musicals


The Broadway community is working extremely hard to reopen and thrill audiences again.  There are a few shows to which people are looking forward and we’re going to welcome one of those on this week’s Dress Circle (1/26 7:00 p.m.) with an all-star version of Meredith Willson’s “The Music Man” to welcome Sutton Foster and Hugh Jackman in the third Broadway revival of this perennial favorite.  

"Flying Over Sunset" is a new musical at Lincoln Center about three well-known real-life people who come together fictionally to trip on LSD. Theater Critic Howard Shapiro reviews the musical, which closes Jan. 16, on In a Broadway Minute this week, Friday (1/7) at 8 am and Saturday (1/8) at 10 am.

We’re welcoming in January on this week’s Dress Circle (1/9 7:00 p.m.) with our monthly program looking at some of the shows that opened in New York in January.   Our survey spans 116 years beginning with the opening of the 1899 “play with music” entitled “A Romance of Athlone” and a song you’ll probably know that was written and performed by Chauncey Olcott, “My Wild Irish Rose.”  The most recent production this week is “Honeymoon in Vegas” by Jason Robert Brown which was the last January musical opening so far in 2015.  

“Let’s Start the New Year Right” on this week’s Dress Circle (1/2 7:00 p.m.) with songs of encouragement from the musicals.   Some of those shows include “Snoopy,” “Barnum,” “I Remember Mama,” “Crazy for You,” “Seesaw,” and “Fade Out - Fade In.”   Since “Ev’ry Day Comes Something Beautiful,” we should “Put on a Happy Face,” keep a “Stiff Upper Lip,” and “Get Happy” by saying “Yes” to every opportunity that presents itself. 

The Dress Circle this week (12/19 7:00 p.m.) is featuring the first of two programs for the season which we’ve entitled “Holiday Memories.”   Many of the pieces we’ll be featuring come from some of Ted’s favorite moments from television musicals like “The Stingiest Man in Town,” “The Gift of the Magi,” and “Hans Brinker or The Silver Skates.”  We’ll also hear some songs from films such as “The Five Pennies,” “On Moonlight Bay,” and “Say One for Me.”   Ted has also chosen to include a performance of Clement Moore's "A Visit from St. Nicholas" by Lionel Barrymore which he fondly remembers from his childhood.   We’re also including one of Michael’s favorite holiday memories, and that’s Charles Laughton reading an excerpt from Charles Dickens’ first novel, “The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club,” entitled “Mr. Pickwick’s Christmas.” 


We’ll be looking at another wonderful performer of stage and screen on this week’s Dress Circle (12/12 7:00 p.m.) as we shine a spotlight on Lillias White. From her Broadway debut appearing as a replacement for Joyce Heth in “Barnum” in 1981, White has been seen in musicals such as “Dreamgirls,” “Chicago,” “How to Succeed in Business,” and “Fela!” among others.   She’s done voiceover work on animated features like “Hercules” and “Anastasia,” and on television, she had a recurring role on “Sesame Street.” 

Among other things, December is the month of turquoise and the narcissus, and on this Week’s Dress Circle (12/5 7:00 p.m.), we’ll sample some of those “other things” in the form of Broadway openings in the month of December.   Our survey covers 119 years from the opening of Victor Herbert’s “The Ameer” through to our latest opening, the current revival of Stephen Sondheim’s “Company” which began in London’s West End.   Along the way, we’ll hear from other recent hits such as “Dear Evan Hansen,” “School of Rock,” and “Spring Awakening.”  We’ll also hear from classic scores like “Show Boat,” “Kismet,” “Kiss Me Kate,” and “Carmen Jones.”  

We’re remembering British composer and lyricist Leslie Bricusse, whom we lost on October 19th of this year, on this week’s Dress Circle (11/28 7:00 p.m.).   Through the course of the program, we’ll sample nine scores including three for which Bricusse wrote both music and lyrics: the stage versions of “Scrooge,” “Doctor Dolittle,” and “Goodbye Mr. Chips.”  We’ll also include two that he wrote with Anthony Newley, sharing both composer and lyricist credits: “The Roar of the Greasepaint – the Smell of the Crowd” and “Stop the World – I Want to Get Off.” 

