Maximum Insider

2014 Tony Nom

Welcome to this Maximum Insider ALERT full of all things Tony Awards for the 2013-2014 season!

Nominations were announced this morning and we have those covered below, as well as breaking news and highlights for the airing which takes place June 8th, 2014.

Read on to see what’s happening in Tony land in this Maximum Insider ALERT!


2014 Tony Award Preview

The nominees for the prestigious Tony Awards were announced this morning by Lucy Liu and Jonathan Groff from Paramount Hotel’s Diamond Horseshoe (sight of the cult hit Queen of the Night!).

Who woke up to great news and who was snubbed?


And the nominees are…

BEST MUSICAL

After Midnight
Aladdin
Beautiful – The Carole King Musical
A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder

BEST PLAY

Act One
All the Way
Casa Valentina
Mothers and Sons
Outside Mullingar

BEST REVIVAL OF A MUSICAL

Hedwig and the Angry Inch
Les Misérables
Violet

BEST REVIVAL OF A PLAY

The Cripple of Inishmaan
The Glass Menagerie
A Raisin in the Sun
Twelfth Night

BEST LEADING ACTRESS IN A MUSICAL

Mary Bridget Davies, A Night With Janis Joplin
Sutton Foster, Violet
Idina Menzel, If/Then
Jessie Mueller, Beautiful – The Carole King Musical
Kelli O’Hara, The Bridges of Madison County

BEST LEADING ACTOR IN A MUSICAL

Neil Patrick Harris, Hedwig and the Angry Inch
Ramin Karimloo, Les Misérables
Andy Karl, Rocky
Jefferson Mays, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder
Bryce Pinkham, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder

BEST LEADING ACTRESS IN A PLAY

Tyne Daly, Mothers and Sons
LaTanya Richardson Jackson, A Raisin in the Sun
Cherry Jones, The Glass Menagerie
Audra McDonald, Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill
Estelle Parsons, The Velocity of Autumn

BEST LEADING ACTOR IN A PLAY

Samuel Barnett, Twelfth Night
Bryan Cranston, All the Way
Chris O’Dowd, Of Mice and Men
Mark Rylance, Richard III
Tony Shalhoub, Act One

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A
FEATURED ROLE IN A PLAY

Reed Birney, Casa Valentina
Paul Chahidi, Twelfth Night
Stephen Fry, Twelfth Night
Mark Rylance, Twelfth Night
Brian J. Smith, The Glass Menagerie

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A
FEATURED ROLD IN A PLAY

Sarah Greene, The Cripple of Inishmaan
Celia Keenan-Bolger, The Glass Menagerie
Sophie Okonedo, A Raisin in the Sun
Anika Noni Rose, A Raisin in the Sun
Mare Winningham, Casa Valentina

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A
FEATURED ROLE IN A MUSICAL

Danny Burstein, Cabaret
Nick Cordero, Bullets Over Broadway
Joshua Henry, Violet
James Monroe Iglehart, Aladdin
Jarrod Spector, Beautiful – The Carole King Musical

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A
FEATURED ROLE IN A MUSICAL

Linda Emond, Cabaret
Lena Hall, Hedwig and the Angry Inch
Anika Larsen, Beautiful – The Carole King Musical
Adriane Lenox, After Midnight
Lauren Worsham, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder

BEST DIRECTION OF A MUSICAL

Warren Carlyle, After Midnight
Michael Mayer, Hedwig and the Angry Inch
Leigh Silverman, Violet
Darko Tresnjak, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder

BEST DIRECTION OF A PLAY

Tim Carroll, Twelfth Night
Michael Grandage, The Cripple of Inishmaan
Kenny Leon, A Raisin in the Sun
John Tiffany, The Glass Menagerie

BEST CHOREOGRAPHY

Warren Carlyle, After Midnight
Steven Hoggett & Kelly Devine, Rocky
Casey Nicholaw, Aladdin
Susan Stroman, Bullets Over Broadway

BEST BOOK OF A MUSICAL

Aladdin
Beautiful – The Carole King Musical
Bullets Over Broadway
A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder

BEST ORCHESTRATIONS

Doug Besterman, Bullets Over Broadway
Jason Robert Brown, The Bridges of Madison County
Steve Sidwell, Beautiful – The Carole King Musical
Jonathan Tunick, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder

BEST SCENIC DESIGN OF A PLAY

Beowulf Boritt, Act One
Bob Crowley, The Glass Menagerie
Es Devlin, Machinal
Christopher Oram, The Cripple of Inishmaan

BEST SCENIC DESIGN OF A MUSICAL

Christopher Barreca, Rocky
Julian Crouch, Hedwig and the Angry Inch
Alexander Dodge, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder
Santo Loquasto, Bullets Over Broadway

BEST COSTUME DESIGN OF A PLAY

Jane Greenwood, Act One
Michael Krass, Machinal
Rita Ryack, Casa Valentina
Jenny Tiramani, Twelfth Night

BEST COSTME DESIGN OF A MUSICAL

Linda Cho, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder
William Ivey Long, Bullets Over Broadway
Arianne Phillips, Hedwig and the Angry Inch
Isabel Toledo, After Midnight

BEST LIGHTING DESIGN OF A PLAY

Paule Constable, The Cripple of Inishmaan
Jane Cox, Machinal
Natasha Katz, The Glass Menagerie
Japhy Weideman, Of Mice and Men

BEST LIGHTING DESIGN OF A MUSICAL

Kevin Adams, Hedwig and the Angry Inch
Christopher Akerlind, Rocky
Howell Binkley, After Midnight
Donald Holder, The Bridges of Madison County

BEST SOUND DESIGN OF PLAY

Alex Baranowski, The Cripple of Inishmaan
Steve Canyon Kennedy, Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill
Dan Moses Schreier, Act One
Matt Tierney, Machinal

BEST SOUND DESIGN OF A MUSICAL

Peter Hylenski, After Midnight
Tim O’Heir, Hedwig and the Angry Inch
Mick Potter, Les Misérables
Brian Ronan, Beautiful – The Carole King Musical

Recipients of Awards and Honors in
Non-competitive Categories

Special Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre

Costume Designer, Jane Greenwood

Regional Theatre Award

The Signature Theatre, New York, New York

Isabelle Stevenson Award

Rosie O’Donnell

Tony Honor for Excellence in the Theatre

Joe Benincasa, Joan Marcus,
Charlotte WIlcox

See the official Playbill announcement here!


The Tony Nominees React!

The greatest stars of the Great White Way are beaming with excitement this morning upon hearing their nominations for their work this past season. TheaterMania has compiled some reactions, so far:

Kelli O’Hara, Best Leading Actress in a Musical Nominee,
The Bridges of Madison County

“I’m emotionally great; I have laryngitis, but I’m good. I didn’t watch the announcements only because I’m just one of those nervous people, so I just try to go along with my own daily life. Then my manager showed up with balloons. It’s one of those things that you try to tell yourself you don’t really need to have and you’ll be just fine and then when it happens you feel a big waft ofphew. I’m going to go to the doctor but I’m with my kids and I’m just going to take it easy and appreciate my show. I’m disappointed that some other people in my show weren’t nominated – my partner for instance, Steve Pasquale – so I’m going to try to balance that out somehow and have some good conversations and try to feel better about that but I’m happy. I can walk away from this and say I would rather have done something like this that I feel proud of and feel that it’s quality for a little bit than have something run for a long time that’s not creatively challenging for me. I’m very happy and very grateful for it.”

Jarrod Spector, Best Featured Actor in a Musical Nominee,
Beautiful – The Carole King Musical

”I’ll be honest, I had kind of a rough night’s sleep but I woke up this morning and came out to the living room and watched it with my fianceé, said a little prayer, and tried to stay calm, and now I’ve got to tell you I’m pretty happy. I’d be lying if I said I was not pretty happy. I don’t actually have plans to celebrate. I plan to try to sleep at some point today because I did not sleep well last night and I have a show tonight and I know we have the press junket tomorrow so I’m just trying to stay calm. I actually have chores to do today so I’m going to as calmly as possible try to continue on with my normal life and go to work tonight.”

Anika Larsen, Best Featured Actress in a Musical Nominee,
Beautiful – The Carole King Musical

“Oh my goodness, my phone is blowing up like crazy. I’m standing in the middle of Penn Station, I’m crying in Penn Station, nobody noticed because it’s New York City. Nobody cared. But I just got off the train so it’s insane. Even as I’m talking to you right now, I’ve never gotten so many texts. It’s unbelievable. I couldn’t be happier that both [Jarrod Spector and I] were nominated because we’re such a team, it wouldn’t have felt right if we weren’t nominated together. We’ve worked so hard together and it’s become such a partnership and it’s glorious to share this with him.
My best friend is back in town just for the day and we had made plans to have breakfast and I didn’t realize it was going to coincide with this but I cant think of anything better to do than have breakfast with her. And I think I’m going to spend the day responding to all the good wishes people are sending me, which is overwhelming. It’s better than my birthday. When I was little I watched to Tonys obsessively, and to think that I’m now somehow a part of that is unbelievable.”

Terrence McNally, Best Play Nominee, Mothers and Sons

“I’m ecstatic. I’m so happy and proud. It’s a great moment for new American plays on Broadway. This is my sixth nomination. I’ve won four times before. This is very important for our show. It’s a new American play and we’re a challenged species, so we need things like this to remind the public we’re here too. Surviving in between all the big musicals with their billion-dollar budgets, there are also new American plays trying to be heard. I think we have been heard. It’s a very gratifying moment. I think we’ll all go out for a drink after the show tonight.”

Linda Emond, Best Featured Actress in a Musical Nominee, Cabaret

“Kelly Saxon, my divine dresser, called me screaming and crying, bless her heart. As that call came in, the phone started going cuckoo. I was not awake, as you can hear in my voice. It’s very exciting. I’m very happy for Danny [Burstein]; the two of us really adore each other. I’m going to go to yoga to help me cool off and have a really nice cappuccino at Joe.”

Danny Burstein, Best Featured Actor in a Musical Nominee, Cabaret

(statement from press representative)
“I am incredibly honored and so happy for all the nominees. The only thing better would have been for my dear friend, Michelle Williams, to also receive a nomination. But I am thrilled to receive my fifth nomination and look forward to all the festivities and all the fun.”

Jessie Mueller, Best Leading Actress in a Musical Nominee,
Beautiful – The Carole King Musical

“My best friend Brian came over. He brought bagels and we made some coffee and you know, sat down and turned it on. We were like, why not? I’ve never watched the nominations before and he was kinda like, “you wanna watch them?” And I was like, sure, let’s make a morning of it. So we did. It was a really fun way to spend the morning and I was flipping out when they called Andy Karl’s name. He’s a friend. And I mean all the other ladies in my categories, it was fun to see my little picture up there with them. It seems a bit surreal, but it was a good, it was a fun morning.
I jumped off the couch when they called Jarrod Spector’s name and then again continued to jump when the called Anika’s. I’m just so proud of our show and it’s always a weird thing, like awards, no awards, but it’s a really special feeling when all your peers and your show family get recognized as well so I’m just thrilled for our show.”

Lena Hall, Best Featured Actress in a Musical Nominee,
Hedwig and the Angry Inch

“This is crazy! My agent called me. I think he heard “Lena” and just called me right away. He woke me up, because I had to sleep through it. I was a nervous wreck. I’ve never been part of an awards season before; I’ve never been in a part that could be nominated, so I was not expecting anything. I was trying not to get my hopes up, so I went to bed. [laughs] I think I woke up at 7:30 and thought about it for a second and then passed back out. I was like, “if I get phone calls, that’s good. If not, then that’s fine.” But I did! [Director] Michael Mayer called me right after I got off the phone with my agent and he’s so proud. Everyone knew Neil was going to be nominated, but everyone said they had their fingers crossed for me. [pause] I didn’t know that!” [laughs]

Andy Karl, Best Leading Actor in a Musical Nominee, Rocky

“I’m excited and proud of being a part of a show that I really believe in – and to be acknowledged. It’s a lot of insanity. I did watch the announcements, and I made my wife [actress Orfeh] watch them. She wanted to crawl in the closet and not come out until afterwards but I’m like, Nah, let’s watch them, it’ll be fine. I’m passive as far as things like this go because I just don’t want to put too much pressure on myself. I’ve gotten a lot of people at the stage door or my friends saying, You’re going to get this nomination! and I’m like, What if I don’t? But what was really great was I was watching New York 1 and my friend Jessie Mueller pops up on the screen and I pop up immediately after her. She’s like my actual real sister but she’s not my sister. She’s my sister from another mother. But I have never felt this sense of pride being part of something with friends. And [it means a lot] for me to carry this torch for the show and make sure that there’s an acknowledgment for the show – because I truly believe in Rocky. It really touches my heart and I’m hoping that it does for audiences. I’m really proud of this. I’ll be celebrating in the gym. That’s what I do. Every morning. I get up and I go to the gym. Actually, the Tony nominations got in the way of me going to the gym this morning. [laughs] You know, I have to take my shirt off every night so I’m like, first things first, get the gym out of the way and go. I’ll be telling my trainer. After the show I’ll go to dinner with my agents and they’ll pay.” [laughs]

Celia Keenan-Bolger, Best Featured Actress in a Play Nominee,
The Glass Menagerie

“I’m really, really relieved and happy. Well, I certainly woke up for it, but also I’m about to go to a rehearsal at Lincoln Center so I had to wake up anyway. No plans to celebrate yet. I mean, I think probably that will. I’m going to have to sort of get through the day first. Right now I’m just enjoying being with my husband getting a lot of social-media love and friend love.”

Sophie Okonedo, Best Featured Actress in a Play Nominee,
A Raisin in the Sun

“I was sleeping! I tried not to pay too much attention because it would make me nervous. I thought [the nominations] would be a bit later; I didn’t know it would be first thing in the morning. I’m really excited. It hasn’t really settled in yet, but I’m totally thrilled. I can’t believe it. This whole trip to New York has been the best ever. I love doing the show every night. I’m so happy for LaTanya [Richardson Jackson] and Anika [Noni Rose], my two ladies. We’ll have a few nights out. I want to ring my mum. I need to tell her what happened!”

Sarah Greene, Best Featured Actress in a Play Nominee,
The Cripple of Inishmaan

“I am so thrilled to be considered! I am delighted [that] the entire production and creative team have been recognized. The Cripple of Inishmaan has been a really incredible experience for the whole company.”

Isabel Toledo, Best Costume Design of a Play Nominee,
After Midnight

“I’m thrilled. This is amazing. This is a first for me, because I’ve never done this before. I’m just so happy to be a part of this. My husband, Ruben, and I, both put so much into this. We’re just really happy that Warren [Carlyle] asked us to work on this. I never expected to be nominated. I was in the shower while the nominations were being announced and Ruben came in to tell me. Tommy Tune is having a party for us tonight, so I’m going to his place to celebrate. I’m excited to meet everyone else and see how the Broadway people celebrate.”

James Monroe Iglehart, Best Featured Actor in a Musical, Aladdin

“The first thing I did was scream, and then I kind of crumpled and went, ‘omigosh that happened!’ Then I cried. My wife and I were watching live. I never get up this early, because I’m an actor. [laughs] We’re starving, so we’re gonna go get breakfast and then probably take a nap. I have a show tonight and have to let everyone know that I deserve this Tony nomination! I pinch myself every single day. Every time I come out of that doggone lamp I say, ‘wow this is happening!’ The Tony nomination, the Drama Desk nomination, it’s the gravy on a wonderful theatrical meal.”

Read the entire THEATERMANIA article, as updated, here!


Who got snubbed?

Playbill / April 29, 2014

Once again, Playbill has compiled their take on who was snubbed from a Tony nomination. Do you agree?

“Noticeably absent from the nominations were some surprising misses, including Hollywood stars Denzel Washington (A Raisin in the Sun), Michelle Williams (Cabaret), James Franco (Of Mice and Men), Zach Braff (Bullets Over Broadway), Daniel Radcliffe (The Cripple of Inishmaan), Mary-Louise Parker (The Snow Geese)
and Marisa Tomei (The Realistic Jonses).

Some might consider it a Betrayal that neither Daniel Craig nor Rachel Weisz, the husband and wife co-stars of the Harold Pinter revival, received nominations.

Neither Patrick Stewart nor Ian McKellen received nominations for their performances in the repertory productions of No Man’s Land and Waiting for Godot.

Hollywood heavyweights Ethan Hawke and Orlando Bloom both tackled Shakespeare this fall, in respective productions of Macbeth and Romeo and Juliet, but neither received a nomination for his performance
in the title roles.

Zachary Quinto, making his Broadway debut as the aspiring writer Tom, was the only member of the cast of the acclaimed revival of The Glass Menagerie to not be recognized.

After stripping naked in Equus and dancing up a storm in How to Succeed In Business Without Really Trying, Daniel Radcliffe proved his stage talents yet again in the title role of the dark comedy The Cripple of Inishmaan, yet the nominators overlooked his work for a third time.

Denzel Washington took home a Tony Award for his last Broadway turn in August Wilson’s Fences, but his performance as Walter Lee Younger in Kenny Leon’s revival of A Raisin in the Sun did not earn him a nomination.

Marin Mazzie, who has three Tony nominations under her belt already, did not receive one for her performance as the narcissistic, alcoholic diva. in the musical adaptation of Woody Allen’s movie, Bullets Over Broadway.

Stephen Spinella is a two-time Tony Award winner for Angels in America: Perestroika and Angels in America: Millennium Approaches, but his performance as Chris in Eric Coble’s two-hander The Velocity of Autumn did not receive a nomination.

Making his Broadway musical debut in the Jason Robert Brown tuner The Bridges of Madison County, Steven Pasquale, whose performance of “It All Fades Away” left audiences enrapt. But the “Rescue Me” star didn’t earn a nomination for the role of romantic photographer Robert.

