Carly White

About Carly White

Carly graduated University Of Toronto, Theatre and Performance program. She has written for various publications including art-speaks, Pembroke Daily Observer, Toronto Star - Performing Arts Section, The Canadian Post and more recently the Village Voice and the New York Daily News. As a member As a member of the Barrow Group, her specialties include performance stage production and talent casting.

Tony Awards TV Viewership Down 10 Percent Despite Record Breaking Broadway Season

Broadway Grosses and Attendance Up By Over 7 Percent

tony awardIn the 2014 to 2015 Broadway season, 37 new productions opened. These included 15 musicals, 10 of which were new and 5 of which were revivals, as well as 20 plays, 11 of which were new and 9 of which were revivals. This is in addition to two special engagements. Across the board, the industry yielded $1.37 billion dollars, which is a 7.6% increase from last year’s gross of $1.27 billion dollars. On top of that, total attendance reached 13.1 million people, up 7.3% from last year’s total attendance of 12.2 million people. Though the number of shows was down to 37 from 44 the year before, that is actually a positive sign, as it shows that the shows that did go up stayed up more successfully, leading to less turnover. With regards to the sheer number of shows running on a weekly basis, the number of total playing weeks increased by 8.7% from the previous season. Despite these record breaking figures, the greatest theatre event of the season on broadcast television – the Tony Awards on CBS – had remarkably low TV viewership. According to Nielsen, the event pulled 6.35 million viewers, which is down by 10% from the year before. In comparison, the Golden Globes, often considered the Oscar’s poor cousin, brings in about 20 million viewers.

NBA Conflict Overstated in the Press

When Variety reported on this strange contradiction, its headline proclaimed that the Tony Awards “flirted” with record lows “opposite big NBA finals,” which were shown on rival station NBC. However, this is simplifying the facts. First of all, this was only Game 2 of the NBA Finals. If it were nearing the end of the finals, this may be more of an explanation for the low Tony viewership. Furthermore, the core demographic for theatre awards ceremonies and NBA basketball games couldn’t be less overlapping. The only justification for this could be households where there were conflicting interests, such as wives wanting to watch the Tony Awards and husbands wanting to watch the sports game. In addition, the Tony Awards began at 8:00pm, and the basketball game didn’t begin until 9:00pm. That first hour also includes the opening number, traditionally one of the more exciting elements to watch, as well as some of the major awards. Therefore, the real reason may have more to do with other factors.

Less Interesting Hosts? Less Interest in Awards?alan cumming and kristin chenoweth

One major difference between the 2015 Tony Awards ceremony and the 2014 Tony Awards ceremony is that this year, the hosts were Alan Cumming and Kristin Chenoweth, whereas last year the host was Hugh Jackman. From the Broadway box office reports, it is clear that Hugh Jackman is a major attraction, as both The River and Hugh Jackman: Back on Broadway performed excellently in terms of ticket sales. This year’s hosts, though certainly big names on Broadway and with lists of screen credits that are nothing to scoff at, are arguably less big stars. Also, it is possible that having two hosts diluted the interest in the hosting position. Whereas the decision to have two co-hosts may have been an effort to make up for each individual not being a big enough star, the result may have been the opposite: that two hosts are inherently less interesting than one. The Broadway League could be tempted to bring in someone more mainstream who is also funny, but it is doubtful that Ricky Gervais, Amy Poehler or Tina Fey would be expected to host any time soon. Furthermore, the contradiction between an excellent Broadway season and low Tony Award viewership may be explained by the fact that there has been an increased interest in seeing live theatre, but the fan aspect of watching the awards ceremony may have not increased in kind. There were also complaints about this year’s broadcast, such as the Dramatists Guild’s statement that they were increasingly dismayed that key awards, such as Best Book and Best Score, were not shown live on the telecast. In any case, it is excellent for Broadway that more people went to the theatre this past season, and perhaps next year more will tune in for the awards.

