Broadway Balances America Takes You Behind the Scenes of the If/Then Tour

first_img Broadway Balances America You’ve got no time for playing nice, you’ve got a date with the stars of If/Then! Broadway Balances America, the special six-part series airing on The Balancing Act on Lifetime Television, continues its second season on October 20 (the episode will re-air on October 27) with an exclusive look at the national tour of If/Then. Oh, and by the way, one lucky viewer will win the chance to see the show in Tempe, Arizona!In this episode, correspondent Amber Milt meets with the show’s creative team as they talk about the inspiration behind the ambitious production and the process of building an original musical. We’ll hear from the Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning team of Tom Kitt (music) and Brian Yorkey (book and lyrics), and one of the show’s producers Patrick Catullo. Viewers will go inside rehearsals for the tour and hear from original Broadway cast members, including Tony winner LaChanze, Anthony Rapp and James Snyder. We’ll also meet audience members who talk about what the show means to them and how we can all relate to the themes within this thought-provoking musical.And now for the best part: An exciting interactive component within the segment will give viewers the opportunity to share their own personal If/Then stories by visiting and entering for a chance to win a trip for two to Tempe, Arizona, to see Idina Menzel in the musical. The winner will receive roundtrip airfare for two, two tickets to the opening night performance, dinner and a car service the night of the performance and hotel accommodations the night of the show.If/Then is a contemporary new musical that follows two distinct story lines in the life of Elizabeth, a city planner who moves back to New York to restart her life in this city of infinite possibilities. When her carefully designed plans collide with the whims of fate, Elizabeth’s life splits into two parallel paths. If/Then follows both stories simultaneously as this modern woman faces the intersection of choice and chance.Visit the official Broadway Balances America website to discover more about this exciting series and to find out which Broadway musicals will also be featured! View Commentslast_img read more

Alex Brightman & the School of Rock Kids Pledge Allegiance to the Band

first_img Alex Brightman After thrilling us in 360, the School of Rock—The Musical kids stopped by The Today Show on October 16 to prove just why they’re ready to stick it to the man. Along with Alex Brightman, they gave a rocking performance of “You’re in the Band.” Composer Andrew Lloyd Webber later spoke with host Willie Geist about why the tuner is close to his heart. “It’s so wonderful to be working on it because it’s all about how music empowers kids,” he said. The cast subsequently took the stage once more for a rousing rendition of “Teacher’s Pet.” Check out the videos below and then the show, which will begin performances at Broadway’s Winter Garden Theatre on November 9. School of Rock – The Musical View Comments Show Closed This production ended its run on Jan. 20, 2019 Star Files Related Showslast_img read more

This Week’s Picks! Rumer Willis, Bob Saget & More

first_imgPay Homage to Rumer WillisNovember 4 at Feinstein’s/54 BelowRumer Willis has found the secret to surviving on Broadway: smoking at least two packs of cigarettes a day! Um, no, that’s not it. Right, it’s being busy and visible. The erstwhile Chicago star heads to Feinstein’s/54 Below for her NYC cabaret debut in Homage, a musically eclectic concert where she and Tye Blue “explain their journey as nonsexual life partners in song.” You have two chances tonight to catch it. Click for tickets! Get Livin’ with ChitaNovember 6 on PBSYou have made it when the title to your TV special features an exclamation point or a present participle sans “g.” That signifies a life well lived! Of course, that applies to Chita Rivera, who is still enchanting Broadway audiences at age 82. Remember The Visit? Yowza. Tonight, Great Performances looks at her remarkable career through archival footage and tons of interviews in Chita Rivera: A Lot of Livin’ to Do. Hey, you, panicking over your Thanksgiving plans. You’ve got three weeks. So ignore your mom’s pleading emails, swallow your dread over Uncle Steve’s not-so gentle racism and take a break. We have a ton of options to ease your rattled mind, including a night in with Chita Rivera, Rumer Willis’ NYC cabaret debut and Michael Flatley’s arrival to Broadway. Here come this week’s picks! Line Up for Lord of the DanceBegins November 7 at Lyric TheatreLightning-legged Michael Flatley makes his Broadway debut—and swan song—with Lord of the Dance: Dangerous Games, an updated staging of Flatley’s original shows Lord Of The Dance, Feet of Flamesand Celtic Tiger. Expect holographic-effect projections, new choreography and costumes and hypnotic footwork from Flatley (who makes a special appearance at the end of evening performances) and his protégés. Click for tickets! Watch Bob Saget Get Holy InappropriateBegins November 3 at Booth TheatreAs the man known for his version of the world’s filthiest joke (The Aristocrats) and being a kindly, doting father to TV-loving millennials, we can’t think of anyone better to play Pastor Greg in Hand to God than Bob Saget. Even better, he’s totally on board! “It does fall into exactly my wheelhouse of humor,” Saget told Sounds like the perfect time to revisit one of Broadway’s best comedies. Click for tickets! Behold Broadway Belt BareillesNovember 2 at Highline BallroomSara Bareilles’ Waitress isn’t opening until April, yet the singer-songwriter behind the impossibly catchy “Love Song” is getting welcomed to the neighborhood. Broadway Sings Sara Bareilles features over a dozen talented actors and actresses—including Alysha Deslorieux of Hamilton and Beautiful’s Jessica Keenan Wynn—pretty much doing what’s outlined in the title. Quick question: Why not use some variation of our headline? Alliteration is aces. Click for tickets! View Commentslast_img read more

