From The Broadway Blog’s editor Matthew Wexler—April showers bring a super storm of Broadway heavyweights hitting the boards this month. From a hilarious musical romp to the latest play from heart-tugger Harvey Fierstein, the season is in full swing as Tony-eligible productions must open before the April 24 cut-off date. Head below 14th Street for an immersive theatrical experience following the trials and tribulations of Imelda Marcos. Shoes not included.
It’s been almost a decade since the Pittsburgh-born Billy Porter released a solo album, and since then much has changed for the award-winning artist, who grew up singing in the Pentecostal church. Perhaps best known for his Tony Award–winning role as ‘Lola’ in the hit Broadway musical Kinky Boots, Porter’s musical background is based in gospel, soul, and R&B. He released his first solo album, Untitled, on A&M Records, and a second album, At The Corner of Broadway + Soul, on Sh-K-Boom Records. On April 15, 2014, Porter releases his debut on Concord Records, Billy’s Back on Broadway. The album’s title is a nod to Sammy Davis, Jr.’s recording Sammy’s Back on Broadway. “The canon of great Broadway songs is so vast and I have so many favorites that the only way I could narrow them down was to choose a theme,” Porter says. “Once I settled on what I wanted to say and the journey I wanted the listener to take, the songs made their presence known rather quickly.”
Check some of them out after the jump…
“What’s your damage, Heather?” Contributor Lindsay B. Davis finds out at Heathers: The Musical.
The Daniel Waters film Heathers hit theaters in 1989 starring Winona Ryder as Veronica Sawyer, a newly indoctrinated fourth wheel member of a high school clique of three Alpha girls named Heather. With her fresh-faced innocence, quirky tomboy beauty and wry take on high school life informed by her outsider-turned-insider status, she is the perfect love interest for Christian Slater’s J.D., a sexy rebel with a murderous cause capable of seduction with a glance, raise of the eyebrow or simple “Greetings and Salutations.”
J.D. melts any target in his path and the chemistry between the couple motors a Bonnie and Clyde-like take down Westerburg High School’s popular crowd by way of murders successfully disguised as suicides. Heathers exposes the darker sides of 1980s high school life—from bullying and bulimia to scrunchies and shoulder pads—with a tone that feels part teen dramedy and part horror film camp. It was very ahead of its time. “How very?” Heathers deservedly found cult classic status, introduced such unforgettably delicious one-liners as “Lick it up, baby” and “F—me gently with a chainsaw”—into the cultural lexicon. Twenty-five years later, it is the inspiration for a dynamic off-Broadway musical at New World Stages with music and lyrics by Laurence O’Keefe (Legally Blonde) and Kevin Murphy (Reefer Madness). Andy Fickman (also of Reefer Madness) directs a terrifically talented ensemble cast and the show’s seamless choreography is by Marguerite Derricks (Fame, Charlie’s Angels, Austin Powers films).
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Buyer and Cellar
Alex More has a story to tell. A struggling actor in L.A., Alex takes a job working in the Malibu basement of a beloved megastar. One day, the Lady Herself (aka Barbra Streisand) comes downstairs to play. It feels like real bonding in the basement, but will their relationship ever make it upstairs? Buyer & Cellar is an outrageous comedy about the price of fame, the cost of things, and the oddest of odd jobs. Now starring Christopher J. Hanke.
Jonathan Tolins’s plays include The Twilight of the Golds (Booth Theater), If Memory Serves (Promenade Theater), The Last Sunday in June (Rattlestick and Century Center), and Secrets of the Trade (Primary Stages). Jon co-wrote the films The Twilight of the Golds and Martian Child. He was a consulting producer on the recent CBS comedy Partners and was a co-producer on the first season of Queer As Folk on Showtime. He has written for the Academy Awards and the Tony Awards, and co-wrote Bette Midler’sDivine Miss Millennium Tour and The Showgirl Must Go On in Las Vegas.