“An Act of God” Opens on Broadway

Jim Parsons as Our Holy Father

an act of godOn May 28, 2015, An Act of God opened at Studio 54, a Roundabout Theatre Company Broadway venue. It had been running in previews since May 7, 2015. Presently, it is scheduled for a limited engagement to close on August 2, 2015. Although much of the excitement in the Broadway community these days regards the Tony Awards, which will happen this upcoming weekend, An Act of God made the unusual choice to open just after the cut off for Awards consideration. Therefore, like God in heaven above, the play is above all the awards hubbub, and it thrives independent of any commendation or lack there of from the Tony nominating committee and voters. The play stars Jim Parsons (“The Big Bang Theory,” Harvey, The Normal Heart) as God, and the cast also includes archangels Michael, played by Christopher Fitzgerald, and Gabriel, played by Tim Kazurinsky. The play is directed by Joe Mantello, who appeared as an actor alongside Jim Parsons in The Normal Heart, and whose directing credits include Airline Highway, Casa Valentina, and 9 to 5. The play is written by David Javerbaum, the producer of “The Late Late Show with James Corden” and previous writer and producer of “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.” It is based off his book “The Last Testament: A Memoir by God.”

Generally Positive Reviewsan act of god

Most all critics gave the play a standing ovation. Charles Isherwood at The New York Times found Parsons to be an adorable and funny version of God, and that the play is divinely funny itself. David Cote from Time Out New York found this play to be so good that it went beyond comfort, instead rattling the audience’s complacencies. Frank Scheck from The Hollywood Reporter found Parsons to be surprisingly authoritative as the Great Almighty, and enjoyed the play greatly. Jesse Green from Vulture loved how the play moved with great ease between camp and profundity. Only Marilyn Stasio from Variety was more on the fence, deciding it was a waste of time to review a play by God, but she did praise Parsons’ performance as a source of light.

Box Office Started Well, Now Just Okay

When the show began previews on May 7, 2015, the first week of box office looked divine. Over the course of its first four performances, An Act of God brought in $477,703, which represented 93.01% of its gross potential. However, in the three full weeks since, the show has decreased each week in its weekly grosses. This past week, the week ending May 31, 2015, the show brought in $693,379, which represents only 68.80% of its gross potential. With a top ticket price of $349.00, the average paid admission was $93.92. This is a decrease from the previous week, when the average paid admission was $109.95. Therefore, the production is offering more discounts that they did the previous week. However, it seems to have worked, as the average audience capacity increased to 91.7%, up from 82.5% the week before. After these post opening reviews, interest should increase, and once the Tony Awards buzz wears down, An Act of God has the potential to have a successful summer.

“It Shoulda Been You” Box Office Unmoved By Reviews

Tyne Daly Stars In This Untraditional Wedding Comedy

it shoulda been youThis past week, the week ending May 24, 2015, It Shoulda Been You brought in $378,180 at the box office. This is a decrease from the first full week following the show’s opening on April 14, 2015. In the week ending April 26, 2015, which is the first week of eight performances after the post opening reviews hit the press, the gross was $447,362. However, a month later, the grosses are dragging, and this isn’t looking good for a musical that received no Tony nominations in an exciting period of Broadway theatergoing, when many other shows are buzzing from the awards season. It Shoulda Been You has a book by Brian Hargrove and a score by Barbara Anselmi, both of whom are making their Broadway debuts with this musical. The show had a pre-Broadway trial run at the George Street Playhouse in 2011, and then transferred to Broadway this season. The biggest name involved is the director, David Hyde Pierce, who is well known for his acting roles both on screen (“Frasier,” Nixon), as well as stage (Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, La Bete, Curtains). This, however, is his Broadway directorial debut. As it happens, Brian Hargrove, the book writer, is his life partner. Nevertheless, Pierce and team have constructed an entertaining, unconventional, if still not utterly exhilarating, piece of musical theatre.

