Welcome to The 2703, the brand new Hollywood Pantages Blog. One of the most frequently asked questions we receive is, “How many seats are in the theatre?” The answer to that question and the name of our blog is 2,703. It’s that kind of insider knowledge we want to share with you! Have you ever wondered what happens at the Hollywood Pantages while you’re not here? We want to peak your curiosity, take you behind the scenes, into rehearsal rooms, and out into Hollywood. We want to give back to our audiences that fill The 2703 every performance.
Picture this. You are on a rooftop in the middle of Hollywood lounging in a comfy chair with snacks in your lap, a drink in your hand and your favorite movie is playing on a big screen. What could be better? We take our movie experiences very seriously here in Hollywood and now the experience is on a whole other level, literally the top level.
The Montálban theatre is getting ready for its second season as a part of the Rooftop Film Club. Taking full advantage of the Montálban rooftop’s beautiful city view, RFC promises to offer some of the most unique and incredible movie-going opportunities for film lovers. You don’t even need to bring your own blanket or camping chair—Rooftop Film Club provides you with your very own comfy lawn chair, as well as blankets on request for the ultimate cozy experience. And instead of listening to the movie over loudspeakers, you’ll get a set of wireless headphones so you never have to miss a word.
Los Angeles is not the only city partying it up on the rooftops. If you happen to be in London or New York check out their Rooftop Film Clubs as well. For other amazing photos head over to Instagram and look for their hashtag #rooftopfilmclub for more amazing photos.
To learn more about the Rooftop Film Club experience CLICK HERE
Hollywood is constantly changing as we mentioned in last weeks post about all of the construction happening in our neighborhood. However, there are still some good old classics in the area that really make Hollywood a special place. Located just around the corner from the Hollywood Pantages is The Montalbán Theatre.
Built in 1926, the theatre’s architect was Myron Hunt, whose work included the Rose Bowl, CalTech, the Ambassador Hotel, and many other Southern California landmarks. Named The Wilkes Brothers Vine Street Theatre in honor of its builders, it was the first legitimate Broadway-style theatre in Hollywood. Its inaugural presentation in 1927 was an acclaimed production of Theodore Dreiser’s “an American Tragedy.”
The Montalbán and The Hollywood Pantages have more in common than a zip code. In the early 1930’s Howard Hughes acquired the theatre to convert it into the first fully-automated cinema and renamed it the Mirror. The Hollywood Pantages too was owned by Hughes in the early 1950’s.
By 1935 Hughes was out of the movie business and sold the theatre to CBS Radio. Durring this time local station KNX hosted its now famous Lux Radio Theatre. For many years legendary producer/director Cecil B. DeMille was the producer and host.
As the years went on the focus turned to television. CBS sold the theatre to Huntington Hartford, heir to the A&P grocery store fortune. He spent $750,000 to remodel and restore the theatre into a legitimate stage venue.
In 1964 James Doolittle, who at the time was running the Greek Theatre purchased the theatre. Over the next 20 years Doolittle added to the reputation of the theatre with his smart productions.
Interiors of The Montalbán Theatre.
When the Doolittle era came to an end, UCLA took over, but, after several years, the theatre went dark until Ricardo Montalbán stepped in. He envisioned having a physical presence in Hollywood that would provide inspiration and training for emerging artists in the Hispanic community and thus enable them to mainstream into the performing arts and the broader entertainment industry. The theatre was a perfect home base for implementing that vision, and the Hispanic community, which respected his talent, success and his inclusive politics, mobilized to support the acquisition of the theatre. In 1999 a generous and anonymous donation enabled the Ricardo Montalbán Foundation to buy the building, and the Foundation reopened the theatre in May 2004 as The Montalbán.
Today the Montalbán Theatre is one of the few remaining mid-sized and fully-equipped proscenium theatres in Los Angeles and is known for its excellent sight lines and acoustics. The Theatre and the Foundation are partnered with community performing arts groups such as the Harmony Project, the Lula Washington Dance Company, the Tierra Blanca Arts Center and the UDLA. The Montalbán has also hosted a variety of professional productions including Selena, Culture Clash’s Zorro in Hell, The Who’s Tommy, Jesus Christ Superstar (with the original cast), A Night Without Monty Python (with Eric Idle and other stars), a closed-circuit broadcast of the World Cup, an evening with comedian Billy Connolly, and most recently a two-week run of John Leguizamo’s Ghetto Klown.
