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Podcast Vol 216 – NYMF 2008 Part 2

WE'RE BACK WITH A bonus episode jam packed with lots of New York Musical Theatre Festival information.  We've got creative personalities from six of the new productions debuting at NYMF this year.  We sit down with Oscar winner Bobby Houston to talk about Castronauts or How I Killed Fidel.  Also, in the studio we have dot commer Karen Paulli (Book and Lyrics) and Wendy Robbins (Book) who tell us about the new dot com musical, The Bubble.  James Millar (Book and Lyrics) and Caroline O'Connor (Actor) come by to tell us about their new Aussie courtroom drama.  Matthew Loren Cohen and Will Taylor of Jason & Ben drop in to talk to us.  Benjamin Birney and Jason Summers discuss their new musical about the Creation.  And finally, Jack Bender and Cynthis Meryl talk about Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream and how it relates to their new musical - Midnight Madness.


We also have Marty back, who just got back from seeing the new Broadway musical, A Tale of Two Cities.

Ken Davenport is here this week as well, talking about festival shows, and sharing the dos and don'ts of the festival circuit.

We've also got all the news and notes that you long for in The Callboard and Top of the Trades.  So, what are we waiting for?  Let's get this show on the road.  Hop on board the Broadway Bullet for all destination on and off Broadway.

NYMF 2008 Special Part 2.

We’re covering NYMF musicals exclusively for 4 weeks in a row (YES! Extra episodes!) for their fall 2008 festival.

Visit for more information on all the shows and for purchasing tickets!

Become a NYMF MEMBER for extra discounts and bonus offers!



 Castronauts or How I Killed Fidel

STEP INTO ‘EL CLUB Voodoo,’ an illegal cabaret on a side street in Havana, where impresaria Lolita presides over an unruly troupe of dancing girls, dissidents, bootleggers and drag queens. On the night Castro himself decides to take a look, farce turns to fiasco — and the troupe has no choice but to set sail for Florida in a converted ’56 Chevy. Castronauts is a spicy blend -– a witty backstage comedy and an unexpected profile in courage.  Book and lyrics by Academy Award winning documentarian Bobby Houston.  Bobby comes by the studio to talk a little about the show and to let us hear “Bigger than Barbie” and “Taste of Tears”, two songs from the new NYMF production.

Schedule: Sep 16th, 8:00 pm, Sep 18th, 10:00 pm, Sep 19th, 6:30 pm, Sep 21st, 9:30 pm, Sep 24th, 9:30 pm, Sep 28th, 9:00 pm at The Zipper Factory Theater

More at NYMF



The Bubble

WHAT IF THE RISE and fall of the DotCom decade happened in one day? In this hysterical musical “dot-comedy” nobody knows what the Silicon Valley company does, but everybody including Matt is willing to sacrifice his dream to get a piece of this pre-IPO dot com. Will his greed get the better of him? Or will he flush his future down the toilet to join hottie hippy Harmony’s quest to save the oh-so-rare yellow-bellied hoo-doo?  Written by Karen Paulli, who lived and breathed the dot com world, and Wendy Robbins.  Bothe women stop in to chat about the show and share with us a couple of songs from it, “The Bubble” and “You Gotta Stand for Something”.

Schedule: Sep 17th, 8:00 pm, Sep 18th, 6:30 pm, Sep 20th, 3:00 pm, Sep 25th, 8:00 pm, Sep 27th, 3:00 pm, Sep 28th, 5:00 pm at The Zipper Factory Theater

More at NYMF 



THE GLORIOUS EXPERIMENT THAT began five years ago with a concert featuring great singers, singing great songs, but without microphones in a 1,500 seat theater, has blossomed into a annual celebration. The concert is attended every year by musical theater lovers who crave the sound of the pure human voice and the opportunity to hear great Broadway music the way it was originally performed, with nothing between the singer and the audience except the truth. This year, that celebration continues with the 5th Annual Broadway Unplugged on Monday, November 17th at 8 PM at The Town Hall, 123 West 43rd Street.  The concert’s creator/writer/host, Scott Siegel, who is also responsible for creating Broadway by the Year, The Broadway Cabaret Festival, The Summer Broadway Festival and The Nightlife Awards – all at The Town Hall – promises “another unforgettable evening.” In a statement, Siegel said, “This is the only concert I’ve ever seen – including the thousands I’ve attended throughout the years – in which virtually every single performer gets called back for a second bow! And the reason is pretty simple: they deserve it! The level of talent every year is stunning with some of the best singers in New York getting out there and showing that they’ve got the same kind of chops as Broadway stars of the past. And the audience loves it!”  The cast for this year’s Broadway Unplugged won’t be announced until closer to the event, but here are just some of the stars who have been in the concert in years past: Christine Andreas, Stephanie J. Block, Ron Bohmer, michael cerveris, Chcuk Cooper, Sutton Foster, Cheyenne Jackson, Eddie Korbich, Marc Kudisch, Beth Leavel, Norm Lewis, William Michals, Euan Morton, Christiane Noll, Alice Ripley, Emily Skinner, Mary Testa, Max von Essen, Barbara Walsh, John Lloyd Young, and more!  Ticket prices range in order that anyone who wants to hear this concert can afford it: Orchestra and Loge: $75, Front Balcony: $50. Rear Balcony: $25.  Tickets are currently available at the Town Hall Box Office (123 W. 43rd Street) from noon to 6 PM every day but Sunday. Tickets are also available via or by calling 212-307-4100.

