Duncan Sheik is still knee-deep in theater projects. The Tony-winning composer is getting ready to mount the first staged production of his new musical The Nightingale this June in San Diego, he’s still polishing away at the musical version of American Psycho, and he’s also trying to get the much-anticipated film version of Spring Awakening off the ground. Yet while the stage calls, Sheik is taking some time to focus on his music career. Sheik is co-headlining a concert tour with Suzanne Vega (most widely known for “Tom’s Diner”), which will play New York’s Highline Ballroom on April 25 and 26. Sheik phoned Stage Rush on the drive to his first rehearsal for the tour to chat about how American Psycho is influencing his next solo album, Spring Awakening going the indie film route, and why he’s wanted to dodge his biggest hit, “Barely Breathing,” for so long.
How did this collaboration with Suzanne Vega come about?
We’ve known each other for a really long time because we’re both practicing Buddhists. We knew each other through those circles and we’d see each other at various places when we’d be touring for our records. For a long time, Suzanne had this idea about writing a show where she would play Carson McCullers and perform these songs that were inspired by her writing. Suzanne’s daughter is a huge fan of Spring Awakening, so Suzanne thought that since I’ve done the theater thing before, she’d call me up. We ended up writing a score for this piece together. She performed it a year ago at the Rattlestick Playwrights Theater and she’s been performing a few of the songs in her concerts since then. So we decided to do this co-headlining tour. Read more
- Stage Rush takes a road trip to Pennsylvania to see the first-ever high school production of Spring Awakening
- Win tickets to see An Evening with Patti LuPone and Mandy Patinkin
- Broadway grosses
What do you think, Rushers? Do you think Spring Awakening should be performed in more high schools? Do you think it’s an appropriate musical for high school students? How do you think the show should be adapted for a high school setting? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!
- Heidi Blickenstaff’s surprising Broadway season
- “You Know You’re On Broadway When…” with Heidi Blickenstaff
- Spring Awakening national tour at The State Theatre, New Brunswick, New Jersey
- Poster designers Fraver and James McMullen speak at Lincoln Center Library
- Broadway grosses
What do you think, Rushers? Would you have loved to have seen Heidi Blickenstaff in The Book of Mormon? Where have you caught the Spring Awakening national tour? What now-closed Broadway show do you miss? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!
- Happy Halloween! Broadway theaters to participate in trick or treat
- Stage manager of The 39 Steps Matthew Shiner tells tales from the wings
- In The Heights to close in January; Lin-Manuel Miranda returns for final weeks
- Broadway grosses
What are you dressing up as for Halloween, Rushers? Have you ever made a costume based on a Broadway character? Were you surprised by stage manager Matthew Shiner’s job details and stories? Are you sad that In The Heights is closing? Will you try to see Lin-Manuel Miranda in one of the final performances? Leave your thoughts and ideas in the comments below, and Happy Halloween, Rushers!
- Fela! announces surprise January 2 closing date
- Fringe Festival: In Loco Parentis
- Live At Lincoln Center: South Pacific—more Broadway on TV, please
- Broadway grosses
Were you as shocked as I was by Fela!’s closing notice, Rushers? Do you think the show deserves a longer run? What Fringe Festival shows have you seen so far? Did you tune in for the live broadcast of South Pacific? What kind of compromise would you suggest to get more Broadway on TV? Leave your thoughts and ideas in the comments!
- Duncan Sheik plays second show at City Winery
- It’s official: Jennifer Damiano will play Mary Jane in Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark
- Broadway in Bryant Park ends with American Idiot and La Cage aux Folles
- Broadway grosses
What do you think, Rushers? Are you prac-ti-ca-lly per-fect? Did you catch Duncan Sheik’s concert at City Winery? Do you think he should continue with the covers or return fully to performing his solo work? Are you on board for Jennifer Damiano joining Spider-Man? Did you see the finale of Broadway in Bryant Park? Which week was your favorite this summer? Leave your thoughts and questions in the comments below!
Duncan Sheik returned to New York’s City Winery Tuesday night to complete his two-show commitment, after canceling his June 10 concert due to illness. The Tony-winning composer was back in regular form for an evening of 80s alt-rock covers and solo work.
Sheik kicked off the 80s covers segment with Depeche Mode’s “Stripped,” which he performed back in March at his concert at New Jersey’s South Orange Performing Arts Center. He moved through a set of new covers, which Sheik introduced as their “world premiere; which is code for we haven’t rehearsed them much.” The list included songs from The Cure, Howard Jones, and The Smiths—all with mellow arrangements. One of the few times in his set did Sheik get upbeat was when he played Tears For Fears’ “Shout,” which was a surprisingly mainstream choice for Sheik. As he’s done many times before, he introduced “Shout” with slight embarrassment as “a pop song,” which is something he did repeatedly during the show.
