Broadway News Wrap Up:
Hair Composer Galt MacDermot Dies at 89
Galt MacDermot, the Canadian-American composer of Hair and Two Gentlemen of Verona, died at the age of 89 on December 17, one day before his 90th birthday. Featuring a book and lyrics by James Rado and Gerome Ragni, and score by MacDermot, Hair premiered on Broadway at the Biltmore Theatre April 28, 1968, and ran for 1,750 performances. MacDermot achieved international acclaim with the musical, a cultural phenomenon that spawned multiple hit singles, saw its title song hit No. 1 on the Billboard charts, earned a Grammy Award for its cast album, was adapted into a 1979 Milos Forman film, and found success again in 2009 with a Tony-winning revival. MacDermot’s next Broadway outing was writing the score for Two Gentlemen of Verona, the musical adaptation of the William Shakespeare comedy. The musical took home a Drama Desk award for MacDermot’s score, and the show itself took home the Tony Award for Best Musical, besting the competition that included Grease and Follies. Hair will once again be featured this spring when the musical makes its live television debut with Hair Live! as part of NBC’s annual live musical event. More details here.
Broadway’s To Kill A Mockingbird Breaks Box Office Record
Oscar winner Aaron Sorkin‘s new Broadway adaptation of To Kill A Mockingbird made Broadway history for the week ending December 23, taking in $1,586,946 at the box office, breaking the house record at the Shubert Theatre for the highest weekly gross of any non musical Broadway play in the Shubert Organization’s 118-year history. To Kill A Mockingbird, starring Jeff Daniels as Atticus Finch, opened December 13 to raves from Broadway critics and has amassed over $22 million in advance sales. More details here.
Original On the Town Dancer Sono Osato Passes Away at 99
Iconic Japanese-American dancer and performer Sono Osato died December 27 at age 99. Osato is best known for her role in the original Broadway production of Leonard Bernstein and Jerome Robbins‘ much-loved musical On the Town. In the musical, Osato, starred as Ivy Smith, who wins the monthly Miss Turnstiles competition, and her publicity photo drives one of the three principal male leads, sailors on leave in New York City, to search all over the city for her. On the Town broke ground as one of the first Broadway productions to feature a non-segregated cast, including casting a Japanese American in a principal role. Osato won the first ever Donaldson Award for dancing in the 1943-1944 season in One Touch of Venus. The Donaldson Awards predated the Tony Awards, running from 1944 to 1955. Osato studied at the School of American Ballet, later joining the American Ballet Theatre where she worked with two of the great American musical choreographers of the mid twentieth century, Agnes De Mille and Jerome Robbins. Her best known film role was co-starring with Frank Sinatra in the 1947 film musical The Kissing Bandit. More details here.