Lend Me A Tenor: the Tony award winning comedy will have you laughing all night

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A hilarious mad cap comedy is now on stage at the Westchester Broadway Theatre. Lend Me A Tenor is a departure from the main stage musicals that have made the WBT famous.   Lend me a Tenor was first produced on the  West End (London) in 1986  and on Broadway  in 1989.  The play was nominated for nine Tony awards, and won two.    It also was nominated for six Drama Desk awards and won four.  Now this comedy is on stage until January 24th.  It is truly in the style of modern British comedy with exaggerated acting, physical comedy, over the top characters and a clever set that is a vital part of the story.

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Buckle your seat belts as you may just fall out of your seat from laughing too hard!   The play is set in a hotel suite in Cleveland Ohio in 1934.  An internationally famous opera tenor, Tito Merelli is coming to Cleveland to perform the famous role of Pagliacci the clown.   His anticipated arrival is a huge event for the local theater which is betting their season on this perfomance.  Merelli is quite the ladies man and when he arrives we discover that the women in the play are all trying to seduce him.   Act One soon gets turned on his head as Merelli mixes too many sleeping pills and wine.  The theater manager  fearing that his star is dead asks his assistant Max to don the make up and costume of Pagliacci and assume his role that very evening on stage.

The stage is an integral part of the comedy.  The stage is one large hotel suite with a partial wall that divides the bedroom from the sitting area.  The audience can see all the action in both rooms but the characters cannot.   There are also 5 doors that exit the room, two to closets, one to the bathroom and two to the corridor.  These doors are part of this very over the top physical comedy as the actors race in and out of the doors.   Act Two turns the whole story on its head.  Is Merelli the tenor really dead?  Or just in a deep sleep.  Is there room for two operatic  clowns in this comedy?  You will have to see to find out.

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Starring: Joey Sorge as Tito, J.D. Daw as Max, Molly McCaskill as Maggie, Hannah Jane McMurray as Diana, Sam Seferian as the Bellhop, Tregoney Shepherd as Julia and Kathy Voytko as Maria

Excellent direction by Harry Bouvy, Set Design by Steve Loftus, Lighting by Andrew Gmoser, Sound by Mark Zuckerman, Costumes by Keith Nielsen, Wigs by Gerard Kelly, Victor Lukas is the PSM, Duane McDevitt is the ASM/male standby. Lisa Tiso is the Producer.

The play runs through January 26th 2020 and is a must see.    WBT is running a special for this production that you can access by calling the theater.  Buy a ticket and WBT  will  treat you to their delicious 3-course served dinner with a selection of entrees for FREE!

Enjoy the show, with dinner, for the regular show-only price of $57
Valid for performances on Thursday, Friday & Saturday evenings and Sunday Matinees.

Call the Box Office at 914-592-2222  and ask for the DINNER DEAL!

WESTCHESTER BROADWAY THEATER

One Broadway Plaza Elmsford NY

https://www.broadwaytheatre.com

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“An American in Paris” dances into the Westchester Broadway Theater

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An outstanding score, intricate dance routines, authentic costumes and great acting all add up to a sensational  show right here in Westchester.  The musical,  An American in Paris has danced its way onto the Westchester Broadway Theatre stage. The Broadway musical adapted from the 1951 film of the same name and starred Gene Kelly, was the winner of numerous awards including 4  Tony Awards.  With numerous dance numbers, fine direction, and music score by the legendary  Gershwin brothers, An American in Paris is a hit.

The story takes place immediately after World War II and Jerry Mulligan (Brandon Haagenson), an American G.I. who meets a beautiful French girl on the streets of Paris.  From this chance encounter he decides he will stay in Paris after the war to pursue his dreams of being an artist.  He makes his way to a cafe where he meets Adam Hochberg, another American  veteran and pianist, whose becomes the narrator of the story.. Trying to assist a fellow countryman, Adam helps Jerry find a place to live and helps him get started in Paris. Henri Baurel, the son of wealthy French industrialists, enters to rehearse the nightclub act he is putting together with Adam.  Henri is practicing in secret because his dreams of being an entertainer would be frowned upon by his successful parents.

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Adam takes Jerry to the ballet where he decides to sketch the dancers in auditions.  Here he meets Milo Davenport, a rich American who is smitten by Jerry and wants to help his budding artistic career.  At the audition, Adam meets the mystery girl Lise Dassin (Deanna Doyle) and so taken by her that he wants to compose ballet music for her.   It is the money and persuasion of Milo Davenport that leads to Adam being hired to compose the score to a ballet, Lise to be its principal dancer and for Jerry to be art director.

But as the group works together we find there is a love triangle occurring between Jerry, Lise and Henri. Indeed Lise herself is hiding a deep secret about her past from both Adam and Jerry that will not be revealed until Act Two.  It is a play about love, passion, self discovery  and following your heart whether it be romance or your art.

