Disney on Broadway

Do your children love the theater and all things Disney? Then combine the best of both worlds for your little ones by exposing them to some of the great Disney shows that make their way to the bright lights of Broadway. Live audience shows for Disney stories are known for capturing the hearts of audiences around the world. Let’s take a look at some of the top Disney shows that have been on Broadway. Keep an eye out for your favorites that may make a comeback.

  • Lion King – The story about a royal lion who struggles to find himself and his place in the wilderness of the savanna is truly one of the greats! Children (and adults) have gotten caught up in this production. The amazing music of Elton John and Tim Rice, paired with a plot with Shakespearean roots were made to be a Broadway hit!
  • Beauty and the Beast – This tale of a man-turned-beast and a lovely maiden who fall in love under the most unlikely of circumstances is one that has delighted young audiences. The story’s charm, along with its notable music, quickly made this one a fan-favorite. Adaptations from the Broadway musical have gone on to inspire off-Broadway performances and many high school theater shows.
  • Mary Poppins – How many of us love the music and dancing of this show and can even remember it from our childhood? Probably many of us. This Disney performance is one that every child should try to see, whether it is at the professional level or done by summer theaters around the country.
  • Aladdin – The story of Princess Jasmine and Aladdin is one that will have young viewers dancing and singing along with their favorite songs. The genie will make you laugh and leave you wanting more. While the show did receive mixed reviews on Broadway, young audiences loved it!

Biggest Flops on Broadway

What makes a Broadway musical a flop? The truth is that Broadway is a brutal business, in which real success is enjoyed by only a handful of shows, while a vast majority crash and burn within the first 100 days – some even sooner. According to Theater Online, “Shows fail because not enough people buy tickets to see them. Maybe the title wasn’t as popular as the producers thought, the performers not as appealing, the stories not as dramatic, the songs not as memorable.”

This past year we heard so much of the success of Hamilton, School of Rock, On Your Feet!, Fiddler on the Roof, and The Color Purple. But what about the shows that flop? Let’s take a look at some of the biggest flops on Broadway.

  • Carrie – With a whopping five shows, this, my friends, is the ultimate quick flop. Stephen King’s Carrie was a great book, a great movie, and a painfully expensive failure of a musical.
  • Kelly – With a sad and pitiful one-night showing, Kelly wins for shortest run. Kelly opened and closed on the same night, with Howard Taubman savagely writing in the Times: “Ella Logan was written out of Kelly before it reached the Broadhurst Theater Saturday night. Congratulations, Ms. Logan.”
  • Enron – This show, about the rise and fall of the Enron company, ran for only 15 nights. While the story itself was epic and true in nature, it did not last the boring mathematics that the audience endured.
  • The Rocky Horror Picture Show – Hard to believe that the film that did so well flopped on Broadway after 45 nights. Rocky Horror got the last laugh, however, eventually becoming the longest running theatrical release in film history.

 

Visit us next month as we look at the best and worst of children’s musicals.

Best Musicals of the 20th Century

Musicals have come and gone from theatre’s and it can be hard to keep up. However, some continue to perform every night. With a combination of music, dancing, inspiring stories told by talented casts, which musicals are the best of the 20th century?

Today, we are going to take a look at the best musicals of the 20th century that many fans continue to see today!

West Side Story – The West Side Story is a modern day Romeo and Juliet in the lives of New York street gangs. This famous musical is beloved by many as two gangs battle for control of their turf, while one gang member’s deep love for a rival’s sister complicates things further.

Les Misérables – Based on the popular novel by Victor Hugo, Les Misérables is about the lives of characters such as Javert, Valjean and Fantine during the French Revolution of the 18th century.

The Sound of Music – This beloved classic continues to run on Broadway even today. This show is about Maria, who becomes the nanny of a set of kids that changes her life completely.

The Phantom of the Opera – Inside a Paris opera house, the looking Phantom schemes and tricks his way to get closer to the beautiful vocalist Christine Daae.

