TEN MUST-SEE BROADWAY SHOWS THIS FALL!

You Can’t Take It With You

STARRING: James Earl Jones, Rose Byrne, Annaleigh Ashford, Kristine Nielsen, Fran Kranz, Elizabeth Ashley, Johanna Day, Byron Jennings, and Reg Rogers
WHEN: Now through January 4, 2015
WHERE: Longacre Theatre / youcanttakeitwithyoubroadway.com
WHY YOU SHOULD SEE IT: In her dazzling Broadway debut, Rose Byrne (Damages) continues to show off the comedic chops she displayed in Bridesmaids and Neighbors. With a cast that includes screen and stage legend James Earl Jones (Star WarsThe Great White HopeFences), the always hilarious Kristine Nielsen (Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike), and a scene-stealing Annaleigh Ashford (Kinky Boots), You Can’t Take It With You is a raucous comedy about an eccentric family that clashes with the conservative and rigid parents of the daughter’s fiancée when they come to dinner on the wrong night. This revival includes everything from snakes to fireworks to Russian royalty to prison sentences to ballet dancers – what more could you ask for?
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You Can’t Take It With You

This Is Our Youth

STARRING: Michael Cera, Kieran Culkin, Tavi Gevinson
WHEN: Now through January 4, 2015
WHERE: Cort Theatre / thisisouryouthbroadway.com
WHY YOU SHOULD SEE IT: Set in New York in 1982, this Kenneth Lonergan-written play chronicles 48 hours in the lives of three materialistic teenagers. Michael Cera (Arrested DevelopmentSuperbad) makes his Great White Way debut as Warren, a dejected 19-year-old who has just stolen $15,000 from his father, while Kieran Culkin (Igby Goes Down) plays his drug-dealing friend whose apartment acts as the show’s setting. Rookie Magazine founder and Editor-in-chief Tavi Gevinson rounds out the cast as Jessica, a fashion student that Warren tries to impress with his newfound cash. Tackling issues of adolescence against the backdrop of the Raegan era, This Is Our Youth has all the makings of a contemporary classic.
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This Is Our Youth

Hedwig & The Angry Inch

STARRING: Andrew Rannells (through October 12), Michael C. Hall (starting October 16), Lena Hall
WHEN: Now
WHERE: Belasco Theatre / hedwigbroadway.com
WHY YOU SHOULD SEE IT: Winner of this year’s Tony Award for Best Revival of a Musical, the premiere Broadway production of this rock musical tells the story of a fictional rock and roll band fronted by a transgender woman from East Berlin. Hedwig tells her story in an extended monologue, recalling a romance that never came to fruition after a botched sex change operation tore the couple apart. A thought-provoking musical with a genius score, Hedwig stars Andrew Rannells (GirlsThe Book of Mormon) through October 12, at which point Michael C. Hall (Six Feet UnderDexter) will don the illustrious wig of the title role.
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Hedwig & The Angry Inch

Cabaret

STARRING: Alan Cumming, Michelle Williams (through November 9), Emma Stone (from November 11-February 1, 2015), Danny Burstein, Linda Emond
WHEN: Now through March 29, 2015
WHERE: Studio 54 / cabaretmusical.com
WHY YOU SHOULD SEE IT: This fall, Alan Cumming will be on your TV screen as the neurotic and brilliantly manipulative Eli Gold on CBS’ The Good Wife and at your local bookstore with the release of his gripping new memoir, Not My Father’s Son. But you’re not truly a fan of Cumming’s until you’ve seen his career-best performance as the Master of Ceremonies in Cabaret. Reprising his Tony Award-winning role from the 1998 production, Cumming is joined in the Kit Kat Klub by Academy Award nominee Michelle Williams (Blue Valentine; Brokeback Mountain) as the self-destructive Sally Bowles. And when Williams trades in her pink boa, it’ll be picked up by Emma Stone (The HelpEasy A) – who was originally rumored to play Bowles when this revival was first announced. With an unforgettable score by Kander and Ebb, Cabaret shines a spotlight on 1930’s Berlin when sex was rampant and the darkest period in Germany’s history was just around the corner.
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Cabaret

