Tag Archives: Victor Garber

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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Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Bette Midler & David Hyde Pierce return to Hello, Dolly! on Broadway

New York Theatre Guide
Bette Midler & David Hyde Pierce return to Hello, Dolly! on Broadway
The Tony Award-winning Broadway revival plays its final performance at the Shubert Theatre on August 25, 2018.
July 17, 2018

David Hyde Pierce, Bette Midler

Back Where They Belong! Tony Award winners and original cast members Bette Midler and David Hyde Pierce return to their respective roles of Dolly Levi Gallagher and Horave Vandergelder in the Tony Award-winning Broadway revival of Hello, Dolly! at the Shubert Theatre tonight. The pair are scheduled to remain with the production for the final six weeks of its acclaimed Broadway run through to August 25, 2018.

Two-time Tony Award winner Bernadette Peters and four-time Tony Award nominee Victor Garber both played their final performances in the revival on July 15.

Ms. Midler previously released the following statement: “I am delighted to return to the scene of one of the greatest experiences of my life, and I know the brilliant Bernadette Peters enjoyed her turn as much as I did. Dolly Levi is one of the most joyful characters in Broadway history, and Bernadette and I were lucky to to be able to step into her glorious shoes.”

The principal cast of Hello, Dolly! currently includes Tony Award winner Bette Midler (as Dolly Levi Gallagher), Tony Award winner David Hyde Pierce (as Horace Vandergelder), Tony Award winner Gavin Creel (as Cornelius Hackl), Olivier Award nominee Charlie Stemp (as Barnaby Tucker), Tony Award nominee Kate Baldwin (as Irene Molloy), Molly Griggs (as Minnie Fay), Will Burton (as Ambrose Kemper), Melanie Moore (as Ermengarde), and Alli Mauzey (as Ernestina).

The Broadway revival of Hello, Dolly! began previews on March 15, 2017, and officially opened on April 20.

The classic musical features a book by Michael Stewart, with music & lyrics by Jerry Herman.

Directed by four-time Tony Award winner Jerry Zaks, this production features choreography by Tony Award winner Warren Carlyle, based on the original work by Gower Champion.

Synopsis: “At the turn of the 20th century, all of New York City is excited because widowed but brassy Dolly Gallagher Levi is in town. Dolly makes a living primarily through matchmaking and is currently seeking a wife for grumpy Horace Vandergelder, the well-known half-a-millionaire, but it becomes clear that Dolly intends to marry Horace herself.”

The creative team aslo features scenic & costume design by Santo Loquasto, lighting design by Natasha Katz, sound design by Scott Lehrer, music direction by Andy Einhorn, orchestrations by Larry Hochman, vocal arrangements by Don Pippin, and dance arrangements by Glen Kelly.

At the 71st Annual Tony Awards, the production took home the trophy for “Best Revival of a Musical,” as well as “Best Costume Design of a Musical,” “Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical” (for Gavin Creel) and “Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical” (for Bette Midler).

Hello, Dolly! first premiered on Broadway at the St James Theatre in 1964, picking up a grand total of 10 Tony Awards, including “Best Musical.” It has since been revived three times – 1975 at the Minskoff Theatre, and 1978 and 1995 both at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre. A film adaptation was released in 1969, directed by Gene Kelly and starring Barbra Streisand.

A National Tour, starring Tony Award-winning legend Betty Buckley, launches at the Connor Palace at Playhouse Square in Cleveland, Ohio, on October 2, 2018.

Hello, Dolly! Tickets are available now for performances through to August 25, 2018.

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Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Bette Midler and David Hyde Pierce Return to Hello, Dolly! on Broadway July 17 (Today!)

Playbill
Bette Midler and David Hyde Pierce Return to Hello, Dolly! on Broadway July 17
BY RYAN MCPHEE
JUL 17, 2018
She’s back home where she belongs.

David Hyde Pierce, Bette Midler

 

David Hyde Pierce and Bette Midler Noam Galai/Getty Images for “Hello, Dolly

Bette Midler steps back into the Broadway revival of Hello, Dolly! beginning July 17, reprising her Tony-winning performance as title matchmaker Dolly Gallagher Levi. Joining her is her original co-star David Hyde Pierce, who returns to the role of Horace Vandergelder.

