Museum of Broadway comes to Times Square

By Stephanie Meditz

“Rent” memorabilia included costumes for Angel Dumott Schunard, Roger Davis and Mimi Marquez.

After Broadway’s longest-ever hiatus for the COVID-19 pandemic, the Museum of Broadway permanently opened its curtains on Nov. 15 to remind NYC of the joy of live theater. 

Located in Times Square in the midst of the landmark theaters it features, the Museum of Broadway allows visitors to explore a visual, interactive timeline of Broadway that spans three floors. 

The Museum was founded by Julie Boardman and Diane Nicoletti, and it traces the origins of live theater in NYC, along with iconic productions’ historical contexts and influences on both later shows and society at large. 

The first room is a hall of Playbills that features all currently running Broadway shows, followed by a brief film tracing the history of Broadway. 

It features props from some of the earliest performances in the 18th and 19th centuries, followed by Florenz Ziegfeld Jr.’s infamous “Follies” that solidified the revue as the defining style of the early 20th century. 

Classic Broadway shows with recent revivals such as “Oklahoma!”and “West Side Story” also originated in the 20th century. 

“Oklahoma!”, a collaboration by the iconic duo of Queens composer Richard Rodgers and librettist Oscar Hammerstein II, opened on Broadway in the midst of World War II and became a household name because of the escape from reality it allowed audiences. 

Other landmark Rodgers & Hammerstein musicals include “The Sound of Music,” “Carousel,” “The King and I” and “Show Boat.” Like each show-specific room in the Museum, the “Oklahoma!” exhibit captures the show’s essence and Wild West aesthetic with rows of corn across the floor. 

The “West Side Story” room resembles an Upper West Side store in the ‘50s, complete with a “dance along” screen featuring Jerome Robbins’ choreography to the iconic tracks “America” and “Cool.” 

The room dedicated to Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “The Phantom of the Opera” features a costume worn by Michael Crawford, who originated the titular role. 

Broadway’s longest-running musical, “The Phantom of the Opera opened on Broadway in 1988 and will close on April 16 of this year.

The show boasts a whopping 13,907 Broadway performances, which the Museum commemorates with a crystal to represent each one. 

From a certain angle, the crystals form the shape of the Phantom’s signature mask. 

The Museum designates one crystal for each performance of “The Phantom of the Opera,” and the crystals form the shape of the Phantom’s mask.

Other iconic artifacts include the glittery red dress worn by Ozone Park native Bernadette Peters in the 2017 revival of “Hello, Dolly!” and the matching headpiece worn by Peters, Bette Midler and Donna Murphy. 

Among the artifacts in the museum is the iconic dress and headpiece worn by Ozone Park’s Bernadette Peters in the 2017 revival of “Hello, Dolly!”

In addition to the glitz and glamor of Broadway sets and costumes, the museum does not shy away from the tragedies in Broadway’s history. 

The AIDS epidemic in the ‘80s and early ‘90s had a drastic impact on copious Broadway actors, many of whom died from the disease. 

The museum honors the lives lost with their names on the walls in a room dedicated to Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS (BCEFA), an organization dedicated to providing medical assistance to individuals affected by HIV/AIDS.

Courtesy of BCEFA, it displays the AIDS memorial quilt, a symbol of unity despite differences that bears renowned Broadway productions’ titles or identifying symbols, including “Company” and “Cats.”

The Museum provides ample unique photo ops, including a ‘70s-inspired swing as a nod to “Hair” and an Instagram filter inspired by Disney’s “The Lion King.”

In this same spirit of modernity, current or recently closed productions like “Hamilton” and “Dear Evan Hansen” receive recognition with memorabilia in the Museum. 

The polo shirt and cast worn by Sam Primack during the final performance of “Dear Evan Hansen” keep the show and its message alive, reminding visitors that they are not alone. 

With music by Cyndi Lauper, who grew up in Ozone Park and attended Richmond Hill High School, “Kinky Boots” brought love, acceptance and self-expression to Broadway for six years until its closure in 2019. 

The famous boots from “Kinky Boots.”

However, Lola’s glittery red thigh-high boots live on in the Museum. 

