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  Berkshire Theatre Group presents “An Intimate Performance with Brian Stokes Mitchell” on September 5 at 8 p.m. at The Colonial Theatre in Pittsfield, Massachusetts.

 

Stokes is a Tony Award winning actor whose Broadway credits include “Ragtime,” “Kiss Me Kate,” “Man of La Mancha,” and “Shuffle Along.” Television credits include Trapper John, MC and The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Glee, Mr. Robot, Billions, and The Good Fight - among many others.

He is serving his 16th term as The Chairman of The Board of The Actors Fund and is a co-founder of the Black Theatre United Coalition.

Sue Frost is founding partner of Junkyard Dog Productions, which is the lead producing entity of the Broadway musical "Come From Away." They currently have 5 productions around the world - Broadway, North American Tour, Toronto, London and Australia - on hiatus. 

She is also an active member of the Broadway League, working on multiple task forces aimed at bringing Broadway and touring Broadway back. 

John Lloyd Young
Photograph by Alex Hoerner

John Lloyd Young shot to fame portraying Frankie Valli, but this weekend he’ll be using a technology to reach fans that was unfathomable in the 1960s. Young, a 1993 graduate of Plattsburgh High School, will perform a live-stream concert from The Space in Las Vegas on Saturday at 9 p.m. Eastern. Young is a Grammy and Tony winner who starred in “Jersey Boys” on Broadway and in Clint Eastwood’s film adaption, among other screen credits.

Danny Burstein and the company of Moulin Rouge on Derek McLane's set
http://www.derekmclane.com/


  Derek McLane is an award-winning production and set designer for stage and screen. He’s designed for The Academy Awards, NBC’s live musical productions, and nearly countless theatrical productions around the country - including on and Off-Broadway.

 

His work is currently represented on Broadway in the opulent Bohemian-Parisian spectacular of the set for “Moulin Rouge!” at the Hirschfeld Theatre and in Roundabout Theatre Company’s production of “A Soldier’s Play” at The American Airlines Theatre.

In the book, “Beyond Broadway: The Pleasure and Promise of Musical Theatre Across America,” Stacy Wolf examines the widespread presence and persistence of musical theatre in United States culture.

Those two words: “musical theatre” evoke images of The Great White Way - glitz and glamour on a few short blocks in New York City -- but what truly keeps the art and industry alive is the creating, watching, and listening that happens all over the country in high schools, community theaters, afterschool programs, summer camps, and dinner theaters and regional festivals.

“Beyond Broadway” - it is published by Oxford University Press. Stacy Wolf is Professor in the Program in Theatre in the Lewis Center for the Arts at Princeton University.

Celia Keenan-Bolger photographed for broadway.com
Photographs by Caitlin McNaney | Styling: Sarah Slutsky | Hair: Morgan Blaul | Makeup: Rachel Estabrook / broadway.com

Celebrating its 18th season, Modfest 2020 is Vassar College’s annual exploration of the arts of the 20th and 21st centuries. This year’s theme, “reflect to project,” looks backward to move forward. All events are free and open to the public.

On Saturday, February 1 at 3 p.m., Modfest 2020 presents “Reflect: An Artist’s Life, Onstage and Off” featuring Tony Award-winner Celia Keenan-Bolger sharing stories about Broadway, acting, and art. This event is sponsored by The Capotorto-Mulas Family Lecture Fund and will take place in The Martel Theater at the Vogelstein Center for Drama and Film on the Vassar campus in Poughkeepsie, New York. Keenan-Bolger will be in conversation with actor and Vassar Drama Professor Shona Tucker.

Celia Keenan-Bolger’s works includes both plays and musicals, on and off-Broadway. She made her Broadway debut as Olive Ostrovsky in “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” earning her first Tony Award nomination. Her other Broadway credits include Eponine in “Les Miserables,” Molly in “Peter and the Starcatcher,” Laura in “The Glass Menagerie,” Varya in “The Cherry Orchard,” and, most recently, Scout in “To Kill a Mockingbird.” She won her first Tony Award for her portrayal of the willful and reflective Scout Finch and was also nominated for “The Glass Menagerie” and “Peter and the Starcatcher.”

