2013 BAFTA Nominations

Yesterday, at the British Academy of Film and Television Arts headquarters in London, actors Alice Eve and Jeremy Irvine announced the shortlist for this year’s BAFTA honors. Among the favorites is the musical Les Misérables, which received nine nominations, including Best Film, Outstanding British Film, lead actor (Hugh Jackman), supporting actress (Anne Hathaway), cinematography (Danny Cohen), production design (Eve Stewart and Anna Lynch-Robinson), costume design (Paco Delgado), sound (Simon Hayes, Andy Nelson, Mark Paterson, Jonathan Allen, Lee Walpole, John Warhurst), and make-up and hair (Lisa Westcott). Also notable are the documentary nomination for Searching for Sugar Man and Outstanding Debut nomination for James Bobin, director of the 2011 musical film The Muppets. The winners will be announced on Sunday, Feb. 10, at London’s Royal Opera House in a ceremony hosted by Stephen Fry and broadcast on BBC One.

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2013 Oscar Nominations

Emma Stone and
Seth MacFarlane

At 5:38 a.m. today in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences headquarters in Beverly Hills, Calif., Oscar host Seth MacFarlane and actress Emma Stone announced the nominations for the 85th Academy Awards. (Only once before has a host announced nominees: Charlton Heston in 1972.) Among the most honored motion pictures is the musical Les Misérables, which garnered eight nominations, including Best Picture, actor (Hugh Jackman), supporting actress (Anne Hathaway), costume design (Jacqueline Durran), makeup and hairstyling (Lisa Westcott and Julie Dartnell), original song (“Suddenly,” music by Claude-Michel Schönberg, lyrics by Herbert Kretzmer and Alain Boublil), production design (Eve Stewart and Anna Lynch-Robinson), and sound mixing (Andy Nelson, Mark Paterson and Simon Hayes).

Also notable is the Best Documentary Feature nomination for Searching for Sugar Man, a music documentary directed by Malik Bendjelloul about the rumored death of American musician Rodriguez, whose music remained unknown in the U.S. while it became the soundtrack for a generation in South Africa. It was the opening film at the Sundance Film Festival, where it won the Special Jury Prize and the Audience Award.

For a complete list of nominees, visit www.oscar.com. The winners will be announced on Sunday, Feb. 24, during the live broadcast on ABC from the Dolby Theatre.

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Kids’ Night 2013

Tickets go on sale today for the 2013 edition of Kids’ Night on Broadway, which will be held this year from Feb. 25 to March 3. Participating shows include the Broadway musicals Annie, Cinderella, Chicago, Hands on a Hardbody, Jersey Boys, Lion King, Mamma Mia, Mary Poppins, Mystery of Edwin Drood, Nice Work If You Can Get It, Newsies, Once, Phantom of the Opera, Rock of Ages, Spider-Man and Wicked as well as the Off-Broadway musicals Avenue Q and Forever Dusty. Through the KNOB program, sponsored by the Broadway League, kids ages 6-18 can see a show for free when accompanied by a full-paying adult. In New York, KNOB participants get access to a free fan festival plus parking and restaurant discounts. In other cities across the U.S. and Canada, Broadway shows on national tour put a different spin on the event.

Participating New York restaurants this year include Angus McIndoe, B. Smith’s, Blue Fin, Bubba Gump Shrimp, Casa Nonna, Ça Va Brasserie, Ceci Italian Restaurant, Cock & Bull, Connolly’s Pub & Restaurant, db Bistro Moderne, Glass House Tavern, Guy’s American Kitchen & Bar, Heartland Brewery & Chophouse, Little Town Restaurant Row, Matt’s Grill, Playwright Tavern, Ruby Foo’s, Ruby Tuesday, Schnipper’s, Tasti-D-Lite, Toloache, Tony’s DiNapoli, Trattoria Trecolori, and Virgil’s Real BBQ.

