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Tag: Broadway (51-60 of 292)

A brief history of 'Turkey Lurkey Time,' the best turkey-related Broadway song you don’t know -- VIDEO

As Thanksgiving dinner looms, allow me to take you back into the Broadway vault with the legend of “Turkey Lurkey Time,” an unassuming dance number from a late ’60s musical that has reached iconic status in the musical theater world. Quite frankly, I can’t think of another song in the Broadway lexicon that co-exists with “Turkey Lurkey” in that unique space between wondrous and WTF.

The song is from a 1968 show called Promises, Promises – a musical adaptation of the 1960 classic The Apartment – which featured music by Burt Bacharach, lyrics by Hal David, and a book by Neil Simon. The show follows insurance salesman Chuck Baxter as he gets caught up in the corporate ladder by offering his bosses the use of his apartment for romantic trysts.

During the show’s out-of-town runs in New Haven, Connecticut, and Boston, the creators were having a hard time ending the first act; the show was already running long, and the creative team was stumped. Enter choreographer Michael Bennett, a rising star who had six Broadway credits but hadn’t yet shined (he would later go on to choreograph and direct A Chorus Line and Dreamgirls). Neil Simon equated him to an eager college football player begging the coach to be let in the game. The team gave him a chance, and so, inspired by West Side Story genius Jerome Robbins, Bennett and his assistant Bob Avian took Bacharach’s quickly written “Turkey Lurkey Time” and transformed it into a legend.

Behold, “Turkey Lurkey Time” as performed by the original cast on the 1968 Tony Awards:
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James Franco and Chris O'Dowd to make Broadway debuts in 'Of Mice and Men'

Hollywood golden boy James Franco and Irish comedian Chris O’Dowd will make their Broadway debuts this spring in a new revival of John Steinbeck’s literary classic Of Mice and Men.

Franco will star as George, a sharp-witted migrant field worker who dreams of a better life during the Great Depression. Bridesmaids breakout Chris O’Dowd will make his debut opposite Franco as the gentle, mentally disabled Lennie. Additional casting for the play’s other iconic roles (including Slim, Candy, Curley, and his wife) — as well as members of the design team — will be announced soon.

Tony-winning director Anna D. Shapiro (August: Osage County) is set to direct the play, which has not been seen on Broadway since a 1974 revival starring James Earl Jones. Steinbeck’s stage adaptation of his 1937 novel first premiered that same year at the Music Box Theatre.

Of Mice and Men will begin previews at Broadway’s Longacre Theatre on March 19, 2014. Opening night is slated for April 16, and the limited engagement is scheduled to end July 27.

Kristin Chenoweth, Glenn Close, Cynthia Nixon, and more put a 'Spotlight on Broadway' -- VIDEOS

If you’re an unmitigated, unapologetic theater geek like me, stepping into a Broadway theater isn’t merely a rite of passage, but a fully immersive religious experience. Having had much experience working inside many of the 40 spaces between 41st Street and 65th Street in Manhattan, you often get asked the question, “How old is this theater?” Now, thanks to the remarkable, painstakingly comprehensive new website Spotlight on Broadway, you can geek out as well by not only answering them, but explaining the entire architectural and production history of each and every one of the 40 theaters that currently occupy the Great White Way.

Spotlight on Broadway was launched this fall as a project of the NYC Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment, and if you are a Broadway Baby in any way, this will become as addictive to you as Candy Crush Saga in no time (except your brain will thank you). Among the many features on the website in addition to the concise five-minute mini-documentaries on each Main Stem theater are conversations with theater professionals (including very specific duties like Child Actor Guardian and Dance Captain), easy-to-use visual scrolls through theater facades and interior designs, dozens of photos of past and present productions featured throughout, and talent galore expounding on past projects, including Nathan Lane, Jeremy Irons, Laura Linney, David Hyde Pierce, Sutton Foster, Tony Kushner, and, of course, the dulcet tones of the one and only Harvey Fierstein.

Just to give you a taste of what to expect, here are two of the 40 featurettes on the Broadway houses, and after digesting these, get ready for some serious Broadway bingeing.

You can visit the official Spotlight on Broadway website here.

Click below to see Glenn Close, Cynthia Nixon, and more discuss the history of the Schoenfeld Theatre:
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Sutton Foster sets Broadway return in musical 'Violet'

Two-time Tony winner (and former Bunheads sweetheart) Sutton Foster is heading back to Broadway and re-teaming with Roundabout Theatre Company two years after she earned her second Best Actress in a Musical win for Roundabout’s 2011 revival of Anything Goes.

Foster will star in a new Broadway staging of Violet, directed by Leigh Silverman. The gospel/country/rock/R&B musical boasts a score by Jeanine Tesori and a book and lyrics by Brian Crawley. The show is based on Doris Betts’ short story “The Ugliest Pilgrim,” which tells the tale of a disfigured girl named Violet who follows an Oklahoma televangelist whom she believes can heal her. READ FULL STORY

'Six by Sondheim': Darren Criss, Jeremy Jordan, and America Ferrera sing 'Merrily We Roll Along' -- EXCLUSIVE VIDEO

Theater fans, Gleeks and Ugly Betty mourners (I’m all three), get ready to lose your minds!

