Patty & Emily at Revolution in the Elbow of Ragnar Agnarsson Furniture Painter

Yes, that is the full title. This dystopian musical takes place in the elbow of a man, Ragnar Agnarsson. Throughout his body, there are cities and colonies, as if the Magic School Bus took a field trip there and never left. We went into this pretty blind, which was fun, so we don’t want to tell you too much. But based on the ideas of one resident, Peter (Marrick Smith, giving us Jonathan Groff realness), the residents of Elbowville find themselves in a financial crisis mirroring that of 2008.

Egging Peter along and profiting off her residents’ ignorance is the delightful Cady Huffman, as the Mayor of Elbowville. Her elaborate plans are matched only by her elaborate costumes. The main industry in Elbowville is fishing lobsters, which end up being a running theme in her amazing costumes. Peter also wants to help his brother Stein (Brad Nacht) and Stein’s wife Asrun (Kate Shindle — who also has her own costume moment in an amazing latex outfit), so pulls them unknowingly into the financial spiral. (There’s another brother played by Graydon Long, who leaves Elbowville as part of an unnecessary love triangle.) When the bubble bursts, Kate Shindle gets pissed off and confronts Cady Huffman in an amazing, but WAY too short belt off.

Without giving anything away, the ending is pretty satisfying. It’s not quite Urinetown in its clever and bleak truth, but it does point out interesting things about society. There were a few strings left untied; it seemed as if Kate Shindle was going to have a bigger role in the end. But Revolution in the Elbow… was a fun, strange, thought-provoking musical.

Revolution in the Elbow… runs through September 20th, so go see it! Get your tickets here.

Patty & Emily at Broadway Up Close!

In case you didn’t know, we love to talk and learn about theatre. So, when we found out about Broadway Up Close walking tours, we were like, “Sign us up!” and they did! One of the great things about these tours is that they are given by theatre professionals and lovers. Our fantastic guide was Theresa, a stage manager. (She just happened to work on Under My Skin, which we obviously told her we loved!) Our tourmates were Emily’s cousin and a mother/daughter pair from the Midwest. The group had varying degrees of theatre knowledge, but we all couldn’t wait to learn more!

Broadway Up Close offers three tours, starting with the Act 1, which is what we took. There are no set tour times, so you can request a time that works best for you! Act 1 starts at the Nederlander and covers the history of 42nd street, and the Broadway houses on the east side up to 45th street. There was such a wide range of information, history, and stories that everyone can get something out of it. We don’t want to give it all away, but we’ll share this one tidbit: Jujamcyn got its name from the first names of the children of the original owners, Judith, James, and Cynthia. It all makes sense now! The tour was about two hours, and even though you’re walking, it’s pretty stop and start, so there’s lots of resting. We had a great time, learned a lot, and got to spend a morning talking Broadway!

These tours are great if you’re visiting New York, but also if you live here! They’re great for theatre lovers, and also anyone interested in the rich history of New York City. For more information on booking your tour, visit

Here’s a photo of us and our tour group!

7_11 Group

Patty & Emily at A Little Night Music in the Berkshires

Connecticut. DC. And now Massachusetts. These are the places we’ve gone to see Kate Baldwin in shows. The most recent was our trip to Pittsfield, MA to see A Little Night Music in the Berkshires. We brought along our friends Robbie and Alex and had a musical theatre sing-along all the way (some CD selections: Side ShowLegally BlondeAndrea McArdle: On Broadway). We chose to make the trip in one day. It’s a beautiful and pretty easy drive through the Hudson Valley from New York to Pittsfield. If you have a chance, you should definitely head out there and maybe make a weekend of it! Pittsfield is a cute little town with old buildings, coffee shops, and a lot of theatres.

This production of A Little Night Music is presented by The Berkshire Theatre Group. We saw the most recent Broadway revival (both casts). Emily barely remembered it, and Patty remembered it being slow and long. This production, however, was much lighter and moved quickly. Kate (serving Mother-in-Ragtime Realness) was both hilarious and heartbreaking as Charlotte. A feat made more impressive given she had to play against her talented husband Graham Rowat, here playing the awful rogue Count. The rest of the cast was fantastic, especially Matt Dengler as Henrick and the great Penny Fuller as Madam Armfeldt. Her last scene was beautiful and highlighted the great direction of Ethan Heard. Night Music may not be our favorite Steven Sondhiem show, but it has a beautiful score, and we would travel pretty much anywhere to hear Kate Baldwin sing it.

