Pawdesh Salawi

About Pawdesh Salawi

Pawdesh has been writing about Broadway ever since seeing her first show on the great white way in 2001. Now she sees over one hundred Broadway (and off-Broadway) shows a year. She is also a member of the Drama Desk and would love to vote on the Tony's one day. The Office Voted Her Most Likely To: Marry rich and divorce young

“Honeymoon in Vegas” Begins Previews on Broadway

A Jason Robert Brown Tuner, Derived from a Movie

honeymoon in vegasOn November 18, 2014, Honeymoon in Vegas began previews at the Nederlander Theatre. With music and lyrics by Jason Robert Brown (Parade, The Bridges of Madison County), a book by Andrew Bergman (who wrote and directed the film), and based on the 1992 film of the same name starring Nicolas Cage, James Caan, and Sarah Jessica Parker, the Broadway production of Honeymoon in Vegas is directed by Gary Griffin (The Apple Tree, The Color Purple) and choreographed by Denis Jones (Legally Blonde, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels). The musical premiered at the Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn, New Jersey in September 2013, where it received positive reviews and ran for just over a month before transferring to Broadway just over a year later. The lead role of Tommy Korman is played by Tony Danza, and the other principal roles are played by Rob McClure (title role in Chaplin), Brynn O’Malley (Annie, Sunday in the Park with George), Nancy Opel (Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella, Memphis), and Matthew Saldivar (Act One, Peter and the Starcatcher).

A Tale of Wrought Love

Tony Danza

Tony Danza

Honeymoon in Vegas follows a young protagonist named Jack Singer (McClure), who is dating a young lady named Betsy (O’Malley), and although he has an established fear of marriage going back to a promise he made to her mother on her deathbed, Betsy has other plans. Meanwhile, a mafia man named Tommy Korman (Danza) takes notice of Betsy, and finds a strong resemblance between her and his recently passed wife. This makes him a renewed believer in the power of love, so he begins to form a plot of his own. Conveniently, Jack ends up in major debt to Korman during a poker game, and so he demands that in order to erase the debt, he will need to spend a weekend with Jack’s beloved Betsy – he agrees when they promise not to sleep together. Korman pulls out all the stops, taking Betsy to his vacation home in Hawaii. When Jack catches word that Korman plans to marry Betsy back in Vegas, he desperately tries to get there to stop it, only to get waylaid in a series of airports. Finally, however, Betsy escapes from Korman, and she and Jack end up happily ever after, married in a small chapel in Vegas with flying Elvises as their wedding guests.

Off to a Slow Start at the Box Office

You’d think that producers would realize theatregoers are getting tired of straight movie to musical adaptations, choosing a cheesy comedy and staging it with some song and dance. Though that combination can sometimes work, in recent years it has begun to show a serious decline in interest from the ticket-buying public. In the two weeks of reported box office figures thus far (one with only seven performances and one with the full eight), the musical has only managed to bring in $366,136 and $351,277 respectively. That means that with an entire extra performance the second week, the show still managed to lose $14,859 between the two weeks. With a top ticket price of $223.00, the average ticket price stayed fairly constant at around $69.00 each week. Therefore, despite a heavy amount of discounting, the show is still having difficult gaining any traction. The producers seemed to anticipate a difficult exit out of the gates, because it has allotted an entire eight weeks of previews, with its opening night scheduled for January 15, 2015. Perhaps they know the reviews will not be great, and they are trying to score some holiday tourist ticket-buyers before they can be dissuaded by the critics.

Peter Pan Musical To Be Aired Live on TV

Peter PanIn the wake of the massive ratings success of NBC’s live production of The Sound of Music starring Carrie Underwood, the network has tapped producers Neil Meron and Craig Zadan to replicate their success with another live musical event later this year.

The next event will be the live broadcast of a production of the musical adaptation of J.M. Barrie’s play Peter Pan, which has lyrics by Carolyn Leigh, Betty Comden and Adolph Green, and music by Jule Styne and Moose Charlap. Originally produced on Broadway in 1954 with Mary Martin playing Peter Pan, this version features well-known songs like “I Won’t Grow Up” and “I’m Flying”.

“We hope to create the joy that has made this musical so beloved,” stated Meron and Zadon. “We would like a whole new generation to experience Peter Pan and for families across the country to share the magic.”

Casting has not yet been announced for NBC’s live airing of Peter Pan, but the broadcast is scheduled to air on December 4, 2014.

NYC Super Bowl Event Will Feature Jersey Boys

Jersey Boys Broadway ShowFootball’s biggest event, the 2014 Super Bowl, is coming up on February 2 in East Rutherford in New Jersey. Broadway is getting in on the celebration for Super Bowl 48. Thirteen blocks of Broadway are being turned into “Super Bowl Boulevard,” and on January 29 cast members from Jersey Boys will perform on the Boulevard’s Roman Numerals Stage.

The performance, which will start at 6pm, will feature the hit musical’s star quartet of Matt Bogart, Richard H. Blake, Drew Gehling, and Joseph Leo Bwarie. The world-famous Rockettes and the Boys Choir of Harlem will also perform that day.

This isn’t expected to be the only instance of Broadway getting involved with Super Bowl mania. The cast of Rock of Ages is scheduled to perform on the Roman Numerals Stage on January 30, and again on Super Bowl Sunday outside of MetLife Stadium during the event’s official Tailgate Party. The cast of Jersey Boys are also scheduled to appear at ice hockey Classic at Yankees Stadium between the New York Rangers and New Jersey Devils and  a couple of days later at the same venue when the Rangers take on the Islanders. The cast of Jersey Boys will entertain the crowd prior to the game.

