Tag Archives: Broadway

Our 2014 Tony Award Predictions!

This Sunday, June 8th marks a major event in the Broadway community – the American Theatre Wing’s Tony Awards. Kelly, our Manager of Group and Partner Services, Ash, our Concierge Manager, and concierges Cari, Tara and Robin put their theatre-loving heads together to make predictions for this year’s awards.

Best Musical

Shows nominated: After Midnight, Aladdin, Beautiful – the Carole King Musical, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder

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Kelly says:
Who will win – A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder. Who should win: Gentleman’s Guide. What an excellent show! It’s such a joy to see a completely original work being celebrated this year – and rightly so! It was funny, it was clever, it was WONDERFUL.
Ash says:
Who will win – A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder. Who should win – Gent’s Guide is ORIGINAL (huzzah!), with smart writing, clever direction, smart design, and solid performances.
Cari says:
Who will win – A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder. Who should win – Gentleman’s Guide is a clear winner!  It’s quirky fun with great singing based on an original idea! Original ideas should always win out – plus who can say no to an amazing musical farce?
Tara says:
Who will win – Beautiful – the Carole King Musical. Who should win – Gentleman’s Guide. Sometimes the Brit shows do well here, sometimes they don’t, as was the case of Kinky Boots vs. Matilda last year. Both of these shows seemed to start slowly then become a hit out of nowhere.
Robin says:
Who will win – toss-up between Gentleman’s Guide and Beautiful. Who should win – I think Gentleman’s Guide deserves the win.  I loved the show and it was so well reviewed.

Best Play

Shows nominated: Act One, All the Way, Casa Valentina, Mothers and Sons, Outside Mullingar

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Kelly says:
Who will win – Act One. Who should win: Act One! Wonderful acting by leads Tony Shalhoub and Santino Fontana, this was both a love letter to the theatre in general, and a fascinating look back at a celebrated playwright’s early days.
Ash says:
Who will win – All the Way. Who should win – Act One. The Moss Hart bio-drama is a labor of love written by a theatre legend ABOUT a theatre legend. With gorgeous design and top notch performances, it’s a solid choice.
Cari says:
Who will win – All the Way. Who should win – All the Way. We have another clear winner at least to me.  It is an amazing play this season touching on such an important moment in history
Tara says:
Who will win – Casa Valentina. Who should win – Casa Valentina. Broadway and most of the country have been making a big push for LGBT issues, and much like the Oscars, there is usually some political relevance as to who wins these awards. Harvey Fierstein may also continue to ride the victory train started by last year’s winner Kinky Boots.
Robin says:
Who will win – Casa Valentina or All the Way. Who should win – Act One. I read this play and fell in love. It is such a beautiful tale of ‘making it’ in show business, very inspiring and funny as well!

Best Revival of a Musical

Shows nominated: Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Les Miserables, Violet

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Kelly says:
Who will win – Hedwig and the Angry Inch. Who should win – Hedwig. I’ll confess – I haven’t even SEEN Hedwig, I’m just going off the reports I’ve heard from numerous friends whose theatre opinions I value. Violet was well-done, but not as high-profile. And Les Miserables brought nothing new to the table with this tired revival that I thought was extremely miscast. It’s a slam dunk for Hedwig.
Ash says:
Who will win – Hedwig and the Angry Inch. Who should win – Hedwig. Because it’s awesome.
Cari says:
Who will win – Hedwig and the Angry Inch. Who should win – Violet!  Starring Sutton Foster, it delivers such an amazing message and heartfelt story.  We don’t always get understated and unique shows such as this focusing on the inner beauty of people.
Tara says:
Who will win – Hedwig and the Angry Inch or Les Miserables. Who should win – Hedwig. Hedwig began more than a decade ago and has an awesome cult following; back then she may have been ahead of her time, but hopefully the world is ready for her now. I also love Les Miserables,  but I think it’s time to pass the torch.
Robin says:
Who will win – Hedwig and the Angry Inch. Who should win – Hedwig!

