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Dennis Kucherawy

Dennis Kucherawy

CD and Song Book Now in Stock

London’s Royal Shakespeare Company’s "Matilda – The Musical” is an international sensation.  Based on Roald Dahl’s  famous children’s story, it is a delightful show for all ages, the winner of more than 50 major international awards including 12 for Best Musical.

Toronto previews begin Tuesday, July 5th,2016

Closes this weekend!!!!

Excellent writing, acting and directing make Soulpepper’s thought-provoking production of Irish writer Colm Tóibín’s acclaimed and controversial “The Testament of Mary” a must-see.  It compels viewers to reconsider religious history.

The 70-minute play (no intermission) is now in its final weekend with a final performance this Saturday, June 18th, at the Distillery District’s Young Centre for the Performing Arts.

Euphoric Joy! What a marvelous party!

Life, especially life in show business, unfolds in the strangest ways.

At Livent, I was the original publicist for "Kiss of the Spider Woman” that premiered at Toronto’s Bluma Appel theatre, then went on to win seven 1993 Tony Awards including “Best Musical.”  It was director Hal Prince’s first production since his smash international hit “The Phantom of the Opera” and was eagerly anticipated.

New Streisand Broadway/Hollywood Album Due This August

This Sunday night, Barbra Streisand will make her first appearance at the Tony Awards since 1970, more than 35 years ago.

That’s just the beginning of her return to the Great White Way.  On August 26th, she is also releasing “Encore:  Movie Partners Sing Broadway” featuring duets with major film stars including Antonio Banderas, Hugh Jackman and Anne Hathaway

The album features three songs by Stephen Sondheim: “Loving You” from “Passion, “The Best Thing That Ever Happened” from “Road Show” and “Take Me to the World” from “Evening Primrose.”

An Insider’s Look at Tony Best Revival Nominee “She Loves Me”

SLM’s Music Whiz Shares His Thoughts

It's not every day you receive a fan note from a legendary Broadway lyricist, one that is being honored this year with a Special Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre.  Then again, David Krane isn’t your everyday composer/arranger.  The show is “She Loves Me,” but the following is a “HeLoves Me” moment.

Last June 10th, on opening night of the Roundabout Theatre Company’s production, lyricist Sheldon Harnick, who survives his late partner, composer Jerry Bock, wrote David, complimenting him on the incidental music and dance arrangements he composed for the revival.  It is an opening night note that, he told Song & Script, he will cherish forever:

Rock the Tonys With Acting Up Stage Co. this Sunday

Acting Up Stage Company, one of Toronto’s most exciting theatre troupes, is celebrating this year’s Tony Awards this Sunday night at The Friar Firkin pub at 160 John St.

The free tickets are gone, but there may be some cancellations.

Doors open at 7 p.m. and the telecast on The Friar’s big screen begins at 8 p.m.  There will be special prizes.

Celebrate the Tony Awards in Style

Getting ready for the “Hamill-TONYS”

"My brother-in-law just laid down 65 bills that bear the likeness of the first Treasury secretary in exchange of a pair of tickets to the Broadway musical that bears his name:  `Hamilton.’” – Joanne Kaufman, The Wall Street Journal

With the Tony Awards speeding toward us this Sunday, June 12th, “Hamilton” has become the Tragically Hip of Broadway.  As of yesterday, a single ticket is listed for $10,000 for creator and star Lin-Manuel Miranda’s sold-out final performance in the title role. Insane!  You could buy a Lincoln for that kind of money… maybe used… and drive to New York.

Pride 2016 Presents an Evening with George Takei

On Sunday, June 26th, at Ryerson Theatre, Hikaru Sulu, helmsman of the Star Trek enterprise, aka George Takei …American actor, director, author and activist …

will visit Toronto to help celebrate our first month-long Pride.

His visit follows his acclaimed Broadway engagement earlier this year, starring opposite Lea “Miss Saigon” Salonga in the musical “Allegiance,” directed by Stafford Arima, Toronto York University grad and Olivier-nominee in his Great White Way debut.

