The Adventure Continues

TT in the Blue Mountains and Sheldy in New York.

Culture Shock.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Press Call

Band Wagon Cast

Brian Stokes Mitchell & Laura Osnes

Don Stephenson
Michael Berresse
Michael Berresse, Tracey Ullman, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Laura Osnes, Michael McKean, Don Stephenson

Sunday, October 26, 2014

More Project Shaw

THE MILLIONAIRESS is Shaw’s most madcap comedy. The richest woman in the world has everything but…what? After an encounter with a mysterious Egyptian doctor, The Millionairess embarks on a life-changing journey through lawyers offices, sweat-shops, and out of the way hotels, finally confronting herself in surprising ways.
Epifania Fitzfassenden … Ms. Harriet Harris
Julius Sagamore … Mr. Matthew Sullivan
Alastair Fitzfassenden … Mr. Jeremy Webb
Patricia Smith … Ms. Donna Lynne Champlin
Adrian Blenderbland … Mr. Tony Sheldon
Doctor Ahmed el Kabir … Mr.  Douglas Sills
Joe …  Mr. Ken Glickfeld
Mrs. Joe  … Ms. Jennifer Smith
The Manager …  Mr. David Rosenberg
Narrator …  Ms. Donna Karger

More details to come!

We look foward to seeing you there!

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Week One (of two)

This is the beautiful space at City Center where we're rehearsing THE BANDWAGON.
There is so much history in this building.

We heard Imogene Coca kept an apartment upstairs while she worked on YOUR SHOW OF SHOWS.
To my delight, Gavin Lodge and Eric Sciotto from the Broadway cast of PRISCILLA are in the show with me.
And the all-singing, all-dancing, all-brilliant Brian Stokes Mitchell continues to astonish.

From New York City Center's Blog

Michael McKean’s Band Wagon Diary
In the course of his extravagantly nutty career, Academy Award nominee Michael McKean has played a heavy metal frontman (This is Spinal Tap), a board game piece (Clue), and J. Edgar Hoover (this spring’s Broadway production of All the Way). His latest role: the lovable hypochondriac Lester Martin in The Band Wagon, an Encores! Special Event based on the classic MGM film. McKean agreed to keep a behind-the-scenes diary of the experience.

October 23, 2014

Day four of Band Wagon. Playing completely against type, I got a full seven hours of sleep last night. All the better to wallow in this pot of jam I’ve fallen into. I mean: Kathleen Marshall is over there talking to Tracey Ullman. Please. The incomparable Brian Stokes Mitchell is due any minute. We’re about to rehearse a number called “That’s Entertainment” with the amazing Tony Sheldon. I am officially in Show Business. I had the pleasure of working with Kathleen (Pajama Game, ’06), Stokes (South Pacific/Hollywood Bowl, ’07) and Tracey (looong history there), but my new buds are pretty awesome. Tony is hilarious, the beautiful Laura Osnes could sing a hungry dog off a meat wagon, and the entire company is world-class.
It's my first experience with Encores! (exclamation point optional) and I’m having a blast.
More soon,

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Happy Birthday, Julie

Here's the Frederick P. Rose Hall where Jazz at Lincoln Centre is hosting the new York Cabaret Convention. The second night was a celebration of the legendary Julie Wilson's 90th birthday and the performers included Marilyn Maye, Christine Andreas, Ann Hampton Calloway (all pictured below with Kari Strand), Julie's son Holt McAllany and Carol Woods.

And your humble scribe, arriving from BANDWAGON rehearsals. It was a looong night. I think Julie was 91 by the time it finished.

Sunday, October 19, 2014


We might as well all just give up now. This is the end of the civilized world.

Friday, October 17, 2014


This chair would go SO well in our flat in the Blue Mountains.

