Bernhardt/Hamlet -Opens: 9.25.18 The Nap - Opens: 9.27.18 The Lifespan of a Fact - Opens: 10.18.18 The Ferryman - Previews: 10.2.18, Opens: 10.21.18 The Waverly Gallery - Previews: 9.25.18, Opens: 10.25.18 Torch Song - Previews: 10.9.18, Opens: 11.1.18 American Son - Previews: 10.6.18, Opens: 11.4.18 King Kong - Previews: 10.6.18, Opens: 11.8.18 The Prom - Previews: 10.23.18, Opens: 11.15.18 The Cher Show - Previews: 11.1.18, Opens: 12.3.18 Network - Previews: 11.10.18, Opens: 12.6.18 To Kill a Mockingbird - Previews: 11.1.18, Opens: 12.13.18

COMING UP ON THE BLOG: 9/24: REVIEW: Passion - 9/25: The Broadway Debuts of Bernhardt/Hamlet - 9/26: LOGOS: King Kong - 9/27: The Broadway Debuts of The Nap - 9/28: The Friday 5

CONTACT US: (Email) (Twitter) @jkstheatrescene

Friday, September 21, 2018

The Friday 5: 5 Once-Wasn't-Enough Shows

Previously, on The Friday 5...

Mike and I shared the 5 shows we saw that we were glad we saw, but once was enough. And we shared those shows we wished for a refund after seeing them.

Today, we share those shows we loved, but never had the chance to see again - most due to unfortunately short runs. It's interesting to me that we did these lists completely separately, and 3 of the 5 are the same for both of us!

The Friday 5:
5 Once-Wasn't-Enough Shows

Mike's Picks:

1. American Psycho
2. Angels in America
3. Aspects of Love
4. The Scottsboro Boys
5. Violet

Jeff's Picks:

1. American Psycho
2. Bonnie and Clyde
3. The Last Ship
4. The Scottsboro Boys
5. Violet


Thursday, September 20, 2018

#TBT: Damn Yankees Baseball Cards

So I was cleaning my bookcases the other day, and I pulled out a large 3-ring binder from the oft-forgotten bottom shelf. Inside were pages and pages of Broadway memories. The back pages included one of my favorite show-specific pieces of merch from the 1994 Broadway revival of Damn Yankees.

I loved that show so much, I saw it 6 times! I loved everything about it - the funny retro-ish book, the delightful score, the dancing, the performances - everything! I also really loved the merch they had - the window card hangs in my living room to this day. But my favorite by far was the set of Topp's baseball cards they sold. I had to have it!

It was a set of twenty, including "player cards," a "team" card, and a few "action" cards (they called them "showstoppers"). The fronts featured vintage-style set ups of cast photos, the curtain call, and some signature production shots. The backs included write-ups about the cards' subjects. Here they are - click to enlarge them!

 Plus! Here's a look at that terrific revival. I can't believe that was 24 years ago already!

Fun Facts about Damn Yankees (1994):

  • The show played TWO preview periods and had TWO openings at the Marquis Theatre!
  • The production was honored with 4 Tony Award nods, including Best Revival of a Musical. Jarrod Emick won for Best Featured Actor in a Musical.
  • The original cast began its 18 previews on February 14, 1994 and ran for 350 performances through December 31, 1994.
  • The company went on hiatus from January 1 - February 28, 1995 to accommodate rehearsals for its new star, Jerry Lewis. 
  • The production played a second preview period of 15 performances, officially re-opening on March 12, 1995.
  • The show closed on August 6, 1996 after another 169 shows, for a total of 519 performances.

Bebe Neuwirth and Victor Garber
Lola and Applegate

Tony Award-winner Jarrod Emick and Bebe Neuwirth
"Whatever Lola Wants (Lola Gets)"

Joe Hardy meets the Washington Senators

Even though I haven't looked at them in years, the memories came flooding back. And the cards are in pristine shape - carefully encased in baseball card collector sleeves. (Thanks, Dad!)


