Peter Filichia, James Marino, and Michael Portantiere talk about Monsoon Season @ Rattlestick Playwrights Theater, Bella Bella, Enchanted April A New Musical @ Theatre Two on Theatre Row, A Concert Celebrating the 30th Anniversary of the Tony Winning Musical “Grand Hotel”, Panama Hattie @ The York Theatre Company (Musicals in Mufti series), Christmas Albums: Vintage Broadway Christmas, A Swinging Birdland Christmas, For Colored Girls who Have Considered Suicide / When the Rainbow is Enuf @ The Public’s Martinson Hall, Upcoming at 54 Melissa Errico: an Even Grander Affair, and the film Leonard Soloway’s Broadway
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Peter Filichia | [email protected] | Facebook
PETER FILICHIA is a playwright, journalist, and historian with a number of books. His columns appear at Masterworks Broadway, Broadway Select and many other places.
James Marino | [email protected] | Twitter | Facebook
Michael Portantiere | [email protected] | Facebook
MICHAEL PORTANTIERE is a theater reviewer and essayist. 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.
Coming up November 16, 2019: 54 Loves Cast Albums launching the new website http://castalbumreviews.com/
Notes and links for the podcast.
Tuesdays at 54… with Robbie Rozelle!
Tuesday, November 12: Elena Shaddow (The King and I, The Bridges of Madison County), Christian Dante White (My Fair Lady, Hello Dolly!), Heath Saunders (Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812)
Tuesday, November 19: Nicholas Barasch (She Loves Me, The Mystery of Edwin Drood), Ellyn Marie Marsh (The Rose Tattoo, Pretty Woman)
Tuesday, November 26: Join in on Robbie’s birthday extravaganza! Mauricio Martínez (On Your Feet)
Tuesday, December 10: Lesli Margherita (Dames at Sea, Matilda the Musical), Jason Forbach (The Phantom of the Opera, Les Misérables)
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Derren Brown’s Secret is now on Broadway for a Strictly Limited Engagement! Audiences and Critics are Blown Away by This Master of Psychological Illusion. The New York Times says you’ll be “Brainwashed Into Joy” Deadline calls it “Stunning. Captivating. Thoroughly Entertaining from Start to Finish.” And the Daily Beast says “You’ll be Flummoxed, Amazed, Floored, Fascinated, Freaked Out, Charmed, and Wonderstruck.” Experience Derren Brown’s Secret for Yourself — now at the Cort Theater Through January 4. Get Tickets at DerrenBrownSecret.com.
Slave Play is the new American play everyone is talking about, and due to phenomenal demand, this satirical look at race, sex, and power has been extended through January 19th. Written by Jeremy O. Harris and directed by Robert O’Hara, Jesse Green of The New York Times calls it “one of the best and most provocative new works to show up on Broadway in years,” and Aisha Harris adds that Slave Play “reimagines the possibilities of what theater can give us.” Don’t miss the theatrical event of the year: Visit SlavePlayBroadway.com for tickets.
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PF: Direct from Edinburgh ALL FOR ONE THEATER’S Deranged Romantic Comedy MONSOON SEASON by Lizzie Vieh @ Rattlestick Playwrights Theater, 224 Waverly Place, through November 23, 2019
Directed by Kristin McCarthy Parker
Fresh off a month-long world premiere run at the esteemed Edinburgh Festival Fringe, All For One Theater presents the U.S. premiere of Lizzie Vieh’s brutally demented romantic comedy, MONSOON SEASON. Tickets, priced at $25, are available at www.afo.nyc.
It’s MONSOON SEASON in Phoenix, and recently separated couple Danny and Julia are spiraling into chaos. Pills and paranoia, hallucinations and twisted humor fuel their unhinged relationship. This deranged comedy comes alive with biting humor and blinding insight in this romantic thriller.
Celebrating nine seasons of extraordinary solo theater, All For One Theater brings their Edinburgh Festival Fringe hit MONSOON SEASON home to New York for its U.S. premiere. Since their breakup, a strip club’s flashing neon sign is keeping Danny awake at night, and Julia’s Adderall addiction has only gotten worse since her dealer moved in. Danny is suffering from micro-blackouts and Julia keeps seeing a giant bird in her backyard. Is anyone watching their kid? Lizzie Vieh’s comedic thriller MONSOON SEASON is a depraved romantic comedy for a toxic world.
