10 Rock Stars Who Wrote Broadway Musicals

by Noiz 11. July 2014 21:38

10 Rock Stars Who Wrote Broadway Musicals

Kinky Boots, the musical that came out of nowhere, is now on the verge of playing everywhere.  Well, it’s on the verge of playing in a lot of U.S. cities.  The musical’s first national tour begins Sept. 4.

The Kinky Boots tour opens in Las Vegas at the Smith Center.  The Tony Award winner will be in Sin City through Sept. 14.  After that, the tour visit Tempe, San Diego, Portland, and Seattle.

Los Angeles welcomes Kinky Boots to the Pantages Theatre from Nov. 11 to Nov. 30.  For those that really like to plan ahead, Kinky Boots will be in Boston from Aug. 11 to Aug. 23 in 2015.  It’s a little too early to book a babysitter but soon enough to mark it on your calendar.

Kinkys Boots is based on the 2005 film of the same name which was inspired by a true story.  Kinky Boots tells the tale of a young, prudish, shoe factory owner who begins making footwear for drag queens. 

The music and lyrics were written by Cyndi Lauper—yes, the same artist who sang “Time After Time.”  For her efforts, Lauper won a Tony Award for Best Score.  She is the first woman in the history of the universe to win that award by herself.

Lauper isn’t, however, the first rock/pop artist to compose for the theatre.  Below, Clickitticket looks at several rock and pop stars that have applied their talents to creating a Broadway musical.  Our list runs the gamut from the very successful to the completely unforgettable.  By the way, we did not include jukebox musicals—that means no Mamma Mia!, Jersey Boys, or Rock of Ages.

Elton John
Elton John is the poster boy for rock and rollers turned Broadway composers.  He’s the musical genius behind The Lion King, Aida, and Billy Elliot. Oddly enough, Aida is the only one of those musicals that didn’t win the Tony Award for Best Musical but the only one that earned John a Best Original Score trophy.  E.J. has another Broadway credit to his name, Lestat.  He composed the music to the vampire chronicle while longtime partner Bernie Taupin wrote the lyrics.  The show ran for just 33 previews and 39 performances.

Bono and The Edge
U2’s Bono and The Edge wrote the music and lyrics to Spider-Man: Turn off the Dark, the most expensive Broadway production in the annals of humanity.  The show grabbed more headlines for injuring stuntmen then it did for Bono and The Edge’s score.  Critically, this show received an overwhelming “eh” but its mediocrity managed to create box office gold.  It once set a Great White Way record for most tickets sales in a week.  The show opened in November of 2010 and closed on Jan. 4, 2014.  As for Bono and The Edge’s contribution, the general consensus is their music was a little on the boring side.

Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus
Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus are former members of the pop juggernaut ABBA.  In the mid-1980s, after ABBA had run its course, Andersson and Ulvaeus wrote one of the best musicals of the decade, Chess.  The musical began as a concept album and then transferred to the West End where it ran for a respectful three years.  For some reason, the show was greatly altered for Broadway where it barely lasted two months.  Despite, its paltry showing in Manhattan, productions have sprung up all over the world.  Chess is renowned for giving us the classic “One Night in Bangkok.”  While that song is awesome, we’re much more partial to “Nobody’s Side” from Act I.

Paul Simon
Paul Simon wrote the music and co-wrote the lyrics and book with Derek Walcott to 1998 musical The Capeman.  The show was about Salvador Agron, a Puerto Rican gang member who, in 1959, murdered two teenagers in a park.  The show was panned by NYC critics and ran for just under 70 performances.  Simon’s music was generally viewed as the production’s lone bright spot.  Don’t write this musical off as a bomb.  While it has issues, its biggest problem is New York critics and theatre-goers.  Non-whites and out-of-towners generally like the show.  Music from The Capemen was revisited in 2008 when Simon and the Spanish Harlem Orchestra performed it at the Brooklyn Academy of Music.  On a couple of occasions, Rhymin’ Simon performed the show’s music at the Beacon Theatre.  In 2010, a concert version was produced at the Delacorte Theatre in Central Park.

