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This week in theater news...

Published March 27th, 2015 by | No Comments

Each week we're going to keep you up-to-speed with the latest Broadway and theater news. Check back every Friday to see what you missed this week, and to catch a glimpse of what's going on at Playhouse Square and beyond. Enjoy!

julieandrews

Theater happenings... 

The hills are alive!
Julie Andrews has announced she will release her second memoir in 2017, telling the backstory of Mary Poppins, Sound of Music, and other works from her early years. (USAToday.com) Read more…

17-year-old will pen Tom Sawyer on Broadway
What had you accomplished by the age of 17? Senior Noah Altshuler of Cambridge, MA, has been tapped to write the stage adaptation of Mark Twain’s Tom Sawyer. Altshuler is a Playwright-in-Residence at the Mark Twain House & Museum in Hartford, CT, which will commission the work. (Broadway.com) Read more…

Seinfeld’s Jason Alexander takes over Fish in the Dark on Broadway
As Larry David prepares for his last performance in his self-penned Fish in the Dark, Jason Alexander is getting ready to take his place. Alexander has played on Broadway before, with a Tony Award for Jerome Robbins’ Broadway, as well as other stage credits. (Broadway.com) Read more…

Pretty Woman becoming a musical
As Pretty Woman turns 25, director Gary Marshall confirmed that the movie will become a Broadway musical. It’s sparked the question: who will play Julia Roberts’ role as Vivian Ward, or Richard Gere’s part as Edward Lewis? (People.com) Read more…

Playhouse Square happenings...

alt-J with special guest Tycho
Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike – Cleveland Play House

This week in theater news...

Published March 20th, 2015 by | No Comments

Each week we're going to keep you up-to-speed with the latest Broadway and theater news. Check back every Friday to see what you missed this week, and to catch a glimpse of what's going on at Playhouse Square and beyond. Enjoy!

Theater happenings...

Idina Menzel takes a bow
March 22 will be Idina Menzel’s last performance as Elizabeth in If/Then. But no need to worry, her summer tour will make its way to CLE this summer and she has worked on new music. We’ll be keeping an eye on her! (Playbill.com) Read more…

So. Fetch.
Word on the street is a Mean Girls musical is 60% complete with readings expected to begin this summer. Tina Fey and husband Jeff Richmond have worked on the project, along with composer Nell Benjamin. Unfortunately, we will not see a number called, “Fetch.” (Broadway.com) Read more…

Kevin Kline joins Beauty and the Beast
Lately it feels like everyone has jumped on the Beauty and the Beast cast bandwagon. This week two-time Tony winner Kevin Kline joined in, cast the father to Belle (Emma Watson.) What’s more, the movie is set to release on St. Patrick’s Day in 2017. We’re in this two-year wait together. (Broadway.com) Read more…

Playhouse Square happenings...

Playhouse Square Partners Trivia Night
The Sing-Off Live Tour
CIFF: Still Dreaming
CSU Spring Dance Concert
Potted Potter
CIFF: Teacher of the Year
The Peking Acrobats

This week in theater news...

Published March 15th, 2015 by | No Comments

Each week we're going to keep you up-to-speed with the latest Broadway and theater news. Check back every Friday to see what you missed this week, and to catch a glimpse of what's going on at Playhouse Square and beyond. Enjoy!

bbcnewsbrightmanphotoPhoto by BBC News

Theater happenings...

The Music of the Night in… space?
While many have booked their flights for summer vacation, The Phantom of the Opera’s Sarah Brightman has booked her trip to space. Brightman will take off September 1, 2015 for a ten-day trip out of this world for the chance to sing from the International Space Station. Back on land, a chorus or an orchestra will be ready to perform along for a live, televised broadcast. The trip has a price tag of tens of millions of dollars. (NBCnews.com) Read more…

Brrrrrr…
Frozen 2 is in the works! At a shareholder meeting March 12, Bob Iger made the announcement. More details are to come. (Broadway.com) Read more…

