ Morning Sun and Anchuli Felicia King’s Golden Shield.

Armie Hammer and Tracey Letts in the latter’s play The Minutes Credit: Michael Brosilow

The Minutes, Tracey Letts’ absurdist comedy about a surrealistic small-town council meeting, had to vacate the Cort for planned renovations and will now open March 15, 2022 at a theater to be announced. That is exactly one year after its original, pre-pandemic planned opening. 

Plaza Suite, American Buffalo, Take Me Out, and Diana all had specific dates and theaters for March or April 2021 and will now have to readjust their schedules. Diana filmed a performance in the empty Longacre Theater and the results will premiere on Netflix next year. An untitled new play by Lynn Nottage, Flying Over Sunset, and Sing Street had unspecified openings for spring 2021 or winter 2021-22. Still no word on what will happen to unopened shows such as Company, The Lehman Trilogy, Mrs. Doubtfire, or Six. Also there is no news on West Side Story and Girl from the North Country which opened not long before the theaters shuttered.

2021-22 Broadway Season Calendar (so far)

Fall 2021

MJ (Neil Simon)

Trouble in Mind (Roundabout/AA)

Caroline or Change (Roundabout/Studio 54)

Lackawanna Blues (MTC/Friedman)

Feb. 10, 2022–The Music Man (Winter Garden)

March 15, 2022–The Minutes

Spring 2022–1776

How I Learned to Drive (Friedman/MTC)

2021-22 Season (date unspecified)–Thoughts of a Colored Man

Originally Posted on The David Desk 2 on November 18, 2020

The Humane Society “To the Rescue!” Gala

The Humane Society of the United States raised over 2 million dollars at “To the Rescue!” gala to help save animals . Hosted by Cecily Strong and Audra McDonald hosting the pre-show with a special performance.

November 16, 2020: The Humane Society of the United States hosted its 2020 To the Rescue! gala raising over 2 million dollars to benefit the organization’s animal rescue efforts. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the event was held virtually.

The Humane Society of the United States raised over 2 million dollars at “To the Rescue!” gala to help save animals . Hosted by Cecily Strong and Audra McDonald hosting the pre-show with a special performance.

November 16, 2020: The Humane Society of the United States hosted its 2020 To the Rescue! gala raising over 2 million dollars to benefit the organization’s animal rescue efforts. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the event was held virtually.

“Saturday Night Live’s” Emmy nominated cast member Cecily Strong hosted the event. Tony, Grammy and Emmy award-winning singer and actor Audra McDonald hosted the pre-show and performed “Go Back Home” (from the musical “Scottsboro Boys”) as well as a medley of  “Children Will Listen” (from “Into the Woods”) and “You’ve Got to Be Taught” (from “South Pacific”) during the gala. 

Audra McDonald

Other celebrity guests included Liev Schreiber, Mena Suvari, Rob and Marisol Thomas,Nathan Turner, Dylan Lauren, Katie Sturino, gala chair Georgina Bloomberg and Kitty Block, president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States.

To the Rescue! took place in an innovative 3D environment where guests were taken through a fantasy setting of flowery meadows, glamping-style yurts, and a backyard barn stage to watch the event. An online auction included an opportunity to pitch your business idea over Zoom to Mayor Michael Bloomberg and a once in a lifetime trip to the Canadian winter ice floes where mother seals give birth to their pups. The event also featured an engaging virtual photobooth that transported guests inside the virtual environment.

Mena Suvari

 The gala benefited the continued work of the HSUS to end the cruelest practice towards animals with a spotlight on the organization’s animal rescue initiatives, farm animal protection and puppy mill campaigns and global initiatives to stop the dog meat trade. The HSUS has operated in crisis response mode since the first days of the pandemic lockdown, helping vulnerable animals survive and delivering aid to communities where people and pets are struggling.

The virtual gala was produced by Eventique. Georgina Bloomberg was the chair. The 2020 Leadership Committee included Susan Atherton, Ian Bass, Wendy and Howard Berk, Jennifer Faga, Wayne S. Flick, Allison Friedberg, Kimberly Handler, Gretchen Jelinek, Cathy Kangas, Jennifer Laue, Patrick McDonnell and Karen O’Connell, Sharon Patrick, Terry Rakolta, Debra Shore, Alanna Tarkington, and Marisol Thomas.

This year’s gala was sponsored by Moroccanoil, Stray Dog Capital, Liberty Mutual Insurance, TJX, PVH Corp, Hallmark Channel’s Adoption Ever After, Chapman Cubine Allen + Hussey, ROI Solutions and Merkle Response Management Group.

Liev Schreiber

Founded in 1954, the Humane Society of the United States fights the big fights to end suffering for all animals. Together with millions of supporters, we take on puppy mills, factory farms, trophy hunts, animal testing and other cruel industries. With our affiliates, we rescue and care for tens of thousands of animals every year through our animal rescue team’s work and other hands-on animal care services. We fight all forms of animal cruelty to achieve the vision behind our name: A humane society.

The Drama League Announces First Directors Council

THE NEW INITIATIVE IS COMPRISED OF 20 NATIONALLY-RENOWNED DIRECTORS AND ALUMNI TO ADVISE ON THE ORGANIZATION’S DIRECTOR-FOCUSED PROGRAMMING AND THE FUTURE OF THEATER AS THE INDUSTRY PREPARES FOR REOPENING

November 14, 2020: The Drama League (Artistic Director, Gabriel Stelian-Shanks; Executive Director, Bevin Ross) announces the formation of its first Directors Council, featuring nationally-renowned directors Daniel Banks, Melia Bensussen, Christopher Burris, Jillian Carucci, Jennifer Chang, Desdemona Chiang, R.J. Cutler, Estefanía Fadul, Raz Golden, Brian Eugenio Herrera, Adam Immerwahr, Gwynn MacDonald, Tony Phelan, Lisa Portes, Lisa Rothe, Gabriel Stelian-Shanks, Rob Urbinati, Nicole A. Watson, Sharifa Yasmin, and Pirronne Yousefzadeh.

THE NEW INITIATIVE IS COMPRISED OF 20 NATIONALLY-RENOWNED DIRECTORS AND ALUMNI TO ADVISE ON THE ORGANIZATION’S DIRECTOR-FOCUSED PROGRAMMING AND THE FUTURE OF THEATER AS THE INDUSTRY PREPARES FOR REOPENING

November 14, 2020: The Drama League (Artistic Director, Gabriel Stelian-Shanks; Executive Director, Bevin Ross) announces the formation of its first Directors Council, featuring nationally-renowned directors Daniel Banks, Melia Bensussen, Christopher Burris, Jillian Carucci, Jennifer Chang, Desdemona Chiang, R.J. Cutler, Estefanía Fadul, Raz Golden, Brian Eugenio Herrera, Adam Immerwahr, Gwynn MacDonald, Tony Phelan, Lisa Portes, Lisa Rothe, Gabriel Stelian-Shanks, Rob Urbinati, Nicole A. Watson, Sharifa Yasmin, and Pirronne Yousefzadeh.

For over 100 years, The Drama League of New York has been at the forefront of the American theater community, advancing the art form by providing a life-long artistic home for directors and a platform for dialogue with, and between, audiences.

This new Directors Council is composed of award-winning directors and creators from across the country, in theater and its related mediums, who have participated in The Drama League’s director- focused programming in the past, and have committed to providing counsel, guidance, and partnership to the organization moving forward. The Directors Council, born out of the organization’s comprehensive strategic planning in 2019, was formed as a way to further embed artists in the decision- making process of The Drama League, establish peer-to-peer mentorship for Fellowship recipients, and to have the nation’s leading directors guide The Drama League’s programming initiatives as the organization expands its mission to support directors and lead in the re-emergence strategies of Broadway and the American theater industry.

“As the American theater emerges in 2021 from the COVID-19 pandemic, the incredible artists of the Directors Council will inform and partner in our efforts to create a revivified field and a better institution — one that further embraces anti-racist practices, equitably supports BIPOC artists, improves the lives of its communities, and leads the world in healthy practices,” said Artistic Director Stelian-Shanks.

“I am thrilled to have been asked to be a part of the Directors Council at the Drama League. Fresh from college I was invited to be a part of the 1987 Directors Project, and that experience — the artists I collaborated with, the senior directors who mentored me, the way I was welcomed into a community — launched me as a creator and as a person. I look forward to giving back to the many directors just coming into the field, and to working with the Drama League to provide an artistic home for all directors, regardless of where in their careers they might be” said Directors Council member Tony Phelan.

The Directors Council is one of the leadership councils of The Drama League, alongside its Board of Directors and National Advisory Committee. Invitations to join The Directors Council were sent out earlier this fall by The Drama League’s artistic staff, and additional members will be added on an ongoing basis. The council gathered on November 6 by Zoom and plans to meet on an ongoing basis in the coming months. To learn more about the Directors Council, visit dramaleague.org/directorscouncil.

DIRECTORS COUNCIL BIOS:

Daniel Banks (he/him/his) is a director, deviser, dance dramaturg, and dialogue facilitator. He has directed at National Theatre of Uganda, Belarussian National Drama Theatre, Market Theatre Lab (South Africa), Playhouse Square, HERE Arts Center, Bay Area Playwrights Festival, NYC and DC Hip Hop Theatre Festivals, Oval House, Teatro Technis, and with Kompany Malakhi (London). Movement director/choreography: Shakespeare in the Park, Theatre for a New Audience, Maurice Sendak’s The Night Kitchen, Singapore Rep, and La Monnaie. Daniel is co-director of DNAWORKS, an arts and service organization dedicated to dialogue and healing through the arts, engaging the topics of representation, identity, and heritage. Associate Director of Theatre Without Borders. National cabinet of U.S. Department of Arts and Culture. TCG’s 2020 Alan Schneider Director Award Winner. DL Fellow 1994, 1997.

Melia Bensussen (she/her/hers) became Artistic Director of Hartford Stage in 2019. The recipient of an OBIE Award for Outstanding Direction, she has directed extensively around the country and internationally. Raised in Mexico City, Melia is fluent in Spanish and has translated and adapted a variety of works, including her edition of the Langston Hughes translation of Garcia Lorca’s Blood Wedding, published by TCG. A past recipient of a Princess Grace Fellowship, she was awarded the Foundation’s top honor, the Statue Award. She is on the faculty at Emerson College where she previously served as Chair. Chair of the Arts Advisory Board for the Princess Grace Foundation. Secretary for the Executive Board of the Society of Directors and Choreographers (SDC). Brown University. DL Fellow 1986.

Christopher Burris (he/him/his) directed the world premiere of Geese by Samuel D. Hunter at Theatre Row and The Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage. Other new works include: When We Wake Up Dead (Brooklyn College), Lords Resistance (The Fire This Time), Snakeskin Suit (EST Lab), Outcry! (JACK), and the 2010 FringeNYC smash, A Raisin in the Salad: Black Plays for White People. Recently, he directed The Brothers Size (Luna Stage). Directed readings/workshops: The New Group, Labyrinth, Ensemble Studio Theatre Lab, National Black Theater, Classical Theatre of Harlem, Epic Theatre Ensemble, The New Black Fest, Liberation Theater Company, Hudson Valley Writers Center, The Cell, Manhattan Theatre Source. As an actor, he has been seen on television (“The Guiding Light,” “Damage Control,” “As The World Turns”), stage (Oregon Shakespeare Festival, La Jolla Playhouse, North Shore Music Theatre), commercials, and more. DL Resident 2017.

