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Posts Tagged ‘Bruce Vilanch’

Check Out: Bruce Vilanch & The Skivvies, SATURDAY, August 13, 8PM, Fire Island

Wednesday, August 10th, 2016

Bruce Vilanch & The Skivvies
SATURDAY, August 13, 8PM

Bruce-Vilanch-Skivvies-300x168

Bruce Vilanch & The Skivvies

In Association with rj productions

Emmy Award-winner, celebrated comedy genius and Fire Island favorite, Bruce Vilanch, comes to Whyte Hall in August with musical comedy sensations The Skivvies. From writing The Oscars for over 25 years to The Hollywood Squares, Bruce has many stories to tell.

The Skivvies, the “musically thrilling” undierock, comedypop duo don’t just strip down their musical arrangements, they literally strip down to their underwear to perform their distinctive mashups and eccentric originals for cello and ukulele starring Award-winning singer-actors Lauren Molina (Broadway’s Sweeney Todd & Rock of Ages) and Nick Cearley (All Shook Up, Buyer and Cellar) The Wall Street Journal called them “smart, sophisticated…ingenious.”

Tickets $100 & $75

TICKETS AVAILABLE IN THE HARBOR AND ONLINE NOW

To Buy Tickets: Click Here

Musical based around Petula Clark songs opens up in Connecticut. What to expect?

Saturday, July 30th, 2016

BlastingNews
Musical based around Petula Clark songs opens up in Connecticut
Published on:29 July 2016

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A stage-show based around the songs of the 1960’s British songstress, Petula Clark, has opened up in Connecticut, titled A Sign of the Times.

What to expect?
According to the press release, the story is not that of Petula Clark herself, despite featuring quite a good number of her songs. Instead, the play tells of an original story of a girl named Cindy who runs away from Middle America to Manhattan in the year of 1965, and the various misadventures that ensue. A press release give the show the tagline of “Forget all your troubles, forget all your cares —go “Downtown” and find out who you are!,” taken from Clark’s song, “Downtown,” which is one of the many songs featured in the show.

In the current show, Cindy is played by Ephie Aardema, a Broadway veteran. Other actors include Robert Lenzi, Bryan Fenkart, Nick Bailey, and Crystal Lucas-Perry. Esnsemble includes Lauren Boyd, Lauren Nicole Chapman, Jeremy Gaston, Alexandra Matteo, Kevin Santos, Keven Quillon, Dave Schoonover and Alet Taylor, many of whom have appeared in Broadway shows as well as other shows for the Connecticut theatre.

The book or libretto was written by Bruce Vilanch and the story was created by Richard Robin. Gabriel Barre serves as director. JoAnn M. Hunter serves as a choreographer. Performances will begin July 29 and will last until early September at the Norma Terris Theatre, which is owned by the Goodspeed Musicals theater company, in Chester, Connecticut. Tickets can be purchased through the theatre’s box office or online at Goodspeed’s website.

The show includes such popular Clark songs as “Color My World,” “Kiss Me Goodbye,” “Who Am I,” “Call Me,” “Don’t Sleep in the Subway” and “The Boy From New York City,” in addition to the namesake song, which can be seen below.

That said, Petula Clark is not the only icon of the Sixties to be a part of the show. In addition, the show is said to feature songs from other artists of the decade, such as Lesley Gore’s “You Don’t Own Me” and the Fontella Bass number, “Rescue Me.” Even one Elvis number, “If I Can Dream,” will appear in the show. #Music

New Vilanch musical plans a tuneful, funny flashback that’s relatable

Saturday, July 23rd, 2016

New Haven Register
New Goodspeed musical plans a tuneful, funny flashback that’s relatable
By Joe Amarante
07/22/16, 12:25 PM EDT

4-27-2013 3-49-54 AM

CHESTER >> In the news: Rancorous politics, nuts with guns, hateful cults of death and a drug-overdose “epidemic.”

In the theaters and galleries, meanwhile? Maybe a chance to catch your breath.

“I think theater as an escape is completely wonderful,” said director Gabriel Barre the other day, before rehearsals for the new musical “A Sign of the Times.” “There’s nothing wrong with that and a lot of entertainment can and should provide an ability to transport an audience; let’s call it that instead of escape.”

But what Barre is really drawn to, he said in a phone interview, is a show that can do that as well as “make you look at your life in a different way.”

“For me, I want people to be transported and laugh and have a good time and be dazzled and be surprised, of course,” Barre said. “But I also want them to think a little bit and to be emotionally moved, as well.”

