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Playbill Vault’s Today in Theatre History: July 19

1951 Dolores Gray and Bert Lahr lead a cast of 75 in the revue Two on the Aisle, opening on Broadway at the Mark Hellinger Theatre for a run of 276 performances. Abe Burrows directs the show with sketches and lyrics by Betty Comden and Adolph Green, and music by Jule Styne. In his review for The New York Times, critic Brooks Atkinson calls Two on the Aisle “genuine entertainment, full of brains, talent, wit, humor and splendor.”

1966 David Wayne, Constance Towers, and Barbara Cook are on-board the Cotton Blossom in a revival of the Oscar Hammerstein IIJerome Kern musical, Show Boat, at the Music Theater of Lincoln Center. Lawrence Kasha directs and Ron Field choreographs the production, which runs 63 performances.

1990 Got a dime? The John Houseman Theatre becomes the Broadway Jukebox as Ed Linderman‘s musical revue opens Off-Broadway. The show is new every night as audience members pick 30 songs to be performed from a collection of 90 Broadway showtunes from relatively obscure musicals. The impromptu players include Robert Michael Baker, Susan Flynn, Beth Leavel, Gerry McIntyre, Amelia Prentice, and Sal Viviano.

1999 Pretty in… Blues. Film star Andrew McCarthy takes over the role of Clifford in Warren Leight‘s 1999 Tony Award-winning jazz drama, Side Man. McCarthy, known for roles in movies such as Pretty in Pink, Mannequin, St. Elmo’s Fire, and Weekend at Bernie’s, replaces Scott Wolf (from TV’s Party of Five).

2002 Billy Joel‘s musical Movin’ Out opens its tryout at the Shubert Theatre in Chicago. Mixed reviews prompt director/choreographer Twyla Tharp to overhaul the production, bringing it to Broadway three months later to acclaim, and to Tony Awards for both the primary creators.

2010 Husband-and-wife actors Jason Danieley and Marin Mazzie join the cast of the Pulitzer Prize-winning musical Next to Normal at the Booth Theatre. Mazzie and Danieley succeed Tony winner Alice Ripley and Brian d’Arcy James, respectively, as Diana and Dan Goodman.

2011 Ghost – the Musical, a stage version of the Academy Award-winning 1990 non-musical film, opens in London at the Piccadilly Theatre. Directed by Matthew Warchus, the show features music and lyrics by Dave Stewart and Glen Ballard, and a book by Bruce Joel Rubin. The production, including original stars Richard Fleeshman and Caissie Levy, transfers to Broadway in spring 2012.

Today’s Birthdays: Pat Hingle 1924. Helen Gallagher 1926. Dennis Cole 1940. Mark O’Donnell 1954. Kim Criswell 1957. Campbell Scott 1961.

Watch highlights from the 2011 London production of Ghost – the Musical:

11 Must-Read Theatre Books to Bring to the Beach This Summer

Break the typical beach read mold with these 13 theatre-related reads. Below are musical retrospectives, biographies, and more that will strike any fan’s fancy.

Mitchell and Trask’s Hedwig and the Angry Inch, by Caridad Svich
Hedwig and the Angry Inch is examined through the lens of rock ’n’ roll performance, American musical history, and LGBTQ+ culture. The show, written by John Cameron Mitchell and Stephen Trask, broke boundaries by having one of the first genderqueer protagonists on stage. (Out now from The Fourth Wall)

Zippy and Me: My Life Inside Britain’s Most Infamous Puppet, by Ronnie Le Drew with Duncan Barrett & Nuala Calvi
Ronnie Le Drew has been a puppeteer for over 30 years, working on films like A Muppet Christmas Carol and Labyrinth. The role for which Le Drew is best known, however, is that of Zippy on ITV’s Rainbow (the British equivalent of Sesame Street). Now, the puppet master tells his own story intertwined with the inside scoop on Rainbow, from performer in-fighting to ridiculous TV execs, and even a love triangle. (Out July 25 from Unbound)

Barnum: An American Life, by Robert Wilson
Lovers of The Greatest Showman won’t want to miss this new biography of the co-creator of the Barnum & Bailey Circus, which takes a deep dive into the life of P.T. Barnum from his upbringing in Connecticut through his career as a ringleader (and mayor for a year!) until his death. (Out August 6 from Simon & Schuster)

