Passion Photos

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by BWW News Desk - Nov 16, 2019
During Lisa Viggiano's critically-praised 2018 Bruce Springsteen Tribute Shows (which helped earn her a 2019 Bistro Award for “Outstanding Vocalist”), she included a section of songs by iconic musicians and singers discovered over five decades by talent scout/record producer John Henry Hammond, who also championed Springsteen and recorded “The Boss's” first demo. Now, like a spinoff from a hit TV sitcom, Viggiano has created an entire cabaret show featuring songs and performers produced by Hammond during his long career at Columbia Records. In FROM LADY DAY TO THE BOSS: 50 YEARS OF TALENT DISCOVERED BY LEGENDARY COLUMBIA RECORD PRODUCER JOHN HENRY HAMMOND, Viggiano will deliver her unique renditions of classic tunes recorded by Bessie Smith, Benny Goodman, Billie Holiday, Harry James, Count Basie, Pete Seeger, Bob Dylan, Aretha Franklin, Leonard Cohen, George Benson, and Springsteen.
by BWW News Desk - Nov 15, 2019
Artistic Director Marissa Wolf makes her Portland Center Stage at The Armory directing debut with Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley, a delightful Jane Austen-inspired comedy from playwrights Lauren Gunderson and Margot Melcon. Portland favorite Lauren Modica (Bedlam's Sense and Sensibility and Twist Your Dickens at The Armory) will star as middle sister Mary Bennet, who takes center stage in this charming and clever sequel to Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. When the Bennet sisters gather at the home of Lizzy and Darcy for the holidays, an unexpected guest sparks brilliant, bookish Mary's hopes for independence, an intellectual match, and perhaps even romance. 
by BWW News Desk - Nov 14, 2019
Harry Townsend's Last Stand (www.HarryTownsendsLastStand.com) a new play written by George Eastman (The Snow Job; Bitter Exchange) and directed by Karen Carpenter (Love, Loss and What I Wore; Handle With Care), will premiere at New York City Center Stage II (131 West 55th Street between 6th and 7th Avenues) it was announced today by Dennis Grimaldi (A Gentlemen's Guide…; Love Letters, Angels in America, Other People's Money). Starring Three time Tony® Award Nominee and Tony® Award winner, Len Cariou  (title role in Sweeney Todd; A Little Night Music with Glynis Johns and Hermione Gingold ; Applause starring Lauren Bacall; “Blue Bloods”) and Craig Bierko (Tony® Award  and Drama Desk Award nominee, Music Man; “The Long Kiss Goodnight, “UnREAL,” “Blue Bloods”), Harry Townsend's Last Stand begins a strictly limited engagement on November 18th  with opening night set for December 4th.
by BWW News Desk - Nov 14, 2019
Moving Bench Theatre first launched THE BALLAD OF LYDIA PINKHAM'S MAGICAL, MIRACLE, SURE-CURE FOR ALL FEMALE WEAKNESSES in April of this year at The Annoyance Theatre. The show was 50 minutes and ran for five performances, and audiences were immediately raving and demanding more; more of the story; more chances to see it; and more of the unique story telling techniques that have become synonymous with Causer and Houghton's collaborative partnership. Chris Causer (Director) and Jenilee Houghton (Writer) heard the excitement and passion and decided to give audiences exactly what they wanted. The result is an expanded and reinvigorated 85-minute production with more original music, more movement, more laughs, more emotion and some new surprises that reviewers are already praising. ChicagolandMusicalTheatre.com wrote, “There is a whole pantomime scene on a train that is so funny and heartwarming that it is worth the price of admission alone. “ They went on to say, “Overall this production is what Chicago theatre is all about. A group of talented performers in a small space giving 110% to entertain an audience. They leave them laughing and thinking. Nothing better than a group giving their all to entertain and be dedicated to a piece of theatrical art.”
by Valerie-Jean Miller - Nov 13, 2019
I just had the best chat with Anita Mann. If there ever was a Wonder Woman, she is that! Beauty, Brains, Talent, Boundless Energy and Enthusiasm for Life and a non-stop yearning to elevate Dancers and the Dance World to greater heights and recognition. The Director, Producer, Choreographer, Dancer, Actress, Wife (of 20 years) Mom, Grandmother, Philanthropist, Mentor, Teacher, Humanitarian, whom I have admired for many decades is an icon in the Entertainment Industry. In fact, she has worked with an array of Icons herself, and will be honored this coming Saturday, November 16th, 2019 by The Luminario Ballet Company, for her Lifetime Achievement and Influence in Choreography, at their 2019 Gala Fundraiser “Gala Bacchanal” at the Beverly Hills Women's Club.
