PopWatch Entertainment Weekly's PopWatch Blog

Tag: Broadway Q&A (1-10 of 13)

Andrew Rannells talks 'Hedwig' pressure, 'Girls' Broadway connections

Broadway’s most exhilarating rock concert burst onto the boards earlier this year when Neil Patrick Harris stepped into the silky fishnets of Hedwig and the Angry Inch, earning a Tony for the role and ushering the East German rocker into the hands of a new generation of fans. After Harris departed the show in August, The Book of Mormon veteran Andrew Rannells was tapped to fill Hedwig’s high heels. To say his turn is electric, heartbreaking, and wholly different from Harris’ would still be underselling the performance.

With TV turns on Girls (as gay frenemy Elijah) and How I Met Your Mother and movie appearances in Bachelorette and The Intern, Rannells’ return to his theater roots is a thrill for fans and for the actor himself. EW paid a visit to Rannells’ dressing room backstage at the Belasco Theatre to quiz the Tony nominee about his Broadway return.

EW: I went running five days ago and my legs hurt, and I just had pad thai for lunch, and now I feel gross. Do my pitiful body woes make you laugh?
ANDREW RANNELLS:
 Oh, please. No! This is certainly unlike any show I’ve ever done before and has very unique challenges, but this is sort of what I was used to for so long, this schedule and this physicality. There’s something about it that feels really normal for me, to snap back into this eight-show-a-week thing. 

Is the snap reminiscent of Mormon, or eight shows a week dancing in the chorus of Hairspray?
In terms of the pain… there are moments in The Book of Mormon. I remember doing “All American Prophet,” which is that song in the middle of the first act where I was just running all over the stage and there were a million words and nothing ever repeated. It was hard as hell to learn, and doing that and thinking please, Jesus, let me survive through this. If I don’t die in the middle of this number, it’ll be a good one. But the crazy thing about this show is that, really, the anticipation of it starting is the worst part. Because once you’re doing it and you’re in it, it’s fine, and it moves really quickly once it starts, but it’s that gearing up to do it—that’s stressful.

Do the nerves kick in when you get here for make-up?
Until the second I set foot on stage. READ FULL STORY

Meet the new Mormons: Ben Platt and Nic Rouleau are on a mission in Broadway’s biggest musical

Nic Rouleau couldn’t get a ticket to The Book of Mormon.

Like the stories you’ve no doubt heard about the wildly popular, box office-busting Broadway show, tickets are one of New York’s hottest commodities, and they have been since the record-breaking musical opened just three years ago. So Rouleau turned to the show’s daily lottery system — about 2 dozen tickets offered raffle-style to eager patrons, 98 percent of whom will leave disappointed — and lucked his way into the Eugene O’Neill Theatre that way. READ FULL STORY

'Of Mice and Men': Chris O'Dowd on laughing with James Franco and killing Leighton Meester (on stage)

You recognize him from Bridesmaids, The IT Crowd, Family Tree, Girls and plenty more, but Irish comic Chris O’Dowd has switched gears for his latest role.

He’s playing Lennie, the gentle half of a pair of migrant ranch workers who lead John Steinbeck’s classic Depression-era novella Of Mice and Men. In the newest Broadway revival of the play, O’Dowd makes his Broadway debut opposite James Franco (as the pragmatic George) and Leighton Meester (as a seductive, nameless flirt) in the Anna D. Shapiro-directed production, which opens April 16 at the Longacre Theatre.

Above, check out an exclusive first look at one of the most famous scenes in the play, wherein Lennie and Curley’s wife share a fateful moment in a barn loft. Below, O’Dowd chats with EW about the nerves behind his Broadway debut and how he clicked with Franco and Meester. READ FULL STORY

'Aladdin': The original Jafar talks musicals, hanging with Ursula, and the 'brutal' scene you didn’t see

Last month, an incredible story hit the web about a young autistic child who was able to connect with his father because of a shared bond over Disney movies. The story went viral, but there was someone behind the scenes who is perhaps the reason it was ever written in the first place—Jonathan Freeman, a celebrated member of the Disney family who met the father and son after a performance in Broadway’s Mary Poppins.

