As The Curtain Rises – Broadway’s First Digital Soap Opera
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After the ‘Broadway Disher’ (Lesli Margherita) leaks news of a top secret, in-the-works, new mega musical, the Broadway community goes off-the-charts batty. Top-of-their-game Broadway Producers Cheryl Philips (Lillias White) and Steve Jones (James Monroe Iglehart), arch enemies, pounce. Who will get the rights? Will way-out-of-their-comfort-zone creators Kaye (Ashley Park) and Bobby (Michael Urie) manage to deliver a draft of the show before their marriage implodes? Will Director/Choreographer Zoey Taylor (Ariana DeBose) send the show’s budget into a free fall with her wildly ambitious vision? Will Broadway Diva Emma-Olivia (Sarah Stiles) get a Schmackery’s cookie (with Sprinkles) named in her honor? Will newbie Agent Maxwell Fernsby (George Salazar) step into his new big shoes? And will Science Consultant Andrew Barth Feldman (Andrew Barth Feldman) protect the integrity and authenticity of the in-the-works mega musical, before he needs to leave this top secret show to star in a new Broadway musical?
The drama on stage pales in comparison to the drama behind the curtain….
You don’t want to miss this.
This is an original radio play produced by the Broadway Podcast Network and Executive Produced by Liz Armstrong.
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AS THE CURTAIN RISES was created and recorded entirely in Quarantine.
Brian Stokes Mitchell dubbed “the last leading man” by The New York Times, Tony Award-winner Brian Stokes Mitchell has enjoyed a career that spans Broadway, television, film, and concert appearances with the country’s finest conductors and orchestras.
He received Tony, Drama Desk, and Outer Critics Circle awards for his star turn in Kiss Me, Kate. He also gave Tony-nominated performances in Man of La Mancha, August Wilson’s King Hedley II, and Ragtime. Other notable Broadway shows include Kiss of the Spider Woman, Jelly’s Last Jam, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown and Shuffle Along. In 2016 he was awarded his second Tony Award, the prestigious Isabelle Stevenson Tony for his Charitable work with The Actors Fund. That same year Stokes was inducted into the Theatre Hall of Fame.
More information via https://www.brianstokes.com/.
Alex Brightman is a writer and Tony-nominated actor who has been seen on Broadway in Beetlejuice (Tony Nomination), School of Rock (Tony Nomination), Matilda, Big Fish, Wicked, Glory Days; on TV in “Documentary Now!,” “SMILF,” “Important Things w/ Demetri Martin;” and in one horror film where he was brutally murdered on a toilet. His musical writing credits include It’s Kind of a Funny Story (Universal Theatrical), The Whipping Boy, and Make Me Bad, all with his writing partner Drew Gasparini. His newest plays, We Left It Here and Everything Is Fine were presented in New York City in 2019.
Ariana Debose – Broadway: Summer: The Donna Summer Musical, A Bronx Tale, Hamilton (Off-Broadway and original Broadway cast), Leading Player in the Tony Winning revival of Pippin, Mary Wilson of the Supremes (Diana Ross cover) in Motown, Nautica in Andy Blankenbuehler’s Bring It On the Musical, and Sondheim’s Company with the NY Philharmonic. Her film credits include: Anita in West Side Story and Alyssa Green in The Prom. TV credits include: “Blue Bloods” (CBS), “The Breaks” (VH1), “SYTYCD” top 20 season 6 (Fox) & “OLTL” Star Crossed Lovers Series. Instagram & Twitter
Andrew Barth Feldman is the winner of the Best Actor Award at the 2018 National High School Musical Theatre Awards (known more commonly as the Jimmy Awards). He made his Broadway debut in the title role in Dear Evan Hansen.
James Monroe Iglehart won a 2014 Tony Award for his performance in Aladdin. He originated the role of Bobby in the Tony-winning musical Memphis. Other NYC: The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee and The Wiz. Film/TV: Coriolanus Burt on “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt,” “The Good Wife,” “Gotham,” Lance Strongbow on “Disney’s Tangled,” and “The Electric Company. James is a member of the hip-hop improv group Freestyle Love Supreme.
An Olivier Award winner for her West End debut as Inez in Zorro the Musical , Lesli made her Broadway debut originating the role of Mrs. Wormwood in Matilda, The Musical. After over 1000 performances, she bid farewell to the Broadway company of Matilda and crossed the street to The Helen Hayes to star as the diva Mona Kent in the Broadway premiere of Dames at Sea. Lesli returned to MATILDA to close out its Broadway run.
