The Sunday Giveaway: Two tickets to I’m Getting My Act Together and Taking It On The Road

If there was a Top 10 List of “Most Significant Events in the Theater” over the last twenty years, there’s no doubt that one of them would be the birth of Encores.

Encores was started in 1994 in order to “celebrate the rarely heard works of America’s most important composers and lyricists,” and it has brought us some incredible performances, and a few Broadway transfers, including one of the longest running Broadway shows of all timeChicago.

With that one show it has made an ultra-significant impact on the Broadway theater.

And now, because of its success, they’ve created an Off Broadway spinoff called Off-Center.

That’s right, Off-Center is the Off Broadway version of Encores.  And I’ve no doubt that it won’t be long until one of the shows that it puts up in concert will be headed to the Great White Way.  Oh and tickets are only $25.

Additionally, this program will only help showcase how essential the Off Broadway musical has been to American theater history (more on this in tomorrow’s blog).

The inaugural season of Off-Center included three titles:  The Cradle Will RockOff-Center’s Artistic Director’s own Violet, and the last show of the year is . . . the 70s female empowerment musical, I’m Getting My Act Together and Taking It On The Road.

And we’ve got two free tickets for one of you to see it!

Here’s how to win:

Tell me what your favorite Off Broadway musical is  . . . let’s come up with some ideas for Off-Center for the future.  Now remember, Spring Awakening, Rent, shows that started there that moved on, don’t count.

Give me something that started Off Broadway and stayed there.  For example . . . umm, let’s say mine is . . . ah . . . Altar Boyz.

Good luck!

 

(Got a comment? I love ‘em, so comment below! Email Subscribers, click here then scroll down to say what’s on your mind!)

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Comments
  • AJ says:

    Although I haven’t seen them, several shows that have proved their staying power Off-Broadway and are still running include Stomp, The Fantastics, Blue Man Group, Perfect Crime, and others.

  • Bobby Cronin says:

    Zombie Prom
    Dessa Rose
    John & Jen
    Bernarda Alba
    3 Postcards
    Das Barbecu

  • JEB says:

    1st Place
    “The Wild Party” MTC
    2nd Place
    “Tick Tick Boom”
    3rd Place
    “Reefer Madness”

  • Connor Coleman says:

    It’s difficult falling in love. At first, you find this amazing thing; it’s special, it’s life changing, it’s life affirming, and despite its faults, it is all yours. But as time goes on, things begin to change. Times change, moods change, actions change. You cling to the idea of what you had; all the while you worry where these changes will lead. Will it lead to ruin? Will something better come?

    I fell in love with Bare a year and half ago. I was rocked to my core with the emotional rapture of the sung-through score, finding personal resonance in a musical like I’d never before. Despite it’s flaws, this show reflected a fundamental turning point in my life. It was as if the show and I found each other. I thought I was at the zenith of this relationship when I was able to perform in the ensemble at American University in DC.

    Then came the news: Bare was opening Off-Broadway at the New World Stages.

    At first, I was ecstatic. Nearly a decade after it first opened Off-Broadway Bare was going back, and I would be a stone’s throw from New York when it would come again!

    Then came more news: there were going to be revisions to the show.

    Severe revisions.

    At first I was still excited for what that meant. Bare has problems, right? There are so many previous drafts to this show that what exists for licensing is a mostly coherent combination of those revisions. Its whole life is change. With the team that’s working on it, it’s bound to be good, right?

    But as the months went by, I began to worry. The Broadway On Broadway video of “Are You There?” was riddled with cracked high notes. News leaked that songs were being cut left and right. Suddenly this once pop-opera was now a book musical. What was happening to my show?!

    Fast forward to November 23. As I settled into my seat at Stage 4 at the New World Stages and turned my gaze to the minimal, yet deceptively complex, set with it’s 40,000 4’x 4’ photos, my pulse quickened. Please, let this be good. Please, let this be good. As the house lights dimmed and Father Mike (now he gets a name!) and the rest of the cast step out from hidden, photo-covered doorways, I held my breath.

    Then came the first chord of “A Million Miles From Heaven.”

