FLASH SPECIAL: A Jeff Calhoun Celebration - From GREASE to NEWSIES
Today, as a sideline to this weekend's extensive, exhaustive and exclusive InDepth InterView Tony Awards Edition: Jeff Calhoun, we are shining a special spotlight on the career of Calhoun on the Great White Way thus far with an electrifying collection of clips beginning with his collaborations with master director/choreographer Tommy Tune on THE Will Rogers FOLLIES - yesterday's 2012 Tony Awards Clip Countdown dedicatee and Tune the topic of today's entry - and BUSKER ALLEY, through to his directorial debut with Tommy Tune TONITE! and GREASE. We also cover his subsequent work on ANNIE GET YOUR GUN, BELLS ARE RINGING, TABOO and GREY GARDENS as well as this year's twofer of new musicals that he directed and choreographed - the recently-closed BONNIE & CLYDE and the still-running Disney mega-hit NEWSIES. As a performer, Calhoun appeared in Tune productions like MY ONE AND ONLY and THE BEST LITTLE WHOREHOUSE IN TEXAS - as well as the film version and the montage movie ARIA - but, unquestionably, he is most well-known and best-loved by Broadway babies for his visionary work on so many new and original musicals, in addition to some stupendous revivals along the way, as well. Cowboys to call girls to Pink Ladies; Boy George to Huck Finn to Edie Beale - this collection certainly has it all! The future looks ever so bright for a talent as expansive as this!
More information on NEWSIES on Broadway at the Nederlander Theatre is available here.
Those Magic Changes
Going all the way back to 1981, see Jeff when he was merely a chorus boy in this glamorous and naughty performance capture led by the divine Anita Morris - who would go on to star in Tommy Tune's Tony Award-winning NINE later that year - in a song choreographed by the legendary Grover Dale. As is quite clear to see in this clip, almost thirty years before Janet Jackson, Anita Morris gave the audience what they least expected - and then some!
See if you can spot Jeff in the film version of THE BEST LITTLE WHOREHOUSE IN TEXAS, starring Burt Reynolds and Dolly Parton, by taking a look at this clip - "The Aggie Song". WARNING: Contains nudity and adult content!
Jeff Calhoun moved into directing/choreographing with assistant duties on Tommy Tune's multi-Tony-winning THE Will Rogers FOLLIES and here is a spectacular assortment of performances by the incomparable original cast on the 1991 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.
While footage from the fast flop THE BEST LITTLE WHOREHOUSE GOES PUBLIC is hard to come by, here is a recent clip of original sequel Miss Mona, Dee Hoty, revisiting her roots n the show by belting her big ballad to the high heavens - the Carol Hall barn-burner, "I'm Leavin' Texas".
While the second WHOREHOUSE was far from a smash hit, Jeff Calhoun's next big gig certainly was: the first Broadway revival of GREASE, which he directed and choreographed. Singing "We Go Together", here is the original Broadway revival cast of GREASE - featuring a pre-talk show queen Rosie O'Donnell - participating in the opening number of the 1994 Tony Awards, led by an appropriately devilish Victor Garber.
Now, witness this performance capture from the national tour of the revised revival version of GREASE, also directed by Jeff Calhoun, with this hair-raising "Greased Lightning". Cool, man!
With Jeff's own personal favorite moment from the show, here is Sam Harris socking us with some major vocal soul in the form of the 50s-meets-90s-styled "Those Magic Changes" from GREASE.
In their last collaboration to date, here is a brief glimpse of the last Tommy Tune/Jeff Calhoun musical, BUSKER ALLEY, which was featured on the 1995 Tony Awards but closed out of town due to an injury incurred by the show's star, Tune.
See Broadway royalty Bernadette Peters - who won her second Tony Award for the hit revival - and crossover star Tom Wopat rock Radio City in this medley from ANNIE GET YOUR GUN at the 1999 Tony Awards, which Jeff choreographed under the direction of Graciela Daniele.
View heralded replacement Annie, country superstar Reba McEntire, perform the Irving Berlin standard "I've Got The Sun In The Morning" from the classic score for ANNIE GET YOUR GUN on THE Rosie O'Donnell SHOW in this delightful clip.
Seize The Day
Moving to the new millennium, here we have Tony-winner Faith Prince leading a rousing Jule Styne anthem, "I'm Going Back", at the 2001 Tony Awards in honor of the revival of BELLS ARE RINGING, which Jeff Calhoun choreographed, this time under director Tina Landau.
Acting as an unbilled creative consultant, Calhoun had a hand in staging and reshaping Rosie O'Donnell and Boy George's troubled new musical TABOO, which unquestionably possesses one of the finest scores of the new century so far. Come on in from the outside and enjoy this B-roll footage! The question really is: Would you let you in?
Here is a short montage of clips from Jeff Calhoun's lauded and revolutionary 2004 revival of BIG RIVER - featuring members of Deaf West - from that year's Tony Awards.
A multi-Tony Award-winning artistic success, GREY GARDENS traced the lives of the Beales, who were real-life onetime aristocrats who became destitute in a rotting mansion but were made famous by a salacious 1970s documentary about them and their bizarre lives. Here is a performance by Erin Davie and Christine Ebersole from GREY GARDENS, "Peas In A Pod", as performed as part of Broadway Week on REGIS & KELLY.
Christine Ebersole simply embodies her outrageous character - and won a Tony Award for her efforts - as is clear to see in this unforgettable performance from the 2007 Tony Awards.
Bringing our clip countdown to 2012, sample some of the entrancing, sexy and dangerous BONNIE & CLYDE, starring Jeremy Jordan and Laura Osnes, in the slick TV commercial for the short-lived crime musical below.
For further BONNIE & CLYDE On Broadway performance footage, enjoy this collection of highlights captured by none other than BroadwayWorld.
See Broadway breakout star Laura Osnes, as Bonnie, perform the thrilling "Dyin' Ain't So Bad" from BONNIE & CLYDE.
Moving to Jeff Calhoun's most recent and biggest hit to date, without further ado, here is a characteristically emotionally charged and choreographically explosive number by the original Papermill cast of NEWSIES on this year's Thanksgiving Day Parade, with the cast performing the standout showstopper in a score positively packed with such anthemtic declarations, "King Of New York".
Next, see the outlandishly talented cast of NEWSIES performing on THE VIEW.
Following that, here is Jeremy Jordan leading the cast of NEWSIES on "Santa Fe" and "Seize The Day" while appearing on GOOD MORNING AMERICA.
Now, take a peek at the curtain call for the opening night of NEWSIES on Broadway from March 29, 2012.
Go behind the scenes with the cast and creative team of NEWSIES in this special Disney On Broadway video of the recording sessions for the all-too-addictive cast album featuring Alan Menken's melodically rich and consistently exciting score.
Finally, here is the eye-catching and ear-grabbing TV commercial for NEWSIES. Disney always does it best!
So, what has been your absolute favorite Jeff Calhoun creation on Broadway to date? Was the 90s your favorite era with GREASE and ANNIE GET YOUR GUN or are you perhaps more partial to Calhoun's daring work on TABOO, BIG RIVER and GREY GARDENS? What about this season: did BONNIE & CLYDE steal your heart or is NEWSIES the one and only one you love? One thing is for sure, Jeff Calhoun is the king of New York and one or both of his new musicals of the 2011-2012 season will definitely be shown some love on the 2012 Tony Awards telecast on June 10 - no doubt about it! Plus, we have JEKYLL & HYDE, EMMA and the new West End 9-TO-5 to anticipate, too!
From This Author Pat Cerasaro