Jennifer Chen

About Jennifer Chen

Originally from Santa Fe, New Mexico, Jennifer studied Law and moved to New York City at age 24, where she still practices law and writes for abovethelaw.com. Jennifer's profession may be in the land-of-legal, but her passion is for Broadway where she can write about subjects as diverse as Broadway union contracts to show reviews.

Romeo and Juliet Closes on Broadway

Romeo and Juliet Broadway ShowThe latest Broadway revival of William Shakespeare’s 400-year old romantic tragedy Romeo and Juliet ends its Broadway run at the Richard Rodgers Theatre today. The production began previews on August 24, and then opened on September 19.

Orlando Bloom (The Lord of the Rings and Hobbit movies) and Condola Rashad starred as the doomed lovers in this production, which was directed by David Leveaux. Christian Camargo, Brent Carver, Chuck Cooper, Justin Guarini (the American Idol alum turned Broadway performer), Jayne Houdyshell, and Geoffrey Owens co-starred.

Romeo and Juliet has had no shortage of productions on Broadway over the years. This one was the 36th on the Internet Broadway Database’s list, with the first one having been a production in 1754 at the New Theatre.

Musical Theater Heavyweights To Collaborate on New Broadway Show

Harold Prince

Harold Prince

Multiple Tony Award winning director and living Broadway legendary Harold Prince is working on developing a musical version of the famed F. Scott Fitzgerald short story “The Diamond as Big as the Ritz”. The score of the musical will be written by Charles Strouse and the book will be by Thomas Meehan.

Strouse and Meehan are celebrated for their work together on the musical Annie, which is currently being revived on Broadway. Meehan also has written or co-written hilarious scripts for many other Broadway musicals, including Hairspray and The Producers.

Fitzgerald’s story, published in 1922, is about a teenager who goes to boarding school and meets a young man who claims that his family is so wealthy that they own a diamond that is larger than the Ritz-Carlton Hotel.

Broadway Trip to Bountiful Coming to Lifetime TV

Cicely Tyson

Cicely Tyson

The Broadway revival of Horton Foote’s The Trip to Bountiful may have closed back in October, but those who missed it will get the chance to experience a version of that production in a forthcoming television film version to air on the Lifetime network in 2014.

Cicely Tyson, who won a Tony Award for her performance as Carrie Watts on Broadway, will reprise her role in the TV movie. Her Broadway co-star Vanessa Williams will also revive her part, and they will perform under the direction of their Broadway helmer, Michael Wilson. New to the television cast are Blair Underwood and Keke Palmer.

This new TV version of The Trip to Bountiful brings the play full circle, as it originally premiered as a teleplay in 1953 (going on to be performed as a Broadway play later that year).

NYC’s Workshop Theater Hosts Stop Gun Violence Now Theater Festival

Stop Gun Violence NowIn honor of the one-year anniversary of the tragic school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, New York City’s own Off-Off-Broaday Workshop Theater (312 West 36th Street) will present the Stop Gun Violence NOW Theater Festival from December 12-15.

The festival will feature a number of works, including a one-person documentary piece based on interviews of people in Littleton, Colorado following the Columbine shooting; a showcase of writings and music created by people from Newtown; a documentary drama from 10 young women reflecting on their experience with gun violence in NYC; a fictional short play about a school shooting, and more.

Panel discussions on preventing gun violence and using theater and political action to make change will also be a part of the festival, as well as a special tribute to the Newtown victims and their families. Proceeds from the festival will go to several local gun control initiatives. Learn more at www.SGVNowFest.com.

Waiting For Godot and No Man’s Land Officially Open on Broadway

No Man's LandThe double bill of Samuel Beckett’s existential classic Waiting for Godot and the lesser-known Harold Pinter play No Man’s Land have now officially opened at Broadway’s Cort Theatre. The limited run productions are scheduled to play in repertory until March 2, 2014.

The plays have already garnered a lot of attention thanks to their leading men, Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart. The two are not only known to film fans for their work together in the X-Men movies, but each has also starred in their own famous franchises, with McKellen playing Gandalf in the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit movies, and Stewart having starred as Captain Picard in Star Trek: The Next Generation on television.

Of course both Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen also happen to be classically trained actors with extensive stage experience. McKellen hasn’t been seen on Broadway since Dance of Death in the 2001-2002 season, but Stewart was most recently on Broadway in 2010 in the comedy A Life in the Theatre.

Broadway Production of Newsies to Launch Tour in 2014

Newsies Broadway MusicalSince opening on Broadway over a year and a half ago, Disney’s Broadway musical version of its cult hit movie Newsies has earned many Tony Award nominations, earned back its initial investment, and become a family favorite on the Great White Way. Now, the celebrated production is making plans to hit the road for its North American tour.

