Peter Filichia, James Marino, and Michael Portantiere talk about A Christmas Carol, Pumpgirl @ Irish Rep, Evita @ City Center, Einstein’s Dreams @ 59e59, Broadway Unplugged @ Merkin Hall, Bedlam’s production of The Crucible, Pride & Prejudice on Staten Island, and Odd advertising campaigns for Broadway shows.
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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.
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.
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MP + PF: A Christmas Carol @ the Lyceum Theatre, 149 West 45th Street, through January 5, 2020
The smash-hit Old Vic production is adapted by Tony Award-winner Jack Thorne and directed by Tony Award-winner Matthew Warchus. A Christmas Carol stars Campbell Scott as Ebenezer Scrooge, two-time Tony Award-winner Andrea Martin as Ghost of Christmas Past, and Tony Award-winner LaChanze as Ghost of Christmas Present/Mrs. Fezziwig.
They will be joined by Erica Dorfler as Mrs. Cratchit, Dashiell Eaves as Bob Cratchit, Hannah Elless as Jess, Brandon Gill as Fred, Evan Harrington as Fezziwig, Chris Hoch as Father/Marley, Sarah Hunt as Belle, Matthew Labanca as Nicholas, Alex Nee as Ferdy, Dan Piering as Young Ebenezer/George, and Rachel Prather as Little Fan. Sebastian Ortiz and Jai Ram Srinivasan will share the role of Tiny Tim.
This timeless — and timely — tale of redemption welcomes theatergoers of all ages into an immersive experience that’s brimming with Christmas spirit. It’s “a stunning piece of visual theatre” (Time Out) that features dazzling staging, moving storytelling and 12 of the most cherished Christmas carols, including “Joy to the World,” “Silent Night,” and “It Came Upon the Midnight Clear.”
A Christmas Carol is produced on Broadway by Tom Smedes, Heather Shields, ShowTown Productions, Catherine Schreiber, Peter Stern, Cornice Productions, Xin Wen, Jack Lane, Instone Productions, Nancy Gibbs/Joseph Longthorne, Chase Thomas/Yael Silver, Walport Productions, David Treatman/42nd.club, HKL Productions/S+D Theatricals, Louise H. Beard/Seriff Productions, J. Scott & Sylvia G. Bechtel, Brian Mutert & Derek Perrigo/Gary & Reenie Heath, with Associate Producers Peter Cusick and Sammy Lopez.
Patrick Stewart Will Return to the New York Stage in Solo Adaptation of A Christmas Carol BY ANDREW GANS
The two performances will benefit City Harvest and Ars Nova.
PF: Pumpgirl @ Irish Rep, in the W. Scott McLucas Studio Theatre. through December 29, 2019
By Abbie Spallen, Directed by Nicola Murphy
Starring Hamish Allan-Headley, Labhaoise Magee and Clare O’Malley
In a gas station in Northern Ireland, barely north of the border, Pumpgirl gets few customers beyond lecherous men and cruel women who remark on her tomboyish appearance. Otherwise guarded, she has struck up a friendship with “no helmet Hammy” – an amateur stock-car racer who prefers to spend time with his unsavory buddies over his wife and children. As Hammy’s wife, Sinead, stays home alone, she simmers with rage over her isolated, disappointing existence. On Hammy’s birthday, their lives become perilously intertwined, leaving them face-to-face with a desperate future.
Irish Repertory Theatre is proud to present this heartwrenching original story of rural life in Northern Ireland by Abbie Spallen, a multi-award winning Irish playwright making her Irish Rep debut. Originally presented by the Bush Theatre, Pumpgirl premiered in 2006 at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, and made its New York debut at Manhattan Theatre Club in 2007. It won the 2007 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize, the Stewart Parker Trust Award, and was nominated for the Irish Times Best New Play.
MP: Evita @ City Center, 131 West 55th Street, November 13 – 24, 2019
Fame, power, and illusion collide in a new production of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s rock-opera Evita, directed by Sammi Cannold. “Lloyd Webber gives you his most inventive, supple music” (The New York Times) in this Tony Award-winning musical, which examines the adored and reviled persona of Argentina’s first lady Eva Perón.
As Eva, Solea Pfeiffer (Almost Famous, Hamilton) “looks and sounds smashing throughout” (The New York Times). Playing the populist hero as she maneuvers her way into the elite circles of Buenos Aires society, Pfeiffer reveals the savvy artistry with which the eventual celebrity rose from her humble origins. Cannold’s bold new vision also casts Argentine actor and recording artist Maia Reficco to open the show as Young Eva, and the shadow presence of her troubled adolescence provides a unique perspective on Eva’s dazzling adult triumphs. They are joined by Jason Gotay (Call Me Madam at City Center) as Che, Enrique Acevedo (Zorba! at City Center) as Juan Perón, and Philip Hernandez (Les Misérables) as Magaldi. On the one-hundredth anniversary of Eva Perón’s birth, this is “an Evita newly tailored for our time” (The New York Times).
Funds raised at all performances of Evita will allow City Center to make the performing arts accessible to the widest possible audience by subsidizing education programs and affordable tickets throughout the year.
