Tag Archives: Hairspray

Amos Oliver III

When we found out that one of our very own ushers had been cast in Hairspray Live we couldn’t have been more proud! On December 7, 2016 Amos Oliver III and the rest of the cast of Hairspray Live performed in front of an audience of 9 million plus. After the whole exciting adventure, Amos took some time to chat with us about his experience.

Tell us a little about yourself. Where did you grow up? Where did you go to school? 

I was born in St. Petersburg, Florida. I went to College at The Boston Conservatory as well as the American Musical and Dramatic Academy-LA

How did you catch the musical theatre bug?

I’ve always been into performing. I’ve always loved being onstage and being able to play someone other than myself. It wasn’t until I was attending The Boston Conservatory until I really understood how much I loved musical theater.

How did you find out about Hairspray Live auditions?

I found out about Hairspray LIVE auditions through my agent. (Go 2 Talent Agency)

What was the audition process like?

The process was a lot of fun. We first learned some of the choreography to “Run and Tell That” and we auditioned it. We then got called back did some scene work and some singing and then we danced again!

What was the first thing you did when you found out you had gotten the part?

The first thing I did when I found out I was cast, was run around the living room of my apartment and scream!! Then once I calmed down I called my mom!

Did you know that your fellow ushers had put together a watch party to cheer you on?

I certainly did know that my fellow ushers threw a party! I thought it was incredibly sweet and I wish I could’ve been there to share such an amazing experience/moment with them!

(See the Facebook Live video of the ushers cheering on Amos)

Tell us how you prepared for this live event. What were rehearsals like?

Well I had been training for so long for something like that so all of my schooling and education really prepared me for that. I knew in my heart that this had always been a dream of, mine and that’s really what helped me stay focused and ready at all times. At the start of rehearsals, we rehearsed 8 hours a day, Mon-Friday! And once the event got closer than we began staying longer and working longer weeks!

On the day of the live event, what was the atmosphere on set?

OMG!!! Everyone was so excited and ready to change the world!! Everyone was so positive and so supportive and they were having such a great time!

What was it like working on set with a live audience?

Working on set was actually really fun for me. We were performing for TV, but we also had the energy of the live audience which really enhanced our level of performance.

What amazing memories will you be taking away from this experience? Any particular moments stand out to you?

Every single second of this experience will be a memory that I take away! NOTHING about this I could ever forget! Every moment was priceless and surreal.

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What’s next for you? What would be the ultimate dream job/role?

I am not quite sure what’s next for me, but I know it will be something incredible! The dream role job after doing Hairspray LIVE, would be performing it on Broadway!

What advice would you have for others pursuing this path?

No matter what anyone says, you can do whatever you put your mind to. You control your own destiny. I believe in that wholeheartedly.

You can catch Amos in Hairspray Live again December 26th at 8pm only on NBC!

 

 

Beyond the Stage

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.

Grease

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“Greased Lightning” from the 1978 motion picture Grease

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.

 

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Grease Live January 31, 2016

Hairspray

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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.

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Ricki Lake as Tracy Turnblad in the 1988 motion picture Hairspray.

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

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Cast of the 1978 motion picture The Wiz

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.

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Chicago

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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.

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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.

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Mamma Mia

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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.

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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

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Julie Andrews (Maria) The Sound of Music film

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.

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Mary Martin in the original Broadway production.

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.

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The Rocky Horror Show

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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?

Writings on The Wall

In our 85 years we have collected a lot of interesting things like playbills, photos, and ticket stubs. Some of our more priceless items can only be seen on the walls or even in the medicine cabinets of the theatre. Check out the photos below to view these unique treasures.

 

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To make their lives easier, the cast and crew of The Phantom of The Opera created an opening into the fly loft to better operate the chandelier. They left this sign for future tours to appreciate.

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Master Electrician, Howard Nugent, keeps a running list of shows near his work station as a reminder of all of his hard work.

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A continuation of Howard’s list.

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Inside the bathroom of our star dressing room is a medicine cabinet door signed by many of the amazing talent to come through our doors.

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In a close up you see the Medicine Cabinet of Fame at the top. Notable name Keala Settle signed her name as part of the 2003-2004 production of Hairspray. You can now find her in Broadway’s new show ‘The Waitress’

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Molly Ringwald was kind enough to sign the Cabinet of Fame when she was here in 2006 for ‘Sweet Charity’

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No one could ever forget the great Megan Hilty in her performance as Glinda in ‘Wicked’ 2007-2008

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Diana Degarmo and Ace Young added their names to the list in 2014 for their roles in ‘Joseph and The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat’

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The “Elphaba beam” as it has been known to be called has been signed by the green girls of ‘Wicked’ performances gone by. To avoid spoilers we won’t tell you how the beam is used.

The spotlight room is another place members of our crew have kept a record of all the shows that have stopped at the Hollywood Pantages over the years. The walls are completely covered in posters, playbills, and crew signatures.

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