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Fiddler On the Roof

On The Town…With Chip Deffaa…Sept 9, 2017

September 9, 2017

In the first half of her career, Barbara Cook was a top leading lady in musical theater, famously originating roles in such Broadway shows as “The Music Man” and “She Loves Me.” (Decades later, she could still sing for me at her home lines of “My White Knight” that had been cut from the score of “The Music Man” before it opened on Broadway in 1957.) [more]

Michael C. Bernardi: An Actor and His Legacy

June 29, 2016

I’ve always felt my father (Herschel) very present in my life, and I think because in a lot of ways he left behind a pretty wonderful legacy--and there were a lot of people who adored him--I grew up with a lot of different people telling me stories of how great he was. And so I think I always had such a positive vision of him that I always felt like he was looking out for me. [more]

2016 Tony Awards Bestow Much Love on “Hamilton”

June 13, 2016

Although "Hamilton" had been nominated for 16 awards in 13 categories, it failed to break the record of Mel Brooks’ "The Producers" which remains the all-time winner with a total of 12. Hamilton took all of the top musical awards including Best Musical and Best Direction of a Musical (Thomas Kail, previously nominated for Lin-Manuel Miranda’s In the Heights) except for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical which went to British actress Cynthia Erivo. (Making her Broadway debut, Erivo was reprising her role as Celie Harris in "The Color Purple" from the 2013 Menier Chocolate Factory production re-envisioned by John Doyle.) Star Miranda won his second and third Tonys with his awards for Best Original Score (Music and/or Lyrics) Written for the Theater and Best Book of a Musical. He previously won for Best Score with his 2008 Broadway musical, In the Heights. [more]

Fiddler on the Roof

February 10, 2016

Do not expect an exact reproduction of the original which after four revivals is probably to the good. With the consent of lyricist Sheldon Harnick, the only surviving creator, Sher has added a prologue and an epilogue that is new. When the curtain goes up, Burstein dressed in a contemporary parka is standing near an abandoned railway station in Anatevka reading from a book (the original Sholom Aleichem stories? a guide book?) and then he removes his coat revealing that he is in Tevye’s costume and joins the opening scene back in 1905. At the end of the musical, Burstein again in the contemporary parka joins the line of refugees leaving the town on their way to the border and picks up Tevye’s cart. The modern relevance to the current situation in Europe and in the Middle East is made patently clear. [more]

92Y’s Lyrics & Lyricists Series: “To Life! Celebrating 50 years of ‘Fiddler on the Roof’ with Sheldon Harnick”

June 1, 2015

“Is there anything left to discuss? There IS!” exclaimed Rob Fisher, artistic director of the 92nd Street Y’s Lyrics & Lyricists Series about "Fiddler on the Roof," in his introductory remarks to the concert “To Life! Celebrating 50 Years of ‘Fiddler on the Roof” with Sheldon Harnick.” A violinist and Klezmer clarinetist, who played tunes from that show, then joined him briefly before they settled in on stage with the other band members. The format of the presentation was to commemorate this milestone anniversary of that classic Broadway musical in a unique fashion. “Those expecting to hear the entire score of 'Fiddler on the Roof' will be very disappointed,” explained "Fiddler on the Roof"’s 91 year-old lyricist Sheldon Harnick, and the concert’s affable host. “These songs are twenty outtakes that were not heard in the final version.” [more]

Spring Awakening

December 28, 2006

Although its language is no rougher than what you'll hear in Rent or Avenue Q, Spring Awakening may be a tougher journey, especially for young teens. This sometimes downbeat adaptation of a controversial work incorporates a number of uncomfortable topics, including incest, masturbation, teen suicide and abortion. Warnings aside, let's hope that older teens (who already make up much of the audience), along with Generations X and Y will embrace Spring Awakening the way they did Rent ten years ago. [more]

The Apple Tree

November 28, 2006

The best moment finds Chenoweth putting a torrid spin on "I've Got What You Want," and yet not quite able to master the cracking of a whip. It's pure silliness. In Passionella …, Chenoweth plays Ella, a lonely sooty chimney sweep, who is magically transformed by her fairy godfather (Kudisch, who also serves as the story' s narrator), into a blonde sex pot of a movie star. She is destined to find true love, however, with a rock singer (James). Chenoweth's talent for breaking through the sound barrier with her high notes is the highlight of this skit. Fans of Chenoweth will be delighted; others will find the triptych trying. [more]