The Rocky Horror Picture Show – In this cult classic, Brad and Janet are stuck with a flat tire under a storm and discover the mansion of Dr. Frank-N-Furter. Through dances and rock songs, Dr. Frank-N-Furter unveils his latest creation, a man named “Rocky.”

RENT – This favorite among many is known as an all time classic. RENT tells a story of one year of a group of New Yorker’s struggles through their love lives, careers and effects of the AIDS epidemic within their community.

Wicked – Wicked tells the untold story between Elphaba, the Wicked Witch of the West and Galinda, Galinda the Good Witch from their perspective as they were once the best of friends.

Broadway Shows for Kids

Do you love the theater? If so, you probably enjoy sharing the experience with a friend, loved one, spouse, or even your children. Sharing your love of the theater with your kids can be a magical experience. Finding an age appropriate show that captures the heart and interest of your child can be a bit tricky, though. We suggest starting with award winning shows, favorite children’s books, or films that s/he can relate to and follow the storyline easily. Here are some great choices to spark your child’s love for the theater:

  • Wicked – Based on the story of Oz, children will love the costumes, flying monkeys, and robust score. This show is on Broadway through the end of September.
  • Aladdin – Most children will recognize this Disney classic that follows the antics of Aladdin and the Genie, and the blooming relationship with Jasmin. Children will enjoy the scenery, costumes, songs they can sing along to, and characters they have come to love. This show runs through mid-August.
  • School of Rock Musical – Based on the 2003 feature film School of Rock, children will love the music and energetic actors who play students vying for a spot in the musical.
  • Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – This favorite film and book runs on Broadway through January 2018. Children will love the story of Charlie as he wins his way into the mysterious chocolate factory and all the adventures to be had within.
  • Spongebob Squarepants – No, not your average Broadway Theater show, but loved nonetheless. This zany sponge who lives under the sea will delight even the youngest of viewers.

Stage Etiquette

Theater etiquette isn’t just important from an audience perspective, it is also important for actors and stage members to follow certain rules when in or around the stage. Aside from remembering your lines, stage etiquette comes a long way to everyone involved in the production as it helps to keep everything on track and helps make the production run smoothly each performing night.

Rehearsals – Rehearsals help everyone stay and remain on the same page, so always arrive on time for warm ups. Learn your lines, and follow along for tips and updates on a character.

Stick to the script – The script takes a long time to get it perfect and it is written the way it is for a reason. Unless you are doing improvisation, stick to it.

Before the Show – Stay off the stage and out of the theater once the house is open as it can spoil any surprises or part of the show. Especially avoid it when in costume, too.

Don’t talk backstage – Talking backstage can bring noise and distractions that the audience can pick up on. Instead, avoid speaking behind the scenes or while a play is happening. Avoid talking, whispering in the wings, or even noise in the dressing room. Sometimes a microphone can be left backstage leaving the audience to hear everything. If you wish to see the show backstage, instead hang out in the monitor or green room. It is also very important to stay out of the way for actors who will frequently be going in and out of the stage.

Food and drinks – Never eat behind the stage or near the wings. Instead, consume drinks and food in the Green Room. Things can spill and can possibly ruin costumes or create a trip/slip hazard for actors and production staff. It is also important to never put food, drinks or any object on a prop table.

The Tony Awards Winners!

 

The 71st annual Tony Awards premiered last night and it was a whirlwind! Kevin Spacey hosted the show, which aired on CBS from Radio City Music Hall in New York. Among many different shows throughout the night, “Hello, Dolly!” and “Dear Evan Hansen” were the biggest winners. For best musical, “Dear Evan Hansen” star Ben Platt won lead actor. Bette Midler however, won lead actress and best revival of a musical for “Hello, Dolly” giving a memorable speech after her win.

Check the list below to see if any of your favorites won?!

