THIS WEEK @ JK's TheatreScene

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IT'S A HUGE WEEK AT JK'S THEATRESCENE!
ON WEDNESDAY AND FRIDAY: VOTE FOR THE 2014 HOT OR NOT WINNERS! (Click the logo to your left for the current ballot!)
ON THURSDAY PART 2 OF A SPECIAL INTERVIEW WITH NEWSIES' ANDREW KEENAN-BOLGER!! (Click on Andrew's picture to your right to see Part 1!)

Friday, November 6, 2009

Friday's Bits and Pieces for 11.05.09

THIS WEEK (or so) at JKTS!

In case you are new to this blog, or in case you haven’t been here in awhile, this past several days, I’ve blogged about:
  • The show that started my love of theatre
  • Reviewed the show Rock of Ages and the CD for Shrek
  • Named Mr. November: Chad Kimball
  • New Poll: Favorite Theatre News Site.

Vote in the poll, then scroll down the right side of the page to see a list of articles you might be interested in.

And please, leave comment, question and suggestions!
Jeff


SIGNATURE THEATRE IN VIRGINIA HONORS ANGELA LANSBURY

My beloved Angela Lansbury has made more news in 2009 for 2010! Signature Theatre of Arlington, Virginia, the Tony winning regional theatre, is known for presenting the works of Stephen Sondheim (among others). In fact, they have the record for the most different Sondheim productions by one theatre company – 18. This season, they are reviving Sweeney Todd with Norm Lewis in the title role.

Last year, they established the Stephen Sondheim Award, to be given to individuals whose careers have been influenced by involvement with the master’s works. Angela Lansbury will be the first to be honored with this award.

It makes sense. She made her musical theatre debut in Sondheim’s Anyone Can Whistle, a legendary performance in a famous flop. She won two of her five Tony Awards for being in his shows Sweeney Todd and Gypsy. And she is headlining the revival of A Little Night Music this season on Broadway.

Brava, Ms. Lansbury! Bravo, Mr. Sondheim!


KIDS NIGHT ON BROADWAY

When I was a kid, I knew nothing about Broadway, other than I remember seeing the number “One” from A Chorus Line performed all over the place on TV shows. We, as a family, simply did not go to the theatre. That has, fortunately, changed in the years since I grew up. Even my dad goes occasionally!

These days, if you live close to the city, or can plan a short vacation in advance, the theatre community makes it much easier to bring the kids to experience live theatre, with Kids Night on Broadway (which also includes a few off-Broadway shows, and several touring shows). The tickets for this event go on sale November 9, and the dates for the event are February 2, 3 and 7, the latter being Super Bowl Sunday. The deal is good. Kids aged 6 – 18 are free with a paying adult. The age range is key here, because not all of these shows are suitable for 6 year olds like Next to Normal or Hair, or maybe for 18 year olds who wouldn’t be caught dead at Mary Poppins.

In my fantasy family life, my mom would have taken my little sister to The Lion King, while my dad took me to see Avenue Q… then I could have told him that I really understood where Rod was coming from…LOL.

What is really cool is that in addition to the ticket deal, there are pre-show parties, parking and restaurant discounts and each kid gets a special Playbill for the occasion.

Participating New York shows include:
ALTAR BOYZ, AVENUE Q, BILLY ELLIOT THE MUSICAL, BYE BYE BIRDIE, CHICAGO, FELA!, FINIAN'S RAINBOW, HAIR, IN THE HEIGHTS, MARY POPPINS, MAMMA MIA!, MEMPHIS, NEXT TO NORMAL, OLEANNA, RAGTIME, THE LION KING, THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA, SOUTH PACIFIC, STOMP, SUPERIOR DONUTS, WEST SIDE STORY and WICKED.

Go to KidsNightonBroadway.com for full details. Use discount code KNOB2010 at http://www.broadwayoffers.com/ or http://www.ticketmaster.com/ (depending on the show) starting November 9.

AT THIS PERFORMANCE

I know people shudder when those little slips of paper fall out of their Playbills announcing that “at this performance” you favorite actress is out and someone you’ve never heard of is in.

Well, At This Performance, two shows on November 8 and 9 celebrate the talents of those very people, who, most of the time do excellent work. The shows cost a mere $20.00, available at 212-579-4230 or iSeats.net. The shows will be at the McGinn/Cazale Theatre on 76th Street. Understudies from Hair, Finian’s Rainbow, Bye Bye Birdie, Wicked and Shrek, among others will be performing.

Remember, today’s stars are yesterday’s understudies. If you go, let me know! Man, I wish I lived closer to the city!

MEMPHIS, AGAIN?

After the tragic closing of The Neil Simon Plays on Sunday, theatre owners for The Nederlander Theatre wasted no time in announcing its next tenant, Million Dollar Quartet, a musical that takes place in Memphis in the 1950’s. It concerns a recording session at Sun Records that featured Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash and Elvis Presley.

Can Broadway sustain two musicals about the birth of rock and roll what with Memphis at the Shubert and Million Dollar Quartet at the Nederlander? I haven’t seen or heard much about the latter, but I can say that Memphis is worth you theatre-going dollar.

MDQ, already a hit in Chicago, will have the later in the season opening advantage (April 2010), but Memphis will, hopefully, capitalize on its reviews, strong word-of-mouth and a CD due out by year’s end. I can heartily recommend Memphis, and will let you know what I think about Million Dollar Quartet.

Working against MDQ is its location… RENT not withstanding, 41st Street feels like miles away from Times Square to the average tourist. Plus musicals that used the music of Johnny Cash (Ring of Fire) and Elvis Presley (All Shook Up) were both fast flops, as was another recording studio/biography musical, Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story. I saw that show on tour and enjoyed it, and I also personally enjoyed All Shook Up. All I’m saying is both shows have some work to do to stay in the limelight and generate ticket sales. I wish them both well.

XANADU RE-DO

I LOVED Xanadu – saw it seven times! And so it is good news that the national tour is starting up this December in California and is all over the place until at least May 2010. The first part of the tour that went to Asia after a sit down in Chicago, starred cutie-pie Elizabeth Stanley and cutie-pie Max von Essen, but no cast has been announced for this leg yet.

If you get the chance to see it, go! You will laugh your ass off, and the music is awesome!



SPIDEY UPDATE

Well the public sale of tickets for Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark didn’t happen on Halloween as announced (another reason to hate that date!), and producer are publicly clinging to the February 25, 2010 1st preview date. But it doesn’t look good when there is a mile-long list of producers that doesn’t include Disney Theatricals, and they can’t come up with the needed funding.

Then you read articles in the LA Times and the New York Times that use phrases like unconfirmed reports and anonymous sources, and figures like $52 million dollars needed, including theatre restoration costs, and weekly operating costs of $1 million, and it is no wonder. One paper says that the creative team is meeting with producers today. Maybe they are talking about ways to slash the budget?

I look forward to seeing how this web of intrigue plays out… including naming the star of the show, Peter Parker/Spiderman. I keep hearing the name of a current Disney Channel star…

Remember: Vote in this month's poll and leave a comment or two!

Jeff

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