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Jersey Boys wins Sydney Theatre Awards including Best Musical

MULTI-AWARD WINNING

JERSEY BOYS

WINS SYDNEY THEATRE AWARDS

BEST MUSICAL &

BEST ACTOR IN A MUSICAL (BOBBY FOX)

 

JERSEY BOYS – The Story of Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons won the Sydney Theatre Award for Best Musical.  In addition Bobby Fox, who plays Frankie Valli, won Best Actor in a Musical.

 

The Sydney Theatre Awards are presented annually by a group of leading theatre critics to celebrate the strength, quality and diversity of theatre in Sydney.

 

“The Sydney Theatre Award for Best Musical to JERSEY BOYS acknowledges the wonderful collaboration between everyone associated with the production across the entire range of disciplines and the artistic excellence that makes JERSEY BOYS so special for audiences and for all of us associated with this wonderful production. The entire company of JERSEY BOYS is thrilled that Bobby Fox has been recognised by Sydney’s premier critics for his extraordinary performance of Frankie Valli” – Rodney Rigby, Newtheatricals, Producer of JERSEY BOYS – The Story of Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons.

Chris Green of Dainty Consolidated Entertainment, Producer said “We are absolutely elated how Sydney audiences have embraced the Australian production of JERSEY BOYS and delighted to have been further acknowledged by receiving these Awards.”

 

Jersey Boys is already the recipient of two Helpmann Awards being Best Musical and Best Music Direction of a Musical, four Tony Awards® including Best Musical, winner of the Olivier Award for Best New Musical, and winner of seven Victorian Green Room Awards.

 

After 4½ sell-out months in Sydney, and 14 months in Melbourne seen by nearly 600,000 patrons and playing 453 sold out performances, JERSEY BOYS – The Story of Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons continues to play to huge acclaim and standing ovations.

The Four Seasons, Frankie Valli, Bob Gaudio, Tommy DeVito and Nick Massi wrote their own songs, invented their own sounds and sold 175 million records worldwide – all before they were thirty. JERSEY BOYS features all their hits including Sherry, Big Girls Don’t Cry, Oh What A Night, Walk Like A Man, Can’t Take My Eyes Off You, Working My Way Back To You and many more.

www.jerseyboysaustralia.com.au

 

 

Million Dollar Quartet to Welcome Wanda Jackson “The Queen of Rockabilly” on January 20

BROADWAY’S

MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET

TO WELCOME “THE QUEEN OF ROCKABILLY”

WANDA JACKSON

TO NEDERLANDER THEATRE THURSDAY EVENING, JANUARY 20

FOR ONE TIME ONLY JAM SESSION

MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET, Broadway’s new hit musical, is pleased to announce that Wanda Jackson, the “Queen of Rockabilly,” will join the cast of the Tony nominated Best Musical for a special performance during the finale of the Thursday evening, January 20 performance at the Nederlander Theatre (208 West 41st Street).

 

Jackson, a 2009 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee, first gained national attention with her 1958 recording of Let’s Have a Party,” a tune she made into a hit of her own even after one-time boyfriend Elvis Presley had released a version of it. She’s been a pioneer in rockabilly, rock and roll, country, and gospel music. Her latest album, The Party Ain’t Over, which she recorded with guitarist-vocalist-White Stripes founder Jack White, will be released January 25 on Third Man/Nonesuch Records.

The cast of MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET features Eddie Clendening (Elvis Presley), Lance Guest (Johnny Cash), Tony Award®  winner Levi Kreis (Jerry Lee Lewis), Jared Mason (Carl Perkins), James Moye (Sam Phillips), and Elizabeth Stanley (Dyanne).

 

On December 4, 1956, an auspicious twist of fate brought Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, and Elvis Presley together. The place was Sun Records’ storefront studio in Memphis. The man who made it happen was Sam Phillips, the “Father of Rock and Roll,” who discovered them all. The four young musicians united for the only time in their careers for an impromptu recording that has come to be known as one of the greatest rock jam sessions of all time.

 

Inspired by the actual event, MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET features a treasure trove of the greatest rock and roll, gospel, R&B and country hits from these musicians, including such iconic songs as “Blue Suede Shoes,” “Fever,” “Sixteen Tons,” “Who Do You Love?,” “Great Balls of Fire,” “Riders in the Sky,” “I Walk the Line,” “Folsom Prison Blues,” and “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On.” MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET captures the infectious spirit, freewheeling excitement and thrilling sounds of a singular moment when four of the music industry’s most extraordinary talents, all in their creative prime, came together for one of the most memorable nights in music history.

In addition, to Kreis’ Tony® for Best Featured Actor in a Musical, MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET received Tony nominations for Best Musical and Best Book of a Musical (Colin Escott & Floyd Mutrux). The show received an Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical (Levi Kreis), a Drama Desk Nomination for Outstanding Musical Revue and three Drama League Nominations including Distinguished Production of a Musical and Distinguished Performance (Lance Guest & Levi Kreis).

