Robert Hammond’s Tribute to “Glee” Star Cory Monteith Now Available On-Demand

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Stage Notes host Robert Hammond paid tribute to Glee star Cory Monteith during his radio program.  Along with songs from Glee, songs from Matthew Morrison’s new CD, Where it All Began, were featured.  Click below to hear the full program.  Aired 7/20/13

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Sometimes F’uped is Next to Normal

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Rarely do I leave a musical or straight play in utter disdain.  In my view, there’s nearly always at least one positive take away.   Keeping that in mind,  there are three musicals that  continually affect me personally and professionally.  They’re stand outs—above the fray.  I’m drawn to the soundtracks regularly.  Hearing a single note from a song can instantly take me on a journey … some are delightful … some are dreadful.  That is what theatre is all about, and sometimes f’uped IS next to normal.  The suspense is over: A Chorus Line, RENT, and Spring Awakening.  I add a fourth:  Next to Normal.

I didn’t  see Next  to Normal on Broadway.  It doesn’t matter!  If I could turn back time (call me Cher!)  and the  production now on stage at Geva Theatre Center was magically transplanted to the Booth Theatre in April 2009, I suspect it would receive the same accolades and awards. 

Next to Normal, on stage at Geva Theatre Center through February 10th, is a triumph! Don’t miss this groundbreaking, Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize-winning musical. Congratulations to Geva; Scott Schwartz, director; and the entire, amazingly gifted cast and crew. Information about the show and its cast and crew is available at gevatheatre.org.   My full interview with Scott Schwartz  (director) is available below.

Click above to hear Robert’s full interview (including music) with Scott Schwartz

Stage Notes Gets “Next to Normal” with Scott Schwartz

Join host Robert Hammond for an in-depth look at the groundbreaking musical Next to Normal, with its director Scott Schwartz. The son of Stephen Schwartz (Wicked, Godspell, Pippin), Scott Schwartz will talk about the cast, music and storyline of Next to Normal, on stage at Geva Theatre Center through February 10th.

Featuring an electrifying contemporary score of more than 30 songs, this groundbreaking, Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize-winning musical is an emotional powerhouse. Captivating and ultimately hopeful, Next to Normal aims right for the heart with its story of a suburban family coming to terms with its past and bravely facing its future. The New York Times raves “It is much more than a feel-good musical; it is a feel-everything musical.”

SCOTT SCHWARTZ (Director) returns to Geva Theatre Center where he directed the world premiere of ROOMS: A Rock Romance. Broadway credits include Golda’s Balcony and Jane Eyre (co-directed with John Caird). Off-Broadway credits include Bat Boy: The Musical; Tick, Tick…Boom!; Rooms: A Rock Romance; The Foreigner starring Matthew Broderick; Franz Kafka’s The Castle; Miss Julie and No Way to Treat a Lady. Mr. Schwartz also directed Golda’s Balcony in London, on tour in Los Angeles at the Wadsworth Theater, and in San Francisco at A.C.T. Recent credits include Séance on a Wet Afternoon at New York City Opera, A Room With a View at the Old Globe, the rolling world premiere of Theresa Rebeck’s What We’re Up Against at the Alley Theatre, and Arsenic Old Lace starring Tovah Feldshuh and Betty Buckley at Dallas Theater Center. Regional theaters include Arizona Theatre Company, Asolo Rep, Berkshire Theater Festival, Cleveland Playhouse, Colorado Shakespeare Festival, Denver Center, La Jolla Playhouse, Old Globe, Pasadena Playhouse, PCPA, Prince Theater, Rubicon, Signature Theater, TheatreWorks, Virginia Stage Company, Westport Country Playhouse. Mr. Schwartz is an Associate Artist at the Alley, member of SDC, and a graduate of Harvard University.

“The Other Billy Joel” Tony and Grammy Nominated Michael Cavanaugh Sings Live on this Week’s Stage Notes

Join Host Robert Hammond and his special guest Tony and Grammy nominated Michael Cavanaugh. Cavanaugh was handpicked by Billy Joel to play the Piano Man in Joel’s smash hit Broadway musical Movin’ Out.  Since then, Cavanaugh has been dubbed “the other Billy Joel.”  He’ll perform some of your favorite Billy Joel songs live in studio.

Michael Cavanaugh performimg in the Broadway production of Movin’ Out

Michael Cavanaugh is the new voice of the American rock ‘n’ roll songbook. A charismatic performer, musician and actor, made famous for his piano/lead vocals in the Broadway Musical Movin’ Out. Michael Cavanaugh was handpicked by Billy Joel to star in title role and evokes a style rivaling the Piano Man. Michael appeared in the show for 3 years and over 1200 performances, receiving accolade after accolade, which culminated in 2003 with both Grammy and Tony award nominations.

Michael began playing at age 7, when his parents bought their first piano.  Encouraged by family and friends, and inspired by his hero Billy Joel, Michael formed his first band at age 10 and began playing local functions, fine-tuning the craft that would become his chosen career. His first full time gig as a musician was an extended engagement in Orlando Florida at a piano bar called Blazing Pianos. In January of 1999, Michael received an offer that would unknowingly change his life, with an opportunity to play Las Vegas at the famed New York, New York Hotel and Casino. It was there that Billy Joel spotted Michael and joined him on stage one fateful night of February 2001.  It only took 2 songs before Billy was convinced that he had found his new Piano Man, Michael Cavanaugh. Michael closed up shop at New York, New York and moved to New York City to work alongside Billy Joel and Twyla Tharp, to shape the Broadway Musical that would be called Movin’ Out.

With the close of Movin’ Out at the end of 2005, Michael began touring in his own right, creating a show that reinterprets the modern pop/rock songbook. Michael soon became one of the hottest artist’s in the corporate/events market.  He continues to perform worldwide for company and charity events as well as sporting events including PGA tour events, the US Open, the Indy 500.  It wasn’t long before Symphony Orchestras discovered Michael’s talents and audience appeal. He accepted his first orchestral booking, Michael Cavanaugh – The Songs of Billy Joel and more, which debuted in April of 2008 with the Indianapolis Symphony and continues to tour.  In October 2008, he signed with Warner/ADA to distribute his first CD titled In Color. In June, 2010, Michael debuted his second symphony show in the Generations of Rock series entitled Michael Cavanaugh: The Songs of Elton John & more and continues to tour both symphony productions. Information about Michael Cavanaugh is availabe at www.michaelcavanaugh.com.