Natalie Dew on Learning to Sing and Kick for Her West End Role in Bend It Like Beckham

first_img View Comments Natalie Dew plays Jess Bhamra, the football-loving London Sikh in the West End musical Bend It Like Beckham at the Phoenix Theatre, a career-making performance that has brought the actress a 2015 Evening Standard Theatre Award nod for Newcomer in a Musical—the winner will be announced November 22. As lively and spirited offstage as she is on, Dew chatted to about learning both to sing and to play football for her starring role.How did you land a show that in every way represented such a departure for you?Basically, my agent said, “This is happening and they would be interested in seeing you.” And I said, “I can’t really sing, so this might not be a good venture,” but he sort of convinced me that they were interested in someone who is a straight actor. So I was, like, OK, I will warble my way through a song.It evidently worked since you got the part.Well, [composer] Howard Goodall said to me afterward, “Clearly, you need a lot of work, but you can tell a story through song.” Then they just invested in me, really. I had four or five rounds of auditions and would go away and have more singing lessons and then more and more people would come in to hear me each time; the room just kept getting bigger.How lovely that the creators’ enthusiasm helped spur you on.That was so inspiring—overwhelming, really. It was if they were saying, “Of course we’re going to go with you because you seem to have faith.” That helped me in turn to have the faith. It was like finding a voice at 28 that I didn’t know I had.You’d never sung at all before?Well, I did some amateur stuff when I was very young. I was one of the daughters in Fiddler on the Roof as part of an amateur dramatic group in Devon, where I grew up. I actually left drama school [London’s Guildhall] before we did our musical there, so this was all totally new to me.What did you think of the idea of a stage musical based on the hit 2002 film Bend It Like Beckham?When I first came onboard, I’d only seen the script and heard one song. But as soon as I heard the entire score, I thought, “We’re on to something here.”Why did you think that?The script itself was very close to the film. It was able to keep its authenticity, but at the same time here was a musical that was mixing western and eastern styles of music in a way that I’d never come across before. Once I heard that, I thought this is exciting and different.Was it a big challenge to translate the film’s world of football into something that works onstage?The great thing was that we had time to play with all that during rehearsals. I was worried that there would have been a decision made before we got there about what works and when do we make the transition from literal football to a theatrical version of football.And you had to feel at ease in that world yourself.Which is why we did lots of football playing so that we could feel comfortable around the ball without screaming. Lauren [Samuels, who has inherited Keira Knightley’s screen role as Jules] and I had three months of training. I remember the time our coach told us to play a game, and I looked at Lauren and she looked as if she was going to burst into tears.That must have created a bond.Being forced into a vulnerable situation together, we could only cling to each other for support. Becoming a firm friend with Lauren onstage was as easy as pie because we are firm friends offstage. She’s so brilliant.Were you aware of the film when it first came out?Massively! I was born in Malaysia to a Malaysian mum and an English father, but I was very much brought up in the south of England as an English girl. I remember watching the film and seeing this girl and thinking, “She looks a little bit like me; this is a different story to what I am used to.”Was there pressure to recreate Parminder Nagra’s screen performance as Jess?I think Lauren and I both decided that we had to treat this as a new venture, otherwise I would be really paranoid that I was making a choice because I had seen Parminder do it that way or was making a conscious choice not to do it the same way. There’s a nostalgic attachment to the film that exists so we wanted to see if we could take [the material] somewhere fresh.Has any of the Beckham clan been yet to see the musical?Can you believe that Brooklyn [Beckham, David’s oldest son] has been and it was the one time I was ill so I didn’t get to meet him! But they haven’t come as a family yet; I hope they’re saving it for the Christmas period.Do you feel like a football pro now?I don’t know about that, but this has brought me and my boyfriend closer together! He’s delighted that this play is about football, which meant that suddenly I had to watch matches and start kicking a ball about.last_img read more

