Jeff Lunden http://ktep.org en Conflicting Tales Of A School Shooting In 'The Library' http://ktep.org/post/conflicting-tales-school-shooting-library <em>The Library</em>, a new play at New York's Public Theater, tackles an uncomfortable contemporary topic head on: It looks at the aftermath of a school shooting and peers into the shattered lives of the survivors, and the stories they tell. The play is written by Scott Z. Burns and directed by Steven Soderbergh, who've collaborated on three films; most recently, the thriller, <em>Side Effects</em>.<p>And even before the play begins, Soderbergh and Burns make the audience uneasy. Mon, 14 Apr 2014 20:15:00 +0000 Jeff Lunden 38656 at http://ktep.org Conflicting Tales Of A School Shooting In 'The Library' Broadway Director Kenny Leon Opens Theater Doors To New Audiences http://ktep.org/post/broadway-director-kenny-leon-opens-theater-doors-new-audiences Stage director Kenny Leon is one of the most sought-after creative talents on Broadway today, even if he isn't a household name. He's guided Denzel Washington and Viola Davis to Tony Awards in a Tony-winning revival of August Wilson's <em>Fences</em>, he directed Samuel L. Jackson and Angela Bassett in <em>The Mountaintop</em> and he's got two Broadway shows opening within three months of each other.<p>You've got to have an ego, to be a director, sitting in rehearsal rooms with talented, opinionated actors. Tue, 08 Apr 2014 07:42:00 +0000 Jeff Lunden 38214 at http://ktep.org Broadway Director Kenny Leon Opens Theater Doors To New Audiences Road Between Broadway And Hollywood Isn't A One-Way Street http://ktep.org/post/road-between-broadway-and-hollywood-isnt-one-way-street <em>Rocky: The Musical</em>. Really?<p>Producer Bill Taylor says even the show's creators didn't buy the idea at first. "If you speak to all of the authors and all of the creative team, their instinctive reaction, when first hearing about <em>Rocky</em> becoming a musical, ranges from incredulity to plain crazy," he says.<p>For many years, the relationship between Broadway and Hollywood went one way: from stage to screen. But in the past couple of decades, some of the biggest Broadway hits have been adapted from films — think <em>Hairspray</em> or <em>Kinky Boots</em>. Wed, 12 Mar 2014 20:21:00 +0000 Jeff Lunden 36523 at http://ktep.org Road Between Broadway And Hollywood Isn't A One-Way Street Collecting Money For Songwriters, A 100-Year Tug Of War http://ktep.org/post/collecting-money-songwriters-100-year-tug-war A hundred years ago, the Italian operatic composer <a href="http://www.npr.org/artists/90063951/giacomo-puccini" target="_blank">Giacomo Puccini</a> was having lunch in New York with Victor Herbert, the leading composer of operettas in this country. Then, the band in the restaurant began playing music from Herbert's current hit, <em>Sweethearts</em>. Thu, 13 Feb 2014 07:03:00 +0000 Jeff Lunden 34702 at http://ktep.org Collecting Money For Songwriters, A 100-Year Tug Of War 'After Midnight,' And The Cotton Club Is Swinging Again http://ktep.org/post/after-midnight-and-cotton-club-swinging-again <p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7-qEZ9zeIJw</p> Mon, 03 Feb 2014 08:30:00 +0000 Jeff Lunden 34017 at http://ktep.org 'After Midnight,' And The Cotton Club Is Swinging Again Broadway's 'Spider-Man' Musical Turns Off The Lights At Last http://ktep.org/post/broadways-spider-man-musical-turns-lights-last Regardless of how critics and audiences eventually responded, <em>Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark</em> was always going to be one of the most-discussed shows in Broadway history. Fri, 03 Jan 2014 08:26:00 +0000 Jeff Lunden 32052 at http://ktep.org Broadway's 'Spider-Man' Musical Turns Off The Lights At Last New Owner Promises Handmade Steinways For Years To Come http://ktep.org/post/new-owner-promises-hand-made-steinways-years-come For 160 years, the pianos made by Steinway & Sons have been considered the finest in the world. So when hedge fund billionaire John Paulson recently bought the company, it struck fear in the hearts of musicians: Would the famously handcrafted pianos be changed, for the sake of efficiency? Paulson, who owns several Steinways himself, says nothing will change.