The Broadway Boogie

We’ve all been there: your favorite song plays in a public place and you don’t know whether or break out and boogie or keep the dancing to a toe tap.

Luckily, when this happens during a Broadway show, everyone in the audience is feeling the same way.

Here’s the 10 steps you’ll undoubtedly go through re-living your favorite songs on Broadway:

1. Head bopping.

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2. Toe tapping.

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3. Shoulder swaying.

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4. Seat samba.

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5. Stifled shimmy-ing.

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6. Full body boogie.

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7. Passionate singing.

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8. Irrepressible joy.

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9. Utter bliss.

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10. Beyoncé.

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Listen to your favorite songs and get down and boogie at Rock of Ages, Mamma Mia, and Motown the Musical with tickets from just $59 this week on TodayTix.

Summer in the City

Fireworks, barbecues, and fireflies are so last year, Times Square is the place to be this Summer. Here are a few reasons why:

1. The Naked Cowboy. Now that it’s warmer, he is out and about everyday in all his, er… glory.

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2. Mister Softee! Since, they’re practically on every other corner, you’ll never be far from their frosty goodness.

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3. Broadway in Bryant Park. Right around the corner from Times Square, you can see your favorite performers from Broadway and Off-Broadway for free each Thursday this Summer at Broadway in Bryant Park!

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4. And lastly….Broadway! See the shows you’ve been dying to see this Summer with TodayTix. We’ve got you covered this Summer with discounts to your favorite shows up to 60% off!

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Lessons we Learned from Broadway Shows this Season: PART II

Last month we shared with you some very meaningful lessons we had learned from Broadway shows like Rocky, Les Misérables, and Aladdin.

But there’s still such wisdom happening on Broadway, we knew we just had to bring you a PART II.

So without further ado, here are the Lessons we Learned from Broadway shows this Season (PART II):

The Cripple of Inishmaan

- Don’t underestimate people, no matter what they may look like.

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- Coming of age can be a difficult (read: awkward) time in anyone’s life.

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- Daniel Radcliffe will always be the most adorable, even as a frail young man with a limp…who loves cows.

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A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder

- Blood is thicker than water? Think again.

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- When your fiancée proposes to you…make sure your lover isn’t in the next room.

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- You can’t always trust a gentleman.

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If/Then 

- It’s impossible to predict where life will lead you.

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- Every experience you have leads you to the next opportunity or open door.

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- Idina’s voice = life.

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Get tickets to The Cripple of Inishmaan, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, and If/Then, on TodayTix!

Happy Father’s Day

Whether they’re teaching, protecting, scolding, or trying to create a better life, they do it all while singing! Here are some of our favorite Broadway Dads in musicals.

Happy (early) Father’s Day!

Mamma Mia (2001)

The Lion King (1997)

Annie (2012)

Fiddler on the Roof (1964)

The Sound of Music (1965)

The Little Mermaid (2008)

Hairspray (2002)

Bye Bye Birdie (1963)

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (1966)

Les Miserables (1998)

Treat the Dad in your life to a Broadway show this weekend with TodayTix!

Behind the Scenes: Les Miserables’ Caissie Levy

We caught up with the lovely Caissie Levy who currently stars as Fantine in the Broadway revival of Les Miserables.

We discussed everything from her experience performing in Les Mis to what advice she has for young artists (which won’t cost you $500!)

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Congratulations on the all the success so far for Les Miserables! What was it like when you first started rehearsal as Fantine? How do you like to begin preparing for a role?

Thank you very much! Starting rehearsals for Fantine in Les Mis was totally surreal. Les Miserables was the first musical I ever saw (Original Toronto company, when I was eight years old!) and I was mesmerised. To be cast years later as Fantine in this huge re-imagined revival was actually a dream come true, as Les Mis was the show that made me want to be an actor. As far as prep went, I avoided the film and old recordings of past Fantines, and instead studied the novel and did a lot of research on prostitution and the plight of poor women in general from that time period. It helped tremendously in understanding Fantine’s swift descent into devastating circumstances.

