THIS WEEK @ JK's TheatreScene

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HERE'S WHAT'S NEW:

DON'T FORGET TO VOTE INTAKE THIS WEEK'S NEW QUIZ! QUIZ WILL CLOSE MONDAY, JUNE 1st!

I hope you'll come back for frequent visits, to see new reviews, to share opinions, to take a survey (or two), and to celebrate the shows and show people that have made the TheatreScene!

Jeff

Thursday, May 28, 2015

THEATRESCENE THURSDAY: Your Playbill Habits Revealed!

Wonder Woman poses with hers!
Last week, the Trendsday Poll asked you to tell what you do with your Playbill before, during and after the show.  Here's what 207 of you told us:

BEFORE THE SHOW 

  • 20% - I look for understudy slips.
  • 19% - I skip right to the section about the show I'm seeing.
  • 17% - I mentally count "How Many Have You Seen?"
  • 11% - I take a picture of it to send out on social media.

The other 33% was divided among the other 8 choices. Not one of you said you didn't take one! Several of you mentioned (under "Other") that you read "At This Theatre" and the restaurant choices, and a few others said they count the number of orchestra members.

I'm definitely with the majority here - I do all three of your top choices!  

This Gigi fan must be part of the 11%!
DURING THE SHOW

  • 71% - I put it away.
  • 22% - I keep it open to the Musical Numbers list.
  • 7% - I give it to my companion to hold on to.

Again, I'm just like most of you! I am meticulous about storing it in a Playbill Binder Sleeve, as untouched as possible. And then, with the copy I take to read through (and mess up!) I look for what the last number is for each act, then that gets put away, too.

An impressive display!
AFTER THE SHOW

  • 26% - I have a Playbill binder collection.
  • 16% - I stage door for autographs.
  • 16% - I toss it on my pile of Playbills at home.
  • 13% - I throw it in my bag and forget about it.
  • 10% - I carry it out in my hands.

The other 19% was divided among the other 8 choices. None of you leave it at your seat, good theatre fans that you are!  My "twin" wrote in, "[I] usually keep one for the binder and others to keep as extras."  I so get you, whoever you are!  But my favorite "Other" response is "I tuck it in the back of my pants til I add it to my collection dating back to 1969."  Congratulations on your long theater-going career!  But I have to ask... isn't it kinda uncomfortable back there?

Big surprise - I'm just like the rest of you here, too!  As I said, I have a Playbill binder collection (just ordered my 25th one yesterday). And though I haven't done this in ages, I have stage doored many times over the past 30 years.  Meeting Joel Grey after the 1987 revival of Cabaret was a thrill - such a kind man!

Which one of you asked Idina to sign
your Les Miz Playbill? And did she?

DON'T FORGET TO TAKE THIS WEEK'S QUIZ! IT CLOSES MONDAY, JUNE 1ST.  CLICK HERE!

Jeff

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

TRENDSDAY QUIZ: Are You A Musical Know-It-All?

Holler If Ya Hear Me was the first musical
of the 2014 - 2015 season
With the great news about the season just ended - record attendance, record grosses - I thought it would be fun to see what you know - or think you know - about this season's musicals!  There were 15 new musical productions (10 new, 5 revivals) and there are 10 questions that ask you to consider all of them when you answer.

Here's a list:

Holler If Ya Hear Me
On the Town
The Last Ship 
Side Show
Honeymoon in Vegas
The Visit was the final musical of
the 2014 - 2015 season
On the Twentieth Century
Gigi
An American in Paris
It Shoulda Been You
Finding Neverland
The King and I
Fun Home
Doctor Zhivago
Something Rotten!
The Visit

You'll need to use the quiz box scroll bar on the right to move through all 10 questions.  When you are done, click "Finish Quiz" to find out your score! Good luck!



How'd you do?