The two succeed Bernadette Peters and Victor Garber, who joined the company in January and took their final bows at the Shubert Theatre July 15.

Midler and Pierce, who opened the production in April 2017, will play a six-week limited engagement and close out the Tony-winning revival when it shutters August 25.

The current cast also includes Tony winner Gavin Creel as Cornelius Hackl, Kate Baldwin as Irene Molloy, Charlie Stemp as Barnaby Tucker, Molly Griggs as Minnie Fay, Will Burton as Ambrose Kemper, Melanie Moore as Ermengarde, and Alli Mauzey as Ernestina.

As she did during Midler’s original run, fellow Tony winner Donna Murphy will take the stage as Dolly at select performances, playing Sunday matinees July 22–August 19, as well as August 20.

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Thursday, February 1, 2018

Bernadette Peters In ‘Hello, Dolly!’: Not Bad, But Not Bette

Forbes
Bernadette Peters In ‘Hello, Dolly!’: Not Bad, But Not Bette
Lee Seymour , CONTRIBUTOR
Jan 30, 2018

Bette Midler, aka The Queen of Broadway, has vacated her throne, having concluded her run in the smash Hello, Dolly!. But her successor Bernadette Peters isn’t having the easiest time settling in – at least at the box office.

Midler was commanding about $2.3 million a week in sales. With her out, the numbers took a relative nosedive: Peters’s first at-bat brought in $1.17 million.

Make no mistake: that is still very respectable business. Taking 80% of its gross potential, Dolly now falls squarely in the middle of the Broadway box office pack. It’s not as hot a ticket as The Band’s Visit ($122 a pop, on average), but it’s on par with Anastasia ($103) and far more in-demand than SpongeBob SquarePants ($75).

But Peters had a Sisyphean task ahead of her from the start. With Midler in the lead, the musical broke record after record at the box office and racked up awards, including Tonys for Best Revival and Best Actress. It was an unprecedented run, and commanded some of the highest ticket prices in Broadway history. A comedown was inevitable.

Audience reports so far are positive, with fans flocking to the new leading lady and her cast, which also includes new add Victor Garber. Tony winner Gavin Creel is still in, along with Tony nominee Kate Baldwin. Last week they played to standing-room-only houses.

And the musical’s financiers have been sated, too. Though it’s unclear whether the show will announce an official recoupment, multiple investors and co-producers say they’ve been paid back in full. From here on out, everything over the weekly nut is pure profit.

Elsewhere on the strip, box office drama was minimal. Overall sales stayed essentially even, dipping just .5% from the prior week, for a total haul of $27.52 million.

Mark Rylance’s headlining gig Farinelli And The King is now the highest-grossing play on the street, taking almost $839,000 for 90% of its listed potential. John Lithgow’s solo show Stories By Heart continues to pick up steam, jumping up $51,000 from last week to almost 70% potential.

The top earners remain essentially unchanged: Hamilton ($3.08m), Springsteen On Broadway ($2.41m), The Lion King ($1.79m), Dear Evan Hansen ($1.69m), and Waitress ($1.62m).

Waitress is particularly noteworthy. The show is coming up on its second birthday, and is performing better than almost any show that age or older (Hamilton being that one overachieving sibling). With Sara Bareilles extending her stint in the lead role, expect the grosses to stay high through at least March.

Lee is an actor, writer, producer, and investor. Follow him @LeemourSeymour or visit www.lee-seymour.com to learn more.

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Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Press Release: BETTE MIDLER’S HISTORIC RUN IN “HELLO DOLLY!” COMES TO A TRIUMPHANT End!

Official Press Release

 

BETTE MIDLER’S HISTORIC RUN IN “HELLO DOLLY!” COMES TO A TRIUMPHANT CONCLUSION WITH A FINAL GROSS OF $2,436,207.84 OVER JUST SEVEN PERFORMANCES AND AN ASTOUNDING $598,200 RAISED DURING
HER FINAL PERFORMANCE, A SPECIAL BENEFIT FOR THE ACTORS FUND

TWO-TIME TONY AWARD® WINNER BERNADETTE PETERS
BEGINS PERFORMANCES ON SATURDAY EVENING, JANUARY 20

Bette Midler’s critically acclaimed and award-winning run in Hello, Dolly! came to a triumphant close on Sunday with a staggering reported gross of $2,436,207.84 over seven regular performances at the Shubert Theatre (225 West 44th Street). In addition, the eighth performance of the week and the final one of Ms. Midler’s run was a special benefit for The Actors Fund, raising an astonishing $598,203.