MONSOON SEASON began as a one-act solo play, qualifying as a finalist at the 2016 Samuel French Off-Off-Broadway Festival. Playwright Lizzie Vieh subsequently developed the work in 2018 as part of All For One Theater’s Solo Collective series. Vieh is currently All For One’s Artist in Residence, with MONSOON SEASON marking the culmination of her two-year development of the now full-length play.
The cast of MONSOON SEASON is led by Richard Thieriot (Broadway: Clybourne Park; Second Stage’s Mary Page Marlowe) as Danny and Therese Plaehn (Broadway/National Tour: The Humans, The Heidi Chronicles) as Julia.
MONSOON SEASON is directed by Kristin McCarthy Parker. Scenic design is by You-Shin Chen; costume design is by Haydee Zelideth; lighting design is by Sarah Johnston; and sound design is by Emma Wilk, with Mae Frankeberger as production manager and Kara Kaufman as production stage manager,
MP: Manhattan Theatre Club’s world premiere of Bella Bella, written and performed by Harvey Fierstein and directed by Kimberly Senior, at MTC at New York City Center – Stage I, 131 West 55th Street, through December 1, 2019
The production begins previews Tuesday, October 1 ahead of a Tuesday, October 22 opening night.
Fierstein returns to MTC taking on New York City’s very own political firebrand, Bella Abzug, in his new raucous, heart-rending and absurdly humorous solo show. Set in 1976, on the eve of her bid to become New York State’s first female Senator, Bella Bella finds this larger-than-life, truth-slinging, groundbreaking, hat-wearing icon squirreled away in the bathroom of a midtown hotel awaiting that night’s election results while a coterie of family and celebs await her entrance. Directing is Kimberly Senior.
Bella Bella’s creative team includes John Lee Beatty (Scenic Design), Rita Ryack (Costume Design), Tyler Micoleau (Lighting Design), Jill BC Du Boff (Sound Design), and Caite Hevner (Projection Design).
PF: Enchanted April A New Musical @ Theatre Two on Theatre Row, 410 West 42nd Street, through November 16, 2019
Utah Lyric Opera, in association with Thunder Media Group, will present the New York Premiere of An Enchanted April, a new musical based on the novel The Enchanted April, by Elizabeth von Arnim, with book and lyrics by Elizabeth Hansen, music & lyrics by C. Michael Perry and directed by Alice Jankell in a limited engagement (November 1-16) at Theatre Two at Theatre Row (410 West 42nd Street).
An Enchanted April begins in London…during a particularly dreary February in 1922. Four world-weary women, desperate to escape their memories of WWI and the repression of London, dare to rent a villa in Italy for a month. Miraculously, in just one short Enchanted April, the lives and hearts of these women are transformed by wisteria, sunshine, a small medieval castle…and each other.
“Very, very rarely, a piece comes along that lets you live in the light while exploring the shadows,” explains director Alice Jankell. “This show is lovely and joyful, yet honest and fearless enough to dive deep into the human heart. I am excited by that contrast.”
The cast features Broadway’s Leah Hocking (Broadway: Billy Elliot, Mamma Mia, Hairspray, The Wild Party, Jekyll and Hyde, Grease, Guys & Dolls), Alma Cuervo (Broadway: On Your Feet, Beauty and the Beast; Cabaret; Titanic; The Heidi Chronicles; Ghetto; Quilters) and Jim Stanek (Broadway: Fun Home, Lestat, Little Women, The Rivals), with Christiana Cole (Off Broadway: Fun Home, The Brady Bunch), Aaron Phillips (Off Broadway: American Morning; Film: Delivery Man, Visiting Hours) and newcomers Gena Sims, Peter Reid Lambert and Melody Meeks Putnam.
The creative team includes Andrew Joy (Executive Producer), Richard Danley (Music Director), Ronnie Bishop (Assistant Music Director), Matthew Solomon (Costume Design), William Armstrong (Scenic & Lighting Design), Erin Dinnell Bjorn (Projections Design) and Liz Burdick (Prop Mistress). Cheyney Coles is Stage Manager.
An Enchanted April will play the following performance schedule: Wednesday–Saturday at 8:00pm, with matinees on Wednesdays and Saturdays at 2:00pm. Tickets, priced at $65, can be purchased by visiting www.telecharge.com or by calling 212-239-6200.