Difficulty at the Box Officeit shoulda been you

For this past week’s gross of $378,180, the show brought in only 38.16% of its gross potential. The greatest percentage reached of this potential thus far was the week ending April 26, 2015, when the show brought in $447,362, representing 45.14% of its gross potential. Still, the following week saw a decrease in ticket sales of $97,081, bringing the weekly box office down to $350,281. In the week following, it increased slightly, and then increased even more slightly the week after that, but this past week saw a decrease again of $40,236 from the week before. Therefore, this show is demonstrating no level of increased interest from the reviews, which were decidedly mixed. It did not help that It Shoulda Been You received no Tony nominations, and is a relatively small scale musical with few big names attached. The biggest star in the show is Tyne Daly, who plays the mother of the bride, and whose other Broadway credits include Mothers and Sons, Master Class, and Rabbit Hole. Though she is a fairly important name on Broadway, that isn’t generally enough to sway ticket sales when many other shows feature big Hollywood stars. The other main actors are Sierra Boggess (Master Class, The Little Mermaid), Harriet Harris (Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella, Thoroughly Modern Millie), and David Burtka (Gypsy, The Goat, or Who is Sylvia?). None of these names are large enough to have much impact on the box office, and with poor reviews and no Tony Awards recognition, this show may have difficulty maintaining even the low box office it has been achieving thus far.

Mixed Reviews from Critics

Ben Brantley of The New York Times did not like It Shoulda Been You, found the show aggressively bubbly. Meanwhile, Adam Feldman of Time Out New York felt that the only way to enjoy this musical was to deceive oneself that one is watching a lost TV show from the 1970s, denoting that the show feels dated. Steven Suskin from the Huffington Post proclaimed that the show was only laudable for its load of Jewish related humor. Robert Kahn from NBC New York enjoyed the campy nature of the show, and also found the cast to be a dream team for a musical about a wedding. Only Frank Scheck from The Hollywood Reporter was fully in favor of this show, relishing in the modern twist presented by this otherwise traditional proceedings. However, these reviews were overall not very positive, and are certainly not a major incentive for ticket buyers in this otherwise very enticing Broadway season.

Broadway Show Ticket Sales Analysis w/e 5/10/2015

This week’s notable movements on Broadway are:

“An Act of God” Off to Brilliant Start

An Act of God began previews this past week on May 7, 2015 at Studio 54. Starring Jim Parsons, this not quite one-man show is written by David Javerbaum, based on his comedy book called “The Last Testament: A Memoir by God.” Jim Parsons, who plays God in this play, has proven to be almost the equivalent in terms of box office numbers. In its first partial week of four performances, the show brought in $477,703, which represents 93.01% of its gross potential. Though this isn’t the best it could possibly do, this is very good for a small size play opening at an unusual time when the rest of Broadway is hot from Tony nominations. The show is directed by Joe Mantello, who has helmed such works as Airline Highway, The Last Ship, and Casa Valentina. With a top ticket price of $349.00, the average paid admission was $129.04. At this rate, it filled up to an average audience capacity of 92.0%. Chances are that by next week, these numbers will continue to creep upwards, if this comedy proves to be as hilarious as its buzz suggests

Boosts for “It’s Only a Play,” “On the Twentieth Century,” and “Something Rotten!”

In the week ending May 10, 2015, three shows saw their weekly grosses increase in the six figures. It’s Only a Play, which was somewhat snubbed in the Tony Award nominations with only a nod for its supporting actor Micah Stock, saw an increase in ticket sales this past week of $110,070, reaching the gross of $694,112 across the eight performances. Although this is not very good for a show that was once competing with big musicals in the millionaire dollar range, the increase shows that audiences are still interested in this Terrence McNally play with a starry cast. Furthermore, On the Twentieth Century and Something Rotten! both saw an increase in ticket sales following their Tony nomination recognition. On the Twentieth Century, which was nominated for Best Revival of a Musical among other honors, had a weekly gross this past week of $595,851, which is an increase of $106,164 from the week before. That represents 72.48% of its gross potential, by far the highest percentage reached thus far in the run. Furthermore, Something Rotten! saw an increase in ticket sales following the announcement of its nomination for Best Musical, among the other heavy hitting new shows. This past week, the weekly gross was $903,211, which represents 87.18% of its gross potential. This is an increase from last week of $102,178. In every week since this musical began performances, its box office has been on a steady incline. With the Tony buzz, chances are the show will keep on selling increasingly well.

