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Posts tagged ‘Rob Ashford’


The No. 1 Reason To See: Evita

evita broadway revival posterEvita hasn’t been seen on Broadway in over 30 years, but this Andrew Lloyd Webber classic is making up for it now with a grand-scale revival starring Ricky Martin, Elena Roger, and Michael Cerveris. Roger, who is Argentinian herself, portrays the controversial first lady of Argentina through her humble beginnings as a commoner, rising to become the internationally famous wife of President Juan Peron, to her early death from cancer.

The No. 1 Reason To See Evita: The opulence of the Casa Rosada Read more »


Review: How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying

how to succeed in business without really trying broadway musical poster daniel radcliffe revivalToo often on Broadway, musicals sacrifice brains and depth for joyous, get-up-and-dance production numbers, as if the two couldn’t coexist in the same show. Rob Ashford’s revival of How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying is that rare production that manages to provide audiences with both.

Daniel Radcliffe of Harry Potter megafame stars as J. Pierrepont Finch, the window washer at the World Wide Wicket Co. who cunningly works his way up the corporate ranks. This is Radcliffe’s second Broadway bow, following a fantastic debut in the psychological thriller Equus in 2008. To answer the questions on everyone’s minds—yes, Radcliffe can sing and dance along with an ensemble full of Broadway babies, born and bred. While his vocals never rise above adequate, Radcliffe both executes and contributes to director Ashford’s lively and challenging choreography.

Ashford cleverly crafted choreography around Radcliffe’s physical traits. During the college-football inspired number “Grand Old Ivy, the ensemble literally lifts and tumbles Radcliffe around as if he were a five-foot pigskin. The effect is nothing short of hilarious, as is Radcliffe’s approval of the physical gag. “Grand Old Ivy” and others like “Brotherhood of Man” display a level of choreography and production value that is filled with such life and invention; How To Succeed surely offers some of the best Broadway spectacle this season. Read more »


Broadway Brain: ‘Promises, Promises’ plays best when music director Phil Reno’s mother is in the audience

Phil Reno music directorWhile Jonathan Tunick might be a Tony nominee for Best Orchestrations for the revival of Promises, Promises, music director Phil Reno has to implement his work every night while conducting the show. Having previously conducted shows like The Producers (for a whopping 1,383 performances!) and The Drowsy Chaperone, Reno is no stranger to Tony-winning productions. Presiding over an orchestra of 18, as well as stars Kristin Chenoweth and Sean Hayes (this year’s Tony host and nominee), Reno is entrusted with Burt Bacharach and Hal David’s famous score.

Reno sat down with Stage Rush in the house of the Broadway Theatre, where Promises is showing, for a chat about Tonys, career destiny, and conducting for his mother.

Explaining it to me as if I’m a 3 year old, what does a music director/supervisor do?
We’re responsible for teaching all the cast members the music. That all happens way before we ever add the orchestra. We usually rehearse a show like Promises, Promises five or six weeks before we go into tech rehearsal. I supervise and oversee the scene-change music and underscoring and introductions of numbers. I write and make suggestions for those pieces to make the whole musical flow of the evening go as smoothly as it can. As the show progresses, I’m responsible for maintaining the musical integrity of the show. How people sing, interpret their songs, make sure group numbers are still tight, and that the orchestra is still playing well. For those of us that are involved in a long run, it can be very easy for some people to get complacent and casual with it. I consider my job to keep them enthused and energized to do it, making it as good or better than the last performance. I try to inspire energy and emotion from the musicians and the cast. I never wanted to be one of those “Here we go again” kind of conductors.

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