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A CHORUS LINE
September 3 – 28, 2014
A Chorus Line is the musical for everyone who’s ever had a dream and put it all on the line. Winner of nine Tony Awards, including Best Musical, and the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, this singular sensation is one of the longest-running Broadway musicals ever. Now A Chorus Line returns to The 5th. This mega-hit is simply an emotional experience with raw stories and stunning dance that follows a cast of hopefuls in search of their dreams. A Chorus Line features some of musical theater’s favorite music including “I Can Do That,” “What I Did For Love,” “At The Ballet,” and “One.”
A CHORUS LINE CONCEIVED AND ORIGINALLY DIRECTED AND
CHOREOGRAPHED BY MICHAEL BENNETT
BOOK BY JAMES KIRKWOOD AND NICHOLAS DANTE
MUSIC BY MARVIN HAMLISCH
LYRICS BY EDWARD KLEBAN
CO-CHOREOGRAPHED BY BOB AVIAN
October 7 – 26, 2014
KINKY BOOTS is the exhilarating Broadway musical that will lift your spirits to new high-heeled heights! Winner of six Tony Awards® including BEST MUSICAL, this inspirational story follows a struggling shoe factory owner who works to turn his business around with help from Lola, a fabulous entertainer in need of some sturdy stilettos. Together, this unlikely pair finds that they have more in common than they ever dreamed possible… proving that when you change your mind about someone, you can change your whole world.
Inspired by a true story, KINKY BOOTS features a joyous, Tony-winning score by CYNDI LAUPER, direction and Tony-winning choreography by JERRY MITCHELL and a hilarious, uplifting book by four-time Tony winner HARVEY FIERSTEIN. Come join the sold-out audiences who’ve discovered why – sometimes – the best way to fit in is to stand out!
BOOK BY HARVEY FIERSTEIN
MUSIC AND LYRICS BY CYNDI LAUPER
DIRECTED AND CHOREOGRAPHED BY JERRY MITCHELL
BASED ON THE MIRAMAX MOTION PICTURE KINKY BOOTS,
WRITTEN BY GEOFF DEANE & TIM FIRTH
A CHRISTMAS STORY, THE MUSICAL
November 25 – December 31, 2014
In 1940s Indiana, a bespectacled boy named Ralphie has a big imagination and one wish for Christmas—a Red Ryder BB Gun. A kooky leg lamp, outrageous pink bunny pajamas, a cranky department store Santa, and a triple-dog-dare to lick a freezing flagpole are just a few of the obstacles that stand between Ralphie and his Christmas dream. A Christmas Story, The Musical is holiday entertainment that captures a simpler time in America with delicious wit and a heart of gold. After two triumphant seasons on Broadway, this hilarious musical returns home to The 5th where it all began.
BOOK BY JOSEPH ROBINETTE
MUSIC AND LYRICS BY BENJ PASEK AND JUSTIN PAUL
A CHRISTMAS STORY, THE MUSICAL IS BASED UPON THE MOTION PICTURE
A CHRISTMAS STORY© 1983 TURNER ENTERTAINMENT CO., DISTRIBUTED BY WARNER BROS.,WRITTEN BY JEAN SHEPHERD, LEIGH BROWN AND BOB CLARK, AND
IN GOD WE TRUST, ALL OTHERS PAY CASH WRITTEN BY JEAN SHEPHERD.
RODGERS & HAMMERSTEIN’S CAROUSEL
February 5 – March 1, 2015
A 5TH AVENUE THEATRE/ SPECTRUM DANCE THEATER CO-PRODUCTION
Prepare to be captivated by one of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s most beautiful and enduring musicals. A tempestuous love story told with heart-breaking tenderness, Carousel follows the passionate romance between carnival barker Billy Bigelow and the sweet mill worker Julie Jordan. After his untimely death, Billy is given one day – a final chance to redeem his life – he returns to the wife and daughter he left behind to make things right. You’ll be swept away by such cherished songs as “If I Loved You,” “June Is Bustin’ Out All Over,” and “You’ll Never Walk Alone.”
