Peter Filichia, James Marino, and Michael Portantiere talk about Grand Horizons, The Confession of Lily Dare, A Soldier’s Play, The Little Mermaid, Paris @ Atlantic Theater Company, Lyrics & Lyricists: Yip Harburg: Follow the Fellow Who Follows a Dream @ 92Y, Christine Andreas @ 54 Below, and a preview of three things to look out for, including Transport’s Group production of The Unsinkable Molly Brown
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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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PF + MP: Second Stage production of Grand Horizons @ Hayes Theater, 240 West 44th Street, through March 1, 2020
Broadway premiere of GRAND HORIZONS by Bess Wohl. Directed by Leigh Silverman, GRAND HORIZONS stars Jane Alexander, James Cromwell, Priscilla Lopez, Ben McKenzie, Maulik Pancholy, Ashley Park, and Michael Urie.
Bill and Nancy have spent fifty full years as husband and wife. They practically breathe in unison, and can anticipate each other’s every sigh, snore and sneeze. But just as they settle comfortably into their new home in Grand Horizons, the unthinkable happens: Nancy suddenly wants out. As their two adult sons struggle to cope with the shocking news, they are forced to question everything they assumed about the people they thought they knew best. By turns funny, shocking and painfully honest, Bess Wohl’s new play explores a family turned upside-down and takes an intimate look at the wild, unpredictable, and enduring nature of love.
The full creative team for GRAND HORIZONS includes scenic design by Clint Ramos, costume design by Linda Cho, lighting design by Jen Schriever, sound design by Palmer Hefferan, projection design by Bryce Cutler and casting by TELSEY + COMPANY.
MP: Primary Stages production of The Confession of Lily Dare @ the Cherry Lane Theatre, 38 Commerce St, through March 5, 2020
The Confession of Lily Dare, written by and starring Charles Busch, and directed by Carl Andress.
The Confession of Lily Dare tells the story of one woman’s tumultuous passage from convent girl to glittering cabaret chanteuse to infamous madame of a string of brothels—all while hiding her undying devotion to the child she was forced to abandon. This comic melodrama celebrates the gauzy “confession film” tearjerkers of early 1930s pre-code cinema, such as The Sin of Madelon Claudet, Frisco Jenny, and Madame X.
Joining Busch in the cast of The Confession of Lily Dare will be Nancy Anderson (Sunset Boulevard), Christopher Borg (Judith of Bethulia), Howard McGillin (The Phantom of the Opera), Kendal Sparks (Judith of Bethulia) and Jennifer Van Dyck (Judith of Bethulia).
The Confession of Lily Dare will feature set design by B.T. Whitehill, costume design by Rachel Townsend, lighting design by Kirk Bookman, sound design by Bart Fasbender, wig design by Katherine Carr, and original song and arrangements by Tom Judson. Mr. Busch’s costumes will be designed by Jessica Jahn.
The Confession of Lily Dare is produced in association with Jamie deRoy and Ted Snowden. This production is made possible, in part, thanks to the generous support of The Blanche and Irving Laurie Foundation and public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.
PF + JM: A Soldier’s Play @ Roundabout Theatre Company, American Airlines Theatre, through March 15, 2020
A Soldier’s Play at Roundabout Theatre Company (Todd Haimes, Artistic Director/CEO). This is first Broadway production of Charles Fuller’s award-winning drama, directed by Kenny Leon.
A Soldier’s Play stars David Alan Grier as “Sergeant Vernon C. Waters” and Blair Underwood as “Captain Richard Davenport.” The cast also includes Nnamdi Asomugha as “Private First Class Melvin Peterson,” Jerry O’Connell as “Captain Charles Taylor,” McKinley Belcher III as “Private Louis Henson,” Rob Demery as “Corporal Bernard Cobb,” Jared Grimes as “Private Tony Smalls,” Billy Eugene Jones as “Private James Wilkie,” Nate Mann as “Lieutenant Byrd,” Warner Miller as “Corporal Ellis,” J. Alphonse Nicholson as “Private C. J. Memphis” and Lee Aaron Rosen as “Captain Wilcox.”
