Bebe Neuwirth Returning to Broadway’s Chicago

Bebe NeuwirthStage and television performer Bebe Neuwirth (TV’s Cheers and Frasier) earned a Tony Award for her turn as Velma Kelly in the long-running Broadway revival of the musical Chicago back in 1997. Years later, she returned to the production to play the show’s other main role, Roxie Hart. And now Bebe Neuwirth will be graduating to a third role, that of the matron Mama Morton, when she comes back to Chicago again for a limited engagement early next year.

“Simply put, Bebe Neuwirth is Chicago,” stated producer Barry Weissler. “This January she’s back again, now as Matron ‘Mama’ Morton, making her the first leading lady in Broadway history to play all three principal roles.”

Bebe Neuwirth is scheduled to be in the show from January 14 to March 9, 2014. Chicago plays on Broadway at the Ambassador Theatre, located at 219 West 49th Street.

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.

Wendy Williams To Make Broadway Debut in Chicago

Wendy WilliamsPopular daytime talk show host Wendy Williams is the latest celebrity to make their Broadway debut in the long-running hit revival of the musical Chicago, playing at the Ambassador Theatre. Williams will take on the part of the brassy prison matron Mama Morton.

Wendy Williams will perform for just seven weeks, starting June 25 and then ending her time in the popular show on August 11. She will be taking over the role of Mama Morton from actress Christine Pedi.

An author and columnist, Wendy Williams has been well known by radio listeners for years. She began reaching an even wider audience in 2009 when she began her nationally syndicated talk show The Wendy Williams Show.

Adam Pascal Will Join the Cast of Broadway’s Chicago

Adam PascalStarting April 8, Adam Pascal will take on the often-replaced role of slick lawyer Billy Flynn in the long-running Broadway revival of Chicago. Pascal is taking over for actor Christopher Sieber.

Adam Pascal was most recently seen on Broadway playing Huey in the Tony Award winning musical Memphis. His other Broadway credits include Aida, Cabaret, and, most famously, Rent, in which he played the role of Roger.

The Tony Award-winning Chicago revival came to Broadway in 1996. Playing at the Ambassador Theatre, the production currently stars Amra-Faye Wright as Velma, Amy Spanger as Roxie, and Raymond Bokhour as Amos Hart. On the same day that Adam Pascal joins the cast, so will Christine Pedi in the role of Mama Morton.

Thanksgiving Week Features Many Broadway Schedule Changes

Due to the fact that ticket buying patterns tend to change significantly over holidays, most Broadway shows are altering their schedules accordingly this week.  The biggest changes are on Thursday, November 22, Thanksgiving Day itself, when the majority of Broadway shows are canceling performances entirely.  Notable exceptions are Chicago, A Christmas Story, and The Phantom of the Opera, which are still planning to hold shows that day.

Almost as significant are the changes made to Broadway show schedules on Friday, November 23.  To make up for the lost Thanksgiving Day performances, and to account for the fact that many families are looking for entertainment on that Friday, most Broadway musicals and plays have added matinee performances in addition to their usual Friday evening performances.

There are a few other scattered performance additions and cancellations from now through Sunday.  To see the complete Broadway performance schedule for this week, visit the Broadway League’s schedule page here.

Upcoming Broadway Musicals Spotlighted at Broadway in Bryant Park

Broadway in Bryant Park, the annual summer series that features lunchtime performances from Broadway and Off-Broadway shows, has an exciting schedule this month that will feature current Broadway shows alongside upcoming ones.  Held from 12:30pm to 1:30pm each Thursday through August 16, these free midday concerts are ideal for midtown workers and tourists who want to enjoy Bryant Park’s beautiful lawn while watching Broadway singers perform.

On August 2, long-running Broadway musical Mamma Mia! will be showcased, along with Off-Broadway hit Silence the Musical (a hilarious parody of The Silence of the Lambs), the British farce One Man, Two Guvnors, and the forthcoming bio-musical Chaplin.

August 9 will feature another long-running favorite, Chicago, along with the Off-Broadway revival of Rent (which is closing soon, so catch it now!), the new revival of Evita, and the upcoming Broadway musical Rebecca.

The last Broadway in Bryant Park concert of the summer, on August 16, will include the raunchy musical comedy Avenue Q, the delightful Gershwin charmer Nice Work If You Can Get It, and the high-energy musical Rock of Ages, along with two new Broadway shows:  Bring It On: The Musical and A Christmas Story.

Find out more about Broadway in Bryant Park and information about the park itself here.

Chicago Goes Country

From pop icons to has-been TV stars, the Broadway production of Chicago has featured just about everyone imaginable in the role of Billy Flynn. John Schneider, Alan Thicke, Billy Zane, George Hamilton, Huey Lewis, Joey Lawrence, Patrick Swayze, and Usher are just a sampling of the performers who have played the slick, charming lawyer who sings the signature Kander and Ebb tunes “All I Care About Is Love” and “Razzle Dazzle”. Now Chicago is going a little bit country by welcoming former chart topper Billy Ray Cyrus into the role.

Better known to younger generations as Miley Cyrus’s dad, Billy Ray Cyrus created a sensation in the ’90s with his breakout hit “Achy Breaky Heart,” going on to find further success with “Some Gave All”. Cyrus is not new to acting, having played the lead on the PAX TV series Doc and playing a version of himself on the Disney hit show Hannah Montana.

Seeing John O’Hurley (known to TV audiences as J. Peterman on Seinfeld) play Billy Flynn inspired Billy Ray Cyrus to try his hand at the part. Making his Broadway debut, the country singer is scheduled to play Billy Flynn from November 5 to December 23.