Best Revival of a Play

Shows nominated: The Cripple of Inishmaan, The Glass Menagerie, A Raisin in the Sun, Twelfth Night

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Kelly says:
Who will win – The Glass Menagerie. Who should win – The Glass Menagerie. The cast of this gem is the perfect example of capturing lightning in a bottle. I’m rooting for Celia Keenan-Bolger for Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play SO HARD. She is magic, as was this performance.
Ash says:
Who will win – The Glass Menagerie. Who should win – Although I also adored Twelfth Night, I’m going with Menagerie, because I’ve simply never seen it so well-acted before. The scene between Laura and the Gentleman Caller gave me such hope (and I know the play well), that at its conclusion my heart was totally broken. I hope Celia Keenan-Bolger takes Supporting Actress in a Play!
Cari says:
Who will win – The Cripple of Inishmaan. Who should win – I have to go with The Glass Menagerie.  Cherry Jones and Celia Kennan Bolger were the perfect team but add in Zachary Quinto and you have an undeniable trio of star power!
Tara says:
Who will win – The Glass Menagerie or Twelfth Night. Who should win – Glass Menagerie/Twelfth Night another battle of the shows, as with the best musical contenders. Glass Menagerie had the lasting power and the star power for sure; but both Twelfth Night and Richard III did extremely well, the board may hopefully appreciate the authentic touches these shows provided. (I would be happy if either of these win.)
Robin says:
Who will win – The Glass Menagerie. Who should win – The Glass Menagerie – I wish I saw this!

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical

Actors nominated: Neil Patrick Harris (Hedwig and the Angry Inch), Ramin Karimloo (Les Miserables), Andy Karl (Rocky), Jefferson Mays (A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder), Bryce Pinkham (A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder)



Kelly says:
Who will win – Neil Patrick Harris. Who should win – STEVEN PASQUALE. The fact that he wasn’t nominated for The Bridges of Madison County is the greatest slight I could possibly have imagined, and I’m still reeling from it. Now, given those actually nominated, this is a toss-up between Jefferson Mays and NPH. I think both have a fighting chance, but I’m leaning towards NPH.
Ash says:
Who will win – Neil Patrick Harris. Who should win – NPH. He has poured himself into that role. The entire show is fresh and reinvented, and Neil Patrick Harris is at the center of it all. Plus, he is LIVING in those heels. Bravo! (Brava?)
Cari says:
Who will win – Neil Patrick Harris. Who should win – I love NPH. I ABSOLUTELY LOVE him but I think Andy Karl should bring home the statue for his performance in Rocky.  He is stellar, a true underdog in every sense of the word and I love that about him.
Tara says:
Who will win – Neil Patrick Harris. Who should win – Andy Karl. (Actually I hope it’s a tie.) NPH has been riding an incredible high the past few years, and I’ve been told his work in Hedwig is just amazing, but it should go to the underdog here in (Rocky fashion) Andy Karl; he carries the entire show, did Lord knows how much work to pull off the choreography in the finale match, and is charming enough to make you suspend disbelief that a boxer can sing.
Robin says:
Who will win – Jefferson Mays please! (I wouldn’t be surprised if Bryce Pinkham won though). Who should win – Jefferson Mays! His transformation in Gentleman’s Guide is flawless. I saw their first preview and his performance was so incredibly solid. He deserves this win. I was also quite impressed with Andy Karl’s Rocky – that’s my second choice.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical

Actresses nominated: Mary Bridget Davies (A Night with Janis Joplin), Sutton Foster (Violet), Idina Menzel (If/Then), Jessie Mueller (Beautiful – the Carole King Musical), Kelli O’Hara (The Bridges of Madison County)

