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.

Les Misérables Returns to Broadway

Les Miserables 2014On March 1, 2014, the anticipated new revival of Les Misérables began previews at Broadway’s Imperial Theatre, where the first American production of the musical ran from 1987 to 2003.  With music by Claude-Michel Schönberg, book by Claude-Michel Schönberg and Alain Boublil, lyrics by Herbert Kretzmer, and based off the novel by Victor Hugo originally published in 1862, Les Misérables tells the epic and uplifting story of a French peasant named Jean Valjean and his quest for redemption amidst a revolutionary period in 19th century France.  Opening night will take place on March 23, 2014.

Directed by Laurence Connor and James Powell, this newly reimagined production of Les Misérables has been receiving rave reviews on its tour across North America, having grossed more than $160 million in two and a half years, and it has also broken box office records with capacity crowds at the Prince of Wales Theatre in Toronto.  This version of the musical has also seen great success internationally, with productions in the U.K., France, Spain, Japan, Korea, and soon to be Australia.  Furthermore, this incarnation, which premiered in the U.K. in 2009, is said to have inspired filmmakers to make the 2012 film which won Academy, Golden Globe and BAFTA Awards.  In May 2013, it was announced that the show would return to Broadway, encouraged by the widespread success of this revised production.

waving red flagLes Miserables 2014 on Broadway

The revival is produced by Cameron Mackintosh, who has been shepherding productions of this show around the world since its first English-language incarnation in London’s West End, which is presently in its 28th sell-out year.  In October 2006, Les Misérables earned the title of Longest Running Musical Worldwide, followed by two other Cameron Mackintosh shows: The Phantom of the Opera and Cats.  As for Broadway, Les Misérables is the fourth longest-running Broadway production of all time.

The new Broadway cast features Ramin Karimloo (Les Misérables London and Toronto) as Jean Valjean, Will Swenson (Hair, Priscilla Queen of the Desert) as Javert, Caissie Levy (Ghost, Hair, Wicked) as Fantine, Nikki M. James (The Book of Mormon) as Eponine, Andy Mientus (Smash) as Marius, Samantha Hill (Les Misérables Toronto, The Phantom of the Opera) as Cosette, Cliff Saunders (The 39 Steps) as Thenardier, Keala Settle (Hands on a Hardbody) as Madame Thernadier, and Kyle Scatliffe (The Scottsboro Boys London) as Enjolras.  The design team includes sets by Matt Kinley, who took as inspiration the paintings of Victor Hugo, as well as costumes by Andreane Neofitou, additional costumes by Christine Rowlands, lighting by Paula Constable, sound by Mick Potter, and projections by Fifty-Nine Productions.

The musical features many timeless songs including I Dreamed A Dream, On My Own, Bring Him Home, Do You Hear the People Sing?, One Day More, Master of the House, and At the End of the Day.  There have been 47 cast recordings made of Les Misérables, including the original London recording which won multiple platinum accolades, as well as the Broadway cast and symphonic recordings, both of which won Grammy Awards.  The show has been translated into 22 languages and seen in 42 countries, and new productions are constantly been mounted worldwide.

Les MiserablesThis revival is especially timely in light of the widely praised Les Misérables film that opened in U.S. theaters on Christmas Day 2012, grossing over $441 million worldwide and receiving nominations for eight Academy Awards, winning three.  The movie was co-produced by Cameron Mackintosh and Working Title Films, distributed by Universal Pictures, and starred Anne Hathaway, Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, Amanda Seyfried, Sacha Baron Cohen, Helena Bonham Carter, and Eddie Redmayne.

Despite all of this success in other realms, the timing of this Broadway revival may seem surprising, considering how a recent revival attempt was relatively disappointing in terms of box office.  That revival ran for only 463 performances and 17 previews from November 2006 to January 2008.  Just a handful of years later, will this musical manage to take Broadway by storm?  It certainly has the household recognition and history of global achievement to woo audiences with promises of breathtaking entertainment. Most notably, last year’s film succeeded in capturing American hearts, proving that there is still great love for the material.  We will not be able to anticipate the future of this production until the weekly gross figures begin to come in after the show’s official opening on March 23rd.  Still, we can expect that the Broadway revival will benefit from the recent renaissance of this masterpiece.

