Tony-winner James Monroe Inglehart, who plays Genie in the Broadway adaptation of "Aladdin," last night led the audience in a sing-along dedicated to his onscreen counterpart, the late Robin Williams. Click here for a clip of "Friend Like Me" at the New Amsterdam Theatre, courtesy of Disney on Broadway and pieced together from cell phone videos.



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I caught up with “Monty Python’s Spamalot” last Sunday, when the show stood as the sparkler atop Pittsburgh CLO’s sweet and sassy 2014 season. 

CLO gifted theatergoers with a cast that could have come direct from a Broadway revival of the delightfully cheeky musical, based on the British troupe’s “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” and adapted by Eric Idle and John Du Prez.


It was especially fun to see Robert Creighton (above left, with Tom Hewitt; credit: Archie Carpenter) in the role of Patsy. Among his Broadway roles are Durdles/Mr. Nick Cricker in last year’s revival of “The Mystery of Edwin Drood” and a replacement Timon in “The Lion King.” Last year, colleague Maria Sciullo and I happened to be in attendance for the taping of a Seth Rudetsky Sirius XM Radio segment that featured Creighton.


He did justice to the subversively cheerful “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life,” a song I know well and almost whistled along to -- well, I did for the the encore.


I also enjoyed the patter between Broadway veterans Tom Hewitt as Arthur and Adam Pelty as Tim (also Lancelot/Ni), when Pelty cracked Hewitt up (a la Tim Conway and Harvey Korman) and finally said, “You’re going to miss me, aren’t you?” I don’t know if it was for show, but they certainly seemed like they were having a blast, and so was the audience.

 We know Elizabeth Stanley (Lady of the Lake) is heading back to Broadway in “Our Town,” and Tyler Hanes (Gallahad), via CMU and NYC, is becoming a welcome CLO sight since “42nd Street.”

I could go on, but mostly I want to mention that it’s interesting to see so many Penn Staters in the hard-working, talented CLO ensemble. And speaking of Penn State alums …


HydzikDC08082014MATTHEW HYDZIK, a Quaker Valley High School and PSU grad, is headed back to Broadway. “The West Side Story” star reteamed with his “Flashdance” co-star Emily Padgett for the musical “Side Show” at the Kennedy Center, and both will reprise their roles when the revival of “Side Show” moves to Broadway’s St. James Theatre, with opening night set for Nov. 17.  


Oscar winner Bill Condon (“Dreamgirls”) will make his Broadway directorial debut with the show, based on real-life conjoined twins Violet (Erin Davie) and Daisy Hilton (Padgett), who had a circus act in the 1930s. Hydzik plays Buddy Foster, one of the men in the twins’ lives.


Also coming to Broadway ...


ROB ASHFORD, who recently helped Kenneth Branagh make his New York stage debut as co-director of "Macbeth," will return to his musical roots next year with a revival of "Best Little Whorehouse in Texas."


Image: Matthew Hydzik in Kennedy Center production of "Side Show." Credit: Joan Marcus


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Just go this email from Pittsburgh CLO about the addition of Tony Award-winner "Boeing Boeing" to join the Pittsburgh premiere of "Murder for Two" and the return of "Girls Only - The Secret Comedy of Women" for the 2014-15 CLO Cabaret Series.

The details from CLO:

Murder For Two

October 22, 2014 - January 18, 2015
Music by Joe Kinosian
Lyrics by Kellen Blair
Book by Joe Kinosian and Kellen Blair

Murder For Two is the perfect blend of music, mayhem and murder!  In this witty and winking musical homage to old-fashioned murder mysteries, 2 performers play 13 roles — not to mention the piano! The New York Times calls this hilarious 90-minute whodunit “INGENIOUS!  A snazzy double-act that spins out a comic mystery animated by funny, deftly turned songs.”  You won’t want to miss this killer musical comedy!

Boeing Boeing
February 5-April 26, 2015

By Marc Camoletti 
Translated by Beverly Cross
Revised by Francis Evans
Directed by Van Kaplan

This Tony Award®-winning swingin’ ‘60s farce features Bernard, a wannabe-Casanova, with Italian, German, and American fiancées, each a beautiful airline hostess with frequent “layovers.” He keeps “one up, one down and one pending” until unexpected schedule changes bring all three to Paris and Bernard’s apartment at the same time. A riotous hit comedy that recently enjoyed hit revivals in London and New York, Boeing Boeing is now set to arrive in Pittsburgh - fasten your seatbelts!

