April 21, 2015

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Playbill Presents
EXCLUSIVE: Hedwig Star Darren Criss Sings From Pasek and Paul's James and the Giant Peach at JTF

Darren Criss begins performances in Hedwig and the Angry Inch on April 29. But before he was slated to take over the role of the transgender rocker, he had the opportunity to surprise some 4,000 youngsters at this past January's Junior Theatre Festival, held annually in Atlanta, GA. In this exlcusive video, Criss performs "Middle of a Moment" from Benj Pasek and Justin Paul's James and the Giant Peach. See what Criss had to say about prepping for Hedwig.

The Shows
Highlights From Doctor Zhivago Starring Tam Mutu and Kelli Barrett

The new musical Doctor Zhivago is based on Boris Pasternak's Nobel Prize-winning novel and the 1965 film which won five Academy Awards. The epic takes the characters on a search for love during the final days of Czarist Russia, the First World War and the chaos of the Russian revolution. Tam Mutu, Kelli Barrett, Tom Hewitt, Paul Nolan and Lora Lee Gayer head the cast. Book is by Michael Weller, music is by Lucy Simon, with lyrics by Michael Korie and Amy Powers. See show details.

Playbill Presents
Mamma Mia! Cast Busts a Rhyme for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS

The cast of Mamma Mia! has fundraising down to a science. When it's time to ask the audience to give to Broadway Cares/Equity Fight AIDS, they break out their very own signature rap tune that explains the many pros of donating to the worthwhile organization. Make sure you put some money in that red bucket on the way out of the show! Read about BC/EFA's Easter Bonnet fundraiser, with performances April 20 and 21.

The Shows
Highlights From Jeanine Tesori and Lisa Kron's Fun Home on Broadway

Based on the 2006 graphic memoir by Alison Bechdel, Fun Home will open on Broadway April 19 after a critically acclaimed Public Theater production in 2013. Michael Cerveris and Judy Kuhn head the cast in the story of the Bechdel family, whose one-of-a-kind patriarch (Cerveris) leaves lasting influences on his adult daughter (Beth Malone) even after his death. Music is by Jeanine Tesori with book and lyrics by Lisa Kron. Sam Gold directs the production at the Circle in the Square Theatre. Read the Playbill story.

Playbill Presents
Lin-Manuel Miranda and Hamilton Cast Stage an Unforgettable Musical Celebration of A Chorus Line

On April 16, Lin-Manuel Miranda and the cast of the Public Theater’s production of Hamilton celebrated the 40th anniversary of A Chorus Line by presenting the original cast members of the show with a commemorative plaque that will hang in the lobby. The Hamilton cast then performed a stirring medley of "I Hope I Get It" and "What I Did For Love." Currently, Hamilton plays the Newman Stage, the same stage that A Chorus Line played before moving to Broadway. Read the Playbill story.

Playbill Presents
EXCLUSIVE: 9-Year-Old Kolette Tetlow Performs Soaring Anthem "I Am a Hawk" From Iowa

Cast member Kolette Tetlow joined Playbill at world-famous Sardi's Restaurant to sing from Jenny Schwartz and Todd Almond's new musical play Iowa.The "fanciful, absurdist and intoxicating" story follows a mother and her teenage daughter who uproot their lives and move to the titular state so mom can begin a relationship with a man she met online. Here, young Tetlow performs "I Am a Hawk" with musical director J. Oconer Navarro accompanying on piano. Performances are through May 10. See show details.

Playbill Presents
EXCLUSIVE: Lena Hall Covers Jet's Raucous "Are You Gonna Be My Girl"

Lena Hall's series of Café Carlyle shows wraps up on April 18. Playbill got an exclusive look as she prepped for the performances. Here, Hall and her band (Watt White on guitar, Brian Fishler on drums, Lee Nadal on bass and John Deley on keyboards) tear it up with Jet's raucous rocker "Are You Gonna Be My Girl." Watch Hall and band cover Hozier's "Take Me to Church."

The Shows
Highlights From The King and I Starring Kelli O'Hara and Ken Watanabe

The new production of The King and I, directed by Bartlett Sher, opens April 16 at Lincoln Center's Vivian Beaumont Theater. Set in 1860's Bangkok, the Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II classic tells the tale of a strong-willed English schoolteacher (Kelli O'Hara) brought to Siam to tutor the children of the King (Ken Watanabe) only to fall for her pupils — and possibly the King as well. Songs include Something Wonderful," "Shall We Dance," "I Whistle a Happy Tune" and "Getting To Know You." See show details.

The Shows
Highlights From Finding Neverland Starring Matthew Morrison, Laura Michelle Kelly and Kelsey Grammer

Finding Neverland is based on the true story of the relationship between author J.M. Barrie and the family that inspired him to create Peter Pan. Matthew Morrison, Laura Michelle Kelly and Kelsey Grammer lead the cast of the production helmed by Diane Paulus. Music and lyrics are by Gary Barlow and Eliot Kennedy. Book is by James Graham. See show details.

Playbill Presents
The Vault: Baayork Lee Talks Original Broadway Production of The King and I

A five-year-old Baayork Lee was cast as Princess Ying Yaowalak in the original Broadway production of The King and I. As the latest revival of the show opens on Broadway at Lincoln Center's Vivian Beaumont Theater, Lee chatted with Playbill about her experiences auditioning for the show and falling in love with the production and the St. James Theatre itself. Watch Lee talk about her experiences in A Chorus Line, which celebrates its 40th anniversary today.

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