Truly one of my #favorite #singers @meganhilty! Catch up with her on #Broadway Names 9p ET @siriusxm 72! She’s the best - inside and out!

Truly one of my #favorite #singers @meganhilty! Catch up with her on #Broadway Names 9p ET @siriusxm 72! She’s the best - inside and out!

A #Thanksgiving Eve wave from the studio! Can’t wait for you to hear the special on Disney’s FROZEN tmrw 12 & 5p ET! (at SiriusXM Studios)

A #Thanksgiving Eve wave from the studio! Can’t wait for you to hear the special on Disney’s FROZEN tmrw 12 & 5p ET! (at SiriusXM Studios)

Clownin around in the #siriusxm #photobooth with my loves @pasekandpaul! Hear their stories & awesome-sauce songs on #Broadway Names Sat 8p/Sun 12p/Thu 9p ET! (at SiriusXM Studios)

Clownin around in the #siriusxm #photobooth with my loves @pasekandpaul! Hear their stories & awesome-sauce songs on #Broadway Names Sat 8p/Sun 12p/Thu 9p ET! (at SiriusXM Studios)

We need to give one of the 7 Wonders of the world a break & make #MarkRylance one of them. The level of genius is literally staggering.  (at Belasco Theatre)

We need to give one of the 7 Wonders of the world a break & make #MarkRylance one of them. The level of genius is literally staggering. (at Belasco Theatre)

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All the big stories of the week to make you a Broadway insider!

Broadway Buzz: September 15, 2013

A new season is heating up on Broadway and I’ve got all your newsy bits right here!

Everyone’s heads exploded when we heard that Neil Patrick Harris would be returning to Broadway in a revival of Hedwig & The Angry Inch, and now it’s all official with a theatre and opening date!  The musical with text by John Cameron Mitchell, music/lyrics by Stephen Trask, and directed by Tony winner Michael Mayer will open Tuesday, April 22, 2014 at the Belasco Theatre, with previews beginning March 29, 2014.

If you don’t know about Hedwig, the show was called “the best rock musical ever” by Rolling Stone and “the most exciting rock score written for the theatre since, oh, ever,” by Time Magazine. And lest ye forget, this is the first appearance for NPH on Broadway since he starred in the 2004 Tony-winning revival of Assassins.  He’s gearing up to host the Primetime Emmy Awards on Sept 22, as well, where he could snag his fourth Emmy as host and producer of the 2012 Tony Awards, joining his other two for hosting and another for his guest-starring role on Glee.

Rehearsals began in Manhattan this week for Harold Pinter’s No Man’s Land and Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot starring Ian McKellen, Patrick Stewart, Billy Crudup and Shuler Hensley. The limited-engagement repertory season begins previews at the Cort Theatre October 26 with the official opening on Sunday, November 24.  This limited season will run for 14 weeks only.  For performance schedule and more information, visit TwoPlaysInRep.com.  Incidentally, last weekend Patrick Stewart married Brooklyn songwriter Sunny Ozell with none other than his Broadway and X-Men co-star Ian McKellen to officiate the ceremony!  Congrats to all!

History in the making!  Last Saturday, the Tony, Olivier and Grammy Award-winning Best Musical Jersey Boys surpassed Fiddler on the Roof as the 15th longest-running show in Broadway history, playing its 3,243rd performance on September 7 at The August Wilson Theatre!  The show’s been seen by over 18 million people worldwide, currently playing NYC, Las Vegas, London and on a national tour, with a production set to open soon in The Netherlands.  Now go back and sing this whole paragraph in your Frankie Valli falsetto voice!

Some casting news for ya:  three-time Tony nominee Rebecca Luker joined the cast of Cinderella last week, stepping in as Marie, Cinderella’s Fairy Godmother, for Tony winner Victoria Clark who is on temporary leave to appear in The Snow Geese, as I previously reported to you.  Luker plays the role through January 19.  Also four-time Tony nominee Tovah Feldshuh (Golda’s Balcony, Lend Me a Tenor), who recently filled in for Tony winner Andrea Martin while on vacay, will officially replace her as Berthe in the Tony winning revival of Pippin.  Martin is leaving to star in a new Canadian TV show, playing her last performance September 22.  And the upcoming musical adaptation of the 1976 Academy Award winning Best Picture Rocky has chosen its leading man to play the iconic role, and it’s Jersey Boys and Edwin Drood star Andy Karl!  They’ve also said that newcomer Margo Seibert will make her debut as Adrian.  They take over the Winter Garden from Mamma Mia for previews on February 11, 2014 with an official opening on March 13.

