Monday, August 13, 2012

Exciting News and the Future of This Blog

Dear Readers,

    For the past two and a half years and three Tony Awards seasons, I have been covering the Tony Awards on this site and been loving every minute of it.  Over those two and a half years, my readership has steadily increased and become more interactive, with more and more of you leaving me comments, asking questions, and giving me great ideas for future articles.

    It is with that in mind that I wanted to share with you all some wonderful news.  Scott Feinberg, the leading Oscar prognosticator who has nurtured me and my work on this site, has asked me to join his team at  As soon as he asked the question, the answer was a no brainer -- I would join his team.  So, after over 900 posts, 50 comments, over 325 nominees, and over 75 winners, this is my last post for The Envelope.  This is also my last post for a while.  I will start writing again on September 1st.  Please continue to check me out at and I hope you keep reading me after the move!


Sam Negin

Jersey Boys Film to Hold Open Call

As previously reported, the hit musical that has been wowing Broadway audiences for almost seven years will be getting the Hollywood treatment.  The movie, which is tentatively slated to be released in 2014, is to be directed by Jon Favreau, best known for directing the Christmas film Elf and the two Iron Man movies.  The upcoming film will be holding an open casting call to cast its four leading men.  For information on the casting notice, check out: .

The show won the Best Musical Tony in 2006, and tells the story of the meteoric rise to fame of four boys from the great state of New Jersey who, in the early 1960's, became famous as the Four Seasons.  Also included in the story are the various gambling debts they incurred and their discovery of the girl group The Angels.  The show includes the group's hit songs Walk Like A Man, Sherry, December 1963 (Oh What a Night), Working My Way Back to You, and Big Girls Don't Cry.  No casting or other production staff, including the screen writer, have been announced.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Every Day A Little Death

In the past month or so, a number of theater greats have passed on and I wanted to take a moment to acknowledge their losses here.

Tony Martin, the operatic and debonair baritone singer who had an 80-plus year career in film, theater, and the nightclub scene, passed away on June 27th at his home in West Los Angeles at the age of 98.  The cause appears to have been natural causes.  Mr. Martin's biggest claim to fame in theatrical circles is that he was married to dancer Cyd Charisse, who died back in 2008.

Sherman Hemsley, most famous for his role on television's The Jeffersons as the curmudgeonly George Jefferson, and who also starred on Broadway in the musical comedy Purlie, passed away on July 24th. He died at his home of natural causes at the age of 74.

Theatrical costume designer Martin Pakledinaz, who won Tony awards for his designs of Thoroughly Modern Millie and Kiss Me, Kate, died on July 8th of brain cancer at age 58.

Ernest Borgnine, a character actor in both TV and film, died on July 8th at the age of 95.  He died of renal failure at Cedars Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles.  Borgnine is best known for his roles in McHale's Navy, From Here To Eternity, and his Oscar-winning turn in Marty.

Among the more diverse of experience in this set of deaths is Gore Vidal, the playwright, novelist, essayist, and all around witty aphorist, died on July 31st at the age of 86.  He died at home of complications from pneumonia.  Vidal's best known work is the play The Best Man.

Lastly, today came the news of the passing of Marvin Hamlisch, the prolific composer for film, television, and theater who is one of only 12 people to have won an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar, and a Tony -- and only one of two individuals to have won those four awards plus a Pulitzer Prize.  He also won two Golden Globe Awards.  Hamlisch became noted early on when he won three Oscars in one night at the young age of 29 in 1973.  His most famous scores are for the films The Sting and The Way We Were, as well as the Broadway musical A Chorus Line.  He died at 68 "after a brief illness" (according to wikipedia).

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Bring It On: The Musical Opens

The stage musical adaptation of the film Bring It On: The Musical opened this past Wednesday evening at the Saint James Theatre and the reviews are in.  Much like the film and its direct-to-video sequels, the musical is mostly fluff, but with a number of quality elements that make the show entertaining nonetheless.  Jeff Whitty's libretto, while as predictable, clunky, and formulaic as can be, provides a number of jokes that the tween set will thoroughly enjoy.  And, though the show itself also takes a while to build up steam, going through all the usual plot twists and turns that are to be expected, Andy Blankenbuehler's swift direction and hi octane choreography (what else would there be in a musical about cheer leading and hip hop dancing?) definitely provide mesmerizing moments that make the show somewhat engaging.  The reviews also singled out a number of individual actors as giving strong performances including Adrienne Warren, Elle McLemore and Taylor Louderman.  The score is perhaps the most interesting aspect of the show, and the most inconsistent.  Credited collaboratively to Tom Kitt (Next to Normal), Lin-Manuel Miranda (In the Heights), and Amanda Green (High Fidelity), the score consists of songs written either individually or in pairs by various combinations of the three songwriters.  Miranda's contributions were cited as being clearly the strongest, but Green's lyrics make her, according to the reviews, the one to watch out for -- definitely a bright future ahead for her.

This production is a 12-week stop on the show's national tour, which began at Atlanta's Alliance Theatre.  The show is too much fluff (and in New York too early in the season) to really be considered for any Tony Awards, except for maybe in the choreography category (Blankenbuehler is a previous winner in this category for In the Heights).  That being said, the argument could be made that the same was said about Newsies, at least in terms of fluff quality, and that show ended up with 8 Tony nominations, including best musical.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Calvin Berger Cast Recording

I just got this press release in and wanted to share it.  If anyone wants to submit a review of the CD once they listen to it, please leave it in a comment here and I will pass on the information to the publisher.