There are so many things that we’re thankful for: our relatively good health (we’re vertical), the music that we love, and having been able to come to you each week on the Dress Circle for the past 38 years, and on this week’s program (11/21 7:00 p.m.), we’re turning to the musicals for songs about the many things the characters found therein are thankful for as we all get ready for Thanksgiving. 


The Dress Circle: Songs from the Shows of November

Nov 7, 2021

Chrysanthemums are said to represent happiness, love, and joy, and yellow topazes are the stones of hospitality, friendship, and harmony, so they’re the perfect representatives for November which is the true gateway of the season of giving.   We’ll be focusing on the harmony aspect of Topazes on this week’s Dress Circle (11/7 7:00 p.m.) for a selection of shows that opened in New York spanning some 116 years from 1904’s “Little Johnny Jones” by George M. Cohan to the current hit, 2020’s “Tina: The Tina Turner Musical.”  

The idea of a “ghost light” in the theatre is shrouded in mystery as to its origins and purposes, but on this week’s Dress Circle (10/31 7:00 p.m.) we’re going to be visited by some the Ghoulies and Ghosties for Halloween that can be found in a variety of musicals.  We’re summoning up some spirits, all of whom are quite pleasant, from shows such as “Meet Me in St. Louis,” "Which Witch," “High Spirits,” “The Addams Family,” “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn,” “Zombie Prom,” "Bat Boy," and “Toxic Avenger” as well as a few films such as “Casper” and “The Nightmare Before Christmas.” 

After last month’s look at new songs that were added to film versions of musicals, we found that we had enough material for another program, and this week’s Dress Circle (10/24 7:00 p.m.) is the result.   Some of the films from which we’ve mined our songs include “Bells Are Ringing,” “Call Me Madam,” “Grease,” “Guys and Dolls,” “The Music Man,” “Evita,” and “On the Town.”  

It’s more “Pop-Rodgers” with Lorenz Hart on this week’s Dress Circle (10/17 7:00 p.m.) and the second part of this series.  Once again, we’ll be looking at songs from Rodgers and Hart works that found lives outside of the shows.   Those shows include:  “Spring Is Here,” “By Jupiter,” “Pal Joey,” “She’s My Baby,” “Hallelujah, I’m a Bum,” “I Married an Angel,” and “Babes in Arms.”  


October is the month of pumpkins, ghosties, and black cats, but it’s also the month of calendula and opals and more wonderful New York musical openings which we’ll be sampling on this week’s Dress Circle (10/3 7:00 p.m.).   We’re covering 117 years of Broadway history this month beginning with the opening of Victor Herbert’s hit “Babes in Toyland.”  At the other end of the spectrum, our most recent opening is coming this month (after over a year-long delay because of the pandemic) with the interestingly quirky story of the six wives of Henry VIII titled “Six” which finds those wives meeting to discuss who actually had it the worst with the infamous monarch.   

We’ve put together an “All-star” “Little Shop of Horrors” for this week’s Dress Circle (9/26 7:00 p.m.) through performances from seven different cast recordings.   Of course, we’ll hear from the original off-Broadway and film recordings of this perennial favorite written by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman, but we’ve also included songs from the 1994 UK touring cast, the 2003 Broadway cast, and a British studio cast from 1988.   Just for some fun, we’ve also thrown in a few cuts from the original German and Icelandic casts.  

It’s all about addition on this week’s Dress Circle (9/19 7:00 p.m.) as we look at songs added to musicals as they made the transition from stage to screen.   For a very long time, we’ve been amazed that a decision was made to turn a stage musical, an often hit stage musical, into a musical film only for the “powers that be” to make the decision to remove, change, and/or add songs, often written by people other than the original composing team.  Realizing that a song that had previously appeared on the Broadway stage is not eligible for an Academy Award nomination, it still does seem a strange practice.  This week, we’re going to be taking a first look at some of those songs added to a variety of musicals for both the big and small screen.  