    Cue the goose bumps. This was going to be good.

    For the next two hours and fifteen minutes the lives and relationships of the students of St. Cecilia’s were laid bare (pun intended). While we were to craft our own versions of Jason and Peter’s first meeting in the prior incarnations, we watch their love blossom from a stolen kiss over a homework assignment to the show’s tragic performance of Romeo & Juliet. We watched the world of St. Cecilia’s grow like never before: Sister Joan (formerly Sister Chantelle) doesn’t mesh well with Father Mike’s idea that tough issues should be ignored so as not to ruffle feathers, creating a tension not seen in previous versions; we see the homophobic, chauvinism of the sports world from which Jason must hide his relationship we were just supposed to accept existed in other Bares; even the secondary characters are given more vibrancy, like the formerly miniscule role of Diane Lee that now forms the humorous backbone of the dauntingly sad story and is now arguably one of the best characters in the show.

    But most importantly, in this version we see contemporary society reflected on stage. We watch the students glued to their cell phones; social media is everywhere and acts as a villain itself; and we see a group of characters who, despite being in a Catholic boarding school, are not all bigots. Like many of the young people today, most wouldn’t care that Peter and Jason are gay (Nadia and Matt even have a small scene where they discuss whether or not Peter is gay, but neither really care), but they remain silent in the face of people who try to make another person’s sexuality their business. Which of course leads to heartbreaking results for the characters.

    The changes that Bare has undergone have made it better. Gone are the inconsistences and the melodrama, replaced by fully formed characters living in a world very different than the one upon which Intrabartolo and Hartmere based their first drafts. It makes the show all the more tragic, all the more real. I left the theatre fighting the urge to see it again… and again…and again. Curse ticket prices!

    I was lucky in love. I just wish more people were.

  • Sara Wolter says:

    The Fantasticks-favorite
    Nunsense
    Carrie
    Silence the musical

  • Sarah P. says:

    The Toxic Avenger!! 🙂 And for a more current example, Murder Ballad (which I’m seeing again tonight)!

  • Brian D says:

    I would love to see Bat Boy get the Encores treatment. Such a fun show with a great score and enough funny roles to get a great cast together.

  • “Little Shop of Horrors,” a delightful classic. Great score, funny characters, smart entertainment. Also, “Two Gentleman of Verona,” the musical. It was a successful production at The Public Theater under the vision of Joe Papp, and recently had a concert version at Delacorte Theatre, in Central Park. Of course, also “I’m Taking My Act Together…” Its beautiful song “Old Friend” is really powerful, it would deserve to be recorded with new arrangements by a major singer. Three extra ones: “The Fantasticks,” “Nunsense” and “I Love You, You Are Perfect…” Final words: Why don’t produce a review of all the Off-Broadway musicals? There are awesome songs in many of the plays, even in those with a weak plot or uncertain dramatic construction. Let’s sing and dance, Off-Broadway style!

  • Michael B says:

    Rainbow (’72)
    El Bravo (’81)
    Ruthless (’92)
    Bat Boy (’01)
    Reefer Madness (’01)

  • Billy Recce says:

    So many wonderful shows! Off-Broadway is the perfect way to give new musical theatre writers a chance to get their name out there, especially when Broadway is so much harsher and less open to young writers than it was in it’s earlier years. It is the perfect venue for both experimental productions and smaller, yet commercial shows. Bat Boy definitely comes to mind, as in my opinion, it has one of the funniest, and most dramatically satisfying scores of any pop-show in recent years. The Last Five Years is such a brilliant example of how you can do so much with so little, dramatically speaking. It has believable characters and an inventive score, which is also, in my opinion, JRB’s best. These two shows have produced cast recording that are some of the only ones that never get old for me. Other greats of recent years are Violet, which also has produced a gem of a score that shows a perfect example of Jeanine Tesori’s talent and musicality, Reefer Madness, which has one of the most consistently outlandish and funny books of Off-Broadway, and of course, March of The Falsettos and Falsettoland, which, although they were combined for a broadway run, still remain powerful pieces on their own. These two shows most importantly have an impact on me as a young, aspiring composer, as they show me a human side in musicals, and how a musical can be both intensely serious and incredibly funny at the same time (and their scores are, in my opinion, one of the top 10 scores of the last 30 years).
    And of course, how could we forget the gem of a show, The Fantasticks, which really helped to rise Off-Broadway to prominence in the commercial world, and is, on it’s own, one of the best musicals ever written, up there with the Broadway Greats.

