In 1964, the beloved stop-motion animated television classic, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, made its network television debut, delighting audiences across the country. It has become the longest-running and highest-rated television special in the history of television.
Now the “most famous reindeer of all” can be seen in a live-action musical: Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical. Back by popular demand following last year’s critically acclaimed and hugely successful inaugural tour, the musical features the world’s most famous reindeer and a holly jolly cast of iconic characters, including Hermey the Elf, Yukon Cornelius and the Abominable Snow Monster.
Rudolph and friends will visit Bass Performance Hall on Nov. 24-25 and the Majestic Theatre in Dallas Dec. 3-6.
“Because our inaugural run was so popular, we will have three tours this year in an effort to bring Rudolph and his friends to even more families and young theatregoers across North America,” says Producing Partner Jonathan Flom.
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical practically transports audience members into the television special as songs drive the plot while familiar and nostalgic set design with projections, costumes and characters are brought to stage.
The cast brings new energy to the classic songs and dialogue, while irresistible and lovable puppets help showcase the charming “roughness” from the television show’s stop-motion effects. “We address all of the familiar story elements from the television special with a talented cast and puppeteers who help recreate the magic on stage,” says Producing Partner Bob Penola.
The story tells the tale of a young Rudolph who, because of the appearance of his bright, shining nose, is ousted from the reindeer games in Christmas-town. He flees town, meets up with new friends Hermey and Yukon, and a series of funny and endearing adventures ensue, including a visit to The Island of Misfit Toys. Rudolph journeys home, where a snowstorm of epic proportions is threatening Christmas. Can Rudolph save his family and friends and help Santa save the holiday?
The production will expand on its campaign benefiting PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center that launched in conjunction with the tour last year. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical is produced by Iconic Entertainment Studios, Right Angle Entertainment and Wishing Star Productions.
For tickets to the Bass Hall performances, call (817) 212-4280 in Fort Worth; 1-877-212-4280 (toll free) outside Fort Worth; or order online at http://www.basshall.com.
For tickets to the Majestic Theatre performances, please click here.
The producers of the national tour of THE BOOK OF MORMON, winner of nine Tony Awards® including Best Musical, and Performing Arts Fort Worth announced today that single tickets will go on sale Monday, September 28 at 10:00 a.m. Tickets for the Dec. 1-6 run at Bass Performance Hall in Fort Worth will be available at the Bass Hall box office (525 Commerce St.), by visiting http://www.basshall.com, or by calling 817-212-4280. Group orders of 15 or more may be placed by calling 817-212-4248.
THE BOOK OF MORMON features book, music and lyrics by Trey Parker, Robert Lopez and Matt Stone. Parker and Stone are the four-time Emmy Award-winning creators of the landmark animated series, “South Park.” Tony Award-winner Lopez is co-creator of the long-running hit musical comedy, Avenue Q. The musical is choreographed by Tony Award-winner Casey Nicholaw (Monty Python’s Spamalot, The Drowsy Chaperone) and is directed by Nicholaw and Parker.
THE BOOK OF MORMON is the winner of nine Tony Awards, including Best Musical, Best Score (Trey Parker, Robert Lopez, Matt Stone), Best Book (Trey Parker, Robert Lopez, Matt Stone), Best Direction (Casey Nicholaw, Trey Parker), Best Featured Actress (Nikki M. James), Best Scenic Design (Scott Pask), Best Lighting Design (Brian MacDevitt), Best Sound Design (Brian Ronan) and Best Orchestrations (Larry Hochman, Stephen Oremus); the New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Musical; five Drama Desk Awards including Best Musical, the 2011 Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album; four Outer Critics Circle Awards, including Best Musical, and the Drama League Award for Best Musical.
THE BOOK OF MORMON features set design by Scott Pask, costume design by Ann Roth, lighting design by Brian MacDevitt and sound design by Brian Ronan. Orchestrations are by Larry Hochman and Stephen Oremus. Music direction and vocal arrangements are by Stephen Oremus.
The Original Broadway Cast Recording for THE BOOK OF MORMON, winner of the 2011 Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album, is available on Ghostlight Records.
Performing Arts Fort Worth welcomes The New York Times best-selling author Frank Warren and his interactive show, PostSecret Live, to Bass Performance Hall on Tuesday, September 8, 2015, at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $33-$66 and are on sale NOW!
Named the fourth most influential person on the Internet by Forbes magazine, PostSecret creator Frank Warren introduced the world to a collection of highly-personal and artfully-decorated postcards mailed anonymously from people around the world. What started as a community mail-art project quickly exploded in popularity. Since PostSecret’s inception in 2004, Warren has received over 1,000,000 anonymous secrets on homemade postcards. A new batch of postcards is posted every Sunday on his website.
The website is the most visited advertisement-free blog in the world and has won three Webby Awards for “Best Blog on the Internet.” With over 2,500,000 views, his TED talk is one of the most watched in the popular series.
In Warren’s interactive multimedia event, PostSecret Live, he engages audiences with inspiring and funny stories behind the secrets, discusses the blog and unveils never-before-seen postcards. Warren also turns the microphone over to members of the audience, allowing them to share their own secrets.
“The audience is so receptive, and the speakers are so earnest, that long lines form very quickly,” Warren told The Washington Post. “There’s something about a true live event where you have people standing at a microphone sharing things for the first time. It has a whole unique energy to it.”