Best Play: “Oslo” (WINNER)

Best Musical: “Dear Evan Hansen” (WINNER)

Best Book of a Musical: “Dear Evan Hansen” — Steven Levenson (WINNER)

Best Original Score: “Dear Evan Hansen” — Music & Lyrics: Benj Pasek & Justin Paul (WINNER)

Best Revival of a Play: “August Wilson’s Jitney” (WINNER)

Best Revival of a Musical: “Hello, Dolly!” (WINNER)

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play: Kevin Kline, “Present Laughter” (WINNER)

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play: Laurie Metcalf, “A Doll’s House, Part 2” (WINNER)

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical: Ben Platt, “Dear Evan Hansen”(WINNER)

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical: Bette Midler, “Hello, Dolly!” (WINNER)

Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play: Michael Aronov, “Oslo” (WINNER)

Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play: Cynthia Nixon, “Lillian Hellman’s The Little Foxes” (WINNER)

Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical: Gavin Creel, “Hello, Dolly!” (WINNER)

Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical: Rachel Bay Jones, “Dear Evan Hansen” (WINNER)

Best Scenic Design of a Play: Nigel Hook, “The Play That Goes Wrong” (WINNER)

Best Scenic Design of a Musical: Mimi Lien, “Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812” (WINNER)

Best Costume Design of a Play: Jane Greenwood, “Lillian Hellman’s The Little Foxes” (WINNER)

Best Costume Design of a Musical: Santo Loquasto, “Hello, Dolly!” (WINNER)

Best Lighting Design of a Play: Christopher Akerlind, “Indecent” (WINNER)

Best Lighting Design of a Musical: Bradley King, “Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812” (WINNER)

Best Direction of a Play: Rebecca Taichman, “Indecent” (WINNER)

Best Direction of a Musical: Christopher Ashley, “Come From Away” (WINNER)

Best Choreography: Andy Blankenbuehler, “Bandstand” (WINNER)

Best Orchestrations: Alex Lacamoire, “Dear Evan Hansen” (WINNER)

Special Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre: James Earl Jones

Special Tony Award: Gareth Fry and Pete Malkin, sound designers for “The Encounter”

Regional Theatre Tony Award: Dallas Theater Center in Dallas, Texas

Isabelle Stevenson Tony Award: Baayork Lee

Tony Honors for Excellence in the Theatre: Nina Lannan and Alan Wasser

Tony Awards Facts

The Tony Awards are fast approaching and for theater lovers, it is the award show we look forward to every year! This year, the show will be hosted by Kevin Spacey at the Radio City Music Hall in New York.

On today’s post, we’ll take a look at some cool facts from previous Tony Award shows as we await for theater’s big night!

Mike Nichols has won more Tony Awards for Best Direction of a Play than anyone else! This includes: Barefoot in the Park, Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman, The Real Thing, and The Prisoner of Second Avenue!

Bob Fosse continues to be the only director to win a Tony, an Oscar, and an Emmy all in the same year of 1973. He won an Oscar for Cabaret, Emmy for Liza with a Z and two Tony’s for Pippin.

In 1995, despite having nine nominations, Indiscretions had the worst Tony night, winning no awards.

Angela Lansbury has hosted and co-hosted more Tony telecasts than any individual including five telecast (1968, 1971, 1987, 1988, and 1989). Neil Patrick Harris and Hugh Jackman follow suit.

Amanda Plummer is still the only Tony Award winner whose parents both won Tonys. Amana won a Tony for Best Featured Actress in a Play for Agnes of God. Christopher Plummer, her father, won Best Actor in a Musical for Cyrano and her mother, Tammy Grimes, won as Featured Actress in a Musical for The Unsinkable Molly Brown.

Frank Langella and Boyd Gaines are both male performers with the most Tony Awards in acting categories, both winning four to date.

There are nine performers who have won a Tony and then an Oscar for the same role:

   – José Ferrer in Cyrano de Bergerac, won a Tony in 1947, Oscar in 1950.

   –  Jack Albertson in The Subject Was Roses, won a Tony in 1965, Oscar in 1968.

   – Joel Grey in Cabaret, won a Tony in 1967, Oscar in 1973.

   – Viola Davis in Fences, won a Tony in 2010, an Oscar in 2017.

   – Paul Scofield in A Man for All Seasons, won a Tony in 1962, an Oscar in 1966.

   – Rex Harrison in My Fair Lady, won a Tony in 1957, an oscar in 1964.