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Kelly says:
Who will win – Jessie Mueller. Who should win – honestly, this is the most difficult category for me. Kelli O’Hara’s performance in The Bridges of Madison County was emotional, specific, and sung so beautifully that I still cry every time I listen to the cast album (which I do frequently.) But Jessie Mueller’s Carole King is arguably one of the greatest stage portrayals of a real-life musical icon, and her performance elevates what could be shrugged off as a simple jukebox musical into so much more. I’d be happy if either actress took the prize.
Ash says:
Who will win – Jessie Mueller. Who should win – Oh Jessie, Jessie, Jessie!!! I am firmly Team Jessie. In the past few years, she has taken on so many HUGELY different roles, all of which she has NAILED. Her performance as Carole King lifts an otherwise pretty “paint-by-numbers” bio-musical to a significant contender for Best Musical. Her rendition of “So Far Away” is haunting.
Cari says:
Who will win – Jessie Mueller. Who should win – Whilst Kelli O’Hara has certainly paid her dues with this being her fifth nomination, I think this competitive category should go to the newbie who shows us all that we’ve got a friend. Jessie Mueller is the embodiment of Carole King without impersonating her; she brings life to every moment of this beautiful biopic.
Tara says:
Who will win – Jessie Mueller. Who should win – Idina Menzel, because I love her and want to be her when I grow up. Kelli O’Hara is another actress who did an amazing job in a show that did not do very well, despite poor reviews the two things that were enjoyed were Jason Robert Brown’s music and Kelli O Hara’s performance.
Robin says:
Who will win – Sutton Foster. Who should win – Kelli O’Hara. Because she’s a star and she deserves every Tony. I love her acting style and her voice is a dream. She seems like a wonderful person as well.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play

Actors Nominated: Samuel Barnett (Twelfth Night), Bryan Cranston (All the Way), Chris O’Dowd (Of Mice and Men), Mark Rylance (Richard III), Tony Shalhoub (Act One)

Tony-actorplay

Kelly says:
Who will win – Bryan Cranston. Who should win – Samuel Barnett. Everyone has been talking about Mark Rylance’s turn as Olivia in this production, but I was astounded by Barnett’s Viola.
Ash says:
Who will win – Bryan Cranston. Who should win – Bryan Cranston will be halfway to his EGOT.
Cari says:
Who will win – Mark Rylance or Bryan Cranston. Who should win – Bryan Cranston shows us an amazing rendition of LBJ, breaking far, far away from the bad, bad Heisenberg!  I hope he gets recognized for his performance and makes his way back to Broadway again soon.
Tara says:
Who will win – Bryan Cranston. Who should win – Bryan Cranston. I know the Tonys have been snubbing TV/Movie actors on Broadway as of late, but Bryan Cranston is an amazing actor and puts himself into everything he does (have you SEEN Breaking Bad?) I really hope they do the right thing and give him the Tony.
Robin says:
Who will win – Bryan Cranston. Who should win – Chris O’Dowd because his speech would be hilarious and down to earth so basically I want him to win for my entertainment.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play

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Actresses nominated: Tyne Daly (Mothers and Sons), LaTanya Richardson Jackson (A Raisin in the Sun), Cherry Jones (The Glass Menagerie), Audra McDonald (Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill), Estelle Parsons (The Velocity of Autumn)

Kelly says:
Who will win – Audra McDonald. Who should win – AUDRA FOR ALL THE AWARDS EVER. Cherry Jones had a career-defining (in an already remarkable career!) performance in The Glass Menagerie, but Audra is just…magic. She doesn’t just perform a character, she INHABITS them. She is just phenomenal.
Ash says:
Who will win – Audra McDonald. Who should win – Audra McDonald should win all awards. Kidding, I only kinda-sorta feel that way. Still, as much as I fawned over Cherry Jones’ master class in acting as Amanda Wingfield in Menagerie, Audra’s turn as Billie Holliday was so immersive – so complete – that I forgot I was even watching Audra. Transformative. I’ll never forget that performance.
Cari says:
Who will win – Audra McDonald. Who should win – Gosh this one is hard. I think Audra is so worthy and I love her but how could I not want Cherry Jones to win in a role she was born to play? Both ladies are so amazing and I am in awe of their talents.  Whether Audra wins for portraying the iconic Billie Holiday or Cherry brings it home for her matriarchal turn, we are lucky to have these strong ladies on Broadway stages.
Tara says:
Who will win – Audra McDonald. Who should win – Audra Mc Donald. She’s amazing as Billie Holiday and one of those actresses who can get a Tony nod just for being on stage, it’s possible they may give the Tony to someone else to change things up, but she deserves it.
Robin says:
Who will win – All of these ladies are very amazing, this is such a powerful group! But, Audra McDonald or Estelle Parsons. Who should win – Any of these ladies, honestly.