MUSIC BY RICHARD RODGERS
BOOK AND LYRICS BY OSCAR HAMMERSTEIN II
BASED ON FERENC MOLNAR’S PLAY LILIOM
AS ADAPTED BY BENJAMIN F. GLAZER
CHOREOGRAPHY BY DONALD BYRD
DIRECTED BY BILL BERRY
JACQUES BREL IS ALIVE AND WELL & LIVING IN PARIS
March 7 – May 17, 2015
A CO-PRODUCTION PRESENTED AT ACT – A CONTEMPORARY THEATRE
In 1968, a musical revue of songs by a little-known Belgian singer/songwriter opened Off-Broadway at the Village Gate and astounded the audiences who came to see it. It would run for four years and go on to be performed around the world. Packed with wit, intelligence and raw human emotion, Brel’s songs radiate stories of love and loss, hope and despair, humor and pathos. The emotional power of these songs has inspired hundreds of artists (everyone from David Bowie and Neil Diamond to Celine Dion and Nirvana) to cover his work. The poignant, passionate and profound songs of Jacques Brel are brought to vivid theatrical life in this intense musical experience.
CONCEPT AND ENGLISH LYRICS BY ERIC BLAU AND MORT SHUMAN
MUSIC BY JACQUES BREL
DIRECTED BY DAVID ARMSTRONG
April 29 – May 24, 2015
From the director and choreographer of The Book of Mormon, The Drowsy Chaperone and Disney’s Aladdin, comes this hilarious new world premiere original musical comedy. The time is Renaissance England where two brothers, Nick and Nigel Bottom, are desperate to write a hit play. But how can they when the competition is the biggest star of the era, everyone’s favorite bard: William Shakespeare? So they seek out the soothsayer Nostradamus. But not the Nostradamus, his nephew Thomas, who gives our heroes a completely original idea from the future–write a play with songs! And thus, the first ever musical is born. But not without much mayhem, madness, and musical mishaps. There is indeed Something Rotten! –and it will have you rolling in the aisles.
MUSIC AND LYRICS BY WAYNE KIRKPATRICK AND KAREY KIRKPATRICK
BOOK BY KAREY KIRKPATRICK AND JOHN O’FARRELL
DIRECTED AND CHOREOGRAPHED BY CASEY NICHOLAW
ORIGINAL CONCEPT BY WAYNE KIRKPATRICK & KAREY KIRKPATRICK
July 9 – August 2, 2015
Tease your hair, grab your black leather jacket, and hop on your Harley. The T-Birds and the Pink Ladies are rolling into The 5th. You won’t forget the timeless tale of the students of Rydell High that ran for 8 years in its Broadway debut, has played two wildly successful revivals, and spawned the ever-popular hit film starring John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John. You’ll be singing and dancing along to some of Broadway’s most memorable pop-hits including “Beauty School Dropout,” “Hopelessly Devoted to You,” “Greased Lightnin’,” and “You’re the One that I Want.”
BOOK, MUSIC, AND LYRICS BY
JIM JACOBS & WARREN CASEY
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Content Advisories for the 14 /15 Season
A Chorus Line
A Chorus Line tells the story of a group of dancers auditioning for the chorus of a Broadway musical. The characters consist of 24 dancers, the choreographer who will make the final selection, and his assistant. The action takes place in “real time” – several hours – and in the process, the group of auditioners will first be narrowed down to 17 and finally winnowed down to the eight people who will actually be cast. Since A Chorus Line offers a realistic portrayal of how these characters would behave in a high-pressure, competitive situation, the dancers often make use of frank language to relieve the tension. Some of this language is relatively mild (a few uses of “hell,” “God,” “goddamn,” “Jesus Christ”) and some of it is a little stronger (three uses of the “f” word as a swear word). At one point, Diana, describing the exercises in her acting class, asserts that “This bullshit was absurd.” At another moment, Richie tells of rejecting his original ambition to be a kindergarten teacher, and the other dancers echo his remark to himself (“Shit, Richie!’) as a kind of choral refrain. A Chorus Line also occasionally makes use of slang words for body parts: Val, in her song, “Dance:10; Looks: 3,” tells about how plastic surgery saved her career. Sample lyric: “Tits and Ass. / Bought myself a fancy pair. / Tightened up the Derriere. / Did the nose with it / All that goes with it.”
