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Posts tagged ‘Hair’


Stage Rush TV: Episode 72

Talking points:

What do you think, Rushers? Did this week’s Bryant Park concert rock your world with the sexy people that performed? What is your favorite role of Chester Gregory’s to date? Have you ever attended the 24-hour musicals event? Leave your thoughts in the comments below, and don’t forget to enter our Follies ticket giveaway for a chance to win one of two pairs of tickets to the show!

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Broadway in Bryant Park recap: ‘Anything Goes’ and ‘The Phantom of the Opera’

The oldie musicals came to Broadway in Bryant Park this week to show the newbies who’s boss. The lively casts of The Phantom of the Opera, The Fantasticks, Hair, and Anything Goes performed their classic, well-trodden material with fresh enthusiasm.

At first, I wasn’t so sure about the Phantom set. Kyle Barisich and Marni Raab sang a sweet “All I Ask of You,” but the acting was so out of context on the Bryant Park stage that I had trouble holding back a few snide laughs. I shut up when Hugh Panaro took the stage for “Music of the Night.” The Broadway A-lister and long-time Phantom sang the famous number with remarkable control, and his power notes filled the park effortlessly.

VIDEO: Hugh Panaro sings “Music of the Night” from The Phantom of the Opera

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Stage Rush TV: Episode 69

Talking points:

What do you think, Rushers? What new show are you most excited to see in the fall? Did you think the first Broadway in Bryant Park concert of the summer was a dud? Did you catch the re-revived Hair yet? Leave all your Craptacular thoughts in the comments below!

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Concert recap: Jonathan Groff at Joe’s Pub

It was obvious that Jonathan Groff was utilizing his newfound Jesse St. James moves at his solo concert Sunday night at Joe’s Pub. Coming off his hugely popular Glee guest role as the star singer of the fledgling club’s main competition, the Spring Awakening and Hair star channeled the cocky Jesse’s moves into his performance. With a set list of funk and R&B tunes, Groff got down in a playful, silly manor that he has seldom been able to display on stage.

The set list, Groff explained, was inspired by his time at Glee. While sitting in LA traffic on his way to and from the set, which he explained as a “blessing and a curse,” Groff said he immersed himself in music and the songs he chose to perform at the concert were those he sang at the top of his lungs in his car.

Opening with Stevie Wonder’s “You Haven’t Done Nothin’,” the song choice came as a surprise from the usual mellow rock Groff has sung in shows. The performances came across authentic, as Groff infuses a hefty amount of genuine emotion into his delivery. Over the course of the set, which lasted just shy of an hour, Groff sang with a huge grin and constantly reminded the audience how happy he was to be there.

This performance at Joe’s Pub marked Groff’s first ever solo concert. He told the audience that the day he moved to New York, he attended a concert at Joe’s Pub featuring Legally Blonde star Laura Bell Bundy, and that while sitting in the audience, he vowed the day would come that he would headline the stage as well. Read more »


