Posts Tagged ‘Hamilton’

Broadway Gift Guide: Give the Gift of Theater This Holiday Season

There’s never a time limit on seeing a fabulous Broadway play or musical.  And you don’t even have to wrap anything up!

With the wonderful excitement surrounding Broadway’s re-opening, this is a perfect time to mask up, bring out your vaccination card and ID, and settle into a plush seat for a night of live enchantment.

And, for an insider-y refresher to the magic of Broadway, gift a Broadway Up Close Tour with Tim Dolan, back in person, strolling through the streets and theaters of Broadway.

Broadway Up Close

Broadway Up Close © Tim Dolan

Tim Dolan has put together a series of tours designed to make you ask for an encore. A true Broadway savant, Dolan knows a thing or two about the Great White Way and has made it his life’s passion to uncover the Theater District’s dirty little secrets, or even those that aren’t so dirty. Broadway Up Close is led by the Green Team, all working actors quite intimate with the “secrets” and stories of Broadway.

Broadway Up Close © Tim Dolan

A range of tours will show you the insides secrets via the HamilTour, the interiors and hidden gems of great theaters of the past like the splendid theater that is now the Times Square Church, and more. You’ll learn fun facts like how the Tony’s got their start thanks to some very determined women and about the architect of many of the theaters, a gentleman named Herbert J. Krapp. At every stop, there’s more to absorb and you’ll also find out why some theaters are better suited to certain types of shows.

Broadway Up Close © Tim Dolan

Dolan has researched so much about Broadway that he seems to channel the ghosts of the Gershwins, Rodgers and Hammerstein, and the Schuberts as he describes their role in Broadway history. He also has a vast assemblage of rare photos that are truly amazing. Broadway Bar Crawl, Hudson Theater, and Broadway Ruins are three of the tours currently offered, accompanied by Dolan’s mascot Belasco, named after one of the theaters. Virtual tours are also offered.

The Broadway Theater Schedule

Here’s a sampling of what‘s running on Broadway now.  Note that several shows are closing in January – these are listed first as you’ll likely want to purchase tickets for these immediately. Two others will be in previews full swing by mid-December.

Closing soon

Caroline, or Change © Joan Marcus

A revival of Tony Kushner’s hit musical of 2004, The Roundabout Theatre Company’s production of Caroline, or Change stars Sharon D Clarke as Caroline Thibodeaux, a Black maid working for a Jewish family in 1963 Louisiana. The change reference has a double meaning, pertaining to monetary change and changes in one’s life.  (Insider tip: attending a show at this theater is a glimpse of the 70s in the former Studio 54 of disco fame, now returned to its previous life as a theatre). Closing January 9.

Studio 54,


Diana © Matthew Murphy

Better hurry to get tickets to this somewhat campy, vastly entertaining musical about the life of the Princess of Wales.  Closes December 19.

Longacre Theatre,

The Lehman Trilogy

The Lehman Trilogy © Julieta Cervantes

A three-man triumph depicting nearly two centuries of Lehman family history from Europe to fabric cutting to Wall Street titans, The Lehman Trilogy is an engrossing three-and-a-half hour drama with two intermissions. Characters seamless evolve to depict the Lehman Brothers and the influences that shaped the meteoric rise of their financial institutions and its devastating destruction. Closing January 2.

Nederlander Theatre,

In Previews Starting December 2021 for 2022 Opening


MJ the Musical © Matthew Murphy

Drawing attendees from all over the world, MJ’s fans queued up or hours for the sold-out first preview of the new Michael Jackson musical in December. Planned opening night for MJ is February 1, 2022.

Neil Simon Theatre,

The Music Man

The Music Man Rehearsal © Julieta Cervantes

Previews start December 20. Opening night is set for February 10, 2022 for this long-awaited remake of The Music Man with Tony-, Grammy- and Emmy Award- award-winning star Hugh Jackman as Professor Harold Hill and Tony Award-winner Sutton Foster as Marion Paroo.  Originally premiered on Broadway in 1957, The Music Man earned its place in Broadway lore running 1375 performances and with a cast album that won the first-ever Grammy Award for Best Original Cast Album and stayed on the charts for nearly five years.

The Winter Garden Theatre,

Long Runs

Ain’t Too Proud – the Life and Times of the Temptations

Ain’t Too Proud © Matthew Murphy

A jukebox musical that goes further to elaborate on the story of The Temptations’ rise from the streets of Detroit to musical superstardom, the show includes familiar tunes like “My Girl,” “Just My Imagination” and “Papa Was a Rolling Stone” all presented with the legendary coordinated choreography that made the Temps Top 40 giants.

