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Top 10 Music Trends for High-End Events in 2024

May 29, 2024

As 2024 goes on, the music styles for high-end parties are all about creating unique, personalized, and unforgettable moments. There is a desire to mix old and new, making sure that every event is unique and high-class. [more]

Musical Theater in Colleges: Shaping Social Awareness Through Art

May 22, 2024

Musical theater at the college level often pushes boundaries, challenging traditional narratives and fostering innovation in storytelling. This creative experimentation is essential, enabling students to harness both creative and critical thinking skills necessary for effective communication. The dynamic nature of musical theater, with its blend of music, dialogue, and dance, offers a powerful means of cultural expression and critique. [more]

Unleashing the Drama: A Guide to Theater Plays Every Student Should Experience

May 21, 2024

For educators and students alike, "Hamlet" offers numerous avenues for exploration—from its rich language and intricate plot to its deep philosophical questions. Teachers can engage students through interactive performances, critical essays, and group discussions to dissect the layers of Shakespeare’s most introspective work. This approach not only enhances students' analytical skills but also their appreciation for classical literature. [more]

War Horse: The Broadway Play That Is A Favorite Of Equestrian Fans

May 17, 2024

For equestrian fans, "War Horse" holds a special allure beyond its theatrical merits. The portrayal of horses as central characters in the narrative resonates deeply with those who appreciate the beauty and nobility of these animals.  The play's exploration of the human-animal bond strikes a chord with riders, trainers, and horse lovers, fostering a sense of camaraderie and shared admiration among equestrian communities. [more]

BroadwayHD – Your Ticket to Streaming Broadway Online

May 3, 2024

So, instead of watching shady videos online, why go for something legit that helps the people who make the magic happen? A one-year subscription to BroadwayHD is $199.99, expensive but gives you on-demand viewing of hundreds of full-length shows. [more]

The Reef (opera workshop)

April 13, 2024

On April 10, 2024, Merkin Hall at Kaufman Music Center presented a tantalizing teaser of a musical evening with the world premiere workshop of only the first act of 2020 Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Anthony Davis’ new opera, "The Reef." With a libretto adapted by Joan Ross Sorkin, from the 1912 novel by Edith Wharton, this was the first time that the work has been adapted for the stage, though it has been filmed as Passion’s Way. The workshop was sponsored by the Berkshire Opera Festival using a cast of emerging artists all of whom were vocally capable of singing the work. [more]

Five Theatrical Plays About Gambling

March 26, 2024

While gambling may not be the main character in each of these plays, its role in each one adds to the drama, causing the story to unfold further and further. It adds to the drama, entertainment, and reality of the play (with the exception of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, in which you might say it adds to the unreality), contributing something to the story that we can all relate to. [more]

The Main Differences between the Film and Theater Industries

January 3, 2024

Many people probably wonder, though, just what are the main differences between the film and theater industries? Aspiring actors are probably curious to know just what all is involved in each option. And if you’re interested in learning more about the art itself, you might consider taking an entry-level job and trying your hand directly. [more]

Eighteen-Year-Old Actor with Autism Honored by Only Make Believe Charity

May 9, 2023

Collet Reyes has been a part of the Only Make Believe charity since he was eight years old. Living with a developmental disability and being diagnosed on the Autism spectrum, Reyes has worked through these challenges to pursue his dream of becoming a professional actor. For the last ten years, Reyes was able to write, perform and learn all aspects of the theatre industry. He continues today by working with Only Make Believe actors to attend monologue workshops wherein he developed a monologue of his own to use at future auditions. He has taken professional headshots and continues to volunteer in his current role as both stage manager and mentor to children at The Rebecca School. [more]

R.I.P. Robert Patrick, Playwright

April 24, 2023

He was perhaps best-known for his play "Kennedy's Children"--produced successfully on Broadway and on the West End, and in many cities, internationally.  He also gave  us some 60 other published plays, including "Camera Obscura," which was filmed for PBS starring Marge Champion,  and "The Haunted Host," which helped launch the acting career of a terrifically talented young  Harvey Fierstein.  They met when Fierstein was 16; Patrick gave Fierstein his first leading role in an Equity production, and they became good friends for life, (I have good memories of Harvey performing a striking monologue from that play, years later, during an appearance at the club Eighty-Eights). [more]

