Idina Menzel 2. Les Miserables – 17%Even though we’ve already heard the people sing first onstage in 1987, then revived in 2006 and on-screen in 2012, fans just can’t get enough of prisoner 24601 and it’s set to come back to the Great White Way in March. The tried-and-true musical featuring music by Claude-Michel Schonberg, lyrics by Herbert Kretzmer and a book by Schonberg and Boublil, is swiftly becoming a Broadway classic—and with a cast that includes Ramin Karimloo in his Broadway debut, Will Swenson, Caissie Levy and Nikki M. James, this show is guaranteed to be one of the hottest tickets of the season. View Comments Star Files 3. Aladdin – 11%Aladdin, Princess Jasmine and the Genie are heading to Broadway (finally!), and 11 percent of fans are so ready to take a magic carpet ride to the New Amsterdam Theatre. Based on the 1992 Disney movie featuring music by Alan Menken and lyrics by Howard Ashman and Tim Rice, the new Broadway tuner also features additional lyrics and a new book by Chad Beguelin. In a few short weeks, you can catch the production on Broadway—until then, you’ll have to settle for belting out “A Whole New World” in the shower like you usually do. There are 22 brand new productions currently scheduled to hit the Great White Way in 2014, and with new revivals of Cabaret and Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Violet starring Sutton Foster, All the Way led by Bryan Cranston and a stage adaptation of Bullets Over Broadway, how can we pick just one? Well, we can’t, so we asked you to make the tough decision, and three shows—all musicals—stood out among the crowd. Which productions are Broadway fans most excited to see in 2014? Check out the results below!1. If/Then – 25%Tony-winning Wicked and Rent favorite Idina Menzel is making her long-awaited return to Broadway in If/Then, and Broadway fans are absolutely psyched! The new musical by Next to Normal composing duo Tom Kitt and Bryan Yorkey picked up a quarter of the votes. If/Then tells the story of Elizabeth, a woman who decides to rebuild her life in New York City. Plus, it features a Rent reunion between Menzel and Anthony Rapp! Only two months and counting until If/Then hits the Broadway stage—mark your calendars.
View Comments The new season will take place in Florida in the 1950s with Lange playing a German ex-pat who manages one of the final remaining freak shows in the U.S. The rest of the confirmed cast will take on the roles of members of the twisted act who will do anything to keep the show running. Send in the clowns! American Horror Story co-creator and executive producer Ryan Murphy has revealed that the official title for the show’s fourth season will be American Horror Story: Freak Show. According to E! Online, Broadway vets Jessica Lange, Oscar winner Kathy Bates, Tony nominee Frances Conroy, Sarah Paulson and Angela Bassett, along with Evan Peters, will reunite for the series after appearing in last season’s Coven storyline. Tony winner Denis O’Hare and Emma Roberts are also in talks to join. Murphy has brought on many Broadway guest stars in the FX series, including Tony winners Patti Lupone and Christine Ebersole. We recently asked readers which Broadway diva they would like to see in the next season, and Miss Betty Lynn Buckley took the lead. We would be thrilled (and terrified) to see the Tony winner take part: rival freak show leader? Fellow German ex-pat? Bearded lady? We hope you’re listening, Murphy!
