Tag Archives: Great White Way

One life too many

Cats is coming back to Broadway this summer.

image

Even the article announcing the news wondered why.

When the show originally opened,  the Great White Way was struggling. Cats helped revive the musical and Broadway.

Both are flourishing now.

I think the current generation is okay experiencing this show elsewhere.

I know I certainly am.

I’m still laughing

It’s Only a Play, which is currently in previews at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre on Broadway, has an embarrassment of stars in its cast.

F. Murray Abraham. Matthew Broderick. Stockard Channing. Rupert Grint. Nathan Lane. Megan Mullally.

it's only a play

And the book by Terrence McNally is hilarious — as topical as this week’s headlines and taking swings at every celebrity in Hollywood (including a few on stage).

The laughs just keep on coming.

But if you are lucky enough to experience this hysterical evening, the real star is the one face you don’t recognize in the photo — newcomer Micah Stock, who makes his Broadway debut amongst this group of A-listers. His deadpan delivery, spot-on timing and musical number (that is a perfect send-up of Broadway itself) brought down the house and the actors on stage.

It’s Only a Play, but it’s the best one I’ve seen in years.

All hail Hedwig

I approached yesterday’s matinee performance of Hedwig and the Angry Inch with my share of doubts.

Not about Neil Patrick Harris — he can do anything.

But drag performers are the latest rage on Broadway. Last year’s Tony-winning Kinky Boots gave them both their entrance and their legitimacy. The decision to put up the revival of Hedwig now seems a bit like ‘joiner’ behavior.

Not gonna judge it sight unseen, though…especially with Neil at the helm.

HedwigThe first few numbers are fast and fun and full of Neil’s familiar charm and humor, so it’s easy to think you’re just watching him do  fantastic drag.

Then Neil simply disappears as Hedwig’s story takes center stage, one filled with loss and love, pain and power, disfigurement and metamorphosis.

Neil is supported on stage by a great rock band — one guy is from Lexington, Kentucky! — and Lena Hall, who also won a Tony for her drag performance.

But the show is all about Neil.  All about Hedwig.

He is mesmerizing.

Here comes the smolder

I went to see “First Date,” the new Broadway musical starring Zachary Levi of Chuck and Tangled fame…because it stars Zachary Levi of Chuck and Tangled fame.

Just keepin’ it real.

first date broadway

The show’s premise had potential, too.  Two people set up by friends meet on a blind date, their pasts swirling in the air between them.

I mean literally between them…in the form of five other cast members, who play multiple roles throughout the show — patrons in the restaurant, a waiter, mother, grandmother, sister, best friend, fiancé, father — and help them deal with the issues you face on any first date.

What to order. What to talk about.  What not to talk about.  And how to tell the other person that you just want to be friends.

Oh…that.

With the exception of the opening number — which was a tad bit thin — the show was clever, upbeat and a lot of fun.  I laughed and laughed.  Zachary’s comedic timing was as spot on as ever, and First Date showcases his voice and surprising dance moves.

His leading lady Krysta Rodriguez, who I learned from Playbill was on the now defunk Smash, was equally strong, and the supporting cast all had a chance to shine.

I would love to tweak a few of the jokes that fell flat, but even without my help…

It’s a keeper.

Shining stars

The lights on Broadway are a bit darker today…

…and not just because it’s Monday.

Hugh Jackman, Daniel Radcliffe and John Larroquette all completed their highly successful runs in Hugh Jackman: Back on Broadway and How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying respectively.

Living down the street, I was fortunate to see both shows multiple times.  They deserved all the critical and audience acclaim that was heaped upon them (much by me right here on The Egg).

But one stat from Jackman’s show deserves yet another mention.

While he earned over $14.6 million dollars during his 10-week run at the Broadhurst — setting records for that theatre alone — he also raised a record $1.8 million for the charity Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.

I saw him raise $60,000 in one evening alone, auctioning simple meet-and-greets after the show.

The 2012 Broadway season has a hard act to follow!

Spirit stick

Do you remember the very first DVD you ever owned?

I do.

I had just bought a combo VHS/DVD player — back when they were still pretty pricey — and a friend gave me the campy cheerleader cult classic Bring it On.  (It wasn’t a classic back then; just campy.)

It also wasn’t a musical, but it is now, and not on Broadway. My west coast friends have the bragging rights to this one.

Bring it On: The Musical may be playing at the Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles through December 10th, but they have recruited a bunch of Broadway award-winners to their team:

  • Tony Award-winning writer Jeff Whitty (Avenue Q)
  • Tony Award-winning composer Lin-Manuel Miranda (In The Heights)
  • Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning composer Tom Kitt (Next to Normal)
  • Tony Award-winning director/choreographer Andy Blankenbuehler (In The Heights)

It’s gotta be good, right?

Tweets from audience members, both celebrity and ‘regular folk,’ have been very enthusiastic. The critics appear to have their doubts.

But it’s early yet.  There’s lots of time to polish.  Bring it On: The Musical is on a national tour, although no Broadway dates appear to be scheduled.

Yet.

