Category Archives: Broadway News

Stephan Sondheim

A Look Back at the Career of Stephen Sondheim 

Last year the theater community lost a legend. After five decades in the business, Stephen Sondheim died at his home in Connecticut at the age of 91. Known worldwide as an award-winning composer-lyricist he was often acknowledged as one of the most important figures in 20th-century musical theatre and for having reinvented the American musical. 

How It Began 

Born in New York City in 1930, Sondheim was the son of Herbert and Janet (née Fox) Sondheim who worked in the NYC garment district. Even at a young age he began playing the piano and organ and even dabbled in song writing ​​at the George School.

After his parents’ divorce a teenage Stephen moved to Pennsylvania where he became friends with the son of Broadway lyricist and producer Oscar Hammerstein II, who gave the young Sondheim advice and mentoring in musical theater. He also served as a form of surrogate father during this time of tumult. 

By the time he was in his early twenties, Sondheim was asked by Leonard Bernstein to write the lyrics for the classic West Side Story. His early lyric genius was first seen on a Broadway stage by the time he was merely 27 years old! 

The first Broadway show for which Mr. Sondheim wrote both the words and music, the 1962 comedy “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum,” won a Tony Award for best musical and went on to run for more than two years.

Hamilton in Lights

Broadway Hits & Accolades 

With his Broadway career spanning more than fifty years on both sides of the pond, Sondheim was honored to have a Broadway theater named after him as well as one in the West End of London. 

Additionally, Sondheim has been honored over the years with many accolades such as: eight Tony Awards, an Academy Award, eight Grammy Awards, a Pulitzer Prize, and a Laurence Olivier Award. In 1993, Mr. Sondheim received the Kennedy Center Honors for lifetime achievement, and in 2015 he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama. In 2008, he was given a Tony Award for lifetime achievement. 

His wide variety of songs and lyrics were often called complex and sophisticated, yet understandable and relatable. Some of his greatest Broadway shows included: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (1962), Company (1970), Follies (1971), A Little Night Music (1973), Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (1979), Sunday in the Park with George (1984), and Into the Woods (1987).

More recently Sondheim was honored by the New York Times in a published special section devoted to him, and a virtual concert, “Take Me to the World: A Sondheim 90th Birthday Celebration,” was streamed on the YouTube channel, featuring Broadway performers singing his songs.


mRNA vaccine

4 Ways The Pandemic May Transform Theater 

It’s been more than a year since the lights on Broadway went out due to the coronavirus pandemic. Thankfully, the announcement of reopenings starting this fall have given hope to the thousands who work in the industry and those who have businesses that rely on the entertainment industry for work. 

With the increasing amount of vaccines available and theater workers preparing for reopening, what might be different come the fall? How will things look and feel for thespians and those who love musicals and plays? Let’s explore how this pandemic may transform our theater experience. 


Theater Offerings May Shift 

According to the Broadway League, the trade organization that represents theater owners and producers, a typical Broadway audience pre-pandemic was made up of 35% local residents and 65% tourists. 

While these statistics may seem hopeful, the prospect that more than half of the audiences were once made up of tourists is frightening, especially since full tourist audiences are not expected back until 2025. 

This shift in the demographics of the audiences could consequently mean a shift in the program offerings. Fortune online predicts that, “Broadway will need to develop and produce content tailored more towards the 35% of audiences that hail from New York City and its suburbs and rely less on the international tourists (19%) and domestic tourists (46%) that made up the majority of its pre-pandemic audience.”

As a result, show creators and theater owners may need to adjust the offerings that are less tourist-popular and more interesting to the local and regional residents in the Tri-State region. This could include limited-run performances or special concert programming. 

Times Square NY

New Venues Outside of NY and London

Travel to and from many countries remains highly restricted due to the coronavirus. This may mean that since tourists still need to get their theater fix, they may do it at Off-Broadway venues rather than larger more populous venues. 

As a result, smaller venues and nonprofits around the country may (in no small part) lead the comeback of theater. The same is true of regional theaters in Europe that may bypass a trip to London in order to remain in a semi-dafe bubble of their own country. 

Creativity Will Expand 

It doesn’t take the end of the pandemic to see that creativity is even stronger than ever before in the theater industry. Think about all of the out-of-the-box thinking that went into outdoor performances, Zoom dance classes, and collaboration through video conferencing when creating a perfectly harmonized duet.  

Rest assured that this creativity of how to perform and continue to grow in their craft will continue now that the curtains are going up in theaters across the country. 