 

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Follies is a Broadway Triumph

Last night I was incredibly fortunate to go see a preview performance of the new production of  Follies at the Marquis Theater and it was a night I won’t soon forget! To put it succinctly: this show blew my mind. And it wasn’t just the music or the singing or the dancing – every aspect of Follies is so well thought-out and so beautifully executed that I can’t wait to see it again so that I can take in all the things I missed!

The second we walked into the Marquis Theater my friend and I marveled at the beautiful set design. Follies takes place backstage at an old, abandoned theater in NYC and the stage is set as such, with rusty-looking banisters and steps, torn curtains, and rough wooden flooring. The entire set is sepia-toned with no bright colors, so when Bernadette Peters first walks on stage in her bright pink dress she shines like a beacon. (Side note: can we talk about how amazing Bernadette Peters is? She has been performing on Broadway for decades and still belts like almost nobody else. I would go to see her in anything)

Follies tells the story of the 30 year reunion of the Weissman Follies, a group of showgirls whose vaudeville style performances lit up the stage for many years before the show was shut down in 1941. You meet the cast of characters as they enter for the reunion and each actor enters so thoroughly in character so that you immediately know who they are.  Jayne Houdyshell as Hattie (who later sings the well-known Broadway Baby) particularly stood out for me and made me laugh the moment she walked on stage.

Ben & Sally sing Too Many Mornings with Young Ben & Young Sally

The four main characters – Sally, Phyllis, Buddy and Ben are introduced and you immediately sense that they have a tense back story, but there’s little need for conjecture because one of the amazing things about Follies is that each character has a younger counterpart, that character thirty years before when the Weissman Follies were still going, who is often on stage at the same time as the older character, telling you the back story and interacting as the older characters engage in their own banter or look on at their younger selves wistfully, as though caught up in the memory. One of the most remarkable things about the production for me was how the young counterparts were portrayed – their dialogue sounded different, for one thing, with a kind of a tinny quality, but the most amazing feature was the lighting. When a young counterpart appeared on stage they never had the spotlight on them and always seemed sepia-toned; they almost blended in with the scenery in an amazing way. Even when they stood directly next to the older actors, somehow the light never hit them in quite the same way and it was always clear that they existed only in the characters’ memories. It is one of the most subtle and remarkable effects I have ever seen on a Broadway stage.

Throughout the show, beautiful and sad-looking showgirls stand on stage, making the story so much more poignant just through their silent presence. When one of the showgirls, played by Leah Horowitz, comes out in her elaborate white costume, a single black tear painted on her cheek, to join her elder counterpart, played by Rosalind Elias, to sing One More Kiss, it is one of the most haunting and gorgeous parts of the show.

The former follies do their best rendition of Who's That Woman

While a sad story, Follies will also make you laugh. The first act number Who’s That Woman had the entire audience in stitches as the former Weissman Follies attempted to remember their choreography and made many mistakes while their younger counterparts danced flawlessly around them. It is truly a talented dancer who can make you believe that she hasn’t done a dance in 30 years and can’t quite remember how it goes.

The second act also features a long sequence where the set is replaced with an arch of brightly-colored flowers and you experience the lead actors performing in the style that would have been featured by the Weissman Follies in the 1930’s.  Every one of these numbers was incredibly entertaining, but of course Bernadette Peters brought down the house with her rendition of Losing My Mind.

