musical theater

For its third mainstage production this summer, Barrington Stage Company in Pittsfield, Massachusetts presents “West Side Story,” book by Arthur Laurents, music by Leonard Bernstein and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim. The original 1957 Broadway production of “West Side Story,” was conceived, directed and choreographed by Jerome Robbins. 2018 marks the 100th anniversary of the births of both Leonard Bernstein and Jerome Robbins.

Barrington Stage’s Artistic Director Julianne Boyd directs the masterpiece tale of star-crossed lovers which will run August 3 through September 1 and she joined us at The Linda along with the production’s Maria, Tony, and Anita -- respectively played by Addie Morales, Will Branner, and Skyler Volpe. We are also joined by Musical Director Darren Cohen.

Based on the story, “Tarzan of the Apes” by Edgar Rice Burroughs and the Disney film, “Tarzan,” the stage musical version of “Tarzan” features a book by David Henry Hwang and music and lyrics by Phil Collins. The Berkshire Theatre Group presents “Tarzan” at The Colonial Theatre in Pittsfield, Massachusetts through August 16.

“Tarzan” follows the story of an orphaned boy, raised by gorillas in the jungle. Struggling to find balance between his human instinct and animalistic education, Tarzan's life is altered forever when he encounters his first human, the curious and wonderful, Jane. Directed by Travis Daly, the BTG production features over 100 talented Berkshire youth.

Travis Daly joins us along with Tim Jones who plays Tarzan and Haley Aguero – one of the actors playing Jane.

Molly Beach Murphy, Jeanna Phillips, and Annie Tippe
http://mollybeachmurphy.com

In the early 1990s in the suburbs of Dallas, Texas, local police and the FBI were stymied by a series of bank robberies committed by a suspect they called Cowboy Bob. When they caught the lawbreaker, they were surprised to find Peggy Jo Tallas -- a middle-aged woman living a modest life with her aging mother. [Texas Monthly article by Skip Hollandsworth]

This weekend, Vassar and New York Stage and Film’s Powerhouse Theatre presents a musical workshop Inspired by Peggy Jo’s story and all of the questions it raises. The workshop features Alex Brightman, Ashley Pérez Flanagan, Alex Grubbs, Eric Lockley, Claire Rothrock, Kate Shindle, Felix Solis, Barbara Walsh and Amelia Workman.

The show is created by writer Molly Beach Murphy, composer Jeanna Phillips, and director Annie Tippe.

Celebrating its 50-year anniversary this year, Tony Award-winning rock musical, “Hair” takes audiences back to the counterculture of the '60s with now classic songs like “Aquarius,” “Good Morning Starshine,” “I Got Life,” and many others.

The Berkshire Theatre Group presents “Hair” at the Unicorn Theater in Stockbridge, Massachusetts through August 11. The production is directed by Daisy Walker.

We are joined by three members of the cast Andrew Cekala (Claude), Brandon Contreras (Berger), and Kayla Foster (Sheila).

The Williamstown Theatre Festival’s second Main Stage production this year is the World Premiere Musical “Lempicka,” book and lyrics by Carson Kreitzer, music by Matt Gould, and directed by Rachel Chavkin.

Tamara de Lempicka, a Polish artist best known for her Art Deco paintings, was an active participant in the artistic and social life of Paris between the World Wars. She transformed herself from destitute refugee to a star of the art world. The musical explores the beauty and danger of one painter pursuing it all.

Sarah LaDuke spoke with Matt Gould and Rachel Chavkin in separate interviews that are both posted here.

Gould is the co-writer of "Invisible Thread" (Second Stage and The American Repertory Theater). He’s the recipient of the 2012 and 2014 Richard Rodgers Award, the Jonathan Larson Award and ASCAP’s Rodgers Award, Dean Kay, and Harold Adamson Awards.

Chavkin received Tony and Lortel nominations, and the Drama Desk, Elliot Norton and the prestigious Smithsonian American Ingenuity Awards for her direction of "Natasha, Pierre, & The Great Comet of 1812" (Broadway, Ars Nova, Kazino, A.R.T.). Other select credits include "The Royale" (Old Globe, LCT- Obie Award, Lortel & Drama Desk Nomination), "Small Mouth Sounds" (Ars Nova, Nat’lTour), and "Hadestown" (New York Theatre Workshop). She is the Founding Artistic Director of The TEAM.

