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ENTERTAINMENT, JAZZ/STANDARDS, MUSIC

Broadway Buzz: Kinky Boots, Sound of Music Live and the Golden Globes

December 13, 2013

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Hey theatre fans!

As your Broadway gal about town, I’m happy to share with you my own photo of yet more history making for the musical Kinky Boots this week here in New York City! Tony-winning director and choreographer Jerry Mitchell, Tony winner Billy Porter and nominees Stark Sands and Annaleigh Ashford all became part of the tapestry of Times Square when their caricatures were unveiled at the legendary Sardi’s. This is a tradition dating back to the 1920s, drawings of hundreds of stars from across the decades line the walls of this Broadway institution.  What a proud moment for the team, particularly as Sands and Ashford prepare to leave the show next month — Sands to give himself room for a break and to pursue new projects, and Ashford to return to the second season of Showtime’s “Masters of Sex” in a more expanded role. Good news, though, Porter stays with the show through next summer, so you have time to catch his Tony winning performance. Congrats to this fantastic team!

While it’s clear many people had strong, passionate feelings about NBC’s “The Sound of Music Live“, one fact remains: it was a smashing ratings success, attracting over 21.3 million viewers. More delayed viewing numbers are still pouring in and an additional broadcast is set for this weekend.  Producers were said to be gob smacked by the response, about triple what they anticipated, and have committed to another live musical production in 2014.  Apparently their phones have been ringing off the hook from those wanting to toss their hats or show properties into the ring of consideration after the huge response. While lots of controversy on casting choices spread out over many days on social media, the producers stood behind their choice of leading actress, Carrie Underwood, and credited her with attracting the huge numbers of viewers who may not have tuned in otherwise. Broadway fans were fortunate that the cast included some of most solid performers, like Tony winners Audra McDonald, Laura Benanti and Christian Borle, who bolstered the production.  Well, if you just can’t get the classic movie version out of your head (remember, NBC re-created the stage version which has major differences), ABC is capitalizing on all the attention by broadcasting the Julie Andrews gem on December 22; bumping the previously planned It’s A Wonderful Life to another date.

The Golden Globe nominations were announced this week, and I’m sending out huge congrats to husband/wife songwriting team Tony winner Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez for their Best Original song nomination for “Let It Go” from Disney’s Frozen!  The film also received a Best Animated Feature nomination, and I’d like to think a lot of the credit goes to the brilliant cast, packed full of Broadway talent, like Tony winner Idina Menzel and nominees Josh Gad, Jonathan Groff and Santino Fontana.  Be sure to catch this instant classic in theatres this holiday season!  Also up for Globes are Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts, both nominated for the film adaptation of Tracy Letts’ family drama “August: Osage County”.  Other stage actors who received nods include Liev Schreiber, Jessica Lange, Jim Parsons, Edie Falco and many more, you can get the full list at GoldenGlobes.com.

It’s the season of giving and supporters stepped up for the 25th Annual Broadway Cares/Equity Fights Aids, “Gypsy of the Year” competition this year.  This is the culmination of six weeks of fundraising by casts of Broadway, Off-Broadway and national touring companies, who raised a collective $4.3 million dollars, up from last year’s $3.9 million.  Two days of shows were held at Broadway’s Minskoff Theatre and hosted, for the sixth year, by our very own Seth Rudetsky.  It’s called “Gypsy of the Year” because the ensemble members of casts, known as ‘gypsies’ all perform — this year over 250 of them — and compete for the best production number.  For the second year, the cast of the Lion King won that prize, and the top fundraising prize went to Kinky Boots, who raised $377,301 from their collection baskets alone!  The awards were presented on-stage by stars Cherry Jones, Ian McKellen, Patrick Stewart and Daniel Craig — how’s that for a little star-power?!

We found out this week who will be moving into the Booth Theatre on Broadway after the acclaimed production of The Glass Menagerie (with Zach Quinto and Cherry Jones) ends its limited engagement.  Academy Award winner Estelle Parsons and two-time Tony winner Stephen Spinella will star in the family drama The Velocity of Autumn.  Eric Coble’s play centers around a 79-year-old artist in a showdown with her family over where she’ll spend her remaining years. This follows a run at Washington DC’s Arena Stage. Previews begin April 1 with an official opening April 21.

My question for you this week:  what musical do YOU think would make a great live television event next year? And who should star? I KNOW you’ve got opinions! Tweet them to me @julie_james.

See you here next week for all the news making the Broadway world turn!