WE'RE BACK FROM THE craziness that was the New York Musical Theatre Festival and we are back with a bang.
This week we sit down with the creative team behind Like You Like It at the Gallery Players in Brooklyn, and we get to hear a live in-studio performance of one of the songs from the show. We also sit down to talk to Tony Nominated Michael John LaChiusa about his latest cd release for Little Fish, and we get to hear a few of his songs from the show as well. In the studio we also have Melinda Atwood who comes by to talk about her work with Dance Break. We also listen to an excerpt from the cast album of Illyria that will be performed in honor of the Prospect Theatre Company's 10th anniversary. Also, this week Michael Yeargan, the set designer of South Pacific drops in to share some of his secrets of the trades with us.
We have Marty with us this week, but unfortunately no Ken. We also have all those news and notes that you love in the Top of the Trades and The Callboard.
So What are you waiting for, let's get the shwo on the road. Hop on the board the Broadway Bullet for all destinations on and off Broadway.
ON THE BOARDS
Like You Like It
ALL THE WORLD’S A MALL in this popular musical adaptation of Shakespeare’s As You Like It, Sammy Buck and Daniel S. Acquisto’s 1980s-style Like You Like It. A totally awesome mix of Shakespeare and John Hughes, this romantic musical comedy enjoys its second chance at a first full New York production after being an audience favorite at NYMF in 2004. With all the excitement of High School Musical, Like You Like It is filled with memorable tunes, a hip sense of humor, pure joy and a huge heart. The show is directed by Igor Goldin, who directed a recent production of Like You Like It at Theater Under The Stars and last year’s heralded production of Yank! at The Gallery Players. We sit down with the book writer (Sammy Buck) and Actor (Nathan Johnson), Composer (Daniel Acquisto), and Director (Igor Goldin). We also get to hear a live in studio performance, “It Could Totally Happen” performed by Alison Luff and Nathan.
THE INTERNET MOVIE DATA base is reporting that Hollywood actress Kirsten Dunst is writing her own stage musical. They report that she hopes to take some time off from acting to complete her composition. This would be her theatrical debut as a writer. She stated, “I started to write a musical a few years ago and I’m going to get back into writing it. But I’m not going to say what it’s about though.” Acting on the big screen since she was a small child Kirsten Dunst has starred in the “Spiderman” films, “Little Women”, “Interview With the Vampire,” “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind”, “Dick”, “Wag the Dog”, and “Mona Lisa Smile” among many others.
A MIX OF STAGE and screen stars will populate Julie Taymor’s silver-screen adaptation of William Shakespeare’s “The Tempest.” Academy Award winner Helen Mirren, according to the Hollywood Reporter, will star in the film as Prospera (a gender-bending take on the role of Prospero, which is usually played by a man). Mirren’s co-stars will include Oscar winner Jeremy Irons as well as Djimon Hounsou, Russell Brand, Alfred Molina, Ben Whishaw and Felicity Jones. Geoffrey Rush is currently in negotiations to join the starry company. The film, according to the industry paper, will “center around Prospera, her daughter Miranda (Jones) and a shipwrecked crew full of Prospera’s enemies.” The Miramax film will likely begin shooting in November in Hawaii. Tony Award winner Julie Taymor is best known for designing and directing the Disney hit The Lion King. Her film credits include “Titus” and “Frida.” She is currently at work on a Broadway musical version of Spider-Man. Helen Mirren won an Academy Award, Golden Globe, SAG, BAFTA and Critic’s Choice awards for “The Queen”; Emmy, Golden Globe and SAG Awards For HBO’s “Elizabeth I”; and received a Golden Globe nomination for PBS’ “Prime Suspect: The Final Act,” which had previously won her an Emmy and three BAFTA Awards. Her many stage credits include Broadway productions of Dance of Death and A Month in the Country.
