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Category Archives: Theater

American Repertory Theater’s “Pippin” Revival Opens March 23!

Is it a circus? Is it wartime? Is it a tragedy, or a comedy? It’s hard to tell when you go see the hit musical Pippin, no matter when or where you see it. But it’s always spectacular and now, it’s coming back to Broadway!

The story begins with a troupe onstage, surrounding the Leading Player, who begins to tell the story of Pippin. That story is one of a boy, a young prince in fact, that still has not found his true calling or contentment in life; and he sets out to find it. The troupe plays along, acting out Pippin’s story and even breaking the fourth wall as they speak to audience members, asking them to join in the telling of the story.

The show has appeared on Broadway before, but not since 1977 when it was directed by Bob Fosse and ran for nearly 2,000 performances. It recently opened at the American Repertory Theater last week, and has been wildly well-received by audiences there. On March 23, it will open for previews on Broadway with the official opening set for April 25. And there’s no reason to think that this show will be anything less than the typical extravaganza.

Stephen Schwartz, best known for his work in Wicked, will be completing the score for the musical; while Roger O. Hirson wrote the book. Barry and Fran Weissler will be working the same production magic they did with Chicago, and Howard and Janet Kagan will be presenting the show. This is one show that’s not to be missed, so be sure to get your tickets as soon as you can!

War Horse on Broadway

The 2011 film “War Horse” was directed by Steven Spielberg and based on an adaptation of Micahel Morpurgo’s 1982 novel. The story of young Albert and his beloved horse, Joey, has now made its way to Broadway and has won 5 Tony Awards including Best Play, Best Lighting Design of a Play, Best Scenic Design of a Play and Best Sound Design of a Play.

The story begins in Ireland when Albert’s father buys the Thoroughbred colt, Joey. The horse learns to adapt to farm life and soon shows his dedication and heart to his family.  However, when the horse is enlisted to fight for the English in World War I, Albert and Joey are separated and Albert pledges that they will be reunited and he joins the war effort himself.  After they both end up in enemy crossfire, they are finally reunited in the end.

The Broadway version of “War Horse” captures the audience’s attention with excellent staging and stagecraft as well many stirring musical moments. The show was adapted by Nick Stafford and directed by Bijan Sheibani and in association with the Handspring Puppet Company.

A life size Joey is played by a cast of puppeteers that make the presence of horse on stage melt your heart. The company actually won a Special Tony Award for their work in the production. The three puppeteers work together operating the horse’s frame, heady and even sound effects.

Although the story is somewhat new to Americans, the play “War Horse” received its world premier in 2007 at the National’s Olivier Theatre. It then returned from 2008-2009 for a second run and was transferred in the Spring of 2009 to the West End’s New London Theatre. The play continues there as well as in various locations around the US.

If you’re looking for a heart-warming story with a few twists along the way, but one that ends happily, consider War Horse.  Find your War Horse tickets online at TicketSupply.com.

Broadway Arts Factory Hosts Very Phantom Christmas Benefit Concert

Christmas carols set against operatic baritones and sopranos, all sung by some of Broadway’s most beloved performers from the iconic Phantom of the Opera. That’s what theater-goers were treated to this past Sunday, December 16, if they were lucky enough to attend the one-night only event, Very Phantom Christmas.

Hosted by Erin Magurie and directed by Ben Hartley, Very Phantom Christmas takes the characters from Phantom of the Opera and places them in a holiday theme – carols and all. The setting for the show still brings that eerie feel, although much less pronounced than in the original Phantom; and once you see it for yourself, it’s clear that these two themes were meant for each other.

All proceeds from the show were donated to the Broadway Arts Factory, an educational institution that trains and guides young people from ages 11-18 that have an interest in theater. Being able to work so closely with such Broadway greats is just one way that the Factory helps bring their youth closer to their Broadway dreams throughout the holidays, and the entire year.

The performers that helped make Very Phantom Christmas a huge success were Andrew Drost, Rebecca Pitcher, Satmi Hofmann, Lynne Abeles, Kfir, Kenneth Kantor, and Samantha Hill. The show was produced by Ben Hartley and Amanda Edge; Greg Landes was the musician; and Steven Malone was musical director.

Audience members were given a chance to mingle with the cast and crew before the show, during a mix n’ mingle cocktail hour.

Jackie Hoffman’s A Chanukah Carol Now Off-Broadway

You love watching Jackie Hoffman on television in The New Normal, and now you can watch her at New World Stages putting on her annual A Chanukah Carol.

As the name suggests, A Chanukah Carol is a take on Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol but it’s done in a whole new way. Being raised in a Jewish family, Hoffman puts on a one-woman show that is partly autobiographical, partly nostalgic, and all hilarious. Throughout the performance Hoffman is visited by the Ghosts of Chanukah Past, Present, and Future; as well as an appearance by Molly Picon.