Post-Pandemic State of the Arts 2023

April 22, 2023

Many Broadway shows are also exorbitantly expensive. While smaller productions such as Off Broadway or Off Off Broadway used to be a comfortable option, producers such as Cyndy and Thomas are finding it more difficult to find financial backers. They are also struggling to rebuild audiences that they had before the pandemic and build up new ones. Finally, they still suffer closures when an artist gets sick. According to an unnamed film producer, a similar situation arose for artistic films – many film houses that used to show such films closed right before or during the pandemic. For example, while the Paris Theater is still open, the Lincoln Plazas Cinemas that used to sit on 63rd and Broadway has closed. According to several artists, a further challenge is that the home entertainment industry that boomed during the pandemic is now stiff competition for any live entertainment or art film houses. [more]

An Appreciation of Todd Haimes, Producing Artistic Director of Roundabout Theatre Company

April 21, 2023

Roundabout, under Haimes' leadership, was noted both for new works and for revivals of older shows with strikingly new elements (like this season's gender-bending revival of "1776.")  He was the first producer to try livestreaming a Broadway show ("She Loves Me" in 2016). And somehow, besides producing lots of shows (and 11 Tony Awards), Haimes also found time to teach at Yale University and Brooklyn College.  The biggest change he saw in theater in his career, he said, was the change in audience composition, with Broadway growing more and more reliant on tourists. He said it bothered him that nowadays, in his opinion, so many theater ticket buyers preferred to see crap so long as a star they knew from TV or film was heading the cast, than see a better play with better (but not necessarily famous) actors. [more]

A Walk in the Woods with Playwright Chip Deffaa, His Deer, and the Ghost of George M. Cohan

December 5, 2022

Deffaa comments: “I've always loved Cohan's attitude--that 'can-do' spirit of his is inspiring.  He had no formal education; he learned by doing; and left a terrific legacy.  Just a remarkable man!  No one in Broadway history ever did as many different things as well as Cohan.  He wrote book, music, and lyrics for Broadway shows that he starred in, directed, choreographed, and co-produced.  He wrote or co-wrote some 50 Broadway shows, produced or co-produced some 80 Broadway shows.  At his peak, he owned or controlled seven Broadway theaters. “Cohan’s shows--fast, funny, and unusually well-plotted for their day--laid the foundation for modern musical comedy.  It was Cohan who made America--not Europe--the pace-setter for musical theater.  In an era when musicals were often little more than collected vaudeville acts, Cohan was creating well-plotted musical plays.  And critics took note that he was advancing the artform.  George Jean Nathan, a top critic, wrote that Cohan’s musicals were “as carefully plotted as the dramas of Euripides.”  By writing book, music, and lyrics, and supervising all aspects of production, Cohan was creating musicals far more cohesive than those before.  And the best younger people working in the theater, like Oscar Hammerstein and Irving Berlin, took note and built upon Cohan’s foundation.  Cohan was a major contributor to our culture.  He was the first member of his profession honored with a Congressional medal, presented to him by President Franklin D. Roosevelt.” [more]

Remembering Robert Clary: From the Concentration Camps to Broadway and Hollywood

November 27, 2022

Clary scored a great success on Broadway in "Leonard Sillman’s New Faces of 1952."  My father, who enjoyed that show, recalled Eartha Kitt and Robert Clary as the standouts in the cast of largely-unknown up-and-coming performers that also included Paul Lynde, Alice Ghostley, Carol Lawrence, and Ronny Graham.  None of the performers were yet big names.  And the smart, fast-paced revue gave them important exposure.  (My father noted that this was an especially good revue, in a time when revues were still a staple of Broadway.  He missed the revues when revues fell out of fashion on Broadway.)  Producer/writer Leonard Sillman, whose various New Faces revues enlivened Broadway from the 1930’s through the 1960’s, helped advance the careers of plenty of talented newcomers over the years, beginning with Henry Fonda and Imogene Coca, the standouts in Sillman’s first revue in the series, "New Faces of 1934." [more]

An Appreciation of Michael Feingold (1945-2022)

November 23, 2022

He saw seemingly everything, and championed plays and productions he found meaningful, even if they were at the smallest of theaters.  He chose what he wished to cover, and would sometimes expound at great length about a drama Off-Broadway or Off-Off-Broadway that he felt was worthwhile and might otherwise be neglected, and then dispatch in the shortest, most terse review imaginable a big, glossy commercial Broadway musical that he was sure would find an audience but—in his eyes—was devoid of much artistic value. [more]