THE DRESS CIRCLE AND ALL SUBSEQUENT SUNDAY EVENING PROGRAMS WILL BE STARTING ONE HOUR LATER THIS WEEK.

We’re shining a spotlight on Kim Criswell on this week’s Dress Circle (9/12 8:00 p.m.).  Born in Hampton, Virginia, Criswell now lives in London but still appears in musicals and recordings on both sides of the Atlantic.   As we sample selections from Criswell’s career, we’ll turn to recordings of shows like “Annie,” “Anything Goes,” “Fifty Million Frenchmen,” “Annie Get Your Gun,” “Elegies for Angels, Punks, and Raging Queens,” “On the Town,” “The Pajama Game,” “Roberta,” “Miss Saigon,” and “Wonderful Town.”   

It’s difficult to believe that it’s already September, but it is, and we’re forging ahead by sampling some of the shows that opened in New York this month on this week’s Dress Circle (9/5 7:00 p.m.).   We’re spanning 121 years this month, beginning with “Robin Hood” by Reginald DeKoven which premiered in 1891.  Our latest opening, for which we have a cast recording, is “Chaplin: The Musical” by Christopher Curtis from 2012.    From there, we’ve got a good mix of familiar and unfamiliar shows as we are wont to do!  

It’s that time again!  We’re heading back to school with the musicals on this week’s Dress Circle (8/29 7:00 p.m.).  Last year, we looked to distance learning, but this year, we’re back in the classroom.  However, you’re just going to have to tune in to see which of your favorite “back to school songs” made the grade and will be included this year.  

This week’s Dress Circle (8/22 7:00 p.m.) is shining a spotlight on Joel Katz who became a favorite of Broadway audiences as Joel Grey.  He made his Broadway debut (as Joel Kaye) in a 1951 revue of the music of his father, Mickey Katz, entitled “Borscht Capades.”  Sadly, there don’t seem to be any recordings of him at the tender age of 19 in this show, but we do have Grey’s performances in many of his other starring roles on Broadway including: “The Grand Tour,” “George M!”, “Goodtime Charlie,” the revival of “Chicago,” a revival of “Anything Goes,” and, of course, his work in Kander and Ebb’s “Cabaret.”  

More travel plans are in store on this week’s Dress Circle (8/15 7:00 p.m.), but this time, we’re taking you to one of our favorite places, Britain, especially London. For this program, we had a great deal of fun as we turned to some sources that we haven’t used in a very long time.   Most of the material for our travels this week comes from British shows such as “Dear Miss Phoebe,” “After the Ball,” “Follow That Girl,” “Days of Hope,” “Sherlock Holmes: The Musical,” and “Bless the Bride.” 

We’re going to be exploring the current travel “mania” on the next two Dress Circle programs.  This week (8/8 7:00 p.m.), we’ll be offering some musical vacation plan suggestions based on visits to Coney and other Islands (some of which are allegorical).   

August is the month of poppies and peridots and 115 years of musical theatre history on this week’s Dress Circle (8/1 7:00 p.m.).  We’ll begin with “In Dahomey,” a 1903 show with music by Will Marion Cook and lyrics by Paul Laurence Dunbar.  From there, we’ll jump to our most recent opening in “Pretty Woman: The Musical” which opened on August 16 and ran for just over a year and 420 performances.  Along the way, we’ll sample songs from some well-known and lesser-known works as we usually try to do.  

Pop music has long had a history of “borrowing” themes from the classics, and we’re beginning a two-program series looking at how Broadway and Hollywood have done the same thing on this week’s Dress Circle (7/18 7:00 p.m.) as we Raid the Classics with Wright and Forrest.  Irving Berlin borrowed music of Robert Shuman and was “Ragging the Traumerei.”  Chopin was the source for composer Ted Mossman and lyricist Buddy Kaye who turned Chopin’s Polonaise in A flat major into a huge hit with “Till the End of Time,” and Barry Manilow along with lyricist Adrienne Anderson had another Chopin hit with “Could It Be Magic” based on Chopin’s Opus 287, No. 20. 

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