BROADWAYRADIO

11/28/10

This Week on Broadway for November 28, 2010: Spider-Man Needs Angels in America

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If you would like to listen to the podcast, click on the arrow in the player below.
Notes and links for the podcast.
Panel:
Peter Filichia
James Marino
Matthew Murray
Michael Portantiere
Topics:
Angels In America at Signature Theatre.
Part One: Millennium Approaches
Part Two: Perestroika
by Tony Kushner
directed by Michael Greif
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? at 3LD Art and Technology Center (80 Greenwich St, New York, NY)
Adapted and directed by Edward Einhorn
From the novel by Philip K. Dick
Designers: Neal Wilkinson (sets), Carla Gant (costumes), Jeff Nash (lights), Jared Mezzochi (video), Barry Wil (puppets)
Starring
Timothy Babcock (Mercer), Alex Emanuel (Rick Deckard), Ian W. Hill (Bryant), Uma Incrocci (Iran Deckard), Christian Pedersen (Roy Baty)
Yvonne Roen (Rachael Rosen), Trav SD (Buster Friendly), Alyssa Simon (Phillipa Ryan), Ken Simon (Isidore), Moira Stone (Luna Luft)
Lynn Berg, Lindsey Carter, Maia Karo, Candace Lawrence (TV crew and puppeteers)
Evita, at Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music
Written by Tim Rice (book and lyrics), Andrew Lloyd-Webber (music)
Directed by Aubrey Berg, Musical Direction by Jesse Kissell
Designers: Thomas C. Umfrid (sets), Rebecca Senske (costumes), Samantha Spiro (lights) Patti James (choreography)
Starring
Alaina Mills (Eva Perón), Pierce Cassedy (Che Guavara)
Chris Blem (Juan Perón), Michelle Berkowitz (Perón’s Mistress), John Riddle (Augustín Migaldi)
Neil LaBute’s Break of Noon at MCC with Tracee Chimo, David Duchovny, John Earl Jelks, Amanda Peet. Amanda Peet.
Metropolitan Opera (Michael only)
Don Carlo

Written by Giuseppe Verdi (music) and Camille du Locle and Joseph Méry (libretto), based on Friedrich Schiller’s Don Carlos, Infant von Spanien
Directed by Nicholas Hytner, conducted by Yannick Nézet-Séguin
Starring
Roberto Alagna (Don Carlo)
Marina Poplavskaya (Elisabeth), Anna Smirnova (Princess Eboli), Simon Keenlyside (Rodrigo), Ferruccio Furlanetto (King Philip), Eric Halfvarson (Grand Inquisitor)
Notes: Premiered in Paris in 1867
New Met production, premiered in London; will be shown as part of the Live in HD program on December 11, 2010, at 12:30 PM ET
Title of Show @ George Street Playhouse (New Brunswick NJ)
News and Happenings (Everybody, unless otherwise noted)
Michael and Peter attended the John Willis memorial service (Monday, November 22, at the National Arts Club)
Women on a Verge cast recording?
Talkin’ Broadway thread? Sh-K-Boom?
Broadway Closings Today
Mrs. Warren’s Profession (expected)
A Life in the Theatre (semi-expected)
Elling (really expected)
Michael in The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee at Wagner College
Guest directed by John Caraffa?!? Really?
Runs through Sunday, December 5
Tangled, Disney’s movie take on Rapunzel
Explicit: Yes
Music:
The opening music is “On This Night of a Thousand Stars” from the original Broadway cast recording of Evita, and the exit music is “The Second Goodbye” from the original cast recording of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.

 

 

Broadway Radio: This Week on Broadway for November 28, 2010: Spider-Man Needs Angels in America
Transcribed by Courtney Rice
Panel:
Peter Filichia: PF
James Marino: JM
Matthew Murray: MM
Michael Portantiere: MP
TIME – 00:00
JM: Hello and welcome to Broadway Radio’s This Week on Broadway for Sunday, November 28th 2010, also known as the first day of preview for Spider-Man. On the call this morning we have Peter Filichia and Matthew Murray. Peter can be found three times a week at TheaterMania.com, also writes for Masterworks Broadway, and also writes for the Newark Star Ledger. Hello Peter, how are you?
PF: Hi very well thank you.
JM: Excellent. I want to also remind everybody that Peter has got a book out, that we should all… Peter you have a book signing at Barnes & Noble?
PF: In fact, two this week. One is going to be Tuesday night at 7:30, that’s at Barnes & Noble, Jim Brochu from Zero Hour will be interviewing me, and Steve Ross, and Jake Wesley Stewart will be performing songs from hits and flops of the 50 years I covered in the book. If you can’t make that, well you’re not off the hook. We’ll try to get you on Thursday night at 6:00 at the Drama Bookshop when Ken Bloom will be interviewing me. So um, two opportunities this week for me to meet you all and shake hands.
JM: Which Barnes and Noble is that again?
PF: Oh sorry, I always do this: Lincoln Center, the one that alas, will be closing on New Year’s Eve, so this is one of the final events that they’ll be having of this nature.
JM: That’s a shame it’s… I didn’t know it was closing. That’s a beautiful store.
PF: It sure is. But, you know, I mean it’s just another brick and mortar store that’s crumbling, if not literally, then certainly, figuratively.
JM: What’s the Tom Hanks movie with Meg…?
PF: You Got Mail, a non-musical update of She Loves Me, so uh…
JM: Or maybe the shop around the corner
PF: Well actually, Norah Efron says that with She Loves Me, that it influenced her.
JM: Oh, really? I didn’t know that, that’s very interesting.
PF: Yeah she started as a kid, her parents took her to see it and she fell in love with the property and played the album incessantly, and so on and so forth… But enough of this, we have to introduce our other guest.
JM: That other voice that you are hearing is Matthew Murray, who is the chief theatre critic from TalkinBroadway.com also writes for Broadway Stars. Hello Matthew, how are you?
MM: Hi James, I’m okay.
JM: Excellent. We should jump into it as I mentioned at the top of the show, today is the… hopefully, we’re recording this pretty early in the morning… today is the first preview of Spider-Man. Last night’s invite address, the invitees were uninvited. And this afternoon’s show was, Matthew, supposed to be a 3:00 show?
MM: Yeah, but I guess it was either cancelled… I was looking on TicketMaster yesterday and it said that the 3:00 show had been cancelled and tonight’s performance is now at 6:30, so I don’t know if that was a TicketMaster error or if it was something having to do with the production. But the first preview for Spider-Man, Turn Off the Dark is indeed tonight at 6:30. Hopefully it will have already happened by the time… unless something really terrible happens. James, what do you think the odds of that are?