Anthony Rapp’s Solo Show, “Without You,” To Get Off-Broadway Run

November 16, 2022

I think this is great news. I’m happy the show will finally be getting a full theatrical production in New York.  I saw the original festival-production tryout of "Without You" about a dozen years ago and found it to be the most affecting and meaningful solo show that I'd seen in years. I’d previously felt the same way about Rapp's book, "Without You"—it was the most absorbing showbiz memoir I'd come across in years; I bought copies of that book to give friends as presents. [more]

On the Passing of Aaron Carter

November 14, 2022

He had his first album out by age nine, the same year he began opening for the Backstreet Boys. (His older brother, Nick Carter, was of course one of the Backstreet Boys.)  And he enjoyed a good run, with hit records, concerts, videos, TV guest shots.  He even got to star in a now-forgotten movie, Popstar, in which my friend David Cassidy had a supporting role, playing his manager. [more]

Jay Rogers: A Remembrance

November 12, 2022

Jay Rogers, who's lost his battle with cancer, was a wonderfully impish cabaret star, with impeccable comic timing. Totally likeable fellow, on stage and off stage. I was so happy to be able to include him on an album I produced this year, "Chip Deffaa's My Man.” He's a total delight, singing an original song by Barry Kleinbort, "Leading Lady Valentine." I'm so glad he was able to record it for me. No one else could have put over that special material with such great charm. I would not have recorded that song had he been unavailable. And I'd hoped to record him again.  I first saw him, several decades ago, in a witty cabaret show at Eighty-Eights, singing songs of George Winters. [more]

In Memory of Playwright/Director/Actor Douglas McGrath

November 12, 2022

In October, he opened in an autobiographical Off-Broadway play that he wrote, 'Everything's Fine"—a good-natured remembrance of his youth, and of a school teacher who fell for him.  He performed the show, as usual, on the night of November 2nd, and everything did, indeed, seem to be fine.  He was expecting to continue the run into 2023, and then focus on the film adaptation of "Beautiful." But on November 3rd, 2022, he died at his Manhattan office, unexpectedly, of a heart attack.    [more]

Sacco and Vanzetti: A New American Opera

September 20, 2022

The finished score by Lehrman is 50% music he created based on themes by Blitzstein: pieces of his unproduced 1932 opera "The Condemned" (an earlier work about Sacco and Vanzetti), a march, a cabaret song, a song cycle, a piano piece for mezzo-soprano Brenda Lewis who had starred in Blitzstein’s 1949 opera "Regina" (based on Lillian Hellman’s "The Little Foxes"), and portions of 13 songs from "Reuben, Reuben," his 1955 folk opera set in Little Italy which failed in Boston and which he had been recycling in later works. Blitzstein’s libretto for the three-act "Sacco and Vanzetti"(performed at Lehman College in two parts) was based on transcripts, letters, and interviews with the principals involved in the case. One addition approved by the estate was the inclusion of Governor Michael Dukakis’ exoneration of Sacco and Vanzetti in 1977, the 50th anniversary of their execution, as a fitting new ending to the opera. [more]

New AMT Theater Opens with an Eye on Building Community

August 17, 2022

“We want to make a difference in people's lives,” says Tapper.  “We want to do new shows, to encourage new writers and directors.  We want to feature children's shows and get young people involved in theater at an early age.  We also want to do cabaret because, well, it's just fun.  We also want to serve as a regional theater to the people in our immediate area, to draw on their energy, and solicit their opinions - because we truly value the community around us.” The clean, sleek space features a futuristic lighting scheme set against a black and white motif.  “When people hear about the black and white look, they’re a bit skeptical.  Even I was skeptical!” says Sportiello.  “But once they see the finished product, they agree it looks like a real work of art, and everyone’s been impressed.  In my opinion, it’s the most unique and striking Off-Broadway theater in the theater district. We can’t wait to share it with the community, so we’re looking forward to welcoming local theatergoers and press at a special launch event that we’ll be announcing soon.” [more]

A Few Thoughts on Those Needless Changes to “The Music Man”

February 21, 2022

I want to be clear.  "The Music Man" is such a masterfully written musical that making some changes here and there can’t really ruin it; but changes are not needed in this show and they certainly don’t help.   I believe in the old saying: “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!” I also believe, as Tommy Tune once told me years ago in discussing a different show, many producers and directors feel a need to tinker with shows, making changes for the sake of making changes, even when the wiser choice would be to simply leave things alone. There’s just that desire to  “improve” things, whether or not the changes actually improve anything. [more]

