Broadway is giving back to the community. A $200,000 donation has been made by hit show "Hedwig and the Angry Inch" to the Hetrick-Martin Institute and its mission to help LGBTQ youth in New York City. "Hedwig and the Angry Inch" began its Broadway run in March 2014 and has been donating a portion of each ticket sold to HMI ever since. The show has an ongoing partnership with the organization and has raised a total of $400,000 in less than a year. The relationship began in 2003 when Hedwig released a tribute album "Wig in a Box: Songs from and Inspired by Hedwig and the Angry Inch," which benefited HMI. It was followed by 2006's "Follow My Voice," a documentary film on the HMI school and the making of the "Wig in a Box" album. HMI is the the nation's oldest and largest organization helping gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and questioning youth to reach their full potential. It is also the home of Harvey Milk High School, a New York City public transfer school that allows at-risk children the opportunity to learn in a safe environment without the threat of physical or emotional harm they may face in a traditional high school.
"If/Then," the Broadway musical starring "Frozen" star Idina Menzel, will be closing March 22 after gradually deflating sales. Menzel, who has staked her claim on the Broadway stage in the original cast of "Rent" and "Wicked," is known to the non-theater world as the voice of Elsa in the Disney movie "Frozen." She also achieved mainstream success after the notorious name flub by John Travolta during last year's Oscars. But excitement about her return to Broadway slowly diminished, with the play peaking early in its run. "If/Then" follows Elizabeth, played by Menzel, a city planner who moves back to New York to restart her life, which splits into two parallel paths told simultaneously, based on a single inconsequential decision. Some believe the unfamiliar title and the challenging storyline are what led to the show's closing, especially with family-friendly, crowd-pleasing Broadway shows such a "The Lion King" and "Aladdin" on the landscape. Also, reviews for the show have been mixed, with some raves and other pans. The possibility of a recoup for the $10 million show is still unknown. The play reunited Menzel with her "Wicked" producer David Stone and "Rent" director Michael Greif, as well as Anthony Rapp, who co-starred with her in "Rent." Music for the show was by Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey.
“An American in Paris,” the first ever stage production of the 1951 Hollywood film starring Gene Kelly, has Parisians saying “Oh-la-la.”
The holidays mean big money for Broadway producers. This season, 19 of the current 26 shows broke the $1 million mark for the week with almost 30,000 more people attending shows than last Christmas. The Broadway League says the shows pulled in $40,993,950 for the week ending Sunday, Dec. 28, better than the same week last year when 30 shows attracted $38,783,854. Also, attendance is on the rise from 290,386 in 2013 to 318,721 this year. The mild New York winter weather and Christmas falling on a Thursday may all be helpful factors in the increase in attendance. With a boost in celebrity casting in Broadway shows being another reason for people attending the theater, performances sans celebrities are holding their own. Despite having Hugh Jackman in "The River," Bradley Cooper in "The Elephant Man" and Sting in "The Last Ship" all onstage toward the end of the year, and "The Book of Mormon" hardly slowing down at all this year, an old favorite was once again king of Broadway in 2014. Disney's "The Lion King" set a weekly record at the Minskoff Theatre with a nine-performance haul of $2,885,321. The Disney favorite remains Broadway's highest-grossing show of the year for the second time in a row, despite six other shows having higher average ticket prices.
Casting celebrities in Broadway plays may not be a new idea, but it is definitely a booming industry in recent times. With star like Hugh Jackman, Emma Stone, James Franco and other A-listers on stage, theaters have been spending ever more time and money cracking down on flash-happy guests, hecklers and a sea of fans at the stage door. This increase is now a nightly, traffic-blocking headache for security and police that “only used to happen with, say, [Richard] Burton and [Elizabeth] Taylor,” said longtime theater director Gregory Mosher, in an interview with "The Wall Street Journal." "The River," a solemn play starring Jackman, draws so many star-struck, picture-snapping attendees that the production resorted to sending out an understudy before the show to remind them to turn off their phones. In November, Time Out New York published a guide on what not to do at the show, including “Applaud Hugh’s entrance” and “Clap after every scene.” Similarly, laughter during serious moments occurred during Franco’s run in "Of Mice and Men," changing the feel of the Depression-era drama.
