Carol Channing, the blonde, saucer-eyed Broadway musical comedy star who was associated with one role—Dolly Gallagher Levi in Jerry Herman’s Hello Dolly!—as strongly as Yul Brynner was with The King and I and Richard Kiley with Man of La Mancha, died of natural causes on January 15, 2019. Her publicist confirmed the death. She was 97.
Tony-winning writer and original star of Hamilton on Broadway Lin-Manuel Miranda released the final track in his #HamilDrop series on Twitter December 20. The release features a new remix of “One Last Time” featuring Hamilton‘s original George Washington Christopher Jackson, gospel singer Bebe Winans, and former U.S. President Barack Obama. The track is available on all digital and streaming platforms.
The President, a noted fan of Hamilton who also hosted the first public performance of any of its material at the White House in 2009, reads from Washington’s Farewell Address of 1796 on the track.
Using authentic Arabic instrumentation (the oud, the riq, etc.) combined with comic sensibility and romantic, sweeping melodies, composer-lyricist David Yazbek won the Tony for Best Score at the 2018 Tony Awards and the album has been nominated for a Grammy. (He won the Drama Desk Awards for Outstanding Lyrics and Outstanding Music as the show premiered Off-Broadway last season.) Clearly, Yazbek takes his own advice of “listen to everything” and allows styles to blend like spices. Here, the artist reveals his writing process behind the songs on The Band’s Visit album.
Lin-Manuel Miranda released the penultimate track in his #Hamildrop series November 20, collaborating with a fellow theatrical living legend: Chicago and Cabaret composer John Kander.
The “I Want”-esque song, titled “Cheering For Me Now,” features music by Kander and lyrics by Miranda, combining the former’s classic, gilded Broadway sound with the latter’s signature verbal wit. Miranda performs the song in character as Hamilton‘s title Founding Father, backed by an orchestra conducted by Alex Lacamoire.
A starry roster of recording artists have been tapped to belt out Benj Pasek and Justin Paul’s score to the 2017 movie musical on The Greatest Showman — Reimagined, a tribute album from Atlantic Records.
Among those set to be featured on the album are Waitress composer Sara Bareilles (singing “Tightrope”), Kelly Clarkson (on “Never Enough”), Brendan Urie (opening the album with “The Greatest Show” with Panic! at the Disco), and Missy Elliott (who will be featured on a “This Is Me” remix with Keala Settle and Kesha).
The fourth annual Elsie Fest rocked Summerstage at Central Park in New York City October 7. Founded by Emmy winner and Broadway performer Darren Criss, Elsie Fest is an outdoor music festival specifically starring singers of stage and screen offering a mix of their favorite musical theatre tunes and pop songs.
This year’s fest featured headliners Sutton Foster, Joshua Henry, Alex Newell, and Criss with special guests Rufus Wainwright, Grant Gustin, Matthew Morrison, Casey Cott, Jodi Benson, as well as the casts of the upcoming movie musical Anna and the Apocalypse, the Broadway-bound Be More Chill, and Broadway’s new musical comedy The Prom.
Ansel Elgort has been tapped to lead the upcoming remake of West Side Story. The Baby Driver star and Off-Broadway alum is set to play the star-crossed lover Tony in the Steven Spielberg-directed movie.
Tony Kushner has penned the script for the new take on Leonard Bernstein, Stephen Sondheim, and Arthur Laurents’ classic musical, with Carousel Tony winner Justin Peck set to choreograph.
Original Wicked stars Idina Menzel and Kristin Chenoweth will reunite to host and perform during NBC’s A Very Wicked Halloween: Celebrating 15 Years on Broadway. The special event will air October 29 (the eve of the musical juggernaut’s anniversary) at 10 PM.
Performing alongside the pair of Tony winners will be pop star and Broadway alum Ariana Grande (a noted Wicked superfan), the a cappella group Pentatonix, the current Broadway cast of the musical (led by Jessica Vosk and Amanda Jane Cooper), and more to be announced.
After a string of engagements across North America, including a world premiere at Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Ain’t Too Proud—The Life and Times of the Temptations will arrive on Broadway. The jukebox musical will open at the Imperial Theatre in spring 2019.
The show, featuring a book by Dominique Morisseau, utilizes a score comprised of the Temptations’ hits to chart the rise of the R&B group, known for such classics as “My Girl,” “Just My Imagination,” and “Papa Was a Rolling Stone.” The musical will mark the The Detroit Projects playwright’s Broadway debut.
Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda will make his film directorial debut with a screen adaptation of Jonathan Larson’s semi-autobiographical musical Tick, Tick…BOOM! According to Deadline, Miranda will partner with fellow Tony winner Steven Levenson (Dear Evan Hansen), who will pen the screenplay.