Vassar and New York Stage and Film’s second Main Stage Powerhouse production this summer is “The Waves,” a musical adaptation of the novel by Virginia Woolf. The piece, which features a book by Lisa Peterson and music and lyrics by the late Davick Bucknam, was produced nearly 30 years ago in New York City. The version running at Vassar July 19-29 is directed by Peterson, features additional music and lyrics by Adam Gwon, and employs four time Tony Award nominee Raúl Esparza as creative consultant and actor.

Esparza’s Broadway credits include “Cabaret,” “The Rocky Horror Show,” “Taboo,” “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang,” “Company,” “The Homecoming,” “Speed the Plow,” “Arcadia,” and “Leap of Faith.” Television credits include “Pushing Daisies,” “Hannibal,” “The Path,” “BoJack Horseman,” and he recently finished a six-season run as ADA Rafael Barba on “Law and Order: Special Victims Unit.”

Esparza joins us to talk about his work.

The cast at Powerhouse features Ken Barnett, Eleasha Gamble, Douglas Lyons, Alice Ripley, and Lauren Worsham.

Ann Harada is best known for the musical "Avenue Q," in which she originated the role of Christmas Eve, the heavily accented Japanese therapist who had such winning numbers as "The More You Ruv Someone" and "Everyone’s a Little Bit Racist."

She has also starred on Broadway in "Les Miz," "Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella" and TV’s "Smash." She is at The Williamstown Theatre Festival starring in Douglas Carter Beane’s “The Closet” as Brenda, the office worker nobody quite likes or trusts but who is always ready to launch into a show tune.


"Fun Home" is a groundbreaking five-time Tony Award winning musical based on Vermont author and illustrator Alison Bechdel’s acclaimed graphic memoir. The show features a book by Lisa Kron and music by Jeanine Tesori. As the show unfolds, you meet Bechdel at three different life stages as she grows and grapples with her uniquely dysfunctional family, her sexuality, and her father’s secrets.

"Fun Home" runs on Weston Playhouse's Second Stage at Walker Farm through July 28.

Director Malcolm Ewen and Caitlin Kinnunen (Medium Alison) join us.

Brandon Victor Dixon, Megan Lawrence, Laura Osnes, and Andy Karl perform ON THE TOWN with the Boston Pops.
Winslow Townson / digboston.com

A collaboration with choreographer Jerome Robbins and the writing team of Betty Comden and Adolph Green, Leonard Bernstein's “On the Town” -the story of three sailors on shore leave in New York City- arrived on Broadway in December 1944, when he was just twenty-six.

Based on his popular ballet collaboration with Robbins, “Fancy Free,” it was not only his first musical, it was a first for Comden and Green, who would become Broadway and Hollywood legends in their own right. Hit songs include "New York, New York" and "Some Other Time."

Keith Lockhart leads the Boston Pops in a complete, semi-staged performance of Bernstein's hit musical, "On the Town," tomorrow night in the shed featuring an all-star cast.

To tell us more, we welcome actor Andy Karl, Music Director, David Chase and Director Kathleen Marshall.

Chita Rivera
Laura Marie Duncan

The incomparable Broadway icon Chita Rivera performs a one-night-only solo concert, benefiting Williamstown Theatre Festival's New Play & Musical Development Initiative.

The two-time Tony Award winner and recipient of a special honor for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre at the 2018 Tony Awards (last seen at WTF starring in "The Visit" and its subsequent Broadway transfer) will recreate moments from her legendary career, showcasing the artistry and history that has made her a star of the Great White Way and beyond.

She will be accompanied by her long-time trio, Michael Croiter (Music Director/Percussion/Guitar), Gary Adler (Associate Music Director/Piano), and Jim Donica (Bass).

The Creative Life series is produced by UAlbany’s University Art Museum, NYS Writers Institute, and the UAlbany Performing Arts Center in collaboration with WAMC. The series features leading figures from a variety of artistic disciplines in conversation about their creative inspirations, their craft and their careers. At 11am we will air Joe Donahue’s candid conversation with Tony Award winning Broadway star, Patti LuPone.

Two-time Tony and Grammy Award winner Patti LuPone was most recently seen on Broadway in the musical ”War Paint.”

A graduate of the first class of the Drama Division of New York’s Juilliard School and a founding member of The Acting Company in which she toured the country for four years, LuPone went on to be a Broadway superstar for more than 30 years – starting with her Tony-winning performance in “Evita.” 

