All stories by Chris Willman on BroadwayStars

Sunday, March 24, 2024

‘One of the Good Ones’ Review: Pasadena Playhouse’s Cross-Cultural Comedy Brings a Norman Lear Sensibility to the Stage by Chris Willman

Does “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner” count as a genre unto itself, given how many plotlines in the last half-century have relied on the suitor-out-of-water supper guest as a linchpin? T…

SOURCE: Variety at 05:03PM
Thursday, March 7, 2024

Steve Lawrence, Singer and Actor Who Found His Greatest Fame as Half of Steve and Eydie, Dies at 88 by Chris Willman

Steve Lawrence, a king among easy-listening crooners who rocketed to fame in the ’50s and ’60s as half of the duo Steve and Eydie, died Thursday at age 88. Lawrence died at home in Los A…

SOURCE: Variety at 03:33PM
Thursday, January 25, 2024

‘Kate’ Review: Kate Berlant Navel-Gazes, Hilariously, in an Unpredictable One-Woman Show at Pasadena Playhouse by Chris Willman

It’s not exactly breaking news in the world of show-biz satire that actors can be vain, or insecure; it’s been mined. But for as long as time and human consciousness still exist, there w…

SOURCE: Variety at 10:17PM

‘The Journals of Adam and Eve’ Review: Hal Linden and Sally Struthers Go East of Eden (and Studio City) in a Charming Stage Two-Hander by Chris Willman

There’s no IP more innately suited for adaptation as a pure two-hander than the tale of Adam and Eve, a story in which, initially at least, there are no other characters, excepting the cre…

SOURCE: Variety at 12:15AM
Monday, January 15, 2024

Broadway’s ‘Shucked’ Set for Feature Film Adaptation From Mandalay Pictures by Chris Willman

The musical-comedy “Shucked” had its closing performance on Broadway Sunday night, but the show went out with an even louder set of whoops than expected, as the curtain call included the…

SOURCE: Variety at 11:56AM
Tuesday, December 5, 2023

Barbra Streisand Talks About Her Epic Memoir: ‘God, I Hope People Like This Book… I Forgot What I Wrote 10 Years Ago, When I Started’ by Chris Willman

Hello, beautiful. That’s what some Barbra Streisand fans have been murmuring to their physical editions of “My Name Is Barbra,” her memoir, since it came out one month ago, and over th…

SOURCE: Variety at 10:11AM
Saturday, November 11, 2023

Alex Edelman on Bringing ‘Just for Us’ to L.A.’s Mark Taper, and Why It Feels Right to Do a Comedic Piece About Jewish Identity Amid Darker Time by Chris Willman

Southern California comedy aficionados have experienced some FOMO when it comes to on-and-off L.A. resident Alex Edelman having become the toast of the town in New York theater circles with …

SOURCE: Variety at 03:07PM
Tuesday, August 22, 2023

‘Peter Pan Goes Wrong’ Review: If Pratfalls Piling Up Is Wrong, This Ahmanson Production Doesn’t Want to Be Right by Chris Willman

“Peter Pan Goes Wrong,” now playing at L.A.’s Ahmanson Theatre, has its roots partly in silent-film slapstick, partly in British pantomime and partly in Python. But maybe the best shor…

SOURCE: Variety at 03:58PM
Sunday, August 13, 2023

‘Fantasticks’ Lyricist Tom Jones Was Sanguine About the Musical’s Tangled History With Hollywood, Including a Near-Miss With Barbra Streisand by Chris Willman

“Try to Remember,” the most famous song to have come out of the stage musical “The Fantasticks,” was noted for its autumnal feel, sung by someone reflecting back on youthful days. Th…

SOURCE: Variety at 04:27PM
Tuesday, July 25, 2023

The Making of ‘Here Lies Love’: How David Byrne, Disco, Dictators and Filipino Pride Come Together in Broadway’s Boldest New Musical by Chris Willman

You remember the famous Talking Heads song with the lyrical hook, “This ain’t no disco…”? Part of the mission of the producers of “Here Lies Love,” a stage musical created by Dav…

SOURCE: Variety at 03:39PM
Saturday, July 1, 2023

‘Into the Woods’ Review: A Tour for Stephen Sondheim’s Masterpiece Brings Broadway Brilliance to L.A.’s Ahmanson by Chris Willman