Alladin's magic lamp

Crossovers Between Theater & Movies 

As we saw during the pandemic, where there is a will there’s a way. Theater goers were starved for live performances and were stuck at home on the couch. As a result, collaboration between Disney and Hamilton producers brought about something that we never thought we would see, a recorded performance of Hamilton on Disney+. 

These types of crossovers are most likely going to continue as well as movie versions of fan favorites like Dear Evan Hansen. Fans love the idea of having access to a show even from the comfort of their own home. 



Spotlight on a Broadway Powerhouse – Susan Stroman 

During these months when the lights are dark on Broadway, it’s a good idea to remember how good it all once was and will be again someday soon. This month, we focus our spotlight on the incomparable Broadway powerhouse, Susan Stroman. 

Considered one of the brightest lights of the new millennium, Stroman is an innovative choreographer, director, and performer. Her accolades include being a 5 time Tony award winner and honored with Olivier, Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle, Lucille Lortel, and a record five Astaire Awards. She was also the director and choreographer for the Producers which was honored with a record-breaking 12 Tony Awards including Best Director and Best Choreography. There is really not much she doesn’t do, and does exceptionally well at all of it. 

Let’s explore her beginnings on the Great White Way and the shows that brought her such fame and awards. 

Susan Stroman
photo courtesy of Playbill

Who is Susan Stroman? 

Stroman began her journey to Broadway with her performances in a community theater in her hometown of Wilmington, Delaware. Her career in New York began with the show Contact, considered a “musical dance play” and the revival of the Music Man, a fan favorite about a fast talking salesman and con artist. In the spring of 2000, these two shows received resounding raves and got Stroman four Tony award nods for the two shows. 

young dancers

Stroman’s Broadway Credits 

Over the course of her amazing career, Stroman has a long list of shows and musicals to her credit. 

  • Crazy For You 
  • Prince of Broadway
  • Bullets Over Broadway
  • The Producers
  • Contact
  • Big Fish
  • Oklahoma!
  • Young Frankenstein 
  • Thou Shalt Not 
  • The Music Man
  • The Frogs
  • Show Boat
  • Big, Steel Pier

Her Off-Broadway credits include: 

  • The Beast in the Jungle
  • Dot 
  • Flora the Red Menace
  • And the World Goes ‘Round
  • Happiness
  • The Last Two People on Earth: An Apocalyptic Vaudeville

As if all of this is not enough, Stroman also put her love of choreography to work in creating ballets for New York City Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet, and Martha Graham. 

Due to all of these amazing works and her efforts throughout her illustrious career on Broadway, Stroman was the recipient of both the George Abbott Award for Lifetime Achievement in the American Theater and inducted as a member of the Theater Hall of Fame in New York City. 

If you would like to read more about Susan Stroman’s awards as well as her long list of credits check out Playbill’s list of Stroman’s accomplishments during her 66 years contributing to Broadway and the arts. 

sheet music and piano keys

A Spotlight on Roger Berlind 

This last year has been tough for all of us. We have seen the loss of some special people in our lives across the country and the world. The Broadway theater family has not been immune to these losses. In December 2020, the theater community lost a legend in Roger Berlind at the age of 90. 

With over 100 shows to his credit, Berlind will not only be remembered for his prolific successes on Broadway, but also as a man whose love for theater sustained him after a tragedy caused the death of his wife and three of his children.

Who Was Roger Berlind? 

Roger Berlin began his theater career initially as a songwriter, although he did not see much success in that area. His monumental success came later in his role as a Broadway Producer. 

Over the course of four decades, Berlind would produce well over a hundred shows and was awarded 25 Tony Awards for shows such as: Amadeus, Dear Evan Hansen, The Curious Incident of the Dog In The Night Time, Death of a Salesman, “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Hello Dolly, Kiss Me Kate, the Book of Mormon, and Oklahoma. 

Prior to the shuttering of theaters due to the pandemic, Mr. Berlind was represented on Broadway with the Tony-nominated musical Mean Girls, which opened in April 2018 at the August Wilson Theatre. (Photo courtesy of 

Roger Berlind

Heartbreak and Perseverance

The Brooklyn-born New Yorker was not always so connected to Broadway. In his early years, he could not find a sure footing in the theater industry as a songwriter. Due to that, he left the bright lights of the theater district and traded his songwriting in for the fast deals of Wall Street. 

During his very successful time as a financial broker on Wall Street, he became a brokerage partner with Carter, Berlind, Potoma & Weill. Sadly, it was during that time that his wife and three of his four children perished in a tragic plane crash in his beloved New York City. This event would change the trajectory of his life. 

