Monday, October 27, 2014

Broadway's 3 Most Entertaining Tweeters

I might be slightly addicted to social media. I'm all about that Facebook-stalking life, and I spend what I would call a reasonable amount of time daily on Twitter.

But confession: I think I follow a total of 10 of my actual friends on Twitter. Other than that, I really just use it to keep up with Broadway-related people and news. While I follow mostly theatre personalities under the pretense that it's for work, a lot of them I follow just because they are ridiculously entertaining! Not gonna lie, there was a point in my life when I lived for Jennifer Damiano's tweets every week. If you love Broadway, you have to check out my favorite Broadway Twitter users!

Broadway's 3 Most Entertaining Tweeters

Honorable mentions- A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder
This obviously isn't a person, but I love that not only do the Twitter managers answer everyone who tweets to them, but they do it in character! They also make little graphics related to each show that opens or closes on Broadway, which is cute of course, but I'll sideline and point out what a good marketing ploy that is.
My fav recent Tweet:

3. Jennifer Damiano
My fav role of hers: Natalie in Next to Normal
My fav recent Tweet:
2. Lin-Manuel Miranda
(I only just started following him, but he's hilarious! Tip: the best people to follow are probably going to be writers)
My fav recent Tweet:
1. Laura Benanti
My fav role of hers: the Baroness in The Sound of Music Live!
My fav recent Tweet:
Who are your favorite Broadway tweeters?

Also on Singular Sensation...
Review: "GSU's ALMOST MAINE- That Time Absurdity and Hooligans Didn't Ruin a Show"  
CABARET Never Gets Old... But Alan Cumming Does (AKA: the reason a Tony Award-winner called me out on Twitter)

Sally Henry // Twitter: // Facebook:

Photo credit: Twitter

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Review: "GSU's ALMOST MAINE- That Time Absurdity and Hooligans Didn't Ruin a Show"

My school recently staged a fully student-produced version of Almost, Maine, which I reviewed it for because I can. So, I know I usually don't post multiple times in one week, but it's 62 days until Christmas, so anything can happen (how d'ya like that logic?). Before reading it, I'll have to warn you: sass and hair flips ahead, and yes, in fact I do use the word "hooligan."

"During Georgia Southern University's one-act production of John Cariani's ALMOST, MAINE, the most frequent question I asked myself was first, "Why did those hooligans on the front row come to see this show?" and second, "Is that a new character?" Student shows of course come with student patrons, but unruly ones have great potential to ruin a production- and these distracting young people very nearly did. And I must say that in a show full of short vignettes, concentration was vital. Thus from a "kids these days" approach did I view this play, wishing I had brought a cane to wave in frustration. 
"It's very important to preface this with the fact that this production was completely student-produced by the student theatre organization, Theatre South. Making her directorial debut, Ibiwumi Owolabi has a work to be proud of. 
"Each actor played at least two characters, if not four. Though, it is very likely I would not have realized that some of the actors were portraying more than one character had the program not told me. By its nature, the structure of the show was driven by an interesting artistic choice, having actors portray multiple roles, but was lacking in clarity of the character's identities. I frequently wondered if we were meeting a new character or not. This weak execution lay more in the script's infrequent re-iteration of each character's name than anything else. Fortunately, the character identities were not confounding enough to detract from the show itself, which proved to be an absurdly entertaining romp around some kind of metaphysical city in Maine, which included components similar to those found in The Phantom Tollbooth..."

Read the rest of the review on BroadwayWorld here!

Sally Henry // Twitter: // Facebook:

Read more:
Review: GSU's HAMLET- Something is Rotten in the State of Denmark- But Awesome in the State of Georgia!
Interview: Phyllis Newman Talks Broadway, Showbiz, Beating Barbra Streisand Out of a Tony, and More!
Producer Judith Abrams Talks KINKY BOOTS, Richard Rodgers, Pixie Judy Troupe, and More!
Top 10 Broadway Stars Who Need to Voice Disney Characters

Monday, October 20, 2014

Interview: Phyllis Newman Talks Broadway, Showbiz, Beating Barbra Streisand Out of a Tony, and More!