I can’t say it enough: GO SEE THIS SHOW. As if the fact that it has been rightly called “One of the greatest musicals ever written,” the production is flawless. You will be blown away by the singing and dancing, the lighting and the set design, and everything else. You don’t want to miss it. I know I’ll be going again ASAP!

Follies is currently in previews and opens officially in September. You can book tickets directly with New York Guest and they are also included in our Fall for Follies package. For more information, please feel free to e-mail me at lgeller@newyorkguest.com or call us at 212-302-4019.

The God-Why-Don't-You-Love-Me Blues, from Act 2

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Cirque du Soleil Presents: Zarkana!

The newest Cirque du Soleil show to hit New York City is Zarkana and it is wowing audiences at our beloved Radio City Music Hall. Zarkana is a visual masterpiece; a feast for the eyes and for the senses. 

I was taken on a journey through various dimensions, each different and unique in it’s own way. Flower women, space frogs, a snake woman growing from the earth, hanging trapeze clowns descending onto the stage from strings! The creativity mastered in this show is infinite; I cannot fathom how the minds behind this show came up with these ideas and concepts.  Words do this work of art no justice. You must go see it!

There is simply nothing on earth like this show. If you’re in New York, or anywhere near the Eastern hemisphere, you owe it to yourself to catch Zarkana before it moves to another city! It is truly a once in a lifetime experience.

If you are looking for tickets to Zarkana please feel free to contact me at sfleitman@newyoerkguest.com or call us at (212) 302-4019. I look forward to speaking with you! -Shawn

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Shawn’s Broadway Review: Catch Me If You Can!

When I see a Broadway show I want to be dazzled, shocked, moved and star struck! I love the feeling I get when I want to picture myself being the main actor; up on stage singing and dancing and making the crowd go wild. I need a Broadway show to deliver and Catch Me If You Can most certainly did. The musical is based off of the 2002 hit movie staring Leonardo DicaprioBased on a true story, the show conveys a 19 year old con artist on the run while having lots of fun!

The lead role is played by the amazing and ever so talented, Aaron Tveit. You might remember him from Next to Normal and Gossip Girl.

I hate to sound cliché, but this musical really has something for everyone. The show brings action, romance, humor and many triumphs.

What first struck me about this was the story line was how the lead character Frank faked being a Pan Am Pilot. I love airlines and everything that has to do with travel, so this was right up my alley. This musical was nostalgic of the old fashion “Jet Set” and an antiquated criminal justice system.

Did I mention that it’s hilarious, heartbreaking and exciting!? I cried, I laughed, I anticipated, I wanted more! I went to see the show with a few my colleagues-it was an amazing night out on the town.

Where will we catch you on your next jet set?

Write to me at SFleitman@newyorkguest.com for more information regarding Broadway shows, New York City or anything you may need for your next jet set!

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Rockin’ Family Weekend!

Hello again. Beth here with another Broadway Review! With my brother and sister both living outside of New York these days, long holiday weekends are always a great way for my family to see each other. My Mom’s birthday was last week so my family decided to get tickets for all of us to Rock of Ages. What an amazing idea that was!

 This show now definitely ranks in my Top 5 (if not 3!). The mood of the theatre is that of a rock concert. There are posters everywhere and people walking up and down the aisle selling drinks (every now and then you hear a token “BEER HERE!” while waiting for the show to start). At the beginning of the show, the four man band comes onto the stage to pump the audience up.

 After that starts the real fun! As an avid music fan and a child of the 80’s, this show had every hit you can imagine. The songs all blend into the perfect storyline of Drew and Sherrie (cue the “Oh Sherrie” romantic ballad moment) as they struggle to be a singer and an actress inLos Angeles. With hits from 1980’s rock staples like Foreigner, White Snake, and Journey this show has you singing along in your seats. The best part of this show was the comedy! I didn’t expect the show to be as funny as it was, but there were parts that had us laughing so hard, there were tears in our eyes.