If you could play any role, regardless of age or gender in any Broadway revival, who would you choose and why?

That’s a great question — there are so many! The first one that springs to mind is Trina in Falsettoland. I’d LOVE to play that role in a few years. The role’s got everything - both comedic and dramatic elements - along with some gorgeous songs, and a story that I’ve always loved and been inspired by. I innately understand so many of the key elements of that story, and I adore Bill Finn’s stunning score.

You were last seen on Broadway in the new musical, Ghost, based on the famous film. Do you find any difference between performing never before heard music, like in Ghost, vs. the classics, like in Les Miserables?  

There’s a huge difference, definitely. With Les Mis, the audience members mostly know (or think they know!) what they’re getting into when they buy tickets to the show. With Ghost, they had no clue other than their preconceived ideas from the film, and the pedigree of the brilliant rock stars, Glen Ballard and Dave Stewart, who wrote the score. As an actor, you always hope the audience comes into the theatre with fresh eyes and open hearts, but ultimately you can’t control their experience. The only thing that’s ever in my control is singing the score to the best of my ability that day, and hoping that the audience is moved.

What was it like putting together your debut album With You? With so many songs in your repertoire, how did you choose which ones to include?

It was incredibly exciting to make With You. Making a solo album was a long time coming for me, and I wanted to be sure it reflected my musical taste, and that it didn’t just sound like a vanity project where I just recorded covers from musicals for the hell of it. It was very important to me that it encompassed and highlighted what makes me and my voice unique - the pop/rock/folk qualities that I’m known for. We made it in a few weeks total between Ghost and Murder Ballad - insanely fast - but totally worth it. My collaborators on it were my fantastically talented music director, Matt Hinkely, and the folks at Yellow Sound. They were all incredible. Choosing the songs was tough. I knew that as soon as I started Ghost, I’d one day do a mashup of “With You” from Ghost and “Without You” from Rent (my first professional gig). Beyond that, I wasn’t sure. It was really fun to sit down with the incredible scores of the shows I’ve been fortunate to be part of, and listen for what songs might be interesting if stripped down and re-imagined.

There is also a song written by your husband, David Are, on the album called Out of the Blue. Besides the obvious, what draws you to his music and lyrics?

Yes! “Out of the Blue” is one of my all time favourite tunes of David’s. I was so excited he was into the idea of me doing an acoustic version, as the original version of that song is sort of trip-hop-y and electronic, and sung by our dear friend Gavin Creel. I think David’s voice as a writer is hands-down the most original I’ve come across in years. Yes, he’s my husband, but before he was my husband, David was just a guy I knew only from his awesome music. I’m lucky to be one of the actors in town who continually sings and records music of new writers, so I think I’m pretty well versed in the next generation of musical theatre writers. There’s so much talent out there, and so much exciting work being done. To me, what separates David Are’s writing, is that no one on the scene sounds like him. He fuses musical theatre storytelling with the accessibility of true top 40 pop music - electronica, hip-hop, and pop - in a way that no one else is doing right now.

As an actress who has toured, been apart of regional productions, and has landed in both Broadway and Off-Broadway houses, what advice would you give to younger performers who wish to call the theatre their home?

My main advice is get on stage. I did, and do, most of my learning by doing. These days, there’s so much information available to young actors, whether it’s drama schools, classes, masterclasses, websites, magazines, access to actors they admire via Facebook and Twitter etc, and they’re all valuable resources. But, they’re also all easy ways to get in your head, and forget that acting is doing. Being onstage and going to see theatre are the best ways to hone your craft. Learn what it is you like and don’t like by doing and seeing theatre. Start a scene study group with your actor friends, and get on your feet working on a play you love. You don’t need to spend $500 on a fancy class to have the chance to act and be creative. And above all, be a nice person. In my experience, no one wants to work with a super talented asshole. Be kind, be curious, and don’t wait for an invitation to make art.

