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Posts tagged ‘Scott Siegel’

Bomb Scare Tonight at Town Hall After Bway’s Rising Stars

Town HallOk, so I’ve wondered what it would be like to be caught in a bomb scare. And now I know. At the tail end of the always fascinating evening of this year’s Annual Broadway’s Rising Stars concert, which was celebrating it’s tenth anniversary tonight, host/creator Scott Siegel told the entire audience that they could not leave the building that there was ” a suspicious package outside the theater” and that “everyone should sit back down and stay in their seats.”

It was frightening. It was unbelievable that in this most amiable of settings that this catastrophe should happen to all these show-tune-loving theater goers.

I just shut down completely. I couldn’t react. There were friends of mine in the audicnce, most notably Pepe Nufrio, who was in the cast of last year’s Rising Stars as well as in my new play “A Hyacinth Coat…” where he sang the living daylights out of “The Star Spangled Banner.”

Pepe 1

Also there was his co-star on my show and in last year’s “Rising Stars” Ally Kupferberg, and in the show were previous guests Rising Stars of prior years, Jon Hacker, who is now in “Jersey Boys” and Chris Hlinka who has just returned from a National Tour of “Mama Mia.” Plus all of this year’s talented Rising Stars.

This couldn’t be happening to all these truly gifted young people. Scott Siegel ever the showman decided to “entertain you while you wait.” He assured us the NYPD Bomb Squad was almost immediately there, checking that “suspicious package” out, and Scott sang a song in Yiddish! I didn’t know he could sing!

And then had director Scott Coulter come out for what was surely his finest hour and sing a song that held the audience’s attention and the title of which has flown right out of my mind. But it was a show tune.

He then included Jon Hacker in a Four Seasons number “You’re Just Too Good to Be True.” And a former Carol King from “Beautiful” sang one of that shows trademark numbers and did a very good job of it, too. Which number again I’m too flummoxed by this whole thing to remember.

But suffice it to say that after about twenty minutes to half-an-hour, Scott told us he had “the All Clear” sign and we could go. Phew! Of course, we could go. This was unreal. It couldn’t be happening. But there was no panic visible. Scott handled this really, really well.

And thank god it was such a delightful evening with a plethora of young singing talent belting their hearts out that in a way you never wanted it to end. And this time it nearly didn’t.

#Bomb Scare # Town Hall # Broadway’s Rising Stars # Pepe Nufrio



He Was a Bway Rising Star just two years ago! Meet Kyle Scatliffe of “Les Miz”!

As I say in this interview from 2012, the minute I saw the 6’7″(or so) Kyle Scatliffe in Scott Siegel’s Broadway’s Rising Stars, AND heard him sing that powerful, climatic song from “Ragtime”, “Make Them Hear You.” I knew he was going to be a star, so I immediately booked him on “The Stephen Holt Show”.

We catch up with Kyle and his classmate from AMDA Graham Bailey at the Bombay Palace Indian restaurant in the theater district after they’ve just experienced the tremendous luncheon buffet there. ALL YOU CAN EAT! And they did!

Kyle is now about to blow Broadway’s minds with a towering(litereally) performance of the revolutionary Enjolras(sp?)in the about to open revival of “Les Miserables” at the Imperial Theater where “Les Miz” played for soooo many memorable years, making it one of the longest running shows in Broadway history.

Kyle was also just nominated for one of London’s top theater awards for his performance there in “The Scottsboro Boys”. There’s no stopping him now!

Camera & Editing ~ Kevin Teller


Stephen Holt & Scott Siegel Predict the TONY Awards 2013!

Stephen Holt and Scott Siegel Predict the top six TONY categories, Best Play and Musical and Best Actor and Actress in a Play and Musical. Here they are having a very lively discussion, and actually AGREEING on who is going to win Best Actress in a Play.
If you want to see all six categories and predictions go to http://www.youtube.com/StephenHolt
Filmed on location at the Green Symphony restaurant in New York.
Co-Host -T.J.Craig
Camera & Editing ~ Kevin Teller


Ali Stroker from Bway’s Rising Stars to Glee!

Meet Ali Stroker, one of the most inspiring people on the planet. She was in Scott Siegel’s Broadway’s Rising Stars concert event at Town Hall, and she just blew me away AND got a standing ovation! Her rendition of “Be a Lion” from “The Wiz” was heartbreaking and very well sung! And now her triumph over her disability is complete with her being on “Glee”! Congratulations Ali!

