Friday, April 18, 2014


THIS WEEKEND’S HIGHLIGHTS
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Friday, April 18

* Rachel Bonds’ Five Mile Lake, directed by Daniella Topol, featuring Corey Brill, Nate Mooney, Rebecca Mozo, Nicole Shalhoub and Brian Slaten, opens at Costa Mesa’s South Coast Rep.

* Nick Blaemire’s A Little More Alive, directed by Sheryl Kaller, featuring Daniel Jenkins, Van Hughes, Michael Tacconi, Lindsay Mendez and Kayla Foster, with Jenny Powers, Stephen Kunken, Christian Maldini, Patrick Gibbons and Lukas Parrish, opens at Kansas City Rep.

* Valerie Vagoda, Brendan Milburn & Joe DiPietro’s Ernest Shackleton Loves Me lab presentation, directed by Lisa Peterson, starring Valerie Vigoda and Wade McCollum, opens at Seattle Rep.

* Bekah Brunstetter’s Be A Good Little Widow, directed by Sara Botsford, featuring Caroline Aaron, Trey McCurley. Larisa Oleynik and Donovan Patton, opens at North Hollywood’s NoHo Arts Center.

Albert J. Repicci’s Honor Bound, directed by Josh Iacovelli, featuring Ross DeGraw, Christine Marie Heath, Anthony Laciura, Justin RG Holcomb and Nicole M. Carroll, begins previews at Off-Broadway’s St. Luke’s Theatre.

Cats, directed & choreographed by Dana Salimando, featuring Kelly Provart, Todrick Hall, Dane Wagner, Clent Bowers and Karl Warden, with Madison Mitchell, Chryssie Whitehead, Neil Dale, Nina Schreckengost, Colette Peters, Derek Lewis, Lauren Decierdo, Daniel Dawson, Brian Steven Shaw, Jamie Joseph, Steven Agdeppa, Melvin Ramsey, Hannah Simmons, Autumn Crockett, Jenna Wright, Jake Dupree and Tiffany Reid, previews at CA’s La Mirada Theatre.

* Gene Kelly: The Legacy, An Evening with Patricia Ward Kelly event, at 8 PM at Pasadena Playhouse (also Apr. 19).

* Susan Egan: The Belle of Broadway concert, with special guest Burke Moses, at 11 PM at 54 Below.

Saturday, April 19

* James Goldman’s The Lion in Winter, directed by Stephanie Vlahos, featuring Ian Buchanan and Mariette Hartley, with Brendan Ford, Justine Hartley, Doug Plaut, Paul David Story and Paul Turbiak, opens at Burbank’s Colony Theatre.

* Cats, directed & choreographed by Dana Salimando, featuring Kelly Provart, Todrick Hall, Dane Wagner, Clent Bowers and Karl Warden, with Madison Mitchell, Chryssie Whitehead, Neil Dale, Nina Schreckengost, Colette Peters, Derek Lewis, Lauren Decierdo, Daniel Dawson, Brian Steven Shaw, Jamie Joseph, Steven Agdeppa, Melvin Ramsey, Hannah Simmons, Autumn Crockett, Jenna Wright, Jake Dupree and Tiffany Reid, opens at CA’s La Mirada Theatre.

* Nora & Delia Ephron’s Love, Loss, and What I Wore, directed by Jenny Sullivan, with a rotating cast featuring Nancy Dussalt, Conchata Ferrell, JoBeth Williams, Rondi Reed, Ashlie Atkinson, Sandra Tsing Loh, Hattie Winston, Hannah-Beth Jackson, Paula Christensen, Kathryne Dora Brown, Deidrie Henry, Valisia LeKae, Amanda McBroom, Megan McGinnis, Marianna Palka, Lauren Patten, Krysta Rodriguez and Akira Dann, opens at CA’s Rubicon Theatre.

* Edward Albee’s A Delicate Balance, directed by Robin Larsen, featuring Susan Sullivan and David Selby, with O-Lan Jones, Mark Costello, Lily Knight and Deborah Puette, begins previews at LA’s Odyssey Theatre.  

* Kevin Murphy & Dan Studney’s Reefer Madness benefit concert, directed by Ilana Ransom Toeplitz, featuring Alan Cumming, Christian Campbell, Thomas Dekker, Constantine Maroulis, Telly Leung, Harry S. Murphy, Allison Scagliotti, Kevin Carolan and America Olivo, at 11:59 PM at Off-Broadway’s New World Stages.