 

MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET is directed by Eric Schaeffer and features a book by Colin Escott and Floyd Mutrux. The design team for Broadway includes: Derek McLane (scenic design), Howell Binkley (lighting design), Jane Greenwood (costume design), Kai Harada (sound design) and Chuck Mead (musical arrangements and supervision).

 

MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET is produced by Relevant Theatricals, John Cossette Productions, American Pop Anthology, Broadway Across America, and James L. Nederlander.

 

The Chicago production of MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET opened in 2008 and is still playing to packed houses at the Apollo Theatre. An upcoming national tour will launch next season and a London production will open at the Noël Coward Theatre on February 28, 2011 with previews beginning February 8, 2011.

 

For more information about MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET, visit www.MillionDollarQuartetLive.com.

 

Follow MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET news on Twitter @milliondquartet and on Facebook.

TICKET INFORMATION:

Tickets for MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET are available online www.TicketMaster.com, by calling 877-250-2929, or by visiting the Nederlander Box Office (208 West 41st Street).

 

MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET’s performance schedule is Tuesday at 7PM, Wednesday through Saturday at 8PM. Matinees on Wednesday and Saturday at 2PM and Sunday at 3PM.

 

NEW REGULAR PERFORMANCE SCHEDULE (BEGINNING MONDAY, JANUARY 3) is Tuesday and Wednesday at 7 PM, Thursday through Saturday at 8 PM. Matinees Wednesday and Saturday at 2:30 PM and Sunday at 3 PM.

 

BIOGRAPHY

When WANDA JACKSON, the justly crowned Queen of Rockabilly, recorded Let’s Have a Party,” a tune she made into a hit of her own in 1958 even after one-time boyfriend Elvis Presley had released a version of it, her delivery of the chorus wasn’t so much a suggestion as a command. As the title – and, more importantly, the contents — of her latest album, The Party Ain’t Over, indicates, this feisty septuagenarian artist is as galvanizing as ever. Jackson was recently inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, honored with a long-time-coming, Early Influence accolade for her pivotal role in the evolution of popular music, especially where female artists were concerned. As a teenager in the mid-50s, the diminutive Jackson was the first woman to perform unadulterated rock and roll – and she one-upped the boys defining this new genre, Presley included, with her exhilaratingly forthright approach. The young Jackson, an Oklahoma native, came across as both gritty and glamorous; a playfully suggestive growl to her voice matched the daring, handmade outfits she wore, short skirts and fringed dresses that have inspired would-be bad girls for decades to come. A tireless touring artist for more than 50 years, Jackson continues to win over new, young fans, including guitarist-vocalist-White Stripes founder Jack White.

 

On this debut for Third Man/Nonesuch Records, produced and arranged by White at his Nashville studio, the spirited Jackson proves that brash rock and roll attitude need not have an age limit. Her trademark growl remains intact on rockers like “Rip It Up” and “Nervous Breakdown;” she opens the set with an echo-laden sneer on a rollicking version of “Shakin’ All Over” and ends it ten songs later with a plaintive take on Jimmie Rodgers’ Yodel #6,” along the way gamely tackling country, gospel, densely worded Bob Dylan, and a little bit of Tin Pan Alley. Jackson and White are a remarkably simpatico pairing; their collaboration came together quickly, serendipitously. One of Jackson’s colleagues had originally approached White about doing a duet with Jackson for a proposed “Wanda and Friends” disc, but White demurred. Instead, he offered something better, inviting Jackson to cut a single with him for his Third Man label, and that swiftly led this kindred spirits to put together an entire album.

 

Jackson admits, “I was scared at first because I didn’t know what this young rock star was going to expect of me or ask me to do. I kind of had shaky feet, deciding whether I wanted to do this or not. Of course I knew about him, I have to admit, from the album he did with Loretta Lynn and how successful that was. That certainly got my attention when he said he was interested in doing one with me. So we began sending material to each other; he sent me the things he thought I should do or he wanted me to do, and I sent him some ideas of things I had put aside for recording at a future date. When I finally got to Nashville, he put me at ease immediately. He’s just so laid back and such a cool guy that I found myself wanting to please him, I wanted to do it his way. My husband (Jackson’s manager of 40 years) and I told him, you do this. If you want a suggestion from me, feel free to ask. Otherwise, you make the decisions. That gave him a lot of freedom and I wanted him to have that freedom. And I think that’s what made it so good as an album. As I began singing these songs and listening to the playbacks he made, I realized he wasn’t wanting to change my style of singing at all. He just wanted me to have new, fresher material. And I said, hey I could do this. I can sing like Wanda Jackson. He just wanted more of Wanda than I was used to putting out. And apparently it worked.”

