Second Coming: An Act Of God Returns To Broadway

static.playbillApparently, God spends his summers in New York and that second coming we’ve all been waiting for actually only takes the length of one Broadway season. One of this season’s biggest hits returns to Broadway tonight for another limited engagement filling up an empty Broadway theater just in time for the summer season. Today, Luner on Theatre brings you the exciting news An Act Of God returns tonight to Broadway!

CgB5H9FXIAEWzYtAn Act Of God returns to Broadway tonight beginning previews before it’s official opening June 6th, 2016 at the Booth Theater. The production is a strictly limited engagement playing 14 weeks only with performances through September 4th. The show returns to Broadway after a brief appearance earlier this season playing Studio 54 in Summer 2015. That incarnation of the show starred Emmy Award winner Jim Parsons and was the first production of the 2015-16 season to recoup its investment. This time around, Emmy Award winner and Tony Award nominee Sean Hayes tackles the role of God in his second coming on Broadway in just one full season. Hayes brings the show back to Broadway having previously performed in the role earlier this year in both San Francisco and Los Angeles.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Los Angeles (BBBSLA)Sean Hayes (Pictured Left) is an American actor and comedian. He is best known for playing the role of Jack on the television series Will & Grace which earned him an Emmy Award, four SAG Awards, an American Comedy Award and six Golden Globe nominations. He has appeared in the films Cats & Dogs, Pieces of April, The Cat In The Hat, The Bucket List and The Three Stooges. He made his Broadway debut in 2010 appearing as Chuck Baxter in Promises, Promises opposite Kristin Chenoweth. He earned a Tony Award nomination for his performance and also hosted the 2010 Tony Awards ceremony later that season. He also appeared in City Center’s Encores! production of Damn Yankees in 2008 playing Applegate. (Thank you to Faye Sadou / UPA for the photo above left!)

Tony Award Joe Mantello, again, directs the production reuniting his creative team as well which includes Tony Award winner Scott Pask as scenic designer, Tony Award nominee David Zinn as costume designer, Tony Award winner Hugh Vanstone as lighting designer and Drama Desk Award winner Fitz Patton as sound designer. Drama Desk Award winner Peter Nigrini provides a projection design for the production as well. An Act of God is produced by Jeffrey Finn. 101 Productions, Ltd. serving as executive producer.

11892113_938153772925087_5512686244641754064_nAn Act Of God, written by 13-Emmy Award winner David Javerbaum, is a 90-minute comedy where God sets the record straight on some of the deepest questions that have plagued mankind since our creation. With the help of his devoted angels, he is here to set the record straight once and for all…and isn’t holding back!

Don’t miss your chance to see Emmy Award winner Sean Hayes back on Broadway in An Act Of God as he sets the record straight once and for all! Remember, he’s back and here for 14 weeks only – don’t miss out!

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Make Way For Prince Ali: Disney’s Aladdin Kicks Off West End Run

Aladdin_Broadway_Musical_posterLondon is about to get exactly what it wished for! Disney is flying back onto the stage in London and bringing their latest Broadway hit musical with them! Still home to The Lion King, now in its 17th year in the West End, London is no stranger to Disney musicals having seen Beauty And The Beast and being the starting point for its previous hit Mary Poppins. Now, Disney is bringing a whole new world to London with their latest hit still playing across the pond. Today, Luner on Theatre brings you the exciting news that Disney’s Aladdin begins performances tonight in London’s West End!

Prince Edward Theatre 3, Photo by Newman DisplaysDisney’s Aladdin flies into London’s West End beginning previews tonight at the Prince Edward Theater (Pictured Right) where the show is scheduled to officially open June 15th, 2016. Aladdin comes to London’s West End following its critically acclaimed Broadway premiere, still playing eight times a week at the New Amsterdam Theater, where it began its run in 2014. The show began previews on Broadway in February 2014 before officially opening in March to mostly positive reviews. The original Broadway production was nominated for five Tony Awards including Best New Musical. The West End production will be its third international production to take flight since Broadway following a run in Tokyo in May 2015 and Hamburg in December 2015. Aladdin is slated to fly into Australia this summer to play Sydney.

