North Texas native following Yellow Brick Road back home!

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Kaley Were

Hey, y’all! This is Kaley Were, ensemble member of the North American tour of The Wizard of Oz, coming to Bass Hall June 7 – 12. I’m so excited to share a little bit about me and my journey down the Yellow Brick Road as I travel home to Texas next month!

I grew up in Allen, Texas, and graduated from Oklahoma City University with a Bachelor of Music in Music Theatre last May, so I cannot wait to be back in the good ol’ South for the last leg of the tour as we travel through Austin, San Antonio, and Fort Worth.

Growing up in the North Texas area, I used to see shows at Bass Performance Hall and dream about being up on that stage, and I feel so lucky to be living out that dream on this tour!

As a member of the ensemble, I have what I think is one of the coolest jobs in the show – I get to travel along the Yellow Brick Road with Dorothy as a munchkin, a glamorous citizen of Oz, a soldier-like Winkie, and much more!

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I get to wear so many gorgeous costumes throughout the show. Here’s my favorite, a bejeweled skirt and corset I wear in the Emerald City scene.

Transforming myself into so many different characters and getting to dance and sing in so many different styles forces me to stay present in every moment of the show, and keeps my job thrilling every evening!

I also have the honor of understudying two principal characters – Aunt Em, played by Canada native Emmanuelle Zeesman and Glinda, played by fellow Texan and my dear friend, Rachel Womble.

I am so lucky to have so many fellow Texans on the road with me, and getting to spend time with and learn from Rachel is no exception!

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Here I am in full Glinda garb for a dress rehearsal in Denver.

Being on the road and living out of a suitcase definitely has it’s challenges, but being surrounded by so many loving and supportive people has made this journey an incredibly special one. I cannot wait to bring this magical show home to the North Texas area. Every night that I get to perform,  I am reminded that there truly is no place like home! I hope to see you there in June!

Farewell, New York. Also: WE SAW HAMILTON!

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The cast of Hamilton. Photo: The New York Times.

Jason Wise with Performing Arts Fort Worth here with some final words on our recent trip to New York.

It’s always a little bittersweet when The Broadway League’s Spring Road Conference comes to an end.

As usual, we had a blast seeing old friends and making new ones, checking out all the new shows and discussing with our industry peers hot topics in the Broadway world.

Jason Wise

But we’re coming home to a very exciting time for Bass Hall and Performing Arts Fort Worth. We’re putting the final touches on our 2016-2017 Broadway at the Bass season, our biggest and best Broadway season ever. You guys are going to absolutely love it!

Mark your calendars for June 5. That’s when we’re announcing the titles in our new season.

Before we move on, here are recaps of the final shows I saw in New York.

Hamilton
This masterpiece is truly a game-changer for live theater. You are witnessing history in the making as HAMILTON tells the story of Alexander Hamilton, one of the Founding Fathers of the United States and first Secretary of the Treasury. This outstanding musical, penned by and starring Lin-Manuel Miranda, features a stellar cast and one of the finest musical scores in Broadway history.

We don’t want to give too much away about this life-changing theatrical experience, other than to say with 16 Tony Award nominations and sold-out performances through early 2017, all the hype and publicity is truly justified. We can’t wait to have the opportunity to present HAMILTON on the Bass Hall stage one day (no, we don’t have any dates confirmed yet for the tour, but are working with the booking agent as tour plans get finalized).

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Waitress stars Jessie Mueller. 

Waitress
This lighthearted fun, romantic comedy stars Jessie Mueller and features an infectious musical score by pop princess Sara Bareilles. Mueller’s electrifying performance provides a night of fun entertainment at the theater. It’s easy to see why this show is up for several Tony Awards next month, including Best Musical. And you can even get your own little piece of pie in the theater! Who doesn’t love that?

‘Til next year, New York!

– Jason Wise, Director of Programming, Communications & Sales

On Your Feet had us on our feet, we loved She Loves Me, and Something Rotten was anything but!

On Your Feet! tells the story of singer Gloria Estefan

Performing Arts Fort Worth marketing staff here with another update from New York, where we’re attending The Broadway League’s 27th annual Spring Road Conference. 

