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Elevator Repair Service’s Baldwin and Buckley at Cambridge Begins at The Public Theater September 24

Off-Broadway News Elevator Repair Service’s Baldwin and Buckley at Cambridge Begins at The Public Theater September 24

Daphne Gaines, Greig Sargeant, Ben Jalosa Williams, and more star in the Off-Broadway production directed by John Collins.

Daphne Gaines, Greig Sargeant, and Ben Jalosa Williams

The Public Theater and Elevator Repair Service‘s already-extended Off-Broadway run of Baldwin and Buckley at Cambridge begins September 24 at the Public’s Anspacher Theater with opening night set for October 2. Conceived by Greig Sargeant with Elevator Repair Service and directed by John Collins, the production will continue through October 23.

Sargeant stars as James Baldwin, opposite Daphne Gaines as Lorraine Hansberry, Gavin Price as Mr. Heycock, Christopher-Rashee Stevenson as Mr. Burford, and Ben Jalosa Williams as William F. Buckley, Jr. Stephanie Weeks will succeed Gaines as Lorraine Hansberry from October 18, and Matthew Russell will play Mr. Heycock for select performances.

The work recreates an infamous 1965 debate between Black writer James Baldwin and staunch conservative William F. Buckley, Jr., ending with an imagined scene between Baldwin and A Raisin in the Sun (also soon to be on the boards at the Public) playwright Lorraine Hansberry, researched and written by April Matthis and Sargeant.

The production features scenic consulting by dots, costume design by Jessica Jahn, lighting design by Alan C. Edwards, sound design by Ben Jalosa Williams, and wig design by Earon Chew Nealey. Maurina Lioce is production stage manager, and Jack Ford is stage manager.

“With The Public Theater’s strong commitment to social justice, its supportive community, and its engaged and adventurous audiences, I cannot imagine a better home for this piece,” said Sargeant in an earlier statement. “Recreating such a powerful debate for a modern audience is deeply fulfilling for me personally, and I am both thrilled and humbled to give voice to the words of Mr. James Baldwin.”

“The words of James Baldwin are as urgent and moving today as they have ever been,” added Collins, director of the production and artistic director of Elevator Repair Service. “This debate staged for a live audience not only delivers those powerful ideas, but also reminds us of the all-too-familiar counterarguments of William F. Buckley, arguments that still find sympathy among today’s conservatives.”

The production is the latest collaboration between The Public and ERS, with past productions including Gatz, Arguendo, and The Sound and the Fury.

New National Tour of Tony-Winning The Book of Mormon Launches September 23

National Tour News New National Tour of Tony-Winning The Book of Mormon Launches September 23

The non-Equity production begins in Utica, New York.

A new, non-Equity national tour of The Book of Mormon, the 2011 Tony winner for Best Musical, begins previews September 23 at The Stanley in Utica, New York, prior to an official opening September 29 at the Hershey Theatre in Hershey, Pennsylvania.

The tour will subsequently visit more than 50 cities across the U.S., including 29 where the show has never played before. For the current itinerary, visit TheBookofMormonTour.com.

The cast is led by Sam McLellan as Elder Price, Sam Nackman as Elder Cunningham, Berlande as Nabulungi, Sean Casey Flanagan as Elder McKinley, Lamont J. Whitaker as Mafala Hatimbi, Trevor Dorner as Missionary Training Center Voice/Price’s Dad/Joseph Smith/Mission President, and Dewight Braxton Jr. as General.

The ensemble features Kemari Bryant, Gideon Chickos, Jarius Miquel Cliett, Tamara Daly, Matthew Dant, Craig Franke, Vance Klassen, William J. Lassiter, Evan Lennon, Joey Myers, Rachel Parker, Justin Phillips, Trinity Posey, Nadia Ra’shaun, and Kyle Segar. Swings for the tour include Bernie Baldassaro, India Boone, Aaron Brown, Justin Forward, Eliah B. Johnson, Joshua Keen, Connor Olney, and Thomas Ed Purvis.