TV stars that took to the stage, but did not receive nominations, also include “Scrubs” star Zach Braff in Bullets Over Broadway; “Weeds” leading lady Mary-Louise Parker in The Snow Geese; “Will and Grace” and “Smash” star Debra Messing, making her Broadway debut in Outside Mullingar; “Dexter” slasher Michael C. Hall and “The United States of Tara” star Toni Collette in The Realistic Jonses. Hall and Collette’s co-stars, Academy Award winner Marissa Tomei and Tony Award winner Tracy Letts, were not nominated either.

Leaving the 2013-14 season completely empty-handed was the highly anticipated Big Fish, the Andrew Lippa-John August musical helmed by Tony winner Susan Stroman.

Directors that were not recognized include Alex Timbers, Michael Greif, Susan Stroman, Joe Mantello, Lonny Price, Bart Sher, Bill Rauch,
Anna D. Shapiro, and Sam Gold.

Several productions were also locked out of Tony nominations this season, including Waiting for Godot, No Man’s Land, Betrayal, Will Eno’s The Realistic Joneses, Soul Doctor, Bronx Bombers, The Winslow Boy, First Date and Romeo and Juliet.”

Read the entire PLAYBILL article here!


New York’s Signature Theatre will receive 2014 Regional Tony Award

by Andrew Gans, Playbill / April 28, 2014

“Each year, the Tony Awards Administration Committee presents a Tony Award to a regional theatre on the recommendation of the American Theatre Critics Association.

“Signature Theatre is an integral part of the theater landscape. By dedicating each season to a single playwright, Signature Theatre offers audiences an unmatched explorative experience with the writer’s message across multiple bodies of work. We are honored to present them with the 2014 Regional Theatre Award,” said Charlotte St. Martin, executive director of The Broadway League, and Heather Hitchens, executive director of the American Theatre Wing, in a joint statement.

Signature Theatre, according to press notes, exists to “honor and celebrate the playwright.” Founded in 1991 by James Houghton, Signature makes “an extended commitment to a playwright’s body of work, and during this journey, the writer is engaged in every aspect of the creative process. By championing in-depth explorations of a playwright’s body of work, Signature delivers an intimate and immersive journey into the playwright’s singular vision.”

Signature serves its mission through its permanent home at The Pershing Square Signature Center, a three-theatre facility on West 42nd Street.”

Read the entire PLAYBILL article here!


Tony Awards for Excellence Will Be
Presented To..

by Andrew Gans, Playbill / April 9, 2014

“The Tony Awards Administration Committee announced earlier this April that this year’s recipients of the 2014 Tony Honors for Excellence in the Theatre are Actors Fund president Joe Benincasa, Broadway photographer Joan Marcus and general manager Charlotte Wilcox.

The Tony Honors for Excellence in the Theatre were established in 1990 and are awarded annually to “institutions, individuals and/or organizations that have demonstrated extraordinary achievement in theatre, but are not eligible in any of the established Tony Award categories,” according to press notes.

Here are some highlights on this year’s Tony Honorees:

Joe Benincasa is the president & CEO of The Actors Fund, the national human services organization that helps everyone in entertainment and the performing arts; he joined The Fund in 1989. Benincasa oversees innovative programs including comprehensive social services, health care services, employment and training, and affordable, supportive and senior housing. He is also president of the Actors Fund Housing Development Corporation, which is building affordable, supportive and senior care residences for artists in major urban centers. He serves on the boards of directors of several organizations, including Bio-Reference Laboratories, Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, Career Transition for Dancers, Learning Ally, the Human Services Council, National Executive Service Corps, Times Square Alliance, the YMCA of New York City and the Somerset Patriots, a minor league baseball team.

Joan Marcus: Over the last 25 years, Marcus has photographed almost 300 Broadway shows and hundreds of productions Off-Broadway, at regional theaters and on national tours across the country. In the years preceding, she served as the house photographer for the Kennedy Center, and also worked with other DC-based theatre companies. Through Marcus’ eyes photographs of plays and musicals have wallpapered the city and country; from newspapers and magazines to television and the internet, from train platforms to Shubert Alley.

Charlotte Wilcox has been a leader in the industry for over 40 years. As a general manager and as the founder of The Charlotte Wilcox Company, she has given her guidance and leadership to over 100 shows. Her credits, too many to list in their entirety, include serving as general manager for productions of Fiddler on the Roof, My Fair Lady, Cyrano, all three Broadway productions of Grease, Jesus Christ Superstar, The Drowsy Chaperone, Come Fly Away, West Side Story, Catch Me If You Can and this season’s Beautiful – The Carole King Musical. Wilcox also serves on the Board of Governors, the Executive Committee and was a founding member of the Labor Committee for The Broadway League.”

Read the rest of the PLAYBILL article here!


Carnegie Mellon Named First, Exclusive Higher Education Partner
of the Tony Awards

by Andrew Gans, Playbill / April 28, 2014

“Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) has been named by the Tony Awards as its first, exclusive higher education partner. The two organizations will jointly create and launch the first, national recognition program to honor kindergarten through high school theatre educators.

“Throughout its history, Carnegie Mellon has been home to many talented and inspirational faculty, so we understand the important role teachers play in transforming lives,” said CMU president Subra Suresh in a statement. “Behind every Tony winner is a teacher who inspired and nurtured a young talent to grow, to pursue big dreams and accomplish great things. We are excited to bring those heroes into the Tony spotlight.”

Read the full PLAYBILL article here!


Hugh Jackman, Back to Host the 68th Annual Tony Awards!

Tony Award winner, Academy Award® nominated and Golden Globe-winning actor Hugh Jackman is returning to NYC to host The 68th Tony Awards. The program will be aired live from Radio City Music Hall on Sunday, June 8 on CBS. This will be his fourth time hosting the Tony Awards as he previously hosted the 57th, 58th, and 59th Annual Tony Awards. Jackman received an Emmy Award for hosting the 58th Annual Tony Awards in the category of Outstanding Individual Performance in a Variety or Music Program.

Jack Sussman, the executive vice president of Specials, Music and Live Events has said, “We are thrilled to have Hugh Jackman return to host the Tony Awards. He’s the ultimate triple threat – actor, singer, dancer – he does it all, second to none. He is a consummate entertainer and the one you ultimately want out there hosting your live television event.”

Read the official press release here!


That’s all for this special edition of The Maximum Insider!
Stay tuned for more exciting news (and a Tony Winner update!)
in the upcoming months!

The 2014 Spring Season

The sun is shining (most days!) and the streets of the Broadway scene are heating up with starry revivals, new musicals, and lots of familiar faces, on and off stage.

Plus, it’s Tony Season around here. Will Idina or Sutton win another, or will a new face give a thank you speech?

Keep scrolling to see exciting season highlights including a brand-new musical world premiere announcement, a sneak peak at the Jersey Boys film, breaking news on Here Lies Love, and
The King and I!

Read on to see what’s happening on the Great White Way in this edition of The Maximum Insider!


World Premiere of ‘Found’ to Open
Atlantic Theater Company Season

Off-Broadway’s Atlantic Theater Company has announced the opening production of its 2014-15 season to be “Found”, a world premiere musical featuring a book by Tony nominee Hunter Bell ([title of show]) and Lee Overtree and a score by Eli Bolin. Overtree will direct.

Found is based on the Found books and magazines by Davy Rothbart, with additional material created in collaboration with Story Pirates and Drew Callendar, Duke Doyle, and Jono Hustis. Inspired by the discarded notes and letters that have been found in the real world by everyday people, the musical follows Davy, who, along with his two best friends, is lost and broke. When he stumbles upon a revealing note, left on his windshield for someone else, it sparks an idea that finds him and his compatriots on a wild, comedic journey.

Preview performances begin September 18 in advance of an official October 14 opening for a limited eight-week engagement at the Atlantic’s Linda Gross Theater.

Read the full ABC News article here!


Tony Awards Roundup!

Jonathan Groff and Lucy Liu to Announce
2014 Nominations

Jonathan Groff and Lucy Liu will announce the nominees for the 68th annual Tony Awards on Tuesday, April 29.

Both stars have a certified theater pedigree: Groff is well-known to theater fans for roles in Spring Awakening (which earned him a Tony nomination) and Hair, as well as on screen in Glee and Frozen (that little Disney indie you might have heard about). Meanwhile, Liu made her Broadway debut in 2010 replacing Hope Davis in the Tony-winning comedy God of Carnage.

The duo will appear live from the Paramount Hotel’s Diamond Horseshoe – current home of the stylish immersive theater show Queen of the Night – to announce the nominees.

Read the full Entertainment Weekly article here!

2014 Honorees Announced

By Ashley Lee / April 9, 2014

The Tony Awards Administration Committee has announced this year’s honorees, recognizing individuals, institutions and organizations that have demonstrated extraordinary achievement in theater outside of the established Tony Award categories.

The three honorees will be toasted at the Tony Honors Cocktail Party on June 2 at the Paramount Hotel’s Diamond Horseshoe. The 2014 Tony Honors will be presented to Joe Benincasa, Joan Marcus and
Charlotte Wilcox.

Read the full HOLLYWOOD REPORTER article here!


‘Jersey Boys’ and ‘Normal Heart’ Film Trailers are Released!

The first trailer to Clint Eastwood’s film adaptation of the Tony-winning musical Jersey Boys, which is scheduled to arrive in theatres June 20, was released this week.

The film will feature original Broadway cast member and Tony Award winner John Lloyd Young as Franki Valli. Tony Award-winning playwright John Logan penned the screenplay based on the original Broadway script written by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice.

WATCH the Jersey Boys trailer and read the full PLAYBILL article here!

The HBO film of the Normal Heart arrives nearly three decades after Larry Kramer’s play premiered off-Broadway. Mark Ruffalo, Matt Bomer, Taylor Kitsch, Jim Parsons and Julia Roberts star in the adaptation directed by Ryan Murphy and scripted by Kramer.

Set in NYC during the onset of the HIV/AIDS crisis of the early ’80s, The Normal Heart follows gay activists and their allies in the medical community as they try to expose the truth about the burgeoning epidemic. It is set to bow May 25 on the premium channel.

Watch the Normal Heart trailer and read the full Deadline article here!


Annie Baker’s ‘The Flick’ Wins 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Drama

by David Rooney / April 14, 2014

One of the most critically lauded playwrights to emerge on the New York theater scene in the past ten years, Annie Baker, has been awarded the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Drama for her intimate epic about a rudderless generation, The Flick.

Running three hours and made up of seemingly insignificant conversational exchanges among the employees of an under-attended single-screen New England movie house between film showings, the play sharply divided audiences when it premiered in Sam Gold’s Off Broadway production at Playwrights Horizons in March last year.

Dates have not yet been announced, but producer Scott Rudin confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter that he is teaming with Barrow Street Theatre to bring The Flick to that Greenwich Village playhouse for a commercial run this year.

Read the entire HOLLYWOOD REPORTER article here.


The Olivier awards were predictable, yes, but not necessarily wrong

By Michael Billington / April 13, 2014

THE GUARDIAN recently offered their take on why the Oliviers are so predictable this year…

“There are no big surprises in this year’s Olivier awards. Indeed the top prizes for best play, director, designer and actress coincide exactly with those handed out at the less-publicised Critics’ Circle awards this January. We also gave a best Shakespearean performance award to Rory Kinnear for his Iago while reserving the best actor prize for Lenny Henry in Fences.

Just because the Oliviers are so predictable doesn’t mean they are wrong. Lucy Kirkwood’s Chimerica deserves all the praise heaped upon it for its epic study of Sino-American similarities and contrasts as well as for Lyndsey Turner’s masterly direction and Es Devlin’s exhilarating design.
I am also thrilled to see Lesley Manville getting due reward for her Helene Alving in Ghosts. In place of the usual frosty matriarch, she gave us a woman in early middle-age eaten up by the lies she was forced to tell and still burning with a yen for the prevaricating Pastor Manders.

But I am saddened to see, in the best musical category, the Young Vic’s The Scottsboro Boys coming away empty-handed while The Book of Mormon walks off with a stash of prizes: a direct repeat of what happened at the New York Tonys.”

Read the rest of THE GUARDIAN article here.


Neil Patrick Harris Curses
At Audience Member

Neil Patrick Harris wasn’t going to let a fan’s interruption of his Broadway show, “Hedwig and the Angry Inch,” go unnoticed.

According to the New York Post, an audience member screamed out “I love you, Neil!” mid-performance to which Harris replied, “I’m doing something up here, ­motherf-ker!”

But the former “How I Met Your Mother” actor’s rep said the reply, though profane, was all in good fun, according to Gossip Cop.
“The response to the fan yelling was actually done in character – Neil as Hedwig, not as though Neil stopped the show to respond out of character.”

“When the fan initially yelled, ‘I love you, Neil,’ Neil (as Hedwig) then responded, ‘Who’s Neil? I’m not Neil.’

The New York Post reported the moment was met with rapturous applause.

Read the full Fox News article here!


Tony Awards Can Now
Supersize Major Categories

The Tony Awards administration committee quietly voted to allow the option of expanding one or more of the four show categories (musical, play, musical revival and play revival) to five nominees, if nine shows or more that season are eligible to be considered in a given category.

In the new rules, going from four to five nominees will only happen if, in the nominating process, a fifth show achieves a vote tally that would put it in the same ballpark as the show with the fourth highest total.
Final decision will be made by the accountants totting up the votes of the nominating committee.

Although the new rule is now in place, it’s still not certain the nominating process will result in the expansion of any of the show categories to five titles. With a slew of productions yet to open before the April 24 eligibility cutoff, Tony noms are due to be announced April 29.

Read the full Variety article here!


James Franco rants about
‘New York Times’ Review

When the New York Times didn’t give James Franco the glowing
‘Of Mice and Men’ review he wanted, the actor took to his favorite social media app, Instagram, to express his displeasure.

Although Ben Brantley didn’t outright insult Franco, or even write anything overwhelmingly negative – in fact, he complimented Franco’s talent, but noted that the star is “often understated to the point of near invisibility” in the play – Franco still wasn’t happy.

On Thursday morning, Franco posted a photo with a caption that promoted Variety’s favorable review – and insulted Brantley, calling the writer a “little b*tch” and claiming “the theater community hates him”.
Franco has since taken down the original post, and reposting without the anti-Brantley rant caption.

Brantley responded to Franco’s remarks! He told the New York Observer: “I like Franco’s work on film a lot, and he didn’t disgrace himself on stage. I hope he returns to Broadway some day. And of course he’s entitled to say whatever he likes about me, as long as it’s not libelous, and somehow I don’t think ‘little b*tch’ qualifies.”

Read the full Broadway World article here.


HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH:
Review Roundup

New York Times

By Ben Brantley / April 22, 2014

Playing an “internationally ignored song stylist” of undefinable gender in”Hedwig and the Angry Inch,” Neil Patrick Harris is in full command of who he is and, most excitingly, what he has become with this performance. That’s a bona fide Broadway star, the kind who can rule an audience with the blink of a sequined eyelid.

Read the full review here!

Variety

By Marilyn Stasio / April 22, 2014

The screaming starts when a bespangled Neil Patrick Harris parachutes onstage in “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” and doesn’t stop until he’s back in his dressing room. That’s the kind of rock-star performance he gives in this spectacular revival – helmed with fabulous flash by Michael Mayer – of the 1998 musical (and later movie) by John Cameron Mitchell (book) and Stephen Trask (music & lyrics).

Read the full review here!

Associated Press

By Mark Kennedy / April 23, 2014

It’s obvious from the first moments of “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” that star Neil Patrick Harris is doing something special. And it’s not just trying on a new role. He is lowered to the stage in a jumpsuit and ferociously feathered blond wig and immediately begins the show’s first rock-punk song, getting down on all fours, grinding into the microphone stand or licking the guitarist’s strings.

Read the full review here!


VIOLET: Review Roundup

New York Times

By Charles Isherwood / April 20, 2014

When Sutton Foster appears on Broadway, she’s usually boasting a sunbeam smile, flapping away in tap shoes, clowning around amiably and generally behaving like a girl determined to nail the talent competition in a beauty pageant, and maybe take home the Miss Congeniality award, too.

Read the full review here!

Time Out NY

By Adam Feldman / April 20, 2014

Featuring the formidable talents of Sutton Foster and Colin Donnell (Anything Goes) and Joshua Henry (The Scottsboro Boys), this bittersweet period piece is directed by Leigh Silverman (Kung Fu).
Sutton Foster takes a trip to beautiful in Violet, but the journey matters more than the destination.

Read the full review here!

Entertainment Weekly

April 20, 2014

Now, Tesori’s first (and arguably finest) work, 1997′s Violet, is getting a barebones but beautiful Broadway revival at the Roundabout Theatre Company’s Amrican Airlines Theatre. As Violet travels from the Blue Ridge Mountains to Memphis to Tulsa, the music moves from warm, soul-stirring folk-the bulk and heart of the score-to smoky R&B and blues to full-throated gospel and back again.

Read the full review here!


THE VELOCITY OF AUTUMN:
Review Roundup

New York Times

By Charles Isherwood / April 21, 2014

Estelle Parsons, the great actor who stars as an embattled but indomitable Brooklyn painter in “The Velocity of Autumn,” a new play by Eric Coble,seems to be living an eternal springtime. She never leaves the stage during this 90-minute, two-character play, which opened on Monday night at the Booth Theater, and yet she seems daisy-fresh at the curtain call, as if ready to run a half-marathon as an encore.

Read the full review here!

NY Post

By Elisabeth Vincentelli / April 21, 2014

Alexandra is 79 and angry – growing old is no picnic, plus she’s afraid of being kicked out of her Park Slope brownstone. So she barricades herself in her home, surrounded by dozens of homemade Molotov cocktails.
Eric Coble’s new Broadway play consists of the negotiation between Alexandra (Estelle Parsons, spry at 86) and her son Chris (Stephen Spinella), an aging hippie in an unfortunate ponytail and mustache who’s trying to end the standoff.