Imperial Theatre,


Aladdin © Matthew Murphy

One of two current Disney supershows on Broadway, Aladdin is now in its eighth year (ignoring the pandemic time off).  A great introduction to live theater for viewers of all ages, the show is the consummate tour of adventure mixed with music. You’ll recognize the songs like “You’ve Never Had a Friend Like Me.”

New Amsterdam Theatre,

The Book of Mormon

The Book of Mormon © Joan Marcus

Do you love South Park?  Then this play-cum-musical is a must for you. A little offensive, a lot crazy, the show irreverently tells the tale of two Mormon boys who have been given their first “conversion” assignment far far away from their hometowns.

Eugene O’Neill Theatre,


Chicago © Jeremy Daniel

It’s hard to believe that this fabulous, utterly contemporary musical has been running for 25 years. No matter how many times you see Roxie Hart, Velma Kelly and their murderous cohorts sing about what  landed them in jail, the show is as fresh and sexy as ever. If you can, try to imagine Joel Grey, the original Mr. Cellophane, when you watch.  The choreography by Bob Fosse is legendary.

Ambassador Theatre,

Come from Away

Come from Away © Matthew Murphy

An emotion-evoking musical about the kind-hearted folks of Gander, Newfoundland who welcomed passengers stranded on incoming international US flights on 9/11, Come from Away tugs at the heartstrings with its passionate cast of characters. As tragic as the real-life story is, this is an event that remains an uplifting tale of resilience and cooperation. It’s a must-see.

Schoenfeld Theatre,

David Burney’s American Utopia

David Burney’s American Utopia © Matthew Murphy

What started as a concert performance led by David Byrne, filled with glorious unusual barefoot dance against the songs of David Byrne and the Talking Heads, has become a special Tony-winning Broadway sensation. Synchronicity in song and movement, expressiveness, costuming, lighting, instrumentation and a rocking rhythm create an evening of theatrical performance that will have you tapping your toes and rocking out.

St. James Theater,

Dear Evan Hansen

Dear Evan Hansen You Will Be Found © Matthew Murphy

For any teenager who’s ever suffered from feeling like an outsider, Evan Hansen is immediately relatable. Evan Hansen, alone with his divorced mother, faces the challenges of moving beyond his own issues to integrate himself into his high school. A tragedy changes his life in ways he could never have imagined. The music is memorable and the digital effects are breathtaking. You may have seen the movie, but this is the real thing.

Music Box Theatre,

Girl from the North Country

Girl From the North Country © Matthew Murphy

Bob Dylan’s music becomes the foundation for this play about  a guesthouse in the North Country. Innkeepers and guests share in each other’s lives with Dylan’s tunes delivered with surprising renditions. Originally off-Broadway at the Public Theatre.

Belasco Theatre,


Hadestown © Matthew Murphy

Greek mythology characters Orpheus and Eurydice and King Hades and Persephone are two couples trapped in differing worlds. Darkness and light, love and a trio of singing Fates add to the mystique of this breathtaking show. The on-stage musicians play an intoxicating mix of New Orleans-inspired Jazz and folk music.

Walter Kerr Theatre,


Hamilton © Joan Marcus

The show that shattered all records and changed theatrical history is back in all its glory. Rap, ballads, deceit and ambition all mix together in Lin Manuel-Miranda’s groundbreaking musical about the life of Alexander Hamilton. If you didn’t know much about Hamilton and his relationship with Aaron Burr before this play arrived on Broadway or the Disney Channel, you certainly will by the end of this show. Creative staging, stunning costumes and rapid-fire lyrics add to the show’s brilliance.

Richard Rodgers Theatre,

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child © Matthew Murphy

The wizardry is back! And now in one extended performance, rather than two back-to-back or separate parts, you can watch the special effects from the movies take place in real life.  Hogwarts and all of your favorite characters have grown up, now with their own children to worry about. See it twice – once from an orchestra seat and once from the mezzanine where you’ll be gifted with a different view of the spectacular set changes and magic.

Lyric Theatre,

Jagged Little Pill

Jagged Little Pill © Matthew Murphy

Featuring the music of Alanis Morrisette, Jagged Little Pill presents a Connecticut family confronting a variety of personal issues.