Name: Steven Wenslawski
Hometown: Clayton, CA
Current Show/Role: Nothing But Trash; roles - Johnny/Falcon
The best part of the show I’m in now is: The fun cast I get to work with!
The most challenging job in show business I ever had was: Probably my pre-equity apprenticeship at the Barn Theater in Augusta, Michigan. A typical hour of the day would find you rehearsing for a show, mowing a lawn, and cleaning a toilet. All between frequent applications of bug spray.
If I wasn’t a performer, I would be: In the orchestra pit, pounding the keys.
Places, intermission or curtain call? Curtain call. The sense of well-being that warms you after a performance free of mishaps.
The best pre-show dinner and post-shot cocktail in town are at: Best pre-show dinner for me is Chez Steven, because I do enjoy my own cooking. Post show I may take a nip at places like Industry or Flaming Saddles.
Keep reading over at The Broadway Blog…
Tony Award winner Debra Monk turned her 65th birthday into an all-star party with her closest friends on Monday, February 24, 2014, delivering a non-stop evening of rock, pop and laughter produced by and benefiting Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. The concert, billed as “Totally Hot and a Little Dirty,” raised $140,355.
Debra Monk Birthday Bash (#debrabday) featured the beloved stage and screen star singing, dancing and even playing drums on a musical journey that included everything from Van Morrison to Prince and Elton John, as well as two encores by the legendary Broadway songwriting team of Kander and Ebb. The one-night-only performance lived up to its promise with an exciting mix of rock ‘n’ roll, country and even gospel, interspersed with a stream of Monk’s favorite dirty jokes.
Joining Monk for the special evening were her close friends Charlotte d’Amboise, Brandon Victor Dixon,Scott Ellis, Victor Garber, Andrea Martin, Jim Newman and Ron Rifkin, with a surprise appearance by David Hyde Pierce.
Monk conceived and wrote the 90-minute show, especially for the night. “I wanted to make my 65th birthday something truly special and a benefit for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS was the perfect answer,” Monk said. “By singing some great songs, sharing a few jokes and having fun with my closest friends, I hope I at least helped make a small difference for an organization so near and dear to my heart.”
Name: Andrew Brewer
Show/Role: Sex Tips for Straight Women from a Gay Man / Stefan
The best part of the show I’m working on now is: Getting to share the stage with two incredible actors. Jason and Lindsay are just the best and it’s a blast to be up there every night with them.
If I wasn’t an actor, I would be: A teacher. I wanted to go to school for math education before I got into acting so I would probably try for that.
Places, Intermission or Curtain Call? Places. There’s something about that moment as the lights are going dark and the show is starting that just sends every fear and doubt about acting or being in a show to the forefront of my mind. Then one step onto that stage and it all goes away.
There’s nothing more romantic (besides diamonds, a trip to Paris or a home cooked meal) than a Broadway love song. Here are our top picks for beautiful belters, dulcid duets and passionate patter songs.
No matter your style, there’s a wee bit of musical theater that can tell your story better than you.
From Kerrigan-Lowdermilk Live at last year’s New York Musical Theater Festival, Jeremy Jordan sings one of the songwriting team’s signature tunes, “Run Away With Me.” And we’d like to do just that.
The Tony Awards don’t want Neil Patrick Harris to have the only fun, as the award show has announced today that Hugh Jackman will return as host. This will be Jackman’s fourth time hosting the celebration—matching NPH’s times center stage. This year, Broadway’s biggest night will mark 68 years at Radio City Music Hall on June 8. Jackman, known for his wit and multi-talented opening act number, did such a good job from 2003-2005 he scored an Emmy for his 2004 hosting job and received a nomination in 2005. “We are thrilled to have Hugh Jackman return to host the Tony Awards,” said Jack Sussman,executive vp specials, music and live events at CBS Entertainment. “Hugh is the ultimate performer — actor, singer and dancer — he does it all, second to none. He is a consummate entertainer and the one you want out there hosting your live television event.”
Be sure to check The Broadway Blog on April 29th when the nominations will be announced.
“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.