A Delicate Balance

STARRING: Glenn Close, John Lithgow, Martha Plimpton, Lindsay Duncan, Bob Balaban, Clare Higgins
WHEN: October 20 – February 22, 2015
WHERE: John Golden Theatre / adelicatebalancebroadway.com
WHY YOU SHOULD SEE IT: Three-time Tony Award-winner Glenn Close (DamagesSunset Boulevard) makes her overdue return to the Broadway stage in this revival of Edward Albee’s exploration of a long-married couple during the course of a weekend when their daughter returns home after the dissolution of her fourth marriage. Meanwhile, their home also acts as a refuge for some of their friends and an alcoholic sister. And you thought your family reunions were dramatic.
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A Delicate Balance

It’s Only A Play

STARRING: Matthew Broderick, Nathan Lane, Stockard Channing, Megan Mullally, Rupert Grint, F. Murray Abraham, Micah Stock 
WHEN: 
Now through January 4, 2015
WHERE: 
Schoenfeld Theatre / itsonlyaplay.com
WHY YOU SHOULD SEE IT: 
Terrence McNally’s biting, hilarious satire on the world of theater makes its Broadway debut with an all-star cast. As a panicked playwright nervously awaits the reviews of the opening night of his new show, he shares his anxieties with the production’s drug-addled lead actress, a television star, a snide critic, a first-time producer, a young director, and the coat check guy. What ensues is a chaotic, and uproarious look at what it takes to put up a Broadway production.
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It’s Only A Play

The Elephant Man

STARRING: Bradley Cooper, Patricia Clarkson, Alessandro Nivola, Anthony Heald, Scott Lowell, Kathryn Meisle, Henry Stram
WHEN: 
November 7 – February 15, 2015
WHERE: 
Booth Theatre / elephantmanbroadway.com
WHY YOU SHOULD SEE IT: 
Set in 19th century England, The Elephant Man is based on the true story of Joseph Merrick, star of a traveling freak show. As Merrick’s popularity rises, he attracts the attention of a beautiful actress who’s fascinated by his story and profound intelligence. Cooper and Clarkson have both proven to be some of the most versatile screen actors around, so it’ll be exciting to see how that translates to the stage. Sorry Ryan Murphy, but this is the freak show we’re most excited about.
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The Elephant Man

Side Show

STARRING: Erin Davie, Emily Padgett, Ryan Silverman, David St. Louis, Matthew Hydzik
WHEN: October 28 – TBD
WHERE: St. James Theatre / sideshowbroadway.com
WHY YOU SHOULD SEE IT: Academy Award-winning director Bill Condon (ChicagoDreamgirls) makes his Broadway debut with this retooled musical revival based on the incredible true story of twins Daisy and Violet Hilton. Set in the 1920s and 30s, Side Show follows the sisters’ journey as they go from being vaudeville acts to glamorous Hollywood stars, all while looking for love and a sense of normalcy under the spotlight. The original 1997 production launched the careers of Alice Ripley and Emily Skinner, and based on what we’ve seen so far, Davie and Padgett seem to be on the same path.
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Side Show

Les Misérables

STARRING: Ramin Karimloo, Will Swenson, Caissie Levy, Nikki M. James, Andy Mientus
WHEN: Now – TBD
WHERE: Imperial Theatre / lesmis.com/broadway
WHY YOU SHOULD SEE IT: Ramin Karimloo. Plain and simple, Karimloo is the most talented actor to ever take on the role of Jean Valjean. Making his Broadway debut after a successful career on the West End, Karimloo has a jaw dropping voice that makes this musical soar to breathtaking new heights (and it doesn’t hurt that he’s not upsetting to look at either). With this revival, Broadway has found a leading man who has the ability to not only make an old musical feel new and exciting again, but someone who will undoubtedly become one of the most revered stage actors of our time.
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Les Misérables

The Real Thing

STARRING: Ewan McGregor, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Cynthia Nixon
WHEN: 
Now through Jan 4, 2015
WHERE: 
American Airlines Theatre / roundabouttheatre.org
WHY YOU SHOULD SEE IT: 
This revival of Tom Stoppard’s acclaimed play-within-a-play explores what happens when life starts imitating art. A playwright who’s unhappily married to the lead in his current play about a marriage that’s falling apart starts to have an affair with their mutual friend. But as their relationship progresses, he starts to wonder where the boundaries between truth and fiction lie. A complex look into married life, this production promises to pack a punch as powerful as the performances within.
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The Real Thing

Originally published on PopBytes

INGRID MICHAELSON CELEBRATES “LIGHTS OUT” IN NYC

Shervin Lainez 4

She’s been performing for nearly a decade, but 2014 is shaping up to be Ingrid Michaelson’s biggest year yet.