Audra McDonald returns
Six-time Tony winner Audra McDonald will return to Broadway to lead Shuffle Along, Or, The Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed, set to open at the Music Box Theatre April 21, 2016. (Broadway.com) Read more…

Playhouse Square happenings...
Dirty Dancing
Sesame Street Live

An Interview with Michele Lynch from Dirty Dancing

Published March 14th, 2015 by | No Comments

Our Buzz Extra writer, Alicia Hansen had the exciting opportunity to interview Michele Lynch, the Dirty Dancing tour choreographer. As part of our Broadway Buzz program, Alicia will take you behind the scenes of each KeyBank Broadway Series show and interview a member of the show’s cast, crew or creative team.

buzz

With the arrival of Dirty Dancing in Cleveland this month as a part of the 2014-2015 KeyBank Broadway Series, Northeastern Ohioans are already enjoying this theatrical re-telling of the 1987 film. From the memorable soundtrack to the classic story now on stage, audiences are captivated by the choreography set to tunes such as "Hungry Eyes," "Hey Baby," and "(I've Had) The Time Of My Life." The tour’s choreographer, Michele Lynch, shares some insight on her own path as a professional in the field while giving Clevelanders a look into the process of bringing this piece from the screen to the stage.

How did you discover dance, and how did it and the theater become a part of the path that lead to where you are today?

I took an unconventional route by starting later than most in this profession. I saw a show that inspired me and I felt like it spoke my language. I thought, “I’m going to be a choreographer,” even though I had never taken a dance class. I knew I wanted to choreograph, so I just started taking classes and then fell in love with it. I started as a dancer – landing my first job at Disney. I made my way to Broadway, then started assisting choreographers. I have been choreographing on my own for about the past ten to twelve years.

I went to school for something else, but made my way back to dance. I always think that if people want something badly enough, it just comes back to them. I tried to quit many times but it always came back because deep down, I just loved it. So I just started pursuing it. That is really the heart of what drives me and got me to where I am today.

It must have been intimidating working on such an iconic piece, especially Dirty Dancing.  Can you speak to your process about the creation of the choreography: how you can be your creative self while honoring an existing piece, but making it something new at the same time?

I actually found this to be one of the most enjoyable and educational experiences: not in any way that you would normally expect, but because I had to put my ego aside. I think years ago I would have never said yes because I feel like I loved the movie so much and it spoke to me so much. There was a template that had been set because the movie was so iconic, and the stage version had been done before about ten years ago with an Australian choreographer. We were making it new for the US and were creating a cut-down version with new songs and new music, but I would still have to use some existing choreography.

I had tricked myself into thinking that this was going to be one of most challenging things I would ever have to do, and it really wasn’t. I just had to remember that I had to get out of my own way. Going into it completely egoless and just serving the piece freed me up in the most creative way and enabled me to just be there for all the right reasons. I thought it had been that way on other projects, but that reaching that level in this process was pretty remarkable to me. It was such a great experience.

I think this movie makes it okay to dance, to dance in a sexy way and to fall in love doing it. That is why it is such a huge hit because dancing is such a primal thing that we all do and this movie just normalizes it in a way. Also, I think it empowered men to be cool as dancers. There can be a stigma to dance and it is something I experienced in pursuing it.

As the show is up and running, touring throughout the world, how does your role as choreographer continue to come into play?

I do not tour with the company, but I do check on it periodically. I do enjoy visiting the tour when it is out on the road. We have two dance captains that look after it. They are so good at maintaining the specifics. They are in the show, and have a couple parts, so they are often busy.

Things can change gradually without anyone noticing because they are “in” it every single day, so they do not notice the movement of the slightest inch. But an inch over three months? I am going to notice. I see those changes, so I go in and I try to re-inspire the company, adjusting as needed or changing it back to what it was. For example, we have so many lifts through partner work in the show and it’s been taking a toll on the guys. We are in the process of modifying and taking out some lifts, and so I will work with the dance captains on how we keep the intention in tact while the show’s dynamics change.

That is the big picture, but it is a lot of storytelling. Everything is driven by the story. Sometimes the performers just need a reminder of why they are in a number, and a fresh eye to come and talk to them.

