Rain begins to fall while Matthew Morrison performs during “An Evening With the Stars” at the Muny in Forest Park on Saturday, May 19, 2018. The production, postponed from Friday night due to storms, is part of a celebration this weekend for the Muny’s centennial season. Photo by Jon Gitchoff
It rained Saturday night, but that didn’t dampen spirits at the Muny, where a host of performers carried on and a crowd of 6,975 fans cheered and clapped through “An Evening with the Stars” — the theater’s Centennial Gala.
The one-time-only show’s originally scheduled performance, on Friday night, was postponed because of rain. On Saturday, it went ahead at 9:15 p.m. but before a smaller audience, with two long interruptions for rain. But almost nobody left.
“We have missed only one show in 20 years,” said Chuck Mueller of Belleville, who sat under an umbrella with his wife, Jan, surrounded by relatives. “That was a rainout.”
He wasn’t about to let that happen twice. And you could see his point, because this event involved a sensational production. Almost every act could have been the “11 o’clock number” in any normal show.
Broadway icon Chita Rivera, in a stunning red sequinned pants suit, gave a zesty performance of “All That Jazz” from “Chicago” and teamed up with the legendary Tommy Tune for “Rosie” from “Bye Bye Birdie.” Ken Page, who got his start at the Muny before he played Old Deuteronomy in the original Broadway production of “Cats” , sang a tender rendition of that show’s biggest song, “Memory.”
The evening’s hosts, Broadway stars Matthew Morrison and Heather Headley, introduced the other artists and performed dynamic numbers of their own. Morrison led a highly condensed, 8-minute version of “Hairspray” while Headley soloed in a breathtaking medley of songs from “Funny Girl.”
Patrick Cassidy led a lively chorus of Muny Kids, Muny Teens and Muny veterans in “Trouble” from “The Music Man,” then presented a clip in which his mother, Muny Hall-of-Famer Shirley Jones, wished the theater happy birthday.
Two other Broadway stars, Graham Rowat and Jenny Powers, added elegance and comedy, respectively.
A big dance ensemble, choreographed by Michael Baxter, shone throughout, particularly when they joined Lara Teeter in a big tap treatment of “We’re in the Money” from “42nd Street” and in “Seize the Day” from “Newsies.”
Dennis Reagan, the Muny’s president and CEO, thanked “the best audience in the world” for its patience through the rain delays. Virtually everyone received generous applause, including the stagehands who mopped the stage after both cloudbursts. Paul Tarte dePoo III designed the versatile sets, Robin L. McGee designed the festive costumes and music director Michael Horsley led the generous Muny orchestra. Matt Kunkel directed the show, which kept a bright pace despite the weather.
For the last number a little before midnight, the audience enjoyed “One” and a fabulous fireworks display. In “A Chorus Line,” “One” is about a glamorous entertainer. But on Saturday night, it was unmistakably a song about the Muny.
Thousands more Muny lovers came to the Forest Park theater Sunday afternoon, where the celebration continued with lots of activities for families. The weather was lovely.
Sunrise, Florida (CNN) Drama students past and present shared the stage Monday night for a benefit concert featuring stars and survivors of a school shooting in Parkland, Florida.
“From Broadway With Love: A Benefit Concert for Parkland, USA” featured a star-studded roster of Broadway and television entertainers, including “Glee” actor Matthew Morrison, “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” star Rachel Bloom and award-winning recording artist Deborah Cox.
More than 4,700 people attended the concert at the BB&T Center in Sunrise, Florida, organizers said. The celebrity entertainers performed with Stoneman Douglas students and local arts groups, including the Student Choir of Broward and Dance Theatre of Broward, on a program that ranged from upbeat and inspirational to reflective and moving to fun and silly.
Despite the circumstances that brought them together, Bloom said the chemistry among the performers was instantly palpable. After all, the celebrity performers were once theater kids, she said.
“Tonight is about them and I’m happy to be here and support them. The kids from Marjory Stoneman Douglas are doing what the arts are supposed to do — they are channeling their intense feelings and rage and thoughts into their art, which is a way to communicate with people and make the world better,” Bloom said in an interview before the show.