Bronx Bombers Closes Early. Machinal Closes As Planned.

On Sunday, March 2, 2014, Bronx Bombers shuttered its doors at the Circle in the Square Theatre, less than a month after its official opening on February 6, 2014.  A new American play by Eric Simonson, who also penned recent Broadway sports-themed shows Lombardi and Magic/Bird, Bronx Bombers tells the story of Yogi Berra and his wife Carmen, bringing a century of Yankee star players to the stage.  Unlike with his previous two plays, this time Simonson also directed.

The play had a pre-Broadway limited run at bronx bombersthe Duke on 42nd Street Theatre from September 17, 2014 to October 19, 2014, produced by Primary Stages.  Broadway producers Fran Kirmser and Tony Ponturo, who were also behind Lombardi and Magic/Bird, transferred the play to Broadway with previews beginning January 10, 2014.  The Broadway production was also produced in association with The New York Yankees and Major League Baseball Properties.

The Broadway production starred Peter Scolari (Lucky Guy, Magic/Bird) as Yogi Berra and Tracy Shayne (Chicago, The Phantom of the Opera) as Carmen Berra, and the cast also included Francois Battiste as Reggie Jackson and Elston Howard, Chris Henry Coffey as Joe DiMaggio, Bill Dawes as Mickey Mantle and Thurman Munson, Christopher Jackson as Derek Jeter and Bobby Sturges, Keith Nobbs as Billy Martin, John Wernke as Lou Gehrig, and C.J. Wilson as Babe Ruth.

This premature closing follows a pattern of unsuccessful shows that cater to the heterosexual male theatergoer.  According to a Broadway League audience survey conducted during the 2012 to 2013 season, 68 percent of Broadway attendees were female, which reflects the fact that male-directed content has trouble staying afloat on Broadway.  Simonson’s previous attempt Magic/Bird, which told the story of rivalry and friendship between basketball players Magic Johnson and Larry Bird, closed in 2012 after only 23 previews and 38 performances.  Though his football play Lombardi played for a respectable 31 previews and 244 performances between 2010 and 2011, it appears the demographic for these sports dramas became saturated more quickly than the producers had projected.

The play was capitalized at a little under $3 million, which was surely not recouped in only 31 previews and 29 performances.  Though the property may have a regional life and also earn some money through amateur rights licensing, it will likely never make back its initial investment.  It is interesting to consider the possible reasons behind the producers’ logic in trying their hand at another sports play by the same writer so soon after a comparable flop.

ny yankees

Though the play was produced in association with the Yankees and Major League Baseball, it is possible that their contribution was not monetary but only one of permission.  Perhaps if these organizations had not been involved, the play would have been able to enter into more controversial territory, upping the stakes for dramatic tension and allowing for a more compelling story.  Still, it is possible that the opportunity for these partnerships alone was enough to convince the producers that the transfer was one worth pursuing.

More importantly, the Off-Broadway run at the Duke on 42nd Street received fairly negative reviews – the New York Times said, “The Yankees… deserve better than this mawkish and sappy effort, which brings new meaning to the phrase ‘high cheese.’” – so they could not have been relying on a stellar critical response to sell the Broadway run.  Furthermore, with no A-list actors leading the cast, the producers could not have been banking on star power to move tickets.

Therefore, the producers must have been relying on nothing but sheer hope that the overlap of Broadway ticket-buyers who were also interested in baseball was more robust that those who were also interested in basketball.  Unfortunately, this unscientific reasoning proved fallible, as Bronx Bombers did not manage to overcome all the odds against it.


In other news, the Roundabout Theatre Company’s production of Machinal also concluded its limited engagement on its scheduled closing date of Sunday, March 2, 2014.

The play ran from December 20, 2013 at the American Airlines Theatre on 42nd Street, and it officially opened on January 16, 2014.  It played 28 preview performances and 52 regular performances.  Starring Rebecca Hall and directed by Lindsay Turner, Machinal is a revival of Sophie Treadwell’s play which first premiered in 1928 starring a young Clark Gable in his Broadway debut.