Read the full review here!

Entertainment Weekly

by Stephan Lee / April 22, 2014

The giant flame-colored tree looming over the set of The Velocity of Autumn stands as a rather on-the-nose but beautiful metaphor for our central character’s current state. Like the tree’s leaves, Alexandra (Estelle Parsons) is nearing the end of her life but insisting on going out in one final burst of vibrancy.

Read the full review here!


THE CRIPPLE OF INISHMAAN:
Review Roundup

Variety

by Marilyn Stasio / April 20, 2014

In “The Cripple of Inishmaan,” Martin McDonagh’s sublime tragi-comedy about life on Ireland’s desolate Aran Islands, there are two old biddies who desperately dote on Daniel Radcliffe – and who wouldn’t? Having earned his legit chops (in “Equus” and “How to Succeed ….”), the grown-up teen idol turns in a warm, sympathetic performance as the sweet-tempered but broken-bodied “cripple” who has long resigned himself to the gleeful cruelty of his cloddish neighbors.

Read the full review here!

New York Times

By Ben Brantley / April 20, 2014

In the title role of this glimmeringly dark comedy from 1996, Mr. Radcliffe – the boy wizard in the immensely successful “Harry Potter” movie franchise – is entirely convincing as the boy who is regarded as least likely to succeed at pretty much anything in his God-forsaken rural Irish town.

Read the full review here!

Entertainment Weekly

by Thom Geier / April 20, 2014

Set in a podunk Irish town in the 1930s where cow-gazing counts as a legitimate pastime, Martin McDonagh’sThe Cripple of Inishmaan is in constant danger of becoming impossibly twee. But McDonagh doesn’t just Synge for his supper. Much as he did in plays likePillowman and films like In Bruges, he tosses narrative surprises in the path of his charmingly eccentric characters that keeps them – and us – perpetually on our toes.

Read the full review here!


UPCOMING OPENINGS

Broadway:

April 23, 2014
CASA VALENTINA
Samuel J. Friedman

Based on actual events, Casa Valentina is set in the 1960s and tells the tale of men who went to the Catskill Mountains to escape the summer heat, and something else entirely: being men. Nestled in the land of dirty dancing and borscht belt comedy sat an inconspicuous bungalow colony that catered to a very special clientele: heterosexual men whose favorite pastime was dressing and acting as women. It was paradise for these men-white-collar professionals with families-to spend their weekends discreetly and safely inhabiting their chosen female alter egos. But when faced with the opportunity to become an official organization, these “self-made women” had to decide whether public recognition would help them gain a place in open society or spell their own personal disaster.

April 24, 2014
CABARET
Studio 54

Based on a book by Christopher Isherwood and featuring a score by Kander & Ebb, Cabaret tells the story of a seedy nightclub in 1930′s Berlin where a young English performer strikes up a relationship with an American writer, all while a zealous Master of Ceremonies commands the action at the Kit Kat Klub.

June 19, 2014
HOLLER IF YA HEAR ME
Palace Theatre

Holler If Ya Hear Me, the world inside Tupac Shakur’s music and lyrics, blazes to life in a non-biographical story about friendship, family, revenge, change and hope. Inner city lives struggle for peace against the daily challenges they face in this entertaining and original musical. Through the poetry of one of the 20th century’s most influential and culturally prominent voices, we are given a window into realities of the streets still relevant today.


THEATRE BUZZ!

  • More chances to see your favorite five-time Tony Winner – Broadway’s ‘Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill’ Starring Audra McDonald extends Through August 10th. Head to Circle in the Square to get your Audra fix!
  • London should be bracing for some glorious theatrical immersion.
  • ‘Here Lies Love’, which received it’s world-premiere at NY’s Public Theater, will Transfer to London’s National Theatre to launch the Dorfman Theatre in October!
  • Make room for Mama Rose! Patti LuPone, Christian Borle, Jane Krakowski, Andrea Martin will be part of a salute to Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman at Carnegie Hall on April 28. The New York Pops will mark its 31st birthday with a grand gala evening at Carnegie Hall celebrating the work of musical honorees Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman.
  • All Aboard the Soul Train! Producer Matthew Weaver (“Rock of Ages”) has acquired stage rights to develop a musical based on the iconic TV dance show created in 1970 by Don Cornelius.
  • Cynthia Nixon May Direct Dianne Wiest in ‘Rasheeda Speaking’ Off-Broadway
  • The King and I, and Kelli! Rumors are circling that Kelli O’Hara will star in this Broadway revival in 2015
  • We Will Rock You… Part Two? The creative team behind the long-running West End musical “We Will Rock You” are at work on a sequel to the production that uses the songs of the rock band Queen for its score. The London production of the musical, which is currently on a U.S. tour, will end its run May 31 at the Dominion Theatre after a 12-year run.

That’s all for this edition of The Maximum Insider!
Stay tuned for all more exciting news in the upcoming months!

The 2014 Winter Season

We’re back! Back with some breaking theatre news to keep you up to date in the world of Broadway and beyond.

Some highlights include Hugh Jackman’s return to Broadway, stage debuts by a couple of America’s sweethearts (Oprah, Maggie Gyllenhaal for starters), and some colorful theatrical film developments. And if we’re lucky, KING KONG will storm 42nd Street at the end of the year!

Read on to see what’s happening on the Great White Way in this edition of The Maximum Insider!


MAGGIE GYLLENHAAL TO MAKE BROADWAY DEBUT!

Finally – Academy Award nominee Maggie Gyllenhaal will make her Broadway debut opposite stage and screen actor Ewan McGregor in Tom Stoppard’s The Real Thing, which will begin previews October 2. Gyllenhaal will assume the role of Annie, while McGregor, also making his Broadway debut, will play Henry. Sam Gold directs the limited engagement, which will run through Jan. 4, 2015, at the American Airlines Theatre. The Real Thing is explained: “Henry is a playwright not so happily married to Charlotte, the lead actress in his play about a marriage on the verge of collapse. When Henry’s affair with their friend Annie threatens to destroy his own marriage, he discovers that life has started imitating art. After Annie leaves her husband so she and Henry can begin a new life together, he can’t help but wonder whether their love is fiction or the real thing. Delectably witty and deeply affecting, The Real Thing takes a daring glimpse at relationships, fidelity, and the passions that often blur our perception of love.”

maggieGyllenhaal

Read the full PLAYBILL article here!


HUGH JACKMAN TO HOST 2014 TONYS!

Tony winner Hugh Jackman will return to host the 68th Annual Tony Awards, to be broadcast live from Radio City Music Hall June 8th.
The annual starry evening will mark his fourth time hosting the awards show. “We are thrilled that Hugh will be joining us, once again, at Radio City Music Hall to host ‘The 68th Annual Tony Awards,’ said Charlotte St. Martin, executive director of The Broadway League, and Heather Hitchens, executive director of the American Theatre Wing, in a joint statement. “Hugh is an extraordinary talent and loyal supporter of the Broadway community – whether he is on-stage or in the audience -
and we are honored to have him back as host.”

hughJackman

Read the full PLAYBILL article here!


ANDREA MARTIN TO STAR IN NOISES OFF!

The two-time Tony Award winning Broadway legend Andrea Martin will star in the new Broadway production of the award-winning comedy Noises Off. Noises Off will begin previews January 2015 at the American Airlines Theatre. The Michael Frayn comedy will be directed by Jeremy Herrin for a limited engagement. Martin, most recently memorable for her recent performance in Pippin, will star as Dotty. The full cast and creative team to be announced soon.
Noises Off is a classic comedy that follows the goings-on during the final dress rehearsal of a comedy called Nothing On – and all that can go wrong does. The play originally opened on Broadway in 1983, and a revival was staged in 2001.

andreaMartin

Read the full THEATERMANIA article here!


WALTER WHITE TO THE GREAT WHITE WAY!

All The Way, the new drama by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Robert Schenkkan began Broadway previews Feb. 10 at the Neil Simon Theatre. Bryan Cranston, an Emmy winner for “Breaking Bad,” stars as U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson in a cast that also features John McMartin as Richard Russell, Michael McKean as J. Edgar Hoover, Brandon J. Dirden as Martin Luther King, Jr., Rob Campbell as Governor George Wallace, Robert Petkoff as U.S. Senator and Vice President Hubert Humphrey, Jr., and Roslyn Ruff as Coretta Scott King and Fannie Lou Hamer. “He was bigger than life,” Cranston previously said of LBJ. “Sometimes he was friendly, sometimes he was vicious. He would cajole, he would threaten, he would pressure, he would hug. He swung so wide on the spectrum of human emotions in order to accomplish what he felt needed to be done. It doesn’t take much time for an actor to look at that and go, ‘Wow, how wonderful and frightening to step in those shoes!’” In the playwright’s vivid dramatization of LBJ’s first year in office, means versus ends plays out on a broad stage canvas as politicians and civil rights leaders plot strategy and wage war. All The Way is directed by Bill Rauch, who staged the premiere of the play in 2012 at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Opening night is March 6th.

walterWhite

Read the full PLAYBILL article here!


NATASHA, PIERRE & THE GREAT COMET OF 1812 – The Movie!

Producers of Off-Broadway’s Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812
are planning a feature film adaptation of the Dave Malloy electropop opera with the help of a Kickstarter campaign. Film director Abe Sylvia is attached to helm the feature, which will capture the immersive experience of Natasha, Pierre… The Comet producers, Howard and Janet Kagan, would utilize the elements already housed at Kazino, the supper club-style venue built especially for the production. Film production would begin following the show’s final performance on March 2. The current cast features David Abeles as Pierre, Brittain Ashford as Sonya, Blake DeLong as Bolkonsky/Andrey, Amber Gray as Hélène, Nick Choksi as Dolokhov, Grace McLean as Marya D, Ashkon Davaran as Balaga, Phillipa Soo as Natasha, Lucas Steele as Anatole and Shaina Taub as Princess Mary, with direction by Rachel Chavkin. Natasha…, according to producers, “invites you to join Tolstoy’s brash young lovers for an evening you’ll never forget, as vodka flows and passions ignite in Dave Malloy’s electropop opera, ripped from a slice of ‘War and Peace.’”

cometOf1812

Read the full PLAYBILL article here!


DIAHANN CARROLL WITHDRAWS FROM
A RAISIN IN THE SUN

LaTanya Richardson Jackson will replace Tony Award-winning actress Diahann Carroll as Lena Younger in the Broadway return of Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun, starring Denzel Washington.
Directed by Kenny Leon, previews begin March 8th. Raisin was last seen on the Great White Way in 2004 starring Sean Combs. A representative for the production stated that Carroll withdrew from the production due to the high demands of the rehearsal and the performance schedule. A Raisin in the Sun was to mark the highly anticipated Broadway return of the acclaimed actress after more than a 30-year absence from the New York stage. The film, television and stage star is a Tony Award winner for No Strings. Jackson, who will step into the role, made her Broadway debut in the Lincoln Center Theater revival of Joe Turner’s Come and Gone. She has appeared Off-Broadway in Love, Loss and What I Wore; For Colored Girls…, Unfinished Woman; and The Talented Tenth.

Read the full PLAYBILL article here!

LaTanya-Richardson-Jackson


FANTASIA BARRINO EXITS AFTER MIDNIGHT

fantasia_BWWGrammy Winner Fantasia Barrino played her final performance in Broadway’s After Midnight on February 9th. Grammy Award winner Fantasia Barrino, who won critical praise for her performance as the first special guest star vocalist in After Midnight, played her final performance in the jazz-age musical revue February 9th. Grammy winner K.D. Lang will be the musical’s next headliner. Barrino (The Color Purple, “American Idol”) opened the show (formerly titled Cotton Club Parade, the production conceived by Tony Award winner Jack Viertel that played two engagements at New York City Center) Nov. 3, 2013. The new musical reintroduces the Cotton Club’s tradition of welcoming the stars of today in limited engagements throughout its run. Following Barrino will be Grammy winner K.D. Lang (Feb. 11-March 9) and Grammy Award-winning artists Toni Braxton and Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds (March 18-30). The evocative new musical After Midnight takes the sexy, smoky glamour of the original Jazz Age and catapults it into a whole new era of heart-pounding, mind-blowing entertainment for modern Broadway audiences.

Read the full PLAYBILL article here!


OPRAH MAY MAKE BROADWAY DEBUT

The biggest rumor to hit this week is that Oprah Winfrey is in talks for Broadway debut opposite Audra McDonald. The pair may appear in a revival Marsha Norman’s ‘night, Mother. The television mogul is secretly planning to join the production of Marsha Norman’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play, ‘night, Mother, with McDonald (The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess). Winfrey would take on the role of the widowed Thelma “Mama” Cates, with McDonald in the role of her suicidal daughter, Jessie Cates. Producer Scott Sanders confirmed his communication with Winfrey about launching her Broadway debut. According to sources, the production is currently eyeing a 2015-16 run. Winfrey produced the Broadway musical adaptation of The Color Purple, featuring a book written by ‘night, Mother playwright Marsha Norman.

oprah

Read the full THEATERMANIA article here!


MATILDA LAUNCHING TOUR!

Matilda has announced plans to launch a North American tour in May 2015. The tour will officially open at the Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles, with additional stops at the SHN Orpheum Theatre in San Francisco, Seattle’s 5th Avenue Theatre, the AT&T Performing Arts Center in Dallas, among others during its first tour season. Casting and schedules will be announced at a later date. Matilda The Musical opened in April 2013 at Broadway’s Shubert Theatre following a celebrated West End run in London. The Broadway mounting, starring original London cast members Bertie Carvel (Miss Trunchbull) and Lauren Ward (Miss Honey), earned four Tony Awards as well as a special Tony Honor for Excellence in Theatre awarded to its four young stars Sophia Gennusa, Oona Laurence, Bailey Ryon, and Milly Shapiro, who shared the title role. Based on the best-selling novel by Roald Dahl, the musical features a score by Tim Minchin, a Tony-winning book by Dennis Kelly, and direction by Matthew Warchus.

matilda

Read the full THEATERMANIA article here!


CAST ANNOUNCED FOR
HEATHERS: THE MUSICAL!

heathers

Based on the cult comedy, Barrett Wilbert Weed, Ryan McCartan, Jessica Keenan Wynn, Elle McLemore, Alice Lee and Tony winner Anthony Crivello will star in the Off-Broadway premiere of the new musical adaptation of the 1988 dark comedy “Heathers”. Performances will begin March 15 at New World Stages. Tony Award-nominated Legally Blonde composer Laurence O’Keefe collaborated with Emmy-winning Reefer Madness author Kevin Murphy on book, music and lyrics for the musical with Andy Fickman (“Reefer Madness,” “She’s the Man”) directing. In Heathers, Westerberg High is terrorized by a shoulder-padded, scrunchie-wearing clique: Heather, Heather and Heather, the hottest and meanest girls of Ohio. But outcast Veronica Sawyer rejects their evil regime for a new boyfriend, the dark handsome stranger J.D., who will put the Heathers in their place. Heathers: The Musical is a truthful, uplifting story for anyone who’s ever been in love, in pain, or in high school.

Read the full PLAYBILL article here!


GIGI AIMED FOR BROADWAY!

A new Broadway-aimed production of GIGI, with a new book by British playwright Heidi Thomas, will receive a concert staging at Seattle’s 5th Avenue Theatre in May. Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe’s “Gigi”, the Oscar-winning film musical that was later adapted for the Broadway stage, will play a pre-Broadway engagement in the Eisenhower Theater at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in January 2015 with Eric Schaeffer (Follies, Million Dollar Quartet) directing.
Broadway plans are still in development.

gigi

Read the full PLAYBILL article here!


NEW CASTING FOR BROADWAY PREMIERE OF VIOLET!

Colin Donnell is set join his Anything Goes costar, two-time Tony winner Sutton Foster, in Roundabout Theatre Company’s upcoming production of Jeanine Tesori and Brian Crawley’s musical Violet, at the American Airlines Theatre this April. Tony nominee Joshua Henry (The Scottsboro Boys) has also been announced as part of the cast. Leigh Silverman directs Violet, inspired by Doris Betts’ short story “The Ugliest Pilgrim”. The show follows a woman whose face was disfigured in a childhood accident as she travels on a bus to an Oklahoma-based televangelist.

violet

Read the full PLAYBILL article here!


OF MICE AND MEN – OFFICIAL POSTER UNVEILED

James Franco and Chris O’Dowd Make Their First Appearance as Of Mice and Men’s George and Lennie. Film and television stars James Franco and Chris O’Dowd are set to make their Broadway debuts this March in the revival of John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men, directed by Tony Award winner Anna D. Shapiro (August: Osage County). The poster displays Franco and O’Dowd in the classic roles of George (Franco) and Lennie (O’Dowd), two migrant workers struggling to find work in California during the Great Depression. Completing the cast are Tony winner Jim Norton (The Mystery of Edwin Drood) as ranch hand Candy and Gossip Girl’s Leighton Meester as Curley’s wife.

ofMiceAndMen

Read the full THEATERMANIA article here!


ELTON JOHN PRODUCING FILM OF JOSEPH AND THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT

Elton John’s Rocket Pictures announced that it has acquired the film rights to Andrew Lloyd Webber/Tim Rice biblical-themed musical Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat – and will embark on developing a new animated feature-film version. Webber commented on the project, saying “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat started in a school and was the first step on the path that led to my musicals with Tim Rice. It is now being performed all over the world by a fourth generation of schoolkids, and a great movie can only help Joseph being part of the lives of many more.” Webber and Rice originally created Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, a musical retelling of the biblical story of Joseph and his “coat of many colors,” to be performed in schools. It premiered on Broadway in 1982, earning seven Tony Award nominations. A national tour of the stage production is currently underway, starring American Idol’s
Diana DeGarmo and Ace Young.

joseph

Read the full THEATERMANIA article here!


