As the first week of September faces its curtain, Broadway.com looks back on the this week’s biggest headlines and the lessons we’ve learned from them. From the alluring effect 54 Below has on stars to Zachary Levi’s gross way to cover up an onstage mishap, get schooled with the news that made this week special.
54 Below Is Bringing Sexy Back
In the age of finding the perfect lighting and angles for your ultimate #selfie, we have discovered a magical place where everyone looks good: 54 Below. This week Broadway.com Audience Choice Award winners Aaron Tveit and Laura Benanti released live albums, and boy, are these two looking fine in their album art. Now it could be these stars’ good genes or the professional hair, make-up and lighting, but we’d like to believe it’s all about location, location, location. You know what? All all photos should be taken at 54 Below, including school pics.
Il Divo Trumps Whitney Houston
Heather Headley made her West End debut in the big-budget stage adaptation of the Whitney Houston vehicle The Bodyguard in December 2012. Ever since then, New York audiences have been expecting the Tony winner to make her big return to the Great White Way belting out Houston hits, but it looks like we were wrong. Instead the Aida and Lion King veteran is coming back with the pop/opera group Il Divo for a brief concert series at the Marquis Theatre. Which begs the question: what happened to Whitney?! This news leaves us feeling “so emotional” and blindsighted “all at once.”
Elaine Stritch Dresses Like a Gay Hipster
RuPaul’s Drag Race winner Jinkx Monsoon is taking New York by storm with her sensational performance in the off-Broadway show The Vaudevillians. Monsoon is known for wild, over-the-top outfits and wigs the size of Texas, but offstage, the style of Monsoon (a.k.a. Jerick Hoffer) is much more relaxed. When not in drag, Hoffer can be found “in pleather leggings and an oversized black sweater,” a look he calls “androgynous grunge.” The performer says his “gay hipster” look is "very Elaine Stritch." We wonder if Hoffer wears a hat with his Stritch-inspired getup. Does anyone still do that?
Church Brings Gay Couples Together
Who needs to pick up guys at Bar-Tini or The Abbey when you can log onto ChristianMingle.com from the comfort of your home? We hear that the religious dating site is the newest hot spot for gay love, well, at least according to Cheyenne Jackson and David Burtka. The biggest surprise isn't that gays are using the Christian site for cruising. Nah. The biggest surpise is that Neil Patrick Harris is the least jealous husband ever. Would you let your significant other makeout with Cheyenne Jackson? Hmmm?
Aaron C. Finley Can Thank the Bible for His Career
Rock of Ages’ new star Aaron C. Finley has had a career that can be described in only one word: blessed. Finley was an athlete until he starred in a college production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and his world turned around, then Tony-winning scribe Brian Yorkey directed him in Jesus Christ Superstar and urged the young actor to move to NYC. Five short months later, Finley is starring on Broadway. Whether it was because of a guardian angel or a deal with the devil, Aaron C. Finley is a Broadway miracle. Amen.
Brian d’Arcy James Is Getting His Drunk Shrek On
Looks like Brian d’Arcy James figured out the best way to watch Shrek…half in the bag. The star, who picked up a Tony nomination for his performance as the giant green ogre in the lavish 2008 Broadway musical, is really looking forward to seeing the show’s filmed performance on iTunes when it debuts in October. “The fact that I can sit back on my couch and drink a beer while watching it makes me so happy,” he told us. We agree! Let’s make a Shrek drinking game Brian: Donkey jokes are one sip, fairytale references are a gulp and anytime you see a sight gag: chug!
Betty Buckley Does the Most Fun Research
Speaking of chugging, Tony winner Betty Buckley is giving a standout performance as an alcoholic socialite in the off-Broadway production of The Old Friends. When Broadway.com caught up with Buckley, she shared the unique way she prepped for the boozy role. “I followed a couple of drunk people on the street in the first weeks of rehearsal, just to remind myself of what some of that behavior is,” she said. Now, imagine Buckley applying those same research methods to crossdressing Victorian actors, overbearing mothers, stepmothers with eight kids, faded screen stars and stray cats. #TheBuckleyMethod
Poop Jokes Can Always Save an Onstage Mishap
This lesson is for all you aspiring actors out there. Next time you forget a line, a set piece falls down or you miss a cue and need to fill the dead air, a scatalogical joke may provide your saving grace. In the latest Kiss & Tell episode, First Date star Zachary Levi relayed a story, in which his mike failed, and he had to leave his scene partner, Krysta Rodriguez, sitting alone on stage for an uncomfortable amount of time. When Levi returned, he ad-libbed, chalking up the disappearing act to “diarrhea”—which works well for the stage but not so much for an already awkward blind date. Gross, Zach.
Will Chase Chooses Connie Britton Over SJB
Tony nominee Will Chase walked on his sunny little family with Broadway.com Audience Choice Award winner Stephanie J. Block to pursue a hot and heavy affair with TV star Connie Britton. Chase has signed on to join the ABC hit Nashville as a sexy country star who becomes Britton’s onscreen love interest. In order to take the gig, he had to withdraw from the off-Broadway premiere of Little Miss Sunshine, starring SJB, Rory O’Malley and more. Don’t worry about Block, though, she’s already recovering in the arms of another Broadway hottie, Will Swenson. This lesson went from Wife Swap to Will Swap.
Third Time’s a Charm for Cabaret
Three-time Oscar nominee Michelle Williams will no doubt garner a slew of accolades (and maybe some awards) for her Broadway debut as nightclub singer Sally Bowles in the 2014 revival of Cabaret. And we are going to kick off the Williams praise right here and now—it’s not every Hollywood actress who doesn’t mind being a production’s third choice. It doesn’t matter who co-directors Sam Mendes and Rob Marshall wanted to headline Cabaret first, it only matters who opens the show and wins the Tony. Just be sure to thank Anne and Emma in your speech, Michelle. Blerg!