10 correct: You are a Broadway KING AND I am impressed!
9 correct: Join the SIDE SHOW, you Broadway freak-ing genius!
8 - 7 correct: Pretty good! You deserve a night ON THE TOWN!
6 - 5 correct: Did you make the most of your VISIT to Broadway this year?
4 - 3 correct: IT SHOULDA BEEN YOU who saw more shows this season!
2 -1 correct: Is there SOMETHING ROTTEN going on here?

Be sure to check out the results of last week's poll tomorrow in the TheatreScene Thursday blog!

Jeff

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

TROUPER TUESDAY: Fun Home's Emily Skeggs

Every once in awhile, the Tony Awards nominating committee gets it right.  This year, they really did when they nominated everyone in the principal cast of the already award-winning Fun Home, including all three Alisons.  What is particularly nice about this is that it affirms the excellent work all three actresses are doing to create a single character at three different points in her life.  It would have been a shame to have left one out! And yet, I am going to single one out!

This week, I'm saluting Medium Alison, Emily Skeggs, a Broadway debutante who is a real trouper! She went from off-Broadway understudy to replacement to original Broadway cast member with the show. I am pretty sure and very hopeful that this is just the beginning of a long career.

I don't envy the Tony voters!

Life at the Fun Home: Alison finds herself at college (left)
Alison (Beth Malone) recalls the early artist she was (right)

  • She may play "Medium" Alison, but Emily is a diminutive 5'3"!


Her college credits include:
 The Bluest Eye (top)
The Actor (right)


And
Six Characters in Search of an Author (top)
Robin Hood (bottom)

  • Emily went to the LaGuardia High School for the Performing Arts.
  • She is a graduate of Emerson College - her major was Theatre Studies.
  • She had a minor in writing.


Emily's Regional and Off-Broadway credits include:
Transport (top)
And I and Silence (bottom left)
Our Town (bottom right)



Jeff

Friday, May 22, 2015

Flashback Friday: 15 Years Ago: A Class Act

This week, I'll continue my look back at the Best Musical Tony nominees from 15 seasons ago.  Just as with  The Full Monty last week, this week's show was full of established Broadway professionals and newbies who would go on to make their mark.  And there are a few connections to 2015 as well.

A Class Act was a charming little show, and a must-see for Broadway fans.  Celebrating the life of composer-lyricist Edward Kleban, the musical used Kleban's trunk songs (and a few snippets from his most famous work, A Chorus Line).  There were some real gems, including my favorites, "Mona," "Paris Through The Window," "The Next Best Thing to Love," and "Under Separate Cover."  Kleban was the star of the show, as it should be.

30 previews, 105 performances at the Ambassador Theatre


Randy Graff and Lonny Price
Stars at the time:

  • Lonny Price (Writer, Director, Ed Kleban) - An actor most notable for Master Harold and the Boys, and a pair of well-known flops, Rags and Merrily We Roll Along, Price was establishing himself as a writer-director. Tony nomination, Best Book of a Musical.
  • Randy Graff (Sophie) - Broadway's original Fantine in Les Miserables, she won a Tony Award for her hilarious (and beautifully sung) turn in City of Angels.  She made her debut in the original production of Grease and went on to star in Laughter on the 23rd Floor, High Society and Moon Over Buffalo. Tony nomination, Best Actress in a Musical.
  • Jeff Blumenkrantz (Charley) - Prior to A Class Act, he most notably starred in Damn Yankees and How to Succeed. Later, he went on to be a Tony-nominated composer for 2003's Urban Cowboy.
  • Patrick Quinn (Lehman) - A Class Act would turn out to be the late actor's final Broadway appearance.  The Actors' Equity President previously appeared in such shows as Damn Yankees, Oh! Coward! and Disney's Beauty and the Beast.