The Museum also displays boots worn by Lin-Manuel Miranda in the titular role of his hip-hop Broadway sensation “Hamilton,” as well as Eliza Schuyler’s trademark blue dress. 

Lin-Manuel Miranda’s “Hamilton” tells the story of America’s founding with a diverse cast to represent America’s population.

Although it opened in 2015, “Hamilton” still makes theater buffs long to be in the room where it happens at the Richard Rodgers Theatre because of its interpretation of America’s past through the lens of the present. 

At the 70th Tony Awards in 2016, the show won 11 out of its 16 nominations. 

Miranda won Best Original Score, and Best Lead Actor in a Musical went to Queens native Leslie Odom Jr. for his portrayal of Aaron Burr. 

In addition to onstage action, the museum dedicates an entire floor to the often overlooked superheroes of Broadway, namely stagehands, producers, general managers, agents, makeup artists, costume designers and many others. 

With its dim lighting and real equipment, this floor simulates the feeling of being backstage at a real show.

Designed by David Rockwell and presented by,  it details the roles of the many people besides actors who bring a show to the stage. 

The Museum also reserves space for rotating special exhibits, which is currently occupied by curator David Leopold’s “The American Theatre as seen by Hirschfeld.”

Broadway veterans such as Anthony Rapp, the original Mark Cohen in “Rent,” and Andrea McArdle, who originated the titular role in “Annie,” have recently visited the Museum. 

Tickets are available from $39 at

The Museum will donate a portion of each ticket sale to Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.

Broadway in the Boros sees massive turnout

Audience enjoyed tunes from ‘Beetlejuice,’ ‘SIX,’ ‘Wicked’

By Jessica Meditz

A sea of people gathered to attend Broadway in the Boros in Astoria.

It was all about “Popular” at last Friday’s Broadway in the Boros performance in Astoria.

Held in the lot of Kaufman Astoria Studios, a massive crowd of Broadway enthusiasts gathered to enjoy the talents of performers who star in the shows “Beetlejuice,” “SIX” and “Wicked.”

Last year, the Mayor’s Office of Media & Entertainment (MOME) presented Off-Broadway in the Boros, a smaller scale performance due to the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic.

This year, Broadway in the Boros returned at full force.

“I’m thrilled to be able to welcome Broadway in the Boros back to Queens,” said Phil Ballman, Director of Cultural Affairs and Tourism for Queens Borough President Donovan Richards.

“It’s the artists, performers and all the hardworking people behind the scenes for shows like this that make New York the cultural capital of the world,” he continued. “Arts and culture isn’t just for our soul, our spirit and for building community, it’s also such an important source of jobs and brings so many visitors into the city.”

Before the musical performances began, Julie James, the show’s emcee, introduced Hal Rosenbluth and Tracy Capune of Kaufman Astoria Studios to the crowd.

The duo engaged the audience with the history of Kaufman and the arts and film scene in Astoria, as well as with trivia questions that a few lucky audience members answered to win tickets to a Broadway show.

The show started off with a performance from Nevada Riley, who plays Lydia in “Beetlejuice.”

Performing “Dead Mom,” an upbeat musical number despite what the morbid song title suggests, got the crowd dancing quickly.

She was then joined by Elliott Mattox to sing the duet, “Say My Name,” a silly routine where Beetlejuice attempts to get Lydia to say his name three times.

The crowd was particularly riled up for the cast of “SIX,” a new show centered on the heartbreak of the six wives of Henry VIII.

An all-girl group music and dance performance, “SIX,” featuring Bre Jackson, Andrea Macasaet, Keri René Fuller, Brittney Mack, Samantha Pauly and Brennyn Lark earned them a loud round of applause and a standing ovation.

The cast of “SIX” dazzled the audience.

The cast of “Wicked” closed out the performance, which was arguably the most anticipated performance of the day – given its long-running status on Broadway and the soon-to-be motion picture.

Alyssa Fox (Elphaba) and Allie Trimm (Glinda) performed the iconic duet, “For Good.”

The audience was so focused and in a trance that you could almost hear a pin drop.

Fox and Trimm shared an embrace after their performance of “For Good.”

