Friday, June 05, 2020

Forty-Three Years Ago Today In Theatre History

June 5, 1977. Know what happened on that date? Well if you are a theatre fan like me, you know that was the day that the theatre industry came together to honor those plays and musicals that opened during the 1976-1997 Broadway season. Also known as the The Antoinette Perry Awards for Excellence In Broadway Theatre, or as what we call it today, the Tony Awards. 1977 was a very interesting year on the Great White Way, with sixty-seven shows opening that season.However as it turns out, there wasn't one hit musical until near the end of the season. Not only that, but each of those shows all opened in the same week in April.

So what were those shows you ask? Well I'll tell you. I Love My Wife, Side by Side by Sondheim, and last but not least Annie. Of the three, Annie is probably the most well known, as well as the one that most of seen. Now when it comes to musicals today, there are usually more new productions than revivals. However during the 1976-1977 Broadway season, there were a total of eight musical revivals, with the most successful being Guys and Dolls, Porgy and Bess, and The King and I, with Porgy and Bess winning the first ever Tony Award for Best Innovative Production of a Revival, which we now know as the Tony Award for Best Revival of a Play, and Best Revival of a Musical.

Also that night, Annie took home the prize for Best Musical of the Year, along with six other Tony Awards including Best Book, Best Score, and Best Actress in a Musical, and The Shadow Box won the Best Play of the Year. Since then, there have been forty-two Tony Award ceremonies, with this year's ceremony set to be it's seventy-fourth.Sadly, it along with most of the 2019-2010 Broadway season, was put on hold due to the coronavirus. As I have said many times before, we don't have any idea when Broadway will return. And quite frankly, I am tired of guessing. Actually I am just tired. Stay safe everyone, and keep looking out for each other. Until next time theatre fans.

JWB
Applause Theatre and Entertainment Service, Inc.
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Thursday, June 04, 2020

Metropolitan Opera Cancels Fall Performances

Yesterday, I posted a blog about London cancelling all of their shows thru the end of August. Now comes news that the world famous Metropolitan Opera, is the latest victim of the coronavirus shutdown. The season, which was scheduled to begin on September 21 with Verdi's Aida, has been cancelled thru December 30. Notice that I didn't say until the end of the year? That is because they are planning a special gala performance to officially launch the new season. Here's hoping it happens. Now believe it or not, but I have never seen a live opera. I have seen a DVD of one, as well as touring the Met Opera a few years ago. But like I said in yesterday's blog, nothing beats the real thing. Watching it live. Now whether that is theatre, opera, dance, concerts, or sports, it doesn't really matter. All that matters is that we are gathered together once again enjoying something we love. Stay safe everyone, and keep looking out for each other. Until next time theatre fans.

JWB
Applause Theatre and Entertainment Service, Inc.
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Wednesday, June 03, 2020

West End Theatre Extends Shutdown Thru August 2

Well all I can say is, "It's about time." I mean did you really think that London theatre was going to open before Broadway? Originally, it was shut down thru June 28, but let's be honest. We all knew that wasn't going to happen. Don't get me wrong. I want theatre to come back just as much as anyone. But we have to be realistic. And more importantly, we have to be patient. What we are going through right now will not last forever. It can't. But it's also not going to disappear overnight either. The last couple of months, we have gotten our "Theatre Fix" by watching prerecorded and live streams of some of the theatres greatest shows, along with concerts and other events featuring some of our favorite stars. And while that's all fine and good, nothing beats the real thing. Live theatre. Stay safe everyone, and please look out for each other. Until next time theatre fans.

JWB
Applause Theatre and Entertainment Service, Inc.
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Tuesday, June 02, 2020

Broadway And Reality Television

One of the biggest hit's of the 2000's, was Legally Blonde, starring future Academy Award winner Reese Witherspoon. Now as much as I loved the movie, I wasn't thinking, "Wouldn't this make a great Broadway musical someday?" Turns out I was wrong, because less than six years later, there it was  larger than life on the big stage. The show, which starred Laura Bell Bundy in the title role, and directed and choreographed by two-time Tony Award winner Jerry Mitchell, was nominated for seven 2007 Tony Awards, including Best Book and Score, and Best Actress in a Musical.

It also aired on MTV in November of that year, beginning a relationship with the cable music channel that would continue in 2008, with a new reality show, Legally Blonde - The Search for Elle Woods. Premiering on June 2, 2008, the eight episode series featured fifteen female finalists vying for the role of a lifetime. In the end, twenty year old Bailey Hanks from South Carolina was selected as the winner. She debuted on July 23, 2008, and performed with the show until it closed on October 19 of that year. Now believe it or not, but Legally Blonde was not the first show to use reality television to find it's star. 

