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Broadway Companies come together to celebrate Stephen Sondheim

Broadway Tribute to Stephen Sondheim, Photo by Jenny Anderson
Broadway Tribute to Stephen Sondheim, Photo by Jenny Anderson
Broadway Tribute to Stephen Sondheim, Photo by Jenny Anderson

Today, hundreds of members of the Broadway community and casts of Broadway shows came together to celebrate and honor the life of the late Stephen Sondheim. Gathered on the iconic red steps in Duffy Square, participants sang “Sunday” from Sondheim’s celebrated work, Sunday in the Park with George. They included Lin-Manuel MirandaCelia Keenan-BolgerSara BareillesRaúl EsparzaStephen SchwartzLaura BenantiBrian Stokes MitchellJosh GrobanErich BergenLonny PriceJim WaltonTom KittReeve CarneyEva NoblezadaMarc ShaimanLauren PattenKathryn GallagherAbby MuellerJudy KuhnBrandon UranowitzAdam Chanler-BeratTavi GevinsonErin DavieBryan Clark Tyrell, and many more.

This event was co-presented by the Broadway League, the Times Square Alliance, and Playbill. The participants were conducted by Michael J. Moritz. Produced by Erich Bergen.

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Stephen Sondheim was a genius – we shall not see his like again

I never thought Stephen Sondheim would die.

Oh, I know we all do eventually, but he carried with him such an aura of invincibility that if anyone could cheat the passage of time, I assumed it would be musical theatre’s God. (The New York Times even once ran a story on the phenomenon, asking if Sondheim and God had ever been seen in the same place).

Sondheim, the maestro who reinvented musical theatre has passed at his home in Connecticut suddenly at 91.

His attorney, F. Richard Pappas, also confirmed the composer’s death: “The day before, Mr. Sondheim had celebrated Thanksgiving with a dinner with friends in Roxbury,” Pappas said in a written statement. “And he spent all day Wednesday seeing the matinee and evening performances of Dana H and Is This a Room — doing what he most loved to do.”

West End theatres will dim their lights on Monday 29 November at 7.00pm for 2 minutes. This tradition is reserved for the industry’s most celebrated figures and last occurred over here in 2018, following the death of trailblazing choreographer Gillian Lynne.  

In truth, what mattered to Sondheim, widely considered the most influential composer-lyricist in the American musical theatre of the 20th century, was his art, in all its guises. His legacy is eternal.

Stephen Sondheim

Six of Sondheim’s musicals won Tony Awards for best score, and he also received a Pulitzer Prize (Sunday in the Park), an Academy Award (for the song Sooner or Later from the film Dick Tracy), five Olivier Awards and the Presidential Medal of Honor. In 2008, he received a Tony Award for lifetime achievement. 

He was born into a Jewish family in New York City, and his career began in the 1950s, a decade in which he wrote the lyrics for Broadway classics Gypsy and West Side Story. For his fans, his audience, this is a moment of infinite sorrow. 

Looking back, I finally got Sondheim musicals– there’s cynicism, endless philosophy, and pure emotion in his work – when I turned thirty.

Seeing Dominic Cooke’s Follies and Marianne Elliott’s gender flipped Company within months of each other, it’s fair to say, hit me during a life affirming period of reflection and recalibration. 

The West End company of Company
© Brinkhoff Mogenburg

Think of modern musicals like Hamilton and even Fun Home and you’ll find the composers owe their style, as well as the roof over their head and the food on the table, to the genius of Stephen Sondheim. 

All in all, losing Sondheim in 2021 is all the more surprising after he so joyously attended the current revival Company on Broadway earlier this month. A ripple of murmurs and a rapturous standing ovation greeted the masked nonagenarian as he emerged from a side entrance shortly before showtime, walking along the fifth row to his aisle seat. 

Stephen Sondheim attends Company on Broadway

He was a keen teacher and mentor and used his talent always to make a difference. Art isn’t easy.

I asked Robbie Rozelle, A&R Director at Broadway Records for a few words on Sondheim’s legacy and impact. He said: “Taking the foundation that Oscar Hammerstein laid for him, Sondheim proceeded to become the greatest architect of musicals. He was also an important teacher, who worked with people to stretch the form even further – Jonathan Larson, Jason Robert Brown, so many. He was the bridge between the Golden Age of musicals and the new form of musical, and what a beautiful bridge he was.”