On Wednesday, the 34-year-old played to a sold-out crowd of approximately 5,500 adoring fans at New York’s iconic Central Park SummerStage. It was the singer / songwriter’s largest headlining show to date, and Michaelson was very visibly moved by the turnout when she stepped onto the stage to commemorate the milestone.

But the size of the venue wasn’t the only reason that the flame-haired native Staten Islander was celebrating that night. “Girls Chase Boys,” the lead single off her new album Lights Out (iTunes), had just sold a coveted 500,000 copies. And her band surprised her by presenting her with a plaque lauding the achievement right before she broke into the song.

With an accompanying viral music video that pays homage to Robert Palmer’s “Simply Irresistible,” “Girls Chase Boys” is Michaelson’s highest-charting single since her breakout “The Way I Am” peaked at #37 in 2007. The upbeat track can be found not only on the Billboard Pop Songs top 40 chart, but also in a Target ad, movie trailers, and an upcoming episode of The Voice. Not too shabby for someone who was discovered on MySpace and doesn’t have the support of a major record label (Michaelson still records under the Cabin 24 Records banner–a label she started so that she can keep full artistic control and rights to her music).

It’s not just the growing list of accolades that makes “Girls Chase Boys” a defining turning point in Michaelson’s repertoire. Upon its release, the song signaled an artistic evolution that found the singer straying away from her indie rock roots to exploring her pop sensibilities in ways she never has before. It became instantly clear that she’s now more inspired by artists like Sia and Lana Del Rey, who have managed to blend their unique styles with contemporary pop to form layered and distinct new sounds, than by musicians like Regina Spektor or the late Elliott Smith, whose influences were very apparent in her earlier work.

Ingrid Michaelson

When it came time to work on Lights Out, Michaelson decided to take a slightly different creative approach than with her previous albums. This time around, she chose to invite various other artists and producers to lend their talents to the record–including BusbeeA Great Big WorldKatie Herzig,Mat Kearney, and Trent Dabbs. This allowed her to turn it into a passion project that resembled a musical family affair.

“The first half of 2012 was pretty rough in terms of just my own health and my family’s health, and there was just a lot of darkness,” Michaelson recently told Yahoo! Entertainment, explaining what inspired her to switch gears and ditch her solo act. “When you have a really hard time it changes you in a lot of ways, and when I came out of it, I just wanted to do things differently. I had this change of heart and I wanted to embrace the idea of making a very collaborative record.”

During the recording of the album, Michaelson’s mother was battling cancer, her dog died, and she herself was diagnosed with Graves’ disease. As a result, the album is lyrically rather dark, despite its sonically poppier sound. “A lot of what I wrote about in the past was just straight up love and I have no problem admitting that,” she explained to The Wall Street Journal. In contrast, Lights Out is “more about coming to terms with losing people and your mortality.”

It’s fitting, then, that when Lights Out was released on April 5th, Michaelson performed an intimate concert at the gorgeous chapel in Brooklyn’s Green-Wood Cemetery. With a tiny audience that included celebrity pals Taylor Swift and Mariska Hargitay, the exclusive event quickly underlined just what an emotional and raw record Michaelson had created. Performing many of the tracks for a live audience for the first time, the chanteuse masterfully introduced her sixth record–which would go on to debut at #1 on iTunes and #5 on the Billboard 200.

Ingrid Michaelson / Lights Out

In May, when the official Lights Out tour first hit New York, Michaelson told another sold-out crowd at Terminal 5 that she had just learned the day before that her mother was finally cancer free. Two songs later, she helped an audience member propose to his girlfriend, further amplifying the celebration of life that the night had turned into. It was there that Lights Out became the work of someone who had emerged from a period of profound devastation, rather than that of someone still trying to work through it.

So when this week’s Central Park concert rolled around, Michaelson was ready to pull out all of the stops to make it her splashiest gig yet. All of a sudden, these songs of harrowing despair took on a new meaning of survival, and the singer was determined to show what that meant to her.