“Gun Hill Road” terrific new transexual indie!

I predict that the critics will be throwing their collective hats into the collective air above them in hailing the arrival of “Gun Hill Road,” a terrific new Indie about of all things, a Bronx teenage transsexual! And that one of those hats may just land squarely on the very pretty Hispanic head of Harmony Santana, the Latino/Latina actor/actress who gives one of the greatest debut performances I’ve ever seen. Is Oscar listening?

Harmony reminds you a LOT of Jaye Davidson of “The Crying Game” who ended up with a Best Supporting Actor nomination in 1992 for playing a tranny who was passing who hooks up with the IRA. He lost to Gene Hackman in “The Unforgiven” but that startling nomination is there forever. I thought in one of the first years I was predicting the Oscars on my TV show that he would win. Scott Siegel(yes, he’s been on my show THAT long) said it was gonna be Hackman. I should’ve listened.

The New York Times is hailing Harmony, too, in a full-blown, star-is-born feature article pointing the way to a future career for Harmony and also to PERHAPS major awards kudos at the end of the year. If Jaye Davidson can pull of this Oscar hat trick, Harmony Santana can, too!

And yes, as the New York Times so delicately points out, she IS a transsexual playing a transsexual which is a rarity indeed in features.

Out of Sundance via NYU Film School, it is, believe it or not, the “Thesis Films” of its’ VERY talented young director/writer, Rashaad Ernesto Green, who I knew as a wonderful young African-American acting student at NYU’s famed Grad Acting Dept. He was a memorable, sexy, wounded Brick in a production there of Tennessee Williams’ classsic “Cat on a Hat Tin Roof.” And his classmate Corey Stall played Big Daddy. And Corey is lighting up the screen this year in Woody Allen’s “Midnight in Paris”  and he may be Oscar nomination bound, too! I’ve now seen “Midnight in Paris” SEVEN TIMES! An all time record for me!

But back to Rashaad Ernest Green and his wonderful new film “Gun Hill Road”!

Upon graduation, Rashaad had to face the “pounding the pavements” reality of an actors’ life in New York City and this drove him quick smart back to the haloed halls of NYU Film School, this time, to get yet ANOTHER Master’s Degree this time in film.

And boy has he struck pay dirt with “Gun Hill Road”! It’s gone from Sundance to major distribution where it is going to be opening at the Angelika as well as the AMC 42nd St.  this Friday!

If you can’t wait, you can see me interviewing him and Harmony and soon Esai Morales, too, as the jail-house dad, on my You Tube Channel here ~ at www.youtube.com/StephenHoltShow

They’re all going to be famous tomorrow. Or thereabouts.

Second Half of Live-Blogging the Tonys!

9pm- The Second Half of the Tonys. They’ve hardly given out any awards and all the musical numbers have really, embarrassingly tanked. Oh, except Neil Patrick Harris’ Opening Number.

Best Featured Actress in a Musical! Nikki M. James! She’s hysterical crying!I am so THRILLED for her! She became a true star in that moment and this incredible, tearful speech!  The crowd! Goes! Wild! NOW SHE’s the WINNER of the night! Totally Surprised, she couldn’t stop crying! Very moving! I’m over the moon for her! I told her she would win! The Oscar messenger strikes again! You can go to see me telling her so  at www.youtube.com/StephenHoltShow

Andrew Rannells brings down the house with “Book of Mormon’s “I Believe!” a wise choice, because it’s just a solo, so no crowded chorus bumping into each other. Rannells was better tonight than he even was in the show! And they said “Fuck” at one point! And of course it got bleeped! But they said it! IOW, they did the show as it was actually performed. The Melissa Leo effect.

9:18 PM – Brooke Shields got bleeped ! John Larroquette! Wins Best Featured Actor in a Musical!