Sondheim was also generous with his time, and with his encouragement, just very, very giving. 

An unsurpassed musical theatre super-hero. 

In short, he was an insightful, shrewd operator who could spot a contradiction at 50 paces. The irony of this, and the debt we all owe him, is not lost on me. He is survived by his husband, Jeffrey Scott Romley, whom he married in 2017.

“You have to work on something that makes you uncertain – something that makes you doubt yourself,” 

“If you know where you’re going, you’ve gone, as the poet says. And that’s death,” Sondheim said in 2017.

I’d like to propose a toast. Stephen Joshua Sondheim, may peace be upon you.

Steve

BEETLEJUICE is Returning to Broadway

Beetlejuice

From Shubert Alley to TikTok, fans chanted “BEETLEJUICE!” three times, summoning “The Ghost with the Most” back to life.  On Friday, April 8, 2022, BEETLEJUICE will play its first performance since March 11, 2020, this time haunting Broadway’s Marriott Marquis Theatre (210 west 46th Street). 

BEETLEJUICE tickets will go on sale October 1, at www.Ticketmaster.comwith casting for BEETLEJUICE at Broadway’s Marriott Marquis Theatre to be announced shortly.

“We are overjoyed to be able to bring ‘The Ghost with The Most’ back to Broadway and are looking forward to seeing all our BEETLEJUICE fans this spring at the Marriott Marquis.  We sincerely thank the BEETLEJUICE fans; it is because of their support that we will be able to blow the roof off the Marquis Theatre three-times over with fun and laughter, laughter and laughter!” said producers Mark Kaufman (Warner Bros. Theatre Ventures) and Kevin McCormick (Langley Park Productions).

It’s showtime, folks! The ghost-with-the-most makes his Broadway return in this edgy and irreverent musical comedy based on Tim Burton’s dearly beloved film. BEETLEJUICE tells the story of Lydia Deetz, a strange and unusual teenager whose life changes when she meets a recently deceased couple and Beetlejuice, a demon with a thing for stripes. When Lydia calls on Beetlejuice to scare away anyone with a pulse, this double-crossing specter unleashes a (Nether)world of pandemonium, and the biggest sandworm Broadway has ever seen.

BEETLEJUICE is directed by two-time Tony Award nominee Alex Timbers (Moulin Rouge, Director of Warner Bros. forthcoming TOTO, the animated musical film adaptation of Michael Morpurgo and Emma Chichester Clark’s 2017 book), with an original score by Tony Award nominee Eddie Perfect (King Kong), a book by Tony Award nominee Scott Brown (“Castle Rock”)& Award and Tony Award nominee Anthony King (“Robbie”), music supervision, orchestrations and incidental music by Kris Kukul (Joan of Arc: Into the Fire), and choreography by Connor Gallagher (The Robber Bridegroom).

BEETLEJUICE opened on Broadway on Thursday, April 25, 2019,presented by Warner Bros. Theatre Ventures (Mark Kaufman) and Langley Park Productions (Kevin McCormick), and won theDrama Desk Award and Outer Critics Circle Award for David Korins’ scenic design and was nominated for eight Tony Awards including BEST NEW MUSICAL.  BEETLEJUICE had a history making run on Broadway – following the release of the musicals original Broadway cast recording and Tony Awards appearance, the box office exploded, making it the surprise hit of the 2018/2019 season.  BEETLEJUICE’s Tony Awards performance has gone on to be the most watched musical number from the broadcast with over 3,921,530 views.  BEETLEJUICE became a sensation with fans everywhere including on Tiktok, which lead to an additional burst of ticket sales from a new audience for Broadway, making the musical one of the top grossing shows on Broadway, going on to break the Winter Garden box office record.  The smash hit musical BEETLEJUICE played 366 performances at the Winter Garden Theatre on Broadway before being shuttered with the rest of Broadway on March 12, 2020.