Barre is directing “A Sign of the Times” at The Terris Theatre in Chester — about a woman from the sticks who moves to New York City in the 1960s amid the era’s backdrop of women’s liberation, the civil rights movement and anti-war protests. The musical runs from July 29 to Sept. 4 at Goodspeed Musicals’ development theater on North Main Street.

The title is based on the Petula Clark song, and Barre said it’s relatable.

“It’s quite interesting to juxtapose this song, and the protests of the ’60s that are depicted in this show, with the protests that are happening today,” Barre said. “And what’s remarkable to realize is… the signs of the times in the ’60s are not that different — sadly perhaps, tragically perhaps — than the signs of these times.

Still, Barre & Co. are creating a musical from scratch here, which is always daunting.

“That’s sort of the fun of it for me,” said Barre, who’s done several new shows at Goodspeed’s Terris Theatre as well as established musicals elsewhere and at the main Goodspeed theater in East Haddam.

Barre likes the older musicals, but he enjoys the challenge of the development process, too — “making sure the shows are clear, not too long, not too short. I’m really looking at it as a dramaturge, as an advocate for the audience.”

This one involves taking older songs — many by British singer Clark — and weaving them into “a completely new and original story.”

That was one of the first challenges that writer Bruce Vilanch had to face on the project. You know Vilanch — the hefty, blonde-haired writer who was head writer for the Academy Awards for years, not to mention “Hollywood Squares,” where he also occupied a square near Whoopi Goldberg. He also played Edna Turnblad in “Hairspray” on Broadway and has written for Bette Midler and Diana Ross shows.

Richard Robin came up with the basic story idea and Vilanch took it from there, in later collaboration with Barre and the music staff led by Rick Fox and Joseph Church.

“I’m proud of the way we’ve woven these songs into the life of this young woman, Cindy, who’s from the Midwest and comes to New York to find her purpose in New York,” said Barre.

These types of shows — from tuneful “Bikinis” to the Queen tune-fest “We Will Rock You” — can be very thin in plot and real meaning. But this one is not just a jukebox musical, said Barre, although it does crank out the 1960s hits of Clark, Lesley Gore, Nancy Sinatra and others.

“We have six main characters who all have their own subplots and relationships. So we have a plot that’s very plausible… It’s more than a thin membrane that links the songs.”

Barre said the team is concentrating on the tone of the show. “We’re really investing in these characters and hope everyone else will, as well — taking the material seriously in the right places, but also having lots of fun here and there.”

Being a Terris show, the audience will help determine how that works and help the show find the right balance, Barre said.

Why Petula Clark music (“Downtown,” “I Know a Place”) as a focus? In the show’s notes, Vilanch says he always thought Clark’s songs sounded like they were from a musical.

“Like country songs, in a way, these songs have great character,” said Barre.

Barre said most of us know the tunes “but we sometimes dismiss the lyrics and just sing along. But in the context of a show, they actually (fit) quite well and come quite easily out of the mouths of characters that Bruce and Richard have drawn here.”

So much so that it sounds like a contemporary musical, Barre said.

And like watching the Abba musical “Mamma Mia!” the audience will have fun seeing “that engineering going on” and how the songs are justified.

There’s comedy with the music, of course.

Barre called Vilanch a “great, great person with a big heart… I’ve actually worked with him before on some benefits… I love watching him put together jokes and, of course, he’s been a laugh riot in rehearsals, which I expected. But what’s really surprising to me is his encyclopedic knowledge of … musical theater… He just knows every show that’s ever been done, who starred in it, when they left… But he knows a lot about the world (too).”

And there’s plenty of dance, said Barre, crafted by choreographer JoAnn Hunter and mainly performed by an ensemble of 10 dancers.

“The whole show was conceived by me and JoAnn and the team… as a constant flowing spectacle that never stops, in a way,” said Barre. “Even the transitions are all choreographed.”

If it works, the show indeed will transport viewers to not just another troubled time but a magical place.

“I think that (parallel) is one of the things that makes this show not just fluff or trivial or a jukebox musical that you can just go and escape… but that it’s a show that will actually remind people that Americans are still trying to find what it (America) is and who we are and what does it mean to be American.

“What does it mean to be patriotic? Does it mean you commit to the country as it is or can you be just as patriotic and be committed to changing it?”

Cindy (played by Ephie Aardema) goes from being an amateur photographer to a professional in the show, which gives the show license to use projections of images from the era, too. And evocative images are certainly a sign of both times, too, for bad or good.

Curtain times are Wednesday at 2 and 7:30 p.m., Thursday at 7:30 p.m., July 29 at 8, July 30 at 3 and 8, and July 31 at 2 and 6:30. Tickets ($49 or less) are available a 860-873-8668 or online at goodspeed.org.

Bruce Vilanch’s Petula Clark Inspired Musical, Sign Of The Times, Announces Cast And Songs

Friday, July 1st, 2016

Playbill
Goodspeed’s Petula Clark Musical, Sign of the Times, Announces Cast
BY ROBERT VIAGAS
JUN 28, 2016

download

Bruce Vilanch is writing the libretto.

A Sign of the Times, a new musical that uses songs made famous by 1960s pop sensation Petula Clark “and other hit-makers of the day,” has announced the cast for its summer production at Goodspeed’s Norma Terris Theatre in Chester, CT.

Running July 29–September 4, the show has an original story by Richard Robin and an original book by comedy writer Bruce Vilanch. The score includes such period hits as “Downtown,” “Call Me,” “Don’t Sleep in the Subway” and “The Boy From New York City.”

Gabriel Barre will direct the musical, which tells the story of a young woman named Cindy who comes to New York in 1965. According to production notes, “Unexpected friends, lovers, careers, and conflicts are all a subway ride away in a pop-fueled new musical. Forget all your troubles, forget all your cares—go ‘Downtown’ and find out who you are!”

Cindy will be played by Ephie Aardema, who appeared in the Broadway production of The Bridges of Madison County and Goodspeed’s Terris Theatre production of Snapshots. Robert Lenzi from Broadway’s Tuck Everlasting and South Pacific will play Brian. Also in the cast: Bryan Fenkart (Broadway’sMemphis), Nick Bailey (Broadway’s Casa Valentina) and Crystal Lucas-Perry ( Little Children Dream of God at the Roundabout Theatre).

The ensemble includes Lauren Boyd (Broadway’s West Side Story), Lauren Chapman (Broadway’s Kinky Boots), Melessie Clark, Drew Franklin ( Seven Brides for Seven Brothers at Goodspeed and Broadway’s Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella), Jeremy Gaston (Broadway’s Sister Act), Alexandra Matteo (Broadway’s Annie), Keven Quillon (Broadway’s Grease, Shrek the Musical and Annie), Kevin Santos (Broadway’s A Chorus Line, West Side Story), Dave Schoonover (Broadway’s Young Frankenstein) and Alet Taylor (Broadway’s The Producers).

Other creative team credits: choreography by JoAnn M. Hunter, scenic design by Paul Tate dePoo lII, costumes by Jennifer Caprio, lighting design by Ken Billington, projection design by Benjamin Pearcy, sound design by Jay Hilton and music direction by Rick Fox.

Tickets are available through the Box Office (860) 873-8668, or on-line at Goodspeed.org.

Here are the songs used in the show, along with the artist who recorded them and who wrote them:

“Color My World,” Sung by Petula Clark, Written by Yvonne J. Harvey and Tony Hatch
“I Couldn’t Live Without Your Love,” Sung by Petula Clark, Written by Yvonne J. Harvey and Tony Hatch
“I Only Want To Be With You,” Sung by Dusty Springfield, Written by Michael Edwin Hawker and Ivor Raymonde
“The Other Man’s Grass Is Always Greener,” Sung by Petula Clark, Written by Yvonne J. Harvey and Tony Hatch
“I Know A Place,” Sung by Petula Clark, Written by Tony Hatch
“Turn Back The Hands Of Time,” Sung by Tyrone Davis, Written by Jack Daniels and Bonnie Thompson
“Round Every Corner,” Sung by Petula Clark, Written by Tony Hatch
“Baby The Rain Must Fall,” Sung by Glenn Yarbrough, Written by Elmer Bernstein and Ernie Sheldon
“Five O’Clock World,” Sung by The Vogues, Written by Allen Reynolds
“Call Me,” Sung by Petula Clark, Written by Tony Hatch
“These Boots Are Made For Walkin’,” Sung by Nancy Sinatra, Written by Lee Hazlewood
“Rescue Me,” Sung by Fontella Bass, Written by Raynard Miner and Carl William Smith
“The Boy From New York City,” Sung by The Ad Libs, Written by John Taylor and George Davis
“If I Can Dream,” Sung by Elvis Presley, Written by Earl Brown
“Who Am I,” Sung by Petula Clark, Written by Yvonne J. Harvey and Tony Hatch
“The In Crowd,” Sung by Petula Clark, Written by Billy Page
“A Sign Of The Times,” Sung by Petula Clark, Written by Tony Hatch
“It’s In His Kiss,” Sung by Betty Everett, Written by Rudy Clark
“Society’s Child,” Sung by Janis Ian, Written by Janis Ian
“Don’t Sleep In The Subway,” Sung by Petula Clark, Written by Yvonne J. Harvey and Tony Hatch
“You’d Better Come Home,” Sung by Petula Clark, Written by Tony Hatch
“You Don’t Own Me,” Sung by Lesley Gore, Written by John Madara and David White
“Kiss Me Goodbye,” Sung by Petula Clark, Written by John Barry Mason and Leslie David Reed
“Downtown,” Sung by Petula Clark, Written by Tony Hatch

Broadway Veterans Will Lead Bruce Vilanch’s New 1960s Musical A SIGN OF THE TIMES in CT

Tuesday, June 28th, 2016

Broadway World
Broadway Veterans Will Lead Goodspeed’s New 1960s Musical A SIGN OF THE TIMES
By Broadway World Staff
June 28, 2016

4-27-2013 3-49-54 AM

This is the story of Cindy, a 20-something whose dreams are bigger than her Midwestern hometown will allow. Set against the backdrop of New York City in the 1960s women’s liberation, the civil rights movement, and protests of the Vietnam warCindy searches for her place in the world. A Sign of the Times, featuring chart-topping hits from the 1960s, celebrates friendship, love, and discovering one’s sense of self. This pop-fueled musical will run July 29 – September 4 at The Terris Theatre in Chester, Conn. A Sign of the Times will be sponsored by Essex Savings Bank.

1965. The pulse of a changing era lures Cindy from Middle America to the swirl of Manhattan. Unexpected friends, lovers, careers, and conflicts are all a subway ride away in a pop-fueled new musical featuring songs made famous by Petula Clark and other hit-makers of the day. “I Know a Place,” “The Shoop Shoop Song,” and “If I Can Dream” are among the fabulous favorites on an eye-opening ride from innocence to experience. Forget all your troubles, forget all your cares – go “Downtown” and find out who you are!

A Sign of the Times includes popular hits by Petula Clark, as well as classics by Elvis Presley, Lesley Gore, Nancy Sinatra, and Fontella Bass. The musical’s original book is by Emmy Award-winning writer Bruce Vilanch. Vilanch’s career as writer and performer spans the worlds of television, film, and stage. For television he has written for shows as diverse as “The Brady Bunch Variety Hour,” “Donnie and Marie,” “Comic Relief,” and “Hollywood Squares,” as well as serving several years as head writer for the Academy Awards. For Broadway, Bruce not only appeared as Edna Turnblad in Hairspray, but wrote the book for the musical Platinum and penned special material for a number of revues and concerts for the likes of Bette Midler, Michael Feinstein, and Diana Ross, among others. The story of A Sign of the Times was created by Richard Robin. This production made possible by special arrangement with Richard Robin, president of Wells Street Productions.

Cindy will be played by Ephie Aardema who appeared in the Broadway production of The Bridges of Madison County and Goodspeed’s Terris Theatre production of Snapshots. Robert Lenzi from Broadway’s Tuck Everlasting, and South Pacific will play Brian. The role of Dennis will be played by Bryan Fenkart who performed in the cast of Broadway’s Memphis. Matt will be played by Nick Bailey whose credits include the Broadway production Casa Valentina. Tanya will be played by Crystal Lucas-Perry who most recently played Madison in Little Children Dream of God at the Roundabout Theatre.

The ensemble includes Lauren Boyd (Broadway’s West Side Story), Lauren Chapman (Broadway’s Kinky Boots), Melessie Clark, Drew Franklin (Seven Brides for Seven Brothers at The Goodspeed and Broadway’s Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella), Jeremy Gaston (Broadway’s Sister Act), Alexandra Matteo (Broadway’s Annie), Keven Quillon (Broadway’s Grease, Shrek the Musical, and Annie), Kevin Santos (Broadway’s A Chorus Line, West Side Story), Dave Schoonover (Broadway’s Young Frankenstein), and Alet Taylor (Broadway’s The Producers) who will play Cleo.

A Sign of the Times will be directed by Gabriel Barre. Mr. Barre has directed numerous productions for Goodspeed Musicals including Camille Claudel, King of Hearts, Sweeney Todd, Houdini, and Fanny Hill. In 2012 Mr. Barre directed Amazing Grace at The Terris Theatre and again in 2015 on Broadway. Off-Broadway he directed Andrew Lippa’s The Wild Party; Son of a Gun; Cyrano; Summer of ‘42; Stars in Your Eyes; Honky-Tonk Highway; john & jen; and Almost, Maine. As a performer he appeared on Broadway in Rags, Starmites, Anna Karenina, and Ain’t Broadway Grand.

JoAnn M. Hunter will serve as Choreographer. Ms. Hunter’s Broadway credits for choreography include Associate Chorographer for All Shook Up, The Wedding Singer, Spring Awakening, and Curtains and Choreographer for the recent hits School of Rock-The Musical, and Disaster!. As a dancer, she performed on Broadway in Miss Saigon, Guys and Dolls, Damn Yankees, and How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, among others. She returns to The Terris Theatre where she served as an Assistant Choreographer for the 2004 Goodspeed production of Princesses.

Scenic Design will be by Paul Tate DePoo lII who most recently served as the Scenic Designer for Goodspeed’s Guys and Dolls and the Associate Designer for Broadway’s Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill. Costumes are designed by Jennifer Caprio whose credits include the Broadway’s The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, as well as Goodspeed’s LMNOP at The Terris Theatre. Lighting Design will be by Ken Billington who has been nominated for nine Tony Awards, winning in 1997 for Best Lighting Design for Chicago. With nearly 100 Broadway productions to his name, some of his most recent designs include Dames at Sea, Amazing Grace, Chaplin, The Scottsboro Boys, Sunday in the Park with George, It Shoulda Been You, and The Drowsy Chaperone. He has also served as Lighting Designer for numerous Goodspeed productions including Amazing Grace, Lucky Guy, The Story of My Life, The 60’s Project, They All Laughed, and The Road to Hollywood. Projection Design will be provided by Benjamin Pearcy. Mr. Pearcy’s Broadway credits include Hedwig and the Angry Inch and Big Fish. Jay Hilton who is in his 31st season at Goodspeed will provide Sound Design.

The Music Director for A Sign of the Times will be Rick Fox whose Broadway credits include Doctor Zhivago, Jesus Christ Superstar, Rent, and Blood Brothers. Joseph Church will serve as Music Supervisor. Mr. Church is best-known for his music direction and supervision of the Broadway musicals The Lion King and The Who’s Tommy. Other credits include Amazing Grace, In the Heights, Little Shop of Horrors, Randy Newman’s Faust, and Radio City Christmas Spectacular. He returns to Goodspeed where he previously served as associate conductor for The Little Rascals, and as supervisor/orchestrator for The 60’s Project. Dance Arrangements will be by David Dabbon whose Broadway credits include providing the Dance Arrangements for Disaster! and additional Orchestrations for Sondheim on Sondheim. Casting for A Sign of the Times is by Tara Rubin Casting.

A Sign of the Times will run July 29 through September 4, 2016. Curtain times are Wednesday at 2:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., Thursday at 7:30 p.m., Friday at 8:00 p.m., Saturday at 3:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m., and Sunday at 2:00 p.m. and 6:30 p.m..

Bruce Vilanch Awarded WeHo’s Rainbow Key Award Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Thursday, June 23rd, 2016

WeHoVille
WeHo Rainbow Key Awards Ceremony
Tue, Jun 21, 2016 By Staff

4-27-2013-4-01-43-AM

WeHo’s annual Rainbow Key Awards ceremony will take place Wednesday at the City Council Chambers at 625 N. San Vicente Blvd., south of Santa Monica. There will be an informal reception at 6 p.m. to be followed by an awards program at 7 p.m. During the event, the names of the 49 victims who were killed in the recent Orlando mass shooting will be called out.

The first two recipients of the Rainbow Key Award, in 1993 — AIDS activist, comedian, writer and actor Bruce Vilanch, and AIDS activist and actress Carole Cook — will attend.

Nominations for Rainbow Key Awards are received by the city’s Lesbian and Gay Advisory Board, which makes recommendations to the West Hollywood City Council. The council selects award recipients. This year’s Rainbow Key Awards honorees are:

— Jay M. Kohorn, civil rights attorney.

— Mark Lehman, lawyer and board chair of the National AIDS Monument Foundation.

— Carol Taylor-DiPietro, one of the creators of the first Gay Nights at Disneyland.

Ruth Williams, former director of advocacy for the National Council of Jewish Women Los Angeles, longtime community volunteer.

— The West Hollywood Community Housing Corporation, which provides housing for people with limited income, including those with HIV/AIDS who have special needs.

Past honorees have included activists, artists, civic leaders, educators and community organizations. Contributions, whether by an individual or a group, may be in many forms, including the arts, community action, humanitarian action, sports, medicine, armed services, leadership potential, benefit to the global gay and lesbian community or in other ways. More than 125 Rainbow Key Awards have been presented during the past 23 years.