Kinky Boots To Launch Tour in Vegas

Kinky Boots Broadway ShowThe Tony Award winning musical Kinky Boots is currently one of Broadway’s top-grossing shows, bringing in big audiences night after night. And later this year, people outside of New York City will finally get a chance to see the crowd-pleasing tuner. The first national tour of Kinky Boots will start off in Las Vegas at the Smith Center on September 4, 2014.

Based on the British film of the same name, Kinky Boots is about a young shoe manufacturer who saves his family business by focusing on making footwear for an untapped market — drag queens. The musical, directed and choregraphed by Jerry Mitchell, has a book by Harvey Fierstein and score by pop star Cyndi Lauper.

Kinky Boots can currently be seen on Broadway at the Al Hirschfeld Theatre (302 W. 45th Street), where it opened on April 4, 2013. Tickets are available at www.telecharge.com.

Macbeth Closes on Broadway

Macbeth on BroadwayIt’s been a big season for the Bard on Broadway, with productions of Romeo and Juliet, Twelfth Night, Richard III, and William Shakespeare’s famed tragedy Macbeth, which concluded its run at Lincoln Center Theater’s Vivian Beaumont Theatre today.

Actor Ethan Hawke took on the lead role in ‘the Scottish play’ (as it is often called by those too superstitious to say its name) for this production, which featured direction by Jack O’Brien and co-starred John Glover, Richard Easton, Malcolm Gets, Byron Jennings, Brian d’Arcy James, Daniel Sunjata, and Anne-Marie Duff, who made her Broadway debut as Lady Macbeth.

Macbeth was previously seen on Broadway just last season in a nearly-solo production featuring Alan Cumming (soon to be back on Broadway this season in the re-revival of Cabaret) playing all of the parts himself.

Hugh Jackman Cuts Ties With Broadway Bound Houdini

Hugh JackmanSome time ago it was announced that Hugh Jackman would be returning to Broadway in a new musical about legendary escape artist Harry Houdini, written specifically for Jackman. But following a protracted development process, Jackman has announced that he is dropping out of the project.

“I have greatly enjoyed the collaborative process on Houdini,” stated Hugh Jackman. “Ultimately, though, I wasn’t able to commit to the time this role will require. I have tremendous respect and admiration for the creative team and I wish everyone the best.”

Aaron Sorkin (The West Wing) was originally attached to write Houdini‘s book, but he left the project last year and a new writer has not yet been named. Jack O’Brien is set to direct the production, which is currently expected to hit Broadway in the 2015-2016 season.

Spider-man Swings Out of New York City

Spider-Man Broadway MusicalThe saga of comic book hero Spider-man on Broadway has come to an end, with Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark finishing its run at the Foxwoods Theatre today.  The musical concludes having played 1,058 regular performances, plus a record-breaking 182 preview performances.

Initially helmed by The Lion King‘s visionary director Julie Taymor, Spider-man suffered from technical and creative problems and an exploding budget during its development phase and preview period.  Eventually a new director and bookwriter came in to get the production under control, and, once it opened, the show enjoyed brisk sales.  After roughly three years, Spider-man closes as the 16th highest-grossing Broadway show in history.

However, Spider-man‘s multi-million dollar costs were so high that it likely would have needed to run at a profit for several years more in order to earn back its investment.  While the musical was no longer able to make money on Broadway, the show’s producers intend to try their luck with it next in Las Vegas.

 

Broadway Loves the Spice Girls To Play at 54 Below

The Spice Girls musical Viva Forever! that has played London’s West End may not have yet made it to Broadway, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of Broadway performers who love the famed British pop group. In fact, many of them will be gathering at 54 Below on January 13 at 11:30pm for a special concert dubbed “Broadway Loves the Spice Girls”.

Well over a dozen New York City actors will perform new vocal arrangements (written by Benjamin Rauhala) of the Spice Girls’ many hits, including “Wannabe” and “2 Become 1″. The list of performers slated for the concert include Ashley Kate Adams, Stephanie Umoh, Kate Loprest, Jason Gotay, Gabrielle McClinton, Emily McNamara, and Darren Bluestone.

The cover charge for the concert is $10, and there is also a $20 food/drink minimum. To purchase tickets or learn more, go to www.54Below.com.

Broadway’s Big Fish Closes Today

Big Fish Broadway ShowBroadway will say goodbye to a number of shows as the holiday season comes to a close. Broadway shows that have been struggling to maintain an audience frequently set their closing dates for early January, taking advantage of the final burst of holiday ticket sales before the bleak winter months in which Broadway struggles the most.  However, Big Fish, which ends its run at the Neil Simon Theatre today, is concluding a bit earlier, closing its production before New Year’s Day.

Based on the book and film of the same name, Big Fish starred Norbert Leo Butz as a big dreaming traveling salesman who loved to tell tall tales. With a heart-tugging father-and-son story and big, bold set and costume designs, Big Fish captured many theatergoers’ imaginations, but unfortunately not enough to continue running.  The musical will close having played 34 previews and just under 100 regular performances.

Jersey Boys To Offer Guarantee For Inclement Weather

Jersey Boys Broadway ShowThe long-running hit Broadway musical Jersey Boys, playing at the August Wilson Theatre in New York City, has announced that it will be offering a “Winter Weather Guarantee” to people who buy tickets for performances taking place from January 2 to March 30, 2014.

Given that winter storms can wreak havoc on the roads and shut down airports, this guarantee is particularly helpful for tourists or people who have to commute significant distances to get into the city.

The guarantee allows Jersey Boys ticket holders to exchange tickets for those performances for tickets to any other performance that is currently on sale. Learn more about the details of the “Winter Weather Guarantee” policy at www.JerseyBoysBroadway.com/Winter.