* Gene Kelly: The Legacy, An Evening with Patricia Ward Kelly event, at 2 & 8 PM at Pasadena Playhouse.

* Brett Ryback’s Songs I Wrote concert,with special guests Lesli Margherita, Julia Mattison, Alex Brightman, Janet Krupin, Justin Matthew Sargent, George Salazar, Dakin Matthews, Claybourne Elder and Melissa Van der Schyff, at 11 PM at 54 Below.

* Craig Adams & Nona Sheppard’s Thérèse Raquin, directed by Sheppard, featuring Julie Atherton, Tara Hugo, Ben Lewis and Jeremy Legat, with Lila Clements, Claire Greenway, Ellie Kirk, Gary Tushaw, Verity Quade and Matt Wilman, closes at London’s Finborough Theatre.

* Cool Rider in Concert, directed by Guy Unsworth, featuring Ashleigh Gray and Aaron Sidwell, with Stewart Clarke, Luke Fetherston, Joshua Dowen, Harry Francis, Hannah Levane, Bronte Barbe, Lucinda Lawrence, James Darch, Fela Lufadeju, Katy Hards, Lisa Ritchie, Jak Allen Anderson, Joseph O’Reilly, Danielle Mullan, Simone Murphy and Parisa Shahmir, closes at London’s Duchess Theatre.

* Rattlestick Playwrights Theater‘s Ode to Joy, written & directed by Craig Lucas, featuring Kathryn Erbe, Roxanna Hope and Arliss Howard, closes at Off-Broadway’s Cherry Lane Theatre.

Michael Roberts’ Greed: A Musical for Our Times, directed by Michael Scott, featuring Stephanie D’Abruzzo, with Julia Burrows, Neal Mayer and James Donegan, closes at Off-Broadway’s New World Stages.

TACT/The Actors Company Theatre‘s Beyond Therapy, by Christopher Durang, directed by Scott Alan Evans, featuring Mark Alhadeff, Cynthia Darlow, Jeffrey C. Hawkins, Liv Rooth, Karl Kenzler and Michael Schantz, closes at Off-Broadway’s Beckett Theatre.

* Liz & Ann Hampton Callaway‘s Sibling Revelry, with music direction by Alex Rybeck, closes at 54 Below.

* Lucy Arnaz‘s Spring is Here closes at NYC’s Café Carlyle.

Sunday, April 20

* Roundabout‘s Violet, by Jeanine Tesori & Brian Crawley, directed by Leigh Silverman, featuring Sutton Foster, Joshua Henry, Colin Donnell, Alexander Gemignani, Ben Davis, Annie Golden and Emerson Steele, opens at Broadway’s American Airlines Theatre.

* Martin McDonagh’s The Cripple of Inishmaan, directed by Michael Grandage, starring Daniel Radcliffe, with Ingrid Craigie, Pádraic Delaney, Sarah Greene, Gillian Hanna, Gary Lilburn, Conor MacNeill, Pat Shortt and June Watson, opens at Broadway’s Cort Theatre.

* Fiasco Theater’s Two Gentlemen of Verona, directed by Jessie Austrian & Ben Steinfeld, featuring Jessie Austrian, Noah Brody, Paul L. Coffey, Zachary Fine, Andy Grotelueschen and Emily Young, opens at DC’s Folger Theatre.

* The Mysteries, conceived & directed by Ed Sylvanus Iskandar, written by 48  playwrights: Billy Porter, David Henry Hwang, Craig Lucas, José Rivera, Jeff Whitty, Mallery Avidon, Trista Baldwin, Erin Courtney, Yussef El Guindi, Amy Freed, Sean Graney, Nick Jones, Qui Nguyen, Jenny Schwartz, Marc Acito, Johnna Adams, Liz Duffy Adams, Bill Cain, CollaborationTown, Jorge Ignacio Cortiñas, Eisa Davis, Gabriel Jason Dean, Chris Dimond, Madeleine George, Kate Gersten, Peter Gil-Sheridan, Sevan K. Greene, Kirsten Greenidge, Lillian Groag, Jordan Harrison, Lucas Hnath, Ann Marie Healy, Meghan Kennedy, Kimber Lee, Kenneth Lin, Laura Marks, Ellen McLaughlin, Michael Mitnick, Don Nguyen, Dael Orlandersmith, A. Rey Pamatmat, Max Posner, Kate Moira Ryan, Najla Said, Matthew Stephen Smith, Lloyd Suh, Jason Williamson and Bess Wohl, performed by The Bats (The Flea’s resident acting company), opens at Off-Broadway’s Flea Theater.

