Andrew Rannells & More to Appear in Broadway Backwards

first_img Billy Porter Tony nominee Andrew Rannells (The Book of Mormon, TV’s Girls), Tony winner Billy Porter (Kinky Boots), Tony winner Debra Monk (Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, TV’s Girls) and more have boarded the lineup for the previously announced ninth annual Broadway Backwards. Directed and choreographed by Robert Bartley, the one-night-only show is set for March 24 at the Al Hirschfield Theatre. Proceeds for the event, which already had stars including Jonathan Groff, Jessie Mueller and Krysta Rodriguez on board, will benefit Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS and the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center. 2013’s sold-out show raised a record-breaking $347,060 for the two organizations. Debra Monk Star Filescenter_img Other new additions to the event include Tony nominee Michael Berresse (Kiss Me, Kate, A Chorus Line), Tony winner Beth Leavel (Elf, The Drowsy Chaperone), Ken Page (Ain’t Misbehavin’, Cats), Tony nominee John Tartaglia (Avenue Q, TV’s Johnny and the Sprites) and the men of the web series Submissions Only, including co-creator Andrew Keenan-Bolger (Newsies), Stephen Bienskie (Cats), Colin Hanlon (Rent, TV’s Modern Family) and Max von Essen (Evita). View Comments Andrew Rannellslast_img read more

Tony Winner Michael Cerveris Set to Join The Good Wife

first_img Cerveris will play James Castro, the Cook County popular and charismatic State’s Attorney. The show also currently has Cabaret’s Alan Cumming in a leading role. The Good Wife is being good to Broadway stars. According to Deadline, Tony winner Michael Cerveris has picked up a recurring role on CBS’ hit drama. Cerveris earned a Tony Award for Assassins and additional nominations for The Who’s Tommy, Sweeney Todd, Lovemusik and Evita. His other Broadway credits include In the Next Room, Hedda Gabler, Cymbeline and Titanic.center_img View Commentslast_img read more

Relive the Tonys!’s Complete Coverage of the Big Night

first_img Squigs Salutes Host Hugh Jackman and the 2014 Winners resident artist Justin “Squigs” Robertson sketched a portrait of the fancy schmancy host and eight actors who took home trophies. A Tony Award and a Squigs sketch? We spoil you, Tony winners. Lessons of the Tony Awards! How many calories did Hugh Jackman burn while bunny-hopping? What show did Bryan Cranston second-act in 1977? Read on for the answers to these important questions and more! Study up! You never know what will be on the quiz.  Gentleman’s Guide & Hedwig Top 2014 Tony Awards Need a refresher on who has a new spinning medallion to keep them occupied for hours? Look no further—here’s the complete list of 2014 Tony Award winners. Ratings: Hugh Jackman vs. Beauty Queens The key to beating out the Tonys broadcast in ratings? Bronzer. Poll: Idina Menzel’s 11 O’Clock Number Is Fans’ Favorite We asked you which performance you thought was the biggest showstopper of the night. Who came out on top? Spoiler alert: Idina did. Audra McDonald Makes Tony History with Lady Day Win Six-time Tony winner Audra McDonald. Get used to saying it. The Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill made Tony history in more ways than one on Sunday. Where will Tony number seven come from? Our guess is Cats. Odds & Ends: Gentleman’s Guide Eyes London & More We learned all sorts of tidbits backstage at the press room this year. For instance, some shows are crossing the pond, Kenny Leon has a dream cast in mind for Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf and news about Hedwig’s d**k. It’s huge. Or something. The 2014 Tony Awards may be over, but we’re not quite over them yet! Take a look back at the special night with this roundup of’s coverage from the Great White Way’s biggest night. See who wore what, rewatch the performances and check out the winners telling the haters to suck it by clicking on the links below! Fan Photos! Our Faves from #TonyHunt We were thrilled that so many fans joined us in our Tony Awards Scavenger Hunt during the broadcast! Take a look at our favorite Twitter snaps of the 12 items we had you on the lookout for.  Our Top 10 Instagram Photos From the Red Carpet Everyone looks better in black tie attire and with the X-Pro II filter. Ranks the Best-Dressed Ladies & Gents From cheetah print to hot pink, the celebs of the 2014 Tony Awards turned it out on the Radio City red carpet. See who had the hottest look! Poll: Audra McDonald Wins Hearts with Heartfelt Speech This year’s acceptance speeches featured many tears (and approximately 82,479 “thank you”s). We gave you the unfortunate task of picking just one as your favorite. See which six-time winner (get used to saying it!),  first-time recipient and nominee newcomer made the list! Photos! Presents Tony Awards For Best Dancing By a Bearded Wolverine & More Sure, Best Musical might be the coveted award of the night, but we happen to think Best Shirtless Performance in a Musical and Best Black Swan Reenactment are just as important. See what wacky categories we awarded to the stars in these exclusive pics. OMG, I Won a Tony! See the Winners Get Real Backstage Who slighted Samuel L. Jackson? Where’s Neil Patrick Harris hiding his trophy? But most importantly, what are the stars drinking?! We asked the hard hitting questions backstage on the big night; watch what this years’ winners had to say! Breaks Down the Performances Insane riffing from the cast of Violet. A perplexing Music Man rap?! This year’s performances were varied, to say the least. Check them all out here, and see what we had to say about them. View Commentslast_img read more