Although all the performers donned their respective show’s shirt and weren’t in full costume you could still feel the magic of the stage in that moment.

“After two long years, I am thrilled to see our city continue its reopening with the return of Broadway in the Boros,” said Mayor Eric Adams.

“This remarkable series works to ensure that everyone in our city, regardless of their zip code, gets the chance to experience the magic of Broadway right in their backyards. Broadway is a lifeblood of our city, and this series is an incredible way for all New Yorkers to come out and relish in the magic that makes New York City’s heartbeat.”

Two additional performances for Broadway in the Boros remain, including one at 1 Fordham Plaza in the Bronx on Oct. 7, and another at Minthorne Street between Victory Boulevard and Bay Street in Staten Island on Oct. 14.

All performances take place from 1 to 2 p.m. and are completely free and open to the public.

‘The Play That Goes Wrong’: Slapstick comedy to die for

By Stephanie Meditz 

Photo courtesy of “The Play That Goes Wrong” via Facebook.

Everyone knows the saying, “The show must go on.” 

The players in “The Play That Goes Wrong,” who power through their scenes despite a hazardous set, missing props and unconscious actresses, embody it in a way that makes audiences howl with laughter. 

Written by Jonathan Sayer, Henry Lewis and Henry Shields, the 2012 play follows the Cornley University Drama Society’s opening night of “The Murder at Haversham Manor.” 

The set, however, is incomplete and falling apart in every imaginable way. 

The play begins with a pre-show of sorts in which stage manager Annie and lighting and sound operator Trevor tinker with the set, replace floorboards, put a stubborn mantelpiece on the wall and force a perpetually open door to close. 

They even solicit an audience member onstage to hold the mantelpiece in place and the door shut while the two promptly run offstage. 

Director and serious thespian, Chris Bean (played by Chris Lanceley), then assures the audience that his directorial debut will be a treat compared to the drama society’s former productions, such as the one-man show, “Cat.” 

The play within the play, “The Murder at Haversham Manor,” begins with Charles Haversham (Chris French) lying dead on the night of his engagement party to Florence Colleymoore (Maggie Weston).

Also present are Florence’s brother and Charles’ old friend, Thomas Colleymoore (Brent Bateman), his butler, Perkins (Adam Petherbridge) and his brother, Cecil Haversham (Alex Mandell). 

Knowing that someone in the group must have committed the murder, they solicit the help of Inspector Carter to find out whodunit. 

At the start of “The Murder at Haversham Manor,” the audience sees that Annie and Trevor have won their battle with the door: it will not budge when the players try to open it. 

Not only that, Charles Haversham is extremely mobile and sentient for a corpse – he visibly inhales after Thomas declares that he is not breathing and squirms when other players step on his hand. 

When Thomas and Perkins try to carry Charles’ body offstage on a stretcher, it rips, so the two pretend to carry it while the corpse slug crawls offstage. 

The defective set and players slipping out of character are laughable evidence of a production going south, but “The Play That Goes Wrong” especially succeeds in its hilariously convincing slapstick. 

During Florence’s interrogation by Inspector Carter, Thomas throws open the now functional door, knocks Florence unconscious and schleps her body offstage. 

Arguably the funniest recurrence throughout the show, however, is the bottle of paint thinner in place of scotch. 

Since the show must go on, the players are trapped in a vicious cycle — they drink the paint thinner, spit it out and comment on the high quality of the “scotch” while visibly recovering from the blow to their mouths. 

The spit take has long been used in comedies, but it especially works in “The Play That Goes Wrong” because the players still deliver their lines after each one to pretend nothing went wrong. 

The play’s other mishaps have a similar effect — they are funnier because “The Murder at Haversham Manor” is not intended to be a comedy, so audience members must suspend their disbelief and watch it as such. 

The audience laughs when Dennis, who plays Perkins, mispronounces “cyanide” as “ky-uh-needy” precisely because he is mortified. 

After intermission, a flustered Chris Bean begs the audience to stop laughing and take his play as seriously as they would “Hamilton.”

The audience laughs on, both because of the appropriate pop culture reference and because he is still somehow taking the play seriously after its disastrous first act. 

