OnStage

Cast members from the national tour of "Mamma Mia!" will present a benefit cabaret performance for The Trevor Project at 11 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 15, at the Cabaret at Theater Square, Downtown.

The 90-minute show will feature solos, duets, dance, impressions and comedy for a $10 cover charge at the door. A raffle for gift certificates and two tickets to see "Mamma Mia" -- playing at Heinz Hall through Sunday --  will be held during the event. Proceeds will be donated to The Trevor Project, a national organization founded in 1998 by the creators of the Academy Award-winning short film "Trevor" that provides crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning young people, ages 13-24.

For more information on the event, visit www.TrustArts.org/MammaMia-Cabaret-For-Cause or call the Cabaret at Theater Square at 412-325-6769.  No advance ticket purchases are available. Tickets to the benefit cabaret can be purchased starting at 9 p.m. Saturday at the Cabaret at Theater Square.

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Hugh Jackman returns as Tony Awards host

Tuesday, 11 February 2014 02:33 PM Written by

HughTonys2014

Hugh Jackman is back for the fourth time as host of the Tony Awards for the 68th annual ceremony honoring Broadway's best. The Tony-winning "Boy From Oz" will emceee the festivities during a CBS live telecast from Radio City Music Hall on June 8. Jackman served as host from 2003-05, earning an Emmy Award for his 2004 stint.

"We are thrilled to have Hugh Jackman return to host the Tony Awards," said Jack Sussman, an executive VP of CBS Entertainment. "Hugh is the ultimate performer – actor, singer and dancer – he does it all, second to none. He is a consummate entertainer and the one you want out there hosting your live television event."

Ricky Kirshner and Glenn Weiss of White Cherry Entertainment will return as executive producers. Weiss will serve as director for the 15th consecutive year.

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Spidey is out; King Kong is in. As "Spider-Man Turn Off the Dark" packs up its webs and heads for Las Vegas, the Foxwoods Theatre on 42nd Street is making way for another spectacle: "King Kong Live On Stage," the Craig Lucas musical that started in Australia and includes music by Robert Del Naja from Massive Attack, Sarah McLachlan, Justice, Guy Garvey from Elbow and The Avalanches.

A "key collaborator on the musical landscape for the show is Stephen Pavlovic from Modular People," reports Playbill.com. "Michael Mitnick has contributed lyrics to several new compositions."

We knew about Fox Chapel's Mitnick back in May, when he told me, he had provided additional lyrics for "this crazy King Kong thing" that was opening Melbourne.

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RussianMusical

Remember "Prop 8: The Musical"? Jack Black, John C. Reilly, Allison Janney and other Funny or Die friends performed a Marc Shaiman parody dedicated to the proposition that banned same-sex marriage in California. That was in 2008. In June of last year, the Supreme Court effectively struck down the measure by allowing a lower court's ruling to block the propostion to stand.

In that same spirit comes "Russian Broadway Shut Down," a who's who of Broadway in a taped musical with the synopsis: "Citing homosexual propaganda law, Russian government outlaws theatrical performances; Russian Broadway community responds." It puts the conversation about the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, front and center, especially in the pairing of ill-fated Olympic lovers played by Jonathon Groff (HBO's "Looking") and Jeremy Jordan ("Newsies," "Glee").

"Russian Broadway community" means that the cast uses Russian accents to tell the story of the Putin regime's crack-down on gays, with Michael Cerveris as Vladimir Putin (above), who harbors a secret reason for flexing his muscles. Other stars of the New York stage and screens big and small include Andrew Rannells, Laura Benanti, Stephanie Block, Michael Urie, Harvey Fierstein, Danny Burstein, Victoria Clark, Casey Nicholaw, Brad Oscar, cast members of Broadway's "Cinderella" ... so many more. The show was composed by Jason Michael Snow (who also has created a Downton Abbey musical parody) and written by Snow, director John West and a handful of others.

The video concludes with a quote by Leo Tolstoy: "If it is true that there are as many minds as there are heads, then there are as many kinds of love as there are hearts."

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BillyPorterTonyTony-winner Billy Porter's play about growing up in Pittsburgh, titled "While I Yet Live," will have its world premiere at Primary Stages later this year.

The company's season announcement says the play will run "September-November 2014" and describes it as "an autobiographical work about coming of age in Pittsburgh amonsty a bevy of fascinating and strong-willed women." Tony nominee Sheryl Kaller will direct.

Porter won the Tony as best actor in a musical last year for "Kinky Boots." He told me about the play when we talked a few days later, when he was still euphoric after his big win. The work received a workshop at New York's Second Stage Theatre in the summer.

BillyGapAd"It's a kitchen-sink drama about me and my family, set in Pittsburgh," he explained in June. "It spans 16 years, from 1994 to 2008." The workshop included Tony-nominee S. Epatha Merkerson ("Law & Order") as Mr. Porter's mother, Cloerinda Ford.

Updated: For its 30th season, Primary Stages will relocate from the 59E59 Theater to the Duke on 42nd Street, according to Playbill.com.

Photo at left: With "Kinky Boots" songwriter Cyndi Lauper in Gap ad.

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