Stage Section Articles

 Ten Broadway Stars to Look Out For On TV This Season

Santino Fontana and Rachel Bloom in Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. Photo Credit: The CW

Santino Fontana and Rachel Bloom in Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. Photo Credit: The CW

As fall TV season kicks off many Broadway actors will find themselves on the small screen. From superheroes to CIA recruits, stage actors are dominating this TV season. Whether they are a series regular or a soon-to-be beloved guest star, it’s time to look out for your favorite stage stars on TV.

Emertainment Monthly executive stage editor, Nora Dominick, breaks down all the Broadway stars you need to keep an eye on during this TV season.

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Can’t Get Into “The Room Where It Happens?” Ten Other Broadway Shows to See This Summer

Jessie Mueller and the cast of Waitress. Photo Credit: Waitress Musical

Jessie Mueller and the cast of Waitress. Photo Credit: Waitress Musical

With Hamilton tickets continuing to be harder and harder to come by, especially with Lin-Manuel Miranda playing his last performance on July 9th and the musical’s recent eleven Tony Award wins, it’s time to look towards the other amazing pieces of theatre on Broadway this season.

Emertainment Monthly gives you ten other Broadway shows to see this summer if you can’t make it into “the room where it happens.”

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‘Hamilton’ Triumphs & History is Made at the 2016 Tony Awards

Lin-Manuel Miranda and the cast of Hamilton at the 2016 Tony Awards. Photo Credit: CBS

Lin-Manuel Miranda and the cast of Hamilton at the 2016 Tony Awards. Photo Credit: CBS

With the cultural phenomenon Hamilton leading the way, the 70th Annual Tony Awards were filled to the brim with outstanding performances, first time winners and touching tributes. Hosted by the incomparable, James Corden, the 2016 Tony Awards celebrated the very best theatre had to offer during the 2015-2016 season.

The groundbreaking production that swept the nation, Hamilton walked away with ELEVEN Tony Awards including Best Musical. Visionary Lin-Manuel Mirandatook home 2016 Tony Awards for Best Book and Best Original Score while Andy Blankenbuehler, Alex Lacamoire, Thomas Kail, Paul Tazewell and Howell Binkley all snagged wins for Best Choreography, Best Orchestration, Best Direction of a Musical, Best Costumes of a Musical and Best Lighting Design of a Musical. On the acting side of Hamilton, Leslie Odom Jr., Renée Elise Goldsberry and Daveed Diggs all took home acting awards for their career-defining portrayals of Aaron Burr, Angelica Schuyler and Lafayette/Thomas Jefferson respectively.

While Hamilton was clearly the musical to beat this year, the stunning revival of The Color Purple took home the award for Best Revival of a Musical while leading lady Cynthia Erivo picked up her well-deserved Tony Award for Best Leading Actress in a Musical. Roundabout Theatre Company’s revival of She Loves Me also picked up Best Scenic Design of a Musical.

Although Hamilton did not break the record for most Tony Awards in a single season, history was still made at the 2016 Tony Awards. For the first time in Tony Awards history, a person of color won all four major musical acting categories. The last time a feat like this was achieved was in 1982 when Jennifer Holliday, Ben Harney and Cleavant Derricks all won for their work in Dreamgirls.

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‘She Loves Me’ Revival Brings Humor and Heart to Broadway

Laura Benanti and Zachary Levi in She Loves Me. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus

Laura Benanti and Zachary Levi in She Loves Me. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus

Vanilla ice cream might be the sweetest treat for Amalia Balash, but the recent revival of She Loves Memight be the sweetest revival musical this season. As part of Roundabout Theatre Company’s 50th anniversary season, She Loves Me has been effortlessly revived for a whole new generation of classic musical fans. The revival hits all the right notes and is one of the brightest revivals this season.

She Loves Me follows Amalia and Georg, two parfumerie clerks who don’t seem to get along. Constantly bumping heads while on the job, Amalia and Georg can’t seem to find common ground. But little do they know the anonymous pen pals they have both been falling head over heels for happen to be each other! She Loves Me returns to Broadway for the first time since it triumphantly launched Roundabout’s musical theatre initiative over 20 years ago. With a book by Tony Award winner Joe Masteroff (Cabaret) music by Tony winner Jerry Bock (Fiddler on the Roof) and lyrics by Pulitzer Prize and Tony winnerSheldon Harnick (Fiddler on the Roof), She Loves Me is a story with just the right balance of love and humor.