    Just my (very wordy) opinion. If you couldn’t tell, I feel very passionately about off-Broadway musicals! 🙂

  • Noah P says:

    Giant

  • auntieFSR says:

    Pump Boys and Dinettes. Miss the Circle in the Square Downtown so much. Saw many wonderful musicals in the heart of Greenwich Village.

  • Alexis Marnel says:

    So many swirling in my head and although this isn’t straight up musical theater – there is singing and dancing the one man show starring coleman doming, “A Boy and his Soul”, choreographed by Ken Roberson 🙂

  • Alexis Marnel says:

    So many swirling in my head and although this isn’t straight up musical theater – there is singing and dancing the one man show starring coleman doming, “A Boy and his Soul”, choreographed by Ken Roberson 🙂

  • Mark says:

    How about the off-Broadway musical with the 2nd longest titles (after I’M GETTING MY ACT TOGETHER…): TUSCALOOSA’S CALLING ME, BUT I’M NOT GOING. Played the the Westsideon 43rd Street.

  • Stacey says:

    Batboy.
    Bed and Sofa.
    Goblin Market.
    The Adding Machine.

  • Deborah Chuk says:

    Definitely Dames at Sea in 1968 with Bernadette Peters. This was like my second off-bway musical the first being Little Mary Sunshine (which was also terrific and where I fell in love with John McMartin). But Dames at Sea was so much fun. Although I grew up in NYC I went to college in North Carolna. One weekend my future husband and two other friends and I drove to NY – and saw this amazingly fun show. We met Bernadette afterward and she signed our programs (which I still have). While signing she asked my husband his name and she wrote on the program “To Harvey – Happy Birthday.” We had no idea how she came up with that but it was all in keeping with the great time we had at the show. Loved the spoofing of those Great Busby Berkeley musicals on that small stage at the Lortel. I think about it everytime we see a show at the Lortel. I know it’s been revived elsewhere – London for instance – but I would love to see it here again in NYC.

  • jennifer terstenyak says:

    My favorites :are
    avenue q
    silence the musical
    Do not remember if it was off broadway but blood brothers
    all the rage
    To be honest ive seen so many amazing off broadway shows .they are usually my favorites.

  • Hap Erstein says:

    The Mad Show.
    A clever stage version of the seminal humor magazine, with a great emerging cast (Marcia Rodd, Jo Anne Worley, Paul Sand, Dick Libertini.) And a great song, “The Boy From…,” the only collaboration of Mary Rodgers and Stephen Sondheim. Why was this show never revived? It’s a natural.

  • Nathan C says:

    When I last checked, Avenue Q was Off-Broadway still, and I love it, so there you go.

  • EllenFD says:

    I was bat-crazy for BAT BOY. It was not only tuneful in a traditional show sense but also delved into a more contemporary sound, and the admixture was exciting. The book was funny and while a parody of sci-fi and musicals in general, at the same time it was insightful of human behavior. “Hold me, Bat Boy,” indeed. At the time, BAT BOY was the best reason I had to go downtown.

  • tony d says:

    “evil dead – the musical”

  • Lauren says:

    I was enchanted by The Blue Flower at 2ST a few years back and would love to see it get another life.

  • Roger Gindi says:

    YOUR OWN THING, a pop-rock retelling of TWELFTH NIGHT. Lots of fun with groovy tunes, mod costumes, and gender confusion!

  • Stephen Schapero says:

    See What I Wanna See!!!!

  • Brian says:

    Marry Me A Little, The Last 5 Years, Bat Boy, I saw original production of each. If shows that later transfer to Bway were allowed: Everyday Rapture, Assassins, Sunday In The Park With George and the best musical ever: A Chorus Line.

