Posts Tagged ‘broadway’

Interview: Leslie Jordan—Melodramatic and Highly Pragmatic

February 4th, 2014 Comments off
Image via Jordan

Image via Jordan

“What amazes me,” says Leslie Jordan, who will spin bawdy biographical yarns in Fruit Fly at Feinstein’s at the Nikko in San Francisco this Friday night. “Is that there are gay kids now who don’t remember Will & Grace.”

“I met a boy on a plane last summer, 16 years old, gay as a goose. He said ‘I think my mom watched that’. I thought ‘Whaaaaaat?!!’ But it’s true, I won my Emmy for that in 2006, so he was only nine years old then.”

Jordan, 58, who will spin bawdy biographical yarns in Fruit Fly at Feinstein’s at the Nikko this Friday night, admits that he once hoped his sitcom fame from playing Will & Grace’s Beverley Leslie would assure him a steady stream of lucrative television and movie roles.

Keep reading over at The Broadway Blog…

Divas are Doin’ It Right in New York City

January 31st, 2014 Comments off


Image via Divine Divas

Image via Divine Divas

It was with a sad heart that we said goodbye to ProBar in Atlantic City and its floor-mate Divas Do AC. But just as fast as the curtains closed on that AC stage, another set flung open at Stage 48 in New York City’s Hell’s Kitchen. And while a booze-filled limo didn’t manage to chauffeur all the girls to this new endeavor, ring leader Jason CoZmo (Liza Minelli and Dolly Parton) wrangled Gary Dee (Joan Rivers) to make a brand-new start of it in New York at a new show, Diva Royale. Funnily enough, the show opens with New York, New York, as sung by Liza (who is better at being Liza than even Liza is). “Come on come through, New York, New York,” Minelli ‘belts’ to the crowd. Don’t worry, divas, with a show like this there is no way you won’t make it here.

Located at Stage 48 in the Divine Restaurant and Lounge, the show does it old school with a three-course meal. The intimate room requires reservations, but you’ll jump at the chance to book when you realize that you can get a two three-course meals for $49 and you get a show. (You can spend that much on five Bud Lights at FairyTale Lounge down the street.)  Skeptical foodies can relax, as the show serves just-the-kind-I-want-right-now food. No one cares that you followed your truffle mac n’ cheese with a cheesburger in the dark!

Keep reading after the jump…

Read more…

Broadway Celebrities Get Together to Protest Russia’s Anti-Gay Propaganda Laws

January 24th, 2014 Comments off
Image via YouTube.

Andrew Rannells. Image via YouTube.


New York’s broadway-lebrities came together to produce a fake musical to protest Russia’s anti-gay laws. The premise: Russia’s fictional Broadway community. Stars like Jonathan Groff and Jeremy Jordan played two Olympians, with Laura Benanti and Stephanie J. Block as lesbian astronauts, and Michael Urie “giving his best Chorus Line,” and Harvey Fierstein as a director. “If we can help bring joy, inspire, and call people on bullsh–, that’s a night of theater,” the narrator says. 

Check out the video after the jump…

Read more…

Interview: Sam Harris and ‘Ham: Slices of Life’

January 21st, 2014 Comments off

Contributor Jim Gladstone chats with vocalist and author Sam Harris about his new book, Ham: Slices of Life.

Sam Harris (photo: Ray Garcia)

Sam Harris
(photo: Ray Garcia)

Before there was American Idol, X Factor or The Voice, there was Star Search and a tuxedo-clad belting tenor who won America’s hearts.

“I found a formula that worked for me back then,” says Sam Harris, who first came to national fame 31 years ago, belting ‘Over the Rainbow’ as Grand Champion of the Ed McMahon-hosted TV talent show, Star Search. “But I started to feel boxed in by it. I always wanted to explore different areas.”

“It would have been very easy for me to build a career as a pop torch singer who does a big dramatic key change at the end of each song like his head is going to blow off. But my taste in music is eclectic. And my interests are eclectic, too.”

Instead of allowing himself to be wedged into a simplified persona and packaged as Brand Sam, Harris—who will present a theatrical blend of songs and stories at Feinstein’s at the Nikko January 24 and 25—has chosen “for my happiness, for my creative soul” to follow a wandering path.

He’s performed in Broadway and touring musicals (The Life, The Producers, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Hair), written for—and acted in—television sit-coms, headlined concerts and cabarets, been an interviewer for television’s EXTRA, and most recently, written a book, Ham: Slices of a Life.

Keep reading over at The Broadway Blog…

Carol Channing’s Pepsi Super Bowl Commerical Relives Singer’s Historic Performance

January 21st, 2014 Comments off
Screen Cap via YouTube.

Screen Cap via YouTube.

A fact many don’t know about the legendary Broadway performer Carol Channing is that the prolific star was the first solo artist to perform during a Super Bowl Halftime Show. In a new commercial from Pepsi, which is to air during the game, Channing surprises a group of retiree bingo players, in particular Rory O’Conner a US Navy vet who saw her perform at Super Bowl IV in 1970.

Check out the Chris Mantzaris–directed video after the jump…

Read more…

Interview: Cheyenne Jackson Sees Blue Skies Ahead

January 7th, 2014 Comments off
Cheyenne Jackson (photo: Karl Simone)

Cheyenne Jackson (photo: Karl Simone)

“This is the most personal show I’ve ever done” says Cheyenne Jackson, who will present an intimate new program of songs and stories at Feinstein’s at the Nikko this Friday and Saturday night.

Jackson debuted a version of the act at Birdland in New York last month in conjunction with the release of his first album of original songs, I’m Blue, Skies.

“The last two years have been among the best and worst of my life,” Jackson says, “Putting this act together was partly a way of processing everything and finding my way forward.”

