During a performance last week, Spacey, the would-be Duke of Gloucester, singled out the phone owner and bellowed "Tell them we're busy!". The audience erupted in support.
The following night, he shone a laser light at some theatregoers who were heard to rustle and whisper within earshot of the king.
"Quick as you like [he] dipped into his tunic and withdrew a green laser light, pointing it at the offending audience members who, we are told, were suitably chastised," reported the Sydney Morning Herald.
Spacey has long been hostile towards misbehaving theatre audiences. As artistic director of the Old Vic, which produced the current production, he denounced noisy sweet wrappers and declared the theatre a "phone-free zone".
In Sydney for a 10-day run of the Sam Mendes-directed play, Spacey has attracted mixed reviews for his performances but consistently high praise for his rebukes.
Justified or over the top?
Posted on: Wednesday, December 07, 2011 @ 10:21 AM Posted by:Robert Diamond
In honor of last week's opening of SEMINAR on Broadway starring Alan Rickman, in which students are parting with big $ to study with a top writing instructor, the Wall Street Journal takes a look today at some real-life instructors around the city, who are at the top of their games...
Among them are Julliard's Drama Professor - Rebecca Guy, Columbia Journalism Professor - Samuel Freedman, and top Broadway vocal coach (and BroadwayWorld fave) Liz Caplan.
Yesterday, BroadwayWorld.com launched its new High School Student Center that contains listings for High Schools shows across the country. With that online, our regional show listings now contain 20,000+ upcoming productions, including high schools, colleges, regional theatres, professional theatres and more.
That got me thinking - what ARE the most popular shows being done around the country? (at least per our ever-expanding database).
Voting is now open for 5 of BroadwayWorld.com's 2011 Regional Awards with another 20 on the way over the next 2 weeks... First open are: Nashville, Philippines, Spain, Tennessee and of course the West End which closes later this month!
Posted on: Friday, November 04, 2011 @ 11:23 AM Posted by:Robert Diamond
Ok, so it's possible that our "Pick a Show" features got a little complicated as we kept adding functionality to them (sometimes we can't help ourselves) so I'm happy to announce that we've now greatly simplified the layout.
We now have three handy buttons when you visit our Help, Pick Me a Show page - one of which lets you 'Ask Our Experts' by providing a little information about what sort of show you're looking for and when, and we help with the rest. Next, if you want to do it yourself, 'Find a Broadway Show' lets you browse through a handy series of questions to find the perfect show for you. And finally, want to 'Find A Show Near You' - lets you browse our regional show listings by zip code, or by clicking on a snazzy new map.
More to come!
Posted on: Thursday, November 03, 2011 @ 10:45 AM Posted by:Robert Diamond
"HOCKADOO!" Last night, October 19th, the 2010 Tony Award-winning Best Musical MEMPHIS, celebrated its Second Anniversary on Broadway, in style, and it was a night to remember!
We started the evening off, appropriately enough, at the recently-opened (and Justin Timberlake owned) Southern Hospitality restaurant. It came as a suggestion from one of BroadwayWorld's secret weapons, our 'concierge' who definitely knows the way around town - 'restaurantally' speaking. The midtown theatre district is littered with barbecue joints, but this one is a welcome addition, in Hell's Kitchen, at the corner of 9th Avenue and 45th street.
One of the key decisions when making theatre plans, is to dine in close proximity to where your show is. Since MEMPHIS, at the Shubert Theater, was only a couple of blocks away, our 'concierge' scored an A+ last night.
Now, about the food - 'OMG!' doesn't even begin to cover it. Every single entree and side were ridiculously good and I imagine that part of that has to do with the authenticity of Timberlake's Memphis roots. (The frozen lime margaritas weren't bad either) and the portions are huge, so the value is good if you're travelling in a pack.