The following are the Broadway ticket sales numbers for the week ending May 10, 2015:Broadway-Show-Ticket-Analysis-05-10-15

Show Name GrossGross TotalAttn %Cap AvgPdAdm
A GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE TO LOVE AND MURDER $552,694 5,821 80.22% $94.95
AIRLINE HIGHWAY $175,953 3,608 71.93% $48.77
ALADDIN $1,422,347 13,766 99.87% $103.32
AN ACT OF GOD $477,703 3,702 92.00% $129.04
AN AMERICAN IN PARIS $1,298,817 13,187 98.18% $98.49
BEAUTIFUL $1,075,887 7,503 91.41% $143.39
CHICAGO $633,554 7,840 90.74% $80.81
DOCTOR ZHIVAGO $537,474 8,578 72.55% $62.66
FINDING NEVERLAND $1,041,008 10,650 88.51% $97.75
FISH IN THE DARK $1,190,948 8,701 101.36% $136.87
FUN HOME $571,496 5,918 101.34% $96.57
GIGI $434,201 6,179 55.81% $70.27
HAND TO GOD $400,886 5,061 80.90% $79.21
HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH $425,224 5,147 73.02% $82.62
IT SHOULDA BEEN YOU $409,488 6,021 74.37% $68.01
IT’S ONLY A PLAY $694,112 6,949 80.65% $99.89
JERSEY BOYS $630,632 6,398 65.13% $98.57
KINKY BOOTS $929,720 9,124 80.09% $101.90
LES MISÉRABLES $583,967 7,455 66.14% $78.33
MAMMA MIA! $700,567 8,028 86.06% $87.27
MATILDA $762,461 9,709 84.75% $78.53
ON THE TOWN $202,745 4,425 59.03% $45.82
ON THE TWENTIETH CENTURY $595,851 5,719 99.01% $104.19
SKYLIGHT $763,767 6,397 99.70% $119.39
SOMETHING ROTTEN! $903,211 11,691 87.66% $77.26
THE AUDIENCE $1,167,241 7,539 100.75% $154.83
THE BOOK OF MORMON $1,446,131 8,744 102.53% $165.39
THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT-TIME $682,260 6,839 83.98% $99.76
THE KING AND I $951,532 8,376 100.00% $113.60
THE LION KING $1,701,798 11,480 96.47% $148.24
THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA $788,386 9,878 76.93% $79.81
THE VISIT $208,078 3,958 54.91% $52.57
WICKED $1,469,322 13,067 90.39% $112.45
WOLF HALL PARTS ONE & TWO $630,653 5,810 52.51% $108.55
Totals $26,460,109 263,268 83.50% $97.62

Broadway ticket sales raw data are provided courtesy of The Broadway League All other data, text, opinion, charts and commentary are copyright © 2015 nytix.com

“Doctor Zhivago” Begins Performances

Based on the 1957 Novel by Boris Pasternak

doctor zhivagoOn March 27, 2015, Doctor Zhivago began previews at the Broadway Theatre. Based on the 1957 novel of the same name by Boris Pasternak, this new musical first premiered in 2006 at the La Jolla Playhouse in California. In 2011, Des McAnuff (Jersey Boys, 700 Sundays, Guys and Dolls) took the helm as director for a touring production in Australia. That production received excellent reviews, finishing up its tour in Melbourne and then Brisbane. This 2015 Broadway production is also directed by Des McAnuff. In addition to the stage adaptation, Pasternak’s novel was adapted into a film in 1965 directed by David Lean, which won five Academy Awards including Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Original Score. The musical has a book by Michael Weller (Spoils of War, Loose Ends, Moonchildren), music by Lucy Simon (The Secret Garden), and lyrics by Michael Korie (Grey Gardens) and Amy Powers (Sunset Boulevard). This creative team therefore has an impressive pedigree, and the beautiful score shows this talent thoroughly. The Broadway production is choreographed by Kelly Devine (Rocky, Memphis, Rock of Ages). Official opening night is scheduled for April 21, 2015.

