This Week on Broadway for March 1, 2020: West Side Story

Peter Filichia, James Marino, and Michael Portantiere talk about West Side Story, The Unsinkable Molly Brown, Hello Dolly National Tour in Philadelphia, Broadway By The Year: Volume 1: Broadway Musicals of 2000-2004 @ The Town Hall, and No Strings @ Theatre Row.


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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 BroadwayBroadway 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 the founder and editor of 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

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MP + PF: West Side Story @ The Broadway Theatre

The Jerome Robbins / Arthur Laurents / Leonard Bernstein / Stephen Sondheim masterwork, West Side Story. A new production directed by Tony Award winner Ivo van Hove, this West Side Story features all-new choreography, for the first time ever on Broadway, by the internationally acclaimed Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker.

The cast of West Side Story includes Isaac Powell as Tony, Shereen Pimentel as Maria, Yesenia Ayala as Anita, Dharon E. Jones as Riff (debut), Amar Ramasar as Bernardo, Marissa Brown (debut), Gabi Campo, Elijah Carter (debut), Adolfo Mena Cejas (debut), Daniel Ching (debut), Audrey Collette (debut), Lorna Courtney, Marc Crousillat (debut), Stephanie Crousillat (debut), Roman Cruz (debut), Kevin Csolak, Alexa De Barr (debut), Israel Del Rosario (debut), Jordan Dobson (debut), Tyler Eisenreich (debut), Armando Eleazar (debut), Marlon Feliz (debut), Satori Folkes-Stone (debut), Zuri Noelle Ford (debut), Ui-Seng François (debut), Yesy Garcia (debut), Carlos E. Gonzalez, Jennifer Gruener (debut), Jacob Guzman, Matthew Johnson (debut), Jarred Manista (debut), Michaela Marfori (debut), Ilda Mason (debut), Michelle Mercedes (debut), Paul Morland (debut), Daniel Oreskes, Pippa Pearthree, Mia Pinero (debut), Gus Reed (debut), Thomas Jay Ryan, Michael Seltzer (debut), Ahmad Simmons, Corey John Snide, Sheldon True (debut), Ricky Ubeda, Madison Vomastek (debut), Tony Ward, Bridget Whitman (debut), Danny Wolohan, and Kevin Zambrano (debut).

The production also features scenery and lighting design by Mr. van Hove’s longtime collaborator, five-time Tony Award nominee Jan Versweyveld, with costume design by An d’Huys, sound design by Tom Gibbons, video design by Luke Halls, and orchestrations by Leonard Bernstein, Sid Ramin, Irwin Kostal, and Tony and Academy Award winner Jonathan Tunick.

JM + MP + PF: Transport Group’s production of The Unsinkable Molly Brown @ Abrons Arts Center, 466 Grand Street, through March 22, 2020

The Unsinkable Molly Brown, music and lyrics by Meredith Willson with additional songs from his catalog, and a new book, based on the original book by Richard Morris, and new lyrics by Tony Award nominee Dick Scanlan. The music is adapted by Michael Rafter. The production is directed and choreographed by three-time Tony Award winner Kathleen Marshall. The Unsinkable Molly Brown plays at Abrons Arts Center, 466 Grand Street (F to Delancey Street; J or M to Essex Street; D or B to Grand Street).

The classic Meredith Willson musical comedy The Unsinkable Molly Brown tells the rags-to-riches story of Margaret “Molly” Brown—a turn-of-the-century hero of the underdog, champion of women’s rights, fighter for labor rights, advocate of immigration reform—and, most famously, survivor of the Titanic disaster. A love story about a woman who rejected the notion that it’s a man’s world, this new Molly Brown portrays Molly as she really was—vibrant, progressive, modern. Transport Group’s production includes never-before-heard songs from Willson’s catalog—as well as a new book that’s truer to Brown’s remarkable life story—and marks this classic musical’s off-Broadway debut and the first in New York since its Broadway premiere in 1960.

The cast of The Unsinkable Molly Brown is Beth Malone (Molly), David Aron Damane (JJ), Whitney Bashor (Julia), Omar Lopez-Cepero (Vincenzo), Alex Gibson (Erich), and Paolo Montalban (Arthur), Kaitlyn Davidson, Tyrone Davis, Jr., Gregg Goodbrod, Michael Halling, Karl Josef Ko, Nikka Graff Lanzarone, Kate Marilley, Shina Ann Morris, Keven Quillon, and Coco Smith.

The scenic design for The Unsinkable Molly Brown is by Brett Banakis; costume design is by Sky Switser, with gowns for Beth Malone by Paul Tazewell; lighting design is by Peter Kaczorowski; sound design is by Walter Trarbach; music direction is by Joey Chancey; casting is by Nora Brennan. The stage manager is Victoria Navarro.

Founded in 2001, Transport Group is the recipient of a special Drama Desk Award recognizing its “breadth of vision and presentation of challenging productions,” a special citation from the prestigious New York Drama Critics’ Circle, and a special OBIE Award, as well as numerous other awards and award nominations from the Outer Critics’ Circle, Lucille Lortel Awards, Obie Awards, Off-Broadway Alliance, Drama League, and others.
The release date for electronic media is Wednesday, February 26 at 10:00pm; the release date for print media is Thursday, February 27.