The 2007 revival of Grease,  began the trend with Grease: You're The One That I Want, where they allowed America to choose Broadway's Danny and Sandy. Winning the contest were Max Crumm and Laura Osnes, who has since become one of Broadway's most acclaimed leading ladies, starring in six Broadway shows, and receiving Tony Award nominations for Best Actress in a Musical, for her performances in Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella, and Bonnie and Clyde. Now despite the show not being a ratings success, it did give the show a hefty advance at the box office. 

Since then, there have been several more shows produced in the hopes of finding it's leading man or leading lady. Any Dream Will Do (Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat), I'd Do Anything (Oliver!), and Over The Rainbow (The Wizard of Oz). All great choices. Now what get's me, is that no other Broadway shows have used this device since Legally Blonde. Who knows? This might just be the thing that Broadway needs to create a little buzz when it comes back. Stay safe everyone, and keep looking out for each other. Until next time theatre fans.

JWB
Applause Theatre and Entertainment Service, Inc.
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Monday, June 01, 2020

Forty-Nine Years Ago Today

The first time I ever played a lead role, was during my sophomore year in high school. The role? Charlie Brown, in You're A Good Man Charlie Brown of course. The show, which first premiered Off-Broadway on March 7, 1967, where it played for a total of 1,597 performances, transferred to the John Golden Theatre, and opened on June 1, 1971. Unfortunately the Broadway production was not as successful, and closed after thirty-two performances and fifteen previews.

Cut to almost twenty-eight years later, and the show returns to Broadway in a new production starring Anthony Rapp, Tony Award winner B.D. Wong, Ilana Levine, Stanley Wayne Mathis, Roger Bart, and Kristin Chenoweth, with the latter two winning Tony Awards for their performances. Having starred in the show before, I was so excited to see it live on the big stage. It did not disappoint. I only wish that it would have had a longer run on the Great White Way.

Here's a thought. How about a brand new all-star production when Broadway opens back up? Or even a one night concert with all of the proceeds going to a great cause? I'd be fine with either one honestly. Actually if I'm really being honest, the one thing I want more than anything, is to sit in a theatre once again. Watching a Broadway or Off-Broadway show. I mean let's face it. That's what we all want. Stay safe everyone, and keep looking out for each other. Until next time theatre fans.

JWB
Applause Theatre and Entertainment Service, Inc.
165 West 46th Street
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Sunday, May 31, 2020

My Journey

May 31, 1991. That was the day my journey began. And no that was not the day that I was born. Trust me. I wish I was that young. On that day, I walked across the stage, and received my high school diploma. It was in that moment, that I went from young kid, to young man. The month before, I played my final performance on the Paris High School stage, and that very weekend, I was accepted into the American Musical and Dramatic Academy, for the following year. It truly was a weekend that I will never forget.

Now her I am twenty-nine years later, and I am still living in New York City, pursuing my dream. The same dream that began in my high school gym on that hot day in May 1991. Since then, my life has taken a lot of twist and turns. I guess you could say the same thing about our world in the last few months. As most of you know, several states, including New York are slowly reopening. But let's face it. It will be a long time before things are back to where they were before. And who knows? Maybe a little change is just the thing we need right now.

Last night, I watched a production of 42nd Street that I had recorded on PBS. Believe it or not, but until that point, I had never seen the show. All I knew was that it was the quintessential Broadway musical. and loved by everyone. When I first moved here, musicals like 42nd Street were all I wanted to see. However in the last few years, I preferred shows with a little more edge. But without live theatre right now, you sort of have to take what you can get.

Well wouldn't you know it, but within minutes, I was smiling from ear to ear. Believe me. I was surprised too. For the next two and a half hours, I was transported to the 1930's, where life was a little simpler than it is today. Oh sure they were living during the "Great Depression, but it was a much different world than right now. Now I don't know about you, but I'm thinking we could use a revival of 42nd Street again once this is all over. Stay safe everyone, and keep looking out for each other. Until next time theatre fans.

JWB
Applause Theatre and Entertainment Service, Inc.
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Saturday, May 30, 2020

Happy Birthday Idina Menzel

You've heard her belt "Let It Go" in Frozen. You've seen her fly in Wicked. And for almost twenty-five years, you have seen her grace the stage of Broadway, and theatres around the world. That's right. I am talking about the one and only Idina Menzel. The New York native, who made her Broadway debut in Rent in 1996, and won the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical for Wicked in 2004,was born on May 30, 1971. Her other Broadway credits include her Tony Award nominated performances in Rent and If/Then, and Aida. Even I forgot about that last one.

