Since 1922, The Drama League Awards have been recognizing excellence in Broadway and Off-Broadway theater, making them America’s oldest theatrical honors. This year, the Drama League — which includes thousands of members across the nation — is bestowing special honors on beloved Tony Award-winning actress and singer Bernadette Peters, acclaimed director/choreographer Jerry Mitchell, and The Rockettes (known of course for their yearly appearance in the Radio City Christmas Spectacular).
Bernadette Peters (Follies, Gypsy, Annie Get Your Gun) is being given the Distinguished Achievement in Musical Theatre Award for her decades-long contribution to the art form (her first appearance on Broadway was in The Most Happy Fella in 1959). Jerry Mitchell, who is currently represented on Broadway by the new musical Kinky Boots, is receiving The Founders Award for Excellence in Directing. The Rockettes, along with Madison Square Garden Entertainment, are being given the Unique Contribution to the Theatre Award for their longstanding contribution to the promotion of live theater.
The 79th Annual Drama League Awards will be held on May 17 at the Marriot Marquis (home of Broadway’s Marquis Theatre) in Times Square. Visit www.dramaleague.org for more information.
Ghost Brothers of Darkland County, the new musical by novelist Stephen King and rock singer/songwriter John Mellencamp, will be available this June on CD. The studio cast recording will be released in two formats, a single-disc version and a two-disc version that features extras like deluxe artwork, a libretto, and a “Making of Ghost Brothers” documentary DVD.
The music and movie star-studded Ghost Brothers of Darkland County recording boasts performances by Kris Kristofferson, Roseanne Cash, Neko Case, Elvis Costello, Sheryl Crow, Matthew McConaughey, Meg Ryan, Samantha Mathis, and even boxing legend Joe Frazier. The show’s authors, Stephen King and Johh Mellencamp, also appear on the recording.
Ghost Brothers of Darkland County premiered at the Alliance Theatre in 2012 in a production starring Justin Guarini, Emily Skinner, and Shuler Hensley. There aren’t yet any plans for the bluesy musical to come to Broadway.
Already released in the United Kingdom, the U.S. will finally get the new recording Rodgers and Hammerstein At the Movies on April 9. The CD features 14 well-known songs and iconic musical sequences from the classic film versions of many of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s greatest and most beloved Broadway musicals.
Broadway actress Sierra Boggess (The Little Mermaid, The Phantom of the Opera) and Julian Ovenden (Death Takes a Holiday) are among the performers featured on the album. The John Wilson Orchestra, which has more than 70 musicians in its ranks, provides a grand, cinematic accompaniment.
The song list on Rodgers and Hammerstein at the Movies includes “People Will Say We’re in Love” from Oklahoma!, “If I Loved You” and “You’ll Never Walk Alone” from Carousel, “Some Enchanted Evening” from South Pacific, “The King and I Overture” from The King and I, “Climb Ev’ry Mountain” from The Sound of Music, and many more.
Jenna Fischer, best known as Pam on NBC’s hit TV show The Office, will head the cast of the new Neil LaBute play Reasons To Be Happy, playing Off-Broadway this coming spring. She will be joined onstage by three co-stars, Josh Hamilton, Fred Weller, and Leslie Bibb.
Produced by MCC Theater and directed by LaBute himself, Reasons To Be Happy is a follow-up to the playwright’s acclaimed Broadway play reasons to be pretty, featuring the same four characters. The new work focuses on their lives three years later.
Reasons To Be Happy will play Off-Broadway at the Lucille Lortel Theatre (121 Christopher Street). Previews begin May 16, with an opening on June 11. The production is scheduled to play until June 23.
Most devoted musical theater fans don’t like to settle for only half of a cast album — and it’s no different when it comes to movie musical soundtracks. The Oscar-nominated musical Les Miserables put out a highlights recording when it was released in theaters this past December, but that CD only included around half of the movie’s songs. Fortunately for fans, on March 19 a two-disc deluxe edition of the soundtrack featuring many more tracks will be released.
The failure to produce a complete cast recording soundtrack earlier was mostly a result of a hurried post-production phase that only gave the movie’s music and sound team time to mix and produce a limited number of tracks. This deluxe edition that is coming out will include many beloved songs from Les Miserables that were left out of the highlights album, including “Who Am I?” “Do You Hear the People Sing?” “Little Fall of Rain,” and “Beggars at the Feast,” along with numerous musical sequences such as “Fantine’s Death”.
