WELCOME BACK FROM Thanksgiving break. Hope all of your holidays were wonderful. We've got a big ole show for you this week. We have a holiday gift giving guide for theatre lovers. We also sit down with the multi-talented Gregory Jbara to talk about his newest role as the dad in Billy Elliot. We also get to talk to Legally Blonde's Autumn Hulbert - the search for the next Elle Woods runner-up - about her starring role in Glimpses of the Moon. We talk to James Barbour as he gets ready for his new Holiday Concert. Also, in the studio we have the Artistic Director of the Resonance Theatre Ensemble to talk about two productions: 23 Knives and Ceasar and Cleopatra.
Alas this week we are sans Marty, but we have Ken Davenport with his producers perspective on remembering the budget.
We also have all those news and notes you love as well as your guide to the shows that are closing up shop over the holidays. So why don't you just hurry up on board the Broadway Bullet for all destinations on and off Broadway!
This is our Season Finale, and we're in need of a break after this busy year! We'll be back with new episodes starting Jan. 22nd, 2009, then again every 2nd and 4th Thursday of the month.
On The Boards
WITH PLENTY OF FRIENDS, but little money, Susy Branch and her friend Nick Lansing devise a clever scheme to live beyond their means. They’ll marry and live off the wedding presents, while they help one another trade up to suitable millionaires. The plan works perfectly — until they fall in love. This story may be all too familiar to some of readers, you know it as Glimpses of the Moon, and it’s back on the Bullet today because of it’s brand new star, Autumn Hurlbert. You may also remember Autuemn from her stint on Legally Blonde: The Search for the Next Elle Woods. Well, she’s now playing off Broadway, and she dropped in to give us a glimpse inside the reality show and also into her new work on Glimpses of the Moon.
For more information or to by tickets please visit: www.glimpsesofthemoon.com
Listening Room – Holiday CD Gift Guide
ARE YOU HAVING A tough time finding that theatre lover on your list something just right for the holiday season? Or are you just looking for something to finish your theatre collection? Well we’re here for you. This week we’re giving you the low down on a few hot items for gift giving joy, or for your own personal happy holiday. Throughout volume 224 we’ll be featuring listening rooms with six cds out just in time for Christmas.
James Barbour – Broadway in Concert
James Barbour, of Beauty and the Beast and Jane eyre fan, has issued his Broadway in Concert album for the holiday season. His mostly live CD is filled not only with great singing, but stories about his career and life that should appeal to any theatre geek!
Keys – The Music of Scott Alan
Sutton Foster gives us a little ditty called, “Always”, from the album Keys, the Music of Scott Alan. Scott appeared on Broadway Bullet for his debut CD, and we expect to see him in here soon to talk about the new one… but don’t wait for it, stuff someone’s stocking!
Why not Michael John LaChuisa for Christmas with his newest show “Little Fish” featuring Broadway stars Alice Ripley and Gregory Jbara. Mr. LaChuisa appeared on Broadway Bullet for a candid interview a few episodes ago, and now with Gregory Jbara’s interview, don’t you feel like they’re all friends? And you HAVE to get your friends’ CDs!
John Pollard – Wintertime Sky
We hear from John Pollard the song “Wintertime Sky”. This is a new Christmas tune that John wrote, and Broadway Bullet host, Michael Gilboe, produced and arranged the song for him in the Broadway Bullet Studio. It’s only a buck on iTunes, so go ahead and gift it to friends on iTunes!
Kristin Chenoweth – A Lovely Way to Spend Christmas
There needs to be a Christmas album in the mix… okay, so you *might* not want to wait until Christmas to unwrap this gem with great old standards and future one. With Pushin Daisies over, maybe Ms. Chenowith will hop back onto the boards, but until then, you have this! Kristin Chenoweth gives us a track from her new Christmas album, A Lovely Way to Spend Christmas, called “Christmas Island”.
