October 20, 2014

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The Shows
Highlights From Broadway Bound Amazing Grace Starring Josh Young and Erin Mackey

The Broadway bound production of Amazing Grace opened at Chicago’s Bank of America Theatre on Oct. 19. With music and lyrics by Christopher Smith and a book by Smith and Arthur Giron, the musical takes place at the height of the British Empire and tells the story of John Newton (Tony nominee Josh Young), a musically talented Englishman who must choose between his father, a slave trader, and his childhood sweetheart (Erin Mackey). Gabriel Barre directs with choreography by Tony winner Christopher Gattelli. Read the Playbill story.

Playbill and the Players
Come Look at Side Show's Freakishly Cool Characters

Inspired by the true story of Violet and Daisy Hilton — conjoined twins who were at one time the highest paid performers on the vaudeville circuit — Bill Russell (book and lyrics) and Henry Krieger's (music) Side Show returns to Broadway on Oct. 28 in a reimagined production. Erin Davie and Emily Padgett (who play Violet and Daisy Hilton, respectively) lead the cast. Here, Playbill took an introductory peek at the fully costumed cast of outsiders who populate the show including the Three Legged Man, Human Pincushion, Bearded Lady and Dog Boy. Bill Condon directs the Production at the St. James Theatre.

Playbill and the Players
Look What I Found in My Bag! Off-Broadway Cast Digs Deep for Everyday (and Unusual!) Personal Items

Found is a new musical based on the magazine (and subsequent book) by Davy Rothbart which collected discarded notes, letters, flyers, photos, lists, and drawings found and sent in by readers. Here, Playbill met up with cast members Nick Blaemire, Barrett Wilbert Weed, Daniel Everidge and Betsy Morgan to see what everyday and surprising items they could find when they searched their own bags, backpacks and purses. The Atlantic Theater Company production runs through Nov. 9. Book is by Hunter Bell and Lee Overtree, 
music and original lyrics are by Eli Bolin
 and additional material was created in collaboration with Story Pirates.
 Overtree directs. Read The Verdict on the show.

Playbill and the Players
Wax On, Wax Off: Jason Danieley on Can-Can Costumes and Proper Mustache Grooming Techniques

Weeks before Paper Mill Playhouse's Broadway bound Can-Can opened, Jason Danieley showed his interest in France's Belle Époque era by posting images of clothing and hair styles he'd researched on social media. Playbill wanted to learn more and caught up with Daniley between shows in Millburn, NJ where he showed off some of his period costumes designed by Ann Hould-Ward and gave a quick tutorial on how to perfectly groom a mini-handlebar mustache. See highlights from the show.

The Shows
Highlights From the National Touring Production of Kinky Boots

Kyle Taylor Parker stars as Lola (a role that brought Billy Porter a Tony for his performance in the Broadway production) and Steven Booth plays Charlie Price in the national touring production of Kinky Boots. The tour opened in Las Vegas on Sept. 4 and then moved to Tempe, San Diego, Portland, and then Seattle. Dates around the U.S. are scheduled through Sept. 2015. See Kyle Taylor Parker's exclusive tour vlogs.

Playbill Presents
Beth Leavel, Betty Buckley and Christine Ebersole Pitch in for Clay Aiken's Congressional Campaign

"American Idol" and Broadway star Clay Aiken hopes to move from entertainment to politics as he campaigns for Congress in North Carolina’s Second District. But Aiken is far more than an entertainer — he has an extensive background in special education, has participated in UNICEF programs and created the National Inclusion Project, a foundation dedicated to promoting the inclusion of children with disabilities in activities with their non-disabled peers. Playbill was on hand at a recent fundraising event as Aiken spoke about his campaign and Broadway pals Beth Leavel, Betty Buckley and Christine Ebersole offered up some tunes for the donors in attendance. Read the Playbill story.

Playbill and the Players
Lena Hall Bids a Very Special Farewell as Andrew Rannells Departs Hedwig and the Angry Inch

Andrew Rannells ends his run as the title character in Hedwig and the Angry Inch on Oct. 12 with Michael C. Hall waiting in the wings to step into the role on Oct. 16. Here, co-star Lena Hall (she won a Tony for her portrayal of gender-bending Yitzhak) gives very special good-bye wishes to Rannells as she prepares to move on to her third Hedwig — her original "show husband" Neil Patrick Harris won a Tony for the role. See the Hedwig gang wonder who might be a perfect for the role.

The Shows
Highlights From It's Only a Play Starring Matthew Broderick and Nathan Lane

Broadway heavyweights Matthew Broderick, Nathan Lane, Megan Mullally, Stockard Channing and F. Murray Abraham, along with newcomers Rupert Grint (world-famous as Ron Weasley in the "Harry Potter" films) and Micah Stock, round out the cast of Terrence McNally's It's Only a Play. This revisal of the 1982 production finds a group of theatre professionals nervously waiting on the opening night reviews of their production. Jack O'Brien directs. Check out what the critics had to say about the show.

Playbill and the Players
Which Actors (and Rockers!) Would the Hedwig and the Angry Inch Gang Like to See in the Title Role?

The newest addition to the cast of Hedwig and the Angry Inch is Michael C. Hall (made famous on TV's "Dexter" and "Six Feet Under") who will replace Andrew Rannells starting Oct. 16. John Cameron Mitchell (the show's book writer who originated the role Off-Broadway) revealed that the three Hedwigs (Neil Patrick Harris won a Tony for his portrayal) in this production were all top choices, but might there be more Hedwigs to come? Mitchell, Stephen Trask (music and lyrics) and Lena Hall (co-starring as Yitzhak) weigh in who they'd like to see take a turn as the iconic East German transgender glam-rocker. See what Michael C. Hall has to say about joining the cast.

Playbill and the Players
Michael C. Hall Ready to Strut His Stuff in Hedwig and the Angry Inch

Michael C. Hall will step into the title role of Hedwig and the Angry Inch on Oct. 16. He will replace Andrew Rannells, who replaced Neil Patrick Harris, a Tony winner for the role. Here, Hall, co-star Lena Hall and show creators John Cameron Mitchell (book) and Stephen Trask (music and lyrics) chatted with Playbill about the newest incarnation of the East German transgender rocker. See a Photo Call from the event.

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