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North American Tour of Spamilton Officially Opens in Ohio December 27

The North American tour of Spamilton: An American Parody, Gerard Alessandrini’s send-up of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Pulitzer Prize–winning musical Hamilton, celebrates its official opening at Playhouse Square in Cleveland, Ohio, December 27.

The tour, which began performances December 20, will go on to play ten multi-week engagements in its first season. Following the Ohio engagement, the next stop is Las Vegas’ Smith Center beginning January 22, 2019.

The cast features Chuckie Benson, Ani Djirdjirian, Marissa Hecker, Brandon Kinley, Adrian Lopez, Dominic Pecikonis, and Datus Puryear, with musical director Curtis Reynolds at the piano. The production features set design by Morgan Large, costume design by Dustin Cross, lighting design by Michael Gilliam, music supervision by Fred Barton, and casting by Michael Cassara, CSA.


Spamilton has previously been seen in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, and London. The Los Angeles production recently received five LA STAGE Alliance Ovation Award nominations, including Best Production of a Musical (Large Theater) and Best Choreography.

32 Musicals That Brought the Stories of Real People to the Stage

Bio-musicals continue to be a majorly popular genre of musical theatre with Beautiful: The Carole King Musical and The Cher Show currently delighting audiences on Broadway and Ain’t Too Proud—The Life and Times of the Temptations set to begin previews February 28. Look through these 32 bio-musicals that took the stories of real people and brought them to life on the stage.

Flip through the shows below:

Watch Jake Gyllenhaal and Annaleigh Ashford Reunite to Sing Some Sondheim

Almost two years after starring on Broadway in Sunday in the Park With George, Tony winner Annaleigh Ashford and Oscar nominee Jake Gyllenhaal have reunited to…give us more to see. Take a look at the clip below as the two sing “Move On” from the Stephen Sondheim musical.


From the look of it, the two are rehearsing for Ashford’s December 18 concert at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Appel Room, which will subsequently be broadcast as part of PBS’ Live From Lincoln Center series in 2019. Evidently, Gyllenhaal will appear as a special guest.

The most recent Sunday in the Park With George revival reopened Broadway’s Hudson Theatre in February 2017, with Gyllenhaal as George and Ashford as Dot (and, in Act II, Marie). The production, directed by Sarna Lapine (niece of the show’s book writer James Lapine), saw its first incarnation at New York City Center the year before.

Since then, Ashford has appeared on the New York stage in the Public’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream in Central Park, and is tapped to star in an upcoming Judy Holliday biopic.

My Fair Lady Star Laura Benanti to Make London Concert Debut

Gypsy Tony Award winner Laura Benanti, who is currently back on Broadway in Lincoln Center Theater’s revival of My Fair Lady, will play a one-night-only concert June 29 at Cadogan Hall. Benanti makes her London debut with the performance. Show time is 6:30 PM.

Benanti was last seen on Broadway in the Steve Martin comedy Meteor Shower. Her other Broadway roles include Amalia Balash in She Loves Me, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, Into the Woods, and Swing!, earning a Tony nomination for each.

For tickets, visit CadoganHall.com.

Torch Song Revival, Starring Michael Urie, Announces Broadway Closing

Torch Song, the Second Stage revival starring Michael Urie and Mercedes Ruhl, announced that it will close January 6, 2019. It will have played 26 preview performances and 77 regular performances.

This new production, which playwright Harvey Fierstein streamlined into a two-act Torch Song—down from its original trilogy—began previews October 9 following an acclaimed Off-Broadway run last fall at Second Stage Theatre. Moisés Kaufman directs.

Urie will lead a newly announced national tour, scheduled to kick off a multi-city run in Los Angeles in fall 2019.

“Since we first began the Torch Song journey, I have heard from people all over—including our director Moisés Kaufman, who first met Arnold when Torch Song Trilogy toured in the ‘80s—that Arnold’s pride, strength, and frankness helped them come out, come to terms, and come together,” Urie said in a statement. “This is something I hope our tour will do today. We need Harvey’s play when our world is suddenly and continually confusing and divided.”

Additional details regarding the tour will be announced at a later date.