337508_770_previewLeading Disney’s Aladdin to London is Dean JohnWilson in the title role alongside Jade Ewen as Jasmine. Broadway cast member Trevor Dion Nicholas (Pictured Left) makes his West End debut as Genie. Other leading characters include Don Gallagher as Jafar, Peter Howe as Iago, Irvine Iqbal as the Sultan, Nathan Amzi as Babkak, Stephen RahmanHughes as Kassim and Rachid Sabitri as Omar. The Ensemble includes Arran Anzani-Jones, Miles Barrow, Albey Brookes, Lauren Chia, Bianca Cordice, Leon Craig, Daniel de Bourg, Seng Henk Goh, Melanie Elizabeth, Kade Ferraiolo, Michelle Chantelle Hopewell, Fred Johanson, Mitch Leow, Oliver Lidert, Thierry Picaut, Alex Pinder, Briony Scarlett, Kyle Seeley, Sadie-Jean Shirley, Ricardo Spriggs, Katie Singh, Dawnita Smith, Marsha Songcome, Kayleigh Thadani and Jermaine Woods.

TomSchumacher_loresPresident and producer of Disney Theatrical Productions Thomas Schumacher (Pictured Right) expressed his excitement for a British cast to take on this new musical saying;

“As we cast this exceptional company, I was impressed by the vast, deep pool of musical theatre talent in London and throughout Britain and how gratifying that talent is a microcosm of the country in all its diversity and distinction. I’m so proud this beautiful cast reflects that.”

Casey Nicholaw repeats his Tony Award nominated work as Aladdin director and choreographer for its West End premiere. The rest of the creative team includes seven-time Tony Award winner Bob Crowley as scenic designer, five-time Tony Award winner Natasha Katz as lighting designer, two-time Tony Award winner Gregg Barnes as costume designer and sound designer Ken Travis. The production is cast by Jill Green CDG.

Disney’s Aladdin flies into London’s West End tonight for its first preview performance! Don’t miss your chance to experience A Whole New World taking over London as Disney dives back into the West End with its latest hit musical.

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Leona Lewis Is Grizabella For Cats Broadway Revival

cats-logoWith the success of his new School Of Rock musical beaming brighter than ever during the Tony Awards season, Andrew Lloyd Webber is preparing to usher his mega-musical Cats back to Broadway for the new season. However, with the production’s most coveted leading role still up in the air as of earlier this week, many were nervous the Jellicle Ball might begin without its glamour cat. However after much anticipation, the Broadway revival of Cats has at last found its leading lady. Today, Luner on Theatre brings you the exciting news that Leona Lewis will star as Grizabella for the Cats Broadway revival!

IMG_2570Producers for the Broadway revival of Cats have announced the production has at last secured its leading lady! Leona Lewis will star in the production in the coveted role of Grizabella. The news of a new leading lady was announced just weeks after it was revealed Nicole Scherzinger was set to reprise her performance, as Grizabella from the 2014 West End revival, on Broadway but dropped out at the last-minute committing to The X Factor in the UK. Grizabella was the final role for the production to be completely casted. The production will begin previews July 14th before an official opening July 31st, 2016 at The Neil Simon Theatre (Pictured Right).

'Mercy For Animals' 15th Anniversary Gala in Los Angeles, red carpet arrivals! Leona Lewis (Pictured Left) is a British singer and songwriter best known for winning The X Factor in 2006. In less than 10 years since being discovered, she has sold over 20 million records worldwide and is the second best-selling act ever to ever emerge from The X Factor series. Lewis is a three-time Grammy Award nominee and seven-time Brit Award nominee. She has won a Bambi Award, an MTV Video Music Award and three World Music Awards. She has produced five albums (Spirit, Echo, Glassheart, Christmas With Love & I Am) and launched three major tours. In 2008, she became the first British female solo artist to the top the US Billboard 200 album chart in more than 20 years. Thanks to Splash News for the photo above left!