That awesome moment when you're nominated for a Tony Award against Broadway legend Barbra Streisand and win. But it's slightly tainted when your producer leans over to you and says, "I voted for Barbra." For Phyllis Newman, that's pretty much how the 1962 Tony Awards went.

I got to talk to this amazing 81-year-old Broadway veteran about her career as well as her husband's. Oh yeah, not only did she beat Babs out of a Tony, but she was also married to Broadway lyricist Adolph Green who penned On the Town, On the Twentieth Century, both of which are being revived on Broadway this season, Peter Pan (which will be broadcast live on NBC in December), and many more. He earned five Tonys in all- a little misleading, considering his first hit was written before the Tony Awards existed. I think most people know him by his song, "New York, New York."

So check out this excerpt from my interview with this lovely woman who had nothing but wonderful things to say about her late husband, who would have been 100 this year. She was really sweet and adorable. She kept saying, "It's true! Every word of it. It's all true."

"How was the concert at 54 Below honoring your late husband, Adolph Green?
"Well, I didn't get to it because I had to do other things, but my children were there; my daughter [Amanda Green] sang. It was just wonderful, I gather, end-to-end, just hearing some of the material he's written and some of the people who were in the original shows. The idea that- this is the staggering part- is that last year, I was saying to my family, "What are we going to do for Daddy's 100th birthday with his body of work?" And I thought, "A benefit? No, oh gosh everybody does that... I don't know!" And then suddenly all of these things happened, as if directed by Adolph himself. First, On The Town, which was his first [Broadway musical] and a great, great love of his life, and then PETER PAN on NBC in December. And ON THE TWENTIETH CENTURY is going into rehearsal in December, close to his birthday. It's incredible! I couldn't have planned it. Only he could have planned it.
"How special that ON THE TWENTIETH CENTURY will be around his birthday!
"It goes into rehearsal to make it part of his birthday, a day or two before his birthday, which was December 2, 1914. Even Encores! is doing an adaptation of their original story and screenplay of BANDWAGON, so it's just ridiculous. It really is! Happy ridiculous.
"So, On The Town opens Oct. 16. Have you seen the previews yet?
"Oh, sure! I'm working very closely with everybody on the show. So I'm very, very involved with it because I'm the owner of the rights, and because of John Rando, who's a great director. He and I have very much the same view and vision. We've exchanged scripts. I give suggestions for cuts, etc., and it goes back and forth. I see it and give thoughts, and we have a great working relationship. So what could be better, you know? Because I do have the final say. In other words, I could say, "You know what, I don't really like this," but I'm happy to say I love it!
"I see that in your bio from the first revival of On The Town, it says, "Upon crossing the Hudson River, she not only managed to land a role in a hit Broadway musical (BELLS ARE RINGING), but also a husband, Adolph Green, co-author of the show."
"Right! It's true, it's true. And when I won the Tony, it was for a show of Adolph's also, called SUBWAYS ARE FOR SLEEPING, and I had to audition five times. In a towel! This was a very long time ago, when I was very young and very cute, but nevertheless, five times auditioning. And I always said, "It's the first time I ever heard of not sleeping with the author to get the part. But it's totally true! We were happily married with a baby, and I had to audition five times, because David Merrick, the fabled meanie producer just wanted to, I don't know, show his power or whatever. But you know, he got his, because I won the Tony. And he had Barbra Streisand in I CAN GET IT FOR YOU WHOLESALE. When they announced my name, David Merrick turned to me and said, "I voted for Barbra." It's absolutely all true. Every word of it. So, it's a real theatre life we've had.
"Wow, yeah when I read that you had beaten out Barbra Streisand for a Tony, I was amazed!
"I know. I must say not only is she phenomenal, as we all know, but every time I see her, when she invites me to her concerts, she always goes, "There's some woman out there, I don't know, maybe she got the Tony..." You know, and she's very funny. I go back, and I say, "Well Barbra, let's let bygones be bygones." So we both have a good laugh over it. She's always been one of my favorite performers of all time. 
"I'm excited about the PETER PAN broadcast, because I grew up watching the VHS of the Mary Martin version.
"Isn't that amazing? So many young people tell me that they watched that old VHS with Mary Martin. I'm always surprised! It's a beautiful production. It's a wonderful show, a wonderful score. I'm very excited about that. But you know where its fame has stuck? All over the country all the time. I know, because I get the reports of the performances, and it's always being done. Every day, somebody somewhere is doing PETER PAN at schools, colleges, community theatres. It's the most performed of their shows. Well it's funny, there have been a million attempts at PETER PAN, but this version is the one that stuck. 
"And there were a lot of revivals of PETER PAN on Broadway, at least five.Oh yeah, they were terrific. It's a great story! And Cathy Rigby was wonderful doing it. Her gymnastics were incredible. And Sandy Duncan was marvelous. I didn't see Mary Martin live, I only saw it on the same VHS you saw!"

