Broadway’s New Season Is Off and Running By Ellis Nassour It’s the season to be merry! A new theater season; another opening of another show; actually, Openings…Shows. From those that have opened and those to come, it appears to be another star-studded, blockbuster, audience-pleasing one.
One of the prime reasons to celebrate is the return of Cherry Jones to the boards after an absence of over four years [Faith Healer and before that her award-winning Doubt] during which she portrayed the president of the United States on Fox-TV’s megahit thriller 24, winning an Emmy Award.
Peter Filichia Chronicles 50 Years of Broadway Hits and Flops by Ellis Nassour
There’s a huge problem in reading theater historian and critic Peter Filichia’s Broadway Musicals: The Biggest Hit & the Biggest Flop of the Season, 1959 to 2009 [Applause Books; 277 pages; trade softcover; SRP $20]. It’s all but impossible to get past the table of contents.
Anyone who loves theater reads Filichia’s columns on Theatermania.com is aware of his amazing knowledge, always presented in an engaging way, of everything theater and his witty way with words.
Dorothy Fields: The Pioneering Female Lyricist of Countless Musicals by Ellis Nassour
Pick Yourself Up: Dorothy Fields and the American Musical by Charlotte Greenspan [Oxford University Press, Broadway Legacy Series; 298 pages; 16 pages of vintage photos; Index, Song index, 17-page section of source notes; SRP $28] is a lively biography of one of the most prolific and pioneering lyricists in American popular music history.
Dorothy Fields penned the words to more than 400 songs, among them mega-hits such as "Big Spender," "Hooray for Love," "I Can’t Give You Anything But Love, " "If My Friends Could See Me Now," "Make the Man Love Me," "Nobody Does It Like Me," "On the Sunny Side of the Street," "It’s Not Where You Start," and "The Way You Look Tonight."
Turning Pages with Patti Lupone By Ellis Nassour In Patti LuPone: A Memoir [Crown Archetype; Hardcover, 336 pages; 100 photographs, including an eight-page four-color insert, Index; SRP $26; Kindle version, SRP $14], Bway’s ultimate and most colorful star takes readers on a blistering journey through her mostly acclaimed career.
LuPone, with the characteristic bluntness, passion, and self-depreciating humor you would expect from our musical theater treasure and a musical theater diva, and with the help of veteran writer Digby Diehl, recounts her not always pleasant journey to stardom. She’s the consummate artist; however, not to be fooled, everything, she admits, wasn’t always coming up roses.
Turning Pages with Elaine Paige By Ellis Nassour Memories, Celebrating 40 Years in the Theatre, a sort of career memoir, not autobiography, by the U.K.’s First Lady of Musical Theater, is keeping Elaine Paige busy on these shores with the U.S. publication. Celebrating more than 40 years in show business, Paige on Wednesday sat with theater’s most knowledgeable host, Peter Felichia [author of the new book Broadway Musicals, critic, and TM contributor], at B&N Lincoln Square to expand on what’s in the book.
Artist Amy Zerner brought her line of “spiritual couture” to the Rubin Museum on West 17th Street for a trunk show of her fabulous “one of a kind” designs. Her jackets, coats, and caftans are sold exclusively at Bergdorf Goodman in New York and are in the collection of such renowned personalities as Elizabeth Taylor, Oprah Winfrey, Patti La Belle, and Shirley MacLaine. Zerner with her husband Monte Farber has authored numerous spiritual self help books for the past 35 years and they have an entire shelf devoted to their works at Barnes and Noble.
By Patrick Christiano The Drama League honored film and theater star Alfred Molina with their coveted Distinguished Performance Award for his “dazzling portrayal of the artist Mark Rothko” in the acclaimed Broadway production of RED. Molina’s work was selected over 60 outstanding performances nominated from the 2009/2010 season. Accepting his award at the 76th annual luncheon from past recipient Liev Schreiber Molina said, “This is so fantastic I can’t tell you. I’m Italian, I’m going to cry.” He followed with a story in a very proper English accent about his wife reading the list of illustrious nominees and telling him if he wins ‘Don’t go English’ and suddenly pumped his arm with a clinched fist and said “YES!”