Jillian Carucci (she/her/hers) is a director and educator focused on creating quality theater for young audiences and nurturing the growth of early career artists. At TheaterWorksUSA, she currently oversees artistic and education programs in addition to casting up to 30 musical productions, workshops, and readings each season. She has worked off-Broadway and regionally and theaters such as: McCarter Theatre Center, Hangar Theatre, Atlantic Acting School, Keen Company, and Mile Square Theatre. BFA Musical Theatre faculty at CAP21/Molloy College. DL Fellow 2017. 

Jennifer Chang (she/her/hers) is a founding member of Chalk Repertory Theatre, where she won an Ovation Award, an LA Weekly Award, and the Stage Scene LA award. Other awards include: 2019 LADCC Award in Direction, 2020 APAFT Award Outstanding Direction. She was the Assistant Director of Theresa Rebeck’s Bernhardt/Hamlet on Broadway starring Janet McTeer. Select directing credits: Hannah and the Dread Gazebo (The Fountain Theatre/EWP), Animals Out of Paper (East West Players – LA Times Critics Pick), Edith Can Shoot Things and Hit Them (Artists at Play – GLAAD Media Award, Stage Scene LA Award Best Director, Ovation Award Nominated), Our American Story and Residence Elsewhere (commissioned for the 75th Anniversary of Executive Order 9066) at the Japanese American National Museum. Head of Undergraduate Acting at UCSD’s Department of Theatre and Dance. Member of SDC, SAG-AFTRA, AEA. DL Fellow 2018.

Desdemona Chiang (she/her/hers) is a stage director based in Seattle, WA and Ashland, OR. Co-Founder of Azeotrope (Seattle). Directing credits include: Guthrie Theater, Alley Theatre, South Coast Repertory, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Pittsburgh Public Theatre, Baltimore Center Stage, California Shakespeare, Seattle Repertory, Playmakers Repertory, Studio Theatre, Long Wharf, ACT Theatre Seattle, American Shakespeare Center, Seattle Shakespeare, Village Theatre, Theatre Latte Da, Heritage Theatre Festival, Book-It Repertory, Aurora Theatre, Seattle Public Theatre, Shotgun Players, Crowded Fire Theatre, Impact Theatre, Playwrights Foundation, and Golden Thread Productions, among others. Intersection for the Arts Triangle Lab Artist-Investigator. Awards/Affiliations: Princess Grace Award (Robert and Gloria Hausman Theater Honor), Vilcek Prize for Creative Promise in Theatre, SDC Sir John Gielgud Directing Fellowship, TCG Young Leader of Color, Lincoln Center Theater Directors Lab and Directors Lab West. Gregory Award Recipient for Outstanding Direction. DL Fellow 2011, 2020.

R.J. Cutler (he/him/his) is an award-winning director and producer renowned for documentaries including “The War Room,” “A Perfect Candidate,” “The September Issue,” “The World According to Dick Cheney,” “Thin and Listen to Me Marlon.” A pioneer in nonfiction television, R.J. created landmark programs including “American High,” “Freshman Diaries” and “30 Days,” among others. Cutler’s scripted work includes “Nashville,” “If I Stay,” and the award-winning podcast “The Oval O`ce Tapes.” Upcoming projects include the feature documentary “BELUSHI” on Showtime and the highly anticipated Untitled Billie Eilish Documentary for Apple TV+. Cutler’s documentary series “Dear…” is currently streaming on Apple TV+, and his musical drama “Bronzeville” has been ordered straight-to-series by Showtime. Cutler has been nominated for an Academy Award® and is a two-time Emmy® nominee. DL Fellow 1984.

Estefanía Fadul (she/her/hers) is a NYC-based Colombian-American stage director and producer of new work. Recent: Carla’s Quince created with The Voting Project, Noelle Viñas’ Zoom Intervention (NYTimes Critics Pick), Christina Quintana’s Azul (Southern Rep) and Scissoring (INTAR), Stefan Ivanov’s The Same Day (Sfumato Theatre, Bulgaria), and Preston Max Allen and Jessica Kahkoska’s Agent 355 (Chautauqua, NYSAF). Estefanía is the inaugural recipient of New York Stage and Film’s Pfaelzer Award and a 2020/21 Clubbed Thumb Directing Fellow. Alumna: O’Neill/NNPN National Directors Fellowship, Foeller Fellowship at Williamstown, Van Lier Fellowship at Repertorio Español, and NALAC Leadership Institute. She is a co-leader of the New Georges Jam, and a member of the Latinx Theatre Commons steering committee, Lincoln Center Directors Lab, and SDC. B.A. Vassar College. www.estefaniafadul.com. DL Fellow 2015, 2018.

Raz Golden (he/him/his) is a director of theatre, film, and voice over. He is a Resident Director at The Flea, a member of the Roundabout Directors Group, and was a Drama League Classical Directing Fellow. His current work focuses on new and classical texts, as well as narratives that explore shared cultural histories and myths and center people of color. He has developed work with The National Black Theatre, The Public Theatre, NYU Tisch, Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival, Waterwell, Dixon Place, and McCarter Theatre. DL Fellow 2019.

Brian Eugenio Herrera (he/him/his) is a writer, teacher and scholar who examines the history of gender, sexuality and race within and through U.S. popular performance. He is author of Latin Numbers: Playing Latino in 20th Century U.S. Popular Performance (Michigan, 2015), which was awarded the George Jean Nathan Prize for Dramatic Criticism. He is also Inaugural Resident Scholar for The Sol Project, a longstanding contributor to the Fornés Institute, and part of the Core Facilitation Team with ArtEquity. Brian is Associate Professor of Theater and Gender & Sexuality Studies in the Lewis Center for the Arts at Princeton University. DL Fellow 1990.

Adam Immerwahr (he/him/his) is the artistic director of Theater J, the nation’s leading Jewish theater. He served as the associate artistic director of McCarter Theatre (Princeton, NJ) and the resident director of Passage Theatre (Trenton, NJ). Adam served on the producing team of multiple productions that have transferred to Broadway and Off-Broadway, including the world premiere of Christopher Durang’s Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike. As a director, his work has been seen across the world, from Aspen to Zimbabwe. He has directed off-Broadway and at many of the nation’s premier regional theaters, such as McCarter Theatre, Walnut Street Theater, Cleveland Play House, Woolly Mammoth, and many others. He currently serves on the board of the Alliance for Jewish Theater. DL Fellow 2008.

Gwynn MacDonald (she/her/hers) has directed or produced theater, TV, film and radio receiving cable Ace and Emmy nominations, and Radio’s Gracie Award. She is a member of Juilliard alumni-founded Juggernaut Theatre, League of Professional Theatre Women, Lincoln Center Theater Directors Lab, and Society of Directors and Choreographers. Recent projects: Siachen a new play by Aditya Rawal supported by Baruch Performing Arts Center, and Makena Metz’s DEATH BITES in honor of #ADA30 for Queens Theater / Lincoln Center at Home. International play development includes works from Eastern Europe, U.K., Argentina, India and Israel. International directing includes American plays in Cuba and Bogota. Princeton University. Columbia University’s Arts Leadership Institute. DL Fellow 2005.

Tony Phelan (he/him/his) After joining “Grey’s Anatomy” at the start of season 2, Tony Phelan and his wife Joan Rater rose through the ranks and co-ran the show alongside creator Shonda Rhimes for seasons 7 through 10. For their work on “Grey’s Anatomy” they earned a WGA Award for Best New Series in Television in 2005 and were nominated for two Emmy Awards in 2006 and 2007, both for Outstanding Drama Series. Since 2016, Phelan and his wife have been developing and running their own shows including “Doubt” for CBS and “Council of Dads” on NBC. The husband and wife team enjoyed a successful Off-Broadway run with their stage play Good Will at The Director’s Company in 1998, which The New York Times gave a rave review, hailing it as “touching and thought-provoking.”  Yale University. DL Fellow 1987.

Lisa Portes (she/her/ella) is an award-winning Chicago-based director, educator, leader and advocate whose aim is to define and promote a new American theatre that is driven aesthetically and politically by the world we are becoming rather than the world we’ve been. She is a co-founder of the Latinx Theatre Commons and serves on the board of the Theatre Communications Group (TCG) and the executive board of  the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society (SDC).  She heads the MFA Directing Program at The Theatre School at DePaul University. Her work has been seen at numerous theatres in Chicago and regionally. DL Fellow 1992, 1997. 

Lisa Rothe (she/her/hers) was nominated for SDC’s Joe A. Callaway Award for Direction for Hold These Truths by Jeanne Sakata, which has toured the country and also won Theatre Bay Area Awards for Outstanding Direction, Performer, and Production. Recent directing work has been seen at: The Guthrie Theatre, Kansas City Repertory Theater, Indiana Repertory Theatre, Irish Repertory Theatre,  Cincinnati Playhouse, Theatreworks/Silicon Valley, Two River Theater, People’s Light and Playmakers Repertory Theatre. Leadership positions: Director of New Works at Kansas City Repertory Theatre; Director of Global Exchange at The Lark; co-Artistic Director of The Actor’s Center in NYC; co-President of the League of Professional Theatre Women. DL Fellow 2000.

Gabriel Stelian-Shanks (he/him/his) is the Artistic Director of The Drama League of New York and a founder of A Certain Something. He has directed over sixty theater, film, and television projects across the United States and Europe, and is the author of eighteen plays, two screenplays, and a television series.  An alumnus of the Orchard Project, nominee for Best Director at the Madrid International Film Festival, and recipient of the Theatre Project Honor for Outstanding Vision, he has been recognized for his arts leadership by the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities.  One of the directors of Peculiar Works Project’s The Village Fragments (OBIE Award), his productions have been seen in New York, Seattle, Washington DC, Baltimore, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Chicago, Vienna, Sofia, Bucharest, and Budapest, among others.  Recently, his monodrama, DIASTREPHO, premiered as part of Stonewall 50: WorldPride at the LGBT Center of New York; this month, his film “The Damnable Deprivation Of Dmitri” premieres as the Opening Selection of the New Masculinites Festival.  Proud member SDC, IFP.

Rob Urbinati (he/him/his) is a director and writer based in New York, and Director of New Play Development at Queens Theatre. His plays include Hazelwood Jr. High, Murder On West Moon Street, Death by Design, Mama’s Boy and Jane Austen’s Lady Susan, published by Samuel French. The Queen Bees, Nymph Errant, and UMW: University of Mostly Whites are published by Stage Rights. His book, Play Readings: A Complete Guide for Theatre Practitioners is published by Taylor and Francis. Rob’s plays have received over 200 productions world-wide. In NYC, Rob directed for the Public Theater, Classic Stage Company, Culture Project, Abingdon, Pearl Theatre, Lincoln Center Directors Lab, New York Fringe Festival, HERE, New York Music Theatre Festival, and Cherry Lane Theatre. DL Fellow 1997, 1999, 2001.