Don’t miss your chance to see Caissie Levy in Les Miserables! Get tickets from just $57 on TodayTix.




‘Twas the night ere The Tonys, when all through the city
Not a creature was stirring, not even a kitty.
Our ballots were filled out with oh-so-much care,
Predictions were made on the clothes stars would wear.
As midnight approached, I took to my bed,
While box steps and time steps, danced round in my head.

Too excited for slumber I tried counting sheep,
But they turned into nominees who all praised and weeped.
Then out on the sidewalk, I heard such a racket,
I jumped out of bed and threw on my jacket.
I ran to the door, and looked by the trash,
To see what had happened that made such a crash.

The moon shone so bright on the man that was there,
And gave such a luster to his shiny coiffed hair.
I couldn’t believe who I saw then appear,
Hugh Jackman and some Tony stars from this year!
In a tight-fitting tux and perfectly tanned,
I felt slightly faint when I saw his jazz hands.

In a loud booming voice, he called out with glee,
And I couldn’t believe who else I did see.
"Now, Neil! now, Ramin! now Idina and Cranston!
On, Rylance! on, Audra! on, Kelli and Pinkham!
To the fire escape! To the top of the wall!
Now sing away! Dance away! Chassé away all!”

What happened there next, I still can’t believe,
It seemed they were all getting ready to leave.
But all of a sudden the actors transformed,
And began re-enacting the roles they perform.
No longer they stood just as actors before me,
but as Viola and Hedwig, and Billie and Rocky.

I chatted with Valjean, and riffed with Ms. King,
And Lyndon and I discussed the left wing.
Rocky gave me a right hook, and a big ol’ black eye,
But I felt so much better when Violet walked by.
I watched as Olivia chased Viola around,
And was awed by those heels, Hedwig never fell down.

But soon it was time for the gang to head home
And before I knew it, Hugh and I were alone.
I wished him good luck and we said our goodbyes,
I gave him a hug and then straightened his tie.
Replaying what happened as I laid down to rest,
I couldn’t believe I was so hashtag #blessed.

I heard him exclaim, as I turned out the light,
“Happy Tonys to all, and to all a good night!” 

(adapted from A Visit from St. Nicholas by Clement Clarke Moore)

May in Review

May is always an exciting month here in New York City, because it means sunshine, warm weather, and that The Tony Awards are right around the corner!

Here are a few of our favorite May moments:

Here Lies Love finally returned to The Public Theater on May 1 and our hearts were once again filled with joy, awe, and…techno beats.

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A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder released a YouTube video of the cast and crew dancing along to Pharrell’s addictive song “Happy” on May 5, and it made us…well, happy!

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On May 9, Idina Menzel stopped by The Late Show with David Letterman, where she spoke about everyone’s favorite singer, Adele Dazeem, and then wowed us with a rendition of “You Learn to Live Without” from If/Then.

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Norm Lewis, who is making history as the first African-American Phantom on Broadway, and Sierra Boggess joined the cast of The Phantom of the Opera for a limited engagement beginning on May 12.

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On May 12, it was also announced that The Music Man would be the next live musical produced by NBC joining the previously announced productions of NBC’s Peter Pan and FOX’s Grease. (#LongLiveBroadway!)

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The weekend of May 17-18 we were at the Ninth Avenue International Food Festival and some of our favorite Broadway stars, Caissie Levy, Ben Fankhauser, Christiane Noll, and Julia Murney stopped by to say hello to everyone!

(Let us just take a moment of silence for all the fried Oreos that were consumed that weekend…)

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On May 21, Stars in the Alley, an free outdoor concert in Shubert Alley had performances from this season’s new productions like Violet and The Bridges of Madison County, as well as some long-running favorites like Pippin and The Lion King.

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And on May 25, HBO presented The Normal Heart, a play first produced Off-Broadway in 1985 and then again on Broadway in 2011 about the AIDS crisis in America in the 1980s.

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What was your favorite event this May?