All six PostSecret books published have been featured on The New York Times bestselling list, with PostSecret Confessions on Life Death and God reaching number one. PostSecret postcards have been exhibited at the renowned Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Visionary Art Museum in Maryland, and there is an album and play based on the project.
Warren’s project has raised over $1,000,000 for suicide prevention and earned him the Mental Health Advocacy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2011 and an invitation to the White House to share his thoughts on mental wellness in 2013.
To charge tickets by phone, call (817) 212-4280 in Fort Worth; 1-877-212-4280 (toll free) outside Fort Worth; or order online. Tickets are also available at the Bass Performance Hall ticket office at 525 Commerce Street. Ticket office hours: Monday through Friday 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. and Saturday 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. For group sales, call 817-212-4248.
Come and meet those dancing feet! Casting has been announced for the national tour of the Tony Award-winning backstage musical comedy 42nd STREET, coming to Bass Hall and Dallas Summer Musicals next summer!
In the director’s chair will be co-author Mark Bramble and choreography will be handled by Randy Skinner – the team that staged the 2001 Tony Award-winning Best Revival. The show will include some of the most well-known songs in the American songbook, including “We’re In The Money,” “Lullaby of Broadway,” “Shuffle Off To Buffalo,” “I Only Have Eyes For You” and of course “42nd Street.”
Two Texans will star in lead roles: Matthew J. Taylor (CATS, DAMN YANKEES), born in Port Arthur and now living in Nederland, will take on the role of director Julian Marsh, and Houston native Caitlin Ehlinger will star as newcomer Peggy Sawyer. Rounding out the leads will be Kaitlin Lawrence (HAPPY ENDINGS, CALIFORNIA DREAMING), who will star as Broadway leading lady Dorothy Brock.
Two other cast members are also from the Lone Star State. Sarah Fagan, who plays Diane and is a member of the ensemble, hails from Arlington and attended Martin High. Another ensemble member, Mandy Modic, is from Dallas and attended Coppell High.
Also featured are Britte Steele (Maggie Jones), Steven Bidwell (Bert Barry), Mark Fishback (Abner Dillon), DJ Canaday (Pat Denning), Blake Stadnik (Billy Lawlor), Natalia Lepore Hagan (Annie), Carlos Morales (Mac/Doc/Thug), Lamont Brown (Andy Lee), Rob Ouellette (Oscar), Vanessa Mitchell (Lorraine) and Mallory Nolting (Phyllis).
With a book by Michael Stewart and Mark Bramble, music by Harry Warren and lyrics by Al Dubin, 42nd STREET is based on a novel by Bradford Ropes and Busby Berkeley’s 1933 movie and tells the story of a starry-eyed young dancer named Peggy Sawyer who leaves her Allentown home and comes to New York to audition for the new Broadway musical Pretty Lady. When the leading lady breaks her ankle, Peggy takes over and becomes a star.
The original production of 42nd STREET was produced in 1980 on Broadway by David Merrick and featured direction and dances by Gower Champion. It played on Broadway for 3,486 performances, winning Tony Awards for Best Musical and Best Choreography. The Broadway revival, which opened in 2001, played for 1,524 performances and earned two Tony Awards including Best Revival of a Musical.
The show is a part of Performing Arts Fort Worth’s 2015-2016 Broadway at the Bass season. It will play at Bass Performance Hall July 12-17. The show will also appear at the Music Hall at Fair Park June 28-July 10, as part of Dallas Summer Musicals’ 2015-2016 Broadway season.
Casting has been announced for the brand new production of THE SOUND OF MUSIC, directed by three-time Tony Award® winner Jack O’Brien. This lavish new production launches this September at the Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles, under the auspices of the Center Theatre Group, and will then tour North America for multiple seasons, playing multi-week and week-long engagements. North Texans will have two opportunities to see the show, first at the Music Hall at Fair Park Nov. 3-22, presented by Dallas Summer Musicals, and then at Bass Performance Hall Aug. 17-21, 2016, presented by Performing Arts Fort Worth.BEN DAVIS (Broadway’s Violet, A Little Night Music, La Bohème) will play Captain Georg von Trapp and ASHLEY BROWN (Broadway’s Mary Poppins, NBC’s The Sound of Music) will play The Mother Abbess with MERWIN FOARD as Max Detweiler, TERI DALE HANSEN as Elsa Schraeder, DAN TRACY as Rolf and PAIGE SILVESTER as Liesl. The von Trapp children will be played by ERICH SCHUETT (Friedrich), MARIA KNASEL (Louisa), QUINN ERICKSON (Kurt), SVEA JOHNSON (Brigitta), MACKENZIE CURRIE (Marta) and AUDREY BENNETT (Gretl).
And introducing Jack O’Brien’s brand new discovery, KERSTIN ANDERSON as Maria Rainer. A current student at Pace University, Ms. Anderson won the coveted role from hundreds who auditioned. This will be her first national tour.
“I’ve always believed Maria was a “star-making” part, rather than the leading role we remember from the movies; so I went looking for someone with star-making magic,” says director O’Brien. “And in through the audition door one day walked Kerstin Anderson, still studying at Pace University in New York. She opened her mouth, she sang and the tears welled up in my eyes. If ever there were an enchanting young woman standing on the brink of discovery — this was it! And now, the discovery is about to be all of ours!”
The ensemble includes Carey Rebecca Brown, Ron Brown, Caitlin Burke, Christopher Carl, Kyla Carter, Austin Colby, Daniella Dalli, Elisabeth Evans, Donna Garner, Meghan Hales, Adam Hill, Jenavene Hester, Jeremy Lanuti, Darren Matthias, Kelly McCormick, Julia Osborne, Andrea Ross, Brent Schindele and Jim Schubin.
