Jennifer Chen - Broadway Show Maven

About Jennifer Chen - Broadway Show Maven

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 the law, but her passion is for Broadway where she can write about subjects as diverse as Broadway union contracts to a show review. Contact Jennifer At: Click To Email - See Jennifer on LinkedIn

3rd Annual TEDxBroadway Scheduled for February 24, 2014

TEDxBroadwayBroadway meets the popular TED talks format with TEDxBroadway, a one-day event that will be held at the multi-stage Off-Broadway venue New World Stages in midtown New York City on Monday, February 24, 2014. This third annual TEDxBroadway will tackle the question: What’s the best Broadway can be?

TEDxBroadway takes a broad view of the Broadway community, inviting anyone affected by the Broadway business, from fans to neighborhood organizations, to take part in this day-long discussion of Broadway’s potential future.

Tony Award winning Pippin director Diane Paulus (who also serves as the American Repertory Theater’s artistic director) and actress/comic/musician Lea DeLaria (TV’s Orange is the New Black) are among the scheduled speakers who have a Broadway pedigree.

The event will also feature speakers from other sectors, such as Sree Sreenivasan, who serves as chief digital officer at the Metropolitan Museum of Art; David Drake of the private equity advisory firm LDJ Capital; and Dan Gurney, who founded Concert Window and also has the distinction of being 6-time U.S. champion of the button accordion.

Past participants in TEDxBroadway have included the likes of producer Daryl Roth, actor George Takei, critic Terry Teachout, and playwright Kristoffer Diaz.

“TEDxBroadway invites everyone who has an interest in Broadway to participate in shaping its future,” stated event co-organizer Jim McCarthy. “Certainly, Broadway is most often associated with theatre but, it’s also a place where many industries and people intersect. Our goal is to present positive ideas that will benefit the entire Broadway ecosystem.”

Tickets to the TEDxBroadway conference are $100. Learn more at http://www.tedxbroadway.com.

Real Life Broadway Character Profiled in New Book

Mama Rose's TurnMama Rose, the brash and calculating stage mom depicted in the classic Broadway musical Gypsy, is the subject of a new book titled “Mama Rose’s Turn: The True Story of America’s Most Notorious Stage Mother” by first-time author Carolyn Quinn. The 368-page book charting the life of Rose Thompson Hovick, mother of famed performers Gypsy Rose Lee and June Havoc, is published by the University Press of Mississippi and due to be available on November 1.

“Rose Thompson Hovick, mother of June Havoc and Gypsy Rose Lee, went down in theatrical history as ‘The Stage Mother from Hell’ after her immortalization on Broadway in Gypsy: A Musical Fable,” says author Carolyn Quinn. “Yet the musical was 75 percent fictionalized by playwright Arthur Laurents and condensed for the stage. Rose’s full story is even more striking.”

The creative team behind the multiple Tony Award nominated 1959 musical Gypsy — bookwriter Arthur Laurents, lyricist Stephen Sondheim, composer Jule Styne, and director Jerome Robbins — used another book, “Gypsy: Memoirs of America’s Most Celebrated Stripper,” for inspiration, but Quinn’s new tome is sure to have fresh insights about the real-life people that inspired the characters immortalized in Gypsy.

Gypsy is widely regarded as one of the all-time great Broadway musicals, with an excellent book and a tuneful, clever score. Since the original Broadway production starring Ethel Merman, many stage actresses have coveted the role of Mama Rose. The show has been revived on Broadway four times in productions starring Angela Lansbury, Tyne Daly, Bernadette Peters, and Patti Lupone.

Carolyn Quinn will be discussing her book “Mama Rose’s Turn” on November 1 at 7pm at the Upper East Side location (150 East 86th Street, at Lexington Avenue) of Barnes & Noble in New York City.