Nicole A. Watson (she/her/hers) is a director, educator, and the Associate Artistic Director of McCarter Theater Center. As Associate Artistic Director of Round House Theatre, she directed He Brought Her Heart Back In A Box, School Girls; or, the African Mean Girls Play, A Doll’s House Part 2, and Sweat, among others.  She is a member of the New Georges Jam and has worked with New Dramatists, the Lark Play Development Center, the Fire this Time Festival, the New Black Fest, the Women’s Project Theater, The 52nd Street Project, Signature Theater, Geva Theater Center, A.C.T., Asolo Rep, Washington National Opera, The Contemporary American Theater Festival, Working Theater, Smith College, NCSA, NYU, and LIU. Lincoln Center Directors Lab. the Women’s Project Directors Lab. SDC. BA: History, Yale. MA: NYU Gallatin School of Individualized Study. DL Fellow 2013, DL Board Member.

Sharifa Yasmin (she/her/hers) is a trans Egyptian-American director and playwright. She has completed fellowships with Actors Theatre of Louisville, Manhattan Theatre Club, Geva Theatre, Hypokrit Theatre, and is a 2020 Eugene O’Neill national directing fellow.  Directing Credits include plays by Naomi Wallace, Marco Ramirez, Suzan-Lori Parks, Ntozake Shange, Harvey Fierstein, Dael Orlandersmith, Eve Ensler, Saviana Stanescu and Tasha Gordon-Solmon. She has assisted directors including Pirronne Yousefzadeh, Steve H. Broadnax III, Saheem Ali, Mark Brokaw, Meredith Mcdonough, Arpita Mukherjee, Drew Fracher, Sharon Graci and Shirley Serotsky. Winthrop University. DL Fellow 2019.

Pirronne Yousefzadeh (she/her/hers) is the Associate Artistic Director and Director of Engagement at Geva Theatre Center. She has directed and developed work at The Public/Joe’s Pub, Playwrights Horizons, New York Theatre Workshop, Ars Nova, Soho Rep, Atlantic Theater Company, Ma-Yi Theater Company, Noor Theatre, Ensemble Studio Theatre, The Kennedy Center, Williamstown Theatre Festival, American Conservatory Theater, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Cleveland Playhouse, La Jolla Playhouse, Pioneer Theatre Company, Huntington Theatre Company, Milwaukee Rep, InterAct Theatre Company, and Hangar Theatre. Pirronne is a Usual Suspect at NYTW, New Georges Affiliated Artist, member of EST, and an alumna of the Sagal Fellowship at Williamstown Theatre Festival, SDC Denham Fellowship, and Soho Rep Lab. She is a founding member of Maia Directors. MFA: Columbia University. Member, SDC. DL Fellow 2006.

ABOUT THE DRAMA LEAGUE:

The Drama League of New York, since 1916, has been at the forefront of the American Theatre community, providing talent, audiences, and prosperous support. The Drama League advances the American theater by providing a life-long artistic home for directors and a platform for dialogue with, and between, audiences. The Drama League opens doors for exceptional stage directors by providing time, resources, and space to work without restriction, while augmenting skills through personalized training, production opportunities, and professional development. The Drama League carefully selects directors whose vision and talent are unparalleled, with a clear commitment to the craft, the field, and audiences.

Through our work, The Drama League celebrates the important role theatergoers have to the future of the industry, and champions the impact theater plays in civic life. The Drama League breaks the formidable barriers that impede success in the arts. These directors, nurtured and empowered by The Drama League’s support, are trained to create the most rigorous work possible, as a live exchange between artists and audiences. In doing so, we elevate the conversation, deeply impacting theaters and their communities. Bringing people together to celebrate difference, share experiences, and discover common ground are crucial needs served by the work of Drama League directors. This necessary cultural practice is the foundation of our shared humanity.

On This Day in New York Theater: November 13 in the 1930’s

By: Samuel L. Leiter

(No. 17 in the series)

November 13, 2020: As per the last entry in this series, I again confine myself to a single decade—in today’s case, the 1930s—in describing what shows opened on a particular day. The one I’ve chosen, November 13, was not especially prolific or even productive of more than a single memorable work. What most attracted it to me was a play that opened at the very start of the decade, Grand Hotel, which would become the inspiration for one of my all-time favorite movies (Garbo! Barrymore! Crawford!), produced in 1932, and the source for a modestly successful 1989 Broadway musical, each known by the original play’s name.

By: Samuel L. Leiter

(No. 17 in the series)

November 13, 2020: As per the last entry in this series, I again confine myself to a single decade—in today’s case, the 1930s—in describing what shows opened on a particular day. The one I’ve chosen, November 13, was not especially prolific or even productive of more than a single memorable work. What most attracted it to me was a play that opened at the very start of the decade, Grand Hotel, which would become the inspiration for one of my all-time favorite movies (Garbo! Barrymore! Crawford!), produced in 1932, and the source for a modestly successful 1989 Broadway musical, each known by the original play’s name.

Five other shows opened on November 13 in the thirties, which provides sufficient content for a single entry and prevents it from going on forever: If Love Were All (1931), I Was Waiting for You (1933), Brittle Heaven and Drama at Inish (both 1934), La Sera del Sabato (1936), and Washington—All Change! (1939). Not a particularly exciting group, albeit with some dashes of interest here and there. (An Italian-language play, La Sera del Sabato, part of a visiting company’s repertory, received only fleeting mention in 1936 and is not considered here.)

Henry Hull, Eugenie Leontovich in Grand Hotel

Let’s get right to Grand Hotel, Vicki Baum’s 1929 German drama, based on her novel, known in its native tongue as Menschen im Hotel. It was translated by William A. Drake and directed by Herman Shumlin (assisted by Fritz Feld) at the National Theatre, where it became a blockbuster running 444 performances. The original, staged by the great Max Reinhardt at Berlin’s Theater am Nollendorfplatz, almost failed to find an American producer willing to put it on because it needed the expensive adjunct of a revolving stage. 

This Best Play of the Year selection had a now commonplace but then unconventional structure that reminded some of Elmer Rice’s Street Scene. It was described by Stewart Beach as “a chambermaid’s-eye view of the life of a great city, concentrated with extraordinary centrifugal force within the rooms of a large hotel.” Brooks Atkinson said, “It weaves many destinies into a pattern of moving life, touching briefly on each one individually, binding them together with a slight strand of a story.” The dramatist had actually worked as a chambermaid to gather material for her work.

For the thirty-six hours covered by the action, five volatile and self-indulgent human beings from various walks and levels of society are thrown into one another’s paths in Berlin’s Grand Hotel; the sparks ignited flame into brief conflagrations and are extinguished as life continues to move relentlessly forward. The episodic, seventeen-scene play uses blackouts to shift swiftly from place to place, with action in the suites, lobby, conference rooms, and cabaret.

Henry Hull, Hortense Alden, Sam Jaffe, Siegfried Rumann in Grand Hotel

Its five principal characters are the temperamental ballerina Grusinskaia (Eugenie Leontovich), based on the Russian dancer Anna Pavlova; the aristocratic, debt-ridden fortune hunter, Baron Von Galgern (Henry Hull); the lustful and conniving textile manufacturer, Preysing (Siegfried Rumann); his beautiful stenographer, Flammchen (Hortense Alden), who is willing to sacrifice her virtue for her pocketbook; and the pathetic, fatally ill bookkeeper in Preysing’s employ, Kringelein (Sam Jaffe), who is spending all his hard-earned savings in the one and only fling of his life.

The action tosses the baron and the ballerina together when—after using Kringelein’s adjoining room to enter Grusinskaia’s—he tries to steal her jewels to pay off his debt, but ends up falling in love with her and she with him. Preysing later shoots the baron when the latter—already having failed to rob Kringelein—is caught burglarizing the manufacturer’s room. Kringelein is sent off by Preysing with Flammchen, and Grusinskaia leaves for the station, where she will wait for the baron, who will never arrive.

Most reviews were highly favorable for this first directorial effort of Herman Shumlin, equally successful as a producer in the years to come. “Brilliantly directed, sensitively acted by an excellent cast, written with clairvoyant understanding of the great fabric of metropolitan life, Grand Hotel is one of the season’s finest achievement,” exclaimed Atkinson. Francis Ferguson stated, “The noises of the ceaseless jazz orchestra are well-managed, sometimes near and sometimes far, to keep the frayed nerves aquiver.” But, for all his respect for the staging, he found the play “pernicious, with its Mittel-Europaische pretentiousness, its undigested and aggressive gloom.” 

Henry Hull, Eugenie Leontovich in Grand Hotel

Of the various distinguished performances, the standout was the Russian-born Leontovich’s, who captured all the physicality and poignancy of the aging ballerina, played unforgettably on screen by Greta Garbo. 

Exactly a year later, Broadway’s Booth Theatre hosted If Love Were All, a comedy by Cutler Hatch directed by Agnes Morgan of Grand Street Follies repute. If love for it were offered it might not have vanished after only eleven showings. Brooks Atkinson scratched his head over the well-acted work, which apparently condoned adultery: “The situation is farce; the theme appears to be tragic; the characters are cut out of pasteboard; the ideas come out of books.”

Margaret Bryce (Aline McMahon) is in love with Frank Grayson (Hugh Buckler), which state of emotions they believe to be unknown to their respective daughter, Janet (Margaret Sullavan, at the beginning of her illustrious career), and son, Ronald (Donald Blackwell). The young ones are themselves an item. Fearful of the repercussions for their other parents (Walter Kingsford and Mabel Moore), Janet and Ronald scheme up a situation in which Margaret and Frank will hopefully have their fill of one another by spending an entire summer together.

Sam Jaffe (black suit, near window, looking at desk), Henry Hull (with cane, at table), Hortense Alden (seated, right corner)

Not only does this have the opposite effect of more firmly bonding the illicit lovers, it also leads to the disclosure that their spouses have known everything all along and that they have chosen to wink at the relationship.

It took two years for November 13 to witness another opening night, this one an adaptation from the French called I Was Waiting for You, also at the Booth, where it faded after eight showings. The original author was Jacques Natanson, the adaptor Melville Baker, the director Arthur J. Beckhardt, and the set designer the one name still remembered, Jo Mielziner.

Various well-known artists were involved in this reticently played adaptation, which John Mason Brown considered “disjointed and unpersuasive.” The symmetrical plot concerns a young man (Bretaigne Windust) who lives with an older woman (Vera Allen), but falls for a younger woman (Helen Brooks), who herself lives with an older man (Glenn Anders). The younger pair had known each other as kids; they realize they have been waiting for one another during the passing years. The older couple, former lovers themselves, reconcile themselves to their fates and recognize that they, too, have been waiting for each other.

The fine cast could do little to raise the play to Broadway standards. Minor roles were taken by Myron McCormick and Joshua Logan, both of whom, like Bretaigne Windust and Margaret Sullavan, had been part of the University Players, founded in Falmouth, MA, in 1928, and also included James Stewart, Henry Fonda, and Mildred Natwick, among other illustrious names. Buffs will remember that McCormick later created the role of Luther Billis in Rodgers and Hammerstein’s South Pacific, which Logan directed. Windust, for his sake, soon found his niche as a topnotch director. 

Company of Grand Hotel

In 1934, Brittle Heaven, by Vincent York and Frederick Pohl (Vanderbilt Theatre, 23), was another November 13 loser. It was based on Josephine Pollit’s eponymous biography of New England poet Emily Dickinson, and was staged by actor Clarence Derwent. Dickinson’s life would be dramatized a number of times, of course, the best version being The Belle of Amherst. A 1930 play, Alison’s House, had already done the job, albeit in a veiled, à clef manner. Brittle Heaven, called by Richard Lockridge a “stiff little play” had one saving grace, an expert performance of the poet by Dorothy Gish. 