<p>Great pianists need great pianos. Tue, 17 Dec 2013 09:34:00 +0000 Jeff Lunden 31042 at http://ktep.org New Owner Promises Handmade Steinways For Years To Come When 'Hit List' Got Another Shot At An Audience http://ktep.org/post/when-hit-list-got-another-shot-audience For most of its two-year run on NBC, the series <em>Smash</em> was pretty much a hot mess. Ostensibly about the creation of Broadway musicals, it only tangentially resembled the real thing. And its plots and characters got soapier and soapier as the show went on.<p>Still, I recorded every episode on my DVR, if only because the program offered a weekly glimpse of some of the finest musical-theater actors on the Broadway stage — among them Megan Hilty, Christian Borle, Jeremy Jordan, Krysta Rodriguez, plus occasional guest stars like Bernadette Peters — singing and dancing. Mon, 09 Dec 2013 20:21:00 +0000 Jeff Lunden 30520 at http://ktep.org When 'Hit List' Got Another Shot At An Audience A Couple Of Knights (And Matinees) On Broadway http://ktep.org/post/couple-knights-and-matinees-broadway Ian<strong> </strong>McKellen and Patrick Stewart have known each other for years — they were both actors at the Royal Shakespeare Company in the '60s and '70s, and both achieved broader fame through movies and television. Both were knighted by Queen Elizabeth II for their work onstage and off. Sun, 24 Nov 2013 10:42:00 +0000 Jeff Lunden 29616 at http://ktep.org A Couple Of Knights (And Matinees) On Broadway Here's A Wild Idea For Shakespeare: Do It His Way http://ktep.org/post/heres-wild-idea-shakespeare-do-it-his-way This season, New York audiences have seen wildly different interpretations of Shakespeare plays. Sun, 10 Nov 2013 10:11:00 +0000 Jeff Lunden 28721 at http://ktep.org Here's A Wild Idea For Shakespeare: Do It His Way Energetic, Intimate 'Letters' Reveal Private Leonard Bernstein http://ktep.org/post/energetic-intimate-letters-reveal-private-leonard-bernstein <a href="http://www.npr.org/artists/15234027/leonard-bernstein" target="_blank">Leonard Bernstein</a> was a singular American genius. One of the great orchestra conductors of the 20th Century, he was also a composer of hit musicals like <em>West Side Story</em>, as well as symphonies and ballets. He was a teacher and television personality — his Young People's Concerts introduced generations of children to classical music.<p>But that was the public man. A new collection of letters written both by and to Bernstein is being published this week. Sun, 27 Oct 2013 09:48:00 +0000 Jeff Lunden 27811 at http://ktep.org Energetic, Intimate 'Letters' Reveal Private Leonard Bernstein For John Kander, A New 'Landing' At A Familiar Spot http://ktep.org/post/john-kander-new-landing-familiar-spot Broadway composer John Kander is a living legend: With his songwriting partner, the late Fred Ebb, he created the scores for the smash hit musicals <em>Cabaret </em>and <em>Chicago,</em> as well as the enduring anthem "New York, New York."<p>Now, at 86, Kander has a new writing partner — and a new musical, <em>The Landing,</em> opening off-Broadway Wednesday.