Annie Offers Tickets to People Who Adopt Shelter Dogs

Annie Broadway MusicalThe beloved Broadway musical Annie, which is currently enjoying a revival on Broadway, is well known for being about the plucky orphan Annie who optimistically sings about “Tomorrow”. But almost as well known is Annie’s adorable dog Sandy, who is her loyal companion during her adventures in New York City. Fittingly, Annie is now offering a free ticket giveaway throughout October in honor of Adopt-a-Dog month.

Anyone who decides to adopt a canine from one of the New York City animal shelters that is participating in the program will get a voucher that is good for two tickets to go see the current production of Annie on Broadway sometime during the month of November.

New York Animal Care & Control, The Humane Society of New York, Animal Haven, Sean Casey Animal Rescue and Louie’s Legacy are among the shelters taking part in Annie‘s free ticket offer for people who adopt dogs.

Annie, which is scheduled to end its Broadway run on January 5, 2014, is a big supporter of adopting pets, as evidenced by the fact that the show cast an actual shelter dog, Sunny, to play the part of the dog Sandy. Animal trainer Bill Berloni trained Sunny, who was chosen from a Houston shelter during a nationwide search, to become a Broadway “actor”.

Annie features young actress Taylor Richardson in the title role and currently co-stars Broadway regular Faith Prince as Miss Hannigan and Anthony Warlow as Daddy Warbucks. Clarke Thorell, J. Elaine Marcos, and Jenni Barber also star in the production. Written by Charles Strouse, Martin Charnin, and Thomas Meehan, Annie won several Tony Awards in 1977 during its original Broadway run.

The Adopt-a-Dog free ticket giveaway goes through October 31 while supplies last. Visit AnnietheMusical.com for more information about Annie the musical.

Cast of Broadway’s Matilda To Perform at Barnes & Noble

Matilda Broadway MusicalThe hit British import Matilda is celebrating the release of its original Broadway cast recording with a special CD release event at the Upper East Side location of Barnes & Noble (86th Street and Lexington Avenue) on October 24 at 3pm.

Members of the current Broadway cast of Matilda the Musical will both perform and sign copies of the CD at the event. The recording is already available digitally, with the CD scheduled to be released to stores on October 22.

Available on the Broadway Records/Yellow Sound label, the Matilda Broadway cast recording comes in both standard and deluxe versions. In addition to the 24 tracks on the standard edition, the deluxe two additional numbers, the cut song “Perhaps a Child” and a recording of “Naughty” sung by all four of the young girls who play the role of Matilda on Broadway.

Broadway Smash Kinky Boots Recoups Investment

Kinky Boots Broadway ShowIn its first year on Broadway, Kinky Boots has already made back its original investment of $13.5 million, an impressive accomplishment for any Broadway musical. By comparison, current top show competitors of Kinky Boots, Wicked and The Book of Mormon recouped in 14 and 8 months respectively. And with little to no discounting, Kinky Boots profitability has no end in sight.

“We’re so happy that audiences have embraced Kinky Boots in such an overwhelming way,” stated the show’s lead producers, Daryl Roth and Hal Luftig. “We’re proud that this show offers people such great joy, Tony Award-winning talent, and financial success, and it’s exciting to be able to make this announcement in such a remarkably short time.”

Kinky Boots, which is based on the independent British movie of the same name, began performances at the Al Hirschfeld Theatre on March 4. The musical went on to win several Tony Awards this past June, including Best Musical and Best Score for Cyndi Lauper.

The Trip to Bountiful on Broadway Closes Tonight

The Trip To Bountiful Broadway ShowThe Broadway revival of The Trip to Bountiful ends its run at the Stephen Sondheim Theatre today. The play first premiered on Broadway in 1953 in the very same spot, back when it was known as Henry Miller’s Theatre.

Written by the late Horton Foote, The Trip to Bountiful debuted as a televised play on NBC a few months before opening on Broadway. It is also well-known from its 1985 film version starring Geraldine Page, who won an Oscar for her performance.

