"I want any kid who is watching to know that your biggest may turn into your purpose."

- Ari'el Stachel, Best Featured Actor in a Musical - The Band's Visit

"Just because you are a minority doesn't mean you're only meant to play roles that are a minority."

-Lindsay Mendez, Best Featured Actress in a Musical - Carousel


Wednesday, June 20, 2018

A David Yazbek Revue...

Many of Broadway's biggest musical talents have had revues done of their works - From Maltby and Shire (Closer Than Ever), Rodgers and Hammerstein (A Grand Night For Singing), Kander and Ebb (And the World Goes 'Round) and Andrew Lloyd Webber (The Music of Andrew Lloyd Webber) to the Grand Poo bah of catalogue revues, Stephen Sondheim (Putting It Together, Sondheim on Sondheim, etc.).

Well, David Yazbek may almost be ready for his. After all, he's four for four in Tony nominations, and of course one of those just turned him from Tony-nominee to Tony-winner. Over the years, I've made no bones about professing my love for this man's work.  I was hooked about 10 notes into the unoverture overture of The Full Monty.  I can honestly say that I find all four of his complete scores to be enjoyable - his tunes are ear candy, his lyrics are witty and evocative. And all four have elevated their cinematic source material in wonderfully theatrical ways, too.

So, if I were to create a musical revue of his works (so far) here's what I'd include... a mix of his big, funny numbers, his intimate character ballads and a few numbers to choreograph...

Something Different: The David Yazbek Musical

Prelude: "Something Different (Reprise)" The Band's Visit

  • Overture from The Full Monty
  • "Give Them What They Want" - Dirty Rotten Scoundrels
  • "Big-Ass Rock"The Full Monty
  • "Tangled" - Women On The Verge Of A Nervous Breakdown
  • "A Woman's World" - The Full Monty
  • "Time Stood Still"Women On The Verge Of A Nervous Breakdown
  • "Omar Sharif" - The Band's Visit
  • "Invisible" - Women On The Verge Of A Nervous Breakdown
  • "Here I Am"Dirty Rotten Scoundrels
  • "What Is a Woman To Do?"Dirty Rotten Scoundrels
  • "On the Verge"Women On The Verge Of A Nervous Breakdown

  • "Waiting" The Band's Visit
  • "Welcome to Nowhere" The Band's Visit
  • "Model Behaviour" Women On The Verge Of A Nervous Breakdown
  • "Scrap" The Full Monty
  • "Dirty Rotten Number" Dirty Rotten Scoundrels
  • "Great Big Stuff" Dirty Rotten Scoundrels
  • "Breeze Off the River" The Full Monty
  • "Papi Hears the Ocean" The Band's Visit
  • "Michael Jordan's Ball" The Full Monty
  • "Answer Me" The Band's Visit

What would you include that I missed?  Or what might you cut that I included? Who would you cast? Let me know:

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

CD Review: Once On This Island (New Broadway Cast)

Image result for once on this island revival recording cover
The score to Once On This Island was one of my favorites of the 90's, and it is probably my favorite of all of Aherns and Flaherty's oeuvre. It is alternately exciting, moving and transporting. The Original Cast Recording was one I used to play so much, it annoyed my friends and family. I never did see the original production, so I would look at the production photos and try to visualize what was happening. Well, when I finally saw the now Tony-winning revival, it was a transforming, mesmerizing experience.  Seeing what goes with the score was just so wonderful.  I suspect that this production will spoil me for all future viewings. (Thank you, Michael Arden!)

The New Broadway Cast Recording does not disappoint, either.  The lavish CD, chock full of Joan Marcus' stunning photos and Robbie Rozell's excellent design, makes reliving the show very easy. But I have to admit, listening to it in the dark is my favorite way to experience the exotic world of Ti Moune, Daniel and the Gods.

Grade: A+

Title: Once On This Island
Artist: New Broadway Cast 
Label: Broadway Records
Number: BR-CD09318
Format: Single CD
Case: Single Jewel Case
Booklet: Full color, 33 pages.  Complete lyrics. CD package design by Robbie Rozell. Production photos by Joan Marcus.  Cover Artwork by AKA. Essay by David Gordon. Album produced by Lynn Aherns, Stephen Flaherty, Elliot Scheiner, Hunter Arnold, Ken Davenport and WitzEnd Productions. Executive producer Van Dean.

It's not really a surprise that the cast sounds terrific - Hailey Kilgore, Kenita R. Miller, Phillip Boykin and Isaac Powell are vocal standouts, and Alex Newell  does a better job with  "Mama Will Provide" here than he did when I saw the show. The real treat here (and again, even better in the dark) is listening to the ensemble and instruments. The orchestrations by Annmarie Milazzo and Michael Starobin, with the fun of John Bertles and Bash the Trash's "unusual instruments" are literal music to the ears.

Even if you haven't seen the show (what the heck are you waiting for?) this cast recording is worth listening to.

Where you can get it: Amazon (currently $14.99); iTunes ($12.99)

Monday, June 18, 2018

Excited About The Broadway Summer Season

There's a mini-season happening this summer on the Great White Way! 5 shows will have opened between the end of last season and Labor Day.  There's a little bit of something for everyone: comedy, drama, a jukebox musical, a musical based on a movie, and - gasp! - an original musical! There are Broadway and Hollywood stars galore, too!

Here's what I think about each, and what, if anything, I plan to do about each. AFTER that, there's a fast survey for you to share your thoughts.

The Boys in the Band - (Booth Theatre - Opened May 31. Closes August 11) Comedy/Drama; Revival; Stage and Screen Stars. My take: I already have tickets! I'm excited to see the cast, and it's an important play in gay history.  August 4th can't get here fast enough!