JM: Well, you know, there are lots of moving parts and entropy causes ability to hit snags. I was looking at the TIcketMaster site myself the other day and I noticed that a handful of this week’s performances, seem to have been cancelled. Did you notice that? Because I haven’t heard anything officially from the production, but on the TicketMaster website, it says that a handful of the performances this week that were scheduled, are cancelled. I’m not sure, we wish them the best and certainly we will talk about it again next week. So, thus endith or Spider-man section for the week. We want to talk about something that has been playing Off-Broadway for a number of weeks now, but we’ve been hesitant to talk about it because we wanted everybody to see it. So, Angels in America, Peter and Matthew got a chance to see it. Peter, why don’t you start us off with your reflections on Angel.
PF: Well, I saw it on Wednesday, November 24th, which was very interesting because that day, the New York Times, the front page story was talking about this drug culture vada(?) as a likely preventive against AIDS, and that was very very nice to see, more than nice, it was tremendous to see, but especially on a day when one goes to see Angels in America,
TIME – 00:05
PF (continued): which is a play that takes place in the 80’s and 90’s when AIDS is really flummoxing the medical community and was seeing some of the first people afflicted with it and the play was first produced originally in 1993 when matters were far more dire to those afflicted with AIDS. So if there’s any show that we want to be a period piece, Tony Kushnir’s epic is one. What was also fascinating though, was Angels is a period piece in another way, and not a very happy one. This line that Prior Walter, who is one terribly afflicted by AIDS, says deep in the second play, when he says, take me to St. Vincent’s, and that hospital that was so vital to the West Village, shut down in April, almost 17 years to the day of Angels Broadway opening, so let’s hope that changes. I think that the production by Michael Greif is solid, but I have to say that aside from Christian Borle as Prior, and Bill Heck as Joe: a Mormon who is struggling with his sexuality, and identity, for that matter; no one in the current cast can match his counterpart in the original production. They’re good, they’re fine, but they’re not as remarkable. If you’ve never seen the play on stage, and care to, this certainly will do. Christian Borle, I’ve only known him from seven Broadway musicals and two Off-Broadway ones, shows that he is an amazingly adept, serious actor. He is so good in playing Prior, who loves his boyfriend dearly, and yet the boyfriend walks out on him when things get tough, which is a terrible thing to do, needless to say. The range of emotions he shows, the sadness and the hatred mixed together, is really remarkable, for somebody we’ve only seen singing and dancing. We knew that Bill Heck, from the Office Homesight, was terrific and he doesn’t disappoint, but I’ll tell you what really fascinated me, and that was, four hours into the entire event. So the first play is three hours and the second is three and a half, at the four hour mark, Bill Heck smiled, and it’s the first time all night long that he smiled. And it was so amazing that it really punctuated the fact that this man is so miserable in his life, he’s in a marriage that isn’t working at all, he wants to love his wife because it’s the right thing to do, he does have affection for her, but as he sees her, she’s gone off the deep end and he doesn’t know how to deal with that. But more to the point, he’s a gay man who’s trapped in a Mormon religion that doesn’t hearten to that activity; so as a result, he’s tormented, and finally at the four hour mark when he smiles, you realize how miserable he’s been all night long, so that was something. So that beaming smile was really a welcome surprise. I’ll tell you this, the irony, and my memory might be faulty and I’ll concede that, but the irony is that the production at the Signature Theatre Company, which is an Off-Broadway theatre, is more actually more ornate than the original one that Broadway saw. I really believe back then that Robin Wagner wanted to replicate an Off-Off Broadway production, which is the type of venue you expect to see Angels in America. So a “Scene in a Park,” I remember, on stage right, had a simple tree branch to indicate a tree and to was held up by wire that was very much easily seen and there was no attempt to hide it. So at Signature, the set by Mark Wendland, is a movable feast, and… rooms come and spin and turn around, new configurations, it’s really quite ornate in comparison. And Wendle K. Harrington(?) has provided some projections that compliment nicely too. So, a good effort, yes, a very good effort even, but I think it’s going to be best appreciated by those who missed Angels in America the first time around, and Matthew I assume that’s you.
MM: Yeah, I did not see it the first time around. But Peter, I’m really astonished to hear you say that this production is more ornate than the first one, because this one doesn’t really strike me as ornate at all. I mean, it had sets, but it didn’t have what I would consider ornate sets. To me, this production actually looked relatively cheap, perhaps it looked good for Off-Broadway these days, but I’d never call it ornate, so I’m really amazed to hear that.
PF: In comparison… I will admit that the statue in the fountain was more impressive on Broadway, but really there was a concerted effort made to do it purposely on the cheap, originally, to show the type of play it was, the type of play you wouldn’t expect to see on Broadway. That was really a conscious decision and that was fascinating to me to see. So, anyways, but let’s hear your perceptions.
TIME – 00:10
MM: Well, actually, I don’t have a whole lot to add to what you said, I agree with most of it. I have one other comment before I go on though, was Part One really only three hours? Because when I saw it, it was three and a half. Are you counting the intermissions?
PF: Uh, yeah. It seemed to me it was three.
MM: Wow. Then they’ve really picked up the pacing a lot in the last month or so. Because when I saw it, the first part got out at 5:30. I saw it on a Saturday at 2:00 and I was out at 5:30, and you’re right the second half is 3 hours and 40 minutes and that’s a long show. My personal feeling about Angels in America is that the first half, Millennium Approaches, is really a very interesting and fascinating and overall, effective piece of work, in sort of blending fantastical elements, like there’s an actual angel, which I’m sure many of our listeners know, and Ethel Rosenberg comes back from the dead and is tormenting Roy Cohn; but then in the second half, everything gets much more solidified, I guess is a good word, and it gets a lot angrier and more realistic and less fanciful, and I think that’s when it falls apart. I think Tony Kushnir gets a little bit too bogged down in his messages and in his speechifying and that the sort of grander, epic nature of the show is kind of lost. I also don’t think that Perestroika, that’s the second half, is as strong a piece of writing, and I actually think that on some level, Tony Kushner might agree, because he’s rewritten it a number of times. What we’re seeing at Signature, is a completely new version of Perestroika. To be honest, I’ve never known Perestroika well enough to say, “well this changed, that changed, and the other thing changed.” But, it was rewritten, and they made a big deal about that when the press was invited. I still think that it needs more work; it’s not at the level of the first one yet. But I agree with Peter, that really it’s a good thing that Angels in America is a period piece because it means that in a lot of ways, America and medicine has grown and evolved to a point where some of the things that Tony Kushner was going on about, are not quite the life-changing deals that they once were, so that’s good. But it’s a really difficult show and it’s a time commitment, and I think that Perestroika does start to feel long that in a way that, for example, the Orphan’s Home Cycle… I was joking to someone that Bill Heck has spent a whole lot of time at Signature Theatre this year between Orphan’s Home Cycle and this. I think that it feels long in a way that Orphan’s Home Cycle and The Norman Chronicles and some of those other day-long theatre events, don’t really. It just seems to drag quite a bit for me. But this is a very good cast. Christina Borle, as Peter mentioned, is really excellent, I didn’t know he was a great dramatic actor either. Frank Wood, as Roy Cohn is very interesting, I again, did not see Ron Leibman originally, I’m told that Frank Wood is very different, but I found that he was very effective. The only person that I was not satisfied with was Zoe Kazan, who plays Harper and that’s Joe’s wife. It was really a bit of a stretch for her, I believe, to play the kind of put-upon, Mormon wife and all that. Aside from her, it’s a satisfying production, and I still feel that to really understand and get the full depth and impact of it, you probably had to see it back then, when it really was a life or death situation. So we have to appreciate it on a different level now, but, as Peter so astutely pointed out, that’s actually probably a good thing for everyone, even if it’s maybe not the absolute best thing that could happen to Angels in America.
