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New Dramatists Honors Suzan-Lori Parks
plus, your weekly round-up of theatre news you may have missed!
Welcome to The Scene, your weekly round-up of theatre news you may have missed. In this week’s email:
THE BROADWAY BEAT: First in The Scene: A new Broadway musical in the works from British-American rock band Foreigner | ‘Some Like It Hot’ leads Drama Desk Award winners | Tyne Daly and Liev Schreiber to star in revival of Doubt | The Sign in Sidney Brustein’s Window reshapes the legacy of Lorraine Hansberry | American Airlines Theatre to be renamed in honor of Roundabout Theatre Company’s Todd Haimes | Video from CBS Sunday Morning - Shucked: Broadway, country music and corn | *Breaking News from The Scene* - A Broadway musical based on the music of the rock band Foreigner is in the works
HOT TOPICS: Succession’s roots were in theater. That’s why it was great | Florida theater teacher Jason Zembuch Young to receive 2023 Tony Award for Excellence in Theatre Education | The Broadway musical Six to Host Its First-Ever Autism Friendly Performance | New Broadway Studio Tour to Give Theatre Fans Real-Life Behind-the-Scenes Glimpse at How Shows Get Made | What would musicals sound like without orchestrations?
THE WEST END BEAT: Matilda musical extends West End run | West End actors and stage managers to receive pay rise | Erica Whyman reveals last season at helm of Royal Shakespeare Company
POLL RESULTS: Tony Awards Poll Results from last week’s vote in The Scene
THE BIG IDEA: New Dramatists Honors Suzan-Lori Parks
SHOWS YOU SHOULD KNOW: Making Magic With Magic: The story of Allie Kazan in the Magic Mansion by Jahnna Beecham
The Broadway Beat
SOME LIKE IT HOT LEADS DRAMA DESK AWARD WINNERS - Eight Broadway productions from the 2022-2023 season won multiple awards.
TYNE DALY AND LIEV SCHREIBER TO STAR IN REVIVAL OF DOUBT - The new production will be produced by Roundabout Theatre Company.
THE SIGN IN SIDNEY BRUSTEIN’S WINDOW RESHAPES THE LEGACY OF LORRAINE HANSBERRY - Stars Oscar Isaac and Rachel Brosnahan, producer Jeremy O. Harris and more reveal their new perspective on a playwright the public thought they knew.
AMERICAN AIRLINES THEATRE TO BE RENAMED IN HONOR OF ROUNDABOUT THEATRE COMPANY’S TODD HAIMES - The announcement was made moments before the lights of Broadway were dimmed in honor of the late artistic director.
SHUCKED: BROADWAY, COUNTRY MUSIC, AND CORN – Check out this great segment from CBS Sunday Morning on the Tony nominated Shucked.
*BREAKING NEWS FROM THE SCENE* A BROADWAY MUSICAL BASED ON THE MUSIC OF THE ROCK BAND FOREIGNER IS IN THE WORKS: The Scene has the inside scoop that a Broadway Musical, based on the music by the rock band Foreigner is currently in the works. Foreigner is one of the world's best-selling bands of all time with worldwide sales of more than 80 million records, including 37.5 million in the US. The band’s hits include ‘I Want to Know What Love Is,’ ‘Juke Box Hero,’ ‘Hot Blooded,’ ‘Cold As Ice,’ ‘Feels Like the First Time,’ and ‘Waiting for a Girl Like You,’ and more. Subscribe to The Scene for more updates and breaking news.
SUCCESSION’S ROOTS WERE IN THEATER. THAT’S WHY IT WAS GREAT - The HBO drama was at its best when its episodes acted like plays.
FLORIDA THEATER TEACHER JASON ZEMBUCH YOUNG TO RECEIVE 2023 TONY AWARD FOR EXCELLENCE IN THEATRE EDUCATION - The award was co-founded in 2014 by the Tony Awards and Carnegie Mellon University.
THE BROADWAY MUSICAL SIX TO HOST ITS FIRST-EVER AUTISM FRIENDLY PERFORMANCE – Presented by TDF, there have been AFP of Broadway's Aladdin, Cats, Come from Away, Elf: The Musical, George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, and more.
NEW BROADWAY STUDIO TOUR TO GIVE THEATRE FANS REAL-LIFE BEHIND-THE-SCENES GLIMPSE AT HOW SHOWS GET MADE - The Broadway Studios Tour will begin daily private tours of active rehearsal studio complex Open Jar Studios later this month.
WHAT WOULD MUSICALS SOUND LIKE WITHOUT ORCHESTRATIONS? - The 2023 Tony-nominated orchestrators share their composers’ audio demos alongside final orchestrated recordings to reveal how the full and final sound of a musical gets made.
Tony Awards Poll Results
Thank you for everyone who voted in last week’s Tony Awards Poll. Here are your results for the winners for Best Play, Best Musical, Best Revival of a Play, and Best Revival of a Musical for the 2023 Tony Awards.
Ain’t No Mo’ (21%)
Between Riverside and Crazy (17%)
Cost of Living (18%)
Fat Ham (22%) – POLL WINNER
& Juliet (20%)
Kimberly Akimbo (24%) – POLL WINNER
New York, New York (17%)
Some Like It Hot (18%)
Best Revival of a Play
The Piano Lesson (23%)
A Doll’s House (28%) – POLL WINNER
The Sign in Sidney Brustein’s Window (25%)
Best Revival of a Musical
Into the Woods (28%) – POLL WINNER
Sweeney Todd (25%)
Thank you for participating in this poll from The Scene. Don’t forget the American Theatre Wing’s 76th Annual Tony Awards, presented by the Broadway League and the American Theatre Wing, will air LIVE on Sunday, June 11, 2023, from the historic United Palace in Washington Heights, in New York City from 8:00-11:00 PM, ET/5:00-8:00 PM, PT on the CBS Television Network, and streaming live and on demand on Paramount+*.CBS and Pluto TV will present The Tony Awards: Act One, a pre-show of live, exclusive content leading into the 76th Annual Tony Awards. The celebration commences at 6:30-8:00 PM, ET/3:30-5:00 PM PT, on Pluto TV, the leading free streaming television service (FAST). Viewers can access the show on their smart TV, streaming device, mobile app or online by going to Pluto TV and clicking on the “Pluto TV Celebrity” channel (no payment, registration or sign-in required).