As a sidebar, Justin Timberlake, who is rapidly becoming a mogul in all media and can seem to do no wrong, saw the hit musical back in 2010 with another BroadwayWorld favorite, girlfriend Jessica Biel, spurring rumors of possibly being interested in starring in a film version of the musical. Another name being bandied about as attached to the project, has been film legend Oliver Stone at the helm.
So, with stomachs happily full, we headed over to the Shubert Theater on a rainy night. The mood in the lobby and the audience was fantastically upbeat for this beloved show. I'm happy to report that MEMPHIS, which I originally saw in previews, is in great shape, with performances, choreography, scenic elements, lighting and costumes in as sharp of shape as any show on Broadway could ever hope to be. Also, it's always nice to be in a theatre when a standing ovation happens spontaneously.
From the theater we headed over to a Second Anniversary celebration for cast, family, friends and everyone associated with the production, which was held a few blocks away, at another great space that you may or may not know about called Glass House Tavern. The party was multi-tiered, very classy, with plenty of food and drink and 'celebration' in the air. It was a party full of smiles and pride at an achievement that seems to have no end in sight. The other thing that I must say, that I observed, is that this entire cast genuinely seems to love and adore each other and get along really well both onstage and off. So, I'm going to coin a phrase here, and say that's 'very MEMPHIS'.
Interestingly enough, the U.S. National Touring Production of MEMPHIS opened just days before at the Orpheum Theater in Memphis, TN. (Click hereto check out BWW TV coverage of the cast visiting Elvis Presley's legendary home, Graceland). For more information on the Broadway and Tour productions, visit www.MemphisTheMusical.com.
And, what's up next up for the Broadway show? Adam Pascal(RENT, AIDA, CABARET) officially starts performances on Tuesday night, October 25th taking over the role of Huey Calhoun, originated by Chad Kimball. Kimball will be missed by fans of the show, but Pascal is a really smart and perfect fit in the casting department. And, of course, BroadwayWorld will be there to report on Pascal and the show.
MEMPHIS takes place in the smoky halls and underground clubs of the segregated 50's, where a young white DJ named Huey Calhoun fell in love with everything he shouldn't: rock and roll and an electrifying black singer. MEMPHIS is an original story about the cultural revolution that erupted when his vision met her voice, and the music changed forever.
MEMPHIS features a Tony-winning score with music by Bon Jovi's founding member/keyboardistDavid Bryan and lyrics by Bryan and Tony-winner Joe DiPietro (I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change), who also pens the musical's book. MEMPHIS is based on a concept by the late George W. George (producer of the Tony nominated Bedroom Farce and the film My Dinner With Andre), with direction by Tony nominee Christopher Ashley (Xanadu) and choreography by Sergio Trujillo (Jersey Boys).
Tickets range from $41.50 to $131.50 (including a $1.50 facility fee). The performance schedule is as follows: Tuesday at 7pm, Wednesday - Saturday evenings at 8pm, Wednesdays and Saturdays at 2pm, and Sundays at 3pm. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit www.Telecharge.comor call 212.239.6200.
Well, director Trevor Nunn believes that Shakespeare wrote all of his own plays, while Mark Rylance is taking the stance that there might indeed be other candidates (also the subject of the upcoming film ANONYMOUS in which he stars)... The Guardian was there as they each made their case, and you can click here to see what they had to say.
Posted on: Saturday, October 15, 2011 @ 02:30 PM Posted by:Robert Diamond
As we officially announced a few weeks back, we're heavily ramping up our regional offerings, including full and complete show listings for all 130 of our markets by the end of the year. With 15,000+ listings already, we are completely on track with that goal.
One of the reasons that we're doing this is because we've been hearing from theatres across the country and around the world who in this challenging economy (and always) are looking for as many ways to get the word out about their productions as possible. Well, we're here to help.