* Tranport Group‘s I Remember Mama, by John Van Druten, directed by Jack Cummings III, featuring Barbara Andres, Barbara Barrie, Alice Cannon, Lynn Cohen, Rita Gardner, Heather MacRae, Marni Nixon, Letty Serra, Dale Soules and Phyllis Somerville, closes at Off-Broadway’s Gym at Hudson.

* Terrence McNally’s Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune, directed by Chris Hanna, starring Lena Kaminsky and Reese Madigan, closes at Norfolk’s Virginia Stage.

* Musical Theatre West‘s ‘S Wonderful: The New Gershwin Musical, created & directed by Ray Roderick, featuring Rebecca Ann Johnson, Damon Kirsche, Ashley Fox Linton, Jeff Skowron and Rebecca Spencer, closes at Long Beach’s Carpenter PAC.

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Reviews  Reviews for Act One at Broadway’s Vivian Beaumont Theatre:

NY Times (Ben Brantley):  ”If on­ly the Tony Awards nomi­nat­ing com­mit­tee would see fit to ex­pand its cat­e­go­ries, I could con­fi­dent­ly pre­dict at least two em­i­nent­ly de­serv­ing win­ners… The statue goes to Tony Shal­houb and San­ti­no Fon­tana, who viv­idly and per­sua­sive­ly share the part of the the­ater ad­dict and ar­ti­san Moss Hart in Act One, which opened in a Lin­coln Cen­ter The­ater pro­duc­tion on Thurs­day night.  Since Hart is the heart of Act One, which has been warm­ly adapt­ed by James Lap­ine from Hart’s 1959 mem­oir of the same ti­tle, Mr. Shal­houb and Mr. Fon­tana’s shim­mer­ing per­for­mances are rea­son enough to cel­e­brate — and to heave a sigh of re­lief. If the live­ly but overblown pro­duc­tion that sur­rounds them isn’t al­ways up to their high stan­dards, I’m still not grous­ing… what­ever its flaws, Act One, which Mr. Lap­ine al­so di­rect­ed, brims con­ta­gious­ly with the in­ef­fa­ble, ir­rational and ir­ref­uta­ble passion for that endangered religion called the Theater.”

NY Daily News (Joe Dziemianowicz):  ”The new Moss Hart bioplay, Act One, is affectionate, handsome and overstuffed. Clocking in at close to three hours, this love letter to a homegrown writer and his rags-to-riches rise needs extra postage… Even though Act One could use pruning, there’s something missing: It never reveals what made Hart special. Story structure? Colorful characters? Snappy dialogue? The basic fact should be the starting point, but it’s missing in action here.”

Chicago Tribune (Chris Jones):  ”Watching James Lapine’s long, laborious and, well, hackneyed, Lincoln Center adaptation of Hart’s book, you are constantly struck by the notion that Hart himself, had he been a creative consultant on the project, would have been leaping out of his seat, ready to cut some of his own scenes (plenty!), rewrite others and restage almost everything, being a fellow who understood the difference between autobiography and a work for the theater, between life and carefully constructed artifice. He knew the dance around the archetype without its actual embrace, the revelation of joy and the sorrow that cuts the treacle. And he would, I think, have been pushing for many more truths along with many more laughs.”

Variety (Marilyn Stasio):  ”Moss Hart has a lot to answer for.  Just think how many future brain surgeons and rocket scientists were lost, lured to Gotham to pursue a theater career after reading Act One, the eminent Broadway playwright-director’s captivating 1959 showbiz autobiography. Still, Hart can’t be blamed for the missteps of playwright-director James Lapine in adapting that seminal book. Having learned the tricks of the trade from the great George S. Kaufman, Hart would surely have taken a scalpel to this verbose, unwieldy, overacted production — but kept the spotlight on winning star turns by Santino Fontana and Tony Shalhoub.”

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GRACE NOTES Exclusive!

Interview:  Caroline Aaron:  Don’t come in on a horse, just come in, by Rob Stevens.

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The 2-disc album of Ahrens and Flaherty’s Nice Fighting You: A 30th Anniversary Celebration Live At 54 BELOW (recorded last September) will be released June 3.

