We are thrilled to announce Willy Wonka, Willy Wonka JR., Willy Wonka KIDS, and Willy Wonka TYA are once again available for licensing by amateur theaters.

The delicious adventures experienced by Charlie Bucket on his visit to Willy Wonka’s mysterious chocolate factory light up the stage in these captivating adaptations of Roald Dahl’s fantastical tale. Featuring the enchanting songs from the 1971 film starring Gene Wilder and new songs by Leslie Bricusse (Jekyll & Hyde, Doctor Dolittle) and Anthony Newley, Roald Dahl’s Willy Wonka is a scrumdidilyumptious musical guaranteed to delight everyone’s sweet tooth.

All versions of Roald Dahl’s Willy Wonka have been created with educators and student performers in mind. With this shows’ flexible cast sizes featuring roles for all ages, these are ideal musicals for schools/community theatres looking to involve as many performers as possible. Filled with imaginative design possibilities, Roald Dahl’s Willy Wonka will take audiences on a fantasy ride into the land of pure imagination!

*All versions of Willy Wonka are only available for amateur groups
** International restrictions apply

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    At a recent dinner with like-minded Broadway enthusiasts, one told of a director whose vision hadn’t worked for what could have otherwise been a really good musical. Soon after, another spoke of a different director who had taken a musical that many had deemed worthless and had turned it into a success.

    And that’s when I brought up one director who did both – and with the same show.

    Back in 2010 when I saw a preview of Bartlett Sher’s production of WOMEN ON THE VERGE OF A NERVOUS BREAKDOWN, I didn’t know where to look. Some of this was because of a confusing set design. Too many flats and pieces – and not very attractive ones at that – were rolling or flying in and out. The story got lost.

    It was easy for that to happen, for WOMEN, based on Pedro Almodóvar‘s 1988 Spanish-language film, does have a few intricate plots going on. Pepa and Ivan, two voice-over artists, have been having a torrid affair. His breaking it off made her break down.

    Ivan is quite the, shall-we-say, lipstick collector, who’s still officially married to Lucia, who still wants him. So does Paulina, Ivan’s current love, who just happens to be the lawyer Pepa goes to see to find out her legal rights now that she’s found out she’s pregnant by him.

    In addition to these women who are on the verge of a nervous you-know-what, so is Pepa’s friend Candela, because she’s starting to think that her new boyfriend is a card-carrying terrorist. Then there’s Lucia and Ivan’s son Carlos and his fiancée Marisa who run into Pepa while apartment hunting.

    Old situations, new complications. When WOMEN officially opened on Nov 4, 2010, the show didn’t impress other critics, either. Although the musical had always been planned as a limited engagement, you know it would have extended if business had warranted. As it was, WOMEN didn’t even make it to its planned closing on Jan. 23, 2011. It called it a life three weeks earlier, mustering a mere sixty-nine performances.

    However, a few months later when WOMEN‘S original cast album was released, it showed that David Yazbek had written excellent music and lyrics. The Tony committee agreed, and chose it as a Best Score nominee.

    Patti Lupone and Sherie Rene Scott in the Original Broadway Production of WOMEN ON THE VERGE OF A NERVOUS BREAKDOWN (Photo © Paul Kolnik)

    So what a shame that the show – despite a cast that had received nineteen Tony nominations (resulting in four wins) – didn’t succeed. At least Patti LuPone (Lucia) and Laura Benanti (Candela) received Tony nominations.

    Many would have thought that Sher would want to put WOMEN way behind him. Wonder of wonders, miracle of miracles, he didn’t. This past winter in London, he decided to try again – but he wouldn’t just replicate what Broadway had seen at the Belasco as a way of insisting he was right all along and everyone else was stupid. Give him credit for completely rethinking the show to the point that anyone would be hard-pressed to believe it was a production by the same director.

    First, Sher approved Anthony Ward’s totally different set design. It was an all-white, duplex apartment with a railing on the second level that would have been right for the ocean liner on which Anything Goes takes place. Frankly, I wouldn’t be at all surprised to learn that the set had been bought from a stock production of that ’30s hit. For those who think I’m exaggerating, may I add that the front door of the apartment – yes, the front door, the one that opens right into the apartment itself – had a porthole in it. Who has a privacy-denying porthole on a front door?