PF: I, too, agree that Perestroika is the weaker of the two shows, there’s no question about that for me. And yes, I don’t think it’s a just a case that, at that point, we’ve been in the theatre a long time, and the Office Home Cycle is a very good analogy to make. But, the last scene of Perestroika is lovely and to me, it’s worth it to hang in there for a couple of scenes that are a little poky and a little too off-the-wall for my taste, to see people being nice to each other, who you don’t expect to see be nice to each other, because earlier in the show, they were not. The idea of forgiving people, the idea of moving on, putting hurts aside, to put prejudice aside of all kinds, that’s very nice to me. So, you leave with a nice glow, when you leave this time. But, Matthew, I’ve really been thinking about this thing about time, and I had an appointment that day at 5:15. I assumed that I would make it, and I almost didn’t, I was a little bit late,
TIME -00:15
PF (continued): but I was very cognizant of the fact that I got out at something like 5:07, which is indeed, with the seven minute delay that it takes any show to get going, so for some reason or other it was three hours the day I saw it.
MM: And are they still doing two intermissions?
PF: Yeah. Maybe the intermissions got shorter.
MM: I’m completely flummoxed by this. I mean, 5:30. There was a parking meter out on the street and Iooked at it and that’s what it said: 5:30, when I got out. So, I really don’t know what to say. I’m kind of tongue-tied for once, because so many of my feelings about the show were sort of tied up and that and if they’ve completely tightened up the pacing, then it’s a totally different show now from the one I saw. But, if they did, good for them.
PF: Yeah, I will say, if it weren’t a day where I had a pending appointment that I had to meet somebody, I wouldn’t be so aware of it. And I would say maybe I’m wrong. But I was really looking at the clock for much of the time, so, as a result, I really do believe that they came in at 3 hours.
MM: Well, good for them.
JM: Peter, what I was going to… and Matthew, as well… was, Peter, did you see the movie version on HBO?
PF: Um, I started watching it and I intend to continue. And once again, I have to say that of the three people I have seen play Roy Cohn: Ron Leibman, Al Pachino, and Frank Wood, Frank Wood comes in a distant third. So I watched what constitutes the first act of Millennium Approaches, so I got way-laid, so I do intend to continue. But, Al Pachino and Ron Leibman have a ferocious power that Frank Wood has either chosen not to have, or cannot have, I cannot say. It’s a decent performance, but it isn’t mesmerizing in the way these two guys were. And, of course, I agree with Matthew completely about Zoe Kazan, who doesn’t have enough of a fire or craziness in her either, the way Marcia Gay Harden did. So, um, I missed that tremendously.
JM: Matthew, did you see the movie?
MM: I did see the movie. It was fine. Again, Perestroika didn’t make much of an impression on me at the time. I’ve just never been able to get into it for whatever reason. It never grabs me. I usually think that the first part is always better, because I remember when I read Millennium Approaches in college; I didn’t really get it or appreciate it or something. And then I remember thinking, when I saw the movie and then again when I saw this production that it plays much better than it reads. But Perestroika, no matter how I try to read it or how many times I see it, I just think it is really flat in comparison. So overall, I can’t say much about the movie. But, I mean, I thought the movie was fine. I agree that Al Pachino was more intense than Frank Wood, but I still like what Frank Wood did. It’s a very different interpretation.
JM: Alright, um…
PF: And one more thing I want to say and that is about the word ‘ornate.’ That probably is the wrong. I guess what I really mean is, if one weighed the amount of scenery on stage at Signature and on Broadway, I dare say that Signature would come out substantially heavier. It’s a more intricate set than we had on Broadway. Ornate does suggest that we’re seeing the Rothschilds(?) and I don’t mean that at all. But nevertheless, I daresay there’s more scenery, let’s put it that way, in the off-Broadway production. And again, my memory could be faulty on that. But I just have very strong visual associations with the original and these ‘little’ set pieces. They’re little at Signature too, but they seem to be bigger little, and more of them.
JM: Joining us now is Mike Portantiere, who was scheduled to be with us originally, but we had some technical difficulties, and we’re so glad, Michael, that you sorted it out. We were talking about Angels in America, and Peter and Matthew gave their views on it. Michael, why don’t you tell us what you thought about it.
MP: Well, I thought it was terrific. You know what bothered me about it? The one thing, of all ridiculous things. Let me know if either of you guys agree. The fact that stage hands were visibly moving the scenery. I don’t know why, it just took me out of it so much, I guess because you rarely see that in a production on this level. It seems like it was times when it was really even needless. There was one point when Christian Borle had to change his costume, like he had to put on a robe or something, and some person dressed in black with a headset on came out and handed him a robe, or took the robe from him, I don’t remember now. There are wonderful effects, like, obviously, the Angel crashing through the ceiling, if that’s not a spoiler…
TIME — 00:20
MP (continued): …but at the same time, there was all this low-tech stuff going on. And I realize why, I mean, it’s an off-Broadway stage and it’s not terribly large and they don’t have the fly facilities and the wing facilities of a…. but was that an issue for anyone?
MM: You know, Michael, one thing I want to point out and I’m sorry that I don’t have my playbill handy. But, I believe that the stagehands are actually even credited in the playbill or something, as being the two extra men or something, and I understand what you’re saying and it was something that I noticed. But it was something that I interpreted as one of those Japanese things where the people wear black and you’re not actually supposed to see them and they can move the sets and stuff and be sort of out of the world of the play.
MP: Well, that’s interesting, but if that’s the case, then I think maybe they should have used them more. Because it only happened occasionally and it was like, all of a sudden, oh there’s a stage hand moving scenery or handing him a piece of clothing and I…
MM: You know, Michael, I remember it happening, actually, fairly often. I don’t recall it being a very occasional thing. But, you know, maybe that’s just me. Maybe I’m misremembering. I didn’t really focus on that, I just remember thinking it was odd at the time that those two guys were credited.
MP: Right, right.
PF: I have to say that this is something that I’ve gotten used to as time as gone on. I’ve seen it more and more, I’ll admit that when I started going to the theatre, almost 50 years ago, I never saw it. But over time, I’ve become inured to it, the way I’ve had to accept doubling, in ways that I didn’t have to a long time ago. So, it doesn’t bother me because I’m just too used to it.
