Tag Archives: Broadway

Gay History - "As Is" by William F. Hoffman: The Forgotten and Earliest AIDS Play of the 1980's - VIDEO

Gay History – “As Is” by William F. Hoffman: The Forgotten and Earliest Play About AIDS [1985]

AsIs.jpg

Everyone remembers “Longtime Companion”, “The Normal Heart” and “The Band Played On” all very important and powerful works about  AIDS and its effects in the 1980’s.  But “As Is” by William F. Hoffman is a lesser known work but just as powerful and sadly now all but languishes in obscurity.

The original Broadway production of “As Is” opened at the Lyceum Theater in New York on May 1, 1985 after an extended Off-Broardway run and ran for 285 performances. It was nominated for the 1985 Tony Award (New York City) for the Best Play and won the  Drama Desk Award for Outstanding New Play

As Is focuses on the effect that AIDS, at the time when the outbreak first began and the effect it has on a group of friends living in New York City. It was one of the first plays, and subsequent television films, depicting how the pandemic was affecting LGBT Americans, being produced shortly before Larry Kramer‘s play The Normal Heart was first performed on April 21, 1985.

This play revolves around a gay couple, Saul and Rich, who are in charge of opening up the play, separating. But Rich’s firm resolution is not that decisive, for he returns to Saul’s arms once he contracts AIDS from his new lover. Seeking emotional support, Rich stages how the diseased are treated by the American family, doctors, and friends. 

In In 1986, Hoffman adapted the play for a television production for HBO starring Jonathan Hadary, Robert Carradine, Joanna Mills and Colleen Dewhurst.

It’s nearly impossible today to find a complete copy of the television production but there is a short clip to watch below and the play is available through Amazon.com.

As Is Playbill - Opening Night, May 1985

LOST FOOTAGE – Linzi Hateley Performs The Title Song from CARRIE: The Musical – 1988 Broadway Production – [VIDEO]

Perhaps the most misunderstood musical theater piece of the 20th century Carrie: The Musical started previews on April 28, 1988, at the Virginia Theatre on Broadway.

Ken Mandelbaum is quoted by Wollman, MacDermot, and Trask:

“Ken Mandelbaum writes of an audience divided during early previews, the curtain calls of which were greeted with a raucous mix of cheers and boos.  However, in an instant, when Linzi Hateley and Betty Buckley rose to take their bows, the entire theatre turned to a standing ovation.”

The show was sold out weeks in advance and did indeed receive standing ovations at some previews, as well as on opening night but that couldn’t save it.

Carrie: The Musical officially opened on May 12, 1988.  Hampered by scathing reviews by professional critics, the financial backers pulled their money out of the show, and it closed on May 15 after only 16 previews and 5 performances, guaranteeing its place in theatre history as one of the most expensive disasters of all time.

It wasn’t that Carrie:The Musical was a bad show.  It was just badly directed, over produced and horribly choreographed (Thank you Debbie Allen.) 

But Carrie: The Musical  wasn’t dead and she would be resurrected and produced Off-Broadway as a limited run show at the Lucille Lortel Theatre by MCC Theater. Marin Mazzie starred as Margaret White and Molly Ranson as Carrie.   Previews on January 31, 2012, and officially opened on March 1, 2012, and closed a month later to good solid reviews.  The MCC directors said: “MCC, the authors, and the director achieved what we all set out to do – to rescue Carrie from oblivion and to give her new life.

Below is “lost footage” of the original Carrie, Linzi Hateley singing the title song from the 1988 Broadway production from an old press video reel with the audio and video cleaned up.

Gay History – August 21, 1983: La Cage aux Folles Opens on Broadway! [Video – Full Show]

On this day in gay history the musical La Cage aux Folles (Yea Theatre Queens!) with a book by Harvey Fierstein and lyrics and music by Jerry Herman opened on Broadway in 1983.

Based on the 1973 French play of the same name by Jean Poiret, it focuses on a gay couple: Georges, the manager of a Saint-Tropez nightclub featuring drag entertainment, and Albin, his romantic partner and star attraction, and the farcical adventures that ensue when Georges’s son, Jean-Michel, brings home his fiancée’s ultra-conservative parents to meet them. La cage aux folles literally means “the cage of mad women”. However, folles is also a slang term for effeminate homosexuals (queens).

According to Playbill Radio program director Robert Viagas, La Cage aux Folles predated the widespread “Ellen,” “Will & Grace” and “Queer Eye”-type recognition. “La Cage opened in a time when gays were just starting to be accepted and homosexuality was just starting to be talked about openly,” Viagas said. “A Chorus Line opened the door and then [came] Harvey Fierstein’s Torch Song Trilogy. La Cage took it a step further showing to a general audience that gays could actually form stable, long-term relationships and even raise children. The message of La Cage could be phrased as ‘Honor your mother — even if she’s a man.’ That was a revelation at the time, at least in the mass media.”

The early-season musical would beat out the rest of the year’s competition — including shows like Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine’s Sunday in the Park with George, John Kander and Fred Ebb’s The Rink and David Shire and Richard Maltby, Jr.’s Baby — taking home the top trio of musical prizes for Best Musical, Best Score and Best Book. Actor Hearn, director Laurents and costume designer Theoni V. Aldredge would bring the show to a topping tally of six awards.