Stafford Arima’s New Musical Receives World Premiere at Prestigious Williamstown Theatre Festival This July

"Poster Boy" Opens July 27th

By Dennis Kucherawy

You could say Canadian Olivier-nominated director Stafford Arima now has his Oskar.

That’s Oskar Eustis, artistic director of New York’s Public Theatre, who gave the world such hits as Tony Kushner’s epic play “Angels in America,” the musical hit “Fun Home” and the unstoppable sensation “Hamilton.” He is involved in the development of Stafford Arima’s latest project, “Poster Boy.”

Obviously, it's a coup for Stafford to be working with such a giant of American theatre.  During his public conversation at the Panasonic Theatre May 9th sponsored by Toronto’s Koffler Centre, “Angels in America” Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Tony Kushner called Oskar Eustis “my best friend.”

“Poster Boy’s” world premiere engagement takes place July 27th to Aug. 7th at Massachusetts’ renowned Williamstown Theatre Festival (WTF), about a three-hour drive from Boston.

The Toronto-born and raised Arima is a graduate of York University where, upon graduating, was the recipient of the Dean’s Prize for Excellence in Creative Work.

He is known locally for his imaginative 2012 Stratford Festival production of “Jacques Brel Is Alive and Well and Living in Paris” that starred Brent Carver.

In the UK, Arima received a 2004 Olivier Award nomination for his direction of the West End production of “Ragtime.” In 2012, her also directed the “revisal” of the musical “Carrie,” long regarded as the biggest flop on Broadway in history.  He turned it into a hit with Richard Zoglin of Time Magazine commenting “… this “Carrie” has real weight and emotional conviction, and it engaged me more than a lot of musicals I’ve seen lately…This show has guts.”

Among Stafford’s many credits, he made his Broadway debut this season directing the acclaimed musical, “Allegiance,” at the Longacre Theatre.  It starred George (“Star Trek – TV”) Takei and Lea Salonga, who created the role of Kim in “Miss Saigon” in the West End and in New York.

“Poster Boy” is produced and “was nurtured” by Williamstown’s artistic director Mandy Greenfield, and the Public also will be involved, said publicist Molly Barnett.  “Their exact involvement hasn’t been announced yet,” she said in an e-mail.

Stafford declined comment when asked about Oskar Eustis' contribution.

Vogue magazine in a profile published this February titled “Inside the High-Drama Life of `Hamilton’ Impresario Oskar Eustis,” reported he is “overseeing the development” of “Poster Boy.”  The story said the musical was “inspired by (actual events surrounding) the notorious cyberbullying of Tyler Clementi, a Rutgers freshman who, in 2010, jumped to his death from (Upper Manhattan’s/Washington Heights’) George Washington Bridge after his roommate secretly captured him kissing another man on a webcam and then tweeted about it.”

Clementi’s death brought international attention to the dire consequences of cyber-bullying.  He became the cause’s “Poster Boy.”

"The musical’s story is thought-provoking as it “lays bare the complexity of protecting our privacy, identity and humanity in the digital era,” says the show’s news release.

Vogue writer Adam Green sat in on a working session Eustis conducted with Arima, music/lyricist and Tony Award-nominee Craig Carnelia (“The Sweet Smell of Success”) and playwright Joe Tracz who is writing the book.  “The musical,” Green writes, “centers on a pair of friends who go by their online names, DistanceRunner and TrollCity.”  They unite in an online chat room to

discover what drove one of their own to take his life in such a shocking manner.

(Other online names in “Poster Boy” include Sexposition, Harrison42 and Citi2Mo.)

Eustis pushes them to clarify the characters’ motivations, he reports. “`DistanceRunner needs to accept that he didn’t prevent Tyler from killing himself,’” Eustis says.  “`And TrollCity needs to accept that he doesn’t mean they’re powerless.  They’re both wrong and they’re both right.  Does that sound right to you?’”