 

White and Jackson came up with inspired and wide-ranging song choices that reflect Jackson’s long history with country, gospel, and even the big-band music she remembers from her childhood as well as with rock and roll: Harlan Howard’s woozy lament Busted”; the Andrew Sisters’ kitschy tropical travelogue, “Rum and Coca Cola”, a fitting companion to her own “Fujiyama Mama”; Dylan’s rockabilly fever dream, “Thunder On The Mountain.” They also recorded a cover of contemporary bad-girl Amy Winehouse’s You Know That I’m No Good,” which White first released as a single in 2009, paired with “Shakin All Over.” The Winehouse song suits her, Jackson says, but she’s careful to draw the line between life and art: On the one hand, I’m good, on the other hand, I’m bad. That seems to be the image this new generation of fans that I have has given me. It’s like the title of the documentary about my life that recently came out: The Sweet Lady With the Nasty Voice. Maybe that says that I become a different person, a different persona, when I sing those songs. I have a good reputation, always have had, and respect from everyone as a lady, and that pleases me very much. But the young girls think I’m this hard gal that gets her way and storms in. It’s just because of the material I’ve sung and the way I’ve sung it. And that’s okay. That’s cute.

 

White himself backs Jackson on lead guitar, cutting loose with solos that are as ferocious and fun as Jackson’s vocals; in fact, the entire band that White assembled – including pedal steel, a horn section and backing vocals from singers Ashley Monroe and Karen Elson –is similarly uninhibited, matching Jackson’s and White’s intensity and, just as often, their humor. Though the work is carefully arranged, the resulting tracks feel like one unforgettable after-hours session, with everyone in thrall to the woman at the heart of these tunes. The first song White suggested they cut was “Rip It Up,” one Jackson knows very well from her rockabilly days. As she explains, “It shocked me that he wanted me to do that but that was the first one I recorded. He loves that song and I do too. But I think he did that to put me at ease, let me do something that I’m real familiar with and real comfortable with, and he didn’t have to direct me or any of that. I just reared back and sang it. That got me loosened up and made me comfortable.” Not that White simply wanted to make things easy. On the sultry “You Know I’m No Good,” says Jackson, “We’d get through one take and he’d say, ‘Oh Wanda that was great.’ And I said, ‘Whew, I made it.’ Then he said, ‘Now let’s do one more and let’s push a little more.’ I was getting physically kind of tired and probably kind of got angry but he got the take he wanted. It’s funny how you can come up with what your producers want in the strangest ways. A little bit of their repartee can be detected at the top of the track, just as the analog tape gets rolling.

 

The Party Ain’t Over is about stepping out, not summing up, but it does touch on important aspects of Jackson’s life and ever-evolving career. “Teach Me Tonight,” a country-inflected interpretation of the DeCastro Sisters’ hit, partly fulfills Jackson’s desire to cut a 40s-style big-band disc. “Like A Baby,” recorded live in the studio with the whole band, allowed Jackson to revive an obscure, bluesy number from her old buddy Elvis. The Jimmie Rodgers tune is the first song she ever learned as a child; her father taught her the chords on the guitar, she figured out how to sing along while she played, and, like any aspiring vocal star of the era, she taught herself how to yodel, a skill she has clearly maintained over the ensuing decades.

 

Jackson remains too busy to look back – her legend looms especially large now in Europe and Japan, where she is always in demand as a concert performer – but she does allow herself a moment to reflect: I can’t think of anyone who could be any luckier or any happier than me. I think it’s a blessing from the Lord. I had wonderful parents who gave up so much so that I could have my dreams come true. I was an only child so I had all the love and attention that anyone could ask for. My mother made my stage clothes and a lot of my street clothes too. Dad traveled with me and drove me to all those early dates so I didn’t have to be alone. You couldn’t ask for more, to make your living doing what you love to do, to sing and travel and entertain people all your life. I can’t think of any life that could be better than that.”

And, as she notes, the party ain’t over.

 

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www.MillionDollarQuartetLive.com

 

www.WandaJackson.com

 

Follow MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET news on Twitter @milliondquartet and on Facebook

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For the most up to date press releases visit our Blog.

 

Judith Light of Broadway’s LOMBARDI to appear on NY-1’s “On Stage” this weekend

Judith Light of Broadway’s LOMBARDI to appear on NY-1’s “On Stage” this weekend

 

Before catching this weekend’s NFL Playoff games, sit down with NY-1’s Donna Karger and actress Judith Light, who currently stars in LOMBARDI, Broadway’s hot new play about football coaching legend Vince Lombardi.  Tune in to NY-1’s “On Stage” on Saturday, January 15 at 9:30 AM or 7:30 PM to watch Donna Karger interview Ms. Light about her role as Vince Lombardi’s wife Marie, for which she is earning rave reviews from theatre critics and football fans alike.  “On Stage” re-airs on Sunday, January 16 at 9:30 AM and 7:30 PM, as well as Monday, January 17 at 9:30 PM and Tuesday, January 18 at 12:30 AM.

 

The 2007 Vince Lombardi Trophy, awarded to the New York Giants upon their victory in Super Bowl XLIII, will remain on display in the lower lobby of the theater this weekend, through Sunday, January 16.

 

Fran Kirmser and Tony Ponturo, producers of Broadway’s LOMBARDI, recently announced a new block of tickets for LOMBARDI, now on sale through June 19.

Join the LOMBARDI cast after the show every Tuesday and Thursday in January for a post-show “talkback.”

Directed by Tony Award nominee Thomas Kail, LOMBARDI is an original play by Academy Award-winning playwright Eric Simonson, based on the best-selling biography When Pride Still Mattered: A Life of Vince Lombardi by Pulitzer Prize winner David Maraniss.  The production opened in October at Circle in the Square Theatre.