Now along with her multiple performances on Broadway and the West End, she continues to play to packed houses throughout the United States and across the globe. Pretty impressive for a girl from Long Island who spent her weekends as a wedding and bar mitzvah singer, before landing the role of Maureen Johnson in the Off-Broadway production of Rent in 1995. Looking forward to her next Broadway performance. Whenever that will be of course. Stay safe everyone, and keep looking out for each other. Until next time theatre fans.

JWB
Applause Theatre and Entertainment Service, Inc.
165 West 46th Street
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New York, NY 10036
212-307-7050
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Friday, May 29, 2020

One Year Later

My how things can change in just three hundred and sixty-five days. Sometimes when I am having trouble coming up with a subject for my daily blog, I often look back at some of my posts from before. Not only does it usually spark an idea or two, but it also gives me a chance to see my growth as a writer over these past few years. Normally around this time of year, the Broadway League releases their stats for the current Broadway season.You know, how much money was made at the box office for that year. For the 2018-2019 Broadway season, they grossed a total of $1.83 billion, breaking the record from the year before. Sadly this year, the only record being broken is that this is the longest that Broadway has ever been shut down. The longest time before that, was the musicians strike in 1975 that lasted twenty-five days.

Now while I won't even begin to speculate what the numbers will be for the 2019-2020 Broadway season, I can tell you it will for sure be one of the lowest in years, and well below a billion dollars.Yes I know it's only been ninety days since Broadway shut down, but when you consider that the gross for the last full week of shows on March 9, 2020 was a little over $26 million dollars, you can pretty much estimate how much Broadway will be down from last year.Not to mention there is always a spike in sales during the month of May, for all the shows that have been nominated for Tony Awards. The truth is, it will be a long time before Broadway hit's the one billion mark again. All we can hope is that when it does come back, it will be even better than ever before, and that everyone in the theatre will feel safe once again. Until next time theatre fans.

JWB
Applause Theatre and Entertainment Service, Inc.
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New York, NY 10036
212-307-7050
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Thursday, May 28, 2020

The Musicals Of Stephen Schwartz

Believe it or not, but Stephen Schwartz did write other shows before Wicked. Yes I know. You can't even fathom it right? Of course I'm kidding. I mean if you are a true musical theatre fan, then you know that he wrote many, many musicals before those two witches from Oz arrived on the Great White Way. One of those shows was The Magic Show, which opened exactly forty-six years ago today on May 28, 1964, and starred the incomparable Doug Henning. Now for those of you that are under the age of twenty-five, you probably have never heard of him. He was basically the Canadian version of David Copperfield, yet slightly more goofy and with a better sense of humor.

The show, which played the Cort Theatre for a total of one thousand nine hundred and twenty performances, was nominated for Best Direction of a Musical, and Best Featured Actor in a Musical for Henning. It was also known for being the Broadway debut of former Late Show band leader Paul Shaffer, who played piano in the pit for the show. Following The Magic Show, he wrote The Baker's Wife, Working, The Trip, Rags, and Children of Eden, with Rags being the only one to play Broadway. Well at least for eighteen previews and four performances that is.

And in just in case you are wondering, I did not forget about Pippin or Godspell. Those just happened to open before The Magic Show. Now while Wicked may have been his last original show to open on Broadway, he has stayed quite busy for the past two decades, writing the lyrics for Pocahontas, The Hunchback of Notre Dam, Enchanted, Disenchanted, and the composer and lyricist for The Prince of Egypt, which was in it's first month of performances when it was shut down to the coronavirus. Here's hoping that it, along with every other show in the West End, as well as Broadway and Off-Broadway will return once things get back to normal. Stay safe everyone, and don't forget to look out for each other.

JWB
Applause Theatre and Entertainment Service, Inc.
165 West 46th Street
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New York, NY 10036
212-307-7050
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Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Today In History

Ever since this pandemic began, I have been posting a blog every day. Sometimes two. One of my regular topics, is "Today In Theatre History, which focuses on a particular show that opened years ago, or sometimes someones birthday. However today's blog is not about a famous Broadway star, or a composer, or a play or musical on the Great White Way. Although it does have ties to Broadway. On May 27, 1963, Bob Dylan released The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan. Unlike his first studio album, which only featured two original songs, Dylan composed eleven new compositions for the album.