A Little Night Music only runs through July 19th, so get your tickets now! It’s a great reason to get out of the city, breathe in some mountain air, and watch some fantastic musical theatre. If you can’t make it out, check out all the other shows The Berkshire Theatre Group is producing, including a children’s production of Suessical. We just may have another mountain road trip in our future. For tickets and information, visit

Love Never Dies: Patty & Emily at The Phantom of the Opera Again!

When the Angel of Music calls you, you follow. Seriously. If you don’t, he’ll hypnotize you and murder people around you. So, we certainly weren’t about to say no to seeing Norm Lewis and Sierra Boggess again in Phantom. What if something happened to Beth Leavel?! But luckily, nothing went wrong, and the show moved along like a well-oiled, slow-moving chandelier. Norm and Sierra were in great voice, and still playing up the camp factor to great effect. The audience was super into it, as usual. A woman near by whispered, “Wow!” after Norm’s Music of the Night and was moved to tears by the end. Not like our tears of laughter, but the important thing is that everyone had a good time.

Before the show, as an added bonus to the Phantom experience, there was a reception at NYY Steak, a Yankees themed restaurant. We were excited to see that they even offer Broadway themed cocktails, like the Bronx Bomber! Then someone reminded us that’s a nickname for the Yankees, not just a play from last season starring Chris Jackson. The next time you have sports loving relatives in town, take them to NYY Steak. It’ll ease the transition into the glitz of Broadway. Plus, they had delicious sliders and cheese empanadas.

See Norm Lewis and Sierra Boggess in The Phantom of the Opera! Get tickets here!

And before the show, get dinner at NYY Steak. Don’t forget to sing the score to Damn Yankees!

For Tonight at NYMF

The New York Musical Theatre Festival is in full swing, and while it’s impossible to see everything, you should definitely check some of the shows out. Don’t forget, this is where [title of show]Yank!, and Next to Normal began! One of the shows we’re seeing is For Tonight. We talked to Shanelle Williams, the co-composer and co-lyrist, about the show and its journey to New York.

Shanelle’s collaborator on the music and lyrics is actually her husband Spencer Williams. They met in college and starting writing music together, and people would comment on how their sound would work well in musical theatre. As theatre lovers themselves, they thought they’d try their hand at it. The idea for For Tonight actually came from Spencer’s own great-great-great grandfather. Teaming up with book writer Whitney Rhodes, the show follows the lives of siblings in Wales after the loss of their parents. The music of the show does have Welsh influence, including a Welsh folksong “Suo Gan,” but Shanelle describes the overall sound as “somewhere between musical theatre and Nickel Creek and Coldplay.”

NYMF will be the show’s public debut, having only presented one private reading about a year ago. After editing, they submitted show to NYMF. When they received the call that they had been accepted, Shanelle was almost nine months pregnant. And while the prospect of coming out to New York, doing more rewrites, and putting on your show may seem daunting enough without a new baby, Shanelle says it has been a great experience. Only a few the actors have been with project since the beginning, but working with a New York director Joe Barros and musical director Drew Wutke who knew the mostly New York cast helped everyone smoothly collaborate on this fantastic production. We can’t wait to see this new work from these up-and-coming writers!

And of course the best way for us to get to know Shanelle was to give her our questionnaire. Here’s what she had to say!

Patty & Emily: Do you know Beth Leavel?

Shanelle Williams: No.

P&E: Which show do you most want revived?

SW: Oh, that’s a tough one because there’s been a lot revivals lately of things I have wanted revived and now they’re all coming true. Spencer’s in the room here. He likes to pitch in. He’s excited about On the Town right now. And I haven’t seen that one, so I guess I’m excited about that one was well. Oh, Side Show is another. Put down Side Show.

P&E: Have you ever fallen asleep on stage while pretending to be asleep or dead on stage?

SW: Uh, no but one time I did fall asleep in the orchestra pit. Fortunately it was only tech rehearsal though.

P&E: What’s your favorite Broadway house?

SW: Oh, I really liked…where did Pippin play?

P&E: The Music Box.

SW: I like that one.

P&E: Do you have a monologue?

SW: No. Heavens no. In fact, I botched an audition, like, three years ago. It had been a long time since I had performed. And I went into this audition; I picked up a monologue the night before, and I totally botched it. So, I definitely don’t have a monologue prepared right now.