Over the eight performances, the show grossed a total of $3,034,410.84.

Starting Saturday evening, January 20, two-time Tony Award winner Bernadette Peters, capping a 60-years-long career of triumph after triumph as “the most accomplished musical comedy star of her generation” (The Washington Post), will take on the title role in the most successful and beloved Broadway production of the year: Hello, Dolly!, winner of the Tony Award® for Best Revival of a Musical. Ms. Peters joins the astonishing list of Broadway and Hollywood luminaries who have inhabited the role, which, in addition to Ms. Midler, includes Carol Channing, Pearl Bailey, Phyllis Diller, Betty Grable, Martha Raye, Ginger Rogers, Ethel Merman, in her last appearance on Broadway, and Mary Martin, who led the West End company.

Joining Ms. Peters on January 20, will be four-time Tony Award nominee and six-time Emmy Award nominee Victor Garber as Horace Vendergelder, Olivier Award nominee Charlie Stemp making his Broadway debut in the role of Barnaby Tucker, and Molly Griggs as Minnie Fay.

www.hellodollyonbroadway.com  

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A Divine Exit: Bette Departs HELLO DOLLY! with a Bang at the Box Office

Broadway World
A Divine Exit: Bette Departs HELLO DOLLY! with a Bang at the Box Office
by BWW News Desk Jan. 16, 2018

Bette Midler’s critically acclaimed and award-winning run in Hello, Dolly! came to a triumphant close on Sunday with a staggering reported gross of $2,436,207.84 over seven regular performances at the Shubert Theatre.

In addition, the eighth performance of the week and the final one of Ms. Midler’s run was a special benefit for The Actors Fund, raising an astonishing $598,203. Over the eight performances, the show grossed a total of $3,034,410.84.

Starting Saturday evening, January 20, two-time Tony Award winner Bernadette Peters, capping a 60-years-long career of triumph after triumph as “the most accomplished musical comedy star of her generation” (The Washington Post), will take on the title role in the most successful and beloved Broadway production of the year: Hello, Dolly!, winner of the Tony Award® for Best Revival of a Musical.

Ms. Peters joins the astonishing list of Broadway and Hollywood luminaries who have inhabited the role, which, in addition to Ms. Midler, includes Carol Channing, Pearl Bailey, Phyllis Diller, Betty Grable, Martha Raye, Ginger Rogers, Ethel Merman, in her last appearance on Broadway, and Mary Martin, who led the West End company.

Joining Ms. Peters on January 20, will be four-time Tony Award nominee and six-time Emmy Award nominee Victor Garber as Horace Vendergelder, Olivier Award nominee Charlie Stemp making his Broadway debut in the role of Barnaby Tucker, and Molly Griggs as Minnie Fay.

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Monday, January 15, 2018

Can the revival of Hello, Dolly! survive the departure of Bette Midler? I hope so!

Ticket News
Bette Midler Takes Final Bow in Hello, Dolly! Run
By Sean Burns
January 14, 2018

Can the revival of Hello, Dolly! survive the departure of its signature star? Bette Midler took her final bow at the Schubert Theatre on Sunday evening, as did co-stars David Hyde Pierce and Taylor Trensch. Bernadette Peters will take over the title role when the production resumes on January 20, with Victor Garber taking over for Hyde Pierce as Horaze Vandergelder and Charlie Stemp replacing Trensch as Barnaby Tucker.

According to an article highlighting the changes in the cast in Playbill, Midler’s turn on Broadway helped Hello, Dolly! break a number of records, including setting the mark for the highest pre-show advance in Broadway history and setting highest-grossing weeks in any Schubert Organization house over ten times.

