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 www.54Below.com.

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.

Concert Version of Broadway Musical Titanic Scheduled for 2014

TitanicManhattan Concert Productions will present an elaborate concert staging of the 1997 Tony Award winning Broadway musical Titanic on February 17, 2014 at Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall. The concert will be directed by actor Don Stephenson (currently on Broadway in A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder), who appeared as Charles Clarke and later as Harold Bride in the original Broadway cast of the show.

Liza Gennaro will provide choreography for the concert staging, while Titanic‘s original Broadway musical director and conductor Kevin Stites will repeat his role as music director. The concert will also feature Shawn Sagady’s projection designs, lighting from Stephen Terry, and a set design by Narelle Sissons.

Casting has yet to be announced, but Manhattan Concert Productions has already stated that, like their previous concert version of Ragtime, this staging will also have a star-filled cast and a huge ensemble featuring more than 100 singers.

Titanic tells the story of the famously “unsinkable” ship’s first and final tragic voyage from the points of view of the ship’s crew and passengers from 1st, 2nd, and 3rd class. The musical has a score by Maury Yeston and a book by Peter Stone, both of whom won Tony Awards for their work.

Tickets to the Titanic concert start at $50. To order, call 212-721-6500 or go to www.lincolncenter.org.

Gypsy of the Year Competition to Play Minskoff Theatre December 9-10

Gypsy of the YearBroadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS (BC/EFA) hosts a number of popular Broadway-related benefit events throughout the year, and the Annual Gypsy of the Year competition is one of the most loved. This year’s Gypsy of the Year will be held at the Minskoff Theatre, home to the long-running Disney musical The Lion King, on December 9 at 4:30pm and at December 10 at 2:00pm.

Now in its 25th year, Gypsy of the Year puts a spotlight on Broadway’s many ensemble dancers and singers, dedicated and talented performers — sometimes called “gypsies” — who don’t always get the glory but whose hard work is crucial to the vitality of Broadway. Over 200 of these Broadway gypsies will do original sketches, along with song and dance numbers, during the event.

The Gypsy of the Year performances in December will cap off a six-week fundraising push by the companies of Broadway, Off-Broadway, and touring shows as they try to raise money for BC/EFA. Since its inception, Gypsy of the Year has raised more than $50 million for charity. The company that raises the most funds will be recognized, as will the best performance.

You can purchase tickets to be in the audience for Gypsy of the Year by calling 212-840-0770 (ext. 268) or by visiting www.broadwaycares.org. Tickets range from $20-$110, with VIP tickets in the $200-$350 range.

Broadway Stars Join For Anti-Defamation League Concert

Side By Side Against HateOn November 25, a concert event titled “The Anti-Defamation League & Broadway: Side By Side Against Hate for 100 Years” will bring together several Broadway performers at the Hudson Theatre in the New York City theater district. The event will be held at 8pm.

Written by playwright Jonathan Tolins (Buyer & Cellar, Twilight of the Golds) and directed by Ted Sperling, the event commemorates the League’s 100 year history of fighting hate and bigotry through a selection of Broadway songs.

Eden Espinosa, Robert Cuccioli, Lillias White, Carolee Carmello, André De Shields, Randy Graff, Michael McElroy, Stephen DeRosa, Jesse Manocherian, Jason Robert Brown, and The Mark Stuart Dance Company are among those scheduled to participate in The Anti-Defamation League & Broadway concert.

Broadway writer Sheldon Harnick (Fiddler on the Roof, Fiorello!, and She Loves Me) will be specially honored during the evening with a Lifetime Achievement Award (celebrating his 90th birthday, Harnick will even perform a duet with Randy Graff). Producer Harriet Newman Leve will be honored with a Distinguished Leadership Award and Adam Blanshay will be given a Future of Broadway Award.

Tickets for this benefit concert start at $75 and go as high as $1,000. Purchase online at adl.org/broadway100.

Broadway Performers Joel Grey and Brooke Shields Named Living Landmarks

Joel Grey

Joel Grey

Every year the New York Landmarks Conservancy honors people who they dub as “living landmarks,” and this year two stage performers of different generations, Joel Grey and Brooke Shields, will be recognized in their annual event taking place at The Plaza in Manhattan on November 14.

One of the most respected elder statesman of the Broadway theater, Joel Grey has starred in Broadway musicals such as Cabaret, Chicago, Wicked, and most recently Anything Goes. Brooke Shields initially gained fame in film and television, but she has also appeared on Broadway a number of times in productions like Grease, Wonderful Town, and The Addams Family.

A Living Landmark herself, Liz Smith, will host the event, and music will be provided by Peter Duchin and his Orchestra. Tickets for the Living Landmarks gala are a pricey $1,000 (or $10,000 for a table). Call 212-995-5260 or email JennaSmith@nylandmarks.org for tickets and information.

Cast and Writers of Broadway’s Big Fish Will Appear at 92nd St Y

Big Fish Broadway ShowMembers of the cast and creative team of the new Broadway musical Big Fish will gather at the 92nd Street Y for a discussion of the show on November 24 at 7:30pm. Directed by Susan Stroman (The Producers) and starring Norbert Leo Butz (Dirty Rotten Scoundrels), Big Fish recently had its official opening at the Neil Simon Theatre.

Andrew Lippa, Big Fish‘s composer, will appear alongside stars Kate Baldwin and Bobby Steggert. Also joining them will be Daniel Wallace, who wrote the original novel that the musical of Big Fish is based on. Furthermore, they will be joined by Dan Jinks and Bruce Cohen, who served as producers on both Tim Burton’s 2003 film adaptation and the Broadway musical, and screenwriter John August.

