On the Boards
Beowulf: A Thousand Years of Baggage
Beowulf: A Thousand Years of Baggage was voted Best Play in San Francisco last year, and now Banana Bag & Bodice finally get to bring this SongPlay to New York! We sat down to talk with Performers/Creators Jason Craig and Jessica Jelliffe about this unique “it’s not a musical” musical. We also hear two songs from the show.
Here’s what their website has to say about the show:
Beowulf â€“ A Thousand Years Of Baggage started in 2007 when Shotgun Players artistic director Patrick Dooley commissioned Banana Bag & Bodice company members David Malloy and Jason Craig to create an original music-based theatre piece. From a place of irreverence and whim, we decided to tackle the oldest poem recorded in the English language. The result of this crazy idea is a SongPlay adaptation of the classic 8th century epic Beowulf. Our version of the tale examines not only the events of the poem itself (heroes, monsters, retaliation, underwater battles, horses, swords) but also academia and the critique that has plagued the poem for centuries. At the heart of the piece is the notion of how art survives criticism, as the character Beowulf attempts to reclaim the purity of his tale again. What attracted us to the poem initially is its origins in the poetic oral tradition of story-telling. It seems to therefore fit our approach to creation of text, mixing quotidian slang with a poetic voice, which has become our trademark.
This production includes a cast of six actors who play all parts – from monsters, academics, warriors, kings and dancing ladies. The live music composition is played by a seven-piece orchestra including piano, percussion, clarinet, up-right bass, guitar, saw and two trombones. And our dramatic, imaginative set and light design incorporates 40 box fans, 5 fish tanks and a wrestling ring.
Beowulf plays in New York from March 31st – April 8th Find out more HERE
Tveit and Butz Reveal ‘CATCH ME’ Casting, Musical Premieres at Seattle’s 5th Ave 7/23-8/14
Tony Award winner Norbert Leo Butz and Aaron Tveit announced at last night’s MCC MISCAST2009 benefit that they indeed will be playing the leading roles in the upcoming Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman musical CATCH ME IF YOU CAN. Tveit will portray young con artist Frank Abagnale, Jr. while Butz will play FBI agent Carl Hanratty, his tireless pursuer.
The musical is scheduled to premiere at the Fifth Avenue Theatre in Seattle July 23rd thru August 14th, with Jack O’Brien serving as director, and Jerry Mitchell choreographing, the same duties both filled for “Hairspray”.
It was recently announced that Kerry Butler has been cast in the the upcoming musical adaptation of “Catch Me if You Can,” by Shaiman and Wittman, the team behind “Hairspray.”
Phylicia Rashad Joins Broadway Cast of August: Osage County in May
Phylicia Rashad has been announced to step into the role of Violet Weston in the Broadway production of August: Osage County. Rashad will follow Deanna Dunagan and Estelle Parsons in the part and will join the show on May 26.
“Grey’s Anatomy” Star Wilson to Return to Broadway in Chicago
“Grey’s Anatomy” star Chandra Wilson will return to Broadway this summer in the Tony-winning Kander and Ebb musical Chicago.
Wilson will step into the role of Matron “Mama” Morton June 8 for a four-week engagement. The acclaimed actress will end her limited run July 5.
Late in 2007, Scott Alan released his debut CD as a composer featuring many different Broadway Stars singing his works. The album was so successful that he has already released a follow up, KEYS, and has been able to quit his job to pursue composing full time. We discuss this process with him, and hear two songs from his latest CD, “Behind These Walls” featuring Kerry Ellis and “The Distance You Have Come” featuring Natalie Weiss.
Find out more about Scott Alan HERE
The Producer’s Perspective
This episode, Ken Davenport discusses the trends for the top 10 grossing musicals on Broadway.
Read more at his blog: www.TheProducersPerspective.com
Sutton Foster – Wish
Sutton Foster recently released her debut Solo CD, Wish, and we hear a song from it on the show!
Top of the Trades
GHOST Musical Bound for UK Stage, Warchus Directs
Matthew Warchus is to direct a musical version of the Academy award winning film Ghost, scheduled to open in the West End in 2010.Â Music and lyrics are by GrammyÂ® award winning Dave Stewart and Glen Ballard, OscarÂ® winning Bruce Joel Rubin will adapt his original screen play for the stage and write lyrics, set and costumes designs are by Rob Howell and the musical supervisors will be Christopher Nightingale and Tesse Gohl.Â Â Ghost is produced by David Garfinkle of New Yorkâ€™s HELLO Entertainment and London producer Colin Ingram in association with Paramount Pictures.Â Further information about this production will be announced at a later date.
Sheik and Jarrow’s Whisper House May Materialize at Old Globe
Whisper House, the new musical from Tony and Grammy-winning Spring Awakening composer Duncan Sheik, may debut at the Old Globe in San Diego in early 2010.
In an interview with Newsday, Sheik said that the World War-II era musical, co-authored with Kyle Jarrow, is aiming for a January 2010 bow at the Old Globe. The 2009-2010 season at the Globe has not been announced.
Set in a lighthouse on a remote New England coast, Whisper House follows the life of a grief-stricken young boy who loses his father in World War II and is sent by his mother to live with his spinster aunt. The boy’s longings come to musical life as seen through the eyes of the ghosts who inhabit the lighthouse.
Sheik’s solo album of songs from the musical, also entitled “Whisper House,” was released from RCA Victor in January.
Priscilla Queen of the Desert the Musical Arrived in London’s West End March 10
A stage musical version of “The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert,” the 1994 Australian film about a trio of drag queens who take their show to the middle of the outback aboard a battered old bus nicknamed Priscilla, arrived at London’s Palace Theatre March 10 prior to a press night on March 23 and a gala night on March 24.
Entitled Priscilla Queen of the Desert the Musical, the stage work is co-written by Stephan Elliott (who wrote and directed the original film) and Allan Scott, directed by Simon Phillips and features costume designs by Tim Chappel and Lizzy Gardiner, who won the 1995 Academy Award for Best Costume Design for their work on the film.