John Dossett Starts Performances in Pippin on Broadway

first_img Pippin features music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz and a book by Roger O. Hirson and tells the story of a young prince searching for his corner of the sky. In addition to Rubinstein, the current cast includes Kyle Dean Massey as Pippin, Ciara Renee as Leading Player, Priscilla Lopez as Berthe, Charlotte d’Amboise as Fastrada and Rachel Bay Jones as Catherine. Dossett was most recently seen on Broadway as Joseph Pulitzer in Newsies. He earned a Tony nomination for his performance as Herbie in Gypsy opposite Bernadette Peters. His additional Great White Way credits include Mamma Mia!, Ragtime and Fifth of July. Pippin Related Shows View Comments Show Closed This production ended its run on Jan. 4, 2015 John Dossett begins performances on August 26 as Charles in the Broadway production of Pippin. The Tony nominee takes over from John Rubinstein in the Diane Paulus-helmed revival, who is joining the show’s national tour.last_img read more

So Long, Sibella! Gentleman’s Guide’s Lisa O’Hare Looks Back Her Run

first_img Related Shows How did you feel when you first got this job? I was absolutely over the moon when [casting director] Jay Binder told me I had booked GGLAM! I knew from the moment I read the script that I wanted to be involved. Interestingly, I wasn’t sure Sibella was in my wheelhouse but Jay was convinced I was right for the role. At that point we had no idea what the future of the show would be, but I had a good feeling. Why are you leaving? I am leaving for a few reasons. First, I have always listened to my heart when it comes to work and I feel that it is time for a new challenge. Secondly, I am in desperate need of family time. My family are all in England and I want to make that a priority in the coming months. Sometimes it is hard to find a balance in this industry, but when your family needs you, that has to come first! What advice would you give to future employees in your job position? Above all, have fun! What was the easiest thing about the job? Wearing those exquisite gowns. Seriously, Linda Cho made me feel like a goddess on that stage, regardless of how I was feeling. The minute my dresser, Tree, would lace me in to those bodices, I couldn’t help but feel like a princess. What will you miss the most? There are so many things to miss! My family at the Kerr. I mean it when I say family! Each and every one of the cast and crew are incredible human beings. But I will miss ‘her’, Sibella, this crazy, narcissistic, yet lovable whirlwind of a girl. I’ve had the best time bringing her to life! I’ve lived and breathed her for a long time and to say I will miss her feels like the understatement of the year. I will be forever grateful for this remarkable show and all it has given me. Show Closed This production ended its run on Jan. 17, 2016 What was the hardest thing? Finding a balance between what I wanted to do creatively with the character and what was sustainable eight times a week. It is hard as an artist to let go of choices and ideas that you feel serve the character. Ultimately though, I learned that the character was so ingrained in my bones, it didn’t matter if I gave her a raspy vocal quality or found another way to achieve the same idea. There are so many aspects of a performance that create a character and you just have to trust the material and trust yourself! View Commentscenter_img How do you think you’ve grown? Honestly, I think I’ve learned more from this experience that any other. Not only about who I want to be as an artist, but also as a human being. It has had its own set of challenges and I honestly would not change any of it. It is often when we are challenged that we grow the most. In the corporate world, employees leaving a job are often asked to sit through an “exit interview” with HR about their time at the company. Although that concept doesn’t exist for Broadway performers, we love checking in with stars as they finish up a successful run. A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder star Lisa O’Hare will hang up her corset on February 8, when she plays her final performance as Sibella in the Tony-winning musical. As O’Hare says farewell to her Broadway family at the Walter Kerr Theatre, she looks back on her “creative, fulfilling and PINK” run in Gentleman’s Guide. What was the highlight of your time at this job? There have been so many! The first night I stepped out onto a Broadway stage to perform was definitely one of them. Performing on the Tonys and then winning Best Musical was pretty spectacular too! What skills do you think are required for future job applicants? I think the ability to get 100% behind this complex character’s very questionable but necessary choices. She’s not perfect, but I think in order to do her justice, you have to be completely on her side. You need to be able to play your weaknesses as your strengths. Also, one needs the ability to be absolutely in your body. She is always aware of what she is doing. Rarely do we see her surrender. How do you feel now that you’re leaving? I feel a huge sense of pride in what we have accomplished, all the way from the workshop in Hartford. I have never originated a role before this one, so to look back at the long journey we’ve had makes me feel like I honestly won the lottery! It is very bittersweet walking away from it all, but being an artist is about taking risks and listening to your gut. I hope to one day be back in my pinks, but for now I think it’s time for a break. A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder What are three words you would use to describe your experience at the job? Creative, fulfilling, PINK!last_img read more