For more information about The Montalbán theatre and their events CLICK HERE.
Blog Source: http://www.themontalban.com/history-of-our-theater/
If you have been to the Hollywood Pantages lately to see a show there are a few things you may have noticed about the neighborhood. The first thing that probably comes to mind is what the heck is the deal with all of this construction??? Well the neighborhood is changing my friends and we think it’s gonna be great! Check out some of the projects happening around the theatre.
The Argyle Hotel
Construction is well underway on the Argyle Hotel, a 16-story, 220-room hotel at 1800 N Argyle Ave in Hollywood, not far from the Hollywood Pantages. This is one of three high-rise projects underway or planned at the intersection of Argyle Avenue and Yucca Street.
Designed by San Diego’s ACRM Architects, the 184-foot tower will have a swimming pool on the fifth level and parking for 93 cars on four levels, three above grade and one below. The hotel also will have a restaurant, meeting space and banquet facilities.
Just across the street from the Argyle Hotel construction, work begins on an 18-story tower with 114 “luxury” apartments immediately next to the iconic Capitol Records building and just north of the Hollywood Pantages Theatre. In addition to the apartments, its project will include a fifth-floor terrace with a dog run, “oversized” TV, and catering kitchen. It will also include underground parking, according to a building permit filed with the city.
Dream Hotel Hollywood
Hollywood is booming, and the new Dream Hotel, nearing completion on Selma Ave near Cahuenga, hopes to cash in on its popularity. The 179-room hotel features a two-story lobby and a rooftop complete with a swimming pool and a late-night venue that will have a retractable roof. The property will also have a public alley that pedestrians can use to travel to nightclubs in the area as well as local restaurants near the hotel.
Eastown Phase II
The first phase of Eastown, completed on the opposite side of Hollywood Boulevard in 2014, includes four low-rise buildings containing 535 apartments and over 70,000 square feet of ground-floor shops and restaurants.
The project, which is rising from a 3.18-acre site at 6200 Hollywood Boulevard, will consist of a series of seven-story buildings featuring 507 apartments and approximately 60,000 square feet of ground-level retail and restaurant space.
Shake Shack has confirmed that it’s opening a location in the veritable heart of Hollywood at the new Eastown mixed-use complex. To see where this Shake Shack is going to get situated, head over to the Eastown complex’s own website. Right there in the retailer section (which already includes a Dunkin’ Donuts) you’ll see some 5,000 square feet marked off for a Shake Shack, which goes further to say an arrival could come as soon as this fall.
They say the neon lights are bright on Broadway. To see these blinking, shining, glowing, neon lights go dim for just a moment you can feel it. Call it a flag half staff, a send off or a heartfelt goodbye for a member of the theatre community. Last night the Hollywood Pantages Theatre dimmed its neon lights for the first time in honor of the late James M. Nederlander.
It is a tradition that dates back to the 1950’s beginning with Gertrude Lawrence. Lawrence died after the matinee performance while starring in the Broadway musical The King and I. Under this tradition all 40 Broadway theatres dim their outdoor lights for a minute just before the curtain on show night. Dimming the Broadway lights is typically reserved for those who have been very active in the theater or synonymous with Broadway.
The grief of the theatre community is felt for that one dark minute and when the warm lights start shining again, the feeling of hope and joy fills the street. They say there’s magic in the air.
Theatres from London to New York, and from Chicago to Los Angeles dimmed their lights for James M. Nederlander. Below, watch as the Hollywood Pantages dims our lights for the first time ever in honor Jimmy
This week, we at the Hollywood Pantages/Nederlander Organization lost our patriarch and chairman. James M. Nederlander passed away Monday evening at the age of 94.
A modern example of the American Dream, Jimmy started sweeping floors at age 7 for his father David T. Nederlander in Detroit, Michigan. Since then he has held every position one could hold while working in the theatre biz from box office to advertising, production and management to company chairman. One of these jobs was to scout out shows in New York for his father. It was on one of these trips in 1964 that Jimmy learned from a friend that RKO was selling its flagship Palace Theatre. In a $1.6 million handshake, Jimmy sealed his fate and the fate of the Nederlander Organization.
In the years following the purchase of the Palace Theatre Jimmy developed a healthy rivalry with the competing NYC theatre family, the Shuberts. Even with the constant competition, one of Jimmy’s closest friends was Philip J. Smith, chairman of the board of the Shubert Organization.