“This is an example of why theater and the arts in schools is so important,” she said. “It makes me proud to be a fellow theater kid seeing what all these people are doing with theater and music.”
‘A healing night’
The concert opened with a stirring rendition of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah,” sung by “Mamma Mia!” actress Carrie Manolakos and a choir of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students.Former “American Idol” contestant Justin Guarini performed a song written by a Stoneman Douglas student.
Deborah Cox crooned “I Will Always Love You” as images of the 17 victims flashed behind her. The dance group that victim Jaime Guttenberg belonged to staged an emotional performance that elicited cheers of “We love you, Jaime” as the dancers left the spotlight.
Moments of levity punctuated the somber tone, such as Bloom’s rendition of “F—ton of Cats” and Erich Bergen’s performance of “Man in the Mirror,” all with backup from Stoneman Douglas students. “Glee” star Matthew Morrison and Stoneman Douglas senior Kali Clougherty nearly stole the show with a duet performance of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.”
Stoneman Douglas sophomore Tanzil Philip, who hit the high note near the end of “Seasons of Love,” said performing in the show was difficult during the memorial parts. “But by the end, the whole thing felt healing,” he said. “It was a healing night.”
‘Everything we’re doing is for them’
Working with the teen performers made the February 14 shooting feel all the more real, Broadway performer Donna Lynne Champlin said. But in the frenzied excitement of rehearsals, it was easy to momentarily forget why they were there, the “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” actress said.
“We’re sort of looking at our younger selves and going, ‘When we were your age we were writing songs about rainy days and broken hearts, and here you are writing songs about losing numerous friends.’ I think they’re extraordinary” she said. “I can’t even imagine what their reality is like.”
The concert was the culmination of weeks of intense preparation, Stoneman Douglas junior Sawyer Garrity said before the concert. But she never forgot what brought everyone together.
“There’s been some really awesome moments because of this, but it’s hard to feel excited or happy about them because you realize what happened and why we’re getting all these opportunities,” she said.
With the help of composer Duncan Sheik, she and another student composed a song based on a poem written by shooting victim Alex Schachter. His parents asked them to write the song after their first performance at a town hall after the shooting, she said.
“This song is for him. He’s going to live on through this song and through this poem he wrote,” she said.
“In the end, everything that we’re doing is for them and everything that we’re doing is so that they’ll be remembered — all the 17, and even the ones who were injured and anyone hurt by gun violence.”
From Broadway With Love: A Benefit Concert for Parkland, USA will feature performances and special appearances from Emmy, Tony, and Golden Globe nomineeMatthew Morrison (Glee, Finding Neverland), Golden Globe winner Rachel Bloom (Crazy Ex-Girlfriend), award-winning recording artist Deborah Cox (The Bodyguard), Wayne Brady (Kinky Boots, Hamilton), Kirsten Maldonado (Pentatonix), Noah Galvin (The Real O’Neals,Dear Evan Hansen), Justin Guarini (American Idol, In Transit), Vincent Rodriguez III (Crazy Ex-Girlfriend), Ephraim Sykes (Hamilton, Hairspray Live), Erich Bergen (Madam Secretary), Christy Altomare (Anastasia), Laura Bell Bundy (Anger Management, Legally Blonde), Telly Leung (Aladdin), Jordan Donica (My Fair Lady, Hamilton), Donna Lynne Champlin (Crazy Ex-Girlfriend), Gabrielle Ruiz (Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, If/Then), Etai Benson (The Band’s Visit), Carrie Manolakos (Mamma Mia), George Salazar (Godspell, The Lightning Thief), Bryan Fenkhart (Waitress, Memphis), Charity Angel Dawson (Waitress, Side Show), Jessica Vosk (Wicked), Brandon Shapiro, and Jake Wildhorn.
The performers will be accompanied by the South Florida Symphony. Some of the songs that will be performed were written by the Stoneman Douglas students in collaboration with composers Joe Iconis, Bobby Cronin, Zoe Sarnak, Drew Gasparini, and others.