DEVELOPMENTS AND OPENINGS

KING KONG – The Australian musical spectacle King Kong, which ends its world-premiere Melbourne run in mid-February, is seeking to conquer Broadway’s Foxwoods Theatre later this year.
TITANIC – A new production of Maury Yeston and Peter Stone’s Tony Award-winning musical Titanic will play a pre-Broadway engagement at Toronto’s Royal Alexandra Theatre this summer prior to a New York return in the fall. Thom Southerland returns for the North American staging that will run July 22-Aug. 31 in Toronto. A Broadway engagement at a theatre-to-be-announced will follow in the fall.
FROZEN – Disney is in the early stages of developing its hit, animated musical Frozen, for the legitimate stage. The musical won the Golden Globe for Best Animated Feature. Disney confirms that the project is in the early stages of development for the legitimate stage but no official Broadway plans have been announced.

frozen


Upcoming Broadway Openings:

  • THE BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY – Schoenfeld Theatre – February 20, 2014
  • ALL THE WAY – Neil Simon Theatre – March 6, 2014
  • ROCKY – Winter Garden Theatre – March 13, 2014
  • ALADDIN – New Amsterdam Theatre – March 20, 2014
  • LES MISERABLES – Imperial Theatre – March 23, 2014
  • IF/THEN- Richard Rodgers Theatre – March 27, 2014

if-then


THEATRE BUZZ!

  • The first Broadway preview of Rocky, which was to take place February 11 at the Winter Garden Theatre, was canceled after electrical issues in midtown Manhattan affected final rehearsals for the new musical.
  • Spring Awakening composer Duncan Sheik and playwright Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa’s musical adaptation of the Bret Easton Ellis novel American Psycho is eyeing a commercial London return this fall. The musical thriller, directed by Rupert Goold, ended it’s critically acclaimed run on February 1st.
  • Tony Award winner Indina Menzel will perform live on the upcoming Academy Awards, which you can catch on March 2.
  • Tony Award winner Hugh Jackman, who recently withdrew from the Broadway-aimed musical Houdini, plans to return to Broadway instead with Jez Butterworth’s The River, which had its world premiere at London’s Royal Court. The new play is set in a remote cabin on the cliffs on a moonless night.
  • Christopher Sieber will join the company of Tony-nominated Matilda The Musical next month as Miss Trunchbull.
    Tony Award nominee (for Passing Strange) Daniel Breaker will join Tony Award-winning The Book of Mormon in the role of Mafala Hatimbi this February.
  • Patti LuPone, Christian Borle, Jane Krakowski, Andrea Martin will be part of a salute to Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman at Carnegie Hall on April 28. The New York Pops will mark its 31st birthday with a grand gala evening at Carnegie Hall celebrating the work of musical honorees Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman.
  • American playwrights Sheila Callaghan and Theresa Rebeck are among the finalists for the 2013-2014 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize for new English-language plays by female authors.

That’s all for this edition of The Maximum Insider! Stay tuned for all more exciting news in the upcoming months!

Record Breaking Holiday Season!

The Sound of Music is a “smash” for NBC!

The Sound of Music  - Season 2013
NBC’s $9 Million Live special recording of “The Sound of Music” starring American Idol and Country superstar Carrie Underwood is being considered a smash in the ratings department.

“According to TVMediaInsights, overnight numbers show that the three-hour live event nabbed an overall 10.9/18 share in household ratings (one ratings point is equal to 1.142 million people). It opened with a 10.9 rating at 8 PM and held strong with a 10.5 rating through its final half hour. The Sound of Music Live! dominated television ratings in each of its six half-hour slots last night, finishing in first place for each.

The Hollywood Reporter’s latest statistics show that the broadcast earned a total of 18.47 million viewers, with an average 4.6 rating among adults 18-49″ (Playbill).

The live special was executive-produced by Neil Meron and Craig Zadan, along with co-directed by Beth McCarthy-Miller and Rob Ashford. This may open the door to future live television broadcasts of Broadway musicals.

Click HERE to read the full Playbill article!

 

 


Peter and the Starcatcher Flying High!

The national tour of Peter and the Starcatcher has visited cities like Seattle, San Francisco, San Jose, and Houston. See what the critics have had to say:

“The laughs just don’t quit – not until the ending, which is just as emotionally affecting as it’s meant to be.”
-SF Examiner

“This gem makes my top ten for 2013.”
-Stark Insider

“Storytelling theater at its finest.”
-San Jose Mercury News

“A celebration of theatrical mirth and magic.”
-Seattle Times

The tour recently landed in Los Angeles and met with rave reviews. Charles McNulty from the L.A. Time says:

“These days it seems as though every time I turn around there’s another installment of the Peter Pan story. Next stop for that flighty green-garbed spotlight-chaser: his own reality TV series, “The Real Lost Boys of Neverland,” followed by a special edition of “Celebrity Rehab” for perennial pubescents.

In the meantime, there’s “Peter and the Starcatcher” at the Ahmanson Theatre to satisfy our co-dependent need for the Boy Who Wouldn’t Grow Up. Try as I did to resist this touring Broadway production – story theater for adults about a character as overexposed as Kim Kardashian? – I confess I eventually succumbed to the show’s handcrafted magic.

Based on a novel by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson, “Peter and the Starcatcher” does for J.M. Barrie’s classic what “Wicked” does for “The Wizard of Oz” – namely, imagine the back story of the characters in an irreverent manner that still manages to honor what is so enduringly captivating about the tale.”

“This cheeky prequel is co-directed by the esteemed classical actor Roger Rees and the pop culture- friendly director Alex Timbers (“Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson,” “The Pee-wee Herman Show”). The conceit of their production is simplicity: a rope, a couple of toy ships and trunks, a few sticks and some recycled odds and ends colorfully redeployed by an ingenious design team are all that’s needed to launch this voyage of the audience’s imagination.

Rick Elice (who co-authored the books for “Jersey Boys” and “The Addams Family” with Marshall Brickman) is responsible for the play, a lively adventure tale chock full of low gags, groaningly silly puns and snarky commentary.

The spirit of the production occasionally evokes the freewheeling amateurism of the rude mechanicals from Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” The difference is that the bumbling horseplay in “Peter and the Starcatcher” is calibrated within an inch of its life.

Steven Hoggett, the resourceful, in-demand choreographer for musicals and straight plays alike, sets the cast in motion with his usual stylized fluidity. Wayne Barker provides music to keep the high jinks of this play cheerfully afloat.

In the scheme of scenic designer Donyale Werle, there’s no effort to conceal the backstage machinery. Illusion is a collective effort here. The old-fashioned red curtain is our joint cue to transform jerrybuilt props into instruments of enchantment.

The story revolves around a precocious motherless and friendless girl, Molly (Megan Stern), who is avid for adventure and gets more than her share when she takes part in a royal mission that her father, Lord Aster (Nathan Hosner), is charged with carrying out.

Act I – worrisomely sketchy at the start – is set on two ships in the high seas, one containing precious cargo belonging to the queen, the other a decoy filled with sand. Pirates, orphan boys and a treasure trove of magical “starstuff” keep our young heroine and her unflappable nanny, Mrs. Bumbrake (Benjamin Schrader), frenetically busy.

Much of the fun is figuring out who these characters will become. Black Stache (John Sanders), the role that won Christian Borle a Tony, still has both hands. But it’s clear from his flamboyant piratical snarl (if not from his incessant malapropisms) that he’ll devolve into Captain Hook.

The scene in the second act in which Stache loses his hand (punctuated by about 10,000 cries of “omigod”) is one of the most hilarious bits I’ve seen all season. A good deal of the comedy in this production is puerile. Elice’s verbal wit has a scatological schoolyard style that begs for our indulgence, but this farcical amputation is comic gold.”

Of course Boy (Joey deBettencourt), one of the weepy urchins being held by the sinister Slank (Jimonn Cole) in the bilge dungeon of the ship Molly is traveling on, is destined to transform into Peter Pan. Longing for the mothering he never had, Boy can’t help being drawn to Molly, who can apparently do anything she sets her mind to, including telling bedtime stories that lull the unruly orphans to sleep.

Something about the boy makes Molly feel like she just grew up,” Stern, the show’s excellent Molly, says in an aside to the audience. (The performers regularly step out of character to comment on the story itself.) Boy feels the same way about her, except that growing up is a bit more complicated for a lad who has an understandable loathing for hypocritical adults.

The second act, set on an island replete with mermaids and mystical conjurations, is visually enlivened by the breathtakingly colorful dioramic design. Against this vivid backdrop, Molly and the newly christened Peter discover the depth of their courage and affection for each other.

The play grows increasingly sentimental, but because everything is handled with a conspiratorial wink, it hardly matters. The game cast of this enjoyable production helps us believe what we’d like to believe – that the most wrenching losses are only temporary and a tap on the window one windy night can reignite the fantasies of our youth.”

Click HERE to read the full review from the L.A. Times!


Public Theater’s New Board Chair

“Tony Award-winning producer Arielle Tepper Madover has been elected as the new board chair of Off-Broadway’s Public Theater.

Madover, whose Broadway producing credits include Annie, Hair, Lucky Guy, Frost/Nixon and I’ll Eat You Last: A Chat With Sue Mengers, joined the Public’s board in 2009 and has served as board vice-chair for the past year. She begins a three-year term immediately.

Madover succeeds Warren Spector, who has been The Public Theater’s board chair since 2005. He will remain on the organization’s executive committee.

“As a New York City native, I was so fortunate to experience first-hand the work and influence of The Public Theater,” Madover said in a statement. “Not only is The Public an essential part of life in New York, it has served as a role model and leader for cultural institutions in the U.S. and indeed the world. I am very excited to work with the rest of the Board, Oskar Eustis, Patrick Willingham, and the staff of The Public Theater as they continue to remain true to the theatre’s ongoing mission of making theatre accessible to all.”

Click HERE to read the full Playbill article!


Flea Theater to Close and become
Three Stage Complex!

Have you heard the news!? The Flea is building a new home for Off-Broadway theatrical hits – a three theater performing arts complex in Lower Manhattan. Construction and groundbreaking was scheduled to begin on Decemeber 5th.

Why a new building for The Flea? Jim Simpson (Artistic Director) and Carol Ostrow (Producing Director) answered by saying, “Quite simply, because we’ve outgrown our old one. With 16 shows a year our dressing rooms are cramped, storage is non-existent and we turn projects away due to scheduling constraints. The new Flea will give three beautiful, unique and intimate spaces to the off-off-Broadway community and let us do more of what we do best: help emerging artists practice their craft, established artists try new things and mid-career artists establish their identity. We want to encourage other talented young companies to take a chance, think big and produce work in our space. We want audiences to feel energized when they work through the door. We want to be our own landlord, we want to beautify Lower Manhattan and we want to be around for a very long time.”

Click HERE to learn more!


Spider-Man moving to Las Vegas!

Spider-Man: Turn off the Dark will be

turning their lights off in Jaunuary, but looking to swing their web over to Las Vegas.

“We are excited to report that the next destination for ‘Spider-Man’ will be the entertainment capital of the world: Las Vegas,” Rick Miramontez, a spokesman
for the show, said Monday evening. “Further details will be announced in the weeks to come.”

This lavish Broadway production seems like a perfect fit for the Las Vegas stage. What do you think?

 

 


Record Breaking Holiday Sales!

“Broadway had its best Thanksgiving week ever at the box office, setting a record of $31.5 million in ticket sales for the 32 musicals and plays running last week, according to data released on Monday by the Broadway League, a trade association of theater owners and producers. The previous Broadway record for the holiday week, set in 2011, was $28.1 million (about $29.2 million after adjusting for inflation).

The big haul was due to mostly sold-out performances last week of popular Broadway musicals, some of which charge the highest premium-priced tickets of any show, The Book of Mormon for instance, charges up to $477 a ticket and grossed $2.2 million for nine performances – nearly 30 percent more than the previous week’s eight performances. The highest-grossing musical over Thanksgiving week was “Wicked,” with $2.6 million for nine performances and a top ticket of $300, followed by “The Lion King” with $2.4 million for eight performances and a top price of $197.50.

Also crucial were several musicals that set new box office records at their theaters last week. “Kinky Boots” grossed $1.9 million (and charges a $449 top ticket) while “Matilda the Musical” took in $1.7 million and “Motown: The Musical” grossed $1.5 million, all for eight performances each. “Kinky Boots” was among the shows featured in the televised Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade; the musical became the focus of a social media meme in the hours afterward, after some people complained on Facebook and Twitter about the visibility of actors from the show performing as their drag queen characters during the parade.

Click HERE to watch the cast of KINKY BOOTS perform at the
Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade!

Among plays, the Broadway revival of “Betrayal” performed strongly, taking in $1.3 million, as did the Mark Rylance-led production of “Twelfth Night” and “Richard III,” which grossed a total of $826,487.

Attendance at Broadway shows last week totaled 261,056 – the fourth-highest Thanksgiving week in at least a decade, according to a spokeswoman for the Broadway League” (Patrick Healy, New York Times).

Click HERE to read the full article!


Carole King on Beautiful
and Why She Won’t Be Seeing It

The life of Carole King has been turned into a Broadway musical. The show has been recieving a lot of buzz as of late, but there is one person who absolutely doesn’t want to see it: Carole King.

The musical follows King’s relationship with her ex-husband Gerry Goffin from the happy start, to hit song collaborating, and then finally sad and messy divorce.

According to the New York Observer, King sat in on a reading of the musical and couldn’t still all the way through it. “She saw half of it,” revealed by librettist Douglas McGrath, “At the end of the first act, this terrible thing happens in her marriage. She said, ‘I already went through this. It’s very painful to live through again.’”

Click HERE to get an early look at Jessie Mueller performing
‘I Feel the Earth Move’ with the Cast of Beautiful!


Pippin Recoups $8.5 Million
After 8 Months of Performances

The producer’s of the hit Broadway revival, “Pippin”, announced this last Monday that the production has recouped it’s $8.5 Million initial investment. I guess the Leading Player wasn’t too far off when they sing, “You’re on the right track.” Only 25% of Broadway productions ever recoup their initial investment.

The current revival plays upon circus and acrobatic elements, blending them into Fosse-like choreography. “Pippin” has music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz (“Wicked” and “Godspell”) and book by Roger O. Hirson.

Click HERE to watch Pippin’s Tony Award Performance!

 

 

 

 


The Lion King Celebrates 16th Anniversary

The Tony Award-winning Best Musical, The Lion King, celebrated it’s 16th Anniversary on Broadway. The production is currently playing at the Minskoff Theatre. Just recently, The Lion King became the first show in Broadway history to pass $1 Billion in cumulative gross, and soon, will pass Les Misérables and become the fourth longest running show on Broadway.

Click HERE to watch Julie Taymor reflect back on her time
with The Lion King.

The production was directed by Julie Taymor who, fun fact, became the first woman to receive the Tony Award for Best Director of a Musical. The musical features scores from Elton John and Tim Rice’s music from the original Disney film, along with three new songs by John and Rice; additional musical components by South African composer Lebo M, Mark Mancina, Jay Rifkin, Julie Taymor and Hans Zimmer. The book was adapted by Roger Allers, who co-directed the original Disney film, along with Irene Mecchi, who co-wrote the film’s screenplay.


Newsies Will Carry the Banner Across
the U.S. in 2014 National Tour

The Kings of New York will be taking their act across America in October 2014! The hit Disney musical Newsies will launch a national tour, beginning in Schenectady before officially opening in Philadelphia.

The musical is based on the 1992 film of the same name and features the film’s original music as well as additional songs by composer Alan Menken and lyricist Jack Feldman. The production features a book by four-time Tony winner Harvey Fierstein.

The show will be hitting 25 cities in the National tour, including Houston, Orlando and San Antonio.

Click HERE to take a look backstage of Disney’s NEWSIES


Meryl Streep on her song in Into the Woods and Stephen Sonheim

So Meryl Streep has won something like… 6,353 Academy Awards. She is a legend. A recent interview has been released from EXTRA showing a very human side to her. She appears radiant as she smiles and gushes about her excitement when she found out that Steven Sondheim himself would be writing an original song for her in the upcoming film adaptation of Into the Woods.

“He gave me the manuscript of [the song] and wrote, ‘Don’t f*ck it up,’” she revealed.


WINTER SPOTLIGHT!

January 12
Beautiful – The Carole King Musical
Stephen Sondheim Theatre

Beautiful tells the story of Carole King from her early days as a Brooklyn teenager (named Carol Klein) struggling to enter the record business to her years spent as a chart-topping music legend.

January 16
Machinal
American Airlines Theatre

Inspired by the infamous 1927 murder trial of Ruth Snyder, Machinal tells the story of a Young Woman who works as a stenographer in the industrial, male-dominated world of the 1920s. She finds her only joy in an illicit love affair, but when reality sets in and she must return to her routine existence, she’ll go to any lengths to regain her freedom.

January 23
Outside Mullingar
Samuel J. Friedman Theatre

Anthony has spent his entire life on a cattle farm in rural Ireland, a state of affairs that-due to his painful shyness-suits him well. Rosemary lives right next door, determined to have him, watching the years slip away. With Anthony’s father threatening to disinherit him and a land feud simmering between their families, Rosemary has every reason to fear romantic catastrophe. But then, in this very Irish story with a surprising depth of poetic passion, these yearning, eccentric souls fight their way towards solid ground and some kind of happiness.

Februrary 6
Bronx Bombers
Circle in the Square Theatre

Bronx Bombers follows icon Yogi Berra and his wife Carmen through a century of the team’s trials and triumphs, bringing generations of Yankee legends together on one stage. As it celebrates and explores the timeless legacy of baseball’s most iconic team, the play takes a look at how and why the Yankees have remained so undeniably great.