None. Toward the end of the show, one of the dancers misses a turn and falls, injuring himself; after he is taken to the hospital, the other auditioners wonder if he will ever be able to dance again and speculate about what they will do when their careers are over.
Bobby refers to his father’s drinking: “This big corporation . . . used to send him out into the field a lot – to drink. Better that than to find him lying on his office floor.”
The choreographer (Zach) asks the auditioners to tell him about themselves. Because he asks most of them when they first decided they wanted to dance, many of the dancers share stories about their adolescent years. This leads to a number of disclosures about their first awkward and guilt-ridden sexual feelings and experiences. Mark, for instance, tells about how his mistook his first wet dream for the symptoms of gonorrhea (described in an anatomy book, which was his primary source for sex education). Other dancers confide about seeing their parents having sex, discovering masturbation (“locked in the bathroom with Peyton Place”), and trying to hide signs of sexual stimulation while in high school (“I’d have to lean up against the desk like this, walk like this with my books stacked up in front of me”). Two of the dancers discuss what it was like realizing their sexual orientation as teenagers: Greg tells a story about being with his girlfriend, “feeling her boobs,” and discovering for the first time that he was gay. Paul confides that he dropped out of school to escape being bullied and laughed at because he was a sissy; his first job was performing in drag at sixteen, a career that he desperately tried to hide from his parents.
A Chorus Line was one of the first “concept” musicals; that is, it is based on an idea rather than a plot. A number of themes are examined in this musical, among them:
The brevity and insecurity of a dancer’s life. Even the eight dancers who are cast in the show at the end of A Chorus Line will be employed only as long as this particular show runs. In addition, the auditioners are painfully aware that dancing, like athletics, is a young person’s game, and that a dancer’s career is a short one.
The trauma of making it through puberty, especially when one is somehow marked as “different.” Many of the auditioners disclose that their dedication to dance provided them with a lifeline during a bumpy adolescence and helped them survive to full-fledged and fully-functioning adulthood.
The distinctions made between chorus members and stars and the different demands made on each. Cassie, who has appeared in featured roles, has an especially hard time adjusting to being back in the line; every move she makes that is right for a star is totally wrong for the chorus. A Chorus Line is thus a tribute to those in the background who provide support for the stars who bask in the spotlights.
Kinky Boots is adapted from the 2005 British film of the same name, which was based on a true story. The musical won six Tonys, including Best Musical and Best Score.
Charlie, a shy and straitlaced shoe factory owner, and Lola, a flamboyant drag queen (and professionally trained boxer), form an unlikely partnership to save Charlie’s failing business: instead of men’s dress shoes, they will produce fancy footwear for drag artists. In the process, they discover some truths about accepting other people as they are.
The language is relatively mild, especially since most of the terms are British and do not have the same impact in the states (“What do I know about producing a bloody fashion show in bleedin’ Italy?”). A couple of vulgar expressions are heard (“Shite,” “Piss off!” “We’ve gone tits up”) as well as “pouf” and “poufy,” British derogatory words for gay men.
These are implied rather than explicit. Sample line: LOLA: “Sex shouldn’t be comfy!” TRISH: “Oh, good. I thought it was just me.” In the song “The Sex is in the Heels,” Lola describes the seductive quality the footwear should have: “two and a half feet of irresistible tubular sex.”
Lola’s chorus, the Angels, are seen dancing suggestively and Lola and Pat, a female factory worker, dance a sexy tango together.
Three hooligans pursue Lola, who threatens them with a boot, but hits Charlie by mistake. Two characters engage in a boxing match.
Characters are seen toasting each other with champagne and drinking in pubs.
A Christmas Story
Based on the much-loved holiday movie, A Christmas Story is suitable for most theatergoers and should be enjoyed by families attending with young children. Concerned parents should examine the guidelines below.
Ralphie’s father, “the old man,” frequently uses profanity, but it is represented onstage as nonsense words (example: “The fumulgatin’, faarfignugin furnace has gone out!”). Likewise when a forbidden word inadvertently escapes Ralphie’s lips, the word heard onstage is “fudge,” although the narrator informs us, “Only I didn’t say ‘fudge,’ I said the word. The big one. The Queen Mother of dirty words.”