cats-london-palladium-jellicle-ball1As previously announced, the Cats company will include Giuseppe Bausilio as Carbucketty,Quentin Earl Darrington as Old Deuteronomy, Jeremy Davis as Skimbleshanks, Kim Faure as Demeter,Sara Jean Ford as Jellylorum, LiliFroehlich as Electra, Daniel Gaymon as Macavity, Shonica Gooden as Rumpleteazer, Christopher Gurr as Gus/Bustopher Jones, Tyler Hanes as Rum Tum Tugger, Andy Jones as Munkustrap, Kolton Krouse as Tumblebrutus, Eloise Kroppas Jennyanydots / Gumbie, Jess LeProtto as Mungojerrie, Georgina Pazcoguin as Victoria, Emily Pynenburg as Cassandra, Arianna Rosario as Sillabub, AhmadSimmons as Alonzo, Christine Cornish Smith as Bombalurina, Corey Snide as Coricopat, Emily Tate as Tantomile, Ricky Ubeda as Mistoffelees, and SharrodWilliams as Pouncival. Richard Todd Adams, Aaron Albano, Callan Bergmann, Claire Camp, Francesca Granell, Jessica Hendy, Harris Milgrim, Madison Mitchell, Nathan Patrick Morgan and Megan Ort are all members of the ensemble. (Pictured: The 2014 West End Cast of Cats)

Andrew Lloyd Webber expressed his excitement to work with Lewis on the upcoming Broadway revival saying;

“Leona has one of the greatest voices of her generation. We are all hugely excited about working with her.”

Trevor Nunn, who directed both the original London and Broadway productions, will return as director to recreate his new vision from the 2014 London staging for New York. New to the team is Andy Blankenbuehler who will choreograph the Broadway revival. His work will be based on the original choreography and associate direction Gillian Lynne provided. The rest of the creative team includes John Napier as scenic and costume designer, Natasha Katz as lighting designer and Mick Potter as sound designer. Both The Nederlander Organization and The Shubert Organization are producing the revival.

New York returns to the Jellicle Ball this summer as Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cats pounces back to Broadway! We’re looking forward to this new production and seeing what Memory it leaves with theatre-goers this time around.

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American Psycho Will Close On Broadway

AM_PSYPatrick Bateman’s killing spree on Broadway is about to come to an end. However, it looks like in the end Broadway killed him before he could get to them. The new musical, based on the novel by Bret Easton Ellis, will shutter early on Broadway this season despite an all-star cast, one-of-a-kind design elements and transfer to Broadway following a successful London premiere. Today, Luner on Theatre brings you the news that the new musical American Psycho will close on Broadway!

tn-500_img_3982aProducers of the new American Psycho musical have announced the production will shutter early this summer, June 5th, 2016, playing its final performance just one week before the 2016 Tony Awards. American Psycho began previews earlier this season on March 24th before officially opening April 21st, 2016 at The Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre. When the production shutters in early June, it will have played 27 previews and 54 regular performances, a total of 81 performances all together. It is the second show this week to announce an early closing date on Broadway and the third since the 2016 Tony Award nominations were announced in early May.

Reviews for the new musical were mixed and awards recognition for the production ranged across the board. American Psycho managed to score eight Outer Critics Circle and Drama Desk Award nominations. However, the show was only nominated for two Tony Awards, for its lighting and scenic design. The show has consistently grossed nearly half a million dollars weekly but is facing competition against a slew of new Broadway musicals this season which has stretched ticket sales thin among several new, smaller productions.

tn-500_img_8125aLeading American Psycho on Broadway as Patrick Bateman is Benjamin Walker. He is joined by Tony Award winner Alice Ripley as Patrick’s Mother/Mrs. Wolfe, Heléne Yorke as Evelyn Williams (Patrick’s girlfriend), Tony Award nominee Jennifer Damiano as Jean (Patrick’s secretary), Drew Moerleinas Paul Owen, Krystina Alabado as Vandan, Dave Thomas Brown as David van Patten, Jordan Dean as Luis Carruthers, Anna Eilinsfeld as Victoria, Jason Hiteas Sean Bateman, Ericka Hunter as Sabrina, Holly James as Christine, Keith Randolph Smith as Detective Kimball, Alex Michael Stoll as Craig McDermott, and Morgan Weed as Courtney Lawrence. Sydney Morton, Anthony Sagaria and Neka Zang are also featured in the ensemble. Holly James returns to the production after appearing in the London run/premiere of American Psycho.