Together this panel will discuss Big Fish‘s journey from book to film to stage. The evening will also include musical performances by Baldwin and Steggert, who play Sandra Bloom and Will Bloom in the Broadway show.

Big Fish is about traveling salesman Edward Bloom, a man who lives a wildly colorful life, which he recounts in thrilling stories that he shares with everyone around him. But as he is readying to be a father himself, Edward’s son Will decides to discover the truth behind his dad’s tall tales.

To get tickets (which are as low as $29) to see the Big Fish discussion at the 92nd Street Y, go to www.92y.org.

3rd Annual TEDxBroadway Scheduled for February 24, 2014

TEDxBroadwayBroadway meets the popular TED talks format with TEDxBroadway, a one-day event that will be held at the multi-stage Off-Broadway venue New World Stages in midtown New York City on Monday, February 24, 2014. This third annual TEDxBroadway will tackle the question: What’s the best Broadway can be?

TEDxBroadway takes a broad view of the Broadway community, inviting anyone affected by the Broadway business, from fans to neighborhood organizations, to take part in this day-long discussion of Broadway’s potential future.

Tony Award winning Pippin director Diane Paulus (who also serves as the American Repertory Theater’s artistic director) and actress/comic/musician Lea DeLaria (TV’s Orange is the New Black) are among the scheduled speakers who have a Broadway pedigree.

The event will also feature speakers from other sectors, such as Sree Sreenivasan, who serves as chief digital officer at the Metropolitan Museum of Art; David Drake of the private equity advisory firm LDJ Capital; and Dan Gurney, who founded Concert Window and also has the distinction of being 6-time U.S. champion of the button accordion.

Past participants in TEDxBroadway have included the likes of producer Daryl Roth, actor George Takei, critic Terry Teachout, and playwright Kristoffer Diaz.

“TEDxBroadway invites everyone who has an interest in Broadway to participate in shaping its future,” stated event co-organizer Jim McCarthy. “Certainly, Broadway is most often associated with theatre but, it’s also a place where many industries and people intersect. Our goal is to present positive ideas that will benefit the entire Broadway ecosystem.”

Tickets to the TEDxBroadway conference are $100. Learn more at http://www.tedxbroadway.com.

Broadway’s First Date Auctions Items for Operation Smile

First Date Broadway ShowFans of the new Broadway musical comedy First Date can get some interesting items from the show online right now as it is in the midst of holding an auction on eBay. The auction is raising money for the charity Operation Smile, while helps children all over the world who suffer from cleft lip and cleft palate, along with other facial deformities, by providing surgeries to correct these problems.

There are a number of items up for sale in the First Date auction, including a wig, scarf, silver boots, leg warmers, sweater, Diane Von Furstenber​g dress, pink jacket, go-go boots, and a men’s troubadour hat, all directly from the First Date wardrobe department. A First Date script that has been signed by the show’s writers, as well as a CD of the musical that has been signed by its cast are also on the auction block. Two tickets to the show, plus a dinner, meet & greet, and backstage tour are also be auctioned off. One of the most unique items being offered is a personalized song written by Bryce Ryness.

A recurring gag in First Date features actor Kristoffer Cusick as “Reggie” leaving voicemail messages for his friend – a personalized message from Cusick as Reggie is also one of the items available for auction.

First Date stars Krysta Rodriguez (The Addams Family) and Zachary Levi (TV’s Chuck) as two very different types of New Yorkers who are set up on a blind date that becomes a bit of a circus as their friends, families, and dating pasts come to terrorize them as they try to get to know one another over dinner. Zachary Levi has been an ambassador for Operation Smile for some time, so this cause is near to the actor’s heart.

Go to FirstDateAuction.com to see the auction listings and to bid on an item. The First Date items that are currently up for auction are scheduled to conclude taking bids on Friday, October 25.

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.

Ice Skater Elvis Stojko Coming to Broadway

Elvis StojkoThe Tony Award winning, long-running Broadway musical revival Chicago has been known (and sometimes mocked) for many years for its enthusiastic use of stunt-casting. Bringing in a wide array of performers — from pop stars to TV personalities to has-been celebrities — to play some of the musical’s key roles has become a hallmark of the production.

Now Chicago looks to the world of competitive figure skating to bring in its latest unexpected star, Elvis Stojko. Stojko will take on the part of “razzle dazzle” lawyer Billy Flynn starting March 17, 2014. However, he is only scheduled to do a total of eight shows, performing until March 23.

Elvis Stojko came to prominence as an ice skater in the 1990s, when he earned three world championships and two silver medals in the winter Olympics. Besides skating, Stojko has also taken guest roles in television and film and has even released a CD.

“People think of me as only a skater,” stated Stojko. “But what they don’t know is that I love musicals. Now I finally have the chance to play a great role in one of the greatest musicals of all times.”

Past instances of stunt-casting in Chicago have been many and varied. Usher, Jerry Springer, Brooke Shields, Huey Lewis, Patrick Swayze, Billy Ray Cyrus, Alan Thicke, Melanie Griffith, Ashlee Simpson, Wendy Williams, Marilu Henner, George Hamilton, Christie Brinkley, Kara DioGuardi, and Sofía Vergara are just a few of the people who have been tapped to feature in Chicago over the years, with many of them making their Broadway or stage debuts in the production.

Billy Flynn, the part that Elvis Stojko will be playing, is the role most often filled by male stars, though on some occasions it’s Amos Hart. For female performers with limited stage experience (but who can still belt a song), Matron Mama Morton is a common option. But even the key dancing roles of Roxie Hart and Velma Kelly are sometimes filled by stunt-casted performers.

Chicago the musical, which has been playing on Broadway for more than 15 years, performs at the Ambassador Theatre (219 West 49th Street) in New York City. For tickets and other information about the show, go to chicagothemusical.com.