Seven Brides for Seven Brothers – Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre

From the Golden Age of the movie musical, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers finds its perfect partner in the Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre.

The award-winning Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre is a London landmark – a firm fixture of summer in the city, providing a cultural hub in the beautiful surroundings of a Royal Park.

Read reviews of Seven Brides for Seven Brothers:

THE STAGE (4 STARS)
https://www.thestage.co.uk/reviews/2015/seven-brides-seven-brothers/

DAILY TELEGRAPH (4 STARS): “Joyful – This is a musical that wins over its audience by charm”
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/theatre/theatre-reviews/11755914/Seven-Brides-for-Seven-Brothers-Regents-Park-Open-Air-Theatre-review-joyful.html

THE GUARDIAN (3 STARS)
http://www.theguardian.com/stage/2015/jul/24/seven-brides-for-seven-brothers-review-regents-park-open-air-theatre-london

EVENING STANDARD (4 STARS): “Triumphant… Rachel Kavanaugh’s playful, confident production”
http://www.standard.co.uk/goingout/theatre/seven-brides-for-seven-brothers-regents-park-open-air-theatre-review-a-playful-confident-production-10413707.html

WHATSONSTAGE (4 STARS)
http://www.whatsonstage.com/london-theatre/reviews/seven-brides-seven-brothers-open-air-regents_38376.html

American Idiot – Arts Theatre

Green Day’s explosive, award-winning Broadway musical American Idiot has blasted into the UK and is now playing for the first time at The Arts Theatre, Leicester Square starring X factor finalist Amelia Lily and musical theatre star Aaron Sidwell.

ARTS THEATRE is an independent commercial theatre situated in the heart of London’s West End, providing a dynamic program of entertainment of all genres.

Read reviews of American Idiot:

THE INDEPENDENT

http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/theatre-dance/reviews/american-idiot-the-musical-review-pulsating-green-day-grungefest-throbs-with-the-energy-of-a-billie-joe-armstrong-gig-10408178.html

DAILY TELEGRAPH

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/theatre/theatre-reviews/11750718/American-Idiot-Arts-Theatre-review-uninterrupted-chaos.html

EVENING STANDARD

http://www.standard.co.uk/goingout/theatre/american-idiot-arts-theatre-review-get-angry-and-go-for-the-time-of-your-life-10409334.html

WHATSONSTAGE

http://www.whatsonstage.com/london-theatre/reviews/american-idiot-arts-theatre_38369.html

THE STAGE

https://www.thestage.co.uk/reviews/2015/american-idiot/

Songs for a New World – St. James Theatre

Triple-Tony Award winner Jason Robert Brown’s Songs for a New World comes to the St. James’ Theatre for 3 weeks only! Celebrating 20 years since its first performance Off-Broadway with an all-new London production. This very special 20th Anniversary production features electrifying vocals from a multi-award-winning cast and a stunning five piece band.

Opened in September 2012, St. James Theatre is a unique, award winning arts complex in central London. With a 312 seat main house presenting plays, musicals and revues, and a 120 capacity Studio in cabaret style offering over 250 shows a year, the St. James has established itself as the vibrant cultural hub of the rapidly developing Victoria area and a major player on the wider cultural scene.

Read reviews of Songs For a New World:

VARIETY
http://variety.com/2015/legit/reviews/songs-for-a-new-world-review-cynthia-erivo-1201540797/

THE STAGE
https://www.thestage.co.uk/reviews/2015/songs-new-world/

EVENING STANDARD
http://www.standard.co.uk/goingout/theatre/songs-for-a-new-world-st-james-theatre-review-artful-patchwork-is-on-song-10417939.html

WHATSONSTAGE
http://www.whatsonstage.com/london-theatre/reviews/songs-for-new-world-st-james-theatre-review_38385.html

BRITISH THEATRE
http://britishtheatre.com/review-songs-for-a-new-world-st-james-theatre-4stars/

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    NEW YORK, N.Y. – July 27, 2015Theatrical licensor Music Theatre International (MTI) http://www.mtishows.com, has secured worldwide licensing rights to Broadway’s HONEYMOON IN VEGAS.

