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Jim Dale is jumping for joy. Literally. He rushes from the single digit temperatures and arctic winds of the New 42nd Street into the warmth of West Bank Cafe and shakes himself down. It may be downright frigid outside, but Dale is filled with the warmth of the accolades he and his cast in Trevor Griffiths' Comedians are receiving. The New Group's revival, directed by Scott Elliott, has many critics touting the ensemble as the best so far this season.
Twenty-five years after first bringing audiences to their feet, Dreamgirls finally arrives onscreen. David Geffen, who controlled the rights, was very protective and wanted to make sure he put the show in the right adapter's hand. He did. It was a long wait, but well worth it. "Dreamgirls" is a dream!
Robyn Baker Flatt, founding artistic director of Dallas Children's Theater in 1984, was inducted into the prestigious College of Fellows of the American Theater on April 22, 2007 in a ceremony at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C.
This was an honor also bestowed in 1996 upon her father, Paul Baker, founding artistic Director in 1959 of Dallas Theater Center. Ms. Flatt's award marks only the second time in the 42-year history of the organization that members of two generations of the same family have received this honor.
Can you imagine that there was a playwright George Bernard Shaw envied? Better still, that he would admit there was a playwright he envied?
Shaw was so impressed with the talent and success of post-Victorian era leading light Harley Granville-Barker that he actually wrote Misalliance as an answer play to Barker's then hit, The Madras House, about family, courtship, marriage, marital separation, commerce, greed, sexual politics and harassment.
To understand Richard Hamburger's role as artistic director of Dallas Theater Center, one needs to follow the path of how he got there. He is only the fourth permanent artistic director in DTCs 42+ year history (its first production was in December 1959). Hamburger stepped into some formidable shoes and a powerful legacy when he assumed the post in 1992.
South Broad Street in Philadelphia, also known as the Avenue of the Arts, at one in the morning on October 11, 2005. Theater folks, fresh from the annual Barrymore Awards show, are partying in the Great Hall at the University of the Arts. A solitary figure leaves the party and treks up the quiet street. One block, then two, heading north past the Kimmel Center, the Wilma and the Merriam Theaters. A threesome on their way from the gala talk loudly to each other but they ignore the middle-aged man who walks alone.
Flopping on Broadway doesn't necessarily keep a musician from having a successful and interesting career. A case in point is conductor Sherman Frank. He is not, by any means, a failure. But he cheerfully admits that his big attempts on Broadway were flops.
Maybe his leaving the Great White Way led to more varied adventures. Also, as we will see in a moment, Frank's brief Broadway career included contact with one of the nastiest controversies in theater history.
The world's longest-running musical is back. And The Fantasticks is a show that all but the most hardened soul will love.
The story is schmaltzy -- the ageless one about boy and girl fall in love, boy and girl fall out of love, boy and girl fall back in love. Yet, for over four decades Tom Jones and Harvey Schmidt's musical, by far their best known, has entralled millions in over 12,000 productions worldwide. Not bad for a show that was considered quite avant garde for its time.
August 1959. Tom Jones and Harvey Schmidt, who had been writing this "unique new entertainment" for a decade, and director Word Baker couldn't believe that just when they needed it most, the gods of comedy and tragedy were sending them an angel.
Tovah Feldshuh has made a career playing heroic women. She's portrayed Tallulah Bankhead, Sarah Bernhardt, Stella Adler, Sophie Tucker, Katharine Hepburn, Diana Vreeland (Full Gallop), Miss Jean Brodie, three queens of Henry VIII, (in a TV mini-series) a Czech freedom fighter, (in an Off-Broadway play) nine Jews who age from birth to death, a woman masquerading as a man, and (in a Broadway musical) a Brazilian bombshell fielding two husbands.
How many theater fans knew that a film version of the longest-running musical in stage history existed? Not many, which came as no surprise to Tom Jones and Harvey Schmidt, composers of the granddaddy of all tuners, The Fantasticks, which began its 41st year at the Sullivan Street Playhouse in May. "It's been a well-guarded secret," noted Schmidt.