The production was the standard-bearer for Broadway’s hottest trend at the moment – relying on a famous name to headline the marquee and draw the crowds. Midler was perhaps the biggest name to grace the stage, but similar castings like seeing Jason Mraz in “Waitress” or Josh Groban in “Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812” or even Amy Schumer in the Steve Martin-penned play Meteor Shower dominated the headlines this year.

In terms of theatrical productions, Hello, Dolly! was second only to the Hamilton juggernaut in sales for 2017, according to analysis of the secondary marketplace. So, it makes sense to use the tactic. But it will be interesting to see how things turn out now that Midler is departing – her first vacation in July saw the production plummet in sales to the tune of nearly a million dollars. Another vacation saw a $1.5 million drop. Bernadette Peters is a Broadway veteran, but has nowhere near the kind of general name recognition that Midler does.

Sales have already been sluggish thus far in 2018 across the Great White Way, which traditionally sees a major drop following the holiday season. The end of Midler’s run will likely only exacerbate that trend even further.

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Tuesday, December 19, 2017

David Rooney: The Best New York Theater of 2017

The Hollywood Reporter
David Rooney: The Best New York Theater of 2017
12/13/2017 by David Rooney

Jitney

Joan Marcus

Every major production of an August Wilson work is a stinging reminder of the loss of one of American drama’s most uniquely resonant voices. But this belated Broadway debut of the play that launched his magnificent 10-part chronicle of African-American experience in the 20th century — directed by Ruben Santiago-Hudson with penetrating emotional depth and irrepressible humor — was something extraordinary. Gritty and lyrical, joyful and sorrowful, the play examines black struggle through the prism of a Pittsburgh gypsy-cab company in 1977, its denizens portrayed here by a peerless ensemble that found music in every note.

From left: Michael Potts, John Douglas Thompson, Anthony Chisholm, Keith Randolph Smith and Andre Holland in 'Jitney'

The Wolves

Courtesy of Julieta Cervantes

Vibrant ensemble work also is key in Sarah DeLappe’s subtly crafted study of young women navigating the tricky precipice of adulthood. Lila Neugebauer directs the nine fearless performers playing members of a girls soccer team with a palpable connection to their deeply felt experiences — good and bad — providing unfiltered access to the raw volatility and fear of adolescence. Deceptively loose in structure and yet skillfully shaped, the play’s observations shift with uncommon grace from funny to heartbreaking, forming both a group portrait and a highly individualized series of revealing snapshots.

A scene from 'The Wolves'

 

Springsteen on Broadway

Rob DeMartin

The solo stage memoir is perhaps the most over-trafficked subgenre in the contemporary theatrical landscape — far too often by writer-performers whose stories fail to justify the self-scrutiny. But with his unerring instinct for illuminating detail and ability to reframe his superstar experience as that of an everyday, working-man American, Bruce Springsteen combines spoken excerpts adapted from his autobiography, Born to Run, with corresponding song selections in a narratively robust concert-confessional notable both for its thrilling intimacy and its sense of communal celebration.

4

Sunday in the Park With George

Courtesy of O&M Co.

No musical delves deeper into the painful difficulties of the creative process than this 1984 dramatic diptych by Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine, which leaps from the clubby art world of 1880s Paris to the corresponding scene in America a century later to explore the transcendent birth of harmony out of chaos. Expanding on their work in an earlier concert staging, Jake Gyllenhaal and Annaleigh Ashford led a superlative cast, bringing startling emotional candor to Sarna Lapine’s exquisitely sung production.

Jake Gyllenhaal in 'Sunday in the Park With George'

 

A Doll’s House, Part 2

Courtesy of Brigitte Lacombe

What could have been merely a deconstructionist gimmick turned out instead to be a wickedly spiky consideration of marriage and gender roles across the centuries in Lucas Hnath’s playful “sequel” to the classic Ibsen drama. In Sam Gold’s bracingly lithe production, from the moment the incomparable Laurie Metcalf walked through the door that Nora Helmer had slammed shut behind her, this was timeless sociocultural debate elevated to the championship theatrical leagues. Quite unexpectedly, it was also one of the funniest plays of the year.