There are several strong factors that make this revival of She Loves Me so brilliant. One of the biggest is the star-studded cast that brings these characters to life. Leading off the cast is the incomparable, Tony Award winner Laura Benanti. She makes her triumphant return to Broadway as Amalia Balash, a role that seems to have been tailor made for the actress. Known for her work on Broadway in Gypsy and Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, Benanti’s soprano voice is one of a generation. Her voice soars in numbers such as “Will He Like Me?” And “Dear Friend” remind the audience just how talented she really is.

Although these two numbers show off her vocal range, it’s the Act two number “Vanilla Ice Cream” that seals the deal. In this number, Georg shows up to Amalia’s apartment with vanilla ice cream, Amalia’s favorite, what ensues is a rousing number equal parts physical comedy and angelic high notes. Anyone that is accustomed to Benanti’s work, whether it’s on Broadway, on TV in Supergirl or through her witty Twitter account, gets a kick out of this number. She jumps up and down on a bed, runs around and hits every note with striking precision. Benanti is the comedy and heart in this brilliant revival of She Loves Me.

TO READ THE FULL REVIEW CLICK HERE

A Day Spent Listening to Hamilton

Daveed Diggs, Okieriete Onaodowan, Anthony Ramos and Lin-Manuel Miranda in Hamilton. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus

Daveed Diggs, Okieriete Onaodowan, Anthony Ramos and Lin-Manuel Miranda in Hamilton. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus

Every Broadway fan was elated on Monday, September 21 when the Hamilton album became available for streaming on the National Public Radio (NPR) website, three whole days before it would be available for digital download on iTunes and other websites. Emertainment Monthly Assistant Stage Editor, Nora Dominick, takes you through an entire day of listening to two and a half hours ofHamilton music.

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‘Little Shop of Horrors’ Raises the Roof at New York City Center

Jake Gyllenhaal, Ellen Greene and Eddie Cooper in Little Shop of Horrors. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus/NYTimes

Jake Gyllenhaal, Ellen Greene and Eddie Cooper in Little Shop of Horrors. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus/NYTimes

Three standing ovations. Two musical theatre debuts. One original cast member. A lifetime of memories. It’s the event you will wish you were at this summer. New York City Center’s Encores! Off-Center series presented Little Shop of Horrors on July 1-2, 2015 and it was the musical event for the ages.

Little Shop of Horrors is based on the 1960’s cult horror film and tells the story of Seymour, a florist clerk who buys and nourishes a Venus fly-trap-like plant he has named Audrey II, after his beloved co-worker Audrey. The plant continues to grow and grow and will devour anything in its path. Little Shop of Horrors opened Off-Off Broadway in 1982 and eventually moved to the Orpheum Theatre Off-Broadway, where it enjoyed a five year run. It was produced on Broadway in 2003 and has enjoyed multiple re-tellings across the globe. Little Shop of Horrorswas even turned into a movie musical in 1986 starring Rick Moranis and Steve Martin. With music by Alan Menken and a book and lyrics by the late Howard Ashman, Little Shop of Horrors has become a cult-classic musical and this summer it received an outstanding two-night only event at New York City Center.

Little Shop of Horrors at New York City Center resembled what I imagine a Broadway rock concert would look like. There was cheering, standing ovations, whistling and sheer joy as old and new fans of Little Shop of Horrors gathered to witness a re-awakening of this cult musical. If anyone was in the vicinity of the City Center theatre you could hear the sheer volume of applause Ellen Greenereceived as she entered for the first time. Greene has the character of Audrey flowing through her veins. Greene was the original Audrey Off-Broadway and even reprised the role in the 1986 movie adaptation. The love for Greene as she portrays a character she knows inside and out echoed throughout the theatre as she once again stepped into the high heels and tacky outfits of Audrey.

Greene proved that at the age of 64, she still has what it takes to bring a Broadway audience to their feet. As soon as the opening music of “Somewhere That’s Green” began to play, the audience went nuts knowing Greene would be singing this classic number. Her voice still perfectly suits the Little Shop of Horrors repertoire. Greene continues to play Audrey with a level of compassion mixed with comedy that she has perfected in the 33 years of playing this role. Her comedic timing is still spot on as she brings the audience to tears. She doesn’t need the music in front of her, the words flow naturally and that’s just what audiences wanted to see. Greene’s performance of Audrey is, to say the least, career defining. For all intensive purposes, Audrey and Ellen Greene are one person and are one perfect Broadway powerhouse that fans will remember forever.