When he played his first concert at City Winery in June, Sheik’s set began with a Nick Drake album in its entirety before moving on to his solo work. Toward the end of Tuesday’s set of covers, a chiding audience member called out “Play Duncan Sheik!” The bashful Sheik responded, “I’m getting there; I just have to get this out of my system.” He began the segment of his own work with “For You” and then jumped to a Whisper House song, which he classically brushed off with, “My last album was called Whisper House. It was a theater thing.” From that musical, he played “The Tale of Solomon Snell,” which I thought was a poor choice, being that there are stronger numbers from the piece, and it has been a part of his past few set lists. Strangely missing lately has been “Earthbound Starlight,” which was the debut single off the Whisper House album. Read more
Happy birthday to me! Joining me for this special edition of Stage Rush TV are my dear friends Georgina and Kym, along with some other very esteemed guests who open the episode.
- At the Powerhouse Theater at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, NY to see Michael Mayer’s On A Clear Day You Can See Forever, featuring Brian d’Arcy James and Anika Noni Rose
- When friends and theater combine to make a cherished tradition
- Congratulations to the winners of the Night Music/Promises, Promises ticket giveaway
- Broadway grosses
Do you have any theater traditions with your friends, Rushers? Let me know what it is, and what your special memories are. Have you ever been to Vassar’s Powerhouse Theater? Will you be seeing this concert production of On A Clear Day this weekend, or are you waiting for when it comes to the Vineyard Theatre in January 2011 (or both)? As always, leave your thoughts, ideas, (and birthday wishes) in the comments!
When Jennifer Damiano departs Next to Normal tonight, she will be beginning a new chapter in her career: the next big project. While no official statement on casting has been made, the New York Times reports that Damiano has signed on to play Mary Jane in the upcoming mega musical Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark. Despite the mountain of publicity this will bring her, is becoming Spider-Man’s girlfriend the best move for a Tony-nominated actress known for playing three-dimensional women?
Since debuting on Broadway in the original cast of Spring Awakening in the ensemble and as an understudy, Damiano’s career has included co-headlining concerts at Joe’s Pub and her acclaimed performance as Natalie in the Pulitzer Prize-winning Next to Normal. These are tremendous accomplishments for a 19-year-old actress. Her involvement in Spring Awakening and Next to Normal, both Tony nominees for Best Musical (Spring won in 2007), both box offices successes and beloved by critics, has established her as an artsy-type actress. Starring in Spider-Man will shake up this trend.
Spring Awakening and Next to Normal were both “indie” musicals that began off Broadway. Neither were expected to achieve the level of success that they did when they transferred. Granted, Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark has been plagued by production and financial issues. It’s original big-name stars—Evan Rachel Wood, who was originally supposed to play Mary Jane, and Alan Cumming as Green Goblin—dropped out. Just this Friday, Broadway’s largest PR firm Boneau/Bryan-Brown resigned from Spider-Man’s account. Nevertheless, the show has Marvel Entertainment backing it. It has been reported that the undertaking of this musical has cost upwards of $50 million. This is no Spring Awakening or Next to Normal. Read more
Stripping a production down reveals all its vulnerabilities. The beauty of this approach is that if the work is strong, its assets will make up for any money-gobbling features like scenery, effects, and venue. The Looking Glass Theatre’s off-off-Broadway production of Spring Awakening: A Sin of Omission is one of those productions that shines when nothing much more than writing and acting is on the table.
Coming off of the critically acclaimed and box office success that was the Broadway musical version of Spring Awakening (which was beautifully minimalist itself), attending this translation of Frank Wedekind’s original straight play at the Looking Glass Theatre produces a little culture shock. Descending the Hell’s Kitchen building’s basement stairs to a non-air conditioned black box theater, I admit this spoiled theatergoer momentarily grappled for the amenities of the Eugene O’Neill Theatre. Yet upon first seeing Kyle Lampe’s bare-bones set, which boasts pretty much only a swing, I had a feeling I’d settle in comfortably.
Knowing the story, the simple presence of the swing reminded me of Wedekind’s characters, the tragic teenagers who, in the middle of their playful youth, long only for love and understanding. The nine young actors who embody upwards of 20 characters in the play convey Wedekind’s powerful emotions quite acutely. Read more