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Podcast Vol. 211 – June 25, 2008

This episode features interviews and performances with several cast members from the upcoming show, VANITIES; Sheera Ben-David from COME SUMMER; Tony award winner Scott Lehrer (SOUTH PACIFIC); and a Broadway Abridged rendition of LES MISERABLES.  What are you waiting for?  Come aboard the Broadway Bullet.

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ON THE BOARDS

Vanities The Musical

IT STARTS OUT IN  the locker room of a high school in Texas and then follows the lives of three women as they move through college and into the adult life of housewives.  It’s raunchy at times and down right vulgar as well.  It’s also touching and heartwarming.  It was a controversial play when it made its debut, and now it’s coming to Broadway with as a musical with a book by the plays original author and music and lyrics by David Kirshenbaum.  We sit down with the three stars of the show, Sarah Stiles, Lauren Kennedy, and Anneliese van der Pol, to talk about the show and what it’s like playing in three decades.

For more information and tickets please visit: www.vanitiesthemusical.com 

BROADWAY ABRIDGED

Les Miserables (pronounced Lame-is-rob)

FOR THOSE OF YOU who know the guys of Broadway Abridged, you know you’re in for a treat.  For those of you who don’t know Jake Friedman, Rachel Pincus, Ron Varod, and Gil Varod, settle in for a version of Les Miserables you’ve never even dreamed of.

Visit www.broadwayabridged.com for more great abridged scripts by Gil Varod!

THE CALLBOARD

CONGRATULATIONS TO LIFE IN A MARITAL INSTITUTION for the their move from off off Broadway to Off Broadway.  We had a sit down with the show on Volume 203.  Check out the interview and also go and check out the show at it’s new home off Broadway!

IN THE HEIGHTS CREATOR, composer, lyricist and leading man Lin-Manuel Miranda will visit the New York Stock Exchange on Wed., June 25.  Miranda’s Broadway hit, IN THE HEIGHTS, recently won four Tony Awards including best musical, best original score, best choreography and best orchestrations.  To celebrate this momentous occasion, Lin-Manuel Miranda will ring The Opening Bell at the NYSE.

THE 18th ANNUAL BROADWAY Bares: Wonderland raised $874,372 for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, setting another record for the annual event held at Roseland Ballroom on June 22.  The M•A•C AIDS Fund again sponsored the event that features scantily clad Broadway favorites performing sizzling numbers. The sponsor presented Broadway Bares with a check for $115,000 and presented a surprise “challenge match” check of $50,000 for the event’s closing “rotation” where performers dance for donations from audience members.  Last year’s event, Broadway Bares XVII: Myth Behavior, raised $743,787 for BC/EFA.

FAMED COMIC/ACTRESS/TV HOST Joan Rivers — who will bring her new play, Joan Rivers: A Work in Progress By a Life in Progress, to London’s Leicester Square Theatre this summer — celebrates Gay Pride at the Cutting Room June 25-27.  “For three nights running,” press notes read, “catch the acerbic Rivers as she dissects popular culture…and most likely, the people in the front row. In all the years Rivers has done her new-material workshops at The Cutting Room, she’s never been able to schedule any during Pride Week, so watch out, Gays: she’s been saving up material for years, and she’s looking at you.”  Joan Rivers Does Gay Pride is scheduled to play the downtown Manhattan venue each night at 8 PM. There will be an additional show June 26 at 9 PM.

TWO TIME TONY AWARD winners — Bebe Neuwirth and Nathan Lane — will star in an upcoming reading of The Addams Family musical, according to a production spokesperson.  Elephant Eye Theatrical — the Broadway development and production company formed by Stuart Oken, Michael Leavitt and Five Cent Productions — will produce The Addams Family musical, which will be penned by songwriter Andrew Lippa and Jersey Boys writers Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice.  Improbable Theater founders Phelim McDermott and Julian Crouch (whose acclaimed Shockheaded Peter flirted with stylized stage horror) will direct and design.  Although Lane and Neuwirth will be part of the August reading, no roles have been cast for the Broadway production, which is scheduled for the 2009-2010 Broadway season following an out-of-town tryout.

ON THE BOARDS

Come Summer

SHE’S CONQUERED THE OAK Room at the Algonquin Hotel before, and been lauded for her week long engagement.  Now Sheera Ben-David is back for round two, after coming back from performing to sold out crowds in Belgium with her tribute Jacques Brel.  We sit down with Ms Ben-David and talk about her history with the oak room and her second cd release as well.  Also musical director Adam Ben-David talks about working in the pits of Spring Awakening and Jersey Boys  We also get to hear two performances, live in studio, of “I Miss the Mountains” and “This Moment”.