Understudy Hall: ‘At This Performance’: Spring 2010

Before the actors took the stage for the penultimate performance of the spring series of At This Performance concerts Sunday night, Musicals Tonight! artistic director Mel Miller delivered the bittersweet introduction. “These are among the most talented and underappreciated performers on Broadway,” he said. And therein lies what is so brilliant about this concert series that features Broadway understudies—for this night, the spotlight is on them; they are the headliners. Little white slips of paper be damned!
Sunday night’s lineup featured actors currently appearing in The Addams Family, Hair, Lend Me A Tenor, The Phantom of the Opera, and the recently closed Ragtime. Each performer took the stage, looking thrilled to be there, and ebulliently performed their prepared numbers. A barebones stage allowed the audience to focus solely on these (most likely, new) performers’ talents. Singing with only a piano accompanist (Eugene Gwozdz), the setting had an “audition feel” to it, which felt relevant to these performers’ stories. 
Frank Mastrone sang a hyper-emotional “Bring Him Home” from Les Miserables. Mykal Kilgore performed an octave defying “Aquarius” from Hair (he understudies the female role of Dionne?? Interesting!). And Mamie Parris gave a heartbreaking rendition of “Back To Before” from Ragtime. In addition to impressive vocals, many of the actors’ performances displayed infectiously likeable personalities. Briana Carlson-Goodman of Hair performed a comedic song from a musical workshop she was involved with, where she sings of her love for her piano accompanist, and Lend Me A Tenor’s Donna English displayed a multitude of hilarious facial expressions during “The Killer Soprano,” a song featured in Forbidden Broadway. 
Briana Carlson-Goodman (Hair, u/s Sheila and Chrissy)
“Easy To Be Hard” and the in-love-with-accompanist tune 
Donna English (Lend Me A Tenor, standby Maria and Julia)
“Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered” and “The Killer Soprano” 
Mary Illes (The Phantom of the Opera, u/s Madame Giry)
“Yes, It’s Love” and “Go Little Boat” 
Morgan James (The Addams Family, u/s Wednesday Addams and Alice Beineke)
“Pulled” and “Ohio, 1904”
Mykal Kilgore (Hair, u/s Dionne)
“Aquarius” and “Don’t Let The Sun Get You Crying” 
Frank Mastrone (The Phantom of the Opera, u/s Monsieur Andre and Piangi)
The dress rehearsal of ‘Hannibal’ (from Phantom), “Bring Him Home” and “Those Were The Good Old Days” 
Anastacia McClesky (Hair, u/s Dionne)
“White Boys” and “Stormy Weather” 
Mamie Parris (Ragtime, u/s Mother)
“Back To Before” and “Perfect” 
The spring dates of At This Performance (which also takes place in the fall) has been playing on scattered Sunday and Monday evenings since February 28. Today is the final performance, and tickets can be purchased for $25 online or at the box office. Further information can be found at

Knee-jerk reaction: ‘Hair’ cast 2.0 announcement

The second Broadway revival cast of Hair was announced today, and the news has fans rolling in the mud—some in joy and others in frustration. The new lead actors announced include Kyle Riabko, Ace Young, and Diana DeGarmo; the latter two have appeared as finalists on American Idol. 
The casting of Young and DeGarmo was known as of February 7, when BroadwayGirlNYC announced the casting scoop. Since, fans have filled message boards and Twitter with concerns on stunt casting and whether it is good for a show’s sales or if it just cheapens its artistic value. 
Riabko will take over for Gavin Creel as Claude, Young for Will Swenson as Berger, and DeGarmo for Caissie Levy as Sheila. The rest of the casting can be seen at 
Today’s cast announcement has seen reactions on Twitter, ranging from the disappointed… 
@jeffreychrist says if Diana DeGarmo & Ace Young join the cast of his beloved HAIR, it will not only have JUMPED the shark, but EATEN by the shark… 
@PataphysicalSci I’m disappointment with much of the new Hair cast, but on the bright side, it’s a pretty good way to cure my Hair addiction. 
…to the elated… 
@CrysDenn So unbelievably excited about the new cast of Hair..I’m gonna have to see it again and i have to sit front row to get played with again! :) 
@BroadwayJack The new @HAIRTribe is awesome! Especially excited about @joshlamon as Margaret Mead and Annaleigh Ashford as Jeanie… :) 
Do I think the branding of American Idol with Young and DeGarmo will cause Hair’s ticket sales to surge? No. But stunt casting? DeGarmo has appeared in Hairspray on Broadway and The Toxic Avenger off. She has a substantial amount of professional musical theater experience now, and let’s not forget; she did come in second place during Idol’s third season. I hope that counts for something. 
Young has appeared in the recent Broadway revival of Grease, and although I haven’t seen him perform, I’ve heard he’s pretty charismatic. 
The casting of Riabko, however, gives me pause. The Canadian singer replaced Jonathan Groff as Melchior in Spring Awakening upon his departure, and then continued on in the role during the show’s national tour. Coming off of any original cast which you’ve loved is going to be a tainted experience. But I found Riabko to be quite wooden in the role of Melchior. A second viewing months later during the national tour didn’t reveal any progress. It’ll be interesting to see how he handles the free-loving role of Claude (which was also played by Groff when the show was in its Central Park run. Do we see a trend?). 
What do you think, rushers? Are you excited about the second generation of Hair tribe members, or are you resisting sleep, hoping that the original cast’s departure date on March 7 may never come? Leave it in the comments!

