BroadwayCon 2017 – Day 3

The third, and final, day of BroadwayCon was a busy one. We began our day at Tyler Mount’s Broadway Besties with Keala Setlle, Andrew Chappelle, Ariana DeBose, and Christopher Jackson. It was a very fun event and included games and giveaways. 

Tyler Mount with Christopher Jackson

On the mainstage next was Waving Through A Window: The Dear Evan Hansen Panel. The entire cast and most of the creative team were there to discuss the creation and execution of the musical. They discussed their favorite parts of the show, enjoying being able to watch each other perform when they’re not in a scene and really digging into the lives and feelings of the characters. 

Dear Evan Hansen panel

We had a photo-op with Jeremy Jordan and then later we attended the BroadwayCon First Look featuring a preview of some of he musicals of the upcoming series including Bandstand, Come From Away, Significant Other, and more. Company members of the upcoming shows previewed songs from and details of the shows. We particularly enjoyed the song from Bandstand

First Look: Bandstand

We took one last stroll around the Marketplace and saw Ann Harada being interviewed by Broadway Masters. Once her interview was over they then interviewed Lesli Margherita before she had to run to her photo-op sessions. 

Ann Harada being interviewed for Broadway Masters

The last big thing of the con was the closing ceremony which was a fitting end to the weekend.

They’ve already  announced that there will be a BroadwayCon 2018. We’re looking forward to seeing what awesome guests and events will take place next year! 

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BroadwayCon 2017 – Day 1

This is our first year at BroadwayCon and we didn’t know exactly what to expect, but it is just like any other convention. There are awesome vendors, organizations, and some serious Cosplays.

The crowd was a manageable size making it fairly easy to get from booth to booth,  as you check out the artists and products you want to see. I have been to cons where you could barely move around the convention floor and trying to get to some booths felt futile, so this was a breeze of fresh air. However, it is only day 1. 

The vendors and exhibitors are everything Broadway fans want! Some of our favorites have been Broadway.com, BroadwayBox, The Lights of Broadway, The Drama Book Shop, and Broadway Records. 

There are opportunities to enter to win tickets to Broadway shows, panels, lectures, performances, autograph signings, and photo ops. There was a lottery system to get autograph and photo op passes for select Broadway stars, but there are also plenty of signing opportunities at some of the booths. Today we met Alice Riley at the Broadway Records booth and Carolee Carmello at The Lights of Broadway table. Both of them, along with The Drama Book Shop, will have guests at their booths every day during BroadwayCon. 

We didn’t go to very many panels or events today, but we did catch most of the events on the Marketplace Stage including Anthony Rosenthal’s and Alice Ripley’s Q&As and Lauren Pritchard and Kathryn Gallagher’s  performance. 

It’s been a fun day meeting a lot of new people and some of our favorite Broadway performers! We’re excited to come back tomorrow for day two! 

2016 Tony Award Nominations


This morning, Tuesday, May 3, Nikki M. James and Andrew Rannells announced the 2016 Tony Award Nominations live from the Paramount Hotel’s Diamond Horseshoe in New York City. 

Productions that opened during the 2015 – 2016 Broadway Season on or before the April 28 cut-off date are eligible for Tony Awards this year. The 70th Annual Tony Awards, presented by The Broadway League and the American Theatre Wing,  will take place on June 12 at the Beacon Theatre.  The ceremony will be broadcast on CBS at 8/7c.  

Hamilton made history this year for most Tony nominations ever with 16, beating the previous record holders The Producers (2001) and Billy Elliot (2009) which received 15 each in their respective nomination years.. 