If I told you a big-time rock star has written the lyrics and music to a Broadway musical called The Last Ship you’d immediately say that the talent behind the work is Sting.  And you’d be right.  I mean a musical called “The Last Ship” sounds like something Sting would compose.  The Last Ship is about that tried and true Broadway meme of shipbuilding in Northeast England.  Well, if anyone can pull it off it’s Sting.  In all seriousness, the show is directed by Joseph Mantello, the same guy who directed Wicked.  So you know The Last Ship will be good.  The show premiered in Chicago on Valentine’s Day.  It will move to the Neil Simon Theatre on Broadway for previews in late September.  Opening night is set for Oct. 26. 

Trey Anastasio
Maybe Hands on a Hardbody bombed because fans weren’t encouraged to tape shows and pass them around and there was no 20-minute jam kicking off Act II.  Is this entire entry going to be Phish jokes?  You betcha!  Trey Anastasio of Phish co-wrote the music to Hands on a Hardbody with Amanda Green.  She also wrote the lyrics.  Hands on a Hardbody ran for 56 shows and half of those were previews.  Despite the lack of Broadway ticket sales, the show received decent reviews and earned a Tony Award nomination for Best Original Score for Anastasio and Green?  So why did the show tank?  Were Phish fans turned away from the Brooks Atkinson Theater because of their stench?  Don’t be silly—Phish fans can’t afford to go to a Broadway show.  No, the show was dwarfed by the likes of Kinky Boots, Matilda, and Pippin.  Also, the name doesn’t really do the musical justice.  Hands on a Hardbody is about ten people trying to win a Nissan “hardbody” pickup by being the last one to have his or her hand on the vehicle. 

Boy George
Culture Club frontman Boy George entered the world of musical theatre in 2002 thanks to his smash hit Taboo.  George wrote the lyrics and co-wrote the music with John Themis, Richie Stevens and Kevan Frost.  Although it’s highly fictionalized, the musical is about a fashionable nightclub in London and its fascinating patrons.  Boy George is an actual character in the show.  Interestingly, in the original Broadway and London productions, the real Boy George played nightclub promoter and performance artist Leigh Bowery.

Duncan Sheik
If you blinked in the late 1990s, you may have missed Duncan Sheik.  The New Jerseyan scored a Top 20 hit in 1997 with the ultra-catchy “Barely Breathing.  As of 2014, the dude has released seven albums with his self-titled debut being the highest charting one of the bunch—it reached #83.  His real claim to fame is writing the music for Spring Awakening.  Steven Sater wrote the lyrics and book.  Spring Awakening was an unmitigated success.  It was nominated for 11 Tony Awards and won eight of them.  That includes Best Musical and Best Original Score for Sheik and Sater.  What’s really impressive is Sheik won a Tony statue for Best Orchestrations.  Composing orchestrations is something most rock stars can’t do.  More importantly, Spring Awakening launched the careers of Lea Michele, John Gallagher Jr., Skylar Astin, and Jonathan Groff.

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Trace Adkins Touring Despite Personal Struggles And Strife

by Noiz 10. July 2014 19:21

Trace Adkins Touring Despite Personal Struggles And Strife

In a recent Clickitticket article, I waxed poetically about how performers feel more at home on the stage than anywhere else.  I wrote that in reference to Marc Anthony and his many girl troubles but the sentiment also applies to country music superstar Trace Adkins.

"It's good to be back on the road. That's what we do. That's my life. I'd die if I'm not on the road." – Trace Adkins

Trace Adkins and his band, the Sarepta Gentleman’s Club, returned to the road in early June.  Adkins and company will live out of suitcases until Oct. 3.  On that autumn night, Adkins will be in Carmel, Indiana for a gig at The Palladium.

Highlights of Adkins’ route include the Country Life Music Festival in Peoria, Illinois (July 20); the Last Chance Stampede and Fair in Helena, Montana (July 23); and the South Shore Music Circus in Cohasset, Massachusetts (Aug. 2).

Fans will also want to catch Trace Adkins in Kansas City when he plays the Ameristar Casino and Hotel on Sept. 5.

After that, Trace Adkins will perform on two Carnival Cruise Lines.  One departs Oct. 13 and the other sets sail on Nov. 4. 