“`Absolutely,’” says Carnelia, as Green continues to describe the session.

“`I identify with the rage,’” says Eustis. “`For me, the equivalent is people who try to say things to cheer me up.  They have this desperate need to believe that you can be fixed.’

“Eustice doesn’t believe that there is a fix for grief, though he does have faith in the consoling power of theatre,” Green surmises.

The musical will be performed without an intermission.

The cast of seven actors consists of:

Jerry Dixon:       Harrison42

Katie Lee Hill:     Female Reporter,

Hannah/Molly/Wei,

Jane Clementi/University Worker

Llana:                DistanceRunner

Stephen Wallem: Sexposition

Noah Zachary:    TrollCity

Tayler Trensch:   Tyler Clementi aka Citi2Mo

Rohan Kymal:     Dharun Ravi

 

About the Williamstown Theatre Festival (WTF):

The festival is a resident summer theatre on the campus of Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts that, in 2002, received a 2002 Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theatre under Mandy Greenfield’s artistic direction.  It creates renowned productions of both world premiere plays as well as revivals of some of the great works of the Western theatrical canon.

Since 1955, WTF has brought together gifted emerging theatre artists with our country’s finest theatre professionals to produce a vibrant summer season in the Berkshires, while simultaneously running one of the country’s top training and professional development programs.

In 2015, the Festival launched a New Play Commissioning Program as well as a community-immersive theatre initiative that unites professional theatre artists with Berkshire residents to create new work.  Additionally, each summer the Festival produces an array of unique cultural events including family-friendly theatre, Late-Night Cabarets, music concerts and comedy.

The artists and productions shaped there each summer fill theatre in New York, throughout the country, and abroad.  Recently critically acclaimed productions launched by the WTF include the recent revival of Sam Shephard’s “Fool for Love” directed by Daniel Aukin, starring Nina Arianda and Sam Rockwell; Bernard Pomerance’s “The Elephant Man” directed by Scott Ellis, starring Bradley Cooper; John Kander, Fred Ebb and Terrence McNally’s “The Visit”, directed by John Doyle, starring Chita Rivera, among many others.

Other major celebrities who have performed there include Sigourney Weaver, Gwyneth Paltrow, Christopher Walken, Nathan Lane, Richard Chamberlain, Kate Burton, Olympia Dukkakis, Paul Giamatti and Calista Flockhart.

"Poster Boy" will be performed as part of the NIKOS Stage Season, named after Nikos Psacharopoulos, a Yale Drama School professor who co-founded the WTF and was its executive artistic director from more than 30 years.  He attracted such leading actors as E.G. Marshall, Frank Langella, Rosemary Harris, Blythe Danner and Colleen Dewhurst.

Ticket Information:

Single tickets are now available at www.wtfestival.org or by mail order using WTF’s season brochure (call 413-597-3400 to join the mailing list.)

When the WTF box office opens in June, tickets may be purchased online, by phone (by calling 413-597-3400), or in person at the ’62 Center for Theatre and Dance Box Office at 1000 Main St. (Route 2), Williamstown, MA 02167.

Visit Song & Script to order CDs and songbooks of musicals and plays referred to in this blog including  “Allegiance,” the revival of “Carrie,” “Hamilton,” “Fun Home” and the DVD of HBO’s “Angels in America” starring Al Pacino.

By Dennis Kucherawy

Don DeLillo in Conversation Tonight at Reference Library

"The gods have equipped Don DeLillo with the antennae of a visionary.” – Martin Amis

It’s been a fantastic week for contemporary literature at the Reference Library’s Appel Salon downtown as two of our era’s greatest authors paid Toronto a visit to promote their new novels.

Monday night, Julian Barnes, Man Booker Prize Winner, spoke to a standing room only audience about “The Noise of Time,” his new, highly praised novel based on the life of Russian composer Dimitri Shostakovich.

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