MP: Well, let me clarify. I’ve seen a great many shows where it hasn’t bothered me at all. For some reason, in this one it did. I guess I felt like it wasn’t that well integrated into the production. And I don’t’ know why I felt that way, but there was something about it that made me feel that way. But, to focus… it’s a really terrific production. The acting is amazing. Frank Wood, who I’ve always loved, does a fantastic job as Roy Cohn: certainly, very well worth standing in the same tradition as Ron Leibman and Al Pachino. And everyone else. I thought Zoe Kazan, is it Zoey or Zoe, does anyone know?
MM: We’ve been saying Zoe.
PF: Yeah, I have no idea.
MP: Yeah I don’t think she has an accent mark. But anyways, although she was extremely different from the people who have done it before, I thought it was a plus that she seemed so incredibly young. That gave it a whole different level to me and because I know it’s a controversial performance, but I thought she was terrific. And all of the leads: Zachary Quinto, Christian Borle, oh, Billy Porter. You know, Billy Porter was a great singer, I believe he’s kind of had major vocal problems recently.
PF: Oh no, really?
MP: Well, I shouldn’t… I don’t know the specifics so I shouldn’t really… but I know he hasn’t sung for awhile. So I think that… I mean, hopefully, they’re reversible. But in the meantime, he’s focusing on acting, and what a fantastic job he did in multiple roles, but primarily Belize, just outstanding I thought.
MM: Hey Michael, I have a question for you. One thing that Peter and I were talking about before you came on was the set. How do you think the set compared to the Broadway version?
MP: Well, I don’t have that clear a memory of the sets of the Broadway version. I remember that the sets of the diorama scene was similar. But, why? Did you think there were too many sets?
PF: Ah, that’s interesting.
MM: No, not at all, but Peter said that he thought the off-Broadway sets were more ornate or more intricate than what we’ve seen on Broadway. And I said, I didn’t see the original production, but to me, the sets were a bit on the cheap and unsatisfying side. So, I was just kind of wondering how you thought they compared, since you saw the original production.
MP: Well I do recall that they were very spare. The original and then, except for the Angel crashing through the roof, which was amazing; for an off-Broadway production, I mean, God knows how much they spent on this, it looks really expensive to me
MM: Supposedly it’s the most expensive production at Signature that there has ever been. And coming off of the heels of the Orphan’s Home Cycle, with forty actors or whatever, at nine hours of theatre, that’s really saying something.
MP: And how great that they made tickets available… didn’t they make a huge amount of tickets available for twenty dollars?
MM: Yeah at the beginning they did.
PF: Yeah Signature is very good at that. Yeah, Matt and Michael, my memory was that the original Broadway production was spare as well. And I said purposely so.
TIME — 00:25
PF (continued): But it certainly does seem to me that there is a lot going on, on that stage, set wise, and I was impressed at the design of it. It must be very difficult to conceive so many different areas that must be played in this six plus hour event, to work it all out; shifting here, shifting there, adding this, adding that, subtracting that, so I was pretty impressed by that, so…
MP: You know, it was almost written as if it could have been… written as if it were originally intended to be a film, in a sense…
PF: That’s true, yeah I see that
MP: …because it’s so wide reaching. And I think that’s why for the original in the production, George Wolf, you know, and whomever, made the decision to not be very literal in the settings and to be more….
PF: Right, I agree with that too.
JM: Alright, um, I just wanted to chime in for a second that I did see the original productions on Broadway, and the sets were so generic and nondescript that it made the Angel coming through the ceiling that much more dramatic, when it did happen. But I did remember, it was almost like sets that suggested where you were, rather than really defined it. It was almost a unit set, except for when they got out to Central Park…. Michael saw Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? Michael, why don’t you tell us a little bit about that.
MP: Well, it was a really interesting production, with a lot of video in it. Um, at a space that I had not been to before, way down on Grenich (?) Street, called 3LD, I don’t know if you guys had been there.
MM: I’ve seen a few things there.
MP: It seems like it’s almost more of a gallery or something, or maybe they use it… I don’t know. But anyway, it was really interesting to see this play that based more on the novel itself, the novel of the same title by Philip K. Dick, rather than Blade Runner, which is one of my really all-time favorite films, but did make a lot of changes in the story. And a lot of the characters, even, were different; I’m going to have to read the novel now. But there was the Harrison Ford character, Decerd(?), and there was the Darell Hannah character of Priss, but then a lot of the other characters were different. There was this kind of a God figure named Mercer, which I thought was fun, and it’s a really interesting story about identity and empathy with people, and I really recommend it to anyone who gets a chance to see it.
JM: Alright, um…
PF: Don’t you love a play that sends you to the novel? That you want to know that much more; that you want to see what happens…
MP: Absolutely.
PF: Yeah, that’s one of the great thrills of going to the theatre and knowing something’s been an adaptation that you, if it really peaks your interest enough to seek the source material. I find that a lot of fun, and it is certainly a joy for me.
MP: And also very interesting when there are different adaptations of the same source material.
PF: Mhm. Now, what I want to ask is, you said Grenich Street? You do mean Grenich Street, which is way way way downtown?
??: That’s what he means.
MP: This theatre is way down there.
JM: It’s at the 3LD art and technology center on 80 Grenich Street in New York, which is way downtown.
MP: Yeah, they do a lot of sort of mixed media productions there.
PF: And this sounds like one as well.
JM: And they are having a fundraising party on Saturday, December 4th, to raise for the Untitled Theatre Company. Alrighty, next on our agenda: Peter was out of town, as we mentioned last week, on assignment, and at Evita, actually at CCM doing a bunch of things, but he saw Evita. So Peter, why don’t you tell us about how Evita is looking these days?
