Hal Blaine, Pop Music’s Go-To Studio Drummer, Dies at 90

March 13, 2019

Hal Blaine, the ubiquitous drummer whose work in the 1960s and ’70s with Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, Barbra Streisand, the Beach Boys, Simon & Garfunkel, the Ronettes and many others established him as one of the top session musicians of all time, died on Monday at his home in Palm Desert, Calif. He was 90.

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Ira Gitler, Influential Jazz Critic and Historian, Dies at 90

February 28, 2019

Ira Gitler, who was one of the most respected and prolific jazz writers of the postwar era and an early champion of bebop, died on Saturday in Manhattan. He was 90.

Mr. Gitler’s criticism appeared regularly in publications like DownBeat and JazzTimes. He wrote two books about bebop, the challenging form of modern jazz that emerged in the 1940s. And, along with Leonard Feather and Nat Hentoff, he was among the most prodigious writers of liner notes, annotating more than 700 albums.

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James Ingram, a Hitmaking Voice of ’80s R&B, Dies at 66

January 30, 2019

James Ingram, whose voice — technically precise, crisp and reserved, yet full of audacious feeling — made him one of the defining singers of R&B in the 1980s, has died. He was 66.

The actress and choreographer Debbie Allen, a frequent collaborator with Mr. Ingram on musical theater projects, announced his death on Twitter on Tuesday, calling him her “dearest friend and creative partner.”

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Michael Jackson Musical to Open in Chicago

January 29, 2019

The Michael Jackson musical is taking its first steps onto the dance floor. The show’s producers announced Wednesday that the project, now titled “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough,” will have an initial production this fall in Chicago, running Oct. 29 to Dec. 1 at the James M. Nederlander Theater.

The musical will focus on the period of time leading up to Jackson’s “Dangerous World Tour,” which began in 1992.  It will feature a book by Lynn Nottage, a two-time Pulitzer winner for the plays “Ruined” and “Sweat,” and direction and choreography by Christopher Wheeldon, who won a Tony Award for the choreography of “An American in Paris.”

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To Save the Sound of a Stradivarius, a Whole City Must Keep Quiet

January 17, 2019

Cremona, Italy is home to the workshops of some of the world’s finest instrument makers, including Antonio Stradivari, who in the 17th and 18th centuries produced some of the finest violins and cellos ever made. The city is getting behind an ambitious project to digitally record the sounds of the Stradivarius instruments for posterity, as well as others by Amati and Guarneri del Gesù, two other famous Cremona craftsmen. And that means being quiet.

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Lin-Manuel Miranda and Friends Purchase Drama Book Shop

January 8, 2019

Lin Manuel Miranda and three of his “Hamilton” collaborators have purchased the Drama Book Shop, a century-old theater district purveyor of scripts, sheet music and other stage-related reading material.

The surprise move is an effort to sustain the store, which is a mainstay of New York’s theater scene — in 2011 it was recognized with a Tony honor for excellence — but has struggled to survive the brutal Times Square real estate market and recently announced that it was being forced to move from its current location.

The rescue plan is a joint venture between the “Hamilton” team and the city, which has pledged to find the store an affordable space in Midtown.

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Springsteen on Netflix, Where Everyone Can Get a Ticket

December 19, 2018

Netflix’s faithful film version of “Springsteen on Broadway” was directed by Thom Zimny and shot by Joe DeSalvo at two private performances this year.  A master class in pacing, dynamics, modulation of volume and tone, the film brings you right up onstage with Springsteen, giving you a more intimate view of his technique — understated, seemingly casual but absolutely controlled — than you could get in the theater. Each expression, gesture, artful hesitation and sly punch line is zeroed in on, framed for our appreciation.

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Acclaimed ‘Oklahoma!’ Revival Is Coming to Broadway

December 12, 2018

An intimately staged and darkly revisionist revival of “Oklahoma!”that enjoyed a critically acclaimed and sold-out Off Broadway run will transfer to Broadway this season.

The new production, at once joyful and menacing, is directed by the experimental theater veteran Daniel Fish and features countrified arrangements of the classic score performed by a small onstage band.

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