    The popular musical with a book by “Blazing Saddles” and “Fletch” writer Andrew Bergman and a score by three-time Tony Award winner Jason Robert Brown is based on the 1992 movie of the same name, which Bergman also wrote and directed.

    Hailed by The New York Times as, “irresistible” and “a whole lotta’ delicious fun,” the show received rave reviews from critics and the public after its world premiere at the Paper Mill Playhouse and premiere on Broadway at the Nederlander Theatre in January 2015. The original cast featured Tony Danza as Tommy Korman, Rob McClure as Jack Singer and Brynn O’Malley as Betsy Nolan.

    HONEYMOON IN VEGAS tells the story of Jack Singer, a regular guy with a fear of marriage, who finally gets up the nerve to ask his girlfriend Betsy to marry him. When they head to Las Vegas to get hitched, smooth talking gambler Tommy Korman (Danza)—looking for a second chance at love—falls head over heels for Betsy and sets off on a mission to win her love and eventually succeeds. Not willing to give up, Jack ends up with a group of sky diving Elvis tribute artists in an airplane, parachutes into Betsy’s arms and they marry on the spot.

    Honeymoon in Vegas is satisfying on so many levels.  Fans of the movie will be delighted by Andrew Bergman’s seamless adaptation; fans of Jason Robert Brown will love his perfectly matched score, and performers and audiences will leave the theatre having had a terrific time with the show,” stated Drew Cohen, President of MTI Worldwide. “It’s a pleasure to represent a show that not only is an audience pleaser, but was also lauded by the critics. “

    It was just announced that Danza will headline a North American tour in 2016.

    For more information about MTI and licensing, please call (212) 541-4684 or email licensing@mtishows.com

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      ABC’s Nightline recently featured a story on Disney’s The Lion King Experience and the effect of arts education in schools.

      Watch the episode here.

      Apply Now for The Lion King Experience Scholarship Program

      Disney’s The Lion King has captivated the imagination of audiences around the world and now for the first time ever you have the opportunity to produce this one-of-a-kind musical in your school (accredited elementary and middle schools only).

      In addition to a performance license to produce the show, The Lion King Experience features a rigorous curriculum designed to introduce you and your students to a wide range of theatrical skills. This easy to use program has been developed to give you all the tools you need to EXPLORE, CREATE, and SHARE the arts with your students.

      And the best part….Disney Theatrical Group will gift a limited number of public elementary schools with The Lion King Experience: KIDS Edition, and a limited number of public middle schools with The Lion King Experience: JR. Edition, free of charge.

      The grant will include a comprehensive ShowKit™, rights to hold public performances of The Lion King JR. or The Lion King KIDS, and access to The Lion King Experience website for a year.

      APPLY HERE

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        When the term “family show” is used, it’s usually a euphemism.

        What it more often means is a show that little kids will like or love. Mom and Dad, however, won’t be as enthralled, but will get their enjoyment from seeing their tykes’ beaming smiles and hearing their enthusiastic remarks.

        And yet, THE LITTLE MERMAID is more appealing and valuable to adults than are standard-issue “family shows.”

        We have a genuine generational war going on here. Ariel, the title character, fiercely wants her independence as much as any teenager does. Her father, King Triton, is afraid to let her out into the big bad world she doesn’t know, just as the parent(s) of any young daughter are. There’s a good deal of protection that dovetails with love, but is there a point when that protection is too much?

        “You’re so unfair!” Ariel screams, delivering a line often used by children and too often heard by parents. Which teen can’t identify with Ariel’s lines “He doesn’t understand me! He doesn’t even try! I’ve never felt at home here. I don’t fit in. I never have.” Not only can kids relate to all that, but they’ll nod their heads in recognition when Ariel arrives home later than her father expected or demanded and gets a severe lecture.

        Bradford High School’s Production of THE LITTLE MERMAID at the 2015 International Thespian Festival. (Photo © R. Bruhn)

        Lest King Triton seem too autocratic, he is given one of the most powerful and yet sensitive lines found in any musical: “She’ll learn to fear me, and I don’t want that.” Parents need to hear that, too.

