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This Is Exciting: Full Casting Set for Bruce Vilanch-Penned A Sign of the Times Musical

Broadway Buzz
Full Casting Set for Bruce Vilanch-Penned A Sign of the Times Musical
by Broadway.com Staff • Oct 15, 2018

Full Casting Set for Bruce Vilanch-Penned A Sign of the Times Musical
Casting is complete for the new ’60s musical A Sign of the Times, appearing at Delaware Theater Company from November 28 through December 23. Newly announced cast members include Lauren Boyd, Brad Bradley, Melessie Clark, Steven Grant Douglas, Natalie Charle Ellis, Stacia Fernandez, Phoebe Gavula, Louis James Jackson, Sarah Jenkins, Aaron Kaburick, David LaMarr, Alexandra Matteo, Ralph Meitzler, Nick Picknally and Dave Schoonover. They join the previously announced Beautiful alum Chilina Kennedy, Drew Seeley, Crystal Lucas-Perry and Ryan Silverman. Featuring a book by Emmy-winning Broadway alum Bruce Vilanch (Hairspray), direction by Gabriel Barre (Amazing Grace) and choreography JoAnn M. Hunter (School of Rock), Sign of the Times tells the story of Cindy (Kennedy), a young woman pursuing her passion and finding her voice in New York City in 1965. The score features such classic songs as “Downtown,” “You Don’t Own Me,” “Don’t Sleep in the Subway,” “The Shoop Shoop Song (It’s in His Kiss)” and “The Boy from New York City.” A Sign of the Times was first seen in a world premiere engagement at Goodspeed Musicals in 2016. Read More

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2018: Still Waiting In The Wings Musical DVD & Soundtrack with Lee Meriwether, Ed Asner, Sally Struthers, Cindy Williams, Leanna Cornett, Patricia Richardson, Carole Cook, Bruce Vilanch, and some surprises!

Plot Summary:

Still Waiting In The Wings follows the trials and triumphs of of actors waiting tables in Times Square. While dreaming of the Broadway stage, the reality of slinging hash under florescent lights mixes sweet aspirations with bitter drama. There’s no people like show people and there’s no telling what can happen when they’re pitted against each other. Nick Adams, Ed Asner, Carole Cook, Lee Meriwether, Patricia Richardson, Chita Rivera, Seth Rudetsky, Sally Struthers, Bruce Vilanch, and Cindy Williams round out this heartwarming homage to Broadway with some delightful cameos.

Awards

2 wins

2018
Garden State Film Festival
Won, Jury Award
Best Musical Feature
Jeffrey A. Johns (producer), Q. Allan Brocka (director) JJ Spotlight Productions

2017
Fort Worth Gay and Lesbian International Film Festival
Won, Jury Award
Best Feature Film
Jeffrey A. Johns, Q. Allan Brocka JJ Spotlight Productions

Waiting In The Wings: The Musical DVD (USA)

Waiting In The Wings Soundtrack:

Waiting In The Wings Soundtrack

To Buy The Soundtrack: Click Here

 

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Bruce Vilanch In Another Musical “The MeshugaNutcracker!” (2017)

Summary:

This is a collection of Jewish cultural stories and moral lessons centered on the multi-level meaning of Hanukkah, celebrated through a combination of music from The Nutcracker with revised lyrics, and traditional Hanukkah melodies. Presented by an ensemble cast of capable singers and dancers (two of whom co-wrote the show), this amusing, educational G-rated production is best appreciated by Jewish families with young children.

The MeshugaNutcracker! is a full-length musical comedy that features the wonderfully silly sensibilities of the folklore of Chelm (the fictional town of fools) underscored by an invigorating, Klezmer-ized orchestration of Tchaikovsky’s “Nutcracker Suite”, now with original lyrics that celebrate Chanukah. Judah Maccabee’s triumphant saga and accounts of perseverance during the Holocaust as well as the celebration of the first Chanukah in the new state of Israel emerge with a genuine sense of wonder as the Chelmniks tell eight stories that pay tribute to the holiday. Add in dancing dreidels, singing sufganiot, and surprise guest stars and you have the perfect recipe for a holiday gathering. Some might call it crazy…we call it The MeshugaNutcracker!

Released December 19, 2017

Trailer:

Official Website:

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Audio CD:

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Vilanch, Prince, Gaines, Burnham, Callaway. and More Join Celebration of Rodgers, Hammerstein, & Hart

Broadway World
Vilanch, Prince, Gaines, Burnham, Callaway. and More Join Celebration of Rodgers, Hammerstein, & Hart
by David Green
Jan. 24, 2018

Tickets for the 11th annual Michael Childers’ production of One Night Only: Rodgers, Hammerstein & Hart, are now on sale. This star-studded musical production will be presented on Wednesday, April 25, 2018 @ 6:30pm, at the McCallum Theatre for the Performing Arts and benefits Jewish Family Service of the Desert (JFS). Since 2008, One Night Only has sold out has sold out quickly every year.

