Category Archives: Theatre

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Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Bette Midler Drops By FIDDLER ON THE ROOF in Yiddish (Photos Too!!!)

Broadway World
On Monday night, Bette Midler attended the National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene’s presentation of Yiddish Fiddler on the Rood directed by Joel Grey

The Divine Miss M, who recently starred on Broadway in the title role of Hello, Dolly!, notably made her Broadway debut appearing in Fiddler in 1968.

The show, which extended its run four times at the 104-year old National Yiddish TheatreFolksbiene, will be heading to off-Broadway’s Stage 42 (previously the Little Shubert Theatre), and will begin performances this January.

Directed by Academy Award-and-Tony Award winner Joel Grey, the Yiddish Fiddler on the Roof has received universal positive praise from critics, including landing a place as a New York Times’ Critic’s Pick. Read More

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Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Audio: Go ‘Behind the Curtain’ with the Michael McCormick, Bette Midler, Victor Garber, and Christine Baranski!|

Broadway World
Go ‘Behind the Curtain’ with the Michael McCormick, Bette Midler, Victor Garber, and Christine Baranski!
by Behind the Curtain Sep. 24, 2018 | Bette Midler: Bootleg Betty

'Behind the Curtain' with the Michael McCormick, Bette Midler, Victor Garber, and Christine Baranski!

Sit down, John… because Michael McCormick, one of Broadway’s busiest character actors, sits down with Rob and Kevin to look back on a career that has had him appear in such musicals as Oliver, La Bete, Kiss of the Spiderwoman, 1776, Kiss Me Kate, Marie Christine, Gypsy, Curtains, Hello, Dolly and many more!

Michael pulls back the curtain on his career to discuss how being a child actor became the foundation of his work ethic, what it was like coming full circle with Bernadette Peters, and why he won the role of John Adams in the revival of 1776! Read More

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Friday, September 14, 2018

Early Bidding Now Open For Walk-On Roles, VIP Tickets, and More At The Broadway Flea Market (Including Bette Midler Stuff)

Broadway World
Early Bidding Now Open For Walk-On Roles, VIP Tickets, and More At The Broadway Flea Market (Including Bette Midler Stuff)
by BWW News Desk Sep. 13, 2018

Early Bidding Now Open For Walk-On Roles, VIP Tickets, and More At The Broadway Flea Market (Including Bette Midler Stuff)?

Jump start your ultimate theatrical treasure hunt as early bidding opens today on dozens of auction items you can’t get anywhere except at the 32nd Annual Broadway Flea Market & Grand Auction.

Broadway fans can bid on exclusive memorabilia, unforgettable onstage and backstage opportunities and more at broadwaycares.org.

Then on Sunday, September 30, the thrill of the auction continues in person when Shubert Alley is filled with theatre fans bidding on the items at the Broadway Flea Market & Grand Auction’s silent and live auctions. Even more Broadway treasures are in store along West 44th and West 45th Streets, between Broadway and Eighth Avenue, where you can discover tables full of items from your favorite shows and theatrical organizations. Read More

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Friday, March 24, 2017

‘Groundhog Day,’ ‘Amelie,’ ‘Hello Dolly’ & More Last-Minute Tony Contenders on Broadway

Billboard
‘Groundhog Day,’ ‘Amelie,’ ‘Hello Dolly’ & More Last-Minute Tony Contenders on Broadway
3/10/2017 by Patrick Pacheco

The Tony Awards are still three months away but a handful of must-see musicals will open before the eligibility period closes on April 27. With nominations looming in May, book your tickets now for these high-profile hopefuls.

MONDAY, April 3

Amélie

The adaptation of the beloved 2001 French film stars Phillipa Soo, a Tony nom for Hamilton, as a waitress whose arrow is aimed at a poor artist working in a sex shop. Porn and pain au chocolat!

Amélie - A New Musical
Courtesy Photo
Amélie – A New Musical

THURSDAY, April 6  

War Paint

Patti LuPone and Christine Ebersole, both two-time Tony winners, bring the most glamorous duel of all time to the Great White Way as rival makeup entrepreneurs Helena Rubinstein and Elizabeth Arden. Michael Greif, who helmed the original Rent production, directs.