Jimmy found much success starting with the musical Annie in 1977 and has had producer, co-producer, or investor credits on successful titles that include Applause, La Cage aux Folles, Me and My Girl, Nine, Noises Off, Peter Pan, Sweet Charity, The Will Rogers Follies, Woman of the Year and many more. Jimmy, however, was not without his failures. As a reminder he kept the posters of his biggest flops in his office bathroom. For a complete list of works visit Jimmy’s IBDB page.
In 1977, The Nederlander Organization came in as Pacific Theatre’s partner and gave the Hollywood Pantages an overhaul before re-opening it as a legitimate theatre with “Bubbling Brown Sugar” in February 1977. When The Nederlander Organization heard that the Walt Disney Company was seeking a home for its Los Angeles production of The Lion King, Jimmy locked in a Pantages booking by agreeing to a substantial renovation. It was time, thought Nederlander, to get the theatre looking more like it did in 1930. The theatre was restored to its original luster in time for the highly-anticipated L.A. Premiere of Disney’s The Lion King.
Along with The Hollywood Pantages Theatre, The Nederlander Organization currently owns or operates nine Broadway theaters, the Palace,the Brooks Atkinson, Gershwin, Lunt-Fontanne, Marquis, Minskoff, Nederlander, Neil Simon and Richard Rodgers — two in Detroit, four in Chicago and three in London, one in Oklahoma City, as well as others in San Diego, San Jose, CA, Tucson, Durham, NC, Charleston, SC.
In November of 1986 Jimmy was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. His star is located right in front of The Hollywood Pantages Theatre. “Generous,” “loyal” and “trusted” are just a few of the accolades Jimmy’s numerous friends use to describe him—many of whom have enjoyed a life-long personal and business relationship.
In addition to his star Jimmy has been the recipient of many distinguished honors including United Nations Foundation Champion Award (2012), The Broadway League’s Schoenfeld Vision for Arts Education Award (2011), the New York Pop’s Man of the Year (2008), the Tony Award® Special Tony Award for Life Time Achievement (2004), and The Actors’ Fund Medal of Honor (2002).
In 2009 The National High School Musical Theater Award was established and named The Jimmy to celebrate his career-long dedication to supporting young talent. Each year high school students from all over the United States come together to compete in the Jimmy Awards. The participants spend a week in workshops and rehearsals with Broadway professionals in hopes of walking away with college scholarship prizes.
Jimmy operated on instinct, often backing shows simply because he liked the people involved. He was well respected, loved, and admired by all who knew him. He is often referred to as Broadway’s last patriarch, but we knew him as Jimmy.
By Evan Henerson
It’s fair to say that Robert Brill can always get a prime seat at the Kit Kat Club, wherever that shrine of pre war entertainment decadence may materialize. That’s only fair since Brill designed the club. From “Cabaret’s” first incarnation in 1997 at the Henry Miller Theatre through its subsequent move to Studio 54, to its revival 16 years later also at Studio 54 and on all accompanying tours, that particular layout of tables, lamps and chandeliers is from Brill’s vision.
As recently as June, nearly two decades after he created what has become an iconic design, Brill checked in on Sally Bowles and the gang when the national tour – currently at the Pantages – played a run in San Francisco where Brill has a home.
“When I see the show now, I’m really looking at how the production fits the venue,” Brill said. “There are parts that are somewhat adjustable that allow it to sit in the venue for it to be exposed in the right way. So the first thing I’m looking at is how the picture is framed and the proportion of it. Then as you sit down, you’re taking in some of the givens of the space, what the sight lines are like, and how shallow or how deeply raked is the house. You’re kind of taking in the venue, but then you’re also looking at how the show is running in terms of props and then any scenic moves.”
“I jotted down a few notes when I saw the show in San Francisco and passed them on,” he continued. “They take the notes and then they move on from there.”
From its origins at London’s Donmar Warehouse, Sam Mendes’s version of “Cabaret” has sought to place its audience in the center of the action. Sally, the Kit Kat dancers and that scabrous Emcee are continually addressing the guests, several of whom are sitting practically in the performers’ laps. The scenic design had to fit that concept.
When they were gearing up to move the Donmar Warehouse production across the pond to New York, Mendes and his co-director/choreographer Rob Marshall located a space – Henry Miller’s Theatre – that was already a functioning nightclub. That venue needed a sizeable revamp to make it suitable for live theater, and the team needed a designer to oversee that transformation.