STEPHEN SONDHEIM AND JOHN Weidman may have abandoned the title, but Jaradoa Theater — the new theatre company with the mission to “promote mercy, beauty and truth through performance and service” — will present a Bounce Sept. 4 at FR.OG in Manhattan.  The Jaradoa Bounce is the company’s annual dance party to help raise fund’s for the organization’s various outreach programs. The evening, which begins at 9 PM, will also include raffle prizes and goody bags.  Members of Jaradoa encourage those interested in bouncing to “stretch first. The taking of vitamins and consumption of electrolytes is also recommended.”  FR.OG is located in Manhattan at 71 Spring Street at Lafayette. Tickets, priced $25, will be available at the door.  Jaradoa (Just A Roomful of Artists Doing Outreach And) Theater is a company of professional theatre artists, who are equally devoted to productions and to performance-based outreach. “They do theater that promotes mercy, beauty and truth in an environment where artists thrive, and use storytelling to address brokenness in their community

VARIETY IS REPORTING THAT Noel Coward’s play Blithe Spirit will have life on Broadway this upcoming Spring season. The play will be produced by the same group behind August: Osage County and the upcoming Speed-The-Plow.  Michael Blakemore will be directing. In 2000 Blakemore became the only director receive a Tony for both Best Direction of a Musical and Best Direction of a Play in the same year for his work on Copenhagen and Kiss Me Kate.  The play is aiming for a March opening in a Shubert theater that will announced at a later date. No casting has been announced.  Blithe Spirit is a comedy written in 1941 and tells the story of a socialite Charles Condomine who is haunted by his late wife Elvira’s ghost after he takes part in seance. The play set box office records for a straight play on the West End that were not broken until 1970 with premiere of Boeing-Boeing.


The Hatpin

THE HATPIN IS THE true story of a single mother, Amber Murray, who advertised her baby in a newspaper trading column in the hope of saving his life…and ended up embroiled in one of the most captivating, moving and exciting criminal trials in Australian history.  This gripping musical drama by young Australian writers James Millar and Peter Rutherford comes to NYMF following an acclaimed run in Sydney.  Actor Caroline O’Connor drops in with James Millar, Book and Lyrics, to talk about the deep dark places that this show goes to.  They also brought along two songs from the show, “The Hand of Courage” and “A Tiny Glow”.

Schedule: Sep 15th, 8:00 pm, Sep 17th, 8:00 pm, Sep 20th, 4:30 pm, Sep 20th, 9:00 pm, Sep 21st, 1:00 pm, Sep 24th, 8:00 pm at American Theatre of Actors (Chernuchin)

More at NYMF 




Jason & Ben

IN JASON & BEN, a chance encounter one cold Christmas Eve leads songwriters Jason and Ben to question each other and themselves. On the “loneliest night of the year,” they play a game of sexual and psychological manipulation in this new indie rock musical about the violence that lies within.  We have talk with the composer/lyricist, Matthew Loren Cohen, and Will Taylor (Ben) and they give us a first listen to two of the show’s songs, “To Get You” and “Save me 1”.

Schedule: Sep 24th, 8:00 pm, Sep 26th, 8:00 pm, Sep 27th, 8:00 pm, Sep 28th, 4:30 pm, Oct 4th, 1:00 pm, Oct 5th, 4:30 pm at 45th Street Theater

More at NYMF 



STAYING ON THE FESTIVAL kick, ken Davenport is here to tell us what he thinks is best for shows that are on the buffet line of musical theatre this year at NYMF.


Sophia’s Fall

SOPHIA’S FALL IS AN intense dance/rock retelling of the creation story… with a twist. Sophia, the feminine divine and Lucifer’s lover, drives the action and music of the story, with a supporting cast of angels, devils and two curious humans. A five-piece rock band and fluid, modern dance choreography round out a dark, tuneful score.  We sit down with the choregrapher/director Jason Summers and composer/producer, Benjamin Birney, about the controversially divine subject matter of their new production at NYMF.  We also hear two songs from the show’s demo, “In the Begining” and “No Turning Back”.