Thursday, October 16, 2014


Tony Sheldon Replaces Roger Rees in Encores! THE BAND WAGON

Tony Sheldon Replaces Roger Rees in Encores! THE BAND WAGON
Tony Award nominee Tony Sheldon (Priscilla Queen of the Desert) has joined the cast of the Encores! Special Event The Band Wagon in the role of Jeffrey Cordova, an egotistical British director. (Roger Rees, previously announced in the role, is no longer available.) The Band Wagon cast stars Tony Award winner Brian Stokes Mitchell, seven-time Emmy Award winner Tracey Ullman, Academy Award nominee Michael McKean, Tony Award nominee Laura Osnes, Tony Award nominee Michael Berresse and Don Stephenson. The Band Wagon will open on Sunday, November 8.
Based on the classic MGM film of the same title, the show has a book by Douglas Carter Beane adapted from the screenplay by Betty Comden and Adolph Green, with music by Arthur Schwartz and lyrics by Howard Dietz. The Band Wagon will be directed and choreographed by three-time Tony Award winner Kathleen Marshall with music direction by Todd Ellison. The Band Wagon will run for 12 performances, by special arrangement with Warner Bros. Theatre Ventures.
A classic backstage musical, The Band Wagon tells the story of a washed-up Hollywood star (Brian Stokes Mitchell) who attempts to make a comeback by doing a Broadway show, and encounters an assortment of colorful characters: a British director (Tony Sheldon) who is a genius but has no business directing a musical, a leading lady who's never done a show before (Laura Osnes), and a composer and a lyricist who are at each other's throats (Michael McKean and Tracey Ullman). All the things that could never happen in the New York theater today.
Written by Broadway's ultimate insiders, Betty Comden and Adolph Green, the 1953 film used Arthur Schwartz and Howard Dietz's wonderful songs to tell their story and took its title from the famed 1931 Broadway revue written by Schwartz, Dietz, and George S. Kaufman. Now five-time Tony Award nominee Douglas Carter Beane will use the original Comden and Green screenplay (including scenes never filmed) as a basis for this Encores! Special Event, with a glorious score that includes "Dancing in the Dark," "By Myself," "I Guess I'll Have to Change My Plan," "A Shine on My Shoes," and that great anthem for all of show business, "That's Entertainment."
The Band Wagon will feature sets by Tony Award winner Derek McLane, costumes by six-time Tony Award winner William Ivey Long, lighting by Tony Award winner Peter Kaczorowski, and sound design by two-time Tony Award winner Brian Ronan.
Brian Stokes Mitchell (Tony Hunter)'s many theater credits include the Broadway productions of Man of La Mancha (Tony nomination, Helen Hayes Award); Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (Drama Desk nomination); Kiss Me, Kate (Tony, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Awards); Ragtime (Tony nomination); August Wilson's King Hedley II (Tony nomination); Kiss of the Spider Woman; Jelly's Last Jam; David Merrick's Oh, Kay!; and Mail, which earned him a Theatre World Award for Outstanding Broadway Debut. He headlined the Carnegie Hall concert presentation of Rodgers and Hammerstein's South Pacific with Reba McEntire, which aired on PBS in the spring of 2006. This summer he was seen as Don Pedro in the Public Theater's Much Ado About Nothing at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park. His Encores! credits include Do Re Mi, Carnival, and Kismet. His album "Simply Broadway" was named one of USA Today's Best CDs of 2013.
Tracey Ullman (Lily Martin) is perhaps best known in America for "The Tracey Ullman Show," which aired on Fox from 1987 to 1990 and established the English-born comedienne as one of prime time's major comic talents, earning several Emmy Awards, two for Ullman herself. Her many films include David Hare's Plenty, co-starring Meryl Streep; Robert Altman's Pret-a-Porter; I Love You to Death, opposite Kevin Kline; Mel Brooks's Robin Hood: Men in Tights; John Waters's A Dirty Shame; and Woody Allen's Bullets Over Broadway and Small Time Crooks. Her HBO specials include "Tracey Ullman Takes on New York," "Tracey Ullman: A Class Act," "Tracey Ullman in the Trailer Tales," "Tracey Ullman: Live and Exposed," and the spin-off series "Tracey Takes On...", which ran for four years. She starred as Kate opposite Morgan Freeman in the 1990 Shakespeare in the Park production of The Taming of the Shrew, and on Broadway in her one-woman show, The Big Love, in 1991. Tracey will play Jack's Mother in the upcoming film version of Into the Woods.
