- Going to the opening night of Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson
- Interviewing Lion King ensemble members Ray Mercer and Jean Michelle Grier
- Broadway grosses
What do you think, Rushers? Is Bloody Bloody the coolest show to hit Broadway this season, or do you have your eye on another show? What Broadway openings have you been to? Tell me your stories and leave your thoughts and questions in the comments below! Don’t forget to follow Stage Rush on Facebook and Twitter for updates, news, and sightings when you’re on the go!
I was there when it played off Broadway, then attended the media day, and even was present at its first Broadway preview. So when I was invited to the opening night performance and party of Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, despite my excitement, I worried people would start thinking I was a Jackson groupie. And maybe I am! Well, not exactly, but there’s no shame in supporting a show that’s this good or one you believe in. And I believe in Andrew Jackson.
I was the plus one of the very generous Sammy Davis, my friend and the mind behind the self-titled Sammy Davis Vintage, who is a vintage fashion expert and stylist. We arrived at the Bernard Jacobs Theatre early enough to soak up the opening-night flashbulbs and festivities occurring on the street. We first saw Liev Schreiber and Naomi Watts walk the press line, followed by the very pregnant Katie Finneran, Eve Best, Keith Powell, and Andrew McCarthy. Bloody Bloody writer/director Alex Timbers and composer Michael Friedman also passed through photographers, looking ebullient for the debut of their creative baby. Getting swept up in all the famous faces and buzz, it was easy to lose track of time, and we realized we should go in and take our seats before we missed the curtain.
The excitement in the theater was palpable. I had already observed Donyale Werle and Justin Townsend’s enveloping set and lighting when I attended the first preview performance, but I swear the ornaments glowed brighter this night. The performance began 15 minutes late, but when it did, the audience gave the cast of Bloody Bloody a warm welcome. Title star Benjamin Walker riffed a little more than usual in his opening statements, warning the audience that their sustained applause was just delaying them all from the open bar at the after party. Read more
As you might know from last night’s live blog, Stage Rush was reporting from the press room of the 2010 Tony Awards. After they gave their acceptance speeches, most of the night’s lucky winners made the long journey from Radio City Music Hall across the rainy plaza of Rockefeller Center to the LA Sports Club, where the press room was stationed. (We missed you, Scarlett Johansson and Catherine Zeta-Jones!) Among the Tony winners were Denzel Washington, Viola Davis, Katie Finneran, Levi Kreis, and the Memphis creative team. Here are the highlights from those interviews.
This revival of Promises, Promises is being force-fed to potential audiences as “Mad Men The Musical.” It’s not, so let’s just get that out of the way. Regardless of being set in the 1960s, it does not embody the darkness that Mad Men does, even when one of its main characters attempts suicide. Instead of trying to appear to be something it’s not, Promises should revel in what it is—a charming musical.
This production has been widely panned by the critics. It’s not the high point of the Broadway season, but I found myself wrapped up in the earnestness of the musical. If you’re someone who identifies with the nice-guys-finish-last school of thought, and rally for that good guy who never seems to catch a break, you should find yourself captivated, as I was, by Sean Hayes. Playing Chuck Baxter, Hayes is an office underling eager to climb the corporate ladder. But he’s the type that people walk all over, so he let’s his lecherous bosses use his apartment for their trysts, in hopes that his loyalty will manifest into a promotion. Meanwhile, the downtrodden Chuck fancies the company cafeteria cutie Fran Kubelik (normally played by Kristin Chenoweth, but at my performance, understudied by Sarah Jane Everman). As you can imagine, things become really sticky for Chuck when he discovers Fran is “the other woman” to his top boss.
It’s Hayes’ show, as he appeals to the audience, constantly addressing us, and we throw our support behind him. Instead of making Chuck a twerp, Hayes turns him into a truly likeable guy, smiling through all his misfortunes, recognizing the ridiculous humor of his bad luck. But it’s not his pursuit of the corporate high life that we’re rooting for; it’s his potential relationship with Fran, the girl of his dreams. It’s important for Hayes to convey that he’s more than just an unfortunate chump, but that that romance and desire lives in him. For me, Hayes’ highlighting moment is the ridiculously sweet song “She Likes Basketball,” in which he realizes that his hopes of romancing Fran aren’t so far flung, that they actually share common ground. Hayes makes you remember what it was like to be a kid, reveling in every hopeful notion that you and your crush were destined to be together. Read more