In this modern telling of the William Shakespeare classic, Orlando Bloom ("The Lord of the Rings") and Condola Rashad (Stick Fly, The Trip to Bountiful) play the titular star-crossed lovers whose different ethnic backgrounds add fuel to the fire between their feuding families. The cast features Jayne Houdyshell, Justin Guarini and Chuck Cooper and is directed by David Leveaux. The production plays the Richard Rodgers Theatre through Jan. 12. Read the Playbill story.
In Studio with the Cast Recording of The Last Five Years: Part One
The 2002 original cast recording of The Last Five Years was Ghostlight Records’ first cast album and remains one of the label's best-selling titles. Still, the show’s creator Jason Robert Brown felt it was important to honor the revival of the Off-Broadway classic with a recording of its own that would allow the talents of Betsy Wolfe and Adam Kantor to create a different musical experience than fans of the show are used to. Here, as Wolfe performs “Still Hurting,” Brown chats with Playbill about why he chose to record everyone together in the same room despite the difficulties of doing so.
Highlights From Barry Manilow's Harmony at the Alliance Theatre
Harmony — A New Musical, featuring music by Barry Manilow and book and lyrics by Bruce Sussman, is now playing at the Alliance Theatre in Atlanta, GA. The musical inspired by the Comedian Hamonists, a group of six singers who came together in 1920s Germany, stars Shayne Kennon, Tony Yazbeck, Douglas Williams, Chris Dwan, Will Taylor, Will Blum, Leigh Ann Larkin and Hannah Corneau. For more information on Harmony, read the Playbill story.
Highlights From Fetch Clay, Make Man Directed by Des McAnuff
The New York Theatre Workshop production of Will Power's Fetch Clay, Make Man stars Ray Fisher and K. Todd Freeman as real life African American figures who achieved renown for very different reasons. In the days before one of the most controversial fights in boxing history, 23-year-old heavyweight champ Muhammad Ali (Fisher) forms an improbable bond with former Hollywood star Stepin Fetchit (Freeman), an actor widely disparaged for playing to racial stereotypes throughout his career. Set in the heady times of the Civil Rights era, Fetch Clay, Make Man examines the true meanings of strength, resilience, and pride. Directed by Des McAnuff, the production plays through Oct. 13. Read the Playbill story.
Adapted from best-selling author John Grisham's first novel, A Time to Kill is the story of Carl Lee Hailey (played by John Douglas Thompson) a black man who kills two white men accused of assaulting his young daughter. Based on real experiences from Grisham's legal career, the story delves into issues of race and the fairness of the legal system. At a Sept. 16 press day, Rupert Holmes (stage adaptation) and cast members Sebastian Arcelus, Tonya Pinkins, Patrick Page, Tom Skerritt and Ashley Williams chatted with Playbill about the lure and popularity of Grisham's legal dramas and the collective desire to have the play ask questions rather than provide answers. Read the Playbill story.
OBSESSED! The Soon to Be High-Flying Jason Gotay Wants to "Shower With Han Solo"
As Jason Gotay prepares to enter a Broadway musical with the kind of high-flying stunts he didn't get to do in Bring It On: The Musical (we can't reveal the name of the show quite yet…), he met up with Seth Rudetsky for a new episode of OBSESSED! Gotay chatted about his mixed heritage, a recent sponsored ten-day trip to Israel, the rigors of wearing a "stoner poncho" in Bring It On and a new website that is an exhaustive resource for the sheet music of contemporary musical theatre. Gotay and Seth then performed a Bill Nelson and Will Aronson tune about one of the most popular "Star Wars" heroes using sheet music downloaded from that very same site. Read Seth’s weekly column. Visit SethTV.com, Seth’s online home.
Liz and Ann Hampton Callaway Visit Seth's Broadway Chatterbox
While promoting their cabaret show Sibling Revelry, Liz Callaway and Ann Hampton Callaway hooked up with Seth Rudetsky for the latest installment of Seth's Broadway Chatterbox. The sibling duo reminisced about their early piano bar days in New York City, performed the theme song from Fran Drescher's sitcom "The Nanny" and revealed how it was that Ann was hired to write the tune. Read Seth’s weekly column. Watch the entire Chatterbox episode at SethTV.com.
Highlights From Signature Theatre Company's stop. reset.
A new play from Signature Theatre Company's Residency Five playwright Regina Taylor, stop. reset. poses questions about legacy, identity and survival in a world where the real and the virtual are becoming increasingly entwined. When Alex Ames (played by Carl Lumbly), the owner of Chicago’s oldest African American book publishing company, meets J (Ismael Cruz Cordova), a mysterious youth seemingly "plugged in" to the future, Ames questions each of his employees to determine which of them is still relevant in the rapidly changing world. Playwright Regina Taylor directs the production at the The Romulus Linney Courtyard Theatre. Performances run through Sept. 29.
Stars Rob McClure, Tony Danza and Brynn O'Malley and the cast of Paper Mill Playhouse's Honeymoon in Vegas gave the press a rehearsal studio preview of the show. They performed three numbers featuring music and lyrics by Jason Robert Brown and the choreography of Denis Jones, all under the direction of Gary Griffin. Performances begin at New Jersey's Paper Mill Playhouse on Sept. 26. Watch the Playbill interview with McClure, Danza and Brown.
Signature Theatre Company's Legacy Program returns to the work of Horton Foote with the world premiere of The Old Friends, a long-in-progress play. Tony winner Betty Buckley, Tony nominee Hallie Foote and Tony nominee Lois Smith star in the story of two Texas farm families who must confront issues of legacy and loyalty that have hounded them for generations. Michael Wilson directs the production. Performances run through Oct. 6 at the Pershing Square Signature Center. Read the Playbill story.
Alice Ripley Shares Some Higher Learning With PlaybillEDU
Alice Ripley rose to stardom in Side Show and earned the Tony for Best Actress in a Musical playing Diana in the Pulitzer and Tony-winning Next to Normal. Despite her amazing success in musical theatre, Ripley, like any other performer, had to start somewhere. Here, she sat down with Playbill to chat about her higher education experiences in support of PlaybillEDU, a new website aimed at matching prospective students of theatre, music and dance to the perfect college or conservatory program. Read more about Ripley and the mission of PlaybillEDU.