Category Archives: Reviews

Don’t Forget!

Dear Friends,

One last reminder that The Tony Awards will be this Sunday, June 10th. They will be hosted by Sara Bareilles and Josh Groban and will be aired on CBS starting at 8pm Eastern Time.

Here is a list for those who are up for the top awards:
Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play
Andrew Garfield, Angels in America
Tom Hollander, Travesties
Jamie Parker, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Parts One and Two
Mark Rylance, Farinelli and The King
Denzel Washington, Eugene O’Neill’s The Iceman Cometh

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play
Glenda Jackson, Edward Albee’s Three Tall Women
Condola Rashad, Saint Joan
Lauren Ridloff, Children of a Lesser God
Amy Schumer, Meteor Shower

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical
Harry Hadden-Paton, My Fair Lady
Joshua Henry, Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Carousel
Tony Shalhoub, The Band’s Visit
Ethan Slater, SpongeBob SquarePants: The Musical

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical
Lauren Ambrose, My Fair Lady
Hailey Kilgore, Once On This Island
LaChanze, Summer: The Donna Summer Musical
Katrina Lenk, The Band’s Visit
Taylor Louderman, Mean Girls
Jessie Mueller, Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Carousel

Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play
Anthony Boyle, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Parts One and Two
Michael Cera, Lobby Hero
Brian Tyree Henry, Lobby Hero
Nathan Lane, Angels in America
David Morse, Eugene O’Neill’s The Iceman Cometh

Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play
Susan Brown, Angels in America
Noma Dumezweni, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Parts One and Two
Deborah Findlay, The Children
Denise Gough, Angels in America
Laurie Metcalf, Edward Albee’s Three Tall Women

Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical
Norbert Leo Butz, My Fair Lady
Alexander Gemignani, Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Carousel
Grey Henson, Mean Girls
Gavin Lee, SpongeBob SquarePants: The Musical
Ari’el Stachel, The Band’s Visit

Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical
Ariana DeBose, Summer: The Donna Summer Musical
Renée Fleming, Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Carousel
Lindsay Mendez, Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Carousel
Ashley Park, Mean Girls
Diana Rigg, My Fair Lady

Best Play
The Children
Farinelli and The King
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Parts One and Two
Junk
Latin History for Morons

Best Musical
The Band’s Visit
Frozen
Mean Girls
SpongeBob SquarePants: The Musical

Best Revival of a Play
Angels in America
Edward Albee’s Three Tall Women
Eugene O’Neill’s The Iceman Cometh
Lobby Hero
Travesties

Best Revival of a Musical
My Fair Lady
Once On This Island
Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Carousel

Of course, we have our favorites like we’re sure that you do as well. Who will win? We just can’t wait to find out!

For more information, click here.

Best,
Philip & Marilyn

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Children of a Lesser God

Dear Friends,

There is always a risk in producing theatre. Sometimes the stars align and you have a hit on your hand that still pays after 40 years. Other times, the fates are fickle and you lose what literally feels like the shirt off your back.

This happened to us in 1958, when one of our Broadway plays lost a whopping $15,000! I can tell you that we went through all the stages of grief when that happened! So we can completely understand the sense of loss and shock the producers of the revival of Children of A Lesser God must be going through right now.

However more shocking is the actual amount of money that will be lost, $4.25 million (according to the New York Times). We cannot believe it—we were devastated with $15,000 (today’s equivalent is about $125,000)—but to lose over $4million is just unfathomable. Our hearts go out to Children of a Lesser God, but we speak from experience when we say, you just have to pick yourself up and keep moving forward. That, dear friends, is the only way to live this thing we call “ La Vida!”

children of a lesser

This revival of Children of a Lesser God by Mark Madoff stars Joshua Jackson and Lauren Ridloff, who was nominated for a Tony for her role. It is currently playing at the Studio 54 Theatre (254 W. 54th Street) and will be running until May 27th.

Click here for more information or to purchase tickets—you definitely don’t want to miss out on a show that Jesse Green of the New York Times says is “fierce, crackling, passionate and profound. Lauren Ridloff gives a blistering, knockout debut performance. And I am awestruck by Joshua Jackson.” To read the full review, click here.

Best regards,
Philip & Marilyn

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Mean Girls

Dear Friends,

Last week we went to see the new Broadway musical, Mean Girls. And what a fun time we had! There was so much laughing, we weren’t sure we were ever going to stop!

Of course, we’d expect nothing less from the remarkable Tina Fey, who has adapted her screenplay into this must-see Broadway musical.

The Washington Post effuses that “at the conclusion of 2½ hours of exuberant Broadway-style pop and hip-hop, the feel-good resolution actually now does make you feel good.”

means girls 2

Photo: Joan Marcus

Of course, we must admit we hold a bit of a soft spot for any production that plays in the August Wilson Theatre, 245 W. 52nd Street, as it was originally the Guild Theatre, constructed by the Theatre Guild in 1925! However, we certainly think this is a must-see for Broadway! To order tickets or learn more, click here.

Best regards,
Philip & Marilyn

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Carousel Has Opened!

Dear Friends,

As you may know, the revival of our musical Carousel opened this week on Broadway to great reviews.

Of course, we are not surprised. We (The Theatre Guild—at the time, Philip’s father, Lawrence and Theresa Helburn) urged and paid Richard Rodgers & Oscar Hammerstein II to create a musical adaption Ferenc Molnár’s play, Liliom. It took multiple requests from Lawrence and Theresa, but Rodgers and Hammerstein II finally agreed and we opened Carousel on Broadway in 1945, and it has had several revivals since.

This revival has an all-star cast led by Joshua Henry, Renee Fleming, and Jessie Mueller, is directed by Jack O’Brien and is choreographed by Justin Peck.