General admission tickets are $175, $95 and $75 and are available through the McCallum Theatre Box Office at 760-340-ARTS or online at www.mccallumtheatre.com. Limited sponsorships and VIP tickets (including premier seating and the after performance dinner with the cast at Acqua Bistro @ The River) are available through JFS at 760-325-4088, extension 118.

In Rodgers, Hammerstein & Hart, Michael pays tribute to the incomparable composer Richard Rodgers and his partners, Oscar Hammerstein and Lorenz Hart, featuring some of their most popular songs from shows such as South Pacific, Oklahoma, Carousel, The King and I and Babes In Arms. Directed by Jason Graae with Music Direction by Christopher Marlowe, the cast features the best of Broadway and Hollywood performers. This year’s cast includes Brent Barrett, Shoshana Bean, David Burnham, Liz Callaway, Ann Hampton Callaway, Patrick Cassidy, Scott Coulter, Kevin Earley, Davis Gaines, Julie Garnye, Jason Graae, Susan Graham, Alix Korey, Bets Malone, Sal Mistretta, Jeffrey Scott Parsons, Faith Prince, Ron Raines, Teri Ralston, James Snyder, Billy Stritch, Constance Towers, Bruce Vilanch, Nita Whitaker. All performers donate their time and their appearances are subject to availability.

“One Night Only managed to be breathless, dazzling, humorous and emotional all at the same time. It’s perhaps the “show of the year” at the McCallum…!” Chris Foster, The Desert Sun

For over 35 years, JFS of the Desert has provided services throughout the Coachella Valley to those in need, regardless of religion, age, income, ethnicity or life style. JFS services and programs are made possible through the financial support of Jewish Federation of the Desert, Desert Healthcare District, the Weingart Foundation, the Auen Foundation, Kaiser Permanente and other gr grants and the generous support of donors. Most of the nearly 3,000 men, women and children served are from low income households. They rely on JFS for low cost mental health counseling, crisis intervention and food support. JFS provides isolated, homebound seniors with care, transportation and enrichment activities. JFS also offers counseling in local elementary schools. JFS is located in Palm Springs. For information visit www.jfsdesert.org or call 760-325-4088.

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The cast of “The MeshugaNutcracker! The Chanukah Musical,” including guest star Bruce Vilance in 2016. A film version of the musical comedy will be screened on Dec. 19, 2017

The Times Of Israel
Hanukkah gets a kitschy ‘Nutcracker’ treatment for the holiday’s last night
By MATT LEBOVIC
18 December 2017, 10:25 pm

 

The cast of “The MeshugaNutcracker! The Chanukah Musical,” including guest star Bruce Vilance (center), in 2016. A film version of the musical comedy will be screened on Dec. 19, 2017 (Courtesy: Guggenheim Entertainment)

BOSTON — Just in time to pierce the gloom of winter, a Hanukkah musical comedy based on “The Nutcracker” score will be screened Tuesday night at 350 movie theaters across America.

“The MeshugaNutcracker! The Chanukah Musical” is a kid-friendly, two-hour celebration of Judaism’s Festival of Lights. Billed as “the music of Tchaikovsky with klezmer-Broadway fusion styling,” the show features eight tales based on Jewish resilience throughout history, from Judah Maccabee until modern times. Along the way, 20 original songs and a lot of Yiddish slang make for a uniquely schmaltzy experience.

Produced by Guggenheim Entertainment, the musical was first workshopped in Palo Alto, California, in 2003. Since then, most performances have taken place on the West Coast, some of them sponsored by Jewish communities. At the end of 2016, the show was filmed in front of a Los Angeles audience to create a polished version for the silver screen.

Essentially adding lyrics about Hanukkah to tunes from “The Nutcracker Suite,” the film includes a guest spot by colorful Emmy winner Bruce Vilanch. As the “shamash” helper candle, Vilanch caps off the show’s “Fools of Chelm” theme, wherein an ensemble from Jewish folklore’s most hapless town sing their way through Hanukkah tales.

 
The cast of ‘The MeshugaNutcracker! The Chanukah Musical’ performs in the 20-song production (Courtesy: Guggenheim Entertainment)

The Hanukkah musical was born out of its creators’ frustration with a lack of family events tied to the Festival of Lights, whiles “A Christmas Carol” and “The Nutcracker” relate to Christmas under the banner of the most wonderful time of the year.

According to co-producer and lyricist Shannon Guggenheim, “The MeshugaNutcracker!” is about optimism in the face of oppression.