<p><strong>"Life Goes On"</strong><p>For a guy with such an illustrious history, Kander isn't terribly nostalgic. He's a writer, and he likes to write. Tue, 22 Oct 2013 20:54:00 +0000 Jeff Lunden 27542 at http://ktep.org For John Kander, A New 'Landing' At A Familiar Spot Chronicle Of A Death Foretold: New York City Opera Shuts Its Doors http://ktep.org/post/chronicle-death-foretold-new-york-city-opera-shuts-its-doors This morning the New York City Opera announced that it was declaring bankruptcy and ceasing operations. Dubbed "The People's Opera" by Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia when it was founded 70 years ago, the company was meant as an alternative to the richer Metropolitan Opera. Tue, 01 Oct 2013 21:05:00 +0000 Jeff Lunden 26184 at http://ktep.org Chronicle Of A Death Foretold: New York City Opera Shuts Its Doors An American Masterpiece, And A 'Menagerie' Of Stars http://ktep.org/post/american-masterpiece-and-menagerie-stars Pop-culture aficionadoes will know Zachary Quinto as Spock in the cinematic reboot of <em>Star Trek</em>, and Cherry Jones as President Taylor from television's <em>24</em>.<p>But both are accomplished stage actors as well. And tonight, they're opening on Broadway, in a revival of Tennessee Williams' classic play <em>The Glass Menagerie</em>.<p>When the audience enters the Booth Theater, they see a simple, but striking vision. Thu, 26 Sep 2013 20:49:00 +0000 Jeff Lunden 25843 at http://ktep.org An American Masterpiece, And A 'Menagerie' Of Stars New York City's 'People's Opera' May Face Its Final Curtain http://ktep.org/post/new-york-citys-peoples-opera-may-face-its-final-curtain There are a lot of operas that end with heroines on their deathbeds, singing one glorious aria before they die. That's what happens at the end of <em>Anna Nicole,</em> the controversial new work that New York City Opera is presenting at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in September. But the company's artistic director and general manager, George Steel, says it could also be City Opera's last gasp.<p>"The issue is this: We don't have any credit, we don't have any working capital, and so we are managing our cash incredibly carefully," Steel explains. Tue, 10 Sep 2013 22:05:00 +0000 Jeff Lunden 24771 at http://ktep.org New York City's 'People's Opera' May Face Its Final Curtain 'Mr. Burns' And Friends, Surviving Long Past The End Times http://ktep.org/post/mr-burns-and-friends-surviving-long-past-end-times If the world as we know it comes to an end, will art survive? And if it does, what kinds of stories will be told after the apocalypse? The answer might surprise you.<p>The lights come up on a group of people around a campfire in the woods, trying to recall all the details of the hilarious <em>Simpsons</em> episode "Cape Feare," a parody of the Robert Mitchum and Robert De Niro movies, in which Bart Simpson is stalked by the evil but incompetent Sideshow Bob.<p>Then one member of the group hears a sound in the woods, and all of a sudden guns are drawn. Turns out something bad has happened. Fri, 06 Sep 2013 21:12:00 +0000 Jeff Lunden 24552 at http://ktep.org 'Mr. Burns' And Friends, Surviving Long Past The End Times Diverse Coalition Fights FCC Plan To Sell Wireless Airwaves http://ktep.org/post/diverse-coalition-fights-fcc-plan-sell-wireless-airwaves Transcript <p>MELISSA BLOCK, HOST: <p>Finally, this hour, a cause that brought Broadway to Capitol Hill today, unusual coalition of Broadway theaters, along with representatives from pro sports and churches went to the Hill to advocate for wireless microphones. The group is concerned about a plan by the Federal Communications Commission to auction off portions of bandwidth. Mon, 29 Jul 2013 20:56:00 +0000 Jeff Lunden 21960 at http://ktep.org 'Love's Labours,' Tuned Up And Playing In The Park http://ktep.org/post/loves-labours-tuned-and-playing-park A few years ago, after songwriter Michael Friedman and writer-director Alex Timbers had finished working on their cheeky historical musical <em>Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson</em>, they decided to look for a new project to work on. Friedman says they wanted the next show to have a completely different feel.