A Louisiana Army base. A sergeant is murdered—and the crime, with its masterfully unfolded investigation, triggers a gripping barrage of questions about sacrifice, service, and identity in America. A hair-raising drama that reverberates with the “authentic and exciting pulse” (Ben Brantley, The New York Times) of mystery, Charles Fuller’s Pulitzer Prize-winning masterpiece rockets onto Broadway for the first time, starring three-time Tony nominee David Alan Grier and two-time Golden Globe nominee Blair Underwood and directed by Tony Award winner Kenny Leon (A Raisin in the Sun).
MP: The Little Mermaid @ The Argyle Theatre, 34 West Main Street, Babylon, Long Island, through February 23, 2020
Long Island’s newest year-round professional theatrical venue, The Argyle Theatre (Mark and Dylan Perlman, Managing Partners; Evan Pappas, Artistic Director), cordially invites you and a guest to attend the Opening Night Press Performance of the hit Broadway musical Disney’s The Little Mermaid with music by Alan Menken, lyrics by Howard Ashman and Glenn Slater, and book by Doug Wright at The Argyle Theatre (34 West Main Street, Babylon, Long Island).
Directed and Choreographed by Tara Jeanne Valle, and with music direction by Jonathan Brenner, the principal cast features Courtney Balan as Ursula, J Ryan Carroll as Grimsby, Stephen Foster Harris as Chef Louis, Kimberly Immanuel as Ariel, Warren Nolan, Jr. as King Triton, Matthew Rafanelli as Flounder, Jeff Sullivan as Prince Eric, Ryan Gregory Thurman as Sebastian, and Michael Valvo as Scuttle. They are joined by Adrian Grace Bumpas, Ryan Cavanaugh, A-Laranée Davis, Alphonse Gonzales, Danielle Jordan, Derek Kastner, Emily Madden, Victoria Madden, Michelle Rubino, Christopher Salvaggio, Conor Stepnowski, and Valerie Torres-Rosario*.
Based on one of Hans Christian Andersen’s most beloved stories and the classic animated film, Disney’s The Little Mermaid is a hauntingly beautiful love story for the ages. With music by eight-time Academy Award winner, Alan Menken, lyrics by Howard Ashman and Glenn Slater and a compelling book by Doug Wright, this fishy fable will capture your heart with its irresistible songs, including “Under the Sea,” “Kiss the Girl” and “Part of Your World.”
Ariel, King Triton’s youngest daughter, wishes to pursue the human Prince Eric in the world above, bargaining with the evil sea witch, Ursula, to trade her tail for legs. But the bargain is not what it seems, and Ariel needs the help of her colorful friends, Flounder the fish, Scuttle the seagull and Sebastian the crab to restore order under the sea.
The creative team includes Set Design Front Row Theatrical Rental, Costume and Wig Design by Kurt Alger, Lighting Design by John Salutz, Sound Design by Carlos Dias, Jr., and Props & Production Coordination by Alison Savino. The Technical Director is Michael Kauffman. The Production Stage Manager is Krista Swan with Assistant Stage Manager Mackenzie Trowbridge. The Casting Director is Michael Cassara, CSA.
Performances begin Thursday, January 16, 2020 for a limited engagement through Sunday, February 23, 2020 at The Argyle Theatre (34 West Main Street, Babylon, Long Island). Opening Night is Saturday evening, January 18, 2020 at 7:30 p.m.
Paper Mill launches AIDA tour, rethought.
Paper Mill Playhouse to Premiere Reimagined Aida in 2020/2021 Season
Hit Disney Show Directed by Schele Williams and Choreographed by
Camille A. Brown Will Begin National Tour Following Paper Mill Premiere
Millburn, NJ (January 31, 2020) — Paper Mill Playhouse (Mark S. Hoebee-Producing Artistic Director, Michael Stotts- Managing Director), recipient of the Regional Theatre Tony Award, is proud to announce that a reimagined version of Elton John and Tim Rice’s Tony®-winning Broadway smash Aida will be a part of its 2020-2021 season. This premiere, directed by Schele Williams and choreographed by Camille A. Brown, will run at Paper Mill Playhouse from February 4 through March 7, 2021. The new production, updated and re-imagined, retains the beloved Tony and Grammy®-winning score and features a book revised by David Henry Hwang, who co-authored the acclaimed original production with Linda Woolverton and Robert Falls. Paper Mill Playhouse will announce its full 2020-2021 season lineup this March.
