Friday, March 27, 2020

Time To Celebrate World Theatre Day

I know. I know. Seems a little weird to be celebrating when theatre as we know it, is no longer going on in the world. But remember, it wasn't always like this. After all, Broadway has been around since the 18th Century, with London going as far back as the 16th Century. That's a lot of years of theatre my friends. Now as much as I would love to take everyone on a trip down memory lane, I would like to focus on the current theatre scene instead.

Now until this terrible pandemic took over the world, there were over fifty shows playing both On and Off-Broadway,with just as many shows playing in London as well. I guess that's why they call New York City the "Theatre Capitol of the World." Now let's be honest, we all have our favorite shows. I know I certainly do. So in honor of Theatre World Day, here are my "Top Five" favorite shows currently playing in New York City and around the world.

1. Rock of Ages (Off-Broadway) - I start off the list with a personal favorite of mine. Probably why it's my number one pick. I'll admit, I am a huge 80's fan. Huge. And of course one of my favorite things about the 80's, is the music. The show, which opened Off-Broadway in 2008, before moving on to a highly successful six year run on Broadway, returned to it's original Off-Broadway home last year. Originally it was supposed to be a limited run in honor of it's tenth anniversary. Even I knew it was going to be around a lot longer than twelve weeks. Guess what? It's still here. Oh and one more thing. I have seen the show nine times. Enough said.

2. Ain't Too Proud (Broadway) - Here's the truth. The Temptations are my favorite musical group of all time. Therefore, when they announced a couple of years ago that they were working on a musical about them, I was as you can guess very excited. I take that back. I was also a little scared as well. What if they screwed it up? Yes I knew going in that the music was going to be good. That was a given. I guess I was a little worried more about the performances. After all, those five guys had some big shoes to fill. Long story short, they more than delivered, with three of the five guys being nominated for Tony Awards.

3. Beetlejuice (Broadway) - Let me just start off by saying that I have never seen the movie. In fact, the night I saw the show, I was convinced that I was the only one in the theatre who hadn't. Which is why I think I liked the show so much. No expectations. Since that night, I have seen the show two more times. Sadly a couple of months ago, the show announced that it would be closing in June to make room for the revival of The Music Man. Now while there have been rumors that the show might move to a different theatre, I'm afraid they may not happen any longer due to the current shutdown. Plus with the way things are going, it may not even return at all. Here's hoping that's not true.

4. Matilda (London) - Hard to believe that it's been almost seven years since I first saw this show on Broadway. Now as much as I love going to the theatre, that was the last place that I wanted to be that night. I had just finished a long shift it work, it was cold and raining, oh and as soon as I got to my seat, I discovered that I was surrounded by about thirty middle school children. Oh and also I was in the Balcony, which in the Shubert Theatre, feels like you're a mile away. Now I know what you're thinking. Did I like it? No. I loved it. And to this day, I am so thankful that I stayed, and even more importantly, thankful that theatre like that exists.

5. City of Angels (London)- Growing up in the Midwest, the only shows that I was familiar with,were the shows that I did in high school, and at the local community theatre. Thank goodness for the Tony Awards. Since 1987, I have watched the show year in and year out. Who would have guessed that less than five years later, I would be living in New York, and seeing shows that I had loved for years. One of those was City of Angels. I must have listened to the cast recording every day during the Summer of 1990, which was the year that the show won six Tony Awards, including Best Musical of the Year. Hopefully this new production will reopen once this pandemic is over.

So there you have it theatre fans. My "Top Five" picks. Although I could probably pick more. But I'll save that for another blog. Now as I said at the beginning of my blog, today is World Theatre Day. It's the day where we theatre lovers celebrate the theatre. Now whether your favorite theatre is on Broadway or in your own community, it doesn't matter. What matters is that we as a theatre community continue to support each other during this trying time, and know that together, we can accomplish anything. Until next time theatre fans.

JWB
Applause Theatre and Entertainment Service, Inc.
165 West 46th Street
Suite 1107
New York, NY 10036
212-307-7050
or 1-800-451-9930

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Thursday, March 26, 2020

A Day In The Life Of A Ticket Broker

Last month, I celebrated twenty-eight years of living in the greatest city in the world. Since moving to New York City in 1992, I have had many jobs. From selling house wares and furniture on the Upper West Side, to demonstrating toys at F.A.O. Schwarz on 5th Avenue, to serving coffee at Starbucks, I have seen and done it all. Thankfully for the past two decades, I have had the pleasure of working in an industry that I absolutely love.

