Category Archives: Celebrities

Broadway actor Barbara Walsh gives a master class

Barbara Walsh

Broadway leading lady Barbara Walsh, who originated the role of Trina in the Broadway production of Falsettos in 1992 and played the acerbic Joanne in the 2007 revival of Company, comes to Orlando Sept. 10 and 11 to give a concert and present two master classes, for high-schoolers and adults, at Tim Evanicki’s Starving Artist Studios.

Walsh, 56, has played a host of interesting roles, both on Broadway and in major regional theaters: Francesca in the first Broadway production of Nine; Mrs. Baskin, the main character’s mother, in the 1996 Broadway version of Big; Desirée in A Little Night Music at New Jersey’s Paper Mill Playhouse; Mother in the Chicago production of Ragtime; Edith Beale and Little Edie in Grey Gardens at Washington, D.C.’s Studio Theatre; Maria Callas in Master Class at Baltimore’s Center Stage.  She is married to Jack Cummings III, artistic director of the New York theater company Transport Group, who also will give two master classes at Starving Artist Studios Sept. 10.

Walsh talked to me about studying and teaching theater and about the roles that has meant the most to her. Here’s an edited version of our talk:

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Book review: ‘Wendy and the Lost Boys: The Uncommon Life of Wendy Wasserstein’

When playwright Wendy Wasserstein died in 2006, a lot of theater-lovers grieved. Many of them were people something like me – a woman, a baby-boomer, a product of the same kind of New England women’s college that Wasserstein attended and just a year younger, almost to the day, than Wasserstein herself.

So it was easy to believe that Wasserstein’s plays, especially her Pulitzer Prize-winning comedy The Heidi Chronicles, were about me and the people I knew.

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Tony winner to give workshops at Master Class Academy

Hinton Battle

Three-time Tony Award winner Hinton Battle — the original Scarecrow in The Wiz, and a Tony winner for Sophisticated Ladies, The Tap Dance Kid and Miss Saigon — will come to Winter Park Oct. 8 and 9 to give workshops in musical theater at the Master Class Academy.

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Starving Artist Studios announces line-up of concerts and master classes

Barbara Walsh

Tony nominee Barbara Walsh (Broadway’s Falsettos, Company, Big) and renowned mezzo-soprano Isabel Leonard will be among those giving concerts and master classes for the new Starving Artist Studios in Orlando later this year.

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‘Porgy’ in store for local boy Norm Lewis

Congratulations to Eatonville’s own Norm Lewis, the Broadway actor who just wowed audiences as Javert in the London concert staging of Les Miserables. (It’s been on PBS a lot lately — look for it.)

Norm is playing Porgy opposite Audra McDonald’s Bess in American Repertory Theatre’s revival of Porgy and Bess, to open in mid-August in Cambridge, Mass.

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In memoriam: Playwright Lanford Wilson dies at 73

Lanford Wilson

Very sad news from yesterday — that playwright Lanford Wilson died of pneumonia at the age of 73.

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Broadway performers to headline Orlando Phil’s Springs concert

 

Stephen Bogardus (photo by Carol Rosegg)

Broadway singers Stephen Bogardus and Patty Goble will headline the Orlando Philharmonic’s annual Springs concert May 7 in Longwood.

 

Bogardus is known for performances in lots of high-profile Broadway shows — especially for playing Whizzer in the original Broadway production of Falsettos (a role he created off-Broadway) and choreographer Gregory Mitchell in Terrence McNally’s Love! Valour! Compassion! Goble has appeared in the original casts of Curtains and Ragtime, among others, and has played Christine and Carlotta in The Phantom of the Opera.

 

Patty Goble (photo by Carol Rosegg)

Here’s the official word on the Springs concert, including bios of Bogardus and Gable.

 

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Taylor part of ‘Broadway Backwards’ fundraiser in NYC

Mark Richard Taylor, one of the owners of Winter Park’s Master Class Academy, was part of last weekend’s Broadway Backwards 6, a sold-out New York fundraiser that collected $281,243 for Broadway Cares/Equity Fight AIDS and the Center, a gay-lesbian-bisexual-transgender community center in New York.