Girls Only – The Secret Comedy of Women
May 27-August 16, 2015

By Barbara Gehring and Linda Klein

Girls Only - The Secret Comedy of Women is a hilarious hit about two women discovering their childhood diaries and the sweet, awkward, embarrassing and heartwarming stories they inspire. A combination of sketch comedy, improvisation and musical numbers – with a little audience participation thrown in – Girls Only is the perfect way to celebrate all things girly. Don’t miss what the Denver Postcalls “truly brilliant!” and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette said, “Keep the laughs coming!”

The CLO Cabaret Series Subscription is available for $100 and includes:

  • Tickets to Murder for Two, Boeing Boeing and Girls Only – The Secret Comedy of Women
  • Choice of show dates and times
  • Convenient ticket exchange
  • The above price includes up to a 25% discount
CLO Cabaret Series Performances

Wednesdays at 7:30 p.m.
Thursdays at 7:30 p.m.
Fridays at 7:30 p.m.
Saturdays at 2:00 p.m. & 7:30 p.m.
Sundays at 2:00 p.m.
Select Thursdays at 1:00 p.m.

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'Holler If Ya Hear Me' to close July 20

Monday, 14 July 2014 09:52 PM Written by

Eric Gold and the other producers of "Holler If Ya Hear Me" knew they were taking a huge gamble when they decided to create Broadway's first all-rap musical, based on the songs of Tupac Shakur.

More than a decade after the Monroeville native and Hollywood super agent began pursuing his dream of bringing 2Pac to musical theater, with a book by Pittsburgher Todd Kreidler and Tony-winning director Kenny Leon at the helm, the dream died quickly. The show that required an expensive retooling of the Palace Theatre and had just two workshops before hitting New York, where it was met with mixed reviews. "Holler" had tried to reach out to the late Shakur's fan base and was hosting a National Museum of Hip-Hop exhibition at the Palace, but even with a huge ad campaign and plenty of pre-publicity, it was playing to 53 percent capacity last week.

This press release arrived tonight via e-mail:


Broadway's HOLLER IF YA HEAR ME, the new musical inspired by the lyrics of Tupac Shakur, will close on Sunday, July 20 at the Palace Theatre.  As of that date, the musical will have played 38 regular performances and 17 preview performances.  HOLLER IF YA HEAR ME began previews June 2 and opened June 19.

literally take center stage and hold it."


Speaking on behalf of the producers, Eric L. Gold said, "We are so proud to be a part of this ground breaking production. The cast, musicians, production and creative teams gave more than just their professional excellence but contributed their passion as well. My hope is that a production of this calibre, powerful in its story telling, filled with great performances and exciting contemporary dance and music will eventually receive the recognition it deserves. It saddens me that due to the financial burdens of Broadway, I was unable to sustain this production longer in order to give it time to bloom on Broadway. Tupac's urgent socially important insights and the audiences' nightly rousing standing ovations deserve to be experienced by the world."


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The REP, the professional theater company of Point Park University, has announced a 2014-15 season that includes two world premieres by Pittsburgh playwrights, a comedy about a popular singer with a dreadful voice and the Steinbeck classic, "Of Mice and Men.".

Season subscriptions, available now, are $64-$72. Single tickets, ranging from $24-$27,  go on sale Aug. 4. Those who purchase three subscriptions get the fourth free. Details: 412-392-8000 or www.pittsburghplayhouse.com.

The REP's 2014-2015 season:

Sept. 5-21, 2014 (preview Sept. 4) in the Rauh Theatre: "Of Mice and Men" by John Steinbeck, directed by Robert A. Miller.

Adapted for the stage by Steinbeck from his novella, "Of Mice and Men" tells the story of two migrant workers, George and Lennie, and their doomed dream of settling down one day on their own piece of land.

Sept. 26-Oct. 12, 2014 (preview Sept. 25) in the Studio Theatre: "Souvenir" by Stephen Temperley, directed by Tome Cousin.

Told through the eyes of her accompanist, Cosme McMoon, "Souvenir" recounts the life of Florence Foster Jenkins, an eccentric wealthy socialite who suffered under the delusion that she was a great soprano. "What is extraordinary about 'Souvenir' is that Temperley has made Jenkins, for all her foolishness, a remarkably sympathetic woman. You never doubt that Jenkins has tremendous dedication to the composers whose work she massacres," wrote the New York Daily News.

Feb. 6-Feb. 22, 2015 (preview Feb. 5) in the Rauh Theatre: "Prussia: 1866" is a world premiere by Gab Cody, directed by Kim Martin.