How many people can say that? Now the truth is, I moved to New York to work in the theatre. First as an actor, then a director, before finding my true passion, writing and composing. Good thing I live in the theatre capitol of the world now isn't it? As you all know, in the last few weeks, our world has been turned upside down. The truth is, none of us have any idea when this is going to end.

This is a situation that most of us have never ever encountered before in our lifetime. Since 1998, I have been lucky to have a job where not only do I get to talk about theatre every day, but I also get to help people from around the world make their dreams come true. I am lucky, because I also get to experience the wonder that is New York City each and every day as well.

For others, coming here is a once in a lifetime opportunity. Right now we are in the midst of a pandemic. Broadway and theatre around the world is currently on hold. When it returns, and it will, it will show that not only can we face any challenge, but that we are even stronger for having gone thru it. Stay safe everyone, and don't forget to look out for each other. Until next time theatre fans.

JWB
Applause Theatre and Entertainment Service, Inc.
165 West 46th Street
Suite 1107
New York, NY 10036
212-307-7050
or 1-800-451-9930

http://www.applause-tickets.com/
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Wednesday, March 25, 2020

2020 Tony Awards Postponed

And here I thought I was done posting for the day. It was just announced that the 2020 Tony Awards, which was set to take place at the Radio City Music Hall on June 7, has been put on hold for the time being. I guess I shouldn't really be surprised, as there were still over a dozen shows that were scheduled to open this season. So far two shows, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf, and Hangmen, have been cancelled, and Flying Over Sunset, and Caroline, or Change, have been postponed until the Fall. Now even though Broadway is only officially on hold thru April 13, I expect the decision to come in the next few days that the hiatus will be extended, possibly thru May or longer. Not too worry though. New York as well as it's people are resilient. I have no doubt that when this crisis is over, we will return even stronger than before. Stay safe everyone.

JWB
Applause Theatre and Entertainment Service, Inc.
165 West 46th Street
Suite 1107
New York, NY 10036
212-307-7050
or 1-800-451-9930

http://www.applause-tickets.com/
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Roundabout And Lincoln Center Theatre Postpone Shows Until The Fall

Well I guess postponing shows is better than cancelling them all together right? In the last twenty-four hours, two of the nation's leading non-for-profit theatre companies, have announced that they have postponed several of their respective productions due to the coronavirus. The Roundabout Theatre Company, which was set to produce the London transfer of Caroline or Change, as well as the New York premier of Noah Haidle's Birthday Candles, will now open this Fall, along with Jireh Breon Holder's What The End Will Be, and Dave Harris' Exception To The Rule, both of which will now open in 2021. Lincoln Center Theatre's Broadway production of Flying Over Sunset, and Intimate Apparel, which was scheduled to play Off-Broadway, are also scheduled to open sometime this Fall. As of now, no on sale or performance dates have been announced. Be sure to check this website for further updates. Until next time theatre fans.

JWB
Applause Theatre and Entertainment Service, Inc.
165 West 46th Street
Suite 1107
New York, NY 10036
212-307-7050
or 1-800-451-9930

http://www.applause-tickets.com/
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Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Tony Award Winner Terrence McNally Passes Away

And here I thought it couldn't get any worse around the Great White Way. Just a few hours ago, news came that five-time Tony Award winner Terrence McNally, passed away from complications due to the coronavirus. The playwright, who won the Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre in 2019, was 81 years old, and was a lung cancer survivor.

Throughout his illustrious career, Mr. McNally was the author of thirty-six plays, two of which Love! Valour! Compassion!, and Master Class, went on to win the Tony Award for Best Play of the Year. He also went on to win the Tony Award for Best Book of a Musical for both Kiss of the Spider Woman, and Ragtime.

During my time in New York, I had the privilege of seeing eleven of his shows, the most recent being the Broadway production of Anastasia. Although if I had to choose a favorite, I would have to go with Frankie and Johnny in the Claire de Lune as my favorite play, and The Fully Monty as my favorite musical. Mr. McNally, you will be missed. Until next time theatre fans.