For the last time, The Mystery of Edwin Drood will be solved today, as the show’s audience votes whodunnit. The interactive musical, based on the unfinished Charles Dickens novel of the same name, has been delighting Roundabout Theatre Company audiences since October but is finally concluding its limited run at Studio 54.
Written by Rupert Holmes, The Mystery of Edwin Drood was first seen at the New York Shakespeare Festival in 1985 before the production transferred to Broadway. The musical’s distinguishing feature has always been the fact that — in the spirit of the original novel’s lack of an ending — the show allows the audience to decide who committed the murder that forms the story’s central mystery.
Headed by Broadway legend Chita Rivera, The Mystery of Edwin Drood‘s cast includes Will Chase, Gregg Edelman, Jim Norton, Peter Benson, and Stephanie J. Block.
The release of the Broadway cast recording for the current Roundabout Theatre Company revival of The Mystery of Edwin Drood will be celebrated at a special event being held at Barnes & Noble in New York City. Part of the “Live at Barnes and Noble” series, the release will take place at the Upper East Side location of B&N, situated at 150 E. 86th Street (at Lexington Avenue).
Scheduled for March 8 at 4:30pm, the Edwin Drood event will be hosted by the musical’s very own composer and lyricist, Rupert Holmes. The entire cast of the show will appear, with performances by Jessie Mueller, Stephanie J. Block, and Betsy Wolfe. Songs such as “The Writing on the Wall,” “Perfect Strangers,” and “Murderer’s Confession” are planned to be included in the performance.
The special album release event will conclude with a signing portion, where Rupert Holmes and the cast of The Mystery of Edwin Drood will autograph copies of the cast recording for fans.
The Roundabout Theatre Company, which is currently represented on Broadway by The Mystery of Edwin Drood and the soon-to-open The Big Knife, has announced that its 2013-2014 Broadway season will include revivals of the plays Dinner With Friends and The Real Thing.
A favorite of Tom Stoppard fans, The Real Thing is about a playwright whose marriage is collapsing — both on stage and in real life. The 1984 play was most recently seen on Broadway in 2000 in an acclaimed production starring Stephen Dillane and Jennifer Ehle.
Dinner with Friends, written by Donald Margulies, is a Pulitzer Prize winning play that previously enjoyed a run Off-Broadway, but will be making its Broadway premiere with the Roundabout production. Tracking the journey of two couples, it is also a play that deals with the subject of marriage.
Today marks the final concert in singer/songwriter Barry Manilow’s limited Broadway engagement, Manilow on Broadway. A Grammy Award-winning icon whose greatest successes came in the late ’70s and early ’80s, Manilow has maintained a devoted fan base over the decades, and they came out in droves to see the New York native play at the St. James Theatre. Impressively, his popularity has remained strong enough to sustain several weeks of performances.
Though the venue for Manilow on Broadway is a Broadway theater, the show is really a concert, not a theatrical production. But Broadway theaters offer artists like Manilow and their fans a more intimate and classier alternative to New York City’s standard concert venues.
Manilow on Broadway got off to a somewhat bumpy start as the singer had to cancel a few early performances due to illness. But fortunately Barry Manilow quickly recovered and was able to reschedule the missed concerts. The many hit songs featured in the concerts include “I Write the Songs,” “Copacabana (At the Copa),” and of course “Mandy”.
Already a respected comic actress and improv performer due to her extensive work in films like Christopher Guest’s Best in Show, and now a well-known TV star thanks to her role on Glee, Jane Lynch is soon to add Broadway to her resume. Later this spring, Lynch will make her Broadway debut in the well-received Broadway revival of the musical Annie, now playing at the Palace Theatre.
Jane Lynch will be replacing Tony winner Katie Finneran in the role of Miss Hannigan, the tyrannical orphanage matron who serves as little orphan Annie’s nemesis in the show. “Some may say I know a thing or two about playing intimidating authority figures,” stated Lynch. “So I am excited and honored to be making my Broadway debut with the wonderful Annie
Jane Lynch is scheduled to be in Annie for just eight weeks, from May 16 through July 24.