 

Starring Dan Lauria as the legendary Hall of Fame football coach Vince Lombardi and Judith Light as his wife Marie, LOMBARDI also features Keith Nobbs as Michael McCormick, Bill Dawes as Paul Hornung, Robert Christopher Riley as Dave Robinson and Chris Sullivan as Jim Taylor.  Joining producers Tony Ponturo and Fran Kirmser as special producing partner is the National Football League, marking the organization’s first foray on Broadway.

 

Tickets can be purchased online at www.telecharge.com, by phone at 212-239-6200, or in person at the Box Office (50th Street, West of Broadway).

 

www.lombardibroadway.com

Follow LOMBARDI on Twitter: @LombardiPlay or on Facebook.

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For the most up to date press releases visit our Blog.

Acting Co. and Guthrie premiere touring production of The Comedy of Errors

THE ACTING COMPANY & GUTHRIE THEATER

PREMIERE TOURING PRODUCTION OF SHAKESPEARE’S
THE COMEDY OF ERRORS

AT THE GUTHRIE THEATER

 

April 4 – 17 run at New York’ Pace University to cap 28-city national tour

 

Photos available online at  http://www.guthrietheater.org/media_room/image_library

 

 

(Minneapolis/St. Paul) The Acting Company (TAC), in association with the Guthrie Theater, continues its 28-city national tour, stopping at the Guthrie Theater this month for the premiere of Shakespeare’s The Comedy of Errors. The production, directed by TAC Associate Artistic Director Ian Belknap, opened January 12 on the McGuire Proscenium Stage and will play in repertory with Romeo and Juliet through January 30.

 

The 2010-11 tour season launched on October 22, 2010 with a limited run of Romeo and Juliet at New York’s Pace University, where the company concludes its 28-city tour with an April 4 – 17 New York run of The Comedy of Errors.

 

Both productions again showcase the talents of young performers from the ranks of both organizations, including graduates of the University of Minnesota/Guthrie Theater B.F.A. Actor Training Program, as well as alumni of The Acting Company. The 2010-11 tour company includes Kaliswa Brewster (Amelia/Juliet), Ray Chapman (Egeon/Friar Laurence), Elizabeth Grullon (Courtesan/Peter), Whitney Hudson (Adriana/Lady Capulet), Jonathan C. Kaplan (Antipholus of Syracuse/Lord Capulet), Jason McDowell-Green (Antipholus of Ephesus/Lord Montague), Stephen Pilkington (Dromio of Ephesus/Abraham), Alejandro Rodriguez (Jailer/Officer/Balthazar/Romeo), Benjamin Rosenbaum (Second Merchant/Tybalt), John Skelley (Dromio of Syracuse/Benvolio), Jamie Smithson (Duke/Pinch/Nell/Luce/Paris), Sid Solomon (First Merchant/Angelo/Mercutio/Prince) and Elizabeth Stahlmann (Luciana/Nurse).

 

The Comedy of Errors, one of Shakespeare’s earliest plays, is also his shortest and one of his most farcical — a major part of the humor derived from slapstick, puns and wordplay. The story of two sets of identical twins accidentally separated at birth involves a series of wild mishaps based on mistaken identities leading to wrongful attacks, a near-seduction, an arrest and accusations of infidelity, theft, madness and demonic possession. Shakespeare sets all this action in one day and features a theme that recurs throughout his work: blending tragic situations with comedic resolutions and introducing slapstick to wide appeal. TAC Associate Artistic Director Ian Belknap will direct the production, whose creative team also includes Neil Patel (Set Design), Michael Chybowski (Lighting Design), Candice Donnelly (Costume Design), Felix Ivanoff (Choreography) and Andrew Wade (Voice and Speech Consultant).

 

Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare’s iconic romantic tragedy, returns for a second consecutive tour season and will again be directed by Penny Metropulos, formerly of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. As innocent young star-crossed lovers fall victim to family hatred and cruel destiny, swords clash, everlasting love is promised and a treacherous sleeping potion is swallowed in the greatest love story of all time. Evoking the lyricism of Shakespeare’s sonnets, Romeo and Juliet exquisitely embodies the brief joy of teenage passion and ecstasy, while their families’ mutual disdain and prejudice lead to revenge and an irreversible fate. The creative team for Romeo and Juliet includes Neil Patel (Set Design), Michael Chybowski (Lighting Design), Mathew J. LeFebvre (Costume Design), Victor Zupanc (Music Composition), Scott W. Edwards (Sound Design), Felix Ivanoff (Fight Direction), Marcela Lorca (Choreography), Elizabeth Smith (Voice and Speech Consultant) and Dakin Matthews (Dramaturg).

 

The company is also joined on tour by Jesse Jou (Staff Repertory Director), Karen Parlato (Stage Manager) and Meaghan Rosenberger (Assistant Stage Manager).

 

For a complete tour itinerary, visit www.theactingcompany.org.