PF: Well, Evita looks damn good these days and, not only that, I will say that the girl who played Evita is one of the finest I’ve ever seen. And, needless to say, show business success depends on being at the right place at the right time, it’s as much luck as it is talent. However, if there’s any justice in the world, and we know there isn’t, especially in show business, I have to say that Alana Mills…
TIME — 00:30
PF (continued): …should be somebody we hear about in the months and years to come. She’s a senior, she will be graduated this June, and I can only hope that we get to see her in a role as meaty as this as time goes on. Now, having a young woman, who I assume is twenty-one or twenty-two, play the part, certainly is right for the early part of the show, and needless to say, because Evita dies when she’s thirty-three, is not that much of a stretch. But, this woman aged terrifically and she sang it beautifully, she didn’t sing it like the original cast album: she had her own phrasing. There is definitely a CCM style, and that is that these kids really understand what each word of the lyric means, and they are acting it. And to see this woman act Evita so well, was really impressive. This is a great school for women; there is no question. Ashley Brown, the original Mary Poppins came from there. Leslie Christer(?) came from there. Shoshana Bean came from there. Sarah Getelfinger came from there, but nevertheless…
MP: Lauren Kennedy
PF: Lauren Kennedy was there for awhile, she was not graduated from the school, but she was there for awhile. And is doing a very nice job down in New Brunswick, New Jersey in Title of Show right now, which is another story that I wouldn’t mind talking about. But anyway, it was a terrific production with a few different touches. ‘The Money Keeps Rolling In’ segment was done as if it were a televangelism type of show, that was the way the production number was done and it was very effective. So, good work all around from everybody who was in it. I guess if there was a flaw, and don’t you love when flaws are like this, the McGauldy was much too talented. He was just utterly magnificent and this was a guy who, you know, you hear the line about “you won’t be remembered for your voice,” and I daresay, that that’s not true in this case, that it was a tremendously charismatic performance. So again, you never know what’s going to happen. I’ve seen so many people out there be so tremendously successful out there and not be able to stay around. But, on the other hand, I have certainly seen people who played the third soldier from the left do well too. So, one never knows, do one, on how people are going to succeed. Still, tremendously impressed with what goes on out there. But I did mention McGauldy’s name, and that was John Riddle, so maybe we’ll hear from him as time goes on too, they’re all good.
JM: Peter, tell me about the direction of Evita. Is it the same Evita that we have seen over and over, or did they do something new with it?
PF: Well, Aubrey Berg, who runs the program out there, who is the director who never does anything the way it is originally done, and not because he just wants to be contrary, but because he has too much imagination, not too much imagination, but you know what I mean, to do it in the standard way. Like one thing that I thought was very interesting was that Evita was the only one on the balcony, and Perone was down below. And that makes a nice statement about the fact of where she was in the public’s eye, that she really was the power behind the throne and he really was just another one of the people that he wouldn’t have gotten there without her. So, I liked little touches like that. I thought it was tremendously effective to see. For the famous musical chairs sequence, where Perone comes to power, he didn’t do that. What he did was have them play children’s games, like rocks and scissors and thumb fighting, that type of thing. So he had them play children’s games instead of musical chairs, and again, always imagination from Aubrey Berg, who is really quite sensational in what he does. So, it wasn’t business as usual, but very impressive.
JM: So, in this week, where we’ve all gone our separate directions.
PF: Yeah, we have.
JM: Matthew, did you see something this week that you’d like to talk about?
MM: Well, I saw a couple of things that I want to mention briefly. One of them is The Coward, by Nick Jones which is an LCT3 production, but Peter’s actually seeing that this week, so we’ll wait and talk about that next week. There’s a lot of interesting stuff there that I can’t wait to hear what Peter thinks about it. But, the new Neil LaBute play at MCC, at the Lucille Thortell Theatre, The Break of Noon, it’s not one of his stronger works, it’s certainly very interesting, David Duchovny, making his off-Broadway debut, with John Earl Jelks(?), and two women, who a lot of listeners probably know, who are doing some of their best ever work here: Amanda Peat, is playing his wife and his mistress, who happens to be his wife’s cousin, and Tracy Chemo, from…
TIME — 00:35
MM (continued): Circlemara Transformation and Bachelorette earlier this year is playing a talk-show host and a prostitute whose mother was actually in the office building where David Duchovny’s character witnessed a horrific shooting where thirty-seven people died and he was the only one who survived. And the point of the story is that he comes out of the shooting, believing that he saw God and trying to become this prophet who wants to spread the word and he runs into nothing but problems because no one believes him and he makes choices that strike people as being a little bit weird. For example, while he was in the shooting, he took a photograph of one of the women who was dying and he sold the photo for money that he used to donate to various causes. Well, some of it, and some of the money was used for other things and that becomes a big sticking point. But, a lot of things like that, that sort of throw into question how much he’s really committed to changing his life; he’s not a good man at all. He’s obviously cheated on his wife and he’s had a lot of other problems in his past. So there’s really kind of an interesting set up there about, can this really un-Godly man become someone that will be a role model to other people, and Neil LaBute, as is his want, really doesn’t come out saying that it’s possible and doesn’t come out saying that it’s not possible, he shows both sides of it. It makes the show, to be honest, kind of wishy-washy and David Duchovny doesn’t help much. He’s not really a supple, onstage presence, he’s a bit stiff. It worked in the X-files, of course, and it’s worked in some of his other screen roles, but it’s really not right for this, I think you need to feel the passion coming off of this guy. But really the rest of this cast, especially Amanda Peat and Tracy Chemo are terrific, it’s an interesting production. It’s directed by Joe Bunny(?); very spare. I have a feeling it makes the original Angels in America look like the current Angels in America by comparison. But really, it’s an interesting play. I don’t think Neil LaBute has ever written anything that’s boring or that’s not worth seeing for some reason. So, if you’re at all a Neil LaBute fan, I think you should go check this out. But you need to expect something more in the traditional Neil LaBute style than Reasons to be Pretty, which was his sort of mainstream kind of play. And the other thing that I saw was the double bill of Harold Pinter plays at Classic Stage Company being produced by the Atlantic Theatre. This is a very good pairing of shows that has to do with identity and what we think and how we act around other people and how we project ourselves. The two plays were The Collection, which was written in 1961, and A Kind of Alaska, which was written in 1982. Aside from their basic themes, they’re completely different. The Collection is about a young man who may or may not have had an illicit fling with the wife of someone else in town. And A Kind of Alaska is based on the book of Awakenings, which some people may remember from the 1990 movie that starred Robin Williams, about a woman who acquired sleeping sickness when she was sixteen years old and was asleep, basically, for twenty-nine years; and this is the day she wakes up and what happens and how does she react to the changes in the world and her family around her and how does the world reacts to her. Fascinating work, Lisa Emery is just absolutely amazing as Deborah, who is the woman who wakes up from sleeping sickness, but it’s a great cast. Larry Bryggman, Rebecca Henderson, Darren Pettie and Matt McGrath are all in it. They don’t appear in every show. There are four roles in The Collection, and only three in A Kind of Alaska, so there’s a bit of an overlap there. But, really, it’s a very fast-paced, it’s a very entertaining, it’s a very energetic, Harold Pinter outing. You can’t always say that about Harold Pinter. So if you really have the notion of Harold Pinter as kind of a slow and boring and very pause-filled playwright, which, to be honest, is not always wrong, this will really turn you around. Oh, it’s less than two hours, but it’s very powerful. It’s outstandingly acted, and it’s very well directed by Karen Kolhass; so I would recommend checking it out for a very different look at Harold Pinter, then maybe you usually get.
JM: We don’t usually talk about opera, but Michael is on the podcast and he is our resident opera knowledge person, aficionado- I don’t know in the opera world, I always trip over words, you know…
PF: Let’s say expert.
JM: Expert. Well, I didn’t know if Michael would call himself an expert, so I didn’t want to jump there. Michael, would you call yourself an expert?
MP: Oh gosh, in some repertoire, yes.