This year’s Tony nominees are: 

Best Musical
Bright Star 
Hamilton
School of Rock – The Musical
Shuffle Along
Waitress

Best Play
Eclipsed
The Father
The Humans
King Charles III

Best Revival of a Musical
The Color Purple
Fiddler on the Roof
She Loves Me
Spring Awakening 

Best Revival of a Play
Arthur Miller’s The Crucible 
Arthur Miller’s The View from the Bridge
Blackbird
Long Day’s Journey Into Night
Noises Off

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical
Laura Benanti, She Loves Me
Carmen Cusack, Bright Star
Cynthia Erivo, The Color Purple
Jessie Mueller, Waitress
Phlillipa Soo, Hamilton

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical
Alex Brightman, School of Rock – The Musical
Danny Burnstein, Fiddler on the Roof
Zachary Levi, She Loves Me
Lin-Manuel Miranda, Hamilton
Leslie Odom, Jr., Hamilton

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play
Jessica Lange, Long Day’s Journey Into Night
Laurie Metcalf, Misery
Lupita Nyong’o, Eclipsed
Sophie Okonedo, Arthur Miller’s The Crucible
Michelle Williams, Blackbird

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play
Gabriel Byrne, Long Day’s Journey Into Night
Jeff Daniels, Blackbird
Frank Langella, The Father
Tim Pigott-Smit, King Charles III
Mark Strong, Arthur Miller’s A View From the Bridge 

Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical
Danielle Brooks, The Color Purple
Renee Elise Goldsberry, Hamilton
Jane Krakowski, She Loves Me
Jennifer Simard, Disaster!
Adrienne Warren, Shuffle Along


Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical
Daveed Diggs, Hamilton
Brandon Victor Dixon, Shuffle Along
Christopher Fitzgerald, Waitress
Jonathan Groff, Hamilton
Christopher Jackson, Hamilton

Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play
Pascale Armand, Eclipsed
Megan Hilty, Noises Off
Jayne Houdyshell, The Humans
Andrea Martin, Noises Off
Saycon Sengbloh, Eclipsed

Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play
Reed Birney, The Humans
Bill Camp, Arthur Miller’s The Crucible
David Furr, Noises Off
Richard Goulding,King Charles III
Michael Shannon, Long Day’s Journey Into Night

Best Direction of a Musical
Michael Arden, Spring Awakening
John Doyle, The Color Purple
Scott Ellis, She Loves Me
Thomas Kail, Hamilton
George C. Wolfe, Shuffle Along

Best Direction of a Play
Rupert Goold, King Charles III
Jonathan Kent, Long Day’s Journey Into Night
Joe Mantello, The Humans
Liesl Tommy, Eclipsed
Ivo Van Hove, Arthur Miller’s The View From the Bridge

Best Book of a Musical
Steve Martin, Bright Star
Lin-Manuel Miranda, Hamilton
Julian Fellowes, School of Rock – The Musical
George C. Wolfe, Shuffle Along

Best Original Score
Steve Martin and Edie Brickell, Bright Star
Lin-Manuel Miranda, Hamilton
Andrew Lloyd Webber and Glenn Slater, School of Rock – The Musical
Sara Bareilles, Waitress

Special Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre
Sheldon Harnick & Marshall W. Mason

Regional Theatre Award
Paper Mill Playhouse, Millburn, NJ

Isabelle Stevenson Award
Brian Stokes Mitchell

Special Tony Award
National Endowment for the Arts
Miles Wilkin

Tony Honors for Excellence in the Theatre
Seth Gelblum
Joan Lader
Sally Ann Parsons


A full list of this year’s nominees can be found here

NRACT Shines Like the Sun with 9 to 5 the Musical!

A few weeks ago, I told my parents that I would do anything to see 9 to 5 the Musical.  After years of seeing the movie and listening to the original cast recording, I was ready to see the show outside of a few youtube videos.  A random Facebook ad led me to hear about a local production of the show. Well, I did say I would do anything.


     
                                                            Photo courtesy of nract.org.



I was not expecting to be blown out of my seat by the sheer talent, force, and heart of North Raleigh Arts and Creative Theatre’s production.