    Because it was a unit set, Sher would not repeat his mistake of confusing us where the many different scenes took place. Instead, he ensured that we knew where we were every step of the way by rolling on a blackboard that first proclaimed “Madrid, 1987″ and continued to inform us of time and place. Very close to stage’s edge, too, were the little set pieces that suggested bigger locales. A window frame rolled on, a telephone booth flew in. To represent a new location, characters quickly changed their clothes.

    Another wise decision was booking The Playhouse, one of London’s most intimate theaters. It has about 4/5ths of the seating capacity of the Belasco, but its stage isn’t even half as wide. That lack of space helped make matters all the more chaotic, for Sher had his characters running around with the fervor of mice in a Skinner Box.

    Frank Loesser was famous for saying that his THE MOST HAPPY FELLA, for which he composed more than three dozen songs – many of which are operatic in nature – is not an opera but “a musical with a lotta music.” WOMEN is a musical comedy with a lotta comedy. We always hear how Sondheim’s songs in A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO THE FORUM function as respites and time-outs from the frenetically farcical book. Precious few of the songs even come close to that famous musical theater goal of advancing the plot.

    Sher proceeded as if he’d realized that the songs in WOMEN could serve the same purpose. This allowed us to catch our collective breath from laughing so hard and enjoying Yazbek’s witty score.

    During the book scenes, in the time-honored tradition of farcical comedy, Sher placed his performers right at the lip of the stage while Peter Mumford’s white-bright lighting engulfed them. When the time came for a song, for both variety and contrast, Mumford flooded the entire stage with vibrant colors from an intense lavender to a fabulous fuchsia.

    Tamsin Greig and the cast of WOMEN ON THE VERGE OF A NERVOUS BREAKDOWN at the Playhouse Theatre in London. (Photo ©Tristam Kenton for The Guardian)

    So Sher realized that the way to succeed was to direct the book of the show as if he were staging a British farce along the lines of  Boeing-Boeing or Let’s Get Laid. (Don’t know that one? It concerned two detectives who were chasing a criminal named Gordon Laid; it ran nearly two years.)

    As a result, this new take on WOMEN can just as easily be called YES, SEX, PLEASE, WE’RE SPANISH, for every ingredient found in a ’60s sex comedy is here, right down to the once-vital issue of virginity-loss. There are gags (Carlos: “Do you have a lawyer?” Candela: “I did, but he went back to his wife.”), some of which take a stab at social commentary. (Lucia: “My father was a lawyer, but my mother was nice.”)

    Deprived of all its Broadway clutter, WOMEN in London revealed itself as a terrific night of fun. It’s an ideal show for a theater company that has fine singing actresses. Pepa has four songs, but Lucia gets two and Candela one – but what a one it is. “Model Behavior” shows us anything but, as Candela, in agony over her boyfriend and life, makes one phone call after another to Pepa, who isn’t home – thus filling up the answering machine with messages. No wonder that Benanti was not only nominated but won a Drama Desk Award.

    Your Ivan need not be a drop-dead handsome lady-killer but simply a man who has great confidence that he has plenty to offer. But you do need a solid comic for the character named Taxi Driver who, happily enough, bears no relation to Robert De Niro’s Travis Bickle. Although Ricardo Afonso looked as scruffy as Che Guevara, he was far more genial.

    This modest production did, however, result in Taxi Driver’s being less accommodating. For in both the original film and Sher’s Broadway production, Taxi Driver had a veritable drug store stocked in his cab. If you needed mints, cologne, aspirin or probably even corn plasters, Taxi Driver could oblige for a fee. On Broadway, Danny Burstein drove a veritable cab, but here Sher eschewed the mock apothecary and simply used two chairs to represent the taxi. You could get away with the same simple solution.

    So if you’ve had success with sex farces at your theater and have been hankering to do a musical, consider WOMEN ON THE VERGE. Follow Sher’s second template and have the right cast, and you’ll get through without a nervous breakdown.