Sandwiched in between the boat rides is an Oct. 25 gig at the N.C. State Fair in Raleigh.

Then on Nov. 15, Adkins hits the road again for another round of his highly successful Christmas Show.  He began his yuletide trek last year in support of his first Christmas album, The King’s Gift.

In 2014, Adkins opens his holiday sleigh ride in Worcester, Massachusetts at the Hanover Theatre.  He’ll spread Christmas spirit in New Brunswick, Englewood, and Providence.  On Nov. 22, Trace Adkins rolls into in Baltimore for a concert at the Modell Performing Arts Center. 

Charm City is the penultimate stop on his itinerary.  The singer will say his final “ho ho hos” on Dec. 6 in Salina, Kansas.

Adkins will finish 2014 doing what he loves best and that’s performing.  Getting the chance to play for his fans will certainly be the best present under his proverbial Christmas tree especially when he considers how bad his year began.

Back in January, Adkins was booked on another Country Cruise.  On the same ship was a Trace Adkins impersonator.  I didn’t even know there was such a thing.

At first, the real Adkins took the faux Adkins in stride but the former snapped when he started signing autographs.  According to Stephen Barker from Love and Theft, their confrontation involved nary a punch.

“You know, there’s only so much you can take when someone’s trying to be you. [Eventually] you’re like, ‘Ok bro’, I’ve been doing this for 20 years, you’ve been following me around … and now you’re going to come on this small cruise ship …’” – Stephen Barker

Adkins was the cruise’s headliner but left when the ship reached Jamaica.  Adkins’ departure was not necessarily because of the skirmish with his cheap clone.  He disembarked because he had a drink.  The country music star fell off the wagon. 

Adkins left the cruise ship and immediately checked himself into a treatment facility.  The last time he entered rehab for his alcoholism was December of 2002.  Too bad he hit the booze again but kudos for a quick return to rehab. 

That right there is enough to ruin one’s year but the fates had more in store for the Louisianan.  While in rehab, Adkins’ father died.

Aaron Doyle Adkins left this world on Feb. 1.  Trace was still in rehab but was allowed to leave when his father’s condition worsened.  The elder Adkins was 71.

The following month, Trace’s wife of 16 years, Rhonda Forlaw Adkins, filed for divorce.  Reason for the divorce is good ol’ "irreconcilable differences.”  The couple has three children.

So in less than three months, Adkins entered rehab, lost his father, and saw his marriage dissolve.  No wonder he said during a June 13 concert in upstate New York: “It’s good to be back in Niagara Falls.  It’s good to be back anywhere.”

Trace Adkins is nothing if not a survivor.  You’re not going to keep him down.  Remember, he cut off a pinky while opening a bucket with a knife, nearly lost his nose in a terrible car accident, and was shot by his ex-wife (not Rhonda).

On March 11, 15 days before Rhonda filed for divorce, Adkins sang with the band Exile at the Grand Ole Opry.  It was his first live performance after leaving rehab.   

On May 29, the comedy Mom’s Night Out starring Patricia Heaton, Sean Astin, and Trace Adkins (it pretty much had to star Adkins or why would I have mentioned it) hit theaters.  The film was panned but it grossed twice as much as it cost to make it.

Adkins’ tour kicked off on June 5.  

On June 21, Adkins was inducted into the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame.  Adkins was born in Sarepta, Louisiana and is never shy about showing his affinity to the Bayou State.  The event was attended by Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal.

On July 5, Adkins performed at Muddy Bottoms.  Even if this performance was inconsequential I still would have mentioned it.  How can you not mention a place named “Muddy Bottoms?”

Well, Muddy Bottoms is an ATV and recreation park located in Adkins hometown of Sarepta, Louisiana.  Adkins’ concert was part of “Muddin’ for the Military” an event held to benefit Lone Star Warrior Outdoor—they provide hunting and fishing trips to wounded Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans.

Of all the artists performing this summer—Jay-Z, Aerosmith, Tom Petty, Zac Brown Band—no one is happier to be on stage than Trace Adkins.