On Dec. 9, HBO premieres Six by Sondheim, a brand-new documentary that profiles arguably the greatest composer in contemporary musical theater, Stephen Sondheim. Directed by frequent Sondheim collaborator James Lapine and produced by former Times theater critic Frank Rich, the doc takes a deep look at six of Sondheim’s greatest songs, deconstructed and defined by Sondheim himself. READ FULL STORY

Preview 'Natural Woman' and more from Broadway's new Carole King musical 'Beautiful' -- VIDEO

Beautiful-Jessie-Mueller.jpg

You know what I’ve heard most about the new Broadway musical Beautiful? For all the great songs recorded by singer Carole King, there are dozens more that she wrote that you might not even have even known were hers. That will all change with the arrival of Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, a long-in-the-works project that bounces its way onto Broadway this week with red-hot rising star Jessie Mueller in the title role as music icon King.

All of King’s iconic hits will spring to life on the Broadway stage in the show, which boasts a book by Douglas McGrath, direction by Marc Bruni and choreography by Josh Prince. It’s the infectious music that will get you buzzing, and EW’s got a sneak peek at several songs from the ‘60s tuner.

Below, get a hypnotic musical taste of what’s to come from the ever-stunning Mueller and the stacked cast, which includes Degrassi vet Jake Epstein, Anika Larsen, and Jarrod Spector. The clips include Mueller’s take on “Will You Love Me Tomorrow” (plus a version by The Shirelles), the title song “Beautiful,” and my personal karaoke classic, “Natural Woman.”
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'Spider-Man' musical runs out of web; Broadway show to close in January

After two smooth, drama-free years on Broadway, the massive musical Spider-Man Turn Off the Dark will play its final performance at the Foxwoods Theatre on January 4, 2014. And for what it’s worth, it lasted a whole lot longer than anyone expected it to.

But the Bono and the Edge-penned show (which has been the subject of SNL spoof, copious lawsuits, an off-Broadway musical parody, and a tell-all memoir, among other things) won’t be disappearing completely — a spokesman for the production says that the show’s “next destination” will be “the entertainment capital of the world: Las Vegas.” More details about Spidey’s Vegas run will be announced in the weeks to come. READ FULL STORY

First look at 'Aladdin,' Disney's magical, Broadway-bound musical -- EXCLUSIVE

Several of the films in Disney’s beloved Renaissance period — that is, the golden era of animated films that includes classics like Beauty and the BeastThe Little Mermaid, and The Lion King – have already been turned into big, beautiful Broadway musicals by the folks at Disney Theatrical. Now, there’s a new movie being prepped for the stage, and EW has your first look at the production!

The latest Disney tale to hit the proscenium is Aladdin, the 1992 musical fantasy about a street urchin who finds a magic lamp and releases a genie (iconically voiced by Robin Williams). The show is currently previewing at the Ed Mirvish Theatre in Toronto, where it’ll run through January 5, 2014. Adam Jacobs stars as the titular pauper, with Courtney Reed as Jasmine, James Monroe Iglehart as the Genie, and in an exciting casting coup, Jonathan Freeman will play Jafar, the role he created in the film.

The creative team for the show is downright magical: Tony winner Casey Nicholaw directs and choreographs, with sets, costumes, and lighting by acclaimed designers Bob Crowley, Gregg Barnes, and Natasha Katz, respectively. With the help of bookwriter Chad Beguelin, Disney maestro Alan Menken has composed new songs for the full score, which includes the classics from the film (like “A Whole New World” and “Friend Like Me”) which Menken collaborated on with lyricists Howard Ashman and Tim Rice.

Now that you’ve got all the info, check out EW’s exclusive sneak peek at the magical stage production going on in Toronto. The magic carpet will fly into Broadway’s New Amsterdam Theatre beginning February 26, 2014.

If you’re having trouble with the ‘Launch Photo Gallery’ button, click this link to see the Aladdin First Look photos.

'Big Fish' sets closing date on Broadway

Insert your best “swim away” pun here.

One of this fall’s first new shows to debut on Broadway has now become one of the season’s first to close. The new musical Big Fish, based on the Daniel Wallace novel and Tim Burton’s subsequent 2003 film adaptation, will close on Dec. 29, following 34 previews and 98 regular performances. The show opened on Oct. 6.

EW gave the “delightfully old-fashioned” musical a B+, praising the charisma of leading man Norbert Leo Butz (a two-time Tony winner and quick to bounce back, surely) and the wondrous design of the show, which comes from the creative minds of director/choreographer Susan Stroman and a slew of Broadway’s finest designers.