The Company
Lonny Price and Sara Ramirez
Stars were born:

  • Kevin Adams (Lighting Design) - Though not his first Broadway design, Adams would go on to be a 6 time Tony nominee and 4 time winner for Spring Awakening, The 39 Steps, American Idiot and Hedwig and the Angry Inch.  He was also nominated for Next to Normal and Hair.
  • Sara Ramirez (Felicia) - Previously seen in a couple of short running shows - The Capeman and The Gershwin's Fascinating Rhythm - Ramirez would go on to win a Tony for Spamalot.  Now she's a TV star (Grey's Anatomy) and hasn't been back since.
  • Danny Burstein (Understudy) - Though he had been in several Roundabout revivals prior to A Class Act, it was after this that he became one of Broadway's biggest and most loved stars, earning 5 Tony nominations in the process, for The Drowsy Chaperone, South Pacific, Follies, Golden Boy and Cabaret.

The Company
The 2015 Connection:

  • David Hibbard (Bobby) - Currently in Something Rotten!
  • Larry Hochman (Orchestrations) - Orchestrated this season's On the Twentieth Century, The Visit and Something Rotten!, for which he is Tony nominated.
  • Adam Heller (Replacement) - Currently in It Shoulda Been You.
  • David Loud (Musician) - Musical Director of The Visit.
  • Stafford Arima (Associate Director) - Directing the upcoming Allegiance.


Next week: Jane Eyre

Jeff

Thursday, May 21, 2015

TheatreScene Thursday: Sailors, Dames and Squigs


Ladies, first!  You know you are Something Special! when (theater) royalty pays a visit, likes the show, and poses with the cast afterwards.  That's exactly what happened when Dame Angela Lansbury caught a performance of Something Rotten! recently.  I'm not sure who was luckier, them or her!


It's Fleet Week in NYC, and who better to celebrate the event on Broadway than the sailors in On the Town?  The show is offering a great special for members of the military, too. (HERE)

And what would the TheatreScene be without a visit from my favorite Broadway artist, Justin "Squigs" Robertson?  Here are his drawings of some of this season's Tony nominees:

Best Musical Nominee An American in Paris
Best Play Nominee The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

Best Revival of a Play Nominee The Elephant Man
Best Revival of a Musical Nominee The King and I

More from Squigs next week!

Jeff

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Trendsday Poll: What do you do with your Playbills?

You get one at every Broadway show, most off-Broadway shows and many national theaters.  I'm talking about the Playbill magazine the usher hands you before you head off to your seat, full of anticipation.  But where does it go from there?  For me, it is a near obsession.  I get two copies: one to look at, and one that goes immediately into one of the plastic sleeves that come with the Playbill binder. Earlier booklets are kept in comic book collector sleeves in boxes that are made just for that purpose.  What can I say?  I love my Playbills!

This week's survey is 3 questions on this topic.  Check off as many that apply to you as necessary - and if you do something not listed, add it under "other."  Use the scroll bar on the right to move down the survey box.  When you are done, be sure to click "Finish Survey," so that your votes will count!

The poll will close on Monday, May 25 at 6 PM!





Thanks for voting!
Jeff

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

TUESDAY TROUPERS: WINNER! #MissingTonyAward for Best Ensemble of a Play

The very first winner of the #MissingTonyAward for Best Ensemble of a play is the Cast of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time!


Though he's the lead, I'll be willing to bet that Alex Sharp (and the equally amazing Taylor Trensch), would be the first to admit that it is a total group effort for the entire company.  They are not only supporting chracters, they are also movement specialists (hence a Best Choreography Tony nomination) and actual scenery.  Talk about a huge skill set!


Congratulations to: Ian Barford, Jocelyn Bioh, Helen Carey, Keren Dukes, Francesca Faridany, Enid Graham, Stephanie Roth Haberle, Mercedes Herrero, Richard Hollis, Ben Horner, David Manis, Alex Sharp, Tom Patrick Stephens, Taylor Trensch and Tim Wright!

Here they are in action:







Thanks for voting in the first #MissingTonyAwards celebration! After hundreds of votes, your nominees were the ensembles of: Airline Highway, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, Hand to God, It's Only a Play and You Can't Take It With You.  Congrats to all.

The Winner of the #MissingTonyAward for Best Ensemble of a Musical will be announced on Tuesday, June 2 - Tony Week!

Jeff
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