“Fela!”‘s Missed, Genius Rush Opportunity

Fela! is a wildly unique and outside-the-box-thinking Broadway production. I thought so and so does just about every major theater critic. And with 86 percent of its tickets sold last week, it’s a fair hit. But I just read a fantastic gem of an idea New York Magazine delivered in it’s final paragraph of their review for Fela! that would have been a ridiculously exciting and original rush concept. Here’s the block quote from reviewer Dan Kois:

Given the concert conceit of Fela!, and the audience participation that its stars encourage, I wish they’d just ripped the first ten rows out of the orchestra and sold those spots for ten bucks to music lovers. It probably would’ve violated a fire code or some union contract, but it also might’ve helped the energy in the crowd match the exceptional energy onstage.

First of all, the $10-general-admission-pit rush idea is brilliant. It made me excited just to read and consider the notion. I can just imagine how much fervor that would draw out of fans, or rather how much more enthused it would make theater goers about the show. People would feel rabid about this show, like they feel about the Hair revival, spurred on by the nightly invitation for the audience to come dance on stage. A $10 price would be perfect to not only match up with the fact that there would be no seat, but also to reflect the atmosphere and realism of the story’s setting. It certainly didn’t cost $85 to get into Fela’s Shrine nightclub.

Kois’s idea of ripping out rows of seats is definitely radical, and I am kind of on board (although I don’t want to damage the beautiful Eugene O’Neill Theatre). That, however, would be a massive undertaking and an extra cost to Fela!‘s backers to restore whenever its run ends. But who are we kidding? Jay-Z and Will Smith have the money—let’s make this happen! (Not to mention we’d also have the newest chamption for Cheapest Rush Ever! …Fine, there was also this one.)

Photo: Monique Carboni


“Next to Normal” Ends Rush Policy, Begins Ticket Lottery

In the words of Melchior in Spring Awakening, “HHHHNNNOOOOOO!!” Next to Normal will end its excellent rush policy October 12 and begin a ticket lottery for day-of seats. Granted, this means no more cold, early mornings, but with it comes the uncertainty of seeing the show. I am greatly disappointed by this news, not only because it makes getting rush tickets for the Yorkey/Kitt musical significantly more difficult, but I’ve always felt the “snobby,” we’re-too-good-for-you shows employ ticket lottos.

Let the facts speak for themselves. Hair, In The Heights, Rock of Ages, Shrek, West Side Story, and Wicked all hold ticket lottos. With few exceptions, these are shows that generally sell at least 90 percent of their tickets every week. Shrek is an odd beast in that it hasn’t consistently sold well since it’s opening last December and it also has a (overly-priced) student rush policy. In The Heights was a huge seller for a year after its 2008 Tony win for Best Musical, but has recently dipped to dangerously low numbers (some suspect it might close in January). But Hair, Rock of Ages, and West Side Story are monster-sellers and crowd pleasers, not to even mention the mega-bucks earnings of Wicked, which always sells out the 1,809-seat Gershwin (aka. the largest Broadway theater).

Now in my mind, Next to Normal is the best musical currently on Broadway. But we have to think of this from a mainstream perspective: Next to Normal is no Wicked. The show has been on a massive high from its Tony wins, but attendance has slipped to the high 80s in recent weeks (still strong, but a decline nonetheless). And Broadway’s prized theatergoers—families with kids—are not going to see this show. And there is nothing wrong with that. Next to Normal caters to theatergoers who aren’t afraid of a dark, depressing, thought-provoking show. But this is not the show to start a ticket lottery with. As much as I’d hate to see its sales suffer, I would be surprised if it maintains its current momentum into the post-holiday winter.

Lotteries are for shows—such as Wicked and Hair—that have certain longevity. But if recent trends have taught us anything, is anything on Broadway certain?

What do you think, Stage Rushers? Are you happy about this new lotto policy for Next to Normal, or are you clenching your fists in an anguished grip?

PS: In perusing the updated show rush policies, I noticed that the new musical Memphis, currently in previews, has a rush policy “in effect only for preview performances.” Memphis, I really want to see you; I do. But let’s not play the we-can’t-have-a-rush-policy-because-we’re-going-to-be-too-popular card until we’ve opened, shall we?