FILM VERSION OF BROADWAY’S last two Tony Award-winning Best Musicals — Spring Awakening and In The Heights — are likely. At the Oct. 6 Revival: Broadway’s Next Act panel discussion at Carnegie Hall’s Zankel Hall, films of both award-winning musicals were mentioned. Ana Gasteyer (Wicked, The Threepenny Opera) moderated the evening, which featured Spring Awakening composer Duncan Sheik, In the Heights creator-star Lin-Manuel Miranda, Legally Blonde director-choreographer Jerry Mitchell, original Rent star Anthony Rapp and “Hairspray” film director Adam Shankman. When the topic turned to stage musicals crossing over to the big screen, Miranda asked Sheik if a Spring Awakening movie was in the works. Sheik declined to comment, though Shankman (who was interested in optioning the work) noted the rights had already been acquired. Shankman further divulged that Jennifer Lopez had expressed interest in bringing In the Heights to the big screen. Miranda, who revealed he will leave the Tony-winning show in February 2009, said he hoped the musical would live on beyond his departure but did not talk about the possibility of a Heights film.
A HOST OF THEATRE favorites will take part in Broadway for Obama, a fundraising concert that will be held Oct. 20 at Easton’s State Theatre Center for the Arts in Easton, PA. The 7:30 PM concert is scheduled to boast the talents of Tony Award winner Priscilla Lopez (In the Heights, A Chorus Line) as well as Tituss Burgess (The Little Mermaid), Rodney Hicks (Rent), Julie Reiber (Wicked), Brandon Dixon (The Color Purple), Shaun Taylor-Corbett (In the Heights) and Karla Mosley (“Guiding Light”). Additional performers will be announced shortly. Local high school “rising stars” will also perform in the evening, which will feature musical direction by Beth Falcone. All proceed will go to the Barack Obama campaign. The State Theatre Center for the Arts is located at 53 Northampton Street in Easton, PA. Tickets, priced $25-$100, are available by calling (610) 252-3132 or by visiting www.statetheatre.org/schedule.
Michael John LaChiusa
HE IS THE TONY Award nominated composer and lyricist and book writer of shows like The Wild Party, Marie Christine, Hello Again and the recent Little Fish. Michael John LaChiusa drops intot he studio for a very special interview to announce the release of the cast album for Little Fish. We talk about his carreer, where it’s been and where it’s going, as well as this latest creation. We also get to hear a couple of songs from Little fish, “Perfect” and “Simple Creature”, as well as “See What I Wanna See” from See What I Wanna See.
THE MISSION ON THE DanceBreak Foundation is to identify and nurture talented early and mid-career musical theater choreographers, and offer them an exceptional platform to showcase their work for an audience of industry leaders who can be most beneficial in advancing their careers. DanceBreak provides all the financial, administrative and technical support necessary to develop new choreographic talent for this uniquely American art form. We sit down with Mwlinda Atwood to talk about her work with the company, letting us know how exactly to get into this great program. She also shares a few secrets about being a professional choregrapher.
IN CELEBRATION OF PROSPECT’S 10th Anniversary, the company mounts a new production of this rollicking musical comedy, with book, music, and lyrics by resident writer Peter Mills and directed by Cara Reichel. The New York Times says it best: “This high-spirited, utterly engaging musical adaptation of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night is an intergenerational winner that deserves an unequivocal thumbs-up. Peter Mills and Cara Reichel have taken Shakespeare’s comic masterpiece, kept its Elizabethan spirit, voice and wit, yet created a new, accessible work that brashly and, at times, poignantly speaks to contemporary musical theater.” We get to hear a song from the show this week as they gear up for the performance at Prospect Theatre Company.
Illyria will be playing Oct. 18-Nov. 16. More information at Prospect Theater
ON THE POSITIVE SIDE
MARTY IS BACK THIS week with his take on the new shows that are coming out this season as well as how the economy will effect the theatre community.
TONY AWARD WINNING SET designer of South Pacific, Michael Yeargan, drops into the studio to help us out with some adice on how to break into the business and how to stay there. This is the first of two behind the scenes advisories Michael did for Broadway Bullet, so stay tuned to learn all the tricks and secrets of the trade from a man who has been there and done that, and has the Tony to prove it.