We’ve spent the past few days discussing with our industry peers hot topics in the Broadway world, from booking shows to uncovering new ways to reach new audiences. The great thing about this conference is the amount of passion and enthusiasm attendees bring to these sessions. We always come home with a lot of new ideas. 

We also come home with a lot of ticket stubs. Our days here may be devoted to panel discussions but our nights belong to the shows. Among our team of five, we’ve seen nearly a dozen shows, and we still have a day or two to go. 

One of our favorites has been On Your Feet!, a musical based on the life and career of influential pop singer Gloria Estefan. It’s truly an inspirational show that’ll lift your spirits and move your feet. As producers in the show through the Independent Presenters Network, we look forward to bringing it to Bass Hall.

She Loves Me has been one of our favorite shows.

We can’t gush enough about the musical revival She Loves Me. The movie You’ve Got Mail was based on it. The show follows a similar storyline about love-stricken pen pals. 

Also very impressive was Bright Star, the bluegrass-driven musical written by Steve Martin and Dallas-bred singer Edie Brickell. Both made cameo appearances at the conference yesterday. 

Another show we absolutely loved was Something Rotten!, a musical comedy about Shakespeare that had us rolling in the aisles from the second the curtain went up. It’s another show we’re hoping to bring to the Hall in the future. 

Later this week we’ll offer thoughts on some of the other shows we’re seeing, including Waitress, The Humans, Shuffle Along and, yes, Hamilton. We’re seeing it soon! 

Hello from New York! 

Greetings from New York City! Welcome to our first dispatch from the Broadway League’s Spring Road Conference, a yearly event designed to show off the latest and greatest titles on Broadway. 

Along with hundreds of representatives from other performing arts centers around the country, we make the pilgrimage here every year to check out the shows before they go on tour, to decide whether we should bring them to Bass Hall. We also like to talk shop/catch up with our industry counterparts. 

The talk of this year’s conference is, of course, Hamilton. Tickets are very scarce, even for those in the Broadway industry. Because she’s a Tony-voter, our President & CEO Dione Kennedy is seeing the show this week, along with Jason Wise, our Director of Marketing and Sponsorships. The rest of us are entering the Hamilton lottery and crossing our fingers.

Anderson Cooper interviews Hamilton cast.

If we don’t get to see it, we’ll be fine because on Monday we were treated to the next best thing: ringside seats to a Hamilton creative conversation hosted by none other than Anderson Cooper. Many of the principle cast and creative team members took part, including Lin-Manuel Miranda, Daveed Diggs and others. The interview will air on Friday on Sirius’ Broadway station. 

Andy Cohen chats with the cast of The Humans.

On Tuesday, conference-goers were treated to more special guest appearances. Oscar-winning actress Jessica Lange popped by to promote her new show, Long Day’s Journey Into Night. Seth Williams interviewed NBC Entertainment Chairman Robert Greenblatt about the burgeoning popularity of live TV musicals. Cynthia Erivo and Danielle Brooks swung by to talk up their new show, a revival of The Color Purple. And Bravo TV’s Andy Cohen hosted a creative conversation for The Humans with stars Reed Birney and Jayne Houdyshell, director Joe Mantello and writer Stephen Karam

Then of course we’re seeing shows all week. Monday night we saw School of Rock, based on the Jack Black film of the same name, about a struggling musician who steals his way into the hearts of a rockin’ group of school kids. The cast was fantastic, especially the children, whose choreographed dance moves were reminiscent of Matilda. Matter of fact, we thought of it as Matilda with guitars. 

This week, our team will divide and conquer to see several more shows, including Waitress, On Your Feet!, Something Rotten!, She Loves Me, Aladdin, Bright Star and many others. We’ll send more updates – and wish us luck with the Hamilton lottery!

Ten Texans are Following the Yellow Brick Road – Back to Texas!

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Rachel Womble

Hey, y’all! It’s Rachel Womble, your own Texas Glinda, checking in from the North American tour of The Wizard of Oz, coming to Bass Hall June 7-12.