Playwright Bess Wohl is making her Broadway debut with “Grand Horizons” - a co-commission from The Williamstown Theatre Festival and Second Stage Theater - now in previews at The Hays Theatre in New York City and officially opening on Thursday, January 23.

Wohl’s other plays include “Small Mouth Sounds” “Make Believe” “Continuity,” “American Hero,” “Barcelona,” “Touched,” “In,” “Cats Talk Back” and “Pretty Filthy.” She is an associate artist with New York based investigative theater troupe The Civilians and her plays have been produced at theater companies around the country. She is the recipient of the 2015 Sam Norkin Special Drama Desk Award for “establishing herself as an important voice in New York theater” and the John Gassner Outer Critics Circle Award. She is a MacDowell fellow and an alumna of Ars Nova’s Play Group.

“Grand Horizons” is directed by Leigh Silverman and stars Jane Alexander and James Cromwell as a couple navigating divorce after being married for 50 years. Ben McKenzie and Michael Urie play their adult sons. The cast is rounded out by Priscilla Lopez, Maulik Pancholy, and Ashley Park.

The Tour of The Tony-Award winning revival of the musical “Once on this Island” will be at Proctors in Schenectady, New York on Friday, January 17 and Saturday, January 18.

The Lynn Ahrens/Stephen Flaherty musical, directed by Michael Arden and choreographed by Camille A. Brown, tells the story of the orphaned Ti Moune and four competitive Gods who make a wager over her life and her love. “Once on this Island” is a celebration tinged with sadness that emphasizes the importance of telling everyone’s stories.

Tyler Hardwick joined us. He plays Daniel and he joins the tour after playing a storyteller and understudying roles during the show’s Broadway run.

In “The Band’s Visit,” 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 taken in by the locals.

Based on the 2007 movie of the same name, “The Band’s Visit” features music and lyrics by David Yazbek, a book by Itamar Moses, and is directed by David Cromer. The show won ten Tony Awards in 2018, including Best Musical and The North American tour is at Proctors in Schenectady, New York through January 5.

James Rana plays Simon in “The Band’s Visit” – and joins the North American Tour having been part of the original Broadway cast. He is also the stand-by for the lead character, Tewfiq. He joined us to talk about his journey with the show.

Caroline Bowman as Elsa and Caroline Innerbickler as Anna in the National Tour of "Frozen"
Matt Murphy / Murphy Made

For the last several weeks, crews have been busy at Proctors in Schenectady working on the national broadway tour of the Disney and Broadway hit, “Frozen.”

“Frozen” begins two weeks of performances at Proctors on Sunday, November 10 and runs there through November 24.

Based on the animated film of the same name, “Frozen” has been melting hearts on Broadway in an all-new production created for the stage which features songs from the original film plus an expanded score with a dozen new numbers. The music and lyrics are by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez, the book is by Jennifer Lee. The show is directed by Michael Grandage with choreography by Rob Ashford.

Caroline Innerbichler plays Anna and F. Michael Haynie plays Olaf.

TINA: The Tina Turner Musical” opens tonight at The Lunt-Fontanne Theatre on Broadway. The biographical jukebox musical features a book by award-winning playwright Katori Hall and is directed by Phyllida Lloyd. It tells the story of Anna Mae Bullock of Nutbush, Tennessee’s life and growth into Tina Turner - living legend and international Queen of Rock and Roll. Adrienne Warren plays Turner -she’s earned raves in the West End production - and an Olivier Award nomination - and gathering early buzz during Broadway previews.

Daniel J. Watts plays Ike Turner. Watts is the creator of a long-running and evolving solo-show entitled “The Jam.” His previous Broadway credits include “The Color Purple,” “In the Heights,” “Memphis,” “Motown: The Musical,” and “Hamilton.” He’s often jumped from stage to screen and plays “Felony” in the comedy series “The Last OG” on TBS starring Tracy Morgan and Tiffany Haddish.