Off-Broadway, Lesli starred as Princess in EMOJILAND and Cindy Lou Who in the one woman tour-de-force WHO’S HOLIDAY. Her hilarious show-stopping performance earned her critical acclaim including a Drama Desk nomination for Outstanding Solo Performance, a Lortel nomination for Outstanding Solo Show and an Off-Broadway Alliance nomination for Best Solo Performance.
Television credits include the ABC sitcom pilot “Most Likely To” opposite Yvette Nicole Brown and recurring roles on “Homeland” (Showtime), “Instinct” (CBS), “Seven Seconds” (Netflix), “Transparent” (Amazon), and “The Crew” (Netflix). Movie credits include the upcoming The Many Saints of Newark, Opening Night and Boogeyman 2 and Number 23. Lesli’s voice can also be heard on several animated films and shows including Disney’s Cinderella 3 and Nickelodeon’s “Sponge Bob Squarepants”.
Regional stage credits include Adelaide in GUYS & DOLLS (Sacramento Music Circus; Bucks County Playhouse), Signora Psyche Zinobia in A SCYTHE OF TIME (NYMF), Esmeralda in HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME (Sacramento Music Circus), Lilli / Kate in KISS ME KATE (Reprise; Ovation Award – Best Actress), THE GRONHOLM METHOD (The Falcon ; Ovation nom. – Best Ensemble), Aldonza in MAN OF LA MANCHA (MTW; Ovation & LADCC nom – Best Actress), Julie in SHOWBOAT (Goodspeed Opera), Audrey in LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS (La Mirada), and Lady of the Lake in SPAMALOT (Sacramento Music Circus).
She is the creator/star of ‘Looks Not Books’ and ‘Ship Happens’ the popular backstage vlogs commissioned by Broadway.com, as well as the digital short series ‘Sparklefpuff,’ all of which can be seen on YouTube. Lesli’s books, NECK PUNCH and CARRY ON: Advice from the “Queen” and BLU!, are available on Amazon & iTunes.
Lesli’s critically acclaimed solo shows Rule, Broad, and This Broad’s Way continue to play to crowds across the country. Her debut live album RULE YOUR KINGDOM is currently in stores and available on all digital platforms.
Ashley Park is a Grammy and Tony nominated actress. After making her Broadway debut in Broadway’s Mamma Mia!, Ashley starred as ‘Tuptim’ opposite Ken Watanabe, Kelli O’Hara, and Conrad Ricamora in the Tony-Award-winning Broadway revival of The King And I at New York’s Lincoln Center. She then co-starred in Broadway’s Sunday In The Park With George starring Jake Gyllenhaal while filming the second season of “Nightcap” (Pop TV/ Lionsgate/ Dakota Pictures). In 2018, Ashley took Broadway and Off Broadway by storm. She starred in the award winning KPOP and was honored with the esteemed Lucille Lortel award for Lead Actress in a Musical. This same year, Ashley starred as ‘Gretchen Wieners’ in the Tina Fey Musical Mean Girls based on the feature of the same name. Her honest portrayal of the interminably insecure Gretchen garnered her a Tony nomination for Featured Actress in A Musical.
George Salazar is best known for playing “Michael Mell” in Be More Chill (garnering a Lucille Lortel Award, two Broadway.com Audience Choice Awards, and Drama Desk & Outer Critics Circle Award nominations). He was most recently seen as “Seymour” in the critically-acclaimed Pasadena Playhouse production of Little Shop of Horrors. Other NY theater credits include Godspell (2011 Bway revival), The Lightning Thief (Drama Desk nom.); tick, tick…BOOM!; Here Lies Love. TV: Superstore; Nancy Drew; Bull; Divorce. Albums: Two-Player Game, Be More Chill, The Lightning Thief, The Jonathan Larson Project, Godspell.
Sarah Stiles stars opposite Kevin James in the new Netlix comedy The Crew. She is also one of the stars in the critically acclaimed EPIX Original Series Get Shorty. She is a two time Tony nominee for her role as “Sandy” in the Broadway production of Tootsie and her performance as “Jessica” in Hand to God. She is currently recurring on Showtime’s Billions and voiced the character “Spinel” in Steven Universe: The Movie.
Her other Broadway productions include On A Clear Day You Can See Forever, Kate/ Lucy Avenue Q, and The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.
Recent television and film credits include Steven Soderbergh’s Unsane, I’m Dying Up Here, The Blacklist, Dietland and the animated Sunny Day for Nickelodeon. Sarah lends her voice on the recording of Pasek and Paul’s James and the Giant Peach.
Sarah penned her solo show Squirrel Heart and performed it to sold out audiences at Joe’s Pub at the Public in NYC.