  • Ina Clark says:

    MARCH OF THE FALSETTOS. Just moved back to NY after school, getting re-involved in theater, and it made me feel like a world had just opened up. Thrilling. Oh, and I just wanted to weigh in ’cause I already have tickets for “Getting my Act Together …” Enjoy your Sunday night!

  • nancy cohen says:

    Duh Ring Gott Farblonjet… or close to that title. This Charles Ludlam spectacle mixed Wagner’s entire Ring cycle – Das Rheingold, Die Walkure, Siegfried, and Gotterdammerung The Yiddish-Elizabethan was a hoot and I’ve never forgotten my first exposure to this theatrical insanity.

  • Believe it or not – Bingo:The Musical. I think it’s a briiliant idea. How many people in this country are hooked? Millions. In the show they actually included a real game – everyone got a bingo card along with their program.

    Touring should also be a snap if they made the words “The Musical” very small. Bingo addicts would walk in by accident and get so much” more than just bingo.

    then there is also “Woody Sez” that for the very first time is playing the Guthrie Center in Great Barrington, MA this August for 2 nights. The cast is led by David Lutken, an actor who has made his living mainly by doing what he calls “Gi-tar Theater. I saw him stop the show “The Civil War” twice on Broadway with just his voice and guitar. After I saw him do it once I had to go back and see if it could happen again.

    it sure did. David Lutken is an American gi-tar theater treasure.

    maybe the two shows;could tour together: Woody SezPlay Bingo: The musical

  • Jeanie says:

    See What I Wanna See is my favorite off-Broadway musical. The Blue Flower is a close second.

  • Scott Kirschenbaum says:

    Olympus on My Mind–“There’s Tom, Dick, and Horace. I’m Dolores–and we’re the chorus!”–not sure if that is the exact lyric–but it has stayed with me since I first saw it!!

    The Spitfire Grill–had a GREAT cast–and it’s a beautiful score–if you don’t know it, get the CD

  • Stephen Russell says:

    Ashman & Mencken’s “God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater”

  • Matt Mezzacappa says:

    Spandex

  • Bryan Austermann says:

    So hard to choose….

    I just saw Here Lies Love and I think that is actually by far my favorite. It was incredible.

    But I also just saw Unlock’d today and thought it was a BLAST! So much fun. And I LOVED Bare a ton!

    So if total awesomeness wins – Here Lies Love
    If FUN wins – Unlock’d
    If making me cry wins – Bare.

  • Claire says:

    The Adding Machine

  • Tony p says:

    1. Dessa Rose
    2. Zanna, Don’t!
    3. Zombie Prom
    4. Tick, Tick… Boom!

  • Bob says:

    I missed RUTHLESS! when it ran but I would say that the first Off-Broadway musical that I saw (although it was after the fact in a production in South Carolina) that would be great to see in the Off-Centre series is A… MY NAME IS ALICE.

  • Caroline McFee says:

    THE WILD PARTY
    That show was amazing and had a memorable run. Idina Menzel…enough said.

  • Anthony says:

    Bare (2004)
    Carrie
    The Last Five Years
    Dogfight
    Murder Ballad

  • Andy Monroe says:

    THE FANTASTICKS is a perfect show. I wish I’d written it. So beautifully crafted and both magical and moving.

  • Ellie says:

    Now. Here. This.

  • Brittany says:

    A New Brain!

  • Clare says:

    Queen of the Mist
    Zanna Don’t!

  • Allie says:

    Floyd Collins. Never got to see it live, but the music brings me to tears every time and I just think it’s one of the most inventive, poignant stories to ever be told on stage.

  • Diane says:

    Well if my picture were next to my name when commenting, Ken would certainly know my favorite off Broadway show without my even naming it. But it’s his very own, Altar Boyz! Ken, I’m dying for you to put together a reunion concert of this show!!!!! (as are many other people I know). But other favorites are Toxic Avenger, F#%king Up Everything, Tick Tick Boom, & Dogfight. I like Carrie too, but I’m not sure, but I think the original version with Betty Buckley was a Broadway show, but the “revival” was an off Broadway show. And Glory Days was a Broadway show, but it might have had a chance if it were an off Broadway show. So I have to include Carrie because it last ran as an off Broadway show & Glory Days because it first ran way way way off Broadway in Virginia (& it’s comes in 2nd to ABz in the “I LOVE” category.

