8 PM, Sat. Aug 24. The Old Franklin Schoolhouse, 491 Middlesex Ave, Metuchen (btwn the Masonic Lodge & the Firehouse). $10 @ the door.
Based on Rudyard Kipling's classic yarn, this rousing radio play tells the tall and timeless tale of two rogue soldiers/freemasons who set off from 19th century British India in search of adventure, and end up as kings of Kafiristan. Featuring a live rendition of the song sung by Brother Danny Dravot in the John Huston film, "Son of God Goes Forth to War" (set to the Irish tune "The Moreen"), and, as always, complimentary cocktails!
With Carlyle Owens as Brother Peachey Carnehan, Jeff Maschi as Brother Daniel Dravot, Laurence Mintz as Billy Fish, and Michael Jarmus as the Voice of Raconteur Radio (and assorted other characters).
Attention Freemasons! Don't miss our staged presentation of this rollicking adventure by freemason Rudyard Kipling, topfull with masonic myth and brotherly bonhomie. For the sake of the Widow's son!
Raconteur Radio stages theatrical presentations of classic and original radio plays (and pop culture parodies) for live audiences throughout the Tri-State area. Theatrical lighting, costumes, vintage commercials, and extensive sound effects!
Showgirls! The Musical! is a satiric stage production based on the notorious NC-17 1995 film Showgirls that has had a vibrant after-life as a guilty pleasure for lovers of campy movies. The stage show debuts April 17 in New York City and runs through May 4. According to the web site DNAinfo.org:
"The new musical promises not only the “erotic dancing” of the original but also “questionable dancing,” according to a statement.
There will also be musical numbers like “Don't Lick that Pole, Girl” and “I’d Look Great in Versace” – as well as plenty of thrusting."
“Showgirls! The Musical!” will run at the Kraine Theatre at 85 E. Fourth St. from April 17 to May 4. All shows are at 8 p.m.
Tickets can be purchased in advance for $18 from ShowgirlsTheMusical.com and can also be bought at the door for $20.
For more info, tickets and film clips visit the web site by clicking here
Scottish fans of the legendary 1960s TV series The Prisoner will want to flock to the stage production Magic Number 6, to be performed at the Space on the Mile: Theatre One in Edinburgh, August 19-24. The play examines the trials and tribulations between the show's star and creator Patrick McGoohan and producer Sir Lew Grade in bringing the unique series to TV. For more info click here
Robert Vaughn will return to live theater, starring in the Pulitzer Prize-winning screwball comedy You Can't Take It With You at the Geva Theatre Center, Rochester, New York. Performances run from September 11-October 7. For more click here
Family members of the late Gilligan's Island producer Sherwood Schwartz are preparing a musical based on the icon 1960s sitcom in the hopes that it will open on Broadway. A Tony-nominated director is attached to the project, which will showcase the familiar group of castaways- along with a new character, an alien. We presume they mean from out of space, not a person from out of the United States. We're just concerned that the alien angle might diminish the realism of the traditional plot lines- you know, as in the case when the Harlem Globetrotters ended up on the island. You can count us among those who have long pondered why a group of tourists who had signed up for a three hour cruise seem to have an unlimited amount of wardrobe changes, survival gear and food. For more click here
Broadway has seen the future: and it lies in Hollywood's past. The Great White Way is shaping up a number of productions based on motion pictures, ranging from modestly budgeted films like Diner and Bullets Over Broadway to major league adaptations of Back to the Future, Flashdance and the Rat Pack opus Robin and the 7 Hoods. For more click here
The tragic final days of Judy Garland and her attempt for one last career comeback are traced in End of the Rainbow, a British stage production now on Broadway. According to critic Mark Kennedy, the show is a stunner, thanks mostly to star Tracie Bennett's acclaimed portrayal of the doomed Hollywood legend who died of a drug overdose in 1969. For more click here
Julie Taymor, the director and co-writer of the original version of the Broadway production Spider-man: Turn Off the Dark, has filed suit against the show's producers and her former collaborators claiming that she was misled, deceived and blamed for the show's now legendary mishaps in its early days. The production is the most expensive in Broadway history but a number of mishaps involving accidents became the stuff of legend on the Great White Way. Critics were also scathing, leading the show shutting down temporarily while massive rewrites were performed. It has emerged as a major hit but behind the scenes intrigue still lingers. Taymor is a Broadway legend herself, but in court papers, she claims she was blamed for the show's initial failure. She alleges secretive plots to keep her working on the production even while her collaborators secretly schemed behind her back. She also claims her work was rewritten without her permission and that she has not been properly compensated. Predictably, the show's producers deny any culpability. Click here for more
When you first saw the 1976 horror flick Carrie, based on the Stephen King bestseller, you witnessed a teenage girl humiliated at her prom by her cruel classmates. You watched as she unleashed telekinetic powers to wreak bloodshed and mass destruction on her tormentors- and you probably thought to yourself, "Hey, this would make one heck of a Broadway musical!" Incredibly, that's what some investors thought- and they lost $8 million on a legendary Broadway flop. Granted, it was no Moose Murders, the infamous comedy that closed after one performance, but it was a big enough bomb that the backers have never allowed it to be staged anywhere again. Now, some bold, dumb or courageous investors are dredging up the exiled musical and revamping it for a new stage run, albeit it with significant rewrites. Click here to read. - Lee Pfeiffer