PF: That a boy!
JM: Because, you know, during my time at Julliard, nobody was an expert. Michael saw Don Carlo at the Metropolitan Opera; so Michael, do you want to give us a short little synopsis about it?
MP: Yeah, well a short little synopsis about a four hour and forty-five minute opera, yeah…
TIME — 00:40
JM: It’s the gatz of opera.
MP: Well, you know, operas, one reason that they tend to be… some of them are so long is that they tend to have multiple intermissions. This one only had two intermissions, even though it’s five acts, but it’s a beautiful opera by Verdi: Don Carlo, or Don Carlos, depending on which version you use; and it’s a historical drama. And I guess the interesting thing about this production is that it was directed by Nicholas Hytner and it has set and costume designs by Bob Crowley- or Croley- I really should learn how to pronounce his name, who we obviously know from the theatre. And it’s a co-production with the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, and the Norwegian National Opera and Ballet, so all of those three places are going to see it or have seen it. But, with all that, actually, this production was outstanding from a musical standpoint and I didn’t really think it held together dramatically or certainly not anything that the director brought to it. There didn’t really seem to be a cohesive vision of the style of it. I’m always perplexed when I see, for example, a production where the costumes are… look like they’re extremely totally period detailed and realistic in that sense, but the set is not. I’m not sure what point that sends. And this was one of those productions. And yet some of the sets were realistic and some weren’t, it just didn’t seem like there was a cohesive vision as I said. And then this is a very melodramatic opera and it seemed like, if anything, there were some places where Hytner made it worse. There’s one point when one of the characters is disguised, she’s wearing a vale, and the tenor thinks that it’s his beloved, but actually, it’s not. So, he does this whole sort of love scene with her and then she takes off the veil, and the way it was staged here, she took off the veil and he backed away from her and the audience laughed. It was like a really big laugh, and I think that’s probably not what’s supposed to happen here. Admittedly it would be difficult to stage that moment with no laughter whatsoever, but here it was this big guffaw, so I don’t think Hytner came up with a very good solution for that moment. But, on the other hand, incredible singing and orchestral playing, if anyone is into that, just really amazing. Roberto Alagna was the tenor and he’s a big favorite of the Met. So, that’s my report on that.
JM: Michael, I just wanted to say something really quick. I think that when there are elaborate costumes and not elaborate sets, the artistic message is that costumes are cheaper than sets.
MP: Perhaps I’m wrong about that.
PF: That would be my take on it too.
JM: Well, elaborate costumes. One of the things that, if you are an off-Broadway or non-profit theatre, or whatever, and you are doing a period piece, the first places you turn to is the Met costume collection to rent your costumes, where they have an enormous warehouse of costumes that they have built that are worth incredible large amounts of money that they rent out to theatre companies. So they do have a stock of really ornate and beautiful costumes that can be pulled, so I don’t know if these costumes were created for this production or they were adapted or whatever, but that’s quite a possibility that they pulled them from storage, rather than built them. Versus building sets which is a little bit more tough to store and upkeep. It’s really amazing how you try to keep a set and you take painstaking efforts to put it away into storage and you take it out and it just looks like crap. It’s much easier to rent costumes than rent sets to various productions. So, let’s loop back and talk about Title of Show at George Street from Peter’s point of view. Peter, how did you find Title of Show, is it holding up?
PF: Oh, very much so. What was interesting to me was seeing it outside of New York City. Granted, New Brunswick, New Jersey is only forty miles south; but still, one wants to see how people who may not have their finger on the pulse of New York theatre will take to this show. And the opening night crowd, however, may not be the ultimate indication because there were certainly a lot of theatre savvy people who attend on opening night. So I’m not sure what I can glean in terms of the regular run. What I certainly can say is that it’s wonderfully done down there. Seth Rudetsky is everybody’s favorite; you would expect to be far more flamboyant…
TIME — 00:45
PF (continued): …based on his Sirius radio show and it’s such a wonderfully controlled performance. He plays, you should pardon the expression: the straight man. And it’s really something to see him interact with Tyler Maynard, who plays Hunter and is the more flamboyant of the two, and it’s really really a wonderful interaction between these two, so that’s really quite fine. The two women: Lauren Kennedy, who we mentioned earlier, playing Heidi, and Susan Mosher, playing Susan. I never knew Susan Mosher… perhaps I have, but this is the first time that she really had a chance to make an impression on me and she really did. Because she has a face that is worthy of a Hirschfield drawing and I think that he would come back from the dead to draw her if he saw her face. She has a wonderfully manic, wonderful face that is so entertaining. Lauren Kennedy is always wonderful. I’ve liked her ever since I saw her in Nine at the Papermill Playhouse many many moons ago, so it’s a very nice production. Of course, half of the audience was scratching its heads, while references to Mary Stout were given, or Henry, Sweet Henry, or the substitution they gave for Roma Toree, which was me because Roma Toree is not known in New Jersey because she’s a New York woman, so they chose my name instead. And it was very humbling to hear half of the audience roaring in recognition and the other half saying, “what did he just say?” So, I have miles to go before I’m more popular, but nevertheless, it’s a terrific production. What I found out this week is that Title of Show is going to be performed in March in Fargo, North Dakota. I think I’m going to go see it. I want to see how Title of Show plays in Fargo because if half of the audience didn’t get the jokes forty miles south, how will they do 1,430 miles west? That’s what I want to know. So don’t be surprised when in March, you hear me talking about Title of Show in Fargo. But, if one hasn’t seen Title of Show, or wants to revisit it, I think that people will be very much pleased here. I didn’t find it at all weird that I was seeing a non-Jeff Bowen and a non-Hunter Bell playing Jeff and Hunter; it wasn’t a problem at all. People (nd) about that a little bit, and it’s just two people writing a show.
JM: Peter, I don’t know if I’ve told you this, but Jeff Bowen and I did Summer Stock together in 1992 at Seaside Music Theatre in Daytona Beach, and Jeff had an unhealthy obsession with Fargo, North Dakota back then
PF: No!
JM: So, I am sure that Jeff is going to be there…
PF: No!
JM: Because he… they would do all these North Dakota voices all the time.
??: Was that before or after the film?
JM: You know, I think it was probably before the film, Fargo, but I think there was somebody in the company who was from North Dakota at Seaside. I can’t remember, but I distinctly remember Jeff and various other folks… do you know Christine Long who played the girl in Fantasticks when it was closing? She’s a great actress and she was in the company as well and she and Jeff were best buddies and a few other folks that were there, and all the North Dakota jokes were hysterical. So, I’m sure Jeff will be out there and…
PF: Wow, the Fargo movie came out in 1996.
MP?: Yeah, I just looked it up too.
PF: So, this predates that. Wouldn’t it be something if Jeff did go out there because of his North Dakota obsession? What a fascinating piece of information James, that was great.
JM: Summer Stock, so random.