  • Kyle Abraham says:

    The Last 5 Years

  • Andrew says:

    Gotta be Zombie Prom! The 1996 Off-Broadway show by Dempsey and Rowe is clever, edgy and heartfelt, with a fantastic rock score.

    It’s Grease meets Little Shop of Horrors meets Rocky Horror. It was Hairspray before there WAS a Hairspray.

  • Rebecca Black says:

    The Old Man and the Old Moon! Great work from an excellent group!

  • Duncan says:

    Zanna, Don’t!

  • Karen Schrempp says:

    LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS.

  • Cheryl Dzubak says:

    We loved Forever Dusty, but it didn’t last long at all and got such great reviews!

  • Arthur says:

    The Marvelous Wonderettes was so charming and fun – every time I saw it.

  • John Dallal says:

    I saw a lovely Off-Broadway show back in
    the late sixties:Curly McDimple. It was
    a musical about a Shirley Temple-like
    character. But what really grabbed me was
    seeing Butterfly McQueen in it,whose performance I loved in Gone With The Wind.
    She was an absolute delight in the show!

  • Hands down, my favorite was “The Grass Harp.” Close on its heels is “Amazing Romance.”

  • Jack Lechner says:

    Like you, Ken, I’m biased — my favorite off-Broadway musical is The Kid, for which I wrote the lyrics to Andy Monroe’s wonderful music and Michael Zam’s funny and touching book. I loved everything about the experience, and I miss seeing the cast every day, Facebook notwithstanding!

  • Gabbi Hanes says:

    Bare: a Pop Opera
    Forbidden Broadway (don’t know for sure that it hasn’t been on broadway in one of its many years, but most editions have stayed off)
    The Fantastiks
    Toxic Avengers

  • Billy-Christopher Maupin says:

    john and jen!!!

    Also The Last Five Years and The Fantasticks, of course.

    And if it went BACK to Off-Broadway does it count? Cuz if it does, then my all-time favorite would be…

    PETER AND THE STARCATCHER!!!!!!!!!

  • Brian Jones says:

    I’ve got to go with Dan Goggin’s Nunsense. He has created not only 5 lovable nuns and a great premise, but a Nunsense empire of multiple “sequels and spin offs” that have toured the country and have been recorded and released on DVD, TV, etc! They just did Nunsense “MUNY” style in St. Louis with Phyllis Smith and 50 nuns! Dan Goggin keeps recreating and updating this off-broadway masterpiece and has turned the premise of the Little Sisters of Hoboken into an off-broadway empire!

  • Jen S. says:

    Ruthless!

  • Todd says:

    Forever Plaid
    Altar Boyz

  • Lonnie Cooper says:

    I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change,

  • Mary M says:

    Nunsense

  • Elizabeth T says:

    I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change and Batboy. Both, I had the pleasure of doing in college!

  • Josh says:

    I think IN TROUSERS was the perfect example of an off-Broadway musical. It pretty much launched the careers of both William Finn and Alison Fraser, and also paved the way for Finn’s Marvin trilogy. This only could’ve happened off-Broadway!

  • Laurie Bloom says:

    Annie Warbucks! I like it better than Annie! The music is so much fun and even though it was Off Broadway it was a huge production featuring the amazing Donna Mckechnie! I have 2 numbers from that show that I sing in auditions and am always receiving compliments! I think we are definitely due for another Annie Warbucks production!

  • Mary M. says:

    Bat Boy
    The Explorers Club
    The Toxic Avenger

  • Randi says:

    Altar Boyz

  • Evan says:

    You’re A Good Man Charlie Brown (the original cast with Reva Rose as Lucy), Lone Star Love (with Jay O. Sanders incredible as Big John Falstaff), Little Shop of Horrors, Pumpboys and Dinettes, and On Second Avenue (with the late, great Bruce Adler). Hard to pick a favorite and there are others, but these were memorable.