American Psycho is helmed by Olivier Award winner Rupert Goold as director, who previously mounted King Charles III on Broadway this season, with Tony Award winner Lynne Page as choreographer. Jason Hart is musical director. The rest of the creative team includes Olivier Award winner Es Devlin as scenic designer, Obie Award winnerJustin Townsend as lighting designer and Tony Award winner Finn Ross as video designer. David Shrubsole provides musical supervision and vocal arrangements while the production is cast by Telsey + Company/Craig Burns, CSA.

tn-500_img_7152aAmerican Psycho is a new musical featuring music and lyrics by Duncan Sheik and a book by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa. The musical, set in Manhattan during the 1980’s, is based on the book by the same title written by Bret Easton Ellis. Patrick Bateman is a young and handsome Wall Street banker who is pursing the American Dream. From dining in exclusive restaurants to indulging in their luxury labels, Patrick and his elite group of friends seem to have it all. However, the life Patrick lives outside this spotlight is one that comes into question when friends begin to disappear one by one.

Luner Lowdown: Wishing a personal congratulations to the entire team of American Psycho on Broadway! I was lucky enough to see the show in April and loved it. From the cast performances to the design elements, this is truly a unique one-of-a-kind work on Broadway and I’m disappointed more audiences will not have a chance to experience it.

Thanks to Jeremy Daniel for the production photos in this blog post!

Don’t miss your chance to experience American Psycho on Broadway now in its final two weeks of performances! A killer cast (Get it?) and exciting new material unlike anything on Broadway this season awaits you!

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2016 Obie Award Winners Revealed

11251846_10153278883259522_3755075312032157980_nWith Broadway celebrating its most successful season ever, Off-Broadway is also celebrating a year of hits uptown and downtown. With boundaries not as constricted and a more diverse audience, Off-Broadway is consistently home to some of the most daring, brave and often considered “unproducable” works in the New York Theatre market. Today, Luner on Theatre brings you the news the 2016 Obie Award winners have been announced!

The American Theatre Wing and The Village Voice proudly announced the winners of the 61st annual Obie Award winners at Webster Hall last night. In a ceremony hosted by Orange Is The New Black star Lea DeLaria, the Off-Broadway season was celebrated but the night’s big winner was Dear Evan Hansen which continues to play its sold-out run at Second Stage Theatre in Midtown. Not only was the writing team consisting of Steven Levenson, Benj Pasek and Justin Paul honored but so was the production’s leading man Ben Platt who also performed “Waving Through A Window” at the ceremony. The night included various performances including Leslie Odom Jr. performing “Without You” in honor of RENT’s 20th anniversary.

The winners for the 2016 Obie Awards are (Multiple Per Category):

Lucas Hnath  The Christians (Playwrights Horizons)
Lucas Hnath – Red Speedo (New York Theatre Workshop)
Stephen Karam – The Humans (Roundabout Theatre Company)

Musical Theater
Steven Levenson (Book)
Benj Pasek and Justin Paul (Music & Lyrics)
Dear Evan Hansen (Second Stage Theatre)

Rachel Chavkin – The Royale (Lincoln Center Theater)
Michael Leibenluft  I’ll Never Love Again (Bushwick Starr)