Michael Urie recently appeared on Broadway in Bess Wohl’s Grand Horizons at 2nd Stage and produced Drew Droege’s Happy Birthday Doug at Soho Playhouse. NYC Theater: Tony Kushner’s A Bright Room Called Day, Harvey Fierstein’s Torch Song, Buyer & Cellar, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, High Button Shoes, The Government Inspector, Homos, or Everyone in America, Shows For Days, Angels in America, The Temperamentals. As director, Michael helmed Bright Colors and Bold Patterns on stage, He’s Way More Famous Than You and The Hyperglot on film. He produced Happy Birthday Doug and co-produces Pride Plays. Regional: The Shakespeare Theater, The Old Globe, Seattle Rep, The Folger, South Coast Rep, Barrington Stage, and Center Theater Group. Film: Lavender, Beverly Hills Chihuahua, The Decoy Bride, Such Good People, Abducted. TV: Modern Family, The Good Fight, Younger, The Good Wife, Hot in Cleveland, Partners, Workaholics, Almost Family and Ugly Betty. Training: Juilliard.
Lillias White, a native New Yorker, made her Broadway debut in Barnum. She has also appeared on Broadway in Cats, Carrie, Dreamgirls, Once On This Island, How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying, Chicago and Fela! (Tony Award nomination). In Cy Coleman’s and Ira Gasman’s The Life, she won the Tony Award, Drama Desk Award and Outer Critics Circle Award for her portrayal of a world weary, no nonsense hooker named Sonya. Lillias was recently seen in the world premiere of Half Time at the Papermill Playhouse and has performed at the Public Theater in the production of William Finn’s Romance In Hard Times (Obie Award), Dinah Was at the Gramercy Theatre, the world premiere of Crowns at the Second Stage (Audelco Award), and Texas In Paris at The York Theatre Company.
Lillias White’s concert appearances include the critically acclaimed cabaret show at Feinstein’s 54 Below, entitled The Lillias White Effect (Bistro Award) and for the Actors Fund in Funny Girl, Hair and the 25th Anniversary concert of Dreamgirls. She was Bloody Mary in the PBS Great Performances broadcast of South Pacific. Lillias has toured internationally with her one-woman show, From Brooklyn To Broadway, and she’s graced the stages at Kennedy Center in Washington DC, Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Jazz at Lincoln Center, the Sydney Australia Opera House, the Singapore Opera House and the Palm Beach Pops.
Lillias’ television appearances include a regular role on Sesame Street for which she won an Emmy Award, a current role Netflix in The Get Down, Gotham, Person of Interest, Law and Order SVU, Law and Order, and NYPD Blue. Her film credits include the lead muse in Disney’s Hercules, Anastasia, How the Grinch Stole Christmas with Jim Carrey, Game Six with Michael Keaton, Pieces of April with Katie Holmes, Nasty Baby with Kristin Wigg and Then She found Me. Lillias holds an Honorary PhD in fine arts from The City University of New York.
Jacob Smith is a veteran of two Broadway shows (Doctor Zhivago and Frozen), a voiceover artist and professional photographer. Originally from Cedar Falls, Iowa, Jake moved to New York to pursue theatre before recently moving to Los Angeles to make the shift to voiceover. Thanks to all the crew at Broadway Podcast Network for making me a part of this fantastic project!
Ilana Levine has performed on stage and screen to critical acclaim. On Broadway, Ilana is best known to musical theater fans for her comedic turn as “Lucy Van Pelt” in the Broadway revival of, You’re A Good Man Charlie Brown. Ilana also starred in the Broadway productions of Jake’s Women, Wrong Mountain and The Last Night Of Ballyhoo. She has performed on the Tony Awards.
Her ability to portray characters with raw honesty, humor, and pathos, has sustained her career as an actress for over 25 years. She first appeared on the scene in the HBO series Tanner ’88 directed by Robert Altman and quickly was plucked by Vanity Fair journalist James Wolcott as an “up and comer to watch.” Seinfeld fans recognize her from the infamous episode “The Contest.” She has appeared in many television shows and films including Law and Order, Tanner on Tanner, Damages, The Job, Cashmere Mafia, Confessions of a Shopaholic, Kissing Jessica Stein, Gigantic, Ira and Abby, Failure to Launch, The Nanny Diaries, Friends With Kids and Five Flights Up. As a voice over artist she has done commercials and audio books. In 2018 and 2019 Ilana was cited as a “Twitter Influencer To Follow”. She resides in Brooklyn, New York with her husband, actor Dominic Fumusa, her two children, and their dog, Lola.
In May of 2016, Levine joined the podcast universe when she began hosting Little Known Facts with Ilana Levine, and in May of 2019 co-created the How To Be More Chill podcast.
Mauricio Martínez is a Mexican actor and singer. He is best known for participating in Broadway musical On Your Feet! (touring production), Mexican telenovelas and films. Other credits include: Lady of Steel (2014), Curse of the Mayans (2017) and El Vato (2016).