“No matter what religion you are, no matter what you celebrate this time of year — it’s about finding the light in people, finding light in yourself, letting the holidays truly illuminate everything around you,” said Guggenheim. “That really is what we’re trying to do: give families something bright and fun but also poignant and meaningful to celebrate this time of year.”

In keeping with the context of the show’s birth, Act One opens with Christmas music in the air. While waiting for their auditions, the quirky performing “Fools of Chelm” recount past star-turns in “My Fair Zadie” and “The Wizard of Oy.” In the evening’s first “Nutcracker”-infused song, a “Dance of the Chanukiah” is performed to the tune of “Waltz of the Flowers,” one of the ballet’s top three songs.

 
The cast of ‘The MeshugaNutcracker! The Chanukah Musical’ performs in the 20-song production (Courtesy: Guggenheim Entertainment

As with the “Nutcracker,” the focus in Chelm shifts to children in search of broken or missing toys. Instead of a nutcracker that comes to life in imperial Russia, in Chelm there’s a lost “special menorah” that takes center stage. As children search for the elusive ritual object, life lessons about sharing and being satisfied with what you have are cut with slapstick, including the requisite rubber chicken.

Among the productions’s songs, an audience favorite has been “Little Matchstick,” about a girl afraid of the dark. Her father tries to comfort her by speaking of light and sharing the glow with others. Unbeknownst to the girl huddled inside a dark, cramped train car, she and her family will soon arrive at a Nazi death camp. Another moment in Jewish history, just a few years later, is depicted in “Judah’s Gift,” about the first bittersweet Hanukkah in the new State of Israel.

 
The cast of ‘The MeshugaNutcracker! The Chanukah Musical’ performs in the 20-song production (Courtesy: Guggenheim Entertainment

Like the second act of “The Nutcracker,” much of “The MeshugaNutcracker!” is divertissement, not intended for plot dissection but to captivate audiences. If dancing dreidels and jelly doughnuts are too childish for you, there’s the novelty of seeing Jewish history enacted by top-caliber vocalists wearing baskets, flower pots, and fruit on their keppys.

“It’s a show that’s really never been done before,” said Susan Gundunas, a soprano in the ensemble cast. “Not just because there’s finally a big, beautiful show about Hanukkah in the same way there are big, beautiful shows celebrating Christmas, but also because the cast is singing an amazing challenging score that was originally intended for musical instruments.

“We get to sing the piccolo line and clarinet line of melodies you’ve had in your head forever but that have been wordless for hundreds of years,” said the performer.

 

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Bruce Vilanch’s New Musical, A Sign Of The Times, To Have Industry Reading In New York

Playbill
Bruce Vilanch’s New Musical, A Sign Of The Times, To Have Industry Reading In New York
BY ANDREW GANS
NOV 28, 2017

Industry presentations of the new musical A Sign of the Times, featuring songs made famous by Petula Clark and other 1960s hit-makers, will be presented December 14–15 in Manhattan.

The cast will feature Chilina Kennedy (currently starring as Carole King in Broadway’s Beautiful) as Cindy, Ryan Silverman (Side Show) as Brian, Van Hughes (Spring Awakening) as Dennis, Drew Seeley (Jersey Boys) as Matt, and Crystal Lucas-Perry (Bull in a China Shop) as Tanya.

Directed by Gabriel Barre (Amazing Grace) with choreography by JoAnn M. Hunter (School of Rock), the musical made its world premiere last summer at Goodspeed Musicals in Connecticut. Lucas-Perry reprises her performance from the previous engagement; the rest of the principal company is new to the title.

The ensemble will comprise Lauren Boyd, Brad Bradley, Lauren Nicole Chapman, Melessie Clark, Natalie Charle Ellis, Mylinda Hull, Jeremy Gaston, Jeremiah Ginn, Lindsay Moore, Kevin Santos, Nathan Scherich, and Amos Wolff.

The new musical, conceived and created by Richard Robin with a book by Emmy-winning writer and performer Bruce Vilanch, concerns Cindy, whose passion for making a difference in the world takes her from her small Midwestern town to New York City. Set against the backdrop of the events in 1965—The Civil Rights Movement, Women’s Liberation, and the war in Vietnam—songs include “Downtown,” “I Know a Place,” “The Boy from New York City,” “The Shoop Shoop Song (It’s in His Kiss),” and “If I Can Dream.”

Music supervision is by Joseph Church (The Lion King, Tommy) with music direction by Rick Fox (Jesus Christ Superstar), and casting by Tara Rubin Casting.

“It was quite an experience for A Sign of the Times to have had such a positive response during its first production at Goodspeed,” said creator and producer Richard Robin in a statement. “Using feedback from the Goodspeed audience and ongoing discussions with the creative team, the December presentations will showcase a number of changes to the book and score. As options for the next production are being explored, we hope that A Sign of the Times will make its next appearance on stage in 2018.”

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