Just like Ebenezer, she’s searching for herself, preferably by way of a rich famous Hollywood star, only to find that there’s really no joy at all in her life. What stands in its place is a sad, ruthless woman that will do anything to get what she wants; and that makes Scrooge look like one of Santa’s elves.

Hoffman has a number of Broadway and off-Broadway credits already under her belt, with her most successful role being the one she donned in Hairspray; the role that won her the Theatre World Award.

A Chanukah Carol has been written by Jackie Hoffman and Michael Schiralli; and Schiralli also sits in the director’s chair on this one, too. Performances started December 8, Chanukah Eve, and they’re running through until December 29th at the theater on 340 West 50th Street. Theater-goers look forward to this all year long and tickets won’t last long, so get yours today!

Bibbidi Bobbidi Boo Comes to Broadway – It’s Cinderella!

You would think that Cinderella would have been on Broadway before now. Wonderful show tunes, glass slippers, the Great White Way — it all just seems to fit somehow. But surprisingly, while talk of the shamed sister turned princess has always surrounded the New York stage, it’s never actually come to fruition. That is, not until now.

Cinderella will begin previews on January 24, 2013 with an official opening of February 24, 2013 at the Broadway Theatre. Laura Osnes who’s most well-known for her performances in Bonnie & Clyde and South Pacific, will take the lead role in the musical directed by Mark Brokaw. The fairy tale is such a classic that the iconic trademarks such as the glass slipper, the giant pumpkin carriage, and all the ‘bibbidi-bobbidi-booing are all still there; but audiences can expect some fun new modern twists too.

Those include fun musical acts interspersed throughout the classical story, as well as fun modern splashes included in the new book, written by Douglas Carter Beane, who also wrote Sister Act and Xandadu.

Santino Fontana will be taking on the role of the Prince (that’s Charming for anyone who’s keeping track); and Victoria Clark will be making it all happen with a wave of her magic wand as she fills the role of the Fairy Godmother. Harriet Harris dons the shoes of Cinderella‘s wicked stepmother, with Ann Harada and Marla Mindelle playing stepsisters Charlotte and Gabrielle, respectively.

The best kind of Broadway show is one the whole family can enjoy together. Starting in January, you can!

So You Think You Can Dance – The Show Comes to You Live

There’s nothing more enjoyable than a little competition when it comes to performance, and dance is perhaps one of the visually exciting competitions around.  First premiering in July of 2005, “So You Think You Can Dance” ended its first summer season as the highest rated show on television.

It’s not surprising the show has taken off in a blaze of glory.  “So You Think You Can Dance” was created by the producers of the popular show, “American Idol”.  Simon Fuller and Nigel Lythgo seem to be able to hit gold whenever they scout for talent.  The show is currently being produced by nineteen Entertainment and Dick Clark productions.

Similar to the format for American Idol, dancers move through the phases of the competition, performing solo, duet and group number spots in a variety of styles.  The variety includes classical, contemporary, ballroom, hip-hop, street, jazz, and musical theater expressions, with many sub-genres within the categories represented.  They compete for the votes from the judges, which, combined with the viewing audience, determines who will remain to advance from one-step to the next each week.

There is no doubt that watching a live performance can be nothing short of entertaining.  No matter what your dance preferences are, there is something refreshing and appealing in the innovative ways the dancers find in expressing themselves, and the variety keeps your attention riveted as much as the dance interpretations, the fabulous costumes and the skills of the dancers, themselves.

The live shows, hosted by Cat Deeley, are generally sold out, so buying a ticket early for a showing close to your area is a smart strategy.  With the help of award winning choreographers to fill your eyes with dazzling performances, it’s bound to be one of the most remarkable evenings on your entertainment schedule.  “So You Think You Can Dance” received an Emmy award for choreography in 2007 and  2008.  It has also won Emmy’s for Outstanding Costumes for a Musical/ Variety, for Outstanding Lighting Direction and Design, and won the choice TV Break Out Show.  Find out what the fuss is all about and join the marvelous sensation of viewing the best in talented dancers live.  Tickets are available from November 27 to December 5 to wrap up another great season of talent among those who know they can dance. Get your tickets today to see one of these great events!

A Christmas Story: The Musical Debuts on Broadway!

It’s one of the most beloved Christmas stories of all time, and now it’s on the Great White Way only for the holiday season! It’s A Christmas Story: The Musical, and audience members can expect to see the things they love most from this classical holiday story.

Yes, Ralphie still gets his tongue stuck on the cold metal pool (and he even tries to sing through it!) and you’ll still be able to see a giant pink bunny. And that Chinese scene? Don’t worry, as politically incorrect as it may be, that scene still made the Broadway cut, and it’s still as hysterical as you remember it from the movie. And all of it is pulled off with a fabulous cast that helps this story make the leap from screen to stage.