Grammy Award-winning opera singer Renée Fleming will make her Broadway debut this spring in a new play titled "Living on Love," a comedy based on none other then an opera diva, according to "The New York Times." In "Living on Love," Fleming will play opera singer Raquel De Angelis, whose conductor-husband starts to fall for a woman hired to ghostwrite his long-delayed autobiography. She retaliates by hiring her own ghostwriter but also gets romantically attached. Fleming will only sing a little in the play, some improvised a cappella. “I’ve spent my life singing tragic characters, so to be able to make people laugh is an extraordinary joy,” said Fleming. Written by Tony Award winner Joe DiPietro ("Memphis"), Living is based on the play "Peccadillo" by Garson Kanin.
The first-ever animated special produced for television is being turned into a concert for one night only. Is it "Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer?" Maybe, "A Charlie Brown Christmas?" Nope! It’s "Mr. Magoo’s Christmas Carol," a faithful adaptation of Charles Dickens’ famous 1843 novella.
Six new additions to the cast of “Fish in the Dark,” the highly anticipated new Broadway comedy show written and starring Larry David, have been announced.
Bill Murray movie fans rejoice! A musical adaptation of the popular 1993 film "Groundhog Day" is currently in the works, with comedian-musician Tim Minchin writing the music and lyrics. While Minchin praises the original, Harold Ramis-directed film as a "true comedy classic," he does note that his musical version will "be both instantly recognizable and utterly different," according to "The Independent." Minchin, the songwriter for the hit musical Matilda, will be working with fellow "Matilda" director Matthew Warchus as well has Danny Rubin, who is writing the book, according to "The Independent." He notes that the idea for this adaptation has been around for years, with the legendary Stephen Sondheim originally toying with the idea. "I've actually spoken to [Sondheim] about it," Minchin says, according to "The Independent," "and the truth is he was only ever tossing the idea around. It got put on the back burner, and he is now happy that we're making a go at it. We have Steve's blessing — and it's a blessing I value enormously.”
After a year and a half of hard work, "Matilda," the musical adaptation of the popular children’s novel by Roald Dahl, is officially a profitable hit on Broadway. The Royal Shakespeare Co. and the Dodgers confirmed that the show has paid back its $16 million investment, placing it in the elite circle of big-budget musicals to turn a profit in London and on Broadway. After a widely popular opening and seven Olivier Award wins in London, "Matilda" opened at the Shubert Theatre in April 2013 to rave reviews. The musical landed on the year’s top-10 theater list in many different arts publications. The show was nominated for 12 Tony Awards and won four of them, losing top prize for best musical to "Kinky Boots," which also recouped its $13.5 million in October 2013, after seven months.
Tonight, Sting heeds the SOS call from his floundering Broadway production,"The Last Ship" and joins the cast stepping into the role of Jackie White. He replaces the original performer, Jimmy Nail, who was the 16-time Grammy winner's best friend.
The long-awaited musical "Doctor Zhivago" has finally announced the cast for its up-and-coming broadway debut. Tam Mutu, a newcomer to the U.S. Broadway stage, will play the title role of Yurii Zhivago in this newest adaptation. Mutu, known as a West End of London stage actor, has been in Love Never Dies and the upcoming revival of Donmar Warehouse’s "City of Angels." He also had a recent role as Javert in "Les Miserables." "Doctor Zhivago" is based on the 1957 famous, epic, historical romance novel by Boris Pasternak and focuses on romance and upheaval in Russia during World War I. It tells the story of a political idealist who must choose between his devoted wife and mysterious lover. The famous novel was made into a film in 1965 and the original stage adaptation appeared at the La Jolla Playhouse in San Diego, California, in 2006. After its closing, it was reworked and ran at the Lyric Theater in Sydney, Australia, until 2011.
Baker will play John Major and Ivey will channel Margaret Thatcher opposite Mirren's Queen Elizabeth II in the London import.
The composer/lyricist and rock legend will join the cast for five weeks starting December 9.
Perhaps this is what the genre needs: a classical heavyweight like Renée Fleming pivoting from the "specifically European template" of opera and branching into other kinds of performing. This time, Fleming has her eyes on Broadway. An avid fan of all kinds of music, Fleming never pegged herself strictly as an opera singer. In an interview at Little Rock, the singer revealed that she was into all sorts of other genres — even learning Joni Mitchell in her youth. Seemingly hesitant to admit her affinity for anything not opera, she continued her hopes to star on Broadway in a production of "Living on Love," a farce she also performed this past summer at the Williamstown Theater Festival in Massachusetts. She also went on to cite that she grew up listening and singing all different styles — everywhere from country-western to performing with a jazz trio. With some guitar skills under her belt, too, Fleming fancied singing troubadours like Joni Mitchell — maybe she has a protest song in her, too.