March 28, 2015

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Playbill Presents
EXCLUSIVE: Ciara Renée Transforms into The Hunchback of Notre Dame's Esmeralda

Ciara Renée opened her dressing room door at New Jersey's Paper Mill Playhouse to offer a peek as she prepped hair and makeup for her character Esmeralda in The Hunchback of Notre Dame. She talked vocal exercises, the need for lots of steam and why wearing two microphones is key. The production runs though March 29. See highlights from the show.

Playbill Presents
EXCLUSIVE: Ladies of The Hunchback of Notre Dame Share Fave Costumes, Have "Shake It Off" Dance Party

The Hunchback of Notre Dame cast members Samantha Massell, Nora Menken, Beth Kirkpatrick and Anise Ritchie took Playbill backstage to show off their favorite (and sometimes most challenging!) costumes to wear and shared the doo-dads, good luck charms and tchotchkes that they keep on hand in their dressing room. When all of that was said and done, a special guest popped in for a "Shake It Off" dance party! The show runs through March 29 at New Jersey's Paper Mill Playhouse. Watch Ciara Renée prep her hair and makeup for her character Esmeralda.

The Shows
Highlights from New York Spring Spectacular Starring Laura Benanti, Derek Hough and the Rockettes

Radio City's New York Spring Spectacular is an interactive musical spectacular co-directed by Warren Carlyle, Diane Paulus and Randy Weiner. Laura Benanti and Derek Hough ("Dancing With the Stars") star alongside the world-famous Rockettes. The score includes original songs, classics and pop hits, including Taylor Swift's "Welcome to New York" and Kander and Ebb's "New York, New York." Tina Fey, Amy Poehler and Whoopi Goldberg voice puppets of well-known NYC statues. 50 Cent, Odell Beckham Jr., Victor Cruz, Walt Frazier, John Leguizamo, Kelly Ripa, Mariano Rivera, Sam Rosen and more appear in video cameos. Read the Playbill story.

Playbill Presents
PLAYBILLder Spotlight: NYC's Beacon School Presents Caroline, or Change

New York City's Beacon School "offers an inquiry-based college preparatory program with technology and arts infused throughout the curriculum" and is a hotbed of young theatre talent. The school presents Tony Kushner and Jeanine Tesori's Caroline, or Change through March 28. Playbill was on hand for the first performance of the show featuring Marla Louissaint in the role of Caroline Thibodeaux, an African-American maid confronting life changes in the burgeoning civil rights era. Jo Ann Cimato directs. See all cast and crew details here. For tickets and info, visit Make your own Playbill at

The Shows
Sondheim Birthday Cabaret Features Favorites From Into the Woods, Part 2

On March 22, Broadway stars collected at NYC’s 42 West to perform a cabaret of Stephen Sondheim classics to celebrate the master’s 85th birthday and the March 24 home video release of Disney’s film version of Into the Woods. In Part Two of show highlights, Lilla Crawford, Tituss Burgess, MacKenzie Mauzy and Trevor Vaughn sing more from Into the Woods including "Stay With Me" and "No One is Alone." Watch Part One.

Doctor Zhivago's Kelli Barrett Speaks About Originating New Roles

The epic musical Doctor Zhivago is based on the Boris Pasternak Nobel Prize-winning novel which takes its 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. As the show readies for the Great White Way, Kelli Barrett talked about her desire to create new roles based on authentic aspects of her personality. See what Tam Mutu has to say about making his Broadway debut.

Playbill Presents
Chita Rivera Previews Kander and Ebb's The Visit

Two-time Tony Award winner Chita Rivera returns to Broadway on March 26, when John Kander, Fred Ebb and Terrence McNally's new musical The Visit begins previews at the Lyceum Theatre. On March 24, in anticipation of the start of performances, Chita Rivera took to the stage of the Lyceum to perform the song "Love and Love Alone," accompanied by Michelle Veintimilla. The production is directed by Tony Award winner John Doyle, and choreographed by Tony nominee Graciela Daniele. Read more about the history of the long awaited musical.

The Shows
Sondheim Birthday Cabaret Features Favorites From Into the Woods, Part 1

On March 22, Broadway stars collected at NYC’s 42 West to perform a cabaret of Stephen Sondheim classics to celebrate the master’s 85th birthday and the March 24 home video release of Disney’s film version of Into the Woods. In Part One of show highlights, Abby Mueller, Chip Zien, Catherine Walker, James Monroe Iglehart and Christopher Sieber perform favorites from Into the Woods. Watch Part Two.

Playbill Presents
EXCLUSIVE: Leslie Kritzer Previews Emotional Cast Recording of The Memory Show

The Off-Broadway cast recording of Transport Group Theatre Company’s The Memory Show was released online March 12 but CD sales began yesterday at your favorite stores. The Zach Redler (music) and Sara Cooper (book and lyrics) musical featured stars Catherine Cox and Leslie Kritzer as a mother and daughter trying to overcome conflicting versions of their shared past. In this exclusive preview, Kritzer and Redler met at the Yellow Sound Label recording studio to perform the heart-rending "Me and My Mother." Order the album at

Playbill Presents
EXCLUSIVE: The Fortress of Solitude Players Display Musical Heroics for Original Cast Recording

Today, Ghostlight Records releases the original cast album of the world premiere musical The Fortress of Solitude both online and in stores. Produced by The Public Theater, the show is based on Jonathan Lethem’s best-selling novel of the same name. The score features sounds of soul, funk, punk and rap. In this exclusive peek into the recording studio, cast members run through "Superman/Sidekick." Music and lyrics are by Michael Friedman; book is by Itamar Moses. The production was conceived and directed by Daniel Aukin. A concert event will be held April 13 at Joe's Pub to celebrate the release. To order the album, visit


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