Stephen Sondheim – The Story So Far…
And wrapping up our holiday gift guide listening room the incomperable Stephen Sondheim, The Story so far… This new collection of Sondheim work is a retrospective of his life in musical theatre from West Side Story up to Roadshow. This 4 disck set is a beauty with a great color BOOK (it can’t be called just a booklet!) with tones of pictes, notes and more. The set contains tons of rare and unreleased material as well. This won’t fit in a stocking, it will have to go under the tree! Sondheim is also going to be launching a podcast of his own to coincide with the disc.
To learn more about Sondheim’s podcast please visit: http://www.masterworksbroadway.com/sondheim/
Subscribe to the podcast in iTunes
Pick up the the box set at Amazon
NEXT TO NORMAL, TOM Kitt and Brian Yorkey’s rock musical about a family in crisis, opens Dec. 10 in a production by Arena Stage in Washington, DC, after previews from Nov. 21. Following a high-profile Off-Broadway run at Second Stage Theatre, the collaborators (including director Michael Greif) revised their work. Sergio A. Trujillo again choreographs. The tale of a mentally unstable mother and the waves she creates in the lives of her husband and daughter stars Tony Award nominee Alice Ripley (Side Show), who repeats her New York City work as mom Diana. Also back to the project are Aaron Tveit (Wicked, Hairspray) as son Gabe; Jennifer Damiano (Spring Awakening) as daughter Natalie; and Adam Chanler-Berat (Broadway’s Les MisÃ©rables) as Henry, a classmate. Robert Spencer (Nick Massi in the original cast of Jersey Boys) joins the cast as the harried father, Dan, and Louis Hobson plays multiple roles, including doctors. Book writer and lyricist Yorkey and composer Kitt jumped into rewrites after the February-March 2008 New York City run. Greif (Rent, Grey Gardens) stated, “Tom and Brian have been changing the music, lyrics and book to make it even more truthful and sophisticated. The affection and commitment everyone feels for the development of this piece is clear; we have many of the same actors and musicians working with us at Arena in addition to our original design team. We welcome our extraordinary new cast members and we are grateful to Arena to have this opportunity to work on this fantastic piece again.”
TONY NOMINEE DEBORAH RUSH is the latest addition to the starry cast of the upcoming revival of Noel Coward’s Blithe Spirit, which begins performances Feb. 26, 2009, at the Shubert Theatre. As previously reported, four-time Tony winner Angela Lansbury will play psychic Madame Arcati and two-time Tony winner Christine Ebersole (Tony winner for Grey Gardens and 42nd Street) will be the ghostly Elvira in a cast that also boasts film star Rupert Everett (“My Best Friend’s Wedding,” “Another Country” and “An Ideal Husband”), who will be making his Broadway debut, theatre veteran Simon Jones and two-time Tony Award nominee Jayne Atkinson. Michael Blakemore, who directed Lansbury in Deuce, will direct. Rush will play the role of Mrs. Bradman. Tickets for Blithe Spirit go on sale exclusively to American Express card holders Dec. 10. Tickets for the general public will go on sale Dec. 20. Deborah Rush was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Actress for her work in Noises Off! Her other Broadway credits include Absurd Person Singular, Hay Fever, The Sisters Rosensweig and Dance With Me. Rush’s screen credits include “Strangers with Candy,” “Law and Order,” “Spin City,” “Julie and Julia,” “You’ve Got Mail” and “Purple Rose of Cairo.” Jeffrey Richards, Jerry Frankel and Steve Traxler, who are also producing the revival of David Mamet’s Speed-the-Plow, will produce the comedy about a married man whose dead first wife materializes to make mischief.