Additional adult language is very mild: for instance, a whispered “Jesus!” and a couple of “for Christ’s sakes.” At one point a very frustrated Ralphie exclaims, “Son of a bitch!” Another kid addresses Ralphie with the words, “Listen, smartass.” One kid reports, “Ralphie beat the crap out of Scut Farkus.”
The lead character yearns to receive “an official Red Ryder Range Model Carbine Action Air Rifle” for Christmas, despite being told by virtually every adult that “you’ll shoot your eye out, kid.” Ralphie indulges in fantasies in which he conquers villains and crooks with the help of his longed-for BB gun.
Ralphie tells his mother that he learned the “fudge” word from his friend Schwartz; we see Ralphie’s mother inform Schwartz’s mother over the telephone and we hear Mrs. Schwartz whacking her son as he screams.
Bullies chase Ralphie and his friends; they attack one boy and twist his arm until he cries, “Uncle!” Later Ralphie has had enough of this and attacks the chief bully (while swearing in gibberish words), unable to stop until his mother pulls him away.
Ralphie accidentally shoots himself with his new rifle; the injury is minor.
The department store Santa has a flask and mentions getting a drink when his work hours are over. Ralphie’s father sips wine on Christmas morning.
Carousel is set in a small town on the New England coast in 1873. It focuses on the tragic romance between Julie Jordan, a mill worker, and Billy Bigelow, a barker for a carousel at an amusement park; they fall in love and marry impulsively, though it costs them both their jobs. Carousel, which has a haunting story and a magnificent score, was named by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein as their favorite of all of their shows.
The song “June is Bustin’ Out All Over” celebrates spring courtship rituals: Nettie observes that “all the rams that chase the ewe sheep/Are determined there’ll be new sheep/And the ewe sheep aren’t even keepin’ score!” In addition, she sings, “From Pennobscot to Augusty/All the boys are feelin’ lusty,’ And the girls ain’t even puttin’ up a fight.”
It is implied that Billy has had a relationships with his former employer, Mrs. Mullin. She tries to get Billy to come back to his job as a barker for her carousel; however, she only wants him if he agrees to leave Julie, and Billy says, “I know what you want.”
Billy threatens to hit Mrs. Mullin and threatens Carrie and Julie as well (for looking as if they are sorry for him).
After she and Billy are married, Julie confides in Carrie:
Julie: Last Monday he hit me.
Carrie: Did you hit him back?
Carrie: Whyn’t you leave him?
Julie: I don’t want to. Y’see, he’s unhappy ‘cause he ain’t workin’. That’s really why he hit me on Monday.
Carrie: Fine reason fer hittin’ you. Beats his wife ‘cause he ain’t workin’.
During the first act, a robbery goes wrong. The intended victim disarms one of the robbers, who runs; he then pulls a gun on the other perpetrator, who stabs himself (onstage) to avoid surrendering to the police.
During the second act, a father argues with his daughter and then hits her.
The language is very mild, consisting of a couple of “hells”, “damns,” and exclamations of “God!”
Billy suggests he and Julie go for a glass of beer.
Jacques Brel is Alive and Well (and Living in Paris)
Jacques Brel, a songwriter whose position in French culture was similar to that of Bob Dylan in the United States, was introduced to Americans in 1968 with the Off-Broadway revue Jacques Brel is Alive and Well (and Living in Paris). The production ran for 1,847 performances, at the time the third longest running show Off Broadway, and this revue of Jacques Brel’s songs has been internationally popular ever since.
Adult language in dialogue (only a little between songs) and lyrics is infrequent and relatively mild (“If you leave it to them, they will crochet the world the color of goose shit”).
The song “Timid Frieda” describes the title character who has just arrived in the city: “Timid Frieda/Who will lead her/On the street where/The cops all perish/For they can’t break her/And she can take her/Brave new fuck you stand.”
Also heard: “son of a bitch,””screwed” (used as a non-sexual term), “ass,” “pisses,” a couple of hells and damns.