It centers on the romantic relationship established during the Civil War between the belle of Amherst and Captain Edward Bissell Hung (Albert [Van] Dekker), which affair is historically controversial. Other Dickensonian factions support different candidates for the position of the writer’s unrequited lover. At any rate, Hunt is married to Emily’s best friend, Helen (Edith Atwater). The lovers reveal their feelings in a touching scene, but the captain is killed in the war, putting an end to any possible romantic future for them.

On the same night that Brittle Heaven opened, so did a revival of Lennox Robinson’s Irish play Drama at Inish, whose provenance needs some explanation? Almost precisely a year earlier, November 9, 1933, to be exact, Robinson had directed a New York cast in the same play at the Masque Theatre, but under a different title, Is Life Worth Living? It gathered only a dozen performances.A number of critics agreed that the reason they didn’t care for it—despite its recent London success—was that it needed a first-rate ensemble, like that of Dublin’s Abbey Theatre, of which Robinson himself was the head. 

In 1934, then, the play returned, using its original title, and performed by at the Golden Theatre by the visiting Abbey Theatre itself—albeit for only three showings—during a season of repertory. The critics found their views of the play’s satire on realistic drama (Strindberg, Ibsen, and Chekhov) vindicated, and rejoiced in the indigenous quality offered by the authentic Irish cast. John Anderson observed, “From the way I was laughing and poking my neighbors or myself in the ribs, I could scarcely believe that here was the same play which seemed so dismally unfunny when it was done lamely . . . only a year ago.”

Cast members included brothers Arthur Shields and Barry Fitzgerald, as well as May Craig, W. O’Gorman, and F.J. McCormick. Three years later, the Abbey was back with more repertory, and brought this play with them again, but, with some new casting, it failed to capture critical approval.

Helen Howe

We close with an Off-Broadway trifle from 1939 called Washington—All Change! (Labor Stage, 8), written and directed by Helen Howe, a monologist who also starred in what was a one-woman evening of leftist-oriented satirical sketches and characters based on various Washington, D.C. types and themes. Brooks Atkinson appreciated Howe’s basic talent, but discerned a lack of depth in the material. “Most of her evening is bright chit-chat, better suited to social clubs than to the theatre,” he said. In his view, the most impressive character was the Jewish refugee from Germany, Frau Bernstein, whose words reveal the anguish of her plight.

Howe also played a bespectacled Jewish radical lawyer, a fashionable hostess, a congresswoman who wants people to stop thinking, a Boston right-winger, and so on. It was all tenuously tied together by a tale about an aging senator’s trying to pass civil liberties issues legislation inspired by the persecution of a teacher who calls for America’s isolationism from the European war.

The latter part of November promises nostalgic riches as well, whatever the date chosen might be. See you then.

Click Here for #1 in the Series ON THIS DAY IN NEW YORK THEATER: MAY 14 IN THE 1920’S

Click Here for #2 in the Series ON THIS DAY IN NEW YORK THEATER: MAY 19 in the 1930’s

Click Here for #3 in the Series ON THIS DAY IN NEW YORK THEATER: MAY 24 IN THE 1920’S AND 1930’S

Click Here for #4 in the Series ON THIS DAY IN NEW YORK THEATER: MAY 29 in the 1920’S, 1930’S and 1940’S

Click Here for #5 in the Series ON THIS DAY IN NEW YORK THEATER: JUNE 3 in the 1920’s, 1930’s and 1940’s

Click Here for #6 in the Series ON THIS DAY IN NEW YORK THEATER: June 13 in the 1920’s, 1930’s and 1940’s

Click Here for #7 in the Series ON THIS DAY IN NEW YORK THEATER: June 20 in the 1920’a, 1930’s and 1940’s

Click Here for #8 in the Series ON THIS DAY IN NEW YORK THEATER: June 26 in the 1920’a, 1930’s and 1940’s

Click Here for #9 in the Series ON THIS DAY IN NEW YORK THEATER: July 6 in the 1920’a, 1930’s and 1940’s

Click Here for #10 in the Series ON THIS DAY IN NEW YORK THEATER: July 15 in the 1920’a, 1930’s and 1940’s

Click Here for #11 in the Series ON THIS DAY IN NEW YORK THEATER: July 27 in the 1920’a, 1930’s and 1940’s

Click Here for #12 in the Series ON THIS DAY IN NEW YORK THEATER: August 14 in the 1920’s, 1930’s and 1940’s

Click Here for #13 in the Series ON THIS DAY IN NEW YORK THEATER: August 31 in the 1920’s, 1930’s and 1940’s

Click Here for #14 in the Series ON THIS DAY IN NEW YORK THEATER: September 12 in the 1920’s, 1930’s and 1940’s

Click Here for #15 in the Series ON THIS DAY IN NEW YORK THEATER: October 11 in the 1920’s and 1930’s

Click Here for #16 in the Series ON THIS DAY IN NEW YORK THEATER: October 29th in the 1940’s

The Space Presents John Lloyd Young’s Vegas Holiday

THIS INTIMATE AND PERSONAL CONCERT WILL BE STREAMED LIVE FROM LAS VEGAS WITH JOLLY SUPRISES AND HOLIDAY MEMORIES ON FRIDAY, DECEMBER 4

November 7, 2020: Following the success of two previous live stream concerts from The Space in Las Vegas, Tony and Grammy Award-winner John Lloyd Young returns on Friday, December 4 with John Lloyd Young’s Vegas Holiday, an intimate and unforgettable evening of holiday classics and beloved favorites that will offer an up-close and personal experience to be enjoyed with family and friends safely from home with eggnog, popcorn, Christmas cookies and more. The 75 minute live streamed pay-per- view concert will begin at 6:00 PM PT and then be available OnDemand for one week following the live holiday event. The virtual VIP after-party will begin at 7:45 PM PT and include a talk-back, holiday surprises and an encore performance.

THIS INTIMATE AND PERSONAL CONCERT WILL BE STREAMED LIVE FROM LAS VEGAS WITH JOLLY SUPRISES AND HOLIDAY MEMORIES ON FRIDAY, DECEMBER 4

November 7, 2020: Following the success of two previous live stream concerts from The Space in Las Vegas, Tony and Grammy Award-winner John Lloyd Young returns on Friday, December 4 with John Lloyd Young’s Vegas Holiday, an intimate and unforgettable evening of holiday classics and beloved favorites that will offer an up-close and personal experience to be enjoyed with family and friends safely from home with eggnog, popcorn, Christmas cookies and more. The 75 minute live streamed pay-per- view concert will begin at 6:00 PM PT and then be available OnDemand for one week following the live holiday event. The virtual VIP after-party will begin at 7:45 PM PT and include a talk-back, holiday surprises and an encore performance.

John Lloyd Young’s Vegas Holiday fires up the season with classic, nostalgic rock, Motown and doo- wop, with a dollop of holiday favorites. With music director Tommy Faragher on piano, John Lloyd Young will sing Roy Orbison, Smokey Robinson, Little Anthony, some Jersey Boys and a good dose of holiday classics. After the concert, gather around the digital fireplace for a VIP holiday party with bonus songs, a Q&A with questions submitted by audience members in advance, surprise onstage gift exchanges between Tommy and John, and plenty of virtual eggnog and memories.

“It’s important to come together right now and remember how things used to be,” said John Lloyd Young. “We deserve to feel the comfort and joy that the holidays can bring. The songs will be great. The music will be beloved classics that will invite sing-alongs. And we will virtually raise a glass of eggnog together to toast the holidays.”

John Lloyd Young

JOHN LLOYD YOUNG is the Tony and Grammy Award-winning star from the Original Broadway Cast of Jersey Boys as well as Clint Eastwood’s Warner Bros. movie adaptation. Young is the only American actor to date to have received all four major Lead Actor honors in a Broadway musical: the Tony, Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle, and Theatre World Award. Young has performed concerts at The White House, Carnegie Hall, New Year’s Eve in Times Square, The Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center, the U.S. Embassy in Finland, Clint Eastwood’s Tehama Golf Club, The Hollywood Bowl, the

Cafe Carlyle as well as Feinstein’s/54 Below in New York, Feinstein’s at the Nikko in San Francisco and Feinstein’s at Vitello’s in Los Angeles. He served as a member of the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities, appointed by Barack Obama.

TOMMY FARAGHER (Music Direction). From producing the #1 Billboard hit “Teenage Dream” for the acclaimed TV show “Glee,” to producing and writing for such artists as Al Green, The O’Jays and Celin Dion, Grammy nominated Faragher has over four decades of experience in the music industry as one of the most prominent producers, composers, songwriters and arrangers within international entertainment. Faragher has been working with John Lloyd Young as his musical director, producer/co- writer since 2012, producing John’s album of Soul Classics “My Turn” and playing piano and directing live shows at The Cafe Carlyle, The Kennedy Center and venues all across the country.

ABOUT THE SPACE:

The Space is Las Vegas’ Community Driven, Charity Based Arts Complex consisting of a 3000 square foot raw performance/event space, Black Box Theatre, Rehearsal Studio, Podcast Studio, and a Piano Bar. Since opening, it has hosted Tony Winners, Grammy Winners, fashion shows to birthday parties. They currently bring entertainment directly to guests, pay-per-view style, to bring Broadway and live music lovers the very best talent without leaving the safety of their homes, while also providing artists with the opportunity to earn income while reaching out to their fans during these challenging times.

John Lloyd Young’s Vegas Holiday will stream live from The Space in Las Vegas on Friday, December 4 at 6:00 PM PT/9:00 PM ET. The pay-per-view concert is $30 and the concert with VIP virtual after- party is $100 beginning at 7:45 PM PT/10:45 PM ET. The concert will be available OnDemand for one week following the live performance. For tickets and additional information, please visit www.thespacelv.com.

Excerpt from Superstar ~ Jesus Christ Superstar – 3

Excerpt from Superstar ~ Jesus Christ Superstar:Landmark Rock Opera to Worldwide Phenomenon

 By: Ellis Nassour

Part Three   ~   What’s the Buzz

November 6, 2020: Way ahead of the U.K. and U.S. was the popularity the single was reaping on the international scene, and from being programmed on the Armed Forces radio network and Radio Luxembourg. The FM stations were the first to jump on the bandwagon, but pop stations still held out. 

Excerpt from Superstar ~ Jesus Christ Superstar:Landmark Rock Opera to Worldwide Phenomenon

 By: Ellis Nassour

Part Three   ~   What’s the Buzz

November 6, 2020: Way ahead of the U.K. and U.S. was the popularity the single was reaping on the international scene, and from being programmed on the Armed Forces radio network and Radio Luxembourg. The FM stations were the first to jump on the bandwagon, but pop stations still held out. 

Andrew Lloyd Webber’s hope was that a hit single would lead to a rock opera album, which would lead to concerts, which would to a stage production. However, the record never soared above the high 80s on the Billboard and Cash Box charts. 

By May 1969 sales had only slightly exceeded 100,000 copies. For most 45 R.P.M. releases that would be healthy; but the future of a Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber rock opera appeared dubious. MCA promotion went into hard drive. Mainly thanks to FM stations, the record was achieving a cult following. Finally, pop stations in major cities relaxed the taboo. An item in Time also helped sales. It also gave the first hint more was on the way: “A rock opera about Jesus Christ is now being written in London.” 

MCA brass figured an album was the right way to go, even if it meant more spending.  But they were impatient and wanted it for Fall 1970 release. A strict deadline was established – and ignored. Used to Lloyd Webber’s spending habits, brass knew a budget would useless and created one anyway.

