Date of Birth: April 26, 1940 (79)

Birth Place: Ortisei, ITALY
SOUND OFF: A Double-Dose Of GLEE (With Lindsay Lohan)
by Pat Cerasaro - May 16, 2012

On the edge of glory, GLEE momentarily brought back the ecstatic excitement and indescribably infectious joy which made the musical dramedy series a huge hit in its first and second seasons, then commanding upwards of twelve million viewers a week. Now sixty-plus episodes into the series, in a two-hour episode helmed by co-creator Ian Brennan, last night's two-episode gorge-worthy and gorgeous feast - 'Props' and 'Nationals', by the hour - was a reminder of everything that cynics have cited as lacking from episodes in Season Three, as flagging ratings and a general media lull plagues the once seemingly indomitable mega-show despite its continued inventiveness and dramatic daringness. It was fresh and sassy and outrageous, but touching and heartfelt - attributes ascribed to the best episodes of the show. Yet, it was so much more, too - and then there's the music! Both hours were a totally over-the-top tribute to all things big and wow-worthy, coming at just the right moment to pump some energizing lifeblood into the audience base - passing references to Stephen Sondheim, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Marvin Hamlisch and Elton John as well as multiple winks at DANCE OF THE VAMPIRES songwriter and BAT OUT OF HELL mastermind Jim Steinman collectively pushing the theatre insider reference quotient into the stratosphere; and appreciably so. Yes, indeed, last night's double-dose of GLEE was an OD-worthy escapade worthy of returning to time and time again - Lea Michele's solo spots of Jason Mraz's 'I Won't Give Up' and Celine Dion's Grammy-winning 'It's All Coming Back To Me Now' alone were standouts of not only this or any season, but the series itself. With more than fifteen songs performed - everything from Lady Gaga, Nicki Minaj and The Who to STARLIGHT EXPRESS, TOMMY, FLASHDANCE and KISS ME, KATE - there was something for everyone in the two-hour GLEE extravaganza overflowing with the witty one-liners, out-of-this-world twists, outlandish characterizations, as well as the idiosyncratic theatrical reality that only GLEE can create. It was a true return to form to prove any and all naysayers wrong, and, this, coming after last week's Ryan Murphy-penned 'Prom-asaurus' season highlight, no less. (more...)

SOUND OFF: GLEE's New Directions Do One Direction
by Pat Cerasaro - May 9, 2012

"Prom-asaurus" proved that GLEE can still pack a powerful pop culture punch when required to do so; and when it wants to - and spike it with some effervescence and make it pop, too. Even those among us who don't partake in drinking the GLEE Kool-Aid, all must agree that there was more than one episode's fair share of fun, frivolity, twists and tunes, with some very fitting dramatic and musicals moments that we have by now come to anticipate from the genre-hopping musical dramedy enterprise - all of it integrated effectively into the stream-lined storyline, as well. Prom. It's all about prom this time of year and GLEE always makes a point to pay tribute to the month of May in this way. It is in pop culture melding mega-moments like last night's One Direction cover by way of GLEE - "What You Makes You Beautiful" - that we are again reminded of the special place GLEE holds in the American pop pantheon of the 21st century - using real, of-the-moment pop songs and utilizing them to comment on current events while musicalizing and dramatizing the lives of high school students. The classic cuts that come along are a bonus, really, when one considers GLEE from this viewpoint, though the contemporary covers have become the bread and butter of song sales for the mega-music-selling series - "Teenage Dream" by Blaine & The Warblers, as well as the Troubletones's Adele "Someone Like You/Rumor Has It" mash-up sold nearly as many copies as their predecessors - the originals - as far as iTunes sales go. Though FOX channel-mate Simon Cowell of course discovered and shepherds the international pop smash super group One Direction, their musical appearance on GLEE this season marks the continued exposure of the of-the-moment boy band phenomena we have not seen the likes of in over a decade - not since the days of N*SYNC and the Backstreet Boys - after the New Directions success with The Wanted's "Glad You Came" a few episodes back and their upcoming continued presence, no doubt, in addition. What makes GLEE must-see-TV week after week is more often than not the try-anything approach of the creators and cast - some sequences shockingly come off brilliantly and hit all-too-squarely their intended targets, while others fall far short and flop completely, even embarrassingly so. To crib a phrase from One Direction's hit single, what makes GLEE beautiful is that GLEE does not always know what makes it beautiful - experiencing drama coming to us delivered from that rocky, risky-to-mount precipice is sometimes frustrating, sometimes rewarding, but almost always somehow more than merely satisfying. (more...)

