Broadway Reviews In Brief

Ken AshfordTheatre2 Comments

Sister Act Saw it last Friday with Tony nominee Patina Miller as Delores Van Cartier (the "Whoopi Goldberg role"), but without Victoria Clark (Tony Winner for Light on the Piazza) as Mother Superior.  I had low expectations for this show, thinking it would be fluff.  But the book was far better than I expected, the music was very good, and … Read More

Spiderman Finally Opens; No Longer The Worst Musical Ever

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But what it is, is this: This singing comic book is no longer the ungodly, indecipherable mess it was in February. It’s just a bore. –  Ben Brantley, New York Times The show actually sounds better than when I saw it in previews.  They took out the overbearing and pompous Arachne plot, as well as the insufferable "Geek Chorus".  It looks … Read More

The Review Is In….

Ken AshfordLocal Interest, Personal, TheatreLeave a Comment

From the Winston-Salem Journal: Play is good-hearted fun By LYNN FELDER "Duck Hunter Shoots Angel," which opened Friday night at Twin City Stage, follows the misadventures of a couple of good old boys who think they've shot an angel and a tabloid journalist from "up North" as they search for meaning and redemption in an Alabama swamp. Along the way, … Read More


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Playbill: The cast of the New York Philharmonic’s recent limited run of Stephen Sondheim's Company will reassemble for the 2011 Tony Awards, which will be presented June 12.  The performance will include Stephen Colbert, Jon Cryer, Katie Finneran, Neil Patrick Harris, Christina Hendricks, Aaron Lazar, Patti LuPone, Jill Paice, Martha Plimpton, Anika Noni Rose, Jennifer Laura Thompson, Jim Walton and Chryssie Whitehead. … Read More

2011 Tony Nominees

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A good day for the South Park boys Best PlayGood People Author: David Lindsay-Abaire  Jerusalem Author: Jez ButterworthThe Motherf**ker with the Hat Author: Stephen Adly GuirgisWar Horse Author: Nick Stafford Best MusicalThe Book of MormonCatch Me If You Can Producers:The Scottsboro Boys Sister Act Best Book of a MusicalBloody Bloody Andrew Jackson Alex TimbersThe Book of Mormon Trey Parker, Robert Lopez and Matt StoneThe Scottsboro Boys David ThompsonSister … Read More

Taymor Is Out

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It's official: The Daily News reports that The Tony Award-winning director "walked away" from "Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark" before the show shuts down for two to three weeks for major retooling. "Taymor is out. She's left the building," a source told the Daily News. There were reports yesterday that Taymor could be leaving the production if she did not want to hire more directorial help. From … Read More

Ambulance-Chasing On Broadway

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Apparently, people want to see "Spiderman: Turn Off The Dark" for the same reason people want to see Formula One Racing — to see human crashing and tragedy.  So discovers the New Yorker: At a preview last Tuesday, members of the audience seemed conflicted. Outside the theatre, Alaina Schwartz, aged twelve, who had come from Long Island with her family, … Read More

The Reviews Are In

Ken AshfordPersonal, TheatreLeave a Comment

Can't complain at all: Play is about love, marriage and gender change By LYNN FELDER Published: January 08, 2011 Ideas about love, marriage and gender mutability combusted on the Theatre Alliance stage Friday night in the hands of an outstanding cast and capable directing by Artistic Director Jamie Lawson. "Looking for Normal" by Jane Anderson tells the story of Roy, … Read More

Top Ten Plays/Musicals Performed By High Schools

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From Playbill: Top 10 Plays1) Almost, Maine2) A Midsummer Night's Dream 3) You Can't Take It With You 4) Noises Off 5) Twelve Angry Men 6) Alice in Wonderland (various adaptations)
7) The Crucible 8) Our Town 9) Neil Simon’s Fools 10) A Christmas Carol (various adaptations) Top 10 Musicals1)
Disney's Beauty and the Beast2) Seussical3) Grease4) Into the Woods5) Footloose6) The Wizard of Oz (multiple adaptations)
7) You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown8) The Music Man9) Once upon a Mattress10) Thoroughly Modern Millie I'm … Read More

High School Theatre Facepalm

Ken AshfordRace, TheatreLeave a Comment

Oh dear: The Flagler Palm Coast High School production of To Kill a Mockingbird in Palm Coast, FL, has been cancelled due to the script's use of the "N"-word, according to the Miami Herald. A Nov. 12 opening had been planned for the production of the play, based on Harper Lee's classic novel about a white Southern lawyer who defends a black … Read More

“It Gets Better” Broadway-Style

Ken AshfordSex/Morality/Family Values, TheatreLeave a Comment

Sometimes these celebrity sing-along-for-a-good-cause deals can be embarrassingly bad or awkward — pale self-parodying imitations of "We Are The World".   But I find this one to be pretty good, if only because it doesn't contain Broadway's big stars — instead, it's mostly people you've never heard of with tons of talent and singing their hearts out. Also the song rocks:  

MacArthur Genius Award Fellows Announced

Ken AshfordPopular Culture, Science & Technology, TheatreLeave a Comment

Once again, I was overlooked. The famed MacArthur Fellows Program, which awards "Genius" grants to exceptional inventors, innovators and other creative types, has announced 23 new fellows for 2010. This year's honorees were contacted out of the blue by The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and offered $500,000 with no strings attached over the next five years to pursue … Read More