I’m sexy, I’m cute,
I’m popular to boot.
I’m wanted, I’m hot,
I’m everything you’re not,
I’m pretty, I’m cool,
I dominate this school,
Who am I? Just guess,
Guys wanna touch my chest,
We cheer and we lead,
We act like we’re on speed,
Hate us ’cause we’re beautiful,
Well we don’t like you either,
We’re cheerleaders,
We are cheerleaders.

Here’s to love

I have discovered the next Broadway hit.

It happened last night, quite by accident, while I was still basking in the glow of Sunday’s incredibly entertaining Tony Awards.  (A lineup of stellar performances + The Book of Mormon’s awards domination + the incomparable Neil Patrick Harris = GREATNESS.)

I plopped down on the couch for an evening of sloth, and what did I find on HBO?

Down with Love

Did you see it?  This 2003 romantic comedy was an homage to the 1960’s sex comedies starring Rock Hudson and Doris Day.

In Down with Love, Renee Zellweger plays a bestselling author who advises her readers to ‘give up men,’ a credo much at odds with journalist Ewan McGregor’s playboy lifestyle.  The two get involved in a relationship that is not what it appears.  Hilarity ensues.

I love this movie.  The script is smart and funny and filled with double entendres.  (These are my people.)  In one scene, the two leads work out separately yet together via split-screen; the effect is very, very naughty.

The costumes and set design are amazing as well.  The characters live in a New York City that alternates between cotton candy pastels and race car brights, not unlike the world imagined in this year’s Broadway smash How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying.

I imagine Down with Love as a musical; the movie was not, although Zellweger and McGregor did sing the title song over the movie credits.  And both can sing.

Oh, to have Ewan McGregor on Broadway.  Tony-winner David Hyde Pierce was in the movie version as well.

This may be my best idea to date.  Let’s bring Down with Love to the Great White Way!

Save our slice

Say it isn’t Sbarro.

The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday that the pizza chain may file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy as early as next week.  They are seeking something called ‘debtor-in-possession’ financing from a group of hedge funds to keep the stores open and operating while in bankruptcy.

I for one hope they find the sauce they need.

It’s not that Sbarro is my favorite restaurant.  The pizza biz in New York City is crowded and highly competitive; you can find a better pie at several places in my neighborhood alone.

But Sbarro is the slice I associate with Times Square.

Long before I lived in Manhattan, my trips into the city were for one thing and one thing only:  theatre.  We would jam two or more plays into a day, if the show times allowed.

And when you’re running from venue to venue, grabbing a slice at Sbarro was quick and cheap and satisfying.  I’m sure it still is for the legion of tourists who overwhelm the theatre district every single day (except maybe Mondays).

Call me nostalgic, but I can’t imagine Broadway without Sbarro.  Let’s find the bucks, people, and help them keep their slice of the Great White Way.

Yawn Broadway

The lights on Broadway were glowing a bit brighter this week after its 2010 numbers were announced.

Bigger revenues.  Higher attendance. The Great White Way must be doing something right.

Or is it?

The top money makers have been around a long, long time.  Wicked.  The Lion King.  Jersey Boys.  The Phantom of the Holy-Crap-People-Are-Still-Going-To-See-The Opera.

It’s not to say that many of these productions aren’t wonderful.  I would see Wicked once a week if I had tickets.  (I would see Phantom if it were deemed the appropriate punishment for a truly, evil deed committed.)

But I sometimes feel like the audiences visiting New York City exhibit the same caution towards their theater ticket purchase as they do what street to walk down in Times Square.

Always taking the safe route, the tried and true, and — more and more so — Disney-approved.

So by the time the Tony Awards roll around in June, many of the shows nominated will have already closed due to low audience turnout.

Case in point:  Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson.

Bloody was a smash hit Off-Broadway and made the leap to the Great White Way earlier this year.  Critics loved it.  Audiences?  They went to Wicked and Lion King, which I saw in previews in 1994.  That’s 1994.

Come on, people.  You’ve seen the movie.  You probably own the movie.  Your kid lost their stuffed Simba before they started college.

Bloody was funny and irreverent and semi-educational.  And, yes, just edgy enough to remind you all…

You’re in New York City.

High note

Every year, movie actors come to Broadway to explore their craft, and Broadway welcomes them with open arms (to exploit their popularity and sell tickets).

Hey, we all know it’s true.

How many stars of movie and television have made their ‘Broadway debut’ years into their careers and gotten lackluster reviews?

Sadly, Broadway often comes out on top in this equation. Audiences will still fill the seats, even if the movie actor isn’t all that good. Let’s face it — we love a train wreck as much as a triumph, and add a celebrity and some Milk Duds to the carnage, and…

That’s entertainment!

Luckily, the revival of “Lend Me a Tenor” on Broadway, which is loaded with actors you know and love from movies and television, leaves no blood on the Great White Way.  Just lots and lots of laughs.

How refreshing to see this great comedy played to its fullest potential!

And while the audience in attendance last night no doubt expected great things from Tony Shaloub (“Monk”) and Anthony LaPaglia (“Without a Trace”), they saved the standing ovation for Justin Bartha, formerly known as the underused groom in “The Hangover” and Nicolas Cage’s assistant with the funny one-liners  in the “National Treasure” movies.

Now?

Call him a Tony nominee.