Football’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.
The 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.
It’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.
Some 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.
The 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.
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 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.
The 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.
Television star Fran Drescher, best known for her role on The Nanny, will be making her Broadway debut next year when she takes on the role of Cinderella’s stepmother in Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella on Broadway.
Fran Drescher will begin her stint in Cinderella on February 4, 2014 and is scheduled to stay with the show for ten weeks until April 13. Drescher will be replacing Broadway regular Harriet Harris, who has been playing the part of the stepmother since Cinderella opened earlier this year.
In addition to her work on The Nanny, which earned her two Emmys, Drescher was most recently on the sitcom Happily Divorced. She also has plenty of stage experience, having performed Off-Broadway in plays such as The Exonerated and Some Girl(s).
The arts education organization Broadway Bound Kids, which facilitates performing arts programs in community centers and schools throughout the New York area, has begun a crowdfunding campaign. A number of celebrities, including Broadway performers like Christian Borle (Peter and the Starcatcher), Will Chase (Rent), and John Stamos (Bye Bye Birdie), are lending their support to the campaign and can be seen on a video at www.BroadwayBoundKids.org.
“Theatre helped me find my identity and who I was going to be,” Stamos stated. “Whether you’re acting or doing make-up or just part of the community, it gives you a place and it gives you purpose. If you get an opportunity to be a part of something like Broadway Bound Kids, do it!”
The Broadway Bound Kids campaign is raising money so that underprivileged students can have the chance to take part in The Broadway Bound Players, the program’s youth ensemble, without charge. The organization’s Indiegogo campaign will conclude in early January.