The HamilApp, And Why More Broadway Shows Need This

The HamilApp, And Why More Broadway Shows Need This

The HamilApp, And Why More Broadway Shows Need This

by Brookelynn Mason

It's been a great few weeks, er...years, for Hamilton: an American Musical. Aside from the fan-run Hamilton Happy Hour and the Los Angeles opening of the tour, we now have the glory that is the Hamilton mobile app. That's right -- the very first Broadway show to EVER have a mobile app of its very own. So, I say to the Broadway community: this should have happened already, you need to get on board with this, and here's why:

*Visibility for shows that aren't as well known or sought after. The HamilApp saw over 500k downloads in its first three days on the market. Granted, Hamilton is a really popular show...but with its camera filters and social media integration capabilities, you can spread the word about a show with just a few finger taps and a perfectly timed selfie! Stream your show's cast recording, upload relevant news articles to the news feed...the possibilities are endless. 

*Connections. The features found within the HamilApp have brought people together over a shared interest. It has strengthened a fandom, which strengthens consumerism. Being able to watch the live stream of the Los Angeles Ham4Ham with all of the other people who also have the app is a special moment. Imagine if we could see backstage streams, or special event streams of all the shows on Broadway!

*Admitting musical theater into pop culture. Hamilton has arguably been at the forefront of making Broadway more accessible to the average person rather than a specific niche. Putting more shows on more mobile devices and integrating more musical theater into the main stream is just a DAMN good idea.

Don't throw away your shot, Broadway execs! There's dolla dolla bills in this, and the rise of the Broadway community in the digital age. You don't want to wait for it...wait for it...wait for it...

 Banner Image: Joan Marcus

I Have A Crush On Freedom Riders: The Civil Rights Musical

I Have A Crush On Freedom Riders: The Civil Rights Musical

I Have A Crush On Freedom Riders: The Civil Rights Musical

Dear World,

I saw Freedom Riders tonight and I'm in lurve. This docu-musical tackles the subject of the 1961 Freedom Rides, which was a challenge to segregation on public transportation in the South. I feel so lucky to have seen this show, which is a part of the 2017 New York Musical Festival, this early in the game. Every now and again, a show comes along that has the potential to part the skies and let the sunshine come pouring in. Freedom Riders: The Civil Rights Musical is one of them.

Why it's so awesome:

*It's extraordinarily rare that a show's music is this good and this radio ready. I walked out of the theater with the same feeling I had when I saw Dear Evan Hansen and Hamilton for the first time: wanting to immediately listen to the cast recording on repeat. This show is what dreams are made of for those of us who have the crazy idea that the music in new musicals should be...good? 

*The cast is full of future megastars. From Anthony Chatmon II's young John Lewis (the Congressman!) to ensemble members like Brandon Michael Nase, there was standout after standout up on that stage singing their hearts out.

Photos: Mia Winston

*The Act One closer will make you want to stand up and get on that bus with those Riders. You head into intermission inspired the way you feel after Dear Evan Hansen's "You Will Be Found". I smell a Tony Awards performance!

*The gospel Act Two opener, is a potential landmark moment in modern musical theater. It reminded me of "Seasons of Love" from Rent, but with even more to unpack.

*Whitney White's energetic direction let the songs, and the stars singing them, shine.

*I saw the show with ~50 NYC high school kids. Nothing is more exciting than watching young people of color discover how cool musical theater can be. This is the kind of important mass appeal that way more musical theater composers need to focus on if they want their musicals to even stand a chance at Hamilton-caliber success.

Freedom Riders is as fresh and as exciting as it gets and I have a full-on crush on it. There was hot lava bubbling up on that stage tonight and when it erupts it into a full-scale volcano, you are going to be so glad it did. I highly recommend that you get on that bus now and become a Freedom Rider!



P/S Here's a video of me checking out a rehearsal last week, which includes some song snippets. My Spidey Sense was already tingling!

36 Questions Starring #Groffsauce is a Podcast Musical!

36 Questions Starring #Groffsauce is a Podcast Musical!

36 Questions Starring #Groffsauce is a Podcast Musical!

Now, THIS is cool.

Composers Ellen Winter and Chris Littler are exploring unchartered territory: musicals that are designed to be listened to as podcasts. Fortunately for us, they have a total triumph on their hands. Their 36 Questions has a contemporary Dear Evan Hansen-like indie rock/pop score and stars the man of all of our dreams: Jonathan Groff (who Lin-Manuel Miranda calls "Groffsauce"). Groff shines along with his co-star, the deliciously voiced Jessie Shelton.

In the musical, a young divorced couple uses a famous psychological questionnaire to try to get to know each other all over again. The score is full of really good radio-ready songs that make you wonder why more contemporary musicals like this aren't on Broadway. The production values are terrific, including really great sound design...which is obviously important for a show you can't watch!