Following the Paper Mill Playhouse premiere the production will launch a national tour playing Charlotte, Chicago, Fort Worth, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Nashville, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C., among other cities to be announced.
The new Aida is directed by Schele Williams (a member of the original Broadway cast) and choreographed by Tony nominee Camille A. Brown. Sets and costumes are by seven-time Tony winner Bob Crowley, and lighting is by six-time Tony winner Natasha Katz, who both won Tonys for their work on Aida in 2000. The music department includes Tony Award recipient Jason Michael Webb (musical supervision), Tony Honor recipient Michael McElroy (vocal arrangements and co-incidental arranger), Jim Abbott (orchestrations) and Tony winner Zane Mark (dance arrangements).
Casting will be announced later this year.
“Paper Mill Playhouse is both thrilled and honored to be partnering on this important reimagining of Aida, which will feel entirely fresh while remaining true to the beloved original,” said Mark S. Hoebee, Paper Mill Playhouse’s Producing Director. “We look forward to welcoming Thomas Schumacher and Disney Theatrical Productions back to Paper Mill Playhouse to collaborate with this formidable creative team on yet another inspiring piece of theater. Aida is certain to be an unforgettable event.”
A passionate and timeless story for today’s audiences, Aida is the compelling tale of star-crossed lovers belonging to feuding nations, torn between their conflicted loyalties to their countries and to each other. With its stirring contemporary score and its powerful love story, Aida reveals that we have the power to change history, but only when we make brave choices and embrace our destiny.
Aida, which opened at the Palace Theatre on March 23, 2000, went on to become one of the biggest hits of its decade, closing in its 5th year on Broadway on September 5, 2004 after nearly 2000 performances. It received five Tony nominations, winning for Score, Set, Lighting and Actress. A tour played 53 North American cities from 2001 to 2003.
Its worldwide reach is greater still. Nine replica productions played 20 countries in 14 languages.
“Aida is in my DNA in ways I had never imagined until I began the journey for this production,” said Schele Williams. “I have a rich history with the show that I am very proud of, but when I recently made some discoveries about the history of its time period, the show broke open for me. It truly is the butterfly effect; subtle shifts have taken a story I love and turned it into an adventure I can’t wait for audiences to discover. David Henry Hwang has crafted a book that truly shapes this journey and Elton John and Tim Rice’s score is the glorious foundation we have built upon. I am thrilled to be in collaboration with David Henry Hwang, Camille Brown, Jason Michael Webb, Bob Crowley, Natasha Katz, Michael McElroy, Zane Mark, Jim Abbott and the Sirs, Tim Rice and Elton John. All extraordinary storytellers unified in vision to revive a musical that is deeply meaningful to all of us.”
“The classic tale of Aida has touched audiences across cultures and time,” said David Henry Hwang. “I’m thrilled to revisit the show we created twenty years ago, so this epic love story can speak even more powerfully to audiences today.”
Thomas Schumacher, President & Producer Disney Theatrical Productions said, “Schele Williams, David Henry Hwang and the team have cracked the show open in new ways to bring the story into today’s world while honoring what fans have cherished for 20 years: rich characters, gorgeous designs and those extraordinary songs.”
In re-visiting the work, the Aida creative team saw an opportunity to allow history to more fully inform the story and, by doing so, to be more of today.
Director Williams researched Aida’s time period extensively, making discoveries about the musical’s setting that have fueled the work in new ways. These revelations have allowed for subtle changes to the show’s plot while retaining the beloved score, characters and iconic imagery.
Paper Mill Playhouse and Disney Theatrical Productions have a long history of partnering to create theater. Most notable is Disney’s Newsies, which Paper Mill Playhouse premiered in 2011. The show transferred to Broadway in 2012, where it played for more than 1,000 performances and won two Tony Awards. Other noteworthy collaborations include High School Musical in 2008, The Little Mermaid in 2013 and The Hunchback of Notre Dame in 2015. Most recently, Paper Mill Playhouse created its own productions of Mary Poppins and Beauty and the Beast.
Public Theater – Shakespeare in the Park: Richard II
Free Shakespeare in the Park: ‘Richard II’ and ‘As You Like It’
The Public Theater’s summer lineup includes a serious tale of political rebellion and a musical take on a comedy.