P&E: What’s the show you’ve seen the most time?

SW: I think Next to Normal was the show I saw the most.

P&E: Who would you fangirl over?

SW: I’m kind of having a fangirl experience over our leading man in our show. He’s pretty sexy, and he sings amazing. His name’s Brandon Kalm.

P&E: On a scale of 1-10, how bad is the Broadway World message board?

SW: It’s so bad that I never go there.

P&E: Comps and a time machine.

SW: Hmm. I would really like to see the original production of Cabaret.

For Tonight has three performances at NYMF: Wednesday, July 9th at 4pm and 8pm and Saturday, July 12th at 4pm. We’ll be there, and we hope to see you there as well! You can get tickets here.

Patty & Emily at Here Lies Love

Audience participation. Standing for 90 minutes. Historical subject matter. Even the most seasoned theatregoer might give pause at seeing this show. But when you add innovative direction, amazing disco music, and a super talented cast, suddenly everyone is talking about Here Lies Love. In fact, the show was so talked about after its successful run last summer, it has returned to The Public Theater. No one is happier than Patty, since Emily saw the show during its last run. And even now, we would both see it again.

Here Lies Love tells the story of how Imelda Marcos, First Lady of the Philippines, became an infamous world figure. But, it’s how this story is told that makes the show special. Everyone is ushered into an open space with platforms and stages all around. Some people are up in the balconies, but those on the floor are really part of the show. We’re all at a disco, and the DJ tells you at the beginning Filipinos invented karaoke, so we’re all expected to participate and have fun. Alex Timbers’ direction has us all moving around and looking everywhere, while Fatboy Slim and David Byrne’s music has us dancing and sometimes crying. Everything helping to create the atmosphere of the performance.

The cast really helps pull this off. They make the audience feel comfortable and also excited about their involvement. The ensemble is full of amazing performers, giving their all, especially Sara Ramirez look-alike Maria-Christina Oliveras. At the performance we saw, an understudy, Jaygee Macapugay, was on as Imelda. She was great, and Emily said some of her choices really made her performance stand on its own. And Jose Llana and Conrad Ricamora played off each other and Jaygee so well, it was fun to see their relationships change. Here Lies Love ends with the cast, fittingly, leading the audience in a sing-along, everyone participating in the show we created together (though we guess most of the work was done by the cast and creative team).

Get tickets to Here Lies Love here.

Patty & Emily at The Anthem

Have you ever heard about a show, and thought to yourself, “How did a show like that even get made, and how I wish I could have seen it!”? Then do yourself a favor and go see The Anthem. Based on an Ayn Rand novella about a dystopian society, it’s hard to tell which parts are scripted to be funny and which parts ended up being funny unintentionally. As a dystopian musical, you already have to work extra hard because you’re not Urinetown, not to mention when there’s a giant disco ball hanging from your ’80s-inspired set. Of course, we’re not complaining. We enjoyed (mostly) every confusing, crazy, exhilarating moment.

The main reason we enjoyed anything? The cast. They were working to sell every overblown emotion and unnecessary special skill they were asked to showcase. Like one of Stefan’s nightclubs, this show had EVERYTHING. Rollerskating, ice skating jumps on rollerblades, silks and rope work, a pansexual orgy, a lot of ’80s synthesizer…we could go on. And the ensemble performed everything with a wink. Whether intentional or not, we got it and were winking back at them. One of the big standouts (and our personal choice for Peter in NBC’s Peter Pan Live!) for us was Em Grosland. Em effortlessly switched between playing a hyper, robotic drone of The State and an animalistic, sadistic warrior of The Resistance.

One thing this show didn’t have enough of was Jenna Leigh Green. She had two songs, neither of which were worthy of her, but god knows she sang the shit out of them. And every scene she was in, she commanded the stage in her killer silver boots. The fact that her character is old enough to be the mother of another character seems to be another ridiculous plot point, but it turns out Jenna Leigh Green has a touch of KerryButlerAgelessBeauty. And when you have all that to work with, you use it. But every time she exited the scene, it just felt like we needed more of her.

Yet after the curtain call, we were left smiling, laughing, and shaking our heads. And we looked at each other and said, “We just saw that.” And when we tell generations of musical theatre lovers about it years from now, they’ll wish they could have been there. So don’t miss out! Go see The Anthem, and be a part of something weird and special.

