Skip to content

Posts tagged ‘Stephen Sondheim’

28
Apr

Follies’ Elaine Paige: Still here and finally gunning for a Tony Award

elaine paige follies broadway revival im still here carlotta bernadette peters

Photo: Joan Marcus

On May 1, Elaine Paige, the actress who originated the roles of Eva Peron in Evita and Grizabella in Cats could likely be nominated for her first Tony Award. Despite a lauded stage career that goes back nearly 45 years, the British actress has only been on Broadway twice (and not in those shows), having done most of her work in London’s West End. Her Broadway debut was in Sunset Boulevard, and although she played the lead role of Norma Desmond, she was ineligible for a Tony nomination, as she was a replacement. However, her return to Broadway last fall as the saucy stage and film star Carlotta who belts out “I’m Still Here” in the revival of Follies has her on everyone’s frontrunner list for a nod for Best Featured Actress in a Musical. As she readied to begin rehearsals for Follies’ Los Angeles run, Paige telephoned Stage Rush to discuss chumming it up with her Follies costars, being Andrew Lloyd Webber’s go-to gal, and what a Tony nomination would mean to her.

You’ve taken this show to three locations now. How does that feel?
Here we are in LA for the third and final installment. It’s extraordinary. It feels like we’re on tour, really. It’s all very unexpected, of course, because initially it was just going to be in Washington, DC. To then be told we were going to New York was a wonderful surprise. Now to be here in LA is even better. It keeps on rolling.

What’s going on with this production? Has anything different? How’s it going with Victoria Clark, who is replacing Bernadette Peters?
I haven’t yet started rehearsals; I start on Friday. One thing I know is different is that the leading lady, Bernadette Peters, is not in this production out here. It’s a young lady by the name of Victoria Clark, who I’ve yet to meet. That will make a different complexion on the piece. Sometimes when somebody new comes into something, I think that could be a breath of fresh air.

Read more »

30
Dec

Stage Rush TV: Episode 87

Talking points:

What do you think, Rushers? What was your top Broadway moment in 2011? What are you most looking forward to on Broadway in 2012? Leave your thoughts in the comments below, and have a safe and happy New Year!

Follow Stage Rush on Facebook and Twitter, and sign up for the weekly newsletter!

11
Nov

Stage Rush TV: Episode 84

Talking points:

What do you think, Rushers? Who is your favorite character in Follies? Do you see where Ron Raines is coming from with his assessments of his castmates? Were you at the Suites By Sondheim concert? Who do you think gave the best performance? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!

Follow Stage Rush on Facebook and Twitter, and sign up for the weekly newsletter!

8
Nov

On the scene: Lea Salonga, Adam Jacobs and Ali Ewoldt perform at Suites By Sondheim concert

suites by sondheim concert phildev ali ewoldt adam jacobs

Ali Ewoldt and Adam Jacobs. Photo: Carlos Damocles

PhilDev’s Suites By Sondheim benefit concert at Lincoln Center was like reaching into a cereal box of Stephen Sondheim’s Lucky Charms and scooping out a handful of marshmallows. The concert, held at Alice Tully Hall on November 7 to benefit the Philippine Development Foundation, featured songs only among the composer’s biggest hits. Performing the sweeping

numbers were 36 Broadway actors of Filipino descent, including concert headliner Lea Salonga (Miss Saigon), Adam Jacobs (The Lion King), T.V. Carpio (Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark), and Ali Ewoldt (Les Miserables).

Jose Llana led a lively ensemble opener with the title song to Company, followed by a cutesy “You Could Drive A Person Crazy” by Carpio, Liz Casola, and Jaygee Macapugay. Llana closed out the Company set with a solid “Being Alive.”

The West Side Story segment was among the strongest of the night, reuniting Jacobs and Ewoldt, who played Marius and Cosette in the 2006 revival of Les Miserables. They sang a shiver-inducing “One Hand, One Heart,” which exemplified their pitch-perfect chemistry. Joan Almedilla joined Ewoldt for a ferocious “A Boy Like That,” which they beautifully juxtaposed with a haunting “I Have A Love.” Read more »

23
Sep

Stage Rush TV: Episode 78

Talking points:

What do you think, Rushers? Did Steve Cohen’s magic trick blow your mind as much as it did mine? What is your no. 1 reason to see Follies? Make sure you enter to win a pair of tickets to see Relatively Speaking and leave your thoughts in the comments below!

Follow Stage Rush on Facebook and Twitter, and sign up for the weekly newsletter!

21
Sep

The No. 1 Reason To See: Follies

follies broadway musical revival poster sondheim bernadette petersIf there’s a lesson to learn from Follies, it’s “Don’t look back.” Because if you do, there’s only a mess there. Featuring a fearsome foursome of Bernadette Peters, Jan Maxwell, Danny Burstein, and Ron Raines, this revival of Stephen Sondheim and James Goldman’s musical follows a group of former showgirls who gather for a reunion at the theater where they once basked in the spotlight before it’s demolished into a parking lot. What seems to be an innocent trip down memory lane exposes the cracks of marriage and the open wounds of regret for the two main couples.

