All stories by Rob Lester on BroadwayStars

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Liberace and What’s-his-name: Two Musicals About Real-Life Artists, Visual and Performing, Performed Artfully at NYMF by Rob Lester

When art imitates life in the arts, there can be artistic differences. At the festival closing Sunday, August 6, two ambitious NYMF shows celebrate real-life artistic American men: one still…

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“Be Your True Self!” Say Loveable Shows in NYMF, Like Backbeard and Happily by Rob Lester

What better message for a musical than, “Find and be your true self, despite pressures to be a clone, and you’ll be a happier true you.” Backbeard and Happily don’t have lyrics sayin…

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Friday, August 4, 2017

Two Shows with Teen Angst, Talent, Terrific Songs. Generation Me; Peace, Love and Cupcakes by Rob Lester

Looking for musicals about teens and their troubles? See our Pick of the Week for info on Happily (August 3 & 4) at NYMF. And here are reviews at two that came by first: along first at the …

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Tuesday, August 1, 2017

NiteLife Person of the Week— Prince of Broadway? …but which one? by Rob Lester

Opening in NYC: Hal Prince saluted in The Prince of Broadway …..or do we mean Faith Prince who turns 60 this week (on Sunday)? Or The Student Prince, since that operetta’s composer, Sigm…

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Tuesday, July 25, 2017

NiteLife Person (and Plant!) of the Week: Composer Alan Menken (The Man) & Audrey II (The Man-Eating Plant) by Rob Lester

This Friday, see a 3-man Little Shop of Horrors. Its composer, Alan Menken, who turned 68 this week, has more than a birthday to celebrate: the 35th anniversary of that musical’s off- …

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Monday, July 24, 2017

Cabaret Pick of the Week–Ongoing Cabaret Shows Begin at Second Ave.’s Beach Cafe and Mark Nadler Leads the Cole Porter Pack of Performers by Rob Lester

Wow! At affordable prices, with top-notch stars, cabaret, class, and classic Cole come East for a feast: merry Mark Nadler launches a Cole Porter-centric series and his own custom brand of …

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Friday, July 21, 2017

Numbers Nerds & The Body Politic at NYMF by Rob Lester

Living as the gender one sees oneself as or with same -gendered teammates (girl power)…NYMF shows cover both. Numbers Nerds is a likeable, sweet quite entertaining musical and The Body Pol…

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Tuesday, July 18, 2017

2 NYMF Weekend Hits Likely to Come Back: Would You Believe Blanche DuBois and Matthew McConaughey by Rob Lester

Two NYMF shows I bet will be back for extensions are colorful, rich, and inspired by pre-existing characters. But they couldn’t be more different than each other. Miss Blanche Tells It A…

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Sunday, July 16, 2017

New Musical Festival (NYMF)– Report # 1: Adapting Classic Novels by Rob Lester

Adapting a lengthy novel as a musical has its challenges — especially if, like The Time Machine and The Picture of Dorian Gray, the work is sprawling, classic, beloved… And you’re unli…

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Friday, July 14, 2017

NiteLife Person of the Week— Cheyenne Jackson by Rob Lester

He IS where Broadway meets cabaret! Cheyenne Jackson, born this week in 1975, started his Broadway career as an understudy. He’d been doing theatre work just on the side back in Seattle, …

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Tuesday, June 20, 2017

NiteLife People of the Week–Jones & Schmidt Saluted by Carole Demas & Sarah Rice: 6/24, 6/27 by Rob Lester

Once (well, twice) upon a time or two, both Carole Demas and Sarah Rice played the sole female role in the original off-Broadway run of The Fantasticks. Now, many moons later, Carole (the or…

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Friday, June 2, 2017

Michael Feinstein at Jazz at Lincoln Center: Saluting Ella and Mel by Rob Lester

On June 8 &9 —hooray!—Michael Feinstein will honor Ella Fitzgerald as he did for Mel Tormé earlier (Review herein). Singers Nicole Henry, Jessie Mueller, and South African vocalist Vuy…

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Sally Darling Sings at Don’t Tell Mama in June and July by Rob Lester

One of the more interesting singers on the scene these days is the one with the lovely name of Sally Darling whose newest solo cabaret show Love, Lust & Longing I am longing to see. While M…

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Friday, May 26, 2017

Marquee Five and Ritzel’s Revelers and 54 Below Salute Broadway by Rob Lester

Guess who’s back in town and on Broadway? I don’t mean Dolly, it’s that group full of radiant harmony, Marquee Five, although you will hear something from Hello, Dolly! and other Broad…

