Here’s a quick roundup of stories you might have missed recently.
International Festival of Musical Theater to Launch in 2022
They’ve got magic to do! The Festival Internazionale del Musical, or the International Festival of Musical Theater, a global celebration showcasing contemporary musical theater artists and productions from around the world, will launch in Milan, Italy in the summer of 2022. For the inaugural Festival, several acclaimed musical productions will be invited to perform in prominent theaters in Milan and the Lombardy region over a two-week period. The Festival will include a Gala Event, featuring performers and presenters honoring a Lifetime Achievement Award recipient. The honoree will be announced in the fall of 2021. Oscar and Tony Award winner Whoopi Goldberg is featured in a special video introducing the Festival, with appearances by Tony winner Ben Vereen and musical theater stars from around the world, including Lea Salonga, Laura Osnes, Jarrod Spector and more, performing the iconic song “Magic to Do” from Pippin. Watch below!
Watch Keegan-Michael Key Talk Schmigadoon! and Sing Out
Broadway alum and comedy king Keegan-Michael Key stars alongside Saturday Night Live’s Cecily Strong and a slew of Broadway faves (Kristin Chenoweth, Alan Cumming, Ariana DeBose and Aaron Tveit, to name a few) in Schmigadoon!, premiering July 16 on Apple TV+. Key appeared on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert to talk about the new series, his love of musical theater and more. He even grabbed the mic and performed Chris Stapleton’s hit “Tennessee Whiskey.” Watch the interview and performance below!
Daniel J. Watts to Return to the New York Stage
Tina Tony nominee Daniel J. Watts will join playwright Ngozi Anyanwu in the cast of the previously announced world premiere production of The Last of the Love Letters. The show will begin performances on August 26 ahead of opening on September 13 for a limited engagement through September 26 at the Atlantic Theater Company’s Linda Gross Theater. Directed by Patricia McGregor, The Last of the Love Letters centers on two people as they contemplate the thing they love most and whether to stick it out or to leave it behind. Casting for an additional role will be announced at a later date.
Tony & Emmy Winner Elliot Lawrence Dies at 96
Elliot Lawrence, who served as music director and conductor for the Tony Awards broadcast for 46 years, died on July 2 in New York City. Born Elliot Lawrence Broza in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on February 14, 1925, his parents, Stan Lee Broza and Esther Broza, were broadcast pioneers who created and produced the Horn and Hardart Children’s Hour on WCAU radio and television. After attending the University of Pennsylvania, Lawrence went on to become the music director for WCAU’s house band in 1945 and wanted to distinguish himself from his family. In 1953, the band traveled to the Soviet Union for a special broadcast of The Ed Sullivan Show, where Lawrence met Tony-winning director and choreographer Gower Champion, who would later ask Lawrence to music direct the original Broadway production of Bye, Bye Birdie, for which he garnered a Tony nomination for Best Conductor and Musical Director. Lawrence won the award in 1962 for the original Broadway production of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. His additional Broadway credits include Here’s Love, Golden Boy, The Apple Tree, Golden Rainbow, 1776 and more. Lawrence also composed and arranged music for film and television, including the movie Network, As the World Turns, The Edge of Night, The Kennedy Center Honors and the Tony Awards telecast, for which he served as music director and conductor from its first telecast in 1967 through his retirement in 2013.