Yesterday, we went one step further, unveiling a new feature that allows regional productions to get 'enhanced' listings on the site - adding in photos, cast lists, videos, links and more. Productions that take advantage of this will receive highlights on our listing pages, extra editorial mentions and more. Before we even had a chance to announce it, I got an alert this morning about the first production was already using it. So, I'm tipping my cap to the fine folks from the Stadium Theatre in Woonsocket, Rhode Island, where you can catch THE PRODUCERS from October 14-16, 2011.
Also, we now have award nominations open for BWW 2011 Regional Awards in 3 times as many markets as last year. Nominations are open through the end of the month for:
Just spotted this hilarious new blog via Jennifer Tepper's Twitter.
Charles Isherwood's Yogurt Shop is a new Tumblr, evidently in reaction to his very odd Theater Talkback column on NYTimes.com in which he suggests that he should stop reviewing Adam Rapp's plays because, well, he's just never liked them.
For a more intellectual response, Howard Sherman has written a great piece over @ 2amtheatre.com so it's worth checking that out too to balance out the yogurt with something a little more meaty...
Should Isherwood open a yogurt shop instead of reviewing theatre? Hmmmn.
Posted on: Monday, October 10, 2011 @ 12:17 PM Posted by:Robert Diamond
It takes a lot to get me to go below 42nd Street, but this weekend, the trek down to the Abrons Arts Center was worth it - and then some! Our evening began with one of the best New York City meals that I've ever had, at the uber-hipBeauty & Essex on the Lower East Side with amazing sharing plates of delicious food prepared by chef Chris Santos (also of the equally wonderful Stanton Social restaurant). The cocktails weren't bad either. After being extremely well fed, with spot-on service and unexpected glamour we made our way on over to the Abrons Arts Center, just a few blocks away, for a night to remember.
This was my first experience with the multi-talented Joey Arias, but like a true convert, I can't wait to go back and catch this show again before it concludes its New York run, as well as to see what wonders he and the amazing Basil Twist will surely come up with next.
With equal parts of humor, spectacle, talent and wonder, each item in Arias' sketch filled show topped the last, combining the wizardry of Basil Twist's direction and design, with some of the most talented puppeteers in the world and a star like none other. Having been 'liberated' back to New York after 5 years of starring in the Las Vegas hit ZUMANITY, performance art was brought to exciting and unexpected heights.
Abrons Arts Center and Barbara Busackino have brought the critical and popular hit ARIAS WITH A TWIST back to New York City for a limited encore engagement that runs through Saturday, October 15. This bigger-than-life cabinet of curiosities was created by seductive songstress Joey Arias, who stars, and Basil Twist, who directs and designs. Tickets range from $25- $65 and are available online at www.AbronsArtsCenter.org, or by phoning (212) 352-3101 Abrons Arts Center is located at 466 Grand Street, between Pitt Street and Bialystoker Street on New York City's Lower East Side.
Arias with a Twist had its world premiere at HERE Arts Center on June 19, 2008 and played an 8-month, critically-acclaimed, extended, sold-out run. Ben Brantley of The New York Times wrote, "Eat your heart out, Madonna. The chanteuses who play Madison Square Garden and football stadiums have never experienced the imaginative heights of spectacle with which Basil Twist surrounds Joey Arias." The show then played an international tour including stops in Los Angeles, Stockholm & Paris.
This updated version of the original deliriously madcap fantasy once again features the soaring song stylings of demented diva Joey Arias surrounded by an eye-popping theatrical extravaganza conjured by a team of puppeteers under the direction of Basil Twist. Channeling lurid celluloid dreams, macabre nightmares and bizarre premonitions, the adventure begins with an alien abduction and concludes with a stupendous Busby Berkeley-esque finale. Along the way, the throaty chanteuse belts out pop, rock and jazz standards - in addition to some original tunes by Alex Gifford - as Twist and company work their magic with vintage marionettes, anatomically correct puppets and fantastical scenic elements.