Today, Sunday, September 15,  The Fantasticks has a lot to celebrate.  They’ll be playing their 20,000th New York performance, the first time any production on OR off-Broadway has ever reached such a mark.  It can be safely said it is the world’s longest running musical.  If you’ve never had the chance to see the modern twist on Romeo & Juliet, or want to re-live great memories and songs, be sure to see them at The Jerry Orbach Theatre (fittingly named for its original and beloved star) at The Snapple Theatre in the heart of midtown.  www.SnappleTheatre.com

Alright, I’ve got you covered for another week, be sure to watch this space for all you need to know to show-off what a Bway insider you are!

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This week’s show features one of my fav directors ever: Baz Luhrmann! And the ridiculously talented & handsome Patrick Wilson too! Tune into SIRIUSXM 72 Sat 8p, Sun 12p, Thu 9p ET, or On Demand via our apps or online media player. So fun & charming!

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Broadway Buzz: September 7, 2013

Theatre lovers of the world:  UNITE!  Here’s your weekly spot to get all the big Broadway stories you need to know:

Incredibly exciting news this week that the Tony-winning Sam Mendes & Rob Marshall production of CABARET will be revived by The Roundabout Theatre Company, returning to “The Kit Kat Club” at Studio 54!  Best of all, it will star Alan Cumming, reprising his role as the Emcee, the same role that won him his 1998 Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical.  Joining him is multi-Academy Award nominee Michelle Williams (Brokeback Mountain, My Week with Marilyn) as Sally Bowles, making her Broadway debut.  It will play a 24-week limited engagement beginning previews March 21 with an official opening night on April 24, 2014.

Also arriving on Broadway early next year, Disney’s Aladdin, a new stage adaptation of the 1992 Academy Award-winning animated film musical, coming to the New Amsterdam Theatre February 26th with an official opening March 20, 2014.  Music by the great Alan Menken, lyrics from the film by the late Howard Ashman and Tim Rice, and a new book and lyrics by Chad Beguelin (Elf, Wedding Singer), and direction by Tony winner Casey Nicholaw (Book of Mormon).  No casting news just yet, but when I know…you’ll know!

Tony nominees Bertie Carvel (Miss Trunchbull) & Lauren Ward (Miss Honey) departed the company of Matilda the Musical at the end of last week.  Stepping in on Tuesday was Jill Paice (Curtains, Woman in White) who made her 1st performance as planned.  Unfortunately Craig Bierko (Music Man, Guys & Dolls) had to delay his 1st appearance as Miss Trunchbull due to a minor injury.  Understudy Chris Hoch (La Cage, Shrek) will continue to cover until a new start date is announced.

This Wednesday, the smash hit Wicked surpassed Miss Saigon and became the 11th longest-running show in Broadway history, playing its 4,093rd performance!  What can I say, it’s “Pop-UUU-ler…uh, LAR”. They’ll be celebrating their 10th anniversary at The Gershwin next month, and are about to launch a Spanish language production in Mexico City, making nine worldwide productions: NY, London, Japan, Australia/New Zealand, South Korea, a UK tour and 2 North American tours. 

Welcome to Broadway Big Fish and The Glass Menagerie!  Both shows gave their 1st preview performances this Thursday.  The new musical Big Fish is based on the Tim Burton film and stars 2-time Tony winner Norbert Leo Butz, Kate Baldwin (Finian’s Rainbow) & Bobby Steggert (Ragtime) with music/lyrics by Andrew Lippa (Wild Party, Addams Family), book by frequent Tim Burton collaborator John August, and direction by none other than 5-time Tony winner Susan Stroman.  Listen out for a couple of unreleased songs on SIRIUSXM!  The revival of Tennessee Williams’ The Glass Menagerie has me very curious, with direction by Tony winner John Tiffany, who brings with him nearly the entire creative team from Once The Musical, and has incorporated music by Nico Muhly & movement by Stephen Hoggett.  How’s that for a straight play?  It also features the incredible Tony & Emmy winning Cherry Jones (The Heiress, TV’s 24), Zachary Quinto (Star Trek, TV’s Heroes) making his Broadway debut, and 2-time Tony nominee Celia Keenan-Bolger (Spelling Bee, Peter & The Starcatcher).