Johnny Rabe, and also sometimes Joe West, pull off a brilliant Ralphie as the two interchange different days playing the role. Alongside them is Erin Dilly who takes on the role of Ralphie’s mom, and is one of the first people to tell him that if he gets a BB gun for Christmas, he’s likely to “shoot his eye out with it.” But she’s not so tough. Audience members get the chance to see a particularly endearing side of her when she starts into the soft song, “What a Mother Does.”

John Bolton plays the Old Man (and brings a new level of hilarity to it,) and Dan Lauria (the dad on “The Wonder Years”) brings it all together with his narration. Choreography for the play was done by Warren Carlyle, and the rhythmic dance moves fit beautifully into the play.

If you haven’t seen it on Broadway yet, or if you’re one of the very few who haven’t seen the movie, get your tickets for A Christmas Story: The Musical today!

Les Misérables Now Playing at the Cadillac Palace Theatre

Victor Hugo’s venerable classic tale is once again re-imagined on the stage as the equally classic melodramatic musical by Alain Boublil & Claude-Michel Schönberg. Les Misérables is currently busy packing the auditorium at the Cadillac Palace Theatre in the Windy City.

Chicago at this time of year bears a surreal resemblance to Hugo’s 19th-century Paris–it’s the perfect setting for the turbulent story of ex-convict Jean Valjean and his quest for redemption in the midst of a civil war and a nation on the brink of revolution. The Cadillac Palace Theatre presents producer Cameron Mackintosh’s grittier, more realistic take on the material.

This 25th-anniversary production was adapted and directed by Trevor Nunn and John Caird, and given its three-hour running time, the production moves along nicely with its fluid re-envisioning of the original. Everything from the music to the production design to the talent on stage was on full display for a packed house Saturday night. Hugo’s great characters come to life, waxing philosophically on the morality of living under the shadow of a monarch, before unleashing the always-catchy “Master of the House”.

It is filled with emotional gravitas and there are some emotionally brutal moments throughout, and while the production manages to transcend both the original page as well as the stage, audiences have been astounded by this rendition. There are even some seasoned Les Miz fans [and critics] that have been hailing it as Les Miz: The Second Coming.

Les Misérables will be running through December 2. Tickets can be bought for all the shows at TicketSupply.com.

Broadway Classics Theatre to Debut Updated ‘Christmas Carol’

A Christmas Carol is one of the most beloved Christmas stories, and one that’s told and retold every holiday season. The Broadway Classics Theatre has put on their own version of the classic story before at the Harrisbug Mall; but this holiday season is your last chance to see them as they bring this charming and hopeful holiday story to life, in a whole new modern way.

Song and dance is what this presentation of Christmas Carol is all about, although all of the underlying storylines are all still there. Ebeneezer Scrooge is still, well, Scrooge — a hateful, greedy man who’s only goal in life is to make as much money as possible. Wanting to bring back some of Scrooge’s Christmas spirit, the three familiar ghosts visit him as he tries to sleep on Christmas Eve and show him how happy his holidays once were; and how miserable they’re about to become.

Alongside the fun (albeit dreary at times) story, the characters in this production sing and dance about stage, bringing new life to Dickens’ tale. Attend this show and you’ll hear songs such as A Christmas Carol, Such a Lot of Humbug, You Gotta Have Money, Ghosts, and You Make Me Happy Tonight.

To catch this modern twist on a classic story, the Broadway Classic’s performance is on at the Harrisburg Mall from November 28 until December 23. Show times vary, but performances are on Friday and Saturday evenings; as well as matinee showings on Sundays and Mondays.

Sandy Impacts Broadway, “Glengarry” Hardest Hit

When Hurricane Sandy blew through New Jersey and New York last week, one of the many ramifications she left behind was the cancellation of many Broadway shows. Most shows only suffered a few days of darkness before bringing the lights back up and stating that the show must go on. Glengarry Glen Ross though, one of this season’s most highly-anticipated shows, has pushed back its opening night by an entire month.

When Jeffrey Richards, one of the lead producers on the play, announced that Glengarry would be postponed, he stated that three rehearsals for the play had to be cancelled; and that Thanksgiving also falls in this month, and Richards didn’t want to interfere with the holiday. However, Richards has faced some serious criticism in his decision to delay the opening.

Glengarry has already run almost half of its previews, meaning that it’s been running on Broadway for several weeks now, and several critics have had the chance to see it (and write about it.) Critics, mostly other Broadway producers, claim that the cancellation is one of convenience, as it gives Glengarry more time to garner more ticket sales after receiving rave reviews.

Richards says that’s not the case and that the decision about “delaying opening night is a logistical issue more than anything else.” He also stated that the play isn’t ready to be “frozen” just yet — the time when directors determine that no more changes will be made — and that Sandy was the reason for the delay.

Glengarry Glen Ross was scheduled to officially open this weekend, on November 11. That has now been pushed back to December 8. The good news for disappointed theater-goers is that the run will also be longer due to the postponement, running until January 20, 2013.

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