Khris Davis – The Royale (Lincoln Center Theater)
Emily Donahoe – The Christians (Playwrights Horizons)
Georgia Engel – John (Signature Theatre Company)
Ensemble – Eclipsed (The Public Theater)
(Pascale Armand, Akosua Busia, Zainab Jah, Lupita Nyong’o, Saycon Sengbloh)
Jayne Houdyshell – The Humans (Roundabout Theatre Company)
Omar Metwally and Arian Moayed – Guards at the Taj (Atlantic Theater Company)
Ben Platt – Dear Evan Hansen (Second Stage Theatre)
Lucas Caleb Rooney – Red Speedo (New York Theatre Workshop)
Tamara Tunie – Familiar (Playwrights Horizons)

Rachel Hauck – Sustained Excellence of Set Design
Jason Lyons – Sustained Excellence of Lighting Design
James Ortiz – Puppet Design, The Woodsman (New World Stages)
Bray Poor – Sustained Excellence of Sound Design
Kaye Voyce – Sustained Excellence of Costume Design

Special Citations: Collaboration
Annie Baker (playwright), Sam Gold (director), and the design team of John (Signature Theatre Company): Mark Barton (lighting), Ásta Bennie Hostetter (costumes), Mimi Lien (set), Noah Mease (props), Bray Poor (sound)
Dominique Morisseau (playwright) and Ruben Santiago-Hudson (director) – Skeleton Crew (Atlantic Theater Company)

Obie Grants ($4,000 prize to each theater)
Bedlam Theatre
Noor Theatre
Prospect Theatre Company

The Ross Wetzsteon Award ($3,000 prize)
NAATCO/National Asian American Theatre Company

Best New American Play ($1,000 prize)
Guards at the Taj by Rajiv Joseph (Atlantic Theatre Company

Lifetime Achievement Award
Carmen de Lavallade
A.R. Gurney

static.playbillLuner Lowdown: An exciting night for Off-Broadway in the midst of one its most popular and publicized seasons yet! Wins for The Humans and Eclipsed, both which began Off-Broadway earlier this season before transferring to Broadway, may provide a boost for these shows with the Off-Broadway audience. Dear Evan Hansen was without a doubt the big winner of the night but it’s win may go even further than expected. With rumors of a Broadway bow in the near future, the win at the Obie Awards will help the show gain momentum as it’s an original musical aiming for Broadway with a young creative team. A Broadway bow has not been confirmed at this time but is being heavily spoken about. The Off-Broadway run has been playing to sold-out houses and was even extended a week Off-Broadway. Thanks to Matthew Murphy for the photo above and below!

Congratulations to all of the winners of the 2016 Obie Awards! Another fantastic season for Off-Broadway is in the books and we’re looking forward to seeing what next year brings.

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School Of Rock Will Land In London’s West End

13268305_650975775049432_3044935820837494285_oLondon; You’re In The Band! After a successful return to Broadway with his latest musical, Andrew Lloyd Webber is now preparing to bring it home to London. Based off of the 2003 movie of the same title, School Of Rock has dazzled audiences on Broadway this past season with a production not only true to the movie but exceeding their expectations. London will now get its chance to make music with kids at Horace Green just in time for their fall semester. Today, Luner on Theatre brings you the exciting news that Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Tony Award nominated School Of Rock – The Musical is officially headed to London’s West End!

13072716_639508876196122_4748179766497161243_oSchool Of Rock – The Musical will stick it to the man later this year as the production officially sets up shop in London’s West End. Producers announced the show would begin previews October 24th before an official opening November 14th, 2016 at the New London Theatre. The musical will be Lloyd Webber’s first original musical since the short-lived Stephen Ward in 2013 and is only his second production ever to open on Broadway before beginning in London. School of Rock began previews on Broadway November 9th before officially opening December 6th, 2016 at the Winter Garden Theatre. The production received critical praise, even earning a New York Times Critic Pick. The show was nominated for four Tony Awards this season including Best Actor In A Musical (Alex Brightman), Best Original Score, Best Book Of A Musical and Best Musical.

13177547_648127305334279_3342960297041595052_nNo casting for the London production has been announced at this time. However, the Broadway productions features 13 school children who are taught on stage by their teacher. The Broadway production has one full set of 13 school kids with swings and standbys filling in when needed. The West End production will require three full sets of 13 school children due to the number of hours children can work. A nationwide search is underway to cast the production. Lloyd Webber made the choice specifically to launch School Of Rock – The Musical on Broadway first as child labor laws are more relaxed in the United States and on Broadway than they are in London’s West End.