9:21 Now, Bono and the Edge. What are THEY going to do??? Bono “We used to be members U2” Yikes! They mention the NY Post! Michael Riedel must’ve just jumped through the roof of the press room! “We just wanted to keep the excitement level high at the New York Post!” Lolol…Longest intro of the night! They sound apologetic. OH NO! They are going to do a number from “Spiderman” Oy!…Boring…OMG! The number was as boring as their intro! I haven’t seen it yet, but that’s their best number? At least it was just a duet, so no stumbling. No bodies falling. That was a very bad song, not well done. Ugh! I’m not looking forward to seeing this monstrosity. “Inept” is what Michael Riedel kept saying on “TheaterTalk” and yes, that’s exactly what that number was…”If theWorld Should End” If only that song would end. Oh! It finally did.

My battery ran out.

But I’m back ~ 10:04 ~ “War Horse” just won Best Play. 😦

Wish a play with great PLAYWRITING in it had won…My Tony Predictors Scott Siegel and Sherry Eaker got this right on my TV show. We also got Best Revival of a Play, “Normal Heart” right. “The Motherfucker With A Hat” which hasn’t won anything so far, was robbed.

Larry Kramer moved me to tears with his beautiful SHORT speech. “Our day will come”….He really did the right thing. Short, sweet. Memorable. I’ll never forget it.

The musical numbers have been getting better.

10:11pm- “Anything Goes” probably just won the remaining awards with their concluding tap number that was very well done. Nobody bumped into each other.

But it’s now heading towards the 45 min. mark. Time left, I mean. I can’t believe I’m counting the time til it’s over.

Patina Miller shined it on with her choir of jiving and jumping nuns….They’ve really set up Sutton Foster to win…:( Still thinks she’s miscast as Reeno Sweeney, the bawdy barfly who’s the famous lead in “Anything Goes.” Ethel Merman haunts that role, those songs, those long-held notes. Patti Lu Pone was DIVINE in the ’80s revival at Lincoln Center, when it wasn’t THREE EFFING hours long, as it is now!

Vanessa Redgrave and James Earl Jones just got a standing ovation. What are they doing here tonight? Oh, introducing an embarrassingly fast montage of scenes from EVERY SINGLE PLAY that opened on Broadway this year! Even “Elling”!?!?

10:24pm ~ Neil Patrick Harris does a VERY good rendition of “Company/Side by Side” with Patti LuPone, Stephen Colbert and Martha Plimpton in his chorus! Embarassing for Patti…

Best Revival of a Musical “Anything Goes” Boo! I enjoyed “How to Succeed” MUCH better. It was simply better done. “The truly magnificent Sutton Foster”…???? The passable, just OK Sutton Foster is more like it. Sheesh! Poor Patina!

Best Actress in a Play! Frances McDormand! In a jean jacket! I predicted this and so did Sherry Eaker. “I love my work!” No make-up a red-and-black striped dress under the jean jacket. I always heard she was a biker. This is her in her no bull-shit biker chick mode. She names and thanks every single member of her cast. Sincere. She burns a serious hole in the screen. Good for her. And she didn’t say “F**k” to do it, Melissa…

And Sutton Foster wins Best Actress, as expected and she reveals she’s going out with Bobby Cannavale! OMG! She breaks out crying thanking her dresser, “who’s leaving me” cries, sobs “AND IT’S A GOOD THING!” Well, if she’s with BC now…I’ll have to hold out hope for her, as an actress. I did totally like her in “The Drowsy Chaperone” and also “Young Frankenstein” but her Reeno Sweeny is more like Judy Moody.

God! What if it’s Bobby who wins Best Actor? As I predicted! Then they would be the first couple to win Tonys in the Same Night? Bobby has been right, front and center all night in the shots and cut-aways and he talked about “The Motherfucker with a Hat.” He’s a great actor. Period.

Paul Shaeffer of the David Letterman show introduced the original songstress of “It’s Raining Men” which he, I forgot, wrote. He comes out and this leads in to FINALLY a number from “Priscilla, Queen of the Desert” which FINALLY won one award, Best Costumes, for the same two dazzling designed who won an Oscar for the same category.

Mark Rylance wins Best Actor in a Play. An incoherent speech about walking through walls.  Yuck. Sherry Eaker got this right, too! Bobby Cannavale and Al Pacino and Joe Mantello both lost to this jerk. Why? Why? Why? He’s not even the most famous person in this category. I guess his earlier performance in “La Bete” impressed the Tony Voters. That was earlier this season.