Why Robert De Niro’s New Film Studio Matters

February 15, 2022

De Niro’s goal is to lure more film and television production from Hollywood to New York, and that can only be a plus for New York-based actors. A brand new studio, created for the needs of the industry today, with state-of-the-art digital-production capability, will make New York more competitive in the world of film and television.   De Niro hopes that this new studio, along with the nearby Kaufman Astoria Studios and Silvercup Studios (which are also based in Queens), will mean more work for actors, writers, directors, and all sorts of support personnel.    And producers will find it easier to complete films in NYC. [more]

Broadway’s “Mrs. Doubtfire” Takes a Nine-Week Hiatus Due to Covid-19

January 7, 2022

The show's pre-Broadway, out-of-town tryout was very successful financially, suggesting that there's an audience for the show. (The show broke box-office records in Seattle, during its tryout.) But that was before the pandemic. As company members began testing positive in December, the show was forced to cancel a number of performances, costing the production a lot of money.  And after spending six years developing the show, its creators did not want to see the show die due to Covid-19.  So they are trying this nine-week hiatus now, in the hope that it will give the show a chance at long-term viability later. [more]

Broadway Box-Office Grosses Look Encouraging

October 29, 2021

So how is Broadway doing right now, in terms of ticket sales and attendance?  Not bad at all, all things considered....  There are currently 24 shows running on Broadway.  Last week, overall, the shows sold about $22 million dollars’ worth of tickets, with 176,083 tickets sold.  The 24 shows now open are running at 85% capacity, with the average ticket price about $126.   (That's the average--meaning that there were some tickets sold at higher prices, with some rush tickets, twofers, and other discounted tix available for less.)   [more]

Remembering George Wein

September 15, 2021

George Wein, who died peacefully at his New York apartment at the age of 95, was the founder of the modern music festival.  His contributions to pop culture were enormous.   I liked him very much.  He was easy to talk to, always candid and frank in our talks, and he was wholly committed to the music he loved.  Starting in the early 1950’s, he created the Newport Jazz Festival, and followed that with assorted other festivals: the Newport Folk Festival, the Kool Jazz Festival, the JVC Jazz Festival, the Grand Parade du Jazz (in Nice, France), the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, and more. [more]

Remembering Don Schaffer

August 5, 2021

Don long worked as a publicist for one singer he greatly admired; when age and ill health prevented her from working much anymore and her finances grew precarious, she told him she could no longer afford a publicist and would have to let him go. He continued to do what he could for her, gratis, and when she died he handled the public relations, to ensure she got the sort of send-off she deserved, even though there was no one to pay him for his services; he felt it was his responsibility as her long-time publicist. [more]

When Broadway Shows Will Be Opening (or Re-Opening)

July 16, 2021

More than 30 Broadway productions are expected to open or re-open before year's end. Producers are gambling that by the fall, audiences will be ready to return. I'll list below the shows and projected opening dates, as it stands now. (And this is still in flux. Info changes almost every day.) Fingers crossed! Lights should be returning to Broadway this fall... There are still a lot of unknowns, of course. No one knows, for example, what the tourist situation will be, come fall. And tourists traditionally buy a lot of theater tix. And no one knows if the pandemic will be fading out in the fall or--due to emerging variants--be resurgent. [more]

 At Home with Nigeria’s Breakthrough Star AcebergTM and his Debut EP “Far From Home”

May 8, 2021

Now ready to take on a global circuit, we started working on promoting AcebergTM’s brand new debut EP "Far From Home" which was just released on April 16th, 2021 along with his music video for one of his singles “DANCA.”  “DANCA” is a perfect blend of Afropop mixed with Amapiano beats that can make you head to the dancefloor or groove while sipping on a strong drink.  Our DANCA dance challenge is in full swing on TikTok/Instagram with more social media excitement on the way and his EP is being hailed by critics and tearing up the charts.  While we have placed advertising campaigns in some of the major cities including, but not limited to, New York, Los Angeles and Atlanta, we have and continue to engage the music community at large, bookers for late night talk shows, music supervisors for TV/Film and beyond to share AcebergTM with more of the world. [more]
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