    You may e-mail Peter at pfilichia@aol.com. Check out his weekly column each Monday at www.broadwayselect.com, Tuesday at www.masterworksbroadway.com and Friday atwww.kritzerland.com. His bookThe Great Parade: Broadway’s Astonishing, Never-To-Be Forgotten 1963-1964 Season is now available at www.amazon.com.

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      License Disney’s The Little Mermaid Today!*

      In a magical kingdom beneath the sea, the beautiful young mermaid Ariel longs to leave her ocean home to live in the world above.

      Based on one of Hans Christian Andersen’s most beloved stories and the classic animated film, Disney’s The Little Mermaid is a hauntingly beautiful love story for the ages. With music by eight-time Academy Award winner Alan Menken, lyrics by Howard Ashman and Glenn Slater, and a compelling book by Doug Wright, this fishy fable will capture your heart with its irresistible songs including “Under the Sea,” “Kiss the Girl,” and “Part of Your World.”

      Ariel, King Triton’s youngest daughter, wishes to pursue the human Prince Eric in the world above and bargains with the evil sea witch, Ursula, to trade her tail for legs. But the bargain is not what it seems and Ariel needs the help of her colorful friends Flounder the fish, Scuttle the seagull, and Sebastian the crab to restore order under the sea.

      Disney’s The Little Mermaid offers a fantastic creative opportunity for rich costumes and sets, and the chance to perform some of the best-known songs from the past 30 years.

      *Some international and U.S. restrictions may apply.

       

      Watch Exclusive Performances and Backstage Videos

       

      Continue exploring Disney’s The Little Mermaid with our Video Collection featuring clips of the show and in-depth interviews with the Original Broadway Cast.

       

       

      Order Your Free Perusal Copy of the Script Today!

      For a limited time only, you can read a free perusal copy of the libretto for Disney’s The Little Mermaid. Log in to your My MTI account and select the show from the dropdown menu (it will appear free of charge), or call your licensing agent to order an electronic version or hard copy today!

       

       

      Offer valid through 9/28/2015. All perusal librettos must be returned to MTI and shipping costs are the responsibility of the customer.

       

       

       

       

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        Honor thy great-great-grandfather and great-great-grandmother.

        Not by visiting their graves, although that would be nice. Not by commissioning a plaque and attaching it to the wall of the still-standing building that was their first residence in America – although that would be lovely, too.

        No, honor thy forebears by staging TINTYPES, a musical tour of New York City when the 19th century was entering the 20th. Let your audience see what European immigrants had to endure when they stepped off the boat and The Statue of Liberty was well behind them. Show the African-American experience long before civil rights became a reality.

        Contrast these two groups of have-nots with the WASPS, all of whom were living better lives. Who said the “Me Generation” began with the Baby Boomers? Those who lived in the 19th century could be pretty self-centered, too.

        TINTYPES was conceived by Mary Kyte, who was rewarded with a 1980-81 Best Book Tony nomination. She and her husband Gary Pearle as well as musical director Mel Marvin chose more than three dozen songs from the period and fashioned a show that also received a 1980-81 Tony nomination for Best Musical.

        True, TINTYPES covers the same territory that Rags and RAGTIME would later explore. But those musicals, wondrous as they are, can only be staged by groups who have plenty of woman-and-manpower and a lavish budget. TINTYPES instead needs only five cast members, not much of a set, comparatively few costumes and minimal choreography.

        Director Ron Mulligan recently mounted a fine production in New Jersey at the Nutley Little Theatre. As the town’s most famous native would say, “It’s a good thing” – and although Martha Stewart was nowhere to be found, the crowd that did attend was enthralled by the period songs both familiar (“A Hot Time in the Old Town Tonight”) and obscure.

        Who knew there was a song called “Electricity?” But when you think of it, why not? It was a big deal in those days, so the world didn’t have to wait for Elton John and Lee Hall to write a song by that title for BILLY ELLIOT.