Arthur Miller's American masterpiece Death of a Salesman will get yet another revival on Broadway next March. The Miller play is especially relevant today, even though it debuted in the 1940s.The story's protagonist Willy Loman is a tragic figure: after years of loyal service to his company, he is unceremoniously fired, thus leading to a series of tragic events. Lee J. Cobb, Dustin Hoffman and Brian Dennehy all triumphed on Broadway in the role of Loman. In the new production, Phillip Seymour Hoffman will try his hand at playing Loman. Andrew Garfield, star of the forthcoming Spiderman movie, will co-star. For more click here
The Monkees' 1968 feature film Head features prominently in their new tour.
The Monkees have launched their latest reunion tour- as usual without the participation of Mike Nesmith who has adopted an "I Am Not Spock" attitude toward the group that brought him fame and fortune. Writer Gregory Weinkauf attended their concert at the Greek Theatre and gives the concert an unrequited rave. Click here to read and to view a clip from the Monkees' feature film Head.
In a recent interview, Bono and The Edge spoke candidly about the mishaps that led the recent Broadway production Spider-man: Turn Off the Dark into a downward spiral of negative reviews and technical problems that forced the show to temporarily close. The legendary musicians, who provided the score for the show, said that they were on different wavelengths than the show's director Julie Taymor, who recently left the show under duress. Bono and The Edge say that, had they envisioned the show would become an endless nightmare, they wouldn't have been involved. The retooled production needs to attract large audiences to cover its $70 million+ production costs. For more click here
Undaunted by the problems old Spiderman has encountered with his Broadway rock-themed show, Warner Brothers is launching a spectacular of their own starring the Caped Crusader himself. The tepidly-titled Batman Live (couldn't they have at least put in an exclamation point?) will combine action spectacle with rock 'n roll music in a concert arena setting. We're not sure what rock 'n roll has to do with the super hero genre but it's all the rage. The show will launch this July in Manchester, England with plans to tour with the production, if it proves successful. The shows pits Batman and Robin against an all-star cast of villains. What's next? Thor on Ice? Click here for more
Plans to bring a musical version of the hit 1982 screen comedy Tootsie to Broadway have hit a snag. The composer and lyricist originally contracted to work on the show are suing producers after they were summarily fired. They claim they were unfairly treated and are entitled to the money they could have made from royalties the show can potentially generate. Click here for more
What a tangled web the producers of the Spider-man Broadway show weaved when they agreed to bring the $65 million production to reality. The show's bumpy start became fodder for cynical critics and late-night TV show hosts, as a series of high profile accidents and mishaps marred many of the performances. The show continued to sell $1 million worth of tickets every week, but that barely covered the expenses. Now the production has been put on hiatus until a May 12 re-opening- a strategy that has added another $5 million to the cost. The producers are speaking candidly about their misjudgments and their present strategy of replacing many of the key members of the creative team. Click here to read
Samuel L. Jackson has been cast as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in the acclaimed play The Mountaintop,which speculates about King's actions and thoughts as he retired to his motel room after giving the last speech of his life. He was assassinated on April 4 1968 on the balcony of the motel while in Memphis to support striking sanitation workers. Halle Berry was to co-star but had to drop out due to legal matters concerning custody of her children. The play will open on Broadway in September. Click here for more
On the MSNBC news program, New York magazine writer John Heilman referred to the never-ending debacles revolving around the troubled Spiderman Broadway extravaganza as a NASCAR-like event in that many people who attend are secretly hoping to witness a disaster. Already the show's official premiere has been postponed twice and numerous accidents and technical problems have plagued the production. Now the coup de grace: the show's acclaimed director Julie Taymor has abruptly quit. The show has also postponed the premiere again until June. This would be the kiss of death for most productions, but the curious and the morbid have continued to ensure that the show's preview performances draw hefty boxoffice receipts. For more click here
Dismayed by their perception that the highly-touted and highly-troubled mega budget Spiderman Broadway extravaganza has strayed too far from the essentials of the comic book, a new team is planning to open their own musical version tribute titled The Spidey Project. It will premiere in March, one day before the official opening of the oft-delayed $65 million stage epic. With a budget of "zero dollars", the team will get around legal obstacles from Marvel by emphasizing it's a satire. For more click here