February 20
The Bridges of Madison Country
Schoenfeld Theatre

Based on James Waller’s best-selling novel, The Bridges of Madison County tells the story of photographer Robert Kincaid and his life-changing, four-day love affair with Iowa farm wife Francesca Johnson.


Broadway Buzz!

  • Tony Nominee Marin Mazzie to play Boozy Diva Helen Sinclair in Bullets Over Broadway beating out Bernadette Peters and Patti LuPone!
  • Billy Crystal will soon again be gracing your living rooms. Crystal’s 700 Sundays will be filmed for HBO in January 2014.
  • The RASCALS have cancelled the second installment of their Once Upon A Dream tour at the Marquis Theatre. Citing scheduling conflicts, full refunds are available for those who had tickets.
  • Extra, extra (dates)! Bridges of Madison County will open one week earlier than planned; opening night is now February 20, 2014 instead of February 27.
  • She’s back! America’s favorite Nanny Fran Drescher will make her Broadway debut in Cinderella in February 2014!
  • Sutton Foster will be gracing the stage AND screen this spring. The actress has signed on to do a pilot for TV land about a single mother trying to get her career back on track.
  • “Hit List”, a fictional musical featured on season two of NBC’s Smash, came to life Sunday, December 8 at 54 Below.
  • The creative team behind the Oscar-winning film adaption of CHICAGO are coming together to tackle Schwartz’s award-winning musical PIPPIN.
  • It’s Good Old Reliable Danny Strong! Hunger Games screenwriter is planning to pen the Guys & Dolls screen adaptation.
  • Tony Winner Bebe Neuwirth will be returning to Broadway in her third role in Chicago as Matron “Mama” Morton. In the past, she has played both murderesses, Roxie Hart and Velma Kelly.

That’s all for this edition of The Maximum Insider! Stay tuned for all more exciting news in the upcoming months!

…and HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

See the entire newsletter here.

Maximum Insider Special Edition: Get the 411 on This Year’s Tony Noms!


Welcome to this special edition of The Maximum Insider, devoted exclusively to the 2012 Tony Award nominations!

Earlier today, the names of the contenders for theater’s highest honor were announced during a live broadcast. Broadway veteran Kristin Chenoweth (Wicked, Promises, Promises) and relative newcomer Jim Parsons (The Normal Heart) hosted the ceremony-before-the-ceremony from the Performing Arts Library at Lincoln Center, both looking far too perky for 8:30AM.

We’re not ashamed to admit that we’ve had this day circled on our calendar for a while (and we know some of you have too, and you know who you are.) But even if you’ve fallen out of the loop recently, never fear. As the 2012 award season continues to unwind, we at The Maximum Insider are here to keep you posted with the most buzz-worthy news and developments, as well as ring-side commentary on any cat fights that break out (and they will break out. Any minute now…)

Meanwhile, thanks for spending your brunch-hour with the The Maximum Insider for all your Broadway news. Now pour yourself another mimosa (light on the OJ) and let’s get to the good stuff…

Early Frontrunners and Underdogs

The indie musical Once emerged as the Tony voters’ favorite musical of the season, with 11 nominations, while Peter and the Starcatcher soared above the other plays, grabbing 9 nominations (that’s four more than its closest competitor for Best New Play.) Among Peter’s nine reasons to crow is Christian Borle, who’s boisterous performance as Black Stache has landed him him on many a shortlist to win Best Featured Actor come awards night.

Both Once and Peter and the Starcatcher originated at The New York Theatre Workshop before transferring to the Main Stem this year. In fact, all four of this year’s Best Play nominees (which include Clybourne Park, Other Desert Cities, and Venus in Fur) began their runs off-Broadway, proving once again that Broadway theatergoers know good plays when they see them, and will often reward a well-done show with a second life on a bigger stage (and for one of these lucky four, the chance to win a nice big statue to put on their coffee table!)

Curiously enough, two of this year’s nominees for Best Score–One Man, Two Guvnors, and Peter and the Starcatcher–aren’t even musicals. The play End of the Rainbow, for which Tracie Bennett is nominated for Best Actress, likewise includes several musical numbers.

Three of the nominees for Best Musical–Once, Newsies, and Leap of Faith–are adaptions of cult-classic films. That’s not to say audiences have lost their taste for the golden era. Tunes by the Gershwins comprise the soundtrack for two nominated shows, one revival (Porgy and Bess) and one new musical (Nice Work if You Can Get It.)

Scroll down for a complete list of this year’s Tony nominees in the major performance and production categories…

And The Nominees Are…

Best Musical

Newsies

Once

Leap of Faith

Nice Work If You Can Get It
Best Play

Venus in Fur

Clybourne Park

Peter and the Starcatcher

Other Desert Cities
Best Revival of a Musical

Evita

Follies

The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess

Jesus Christ Superstar
Best Revival of a Play

Death of a Salesman

Gore Vidal’s The Best Man

Master Class

Wit
Best Leading Actress in a Play

Nina Arianda, Venus in Fur

Tracie Bennett, End of the Rainbow

Linda Lavin, The Lyons

Stockard Channing, Other Desert Cities

Cynthia Nixon, Wit

Best Leading Actor in a Play

James Corden, One Man, Two Guvnors

Philip Seymour Hoffman, Death of a Salesman

James Earl Jones, Gore Vidal’s The Best Man

Frank Langella, Man and Boy

John Lithgow, The Columnist

Best Leading Actress in a Musical

Jan Maxwell, Follies

Audra McDonald, The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess

Cristin Milioti, Once

Kelli O’Hara, Nice Work If You Can Get It

Laura Osnes, Bonnie & Clyde

Best Leading Actor in a Musical

Ron Raines, Follies

Danny Burstein, Follies

Jeremy Jordan, Newsies

Steve Kazee, Once

Norm Lewis, The Gershwins Porgy and Bess

Best Choreography

Rob Ashford, Evita

Christopher Gattelli, Newsies

Steven Hoggett, Once

Kathleen Marshall, Nice Work If You Can Get It

Best Orchestrations

William David Brohn and Christopher Jahnke, The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess

Bill Elliott, Nice Work If You Can Get It

Martin Lowe, Once

Danny Troob, Newsies

Best Original Score

Bonnie & Clyde

Newsies

One Man, Two Guvnors

Peter and the Starcatcher

Best Book of a Musical

Lysistrata Jones

Newsies

Nice Work If You Can Get It

Once

Best Direction of a Play

Nicholas Hytner, One Man, Two Guvnors

Pam MacKinnon, Clybourne Park

Mike Nichols, Death of a Salesman

Roger Rees and Alex Timbers, Peter and the Starcatcher

Best Direction of a Musical

Jeff Calhoun, Newsies

Kathleen Marshall, Nice Work If You Can Get It

Diane Paulus, The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess

John Tiffany, Once

 

Who Got Snubbed (And Are We Surprised?)

FROM EW.COM

Please cry for Ricky Martin and Elena Roger in the Broadway revival of Evita. The truth is, the Tony nominators didn’t love you. Those stars were two of the biggest snubs at this morning’s announcement of the 66th annual Tony Awards.

One of the biggest shockers? It seems that Angela Lansbury will have to wait for her chance to win a record-breaking sixth Tony Award. Despite critical acclaim for her role as a Southern political doyenne in Gore Vidal’s The Best Man, Lansbury was passed over for Featured Actress in a Play. The surprise nominee in that category – which looks to be a showdown between Death of a Salesman’s Linda Emond and Other Desert Cities’ Judith Light – is Condola Rashad (daughter of Tony-winning Cosby mom Phylicia) for the short-lived Stick Fly.

While the new musical Once led with a total of 11 nominations, some of the season’s starriest productions fell short. The revival of Godspell, led by Weeds star Hunter Parrish and then Corbin Bleu, and The Mountaintop, last fall’s high-profile drama starring Samuel L. Jackson and Angela Bassett, were completely shut out. And this spring’s A Streetcar Named Desire starring Blair Underwood and Nicole Ari Parker earned only a nod for costumes. (Master Class, a show that closed last September, earned the final nomination for Best Revival of a Play.)

(Continue reading about this year’s snubs and shockers here.)

 

I’m Ready for My Close-Up: Tony Nominees React


Here’s what some of our favorite nominees had to say when they found out they were contenders for Tony gold…

Christian Borle, Best Featured Actor in a Play, Peter and the Starcatcher : “It’s been an awfully nice morning! I’m happy and just so very proud of the show. It’s been a few years leading up to now. This is just enormously gratifying. I woke up this morning and turned on NY1 and watched. I just got a new sound bar for my TV so I think I’m going to sit down and watch ‘The Empire Strikes Back.’ That will be my celebration for the day!”

Cristin Milioti, Best Actress in a Musical, Once: “I was asleep because we don’t have a TV with cable. We watch internet TV and we were asleep, and my phone rang. I groggily answered the phone and I put it together. My agent and manager were on the line to congratulate me. I cant even put it into words- I’m so floored by the company that I’m with- my fellow nominees, I guess you call them. I’ve admired them for years and it blows my mind. It’s been a year of working hard and to see it come to this level is unreal. It hasn’t hit me yet!”

Celia Keenan-Bolger, Best Featured Actress in a Play, Peter and the Starcatcher: “I’m really excited! I woke up with my husband and weeks ago I said we’d have a staycation so we’re in a hotel that of course didn’t have NY1- which I think is hysterical. So, we had to watch it on my phone. This is so great, I care about the show so so much and I’ve worked on it for so long. These past 3 years have been so special and we weren’t sure it would even come to Broadway. It’s all been a real gift. I’m sure I’ll be on the phone all day. I’m so excited to do the show tonight!”

James Corden, Best Actor in a Play, One Man, Two Guvnors: “I’m absolutely thrilled to be nominated for a Tony Award and to see my name on a list with these four American acting legends is overwhelming.”

Roger Rees, Best Direction of a Play, Peter and the Starcatcher:“I feel very elated because many years ago I won a Tony for ‘Best Actor’ and now im up for director! So it’s very thrilling! I’m up with the wonderful Alex Timbers and we’re very very pleased to be nominated. I was walking in the park this morning when I got the phone call with the news. Now I’m going off to rehearsal with B.D. Wong for Herring Bone. I’m already late for that! I’m very pleased because we got 9 nominations and I’m just so very pleased for everyone connected with the show- the actors, the crew, and the whole team really! Everyone really contributed and hopefully many more people will come and see the show because of this.”

Judith Light, Best Featured Actress in a Play, Other Desert Cities: “I’m really excited, and I’m really honored and thrilled! I got a text first from our company manager from Lombardi, and my manager at got up at 4 this morning in California and called me right away. I spoke to both first! Today I’m going to a memorial service for Ted Mann- one of the founders of Circle in the Square who passed a way a little while ago. We were very close. I know he would be very happy right now. I’m happy I get to honor him today. I’m so thrilled that we got so many nominations- Jon Robin Baitz, and sets and lighting and Stockard! It’s so extraordinary! It’s the second year in a row for me and to be welcomed back is really special. It’s all about the honor.”

Rick Elice, Best Play, Peter and the Starcatcher: “I was feeling neurotic this morning and forced myself to go outside in the rain to get away from the TV and phone. So I went to Starbucks and got a coffee and stood under the arch of the Natural History Museum at 77th Street to drink my coffee out of the rain when my pocket started buzzing. I figured it was good news at that point! I heard Nicholas Hynter in an interview recently say “It’s great to be on Broadway” and that’s just how I feel – it’s going to become my mantra I think. It’s especially great to be on Broadway with a passion project like Peter And The Starcatcher. It seemed so unlikely that we would make it to Broadway when we first started. I have to tell you, it is because of BroadwayWorld’s contest last year that helped enable us to bring the show to Broadway. You ran a poll about which off Broadway play was the most popular and our show won by such a large margin that we were sending the link around to several producers who were on the fence to show just how much people loved it. So yes, if people are enjoying the work it then I’ll be a very happy fellow. It is great to be on Broadway. And now I have to do my laundry.”

(Read what other newly-minted nominees had to say here.)

See What’s Buzzing On Broadway This Spring!

Welcome to this edition of The Maximum Insider! The poet T.S. Eliot once wrote that April is the “cruelest month.” Clearly he didn’t hang out around Broadway! This April has proven to be one of the most exciting months of the year–at least where theatergoers are concerned. With a new show opening seemingly every other night (and the accompanying buzz about a certain big awards ceremony that’s coming up soon,) we have much to discuss. In this edition, we take a look at the Spring Season’s latest premiers, talk about some Hollywood stars taking on classic roles (three words: Meryl does Shakespeare) and much more! Thanks for taking a break with The Maximum Insider for all your Broadway news. Now add some Splenda to that grande iced coffee, and let’s get to the good stuff…

“Peter and the Starcatcher” Scores Soaring Reviews!

A wildly theatrical, hilarious and innovative retelling of how a miserable orphan came to be The Boy Who Never Grew Up, <i>Peter and the Starcatcher</i> upends the century-old legend of Peter Pan. Here’s a round-up of what the critics had to say after the show opened on April 15th…

The New York Times
They’re surfing the clouds at the Brooks Atkinson Theater, where “Peter and the Starcatcher” opened on Sunday night. And even inveterate fearers of flying are likely to find themselves following the folks onstage into altitudes where eagles get nosebleeds….

The extravagantly resourceful ensemble members of “Peter and the Starcatcher” have almost nothing in the way of modern machinery to support their sky-scraping journeys. On the contrary, there’s little here that couldn’t be found in a theater 150 years ago. What they do have is some ordinary rope, a couple of ladders, a few household appliances, two toy boats and, most important, one another. And they have you, dear theatergoer, because in this ecstatic production you’re as important a part of this process as they are.

(Read the full review here.)

The New Yorker
Rick Elice’s “Peter and the Starcatcher” (superbly directed by Roger Rees and Alex Timbers, at the Brooks Atkinson) is a larky seance with Barrie’s mythic characters: part pantomime, part story theatre, and all delight…

At his exit, Stache warns Peter to watch out for his return. “For just when you least expect it, there I’ll be! The Stache, right under yer nose!” He starts to leave, then stops and turns to the audience. “Clap if you believe!” he says. And we do.

(Read the full review here.)

New York Magazine
“Peter and the Starcatcher” is a tiny show, but spectacle, wit, and joy spill out of it like treasure from a magic pocket. A cast of twelve, a couple of trunks, and a versatile length of rope yield more storytelling than most oversize spectaculars can manage. There’s a naval battle, an island full of savages, and a mermaid chorus, all packed onto a stage that feels no bigger than a conch shell. It’s a measure of the production’s low-tech delights that when Molly, the cast’s sole female, ingests a dose of “starstuff,” crosses her legs and levitates, Jeannie-style, it looks like a miraculous effect, even though we can clearly see the plank, the pivot, and the hand on the seesaw’s other end.

(Read the full review here.)

Time Out New York
The pop-culture icon who inspired this whimsical prequel-adapted from the 2004 young-adult novel-famously crowed that he would never grow up. Not so for Rick Elice’s story-theater adaptation, in which a dozen zanies act out an epic, larky picaresque that crams in pirates, aristocrats, orphans, mermaids and a giant crocodile. “Peter and the Starcatcher” has indeed grown up: It’s on Broadway with a steeper ticket price than during its intimate maiden voyage at New York Theatre Workshop last year. And while the production is bigger and shinier, beneath the dazzling, tricked-out proscenium beats the exhilarated heart of a kid who wants to fly.

(Read the full review here.)

 

Stache Bash: Inside the Starcatchers’ Opening Night Party!

After the curtain came down, the company of twelve actors and co-directors Roger Rees and Alex Timbers were joined by Marisa Tomei, Smash‘s Debra Messing, Will Chase and Leslie Odom Jr., Brooke Shields, Gavin Creel and more for a star-studded bash at the McKittrick Hotel, where guests sipped Prosecco and noshed on hors d’oeuvres and cotton candy. Celebrate this swashbuckling night and click on the link below for exclusive shots inside the party, then see Peter and the Starcatcher live on the Great White Way!

(View a photo gallery of the gala here.)

 

 

 

 

SNEAK PEAK at Peter and the Starcatcher Commercial!

CLICK ON THE IMAGE ABOVE FOR A SNEAK PEAK AT THE NEW COMMERCIAL FOR PETER AND THE STARCATCHER!

 

Quiara Alegría Hudes Wins 2012 Pulitzer Prize for Water By the Spoonful


Quiara Alegría Hudes has been awarded the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for Drama for her play Water By the Spoonful. Hudes is the surprise winner of the coveted award over finalists Jon Robin Baitz (Other Desert Cities) and Stephen Karam (Sons of the Prophet). The Pulitzer is given “for a distinguished play by an American author, preferably original in its source and dealing with American life,” and includes a prize of $10,000.


Water By the Spoonful
is described by the Pulitzer board as “an imaginative play about the search for meaning by a returning Iraq war veteran working in a sandwich shop in his hometown of Philadelphia.” The play centers on a soldier who struggles to put aside his demons while his mother, a recovering addict, battles demons of her own. Water By the Spoonful premiered at the Harford Stage on October 26, 2011, starring Ray Anthony Thomas and directed by Davis McCallum.

(Read the full article here.)

Big Plans Might Be In The Works For Broadway’s Favorite Foul


Has it really been a year, Joey? It’s hard to believe we’ve gone through a full turn of the calendar since everyone’s favorite elaborate horse puppet first galloped onto Broadway! The Tony-winning production of War Horse celebrated its first anniversary at Lincoln Center Theater’s Vivian Beaumont Theater on April 14 with a four-foot-long cake by Bill Schutz and the team at Creative Cakes. Show star Andrew Durand (center) was joined by Joey and the full cast to commemorate this Broadway milestone.

