March 31, 2015

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Playbill Presents
EXCLUSIVE: Riffer Natalie Weiss Looks Into Broadway's Future

Natalie Weiss is a singer/actress/teacher/riffer known for her YouTube series "Breaking Down The Riffs." In this exclusive look at Lincoln Center's Broadway's Future concert held on March 30, Weiss takes on "So Far From Pennsylvania," a heart-rending tune from Sam Carner and Derek Gregor's musical Island Song. Watch Tituss Burgess preview his new Carner and Gregor single.

Playbill Presents
EXCLUSIVE: Watch Tituss Burgess Preview New Carner and Gregor Single

"Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt" star Tituss Burgess stepped to the microphone to sing Sam Carner and Derek Gregor's "Advice to a Young Firefly" at the March 30 performance of Broadway's Future, presented by Lincoln Center's Public Library for the Performing Arts. The tune is from Carner and Gregor's musical Toast. The song was released yesterday as a single and is available for download.

Playbill Presents
EXCLUSIVE: How Well Do Aladdin Stars Know Each Other?

Disney's Aladdin recently celebrated its first year on Broadway. In honor of the anniversary, we challenged the cast to see how well they know their co-stars. It's a contest between James Monroe Iglehart (Genie) and Adam Jacobs (Aladdin); Clifton Davis (Sultan) and Courtney Reed (Jasmine); Brian Gonzales (Babkak), Steel Burkhardt (Kassim) and Jonathan Schwartz (Omar); and Jonathan Freeman (Jafar) and Don Darryl Rivera (Iago). Which co-stars know each other the best? Watch and find out. Take a look at photos from Aladdin's first anniversary celebration.

The Shows
Highlights From Spanish Language Rent in Havana, Cuba

Miami native Andy Señor added "director" to his Rent resume (he played Angel on Broadway and on tour and assistant-directed the recent Off-Broadway revival) when he helmed a Spanish language production in Havana for Cuba's first full-scale production of a Broadway show in over 50 years. The show was produced in partnership with the Cuban National Council of Performing Arts and Robert Nederlander, Jr.'s Nederlander Worldwide Entertainment. Here, the all-Cuban cast performs "Rent," "La Vie Boheme" and "Seasons of Love." Read the Playbill story.

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.


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