One of those songs went on to become one of his biggest hits. Maybe you've heard of it. "Blowin' in the Wind"? Another one of the songs? "Girl From The North Country", which fifty-seven years later, ended up being the name of a brand new Broadway musical. I was fortunate enough to see the show about a week before it opened. I loved it. And as it turns out, so did the critic's. Here's hoping it, along with every other show, will return once we are able to open up once again. Stay safe everyone, and keep looking out for one another. 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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Tuesday, May 26, 2020

The Music Man On Broadway

September 6, 2020. That is the date that Broadway and Off-Broadway shows are shut down through, due to the coronavirus. September 9, 2020. On that day, the new Broadway revival of The Music Man starring Hugh Jackman and Sutton Foster, is scheduled to begin previews at the Wintergarden Theatre. September 10, 2020. Theatre in New York City will unfortunately, baring a miracle, still be shut down. Trust me. I don't like it anymore than you do. But we have to be realistic.

Theatre as we know it, will more than likely not be back until 2021. Now I'm no expert. Nor have I ever claimed to be either. What I am is a theatre lover, and have been for most of my life. Plus The Music Man is one of my favorite shows of all time. Which is why I was so excited when it was announced last year that the show was coming back to Broadway. Now believe it or not, but I have never seen Hugh Jackman on Broadway. I have however seen Sutton Foster many times, and she has never disappointed.

If there was ever a more  perfect pair to play Professor Harold Hill and Marion Paroo, then I don't who. I like most, can't wait to see the show. Actually, there are many shows that I can't wait to see. But that's what we are going to be doing for the time being. Waiting. Waiting for businesses to reopen. Waiting for things like bars and restaurants to open back up at full capacity. And waiting for the day that we can sit in a theatre once again. I know I'm willing to wait. How about you? Stay safe everyone, and keep looking out for one another. 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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Monday, May 25, 2020

Happy Memorial Day!

Hard to believe it's already time to celebrate Memorial Day. I mean it seems just like yesterday, that we were celebrating St. Patrick's Day. Which by the way, was the last day before the coronavirus changed our world forever. It was also the last time that I was in my office, not too mention the last time that I  was in Manhattan. Don't get me wrong. I love the Bronx. In fact in the last month in a half, I have exercised more, and discovered some amazing places in my borough that I never knew existed.

Oh and in case you are wondering, I do wear a mask each and every second that I am outside. Now as much as I have enjoyed my time at home, I miss going into work each day. I miss riding the subway. And like most, I miss going to the theatre. Not that all of the streaming shows, and other events haven't been great. I mean let's face it. They have really helped pass the time. But I miss sitting in the theatre. 

I miss waiting for that moment when the curtain rises, and the magic begins. And I even miss when it's over, so I can talk to my friends about what we liked, and sometimes what we didn't like too. Theatre is not perfect. But it doesn't have to be. It just needs to be what it has always been. An escape. A way to forget everything that is going on in the world. If only for a little while. Stay safe everyone, and keep looking 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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Sunday, May 24, 2020

Original Cast Album: Company Documentary To Air Next Month

One of my favorite shows of all time is Company. In fact, the new Broadway revival, was the last show that I saw prior to the shutdown. And while I wasn't born until years after the original production, it was for me, and many others, their first exposure to the show. However, it wasn't until around the 2007 revival, that I first became aware of the celebrated D.A. Pennebaker documentary, which focused on the shows recording of it's cast album.

Even though I have yet to see the entire film, I have seen a few of the numbers, including "You Could Drive A Person Crazy", "Getting Married Today", "Barcelona", and "Being Alive". Of course the highlight of the film, was the recording of "Ladies Who Lunch", by the incomparable legend Elaine Stritch. Now while her rendition of this classic song is a highlight of the film, the scenes leading up to it, well they need to be seen to believe. Which brings me to today's blog.

On June 15, the documentary will live stream on the Criterion Channel. It was also announced, that the stars and creative team of the recent Documentary Now! parody of the film, will be interviewed as part of the telecast. Scheduled to appear are stars John Mulaney, Seth Myers, Richard Kind, Paula Pell, Alex Brightman, and Renee Elise Goldsberry, as well as director Alex Buono, and composer Eli Bolin. Well, I know where I will be on June 15. How about you? 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

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Saturday, May 23, 2020

Today In Theatre History

Anyone that knows me, knows that my favorite Broadway show of all time is Rent. Not only did I see the original cast ten times, but I also saw the show a total of twenty-five times during it's twelve year run on the Great White Way. What can I say? I was a fan. However, most people tend to forget that Jonathan Larson wrote several shows before Rent. One of those was Tick, Tick, Boom. Originally conceived as a solo piece called Boho Days, it first premiered Off-Off-Broadway in a workshop production at Second Stage Theatre in September 1990, before going on to open at the Village Gate Theatre in November 1991, under the title we know it as today.