In 2009, Dolly Parton’s musical, 9 to 5, opened on Broadway and earned fifteen Drama Desk Award nominations and four Tony Award nominations.  The show starred Allison Janney (NBC’s The West Wing, CBS’s Mom), Stephanie J. Block (The Boy From Oz, Wicked), Megan Hilty (NBC’s SMASH, Wicked), and Marc Kudisch (Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Thoroughly Modern Millie).  While the production was short-lived, it certainly lived on among Dolly and Broadway fans.

Video courtesy of ABC via youtube.

Directed by James Ilsley, NRACT’s production brings together some of the area’s most talented to bring the show to life.  It should be noted that, unlike other groups, the cast and crew are volunteers – simply coming together to share their love of performing with each other and their audience.

    
               Mary Reilly, Mary Beth Hollmann, and AC Donohue as Judy, Violet, & Doralee. Photo courtesy of nract.org.

The show stars Mary Beth Hollmann, AC Donohue, and Mary Reilly as Violet, Doralee, and Judy respectively.  Alongside them, Bill Andrews plays Mr. Frank Hart, Natalie Turgeon plays Roz Keith, and David Kerman as Joe.  I cannot say how talented every person in the cast is; all have powerful voices that bring down the house in every number.  

A show like 9 to 5 requires a big cast to help carry the musical numbers, but the 18 performers in this production are the epitome of the phrase “less is more.”  From the  beginning, a video of Dolly Parton leads the cast through the tale of three women who begin to fight back against their egotistical boss. The same video continues throughout the show providing the audience with a sense of location, as the sets are limited.  Following Dolly’s lead, the cast brings audience members into the offices and homes of the characters.

Overall, the production is nothing short of stellar.  As mentioned, everyone involved is a volunteer – simply in it because they care.  It is rare to see a live show in which everyone is performing simply for the joy of performing.  Yes, the singers and actors are talented, but the passion is what makes this show shine like the sun!

9 to 5 runs until July 26!  Get your tickets now!

Be sure to like NRACT on Facebook, twitter, and instagram!  Also, check out their website for information about the rest of the season!

Drama Desk Awards 2015



Live from Town Hall, the 60th annual Drama Desk Awards were hosted for the second year in a row by Tony and Drama Desk Award winner Laura Benanti.  The Drama desk awards are presented annually to honor outstanding achievement by professional theater artists on Broadway, off-Broadway, and off-off-Broadway.  Winners are decided by theater critics, journalists, editors, and publishers covering theater.

Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton and An American in Paris led nominations with 13 and 12 respectively.  The night’s big winners were Hamilton, An American in Paris, and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime. 

Some of the night’s performance highlights included “Hold Down the Fort” by Kate Baldwin and Conor Ryan from John & Jen, “Beautiful” by Luba Mason from Pretty Filthy, Judy Kuhn’s rendition of “Come the Wild, Wild Weather” during the in memoriam, Lisa Howard singing “Jenny’s Blues” from It Shoulda Been You. 

A partial list of winners can be found below, and a full list of winners can be found here

Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical
Christian Borle, Something Rotten!

Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical
Renee Elise Goldsberry, Hamilton

Unique Theatrical Experience
Queen of the Night

Outstanding Solo Performance
Benjamin Scheuer, The Lion

Outstanding Costume Design
Catherine Zuber, Gigi

Outstanding Set Design
Bob Crowley, An American in Paris

Outstanding Lighting Design
Paule Constable, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime

Outstanding Sound Design of a Play
Ian Dickinson, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime

Outstanding Sound Design of a Musical
Nevin Steinberg, Hamilton

Outstanding Orchestrations
Christopher Austin, An American in Paris

Outstanding Featured Actor in a Play
K. Todd Freeman, Airline Highway

Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play
Annaleigh Ashford, You Can’t Take It With You

Outstanding Choreography
Christopher Wheeldon, An American in Paris

Outstanding Director of a Play
Marianne Elliott, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime

Outstanding Director of a Musical
Thomas Kail, Hamilton

Outstanding Actor in a Play
Alexander Sharp, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime

Outstanding Actress in a Play
Helen Mirren, The Audience

Outstanding Revival of a Play
The Elephant Man

Outstanding Play
Simon Stephens, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime 