        The biggest surprise of the night was “Fifty-Fifty.” The crowd was open-mouthed in astonishment that a song from way-back-when (1914, to be precise) would have asked what then seemed to be an unthinkable question: if a husband can go out cavorting with his pals all night long, why can’t a wife? The song – by two men, mind you (Jim Burris and Chris Smith) — wasn’t afraid even back then to demand that marriage be an equal “fifty-fifty” partnership.

        The Cast of TINTYPES at the Nutley Little Theatre. (from left) Leslie Dixon Silverman, Alex Oleksij, Laura Iacometta, George Adamo and Juliana Valente. (Photo © Ken Moore)

        The audience also adored the song because Leslie Dixon Silverman, Laura Iacometta and Juliana Valente gave “Fifty-Fifty” more than 100%. Throughout the first act, they had been playing disparate characters: Silverman was Susannah, the African-American woman who was often seen working as a maid; Iacometta was Emma (as in Goldman) who had been a meek, uncomplaining laborer to a pioneer for workers’ rights; Valente was Anna (as in Held), a Polish immigrant who reminded us that in America, you could shoot to stardom seemingly overnight.

        Leslie Dixon Silverman in TINTYPES at the Nutley Little Theatre. (Photo © Lianne Schoenwiesner)

        In other words, the three had nothing in common in Act One, but they all had the same agenda in Act Two with “Fifty-Fifty.” Give us our rights, and give them now.

        Similarly speaking, TINTYPES‘s two male characters have backgrounds that are unalike. “TR,” whom the authors could have just as easily named Teddy Roosevelt — given that they have him say “Bully!” and “Charge!” as well as “Deeeee-lighted!” — was admirably played by Alex Oleksij. The future 25th president of the United States has nothing in common with Charlie, whose birth name was probably Chaim.

        If TINYPES could be said to have a leading role, Charlie is it, and in Nutley, George Adamo made him tenderly touching. Watching him make this character advance from a stranger in a strange land to a confident American was a thrilling experience.

        Adamo constantly reminded us that the Charlies who came to America from here, there and everywhere didn’t have it easy. TINTYPES‘s audience members with a European or Russian heritage were shown that their ancestors endured scorn from established Americans who mocked their broken English, employed them in menial capacities at frightfully low wages and terrible working conditions — and expected them to be grateful.

        And where would America be today without them? As the new smash-hit Broadway musical Hamilton stresses, “Immigrants: we get the job done.”

        Charlie does have his flaws. Being new to a country makes him susceptible to its superstitions; he genuinely worries because his girlfriend has a dimple on her chin, for the prevailing wisdom is such a little indentation under a woman’s mouth means that any husband will pre-decease her.

        Truth to tell, Charlie horrifies us with a move he makes at the beginning of the show. After a WASP has summarily dismissed him, he meets Susannah, with whom he shakes hands. However, as soon as they release their grips, Charlie checks to see if any of her blackness has rubbed off on his fingers. Susannah sees this and chalks it up to yet one more indignity that African-American had to endure back then.

        Susannah’s apotheosis comes when she sings “Nobody,” which was co-written and immortalized by Bert Williams (1874-1922). He was a black vaudevillian whom W.C. Fields called “the funniest man I ever saw – and the saddest man I ever knew.” Hence, his 1905 song references the people who have helped him over the years – meaning “Nobody.” (John Kander and Fred Ebb had this song in mind when they wrote “Mister Cellophane” for Chicago.)

        The cast of TINTYPES at the Nutley Little Theatre. (Photo © Ken Moore)

        Here in Nutley, Leslie Dixon Silverman perfectly calibrated “Nothing,” going from plaintive to angry as she increasing related man’s inhumanity to her. She was also powerful in monologue on how Susannah was being sexually harassed and how she had no choice but to take it.

        The show has five sequences called “Silent Movies” in honor of the best that film could do in those days. These dialogue-less and lyric-less sequences range from Charlie’s tenuous attempts to ask directions on his first day in America to his dancing gleefully with everyone else at show’s end. In Nutley, Shona Roebuck choreographed these to perfection.

        But you will need five types to do TINTYPES. If you’ve presented Arsenic and Old Lace in recent years, see if your Teddy Brewster can do “TR” for you. Anna must have a convincing European-flavored accent as well as a stunning soprano for “Kiss Me Again,” “It’s Delightful to Be Married” and “A Bird in a Gilded Cage.” She also has to get down and dirty when she decides to go slumming by singing “Shortnin’ Bread.”