Oh and also he called it a "Rock Monologue" which as it turns out was a new form of theatre at the time. Always the innovator. Set in New York City in 1990, Tick, Tick, Boom tells the story of Jon, a composer, who is nearing his 30th Birthday, and depressed about his career, and the state of his relationships with his girlfriend Susan, and his childhood friend Michael. Now while the show didn't up being the success that he hoped, it did manage to attract the attention of up and coming producer Jeffrey Seller, who became a champion of the young artists work.

And well you know the rest. Seller teamed up with fellow producers Kevin McCollum and Alan Gordon, along with the New York Theatre Workshop, and they went on to win the Tony Award for Best Musical for Jonathan Larson's masterpiece Rent. Sadly, he never lived long enough to see his success. On January 25, 1996, Jonathan passed away from an aortic aneurysm at the age of thirty-five. But his legacy lives on, and so will his words and music. Thank you Jonathan Larson. Oh and what happened today in theatre history? Tick, Tick, Boom began previews today at the Jane Street Theatre. May 23, 2011. Stay safe everyone, and keep looking out for each other. Until next time theatre fans.

JWB
Applause Theatre and Entertainment Service, Inc.
165 West 46th Street
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212-307-7050
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Friday, May 22, 2020

A Day In The Life Of A Ticket Seller

Seventy-two days. That's how long it's been since Broadway and theatre in New York City has been shut down. Sixty-six days. That's also how long it's been since I was in my office. The truth is, none of us have any idea when things will be back to normal. Look, I want theatre to come back just as much as anyone. Just like I want to be able to ride the subway again, or eat at a fancy restaurant, or have a cold beer or two with my friends. Be normal. What we are going through right now won't last forever. It just seems like it some days.

Ever since this happened, live theatre has been replaced by prerecorded shows and concerts, and Zoom get together's featuring our favorite performers and artists. Now as much as I enjoy seeing what Stephen Sondheim, or Audra McDonald's living room looks like, I would much prefer to be looking at a fake set of someone's home in a theatre. And even if that doesn't happen next week, or six months from now, it will happen again. And we will all celebrate like never before. 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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Thursday, May 21, 2020

Sixty-One Years Ago Today On The Great White Way

Let me just start off by saying, that I was not alive when Gypsy first premiered on Broadway. Although I did see the last revival starring two-time Tony Award winner Patti LuPone. To most, Gypsy not only has the greatest book of any Broadway show in history, but is also one of the greatest show business musicals of all time. And you know what? I would happen to agree. Nominated for eight Tony Awards, including Best Musical of the Year, Gypsy features music by Jule Styne, lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, and a book by Arthur Laurents.

Interesting enough, none of these three legendary men were nominated for their work on the show. Another interesting note, is that while original leading lady Ethel Merman did not win for her performance as "The Stage Mother From Hell" Mama Rose, three out of the four next actresses who played the part, Angela Lansbury, Tyne Daly, and Patti LuPone, did win in subsequent revivals. Now while it's only been twelve years since the last revival, every few years rumors start about a new production starring leading ladies like Sutton Foster or Audra McDonald.

Now I know what your're thinking. "Oh sure they would be amazing, but aren't they both a little young?" Well look at the facts. Ethel Merman was fifty-one when she played the part. Angela Lansbury was forty-nine. Tyne Daly was forty-three. Only Bernadette Peters and Patti LuPone were fifty-five and older when they performed it. Oh and Sutton Foster and Audra McDonald? Forty-five and forty-nine respectively. I rest my case. Stay safe everyone and keep looking 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

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Wednesday, May 20, 2020

My First Off-Broadway Show

Over the years, I have seen hundreds of shows in New York. And while most have been on the Great White Way, I have always had a little place in my heart for what I like to call it's "Little Brother". Otherwise known as Off-Broadway. In the Spring of 1992, I was a student at the American Musical and Dramatic Academy. Between classes, and rehearsals, I didn't really have a lot of free time. However when I did, it was usually spent sitting in a theatre watching a show. Now since I was a poor acting student, I didn't have a whole lot of money.

Which is why every show I saw my first year or two, were free tickets I got thru my school. It's how I saw Tony Award winning musicals like Miss Saigon, The Secret Garden, Jelly's Last Jam, and classic plays like August Wilson's Two Trains Running, and Neil Simon's Lost In Yonkers. But today's blog is not about how many Broadway shows that I have seen. It's about my first Off-Broadway show. Which believe it or not, was only a block away from my school. The show? Forever Plaid? The venue? The former Steve McGraw's on West 72nd Street, now known as The Triad.