The death of his wife and children forced him to look deeper into the meaning of life and what was most important. Making money on Wall Street no longer seemed so desirable, but producing shows on Broadway was the new career path that would give his life meaning after such a catastrophic loss. 

The Legend of Berlind 

Mr. Berlind will be remembered not only for his amazing productions as a titan of the theater, but as a man who touched every audience member through his love of the theater. 

A 2009 inductee into the American Theater Hall of Fame, Berlind is survived by his second wife Brook and his aforementioned son William, as well as his brother Alan and three granddaughters.

Hamilton in Lights

10 Things You Didn’t Know About Lin-Manuel Miranda

Based on historian Ron Chernow’s acclaimed biography of American Statesman Alexander Hamilton, the musical by the same name has taken Broadway and theaters across the globe by storm. Hamilton premiered in January 2015 with its catchy blend of hip-hop, jazz, and R&B. This story of the American Founder, Alexander Hamilton, has been a revolutionary moment in theater. It not only had a profound impact on American culture, politics, and education, but the name Lin-Manuel Miranda has become a household name. 

Some would say that Lin-Manuel is a modern-day Broadway legend, a Renaissance Man of the theater industry. We would agree wholeheartedly! 

It is in that spirit that we set out to discover some interesting facts and little-known knowledge about the life and experiences of this amazing actor, singer, songwriter, rapper, director, producer, and playwright. 

Broadway sign

#1 He Went Viral Long Before Hamilton

While many theater-lovers would like to believe that Miranda was discovered in this performance as Alexander Hamilton, he was creating a stir long before the debut of Hamilton. According to Hollywood Insider online, “Miranda brought his Broadway nerdiness to the next level when he performed an old school flash-mob during his wedding ceremony to the song ‘To Life!’ from Fiddler on the Roof. The moment was captured on video and went viral not long after that time. 

#2 Miranda Is Super Smart 

This should come as no surprise to people that follow this multi talented actor, but did you know that he was awarded the MacArthur Genius Grant in 2015? He is a real smarty pants! 

# 3 The Live Recording of Hamilton Was Not Done in One Take 

For those of us who enjoyed Disney+’s live recording of Hamilton while in lockdown during the coronavirus pandemic, we may all be surprised at how long that recording took to make. Even though Lin-Manuel Miranda is near flawless during all live performances, it took three days to film the actual live performance. The filming began during a Sunday matinee, close-ups were captured during rehearsals right after the performance, and more filming took place over the next two days.

Times Square NY

#4 Miranda Is a Pulitzer Prize Winner 

It should come as no shock that Hamilton the Musical has won its share of Grammys and Tony Awards, but did you know that Miranda won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama for Hamilton in 2016.

#5 Miranda Named His Son After A Crustacean

Yes, it’s true. Miranda named his son, Sebastian after the animated (and somewhat neurotic) lobster in the Little Mermaid. The creature’s reggae-belting pipes impressed Miranda so much that the name became one of his favorites! 

#6 Miranda Was a Teacher

While the hip-hop songs and educationally jam-packed musical may have taught many of us a thing or two about American history, Miranda once taught classes himself. For a very brief period Miranda was a teacher assistant at Carson High School in California. 

#7 He Married His High School Sweetheart

True love hit early for Miranda as he met his one-and-only when he was only 14. He married his high school crush, Vanessa Nadal in 2010.

#8 His Name Comes From a Poem 

With a fairly unique name like Lin-Mauel Miranda, it’s often asked where it comes from. His name comes from a Vietnam era poem (and lullaby) named, “Nana Roja para mi Hijo Lin Manuel.” The author is from Miranda’s native home of Puerto Rico. 

#9 Miranda Is a Part of A Hip Hop Comedy Troupe 

During his time as a student at Wesleyan University in Connecticut, Miranda and a group of friends started the improvisational hip-hop comedy group Freestyle Love Supreme with Chris Sullivan, Bill Sherman, and Chris Jackson.

#10 His Love of Acting & Writing Began In High School 

Miranda showed early talent in acting, dancing, and singing. In fact, he began writing musicals while he was still in high school. He wrote “In the Heights” while he was just a sophomore in college! 


Stephen Sondheim

A Spotlight on Stephen Sondheim 

When you think about the many famous names that have influenced Broadway, Stephen Sondheim quickly comes to mind. Since his career in American musical theater began in the late 1950s, the surname Sondheim has become synonymous with the perfect match of words and music in musical theater. 