Today I wanted to introduce you to some of the other wonderful Texans involved in the show!

Spending so much time away from family can be tough, but sharing time with our wonderful team, and especially the 10 Texans we are lucky enough to have with us, make life out on the road a little bit more like home!

Our Texans include four cast members, three members of our orchestra, including our incredible conductor, Mr. David Andrew Rogers, and three members of our management team. They come from all over the state including the Dallas/Fort Worth area, San Antonio, and many small towns in between. You can see all of their beautiful faces in the below picture.IMG_5534.JPG

Front Row (left to right): Diego Diaz (Ensemble), Amy Button (Ensemble), Kaley Were (Ensemble), Lisa Green (Stage Manager), Abram Best (Assoc. General Manager), Wayne Green (Assoc. Music Director). Second Row (left to right): David Andrews Rogers (Music Director), ME! – Rachel Womble (Glinda), Matthew J. Pool (Keyboards) and James Lanahan (General Manager).

Thank you for being apart of our journey as we follow the Yellow Brick Road all the way home to Bass Performance Hall. To see more pictures from our adventures follow my Instagram . Check back next month as I turn the blog over to fellow Texan  Kaley Were!

Texas actress is following the Yellow Brick Road – Back to Texas!

First Tech Day.  Microphones, Lights, Theater Oh My!

First day of tech. Microphones, lights, theater, oh, my!

Hey y’all! This is Rachel Womble, your very own Glinda the Good Witch writing to you from the North American tour of The Wizard of Oz! I am so happy to be able to share a little bit of my adventure with you, as I make my way home to Bass Performance Hall this summer.

Glinda’s big song in the show, “Already Home,” is one of the brand-new numbers written by Andrew Lloyd Weber and Tim Rice. It is a gorgeous musical moment where I get to teach Dorothy that no matter where you go, and what you experience, home is always there waiting for you. This is quite an applicable lesson as I spend this year travelling North America about as far away from family and my home state of Texas as I could be.

Representing my Favorite Team, the Cowboys! - Age 6

Age 6, representing my favorite team – the Dallas Cowboys!

I grew up in Sherman just a little ways up the road from beautiful Bass Hall. I went to college at Rice University in Houston, and then set off for New York City to attend graduate school at NYU. New York is such a busy city, and I am really excited to perform in cities that feel a little more like home.

Check back with me here each month as I share photos, stories from the road, and introductions to the other Texans I am lucky enough to call my colleagues!  If you want to see even more, follow my Instagram.

I cannot wait to bring this magical show to the Lone Star State, and especially to Bass Hall this summer. I am so looking forward to seeing you, and remember, “There’s No Place Like Home!”

First Time in Full Costume!

My first time in full costume! See you soon, Fort Worth!

On Your Feet Had Us On Our Feet!

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Ana Villafane portrays Gloria Estefan in the new hit Broadway show On Your Feet. Photo: Matthew Murphy.

Jason Wise

Last week, Performing Arts Fort Worth Director of Marketing Jason Wise headed to New York, where he caught the latest and greatest shows on Broadway. Here’s the last of his dispatches! 

On Your Feet

Get ready to get on your feet and dance in this explosive new Broadway musical that tells the inspiring story of Emilio & Gloria Estefan.

From their humble beginnings as Cuban immigrants, to the heights of pop super-stardom, to the lows following Gloria’s tour bus accident, to her sensational comeback, On Your Feet is remarkable story.

The show is infused with all the hits from Gloria Estefan and The Miami Sound Machine – there are even original members of the band who perform as musicians in the show.

Ana Villafane, who plays Gloria, is stunning. Her vocals sound just like the original recordings and her mannerisms truly have you thinking you’re watching Gloria Estefan perform on stage.

But it’s more than just a musical concert. It’s a very moving and compelling story about living the American Dream. I am thrilled to say that Performing Arts Fort Worth is one of the producers of this show through the Independent Presenters Network (IPN). We look forward to presenting this show at Bass Hall in a future Broadway at the Bass season. Get ready Fort Worth…the rhythm is going to get you!

