THIS WEEK @ JK's TheatreScene

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Summertime...Took a little vacation! Three reviews coming soon! Amazing Grace, Hand to God and Mamma Mia!

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, October 31, 2013

TRICK OR TREAT! A Broadway Trivia Game

DON'T FORGET TO VOTE IN ROUND 6 OF HOT OR NOT: 
A GENTLEMAN'S GUIDE TO LOVE AND MURDER EDITION!
CLICK THE SHOW LOGO TO YOUR LEFT AND CAST YOUR BALLOT!
THIS POLL WILL CLOSE AT 6PM ON SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 3RD!


HAPPY HALLOWEEN, THEATRE LOVERS!!  Today, I thought we'd have a little fun, "trick or treating" with some trivia about the current state of Broadway.  If the item below is FALSE, it is a "TRICK" and if it is TRUE, it is a "TREAT."  Careful!  There are a couple of witches, a giant, and the ghost of at least one dead rock star hanging around Times Square these days... NEW! The answers are underlined with details underneath!


TRICK or TREAT! - As of today, the longest-running new Broadway play is less than one week old! (A Time to Kill is just over a week old, as of October 31.)

TRICK or TREAT! - Five of the top ten longest-running Broadway musicals are currently playing. (Not quite!  There are 4: The Phantom of the Opera (1), Chicago (3), The Lion King (5), Mamma Mia! (10).)

TRICK or TREAT! - Movie fans can enjoy seeing an Oscar-winner performing live on Broadway. (Not performing - though you can hear a couple, Elton John (The Lion King) and Alan Menken (Newsies: The Musical).  There are Tony, Emmy and Idol winners, and even a "Sir" performing.)


TRICK or TREAT! - All six of the currently running Best Musicals are based on films. (Only Kinky Boots, Once and The Lion King are based directly upon films. The Phantom of the Opera is based on the original book of the same title; The Book of Mormon is completely original.  Jersey Boys is about to become a film!)

TRICK or TREAT! - There are 3 shows with "The Musical" as part of their actual titles. (Per The Broadway League, there are 3 officially titled shows bearing "The Musical": Matilda, Motown and Newsies.  Soon, Rocky: The Musical will join the list.)

TRICK or TREAT! - There are 4 shows featuring actors playing real-life musicians. (There are just 3: A Night with Janis Joplin, Jersey Boys and Motown: The Musical.  Sorry, Rock of Ages fans!  Stacee Jaxx is NOT a real-life musician.)


TRICK or TREAT! - Of the 18 original musicals currently giving performances or previews, 12 were or will be eligible for the Best Score Tony Award. (Not for Once, Jersey Boys, Motown: The Musical, Mamma Mia!, A Night with Janis Joplin and After Midnight.)

TRICK or TREAT! - Six shows have actors playing animals in them. (There are 4: Wicked, The Lion King, Pippin and Cinderella.)

TRICK or TREAT! - There are two different shows on Broadway that feature casts made up ENTIRELY of Tony winners and Tony nominees. (No Man's Land and Waiting for Godot)


TRICK or TREAT! - Eight different plays or musicals feature actors known primarily for their TV work. (I count 7: Once, A Time to Kill, After Midnight, First Date, The Winslow Boy, The Snow Geese, and The Glass Menagerie.)

TRICK or TREAT! - Eight different plays or musicals feature actors known primarily for their film work. (I count 9: A Time to Kill, Betrayal, Twelfth Night, Richard III, No Man's Land, Waiting for Godot, The Glass Menagerie, Macbeth, and Romeo and Juliet.)

TRICK or TREAT! - Of the 33 currently running shows, more than half take place in the United States. (Not quite!  I count 16.)


TRICK or TREAT! - 5 shows take place in New York City. (Yup: Newsies: The Musical, First Date, Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, After Midnight and Annie.)

TRICK or TREAT! - None of the 11 plays (new or revivals) are written by a living playwright. (Neither A Time to Kill's Rupert Holmes, nor The Snow Geese's Sharr White have passed away.)

TRICK or TREAT! - There are 3 witches on Broadway these days. (There are 6: 2 in Wicked, 1 in Big Fish and 3 in Macbeth.)

Jeff
5.041

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Happy 10th Anniversary WICKED!

DON'T FORGET TO VOTE IN ROUND 6 OF HOT OR NOT: 
A GENTLEMAN'S GUIDE TO LOVE AND MURDER EDITION!
CLICK THE SHOW LOGO TO YOUR LEFT AND CAST YOUR BALLOT!
THIS POLL WILL CLOSE AT 6PM ON SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 3RD!


It opened to mixed reviews, and contrary to popular belief, it didn't start out is a blockbuster sell out show, either.  And it didn't win the Best Musical Tony.  But 10 years ago today, on October 30, 2003, Wicked opened at the Gershwin Theatre.  Broadway hasn't been the same since. 

It has done, arguably, what no American musical has done since A Chorus Line.  Wicked is ingrained into American popular culture.  Even people who have never seen it have heard of it.  And talk about rabid fans!  There are many people who have seen hundreds of performances.  Many who have seen every Glinda, Elphaba and Fiyero who ever played Broadway, plus their understudies, swings and stand-bys.  And there are fans who have seen every major opening of every National Tour and foreign company.

As of tonight, Wicked has played 4,158 performances, and is the 11th longest-running show in Broadway history.

To celebrate 10 years of this cultural phenomenon, here are 10 each of the many fine people to have played Glinda, Elphaba and Fiyero.  (And before you Oz-crazed fans write in, I know they didn't all play Broadway, and they aren't in any order.) I picked the originals, the ones I've seen on Broadway and on tour, and others that have gone on to make a name for themselves!