SPRING AWAKENING, THE TONY-winning musical based on the groundbreaking 1891 play by Frank Wedekind, marks its second anniversary on Broadway Dec. 10. Featuring a Tony-winning score by Duncan Sheik and Steven Sater, who also eared a Tony Award for his book to the sexually-charged musical, Spring Awakening began previews on Broadway Nov. 16, 2006, and officially opened at the Eugene O’Neill Theatre Dec. 10, 2006. To mark the second anniversary of Spring Awakening’s Broadway run, the cast and crew will celebrate with a special anniversary cake prior to the evening performance. Spring Awakening made its world premiere Off-Broadway at the Atlantic Theater Company in June 2006. When the hit musical concludes its Broadway run Jan. 18, 2009, it will have played 859 performances and 29 previews on Broadway. In addition to a national tour, which is currently play in Los Angeles, Spring Awakening is also preparing productions in London, Vienna, Toronto, Helsinki, and Seoul for 2009.
THERE IS ONE THEATRE in NYC where it’s okay not to worry about dust. Actually, the name of the show is Dust, a new thriller starring Emmy Award nominee Richard Masur (Democracy, “All My Children”) and Tony Award nominee Hunter Foster (Urinetown, Little Shop of Horrors), which opens on Thursday, December 4th at 7:00PM at the Westside Theatre. The show is written by Billy Goda and directed by Scott Zigler with a cast that also features Laura E. Campbell, Curtis McClarin and John Schiappa. So here’s the layout of the show…”Dust is a power play. One man is an executive with money and a paunch. The other is an ex-con with street smarts and a minimum-wage position. One man says “jump.” The other won’t say “how high,” but defiantly asks “why?”. What starts off as a battle of wills over who will do the dusting escalates into a war for respect, the upper hand and survival. Who will be standing when the dust settles?” Playing the role of Martin is Richard Masur, whose Broadway and off-Broadway credits include Michael Frayne’s Democracy; David Storey’s The Changing Room; The New Group’s 2000 Years by Mike Leigh; Playwrights Horizons a feminine ending by Sarah Treem; The Public Theater’s The Ruby Sunrise and Rinne Groff; MTC’s Sarah, Sarah by Daniel Goldfarb; and The Culture Project’s The Exonerated. He has starred in more than 50 films including Risky Business, My Girl, Heaven’s Gate, Heartburn and Under Fire; over 45 television movies, including: Adam, Fallen Angel and When The Bough Breaks, HBO’s And The Band Played On, Showtime’s Hiroshima, HBO’s 61* and The Burning Bed, for which he received an Emmy nomination. His television credits include “Picket Fences,” “Rhoda” and “One Day At A Time.” Appearing opposite Masur as Zeke is Hunter Foster. Foster has appeared on Broadway as Bobby Strong in Urinetown, for which he received an Outer Critics nomination, Leo Bloom in The Producers, Seymour in Little Shop Of Horrors, which garnered him a Tony nomination, Les Miserables, Grease, Footloose and King David. Off-Broadway credits include Modern Orthodox, Frankenstein and Urinetown. Regional: The Government Inspector and Martin Guerre, Mister Roberts, Kiss Of The Spider Woman, Lend Me A Tenor and Children Of Eden. He has toured nationally in Cats as Rum Tum Tugger and wrote the book to the off-Broadway musicals, Summer Of ’42 and Bonnie And Clyde: A Folktale, and the upcoming Sleepy Hollow.
PERHAPS THE RECENT RETURN to Broadway of Tony winner and Forbidden Broadway favorite Liza Minnelli â€” in the critically acclaimed Liza’s at the Palace! â€” was too good an opportunity to pass up: Forbidden Broadway Goes to Rehab has extended its Off-Broadway run. The latest edition of Gerard Alessandrini’s long-running revue had been scheduled to end its run at Off-Broadway’s 47th Street Theatre Jan. 15, 2009. The production will now run through March 1, 2009, according to Variety. The newest edition of the Tony and Drama Desk Award-winning show that spoofs theatrical shows, stars and trends is directed by Alessandrini and Phillip George. The current production â€” which pokes fun at South Pacific, In the Heights, August: Osage County, Gypsy, Young Frankenstein, Sunday in the Park with George, Bernadette Peters, Patti LuPone, Liza Minnelli and Kristin Chenoweth â€” is dedicated to the memory of Alvin Colt, who designed Forbidden Broadway’s costumes for 15 years. The cast comprises Christina Bianco, James Donegan, Gina Kreiezmar and Michael West with David Caldwell on piano. The creative team for Forbidden Broadway also includes Megan Halpern (set design), the late Colt (costume design), David Moyer (additional costumes), Mark T. Simpson (lighting design) and David Caldwell (musical direction).