An American In Paris has all the components of a great musical.  A fine story with a compelling plot and interesting characters, memorable music from two icons of American music, and great dance numbers. If you love dance, then this play is for you.  While the set is very basic  for such a big production, yet  it allows the performers and choreographed dance sequences to command the stage.  The evening is filled with dance numbers including tap, jazz, ball room and even ballet.  The cast for this production is huge with 25 actors on stage.  A brilliant job by Director and Choreographer Richard Stafford.  With only a short rehearsal time prior to opening night, the stage was filled with swirling dancers who dazzled the audience with carefully crafted and synchronized steps.  The score is memorable and familiar with both classical music pieces as well as such famous tunes as “I’ve got Rhythym”, and “An American in Paris”.

There were great performances all around from this talented cast, many who have Broadway, Off-Broadway, Regional and National Tours.   Bandon Haagenson takes on the role made famous by the great dancer, Gene Kelly and his performance is fantastic including but not certainly not limited to his amazing tap dancing.   Deanna Doyle gives a wonderful perfomance as Lise, the French girl and ballet dancer and she is quite charming.  Her versatility on stage in her numerous dance routines was very impressive.  Rounding out the excellent cast is Erika Amato playing Madame Baurel,  Tommaso Antico as Adam , and Jonathan Young as Henri.  Lauren Sprague last seen at WBT in A Chorus Line, was superb as Milo.   Credit goes to the wonderful ensemble cast of singers and dancers who lit up the WBT stage with their lively performance.

Keith Nielsen, the Costume Designer for the production, truly captured  the unique and stylish look of 1940s fashion.

If you can’t visit Paris this fall, let the City of Light come to you with this finely crafted production of “An American in Paris”.  Now through November 24th 2019.

For Tickets and information https://www.broadwaytheatre.com

Westchester Broadway Theater

One Broadway Plaza  Elmsford NY

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Mambo Italiano: The feel good musical for everyone

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A fun and light hearted  new musical, Mambo Italiano has arrived at the Westchester Broadway Theater.  This Pre-Broadway run of this musical is based on a Canadian film of the same name, and has been adapted as a musical by Jean Cheever and Tom Pollum.

The setting of the musical is in South Jersey where the Barbieri family led by the loveable but controlling grandmother Maria and her husband Gino, struggle to operate their long established Italian restaurant, “Famiglia Italiana”.   For twenty years they have labored at the restaurant and have raised their two grandchildren,   Anna and Angelo.   The grandparents labor to keep open the restaurant, but also keep alive the traditions of Italy, the memory of their daughter and preserve the family. This means everything to them.

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The cast of Mambo Italiano

The grandchildren, now grown have their own ideas of moving out defying the Italian tradition of staying home until married.  Angelo does not want to stay in the family business, but instead wants to follow in his mother’s dream of being a dancer.  The changing world , new moral attitudes and traditions are dealt with humor in this very funny and family friendly performance.

Though the themes of traditions, family struggle and self identity are dramatic, the musical lightens up and the audience is treated to fun, catchy songs, great vocal performances and most of all a celebration of love and family.  A feel good musical to which everyone can relate.  There are lots of laughs, memorable songs and stand out vocal performances.

The musical stars  Joy Hermalyn as the grandmother, Maria Barbieri, Bill Nolte as Gino Barbieri. The grandkids are played by Alex Drost (Angelo Barbieri), and Alexandra Amadeo Frost (Anna Barbieri), Diana DiMarzio (as Lina Paventi), Natalie Gallo (as Donna Lunetti), Zach Schanne (as Nino Paventi). With:  Alexandra Adinah, Aaron Patrick Craven, A.J. Hunsucker, Stuart Marland, Corey Masklee, Laura Stracko, Mackenqie Rogers, Halle Mastroberardino.

 The casting of the play was particularly well done as the cast were convincing and  in their roles and presented to the audience relatable characters.

Mambo Italiana is the musical where you will leave the theater happy and humming the theme song.  And you wont leave hungry either, as the WBT serves dinner right before the performance.  Mangia!

Mambo Italiano – August 8th – September 29th 2019

for tickets and information

Westchester Broadway Theater

One  Broadway Plaza  Elmsford, NY

web https://www.broadwaytheatre.com/

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The Rhythm is going to get you at “On Your Feet, The Story of Emilio and Gloria Estefan” now at the Westchester Broadway Theater

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When you have a musical that is fun, high energy, and filled with a great and familiar score, you have an instant hit.   All those elements and so much more are present in Westchester Broadway Theater’s current production of “On Your Feet, The Story of Emilo and Gloria Estefan.    As the title states, you will be  On Your Feet because this dazzling musical will lift you up from your chair and have you dancing and swaying your hips as you leave the theater.

