Seth’s pal Paul Castree (remember him from this classic episode?) returns to OBSESSED! to share a unique, bizarre and hilarious mashup of 80s tunes (with some revised lyrics…) that he put together for his Wedding Singer audition. Read Seth’s weekly column. Visit SethTV.com, Seth’s online home.
In rehearsals for the Bay Street Theatre production of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, and busy with her latest cabaret show Old Woman, New Material, Jackie Hoffman still has time to be the good daughter — she phones her mother every day with updates on her professional life. Playbill was on hand to capture a call between the two as Hoffman and her mom chatted about the upcoming 54 Below performances of Old Woman, New Material, various cabaret legends, Jerry Herman and the hot New York summer. Visit 54Below.com for show details.
New York City Center presented Jeanine Tesori and Brian Crawley’s Violet as the second show in its new Off-Broadway program Encores! Off-Center. The one-night-only concert production featured Sutton Foster in the title role and Joshua Henry and Van Hughes as two young soldiers who befriend and become fascinated with her on a bus trip through the south at the dawn of the Civil Rights era. Violet’s limited run at Playwrights Horizons in 1997 garnered an Obie Award, a Drama Critics' Circle Award for Best Musical and a Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Musical. Here the cast performs tunes “Surprised,” “On My Way,” “Let It Sing” and more. Read the Playbill story.
Soul Doctor is the real-life story of controversial Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach — regarded as the father of popular Jewish music — and his relationship with jazz legend Nina Simone. The production stars Eric Anderson as Carlebach and Amber Iman as Simone and is directed by Daniel S. Wise. Book is by Wise with music and lyrics by Carlebach, lyrics by David Schechter and additional material by Neshama Carlebach. Performances begin July 17 at Circle in the Square. Read the Playbill story.
Composer and producer Joey Contreras presents the latest episode of “Hot Off the Ivories,” his web series featuring the songs of up-and-coming composers. Here, Caissie Levy (Broadway’s Ghost and Off-Broadway’s Murder Ballad) and Taylor Noble (Zoe Sarnak’s Off-Broadway A Lasting Impression) perform "Give Words of Love" written by Sarnak, who also accompanies on piano. Watch Hands on a Hardbody’s Jay Armstrong Johnson perform “Town Goes Boom” by Chris Miller (music) and Nathan Tysen (lyrics).
Conceived of, written and directed by Chen Shi-Zheng and with music by Damon Albarn (best known for his work with the Gorillaz musical collective), Monkey: Journey to the West is based on an ancient Chinese tale about a Monkey King who leads a monk on a journey to find the Buddha. Aerial choreographer and coach Heather Hammond went backstage at the production to give Playbill a peek at the intricate workings of the show which features a cast of Chinese acrobats, singers, contortionists and martial artists. The production plays the Lincoln Center Festival through July 28. Read the Playbill story.
Garth Kravits of Old Jews Telling Jokes and Michael Kostroff of The Nance joined comedic forces to create the latest installment in TDF’s Theatre Dictionary Term of the Month video series. The pair met for lunch at NYC’s Duffy Square and demonstrated classic stage “takes” — the “Spit Take,” the “Take to the Audience,” the “Slow Burn” and, of course, the world famous “Double Take.” To see the ever-expanding theatre dictionary, visit www.theatredictionary.org.
With book and lyrics by David Lindsay-Abaire and music by Jeanine Tesori, Shrek The Musical plays the Chicago Shakespeare Theater in a 75-minute performance after which audience members are invited to meet the cast in the theater lobby. The production is directed and choreographed by Rachel Rockwell and stars Michael Aaron Linder as the titular green ogre, Summer Naomi Smart as “Fiona” and James Earl Jones II as “Donkey.” Visit playbillvault.com to see all the details of the original Broadway production.
Let It Be is a multimedia-rich theatrical concert showcasing the hits of the Beatles, widely regarded as rock ’n’ roll’s greatest and most influential band. The concert employs a live band and video footage to tell the story of the group's meteoric rise from humble beginnings in Liverpool’s Cavern Club, through the height of their pop chart success and “Beatlemania,” to their later visionary studio masterpieces. John Maher directs the production at the St. James Theatre. Read the Playbill story.
I'm Getting My Act Together and Taking It on the Road, the final Encores! Off-Center presentation of the 2013 season, plays City Center July 24-27. Reneé Elise Goldsberry heads the cast as Heather, a pop singer who, on her 39th birthday, previews her new act of feminism-infused tunes to her skeptical manager Joe (Frederick Weller). Here, the cast performs "Natural High," "Smile," "Old Friend," "Miss America" and more. With music by Nancy Ford and book and lyrics by Gretchen Cryer, the production is directed and choreographed by Kathleen Marshall. Read the Playbill story.
Some 40 years after Pippin's original cast recording was released, composer and lyricist Stephen Schwartz found himself back in the studio, this time for cast album sessions for Pippin's Tony-winning Broadway revival. Schwartz took a breather from a busy day and sat down with music supervisor/arranger Nadia Digiallonardo and music director Charlie Alterman as the three chatted about recroding techniques and experiences in the studio, both past and present. The Broadway revival cast album, released by Ghostlight Records, is available at playbillstore.com.
Through music, dance, song and dramatic vignettes, Forever Tango traces the colorful history of the tango, widely regarded as the sexiest and most sensual dance in the world. Here, creator and director Luis Bravo and guest stars Karina Smirnoff and Maksim Chmerkovskiy talk about the tango's power to communicate across all cultures. The production plays the Walter Kerr Theatre through Sept. 15. Read the Playbill story about upcoming cast changes.
Mary Tyler Moore and Bernadette Peters' 15th annual star-studded dog and cat adoption event Broadway Barks! was presented July 13 in Shubert Alley. Playbill went on a tour of the event with Tony nominee Andrew Rannells to meet some of the dogs up for adoption. We also speak to hosts Bernadette Peters and Harvey Fierstein, and presenters Michael Urie, Corey Cott and Kara Lindsay about what why Broadway Barks! is important to them. For more information on Broadway Barks! 15, click here.