New York Stage and Film Artistic Director Johanna Pfaelzer
Jenny Anderson / broadwayworld.com

Since 1985, Vassar and New York Stage and Film have been partners in the Powerhouse season, a collaboration known for being the springboard for new stories that go on to theaters across the country and around the world. The 2018 season begin this weekend with the first of two Readings Festivals and continues through July 29 bringing some of the most influential theatrical voices working today to Poughkeepsie, NY for fully-staged and workshop productions of new plays and musicals, and readings of other works in progress.

Johanna Pfaelzer is the Artistic Director of New York Stage and Film and she joins us with a preview.

Harry Connick Jr.
Gavin Bond

Harry Connick Jr.'s career has exemplified excellence across multiple platforms in the entertainment world. He has received Grammy and Emmy awards as well as Tony nominations for his live and recorded musical performances, his achievements in film and television and his appearances on Broadway as both an actor and a composer.

The foundation of Connick's art is the music of his native New Orleans, where he began performing as a pianist and vocalist at the age of 5 and he will bring his New Orleans Tricentennial Celebration Tour to Tanglewood in Lenox, MA on Saturday, June 23.

Berkshire Theatre Group presents Emmy Award-winner Lee Kalcheim’s World Premiere, “Coming Back Like a Song!” on The Fitzpatrick Main Stage in Stockbridge, Massachusetts June 28 through July 21.

In the play, It’s 1956, and three of America’s great songwriters, Irving Berlin, Harold Arlen and Jimmy Van Heusen, are at a crossroads in their lives; rock ‘n roll is now king, and their careers could be over.

Directed by Tony Award-nominee Gregg Edelman, “Coming Back Like a Song!” features Tony Award-nominee David Garrison as Irving Berlin, Philip Hoffman as Harold Arlen and David Rasche [rah-shee] as Jimmy Van Heusen.

We are joined by playwright Lee Kalcheim, Director Gregg Edelman, and actor David Garrison.

The Royal Family of Broadway” is a new musical with a book by Rachel Sheinkin and music and lyrics by William Finn - the award winning team behind “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.” Based on the original play by George S. Kaufman and Edna Ferber and an original adaptation by Richard Greenberg, “The Royal Family of Broadway” is set in the 1920’s and centers around the Cavendish family - who are loosely based on the legendary acting dynasty - The Barrymores.

Barrington Stage Company’s Musical Theatre Lab presents “The Royal Family of Broadway” on BSC’s mainstage through July 7. The production is directed by John Rando and choreographed by Joshua Bergasse.

Sarah LaDuke was joined at The Linda - WAMC’s Performing Arts Studio - by composer and lyricist William Finn, Musical Director Vadim Feichtner, and cast members Harriet Harris, Laura Michelle Kelly, Hayley Podschun, and AJ Shively.

The Adirondack Theatre Festival is about to begin its 24th season – the fourth for Producing Artistic Director, Chad Rabinovitz. He again brings an entire season of major new works to ATF with a team of top-level professional artists.

After a record-breaking season of sold-out performances last year, doubling attendance and subscribership in just the past three years, the 2018 season promises to be even larger. Performances will run June 14 – August 9 at the Charles R. Wood Theater in Downtown Glens Falls, NY.

The season begins June 14th with the musical, "Some Lovers," which follows the story of a couple caught between their present and their past. With an original story by Steven Sater ("Spring Awakening") and all new music from the legendary, Burt Bacharach.

ATF Producing Artistic Director, Chad Rabinovitz joins us.

It's impossible to know what the American Musical would be without the fateful partnership of Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein. Their first collaboration, "Oklahoma!," opened at The St. James Theatre on Broadway 75 years ago.

Todd S. Purdum’s new book, "Something Wonderful: Rodgers and Hammerstein's Broadway Revolution," is a portrait of these two men, their creative process, and their groundbreaking innovations.

The National Tour of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s “The King and I” is at Proctors in Schenectady, New York this week. The Tony Award winning Lincoln Center Theater revival features such beloved songs as “Getting To Know You,” “I Whistle a Happy Tune,” “Hello Young Lovers,” “Shall We Dance” and “Something Wonderful.”

Set in the early 1860s, newly widowed Anna Leonowens and her son, Louis, set sail from their native England for Bangkok, Siam where Anna has taken a position as the schoolteacher for the royal offspring of the King of Siam. The King is determined to usher Siam into the modern world but not immediately willing to make changes to his customs and traditions.

We are joined by Anna and The King, actors Elena Shaddow and Jose Llana.

Broadway legend Patti LuPone will appear at two events in the Capital Region this week. 