She brought her husband Greg Laswell (also a musician) to the stage to perform their Lights Out duet,“Wonderful Unknown,” a beautiful exploration of what new spouses have to look forward to together. “We make bread on Sundays and the little ones are climbing up the walls,” the duo lovingly crooned while Michaelson played piano and Laswell stood by her side. “Oh, nothing lasts forever but the sound of love astounds me every time that it calls.”

Ingrid Michaelson

And Laswell wasn’t the only guest performer joining Michaelson throughout the setlist. During “Over You,” Glee star Darren Criss sang the male part that usually belongs to A Great Big World. Irish folk-rockers Storyman came on stage for their collaboration, “You Got Me,” and singer/songwriter Eric Hutchinson assisted Michaelson on a rowdy cover of current MAGIC! summer hit, “Rude.” But nothing was more surprising than when former Journey lead vocalist Steve Augeri joined Michaelson during her encore for an energetic and unforgettable performance of the classic “Don’t Stop Believin’.”

While the night consisted primarily of cuts from Lights Out, the songstress also treated her fans to some of the most beloved tracks in her back catalogue–including “The Chain,” “Parachute,” “Soldier,” “Blood Brothers,” and a stirring medley of “Maybe” and “Everybody.” Additional highlights included one of Michaelson’s favorite songs to cover, “Can’t Help Falling In Love With You,” the always adorable “You And I,” and a gorgeously stripped down rendition of “The Way I Am.”

For her last song before the encore, Michaelson played Lights Out closer “Everyone Is Gonna Love Me Now.” A ballad that builds to a cinematic crescendo, the song feels like it’s specifically written for audience participation. After teaching the crowd how to sing their part, the voices started to slowly trickle in before it felt like everyone there was fully participating. While this made for a similarly poignant moment at the Green-Wood Chapel, it packed an even mightier punch to see and hear a group of people so large come together and release whatever inhibitions they had to form a united chorus and appreciate Michaelson’s extraordinary talent.

To wrap up the show, Michaelson sang “Afterlife,” the second single from Lights Out and the one for which she recently shot a music video. She prefaced the song by telling the audience that she has a tendency to neurotically worry about the past and the future, but has a difficult time living in the present. Yet that was all about to change.

“Living like you’re dying isn’t living at all, give me your cold hands, put them on my heart,” she triumphantly sang. “Raise a glass to everyone who thinks they’ll never make it through this life, to live a brand new start!”

To Michaelson, “Afterlife” is about living in the moment and appreciating being alive. It’s a theme that was there throughout the whole show, but it was no more evident than during that last song. Joined on stage by all the guest performers from the evening, Michaelson had a lot to celebrate. It was the culmination of what proved to be the most critically and commercially successful point of her career thus far. No artist–and no audience–can ask for much more than that.

Ingrid Michaelson and Alex Nagorski

Originally published on PopBytes

6 REASONS NOT TO MISS “HEATHERS: THE MUSICAL”

heathers-the-musical Haven’t seen Heathers The Musical yet? What’s your damage?

Currently running off-Broadway at New World Stages, the show brings the iconic ’80s black comedy to life with words and music by Reefer Madness’ Kevin Murphy and Legally Blonde‘s Laurence O’Keefe. When popular girl Veronica starts dating angst-y loner J.D., her whole outlook changes—and the body count starts rising.  

6 reasons why Heathers The Musicals is oh-so-very.


heathers 1. It’s true to the film

With a plot that’s far more faithful to its original than many other recent film-to-stage adaptations (here’s looking at you, Bring It On), Heathers includes the movie’s most memorable one-liners—“Fuck me gently with a chainsaw!”—and retro costumes ripped straight from the film, from JD’s signature trenchcoat to the Heathers’ knee-high socks.


heathersmusical1 2. But the changes make perfect sense

In Heathers: The Musical, the audience gets to follow Veronica Sawyer on a more rounded journey than in the Winona Ryder flick: While Veronica is already part of the In Crowd when the film begins, the musical reveals how she first came to know the Heathers. And by giving the characters who die the opportunity to come back as ghosts who haunt Veronica, the show cleverly gives their deaths impact they never had in the movie.


heathers3 3. There’s a song called “My Dead Gay Son”

Heathers contains music and lyrics that brilliantly reflect the show’s comedic energy — and was nominated for a Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Music to prove it. “Blue,” for instance, finds the jocks and Heathers singing about getting blue balls. “Freeze Your Brain,” an ode to Slurpees, establishes JD’s character, and you’ll be singing “Seventeen,” the catchy Glee-inspired blend of pop and showtunes that closes the show, in the shower for days after the curtain has closed.