The cast of The Anthem is Ashley Kate Adams, Patch David, Jamyl Dobson, Brian Ferree, Shiloh Goodin, Jason Gotay, Jenna Leigh Green, Emily S. Grosland, Katie Lee Hill, Crista Marie Jackson, Randy Jones, Damian Thompson, and Remy Zaken. You can get tickets here.

Jeremy Kushnier in Atomic, A New Musical!

In the 1940s, when the world was fighting a war, a global group of scientists came together to build the atomic bomb in a government project that used the code name “Manhattan.” In 2014, a global group of artists came together to tell the story of that project and a scientist history forgot in the musical Atomic. Jeremy Kushnier, who plays that scientist Leo Szilard, talked to us about this new show and what we can expect from a show that deals with “a very sensitive subject — and then we put music to it!”

Like us (and we’re assuming most of you), Jeremy didn’t know anything about Leo Szilard until he came into this project. Leo’s patents and ideas were what made the bomb possible, but when he realized how this bomb was going to be used, his conscious wouldn’t allow him to be a part of it anymore. He started a petition, and got the signatures of many of the scientists who worked on the bomb, asking the bomb not be dropped on Japan, as they had not built it for that purpose. Because of this, he was effectively erased from history. One of Jeremy’s favorite lines in the show (he thinks it’s still in the show — we talked to him during rehearsals when things were still being added and moved around) is said by Dr. Oppenheimer: “It was Leo’s science that made the bomb possible, but his conscious that made it impossible.”

Aside from the natural drama of war, Leo’s life seemed ripe for a musical telling. There is a great love story in Atomicbetween Leo and his partner and eventual wife, Trude Weiss played by Sara Gettlefinger. They’re living through this tough time together and as Jeremy puts it, “their relationship ends up getting them through it.” (Fun fact: Trude became a surgeon in the 1930s and when Leo was diagnosed with cancer in the 1960s, it was with Trude’s help that he was the first person to successfully use radiation.) And so there is a hopeful dimension to this difficult story of war and politics and science. Atomic is a piece of theatre where you will leave knowing more than you did when you came in, but you’ll also have more questions. As Jeremy puts it, “You walk away going, ‘I wonder what I would have done?'” And isn’t that part of a great experience at the theatre? Of course, it’s also a musical, so expect spectacle. After all, Jeremy promises, “You can’t come and see a show about the atomic bomb, and not blow the motherfucker up.”
We couldn’t let Jeremy get off easy and not answer our questionnaire, so here’s what he said!

Patty & Emily:
 Do you know Beth Leavel?

Jeremy Kusnier: Yes!

P&E: Which show do you most want revived?

JK: Oh, unfortunately it’s already being revived and Neil Patrick Harris stole my part.

P&E: Have you ever fallen asleep on stage while pretending to sleep or be dead on stage?

JK: I feel like I must have at some point? I’m sure that I have. I know that I have in rehearsals.

P&E: What’s your favorite Broadway house?

JK: Oh, that’s a tough one. I love the Richard Rodgers because it was the first theatre that I worked in. I love it too because it’s got a really steep rake.

P&E: Do you have a monologue prepared?

JK: Never. Even when I’m asked for it.

P&E: What is the show you’ve seen the most times?

JK: Oh, that’s a good one. I think it probably would have to be Hedwig. I was a real Hed-head back in the day. I saw, like, five different people do it. I just really love the show. I’ve been petitioning these guys for years to do it anywhere. I’d do it in somebody’s garage! I can’t count how many times I went to the Jane Street and saw it.

P&E: Who would you fanboy over?

JK: Now that I’ve met and worked with her, it’s Ms. Sara Gettlefinger. She’s a tremendous talent, she’s absolutely gorgeous, and she’s amazing to work with. I love her.

P&E: On a scale of 1-10, how awful is the Broadway World message board?

JK: On a scale of 1-10? 4,000. I can’t even. I don’t even go; I don’t even dare.

P&E: If you had comps and a time machine, what would you go see?

JK: I would go and see City of Angels. I love that score so much, and that’s another show that I’ve always wanted to do.

Atomic starts performances at The Acorn Theatre at Theatre Row on June 26th and is scheduled to run until August 16th. Don’t miss this amazing cast, led by Jeremy Kushnier. For more information, visit their website. For tickets, click here!

