- Kicking off 2011 with a changed Broadway landscape
- Broadway Mad Libs with Hunter Ryan Herdlicka of A Little Night Music
- Broadway grosses
What do you think, Rushers? Of the shows that closed after New Years, which will you miss the most? Are you amazed by Hunter’s Broadway success story? Will you miss Night Music? Leave your thoughts and ideas in the comments below, and happy 2011!
Hunter Ryan Herdlicka is preparing for the closing of A Little Night Music—for real this time. Last June, the cast of the acclaimed production was given a second life when Bernadette Peters and Elaine Stritch signed on to replace departing stars Catherine Zeta-Jones and Angela Lansbury—just two weeks before the show was set to close. For Herdlicka, who is making his Broadway debut at 24 as the morose Henrick, the extension was a fairytale ending to a story that already had one.
“We thought we were done,” Herdlicka said. “I was on my phone and I clicked onto BroadwayWorld.com and I saw that headline that we were going to stay open with Bernadette and Elaine. It was a shock.”
With Night Music, Herdlicka experienced an aspiring young actors dream. After graduating from Carnegie Mellon University in 2009, Herdlicka was cast in the role of Henrick in the revival of A Little Night Music before he even moved to New York. He was, in fact, the first person cast in the show. “It wasn’t until that summer that I started hearing names like Uma Thurman, these celebrities that were going to come and be in the show,” Herdlicka said. “I was like, ‘Whoa, whoa, whoa! They’re not just bringing over the people from the London [Menier Chocolate Factory] production?’ It didn’t hit me till a few months into the run that it was such a huge deal.”
Herdlicka’s audition process took just nine days. During his final callback, he sang for the show’s composer Stephen Sondheim. “I had met him in the elevator on the way up,” Herdlicka said. “I shook his hand, he knew my name. That kind of helped me relax a bit. In the audition room, [director Trevor Nunn] was introducing me to everyone, which makes you feel so comfortable, I wish everyone would do that when you go to an audition. Trevor says, ‘Stephen, this is Hunter.’ And he says, ‘Oh, we go way back!’”
Bernadette Peters and Jan Maxwell were there. Yes, Hunter Ryan Herdlicka, who is making his Broadway debut as the morose Henrik in A Little Night Music, attracted quite the crowd to his second concert at Feinstein’s at Loews Regency Monday night. (Elaine Stritch, who also stars in the show, phoned ahead with her apologies—she was filming an episode of 30 Rock the next morning and needed to rest.) Intertwining charming stories of his New York and musical theater life with hilarious deadpan, Herdlicka performed classic songs from Cole Porter, George Gershwin, and Stephen Sondheim.
With Mary-Mitchell Campbell on piano as his music director, Herdlicka began with Porter’s “I Happen To Like New York” in a mashup with another song on life in the Big Apple—“Another Hundred People” from Company. Herdlicka described himself as a musical theater addict. “Someone who is a musical theater addict living in New York is like someone with a gluten allergy working at Amy’s Bread—it’s not easy.”
After recounting his early-developed affinity for musical theater as an “intense” child and how it affected him, Herdlicka sang a medley from Peter Pan, which included “Distant Melody,” “I Won’t Grow Up,” and “Never Never Land.”
Herdlicka told of his callback audition for A Little Night Music, which included an awkward elevator ride alone with Stephen Sondheim. Herdlicka said he turned to the famous composer and said, “Hi, I’m Hunter. I’m here to sing for you,” to which Sondheim dryly responded, “And I’m here to listen.” Herdlicka followed this story with Gershwin’s “They All Laughed.” Read more
Five hundred spotlights. That’s how many center-stage moments the At This Performance concert series has given to Broadway understudies since its inception seven years ago. During the Monday night concert, Erick Buckley—who understudies Uncle Fester in The Addams Family, was crowned number 500. At the time of the concert, he had yet to ever go on for the role.
That fact is what makes the At This Performance concerts so special—it honors actors who rarely get the glory. Musicals Tonight! artistic director Mel Miller introduced the night’s performers as “the backbone of American musical theater,” noting that they are the future leads of Broadway. The actors represented such shows as Fela!, The Lion King, A Little Night Music, and Memphis.
Typically, the performers perform solo, but since Colin Cunliffe and Jessica Lea Patty were both in attendance from The Addams Family, they sang the duet their characters share, called “Crazier Than You.” Rather than give the song a straight performance, the two acted out the song, using props.