The Book of Mormon features a book, music, and lyrics by Trey Parker, Robert Lopez, and Matt Stone. The Broadway production is choreographed by Casey Nicholaw and directed by Nicholaw and Parker.

The tour is directed and choreographed by Jennifer Werner based on the original Broadway direction and choreography. Set design is by three-time Tony winner Scott Pask with costume design by Tony winner Ann Roth, lighting design by five-time Tony winner Brian MacDevitt, sound design by two-time Tony winner Brian Ronan, and hair design by Josh Marquette. Orchestrations are by Tony winner Larry Hochman and two-time Tony winner Stephen Oremus. Music supervision and vocal arrangements are by Stephen Oremus. Casting is by Carrie Gardner.

The Book of Mormon opened on Broadway March 24, 2011. In addition to nine Tony Awards, the production won five Drama Desk Awards, including Best Musical; the NY Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Musical; the Drama League Award for Best Musical; and four Outer Critics Circle Awards, including Best Musical. 

NETworks Presentations produces the tour.

Check Out Photos of Steven Skybell, Debbie Gravitte, and More in Lyric Opera of Chicago’s Fiddler on the Roof

Production Photos Check Out Photos of Steven Skybell, Debbie Gravitte, and More in Lyric Opera of Chicago’s Fiddler on the Roof

Skybell, who will also be seen in the November return of Fiddler on the Roof in Yiddish, reprises his award-winning work as Tevye—in English.

The Company of Fiddler on the Roof at The Lyric Opera of Chicago Todd Rosenberg

The Lyric Opera of Chicago’s production of Fiddler on the Roof, which began performances September 17, continues through October 7 at the Illinois venue.

The company is led by Steven Skybell as Tevye, reprising the role for which he won a Lucille Lortel Award for the 2019 Off-Broadway Yiddish production; Tony winner Debbie Gravitte (Jerome Robbins’ Broadway) as Golde; David Benoit (Les Misérables, Avenue Q) as Lazar Wolf; Lauren Marcus (Be More Chill, tick, tick… BOOM!) as Tzeitel; and Joy Hermalyn as Yente, the role she understudied in the 2004 Broadway revival of Fiddler. (Skybell will also reprise the role in November in the Off-Broadway return of Fiddler on the Roof in Yiddish.)

The cast also includes Austen Bohmer as Hodel, Maya Jacobson as Chava, Drew Redington as Motel, Adam Kaplan as Perchik, Michael Nigro as Fyedka, Liliana Renteria as Shprintze, Omi Lichtenstein as Bielke, Jackson Evans as Mendel, Tommy Novak as Avram, Steven Strafford as Mordcha, Melody Betts as Grandma/Fruma Sarah, Bill McGough as the Rabbi, and William Brown as the Constable.

Check out production photos below:

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Check Out Photos of Steven Skybell, Debbie Gravitte, and Cast of Lyric Opera of Chicago’s Fiddler on the Roof

This new-to-Chicago production, conceived by director Barrie Kosky as a tribute to his Jewish heritage, centers the “Tradition” at the heart of Fiddler on the Roof while breathing new life into the beloved classic.

Fiddler on the Roof has music by Jerry Bock, lyrics by Sheldon Harnick, and a book by Joseph Stein, which is based on Sholem Aleichem stories.

The production also has set design by Rufus Didwiszuz, original choreography by Otto Pichler, revival choreography by Silvano Marraffa, costume design by Klaus Bruns, original lighting design by Diego Leetz, and revival lighting design by Marco Philipp. The Lyric Opera Orchestra and Chorus is led by conductor Kimberly Grigsby in her Lyric debut; Michael Black is Lyric’s Chorus Master. 

New York casting is by Tara Rubin Casting/Merri Sugarman, and Chicago casting is by Becca McCracken.

Visit LyricOpera.org/Fiddler.