Performers:  Lynn Ahrens, Annaleigh Ashford, Stephanie J. Block, Liz Callaway, Kevin Chamberlin, Quentin Earl Darrington, Stephen Flaherty, Lewis Grosso, Julie Halston, Jeremy Jordan, LaChanze, Kecia Lewis, Rebecca Luker, Marin Mazzie, Sean McCourt, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Jessica Molaskey, Bobby Steggert and Mary Testa.

Order  Pre-order the 2-disc album here.

Track List:
1. At The Beginning/Patter – Lynn Ahrens And Stephen Flaherty
2. Journey To The Past – Liz Callaway
3. Waiting or Life – LaChanze
4. Mama Will Provide – Kecia Lewis
5. Rain – Quentin Earl Darrington
6. Love Who You Love – Jessica Molaskey
7. The Cuddles Mary Gave – Sean McCourt
8. The Streets Of Dublin – Sean McCourt
9. Rita’s Confession – Mary Testa & Stephen Flaherty
10. Fancy Meeting You Here – Mary Testa
11. Ballerina – Stephanie J. Block
12. Dancing Still – Jeremy Jordan
13. Raining (Hamburg Version) – Lynn Ahrens
14. Raining – Liz Callaway
15. Speaking French – Marin Mazzie
16. Times Like This -Liz Callaway
17. The Show Biz – Kevin Chamberlin & Lewis Grosso
18. Alone In The Universe – Kevin Chamberlin & Lewis Grosso
19. Solla Sollew – Kevin Chamberlin
20. Green Eggs & Ham – Kecia Lewis
21. Never Really Knew The Guy – Liz Callaway
22. Close But No Cigar – Annaleigh Ashford & Bobby Steggert
23. White Milk & Red Blood – Kecia Lewis
24. Larger Than Life – Bobby Steggert
25. Funny/The Joke – Annaleigh Ashford & Julie Halston
26. Something Beautiful – Rebecca Luker
27. Sarah Brown Eyes – Brian Stokes Mitchell & LaChanze
28. The Night That Goldman Spoke At Union Square – Bobby Steggert
29. Of My Own – LaChanze
30. Wheels Of A Dream – Brian Stokes Mitchell & LaChanze
31. Ragtime (Piano Solo) – Stephen Flaherty
32. Make Them Hear You – Quentin Earl Darrington
33. Goodbye My Love/Back To Before – Marin Mazzie
34. I Was Here – Brian Stokes Mitchell
35. How Lucky We Are – Lynn Ahrens & Stephen Flaherty

Arrow Album release party: Mon. May 12 at 54 Below.

7 PM: Liz Callaway, Louis Grosso, Julie Halston, Brian Michael Hoffman, Kecia Louis, Sean McCourt, Janet Metz, Mary Testa and Margo Seibert

9:30 PM: Liz Callaway, Louis Grosso, Julie Halston, Brian Michael Hoffman, Kecia Louis, Sean McCourt, Janet Metz, Bobby Steggert, Mary Testa, Margo Seibert and Andy Karl

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Extended  Stephen Cole’s Inventing Mary Martin, featuring Cameron Adams, Lynne Halliday, Jason Graae and Emily Skinner, has been extended through May 25 at Off-Broadway’s York Theatre.

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Celebrating a Musical Legend: Ervin Drake at 95! will take place Fri. Apr. 25 at 8 PM at Port Washington, NY’s Landmark on Main Street, with music direction by Jon Weber and hosted by Charles Grodin.

Performers:  Dee Dee Bridgewater, Carole J. Bufford, John Gabriel, Eric Yves Garcia, Anita Gillette, Jeff Harnar, Christine Lavin, Sidney Myer, T. Oliver Reid, Steve Ross, Joe Sirola, KT Sullivan, Stacy Sullivan, Leslie Uggams and Sal Viviano.

This special event will benefit the Gold Coast Arts Center and Landmark on Main Street, two non-profit arts organizations in the Town of North Hempstead, where Mr. Drake has lived for many years.