In “Into the Woods,” the audience laughs at the gluttony of the Little Red Ridinghood character, especially in the earliest, most deliberately cartoony parts of the production. But in a …

SOURCE: Variety at 09:40PM
Thursday, June 15, 2023

Mark Taper Forum Cancels All Productions Planned for 2023-24 Season, Due to ‘Crisis Unlike Any Other in Our 56-Year History’ by Chris Willman

In a move certain to shock Los Angeles theatergoers, the Center Theatre Group (CTG) announced Thursday that it is canceling plans for a 2023-34 season at the Mark Taper Forum, one of the mos…

SOURCE: Variety at 08:22PM
Monday, June 5, 2023

Filipino Producers of David Byrne’s ‘Here Lies Love’ and Union Demanding a Live Orchestra Explain What They Each See at Stake for Broadway’s F by Chris Willman

In front of the Broadway Theatre at the corner of Broadway and 53rd Street in Manhattan are posters for the venue’s incoming production, “Here Lies Love,” advertising a score by David …

SOURCE: Variety at 04:59PM
Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Broadway’s ‘Some Like It Hot,’ ‘Life of Pi,’ ‘A Doll’s House,’ ‘Sweeney Todd’ Rack Up Multiple Drama Desk Awards Wins by Chris Willman

Nobody’s perfect, but “Some Like It Hot” was close enough for the 67th annual Drama Desk Awards, which gave the Broadway adaptation of the classic film comedy eight honors on Wednesday…

SOURCE: Variety at 03:58PM
Saturday, April 8, 2023

‘Bodyguard’ Musical Halted by ‘Mini-Riot,’ as Rowdy Theatergoers Loudly Singing Along With ‘I Will Always Love You’ Are Dragged Out by Chris Willman

A touring production of the stage version of “The Bodyguard” was brought to a halt and canceled in Manchester, England on Friday night after patrons would not stop singing along with the…

SOURCE: Variety at 01:51PM
Wednesday, April 5, 2023

How Broadway Got ‘Shucked’: The 12-Year Journey to a Riotous Production That Could Be the Musical-Comedy Sleeper of the Season by Chris Willman

The verdicts on the new Broadway musical-comedy “Shucked” are in, and the critics have asked you to lend them your ears — so to speak — as they’ve cobbled together their reactions …

SOURCE: Variety at 03:55PM
Thursday, January 12, 2023

‘Here Lies Love,’ David Byrne-Cowritten Musical, to Open on Broadway in Immersive, Standing-Room Setting by Chris Willman

“Here Lies Love,” a celebrated “disco pop” stage musical with a score by David Byrne and Fatboy Slim, dramatizing Imelda Marcos’ rise to prominence and downfall in the Philippines,…

SOURCE: Variety at 09:42AM
Thursday, December 1, 2022

Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo Give Musical Theater Their Best Shot With L.A. Premiere of ‘Invincible,’ on Heels of Rock Hall Honors by Chris Willman

It’s a few days after the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony when we find Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo holed up in the green room of a Beverly Hills performing arts center, talk…

SOURCE: Variety at 08:01PM
Thursday, July 28, 2022

Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo Set Fall Premiere for ‘Invincible’ Musical in L.A. (EXCLUSIVE) by Chris Willman

Incoming Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Pat Benatar and her musical partner and husband Neil Giraldo are announcing an L.A.-area November world premiere for “Invincible — The Musical,” a …

SOURCE: Variety at 03:01PM
Monday, July 18, 2022

‘Freestyle Love Supreme’ Review: With a Co-Creator Leaving, Musical Improv Show Has a Bit of Poignance Amid the Mirth in Pasadena by Chris Willman

There aren’t many Tony-winning productions in which one of the veteran creator-performers can announce that he’s retiring, right in the middle of a performance… and do it in song form�…

SOURCE: Variety at 02:35PM
Tuesday, June 28, 2022

‘Wicked’ Songwriter Stephen Schwartz on Why the Movie Must Be a Two-Parter: Nothing Can Follow ‘Defying Gravity’ by Chris Willman

According to Stephen Schwartz, nothing can follow “Defying Gravity.” And for the “Wicked” songwriter, that’s one key reason why the movie version of his blockbuster Broadway musica…

SOURCE: Variety at 04:00PM
Thursday, June 16, 2022

‘King James’ Review: A Shared Fandom for LeBron James Leads to Bonding and Blowups in Mark Taper Dramedy by Chris Willman