Michael McKean (Lester Martin) is a multi-talented actor, writer, and director who is associated with some of the most iconic film and television shows of the last three decades. His many New York credits include the role of J. Edgar Hoover in All The Way; Gore Vidal's The Best Man; Superior Donuts; The Homecoming; The Pajama Game; Hairspray; Accomplice (Theatre World Award); Our Town; and A Second Hand Memory. His Los Angeles stage credits include Yes, Prime Minister and Randy Newman's Harps & Angels. Michael played Lenny on "Laverne and Shirley," and was a regular cast member on "Saturday Night Live." His many film credits include This is Spinal Tap, Clue, Best in Show, and A Mighty Wind (Grammy Award for title track, written with Christopher Guest and Eugene Levy). He received an Oscar nomination for "A Kiss at the End of the Rainbow" (written with Annette O'Toole) from the same film. Michael will star in the new AMC series "Better Call Saul."
Tony Sheldon (Jeffrey Cordoba) is a native of Australia, where his many starring roles include Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, The Producers, Private Lives, I Hate Hamlet, Noises Off, Into The Woods and Torch Song Trilogy. Tony won a Theatre World Award and was nominated for Tony and Drama Desk Awards for his Broadway debut in Priscilla, Queen Of The Desert. He recently appeared as Pickering in My Fair Lady at the Guthrie, as Horace Vandergelder in Hello Dolly! at the Goodspeed Opera House, as Toddy in Victor Victoria at TUTS and as Merlyn and Pellinore in Camelot at the Kennedy Center with Brian Stokes Mitchell.
Laura Osnes (Gabrielle Gerard) recently starred the Encores! Off-Center production of Randy Newman's Faust: The Concert, and in the off-Broadway revival of The Threepenny Opera, directed by Martha Clarke. Her Broadway credits include the title role in Rogers + Hammerstein's Cinderella (Drama Desk Award), Bonnie in Bonnie and Clyde, Hope Harcourt in the Tony-winning revival of Anything Goes, Nellie Forbush in Lincoln Center's South Pacific, and Sandy in the most recent revival of Grease. Other New York credits include the Encores! production of Pipe Dream and a one-night-only concert of The Sound of Music at Carnegie Hall. Laura made her cabaret debut at the Café Carlyle in 2012, resulting in her first solo CD, Dream A Little Dream: Live at The Carlyle. She followed that appearance with an evening of Maury Yeston's music at 54 Below, which led to her second solo CD, If I Tell You: The Songs Of Maury Yeston.
Michael Berresse (Paul Byrd)'s Broadway credits include Kiss Me, Kate (Tony, Astaire, Olivier nominations), The Light in the Piazza, A Chorus Line, Chicago, Damn Yankees, Carousel, Guys & Dolls, Fascinating Rhythm, and Fiddler on the Roof. Off-Broadway, he was seen in Forever Plaid and The Coconuts. Regionally, he was seen in The Normal Heart (Arena/ACT), Parade (Taper), and The Dybbuk. Michael's director-choreographer credits include the Broadway and Off-Broadway productions of [title of show] (OBIE Award) and Now. Here. This. His Encores! credits include No, No, Nanette; Chicago; One Touch of Venus; and Call Me Madam.
Don Stephenson (Hal Meadows) starred as Leo Bloom in the Broadway production of The Producers. Other Broadway credits: A Gentleman's Guide to Love & Murder, Rock of Ages, Dracula, Private Lives, Titanic, Parade, and By Jeeves. Off-Broadway: Death Takes a Holiday, Take Me Along, and Two Gentlemen of Verona. Don appeared in the Encores! production of Pardon My English. Television: "The Good Wife," "30 Rock," "Glee," "Ugly Betty," "Curb Your Enthusiasm," "Law & Order." Directing credits: Kennedy Center, Paper Mill Playhouse, Bay Street Theatre, Bucks County Playhouse, MUNY, Syracuse Stage, and Flat Rock Playhouse.
Douglas Carter Beane (Book)'s credits on Broadway include Rodgers + Hammerstein's Cinderella (Tony Award nomination), The Nance (nominated for five Tony Awards and two Drama Desk Awards), Lysistrata Jones (Tony Award nomination), Sister Act (Tony Award nomination), the stage adaptation of the film Xanadu (Outer Critics Circle & HX Awards for Best Musical, Drama Desk Award for Best Book, and four Tony nominations including Best Musical), and The Little Dog Laughed (Tony Award, Olivier Award nomination). His other plays include As Bees in Honey Drown (Outer Critics Circle John Gassner Award), Mr. and Mrs. Fitch, Music From a Sparkling Planet, The Country Club, Advice From a Caterpillar, The Cartells, and Mondo Drama. He has written the libretto for the Metropolitan Opera's Die Fledermaus, and his ballet Artists and Models, 1929 is a part of the dance show In Your Arms. He wrote the film adaptation of his play Advice From a Caterpillar as well as the screenplay of To Wong Foo, Thanks For Everything, Julie Newmar. Douglas is currently writing a movie for Fox Searchlight and creating a series for HBO. His next play, Shows For Days, will be produced this spring by Lincoln Center Theater, and he is developing a play in verse, Fairycakes, which he will both write and direct.