A sea change in leadership was about to happen. A no nonsense power executive who believed strictly in the bottom line was about to take over operations.

In mid-March, orchestrations, arrangements, and songs were done. Development of art work and such legalities as copyrights were underway. Casting for lead singers and rock groups soon would be completed. Even though he foresaw delays, Brolly all but promised a master tape by May. 

Lloyd Webber and Rice knew who they wanted – top drawer musicians and top drawer talent.

The composer had his mind set on working with Cream guitarist Eric Clapton. He arranged a meeting with high-living entrepreneur Robert Stigwood, who had worked with Beatles manager Brian Epstein and now was having a huge success managing the Herd [Peter Frampton], Rod Stewart, Fleetwood Mac, and especially the Bee Gees. 

“The audience,” recalled the composer, “ended with Tim and me graciously being show the door of his grand Mayfair offices.” 

Stigwood’s version differs. He stated that in addition to seeking Clapton, the duo wanted him to present the rock opera onstage. “I was far from certain it was a sure-fire thing,” he stated, “and suggested they come back and see me later.” The snub really bummed Lloyd Webber…

As Lloyd Webber and Rice rushed to complete their score, they felt a need a love ballad, but who would be in love with whom? That’s how “I Don’t Know How to Love Him,” focusing on Mary’s devotion, even affection, for Jesus. It’s one of the rock opera’s most famous/most cherished songs, but Rice described his lyrics as “abysmal songwriting.” Lloyd Webber’s intro pays tribute to Mendelssohn’s “Violin Concerto in E Minor.” As it kicks into pop gear, he quotes from “Kansas Morning,” a tune written for the duo’s 1969 publishing contract with Southern Music, but which was never recorded. Co-manager David Land bought back the rights, a steal at £100… 

~~~

Rice, trying to be cost-conscious since he and Lloyd Webber were £1,500 in the red, hoped to hire artists who’d take royalty points. Head and Gillan agreed. Others, keeping in mind U.K. sales for “Superstar” were poor, preferred cash. The Grease Band, with no Joe Cocker gigs on the horizon and who’d be playing literally on every track, wanted session fees. Rice wasn’t pleased but since they proved to be the ultimate pros, often the glue holding everything together, he found money to pay them. 

Next came the all-important matter of casting. There were intense negotiations over salary to keep Head onboard. They succeeded. But who’d play Jesus? The duo wanted a name…

Lloyd Webber attended a Deep Purple concert which featured the London Symphony, which confirmed his and Rice’s notion that rock and classical could work. The band was relaunching with Ian Gillan as lead vocalist and Lloyd Webber asked to hear his demos.  When he delivered a blood curdling blast of heavy metal shouting on “Child in Time,” Lloyd Webber turned to Rice. Words weren’t necessary. They’d found their Jesus. So excited was Lloyd Webber, he rewrote arrangements to suit his range.

A fruitless search for Mary Magdalene was underway. Lloyd Webber happened into a hip Chelsea club in the hope of finding a jazz vocalist for Pontius Pilate. Sitting there, he was bowled over by the opening act, “soft-voiced, angelic” 17-year-old American/Hawaiian-Japanese, Yvonne Elliman… He thought, “Everything I had wanted for Mary Magdalene was there in front of me.” 

“This young guy approached me and said softly, ‘I’ve found my Mary.'” Elliman recalled. “I didn’t know who he was or what he was talking about. I thought him a bit wacky, but I said, ‘Okay.’ He told me about the rock opera.” She laughed, thinking he was a “Jesus-freak” and maybe wanted her for “a hot-gospel album,” which didn’t turn her on. The next night the duo heard her. Lloyd Webber gave Elliman the just-completed “Everything’s Alright.” She worked on it a week, wowed him and Rice again and again. The role was hers… 

For the highly-charged role of Pilate, Head mentioned Chicago native Barry Dennen, who left Greenwich Village’s swinging 60s for London. Lloyd Webber recognized him as the flamboyant M.C. he’d seen on the West End in Kander and Ebb’s Cabaret, where he had etched a lasting presence in his psyche… The duo soon learned his back story. He came from wealth, had a UCLA theater arts degree, and had been devastated by his breakup with young Barbra Streisand, whom he mentored to her first successes 

 “Heaven on Their Minds,” the first song following the overture, and Act One’s “Everything’s Alright” were written in December. By end of February, there were 24 songs.  

 Jesus Christ’s motley crew was made up of 10 singers and a roster of 26 apostles, priests, Roman soldiers, lepers, and temple vendors — an ensemble worthy of a West End or Broadway musical. 

Lloyd Webber’s arrangement and orchestration for the overture, one second short of four minutes, was highly regarded by the pros. It’s a mix of synthesizer, strings, fierce guitar work, chamber music, symphony orchestra, electronic piano, soul singers, and choir — all strongly complimented by driving, repetitive percussion spiked with tidbits of mini-drum fanfare and flute-influenced crescendos. Amazingly, it all blended into an eerie and powerful whole… Everyone marveled at how Rice managed to crowd in lyrics five beats to the bar…

~~~

Mike Maitland, a label president at Atlantic Records, which encompassed Warner Records, became embroiled in a power struggle with corporate president, the powerful Ahmet Ertegün, who to secure his own position fired Maitland. MCA, badly in need of reorganization, saw a golden opportunity. Not surprisingly, after his success with Warner’s, Maitland drove a hard bargain, with the added cache of demanding full creative control. Negotiations were long and hard. Ultimately, he became labels president. Immediately, his eye was on the bottom line. He made drastic changes.

One of the first things addressed was the rock opera’s session overtime. There were clashes. Much pressure was put on Brolly, who put it on session engineer Alan O’Duffy, who put it on Lloyd Webber and Rice – or attempted to. While creating their masterpiece, the composer felt slighted by such demands, and simply ignored them — losing more good will, not that it concerned him. What could they do? It wasn’t as if they didn’t need him.  

Sadly, that was the case. Only the duo knew what was going on and it was all in their heads. 

Sessions were so loosely organized that when the boys arrived at the studio, they took roll. “What we did each day depended on who was around and what kind of mood they were in,” explained O’Duffy. “Andrew was always touching up the arrangements, and Tim roaming the halls trying to gather a quorum so we could record. When we came up short, he and Andrew joined in on background parts.”

To avoid huge fees for the orchestra sitting idly about, O’Duffy recorded music tracks   first. The glue that helped hold the recording enterprise together was the Grease Band, supplemented by well-known rockers… 

Head and Gillan were in intense competition, giving their all over long hours. For the best segues from soft notes to falsetto screams, they tied. Each delivers one dazzling moment after another. 

In fact, there is no shortage of superb performances. Elliman effortlessly contributed poignant  moments with her ballads. Dennen’s ability to change keys within songs to go from falsetto to tenor without a breath created addictive, often harrowing listening. His “Pilate’s Dream” showcased his   His ability to run keys and sing in anguished measures, makes it one of the rock opera’s most shattering moments… 

Several worried about the length of some tunes as far as radio airplay was concerned. “Everything’s Alright” ran in excess of five minutes. It’s also where you first hear Lloyd Webber’s innovations shine in syncopated beats and his out-of-the-ordinary arrangements – especially where percussion kicked.  “The Last Supper,” which begins the second half, ran over seven minutes, the longest and one of the most poignant sequences.

“King Herod’s Song,” the most audacious tune of the rock opera, memorably performed by Manfred Mann’s Mike d’Abo, came about because Lloyd Webber had a hunch that with the harrowing drama of Judas’ “Damned for All Time”/“Blood Money” and “Pilate and Christ,” things needed to lighten up a bit. It’s rooted in “Try It and See,” written months earlier for the Eurovision competition and which was intended for Jesus. However, it was felt to be much too lightweight. Rice did a total lyric overhaul and it was retitled. The song, raucous, black comic, British music hall vaudeville with more than a dash of soul, stands out — more often than not, controversially.

Head has an originally unplanned moment late in the score. He’d told Lloyd Webber he liked “I Don’t Know How to Love Him” and wanted to sing it. Lloyd Webber slyly introduced six lines for Head to croon. Accompanied only by acoustic guitar, he effortlessly changes keys and creates magic…

The last tunes to be recorded were “Gethsemane,” with Gillan reaching every power note he possessed; and “Judas’ Death,” with Head exploding such rawness on the last chords that he blacked out. 

The rock opera wrapped in July. Halleluiah and amen, it was done – all 87 stirring minutes and 16 seconds. And, to many, overdone. There were 60 sessions, 400 hours of recording. It took up four master reels. Brolly and Leander thought the piece too long. Set for a two-disc release, a third would make the album price-prohibitive. Cuts were made

After months of rehearsals, sessions, and retakes, instead of celebrating, Rice was fighting bouts of paranoia. All he could think of was how much he and Lloyd Webber owed MCA and how long it would take to recoup session expenses and see real money or if they’d achieve fame and fortune

~~~

On August 27, MCA New York received the final mix on test pressings. “This is a truly phenomenal work,” wrote Brolly… “I have no doubts of its outstanding aesthetic values and absolutely no doubt that creative and aggressive selling and promotion will make this set one of the biggest selling albums in our history.” 

New York also learned of a title change. Brolly added Superstar to the working title Jesus Christ. The cost was an astronomical $65,000, but that far from exact. Sky high as the final cost was, had Jesus Christ Superstar been produced in the U.S., its cost would have at least doubled 

Lloyd Webber had taken free rein; and, though costly, it was worth it. There’s genius in his meticulous, lavish arrangements. Rice with his non-traditional lyrics, came up with something unique, innovative. The result was something that would have a huge impact on how rock would be recorded.

Rice was always on the hot seat where the lyrics were concerned. There were more than a few claims he was anti-religion, which he strongly refuted. The more and closer you listen to the lyrics, it’s difficult not to be struck by the depth of  thought Rice put into each phrase – and how he delved beyond scripture to tackle contemporary issues. This wasn’t so obvious to him until later. At the time, he was self critical, terming some lyrics “ridiculous.” He received high praise for his audacious cleverness – such as using hip phrases and his tongue-twisting “Heysanna Sanna Sanna Ho” on “Hosanna.” 

It didn’t long for a foreboding of gloom set in. Even though Jesus Christ Superstar was a huge achievement, there was no interest in the U.K. It would be in the U.S. where the album would find its place in the history books as one of the best-selling albums in recording history.

~~~

Almost a year after the release of the single, the day of the album unveiling in the U.S. arrived — Tuesday, October 27, 1970, at St. Peter’s Lutheran Church [now demolished]. It was quickly dubbed “The Last Supper”… Four hundred engraved invitations had been mailed to media and clergy.

Monday, just before 7 P.M., with things finally quiet at MCA’s offices at Park Avenue and 57th Street, the director of artist relations was about to head home. The phone rang, and rang. Someone yelled: “It’s for you!?” He picked up the blinking line. The caller identified himself as Robert Stigwood, a name he didn’t recognize, and informed he needed to be in touch with the duo. The director took his information and said he’d pass it on. At their hotel, the boys were out. He left the message, marked urgent.

Lloyd Webber, remembering Stigwood’s slight, ignored it. Stigwood’s assistants kept calling; then began showering the duo with wine and Champagne. Still, the composer continued to ignore him. Stigwood persisted. Co-manager David Land advised Lloyd Webber it wasn’t wise to ignore Stigwood. “Robert’s calls were incessant,” recalled Lloyd Webber. “The longer I waited to return the calls, the longer were the limos that were sent to pick us up.” 