Arias with a Twist features costumes designed by renowned fashion and fragrance designer Thierry Manfred Mugler, and costume execution by Chris March of "Project Runway" fame. The lighting design is by Ayumu "Poe" Saegusa, sound design is by Greg Duffin and video design is by Daniel Brodie. Arias with a Twist combines projected animation, exquisite puppetry and ingenious stagecraft for an exhilarating and unprecedented theatrical spectacle not to be missed.
For more information, please visit www.AriasWithATwist.com and for an all-to-brief video glimpse, click below to play.
Posted on: Sunday, October 09, 2011 @ 12:44 PM Posted by:Robert Diamond
There's a great roundup in today's NY Daily News by Joe Dziemianowicz about the changing landscape of Off-Broadway, namely the multiple venues that have recently been, or are in the process of being built and/or refurbished.
As he writes "Bottom line: The notion of "Off-Broadway" as dingy, broken-down theaters in crumbling buildings has been - and is being - rewritten and revamped all over town".
Posted on: Sunday, October 09, 2011 @ 10:54 AM Posted by:Robert Diamond
83 years! Yes, you read that right -- 83 years. And who is the longest working performer according to the Guinness Book of World Records? Israeli actress Hanna Maron, who is 87 years old and began her stage career at age 4. Known as the 'first lady of Israeli theater', she immigrated to the country in 1933 (before it was a country) and is onstage now in the Cameri Theater production of 'The Baggage Packer'.
Click here for the jweekly.com story on her and for her current production, here. Wow!
Posted on: Friday, October 07, 2011 @ 11:46 AM Posted by:Robert Diamond
If you haven't seen his well known 2005 Stanford commencement speech, here's a video below that I think certainly applies to whatever you are doing with your life and it's a good day to watch, or re-watch his inspirational words.
Posted on: Thursday, October 06, 2011 @ 07:15 AM Posted by:Robert Diamond
With the first notes of the show's explosive overture ringing out for the final time at the Royal Albert Hall on Sunday night, (and streamed live to movie theatres all around the world), the show was off and running again in top form. Even having had seen the show many times before, including the previous night - I still found myself carried away.
Phantom is a show like none-other, and the perfect alchemy that came together of music, lyrics, cast and creative team for the original production is a true testament to the power of musical theatre. When it all comes together perfectly (a rare feat), the result can be a show that lasts for generations. The tidal wave in which Phantom-mania hit the world in the late 80's hadn't been seen before, and hasn't since. Full credit goes to to the work of Andrew Lloyd Webber, Charles Hart, Richard Stilgoe, Hal Prince, Maria Bjornson, Gillian Lynne and the show's original leads - Michael Crawford, Sarah Brightman and Steve Barton, amongst I'm sure loads of others.
The concerts at Royal Albert Hall were as much a celebration of the talented individuals who first brought these indelible characters to life as they were for the show's success - 25 countries, 100+ million audience members and the highest-grossing entertainment of all time.
Now, with two performances under their belts, the cast was universally in even finer form than Saturday night's debut. It's a shame that Sunday was this company's last performance together, but thankfully it's been captured for DVD, Blu-ray and CD release (coming November 2011 in the UK, February 2012 in the US for those keeping track).
Sierra Boggess and Ramin Karimloo once again triumphed and both received many enthusiastic ovations from fans watching in movie theatres worldwide and those of us lucky enough to be in the sold out Royal Albert Hall. They managed to embody the characters that were created some 25 years prior with respect and love, paying homage to the original creations while at the same time making choices both big and small that made them uniquely all their own. A better pair of performers could not have been picked for these special nights.
As Christine, Boggess got to show off her soaring soprano voice and possibly due to her appearance in the show's sequel, she brought a rich and deep characterization that showed her true struggle with whom to choose. Even though you know from early on in the show that logic dictates Christine will ultimately wind up with Raoul, she seemed more hesitant in that decision than those I've seen play the part before.