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Thursday, May 11, 2017

Splendid Musical at Tada!: New York, New Year runs thru May 21 by Rob Lester

What better message to deliver to kids than that happiness and friendship will come if you’ll “Just be who you really are”? A musical — endearingly entertaining — now playing, wit…

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Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Lyrics & Lyricists’ Latest Concert’s Stars Sang the “UNsung”; Lerner & Loewe Next Up! by Rob Lester

The agenda on May 6, 7 and 8? Saluting some lyricists who rarely get their due. With insightful, delightful lyricist Sheldon Harnick hosting and narrating and singing a few times, Broadway…

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Sunday, May 7, 2017

The NiteLife Person of the Week: The great Songwriter Irving Berlin, born this week in 1888 by Rob Lester

Here’s a True or False Quiz on the iconic songwriter whose work is still heard today, though he was born 12 years before the 19th century ended. Here are 10 interesting facts (or lies) ab…

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Saturday, April 29, 2017

Face On: Ten, Face Off; Three: LuPone and Ebersole Square Off in War Paint by Rob Lester

Early on, when that iconic red door that has marked the gateway to Elizabeth Arden’s swank Fifth Avenue salon since 1910, rolls onto the stage, it’s clear we’re in good hands. This goo…

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Elektra Cardiogram: Phillipa Soo is Back as Irrepressible French Imp Amélie by Rob Lester

Think back to 2001. If you went to the art-house cinema at all that fall, chances are it was to catch Jean-Pierre Jeune’s wide-eyed ingénue Amélie. With its many super-tight shots of new…

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Thursday, April 20, 2017

Marilyn Maye Dazzles and Inspires, but That’s Not News — Appearing through April 23 by Rob Lester

In an uncertain world, one thing you can always count on is being uplifted and your cup of cheer will runneth over when entertainer extraordinaire Marilyn Maye is holding court in the spotli…

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Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Music Reviews: Pretty Singing and Pretty Filthy by Rob Lester

Chenoweth & McGovern's pretty inging plus Pretty Filthy, a cast recording.

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Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Reviews: "Hairspray Live!," "Disaster!," and "The Bodyguard" Recordings by Rob Lester

Taking their cues from the movies ...

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Friday, August 26, 2016

Sound Advice: A wistful and winning "Waitress" by Rob Lester

While not a typical or titanic type of musical theatre—it tends to musically glide more than soar with its more subtle persuasive attractions—the cast album is quite pleasing.

Linked From TalkinBroadway at 09:58AM
Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Machine Gun America: a cautionary (but fun) musical by Rob Lester

With the alarmingly large number of recent headline stories about gun violence and the ongoing debates about gun control, a sly and smart musical on the topic makes its points —and wins po…

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Friday, June 24, 2016

Sound Advice" and "Brooklyn Crush" cast recordings by Rob Lester

Here are two contemporary musicals whose scores on disc are among Broadway Records' cluster of recent releases. Neither would be mistaken for a Rodgers & Hammerstein-style musical or a whole…

Linked From TalkinBroadway at 02:10PM
Thursday, June 9, 2016

Rob Lester Previews Intriguing New Cabaret Show with Andrea Axelrod and Barry Levitt by Rob Lester

Love—or a reasonable facsimile. Or maybe just another shade of the red hot. Hearing their colorful ideas and hearing them perform in a private rehearsal increased my anticipation for ric…

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Friday, March 25, 2016

Sound Advice "Amazing Grace" by Rob Lester

This time, it's Amazing Grace, named for the stirring hymn and charting the journey of the man who wrote it. The second line of that song—"How sweet the sound!"—also describes the voices…

Linked From TalkinBroadway at 09:49AM
Monday, March 21, 2016

Sound Advice Reviews: "Fiddler on the Roof" new Broadway cast, Tony Yazbeck, Natalie Douglas, Norm Drubner by Rob Lester

... some whose memories go back a bit more than 50 Broadway seasons may be amazed that it's been that long since Fiddler on the Roof first came along, but it's back and there's another reviv…

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Friday, January 29, 2016

SOUND ADVICE: "The Top Ten Cast Albums of 2015" by Rob Lester

. Each grabbed me right away, having surpassed my expectations based on prior familiarity with the artists and/or songs. They have lasting power, continuing to impress when I hear them again.

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Monday, January 25, 2016

Sound Advice "The Top Ten Cast Albums of 2015" by Rob Lester

... here are the ones (submitted for review) that radiate with initial impact and staying power.

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Friday, January 8, 2016

Sound Advice "The Wiz Live" and "Finding Neverland" Twice by Rob Lester

The Wiz and Finding Neverland: Inspired by Baum, Barrie & Believing.

Linked From TalkinBroadway at 08:53AM