This week’s acts at Broadway in Bryant Park couldn’t match the scorching heat of Kerry Butler and Aaron Tveit from last week, so Mother Nature sent down an excess of UV rays to make up for the difference. The third week of the concert series was the hottest yet, clocking in at 94 degrees. In addition to the added heat, there were five shows performing, breaking from the usual four. It was a jam-packed show with solid turnouts, but no clear, wowing performance.
Joseph Harrington took the stage first for Billy Elliot, singing “Electricity.” His delivery seemed a bit robotic and inorganic, but at the end when he took center stage and performed numerous, consecutive pirouettes—I couldn’t help but have chills. Emily Skinner sang Mrs. Wilkinson’s number, “Shine,” but was unaccompanied by her ballerina students, who performed during the number last year. Closing out their set, all four current Broadway Billies (Harrington, Tade Biesinger, Giuseppe Bausilio, and Peter Mazurowski) convened for a tap dance set.
Memphis sent in its understudies in place of Chad Kimball and Montego Glover. Bryan Fenkart, who sat down with Stage Rush for an “Understudy Hall” profile, is often a pinch-hitter for the role of Huey. News broke on Thursday that Kimball is scheduled to take a leave of absence from the musical in the fall due to a long-gestating injury. Fenkart’s appearance at the Bryant Park concert provided some thoughtful foreshadowing as to whether he might be tapped to replace Kimball in the role. Regardless, Fenkart delivered a vocally-impressive and well-acted “The Music of My Soul,” followed by Dan’yelle Williamson, who added her own gospel flourishes to the great solo “Colored Woman.” Surprisingly, Fenkart and Williamson were the only two Memphis representatives. I found it odd that the show didn’t make use of its impressive ensemble, but the two back-up leads delivered a strong set on their own.
VIDEO: Bryan Fenkart sings “The Music of My Soul” from Memphis
The new Broadway season swoops in with quite a homecoming when it takes over the area it inhabits. During the annual Broadway on Broadway concert, Broadway the art takes full control of Broadway the district. In its nineteenth year, the free outdoor concert in Times Square offered strong performances, many of theater’s biggest stars, and a lack of new offerings.
Sponsored by The Broadway League and billed as a kick-off to the new theater season, Broadway on Broadway should (and usually does) feature the new musical productions that will be bowing in the coming months. It’s an exciting sneak peak of shows that are opening in a few weeks, and some much further into the year. Last year, new productions like Finian’s Rainbow and Memphis were among those that debuted their songs and cast to the Times Square audience. This year, just two new musicals performed, out of the 10+ productions slated for Broadway this year.
Only one of those two productions, Elf, features original music. Beth Leavel was on hand to perform “There Is A Santa Claus,” which was pretty paint-by-numbers in melody, but embodied a strong seasonal flavor. Will Swenson (with newly cropped hair, much to the female audience’s audible disdain) performed “I Say A Little Prayer” from Priscilla Queen of the Desert—a jukebox musical. Not two of the strongest numbers of the day, but still exciting, being they were new.
Where was the cast of Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, who is clearly ready to go? The Scottsboro Boys are still performing at the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis, so they get a pass on this event. But why couldn’t Reeve Carney represent Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark like he did on Good Morning America on Friday? Were the A-list stars of Women On The Verge Of A Nervous Breakdown above the free concert? Being that all these shows are set to open in the next two months, a one-song performance couldn’t have been too far out of their reach. Instead of performances, Sutton Foster, from the upcoming revival of Anything Goes (another production that didn’t perform—like she doesn’t know how to sing “Blow, Gabriel, Blow?) appeared on stage to read from the list of all these shows that are coming to Broadway and wouldn’t be performing. Some tease. Read more
In this second part of Ensemble Watch, Jeremy Woodard and Andre Ward of the Rock of Ages ensemble give details on how they stay rocker-fit for the show, the pressure’s of on-stage physique, and what rehearsals are like during a long run of a production.