 

The 1978 play, Da, was the Tony Award-winning play with the shortest title!

Why Are Backdrops Used?

Many have wondered why theater productions need backdrops. Backdrops by Charles H. Stewart can give you an answer. Backdrops provide the perfect and final element that ties the theatrical production together. From dance recitals to events and to the perfect scenery. Backdrops allow you to set the stage and enhance the decoration with the visual impact that makes a presentation unforgettable.

Backdrops, also known as backgrounds, have been used in films, photography for a visual scene behind a subject. They are used all around. In theater, backdrops appear on the stage, within the background, providing the perfect scenery for the scene that is being enacted. The great advantage of using backdrops is the mobility. With every scene that is being used, the backdrop can be changed multiple times that can correlate with the different themes of the play at any given moment.

Backdrops are often varied and range from different rural scenes to modern designs to different colors. For example, backdrops can be used for scenes that use jungle backdrops, a scene depicting a grand ballroom, or an icy and snow covered mountain. Many of these scenes allow the audience to understand the mood, tone and purpose of the scene as the play continues. Another bonus, is that backdrops can also replace the need for and cut down on the expense of multiple set pieces and props since they provide a full visual on a grand scale.

From specific scenes to customization, at Charles H. Stewart, we can create the perfect backdrop for your production. Each of our backdrops are hand-painted on heavy-weight muslin with grommets and tie lines spaced 12-14 inches apart so you can have an easier way to hang it.

So if you have a production and have the perfect backdrop to use, contact us today! We are here to help and got your backdrop!

Movies That Turned Into Plays–Part II

Here are some more movies that were made into musical plays that you should check out:

 

Hairspray

Hairspray is an American musical with music by Marc Shaiman, lyrics by Scott Wittman and Shaiman and a book by Mark O’Donnell and Thomas Meehan, based on the 1988 John Waters film Hairspray. The songs include 1960s-style dance music and “downtown” rhythm and blues. In 1962 Baltimore, Maryland, plump teenager Tracy Turnblad’s dream is to dance on The Corny Collins Show, a local TV dance program based on the real-life Buddy Deane Show. When Tracy wins a role on the show, she becomes a celebrity overnight, and meets a colorful array of characters. She then launches a campaign to integrate the show.

The musical’s original Broadway production opened on August 15, 2002.

In 2003 it won eight Tony Awards, including one for Best Musical, out of 13 nominations. It ran for 2,642 performances, and closed on January 4, 2009. Hairspray has also had national tours, a London West End production, and numerous foreign productions and was adapted as a 2007 musical film. The London production was nominated for a record-setting eleven Laurence Olivier Awards, winning for Best New Musical and in three other categories.

 

High School Musical

High School Musical is a 2006 American television film, first in the High School Musical film franchise that was created by Peter Barsocchini and directed by Kenny Ortega.  It starred Zac Efron, Vanessa Hudgens, Ashley Tisdale, Corbin Bleu, Lucas Grabeel, and Monique Coleman.  Upon its release on January 20, 2006, it became the most successful movie that Disney Channel Original Movie ever produced, with a television sequel High School Musical 2 released in 2007 and the feature film High School Musical 3: Senior Year released to theaters in October 2008. It is the first Disney Channel Original Movie to have a theatrical sequel. The film’s soundtrack was the best-selling album in the United States for 2006.

 

The film was adapted to a stage musical starting in early 2006 with two versions: a 70-minute One Act play and a full-length Two Act musical. On August 1, 2006, Playbill  announced that the Stagedoor Manor summer theater camp, featured in the film Camp, would be the first venue to produce High School Musical on-stage. Pacific Repertory Theatre School of Dramatic Arts staged the California premiere in 2007, which was revived in 2008.  From early 2007 though the end of July, North Shore Music Theatre in Beverly, MA had a production of High School Musical that featured Broadway actor Andrew Keenan-Bolger as Ryan and Kate Rockwell, a semi-finalist on Grease: You’re the One that I Want!, as Sharpay.  Theater of the Stars in Atlanta, Georgia was the first professional company to put on High School Musical.

