Remy Holzer's first review was of her middle-school production of "You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown." But her love of theater began at a much earlier age. A freelance writer and editor, she has written for various publications, including The New York Sun and Publishers Weekly. She also served as editorial director of the Museum of the Moving Image. She is very excited to be writing for BroadwayWorld!
It's not often that listening to a cast album makes one think of Richard Strauss, but such is the genius of Scott Frankel and Michael Korie. The composer-lyricist team best known for the brilliant GREY GARDENS is back with WAR PAINT, the story of rival beauty moguls Helena Rubinstein and Elizabeth Arden. Here both story and emotion are thinner, but the music is gorgeous--Straussian in its elegiac beauty and bell-like notes--and worthy of its two stars, Patti LuPone and Christine Ebersole, two of the most unique and exciting voices in musical theater. Like a golden-age Hollywood director 'managing' the two stars of a women's picture, the score has to find ways to manage its two leads, giving each an equal role. Ebersole gets an old-fashioned entrance--her Red Door spa staff sings breathlessly, 'She's coming, she's coming...,' bursting into a triumphant 'She's here!' LuPone's entrance is less heralded but equally dramatic (and separate), as she steps off a ship in New York. From then on, many of the songs are duets, in which one star sings half of a song about her own experience, and the second sings the other half, with lyrics expressing her different but parallel experience. Occasionally they sing in unison. What sounds tedious as a show (a narrative in which two separate characters have similar, not highly dramatic arcs and don't meet until the very end) enchants on the album. Without the strain of the storytelling, we can simply enjoy the gorgeous songs and their peerless purveyors.BWW Album Review: Raise a Glass to SPAMILTON April 27, 2017
One would have to have a heart of stone not to like Lin-Manuel Miranda. No, love Lin-Manuel Miranda. He is not only tremendously talented but one of the most endearing figures on Broadway. Devoted to his wife, son, and parents; committed to raising money for worthy causes; a pop-singing child, a FIDDLER ON THE ROOF-dancing groom, and an endlessly versatile professional; author of Disney's latest girl-power anthem; Tweeter of endless kind words to his fans and the general public...how could Gerard Alessandrini, the impresario behind FORBIDDEN BROADWAY, hold him up for mockery, making 'Lin-Manuel as Hamilton' the subject of his latest spoof, SPAMILTON? Well, the monolith called HAMILTON has a life of its own, and with its well-deserved status as not just a Broadway sensation but an American cultural landmark comes an invitation to parody.BWW Interview: Rachel Bloom Talks CRAZY EX-GIRLFRIEND, Sondheim, and Community Theater March 8, 2017
"I'll watch the Tonys with you!" That's something I meant to tell the amazing Rachel Bloom, creator and star of CRAZY EX-GIRLFRIEND, when I had the opportunity to speak with her on the occasion of the Season 2 soundtrack release. The trove of YouTube videos by Bloom includes a musical plea for a Tonys-viewing partner; it was her hilarious music videos, posted under RachelDoesStuff, that earned Bloom the attention that led to her TV series. Rachel is doing quite a lot of stuff at the moment-making a series that is ingeniously written and loaded with original songs (34, plus 5 bonus tracks, on the new album-and those are just from Season 2). She still found time to star in Manhattan Concert Productions' one-night performance of CRAZY FOR YOU last month. And she has her own stage musical ready for future production. Like her heroine, lawyer and full-time romantic (or stalker, as the situation requires) Rebecca Bunch, Bloom is a manic achiever.BWW Album Review: DEAR EVAN HANSEN Shines a Light on the Teenage Soul February 3, 2017
If you grew up as a lover of musical theater, especially in those dark years before BroadwayCon, it's likely that your high-school years were not among your best. Of course, high school can be hard for teenagers with other musical tastes, too. Amid growing public awareness of teenage violence, suicide, and depression, and with scientific studies confirming that the brains of teenagers are basically chaos machines, DEAR EVAN HANSEN has turned a spotlight on these issues, and audiences have responded warmly and gratefully. In the story, alienated teen Evan Hansen, who leads a lonely life with his hardworking single mother, has no real friends in high school; neither does another, still more troubled student, Connor Murphy, whose sister Zoe is the unwitting object of Evan's affections. When Connor commits suicide, a series of misunderstandings prompts Evan to pass himself off as Connor's best friend, an identity that gains him access to Connor's intact family, privileged lifestyle, and especially his lovely sister. This charade creates tensions and complications that lead, ultimately, to the truth.BWW Album Review: HAIRSPRAY LIVE! January 5, 2017
