The free “Broadway on Broadway” concert, the annual event held in Times Square at the beginning of each Broadway season, has been set for Sunday, September 14. The casts of existing and upcoming Broadway shows will perform in front of approximately 50,000 fans on a stage set up in the heart of Times Square just for the concert. “Broadway on Broadway” begins at 11:30am, but you should arrive a couple hours early if you want to get up close to the stage.
for colored girls who have considered suicide when the rainbow is enuf, which was expected to begin performances on Broadway soon, has announced that the production is being delayed, apparently due to one of the show’s backers dropping out at the last minute. Another upcoming Broadway show, the Broadway revival of the musical Brigadoon, has also announced postponement. This production, which was not scheduled to open for many more months, says its delay is due to an inability to find a suitable Broadway theater for its planned spring 2009 opening.
The classic musical Guys and Dolls is coming back to Broadway in the spring of 2009. This new production will be directed by Des McAnuff (Jersey Boys, The Who’s Tommy), who previously helmed the Broadway revival of another Frank Loesser-scored musical, How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. The last Broadway production of Guys and Dolls opened in 1992 and starred Peter Gallagher, Faith Prince, and Nathan Lane as the colorful New York characters originally created by Damon Runyon and brought to life for the stage by bookwriters Abe Burrows and Jo Swerling.
Estelle Getty, known to virtually everyone as Sophia on The Golden Girls, has passed away at the age of 84. Getty gained fame late in her career playing the sarcastic, dry-witted “Ma” to Bea Arthur’s Dorothy, even though the women were nearly the same age. But prior to joining the NBC comedy hit, Getty had won over many with her turn on Broadway in the play Torch Song Trilogy, in which she played Harvey Fierstein’s mother.
The MTV reality series Legally Blonde the Musical: The Search for Elle Woods concluded last night, and the winner is Bailey Hanks! The bubbly 20-year old narrowly beat out the more experienced (and better-voiced) Autumn Hurlbert, who didn’t do quite as well at capturing Elle’s sorority girl sweetness. Both young ladies got to do their final audition with the Legally Blonde cast on the stage of the Palace Theatre, so director Jerry Mitchell was able to get a real sense of how they would perform in the show. We TV viewers did too and, considering how green a lot of the contestants appeared in the early stages of the MTV reality show, it was a relief to see that both winner Bailey and runner-up Autumn (who will be the Elle understudy on Broadway) performed quite well in the demanding role. The contest was actually decided months ago, so both have had ample time to continue training. With star Laura Bell Bundy having departed on Sunday, Bailey debuts on Broadway in Legally Blonde tomorrow, July 23. Meanwhile, contestants Rhiannon Hansen and Lauren Zakrin will join the cast of the Legally Blonde national tour.
Mamma Mia, the new movie version of the smash hit West End and Broadway musical, picked a tough weekend to open, going head-to-head with the record-breaking Batman sequel The Dark Knight. However, although Mamma Mia only pulled in $27,751,240 versus Batman’s $158,411,483, the ABBA musical still did better than last summer’s big Broadway-to-Hollywood transfer, Hairspray, which debuted at a few hundred thousand less. Hairspray was considered a box office hit, so hopefully this bodes well for Mamma Mia. Mamma Mia, which stars Meryl Streep, also has the advantage of appealing to that often-ignored segment of the population known as women – especially middle-aged women. As a result, Mamma Mia could continue doing steady business throughout the rest of the summer, providing a nice alternative for people who don’t care for the special effects-laden blockbusters.
Oh, and did we mention that the figure above is only U.S. sales? Mamma Mia‘s total opening weekend worldwide was over 100 million, proving that Mamma Mia is not just a London and Broadway musical, but an international sensation.
ABC’s new reality show based on the hit Disney franchise High School Musical debuts on TV tonight, July 20. Hosted by Nick Lachey, High School Musical: Get in the Picture has contestants competing through a series of High School Musical-themed singing and dancing challenges. The winner of the reality TV series will get a guest spot in a music video to be shown at the end of High School Musical 3: Senior Year (due in theaters October 24) and will also get to record two singles for Walt Disney Records.
After conquering the West End, Broadway, and cities around the world, Mamma Mia finally arrives in movie theaters today. The film version of the silly ABBA musical has an all-star cast headed by Meryl Streep. Even people who didn’t care for the show on Broadway may find the film irresistible with its Greek island setting, fantastic cast, and infectious spirit.
The new musical [title of show] has its official Broadway opening tonight at the Lyceum Theatre. [title of show] had its first production at the New York Musical Theatre Festival, and then went on to an Off-Broadway run at the Vineyard Theatre. The musical about writing a Broadway musical stars its own creators, Hunter Bell and Jeff Bowen, as well as actresses Heidi Blickenstaff and Susan Blackwell, and music director Larry Pressgrove. Discount tickets for [title of show] on Broadway are available here.
It’s an unusual move for any Broadway show, but The Phantom of the Opera will be shutting down its Broadway production for a few days, from August 24-27. The reason for the brief hiatus is so that the sound system at the Majestic Theatre can be upgraded. Phantom’s last pre-break performance will be on August 23, and then the long-running musical will resume Broadway performances on August 28. To get discount tickets to see The Phantom of the Opera on Broadway, click here.