Grande has appeared on the Broadway stage in Mamma Mia!, and served as a producer for the revivals of Hamlet, La Bete and Born Yesterday. He also played a drag queen pageant hopeful in the benefit production of Pageant: The Musical. He was originally scheduled to appear in the tuner’s upcoming off-Broadway production, but has since left the project, presumably due to scheduling conflicts with the TV competition. Grande revealed part of his strategy to the magazine, saying, “I’m going to drop Grande and just use my father’s last name, Marchione…I plan on flying under the radar the first few weeks.” And what was his sister’s advice? “Go make them fall in love with you…but don’t show them all of you.” Who’s watching you, Frankie? We are, and soon, the rest of America! According to People, Broadway actor and producer Frankie James Grande, who also happens to be the older half-brother of TV star and Broadway alum Ariana Grande, will appear on the new season of Big Brother. With cameras following him around a house 24/7, Grande will compete against 15 other hopefuls for $500,000. The new season of Big Brother will premiere on CBS beginning June 25. View Comments
Pictured in the sketch (clockwise from top left) are Ewan McGregor as Henry, Maggie Gyllenhaal as Annie, Alex Breaux as Brodie, Ronan Raftery as Billy, Josh Hamilton as Max, Cynthia Nixon as Charlotte and Madeline Weinstein as Debbie. Happy opening to the cast of The Real Thing! Tonight, we’re singing Smokey Robinson and eating Hawaiian dip (was that an ‘80s thing?) in your honor. View Comments The Real Thing Related Shows About the Artist: With a desire to celebrate the magic of live theater and those who create it, and with a deep reverence for such touchstones as the work of Al Hirschfeld and the wall at Sardi’s, Squigs is happy and grateful to be among those carrying on the traditions where theater and caricature meet. He was born and raised in Oregon, lived in Los Angeles for quite a long time and now calls New York City his home. Break out your record player, because the Great White Way revival of Tom Stoppard’s The Real Thing opens officially on October 30 at the American Airlines Theatre. To celebrate the big night for the Roundabout production, Broadway.com resident artist Justin “Squigs” Robertson created this portrait of the cast. Show Closed This production ended its run on Jan. 4, 2015
Lora Lee Gayer is set to have her heart broken on the Great White Way eight shows a week come the spring! The Follies alum will play Doctor Zhivago’s devoted wife Tonia Gromeko in the new musical; current Survivor star Josh Canfield, Jacqueline Antaramian (Soul Doctor) and Jamie Jackson (The Last Ship) have also boarded the cast. Directed by Des McAnuff, the production will star the previously announced Tam Mutu, Kelli Barrett, Tom Hewitt and Paul Nolan and will begin previews on March 27, 2015. Opening night is set for April 21 at the Broadway Theatre.Rounding out the company will be Heather Botts, Wendi Bergamini, Melody Butiu, Julian Cihi, Briana Carlson-Goodman, Bradley Dean, Michael Brian Dunn, Drew Foster, Kira Guloien, Robert Hager, Ericka Hunter, Denis Lambert, David McDonald, Joseph Medeiros, Pilar Millhollen, Gary Milner, Spencer Moses, Julius Sermonia, Jacob L. Smith and Jesse Wildman.The tuner features a book by Michael Weller, music by Lucy Simon and lyrics by Michael Korie and Amy Powers. Based on the 1957 novel by Boris Pasternak, the romance is set during the final days of Czarist Russia and follows Zhivago (Mutu), a political idealist, physician and poet. His life is tossed by the tides of history as he is torn between a life with his devoted wife, Tonia Gromeko (Gayer) and the passionate and mysterious Lara Guishar (Barrett). Zhivago is not alone in his yearnings for Lara, competing for her affections with the young revolutionary Pasha Antipov (Nolan) and the aristocrat Viktor Komarovsky (Hewitt). Doctor Zhivago Related Shows Show Closed This production ended its run on May 10, 2015 Star Files View Comments Lora Lee Gayer