Chris Cooper and Laurie Metcalf in 'A Doll's House, Part 2'

 

Sweeney Todd

Joan Marcus

How do you extract fresh chills from a musical masterwork that has been produced in seemingly every possible size and shape from Industrial Age epic to stripped-down spookhouse chamber piece? Originally staged in a traditional South London pie shop, faithfully recreated off-Broadway, this immersive production of the obsessive revenge tale by Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler stuck us smack in the middle of the throat-slashing action with a Grand Guignol glee that made us feel the cold steel of the razor and smell the blood.

Siobhan McCarthy and Jeremy Secomb in 'Sweeney Todd'

Mary Jane

Joan Marcus

Carrie Coon followed her breakout TV work on The Leftovers and Fargo with a riveting return to the stage in this infinitely moving yet rigorously unsentimental portrait by Amy Herzog of a mother caring for a chronically ill child while struggling to remain a vital individual beyond that all-consuming role. Anne Kauffman’s lucid, unfussy production gracefully sidestepped the conventions of the medical drama to explore questions of life, death and sacrifice with rare humanism and gentle spirituality.

Liza Colon-Zayas (left) and Carrie Coon in 'Mary Jane'

Hello, Dolly!

Courtesy of Julieta Cervantes

Who would have guessed that the old girl still had so much life in her? I’m talking about the 1964 musical warhorse, adapted by composer-lyricist Jerry Herman and writer Michael Stewart from Thornton Wilder’s The Matchmaker. As a triumphant vehicle for Bette Midler’s return to the musical-theater stage after a half-century’s absence, this was sheer perfection, flanking the indomitable star with a top-drawer cast that includes a never-funnier David Hyde Pierce. Jerry Zaks’ lovingly revitalized restoration was no less delightful with Midler’s divine alternate, Donna Murphy. The show rejoices in the uplifting values of popular Golden-Age Broadway entertainment, and will no doubt continue to do so in January, when Bernadette Peters and Victor Garber step into the lead roles.

David Hyde Pierce and Bette Midler in 'Hello, Dolly!'

Once on This Island

Courtesy of Joan Marcus

In his second Broadway production, actor-turned-director Michael Arden works magic with his environmental staging of the 1990 musical fairy tale by Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty. Enhanced by visual suggestions of real-world natural disasters from Haiti to Puerto Rico, this rousing hymn to community and resilience is performed by a superb cast of 20, all equally invested in the transformative power of storytelling and the healing energy of song. It also announces an instant star in enchanting discovery Hailey Kilgore.

From left: Mia Williamson, Alex Newell, Hailey Kilgore and cast in 'Once on This Island'

Pacific Overtures

Courtesy of Joan Marcus

Perhaps the most adventurous work in the Sondheim canon, this 1976 musical about the Westernization of Japan, written with John Weidman, unfolded with haunting narrative simplicity in John Doyle’s elegantly streamlined, modern-dress production, featuring a statesmanlike George Takei as the narrator figure known as The Reciter. The staging’s calligraphic delicacy revealed new emotional shades in one of the composer’s most idiosyncratic scores, drawing out both ongoing relevance and understated poignancy in themes of globalization, cultural isolationism and bullying foreign policy.

From left, Steven Eng, Megan Masako Haley and Ann Harada in 'Pacific Overtures'

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Thursday, December 7, 2017

The Top 10 Plays and Musicals of 2017

New York Times
The Top 10 Plays and Musicals of 2017
By EBEN SHAPIRO
December 6, 2017

The stupefying boredom of forgotten hamlet in the Israeli desert, where the residents are jolted out of their trance-like existence by a visiting band of Egyptian musicians. The inhabitants of a remote rocky island off the coast of Canada warmly embrace the passengers of 38 jets stranded there in the wake of 9/11. A working class bar in a failing factory town is the backdrop for a shocking act of violence and an equally dramatic reconciliation. In this most polarized of years, a number of the best productions celebrate man’s shared humanity and the possibility of even the most entrenched enemies finding common ground and a path forward.

