Donald Rupe expands his Pulse-inspired, Fringe musical ‘From Here’ for the Orlando stage

By : Samantha Neely
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The Pulse tragedy in 2016 had an effect on every aspect of life in Orlando — socially, politically, spiritually — and for many, including Donald Rupe, it had a profound effect artistically.

Rupe, who is the Director of Theatre at Central Florida Community Arts, couldn’t get the idea of a musical surrounding Orlando, this tragedy that impacted the entire community and the way that community responded out of his head. That is how the award-winning show “From Here” was born.

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‘The Cher Show,’ ‘The Prom’ among 2020-21 Broadway season at Dr. Phillips Center

By : Jeremy Williams
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ABOVE: “The Cher Show.” (Photo by Joan Marcus)

ORLANDO | After teasing the season with “Hamilton” and “Wicked,” the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts announced the rest of the shows for its 2020-21 FAIRWINDS Broadway season Feb. 18.

The nine shows coming for the new season boast an impressive 88 Tony Award nominations and 44 wins, including four Best Musical winners. The season features “To Kill A Mockingbird,” “Tootsie,” “Hadestown,” “The Band’s Visit,” “The Prom,” “Wicked,” “CATS,” “Hamilton” and “The Cher Show.”

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Garden Theatre hires first full-time education director

By : Jeremy Williams
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WINTER GARDEN, Fla. | The Garden Theatre in Winter Garden announced that Nick Bazo will be its first full-time education director, in a press release Feb. 13.

Bazo will be in charge of programming and implementing life-changing camps, classes and community partnerships throughout the year.

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Mary Kate Morrissey talks ‘Mean Girls,’ ‘Wicked’ and queer representation

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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When self-described tomboy Mary Kate Morrissey walked into her audition for the musical adaptation of “Mean Girls,” begrudgingly wearing pink and a pair of heels, she wasn’t expecting to see Tina Fey.

Having dressed to mirror the production’s popular “plastic” lead Regina George, she also wasn’t expecting the comedy icon to insist she play the reclusive Janis Sarkisian on the show’s first national tour. “It was the craziest thing,” Morrissey says. “She’s a legend. I originally auditioned to replace Regina on Broadway and my agents told me, ‘Please, please, please go buy something pink and a pair of heels. If you wear your sneakers to this audition, it’s not going to be good. I was like, ‘Oh, fine,’ and I walk in and it’s Tina Fey. Right there.”

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Dancers Matthew Cunningham and Adam Boreland take on the Stepsisters in Orlando Ballet’s ‘Cinderella’

By : Jeremy Williams
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Dancer Adam Boreland knew that he and fellow dancer Matthew Cunningham were going to play the Stepsisters in Orlando Ballet’s performance of “Cinderella” before they were even cast.

“I had a dream a week before they even asked us that I was going to play one of the Stepsisters along with Matt,” Boreland says, “and I went up to him the next day and told him about the dream, so when they told us we had the parts we were like let’s do this. By that point we were already discussing how we would approach the roles and I had worked my excitement up.”

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‘Hadestown,’ ‘Hamilton,’ ‘Wicked’ and more featured in Straz’s 2020-2021 season

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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ABOVE: “Hadestown,” photo by Matthew Murphy, “Hamilton” and “Wicked” photos by Joan Marcus, courtesy the Straz.

TAMPA | The Straz Center for the Performing Arts announced its 2020-2021 Broadway season Feb. 7, detailing  a wide array of new and returning fan favorite productions.

“We have a tremendous season ahead, truly a remarkable line-up of fantastic shows,” Straz Center President and CEO Judy Lisi said in a statement. “When we say the best of Broadway, we mean it.”

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Watermark Giveaway: A pair of tickets to see comedian Marc Maron at Hard Rock Live

By : Jeremy Williams
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From stand up and TV to podcasting and film, comedian Marc Maron has been telling it like it is and making us laugh for more than 30 years.

Maron is a frequent guest on the late night talk show circuit, has hosted numerous comedic and news shows on both radio and television, as well as hosts one of the country’s most popular podcasts — “WTF with Marc Maron.” He also stars in the Netflix series “GLOW” and had a minor role in one of the biggest critical and financial hit films of 2019, “Joker.”

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Ben Platt to perform at GLAAD Media Awards

By : John Paul King OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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Actor and singer Ben Platt will perform at the GLAAD Media Awards in New York City next month.

GLAAD announced on Wednesday that the Tony-winning “Dear Evan Hansen” actor and star of Netflix’s “The Politician” will be singing as part of the New York ceremony, which is the 31st annual presentation of the awards, taking place at the Hilton Midtown on Thursday, March 19.

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Central Florida native Michael James Scott heads back to Agrabah (and Orlando) to play the Genie in ‘Disney’s Aladdin’

By : Jeremy Williams
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Michael James Scott has run the gamut when it comes to appearing on Broadway. He has been in “Mamma Mia!,” “Hair,” “Elf,” “Something Rotten!” and “The Book of Mormon” to name a few, but there is one role above all that he is most associated with — “Aladdin’s” Genie.

“I call it my ‘Genie journey,’” Scott says. “I never expected it to be a part of my life for this length of time and for it to literally take me all around the world.”

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Kristin Chenoweth covers, duets with fellow legends

By : Gregg Shapiro
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On “For The Girls,” the legendary Kristin Chenoweth’s most contemporary, pop-oriented studio album in nearly 10 years, the Tony and Emmy Award-winning performer pays tribute to several of her musical icons.

The list includes Judy Garland, Eydie Gorme, Barbra Streisand, Patsy Cline, Linda Ronstadt and Dolly Parton.

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Straz to host ‘Golden Girls’ drag brunch, puppet parody

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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ABOVE: “That Golden Girls Show! A Puppet Parody,” photo courtesy the Straz Center.

TAMPA | The Straz Center for the Performing Arts will hold a “Golden Girls Drag Diva Brunch” at Maestro’s Restaurant on Jan. 26 ahead of “That Golden Girls Show! A Puppet Parody.”

“Grab a slice of cheesecake while sipping bottomless mimosas and Bloody Marys in true Blanche, Rose, Dorothy and Sophia style,” organizers shared. “Trust us — there’s no buffet in St. Olaf’s as scrumptious as what we have planned for you. Bring your best one-liners and we’ll do the rest.”

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Performer John Michael gets interactive in Orlando with Harry Potter-themed show

By : Jeremy Williams
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John Michael doesn’t consider himself an actor.

“I usually call myself a performance artist, not an actor,” Michael says. “I try not to outright say that I’m not because it can piss some of my actor friends off, but I guess the reason why that’s helpful for people to understand about my work is my shows are about how I’m really trying to create reality in a sense of fantastical circumstances.”

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