War Paint - A New Musical
Courtesy Photo
War Paint – A New Musical

MONDAY, April 17    

Groundhog Day

With Andy Karl taking on the role that Bill Murray made famous, the comedy earned raves from its London tryout and could compete against Dear Evan Hansenfor best musical.

Groundhog Day, The Musical
Courtesy Photo
Groundhog Day, The Musical

THURSDAY, April 20  

Hello, Dolly!

Jerry Zaks’ revival is the definition of a tour-de-force: With Bette Midler returning to Broadway, Hello, Dolly! broke a record with more than $9 million in first-day ticket sales.

Hello, Dolly!
Courtesy Photo
Hello, Dolly!

SUNDAY, April 23

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Two-time Tony winner Christian Borle stars as Willy Wonka in this candy-colored swirl of songs by Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman (Hairspray). Another Roald Dahl adaptation, Matilda, was nominated for best musical in 2013.

Roald Dahl's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The New Musical
Courtesy Photo

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Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Rumer Willis Joins Marissa Jaret Winokur for Hocus Pocus Parody

Playbill
Rumer Willis Joins Marissa Jaret Winokur for Hocus Pocus Parody
BY ADAM HETRICK
SEP 27, 2016

download

Rumer Willis will co-star as Sarah Sanderson, the role originated on screen by Sarah Jessica Parker, in The Unauthorized Musical Parody of Hocus Pocus, which will be presented in Los Angeles at Rockwell Table & Stage September 29-November 12.

The double-cast production will feature previously announced Tony Award winner Marissa Jaret Winokur as Winnifred Sanderson for select performances. Winokur will alternate in the starring role alongside recording artist Becky Baeling Lythgoe. The role was originated on screen by Bette Midler.

Willis will alternate with Ava Gaudet in the role of Sarah. Teya Patt and Cindy Sciacca will alternate as Mary Sanderson, the role originated on screen by Kathy Najimy.

The double-cast company also features Ashley Argota and Kelley Jakle as Allison, E.K. Dagenfield and Tom DeTrinis as Binx/Jay/Mom, John Flynn and Peter Allen Vogt as Narrator/Book, Caitlin Gallogly and Lana McKissack as Dani Dennison, Tom Lenk and Benjamin Schrader as Max Dennison, Nathan Moore and Spencer Strong Smith as Billy/Ice/Emily/Dad/Satan, and Sarah Petrella as the Sanderson sisters swing.

The adaptation is by Kate Pazakis and John Flynn. Pazakis is executive producer and also covers all three Sanderson sisters.

Tye Blue directs the parody that has musical direction by Gregory Nabours, technical direction and sound design by David Evans, lighting design by Eric Larson, choreography by Katherine Tokarz, magic effects by Robert Ramirez, costumes by Chad McMillan and wigs by Bobbie Zlotnik.

Click here for tickets, priced $22-$49. Rockwell Table & Stage is located at 1714 N. Vermont Avenue in Los Angeles.

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Wednesday, May 18, 2016

What Makes a Good Revival?

Huffington Post
What Makes a Good Revival? Thoughts on This Season’s Tony Nominees
BY Cara Joy David
05/17/2016

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What makes a good revival? Is it just lovingly recreating an original or a prior revival? Or does it require reinvention? It depends who you ask.

This season has been unusually strong for Broadway musical revivals, as one can see from the four Tony nominees: The Color Purple, Fiddler on the Roof, She Loves Me and Spring Awakening. These productions all received positive reviews. I’ve been talking to Tony voters in the last week and they all point to one thing that makes one of these different from the rest: She Loves Me is an expert, well-cast revival, but it’s a traditional take on the story. In other words, while there are certainly many differences in this staging as compared prior She Loves Me stagings—different sets, costumes, choreography, performances, etc.—there isn’t a full scale reimagining. It is brought to you by the same theater company, Roundabout Theatre Company (celebrating its 50th anniversary), and the same director, Scott Ellis, who did the last revival. There isn’t one thing that you can point to and say: “Wow, the fact that Scott Ellis did X is just amazing.” Whereas the other revivals all have something that distances themselves from prior productions. 2016-05-17-1463508405-1155827-colorpurpleart.jpg

The Color Purple is a stripped down, emotional version of the original. Fiddler on the Roof has the framing device of Tevye in modern dress, which is supposed to remind folks of the current struggle of refugees. Spring Awaking was a production of the Deaf West Theater, with actors both signing and singing. She Loves Me, at least to most audience members (experts may know more), seems to be She Loves Me with great lead performances. So what?

