Features

Holiday Whirl Part 1

Holiday Whirl of Entertainment – Seasonal Show Schedules, Some Thing’s Coming – and Here

                                                                             By: Ellis Nassour

It’s that wonderful time of year, and the holidays are a perfect time to see a show. Broadway and Off Broadway tickets are about the nicest, most thoughtful gift for loved ones. There is an amazing range of plays and musicals from the long-run tried- and-true to the new season’s crop.

"Celebrating the holiday season with a Broadway show is the perfect gift to family, friends, and yourself!" says Charlotte St. Martin, executive director of the Broadway League. "Tickets are great stocking stuffers."

Holiday Whirl of Entertainment – Seasonal Show Schedules, Some Thing’s Coming – and Here

                                                                             By: Ellis Nassour

It’s that wonderful time of year, and the holidays are a perfect time to see a show. Broadway and Off Broadway tickets are about the nicest, most thoughtful gift for loved ones. There is an amazing range of plays and musicals from the long-run tried- and-true to the new season’s crop.

"Celebrating the holiday season with a Broadway show is the perfect gift to family, friends, and yourself!" says Charlotte St. Martin, executive director of the Broadway League. "Tickets are great stocking stuffers."

Can anything top live entertainment? The magic of the lights going down, candies being unwrapped so as not to disturb patrons during the show, cell phones reluctantly being turned off [by some! … lately, there are a lot of doctors in audiences!]?

[See Below for some comments about obnoxious phone abusers in the theatre.]

 

Heed the holiday performance schedules

You can find Broadway shows up every day of the week. Great theatrical experiences are out there. Show schedules are far from uniform, and how sad it must be to arrive at a 7 P.M. show at 7:58 after spending a sizeable amount for tickets to that show you’ve been dying to see. Check your ticket in an attempt to be on time. Remember public transportation is jammed, traffic is clogged. Leave early.  It’s the holidays.

During the upcoming Christmas and New Year’s weeks, some shows are changing their performance schedules. Alternate curtain times – including matinees and evening performances – provide a variety of opportunities to better accommodate the changing schedules of theatergoers throughout holiday weeks. Check Broadway.org to see the holiday performance schedules and easily find out where and when shows are playing.

All shows, except Chicago, Cinderella, Jersey Boys, Matilda, and This Is Our Youth, will be up on Monday. Fourteen will begin at 7, 16 will begin at 8, with one standing out getting started at 7:30.

Four shows will have Tuesday matinees. Thirteen will have Wednesday matinees. Eighteen shows will play Christmas night.

For the full breakdown of Christmas and New Year’s week shows, visit www.broadway.org/performance-times/holiday/2. The site includes an associated mobile site and apps for iOS and Android.

"Broadway.org is a comprehensive resource for Broadway shows here and across North America, and now internationally – in eight languages!," says Ms. St. Martin. "It’s the official one-stop destination for Broadway tickets and show information in eight languages, in addition to hotel and dining guides in Manhattan’s Theatre District."

 

How about this theater bargain?

What? $15.95 tickets for every seat at the first three performances of a new Broadway musical?!? Is something rotten on Broadway? Yes: Something Rotten!, the new musical comedy opening this Spring at the St. James Theatre [as the "completely reimagined" Side Show fades into musical theater heaven] with music and lyrics by Grammy- winner Wayne Kirkpatrick and Golden Globe nominee Karey Kirkpatrick.

You might want to interrupt your holiday shopping and rush to get these discounted tickets on sale, subject to availability, for performances from March 23 – 25. Purchase [four tickets per order] at the St. James box office, and [with service fees applied] online at www.telecharge.com or by calling (212) 239-6200. The tickets are applicable to the specified performance dates. All sales are final — no refunds or exchanges.

Something Rotten!, with book is by Kirkpatrick and best-selling author
John O’Farrell, officially opens April 22 – adding excitement to contenders for
Tony and Drama Desk nominations. Tony-winner Casey Nicholaw (The Book
of Mormon, Aladdin
) will choreograph and direct.