On Thursday, April 26 she will join Joe Donahue in a Creative Life conversation about Ms. LuPone’s career and devotion to the arts and high standards therein. The conversation will take place at Page Hall on UAlbany's downtown campus at 7 p.m. The Creative Life series is a major arts initiative of the New York State Writers Institute, UAlbany Performing Arts Center and University Art Museum in conjunction with WAMC Northeast Public Radio.

On Friday, April 27, Ms. LuPone will perform "Don't Monkey With Broadway" at Proctors in Schenectady at 8 p.m. "Don’t Monkey with Broadway" features music by the likes of Richard Rodgers, Lorenz Hart, Jule Styne, Stephen Schwartz, Charles Strouse, Leonard Bernstein, Stephen Sondheim, Cole Porter and Irving Berlin.

John Cariani in "The Band's Visit"
Matthew Murphy / Playbill.com

The new musical, "The Band’s Visit," is currently running at The Ethel Barrymore Theatre on Broadway. Based on the film of the same name, "The Band’s Visit" features music and lyrics by David Yazbek, book by Itamar Moses, and is directed by David Cromer. The New York Times called the show “One of the most ravishing musicals you will ever be seduced by.”

The Alexandria Ceremonial Police Orchestra is traveling from Egypt to play a concert in Petah Tikva, Israel but after language confusion at the border end up in Beit Hatikva - a small city where civic pride is low.

Without a means of transportation out of town until the morning, the band is begrudgingly taken in by the locals.

John Cariani plays Itzik, one of the citizens of Beit Hatikva and he joins us. Cariani’s previous Broadway credits include “Something Rotten!” and the 2004 revival of “Fiddler on the Roof.” He’s also performed at nearly all of the regional theatres in our area you can think of and as a playwright is responsible for the praised and oft-produced plays, “Almost, Maine;” “Last Gas;” “Love/Sick;” and “cul-de-sac.”

John Bolton as Vlad in "Anastasia"
Dave Mack / https://www.franbro.com


  The Broadway musical "Anastasia" features a book by celebrated playwright Terrence McNally and a lush, new score by Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens; Tony Award-winning director Darko Tresnjak directs. Inspired by the beloved films with the same title, "Anastasia" transports audiences from the twilight of the Russian Empire to the euphoria of Paris in the 1920s, as Anya sets out to discover the mystery of her past aided by conmen Dmitry and Vlad - who attempt to teach Anya how to embody the missing princess, Anastasia Romanov.

 

Vlad is played on Broadway by our guest, John Bolton, whose previous Broadway credits include "Dames at Sea," "A Christmas Story," "Curtains," "Monty Python’s Spamalot," "Contact," "Titanic," "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying" and "Damn Yankees."

The original Broadway production of Kander and Ebb’s “Chicago: The Musical” opened in 1975. Set in Prohibition-era Chicago, the musical is a satire on corruption in the administration of criminal justice and the concept of the celebrity criminal. The show is eternally --and correctly-- associated with Bob Fosse who served as co-author, original director, and choreographer.

“Chicago” was revived on Broadway in 1996 and holds the record as the longest-running musical revival and the longest-running American musical in Broadway history. It is the second longest-running show in Broadway history, behind only “The Phantom of the Opera.” Walter Bobbie directed the revival and it was choreographed in the style of Bob Fosse by Ann Reinking.

The National Tour of “Chicago: The Musical” is bringing the ol' razzle-dazzle to Proctors in Schenectady this weekend – opening tonight and running through Sunday.

Broadway vet and friend-of-the-show, Jeff McCarthy, stars as silver tongue prince of the courtroom, Billy Flynn.

Astrid Van Wieren
broadway.com


  On March 12th of this year the new musical “Come From Away” opened at the Schoenfeld Theatre on Broadway. The show, written by David Hein and Irene Carl Sankoff went on to earn 7 Tony Award nominations - including Best Musical - and to win one for Best Direction of a Musical for Christopher Ashley.

 

"Come from Away" is based on true events that took place in Gander, Newfoundland, Canada on September 11th, 2001. 38 planes were diverted from their original paths and forced to land in Gander. The planes carried passengers from all over the world; scared, confused, and all-but cut off from their loved ones the accidental visitors - or “come-from-aways” as the Newfoundlanders call them - nearly doubled the population of the region for the better part of a week. The locals opened their doors, pantries, hearts, and minds until the airspace was reopened.