Isla Blair on Her Political Animal Makeover in London’s Made in Dagenham

first_img View Comments I’m sure, not least to be part of a show with such a powerful message not just for 1968 but also now. Absolutely. Here’s a show about women striking for equal pay in London in 1968 and the same issues are still being raised today! There are still women in many walks of life who do tend to get paid less than men. Management may say they don’t but women ask around and then find out that they are. And you’ve gotten to watch a musical theater newbie come to our attention in the form of Gemma [Arterton]. Yes, and that has been such a pleasure. Gemma is so down-to-earth and funny and modest but also very strong and direct in the part—and she has a lovely voice. The thing about Gemma is she has so many qualities! She must also be one of the most beautiful women that I have ever seen in my life. Do you remember the actual incident at the Ford Motor plant 48 years ago? Very much so. There was a huge furor at the time because there were people, actually, who didn’t quite know which side to be on. They thought it was terrible that women were coming out on strike and felt that women should never have equal pay and shouldn’t expect to have it. Do you have a favorite song in the show? My absolute favorite is one right at the end called “Stand Up,” which is when Rita is giving her speech in front of the trade union and she talks about standing up and facing it when people are being horrible to you. The message of the song has to do with not running away when you’re confronted with something that hasn’t felt fair: it’s very moving and also sort of stirring. How would you describe the show in synopsis? It’s an inspiring story for all women everywhere. And frankly, not just the women! Made in Dagenham is something else again, though, at least for you. It is! I’ve never played a factory worker and usually in fact play someone posh. I got a call one Tuesday and was told they want you to go in on Wednesday evening and you have to learn a song by then, so I went and sang it for them in front of a team of 11 or 12 people so it was all rather frightening. I was stunned to get it but also thrilled, of course. What is it like to be acting around the corner from your husband [actor Julian Glover], who is starring in The Scottsboro Boys? It has been great. I usually get into town slightly earlier than Julian but his management gives him a car to take him home because he’s so old [laughs] so I can join him for that. [Glover will be 80 in March.] Is it a challenge vocally? I have one solo which is a wonderful number pretty near the end of the first act which really is the moment in the show that makes Rita [the leading character, played by Gemma Arterton] into a political animal. It’s a lovely, lovely song that very much requires a chest voice, so I’ve worked quite hard at that. And I spent time working with a dialect coach to get the Essex accent right! Good lord! Tell us about Connie, the character you play. Connie’s the shop steward, but they weren’t quite sure which way to go with her at the start—how old to make her, whether she should be one of the girls or slightly apart because she’s a bit older. But I love what she has become, which is this very political animal who believes intensely in the rights of women and who has never married and in fact says that she married the Labour Party: she lives for her beliefs. Geraldine James played your role in the film. Has it been difficult dealing with celluloid forbears? Well, this Connie is very different from Geraldine’s, for at least one reason that