August 24, 2022: Critically acclaimed star of stage, television, and film, Norm Lewis, will perform for one night only in An Evening with Norm Lewis on August 26th at 8pm at Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center. An Emmy, Tony, and SAG Award nominee, Norm recently starred in Spike Lee’s critically acclaimed, “Da 5 Bloods,” and in the groundbreaking FX series, Pose. Additionally, Mr. Lewis can be seen starring in ABC’s newest series, Women of The Movement, and offscreen, his voice can be heard in the latest season of Apple TV’s animated series, Central Park. He was also seen as ‘Caiaphas’ in the award-winning NBC television special, “Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert!,” alongside John Legend, Sara Bareilles, and Alice Cooper.
Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Jesse Williams
in “Take Me Out”. Credit: Joan Marcus
Broadway Update: Sweeney Todd, Merrily, Take Me Out, Raisin
By: David Sheward
August 24, 2022: Philip Boroff reports in Broadway Journal that pop superstar Josh Groban and Tony winner Annaleigh Ashford will headline a revival of Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler’s Sweeney Todd, aiming for a Broadway opening next April. Boroff reports that Rent and Hamilton producer Jeffrey Seller is raising $14.5 million for the production which will be directed by Hamilton helmer Thomas Kail and possibly play the Lunt-Fontanne next April in time for the 2023 Tony Awards. No information about the show has been conformed as of yet. (Sidenote: Before he hit the big time, Jeffrey Seller directed me in a Brooklyn community theater production of The Fantasticks. Andrew Lippa, who later wrote the music for the Off-Broadway Wild Party and The Addams Family, was the music director and played El Gallo).
Tony Award Winner, Lillias White, brought her new show to Bay Street Theater in Sag Harbor for their Musical Mondays series.
August 12, 2022: The one and only Lillias White brought her new show to Bay Street Theater this past Monday, as part of their ongoing Musical Mondays Series and she was, as always, phenomenal. The renowned Billy Stritch accompanied her on piano.
Stephanie J. Block and Sebastian Arcelus
will star in “Into The Woods”.
Broadway Update: New Woods Cast; Lilias White in Hadestown; Theresa Rebeck Joins Working Girl
By: David Sheward
August 13, 2022: Several new cast members including Tony winners and nominees will be heading Into the Woods. The current cast of the smash hit revival of Stephan Sondheim and James Lapine’s 1987 fairy-tale musical will remain with the show through Sept. 4. Sept 6, real-life married couple Stephanie J. Block (Tony winner for The Cher Show) and Sebastian Arcelus (Elf) will succeed Sara Barielles and Brian D’Arcy James as the Baker’s Wife and the Baker. Additional new cast members are Krysta Rodriguez (Smash, The Addams Family) as Cinderella, Katy Geraghty (Groundhog Day) as Little Red Riding Hood, and Jim Stanek (Fun Home) as the Steward.
That’s Entertainment: Broadway Babe, Randie Levine-Miller, has unearthed some terrific YouTube videos with Arthur Schwartz, Chita Rivera, and Joy Behar.
August 22, 2022: Broadway Babe, Randie Levine Miller has some great YouTube finds today including an evening with legendary songwriter Arthur Schwartz, who wrote “That’s Entertainment” among other big songs. And how about Chita Rivera in “Anything Goes?” There’s a terrific documentary about Dionne Warwick. And let the laughs begin with Joy Behar and Susie Essman in conversation at the 92Y.
Broadway Update: Ohio to Play Jones, Devil in Trouble, Linda Lavin, etc.