King Charles III

It’s the future and Queen Elizabeth II has passed and Charles, The Prince of Wales, is ready to take the throne as king. But is he ready?

Right before the coronation, he engages in a battle with the Prime Minister over a new law that’s about to be passed. The Royal Family is in turmoil as Prince William and Kate struggle with Charles, while Prince Harry fights his own personal demons about being born into the Royal Family.

This West End transfer is a must-see play for anyone who enjoys the world of politics, especially when it’s about The Royal Family.

In May, I’ll be heading back to New York with the entire PAFW marketing team for the Broadway League’s annual Spring Road Conference. We’ll divide and conquer and catch even more new Broadway shows!

Happy holidays, Fort Worth!

 

 

 

Spring (Re)Awakening

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Deaf West’s new production of SPRING AWAKENING, currently playing on Broadway. Photo: Joan Marcus.

Jason Wise, Director of Marketing, Performing Arts Fort Worth

This week, Performing Arts Fort Worth Director of Marketing Jason Wise is sending us reports from New York, where he and other PAFW staffers are catching Broadway’s latest and greatest shows. Take it away, Jason! 

Greetings from the Big Apple! We’ve returned to New York for our annual winter Broadway League meetings with show reps and agents.

For the next several days, we’ll see all the great new shows that have opened up on Broadway, many of which we’re hoping to bring to Bass Hall in upcoming Broadway at the Bass seasons.

One of the most exciting new shows on Broadway this year is the new Deaf West Theatre production of Spring Awakening, an exceptionally moving piece of work.

Fans of the original Broadway production, which won a staggering eight Tony Awards in 2007, will surely fall in love with this revival.

This innovative production, which features both hearing and deaf actors, incorporates American Sign Language, along with dance, into the emotionally-charged story.

The score is also slightly different, providing a more raw, stripped down feel; Duncan Sheik’s song lyrics really come to the forefront.

I was a fan of the original production (we brought the tour to Bass Hall in 2010) but I found myself moved even more by this new production. The show’s re-imagined format gives it a new dimension and many in the audience seemed to feel a very personal connection with the show.

Producers have announced that this new version of Spring Awakening will hit the road in 2017, so hopefully we can bring it to Fort Worth in the future.

 

CONTEST: Win a Michael Martin Murphey VIP package!

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Our friends at Hank FM are hosting a Michael Martin Murphey contest to end all Michael Martin Murphey contests!

Here’s what you’ll win:

  • Two tickets to Michael’s “Cowboy Christmas” show at Bass Hall on December 21.
  • Admission for 2 to a VIP meet and greet lunch with Michael on Dec. 21 at the Hank FM studios in downtown Fort Worth.
  • A special commemorative CD/DVD.
  • And one lucky meet and greet winner will receive a guitar autographed by Michael!

Tune into Hank FM/92.1 mornings and afternoons today through Friday for more info on how to enter!

 

Lottery announced for THE BOOK OF MORMON!

EMAIL_95475performingartsBOM_LA_LotterySign_RulesSign_22x33_PAFW_2014THE BOOK OF MORMON, winner of nine Tony Awards including Best Musical, is pleased to announce a lottery ticket policy for the National Tour, which begins December 1 at Bass Performance Hall in Fort Worth and plays a limited 1-week engagement through December 6. The production will conduct a pre-show lottery at the box office, making 20 tickets available at $25 apiece.

The wildly popular lottery for the Broadway production has attracted as many as 800 entries at some performances. The producers of THE BOOK OF MORMON are pleased to offer low-priced lottery seats for every city on the National Tour.

Entries will be accepted at the box office beginning two and a half hours prior to each performance; each person will print their name and the number of tickets (1 or 2) they wish to purchase on a card that is provided. Two hours before curtain, names will be drawn at random for a limited number of tickets priced at $25 each. Only one entry is allowed per person. Cards are checked for duplication prior to drawing. Winners must be present at the time of the drawing and show valid ID to purchase tickets. Limit one entry per person and two tickets per winner. Tickets are subject to availability.

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.

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For more information, visit http://www.BookofMormonTheMusical.com.

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