 

The GUTHRIE THEATER (Joe Dowling, Director) was founded by Sir Tyrone Guthrie in 1963 and is an American center for theater performance, production, education and professional training. The Tony Award-winning Guthrie Theater is dedicated to producing the great works of dramatic literature, developing the work of contemporary playwrights and cultivating the next generation of theater artists. With annual attendance of nearly 500,000 people, the Guthrie Theater presents a mix of classic plays and contemporary work on its three stages. Under the artistic leadership of Joe Dowling since 1995, the Guthrie continues to set a national standard for excellence in theatrical production and performance. In 2006, the Guthrie opened its new home on the banks of the Mississippi River in Minneapolis. Designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Jean Nouvel, the Guthrie Theater houses three state-of-the-art stages, production facilities, classrooms and dramatic public lobbies. www.guthrietheater.org

 

THE ACTING COMPANY was founded in 1972 by Margot Harley and legendary producer and actor John Houseman with Kevin Kline, Patti LuPone and others in the first graduating class of Juilliard’s Drama Division. Since then it has performed 131 plays to audiences in 48 states and 10 foreign countries. In addition to Kline and LuPone, its alumni include Frances Conroy, Jeffrey Wright, Harriet Harris, Jesse L. Martin, David Ogden Stiers, Richard Ooms, Richard Iglewski, Keith David and Rainn Wilson. The Acting Company was honored in 2003 with a Tony Award for Excellence in Theater.

 

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Critics love The Importance of Being Earnest! Read the reviews.

ROUNDABOUT THEATRE COMPANY

 

CRITICS ARE RAVING ABOUT

 

THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST

Read all the reviews!

 

Roundabout Theatre Company (Todd Haimes, Artistic Director) Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest, starring and directed by Brian Bedford.   The Importance of Being Earnest is playing at the American Airlines Theatre on Broadway (227 West 42nd St) in a limited engagement through March 6, 2011.

NEW YORK TIMES by Ben Brantley

The Importance of Being Astonished

“Mr. Bedford is perhaps the finest English-language interpreter of classical comedy of his generation, and he seems to pick up a Tony nomination every time he steps on a Broadway stage.” http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/09/theater/09bedford.html?_r=1&ref=theater

NEW YORK TIMES by Charles Isherwood

A Stylish Monster Conquers at a Glance

“Within seconds of sweeping onstage, and with a wordless gesture as funny as it is subtle, the great actor Brian Bedford proves beyond question that gender is of no importance whatsoever in portraying the imposing Lady Bracknell in Oscar Wilde’s greatest comedy, “The Importance of Being Earnest.” …. It’s one of the great performances of the season; to miss it would most definitely look like carelessness.”

Full review: http://theater.nytimes.com/2011/01/14/theater/reviews/14importance.html

 

ASSOCIATED PRESS by Mark Kennedy

Brian Bedford proves Oscar Wilde’s ‘The Importance of Being Earnest’ is never a drag

“The sure sign of a good actress is that you forget, over the course of two hours, that the woman you are seeing is, in fact, a man. Such is the case with Brian Bedford, who has adopted Lady Bracknell’s haughty sensibility and her stern Victorian gowns in a terrific new Roundabout Theatre Company production of Oscar Wilde’s “The Importance of Being Earnest” that opened Thursday.”

Full review: http://abcnews.go.com/Entertainment/wireStory?id=12612595&page=2

NEW YORK MAGAZINE by Scott Brown

An Absolutely Perfect (and Important) Earnest

“Each jewel of wit is polished apple-bright, and every performer is playing in the same key. Forget literary interpretation, forget clenched internal acting: There’s great damned musicianship here, and the joy of sheer comic virtuosity. For this we must thank, again, Brian Bedford, who pulls off actor-director double duty with uncommon grace. Having assembled a uniformly brilliant cast (including the great Dana Ivey as dotty governess Miss Prism, and the terrific, incipiently potbellied Fontana, who seems perpetually, girlishly overjoyed to be six months pregnant with himself), he’s free to make his Lady Bracknell the prime showpiece, not the show-saver she can become if lesser stars fill out her constellation. When Bedford’s Bracknell enters — a one-woman armada of pomp with a face like a guillotine — the world stops briefly, but the show does not. (When it comes to imbuing a single word with devastating hilarity, the actor has no equal.) To know something like scripture, as we do Earnest, and to have it feel fresh off the press; to anticipate every jape, and yet react with delightful surprise? To paraphrase Gwendolen: The suspense is terrible, not to mention funny as hell, and it lasts.” Full review: http://nymag.com/daily/entertainment/2011/01/stage_dive_an_absolutely_perfe.html

 

WALL STREET JOURNAL by Terry Teachout

“The Roundabout Theatre Company has brought to Broadway Brian Bedford’s brilliantly zany Stratford Shakespeare Festival staging of Oscar Wilde’s “The Importance of Being Earnest,” in which the veteran classical comedian dons wig and gown to play Lady Bracknell.  Desmond Heeley’s fantastic set, which looks like a giant marzipan sculpture by Georges Seurat, has moved to New York along with Mr. Bedford, and the new cast includes Dana Ivey and Paxton Whitehead, two of the American theater’s most trustworthy wits.”  Full review: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704803604576077791348875596.html?mod=WSJ_LifeStyle_LifestyleArtEnt

 

NY1 by Roma Torre

“Brian Bedford, leading an outstanding production of “The Importance of Being Earnest”, is truly as super as it gets on Broadway.  As written, Bracknell is already over the top among the great characters in drama. Bedford’s unique gift is to supply the skin, bones and teeth to make her bitingly real. Add to that impeccable comic timing…and a legendary performance is born. Brian Bedford is easily among our finest interpreters of comedy classics. So abundant is his talent in fact, he seems to inspire that level of excellence in all who share the stage with him.”