While the cast of War Horse has been busy celebrating, there may be some trouble in the stables. It was reported the Lincoln Center has been in talks to revive the Roger and Hammerstein classic The King and I starring three time Tony nominated actress Kelli O’Hara. This would mark it’s fifth Broadway production and given the musical’s very large size, it would have to be in Lincoln Center’s Vivian Beaumont Theater..where War Horse is playing..

According to New York Post’s Michael Riedel: “Executives from the National have quietly been checking out Broadway theaters – not empty ones – to find a new home for their show in the fall. At one point, they set their sights on the Winter Garden, home to a minor little musical called “Mamma Mia!”..The Richard Rodgers is a possibility. Its tenant, “The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess,” has yet to recover from Audra McDonald’s two-week absence last month.

The St. James is in the mix – unless, by some miracle, “Leap of Faith” wins the Tony.

And the Lunt-Fontanne should have a for-rent sign out front soon enough, since “Ghost” looks dead on arrival.” (To read more of Riedel’s insider info, click here)

Only time will tell if Lincoln Center would prefer a kingdom to a horse. Stay tuned for the latest on this developing story.

The King’s Speech Goes Mute


Apparently the King’s Speech fell on deaf ears as it is closing early on the West End May 12th. The producers of the play (which is based off of a movie that was originally based off a play- simple, right?) hypothesize the demise of the production is due to poor timing.

They released a statement concerning the matter; “Two years ago, originating producer Michael Alden was ready to put the play on and the film came along and blocked its path. At the start of this year, we believed that enough time had passed between the film and our opening. This clearly was not the case. We are extremely proud of what we have accomplished. It is a production of genuine quality that has been critically and publicly acclaimed across the board.”

With the critical acclaim it received, there still maybe a chance that the King’s Speech will stammer on to the Great White Way as previously planned.

 

Ghost Vanishes Mid Performance


A technical error had the new Broadway musical Ghost stopped and on hold for 25 minutes on Thursday April 19th. Some witnesses of the unfortunate glitch included critics from the New York Times, the New York Post, Newsday, and New York Daily News.

During the half hour hold, only a handful of the audience walked out of the Lunt-Fontanne.

However, the remaining audience members were given what was said to be a flawless finale. At almost 11:00pm, the cast was met with a standing ovation from their loyal audience. Let’s hope this is the last of the glitches for this production.

 

One Man, Two Guvnors Review Roundup


New York Times

“Yes, food is flung, trousers are dropped and bawdy innuendoes are exchanged. (Mr. Edden is the show’s master of pratfalls as a geriatric waiter with a new pacemaker.) Yet for me at least, this production never justifies that sinking sensation that arrives when I hear the words “British comedy.” Mr. Hytner and Mr. Bean have woven elements of music hall slapstick, “Carry On”-movie-style bawdiness and Monty Python-esque absurdity into a remarkably fine mesh.”

(Read the full review here.)

 

Hollywood Reporter

“Striking an ingenious balance between meticulous planning and what plays like anarchic spontaneity, Nicholas Hytner’s production has been a deserved success in London. With virtuoso ringmaster James Corden on hand to juggle the demands of dual employment while wrapping the audience around his pudgy finger, the show now looks set to slay Broadway, too.”

(Read the full review here.)

 

Entertainment Weekly

“The production is utterly, profoundly, ridiculously British in its high-low antics and wordplay. There’s no need to brush up on Commedia dell’Arte, Christmas pantos, or music-hall ditties to enjoy One Man, Two Guvnors. You’ll know smart hilarity when you’re guffawing at it.”

(Read the full review here.)

 

Associated Press

“Staged by Hytner with close attention to farcical nuance, the extremely accomplished original British cast animatedly sends up the politically incorrect, often-bawdy jokes and stereotypes of that bygone era, aided by frequent audience participation and interludes of peppy skiffle music.”

(Read the full review here.)

Clybourne Park Review Roundup


New York Times

“Like the tamer comedies of Yasmina Reza (particularly “God of Carnage”) “Clybourne Park” provides the eternal and undeniable satisfactions of watching supposedly civilized people behaving like territorial savages. But Mr. Norris cuts deeper than Ms. Reza, and he’s not nearly as whimsical or as polite.”
(Read the full review here.)


Associated Press
“”Clybourne Park” is everything you want in a play: Smart, witty, provocative and wonderfully acted by the well-knit ensemble of Crystal A. Dickinson, Brendan Griffin, Damon Gupton, Christina Kirk, Annie Parisse, Jeremy Shamos and Frank Wood. Director Pam MacKinnon lets each actor shine, pulls out the humor and is a master at the slow boil.”

(Read the full review here.)


Entertainment Weekly
“Make no mistake: Clybourne Park isn’t a two-hour stream of offensive racial humor. Norris, whose previous works tackled such touchy subjects as a venereal-disease-plagued 4-year-old girl (2004′s cracking satire The Pain and the Itch), may be a provocateur but he’s also a clever writer who doesn’t push buttons simply for the sake of starting a war of words. He knows how to create characters and then root both issues and prejudice deep inside them.”

(Read the full review here.)


Newsday
“While the tragicomedy struck me two years ago as a bit tidy compared with Norris’ earlier and more dangerously messy “The Pain and the Itch,” I’m now appreciating “Clybourne Park” on its own important and enjoyable terms.”

(Read the full review here.)


Hollywood Reporter
“The play is a slow-starter, and the caricatured 1950s sitcom stiffness of Christina Kirk as painfully well-meaning housewife Bev, in particular, takes some getting used to. But MacKinnon, who has honed her directing chops on the heightened realism and scathing social observation of Edward Albee, is in her element here. ”

(Read the full review here.)

Streetcar Earns Some Not-So-Desirable Reviews

New York Times

“”The Poker Night” was once the working title for what would become Tennessee Williams’s most celebrated work. So perhaps it’s appropriate that a poker game provides one of the few moments approaching excitement in the torpid revival of the play that was renamed “A Streetcar Named Desire.””

 

Time Out New York

“Let us say that in your production of A Streetcar Named Desire, your audience doesn’t respond as you might hope. There are catcalls for brutal antihero Stanley; there is laughter when he finally turns to rape. Where did you go wrong? If you’re director Emily Mann, look no further than the casting decisions that handed you Blair Underwood as Stanley, ravishing Nicole Ari Parker as Blanche and sulky, shouty Daphne Rubin-Vega as Stella. In this curiously unlived-in Streetcar, the too-glossy cast members treat Tennessee Williams’ masterpiece with an odd mixture of care and camp, their gingerliness as damaging as the lapses into melodrama. The actors deliver clear but blunt portraits, and in the absence of complexity, we come away conscious of only two things-namely, “it’s hot in New Orleans” and “hoo boy, sex.” (Hence the campiness.)”

 

Backstage

“There are so many head-scratching miscalculations that it’s hard to know where to begin. We are supposed to care about fraying Southern belle Blanche DuBois, ultimately driven into madness by her destruction at the hands of the brutish Stanley Kowalski. But with film and TV actor Nicole Ari Parker angling for her laughs (yes, there are plenty of laughs in “Streetcar,” but Blanche shouldn’t go charging after them) while looking like she just stepped off a modeling runway (this Blanche needn’t be afraid of bright light), precious little empathy is generated.”

“Ghost” Reviews are a Mix of Charming and Frightening


Some critics were less than enchanted by last night’s opening of “Ghost,” while others called it a success. Just check out these review headlines for an idea:

New York Times: In a Broadway Afterlife, Time Goes by So Slowly

Washington Post: Broadway Musical ‘Ghost’ is Inventively Fun with Eye-poppingly Brilliant Effects

Backstage: Someone Needs to Tell “Ghost” that it’s not a Movie Anymore

New York Magazine:“Ghost: The Musical” Is Technically Impressive, and Musically Silly

Maximum Insider Scoop: Book Your Tony Hotel Rooms Now!


Once again, this year’s Tony Awards are being held at the Beacon Theater, located on the Upper West Side (i.e. not Midtown, where hotels rooms are more readily available.)

To book, call the hotel at 212-362-1100 and ask for in-house reservations. Say you need the Road Concierge/ Tony Awards discounted rate. Michael Dwyer is the hotel sales contact if you need additional help or information. Also, you can visit the hotel website here.

 

 

 

 

UPDATED Spring Openings

April

  • Nice Work If You Can Get It Imperial Theatre, April 24
  • The Columnist Samuel J. Friedman, April 25
  • Don’t Dress for Dinner American Airlines, April 26
  • Leap of Faith St. James Theatre, April 26

Broadway Buzz

  • Celeb hottie Jake Gyllenhaal will make his U.S.stage debut in Nick Payne’s comic drama If There Is I Haven’t Found It Yet at Roundabout Theatre Company’s Off-Broadway Laura Pels Theatre. Previews begin Aug. 24 and with an opening Sept. 20. Too bad Spidey couldn’t nab him!
  • The circle of life continues to expand for the team at The Lion King as it celebrates it’s 6000th performace on Broadway. Congrats cubs!
  • Newsies has been ushered into the Million Dollar Club, but that isn’t the only good thing the Newsies team has to sing about. The original cast recording album made headlines earlier this week when it debuted #1 on the iTunes Soundtrack charts and #15 on the iTunes album chart. The gang of orphans continued their streak debuting #74 on the Billboard 200 and #1 on Billboards Cast Albums. Way to seize the day!
  • Academy Award winners Kevin Kline and Meryl Streep will play Shakespeare classic’s title characters Romeo and Juliet in a gala benefit staged reading June 18 at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park. Daniel Sullivan will direct the performance that celebrates to the day The Public Theater’s 50-year anniversary of producing Shakespeare in the outdoor venue. When can we get tickets?!
  • According to our favorite snark monster, New York Post’s Michael Riedel reports that Leap of Faith is only holding on by a prayer. As one of the few new musicals this season, let’s hope there is no need for divine intervention. (Read the full article here)

The Spring Season is Now in Full Bloom!

Happy Spring from The Maximum Insider! We hope you’re able to spend some time outside this April enjoying the sunshine and budding trees-but come sunset, be sure to head to your nearest Broadway theater! Odds are it has an exciting new show about to open, and we’ve got all the details about what they are, and where to see them. In this edition, we’ll also take a closer look at a recent headline-making scandal that has the theater community asking questions about its role in world affairs. As always, we’ve got lots of Broadway buzz to discuss, review round-ups, and more. Thanks for hanging out with the Maximum Insider for all your Broadway news! Now drop a couple ice cubes in that lemonade, and let’s get to the good stuff!

Live From Peter and the Starcatcher’s 1st Performance!


There was a long line outside the box office around noon on Wednesday, March 28th when we went to pick up our tickets to the first preview of Peter and the Starcatcher. Apparently, folks from far and wide were as excited as we were to see the Neverland they never knew. One mother and daughter we talked to were in town from Wisconsin, and were eager to see Christian Borle as Black Stache, since they’d recently become his self-proclaimed “biggest fans” from watching NBC’s Smash. Another couple, all the way from Australia, said the premise of the play intrigued them, and were glad they were able to buy tickets to see the first public performance.

From the moment we entered the Brooks Atkinson at 7:30PM, the audience was murmuring about the set. The stage was framed to look like a large treasure chest, encrusted with pirate’s jewels and a large, ornate pineapple in the center. Wooden slats laid artfully across the floor completed the image of a toy-box fantasy about to come to life.

Then the curtain went up at 8, and come to life it did. We won’t spoil any of the eye-popping visual treats in store when you go to see the show yourself-to say nothing of the performances. Suffice it to say, Borle’s “biggest fans” will be returning to Wisconsin with large smiles on their faces, (and possibly large moustaches glued to their upper lips.)

At intermission, we spotted Kate Hudson milling around the orchestra lobby. (Excuse us while we bend over and pick up that huge name we just dropped.)

When the curtain came down, the audience leapt to their feet immediately. The applause didn’t die down even after the cast had taken their bows. The energy in the lobby and outside the front of the theatre was incredible.

Finally, at the end of the evening, we were glad to see that this new play about the Boy Who Never Grew Up has grown up a lot since transferring to Broadway, yet held onto its childlike integrity and sense of wonder. If anything, the wonder has only grown, and we can’t wait to go back to Neverland as soon as possible. Good thing it’s as close as West 47th Street!

The People vs. Mike Daisey, or How One Human Rights Campaign Got Lost in Translation

As you may have heard by now, Mike Daisey’s wildly popular monologue The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs, which returned to the Public in early March for yet another sold-out engagement, has fallen under scrutiny (if not allegations of out-right fraud.)

First, a quick recap for those who’ve been out of the loop: Mike Daisey, noted performer and monologist, traveled to the Foxconn factory in China, which makes the vast majority of the Apple products Americans use every day-specifically iPhones and iPads. While at Foxconn, Daisey interviewed factory workers by means of a translator, uncovering some pretty disturbing facts about their working and living conditions in the process. These revelations were the basis for The Agony and the Ecstasy… which mixed Daisey’s travelogue-journalism with a biography of Steve Jobs, the late founder and CEO of Apple.

The performance attracted as much buzz and excitement as any big-budget Broadway musical, and even prompted Ira Glass to devote an entire episode of his radio program “This American Life” to the working conditions at Foxconn. The episode, called “Mr. Daisey and the Apple Factory,” quickly became the most-downloaded podcast of “This American Life” ever. Mike Daisey was hailed as not only a master of his craft, but a crusader for human rights in China who took great personal risks to tell a story no one else was willing to acknowledge.

But as the buzz grew, so did the questions.
Fact-checkers at “This American Life” discovered that certain elements of Daisey’s account didn’t add up. Eventually, they contacted the woman who had worked as Daisey’s translator, and confirmed that much of Daisey’s monologue was based on facts and events that had never actually occurred. He’d made them up for the show.

Remember when James Frey wrote A Million Little Pieces? Oprah included it in her Book Club, and had Frey on to discuss it. After it was revealed that Frey had pretty much made the whole thing up, Oprah brought him back on the show to give him the equivalent of an hour-long public flogging for being a liar and a cheat.

That’s more or less what happened with Mike Daisey. Ira Glass brought him back on the show for an hour-long episode entitled “Retraction,” where he finally gets to the bottom of what did and did not happen in China, and whether or not it matters that Daisey twisted the truth in order for the sake of good theater. (You can listen to both episodes here.)

What is the job of a monologist who presents his work as fact-based? What are his responsibilities to his audience? Where, exactly, is the line between fiction and nonfiction? We don’t pretend to have the answers, but we at The Maximum Insider think that these conversations are worth having, not to mention being long-overdue. It’s one of those rare moments when the world is (correctly) looking to the stage for answers about how we live our lives the rest of the time.

Out With the Old and In With the New? Not on Broadway!

Even as fourteen new productions are scheduled to premiere in April, there are several old-timers who are on track to break records on the all time long-run list. The Phantom of the Opera, Chicago, The Lion King, Mamma Mia!, and Wicked are all in the top fifteen, with Mary Poppins and Jersey Boys close behind. Playbill.com has published the full list of productions and performance numbers. (You can read the full article here.)

Which production opening in April will join the list of long running productions?

 

 

 

 

Eva Price Chosen for Crain’s 40 Under 40 Rising Business Stars!


Eva Price has been recognized by Crain’s New York Business Magazine as one of New York’s up and coming elite. Eva is listed among young achievers such as Nick Cannon (NCredible Entertainment) and Robert Lopez (Book of Mormon, Avenue Q). Take a look at the article below!

“When Eva Price told her parents she was leaving her prestigious job at ABC News after five years to follow her dream of becoming a Broadway producer, they were stunned.

“I’ll never forget the look on their faces,” said Ms. Price, who got the theater bug at the age of 8 after seeing her first show, South Pacific, and spent her youth in summer theater camp and the high-school drama club.

They didn’t worry long. Ms. Price networked her way into her first Broadway show in 2006, The Grinch Who Stole Christmas. She raised her allotment-$500,000-for the production in two months, and the show recouped its investment. Since then she has produced 16 shows both on and off Broadway, and on tour. Together, 50% of her productions, which range from The Addams Family to Colin Quinn’s Long Story Short, have recouped their investment, well above the industry standard of 30%.

“I don’t know how to sit still,” said Ms. Price, who is lead producer on this spring’s Peter and the Star Catcher and a producer on the fall revival of Annie, among other projects.

Her specialty is finding ways to mount shows for less. Ms. Price took over a flailing touring show, Irving Berlin’s I Love a Piano, and reconfigured it, cutting its weekly running cost to $35,000, nearly half what it was. The show recouped in eight months and returned 160% to investors.

“She’s competing at a level beyond her years and is being taken very seriously by a very cynical theater community,” said Stuart Oken, a Broadway producer who ran Disney Theatrical Productions for nine years.”

(Click here to see the rest of Crain’s Class of 2012)

 

Voca People Wins A Lucille Lortel Award

 

Voca People has received a Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Alternative Theatrical Experience! We are so pleased that the a capella aliens have been recognized for their out of this world talents.

While the Vocas are rejoicing in perfect pitch, the productions of Once and Tribes also have something to sing about. Once led the pack with 7 nominations and Tribes was a close second with 6 nominations.

The 27th annual Lortel Awards will be held at the Skirball Center on May 6 at 7 PM. Congrats to all!

(Click here to see the rest of the nominations)

 

Newsies Review Roundup


David Rooney, Hollywood Reporter

“Nimbly staged by Calhoun on designer Tobin Ost’s terrifically versatile and constantly reconfigured three-tiered Erector Set structure – with details sketched in via Sven Ortel’s projections – the show never lags. That’s also thanks to the galvanizing songs by Menken and lyricist Jack Feldman.”