 This show appeals to a wide range of people. Anyone over the age of 16 and a fan of music or the 80’s would love this show. My family ranges from 22 to 62 and we all enjoyed it just as much as the next person.

My Family and I Outside the Theater

Want to visit New York Cityand rock out on Broadway? Contact me at blenowicz@newyorkguest.com or (212) 302-4019.

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The Passing of a Broadway Legend

Hello Everyone!  It‘s Alicia here, one of New York Guest’s concierges.  Today is a going to be a bittersweet day here in New York City.  Beautiful weather with temperatures that will hit the 70’s (Boy has it been a long winter!) but at the same time we are mourning the loss of the great Arthur Laurents who passed away yesterday.  He was 93. 

Arthur Laurents in 1984 outside the Broadway theater where "La Cage aux Folles" was staged. (Oliver Morris / Los Angeles Times)

Arthur was a theater and film superstar.  He is responsible for great works that include the screenplay The Way We Were and the books to Gypsy and West Side Story, two of the most successful musicals ever written.  

 I had the pleasure of working with Arthur when I was cast in the most recent revival of Gypsy, which he directed.  As I spent time with him, it was obvious that he brought out the best in every actor within a 5 mile radius.  Put him with Patti Lupone and Boyd Gains, and you have the most amazing acting class an actor could ever take!  During my short year with him, I absorbed everything I possibly could . . . his stories . . . his notes . . . his presence.   I thought Arthur was a kind and gentle creative soul . . . who ran a tight ship! 

Me and Arthur at the closting of Broadway's "Gypsy"

When I attended Arthur’s 90th Birthday party in the attic of City Center in the summer of 2007, he spent his party posing for pictures and signing Gypsy posters for all the cast and crew – how generous.   I have such wonderful memories of Arthur, for he gave me my Broadway debut and for that I am very grateful.  This news makes me sad . . . however the memories do not.

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The Normal Heart – Broadway Review

Though many evenings you’ll find me walking around my Morningside neighborhood with my favorite four-legged companion, Harold (a sprightly 2-year old Wheaten Terrier), as one of New York Guest’s team of expert Concierges since 2009, I also love to get out and experience all that New York City has to offer.  Especially if it’s an unexpected surprise…!

This spring there are a lot of high-profile shows opening on Broadway.  Earlier this week, I was lucky enough to see one that is sneaking into town without a lot of fanfare – I caught the first preview performance of Larry Kramer’s The Normal Heart which is directed by Tony winner and Broadway legend Joel Grey.

The play chronicles the early years of the onset of AIDS in the NYC gay community from 1981-1983, and the response (or lack thereof) from government, medical and homosexual leaders.

This production is in really good shape for a first preview.  As can be expected for the first performance in front of a live audience, there were few technical and lighting glitches here and there, but wow, was I impressed!!!

Joe Mantello, who just happens to be the director of the Broadway smash hit Wicked, is the lead, and his performance is incredible.  Ellen Barkin, known from Ocean’s 12 and Drop Dead Gorgeous, plays a frustrated doctor treating an exponentially growing number of infected patients. She has a powerful monologue that stops the show cold.  The entire cast is uniformly strong and contains other famous faces you will instantly recognize.

I attended the show with five friends, all of whom were floored – both with anger at the way the beginning of the AIDS epidemic was handled, and with raw emotion for the characters living through this horrible and scary situation.

Cast of The Normal Heart

The performance received a spontaneous standing ovation – the very moment that the lights came down – from a very industry heavy audience that is not likely to give the requisite standing ovation given at every Broadway show these days.  Following the curtain call, the audience continued to applaud and applaud well after the house lights came one, begging for the cast to come back to the stage and be acknowledged for their great work.
 
The sheer force and passion behind Larry Kramer’s writing is as powerful, moving and needed as it ever was. This production is bound to be a sleeper hit and get some of that fanfare as the word spreads.
 
Contact my colleagues here at New York Guest to get tickets to this important play today. The run is limited, only 12 weeks, so don’t miss out!
 
— Ash

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