Behind The Scenes: Pippin’s Kyle Dean Massey

We caught up with Broadway star Kyle Dean Massey to discuss everything from his new role as the title character in Pippin to his favorite vacation spot.

Make sure you read to the end to find out how you can be entered to meet Kyle Dean Massey backstage at Pippin!

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First of all, congratulations on joining the cast of Pippin! What do you admire most about your character Pippin? Is there anything you’ve found that you both have in common?

I love that Pippin is willing to try anything.  In that regard he’s fearless.  At the top of the show he has no idea what he wants to do with his life, but that doesn’t stop him from trying to find his own happiness.  Although I don’t think I share many characteristics with Pippin I certainly identify with the idea of finding your own joy.

The stunts in Pippin are spectacular, and not something the average person gets a chance to see every day. What’s the strangest/craziest thing you’ve ever had to do for a role?

It’s definitely Pippin.  Having to learn to throw knives in performance in something I never thought I’d be doing!

You always bring such vibrancy and freshness to any role you’ve taken over. What challenges (if any) are present when taking over for an actor on Broadway?

There are a number of challenges you face when you replace an actor on Broadway.  I’d say the trickiest part is trying to pick up where the last performer left off.  The bar has already been set. Matching the intensity and knowledge of the character that your predecessor had is difficult, but expected.  After a couple weeks of rehearsal you have to be able to fit into a show that has been running for a year or more where the other actors have fleshed out their characters in very complete ways.  You have to play a serious game of “catch-up”.

Having now starred in two of Stephen Schwartz’s musicals on Broadway, what is it that attracts you to his work?

I love that Stephen’s work has a pop sensibility but is deeply rooted in musical theatre.  I think my voice is suited to that kind of music.  It feels current, his lyrics are poetic and at the end of the day…he just writes good music that people want to listen to and I have the great fortune of singing every day.

Five Fast Favorites:
Musical? Assassins
Junk food? Gummie Life Savers
Vacation spot? Mexico
New York City hidden gem? Mee Noodle Shop
Cell phone app? (After TodayTix of course…;) ) Shazam!

What do you do to wind down after a performance? 

I usually cook dinner and watch tv!  Pretty boring!

Is there any advice you have for aspiring actors hoping to someday appear on Broadway?

Get a gym membership.

You can meet Kyle Dean Massey backstage at Pippin with #TTCenterstage! Click here to enter by Tuesday 5/27: http://bit.ly/TTPippin 

Lessons we Learned from Broadway Shows this Season: PART I

Many people think Broadway musicals are all sunshine and rainbows with no substance. These people…are wrong.

Luckily we’re here to shine the light on the nay-sayers and help them see the error of their ways.

Here are the lessons we learned from Broadway shows this season (PART I):

Rocky
- Even when the odds seem stacked against you, it’s important to always believe in yourself, no matter what.

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- When an older, wiser boxing trainer who believes in you offers to take you under his wing, you do it. No questions asked.

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- “Eye of the Tiger” and “Gonna Fly Now” are extremely catchy songs. (And are highly dance-able too.)

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Les Misérables
- It’s very important to practice forgiveness, because when given the opportunity, people can change.

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- The struggle will be long, but in the end, fighting for what you believe in is worth it.

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- Unrequited love can be the best or worst thing that ever happens to you. But most likely it will be the worst and you’ll end up getting shot on a barricade. Ditto, love triangles. (Spoiler Alert…)

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Aladdin
- Be careful what you wish for; you never know what you might actually get.

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- Stay true to yourself. Lying won’t get you very far in life.

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- Don’t trust a man with shifty eyes. Or a creepily long goatee. Or a snake scepter.

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To these Broadway shows, we applaud you and we thank you for teaching us important lessons about life and love.

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Stay tuned for more lessons in Part II…

Get tickets to these musicals and more on TodayTix.

Back on Broadway

Norm Lewis and Sierra Boggess make their long awaited debuts as The Phantom and Christine in The Phantom of the Opera tonight, May 12, on Broadway and we couldn’t be more excited.