In the world of theatrical performers, Ramin Karimloo is known as one of the most formidable talents in the industry. Heralded for his portrayal of leading roles Jean Valjean in Les Miserables and the Phantom in Phantom of the Opera, Karimloo is a musical force unlike any other. In fact, it was his unbridled reputation that led to his performance in the recent Oscar tribute to Les Misérables.
Iranian-born, Canadian actor, singer Ramin is recognized as the favorite leading man to perform in London’s West End Musical Theatre by whatsonstage.com. Ramin has played starring roles in both of the West End’s longest running musicals; Jean Valjean, Enjolras and Marius in Les Misérables and the Phantom and Raoul in The Phantom of the Opera. Ramin was hand picked by Andrew Lloyd Webber to portray the lead role in his sequel to The Phantom of the Opera, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Love Never Dies. He originated the role of Phantom in this sequel, a role that won him the prestigious Theatregoer’s Choice Award and the Broadwayworld.com award for Best Actor in a musical. He was also nominated and won the award for the Best Actor category for the prestigious Viewers’ Choice Theatre Awards at Whatsonstage.com in 2011, as well as nominated for a Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actor in a Musical.
In 2011, Ramin played The Phantom for three performances alongside Love Never Dies co-star Sierra Boggess in the unique “25th Anniversary Production of The Phantom of the Opera at the Royal Albert Hall” that was streamed live to cinemas across the world, providing an even larger stage for this theatrical superstar’s talent. Additionally, he performed the title song, Music Of The Night, during the Broadway 25th Anniversary of Phantom of the Opera. Ramin also played the role of Enjolras in the “25th Anniversary Concert of Les Misérables” at The O2 Arena in London in 2010 where it has been one of the most widely viewed shows in PBS history.
During the months of November 2011 to March 2012, Ramin returned to Les Misérables, to play the lead role of Jean Valjean at The Queen’s Theatre, London, for which he won the 2013 Theatregoers’ Choice Award for Best Takeover in a Role.
Ramin’s debut album on Sony Records, “Human Heart”, is a summary of his life journey. “I have a huge love for country and bluegrass, I love rock ’n’ roll, and I love what I’m doing in musical theatre, so the key was how to balance and blend them all,” Ramin said. “I didn’t want to be just a theater star putting out an album. I wanted to have lived the songs. I wanted an album that was like a diary,” he reflects. Citing influences as diverse as The Tragically Hip, Johnny Cash, Mumford & Sons and The Avett Brothers, a typical musical theater album was never a possibility. “I wanted to marry the sounds of rock and country with things that people already know me for.” In his album, “Human Heart” Ramin found the perfect marriage, and in his own term “Broadgrass.” Starting in September 2013, Ramin reprised the role of Jean Valjean in a Canadian tour of the newly staged Les Misérables, and made his Broadway debut as Jean Valjean in March 2014.
Bonnie Milligan is an actress, best known for her role in Head Over Heels and television credits Happy! (Syfy 2017), Search Party (TBS 2016) and Chicago Fire (2012). She has been seen the first national tour of Kinky Boots and off-Broadway productions of God Bless You Mr. Rosewater (Encores!), Gigantic (Vineyard Theatre) and Jasper in Deadland (Prospect Theater). Other credits include These Seven Sicknesses; Restoration Comedy, a cautionary tale (The Flea Theatre) and Hint (FringeNYC).
Haven Burton made her Broadway debut in RENT as Maureen, and went on to star as Elle Woods in Legally Blonde on Broadway. She then originated the role of Gingy and the Sugar Plum Fairy in Shrek the Musical on Broadway, and went on to replace Sutton Foster as Princess Fiona, in which she also starred on tour. In 2016, she starred as Lauren in Kinky Boots on Broadway, and also appeared in Violet in 2014.
David Korins is the founder and principal designer of David Korins Design, a multidisciplinary creative firm developing and designing innovative experiences. Korins is currently represented on Broadway with the back-to-back Tony Award-winning hits Hamilton and Dear Evan Hansen. David has worked extensively as a production designer in TV, film and award shows. He also won an Emmy Award for Fox’s Grease: Live! http://korinsstudio.com/
Natasha Katz is a New York-based lighting designer. She is a six-time Tony Award winner who has designed extensively for theatre, opera, dance, concerts, and permanent lighting installations around the world. Her recent Broadway credits include: Diana, The Music Man, All My Sons, Burn This, The Prom, Frozen, Long Day’s Journey Into Night, Cats, School of Rock, An American in Paris, Aladdin, Skylight, The Glass Menagerie, Once, Follies, The Coast of Utopia: Salvage, and Aida.