New York - The world of mathematics and science has found a welcoming host in Broadway. Witness the success of Copenhagen, and Proof. Now, it's composing team Joshua Rosenblum and Joanne Sydney Lessner's turn to get on the arithmetical track. Interestingly, they say "We actually had titled our show, `Proof,' before we even heard of the Manhattan Theater Club's Proof! Their own mathematics intoxicated musical, Fermat's Last Tango, has just opened Off Broadway at the York Theater.
The Festival of Independent Theatres (FIT) returned to the Bath House Cultural Center at White Rock Lake in Dallas for its fifth season, July 10-August 2, 2003. FIT is a showcase for many of Dallas' smaller theaters, who put on a series of one-act plays of one hour or less. This year, 12 area theaters brought a cultural smorgasbord to Dallas' theater buffs, co-produced by David Fisher, manager of the Bath House (so named because it was originally a bath house for swimmers at White Rock Lake's beach in the 1940s and 50s) and Brenda and Michael Galgan, producers of Beardsley Living Theater.
The first time I saw Robyn (Baker) Flatt, founding artistic director of Dallas Children's Theater, she was onstage in the role of Dewey Dell in a production of Journey To Jefferson, an adaptation of the William Faulkner novel, "As I Lay Dying." The play was produced in 1964 at Dallas Theater Center and directed by Flatt's father, Paul Baker, who founded the DTC in 1959. Flatt also co-designed the lighting for that production with DTC company member, Randy Moore, now a long-time company member of Denver Center Theater Company.
David Henry Hwang's updated version of Flower Drum Song inaugurated its national tour on September 2, 2003 at the Music Hall at Fair Park as the closing production of the Dallas Summer Musicals. In a pre-show conversation with Hwang, who attended the first Sunday matinee, he said, "I saw the potential for this show that had been on the shelf for 45 years. I approached Ted Chapin, president of the Rodgers and Hammerstein Organization, and said I wanted to make a musical I hoped would reflect the values of the original creators but be more relevant to a modern audience.
Philadelphia's other celebrity patriot also has a significant anniversary in 2006 -- in addition to Ben Franklin. On March 9, the City of Philadelphia and area theaters commemorated the 200th birthday of Edwin Forrest, America 's first famous actor (1806-1872).
Edwin Forrest, the 19th-century Philadelphia actor, was arguably the first American superstar. Critics praised him, politicians wanted him to run with them and working men fought -- even died -- defending him.
Along with a small number of theater critics and reporters, I recently had the pleasure of spending an afternoon in a Manhattan rehearsal studio with the English actor Alan Bates -- yes, the very same revered star of stage and screen, who is presently one of the dazzling actors featured in the film, "Gosford Park." Also in attendance was the lovely Texas-born actress, Juilliard graduate Enid Graham, who appeared in Hartford Stage's Enchanted April and who won a Tony Award nomination for her role in Honour. They are a part of the cast of 13, which includes Frank Langella and Mr
How many Broadway musicals have the audience going wild as soon as the curtain rises? And it doesn't stop there. At the revival of Alan Menken and the late Howard Ashman's Little Shop of Horrors, there are standing ovations before the actors even take their bows and screaming fans at the stage door.
Two eras came to an end over the Labor Day weekend, and, by coincidence, they were related to each other. Firstly, when Lionel Hampton died at age 94, it marked a finality to the swing-era generation. Benny Goodman was the King of Swing, and Hampton was the last surviving member of the landmark Goodman quartet that not only set new standards in jazz but also integrated the pop music industry.
Tom Jones and Harvey Schmidt's The Fantasticks, this week embarking on its 41st record-shattering year, finally had "legs" after mixed-to-scathing reviews, at the Sullivan Street Playhouse. The composers had their eyes set on Broadway.