THE SOUND OF MUSIC features music by Richard Rodgers, lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II, book by Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse, suggested by The Trapp Family Singers by Maria Augusta Trapp. This new production is directed by Jack O’Brien (credits include: Hairspray, The Full Monty, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, The Coast of Utopia), and choreographed by Danny Mefford (Fun Home, The Bridges of Madison County and Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson). The design and production team is comprised of Douglas Schmidt, Set Design (Tony Award® nominee: 42nd Street, Into the Woods); Jane Greenwood, Costume Design (2014 recipient of Special Tony Award ® for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre), Natasha Katz, Lighting Design (Five-time Tony Award® winner: An American in Paris, Once, Aida, The Coast of Utopia, The Glass Menagerie) and Ken Travis, Sound Design (Aladdin, Newsies, Memphis).
According to director Jack O’Brien, “THE SOUND OF MUSIC has been in our ears for decades, as it deserves to be. But it might be time to look once more, and more closely, at this remarkable work which, I feel, begins to reveal itself as deeper, richer, and more powerful than ever. It’s no longer ‘your mother’s’ familiar SOUND OF MUSIC. We are tearing off the varnish of the past from one of the great glories of our theatergoing experience and making it fresh! This is an opportunity we’ve all longed to create!”
Producer Beth Williams (Grove Entertainment) said, “It’s a great privilege to bring this beloved Rodgers & Hammerstein musical to theaters across North America. We hope that people of all ages will continue to fall in love with it for the first time, or all over again, and that it will truly become one of their ‘favorite things.’ From our distinguished team led by the creative master Jack O’Brien, audiences can expect a truly magnificent production of THE SOUND OF MUSIC.”
In the words of Ted Chapin, President of Rodgers & Hammerstein, “THE SOUND OF MUSIC continues to be the world’s most beloved musical. When a major national tour was suggested, I not only agreed, but was willing to roll up my sleeves and do whatever I could to fashion a new stage production that would re-engage today’s theatergoing public. The show was originally created for Broadway, and seeing it on stage only reinforces the power of the story and the score. And with Jack O’Brien at the directorial helm – well, we simply couldn’t do better. Landing somewhere between The Coast of Utopia and Hairspray (shows for which Jack won the Tony®), his production will be smart, focused, and surprising. I can’t wait.”
THE SOUND OF MUSIC enjoyed extraordinary success as the first live television production of a musical in over 50 years when “The Sound of Music Live!” aired on NBC in December, 2013; 2015 marks the 50th anniversary of the film version, which continues to be the most successful movie musical in history. The spirited, romantic and beloved musical story of Maria and the Von Trapp Family will once again thrill audiences with such songs as “My Favorite Things,” “Do-Re-Mi,” “Climb Ev’ry Mountain,” “Edelweiss” and the title song.
Tickets to the show are currently available only in season packages. Single tickets will go on sale TBA. For more information, please visit http://www.basshall.com or call (817) 212-4450.
“Cirque du Soleil is like the grandfather, and we are the rebellious teenagers.” An interview with Pippin circus creator Gypsy Snider
by John Moore
Denver Center for the Performing Arts
The same is true of those actors performing in the show, which makes its Bass Hall debut July 21-26.
And the same has been true of Pippin Circus Creator Gypsy Snider since she began her career as a circus performer at the tender age of 4.
With all respect to Stephen Schwartz, composer of Wicked and Pippin, Snider was defying gravity long before Elphaba was a green twinkle in his orchestral eye.
Snider’s parents are the founders of San Francisco’s pioneering Pickle Family Circus, an acclaimed alternative circus often cited as a primary influence on the creation of Cirque du Soleil. Snider is the co-founder of Montreal’s 7 Fingers (Les 7 doigts de la main), a pioneering form of live entertainment responsible for the respected show Traces. That innovative show used astonishing displays of athletic skill to tell the real-life stories of seven street teens.
Snider embraces circus as its own narrative storytelling form. Her brand of physical theatre requires strength, agility and grace.
Her upbringing was like no other. She grew up around the likes of circus legends Bill Irwin and Geoff Hoyle. She appeared among an entire town of street performers in Robert Altman’s 1980 film Popeye. By 18, she was attending a physical-theater school in Switzerland.
She co-founded 7 Fingers in 2002 and, for her first foray into Broadway, she was called upon by Pippin director Diane Paulus to help re-tell Schwartz’s iconic story of a young prince’s quest for meaning in life set within the world of circus. Pippin won the 2013 Tony Award for best musical revival.
Modern audiences who have a familiarity with circus generally think of Cirque du Soleil. But while Snider toured with Cirque and has a deep love for it, she says Pippin should not be mistaken for it. If anything, she said, it should evoke the old days of the Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus.
“This is old-school circus,” she said.
We’re talking juggling knives and swallowing fire.
“I would say that Cirque du Soleil is like the grandfather, and we are the rebellious teenagers,” she said.Pippin culminates with a boy becoming a man, having to choose between a life of adventure or family. Snider has never had to pick between the two – her small children are also embracing the circus life. But Snider’s life turned upside down in 2008, when she were diagnosed with advanced-stage colon cancer.
“It was definitely a life-changing experience,” she said. Much surgery, chemotherapy and radiation followed.