Influenced greatly by his mentor, master lyricist Oscar Hammerstein II, Sondheim has created so many blockbuster shows that have captured the hearts of theatergoers for years. Many of us find ourselves humming or singing the tunes from these shows even years after having seen them. 

Into the Woods

What Are Some of Sondheim’s Most Well-Known Shows? 

Sondheim is known for a remarkable range of musicals including: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Sweeney Todd, Sunday in the Park With George and Into the Woods.

He began his theater career in Los Angeles, California, with scripts for the television series Topper and The Last Word. Once back in the theater world of New York City, Sondheim was asked to write the lyrics for the songs meant for a contemporary version of Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet. Subsequently, his lyrical work on West Side Story helped it become one of Broadway’s most successful productions of all time.

After spending time writing the music and lyrics for shows such as: Gypsy, Invitation to A March, and A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (a Zero Mostel farce based on comedies by ancient playwright Plautus), Sondheim became very well known and nominated for many accolades. 

Tony Award

Sondheim’s Awards

Like many successful Broadway composers, lyricists, and producers, Sondheim was also awarded top honors. The aforementioned A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum won a Tony Award for best musical. In addition, Sondheim won several more Tony Awards in the 1970s for his collaborations with producer/director Harold Prince, including the musicals Company (1970), a meditation on contemporary marriage and commitment; Follies (1971), a homage to the Ziegfeld Follies and early Broadway; A Little Night Music (1973), a period comedy-drama that included the hit song “Send in the Clowns”; and Sweeney Todd (1979), a gory melodrama set in Victorian London destined to become a 2007 Tim Burton film. (Source: Biography) 

In total, Sondheim has claimed eight Tony Awards, a record for a composer, as well as eight Grammy Awards. He shared the 1985 Pulitzer Prize for Drama with Lapine for Sunday in the Park with George, and won an Academy Award for the song “Sooner or Later,” one of five tracks written for the 1990 film Dick Tracy, starring Warren Beatty and Madonna.

Sondheim will be remembered for his lifelong contribution to musical theater and his devotion to keeping the music and lyrics both current and easily understood. Perhaps that is why so many of us find ourselves singing showtunes scripted by the master himself. 


Phantom of the Opera

Highlighting The Life’s Work of Andrew Lloyd Webber 

As theater-lovers, the name Andrew Lloyd Webber is one that is synonymous with successful and much beloved Broadway theater. In fact, Andrew Lloyd Webber is the composer of some of the world’s best-known musicals from his first musical in 1967, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat to his most recent, Cinderella, which is planned to open in London’s West End in 2021, Webber is known the world around for his amazing talent. 

What Awards Has Andrew Lloyd Webber Won? 

In 1992, David Lloyd Webber was knighted by Her Majesty the Queen for services to the theatre throughout the world. While this may have been one of his most memorable moments, he has been bestowed many more awards through his long career in the entertainment industry. 

Andrew’s awards as a composer and producer include seven Tonys, seven Oliviers, fourteen Ivor Novellos and an Oscar for Best Song, “You Must Love Me” in Evita. In addition to these awards, Webber has been awarded by the American Songwriters Hall of Fame, the Kennedy Center Honors, the London Evening Standard Theater Award, and the American Academy of Arts and Letters Richard Rodgers Award for Excellence in Musical Theater. 


What Are Some of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Best Known Shows? 

It goes without saying that pretty much everything Andrew works on is gold. He has a long list of musicals and shows that he has worked on, but there are, by far, our favorites over the years. 

  • Evita, the musical masterpiece about the little-known wife of an Argentinian president is among his top hits.
  • Jesus Christ Superstar, the rock-musical about Jesus has some of Andrew’s greatest hits. 
  • The Phantom of the Opera is probably one of the most successful British musicals in history. 
  • The biblical musical, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat is filled with high drama and amazingly catchy songs. 
  • Sunset Boulevard is about an aging film queen who can not accept that her stardom is coming to an end.
  • One of the most pivotal musicals in Webber’s life is the musical Cats, with an all feline cast. 
  • School of Rock is not only catchy, but fun in the experience of watching child performers rise to the challenge. 

Not only is Andrew Lloyd Webber a magician when it comes to musical theater, but he also owns many theaters himself. Since 1983, Webber has invested as an owner of theaters, and now owns seven London theaters! For more information about Andrew from his childhood love of music and through his illustrious career in musical theatre check out this interactive site that allows you to thumb through his awards, review his life’s work, and take a closer look at his contributions to the theater world. 


What Will Broadway Look Like Post Covid? 