Watts was just nominated for an L.A. Stage Alliance Ovation Award for Best Featured Actor in a Musical category for his West Coast performance as Sammy Davis, Jr. in Lights Out: Nat “King” Cole. Daniel J. Watts' “The Jam: Only Child” will be at Joe's Pub in New York City in January.

Chita Rivera
Laura Marie Duncan

On November 16, Helsinki on Broadway in association with Gary DiMauro presents “Chita: A Legendary Celebration” at Helsinki Hudson in Hudson, New York. The one-and-only Chita Rivera will perform songs from her Tony Award winning Broadway career with her longtime trio at 7 and 9:30 p.m. At Helsinki Hudson she’ll perform songs from “West Side Story,” “Sweet Charity,” “Chicago,” “Kiss of the Spider Woman,” ”Bye, Bye, Birdie,” “The Rink,” “The Visit,” and more.

Theatrical icon and living legend of the stage, Rivera is among the most nominated performers in Tony Award history and received the 2018 Special Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre. Among her many honors through a lifetime of performance and activism, Rivera was awarded The Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama in 2009 and received a Kennedy Center Honor in 2002.

On October 10, “Linda Vista,” a new play by Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award winner Tracy Letts, directed by Dexter Bullard, opens at Second Stage’s Helen Hayes Theater in New York City.

In the play, Wheeler is a 50-year-old divorcee in a mid-life spiral. Just out of his ex-wife’s garage and into a place of his own, Wheeler starts on a path toward self-discovery. Full of opinions and short on self-examination, Wheeler navigates blind dates, old friends, and new love while reconciling the man he has become with the man he wants to be.

“Linda Vista” premiered at Steppenwolf in Chicago. It went on to have its Los Angeles premiere at Center Theatre Group in the Mark Taper Forum in February 2019 - and now it’s on Broadway.

For each of the productions, Letts’ fellow Steppenwolf ensemble member Ian Barford has played Wheeler. Barford also originated the role of Little Charles in Letts's “August: Osage County,” Ray in “Mary Page Marlowe,” and Mr. Carp “The Minutes.” Other Broadway credits include “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime” and “The Rise and Fall of Little Voice.”

“The Great Society,” the sequel to Robert Schenkkan's 2014 Tony-winning epic “All the Way,” began its Broadway run at the Vivian Beaumont Theater on September 6. Bill Rauch, who helmed "All the Way," also directs the new work which officially opens on October 1 for a limited run through November 30. Brian Cox stars in the production as President Lyndon Baines Johnson.

Capturing Lyndon B. Johnson's passionate and aggressive attempts to build a great society for all, the new play follows his epic triumph in a landslide election to the agonizing decision not to run for re-election just three years later.

Adam Rapp’s play “The Sound Inside” is currently in previews on Broadway produced by Jeffrey Richards and co-produced by Lincoln Center at Studio 54, directed by David Cromer. It stars Mary Louise Parker as Bella Lee Baird, a Creative Writing professor at Yale University, and Will Hochman as Christopher Dunn - one of her students. It had its world premiere production with the same cast and director at The Williamstown Theatre Festival in 2018.

Adam Rapp is an award-winning playwright and director. He is the author of numerous plays including “Red Light Winter” which was a Pulitzer Prize finalist. “The Sound Inside” is the first of his plays to be produced on Broadway.

In “The Sound Inside” Bella, 53, conducts her life in solitude and work. Early in the play, we find out she’s been diagnosed with aggressive stomach cancer. As a college freshman, Christopher Dunn is alienated by his peers and societal expectations. The two meet and connect over a shared interest in writing and the profound capability of literature to inspire.

Constance Shulman in "The Rose Tattoo" at The Williamstown Theatre Festival in 2016
Daniel Rader

This week, the Roundabout Theatre Company production of Tennessee Williams’ “The Rose Tattoo” begins previews on Broadway at The American Airlines Theatre, directed by Trip Cullman and starring Marisa Tomei. A version of the production premiered at the Williamstown Theatre Festival in 2016. Much of the cast has changed between the two stagings, but our next guest, Constance Shulman, has remained a part of the play. She plays The Strega.