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Star Statue - smallBoston’s 2014 Elliot Norton Award nominations:

Visiting Production:
* Mies Julie (Baxter Theatre Centre, presented by ArtsEmerson)
* Waiting for Godot (Gare St Lazare Players and Dublin Theatre Festival, presented by ArtsEmerson)
A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Bristol Old Vic in association with Handspring Puppet Company, presented by ArtsEmerson)

Production by a Large Resident Theater:
All the Way (American Repertory Theater)
The Heart of Robin Hood (American Repertory Theater)
Venus in Fur (Huntington Theatre Company)

Production by a Midsize Theater:
Tribes (SpeakEasy Stage Company)
Imagining Madoff (New Repertory Theatre)
The Cherry Orchard (Actors’ Shakespeare Project)

Production by a Small Theater:
Windowmen (Boston Playwrights’ Theatre)
How We Got On (Company One)
The Flick (Company One)

Production by a Fringe Theater:
Punk Rock (Zeitgeist Stage Company)
The Normal Heart (Zeitgeist Stage Company)
The Libertine (Co-Produced by Bridge Repertory Theater and Playhouse Creatures Theatre Company

Actor, Large Theater:
* Bryan Cranston, All the Way (American Repertory Theater)
* Bongile Mantsai, Mies Julie (Baxter Theatre Centre, presented by ArtsEmerson)
* Denis O’Hare, An Iliad (Homer’s Coat, presented by ArtsEmerson)

Actress, Large Theater:
* Hilda Cronje, Mies Julie (Baxter Theatre Centre, presented by ArtsEmerson)
* Andrea Syglowski, Venus in Fur (Huntington Theatre Company)
* Christina Bennett Lind, The Heart of Robin Hood (American Repertory Theater)

Actor, Midsize Theater:
* John Kuntz, The Whale (SpeakEasy Stage Company)
* Steven Barkhimer, The Cherry Orchard (Actors’ Shakespeare Project)
* Jeremiah Kissel, Imagining Madoff (New Repertory Theatre)

Actress, Midsize Theater:
* Erica Spyres, Tribes (SpeakEasy Stage Company)
* Georgia Lyman, The Whale (SpeakEasy Stage Company)
* Marianna Bassham, The Cherry Orchard (Actors’ Shakespeare Project)

Actor, Small or Fringe Theater:
* Phil Gillen, Punk Rock (Zeitgeist Stage Company)
* Alex Pollock, This Is Our Youth (Gloucester Stage Company), Windowmen (Boston Playwrights’ Theatre), The Flick (Company One)
* Victor Shopov, The Normal Heart (Zeitgeist Stage Company)

Actress, Small or Fringe Theater:
* Maureen Adduci, The Normal Heart (Zeitgeist Stage Company)
* Brenna Fitzgerald, The Flick (Company One)
* Cloteal Horne, How We Got On (Company One)

Musical Production by a Large Theater:
* Once (Broadway in Boston)
The Jungle Book (Huntington Theatre Company)
Witness Uganda (American Repertory Theater)

Musical Production by a Midsize, Small or Fringe Theatre:
Thoroughly Modern Millie (Stoneham Theatre)
It’s a Horrible Life (Gold Dust Orphans)
Hairspray (Wheelock Family Theatre)

Musical Performance by an Actor:
* Andre De Shields, The Jungle Book (Huntington Theatre Company)
* Paul Melendy, It’s a Horrible Life (Gold Dust Orphans)
* Francis Jue, Miss Saigon (North Shore Music Theatre)

Musical Performance by an Actress:
* Melody Betts, Witness Uganda (American Repertory Theater)
* Aimee Doherty, On the Town (Lyric Stage Company of Boston), Hairspray (Wheelock Family Theatre)
* Ephie Aardema, Thoroughly Modern Millie (Stoneham Theatre)

Ensemble, Large Theater:
All the Way (American Repertory Theater)
The Heart of Robin Hood (American Repertory Theater)
The Seagull (Huntington Theatre Company)

Ensemble, Midsize, Small or Fringe Theater:
Punk Rock (Zeitgeist Stage Company)
Windowmen (Boston Playwrights’ Theatre)
Hairspray (Wheelock Family Theatre)
Thoroughly Modern Millie (Stoneham Theatre)

Director, Large Theater:
* Gisli Örn Gardarsson, The Heart of Robin Hood (American Repertory Theater)
* Mary Zimmerman, The Jungle Book (Huntington Theatre Company)
* Yael Farber, Mies Julie (Baxter Theatre Centre, presented by ArtsEmerson)

Director, Midsize Theater:
* M. Bevin O’Gara, Tribes (SpeakEasy Stage Company)
* Ilyse Robbins, Thoroughly Modern Millie (Stoneham Theatre)
* Melia Bensussen, The Cherry Orchard (Actors’ Shakespeare Project)

