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London’s Funny Girl, Starring Sheridan Smith, Will Be Broadcast in U.K.

The London revival of the Sheridan Smith-led Funny Girl—which toured following its runs at the West End’s Savoy Theatre and the Menier Chocolate Factory—will be broadcast in cinemas nationwide October 24.

Michael Mayer’s production was filmed during the final week of its run at the Manchester Palace Theatre by Digital Theatre, and will be released in cinemas by Trafalgar Releasing.

Darius Campbell played Nick Arnstein to Smith’s Fanny Brice. The two were joined by Nigel Barber as Florenz Ziegfeld, Zoë Ann Bown as Mrs. Meeker, Martin Callaghan as Mr. Keeney, Jennifer Harding as Emma, Rachel Izen as Mrs. Brice, Joshua Lay as Eddie, and Myra Sands as Mrs. Strakosh.

The ensemble featured Rhianne Alleyne, Kit Benjamin, Lloyd Davies, Flora Dawson, Joseph Dockree, Abigayle Honeywill, Brontë Lavine, David Mcintosh, Peter Nash, Gillian Parkhouse, Tom Partridge, Nova Skipp, Alexandra Waite-Roberts, Sam Wingfield, and Alexandra Wright.


“Fanny Brice was an extraordinary woman who broke the mold for female entertainment, not only that, she was a brilliant comic! Her lack of vanity and her goofiness made her unique and very special, and the role was an utter joy to play. I’m beyond excited to be able to share our production of Funny Girl with audiences across the U.K.,” said Smith.

With music by Jule Styne, lyrics by Bob Merrill, and book by Isobel Lennart, the musical features such tunes as “People,” “You Are Woman, I Am Man,” and “Don’t Rain on My Parade.” The revival featured a revised book by Tony winner Harvey Fierstein.

Tickets go on sale August 1. For more information visit funnygirlincinemas.

Watch Peppermint and the Stars of Broadway’s Head Over Heels Meet Playbill on the Red Carpet

“Queer is here, honey!” declared Tony winner Billy Porter as he helped kick off Playbill’s Live From the Red Carpet on the opening night of Broadway’s new musical Head Over Heels July 26. The star of FX’s Pose and Tony winner for Kinky Boots, Porter was able to enjoy the new work featuring songs by The Go-Go’s from the audience. “It’s so fabulous. It’s just a fun night of love and joy and happiness and peace and coming together and all of that sh*t.”

Indeed, the musical is a celebration of diversity on the spectra of gender, race, sexual orientation, and more.

Set in the 1580s, the musical blends old-school prose with contemporary images and sounds—like with Spencer Liff’s choreography. “The very first picture you see in the show is ‘The Last Supper.’ That sparked the idea that he opening number was at this festival and we decided that it would be the Summer Solstice but I had this idea of these long oak tables that everyone was around and I would take that ‘Last Supper’ and flip it on its head and make it this big queer extravaganza,” says Liff.

“It’s all about assembling your bag of tricks. Thinking about choreographing an entire two-and-a-half hour show is really daunting,” Liff continued. “I love to sketch first and see it as a whole and I go back in and I detail. I took a month off studying the videos from [the out-of-town tryout in] San Francisco.”

Director Michael Mayer took over the show for its San Francisco tryout (after a debut at Oregon Shakespeare Festival in 2015) and told us about creating the jukebox musical. “The very cool thing is these songs fit better than they should,” he said. “The Go-Go’s catalog is not as many big hits so there are songs that people haven’t necessarily heard before and the first time that they’re really encountering them is in the context of this narrative, so I think we get away with a lot more that way.”

Playbill also spoke to stars Tom Alan Robbins, Andrew Durand, Jeremy Kushnier, Bonnie Milligan, Rachel York, and Peppermint, making her Broadway debut.

“The only way this could get any better is if instead of walking in I get lowered from the ceiling,” Peppermint gushed. The former RuPaul’s Drag Race contestant makes her Broadway debut as the first out trans woman to originate a principal role on Broadway.

“It’s refreshing to me to be a part of a story that is so fresh,” she told Playbill live. “It’s not lost on me that there are people who stand by the stage door that tell me they identify as non-binary and they rarely ever if they have ever seen themselves reflected in any way in any type of medium of entertainment. I hope that I do it justice because I bring some of myself to it. I want it to be authentic … and treat it with such fun but also the seriousness of the times.” Watch Peppermint and more stars of Head Over Heels finish out the red carpet livestream in the video below.

Donna Murphy Returns to Broadway’s Hello, Dolly! July 22

Donna Murphy once again crosses the passerelle as Dolly Gallagher Levi at select performances of Hello, Dolly! beginning July 22. During Bette Midler’s current return engagement in the Broadway production, the two-time Tony winner will take the Shubert Theatre stage July 22 and 29, as well August 5, 12, 19, and 20.

Midler stepped back into the production July 17, taking over for Bernadette Peters. She plays a six-week engagement opposite her original co-star David Hyde Pierce before the Tony-winning revival ends its run August 25.