 

The 12 actors in "Come From Away" each play multiple Newfoundlanders and "plane peple" and we are joined today by Astrid Van Wieren who has been with the show - as much of the cast has - since its early development.

Broadway Cast Of “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” at the Lunt-Fontanne Theater
Sara Krulwich / The New York Times


  The new Broadway adaptation of Roald Dahl’s beloved “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” which opening in New York City last April will end its run on January 14.

 

The show is directed by Jack O’Brien and features a book by David Greig, original music Marc Shaiman, and lyrics by Shaiman and Scott Wittman and Marc Shaiman. Kathy Fitzgerald plays Mrs. Gloop - the mother of Augustus one of the ill-fated golden-ticket holding visitors to Mr. Wonka’s fantastical factory.

 

Fitzgerald’s previous Broadway credits include “Swinging on a Star,” “The Producers,” “Wicked,” and “9 to 5.”

“The Mystery of Edwin Drood” is a musical by Rupert Holmes for which he received Tony Awards for Best Book and Best Original Score in 1986. The show, then called “Drood” also won Best Musical that year.

Based on Charles Dickens’ last, unfinished novel and murder mystery, the show stops just before the murderer is revealed and at each performance the audience decides who “done it.”

Rupert Holmes has adapted the script into a new quick and hilarious 90 minute version. The new version will be presented at Hubbard Hall in Cambridge, NY with a further adjustment by Holmes for the action of the play to be set at Hubbard Hall.

Performances begin tonight and we are joined now by composer/playwright/lyricist Rupert Holmes and Executive & Artistic Director of the Hubbard Hall Center for the Arts and Education David Andrew Snider.

Kate Shindle in Fun Home
Joan Marcus

The musical Fun Home has been called “groundbreaking,” “exquisite” and “unforgettable” - winning five 2015 Tony Awards including Best Musical and making history along the way. 

Based on Alison Bechdel’s best-selling graphic memoir, Fun Home introduces us to Alison at three different ages as she explores and unravels the many mysteries of her childhood.

Kate Shindle is a former Miss America, the current President of Actor’s Equity and is now starring as Alison Bechdel in the touring production of Fun Home - now playing at Proctors through November 5th.

Harold Prince
Marc J. Franklin

Harold Prince is the most honored director/producer in the history of the American theater. His new book, Sense of Occasion, gives an insider's recollection of the making of such landmark musicals as West Side Story, Fiddler on the Roof, Cabaret, Company, Follies, Sweeney Todd, Evita, and Phantom of the Opera.

Prince writes about his mentor George Abbott and his many celebrated collaborators, including Leonard Bernstein, Jerome Robbins, Stephen Sondheim, John Kander, Boris Aronson, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Angela Lansbury, Zero Mostel, Carol Burnett, and Joel Grey.

In this week’s Classical Music According to Yehuda, Alan Chartock and Yehuda Hanani continue their series of conversations about quoting, sampling, borrowing in music.


  If you look for it - you can find a lot of pretty swell life advice in musicals. For instance: you gotta get a gimmick, don’t throw away your shot, and whenever you feel afraid - hold your head erect and whistle a happy tune.

 

Tim Federle’s new book, available from Running Press, shares advice he’s learned not from the lyrics in shows - but from performing in musicals on Broadway, around the U.S. and abroad. Life is Like a Musical: How to Live, Love, and Lead Like A Star features chapters entitled “Be a Good Scene Partner,” “Go Where the Love Is,” “Put on a Happy Face,”  and 47 others for a total of 50 tips pulled from years of theater experience.

 

Federle is the best-selling author of cocktail books Tequila Mockingbird and Gone with the Gin and the novels Better Nate Than Ever and The Great American Whatever.

The 2015 revival of The Color Purple – the musical adapted from Alice Walker’s novel, with book by Marsha Norman and music and lyrics by Brenda Russell, Allee Willis and Stephen Bray won the 2016 Tony Award for Best Revival of a Musical.

The Broadway run ended in January of this year and the National Tour is now originating its multi-city run at Proctors in Schenectady, NY.

With a soul-raising score of jazz, gospel, ragtime and blues, The Color Purple gives an exhilarating new spirit to this Pulitzer Prize-winning story. Tony Award winning Director, John Doyle, joins us to tell us more.

Doyle’s Broadway credits include, in addition to The Color Purple, Sweeney Todd starring Patti Lupone and Michael Cerveris, Company starring Raul Esparza, A Catered Affair starring Harvey Fierstein, and The Visit, starring Chita Rivera.

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