  • Barb Seaton says:

    I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change

  • Amanda says:

    I would love to see Paul Scott Goodman’s BRIGHT LIGHTS BIG CITY. The show is practically sung-through, so it would be a wonderful Encores! staged concert since it would essentially be the entire show. There’s great leading roles (Jamie, Tad) and wonderful featured parts too (Vicki, Amanda, Michael, the mother, etc.). The Sh-K-Boom concept recording is absolutely stellar and this show deserves more live productions.

  • Sabrina says:

    SAVED from Playwrights Horizons in 2008! It was a fun production then that would really get to spread it’s American Eagle Christian Academy wings. If they wanted to, they could even invite back Encores! alum Celia Keenan-Bolger and now-TV star Aaron Tveit to star in the concert staging.

  • Abby says:

    Murder Ballad
    Here Lies Love
    Giant
    Road Show
    Fun Home

  • Madeline Raynor says:

    Gutenberg the Musical
    The Toxic Avenger
    The Last Five Years

  • sara says:

    Bat Boy. All the way.

  • Sarah C says:

    I loved See What I Wanna See!

  • Trixie says:

    Little Mary Sunshine
    Starring John McMartin
    He met his wife during this production. She was the producer, Cynthia Baer.

  • Karen Campbell says:

    I was all set to say GIANT. Beautiful, sweeping orchestrations in a range of musical styles by Michael John LaChiusa…a large orchestra visible in a loft over the stage…brilliant performances by Bryan D’Arcy James and Kate Baldwin and others…voices becoming part of the orchestra..instruments becoming voices..and I found I didn’t want to leave Bick and Leslie – I wanted to know them and more about them. So, I was all set to say GIANT. Then I was reading some of the responses above and I see that Amanda suggested Paul Scott Goodman’s BRIGHT LIGHTS, BIG CITY. Yes. So there’s another great one. I was fortunate to see BLBC staged in Philadelphia and to have the chance to tell Mr. Goodman how much I enjoyed it. So I can’t pick a favorite, they’re both favorites and both deserve to be seen and appreciated. Luckily both of these musicals have wonderful cast albums so they will live on. “My typer isn’t hyper anymore.”

  • Rick Shulman says:

    I thought the original ASSASSINS was better than the Broadway revival. Other favorites include THE BUBBLY BLACK GIRL SHEDS HER CHAMELEON SKIN and 3 GUYS NAKED FROM THE WAIST DOWN.

  • Debbie says:

    I loved Lucky Guy, the musical, with Varla Jean Merman. First saw it at Norma Terris in CT…twice…then off-Broadway, where it unfortunately closed early. A corny, yet heartwarming , happy-ending story with great performances and wonderful music .

  • Leonie says:

    I went to see Murder Ballad this week! Great show, shame it is closing already!

  • Jeryl M says:

    I liked I Love You You’re Perfect Now Change

  • Natalie Randall says:

    Dessa Rose – One of the most underrated shows, but is so beautiful and Lachanze was amazing in it! I had the chance to do the show in my hometown and it was one on the best experiences ever!
    A recent show would be Unbroken Circle…AMAZING!

  • Virginia Pike says:

    Floyd Collins, or Giant, or Saturn Returns

  • ECP says:

    Tough to play favorites sometimes. Reasons vary. “Dames at Sea” and “Promenade” were on the tip of my tongue, but I’ll go with “Song of Singapore.” A dive, a ditsy amnesiac club singer, December 1941. A giddy delight made memorable by a star-making performance. (Can you say D-o-n-n-a M-u-r-p-h-y?)

    Nice to have another “off-season” option to re/discover musicals. “Singapore,” “Fashion,” and maybe “The Faggot” would make for a summer camp(y) program.

  • Cara says:

    Unfortunately I never was able to see OT bit still “Tick Tick Boom” is a HUGE favorite of mine!! Violet The Musical is another favorite of mine.

  • The Fantasticks, still running!!

  • Oh yeah, and the very original “Stairway to Hell”, which was copied, bastardized, and turned into “Rock of Ages” which is a horribly watered down version of the original true metal,head banging musical
    which ran in 2009 at Snitch’s on 21st St.

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