Director, Small or Fringe Theater:
* Summer L. Williams, How We Got On (Company One)
* David J. Miller, Punk Rock and The Normal Heart (Zeitgeist Stage Company)
* Shawn LaCount, The Flick (Company One)

New Script:
Windowmen, by Steven Barkhimer (Boston Playwrights’ Theatre)
Absence, by Peter M. Floyd (Boston Playwrights’ Theatre)
Breaking the Shakespeare Code, by John Minigan (Vagabond Theatre Group)

Elliot Norton Prize for Sustained ExcellencePaul Daigneault (SpeakEasy Stage Company)

Click here for the complete list of nominations.

The Awards will be presented Mon. May 19 at 7 PM The Wheelock Family Theatre.

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It’s Magic: The Life and Music of Doris Day, starring Kelly Lester, will be presented Sun. Apr. 27 at 8 PM at LA’s Rockwell Table & Stage.

Click here to learn more about the show.

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Additional casting has been announced for Jordan Harrison’s Margerie Prime, to run Sept. 10 – Oct. 19 (0pening Sept. 21) at LA’s Mark Taper Forum, directed by Les Waters (replacing Pam MacKinnon).

Previously announced:  Lois Smith.

Newly announced: Lisa Emery and Frank Wood, with one more role TBA.

Marjorie Prime asks exquisite questions about the difference between a life lived and a life remembered in this compassionate, haunting drama.  Marjorie is a clever, wry woman who, at age 85, finds that her memory is failing. She is living out her days at an assisted living facility where she is frequently visited by her anxious, quick-witted daughter, Tess (Lisa Emery), and her kind, easygoing son-in-law, Jon (Frank Wood). With the urging of Jon and the facility and despite Tess’ misgivings, a mysterious young man, Walter, joins the group with the hope that he can help reverse Marjorie’s decline.  Through an ingenious series of shifting realities, Walter’s nature is revealed, and the family’s memories gently unfold into a cathartic meditation on life and loss, and the desire to keep our dearly departed with us.”

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Video  Video: Allison Case, Adam Chanler-Berat, Patti Murin, and more preview Playwrights Horizon’s Fly By Night.

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The Drama League Directors Project has announced the exceptional stage directors who have been selected as the 2014 Fellows:

Zi Alikhan, Melissa Crespo, John Michael DiResta, Ellie Heyman, Lavina Jadhwani, Michael Leibenluft, Michael Osinki, Hannah Ryan, Teya Sugareva, Caitlin Sullivan, and Emma Weinstein.

The eleven recipients, who will spend the next year as part of the award-winning program, have been accepted into four different programs of study: New York Directing Program, the Hangar Directing Program (a partnership with the Hangar Theatre in Ithaca, NY), the Musical Directing Program (a partnership with Barrington Stage Company in Pittsfield, MA), and the Classical Directing Program (a partnership with Shakespeare & Company in Lenox, MA).

Click here for more information.

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Death Note, the new Frank Wildhorn-Jack Murphy musical based on the Japanese manga series, received a New York workshop this week in anticipation of a 2015 Tokyo premiere.

Cast: Andy Kelso, Drew Gehling, Robert Cuccioli, Adrienne Warren, Deborah Lew, Eric Anderson, Jackie Burns, Alysha Deslorieux, Sean Jenness, Sara King, Dan Kohler, Adam Pribila, Rashidra Scott, Sara Sheperd and Jason Wooten. 

The new musical is “based on the wildly popular Japanese comic book series about a high school student who finds a notebook that allows him to kill anyone whose name is written within its pages.” ‘Death Note’ was created by writer Tsugumi Ohba and manga artist Takeshi Obata.

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Off-Broadway’s Second Stage Theatre Uptown will present the New York premiere of Bess Wohl’s American Hero, to run May 12 – June 8 (opening May 22), directed by Leigh Silverman.

Cast: Ari Graynor, Jerry O’Connell and Erin Wilhelmi.

“At a toasted subs franchise in the local mall, three up and coming ‘sandwich artists’ — a teenager, a single mom, and a downsized refugee from corporate banking — are perfecting the mustard to cheese ratio according to the company manual. But when their shot at the American dream is interrupted by a series of strange events, they become unlikely allies in a post-recession world. American Hero is a supersized dark comedy about life, liberty and the pursuit of sandwiches.”

