A New York Novel for Children Takes the Newbery Award

A novel set in New York, and written by an author who was born in the city and resides on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, has won the Newbery Award, the most prestigious award given for children’s literature.
The announcement was made Monday that the John Newbery Medal for the most outstanding contribution to children’s literature was given to Rebecca Stead for “When You Reach Me.” The novel takes place in 1979, on the Upper West Side, and focuses on the story of Miranda, a sixth-grade girl whose best friend stops taking to her; she also starts receiving notes telling her that it’s up to her to figure out how to prevent a tragic event from happening in the future.
The novel deals with issues of time travel, class, and friendship; has a rich, complicated structure; and has spent eight weeks on “The New York Times” best-seller list for children’s chapter books. The classic children’s book “A Wrinkle in Time,” which itself won the Newbery Award in 1963, also plays a vital part in the novel.
The neighborhood in the book resembles the one in which Ms. Stead grew up, she has said, and the lives of the characters are modeled on her own experience growing up in the city. The apartment in the story was inspired by her mother’s apartment; the school was patterned after the one she attended on New York’s west side.
In fact, Manhattan becomes as much a character in the novel as any of the characters themselves.
So congratulations to Rebecca Stead–and to New York for being such a great role model.

Mamma Mia Broadway Show Review

Mamma Mia Broadway ShowShow Summary
Set in the beautiful Greek isles, the Broadway musical Mamma Mia incorporates nearly two dozen songs by international pop sensation ABBA into its lively story about soon-to-wed Sophie, her free-spirited single mother Donna, and three men from Donna’s past — one of whom, Sophie hopes to discover, is her father.

Broadway Review
Mamma Mia has become a global smash since its 1999 London debut, and its biggest fans are usually the middle-aged crowd who fondly remember the disco days of ABBA. Women in particular enjoy watching fun-loving Donna and her two wacky best friends reminiscing about the wild days of their youth, when they were in a singing trio. Since the show’s plot is a bit thin and the tone decidedly silly, the upbeat musical Mamma Mia is best appreciated as a big Broadway-style ABBA concert.

The 101 Dalmatians Musical

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Save $10 on performances of The 101 Dalmatians Musical at MSG
These prices apply to performances April 7th – April 18th 2010

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Storytime Live

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These prices apply to performances March 31st – April 4th 2010

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Offer expires 2/2/10. Offer valid only on Price level 2 ($46) and Price level 3 ($39) seats and 8 ticket limit. Save 25% on select tickets (excluding VIP) on all OFF-PEAK perforances. 8 ticket limit per order. Service charges apply to phone and Internet orders. Offer subject to availability and not valid on previously purchased tickets. All sales are final – no refunds or exchanges. Offer may be revoked or modified at any time without notice.

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Sesame Street Live "When Elmo Grows Up"

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New TV Show To Be About Broadway Musicals

Variety has just reported that playwright and television writer Theresa Rebeck (Mauritius on Broadway, The Understudy Off-Broadway, and Law & Order: Criminal Intent on TV) will script the pilot for a new Showtime TV series about all the drama surrounding the creation of a new Broadway musical. The idea is that each season of the show will cover the development and creation of a fictional Broadway musical, culminating in a final episode where we see the musical in its entirety. Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman (Hairspray) will write the songs for the series. Depending upon the success of the TV show, it is possible that the musical created in the show will even be developed for a live production on Broadway.

New Showtime TV Series To Be About Creating a Broadway Musical

Theresa RebeckVariety has just reported that playwright and television writer Theresa Rebeck (Mauritius on Broadway, The Understudy Off-Broadway, and Law & Order: Criminal Intent on TV) will script the pilot for a new Showtime TV series about all the drama surrounding the creation of a new Broadway musical. The idea is that each season of the show will cover the development and creation of a fictional Broadway musical, culminating in a final episode where we see the musical in its entirety. Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman (Hairspray) will write the songs for the series. Depending upon the success of the TV show, it is possible that the musical created in the show will even be developed for a live production on Broadway.

New York’s WQXR Gets Hip, and Celebrates the Grammys

WQRX Grammy MonthWQXR, the only remaining full-time classical music station in New York, and one of the only ones left in the country, is celebrating Grammy Month. (No, it’s not all about Lady Gaga.) Each week leading up to the awards ceremony on Sunday, January 31, WQXR will focus on one of the categories in which classical performances have been nominated. (WQXR switched to a public-radio format this past fall, and can now be found on 105.9 FM.)
Each week, pieces from the nominated albums will be played throughout that week, and also streamed on WQXR.org.
Categories include Best Classical Vocal Performance; Best Small Ensemble Performance; and Best Instrumental Soloist Performance (Without Orchestra).
You can vote for your faves on their website, and these days, you can even follow them on Twitter and read a series of blogs; yes, classical music has entered the digital age.
In other WQXR news, venerable WQXR radio host George Jellinek, 90, passed away over the weekend. Jellinek created the radio program “The Vocal Scene” in 1969, a year after becoming the station’s music director. The show, which ran for 36 years, focused on opera and opera singers. It was syndicated on classical stations around the country, and became synonymous with WQXR.
Although he retired as music director in the mid-1980s, Jellinek stayed on as a consultant with the station until a few years ago. He was one of the great old-time classical-music voices in New York.

High School Musical TV Show Glee Wins Golden Globe

GleeGlee, the new hit Fox TV series that marries the High School Musical concept with pop hits, took the award for Best Television Series (Comedy or Musical) at the Golden Globe Awards last night. The show is a particular favorite of many Broadway fans because it is the closest thing to musical theater that can be found on TV, it occasionally features showtunes (such as Wicked‘s “Defying Gravity”), and it stars several Broadway actors, including Matthew Morrison (Hairspray) and Lea Michele (Spring Awakening). A number of actors that won Golden Globes last night are in fact experienced Broadway and New York theater actors, including John Lithgow (Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, The Retreat From Moscow), Michael C. Hall (Cabaret), and Alec Baldwin (A Streetcar Named Desire).

It’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day: Go Out and Do Good

Martin Luther King Jr.It’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and to celebrate here in New York, you can get out there and donate your time to the Day of Service being held across the city. Community Service projects are being touted with the slogan, “It’s a day ON, not a day OFF.” You can check the website serve.gov/mlkday for a list of suggested events in your community. (At the Jewish Community Center in Manhattan, for example, New Yorkers can help by making kits for hospitalized children, preparing meals for the homeless, and more. The JCC is at 334 Amsterdam Avenue and West 76th Street; 212 505-4444)
Over at New York University, an entire week of events is being presented; they run the gamut from films to lectures to exhibits and community service initiatives. Check nyu.edu for details.
The littlest freedom fighters can head over to the Children’s Museum of Manhattan all day today, from 10 am to 5 pm (212 West 83rd Street; 212 721-1234). The Martin Luther King Jr. Festival features crafts projects, a performance by the Harlem Gospel Choir, and discussions of Dr. King’s work.
To cap off the evening, the Peter Jay Sharp Theatre at Symphony Space is offering a free evening of music built around the theme of peace and justice. (2537 Broadway; 212 505-4493).
So get out there and celebrate, New York–and do some good in the process.