JWB
Applause Theatre and Entertainment Service, Inc.
165 West 46th Street
Suite 1107
New York, NY 10036
212-307-7050
or 1-800-451-9930

http://www.applause-tickets.com/
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Today In Broadway History

March 24, 2011. Anyone know what happened on that date? Well, if you are a huge theatre fan like me, you know that on that day, the smash hit The Book of Mormon opened on Broadway. The show, which won nine 2011 Tony Awards, including Best Musical of the Year, continues to play to play to packed audiences eight times a week at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre, Well it did, until the coronavirus put a stop to it. Now even though I am a huge South Park fan, I wasn't sure how Trey Parker and Matt Stone's humor would fare on the Great White Way. Thankfully I had nothing to worry about, as The Book of Mormon become one of the theatre's biggest success stories, with sold out productions playing on Broadway and around the world. Here's hoping that once this terrible pandemic is over, it and each and every other show on Broadway will not only reopen, but come back even stronger than ever. Until next time theatre fans.

JWB
Applause Theatre and Entertainment Service, Inc.
165 West 46th Street
Suite 1107
New York, NY 10036
212-307-7050
or 1-800-451-9930

http://www.applause-tickets.com/
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Monday, March 23, 2020

Disney's Aida

March 23, 2000. Care to guess what happened on that day? Well, if you guessed that was the day that Aida opened on Broadway, then you would be right. The show, which opened at the Palace Theatre following it's world premier at the Alliance Theatre in Atlanta, closed on September 5, 2004, where it played a total of 30 previews, and 1,852 performances. Featuring music by Elton John, lyrics by Tim Rice, and a book by Linda Woolverton, Robert Falls, and David Henry Hwang, Aida won the Tony Award for Best Score, as well as the Grammy Award for Best Musical Album of the Year.

Believe it or not, but I saw the show four times. Now seeing a show multiple times is nothing new to me, as I saw Rent twenty-five times, and eight times for both Avenue Q and Rock of Ages. What can I say? When I find a show I love, I really love it. The surprising thing is that I am not, nor have I ever been a big Disney fan. So why did I love this one so much? Well for starters, it was not an animated film prior to it's Broadway debut. And well, it was just damn good.

From the amazing score, to the beautiful love story, to the performers, both the original cast, and it's replacements, it had it all. It was also announced recently, that the show will launch a National tour at New Jersey's Paper Mill Playhouse on February 4, 2021, and play thru March 7, 2021. This new production, will feature direction by original cast member Schele Williams, and will also feature a new updated book by David Henry Hwang. Here's hoping the show ends up on Broadway following it's tour. Fingers crossed. Until next time theatre fans.

JWB
Applause Theatre and Entertainment Service, Inc.
165 West 46th Street
Suite 1107
New York, NY 10036
212-307-7050
or 1-800-451-9930

http://www.applause-tickets.com/
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Sunday, March 22, 2020

Happy Birthday Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber

Earlier today, I posted a blog celebrating the 90th Birthday of the one and only Stephen Sondheim. Well as it turns out, while doing research about him, I discovered that Andrew Lloyd Webber was in fact born on the same day. Small world huh? Born in Kensington, London on March 22, 1948, he is the winner of seven Tony Awards, four Grammy Awards, an Academy Award, and an Emmy Award, making him one of fifteen people to have won all four.

He was also inducted into the American Theatre Hall of Fame in 2009, and was knighted by Queen Elizabeth in 1992. Now I first discovered him in 1988, when my high school chorus teacher brought in the cast recording of The Phantom of the Opera for us to listen to during class. To say I was hooked, would be an understatement. I must have listened to that cassette every day for weeks. Yes that's right, I said cassette. After all, it was 1988. Cut to 1993, and I was living in the Big Apple. Which means, I would finally be able to see one of my favorite shows of all time.

Now I know what you are wondering. Did the real thing live up to the recording? You better believe it did. Since then, I have had the pleasure of seeing not only Phantom, but six Andrew Lloyd Webber show's on the Great White Way. And while I loved all of them for different reasons, The Phantom of the Opera will always hold a special place in my heart. Happy Birthday Andrew Lloyd Webber, and thank you for sharing with the world your "Music of the Night." Until next time theatre fans.