There will also be a performance by Jamie Guttenberg’s dance troupe in honor of her memory. Several Stoneman Douglas students will speak at the event as well.
Approximately 10,000 tickets have been donated to the families of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students and staff.
The performance line-up is subject to change and additional performers will be announced in the coming weeks.
Stars of the stage and screen will unite April 16 for From Broadway With Love: A Benefit Concert for Parkland, a one-night-only concert to benefit the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Victims’ Fund and Shine MSD, which is working to promote arts advocacy in the community in the wake of the February 14 tragedy at the Florida high school. The concert will be held at the BB&T Center in Sunrise, Florida.
Tickets are available online at Ticketmaster.com, by calling (800) 345-7000 or at the BB&T Center Box Office.
Matthew Morrison, is known for starring in Glee, but long before that he treaded the boards of Broadway in Hairspray, The Light in the Piazza, South Pacific and most recently Finding Neverland. Now he is performing at Feinstein’s/54 Below until January 13th and this is a show not to miss. Morrison exudes a natural sex appeal. He claims in his show, that Feinstein’s/54 Below is the sexiest room, but this is the sexiest show, as Morrison seduces his audience with charisma galore. Starting off with a crooning “Nice N Easy,” Morrison entered from the front of the room, making audience members swoon with joy as he passed their table. Sounding and oozing the same charge, that Frank Sinatra did. His smooth stylings gave way to a man with a heart, when a young girl almost fainted with glee, was allowed a selfie with him. I have never seen anyone as delighted as this girl was. All night the cell camera’s were zoomed in so as not to miss a moment.
Next up was a sinful “On The Street Where You Live.” All I can say is if the revival of My Fair Lady has this version, it is sure to smolder.
Father to 12-week-old son Revel James Makail, John Mayer’s “Waiting on the World to Change” brought lyrics that really affected the singer, but it was “As Long As He Needs Me” from Oliver that his emotional ties to his son came through. The arrangement had Jimmy Emerson on flute and it added to the plaintiveness of the song. Also on “Waiting on the World to Change” there were some mean solos by Emerson on Sax and Daniel Kalischer on guitar.
Bill Withers “Ain’t No Sunshine” showed off the singers dancing skills, as well as some soul. Morrison feeds off the energy of his fans as he gyrated with a sinewy grace. During the song his hand slide down the mike as if making love to it and I can guarantee most of the audience wished it was them instead of that mike.
In “Hey There” from Pajama Game, Morrison oozed boyish charm as he played the ukulele. This was in tribute to his first gig as a back-up singer for Don Ho.
Brad Ellis, the arranger from Glee, is Morrison’s musical director and played the keys, but it was his arrangement of Cole Potter’s “It’s Alright With Me” that rocked the house. Morrison pulled some Bob Fosse moves that shook the house. Bass player Gary Wicks and drummer Pete Antunes also showed mad skills.
“We Kiss In The Shadow” was Morrison’s tribute to gay marriage and what life was like before acceptance.
His South Pacific medley made me want to see his performance and made me realize what a talented musician this man truly is.
Nominated for a Tony Award for his performance as Fabrizio in The Light In The Piazza “Il Mondo Era Vuoto,” was my favorite of the night. Stating “that show was the hardest I’ve ever done. It’s also the highlight of my career,” he vocally soared. It is in a more classical sound, that Morrison impresses and impress he does.
Keeping us up to date with the shows he has performed in, a Finding Neverland medley followed. A nine-minute Hairspray medley had Morrison rocking and rolling. It is clear he has a complete love for this show.
“Come Rain or Come Shine/ Basin Street Blues” allowed the whole band to show off. Morrison surrounds himself with some of best musicians and the caliber of this show is exceptional. For opening night Morrison’s guest was his wife Renee and the curtain call number was a medley of two Beatle songs for the girl who has knitted his young sons caps.