Gettin' The Band Back Together - (Belasco Theatre - Previews July 19. Opens August 13) Original Musical; Some Stage Stars. My take: I have no interest in it. This show has the whiff of It Shoulda Been You without the star power. And have you heard the songs on their website? Yikes!

Head Over Heels - (Hudson Theatre - Previews June 23. Opens July 26) Jukebox Musical; Some Stage Stars, Some Up and Comers. My take: It's on my must-see list. Okay, like most of you, these jukebox musicals are really starting to wear thin, and the quality is waning. But I love Rachel York, and I've enjoyed watching Andrew Durant's star rise. And I really enjoy the Go-Gos. Plus the creative staff attached to this is impressive. Could be great. Could be a hot mess. Either way, it should be memorable.

Pretty Woman: The Musical - (Nederlander Theatre - Previews July 20. Opens August 16) Musical based on a movie; Broadway Stars. My take: It's on my must-see list. So, it isn't PC to want to see this, I'm hearing. But I love the movie. To me, she's the one saving him, not the other way around. Be that as it may, I also love the people attached to this. Who doesn't love Andy Karl, Orfeh or Jason Danieley? PLUS the chance to see Samantha Barks and Bryan Adams' Broadway debuts? Sign me up! And Jerry Mitchell always puts on an entertaining show.

Straight White Men - (Helen Hayes Theatre - Previews June 29. Opens July 23. Closes September 9) Comedy; Big Hollywood Stars. My take: I hope to see it. Given its short run, chances are I'll miss it. But between the provocative title, a hot (as in trendy) young playwright, and the casting of three of my favorite actors, Tom Skerritt, Armie Hammer and Josh Charles, I'll be following this one closely.

Now it's your turn! Pick the ONE best descriptor for each of the Broadway Summer shows, then be sure to click "Finish Survey" in the orange box below the survey box! 

Friday, June 15, 2018

The Friday 5: Jeff's 5 Favorite Things About the 2018 Tonys

Mike and I did very well with our Tony Awards pics this year - better with the "Should Win"s than the "Will Win"s, which makes us both very happy. And this year, my favorite show actually won Best Musical! That makes me happy, too! But those weren't my 5 favorite things about the 2018 Tonys...

Jeff's 5 Favorite Tony Awards Things

5. Laurie Metcalf winning for Three Tall Women
I don't think anyone was more surprised than Metcalf herself when her name was called.  If it couldn't be Angels' Denise Gough, I'm glad it was Laurie Metcalf. Hers was an intense, in the moment, and yet unadorned performance, and worthy of a second statue in as many years.

4. Josh Groban and Sara Bareilles as Hosts
In a world coming undone with craziness, intensity and dumb-assery, it was nice for a change to have moments of quiet adoration of the art form being celebrated. And smart, funny songs. And self-deprecating humor.  All of it was good for this viewer. (And the picture above... letting the costumes tell the joke. Good stuff!)

3. Glenda Jackson's Acceptance Speech
Classy. Smart. Pointed. Low key. Gracious. Like I said, classy.

2. Ari'el Stachel winning for The Band's Visit
I knew when I saw The Band's Visit the first time, that Ari'el Stachel's performance was special and Tony-worthy. The only real surprise, for me, was that the Tony voters got this one right. His tearful and poignant acceptance speech was the cherry on top of the sundae.

1. Once On This Island winning Best Revival of a Musical
I can't remember the last time I was so thrilled, shocked and happy over a show winning an award. It was the best revival by a mile, and it was both earned and deserved. Beautiful theater. Risk-taking theater. Genuinely creative and inspiring in its humanity. The world needs more of this.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Ms. Broadway June 2018: Ariana DeBose

These days, she's dancing under the mirror ball in her Tony-nominated turn as Disco Donna in Summer.  But audiences have been dazzled by this versatile triple-threat in such wide-ranging roles as Eponine (in a regional production of Les Miserables directed by Terrence Mann) and the Leading Player (in the Pippin revival). And that's not all - she was in Bring It On, Motown, A Bronx Tale: The Musical, and a little show called Hamilton.  She's building quite a resume and a critical following.  It's no wonder Ariana DeBose is Ms. Broadway June 2018!

Birth Date/Place: January 25 in North Carolina
Education/Training: Western Carolina University/CCand Company Dance Complex
Other Credits:So You Think You Can Dance (2009 - Top 20); New York Philharmonic Company (with Neil Patrick Harris)











Wednesday, June 13, 2018

The Broadway Boys: Mr. June 2018: Anthony Boyle and Sam Clemmett

They are, arguably, in the biggest play to hit Broadway since Angels in America, bringing to life the next generation of characters in, arguably, the biggest literary juggernaut of the last 25 years. One plays the son of the heroic Harry Potter; the other plays the son of Harry's nemesis. Both are causing quite a sensation in their Broadway debuts. This month, we celebrate the boys of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Parts One and Two, Sam Clemmett and Tony-nominee Anthony Boyle. Congratulations, to both of you, Mr. Broadway June 2018.


  • Birth Date/Birth Place: October 1, Brundall, England
  • Training: Norwich Theatre Royal


  • Birth Date/Birth Place: June 8, Belfast, Northern Ireland
  • Training: Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama
  • Awards: Olivier for Harry Potter; Tony nomination for Harry Potter

Winning the Olivier



Lord of the Flies

Nivelli's War


Wendy and Peter Pan

East Belfast Boy


Taming of the Shrew

Albus and Scorpius meet Hermione!
(Clemmett, Boyle and Emma Watson)

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...