Some voters indicated to me that they think mounting an old chestnut musical, no matter how winning, is “simple” or “easy.” I disagree with that. I also disagree with the fact that musical revivals have to bring a revolutionary take on the musical to be worthy of viewership. Last week, there was an article in The Guardian in Australia, criticizing Opera Australia’s production of My Fair Lady, for which Julie Andrews is recreating the original Broadway production. Without getting into the politics behind Opera Australia’s mission and the problems this choice might bring from that perspective (as that is way beyond my knowledge base), I don’t see anything inherently wrong with mounting a recreation. I was therefore struck by this sentence in the piece: “Revivals can and should speak to audiences today by finding the thread of plot or theme that rings most true to contemporary life, and highlighting it through fresh direction, staging, and orchestrations.” Of course revivals can do this, no question, but it’s the “should” that has me wondering.

Many musicals tell timeless stories and every generation picks up on another aspect of them. The same musical, same production would play differently in different years. That is indeed the nature of the beast. A line about a businessman running for office (and there are those sorts of lines in old musicals oddly) might not have elicited a chuckle five years ago, but now might be the source of uproarious laughter. If the director was smart, s/he’d highlight that line. That would benefit the staging and the audience’s enjoyment of the piece. Perhaps that is all the author of The Guardian piece would want her/him to do. However I have the sense the author wants more. In fact, regarding My Fair Lady, the conclusion in the article is as follows:

“My Fair Lady needs to tighten up its dated gender stereotyping (and could benefit enormously from restoring Pygmalion’s bleaker ending), but there is a kernel of commentary in the show that could still ring true in contemporary Australia. Class structures and strictures are still pertinent issues in Australia. There’s so much to explore and My Fair Lady is ripe for it; the fallacy of superiority by way of breeding always needs a look, and Higgins’ misogyny and privilege is the story of so many politicians, academics and leaders – and boyfriends and husbands and fathers – across the country. Put these elements under a lens and the show has the chance of being an uncomfortable study of behaviour so many of us are so keen to let quietly slide. But no. Instead, we will see the creaky politics of the 1950s presented as standard behaviour, and be asked to be swept away by a creepy romantic ending.”

Now, I get everything written there. I understand the desire to change My Fair Lady. However I also understand the desire to put on My Fair Lady, as we know and (some of us) love it. Just like I understand the value in doing She Loves Me as I was expecting it to be. Yes, there are fresh elements to the staging, but I think we all know it’s not revolutionary, and I honestly don’t care. In June I will see Shoshana Bean in Funny Girl at the North Shore Music Theatre. I’m going to be perfectly honest, if there is a new feminist empowerment spin on the whole thing, I’m likely not going to be so happy I traveled four hours. I want Bean to be the Fanny Brice I know. I don’t want goth styling. I don’t want her to marry Nick Arnstein as part of a business arrangement for both of their careers. I just want to see a good Funny Girl. (Note that I’m assuming the production is using the original script. While the West End production uses one revised by Harvey Fierstein, those I know who have seen it said he’s done some cleanup and inserted some lines, but it’s not a new take. Funny Girl is not a perfect musical and I’m by no means saying it should always be done as originally written. The point is that I do not see the need for revisions in and of themselves to highlight inequities in modern relationships or fame or anything of the sort.) Next season we welcome back Bette Midler in Hello, Dolly!. I am all for cleaning up some of the problems with the book of the show, but, please, no modern take. I don’t care that Horace is one of the 1% and I pray that there is not some extreme highlighting of the difference between the haves and have nots.