Morrison is personable and makes sure that everyone has a great seat and a fabulous time. His humor is a little sarcastic, but with a devilish charm. Morrison has that “it” factor and has talent galore. How Broadway hasn’t snatched him up to star in a role written for him is beyond puzzling. Do not miss this show as it is one of the best I have seen in a long time.
The father of one, 39, recently told PEOPLE about his daddy-baby bonding time and the joys of newfound parenting as well as Sherpapa Supply Co., his line of gear and accessories designed for the modern dad and family man, which landed a coveted spot on Gwyneth Paltrow‘s goop gift guide this holiday season.
“I revel in his bravery. It sounds weird but with especially with everything going on right now, he’s so brave to come into this world. He’s teaching me so much,” Morrison said about his only child.
“He can’t talk to me yet but he’s forcing me to learn how to communicate with someone who is trying to communicate with me. It’s a lesson in patience. I’ve never been impatient with my child. I know a lot of parents can be,” the star continued. “I’m learning how to communicate with him about him and what every burp and fart means.”
The Glee alum and Zach McDuffie, a photographer, entrepreneur and father to a three-year-old little girl, launched Sherpapa Supply Co. to create quality products for all parents. (Morrison and McDuffie recommend their popular reversible blanket for a future Christmas gift!)
“Zach’s the best example for me of a present, proactive father and that’s what I want to be so it’s been a great journey. It informs who I am as a father,” Morrison said about building his lifestyle brand and raising his son. “I’m ready for anything, I’m so prepared. I love being prepared and that’s basically why we started this company. Sometimes having a kid is planning a NASA launch.”
One particular thing he’s recently proud of is his son’s growth.
“[Revel] moved out of his newborn diapers so he’s on the next stage of diapers which is very exciting. But we actually try to do the diapers that aren’t really diapers, the cloth diapers. It’s a lot of washing, a lot of laundry. It’s eco-friendly and we’re trying to do that as much as we can,” Morrison said.
“The biggest one I would say I felt like for the first time maybe in the last week he saw me for the first time,” he added. “He actually had that recognition and he smiled. I can’t wait until we make him laugh and to hear his laugh.”
For the 29th annual World AIDS Day (Dec. 1), legendary artist and noted philanthropist Sir Elton John is continuing his commitment to raising awareness and funds for the global HIV/AIDS epidemic with the help of mobile messaging app Kwippitand 25 famous friends.
Each day during the next month, a custom-made digital heart — similar to an emoji — is set to release to subscribers of Kwippit’s Elton John AIDS Foundation (EJAF)channel to share on social media and text messages. One hundred percent of the proceeds from downloads ($.99 annual membership) directly benefits the non-profit’s grant-making programs that focus on raising awareness, sharing preventative information, and offering medical care and treatment to all people living with HIV.
John, who designed six of the 31 hearts for the digital campaign (exclusive sketch below) tells Billboard: “I am so grateful to all of the EJAF friends participating in this Kwippit project for sharing their creativity with us, supporting our work, remaining steadfast to the cause, and believing in our ideals.”
“Ending AIDS ultimately comes down to this: We must open our hearts to love one another and help every person in need, regardless of who they are, who they love, where they’re from, or what they do,” said EJAF executive director Scott P. Campbell. “That’s what this campaign is all about — opening our hearts and raising funds to end AIDS once and for all — for everyone.”
In the Spring, the Foundation is capitalizing on its long-standing relationship with Hollywood by hosting an auction during its 26th annual Academy Awards Viewing Party (Mar. 4, 2018). During the sale, all 31 custom heart designs — 6”x 6” heart-shaped tiles — are framed and autographed by each celebrity.
Musicians lending their support include Boy George, Cyndi Lauper, Steven Tyler, Ozzy Osbourne, Ansel Elgort, Beth Ditto, Adam Lambert along with Broadway stars Neil Patrick Harris and Andrew Rannells. Other celebrity supporters include Ellen DeGeneres, Andy Cohen, Lea Michele, Matthew Morrison, Chris Colfer, Sharon Stone, Jonathan Groff, Colton Haynes, Cheyenne Jackson, Billie Jean King, Heidi Klum, Padma Lakshmi, Sandra Lee, Andy Roddick, Jake Shears, and Russell Tovey.