<p>"So we started looking at Shakespeare," Friedman says. Tue, 23 Jul 2013 21:34:00 +0000 Jeff Lunden 21594 at http://ktep.org 'Love's Labours,' Tuned Up And Playing In The Park In The Rush To The Tonys, A Late Glut For Theatergoers http://ktep.org/post/rush-tonys-late-glut-theatergoers This spring, more than in any recent year, the 2012-2013 Broadway season accelerated toward its conclusion: Nineteen productions opened between the beginning of March and April 25, the cut-off date for Tony eligibility. And many of those shows raised their curtains in the final two weeks of the season.<p>The Tony Awards are ostensibly given for excellence over the course of an entire year, but all the late openings make me wonder whether producers haven't taken to scheduling their shows strategically to garner Tony nominations and Tony votes for marketing purposes. Sun, 09 Jun 2013 15:41:00 +0000 Jeff Lunden 18581 at http://ktep.org In The Rush To The Tonys, A Late Glut For Theatergoers Clothes Make The Man (And The Woman, And The Show) On Broadway http://ktep.org/post/clothes-make-man-and-woman-and-show-broadway Part of what makes a Broadway show a <em>Broadway</em> show — read "splashy," especially if we're talking musicals — is the costumes. Sun, 09 Jun 2013 09:05:00 +0000 Jeff Lunden 18567 at http://ktep.org Clothes Make The Man (And The Woman, And The Show) On Broadway New Plays Turn Passive Audience Members Into Participants http://ktep.org/post/new-plays-turn-passive-audience-members-participants Several productions in New York's smaller theaters aren't content with providing passive experiences — the audience is asked to participate. Here Lies Love, a new David Byrne musical about Imelda Marcos at the Public Theater, is set in a disco and the audience moves around, from scene to scene, dancing all the while. Natasha, Pierre and the Comet of 1812, is an electronic pop opera based on a portion of Tolstoy's War and Peace, and is set in a Russian restaurant where audiences are served a meal and vodka as part of the performance. Mon, 27 May 2013 20:28:00 +0000 Jeff Lunden 17680 at http://ktep.org Equity At 100: More Than Just A Broadway Baby http://ktep.org/post/equity-100-more-just-broadway-baby "Don't put your daughter on the stage," Noel Coward famously cautioned his imaginary Mrs. Worthington, and no wonder: Stage acting is one of the toughest professions imaginable. Sat, 25 May 2013 09:55:00 +0000 Jeff Lunden 17569 at http://ktep.org Equity At 100: More Than Just A Broadway Baby Audra McDonald, A Broadway Star Gone Roaming, Comes Home http://ktep.org/post/audra-mcdonald-broadway-star-gone-roaming-comes-home In the seven years since her last album, <a href="http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=15396807" target="_blank">Audra McDonald</a> has kept busy. She spent several years in Hollywood, filming the television series <em>Private Practice</em>. She's gotten divorced and remarried, absorbed the shock of losing her father in a plane crash and watched her daughter, Zoe, grow up from a kindergartener to a middle-schooler.<p>Last year, McDonald returned to New York, starred in <em>Porgy and Bess</em> and won a fifth Tony Award. Sat, 18 May 2013 06:03:00 +0000 Jeff Lunden 17089 at http://ktep.org Audra McDonald, A Broadway Star Gone Roaming, Comes Home 'Pippin' Revival Is A Circus Of A Show http://ktep.org/post/pippin-revival-circus-show When <em>Pippin</em> opened in 1972, it was a sensation. Directed and choreographed by Bob Fosse, who was coming off his Academy Award-winning film version of <em>Cabaret</em>, it was a showbiz triumph of jazz hands, sexy dancing and theatrical magic.