This latest production starred Cicely Tyson as Carrie Watts, the elderly woman who slips away from her son and daughter-in-law’s cramped Houston home and takes a bus to see her beloved hometown of Bountiful one last time. When it opened, the production co-starred Cuba Gooding Jr., Vanessa Williams, and Condola Rashad.

This production closed with a respectful $673,002 of ticket sales  in its last week, with over 87% of the theatre seats sold, totaling 6474 patrons paying an average of $103.95 per ticket. The show ran for 178 performances that opened on April 23 2013 following previews that began March 30 2013 at the Stephen Sondheim Theatre at 124 West 43rd Street, New York City

The show was nominated for four Tony Awards, including:
Best Actress in a Play (Cicely Tyson),
Best Featured Actress in a Play (Condola Rashad),
Best Sound Design for a Play (John Gromada)
Best Revival of a Play.

Tyson won the Tony Award for her performance as Mother Carrie Watts.

Big Fish Opens on Broadway

Big Fish Broadway ShowThe new Broadway musical Big Fish, which began preview performances at September 5, opens today at the Neil Simon Theatre. Based on the Daniel Wallace novel and the subsequent Tim Burton film of the same name, Big Fish is scheduled for an open run.

Big Fish is about the relationship between a tall-tale telling traveling salesman named Edward Bloom and his grown son Will, who wants to find out the origin of his father’s many wild stories.

Broadway favorite Norbert Leo Butz (Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Catch Me If You Can) stars in the Broadway production of Big Fish, and he is joined by co-stars Bobby Steggert and Kate Baldwin. Susan Stroman directs and choreographs, while Julian Crouch provides set designs.

Wicked Celebrates 10th Anniversary This Month

Wicked Broadway MusicalThe hit Broadway musical Wicked has been playing on the Great White Way for 10 years now, and the show is celebrating by releasing a deluxe two-disc edition of its original Broadway cast recording (available for digital download on October 29 and in stores on November 19).

The deluxe 10th Anniversary Wicked cast recording will feature bonus tracks, the single “Popular Song” by MIKA, new artwork, and a booklet that includes new essays by songwriter Stephen Schwartz and novelist Gregory Maguire. A vinyl edition of the album will also be available, directly for purchase at the Gershwin Theatre where Wicked plays or on WickedtheMusical.com.

Other Wicked 10th anniversary celebrations taking place this month include a showcase of the musical’s memorabilia and costumes at the NBC Experience Store at Rockefeller Center, as well as Facebook and Twitter promotions that will offer prizes to fans.

Bernadette Peters Stars in Sondheim / Marsalis Piece

A Bed and a ChairIt has been announced that multiple Tony Award winner Bernadette Peters will star A Bed and a Chair: A New York Love Affair. The show is a collaboration between legendary Broadway composer/lyricist Stephen Sondheim and famed jazz artist Wynton Marsalis.

A Bed and a Chair, which is directed by John Doyle and choreographed by Parker Esse, will also feature the talents of Meg Gillentine, Tyler Hanes, and Cyrille Aimée. It was conceived by Doyle, along with Peter Gethers and Jack Viertel.

Featuring over 24 Stephen Sondheim compositions, each re-imagined by Wynton Marsalis, A Bed and a Chair will play New York City Center from November 13-17 as an Encores! Special Event. Learn more at jalc.org.

Off-Broadway’s The Last Five Years Cast Perform at B&N

The Last Five YearsThe Upper East Side location of Barnes & Noble (150 E. 86th Street) continues its commitment to Broadway and Off-Broadway theater fans with a new event scheduled for October 14 at 4pm which will feature the recent Off-Broadway musical The Last Five Years.

Betsy Wolfe and Adam Kantor, who starred in the revival of the two-person musical, will perform along with the show’s composer/lyricist Jason Robert Brown. All three will also sign copies of the production’s new cast recording, which was just released in stores on September 24.

This new recording of The Last Five Years (which was first recorded in 2002) is produced by Brown, as well as executive producers Stacey Mindich and Kurt Deutsch.