Pittsburgh playwright Gab Cody has crafted a farcical examination of philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche and his proto-feminist friends. When confronted with a difficult life decision so many have asked, "What would Nietzsche do?" "Prussia: 1866" asks this question and finds the answer is a farce. 

March 27-April 12, 2015 (preview March 26): "Endless Lawns" a world premiere by Anthony McKay, directed by Greg Lehane.

The Pittsburgh playwright and Carnegie Mellon University professor's new play is about wo sisters and the men who love and care for them. McKay, who received an acting degree from CMU in 1969, has appeared on Broadway with the Negro Ensemble Company in "The First Breeze of Summer" and in Jean Kerr's "Lunch Hour" with Gilda Radner. 

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City Theatre has announced the six winners of the 2014 Young Playwrights Contest. The writers will develop their one-act scripts in collaboration with professional directors, dramaturgs and actors for productions at the 15th annual Young Playwrights Festival Sept. 30-Oct. 10 in City's Hamburg Studio.


And the winners are ...


Middle School:


* "Attack of the Psycho Geese from Outer Space!" by Weston Custer, Pittsburgh CAPA 6-12

* "The Bat Boy" by Joseph Bornes, Sharpsville Middle School

* "Cologne" by Michelle Do, North Hills Middle School

High School:

* "The Cellar" by Casey Zadinski, South Fayette High School

* "Conflict" by Michael Kelly, Moon Area High School

* "Dream House" by Drew Praskovich, Pittsburgh CAPA 6-12


The festival will also feature readings of three plays that were selected as Young Playwrights Contest finalists.


Receiving readings: 

* "Catch That Bird" by Brenda Nicole Dressel, Canon-McMillan High School

* "God Hates Pancakes" by Madeline Smith, Pittsburgh CAPA 6-12

* "The Now" by Daniel DiFabio, Washington High School


The winning and finalist one-act plays were selected from a record 305 Young Playwrights Contest submissions. Students from middle and high schools in Western Pennsylvania and Northern West Virginia are eligible to participate. Each script is read by at least two members of the Literary Committee, comprised of 60 theater professionals from across the United States. All writers who submit scripts receive constructive criticism and encouraging suggestions for continued revisions.



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Five things you may have missed while watching last night's Tony Awards:

1. What was the deal with "follow the bouncing Hugh" opening number by host Hugh Jackman to open the 68th annual ceremony? Here's the inspiration, Bobby Van from "Small Town Girl."  

As I asked my friend who got it immediately and thought it was "cute," if so few get the reference, is it an homage or a bust? I was more into what came later ... 

2. A rap to "The Music Man" with my brand new favorite hip-hop trio: TI, LL Cool J and Jackman.



3. Tony winner Neil Patrick Harris bustin' it loose and giving Sting a lap dance while performing "Sugar Daddy" from "Hedwig and the Angry Inch." Amazing that it's the same guy I saw as the balladeer in "Assassins" years ago.



4. In case you missed Billy Porter, last year's best actor in a musical, he was there and along with Karen Ziemba (below, Getty Images) presented the Creative Arts Tonys. Billy's post-Tonys tweet: Still spinning from all the luv & creativity in the house. It's a new week. Let's focus and keep making magic! ‪#‎tonyawards‬



5. Audra McDonald had to come up with her sixth Tonys acceptance speech and still made it sound like the first time. (Getty Images)


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Via TonyAwards.com: A pair of past Tony Award winners will take the stage on Broadway’s biggest night to hand out American Theatre Wing Tony Awards in more than a dozen Creative Arts Award categories. Billy Porter and Karen Ziemba will preside over the Creative Arts Awards portion of the 2014 Tony Awards ceremony on June 8, which will take place before the CBS telecast begins, as well as during the commercial breaks. 

TonyAwards.com will offer  on-demand video clips of the Creative Arts portions of the Tony Awards ceremony and post the clips throughout the evening on Sunday night.

In addition, Porter and Ziemba will hand out the 2014 Tony Awards in various non-competitive categories, including the Regional Theatre Award (NYC’s Signature Theatre), the Isabelle Stevenson Award (Rosie O’Donnell), and the Special Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre (Jane Greenwood).

Hometown favorite Porter also can be heard when his alma mater, Carnegie Mellon, airs its first network, primetime commercial during the Tonys broadcast. The animated spot features Porter in voiceover and was produced with alum Paula Wagner, a Tony nominee as a producer.

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