Designed to introduce a new generation to the theater and to make Broadway accessible to new theatergoers, Kids’ Night on Broadway has welcomed young audiences to Broadway shows in New York and across the U.S. since 1996. For more information about the program, visit KidsNightonBroadway.com. For more about the participating shows, visit ILoveNYTheater.com or TouringBroadway.com.

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Broadway Week Winter 2013

NYC & Company has announced the roster of shows in this winter’s Broadway Week (Jan. 22-Feb. 7) and Off-Broadway Week (Jan. 28-Feb. 10). This two-for-one ticket program (which is actually not one but two weeks long) is marking its fifth Broadway series and seventh Off-Broadway series. Musicals participating in Broadway Week include Annie, Chicago, Cinderella, Jersey Boys, Lion King, Mamma Mia, Mary Poppins, Mystery of Edwin Drood, Newsies, Nice Work If You Can Get It, Once, Phantom of the Opera, Rock of Ages, Spider-Man, and Wicked.

Musicals participating in Off-Broadway Week include Avenue Q, Bare, Berenstain Bears in Family Matters, Cougar, Fantasticks, Forbidden Broadway, Forever Dusty, Silence, Siren’s Heart, and Sistas. Of course, shows are subject to availability, and there may be some blackout dates. For more information, visit NYCGo.com, the official website of NYC & Company, the city’s marketing, tourism and partnership organization.

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Kiss Me Kate: Review Roundup

Hannah Waddingham
and Alex Bourne

The Chichester Festival Theatre revival of the 1948 musical Kiss Me, Kate has received generally positive reviews for its West End transfer to the Old Vic. The creative team includes Bella & Sam Spewack (book), Cole Porter (music, lyrics), Trevor Nunn (director), Stephen Mear (choreography), Robert Jones (design), Gareth Valentine (music direction, Tim Mitchell (lights), Chris Egan (orchestrations), and Paul Groothuis (sound). The cast includes Alex Bourne (Fred Graham, Petruchio), David Burt (Gangster), Adam Garcia (Bill Calhoun, Lucentio), Jason Pennycooke (Paul), Clive Rowe (Gangster), Holly Dale Spencer (Lois Lane, Bianca), and Hannah Waddingham (Lilli Vanessi, Kate).

Lyn Gardner (Guardian): It would be nice to report that Trevor Nunn’s revival of the classic 1948 musical is too darn hot, but it arrives in London from the Chichester Festival in a lukewarm state. … Stephen Mear’s choreography and Jason Pennycooke’s snake-like hips suddenly scorch the stage, and make everyone else sizzle, too. Nunn’s revival is full-lunged with terrific vocal performances, particularly from Waddingham, but it often feels lumbering and effortful, technically impressive but lacking in joy and warmth. … The production finally sparks into life with the famous number “Brush Up Your Shakespeare.” But for the most part, this three-hour evening simmers rather than boiling over.

Fiona Mountford (Standard): This new look at the Cole Porter showbiz-themed dazzler Kiss Me, Kate is the latest sassy offering. Having started on the south coast in the summer, it now sizzles into town. … Stephen Mear’s high-octane choreography, showcased in the set-piece for “Too Darn Hot,” leaves no room for brooding. Holly Dale Spencer as ditzy nightclub singer Lois excels in my favorite hymn to matrimonial equivocation, “Always True to You in My Fashion.” As the lovable hoodlums with a taste for the greasepaint, David Burt and Clive Rowe provide the evening’s showstopper with the delightful “Brush Up Your Shakespeare,” milking two deserved encores. Highly kissable.

Stewart Pringle (Time Out): You have to wait a while for the real razzle-dazzle … but by the start of the second act the sheer talent on display will have swept you along. … There’s superb supporting work from David Burt and Clive Rowe, who wring every last laugh from “Brush Up Your Shakespeare,” and particularly Jason Pennycooke, who leads a storming “Too Darn Hot.” … While giving the big numbers his all, Nunn has failed the script quite badly. A few moments of slapstick in the play-within-the-play come off well, but the framing narrative feels yawningly drab and laconic. Like a game of musical statues, when the band stops playing, this production freezes to the spot.