A Love Story from the Russian Revolution to World War Idoctor zhivago

Doctor Zhivago is epic in scope, set against the backdrop of a crucial period in Russian history, and yet it is deeply personal – telling the story of a woman loved by three men and a man loved by two women.  Lucy Simon’s score is as gorgeous as it is varied – the songs are stirring, sometimes even mesmerizing, and they help enormously to move this tale along efficiently and powerfully. The characters evolve over a long period of history; Lara (Kelli Barrett) is a vibrant and visceral female lead, as she undergoes significant development but always keeps her strong will. The role of Yurii Zhivago is played by Tam Mutu, making his Broadway debut. The fascinating role of Pasha is played by Paul Alexander Nolan, and he recurs in Act II as the vengeful Strelnikov. Other roles are played by Jacqueline Antaramian, Lora Lee Gayer, Sophia Gennusa, Jonah Halperin, Jamie Jackson, and Tom Hewitt (The Rocky Horror Show). Ultimately, this is a rich and compelling piece – it is a story of war and retraction of basic human rights, as well as love against all odds and devotion to artistic expression – compounded with a powerful score and a vastly recognizable title.

Presently at the Box Office

In the last reported week of box office figures, the week ending April 19, 2015, Doctor Zhivago brought in $464,613, which represents 41.48% of its gross potential. That remained almost exactly the same from the week before, which brought in 41.78% of its gross potential, though with one more performance. The audience capacity also remained fairly steady, increasing from 75.4% to 78.3%. However, the following week will incorporate the first post-opening figures, and it will remain to be seen whether the notices in the papers and online will contribute to theatregoers’ excitement about this piece, or whether the institution of Doctor Zhivago may not hold interest in this competitive Broadway season.

“The Visit” Starts Performances on Broadway

Chita Rivera Stars in a Kander and Ebb Musical

the visit chita riveraOn March 26, 2015, The Visit began previews at the Lyceum Theatre. This musical has a book by Terrence McNally (It’s Only a Play, Mothers and Sons, Master Class). As for the score, the music is written by John Kander, and lyrics are by Fred Ebb, making this the newest musical from the all star team behind Cabaret, Chicago, The Scottsboro Boys, The Rink, and Woman of the Year. This musical, which is based on a play by Friedrich Duerrenmatt, has only been staged once before in New York: for a one night only performance on November 30, 2011 at the Ambassador Theatre (where Chicago has been playing for many years). That concert performance starred Chita Rivera in the role she is now playing in an extended Broadway run: Claire Zachannassian, a very wealthy woman. This was a benefit staging produced by the Actors Fund and the Vineyard Theatre. Rivera assembled along with other cast members from a previous production at the Signature Theatre in Arlington, Virginia, where the show played for just over a month in 2008. Prior the that, it had a run in Chicago in 2001. However, it wasn’t until 2014, when the Williamstown Theatre Festival reworked the play into a one act structure, that it was finally deemed ready to come to Broadway.

A Starry Cast and Revered Creative Teamchita rivera roger rees

According to Kander and Ebb, this role was written for Chita Rivera, whose previous credits include The Mystery of Edwin Drood, Nine, Kiss of the Spider Woman, and Chicago. She plays Claire Zachannassian, the richest woman in the world who has been widowed on several occasions. The title refers to when she pays a visit to her humble hometown, and the entire town expects this to bring great prosperity to all. However, she has other plans in mind, and a sardonic and complex series of events ensue. In addition to Rivera, the role of Anton Schnell is played by Roger Rees (The Addams Family, Peter and the Starcatcher, Uncle Vanya). Other roles are played by Mary Beth Peil (Follies, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown), George Abud, and Jason Danieley (Next to Normal, Curtains). The show is directed by John Doyle (The Color Purple, A Catered Affair, Company), who was behind the reworking at Williamstown that persuaded producers to bring to show to Broadway. Furthermore, it is choreographed by Tony nominee Graciela Daniele (Ragtime, Pal Joey, The Most Happy Fella, Zorba). The musical coordinator is John Monaco, and the associate conductor is Jesse Kissel.

Struggling at the Box Office

In the three weeks that the show has been running so far, it is having difficulty at the box office. In the last reported week of box office figures, the week ending April 12, 2015, the show brought in only $224,289, which represents 29.41% of its gross potential. Over the course of the eight performances that week, the top ticket price was $225.00, but the average paid admission was only $43.19. Still, it managed to fill up only 72.0% of seats across the week. The previous two weeks were not much better, although the first partial week of five performances brought in 35.12% of the gross potential. The show will open on April 23, 2015, upon which the reviews will hopefully send many more ticket buyers to the box office.