“Suddenly, my work felt trivial and my family became more important than ever before,” Snider said in a previous interview with Broadway Buzz. “I began to question how taxing show business can be and wondered if I should just move to the country and raise my two daughters in a stress-free environment, instead of in the glory of this wonderful but all consuming lifestyle. It was during this difficult time that Diane Paulus reached out to me about the possibility of collaborating on a new production of Pippin.”
And when she did, her charge to Snider was simple:
“Come make this thrilling.”
Here are more excerpts from our recent conversation with Snider.
John Moore: How do you think Bob Fosse would have liked the idea of setting Pippin in a circus?
Gypsy Snider: I feel like Bob Fosse would have wanted us to do this, and that he would have done it himself if this were available to him at the time. Maybe not to this extent, but … it was there. It was already there in the words.
John Moore: With this reimagined version of Pippin – both setting it in the circus and, more tellingly, in consideration of the life choice Pippin faces in the end – it seems to me as if maybe Diane Paulus is saying that Pippin is you.
Gypsy Snider: I think so. Diane and I are both the same age, and we both have two daughters. We have discussed on a very personal level the seduction of the business and this balance you try to achieve, being professional women who have families. It’s really like we are the Catherines — but we are also being seduced like the Pippins. It was interesting for both of us how we connected on an emotional level to this musical. Pippin has this choice to make, and one of them it to embrace this simple home life with an older woman and her child living out in the country where there is no magic and there is no makeup — which is something Fosse presented in a very boring, very pejorative manner. And yet here I am talking to you right now while I am out here in the country with my children — and I love it. But I also love my work. I feed on it so much, and I am proud to show my children how passionate I am about my work.
John Moore: For 40 years, both audiences and writers alike have argued whether the ending to Pippin is a tragedy … or a compromise … or a perfect, happy ending. I imagine, given your life story, that you are split right down the middle.
Gypsy Snider: I am split down the middle. For me, circus is like eating and sleeping and family. It’s my brother; it’s my mother; it’s my father. Just talking about it makes me so emotional. There were maybe a few moments in my life when I felt like walking away from it, or perhaps trying something totally different. Circus is a very physically demanding life. It’s a very itinerant life. And when my kids started going to school, I was like, ‘What am I doing?’ But circus is my family, too. Sometimes I like to think of it as the mafia because it’s a very closed, tight-knit circle. But the reason is because there is so much danger and risk and sacrifice involved. True circus people know each other, and there is a whole sort of respect and value system to it that is so honorable and so genuine and so truthful. To true circus people, there is no nonsense. There is no competition. There is no, ‘I am better than you are.’ There is no, ‘I am going to be a star, but you are not going to be a star.’ Each individual circus performer is absolutely unique, and that uniqueness is valued.
PIPPIN runs July 21-26 at Bass Performance Hall. To purchase tickets, click here.
From now until showtime next Tuesday, we’ll be sharing interviews, video clips and other exclusive content about the Tony Award-winning musical PIPPIN, which makes its Bass Hall debut July 21-26. First up is an interview with Stephen Schwartz, conducted by John Moore from the Denver Center for the Performing Arts.
by John Moore
Denver Center for the Performing Arts
Stephen Schwartz likes to joke that somewhere, “Bob Fosse is surely looking up and laughing.”
He kids about the direction. But not the director. Fosse was Schwartz’s legendary collaborator on the musical Pippin, which in war-torn 1972 brought a surreal collision of violence, innocence and sexuality to the Broadway stage.
Fosse, known for his provocative choreography and fiery temper, died in 1987. Last year, a significantly reimagined Pippin won the Tony Award for Best Musical Revival, and its new national touring production visits Bass Performance Hall July 21-26.
“I think Bob would be thrilled with this,” said Schwartz, the composer who 40 years ago openly questioned the darkness and overindulgence that Fosse brought to Schwartz’s sweet story of a naïve boy searching for meaning in his life.
“There were specific choices Bob made that I honestly thought were heavy-handed and crude, and not in a good way,” Schwartz said. But now at age 66, Schwartz added, “I joke that I have ironically become the defender of Bob’s vision.”
Schwartz and book writer Roger O. Hirson have been approached dozens of times over the years by artists wanting to revisit Pippin.
“Frankly, I think merely reproducing the original — if that were even possible — would have felt quite dated,” Schwartz said. “And none of the new approaches made much sense to us.”
Any revival would bring big challenges. “The Fosse choreography is so iconic, and the performance of Ben Vereen (seen in the YouTube clip below) was so indelible, even to people who didn’t actually see it,” Schwartz said. “So it really would need a concept that was going to overcome all that without obliterating the show. And that would be quite difficult to come by.”
Enter Diane Paulus, the groundbreaking director who brought the Vietnam musical Hair back to explosive life on Broadway in 2009. Her new idea? The original mysterious troupe would now be a circus family performing the story of Pippin. Now the young prince’s quest for meaning would be a death-defying one, set against live and often breathtaking acrobatics.
Schwartz and Hinson were apprehensive at first. “But I think I can speak for Roger when I say we have been totally won over,” Schwartz said. “Frankly, I think Diane is a better director of scenes and actors than Bob Fosse was. And consequently, I think the story is better told.”
Pippin began as a 17-year-old Schwartz’s spin-off of The Lion in Winter, a play about the foibles of King Henry II in 1183. Over the next seven years, the Pippin project came to reflect Schwartz’s own journey as a young man in his 20s.