BEETLEJUICE features scenic design by three-time Tony Award nominee David Korins (Hamilton), costume designby six-time Tony Award winner William Ivey Long (The Producers), lighting design by Tony Award winner Kenneth Posner (Kinky Boots), sound design by five-time Tony Award nominee Peter Hylenski (Frozen), projection design by Tony Award nominee and Drama Desk Award winner Peter Nigrini (Dear Evan Hansen), puppet design by Drama Desk Award winner Michael Curry (The Lion King), special effects design by Jeremy Chernick (Harry Potter and the Cursed Child), illusions by Michael Weber (Forrest Gump), hair & wig design by Drama Desk Award nominee Charles G. LaPointe, make-up design by Joe Dulude, physical movement coordinator Lorenzo Pisoni, casting by Telsey + Company and Rachel Hoffman, CSA, dance arrangements by David Dabbon, music producing by Matt Stine, production stage manager Rachel Bauder, associate director Catie Davis, associate choreographer Nancy Renee Braun and line producer Jenny Gersten.

GHOSTLIGHT RECORDS and WARNER RECORDS released BEETLEJUICE – ORIGINAL BROADWAY CAST RECORDING for digital download, streaming and on CD. The album is produced by Matt Stine, Alex Timbers, Eddie Perfect and Kurt Deutschand has surpassed 250 million streams in the United States and 760 million streams globally. These landmark numbers continue the remarkable success of the album, reaching the list of top 10 most streamed OBCRs of the previous decade. The show’s songs have placed in Spotify’s “Viral 50” charts in 13 different countries. In addition, “Say My Name,” one of the show’s breakout showstoppers, was chosen as Amazon’s “Alexa Song of the Day” in 2019. The incredible growth is partly a result of user-generated content on TikTok, where songs from the album have been used in over one million videos.

BEETLEJUICE is produced by Warner Bros. Theatre Ventures, Langley Park Productions, Jeffrey Richards, JAM Theatricals, IMG Original Content, Rebecca Gold, Ben Lowy, James L. Nederlander, Warner/Chappell Music INC., and Zendog Productions in association with DeRoy Federman Productions/42nd.club, Latitude Link, Mary Lu Roffe, Terry Schnuck, Marc Bell & Jeff Hollander, Jane Bergere, Joanna Carson, Darren Deverna & Jere Harris, Mark S. Golub & David S. Golub, The John Gore Organization, Ruth & Steve HendelLHC Theatrical Fund, Scott H. Mauro, Networks Presentations, No Guarantees, Gabrielle Palitz, Pierce Friedman Productions, Adrian Salpeter, Iris Smith and Triptyk Studios.  

BEETLEJUICE is based on the 1988 Academy Award®-winning Geffen Company motion picture presented by Warner Bros. and directed by Tim Burton. The smash hit comedy starred Michael Keaton, Alec Baldwin, Geena Davis, Jeffrey Jones, Catherine O’Hara and Winona Ryder with story by Michael McDowell and Larry Wilson.

Like Beetlejuice on Facebook at Facebook.com/BeetlejuiceBway/

Follow on TikTokTwitter & Instagram @BeetlejuiceBway.

For more information visit www.BeetlejuiceBroadway.com

“The whole world LOVES BEETLEJUICE!” – Cindy Adams, New York Post

BEETLEJUICE is SURPRISING audiences with a WILD RIDE that is both NAUGHTY AND NICE in unexpected ways.  Eddie Perfect has written STANDOUT SONGS WITH KILLER TUNES.  Sophia Anne Caruso serves goth teen to PERFECTION.  BEETLEJUICE is an EBULLIENT ANTIDOTE TO REALITY. It’s a ROLLICKING GOOD TIME!” – Jerry Portwood, Rolling Stone

“Burton’s cult classic BEETLEJUICE is reborn in the DELICIOUSLY DARK and HILARIOUS new musical, with a CATCHY SCORE.” – Maureen Lee Lenker, Entertainment Weekly

“SPECTACULARLY WEIRD!” – Adam Feldman, Time Out

“It’s showtime for Broadway’s BEETLEJUICE! THIS HILARIOUS AND THRILLING SHOW BRINGS WITH IT A BIG, FANTASTICAL FUN HOUSE OF BURTONESQUE MAGIC!” – Dave Quinn, People

“A GUT-BUSTING BROADWAY MUSICAL WHERE GHOULS GO WILD! You are in for one irreverent, funny roller-coaster ride. Scott Brown and Anthony King’s book is clever, constantly surprising, and very, very funny. This is one show where some people will bust a gut; others laugh their asses off—and, if the audience I was with is any indication, that could happen literally. A man down the aisle from me laughed so hard he nearly lost one of his heads.” – Joe Westerfield, Newsweek