JWB
Applause Theatre and Entertainment Service, Inc.
165 West 46th Street
Suite 1107
New York, NY 10036
212-307-7050
or 1-800-451-9930

http://www.applause-tickets.com/
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Broadway Legend Stephen Sondheim Celebrates Milestone Birthday

Finally something to celebrate theatre fans. Ninety years ago today, Stephen Joshua Sondheim was born. The celebrated lyricist and composer, who was born and raised on New York's Upper West Side, is an eight-time Grammy and Tony Award winner, as well as the winner of the Academy Award,the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, and an inductee of the American Theatre Hall of Fame in 2014. Oh and also he's had sixteen shows produced on Broadway.

Quite the resume huh? Now growing up in the Midwest, the only composers/lyricists I was familiar with were Rodgers and Hammerstein, Lerner and Lowe, Frank Loesser, and of course two of my favorites Andrew Lloyd Webber and Claude-Michel Schonberg and Alain Boublil. Now while I was familiar with Stephen Sondheim, I always kind of figured he wasn't my cup of tea. Then I heard Assassins, and my world changed overnight.

Since that time, I have had the pleasure of seeing eleven Sondheim shows both On and Off-Broadway, the latest of which being the new revival of Company, which interesting enough happened to be the last night that Broadway was open before it closed due to the Coronavirus. Here's hoping this will be over soon, so I can see the new revival of West Side Story, which as you know features lyrics by today's blog subject. Happy Birthday Mr. Sondheim! Broadway would not be the same with out you. Until next time theatre fans.

JWB
Applause Theatre and Entertainment Service, Inc.
165 West 46th Street
Suite 1107
New York, NY 10036
212-307-7050
or 1-800-451-9930

http://www.applause-tickets.com/
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Saturday, March 21, 2020

Edward Albee's Who's Afraid Of Virginia Woolf Is Second Show To Announce It Will Not Return

Here we go again. Less than twenty-four hours after the Broadway production of Hangmen announced it will close due to the Coronavirus imposed shutdown, another one is set to due the same. Edward Albee's Who's Afraid Of Virginia Woolf, which was scheduled to open at the Booth Theatre on April 9, will not open after all. The show, which was directed by two-time Tony Award winner Joe Mantello, starred two-time Tony Award winner Laurie Metcalf, Rupert Everett, Patsy Ferran, and Russell Tovey. Now as much as I would love to stay positive, I have a feeling this is just the beginning of show's closing. Oh sure, hits like Hamilton, Wicked, and The Lion King have made enough money over the years that once this ends, they will be able to come back. Unfortunately not every show will be so lucky. Let's just pray that things don't get worse. Stay safe out there everyone. Until next time theatre fans.

JWB
Applause Theatre and Entertainment Service, Inc.
165 West 46th Street
Suite 1107
New York, NY 10036
212-307-7050
or 1-800-451-9930

http://www.applause-tickets.com/
Facebook:Applause Theater and Entertainment Service

Martin McDonagh's Hangmen Is Broadway's First Casualty Due To Coronavirus Imposed Shutdown

Come on now. Are you really surprised by this? The truth is, it could have been any number of shows. It just so happens that Hangmen is the first one to make it official. The show, which began previews at the John Golden Theatre on February 29, was scheduled to open on March 19. Sadly, that day will no  longer happen. As you know, Broadway officially went dark on Thursday March 12, with plans to return on Monday April 13. Now as much as we would all love for that to happen, I have a feeling it won't.

Look, I'm not trying to sound negative. If I had my way, I would be in a Broadway theatre right now enjoying a big Broadway musical like Moulin Rouge or a classic drama like To Kill A Mockingbird. Actually if I had my way, I would wish that this pandemic called the Coronavirus had never happened in the first place. All we can do is hope that it doesn't get any worse, and that a cure will be found sooner than later. Until then stay safe, and look out for each other.

JWB
Applause Theatre and Entertainment Service, Inc.
165 West 46th Street
Suite 1107
New York, NY 10036
212-307-7050
or 1-800-451-9930

http://www.applause-tickets.com/
Facebook:Applause Theater and Entertainment Service