HE HAS BEEN WOWING and wooing audience fro more than two decades on film, on television, and on stage. He’s been side by side with an awesome aussie in Crocodile Dundee to singing about moneys in suits in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. Now, Gregory Jbara is working his way across the Imperial stage in the New Elton John musical Billy Elliot. Greg took some time out to drop into the studio and chat with us about his career and also about his journey with Billy Elliot. We also get to hear a couple of songs from past shows Greg’s done: “Like Zis, Like Zat” from Dirty Rotten Scoundrels and “By the Way” from Little Fish.
For more information on Billy Elliot or to buy tickets please visit: www.billyelliotthemusical.com
Gregory also has tons of media, video clips, photos and more on his website at www.gregoryjbara.com
ONE OF THE FEW Broadway leading men who is willing to step down and take on the role of supporting, James Barbour has had a full career from Jane Eyre to Disney’s Beauty and the Beast to Tale fo Two Cities. He’s now gearing up for his Holiday concert starting on the 2th. He took some time out of his busy schedule to drop into the studio and chat with us about his choices in his career and how he finds a balance between leading man and supporting player and his new concert album of Broadway hits.
For more information on James Barbour and the holiday concert please visit: www.jamesbarbour.com
KEN DAVENPORT COMES BY the studio to give us his perspective on the all too importan but sometimes over looked aspect of producing a show, the budget. He gives us some helpful hints on staying under and how to cut corners, without cutting the merit.
For more insights, visit www.theproducersperspective.com
On The Boards
23 Knives/Ceasar and Cleopatra
RESONANCE THEATRE HAS A mission to keep the classics present and to take the spirit of such authors as Moliere, Shakespeare, and Shaw to create new works. With their newest production 23 Knives and Ceasar and Cleopatra, they have done just that. 23 Knives tells the story of the assination of Ceasar and the new form of investigation introduced in Rome, Autposy. In Bernard Shaw’s Ceasar and Cleopatra the love affair with The queen of Egypt and the emperor of Rome is laid out. We sit down with the Artistic Director, Eric Parness, and actor, Wrenn Schmidt, to talk about Resonance’s mission and what these show’s about political intrigue have to show us in our modern times.
For more information on Resonance and their current season please visit: www.resonanceensemble.org
Top of the Trades
THE BROADWAY-BOUND MUSICAL Catch Me If You Can â€” based on the 2002 DreamWorks film of the same name â€” will have its premiere in Seattle this coming summer. “We’re doing it at the Fifth Avenue Theatre in Seattle,” the show’s composer, Marc Shaiman, told Playbill.com. “The Fifth Avenue is actually co-producing it. I believe it’s their first venture into becoming a regional theatre, not just a landlord to touring productions. We had such a lovely experience there with Hairspray, it sure sounded good to us.” Shaiman said the long-aborning show would play during summer 2009, with dates to be determined. Jack O’Brien will direct. As to the cast, Shaiman said, “I can’t say yet, but I hope many of the people who have been in it over the years will be in it.” Nathan Lane and Christian Borle starred in a July 2007 reading of the new musical. Lane also starred in an August 2006 reading of Catch Me If You Can. A fall 2005 reading featured Matthew Morrison at Frank Abagnale, Jr.; Lane as Hanratty; Tom Wopat as Frank Abagnale, Sr.; Christine Ebersole as Paula Abagnale; Celia Keenan-Bolger as Brenda and Sara Gettelfinger as Cheryl Ann. The show, which has had numerous readings and workshops over the years, has music by Marc Shaiman and lyrics by Scott Wittman and Shaiman. Terrence McNally penned the book.