If you are a true thespian, you may be chomping at the bit to find out what shows will be returning to Broadway later this year. Since March 2020, the “Great White Way” in New York City and in major theater cities across the country have been dealing with the repercussions of a theater industry shuttered due to COVID-19. 

Can theater-lovers breathe a sigh of relief knowing that the light is truly at the end of the tunnel? Read on to find out what we know about the reopening of the theater industry across the country. 

A Look Back…

It’s been a full year since the lights went dark on the marquees of all 41 theaters in Midtown. Actors left their scripts, street clothes, and personal items in dressing rooms across the Broadway district in the hopes that the shows would open in a few weeks. We know that didn’t happen as hoped. 

Looking back at that hopefulness seems so naive now. There are so many questions about what it will be like once the theater industry does open back up again. First among them is, “What shows will return?” Along with, “What will audiences look like?” and “How will theater continue on while still remaining safe for actors and audience members alike?” 

We don’t have the answers to all the questions quite yet, but we do know what a few of the producers, directors, and members of the Actor’s Associations think from a comprehensive interview in the Broadway news site “Deadline” online. 

coronavirus mask

What Will Audiences Be Like? 

The general consensus is that, even in the first six months after theaters open their doors again, that tourists will not be the main source of audience members. Rather, locals within  each major city will be the first to revitalize the industry. Therefore, don’t anticipate having a grand reopening. Instead think about soft openings that will have small audiences, potentially made up of healthcare workers who could enjoy a show as a “thank you” from the people of the city. 

Broadway sign

When Will Things Open Again? 

While there are no hard-and-fast rules set out yet for theater reopenings, Kevin McCollum, Broadway producer of the musical Six, which was scheduled to open on the night of the Broadway shutdown, and Mrs. Doubtfire, which was in previews, believes that late summer 2021 is a possibility for a reopening date. 

The problem lies in preparations. When the governor of each state gives the final go-ahead for business and restaurants in the theater industry to open once again, there will be a lag time of about 6-8 weeks for shows to practice and ready themselves for opening night. 

Charlotte St. Martin, the President of the Broadway League, the national trade association for the Broadway industry representing theater owners and operators, producers, presenters and general managers, expects that masks will be worn during the show and especially during the ingress and egress. Intermissions may be a tricky thing to work since many theatergoers may need a mask break but there will need to be a system to handle that situation. This is yet another thing that will need to be fingered out prior to opening. 

Logistically, there will be lots to examine before Broadway can shine its light again. We will continue to monitor what shows will remain closed and which new shows may make an appearance this year. 



What Does The Vaccine Mean For Broadway? 

Dare we say that the light seems to be shining at the end of the tunnel? Major Broadway theaters in New York and Off-Broadway theaters across the country have been holding their collective breath. Could the vaccine really mean it is the beginning of the end for the entertainment industry shutdown? 

Where Broadway Stands Now

Since March 12, 2020 all forty-one Broadway theaters have been closed. This does not even include the hundreds of Off-Broadway venues and community theaters that also shuttered their doors in response to COVID-19. 

After months of waiting, it was decided that ticket sales would be put on hold until May 2021. This has been a long, arduous wait for theater lovers, vendors, actors, and all the people employed either directly or indirectly by the entertainment industry. In fact, many small businesses that make their livelihood from this industry may not survive until that specified date. 

face with mask and virus imagesThe Dawn of Vaccines 

Starting with the MRNA Pfizer Vaccine in mid-December and the Moderna vaccine in late December, theater goers have seen a spark of hope. If audience members can be vaccinated then theaters can reopen, actors and support staff can be re-employed, and things could (dare we say it) go back to normal? 

The answer is not so simple according to the nation’s top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci. There are quite a few variables that will need to be taken into account before we can be out of the woods and getting back to the activities we enjoy so much, such as attending a Broadway theater show. 

Fauci says opening theaters will depend “on the uptake of vaccines by the people of the country and specifically the people of New York.” He estimates that between 75 and 85 percent of people would need to get vaccinated before life could begin to get back to some semblance of normal. 

syringeWhere Americans Stand on the Vaccine 

A November poll from Gallup found 58 percent of Americans would get the COVID-19 vaccine when available. This number, of course breaks down by region of the country, ethnicity, and even political affiliation. 

Fauci, who is the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, went on to state that if Americans, “get vaccinated through April, May, and June, and really do a full-court press to get everybody vaccinated, you can get back to normal, or at least approaching close to normal, as you get into the late summer and early fall.”

Continue to follow the rollout of this vaccine here and see how the success of this program will positively impact the theater and entertainment industry.