Broadhurst Theatre,

The Lion King

The Lion King © Joan Marcus

The second of Disney’s gargantuan Broadway hits currently running, The Lion King is a visually striking depiction of the story of the animals living in Pride Land. The characters – Simba, Nala, Timon and Pumba — are familiar from the animated movie of the same name. The show’s standout “Circle of Life” song and procession will stay with you long after you’ve left the theatre.

Minskoff Theatre,

Moulin Rouge

Moulin Rouge © Matthew Murphy

An over-the-top, musical interpretation of Baz Luhrmann’s film about decadent Parisian, literary life, Moulin Rouge is a wondrous romp through the Bohemian lifestyles of its characters, replete with more than 70 songs that will test your knowledge of pop music. There’s a reason this show won the Tony Award for Best Musical.

Al Hirschfeld Theatre,

The Phantom of the Opera

Phantom of the Opera © Matthew Murphy

No matter if you’ve seen this musical once or five times, the chandelier scene will still have you gasping out loud. A thriller about an opera singer and the masked phantom who yearns to be with her, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musically rich Phantom of the Opera has been playing to packed houses since 1988.

Majestic Theatre,

TINA: the Tina Turner Musical

TINA: the Tina Turner Musical © Manuel Harlan

Fans of Tina Turner will love this musical story of the singer’s rise from being part of the Ike and Tina Turner duo to stardom on her own merit. The songs, the shimmies and the hair will have you dancing all night to the music of the Queen of Rock ‘n Roll.

Lunt-Fontanne Theatre,

To Kill a Mockingbird

To Kill a Mockingbird © Julieta Cervantes

Harper Lee’s story of 1930s Alabama racism, prejudice and innocence centers on lawyer Atticus Finch’s attempts to correct overt injustice.

Shubert Theatre,


Waitress © Matthew Murphy

With music and lyrics by songwriter/composer-turned-actress Sara Bareilles, Waitress is a tasty musical about pie making sensation and waitress Jenna and her coming-of-age in a loveless marriage. Yes, that’s apple pie you actually smell in the theater!

Ethel Barrymore Theatre,


Wicked © Joan Marcus

Who doesn’t love the Wizard of Oz?  Wicked takes another look at the Man Behind the Curtain story with a story about two school chums who grow up to be Glinda the Good Witch and the Wicked Witch of the West, the gorgeously green Elphaba.

Gershwin Theatre,

New (or Revivals)


Company © Matthew Murphy

An even more important show now with the recent passing of its composer-lyricist Stephen Sondheim, Company remains one of the most brilliant examples of Sondheim’s genius. The new revival takes the story of a group of friends and switches up the genders.  Bobby is now Bobbie, a woman in despair over not finding a man. Songs including “The Ladies Who Lunch” and “Being Alive” sizzle.

Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre,


A new musical about the life and legacy of Diana, Princess of Wales. Catch this somewhat campy musical NOW — it’s closing December 19.

Longacre Theatre,

Mrs. Doubtfire

Mrs. Doubtfire © Joan Marcus

You know the story made famous by Robin Williams in the title role of the movie. Divorced dad Daniel Hillard finds a way to spend time with his kids by reinventing himself as a Scottish nanny, Euphegenia Doubtfire.  This musical interpretation invites all ages to experience family life in an entirely different way.

Stephen Sondheim Theatre,


Six © Liz Lauren

Set to originally open on the exact night that Broadway went dark in March 2020, Six is a rocking musical-concert telling the stories of the six wives of Henry VIII. The transplant from the West End will have you repeating the show’s “divorced, beheaded, died, divorced, beheaded, survived” chorus over and over again.

Brooks Atkinson Theatre,

To keep updated, sites like, The Broadway League’s official online info site;,, and are great places to further your awareness of show openings and closings, ticket availability and deals, and other theater news. Also download the TKTS app for real-time listings at the Theater Development Organization’s discount, day-of ticket booth at Father Duffy Square just north of Times Square.

Broadway News: A Good Cause and Good Eats

For Broadway nerds like me, The Actor’s Fund and Broadway Cares/Equity Fights Aids are important organizations, providing much-needed health and other services to the Broadway community.

At this year’s recent Easter Bonnet Competition at the Minskoff Theater, the casts of Hamilton and Dear Evan Hansen performed a brilliant version of “Together” as an ensemble, as their entry into the competition. The competition raised $5.8MM for this worthy cause. Thank you to the members of the Bucket Brigade who help collect donations at the theaters. And to presenters Nathan Lane, Bernadette Peters, Victor Garber, and Andrew Garfield.