Adkins doesn’t mention his personal struggles and strife on stage but the fans know what he’s going through.  They have been showering him with support.  In return, Adkins has been giving them his usual awesome live show.  He works everyone in the crowd from kids to grandmothers.  At times he’s flirty and at times he’s earnest but he’s always blowing the roof off the concert venue. 

In addition to all the hits, expect to hear three news songs at an upcoming Trace Adkins concert: “It All Adds Up to Us,” “Maintenance Man,” and “Take It From Me.”

“It All Adds Up to Us” is about the tiny things in a romantic relationship. 

“Maintenance Man” is about keeping a woman happy.  So it’s definitely a fantasy song—am I right fellows! (thank you, I’m here all week). 

In “Take It From Me,” Adkins wields wisdom on what to do when you’re relationship is falling apart. 

During his first tour stop in Sayreville, New Jersey, Adkins teased fans by announcing that a new album is on the way.  Unfortunately, he gave no more details than that.

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Yes Jason Mraz Is Touring To Support Yes

by Noiz 9. July 2014 21:06

Yes Jason Mraz Is Touring To Support Yes

There’s a famous story about John Lennon attending an art show.  At this art show was a ladder leading to a small hole in the ceiling (it was obviously an art installation).  The viewer was supposed to climb the ladder and look through the opening.  Leery about what he’d find, Lennon reluctantly traversed the rungs and peered through the tiny opening.  What he found was the word “yes.”

Lennon later said that had he not found such a positive message he would have left, but the “yes” in the art installation inspired him to stay.  The artist behind the “yes” was Yoko Ono.  Now that’s a meet-cute.  Yes, it was also the first domino that eventually toppled the greatest rock band of all-time, but still a great story and an illustration of the power of “yes.”

I don’t know if Jason Mraz was aware of that story when he named his new album, YES! (actually, he named the album “yes” because his record company gave it the green light less than a day after he pitched the idea).  The opus is Mraz’s fifth overall and his first since 2012’s Love Is a Four Letter Word.  Mraz made his new album with the all-women, pop-rock quartet Raining Jane.

Leading up to the album’s debut, Mraz released a new track every Monday.  The promotion was called, aptly enough, “Mraz Monday.”  In conjunction with “Mraz Monday,” the singer-songwriter posted video clips of him performing at his avocado ranch.

The 14-track Yes! is supposedly the most intimate Mraz album to date and very acoustic.  The work’s first single, “Love Someone” dropped May 19.  The singer has already heard tales of it being used as the soundtrack for marriage proposals.

“Anytime someone uses one of my songs for anything — a ceremony or a sacred moment — that to me is a high honor.” — Jason Mraz

Mraz will support his fresh oeuvre with a world tour.  He kicks things off on Aug. 21 on what is the first of two nights at the Civic Theatre in San Diego (his hometown).

After that, his itinerary takes him to San Francisco for shows on Aug. 25 and Aug. 26.  Then on Aug. 28 and Aug. 29, Jason Mraz will be in Los Angeles for recitals at the Pantages Theatre.

Mraz finishes off August with a gig at the Comerica Theatre in Phoenix, Arizona. 

From there, Mraz does the Texas two-step, or in his case, the Texas five-step.  He has five shows scheduled in four Lone Star cities. 

On Sept. 2 and Sept. 3, Jason Mraz visits Dallas and the AT&T Performing Arts Center.  After a day off, Mraz returns with a concert at the Cullen Performance Hall in Houston.  Come Sept. 6, he’ll be in San Antonio for a night of incredible music at the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts.  The last date of his U.S. leg is Sept. 7.  On that day he’s scheduled to rock the Bass Concert Hall in Austin.

Mraz then travels to Europe for a handful of shows.  His Old World trek begins Sept.24 in London and concludes Oct. 3 in Hamburg, Germany.

All of the previously mentioned tour stops are part of Jason Mraz’s “Summer of Yes Tour.”  Raining Jane will open at all destinations.  Lastly, each concert will be of the acoustic variety.

Mraz has two more performances on his calendar and you can see them both—assuming you’ve paid your cable or satellite bill.  On July 17, Mraz will play his music on “The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon.”  The following morning he’ll jam at Rockefeller Center as part of TODAY’s “Toyota Concert Series.” 