by BWW News Desk - Nov 10, 2019
Broadway by the Bay continues their 2019 season with INTO THE WOODS - the thrilling masterpiece about wishes, what can happen when they come true, and what happens after they come true. This all-new production is on stage November 8 to 24 and features the countless unforgettable songs from the Tony Award-winning score including “Agony,” “It Takes Two,” “No One Is Alone,” “Children Will Listen,” and many more. With a book by multiple Tony Award-winner James Lapine (Falsettos, Passion, Sunday in the Park with George) and music and lyrics by multiple Tony Award-winner and musical theatre titan Stephen Sondheim (Company, A Little Night Music, Sweeney Todd, to name a few), this is one adventure you won't want to miss!
by Larisa Amaya-Baron - Nov 8, 2019
Golden nuggets of wisdom, from Julio Monge: 'Work requires work. You don't need to speak English or a common language to connect to other people. Things should be protected and blessed. The best technology in theater is the simplest one. Nothing replaces the human spirit. People are attracted to creativity.'
by Genevieve Rafter Keddy - Nov 7, 2019
Harry Townsend's Last Stand a new play written by George Eastman (The Snow Job; Bitter Exchange) and directed by Karen Carpenter will premiere at New York City Center Stage II.
by Genevieve Rafter Keddy - Nov 6, 2019
Earlier today, Feinstein's/54 Below welcomed multi-platinum-selling recording artist, composer, lyricist, pianist, actress and Tony Award©-nominee Ann Hampton Callaway and Tony Award-nominee Liz Callaway, Melissa Errico, Ryan McCartan, and Brian Stokes Mitchell to preview their upcoming engagements.
by BWW News Desk - Nov 6, 2019
The Coalition for Asian American Children and Families (CACF) hosted its 3rd Annual Catalyst for Change Awards Gala at the Edison Ballroom in New York on November 4 to celebrate CACF's empowerment of Asian Pacific American (APA) children and families and to honor those who are a force for positive change in the APA community.
by BWW News Desk - Nov 5, 2019
Starting November 15th Elm Street Cultural Arts Village enters a world of pure imagination with opening night of Willy Wonka Jr., a sweet treat of a musical that is perfect for the entire family. Mysterious candy manufacturer Willy Wonka stages a contest by hiding golden tickets in five of his scrumptious candy bars. Whomever comes up with these tickets will win a free tour of the Wonka factory, as well as a lifetime supply of candy. Four of the five winning children are insufferable brats, but the fifth is a likeable young lad named Charlie Bucket. The children must learn to follow Wonka's rules in the factory — or suffer the consequences. 
by Benjamin Tomchik - Nov 4, 2019
When thinking of the great composers and playwrights whose works have graced Arena Stage, these are the names that come to mind. So when Disney's Newsies was announced for this season, it is understandable why some were shaking their head quizzically.
by Jade Kops - Nov 3, 2019
Anthony Gooley (Director) delivers a delightfully entertaining expression of Steve Martin's play THE UNDERPANTS.
by Timothy Shawver - Nov 2, 2019
The first clue that ANASTASIA was going to be different than what I expected was a note on the title page reading, “Inspired by the Twentieth Century Fox Motion Pictures.” Plural? A savvy journalist, I quickly asked Siri to bring up the imdb page for “Anastasia”. Turns out Fox made ANASTASIA twice, the 1997 animated off-brand Disney princess movie and a 1957 film that scored Ingrid Bergman's second Oscar and marked Helen Hayes' transition to the big screen. And it turns out the musical version has more in common with LES MISERABLES and RAGTIME than BEAUTY AND THE BEAST. Gone is the hell-wizard Rasputin, his talking fruit bat sidekick, and the singing demon caterpillars. At intermission, I asked my third grade niece, Adalyn, how she was liking it. “It's awesome…it's real people, like no Beast or anything. No animals.” We decide that Disney staged musicals are great but more it's more impressive when you can achieve the magic without a story that departs from reality. ANASTASIA is historical fiction hypothetical. It poses a “what if…?” that a daughter of the last czar of Russia (The Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikolaevna) escaped when the czar's family was executed in 1918. Rumors persisted for decades that Anastasia did, in fact, escape. In 2007, DNA testing confirmed the remains of all four Grand Duchesses were in the Imperial grave. In this version, Terrence McNalley's book follows Anastasia's rediscovery of her identity after surviving the attack on her family and sustaining some plot enabling amnesia. Renamed “Anya” she grows up and makes a life in post-Revolution Russia. Anastasia's grandmother, the Dowager Empress (in a staggeringly moving performance by Joy Franz) has fled to France and offered a cash reward for anyone escorting the rumored alive Anastasia to Paris. The wily duo Vlad (Edward Staudenmayer) and Dmitry (Jake Levy) pull a My Fair Lady style makeover on Anya to collect the Dowager's prize. They are pursued by Gleb (Jason Michael Evans). A Soviet officer drawn to Anya romantically but tasked with finding and eliminating the last