And, if you’re looking for some nearby places to eat — here are a few to consider:

Opry City – at 47th Street and Broadway, a four-story tribute to Nashville and country music with a two-floor restaurant, two music stages, and a shop.

Junior’s — expanding their Broadway cheesecake and deli empire into a mega-space at 49th Street and Broadway. The original Times Square location is still on 45th Street between Broadway and Eighth Avenue.

Tender Steak and Sushi — in the Sanctuary Hotel, a polished loungey restaurant offering up solid Asian and American fare. There’s also a bar where you can dine on a more casual menu. 47th Street between Broadway and Sixth Avenue.

Haven Rooftop — also in the Sanctuary Hotel, a year-round rooftop bar and restaurant that’s in high demand, particularly during the warmer months

Six Broadway and Off-Broadway Shows Closing This Month

It’s time to make good on that New Year’s resolution to see more theater this year.  Book now to see these six great shows which will be ending their runs in January.

Brought to you by Fiasco Theater, the classic Shakespearean comedy, Twelfth Night, tells the story of shipwrecked twins Viola and Sebastian on the island of Illyria. Shakespearean disguises, romance, and humor reign throughout. Classic Stage Company, 136 East 13th Street, New York City. Tickets at

Two Lincoln Center shows are closing January 7. The first, Junk, is a fast-paced story about markets, drive and intrigue, set in the 80s. Starring Steven Pasquale (The Bridges of Madison County). Vivian Beaumont Theatre. 150 West 65th Street, New York City.

Tickets at

Photo by T. Charles Erickson

The second, The Wolves, is a story of high school girl angst and issues told by a girls’ indoor soccer team during warm-ups and practices. Great performances and creative staging. Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater. 150 West 65th Street, New York City Tickets at

Photo by Julieta Cervantes

The Irish Repertory Theatre’s staging of James Joyce’s haunting novella, The Dead, 1904, takes place at a Feast of the Epiphany party over the course of one evening, with conversations, music, dancing and dining. What does it mean to be alive, or to be dead? The play ponders these questions. With a premium ticket, you sit a dinner with the actors. Starring John Treacy Egan. The American Irish Historical Society. 132 West 22nd Street. Closing January 7. Tickets at

Photo by Carol Rosegg

If you haven’t made it to Hamilton, but especially if you have, Spamilton is a must-see. Gerard Alessandrini’s hilarious take-off on Hamilton draws from his Forbidden Broadway background, with satires, spins, and superb talent. With Christine Pedi (Sirius XM). 47th Street Theater/Puerto Rican Traveling Theater. 304 West 47th Street, New York. Closing January 7. Tickets at

Willy Wonka will be leaving Broadway on January 14. Starring Christian Borle (Something Rotten, Smash), Emily Padgett, Bed Crawford and Jackie Hoffman. The Broadway adaptation of Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is all about chocolate, The Candy Man, Oompa-Loompas and a chance to win the Golden Ticket. Catch it before you can only see it on the small screen. Lunt-Fontanne Theatre. 205 West 46th Street. Tickets at

Photo By Joan Marcus

The stunning remake of Boublil and Schönberg’s legendary musical Miss Saigon will also be flying away on January 14. Don’t miss your  chance to hear “The American Dream” sung by the fabulous Jon Jon Briones as the Engineer, or see Eva Noblezada in the title role made famous by current Once on this Island star Lea Salonga. Broadway Theatre, 1681 Broadway, New York. Tickets at

4 Broadway and Off-Broadway Shows to See Before They Close This Fall

Although I’m excited about the upcoming fall theater season with its variety of Broadway and Off-Broadway openings, it’s always sad to see some favorites like Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812 or Bandstand close. Here are my suggestions for four shows that you absolutely don’t want to miss – check the individual websites and sites like; you might either have a tough time scoring tickets or be privy to a host of discounted offerings.

