What is Your Favorite Longest Running Broadway Musical?

What is Your Favorite Longest Running Broadway Musical?

March Madness is upon us. Which means it’s time for OnStage Blog’s annual Broadway bracket. This year we thought we would change it up a bit and have our readers vote on which longest running musical is their favorite. So we looked up the 32 longest running musicals.

Given the popularity of some of these musicals, I think the choices might be tougher than you think.

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“Be yourself and love whatever and whoever that is at the moment.” – Chatting with BE MORE CHILL's Morgan Siobhan Green!

“Be yourself and love whatever and whoever that is at the moment.” – Chatting with BE MORE CHILL's Morgan Siobhan Green!

I would like you to meet Morgan Siobhan Green. Morgan is making her Broadway debut in Be More Chill where she understudies for Christine, Brooke, Chloe, Jenna, and ‘as cast.’ Before that, she was seen Off-Broadway in Folk Wandering (ARTNY), and Sweetee (Signature). She has also performed regionally in Between the Lines (Pre Broadway). I always admire understudies and swings who perform on Broadway because as many will tell you they have a lot on their plate, so it was quite an honor to have the opportunity to interview Morgan! 

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“Ingest all kinds of art and culture.” – Chatting with BE MORE CHILL's Katlyn Carlson!

“Ingest all kinds of art and culture.” – Chatting with BE MORE CHILL's Katlyn Carlson!

I would like you to meet Katlyn Carlson. Katlyn is currently making her Broadway debut in the Joe Iconis hit Be More Chill where she is playing the role of Chloe Valentine, a role she played both in the recent Off-Broadway run and with The Two River Theater. She has also performed Off-Broadway in The Unavoidable Disappearance of Tom Durnin, and in the First National Tour of Dirty Dancing. It was such a privilege to have the chance to interview this very talented University of Chicago alum!

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“Write your own story and don’t be phased by rejection.” – Chatting with OKLAHOMA’s Chelsea Williams

“Write your own story and don’t be phased by rejection.” – Chatting with OKLAHOMA’s Chelsea Williams

What advice would you give young performers who want a career in this business?

Work on your craft! There are many things that may attract you to a career in Acting, but I will say you must love the craft above all. Get in a class. Get a mentor. Go see shows (Not just the ones you could be in but also the ones that you may not see yourself in). Meet people! First, believe in yourself. Then, surround yourself with people who believe in you! Become financially literate. Write your own story. Don’t be phased by rejection. You will most likely receive some form of it. Instead of asking “why me?” Ask “what is this teaching me?”. Carve out time to be somewhat normal. Learn to cook. Read a book. But most importantly get spiritual (whatever that means to you) and take care of yourself.

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Avoid Working with David Petro/Broadway Break Thru

Avoid Working with David Petro/Broadway Break Thru

Last December, I wrote a piece on the fact that Broadway Break Thru and its founder David Petro, had not paid its guest faculty for their work during their summer college programs.

Some of the guest faculty hadn’t been paid a dime despite some of them being owed upwards to $1,000.

After publishing the article, I had heard that Petro promised(in writing) that he would pay all monies owed by February 28th. I’ve been told by various faculty, that he hasn’t sent them a dime.

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“Make your work ethic the best it can ever be and greatness will follow.” – Chatting with TOOTSIE’s Anthony Wayne.

“Make your work ethic the best it can ever be and greatness will follow.” – Chatting with TOOTSIE’s Anthony Wayne.

I would like you to meet Anthony Wayne. This triple threat can currently be seen in Tootsie on Broadway performing in the ensemble. On Broadway Anthony has also been seen in the 2018 Tony Award Winning Revival Once on this Island as well as Pippin, Anything Goes and Priscilla Queen of the Dessert. He has performed in the touring companies of A Chorus Line (Richie), The Color Purple, and Fame: The Musical (Tyrone). He has also starred as the 1970’s disco legend Sylvester in the new show Mighty Real: A Fabulous Sylvester Musical! It was a privilege to have the chance to interview Anthony!