Arthur Schwartz and Howard Dietz (Music and Lyrics), one of the greatest American songwriting teams, wrote some of Broadway and Hollywood's biggest hits of the 1930s, '40s, and '50s, including "Dancing in the Dark," "That's Entertainment," "You and the Night and the Music," "I Guess I'll Have To Change My Plan," "I See Your Face Before Me," "Alone Together," and "Love Is a Dancing Thing." Dietz and Schwartz collaborated on 11 Broadway shows over the course of 34 years; their many credits include The Little Show (1929), Three's a Crowd (1930), The Band Wagon (1931), Flying Colors (1932), At Home Abroad (1935), Between the Devil (1937), The Gay Life (1961), and Jenny (1963).
Todd Ellison (Music Director)'s many Broadway credits include the recent revival of Annie, Monty Python's Spamalot, La Cage Aux Folles, 42nd Street, Elton John's Lestat, Michel Legrand's Amour, The Wild Party, On the Town, Once Upon a Mattress (starring Sarah Jessica Parker), How To Succeed... (starring Matthew Broderick), She Loves Me, Taller Than a Dwarf, and A Class Act. He was the music director of the Radio City Christmas Spectacular for several seasons. As Marvin Hamlisch's music director, he worked on The Nutty Professor (directed by Jerry Lewis) and Ballroom. As a Pops conductor he has conducted The Pittsburgh Symphony, as well as Long Beach, New Haven, and York Symphonies. Todd conducted the Encores! production of On the Town and was a guest pianist for No, No, Nanette.
Kathleen Marshall (Director/Choreographer) returns to City Center, where she directed and choreographed the Encores! Off-Center production of Getting My Act Together... and the Encores! productions of Bells Are Ringing, Applause, Carnival, and Hair, among others, and served as artistic director for four seasons. Her Broadway credits include Nice Work If You Can Get It, Anything Goes, The Pajama Game, Wonderful Town, Grease, Little Shop of Horrors, Follies, and Kiss Me, Kate. She recently directed Joe DiPietro's Living on Love at the Williamstown Theatre Festival starring Renée Fleming. She has received three Tony Awards (out of nine nominations), three Drama Desk Awards, and three Outer Critics Circle Awards.
New York City Center (Arlene Shuler, President & CEO) has played a defining role in the cultural life of the city since 1943. It was Manhattan's first performing arts center, dedicated by Mayor Fiorello La Guardia with a mission to make the best in music, theater, and dance accessible to all audiences. Today, City Center is home to many distinguished companies, including Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, City Center's Principal Dance Company, as well as Manhattan Theatre Club; a roster of renowned national and international visiting artists; and its own critically acclaimed and popular programs. The Tony-honored Encores! musical theater series has been hailed as "one of the very best reasons to be alive in New York." In summer 2013, City Center launched Encores! Off-Center, a series that features landmark Off Broadway musicals filtered through the lens of today's most innovative artists. Dance has been integral to the theater's mission from the start - and dance programs, including the annual Fall for Dance Festival, remain central to City Center's identity. Vital partnerships with arts organizations including Jazz at Lincoln Center and London's Sadler's Wells Theatre enhance City Center's programmatic offerings. City Center is dedicated to providing educational opportunities to New York City students and teachers through programs such as Encores! In Schools and the Young People's Dance Series. Special workshops cater to families, seniors, and other groups, while events such as the Fall for Dance DanceTalk series offer learning opportunities to the general public. In October 2011, City Center completed an extensive renovation project to revitalize and modernize its historic theater.
The Band Wagon will run for 12 performances, November 6 - 16 (see full schedule below). Tickets are available at the New York City Center Box Office (West 55th Street between 6th and 7th Avenues), through CityTix at 212-581-1212, and online at Further information is available at