Larry Pine & More Will Join Ed Harris in Sam Shepard’s Buried Child

first_img Show Closed This production ended its run on April 3, 2016 View Comments Related Shows Buried Child This is some off-Broadway lineup to look forward to! Larry Pine, Rich Sommer, Paul Sparks and Nat Wolff will join the previously reported Ed Harris, Amy Madigan and Taissa Farmiga in Buried Child. Directed by Scott Elliott, the New Group revival of Sam Shepard’s play will begin previews on February 2, 2016 at the Pershing Square Signature Center’s Alice Griffin Jewel Box Theatre. Opening night is scheduled for February 17, with the limited engagement set to run through March 13.Pine has appeared on Broadway in The Royal Family, The Seagull, End of the World, Angels in America and Bus Stop. Screen credits include The Master Builder, Moonrise Kingdom, Vicky Cristina Barcelona, Maid in Manhattan, House of Cards, Blue Bloods, Homeland and The Good Wife.Sommer is best known for his portrayal of Harry Crane on AMC’s Mad Men. Other notable TV appearances include Wet Hot American Summer, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Law & Order (SVU and Original), and recurring roles on Elementary and The Office. Film work includes The Devil Wears Prada, Celeste and the upcoming Rob Reiner project, LBJ. Sommer made his Broadway debut in Harvey with Jim Parsons at Studio 54 and most recently co-starred with David Morse in Roundabout’s The Unavoidable Disappearance of Tom Durnin.Sparks stars on the forthcoming series, The Girlfriend Experience, produced by Steven Soderbergh for Starz. He continues as the Underwoods’ provocative biographer, Thomas Yates, in House of Cards and recurs on the upcoming HBO series, Crime. Additional screen credits include Boardwalk Empire.Wolff’s recent screen credits include Paper Towns, Ashby, Fault in Our Stars, The Intern, Palo Alto and the upcoming In Dubious Battle, Death Note and Rosy.Shepard’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play Buried Child returns 20 years after its last major New York production. Dodge (Harris) and Halie (Madigan) are barely hanging on to their farmland and their sanity while looking after their two wayward grown sons Tilden (Sparks) and Bradley (Sommer). When their grandson Vince (Wolff) arrives with his girlfriend Shelly (Farmiga), no one seems to recognize him, and confusion abounds. As Vince tries to make sense of the chaos, the rest of the family dances around a deep, dark secret. Pine will play Father Dewis.last_img read more

