Erica Roberts and Rebekah Piatt turn SAVOY Orlando into a piano bar every Friday

By : Lora Korpar
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Orlando community members can belt out their favorite show tunes every Friday night at the city’s first drag queen piano bar experience thanks to Central Florida drag queen Erica Roberts and local gay bar SAVOY Orlando.

Roberts started the piano bar night over the summer and pianist Rebekah Piatt joined the team in September.

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Orlando native and out performer Michael James Scott to reprise role of Genie in ‘Aladdin’ at Dr. Phillips Center

By : Jeremy Williams
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ABOVE: Michael James Scott as the Genie in “Disney’s Aladdin” North American tour. (Photo by Deen van Meer, courtesy Dr. Phillips Center)

ORLANDO | The hit Broadway musical “Disney’s Aladdin” is coming to the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts Jan. 22-Feb. 9, 2020. It was announced Sept. 13 that Orlando native and out performer Michael James Scott will be performing as the Genie during the musical’s run in Central Florida.

Scott graduated from Dr. Phillips High School and has appeared in the Broadway productions of “The Book of Mormon,” “Something Rotten,” Hair,” “All Shook Up,” “The Pirate Queen,” “Elf,” “Mamma Mia” and “Tarzan,” as well as previously performed as the Genie in London’s West End and Australia, the latter of which won Scott a Helpmann Award—the Australian version of The Tony Award.

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‘The Prom’ wraps up Broadway run with real-life same-sex wedding

By : Mariah Cooper of the Washington Blade, Courtesy of the National LGBT Media Association
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“The Prom” celebrated one of its final shows on Broadway with an onstage, same-sex wedding.

Armelle Kay Harper, the script coordinator for the musical, and actress Jody Kay Smith were married during the show’s curtain call at the Longacre Theatre on Aug. 3. “The Prom” co-book writer Bob Martin officiated the nuptials.

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American Stage closes 2018-19 season with ‘Fun Home’

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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 ABOVE: American Stage’s three “Fun Home” Alisons, photo courtesy American Stage.

American Stage is closing out its 2018-2019 season with the hit musical “Fun Home,” playing now through Aug. 18.

The celebrated production is based on Alison Bechdel’s best-selling graphic memoir of the same name and was the first Broadway musical to feature a lesbian protagonist. It introduces audiences to Bechdel at three different ages, following her as she unravels the mysteries of her childhood while seeing her parents through grown-up eyes. 

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Broadway showcase to benefit Project No Labels

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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TAMPA | Tampa Mayor Jane Castor will provide opening remarks June 22 during the 13th production of Life Amplified Connections, a Broadway-themed showcase benefiting Project No Labels (PNL) at Stageworks Theatre.

Life Amplified has tackled issues like human trafficking, bullying, PTSD and sexual violence to raise funds for nonprofits since 2013. The gathering is produced by the philanthropic side of marketing company WriteOne Creative Services and will feature 21 performers from throughout Tampa Bay. A number of community partners will showcase their services ahead of the event.

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Southern Nights Orlando to host holiday benefit for The Trevor Project

By : Jeremy Williams
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ORLANDO | Southern Nights Orlando hosts the 11th annual Broadway Christmas cabaret, presented by Kai’ja Adonis and Jose Marrero and benefiting The Trevor Project, Dec. 20.

Adonis and Marrero began Broadway Christmas in the mid-2000s after they lost a friend to suicide.

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Seeing ‘RENT’ for the first time as told by a Watermark intern

By : Colton Adkins
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Jonathan Larson’s Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning musical “RENT” changed the landscape of Broadway when it premiered in 1996.

A re-imagining of Puccini’s “La Boheme,” “RENT” — currently in the third year of its 20th Anniversary National Tour — follows an unforgettable year in the lives of seven artists struggling to follow their dreams without selling out.

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Javon King makes national tour debut with ‘RENT’

By : Layla Ferris
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Javon King plays Angel in the national tour of “RENT”

Javon King is an openly gay actor from New Jersey, and he is making his national tour debut with the company of “RENT.” He joins the cast with his portrayal of fan favorite Angel Dumott Schunard.

King, 21, studies musical theater at Rider University in New Jersey. He’s been in several productions at the university such as “Of Thee I Sing” and “Once on This Island.”

King says he’s shocked and ecstatic to have the opportunity to perform “RENT” nationally. King spoke with Watermark on the show’s opening night in Orlando to discuss his first memories of “RENT,” the show’s depiction of the LGBTQ experience and the complexities of playing Angel.

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‘Something Rotten!’ actor Nick Rashad Burroughs talks about being on Broadway, working with Todrick Hall and what inspires him

By : Jeremy Williams
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Nick Rashad Burroughs grew up singing in the church in Birmingham, Alabama. As the son of a preacher, Burroughs spent his days either with the youth choir or running track.

“Track was my focus at the time,” Burroughs says. “I found theater a bit late, but just in time to go to college for it.”

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Syreeta Banks leads ‘Dreamgirls’ to the Venice Theater

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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For actress Syreeta Banks, appearing courtesy of the Actors’ Equity Association in the Venice Theatre’s new production of Dreamgirls, the lead role of Effie White is a family affair.

Banks’ earliest memories of the theater stem from her mother’s production of the same Tony and Academy Award winning musical, which first premiered on Broadway in 1981. Since then, it’s launched revivals, tours and a 2006 feature film, captivating audiences on the silver screen and stage alike.

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Legendary performer Joel Grey headlines the Garden Theatre’s 10-year anniversary celebration

By : Jeremy Williams
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Few entertainers are as synonymous with a character they have portrayed as legendary actor Joel Grey is with the Emcee from Cabaret. Grey does not so much act the part as embody the character and become the master of ceremonies at the fictional Kit Kat Club in 1930s Berlin.

Grey performed in the original Broadway run of Cabaret as well as the 1972 film version, winning a Tony Award and an Academy Award for the same role. He is one of only nine performers to do so.

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Peppermint makes history as first trans woman to create a principal role on Broadway

By : MARIAH COOPER OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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“RuPaul’s Drag Race” season nine alum Peppermint has been cast in the new musical “Head Over Heels,” making her the first openly transgender woman to originate a principal role on Broadway.

“Head Over Heels” is based on the Elizabethan comedy “The Arcadia,” and will feature music from the all-female band The Go-Go’s known for their hits “We Got the Beat,” “Our Lips Are Sealed” and “Vacation.”

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