The downtown sensation Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812, which concluded a hit summer engagement last weekend, will take up residence in the Theater District, on West 45th Street, for a 14-week limited run beginning September 24th. Since its first production at Ars Nova in the fall of 2012, the show has become a smash, leading to an expansion this summer to a 199 seat pop-up supper club built specifically for the production in the Meatpacking District. After playing to packed houses since May, producers  will bring Dave Malloy’s acclaimed electropop opera, ripped from a slice of War and Peace, and its opulent custom venue - Kazino - to the heart of the theater district.  The show has also recorded its cast album, and a 2-disc set is scheduled for release on Ghostlight Records.  “Natasha” continues a new trend in NY theatre toward immersive, interactive, experiential shows like Punchdrunk’s Sleep No More.  What do YOU think of this new approach to theatre?  Have you seen any?  Fan or foe?  Tweet me your thoughts @julie_james!

That’s all the “Great Big Stuff” for this week – see you on air and online & I’ll be back with you for next week’s scoop!

-jj

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Broadway Buzz: August 31, 2013

Hey theatre peeps!  Here’s a glimpse at what made the world of Broadway go round this week!

The lights of all Broadway marquis’ dimmed this past Wednesday at 7:45 PM for exactly one minute in honor of celebrated stage & screen star Julie Harris, who passed August 24 at the age of 87.  Harris was one of the most admired performers of her generation, widely acclaimed for her work especially in the theatre where her career lasted more than six decades & over 30 Broadway productions.   She was the first person to win five Tony Awards for performance and was nominated ten times, the most ever for a performer. Her Special Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre made a total of six Tony Awards.  Harris also won 3 Emmy Awards, a Grammy, and was nominated for an Academy Award. She was awarded the National Medal of Arts in 1994 and in 2005 she was a Kennedy Center honoree. 

Academy Award winner Cuba Gooding, Jr. gave his final performance in the critically acclaimed revival of Horton Foote’s The Trip to Bountiful on Tuesday, due to a change in schedule for an upcoming film project.   This was a Broadway debut for Cuba (which I had fun discussing on “Broadway Names” with him) and he can currently be seen nationwide in the hit film, Lee Daniels’ The Butler. Cast member Leon Addison Brown assumes the role of “Ludie” alongside Tony Winner Cicely Tyson, Emmy nominee & recording star Vanessa Williams, Tony nominee Tom Wopat, and rising star Adepero Oduye.The production, which has been extended twice due to popular demand, plays through October 9 at the Stephen Sondheim Theatre.    

It’s nice to know the First Family is a Broadway lovin’ family!  First Lady Michelle Obama and daughters Sasha and Malia saw a couple of shows this past weekend, including catching one of Cuba Gooding’s last performances in The Trip to Bountiful and taking in the matinee of Motown the Musical the next afternoon.  A play and a musical – how well rounded!  Both shows greeted the ladies with uproarious applause and a standing ovation!

It’s been reported that Academy & Tony Award winner Geoffery Rush, most recently seen on Broadway in Exit the King, will play ‘Man in Chair’ in a film version of the 5-time Tony-winning musical comedy The Drowsy Chaperone.  Rush played the role in the Australian premiere of the musical at the Melbourne Theatre Company in 2010, and is set to Executive Produce the film musical.  Shooting is expected to begin next year.

I guess all good things must come to an end:  Two-time Tony winner Andrea Martin will depart her high-flying role as ‘Berthe’ in the Tony-winning Best Revival Pippin.  She’ll play her final performance on September 22nd and begin work on a new TV series “Working the Engels” which will film in Toronto.  Watch this space for casting news on Andrea’s replacement!

Rehearsals began in NYC this week for a world premiere play, The Snow Geese, starring Tony and Emmy Award winner Mary-Louise Parker joined by four-time Tony nominee Danny Burstein, Tony winner Victoria Clark and directed by Tony winner Daniel Sullivan.  The play reunites Parker with Sullivan, who directed her in Proof, for which both Parker and Sullivan received Tony Awards for their work.  Previews begin October 1 for a strictly limited 11 week engagement at MTC’s Samuel J. Friedman Theatre.

Well about the only thing good about the unofficial end-of-summer is a new season of theatre getting underway.  Lots of shows beginning performances in September – stay tuned here & on air for all the scoop!

#Broadway Names 12p ET w/ fab fellow redhead Kate Baldwin & the incredible Sheldon Harnick! Songs from new album recorded @FeinsteinsLoews!