“We’re incredibly honored to work with the Elton John AIDS Foundation on this campaign,” adds Kwippit’s chief brand officer, Krista Treide. “We’re excited to connect the digital/social media generation with EJAF’s important efforts to end the AIDS epidemic in our lifetime.”
Roundabout’s Associate Artist Kathleen Marshall will direct this one-night only special event. Roundabout welcomes back Kathleen following her Tony Award winning work directing and choregraphing Anything Goes and prior to that, her Tony- winning choreography for another Adler and Ross musical comedy – The Pajama Game (Tony Award, Best Revival). Ms. Gyllenhaal returns following her acclaimed Broadway debut in The Real Thing, Matthew Morrison was last at Roundabout in A Naked Girl on the Appian Way, Danny Burstein returns following his Tony nominated performance in Cabaret and before that Talley’s Folly, Victoria Clark returns following her starring role in The Marriage of Bette and Boo, Annie Golden returns after the Tony-nominated musical Violet and Julie Halston was last with Roundabout for Anything Goes and On the Twentieth Century. Roundabout is thrilled to welcome legendary Ms. Goldberg and Adrienne Warren into the family of Roundabout artists.
The Benefit Concert Reading will take place on Monday, December 11, 2017 at 7:30 PM at the Stephen Sondheim Theatre.
Would you do ANYTHING to help your favorite baseball team win the pennant? In the Faustian baseball musical, Damn Yankees, Joe Boyd sells his soul to the devil to be the home run hitter that will guide his favorite team, the Washington Senators, to a win against those “Damn Yankees.” Featuring the classical musical theatre standards, “Heart,” “Two Lost Souls” and “Whatever Lola Wants”, follow Joe in his quest to save his team…and his soul.
Proceeds from the Benefit Concert Reading of Damn Yankees support Roundabout Theatre Company‘s many programs and initiatives, including Education at Roundabout.
VIP, Benefactor and Producer tickets include admission to an exclusive cast party following the performance. Additional cast members and creative team will be announced soon. Generous underwriting support is provided by Roxanne and Scott Bok, Michael T. Cohen, Colliers International NY LLC, Kiendl and John Gordon, Tom and Kitty Patterson Kempner, and Diane and Tom Tuft. Damn Yankees is sponsored by Google. Golden Ram Imports is the wine sponsor for the evening.
Matthew Morrison is locked, loaded and ready for diaper duty.
The Glee alum arrived to Poppy nightclub in a “proud papa” costume for his 8th annual Halloween party to make a quick appearance before he dashed home to be with his model wife Renee Puente, and newborn son, Revel James Makai Morrison.
The annual celeb-filled party—presented by PacSun and Podwall Entertainment—celebrated the spooky holiday and the star’s 39th birthday in typical fashion with a barrage of A-list guests and great costumes.
According to his Instagram, Morrison dressed as a “sherpapa” who is described as a “strong family leader, guide, and protector of our children’s future. It is also a term of endearment for a beloved father or grandfather.”
It’s very fitting for the new father who explained to E! News exclusively that the birth of his first child two weeks ago has been a “beautiful transformation in my life.”
Morrison says the first weeks have been a “whirlwind” with a lot of firsts—like seeing his son shed actual tears, which had yet to happen.
The Broadway star said that on the day of the party, “We put him in the car seat and he hates that thing—so he had some real tears today.”
The star also gave some insight as to how he and his wife chose their first son’s special name.
He explained that they knew they wanted an “R” name for a boy and an “M” name for a girl, but were careful to choose a name that wasn’t “weird.”
“We wanted to revel in our child and we were like, Revel, that is just so cool and we will call him Rev for short,” he explained to us.
As for fatherhood, the actor said that it “is something I have been ready for.” One thing he wasn’t ready for? “The blowouts in his diapers—that has been pretty surprising to me,” he joked.
Congratulations again to the new dad and one special celebration.