 

NEW YORK POST by Elisabeth Vincentelli

The lady mans up in a wickedly Wilde revival

“In this Roundabout revival, Lady Bracknell is played by Brian Bedford. She couldn’t be in better hands.

The 75-year-old star — who also directs — is consistently funny without resorting to camp or caricature. He’s a master of the precise pause and the arched eyebrow, evoking laughter simply by dropping his voice an octave on a word. Floating onstage like a galleon in full sail (excellent costumes by Desmond Heeley), he basically plays the Gorgon straight.” Full review: http://www.nypost.com/p/entertainment/theater/the_lady_mans_up_in_wickedly_wilde_8iPQ8PQ0wsUPq6qrMAFiqL

 

HOLLYWOOD REPORTER by David Rooney

“Oscar Wilde’s wittiest comedy sparkles in this Broadway production, and when its director is onstage, it delivers pure bliss.  Bedford unleashes a limitless arsenal of variations on dry disapproval and can do wonders with a pause or vocal fluctuation of a half-octave or so. Mulling whether Jack is worth adding to her list of eligible bachelors, Lady Bracknell’s grilling of him is comedy at its most sublime. But then, Bedford’s every line in this entertaining revival is a jewel.” Full review: http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/review/importance-earnest-theater-review-71658

VARIETY by Marilyn Stasio

“It’s Brian Bedford’s party, so let’s give the old dear the rousing chorus of “For He’s a Jolly Good Fellow” that he’s earned as director and showpiece of the Roundabout’s revival of Oscar Wilde’s scathingly witty 1895 comedy of manners, “The Importance of Being Earnest.” All foot traffic stops, as it should, whenever Bedford is commanding center stage with the imperial presentation of Lady Bracknell he originated in 2009 at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival. But the thesp’s lifetime commitment to the classics (27 seasons at Stratford alone) also accounts for the technically assured craftsmanship underpinning this lavishly mounted crowdpleaser.” Full review: http://www.variety.com/review/VE1117944292?refcatid=33

 

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY by Melissa Rose Bernardo

“Bedford directed (and starred in) The Importance of Being Earnest in 2009; now he’s brought his vision, his deliciously deadpan Lady Bracknell, his set/costume designer, and his ingenue (Sara Topham) to Broadway. The result, thankfully, is a perfectly pitched, fantastically funny rendition of Oscar Wilde’s self-subtitled ”Trivial Comedy for Serious People.” A-

AM NEW YORK by Matt Windman

“Bedford, while dressed to the nines in Victorian attire, treats the character with the utmost sincerity and gentleness. This results in a brilliant performance that is just as hilarious as it is utterly convincing. Those who forget to read the Playbill might not even realize that the role is being played by a man, which is perhaps the greatest compliment that Bedford can receive.”  Full review: http://www.amny.com/urbanite-1.812039/theater-review-the-importance-of-being-earnest-4-stars-1.2607694

2010

09

29

08

59

 

WOR RADIO by David Richardson

“The show stars a terrific Brian Bedford who, while also directing the show, plays Lady Bracknell to an uppercrust tee. The costumes are to die for and the three sets designed by Britain’s  famous Desmond Heeley are marvelous.  Everyone who goes will enjoy Mr. Bedford and his stodgy portrayal of a Victorian lady beyond reproach. He’s the reason you will want to see this well directed and superbly acted farce.”

 

www.roundabouttheatre.org

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Cast announced for Penumbra’s Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom at Guthrie Theater

CASTING ANNOUNCED FOR PENUMBRA THEATRE’S PRODUCTION OF

MA RAINEY’S BLACK BOTTOM

BY AUGUST WILSON
DIRECTED BY LOU BELLAMY

 

Limited engagement begins February 10, 2011 at the Guthrie Theater, Minneapolis

 

Production Photos available online at:

http://www.guthrietheater.org/media_room/image_library/ma_raineys

(Minneapolis/St. Paul) The Guthrie Theater welcomes Penumbra Theatre Company’s acclaimed production of Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright August Wilson’s gripping drama Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, directed by Penumbra artistic director Lou Bellamy. Part of Wilson’s ten-play Pittsburgh Cycle chronicling the twentieth century African American experience, the production features Grammy Award-winning artist Jevetta Steel in the title role as Gertrude “Ma” Rainey. A co-production with Arizona Theatre Company, Ma Rainey’s recent Phoenix run was heralded by Wall Street Journal drama critic Terry Teachout as “earthily direct, wholly to the point and impeccably cast, with Jevetta Steele hitting the center of the bull’s-eye.”