It may have slipped Lloyd Webber’s mind, but Stigwood, now a theater producer, had a huge hit on the West End with Tom O’Horgan’s production of Hair.

Finally, the boys to accept Stigwood’s invite and were whisked away in a well-appointed and stocked stretch limo to his Upper East Side townhouse, where they were wined and dined in unimaginable opulence…

While enjoying caviar, gourmet dining, and an endless array of no-expense-spared  wines, Lloyd Webber thought now that he and Rice had their album, with the boss’ operations, there could be concert tours. Realizing Stigwood was producing for the stage, maybe he’d also get the  stage production he dreamed of since childhood.

However, amid mishap after mishap, it would take a while before manna rained down again on Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice.

Click Here for Part One Excerpt From Superstar – Jesus Christ Superstar

Click Here for Part Two Excerpt From Superstar – Jesus Christ Superstar

Special 3K – Triple Threat

Kea Chan, Denise Kara, Kayla Merrow are SPECIAL 3K – the Triple Threat appearing in a LIVE Virtual Concert on Dec. 11th / DON’T STOP BELIEVING! A Musical Entertainment to Escape from the Madness

October 30, 2020: A new concert created and produced by Robert R Blume of Step Forward Entertainment with Pat Labez and Cambridge Productions will feature a return engagement of the SPECIAL 3K triple threat of the trio of rising young stars – Kea Chan, Denise Kara, Kayla Merrow – returning with their new concert DON’T STOP BELIEVING on Friday, December 11th at 10pm EST seen exclusively on Metropolitan Zoom!

Kea Chan, Denise Kara, Kayla Merrow are SPECIAL 3K – the Triple Threat appearing in a LIVE Virtual Concert on Dec. 11th / DON’T STOP BELIEVING! A Musical Entertainment to Escape from the Madness

October 30, 2020: A new concert created and produced by Robert R Blume of Step Forward Entertainment with Pat Labez and Cambridge Productions will feature a return engagement of the SPECIAL 3K triple threat of the trio of rising young stars – Kea Chan, Denise Kara, Kayla Merrow – returning with their new concert DON’T STOP BELIEVING on Friday, December 11th at 10pm EST seen exclusively on Metropolitan Zoom!

The three young female performers, with a guest appearance by Justin Senense, will return to the virtual concert stage of MetropolitanZoom.com where they enjoyed a hit Special 3K concert in early August 2020.  The December 11th concert will reprise some of the requested performances from their prior concert with new musical numbers added as they look to entertain the audience and help them “escape from the madness of our times.” The concert will also feature international music director Bobby DeLeon on the keyboard.

Robert R. Blume, President of Step Forward Entertainment said “Getting a call from Metropolitan Zoom owner Bernard Furshpan to do another concert because of the tremendous success of the last one was exciting for all of us.  We are looking forward to getting together at the new Metropolitan Zoom Studio A in Long Island City to perform the live show at this virtual nightclub site which adds to the excitement.” 

The virtual LIVE Special 3K, Triple Threat concert Don’t Stop Believing! has tickets available from $20 to $40 purchased online at https://metropolitanzoom.ticketleap.com.  

Metropolitan Zoom owner, Bernard Furshpan has created a virtual night Club different from typical jazz, cabaret, and comedy Live Streaming because the production is set on a venue stage and performers are able to engage with virtual audiences via Zoom and see their facial reactions, just like an in-person night club experience”  – perfect for the Special 3K Triple Threat concert.

Quotes from recent reviews:

“This young trio of performers managed by Bob Blume and Step Forward Entertainment gave me one of the most entertaining nights of streaming that I have watched. These 3 young performers proved their talent and high-octane energy was contagious.” … Suzanna Bowling, Times Square Chronicles

“I truly appreciated the finale that included a re-appearance of all the artists.  Kea Chan was particularly strong with “That’s Life,” bringing her own brand of soul music to the stage.  After almost six months of not attending a show at a cabaret or nightclub, the recognizable was heartening and the evening was absolutely joyful.” …Marcina Zaccaria, TheaterPizzazz.com

About the Performers:

KEA CHAN (Special 3K)
Broadwayworld.com called Ms. Chan “breathtaking”.  Times Square Chronicles (t2conline.com) heralded Kea as “a performer to keep your eye on”. This native Filipina most recently appeared in The Actors Fund benefit concert celebrating the music of Neil Sedaka.  She also appeared on the Amazon Prime TV series, Homicide City and performed in several concerts at The Green Room 42.  A finalist for the lead role of Kim in the recent Broadway revival of Miss Saigon, Kea had the honor of singing for the Presidents and Ambassadors of the Philippines, Japan, Singapore and Hong Kong.  Performing since she was 11, Kea won the Philippine Child Performer of the Year at 13.  Kea has appeared in indie film shorts on the film festival circuit, Bronx SIU on Amazon Prime, Las Vegas hotels, the Hudson Guild Theater, The Triad and Feinstein’s 54 Below. 


DENISE KARA (Special 3K)
At 10 years old, Kara has made a name for herself in the Filipino-American community as a major live performer.  She recently appeared in The Actors Fund benefit concert celebrating the music of Neil Sedaka.  

She has been featured at The Green Room 42 in the American Popular Song Society Christmas Special.  She auditioned for TOMMY on CBS and Nickelodeon, where she impressed the casting directors.  She appeared in the virtual concert benefit for My Sisters Keeper, which raised money for the African American community and was a highlight.  She also performed in Luminaries a concert celebrating Filipinos of Achievement.  Kara sings, dances, writes original songs, plays ukulele and piano! Kara is dedicating this concert to her grandmother who recently passed away.

KAYLA MERROW (Special 3K)
A newcomer to the business, Kayla has most recently appeared in The Actors Fund benefit concert celebrating the music of Neil Sedaka.  This 19-year-old professional actor/singer/dancer is still in college but is competing for professional jobs. She has performed as a guest singer in several shows and competitions. Some of her favorite roles have been portraying the fabulous Reno Sweeney in Anything Goes, and the mysterious Wednesday Addams in The Addams Family Musical.

JUSTIN SENENSE (Guest Performer)
An American actor/singer of Philippine heritage, Justin most recently appeared in The Actors Fund benefit concert celebrating the music of Neil Sedaka. He was also seen playing the lead in the award winning indie short film Howard. Some of his favorite credits include, Angel in Rent (Westchester Broadway Theatre), Benjamin in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (National Tour) and Hair (Italian Tour).  He is also a director of cabaret performances. 

BOBBY DELEON (Music Director/Piano)
Bobby was the MD/Keyboard on the recent concert Looking Toward Tomorrow with the girls, as well as the accompanist for both Kara and Kayla in the Neil Sedaka concert. He is an extraordinary, international music director, arranger and pianist who plays entirely by ear!  He has conducted shows for some of the most prominent Philippine stars and performers both in the US and abroad.

About the Producer:

Step Forward Entertainment, an entertainment production and talent management company headquartered in New York City, represents clients in Los Angeles, Florida and other areas in the US. The company was founded by renowned producer / talent manager, Robert R. Blume (“Bob”).  With strong roots on Broadway as an Executive Producer of the annual Drama Desk Awards from 1999 to 2018, Mr. Blume represents talent and produces TV, film and theatre. He is proud to present this virtual concert in association with Pat Labez and Marya Coburn of Cambridge Productions. For more information visit www.StepForwardEntertainment.com

Excerpt from Superstar ~ Jesus Christ Superstar 2

Excerpt from Superstar ~ Jesus Christ Superstar:Landmark Rock Opera to Worldwide Phenomenon

By: Ellis Nassour

Part Two  =  Into the Fire (and Brimstone)

November 2, 2020: As things got down to business between new writing partners Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber, billing negotiations ensued. Lloyd Webber decided the partnership would be Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice. Not so fast, said Rice. He suggested Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber had a better ring. It was a stalemate. Lloyd Webber, far from pleased, caved. 

Excerpt from Superstar ~ Jesus Christ Superstar:Landmark Rock Opera to Worldwide Phenomenon

By: Ellis Nassour

Part Two  =  Into the Fire (and Brimstone)

November 2, 2020: As things got down to business between new writing partners Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber, billing negotiations ensued. Lloyd Webber decided the partnership would be Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice. Not so fast, said Rice. He suggested Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber had a better ring. It was a stalemate. Lloyd Webber, far from pleased, caved. 

Thus, began the collaboration of the U.K.’s Oscar Hammerstein II and Richard Rodgers ..  Two years passed. Hope of seeing their names in lights on the West End dimmed with each month… He and Rice deemed their sung-through innovation worked well. Rice: “It showed our abilities complimented each other.” 

[Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice reunited in 2005 to present and record The Likes of Us at the composer’s estate with a cast of 20, including Rice in the role of, among others, the auctioneer. Lloyd Webber used motifs from it in other works.] 

Forays into pop tunes, even a couple with a classical bent, brought little attention. To sustain himself, Rice took a trainee position at EMI Records, the U.K.’s preeminent label. He soon became assistant to hit-making producer Norrie Paramor and was producing minor acts. He attempted unsuccessfully to get Lloyd Webber work as an arranger …

When Paramor formed his own label, he asked Rice to be his personal assistant. It’d be a step up, with a salary increase… As Rice became more involved, Lloyd Webber became concerned. Things had changed, but the team wasn’t dissolved – it was just that nothing gelled. 

Unfulfilled at Oxford, at the end of the 1966 summer term, Lloyd Webber stunned his family and Rice by dropping out of Oxford … [He eventually] attended the prestigious Guildhall School of Music and Drama, taking courses in orchestration and arranging… 

Alan Doggett, St. Paul’s Cathedral’s prep school/ Hammersmith headmaster, approached them to write an end-of-term cantata for his choir and musicians. Rice wasn’t enthused about writing for kids until Lloyd Webber came upon the Old Testament/Genesis story of Joseph – the 11th son of Jacob and first born of second wife Rachel, who grew to have great character, become his father’s favorite, and possess a coveted coat of many colors. It was a favorite’s of the lyricist. 

What transpired wasn’t a solemn pageant, but irreverent and fun. According to Rice, “The best way to a child’s heart was through laughter.” He had trouble convincing Lloyd Webber his use of outlandish rhymes and puns would work. The result was How to Succeed in Egypt without Trying; then, Pal Joseph; and, finally, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Lloyd Webber attempted in vain to get Rice to change “Technicolor” to “many-colored.”

The sung-through cantata ran under a half hour and boasted 22 tunes – with  each one, according to Rice ”coming off the Andrew Lloyd Webber conveyor belt sounding like a winner.”  It garnered media coverage as a prominent columnist’s son was in the cast. 

As lively as the cannily inventive rock songs with their cryptic phrases were, the ballads stood out. The most poignant, “Close Every Door,” sung by Joseph, is a cross between a torch ballad and something a cantor would sing in temple. It was the first example of Rice’s depth as an innovative lyricist and Lloyd Webber’s ability to fit it to a rapturous melody. Oddly, it’s not one of Rice’s favorites.

The other standout is “Any Dream Will Do,” a complex take on Joseph’s ability to interpret dreams. Rice asserts it is one of the five best tunes the duo has written.