Fosse, then 47, agreed to direct and choreograph Pippin on Broadway if allowed to make the story more dark and sophisticated. Fosse brought in Ben Vereen, fresh off his electric performance in Jesus Christ Superstar, to play the Leading Player, a narrator of sorts who leads Pippin down many dangerous roads.
Schwartz says it’s “absolutely accurate” to suggest that, essentially, he is Pippin, “particularly in talking about me at age 24,” he said. “I think more and more that the character of Pippin became a great deal like me at that time.”Read more about this and more in this expansive interview with one of the leading figures in American theatre history. Schwartz, who has contributed to Wicked, Godspell, Children of Eden and many more, is a member of the Theatre Hall of Fame and president of the Dramatists Guild. He has three Academy Awards, four Grammy Awards, four Drama Desk Awards and, shockingly, no Tony Awards.
John Moore: I am sure you have been told over and over about how your music has changed the course of young peoples’ lives. But for my generation, it was Godspell and Pippin doing the life-changing, and now you have this whole new generation of theatre kids all geeked out because, hey: You’re the guy who wrote Wicked.
Stephen Schwartz: It is sort of strange, isn’t it? But obviously it’s nice that at my … advanced … age, if you will, that I have come up with something – along with my collaborators — that has spoken to people of all ages, but particularly to a young generation.
John Moore: So whose idea was it to revisit Pippin now?
Stephen Schwartz: It was really (Director) Diane Paulus, who had been wanting to do it for quite a while. I was an admirer of her work, particularly on (the Broadway revival of) Hair, which I thought was excellent. I felt Diane had managed to both honor the original but also make it fresh, and that is a quite tricky line to walk. After I really got to see her way of thinking, and her creativity, in a show called Blue Flower at her (American Repertory Theatre) in Boston, I became enthusiastic that she was someone who might be able to pull this off. And, of course, she has proven that in spades.
John Moore: So what did you think when Diane said, ‘I want to put this in a circus’?
Stephen Schwartz: I had actually heard the idea of a circus before. And it wasn’t something that I thought was a great idea, to be honest, because I was picturing a different kind of circus. But then Diane, who has done work with Cirque du Soleil, told me about this troupe from Montreal called Les 7 doigts de la main, or ‘The 7 Fingers of the Hand.’ I went to see a show of theirs that happened to be touring the States. We discussed it further and I began to have a glimmer of what Diane was talking about. But I have to say that until I saw it, I really didn’t truly understand what she meant, and what her vision was. I just didn’t. I think that’s one of the things about someone who is as gifted and as visionary as Diane. She had these ideas in her head that are difficult to express verbally — but then when you see them, you get them.
John Moore: And so now that you have lived in it, how do you articulate to people that this is the winning formula?
Stephen Schwartz: That is a good question. Other than by assertion, I’m not sure that I know how to do that. It’s important for you to understand that Diane did not just overlay circus performance on top of the show as some kind of gimmick. First of all, she integrated the idea of the circus performances into the storytelling. It’s not as if the show grinds to a halt and they do a circus trick, and then the story starts up again. Secondly, the way that she and Gypsy Snider did the circus part of the show, and the way Chet Walker did the choreography, is very special, I think. In some instances, the choreography is a very faithful re-creation of Bob Fosse’s work. And in other places, I think what Chet has done is a very creative interpretation of what Bob might have done under these new circumstances. So it really is a complete re-envisioning of Pippin. This is a revisal as well as a revival of the show — on all levels.John Moore: How do you think Bob Fosse would have liked this new approach?
Stephen Schwartz: I think Bob would be thrilled with this. I think if we had been able to think of some of these changes together, he would have been extremely enthusiastic about them. Just the sheer sort of theatricality of the staging and this presentation, I think would have pleased him very much.
John Moore: You have said the inspiration for Pippin actually comes from James Goldman’s play The Lion in Winter.
Stephen Schwartz: That’s true. It started as a sort of a medieval court intrigue musical melodrama. And then it gradually transmogrified into being semi-autobiographical. And then it turned into the story of my generation — as I saw it.
John Moore: I’ve noticed over the years that whenever you are interviewed, you are so disarmingly honest in your answers. One might even say Pippin-esque —
Stephen Schwartz: Yes, and that gets me into trouble a lot of the time.
John Moore: You may get a kick out of the headline of my essay after having seen the new revival on Broadway last October. It read: “Broadway wins over a Pippin pessimist.”
Stephen Schwartz: Well you know what? That could MY headline on this one, too.
John Moore: You’re kidding … Really?
Stephen Schwartz: Oh, yeah. Because Roger and I resisted for so long going forward. I don’t know if we were pessimistic, but we certainly had trepidation about it. And I think I can speak for Roger when I say we have been totally won over. I am just a huge fan of this production.
John Moore: You mentioned Ben Vereen. Obviously a huge change is having your Leading Player be played by a woman.
Stephen Schwartz: I knew one of the problems we would have to overcome in doing any big, commercial revival of Pippin would be memory of Ben Vereen everybody would bring into it. You’d start out with people wanting to see that. And, of course, that’s impossible. So we had to either somehow break that — or overcome that. So when Diane said, ‘Well, what if the character of the Leading Player is a woman?’ — that made us think, ‘Well … then you can’t be sitting there saying, ‘He’s no Ben Vereen!’ — which is what I think any male performer would have encountered. Oddly enough, I feel like, now that we have done this — If at some point in the future we wanted to go back to a male Leading Player, there are certain things about the way the show is written, and some of the new things that we have added — particularly between the Leading Player and Catherine — that I think would not go down as well if the Leading Player were male. It would seem a little brutal.