Wednesday, September 19, 2018

#MyBroadwayThing: Playbill Binders

I must be finding it therapeutic to share my obsession with all things Playbill with you, loyal reader. Today's #MyBroadwayThing is all about Playbill binders. I have two kinds, both of which are on sale HERE. And there are pros and cons to both.

from the Playbill Store

The Basic Binder

  • Pros: They are inexpensive. They hold a fair (if variable) number of contemporary Playbills. They are easy to assemble, too.
  • Cons: They don't offer much in terms of archival protection. The metal rods that hold the magazines in place don't rust, but they do - for lack of a better term - "dry out" and lose their smooth sheen over time. And, being covered in vinyl, some of the books have puckered inside corners.

Note the pucker/wrinkle in the lower left corner.
Note the binding rods and assembly at the top (it's the same at the bottom).
Note that the State Fair booklet from 1994 has no yellowing!

Jeff Recommends: This is a great way to keep your collection if you are a casual collector and/or if you are a theater fan on a budget. I have 18 of these, and I like them for being able to easily thumb through them. And while they might not preserve them to archival quality, even my oldest Playbill from 35 years ago only has minimal yellowing.

from the Playbill Store

The Ultimate Binder

  • Pros: The quality of the entire binder is top-notch. From the hard board cover, with its textured black coating to the very strong 3-ring binder assembly, the book itself is excellent. The sleeves, made of tick polypropylene, include archival quality backing boards, which prevent the magazines from curling. The Playbills are pristine even years later. I also like being able to keep my ticket and any inserts on the other side for easy viewing.
  • Cons: They are not cheap. One costs more than twice a Basic Binder. While each binder comes with 18 sleeves, it can fit up to 24, and extras cost more. Also, with this set up, you have to take the Playbill out of the sleeve if you want to look at the inside. That runs the risk of damage.

Note the "D-Rings" and the way the cover opens to allow the binder to lay flat when open.
Note on the left how the clear sleeve and whit backing board allows the ticket to be visible.
Note on the right how flat the Playbill lays in the sleeve and how the corners are maintained.

Jeff Recommends: Despite their expense, if you are a serious Broadway collector, these are well worth the money. This is truly a case of "you get what you pay for." I am currently filling my 10th! I know some people optimize the sleeves by putting one magazine on each side of the backing board, but I have ruined a couple trying to stuff them in, plus I like using the back for my ticket and inserts. I also like that the sleeves are slim and light. I bring them with me to the show and slip the pristine magazine in when I sit down - no damage!

I have an even cheaper and fully archival way to keep them.  I have hundreds of them stored this way. I'll share that with you soon!


Tuesday, September 18, 2018

LOGOS: The Waverly Gallery

The Waverly Gallery is a play I'm looking forward to this season, mainly because Kenneth Lonergan is a writer I've gained quite an appreciation for, as well as the all-star cast. I admit that I had to look up the play to see what it's about, but does the logo entice without that knowledge?

At first glance, the logo is somewhat somber.  What is eye-catching is the names of the stars and the famous playwright. That isn't a bad thing. After all, that is its primary purpose - advertise! But it does offer a window into the play as well.

Its watercolor style certainly matches the titular "gallery." And the penciled in New York City covers the "Waverly" part. The whole thing is very "arty," including the color pallet down the side, as an artist might layout on an unfinished piece to keep them in mind. Interestingly enough, one iteration of this logo has that pallet at the bottom vertically, which looks a lot like a New York skyline.

Knowing a little about the play offers a deeper understanding of the logo's images, too. The story tells of an aging art gallery owner who is showing signs of Alzheimer's Disease. A closer look at the drawing reveals that the detailed image of Washington Square Park is starting to fade. The light smudges of color suggest the same, as if the painting was once complete and vivid, rather than unfinished. Then there is the woman in the foreground walking her Dalmatian. She is similarly disappearing from the picture.  What an amazing image. It makes me look forward to the production.

Still, if serious plays with a New York setting aren't your thing, and/or the cast doesn't entice you, I'm not sure this informative, artsy logo would be enough to get you to buy a ticket anyway.

Grade: B+


Monday, September 17, 2018

BROADWAY HEAT: Pretty Woman (The Championship Round!)


HOT on Broadway (adj): fierce, talented, big potential; has "buzz"; has "it" factor.

After several weeks, and the best voter turn out of any show in more than a year (I hope you are all as diligent this November), it all comes down to this week's vote to determine who is the HOTTEST cast member of Pretty Woman: The Musical! And it should be a tough choice - kinda like naming your favorite child. Your previous votes have conspired to pit husband against wife!  That's right. It's Andy Karl vs Orfeh. Both are amazing in their own right, and they are an amazing couple, too. But only one of them can win!