The original production starred George Hearn as Albin and Gene Barry as Georges

Watch the full musical performed by the American Musical Theatre of San Jose starring: Lee Roy Reams, George McDaniel, Ray Reinhardt, and Steven X. Ward below.

Souces: Playbill

 

 

THEATRE BEAT: WATCH - Musical Numbers from Broadway's MCC Fundraiser "Miscast22" - VIDEOS

THEATRE BEAT: WATCH – Musical Numbers from Broadway’s MCC Fundraiser “Miscast22” – VIDEOS

MCC Theater’s annual Miscast gala is one of the most exciting and unique theater events in town. Broadway’s hottest stars perform songs from roles in which they would not traditionally be cast

MCC Theater’s annual Miscast gala is one of the most exciting and unique theater events in town. Broadway’s hottest stars perform songs from roles in which they would not traditionally be cast. 

MCC Theater’s Miscast22 was filmed live at New York’s Hammerstein Ballroom. Funds raised from Miscast help MCC Theater produce exciting new work Off-Broadway, provide programs for emerging artists,

Funny Girl Opens On B’way: Who Sang It Better Than Beanie? EVERYONE!- “Don’t Rain On My Parade” [VIDEOS]

Indina Menzel, Lillias Piro White, Cynthia Erivo and others perform their covers of “Don’t Rain On My Parade”. We will leave Beanie Feldstein’s rendition out of this collection. Poor thing. The reviews have been brutal. But then again it was expected.

WATCH: Patti LuPone Sing “Ladies Who Lunch” from the Broadway Production of COMPANY [VIDEO]

If you can’t make it to New York City to see the new “gender bending” production of COMPANY starring La Diva’ herself Patti LuPone fear not. You can get a sip of Patti’s potently potable rendition below.

Enjoy, have a double, and please wear a hat.

WATCH: Broadway Backwards 2021 - BROADWAY CARES/EQUITY FIGHTS AIDS (VIDEO)

WATCH: Broadway Backwards 2021 – BROADWAY CARES/EQUITY FIGHTS AIDS (VIDEO)

Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaas Theatre Queens!

This virtual edition of Broadway Backwards 2021 will explore how the isolation of the COVID-19 pandemic has specifically affected the LGBT community. The show will feature Jay Armstrong Johnson as an isolated New Yorker who dreams a fantastical journey guided by a late night television host, portrayed by Jenn Colella.

This year’s production includes a special opening number with Stephanie J. Block, Deborah Cox and Lea Salonga. And the star-studded finale includes new performances by Amy Adams, James Monroe Iglehart, Cheyenne Jackson, L Morgan Lee, Raymond J. Lee, Eric McCormack, Debra Messing, Ruthie Ann Miles, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Jessie Mueller, Kelli O’Hara, Karen Olivo, Bernadette Peters, Sis and Elizabeth Stanley. The finale also includes special appearances by Debbie Allen, Matt Bomer, Brenda Braxton, Len Cariou, Glenn Close, Loretta Devine, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Cherry Jones, Aasif Mandvi, Michael McElroy, Javier Muñoz, Jim Parsons, Eve Plumb, Roslyn Ruff and Tony Yazbeck.

Other special guests include: Chasten Buttigieg, Anderson Cooper, Ariana DeBose, Don Lemon, Sheryl Lee Ralph, Robin Roberts, Tony Shalhoub and Ben Vereen.

Broadway Backwards is produced by Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS and benefits Broadway Cares and the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center in New York City. The free online event, can be viewed at here through 11:59 pm Saturday, April 3.

WATCH: "ANGELS IN AMERICA" National Theater/Broadway Cast Production - Full Play [Video]

WATCH: “ANGELS IN AMERICA” National Theater/Broadway Cast Production – Full Play [Video]

The National Theater presents the Broadway Live production of Tony Kushner’s multi-award-winning two-part play directed by Tony award-winning director Marianne Elliott.

America in the mid-1980s. In the midst of the AIDS crisis and a conservative Reagan administration, New Yorkers grapple with life and death, love and sex, heaven and hell.

The cast includes Andrew Garfield playing Prior Walter, Denise Gough playing Harper Pitt, Nathan Lane playing Roy Cohn, James McArdle playing Louis Ironson and Russell Tovey playing Joe Pitt.

WATCH: The KINKY BOOTS - "Raise You Up" - International Pride Cast Reunion 2020 Starring: EVERYBODY!

WATCH: The KINKY BOOTS – “Raise You Up” – International Pride Cast Reunion 2020 Starring: EVERYBODY!

To celebrate NYC Pride 2020, the smash-hit Tony Award-winning, Olivier Award-winning, Grammy Award-winning Broadway legend KINKY BOOTS brings together cast members from around the globe and reunites original Broadway stars Billy Porter, Stark Sands and Annaleigh Ashford for epic at-home music video of its finale anthem “Raise You Up” by Cyndi Lauper. Productions from seven nations across four continents represented!

Happy Mother’s Day! – Presenting. In Person. The GYPSY Mama Rose Supercut! – “Some People” Sung by Merman, Lupone, Judy, Midler, Liza and More! – Video

Nothing says Mother’s Day and GAY like “Gypsy” and Mama Rose. (Except maybe Mommy Dearest.)

“Louise! Bring me the  Chowsie!”

Enjoy!