Kristina Wong, Sweatshop Overlord Begins at La Jolla Playhouse September 20

Regional News Kristina Wong, Sweatshop Overlord Begins at La Jolla Playhouse September 20

The Pulitzer finalist work is written and performed by Kristina Wong and directed by Chay Yew.

Kristina Wong
Kristina Wong Tom Fowler

Pulitzer finalist work Kristina Wong, Sweatshop Overlord comes to California’s La Jolla Playhouse beginning September 20, with the run set to continue through October 16. Kristina Wong stars in her self-penned solo play, with Chay Yew at the helm.

“Kristina Wong is a one-of-a-kind performer and activist whom we’re delighted to bring back to the Playhouse—this time in person,” said Playhouse Artistic Director Christopher Ashley in an earlier statement. “During the pandemic, Kristina started a volunteer mask-sewing group of ‘aunties,’ which inspired this acclaimed, wildly-funny new solo performance piece.”

In the work, Wong navigates through thoughts on the coronavirus crisis—including finding community amid isolation. Early in the pandemic, Wong sewed masks out of old clothes and household materials, eventually leading a virtual cohort of volunteers that blurred the lines between “feminist care utopia” and “mutual aid doomsday cult.”

The production features scenic design by Junghyun Georgia Lee, costume design by Linda Cho, lighting design by Amith Chandrashaker, sound design by Mikhail Fiksel, and projection design by Caite Hevner. Jess Slocum is stage manager, and Topaz Cooks is assistant stage manager.

Kristina Wong, Sweatshop Overlord previously enjoyed a successful run Off-Broadway at New York Theatre Workshop, where it streamed twice.

For more information, please visit LaJollaPlayhouse.org.

‘Waving’ Goodbye: Broadway’s Dear Evan Hansen Ends Tony-Winning Run September 18

Broadway News ‘Waving’ Goodbye: Broadway’s Dear Evan Hansen Ends Tony-Winning Run September 18

Sam Primack currently stars as high school student Evan Hansen, the role created by Tony winner Ben Platt in November 2016.

Sam Primack in Dear Evan Hansen Matthew Murphy

Dear Evan Hansen, winner of the 2017 Tony Award for Best Musical, plays its final Broadway performance September 18 at the Music Box Theatre. At closing, the production will have played 1,678 regular performances and 21 preview performances, making it one of the 50 longest-running shows in Broadway history.

Sam Primack, who began his Dear Evan Hansen journey as an understudy on Broadway and then was the alternate Evan on tour, currently stars in the title role created by Ben Platt, who gave a Tony-winning, star-making performance as the high school student whose single lie takes on a life of its own.

Semester by Semester: A Look Back at the Evans of Broadway’s Dear Evan Hansen

The company also currently includes Talia Simone Robinson, who became the first Black actor to play the role of Zoe Murphy beginning May 1; Jessica Phillips, Ann Sanders, Noah Kieserman, Manoel Felciano, Gaten Matarazzo, and Ciara Alyse Harris, along with Mateo Lizcano, Julian Diaz-Granados, Alex Humphreys, Matthew Edward Kemp, Jane Pfitsch, D’Kaylah Unique Whitley, Asa Somers, Josh Strobl, and Nicole Van Giesen.

Dear Evan Hansen features a score by the Tony- and Oscar-winning songwriting team of Benj Pasek and Justin Paul (Dogfight, A Christmas Story), a book by Tony winner Steven Levenson (tick, tick…BOOM! movie), choreography by Danny Mefford (Fun Home), and direction by multiple Tony nominee Michael Greif (Rent, Next to Normal, If/Then).

“From our earliest reading of Dear Evan Hansen in 2011, there have been two great joys that stand out above all the others (and there are many),” said Stacey Mindich, the show’s Tony and Olivier-winning producer, in an earlier statement. “One is the sweeping and soaring show itself, which never fails to make me think, cry, laugh, and try to be a better mother and person. The other is watching the profound change in the audience from when they walk into the theater to when they leave. I feel grateful to have been part of bringing Pasek, Paul, Levenson, and Greif’s original musical to life—which has captured the hearts of so many, impacted millions of audience members across the globe, and literally changed lives with its with its breathtaking score and its vital and universal message.”