Shulman is best known as Yoga Jones on the Netflix series “Orange is the New Black” and as the voice of Patti Mayonnaise on the Nickelodeon cartoon, “Doug.” Her theatre credits include originating the role of Annelle in the first production of “Steel Magnolias” Off-Broadway.

Harold Prince
Marc J. Franklin

Harold Prince is a legend in the American theatre – the acclaimed director and producer behind a long list of America’s most iconic musicals and the winner of a staggering, record-breaking 21 Tony Awards died yesterday at the age of 91. Prince produced or directed (and sometimes both) many of the most enduring musicals in theater history, including “West Side Story,” “Fiddler on the Roof,” “Cabaret,” “Sweeney Todd” and “The Phantom of the Opera” – and so many more.

In 2017, Applause Books published Prince’s memoir “A Sense of Occasion” and Manhattan Theatre Club was presenting a Broadway musical retrospective celebrating his work entitled “Prince of Broadway.” Joe Donahue interviewed him for our show then and we re-aired that interview today in memoriam.

In the musical, “Waitress,” we meet Jenna, a waitress and expert pie-maker who dreams of a way out of her small town and rocky marriage. Pouring her heart into her pies, she crafts desserts that mirror her topsy-turvy life such as “The Key (Lime) to Happiness Pie” and “Betrayed By My Eggs Pie.” When a baking contest in a nearby county and a satisfying encounter with someone new show Jenna a chance at a fresh start, she must find the courage to seize it.

Brought to life by a groundbreaking, all-female creative team, this Tony Award-nominated hit features original music and lyrics by 7-time Grammy nominee Sara Bareilles, a book by acclaimed screenwriter Jessie Nelson and direction by Tony Award winner Diane Paulus.

"Waitress" is on stage at Proctors in Schenectady through Sunday, June 16th. This morning we welcome two members of the company - Christine Dwyer plays Jenna and Melody Betts plays Becky.

Philip Morris is celebrating is in his 17th year as CEO of Proctors. He arrived in the Capital Region in early 2002, after 25 years as executive director of the Chautauqua County arts council, in western New York.

Under Morris' leadership, Proctors has spent $42 million on expansion and renovation, which included a dramatically larger stage house and backstage facilities for the main theater, new box office and cafe, and the 440-seat GE Theatre at Proctors.

With major partnerships with Capital Repertory Theatre in Albany and Universal Preservation Hall in Saratoga Springs, Proctors has been a leader in seeing the arts from a regional perspective. Philip joins us this morning to talk the Tonys, grants, and getting ready for "Hamilton."

Photo from The Ferryman
Joan Marcus

Fionnula Flanagan was nominated for her second Tony Award, 45 years after her first nomination, for playing “Aunt Maggie Far Away” in "The Ferryman." The play is written by Jez Butterworth and directed by Sam Mendes.

Flanagan was born and raised in Dublin and made her Broadway debut 51 years ago in a play called "Lovers." Her previous Tony nomination was for her 1974 performance in "Ulysses in Nighttown" (which was her last appearance on Broadway before "The Ferryman").

The play itself has continued to garner acclaim – it received 9 Tony nominations, tied for the most of any play this season, and overall it has received more awards nominations than any other play of the year.

Corbin Bleu and Stephanie Styles in the 2019 Broadway revival of "Kiss Me Kate"
Joan Marcus

Roundabout Theatre Company’s revival of Cole Porter’s “Kiss Me Kate” is nominated for four Tony Awards this year - including Best Revival of A Musical.

Based on Shakespeare’s “The Taming of the Shrew,” the original Broadway production of “Kiss Me Kate” ran from December 1948 to July 1951. The show features seminal Cole Porter tunes “Another Op'nin' Another Show,” “So In Love,” “Too Darn Hot,” and “Brush Up Your Shakespeare” - among others.

Starring Kelli O’Hara and Will Chase and directed by Scott Ellis, “Kiss Me Kate” features Tony Award nominated choreography by Warren Carlyle and marks the Broadway debut of featured actor, Stephanie Styles in the role of Lois Lane (Bianca in the play-within-the-play). Born and raised in Houston, Texas, Styles has a BFA in Musical Theatre from the University of Michigan.