JAMES MONROE IGLEHART (Genie)”I mark through ‘Friend Like Me’ in my dressing room before I perform it every show. Yes, the whole song! I also always try to see each cast member before I go onstage. I give them each a hug, a fist bump or a joke. I call it ‘touching and agreeing.’ It’s a sign we’re all on the page to have a good show.” STEEL BURKHARDT (Kassim)”There’s a special catwalk way at the top of the New Amsterdam Theatre that was built as a ‘landing deck’ for Mary’s flight over the audience at the end of Mary Poppins—it’s called the ‘Mary Bridge.” The handful of us who aren’t in ‘Friend Like Me’ go up there to watch James Monroe Iglehart, Adam Jacobs and the ensemble kill it onstage and stop the show.” Related Shows COURTNEY REED (Jasmine)”Adam Jacobs and I always high five while we pass each other backstage after he sings ‘Proud of Your Boy’ and before my first entrance.” JONATHAN FREEMAN (Jafar)”There is a moment during the opening number before Donny Ribs (a.k.a. Don Darryl Rivera) and I enter upstage right where Victor (our house propsman) tries to run me over with a marketplace cart and I threaten a different lawsuit each night; then, at the end of the show, right after Barry (my dresser) preps my trick costume in the wings for my final scene, he always says, ‘OK, everything’s OK down south, and I’m gonna see ya over yonder,’ meaning in the trap room under the stage after Jafar’s demise.” DON DARRYL RIVERA (Iago)”After the Disney Medley in ‘Friend Like Me,’ there’s a series of crosses backstage (when we’re all clear to move around without getting in the way), and we all high five as we pass each other! Cast, stage hands, dressers, stage managers—everybody!” CLIFTON DAVIS (Sultan)”The first time I met Courtney, I showed her a picture of my real-life daughter and we both agreed that she looks just like her. It’s uncanny! It started us off on the right path—she’s my baby girl!” JONATHAN SCHWARTZ (Omar)”My dressing roommate Steel Burkhardt and I push each other through Ab Ripper X together in our dressing room before the show. We hate it, but we love it!”Photos by Matthew Murphy, Deen van Meer and Cylia von Tiedemann. from $57.50 ADAM JACOBS (Aladdin)”My entrance at the top of the show in ‘Arabian Nights’ involves riding a makeshift skateboard on my stomach behind the scenery to then hide onstage behind a building! Once there, I like to hang from the poles to stretch my arms, then join in the ad-libbing while the girls are dancing with the silks, saying phrases like, ‘Is this a mirage I see?’ and ‘Such beauty in Agrabah!'” Brian Gonzales View Comments Aladdin Star Files BRIAN GONZALES (Babkak)”Don Darryl Rivera and I usually finish off act one by singing along with ‘Proud of Your Boy (Reprise)’ as off-pitch as we possibly can.” Jonathan Freeman Attention, residents of Agrabah: Disney’s Aladdin turns one year old on March 20! To celebrate, we asked Adam Jacobs, Courtney Reed and the stars of the hit Broadway musical to reveal their secrets about what goes on backstage at the New Amsterdam Theatre. From off-key singing to intense ab workouts, find out what they do behind the scenes while the magic unfolds onstage. Don Darryl Rivera
The world premiere musical comedy about the musical comedy that started it all, starts on March 23 at Broadway’s St. James Theatre! Directed by Casey Nicholaw, Something Rotten! stars Christian Borle, Brian d’Arcy James, John Cariani and more, and will officially open on April 22.Something Rotten! features a score by Wayne Kirkpatrick and Karey Kirkpatrick and a book by Karey Kirkpatrick and John O’Farrell. Set in the 1590s, the show follows brothers Nick (d’Arcy James) and Nigel (Cariani) Bottom, who are desperate to write a hit play but are stuck in the shadow of that Renaissance rockstar known as “The Bard” (Borle). When a local soothsayer foretells that the future of theater involves singing, dancing and acting at the same time, Nick and Nigel set out to write the world’s very first musical. But amidst the scandalous excitement of opening night, the Bottom Brothers realize that reaching the top means being true to thine own self…and all that jazz.The cast will also include Brad Oscar, Heidi Blickenstaff, Kate Reinders, Brooks Ashmanskas, Peter Bartlett, Gerry Vichi and Michael James Scott. Show Closed This production ended its run on Jan. 1, 2017 Related Shows View Comments Something Rotten!
