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

Actor Jeff Daniels To Play 54 Below

Jeff DanielsThough he is better known as a television and film actor, Jeff Daniels (currently starring in HBO’s series The Newsroom) will soon be taking the stage at 54 Below, the favored venue for New York City theater performers who want to perform solo shows. Daniels will perform six shows there, from January 2-4, 2014.

During his concert engagement, Daniels will present several of his own original songs. Highlighting the actor’s humorous side, the tunes feature such titles as “You Can Drink An Ugly Girl Pretty” and “If William Shatner Can, I Can Too”.

Jeff Daniels’ breakout roles came in the early 1980s in movies such as Terms of Endearment and The Purple Rose of Cairo, going on to gain greater recognition in Hearburn and Something Wild. Other film credits include Gettysburg, Speed, Pleasantville, The Squid and the Whale, State of Play, and Looper. He is also scheduled to star in a sequel to the silly comedy favorite Dumb & Dumber in 2014.

More recently, Jeff Daniels has gained acclaim for his starring role as veteran newsman Will McAvoy in Aaron Sorkin’s HBO drama The Newsroom. He recently took home an Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series for his work in The Newsroom.

While Daniels has distinguished himself in movies and TV over the years, he has always kept one foot in the theater. He studied drama in college and began his career on the New York stage in the late ’70s. Daniels founded the Purple Rose Theatre Company in 1991 in his hometown of Chelsea, Michigan, and he has authored numerous plays for the company.

Jeff Daniels’ stage work has included five Broadway productions, including Fifth of July, The Golden Age, and Redwood Curtain. His most recent appearance on Broadway was in the popular 2009 play God of Carnage.

Tickets for the Jeff Daniels concert at 54 Below (254 West 54th Street) are priced in the $40-$50 range, plus there is a $25 minimum for food and drinks. For further ticketing and show information, visit 54Below.com.

Little Shop of Horrors Sing-along at Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) October 25

Little Shop of HorrorsPeople who love show tunes usually love nothing more than singing along to their favorite cast recordings. Even if — or maybe especially if — they aren’t good enough at singing to perform onstage themselves. The Sing-along Sound of Music was one of the first events to capitalize on this by hosting special screenings of The Sound of Music in which attendees were encouraged to dress up as characters and to sing along during the movie’s musical numbers. Of course, even before that, The Rocky Horror Picture Show was well-known for its midnight screenings in which participants would even bring props.

Like Rocky Horror, the Little Shop of Horrors holds a certain cult status. The 1986 movie musical is based on the dark 1982 Off-Broadway musical written by writer/lyricist Howard Ashman and composer Alan Menken (and the musical was in turn based on the 1960 Roger Corman film). On October 25 at 8pm, the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) will offer a sing-along screening of Little Shop of Horrors, which will even include an appearance by the movie’s star, Rick Moranis.

Little Shop of Horrors is about a meek florist by the name of Seymour Krelborn and his discovery of a strange plant species that eats people. The show, which features a mix of ’60s style rock/doo-wop and more traditional show tunes, is best remembered for songs like the ballad “Somewhere That’s Green” and the catchy title song.

The original Off-Broadway production of Little Shop of Horrors starred Lee Wilkof and Ellen Greene, who reprised the role of Audrey for the movie. Little Shop didn’t make its Broadway debut until 2003, when a revival starring Hunter Foster, Kerry Butler, and Douglas Sills played the Virginia Theatre (now the August Wilson Theatre).

To find out more about the sing-along Little Shop of Horrors event being hosted by BAM, go to www.bam.org.

New NYC Production of The Drowsy Chaperone Benefits Autism Support

The Drowsy ChaperonePreviously a hit on Broadway, The Drowsy Chaperone returns to New York City in a new Off-Broadway production presented by the Blue Hill Troupe. The production is partnering with Quality Services for the Autism Community (QSAC) to raise funds and awareness for the organization.

Stephen Agosto will direct and choreograph The Drowsy Chaperone, which will play the Theatre at St. Clement’s (located at 423 West 46th Street in the heart of the theater district) from November 1-9. The Blue Hill Troupe picks an NYC-based charity each year to raise money for.

The lively musical comedy The Drowsy Chaperone has a book by Bob Martin and Don McKellar, and music/lyrics by Greg Morrison and Lisa Lambert — all of whom won Tony Awards for their efforts. Learn more about this production of The Drowsy Chaperone at bht.org.

A Night with Janis Joplin Rocks Broadway

A Night with Janis JoplinThe new Broadway production A Night with Janis Joplin, which began previews last month, officially opens at the Lyceum Theatre today. Originally known as One Night with Janis Joplin, the music revue played at several venues across the country prior to arriving on the Great White Way.

Mary Bridget Davies makes her Broadway debut in the iconic role of Janis Joplin, singing many of the songs that the rock legend made famous, including “Piece of My Heart,” “Mercedes Benz,” and “Me and Bobby McGee”. She is joined by an onstage band. Written and directed by Randy Johnson, A Night with Janis Joplin is set for an open run on Broadway.

The show has had a pretty strong start in ticket sales. Last week, the Lyceum Theatre on 45th Street was at 84.50% capacity with 4,555 attending, which is impressive for a newer show. However, it had a lower than average $61.88 ticket resulting in total sales of $281,871. So will A Night with Janis Joplin turn into many nights on Broadway? We will have to see. If the Off-Broadway hit Love, Janis from several years ago and the positive response to the current production is any indication, then A Night may burn brightly for many months to come, if Mary Bridget Davies impressive voice can hold up to the harrowing schedule of eight shows a week.

