A First Look at Michael C. Hall as Hedwig!

A few weeks back, we learned the fabulous news that Michael C. Hall would be taking over for Andrew Rannells as the starring role of Hedwig in Hedwig and the Angry Inch on Broadway. Our excitement and dreams of him in costume were mainly culled from our love for his performance in Cabaret, but now we’ve been graced with the first taste of him as Hedwig, in all his teal-glittered glory. He’ll take the stage October 15th, but in the meantime, check out the photos below and head HERE to watch some of our favorite MC Hall musical performances.

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Tavi Gevinson Stars In Broadway’s “This Is Our Youth” With Michael Cera + Kieran Culkin

Writer, actress, blogger, and all around impressive teenager Tavi Gevinson announced via Twitter on Tuesday night that she’ll star in “This Is Our Youth” — a revival of Kenneth Lonergan’s play also starring Michael Cera and Kieran Culkin. Hoping to see the show? First stop: Chicago. It’ll head to New York mid-August.

The style rookie (who at this point isn’t really a rookie at anything) will play the role of an anxious fashion student named Jessica. After August reviews, the play will do a 20-week run on Broadway through January.

Image: Tavi Gevinson photographed by James Orlando for BULLETT, November 2013

Visiting Michael Alig In Prison: His Past, Present, & Soon-To-Be Future

I visited Michael Alig at the place of his incarceration: Elmira, N.Y. It’s about a four-hour drive unless you stop at Friendly’s or Dobb’s Country Kitchen to commiserate with locals. On the way, I stop a lot. I get gas. I buy cigarettes. I buy Redbulls, coffee, water… mixed nuts too. I pause to watch the rapid waters of the Susquehanna roll by. If I had seen roses on the way…I’d have stopped to smell them too. 

Part of me hesitates heading up to a joint. Elmira Correctional Facility is nice compared to other such places. Even the concertina wire and steel gates seem less foreboding than at Coxsackie or Rikers or the other places where Michael has been rehabilitating over the last 16 years. It’s been 16 years. 

Jeter was Rookie of the Year when this started. The Taliban had just taken Kabul. Tupac had just died. The O.J. trial had begun. Braveheart was best picture. Theodore Kaczynski, the Unabomber, was caught. The Summer Olympics was in Atlanta, and Yassar Arafat and the Israelis dropped the removal of each other as a plan. Peace seemed at hand. Clinton was president and some people were talking Whitewater. A cloned sheep named Dolly was the buzz, and Motorola introduced it’s easy-to-handle StarTAC cellphone. The world was changing fast as Michael was forced to slow down.

Michael went in an asshole, a murderer, an out-of-control drug maniac. I had long stopped being a friend. He needed to be locked up. His world of wonder, glamour, glitz, destruction, and self destruction ended the hard way. Michael rarely chose the easy way. His moment in the sun has been filmed and written about and discussed in magazines and on the world wide web, which he has yet to experience firsthand. 

People tweet for him, spewing out his snarky, daring, and eyebrow-raising takes on everything. He is very prolific. He has a lot of time on his hands. He paints a lot. He sent me home with a bunch of good ones. He has become an artist while inside. The guard at the desk on the way out told me "we have a lot of artists in here." There’s some sort of scandal going on with some of his paintings. I’ll get to it soon, but want the opportunity to talk to "Mary" who allegedly sold some of Michael’s work, claiming they belonged to her. Life has taught me that there are at least two sides to every story. 

Michael looks better than ever. I met him back in ’83 when he was a busboy at Danceteria. He threw some small parties and rose quickly. Me and mine picnicked in Central Park with him and his. We took day trips to farm country, saw concerts at night. Drugs and the scandals that rocked our worlds would come later. We were very naive.

He is healthier now. Muscular and trim from working out in his spare time. Everything except working on his book, painting, and flirting is spare time in the joint. I am amazed at how focused and coherent he is. His incarceration seems to have rehabilitated him mentally as well. He laughs and tells tales of days of yore – the good days, not the chaos – and hate at the end. Everyone who meets with him or corresponds with him looks for remorse as a measure of the man who may soon join the living.

Around me, he is wholeheartedly remorseful. I believe in him fully, knowing that he knows remorse is the price of admission for a continued friendship with me. I wasn’t born yesterday and will judge Michael on his actions till our end. 

He is finishing a drug program aimed at preparing him for life in the real world. The real world is scary. He is worried how he will be viewed. When told "so and so" won’t want to see him again, he is visibly upset. The desire to have everyone love him which drove him to massive success and a massive crash and burn still runs deep. He needs to be loved and hates being hated almost as much as not being noticed. Although supremely informed about tech stuff, cell phones, social media, reality TV, and the internet – he has never experienced these things directly. 

We who love him for the most part understand him and fear the bombardment of food, sex, and media that awaits. I have a feeling on a possible release date, but will just cross my fingers and say a silent prayer. i don’t want to jinx it. Release is inevitable. There are those that will never accept his return to society. They have a right to their stance. They have lived for 16 years without Michael, but without Angel Melendez as well. 