The song “Marathon” makes its way through the decades until it speculates that the 21st Century might give us “Robots working in the cotton fields/Vacations on Venus, just a tourist deal/Fornication on tape, Instant Happiness/So we keep on dancing, dancing, we can’t rest.”
In the song “Amsterdam,” a drunken sailor “drinks to the health/Of the whores of Amsterdam/Who have promised their love/To one thousand other men.”
In the song “Brussels,” a singer complains about her grandparents: “He knew how to do it/And she let him do it/They lived in sin/Deliciously/Now they pray for my virginity.”
In the song “Next,” a man sings of being “still just a kid/When my innocence was lost/In a mobile army whore house/Gift of the army, free of cost” which becomes his “first case of gonorrhea.”
The singer in “Jackie” fantasizes about running a bordello and an opium den. In the song, “The Middle Class” three friends drink to excess.
Something Rotten, a brand-new musical comedy, is set in Elizabethan London; it tells the story of two down-and-out playwrights (Nick and Nigel Bottom) who prematurely invent the musical in order to compete with William Shakespeare. The show’s comedy is Monty Python-like in being outrageous and irreverent, including plenty of anachronistic modern references. Parents and concerned theatergoers should peruse the following guidelines carefully; also please note that because this is a new show, the creators will be making changes throughout its run.
The adult language is mild, but does contain quite a few “vulgar” expressions (sample lyric: “Everyone says I’m a twit? Shit!” This word and its variant “shite” appear frequently, in addition to “bitch,” “turd,” and “pissed.”) A few “hells,” “damns,” “bastards,” and one “God damn it!” are heard. A couple of words for body parts are used (“Don’t be a penis/The man is a genius.”) The word “screwed” is uttered, but not in a sexual way (“Even if he’s cheating, he’s beating the odds/If not, he’s screwed.”)
Most of these are implied rather than explicit.
It is suggested that Robin, a player who specializes in female roles, is gay (“If I was to wear dresses and hang about in taverns and flirt with men . . . You know? For research.”) It is also implied that the Earl of Suffolk, whom Nigel asks for financial support, is gay (“Wow. I thought if anyone would like a musical, it would be that guy.”) The word “poof,” a British term for a gay man, is used twice.
A song lyric describes “a play from Greek mythology” (Oedipus Rex) as “See a mother have sex with her son? Eww.”)
A chorus of women dressed as harem girls dance suggestively in one scene.
A running joke is that Nick and his true love, the puritan Portia, who are both inexperienced, become very aroused (without touching) whenever Nick reads his poetry to her (“Yes! Don’t stop!”). A beggar suggests to Nick that everyone has his own dream: “For me it’s a crumb or a wee bit of rum/and for you it’s a lassie for humpin’.”
Nick and Portia drink wine at a gathering in the park and get a little tipsy; Portia falls asleep and later passes out. Shakespeare (also drunk) makes an appearance at the park.
The working-class boys and girls of Grease, which is set in an urban high school in the 1950s, are not star football players or perky cheerleaders and they do not live next to Beaver Cleaver or Donna Reed; they are the “greasers” and their hip-swinging girlfriends. These working-class kids probably will not attend college and one day they may be stuck in dead-end, monotonous jobs; they are not among the prosperous go-getters who attend the Rydell High School reunion. But Grease celebrates the high school years that were their brief moment in the sun, commemorating their energy, their rebelliousness, and, above all, their solidarity as a group – all of the things that made them a force to be reckoned with.
Grease is not recommended for children under the age of 12. It contains some adult language, including some mildly vulgar words (samples: “Make one little joke and she goes apeshit,” “You suckers’ll be laughin’ out your ass.”) In addition, the “f” word is used about 5 times, always as an expletive rather than in a sexual context.
There are a few sexual references (samples: “She’s havin’ her period and wants to be alone,” “She put out?”, “Those ain’t leaves. They’re used rubbers,” “Hey, Rizzo, I hear you’re knocked up”). At one point, one of the girls is worried she may be pregnant (“The guy was usin’ a thing, but it broke”), but by the end, this turns out to be a false alarm (“I think I’m getting’ my friend.”)