She also kept calling me "honey," at the end, and apologizing for it. It was very sweet.

Make sure to read the whole interview here!

Sally Henry // Twitter: // Facebook:

Read more:
Yes! He Sings AND Dances! 3 Lesser-Known Hugh Jackman Performances
Producer Judith Abrams Talks KINKY BOOTS, Richard Rodgers, Pixie Judy Troupe, and More!
Top 10 Broadway Stars Who Need to Voice Disney Characters

Photo credit: Facebook

Monday, October 13, 2014

Yes! He Sings AND Dances! 3 Lesser-Known Hugh Jackman Performances

Hugh Jackman Back on Broadway poster
Yesterday, stage and screen star Hugh Jackman celebrated a birthday, and by this time I've learned to stop trying to do the math and figure out people's ages, because this theatre kid is apparently mathematically challenged. Go figure. According to other sources, however, he is 46.

Have you noticed that theatre like to claim famous people who had their start on Broadway and not let it go? Ever? That's happened most recently with Ariana Grande, but my theatre colleagues like to regularly remind people that before Hugh Jackman was a movie star, he was a musical theatre star, like all the cool kids. And we theatre people wonder why other people consider us to be weird and annoying.

It's true! Despite the fact that he is best known for his role as Wolverine in the X-Men franchise, this ridiculously gorgeous talented man really got what I'd consider his big break with a Melbourne production of Beauty and the Beast, playing Gaston, and from that has had several subsequent roles. In fact, he is returning to Broadway (assuming he doesn't drop out like he did with Houdini) this season in The River. So for those of you who are Hugh Jackman fans and already love his singing/dancing abilities or are new to that side of him, this week's count-down is dedicated to him. And I think it's safe to say that lots of theatre people have seen his Tony Awards performance from The Boy from Oz and "Oh What a Beautiful Mornin'" from Oklahoma! so here are videos you may not have seen.

3 Lesser-Known Musical Performances from Hugh Jackman

3. "Surrey With a Fringe on Top" - From the 1998 London revival of Oklahoma! and his accent isn't bad!

2. "Once Before I Go" - The lovely 11 o'clock number from The Boy From Oz, for which Jackman won a Tony Award. I'm not exactly sure what recording this is, but I'm glad it exists!!

1. "Dueling Hosts" - From the 2011 Tony Awards, watch Hugh Jackman and Neil Patrick Harris battle it out to decide who is the best Tony Award host through the best form of battle: a series of musical parodies.

What are your favorite Hugh Jackman performances?