Monday, October 13, 2014

BIG is better

Saw a staged reading of the 1996 Maltby & Shire musical BIG based on the Tom Hanks movie. I'd seen clips and heard songs from the show when it was on Broadway and it hadn't really appealed to me but I was curious to see this production by Musicals in Mufti at the York Theatre because they were using the new and improved script and score from the national tour with material never seen in New York. Plus it stars my good buddy, the wonderful John Tartaglia (AVENUE Q).
John was so perfect in the role of Josh it could have been written for him. Indeed, I think John is just a very tall 13 year-old.

Kerry Butler was also spot on as the uptight businesswoman Susan.
And Jeremy Shinder nailed every laugh as Josh's best friend Billy. For me the big surprise was just how funny the book and lyrics are. Perhaps the original production was swamped by the massive sets and the piece would benefit from a more intimate staging.
The added bonus was the appearance of lyricist Richard Maltby, Jr. filling in for the indisposed Walter Charles as the toy tycoon at short notice.

 To see Maltby and Tartaglia  performing the famous "Chopsticks" dance on the giant piano was a moment to savour.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

View From The Top

A chance meeting with a musical director at a birthday party led to an invitation to sing the following evening at a musical "salon" on the Upper East Side. So there I was on Sunday night, shivering on the terrace of a penthouse "triplex" (three apartments converted into one), nervously clutching my sheet music and drinking in the surrounding rooftop gardens and terraces.
For the record, my song went over well and I met some charming and talented "up-and-comers" who also sang for their supper. Well...their mineral water.
I think that might be the back of the Carlyle Hotel. Whatever it is, that's a chandelier glowing in that window.

New York Music Theatre Festival

2015 Festival Submissions and Grand Jury Announced! 

Submit your musical today...

Every summer, NYMF produces the largest musical theatre festival in the country. We accept submissions for our Next Link Project from writers with or without representation, and we want to read your show!
In order to submit, you must have a completed script and 75% of the score recorded. Shows that are submitted for the Next Link Project are also automatically under consideration for NYMF's Developmental Reading Series.
An incredible Grand Jury will help us determine our 2015 Next Link Shows:
Tony Award-winning actor Michael Cerveris, OBIE and Drama Desk Award-winning actress Donna Lynne Champlin, Tony Award-winning producer Jane Dubin, Tony Award and Drama Desk Award-nominated actor Hunter Foster, Creative Director, Fox Stage Productions Isaac Robert Hurwitz, CAA Agent Joe Machota, Director of Theatre Arts Program at The National Black Theatre Jonathan McCrory, Tony Award-winning actor Billy Porter, Outer Critics Circle-nominated director and choreographer Josh Prince, Tony Award and Drama Desk Award-nominated actor and writer Tony Sheldon, and Motown: The Musical director Charles Randolph-Wright, with additional jurors to be announced.
EARLY BIRD DEADLINE Today, October 6, 2014*
OFFICIAL ENTRY DEADLINE November 3, 2014 *Submit by midnight to take advantage of the Early Bird Deadline and save $20 off the submission fee!