New York, NY (8/2/12) – Ghostlight Records will release the Original Cast Recording of Barry Wyner’s new musical, CALVIN BERGER on Tuesday, September 25, 2012. The full cast featured on the recording, including Noah Weisberg (Legally Blonde, South Pacific), Krystal Joy Brown (Leap of Faith), David Hull (Wicked) and Dana Steingold (Spelling Bee), will reunite at Joe’s Pub the evening before the release – Monday, September 24, 2012 at 7pm – to celebrate the album release with a special concert event.  The original CALVIN BERGER cast will be joined by several additional special Broadway guests, to be announced.

CD pre-orders are now on sale at Watch video from the CALVIN BERGER recording session here:

CALVIN BERGER – winner of the Jerry Bock Award, Richard Rodgers Award, Kleban Prize, and Noel Coward Prize – is a hip, heartfelt, hysterical new musical by Barry Wyner, loosely based on Cyrano De Bergerac. Featuring Orchestrations by 3-time Tony Award-winnerDoug Besterman (Sister Act, How To Succeed, The Producers), CALVIN BERGER has been performed at Barrington Stage and Manhattan Theatre Club, and most recently at George Street Playhouse under the direction of 3-time Tony winner Kathleen Marshall (Nice Work, Anything Goes, The Pajama Game). It is licensed by the legendary Tams-Witmark Music Library and has several songs published by Hal Leonard.

Here’s a sampling of what critics have said about CALVIN BERGER:

"This is a 'High School Musical' with characters who aren’t caricatures, genuine wit, better melodies, as well as much more heart, soul, charm, and – to be frank – ribaldry.” - THE STAR-LEDGER

“Composer-lyricist-book writer Barry Wyner has concocted a cheerful little winner in "Calvin Berger. The show offers tuneful entertainment with an appealing message about self-worth." - VARIETY

"This smart, fun, and funny musical is a delight from start to finish. [It] appeals to playgoers of all ages.” - BROADWAYWORLD.COM

"A musical that you’re going to see someday. It’s going to be done in your town, as well as in the major theatrical capitals of the world.” -THEATREMANIA.COM

"What Wyner is creating here is genuinely exhilarating.”- THE BOSTON GLOBE 

The full track listing for the CALVIN BERGER Cast Recording is as follows:

1. Opening Dream
2. Security Meltdown
3. I Can See Him Now
4. Don’tcha Think?
5. It Just Wasn’t Meant to Happen
6. We’re The Man!
7. Never Know
9. Saturday Alone
10. Act One Finale
11. Second Dream
12. Mr. Potato Head
13. Graduation Day
14. Saturday Alone (Reprise)
15. The Fight
16. How Can I Compete With That?
17. Perfect For You
18. We’re The Man! (Reprise)
19. Calm, Cool, and Collected
20. Finale

For more information on the album visit

Tickets for the September 24th release concert are $20 and available online at (,com_shows/task,view/Itemid,40/prod_no,19020), by phone at 212-967-7555 or at the box office at the Public Theater.The concert will be directed by Travis Greisler, music directed by Aron Accurso and produced by Katie Riegel. Joe’s Pub is located at 425 Lafayette Street, NYC.

Barry Wyner has won the Richard Rodgers Award, Jerry Bock Award, Kleban Prize, and Noel Coward Prize. He wrote book, music, and lyrics to CALVIN BERGER, which had critically acclaimed runs at Gloucester Stage, Barrington Stage, and most recently, George Street Playhouse under the direction of 3-time Tony winner Kathleen Marshall. The show is available for licensing from Tams-Witmark Music Library, and the original cast recording will be released in September on Ghostlight Records. Wyner's songs have been published in Hal Leonard's Teen Pop Broadway Anthology and the BMI Workshop Songbook. One was recorded by Neil Patrick Harris. Wyner recently completed a commissioned children’s musical for George Street Playhouse called Austin The Unstoppable. His work has had professional readings at Manhattan Theatre Club, NAMCO (Barry and Fran Weissler, producers), Musicals Tonight, and Blue Spruce Productions (Scott Delman, producer). Wyner has composed original music for a Terrence McNally world premiere, BBC Radio, Actor's Studio, Wings Theater, AMDA, The Battery’s Down, and many more. He studied music at UNC-Chapel Hill, Queens College, and the BMI Musical Theatre Workshop.

Sh-K-Boom, with its imprint Ghostlight Records, has become the leading independent force in Original Broadway Cast Recordings, having built a library of over 120 records during the last 12 years featuring the most successful Broadway musicals and solo albums by Broadway’s biggest stars. Founded by Kurt Deutsch and wife Sherie Rene Scott, the label was created by and for the Broadway community and has reinvented the musical theatre recording landscape through their high-quality recordings, innovative marketing techniques to reach the next generation of Broadway music fans, as well as the creation of a new type of ‘United Artists’ environment for Broadway producers and artists to participate in the funding and co-ownership of their albums. Ghostlight celebrated a major milestone this past year with their Grammy-winning release of The Book of Mormon, which became the first Broadway cast recording to break into the Billboard Top 10 since the original 1969 release of Hair, taking its place as the biggest-selling digital cast recording of all time. Recent releases on the label include Disney’s Newsies, the Grammy-nominated 2011 revival cast recording of Anything Goes, the new revival recording of Godspell, plus the OCRs of Elf, Catch Me If You Can, Sister Act and Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, and solo albums from some of Broadway’s biggest stars: Sutton Foster, Kelli O’Hara, Alice Ripley, Christine Ebersole, Melissa Errico and Ben Vereen. Over the years, Ghostlight has preserved the scores of some of Broadway's most well-known musicals, including the Grammy Award-winning In the Heights, Irving Berlin’s White Christmas, Next to Normal, Hair, Legally Blonde, Everyday Rapture, Passing Strange, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee and The Drowsy Chaperone.