Joseph garnered vast appeal. Numerous encores and regional concerts followed. It was expanded for commercial productions. The process was a learning experience for the boys and not always easy-going on the business end [at one point, Lloyd Webber felt Paramor was blackmailing him.]…  

The problem with being in the spotlight is that when it fades, you’re left in a deep vacuum… The partners pondered new projects…  Lloyd Webber met with real estate mogul/talent manager Sefton Myers and his partner, attorney David Land, for sponsorship. When the team offered a contract, with a weekly stipend and an office to brainstorm ideas, Rice vacillated. Though enjoying a modicum of success, he admitted he wasn’t very good in the stick-to-it department — the sole exception was his work with Lloyd Webber. For four years, even if it wasn’t always smooth, they’d been consistent.

When Lloyd Webber gave an ultimatum, Rice, still racked with doubt, reluctantly signed. He gave an exemplary reason: other than their friendship, it was his trust in Andrew and the red-hot certainty that he had the talent to make it… Ideas came, very little came of them…  

In 1969, as Lloyd Webber conversed with Father Ken Hewett and pondered over what to do next, the priest prompted, “You have a success with a Bible story. Why not do a musical on Christ’s life? Not the standard fare, but a composition that modern youth can identify with.”  Lloyd Webber laughed, stating, “What a terrible idea! It’ll never sell.” 

When he broached the idea with Rice, he wasn’t enthusiastic. Both thought the project would be too controversial; and to many, quite offensive. They pursued other ideas to no avail. It wasn’t lost on them that a Biblical story was their bread and butter. What once might have been too controversial a year ago might not be now. A musical about Jesus would be explosive and really put them on the map – for better or worse.

In the wake of the British rock invasion in the States, U.S. labels searched the Isles for the next power group…  Rice’s arranger/ producer friend Mike Leander became A&R of chief of MCA Music’s British subsidiary. He invited Rice to drop by to listen to a recording of Joseph‘s “Any Dream Will Do” As they chatted, Leander inquired, “What about that musical you and Andrew were working on – the one that would present Jesus as a flesh-and-blood man.” Rice was flummoxed. He had no recollection of mentioning it. 

Father Hewett and the meeting with Leander began the chain of events that turned everything around for Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber, that totally changed their lives, and that would soon change the perception and parameters of what music could do – rock music.

Much time was spent mulling over their approach, which Rice said should be different, bold, interesting, yet delicate. It couldn’t be the type of story recounted in films such as King of Kings or The Greatest Story Ever Told; and it couldn’t be a typical rock concept… In fact, could it be rock at all?

“Because of my background,” recalls Rice, “we considered rock; and with Andrew’s knowledge o the classics, opera. Then, we had the idea, ‘Why not combine them?’ The Who caused quite a stir calling their Tommy a rock opera. That’s how it all came about.’’ 

They felt out friends, colleagues, and family. Comments ranged from “It’s a foolish idea” and “Religion isn’t a commercial subject” to “British youth, nor adults, are going to be interested.”  So, of course, they decided to tempt fate…

Speaking to the press, the composer described their work as “a serious attempt to stimulate discussion about Jesus Christ.” It wasn’t lost on the duo that they were entering uncharted, sensitive territory. Even thought they were not setting out to offend anyone, any religion, or be spokesmen for their generation. “Our goal is merely to create a serious but entertaining record. We want to make Christ more real, bring him down from the stained glass windows. We based the story on what’s known of His last seven days. We haven’t altered the evidence, but we’ve interpreted it in our own way.” 

Lloyd Webber predicted that undertaking even the most devout approach would be controversial, “However, if a bit of controversy created a chart-busting hit, so be it.”  Their rock opera took place against the backdrop of Christ’s last seven, leading to His passion and crucifixion – from shouts of hosanna to betrayal… /

The duo’s aim was to humanize Jesus since they found His portrayal in the Bible as God unrealistic. They chose not to frame the story around Jesus’ divinity. Rather, Rice posited, quite offensively to many, that Jesus felt human emotions – such as frustration, impatience, resentment, and was confused and unaware of who He is.  

Lloyd Webber and Rice were not high up on the Anglican Church’s list of religious scholars, but certainly had bold opinions.

“Christ, in fact, never said He was God,” asserted Lloyd Webber. “He always said He was the son of man.”  Rice interjected, “Or [claimed] God was His father, which anybody can say. We approached the arc of the rock opera from the point of Christ the man, without wishing to destroy anyone’s belief in Christ as God. It’s a great story because Christ is a fascinating man – because Judas is a fascinating man. I have the right, everybody does, to my ideas.” 

The verdict was yet to come. They quickly found out how the British record labels felt.

Myers shopped the project. Labels had no desire to be embroiled in religious controversy. Reminded by Rice of his conversation with Leander, Myers went to MCA. He found Leader beyond enthused…Money for the rock opera/album. An estimated £20,000, would come from the U.S. MCA liked the idea of a rock opera because of their success with The Who’s Tommy. Still, an album from two virtual unknowns with Jesus Christ in its title would be a risk…

To test the waters, they opted for a preview: a couple of tracks on 45 RPM (single). The boys had progressed with enough material. Leander and label president Brian Brolly chose something they thought would be radically different, radically exciting. It was and certainly wasn’t delicate. They went for the jugular: “Jesus Christ” was a powerful and scorching protest tune, then sung by Everyman. 

The root music came from a half-composed tune from the duo’s abandoned King David. Lloyd Webber was happy Rice’s new lyrics perfectly fit the purloined music: “Jesus Christ, Jesus Christ/Who are You? What have you sacrificed” replaced “Samuel, Samuel/This is the first book of Samuel.”

The duo went to work full throttle. Told of the strict budget, Lloyd Webber informed Brolly he didn’t want “anything fancy” – just a symphony orchestra [56 musicians – some recruited from the London Philharmonic, with more than half in the string section], a rock band with top musicians, an organ, a gospel choir, and soul singers.

The budget grew to a whopping £10, 000. Lloyd Webber decided he was the logical choice to do orchestrations and arrangements. No one disagreed. It took six weeks. The duo decided they, not Leander, would produce…

Rice recommended Murray Head, whom he’d produced at EMI, for Everyman. Head, a 23-year-old Scottish white-collar worker with a light tenor voice, had been in the music business since his teens. He had an off-beat reputation as a songwriter/guitarist, and as one the cast members in Tom O’Horgan’s West End Hair who stripped nude briefly. On hearing the tune, Head was reluctant to say yes. With his recording career in decline, he was looking for movies. He had been called back after an audition for director John Schlesinger for a lead role in Sunday, Bloody, Sunday, a romantic triangle involving him, Peter Finch, and Glenda Jackson [he got the part]. 

Waiting for shooting to start, and highly dubious of any success for the record, Head signed on. For the composers, his gesture was more evidence that they were creating something – whether loved or loathed, appreciated or misunderstood – that would be hard to ignore. 

The sessions began in September at Olympic Studios. Many in the industry referred to the project as “Brian’s Folly.”

The single became “I Only Want to Know.” Rice worried that his oft-repeated chorus of “Jesus Christ, Jesus Christ” was boring and a word was needed to describe Jesus. He noted that most every pop star was being called a superstar, and who better than Jesus Christ should have that title. That sparked a title rechristening to “Superstar”… 

Rice was determined to stick close to Biblical text, While acquainting himself with the passion of Christ in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, he became drawn to the apostle Judas Iscariot. He also pondered if Jesus came into the contemporary world He be accorded divine status. Furthermore, how would Judas be perceived?

He was drawn to Bob Dylan’s 1964 album The Times They Are a-Changing and the last verse of “God on Our Side,” about the morality of wars Dylan sings he’s been thinking about Jesus being betrayed by a kiss and that the listener will have to decide if Judas had God on his side.

Rice found Judas to be a sympathetic character who, “early on, was waving Jesus ‘flag, very much on His’ side regarding corruption and the principles of good and evil.” The wordsmith wanted to present him as an Everyman. Lloyd Webber agreed. 

Lloyd Webber seemed to have done his share of deep research when he claimed, “Judas was the most intelligent of the outfit, the others were not particularly bright.”

To Rice’s way of thinking, there’d be no Christianity without Judas, because the apostle’s betrayal, forgetting prophecy and the doctrine of predestination, beget Jesus’ “martyrdom” – thereby “giving the world a tragic hero around whom a whole religion would coalesce.”  

Judas’ origins in the New Testament are so vague that it allowed Rice to create what he termed a flesh-and-blood character – even hypothesize psychological reasons that lead him to forsake Jesus. He gives Judas a clear motive to do with he does – the betrayal; and to feel he’s doing the right thing to save Jesus’ message if not the messenger. 

Rice writes that Judas’ post betrayal remorse and suicide ring “truer to life than the dispassionate scriptural text which just reports he repented and hung himself.

The more he researched, the more he saw that Judas was presented as a cardboard cut-out figure of evil without a back story to explain how he came to betray Jesus. His and Rice’s take was an attempt to explain “what Judas did, and also why Christ went so meekly to His death. Jesus is fallible, human, never sure of Himself, whether or not He is God. He decides he must die to attract more attention to His movement, which has gone as far as it can”… 

They often stated this was the thesis they were laying out and listeners could take it from there.             

Suddenly, Judas, not Jesus, became the rock opera’s central character; and would now sing “Superstar.”

The finished tune was a blistering tirade against Jesus by and a chorus of soul singers. An innovation for the time, Lloyd Webber’s orchestration was a mash-up of rock, symphony orchestra, and soul that grew in power as the chorus shouted “Jesus Christ, Jesus Christ!”

Rice described the October sessions with a tinge of poignancy: “Murray sang beautifully, with great strength and passion … with the pop vocalists echoing his anguished cries of ‘Don’t you get me wrong’ and ‘I only want to know,’ the classical orchestral lineup adding all kinds of color and mystery … The power of the music now easily matched that of the lyric, and all concerned knew we had created something out of the ordinary.”

MCA U.K shipped the record, 3,500 of them, November 21, 1969. At home, MCA released on the 23rd, though many stations, especially FM, had already received the single with most ignoring it. Both mounted huge promotional campaigns, but before they could worry about outraging Christian and Jews, there had to be airplay. There was little. Radio stations were scared of offending listeners; then, came vicious outcries from the evangelical front…

Apart from two favorable trade reviews, response was muted. The media, noted Rice, “didn’t see anything of particular interest in our effort.”

 Record Retailer did take notice, but not the desired kind desired. It called “Superstar” “possibly the most controversial record ever released … a direct attack on the teachings and beliefs of Jesus Christ.” MCA-U.K. lost a valuable asset when BBC banned the record. Stations, networks elsewhere followed suit.

In late January, 1970, Brolly pushed to green light Jesus Christ on the premise that such a controversial project would find an audience. Even though there were grave doubts, one thing for certain: MCA was in industry news, which was great for the British startup division. Finally, all agreed it was a great opportunity to be taken seriously as a competitor, to create something extraordinary, hopefully, to be on top for a change and not at the bottom of the chart roster.

The label wanted the album for Fall release, which meant haste makes waste. 
With so much money on the line, the big worry was if Lloyd Webber could stay on budget. No one imagined he could. But a sea change was about to happen and the new label president was a stickler for sticking to the bottom line. Needless to say, there were clashes.

END OF PART TWO  

Tune in Friday for Part Three. Even with less-than-enthused reception to the “Superstar single,” the album goes forward. Follow Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber  selectively cast the rock opera and through the hectic recording sessions right to the launch in New York at The Last Supper.        