MM: I’m sorry, Peter, can I ask you something real quick about Title of Show? Have they made any additional changes to it? Because every incarnation of Title of Show has been rewritten into some major degree, and if this is the version they’re selling to everyone and every potential market, I was just wondering how, if it all, it’s changed since the Broadway incarnation.
PF: I truly believe what we’re seeing down there is the Broadway show.
MM: Ok.
PF: That’s what I think it is.
MM: Ok, great.
JM: On a tangential note, have you guys ever been to a show at Seaside Music Theatre in Daytona Beach?
(multiple): No
JM: What a great theatre company it is. We’re going to have to see if we can get somebody from Seaside to join us one day to tell… because they went from being a Summer Stock theatre… Tippin(?) Davidson, who is the producer down there, also owns the local newspapers down there, so you’ve got a pretty large community leader down there, and basically… this is the legend, I don’t know if this is actual fact: created Seaside Music Theatre…
TIME– 00:50
JM (continued): … because his daughter kept on going away for the summer to do Summer Stock and he wanted her to be in town, so he created the theatre for her. Julia. And Julia is now the managing director of Seaside Music Theatre, which I guess became an all-year-round theatre and it’s a… it’s a great… we did five shows in rep…
PF: In rep?
JM: In rep. The company was about 200 people, we had a full orchestra, we had a full technical crew that did changeovers every night. It was such a great experience, Seaside Music Theatre, and anybody that gets a chance to work for them; they should jump on that opportunity. It was so much fun; I had a great summer there.
PF: Oh, yeah. I wish that more rich girls father’s would pick up the slack here, that sounds great. We need more rich girls interested in musical theatre, that’s what we need.
JM: We did Lend Me a Tenor, Evita, Of Thee I Sing, Merry Widow, and (nd) Phantom, that was the summer.
PF: What a rep! My! That is really something.
JM: Because Lend Me a Tenor was small, we had… various people got off for Lend Me a Tenor and various people were only in Evita, but not in other things. And it was such a great experience.
PF: Ok, James, what was the big hit of the summer? What was the one that you couldn’t get a ticket to out of those five?
JM: I think it was probably between Evita and the (nd)Phantom because it was one of the first productions of the (nd) Phantom and there was much confusion, people thought they were seeing the Andrew Lloyd Weber Phantom and, in fact, some people would come out and say, “wow, these people were better than the Broadway production,” and we would laugh at it.
PF: It’s sad that that show has disappeared after having such visibility in the early 90’s. The Papermill Playhouse production of it in 1993, the (nd) Phantom, is arguably the most ornate show they ever did. There were so many sets in it, that after awhile… it was almost like people, when you go to someone’s house and they keep on feeding you, and after awhile you say, “oh, I can’t eat anymore, I just can’t do it.” I mean, it was almost that, when they came out with yet another new set, it was almost like “please, please, I can’t take another set. I mean, you’re just overwhelming me.” So, but boy, I saw that Phantom four times in a single season, in four different places, in three different states, so it was really impressive.
JM: I think Seaside, right before I went to Seaside Music Theatre, I was at the Jupiter Theatre in Jupiter, Florida, and Jupiter did Phantom; they were the first production to do it, and then Seaside was the second, and then MainState Music Theatre was the third. And I remember, we were getting the scripts sent to us from Jupiter to Seaside because they just weren’t ready yet, and parts weren’t finished and everything, but it eventually settled down; it was kind of nutty. It was a fun show to do and we had a very good set of casts, so our Galen Faught, who also played Shea in Evita, played Eric, the Phantom; and I don’t know if you know Jeanie Johnson, played Evita… and so there was a handful of pretty talented folks who did these shows down at Seaside. And Lester Melisia(?), who was the managing director at Seaside at the time, they ran such a great company; they paid such attention to detail. It’s theatre like you’d want it done, and there’s absolutely no way- and I mean, I look at it over and over- absolutely no way that they even came close to breaking even. And they just did it for the love of theatre and it was a great summer. Anyway, let’s move on. Michael and Peter attended John Willis’s memorial on Monday at the National Arts Club. Peter, can you us a little bit about how it went?
PF: Yeah, it went very…. I’m going to ask Michael to go first on this. Let’s get his perceptions if he thought it went very well, because to be frank, I was one of the co-hosts, so I’d like to hear it from an audience viewpoint, rather than a participant viewpoint.
MP: Well, it was a wonderful wonderful service and it really spoke to how beloved John was. Bernadette Peters was there, Michael Cerveris, Karen Acres, Pat Suzuki(?), people from all walks of life… Anita Joelet(?); and it was held at the National Arts Club which was a wonderful venue and there was a lovely video tribute and people spoke very lovingly of John Willis’s…
TIME — 00:55
MP (continued): … commitment to the theatre world over… how many years, Peter?
PF: Uh, sixty plus, something like that. Yeah, he did really work very very hard on those books and it really was very much his life. He was married four times, but he always told me that each of those marriages ended because it was “you love those damn books more than you love me!” So, it’s not impossible to believe that he did. So, a great man and a lovely guy, and it was so nice that Brian Stokes Mitchell was so interested in being one of the hosts that night because he was so grateful that John picked him out of a crowd, in essence, in a very short lived musical called Mail. So, it’s a very obscure show, it didn’t get a cast album; but John went and saw him and said, “that’s certainly somebody who’s going to amount to something someday.” I will tell the story I told involving a young man named Joshua Park, and Joshua was in The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. The irony is that he got his award on a Monday; however, on Sunday the show closed, so it was a bittersweet day for him because after all, he probably went to unemployment earlier in the day to start his collection and yet, here he is getting this award. When I first saw the Theatre World awards in 1980, John Willis made a point of saying, “people who have won this award have gone on to win some many Oscars, so many Emmys, so many Tonys,” blah blah blah. You know, he really gave a figure and it was a substantial amount to hear, a substantial number, so I said to Joshua that day, “Joshua, you know a lot of people who’ve won this award have gone on to win Oscars, and Emmys, and Tonys” and John was passing by at that moment and I grabbed his arm and I said, “John, isn’t it true… tell Joshua here: isn’t it true that people who win this award tend to go on and win Oscars, and Emmys, and Tonys, and Grammys” and he said, “some do and some don’t.” It was very funny because that was John; there was no bullshiting with John whatsoever. I mean, he was really down-to-earth, brass tax, and that’s what was going on right then and there. And that was part of his charm, that he didn’t deal euphemisms, he certainly saw things as they were. So I was very glad that the memorial came off as nicely as it did. And God bless Ben Hodges who has picked up the mantle and has done these books every year; they’re not easy to do. I mean, John used to do the awards and the books; notice that I’m heading the awards and Ben Hodges is doing the books, it’s taking two of us to do what one man used to do.
MP: Speaking of people who won Theatre World awards and went on to win Oscars and Tonys, another person who spoke- and I can’t believe I didn’t mention it before- was Cliff Robertson. And I don’t even know the play that he won for; Peter, maybe you know…
PF: It was Orpheus Descending, in fact.