Her chemistry with Karimloo was again perfect and together they ‘knocked it out of the park' with heart, acting and song. His Phantom straddled the line between the romance and tragic horror and his powerful singing voice helped to carry the night and fill the large hall.
The night's special post-show surprises were even more poignant than previous nights and again began with the entrance of Andrew Lloyd Webber to a boisterous standing ovation. He then introduced the show's original London cast, producer extraordinaire Cameron Mackintosh and as a special surprise, original Phantom Michael Crawford, whom he noted had ‘hot footed' it on over from playing the Wizard at the London Palladium across town in The Wizard of Oz.
Crawford, who unfortunately didn't sing, was visibly moved by the audience's reaction to his onstage appearance (the loudest of the night) and to what the night was celebrating. He was then joined on stage for an emotional reunion with original Christine, Sarah Brightman, who sung the show's title song with a collection of Phantom ‘All-Stars' including Colm Wilkinson, John Owen Jones and Anthony Warlow. This was followed by the Phantoms singing ‘Music of the Night' which brought Crawford, Brightman, Karimloo & Boggess back on stage, hand in hand - stars old and new - to an even louder ovation as the song came to a close.
In one especially magical moment, Karimloo paid tribute and bowed to Crawford, the man who first brought soul, heart and life to the character as he sang. Together with the company, creative team and special guests, the overflowing talent on stage brought the music of the night to a truly perfect close. As the audience began to file out of the theatre, cast members thrust Boggess and Karimloo back on stage for a final ovation, at which he carried her off stage. What a way to end the night. Those of us then lucky enough to attend the very glamorous party at London's Museum of Natural History found cast members past, present (and probably future) mingling together with family and loved ones celebrating the immense amount of work that went into putting the weekend together and the show's rich history. Over a seemingly never ending supply of beautifully catered food and drink, the party went into the wee-hours of the morning.
Here's to another 25 years...
Next question - what will Broadway do to mark their anniversary in January of 2013?
Posted on: Tuesday, October 04, 2011 @ 07:27 AM Posted by:Robert Diamond
Oh what a (first) night! I'm going to keep the spoilers to as much of a minimum as I can in tonight's report, since I'm a firm believer in keeping some surprises for those who will see it in the coming day(s), but there are naturally some, so read on with caution if you don't like being spoiled.
First off - the staging. Previous concerts at the Royal Albert Hall have been known for their casts of hundreds and for very large orchestras, but never before has one been so staged as PHANTOM was...in fact, it was nearly a complete production. A few set pieces weren't there, and the chandelier featured fireworks instead of making its way down (or up). Digital backdrops filled in beautifully along with a specially constructed proscenium arch to create the world of the show, that we all know and love. You won't miss any of what wasn't there, and the size, scope and additions should satisfy one and all. Most of these looked great live and should look even sharper on screen and help to provide perfect settings for the show and some new treats as well like a ‘Phantom Cam' which showed him writing some of his infamous notes.
Second, one of the many highlights was the expanded orchestrations and the larger than usual orchestra, which resulted in the show sounding better than I've ever heard it before, truly thrilling for tonight's sold out audience.
I'll admit that I am 100% biased and performance wise and topping the chemistry, passion and creations of the characters by the original leads would be (I think) impossible for me as the work that Michael Crawford, Sarah Brightman and Steve Barton did will go down as a highlight of musical theatre history. That said, tonight's trio of the glorious voiced Sierra Boggess as Christine, Hadley Fraser as Raoul and the powerful Ramin Karimloo as the Phantom were all absolutely wonderful and received an instant and explosive standing ovation that threatened to 'blow the roof' off of the Royal Albert Hall. Simply put, it's been the best production of the show that I've seen myself, and I'd argue, perhaps the best on any stage...in more than two decades.