10. Hello, Dolly

David Hyde Pierce and Bette Midler in 'Hello Dolly' on Broadway during a curtain call, New York

David Hyde Pierce and Bette Midler in ‘Hello Dolly’ on Broadway during a curtain call, New York
Gregory Pace—REX/Shutterstock

Did the world need another revival of Hello, Dolly? Apparently, yes. Bette Midler won a Tony for her giddy performance. The Divine Miss M’s connection with her fierce tribe of followers is both extreme and two-way; the frenzied fans bestow highly vocal love on her and the star feeds off the their worship and beams it right back. Her chemistry with co-star David Hyde Pierce is also excellent. The night I saw it, Pierce broke character and burst out laughing when Midler doused his face with salt in a seemingly improvised move. (Bernadette Peters and Victor Garber take over in January.) The show also won a Tony for Santo Loquasto’s Technicolor costumes, and for scenic design geeks, the painted backdrops of turn-of-the century New York are practically worth the steep price of admission.

8 and 9. Sunday in the Park With George and Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

Left: Hugh Panaro as Sweeny Todd. Right: Annaleigh Ashford during the opening night performance curtain call bows for 'Sunday in the Park with George'

Left: Hugh Panaro as Sweeny Todd. Right: Annaleigh Ashford during the opening night performance curtain call bows for ‘Sunday in the Park with George’
Joan Marcus; Walter McBride—WireImage/Getty Images

Jake Gyllenhaal can sing! It was bumper year for Sondheim revivals in New York. Gylllenhaal was intense and tuneful in Sunday in the Park With George, opposite the wondrous Annaleigh Ashford. Also first-rate was the Barrow Street Theater’s off-Broadway rendition of Sweeney Todd. Barrow Street gets bonus point for transforming itself into a pie shop and serving meat pies before the performance.

7. Hamlet

Peter Friedman and Oscar Isaac in Hamlet, directed by Sam Gold, running at The Public Theater through September 3.

Peter Friedman and Oscar Isaac in Hamlet, directed by Sam Gold, running at The Public Theater through September 3.
Carol Rosegg

Oscar Isaac is one of the most intelligent, charismatic actors of his generation, a Pacino for our time. But unlike Pacino, who can get a bit hammy when doing Shakespeare, Isaac’s Hamlet in director Sam Gold’s production at the Public Theater was a subtle, probing performance that mesmerized audiences with his pristine delivery of some of Shakespeare’s most stirring soliloquies.

6. Oslo

Oslo

Oslo
T Charles Erickson

J.T. Rogers’s gripping new play Oslo ran the awards table, winning the Tony and most of the New York theater world’s other prizes for best play. A remarkable accomplishment given that the it’s subject is the seemingly dry secret, behind-the-scenes diplomacy that led to the 1993 peace accords between Israel and the PLO. Yet it’s a highly dramatic, big, ambitious play, nearly three hours in length. Audiences responded strongly to the notion of shared humanity and common ground sought between antagonists. (For those that missed it in New York, it moved to London this fall.)

5. Doll’s House, Part 2

Chris Cooper and Laurie Metcalf in A Doll's House, Part 2.

Chris Cooper and Laurie Metcalf in A Doll’s House, Part 2.
Brigitte Lacombe

“From below, is heard the reverberation of a heavy door closing.” That most famous bit of stage direction, of a door being slammed shut, ends Ibsen’s Doll’s House, a blistering meditation on marriage and the high cost of personal fulfillment. The audacious sequel by Lucas Hnath’s begins with a knock on the same door and proceeds to explore those same questions, which unsurprisingly, persist, with verve, a stellar cast and a surprising degree of humor.

4. Come From Away

The cast of Come From Away

The cast of Come From Away
Matthew Murphy

In the history of musical theater, air traffic control post-9/11 has to be one of the most unlikely topics for a feel-good hit show. Yet ripped from history’s footnotes, Come From Away is set in Gander, Newfoundland, immediately following the 9/11 attacks, when 38 jets were grounded on this remote island. The local town folk were initially overwhelmed by the diverse, visiting hordes, but then rally and show remarkable compassion in caring for their stranded, anxious guests. It’s a deeply moving, optimistic show about helping each other that arrived on the scene at exactly the right moment.

3. Indecent

Max Gordon Moore, Adina Verson, Richard Topol, Katrina Lenk, Mimi Lieber and Steven Rattazzi in INDECENT.