In Sweet Charity, Charity is a little bit of a doormat of a character. So, for the 2005 revival, librettist Neil Simon thought he’d give the show an ending modern audiences would more understand — Charity would come to her own conclusion that she deserves better than Oscar, she deserves to be in a better relationship than the one she is in. The problem is the ending didn’t ring true to the character. And I always wondered if we really needed it. Even in 2016, I think we all still know women like Charity, women who bend themselves backward for a man, women who don’t know their own worth. Yes, it’s less common now than when Sweet Charity was written, but it still happens. So was there a need to even attempt to make it “modern?” There may have been a need to do some revisions, but I’m not sure it needed a modern spin.

There are a ton of musicals out there that could use rewriting. There are a ton of musicals out there that are going to play completely stale if staged in their original form right now. In fact, we see that all the time at Encores!. One of my very favorite Encores! shows ever was Bloomer Girl, but no bit of me thought it should ever have a full-scale production. My Fair Lady might indeed play stale in 2016 in Australia, it’s hard to tell as the production in Australia is an extreme case — most revivals in this century don’t attempt to fully recreate an original. Yet I don’t consider “reinvention” the criteria of a great musical revival or a necessity to win a Tony Award for Best Revival of a Musical.

I don’t vote for the Tony Awards and I’m honestly not sure what I would vote for this year. The Color Purple is the front-runner and most voters I have spoken to are casting their votes for that show. Indeed, while all of the nominated productions were critically praised, The Color Purple might have received the most accolades. I believe some think it might be the best revival of a musical ever, an unexpectedly moving take on a show many critics didn’t like the first time around. For me, I never disliked the original as much as many (indeed seeing Fantasia in the role of Celie was a top theatergoing experience), nor do I love this revival as much as some. That said, I’m not saying it shouldn’t win. I’m thrilled that there are producers and directors out there taking a look at properties with a fresh, clinical eye. I by no means want this post to come off as anti-reinvention. I’m in favor of doing whatever you can do to make the best staging of a show and many a time shows benefit from heightening certain elements.

What I am saying is that I’ve been surprised at how many voters I have spoken to think putting on a great, but old-fashioned production of a beloved musical is praise-worthy but not that impressive upon reflection. Let me tell you — I’ve seen a tremendous amount of crappy faithful of staging of great musicals. It is tricky to get it right; there are a lot of moving pieces to putting on a good show. I know all the people I’m speaking to know that.

This has been a wonderful season for musical revivals. If something manages to upset The Color Purple, it will be something that has earned near universal acclaim. Whether it’s something that puts a completely new spin on an old work, or it is just a really solid production, it will be something that was difficult to pull off and worthy of the award.

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Monday, October 20, 2014

What’s Going On In Kansas City? A Staged Reading Of Hocus Pocus!

10-20-2014 9-48-54 AM

 

The witches are back for an encore performance!

After three centuries, three witch sisters are resurrected in Salem, Massachusetts on Halloween night, and it is up to two teenagers, a young girl, and an immortal cat to put an end to the witches’ reign of terror once and for all.

Based on the 1993 campy comedy, the films comes to life for one night only…until the Black Flame Candle burns out!

VIP price includes a trick-or-treat bag and seating in the first two rows! Limited availability.

STARRING
Daisy Buckët as Winifred Sanderson
Genewa Stanwyck as Mary Sanderson
Heidi Banks as Sarah Sanderson

Brian Cross as Max, Binx, & Various Roles
Matt Anderson as Alison, Dani, & Various Roles
… and Dirty Dorothy as all the others! Read More

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Thursday, June 12, 2014

THEATRICAL THROWBACK THURSDAY: FIDDLER ON THE ROOF Turns 50

Today, we continue BroadwayWorld’s newest feature column with a special tribute to one of the most cherished and beloved musicals ever written in honor of its 50th birthday, FIDDLER ON THE ROOF.

THEATRICAL THROWBACK THURSDAY: FIDDLER ON THE ROOF Turns 50Tradition

Originally produced on Broadway in 1964, FIDDLER ON THE ROOF celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, forever remaining one of the most oft-revived and constantly celebrated musicals of the Golden Age. Featuring a score by Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick, with a book by Joseph Stein, the musical was based on the short story collection TEVYE AND HIS DAUGHTERS by Sholem Aleichem. The musical was first produced on Broadway by the formidable showman Harold Prince, then still near the start of what would be an incomparable career in the theatre, also featuring a production directed by iconic Golden Age director and choreographer Jerome Robbins. The original production of the show garnered 10 Tony Award nominations, taking home 9, including Best Musical, Best Score, Best Book and Best Direction. A classic in its own time and certainly one today, the charms and insinuating features of FIDDLER ON THE ROOF are copious.