The Short Plays of Harold Pinter, by Harold Pinter with foreword by Antonia Fraser.
British playwright and Nobel prize winner Harold Pinter is widely regarded as one of the world’s finest playwrights. Ahead of the Broadway revival of Betrayal comes this collection of short plays, from The Room to 2000’s Celebration. (Out August 6 from Faber Drama)

Ensemble: An Oral History of Chicago Theater, by Mark Larson
New York tends to get all the credit when it comes to theatre, but Chicago is just as bustling and vibrant, with over 250 theatres. Compiled from over 300 interviews, this book takes a look at how theatre evolved in the Windy City thanks to stories from Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Ed Asner, George Wendt, Michael Shannon, Tracy Letts, and more. (Out August 13 from Agate Midway)

Sam Wanamaker: A Global Performer, by Diana Devlin
This biography of the actor, playwright, and director focuses on his 25-year project reconstructing William Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre near its original site. Author Diana Devlin spent 20 years as Wanamaker’s partner, giving readers an insider’s point of view to this theatre visionary. (Out August 13 from Oberon Books)

Dearest Lenny - Letters from Japan and the Making of the World Maestro, by Mari Yoshihara
Two unique relationships in Leonard Bernstein’s life are revealed through the letters of two fans in Japan, one of whom would go on to become his business representative and the other a close family friend. Dearest Lenny highlights how Bernstein’s work had a global impact through personal connections. (Out September 3 from Oxford University Press)

The Show Won’t Go On: The Most Shocking, Bizarre, and Historic Deaths of Performers Onstage, by Jeff Abraham and Burt Kearns
Certainly the most morbid book on our list this season, this is for fans of the weird and obscure. With stories like the magician who unexpectedly expired on live TV and the actor who died on stage in a play called The Art of Murder, The Show Won’t Go On is a collection of some of the weirdest occasions in which a performer went beyond the veil. (Out September 3 from Chicago Review Press)

The Prom: A Novel Based on the Hit Broadway Musical, by Saundra Mitchell with Bob Martin, Chad Beguelin, and Matthew Sklar
One of last season’s most LGBTQ+-friendly shows gets a novelization. The Prom follows Emma, a teenager who just wants to bring her girlfriend to a dance. When the PTA steps in, her hopes are dashed. Could a narcissistic group of Broadway actors swoop in to save the day while trying to reach their own dreams of super-stardom? (Out September 10 from Viking Books for Young Readers)

It’s Always Loud in the Balcony: A Life in Black Theater, from Harlem to Hollywood and Back, by Richard Wesley
Stage and screen writer Richard Wesley started in Newark before making a splash in the black theatre scene in Harlem and eventually working with Sidney Poitier on films. This is both Wesley’s memoir and a look at the historic works the black community has contributed to theatre from Amiri Baraka to Hamilton. (Out September 15 from Applause)

Come From Away: Welcome to the Rock: An Inside Look at the Hit Musical, by Irene Sankoff, David Hein, and Laurence Maslon
This Broadway musical companion book to Come From Away is sure to be as fun as a night in Gander. With an introduction by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, the book includes illustrated complete music and lyrics, backstage anecdotes, photos from productions all over the world, and even some songs that didn’t make it to the stage. (Out September 24 from Hachette Books)

And while it won’t be summer anymore, here’s one more book to make you excited for fall!

Jerome Robbins, by Himself: Selections from His Letters, Journals, Drawings, Photographs, and an Unfinished Memoir, by Jerome Robbins and edited by Amanda Vaill
Writings from Robbins’ personal archives give readers a deep dive into the life of this theatrical titan. A dancer, choreographer, director and producer, Robbins is known for his work on West Side Story, Gypsy, and The King & I among countless others. In addition to journal entries, drawings, and mementos are letters with other well-known artists like Leonard Bernstein, Laurence Olivier, and Stephen Sondheim. (Out October 1 from Knopf)

Step Out With Lincoln Center Out of Doors

New York is a city made ever more dynamic by its diversity and endless creativity. And nothing captures the essence of NYC quite like music reverberating through the balmy summer air. From July 24 to August 11, Lincoln Center Out of Doors, one of the country’s longest-running free outdoor festivals, adds to the spirit of summer with three full weeks of multi-genre music, dance, family events, spoken word, and more.