Inspired by the infamous 1927 murder trial of Ruth Snyder, Machinal is the story of a young stenographer (played by Hall) who did not bargain for the unfulfilling life offered by the male-dominated industrial world of 1920s America.  With a passionless marriage and an unwanted child, she winds up in an extramarital affair and ends up resorting to extreme means to maintain her freedom.  This production received generally positive reviews.  Ben Brantley of The New York Times called the revival “intensely stylish,” the play “fascinating,” and Rebecca Hall “illuminating.”  New York Magazine called the production “superb,” and The Hollywood Reporter lauded Hall for choosing such a “challenging” piece to make her Broadway debut.

The cast also included Suzanne Bertish, Morgan Spector, Michael Cumpsty, Damian Baldet, Ashley Bell, Jeff Biehl, Arnie Burton, Ryan Dinning, Scott Drummond, Dion Graham, Edward James Hyland, Jason Loughlin, Maria-Christina Oliveras, Daniel Pearce, Henny Russell, Karen Walsh, and Michael Warner.  The creative team included Es Devlin as the scenic designer, Michael Krass as the costume designer, Jane Cox as the lighting designer, and Matt Tierney as the sound designer.

Unlike commercial Broadway productions, Machinal benefited from being produced by the not-for-profit Roundabout Theatre Company, which released it from the usual tight constraints of a financially successful play on Broadway.  This production of a lesser known title did not feature any huge A-list stars and only played a short run, yet it did not need to be as concerned with making back its entire capitalization due to the buffer of the not-for-profit endowment.

Super Bowl XLVIII Negatively Impacts Broadway Ticket Sales, Despite Positive Expectations

superbowl 48 trophyOn Sunday, February 2, 2014, the Seattle Seahawks crushed the Denver Broncos, 43-8, winning the National Football League championship at the Super Bowl XLVIII. The game was held just over the Hudson River from New York City at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

As it turns out, the Broncos were not the only ones who could have used a better defense.  Though Broadway shows across the board adjusted performance schedules and made promotional efforts to engage the influx of sports fans flocking to the city, theatre ticket sales were at a disappointing low, with weekly box office grosses dropping $2.4 million and with 15,000 fewer tickets sold compared to the previous 7-day period.

Total ticket sales were only $16,714,694 in the week leading up to the Super Bowl, though they reached $19,122,428 in the preceding week.  The only shows to reach full audience capacity were The Book of Mormon and the double-bill Mark Rylance-led Shakespeare productions of Twelfth Night and Richard III.  Even long-running hits such as The Lion King saw a big drop in sales, decreasing 10 percent since the week before.  Although the total weekly gross for all productions was comparable to the total gross in Super Bowl week last year, there are presently four more shows running than this time last year.

In recent history, Broadway producers have seen non-weather related ticket sales slumps, the most recent during the Republican National Convention in 2004, when ticket sales dropped 22%. This time the slump was so severe, that the New York City Mayor may rethink efforts to bring other events to the area, like the Olympics, the World Cup or even the Stanley Cup. It may increase hotel receipts, but do little for the rest of the NYC economy.


In honor of the football event, New York City and the Super Bowl Host Committee joined forces to carry out an unprecedented shutdown of 13 blocks in Midtown Manhattan.  As a result, traffic was restricted in the heart of Times Square on Broadway between 34th Street and 47th Street for the four days leading up to the game.  The officially dubbed “Super Bowl Boulevard” hosted a slew of events ranging from a toboggan run to an outdoor stage featuring performances by, among others, the Broadway casts of Rock of Ages and Jersey Boys.  Other shows – including Rocky, Pippin, Motown, Chicago, Mamma Mia! and Newsies – gave special performances in nearby Bryant Park.  Still, it appears the excitement of the game overpowered the convenience of the theatre district welcoming the flood of visitors with open arms. The “Super Bowl Boulevard” festivities felt crushed in the small space on Broadway, especially given that the Javits Center, on the West Side of Manhattan was the original location earmarked , but another event grabbed the booking.