Click Here for Part One Excerpt From Superstar – Jesus Christ Superstar

Moby-Dick on BroadwayHD

BroadwayHD expands partnership with San Francisco Opera bringing award winning production of Moby-Dick to their streaming site.

November 1, 2020:  BroadwayHD, the premier streaming service for theater fans, will be expanding their partnership with the San Francisco Opera. On November 17 debut of the Moby-Dick by composer Jake Heggie and librettist Gene Scheer will debut on BroadwayHD. Moby-Dick is only the latest work from the opera company. Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess and Hammerstein II/Kern’s Show Boat debuted earlier this fall. The expansion of BroadwayHD’s slate with San Francisco Opera is part of their effort to showcase the best of live theater and other live performances, not only on Broadway, but from venues across the U.S. and the globe.

BroadwayHD expands partnership with San Francisco Opera bringing award winning production of Moby-Dick to their streaming site.

November 1, 2020:  BroadwayHD, the premier streaming service for theater fans, will be expanding their partnership with the San Francisco Opera. On November 17 debut of the Moby-Dick by composer Jake Heggie and librettist Gene Scheer will debut on BroadwayHD. Moby-Dick is only the latest work from the opera company. Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess and Hammerstein II/Kern’s Show Boat debuted earlier this fall. The expansion of BroadwayHD’s slate with San Francisco Opera is part of their effort to showcase the best of live theater and other live performances, not only on Broadway, but from venues across the U.S. and the globe.

Composer Jake Heggie and librettist Gene Scheer’s award-winning Moby-Dick brings a thrilling new musical dimension to one of the towering classics of American literature, Herman Melville’s celebrated novel. The Bay Area premiere ran for eight performances in the fall of 2012 at the historic War Memorial Opera House, to great critical acclaim.

In addition to Moby-Dick, BroadwayHD recently brought two additional iconic productions from San Francisco Opera to their streaming service: Porgy and Bess and Show Boat. The Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess debuted on BroadwayHD in September. Eric Owens (Porgy) and Laquita Mitchell (Bess) led an amazing cast, under internationally acclaimed conductor John DeMain, who’s 1976 recording of Porgy and Bess won a Grammy and remains a benchmark interpretation of this masterpiece. The performance was recorded live in High Definition at the War Memorial Opera House in San Francisco in 2009. Meanwhile Oscar Hammerstein II and Jerome Kern’s classic production, Show Boat, which arrived on the service in October, was directed by Francesca Zambello and features Heidi Stober, Michael Todd Simpson, Bill Irwin, Harriet Harris, Patricia Racette and more.

BroadwayHD introduces award-winning theater from all across the globe with both classic and modern productions. Fans can expect to see the full works of Shakespeare, awe-inspiring performances from Cirque du Soleil and a selection of the world’s greatest musical including Kinky Boots, Cats, 42nd Street, She Loves Me, The Phantom of The Opera, The King and I, Sound of Music, and An American in Paris. All performances are adapted specifically for streaming audiences to maximize the entertainment experience. To learn more about BroadwayHD, visit www.broadwayhd.com<http://www.broadwayhd.com>.

San Francisco Opera has been recognized as one of the world’s leading opera companies since its founding in 1923. The Company remains a vital artistic institution through its mainstage programming, renowned artist training programs and repertory-expanding commissions, including John Adams’ Doctor Atomic and Girls of the Golden West, Jake Heggie’s Dead Man Walking, André Previn’s A Streetcar Named Desire, and Bright Sheng’s Dream of the Red Chamber. Under the leadership of General Director Matthew Shilvock, San Francisco Opera continues to pioneer new approaches to producing large-scale opera in the 21st century and create impactful, reciprocal connections with the community. In 2021, Music Director Designate Eun Sun Kim becomes San Francisco Opera’s fourth music director and will carry the Company through its 2022-23 centennial and into the future.

Keely and Du

By: Isa Goldberg

October 30, 2020: Like the People of Praise, a Christian Community of which the newly appointed Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett has been a loyal member, the characters we meet in Jane Martin’s “Keely and Du” “yearn for the salvation of all members of the human family.” At least that is the mission stated on the People of Praise website. 

By: Isa Goldberg

October 30, 2020: Like the People of Praise, a Christian Community of which the newly appointed Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett has been a loyal member, the characters we meet in Jane Martin’s “Keely and Du” “yearn for the salvation of all members of the human family.” At least that is the mission stated on the People of Praise website. 

That is to say, all of the characters except Keely who has been kidnapped by Walter, a fanatical minister – a patriarch of patriarchs on a mission to save the American family. 

Frankly, reading Martin’s play is grueling, repulsive actually. So raw and unrelenting a diatribe about right wing Christian morality with its contempt for women’s rights and its disdain for individual freedom, it’s literally a shit storm of hysteria. And Keely, the kidnapped rape victim who is with child, is equally burdened with Martin’s diatribe. “Jesus, can you listen to yourself?” she asks Du, the woman nurse who has chained her to a bed in a dank basement to force her to hold a fetus to term. “All this crap about babies. You don’t care about this baby, you just want it to be your little…I don’t know…your little political something, right. God’s little visual aid you can hold up at abortion clinics instead of those pickled miscarriages you usually tote around…”

In a new reading to be performed live on Zoom on October 31st and November 1st, The Seeing Place Theater will render its interpretation of Martin’s 1994 Pulitzer Prize nominated drama addressing the pro-choice pro-abortion debate. Watching a recent rehearsal with anticipated dread, turned out to be quite to the contrary – astonishing, marvelous, engaging, truthful and downright comic at times. Like a sci fi mystery, The Seeing Place Theater’s production peers into a futuristic society likely to premiere November 3, 2020 – unless Trump is removed from office.  

My praise for this production is biased by the fact that I was at one time a member of The Seeing Place troupe. Although the company does not demand loyalty from its alums, I have subsequently made small donations mostly in the form of ticket purchases. As for any other spoiler alerts in this article, they are simply intended to spark your interest.

That being said, I was awed by this picture of humanity in extremis, most especially by the performance of Erin Cronican, the co-director who portrays Keely. Diving into a range of emotions she rocks her character from a speech maker to a spunky, bold, fierce, vulnerable woman, determined to find her way out of her imprisonment. And not without ample sarcasm and some scathing wit.

As her antagonist, Du played with a feathery delicate and understated quality, Audrey Heffernan Meyer, appears neither good nor evil. She simply exists by a moral compass that is entirely wrong-headed. Still, the two are able, to some limited extent, to reach one another. On Keely’s birthday, Du unchains her from her bed, allowing her to stand up. Sharing a six-pack of discount beer, Keely confides her dreams of watching Batman VII and going to traffic school. “I’ll think I’m in heaven.” She tells her jailer. 

It’s difficult to withhold laughter from Keely’s complaints. Speaking of her husband she asks Du, “Do you think I care about rapists who have found Jesus?” And Cole (Robin Friend), her husband, played with the countenance of a woeful Republican Senator, begs her to embrace him as a reformed man and to raise the baby with him. So, he beseeches her, “Take my hand, come on. It’s five inches you know what I mean?” As expressed with such banal salesmanship, it comes across as the ludicrous irony of a very small man – all of 5 inches.

Naturally, the most pernicious character is Walter (Brandon Walker), a picayune pompous man whose great fear is getting caught breaking the law. Apparently, he evade those consequences. Along with Ms. Cronican, Walker is the show’s co-director and the co-founder of the company. 

In fact, the intimacy and immediacy of this reading is nearly unfathomable to achieve on Zoom. It’s greatly facilitated by riveting sound effects that range from cajoling Christian instrumental songs to the echo chambers of a prison to a fetal heartbeat resembling discordant organ music.

“Keely and Du” is the third production in the company’s Ripple For Change Series, a program that celebrates non-profit organizations who are contributing to their communities in the area of social justice. This month’s honoree – who will receive 100% of the proceeds from this performance – is Reproductive Health Services of Planned Parenthood of the St Louis Region, a non-profit specializing in women’s reproductive health – specifically abortion services. 

It Can’t Happen Here

By: Paulanne Simmons

October 30,2020: In 1935, Sinclair Lewis published a novel called It Can’t Happen Here. Written at the time fascism was on the rise in Europe, the novel was Lewis’s attempt to alert Americans to the danger they faced in their own country. In it, he chronicles the ascent of Berzelius “Buzz” Winthrop, a populist demagogue who is elected president by promising a return to traditional values but ends up imposing a totalitarian dictatorship. One year after publication, the Federal Theatre Project (part of the Works Progress Administration established by FDR’s New Deal) commissioned Lewis and John C. Moffit to write a stage play based on the novel.

By: Paulanne Simmons

October 30,2020: In 1935, Sinclair Lewis published a novel called It Can’t Happen Here. Written at the time fascism was on the rise in Europe, the novel was Lewis’s attempt to alert Americans to the danger they faced in their own country. In it, he chronicles the ascent of Berzelius “Buzz” Winthrop, a populist demagogue who is elected president by promising a return to traditional values but ends up imposing a totalitarian dictatorship. One year after publication, the Federal Theatre Project (part of the Works Progress Administration established by FDR’s New Deal) commissioned Lewis and John C. Moffit to write a stage play based on the novel.

The relevancy of this novel was not lost on Motl Didner, associate artistic director of The National Yiddish Theatre – Folksbiene. The work, says Didner, is “historically significant” because during troubled times we are always vulnerable to “strong men who come in with promises that they’re going to fix everything.”

In 1936, the play was staged simultaneously, in different languages, by twenty-one theater companies. So it’s not surprising that Didner found a Yiddish version in the public library. This was before the Covid pandemic, when a live performance could be envisioned. But even after theaters closed, Didner did not give up his plans, hoping to present an online version of the work.

Then, in June, he had a conversation with Voza Rivers, executive producer of the New Heritage Theatre Group, the oldest non-profit African American theater company in New York City. Both were concerned with the challenges faced by theaters at a time when live performance is not possible.

Rivers said, “We need a new WPA,” and a lightbulb went on in Didner’s head.  It Can’t Happen Here would be the vehicle to bring theater back to those days when the government came to its rescue.

Didner and Rivers teamed up with Israeli Artists Project, Kairos Italy Theater, National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene, New York Classical Theatre, Pan Asian Repertory Theatre, Playful Substance, Repertorio Español and Turkish American Repertory Theater & Entertainment to present a multi-lingual reading of this landmark play.

The reading features over 60 actors perfomring their parts in Yiddish, English, Spanish, Italian, Turkish and Hebrew. Subtitles translate the script into English. Because the same character is played by different actors, the name of the character appears in each actor’s window.

Didner believes that, as in 1936, the United States is now at a crossroads. With “classic dictators” in Russia, Belarus, Venezuela, Hungary and the Philippines, Americans have to decide whether they re going to follow in that direction or “return to an era of nonpartisan compromise and unity.”

Hopefully, It Can’t Happen Here will help put some Americans on the right track.

The event is part of National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene’s ongoing virtual programming, Folksbiene! LIVE, an online celebration of Yiddish culture, featuring live-streamed theater, American Jewish performers, concerts, lectures, talks, and other events. Programming provides inspirational and entertaining experiences as cultural and arts venues across the country and the world remain closed amid the coronavirus pandemic.


It can be viewed from Oct. 28 through Nov. 1 at 1 PM at https://nytf.org/live.