Broadway producers get the spotlight this week: One with a fabulous gay Broadway wedding (is there any other kind?) and another getting praise in prison from one of today’s greatest grande dames. Plus, a fond remembrance for a songwriting legend.
A GAY-FASHIONED WEDDING
The Great White Way is readying for another onstage same-sex wedding. Last year, after New York passed marriage equality, three couples were wed after a performance of Hair. Now big-time Broadway fixture Jordan Roth (pictured) is tying the night with his boyfriend Richie Jackson on Saturday at the Al Hirschfeld Theatre, which will be home to Kinky Boots next year. The Byzantine-styled Hirschfeld is one of five Broadway houses owned by Jujamcyn Theaters. And since Roth is president of Jujamcyn, we’re thinking he was able to pull some strings.
The invite list is being kept secret but will undoubtedly include Roth’s mega-producer mom, Daryl, and stars from the numerous smash hits the Roth family have been involved with. We wonder which stage stars will grace the happy couple with a ditty or two at the reception at the Roseland Ballroom. [La Daily Musto]
SAY A LITTLE PRAYER FOR HAL DAVID
A moment of silence for the great pop lyricist Hal David, who died of a stroke on September 1 at the age of 91. Younger gays may not recognize David by name, but they can sing along to “The Look of Love,” “Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head” and “Say A Little Prayer” and other pop classics created by David and legendary composer Burt Bacharach and sung by divas like Dusty Springfield and Dionne Warwick.
Belying Bacharach’s jaunty, martini-infused music, David crafted lyrics that revealed the pain of broken dreams (“Do You Know the Way To San Jose?”) and busted hearts (“Always Something There to Remind Me”). The two talents sadly only had one Broadway outing together—1968’s Promises, Promises, which includes the hit heartbreaker “I’ll Never Fall In Love Again.” David’s intensely theatrical lyrics were perfectly sculpted dramatic stories. In a wonderful piece for the L.A. Times, Bacharach recalls working with David, singling out the brutal break-up song “Twenty Four Hours From Tulsa” as a prime example of David’s skill.
According to immortal gossip columnist Liz Smith, quip-mistress Elaine Stritch is going to grace the New York stage one last time before packing her bags at the Carlyle and heading home to Birmingham, Michigan. Stritch isn’t retiring, though: she claims she’ll keep performing until imprisoned ex-theater impresario Garth Drabinsky busts out of the big house. (Drabinsky produced some of the greatest musicals from the final decade of the 20th century, including Kiss of the Spider Woman and Ragtime, before he was found guilty of cooking the books at his production company.) Lady Stritch, who worked with Drabinksy on his stunning 1994 revival of Show Boat, is forgiving: “He may not be innocent of defrauding donators to Lincoln Center, but he is still the greatest living producer! And he and I have another show in us!”
In a time when many Broadway musicals are lukewarm recreations of Hollywood movies aimed at teenage girls, a visionary like Drabinsky is sorely needed. [New York Social Diary]
CARRIE SINGS FROM THE DEAD
Based on the Stephen King novel, the notorious 1988 Broadway musical Carrie was such a disaster that it shuttered three days after opening night. A cast recording was never produced despite some truly amazing numbers and Broadway legend Betty Buckley’s balls-to-the-wall performance as Carrie’s batshit crazy mother, Margaret. Bootlegs have been much-coveted collectors items among obsessive fans for decades. A successful off-Broadway run earlier this year, though, brought the show back from the theatrical dead. The off-Broadway Carrie cast recording is being released September 25, but we’ve got a sneak peek of arguably its best number, “And Eve Was Weak,” sung by Molly Ranson (as Carrie) and Marin Mazzie (as Margaret). Hardcore musical-flop queens like yours truly now have something to drool over until the arrival of It’s a Bird…It’s a Plane…It’s Superman at New York City Center in March. [Broadway.com]
Photos: Greg Hernandez, J.J. Keyes