TEN GLINDAS, ELPHABAS AND FIYEROS



THE ORIGINALS
(KRISTIN CHENOWETH, IDINA MENZEL, NORBERT LEO BUTZ)

9 MORE GLINDAS

JENNIFER LAURA THOMPSON AND MEGAN HILTY

KENDRA KASSEBAUM AND ALLI MAUZY

KATIE ROSE CLARKE AND ANNALEIGH ASHFORD

KATE REINDERS

CHANDRA LEE SCHWARTZ

JENNIFER GAMBATESE

9 MORE ELPHABAS

STEPHANIE J. BLOCK AND MAMIE PARRIS

MANDY GONZALEZ AND JACKIE BURNS

EDEN ESPINOSA AND SHOSHANA BEAN

ANA GASTYER AND JULIA MURNEY

LINDSAY MENDEZ

9 MORE FIYEROS

SEBASTIAN ARCELUS AND KRISTOFFER CUSICK

ANDY KARL AND TAYE DIGGS

KYLE DEAN MASSEY

AARON TVEIT AND BILLY HARRIGAN TIGHE

COLIN DONNELL AND DEREK KLENA


Jeff
5.040 









Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Broadway on TV: Big Fish

DON'T FORGET TO VOTE IN ROUND 6 OF HOT OR NOT: 
A GENTLEMAN'S GUIDE TO LOVE AND MURDER EDITION!
CLICK THE SHOW LOGO TO YOUR LEFT AND CAST YOUR BALLOT!
THIS POLL WILL CLOSE AT 6PM ON SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 3RD!


You are the producer of a big, expensive Broadway show.  Considering the level of talent both on stage and off, you are sure you have a blockbuster on your hands.  Then the show opens to very mixed reviews, and there is almost no buzz being generated.  People are talking, but it is mostly trying to guess when your show will close.  The producers of Big Fish are in just that position. How do they save this show?  

Step one: Grab TV viewers with an ad that highlights the more traditional aspects of a Broadway musical.  In this case, pay close attention to dance numbers, cross-cutting steps with the elements of fantasy - a giant, whirling witches, dancing elephant asses - that are a large part of this performance.  Make those scenes a rapid fire feast of visual wonders - leggy lines of all-American chorus girls, sexy chorus cowboys, tons of scenery.

Step two: Make those viewers believe it is a critical success - after all, how many of them read theatre reviews?  Say them aloud as they flash on the screen.

Step three:  Add a clever tag line - something about living life in "full bloom" - as you see a stage erupt in golden daffodil blossoms, as man and woman - obviously the heroes of the story - embrace and look adoringly into each others' eyes.  If you know the show or the book or the movie, you might get the joke outright.  But what fun for people who buy tickets, see the show and then get it, right? 

Grade: C+



I have to admit I was surprised that they didn't invoke the ghosts of shows past.  You know, something along the lines of "from the Tony-winning director of The Producers" or "starring two-time Tony-winner Norbert Leo Butz."  But then I thought about it... the vast majority of theatre-goers are casual theatre-goers.  Why waste any of your 31 seconds on a director no one knows by name or an actor that isn't a TV or film star?  If you are reading this, you know who Ms. Stroman and Mr. Butz are, and how great they are.  But to reach the widest possible pool of ticket buyers, you don't waste time name-dropping.  A wise choice.

Despite that, I can't help but feel that the ad is just like the show.  Much ado about almost nothing.

Jeff
5.039

Monday, October 28, 2013

HOT or NOT Round 6: A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder

Diabolical hi jinx! Zany chases!  Mistaken identities!  Murder and mayhem! And love... It's the newest musical to hit Broadway... it's A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder!  Tony-winner Jefferson Mays heads the ensemble cast, which also includes Bryce Pinkham, Lisa O'Hare and Lauren Worsham.  Now in its preview period, this little musical has been a smash hit all over the country.  Sounds like part Drood, The 39 Steps and just a dash of One Man, Two Guvnors.  Will it take the Great White Way by storm?  Well, that remains to be seen.  But until the critics and audiences weigh in, YOU have a job to do...

For the sixth time this season, it is up to you to decide who moves on to the finals in our quest for THE HOTTEST MUSICAL CAST OF 2013 - 2014!  Objectifying, I guess, but really also just silly fun.  That said, let me remind you that "HOT" is not just based on beauty or matinee idol looks or a killer bod.  Also up for consideration is their performance, their "buzz-worthy-ness," and the trajectory of their career.  Is their role this time around a milestone or a misery?  Are the chat rooms a-buzz with delight or humming with impending doom?  HOT to look at isn't enough to make it into the finals - even the cutest can be a "NOT"!  To see who has already made the finals, click HERE.

Now, without further ado, here is the cast of A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder!  To see their pics, scroll past the poll.  THIS POLL WILL CLOSE AT NOON ON SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 3rd! (Be sure to click "Done" at the bottom of the poll to make your vote count!)

ON A SCALE OF 1 (ICE COLD) TO 10 (SMOKIN' HOT) 
WHO IS "HOT" AND WHO IS "NOT"?





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LEADING ACTOR
Jefferson Mays

FEATURED ACTOR
Bryce Pinkham

FEATURED ACTRESS
Lisa O'Hare, Lauren Worsham, Jane Carr

MALE ENSEMBLE
Eddie Korbich, Jeff Kready, Price Waldman

FEMALE ENSEMBLE
Joanna Glushak, Jennifer Smith, Catherine Walker

MALE AND FEMALE SWING
Mark Ledbetter, Pamela Bob

REMEMBER: THIS POLL WILL CLOSE ON SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 3 AT 6 PM!

Jeff
5.038


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