 

Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom marks the third Penumbra Theatre production presented at the Guthrie in as many seasons, following the critically acclaimed productions of Gem of the Ocean in 2008 and A Raisin in the Sun in 2009.

 

The cast of Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom also includes James T. Alfred (Levee), Lerea Carter (Dussie Mae), James Craven (Cutler), Penumbra founding member Abdul Salaam El Razzac (Toledo), William John Hall, Jr. (Slow Drag), Phil Kilbourne (Irvin), Brendan Guy Murphy (Policeman), Michael Tezla (Sturdyvant) and Ahanti Young (Sylvester).

 

Set in 1920s Chicago, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom deals with the issues of race, art, religion and the historic exploitation of black recording artists by white producers, as fiery blues legend Gertrude “Ma” Rainey is getting ready to lay down a hit record with her virtuoso band. As she strides into the cramped, South Side Chicago recording studio, she squares off against a battling quartet of musicians, a tight-fisted producer and her manager who’s just trying to keep the recording session on track, giving the audience a look at a time when even the most legendary singer of her day had to fight for every scrap of respect she could get.

 

Steele has appeared on Broadway in The Gospel at Colonus and in the national/international tours of The Gospel at Colonus, Buddy-The Buddy Holly Story, Bagdad Café-The Musical, The Sounds of Blackness and The Night Before Christmas. Locally, she has performed with Penumbra Theatre Company, Guthrie Theater (most recently in the 2004 production of Crowns), Mixed Blood Theatre, Ordway Center for the Performing Arts, Hey City Theater and Park Square Theatre. Her film credits include Corrina, Corrina; Hoop Dreams; Born to be Wild; Graffiti Bridge and Bagdad Café (for which she received an Academy Award nomination for Best Song for “Calling You”). She has four gold records to her credit and can be heard on her solo CDs, Here It Is and My Heart, as well as the original cast recording of Two Queens, One Castle.

 

The artistic team also includes Vicki M. Smith (Scenic Designer), Mathew J. LeFebvre (Costume Designer), Don Darnutzer (Lighting Designer), Brian Jerome Peterson (Sound Designer), Sanford Moore (Music Director), Brent Gibbs (Fight Director), Bruno Ingram (Stage Manager) and Jason Clusman (Stage Manager).

Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom previews February 10, opens February 11 and continues through March 6, 2011, on the McGuire Proscenium Stage. Single tickets start at $24 and are now on sale through the Guthrie Box Office at 612.377.2224, toll-free 877.44.STAGE, 612.225.6244 (Group Sales) and online at www.guthrietheater.org.

 

PENUMBRA THEATRE was founded in 1976 by Lou Bellamy to make socially responsible art – art that demanded a response, art with intent, art that could create change. At a time when roles for black artists were limited to stereotypes and comical representations, Penumbra produced theater that roared with authenticity through the unrestrained and rich voice of black artists and playwrights.  This respect for cultural authenticity became Penumbra’s signature style – and demand for it has reached new heights from theaters around the country fostering collaborations, new productions, tours and awards. The 2010-2011season features Penumbra’s co-production with Arizona Theatre Company of Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, staged in Tucson and Phoenix, and in Minneapolis, MN at the Guthrie. Penumbra is also proud to stage the world premiere of I Wish You Love this April and take it to the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts this June. For the latest news and updates, visit www.penumbratheatre.org.

The GUTHRIE THEATER (Joe Dowling, Director) was founded by Sir Tyrone Guthrie in 1963 and is an American center for theater performance, production, education and professional training. The Tony Award-winning Guthrie Theater is dedicated to producing the great works of dramatic literature, developing the work of contemporary playwrights and cultivating the next generation of theater artists. With annual attendance of nearly 500,000 people, the Guthrie Theater presents a mix of classic plays and contemporary work on its three stages. Under the artistic leadership of Joe Dowling since 1995, the Guthrie continues to set a national standard for excellence in theatrical production and performance. In 2006, the Guthrie opened its new home on the banks of the Mississippi River in Minneapolis. Designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Jean Nouvel, the Guthrie Theater houses three state-of-the-art stages, production facilities, classrooms and dramatic public lobbies. www.guthrietheater.org

 

 

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La Cage star Kelsey Grammer guests on “Late Show with David Letterman” tonight

LA CAGE AUX FOLLES STAR

KELSEY GRAMMER

GUESTS ON

“THE LATE SHOW WITH DAVID LETTERMAN” TONIGHT

Five-time Emmy Award winner and 2010 Tony Award nominee Kelsey Grammer, currently starring on Broadway in the Tony Award-winning revival of LA CAGE AUX FOLLES, will be a guest tonight on “The Late Show with David Letterman”.  In the New York area, “The Late Show” airs on WCBS-TV Channel 2 at 11:35 PM.  Check local listings.

LA CAGE AUX FOLLES features music and lyrics by Jerry Herman and book by Harvey Fierstein, based on the play by Jean Poiret.  This production is choreographed by Lynne Page and directed by Terry Johnson, who won a 2010 Tony Award for his direction.