The Big Idea
New Dramatists Honors Suzan-Lori Parks
On Tuesday May 31, 2003, The Scene attended the 71st Annual New Dramatists Spring Luncheon. A Broadway community tradition, the luncheon kicks off two weeks of events leading up to the Tony Awards on June 11. This year’s event celebrated the career of Suzan-Lori Parks. The speakers honoring the playwright included Jeanine Tesori (stepping in for George C. Wolfe), Kenny Leon, and Tony Kushner.
In addition to the honoree, the New Dramatists Spring Luncheon is also known for its “rollcall,” an on stage call out of that year’s Tony nominees, past winners, and other famous names who are in attendance. The luncheon concluded with Suzan-Lori delivering a stirring and inspiring acceptance speech that included a performance of a song from her play, Plays for the Plague Year.
If you are unfamiliar with the work of Suzan-Lori Parks, or just need a quick refresher continue reading for New Dramatists Bio:
Suzan-Lori Parks is the first African American woman to receive the Pulitzer Prize in Drama for Topdog/Underdog. Other honors include the MacArthur Genius Grant, The Gish Prize for Excellence in the Arts, and she was recently inducted into the Theatre Hall of Fame. In 2023, Parks was named as one of Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in the World.
In addition to the 20th Anniversary Broadway revival of Topdog/Underdog, Parks’ most recent world premieres include Plays for the Plague Year and the musical adaptation of The Harder They Come, both at the Public Theatre, as well as Sally & Tom at the Guthrie Theater.
Parks’ adaptation of The Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess won the 2012 Tony Award for Best Revival of a Musical. Her other works include The Book of Grace, Unchain My Heart: The Ray Charles Musical, In the Blood, The Death of the Last Black Man in the Entire World, The America Play, Venus, and Fucking A. Her project 365 Days/365 Plays –where she wrote a play a day for an entire year- was produced in over 700 theaters worldwide, creating one of the largest grassroots collaborations in theatre history.
Parks also works extensively in film and television, most recently, as the screenwriter for The United States vs. Billie Holiday and, also Genius: Aretha as showrunner, executive producer, and head writer.
Her novel, Getting Mother’s Body, is published by Random House.
In her spare time, she writes songs and fronts her band Sula & The Noise. She is an alim of Mount Holyoke College, where she studied with James Baldwin, and an alum of New Dramatists.
Shows You Should Know
MAKING MAGIC WITH MAGIC: The story of Allie Kazan in the Magic Mansion
by Jahnna Beecham
Inspiration is a magic spark, a sign from the universe. With my partner Malcolm Hillgartner, I’ve written more than 130 books for young adults and 10 musicals and can cite the single moment that launched the story in all of them. The spark that ignited our eleventh musical happened in the summer of 2018 in Michigan. We were in the car leaving Hope Repertory Theatre when a friend called and said, “Don’t go yet. You have to meet my cousin.” When we hesitated, he added, “He’s a professional magician and he toured for four years as a clown with Ringling Brothers.” A magician and a circus clown? Who could resist that? Four hours and ten cups of coffee later, our relationship with the amazing Steve Marshall had begun.
Steve told us his story: he was a shy chubby kid who struggled to make friends. Then one Christmas he received a Marshall Brodien TV Magic Set, and it changed his life. Suddenly he was a magician—someone special! Steve entertained at birthday parties and talent shows but he didn’t really meet his “tribe” until he joined a club that met in the back of a magic shop. The other teens were oddballs like him. They lived and breathed magic, made coins disappear, canes dance, and pulled colored silks out of thin air. They practiced for days just to master a card trick. They competed in magic competitions and dreamed of one day performing at the mecca for all professional magicians—the Magic Castle in Hollywood. As Steve talked, a plot for a musical about teens in a magic competition began to emerge.
We started with “What if?” What if it’s the finals of the Young Masters of Magic competition and one of the contestants has cheated and is disqualified at the last minute? His replacement is a quirky but very talented girl named Allie Kazan who is working hard to become an escape artist but keeps getting locked in the trunk and her mom has to let her out—over and over again.
At the competition Allie meets Marvellini, the greatest magician of them all, and the other contestants: Magic Wanda, an overachiever who makes canes appear and disappear; Eric the Great and Eva, a bickering brother/sister team who do a levitating act; and Jay-K Mars, a cool, witty master of cardistry.
What if things start to go wrong with the other contestants’ acts and they blame Allie, the strange newcomer? But Allie has seen what appears to be a ghost backstage. A ghost brings in the fun Scooby Doo element and gives our gang a mystery to solve. Fun!
We pitched the idea to Adam Burke, artistic director of Children’s Theatre of Charlotte who pitched the idea to Jeff Revels at Orlando Rep. Four years and two workshops later, Allie Kazan and the Magic Mansion opened in Charlotte North Carolina on February 4, 2022. It has a cast of eight (with room for expansion), thirteen songs, thirty tricks and illusions and, of course, one ghost.
Allie Kazan in the Magic Mansion, Music and lyrics by Malcolm Hillgartner, Book by Jahnna Beecham, Magic by Steve Marshall, and Music arrangements by William Congdon
Click here for more information on Allie Kazan in the Magic Mansion