Norbert Leo Butz wins Best Actor in a Musical. Sherry Eaker and Scott Siegel BOTH got this right, too. Nice speech. Norbert’s second Tony. Also the second Tony in recent memory for Mark Rylance. Guess the Tonys just do NOT vote like the Oscar voters do, and take previous wins into account AGAINST the nominee. Like for instance, this year with Geoffrey Rush losing for “The King’s Speech” basically, I think, because he already won in the Best Actor category for “Shine!”

Chris Rock says that “Best Musical is like taking a hooker to dinner” LOLOL…Best line of the evening. Book of Mormon wins! Well, I got that one right. Josh Gad is nowhere to be seen.

It ran over by four minutes, according to my computer. See ya next year! I’m going away for awhile. Or rather next week! Give me the Oscars any day.

TONY Predictions Show now up on You Tube!

At last! And just in time for the Tonys, my Tony nomination prediction show is now up in its entirety on You Tube ~ www.youtube.com/StephenHoltShow

And you can see me and my fellow predictors Scott Siegel and Sherry Eaker give our informed, but VERY different takes on who is going to win what in eight of the top categories Best Actress and Actor in a Musical, Best Actress and Actor in a Play, Best Play and Best Musical.

We also slip in Best Revival of a Play and Best Revival of a Musical.

Interestingly, we only agreed twice. On Best Musical and Best Revival of a Play! Otherwise, we agreed to disagree. Once, we each had a different choice ~ in Best Actor in a Play! So I guess you could say that THAT is a category that is up for grabs.

We filmed it at the glamourous Indian restaurant the Bombay Palace. In front of its’ very, very famous and very, very large fish tank. The fish stole the show, but its’ black and yellow eel really was the unexpected star.

I hope you enjoy this spirited, intense conversation about the year’s best theater! I know I did!

As you know, I already revealed ONE of my picks in the previous post. Patina Miller as Best Actress in a Musical for “Sister Act.” Scott and Sherry did NOT agree with me…as you’ll see!

Scott Siegel works his Bway By the Year Magic yet again! The year is 1982!

Scott Siegel’s monumental Broadway by the Year series continues to delight and surprise at Town Hall, a venue that Scott and his lovely wife Barbara have practically re-invented and made it certainly a Must – See one night only event. For eleven years now,  the Siegels have been making Town Hall relevant.

1982 was The Year this year, and I thought at first it was kind of  a risky choice. 1982 is the closest year in time that Siegel has chosen to depict so far in this staggeringly researched, but refreshingly presented series.

The evening started with Liz Callaway bringing down the house with “Cats”s “Memory.” Stunning, stunning, stunning. Callaway had played Grizabella the Glamour Cat for five years on Broadway during “Cats” marathon 18 year run. She showed all present just how electrifying Broadway can be. Callaway for the record was not the original “Grizabella”. Bette Buckley was. So Callaway’s interpretation was even more heart-breaking. Is it recorded any where? It was as evanescent as, well, a Memory, as Theater itself is.

And Siegel, who came out as the Host, AFTER this astonishing rendition, quipped “Most shows would END with that number. But at Broadway by the Year we open the show with it!”

And he proved that 1982 had much more to it than one would think. And he also pointed out aptly “This series  is about ‘Memory.” Then brought the lights up to ask how many audience members had seen the Original “Cats” on Broadway. It was an almost unanimous show of hands! “So you’re all dedicated theater-goers! That’s wonderful!” And the audience tonight was particularly warm in its’ response to just about everything this evening.

Every performer got called back for an extra bow by Siegel.

He also debuted a new(to me) dance company the Mark Stuart Dance Theater who perked up “Blues in the Night” a review on Broadway in 1982 which included the standard “Taking a Chance on Love,” which is NOT from 1982. But it’s inclusion in that ill-fated review  justified it’s presence here. In 1982.

I always thought of Broadway By Year as time-traveling. And now that Siegel is moving closer to our own real time, it was beginning to have an additional impact on me that the older years, most out-side of my lifetime,  did not have. It made you think of what YOU were doing in 1982! And with a shock Siegel announced that “It was 28 years ago.”!?! Is that possible? It seems like yesterday that I was getting together my  gay rock-pop vocal group “Stephen Holt and the Boys” and mounting one of my greatest Off Off Broadway successes “The Blonde Leading the Blonde” at the Theater for the New City. I had not yet even BEGUN my career on TV!

