The big boys came out to play in Bryant Park Thursday. This week’s outdoor concert featured some of Broadway’s biggest box-office hitters: Jersey Boys, The Lion King, Rent, and Wicked. Death Takes A Holiday came by to chill too. This group made for one of the strongest sets this summer, without having any particular wow moment. Here are the highlights.
Roundabout Theatre Company’s new off-Broadway musical Death Takes A Holiday served as the opening act. Kevin Earley, the newly crowned lead who has replaced the laryngitis-stricken Julian Ovenden, was there to toe tap with Mara Davi in “Shimmy Like They Do In Gay Paris.” Spring Awakening alum Alexandra Socha was clear-voiced and charming during “What Do You Do” with Max Von Essen. Overall, the new score by Maury Yeston sounded elegant and romantic.
The boys from Jersey set the mic stands in a line and plowed through a medley of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons classics. Even though I’ve heard this set so many times, the foursome of Miles Aubrey, Erik Bates, Russell Fischer, and Ryan Jesse sounded spot on as the famous crooners. Also, I’m a sucker for that mic-stand choreography. Read more
- Adam Rothenberg from Adaumbelle’s Quest co-hosts!
- Sexy Performers Week at Broadway in Bryant Park
- Word Association with Chester Gregory‘s best roles
- One Night Stand, the documentary about the 24-hour musicals
- Broadway grosses
What do you think, Rushers? Did this week’s Bryant Park concert rock your world with the sexy people that performed? What is your favorite role of Chester Gregory’s to date? Have you ever attended the 24-hour musicals event? Leave your thoughts in the comments below, and don’t forget to enter our Follies ticket giveaway for a chance to win one of two pairs of tickets to the show!
The oldie musicals came to Broadway in Bryant Park this week to show the newbies who’s boss. The lively casts of The Phantom of the Opera, The Fantasticks, Hair, and Anything Goes performed their classic, well-trodden material with fresh enthusiasm.
At first, I wasn’t so sure about the Phantom set. Kyle Barisich and Marni Raab sang a sweet “All I Ask of You,” but the acting was so out of context on the Bryant Park stage that I had trouble holding back a few snide laughs. I shut up when Hugh Panaro took the stage for “Music of the Night.” The Broadway A-lister and long-time Phantom sang the famous number with remarkable control, and his power notes filled the park effortlessly.
VIDEO: Hugh Panaro sings “Music of the Night” from The Phantom of the Opera
- Sarah Roberts from Adventures in the Endless Pursuit of Entertainment co-hosts!
- Kate Baldwin’s album-release party at Feinstein’s
- Memphis‘ Bryan Fenkart and The Addams Family are best in show at Broadway in Bryant Park
- From Follies at the Kennedy Center to Sweeney Todd in Paris: How far will you go to see a show?
- Broadway grosses
What do you think, Rushers? Who do you think was the strongest act at Broadway in Bryant Park this week? What’s the farthest you’ve ever traveled to see theater? Leave your frequent theater miles in the comments below!
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
- Kevin Daly of The Theatre Aficionado at Large co-hosts!
- Broadway in Bryant Park triumphs in its second week
- Kevin attends Kate Baldwin’s album release party at Feinstein’s
- Is Victoria Clark’s performance in Sister Act the show’s emotional center?
- Broadway grosses
What do you think, Rushers? Was Broadway in Bryant Park this week one of the best sets you’ve seen? Have you watched Kerry Butler sing “Fly Fly Away” 57 times, like I have? What did you think of Victoria Clark’s performance in Sister Act? Leave your thoughts in the comments below, and thank you for helping us to reach 70 episodes of Stage Rush TV!
After a ho-hum kickoff, the Broadway in Bryant Park concert series returned Thursday to its second week with a roar. Big Broadway players like Chicago and Catch Me If You Can showed up with their lead actors and off-Broadway fare like Million Dollar Quartet (new to the “off” title) and NEWSical proved strong.
First up were the guys (and gal) from Million Dollar Quartet, which is readying for its off-Broadway bow at the end of the month at New World Stages (it’s transferring from Broadway’s Nederlander Theatre). Much like Baby It’s You!, this weak show plays the Bryant Park venue fierce as a concert-style performance. Leave the story at home—bring in the hits. Their set list was similar to last year’s, but Robert Britton Lyons bring focus as Carl Perkins and Eddie Clendening is still right on as Elvis Presley. At six songs, their set list could have been cut by two, and they sadly did not perform their signature Britton-Lyons-stands-on-the-bass closing pose this year. Lazy musicians.
The old stalwart Chicago took the stage next, and felt anything but old this year. This was large in part due to Christopher Sieber, one of Broadway’s most reliable leads, bringing his charisma and rubbery face to the stage as Billy Flynn. He led the cast in “We Both Reached For The Gun,” which played great, visually, due to the marionette-like choreography. Melissa Rae Mahon, who was featured in Stage Rush’s Chicago episode of Ensemble Watch, played the part of Roxie alongside Sieber, and delivered her character’s title number with delicious sass.
VIDEO: Christopher Sieber sings “We Both Reached For The Gun” from Chicago
- Lucky and The Mick from The Craptacular co-host with me this week!
- Broadway in Bryant Park kicks off with a not-so-stunning set
- Hair returns to Broadway at the St. James Theatre
- Our take on the Broadway shows opening in the fall
- Broadway grosses
What do you think, Rushers? What new show are you most excited to see in the fall? Did you think the first Broadway in Bryant Park concert of the summer was a dud? Did you catch the re-revived Hair yet? Leave all your Craptacular thoughts in the comments below!
Manhattan’s summer lunch breaks just got extended. There’s only one event that could justify an hour-and-a-half reprieve from the office, and that is the Broadway in Bryant Park concert series that kicked off Thursday afternoon. (Yes, my math is correct. The concert lasts an hour, but attendees should expect to get there at least a half hour early for a good seat.) Despite the gorgeous (if not intense) summer weather that beat down on the Bryant Park audience for the kick off installment, the concert series got off to an underwhelming start.
Cirque du Soleil’s Zarkana was set to perform first. You might be wondering what act could be performed from the super-elaborate spectacle. The answer: not much. A couple minutes of clowns waddling through the sweaty crowd and a quick run across the stage comprised Zarkana’s bizarre performance—if you can call it that.
The women of Baby It’s You! took the stage to show what a performance is really about. The four actresses that play the Shirelles pounded out a medley of the girl group’s hits, with Christina Sajous spunky vocals mixing well with her Rihanna-style cropped hairdo. The cheesy costumes of the 60s were not missed, and the performance demonstrated that the musical works so much better as a tribute concert than a narrative show.
VIDEO: Baby It’s You! performs a Shirelles medley
- 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!