Outstanding Book of a Musical
Lin-Manuel Miranda, Hamilton

Outstanding Music
Lin-Manuel Miranda, Hamilton

Outstanding Lyrics
Lin-Manuel Miranda, Hamilton

Outstanding Actor in a Musical
Robert Fairchild, An American in Paris

Outstanding Actress in a Musical
Kristin Chenoweth, On the 20th Century

Outstanding Revival of a Musical
The King and I

Outstanding Musical
Hamilton

Drama Desk Awards 2014 -2015 Nominees


Drama Desk winners Judith Light (The Assembled Parties) and Jessie Mueller (Beautiful — The Carole King Musical) presented the 2014-2015 Drama Desk Awards nominations today live from 54 Below.  
The Drama Desk Awards are presented annually to honor outstanding achievement by professional theater artists on Broadway, off-Broadway, and off-off-Broadway. Winners are decided by theater critics, journalists, editors, and publishers covering theater.
This year, Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton leads the pack with 13 nominations, followed closely by new Broadway musical An American in Paris with 12. See a partial list of nominees below, and a full list here
Outstanding Play
Clare Barron, You Got Older
Lisa D’Amour, Airline Highway
Anthony Giardina, The City of Conversation 
Stephen Adly Guirgis, Between Riverside and Crazy
Elizabeth Irwin, My Manãna Comes
Simon Stephens, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
Jack Thorne, Let the Right One In 
Outstanding Musical
An American in Paris
Hamilton
Fly by Night
Pretty Filthy 
Something Rotten!
The Visit
Outstanding Revival of a Play
The Elephant Man
Fashions for Men
Ghosts
The Iceman Cometh
Tamburlaine the Great
The Wayside Motor Inn
Outstanding Revival of a Musical
Into the Woods
The King and I
On the Town
On the Twentieth Century
Pageant
Side Show
Outstanding Actor in a Play
Reed Birney, I’m Gonna Pray for You So Hard
Bradley Cooper, The Elephant Man
Stephen McKinley Henderson, Between Riverside and Crazy
Ben Miles, Wolf Hall: Parts One & Two
Bill Pullman, Sticks and Bones
Alexander Sharp, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
Outstanding Actress in a Play
Brooke Bloom, You Got Older
Kathleen Chalfant, A Walk in the Woods
Kristin Griffith, The Fatal Weakness 
Jan Maxwell, The City of Conversation
Helen Mirren, The Audience
Carey Mulligan, Skylight
Tonya Pinkins, Rasheeda Speaking
Outstanding Actor in a Musical
Brian d’Arcy James, Something Rotten!
Robert Fairchild, An American in Paris
Jeremy Kushnier, Atomic
Lin-Manuel Miranda, Hamilton
Matthew Morrison, Finding Neverland
Ryan Silverman, Side Show 
Outstanding Actress in a Musical
Kate Baldwin, John & Jen
Kristin Chenoweth, On the Twentieth Century
Leanne Cope, An American in Paris
Erin Davie, Side Show
Lisa Howard, It Shoulda Been You
Chita Rivera, The Visit
Outstanding Featured Actor in a Play
F. Murray Abraham, It’s Only a Play 
Reed Birney, You Got Older
K. Todd Freeman, Airline Highway
Jonathan Hadary, Rocket to the Moon
Jason Butler Harner, The Village Bike
Jonathan Hogan, Pocatello
José Joaquin Perez, My Mañana Comes
Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play
Annaleigh Ashford, You Can’t Take It with You
Beth Dixon, The City of Conversation
Julie Halston, You Can’t Take It with You
Paola Lázaro-Muñoz, To the Bone
Lydia Leonard, Wolf Hall: Parts One & Two
Julie White, Airline Highway
Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical
Christian Borle, Something Rotten!
Peter Friedman, Fly by Night
Josh Grisetti, It Shoulda Been You
Andy Karl, On the Twentieth Century
Leslie Odom Jr., Hamilton
Brad Oscar, Something Rotten!
Max von Essen, An American in Paris
Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical
Carolee Carmello, Finding Neverland 
Tyne Daly, It Shoulda Been You
Elizabeth A. Davis, Allegro
Renee Elise Goldsberry, Hamilton
Luba Mason, Pretty Filthy
Nancy Opel, Honeymoon in Vegas
Elizabeth Stanley, On the Town
Outstanding Director of a Play
Marianne Elliott, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
Jeremy Herrin, Wolf Hall: Parts One & Two
Anne Kauffman, You Got Older
Lila Neugebauer, The Wayside Motor Inn
Austin Pendleton, Between Riverside and Crazy
Joe Tantalo, Deliverance
John Tiffany, Let the Right One In
Outstanding Director of a Musical
Carolyn Cantor, Fly by Night
Bill Condon, Side Show
John Doyle, The Visit
Thomas Kail, Hamilton
Casey Nicholaw, Something Rotten!
Christopher Wheeldon, An American in Paris
Outstanding Choreography
Joshua Bergasse, On the Town
Warren Carlyle, On the Twentieth Century
Steven Hoggett, The Last Ship
Austin McCormick, Rococo Rouge
Casey Nicholaw, Something Rotten!
Christopher Wheeldon, An American in Paris
Outstanding Music
Jason Robert Brown, Honeymoon in Vegas
Michael Friedman, The Fortress of Solitude
John Kander, The Visit
Dave Malloy, Ghost Quartet
Lin-Manuel Miranda, Hamilton
Sting, The Last Ship
Outstanding Lyrics
Jason Robert Brown, Honeymoon in Vegas
Fred Ebb, The Visit
Michael Friedman, The Fortress of Solitude
Karey Kirkpatrick & Wayne Kirkpatrick, Something Rotten!
Lin-Manuel Miranda, Hamilton
Benjamin Scheuer, The Lion 
Outstanding Book of a Musical
Hunter Bell & Lee Overtree, Found
Karey Kirkpatrick & John O’Farrell, Something Rotten!
Craig Lucas, An American in Paris
Terence McNally, The Visit
Lin-Manuel Miranda, Hamilton
Kim Rosenstock, Will Connolly, & Michael Mitnick, Fly by Night
Outstanding Music in a Play
Cesar Alvarez, An Octoroon
Danny Blackburn & Bryce Hodgson, Deliverance
Sean Cronin, Kill Me Like You Mean It
Bongi Duma, Generations
Freddi Price, The Pigeoning
Arthur Solari & Jane Shaw, Tamburlaine the Great
Outstanding Revue
Forbidden Broadway Comes Out Swinging! 
Just Jim Dale
Lennon: Through a Glass Onion
Lonesome Traveler
Outstanding Solo Performance
Christina Bianco, Application Pending
Jonny Donahoe, Every Brilliant Thing
Tom Dugan, Wiesenthal
Mona Golabek, The Pianist of Willesden Lane
Joely Richardson, The Belle of Amherst
Benjamin Scheuer, The Lion
Unique Theatrical Experience
Catch Me!
Everybody Gets Cake
The Human Symphony
Queen of the Night
A Rap Guide to Religion