So Broadway by the Year 1982 really WAS about Memory! Siegel was right!

But back to “Blues in the Night”

I had the misfortune to actually have to sit through “Blues in the Night”,which Forbidden Broadway(which also debuted in ’82!) parodied as “Boos in the Night.”  This was equally justified.  Lesley Anne Warren sang it in that orginal productions  as if  it was something beyond her musical comprehension, and “Forbidden Broadway”s Gerard Alessandrini was right on target with that zinger! Come back “Forbidden Broadway”! We really miss you!

Some of these wonderful one-night “Years” have been recorded on CDs and I hope 1982 is! It was Scott Siegel at his delightful best. And Liz Callaway singing “Memory” so luminously MUST be memorialized! Memory! Broadway by the Year 1982 was all about Memory, in all its’ meanings!

Let the Memory Live Again!

Betty Buckley “Buckles” at Town Hall

For one night only, Broadway Legend Betty Buckley( or Betty Buckles as she’s known to friends) held sway at the equally legendary, all-purpose booking site Town Hall.

Lately Town Hall has been the site of a resurgence of activity promoting the Great American Song Book in all the years of its’ glory with Scott Siegel’s long-running critically acclaimed “Broadway by the Year” series.

Never one to pause for a moment, Siegel also started a  Broadway Cabaret Festival in October, a weekend, three days of non-stop show tunes and belters. And Betty Buckles was the centerpiece evening. On Saturday night, natch.

I was at turns delighted and frustrated by Miss Buckles who I had seen in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “Sunset Boulevard” and who I thought was the best of all the singing, stair-climbing Norma Desmonds …And I couldn’t wait to hear her revive at least a couple of numbers. But she did none of them. Nada. Zilch!

But FINALLY we did hear her, admittedly reluctantly, sing the living daylights out of her iconic signature tune “Memory” from Lloyd Webber’s “Cats,” and sing it she did! And she acted it, too. Turning into Grizabella, the Glamour Cat right before our delighted eyes, feline stance and movements, etc…

And the crowd went wild.

But it was a pretty long, dry-ish wait for that Golden Moment.

I have a theory about Betty Buckles, and this evening proved me right, I think.

She has an unusual voice, a belt that is now close to a rasp. And she was pretty rasp-y through at least the first three numbers. She then began to relax a bit, and her voice got more under control and mellifluous as she then launced into her 50 min.(!) first act. There was then the LONGEST intermission this side of Liza Minelli, and then ANOTHER long second act. The minutes flew by like hours.

My theory, and she proved it that night, is that she is a great singing ACTRESS, as opposed to a great singer. Her voice is very unusual. She just did an album with T-Bone Burnett and I can’t wait to hear that colloboration. She did the blues numbers she chose, like Billie Holidays “Been Down So Long,” surprisingly well.

But mostly she stayed away from Broadway show tunes that she was associated with and gave us one obscure cabaret song after another. Some really worked like “A Ghost in This House” whereas others were mostly just OK.

She did a fair rendition of shows she never got cast in like “Annie Get Your Gun.” “Lost in His Arms” was  nicely romantic. And a couple of “King and I”s, like “We Kiss in the Shadows,” which she hooked up with the latest gay teen suicides, which was admirable.

But the songs she sang from the shows she didn’t get, showed unfortunately kind of WHY, she didn’t get them. Hence my hunger for her dramatic Norma Desmond ditties, which went unsatiated, as I said.

She also made the wonderful annoucement that she has come out of semi-retirement in Texas, where she’s from and now lives. “You must understand that I’m a cowgirl, ” she said close to the opening of the show.

 She told us that she is now in residence in San Francisco, where she is workshopping a Broadway-hopeful musical version of Arimsted Maupin’s “Tales of the City.” “And I’m playing Anna Madrigal!” she declared triumphantly, and again the crowd roared its’ approval.

But then, frustratingly, she didn’t sing any numbers from it!

So although her patter between the songs was informative, bitchy, behind-the-scenes fun, her cabaret song-after-cabaret song underwhelmed.

But it was thrilling to see her in the flesh. A bona-fide Broadway icon, now facing late middle age…Her “September Song” was VERY good.

She addressed the topics of lost love and aging in her musical choices over and over and over again…

So all-in-all I’d say Betty Buckles was a mixed-bag at Town Hall.

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