“If/Then” Concludes Its Run

Idina Menzel Led this Musical for One Year

Idina Menzel in if/then on BroadwayOn March 22, 2015, If/Then concluded its run on Broadway at the Richard Rodgers Theatre. Starring Idina Menzel as a woman named Elizabeth, the musical had been running since its first preview on March 5, 2014. It officially opened on March 30, 2014, and closes having played 401 performances on top of 29 preview performances. The major draw for this musical with book and lyrics by Brian Yorkey and music by Tom Kitt (co-writers of the Pulitzer Prize winning musical Next to Normal) was the star, Idina Menzel. It was therefore fortunate that Menzel stayed for the whole run. Menzel is very well known among Broadway diehards for her star turns as Maureen in Rent, Elphaba in Wicked, and more recently the Ice Queen in the Disney animated film Frozen. For the latter, she sang the Academy Award winning song “Let It Go,” and when she performed the song live at the awards ceremony, John Travolta memorably flubbed the pronunciation of her name, calling her “Adele Dazeem.” More than an embarrassment, this was actually beneficial for her career, enhancing her renown beyond the community of Broadway fans. It is therefore possible that this occurrence augmented interest in the musical she was starring in at the time, If/Then.

Mixed Reviews and Mixed Box Officeif/then

After the show opened in March 2014, it received mixed reviews. To make matters worse, the Tony committee failed to recognize the musical in a significant capacity, snubbing it for the nomination for Best Musical. Therefore, although the show received some early buzz and great box office weeks early on, it is understood that the show closes having failed to recoup its initial investment. The show was capitalized at $10 million, which is a mid level amount for a musical of this size. The initial box office was looking promising, partly due to the timing of the Oscar name flub right at the beginning of the run. From the first week through the week ending May 11, 2014, the musical made over $1 million in its weekly box office a total of 5 times, and the addition 5 weeks had a weekly gross in the $900,000 range. However, starting mid-May, the musical began to bring in weekly grosses in the $800,000 range, by July it was averaging $700,000, and ever since August 2014, the show has been fluctuating in weekly grosses between $500,000 and $600,000. In early November 2014, the show brought in its record low weekly gross of $404,308. Therefore, it was difficult for the musical to keep up the audience interest, especially after the mixed reviews and the Tony nomination snub.

Nevertheless, Reuniting Great Artists for a Fulfilling Experience

The creative team of If/Then was a reunion of many great shows from the past. First of all, Brian Yorkey and Tom Kitt are the musical writing duo who won a Pulitzer Prize for Next to Normal, which also won the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Lead Performance in a Musical. In addition, If/Then was produced by David Stone, and directed by Michael Greif, both of whom served those same roles on Next to Normal. On top of this, David Stone is also the wickedly successful producer of Wicked, which brought Idina Menzel great fame and acclaim. Furthermore, Michael Greif was the director of Rent, which was Menzel’s first big breakout role. Therefore, though If/Then may not have been financially successful, it was a reunion of great artists who had a very fulfilling experience playing a show for a year with great love and devotion.

“Gigi” Begins Performances on Broadway

Vanessa Hudgens Makes Her Broadway Debut

gigi vanessa hudgensOn March 19, 2015, a new revival of the musical Gigi began previews at the Neil Simon Theatre. This musical with book and lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner, and music by Frederick Loewe, first premiered on Broadway in 1973, when it won the Tony Award for Best Original Score, and was nominated for three other Tony Awards including Best Actor, Best Scenic Design, and Best Costume Design. However, that production was disappointingly short lived, running for only 103 performances. Nevertheless, the play premiered in the West End in 1985, where it ran for seven months. This revival is a new adaptation of the musical, written by the British screenwriter and playwright Heidi Thomas. Directed by Eric Schaeffer (Follies, Million Dollar Quartet), and choreographed by Joshua Bergasse (On the Town), this production of Gigi premiered at Washington, D.C.’s Kennedy Center prior to arriving on Broadway. The role of Gigi is played by Vanessa Hudgens, the High School Musical star who is making her Broadway debut. Additional roles are played by Victoria Clark (Sister Act, Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella), Corey Cott (Newsies), Dee Hoty (Bye Bye Birdie, Mamma Mia!, Footloose), Steffanie Leigh (Mary Poppins), and Howard McGillin (Sunday in the Park with George, She Loves Me).