While chatting with EW about his role in Disney’s latest Broadway outing Aladdin (in which he’ll reprise his original voice part as the villainous vizier Jafar), the story of Owen and Ron Suskind was just one delightful anecdote that Freeman offered when it comes to his Disney roots. And in fact, the veteran stage actor has kept his Mouse House relationship close to his heart.

Since voicing Jafar in 1992, Freeman has frequently returned to reprise the role whenever the villain pops up in the Disney realm (which is, surprisingly, fairly often). On stage, Freeman has appeared in three of Disney’s Broadway musical endeavors, but his fourth outing is particularly special as he takes up Jafar’s iconic turban once again in the big-budget live-action musical Aladdin, which opened on March 20 at Broadway’s New Amsterdam Theatre.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: You said when you first were presented with the idea of reprising Jafar on stage, you were apprehensive. What was your initial hesitation?
JONATHAN FREEMAN: Except for Alan Menken, there wasn’t going to be anybody on the project from 23 years ago, and although that seemed like a great thing for the show and a challenge even for me, I wasn’t sure that I had anything new to bring to the table. And I think that was all it was. And then the first time we had a read-through with the company in Seattle three years ago, I heard all these new voices with all these new ideas. I heard things differently.

READ FULL STORY

Daniel Radcliffe on his dark Broadway return and why a movie-musical could be next

Few actors have managed to transcend the roles that made them famous the way Daniel Radcliffe has. Even before he hung up his Harry Potter robes, Radcliffe began undertaking a handful of challenging roles that were, whether intentional or not, significant departures from the boy wizard. Particularly when it comes to his work on stage, Radcliffe’s moves have been brave and bold, baring it all in Equus and charming audiences with surprising musical chops in How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.

His third time on Broadway is now at hand — he’ll star in Martin McDonagh’s pitch-black comedy The Cripple of Inishmaan, which begins performances April 12 at the Cort Theatre — and Radcliffe is eager to get back to the stage. EW stole a few minutes of his time on the set of Frankenstein to chat about reprising his role, the lessons he’s picked up on Broadway, and what other role is at the top of his wish list.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: You must have genuinely loved doing Cripple of Inishmaan in London to reprise it over here. What makes you most excited to pick up Billy’s hat again?
DANIEL RADCLIFFE: It was all in all a really, really great experience last year. I love the play, I’ve worked on Broadway shows twice now, and I love working and living in New York. It’s one of those situations where the chance to spend a lot of time in a city that I love doing a play that I love was really, really exciting. READ FULL STORY

'Kinky Boots' star Billy Porter previews his new CD, duet with Cyndi Lauper -- EXCLUSIVE FIRST LISTEN

Billy-Porter-Kinky-Boots.jpg

To say it’s been a good year for Billy Porter would be an understatement. The Broadway star achieved critical acclaim for his role as “Lola” in the Cyndi Lauper/Harvey Fierstein hit musical Kinky Boots, which will celebrate its one year anniversary this April. Porter also secured a well-deserved Tony Award in 2013, as well as a Grammy for the show’s original cast album, and is now planning to release his first solo album in almost a decade. Titled Billy’s Back On Broadway, the debut CD from Concord Records will be released April 15, featuring a collection of classic Broadway tunes with a new, inspired twist.

EW sat down with the actor to find out the details behind what inspired him to create his CD, and get his thoughts on what has been, in his words, “an amazing time” on Broadway. Hit the jump for more and to hear an exclusive first-listen of Porter’s duet with Lauper.
READ FULL STORY

k.d. lang reflects on her big band Broadway debut in 'After Midnight'

Four-time Grammy winner k.d. lang is finishing up her run in the dance-heavy Broadway tapper After Midnight, having taken over for Fantasia Barrino as the second in a string of starry guest artists.