Charles Spencer (Telegraph): Cole Porter’s musical about a touring production of The Taming of the Shrew must have seemed like an appointment with destiny for Nunn. And boy, does he deliver. … Stephen Mear’s choreography bursts with wit and invention, especially during the spectacularly staged “Too Darn Hot,” which sees the impish hoofer Jason Pennycooke gliding across the stage. … And David Burt and Clive Rowe offer a deliciously deadpan double act as the mobsters who muscle their way into the show, finding every ounce of humor in the brilliant comic song “Brush Up Your Shakeaspeare.” … Frankly, nights at the theatre don’t often come more enjoyable than this.

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Les Misérables: Review Roundup

Hugh Jackman and
Anne Hathaway

The Hollywood adaptation of the 1980 musical Les Misérables (earlier adapted for the London and New York stages) opened wide on Christmas Day, but it had already received considerable Oscar buzz and garnered a collection of Golden Globe nominations. What did the critics think, though? Below is a sampling of reviews, which are generally favorable, with special recognition going to Anne Hathaway and Eddie Redmayne. For the record, the creative team includes William Nicholson (screenplay), Alain Boublil (book, original text), Claude-Michel Schoenberg (book, music), Victor Hugo (novel), Herbert Kretzmer (lyrics), Jean-Marc Natel (original text), James Fenton (addl. text), Tom Hooper (direction), Danny Cohen (cinematography), Melanie Ann Oliver, Chris Dickens (editing), Eve Stewart (production design), Grant Armstrong (art direction), Anna Lynch-Robinson (set decoration), Paco Delgado (costumes), Lia Westcott (hair, makeup), Dominic Gibbs (sound), Mark Holt (special effects), Richard Bain (visual effects), Liam Steel (choreography), Paul Herbert (stunts), Anne Dudley (addl. music, orchestrations), Stephen Metcalfe (orchestrations), and Stephen Brooker (music direction). The cast includes Hugh Jackman (Jean Valjean), Russell Crowe (Javert), Anne Hathaway (Fantine), Amanda Seyfried (Cosette), Eddie Redmayne (Marius), Helena Bonham Carter (Mme. Thenardier), Sacha Baron Cohen (Thenardier), Samantha Barks (Eponine), and Aaron Tveit (Enjolras).

Justin Chang (Variety): The squalor and upheaval of early 19th-century France are conveyed with a vividness that would have made Victor Hugo proud. … Yet for all its expected highs, the adaptation has been managed with more gusto than grace. … Hathaway’s turn is brief but galvanic. Her rendition of “I Dreamed a Dream,” captured in a single take, represents the picture’s high point. … As the characters’ voices and stories converge in the magisterial medley “One Day More,” the frequent crosscutting provides a reasonable visual equivalent of the nimble revolving sets used onstage. … Devotees of the stage show will nonetheless be largely contented to see it realized on such an enormous scale and inhabited by well-known actors who also happen to possess strong vocal chops. The revelation here is Redmayne, who brings a youthful spark to the potentially milquetoast role of Marius, and who reveals an exceptionally smooth, full-bodied singing voice, particularly in his mournful solo “Empty Chairs at Empty Tables.”

Joe Morgenstern (Wall St. Journal): This Les Mis does make you feel, intensely and sometimes thrillingly, by honoring the emotional core of its source material. The director, Tom Hooper, has shot almost all of the singing live, rather than pre-recorded as in conventional movie musicals; the difference is startling. … Hathaway is the show-stopper in “I Dreamed a Dream.” … Redmayne is the big surprise; a dramatic dynamo, he turns “Empty Chairs at Empty Tables,” that anthem of anguishing loss, into a showcase for sung passion. … The voices may not be memorably great, but the real-time singing communicates a special energy that we can savor from what amounts to front-row center seats for every intimate number.