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Theater folks coming to speak at Rollins

There’s a string of theater people at work at Rollins in the next few months, and an actual bevy of them here in the next couple of weeks. All of them will be interacting with students and with the public — and my experience has been with Rollins visitors in the past has been that if you possibly can make it to hear these people, you should. All of the public events are free.

Let’s start with this weekend and move onward:

Leslie Jordan tickets gone for Friday (but never fear …)

Just received a note from Michael Wanzie, who says that all tickets for the Leslie Jordan show, Deck Them Halls, Y’all, at the Parliament House are gone for Friday night.

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A rousing return to ‘Les Mis’

(Caution: A spoiler or two below:)

It’s not often that the people around you in a movie theater applaud at the end of the show.

It’s even less often that the people around you in a movie theater find themselves applauding at the end of a musical number. And you’re among them. Again and again and again. I mean, the actors and musicians on the screen are not there to hear you. But somehow it feels right all the same.

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Tickets to ‘Rock of Ages’ tour go on sale Friday

For you hair-band fans, tickets to the Broadway Across America — Orlando presentation of Rock of Ages, the Broadway big-hair musical, go on sale at 10 a.m. Friday. Here’s more:

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‘Les Mis’ concert film to be screened Wednesday night

I’m sure I’m not the only one looking forward to seeing yet another version of Les Misérables — this time a film of the London cast’s 25th-anniversary concert, featuring Eatonville’s own Norm Lewis (left) as Javert and Lea Salonga (the original Kim in Miss Saigon) as Fantine.

The three-hour film will be shown nationwide Wednesday night — in
Central Florida, at the AMC Altamonte Mall 18, Cinemark Orlando Festival Bay, Waterford Stadium 20, Pointe Orlando, AMC Pleasure Island 24, Cobb Grand 10 Cinemas in Winter Haven, Merritt Square 16 in Merritt Island, Hollywood in Port Orange, Oceanwalk Movies 10 in Daytona Beach and Lakeside Cinemas 10 in Lakeland.

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Sondheim talks (and talks, and talks …)

Stephen Sondheim, now 80 and in a ruminative mood, is pushing a new book called Finishing the Hat, in which he writes about his lyrics, and others’.

Yesterday he spoke with Terry Gross on NPR‘s Fresh Air about the book. You can read about the interview here and listen here.

GOAT boasts Grammy nominee at its Halloween show

Two-time Grammy nominee Elsten Torres will perform at Greater Orlando Actors Theatre’s Halloween celebration, called GOAT Resurrection, Saturday Oct. 30 at the Lowndes Shakespeare Center.

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Betty Buckley to star in ‘Tales of the City’ musical

Good news from the Maupin family: My cousin Armistead says that Betty Buckley (Sunset Boulevard, Carrie, Cats) will play Anna Madrigal in a workshop of the musical version of Tales of the City, which is making its debut at American Conservatory Theatre in San Francisco next spring.

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Tony-winner Karen Olivo to perform in Winter Haven

Karen Olivo, a Tony Award winner for her role as Anita in the current Broadway revival of West Side Story, will return to her old stomping grounds in November with an appearance at Theatre Winter Haven, where she was active as a teenager.

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Children’s company needs people to make cameo appearances

Little People’s Theatre, a group that performs in Winter Springs, is looking for actors or local celebrities to make cameo appearances in its production of Hansel & Gretel. Here’s more:

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Winter Park Institute to stage “animated magazine”

Lots going on at the Winter Park Institute beginning Sunday, when former U.S. poet laureate Billy Collins, Wall Street Journal theater critic Terry Teachout, former U.S. senator Mel Martinez and others will gather to re-create the Animated Magazine, a feature at Rollins from years long gone by.

In the days of Rollins College president Hamilton Holt, contributors read from their writings in front of an audience; the format began in 1927 and ran, in various guides, through the 1960s. Now the Institute is reviving the tradition as part of its mission to engage Rollins and the surrounding community.

The facts, ma’am:

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Only in the theater …

In the Heights on Broadway at the Richard Rodg...

Image by feastoffun.com via Flickr

This is what happens when you let theater people get married. Lin-Manuel Miranda, who wrote and starred in In the Heights, got married last weekend to Vanessa Nadal. You can’t beat their wedding video: