A Season of #YayHamlet

A Season of #YayHamlet

A Season of #YayHamlet

by Brookelynn Mason

This Shakespearean classic has had such an exciting spring season! Even though this is a story older than Broadway itself, these four productions of Hamlet have such fresh and exciting direction that they are most definitely worth taking a look at.

The Public Theater

The Public Theater is the venue that gave us #YayHamlet favorite, Hamilton. This summer, ridiculously-good-looking Oscar Isaac (a Public veteran), will take the title role in this Sam Gold-directed production (The Glass Menagerie, Doll House Part 2). This specific production has been through quite the journey--it's been picked up and dropped more than once before coming to The Public! 

Photo: Rob Kim

Photo: Rob Kim


Roust Theatre Company

What happens when a Russian-historical novelist and outspoken critic of Vladimir Putin meets theater and classic Shakespeare? OBVIOUSLY a version of Hamlet set in a burgeoning police-state that's packed full of political scheming and intrigue. This spring production is sure to please--how could it not with the talents of Matt Weiss, Claire Brownwell, and Khris Lewin on its side?

Artwork: Sophia Tabatadze

Artwork: Sophia Tabatadze


London, West End

You might remember us talking about this unique production starring Sherlock's own Andrew Scott. If you don't, don't fret--we'll reinforce how crucial it is that you go and get these tickets now. We expect this to sell out lickety splickety, because aside from the updated and fresh direction, part of Andrew's condition for the move to West End was that the tickets be affordable. We LOVE accessible theater!

Photo: Manuel Harlan

Photo: Manuel Harlan


Sheen Center for Thought and Culture

Waterwell's production of Hamlet is exactly the kind of fresh and exciting theater we love. Not only is the scenery totally updated (WWII-era Persia), but the entire production is bilingual: English and Farsi. As if that wasn't enough of a reason to check it out, Broadway favorites Sherie Rene Scott, Arian Moayed, and Micah Stock are just some of the members of this sure-to-be-amazing cast.


Dear Ben Folds

Dear Ben Folds

When Pasek + Paul were writing a musical about teenage boys, were they influenced by the music they were listening to as teenage boys?

"Opening Act" Benefit To Star Christopher Jackson, Jasmine Cephas-Jones, and More! 

"Opening Act" Benefit To Star Christopher Jackson, Jasmine Cephas-Jones, and More! 

"Opening Act" Benefit To Star Christopher Jackson, Jasmine Cephas-Jones, and More! 

by Brookelynn Mason

#EduHam isn't the only way for inner city schools to participate in the theater community. At the 11th Annual Play Reading, A Night of YES!, Opening Act will be raising money for their after-school and summer theater programs for underserved New York City public high schools.

In addition to student performances, the cast will feature faves such as Hamilton's Christopher Jackson and Jasmine Cephas-Jones, Moana's Auli'i Cravalho, Uzo Aduba from Orange Is The New Black and more. The performance will be directed by the legendary Kenny Leon, fresh off The Wiz Live! and Hairspray Live!

Oh, and did we mention HAMILTON TICKETS?! Opening Act is running a $20 Hamilton ticket raffle to any of their shows (Chicago, New York, OR Tour!) to raise money for their programs. How many times do you get a chance to see Hamilton for only $20? Never. The answer is never.

A Night of YES! will be hosted at New World Stages on April 25th. 


NON-BROADWAY BROADWAY BUSINESSES

NON-BROADWAY BROADWAY BUSINESSES

by Tom Coppola

It’s common to hear that people who work in the theater also have “survival jobs”—that is, work they engage in between (and sometimes during) working on a show for additional income.

Nowadays, slinging dirty dishes and answering phones have become a thing of the past. These working actors are changing the landscape of survival jobs by building their own businesses! With everything from cleaning services to childcare, and yes—performing arts training—here are just a few businesses owned by theater professionals:

Broadway Babysitters by Jen Malenke and Vasthy Mompoint– This is not just a service to pay someone to watch your kids while you have date night. Oh no. Broadway Babysitters provides child care of all kinds, including audition drop-off services for parents pursuing an acting career and services for special needs children.  By employing experienced sitters who are professional artists of all disciplines, they engage children both actively and artistically. With special rates for artists within the performing arts community, this service is perfect for any family who is raising a budding artist!

Photo: BroadwayBabysitters.com

Photo: BroadwayBabysitters.com


Motivated Movers by Elise Hearden and Jesse Palmer – For performers who feel that their dance abilities could use a little help, but the thought of a full on dance class is terrifying—Motivated Movers will give you a step in the right direction. The beginner classes celebrate growth and confidence building in a safe, non-judgmental environment. With class names like “Face the Fear” and “Swing Nation” (which prepares students for the multi-faceted role of being a swing—someone who covers a number of different roles in a given show), they’re putting the power back in people’s jazz hands!