        George Adamo and Laura Iacometta in TINTYPES at the Nutley Little Theatre (Photo © Lianne Schoenwiesner)

        Charlie needs to display a Jewish-tinged accent (“Yankee Doodle vent to town …”) at least at the beginning of the show. Emma is an ideal role for your heavy-set character actress, and Susannah requires a black woman who can show that she’s only one generation away from questioning what whites tell her is her lot in life.

        If you really want to be authentic, you’ll have to get a flag with 45 stars. Remember, TINTYPES is set “at the turn of the 20th century.” Given that the 45th state (Utah) entered the union in 1896 and the 46th (Oklahoma) wasn’t admitted until 1907, you really need a flag with three rows of eight stars interspersed with three rows of seven. However, this item is available on many on-line sites.

        While TINTYPES is a most entertaining American history lesson, it does, like it or not, speak to today as well. There’s dialogue that notes “The few have so much and the many nothing.” And yet, what TINTYPES best shows is that Jews, blacks, WASPS, high-borns and the nouveau riche  can come together through music. Bring this message to your diverse audience as well.

        You may e-mail Peter at pfilichia@aol.com. Check out his weekly column each Monday at www.broadwayselect.com, Tuesday at www.masterworksbroadway.com and Friday atwww.kritzerland.com. His bookThe Great Parade: Broadway’s Astonishing, Never-To-Be Forgotten 1963-1964 Season is now available at www.amazon.com.

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          Filichia Features: Loving LOVING REPEATING

          August 14, 2015

          So why would the new musical LOVING REPEATING – called “a play within a lecture” – make me think of the slam-bang, razz-ma-tazz musical Mame? Well, for one thing, in Jerry Herman’s 1966 smash-hit, he had Vera Charles tell Mame Dennis Burnside “I’ll always be Alice Toklas if you’ll be Gertrude Stein.” And LOVING REPEATING [...]

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            Kurt Vonnegut’s God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater Now Available for Licensing!

            August 13, 2015

            Kurt Vonnegut’s God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater is an outrageous and savagely funny fantasy about people, their pleasures, pains, and perversions, a penetrating satire on insanity – a millionaire’s private lunacy. Featuring a infectious score by Oscar and TONY-winning team Alan Menken and Howard Ashman (Beauty And The Beast, The Little Mermaid, Little Shop of Horrors) [...]

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              5 Questions with Eric Schaeffer about THE FIX

              August 10, 2015

              On August 11th Signature Theatre opens their production of THE FIX by John Dempsey and Dana P. Rowe. We sat down with director Eric Schaeffer to get the inside scoop on the show the Washington Post described as “[A] wicked fun…luridly overblown comedy of lethally bad manners.” Q: What attracted you to The Fix? ES: [...]

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                Filichia Features: BILLY ELLIOT Comes to Kansas

                August 7, 2015

                Perhaps you’ve been debating whether or not to stage BILLY ELLIOT at your theater. After all, how will a British musical set almost a third of a century ago in Northeast England play in your neck of the woods? Can your average theatergoer whose home is probably comfortably heated with gas or oil possibly empathize [...]

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                  License The Toxic Avenger Today!

                  August 6, 2015

                  New Jersey’s first Superhero takes the stage in this monster of a comedy based on the classic cult film. The Toxic Avenger, winner of the Outer Critics Circle Award for Best Off-Broadway Musical, is a charming love story and laugh-out-loud musical that has it all — an unlikely hero, his beautiful girlfriend, a corrupt New [...]

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                    FILICHIA FEATURES: A TOAST TO THE THESPIAN AUDIENCE

                    July 31, 2015

                    I’ve never been a Smokey Joe’s Café fan. When the show opened, I used the word “putrid” in my review, which prompted the producer to write and complain. And yet, while I was in Lincoln, Nebraska between mainstage shows at The Thespian Festival, I had enough free time to mosey over to the Howell Theatre [...]

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