broadway

The National Tour of the Broadway musical “Anastasia” is beginning its journey to the past at Proctors in Schenectady, New York. The show features a book by celebrated playwright Terrence McNally and a lush score by Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens. It is helmed by Tony Award-winning director Darko Tresnjak.

Inspired by the beloved films with the same title, “Anastasia” transports the audience 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.

Lila Coogan plays Anya in the tour and she joins us now.

When a letter that was never meant to be seen by anyone other than its author draws anxious high school senior, Evan Hansen, into a family’s grief over the loss of their son, he is given the chance of a lifetime: to belong.

The stage musical, “Dear Evan Hansen,” was nominated for nine Tony Awards in 2017 - and won six, including Best New Musical. The popular and moving show continues to run on Broadway, the National Tour began just last week in Denver, Colorado, and today, Little Brown has published a novelization of the story of inclusion, perspective, family, young romance, and viral content.

Benj Pasek and Justin Paul are the songwriting team behind “Dear Evan Hansen.” They also wrote the songs and lyrics for “A Christmas Story: The Musical,” and the films “La La Land” and “The Greatest Showman.” Playwright Steven Levenson wrote the book for “Dear Evan Hansen” - his latest play, “Days of Rage” begins previews off-Broadway at 2ndStage tonight. Levensen, Pasek, and Paul have entrusted actor, musician, and writer Val Emmich to pen the novel.

Ben Schnetzer and Heather Lind in MTC's "The Nap
Joan Marcus

“The Nap” is a new play by Richard Bean, now running on Broadway at Manhattan Theatre Club’s Friedman Theater. In the play, which is directed by Daniel Sullivan, Dylan Spokes, a fast-rising young snooker star, arrives in his hometown for a championship tournament only to be confronted by the authorities warning him of the repercussions of match fixing. Before he knows it, Dylan’s forced into underhanded dealings with a cast of wildly colorful characters.

Heather Lind plays Eleanor in “The Nap” and she joins us now.

Lind was previously seen on Broadway in “The Merchant of Venice,” starring Al Pacino, this past summer she played Desdemona in The Public Theatre’s Shakespeare in the Park production of “Othello” starring Chukwudi Iwuji and Corey Stoll. She was on HBO’s “Boardwalk Empire” and AMC’s “Turn: Washington’s Spies” -- and she grew up in the Capital Region.

The Broadway musical, “Mean Girls” tells the story of Cady Heron as she and her parents move from Africa to America where Cady will leave behind potentially dangerous animal encounters and learn to navigate the emotionally perilous habitat of High School. In true bildungsroman fashion, Cady loses her way; falling in with a superficial clique, lead by alpha-female Regina George, before she rediscovers her moral center and learns about true friendship.

The musical is adapted from the 2004 film of the same name, which was written by Tina Fey (adapted from Rosalind Wiseman‘s book “Queen Bees and Wannabes”). Fey returns to write the book of the musical, which features music by Jeff Richmond, lyrics by Nell Benjamin, and direction and choreography by Casey Nicholaw.

The show was nominated for 12 Tony Awards last season - a number that should make even a plastic proud. October 3 is Mean Girls Day - and there will be events all over New York City to celebrate. To join in on the fun, we spoke with Erika Henningsen, who plays Cady Heron.

Jason Butler Harner and Janet McTeer in Roundabout Theatre Company's "Bernhardt/Hamlet"
Joan Marcus

Last night, The Roundabout Theatre Company opened a new play by Theresa Rebeck at The American Airlines Theatre in New York City. Directed by Moritz von Stuelpnagel, “Bernhardt/Hamlet” is set just before the turn of the 20th Century when the acclaimed and adored Sarah Bernhardt stages a production of William Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” with herself in the title role of the halting and hesitant Prince of Denmark.

In “Bernhardt/Hamlet,” the divine Sarah is inhabited by Golden Globe, Tony, and Olivier Award-winning actress, Janet McTeer. Bernhardt as penned by Rebeck is having an affair with poet and playwright, Edmond Rostand who is played by our guest, Jason Butler Harner.