West End Star Savannah Stevenson on the Wicked Sisterhood and More

first_imgEnglish actress-singer Savannah Stevenson has become a mainstay in the West End production of Wicked, playing Glinda at the Apollo Victoria Theatre opposite a host of Elphabas that range from Willemijn Verkaik and Kerry Ellis to her current co-star, Emma Hatton. With the performance schedule for the blockbuster musical set to intensify over the holidays, the charming Stevenson took time out to talk stamina, why she won’t swap leading roles, and having her face on a billboard over Times Square.You’ve got an incredible schedule over Christmas, with extra matinees and a 9-show week coming up. How are you getting ready?We’re kind of bracing ourselves. But the fact is you always know that it’s coming, and I guess you have to keep in mind that you are helping other people have a really nice Christmas. I do say to myself that it would be nice to have a Christmas off, which I haven’t had in about 10 years, but we’re so lucky with Wicked in that we have great houses all the time—and especially at Christmas.You’re clearly pretty robust.Well, there are times where I don’t talk and I have rest time vocally most days. And you are aware with this job that maybe you can’t go into this restaurant because it’s too loud, or whatever, but I do seem to have built up my stamina. As with anything else, it’s a muscle.What was your experience with the show before you joined the cast?I remember when Wicked first came out on Broadway and knowledge of the show and the soundtrack sort of sweeping through drama college [the Guildford School of Acting, southwest of London]. It was the “in” thing to listen to, so I was already familiar with it before I first went to see it on the West End.Did you see it thinking that you might play Glinda?Not at all, partly because of my look. I don’t look like a typical Glinda until you put me in the wig and the costume. It wasn’t on my radar until I got the call to audition, and I was like, “they really want to see me for Glinda?”It obviously went well!The more rounds I went through, I thought, I could actually do this! I started to see how right it is for my voice and how I could bring to her some parts of my personality.Did you then set about trading notes with other Glindas once you got the part?I was very tempted at first to go see the show and see what other people are doing but then I thought if this is going to be my role, I do have to make it my own, so I just used the material I had in the audition room.Is there is a Wicked community?Yes, a kind of sisterhood. Since playing it, I’ve met up with Gina Beck, who I took over from, and when I was auditioning I did call Dianne Pilkington and asked what her advice would be as I go through the process and she was great and said to just bring yourself into the role: find that part of yourself that you connect with Glinda.Do you relate to the themes of the show?100%! I think one of the most important things about the show whether people realize it or not has to do first of all with it being a piece about two really strong women who change, and actually Glinda, I think, changes more than anyone. Elphaba is constantly strong, but it’s Glinda who really has a change of heart and realizes what it is in life that’s important.It’s also Glinda who begins the show perched high above the stage! What is that like?I’m really lucky in that I’m absolutely fine with heights! It is slightly strange, you know, in that you come out and sing an aria at the start of the show and on a small platform without being able to ground your feet. But it’s the most wonderful entrance coming in and seeing the house and also seeing the ensemble looking towards Glinda to restore order and peace.How have you dealt with the parade of Elphabas that you have played opposite?I came in with Willemijn [Verkaik], who is incredible, and that was an amazing start, and then Kerry Ellis and Jenny DiNoia and now Emma Hatton and as much as it’s been a bit crazy that all these women have come through and played Elphie, it’s been lovely for me to feel a connection with every single one. It’s part of why I’ve been able to stay. Probably including covers I’ve played opposite 10 Elphies in all.There is a previous Glinda, Louise Dearman, who went on to play Elphaba. Do you see yourself crossing over to the other role?Not at all. I get asked quite a bit whether I’d like to switch but Louise has that incredible voice that can completely crossover whereas I do not. My voice is so suited to that classical side of Glinda and not really to the more modern, belty side that could pull off Elphaba. Much as I’d love to get up there and sing “Defying Gravity,” it isn’t the role for me.On a nonWicked note, I gather your image is currently looming over Times Square.Yes, it’s part of a Christmas campaign for a full-scale telling of the New Testament and I’m dressed as Mary, holding the wee baby Jesus. We shot it in Utah, where I met my husband Nate, because they’ve got terrain that is very similar to Israel.Have your fans made the connection?Oh, yes. I get fans who tweet me the pictures. They say, “I’ve just seen you in a taxi!” View Commentslast_img read more

Odds & Ends: ABC Taps Will Chase for New Drama & More

first_imgWill Chase(Photo: Bruce Glikas) Here’s a quick roundup of stories you may have missed from today. ABC Taps Will Chase for New DramaSomething Rotten!’s Will Chase is in demand! Broadway’s Shakespeare has been enlisted as a series regular for ABC’s new drama Time After Time, which is aiming for a midseason bow. According to EW, Chase is set to take on the role of war vet Griffin, who is aiming to become New York’s new state senator. As previously reported, Chase is also slated to appear in a multi-episode arc on HBO’s The Deuce.Tony Winner Rondi Reed Set for SexBroadway vet Rondi Reed has landed a recurring role on the fourth season of Masters of Sex, Deadline reports. The August: Osage County Tony winner and Wicked alum is set to play Helen’s (Sarah Silverman) mom, who is shocked when she discovers her daughter’s sexual orientation. Showtime’s drama series is scheduled to return on September 11, featuring Tony winner Kelli O’Hara and more!American Theatre Wing to Honor Cicely TysonTony winner Cicely Tyson will be honored at the American Theatre Wing’s annual gala on September 26 at New York’s swanky Plaza Hotel. “Cicely Tyson exemplifies what the American Theatre Wing is all about, from her career-defining performances, to her passionate commitment to arts education via her namesake performing and fine arts school,” said Heather Hitchens, President and CEO of the Wing, in a statement. Funds raised from the event will provide vital support for the Wing’s programs.Sneak Peek of Steven Pasquale in DoubtWe have our first look at Broadway favorite Steven Pasquale in CBS’ Doubt, which will premiere in the upcoming TV season. The cast also includes Katherine Heigl, Laverne Cox, Dulé Hill and Donna Murphy, with the show following a hotshot defense lawyer who falls for her charming client, who could be responsible for a brutal crime. Looks like it will be compulsive viewing! Star Files View Comments Will Chaselast_img read more