Now for those of you that are not familiar with the show, it's a musical revue about the Plaids, an all male quartet set in the 1950's, who while in the midst of pursuing a recording career, are tragically killed when a bus carrying a group of Catholic school girls on their way to see The Beatles American debut on the Ed Sullivan show, crashes into them. O.K. O.K., I know it sounds a little morbid. But trust me, once you get past the little thing about them dying, it's actually a lot of fun.

Of course it helps that it has tons of great tunes from the era including, "Three Coins In The Fountain", "Sixteen Tons", "Chain Gang", "Lady of Spain", "Love Is A Many-Splendored Thing", and many, many more. The show, which enjoyed a four year run, continues to play at regional and community theatres, and high school and colleges around the country. Not bad for a little show that first premiered at a small supper club on West 42nd Street over thirty years ago. Oh and the date that the show opened on West 72nd Street? May 20, 1989. Thirty-one years ago today. Stay safe everyone, and don't forget to 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/
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Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Bombshell Concert To Stream Tomorrow Night

One of my favorite television show's of the past decade was Smash. As a matter of fact, I just recently watched every episode on DVD. I mean I needed something to do until this pandemic is over right? Sadly, the show only lasted two seasons before being canceled in the Spring of 2013. For those of you that are not familiar with the show's plot, it takes a behind the scenes look at a Broadway bound new musical, and the personal lives of the shows creators and it's stars.

The musical's subject? Why none other than icon Marilyn Monroe. The name of the show? Bombshell. Anyway, two years after the show's final episode, the cast as well as the show's composers Tony Award winners Marc Shaiman and Scott Whittman, reunited for a one night only benefit concert on June 8, 2015 at the Minskoff Theatre. Featuring the show's original cast, as well as full orchestra and chorus, Bombshell went on to become one of the mist successful fundraisers in Actor's Fund history.

Now while I didn't get the opportunity to attend the concert in 2015, you better believe that I won't miss it this time around. To view the live stream, which begins tomorrow night at 8pm, go to PEOPLE.com, as well as People's digital and social platforms. You can also view it on Playbill.com as well. 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/
Facebook:Applause Theater and Entertainment Service

Monday, May 18, 2020

The Return Of 42nd Street

Now before you get all excited theatre fans, 42nd Street is not coming back to Broadway. Yes I know it's been over fifteen years since the last production. And yes, it was very successful, winning the 2001 Tony Award for Best Musical Revival of the Year. No, I'm talking about the return of that stretch of land between 7th and 8th Avenues, commonly referred to as "The Deuce". That 42nd Street. During the early 1900's thru to late 1930's, 42nd Street was sort of the epicenter of the Broadway district. One of it's most popular venues was the New Amstredam Theatre.

Now today, we know it as the flagship theatre of Disney Theatricals, home to the Broadway smash of Aladdin, and former home of Mary Poppins and The Lion King. From 1913-1927, it was the home of the Ziegfeld Follies. Starting in 1937, it was used as a movie theatre, before closing for good in 1985. Of course by then, the theatre was a shell of it's former self, caused by years and years of abuse and neglect. According to the Disney Organization, boxes on both sides of the venue had been ripped out, ceilings had collapsed, and believe it or not, giant plate size mushrooms were growing all around.

To say the New Amsterdam had become dilapidated was an understatement. Enter former Disney head Michael Eisner and the Disney Organization, who took on the herculean task of restoring the theatre to it's former glory. Which in turn, changed the course of 42nd Street forever. Now while The Lion King was it's first fully staged production, it's first presentation was a limited engagement concert of King David by Academy and Tony Award winners Alan Menken and Tim Rice. The day of it's first performance? May 18,1997. Well would you look at that? That's today. Stay safe everyone, and keep looking 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/
Facebook:Applause Theater and Entertainment Service

Sunday, May 17, 2020

Musical Based On Some Like It Hot To Open On Broadway In 2021

January 8, 2020. Care to guess what happened on that date? Don't worry. I won't fault you if you don't know. In fact, I had to do a little research to find out myself. O.K. O.K, I won't hold you in suspense. On that date, I posted a blog about how the critically acclaimed Off-Broadway production of Sing Street was headed to the Great White Way. It was scheduled to open at the Lyceum Theatre on April 19. Sadly, it was among fourteen other shows that were set to open this season. That is until the Coronavirus changed our world forever. Now I know what you're thinking. What does that have to do with today's blog?

Well as it turns out, January 8, 2020, was the last time I posted a blog about a new show coming to Broadway. That's almost four and a half months ago. Since then, my blogs have been limited to show closings and postponements, and the various shows and benefits that are available to stream. Now finally, there is some exciting news to report. Based on the 1959 film starring Tony Curtis, Jack Lemmon, and Marilyn Monroe, Some Like It Hot is set to premier on Broadway in the Fall of 2021. Prior to the pandemic, it was scheduled to have have it's world premier in Chicago in the Spring of 2021.