(Read the full review here)

Ben Brantley, New York Times

“Though there is little originality in these dance numbers, they have enough raw vitality to command the attention and even stir the blood. Or they would if they knew when to quit. But just when you think a number is over, it starts up again, and no sooner are you recovering from that one, then there’s another one, with all the same darn back flips, pirouettes, etc. I commend the cast members for always appearing to be excited by what they’re doing. Unfortunately, that is not the same as being exciting. ”

(Read the full review here)

Linda Winer, Newsday

“What the show, directed with rousing two-dimensional enthusiasm by Jeff Calhoun, lacks in originality is disguised — if not quite hidden — by a big, talented cast of actors (and several actresses). There is also ingenious erector-set scenery by Tobin Ost and, especially, lots of exuberant, soft-bounce high-precision tap, balletic and acrobatic invention by choreographer Christopher Gattelli.”

(Read the full review here)

Mark Kennedy, AP
“Alan Menken and lyricist Jack Feldman, who were responsible for the film’s score, teamed up again to transform “Newsies” into a musical for the stage, reworking the songs and collaborating with a new story writer, Harvey Fierstein, known for his work in “Hairspray” and “La Cage aux Folles.” Director Jeff Calhoun allows no moment to tire, keeping a fast pace and winningly using every inch of the stage.”

(Read the full review here)

 

Once Review Roundup



Ben Brantley, New York Times:
“Sometimes how cool you look depends on where you’re standing. When I first saw the musical “Once” at the New York Theater Workshop last December, it registered as a little too twee, too conventionally sentimental, for the East Village. Yet on Broadway – at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theater to be exact, where “Once” opened on Sunday night – what is essentially the same production feels as vital and surprising as the early spring that has crept up on Manhattan.”

(Read the full review here)

Mark Kennedy, Associated Press:
“The party has already started by the time you enter the Broadway theater to see the musical “Once.” The Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre’s stage is filled with musicians jamming to Irish tunes in what looks like a Dublin pub. Real drinks are offered to the brave theatergoers willing to go up and mingle.”
(Read the full review here)

David Rooney, Hollywood Reporter:
“A Sundance discovery and a breakout hit for Fox Searchlight in 2007, the Irish indie movie has become a captivating Broadway musical, with a superb cast of actor-musicians led by Steve Kazee and Cristin Milioti.”
(Read the full review here)

Charles McNulty, LA Times:
“Broadway musicals spawned from movies are usually big, brash, bawdy affairs – think “Sister Act” and “Priscilla Queen of the Desert,” two giddy disco balls launched last season.”

(Read the full review here)

Linda Winer, Newsday:
“It is hard not to oversell the wonderful strangeness of “Once,” the enchanting little musical that moved to Broadway after a winter run at the New York Theatre Workshop.”
(Read the full review here)

 

Jesus Christ Superstar Review Roundup



Charles Isherwood, New York Times

“If this delirious reception for a glitzy depiction of the most influential execution in world history doesn’t strike you as remotely absurd, Mr. McAnuff’s “Jesus Christ Superstar” may just be the right musical for you. I have to confess to finding the show alternately hilarious and preposterous – if often infectiously melodic – during the two hours’ busy traffic of Mr. McAnuff’s brisk and lucid staging. ”

(Read the full review here)
Linda Winer, Newsday

“The cast is full of strong wailers and howlers. Paul Nolan, as Jesus, has a big voice but not much charisma and, dare we say it, seems a bit of a mope. Jeremy Kushnier, ably replacing the ailing Josh Young as Judas at Tuesday’s preview, deftly captures the character’s fierce mixed emotions and strenuous, contrasting vocal styles.”
(Read the full review here )

Elysa Gardner, USA TODAY
“Corrupt priests glower and seethe; their corrupted minions glitter and writhe in costumes by Paul Tazewell that can make the chorines in Priscilla, Queen of the Desert look understated. The more plainly dressed apostles, when not leaping through choreographer Lisa Shriver’s more acrobatic routines, walk about wearing expressions of earnest consternation.”

(Read the full review here)

David Rooney, Hollywood Reporter
“Much of that inescapably retro feel is due to Rice’s self-consciously groovy lyrics. The high priests look imposing in their dreads and long leather tunics, but when Caiaphas (sung with a deep bass rumble by Marcus Nance) muses, “One thing to say for him, Jesus is cool,” it’s hard not to snicker. The most unfortunate lyrics are in the melodic folk-baroque “The Last Supper,” in which the Apostles sound like drippy, starry-eyed teens: “Always hoped that I’d be an apostle/Knew that I would make it if I tried/Then when we retire we can write the Gospels/So they’ll still talk about us when we’ve died.””

(Read the full review here)

Mark Kennedy, AP
“In fact, all the bells and whistles on stage grow increasingly cloying and wearying. What’s with all the buzz? Quit it already. We get it: The eye candy — the razzle-dazzle — is meant to connect the Jesus story with a pop popularity contest like “American Idol,” but it tries too hard.”

(Read the full review here)

UPDATED Spring Openings

April

  • The Best Man Schoenfeld Theatre, April 1
  • End of the Rainbow Belasco Theatre, April 2
  • Evita Marquis Theatre, April 5
  • Magic/Bird Longacre Theatre, April 11
  • Peter and the Starcatcher Brooks Atkinson, April 15
  • One Man, Two Guvnors Music Box Theatre, April 18
  • Clybourne Park Walter Kerr Theater, April 19
  • A Streetcar Named Desire Broadhurst Theatre, April 19
  • Ghost the Musical Lunt-Fontanne Theatre, April 23
  • The Lyons Cort Theatre, April 23
  • Nice Work If You Can Get It Imperial Theatre, April 24
  • The Columnist Samuel J. Friedman, April 25
  • Don’t Dress for Dinner American Airlines, April 26
  • Leap of Faith St. James Theatre, April 26
  • Broadway Buzz

    • Garth Drabinsky, who once ran the Broadway producing organization Livent, which collapsed in a financial scandal, won’t be able to appeal his fraud and forgery convictions. The Canadian Supreme Court will not hear the appeal case, the court announced March 29. YIKES!
    • According to a report on Contactmusic.com, “Clerks” creator, Kevin Smith hopes to open a “Clerks”-themed play at the end of 2014 (the 20th anniversary of Smith’s directorial debut). 
    • Gavin Creel (Hair) has been announced to play Elder Price on the tour of The Book of Mormon. Where can we get tickets!??!?!
    • “SMASH” appears to be a HIT! The TV show has just been picked up for a 2nd season. We just don’t know how we are going to get through the summer without new episodes!
    • Raven Symone made her Sister Act debut and we hear she is FABULOUS BABY!
    • According to the New York Post, Tony winner John Patrick Shanley (Doubt) is being sued for $5 million with accusations of forcing actress Amanda Jencsik to engage in violent sexual acts. GULP!

    That’s all for this edition of The Maximum Insider! Thank you for reading!

    Sneak Peek at the Broadway Spring Season!

    Welcome to this edition of The Maximum Insider! While most people blame global warming for the unseasonably mild winter, we at Maximum know the real source of the heat–Broadway buzz! In this edition, we declare an early spring (groundhog who?) with a sneak peak at some of the upcoming season’s hottest tickets. We’ll also reveal how a slew of Broadway stars will soon be invading your living room, dish the details on the theater world’s latest offstage dramas, and much more! Thanks for taking a break with Maximum for all your insider Broadway news. Now pour yourself a second cup of coffee, and let’s get to the good stuff!

    Peter And The Starcatcher: Tickets On Sale Now!

    After a highly successful run at New York Theatre Workshop, Peter and the Starcatcher is moving on up to the Great White Way. Co-directed by Alex Timbers (Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, The Pee Wee Herman Show) and Roger Rees (Addams Family, Nicholas Nickleby,) this highly imaginative prequel to J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan will amaze and inspire both the young and young-at-heart.

    It was recently announced that a few of the Lost Boys from the original production have found their way back to the Starcatcher. Christian Borle, Adam Chanler-Berat, and Celia Kennan-Bolger will reprise their respective roles from the off-Broadway run, with Borle in particular causing buzz in his starring role in the NBC’s mega-hit Smash. Add to that Ben Brantley’s seal of approval (he deemed the NYTW production “brazenly infectious,”) and we’re betting that tickets sales for Peter and the Starcatcher will soar faster than Tinkerbell after a double-shot of fairy dust.

    For more information, please visit:Peter and the Starcatcher

    Get ‘em While They’re Hot! Broadway Stars in Demand on the Small Screen.


    It seemed for years that stage actors just couldn’t get a break when it came to landing TV and film roles.

    Well when it rains it pours! Network execs are now clamoring to book theater folk for guest appearances on their popular primetime shows. Idina Menzel and Brian Stokes Mitchell have both been tapped for recurring roles on Glee (incidentally, both play relatives of Leah Michelle, another Broadway-to-TV transplant.) Jordan Roth and New York Post critic Michael Riedel have appeared on episodes of Smash.

    While Glee and Smash may seem like obvious choices for shows to feature Broadway vets, a number of upcoming series will be headlined by actors whom theatergoers know well. Two-time Tony winner Sutton Foster (currently in Anything Goes) will be starring in the ABC Family comedy Bunheads, playing a Las Vegas showgirl who impulsively marries a man and ends up living in his sleepy hometown. In her career on stage, Foster has typically chosen big-hearted comic roles in madcap farces. This new character sounds like it’ll be no exception. Tony winner Ellen Barkin (The Normal Heart) and Tony nominee Andrew Rannells (The Book of Mormon) will star in the pilot episode of New Normal. Created by Glee showrunner Ryan Murphy and Allison Adler, the series will follow a gay couple trying to start a family. Tony winner Kristen Chenoweth (most recently of Promises, Promises) is no stranger to television–she was a series regular on Pushing Daisies and The West Wing–but this time, the Broadway favorite is getting her own show. GCB will premiere on ABC on March 4th, with Chenoweth playing a Southern Belle divorcée trying to stave off small-town gossip, as well as the crow’s feet around her eyes.

    Michael Urie made a name for himself in the network series Ugly Betty before joining the current revival of How To Succeed… on Broadway. After his run as the scheming Bud Frump, however, Urie plans on returning to television in the new CBS comedy Partners, playing one of two architects whose working relationship often feels like a marriage. Steven Pasquale (Reasons to be Pretty) will pull double-duty in the upcoming NBC drama Do No Harm, playing a brilliant neurosurgeon and his dangerous alter-ego. Speaking of mental imbalance, Charlie Sheen is developing a comedy for FX called Anger Management. Actor and singer Michael Arden (Big River) has announced that he will be joining the cast. Winning?

    In case all that’s not enough, and you’re still craving Tony winners on your telly, then we have a few more treats for you to enjoy: Anthony LaPaglia (A View From the Bridge, Lend Me a Tenor) will star in Americana and Brían F. O’Byrne (The Coast of Utopia, Doubt) in Gilded Lilys, both drama pilots set to air on ABC. The network is also developing an American adaptation of the BBC comedy Only Fools and Horses, headlined by John Leguizamo (Ghetto Klown).

     

    Preview: When Everything Was Possible


    A concert starring Kurt Peterson and Victoria Mallory will have a one-night-only engagement on April 29th at New York City Center. Peterson and Miller met in 1968 on the Lincoln Center Revival Stage, playing the lead roles in West Side Story. Their powerful performances as Tony and Maria had Leonard Bernstein exclaiming, “I cried all the time, just as I did the first time I saw it.” The young thespians eventually parted ways, never again to reunite onstage. Until now, that is.

    The dynamic duo will take to the stage as a pair for the first time in 40 years. If you’re wondering if Mallory and Peterson still got it after all this time, look no further than Broadway great Hal Prince, who said, “Victoria Mallory is proof positive that time stands still.” Even the notoriously critical New York Times described Peterson as “splendid, with a voice as rich as the melodies.”
    To be a part of this very rare experience, visit When Everything Was Possible to purchase your tickets.

     

    The Very Public Breakup of Bruce and Scott (or, How Not to Be a TV Star)


    First of all, some background: Bruce Norris wrote this play called Clybourne Park, which won the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. Norris was also cast as an actor in the upcoming HBO series The Corrections, which is being produced by Scott Rudin. Rudin was going to produce Clybourne on Broadway this spring, but suddenly backed out earlier this month, putting the entire production in jeopardy. The reason? Norris had quit The Corrections, and Rudin was pissed.

    Here’s how it went down: Norris wanted out of his HBO contract so he could “focus more on his writing.” Because he couldn’t simply walk away, Norris tried to get fired. According to a statement released by Rudin on February 1st, Norris “made a series of what he termed more and more outrageous demands in the hope that we would turn him down, and that he would not have to face the responsibility of reneging on a commitment he made.” Rudin went on to say that he thinks Bruce Norris is “a wonderful playwright, and an equally wonderful actor, but I am unwilling to support or de facto condone this behavior and have decided not to proceed with Clybourne Park – or with the production of a new play I commissioned from Mr. Norris. I look forward to seeing his next play as a member of the paying audience.” Ouch! (Read the full article here)

    Fortunately for everyone involved with the show, Clybourne’s woes were short-lived. Two days after Rudin jumped ship, another big-wig producer (namely Jordan Roth, president of Jujamcyn Theaters) stepped in to save the day, saying in a statement, “It is a true privilege for all of us at Jujamcyn to bring such a fiercely provocative and wildly funny work to Broadway audiences. Clybourne Park is on. We’ll see you there!” Roth also stated that many of Rudin’s investors “want to continue with us, including Lincoln Center Theater.” So much for solidarity. (Read the full article here)

     

    Spring Openings: What’s in Bloom This Season?


    March

  • Death of a Salesman Ethel Barrymore, March 15
  • Once Bernard B. Jacobs, March 18
  • Jesus Christ Superstar Neil Simon Theatre, March 22
  • Newsies Nederlander Theatre, March 29
  • April

  • The Best Man Schoenfeld Theatre, April 1
  • End of the Rainbow Belasco Theatre, April 2
  • Leap of Faith St. James Theatre, April 3
  • Evita Marquis Theatre, April 5
  • Magic/Bird Longacre Theatre, April 11
  • Clybourne Park Walter Kerr Theater, April 12
  • Peter and the Starcatcher Brooks Atkinson, April 15
  • One Man, Two Guvnors Music Box Theatre, April 18
  • Ghost the Musical Lunt-Fontanne Theatre, April 23
  • Nice Work If You Can Get It Imperial Theatre, April 24
  • The Columnist Samuel J. Friedman, April 25
  • Don’t Dress for Dinner American Airlines, April 26
  • Curtain Call: What’s closing now?

  • Stick Fly February 26 R&B singer Alicia Keys’ foray into Broadway producing was hardly a flop–but still, we’re guessing box office sales weren’t as “fly” as she’d hoped. The new play closed just shy of the 100-regular-performance mark.
  • Shatner’s World: We Just Live in It March 4 The world may be ending, but Shatner said we can all crash on his couch until we find a new place.
  • The Road to Mecca March 4 Hint: you have to drive east to get there (and you better get a move-on before this “road” closes!)
  • Wit March 17 Cynthia Nixon will stop shaving her head just in time for St. Patty’s Day. A touching portrait but maybe too heavy a topic for an extension this time?
  • Leapin’ Lizards! Website for upcoming Annie revival is now live!

    America’s favorite orphan will be tapping her way back to Broadway this fall. While the nation-wide search is still on for a young starlet to play the title character, this new mounting of Annie already has some heavy hitters attached, with director James Lapine and choreographer Andy Blankenbuehler on board. Watch them talk about the show-in-progress, and keep up to date with the latest news at the production’s website.

     

     

     

     

    Broadway Buzz

    • All five principle actors in The Book of Mormon have extended their contracts through 2013, so if any of us are lucky enough to score tickets in the next two years, we can look forward to hearing all the hilarious blasphemy in its original form.
    • Although she never appeared on Broadway, the late singer Whitney Houston had a lasting impact on the industry. A stage adaptation of The Bodyguard, starring Heather Headley, is slated to hit the West End later this year, and while the major motion picture Sparkle has yet to premiere, groundwork is already being laid for a Broadway incarnation.
    • Oscar winners Julia Roberts and Meryl Streep have signed on to star in the film adaption of Tracey Letts’ highly acclaimed drama August: Osage County. Streep will assume the role of Violet, the pill-popping family matriarch, with Roberts playing her controlling daughter Barbara.
    • Arthur Miller’s 1968 play The Price is coming back to the Great White Way! While there’s been no explicit announcement as of yet, Playbill.com has reported that a regional theater company in Pittsfield, MA had to cancel its production of The Price due to plans for a Broadway revival. (Read the full article here.) This will mark the second work by Miller to be revived this year (Death of a Salesman opens March 15th).
    • Don’t wait up for the new Sleepless in Seattle musical to arrive. It may be awhile yet. The show was scheduled to debut at the Pasadena Playhouse this season, with designs for an eventual Broadway run, but the producers weren’t happy with their current songwriting team. So they replaced them all. The project is now on hold while the new crew of composers tirelessly pens a fresh soundtrack for Sleepless. (Read the full article here)
    • It was recently announced that Matilda, the musical based on Roald Dahl’s classic children’s novel, will make its Main Stem debut in early 2013 (the show is already selling out nightly on the West End.) It’s worth pointing out that Matilda tells the charming story of a schoolgirl who discovers she has telekinetic powers, unlike Carrie (currently playing off-Broadway,) which tells the twisted, terrifying story of a schoolgirl who discovers she has telekinetic powers. Don’t make the same mistake we did.
    • Theatergoers may have to wait another year to be haunted by the ghost of Rebecca, but in the meantime, those itching for a musical full of gothic glamour can always rely on The Phantom of the Opera. And they’ll certainly be in good company! The longest-running show on Broadway played its 10,000th performance on February 11th, continuing to regale audiences nightly with the timeless message that if you’re being stalked by a lunatic, following him into his dungeon lair is probably a bad idea.
    That's all for this edition of The Maximum Insider!
    Thanks for checking in!

    Tony Nominations Announced!