Amidst major life transitions—a divorce from his partner of 13 years/husband of two; a commitment to sobriety after what Jackson has described as “20 years” of struggling with drugs and alcohol”; the start of a new relationship; the release of a debut album, I’m Blue, Skies—Jackson has managed to keep his diverse entertainment career roaring ahead.

Keep reading over at The Broadway Blog…

Interview: LaChanze’s ‘Love Hangover’

December 17th, 2013 Comments off
LaChanze appears at Feinstein's at the Nikko Dec. 20 and 21 and returns to Broadway this spring in "If/Then."

LaChanze appears at Feinstein’s at the Nikko Dec. 20 and 21 and returns to Broadway this spring in “If/Then.”

“I Hear A Symphony,” is one of the dozen or so Diana Ross songs that singer-actress LaChanze reinterprets in Love Hangover, her cabaret show, coming to Feinstein’s at the Nikko in San Francisco December 20 and 21.

It nods to both LaChanze’s past as “a little brown girl, snapping my fingers and swinging my hips to Diana Ross records on the radio” and a future in which she hopes to expand on her musical theater career—she won the 2006 Tony Award for Best Performance by a leading actress in a musical for the role of Celie in The Color Purple—by performing as a concert artist, something fellow stage stars Kristin Chenoweth and Idina Menzel have done with great success in recent years. (LaChanze will star with Menzel in Broadway’s 2014 If/Then by Tom Kitt and Bryan Yorkey [Next to Normal]).

“I’d love to do some of this material backed by a full orchestra,” says LaChanze, of her cabaret show’s dramatically rearranged Ross hits. “I’ve done a couple other cabaret acts—Broadway tunes, a Great American Songbook set. I’m building up material to work into concerts.”

Keep reading over at The Broadway Blog…

Big Lies in Murky Waters: ‘Big Fish’ and ‘Lies My Father Told Me’ Reviewed

December 2nd, 2013 Comments off

Kate Baldwin and Norbert Leo Butz in “Big Fish.” Photo via Paul Kolnik.

An unusual theme appears on the New York stage this fall as two musicals, each in its own way, tackles the subjects of fatherhood and deception. Big Fish, a new musical based on the novel by Daniel Wallace and subsequent film, is a splashy hodgepodge of forgettable music by Andrew Lippa set against the backdrop of a fantastical world created by scenic designer Julian Crouch and costume designer William Ivey Long (with some blurry projections by 59 Productions). The story brings to life the bigger-than-life tales of Edward Bloom as recounted to his son. Downtown, you can catch Lies My Father Told Me (based on the works of Ted Allan and film by the same name), a memory play with music that follows the musings of lead character David as he recalls his tender relationship with his grandfather and the volatile verbal abuses of his father. Neither show manages to find its emotional core, despite moments of honest theatricality that occasionally bubble to the surface.

Keep reading over at The Broadway Blog…

Theater Buff: Matthew Montelongo of ‘One Night’

November 20th, 2013 Comments off
Matthew Montelongo. Image via Matthew Montelongo.

Matthew Montelongo. Image via Matthew Montelongo.

Name: Matthew Montelongo

Hometown: I was born and raised in Independence, MO.

Current Show/Role: I’m currently performing numerous roles (they all have mustaches and they’re all kind of jerks) in One Night at The Cherry Lane Theatre.

The best part of the show I’m working on now is:  The best part of being an actor in One Night at The Cherry Lane is that I finally am working at a stop on the Sex and the City Tour. I kid! Kind of. Seriously though, working at such a storied theatre on what might be the most beautiful block in Manhattan makes going to work every night just a little bit more thrilling.

The most challenging job in show business I ever had was:  I was in a production of a play called God’s Ear a few years back in which I had to wear six inch stilleto heels (actually, they were probably more like four inch pumps, but heck, who doesn’t lie about size?). I learned two things whilst doing that play: I have very pretty legs and no sense of balance.

Keep reading over at The Broadway Blog…

Review: ‘Stick Fly’ at Arden Theatre Company

November 15th, 2013 Comments off
The cast of “Stick Fly” at Arden Theatre Company. (photo: Mark Garvin)

The cast of “Stick Fly” at Arden Theatre Company. (photo: Mark Garvin)

When the character of Cheryl enters with her feather duster and dances around the solid white living room, pausing to kiss one of the family pictures on the mantel while half-singing half-housekeeping, I wondered if the character was the lovable maid who gets away with incompetence or the privileged daughter who has been cajoled into minor family chores. The expert blend of Lydia Diamond’s writing, Joniece Abbott-Pratt’s acting and Walter Dallas’ direction is launched with understatement and one of the elements too rarely offered by contemporary writers: foreshadowing.

Biko Eisen-Martin as Kent “Spoon” LeVay and Joniece Abott-Pratt as Cheryl in Arden Theatre Company’s production of “Stick Fly.” (photo: Mark Garvin)

The stage was set for a stimulating evening at the Arden TheatreStick Fly is the story of the affluent LeVay family: Joseph, a neurosurgeon; Flip his plastic surgeon 36-year-old son; and Kent, the younger, highly degreed soon-to-be published writer whose point of view pierces the stunted insights of his father and brother. They have gathered for the weekend in their ordered home, complete with Romare Bearden painting over the mantel, signaling, the way Bill Cosby did in his sitcom, that this is the home of affluent African-Americans. Although the characters are at odds with each other in predictable ways, solid acting by Jerome Preston Bates as Joseph, Biko Eisen-Martin as Kent and U.R. as Flip prepares the audience for moments of surprising strength: Bates is powerful when he gestures in silence and the brothers are intriguing when they are with their women.

Keep reading over at The Broadway Blog…