“King James,” a new dramedy at the Mark Taper Forum, is a two-hander about a love triangle of sorts. The unseen third point in this romance, per the title: basketball legend LeBron James…

SOURCE: Variety at 06:58PM
Thursday, June 2, 2022

‘Almost Famous’ Musical Set for Fall Broadway Opening by Chris Willman

“Almost Famous” is almost ready for Broadway. The specific New York theater has yet to be announced, but opening dates for the musical adaptation of the Cameron Crowe film were revealed …

SOURCE: Variety at 02:34PM
Saturday, April 16, 2022

Comedian Rebecca Corry on Why the Louis C.K. Sexual Harassment Story is Finally Becoming Part of Her Act by Chris Willman

After the Grammys earlier this month, comedian Rebecca Corry got hit with a flood of press requests, and not for any part she’d played in the proceedings. Everyone wanted to know what she …

SOURCE: Variety at 03:00PM
Sunday, December 12, 2021

Pioneering Alt-Comedy Club UnCabaret Returns to Live Shows … But Is Sticking With Intimate Zooms, Post-Pandemic, Too by Chris Willman

When the pandemic hit, there were many aspects of the performing arts that adopted a livestream model, of course, as a necessity and a stopgap until normal life — and normal live — could…

SOURCE: Variety at 04:50PM
Saturday, September 25, 2021

At ‘Tarantino Live,’ Director’s Soundtracks Come to Life, With a Little Help From Jackie Brown, the Bride and the Gimp by Chris Willman

What do the Bride, Jackie Brown, Django, Mia Wallace, Hans Landa, Cottonmouth, Stuntman Mike McKay, Mr. Pink, Charles Manson and the Gimp all have in common? For one thing, that they’re al…

SOURCE: Variety at 02:57PM
Thursday, September 23, 2021

Alaska 5000, Lea DeLaria Cast as Royal Leads in Pasadena Production of Go-Go’s Musical ‘Head Over Heels’ (EXCLUSIVE) by Chris Willman

Initial casting is being revealed for the Pasadena Playhouse’s production of the Go-Go’s-scored musical comedy “Head Over Heels,” opening in a reconfigured, immersive setting within …

SOURCE: Variety at 03:00PM
Monday, August 23, 2021

Barry Manilow’s ‘Harmony’ Musical Will Finally Get Its First NYC Run in Spring 2022 by Chris Willman

Barry Manilow fans never got to hear the end of his set at Saturday’s “We Love NYC” Central Park concert, after the all-star show got shut down right in the middle of a Manilow medley.…

SOURCE: Variety at 04:08PM
Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Go-Go’s Stage Musical ‘Head Over Heels’ Headed to L.A., Reconfigured as a ‘Dance Party’ by Chris Willman

“Head Over Heels,” the Broadway production that put the song catalog of the Go-Go’s to use as the basis of a narrative musical-comedy, is finally reaching the band’s hometown of Los …

SOURCE: Variety at 09:42PM
Sunday, June 27, 2021

Downtown L.A.’s First Talkie Theater Becomes a Spectacular Apple Store, and Preservationists Are Talking It Up by Chris Willman

One of downtown Los Angeles’ landmark clock towers, the one atop the 1927 Tower Theatre, is no longer right just twice a day. More significantly, the landmark theater below it at 8th and B…

SOURCE: Variety at 06:41AM
Wednesday, June 23, 2021

H.E.R., Beyonce, Bruce Springsteen and Other Top Music Stars Enter Emmy Competition by Chris Willman

More than a dozen of music’s biggest stars, from Beyoncé to H.E.R., would love an Emmy to add to their award shelves. A Variety review of the 535 entries throughout the Television Academy…

SOURCE: Variety at 09:39PM

All that Chat

May 30, 2023: Grey House - Lyceum Theatre
Jun 26, 2023: Just For Us - Hudson Theatre
Jul 24, 2023: The Cottage - Hayes Theater
Nov 16, 2023: Spamalot - St. James Theatre
Dec 18, 2023: Appropriate - Hayes Theater
Mar 07, 2024: Doubt - Todd Haimes Theatre
Apr 14, 2024: Lempicka - Longacre Theatre
Apr 17, 2024: The Wiz - Marquis Theatre
Apr 18, 2024: Suffs - Music Box Theatre
Apr 25, 2024: Mother Play - Hayes Theater
Jun 10, 2024: The Drama Desk Awards