    May 3, 2011

    Welcome to this edition of The Maximum Insider! Alert. This special edition includes the much anticipated 2011 Tony Nominations! Thanks for checking in with Maximum Entertainment for all your Insider Broadway news!

     

    2011 Tony Nominations

    “The Book of Mormon” Scores BIG With 14 Nominations!

    Nominations for the 2011 Tony Awards were announced this morning by Matthew Broderick and Anika Noni Rose.

    The big winner was “The Book of Mormon ” with 14 nominations! That is one nomination short of tying “The Producers” and “Billy Elliot” for the most Tony nominations ever received by one show!

    The second most nominated show of the season is “The Scottsboro Boys” with 12 nominations. This is a big achievement for a show that closed early in the season. The power of Kander and Ebb lives on.

    Other shows that received a significant number of nominations include the revival of “Anything Goes” (9), the revival of “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying” (8), “The Merchant of Venice” (7), “Jerusalem” (6), “The Motherf**ker with the Hat” (6), “Sister Act” (5), “War Horse” (5) and “The Normal Heart” (5).

    Nominations for “The Book of Mormon”, “Catch Me If You Can”, “The Scottsboro Boys” and “Sister Act” mark the first time in 14 years that the category of Best Musical has been filled with productions with completely new scores!

    This year garnered quite a few nominees with multiple nominations including Rob Ashford “How to Succeed…”, Kathleen Marshall “Anything Goes”, Susan Stroman “The Scottsboro Boy” and Casey Nicholaw “The Book of Mormon” each garnered nominations in the Best Direction of a Musical and Best Choreography categories. Nicholaw shared his directorial nomination with co-director and Book of Mormon co-author Trey Parker. Sound designer Brian Ronan picked up nominations for “The Book of Mormon” and “Anything Goes”. Larry Hochman was nominated for Best Orchestrations for “The Scottsboro Boys” and “The Book of Mormon” (with Stephen Oremus). Catherine Zuber also nabbed nominations for her period costumes for “Born Yesterday” and “How to Succeed”.

    This morning’s nominations contained a few surprising Omissions. “Priscilla Queen of the Desert” was shut out for Best Musical and received only 2 nominations, one for Best Actor in a Musical for Tony Sheldon and one for Best Costume Design. “Wonderland” was shut out of Best Musical and did not receive a single Tony nomination. “Anything Goes” cast members Colin Donnell, Joel Grey and Laura Osnes had nomination buzz surrounding their performances but not enough to garner nominations. However; Joel Grey did receive a nomination in another category. Grey was nominated with George C. Wolfe for Best Direction of a Play for “Normal Heart”, a contender for Best Revival of a Play. “Brief Encounter”, a critic favorite, was shut out in the category of Best Play while its leading lady, Hannah Yelland, and its Sound Designer scored its only two nominations. Shoo-in, Daniel Radcliffe was omitted from Best Actor in a Musical for “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying”. This marks Radcliffe’s 2nd Tony snub. Radcliffe also had nomination buzz surrounding his performance in “Equus” in 2009 but wasn’t able to garner a nomination. Radcliffe isn’t the only Hollywood Star to get left out, Ben Stiller didn’t hear his name called this morning for “The House of Blue Leaves” either. Other notable snubs include Aaron Tveit for “Catch Me If You Can”, Robin Williams for “Bengal Tiger in the Baghdad Zoo” and Chris Rock in “The Motherf**ker in the Hat”.

    There were also a few Surprise Nominations. “Arcadia” was nominated for Best Revival of a Play edging out strong contenders “Born Yesterday” and “Driving Ms. Daisy”. Beth Leavel snuck into the Best Actress in a Musical category edging out Sherie Renee Scott. NOTE: This category only contains 4 nominees this year. In order to have 5 nominees, there must be 7 eligible actresses and this year only contained 6. Tammy Blanchard snuck into the the Best Featured Actress Category for “How to Succeed In Business Without Really Trying” pushing out predicted nominee Laura Osnes “Anything Goes”. Joshua Henry also garnered a nomination for Best Actor in a Musical for “The Scottsboro Boys”.

    How will the Tony nominations affect the box office sales of low grossing productions? Will it be the kiss of death for the productions finding themselves without nominations or will they go the route of “The Addams Family” and join the million dollar club? We’ll soon find out.

    2011 Tony Nominations


    AND THE NOMINEES ARE:

    Best Play:
    Good People
    Jerusalem
    The Motherf**cker with the Hat
    War Horse

    Best Musical:
    The Book of Mormon
    Catch Me If You Can
    The Scottsboro Boys
    Sister Act

    Best Book of a Musical:
    Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson
    The Book of Mormon
    The Scottsboro Boys
    Sister Act

    Best Original Score (Music and/or Lyrics) Written for the Theatre:
    The Book of Mormon
    The Scottsboro Boys
    Sister Act
    Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdwown

    Best Revival of a Play:
    Arcadia
    The Importance of Being Earnest
    The Merchant of Venice
    The Normal Heart

    Best Revival of a Musical:
    Anything Goes
    How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying

    Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Play:
    Brian Bedford, The Importance of Being Earnest
    Bobby Cannavale, The Motherf**ker with the Hat
    Joe Mantello, The Normal Heart
    Al Pacino, The Merchant of Venice
    Mark Rylance, Jersualem

    Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Play:
    Nina Arianda, Born Yesterday
    Frances McDormand, Good People
    Lily Rabe, The Merchant of Venice
    Vanessa Redgrave, Driving Miss Daisy
    Hannah Yelland, Brief Encounter

    Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical:
    Norbert Leo Butz, Catch Me If You Can
    Josh Gad, The Book of Mormon
    Joshue Henry, The Scottsboro Boys
    Andrew Rannells, The Book of Mormon
    Tony Sheldon, Priscilla Queen of the Desert

    Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical:
    Sutton Foster, Anything Goes
    Beth Leavel, Baby It’s You!
    Patina Miller, Sister Act
    Donna Murphy, The People in the Picture

    Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Play:
    Mackenzie Crook, Jerusalem
    Billy Crudup, Arcadia
    John Benjamin Hickey, The Normal Heart
    Arian Moayed, Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo
    Yul Vasquez, The Motherf**ker with the Hat

    Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Play:
    Ellen Barkin, The Normal Heart
    Edie Falco, The House of Blue Leaves
    Judith Light, Lombardi
    Joanna Lumley, La Bete
    Elizabeth Rodriguez, The Motherf**ker with the Hat

    Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical:
    Coleman Domingo, The Scottsboro Boys
    Adam Godley, Anything Goes
    John Laroquette, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying
    Forrest McClendon, The Scottsboro Boys
    Rory O’Malley, The Book of Mormon

    Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical:
    Laura Benanti, Womeon on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown
    Tammy Blanchard, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying
    Victoria Clark, Sister Act
    Nikki M. James, The Book of Mormon
    Patti Lupone, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown

    Best Scenic Design of a Play:
    The Motherf**ker with the Hat
    War Horse
    Jerusalem
    The Merchant of Venice

    Best Scenic Design of a Musical:
    The Scottsboro Boys
    Anything Goes
    The Book of Mormon
    Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson

    Best Costume Design of a Play:
    The Merchant of Venice
    The Importance of Being Earnest
    La Bete
    Born Yesterday

    Best Costume Design of a Musical:
    Priscilla Queen of the Desert
    Anything Goes
    The Book of Mormon
    How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying

    Best Lighting Design of a Play:
    War Horse
    Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo
    The Merchant of Venice
    Jerusalem

    Best Lighting Design of a Musical:
    The Scottsboro Boys
    How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying
    Anything Goes
    The Book of Mormon

    Best Sound Design of a Play:
    Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo
    Brief Encounter
    Jerusalem
    War Horse

    Best Sound Design of a Musical:
    The Scottsboro Boys
    Catch Me If You Can
    Anything Goes
    The Book of Mormon

    Best Direction of a Play:
    Marianne Elliott & Tom Morris, War Horse
    Joel Grey & George C. Wolfe, The Normal Heart
    Anna D. Shapiro, The Motherf**ker with the Hat
    Daniel Sullivan, The Merchant of Venice

    Best Direction of a Musical:
    Rob Ashford, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying
    Kathleen Marshall, Anything Goes
    Casey Nicholawy & Trey Parker, The Book of Mormon
    Susan Stroman, The Scottsboro Boys

    Best Choreography:
    Rob Ashford, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying
    Kathleen Marshall, Anything Goes
    Casey Nicholaw, The Book of Mormon
    Susan Stroman, The Scottsboro Boys

    Best Orchestrations:
    How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying
    The Scottsboro Boys
    The Book of Mormon
    Catch Me If You Can

     

    Tony Nominations by Production

    The Book of Mormon – 14
    The Scottsboro Boys – 12
    Anything Goes – 9
    How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying – 8
    The Merchant of Venice – 7
    Jerusalem – 6
    The Motherf**ker with the Hat – 6
    The Normal Heart – 5
    Sister Act – 5
    War Horse – 5
    Catch Me If You Can – 4
    Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo – 3
    The Importance of Being Earnest – 3
    Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown – 3
    Arcadia – 2
    Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson – 2
    Born Yesterday – 2
    Brief Encounter – 2
    Good People – 2
    La Bête – 2
    Priscilla Queen of the Desert – 2
    Baby It’s You! – 1
    Driving Miss Daisy – 1
    The House of Blue Leaves – 1
    Lombardi – 1
    The People in the Picture – 1

     

    “My manager called me. I was walking my dog in the woods and she called me and I let out a yelp. I was very, very excited. The show’s been – it’s had a long, long journey – a difficult one for me, personally, and artistically. It’s a difficult story to tell. It spans years and many, many locations. There’s a tremendous amount of back-story to tell in the show, so it’s sort of difficult to get that all on stage, and figure out how to do it. And the part – I’m out there running around like I’m still 25, but it’s just more about body maintenance, and aerobic [laughs] energy. But I’ve loved the part for a long time. I first got the script – oh my God – five years ago, an old version, none of which is really there. It’s changed so much, but I still really connected to the part way back then, and have always loved the music, and really believed in it, and there’s been some really, really difficult setbacks along the way, so it’s just completely ebullient today. I just feel overjoyed. I’m so thrilled that I survived.” [Laughs.]

    - Norbert Leo Butz
    Best Actor in a Musical Nominee for “Catch Me If You Can”

    That’s all for this edition of Maximum Insider!

    Maximum Entertainment Productions

    email: info@maximumcompany.com

    Spring Openings

    It’s that time of year again – and no, we’re not talking about taxes. It’s time for Broadway to gear up for the race to the Tonys. With so many shows opening up this spring, it is hard to know where to begin. Many will live up to the hype – but which shows will go the way of Glory Days? (Hint – if you’ve not heard of this musical, there is a reason!)

    Ghetto Klown – Performances from February 21st – John Leguizamo’s hilarious, auto-biographical one-man show.
    The Book of Mormon – Performances from February 24th – If you are easily offended, this one from the South Park creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker may not be for you.
    Arcadia - Performances from February 26th – Math has never been more interesting than in this Stoppard play starring Billy Crudup and Raul Esparza.
    Priscilla Queen of the Desert – Performances from 28th February – Get out your glitter for this disco-musical about 3 drag queens in the Australian Outback.
    Anything Goes – Performances from March 10th – Sutton Foster and Joel Grey revive this maritime musical.
    Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo – Performances from March 11th – Yet another play from Rajiv Joseph, starring Robin Williams as the feline character.
    How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying - Performances from March 11th – Harry Potter returns to Broadway, under his stage name Daniel Radcliff, in this musical about the corporate ladder.
    Catch Me If You Can – Performances from March 11th – Based on the 2002 movie about young con-man Frank Abagnale.
    The Motherf**ker with the Hat – Performances from March 15th – Leave the kids at home for this comedy starring Chris Rock.
    War Horse - Performances from March 15th – About a horse and a war.
    Wonderland – Performances from March 21st – A modern re-imagining of the classic story of Alice In Wonderland
    Sister Act – Performances from March 24th – Disco meets the diocese in this one, based on the movie starring Whoopi Goldberg (she’s a producer on this!)
    High- Performances from March 25th – Kathleen Turner stars as a thick-skinned nun who helps a young junkie battle addiction.
    Born Yesterday – Performances from March 31st – Jim Belushi and Robert Sean Leonard star in this show about a corrupt businessman, a bookworm and a not-so-dumb blonde.
    The People in the Picture – Performances from April 1st – Donna Murphy stars in this new musical about a Jewish woman’s life in the Yiddish Theatre in pre-war Poland.
    Baby It’s You! - Performances from March 26th – A New Jersey housewife discovers and develops the ’60s girl group The Shirelles.
    Jerusalem – Performances from April 2nd – A motorcycle daredevil and wanted man faces eviction from his home deep in the woods.
    House of Blue Leaves – Performances from April 4th – Ben Stiller, Edie Falco and Jennifer Jason Leigh star in this dark comedy featuring nothing less than a zookeeper and the Pope.
    The Normal Heart – Performances from April 19th – Directed by Joel Grey, this drama centers on the AIDS epidemic in the 1980′s .
    Spider-Man, Turn Off The Dark - opening in June? Maybe? Maybe not? Ever?
    Fat Pig – Postponed until Fall 2011. Oops!

    Kathy Griffin takes Broadway!

    The red-haired, razor-tongued queen of celebrity gossip made her Broadway debut on March 11th at the Belasco theatre as part of the new BROADWAY CONCERT EVENT series. The short but successful run of the honestly titled Kathy Griffin Wants A Tony gave the Broadway community a special showing of Griffin’s stand-up act, taking aim at celebrities of all kinds. As an added bonus however, her act evolved daily dependent on the hot topics in the news and, of course, payed special attention to the theatre world.

    Though Ms.Griffin herself has reached a level of fame that rivals many of those she mocks, she continues to let audiences in on the juicy details of Hollywood behind-the-scenes. A two-time Emmy winner for her show My Life on the D-List and a Grammy nominee, Griffin’s bid for a Tony did not disappoint. Read on to see what the reviewers had to say:

    New York Times
    “And her stamina is remarkable. With breath control to match the most skilled coloratura soprano, Ms. Griffin holds forth at a relentless clip for two straight hours without a break, taking just the occasional sip from a glass of water. And like an opera diva of yesteryear, she never strays from center stage, as if to conserve energy better used to keep the flow of cutting commentary from running dry for even a moment.”

    New York Post
    “Griffin is the perfect comedian for these celebrity-obsessed times. Don’t look for any insights into the human condition — her humor is proudly superficial. But there’s no one better at making fun of such topics as the reality TV shows of which she’s inordinately fond. ”

    New York Press
    “What endears Griffin to her fans is that, unlike Joan Rivers, say, we never feel as if Griffin will turn her acid tongue on us. She’s in the world of L.A. fame, but not part of it, so she can sit back and take notes and then regale us with every misstep and mistake that she bears witness to.”

    The 10-performance run saw packed houses throughout! Now, only time will tell if the coveted Tony Award is indeed in her future. But one thing is for sure; after Kathy Griffin, Broadway may never be the same!

    To read the full article from the New York Times

    Spider-Man Still Only Just Clinging On

    last week it was announced that Spider -Man producers have postponed an official opening for the sixth time. This, following Julie Taymor’s dismissal as director of the troubled show, will allow several weeks for Bono and team to attempt to breathe new life into the deflating show. Taymor, will be replaced by director, Phillip William McKinely (best known for his work on The Boy from Oz), and playwright, Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa (It’s a Bird – It’s a Plane – It’s Superman). A new opening date is set for mid-June.

    And now, another rumored change in the revolving-door of artists involved with the show. Bloomberg news is reporting that choreographer Daniel Ezralow is leaving, to be replaced by Chase Brock. Though none of the sources would identify themselves for fear of repercussions, they are all indicating that Brock will be stepping in, and that, furthermore, it is not surprising because Ezralow “was a Julie person.”

    It has also been rumored that many of the show’s performers are anxious to move on. And with dancers’ and chorus members’ six month contracts set to expire in May, they may soon have the chance to leave.

    The big question now is whether or not Bono can turn the whole mess around.

    “The sense is that unless Bono decides to play Peter Parker himself, this musical is on its way to becoming the biggest flop in theater history. ” -Michael Reidel, New York Post

    Priscilla Queen of the Desert opens at the Palace to mixed reviews

    The larger-than-life musical about 3 travelling drag queens opened March 20th at the Palace Theatre. Based on the 1994 movie, the stage adaptation of Priscilla has found its way from Australia to New York, leaving the requisite trail of glitter and glitz.

    Tony Sheldon’s performance has generated a fair amount of buzz as being the standout of the bunch. Not surprising as he has been with the show since its Aussie debut. And the production boasts some of the most imaginative costumes going, designed by Tim Chappel and Lizzy Gardiner. However while the disco musical certainly comes with everything you might expect from a show about drag queens – including Madonna covers and platform shoes – some are saying that it lacks the substance and ease one expects in a truly great Broadway production.

    New York Times:
    “this hyperactively splashy show wants so desperately to give audiences a gaudy good time that the results are oddly enervating. Instead of ecstatic high-midnight, when the dance floor is packed and the energy in the room hits a peak, Broadway’s newest karaoke-inspired musical more regularly evokes the later, more dispiriting hours at a nightclub, when the D.J. is on autopilot and only the really hardened club crawlers are still churning away.”

    TheaterMania.com
    “While the show will likely prove to be a crowd-pleaser, it can be difficult to tell whether all of those offering a standing ovation at the curtain call actually enjoyed what they saw — or are simply surrendering out of sheer exhaustion.”

    Variety
    “For all the glitz, though — and there is a lot of glitz — there’s a heart ticking true beneath it all, and that should earn ‘Priscilla’ a long and profitable run at the Palace, with the merchandise stand doing big business in purple boas.”