        THE LITTLE MERMAID plays fair with him. King Triton is right for not wanting Ariel up where the people are. They are indeed the enemy who routinely kill marine life as if it were their right and privilege. Considering that King Triton believes that his wife was caught and devoured by humans, he has every right to shield his daughter from these monsters who’d dole out the same fate to her.

        As events play out, humans were not responsible for the death of King Triton’s Queen; his evil sister Ursula was. THE LITTLE MERMAID reminds everyone not to rush to judgment, jump to conclusions or accept circumstantial evidence as anything definitive. Sad to say, some children and adults still need to hear and remember “You can’t blame all humans for a few wicked ones.”

        Kids will also relate to when parents don’t respect their possessions. Triton’s ridding Ariel’s lair of everything human may be more severe than a mother’s throwing out her child’s baseball cards, but it’s in the same, you should pardon the expression, ballpark.

        THE LITTLE MERMAID also offers one of the best “checkmates” in all musical theater. For when Ariel meets her Aunt Ursula, from whom the family has been estranged, she admits “Father says you’re wicked and hateful!” Ursula blithely responds, “Mmmmyes! But he says the same thing of humans, doesn’t he, snookums? And we both know that’s not true, don’t we?”

        Checkmate! Ariel is convinced her father can’t be right about the handsome and charismatic Eric, so she must at least entertain the possibility that her father isn’t right about everything. He may not be, but he certainly turns out to be in this case.

        All these points came through loud, clear and melodically in the recent production of the classic that Kenosha, Wisconsin’s Bradford Theatre Arts Troupe brought to the Thespian Festival in Lincoln, Nebraska.

        Do you question my use of “classic”? I’m not just referring to the story that Hans Christian Andersen wrote in 1837, but to the musical versions, too. While THE LITTLE MERMAID may seem too new to warrant that word, a quarter century has already passed since it began its musical life as the 1989 animated film by lyricist Howard Ashman, composer Alan Menken and screenwriters Ron Clements and John Musker. Although bookwriter Doug Wright and lyricist Glenn Slater helped augment it into the 2008 Broadway musical that we saw here in Nebraska, there’s enough of the original property in it to grandfather-clause this version into the classic category.

        Bradford High School’s Production of THE LITTLE MERMAID at the 2015 International Thespian Festival. (Photo © R. Bruhn)

        What a clever solution set designer Jodi Williams had that saved a bundle of bucks. Two wavy tubes of neon that represented the sea spanned the stage. They would rise to the top of the proscenium for each scene that was set underwater and then were lowered to the bottom of the stage for every moment on land. It was such a simple solution, and yet it always let us know where we were. And when time came for a tempest, those bolts rapidly moved up and down.

        Even so, $40,000 was required to take the show to Lincoln. Forty grand means quite a number of car washes, bake sales and just plain vivid entreaties to everyone from the Able Equipment Company, Inc. to such Kenosha institutions as its Rotary, Police Department, Yacht Club, Radiology Center and the city itself.

        The money saved on aquatic scenery went to build the impressive boat. Girls flanked it and made swimming moves. Kids carried poles atop which sharks and turtles were placed. Hands manipulated AVENUE Q-sized puppets of not just your average fish, but many a starfish and jellyfish as well. Electric eels were represented by a puppet head on a sleeve worn on each arm.

        Performers representing humans, including the deft Sam Hailer as Prince Eric, dangled on ropes halfway between the proscenium arch and the stage. They twirled around so much that they would throw a whirling dervish out of whirl.

        Bradford High School’s Production of THE LITTLE MERMAID at the 2015 International Thespian Festival. (Photo © R. Bruhn)

        At first glance, THE LITTLE MERMAID would seem to be less-than-ideal musical material. After all, a person whose voice is taken away cannot sing, right? No, she can – for the musical art form allows for a character to express inner thoughts. Ah, musicals! They seem to have solutions for everything!

        It was a rare song that didn’t get ear-splitting roars of approval. While the Menken-Ashman-Slater score has been universally known and cherished for some time, “Under the Sea” here held the distinction of being the one number that got cheers from the audience as soon as its vamp began.