“BEETLEJUICE is back from the dead in a SPOOKTACULAR new musical, turning the Great White Way into THE GREAT FRIGHT WAY!  For a show about a dead guy THERE IS A TON OF LIFE IN THIS MUSICAL!  2 ½ hours of non-stop energy!  INCREDIBLE ACTORS and a GENIUS CREATIVE TEAM” – Will Gans, ABC News

“BEETLEJUICE has never felt so lively. Audiences can expect a stylish visit to the Netherworld, an eclectic score from composer Eddie Perfect, and, of course, a Burtonesque celebration of outsiders.” – Jessica Derschowitz, Entertainment Weekly

“Directed by a feverishly inventive Alex Timbers, BEETLEJUICE IS A JAW-DROPPING FUNHOUSE” – Ben Brantley, The New York Times

“Pure mischief! ROWDY, CHEEKY AND GLEEFULLY IRREVERENT, BEETLEJUICE is all about excess. Alex Timbers and his designers are all riffing merrily on Burton’s unmistakable aesthetic: stripes and spirals and sandworms, oh my!” – Sara Holdren, New York Magazine

“A RIOTOUS, RAMBUNCTIOUS, SPECTACULAR PRODUCTION, with huge laughs, full-throttle performances and a mischievous sense of fun that literally seems to drip from the ceiling.” – David Rooney, Hollywood Reporter

“Gleeful, jubilant and funny, with zippy one-liners that detonate like a string of firecrackers and juicy performances that PROVIDES PEAKS OF MUSICAL THEATER PLEASURE!” – Charles Isherwood, Broadway News

“It’s showtime! It’s showtime! It’s showtime! Beetlejuice is a story about death with tons of life. A HILARIOUS, PULL-OUT-THE-STOPS EXTRAVAGANZA. The Winter Garden is a frequent home to now-and-forever-running staples, and Beetlejuice is guaranteed to follow suit. THESE GHOSTS ARE GONNA LIVE FOREVER!” – Jesse Oxfeld, New York Stage Review

“A morbidly MAGICAL musical” – Rob LeDonne, Billboard

“UTTERLY DAZZLING” – Roma Torre, NY1

“SCREAMINGLY GOOD FUN, with off-the-wall humor and ENDLESS VISUALS AND AURAL DELIGHTS.” – Frank Rizzo, Variety

“A BOLD, SHAMELESS, NUTTY, BRASSY, ROLLICKING PIECE OF FUN. Prepare for giant sand worms, dancing skeletons, lots of zingers, and a stage that is a frenzy of visual delight.” – Tim Teeman, Daily Beast

The Broadway cast of “Company” presents a benefit concert for “Darkness Rising” Monday, September 20 at 7 PM at Birdland Jazz Club

Darkness RISING

The cast of the new Broadway production of Company is proud to present a benefit concert for Darkness RISING on Monday, September 20 at 7 PM ET at Birdland Jazz Club (315 West 44th Street). Tickets are available now at www.birdlandjazz.com.

Company cast members scheduled to perform at the concert include Kathryn AllisonTerence ArchieNikki Renée DanielsMatt DoyleClaybourne ElderJavier IgnacioChristopher SieberJennifer Simard, and Bobby Conte Thornton, with Company’s associate music director Paul Staroba on piano.  

Darkness RISING is a non-profit organization composed of singers and musicians from the Black Broadway community and Black mental health providers whose purpose is to help those in both the Black community, as well as for Broadway show company members begin conversations about mental health, provide direct resources, and erase the negative stigma of mental health issues.

Carlita Victoria, Executive Director of Darkness RISING said, “We are grateful to the cast of Company for raising awareness and much needed funding to support our mission. Thanks to Company cast members, we will be able to continue providing direct mental health resources to marginalized communities which experience ongoing barriers to resources, as well as artists navigating the difficulties of the past 18 months.”

The cast of Company was inspired by the organization’s mission, workshops, and toolkits.One resource, Broadway for Mental Health Support, a campaign in collaboration with Adrienne Warren, helps provide therapy and mental health resources for returning Broadway company members through funding contributed by show producers. 

All ticket holders to the concert will be required to show proof of vaccination upon entry.

ABOUT DARKNESS RISING

Darkness RISING Project is a 501(c)3 nonprofit which provides direct mental health resources and helps those in the Black community have conversations about their mental health and emotional well-being. We accomplish this by partnering with mental health providers, mental health educators, and Black performers from the Broadway community to create events, seminars, and direct resources where the intersection between mental health education and the arts collide. 

