The Broadway musical, Bridges of Madison County starts its extended run at The Kennedy Center this week. The show, based on author Robert James Waller’s hugely successful book, which was also adapted into film by Clint Eastwood. This is a story about love won, love lost and the general messiness of life.
I love watching Musicals where I “learn” something new or discover that some of my favorite songs were written by the same person. One of the biggest and most celebrated musicals of the last few years – The National Tour ofBeautiful – The Carole King Musical iscurrently doing an extended stint (October 6 – 25th) in Washington, DC at The Kennedy Center.
The Kennedy Center ends its 2014 Broadway year with the little pop rock opera Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat starring the husband and wife team of Diana DeGarmo as the narrator & former American Idol contestant Ace Young.
It’s not every day Washington, DC theater goers get treated to a world premiere Broadway show, so when it happens, it feels extra special. Little Dancer The Musical has been playing at The Kennedy Center for a few weeks before it had it’s official bow November 20th.
The seven-time Tony Award-winning Evita has returned to The Kennedy Center in an extended engagement running Sept 30 – Oct. 19. For some reason I’ve never had a particular desire to see this, nor listen the the soundtrack, and that includes the 1996 movie starring Madonna and Antonio Banderas. But given a musical directed by Tony and Olivier Award winner Michael Grandage and choreographed by Tony Award winner Rob Ashford, with lyrics by the great Tim Rice and music by the even greater Andrew Lloyd Webber, it’s time that I cross this show off my musical bucket list.
There’s a reason TV and movie studios are flocking to Broadway. Disney’s venerable stage version of The Lion King has grossed over $1 billion at the theatrical box office, and the touring production now at Washington, DC’s The Kennedy Center will celebrate its 5,000th performance on July 13th, at 1:30pm.
The award for one of the most unique, surreal musical theater experiences of the year has to go the gorgeously staged Kennedy Center production of Side Show : The Musical. This production is from the team that brought us Dreamgirls. Side Showfeatures book and lyrics by Bill Russell and music by Henry Krieger, and is directed by Academy Award® winner Bill Condon. Sam Davis serves as musical director and arranger and conducts the Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra and in a nice change of pace, the show is doing an extended residency, playing June 13 – July 14.
Jillian Mueller as Alex Owens photo by Jeremy Daniel
Flashdance The Musical ends the Kennedy Center’s 2013 Broadway musical season on a high, fun note. Based on the classic 1983 movie, the show successfully recreates some of the film’s most iconic moments – yes, including the famous Water and Welding scenes. Popular songs like “Maniac,” “Love Is A Battlefield,” and “What a Feeling” from the film are supplemented with 16 original numbers. The choreography is some of the best and most energetic that I’ve seen in a show all year.
The National Tour of the long-running Broadway musical Sister Act The Musical has stopped at Washington, DC’s John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. The show, based on the hit movie, is a comedic romp that walks the fine line between treating religion with respect and poking lighthearted fun. It also doesn’t take itself or Broadway conventions too seriously. Cheri and Bill Steinkellner’s book features original music by legendary composer Alan Menken. Director Jerry Zaks infuses this production with energy and fun.
Ok, I’m going to butcher a metaphor here, but work with me. Like a fine wine, The Million Dollar Quartet gets better every time I see it. MDQ is a rousing retailing of a slice of musical history. Johnny Cash (Scott Moreau), Elvis Presley (Tyler Hunter), Carl Perkins (James Barry) and Jerry Lee Lewis (John Countryman) all met December 4th, 1956 at Sam Phillips’ Sun Records.
Anything Goes, Production Shot. Photo by Joan Marcus, 2012
Whether it is a timeless story, classic characters or music that transcends generations, there is a reason why some Broadway shows stand the test of time. The Kennedy Center Opera House seems to be on a nostalgia kick with their early summer selections. A few weeks ago we had a revival of the 60 year old show Show Boat. Now we have the winner of the 2011 Tony Award® for Best Revival of a Musical, Roundabout Theatre Company’s Anything Goes.