NEW LINE CINEMA HAS won screen rights for the new 1980s-set Off-Broadway musical Rock of Ages, which is currently playing New World Stages. Variety reports that Rock librettist Chris D’Arienzo will not only pen the screenplay but will direct the feature film as well. No casting has been announced. The production will mark the latest musical project for New Line. As previously reported, the company is currently in the process of developing a sequel to the hit movie musical “Hairspray.” The Rock of Ages film will be produced by Matthew Weaver and Scott Prisand of Corner Store Entertainment, Carl Levin, Tobey Maguire and Maguire Entertainment. Executive producers will include Janet Billig, Hillary Weaver and Maguire Entertainment’s Dan Shafer. Rock of Ages, according to press notes for the Off-Broadway production, is “fueled by high-octane ’80s rock â€“ from the anthems that defined an era to the power ballads that lit up arenas everywhere.” The musical features songs by Journey, Bon Jovi, Styx, Reo Speedwagon, Pat Benatar, Twisted Sister, Poison, Asia and Whitesnake.
ARDEN THEATRE COMANY IN Philadelphia bites into James and the Giant Peach by David Wood, from the novel by Roald Dahl, Dec. 10, 2008-Feb. 8, 2009, on the F. Otto Haas Stage. Whit MacLaughlin directs the project as part of Arden Children’s Theatre. Opening night is Dec. 13. Unique animation will help create the dark and juicy world of the story. The titular peach will be more than 15-feet high. The show’s look will include custom-made stop-motion animations as well as computer-generated animations. Found found objects (tissue paper, card board, plastic wrap and paper towels) are materials being filmed in the animation process. Five projectors will be used to project images to screens onstage. “The animations are being used to enhance the storytelling onstage and bring to life the many locations and creatures James and the bugs encounter â€” the ocean, the sky, London, New York, a rhino, an octopus, seagulls” and more, according to notes.
HAYDN GWEEN, WHO CREATED the role of dance teacher Mrs. Wilkinson in the original London cast of Billy Elliot and is currently repeating her work for Broadway audiences, will sit down for a chat with host Seth Rudetsky at the Dec. 11 edition of Seth’s Broadway Chatterbox. The weekly live talk show, which includes interviews and performances from Broadway stars, is held at 6 PM at the New York cabaret Don’t Tell Mama. There is a $10 donation and a two-drink minimum. The donation goes directly to Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, the nation’s leading industry-based, not-for-profit AIDS fundraising and grant-making organization. Haydn Gwynne, who is currently making her Broadway debut in Billy Elliot â€” The Musical, was nominated for Olivier Awards for her performances in the London productions of Billy Elliot and City of Angels. Her many other U.K. credits include roles in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Twelfth Night, Peer Gynt, Merry Wives of Windsor, The Way of the World and The Memory of Water. She is best known for her lead roles in the TV series “Peak Practice” and “Merseybeat.” Her other screen credits include “Drop the Dead Monkey,” “Dalziel and Pascoe,” “Nice Work,” “Rome,” “The Secret” and “The Merchant of Venice.”
IN LIGHT OF THE recent rash of Broadway postings and trying to keep up with when everything will be vacating the Great White Way we’ve collected a list of everything that has posted for January so you can make a list of must sees or have seens or even the ones that you just wouldn’t see if someone paid you.
13 The Musical – closing January 4, 2008
Boeing Boeing – Closing January 4, 2008
Grease – Closing January 4, 2008
Dividing the Estate – Closing January 4, 2008
Hairspray – Closing January 4, 2008
White Christmas – Closing January 4, 2008
Spamalot – Closing January 11, 2008
Spring Awakening – Closing January 18, 2008
Young Frankenstein – January 4, 2008
Future closings too are hanging in the wings here are up coming closings in the new year: Gypsy, All My Sons, Speed-the-Plow, and Equus.