The new musical “The Prom” tells the story of four all-but-washed-up narcissistic Broadway stars, played by Brooks Ashmanskas, Beth Leavel, Christopher Sieber, and Angie Schworer, who are in need of a positive image boost. To fix their personal PR - they travel to Indiana, where Emma, a high school student played by Caitlin Kinnunen, has been banned from attending her prom with her same-sex partner. They make things worse before making them better and everyone learns something along the way.

The big-hearted Broadway hit, running since last autumn, is nominated for seven Tony Awards this season including Best Musical. The show features music by Matthew Sklar, lyrics by Chad Beguelin, and a book by Beguelin and Bob Martin. We are joined two of the show’s Tony nominees. Matthew Sklar and Beth Leavel. This interview was recorded in March.

Composer, Matthew Sklar, is a Tony, Emmy and Drama Desk Award-nominated composer of the Broadway musicals “Elf” and “The Wedding Singer.”

Beth Leavel plays Dee Dee Allen in The Prom - her thirteenth Broadway show. She won a Tony, Drama Desk, OCC, L.A. Drama Critics award winner for her performance as the title role in "The Drowsy Chaperone."

This weekend, the Broadway revival of Terrence McNally’s “Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune” begins previews at The Broadhurst Theatre starring Tony, Grammy and Emmy Award winner Audra McDonald and two-time Academy Award nominee Michael Shannon.

Originally produced more than 30 years ago Off-Broadway, “Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune” is one of McNally’s most popular plays. It centers on a waitress and a short order cook whose first date turns into a one-night stand and moves - if haltingly - toward a new relationship as they reveal themselves to each other.

Obie Award winner Arin Arbus directs, making her Broadway debut. 

Beetlejuice musical artwork and photograph of director Alex Timbers
Photo of Timbers: Morris Mac Matzen/Stage Entertainment

Tonight a show about death opens at The Winter Garden Theatre on Broadway. A very funny, extremely wacky, semi-familiar show about death.

Beetlejuice: The Musical,” adapted from the 1988 Tim Burton film, features a book by Scott Brown and Anthony King and music by Eddie Perfect - who is further represented on Broadway this season with “King Kong."

The ghost-with-the-most, played memorably by Michael Keaton, in the film is dusted-off and deaded-up by Alex Brightman. Lydia, a grieving but righteous teen, is artfully inhabited by Sophia Anne Caruso. Kerry Butler and Rob McClure play the recently deceased Barbara and Adam. Adam Dannheisser and Leslie Kritzer play Charles and Delia; the sort-of-crazy sort-of-couple that buys Barbara and Adam’s now-haunted house. It’s a powerful cast, all joyfully mourning and energetically filling David Korins’ memorable-moveable set eight shows a week. Musical Supervision, Orchestrations, and Incidental Music is by Kris Kukul, formerly the Music Director at The Williamstown Theatre Festival, and Connor Gallagher is the choreographer.

Alex Timbers directs. His previous Broadway credits include “Bloody, Bloody Andrew Jackson,” “The Pee-Wee Herman Show,” “Peter and the Star-Catcher,” “Rocky,” and “Oh, Hello.” He directed the stand-up special “John Mulaney: Kid Gorgeous at Radio City.” Some of his off-Broadway productions are “Gutenberg! The Musical!,” “Here Lies Love,” “The Robber Bridegroom.” He is the co-creator of the Amazon series “Mozart in the Jungle.” His next directorial project is the stage adaptation of “Moulin Rouge” which begins previews at the Hirschfeld Theatre in June.

The hit 1982 film, Tootsie, has a new stage-musical adaptation that is opening on Broadway tomorrow night. The updated story of the actor, Michael Dorsey, who disguises himself as a woman to get cast in a show, is directed by Scott Ellis, features a book by Robert Horn, and music and lyrics by David Yazbek. Santino Fontana dons the infamous pumps.

Sarah Stiles plays Sandy Lester in “Tootsie: The Musical” - the role was played in the film by Teri Garr. Stiles is a Tony nominated performer whose previous Broadway credits include “Hand to God,” “On a Clear Day You Can See Forever,” “Avenue Q,” and “The 25th Annual Putnam Country Spelling Bee.” She plays Bonnie on the Showtime series “Billions”  and Gladys in “Get Shorty” on Epix.