John Moore: And before we leave: How great is it that you have John Rubinstein coming on board to play Pippin’s father after having originated the role of Pippin in 1972?
Stephen Schwartz: Is that the best? I mean, is that the best ever? And this was not stunt casting. We walked into the auditions and John Rubinstein’s name was on the list. There were some other really good people, too. Of course, we were amazed and delighted that John was coming in to audition. But he was the best. Frankly, I don’t think we would have done it if we hadn’t felt that he was the best choice. But the idea of it was so irresistible. There was one moment in auditions, and it was only for Roger and me. John read the chapel scene and there is a line where Pippin says, ‘Time has passed you by, father.’ And Charlemagne’s line back is, ‘And your time has come, my son?’ I mean, hearing that from John? I can’t even talk about it. It was just so emotional to hear John Rubinstein say that line. I know it doesn’t have the same resonance for people who are just seeing the show for the first time. But for Roger and me? That was a pretty emotional moment.
PIPPIN runs July 21-26 at Bass Performance Hall. To purchase tickets, click here.
After initiating wildly successful Instagram campaigns for The Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth and The Amon Carter Museum of American Art, Fort Worth photographer Olaf Growald is now pointing his camera lenses toward Bass Performance Hall.On Saturday, Growald and a team of local photographers will begin their third #empty campaign, capturing and sharing Instagram images of one of Fort Worth’s most iconic buildings.
Users will be able to search and find the images using the #emptybasshall hashtag. The images will also be shared through Bass Hall’s Instagram feed @basshall
The photographers will go beyond the angels and painted ceilings to explore off-the-grid areas of Bass Hall, from underground tunnels to the belly of the orchestra pit; many of these areas have never before been photographed.
“You’ll see Bass Hall like you haven’t seen it before,” says Growald, who organized the event.
Inspired by a similar program at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, Growald began the #empty project last year at The Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, then mounted a second #empty project at The Amon Carter Museum of American Art.
The goals of the #emptybasshall initiative are to offer alternative and new perspectives of the downtown performing arts center and to showcase the works of participating photographers. A second #emptybasshall event is planned for July. For information on participating, please email Olaf Growald.
The winners of the 2015 Tony Awards:
BEST ORIGINAL SCORE (MUSIC AND/OR LYRICS) WRITTEN FOR THE THEATRE
**** WINNER Fun Home (Music: Music: Jeanine Tesori; lyrics: Lisa Kron)
The Last Ship (Music & lyrics: Sting)
Something Rotten! (Music & lyrics: Wayne Kirkpatrick and Karey Kirkpatrick)
The Visit (Music: John Kander; lyrics: Fred Ebb)
BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE IN A PLAY
Steven Boyer, Hand to God
Bradley Cooper, The Elephant Man
Ben Miles, Wolf Hall
Bill Nighy, Skylight
**** WINNER Alex Sharp, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE IN A PLAY
Geneva Carr, Hand to God
**** WINNER Helen Mirren, The Audience
Elisabeth Moss, The Heidi Chronicles
Carey Mulligan, Skylight
Ruth Wilson, Constellations
BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE IN A MUSICAL
**** WINNER Michael Cerveris , Fun Home
Robert Fairchild, An American in Paris
Brian d’Arcy James, Something Rotten!
Ken Watanabe, The King and I
Tony Yazbeck, On the Town
BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE IN A MUSICAL
Kristin Chenoweth, On the Twentieth Century
Leanne Cope, An American in Paris
Beth Malone, Fun Home
**** WINNER Kelli O’Hara, The King and I
Chita Rivera, The Visit
BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A FEATURED ROLE IN A PLAY
Matthew Beard, Skylight
K. Todd Freeman, Airline Highway
**** WINNER Richard McCabe, The Audience
Alessandro Nivola, The Elephant Man
Nathaniel Parker, Wolf Hall
Micah Stock, It’s Only a Play
BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A FEATURED ROLE IN A PLAY
**** WINNER Annaleigh Ashford , You Can’t Take it With You
Patricia Clarkson, The Elephant Man
Lydia Leonard , Wolf Hall
Sarah Stiles, Hand to God
Julie White, Airline Highway
BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A FEATURED ROLE IN A MUSICAL
**** WINNER Christian Borle , Something Rotten!
Andy Karl, On the Twentieth Century
Brad Oscar, Something Rotten!
Brandon Uranowitz, An American in Paris
Max von Essen, An American in Paris
BEST SCENIC DESIGN OF A PLAY
**** WINNER The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (Bunny Christie and Finn Ross)
Skylight (Bob Crowley)
Wolf Hall (Christopher Oram)
You Can’t Take it With You (David Rockwell)
BEST SCENIC DESIGN OF A MUSICAL
**** WINNER An American in Paris (Bob Crowley/Benjamin Pearcy/Leo Warner for 59 Productions)
On the Twentieth Century (David Rockwell)
The King and I (Michael Yeargan)
Fun Home (David Zinn)
BEST LIGHTING DESIGN OF A PLAY
**** WINNER The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (Paule Constable)
Wolf Hall (Paule Constable and David Plater)
Skylight (Natasha Katz)
Airline Highway (Japhy Weideman)
BEST DIRECTION OF A PLAY
Stephen Daldry , Skylight
**** WINNER Marianne Elliott, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
Scott Ellis, You Can’t Take It With You
Jeremy Herrin, Wolf Hall
Moritz von Stuelpnagel, Hand to God
Joshua Bergasse, On the Town
Christopher Gattelli, The King and I
Scott Graham & Steven Hoggett, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
Casey Nicholaw, Something Rotten!