Overall, “The Play That Goes Wrong” is as funny as it is because people like to see just how far these players will go to ensure that the show goes on. 

Or, simply put, seeing people get hurt in elaborate and unlikely ways is plain hilarious. 

The actors in “The Play That Goes Wrong” are exceptionally talented, not only because they perform this riot of a show without laughing, but because they must be locked into two separate characters. 

The actors transform into their respective members of the Cornley University Drama Society, and then they must play that actor’s role in “The Murder at Haversham Manor” in a logical way based on their traits. 

The current off-Broadway cast does a stunning job of remaining locked into their roles – the only breaks in character are written in the script. 

Alex Mandell, whose character, Max, plays Cecil Haversham and Arthur the gardener, gives an especially vibrant and interactive portrayal of a lovable fool who is just happy to be in front of an audience. 

The set is also successful in its astonishing failure — the furniture falls apart at just the right time to leave the audience laughing out of incredulity. 

This is an impressive feat by the real-life stage crew because the deliberately malfunctioning set drives the comedic timing that dictates the play’s effectiveness.

Because the successive mishaps are meticulously choreographed, “The Play That Goes Wrong” is a difficult show to put on, and the current off-Broadway run at New World Stages is an immense theatrical achievement. 

To find out who killed Charles Haversham or, more likely, to see what else can possibly go wrong, buy tickets for “The Play That Goes Wrong” here or through Telecharge. 

Before the performance, make sure to grab one of the show’s signature cocktails — just make sure it isn’t actually paint thinner.

Ridgewood student hits milestone while achieving dreams

Despite these uncertain times Kylie Gordon, 11, has clung to her passion for the performing arts. Considered a “triple threat”—skilled at singing, acting, and dancing—Gordon took things to the next level by auditioning for Broadway shows, eventually landing her first role in “The Lion King.”

Unfortunately, the very same week she was cast, the COVID-19 pandemic hit, causing Broadway to temporarily shut down. Because of that, she missed out on her big break.

“Unfortunately, now she is over five feet tall, which is too tall for children on Broadway,” Kylie’s Mom, Kimberly, explained. “We’re hoping she’ll have additional Broadway [opportunities], but now a lot is more commercial modeling and acting.”

Kylie Gordon, 11, aspires to perform on Broadway

Since the second grade, Gordon has been home-schooled through Time4Learning, which allowed her to get her education and pursue her passions of singing, acting, and dancing, all while continuing to enjoy being a kid.

Last month, the Gordon’s celebrated Kylie’s fifth-grade graduation and her transition into middle school.

“I get to spend a lot more time with my family than when I actually went to school, so it’s fun. I get to mess around with my sibling, and it’s great,” Kylie said.

Kylie’s mom, who plays an additional role as her teacher, said that the home schooling experience was quite challenging at first, but eventually, it got easier and helped the mother-daughter duo strengthen their bond.

“One thing I remember from kindergarten was math, which was really stressful. She didn’t get it; I didn’t get it. But with home school, I have to dive in and kind of understand it,” Kimberly said.

“Once I did, our relationship with schooling and understanding each other in terms of learning style improved greatly,” she continued. “It took some time, but I think we’ve gotten into a great groove and I understand when she needs a break, especially when she has a job or something of that nature.”

Since she was two years old, Gordon has loved singing and dancing.

Vocally, she trains with Craig Derry, a coach and producer who has worked with prominent artists including Foushee, Katy Perry, Alicia Keys, Missy Elliott, SWV, Al B. Sure, Tamar Braxton, Mary J. Blige, Mario, and more.

Gordon takes dance lessons at Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, where she says she’s made a lot of friends and developed a great passion for ballet dance.

“I love ballet dance because I get to show my technique, which I love. It’s so fun to do,” Gordon said.

“I like performing because I know that I can make people smile,” she added. “I love choreography too, because I can show off my moves and my pizzazz.”

Although sad she was unable to perform on Broadway, Gordon did not let that stop her tenacity and urge to create art.

Gordon, who sings under the stage name KylieBear, recently released a new single, “This Girl,” which she wrote with her mom.