Harner’s previous Broadway credits include “The Crucible” and “The Coast of Utopia.” He’s performed Off-Broadway, as well, earning OBIE and Drama Desk nominations. His major film debut came in Clint Eastwood’s Oscar-nominated film “Changeling” and he currently stars on the Netflix series “Ozark.”

Pamela Tatge, Jacob’s Pillow artistic director
Hayim Heron/Jacob’s Pillow Dance

Each year thousands of dance enthusiasts visit the Berkshires to experience the Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival with more than 50 dance companies and 200 free performances, talks, and events; to train at The School at Jacob’s Pillow, to explore the Pillow’s rare and extensive dance archives; and to take part in numerous community programs designed to educate and engage dance audiences of all ages.

This weekend alone, Jacob’s Pillow will present Houston Ballet; a work by Obie and Lucille Lortel Award-winning choreographer Sonya Tayeh; and, on Sunday, a program entitled “Gotta Dance: New Faces for Broadway.”

Pamela Tatge is the Director of Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival and she joins us.

Joseph Crespino is the Jimmy Carter Professor of history at Emory University. He is the author of "In Search of Another Country," winner of the 2008 Lillian Smith Book Award from the Southern Regional Council, and "Strom Thurmond's America."

The publication of "Go Set a Watchman" in 2015 forever changed how we think about Atticus Finch. Once seen as a paragon of decency, he was reduced to a small-town racist. How are we to understand this transformation?

In "Atticus Finch," historian Joseph Crespino draws on exclusive sources to reveal how Harper Lee's father provided the central inspiration for each of her books. A lawyer and newspaperman, A. C. Lee was a principled opponent of mob rule, yet he was also a racial paternalist. Harper Lee created the Atticus of Watchman out of the ambivalence she felt toward white southerners like him. But when a militant segregationist movement arose that mocked his values, she revised the character in "To Kill a Mockingbird" to defend her father and to remind the South of its best traditions.

The 2018 Phoenicia International Festival of the Voice will take place in Phoenicia, New York August 3-5. This year’s theme is “Sirens of the Voice.” The festival’s Director Maria Todaro and Artistic Director Louis Otey join us.

Theresa Rebeck's new play "Seared" opens on Wednesday night on the Nikos Stage at the Williamstown Theatre Festival - her third play to premiere at WTFest. In "Seared," between the smell of sizzling garlic and balsamic drizzle, tempers are boiling over in an on-stage kitchen. Chef Harry has poured his heart into his intimate Brooklyn restaurant and it is finally paying off. A rave review has New Yorkers flocking through his door and selling out every table, but is this the success he has been dreaming of?

This also marks the start of a string of new productions for Theresa Rebeck. After "Seared," she'll premiere her new Broadway play "Bernhard/Hamlet" starring Janet McTeer followed by a New York premiere of "Downstairs" starring Tyne and Tim Daly and the release of her film, "Trouble" starring Anjelica Houston and Bill Pullman.

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.

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.” 

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.

WikiMedia Commons

The Tony Awards race this year seems to be dominated by big established brands — Disney's "Frozen," J.K. Rowling's "Harry Potter," Tina Fey's "Mean Girls" and Nickelodeon's "SpongeBob SquarePants."

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.

Bob Goepfert Reviews "Mean Girls"

Apr 17, 2018
Mean Girls (pictured L to R): Erika Henningsen (Cady Heron), Ashley Park(Gretchen Wieners), Taylor Louderman (Regina George), and Kate Rockwell(Karen Smith)
Credit: © 2017 Joan Marcus

The female millennials finally have their own musical.  Just as past generations had “Grease,” “Hairspray” and even “Wicked,” young women (and some young men) now have a contemporary musical with which they can identify. 

Garth Fagan and Joe Donahue at UAlbany PAC
© Anthony Tassarotti / www.tassarotti.com

Garth Fagan is the Tony and Olivier award-winning choreographer of "The Lion King" and founder, artistic director and president of Garth Fagan Dance.