A Rookie Producer Gets Creative

Gigi is produced by Jenna Segal, who formerly worked in television at MTV and Nickelodeon, but who has gigi vanessa hudgensnever been involved in the production of a Broadway show before. However, she has known this story since she was a little girl, and it was her passion for the material that drove her to secure the rights and develop this revival. She faced certain challenges in adapting this show to the modern age. The story is about a young courtesan who decides to leave her training to marry for love. The original tale involved lovers with a wide age difference, 15 and 33, so this revival tightens that gap, making Gigi 18, and her beloved only a bit older. Furthermore, one of the most famous songs, “Thank Heaven for Little Girls,” was sung by an older uncle, which could leave a strange impression on contemporary audiences. To respond to this issue, the rewrites reattributed this song to a different pair of singers, the grandmother and aunt played by Victoria Clark and Dee Hoty. Furthermore, Segal took an inventive approach in partnering with luxury brands to make the show more glamorous and appeal to a range of audiences in the wealthy Broadway demographic. For instance, Swarovski provided over 250,000 crystals for the production, and Veuve Cliquot is a sponsor of the show, which includes such songs as “The Night They Invented Champagne.”

A Dream Come True for Vanessa Hudgens

At age 26, Vanessa Hudgens has had a fair share of success. She has ventured into high profile television, film, and pop music endeavors, but this is her first time shining on the Broadway stage. She told The New York Times that this experience has really changed her work ethic and perspective on her career goals. Returning to the stage for the first time since she was a little girl, this opportunity allows her to feel stardom in the visceral live reality that only theatre can offer. In terms of the role of Gigi, Hudgens has had a lot of experience with both wholesome and racy roles, and Gigi can be considered both of these. Her first breakout role was a supporting part in the film Thirteen, but then she was restored to honesty with a much less morally troubling part in “High School Musical.” On the flipside, her part in the Harmony Korine film Spring Breakers involved a scandalous sex scene with James Franco. In any case, Hudgens can leverage this experience to bring a well-rounded sense of character to Gigi, and her 6.7 million Instagram followers will eagerly await the reviews.

“An American in Paris” Begins Performances

A Gershwin Musical Based on a Film Based on a Symphony

an american in parisIn 1928, George Gershwin wrote a symphonic poem entitled “An American in Paris” based on his travels in Paris in the 1920s. Influenced by both jazz and the blues, the musical piece was intended to show the experience of an American walking around the French capital, taking in its sights and sounds. In 1951, a film adaptation was made of this symphony starring Gene Kelly and Leslie Caron. The film incorporates several Gershwin classics such as “I Got Rhythm,” “’S Wonderful,” and “Our Love is Here to Stay.” Directed by Vincente Minnelli from a script written by Alan Jay Lerner, the film was a major hit, winning the Academy Award for Best Picture among many other honors, and bringing in almost $7 million at the box office. Now, for the first time, An American in Paris has been adapted for the stage. Directed and choreographed by Christopher Wheeldon, the show premiered in Paris on November 22, 2014, and ran there at the Theatre du Chatelet until January 4, 2015. Now, the show has finally come to Broadway, with its first preview having taken place on March 13, 2015 at the Palace Theatre.

An All-Star Creative Teaman american in paris

The director and choreographer Christopher Wheeldon is making his Broadway directorial debut. He has choreographed once before on Broadway, for Sweet Smell of Success in 2002. However, he is widely considered one of the world’s most coveted and respected ballet choreographers. He trained at the Royal Ballet and then the New York City Ballet, and in 2001 he was honored as the City Ballet’s first choreographer in residence. In 2006, he founded his own ballet company, Morphoses. The producer Stuart Oken invited Wheeldon to direct this musical, and it took some convincing, as he had never directed actors before. However, he eventually agreed. In addition to music and lyrics by George and Ira Gershwin, the show has a new book by Craig Lucas (Prelude to a Kiss, The Light in the Piazza, Reckless). In addition, Bartlett Sher (South Pacific, The King and I) is a creative consultant for the show. Wheeldon and Lucas developed a 60 page treatment of the show together before the Gershwin estate agreed to let the producers continue developing the show. Unlike the film, which is set in the 1950s, Lucas and Wheeldon decided to set their An American in Paris in the time just after World War II. Furthermore, they made other changes such as making Lise, the main character, a ballet dancer, and also having her relationship with her composer friend Adam more central to the story.