A new life is Michael’s fate, while no such fate belongs to Angel.There will be books and films and TV shows. There will be interviews and public appearances. Someone is even trying to bring a musical about it all to Broadway. Those who haven’t been blessed with Michael and his charms will be made aware of them. 

Old friends and companions hopefully have outgrown the "old" Michael. The fans, zealots, and losers who worship at the old alter must not have a say. Michael will be lifted in a sea of attention. 

Will all this attention unleash the long-buried, controlled-by-incarceration Party Monster, or will the Michael I hung out with on visiting day with Victor Corona and Amanda Noa emerge? We’ll see.

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Sara Bareilles Is Writing A Musical Based On Indie Film ‘Waitress’

She’s "not gonna write you a love song," but she’ll definitely write you a musical. Sara Bareilles, the singer/songwriter who’s sold over four million singles in the U.S. alone, is bringing her sincere, driving, and sob-inducing songs to the new musical adaptation of the tender indie movie Waitress

The 2007 shocker-hit starring Keri Russell is about a pregnant, unhappily-married waitress who starts whipping up tasty, inventive pies to escape her own life. When she meets the charming doctor who moves to town, the pies slowly become inspired by the events that follow…

Aboard the Waitress musical team are Pippin‘s producers and director, and the Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Paula Vogel, who’s writing the script. 

Need a Waitress refresher or simply craving pie? Watch the film’s trailer.

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Broadway Gets Kinky: Tony Award Nominations Announced

Well, well, well, the truth comes out. The Great White Way’s kinky, laced-up, leathered side has officially slinked its way into the public eye with the announcement of this year’s Tony Award nominations – specifically the 13 nominations for Kinky Boots – the musical about a failing shoe factory’s success when it starts producing fetish footwear. With music by Cyndi Lauper, the musical adaptation of the 2005 British film garners the greatest number of nominations of any show this season. Couple that with the over-$1 million it makes a week, and it’s clear the people want kink with their song and dance, and Broadway knows how to deliver.

But beyond the sex, rock and roll, and more sex, the nominations also reveal that movie musicals are the only musicals worth producing on Broadway. Best musical nominees include: Bring It On, The Musical, A Christmas Story, The Musical, Kinky Boots, and Matilda The Musical, thereby proving that if you once paid $12 to see this story in cinemas, then it’s worth paying $125 to see it live and with song, percussion accompaniment, and revolving, wooden sets.

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Anne Hathaway and Alan Cumming Are Headed for a Broadway Revival of ‘Cabaret’

Oh, no. No. No. According to the Daily Mail, Anne Hathaway is reported to star in the upcoming Broadway revival of Cabaret alongside Alan Cumming. She will be taking on the lead role of Sally Bowles opposite Cumming’s Emcee and for the love of all things sacred, I cannot get behind this. Back in 1998, Cumming performed his Tony Award-winning run as the Emcee alongside Natasha Richardson in what was the closest thing to perfection that the musical can possibly get—save Liza Minnelli and Joel Grey of course. 

The 1930s Berlin set psychosexual political drama of a musical, made famous by Bob Fosse’s 1972 cinematic adaptation, is the epitome of everything I love in a musical, movie, or maybe just life. Haunting and shimmering, Minnelli spoke about the film back in January, joking that before it went into production they had no idea how to sell it, saying—"How are we going to advertise this? The Nifty Nazi Follies?’ Seth Cagin once wrote that Cabaret was the only major film of the period to "consider the flip side of political awareness, detailing the allure of decadence and self-indulgence, and the abegnation of social and political responsibility in the face of looming catastrophe a denial which nonetheless becomes an upbeat philosophy in the film’s crowning metaphor: Life is a cabaret!" 

But what I’m trying to get at here is: it’s not like Anne Hathaway can’t be seductive, it’s not that she can’t go dark, it’s not that she isn’t immensely talented or have an Oscar-winning voice—and I mean, this is just a musical after all—but she’s not a Sally Bowles. A Velma Kelly? Perhaps. A Roxie Hart? Bleach that pixie cut and maybe? But Sally, no. And although last fall she did perform numbers from Cabaret at Joe’s Pub to a warm reception, that’s all fine and dandy, but a Broadway turn in the iconic role it does not make.

Well fine, I can get past this just knowing that Cumming will be hitting the stage again in his greatest role as the devilish Emcee, that’s thrilling enough in itself. So, for now, let’s just watch some videos of him performing in the late ’90s. Enjoy.

Also, watch HERE and HERE.

