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.
The spotlight will be shining on the female characters who have made Broadway grand in the upcoming PBS broadcast of Kristin Chenoweth: The Dames of Broadway … All of ‘Em!, set to air on March 24.
Airing as part of the Live From Lincoln Center TV series on PBS, the concert itself is a part of Lincoln Center’s celebrated American Songbook series. During the evening, Chenoweth will honor the great roles for women that Broadway has brought us, from fabulous leading roles to scene-stealing featured parts.
Kristin Chenoweth is herself a favorite lady of Broadway, first gaining fans with her turn in You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown and going on to dazzle Broadway audiences in Wicked. More recently Chenoweth has been seen on TV in Glee and Pushing Daisies.
One of this Broadway season’s few original new musicals, Hands on a Hardbody starts preview performances at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre today. Inspired by a real-life competition, Hands on a Hardbody is about 10 Texans who spend days in the heat keeping at least one hand on a beautiful new truck in an effort to win it.
Continuing with an intriguing trend of pop and rock music artists lending their talents to Broadway shows, Phish’s Trey Anastasio has co-written the music for Hands on a Hardbody. Amanda Green (Bring It On: The Musical) supplies both music and lyrics, and Doug Wright has written the show’s book.
The cast of Hands on a Hardbody is led by Keith Carradine, and his co-stars include Hunter Foster, Jim Newman, William Youmans, Allison Case, and Jay Armstrong Johnson, among others. The musical is set for an open run, with its opening night scheduled for March 21.
Following the announcement that Shia LaBeouf would be bowing out of the new Broadway production of Lyle Kessler’s drama Orphans, currently in rehearsal, it has been announced that actor Ben Foster will be replacing him. Foster will be playing the part of Treat, the elder of two brothers – the younger is played by Tom Sturridge. Shia LaBeouf was said to have exited the production due to creative differences, presumably with co-star Alec Baldwin.
Ben Foster is well-known in the independent film scene, with movies such as The Messenger, Rampart, and the forthcoming Kill Your Darlings. This production of Orphans will mark his Broadway debut.
Despite the slight disruption in the rehearsal process, Orphans is still scheduled to begin preview performances at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre on March 19, with the official opening night set for April 7.
Holland Taylor (TV’s Two and a Half Men) brings her one-woman play Ann to Broadway. Both starring and written by Taylor, Ann is starting preview performances at Lincoln Center’s Vivian Beaumont Theater.
In Ann, Holland Taylor embodies one of Texas’ brightest stars, Governor Ann Richards, a colorful, larger-than-life woman who dedicated herself to her constituents and her friends and family. The show was previously presented at venues in Austin, San Antonio, and Galveston, as well as Chicago and Washington, D.C.
“I am so passionate about this new American play which also happens to be written by one of this generation’s greatest actors,” stated Bob Boyett, one of the Broadway production’s producers. Ann is scheduled to have its official opening on March 7.
Jesse Tyler Ferguson
The Public Theater has announced the two shows that will make up its free Shakespeare in the Park season this summer at Central Park’s Delacorte Theater. Unlike most seasons, which usually include one Shakespeare play along with another classic, this coming summer will boast two Shakespeare works: The Comedy of Errors and Love’s Labour’s Lost.
These comedies are among Shakespeare’s less often produced works. Directed by Daniel Sullivan, The Comedy of Errors will star two actors who often appear in Shakespeare in the Park productions: Jesse Tyler Ferguson (Modern Family) and Hamish Linklater (The New Adventures of Old Christine).
Love’s Labour’s Lost will offer a totally new spin on the original play. Titled Love’s Labour’s Lost, A New Musical, the production is adapted and directed by Alex Timbers with songs by Michael Friedman. Timbers and Friedman were among the team that brought the cult favorite Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson to Broadway recently. If Bloody Bloody is any indication, their take on Shakespeare is likely to be irreverent with a contemporary twist.
The Comedy of Errors will start performances on May 28 and conclude on June 30. Love’s Labour’s Lost is scheduled to begin on July 23, closing its run on August 18. As always, Shakespeare in the Park tickets are absolutely free.
The producers of the planned Broadway revival of the musical Pump Boys and Dinettes have announced that the production won’t be coming to Broadway this season. The show was supposed to start performances at the Circle in the Square Theatre on March 19. A new date has not been set yet.
“With the crowded landscape on Broadway this spring, we all agreed that the wise choice was to proceed with a new opening date,” stated producer Abby Lee. “We are in the process of determining the updated production schedule and look forward to sharing this wonderful musical with Broadway audiences in the near future.”
Under the direction of John Doyle, Pump Boys and Dinettes was set to star American Idol’s Bo Bice. The musical revue originally appeared on Broadway in 1982.
The winners of the 55th Annual Grammy Awards have been announced, and the Best Musical Tony Award-winning Once came out on top with the Best Musical Theater Album honor. Produced by Steven Epstein and Martin Lowe (also the show’s music supervisor and Tony winning orchestrator), the original cast recording was released on the Masterworks label and features the talents of singers Steve Kazee and Cristin Milioti, among others. The show’s songs were written by Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova.
Once‘s competition in the Grammy’s Musical Theater Album category were four other Broadway show recordings. Among them were the albums for last season’s acclaimed revivals of Follies and Porgy and Bess, both on the PS Classics label. The other nominated Broadway show recordings were the current hit Broadway musicals, Newsies and Nice Work If You Can Get It.
Legendary music producer Clive Davis is making plans to bring Broadway a new revival of the Golden Age musical My Fair Lady to Broadway next year. The tuneful stage classic (which boasts numbers like “I Could Have Danced All Night”) first opened on Broadway in 1956 in a production starring Julie Andrews and Rex Harrison.
“I always wanted to produce a Broadway show, and I’ve never done it,” said Davis in an interview with the Los Angeles Times. ”I don’t want to jinx myself, but we’re in discussions with two magnificent performers and a wonderful director.”
Clive Davis is a multiple Grammy Award winner for his work as a record producer. Over the years he has worked with numerous rock, pop, and R&B artists, including Aretha Franklin, Janis Joplin, the Grateful Dead, Whitney Houston, Alicia Keys, Kelly Clarkson, Harry Connick, Jr., Christina Aguilera, and Barry Manilow, who is currently performing on Broadway.