Broadway producers, anticipating the conflict, made significant efforts to take advantage of the tourist traffic.  Broadway Week, an annual 2-for-1 ticket promotion, happened to coincide with the shutdowns, and every running production (with the exception of the confident hit The Book of Mormon) participated in the discount program – most likely aiming to attract Super Bowl theatregoers.  Furthermore, the Broadway League (calling themselves “the theatrical equivalent of the NFL”) released a press statement welcoming Super Bowl XLVIII to Times Square, providing a user-friendly map for pedestrians to navigate their way to the theatres, and announcing alternate curtain times to accommodate football aficionados.

Rock of Ages

One show, Rock of Ages, made multiple efforts to attract football fans.  The 1980s rock jukebox musical has traditionally done very well with the adult male demographic, which is unusual for Broadway musicals.  It therefore makes sense that they would take this opportunity to gain added exposure among sports fans.  In addition to performing a half hour set onstage at Super Bowl Boulevard on Thursday afternoon prior to the game, the cast made the journey to MetLife Stadium on game day, performing two sets outside the gates prior to kickoff.  In an even greater feat, the producers convinced three NFL stars to join the cast onstage at Broadway’s Helen Hayes Theatre, playing bartenders in four brief scenes for a temporary stint.  However, Rock of Ages was no exception in terms of poor box office performance; their gross was $60,000 less than the previous week.

Overall, despite positive expectations that the event might help rally the crowds to Broadway, the performance week was disappointingly low.  Presumably, the grosses might have been even worse had it not been for the Broadway League’s efforts to woo the scant few Super Bowl fans that actually did go to a show.  It is likely that the Super Bowl fans also booked all the hotel rooms in New York City, which meant that the normal tourists didn’t have anywhere to stay. Super Bowl Boulevard also served to distract the remaining tourists from going to the theatre, merely adding to the multitude of entertainment options available in Times Square.  Still, some of these marketing efforts may prove fruitful in the long run, having possibly increased national awareness of the current Broadway slate.

Broadway Musical Taboo Stages Reunion Concert

TabooThe beloved but relatively short-lived Broadway pop musical Taboo, which played the Great White Way in 2003, is holding a 10th Anniversary reunion concert tonight and tomorrow at the club 54 Below. There will be two performances of the reunion concert on February 7 at 8pm and 11pm and again on February 8 at 8pm and 11pm.

Produced by Rosie O’Donnell, Taboo was the biographical tale of Boy George and the ’80s London club scene, and even co-starred Boy George himself in the role of Leigh Bowery. The reunion show will feature several original cast members from the Broadway production of Taboo, including Jeffrey Carlson, Cary Shields, Liz McCartney, and Sarah Uriarte Berry.

John McDaniel, Taboo’s original music director on Broadway, will also provide music direction for the concert. Proceeds from the event will go to Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.  Click here for more information.

Tony n’ Tina Coming Back to Off-Broadway

Tony n' Tina's WeddingA pioneer in interactive theater, the former long-running Off-Broadway hit Tony ‘n’ Tina’s Wedding is coming back to New York City’s Off-Broadway scene this year. Starting March 5, the two-part theater piece will play at the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis High School (120 W. 46th Street) in midtown Manhattan where Tony and Tina’s comedic wedding ceremony will take place. The audience will then be led by the show’s performers (playing the bridal party and Tony and Tina’s friends and family) through Times Square to Guy’s American Kitchen & Bar (220 W. 44th Street), where they will eat an Italian buffet, enjoy cocktails, and dance to a DJ.

Brought to life by Hofstra University undergrads Nancy Cassaro and Mark Nasser in 1985, Tony ‘n Tina’s Wedding went on to have a long commercial run in Greenwich Village, followed by a 10-year run in Times Square.

Tickets for this new production of the interactive performance piece are $125-175. Performances will be held Wednesdays through Saturdays at 7pm, along with 2pm Saturday matinees and 3pm Sunday matinees. Visit or call 866-811-4111 for tickets and information.

Real Housewives Star To Perform Off-Broadway

Kandi BurrussKandi Burruss, one of the stars of Bravo’s The Real Housewives of Atlanta, will soon join the cast of the Off-Broadway show NEWSical The Musical. Her two-week stint in NEWSical will be from January 13-26, 2014.