The original Broadway creative team that helped mount School Of Rock will head to London to repeat their work later this year. The production is helmed by Laurence Connor as director, JoAnn M. Hunter as choreographer and John Rigby providing musical supervision. The rest of the creative team includes Anna Louizos scenic and costume designer, Natasha Katz as lighting designer and Mick Potter as sound designer. The Really Useful Group and Warner Music Group & Access Industries are producing the West End run.

12932817_631541240326219_1595056690693831914_nLuner Lowdown: I have no doubt West End audiences will take to School Of Rock the way Broadway did. This fantastic new production not only delivers what one would expect from a movie to stage adaptation but goes beyond. Lloyd Webber’s score is filled with tunes you wish had been in the movie and Fellowes delivers a book true to the films while expanding overall plot themes and storylines in all the right places. The children who perform each night in the show without a doubt are stars supported by an excellent cast of adults including Alex Brightman, Mamie Parris, Sierra Boggess and Spencer Moses. Playing musical instruments live on stage, they win over the audience night after night and rightly so. They are beyond talented and manage to steal the spotlight just about any time they are on stage playing. “You’re In The Band” is without a doubt one of the best musical numbers of the 2015-16 Broadway season.

Luner on Theatre will keep you updated as London prepares to climb to the top of mount rock later this year as Andrew Lloyd Webber’s School Of Rock – The Musical lands in the West End!

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Fiasco’s Into The Wood’s Will Travel To London

ITW200Cinderella will not be too far from the actual place when she sings about being “On The Steps Of The Palace” this summer in London as Stephen Sondheim’s beloved Into The Woods musical returns to London yet again in 2016. Popular among the London theatre crowd, the last production hit the stage there in 2010 in the Regent Park Open Air Theatre before traveling to New York’s Central Park in 2012. But it looks as though this summer, London will once again head Into The WoodsToday, Luner on Theatre brings you the exciting news Fiasco’s Into The Woods will play to London’s Off-West End!

ITWRTC07_605x329Fiasco Theatre Company’s production of Into The Woods, most recently presented Off-Broadway by Roundabout Theatre Company in 2015, has announced it will travel to London’s Off-West End this summer to play a limited engagement at The Menier Chocolate Factory. The production is set to begin previews July 1st before an official opening July 12th, 2016. The show will run as a limited engagement through September 17th only. Producers happily announced in addition to the West End transfer, the entire original U.S. cast (Pictured Right) seen Off-Broadway in 2015 would travel to London with the show to recreate their performances.

ITWRTC11_605x329The production will also reunite its entire original creative team to mount the London return of Into The Woods. Noah Brody is director with Lisa Shriver as choreographer. Matt Castle provides musical supervision. The rest of the team includes Derek McLane as scenic designer, Whitney Locher as costume designer, Christopher Akerlind as lighting designer and Darron L. West as sound designer. Michael Harrison Entertainment and David Ian Productions are working in association to present the London run. (Thanks to Joan Marcus for both production photos above!)

Luner Lowdown: I’m thrilled London audiences will have a chance to experience the Fiasco production of Into The Woods most recently seen Off-Broadway! Roundabout brought this unique and one-of-a-kind experience Off-Broadway opening up the opportunity for a larger audience base to re-experience a piece they not only know but love. The musical, which takes well known fairy tales and crosses their paths, is one of Sondheim’s most beloved and produced musicals. I will be interested to see how Into The Woods is received in London and if any larger life, on either side of the pond, may be in store for this production at a later time. The last London revival of the show was in 1998 and in 2002 for Broadway leaving both the West End and Broadway overdue for a full-scale revival.

Tickets are now on sale for the London return of Into The Woods! Don’t miss your chance to explore this brilliant retelling of Into The Woods set to appear in London for a limited engagement this summer!

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