Cast of Broadway’s Xanadu To Appear at Barnes & Noble Jan. 10

In celebration of the recent release of the Xanadu cast recording, Kerry Butler, Cheyenne Jackson, Tony Roberts, Mary Testa, Jackie Hoffman, and the entire Broadway company will appear at the Lincoln Center Barnes & Noble (1972 Broadway at 66th Street) on January 10 at 5:30pm. Cast members will perform songs from the show and, along with Xanadu bookwriter Douglas Carter Beane, will sign copies of the CD.

Sweeney Todd Debuts At #56 On Billboard 200 Chart

Broadway hits the Billboard 200 this week (sort of), as the Sweeney Todd film soundtrack debuts at #56 on the music charts. That’s certainly not bad for a musical, even if Sweeney can’t begin to compete with those teen-centric musicals High School Musical and Hannah Montana. On the actual Top Soundtracks chart, Sweeney Todd is #8, while the original Broadway cast recording of the musical is now #11 on the Top Cast Albums chart.

Original Broadway Cast Recording For Young Frankenstein Musical Now Available On CD

The original Broadway cast album for the new Mel Brooks musical Young Frankenstein has just been released. Although the Brooks-penned score may be this glitzy Broadway show’s weakest feature, the CD does boast performances from some of Broadway’s most talented actor/singers, including Roger Bart, Sutton Foster, Megan Mullaly, Christopher Fitzgerald, and Shuler Hensley.

Broadway Choreographer Michael Kidd Dies at 92

Michael Kidd, musical choreographer for both film and the Broadway stage, has just passed away at the age of 92. Winner of five Tony Awards for his Broadway work, Kidd most famously created the dances for the original production of Guys & Dolls, the film of Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, and the Fred Astaire/Cyd Charisse ballet in The Band Wagon. Michael Kidd also did the choreography for the Broadway musicals Finian’s Rainbow, Can-Can, Li’l Abner, and The Goodbye Girl.

Sweeney Todd Opens in Movie Theaters!

Tim Burton’s film version of the Stephen Sondheim/Hugh Wheeler musical Sweeney Todd opened in theaters this weekend, and so far the reception has been very positive. Not only have many of the notoriously finicky Sondheim fans given the movie two thumbs up, but so have the critics (Sweeney is currently showing an 87% positive rating at rottentomates.com) and the general movie-going audience (it’s Number 4 at the box office).

Based on the Christopher Bond play (which is based on the 19th century legend of a murderous barber), the musical Sweeney Todd opened on Broadway in 1979. It was that rarest of creatures: the horror musical. Burton’s largely faithful film, which stars Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter, emphasizes the gloom and gore even more so. It was a risk to turn such an ambitious Broadway musical into a mainstream film, but so far it looks like the gamble has paid off.

Phantom Sequel Gets Director

When it was announced some time ago that Andrew Lloyd Webber planned to do a sequel to his massive worldwide phenomenon The Phantom of the Opera (which was based on the Gaston Leroux novel of the same name), there was some skepticism. After all, musical sequels are rare, and this sequel was to be based on a Frederick Forsyth novel “The Phantom of Manhattan,” which is not nearly as well liked as the Leroux original. However, recent reports indicate that Lloyd Webber is still moving ahead with the project, to be titled Phantom in Manhattan, and that Jack O’Brien is slated to be the director. Bob Crowley will serve as set designer, and apparently Forsyth himself is working on the show’s book.

The Drowsy Chaperone To End Its Broadway Run on 12/30

Sadly, the delightful musical comedy The Drowsy Chaperone is going to be put to sleep on December 30, when it has its final performance on Broadway. A funny and affectionate homage to old musicals, Drowsy will be missed, but it does boast a strong run of 674 performances. The show also won five Tony Awards and managed to recoup its investment (no mean feat for any Broadway musical).

West Side Story Coming Back to Broadway?

Arthur Laurents, bookwriter for West Side Story, recently indicated that he plans to bring a brand new version of the legendary musical to the Broadway stage. He claims that he’s found a way to “update” the story (which is already an update of Romeo & Juliet) without changing any of the text. No details available as of yet, but in the meantime, we can look forward to the Laurents-directed revival of Gypsy (for which he also wrote the book), arriving on Broadway in early ’08.