A CONCERT CELEBRATING THE 30TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE TONY WINNING MUSICAL “GRAND HOTEL”
TO BENEFIT THE ACTORS FUND STARRING MEMBERS OF THE ORIGINAL BROADWAY CAST KAREN AKERS, KEITH CROWNINGSHIELD, DAVID JACKSON, KEN JENNINGS, TIMOTHY JEROME, CHARLES MANDRACCHIA, MICHAEL PIEHL, JILL POWELL, DAVID WHITE, WALTER WILLISON, AND PENNY WORTH SPECIAL GUEST STARS JUDY KAYE AND SACHI PARKER
WRITTEN AND DIRECTED BY WALTER WILLISON
DEDICATED TO LILIANE MONTEVECCHI
TWO SHOWS ONLY– MONDAY, NOVEMBER 11
THE GREEN ROOM 42 – the new intimate concert venue dubbed Broadway’s “off-night hotspot” by The New York Times – will present a special one-night-only event Grand Hotel: A 30th Anniversary Celebration In Concert to benefit The Actors Fund on Sunday, November 11 at 7:00 PM and 9:30 PM. The 1989 Tony Award winning Broadway musical has songs by Robert Wright & George Forrest, book by Luther Davis, and additional music and lyrics by Maury Yeston. The concerts – written and directed by Tony nominee Walter Willison, and dedicated to the memory of original Grand Hotel star Liliane Montevecchi – will take at The Green Fig, adjacent to The Green Room 42 (570 Tenth Avenue at 42nd Street, on the 4th Floor of Yotel).
The concert will star several members of the original Grand Hotel Broadway production, including Tony nominee and Theatre World Award winner Karen Akers (Nine), Keith Crowningshield (Jelly’s Last Jam), David Jackson (My One and Only, La Cage Aux Folles), Ken Jennings (Sweeney Todd, Side Show), Tony nominee Timothy Jerome (Me and My Girl, Beauty and the Beast), Charles Mandracchia (2019 International New York Film Festival winner for Alone in America), Michael Piehl, Jill Powell (“As The World Turns”), David White (Five Guys Named Moe), Tony nominee and Theatre World Award winner Walter Willison (Pippin, Two by Two), and Penny Worth (Chicago, Irene).
Special guest stars include two time Tony Award winner Judy Kaye (Phantom of the Opera, Mamma Mia!, Souvenir), who will return to Broadway in 2020 as Queen Elizabeth in the new musical Diana, and Sachi Parker (Peggy Sue Got Married, Back to the Future, Scrooged, author of the autobiography Lucky Me and daughter of Shirley MacLaine). The concerts will also feature Harper Lee Andrews (daughter of Grand Hotel original cast member Jennifer Lee Andrews), Emily Elizabeth Cobb, Katie Dixon, Matthew Drinkwater, John Drinkwater, The Green Room 42 program director Daniel Dunlow (Finian’s Rainbow at Irish Rep, Hello Again), with Erin Marie and Vladimir Popov (Award-winning International Ballroom Champions).
The concert is written and directed by Tony nominee Walter Willison, with Associate Director and Choreographer Joanna Rush (A Chorus Line, Shirley MacLaine at The Palace), musical direction by Elliot Finkel (Michael Feinstein in Concert, Sid Caesar & Company), costume coordinator Mitchell Bloom (Metropolitan Opera), wardrobe mistress Barbara Rosenthal (Wicked), Stage Manager Mark Lord, and Sound Designer Marty Gasper (Blue Jupiter). Yvonne Marceau serves as Ballroom Dance consultant, with Ballroom Choreography by Erin Marie and Vladimir Popov.
The Actors Fund is a national human services organization that fosters stability and resiliency, and provides a safety net for performing arts and entertainment professionals over their lifespan. Programs include social services and emergency financial assistance, health care and insurance counseling, housing, and secondary employment and training services. Visit actorsfund.org
Grand Hotel: A 30th Anniversary Celebration In Concert will be performed at The Yellow Pavilion, located in The Green Fig, adjacent to The Green Room 42 (570 Tenth Avenue at 42nd Street, on the 4th Floor of Yotel) on Sunday, November 11 at 7:00 PM and 9:30 PM. The cover charges is $30-$100. There is no food and drink minimum. For tickets, please visit www.TheGreenRoom42.com.