Dear Evan Hansen Sets Closing Date in London’s West End

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Go Inside the Return of Dear Evan Hansen on Broadway

The musical also features scenic design by David Korins, projection design by Peter Nigrini, costume design by Emily Rebholz, lighting design by Japhy Weideman, sound design by Nevin Steinberg, and hair design by David Brian Brown. Music supervision, orchestrations, and additional arrangements are by Alex Lacamoire. Ben Cohn is the associate music supervisor. Vocal arrangements and additional arrangements are by Justin Paul. Casting is by Tara Rubin Casting’s Kevin Metzger-Timson.

Dear Evan Hansen began previews at the Music Box November 14, 2016, prior to an official opening December 4. The musical was nominated for nine 2017 Tony Awards, winning six: Best Musical, Best Book of a Musical, Best Original Score, Best Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical (Ben Platt), Best Featured Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical (Rachel Bay Jones), and Best Orchestrations. The international hit musical reopened its Broadway production December 11, 2021, 21 months after the COVID shutdown.

The London production of Dear Evan Hansen reopened at the Noël Coward Theatre October 26, 2021. The national tour resumed December 7 in Greensboro, North Carolina.

The Dear Evan Hansen film premiered in September 2021. Platt reprised his Tony-winning performance in the title role opposite Julianne Moore, Amy Adams, Danny Pino, Kaitlyn Dever, Amandla Stenberg, Colton Ryan, and Nik Dodani.

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See Tina Fey, Zachary Quinto, and Darren Criss at Dear Evan Hansen Opening Night

Watch Funny Girl’s Lea Michele, Tovah Feldshuh, Ramin Karimloo, and Jared Grimes Meet the Press

Video Watch Funny Girl’s Lea Michele, Tovah Feldshuh, Ramin Karimloo, and Jared Grimes Meet the Press

Michele is scheduled to return to the production at the August Wilson Theatre September 20.

Lea Michele’s tenure as Fanny Brice began September 6 (the same day Tovah Feldshuh took over the role of Mrs. Brice) in a career full-circle moment. Currently sidelined by COVID, Michele is scheduled to return to the role of Fanny Brice at the August Wilson Theatre August 20.

A self-proclaimed “Streisand Worshiper,” Funny Girl marks the first time Michele has returned to the Main Stem since the original Broadway production of Spring Awakening. “This is such a dream come true for me,” Michele shared with Playbill a few days before she tested positive for the coronavirus. “I love the show so much, but I loved this production so much from the minute I saw it back in March.” Watch the video above for the full interview with Michele and her co-stars Tovah Feldshuh, Ramin Karimloo, and Jared Grimes.

While starring on six seasons of Glee, Michele, or rather Rachel Berry, sang the musical’s “Don’t Rain On My Parade,” “You Are Woman, I Am Man,” “People,” “I’m the Greatest Star,” and “Who Are You Now,” and a season five plot line for the character saw her playing the role on Broadway.

Read: Watch Lea Michele and Tovah Feldshuh Take Their 1st Bows in Broadway’s Funny Girl

Funny Girl, which premiered on Broadway in 1964, features a score by Jule Styne and Bob Merrill and a book by Isobel Lennart, newly adapted by Tony winner Harvey Fierstein for this revival. The original production propelled a young Streisand to international fame; she would reprise her stage performance in the 1968 film adaptation, winning an Academy Award and a Golden Globe in the process. The biomusical tracks real-life singer and comic Fanny Brice from her humble beginnings in Brooklyn, New York, to fame and fortune onstage in the Ziegfeld Follies and as a radio and screen performer.