Sally Henry // Twitter: // Facebook:

Also on Singular Sensation...
The 5 Modern Broadway Albums to Listen to This Week 
5 Things You Must Know Before Watching the 2014 Tony Awards (hosted by Hugh Jackman) 
Hollywood Stars are Taking Over Broadway... [Unsuccessfully] 
11 Things to Never say to Your Actor Friends

Monday, October 6, 2014

The 5 Modern Broadway Albums to Listen to This Week

If you're remotely a theatre fan, I'm going to bet you've memorized most of the Les Miserables, The Phantom of the Opera, and Wicked music. And there are other musicals you're probably fairly familiar with, like Rent, West Side Story, and the Rodgers and Hammerstein suite, then there's the musicals you have heard of but have only heard a couple songs from. Well my goal is to help you finally listen to those shows, and on this first Monday of October, what better time to expand your musical theatre knowledge? Hopefully with all of these, you'll say, "Oh, I've been meaning to listen to that!"

5 Modern* Broadway Albums to Listen to This Week (And Memorize by Next Year)

1. Billy Elliot- 2008

Why you should listen to it: Besides winning the Tony Awards for Best Musical and Best Score, Billy Elliot tied The Producers for the musical with the most Tony Award nominations, with 15. So basically, the songs (composed by Elton John) are awesome.

My favorite tracks: "Grandma's Song," "Solidarity," "The Letter," "Angry Dance."

2. Next to Normal (2009)

Why you should listen to it: While it did not win Best Musical, it won the Pulitzer Prize for drama, which only three musicals have done in the history of the award. It also tied with Billy Elliot for Best Score. Oh, and then there's Aaron Tveit. And J. Robert Spencer. 'Nuff said. This music is ridiculously rockin'! I love it so much.

My favorite tracks: "Just Another Day," "He's Not Here," "You Don't Know," "I am the One," "Superboy and the Invisible Girl," "I'm Alive," "I've Been," "Why Stay?/A Promise," "Light."

3. Spamalot (2005)

Why you should listen to it: This is one of the most hilarious parody musicals ever! It's a musical version of Monty Python and the Holy Grail, so if you liked that, you'll love this.

My favorite tracks: "The Song that Goes Like This," "Find Your Grail," "You Won't Succeed on Broadway," "Diva's Lament," "His Name is Lancelot."

4. Ragtime** (1998)

Why you should listen to it: This is one of the most epic scores I've ever heard. It gives the incessant ballads of Les Miserables a run for their money! But then it features the vocal talents of Brian Stokes Mitchell and Audra McDonald (who won a Tony Award for her role). Need I say more?

My favorite tracks: "Your Daddy's Son," "Wheels of a Dream," "The Night That Goldman Spoke at Union Square," "What a Game," "Sarah Brown Eyes," "He Wanted to Say," "Back to Before," and "Make Them Hear You."

5. Miss Saigon (1991)

Why you should listen to it: Ok, so besides the fact that I post about this show so much that this blog might as well be called Confessions of a Miss Saigon Addict, Miss Saigon is one of the longest-running musicals of all time, It was also nominated for a zillion Tonys and won all but one of the possible acting awards for musicals. If you like Les Miserables, you'll love this, because it was done by the same composer/lyricist team. So lots of soaring ballads, anguished lovers, and obviously tragic death. And lots of songs that run together (not surprisingly, the two musicals sound similar). So if you think the songs keep repeating, just trust me: they're not.

My favorite tracks: "The Heat is on in Saigon," "The Movie in My Mind," "The Last Night of the World," "Bui Doi," "What a Waste," and "The American Dream."

These shows were each nominated for a Tony Award for Best Musical, and they are all favorites of mine. But hopefully to my friends and readers who often ask me how I got to know so many musicals, this will help to increase your expertise in and love for musical theatre!

Sally Henry // Twitter: // Facebook:

*I realize "modern" is a very relative term for theatre, so let's say from the '90s to the present-day.
**Confession time: I don't usually listen to the actual Original Broadway Cast recording, partly because it's so stinkin long, and I listened to the highlights recording first, so I'm used to it. If you want to give it a try, here it is.

Read More:
Last week's post: "Top 10 Broadway Stars Who Need to Voice Disney Characters"
All About Miss Saigon
How to Talk to a Theatre Nerd
104 Best Broadway Songs of All Time