But the real showstopper is “My Dead Gay Son,” a laugh-out-loud eulogy to Ram and Kurt, sung by their fathers at their funeral. “They’re up there disco dancing to the thump of angel wings/Grab a mate and roller-skate while Judy Garland sings!”

It’s exactly the type of over-the-top number we hoped the show would deliver.


heathers4 4. Jessica Keenan Wynn slays the competition

As queen bee Heather Chandler, Wynn steals the show faster than the other Heathers try to steal her signature red scrunchie. Wynn (appearing next in Cinemax’s The Knick) has major comic chops, particularly when her character makes snide comments from The Great Beyond.

Wynn also has the strongest singing voice in the cast, making every moment she’s on stage a true highlight of the entire show.


heathers5 5. The themes are still relevant 

Bullying, guns, violence, suicide, sexuality, school massacres—sound familiar? 25 years after the film’s debut, the issues that plagued Westerberg High are still regular hits on our daily news cycle. Actually, in a nation where most schools drill students on how to react to a shooter on campus, the show is practically prescient.


heathers1 6. Heathers is leading the pack once again

Heathers was the first of a long line of movies about A-list girls doing Very Bad Things. So its only fitting it was the first of the pack to get a stage adaptation—though Broadway versions of CluelessJawbreaker, and Mean Girls have been rumored for years.


Heathers: The Musical runs at New York’s New World Stages through September 7

Originally published on NewNowNext

DON’T MISS AUDRA MCDONALD IN “LADY DAY AT EMERSON’S BAR & GRILL”

Lady Day at Emerson's Bar & Grill

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t the slightest bit skeptical when I heard that Audra McDonald had been cast as Billie Holiday in the Broadway premiere of Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill.

While the five-time Tony Award winner is unarguably a living stage legend and colossal talent, McDonald is a Juilliard-trained soprano whose many opera credits made me wonder if she could reel her enormous voice in to pull off the husky and distinct sound of Lady Day. Surely, the same person whose chill-inducing rendition of “Summertime” from Porgy and Bess made all previous interpretations of that classic song sound inferior, and whose “Climb Ev’ry Mountain” had musical theater fans everywhere clamoring for a Mother Abbess Live! spinoff, couldn’t also match the velvety and fragile nuances that made up Holiday’s iconic voice.

But the second that McDonald stepped on the stage and started singing the opening notes of “I Wonder Where Our Love Has Gone,” any and all doubts turned into open-jawed awe. Not only did she sound exactly like the late jazz singer, but her deeply passionate delivery allowed for Holiday’s soul to shine through McDonald’s performance, almost as if she was channeling her from the grave.

Lady Day at Emerson's Bar & Grill

“My grandmother had a speaking voice very similar to Billie Holiday’s speaking voice and I used to imitate my grandmother,” McDonald recently told BET.com while explaining how she perfected her uncanny impression. “So I’ve been using that as my jumping off point – Nana’s voice – and that sort of helped me find it. I just start like I’m imitating my grandmother and then I go to Billie Holiday from there.”

Set in a small bar in South Philadelphia in March of 1959, Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill takes place just four months before the 44-year-old Holiday died of cirrhosis and heart failure. The play alternates between performances of some of Holiday’s most revered songs – like “T’ain’t Nobody’s Business If I Do” and “Foolin’ Myself” – and autobiographical monologues that paint a heartbreaking, astounding portrait of a woman, who even past her prime, was one of the most gifted and influential musicians of the twentieth century.

Playwright Lanie Robertson was inspired to write the show after a former boyfriend of hers saw one of Holiday’s final performances at a Philadelphia dive bar. “He said she stumbled in obviously ‘quite high,’ carrying her little Chihuahua Pepi, whom she introduced to her audience. A water glass was kept filled with booze atop the piano for her. She and a piano player performed ten or 12 of her songs for an audience of seven patrons. Then, he said, she staggered out,” Robertson wrote in the show’s Playbill. “That image of the world’s greatest jazz singer being so undervalued at the end of her life and career was an image that has always haunted me. Writing Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill was an attempt to rid myself of that ghost.”