Showcasing a commanding central role seemingly tailor-made for comedically-inclined actor-singers, Tevye, the original star of the show was none other than Golden Age icon Zero Mostel, with subsequent famous essayers of the part including Herschel Bernardi – who led the first Broadway revival in 1976 – and Topol – who headlined the 1971 feature film adaptation, directed by Norman Jewison. Modern era Tevyes have included Alfred Molina in the recent 2004 David Leveaux-directed Broadway revival, as well as his replacement, multi-award-winning playwright, performer and activist Harvey Fierstein.

Besides Tevye, FIDDLER ON THE ROOF also boasts memorable musical moments for many of the female characters, as well – especially the timeless trio afforded to Tevye’s daughters byway of instant earworm “Matchmaker, Matchmaker”.

Today’s stupendous vintage clip showcases a particularly spectacular trio of up-and-coming ladies leading the jaunty tune on the 1968 Tony Awards in celebration of the show’s hit status – highlighted by the appearance of not only Tanya Everett and Mimi Turque, but also soon-to-be superstar Bette Midler.

Additionally, the tradition of rising stars in the roles of Tevye’s daughters continued on into the 21st century, given that SPRING AWAKENING star and GLEE headliner Lea Michele stepped into the role of Sprintze in the 2004 revival, as well.

View the 1968 Tony Awards performance of “Matchmaker, Matchmaker” featuring Bette Midler and more below:

So, what precisely is it about FIDDLER ON THE ROOF that makes it an enduring classic nearly as smart, fresh and touching as it was when it first premiered 50 years ago? Is it the vast collection of unforgettable songs? The delectable performance showcases? One thing is clear, now is a perfect time to celebrate one of the greatest musicals ever written – and, of course, tradition, too. L’chaim!

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Wednesday, June 11, 2014

“Miss M Saves the Universe!” at the 2nd San Diego Fringe Festival

Here is a synopsis of the show:

This semi-autobiographical satirical fantasy travels through time as we experience significant breakthrough moments in the life of our protagonist. Along to assist is “Miss M,” a divine guardian angel inspired by the showbiz persona of the legendary Bette Midler.

Following the sold out workshop performance of The Bette Midler Project in 2013, BWT Founding Artistic Director Ira Bauer-Spector has re-worked his original piece, Bette & I, into a new play and will write/direct/star in the World Premiere production at the 2nd San Diego International Fringe Festival in July 2014.

Tickets – www.sdfringe.ticketleap.com/bwt
BWT – www.breakthroughworkshop.org
San Diego International Fringewww.sdfringe.org

***WORLD PREMIERE AT THE 2ND SAN DIEGO INTERNATIONAL FRINGE FESTIVAL***

July 5 at 2pm / July 6 at 6:30pm / July 12 at 8pm
10th Avenue Theatre (Cabaret Theatre)

DESCRIPTION
This semi-autobiographical satirical fantasy travels through time as we experience significant breakthrough moments in the life of our protagonist. Along to assist is Miss M, a “divine” guardian angel inspired by the showbiz persona of the legendary Bette Midler.

Written and Directed by Ira Bauer-Spector

CAST
Ira Bauer-Spector
Pierre Cozic
Richard Morrison
Benjamin Shaffer

Assistant Director & Stage Manager: Nathan Bauer-Spector
Wigs, Makeup & Style: Francia Cohen
Media Design: Ira Bauer-Spector

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Monday, April 8, 2013

BetteBack November 16, 1979: Bette Midler Wows Broadway Box Office

Madison Capital Times
November 16, 1979

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How torrid at the box office is Bette Midler as a result of her movie, “The Rose“?

Tickets for her appearance at the Majestic Theater in New York went on sale this week The first day’s take was a whopping $280,000. That’s more than most musical shows gross in a week.

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