        “Under the Sea” was also the one song that got a standing ovation when it concluded. Of course it’s the melody and lyrics that the kids love, but in a way, they were also cheering their childhood days when they watched a tape or DVD over and over again.

        As it unfolded, I saw to my left a little girl standing and punching the air in time to the music. The irony is that the adult a row in front of me to my right was doing the same thing, albeit while staying seated.

        See? A family show that’s really for the entire family.

        Sebastian literally got entrance applause — meaning the character as soon as he was revealed in his red finery, for no one knew who actor James Booker was. Well, at least not yet; someday we may all be bragging that we saw him here when he was still a teen. Considering his immense talent, that fate is quite possible if not probable. Booker wasn’t just a good song-and-dance man; he showed a genuine love for Ariel and an agonizing conflict on whether to be loyal to her or to his king.

        Bradford High School’s Production of THE LITTLE MERMAID at the 2015 International Thespian Festival. (Photo © R. Bruhn)

        But let’s also give a nice shout-out to Mialee St. Peter’s Ariel. By the time she exclaimed about the over-the-sea world that “This is where I belong!” we all knew that she belonged on the musical stage. When she got her new feet and was clad in a Miss America-worthy dress, she was aptly unsteady.

        Meanwhile, Eric Danyus had the bass voice and gravitas for King Triton. And at the curtain calls, the kids wildly cheered Sidney Tisch for her Ursula. Less enlightened audiences would default to booing her just because she played the villain, but these kids wanted Tisch to know what a spectacular job she did.

        I do have one final question. Why is Ariel called THE LITTLE MERMAID? Throughout the show, she certainly stands mighty tall. So does the property that Ashman, Clements, Menken, Musker, Slater, Wright and of course Hans Christian Andersen brought to us.

        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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          LUCKY STIFF Motion Picture Available On iTunes and On Demand July 24th

          July 21, 2015

            Get ready to die with laughter because the new film version of Lucky Stiff is available on iTunes and On Demand July 24th – http://radi.al/LuckyStiff The Off-Broadway musical farce was the first collaboration between the celebrated musical team of Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty (Ragtime, Seussical, Once On This Island) and is based on [...]

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            Congratulations to the 2015 Emmy Nominees!

            July 17, 2015

              The Nominees for the 2015 Emmy Awards were announced Thursday morning, July 16, 2015 by So You Think You Can Dance Host Cat Deeley and breakout star of Orange is the New Black, Uzo Adubo (original cast member of Godspell 2012 Revival). Among the many talented nominees are authors and collaborators of some of [...]

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              Filichia Features: XANADU: Rolls (and Roles) On Skates

              July 17, 2015

              It happens at many a performance attended by critics. An actor says a line that resonates with the aisle-sitters, and suddenly these men and women are reaching for their notebooks to precisely take down what they’d just heard. The line they’re citing might well be brilliant, a pearl from the playwright’s incisive mind. On the [...]

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                Harry Connick, Jr.’s THE HAPPY ELF Now Available for Licensing

                July 16, 2015

                Eubie the Elf is on a musical mission to bring Christmas cheer to a town on Santa’s naughty list. A new musical comedy by Grammy Award-winning and TONY Award-nominated composer and lyricist, Harry Connick, Jr.; The Happy Elf tells the tale of Eubie the Elf, a lovable fellow who wants to spread Christmas joy throughout [...]

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                  Coverage of Andrew Lippa’s The Wild Party Starring Sutton Foster and Steven Pasquale

                  July 15, 2015

                  In the summer of 2013, City Center launched Encores! Off-Center, a new series featuring seminal Off-Broadway musicals filtered through the lens of today’s most innovative artists.  The Tony-honored Encores! musical theater series has been hailed as “one of the very best reasons to be alive in New York.” One of the most anticipated shows of [...]

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                    FILICHIA FEATURES: HELLO! TO HELLO! MY BABY

                    July 10, 2015

                    The response to Irving Berlin’s White Christmas at the Thespian Festival in Lincoln, Nebraska was good but not great. The kids watching the Lincoln Southwest High production seemed more impressed with the many dance numbers choreographed by Courtney Piccoli than the show itself. Perhaps the seven songs Berlin wrote for the 1954 film were just [...]

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