Are there specific moments of the show that are favorites for you? For the audience?

The part that gets me every time is when we go into “Do You Love Me?” and the first time the audience sees the dirty dancing. It is in your face. It is exciting and thrilling. I have worked on so many shows in theater where you are not allowed to dance like that. There is a style to it – a technique even. We’ve taken it to another level, which you don’t always get to see in any other show. I love to be in the audience and feel the audience – especially if you’re in a very conservative city and perhaps an older demographic that wasn’t exposed to this type of dance in their day – get a little uncomfortable, but also see them enjoy it at the same time.

Of course, the moment everyone looks forward to is when Johnny lifts Baby during the last dance number. That iconic lift at the end, to this day – even when I see the show or rehearsing it – is still exciting to me. That excitement never fails – even though you know it is coming – because it is not easy! It is as hard as it looks. It is always thrilling when that goes up, every night, even during rehearsal. I remember when we were in Australia with our very first audience, the actors playing Baby and Johnny did not get the lift, and the audience screamed, “try it again!”  They tried it three times and they did not get it! It was devastating. Even when they were taking their bows, there were people around us saying, “try the lift!” You know if it does not work, there is a part of them that does not feel satisfied, so that last scene seems like the most important thing in the show.

What makes Dirty Dancing stand out from everything else that you worked on over the years?

I love that it was different from anything else that I had ever done. I think it is unlike anything you will ever see because it is not in typical theater format. It’s not your typical musical. It’s a theatricalized version of the movie. Baby and Johnny do not sing, so people who expect a musical in that way can get disappointed. We were making new rules in storytelling and parts of the story that didn’t make the movie are on stage. I think that is unique.

Also, working on a show that has been done before is another way Dirty Dancing stands out in my career. I’ve done productions like Little House on the Prairie and Happy Days, but those were shows that didn’t have iconic choreography that came with them. So I was able to invent it, but that comes with expectations. You have to be sure you meet those expectations, so that can be challenging. But I think we do – the audience reaction is unlike any show I’ve ever been on. They go nuts!

Dirty Dancing plays in Cleveland March 3 – 22 at the Connor Palace at Playhouse Square. For more information, please visit the show’s page on the Playhouse Square website.

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Alicia Hansen is the writer behind Poise in Parma, a healthy balance blog for Clevelanders. A graduate of Baldwin-Wallace College’s theatre program, Alicia is a yoga teacher at Evolution Yoga, an event and marketing professional and proud Northeast Ohio arts supporter. Follow her on FacebookTwitterInstagram and Pinterest

A dream is a wish your heart makes...

Published March 13th, 2015 by | No Comments

Disney’s live-action Cinderella opens in theaters right before the Broadway Tour makes its way to CLE this summer. And you’re jealous you don’t have a fairy godmother, or a handful of singing mice, or a horse-drawn carriage, let alone a pumpkin, right?! Not to worry, dear, you can become a Cinderella in your own right.

Impossible, you say? Not with these all the Cinderella-inspired gear out there!

laurenconrad

Kohl’s has become a one-stop Cinderella shop for all ages of royalty. Dress for the grand ball with Lauren Conrad’s Cinderella collection, or Disney’s lines for juniors and little ones.

hot-topic-cinderella-blue-dress-h724

If you’re feeling a little edgy, you can also try Hot Topic’s Cinderella-inspired line. Who knows, Cinderella could have been a punk rock princess.

 cinderellagoiwn

Marrying Prince Charming this year? You can buy the dress fit for a queen. Designer Alfred Angelo is creating a Disney Fairy Tale Wedding collection  – of course including Cinderella’s gown! Step out of those rags, and into something a little more fitting. And yes, it’s identical to the real thing.

 MACcinderella

Get the complete look with MAC luxury cosmetics Cinderella line. Pastel blues, pinks, and shimmery golds will pull any glamorous look together.

jimmyCHOO

Cinderella might have left behind her glass slipper, but you sure don’t have to. Designers like Jimmy Choo, Nicholas Kirkwood and Alexandre Birman have all created their own unique Cinderella shoes.