 

LA CAGE AUX FOLLES made Tony Awards history kast year as the first show to ever win the Tony Award three times for best production. The classic musical comedy won six Tony Awards in 1984, including Best Musical. A Broadway revival won two 2005 Tony Awards including the Best Revival of a Musical prize. LA CAGE won the 2010 Tony Award for Best Revival of a Musical, as well as Tony Awards for Best Actor in a Musical (Douglas Hodge) and Best Director of a Musical (Terry Johnson).

LA CAGE is also the winner of three Drama Desk Awards, including Outstanding Revival of a Musical, Outstanding Actor in a Musical (Douglas Hodge) and Outstanding Costume Design (Matthew Wright), four Outer Critics Circle Awards, including Outstanding Revival of a Musical, Outstanding Actor in a Musical (Douglas Hodge), Outstanding Director of a Musical (Terry Johnson) and Outstanding Costume Design (Matthew Wright) and the Drama League Award for Distinguished Revival of a Musical.

 

The production has also been cited on more Best of 2010 lists than any other Broadway musical, including The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Wall Street Journal, Daily News, Time Magazine, Entertainment Weekly, Time Out New York and NY1.

LA CAGE AUX FOLLES currently stars Kelsey Grammer as Georges; Douglas Hodge as Albin; Fred Applegate as M. Dindon/M. Renaud; Alyce Beasley as Mme. Dindon/Mme. Renaud; Chris Hoch as Francis; Elena Shaddow as Anne; A.J. Shively as Jean-Michel; Christine Andreas as Jacqueline; Robin De Jesús as Jacob; Heather Lindell as Colette; Michael Lowney as Etienne and Bruce Winant as Tabarro.

 

Grammer, Hodge and De Jesús will play their final performances on Sunday, February 13.  On February 15, LA CAGE will star four-time Tony Award winner Harvey Fierstein as Albin, six-time Emmy Award nominee Jeffrey Tambor as Georges and Tony Award winner Wilson Jermaine Heredia as Jacob.
Also starring as the notorious and dangerous Cagelles are Matt Anctil as Angelique, Nicholas Cunningham as Hanna, Sean Patrick Doyle as Chantal, Yurel Echezarreta as Phaedra, Logan Keslar as Bitelle and Terry Lavell as Mercedes.   The production also features Christophe Caballero, Todd Lattimore, Dale Hensley, Caitlin Mundth and Cheryl Stern.

 

Georges (Kelsey Grammer) is the suave owner of a glitzy drag club on the French Riviera. Partnered romantically with his high-strung star performer, Albin (Douglas Hodge), the pair live a charmed life—until Georges’ son announces his engagement to the daughter of a conservative right-wing politician who’s coming to dinner.

 

Douglas Hodge and Nicholas Cunningham are appearing with the permission of Actors’ Equity Association. The producers gratefully acknowledge Actors’ Equity Association for its assistance to this production.

 

PS Classics, the label dedicated to the heritage of Broadway and American popular song, released the New Broadway Cast Recording for LA CAGE AUX FOLLES on September 28. The recording is produced by PS Classics co-founder Tommy KraskerPS Classics co-founder Philip Chaffin serves as Executive Producer.

 

The original production of LA CAGE AUX FOLLES was one of Broadway’s biggest hits of the 1980s.  It opened August 21, 1983 at the Palace Theatre, where it played for over four years and 1,761 performances.  The show won six Tony Awards in 1984, including Best Musical, Best Score (Jerry Herman) and Best Book (Harvey Fierstein).

 

The new production of LA CAGE AUX FOLLES played from November 23, 2007 to March 8, 2008 at the Menier Chocolate Factory, earning across the board raves and moving to the West End’s Playhouse Theatre on October 30, 2008, where it was nominated for seven 2009 Olivier Awards, winning for Best Musical Revival and Best Actor in a Musical for Douglas Hodge and won the 2009 Critics’ Circle Theatre Award for Best Musical.   The Broadway production opened at the Longacre Theatre on April 18, 2010.

 

LA CAGE AUX FOLLES features set design by Tim Shortall, costume design by Matthew Wright, lighting design by Nick Richings, sound design by Jonathan Deans and wig and makeup design by Richard Mawbey. Musical supervision, orchestrations and dance arrangements are by Jason Carr. Musical director is Todd Ellison.

LA CAGE AUX FOLLES is produced by Sonia Friedman Productions, David Babani, Fran and Barry Weissler and Edwin W. Schloss, Bartner/Tulchin, Broadway Across America, Matthew Mitchell, Raise the Roof 4 Richard Winkler/Bensinger Taylor/Laudenslager Bergère, Arlene Scanlan/John O’Boyle, Independent Presenters Network, Olympus Theatricals, Allen Spivak, Jerry Frankel/Bat-Barry Productions, Nederlander Presentations, Inc/Harvey Weinstein.

 

Tickets ($132.50 – $39.50; Premium $251.50; Table Seating $251.50) are on sale through Telecharge.com at 212-239-6200, online at www.telecharge.com/lacage and at the Longacre Theatre box office (220 West 48th Street).  Performances are Tuesday through Saturday at 8:00 PM, with matinees Wednesday and Saturday at 2:30 PM, Sunday at 3:00 PM.

 

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www.LaCage.com