Filling the summer nights will be a combination of new artists and classic favorites, opening with a celebration of a Lincoln Center milestone: Soul at the Center. In 1972, this first extended presentation of Black Art and culture took place across Lincoln Center’s campus. Ellis Haizlip, the visionary creator of the public television show SOUL!, coproduced this breakthrough live series with Lincoln Center, featuring artists such as Nina Simone, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Ike & Tina Turner, and Labelle. For this special evening at Out of Doors, Lalah Hathaway, daughter of influential soul legend Donny Hathaway—who performed at the original Soul at the Center—lends her magnetic contralto to a specially curated set of her father’s classic songs.

Soul music has transformed generations of artists and audiences, and so it’s fitting that its spirit extends beyond opening night. On July 27, Damrosch Park will be filled with the flavors of old-school Texas Chicano soul as guitarist-producer Adrian Quesada leads an all-star band of Tejano trailblazers in selections from their 2018 album Look at My Soul: The Latin Shade of Texas Soul. This lively mix of blues, Latin jazz, and rock ‘n’ roll, as well as traditional norteño and mariachi, celebrates the musical contributions of Chicano soul singers and session musicians from the 1950s and ’60s, long overlooked by the mainstream. Kicking off the evening will be Austin-based psychedelic soul band the Black Pumas—recently named Best New Band at the 2019 Austin Music Awards—and soul veteran Lee Fields & The Expressions, performing from their new album, It Rains Love.

American_Songbook_Alice_Tully_Hall_Rhiannon Giddens_American Songbook 2016 (credit Kevin Yatarola)_HR.jpg
Rhiannon Giddens Kevin Yatarola

Another evening that honors underacknowledged voices will be Turning the Tables, a continuing partnership between NPR Music and Lincoln Center, which showcases female artists who have been marginalized, overlooked, or just hidden in plain sight. This year’s project, The Motherlode, spotlights eight women who shaped the blues, jazz, gospel, rock, and Latinx music. Selecting from the rich songbooks of these artists—whose names will be revealed at the show—will be a group of contemporary performers, including Rhiannon Giddens, Ledisi, Valerie Simpson, Lizz Wright, Xiomara Laugart, Amina Claudine Myers, Cleo Reed, Charenée Wade, all under the musical direction of multiple Grammy Award–winner Terri Lyne Carrington. The two-day La Casita event (July 27 & 28) will host a community of artist-activists fighting for rights—LGBTQ, women’s, civil, immigrant, and human—through poetry, music, and stories.

Upholding Lincoln Center’s mission to celebrate diversity and establish a welcoming community to the largest possible audience, Out of Doors brings back the annual Heritage Sunday, presented in association with the Center for Traditional Music and Dance (CTMD). Illustrating the outstanding diversity and complex history of New York City is an all-star lineup of artists, including Afro-Puerto Rican bomba supergroup Redobles de Cultura, members of the dynamic Sri Lankan Dance Academy of New York, klezmer artist Michael Winograd & the Honorable Mentshen, and visionary Andean folk music ensemble Inkarayku (July 28). Later that evening, the Caribbean Cultural Center celebrates the legacy of African influences on Puerto Rico’s rich musical history with a program of music and dance, featuring performances by Moncho Rivera, Cita Rodriguez & Su Banda, Carlito Padron & Su Banda, and the Bombazo Dance Company.

Seamlessly integrating cumbia, bossa nova, rumba, bolero, tango, jazz, rock, klezmer, and a plethora of other musical genres, Latin fusion band La Santa Cecilia, fronted by Marisol Hernandez, pays a visit to the Bandshell (July 25). Following the performance will be a screening of Disney/Pixar’s Coco, inspired by the rich traditions of el Día de los Muertos.

Rianjali and DJ Poizon Ivy
Rianjali and DJ Poizon Ivy Callan Kapush; Lueking Photos

A group of young urban Desi artists comes together on August 4 for another exceptional evening of music and culture. A lineup of genre-defying musicians—including international powerhouse Punjabi singer G. Sidhu; singer-songwriter Rianjali; rap, R&B, and hip-hop artists Taizu, Rolex Rasathy, and Robin Dey; plus DJ Sharad and dance groups IMGE Dance, SA Grooves, and Project Convergence—explore the music of India and its diaspora, creating a space for self-expression that acknowledges their hyphenated identities as Desis outside of South Asia. Then, on August 8, OkayAfrica fills Damrosch Park with the spirit of African soul. Audience members will be treated to the irresistible rhythms of DJ Poizon Ivy and Nigerian singer-songwriter Adekunle Gold’s signature blend of urban high-life and pop-infused songs.