Max Gordon Moore, Adina Verson, Richard Topol, Katrina Lenk, Mimi Lieber and Steven Rattazzi in INDECENT.
Carol Rosegg

Paula Vogel’s Indecent is a profoundly moving exploration of intolerance, the power of art, love and sex, and the cruel march of history. Based on a true story, the complex play within a play, follows the fate of a controversial Yiddish play involving prostitution and a passionate lesbian love affair. It was brilliantly staged, with a large splendid cast which fluidly played mutiple roles. A filmed version of the Tony-nominated production recently aired on PBS’s Great Performances series.

2. The Band’s Visit

Tony Shalhoub and Katrina Lenk in The Band's Visit

Tony Shalhoub and Katrina Lenk in The Band’s Visit
Matthew Murphy

The Band’s Visit was a film, an off-Broadway show and now a full-fledged Broadway delight. Starring Tony Shalhoub and one of New York’s most exciting new(ish) actors, Katrina Lenk (she was also excellent in Indecent), it’s an enchanting musical about an Egyptian band getting stranding in a remote Israeli town. The presence of the outside artists stir and awakens both the deeply bored residents and the traveling musicians. Showing how art wells up when it’s needed, it was yet another of this year’s best shows that rejoices in the shared humanity of strangers and even foes.

1. Sweat

Michelle Wilson, James Colby and Johanna Day in "Sweat," at the Public theater in New York, Oct. 16, 2016 .

Michelle Wilson, James Colby and Johanna Day in “Sweat,” at the Public theater in New York, Oct. 16, 2016 .
Sara Krulwich—The New York Times/Redux

In awarding Lynn Nottage the Pulitzer prize this year, the board called Sweat, “a nuanced yet powerful drama that reminds audiences of the stacked deck still facing workers searching for the American dream.” Set in a bar, the gritty story was deeply informed by Nottage’s research in Reading, Pa., and was widely hailed for its sympathetic portrayal of the working class. Where a lesser writer might have gotten preachy, instead Nottage presciently explored of the forces that led to the election of the 45th president in a welcome demonstration of the power of art to elucidate sesmic historical shifts as they unfold in real-time.

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Friday, December 1, 2017

Bette Midler Will Bow Out of ‘Dolly!’ With Box-Office Bang

cetusnews
Bette Midler Will Bow Out of ‘Dolly!’ With Box-Office Bang
By Charles Passy
11-30-2017

Bette Midler is going out with a bang—a $10,000-a-ticket bang.

Ms. Midler’s final performance in the Broadway revival of “Hello, Dolly!,” scheduled for Jan. 14, will serve as a benefit for the Actors Fund, an organization that supports entertainment professionals. Tickets for the event, slated to go on sale soon, start at $250 and go up to $10,000.

“This night will be one for the ages,” Actors Fund chief executive Joe Benincasa said in a statement.

He said his “jaw hit the floor,” when he learned that “Dolly” producer Scott Rudin wanted to make Ms. Midler’s last show a fundraiser for the Actors Fund, whose services and programs range from senior care to an HIV/AIDS initiative.

Ms. Midler’s Tony Award-winning turn in the principle role of Dolly Levi has been the talk of Broadway for the past year. The show, which also took home the Tony for best revival of a musical, has set one box-office sales record after another at the Shubert Theater, where it has played since it opened in previews in March.

Last week, the musical grossed $2.46 million, topping its previous record of $2.4 million, set in October, according to show’s press representative. To date, the show has grossed $73 million, according to BroadwayWorld.com, a website that tracks the theater industry.

In recent years, final performances by stars in Broadway shows have become high-profile occasions.

When Lin-Manuel Miranda’s marked his last appearance in 2016 in the title role of his musical “Hamilton,” for example, celebrities including Spike Lee, Rosie O’Donnell, Jane Fonda and Jennifer Lopez filled the theater.

Ms. Midler won’t be the only star departing “Hello, Dolly!” on Jan. 14. David Hyde Pierce, who plays Horace Vangelder, also will be leaving. Bernadette Peters and Victor Garber will take over the roles starting on Jan. 20, with an official opening on Feb. 22.

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