Were you surprised that Andre and Jeremy don’t have to work harder to stay in shape for the show? What did you think about their views on pressure to stay fit for Rock of Ages? Are you surprised about all the rehearsal that’s still required of them?
- Jeremy Woodard and Andre Ward of Rock of Ages sit down for Ensemble Watch
- The Scottsboro Boys offers discounted tickets to its first preview performance
- Trust is difficult to rush, but there is still a discount to be had
- Broadway grosses
Are you a fan (or a groupie?) of Jeremy Woodard and Andre Ward from Rock of Ages, Rushers? Did any of their backstage stories surprise you, like the cable TV story surprised me? Did you snap up one of the $19.31 tickets to The Scottsboro Boys? Have you seen Trust? Did you manage to rush it? Leave your thoughts and questions in the comments below, and don’t forget to watch Part 2 of Ensemble Watch: Rock of Ages early next week.
Andre Ward and Jeremy Woodard—the guy rockers in the ensemble of Rock of Ages—talk about backstage life at the Brooks Atkinson, knee-bleeding audition tales, and bonding through cable TV in the latest edition of Ensemble Watch.
Have you caught Andre and Jeremy in Rock of Ages, Rushers? Or seen Jeremy go on as Stacee Jaxx? Were you surprised that neither of these guys thought they were cut out for the 80s rock show? And what’s up with them having to pay for cable in their dressing room? Leave your thoughts and questions in the comments, and don’t forget to check back early next week for part 2 of Ensemble Watch: Rock of Ages!
- 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”
- Celebrating 20 episodes of SRTV!
- Being a way overdue audience member of Rock of Ages and Race
- The Fela!/39 Steps giveaway has ended. More giveaways to come!
- Broadway grosses
What shows have you been super late to seeing, Rushers? Did you find yourself immersed in Rock of Ages? Did you feel convinced with Race? Leave all your questions and thoughts in the comments! And once again, thank you so much for watcher. Rushers rock!
Get your game faces on, Rushers—your ultimate challenge has arrived. The Tony Awards has announced that for the first time ever, student rush tickets will be offered for the ceremony.
(Have you recovered yet? Well do so, because you’ve got a tough road ahead of you.)
When examining the details of this rush, all I see in my head is Mario struggling to hurdle over all the obstacles in the final, most difficult level of Donkey Kong. This rush is like jumping through fire and water, and then battling the most fearsome video game BOSS. This is The Ultimate Rush.
- The first 200 people in line will be eligible.
- They then must enter their names into a ticket lottery. This is a double rush!
Have you ever tried to play a ticket lotto with 200 people? My guess is that 50 tickets will be given away. A hundred seems like too much—that would make the odds 50/50 and that just sounds too good to be true. In addition, most people will definitely be signing up for two tickets (yes, each winner is entitled up to two tickets), so that will cut the number of names drawn down to about 25. And what time should you arrive? Is 3 a.m. even too late? Honestly, I’m thinking midnight/1 a.m. (shudders). But for Jonathan Groff and Lea Michele’s final performance in Spring Awakening, student rushers started lining up at the Eugene O’Neill Theatre during the performance the night before! This one’s a tough call, but I’ll be shooting for 1 a.m.
Here are the rest of the details about The Ultimate Rush:
- WHERE: The Broadway Concierge & Ticket Center, 1560 Broadway, between 46 and 47 Sts.
- WHEN: When you arrive is up to you. First 200 in line will enter their names into the lotto at 11 a.m. The lotto drawing will take place at 3 p.m. Tony nominee Constantine Maroulis from Rock of Ages and fellow cast member James Carpinello will conduct the drawing.
- HOW MUCH: $40 per ticket (cash only), up to two tickets per lotto winner.
- WHAT TO WEAR: Well, if you’re a winner, you must have black-tie attire for the Tony Awards ceremony.
That’s it, Rushers. The Ultimate Rush awaits you. Check back here at Stage Rush for full coverage of the Tony rush (I will be doing it. And it is supposed to rain. all. night.). May the best Rushers win!