Lehman Center Presents Gloria Gaynor, Colonel Abrams & The Hit Men, 4/21
by BWW News Desk - Apr 21, 2012

Lehman Center for the Performing Arts continues its 31st season with a night of dance hits on Saturday, April 21, 2012 at 8pm. One of dance music's biggest stars for over three decades, GRAMMY Award winner GLORIA GAYNOR will perform with a full band. Her 1979 #1 hit, the greatest disco anthem of all time, "I Will Survive," is her signature song of inspiration that has touched the hearts of people all over the world. The song was inducted into the GRAMMY Hall of Fame at this year's ceremony in February. Urban and dance music phenomenon COLONEL ABRAMS will perform his biggest hits, including "Trapped," "I'm Not Gonna Let You" and "How Soon We Forget." Also performing will be THE HIT MEN, a group of six guys who made, played, sang and recorded the hits of the '60s, '70s and '80s. This group features original recording and performing members of such iconic bands as Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons and Tommy James and The Shondells and the original recording artists of such historic megahits as "Oh What a Night (Dec. '63)," "Sherry," "Bad, Bad, Leroy Brown" and 'Who Loves You." (more...)

Lehman Center Presents Gloria Gaynor, Colonel Abrams & The Hit Men, 4/21
by BWW News Desk - Mar 31, 2012

Lehman Center for the Performing Arts continues its 31st season with a night of dance hits on Saturday, April 21, 2012 at 8pm. One of dance music's biggest stars for over three decades, GRAMMY Award winner GLORIA GAYNOR will perform with a full band. Her 1979 #1 hit, the greatest disco anthem of all time, "I Will Survive," is her signature song of inspiration that has touched the hearts of people all over the world. The song was inducted into the GRAMMY Hall of Fame at this year's ceremony in February. Urban and dance music phenomenon COLONEL ABRAMS will perform his biggest hits, including "Trapped," "I'm Not Gonna Let You" and "How Soon We Forget." Also performing will be THE HIT MEN, a group of six guys who made, played, sang and recorded the hits of the '60s, '70s and '80s. This group features original recording and performing members of such iconic bands as Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons and Tommy James and The Shondells and the original recording artists of such historic megahits as "Oh What a Night (Dec. '63)," "Sherry," "Bad, Bad, Leroy Brown" and 'Who Loves You." (more...)

FLASH FRIDAY: The Best Of SMASH (So Far)
by Pat Cerasaro - Mar 16, 2012

Since NBC's musical drama series SMASH is kicking into high gear as the Marilyn Monroe musical that forms the core of the show's story approaches its first workshop presentation on Monday night's episode - with the highly awaited appearance of Broadway legend Bernadette Peters coming next week, as well; playing the mother of the Marilyn musical star, Ivy Lynn (Megan Hilty) - now is the ideal opportunity to, well, "Fade in on a girl / With a hunger for fame / And a face and a name to remember," to quote Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman's crown jewel in a diadem of a songstack for the show-within-the-show, BOMBSHELL. The show-within-the-show is better that most scores on Broadway these days and that is a credit to the Tony-winning tunesmiths and their ability to make musical theatre that is polished and professional, yet totally fun, bawdy and accessible, as well. Look no further than this week's "History Is Made At Night" or last week's "Let's Be Bad" - to say nothing of the pilot's twofer of titanic theatrical prowess in the form of "The National Pastime" and the afore-quoted "Let Me Be Your Star". Plus, we have to remember, SMASH has not one Marilyn, but two, so the future possibilities of who will be singing these songs and how they will be presented is totally unknown. As we shall see in the clips below, "Let Me Be Your Star" will now have its third iteration on the show, acting as the opening number in the workshop presentation as Ivy Lynn belts it to the rafters, ballad-style - not unlike the Karen/Ivy stage sequence presented in Episode 2 as a dream. Using just the example of "Star", we can see how rich and rewarding it is to further explore the depths of drama and heights of wit amply apparent in the sometimes caustic, sometimes campy and always enjoyably, embraceable unique work of Shaiman & Wittman on their songs for SMASH. The story setting them up, drama surrounding and contained within them - with the meta-narrative of the behind-the-scenes going on we are privy to acting as another layer - makes the production numbers the most brightly glittering stars of the SMASH universe. Katharine McPhee's "Somewhere Over The Rainbow", "Call Me" and "Rumor Has It", as well as Hilty's "Crazy Dreams", were all viable and entertaining covers in their own right, yet the original songs are what make SMASH really sing - and zing, sting and ring-a-ding-ding. (more...)