It looks like you have some primping to do! Get ready for Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella when it waltzes into CLE July 21-Aug. 2! For even more style ideas like the Cinderella Alex and  Ani bracelet, visit our Pinterest board.

This week in theater news...

Published March 6th, 2015 by | No Comments

Each week we're going to keep you up-to-speed with the latest Broadway and theater news. Check back every Friday to see what you missed this week, and to catch a glimpse of what's going on at Playhouse Square and beyond. Enjoy!

Sarabareilleswaitress

Theater Happenings...

Sara Bareilles writes musical score to Waitress
Sara Bareilles, we choose you! “Brave” and “Love Story” singer Sara Bareilles will write the score for the musical adaptation of Waitress (You mean, that ’07 movie with Kerri Russel? That’s right!) developed by the American Repository Theater. If the musical’s schedule runs as planned, Waitress will premier in the ’15-’16 season at ART. (Playbill.com) Read more...

Dan Stevens will be the Beast
Downton Abbey’s Dan Stevens will star opposite Emma Watson in Disney’s live-action Beauty and the Beast. He’s recently starred in movies like Walk Among the Tombstones and The Guest, but Beauty and the Beast will be his most high-profile role to date. If you don’t remember the storyline, what better way than to see it when Broadway Tour makes its way to CLE? (Time.com) Read more...

Ron Swanson headlines A Confederacy of Dunces
At least Nick Offerman is! A Confederacy of Dunces world premier will take place Nov. 11 at the Huntington Theatre in Boston. Directed by David Esbjornson, this will open the ’15-’16 season at Huntington. Originally based on John Kennedy Toole’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, Offerman will star as the arrogant Ignatius J. Reilly. (Broadway.com) Read more...

Bruce Willis makes Broadway Stage Debut
Steven King’s Misery stage adaptation will be making its debut this fall in a theater TBA, and Bruce Willis is set to star. Two-time Oscar winner William Goldman wrote the play based off of the novel, which also was adapted for film in 1990. (Broadway.com) Read more...

Playhouse Square Happenings...

Dirty Dancing
Flanagan's Wake
The Pink Floyd Experience 
Andy Jeselnik
Celtic Woman 

Nobody puts Dirty Dancing in a corner... NOBODY.

Published March 2nd, 2015 by | No Comments

Admit it: you do your best to catch every Dirty Dancing movie marathon weekend and would kill to go to a summer resort like Kellerman’s in the Catskills. We’re here for you, and will tell you you’re not alone. How could you be with all of the Dirty Dancing references in movies and TV shows over the years?  This movie is a classic. It’s epic. And EVERYONE knows it.

Crazy Stupid Love

Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling had the time of their lives, obviously.

 

Glee

It’s no secret the love for a Capella has grown in recent years, so of course Glee included the song. Another first round pick.

 

Gilmore Girls
RoryandLorelai

Because nobody puts Rory in a corner.

 

That Sandals jingle…

Do do it, do it all again…

 

Family Guy

Family Guy tag teamed with Star Wars to make this super-parody.

 

Black Eyed Peas

Love it or hate it, this happened.

 

Dancing with the Stars

Starring Jennifer Grey!

 

Uncle Buck 

Even John Candy gave it a shot.

 

New Girl

We’ve all been there…

 

How I Met Your Mother

If this isn’t the best remake of this scene we don’t know what is.

 

Good Morning America
ryanandal
Ryan Gosling gave it another try with Al Roker.

So, here’s to the Dirty Dancing obsessed. If you still haven’t had enough, don’t miss Dirty Dancing when it hits CLE March 3-22! You can also check out our Dirty Dancing-inspired Pinterest board here.

 

This week in theater news...

Published February 27th, 2015 by | No Comments

Each week we're going to keep you up-to-speed with the latest Broadway and theater news. Check back every Friday to see what you missed this week, and to catch a glimpse of what's going on at Playhouse Square and beyond. Enjoy!

spongebob

Theater happenings...