Three-time Tony-winning producer Kevin McCollum (In the Heights, Avenue Q, Rent) describes Something Rotten! as a musical about a musical. "Welcome to the ‘90s – the 1590s – long before the dawn of premium tickets, star casting and reminders to turn off your cell phones," he says. "Brothers Nick and Nigel Bottom are desperate to write a hit play, but are stuck in the shadow of the Renaissance rock star known as ‘The Bard.’ When a soothsayer foretells that the future of theatre involves singing, dancing and acting – all at the same time, Nick and Nigel set out to write the world’s very first MUSICAL!"

Amidst the scandalous excitement of opening night, the Bottom Brothers hit bottom as they realize that reaching the top and true success means being true to thine own self.

"Something Rotten!, with its heart on its ruffled sleeve and sequins in its soul," adds McCollum, "is an uproarious dose of pure Broadway fun and an irresistible ode to those dazzling creations that entertain, inspire, and remind us that everything’s better with an exclamation point — musicals!.

 

Celebrate with Kelli and Matthew, Idina, and Mary

Five-time Tony and four-time Drama Desk nominee Kelli O’Hara; Tony, two-time DD, Emmy, and two-time Golden Globe nominee Matthew Morrison; and Judith Clurman’s Essential Voices USA will front The New York Pops, under music director Steven Reineke’s baton, to help spread cheer with Kelli and Michael: Home for the Holidays at the Pops annual holiday program tomorrow/Saturday at 8 P.M. at Carnegie Hall’s Stern Auditorium/Perelman Stage. The program will be a mix of festive holiday classics and tunes from Broadway’s most beloved musicals.

On New Year’s Eve, O’Hara will make her Metropolitan Opera debut in a production of The Merry Widow opposite acclaimed star Renée Fleming. In March, she returns to Broadway in LCT’s sumptuous revival of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s The King and I opposite Ken Watanabe, directed by Tony and DD winner Bartlett Sher [with four additional four Tony and three additional DD nominations].

Sunday at 3 P.M. at Carnegie Hall Hall’s Stern Auditorium/Perelman Stage., the Pops Judith Clurman’s Essential Voices USA perform a Holiday Family Concert staged concert based on the TV special Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer with tunes by Johnny Marks. It brings Rudolph, Santa, and their friends to life through choreography by director/choreographer Liza Gennaro, as performed by dancers from New York Theatre Ballet. John Bolton (A Christmas Story, Spamalot) will narrate with additional characters voiced by Scot Cahoon, Rory Kulz, Bobby Underwood, and students from TADA! Youth Theater.

Tickets are $34 – $120. Subscriptions to the New York Pops 2014-2015 Carnegie Hall series are now available,$150 to $580. Purchase at the Carnegie Hall box office or by calling CarnegieCharge, (212) 247-7800.

On New Year’s Eve 2014, Kelli will make her Metropolitan Opera debut in a production of The Merry Widow with Renée Fleming. This spring, Kelli will return to Broadway in the Lincoln Center revival of The King & I opposite Ken Watanabe.

The New York Pops is the largest independent pops orchestra in the U.S., and NYC’s only professional symphonic orchestra specializing in popular music. The orchestra’s 32nd season continues on March 13 with One Night Only: Sutton Foster, with the two-time Tony-winning star making her Hall solo debut.

Tony winner and four-time DD nomninee Idina Menzel isn’t remaining frozen in time. She has a new CD, Holiday Wishes [Warner Bros.; SRP $11] and, upon the closing of If/Then on Broadway will embark on a wicked world tour [Asia, Europe] that will eventually have her playing major concert halls here.

The CD has 12 tracks. Highlights include "White Christmas," "All I Want for Christmas Is You," "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas," "Do You Hear What I Hear," "The Christmas Song," and "Silent Night."

Golden-voiced two- time Tony nominee and DD winner Mary Testa and Tony-winning orchestrator arranger Michael Starobin will perform four concerts in January to promote Testa’s solo CD debut Have Faith [Ghostlight Records; SRP $15]. Fresh off her recent co-starring role in Broadway’s Wicked, Testa will perform songs from the CD at the Laurie Beechman Theatre on January 4-5, and 11-12 at 7 P.M. She’ll be joined by Alisa Horn on cello with music director Starobin on piano with. Purchase tickets at www.lauriebeechmantheatre.com.