Broadway theaters will dim their lights in honor of Tony and Olivier Award winner Roger Rees, who died on July 10 at the age of 71. Marquees will go dark for one minute on July 15 at 7:45 PM.Rees won Tony and Olivier Awards for his performance in the eight and a half hour epic The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby. He later received an Emmy nomination for the televised production. He also earned Tony nominations for his performance in Indiscretions and for co-directing Peter and the Starcatcher. He last appeared on Broadway in The Visit, having left the show weeks after opening to undergo medical treatment.In addition to his myriad stage performances, Rees is known for his small screen appearances as Lord John Marbury on The West Wing and as Robin Colcord on Cheers“We are so fortunate that Roger Rees has graced our stages through the years and inspired us with his brilliant talent,” said Broadway League President Charlotte St. Martin in a statement. “In addition to his acting and directing accomplishments, his generous heart and warm, giving spirit will be greatly missed by his family, friends and fans.” View Comments
It’s had audiences dancing in the aisles since 2001, but Mamma Mia! is still the name of the game. The ABBA musical, which is set to close on September 12 at the Broadhurst Theatre, continued its record-breaking streak by once again playing its highest grossing non-holiday week since moving to the space in November 2013 (from the Winter Garden Theatre). It was also the third highest frontrunner on the Main Stem by capacity. Though its box office bump could be indicative of another extension, the stage adaption of Misery is set to begin performances in the theater on October 22. At $932,929, the tuner was short of reaching seven figures, but 12 shows did break the $1 million mark this week, including perennial box office favorites (including The Lion King), Main Stem mainstays (such as The Phantom of the Opera) and Broadway newcomers (including Hamilton).Here’s a look at who was on top—and who was not—for the week ending July 26:FRONTRUNNERS (By Gross)1. The Lion King ($2,408,501)2. Wicked ($2,002,632)3. Aladdin ($1,831,846)4. The Book of Mormon ($1,505,083)5. An American in Paris ($1,429,500)UNDERDOGS (By Gross)5. On the Town ($476,502)4. Hedwig and the Angry Inch ($405,108)**3. It Shoulda Been You ($404,467)2. Hand to God ($339,642)1. Amazing Grace ($297,904)FRONTRUNNERS (By Capacity)1. Fun Home (103.13%)2. The Book of Mormon (102.58%)3. Mamma Mia! (100.80%)4. Hamilton (100.47%)*5. Matilda (100.05%)UNDERDOGS (By Capacity)5. Hand to God (73.30%)4. Jersey Boys (72.86%)3. It Shoulda Been You (72.43%)2. Amazing Grace (56.40%)1. On the Town (54.66%)* Number based on seven preview performances**Number based on six regular performancesSource: The Broadway League Related Shows Show Closed This production ended its run on Sept. 12, 2015 Mamma Mia! View Comments
Here’s a quick roundup of stories you may have missed today. Betty Buckley’s Grey Gardens Will Play L.A.After successfully headlining Grey Gardens this past summer at the Bay Street Theater, Betty Buckley is set to reprise her performance in a production at L.A.’s Ahmanson Theatre. Directed by Michael Wilson, the Tony winner will once again appear opposite Tony nominee Rachel York in the tuner about two of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis’ unconventional relatives. Grey Gardens, which has music by Scott Frankel, a book by Doug Wright and lyrics by Michael Korie, will play July 2, 2016 through August 4. Opening night is scheduled for July 10. Next stop New York?Alec Baldwin Returns to BroadwayAlec Baldwin, LaTanya Richardson Jackson, Ellen Barkin, Laurence Fishburne, Tony Kushner, Sam Shepard and more big names are joining forces on Broadway in the New Year! Performers will read excerpts from Arthur Miller’s works as part of centennial celebrations for the playwright’s birth. The event is set to take place on January 25, 2016 at the Lyceum Theatre, the venue which is currently playing host to the acclaimed revival of Miller’s A View From The Bridge.The CW Finds Santino Fontana CharmingGood news for former Prince Charming Santino Fontana! Deadline reports that the CW has ordered five extra episodes of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, the musical comedy that the Tony nominee stars in alongside Rachel Bloom, taking the first season’s total to 18. We’re sure it was Fontana’s hoofing skills that did it.Aaron Lazar Tapped for The StrainAaron Lazar has picked up a multi-episode arc on FX’s The Strain! The stage fave, who was most recently seen on Broadway in The Last Ship, announced the news on his Instagram account on November 25, below. The 10-episode third season of the horror drama series will air next year and we can’t wait! View Comments