Brill, who had designed at several major regional theaters and had a couple of Broadway credits, was asked to meet with Mendes and Marshall. Two days later, he was offered the gig and asked to return to New York to check out the venue and to get things rolling.
Re-shaping the Miller’s Theatre – which they renamed the Kit Kat Club – was challenging enough. Having theater audiences and late night club goers sharing the same venue made for some interesting experiences.
“We were out by 10, and there was already a line outside for people to enter at 10:30 and they would be all over the space on stage, at tables, in front all over the building and backstage until 2 or 4 in the morning,” Brill recalled. “You never knew what you were going to find or discover the next morning.”
Ultimately the production had to move and the conversion of Studio 54, a dance club later owned and operated by the Roundabout Theatre – forced 10 weeks of renovations. From lobbies to bathrooms, from marquee to chandeliers, from painting to demolition. The venue had no stage, so a stage was constructed from the floor up along with terracing for audience seating. The balcony, which had previously been used for events, was demolished.
“What was important to the production was this gradual immersion into the world of the Kt Kat Club from the marquee until you reach the actors on stage,” Brill said.
Looking back at his own “audition” for “Cabaret” with Mendes and Marshall, Brill thinks one of the key factors that landed him the job wasn’t so much his Broadway and larger regional theater credits, but a different part of his portfolio. While still a student at UC San Diego, Brill had co-founded the Sledgehammer Theatre, a company that made highly and often guerilla use of venues throughout downtown San Diego.
This was during the 1980s when the real estate climate was friendlier toward this type of experimentation. Sledgehammer staged in former funeral homes, parking garages and abandoned warehouses that had no electricity or bathroom facilities before Sledgehammer took over. A group of fellow UCSD students even built a stage in a canyon adjacent to the library on campus, trucking in sand for the audience to sit on. There was a five and half hour production of “Hamlet” and a staging of Samuel Beckett’s “Endgame” in a small former retail space. Sledgehammer mounted another play in a former auto service garage.
“I showed [Mendes and Marshall] that work last in my portfolio and that was the work that I think really captured their attention,” Brill said. “It was very rough around the edges, showing the hand of the artist, having to be resourceful and work in a scrappier way. Also to be working site specific and because that’s what this piece became, working in an actual venue and transforming the venue. That really got them interested in having me on the team. It was not so much about the more polished work that I had done at that point. It was really about something that would serve this new interpretation of Cabaret.”
Between the first “Cabaret” and its revival, Brill has hardly been idle. He now has nearly a dozen Broadway credits with his designs for Stephen Sondheim’s “Assassins” (also at Studio 54) and the 2009 Broadway revival of “Guys and Dolls” earning him Tony nominations. He has designed multiple operas and touring shows and worked repeatedly with Leonard Foglia and Des McAnuff who has championed Brill’s work since McAnuff was the artistic director at the La Jolla Playhouse which sits on the campus of UCSD. Brill returns this year to UCSD as a member of the School of Theater’s design faculty.
Brill’s upcoming projects include another collaboration with McAnuff, and “It’s a Wonderful Life,” a co-production between Houston Grand Opera and the San Francisco Opera scheduled to open around the holidays.
And speaking of immersive theater, another Brill design figures to occupy a place in Southern California for years to come. The artist designed the scenery for “Disney’s Frozen – Live at the Hyperion,” a short version of the animated film which opened in May and plays several times daily at the Hyperion Theatre at Disney’s California Adventure theme park.
If you think transporting audiences to Weimar era Germany is challenging, how about taking them to the wintry world of Arendelle, a world that had previously existed only in a much beloved animated film? Dana Harrel, the production’s executive creative director, was not necessarily looking to do a live replica of the film, but, according to Brill, Harrel stressed the need to make the experience to be, you guessed it, immersive.
“I thought a lot about Cabaret when we were putting in Frozen,” Brill said. “Dana really wanted it to be an experience for the audience to be completely enveloped in the world of this story. One of the first goals was how to extend the visual out into the theater so they feel like they’re immersed both in the visual world and the storytelling. We did that in numerous ways, both scenically and with projections, lighting and also with the staging.”
“Frozen – Live at the Hyperion” opened May 26, and Brill attended several performances in the days immediately following.
“It was amazing to watch, easily 1/4 of the audience was watching the experience through their phones or their iPads,” Brill said. “But it’s been fun to watch that online and check out who is watching the show and who is paying attention to it.”