Murphy, a Tony winner for Passion and The King and I, played her first performance in the Jerry Zaks-helmed musical June 13 last year—the first performance to follow the revival’s four wins at the Tony Awards. She continued to take the stage on Tuesday evenings (and for some extended engagements) through Midler’s run, earning critical acclaim for her take on the beloved role.


The current cast also includes Tony winner Gavin Creel as Cornelius Hackl, Kate Baldwin as Irene Molloy, Charlie Stemp as Barnaby Tucker, Molly Griggs as Minnie Fay, Will Burton as Ambrose Kemper, Melanie Moore as Ermengarde, and Alli Mauzey as Ernestina.

Disney Will Honor Late Tony Winner Gary Beach on New Amsterdam Theatre Marquee

Disney Theatrical Productions will celebrate the life of late Tony Award-winning actor Gary Beach with a marquee tribute at the New Amsterdam Theatre (currently home to Aladdin) July 20 at 6:45 PM. The Broadway veteran died July 17 in Palm Springs, California at the age of 70.

Mr. Beach earned a Tony nomination for creating the role of Lumiere in the 1994 Broadway premiere of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. The production marked Disney Theatrical Productions’ arrival on Broadway. He later won the Tony Award in 2001 for playing Roger De Bris in the Mel Brook’s Broadway smash The Producers.

Read his full obituary here.

40th Anniversary Screening of Grease Set for NYC, With Choreographer Patricia Birch

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) will continues its residency at Metrograph in New York City with a 40th anniversary screening of Grease July 19 at 7 PM. Patricia Birch, the film’s choreographer, will be in attendance and introduce the film.

Patricia Birch Joseph Marzullo/WENN

In addition to her work on the 1978 film starring John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John, Birch’s choreography for the 1972 musical earned her a Tony Award nomination. She has also worked on the Broadway productions of You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown, A Little Night Music, Parade, and more.

Grease tells the iconic love story of Australian student Sandy and greaser Danny as they navigate friendship, romance, and high school during the 1950s.

Metrograph provides audiences with a unique cinema-going experience by preserving remnants of a late 1920s New York movie theatre. The upcoming screening will mark a year since the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences began bringing entertainment to Metrograph through its Academy at Metrograph series. For tickets and more information, visit Metrograph.com.

Jennifer Simard and Christopher Sieber Star in St. Louis Muny Annie Beginning July 18

The St. Louis Muny summer production of the Tony-winning musical Annie, starring the previously reported Tony nominees Jennifer Simard (Disaster!; Hello, Dolly!) and Christopher Sieber (Shrek the Musical, Spamalot) as Miss Hannigan and Daddy Warbucks, respectively, begins performances July 18.

Jon Rua Marc J. Franklin

Directed by John Tartaglia and choreographed by Jessica Hartman with music direction by Colin Welford, the limited engagement is scheduled through July 25 at the outdoor venue.

Simard and Sieber are joined by Peyton Ella as Annie, Britney Coleman as Grace Farrell, Holly Ann Butler as Lily, Jon Rua as Rooster, John Scherer as FDR, Madeline Domain as Tessie, Amanda Willingham as July, Samantha Iken as Pepper, Trenay LaBelle as Duffy, Ana McAlister as Molly, and Ella Grace Roberts as Kate.

Rounding out the ensemble are Akilah Ayanna, Rhaamell Burke-Missouri, Berklea Going, Mark Myars, Patrick Blindauer, Maya Bowles, Julie Hanson, Michael Hoey, Abigail Isom, Madison Johnson, Zachary Daniel Jones, Rich Pisarkiewicz, Whit Reichert, Rochelle Scudder, Josh Walden, and Rebecca Young with the Muny Kid and Teen ensembles.

The production also has scenic design by Michael Schweikardt, costume design by Leon Dobkowski, lighting design by Nathan W. Scheuer, sound design by John Shivers and David Patridge, video design by Rob Denton, and wig design by Kelley Jordan, with production stage manager Larry Smiglewski.


Annie has a book by Thomas Meehan, music by Charles Strouse, and lyrics by Martin Charnin.

“This show remains one of the most beloved musicals ever,” said Muny Artistic Director and Executive Producer Mike Isaacson. “This incredible company will bring it to thrilling life on our grand Muny stage.”

Visit Muny.org or call (314) 361-1900.

Sieber also played Daddy Warbucks in Paper Mill’s Annie; check out photos below:

Both Simard and Sieber have been special guest performers on Playbill’s Broadway on the High Seas cruises. Cabins are now on sale for Playbill’s Broadway on the Rhône River 2 cruise April 7–14, 2019, featuring Melissa Errico, Rebecca Luker, Marc Kudisch, and Seth Rudetsky, and Broadway in Bordeaux With Michael Feinstein September 1–9, 2019, with other celebrity guests to be announced! Call Playbill Travel for tickets at 866-455-6789 or visit PlaybillTravel.com.