The No. 1 Reason To See Follies: Bernadette Peters’ performance of “In Buddy’s Eyes” Read more »

20
Sep

The suite magic of Steve Cohen

steve cohen magic magician chamber waldorf astoria hotel

Photo: Clay Patrick McBride

Most people want to separate their work environment from their home, but most people are not Steve Cohen. Cohen, his wife, and two children live in the Waldorf Towers in the same suite where he works, inviting over 200 strangers in every weekend. Cohen is known as the Millionaires’ Magician, and he performs his acclaimed show, Chamber Magic, five times a weekend in his residential suite. Yet Cohen’s is drastically different from the popular magic acts found in Las Vegas; he performs in front of no more than 50 people at a time, with close-up tricks steeped in Vaudeville culture.

And he’s made it into a multi-million-dollar business.

Cohen looks the part of a Waldorf resident. Dressed in tails with a yellow vest and thick-knotted necktie, Cohen, 40, not only appears dapper, but as if he’s not of this period. Even without him admitting so, it’s clear from his act that he has an affinity for old world style. Audiences of Chamber Magic are required to wear cocktail party attire (don’t even think about wearing jeans). Between the formal dress of the audience and the performer, the elegance of the setting, and Cohen’s charming delivery, Chamber Magic transports to a much older era. Yet Cohen delivers with boyish wonderment in his eyes.

That look is something that has never left him. Cohen began performing magic when he was 6 years old, growing up in Chappaqua, New York. His great uncle was an amateur magician and taught him card and coin tricks. Cohen was hooked. “That’s 34 years of a lot of magic,” Cohen said.

In 2001, Cohen commandeered a friend’s Greenwich Village apartment a few nights a week for one of the first iterations of Chamber Magic. This engagement didn’t last long, however; the friend’s wife got tired of constantly rearranging the furniture for Cohen’s magic shows. So it was off to the National Arts Club in Gramercy Park, where Cohen performed for a few months. It was there that Cohen made connections that lead to the Waldorf and it wasn’t long until he took up his current residency.

Cohen refers to the kind of tricks he performs as “thinking-man’s magic.” “If I’m just doing fancy flourishes and random rolls of coins across my fingers, you enjoy it while you’re watching it, but then it’s over and it doesn’t leave you with any impact,” Cohen said. “My design parameter when creating a magic show is to make magic that lasts in your head longer.”

VIDEO: Steve Cohen talks about wooing his wife with magic, and one of his biggest fans—Stephen Sondheim. Read more »

2
Sep

Stage Rush TV: Episode 77

Talking points:

  • I spend all of Hurricane Irene contemplating the magic tricks of Steve Cohen, the Millionaire’s Magician
  • Casting the Les Miserables movie: Can Hugh, Russell, and Anne cut it?
  • Ticket giveaway: Play It Cool
  • Broadway grosses

What do you think, Rushers? Do you think magic exists? Have you ever seen a truly great magic act? Who would your picks be for the leads in the Les Miserables film? Do you think the rumored cast will do the musical justice? Dream the dream, and while you do, leave your thoughts in the comments below!

Follow Stage Rush on Facebook and Twitter, and sign up for the weekly newsletter!

3
Jan

Hunter Ryan Herdlicka’s last page of ‘Night Music’

Hunter Ryan Herdlicka is preparing for the closing of A Little Night Music—for real this time. Last June, the cast of the acclaimed production was given a second life when Bernadette Peters and Elaine Stritch signed on to replace departing stars Catherine Zeta-Jones and Angela Lansbury—just two weeks before the show was set to close. For Herdlicka, who is making his Broadway debut at 24 as the morose Henrick, the extension was a fairytale ending to a story that already had one.

“We thought we were done,” Herdlicka said. “I was on my phone and I clicked onto BroadwayWorld.com and I saw that headline that we were going to stay open with Bernadette and Elaine. It was a shock.”

With Night Music, Herdlicka experienced an aspiring young actors dream. After graduating from Carnegie Mellon University in 2009, Herdlicka was cast in the role of Henrick in the revival of A Little Night Music before he even moved to New York. He was, in fact, the first person cast in the show. “It wasn’t until that summer that I started hearing names like Uma Thurman, these celebrities that were going to come and be in the show,” Herdlicka said. “I was like, ‘Whoa, whoa, whoa! They’re not just bringing over the people from the London [Menier Chocolate Factory] production?’ It didn’t hit me till a few months into the run that it was such a huge deal.”

Herdlicka’s audition process took just nine days. During his final callback, he sang for the show’s composer Stephen Sondheim. “I had met him in the elevator on the way up,” Herdlicka said. “I shook his hand, he knew my name. That kind of helped me relax a bit. In the audition room, [director Trevor Nunn] was introducing me to everyone, which makes you feel so comfortable, I wish everyone would do that when you go to an audition. Trevor says, ‘Stephen, this is Hunter.’ And he says, ‘Oh, we go way back!’”

Read more »

10
Apr

Review: Anyone Can Whistle

Since I was a fool and missed Raul Esparza’s last mind-blowing on-stage pairing, it was even more exciting to see him co-star in a musical with Broadway’s leading lady, Sutton Foster. That man is a fantastic dramatic actor, but he really needs to do more musicals.
The show is City Center Encores!’s production of Anyone Can Whistle. This i s a rarely performed Sondheim show, and it’s got a collect-’em-all factor for fans.

To summarize this play would be missing the point. If you don’t understand it (which I didn’t), there is still fun to be had. But for a primer, it’s about a plotting mayor, played by Donna Murphy, who rules over a destitute town. A rock starts spouting water and people flock to the town to see it and the “mayoress” charges them for it. Suddenly, Raul Esparza arrives to sort out the town crazies and the mayor is out to arrest Sutton Foster for questioning the validity of the lucrative miracle. Read more »