David Furr, Keri Russell, and Brandon Uranowitz in "Burn This" at The Hudson Theatre
Matthew Murphy

The first Broadway revival of Pulitzer Prize winner Lanford Wilson’s “Burn This” opened at The Hudson Theatre this past Tuesday evening.

When a mysterious death brings together two unlikely strangers, their explosive connection sparks a chemistry too fiery to ignore. "Burn This," directed by Tony Award winner Michael Mayer, is a smoldering story of love and raw attraction by one of the most vital playwrights of the modern era. The steamy new revival stars Keri Russell as Anna, Adam Driver as Pale, Brandon Uranowitz as Larry, and our guest, David Furr as Burton.

Furr earned a Tony nomination for his work as Garry in Roundabout Theatre Company’s hilarious 2016 revival of “Noises Off” at the American Airlines Theatre where, in 2011, Furr played John “Jack” Worthing in Roundabout’s tremendous production of “The Importance of Being Earnest” co-starring Brian Bedford and Santino Fontana.

His other Broadway credits include “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?,” “Accent on Youth,” “Cymbeline,” “The Rivals,” and “King Lear.” Furr’s film credits include “13 Hours,” “Evening,” “The Sounding,” and the upcoming “The Highwaymen.” His recurring television appearances include “Bull,” “The Man in the High Castle,” “Mr. Mercedes,” “Dynasty,” “Odd Mom Out,” “TURN: Washington’s Spies,” “Iron First,” “Madam Secretary,” “The Following,” and “The Americans.”

The 1976 film, “Network,” written by Paddy Chayefsky and directed by Sidney Lumet won four Academy Awards and granted that and the following generations the indelible expression of utter frustration and mental collapse in Howard Beale's line: “I’m as mad as hell and I'm not going to take this anymore.”

Lee Hall has adapted Chayefsky’s screenplay into a script for the stage which is a hit at Broadway’s Belasco Theatre. Directed by Ivo Van Hove, “Network” stars Bryan Cranston, Tony Goldwyn, Tatiana Maslany, and our guest, Joshua Boone.

Boone’s Broadway debut was in “Holler if Ya Hear Me” in 2014. In our region, he’s been seen at the Williamstown Theatre Festival in three productions over the last two years.

Last night, a new revival of the Arthur Miller classic, “All My Sons,” began previews at the American Airlines Theatre on 42nd Street in New York City. Roundabout Theatre Company’s production of the story of The Kellers, a family finding their way in a post-war world and burdened by wartime secrets, is directed by three time Tony Award winner Jack O’Brien and stars Tracy Letts and Annette Bening as Joe and Kate Keller.

Benjamin Walker returns to Broadway - and to Roundabout - to play their son, Chris Keller. A sample of Walker’s other stage credits includes Patrick Bateman in the musical “American Psycho” and the title character in “Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson.” He played Brick in “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” and was in Inherit the Wind and Roundabout’s “Les Liaisons Dangereuses.”

Broadway’s Jana Robbins and Haley Swindal bring “WE JUST MOVE ON!” - their critically acclaimed sold out cabaret concert salute to Kander & Ebb to the Sharon Playhouse in Sharon, Connecticut this Saturday, January 26 before a return engagement at New York City’s Feinstein’s/54 Below early next month. This evening of song and story features hits from Broadway shows that include “Cabaret,” “Chicago” and “Zorba.”

Tonight, all Broadway theaters will honor Carol Channing, who died on Tuesday at the age of 97, by dimming their marquee lights. Her performances as the gold-digging Lorelei Lee in “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” and the matchmaker Dolly Gallagher Levi in “Hello, Dolly!” made her a Broadway legend.

In 2003, Carol Channing joined us for an hour in studio here at WAMC for an episode of our afternoon call-in program, Vox Pop. Her book “Just Lucky I Guess: A Memoir of Sorts,” had come out a few months prior and she was en route to an event at Bennington College in Vermont. 

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