In an age of dumbed-down celebrities, it's easy to overlook some of the seminal giants of American culture. Such a man was Tennessee Williams, the masterful playwright whose work was adapted for many memorable films. This past weekend, an extraordinary gathering of stars associated with his plays gathered at New York's 92nd Street Y for readings and discussions about the literary genius. Click here for report
It looks like the professional understanding that theater critics hold off reviewing Broadway shows until the official press performance or opening night is down the drain. Unable to resist jumping the gun on the much-publicized, much-troubled $65 million production of Spiderman: Turn Off the Dark, critics for Bloomberg News and Newsday published their reviews five weeks before the official opening. The show's producers have been frantically making changes to the production, especially in lieu of a number of high profile accidents and technical flubs that have plagued the cast and crew. Producers were predictably outraged that a work in process was reviewed, even though both critics claim they intend to review it again when it officially opens. Click here for more
More bad news from the tangled web that is Spiderman Turn off the Dark, the $65 million Broadway special-effects laden production. The official opening night has been pushed back almost a full month until February. This is on the heels of the disastrous preview several weeks ago in which technical glitches and embarrassing delays gave the show a running time of Ben-Hur. One bright spot for the producers: every mishap seems to only entice audiences even more. Sales are going very well indeed. If only the producers of Heaven's Gate had mastered that ability- United Artists might still be a viable company. For more click here
Did Thora Birch's father drive a stake into her chances of starring on stage in Dracula?
Actress Thora Birch, who gained fame in American Beauty, is the reluctant center of attention relating to a bizarre scenario that saw her fired from an off-Broadway production of Dracula just days before the opening. Seems her father, who was observing the rehearsals, objected to an actor giving Thora a back rub. When the actor protested that he was simply following the director's orders and that it was part of the scene, the father instructed him to nevertheless cease and desist. Words were exchanged and Birch was summarily fired. Producers haven't commented on whether her dismissal was a direct result of the incident, but insiders say there was no other apparent reason. For more click here
Not even Dr. Octopus could have contrived this many problems for Spiderman. At the Sunday opening of the long-awaited $65 million Spidey musical, technical problems plagued the production and it had to be halted five times - and at one point the web-spinning super hero was left dangling helplessly above the stage! For more click here
Broadway is mourning the death of 11 year-old Shannon Tavarez, who starred in the stage production of Disney's The Lion King. Shannon desperately needed a bone marrow transplant but a donor could not be found in time to save her life. Click here for more
New York Times theater critic Charles Isherwood reviews the new Beatles Broadway tribute show Rain, and at best, damns it with faint praise. Ishwerwood says he enjoyed aspects of the show but compares it unfavorably to Jersey Boys, which provides a compelling narrative behind the rise of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. Instead, Rain is simply two hours of cover versions of Beatles songs. Isherwood praises the talents of the faux Fab Four, but says the makeup and costumes are cheesy enough to resemble a Benny Hill sketch. He also says the vintage commercials and film clips shown on screens are more compelling than the show itself. However, he points out that the 70s Beatles tribute show Beatlemania proved critic-proof and ran seemingly forever. (I never understood why people spent the same amount of money on the show's soundtrack album when they could have purchased a Beatles hit compilation for the same price.) Be warned: Rain is primarily for those audiences who enjoy singing along with other fans. I'm afraid I'm generally the skunk at the garden party when it comes to those types of concerts: I don't really want to spend my hard-earned money to hear a butcher from the Bronx's version of Hey Jude. To read the review click here
Linda Lovelace was a struggling unknown when her one peculiar talent made her an international pop culture figure in the 70s.
By Lee Pfeiffer
There's a new off-Broadway play about the making of the legendary 1972 porn film Deep Throat, which was made for peanuts and grossed over $600 million- much of it funneled into the pockets of organized crime figures. As prurient as the show may be, New York Times theater critic David Rooney says the play is "slapdash" in its presentation of the pop culture phenomenon that made Linda Lovelace a household name. He also says the show "unfolds like a witless Laugh-In sketch." Undoubtedly, the show's producers will find these kinds of notices hard to swallow. Click here to read review
Most Superman fans probably don't realize that in 1966, the character starred in a major Broadway musical titled It's a Bird! It's a Plane! It's Superman! No less than the esteemed Charles Strouse provided the score. The show opened in the midst of Batmania and took a campy approach to portraying the Man of Steel. Reviews were kind, but the public was unresponsive and the show closed after a brief run. It has now been revived in Dallas and the time frame has been brought back to 1939 in order to ensure that the material doesn't seem too dated for contemporary audiences. Click here for more
Critics are complaining that the new Broadway musical version of The Addams Family lacks the charm and wit of the classic TV show.