 

High School Musical is a story about two high school juniors from rival cliques – Troy Bolton (Zac Efron), captain of the basketball team, and Gabriella Montez (Vanessa Hudgens), a beautiful and shy transfer student who excels in math and science. Together, they try out for the lead parts in their high school musical, and as a result, divide the school. Despite other students’ attempts to thwart their dreams, Troy and Gabriella resist peer pressure and rivalry, inspiring others along the way not to “stick to the status quo”.

 

Legally Blonde

Legally Blonde is a musical with music and lyrics by Laurence O’Keefe and Nell Benjamin and book by Heather Hach. The story is based on the novel Legally Blonde by Amanda Brown and the 2001 film of the same name. It tells the story of Elle Woods, a sorority girl who enrolls at Harvard Law School to win back her ex-boyfriend Warner. She discovers how her knowledge of the law can help others, and successfully defends exercise queen Brooke Wyndham in a murder trial.

Legally Blonde premiered in pre-Broadway tryouts in San Francisco, California from February 6 through February 24, 2007. On April 29, 2007 the show moved to the Palace Theater on Broadway, opening to mostly positive reviews and grossed more than $1,000,000 a week on several occasions. Jerry Mitchell directed and choreographed with set design by David Rockwell, costume design by Gregg Barnes, and lighting design by Kenneth Posner and Paul Miller. The original cast included Laura Bell Bundy as Elle, Christian Borle as Emmett and Richard H. Blake as Warner. It received seven Tony nominations and ten Drama Desk nominations but failed to win any. The West End production opened in January 2010 at the Savoy Theatre. The West End production was nominated for five Laurence Olivier Awards and won three, including the Best New Musical award.  The musical was recorded in September 2007 and aired on MTV in October 2007.

 

The Producers

The Producers is a musical adapted by Mel Brooks and Thomas Meehan from Brooks’ 1968 film of the same name, with lyrics written by Brooks and music composed by Brooks and arranged by Glen Kelly and Doug Besterman. As in the film, the story concerns two theatrical producers who scheme to get rich by overselling interests in a Broadway flop. Complications arise when the show unexpectedly turns out to be successful. The humor of the show draws on ridiculous accents, caricatures of homosexuals and Nazis, and many show business in-jokes.

After 33 previews, the original Broadway production opened at the St. James Theatre on April 19, 2001, starring Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick, and ran for 2,502 performances, winning a record-breaking 12 Tony Awards. It spawned a successful London production running for just over two years, national tours in the US and UK, many productions worldwide and a 2005 film version.

Protecting Your Voice

A voice is a vital instrument and tool that is important to the theatre. A voice can carry a scene, can inspire goosebumps in the audience with a song, and it can be a huge different between an average to an outstanding show. However, with the talent and brilliance of a voice, also comes the responsibility of taking care of it.

Doing 5 to 10 week shows can be a strain to your voice, or cause an actor to get sick. There are several ways that a voice can be injured. Here are some tips to take to maintain your voice in good condition:

Warming up/Exercise – Vocal warm-ups and exercise are not only great voice lessons, but can also maintain the vocal chords strength. Always find time to warm up your voice and before every practice session, rehearsal and performance. Without the warm ups, you can physically harm your chords. Exercise has numerous amounts of benefits. Exercising regularly will strengthen and boost your immune system which can help reduce the chances of unwanted congestion, and strengthening your lungs.

Staying healthy – Staying healthy is important for both, your vocal chords and body. The voice is a delicate instrument and it is easier to harm than one thinks. From getting a good nights sleep to eating well can make huge differences to your voice! Fruits, veggies, lean proteins and whole grains should be a staple in your diet, which can boost your sail through the flu season without a single sniffle.

H2O – Water! Water! Water! Water has incredible benefits for your voice! It can maintain its proper functions and it is highly recommended to stay hydrated during cold and flu season. Certain beverages like caffeinated can cause your vocal chords to dry out, so maintain hydrated with water is key.

Having a theatre voice can be wonderful and important for every production, but, whatever the issue, remember to always keep your voice healthy and maintain its health with the best tips and tricks that are known in the business.