I probably shouldn’t reveal here. But also Geraldine’s part had a husband who committed suicide whereas mine was never married. I have to say I do think the show may be better than the film in that it’s got many more of the actual factory scenes, so you see the women at work and you see what they have to put up with. Does this not make you want to find a show the two of you can do together? [Laughs.] We’re always being asked, but I think it’s better to keep [work] separate. People may be surprised to see you doing a big West End musical but they shouldn’t be, should they? The thing is, my very first job was a musical—A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum in its London debut in 1963. I was straight out of RADA and was hired as an understudy, and then the girl playing Philia turned up at rehearsal and for some reason [director] George Abbott didn’t take to her. So the upshot was that I was put into the role when I was only 18! That must have been amazing. Oh, it was—to be in a room with Mr. Abbott and to meet Stephen Sondheim and Hal Prince; they were at rehearsals all the time. I then did Forum again, in 2004 at the National Theatre, directed by Edward Hall, and that time around I got to play Domina, so there I was playing an old bag [laughs]. I played Kate in Kiss Me, Kate when I was at the Bristol Old Vic and did a rock opera called Subject to Fits for the Royal Shakespeare Company, so I have done musicals! You might not expect to find the distinguished stage veteran Isla Blair among the able cast of Made in Dagenham, the musical at the Adelphi Theatre based on the 2010 film about the fight for women’s rights at a Ford Motor Co. plant in Dagenham, east London, in 1968. The elegant Blair is perhaps better-known of late for her stage work in such non-musicals as The Lyons and The History Boys and for such films as Johnny English Reborn and Valmont. But in fact Blair’s singing skills date back to her first-ever professional appearance, as she reminded in a wide-ranging, ever-engaging chat.last_img read more

Kenneth Lonergan’s Hold on to Me Darling Will Play Off-Broadway

first_img Show Closed This production ended its run on April 17, 2016 Hold On To Me Darling Off-Broadway’s Atlantic Theater Company will present the world premiere of Kenneth Lonergan’s Hold on to Me Darling. The production, directed by Atlantic’s artistic director Neil Pepe, will begin performances on February 24, 2016 at the Linda Gross Theater, where it is scheduled to run through April 3. Opening night is set for March 14.On learning of his mother’s death, world famous country and western star Strings McCrane begins questioning the meaning of his life and what it all adds up to. Determined to abandon his celebrity and career, he moves back to his hometown in Tennessee. It doesn’t go well.Lonergan’s work was seen on Broadway last year in the revival of This Is Our Youth. His additional writing credits include Medieval Play, The Waverley Gallery and Lobby Hero on stage and Analyze This, Gangs of New York, Margaret and the upcoming Manchester-by-the-Sea on screen. He was Oscar nominated for his debut feature film, You Can Count on Me.As previously announced, the Atlantic season will also include Caryl Chuchill’s Cloud Nine, These Paper Bullets!, written by Rolin Jones and featuring music by Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong, Dominique Morisseau’s Skeleton Crew, David Yazbek and Itamar Moses’ The Band’s Visit directed by Harold Prince and the New York premiere of Adam Rapp’s The Purple Light of Joppa Illinois. View Comments Related Showslast_img read more