Video: Colin Cunliffe and Jessica Lea Patty sing “Crazier Than You” from The Addams Family
- Corrected from last week: I actually DID get to see Brian d’Arcy James in Next to Normal
- Camping out all night on the street for Shakespeare in the Park tickets
- Swooning over A Little Night Music’s Leigh Ann Larkin at Broadway in Bryant Park
- Seeing Bernadette Peters and Elaine Stritch in Night Music
- The Night Music/Promises, Promises ticket giveaway ends July 30. Enter now!
- Broadway grosses
Were any of you Rushers at the Next to Normal lottery for Alice Ripley, Jennifer Damiano, and Brian d’Arcy James’ final performance? Did any of you win? Who has camped out for Shakespeare in the Park tickets? Do you think it’s worth it? Who has seen Bernadette Peter and Elaine Stritch in A Little Night Music? Who else, like me, has a crush on Leigh Ann Larkin? Leave your thoughts, questions, and ideas in the comments!
Unbalanced was the word of the day for the third concert in the Broadway in Bryant Park series, this week featuring A Little Night Music, the off-Broadway Falling For Eve, Chicago, and Rock of Ages. Although the meaty middle was dull, the concert was bookended by high points.
The first of the bookends was A Little Night Music. I have to say that my heart leapt when the announcer introduced Leigh Ann Larkin to the stage. I knew that she’d be singing “The Miller’s Son,” her character Petra’s only solo in the show—which is one of my favorite moments from the current production. Larkin couldn’t be sexier when she performs this number. She is playful and wide eyed, yet moves like a siren on the stage. Youch! After a fantastic performance from Larkin (which was unfortunately plagued by sound glitches beyond her control), I was shocked to see her leave the stage and hear the announcer introduce the next musical. That Night Music should only get one performance is absurd. I was not surprised that its stars, Bernadette Peters and Elaine Stritch, were not present to perform, but surely the rest of the (fantastic) supporting cast could have entertained. A lot of Night Music’s numbers would make little sense when taken out of the show’s context, but “The Glamorous Life” and “Every Day A Little Death” would have worked fine. That Larkin would be sent to represent such a gigantic show (and cast) alone was surprising.
Video: “The Miller’s Son”
My birthday is coming up—July 30, to be exact. Now I know people usually receive gifts on their birthdays, but instead, I want to give you Rushers something. It’s been such an amazing year at Stage Rush, getting to know a lot of you and having you respond to and enjoy all the coverage on the site. I want to show my gratitude to you all. In addition to a very special episode of Stage Rush TV that will go live on Friday, July 30 (starring some awesome friends of mine), four Rushers will win tickets to two of the hottest shows on Broadway!
I am pleased to announce Stage Rush’s next ticket giveaway! Up for grabs are two pairs of tickets each to the Tony-winning shows A Little Night Music and Promises, Promises. Here are the easy steps you need to take to have your chance to win these babies:
- Write on Stage Rush’s Facebook wall. (“Like” us, if you haven’t already done so)
- Include which show you are playing for (if both, note your first choice).
Two winners will be chosen at random for each show. The winners will win a pair of tickets to either A Little Night Music or Promises, Promises—the pair won’t be split up among participants. You must be able to be contacted via private message on Facebook. The giveaway will end on Friday, July 30. I will notify the winners via Facebook private message.
All participants must be able to see either show between the dates of August 1 and August 31. The tickets are not valid for resale and must be picked up at the show’s box office on the day of the performance.
So what are you waiting for, Rushers? Get over to the Stage Rush Facebook wall—it couldn’t be easier!
In an anticipated announcement Monday, it was revealed that Bernadette Peters and Elaine Stritch will replace Catherine Zeta-Jones and Angela Lansbury in A Little Night Music, effective July 13. Zeta-Jones and Lansbury will depart the show June 20, and the production will take a three-week hiatus, during which the actresses will rehearse.
This casting news effectively saves this production from shuttering, as it had already marked June 20 as its closing day. Until this point, the show’s producers had wooed numerous A-list actresses to assume the roles (Gwyneth Paltrow and mother Blythe Danner, Debbie Reynolds), but with no talks coming to fruition. Yet Peters and Stritch’s commitments to the show are a well-deserved saving grace for a high quality production.
I wonder if Peters felt slighted when she began talks for the role, since she wasn’t the first approached, and the other attempts were well publicized. Peters will fit the role extremely well, which makes me question why the producers hadn’t asked her earlier. Although from their first attempts at a replacement, it is clear they were looking for more Hollywood power, and Peters has more Broadway clout to her name than from film. Regardless, I don’t think her name will perform poorly at the box office, as she’s become one of those Broadway legends that people flock to see. Read more
- Duncan Sheik spills details on Spring Awakening movie
- Sheik in concert in South Orange, NJ
- Broadway double-header: rushing A Little Night Music and The Miracle Worker
- Broadway grosses