Claudia Puig (USA Today): Les Misérables is sweeping, as would be expected given the scope of the hugely popular stage musical from which it is adapted. But it’s also wonderfully intimate, thanks to Tom Hooper’s deft direction. … Both Hathaway and Jackman strike perfect notes in their performances. … Eddie Redmayne is a revelation as the idealistic rebel Marius. … The singing is often appropriately raw (particularly in Fantine’s dying scene), which intensifies already poignant performances. … Hathaway’s rendition of “I Dreamed a Dream” is a tear-jerker if ever there was one. For a 2½-hour movie, it’s surprisingly well-paced and consistently enthralling. The look of the film is gorgeous, but Les Mis is a success primarily because of its superlative musical performances.

Peter Travers (Rolling Stone): The singing isn’t slick. It sometimes sounds raw and roughed up, which is all to the good. It sure as hell brings out the best in the actors. A never-better Hugh Jackman stars as Jean Valjean. … A dynamite Hathaway shatters every heart when she sings how “life has killed the dream I dreamed.” Her volcanic performance has Oscar written all over it. … Redmayne also deserves a piece of the awards pie for the soulful ache he brings to the love story and his lost brothers (“Empty Chairs at Empty Tables”). Besides being a feast for the eyes and ears, Les Misérables overflows with humor, heartbreak, rousing action and ravishing romance. Damn the imperfections, it’s perfectly marvelous.

Kenneth Turan (L.A. Times): If unashamed, operatic-sized sentiments are not your style, this Les Miz is not going to make you happy. … This production is visual to the max, with an epic physical scale and grandeur the play couldn’t possibly have. The second strategy employed was to sign the best, most convincing actors. … Anne Hathaway, who plays Fantine, does such a knockout rendition of the showstopper “I Dreamed a Dream.” … Because it is so shameless and so popular, Les Misérables and its “to love another person is to see the face of God” theme are tailor-made for mockery. But despite its pitfalls, this movie musical is a clutch player that delivers an emotional wallop when it counts. You can walk into the theater as an agnostic, but you may just leave singing with the choir.

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Best of 2012: Top 10 New Musicals

Musical theater was “alive and kicking” this year, with debuts from new writers and comebacks from veteran scribes. Below is my list of the Top Ten new pieces of musical theater that debuted in the past 12 months – with two caveats. First, you will notice the omission of this year’s Tony winner Once, a wonderful show that actually didn’t premiere in 2012 but in 2011 at the New York Theatre Workshop. Second, although I haven’t included Chaplin in my list, its title star (Rob McClure) deserves special notice for a bravura performance. Now, on to the year’s best new shows.

1. A Christmas Story (Nov. 19-Dec. 30, Lunt-Fontanne). Whether you loved the movie or not, this adaptation artfully walked the line between paying homage to the old and inventing something new. Much of the credit goes to an impressive Broadway debut score by songwriters Benj Pasek and Justin Paul – a rarely talented duo who have gratefully moved on from the purgatory of musical theater workshops – and to Warren Carlyle’s inspired choreography, highlighted by tap dancing prodigy Luke Spring, who steals the show from Ralphie and the entire Parker clan.

2. Forbidden Broadway: Alive & Kicking (Sep. 6, 47th St). The king is dead, long live the king. After a rare (and much too long) absence, Gerard Alessandrini has unsheathed his skewer and once again begun poking fun at the Great White Way. Indeed, the barbs are as sharp as ever, proving the long-lived Off-Broadway revue hasn’t gone soft in its middle age. The new cast may not be as polished as previous teams, but they hit the bulls-eye of their targets more often than not, including a show-stopping send-up of Once.