According to his review in the New York Times, Ben Brantley observes that:

The tragic inevitability of “Carousel” has seldom come across as warmly or as chillingly as it does in this vividly reimagined revival. As directed by Jack O’Brien and choreographed by Justin Peck, with thoughtful and powerful performances by Mr. Henry and Ms. Mueller, the love story at the show’s center has never seemed quite as ill-starred or, at the same time, as sexy.

Carousel broadway

Carousel is playing at the Imperial Theatre (249 W. 45th Street). Call the box office for tickets 212/239-6200 or click here to order online.

Best regards,
Philip & Marilyn

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A Good Friday for Theatre

Dear Friends,

Happy Easter! Today we thought we would share with you a wonderful new play that has just opened on Broadway: Edward Albee’s Three Tall Women.

It is staring Glenda Jackson, Laurie Metcalf, and Alison Pill and is directed by Joe Mantello.

According to Jesse Green, New York Times:

Glenda Jackson is back; even better, she’s back in a role that’s big enough to need her. Watching these three women in “Three Tall Women” means seeing the ghosts and echoes of many other women as well. They complete Albee’s imaginative leap into difficult souls, which of course means all of us. And they honor a play that despite its frailties and wrinkles has aged beautifully, into a burning, raving classic.

three tall women

Three Tall Women is playing at the Golden Theatre (252 W. 45th Street) from now until June 24th. Don’t wait—you do not want to miss out on this fantastic play!

Best regards,
Philip & Marilyn

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Once On This Island

Dear Friends,

We wanted to share with you a wonderful musical that we think is simply fantastic and our daughter and granddaughters keep raving about: Once On This Island.

It is a powerful story about life and love, where one island girl embarks on a journey to find the love of her life. The story is filled with laughter and amazing music with vibrant costumes. It stars Tony Award winner Lea Salonga, Alex Newell, Tamyra Gray, and Norm Lewis as the Island Gods who help the girl along her way.

Jesse Green, The New York Times, says that “the hallmark ingenuity, warmth and intensity bordering on excess that characterize Mr. Arden’s style is recapitulated everywhere within the production, from the frankly stupendous singing (Chris Fenwick is the music supervisor) to the electric choreography of Camille A. Brown.” You can read the full review here.

OOTI 2

It is currently playing at the Circle in the Round Theatre (235 W. 50th Street)—and it’s something you do not want to miss! To learn more and order tickets, click here.

Best regards,
Philip & Marilyn

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Spreading The Word of The Musical

Dear Friends,

As our Twitter followers know, last week we braved the cold, rainy New York weather and went to see one of the most popular shows on Broadway: The Book of Mormon.

We won lottery tickets and thought we’d take the opportunity to share our love of musicals with our granddaughters.book of mormon 2

The show was entertaining and kept the audience laughing throughout! Although I (Philip) do have to confess, of all the billions of ideas for a musical—I would have never imagined one about Mormon missionaries to Africa could be so successful!

As Ben Brantley from NY Times explains in his latest review:

But gosh darn it if I didn’t feel born again all over again, ready to spread the word about the faith that this show preaches and, more important, practices. I do not mean the religion of the followers of Joseph Smith, which is so scrupulously disassembled here, but the holy faith of musical comedy, into which my mama baptized me before I could walk.

You can read Mr. Brantley’s full interview here.

The Book of Mormon is currently showing at the Eugene O’Neill Theatre at 230 49th Street. To learn more and/or purchase tickets, click here.

We know that our granddaughters had a marvelous time and could not stop talking about it—so the evening was a success!

Best regards,
Philip & Marilyn

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The Band’s Visit

Dear Friends,

We hope this finds you well and hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving and holiday weekend.

We wanted to tell you about a wonderful musical that is getting rave reviews—and we think you should add show tickets to your holiday wish list!

It is The Band’s Visit, which Ben Brantley of the New York Times says is “one of the most ravishing musicals you will ever be seduced by.”

It is the story of a mix-up that sends an Egyptian Police Band into a remote Israeli village and “celebrates the deeply human ways music, longing and laughter can connect us all.”

the bands visit

It is now playing at the Barrymore Theatre (243 W 47th Street), starring Katrina Lenk and Tony Shaloub.  It is written by Itamar Moses, with songs by David Yazbak, and directed by David Cromer.

To buy tickets or read more about it, click here.

Best regards,
Philip and Marilyn

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Stuck in Gander

Dear Friends,

This week we’re recommending a fantastic musical called Come From Away—the story of how a small town in Gander, Newfoundland was directly affected by 9/11 and how it “welcomed the world.”

come from away.jpg

It was nominated for 7 Tony Awards, with Christopher Ashley winning for Best Direction in a Musical.  According to the Washington Post, “this effervescent musical, enveloped in Canadian good will, is an antidote for what ails the American soul” and Ben Brantley of the New York Times says “even the most stalwart cynics may have trouble staying dry-eyed during this portrait of heroic hospitality under extraordinary pressure.”

To order tickets or read more, click here.

Best regards,
Philip and Marilyn

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Still Beautiful

Dear Friends,

Those of you who joined us at the beginning will know that the very first show we wrote about was Beautiful: The Carol King Musical.  In fact, seeing the show is partly what gave us the inspiration to start this newsletter—we wanted to share our stories and experiences about the theatre with you!

Beautiful is such a great show!  If you haven’t seen it, we definitely urge you to add it to your list of “must sees.”   It is the story of how Carol King became Carol King—and it is just fabulous!

To order tickets click here
And to see a short video about it, click below:

Best regards,
Philip & Marilyn

PS—if you’re new and wanted to read the play that started it all, click here to read our first ever Newsletter!

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