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Andrew Rannells returns to 'Girls,' reveals what show is really about (and his first celeb crush) -- VIDEO


Elijah is back on Girls starting Sunday, and Andrew Rannells, who’ll appear in the remainder of season 3 and be a regular in season 4, couldn’t be happier about it. Elijah runs into Hannah (Lena Dunham) on the street in the Hamptons — or Hamptons adjacent — and after they make nice, she invites him and his friends (including Elijah’s new boyfriend played by Danny Strong) over to the house, where she and the girls fail to table their issues.

There may be some tense scenes in the episode, but when Rannells stopped by EW to chat, he was all laughs. Watch him share a story about a passerby telling him what Girls is really about below. Then, because we can’t get enough of him, watch the Tony nominee — who’ll play Carnegie Hall with Stephanie J. Block and the New York Pops on March 21 —  confess his first celeb crush and go-to karaoke song in the EW Pop Culture Personality Test.

And bonus! Because it’s hilarious, listen to him visit EW Radio (SiriusXM 105) and chat with Entertainment Weekly‘s Marc Snetiker about the Glee-related tweet that sent him into a rage and how he used to torture Josh Gad during The Book of Mormon. (NSFW language alert!) READ FULL STORY

Andrew Rannells, Jonathan Groff, Laura Benanti, and more star in Russia's fake Broadway musical -- VIDEO


How does a community band together to protest Russia’s anti-gay legislation? A musical, of course.

Dozens of New York stage stars have produced a fake musical that finds Russia’s fictional Broadway community (“The Great Red Way,” as they say) staging a protest show in response to the Russian government stance on homosexual propaganda via theatrical performance. In the U.S., who better to satirize than a group of musical theater actors?

There’s a little something for everyone here: Jonathan Groff and Jeremy Jordan as two ill-fated Olympians, Laura Benanti and Stephanie J. Block as lesbian astronauts, Michael Cerveris as a soliloquizing Putin, and Michael Urie giving his best Chorus Line. Tons of Broadway performers and creatives lent their support to the hilarious fictional musical, directed by John Walton West and composed by Jason Michael Snow — the same guys who brought us last year’s Downton Abbey: The Musical.

But despite the comedy, there’s a real social message here, and the Broadway community (which has never shied away from using art as activism, à la the Prop 8 musical) is the perfect group to tackle the gravely important anti-gay issues that are at the forefront of the conversation as we enter the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. Perhaps narrator Rannells (bringing the ushanka back) sums it up best: “If we can help bring joy, inspire, and call people on bullsh–, that’s a night of theater.”

Watch the clip below:

'Scandal,' 'Girls' stars help TV Academy celebrate LGBT characters in primetime

Primetime television has come a long way since 1972, when the ABC sitcom The Corner Bar became the first show on American television to feature a recurring gay character. Last night, the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences hosted a panel to honor the many accomplishments of the LGBT community in primetime television since that time and discuss the many steps still needed for complete equality both on and off screen.

The event, “10 Years After The Prime Time Closet — A History of Gays and Lesbians on TV,” was moderated by author Stephan Tropiano, whose book chronicles LGBT characters in television history, but noted that so much had already changed since he first published the book a decade ago and why he had the idea for the event. The panel included Dan Bucatinsky (Scandal), Laverne Cox (Orange Is the New Black), Wilson Cruz (My So-Called Life), Paul Colichman (CEO, Here Media), Christy Dees (VP Development for Bravo), Andrew Rannells (Girls, The New Normal), Sherri Saum (The Fosters), and Amber Tamblyn (Two and a Half Men) all discussing their personal experiences and the strides already made in the LGBT community in television programming and beyond.

'New Normal': Why we should all worship Andrew Rannells

Nana had her first orgasm. David’s mom (guest star Jackie Hoffman) came to visit. Shania ate wasabe…and then puked up wasabe. But the most important thing that happened tonight was that this sitcom ditched the bitchiness for actual laughs and emotion. Of course, Ellen Barkin’s Nana had some of the best (and okay, yes, bitchy) line of the episode (including one of my favorites lines of any show this year: “We get it Jennifer Garner. You take your kids to the park.”), but the success of this show (hello, full season pickup today!) can really be credited to the genius Andrew Rannells. Not only did he work a pair of turquoise pants to perfection (not easy), he killed every single line (even the not hilarious ones make you laugh with his delivery) and gave some much-needed heart to the show with that heartbreaker of a close-up while calling his estranged mother. I didn’t think he could possibly be as good on TV as he was on stage in The Book of Mormon and then  came along and he proved his brilliance. Ryan Murphy did himself many favors by casting Rannells, the one consistently great part of an uneven show.

Speaking of uneven, let’s talk about uneven screen time. As in, a lot less for Goldie, an even teenier amount for Shania, and none at all for Rocky? Personally, I didn’t miss any of them tonight, though I usually do love my Nene Leakes. The show seemed to have more focus without needing to hand out one-liners to everyone on the payroll. All in all, good show. Strong promise for the future. Now, who on earth is going to play Bryan’s mom? What did you all think of tonight’s episode? Are you as obsessed with Andrew Rannells as I am?


'The New Normal': Chat live with Andrew Rannells during tonight's ep at 9:30 ET

Break out the coffee! Actor Andrew Rannells is set to chat live with you tonight on viEWer at 9:30 p.m. Eastern/6:30 p.m. Pacific. He’ll be taking your questions and adding his running commentary to the latest episode of his NBC comedy, The New Normal. We know you’re going to have a lot to ask him, so Andrew will probably have to multitask as much as his New Normal alter ego, the harried TV producer Bryan, who decides to have a baby with his gynecologist partner David (Justin Bartha).

As any theater geek can tell you, last year Andrew shot to stardom with his role as fresh-faced, caffeine-averse Elder Price in Broadway’s The Book of Mormon. He’d previous played Bob Gaudio in the touring production of Jersey Boys and Link Larkin in the Broadway production of Hairspray. Along with a recurring gig on HBO’s Girls as the new roommate of Lena Dunham’s Hannah, The New Normal represents his live-action television debut. So get your questions ready for him and see you at 9:30 Eastern/6:30 Pacific!

Click Here to Access Andrew Rannells Live Chat

More on The New Normal:
‘The New Normal’: Six things to know about NBC’s new comedy
‘The New Normal’ premiere review: Will you be spending more time with this family?
‘The New Normal’ sneak peek: 5 takeaways

On the scene at 'Book of Mormon' Fan Day (and Josh Gad's last show!)

“What is theatre? No, I’m just f—ing with you.” South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone couldn’t have chosen a better way to greet the masses of fans that packed the Broadway house at The Book of Mormon’s second annual Fan Day performance. The audience was comprised of more than a thousand Mormon enthusiasts who had previously lost the daily ticket lottery, but were lucky enough to land a coveted spot at the June 6 performance, which was created as an opportunity to give back to the show’s legions of followers.

“You can just tell the vibe, even walking in, how excited people are that they’re having this opportunity,” said star (and 2011 Tony Award winner) Nikki M. James backstage, where the audible buzz from the fans waiting beneath the marquee carried through the dressing rooms. “Everyone in that [theater] is celebrating how cool and fun this show is,” added co-star Rory O’Malley. “And it’s the closest that I’ll ever come to feeling like a rockstar.”

Although leading men Andrew Rannells and Josh Gad (who used Fan Day as his final performance before departing the production) received said rockstar welcomes when they entered the stage door, the Mormon fans waiting outside weren’t the rabid, wild bunch that you might expect—but you can probably chalk that up to exhaustion, as the line-up for the open-seating performance began as early as midnight. READ FULL STORY

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