3. The Old Man & The Old Moon (Oct. 7, Gym at Judson). PigPen Theatre Company aims to create “atmospheric theatrical fables,” and they succeeded admirably in this whimsical nautical tale. Comprising some half dozen Carnegie Mellon alums, this team of writer-performers play their own instruments while singing and acting multiple characters. If Mumford & Sons collaborated with Julie Taymor, they may have yielded something close to but perhaps not as disarming as the guys in this Off-Off-Broadway troupe have created.

4. Newsies (Mar. 29, Nederlander). If you like a good old-fashioned show, then you’ll enjoy this latest Disney Broadway musical juggernaut. A paint-by-numbers story is colorfully performed by an outstanding ensemble (recognized by Equity as the best chorus on Broadway), led by breakout star Jeremy Jordan. Despite a somewhat oppressive scaffold set and the clunky addition of a perfunctory love interest, director Jeff Calhoun keeps the show briskly moving, aided by Christopher Gattelli’s acrobatic choreography.

5. A Civil War Christmas (Dec. 4-30, NYTW). This American mummers play, set on a blustery Christmas Eve 1864, is a sprawling and eye-catching pageant about a nation yearning for peace. Pulitzer-winning Paula Vogel may have overstuffed this Off-Broadway holiday goose a bit, but her story is certainly savory. The vivid staging of Tina Landau and sepia-toned musical pastiche of familiar carols and new music by Daryl Waters and Andrew Resnick add a welcome richness to this Matthew Brady photo come to life.

6. Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812 (Oct. 6-Nov. 17, Ars Nova). Triple hyphenate librettist-composer-performer Dave Malloy proved to be a winning David to the Goliath that is Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace. Wisely selective in his tale, Malloy has created an engaging through-composed electro-pop adaptation, ably aided by director Rachel Chavkin’s spare staging. Another find in this Off-Off-Broadway musical was recent Juilliard grad Phillipa Soo as the impetuous Natasha.

7. Giant (Nov. 13-Dec. 16, Public’s Newman). Usual triple hyphenate Michael John LaChiusa handed the reins of the libretto to Sybille Pearson for their judicious adaptation of Edna Ferber’s sprawling novel. Even though the duo condensed an hour from their original production, the show still successfully captured the wide Texan spirit, even if the Off-Broadway space didn’t do it visual justice. The show could still use some trimming, but the score remains as impressive as Kern and Hammerstein’s for Ferber’s Show Boat.

8. Bring It On (Aug. 1-Dec. 30, St. James). It could have turned out to be just another corporatized movie-turned-musical, but librettist Jeff Whitty didn’t simply regurgitate the film plot, and composers Tom Kitt, Amanda Green, and Lin-Manuel Miranda took care to create a forceful (if forgettable) score. While the sparse touring set didn’t seem Broadway-worthy, director-choreographer Andy Blankenbuehler earned high props for his athletic staging and choreography, taking this musical a level above its recent predecessors.

9. Dogfight (July 16-Aug. 19, Second Stage). Even though its disparate parts didn’t quite gel, this was an encouraging Off-Broadway debut from composing team Pasek and Paul, who made their Broadway debut later in the year with another adaptation of film nostalgia: A Christmas Story. This grittier of the pair’s two shows on the boards in 2012 also featured a breakout performance by Lindsay Mendez, who was ably aided by costar Derek Klena and supporting actress Annaleigh Ashford.

10. The Hunchback Variations (June 1-July 1, 59E59). Librettist-actor Mickle Maher and composer-actor Mark Messing’s odd Off-Broadway show may have been faulted for being a bit too high concept, and the music may not have added all that much to the underlying 2001 play that the team adapted for their opera, but the creative duo from Chicago’s Theater Oobleck gave two of the most wonderfully nuanced and quirky performances of the season in their imagined meeting of Ludwig van Beethoven and Quasimodo.