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“Don’t let “type” discourage you from pursuing roles you’re drawn to.” – Chatting with TOOTSIE’s Britney Coleman

“Don’t let “type” discourage you from pursuing roles you’re drawn to.” – Chatting with TOOTSIE’s Britney Coleman

I would like you to meet Britney Coleman. Britney will be performing in the ensemble of Tootsie on Broadway at The Marquis Theatre.

She has also been seen on Broadway in Sunset Boulevard, and Beautiful: The Carole King Musical (a show she also performed in the 1st National Tour). She has also performed with well respected regional companies such as Westport Country Playhouse, The Muny, Theatre Under The Stars (TUTS), The Old Globe, North Shore Music Theatre, and The Asolo Repertory Theatre. I am very thankful to have the chance to interview this very talented artist!

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Bowling Green Students Want to Change Theatre Namesake Over Role in Racist Film

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News coming out of Ohio tooday,

The Black Student Union at an Ohio university is pushing the school’s president to rename a theatre honoring an actress who starred in “The Birth of a Nation,” considered one of the most racist movies ever made.

The Toledo Blade reports Bowling Green State University’s Gish Film Theater was named after actresses Dorothy and Lillian Gish 40 years ago.

Lillian Gish starred in the 1915 black-and-white silent film, which served as a tribute to the Ku Klux Klan and helped revive the white supremacist group.

Black Student Union President Kyron Smith says the push to rename the little-used theatre comes after its relocation to the student union.

University President Rodney Rogers says a task force of students, faculty and other stakeholders will make a recommendation for an immediate change.

So I can completely understand why the Black Student Union might feel this way. Having a facility on their campus named after someone associated with a racist film can evoke some painful and negative feelings. For anyone who has ever seen The Birth of a Nation, it is an infuriating film.

However, what I feel might be getting lost in all the furor, is the possible truth behind Gish’s participation in the film and ignoring everything else she did in her lifetime.

First of all, what should be considered is if Gish had any choice of appearing in the film at all. From what we know of the stringiness of early Hollywood contracts, it’s more than likely that her being in the film was apart of the deal she had signed with D.W. Griffith when she was 19 and she was going to be in that movie whether she wanted to or not. It should also be noted that The Birth of a Nation was one of six films Gish made in 1915 and one of 23 between 1914-1916.

I would absolutely support the removal of D.W. Griffith’s name from any theatre. He was the son of a Confederate solider, opposed Reconstruction and saw the rise of the Klan as potential for a great moment in cinematic history.

Also, if you want to take context of the film into account, her character Elsie doesn’t actually do anything racist. If anything, she’s repeatedly portrayed as a victim. If her character had been dressing in blackface, gleefully participated in a lynching or any other type of racist behavior, it would be an entirely different issue.

At the same time, consider why the theatre was named for her in the first place. Unlike statues of Confederate heroes, her tribute has everything to do with her contributions to acting and film as a whole.

Keep in mind this is the same actress that for Way Down East (1920), floated perilously down a river while perched on an ice floe, trailing her hand in the frigid water in order to make the situation even more impactful which resulted in permanent nerve damage. On the shoot of The Wind in the Mojave Desert, she insisted on the utmost authenticity, including filming in the midst of sandstorms; at one point she suffered third-degree burns on her hands from a car door handle which had become white hot in the blazing desert heat.

It would also be different if Gish was known to be a racist herself and support racist causes. But she didn’t or at least there is no record of it.

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After she died, she bequeathed the the Dorothy and Lillian Gish Prize which awards $250,000 annually to an individual who has “made an outstanding contribution to the beauty of the world and to mankind’s enjoyment and understanding of life.” Recent recipients include Suzan-Lori Parks, Bill T. Jones and Spike Lee.

And remember, this was one credit on a career that totaled over 100. Yes, she appeared in a racist film at the age of 22, but in the years that followed she also played Mimi and La Boheme and Hester Prynne in The Scarlet Letter.

Should we be getting into to punishing or removing namesakes due to one shameful acting credit? If you feel that way, should the Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center remove their namesake because she once appeared in yellowface in Dragon Seed? Should we demand that Julia Louis-Dreyfus give back her Mark Twain Prize because she appeared in Soul Man (where a character spends the entire movie in blackface) more than 30 years ago? Should we rename the Mark Twain Prize because of his usage of the n-word in Huckleberry Finn?