PF: Hello Dolly tour stop in Philadelphia

February 19 – March 1, 2020, Philadelphia @ Academy of Music
March 3 – 8, 2020, Providence @ Providence Performing Arts Center
March 10 – 15, 2020, Buffalo @ Shea’s Performing Arts Center
March 17 – 22, 2020, Rochester @ RBTL Auditorium Theatre

BroadwayWorld: HELLO, DOLLY! Tour Announces Cancellations

MP: Broadway By The Year: Volume 1: Broadway Musicals of 2000-2004 on Monday, February 24th at 8pm @ The Town Hall, 123 West 43rd Street

Broadway By The Year: Volume 1: Broadway Musicals of 2000-2004 on Monday, February 24th at 8pm. Created, written, hosted and directed by Scott Siegel for The Town Hall, the evening launches Broadway By The Year’s 20th landmark season at The Town Hall.

Broadway by the Year concerts open time capsules to some of the Great White Way’s most memorable seasons, and celebrate the songs, anecdotes, and behind the scenes stories of given years. This Broadway By The Year concert will feature musicals that opened on Broadway between 2000-2004, including revivals. Audience members will hear songs from The Full Monty, Urinetown, Moving Out, The Producers and the revivals of 42nd Street and Jesus Christ Superstar, along with songs from 15 other shows that opened from 2000-2004.

The largest assemblage of tap dancers to ever appear on The Town Hall stage, led by Danny Gardner, will kick off the season with the title song from 42nd Street (honoring the 2001 revival title tune).

The cast of Broadway By The Year: Volume 1: Broadway Musicals of 2000-2004 includes: Max Von Essen (An American In Paris), Tovah Feldshuh (Golda’s Balcony), Emily Skinner (Side Show), Danny Gardner (Dames at Sea), Nicole Henry (Soul Train award winner), and Ben Jones.

Tell Me More | Episode 40: Tovah Feldshuh on Powerful Women, B’way from 2000-04

PF: No Strings @ Theatre Row, 410 West 42nd Street, through March 9, 2020

The newly formed J2 Spotlight Musical Theater Company (Jim Jimirro, Executive Producer/Co-Founder; Robert W. Schneider, Artistic Director/Co-Founder) has announced the cast and creative team for the second of the three productions in the company’s inaugural 2020 season: the 1962 hit musical, No Strings, with book by Samuel Taylor, and music and lyrics by Richard Rodgers.

The second production in J2 Spotlight Musical Theatre Company’s inaugural season is the 1962 hit musical No Strings, with book by Samuel Taylor and music and lyrics by Richard Rodgers, the only musical for which he wrote both music and lyrics. No Strings explores the allure of Paris and its seductive embrace. A successful high-fashion model from Harlem meets and falls in love with an American writer who has made Paris his home. Convinced that their love only needs one another to survive, they embark on a romantic adventure through Europe, clinging to the City of Lights as the harsh reality of America threatens their union. Songs include: “The Sweetest Sounds,” “No Strings,” and “Nobody Told Me.” No Strings opened on Broadway in 1962 starring Diahann Carroll and Richard Kiley and ran for 580 performances. It received 9 Tony Award nominations including Best Musical, and received 3 Tony Awards for Best Lead Actress, Best Score and Best Choreography.

Co-Directed and Choreographed by Deidre Goodwin, with Co-Director Robert W. Schneider (J2 Artistic Director/Co-Founder), and music direction by Grant Strom, the No Strings) cast will feature Jordan Bollwerk✧, Cameron Bond✧, Patrick Connaghan✧, Tim Ewing✧, Annabelle Fox✧, Luke Hamilton✧, Heather Klobukowski✧, Keyonnna Knight, Ashlee Lee, Logan Mortier, Anne Otto✧, Emilee Theno, Anne Wechsler✧, and Sandy York✧. (✧Equity Approved Showcase. These actors are appearing courtesy of Actors’ Equity Association.)

“We couldn’t be more excited about having No Strings as the second offering of our premiere season,” stated Jim Jimirro, Executive Producer and Co-Founder. “It is always so noteworthy that Richard Rodgers, after decades of working only with Larry Hart and Oscar Hammerstein, decided to go it alone for this score. He later said that writing lyrics was more difficult than writing music, but as the glorious songs for No Strings illustrate, he was more than up to the task.”

The creative team includes Joshua Zecher-Ross (Music Supervisor), Ryan J. Douglass (Scenic Designer), Ethan Steimel (Lighting Designer), Matthew Soloman (Costume Designer), Addison Calvin (Technical Director/Master Electrician). David Ward is Production Stage Manager and Jordan Stam is Assistant Stage Manager. Casting is by WOJCIK | SEAY, Holly Buczek.

“I am thrilled to collaborate with Robert W. Schneider and J2 Spotlight on this beautifully wrapped, ‘in pink and gold with a big blue ribbon’ gem of a show,” said co-director and choreographer Deidre Goodwin.

Co-director and J2 Spotlight Artistic Director/Co-Founder Robert W. Schneider shared, “No Strings contains one of the most romantic scores written for the American Musical Theatre. I am so excited that New York audiences will rediscover this gem of a musical and discover the brilliance that is Deidre Goodwin. Deidre, who is one of Broadway’s most beloved dancers, has created a sensual, vibrant production that will transport audiences to a world of high fashion and immense passion.”


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Overture · Original Broadway Cast of ‘The Unsinkable Molly Brown’

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