Patty & Emily at The Phantom of the Opera

Two days before the 2014 Tony Awards, we sat down in the theatre ready to see a show we had been anticipating ever since casting was announced. Of course in this season of must-see performances, we were ready to see Norm Lewis and Sierra Boggess in The Phantom of the Opera!

It was Emily’s first time seeing the show, Patty’s second, and we weren’t disappointed. First, we have to say we do not understand how anyone takes this show seriously. It is not romantic; The Phantom is a murderer! And Christine just seems confused. At one point, she throws a fit, insisting she will not participate in The Phantom’s opera, but in the next scene, she shows up to rehearsal with no explanation. It’s also hard to tell whether we’re to believe The Phantom can do magic or is just a very talented “inventor.” The main characters aren’t the show’s only distraction. When the set changes aren’t ridiculously long, they are basically just curtains opening and closing. And oftentimes, there are actors waiting behind those curtains or set pieces for huge stretches of time. Norm Lewis was hanging above the audience for the entirety of “All I Ask of You.”
It’s hard to say how casts have played the drama in Phantom over its thousand year reign (really 26 years), but this superb cast really seems to understand the gothic melodrama of it all. Let’s talk about Ellen Harvey’s fantastic Madame Giry. Her deliberate and dramatic line readings really set an ominous tone. And Michelle McConnell and Christian Sebek delightfully played Carlotta and Piangi, the diva and divo of the opera, with great flair. The ensemble did a great job whipping back and forth between the show’s almost farcical comedy to its intense drama. One minute they are dancing at a masquerade, and the next recoiling in horror as The Phantom stands inches away (yet no one bothers to try and grab him).
And leading this ensemble were Norm Lewis and Sierra Boggess as The Phantom and Christine Daae. As usual, the title number seemed to be tracked, which was disappointing. But throughout the rest of the show, Norm and Sierra did not disappoint. Sierra effortlessly sang Christine’s many songs, ringing with a clear soprano. Not to mention keeping up the hood to her cape. And Norm really got the over-the-top desperation of The Phantom, sometimes even playing him like a whiny child. These two phenomenal actors kept us interested, even as the story lead to some pretty crazy places. Just don’t think too hard about the fact that they once played father and daughter.
In the end, as the curtain came down, the crowd in the Majestic Theatre rose to their feet, having loved every minute of it. And while it might not be one of our favorite shows, to be able to have seen these two performers and the cast around them was truly an experience.
Norm Lewis and Sierra Boggess currently appear in The Phantom of the Opera. You can get tickets here.

3rd Annual Shmazie Award Recipients!

When we sent out the Shmazies, we asked that the recipients send us a photo of their certificate! We’ll be updating this as (hopefully) more arrive!

“Thanks Patty and Emily!” – Bobby Steggert, Exceptional Supporting Actor in an Original Musical

Bobby Steggert Shmazie

First, thank you so much. It’s an honor. I love the certificate. Second, Danny Burstein is quite jealous. I plan to taunt him for weeks.” – Aaron Krohn, Exceptional Featured Actor in a Revival of a Musical

Aaron Krohn Shmazie

“Thank you, Patty and Emily! xoxoxo, Gaten” – Gaten Matarazzo, Exceptional Child Actor in a Revival of a Musical

Gaten Shamzie

“Thank you so much…so honored!” Vasthy Mompoint, Special Shmazie for Adding Lustre to the Broadway Season

Vasthy Mompoint Shmazie

THANK YOU!!! I am so honored!! (Headshot by the divine Zoe Buckman.)” – Jennifer Mudge, Exceptional Headshot – Female

Jennifer Mudge Shmazie

“Me with my Shmazie award for exceptional featured actress in an original musical! Thanks Patty and Emily!” – Joanna Glushak, Exceptional Featured Actress in an Original Musical

Joanna Glushak Shmazie

“Thanks Patty and Emily” – Sutton Foster, Exceptional Leading Actress in a Revival of a Musical

Sutton Foster Shmazie

“Opening our mail today and got this! So nice!” – The Public Theatre, Exceptional Cast Recording

Fun Home Shmazie

Thanks for the Shmazie awards!” – Joshua Henry, Exceptional Supporting Actor in a Revival of a Musical

Joshua  Henry Shamzie

THANK YOU Patty & Emily !!! So honored.” – Emerson Steele, Exceptional Child Actress in a Revival of a Musical

Emerson Steele Shmazie

We were able to give Kate Baldwin’s Shmazie to her in person!