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New York City Ballet‘s May 8 Gala at the Koch Theater will feature performances by “Frozen” star Kristen Bell, who will offer selections from Carousel.

In addition to a world premiere ballet by Justin Peck that features a score by singer-songwriter Sufjan Stevens, the gala will showcase works that were staged during the first performance at the State Theater (now the David H. Koch Theater) on April 23, 1964, including George Balanchine’s “Allegro Brillante” and Stravinsky’s “Fanfare for a New Theater.”

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A reading of Ryan Gielen’s Under The Boardwalk will be presented Tues. Apr. 22 at 7 PM at Off-Broadway’s Peter Jay Sharp Theater.  RSVP (required, although tickets are free): tickets@believetheatrical.com.

Cast: Sam Underwood, Dru Johnston, Vanessa Vache, Charlotte Booker, Katy Wright-Mead and Rob Bradford.

The play is a “biting adult comedy about a husband who tries to jump start his faltering marriage with a winter beach getaway. Joined by his parents and best friend, old jealousies and sexual desires ignite when a beautiful, mysterious woman joins the group. The couple’s sex life and ultimately marriage hang in the balance as they not-so-skillfully navigate their way through a long weekend of great wine and questionable company.”

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Ken Davenport’s The Awesome 80s Prom will return for five Saturday evening performances at New York’s new Club 42West (formerly XL Nightclub, 514 West 42nd Street).

Performance dates (all at 8 PM):
May 17
May 31
June 21
July 26
Sept. 20

Casting TBA.

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Lilla Crawford, who will star as Little Red Riding Hood in the upcoming film adaptation of Into the Woods, will offer an audition workshop May 4 in NYC from Noon -5 PM.  The audition workshop is recommended for theatre students ages 8-14 and is $295.

“Students will have the chance to work with Lilla Crawford and Philip Pelkington on their individually chosen audition song, and receive individual feedback and coaching in both technique and stage presence.”

For more information and to register:  bwybound@gmail.com.

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Ok then…..

James Franco, who stars as George in Broadway’s Of Mice and Men, wasn’t satisfied with a review by The New York Times theatre critic Ben Brantley. Franco wrote a comment about the review from his official Instagram account (which has since been removed), which was captured by Vanity Fair’s Richard Lawson (below).

Franco wrote: “Sadly Ben Brantley and the NYT have embarrassed themselves. Brantley is such a little bitch he should be working for Gawker.com instead of the paper of record. The theatre community hate him, and for good reason, he’s an idiot.”

Now, Brantley has responded to Franco’s remarks. He told the New York Observer: “I like Franco’s work on film a lot, and he didn’t disgrace himself on stage. I hope he returns to Broadway some day. And of course he’s entitled to say whatever he likes about me, as long as it’s not libelous, and somehow I don’t think ‘little bitch’ qualifies.”

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Geoffrey Rush will star as composer Lionel Bart (Oliver!) in an upcoming biopic, directed by Vadim Jean. Filming is set to begin this fall.

Jean says the film is “a full-blown musical, and we’re using versions of his songs in ways that you’ve never heard before. The idea is to place the songs — some very well-known, others less so — into situations that help tell his story.”

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David Byrne & Fatboy Slim’s Here Lies Love, the musical which received its world premiere at NYC’s Public Theater last year and has recently resumed performances there for an open-ended commercial run prior to an official opening May 1, is London-bound.

It is set to transfer to the National Theatre to launch the Dorfman Theatre (formerly the Cottesloe) in October, after an extensive refurbishment as part of the NT Futures project.

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Matthew-Lee Erlbach’s Kevin Lamb will receive an industry-only reading, produced by the Vineyard Theatre, on Mon. Apr. 21 at 3 PM at Off-Broadway’s DR2 Theatre, directed by Michael Berresse.

Cast: Margo Seibert, Adriane Lenox, Chris Sarandon, Sheldon Best and Peter Francis James.

“The play takes place on Christmas Eve on Chicago’s North Side. Racial tensions run high as two families cope with a deadly altercation between a white University of Chicago professor and a young black student, Kevin Lamb.”

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The fourth annual Night of a Thousand Judys, benefiting the Ali Forney Center, will take place Mon. June 16 at 8 PM at NYC’s Merkin Concert Hall.

Performers: Jane Monheit, Sarah Dash, Rory O’Malley, Julia Murney, Erin McKeown, Gabrielle Stravelli, with more TBA.

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