Broadway Maids by Joshua P. – Has your apartment seen better days? Dust bunnies invading your bedroom? That week old Chinese food stanking up your fridge? You’re in luck! Broadway Maids will swoop in and make your humble abode sparkle and shine. Provided by working performance professionals and artists, they offer various levels of services and rates based on size of the number of rooms, from standard cleaning to a good ole deep cleaning. Offices too! (deep breath) Ahhhhhhhhhhh!

Photo: BroadwayMaids.com

Photo: BroadwayMaids.com


Gilded Hands by Nikki Yarnell– Just what the doctor ordered! Every aspect of this mobile spa service is continually tailored and added upon, making it one of New York City’s most respected services of its kind. Offering every type of massage under the sun, you can even tack on that manicure or pedicure you’ve been putting off.

Photo: GildedHands.com

Photo: GildedHands.com


Casual Hang With The Stars of A Bronx Tale

Casual Hang With The Stars of A Bronx Tale

YesBroadway Curator-in-Chief Sam casually hangs with Bobby Conte Thornton and Ariana Debose, stars of A Bronx Tale The Musical. Watch highlights here:

Or check out the full interview here:

Justin "Squigs" Robertson: The Light of Broadway

Justin "Squigs" Robertson: The Light of Broadway

Justin "Squigs" Robertson: The Light of Broadway

by Brookelynn Mason

Visual art accompanying the performing arts makes perfect sense. Sardi's Restaurant has their extremely well-known gallery of Broadway star caricatures, Amber Kempter is the genius behind the fan made bobble heads of "Broadway goes POP!" and Jack Abrams is a 14-year-old who makes Broadway show-themed Legos

Enter Justin "Squigs" Robertson, the mastermind and artist of the Lights of Broadway Show Cards, the baseball cards of Broadway. They are such a huge hit that there's even a Facebook group dedicated to trading hard-to-get cards signed by the the celebrities on them!

 "Caricature is a classic art form," Justin says, beginning the story of how this particular form of art is uniquely suited for theater. Before the days of television and movies, there was theater and art. "Caricature crosses boundaries and goes hand in hand with pop culture," he continues. Since caricature is accessible to all, his work makes theater accessible to a wider audience. Justin is the Al Hirschfeld of our time.

Before he become an artist, however, Justin was an actor.  "I was poor," he chuckles, "and I would draw caricatures for my cast mates as gifts."  The Lights of Broadway project became prominent just a few years ago when Justin was selling cards he'd drawn at a table at the Broadway Flea Market. Some kids came by and bought them. One of those kids happened to be the son of the Tony-winning producer Dori Berinstein. "When she saw them, she asked to meet, and we've been partners on this ever since."

"Lights of Broadway is about education and the celebration of art," Justin says, beginning to get very passionate about the topic.  "It is a collaborative project."  As of now, there are current 460 regular collectable cards in circulation, not including promotional and special event cards, with 130 cards planned for the future and tons of other goodies.

 "The beauty of theater," Justin gets serious for a moment, "is that you get to see into the life of someone who's different than you.  [Live theater] is empathy.  There was a time when theater was more affordable...it was not much more expensive than seeing a movie.  Now, yes, it is expensive, but most shows have a lottery system, cancellation lines, and discounted same-day tickets."

In addition to the Lights of Broadway, Justin often commemorates different events with caricature art (movies, show openings, etc.). Click each image to enlarge, and hover your mouse for Justin's insight into each piece.  For mobile users, tap to enlarge and then tap the small (teeeeeeny tiny, really) square in the bottom right of your screen.

More info on Justin and the Lights of Broadway trading cards below.

Artists For The Arts: Broadway Stars Collaborate To #SaveTheNEA

Artists For The Arts: Broadway Stars Collaborate To #SaveTheNEA

Artists For The Arts: Broadway Stars Collaborate To #SaveTheNEA

by Mollie Davis

Grab a box of tissues and prepare to have your mind blown. Hamilton stars Lexi Lawson (Eliiiiiiiiiiza Schuyler), Bryan Terrell Clark (HERE COMES THE GENERAL), and A-listers such as Carmen Cusack, Telly Leung, Annie Golden, and Liz Callaway, joined forces with spoken word artists, singers, and television stars to produce an arrangement of the iconic Beatles song, "With A Little Help From My Friends" that turned into a love song to the arts and their importance.

The $1.29 track (Broadway Records, iTunes) is helping raise money for Americans For the Arts, an arts advocacy program that is fighting to save the National Endowment of the Arts. If the emotional singing wasn't enough, the music video highlights poetry, dance, instrumental music, and American Sign Language. The arts are important. Save them.

Donate to Americans for the Arts below!