PF: Einstein’s Dreams @ 59e59, through December 14, 2019
59E59 Theaters (Val Day, Artistic Director; Brian Beirne, Managing Director) is thrilled to present the NYC premiere of EINSTEIN’S DREAMS book and lyrics by Joanne Sydney Lessner, music and lyrics by Joshua Rosenblum, directed by Cara Reichel, and based on the novel by Alan Lightman. Milton Granger is the music director; the movement director/associate director is Dax Valdes. Produced by Prospect Theater Company
Special Event! Novelist and MIT Professor Alan Lightman will join the cast and creative team for a special post-show conversation on Friday, December 6.
The year is 1905. A young and uncertain Albert Einstein dares to envision new worlds beyond the limits of classical physics. Drawn deeply into his dreams, he is guided by a mysterious woman whose elusive identity awakens his full genius.
Based on the bestselling novel by Alan Lightman, this elegant new musical bridges imagined and real worlds, and unlocks the passionate intellect of one of the 20th century’s greatest thinkers.
MP: SCOTT SIEGEL PRESENTS 18th Annual BROADWAY UNPLUGGED @ Merkin Hall (Monday, November 18 2019)
Great Singers! Great Broadway Show Tunes!
An exciting cross section of New York’s greatest singing stars will take the Merkin Hall stage to perform famous Broadway show tunes the way they used to be sung during the Great White Way’s Golden Age: without microphones!
The creator, writer, director, and host of Broadway Unplugged, New York City impresario Scott Siegel said, “This is the concert, more than any other, that honors and celebrates the Broadway voice. Audiences get to hear Broadway show tunes in two distinct and historic ways; they hear the older, iconic songs the way they used to be heard by audiences, bringing history front and center. And they will also hear more recent Broadway show tunes that, in many cases, have not ever been performed in a concert hall without a microphone before, and therefore they will be heard afresh — creating a new history for these already famous songs. And best of all, these great Broadway show tunes will be performed by an extraordinary and diverse assemblage of talented Broadway stars.”
Broadway Unplugged will star:
Farah Alvin (Nine, Saturday Night Fever, It Shoulda Been You)
Ben Jones (Symphony Star)
Brian Charles Rooney (The Three-Penny Opera)
Maxine Linehan (“Fiercely Talented” – NY Times)
Cooper Grodin (The Phantom in The National Tour of The Phantom of the Opera)
Bill Daugherty (Internationally known half of Daughtery & Field)
Michael Winther (Drama Desk Nominee, What Makes it Great)
John Easterlin (4X Grammy Winner; The Phantom of the Opera)
More Stars to be Announced!
Tickets are also available by mail order by contacting Scott Siegel directly at [email protected].
PF: Bedlam’s production of The Crucible @ The Connelly Theater, 220 East 4th Street, through December 29, 2019
The Crucible is a 1953 play by American playwright Arthur Miller. It is a dramatized and partially fictionalized story of the Salem witch trials that took place in the Massachusetts Bay Colony during 1692–93. Miller wrote the play as an allegory for McCarthyism, when the United States government persecuted people accused of being communists. Miller was questioned by the House of Representatives’ Committee on Un-American Activities in 1956 and convicted of contempt of Congress for refusing to identify others present at meetings he had attended.
Ghostlight Productions proudly presents Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice! One of the greatest love stories of all time, this is the first time Austin’s romantic and hilarious tale is appearing on a Staten Island community theatre stage. The bubbly Mrs. Bennet is desperate to marry off her five daughters to the most eligible bachelors she can find before the Bennet estate is taken over by Mr. Bennet’s pompous cousin Mr. Collins. Her daughter Elizabeth, sensible and stubborn, beloved by her doting father, wants more than a marriage to a dull man with money. Then Lizzy meets the tall, dark and handsome (and wealthy) Mr. Darcy, who she believes is the last man on earth she could ever marry. But as their lives become intertwined in an unexpected adventure, she finds herself captivated by the very person she swore to loathe for all eternity, and one of literatures most iconic and tempestuous romances takes flight. Along with a cornucopia of beloved characters, watch as Lizzy and Darcy learn that first impressions are not all they seem, and that second chances can lead to answers that have been there the entire time. Join us and our cast of 25 for this classic tale of love and misunderstanding, sparkling with romance, wit and emotional force!
MP: Odd advertising campaigns for Broadway shows?
— West Side Story uses pull quote, “The Anthem of New York City”
— The Inheritance uses pull quote, “A love letter to New York City”
— Tootsie TV commercial of people just laughing
Michael’s Music Moment:
What’s Gonna Happen (From “Tootsie” Original Broadway Cast Recording / Audio)
Music video by Sarah Stiles, Santino Fontana performing What’s Gonna Happen (From “Tootsie” Original Broadway Cast Recording / Audio). © 2019 UMG Recordings, Inc.
EVITA Highlights (City Center)
This November, fame, power, and illusion collide in Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s Tony Award-winning musical, which examines the life of Eva Perón, Argentina’s adored and reviled First Lady. The score delivers the classics you love like “Buenos Aires,” “High Flying Adored,” and the ever-iconic “Don’t Cry for Me Argentina.” In Director Sammi Cannold’s new production, rising Argentinian superstar Maia Reficco starts the show playing Young Eva before Solea Pfeiffer (Almost Famous, Hamilton, Songs for a New World) takes over to chart Eva’s meteoric rise and tragic, untimely death.
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