<p>It was also the Broadway debut of 24-year-old songwriter Stephen Schwartz, who's better known these days for the global megahit <em>Wicked</em>. He had written a version of <em>Pippin — </em>about the son of medieval emperor Charlemagne — as a college musical. Thu, 25 Apr 2013 07:23:00 +0000 Jeff Lunden 15477 at http://ktep.org 'Pippin' Revival Is A Circus Of A Show A 'Caesar' With An African Accent http://ktep.org/post/caesar-african-accent The 400-year-old plays of William Shakespeare are constantly being reinterpreted and re-envisioned for new generations. Recently, England's Royal Shakespeare Company produced a <em>Julius Caesar</em> set in contemporary Africa that was a hit at the World Shakespeare Festival, presented in conjunction with the London Olympics. Now the RSC has brought it to America.<p>Gregory Doran, the artistic director of the RSC, first got the idea of doing an African <em>Julius Caesar</em> when he met Nelson Mandela several years ago. Sat, 13 Apr 2013 21:02:00 +0000 Jeff Lunden 14773 at http://ktep.org A 'Caesar' With An African Accent 'Matilda' Brings Beloved Book To Broadway http://ktep.org/post/matilda-brings-beloved-book-broadway <em>Matilda</em> is a well-loved book by Roald Dahl, who's been called the greatest children's storyteller of the 20th century. It's about a much-put-upon little girl with tremendous gifts. Thu, 11 Apr 2013 18:32:00 +0000 Jeff Lunden 14592 at http://ktep.org 'Matilda' Brings Beloved Book To Broadway On Broadway, Old Shows And New Tricks http://ktep.org/post/broadway-old-shows-and-new-tricks When I was a teenager falling in love with the theater, I picked up a book called <em>Broadway's Greatest Musicals</em>. The sole criterion for inclusion was that a show run for at least 500 performances, which translates to about a year and a quarter.<p>How quaint.<p>I was thinking about that when I attended the 25th-anniversary performance of <em>The Phantom of the Opera,</em> now ranked as Broadway's longest-running musical ever. Sat, 06 Apr 2013 08:33:00 +0000 Jeff Lunden 14260 at http://ktep.org On Broadway, Old Shows And New Tricks 'Kinky Boots' Walk Cyndi Lauper To Broadway http://ktep.org/post/kinky-boots-walk-cyndi-lauper-broadway If you ask Billy Porter, one of the lead actors in the Broadway musical <em>Kinky Boots,</em> what the show's about, he's got a succinct answer:<p>"It's about two people who have daddy issues," Porter says. "And one of them just happens to wear a dress."<p>Porter would be that guy: He plays Lola, a fabulous drag queen who inadvertently helps save a failing shoe factory in the English Midlands. And he gets to sing fabulous songs — by Cyndi Lauper.<p>More than four years ago, Lauper was asked by her good friend Harvey Fierstein if she'd like to write a musical with him. Thu, 04 Apr 2013 09:11:00 +0000 Jeff Lunden 14066 at http://ktep.org 'Kinky Boots' Walk Cyndi Lauper To Broadway Nora Ephron's 'Lucky Guy' And Tom Hanks Make Their Broadway Debuts http://ktep.org/post/tom-hanks-and-nora-ephrons-lucky-guy-make-their-broadway-debuts Several years ago, when Nora Ephron handed Tom Hanks an early draft of <em>Lucky Guy</em>, her play about tabloid journalist Mike McAlary, he had a pretty strong reaction.<p>"I said, 'Well, that guy's sure a jerk!' I used another word besides jerk — I know what you can say on NPR," he says. "And she laughed and she said, 'Well, he kinda was. Mon, 01 Apr 2013 21:25:00 +0000 Jeff Lunden 13893 at http://ktep.org Nora Ephron's 'Lucky Guy' And Tom Hanks Make Their Broadway Debuts For This Pair Of Clowns, 'Old Hats' Means New Laughs http://ktep.org/post/pair-clowns-old-hats-mean-new-laughs Twenty years ago, theatrical clowns Bill Irwin and David Shiner collaborated on a Broadway show called <em>Fool Moon</em> — a giddy mixture of slapstick, improv and audience participation that proved such a success that it came back to Broadway for two more runs and toured both the U.S. and Europe. Tue, 05 Mar 2013 22:45:00 +0000 Jeff Lunden 12123 at http://ktep.org For This Pair Of Clowns, 'Old Hats' Means New Laughs