Check out the behind-the-scenes video and listen to the podcast via the button below (or visit the official website here for more ways to listen). Tony Nominees' Hilarious Audition Stories Tony Nominees' Hilarious Audition Stories

YesBroadway founder and "Curator-in-Chief" Sam Maher recently interviewed Broadway and Hollywood A-Listers about their crazy and hilarious audition stories for a video series by Funniest person? Kevin Spacey. Kindest? Condola Rashad. Best audition story? Zachary Quinto.

Check out the videos below, one for musical auditions and one for plays.

In honor of the Tonys, we asked some of our favorite Broadway actors to share the story of their most memorable auditions for a musical. Josh Groban recounts being laughed out of the room for his try at Sweeney Todd, Idina Menzel shares the secret of her Wicked outburst, Hamilton's Leslie Odom Jr.

To mark the occasion of the Tonys, we hit up some of our favorite Broadway stars for some of their less distinguished moments: their audition horror stories. James Corden, Kevin Spacey, Hugh Jackman, Tavi Gevinson, Cobie Smulders, Corey Hawkins, and Zachary Quinto shared hilarious and humbling audition horror stories that prove anything can happen.

And, as a special bonus, Cynthia Nixon!

YouTube Playlist: 8 Must-See Tony Awards Moments

YouTube Playlist: 8 Must-See Tony Awards Moments

The 2017 Tony Awards introduced the world to Dear Evan Hansen and memorialized some incredible performances that happened on Broadway this year. Here are 8 must-see moments from the broadcast on CBS.

Ben Platt and the cast of Dear Evan Hansen perform "Waving Through A Window". You can literally hear the energy in the crowd as the song starts. This is a legendary performance that will go down in musical theater history as one of the greats. It is so fun to think about the fact that he wins a Tony Award® for this role a couple of hours later.

Okay, The Great Comet is just straight up sexy. If you don't want to go see it after this ridiculously awesome performance, especially starting at around the 2:00 mark....then,'re wrong. Note: the tuxedo'd man that Josh Groban brings up on stage is Great Comet composer Dave Malloy.

The *perfect* revival of Falsettos was short-lived on Broadway this season, but a filmed version of it is coming to movie theaters this summer and will also be broadcast on PBS this fall. As star Betsy Wolfe says, Falsettos is a "great gateway show into a more sophisticated palette. Just try not to love it!" We were all so glad to see them on the world's stage this year at the Tony Awards®.

These 4 minutes are a grand tribute to New York City...and were kinda the highlight of the entire evening. Oh, Hello stars John Mulaney and Nick Kroll steal the damn show introducing The Rockettes, who are accompanied by Broadway A-Listers Cynthia Erivo and Leslie Odom, Jr from Hamilton

Come From Away is an incredibly special show that gave Dear Evan Hansen a real run for its money for that Best Musical Tony. The cast blazes onto the world's stage with the opening number from the show. 

The surprise of the night? Miss Saigon's Eva Noblezada shines in a medley of songs from the revival. Check out her soaring vocals starting around the 3:35 mark. There's a reason she was nominated for a Tony Award!

Michael Aronov knocks it out of the mothafuckin' park with his show-stopping performance in Act 2 of Oslo. This was the first award of the night and it went to a total underdog (he was not expected to win) and set the tone for next few hours. His speech is really cool.

Dear Evan Hansen's Rachel Bay Jones slays as Evan's mom Heidi. Let's put it this way: her main song in Act Two has the entire audience weeping in unison. This woman owns the stage at the Music Box Theater, where she also starred in Pippin...for which she also should have won a Tony!

Photos: Behind-The-Scenes on the Tony Awards Red Carpet

Photos: Behind-The-Scenes on the Tony Awards Red Carpet

Photos: Behind-The-Scenes on the Tony Awards Red Carpet

Spotify Playlist: Alex Lacamoire's Showtunes For People Who Don't Like Showtunes

Spotify Playlist: Alex Lacamoire's Showtunes For People Who Don't Like Showtunes

Ever heard of a couple little shows called Hamilton and Dear Evan Hansen? Well, Alex Lacamoire is the orchestrator for both. What is an orchestrator, you ask? Great question! An orchestrator takes the music the composer writes and makes it sound the way it does in the theater with a full orchestra (or band) and on the cast recording.

Beyond his duties as an orchestrator (he won the Tony Award® both last year for Best Orchestrations for Hamilton and again this year for Dear Evan Hansen), he is also the Music Supervisor for both shows AND a producer of both cast recordings!

We asked "Lac" to make a playlist for our Showtunes for People Who Don't Like Showtunes series...and, of course, he knocked it out. of. the. park! About the playlist, he says: "I drew from Broadway, Off-Broadway and beyond, sometimes going for deeper cuts from my favorite composers. I tried to pick tracks that I think are so well-written that they would lure those unfamiliar with theater music to learn more about the world. Hope you dig it!"

Without further ado, the songs:

"What a killer opener for a killer cast recording of a killer score. It seemed appropriate to start with this scorcher by Stephen Trask."

"I love this melody, arrangement, and production. Hands up for Daniel Messé, Nathan Tysen, and Philippa Soo!"