MP: Panama Hattie @ The York Theatre Company (Musicals in Mufti series) through November 3, 2019
Celebrating Broadway’s legendary Cole Porter, The York Theatre Company (James Morgan, Producing Artistic Director; Evans Haile, Executive Director), dedicated to the development of new musicals and rediscovery of musical gems from the past, continues their 50th Anniversary Season with its acclaimed Musicals in Mufti series celebrating the legendary Broadway composer. The series honors the illustrious songwriter behind such classics as Anything Goes, Kiss Me, Kate, Gay Divorce, Silk Stockings, Red, Hot and Blue, and Can-Can.
Closing out the 2019 Fall Mufti series is the 1940’s hit musical Panama Hattie, with music and lyrics by Cole Porter and book by Herbert Fields and B.G. DeSylva. Cole Porter and Ethel Merman teamed up for their fourth hit with 1940’s Panama Hattie, in which a brassy nightclub owner must bid for the approval of her fiancé’s family—a task only made more complicated when she discovers a plan to blow up the Panama Canal. With a raucous book about sailors and singers in the Panama Canal Zone and a snappy Porter score that includes “Let’s Be Buddies,” “I’ve Still Got My Health,” and “Make It Another Old-Fashioned, Please,” Panama Hattie was a smash in its day; Brooks Atkinson in The New York Times stated, “if the Navy ever hears about Panama Hattie, it will be hard to keep the fleet in the Pacific. As far as that goes, it is going to be hard to keep New Yorkers at home in the evenings this winter.” Performances begin Saturday afternoon, October 26, 2019 and will continue for 11 performances only through November 3, 2019 at The York Theatre Company at Saint Peter’s (entrance on East 54th Street, just east of Lexington Avenue). Opening Night is Sunday evening, October 27, 2019 at 7:00 p.m.
Directed by Michael Montel (Dear World, A Time for Singing, and 20 other Muftis!) and with music direction by Deniz Cordell (Lolita, My Love), the cast will feature Klea Blackhurst, who returns to The York to star in the title role of Hattie Maloney, having previously paid tribute to Ethel Merman in the Mufti presentation of Happy Hunting and in her acclaimed solo show Everything the Traffic Will Allow, as well as Stephen Bogardus (Bright Star) as Nick Bullett and Simon Jones (Farinelli and The King) as Vivian Budd, with David Green (Smiling the Boy Fell Dead at The York), Jay Aubrey Jones (Lolita, My Love at The York), Lael Van Keuren (Finding Neverland), Kylie Kuioka (The King and I), Garen McRoberts (Little House on the Prairie), Casey Shuler (Legally Blonde), Gordon Stanley (Dear World at The York), Joe Veale (Enter Laughing at The York), Zuri Washington (Sister Act), and Anita Welch (Little Rock).
The York Theatre Company’s acclaimed Musicals in Mufti series of musical theatre gems, performed in a simply-staged, book-in-hand concert format, is currently in its twenty-sixth historic year of presenting shows from the past that deserve a second look. Mufti means “in street clothes, without the trappings of a full production.”
The production team includes Production Manager George Xenos, Production Stage Manager Kimothy Cruse, and Assistant Stage Manager Kirsten Leigh Williams. Casting for Panama Hattie is by Binder Casting: Chad Eric Murnane, CSA.
MP: Christmas Albums
Vintage Broadway Christmas
A Swinging Birdland Christmas
Jim Caruso (Artist), Billy Stritch (Artist), Klea Blackhurst (Artist)
PF: For Colored Girls who Have Considered Suicide / When the Rainbow is Enuf, written by legendary playwright/poet Ntozake Shange, with direction by Leah C. Gardiner, and choreography by Camille A. Brown @ The Public’s Martinson Hall, through Sunday, December 8, 2019
The major New York revival of FOR COLORED GIRLS WHO HAVE CONSIDERED SUICIDE/WHEN THE RAINBOW IS ENUF, written by legendary playwright/poet Ntozake Shange, with direction by Leah C. Gardiner, and choreography by Camille A. Brown. Performances begin on Tuesday, October 8 in The Public’s Martinson Hall, and it runs through Sunday, December 1, with an official press opening on Tuesday, October 22.
A groundbreaking work in modern American theater, FOR COLORED GIRLS WHO HAVE CONSIDERED SUICIDE/WHEN THE RAINBOW IS ENUF returns to The Public for the first time since it premiered in 1976, before its breakthrough run on Broadway. Filled with passion, humor, and raw honesty, legendary playwright/poet Ntozake Shange’s form-changing choreopoem tells the stories of seven women of color using poetry, song, and movement. With unflinching honesty and emotion, each woman voices her survival story of having to exist in a world shaped by sexism and racism. Obie Award winner Leah C. Gardiner directs this seminal work that speaks to our world today about women’s struggles, strength, desires, resilience, and the sanctified magic of love and possibility.