Urie and Ruehl are joined on Broadway by fellow members of the Off-Broadway cast, including Ward Horton as Ed, Roxanna Hope Radja as Laurel, Michael Hsu Rosen as Alan, and Jack DiFalco as David.

After an acclaimed Off-Broadway debut, the original production of Torch Song Trilogy opened on Broadway in June 1982 and played an award-winning three-year engagement at the Little Theatre (now the Hayes Theatre).

Fierstein played the lead role of Arnold Beckoff, a gay drag performer in a tempestuous relationship with his bisexual, closeted lover. The play won Fierstein two Tony Awards—both as playwright (for Best Play) and for Best Actor. It was produced throughout the country and also turned into a film in 1988 starring Fierstein, Matthew Broderick, and Anne Bancroft.

World Premiere of Diana Musical, About Late Princess Diana, Extends Run

The world-premiere musical Diana, which begins previews February 19, 2019, in La Jolla Playhouse’s Mandell Weiss Theatre, has extended its run by one week. Performances will now continue through April 7.

The new musical about the life of late Princess Diana features the Tony Award-winning Memphis creative team: librettist-lyricist Joe DiPietro, composer-lyricist David Bryan, and Playhouse Artistic Director and 2017 Tony winner Christopher Ashley, who will direct, along with Tony-nominated choreographer Kelly Devine and music supervisor Ian Eisendrath.


Jeanna de Waal will star as Princess Diana in the forthcoming premiere. In the video above, the actor, whose Broadway credits include American Idiot and Kinky Boots, says, “I hope people who didn’t know about or weren’t aware of her journey leave the theatre with an idea of what she did for the world. She made everyone feel special.”


Tickets for the extension week are now on sale for subscribers and on December 6 for the general public at LaJollaPlayhouse.org or (858) 550-1010.

Hamilton Creators Lin-Manuel Miranda, Andy Blankenbuehler, Alex Lacamoire, Thomas Kail Receive Special Kennedy Center Honors December 2

The Kennedy Center Honors celebrate a quartet of Hamilton creators, actor-singer Cher (the subject of the new Broadway musical The Cher Show), composer and pianist Philip Glass, country music star Reba McEntire, and jazz saxophonist and composer Wayne Shorter December 2.

Cher Tinseltown / Shutterstock

The co-creators of the Tony- and Pulitzer Prize-winning Hamilton—writer and original star Lin-Manuel Miranda, director Thomas Kail, choreographer Andy Blankenbuehler, and music director Alex Lacamoire—receive a unique Kennedy Center Honors as “trailblazing creators of a transformative work that defies category.”

The Honors recipients are recognized for their lifetime contributions to American culture through the performing arts.

In a star-studded celebration on the Kennedy Center Opera House, the 2018 Honorees will be saluted by performers from New York, Hollywood, and the arts capitals of the world.

The 41st Annual Kennedy Center Honors will subsequently be broadcast on CBS December 26 beginning at 8 PM ET. Gloria Estefan hosts.


“The Kennedy Center Honors recognizes exceptional artists who have made enduring and indelible marks on our culture,” said Kennedy Center Chairman David M. Rubenstein in an earlier statement. “Cher is the consummate star, wowing generations of fans with her distinctive voice, blockbuster albums and glittering on-screen presence; Philip Glass is a modern-day Mozart whose works across opera, symphony, chamber music and film define contemporary music and simply transfix us; country songstress Reba McEntire has inspired us over five decades with her powerhouse voice and music that conveys heartfelt, heartwarming honesty; Wayne Shorter is a seminal artist, defying categorization while carrying forward the mantle of jazz; and the creators of Hamilton have literally and figuratively changed the face of American culture with daringly original, breathtakingly relevant work.”

“The world looks to America for its creative instincts and artistic courage. This year’s slate of honorees represents the pinnacle of our nation’s originality and the rich mosaic of diverse perspectives and art forms that have come to define who we are as a people,” added Kennedy Center President Deborah F. Rutter.

Ricky Kirshner and Glenn Weiss of White Cherry Entertainment executive produce the special for the fourth consecutive year. Also, Weiss returns as director. The Kennedy Center Honors founding producer is George Stevens, Jr.

The Cher Show, about the famed entertainer, plays the Neil Simon Theatre. McEntire made her Broadway debut in the most recent revival of Annie Get Your Gun.