No strangers to the Great White Way, here are some of our favorite past performances of theirs!

Norm Lewis in The Wild Party, 2000

Norm Lewis in Les Miserables, 2006

Norm Lewis in The Little Mermaid, 2008

Sierra Boggess in The Little Mermaid, 2008

Sierra Boggess in Master Class - 2011

Norm Lewis in The Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess, 2012

Things to Look Forward to at the Tony Awards

The 68th Annual Tony Awards will air on Sunday, June 8 on CBS. This means we’ve got exactly one month to go until the ceremony! (Not like we’ve been counting down or anything…)

In anticipation of this exciting day, here are the things we’re most looking forward to:

The Red Carpet - Ah, the red carpet. Celebrities arriving, newscasters interviewing, and viewers gossiping. What more could you ask for? (Plus the red carpet pre-show gives us an extra hour or so to obsessively change our Tony Award ballot predictions.)

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The Host - We’re thrilled Hugh Jackman will be back to host the Tony Awards for the fourth time this year! Though we’ve tried, we just can’t decide what we love most about him. His charm, wit, personality, singing, dancing, classic looks, devilish grin…we could go on (and on and on.)

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The Speeches - How ironic that the main reason we all gather around to watch The Tony Awards each year, is cut short by music every single time. No two speeches will be the same and that’s what makes them so special. Between the laughing, the crying, and the awkward jokes - we love it all!

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The Crying - And what’s a Tony Awards speech without some tears? It’s really something special to watch someone who has worked so hard finally accomplish their dream. (To be honest, we’re getting a little teary-eyed just thinking about it.)

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The Performances - Even though there can only be one winner in each category, just getting to perform in a Broadway show 8 times a week seems like a pretty big win to us. Plus, these performances are the perfect opportunity to decide which show you want to see next.

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The Surprises - And finally there’s the surprises. Last year we were all shocked by Neil Patrick Harris and Audra McDonald’s Tony Award wrap up performance of Jay-Z’s “Empire State of Mind” (and the now infamous mic drop), and we’re dying to see what’s going to happen this year.

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What are you looking forward to the most during this year’s Tony Awards?

Happy Mother’s Day!

Whether it’s children thanking their Mothers, or Mommies thanking their children, here are a few of our favorite heartwarming Tony Awards speech moments.

(Caution: You might want to make sure you have some tissues handy.)

Happy Mother’s Day to all the Mothers out there who continue to inspire us every day!

"To my mom who has been my inspiration, thank you so much for believing in me and telling me I can do anything I want to do." - Patina Miller (2013)

"I want to thank my wee posse of three. And Zoe, my sweet little girl, I want you to know something; this is an amazing night for mommy but February 14, 2001, the day you were born is the best night ever. Never forget that. I love you." Audra McDonald (2012)

"I feel very lucky that my sister Caroline and my mother are here tonight. Thank you for making my mom very, very happy for this great honor, and for this perfect moment in time. Thank you.”  - Christian Borle (2012) 

"My mother told me once, she always told me before shows to stand up there and show ‘em whose little boy you are. And I’m showing you today that I am the son of Kathy Withrow Kazee who lost the fight with cancer on Easter Sunday this year and I miss you every day and I feel you here with me tonight and I love you all so much. Thank you for this award." - Steve Kazee (2012)

"My mother, Melanie, for pounding the pavement with me when I was 8 years old, and for supporting me, and always fighting for me." - Scarlett Johansson (2010)

"I want to send out first and foremost all of my love to my husband Matt and my son Joshua I would be dead without both of you." - Patti Lupone (2008) 

"And my mother. Thank you for taking me to see Dreamgirls and Annie and everything growing up!" - Idina Menzel (2004)

"Last but not least I want to thank my mother who 48 years ago put me in show business. and want to finally officially say to her, thank you for giving me this wonderful experience and journey. Thank you mom." - Bernadette Peters (1999)