Watch a clip from the show below: READ FULL STORY

This Week on Stage: Fantasia in the Jazz Age, Neil Patrick Harris serves up magic

November is shaping up to be the busiest in recent memory, but the hustle and bustle is costing Broadway a few shows. John Grisham’s A Time to Kill became A Time to Close with an end date of Nov. 17, and the Zachary Levi-Krysta Rodriguez musical rom-com First Date will have its last date on Jan. 5. With as-yet-unannounced premiere dates for shows like Tracy Letts’ Killer Joe (making a spring Broadway bow), Will Eno’s The Realistic Joneses (starring Michael C. Hall, Toni Collette, Marisa Tomei and…Letts — busy guy!) and Terrence McNally’s Mothers and Sons with Tyne Daly, it seems there are more productions than theaters to hold them. Stay tuned for which ones make the cut. Meanwhile, there have been a bevy of new openings, including Fantasia’s return to Broadway, Ed Harris and real-life spouse Amy Madigan in a new Beth Henley drama, a new play by Pulitzer winner Bruce Norris, Neil Patrick Harris directing a new magic show, and Julie Taymor’s major comeback (click on the links below for full reviews):

After Midnight  The Cotton Club era gets a jazzy jolt with this new Broadway revue already being called the sleeper hit of the season. Did senior editor Thom Geier share the enthusiasm? Ab-scat-lutely! “There are showstoppers aplenty in the ebullient new musical revue..After Midnight is a show that’s as light on its feet as its very talented ensemble.” EW grade: A-

The Black Suits Call it School of Rock with an age upgrade; Joe Iconis’ take on a high school rock band opened in L.A., but EW.com’s Laura Hertzfeld felt they could use a little more practice: “The Black Suits never gets deep enough into the roots of suburban angst to make you feel like these guys really have something to rage about — nor does it come up with light, frothy pop numbers that urge you to bop along.” EW grade: C+

Disaster!  Off Broadway gets invaded by killer bees, tidal waves, and disco-era hits in Seth Rudetsky and Jack Plotnick’s wacky take on disaster movies. The show doesn’t hit any icebergs on the way to hilarity. As I write in my review, “It’s the perfect antidote to those lamenting the lack of Forbidden Broadway in their urban lives…scrappy but irresistible.” EW grade: B+

Domesticated  Jeff Goldblum and Laurie Metcalf star in Bruce Norris’ dark comedy about a disgraced politico and his put-upon wife weathering a Spitzer/Wiener/Good Wife-like scandal. Thom Geier had mixed feelings on this follow-up to the author’s Clybourne Park: “[Norris] strives to make a larger point about modern gender relations and the utility (and possibility) of male monogamy. But despite Anna D. Shapiro’s crisp, well-paced direction, Domesticated is better on caustic humor and verbal one-upmanship than real insight or character development.” EW grade: B

How to Make Friends and Then Kill Them  Actress Halley Feiffer takes a hand at playwriting in a new work at Off Broadway’s Rattlestick Theatre, but Stephan Lee firmly believed she may want to hone her craft a little more. “How to Make Friends and Then Kill Them opens with three girls shrieking at the top of their lungs, and over the next 90 minutes, they never really stop.” EW grade: C

The Jacksonian  Staff writer Keith Staskiewicz took a look at the NYC premiere of Beth Henley’s eerie Southern drama about a motel barkeep (Bill Pullman) corralling his oddball patrons (including multiple Oscar nominee Ed Harris). “Robert Falls’ eerie direction has more than a hint of David Lynch…here’s a healthy vein of black humor running throughout which turns Henley’s Southern Gothic soap opera into an even more surreal experience.” EW grade: B+

La Soiree  The naughty burlesque revue — already a hit in Europe — settles in downtown NYC to make the city blush. Marc Snetiker was among those wooed by the circus-like, raunchy fun. “There is an abundance of charm oozing from the cast, who each exude a gleeful passion for their talent (be it sexy, silly, or downright strange). If traditional circus isn’t your thing, you’re in luck.” EW grade: A-

A Midsummer Night’s Dream  Visual stylist Julie Taymor trades Spidey for fairies with an opulent new version of the Shakespeare comedy, the inaugural production at Theatre for a New Audience’s new Polonsky Shakespeare Center in Brooklyn. Thom Geier found himself much enchanted by Taymor’s reborn ingenuity: “There’s a magnificent muchness of her approach to the Bard’s most durable of comedies, as she tosses in everything from pillow fights to a grass-upholstered reclining chair to achieve her vision. But remarkably, this Midsummer never tips over into a too-muchness.” EW grade: A-

Nothing to Hide  It’s no secret that beloved star Neil Patrick Harris likes magic, but he’s fan of his peers too, and decided to helm a new 70-minute variety show featuring upstart showmen Derek DelGaudio and Helder Guimarães. Did Hillary Busis surrender to the sleight of hands? “[The performers are] clever, surprising, and altogether incredible, in both the literal and figurative senses.” EW grade: A-


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