“‘This Girl’ is about a girl who’s telling people not to just pay attention to her looks, but also to her feelings,” she said. “We had so much fun doing it. First, we just had a little melody, and then we started writing the lyrics, adding the details, and then I started singing it.”

“I like to show my feelings in my songs in ways I can’t actually speak them sometimes.,” she continued. “I like people to listen to them when I don’t think they can actually hear me.”

Gordon’s discography also includes original songs such as “Hey Mr. DJ,” “You Are My Friend,” and “Lights Camera Action.”

She said that her biggest musical influences are Beyoncé, Billie Eilish, and the Broadway cast of Hamilton.

Kylie and her mom are extremely thankful for Time4Learning and the way they were supported throughout her rigorous schedule as a performer.

In fact, Gordon was able to interact with other students her age who were also graduating via the virtual graduation ceremony, hosted on YouTube Live.

As she moves on academically, Kylie also looks forward to advancing her performance career — and even has some big goals for herself.

“I want to perform all over the place, and hopefully have my own tour,” she said. “I want to have a bunch of people in the audience singing my name. I want to showcase myself.”

Off-Broadway in the Boros holds first festival-style series

Oh, what a night!
To celebrate Broadway’s official reopening since the pandemic, the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment presented the Off-Broadway in the Boros event for the first time as a five-day festival.
This year, the stage traveled to audiences across all five boroughs to connect them to theater and live performances just off the Great White Way.
“A couple of years ago, we put together a small study that showed theaters smaller than Broadway generate $1.3 billion in economic activity for the city,” said Anne del Castillo, commissioner of the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment.
“We thought bringing these performances to the boroughs would be a great way to connect people to the resources in their communities,” she added. “It’s really important to remind people of what’s so inherently unique about New York and how we have talent in every nook and cranny.”
Various acts performed throughout the five days, including the Gazillion Bubble Show, Hell’s Kitchen Happiness Krewe, Bindlestiff Family Cirkus and the cast of “TORCHED!” from Pregones/Puerto Rican Traveling Theater.
Deni Yang of the Gazillion Bubble Show kicked off the Jackson Heights event in a way that was whimsical enough to make a person of any age feel like a kid again.
The Gazillion Bubble Show was started in New York in 2007 by the Yang family. Ever since, they’ve found ways to make it better.
“At first, my parents and I were traveling around in a circus act, which then developed into bubbles because we got more into the science side of things,” said Yang.
The Gazillion Bubble Show holds two Guinness world records, one for the world’s largest bubble and another for the most people put inside a bubble, which is 181.
Yang said that he was delighted to perform at the Off-Broadway in the Boros fest and see so many families and children having fun.
Folks who attended the festival had the opportunity to enjoy a preview of the musical “TORCHED!” performed by Pregones/Puerto Rican Traveling Theater.
Writer and director Rosalba Rolón said the musical is still in development and will make its debut on December 2.
“TORCHED!” is a story about what Bronx residents went through during the infamous fires in the ‘70s, and much of the soundtrack is influenced by Latin music.
“I think the idea of Off-Broadway in the Boros is that we need to honor multilingualism, not only bilingualism,” said Rolón. “Artists have a way of communicating so that if someone doesn’t understand a word in a specific language, there is the imagery and the music so they do.”
Guests then got to sing along and tap their feet to tunes of Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons and Frank Sinatra sung by Hell’s Kitchen Happiness Krewe, and were kept on the edge of their seats by the sword swallowers and contortionists of Bindlestiff Family Cirkus.
Castillo said that one of the best parts of her job is being able to see all of the different parts of the city, but it has also been a privilege to bring the performances of Off-Broadway in the Boros to places hardest hit by COVID-19.
“Arts and culture are what make the heart of New York City beat,” she said. “It’s a global parameter and what makes it the greatest city in the world.”
Regarding last week’s sudden closure of Broadway’s “Aladdin,” Castillo said that it was caused by the few cast members who were affected by the virus, combined with a lack of understudies to perform those roles at the time.
“Being in the creative community means that you come up with creative solutions every time,” she said. “From what I’ve seen across all of the creative community, they’ve been really diligent about the protocols and being safe.”

Fill the Form for Events, Advertisement or Business Listing