Tickets are $20 with a $20 food/beverage minimum. To reserve, call (212) 352-3101 or visit www.lauriebeechmantheatre.com.


Have Faith
is a contemporary concept album addressing issues of faith and doubt from a variety of perspectives, mixing an 80s pop feel with electronic, classical, and folk elements. Songs are of the Beach Boys, Leonard Cohen, Annie Lennox Alanis Morissette, Prince The Beach Boys and tunes by William Finn and Michael John LaChiusa. Starobin contributes original music to a reinterpretation of Shakespeare’s "Sonnet 29."series. The album was produced by David Baron, with arrangements for the 13-piece band by Testa and Starobin and orchestrations by Starobin.

The pair will appear January 6 at 7 P.M. at Barnes & Noble East 86th Street[between Lexington and Third Avenues] to perform selections from the album and sign copies. Fans purchasing the CD will be offered priority seating.

 

A Klezmer Christmas

Metropolitan Klezmer, hailed as "one of the finest American Klezmer Bands," celebrates Christmas with the release of their fifth CD Mazel Means Good Luck [Rhythm Media Records]. In connection with that, the octet will play selections from the album on Christmas Day at the Café (29 Cornelia Street), with sets at 3 and 5 P.M. There is a $20 cover. $10 minimum. On January 11 at 11A.M. the group will headline a klezmer brunch at City Winery (155 Varick Street, between Varick and Vandam Streets) with their sister sextet Isle of Klezbos. There’s a $10 cover. For reservations, visit www.citywinery.com.

The swinging title track, a pop standard by Artie Wayne, Jack Beekman, and Leo Fuld, was first introduced in 1947 by Wayne. It was recorded by Louis Prima, Benny Goodman, doo wop group The Ravens, and memorably in a wild 2006 take off by Robert Smigel on Saturday Night Live. Other tracks include "Nokh a Gleyzl Vayn (Another Glass of Wine)"; the raucous "C Minor Bulgar"; "Bonia’s Nigun," a traditional Hasidic chant melody; and the sweeping "Yankele, adapted from the popular Soviet Yiddish version.

 

Hello…Oh, hi!…It’s okay. I’m only in the theatre seeing a Broadway show…

The most memorable and reluctant phone abuser encountered this year was just about a week ago at the Booth Theatre, where even Bradley Cooper’s commanding performance as The Elephant Man couldn’t keep the attention of a boozy, badly-dyed blonde,very entitled early-30s woman seated third row center [obviously experiencing theater for the first time] who totally ignored two pre-show entreaties to turn electronic devices off [she may not have known what an electronic device is] and proceeded to open and close her phone several times. When a nearby audience member approached her to say "It’s against the law to use your cell phone during the show!", she actually said thank you as if she had just arrived from another planet [or fell off the turnip truck] and didn’t know. Then, in a burst of very reckless bad behavior, she ran up the aisle hurling curses at the audience member and screaming, "Who the #!x# are you to tell me what to do?" Thankfully, the house manager and Shubert security intervened. Sadly, it soon became obvious that she is a New Yorker – from Brooklyn.

It’s hard to forget another woman, at Porgy and Bess, who took a call in her seat and spoke as if she was home. A man poked her, the person with her tried to shut her down. She just didn’t give a damn. And at the interval she attacked the poor man as he’d done something wrong and called him a series of vulgar names. To his credit, he took her for what she was and just laughed at her.

And, going back a few seasons, how about one of the agents for Green Day, sitting fifth row, side aisle at American Idiot, who proved he was the definition of one by flipping open his phone throughout the performance in spite of protests from those around him?

Oh, yes, Virginia, there are more, and Santa knows who they are. You probably have a slew of your memorable encounters.

If folks simply think there’re above the law and have absolutely no consideration for any person but themselves, what can we do but pity the poor, dumb things who think they’re right and everyone else is wrong?

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