Schedule: Sep 18th, 8:00 pm, Sep 19th, 1:00 pm, Sep 19th, 4:30 pm, Sep 20th, 9:00 pm at 37 Arts – Theatre C

More at NYMF 



MARTY COOPER HAS JUST seen the newest spectacle musical about the French Revolution on Broadway, A Tale of Two Cities.  He’s in the studio to tell us what he thought of the production and where it’s going to go.


A WHITE DEEJAY PLAYING “black music” in the early-1950s South causes a personal, professional and social earthquake in the new musical, Memphis, opening Sept. 3 after previews from Aug. 19 at the La Jolla Playhouse in California.  Chad Kimball is the disc-spinner in question in the musical (subtitled The Birth of Rock ‘n’ Roll) by librettist-lyricist Joe DiPietro and composer-lyricist David Bryan (Bon Jovi keyboardist and founding member). Performances play La Jolla Playhouse’s Mandell Weiss Theatre to Sept. 28.  Cass Morgan, Montego Glover, J. Bernard Calloway, Allen Fitzpatrick, James Monroe Iglehart and Michael Benjamin Washington take principal roles in the staging.  Memphis is the first production directed by Christopher Ashley at La Jolla Playhouse since becoming artistic director.

THE TEMPEST, SHAKESPEARE’S LATE-career romance about a storm and castaways who encounter a brave new island world, is conjured by Classic Stage Company starting Sept. 3, in an Off-Broadway production starring Tony Award winner Mandy Patinkin.  As magic-making Prospero, Patinkin will sing one of several songs in the new production directed by CSC artistic director Brian Kulick. Original music and sound design are by Christian Frederickson. Opening is Sept. 18 in CSC’s intimate home on East 13h Street in Manhattan.  Joining Patinkin as “the right Duke of Milan” through Oct. 12 will be Craig Baldwin (Sebastian), Yusef Bulos (Gonzalo), Company’s Angel Desai (Ariel, an airy sprite), Karl Kenzler (Antonio, the usurping Duke of Milan), Nana Mensah (Female Sprite), Nyambi Nyambi (Caliban), Bhavesh Patel (Boatswain/Adrian/Male Sprite), Michael Potts (Alonso), Steve Rattazzi (Stefano), Journey’s End Tony nominee Stark Sands (Ferdinand, son of the King of Naples), Tony Torn (Trinculo) and Elizabeth Waterston (Miranda, Prospero’s daughter).

DIRECTOR HAROLD PRINCE’S NEW musical, Paradise Found, seen earlier this year in a Manhattan reading that featured Shuler Hensley, Rebecca Luker, Darius de Haas and John Cullum, will be produced in 2009.  The New York Post reported Sept. 3 that Prince would direct the Broadway-aimed musical in spring 2009. No word on where or when the show — with music by waltz king Johann Strauss II and Jonathan Tunick and lyrics by Ellen Fitzhugh — would surface. Center Theatre Group in Los Angeles, which programs the Ahmanson Theatre, the Mark Taper Forum and the Kirk Douglas Theatre in L.A., produced the April 2008 reading, which was co-directed by Prince and Susan Stroman.  Prince told the Post that the musical’s likely stars would be Hensley, Cullum, Mandy Patinkin and Judy Kaye.  Paradise Found, with a libretto by Richard Nelson, is inspired by Joseph Roth’s Vienna-set novel, “The Tale of the 1002nd Night.”  Darius de Haas (Marie Christine, Rent, Carousel) played The Eunuch at the center of the show in the spring reading.  Music is by Tony Award-winning orchestrator Tunick and late 19th-century waltz composer Strauss II.  The April 25 presentation of the show picked up where the team left off in January, when a reading was canceled due to Prince (The Phantom of the Opera, Sweeney Todd, A Little Night Music) taking ill with a minor stroke.  Music director Charles Prince, the respected musician son of Tony Award-winning director Prince, is the project’s musical director. Composer Tunick is widely known for orchestrating many Broadway musicals, including the works of Stephen Sondheim. His recent Broadway orchestrating job was A Catered Affair.


Midnight Madness

IN THIS MODERN MUSICAL fable based on Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” the Republican mayor of New York announces his engagement to his Democratic opponent. Meanwhile, two pairs of lost lovers and a troupe of amateur actors are manipulated by the Fairies of Central Park. The result: a rollicking tale of comic confusion set to a beautiful, original score.  We chat with Cynthia Meryl. lyrics/book, and Jack Bender, composer/orchestrator, to find out how you go from Shakespeare to the park.  We also get to have a listen to two numbers from the show, “Red Hot Mamma” and “Alone in the Darkness”.

Schedule: Sep 18th, 3:00 pm, Sep 19th, 8:00 pm, Sep 20th, 8:00 pm, Sep 21st, 3:00 pm at The Ailey Citigroup Theater

More at NYMF 

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