**** WINNER Christopher Wheeldon, An American in Paris
SPECIAL TONY AWARD® FOR LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT IN THE THEATRE
SPECIAL TONY AWARD
John Cameron Mitchell
REGIONAL THEATRE TONY AWARD
Cleveland Play House
ISABELLE STEVENSON TONY AWARD
TONY HONORS FOR EXCELLENCE IN THE THEATRE
Performing Arts Fort Worth proudly announces its 2015-2016 Broadway at the Bass Season at Bass Performance Hall. From the creators of “South Park” and winner of nine Tony Awards ®, THE BOOK OF MORMON will open the season and play a limited six-day engagement Dec. 1-6. The New York Times calls it “the best musical of this century” and Entertainment Weekly says it’s “the funniest musical of all time.”
The season will close with Cameron Mackintosh’s spectacular new production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA.
In between will be the direct-from-Broadway MOTOWN THE MUSICAL, the story of Berry Gordy’s journey from featherweight boxer to heavyweight music mogul; Dallas Summer Musical’s production of Disney’s THE LITTLE MERMAID; a revival of the classic backstage romp 42ND STREET; the timeless classic THE WIZARD OF OZ; and a brand-new production of THE SOUND OF MUSIC.
In addition, MAMMA MIA!, BLUE MAN GROUP and RUDOLPH THE RED-NOSED REINDEER THE MUSICAL will return as add-on specials, along with the previously announced JOSEPH AND THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT. The series also includes two shows in the intimate McDavid Studio – the previously announced DIXIE’S NEVER WEAR A TUBETOP WHILE RIDING A MECHANICAL BULL (AND 16 OTHER THINGS I LEARNED WHILE I WAS DRINKING LAST THURSDAY) and an all-new show in the “Late Night Catechism” series, BACK TO SCHOOL CATECHISM: THE HOLY GHOST AND OTHER TERRIFYING TALES. Both shows can be added on to season packages.
Continuing a partnership that blossomed last season, Dallas Summer Musicals and Performing Arts Fort Worth will co-present three of these titles: Disney’s THE LITTLE MERMAID, 42nd STREET and THE SOUND OF MUSIC. These shows will perform for two weeks at the Music Hall at Fair Park, then come to Bass Hall for limited, one-week engagements.
Broadway at the Bass season tickets go on sale online at http://www.basshall.com at 10 a.m. Sunday, June 7, and over the phone at 817-212-4280 and in person at the Bass Hall Box Office at 10 a.m. Monday, June 8. For more information, call 817-212-4280 or click here.
Here’s the lineup:
BROADWAY AT THE BASSTHE BOOK OF MORMON (December 1-6, 2015)
The New York Times calls it “the best musical of this century.” The Washington Post says, “It is the kind of evening that restores your faith in musicals.” And Entertainment Weekly says, “Grade A: the funniest musical of all time.” Jon Stewart of The Daily Show calls it “a crowning achievement. So good it makes me angry.” It’s THE BOOK OF MORMON, the nine-time Tony Award® winning Best Musical from the creators of South Park. Contains explicit language. For more information, visit BookofMormonTheMusical.com. MOTOWN THE MUSICAL (January 13-17, 2016)
It began as one man’s story… became everyone’s music… and is now Broadway’s musical. MOTOWN THE MUSICAL is the true American dream story of Motown founder Berry Gordy’s journey from featherweight boxer to the heavyweight music mogul who launched the careers of Diana Ross, Michael Jackson, Smokey Robinson and many more. Motown shattered barriers, shaped our lives and made us all move to the same beat. Featuring classic songs such as “My Girl” and “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” experience the story behind the music in the record-breaking smash hit MOTOWN THE MUSICAL!. Disney’s THE LITTLE MERMAID (March 29-April 3, 2016)
In a magical kingdom beneath the sea, the beautiful young mermaid Ariel longs to leave her ocean home to live in the world above. Based on one of Hans Christian Andersen’s most beloved stories, with music by eight-time Academy Award winner Alan Menken, Disney’s THE LITTLE MERMAID is a hauntingly beautiful love story for the ages. Come fall in love with the magic for the first time – or all over again! “One of the most ravishing things I have ever seen on a Broadway stage.” – Time THE WIZARD OF OZ (June 7-12, 2016)
This new production of THE WIZARD OF OZ is an enchanting adaptation of the all-time classic, totally reconceived for the stage. Developed from the ever popular MGM screenplay, this production contains the beloved songs from the Oscar®-winning movie score, all the favorite characters and iconic moments, plus a few surprises along the way, including new songs by Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber. Click your heels together and join Scarecrow, Tin Man, Lion, Dorothy and her little dog Toto, as they journey through the magical land of Oz to meet the Wizard and obtain their hearts’ desires. Watch out for the Wicked Witch of the West and her winged monkeys as you rediscover the real story of Oz in this fantastic musical treat for the whole family.
42nd STREET (July 12-17, 2016)
The quintessential backstage musical comedy classic, 42nd STREET is the song and dance fable of Broadway! It includes some of the greatest songs ever written, such as “We’re In The Money,” “Lullaby of Broadway,” “Shuffle Off To Buffalo,” “Dames,” “I Only Have Eyes For You” and of course “42nd Street.”