"Sara Bareilles wrote a brilliant score, and this is the track that makes my heart swell the most. I love how you can float away on this song. The vocal arrangement is bananas."

"I couldn’t help but pick a song from HAMILTON. This is the track I’m most proud of on the album from an arrangement/orchestration/production perspective, and Lin-Manuel Miranda’s song is just the coolest."

"I’ve yet to meet someone who isn’t compelled the first time they hear that low piano figure and that opening vocal line. Props to Jason Robert Brown for always being so melodic and purposeful in his writing."

"I dig how Dave Malloy has his own distinct voice as a writer, always being honest, uncluttered, and witty. This song makes me smile with its story and arrangement."

"I never ever ever get tired of this song. This tune would bring me to tears watching the original cast (which I saw on Broadway 5 times!). AnneMarie Milazzo’s vocal arrangement is so darn good it makes me want to quit, and Skylar Astin’s vocal soaring at the end is so powerful that it makes me clench my fists. Duncan Sheik and Steven Sater, dude -- they nailed it."

"I remember HOWLING upon hearing this song! Bobby Lopez, Jeff Marx and Jeff Whitty for the win!"

"This was the first track I ever heard from RENT. Ever gorgeous. Thank you, Jonathan Larson."

"I adore Shaina Taub’s writing. If you don’t know her, look her up! You’re welcome."

"Kait Kerrigan and Brian Lowdermilk wrote one of the funniest dude songs ever. Dude!"

"It’s hard for me to express how brilliant I think Adam Guettel is. His writing is heartfelt and original, often taking unexpected turns in these melodies and chord progressions that continue to get richer the more one listens."

"I find this track to be perfect in every way; the lyrics, the melody, the orchestration, the performance….FUN HOME left such an impression on me. Respect to Jeanine Tesori and Lisa Kron."

"Larry O’Keefe is a genius! That guy rhymes like a mofo, and what this song accomplishes in a show, musicalizing a passage of time AND painting a clear story WHILE making you laugh….It’s phenomenal. When I first heard the BAT BOY demo in 1999, this was the song that sealed the deal and made me say 'I have to be on this show.'"

"This gem is one of my favorite songs Tom Kitt and Amanda Green ever wrote. It’s simple and heartbreaking, and it sounds exactly the way this character would talk."

"I wanted to close out with this jam, because I am always blown away by how Benj Pasek and Justin Paul are able to write songs that speak both musical theater and pop so authentically and naturally. You hear this song once and you never forget it."

Follow our Spotify playlist to have all of these incredible songs in one place!

Alex Lacamoire

Alex Lacamoire

Thanks so much, Alex. Please orchestrate every new Broadway musical forever, thanks!

Faces of #EduHam

Faces of #EduHam

Faces of #EduHam

Every few weeks, the producers of Hamilton team up with The Rockefeller Foundation, The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, and the NYC Department of Education to welcome 1,300 NYC public school kids to a matinee performance in what has come to be called #EduHam. The energy on 46th Street is electric as the kids arrive around 9am. Once inside, students from each of the 16 participating schools take the stage to perform songs and poems they've written about American history, the founding fathers, and other themes explored in the show. Hamilton cast members then take the stage for a Q&A.

At 2pm, the lights go down for the matinee...and these kids' lives will never be the same. There are no regular ticket holders in the audience. You might wonder if teenagers have a hard time respectfully being attentive to a show for two and a half hours, but that's easy when the show is as powerful as Hamilton. It is impossible to describe the joy of the collective gasp that happens when more than a thousand kids of color realize that a cast member onstage who looks just like them will be playing George Washington in a multimillion-dollar musical about American history.

#EduHam is an incredibly special experience and a true gift to these kids and our society. Check out some of the faces of people involved in the May 10th, 2017 #EduHam and a video from YesBroadway's coverage from a March #EduHam below.

To learn more about #EduHam, visit the sites for these organizations:

Gilder Lehrman

The Rockefeller Foundation

The NYC Department of Education

and Hamilton on Broadway

Check out this video from the last time YesBroadway went to EduHam in March:

Additional reporting by Annie Schiffmann.

40 Under 40: Broadway (2017)

40 Under 40: Broadway (2017)

40 Under 40: Broadway (2017)

by the YesBroadway team: Sam Maher, Brookelynn Mason, Annie Schiffmann, Tom Coppola, and Gianluca Russo

LOOKING FOR THE 2018 40 UNDER 40? Click here.

YesBroadway is all about championing the fresh and exciting people that we think are future megastars...and some who already are! Here are 40 people under the age of 40 you should keep an eye on. We start with 10 performers, followed up with 10 directors, choreographers, and producers who rock it out behind-the-scenes. After that, it's 10 playwrights and composers and we finish up with 10 influencers who are changing the way you find out early about the next Hamilton & generally awesome NYC theater. Click here to follow them all on Twitter!


Each photo links to a video to check out the performer in action. Click and explore!