ABOUT COMPANY

The upcoming revival of Stephen Sondheim and George Furth’s landmark American musical Company, under the direction of two-time Tony Award® winner Marianne Elliott will resume performances on Monday, November 15 ahead of a Thursday, December 9 opening night at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre (242 West 45th Street). For more information, please visit www.companymusical.com.

Beanie Feldstein Will Star in FUNNY GIRL on Broadway

BEANIE FELDSTEIN

Sonia Friedman Productions, Scott Landis and Chocolate Factory Productions have announced that Golden Globe Award nominee Beanie Feldstein (Booksmart; Hello, Dolly!) will star as “Fanny Brice” in the first Broadway revival of FUNNY GIRL. Back on Broadway for the first time in 58 years, the new production directed by Tony Award winner Michael Mayer (Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Spring Awakening) features some of the most iconic songs in theatre history including “People” and “Don’t Rain on My Parade.” Performances begin in spring 2022 at a Broadway theatre to be announced.

With choreography by Ellenore Scott (Head Over Heels, “So You Think You Can Dance”), tap choreography by Ayodele Casel (New York Times’ “Biggest Breakout Stars of 2019”), a revised book by Tony Award winner Harvey Fierstein (Kinky Boots, La Cage Aux Folles) and scenic design by Tony Award winner David Zinn (Fun Home), FUNNY GIRL features music by Tony, Grammy and Academy Award winner Jule Styne, lyrics by Tony Award nominee and Grammy Award winner Bob Merrill and a book by Isobel Lennart, from an original story by Miss Lennart.

Beanie Feldstein said, “The first time I played Fanny Brice was at my third birthday party, in a head-to-toe leopard print outfit my mom made for me. So, it’s safe to say that stepping into this iconic role, on Broadway and not in my family’s backyard, is truly my lifelong dream come true. I am immensely grateful to be able to do so alongside such a remarkable creative team, and cannot wait for audiences to get back in theaters again!”

The full creative team, further casting, production dates, theatre and onsale plans will be announced shortly.

FUNNY GIRL tells the bitter-sweet story of Fanny Brice (Feldstein), whose unique comedic and vocal talent see her rise from young Brooklyn music hall performer to star, and her tempestuous relationship with gambler, Nicky Arnstein. 

Michael Mayer’s bold new production marks the first time FUNNY GIRL will return to Broadway since its debut 58 years ago. The original production of FUNNY GIRL premiered on Broadway in 1964 starring Barbra Streisand as “Fanny Brice” and was nominated for eight Tony Awards including Best Musical.

Bruce Springsteen re-opens Broadway

Springsteen on Broadway

Bruce Springsteen re-opened Broadway last night for a limited run of Springsteen on Broadway at Jujamcyn’s St. James Theatre (246 W 44th Street). Performances began last night, Saturday June 26 and will continue through September 4.

Proceeds from Opening Night of Springsteen on Broadway at the St. James Theatre will be donated to a group of local New York and New Jersey charities including the Boys and Girls Club of Monmouth County, Broadway Cares/Equity Fights Aids, Community FoodBank of New Jersey, Food Bank for New York City, Fulfill (Monmouth & Ocean Counties Foodbank), Long Island Cares, NJ Pandemic Relief Fund and The Actor’s Fund.

The creative team for Springsteen on Broadway includes Heather Wolensky (scenic design), Natasha Katz (lighting design) and Brian Ronan (sound design).

Based on his worldwide best-selling autobiography ‘Born to Run,’ Springsteen on Broadway is a unique evening with Bruce, his guitar, a piano, and his very personal stories. The show’s original run included 236 sold-out performances at Jujamcyn’s Walter Kerr Theatre, beginning in October 2017 and concluding in December 2018. Springsteen earned a Special Tony Award for the performances, which were later adapted into a film and a soundtrack album.

Tickets for Springsteen on Broadway are on sale through the show’s official ticketing provider SeatGeek at https://seatgeek.com/springsteen-on-broadway-tickets.

For each performance, 32 lottery tickets will be sold for $75 each. To register and find more information, please visit http://www.luckyseat.com

Audience members will be required to provide proof of full COVID-19 vaccination in order to enter the theater. For more information visit brucespringsteen.net or jujamcyn.com/springsteenFAQ.