SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE SEASON WEEK 3 RECAP: NEW YORK CITY AUDITIONS, PART 1
This third episode of Season 15 So You Think You Can Dance opens with Cat telling us of all the auditions cities, the energy in New York City never disappoints. Judges Nigel, Mary, Vanessa, and Twitch take their places at the table and then we meet the dancers. First up is Emily Carr (age 18), a contemporary dancer who has such amazing control. She doesn’t seemed frazzled by the audition and just moves through her routine with a smooth confidence that captivates the judges. And it’s off to The Academy for Emily. Then we meet tapper Evan DeBenedetto (19) who has strong musicality and is also trained in contemporary and ballet. He might look familiar because he made it all the way to the Green Mile last season, but was passed over for contemporary dancer Lex Ishimoto, the winner of Season 14. And one of the most unique to audition is Kyle Bennett Jr. (22), a tutter and animator who also auditioned last year, and made it to The Academy, but didn’t end up being chosen. The judges see some great improvement in his audition and Twitch felt his transitions were flawless and turns to the audience to say, ‘Now THAT was an audition!’ Kyle was unanimously sent through to The Academy. There’s just one more week of NYC auditions and then it’s finally off to The Academy where the best dancers will be chosen for the live shows!
NEW MUSICAL BASED ON THE LIFE OF MICHAEL JACKSON WILL PREMIERE ON BROADWAY IN 2020
A new musical framed around the life and music of the late singer-songwriter Michael Jackson is currently in development. This announcement has been released by both Columbia Live Stage and The Michael Jackson Estate. The stage show is expected to arrive on Broadway in 2020. The currently untitled musical will feature a book by two-time Pulitzer winner Lynn Nottage (Sweat) and a score made up of Jackson's song catalogue. Tony winner Christopher Wheeldon (An American in Paris) will direct and choreograph. Jackson's many albums included Got to Be There (1972), Ben (1972), Music & Me (1973), Forever, Michael (1975), Off the Wall (1979), Thriller (1982), Bad (1987), Dangerous (1991), Book I (1995), and Invincible (2001). His hit singles comprised Just Can't Stop Loving You, The Way You Make Me Feel, Man in the Mirror, Dirty Diana, Black or White, and Remember the Time. His album Thriller sold 110 million copies worldwide making it the highest selling abum of all time. Jackson was the recipient of 13 Grammy Awards.
MERLE DANDRIDGE RETURNS TO TONY-WINNING ONCE ON THIS ISLAND
Merle Dandridge, the power-voiced star who originated the role of Papa Ge in the Tony-winning revival of Once On This Island, returned to the hit production on June 18. Dandridge had been on a contractual leave from the musical, with Tamyra Gray playing Papa Ge in the interim. Dandridge will remain with the production for a limited run through August 19, and Gray will return on August 20. Tony nominee Michael Arden serves as director and Camille A. Brown has choreographed the first revival of Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty's musical. It began previews on November 9, 2017 and opened on December 3. The show's cast also includes 2018 Tony nominee Hailey Kilgore, Isaac Powell, Tony nominee Phillip Boykin, Quentin Earl Darrington, Alex Newell, Alysha Deslorieux, Kenita R. Miller, Rodrick Covington, Cassondra James, Grasan Kingsberry, Tyler Hardwick, Loren Lott, Aurelia Williams, Emerson Davis, Mia Williamson, Darlesia Cearcy, and Tony winner Lea Salonga. Salonga will exit the show on June 24; Cearcy will succeed her in the role of Erzulie on June 25.
FREAKY FRIDAY MOVIE MUSICAL, STARRING HEIDI BLICKENSTAFF, SETS SUMMER AIR DATE
The Disney Channel's highly anticipated movie musical adaptation of Freaky Friday has set an air date of Friday, August 10 at 8:00pm ET. Steve Carr will direct the new version of the classic story, which will star Broadway veteran Heidi Blickenstaff (Something Rotten!), reprising her turn as Katherine from the stage musical, alongside Cozi Zuehlsdorff (Dolphin Tale) as Ellie. In Freaky Friday, Katherine, an overworked mother and her teenage daughter, Ellie magically swap bodies, and they have a single day to make it right before mom’s wedding day. The film features a teleplay by the stage musical's book writer, Bridget Carpenter, and a score by Next to Normal Tony winners Brian Yorkey and Tom Kitt, who lent tunes to the stage show. Based on Mary Rodgers' 1972 book of the same title, the stage musical, which played regional theaters throughout the U.S., was adapted from the 1976 and 2003 movies.