Featuring a score by Tony Award winners Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman, a book by Matthew Lopez, and direction and choreography by Tony Award winner Casey Nicholaw, the show is being produced by the Shubert Organization and Neil Meron, and co-produced by Roy Furman, Robert Greenblatt, and the Nederlander Organization. Now I don't know about you, but I can't wait to see this. Here's hoping even more new shows will be announced in the coming months. Stay safe everyone, and keep looking 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/
Facebook:Applause Theater and Entertainment Service

Saturday, May 16, 2020

Today In Theatre History

Earlier this week, I posted a blog celebrating the birthday of Irving Berlin. As I mentioned, his biggest Broadway hit was Annie Get Your Gun. Well as it turns out, that show opened exactly seventy-four years ago today. May 16, 1946. Now back then, the Tony Awards didn't exist. Those wouldn't come around until a year later. It did however win the award for Best Musical Revival of the Year, when it returned in 1999, in a brand new production starring Bernadette Peters, in her Tony Award winning performance as Annie Oakley.

I actually saw the show during it's final dress rehearsal, the afternoon before it's first preview. Going in, I wasn't that familiar with the show, except that the classic tune, "There's No Business, Like Show Business", came from it. Later on, I discovered that the musicals original composer was set to be Jerome Kern, who tragically died from a cerebral hemorrhage on his way to the East Coast to begin work on the show. It was also produced by the Tony Award winning team of Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein.

The original production, which starred Tony Award winner Ethel Merman, ran for a total of 1,147 performances. Now while Ms. Merman played Annie for it's entire run, the 1999 revival, showed a bevy of different performers including soap opera queen Susan Lucci, and country music star Reba McEntire, who's five month critically acclaimed run, garnered her a Drama Desk and Outer Critic's Award.

Who knows? Maybe when this pandemic is over, somebody will produce a brand new revival of this beloved musical, starring a rotating group of talented female stars. My first couple of picks would be Broadway favorites, and Tony Award winners Kelli O'Hara and Jessie Mueller. Although a couple of award winning singers like Leann Rimes and Kelly Clarkson would fit the bill quite nicely as well. Make it happen Broadway producers. Stay safe everyone, and keep looking 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/
Facebook:Applause Theater and Entertainment Service

Friday, May 15, 2020

Disney's Frozen Is The Latest Victim Of Covid-19

Those who know me, know that I am not exactly the biggest Disney fan in the world. In fact, the only one that I liked was Aida. Probably because it wasn't a cartoon first. But that doesn't mean that I wanted Frozen to close. Or Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf, or Hangmen. Unfortunately there will be more shows that may never reopen, or even open at all for that matter. This is our new normal. And as much as I want this terrible pandemic to end, it will be a long time before we will be able to sit in a theatre again my friends. Now don't get me wrong. Being able to watch all of these amazing shows and events from home has been great. It even made me forget about all of the terrible things going on in the world. Even for just an hour or two. But it's not the same. No matter how much we want to think that it is. One day this nightmare will all be over. And one day we will be gathered once again, experiencing the theatre the way it was meant to be. Live. Stay safe everyone, and keep looking our 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/
Facebook:Applause Theater and Entertainment Service

Thursday, May 14, 2020

MJ The Musical Postponed Until 2021

Well at least it wasn't cancelled outright. MJ The Musical, which was supposed to begin previews at the Neil Simon Theatre on July 6, has now been moved to next year. Previews are set to begin on March 8, 2021, with opening night scheduled for April 15. Directed and choreographed by Tony Award winner Christopher Wheeldon (An American In Paris), and written by Pulitzer Prize winner Lynn Nottage (Ruined), MJ The Musical will feature over twenty-five of Michael Jackson's biggest hits, and will star Tony Award nominee Ephraim Sykes (Ain't Too Proud) in the lead role. MJ The Musical is the latest show to postpone, following the announcement that the revival of Neil Simon's Plaza Suite starring Matthew Broderick and Sarah Jessica Parker, will now open next season as well. Makes you wonder if the highly anticipated revival of The Music Man will follow suit in the coming weeks. We shall see. 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/
Facebook:Applause Theater and Entertainment Service

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Broadway Extends Shut Down

Sad news theatre fans. Yet not surprising. Yesterday afternoon, the Broadway League officially shut down thru September 6, 2020, with an exact return date to be determined later. The shutdown, which began on March 12, was set to open on April 12, then changed to June 7. As devastating as this news is, I'm glad they didn't wait until the week before to make the announcement like last time.