Singing classics like “Stormy Weather” and “I Can’t Give You Anything But Love,” the show is a callback to lang’s jazz roots — and it’s an opportunity she’s relished as she prepares to end her Broadway debut. (lang will perform through Sunday, March 9, and the show will then welcome Toni Braxton and Babyface.) Before she packs up for good, lang chatted with EW about the lessons learned during her stint on Broadway.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: When you’re on the Broadway stage, what are the biggest differences you’ve noticed from your other shows?
k.d. lang: Certainly the energy of the cast and the high intensity of the show rubs off, and that’s a wonderful thing. I love the energy of the dancers and certainly the energy of the big band. That’s pretty new for me. READ FULL STORY

'The Bridges of Madison County': Jason Robert Brown talks bringing the acclaimed book to the stage

Jason Robert Brown just might be one of the busiest individuals currently on the theater scene. The composer and lyricist, best known for his off-Broadway hit The Last Five Years, is currently preparing for the release of the musical’s film adaptation and is also on track to bring a new production to the stage: a musical comedy called Honeymoon in Vegas, based on the 1992 film of the same name starring Sarah Jessica Parker and Nicolas Cage. In addition, his newest Broadway offering, The Bridges of Madison County, just opened at the Schoenfeld Theatre.

EW talked to the talented composer and writer about the process of bringing Bridges to the stage, and also about his excitement about bringing one of his most popular musicals to the silver screen. READ FULL STORY

Broadway Q&A: Fantasia Barrino on sexy jazz and learning to tap dance in 'After Midnight'

You definitely know Fantasia Barrino from her breakout days on American Idol, but the talented Grammy winner is now far beyond the reach of reality TV — instead, she’s tearing up the stage and delivering a truly show-stopping performance in her second endeavor on Broadway in the new musical After Midnight, celebrating the world of the Harlem jazz clubs of old.

Barrino is the first in a rotating guest star roster, meaning that she’ll only be dazzling audiences for a few months before k.d. lang joins the show (Feb. 11 – Mar. 9) followed by Babyface and Toni Braxton (Mar. 18 – 30). There’s no doubt that the revue is a fun ride for the audience, but we wanted to know whether Barrino was having as much fun onstage as it looks. And the answer, unsurprisingly, is yes.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: What do you love about this show and what gets you excited when you think about what you’re a part of?
FANTASIA BARRINO: I love everything about this show, let me say that. Everything! The dancers, Dormeshia [Sumbry-Edwards] and Jared [Grimes]; the simple things like “Creole Love Call,” how beautiful that is. It has no words but just hearing [Carmen Ruby Floyd] sing it gave me so many different emotions. I was like that the entire play! READ FULL STORY

Ian McKellen talks his 'last outing to Broadway' and saying goodbye to Gandalf

Sir Ian McKellen has never long been out of the public’s eye (thanks, X-Men and The Hobbit!), but it’s been over a decade since we last saw the stage great on Broadway. This year, he’s teaming up with longtime friend Sir Patrick Stewart for a pair of plays in repertory — Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot and Harold Pinter’s No Man’s Land — opening at the Cort Theatre on November 24. EW chatted with McKellen about Broadway, Stewart, Gandalf, YouTube, and why this opening night may be his last.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Welcome back to Broadway! How has it changed since you last tread the boards?
IAN MCKELLEN:
I first came in 1967 in a play that had been a huge success in London with Judi Dench, and we brought it here and it lasted for 27 performances. Oh dear, oh dear, I never wanted to come back here again. Well, I did come back here again, and eventually I came back with Amadeus, which was the hit show of the 1981 season. And then you feel that you belong to New York and New York belongs to you, and that’s what you always hope for. But I’ve had my ups and my downs. What I particularly like about Broadway is the camaraderie and the friendship of other people in other shows. Everybody knows you’re opening and cares about you. There’s a real village atmosphere. READ FULL STORY

Latest Videos

Advertisement

From Our Partners

TV Recaps

Powered by WordPress.com VIP