Tix Now Available to See Andrea Martin, Megan Hilty & More in Noises Off

first_imgBrace yourself for comic chaos. Tickets are now on sale for the Broadway revival of Noises Off. Starring Andrea Martin, Megan Hilty and a slew of Broadway faves, performances will begin on December 17 at Roundabout’s American Airlines Theatre, where the production is scheduled to run through March 6, 2016. Opening night is set for January 14.Helmed by Jeremy Herrin, Noises Off follows a director and his group of actors just hours before the opening night performance of the farce Nothing On. Lines are forgotten, love triangles are unraveling and sardines are flying everywhere. The comedy premiered on the Great White Way in 1983 and was nominated for the Tony Award for Best Play. It was first revived on Broadway in 2001 with a cast that included Patti LuPone and a recent inhabitant of the American Airlines Theatre: Peter Gallagher.The cast will also include Rob McClure, Tim Allgood, Campbell Scott, Tracee Chimo, Daniel Davis, David Furr, Kate Jennings Grant and Jeremy Shamos. Megan Hilty Star Files Show Closed This production ended its run on March 13, 2016 View Commentscenter_img Related Shows Noises Off Andrea Martinlast_img read more

Hardy Flowers

first_imgWild bergamot grows naturally in meadows, sunny dry woods and on roadside banks. Youcan plant it in open places that don’t get a lot of tending. It doesn’t need much water,but it does tend to get a powdery mildew on the leaves when it’s drought-stressed.In late spring and early summer, the bergamot in my garden provides nectar for asilverspot skipper, hunter’s butterflies and a buzzing assortment of bees.Of all the showy monarda cultivars and hybrids on the market today, I still like wildbergamot the best, perhaps for sentimental reasons. It’s a flower of my childhood, and Ifirst knew it as bee balm.Another good wild mint similar to the monardas but with four or five flower headsstacked along the stem is Blephilia ciliata.White horse mint or mountain mint (Pycnanthemum incanum) is a good companionplant to wild bergamot. It’s about the same height as monarda, with similar form.The horse mint has a unique appearance. The upper leaves near the flowers are ash gray.They look like they’ve been sprinkled with white dust. At a distance, the whitish leavesthemselves look almost like flowers. The leaves have a pungent, minty smell, too, whencrushed.The individual horse mint flowers don’t look like much. But don’t be deceived. It’s awonderful insect plant. The clusters of tiny white or creamy flowers are attractive to anarray of brightly colored flies, bees and wasps. Butterflies like it, too, especially thetiger swallowtail.Both the bergamot and the horse mint make tough roadside plants. They’re best adaptedto the mountains and piedmont but will grow farther south if transplanted.The third wild flower in this trio is passionflower (Passiflora incarnata).It’s a viny plant with tendrils and a large, exotic, almost weird flower about threeinches across.It climbs up over other vegetation. The leaves always look rich, dark green andwell-watered in even the driest weather.The soft, hollow passionflower fruit about the size of a lemon is called the maypop. Itwill pop if you squeeze it in your hand. The pulp surrounding the seeds inside is edibleand has a sour taste somewhat like a lemon.The passionflower or maypop is the main food plant of the gulf fritillary caterpillar.This fritillary is a beautiful, medium-sized butterfly, orange with silver spots on theunderside of the hind wings. The variegated fritillary also feeds on passionflower.Passionflower can thrive even in a tilled garden if you don’t till too deep. Each yearit grows up from its deep underground stems. We let it grow among the potatoes and melons,and it climbs the bean fence.All three of these interesting native wild flowers are resistant to deer browsing, abig advantage these days. To transplant them, wait until fall when the upper parts havedied. Flag the spot. Then dig up the roots. Wild Bergamot, also known as bee balm. Photo courtesy Michigan State University Extension– high-res image unavailable.center_img >If you include native wild flowers in your garden and want tough native perennials toattract butterflies and other insects, here are three midsummer bloomers that need littlecare and fend for themselves against the three D’s: deer, drought and disease.Wild bergamot (Monarda fistulosa) is the first. It grows 2 to 4 feet tall,with an open flower head which is a cluster of small tubular flowers.The flowers are an understated lavender or lilac, sometimes with a touch of pink. Theflower heads have a spicy, pungent odor that persists even in the dried seed heads.last_img read more