Romanov. Anya's memory becomes somewhat coaxed back, but the Dowager has stopped seeing Anastasia claimants after too much heart-break from countless frauds. It sounds dark, but with high-tech digital scenery and inspired performances across the cast it is delightful. Stephen Flaherty (Music) and Lynn Ahrens (Lyrics), responsible for bringing us RAGTIME, ONCE ON THIS ISLAND, LUCKY STIFF, as well as the Oscar nominated songs carried over from the animated film. ANASTASIA is a perfect context for this pair. “Stay, I Pray You” (my favorite song of the evening) is evocative of RAGTIME's “New Music”. The two songs literally race my heart in a strangely specific way. My real test of a National Tour at Gammage is how fast I get the music playing in my car on the way home. At ANASTASIA I was already finding, “Stay, I Pray You” walking through the parking lot. The rest of the score is similarly haunting. Lila Coogan, as Anya/Anastasia, powers through the score with nuance, clarity, and passion. Tari Kelly, as Countess Lily, and Stadenmayer (Vlad) were Adalyn's favorite performances and I have to agree. This incredibly gifted pair take the “triple threat” designation (singer, dancer, actor) and go quadruple with the addition of flawless comic timing. The choreography by Peggy Hickey is masterful. It somehow combines inventive and traditional throughout and the ten-minute slice of “Swan Lake” infused into “Quartet at the Ballet” is the highlight of the second act. It's a fun-size version that gets an under-represented art form onto the plate. This kind of trope often means the plot putting the plot on hold. But here, it is the connective tissue between Anya, Dmitry, the Dowager, and Gleb as they each bring us up to speed heading into the show's climax. Ultimately, the show's success comes from applying a higher artistic standard to the “previously-animated-film-now-theatrically-staged” genre. It cashes in on the name draw of the 1997 film then gives the viewer something much more enriched than what they think they are coming to see.
by BWW News Desk - Nov 1, 2019
A German Jewish refugee is haunted by her past, but resiliently moves toward the future. Antaeus Theatre Company presents the world premiere of Eight Nights, a story developed in the Antaeus Playwrights Lab that honors the global refugee experience. Written by Jennifer Maisel and directed by Emily Chase, Eight Nights opens at the Kiki & David Gindler Performing Arts Center in Glendale on Nov. 8, where performances continue through Dec. 16. Low-priced previews begin Oct. 31.
by Valerie-Jean Miller - Nov 1, 2019
One Performance Only! This Sunday, November 3, 2019! Long ago but not far away at all, there were many TV Variety Shows, Award Ceremonies, Music Centers and Theatre abounding with live Musical Performances, all with massive budgets; and dancers in this town, Los Angeles, made a darn good living, albeit having to work their asses off to do so, but it was a good and plentiful, fulfilling life. Besides myself, there was a plethora of working, professional dancers who ended up bonding together pretty easily, as a dancer's life is one of a nomad, or gypsy, going from one job to another, but in doing so, finding kindred spirits and lifelong connections. Jay Johnson, husband of one of these dancers and artistically gifted himself, was part of the artistic community, as was his wife, Sandi, and, typical with dancers, became close friends and comrades with other dancers, choreographers, and like-minded performers. As Jay was earning international fame as a ventriloquist, actor and comedian, and starring on the hit TV Series 'Soap,' us dancers were slaving away, happy to be able to make a living doing what we loved. Jay is best known for his role on ' Soap' as Chuck Campbell, a ventriloquist who believed his puppet Bob was real and demanded everyone treat Bob as human.
by Shari Barrett - Oct 30, 2019
HAIR was written more than 50 years ago by Gerome Ragni, James Rado and Galt MacDermot and broke new ground in musical theatre by defining the genre of 'rock musical' as well as using a racially integrated cast and inviting the audience onstage to join in the a?oeBe-Ina?? finale. But at the time it opened off Broadway at the end of 1967, it seemed unlikely that HAIR would be relevant five decades later. A product of the hippie counter-culture, sexual revolution, and Vietnam War protests of the late 1960s, several of its songs became anthems of the anti-war movement, while its profanity, depiction of the use of illegal drugs, treatment of open sexuality, irreverence for the American flag, and full-frontal nude scene caused much comment and controversy at the time. Yet today it seems what was shocking has become so common place that even a few children were in the audience at the performance I attended.
by BWW News Desk - Oct 29, 2019
Last night, the 2018-2019 class of Dramatists Guild Foundation Fellows presented excerpts of full length works at The Alice Griffin Jewel Box Theatre at The Pershing Square Signature Center.
by Jade Kops - Oct 21, 2019
BILLY ELLIOT, Elton John and Lee Hall's multi award winning musical theatre adaptation of Stephen Daldry's movie of the same name returns to Sydney for its 10th Anniversary Australian Tour.