February 20, 2015
IN MAGIC, the act of turning an object into a completely different thing is known as "transformation. " But recently, it was conjurer Jeff Hobson who was altered in a significant way. Hobson is one of seven wizards who on Tuesday begin a six-day, eight-performance run in "The Illusionists" at the Academy of Music. They're on a national tour, following a successful end-of-2014 Broadway run. According to the veteran entertainer, his time in the Big Apple made him see the city in an entirely new light.
January 29, 2015 |
HAMMONTON, N.J. - Some ideas hide so clearly in plain sight that, once discovered, promise to become the norm. Catch Me if You Can , the musical about a real-life con man fleecing 1960s America with boundless charm, originally unfolded on Broadway in sort of a showbiz netherworld resembling a Las Vegas floor show as newly arrested Frank Abagnale recounts the adventures that are about to put him in prison. But with such songs as "Live in Living Color," the old 1960s NBC peacock comes to mind.
January 4, 2015 |
When Berry Gordy talks about the legendary record company he started in Detroit back in 1959 (originally Tamla Records, it became the Motown Record Corp. in 1960), he describes an entity transcending music. "My Motown is like a tree," he says with relish. "We go out on branches in every different direction. " The sounds and sights of Smokey Robinson's Miracles, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, the young Michael Jackson, the Temptations, the Four Tops, and Diana Ross (Gordy's onetime, longtime paramour)
September 24, 2014 |
Times are tough, right? That's one of the few reasons I can imagine for the spreading revival of A.R. Gurney's Love Letters , which opened this week both at Delaware Theatre Company and on Broadway. Gurney's romantic comedy about a half-century-long friendship with benefits, as revealed through the couple's correspondence, usually spends its production dollars getting recognizable names into the pair of chairs and desks that compose its set. The names then read their characters' letters aloud and, while seated, adjust their body language and facial expressions so that we watch them age from grade school until sometime in the sort-of present (the play premiered in 1988)
September 19, 2014
REGULAR READERS of this column are no doubt aware of my beef that what passes for "songs" in much of contemporary musical theater aren't songs at all, but merely sung dialogue and exposition. Well, it turns out I'm not the only one who yearns for a return to the days when Broadway scores boasted pieces with actual verses and hook-laden choruses. Robyn Goodman also feels that way. And better yet, she's in a position to actually do something about it. Goodman is a Broadway powerhouse who has produced such smash hits as "Avenue Q," "In the Heights" and "American Idiot.
September 11, 2014 |
LAST NIGHT, the Great White Way dimmed its lights - all of its lights - at 6:45 in memory of Joan Rivers . The one-minute gray-out was a reversal of the Broadway League's original decision not to include the late comedienne in a long list of names for whom its lights have gone low. Among recent honorees: Lynn Redgrave , Lena Horne and Robin Williams . At first, the league said that Rivers was not right for the tribute. She didn't qualify, according to the organization's director, because she hadn't acted on a major New York stage in more than 20 years.
September 9, 2014 |
NEW YORK - She'd once written that she wanted her funeral "to be Hollywood all the way" and Joan Rivers certainly got a star-studded send-off yesterday. Howard Stern delivered the eulogy. Broadway singer-actress Audra McDonald sang "Smile. " Actor and Broadway luminary Hugh Jackman brought the service to a close with the Peter Allen song, "Quiet Please, There's a Lady on Stage. " There were reports that Prince Charles sent flowers. A legion of notables turned out at New York's Temple Emanu-El to remember Rivers, who died Thursday at 81. Kathy Griffin , whose edgy, biting comedy career was largely made possible by Rivers; colleague and friend Kelly Osbourne (with her father, Ozzy )
August 9, 2014 |
A few months ago, Alina John had no idea what she'd be doing this summer. Now, she's spending a week working alongside Broadway professionals. And it's all thanks to the generosity of a group of Mormons. More accurately, a group of actors who play Mormons. John is one of 180 people participating in an intensive summer workshop at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts taught by the Broadway Dreams Foundation. John, 21, of Burlington County, a recent graduate of the University of the Arts, was given a scholarship from the cast of the national tour of The Book of Mormon that allowed her to attend the workshop for the second summer in a row. On Thursday afternoon, a few days before the weeklong workshop will culminate in a performance, John got a chance to meet Josh Daniel, an actor in the current staging of the nine-time Tony-winning musical at the Forrest Theatre.
August 7, 2014 |
IF THE MUSIC of Billy Joel , ABBA , Green Day , the Four Seasons and Carole King could headline a Broadway show, why not John Mayer ? For one thing, they had hits. But that's not stopping music's raspy-voiced Romeo from trying to write a show. The National Enquirer reports that Mayer is thinking theater, and his possibly autobiographical play has former Mayer flames Katy Perry , Jennifer Aniston , Jessica Simpson , Taylor Swift , Jennifer Love Hewitt , Renee Zellweger , Minka Kelly and Rhona Mitra (what the heck attracted all these women to that guy?
August 6, 2014 |
TATTLE sure hopes that Keke Palmer has a thick skin because if the commenters on Philly.com, Google, Yahoo and virtually every other website in which anonymous trolls can spew vitriol are an indication, she's going to be dealing with a lot of insults and will soon be responsible for the problems at our southern border and in the Mideast. On Sept. 9, actress and BET talk-show host Keke will step into the title role in "Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella," becoming the first African-American to play the part on Broadway.