Closing Sunday, September 3, 2017

Featuring Denée Benton, Scott Stangland, Lucas Steele, “The Great Comet” is a loud and lively immersive musical based on “War and Peace.” The story revolves around Natasha who is visiting Moscow while her fiancé Andrey is off in the war. Her attraction to the seductive Anatole and her relationship to Pierre and the rest of the characters forms the crux of the story. Be prepared for an evening of Russian-style cabaret where you can choose to sit on-stage if you like. Imperial Theatre,, 249 West 45th Street, New York, NY

The classic Shakespearian drama about Hamlet, a Danish prince who discovers that his uncle Claudius murdered his father and took the throne, has received rave reviews at the Public. The story is one of betrayal and revenge, written as only the Bard could. The stars shine in the production, arguably the most comic version every made, with comedian (aka Luther) Keegan-Michael Kay as Horatio and Oscar Isaac as Hamlet. The Public Theater,,425 Lafayette Street, New York, NY

Closing Sunday, September 17, 2017

A showpiece by Andy Blankenbuehler, choreographer of “Hamilton” and “Cats” fame, Bandstand features musical theater stars Laura Osnes, Corey Cott, and Beth Leavel. The show is set in 1945 and depicts an America filled with joy as soldiers return from the war. With no money and just his own talent to save him, Private First Class Donny Novitski puts together a group of veterans, all of whom are musicians, to enter NBC’s national musical competition. Bernard B. Jacobs Theater, 242 West 45th Street, New York, NY.

Closing Saturday, October 21, 2017


Produced by the Harlem Repertory Theatre, “A Raisin in the Sun” is a timely story about American-American life during the civil rights era. Walter Younger and his widowed mother, Lena, both strive to move from Chicago’s black ghetto, Lena hoping to move to a house in a white neighborhood.  Tato Laviera Theatre,, 240 West 123rd Street, New York, NY

Off-Broadway is Good for Laughs and Talent – See These 2 Fab Shows

You don’t have to be Jewish to love Not that Jewish.  In fact, the play is really a celebration of family values, family love, and family challenges.  Monica Piper, the writer, is a comedian who has written for the likes of Mad about You, Rugrats and Roseanne. She’s also a stand-up comedienne who began her career teaching English but quickly segueing into the world of improv via Second City in Chicago.

So what has being Jewish got to do with the show?  Well, the cultural richesse passed down from generation to generation among Jewish families lends itself to the creation of language and ritual fodder, making for neuroses, laughs, and, of course, family entanglements.

The play travels the life path of Ms. Piper’s beginnings as the daughter of a comedian through her passages as a single mother, as an adult encountering the old age issues of her parents, and through the successes of her career. It is both humorous and tender, touching and riveting, while hitting a chord with anyone who has endured the rituals of family.  Do you need to be Jewish to understand it?  Not really.  The touchstones are relevant to all, although knowing some of the Yiddishisms will certainly enhance your experience.  (A glossary is handed out along with the Playbill to help you understand the intricacies of this rich, rich but dying language).

Ms. Piper performs the 90-minute show seven times a week at the New World Stages at 340 West 50th Street.  Tickets are available at

For Spamilton, it does help if you’ve seen Lin-Manuel Miranda’s brilliant history-making show Hamilton. The inside jokes take life from knowledge of the play, its foibles, its characters, and its songs.  They also incorporate a dose of pure Broadway, including some of the nuances that assume a fairly broad knowledge of what makes theater on the Great White Way endearing as well as annoying (or trite).

Written by Forbidden Broadway creator, Gerard Alessandrini, Spamilton is the consummate parody of a popular show. It exploits every nuance, every endearing or annoying gesture that you’ve come to love or hate about Broadway and about Hamilton in particular.

The show, which is extending its reach to Chicago this month, concurrent with the opening of the real Hamilton in that city, depicts all of Hamilton’s lead characters, from the Schuyler sisters to George Washington, Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton himself with a frighteningly close degree of talent and dexterity.  The rapping is unmistakable. The lyrics implausibly phenomenal. If you are familiar with Hamilton, you will be howling non-stop while also remarking at the extraordinary talent of the cast. These actors are so good that you could easily imagine them assuming the Broadway roles of the characters they spoof.

My recommendation?  See this show after you’ve seen Hamilton. Or at least after you’ve listened to the cast album a few times. But given the luxurious price of these tickets compared to the inflated Hamilton ones, you can easily see this show over and over and gain something new from it each time. I can’t wait to see it again. And this time I know I’ll be in the room where it happened, up close and personal, and not perched in a mezzanine seat at the Richard Rodgers Theater.

Spamilton plays eight shows a week at the Triad, 158 West 72nd Street, on the Upper West Side. Tickets are cheap. A two-drink minimum is required, as this is, after all, a cabaret, a cozy room where it will happen.

Planning a trip to NYC?