InDepth InterView: Henry Krieger Talks LUCKY DUCK, DREAMGIRLS, SIDE SHOW Revival & More
by Pat Cerasaro - Mar 15, 2012

Recently, noted DREAMGIRLS composer Henry Krieger was generous enough to take a comprehensive look back at his many accomplishments onstage and onscreen with me, turning back the pages of time and sharing memories of DREAMGIRLS, both on Broadway and in Hollywood, THE TAP DANCE KID, SIDE SHOW, KEPT, ROMANTIC POETRY and beyond, as well as discuss many aspects of his exciting new family-friendly musical opening next week at the New Victory Theater, LUCKY DUCK. Over the course of our compelling conversation, Krieger also revealed new details about the forthcoming 2014 production of SIDE SHOW, to be directed by DREAMGIRLS film director and TWILIGHT: BREAKING DAWN helmer Bill Condon - to premiere first at the La Jolla Playhouse and then at the Kennedy Center, as it makes its way towards Broadway - as well as first news on a musical collaboration with lyricist David Yazbek based on the life of television evangelist Tammy Faye Bakker set to star Tony and Emmy-winning Broadway and GLEE standout Kristin Chenoweth. DREAMGIRLS to LUCKY DUCK and much, much more awaits! (more...)

Soprano Julia Belanoff to Perform Concert at Coastal Repertory Theatre, 3/10
by BWW News Desk - Mar 10, 2012

Award-winning, 16-year-old Bay Area soprano Julia Belanoff will perform songs from her debut classical-pop album, "Winner In Your Heart," on Saturday, March 10 at the Coastal Repertory Theatre in Half Moon Bay, California. The album, comprised of 13 original songs, five of which Belanoff co-wrote, was released on January 26. (more...)

HUGO, HARRY POTTER Lead Nominations of 38th Annual Saturn Awards
by Movies News Desk - Feb 29, 2012

HUGO AND HARRY POTTER and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 each received 10 nominations as the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films today announced nominations for the 38th Annual Saturn Awards, which will be presented on Wednesday, June 20. (more...)

Soprano Julia Belanoff to Perform Concert at Coastal Repertory Theatre, 3/10
by BWW News Desk - Feb 22, 2012

Award-winning, 16-year-old Bay Area soprano Julia Belanoff will perform songs from her debut classical-pop album, "Winner In Your Heart," on Saturday, March 10 at the Coastal Repertory Theatre in Half Moon Bay, California. The album, comprised of 13 original songs, five of which Belanoff co-wrote, was released on January 26. (more...)

SOUND OFF: SMASH Casts Its Marilyn
by Pat Cerasaro - Feb 14, 2012

Last night, SMASH cast Marilyn Monroe in the big Broadway musical based on her life at the show's center. Or, did they? While Ivy Lynn (Megan Hilty) may have done whatever it took to make an impression on the show's lothario director, Derek (Jack Davenport), it was Ivy's long-standing friendship with the songwriting team of Julia & Tom (Debra Messing & Christian Borle) and the belief in her readily apparent talent by the lead producer, Eileen (Anjelica Huston), that really sealed the deal. So, where does that leave Karen (Katharine McPhee)? In the chorus, it seems - at least for now. The drama escalated and reached an early peak along with the crescendos of Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman's smashing "Twentieth Century Fox Mambo" showstopper - the musical highlight of the impossibly strong second episode - as the heated fully-staged and fully-choreographed audition gave way to a dream reality which finally showed us all out there in the audience what a Karen/Marilyn could potentially be: a true blonde bombshell to beat the band. Of course, nothing is quite so cut and dry as it may appear and Karen may get her chance in the spotlight on the actual Marilyn musical's stage after all. Yet, for the next few episodes at least, Ivy is the star of the show - and she is going to wring every last wiggle, coo and peck out of the role. Plus, who can put over a number in true Broadway fashion - as Marilyn Monroe, perfectly played, no less - than Megan Hilty? Did you hear her line in the newly envisioned 'Let Me Be Your Star'? In much the same way as Hilty with the Broadway pizazz, McPhee effortlessly puts over treacherously tricky pop songs with smoothness, sweetness and near-tangible sincerety and conviction. Which way will the score ultimately go - and, furthermore, what shall be of the show that contains it? Will the musical be more Norma Jean or more Marilyn, thus more befitting of Karen or Ivy, respectively? Who knows, perhaps there ultimately will be two Marilyns required - as was proposed in this very column last week at this time and seems the logical ultimate conclusion of the casting dilemma at the show's core. We will certainly have to wait and find out what happens next on SMASH and what the show ends up requiring of its incredibly talented cast of hoofers and stars-to-be. Plus, Nick Jonas, Uma Thurman and Bernadette Peters make guest star debuts in the next several weeks! (more...)

Songs From Tonight's SMASH Now Available on iTunes
by BWW News Desk - Feb 13, 2012

With tonight's second episode broadcast of NBC's new critically acclaimed musical drama series SMASH (Mondays, 10-11 p.m. ET), NBCUniversal Television Consumer Products and Columbia Records are making select songs available today on the iTunes store. (more...)