On March 28 he visited the University at Albany for an evening of conversation with WAMC's Joe Donahue as part of "The Creative Life" at UAlbany, a collaborative series created and produced by the University Art Museum, Performing Art Center and New York State Writers Institute in collaboration with WAMC.

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.

Bob Goepfert Reviews Farinelli And The King

Dec 19, 2017
Iestyn Davies, Mark Rylance, Huss Garbiya and Melody Grove in the Shakespeare's Globe production of Farinelli And The King
(c) Joan Marcus

New York, N.Y.  – “Farinelli and the King,” one of the most anticipated plays of the Broadway season, opened Sunday evening.   Indeed, a sign of its popularity is that even before it opened scalpers were charging Hamilton-type prices for tickets.  Little should change.  This is a must-see show for anyone who loves theater.

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.”

In 1919 Britain, Mrs. Conway is full of optimism during her daughter’s lavish twenty-first birthday celebration. The Great War is over, wealth is in the air, and the family’s dreams bubble over like champagne. Nineteen years later, though, the Conways’ lives have transformed unimaginably.

"Time and the Conways" is a time-jumping play by J.B. Priestley that takes place at the crossroads of today and tomorrow. Tony winner Rebecca Taichman directs "Time and the Conways" for Roundabout Theatre Company. The production runs through November 26 at The American Airlines Theater.

The play stars Elizabeth McGovern, Anna Camp, and our guests, Steven Boyer and Gabriel Ebert.

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.


  It’s summer on Sway Lake, the most glamorous lake in the Adirondacks - former playground of the jazz-age New York aristocracy. Music collector Ollie Sway recruits his only friend, a rowdy Russian drifter, to help him steal a 78 record from his own family’s estate. Ollie believes that this mysterious piece of music was hidden for him by his father before his suicide. The boys’ mission should be as easy, but the arrival of the Charlotte “Charlie” Sway - Ollie’s Grandmother - changes everything.

 

Directed by Ari Gold and co-written by Gold and Elizabeth Bull, The Song Of Sway Lake will screen at The Woodstock Playhouse as part of The Woodstock Film Festival on Sunday at 2:15.

 

Mary Beth Peil plays Charlie Sway and she joins us now. Piel is a venerated actor of stage and screen. She started her career in opera and currently plays The Dowager Empress in Anastasia on Broadway.


  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.

James Ludwig and Aaron Tveit in Company at Barrington Stage
Daniel Rader

This week, Barrington Stage Company in Pittsfield, MA announced an extension of its production of Stephen Sondheim and George Furth’s Company, directed by Julianne Boyd. The show was scheduled to play on The Boyd-Quinson Mainstage through September 2nd, and now Bobby will be side-by-side with his friends, driving his dates crazy, and waiting through the 10th.

Aaron Tveit plays Bobby at Barrington Stage. On Broadway he’s appeared in Hairspray, Wicked, Next to Normal, and Catch Me If You Can. He played Enjolras in the film of Les Miserables starring Hugh Jackman and Russell Crowe, television credits include Gossip Girl, Graceland, FOX’s Grease Live - and other programs not starting with "G".


  Mischief Theatre’s The Play That Goes Wrong has been doing so on Broadway since March of this year.

 

In the play, it’s opening night of The Murder at Haversham Manor where things are quickly going from bad to utterly disastrous. With an unconscious leading lady, a corpse that can’t play dead, and actors who trip over everything (including their lines) - the mad-cap romp meticulously disintegrates at The Lyceum Theatre on 45th Street.

Winner of the Tony Award for Best Scenic Design of a Play, The Play That Goes Wrong is directed by Mark Bell and written by Henry Lewis, Jonathan Sayer, and Henry Shields. Lewis, Sayer, and Shields also star -- and two of the actor/co-creators -- Henry Lewis and Jonathan Sayer - sat down with us in New York City.

Barbara Cook

Aug 9, 2017

We re-ran a portion of this interview in memoriam on The Roundtable this morning. Barbara Cook died yesterday, she was 89.

Barbara Cook is performing with John Pizzarelli at The Mahaiwe this Saturday. We speak with the Broadway, concert, and recording star.

Music - "Till There Was You" and "Glitter And Be Gay"

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