With a line up that includes, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, White Christmas, The King and I, Rent, Motown, Circus 1903, Finding Neverland, American in Paris, The Bodyguard, The Book of Mormon, and Hamilton, the Hollywood Pantages 2016-2017 season is one for the record books. While the crew here at the theatre is jumping up and down with excitement, we are also very worried. There are a lot of websites popping up claiming to have tickets to shows that have yet to go on sale. We always want to make sure that everyone that buys a ticket to one of our shows gets to walk through the doors hassle free and be a part of Hollywood History. PLEASE read the information below and watch the video. Share with friends so that no one has to experience the pain of fraudulent tickets.
There are many ticket re-sellers and secondary markets for tickets. For the best seats and to eliminate the risk of fraud, get tickets through the Hollywood Pantages Box Office, HollywoodPantages.com or Ticketmaster. Purchasing tickets from any other seller runs a high risk of receiving fraudulent tickets.
We know most of you are used to hearing from us via our Facebook page but we want to draw some attention to our other favorite social media page, Instagram. Take a tour of our favorite instamoments.
That time Brandy starred in Chicago
That time William Shatner came to see The Illusionists
That time they changed the light bulbs in the lobby chandeliers
That time Madame Tussauds let us borrow Captain Picard and the Captain’s Chair
That time we took a photo from inside the grand chandelier
That time Cyndi Lauper and Harvey Fierstein got their stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame
That time Constintine Maroulis was on The Soup promoting Jekyll and Hyde
That time we had a little too much fun with Annie at Dodger Stadium
That time we caught Don Attilio from Phantom of the Opera reading a magazine by the stage door
That time Elder Price sang the National Anthem at Dodger’s Stadium
That time Elphaba sang the National Anthem at a Clippers game
That time we put up the holiday trees in the dark
That time Jonathan Bennett stopped on the If/Then red carpet to take selfies with fans
That time Sophie from Mamma Mia took over our Instagram
That time Kristin Davis met Sandy from Annie
That time we let Luke Godny, the understudy for all of the instruments for Once, take over our Instagram
That time when both Mike Tyson and Spike Lee were on the red carpet together
That time we had a mini Christine and Phantom at the theatre
That time the cast of Motown was on Good Day LA
That time a Newsie threw the first pitch at Dodger Stadium
That time we gave the theatre a little touch up
That time we had a speakeasy party before Bullets Over Broadway
That time the cast of 42nd Street took over our Instagram and went to Universal Studios
That time we held auditions for America’s Got Talent
That time Weird Al came to see Donnie and Marie Osmond
That time when Bill Berloni and Macy walked the red carpet for Annie
And that time the marquee commented on the Beautiful sunset
For more Hollywood Pantages Instamoments follow us on Instagram hollywoodpantagestheatre
We have all experienced a live show gone wrong. Whether you were on stage or in the audience, those moments stick with you forever and help make live theatre a different experience for each person. We have compiled a list of Broadway Stars sharing their most embarrassing moments. Read theirs and share yours! Did you see a performance go wrong? Were you a part of a performance in which people forgot their lines, had a wardrobe malfunction or fell? We want to hear your stories.
Jessica Chastain on her mortifying moment in Heiress on Broadway
“When I was doing The Heiress on Broadway, my dog hopped onstage during the middle of a very dramatic scene. I was acting and I heard this jingling noise because my dog was hopping. He only has three legs. I heard jingle, jingle, jingle. I knew immediately. And I thought, oh my god, he’s out of the dressing room, someone catch him please. I have to say my lines. I heard people in the audience gasp, and then ‘whisper, whisper, whisper.’ I delivered the first part of my line and walked off the stage because I knew my dog would follow me. He hopped off with me, I picked him up and handed him to someone. Then I went back onstage and finished my line.”
Erin Davie on being betrayed by the sound man in The Phantom of the Opera
“I was doing the music of Andrew Lloyd Webber right out of college. And I sang The Phantom of the Opera. And even on Broadway the end of the title song is pre-recorded because Christine has to sing a high “E.” I think they make it easy on the ladies. So in my show, just at the very end of the song, I was singing to my own voice that was pre-recorded. Then the sound man turned the sound off and we started to take our bows. But when I was in mid-bow, my voice came back on. So it seemed like I hadn’t sung any of it. It was a quick blip. But at the time I was horrified. I wanted to say, ‘But it was ME! I swear I DID sing that!’”