Broadway: The American Musical Updated By Ellis Nassour The lavishly illustrated Broadway: The American Musical [Applause Books; 498 pages, Updated edition; softbound, Show chronology; Bibliography; Theatre Districk maps 1928/2010; Index; Foreword by Julie Andrews; SRP $35], co-authored by Michael Kantor and NYU professor/theater historian Laurence Maslon and based on Kantor’s 2004 documentary [originally a companion to the six-part PBS series] is the first comprehensive history of the musical, from its early 20th Century roots and into the new millennium.
South Pacific ~ Last Weeks Onstage, Telecast, Movie, & New Book By Eiils Nassour On August 18, four days before the final performance of its nearly two-and-a-half-year run, Lincoln Center Theatre’s Tony and Drama Desk-winning revival of Rodgers and Hammer’s South Pacific will be presented in a live three-hour telecast from the Vivian Beaumont Theatre on PBS’ Live from Lincoln Center. The musical’s Tony and DD-winning director Bartlett Sher will helm with the show’s choreographer Christopher Gattelli assisting on the musical staging.
NYC theater scene sizzles in summer… By: Isa Goldberg During the summer, the theater scene in New York City is a swarm of theater festivals all of them promising Dionysian abandon and many conjuring classical themes as conceived by emerging artists. Audiences will have their choice of everything from the “Clubbed Thumb”(Clubbed Thumb.org) to “Planet Connections” (planetconnectionsfestivity.com), both of which return this year along with the “Ice Factory” turning up the heat while SPF (Short Play Festival) takes a hiatus.
Cirque du Soleil’s OVO… Deborah Colker…Banana Spheel By Ellis Nassour Cirque du Soleil has returned to New York and has pitched its trademark 2,500-seat blue-and-yellow grand chapiteau again at Randall’s Island, where it’s scheduled to play through June 6. Things are a bit different with this edition, titled OVO. It’s about time. For one thing, at its helm is a woman director for the first time in Cirque’s quarter century of shows, acclaimed Brazilian choreographer Deborah Colker. Her much-honored contemporary dance troupe tours the world. And the show has a new beat, very Brazilian.
By: Ellis Nassour An economic downturn, rampant unemployment, home mortagemania, terrorist plots, and a drop in tourism must have happened in a Dallas-type dream. It certainly hasn’t affected theater attendance with Bway and Off Bway boasting their best season yet. The fact that ticket prices are through the roof hasn’t hurt to make box offices boffo. It’s something everyone complains about but which they keep ignoring. Natives and visitors alike flock to the unique TKTS booth in Times Square, and not just to perch themselves in the dark at the top for the red stairs. What would theater attendance be without TKTS [the booths and their mailings offering steep ticket discounts]?
The Art of Greed: Enron’s Stephen Kunken By Ellis Nassour The acclaimed London production of Lucy Prebble’s Enron, a docudrama using song, movement, projections, and raptor costumes, tells the story of the collapse of the once fabled energy giant in a most unconventional way.
While still running on the West End, the play opened here with an American cast: Tony winner Norbert Leo Butz, Tony nom Gregory Itzin [The Kentucky Cycle; President Logan, TV’s 24, The Mentalist], Stephen Kunken [Our Town, Rock ‘n Roll, Frost/Nixon, Festen] and Tony/Olivier nom Marin Mazzie [Kiss Me Kate, Ragtime, Passion] play wrongdoers at the top of the Enron foodchain. Rupert Goold [Macbeth, starring Patrick Stewart], whose Headlong Theatre commissioned the work, continues as director.
Euan Morton SIngs the Praises of Sondheim and the Sondheim on Sondheim Cast By Eiils Nassour
Roundabout at Studio 54’s Sondheim on Sondheim not only brings the master composer back to Bway and is his [sort of] onstage Bway debut but also marks the return of a list of long-time favs.
Welcome back Tony winner Barbara Cook, after an absence of 37 years*; Tony nom Vanessa Williams; and Euan Morton, returning after an absence of some three and a half years. Of course, it’s always good to have Tom Wopat, Norm Lewis, and Leslie Kritzer back. Even though they’ve not been missing that long, welcome back Erin Mackey and Matthew Scott.