PF: Paris @ Atlantic Theater Company, Stage 2, 330 West 16th Street, through February 9th, 2020
Written by Eboni Booth. Directed by Knud Adams
Featuring Jules Latimer, Ann McDonough, Bruce McKenzie, James Murtaugh, Danielle Skraastad and Christopher Dylan White
Atlantic Theater Company (Neil Pepe, Artistic Director; Jeffory Lawson, Managing Director) is proud to announce casting for the world premiere production of Paris, written by Eboni Booth (Off-Broadway Playwriting Debut, Actor, Dance Nation) and directed by Knud Adams (Marie and Bruce).
Paris will feature Jules Latimer (Off-Broadway Debut), Ann McDonough (The Ferryman), Bruce McKenzie (10 out of 12), James Murtaugh (Ah, Wilderness!), Danielle Skraastad (Hurricane Diane) and Christopher Dylan White (The Bridge Play). Additional casting will be announced at a later date.
Paris begins previews Wednesday, January 8th and will open Tuesday, January 21st for a limited engagement through Sunday, February 9th, 2020 Off-Broadway at Atlantic Stage 2 (330 West 16th Street).
Emmie is one of the only black people living in Paris, Vermont, and she desperately needs a job. When she is hired at Berry’s, a store off the interstate selling everything from baby carrots to lawnmowers, she begins to understand a new kind of isolation. A play about invisibility, being underpaid, and how it feels to work on your feet for ten hours a day. Paris is the off-Broadway playwriting debut of acclaimed actor Eboni Booth, directed by Knud Adams.
Paris will feature scenic design by David Zinn, costume design by Arnulfo Maldonado, lighting design by Oona Curley, sound design by Fan Zahng, original compositions by Trey Anastasio and casting by Caparelliotis Casting: Henry Russell Bergstein, CSA.
Paris is a recipient of the Edgerton Foundation New Play Award.
MP: Lyrics & Lyricists: Yip Harburg: Follow the Fellow Who Follows a Dream @ 92Y, Kaufmann Concert Hall, 1395 Lexington Avenue, January 25-27, 2020
“When all the world is a hopeless jumble…”
These are the opening lyrics to one of the most famous songs in history, “Over The Rainbow.” Indeed, much of Yip Harburg’s long career, on Broadway and in Hollywood, carried an idealistic yearning for America’s golden promise. In a nod to the very first ever Lyrics & Lyricists event, when Harburg himself took to our stage, a stellar cast shows us how time’s perspective has proven his songs and ideas to be enduring antidotes to what can often seem a cynical world.
Jon Marans, writer. Matt Kunkel, director. Paul Masse, music director & piano
Featuring Mikaela Bennett, Laura Darrell, Clifton Duncan, Megan Sikora, Nick Spangler
Steve Lyon, woodwinds, Kiku Enomoto, violin/viola, Laura Bontrager, cello, Lynette Wardle, harp, Kory Grossman, percussion
MP: Christine Andreas @ 54 Below, January 29, 2020 – February 1, 2020
Film and Television:
Michael’s Music Moment:
PF: Three things in the future…
Book by Douglas Carter Beane
Music and Lyrics by Douglas J. Cohen
Directed by Douglas Carter Beane
Music Direction by Fred Lassen
FRIDAY, JANUARY 31, 2020
Broadway stars and musicians of the Princeton Symphony Orchestra will perform a concert reading of a new musical comedy from the author of Broadway’s Sister Act, Cinderella, and Xanadu.
It’s the height of the Cold War when Russian spies take over an ocean liner holding all of NATO. Leave it to the lounge singers on board to save the day by teaching the communists to put down their Kalashnikovs and pick up singing, dancing, and comedy.
The war is cold but the numbers are hot in this show with a ring-a-ding score that might just bring back the Rat Pack!
The Big Time cast features Tony Award-winning Broadway stars Santino Fontana (Tootsie, Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend) and Debbie Gravitte (Jerome Robbins’ Broadway, Chicago), as well as Tony Award nominees Laura Osnes (Bandstand, Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella) and Will Swenson (Waitress, Hair), Emmy nominee Jackie Hoffman (Fiddler on the Roof, Xanadu, Feud: Bette and Joan), and Michael McCormick (Wicked, Hello Dolly), Bradley Dean (The Phantom of the Opera, Dear Evan Hansen) and Raymond Bokhour (Chicago).
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