FLASH FRIDAY: Constantine Maroulis - From RENT to IDOL to ROCK OF AGES, TOXIC AVENGER & Beyond
by Pat Cerasaro - Jan 13, 2012

Today, as a special corollary column to this weekend's extensive InDepth InterView with Tony-nominated stage and screen star Constantine Maroulis, we are shining a special spotlight on his career trajectory as he has risen up through the ranks to become one of the most successful alumni of AMERICAN IDOL from humble beginnings in the non-Equity tour of RENT. Since that landmark Pulitzer Prize-winning rock musical, Constantine has carved out a unique niche in the Broadway landscape as one of most charismatic and compelling performers of rock-based musical theatre, who has also shown considerable skills tackling the more diverse scores of shows such as JACQUES BREL IS ALIVE AND WELL AND LIVING IN PARIS, THE WEDDING SINGER, and, now, THE TOXIC AVENGER, co-composed by the Tony-winning team behind MEMPHIS comprised of Bon Jovi's David Bryan and Joe DiPietro. Of course, no Constantine-centric conversation would be complete without a thorough look at his unforgettable turn in the hit 80s rock jukebox musical ROCK OF AGES, the expanded film adaptation of which he will be taking to the big screen later this year. RENT to IDOL to TOXIC AVENGER and beyond, Constantine Maroulis is one of the brightest shining new Broadway stars of the 21st century and it will be a treat to see and hear TOXIC AVENGER as it sets its sights on the Great White Way. (more...)

InDepth InterView: Matt Zarley & CHANGE BEGINS WITH ME
by Pat Cerasaro - Nov 8, 2011

Today we are talking to a Broadway stalwart with a string of hit shows on his resume - CATS, A CHORUS LINE, JOSEPH AND THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT, THE WHO'S TOMMY, CHICAGO and more included - as well as hit solo albums of his own, such as his new release CHANGE BEGINS WITH ME; the one and only Matt Zarley. He also shares all about the shoot for the three music videos for the songs on his new dance album - "WTF" and "Forgive Me" included. Additionally, he shares his thoughts on Broadway now versus when he started out in the late-80s, Gillian Lynne versus Michael Bennett, as well as opinions on GLEE, his own favorite shows and scores, co-stars' careers and much, much more! (more...)

Claudia Lee Releases New Song From Album
by BWW News Desk - Sep 27, 2011

Singer and actress Claudia Lee, who is best known for her recurring role on the hit Disney XD show 'Zeke and Luther,' has her sights set on romance, with the release of the first single and companion video from her forthcoming country music album. (more...)

SOUND OFF: SCARFACE Onscreen & On Blu-ray
by Pat Cerasaro - Sep 5, 2011

Never more apparent than at this very moment in history, the operatic emotions, over-the-top theatrics and outrageous outspokenness of the 1983 SCARFACE, new on Blu-ray this week, burst forth from screens both large and small, depending on your preferred venue. And, with the fiery, ferocious fearlessness that Brian DePalma so astutely and assuredly weaves his web of debauchery and demons of the soul, heart and mind with - its apotheosis residing in Al Pacino's legendary essaying of the title role - the world finally seems ready to see SCARFACE for what it really is: a classic American film. No, there are not many modern day classics and there certainly have not been over the last thirty years since its release, but SCARFACE is unquestionably now part of the great pantheon of American films - just as much as CITIZEN KANE, CABSABLANCA and THE GODFATHER before it - and with Fathom's re-release of the film in movie theaters for one night only last week, the impact of the film as felt in its true artistic home was something akin to transcendental. Indeed, I was lucky enough to check out the HD print in a showing in Ithaca, NY, last week, which was also accompanied by an ultra-informative and revealing behind-the-scenes look at the production and subsequent legacy of the near-thirty-year-old film which is also available in an even more expanded form on the new Blu-ray - including new interviews with Brian DePalma, Al Pacino, Steven Bauer, Robert Loggia, Martin Bregman, as well as comments from fellow filmmakers and fans like Eli Roth (who shares a particularly hilarious anecdote about reciting Lopez's monologue for classmates in sixth grade). The new Blu-ray is packed to the brim with Special Features - including this brand new hour-long making-of documentary to go along with the hours of bonuses ported over from many of the prior DVD releases. Yet, above all of these other virtues, the reason you must own SCARFACE on Blu-ray is not just because the HD remastering of the image is pristine, the 7.1 sound is perfect and the Special Features are overwhelmingly enjoyable, but - most of all - it is because SCARFACE is American movie-making at its finest - and most emotionally, visually and outwardly operatic. It sings. And stings. And zings. And, bring it - all. (more...)

The Rrazz Room Announces Concerts and Events for February
by BWW News Desk - Jan 26, 2010

The Rrazz Room has announced its lineup of Concerts and Events for February. (more...)

 1 … 6  7  8  9