Plus extending another two months again,will allow everyone to sort of reassess things, and better prepare if things start to improve. Beginning this Friday, three regions in New York State, Finger Lakes, the Mohawk Valley, and the Southern Tier, will reopen. If that is a success, then gradually other areas will slowly start to reopen as well. But make no mistake. We have a long, long road ahead of us.

Things like live theatre, will be the last thing to open in New York, and that is provided every thing goes as planned. Now I don't know about you, but I can't wait for the day when I can sit in a theatre once again. To feel normal again. Until that day happens, this is our new normal. And all we can do is pray that things get better soon. Stay safe everyone, and keep looking 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/
Facebook:Applause Theater and Entertainment Service

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Broadway Production Of Hamilton To Stream This Summer

Now this is what I call exciting news theatre fans. It was just announced, that the eleven time Tony Award winning production of Hamilton, will stream exclusively on Disney + this Summer. Featuring the original Broadway cast, the movie which was scheduled to open in theatres in October 2021, will now stream on the popular channel beginning on July 3. Now while I wasn't fortunate enough to see the show with it's original award winning cast, I was able to see the show a couple of years into it's run. It was fantastic. Doesn't mean I don't want to see it again. Looks like somebody will be getting Disney + real soon. Something tells me I won't be the only one. Stay safe everyone, and keep looking 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/
Facebook:Applause Theater and Entertainment Service

Monday, May 11, 2020

Happy Birthday Irving Berlin

Back in high school, we always had several concerts throughout the year. During my Freshman year, we held our annual Spring Band/Choral event, where I played alto saxophone, and sang in the choir. As it turns out, that was also the year that Irving Berlin turned 100 years old. So of course, we had to do a tribute to him featuring some of his most popular songs. Now while I was familiar with a few of his songs like "God Bless America", "White Christmas", "Puttin' on the Ritz", and "Alexander's Ragtime Band", I didn't realize exactly how many songs he actually wrote.

As it turns out, he composed over fifteen hundred tunes during his sixty year career. That's a lot of songs my friends. Plus what I didn't know until a year or two later, was that he composed the score for a number of Broadway shows as well. Actually he wrote a total of twenty-three, between the years 1914 and 1962, including Call Me Madame, Miss Liberty and Mr. President. Most of which played at the Music Box Theatre, which he owned until his death in 1989. His biggest hit of course, was Annie Get Your Gun, which featured such well known songs like, "There's No Business Like Show Business", "You Can't Get A Man With A Gun", and "Anything You Can Do (I Can Do Better)."

Now with the exception of the show's 1999 Tony Award winning revival, starring two-time Tony Award winner Bernadette Peters, I like most, probably assumed that would be the last time that an Irving Berlin show would ever play on Broadway. Boy was I wrong. In 2009, we saw the premier of White Christmas, followed by Holiday Inn in 2016. Well would you look at that? Maybe we will see another Irving Berlin show again in the near future? Here's a thought. How about an all-star Irving Berlin tribute at the Music Box Theatre? Sounds like a great idea to me. Stay safe everyone, and keep looking 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/
Facebook:Applause Theater and Entertainment Service

Sunday, May 10, 2020

Broadway Mother's Day Benefit To Stream Today

I don't know about you, but I love Mother's Day. Always have. And even though I won't be able to share the special day with my Mom in person, I will be calling her like always. I mean what kind of son would I be if I didn't? Plus she would never let me hear the end of it. Just kidding. My Mom's the best. Now in case you haven't heard, there is a little concert happening today in honor of Mother's Day. Let me rephrase that. There is nothing little about it.

Not when you have over twenty-five Broadway artist's doing what they do best. The event, which benefit's the Broadway Cares' Covid-19 Emergency Assistance Fund, will air online beginning at 3pm, at BroadwayDoesMothersDay.com. Some of the artists scheduled to perform are Tony Award winners Laura Benanti, Victoria Clark, Chuck Cooper, Harvey Fierstein, James Monroe Iglehart, Judy Kaye, LaChanze, as well Vanessa Williams, Eden Espinosa, Carolee Carmello, Betsy Wolfe, and many, many more.

Now besides the performers listed above, there will be sketches from several Broadway shows including Moulin Rouge!The Musical, Jagged Little Pill, Company, Tina:The Tina Turner Musical, Chicago, Diana,Mean Girls, Girl From the North Country, Six and Mrs. Doubtfire. Well I know where I'll be on May 10. Well, after I call my mother of course. Happy Mother's Day! And as always, 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/
Facebook:Applause Theater and Entertainment Service