Not even Charles Addams could have dreamed up the kind of blood-curdling reviews the Broadway musical version of The Addams Family. Click here to read New York Times critic Ben Brantley's take on the production which he calls "genuinely ghastly".
Acclaimed British actress Judy Cornwall will co-star with Sally Farmiloe-Neville in the new play When the Lilac Blooms, My Love which will open at the Leicester Square Theatre in London on 14 April and run through 1 May. The new drama concerns the crisis that occurs when a daughter returns home to inform her family that she is pregnant. Cornwall has many loyal fans based on her long-running role as Daisy in the classic British sitcom Keeping Up Appearances. For more click here
Andrew Lloyd Webber's long-awaited sequel to his blockbuster The Phantom of the Opera premiered in London and was greeted by mixed reviews. Perhaps Webber could never have lived up to expectations. The musical has been subjected to a grass roots campaign by Phantom purists to denounce the new work even before they have seen it. Critics cited the opinion that audience members who are not very conversant in the storyline of the original will be hopelessly lost. Webber did get some good notices, but in the end, reviews may not matter, as his shows are generally critic-proof. For more click here
Carrie Fisher is battling the producer of her acclaimed one-woman play Wishful Drinking over rights to the show, which ended in New York late last year. The producer says he has lucrative offers to take the show on the road, but Fisher won't agree to appear in it. Instead, according to the New York Post, he suspects Fisher is trying to stage productions of the play, which chronicles her battles with depression and alcoholism, without involving him. A battle is now brewing over who ultimately holds rights to future presentations of the play. Both Fisher and the producer are claiming that the other did not fulfill their contractual obligations. For more click here
Jerry Zaks, the legendary Broadway director, has been brought on board for the Broadway-bound musical version of The Addams Family starring Nathan Lane. The $16 million production is in try-outs in Chicago and producers became concerned when some influential critics suggested that the show needed rewriting. Although reviews were generally positive- particularly toward the cast- there was concern that younger audiences may not be as familiar with the eccentricities of the characters. Rewrites are being done to address the issue. Producers deny the show is in any trouble and, indeed, rewrites generally do occur to some extent prior to shows opening on Broadway. For more click here
Kelsey Grammer will star in a revival of La Cage aux Folles on Broadway next April. The show is an import of the current UK hit revival and Grammar will star with that show's lead Douglas Hodge. The oft-revived tale originated as a French stage comedy that was transferred to the screen in 1978. Robin Williams and Nathan Lane starred in the hit American screen version, The Birdcage. Grammer will star in the role played by Williams in that film. For more click here
Martin Sheen rose to prominence with her performance as the son in Frank D. Gilroy's acclaimed play The Subject Was Roses. He nabbed a Tony nomination and later starred in the acclaimed 1968 screen version opposite Patricia Neal and Jack Albertson as his parents. The story concerns a young man who returns from the military and must deal with the contentious state of his family relationships. Sheen will star as the father in a revival of the play at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles this February. For more click here
Broadway's latest casualty, Shrek the Musical: the green didn't extend to box-office grosses.
By Lee Pfeiffer
Noel Coward once asked rhetorically, "Why must the show go on?" It's a question investors might well have been asking over the decades. It's a well known fact that, if you want a good return on your investment, stay far away from Broadway shows. Generally, investors are motivated by the glitz and glamor of being part of a major production - but relatively few pay off big and most don't even return the backer's initial investment. The cost of producing a play on Broadway is now so great that a show often has to run for years just to break even. However, investors are benefiting from a source of income generally looked upon with disdain by the lifted pinky crowd in New York City: stock company productions. As Variety reports, shows that bomb spectacularly on Broadway can end up turning major profits over a period of years in out-of-town productions that even include high school performances. Unburdened by massive salaries and production costs, local stage productions can pack in "regular folks" at reasonable prices, even as Broadway's $125+ seats remain empty. For more click here
You can't swing a cat on the Great White Way lately without hitting a major star. Add Scarlett Johansson to the mix, as the blonde beauty is coming to Broadway in a revival of Arthur Miller's drama A View From the Bridge co-starring Liev Schreiber. The play is going into previews in December with the formal opening next January. Meanwhile, we'll use this article as an excuse to run a gratuitously sexy photo of Ms. Johansson that has nothing to do with Arthur Miller's writings. Click here for more.