Mraz has been called a “global citizen” and his music, certainly his process, reflects that honorific title.

“Right at the end [of the recording process] I ask, ‘Can any human get on board with this? Can anyone, from any nation, any demographic, can they as a human being feel the humanity in this song?’ I try not to make it about me specifically and keep in mind that it really is about what we as humans are feeling and going through.” – Jason Mraz

When I read or hear terms like “global citizen” I roll my eyes.  While I know what it means, I don’t know what it means.

On top of that, Mraz has a lot of qualities and does a lot of things that can be construed as quite annoying: eats mostly vegan foods, is invested in a vegan restaurant, owns an avocado farm, and considers yoga one of hobbies.

We all know this person.  They can’t go with you to the latest James Bond movie because they have a hot yoga class to attend.  You invite them over for dinner and you have to go out of your way to feed them because your hamburgers are murder and your beer isn’t free trade. 

Everyone has the right to be a vegan but nine out of ten people who choose that kind of diet do so because it fits an idea of who they want to be, or who they want you to think they are.

Jason Mraz is the one out of ten who eats vegan because he’s truly a vegan at heart.

I’m the last person in the world to eat vegan or own a farm.  That’s not because I disagree with veganism (which I do) or because I dislike farming (which I do [who wants to work that hard?]).  It’s just that neither of those things are me.

They are Jason Mraz though.  He’s sincere.  He’s genuine.  I respect that.  I admire that.  I’m drawn to people who are real even if that “real” is anathema to my beliefs.

In a recent interview Mraz talked about how Yes! has a cycle.  It starts with the track “Rise” and ends with the song “Shine.”

“I didn't want it to be sunrise to sundown, either—I wanted it to feel like sunrise to high noon. You know, you wake up... as you know, on a lot of my albums, I have songs that say, "Hey, wake up! This is it! This is our only shot! This is life!"… It ends with "Shine" as a reminder that we can shine a light on others; we can shine a light on ourselves; we can borrow light from others, too—don't be afraid to ask; we're all in this together—and when we all put our lights out there we can light this place up.” – Jason Mraz.

The interviewer then brought in the concept of farming by mentioning that early morning to high noon is a great time to get out there and tend to avocados (which, by the way, are the hamburgers of the vegetable world).  Mraz responded with “Yeah, I guess you're right.”

If Mraz wanted to rub it in our faces that he’s a greenie greenster who owns some cool hipster hippie farm he would have done it right then and there, but he didn’t.  He didn’t because he doesn’t care if you know he owns a farm. 

In an industry full of phonies, Mraz is a genuine talent and a sincere philanthropist.  It’s appropriate that his latest album is called Yes!  Because Jason Mraz is one big yes!

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Marc Anthony And His Many Girl Problems

by Noiz 8. July 2014 18:18

Marc Anthony And His Many Girl Problems

Jay-Z once said: “If you're having girl problems I feel bad for you son/I got 99 problems but a bitch ain't one.” 

Hova wrote that line a long time ago, and who knows the identity of the “son,” but if he was to re-write those lyrics in 2014 he might address them to Latin crooner Marc Anthony (although he’d lose the tight rhyme).

With another world tour on the horizon, Anthony has been neck deep in “girl problems.”  His issues stem from relationships with a beauty queen, a former American Idol judge, and a gas station hottie.

Dayanara Torres
A judge has recently ordered Anthony to pay $26,800 in child support to his ex-wife, Dayanara Torres.  Anthony and Torres were hitched from 2000 to 2004.  Together they have two sons.

The amount of $26,800 sounds like a lot (and it is), but it could have been a lot worse for our hero.  Torres originally asked for $123,426 (one has to wonder why she just didn’t request $123,456). 

You’re probably asking why Anthony and Torres are doing this now after being divorced for a decade.  The former Miss Universe is asking for more child support because her lifestyle has changed.  Her reason begs the question: “What in the hell is going on in her life?”