Spongebob the musical
He lives in a pineapple under the sea, and now he’s taking his talents to the stage. You read that correctly: a Spongebob Squarepants musical adaptation is formally in the works. The current title is “Bikini Bottom Day” and features music from some big names like John Legend. (Broadway.com) Read more…

Lena Hall departs from Hedwig
Tony Award winner Lena Hall has announced her last performance as Yitzhak in Hedwig and the Angry Inch will be April 4. Keep your eyes out for her replacement, which will be announced soon. (Broadway.com) Read more…

Finding Neverland rehearsal
It's true, those who don't believe in magic will never find it. Catch a sneak peek into Finding Neverland rehearsals on Broadway, starring Matthew Morrison, Kelsey Grammer, Laura Michelle Kelly and more. (Broadway.com) Read more...

 

Playhouse Square happenings...

Je'Caryous Johnson's "Things Your Man Won't Do" 
Dirty Dancing 
Ina Garten
Gabriel Iglesias
Compagnie Kafig - Dance Cleveland

This week in theater news...

Published February 20th, 2015 by | No Comments

Each week we're going to keep you up-to-speed with the latest Broadway and theater news. Check back every Friday to see what you missed this week, and to catch a glimpse of what's going on at Playhouse Square and beyond. Enjoy!

neil-patrick-harris16-5

Broadway news...

Neil Patrick Harris hosts the Oscars. 
From the Tony Awards to the Oscars, we can’t get enough of NPH. Of course, he's extremely qualified for the job. Check out these ten gifs that prove his host worthiness. Tune in here Sunday night to see the show live.

Krysta Rodriguez blogs about her battles with cancer and fashion
Smash star Krysta Rodriguez is sharing her best beauty tips – and her fight with breast cancer – in her new blog, KrystaCouture.com. In the blog she tells all, explaining “I’m trying to live as loudly as I can.” Check out her hilariously written blog and read her take on life.

Darren Criss takes over as Hedwig
Glee star Darren Criss will take the stage in Hedwig and the Angry Inch at the Belasco Theatre beginning April 29. In 2012 Criss debuted on Broadway in How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. Lena Hall will continue to star in the show as Yitzhak. (Broadway.com) Read more… 

Playhouse Square happenings... 

ROBOT PLANET RISING: An Intergalactic Nemesis Live-Action Graphic Novel
The Philadelphia Story
Angels in America Part 1
Dial "M" for Murder

 

This week in theater news...

Published February 6th, 2015 by | No Comments

 

Each week we're going to keep you up-to-speed with the latest Broadway and theater news. Check back every Friday to see what you missed this week, and to catch a glimpse of what's going on at Playhouse Square and beyond. Enjoy!

BWYCon

Theater happenings... 

BroadwayCon hits NYC next January!

Theatre-goer dreams are coming true. The first ever BroadwayCon is coming to NYC in Jan. 2016. Held at the New York Hilton Midtown hotel, this three day event was created by Rent and If/Then star, Anthony Rapp. (Broadway.com) Read more...

Freaky Friday - the musical

“Could you like, chill for a sec?” No, not with a Freaky Friday musical in the works. The show will be based on the Disney movies, as well as Mary Rodgers’ original novel. Production is currently in the casting process, so expect more news to come. (Broadway.com) Read more...

Disenchanted! returns

You can never have enough fairy tale spinoffs. Disenchanted!, a fun take on the Disney princesses, is coming back to the stage. This fairy tale fantasy throws a twist on the lives of the princesses in an adult version of classic tales. Audiences around the country are thrilled it’s back with shows off-Broadway. (Broadway.com) Read more...

George Takei’s Allegiance on Broadway

Famed Star Trek actor George Takei is bringing his talents to Broadway. He is set to star in the musical, Allegiance, a musical about Japanese-Americans in the U.S. interment camps during WW2. The musical was first shown in the Old Globe Theater in San Diego, and is loosely inspired by Takei’s childhood. (LATimes.com) Read more...

Playhouse Square Happenings...

Pippin
Five Guys Named Moe
Defending the Caveman 
The Little Black Dress 
Shen Yun 
Shaping Sound 

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