“I am thrilled to join the cast of NEWSical The Musical,” said Kandi Burruss in a statement. “Having just come off of my own musical production, NEWSical The Musical furthers my journey in entertainment to, simultaneously, do more of what I love: act and sing.” As well as her role on the Atlanta edition of the popular Real Housewives franchise, Burruss is known as a songwriter and record producer.

NEWSical the Musical, which currently features Christine Pedi and Michael West, among others, is playing on Theatre Row at 410 W. 42nd Street. Tickets are $90 to $110. Go to for tickets and information.

Twelfth Night Goes Off-Broadway

Twelfth NightWhile audiences are enjoying the very Elizabethan-style version of Twelfth Night starring Mark Rylance on Broadway, the Off-Broadway scene is getting its own take on the beloved Shakespearean romantic comedy of mixed identities this month, courtesy of the Essential Theatre Group.

Unlike the Broadway production, which has an all-male cast (as productions did in William Shakespeare’s own time), ETG’s production has a mixed-gender cast — no doubt a relief to those who already find the gender-bending Twelfth Night a little confusing at times. ETG’s Twelfth Night, which is directed by Tony Lance, also features original music by Conly Basham and Gillian Bell (a sample can be viewed here).

Twelfth Night plays December 13-21 at The Tank Theatre, located in Times Square at 151 West 46th Street on the 8th floor. Tickets are a budget-friendly $15 and can be purchased at

Broadway Schedule Changes for Thanksgiving Week

The Phantom of the OperaMajor holidays usually mean significant changes to the Broadway schedule, and that includes Thanksgiving. With families in town and visitors coming to NYC for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, it is good to know what changes to expect in the event that you want to catch a Broadway show during this holiday time.

The main change is that almost all Broadway shows have canceled their performances on Thanksgiving Thursday. The five shows that will be open that evening (all for 8pm performances) are Beautiful, Chicago, The Phantom of the Opera, Pippin, and The Winslow Boy.

To make up for the Thanksgiving closures, most Broadway musicals and plays are adding a matinee performance for the Friday following Thanksgiving Day. 700 Sundays, Mamma Mia, Phantom, Pippin, Richard III, The Snow Geese, Twelfth Night, Waiting for Godot, and The Winslow Boy are the only exceptions.

To see the complete Thanksgiving Week Broadway performance schedule, click here.

Julie Taymor Appears at the 92nd Street Y November 17

Julie TaymorIn “From Stage to Screen and Back Again,” an event at the 92nd Street Y, theatrical visionary and Broadway director/designer Julie Taymor will discuss her work with actor Harry Lennix (who was in Taymor’s 1999 movie Titus).

Tony Award winner Julie Taymor is of course best known for her extraordinary work in Disney’s stage adaptation of The Lion King, which has remained one of Broadway’s biggest hits for 15 years. However, she became very controversial during the development and preview period of the multi-million dollar Broadway production of Spider-man: Turn Off the Dark. Currently, she is directing a new production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream at Theatre for a New Audience in Brooklyn.

Julie Taymor will be at the 92nd Street Y on November 17 at 7:30pm. Tickets start at $29 and can be purchased by calling 212-415-5500 or by visiting

Broadway and TV Actor Len Cariou To Perform at 54 Below

Len CariouTelevision audiences will recognize Len Cariou for his role on the hit TV show Blue Bloods, but Broadway fans have long appreciated the veteran actor for his Broadway work. Soon Cariou will be seen on the stage at 54 Below (254 West 54th Street) performing beloved Gershwin songs.

Len Cariou will sing numbers by George and Ira Gershwin on December 11 at 7pm, December 13 at 8pm, and December 14 at 8pm. Tickets are $35 to $45, plus a $25 food/beverage minimum. More information can be found at

A Tony Award winner for his turn in the original Broadway production of the Stephen Sondheim/Hugh Wheeler musical Sweeney Todd, Len Cariou has also appeared on Broadway in the musicals Applause and A Little Night Music, as well as plays such as Proof and The Dinner Party.