Watch Hamilton Get a Shout-Out in Will & Grace’s Reunion

first_imgSean Hayes & Debra Messing View Comments Hamilton is officially everywhere—even in a beloved sitcom from the ’90s and early 2000s. On the eve of the highly anticipated presidential debate on September 26, Will & Grace returned with a hilarious scene. Between bringing back our favorite characters and teeing off zingers about a slew of current events (Brangelina and Ryan Lochte even get mentions), the Internet has quickly gone into a frenzy about whether Will & Grace will come back for a revival (not unlike Gilmore Girls). That remains to be seen, but what Broadway alums Eric McCormack, Debra Messing, Sean Hayes and Megan Mullally have already given us is pretty fantastic; the fab four united ten years later as the highly quotable Will, Grace, Jack and Karen to discuss the 2016 election. Bask in the gorgeous nostalgia of the scene below and #VoteHoney!last_img read more

Susan Stroman & John Kander Reunite for The Beast in the Jungle

first_imgDavid Thompson, Susan Stroman & John Kander(Photo: Bruce Glikas) The all-star creative team behind Broadway’s The Scottsboro Boys, including scribe David Thompson, director Susan Stroman and composer John Kander, are joining forces on a new musical, according to the New York Post. The new work is based on Henry James’ novella The Beast in the Jungle. James’ The Beast in the Jungle focuses John Marcher, whose life is haunted by the constant worry that his life is to be doomed by a catastrophic happening—a beast in the jungle.According to the Post, Stroman staged a workshop of the production in December, and the musical has its eye on the Lincoln Center Theater or off-Broadway’s Vineyard Theatre, where Scottsboro Boys began and the Kander-composed Kid Victory is set to begin performances February 1.Thompson, Stroman and Kander were all Tony-nominated for their work on The Scottsboro Boys. Thompson was also nominated for writing Steel Pier. Stroman garnered Tony Awards for her work on The Producers, Crazy for You and Contact. Kander earned Tony Awards for Cabaret, Woman of the Year and Kiss of the Spider Woman. Thompson also penned the book for Prince of Broadway, co-directed by Harold Prince and Stroman, which is set to begin performances on the Great White Way on August 3 at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre. View Commentslast_img read more

Faux spring

first_imgBy Aaron L. LancasterUniversity ofGeorgiaAcross central and north Georgia this fall, trees and shrubs,including cherry, peach, plum, apricot and nectarine trees, areblooming prematurely.The chilly weather in early fall, which warmed up again inOctober, created a false sensation of spring to the plants.”Every so often this weather phenomenon appears, disrupting thenatural cycle of trees and shrubs,” says Paul Thomas, ahorticulture professor with the University of Georgia College ofAgricultural and Environmental Sciences.The bad news is that the present blooms are the actual springblooms. That means the beautiful displays of blooms next springwill be substantially reduced. Triggered to flower at the end ofsummer growth, the blossoms open now won’t reopen in 2004.But…The good news, Thomas says, is that the buds that remain closedshould harden as normal, remain dormant during the winter andopen next spring. Or, at least, they will if the weather doesn’tthrow any more sudden temperature fluctuations at them.Early blooms can damage plants, making them susceptible todisease during the rainy times typical of late winter. Swollenbuds (on the brink of bloom) will be damaged by sudden frosts.The risk of freezes damaging unopened and unswollen buds, though,is minimal. If weather stays dry and cools off as it normallydoes, the flower buds will dry and prepare for winter as usual.Lend a handTo some degree, gardeners can help plants become acclimated towinter. Always reduce the amount of nitrogen fertilizer you applyafter mid-July. Stop applying it by late summer. Plants shouldenter autumn as healthy as possible, but not growing fast.The drying out of plant tissues, especially with evergreens,is a common form of winter injury. Keep the soil well-wateredwhere evergreens are growing in mid to late autumn, before thesoil freezes.If the soil is dry, sandy or under the overhang of a roof, waterin midwinter, too, when the temperature is above freezing.Mulch adoA ring of mulch 2 to 3 inches deep on top of the roots is thebest protection for landscape plants. Mulch maintains a more eventemperature while retaining moisture in the soil. Bark nuggets,compost, peat moss, pine straw, hay and shredded leaves work wellas organic mulches.Unhardened (“green”) trees have very little protection fromsudden freezes. Professional peach growers use a detailed regimenof applying water on fruit and foliage, but these practicesaren’t recommended for homeowners.”We’ll have to see what Mother Nature sends our way this winterto determine next year’s blooms,” Thomas said.(Aaron Lancaster is a Bibb County Extension agent with theUniversity of Georgia College of Agricultural and EnvironmentalSciences.)last_img read more