Musical Magic

Leave a comment

On a recent trip to the mountains of North Carolina, I found myself walking around a flea market ( flea being the appropriate word). Several years ago my father gifted me a box of Playbills that were recovered from an attic of an income property. Since then I have had my eyes peeled for playbills that looked interesting. In a small stand around the back I found a nice selection, including Marlin the musical.

Created in 1980’s Magician Doug Henning, it played for 199 performances and 69 previews. Having problems from the start, the show switched directors early on and reworking of songs. 69 previews is unpredicted at that time, press was never invited and opening was postponed 3 times. The show sported an interesting cast of Henning, Chita Rivera as the evil sorceress, and fresh new face Nathan Lane and a young Christian Slater.

Not being able to see the show, it sounds like the epitome of spectacle. One effect from the show was several pieces of armor floating around joining to make a large fighting suit of armor, sound like Julie Taymor to any one.

In the end costing $4 million dollars, in order to break even it needed weekly gross of $275.000.

While this venture did not end up working to well for Mr. Henning, he and Stephen Schwartz did bring us The Magic Show. Which ran 1920 Performances in the late 70’s. Among several well know performers the show featured David Ogden Stiers of MASH fame, and keyboards by Paul Shaffer of the David Letterman Show.

The setting for the show is a seedy nightclub, the Top Hat, where an aging alcoholic magician, “Feldman the Magnificent,” chews the scenery in his overly grand performance. Manny, the Top Hat owner wants to replace him and brings in Doug. Doug is very unconventional and has an assistant named Cal. Cal is in love with Doug, but he is focused on advancing his career. Donna and Dina are the rock act in the club. One of them dates the nephew of a big agent named Goldfarb. Goldfarb is coming to the club to check out Donna and Dina’s act, and everyone is excited.

Meanwhile, Doug pays little attention to Cal and decides that he needs a “beautiful assistant”. Cal is hurt, as Doug conjures up the beautiful Charmin. Donna and Dina get jealous, and along with Feldman, plot to expose the secrets to Doug’s tricks during the show. Doug finally realizes he loves Cal, and gets to her before she leaves. Charmin is sent back to wherever she came from, and all ends up well.

I had an original CD for this show and found my self pulling it from this blog post. This nice short energetic show, some great songs “Lion Tamer”, “The Goldfarb Variations”. “Style” is a great show, featuring David Ogden Stiers is my stand out fav with a close second in “Sweet, Sweet, Sweet”. Overall a great and magical show.

With all this talk about magic and musicals one would be stupid to point out the rumored Danny Elfman composed Houdini the Musical. Oh yes its been tried before but not with Mr. Elfman’s soaring and haunting music. Lets hope for the best on this one, could be a big player.


On the Boards Weekly round up

Leave a comment

Broadway Grosses for week ending 8/22

Show Name GrossGross TotalAttn %Cap AvgPdAdm
A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC $539,005 6,602 88.64% $81.64
AMERICAN IDIOT $707,740 8,761 64.08% $80.78
BILLY ELLIOT: THE MUSICAL $1,039,995 10,878 95.69% $95.61
CHICAGO $534,347 6,853 79.32% $77.97
COME FLY AWAY $635,399 9,049 70.21% $70.22
FELA! $482,416 6,378 77.40% $75.64
IN THE HEIGHTS $634,335 8,462 78.70% $74.96
JERSEY BOYS $1,020,157 9,643 98.16% $105.79
LA CAGE AUX FOLLES $602,152 6,678 78.97% $90.17
MAMMA MIA! $886,815 10,184 84.98% $87.08
MARY POPPINS $1,052,470 12,781 88.91% $82.35
MEMPHIS $854,846 9,610 81.72% $88.95
MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET $450,851 5,633 58.00% $80.04
NEXT TO NORMAL $298,132 4,903 79.39% $60.81
PROMISES, PROMISES $966,150 10,901 78.00% $88.63
RACE $274,787 4,149 49.02% $66.23
ROCK OF AGES $511,836 6,442 80.77% $79.45
SOUTH PACIFIC $626,513 7,284 99.96% $86.01
THE ADDAMS FAMILY $1,125,749 10,417 85.72% $108.07
THE LION KING $1,632,627 13,425 100.07% $121.61
THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA $857,575 10,778 83.42% $79.57
WEST SIDE STORY $726,347 9,982 73.53% $72.77
WICKED $1,688,034 14,472 100.00% $116.64
TOTAL $18,148,273 204,265 81.51% $85.69

Photos of Grandfather mountain

Leave a comment

Here are some shots from this weekend at Grandfather Mountain:

On the Boards Weekly round up

Leave a comment

Yesterday we saw the billboard charts for this week here are the top Broadway recordings:


Image via Wikipedia

  • Wicked, Original Broadway Cast Recording
  • Jersey Boys, Original Broadway Cast Recording
  • Promises, Promises, The New Broadway Cast Recording
  • American Idiot, Original Broadway Cast Recording
  • Memphis: A New Musical, Original Broadway Cast Recording
  • Are The Arts the Silver Lining of the Recession

    Leave a comment

    This week I was reading a blog post by Justin Knabb over at ARTSblog regarding the was the economy turning around regarding the arts.  I have felt this way for a while now, I know things are hard for some theaters, and arts organizations over all, the turn around is coming if not already here.

    I found this very interesting do to working in Paducah, KY and loved the arts area there, Also I am a New York born theater guy and love to see things turning around for the home team.

    Auburn, NY—Leaders of the arts community recently provided a presentation to city officials on how to spur artistic and economic revitalization. The presentation focused on the city of Paducah, KY, a city with a comparable population to Auburn (27,000). Paducah spent around $3 million between 2001–2007 to establish an arts district to attract artists, businesses, and tourists. This relatively small investment generated approximately $40 million in revenue during the same time period, and advocates in Auburn believe the same can hold true for their city.”

    Fridays Fance Footwork

    Leave a comment

    I will take fridays to look at topics in dance and dance education. I can’t dance, not a lick but in the spirit of last months National Dance Day, I did a little turn on the catwalk. This day to get up and go was in conjunction with Dizzy Feet Foundation a great organization to help underprivileged young people realize their dream of becoming professional dancers and to support, improve, and increase access to dance education in the United States.

    Hello world!

    Leave a comment

    In an endeavor to increase my enjoyment of theater and life, I have set aside this page to write and share my thought and comments on everything, I mean everything.