TONY WINNER ONCE ON THIS ISLAND RECEIVES EQUITY AWARD FOR OUTSTANDING BROADWAY CHORUS
Broadway's Once On This Island production was named the 2018 Tony winner for Best Musical Revival, and now the show's chorus has been honored with Actors' Equity's 12th annual Outstanding Broadway Chorus Award. The 10 individual recipients of Equity's 2018 Chorus Award—all of whom were part of the Once On This Island chorus on the revival's Broadway opening night—are Darlesia Cearcy, Rodrick Covington, Alysha Deslorieux, Tyler Hardwick, Cassondra James, David Jennings, Grasan Kingsberry, Loren Lott, T. Oliver Reid, and Aurelia Williams. The award was presented on June 19 during Equity's National Council meeting in New York. Each original chorus member will receive a plaque. Past recipients of Equity's Chorus Award are the original chorus members of Legally Blonde (2007), In the Heights (2008), West Side Story (2009), Fela! (2010), The Scottsboro Boys (2011), Newsies (2012), Pippin (2013), Beautiful: The Carole King Musical (2014), An American in Paris (2015), Shuffle Along (2016), and Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812 (2017).
The fiery Kander & Ebb musical Chicago is heading Down Under! The Tony-winning revival directed by Walter Bobbie and choreographed by Ann Reinking will open in Australia at the Sydney Lyric Theatre in 2019. Also headed to Australia is the Sara Bareilles musical Waitress. The hit Broadway show will open in Australia at the Sydney Lyric Theatre in 2020... Koko, the famous gorilla who communicated using sign language died in her sleep at the Gorilla Foundation's preserve in Woodside, California on June 19. She was 46...
TREVOR DION NICHOLAS WILL JOIN THE NORTH AMERICAN TOUR OF DISNEY’S ALADDIN
Trevor Dion Nicholas, who's played the Genie in the London production of Disney's Aladdin since the musical opened in 2016, will join the show’s North American tour for a limited engagement this summer, including a three-week engagement in his hometown of Pittsburgh, before returning to the West End. Nicholas will trade places with current U.S. tour Genie Michael James Scott, who will play the role in the London production August 17 through September 30. Nicholas was in the Broadway production of Aladdin before originating the role of the Genie in London’s West End. Nicholas’ other stage credits include Dreamgirls, Big River, Super Fly, Ragtime, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, and The Wiz. Adapted from the 1992 Disney animated film, Aladdin is the story of a street urchin who uses the help of a magic Genie to win the heart of Princess Jasmine. Directed and choreographed by Casey Nicholaw, the production features a book by Chad Beguelin, music by Alan Menken, and lyrics by Tim Rice, Beguelin, and the late Howard Ashman.
AVENUE Q ORIGINALS TO MAKE RETURN APPEARANCES FOR 15 PERFORMANCES
The Tony-winning musical Avenue Q will welcome the return of a handful of original Broadway cast members in the current production at off-Broadway's New World Stages. In commemoration of the show's 15th anniversary, the original stars will make guest appearances throughout 15 performances from July 18-29. Each of the 15 anniversary shows will feature audience giveaways and a different surprise guest of the musical's original Broadway company, including Tony nominees John Tartaglia and Stephanie d'Abruzzo, Rick Lyon and Ann Harada, along with additional Broadway alums Carmen Ruby Floyd, Barrett Foa, Maggie Lakis, Anika Larsen, Brynn O’Malley, and Sharon Wheatley. Avenue Q took home 2004 Tony Awards for Best Book of a Musical, Best Original Score, and the top prize of Best Musical. The tuner concluded its six-plus-year Broadway run at the Golden Theatre in 2009, later transferring to its current home at New World Stages.
TICKETS ARE NOW ON SALE FOR THE CHER SHOW ON BROADWAY
Tickets are on sale for the new Broadway bio-musical The Cher Show, scheduled to arrive at the Neil Simon Theatre this fall. Previews will begin on November 1 with an opening night slated for December 3. Featuring a book by Rick Elice, The Cher Show chronicles the life of the Oscar-winning music legend to the score of hits like I Got You Babe, Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves, and If I Could Turn Back Time. Tony nominee Jason Moore will direct the tuner with Tony winner Christopher Gattelli as choreographer. Leading the cast are three actresses playing Cher at different points throughout her life: two-time Tony nominee Stephanie J. Block, stage alum Teal Wicks, and newcomer Micaela Diamond. They will be joined by Tony nominee Jarrod Spector as Sonny Bono, Tony nominee Emily Skinner as Georgia Holt, Tony nominee Michael Berresse as Bob Mackie, Michael Campayno as Rob Camilletti, and Matthew Hydzik as Gregg Allman.
Broadway.com is partnering with Rooftop Cinema Club to serve up screenings of three classic movie musicals this summer! The first film on tap will be Singin' In The Rain, set to screen on July 16, followed by The Wizard of Oz, scheduled for August 20. The screenings will be held at SkyLawn at Embassy Suites, on 60 West 37th Street in New York City... David Cook, American Idol winner who made his Broadway debut in April as Charlie Price in Kinky Boots will return to the Tony-winning musical beginning on July 17 for a limited run through September 9...