Emily Padgett on the perils of over-hydrating in Side Show
“During [Side Show] we don’t have any bathroom breaks at all. At the top of the show we don’t get a break until intermission. So we try to keep our voice really hydrated. But there was one day when I drank too much water and during “Who Will Love Me As I Am,” [a particularly dramatic song], I was in so much pain, I really thought it was going to happen. But I made it and it didn’t, but that was the worst. It was awful. And now I can’t drink that much water before the show.”
Billy Porter on when his Kinky Boots fought back
“I ripped the heel off of my blue stacked stiletto boot on the way down the stairs into the factory of Kinky Boots. My heel was dangling underfoot as I tried singing “The Sex Is In The Heel” with a straight face.”
Nina Arianda on showing too much in The King and I
“A long, long time ago, I was dancing in [a community production of] The King and I. At the end of a dance number, when I got to the final pose, my pants fell down around my ankles. I was wearing one of those diaper looking Samurai deals underneath. I don’t know why. It was the late 1990s. So I dropped trou not even wanting to. Everyone was laughing. But as they say, you have to fake it ’til you make it. Yes, of course I MEANT to do that right? But what happens when you trip on a sidewalk in New York? Do you make a story out of it? No! You keep walking. It’s all part of life.”
Sutton Foster on dropping her drawers on the Great White Way
”I lost my underwear during Thoroughly Modern Millie. I hit my final pose and my underwear fell down. They were like little tap shorts.”
Laura Bell Bundy on flipping her lid in Legally Blonde
“During Legally Blonde, I lost my wig about three times. When my wig fell off, I was wearing a wig cap so it looked like I was bald. During those moments I broke the fourth wall and said, ‘Thank you for coming to see Legally Bald.’ That got a big laugh. I’ve also had shoes fly off into the audience. I’ve lost clothes. I’ve almost fallen into the pit. I actually fell off the stage once. When you do something like 800 shows, that’s what happens.”
Judy Kaye on a particularly dangerous Hand Jive in Grease
“I’ve had many wardrobe malfunctions in my life. I’ve had to do whole scenes holding my dress together. I remember doing Rizzo in Grease on the road in 1973. We were in Denver and during the Hand Jive the entire dress exploded off my body. I had to dance into the wings and get sewn into it and Hand Jive back onto the stage. See, I’ve been there baby.”
Karen Pittman on really wowing her agent in Gem of the Ocean
“I finally found an agent that I really liked and while doing a showcase, the agency showed up to watch me work. My big break! Well, my scene with Cornelius Smith, Jr (from All My Children) from August Wilson’s Gem of the Ocean came up. As we broke apart from a passionate embrace, my hoop skirt fell to my ankles. I stood in front of the entire crowd in my Spanx. I played it off with a dizzying maneuver using a kitchen knife and a chopping board, pulled my skirt up. And as they say in the theatre, the show must go on. Needless to say, the agent was impressed. He’s my agent to this day. Although, I dunno if it was because of what they saw in my acting —- or what they saw in my Spanx…naughty!”
John Larroquette on knocking himself out without really trying
”I knocked myself out while on stage once. I ran across the stage and hit a wall. The audience thought it was hilarious.”
Kelsey Grammer on giving his all
”As I lifted [a costar], with my posterior aimed at the audience, I passed gas, in an explosive form.”
Musicals are everywhere! From the Broadway stage to live television broadcasts, musicals have had an amazing resurgence in current pop culture. And every few months or so we all get teased with the possibility of a Wicked movie. There has also been a lot of talk lately about an In The Heights or possibly even a Hamilton movie! While we patiently hold our breath for those projects to happen, here is a list of some of our favorite shows that have gone beyond the stage.
This Broadway musical made its debut in 1972. The concept was created over a couple of beers at a party by creators Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey in an effort to go against the grain of “traditional” Broadway shows. The show opened one year later at the Eden Theatre, just off Broadway, but was not the success originally hoped for. Loved by the public but scrutinized by critics the show ultimately was snubbed by the Tony Awards because the Eden Theatre did not qualify as a Broadway Theatre. It wasn’t until 1978 when the smash hit film took the story to the next level. Since then the show has seen numerous revivals, high school productions, and even a live broadcast on Fox.