I had the pleasure of seeing Boggess as ‘Christine' in Las Vegas (along with her other Broadway roles of course), and enjoyed her and Karimloo in LOVE NEVER DIES. Here together in THIS show for the first time, the chemistry between them is palpable and electrifying and both have grown immensely as performers. They perform alongside a cast of 200(!) and songs like 'Masquerade' exploded with burst of sound that can only come from so many voices. The production succeeds with both the show's smaller moments feeling as intimate as a traditional stage, and the larger moments greatly expanded.
At the end of the show, there were multiple special treats for Phantom ‘Phans' the world over including appearances by Andrew Lloyd Webber, Cameron Mackintosh, and Gillian Lynne who paid appropriate homage to designer Maria Bjornson, original Raoul Steve Barton (sorely missed), and the other members of the original production that are no longer with us.
Next out on stage was most of the show's original cast, sans Michael Crawford who was performing across town in THE WIZARD OF OZ tonight. (Here's hoping for a Sunday night appearance when OZ is dark!). Sarah Brightman sang along with multiple Phantom alumni including Colm Wilkinson, John Owen Jones, Peter Jöback and Anthony Warlow - truly a night to remember.
If you haven't yet gotten your tickets for the screening(s), now is the time to do so. If you love the show, you will love this concert. If you enjoyed the show, but haven't seen it for years, or if it's your first time, it will surely sweep you away with the...Music of the Night...
More to come tomorrow.
Posted on: Saturday, October 01, 2011 @ 07:49 PM Posted by:Robert Diamond
It was March 12, 1994 when a young, 15 year-old Rob Diamond saw THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA on Broadway for the first time, and came home on ‘cloud nine’, my life forever changed. I still remember vividly falling asleep that night listening to and discovering Michael Crawford, Sarah Brightman, Steve Barton and more on the show’s original cast recording. I did this listening to a cassette tape that my parents had (which I had of course never before listened to), on my Walkman.
Today, instead of on a Walkman, millions of new theatre fans find their favorites, and learn all about them, right here on BroadwayWorld – something that inspires me every day and something that made me all the more excited to take this look back on my personal journey. I’ve never forgotten my ‘first time’ in March of 1994, which was of course already several years into the show’s Broadway run. The musical first began previews in London’s West End on September 27, 1986 and opened just 2 weeks later on October 9, 1986 (such a short preview period!). It hit Broadway in January of 1988, so we have another year and a half before we’ll see another celebration on our side of the pond.
PHANTOM inspired my theatrical journey, a huge inspiration for the talents of Michael Crawford, trips around the globe and ultimately led me to starting BroadwayWorld.com in 2003 (more on that some other time!).
It was therefore with great excitement that we arrived in London on Friday morning, September 30th to help celebrate the show’s phenomenal 25th anniversary weekend. The Royal Albert Hall has been home to many special events over the years, including the 10th Anniversary Celebration of LES MISERABLES that’s always on constant rotation in my iTunes and the 2008 CHESS concerts with Idina Menzel, Adam Pascal, Josh Groban & Kerry Ellis amongst others.
Tonight, we’re off to the Royal Albert Hall for the first concert – stay tuned!
Posted on: Saturday, October 01, 2011 @ 11:45 AM Posted by:Robert Diamond
In honor of the show's 5th Anniversary in London, they've launched a brand-new web site for WICKED in the West End @ http://www.wickedthemusical.co.uk/. It's slick, it's clean, easy to find what you're looking for and unlike some of the over-Flash heavy sites it's also easy to share information, copy/paste and all those other wonderful things that are sometimes ignored when visuals are placed ahead of usability. Kudos to them!
Posted on: Thursday, September 29, 2011 @ 09:15 AM Posted by:Robert Diamond
Talking to NY Post gossip maven Cindy Adams, the soon to be back on Broadway star talks about how much she enjoys the quiet of Barrier Island, and a little bit about how the appropriately named An Evening with Patti LuPone and Mandy Patinkin came to be. Click here for the full story...
Posted on: Wednesday, September 28, 2011 @ 11:38 AM Posted by:Robert Diamond