For more information and tickets please visit: www.sheerabendavid.com

TOP OF THE TRADES

THE BROADWAY REVIVAL OF the poetry-kissed for colored girls who have considered suicide when the rainbow is enuf, starring Grammy Award winner India.Arie, will begin previews at the Circle in the Square Theatre beginning Aug. 19.  Shirley Jo Finney will direct the production of Ntozake Shange’s Tony Award-nominated work, a collection of stories and poems, featuring choreography by Tony winner Hinton Battle. The official opening night will be Sept. 8.  Whoopi Goldberg and DreamTeam Entertainment Group (Victor Walker, Harold Wheeler and Ned Goldstein) serve as executive producers for the revival. Complete casting will be announced shortly.

 THE WINNERS WERE THE ones that you wanted. Now, how about some runners-up? Finalists Ashley Spencer and Derek Keeling of the reality TV audition series “Grease: You’re the One That I Want” are expected to be the new Sandy and Danny of Broadway’s Grease.  Osnes and Crumm were winners in the 2007 televised competition that sought to cast the new Broadway revival of the hit musical. Spencer placed second. Keeling was a finalist. In fall 2007 he was featured in the pre-Broadway run of the new musical A Tale of Two Cities.  Spencer’s hometown paper, The Repository, of Canton, OH, reported on June 24 that Spencer, already a Broadway presence as Amber in Hairspray, will succeed Laura Osnes in Grease at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre. CantonRep.com reported that she’ll be joined by “You’re the One That I Want” finalist Derek Keeling, who’ll succeed Max Crumm as Danny. They will reportedly begin performances July 22.

ACCORDING TO THE TIMES Online Sir Cameron Mackintosh, currently planning out the revival of  BARNUM on the West End, has someone in mind for the part originated by Michael Crawford and that someone is Hugh Jackman. Could this be a sign John Barrowman, who was previously mulling a choice between BARNUM and PHANTOM 2, is no longer in the running? BroadwayWorld previously reported on Barrowman’s dilemma between playing the title on Barnum (Mackintosh was supposedly talking to him about the role) and starring in the sequel to Phantom, Phantom 2.   The multi-talented Jackman won an Emmy for hosting the 2004 Tony Awards ceremony. However, he is probably best known to Broadway audiences for his role in The Boy From Oz. He was also nominated for the 1998 Olivier for Best Actor in a Musical for his Curly in the Royal National Theatre’s Oklahoma! A musical theatre veteran back in Australia, he played Joe Gillis in the 1996 production of Sunset Boulevard in Melbourne, and Gaston in 1995’s Beauty and the Beast.  Film credits include The Fountain, The Prestige, Scoop, the X-Men films, and Someone Like You.

THE U.S. PREMIERE OF Sam Shepard’s Kicking a Dead Horse – starring Stephen Rea and Elissa Piszel – begins previews at the Public Theater June 25.  The two-hander concerns Americana art dealer Hobart Struther who heads West in search of the “real thing,” but all he gets is a dead horse and an existential crisis. Shepard penned the role of art dealer Hobart Struther especially for Academy Award nominee Rea. Piszel will be seen in the non-speaking role of Young Woman. Shepard directs his play that has a design team comprised of Brian Vahey (set design), Joan Bergin (costume design), John Comisky (lighting design) and Dan Moses Schreier (sound design).

ROUNDABOUT THEATRE COMPANY HAS announced on their website (www.roundabouttheatre.org) that a new interpretation of Hedda Gabler will be added to their new season lineup. Hedda Gabler is Norwegian playwright Henry Ibsen’s dark tale of a woman trapped in a boring loveless marriage who takes it out by manipulating everyone around her. The play, along with Ibsen’s A Dolls House was considering one of the most controversial works of its time. The role of Hedda has been re-created by talented actresses such as Cate Blanchett, Kate Burton, Ingrid Bergman, Annette Bening, and Fiona Shaw.  Roundabout’s 2008-2009 season (already featuring Frank Langella starring in Robert Bolt’s A Man for All Seasons, directed by Doug Hughes; David Rabe’s Streamers, directed by Scott Ellis, Lisa Loomer’s Distracted featuring Cynthia Nixon, directed by Mark Brokaw and Steven Levenson’s The Language of Trees, directed by Alex Timbers) will also include Pal Joey starring Martha Pimpton and Stockard Channing.

UP CLOSE

Scott Lehrer

HE’S JUST WON THE Tony Award for best Sound Design for South Pacific, but his credits are not all housed in a Broadway theatre.  Scott’s done lot’s of work off Broadway and also done engineering work at NYU’s Skirball Center for the Arts, the experimental performance venue Dixon Place and the new Dance Theatre Workshop. Other live concert sound system design work has been heard at Central Park’s Summerstage and the New York nightclub SOB’s.  Need less to say it was hard to get this award winner in, but we did.  We sit down to talk about all the thing Scott’s found time to do as well as South Pacific.

For more information please visit: www.scottlehrersound.com

 

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