The complete cast of FOR COLORED GIRLS WHO HAVE CONSIDERED SUICIDE/WHEN THE RAINBOW IS ENUF features Sasha Allen (Lady in Blue), Celia Chevalier (Lady in Brown), Danaya Esperanza (Lady in Orange), Jayme Lawson (Lady in Red), Adrienne C. Moore (Lady in Yellow), Okwui Okpokwasili (Lady in Green), Alexandria Wailes (Lady in Purple), and D. Woods (Understudy).
MP: Upcoming at 54 Below Melissa Errico
Melissa Errico: an Even Grander Affair, November 7 – 9, 2019 @ 54 Below
GHOSTLIGHT RECORDS will release Legrand Affair (Deluxe Edition) from Tony Award-nominated singer, actress and writer Melissa Errico on Friday, November 8. The extended and complete version of the album Legrand Affair, originally produced by Phil Ramone and Richard Jay-Alexander, features Errico with the 100-piece Brussels Philharmonic. The highlight of this special release is the last song Legrand wrote before passing away earlier this year, “I Haven’t Thought Of This In Quite A While.” It written with his favorite lyricists Alan & Marilyn Bergman, and never performed or heard by anyone until now. The song is both a tribute to their long marriage, and an instinctive retrospective of Legrand’s song-making styles – a final farewell from one of music’s greatest songwriting teams, a last look back thematically, lyrically, and musically. “This song is a haunted house,” Errico said as she recorded it. This Deluxe Edition will also include 11 other new and previously unreleased tracks, including intimate studio demos with Legrand on piano. Produced by Rob Mathes (Sting, Carly Simon, Rod Stewart), Legrand Affair (Deluxe Edition) is now available for pre-order at www.ghostlightrecords.com/melissa-errico-legrand-affair-deluxe.html
Errico will celebrate the album release with concerts from November 7 to 9 at 7:00 PM at Feinstein’s/54 Below. Tickets are $45-$95 and are available at www.54Below.com.
“The Maria Callas of American musical theater” as Opera News recently called her, referencing her crystalline voice and dramatic, expressive intensity, Errico has starred in seven Broadway shows, earning a Best Actress Tony nomination for Legrand’s only Broadway musical Amour. Her last album Sondheim Sublime was called “the best all-Sondheim album ever recorded” by The Wall Street Journal.
When the great Oscar and Grammy Award-winning French composer Michel Legrand died in January of 2019, Melissa Errico was asked by The New York Times to offer the eulogy to her beloved collaborator, and became the sole American to perform at the extraordinary two-day memorial to Legrand in April at Paris’ Le Grand Rex Theatre, causing one reviewer to announce simply that “Errico is, and will continue to be, the premier interpreter of the musical legacy of Michel Legrand.” Then, while searching through her Legrand memorabilia, she discovered a long-overlooked box of beautifully recorded demos she had made of Legrand songs, with Legrand himself on the piano, bassist David Finck and the great pop drummer Steve Gadd – all exquisite sketches for the album that became “Legrand Affair”. These demos include a series of living room recordings made with Michel at the piano at Melissa’s home, revealing his almost mystical gift for passing instantly from genre to genre, from classical to pop to French chanson to free jazz.
“Working with Michel was one of the highlights of my musical life” says Errico. “It’s as though this year, his spirit is at my shoulder and asking me to sing again for him. I love the grandeur of the “Legrand Affair” album beyond words — but hearing the tracks of me and Michel working together reminded me of how much I also love hearing more intimate versions of his music. In Michel’s music, genre doesn’t exist – he was unencumbered by boundaries. His plurality of disciplines became his freedom and made one seamless web of music. I’m happy beyond words to be able to put his energy back into the world.”
MP: Leonard Soloway’s Broadway
LEONARD SOLOWAY’S BROADWAY to Screen at The Landmark November 4-7
Michael’s Music Moment:
One Hallowe’en by Charles Strouse
Featuring Penny Fuller
Album Applause (Original Broadway Cast Recording)
“I Will Wait for You” Melissa Errico / Legrand Affair
Other Music: Memories from www.bensound.com
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