Skeptics of musical theater like to ask, 'But how do they know the song?' when characters join in during a musical number. One of the virtues of HAIRSPRAY is that the audience itself actually does this: the songs are so catchy that we start singing along. This is appropriate, given the show's message of inclusivity and empowerment of the ordinary. Marc Shaiman (music and lyrics) and Scott Wittman (lyrics) are responsible for the irresistible score of this show, set in Baltimore in the 1960s, that follows plucky, overweight teenager Tracy Turnblad's quest to integrate the 'Corny Collins Show,' an AMERICAN BANDSTAND-style teen dance party that she adores. Along the way, she falls in love with one of its stars, locks horns with another, makes new friends who are black and have a different perspective and a different way of dancing, and finds a place for herself on the show and in life. And her mother Edna and best friend Penny also benefit from Tracy's widening world.BWW Album Review: Happiness Is...YOU'RE A GOOD MAN, CHARLIE BROWN December 6, 2016
Whether or not you are familiar with Clark Gesner's musical YOU'RE A GOOD MAN, CHARLIE BROWN, you are bound to recognize Track 21 of the York Theatre Company 2016 Off-Broadway Cast Recording. The theme 'Linus and Lucy,' written by Vince Guaraldi, is a familiar tune to all who have seen the well-known animated specials featuring the Peanuts kids. There is something oddly soothing about this gentle, understated theme, with its rolling feeling of continuity paired with plinking notes of whimsy, that has become so closely associated with Charles M. Schulz's legacy of 17,897 comic strips. The YOU'RE A GOOD MAN, CHARLIE BROWN band played 'Linus and Lucy' as walking-out music after the show, prompting much of the audience to stay and hear it through to the end.BWW Album Review: That 70s Show, DISASTER! October 17, 2016
It takes guts to write a parody of 1970s disaster movies. After all, AIRPLANE!, the parody of the AIRPORT series, is one of the most beloved comedies of all time. It also takes guts to write a 1970s jukebox musical. A show you may have heard of called MAMMA MIA! ran for nearly 14 years and 6,000 performances. Nevertheless, into this field of exclamation points flew DISASTER!, a parody of 1970s disaster movies...and a 1970s jukebox musical. The show, co-written by multi-hyphenate Seth Rudetsky (who also plays one of the main roles) and director Jack Plotnick, was perhaps a bit slim for the past Broadway season. Its silliness, specificity, and lack of original songs may have caused it to struggle amid the powerhouse shows surrounding it, and it closed in May after 72 performances. But it did receive some enthusiastic reviews, and in particular acclaim for the breakout performance of Jennifer Simard, who was nominated for a Tony for her performance of a nun with a gambling addiction. (Her big moment in the show, singing 'Never Can Say Goodbye' to a HAWAII FIVE-O-themed slot machine, can be viewed online.) Now Simard will be accompanying the show to London. In the meantime, we have Broadway Records' DISASTER! cast album, which contains 28 (!) songs from the show.BWW Album Review: Barbra Streisand's ENCORE: MOVIE PARTNERS SING BROADWAY October 10, 2016
I once fell in love with an album cover: Barbra Streisand, dressed in the height of granny chic, in a straw hat, drapey black cardigan and maxi skirt, and men's-style oxfords with rakish white socks...a desolate stage littered with sheet music...a rich burgundy-and-black color scheme. I first discovered Sondheim through that 1985 record, 'The Broadway Album,' and I still can't hear 'Pretty Women' without thinking of Streisand's sinuous interpretation. The talent who first burst forth onstage in 1962 in 'I Can Get It for You Wholesale'; who made a hilarious, touching 'Funny Girl' her signature role; who tackled 'A Star Is Born' in its third film incarnation-and who has stayed mostly in the spotlight professionally and mostly out of it personally over the last 54 years-has mellowed, but her voice is still completely unique, and her fans (old and new) still utterly devoted. Her political activism has become part of her shtick, and her recent live performance of a 'Send in the Clowns' parody mocking Donald Trump has become a popular clip online. She is, for lack of a less battered word, an icon, and fans thrilled to see her-as always, dressed for the occasion-hand the Tony for Best Musical to 'Hamilton' this year.