As a person of color and someone with common sense, I do believe there are actual issues with race in this country. I supported the tearing down of Confederate monuments. I believe that there is still massive marginalization of people of color on an everyday basis. I also know that this is the second time this year race has been heavily discussed on BGSU’s campus.

So I’m urging students at BGSU and their administrators to look at the entirity of Gish’s career and contributions. But if you feel that one likely contractually obligated credit in a racist film at the age of 22 is enough to strip her name off a theatre, I think that says more about you than it does Lillian Gish.

“Have a good attitude, good energy, and be flexible.” – Chatting with AIN’T TOO PROUD'S Rashidra Scott

“Have a good attitude, good energy, and be flexible.” – Chatting with AIN’T TOO PROUD'S Rashidra Scott

I would like you to meet the wonderful Rashidra Scott. She will be performing the role of Josephine in Ain’t Too Proud – The Life and times of The Temptations on Broadway at The Imperial Theatre. Previews start February 28th with the official opening on March 21st. Rashidra Scott has also been seen on Broadway in Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, Sister Act (also in the 1st National Tour), Hair, Finian’s Rainbow, and Avenue Q (Gary Coleman). She has also performed regionally with Goodspeed Opera House, The Marriott Theatre, Paper Mill Playhouse, STAGES St. Louis, Arizona Theatre Company, and Walt Disney World Entertainment. I absolutely love the temptations music so for me it was quite a thrill to have the chance to interview Rashidra!

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"Better than This" with Cathy Wilmot

"Better than This" with Cathy Wilmot

A new show chronicling the evolution of women’s roles in musical theatre is coming to the stage in February. The audience will enjoy songs from many of the most beloved musicals of the past century, including West Side Story, Chicago, Wicked and more.

It features a foursome of talented female performers including Cathy Wilmot, recently seen in the Arts Club Theatre’s production of Mamma Mia. We take some time to chat with her about the show and her experiences.

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Issue Over Two Different "To Kill a Mockingird" Scripts are Forcing Local Theatres to Cancel Upcoming Productions

Issue Over Two Different "To Kill a Mockingird" Scripts are Forcing Local Theatres to Cancel Upcoming Productions

This Spring, Curtain Call Theatre in Braintree, MA was set to produce To Kill a Mockingbird. However, after auditions were held and rehearsals were set, the theatre was forced to cancel their production due to legal threats they received from lawyers representing Scott Rudin, the lead producer the currently running Broadway show of the same name.

Normally this would be pretty cut and dry, except for the fact that Curtain Call was set to perform an entirely different script licensed by a different company. And that issue is causing problems worldwide and might even end up in a court battle of its own.

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“Your experience is valid and is meant to be shared on stage.” – Chatting with WAITRESS Swing Arica Jackson!

“Your experience is valid and is meant to be shared on stage.” – Chatting with WAITRESS Swing Arica Jackson!

I would like you to meet Arica Jackson. Arica is currently a Swing in Waitress on Broadway at The Brooks Atkinson Theatre. Before that, Ms. Jackson performed in the National tour of Waitress and most recently made her Broadway debut in Head Over Heels where she was the standby for the roles of Mopsa and Pamela. Her voice honestly knocks me out, and if you get the chance to see her perform, you are genuinely in for a wonderful treat! I was very excited to have the opportunity to interview her!

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"Talent without hard work won't get you anywhere" – Chatting with HADESTOWN performer Afra Hines!

"Talent without hard work won't get you anywhere" – Chatting with HADESTOWN performer Afra Hines!

I would like you to meet the wonderful Afra Hines. She will be performing in Hadestown on Broadway at The Walter Kerr Theatre with previews beginning March 22nd with the official opening on April 17th. Afra has performed on Broadway in Summer: The Donna Summer Musical (in which she was honored with the Legacy Robe), Shuffle Along, Motown the Musical, Soul Doctor, Ghost, In The Heights and Wicked. Ms. Hines has also toured with Hamilton. I have had the chance to see this amazing actress perform several times on stage and it was quite the honor and privilege to have the opportunity to interview her.

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