Out of Doors offers plenty to get dance lovers excited throughout the festival. Along with the stellar companies featured by CTMD and the Caribbean Cultural Center, Caleb Teicher & Company masterfully combine tap with jazz, Lindy hop, and hip-hop in a program of fresh, clever choreography on August 2. Then, that same evening, Bob Fosse fans will be delighted by a rare screening of Liza with a “Z,” in which the effervescent Liza Minnelli performs such classics as “Son of a Preacher Man” and concludes with a medley from the film Cabaret. This evening is fittingly kicked off by a performance of “Sing, Sing, Sing” from Bob Fosse’s DANCIN’, featuring students of LaGuardia High School and original choreography by Fosse. On August 7, Jesús Carmona brings his intensely beautiful piece Amator to the Bandshell, which incorporates elements of ballet and flamenco, as well as escuela bolera and modern dance. The evening will also feature musician Arooj Aftab, whose experimental style combines Sufi-mystical poetry with the spirit of independent rock.

Jeff Tweedy
Jeff Tweedy Courtesy of the Artist

Other beloved artists are gracing the Bandshell stage this year, including Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy, with an opening set by experimental cellist and singer-songwriter Helen Gillet (July 26); Blood Orange (a.k.a. Dev Hynes) whose distinctive sound captures the current musical zeitgeist, with the deeply imaginative Kelsey Lu opening the night (August 1); and Grammy Award–winner H.E.R. and U.K. soul singer Samm Henshaw, performing in association with MTV Music Month and Save the Music—a nonprofit organization that has launched thousands of school music programs—alongside top student musicians from the programs (August 9). As part of Americanafest NYC’s sixth annual Roots of American Music Weekend, folk music superstar Patty Griffin joins the roster, with an opening set by a rising force in the country soul scene, Yola (August 10). The August 11 Americanafest lineup boasts Anaïs Mitchell, whose indie-folk musical Hadestown earned 14 Tony Award nominations this year, and closes with the music legend and two-time Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee David Crosby & Friends.

Need a laugh? This year, Out of Doors features stand-up comedy. Daily Show correspondent Roy Wood Jr., along with some of comedy’s brightest stars, will fill the Bandshell with jokes on August 3. And for the younger set, Family Day (August 3) will start off with the global music of Brown Rice Family, followed by an afternoon hosted by Hi-ARTS entitled Move the Crowd: A Day of Hip-Hop and Culture. Najee Omar will offer a powerful spoken-word performance, along with the high-energy dancing of SOLE Defined. Lola Lovenotes brings her street-art skills to Hearst Plaza with live-art creation throughout this fun-filled day.

The beauty of the arts shines most brightly when many cultures and communities are brought together. Lincoln Center will indeed be powerfully illuminated this summer.

Kaitlyn Zafonte is the Marketing and Communications Writer for Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts.

For more information, visit lcoutofdoors.org.

Tickets Are Now On Sale For BETRAYAL On Broadway, Starring Tom Hiddleston, Zawe Ashton, and Charlie Cox

Tickets are now on sale to the general public for Jamie Lloyd’s smash-hit production of Harold Pinter’s Betrayal available by visiting www.Telecharge.com or by calling 800-447-7400. Tickets can be purchased in person at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre Box Office 242 West 45th Street beginning Monday, July 22nd. For more information, please visit httpsbetrayalonbroadway.com.

The Rolling Stone Begins July 15 at Lincoln Center Theater

The Rolling Stone, a new play by Chris Urch, officially opens July 15 at Lincoln Center Theater. The American premiere began performances June 20.

Bowing in the Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater, the family drama is set in Uganda, a gay man and his church pastor brother clash over the sexuality he is forced to hide under the country’s extreme laws.

Ato Blankson-Wood Marielle Solan

Directed by Saheem Ali (Fireflies, Sugar in Our Wounds), the cast stars Ato Blankson-Wood, Latoya Edwards, Robert Gilbert, Myra Lucretia Taylor, Adenike Thomas, and James Udom.

The play made its world premiere at the Royale Exchange Theatre in England, where it won the Manchester Theatre Award for Best New Play and moved to London, where it won an Off-West End Award.

The LCT production will feature sets by Arnulfo Maldonado, costumes by Dede Ayite, lighting by Japhy Weideman, and original music and sound design by Justin Ellington.

READ: How LCT3’s Evan Cabnet Programs the Claire Tow