Epic news, theatre lovers! THE LAST SHIP, with an original score by 16-time Grammy winner Sting, will open on Broadway in the fall of 2014! Better yet, we don’t have to wait a whole year to scratch our itch, as there’ll be a world premiere, five-week-only limited engagement June 10 – July 13, 2014 at Chicago’s Bank of America Theatre.  Described as an epic-yet-intimate tale inspired by Sting’s own childhood experiences, this debut production features direction by two-time Tony winner Joe Mantello (Wicked), a book by Tony winner John Logan (Red) and Pulitzer Prize and Tony winner Brian Yorkey (Next to Normal) and choreography by Olivier winner and Tony Nominee Steven Hoggett (Once).

For those needing more immediate gratification, on Tuesday, September 24, Sting will release The Last Ship, his first new album in nearly a decade, featuring original material inspired by the story of the forthcoming musical. I’ve listened to the advance and I’m intrigued and enthralled. Listen for the songs: Practical Arrangement, I Love Her But She Loves Someone Else, and perhaps the closest to a glimpse at what the theatrical version may be like, the group number Shipyard. The most exciting aspect of the launch? Sting will perform a series of 10 concerts to benefit The Public Theater in New York City in their intimate, 260-seat Anspacher Theater September 25 – October 9. A limited number of tickets are still available for purchase here. If you’re lucky enough to be in that room, I expect a full report: @julie_james!

Another Grammy winner will find her way to Broadway, k.d. lang!  It’s like someone is rounding up all my favorite recording artists and making them do theater! She’ll make her Broadway debut in After Midnight, the re-tooled Cotton Club Parade, featuring the music and arrangements of Duke Ellington with a 17-piece big band hand-picked by jazz legend Wynton Marsalis. The show plans to reintroduce the Cotton Club’s tradition of welcoming stars of today in limited engagement throughout the run. k.d. plays her first performance February  11, following American Idol and Grammy winner Fantasia Barrino (Color Purple). She opens the show October 18 at the Brooks Atkinson.

More Broadway history was made this week: on Tuesday, September 24, the Tony winning sensation CHICAGO celebrated another extraordinary milestone with its 7,000th performance on Broadway!  Now in its 17th record-breaking year on the Great White Way, this remarkable achievement has only occurred twice before in Broadway history: by Cats (which closed in its 18th year after 7,485 performances) and The Phantom of the Opera (still running, now in its 26th year). Chicago is officially the #1 longest-running American musical in Broadway history (Phantom being an import), has been seen in over 30 countries and in 12 different languages worldwide since 1996, and is currently playing to packed houses in cities across the country in its newly-launched 15th national touring production.

Congrats to team of the 66th Annual TONY Awards (including Neil Patrick Harris) on being honored with four Primetime Emmy Awards at the Creative Arts Awards presentation. The telecast earned the second-highest total number of awards, tied with HBO’s Boardwalk Empire, as well as the highest total number of awards in its class. This is the 4th consecutive year the telecast has been awarded for Outstanding Special Class Programs, and they also grabbed statues for Outstanding Music Direction, Outstanding Original Music And Lyrics & Outstanding Technical Direction, Camerawork, Video Control for a Miniseries, Movie or Special.  Now firmly established as TV’s super-host, look out for NPH on the 65th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards telecast this Sunday at 8 pm ET on CBS.

Rehearsals began in Manhattan this week for another world premiere play at the Manhattan Theatre Club, this one written by actress Amanda Peet called The Commons of Pensacola. The cast includes Emmy and Tony winner Blythe Danner and Emmy and Golden Globe winner Sarah Jessica Parker. They play MTC at NY City Center Stage, beginning October 22.  Also beginning rehearsals this week, at long last, Disney’s Aladdin, the new musical based on the Academy Award winning animated film. Casting was also announced for the iconic roles, they’ll be brought to life by Adam Jacobs (Les Mis) as Aladdin, James Monroe Iglehart (Memphis) as Genie, Courtney Reed (In the Heights) as Jasmine and Jonathan Freeman as Jafar, reprising his indelible film role. Aladdin launches at Toronto’s Ed Mirvish Theatre November 1, 2013 – January 5, 2014.

And finally, welcome to Broadway A Night with Janis Joplin! They play their first preview at The Lyceum Friday, September 20, celebrating Janis and her biggest musical influences – goddesses like Aretha Franklin, Etta James, Nina Simone and Bessie Smith, who all  inspired one of Rock ‘n’ Roll’s greatest legends. Their official opening is October 10.

That’s the big news o’ the week – listen to the Broadway Buzz throughout the day, every day on On Broadway, Ch. 72, and I’ll be back here to give you the big recap next week!

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