REMEMBER: You MUST click the "Finish Survey" box below the question, or your vote WILL NOT COUNT!



Friday, September 14, 2018

Remembering Marin Mazzie

Like so many of you, I am completely devastated by the passing of Marin Mazzie. It just seems to impossible to believe.

My history of enjoying the power, grace and beauty of her spirit and estimable talents is nearly as long as my history of attending Broadway shows. Sad that this difficult time is what makes me appreciate the gifts she shared with all of us. I was fortunate enough to have seen her in 6 different productions, and she was so vastly different in each. A true chameleon. And just so brilliant.

I caught her Broadway debit in Big River, the National Tour of The World Goes 'Round, Passion, Carrie, Bullets Over Broadway and Next to Normal. What a privilege.

As I was writing just the other day, I have such fond memories of her in Passion. Such grace and beauty. And I was simply bowled over by the ferocity of her Margaret White in Carrie. But I will never forget the extra special honor of witnessing her bravura performance on the closing night of Next to Normal. I will never forget that performance. And I will never forget watching her quietly going to each of her cast mates for individual thanks, hugs and graciousness - all of this while the audience was screaming their adoration. She was the epitome of class.

My sincerest condolences to her husband Jason, her family and all of her Broadway family, too. Thank you, Ms. Mazzie. RIP


Thursday, September 13, 2018

#TBT: CD Review: OBCR City of Angels

Next up on our weekly trip down memory lane is a look back at the Original Broadway Cast Recording of the 6-time Tony Award-winning Best Musical of 1990, City of Angels. Proof that if a show is truly good, it can succeed with little or no buzz - or even an opening night snow storm. This gem of a show was wildly funny, visually stunning (black and white and color scenes) and oh so clever; no wonder it won Best Book for Larry Gelbart. And then there's that amazing score - another Tony winner - by the great Cy Coleman and David Zippel.

Filled with jazz, a dash of Broadway and a film noir sensibilty, the score is as hilarious and stunning as the rest of the show.  Highlights of the score are many, no real shock considering the caliber of the writers and cast singing it.

Auberjonois and Edelman - "The Buddy System"
From the brilliant "Theme from City of Angels" overture to powerhouse vocals of the two leads James Naughton and Gregg Edelman ("You're Nothing Without Me") - not to mention one of my all-time favorite 11 o'clock numbers, Edeleman's "Funny," the score is thrilling. And it is also, well, funny - the word play is top-notch in such numbers as Rene Auberjonois' "The Buddy System," "Everybody's Gotta Be Somewhere," and the so tacky it's funny "The Tennis Song" by Naughton and Dee Hoty, and the star-turn "You Can Always Count On Me," a song sung by Tony-winner Randy Graff as - get this - two different characters.

The Hour of Powers - Jimmy Powers and the Angel City 4
Then there's Rachel York's Broadway debut (done wrapped in only a sheet!), the sultry "Lost and Found." Finally, I'd be remiss not to heap praise on the tight harmonic jazz stylings of Jimmy Powers and the Angel City 4 (Scott Waara, Peter Davis, Gary Kahn, Amy Jane London and Jackie Presti) who are wonderful throughout, and especially on the bonus track - the vocal version of "The Theme from City of Angels." It is truly what this show is all about.

Grade: A+

Fun Facts About City of Angels:

  • The original production ran 24 previews and 879 performances, opening December 11, 1989 and closing January 19, 1992 at the Virginia Theatre (now the August Wilson).
  • The show was nominated for 11 1990 Tony Awards, winning 6.
  • The show featured the Broadway debut of Carolee Carmello, and Shawn Elliott (Donna Murphy's late husband).
  • Director Michael Blakemore was nominated as Best Director of a Musical and Best Director of a Play in 1990 (Lettice and Lovage). He lost both. But he did the same thing in 2000 - and won both! (Kiss Me, Kate and Copenhagen).

Here's a look back at the show, too!

Stone and Stine: James Naughton and Gregg Edelman

(Left) James Naughton and Dee Hoty
(Right) Rachel York

Kay McClelland and Randy Graff
"What You Don't About Women"

The City of Angels Company
(Note to producers: REVIVE THIS SHOW! Please...)

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