Those of you who remember the 1980s  will remember Gloria Estefan and the Miami Sound Machine (whose leader Emilio Estefan she married in 1978).  Their style of music merged Cuban based sounds with pop to create an infectious blend that thrilled the crowd at the WBT.   And if you are not familiar with their music  once the band and talented cast start rocking, you will be hooked.

The story uses a series of flashbacks we see Gloria as a girl (Isabella Preston) in Cuba, singing and dancing because that was in her spirit and heart. Her family fled to Miami after the overthrow of the Batista  government.  Due to their flight from Cuba, Gloria’s mother (Karmine Alers) abandoned her own dream of performing.  As Gloria (Maria  Bilbao) grows up she wants to follow her dreams of singing, but her mother does not support her dream.  We find that Gloria encounters Emilio Estefan (Jose Luaces) who invites her to join his band the “Miami Latin Boys”.  As Gloria emerges as the face of the band and its lead singer, the band changes its name to the Miami Sound Machine.  This also signals a change in creative direction.

Though the band  has a large following on the Spanish speaking music charts, they yearn to cross over and expand their appeal.  They break out of their niche in the 1980s with such hits as “Conga” “1-2-3”, “Get on Your Feet” and more.   Many of their hits are present in the two hour performance and are woven throughout the story.

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Maria Bilbao as Gloria Estefan

The musical also covers the near tragic tour bus accident that almost ended her career.  Gloria over comes this obstacle and returns to the stage.  The show wraps up with a rousing medley of high energy hits including ” Rhythm Is Gonna Get You” ,“Oye”,  “Turn the Beat Around” , “Get On Your Feet!”

The performances of the cast are first rate and what we have come to expect from the WBT.  Maria Bilbao really has you convinced during the performance that you are seeing Gloria Estefan live.  Brilliant.  Dance and choreography is essential to the show and the ensemble cast delivers a lively performance that transports the audience to a Miami club.

So get on your feet and get to the Westchester Broadway Theater.  The show runs through August 4th 2019

tickets: https://www.broadwaytheatre.com/

Westchester Broadway Theater

One Broadway Plaza Elmsford New York

 

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Hot Flash! Menopause the Musical now at the Westchester Broadway Theater

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Now on stage at the Westchester Broadway Theater in Elmsford is a musical comedy with an unusual topic.  Menopause the Musical is a 90 minute hilarious comedy that covers such topics as hot flashes, sleeping issues, short term memory loss, mood swings, loss of libido and weight gain.  Who would think these topics would make for a night of laughs?   Jeanie Linders did and 20 years ago as she stood in front of her open freezer door and sang “Hot Flash” to the melody of Rod Stewart’s “Hot Legs”, she knew she was on to something and thus was born this show.

The musical takes place in Bloomingdales department store in New York City where we meet four women over 40, the Professional Woman (Donna J. Huntley), Soap Star (Debby Rosenthal), Earth Mother (Megan Cavanagh) and Iowa housewife (Roberta B. Wall).  The four over 40 women cross paths by accident in the store and begin to learn about each other and their struggles with “the Change”.

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Each musical number is based on an actual song from the 1960s, 70s and 80s with the lyrics changed to embrace the play’s topic.  The familiarity of the songs allows the audience to instantly embrace the music.  As the four women bond and make their way through the department stores floors, they belt out one musical number after another.  Famous songs like “Chain of Fools” becomes “Change, Change, Change“,  “Stayin Alive” becomes “Stayin Awake/Night Sweats”,  and “My Guy” becomes the very funny “My Thighs”.   This is just a sampling of the creative way that existing songs have been adapted to this comedy.

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The 90 minute show with no intermission rolls along as the ladies belt out one hit after the other.  The opening night audience appreciated the comedic timing and talented vocals of the cast.  The show allows women to bond over their common experience. The cast at the finale, invites women in the audience to join them on stage for the last number.

The actors, all member of Actors Equity Association,  have numerous stage credits to their names.  Megan Cavanagh (Earth Mother) has appeared in such films as ” A League of their Own” and “Robin Hood Men in Tights”.  She has been performed in this show since 2004.  Donna Huntley (Professional Woman) has Broadway, off Broadway, and television credits.  Debby Rosenthal (Soap Star) has performed in numerous regional theater productions and television.  Roberta B. Wall (Iowa Housewife) has appeared on Broadway in Sister Act, and Leap of Faith.  Her numerous credits include regional theater.

This play is great for a girls night out, though the numerous men in the audience appeared to fully enjoy the show as well.  The show runs through Sunday March 24th.

for tickets and information: https://www.broadwaytheatre.com/

Westchester Broadway Theater

One Broadway Plaza Elmsford New York

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