Matthew Broderick has long indulged in the practice of waiting until very late in the game before rehearsing for a play. The habit lead to a disastrous performance of his new play The Starry Messenger in New York. While the play is still in rehearsals and audience members can expect some rough spots, some were outraged over what they felt was Broderick's unpreparedness for his performance. On several occasions he forgot his lines and had to ask for them to be fed to him. There were other screw-ups as well, according to Gatecrasher column of the Daily News. The poor response to Broderick's performance is already all the talk of the Broadway gossip mill. Click here to read.
Philip Seymour Hoffman is undoubtedly one of the very best contemporary actors, but even he can make missteps. His starring role in an NYU production of Othello resulted in most of the audience walking out at intermission. Shades of Moose Murders, the notorious Broadway flop that closed after one performance. Ever the pro, Hoffman continued to perform, even as director Peter Sellars urged the remaining audience members to move closer to the stage by occupying the abandoned seats. For more click here
A Steady Rain starring Daniel Craig and Hugh Jackman had its official New York opening last night. Among the celebs attending: Jerry Seinfeld, Matthew Broderick and Harvey Weinstein. Click here for coverage
The blockbuster pairing of Daniel Craig and Hugh Jackman in the Broadway production of A Steady Rain has audiences riveted and the play looks to be one of the top-grossers of the season. This is no mean feat, as Broadway success is generally relegated to big budget musicals. James Bond producer Barbara Broccoli, who is also one of the producers of the play, is said to have purchased film rights to the show. For more click here
Daniel Craig and Hugh Jackman were performing their hit play A Steady Rain in New York the other night when an audience member's mobile phone went off. The play is a searing, two-man drama and the disruption clearly interrupted the actor's thought processes. When the phone went off a second time, the two macho men took on the culprit, while still staying in character. To view click here
Leslie Caron was once the toast of Hollywood, but for the last fifteen years she has been operating her own bed and breakfast in France. She will be returning to the Paris stage in an English language production of A Little Night Music and will finally publish her memoirs later this year. In a recent interview, she also discusses how she helped bring her greatest triumph Gigi to the screen. Click here to read
Jude Law is taking the treacherous path that so many sex symbols have taken to prove he's not just another pretty face: he's prepping his production of Hamlet for the Broadway stage. Rehearsals begin next week and the risk is considerable for any actor's reputation who takes on the Bard's most legendary role. However, Law is riding on a wave of acclaim following his recent production of the play in London and his presence on Broadway is certain to give ticket sales a much-needed boost. For a New York Times interview with Law click here
On September 5, the bang. comedy theater in Los Angeles will feature Streeptease, a stage re-enactment of classic dialogue from the films of Meryl Streep. The caveat here is that it is performed by an all-male cast. Hmm..the love scenes from The Bridges of Madison County should be particularly interesting with a male actor speaking in an Italian accent expressing his love for Clint Eastwood, who isn't even there. Now if they can only induce Ernest Borgnine to star in our long-planned one-man tribute to Ethel Merman! For info click here
Barbra Streisand will make a one night appearance at New York's Village Vanguard next month to sing songs from her new CD Love is the Answer. Streisand last performed there in 1961 as the opening act for Miles Davis. Fans can enter a free sweepstakes to win tickets to the event. For details click here
Spencer Tracy and Frederic March were adversaries on both sides of the evolution debate in Stanley Kramer's superb 1960 film adaptation of Inherit the Wind.
Kevin Spacey, who is the artistic director of London's fabled Old Vic Theatre, will go on the boards himself to star in a revival of the acclaimed play Inherit the Wind. Spacey will play the role of Henry Drummond, based on the real life lawyer Clarence Darrow in the story inspired by the famed Scopes Monkey Trial in the 1920s. That trial saw a school teacher, John Scopes, fighting his arrest for teaching the theory of evolution, a practice which violated the school system's insistence that only Biblical theories about the founding of the earth could be taught. Spencer Tracy and Frederic March starred in Stanley Kramer's classic 1960 version of the play. Spacey's co-star has not been announced, but chances are it will be a high-power name. For more click here
The troubled forthcoming Broadway musical adaptation of Spiderman is finally getting some positive buzz. Evan Rachel Wood has been cast as Peter Parker's girlfriend Mary Jane Watson and Tony Award winner Alan Cumming will play the villainous Green Goblin.The casting is good so far but still...Spiderman with music????