 

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Off-Broadway’s ‘The Last Five Years’ Captures The Little Moments

The last five years of a life is all about those little moments – the pensive glances across a mediocre party, the temporary despair at unexpected romantic loss, the jolt of a second’s success.  And so is the same for the off-Broadway show The Last Five Years, playing until May 18th at Second Stage Theatre; hovering over the entire production like it’s a fishbowl isn’t going to stir you nearly as much as recalling the tiny dots of sincerity brought by the two stars – the only characters in the show: Jamie, played by Adam Kantor, and Cathy, played by Betsy Wolfe. In a show about the beginning and end of twenty-something love, the completely sung-through musical tracks a relationship in reverse; while Cathy begins at the end of it, Jamie begins at its beginning, five years back. And apart from a rare moment when they meet in the middle on a late-night boat ride in Central Park, they never sing together. The result: a he-said, she-said musical that is full of too many exuberant and heart-trampling songs for you to realize it.

Jazz, rock, musical theatre ballads, country, klezmer – Jason Robert Brown’s score has a little bit for everyone – and so does the relationship at hand. With Kantor’s spin on Jamie – a 23-year-old writer who gets his book published almost right out of college – you see what Cathy loves (and can’t stand) about him: his talent at storytelling, his unrelenting and fearless ambition, and a narcissism that yanks him from the present moments with Cathy. And you sense the burgeoning envy and resentment Cathy feels toward his success, considering she’s an aspiring theatre actress who just can’t seem to land a role, and with every rejection, feels smaller and smaller. The seesaw dynamic is painful to witness, with audience sniffles heard by the second song.

Of course, there are moments of disbelief that make the show not entirely gratifying: although Jamie is a young character, Kantor looks and acts a bit too young to deliver the emotional thunder of the role , and sometimes Wolfe’s wholesomeness is almost a bit too theatrical and animated to believe. And yet, these qualities are also the forces that make you feel for them. Detached from emotion, whitewashed with a smile – they’re the shells that sustain and then crack – in all those little moments, and they’re what makes The Last Five Years worth witnessing.

Learn more about The Last Five Years, & follow Bonnie on Twitter here.

We’ll Never Be Able to Get ‘Matilda’ Tickets

Matilda, the brand-new Broadway musical imported from the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford-upon-Avon (and later on London’s West End) and based on the Roald Dahl classic, has been buzzed about in New York for months, and last night’s opening night brought much praise from critics all over the country. Ben Brantley’s review in the New York Times begins with the word "rejoice," which, you know, is a pretty solid start, and the show has gotten great reviews in pretty much every other publication. (Of course, the show’s PR team knew that would happen.) So, basically, good luck finding tickets at a reasonable price. Now for the good news: maybe you can finally get into Book of Mormon?

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‘Peter and the Starcatcher’ Moves to New World Stages, Retains Most of Its Charm

Peter Pan—and by extension Peter and the Starcatcher, its prologue in play form—is a story about changes. Or, at least, it is a story about changes insofar as it is a story about stasis. The notion of Peter, and what makes him endlessly fascinating, is his ability to stay the same forever. In doing so, he’s forced to give up memory of everyone he ever loved. That seems to be the trade-off. The most tragic part of the book may be when Wendy returns to him, some time after their adventure and mentions how he saved their lives from Captain Hook.

"Who is Captain Hook?" he asked with interest when she spoke of the archenemy.

"Don’t you remember," she asked, amazed, "how you killed him and saved all our lives?"

"I forget them after I kill them," he replied carelessly.

When she expressed a doubtful hope that Tinker Bell would be glad to see her he said, "Who is Tinker Bell?"

"O Peter," she said, shocked; but even when she explained he could not remember.

"There are such a lot of them," he said. "I expect she is no more."

That, of course, is what makes Peter Pan a tragedy to any adult, though everything else contained within it may be all fun and frolic.

And the new production of Peter and the Starcatcher at New World Stages certainly abounds with fun and frolic. Rick Holmes seems delighted to be playing Black Stache, perhaps as he formerly played Lord Aster in the Broadway production of the show that nabbed five Tony Awards last year. If he is delighted, it’s for good reason; Captain Hook not only gets the best lines in the play, and the moment when he inadvertently chops off his hand is absolutely the moment that gets the best laughs. And Holmes’s performance as a giddy pirate king is exciting and vivid enough to make you long for a pirate’s life.

Alas, some of the rest of it might make you long for a glass of rum.

Jason Ralph, who originally served as Peter’s understudy in the Broadway production, plays the title character with great comic charm—right up until the moment Peter realizes he’s condemned to be a child forever (and it is a kind of condemnation). He seems too robust for much of the performance to go so gently into that eternally childlike night. You find yourself wondering why he does not struggle harder against fate given that he seemed to be struggling wildly until that moment. I suppose there’s a lot to be said about being on an island filled with many singing mermaids and some inexplicable cannibals, though.

The wistfulness, though—the Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind elements of Peter Pan—those never quite seem captured here.   

All the same, is interesting to see the story move to The New World stages. A play that takes place almost entirely in the cargo hold of a ship seems suited to a stage carved out under an entire city block, and those older viewers might find the experience greatly enhanced by a glass of, if not rum, then certainly a vodka tonic. You will, at least, unlike Peter, remember Captain Hook.