Garden bees

first_imgBy Paul A. ThomasUniversity of GeorgiaBees are good. Fruit trees, farm crops and almost all nativeplants depend on bees, our best pollinators, to reproduce. Butthat doesn’t mean bees are welcome in everyone’s garden.Some people (0.4 percent of the population) have serious allergicreactions to bee stings. They’re always concerned when they seeany kind of bee.Dozens of true bee species are in Georgia gardens. Most are smalland rarely sting. Or if they do, their stings are mild. In 15years of developing butterfly and hummingbird gardens, I’ve neverbeen stung, nor have my active boys, despite being surrounded bybees nine months of the year.The bad guyMost insect stings, though, aren’t from bumblebees or evenhoneybees. The No. 1 culprit is the yellow jacket.These ground-dwelling wasps are fairly aggressive scavengers.They’re attracted to anything sweet or rotting. You can be in a100-acre lawn with no flowers and still be stung by yellowjackets.Even then, these insects are only reacting to perceived threatsto their nests when they sting. They’re not out to get you.Honeybees and bumblebees definitely have better things to do thansearch you out. Following a few commonsense rules will keep yourchances of being stung in the garden tiny.Sting preventionStrong perfumes, for instance, may attract defensive insects ifyou’re near their nests. Sometimes what you eat for breakfast canattract a bee. The odor of banana, for example, mimics an alarmchemical honeybees use to alert nest-mates to danger.In the garden, keep three things in mind. Where the ‘bees’ areWatch for insect nests, too. Bumblebees and yellow jackets reartheir young in shallow underground nests. Bumblebees prefergrassy areas at the edge of woods or near large rocks. Yellowjackets seem to like soft soil in the sun but protected by grassor other small plants.Look for insects flying back and forth in the same direction nearthe ground. That’s almost always a sign that a colony is nearby.You can grow plants that don’t attract stinging insects, too.Whatever attracts hummingbirds and butterflies will attract scadsof bees. But don’t mow off the butterfly garden yet.Many of the most attractive plants are natives. Joe Pye weed, forinstance, attracts wasps and yellow jackets like a magnet.Monarda, Echinacea and even azaleas attract bees.Many ornamental imports lure bees, too. Good examples are abeliabushes, chaste trees (Vitex), butterfly bushes (Buddleia), hybridazaleas, and perennials and annuals such as Mexican sunflowers(Tithonia), salvias, snapdragons, sedums and phlox.The ‘wrong stuff’ to beesPlants that don’t attract bees are less common. They includecultivars of dianthus, geraniums, chrysanthemums, marigolds,strawflowers, some zinnias and many roses.We don’t yet have a long list of plants that don’t attract bees.Much more research needs to be done. After a large University ofGeorgia student project this summer, we hope to publish anextensive list of garden plants that don’t attract bees or waspsthis fall.You can help us out. Spend some time in the garden and send yourobservations to Paul Thomas at Let us knowwhat plants bees don’t seem to visit. We’ll add them to the listto be evaluated.In the meantime, enjoy the bees.(Paul Thomas is an Extension Service horticulturist with theUniversity of Georgia College of Agricultural and EnvironmentalSciences. CAES entomologist Keith Delaplane also contributed tothis article.) Move slowly, especially near flowers bees are feeding on.Watch your hands. If you brush a bee off a flower, it mayinstinctively cling to you. If you do nothing, it will almostalways fly off. This may require a minute or so of bravery. If itstays on your shirt or skin, a slow brushing-off will usually dothe trick. Never try to hit, swat or pick off the bee.Never go into a garden or lawn with bare feet. Stepping on ahoneybee in the clover is a common way to get stung.last_img read more