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Wicked Joins Smithsonian Collection

During “Something Wicked This Way Comes,” a special ceremony on Dec. 17, the award-winning musical Wicked joined Hello, Dolly!, Fiddler on the Roof, A Chorus Line, Cats, The Lion King, and Rent in the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History permanent entertainment collections, as part of the “American Stories” exhibition. Broadway cast members Donna Vivino and Tiffany Haas sang excerpts from Stephen Schwartz’s score as part of the event, while Tony-winning costume designer Susan Hilferty signed the deed of gift to donate the hat, broom and dress she made for Mandy Gonzalez, who played Elphaba in 2010. Made with more than 40 yards of fabric, Hilferty described the dress as “twisted Edwardian.” Museum curator Dwight Blocker Bowers said, “This donation is a significant addition to the museum’s entertainment collection and shows the enduring cultural contribution of Broadway hits to American life.”  Now in its ninth year, Wicked has won 35 major awards, including a Grammy and three Tonys.

Here’s Susan Hilferty describing her designs for Wicked.

And here’s the original Elphaba, Idina Menzel, singing “Defying Gravity.”

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Best of 2012: Top 10 Musical Revivals

New York saw a bevy of musical revivals this year, including a large pack of shows from the Eighties. There were also two prominent “revivals” of shows from the past five years, both presented at the Hirschfeld – though “remount” may be the more appropriate word, so I’ve not considered them for my final year-end list. The first was Fela!, the 2008 bio-musical about Nigerian musician Fela Kuti. While its physical elements had been scaled down, the production still featured show-stopping performance numbers. The second was Elf, the 2010 holiday film adaptation, which was reworked (and improved) from its original outing, proving still to be fine family entertainment. Now, on to the list.

1. Closer Than Ever. By far, the best revival of the year was the York Theatre Company’s Off-Broadway production of the 1989 Maltby and Shire revue, which opened June 21 and extended several times, finally closing Nov. 4. The writers seamlessly added a pair of new numbers (strengthening an already vital score) and judiciously updated some lyrics (proving that their underlying theme is timeless). Though it’s a revue, not a book musical, Closer Than Ever may be the best story Maltby and Shire have written for the stage. Jenn Colella was a standout among the quartet of strong performers, and James Morgan’s door-based set was evocative and effective.

2. The Mystery of Edwin Drood. The Roundabout Theatre Company opened its opulent Broadway production of the Rupert Holmes musical on Nov. 13 with an outstanding cast of veteran performers. Set designer Anna Louizos and costume designer William Ivey Long deserved particular notice for recreating a dazzling Victorian London, and the smoky-voiced Chita Rivera was as mesmerizing an actress as ever. If the book and score don’t sparkle as much as they did in 1985, they have acquired a nice patina and still well serve this infectiously rousing musical.

3. Porgy and Bess. One of the most talked about productions of the year was the Diane Paulus helmed Broadway revival of the Gershwin classic. Though many feared how Paulus and book writer Suzan-Lori Parks would “radically reinvent” the 1935 musical, the story was largely unchanged and unharmed. The limited engagement, which ran at the Rodgers from Jan. 12 to Sep. 23, deservedly won the Tony for Best Revival. Audra McDonald earned her fifth Tony for her beautifully sung and heartrending portrayal of Bess, which was met with an equally persuasive Porgy from the woefully under-honored Norm Lewis.

4. Into the Woods. The Public Theater brought the 1987 Sondheim and Lapine musical literally into the woods with its limited-run summer Off-Broadway production, which ran from Aug. 9 to Sep.1 at the open-air Delacorte Theater in Central Park. If director Timothy Sheader’s ambitious modernist vision was not fully realized, the cast did include several performers who delivered indelible performances in supporting roles, including the seemingly infallible Donna Murphy as The Witch, Sarah Stiles as Little Red Ridinghood and Jessie Mueller as Cinderella.