TOP OF THE TRADES
TWO-TIME TONY WINNER Matthew Broderick, most recently on Broadway in the revival of Neil Simon’s The Odd Couple, will return to The Great White Way in 2009 in the Roundabout Theatre Company’s revival of The Philanthropist. Broderick will play college professor Philip in the revival of Christopher Hampton’s comedy. No other casting has been announced. The production will begin previews April 10, 2009, at the American Airlines Theatre with an official opening scheduled for April 26, 2009. David Grindley will direct. Written as a response to Molière’s The Misanthrope, press notes state, “Hampton’s biting bourgeois comedy examines the empty, insular lives of college intellectuals. At the center of the story is Philip (Broderick), a professor who seems almost absurdly removed from the political turmoil surrounding him, including the assassination of the Prime Minister and his cabinet.” The Philanthropist was previously seen on Broadway in 1971. Alec McCowen, Jane Asher and Victor Spinetti starred in the 64-performance run.
PAPER MILL PLAYHOUSE JUST announced Bailey Hanks of Broadway’s Legally Blonde will star as ‘Sharpay’ in Paper Mill’s upcoming production of Disney’s High School Musical. The rest of the cast will be announced later this week. Bailey Hanks is the winner of the MTV reality series ‘Legally Blonde The Musical: The Search for Elle Woods’. Ms. Hanks succeeded Tony® Award Nominee Laura Bell Bundy in the role of ‘Elle Woods’ on Broadway in July. Ms. Hanks’ theatre credits include: Seussical, Gypsy, Hello Dolly!, The Music Man, A Funny Thing Happened On the Way to the Forum, and Annie. In 2000 she sang the national anthem for President Bill Clinton. The South Carolina native and former Miss Liberty Teen 2005 studied musical theatre at Coastal Carolina University. Disney’s High School Musical is a contemporary Romeo and Juliet musical comedy. Troy, captain of the basketball team, and Gabriella, a shy academically gifted transfer student discover they share a secret passion for singing. When they audition together for the lead roles in the school musical, it threatens East High’s rigid social order and sends their peers into an uproar. The “jocks”, “brainiacs”, and “thespians” hatch convoluted plots to separate the pair and keep them off the stage. However, by taking chances and defying expectations, the couple inspires other students to explore and showcase their own hidden talents. Paper Mill’s Artistic Director, Mark S. Hoebee will direct and Denis Jones (Associate Choreographer of Legally Blonde) will choreograph.
TONY AWARD WINNER LIZA Minnelli is in talks to return to Broadway in a concert show that may play the Palace in late 2008. Minnelli’s last Broadway bow was at the Palace in a tribute to work by her director father, Vincente Minnelli, in a show titled Minnelli on Minnelli. It played a month starting in late 1999. If the deal is made, the limited-engagement concert is expected to be a tribute to Minnelli’s late godmother, the actress and vocal coach Kay Thompson, who coached Minnelli’s mother, Judy Garland. Thompson was famously captured on film as the diva fashion-magazine editor who scatted with Fred Astaire in “Funny Face.” It’s not hard to guess that the Broadway concert will also include some of the songs that Minnelli made famous. The current concert tour is set up so that the first act boasts Minnelli classics (“Maybe This Time,” “Cabaret” and more) and the second act references Thompson. The concert’s choreographer and director is Ron Lewis. In a note to fans on officiallizaminnelli.com, Minnelli wrote, “When I sign the contract [for the Palace], you’ll be the first to know. I’m terribly excited, and hope this comes through.” News of the plan first broke when a Rhode Island venue for a November Minnelli concert booking indicated that the concert was bound for the Palace. She’ll sing in concert in Italy in October and early November before playing an engagement Nov. 19-23 at the Stadium Theatre Performing Arts Centre in Woonsocket, RI. (Visit stadiumtheatre.com.) A Palace run would have to happen prior to the Feb. 23, 2009, launch of the new revival of West Side Story there. Legally Blonde ends its run at the Palace Oct. 19.