"Out of the blue," recalled Jones, "the phone rang. It was David Merrick, who loved The Fantasticks. He felt, since we were from Texas, we'd be ideal to write the score for 110 In The Shade, a musical in a 'western' vein.'"
Alternating star of Phantom: The Las Vegas Spectacular, with his image plastered across hundreds of billboards. Yes, images of the Phantom abound just about everywhere, with a particularly huge one on a side of the faux St. Mark's Square tower on The Venetian Casino Resort Hotel (where P: TLVS plays), but the face is masked.
Nearing the three-and-a-half hour mark at the Barrymore Awards, one presenter said: "Because of the time, let's forget the script and just get to the names." A good idea, but it was too late.
This October 23, 2006 ceremony was the most tedious Barrymore production ever, and was a half-hour longer than last year's.
When I tell playwright Neal Bell that I "enjoyed every micro-second" of his latest play, Splatter Pattern (or, How I Got Away With It), which is playing at Playwrights Horizons, he says he feels "blessed with the spectacular group of actors who were not only wonderful but nice as well, working under director Michael Greif's strong vision." Bell tells me he, "couldn't be happier."
he holiday season was drawing to a close. As anticipated, it was not home for the holidays for our dear friends Sally and Frank, and their two children Ted and Sara, now 17 and 10 respectively. For this intrepid, theater-struck, out-of-town family, the holidays entailed the annual trek down from their home on Prince Edward Island to New York City to see as many shows as possible during their 10-day break.
When Dr. Carole Brandt assumed the post as Dean of the Meadows School of the Arts at Southern Methodist University in 1994, she became the first distaff dean in the history of SMU in any of its six degree-granting colleges. Dean Brandt has her own history of blazing trails wherever she goes.
Brenda Braxton, a Tony-nominee for her roof-raising performance in Smokey Joe's Cafe, is helping give birth to a new Off-Broadway musical theater company. She's starring in the troupe's inaugural production, Long Road Home, a new, life-affirming musical, running through Dec. 17, 2001 at the Hudson Guild Theater.
He is thrilled when the audience is hushed and listening to the lush lyrics of his popular hits "Someone Like You," "Letting Go," "This Is the Moment," "Once Upon A Dream," and
"A New Life." It was a rocky journey to Broadway for Leslie Bricusse,
the veteran book writer and lyricist, and composer Frank Wildhorn. But on the
road, their songs became the anthems of every lounge singer and beauty
contestant. And there's no revenge like success.
One hundred years of Broadway milestones and musicals will flash to life on the PBS-TV series, "Broadway: The American Musical." It brings alive the epic story of musical theater and its inextricable link to 20th-century American life through portraits of the creators and collaborators who toiled on and off stage to define and develop theater -- especially along "The Great White Way," in and around its centerpiece Times Square, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary.
A shorter version of the first part of this story was
written for Philadelphia City Paper in June 2000, during the first workshop.
There's more than one new 42nd Street. Of course, there's the post-Disney, neon-lit-galore place in Manhattan. And then there's the other new 42nd Street, the smash revival of the 1980 dance spectacular now in residence at the Ford Center for the Performing Arts - on the new 42nd Street. Choreographer Randy Skinner ... [is] busy planning the opening number for the 55th Annual Tony Awards, which will be held June 3 at Radio City Music Hall and broadcast live on PBS and CBS.
Next week (August 2002) ushers in openings of two musicals on Dallas stages: Dallas Summer Musicals presents 42nd Street, the 2001 Tony winner for Best Musical Revival, while Theater Three opens A Class Act, the musical biography of composer/lyricist Edward Kleban, who wrote the lyrics to Marvin Hamlisch's music for A Chorus Line.
When you hear the name George Abbott you think of many things, but romantic isn't one of them.
Abbott was the dean of American showmen, an actor, director and author who was active in the theater from 1914 until 1995, when he died at the age of 107. He won a Pulitzer Prize in 1960 for writing Fiorello. He was praised for his timing and his efficiency. His demeanor was formal and hardly anyone thought of him as a romantic.