Peter Filichia, James Marino, and Michael Portantiere talk with Alan Menken about the release of Kurt Vonnegut’s God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater. We review West Side Story 60th Anniversary Celebration @ 54 Below, Cool! West Side Story 60th Anniversary Reunion at St. Lukes, A Clockwork Orange, Mary Jane, Desperate Measures, and Say Something Bunny.
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PETER FILICHIA is a theater journalist and historian with a number of books, his most recent is, “The Great Parade”, available everywhere. His columns appear at MTI, Masterworks Broadway, Broadway Select and many other places.
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MICHAEL PORTANTIERE is a theater reviewer and essayist, and is the chief new york theater critic at TalkinBroadway. He is also a theatrical photographer whose photos have appeared in The New York Times and other major publications. You can see his photography work at FollowSpotPhoto.com.
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Guest: Alan Menken
Ghostlight Records celebrates the premiere cast recording of the musical Kurt Vonnegut’s God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater – based on the recent production by the New York City Center’s Encores! Off-Center musical theater series – with a special new “Making of the Cast Album” video featuring exclusive footage from the recording session and stage production, in addition to commentary from the cast and creative team. The video is available online here. The album is currently available on CD in stores and online, in addition to digital and streaming formats. For more information on the recording, please visit sh-k-boom.com/god-bless-you-mr-rosewater.
Adapted from Vonnegut’s 1965 novel, this was the first musical written by the blockbuster team of Howard Ashman and Alan Menken, before their theater success with Little Shop of Horrors and their animated Disney hits The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast and Aladdin. The production was directed by Michael Mayer and choreographed by Lorin Latarro. Chris Fenwick served as Music Director. The CD’s 28-page full-color booklet includes complete lyrics, production photography, a synopsis and essays from director Michael Mayer and Thomas Schumacher, President of Disney Theatrical Group. The album is produced by Alan Menken and Michael Kosarin, with Rick Kunis serving as executive producer.
The recent Encores! Off-Center production starred Skylar Astin, Derrick Baskin, Jeff Blumenkrantz, Nick Choksi, Eddie Cooper, Kevin Del Aguila, Santino Fontana, Clark Johnson, James Earl Jones, Rebecca Naomi Jones, Kevin Ligon, Marla Louissaint, Liz McCartney, Bonnie Milligan, Brynn O’Malley, and Kate Wetherhead.
The 1979 musical God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater tells the story of Eliot Rosewater (Santino Fontana), a millionaire who drunkenly decides to blow his fortune on the inhabitants of an impoverished town after being inspired by the utopian vision of novelist Kilgore Trout (James Earl Jones). But there are forces who want to put the kibosh on Eliot’s philanthropy—like Norman Mushari (Skylar Astin), a lawyer plotting to have Eliot declared insane. With an irresistible crazy-quilt score that volleys between pop, ragtime, Gilbert & Sullivan, and proto-Disney ballads, the Encores! Off-Center production featured never-before heard orchestrations by Danny Troob.
When the show ran for five performances at City Center from July 27-30, 2016, The New York Times praised the score for its “melodic sweetness” and “boisterous wit.” AM New York said “the songs are fresh, fun and occasionally heartfelt.” Talkin’ Broadway raved about “the sprightly book and the dazzling score. These are incredible, almost incomparable, compositions, that fuse Ashman’s ultra-witty and affectionate lyrics with Alan Menken’s golden-earworm melodies.” According to BroadwayWorld.com, “Ashman’s irreverent intelligence and Menken’s attractive mix of musical styles – dominated by Americana-style folk and blues – makes this an excellent example of a lost musical that any fan of the genre needs to get to know.”
Kurt Vonnegut’s God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater features book and lyrics by Howard Ashman, music by Alan Menken, and additional lyrics by Dennis Green. It was originally presented by The WPA Theatre, where it was directed by Howard Ashman.
Alan Menken is also represented on Ghostlight Records with the cast recordings of A Bronx Tale, Newsies, Sister Act, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Leap of Faith and The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz. The label served as executive producer for Aladdin.
Peter and Michael’s review of God Bless You Mr. Rosewater at City Center
— This Week on Broadway for August 7, 2016: Cats, Men on Boats, God Bless You Mr. Rosewater
MP: West Side Story 60th Anniversary Celebration @ 54 Below, Tuesday, September 26, 2017
PF: COOL! WEST SIDE STORY 60TH ANNIVERSARY REUNION Panel Discussion @ St. Lukes
— Google Arts & Culture: Peter Gennaro: the West Side Story you haven’t heard
MP + PF: A Clockwork Orange @ New World Stages Box Office
at 340 West 50th Street
PF: Mary Jane @ New York Theatre Workshop, 79 East 4th St. (btwn Bowery & 2nd Ave.), through October 29, 2017
PF: Desperate Measures @ York Theatre Company, 619 Lexington Avenue (entrance on 54th Street), through October 15, 2017
PF: Say Something Bunny @ 511 W 20th UNDO Project Space, through January 28, 2018
— Peter hits 11,000th show!
Television, Film and Streaming:
Join us for this new musical review celebrating Maury Yeston, the genius behind the Tony Award-winning shows Nine, Grand Hotel & Titanic. At the Triad Theater for 12 performances only, Anything Can Happen In The Theater will include his best known songs, plus wonderful new material yet to be performed in public. Directed by Gerard Alessandrini, creator of Forbidden Broadway and the recent hit Spamilton. But in this case, Mr. Alessandrini has put aside his parody poison pen to stylishly direct the stellar cast: Bob Cuccioli, Alex Getlin, Justin Keyes, Michael Maliakel & Jill Paice, with musical direction by Greg Jarrett. Please Note: The Triad has a 2-drink minimum.
“GOD BLESS YOU, MR. ROSEWATER”
2. The Rosewater Foundation
8. Cheese Nips
15. A Firestorm Consuming Indianapolis
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