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Kelli O’Hara Wins Her First Tony Award: A Look at Her Illustrious Career

Kelli O’Hara accepts the Tony Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical for The King and I. Photo Credit: Theo Wargo/Getty Images for Tony Awards Productions

Kelli O’Hara accepts the Tony Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical for The King and I. Photo Credit: Theo Wargo/Getty Images for Tony Awards Productions

Kelli O’Hara began her journey to Broadway at a very young age. Growing up in Oklahoma, O’Hara always had the bug for musical theater and singing. She attended Oklahoma City University where she would graduate with a Bachelor Degree in Music in vocal performance/opera. O’Hara constantly sites her voice teacher, Florence Birdwell, who also taught Kristin Chenoweth, as the reason she is on Broadway today. In a recent interview with The New York Times, Kelli O’Hara discussed Ms. Birdwell and said, “She has been my mentor and my teacher and also a kind of life coach, and I have always told her most things- dark and deep things- about my life.” From Oklahoma, O’Hara shot to New York City and began to dance and sing her way into audiences’ hearts.

O’Hara’s made her Broadway debut in the production of Jekyll & Hyde, she was an understudy back then simply trying to make her mark on the Great White Way. Her first major role came in the 2001 Broadway production of Follies, headed by film and television actress Blythe Danner. O’Hara was an ensemble member and played the role of Young Hattie and then Young Phyllis. From there O’Hara earned her first starring role in Sweet Smell of Success as Susan, where she would share the stage with fellow 2015 Tony Award nominee Brian d’Arcy James. She kept climbing the ladder on Broadway and was soon a notable face in the 2004 Broadway production of Dracula where she played Lucy Westenra. As her resume grew, so did her star power and the next production would truly put her on the Broadway map.

The Light in the Piazza began it’s run at the Vivian Beaumont Theater at Lincoln Center in 2005 and with it began O’Hara’s long-time partnership with director Bartlett Sher and the Lincoln Center community. O’Hara had been attached to the project since a workshop of the musical at the Theatre Lab at Sundance as well as out-of-town tryouts in Seattle and Chicago. Her work as Clara Johnson, a sweet ingénue travelling to Italy with her mother, turned critics and audiences heads as they witnessed the soon-to-be star power of Ms. O’Hara. Alongside Broadway veteran and Tony Award winner Victoria Clark and pre-Glee Matthew Morrison, The Light in the Piazza sung it’s way into audiences’ hearts. With outstanding Music and Lyrics by Adam Guettel, O’Hara’s operatic voice shined in numbers like “Say it Somehow” and “The Light in the Piazza.” The role of Clara earned O’Hara her first ever Tony Award nomination in 2005 for Best Featured Actress in a Musical. From here on out, O’Hara would become the poster child for a classic Broadway soprano.

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‘Significant Other” Brings Millennial Dating to Off-Broadway

Lindsay Mendez, Carra Patterson, Sas Goldberg and Gideon Glick in Significant Other. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus

Lindsay Mendez, Carra Patterson, Sas Goldberg and Gideon Glick in Significant Other. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus

Finding Mr. Right is easier said then done. In Joshua Harmon’s masterful new play, Significant Other, the modern world of dating and finding that special someone proves harder than it looks in the romantic comedies. Roundabout Theatre Company’s Significant Other puts a new spin on finding love in the modern age of dating.

Significant Other tells the story of Jordan Berman (Gideon Glick), a down-on-his luck twenty something who is just trying to find Mr. Right. Luckily he has his three closest, tight knit girlfriends, Laura (Lindsay Mendez), Kiki (Sas Goldberg) and Vanessa (Carra Patterson), to help ward off lonely nights in NYC. But nothing stays perfect forever, as singles’ nights turn into bachelorette parties and weddings. Jordan soon discovers that being happy for your friends as they find love is almost as impossible as finding love itself.

Written by up-and-coming playwright, Joshua Harmon, Significant Other is a hilarious and heart-wrenching new play that takes audiences’ right into the trenches of single life in NYC. Harmon makes his triumphant return to Roundabout following the success of his breakthrough hit Bad Jews back in 2013. He is currently in the Playwrights Program at Juilliard and is under commission by Roundabout as well as Lincoln Center Stage. Directed by Trip Cullman with scenic design by Mark Wendland (If/Then, Next to Normal), lighting design by Japhy Weideman (The Visit, The Heidi Chronicles) and costume design by Kaye Voyce (The Real Thing), Significant Other is making its mark on the Off-Broadway play season.

The incomparable Gideon Glick, who is giving a career-defining performance, plays Jordan Berman. Glick is known for his work in Spring Awakening, Spiderman: Turn Off The Dark, and he appeared as Jack in Shakespeare in the Park’s Into the Woods alongside Amy Adams, Denis O’Hare and Jessie Mueller. Glick’s performance as Jordan is transcending as he takes the character through the highs and lows of being single in NYC. His ability to portray moments of pure happiness to moments of sheer heartbreak is astounding, especially because he never leaves the stage.

TO READ THE FULL REVIEW CLICK HERE

*Note: These are not all my published articles*

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