Jazz Musicians Announced for Broadway’s After Midnight

After Midnight Broadway MusicalThe forthcoming Broadway music revue After Midnight, which has already announced cast members Adriane Lenox and Dule Hill along with featured singer Fantasia Barrino, now has its line-up of musicians set to serve as the Jazz at Lincoln Center All-Stars.

Selected by jazz legend Wynton Marsalis, the All-Stars will include Gregory Gisbert, Bruce Harris, James Zollar, and Alfonso Horne on trumpets; Arthur Baron, James Burton III, and Wayne Goodman on trombones; Godwin Louis, Mark Gross, Andrew Farber, Daniel Block, and Kurt Bacher on woodwinds; James Chirillo on guitar; Adam Birnbaum on piano; Jennifer Vincent on bass; and Alvester Garnett on drums.

After Midnight starts preview performances at Broadway’s Brooks Atkinson Theatre on October 18, with an opening night scheduled for November 3.

Direct From Broadway Series Coming Soon To Movie Theaters

Direct from BroadwayBroadway fans will get several opportunities to see Broadway musicals on the big screen this fall when the “Direct from Broadway” series by Specticast presents special screenings of Broadway shows.

The series will feature five musicals, including Tony Award winning Memphis, the Jerry Leiber/Mike Stoller rock ‘n’ roll revue Smokey Joe’s Cafe, the Stephen Sondheim musical revue Putting It Together, Jekyll & Hyde starring David Hasselhoff, and Duke Ellington’s Sophisticated Ladies.

Tapings of these shows will be screened at select movie theater across the country in October, November, and December. To find out where “Direct from Broadway” screenings will take place, visit directfrombroadway.net.

Stars Align for Broadway Flea Market This Sunday

Bernadette Peters

Bernadette Peters

Dozens of Broadway and television stars are coming to Shubert Alley this Sunday, September 22 for the Broadway Flea Market & Grand Auction, the free annual event held in Times Square to benefit Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.

This year’s Autograph Table and Photo Booth will offer fans a chance get up close and personal with stars (in exchange for a donation to BC/EFA) such as Judith Light, Bebe Neuwirth, Bernadette Peters, Laura Benanti, Jeremy Jordan, Laura Osnes, Patrick Wilson, Cherry Jones, Harriet Harris, Donna Murphy, and many more.

The event, which goes from 10am to 7pm, will also feature an elaborate flea market, with tables dedicated to many Broadway shows and theater organizations selling items as varied as cupcakes baked by Broadway performers and authentic props used in Broadway shows.

Free Broadway on the Hudson Concert Scheduled for September 27

Broadway on the HudsonBroadway will be going downtown on September 27, when the cast members of several hit Broadway shows participate in the “Broadway on the Hudson” concert in lower Manhattan.

Cast members from the Broadway musicals Pippin, Newsies, Cinderella, Annie, Chicago, Rock of Ages, First Date, and The Phantom of the Opera are all slated to sing songs from their respective Broadway shows.

Sponsored by American Airlines, the “Broadway on the Hudson” concert is free. It will take place at the Brookfield Place Waterfront Plaza, located at 220 Vesey Street, from 12:30pm to 2pm. Get more info on the concert at broadway.org.

Off-Broadway’s Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet Moving To Midtown

Natasha, PierreThe acclaimed Off-Broadway musical Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812, which just concluded a run in the Meat Packing district on September 2, will be moving to the midtown theater district for a limited 14-week run beginning September 24.

Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet‘s home, Kazino, was a supper club style venue that had been built and designed specifically for the show to create an immersive theatrical experience. The venue will be relocated to a lot on West 45th Street, between 7th and 8th Avenues, right off of Times Square.

“Once the show caught on downtown, we explored a number of options of where it could continue following our summer engagement, and we’re very fortunate to have found a prime spot in the heart of the theater district,” stated the musical’s producers. “We’re ecstatic that audience response has made it possible for us to keep The Great Comet burning brightly in New York.”

Broadway Flea Market and Auction Scheduled for September 22

Broadway Flea MarketThe 27th Annual Broadway Flea Market & Grand Auction is coming up on Sunday, September 22. The beloved yearly event will take place from 10am until 7pm in Shubert Alley, located on West 44th Street between 7th and 8th Avenues.

The flea market gives Broadway fans the chance to purchase theater memorabilia, ranging from old Playbills and show posters to more unique items like stage props and costumes. Actual cast members often man the tables, frequently selling homemade baked goods in addition to show-related items.

For fans who have truly been saving up their pennies, the afternoon auction features many impressive offerings. There are walk-on roles and backstage opportunities for Broadway musicals like Kinky Boots and The Lion King, a chance to have lunch with Judith Light and Angela Lansbury, signed and handwritten musical phrases by everyone from Cyndi Lauper to Stephen Schwartz, a t-shirt worn onstage by Tom Hanks, and much more.

The event will also feature a celebrity autograph table and photo booth, giving fans the chance to meet many Broadway and TV celebrities in person. Visit broadwaycares.org to find out more about the Broadway Flea Market & Grand Auction and a detailed list of auction items.