Prior to the judge’s ruling, Anthony was paying $13,400 a month.  The judge saw fit to double that amount.  The judges’ ruling was actually kind to Anthony as he offered to pay $28,000.  He also proposed a $30,000 travel budget.  The judge shrunk that to $12,000 (where are these kids traveling to, the moon?).

Anthony’s child support payment appears to be outrageous—it works out to more than $320,000 a year.  Barring medical concerns, what two kids need $26,800 a month to survive?  There are mothers who raise two, three, four, or more kids on $26,800 (or less) in a year! 

It’s not the amount, however.  It’s the relative amount.  Anthony has sold more than 12 million albums and launched one successful Marc Anthony tour after another.  He can’t roll up to his kids’ home in a limousine while their mother is slummin’ it in some family-size hatchback.

Torres has also said that part of the increase will go to pay for a housekeeper and a nanny.  I get the housekeeper part (no one likes to clean the domicile) but a nanny?  If I’m giving my baby-momma more than a quarter of a million dollars a year she better be raising my kids and not letting someone else do it.

J. Lo
A week after his divorce with Torres was finalized, Anthony married Jennifer Lopez.  They separated in 2011.  Their divorced was finally finalized in June of 2014.

The couple came to terms in March but it took three months for the papers to go through the courts.

Anthony and Lopez begat two children during their seven-year marriage.  Lopez was awarded custody of the twins with Anthony getting them for one week a month. 

Anthony’s child support payment to J. Lo is $26,800 less than his child support payment to Torres.  Not trying to excuse Anthony’s fiduciary responsibilities when it comes to HIS children but as successful as he is, Lopez is by far the bigger star.

Chloe Green
Knowing Anthony—the most successful tropical salsa singer of all-time—he should be marrying someone right… about… now (I’m looking at my wrist watch, pretending to count down the seconds).  Well, you can hold off on buying him and his new bride a crystal gravy boat.  Anthony broke up with his last serious girlfriend, Chloe Green.  He and Green dated for about a year before calling it quits earlier this year.

Green is British and heiress to the Topshop fortune (Topshop is a British-based clothing retailer).  She’s also 22.  Anthony is 45 (remember it’s half plus seven).  They split due to their busy schedules.

Meanwhile, Lopez dated one of her backup dancers, 27-year old Caspar Smart, for more than two years.  They split in the spring.  That means Anthony and Lopez’s divorced took so long to finalize that both were able to notch long term relationships in the interim. 

“Too Short”
There’s a report that Anthony has gotten back together with ex-girlfriend Shannon De Lima.  Even if that’s true, their rekindling doesn’t appear to be serious.  In June, Anthony picked up a British brunette at a Long Island gas station.

Three days after meeting, the two went on a date.  According to sources, it went well but they won’t be going out on a second.  Apparently, the British beauty is a tall drink of water and she wants to date a man of considerable height.  Anthony is five-foot eight.

Hitting The Road
With all this turmoil you might worry that it will adversely affect Anthony’s upcoming tour.  I wouldn’t fret.  Anthony is a pro.  He won’t let his personal life get in the way of a performance. 

Furthermore, performers are often more at home on stage than they are anywhere else.  In front of thousands of fans, and with a microphone in hand, Anthony can escape all his strife and turmoil (as well as that $26,800 child support payment). 

For singers like Anthony, performing isn’t a burden but an escape.  He’s probably looking forward to hitting the road. 

Cambio De Piel U.S. Tour 2014
The U.S. leg of Anthony’s “Cambio De Piel U.S. Tour 2014” kicks off Aug. 29 in Chula Vista, California.  It concludes Oct. 11 in Boston.

Anthony has three concerts planned for Los Angeles, all at the Nokia Theatre.  Anthony performs in La La Land on Sept. 5, Sept. 11, and Sept. 12.

The State of Texas will get a heaping helping of Anthony too.  He’ll be in El Paso on Sept. 25, Houston on sept. 27, and San Antonio on Sept. 28.

Also look for Anthony in Las Vegas, Chicago, and Orlando.

In early October, Miami will host two Marc Anthony concerts.  He’ll be at the AmericanAirlines Arena on Oct. 3 and Oct. 4.  Remember, the Latin superstar owns a bit of the Miami Dolphins

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