The production is directed by Michael Mayer with choreography by Ellenore Scott, tap choreography by Ayodele Casel, music supervision and direction by Michael Rafter, scenic design by David Zinn, costume design by Susan Hilferty, lighting design by Kevin Adams, sound design by Brian Ronan, and hair design by Campbell Young Associates. Casting is by Jim Carnahan and Jason Thinger. The production also includes orchestrations by Chris Walker; dance, vocal, and incidental music arrangements by Alan Williams; additional arrangements by Carmel Dean and David Dabbon; music coordination by Seymour Red Press and Kimberlee Wertz; and vocal supervision by Liz Caplan.

Disney’s Winnie the Pooh: The New Musical Stage Adaptation Launches U.S. Tour September 16

Regional News Disney’s Winnie the Pooh: The New Musical Stage Adaptation Launches U.S. Tour September 16

The show features large-scale puppetry and music by The Sherman Brothers.

Disney’s Winnie the Pooh: The New Musical Stage Adaptation Evan Zimmerman for MurphyMade

Hundred Acre Woods is coming to a city near you. Disney’s Winnie the Pooh: The New Musical Stage Adaptation launches a nationwide tour September 16 in Irving, Texas, and will wrap up May 7, 2023, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Inspired by the books by A. A. Milne and their Disney animated adaptations, the family-friendly show brings together Pooh, Christopher Robin, and their best friends Piglet, Eeyore, Kanga, Roo, Rabbit, Owl (and Tigger, too!).

The brand-new story is told with life-sized puppetry, accompanied by an original score from Nate Edmondson, which features some of the songs written for the animated feature by The Sherman Brothers, including “Winnie the Pooh,” “The Blustery Day,” “The Wonderful Thing About Tiggers,” “Whoop-De-Dooper Bounce,” and Milne’s “The More It Snows.”

Get a Sneak Peek of Off-Broadway’s Sesame Street: The Musical

The show, created and directed by Jonathan Rockefeller of Rockefeller Productions, premiered Off-Broadway in October 2021. It played a 3-month limited engagement at Theatre Row, followed by a return summer engagement.

For a full tour schedule, visit WinnieThePoohShow.com.

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Check Out New Photos of Winnie the Pooh: The New Musical Adaptation

Chicago’s Porchlight Music Theatre Will Honor Donna McKechnie With Icon Award

Regional News Chicago’s Porchlight Music Theatre Will Honor Donna McKechnie With Icon Award

The A Chorus Line Tony winner will also perform at the theatre company’s annual gala.

Donna McKechnie Bill Westmoreland

Chicago’s Porchlight Music Theatre will hold its annual ICONS Gala September 23 at The Ritz-Carlton, Chicago. The evening will honor Tony winner Donna McKechnie with the 2022 ICON Award, which celebrates a notable artist
who has made an indelible contribution to American entertainment
through our art form of music theatre.

McKechnie will also perform at the gala and join journalist Paul Lisnek for an intimate, onstage conversation as she accepts the award.

“I am honored to be this year’s Porchlight Music Theatre ICON Award recipient,” said McKechnie. “The ICONS Gala is definitely going to be a party, and I look forward to performing a few songs for Porchlight’s supporters and celebrating its history and future.”

McKechnie won a Best Actress Tony for the original production of A Chorus LineOther Broadway credits include CompanyOn the Town, and Promises, Promises

Previous ICON Award recipients include Joel Grey and Chita Rivera.

In addition to the ICON Award, Porchlight will present The Luminary Award to supporters Dan Ratner and The
Genevieve and Daniel Ratner Foundation for their history of philanthropic
and volunteer leadership. Past honorees include Rick and Deann Bayless and
the Bayless Family Foundation, Elaine Cohen and Arlen D.
Rubin, Jim Jensen, and Jean Klingenstein.

Visit PorchlightMusicTheatre.org for more information. 

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From Company to Chorus Line: Look Back at Donna McKechnie on the Stage