Hairspray is the 1988 movie turned Broadway show turned 2007 movie turned upcoming NBC live broadcast! The original 1988 film featuring notable actors such as Sonny Bono, Debbie Harry, Ricki Lake, and Jerry Stiller had a modest release at the box office but developed a cult following up its release on home video. (Which is like Blu Ray and DVD release for our younger readers.) In 2002 the Broadway musical debuted staring the ever fierce Harvey Firestein as Edna Turnblad. The show picked up 8 Tony Award wins including Best Musical.
In 2007 the hunt for the next Tracy was on as the story took to the silver screen once more. This time some script changes were in order and a star studded cast including John Travolta, Michelle Pfeiffer, Christopher Walken, Amanda Bynes, Queen Latifah, and Zac Efron came together to break box office records for the biggest opening weekend of a movie musical.
Now we anxiously await for more news about the NBC’s Hairspray Live which has already announced the return of Harvey Firestein as Edna Turnblad as well as Kristin Chenoweth, Jennifer Hudson, Martin Short and newcomer Maddie Baillio.
The Wiz, Also known by its original name The Wiz: The Super Soul Musical “Wonderful Wizard of Oz, opened on October 21, 1974 in Baltimore. In 1975 the show took to Broadway and racked up 7 Tony Awards including Best Musical and became an early example of Broadway’s mainstream acceptance of works with an all-black cast. In 1978 the film version was released and became an instant cult classic. In December of 2015 NBC broadcasted The Wiz Live featuring Common, Amber Riley, Uzo Aduba, Elijah Kelley, Ne-Yo, Mary J. Blige, and Queen Latifah.
Originally based on a play by the same name the story is a satire on the corruption n the administration of criminal justice and the concept of the “celebrity criminal” With music by John Kander, lyrics and book by Fred Ebb, choreography by Bob Fosse, this show was set to be a hit. The original production only ran on Broadway for 936 performances until 1977 but it was the revival that gained the momentum. It currently holds the record as the longest running musical revival in American Broadway history. Now the show has a reputation of casting an on going onslaught of celebrities in its leading roles such as Brandy, Eddie George, Rumer Willis, Patrick Swayze, Usher, Michael C. Hall and many more.
In 2002 the film, directed by Rob Marshall, pulled together an outstanding cast including Renee Zellweger, Richard Gere, Queen Latifah, Catherine Zeta-Jones to name a few. In 2003 the film scored 6 Academy Awards including Best Picture.
This show got started just a bit differently than most. The show opened in London’s West End in 1999. Being completely comprised of songs from the Swedish pop/dance group ABBA, producer Judy Craymer was nervous about how well the show would be received. It wasn’t long before the craze caught on and in 2001 the Mamma Mia opened on Broadway. Since then, the show has has 5,773 performances on Broadway and has played in 40 countries. In September of 2015 Mamma Mia said goodbye to Broadway but continues to tour.
In 2008 the Mamma Mia went from stage to screen. I think we can all agree that Meryl Streep was the best part of this adaptation but was well supported by her cast including Pierce Brosnan, Colin Firth, Stellan Skarsgard and Amanda Seyfried. The movie received mixed reviews from critics and was considered a box office flop but you can’t escape the power of the soundtrack!
Sound of Music
This Rogers and Hammerstein classic opened on Broadway in November of 1959. The story, based on the memoir of Maria von Trapp, earned 9 Tony nominations and 5 Tony wins including Best Musical. Sadly this would be the last musical written by the Rogers and Hammerstein team as Oscar Hammerstein died only nine months after the Broadway premiere. In 1965 the film starring Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer would walk away with five Academy Awards.
In 2013 the resurgence of the live television musical event was brought back to life with NBC’s Sound of Music Live. While critics thought Carrie Underwood’s performance was amateur at best the ratings sang a different tune. The Sound of Music Live brought the network its highest Thursday night viewership since the series finale of Frasier in 2004 with 18.62 million viewers.
The Rocky Horror Show
Not many people know that The Rocky Horror Show made its U.S. debut in Los Angeles at the Roxy Theatre in 1974 before heading to Broadway in 1975. It only lasted three previews and forty five showings despite earning one Tony nomination. It wasn’t until the 1975 film, staring Tim Curry as everyone’s favorite sweet transvestite, and re-dubbed as the Rocky Horror Picture Show that things really took off. The Rocky Horror Picture Show holds the record for the longest-running release in film history.
And to top things off this Halloween Fox plans to release a reboot! Stars include Laverne Cox as Frank N. Furter, Christina Milian, Adam Lambert and more. Check out the trailer below.
What Broadway show do you want to see as a movie or T.V. special?