The Newsies Broadway touring production is set to launch in October of 2014 in Schenectady, New York. In 2014 and 2015, the tour is scheduled to hit 25 cities, including Philadelphia, Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Louisville, Miami, Nashville, Toronto, Tucson, Washington D.C., and many places in between.

“The enthusiasm from North American audiences and theatres for a Newsies tour has been palpable,” stated Thomas Schumacher of Disney Theatrical Productions, “proving that the affection for this title is deeper and more widespread than even we imagined.”

To find out more about the tour stops and forthcoming announcements regarding dates, visit www.NewsiestheMusical.com.

Addams Family Proceeds To Go To Philippine Disaster Relief

The Addams FamilyJust a few days after Typhoon Haiyan devastated parts of the Philippines, a production of the Broadway musical The Addams Family opened for a two-week run at the Meralco Theater in Manila. To help in the relief efforts, Addams Family writers Rick Elice, Marshall Brickman, and Andrew Lippa, as well as the show’s licensing agent Theatrical Rights Worldwide (TRW), are donating their production royalties to the Red Cross.

“Once in a while in this business we have an opportunity to reach out and help,” stated Sean Cercone, the director of professional and international licensing at TRW, “and this is a time when we can see that borders and oceans may separate us, but this is one world. We’re doing what we can.”

Philippine actor Arnell Ignacio, who plays Gomez in The Addams Family, stated, “We are truly touched by the generosity of the writers of The Addams Family and Theatrical Rights Worldwide. It is heartwarming to see the world extend us a helping hand as we go through this gargantuan test to our nation.

The Addams Family plays through December 1. More information is available at www.TheAddamsFamilyMusical.com.

A Time To Kill Closes on Broadway Today

A Time to Kill Broadway ShowOne of the early casualties of the 2013-14 Broadway season, A Time To Kill concludes its run at the John Golden Theatre today. Having begun preview performances on September 28, the production only survived about a month and a half on Broadway before succumbing to poor ticket sales.

A Time To Kill was the first of best-selling author John Grisham’s novels to be adapted for the stage. The Broadway production starred Sebastian Arcelus, Patrick Page, Tom Skerritt, Tonya Pinkins, Ashley Williams, John Douglas Thompson, and Fred Dalton Thompson.

“We are enormously proud to have brought John Grisham’s A Time to Kill to Broadway with an incredible creative team and an extraordinary ensemble of actors,” stated producers Eva Price and Daryl Roth. “We would like to thank Rupert Holmes, Ethan McSweeny, and the entire company of our production for—as we all witnessed night after night—thrilling our audiences with a compelling, essential story about justice and morality.”

Disney To Bring The Princess Bride To The Stage

The Princess BrideThe beloved William Goldman novel The Princess Bride, even more widely known and loved as a 1987 movie by Rob Reiner, is soon to become a stage production. Disney is working on developing a theatrical version of the property, though it is yet uncertain as to whether or not it will be a musical.

A romantic adventure tale about a headstrong young woman named Buttercup and the farmboy-turned-pirate who she loves, The Princess Bride film featured a talented cast including Robin Wright, Cary Elwes, Christopher Guest, and several people who are no strangers to Broadway and the New York stage: Mandy Patinkin, Billy Crystal (who just began his one-man show 700 Sundays on Broadway), and Wallace Shawn (starring in his own play Off-Broadway currently).

The author of The Princess Bride and the film’s screenwriter, William Goldman, also has a Broadway connection, having written the theater classic The Season, which offered a comprehensive examination of the 1967-68 season on Broadway. Goldman previously worked with Broadway composer/lyricist Adam Guettel (The Light in the Piazza) on an adaptation of The Princess Bride, but the project was scrapped. There is no word yet on a new creative team.

Concert Version of Broadway Musical Titanic Scheduled for 2014

TitanicManhattan Concert Productions will present an elaborate concert staging of the 1997 Tony Award winning Broadway musical Titanic on February 17, 2014 at Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall. The concert will be directed by actor Don Stephenson (currently on Broadway in A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder), who appeared as Charles Clarke and later as Harold Bride in the original Broadway cast of the show.

Liza Gennaro will provide choreography for the concert staging, while Titanic‘s original Broadway musical director and conductor Kevin Stites will repeat his role as music director. The concert will also feature Shawn Sagady’s projection designs, lighting from Stephen Terry, and a set design by Narelle Sissons.

Casting has yet to be announced, but Manhattan Concert Productions has already stated that, like their previous concert version of Ragtime, this staging will also have a star-filled cast and a huge ensemble featuring more than 100 singers.

Titanic tells the story of the famously “unsinkable” ship’s first and final tragic voyage from the points of view of the ship’s crew and passengers from 1st, 2nd, and 3rd class. The musical has a score by Maury Yeston and a book by Peter Stone, both of whom won Tony Awards for their work.

Tickets to the Titanic concert start at $50. To order, call 212-721-6500 or go to www.lincolncenter.org.