5. New Girl in Town. Irish Repertory Theatre offered a rare glimpse at the solid adaptation of O’Neill’s Anna Christie, written by George Abbott and Bob Merrill, with a limited engagement from July 26 to Sep. 14. In the original 1957 Broadway production, Gwen Verdon and Thelma Ritter shared the Tony for Best Actress; in this Off-Broadway production, Margaret Loesser Robinson and Danielle Ferland proved to be just as worthy, with Patrick Cummings earning particular notice for his sonorous portrayal of the sailor Mat.

6. Annie. Those with a sweet tooth may quibble, but director James Lapine has found the humanity by emphasizing the bittersweet and sepia tones in a show usually produced as a garish carnival of saccharin strawberry-blond fluff. This Broadway revival of the 1977 cartoon-inspired musical, written by Thomas Meehan and scored by Charles Strouse and Martin Charnin, opened Nov. 8 at the Palace, perfectly capturing the zeitgeist of our current economic times. The anchor that moors this production is Anthony Warlow, whose performance as Daddy Warbucks illuminates the depths of the paternal relationship with the title waif, portrayed by newcomer Lilla Crawford.

7. Evita. Latin singers Elena Rogers and Ricky Martin, the leads in the revival of this 1978 Webber and Rice bio-musical that opened Apr. 5 at the Marquis and is closing prematurely on Jan. 26, may lack the wattage to dispel the shadows of their original counterparts, but Broadway veteran Michael Cerveris shines as the often overlooked Juan Peron. The production’s other primary assets are Rob Ashford’s visually arresting choreography and, of course, the score, which is arguably the finest Webber has composed.

8. Jesus Christ Superstar. While the vocals in the Webber-Rice musical listed above weren’t consistently up to snuff, the score of this Webber-Rice show was beautifully served by its cast, led by the standout performances of Josh Young and Jeremy Kishnier, who alternated in the vocally demanding role of Judas. The one wrinkle in this Broadway revival of the 1971 bio-musical, which opened Mar. 22 and closed July 1 at the Simon, were the inconsistent production elements.

9. Marry Me a Little. The second revue on my list, this Off-Broadway revival of the 1980 show, which was devised by Craig Lucas and Norman Rene from trunk songs in the Sondheim canon, was not as well served by its updated elements. Still the limited engagement, presented by the Keen Company from Oct. 2 to Oct. 27 at the Clurman on Theatre Row, was beautifully rendered by actors Lauren Molina and Jason Tam.

10. Nice Work If You Can Get It. You may argue that this show doesn’t belong on a list of revivals, but this “new” Broadway musical, which opened Apr. 24 at the Imperial, is book writer Joe DiPietro’s revision of his 2001 musical They All Laughed, which itself is a revision of the 1926 Gershwin musical Oh, Kay! How “new” can a show be when it’s been repurposed two times? Despite its dual parentage, the show is pure escapist fun, with silver-voiced Kelli O’Hara and comic gems Michael McGrath and Judy Kaye.

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Chicago Milestone

Yesterday, John Kander and Fred Ebb’s Chicago surpassed the performance count of the original production of Les Misérables to become the third longest-running show in Broadway history. “Throughout the past 17 years, this production has exceeded my wildest expectations time and time again,” said producer Barry Weissler in a statement. “Six Tony Awards, a Grammy Award-winning cast album, a six-time Academy Award-winning film adaptation, celebrated productions in 24 countries and 12 different languages across the globe. … On behalf of the entire Chicago company, I want to thank the legions of fans and beloved audience members worldwide who have helped our show achieve this incredible milestone in Broadway history.” On Dec. 20, 2012, the Tony-winning revival played its 6,681st performance. Still ahead of the Kander and Ebb show are a pair of Andrew Lloyd Webber musicals: The Phantom of the Opera at 10,356 performances and Cats at 7,485 performances. Currently onstage at the Ambassador Theatre are Amy Spanger as Roxie, Amra-Faye Wright as Velma, and Billy Ray Cyrus as Billy Flynn.

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