(Updated July 18, 2018)

Playbill Vault’s Today in Theatre History: July 15

1856 Birthday of prolific producer Charles Frohman who, often in collaboration with his brothers Daniel and Gustave, produces dozens of Broadway shows including Sherlock Holmes, The Czarina, Pasteur, The Texas Nightingale, and Zander the Great. In one busy stretch, September and October 1902, he opens 12 plays on Broadway.

1905 Birthday of lyricist and librettist Dorothy Fields, daughter of vaudeville star Lew Fields of Weber & Fields. Among her numerous credits over six decades from the 1920s to the 1970s: Blackbirds of 1928, Let’s Face It! (book), Annie Get Your Gun (book), Redhead (book and lyrics), Sweet Charity (lyrics), and Seesaw (lyrics). She is nominated for three Tony Awards and wins one, for her work on Redhead.

1937 Though it has been moribund for several years, Vaudeville is officially declared dead today, as Variety merges its “vaudeville” and “nite clubs” sections for the first time ever. The entertainment newspaper explains that “the vaudeville department has lately been particularly difficult to fill up.”

1949 Irving Berlin tries to recreate the success of Annie Get Your Gun by reassembling the creative team for a musical about the sculptor who created the Statue of Liberty. Despite direction by Moss Hart and choreography by Jerome Robbins, Miss Liberty runs a disappointing 308 performances, but produces a modest hit tune in “Let’s Take an Old-Fashioned Walk.”

1979 Future Tony Award winner Laura Benanti is born in New York. Her Broadway appearances include a Tony-winning performance as Louise in the 2008 revival of Gypsy, the original productions of the musicals The Wedding Singer and Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, and revivals of Into the Woods and She Loves Me.

1981 News stories around the world state that businessman and sometimes-theatrical producer Claus Von Bulow has been accused of attempting to murder his wife. Reads the Variety headline about the incident: “Von Bulow, B’way Angel, Accused of Attempting to Murder His Wife.” Von Bulow was a major investor in the Broadway productions of Deathtrap and Wings. Almost a decade later, Jeremy Irons wins an Academy Award for his portrayal of Von Bulow in Barbet Schroeder’s film based on the case, titled Reversal of Fortune.

1982 Nathan Lane makes his Broadway debut opposite George C. Scott in a revival of Noël Coward‘s Present Laughter. Also in the cast are future stars Christine Lahti, Kate Burton, and Dana Ivey.

1998 Trevor Nunn‘s staging of Henrik Ibsen‘s An Enemy of the People begins at Los Angeles’ Ahmanson Theatre. The Royal National Theatre production starring Ian McKellen tells the story of a Norwegian doctor’s attempt to expose a scandal in which the local baths are dangerously contaminated. The production’s script is a new version by Christopher Hampton.

2010 Harry Connick, Jr. In Concert on Broadway begins a limited 15-performance run at the Neil Simon Theatre. The evening highlights songs from Connick, Jr.’s album “Your Songs,” including “The Way You Look Tonight,” “Some Enchanted Evening,” “Close to You,” “Who Can I Turn To?,” and “Smile.”

2012 Celeste Holm, a theatre and film actor who, through a small but select collection of indelible mid-20th century stage and cinema performances, achieved the somewhat legendary status in show business circles, dies at age 95. Perhaps best known for creating the role of Ado Annie in Oklahoma!, Holm appeared in over twenty Broadway productions including performances as Anna in The King and I, Mame in Mame, Evalina in Bloomer Girl, and Anna Christopherson in Anna Christie.

2015 The Encores! Off-Center staging of Andrew Lippa‘s The Wild Party, starring Sutton Foster and Steven Pasquale, begins performances at New York City Center. Lippa revises his musical for the occasion, including adding a new song for the character of Queenie (played by Foster), called “A Happy Ending.”

Today’s Birthdays: Joan Roberts 1918. Joanna Merlin 1931. Ken Kercheval 1935.

Watch Sutton Foster sing “A Happy Ending” in The Wild Party:

Watch Highlights From This Summer’s The Music Man Starring Mara Davi

Broadway favorite Mara Davi (Dames at Sea, Smash) opened July 12 in The LEXington Theatre Company’s production of The Music Man at the Lexington Opera House in Lexington, Kentucky.

Take a look at highlights from the production in the video above.

The mounting of Meredith Willson’s 1957 classic stars Davi as Marian Paroo and Edward Watts as Professor Harold Hill. Aaron Gaines plays Hill’s nemesis, Charlie Cowell. And Marcellus Washburn is played by Justin Robertson, also known as Theatrical Illustrator “Squigs.”

The company also features local actors, as well as college students from around the country, including Paul Thomas (Mayor Shinn), Karyn Czar (Eulalie Shinn), Melissa Rae Wilkeson (Mrs. Paroo), Laura Guley (Zaneeta Shinn), Trevor McChristian (Tommy Djilas), Owen Scott (Winthrop), and Taylor Riordan (Amaryllis.)

Directed by Mark Madama, the production features choreography by Mara Newbery Greer and a 27-piece orchestra conducted by Brock Terry.

The production features lighting design by Tanya Harper, costume design by Joseph D. Sibley, sound design by Marcus Ross.