It’s been 40 years since Debby Boone’s (pictured above) recording of You Light Up My Life spent ten weeks at the top of the charts. The ballad from the movie of the same name won an Oscar for Best Original Song for its composer, Joseph Brooks. Boone considered dropping the song from her repertoire back in 2009 when Brooks was arrested on charges of raping eleven women. Still touring in concerts, Boone starred in The Sound of Music back in the ‘90s. A new touring production of the beloved musical will play Shea’s March 28th – April 2nd.
Speaking of Shea’s, long time Marketing and Public Relations Director Lisa Grisanti will be leaving the theater on April 7th in order to start her own marketing, public relations and events-planning business. We wish her the very best! By the way, tickets go on sale this week for Wicked, which will return to Shea’s for the third time May 17th – June 4th.
Second Generation Theatre will hold its second annual April fundraiser, Page to Stage 2: Songs Inspired by Shakespeare, on April 23rd at 7 p.m. at MusicalFare. The evening will feature the songs of two Broadway musicals inspired by Shakespeare: Kiss Me, Kate (The Taming of the Shrew) and West Side Story (Romeo and Juliet). Accompanied by Allan Paglia, the evening will feature the talents of Jacob Albarella, Anthony Alcocer, Nicole Cimato, Kelly Copps, Steve Copps, Kevin Craig, Arin Lee Dandes, Matthew Iwanski, Amy Jakiel, Dudney Joseph and Kevin Kennedy. For tickets, call 508-5670.
Theatre of Youth’s annual Brew Bash will be held April 25th at Resurgence Brewing Company. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. For tickets go to www.theatreofyouth.org. In the meantime, the company’s 45th anniversary season continues with the classic, Charlotte’s Web, running March 18th – April 9th, and starring Kurt Guba, Arin Dandes, Jacob Albarella, Jordan Levin, Dan Torres, and Jennel Pruneda as Charlotte.
On March 13th at 7 p.m., Subversive Theatre will present a staged reading of Mused to Death, a comedy written and directed by Kurt Schneiderman. The reading takes place at the Manny Fried Playhouse, and will feature Kristin Bentley Kacala, Elliot Fox, Susana Breese, Lucas Lloyd, Jessica Stuber, Amy Jakiel, and J. Tim Raymond. The event is free and open to the public. The company’s season will continue with the world premiere of The Trial of Trayvon Martin by Gary Earl Ross, April 6th – May 6th. Directed by Schneiderman, the production will star Shawnell Tillery, Brian Brown, Rick Lattimer, Lawrence Rowswell, Leon Copeland, Jr., Kunji Rey, Brittany Bassett, VerNia Garvin, and Michael Mottern.
Up next for MusicalFare, the 2010 Tony nominee for best musical, Million Dollar Quartet, inspired by the actual 1956 event when Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins and Elvis Presley got together at Sun Records in Memphis. Directed by Randall Kramer, with musical direction by Theresa Quinn, the production will star Andrew Reimers (Cash), Joe Donohue (Lewis), Brandon Barry (Perkins), and Steve Copps (Presley). The show opens on April 19th and will also feature Arianne Davidow, Jeff Coyle, Brian McMahon, and Dave Siegfried.
Playwright Kenneth Lonergan won this year’s Oscar for Best Original Screenplay for the movie Manchester by the Sea, which he also directed. Lonergan’s first theatrical hit was the play This Is Our Youth in 1996, followed by The Waverly Gallery in 1999 (which starred the great Eileen Heckart), and Lobby Hero in 2002, which was produced at the Kavinoky in 2005, starring Michael Karr, Richard Satterwhite, and Drew Kahn. Lonnergan was sitting at the Oscar ceremony next to his wife, New York actress J. Smith-Cameron who starred in his 2009 play The Starry Messenger opposite Matthew Broderick.
Sheila McCarthy will be doing double directorial duty this spring. At the New Phoenix she will be directing the comedy Kalamazoo (May 4th – 27th) starring Betsy Bittar and Marc-Jon Filippone playing two elderly people who meet online and go out on a date. Prior to that, McCarthy will be directing another comedy for O’Connell & Company. Ivan Menchell’s The Cemetery Club will run April 20th-May 21st, starring Anne Gayley, Sharon Strait, Joy Scime, Rob Schwartz and Deborah A. Krygier. Next season O’Connell & Company will do the musical I Do! I Do!, starring Gregory and Mary Gjurich. And changing its tone from last year’s holiday offering, the New Phoenix will present Cinderella, directed by Kelli Bocock Natale.
Pamela Rose Mangus will play Falstaff in the all-female cast of The Merry Wives of Windsor (June 22nd-July 16th), which Eileen Dugan will direct for Shakespeare in Delaware Park. The production will also star, among others, Victoria Perez, Charmagne Chi, Caitlin Coleman, Diane DiBernardo, and Josie DiVincenzo. The leading ladies in Macbeth (July 27th – August 20th), include Lisa Vitrano (Lady Macbeth), Jamie Nablo (Lady Macduff), Marie Hasselback Costa and Bonnie Taylor (the Witches). This year’s Fabulous Feast will take place on March 18th, at a new location, The Atrium at Rich’s.