MP: Oh wow, okay. So, how amazing to have Cliff Robertson there, really. And yes, Peter, absolutely, it’s Ben Hodges… he’s been doing an amazing job. I hope these books continue, because as we all know, there’s been such a movement lately away from books. But, I’m hoping that the tradition of the Theatre World books will survive the onslaught of the Internet and that people will say to themselves, “well, there’s still value in having these photos and all this information in book form, year after year” and there will be enough people to support that to keep it going forever.
PF: Yeah, I could be wrong about this, but I will make an educated guess here: given that the Best Plays annuals come out every year too, the Theatre World does have a leg up in the sense that it’s mostly pictures. It has the information, but pictures are the power of the book and always have been. Not that one can’t get pictures on the Internet either, but nevertheless, at this point in time, there’s much more information on IBDB and IODB, than there are pictures. There are pictures on IBDB and there are more and more as time goes on, but nevertheless, it certainly is an information driven site, rather than a photographic site.
MP: But, also, to think about the Theatre World books, to me it has been that everything is in one place: it’s not just off-Broadway, it’s theatre all over the U.S. So, hopefully, people will continue to think that there’s great value in that and they will support it and it will go on forever.
JM: There was something…
TIME — 1:00
JM (continued): … in Talkin’ Broadway’s threads in the last couple of days, and what reminded me of it was when Peter mentioned that Mail had no cast recording and there was no recording of Brian Stokes Mitchell doing that; but, there is talk about Women on a Verge and having such an incredible cast and that there seems to be no cast recording on the horizon… have you guys heard anything about that? What are your thoughts on it?
MM: Well, James, I had heard a rumor that Sh-K-Boom, of course, because of the Sherie René Scott connection, was going to be doing a two-disc set of it. I don’t know if that’s actually official, but it’s the rumor that I had heard.
PF: I will say that I have heard that that’s not happening.
JM: Yeah, I heard, as well, that it’s… that Sh-K-Boom is not doing it.
MP: You know, I’m amazed, I really am.
MM: It’s too bad because I will bet you anything that that show would come across a hundred times better on disc, than watching it because I think the main problem was lack of focus in the stage, and also in… well, I mean, to some degree in the writing, but so much of that would be eliminated if you just got to hear the score. And I think it is a much better score than people realize; it’s just that there are so many distractions and so many unfortunate things that happen in the book and the staging. I guess we’ll hope for the best, but it doesn’t look…
PF: James, you’re our money man here, you know about these things- I think- better than the rest of us, but producing a cast album with so many stars in it… are they on a standard contract, do you suspect, and not getting all that much money?
JM: I would say that there’s a Favorite Nation’s… I don’t know this to be true, but I…
PF: I understand we’re guessing, I understand.
JM: I think that they would have to be on a Favorite Nation’s contract; so that there are no star payments being made out there and everybody’s doing it because everybody’s making the same amount of money and that would be good. But, still, to make a cast recording of a Broadway show, you’re starting at, generally, a minimum of $300,000, and the way that Sh-K-Boom has been working, as my understanding of the past, is that the producers of the Broadway show pay this fee. And Sh-K-Boom, basically project manages the recording. So Sh-K-Boom is not a traditional record label like Sony or anything else; they’re not… Sh-K-Boom is not writing a $300,000 check. They’re saying that “we’re specialists and we get the recording made, here’s your budget, we’re going to be general managers for the recording, per say. Here’s your budget, here’s what we have to do, we can make this happen, we will make the marketing happen, we’ll make all the other logistics happen,” and the producers of the show pay for it. So, my take on it is, probably, that with Sherie in the show and with all these stars, is that… the producers have pretty much just said… if Sh-K-Boom doesn’t do it, I’d imagine that the producers are saying, “we don’t have the money,” or “we don’t think it’s a good investment for us.”
PF: Well, if this were a conventional Broadway show, a real commercial production, I would think, then, that the cost would be out of site to pay a week’s salary to all these people. So, in a strange way, it’s more likely that a cast album would result as a result of this Lincoln Center deal, than it would with a conventional Broadway deal.
JM: Yeah, and I don’t know, also, if Lincoln Center has a relationship, a contractual relationship, with a record label that, you know, nonesuch, or something like that, that would write a first refusal or something along those lines. But, it is a shame because this is such a stellar cast, and I don’t know, looking at grosses, I don’t think Women on a Verge is going to be around past the spring, if it makes it to the spring. So, closing today, we have Mrs. Warren’s Profession, which is expected; a life in the theatre which was semi-expected, and (nd), which was really expected to close today. Also, we have Michael who is going to be starring in the 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee at Wagner College. Michael, you want to give us a one minute synopsis on this?
MP: Not starring in it, I’m going to be one of the guest spellers.
JM: In my heart you’re starring in it.
PF: Michael, are you going to learn the lines, you know, “Goodbye,” you know, the song. Are you going to sing along with everybody? I think that would be great.
MP: I should listen to the cast album, shouldn’t I?
PF: You should! I’m telling you, if I were a guest speller, I would learn that song and I would certainly enjoy doing it.
MP: But, can I sing “Goodbye” to myself, Peter?
PF: Well, I mean, it all depends. If you’re able to make a cut, then I think you can sing it.
MP: Oh, to the other people, yeah… If George Street does it, maybe…
TIME — 1:05
MP (continued): you could be the guest speller.
PF: That’s a great… that’s a good idea. Right.
JM: Also, the last thing I want to mention today, is that yesterday I took my kids, and my wife, in fact, to go see Disney’s Tangled: the movie about Rapunzel that Disney has got out there right now and I loved it!
PF: So did I.
JM: Three thumbs up, everybody go see it.
PF: Yeah, I agree.
JM: I want to remind everybody that you can subscribe to these podcasts by going to the front page of BroadwayStars.com and on the right-hand side, there’s a BroadwayRadio logo. Right below that there’s a subscribe button. That way, each and every time we have a new episode of This Week on Broadway, it will automatically by downloaded to your iTunes player and you won’t miss anything. You can also listen to us via the Zune Marketplace; also by Stitcher(?) Radio, whereby you can download this podcast on a fly to your iPhone, your iPod, your Blackberry, your Android device, whatever you’ve got and listen to us there. You can also listen to us three times a week on Broadway World Radio. If you would like to contact us, you can do this by going to the front page of ‘BroadwayStars,’ and on the upper right-hand corner there’s a contact form; that way you can send us some feedback, or you can pick up a phone and give us a call at 646-873-7695, and if you leave us a voicemail we may play it on the show. So, on behalf of Peter Filichia, Matthew Murray, Michael Portantiere; this is James Marino saying thanks so much for listening to Broadway Radio’s, This Week on Broadway. Bye
All: bye
END TIME: 1:07:02


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