Based on a novel by Bradford Ropes and Busby Berkeley’s 1933 movie, 42ne STREET tells the story of a starry-eyed young dancer named Peggy Sawyer who leaves her Allentown home and comes to New York to audition for the new Broadway musical Pretty Lady. When the star breaks her ankle, Peggy takes over and becomes a star. With a book by Michael Stewart and Mark Bramble, music by Harry Warren and lyrics by Al Dubin, this sparkling new production will be directed by co-author Mark Bramble and choreographed by Randy Skinner, the team who staged the 2001 Tony Award-winning Best Musical Revival.
THE SOUND OF MUSIC (August 17-21, 2016)
The hills are alive! A brand-new production of THE SOUND OF MUSIC, directed by three-time Tony Award®-winning director Jack O’Brien, is coming to Bass Performance Hall. The spirited, romantic and beloved musical story of Maria and the Von Trapp Family will once again thrill audiences with its Tony®, Grammy® and Academy Award®-winning Best Score, including “My Favorite Things,” “Do-Re-Mi,” “Climb Ev’ry Mountain,” “Edelweiss” and the title song. THE SOUND OF MUSIC enjoyed extraordinary success as the first live television production of a musical in over 50 years when “THE SOUND OF MUSIC Live!” aired on NBC in December, 2013 (seen by over 44 million people). This year marks the 50th anniversary of the film, which continues to be the most successful movie musical in history.
Cameron Mackintosh’s spectacular new production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA will come to Fort Worth as part of a brand new North American tour. Critics are raving that this breathtaking production is “bigger and better than ever before” and features a brilliant new scenic design by Paul Brown, Tony Award®-winning original costume design by Maria Björnson, lighting design by Tony Award®-winner Paule Constable, new choreography by Scott Ambler and new staging by director Laurence Connor. The production, overseen by Matthew Bourne and Cameron Mackintosh, boasts many exciting special effects including the show’s legendary chandelier. The beloved story and thrilling score – with songs like “Music of the Night,” “All I Ask Of You,” and “Masquerade” – will be performed by a cast and orchestra of 52, making this PHANTOM one of the largest productions now on tour.
BROADWAY AT THE BASSJOSEPH AND THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT (September 18-20, 2015)
One of the most enduring shows of all time, Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s JOSEPH AND THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT is the irresistible family musical about the trials and triumphs of Joseph, Israel’s favorite son. Directed and choreographed by Tony® Award-winner Andy Blankenbuehler, this new production is a reimagining of the Biblical story of Joseph, his 11 brothers and the coat of many colors. The magical musical is full of unforgettable songs, including “Go Go Go Joseph,” “Any Dream Will Do and Close Every Door.” Book your tickets and be part of the magic! DIXIE’S NEVER WEAR A TUBE TOP WHILE RIDING A MECHANICAL BULL (AND 16 OTHER THINGS I LEARNED WHILE I WAS DRINKING LAST THURSDAY) (November 11-22, 2015, McDavid Studio)
America’s favorite fast-talking Tupperware lady Dixie Longate is hitting the road with her new show NEVER WEAR A TUBE TOP WHILE RIDING A MECHANICAL BULL (AND 16 OTHER THINGS I LEARNED WHILE I WAS DRINKING LAST THURSDAY). Put on your cowboy boots and walk into her favorite honkytonk as Dixie shares lessons learned after a hard night of drinking. What do a jeweled crown, a cardboard cutout of Julie Andrews and a box of moon pies have in common? Spend the night with Dixie and find out as she swaps her Tupperware bowls for a mechanical bull.
Content Warning: Contains strong adult content and language. For mature audiences only. Recommended for ages 16+. RUDOLPH THE RED NOSED REINDEER: THE MUSICAL (November 24-25, 2015)
The beloved TV classic RUDOLPH THE RED-NOSED REINDEER soars off the screen and back onto Bass Hall’s stage this holiday season. See all of your favorite characters come to life in RUDOLPH THE RED-NOSED REINDEER: THE MUSICAL BLUE MAN GROUP (February 19-21, 2016)
Blue Man Group will thrill Fort Worth with its high-octane theatrical experience. Escape the ordinary and surround yourself in an explosion of comedy, music and technology. If you’ve never seen Blue Man Group, it’s a must-see. If you’re already a fan, don’t miss it. MAMMA MIA! (May 20-22, 2016)
MAMMA MIA! is the ultimate feel-good show that has audiences coming back again and again to relive the thrill. Now it’s your turn to have the time of your life at this smash-hit musical that combines ABBA’s greatest hits, including “Dancing Queen,” “S.O.S.,” “Super Trouper,” “Take A Chance on Me” and “The Winner Takes It All,” with an enchanting tale of love, laughter and friendship. Whether it’s your first visit or your 14th, see the show that has the whole world coming back for more, because every time feels like the first time at MAMMA MIA!
BACK TO SCHOOL CATECHISM: THE HOLY GHOST AND OTHER TERRIFYING TALES (October 5-9, 2016, McDavid Studio)
It is that time of year again and Sister is preparing her classroom for another long year of Catechism. You are in store for another hysterical lesson with BACK TO SCHOOL CATECHISM: THE HOLY GHOST AND OTHER TERRIFYING TALES. In this session we find out the Church’s take on all the familiar Halloween tales of ghosts and goblins. The show is full of Sister’s signature class participation. You may get hands-on experience in how to build a Catholic-appropriate Halloween costume! Join us and remember DON’T BE LATE!