By: David Sheward
August 9, 2022: The Ohio State Murders by Obie-winning playwright Adrienne Kennedy and starring six-time Tony winner Audra McDonald, will be the first show to play the renamed James Earl Jones Theater (formerly the Cort). This will mark the Broadway debut of 91-year-old Kennedy whose Off-Broadway works have included Funnyhouse of a Negro, June and Jean in Concert, Sleep Deprivation Chamber and A Movie Star Has to Star in Black and White. Previews begin Nov. 11 with an opening set for Dec. 8 for a limited engagement. Tony winner Kenny Leon (A Raisin in the Sun, A Soldier’s Play) will direct. Leon will also be directing Suzan-Lori Parks’ Topdog/Underdog on Broadway this season. McDonald and Leon previously collaborated on a digital reading of Ohio State for Broadway’s Best Shows Spotlight on Plays series. McDonald will play Suzanne Alexander, a writer invited to speak at her alma mater about the violence in her work and a mystery unravels.
August 1. 2022: There are some stunning images and moving moments in Robert Icke’s massive modern adaptation of Aeschylus’ Oresteia, paying in repertory with Hamlet at the Park Avenue Armory. But this nearly four-hour marathon indulges in too much extraneous dialogue and lacks the relentless, gripping action of the companion Shakespearean production.
July 31, 2022: Turning a much beloved novel into a stage play is always tricky business. It’s especially difficult when that novel spans several decades and two continents. So adapter Matthew Spangler and director Giles Croft should be given special credit for The Kite Runner, which opened at the Helen Hayes Theater on July 21.
Joshua Henry and Gavin Creel in “Into the Woods”. Credit: Matthew Murphy and Evan Zimmerman for MurphyMade.
Broadway Update: Woods Extends, Piano Moves, Etc.
By: David Sheward
July 29, 2022: Into the Woods is now officially extending its limited run at the St. James through Oct. 16. The acclaimed revival of the Stephen Sondheim-James Lapine fairy-tale musical was originally intended to play only till Aug. 21 after its sold-out City Center run. The announcement came one day after producers of The Piano Lesson revealed they were moving the August Wilson production to the Barrymore rather than the previously announced St. James. New casting for later in the Woods run will be announced in the coming days. What’s surprising is the extension is only for another two months. Perhaps there will be another extension if the box office continues to hold strong. Woods pulled in a whopping near $2 million last week. Maybe the show could become like another Encores transfer, Chicago which is still running and holds the record as the longest-playing American musical in Broadway history. Chicago boosted its epic run with some interesting big names in replacement casting including most recently Pamela Anderson. With so many juicy roles, Woods could become star-bait and attract new audiences with each new cast.
July 24, 2022: There have been five Broadway revivals, all of them star studded, and one with an all-Black cast, since Tennessee Williams’s Pulitzer Prize-winning Cat on a Hot Tin Roof opened in 1955. While not all were of equally high quality, none missed the litter box like the current version, the first to open Off Broadway (at St. Clement’s Theatre).
Shy – The Alarmingly Outspoken Memoirs of Mary Rodgers
By: Alix Cohen
July 29, 2022: “Au fond,” as Mary Rodgers might say, she was about as shy as Princess Winifred= NOT. (Once Upon a Mattress) Daughter of musical theater legend Richard Rodgers, the accomplished artist was a musical theater composer and writer of everything from dialogue for Bill Baird marionettes to Leonard Bernstein’s Young People’s Concerts to hugely popular children’s books (some turned into movies).
Amir Arison and Eric Sirakian in “The Kite Runner”.
By: David Sheward
July 22,2022: Novels don’t always work well on stage, especially when there’s a first-person narrator. Plays rely on action rather than narration (“Show, don’t tell” is the rule of thumb) and contained plots over sprawling stories. Fortunately, Matthew Spangler’s adaptation of The Kite Runner, Khaled Hosseini’s 2003 best-seller about a young man’s harrowing experiences of growing up in Afghanistan and immigrating to the US after the Russian invasion, is sharply focused, conveying an epic and engaging plot without wandering or diffusing. Now at the Helen Hayes Theatre for a limited run after two seasons in London’s West End, Kite runs, soars and introduces American audiences to a culture rarely, if ever, seen on Broadway.