The Drama Desk Awards ceremony will take place on May 31 at New York’s Town Hallwith returning host Laura Benanti. 

Julia Murney: I’m Not Waiting

Julia Murney is most know for her time spent in shows like Wicked, The Wild Party, and Lennon. She was also featured in the Actor’s Fund Benefit performances of Hair and Chess. Her album, I’m Not Waiting, is filled with awesome music that covers her career and some of her personal favorites.


Photo courtesy of Dirty Sugar Photography via juliamurney.com

Before taking the stage with Alli Mauzey in Garner, North Carolina, Julia was able to take some time to talk to Martha about her career. 

MH:  What was the first thing that sparked your interest, or passion, in musical theatre?
JM:  Well, my father is an actor – and he would direct sometimes, as well.  And I remember, as a child, he directed a play at Actor’s Theatre of Louisville, where we lived when I was a small child.  There was one show I remember it was a comedy and there was a part where there were these bridges. And, at one point, an actor fell of the bridge and came up out of the water and had to spit out water.  My father took me backstage, and I remember him showing me the cup of water and straw that the actor used for the scene.  And it didn’t ruin the show for me – I was fascinated.  It was the first time where I was aware that there was more than what you saw.
Later, when I was older, I liked shows – but I wasn’t a show kid. I never did shows until I was in high school. When I went to see (and I saw it a few times) the original cast of Dreamgirls on Broadway, it was the first time – for whatever reason – that I was suddenly aware that somebody made that happen.  That there was a director, and the transitions in the show were out of this world, and I never understood that before.  Even though my father had been a director, somehow my brain had not made that connection until that show.
And the first show I ever did, I was in the ensemble of A Chorus of Applause (it was a c, old show), but I loved it.
MH:  What’s your favorite cast album to listen too?
JM:  Dreamgirls.  I don’t listen to cast albums that much.  However, more recently I LOVE In the Heights.  That’s one of the few that’s on my iPod.
MH: If you could sing a duet with anyone, who would it be?
JM: That’s such a huge question.  Today, I would say Alli Mauzey because I get to sing two duets with her tonight – and that’s pretty neat!  
I got to sing with Josh Groban, and that was pretty great.  But he’s off the list, because I’ve already performed with him.
MH: Chess, right?
JM: Yep.
It’s a hard question because I’m only able to think of people I have already sung with.  Anyone who would ask me – honestly.  It’s such a joy to get to sing with someone new.  I don’t have any particular person in mind.  If anyone asked, I’d do it.
MH: Is there a dream role you haven’t played yet?
JM:  Yes, one that hasn’t been written yet.  In terms of roles that already exist, my time has probably passed for this, but I’d love to play Dot in Sunday in the Park with George.  Also, I’d like to play Mrs. Lovett from Sweeney Todd.
MH:  You played Florence in the Actor’s Fund Benefit concert of Chess, with Josh Groban, Adam Pascal, and Sutton Foster. As well, as Broadway Voice veteran Norm Lewis.  What was your experience like with that performance?

JM:  It was fast.  I was actually supposed to play Svetlana (the Russian’s wife), played by Sutton Foster.  And someone else entirely was in line to play Florence, but she dropped out just a few weeks before the performance.  So, they called and asked if I would bump up and take the role.  So, I was very overwhelmed.  Those concerts are always very fast and furious, so you have to buckle your seat-belts and just go with it.  
That was what was so incredible about Josh Groban.  He stepped into our world, a world that we were used to, and he just went with it.  And he’s so nice and he is fabulous! 
So, it helps when you are surrounded by people who are so talented.  You go, “I want to try to be as good as they are.”  Plus, everyone holds each other up.
MH:  What’s the best piece of advice you have ever been given? Or a piece of advice you would give to an aspiring actor?
JM:  I would say, the one piece of advice that I remind myself of all the time: in this business, it is good to be reminded that everyone is on their own path.  So, stay in your lane.  It is easy to compare and feel “How come she’s working all the time? Or getting all these roles?”  
You have to get out of the mindset of “I want that. And I wish it was me instead of her.”  That’s their journey that they have to take.  You have to remember that your job in everyone else’s journey is to support them.  It’s okay to take a minute and be disappointed, and then get over it.  Use that energy to support, because it is better.
Basically, be kind.  You don’t know who they are or what they will become, and you might need them one day.  It’s like you’re hiking a trail.  Say “Hi!” to them as you walk by.  You may get further up the trail and roll your ankle later.  You’ll need their help, and they’ll say, “You didn’t say ‘Hi!’ to me on the trail.”  That’s the biggest piece of advice I can give.  
Be sure to follow Julia on Twitter and Instagram.  Be sure to check out her website for updates!

Don’t miss the announcement of next season’s Broadway Voices guests! Follow GPAC on twitter.