An American in Paris

The story centers around a young man named Jerry Mulligan (Robert Fairchild), who has just completed his time in the World War II army. He decides to move to Paris, which has been recently liberated, to make his life as a painter. He is helped out by another ex-pat, a wealthy woman named Milo Davenport (Jill Paice) who has a past she does not want to remember. Things become complicated for Jerry when he meets Lise (Leanne Cope), a beautiful Parisian girl who works in a shop. Jerry’s friends Adam (Brandon Uranowitz), a Jewish-American composer, and Henri (Max von Essen), a French aristocrat, also have romantic interests in Lise. Only through the beauty of dance and music can this love triangle be reconciled. An American in Paris is set to open on April 12, 2015, and will continue for an open-ended run.

“The King and I” Begins Previews on Broadway

A Lincoln Center Production of the Rodgers and Hammerstein Hit

the king and iOn March 12, 2015, the 2015 revival of The King and I will play its first performance at the Vivian Beaumont Lincoln Center. Opening night is scheduled for April 16, 2015. This is the fifth time this musical will have played on Broadway, the original having premiered on March 29, 1951. With music by Richard Rodgers, and book and lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II, the show is based on a novel called Anna and The King of Siam by Margaret Landon. At the time of its premiere, the musical was a huge hit and won the Tony Awards for Best Musical, Best Actress (Gertrude Lawrence in the role of Anna Leonowens) and Best Featured Actor (Yul Brynner as the King of Siam). It was then revived in 1977, 1985, and 1996. The 2015 production therefore marks the fourth Broadway revival. This production is produced by Lincoln Center Theatre at their Vivian Beaumont Broadway venue. It is directed by Bartlett Sher (The Bridges of Madison County, Golden Boy, South Pacific), and the choreography is the original by Jerome Robbins, with the revival’s musical staging by Christopher Gattelli (Newsies, Godspell, South Pacific). The production stars Kelli O’Hara (Nice Work if You Can Get It, South Pacific, The Bridges of Madison County) as Anna, and Ken Watanabe (The Last Samurai, Memoirs of a Geisha) making his Broadway debut as the King of Siam.

A Classic Story for a Modern Audienceken watanabe kelli o'hara

The timeless tale of Anna and the King revolves around a British schoolteacher in 1862, who is hired by the King of Siam (now Thailand) to come to Bangkok and tutor his children. The King has many wives and has other traditional customs, but he has hired Anna to help modernize his country. Still, he is very resistant to this effort, and at first there is great tension between the two. Nevertheless, Anna is persistent, and she not only succeeds in introducing some Western customs to Siam, but she and the King ultimately also fall in love. The show includes many timeless and beautiful songs such as “I Whistle a Happy Tune,” “Hello, Young Lovers,” “A Puzzlement,” “Getting to Know You,” “Something Wonderful,” and “Shall We Dance?”. This Lincoln Center production is sure to let its audiences relive the original magic of this gorgeous show, complete with the original choreography and elaborate traditional costumes.

A Déjà Vu of “South Pacific” at the Vivian Beaumont

In spring 2008, Lincoln Center mounted another Rodgers and Hammerstein classic musical at the Vivian Beaumont Theatre: South Pacific. This production shares much more than the composer and librettist in common with this revival of The King and I. First of all, the director is the same: Bartlett Sher. Secondly, the same leading lady will take center stage: Kelli O’Hara. What’s more, Sher has reunited his entire creative team from that production: set designer Michael Yeargan, musical director Ted Sperling, lighting designer Donald Holder, costume designer Catherine Zuber, and sound designer Scott Lehrer. Fortunately, South Pacific was such an enormous hit that this bodes well for The King and I. In 2008, South Pacific brought home a phenomenal seven Tony Awards, including Best Revival of a Musical, Best Director (Bartlett Sher), Best Actor, and all four design categories: costume, set, sound, and lighting. Therefore, The King and I is sure to be a delightful and magical production, reuniting a team who know each other well. There won’t be too much “Getting to Know You” necessary at the first rehearsal.