Lady Day at Emerson's Bar & Grill

Similarly to how the current Broadway revival of Cabaret turned theater venue Studio 54 into the Kit Kat Klub, the Circle in the Square Theatre transformed itself into Emerson’s Bar & Grill for the limited duration of Lady Day. Upon entering, audience members immediately get the sense that they’re at a jazz nightclub rather than at a Broadway theater. The floor is covered with little bar tables, from which ticketholders are able to order drinks from the wait staff, and atop a small bandstand is a trio of musicians (including the incredible Shelton Becton on piano) who accompany McDonald when she steps behind her standing microphone.

This intimate staging allows for McDonald to frequently interact with her audience – whether it’s to help her down from the tiny stage so she can refill her glass of gin or simply to light her cigarette. And when she ultimately drinks so much that she falls over, theatergoers sitting close enough can’t help but extend their arms to try to help her up.

Throughout her tumultuous life, Holiday struggled greatly with alcohol and heroin. Wearing elbow-length white gloves to cover her track marks, McDonald’s Holiday drinks consistently throughout the show. As she becomes less and less lucid, she finds it increasingly difficult to connect to her music, often times starting to sing songs that she decides not to finish. After all, Holiday prided herself on performing the songs that she was feeling, not just the ones that her fans wanted to hear. To her, it was more important to have a song find her than to try to force a dishonest emotion while performing.

Lady Day at Emerson's Bar & Grill

It’s that unwavering dedication to her craft that McDonald captures so spectacularly. When she sings “God Bless the Child,” a song Holiday wrote about her mother, it’s impossible not to feel the rawness and vulnerability behind the beloved lyrics. And when she sings the harrowing “Strange Fruit,” a protest song about racial violence in the South, the sorrow and sense of urgency that McDonald evokes is sure to knock the wind out of those listening.

This groundbreaking character exploration propels the show into a true performance of a lifetime for McDonald – which is saying a lot considering she’s already received so many accolades. In fact, McDonald received her eighth Tony Award nomination for this role. If she takes home her sixth statue come the ceremony on June 8th, not only will she have won for every possible performance category, but she’ll also be the recipient of more Tonys than any other actor in Broadway history. It’s no wonder, then, that The New Yorker called her work in Lady Day, “one of the greatest performances I ever hope to see.”

While the show certainly doesn’t shy away from addressing the darker aspects of Holiday’s life (being raped at 10, racism, failed marriages, and, obviously, addiction), it still manages to act as a beautiful tribute to the jazz star. It portrays Holiday as a deeply emotive individual who harnessed her experiences through her art, but was ultimately not able to protect herself from the reality of her world – the same tragic fate that would later await musicians like Judy Garland, Whitney Houston, and Amy Winehouse.

At one point during Lady Day, McDonald says that the DJs on the radio have started to refer to Holiday as “Lady Yesterday” due to her fading star power. Yet in the show’s final moments, the spotlight zeroes in on just McDonald’s face, who continues to sing her heart out, but without any sound. All that’s left in the silence is a moving homage to a woman whose greatest love was her music. With that, her legacy is honored in a way that’ll leave her immortalized in the hearts of every audience member lucky enough to snag a ticket.

Lady Day at Emerson's Bar & Grill

This strictly limited engagement of Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill is playing at the Circle in the Square Theatre in New York through August 10th—get tickets here

Originally published on PopBytes

DID SAM SMITH JUST COME OUT IN HIS “LEAVE YOUR LOVER” MUSIC VIDEO?

Sam-Smith

Sam Smith is pulling out all the stops to give fans a taste of what they can look forward to in his upcoming album, In The Lonely Hour, with the video for “Leave Your Lover,” the record’s third single.

Co-starring English model Daisy Lowe, the video shines a spotlight on a love triangle and the harrowing pain of unrequited love—a theme that will be featured heavily on his album. Throughout the moody clip, the trio of friends all share flirtations and it’s a little bit unclear which of the two men will ultimately get the girl.

But then there’s a brilliant twist: as the video progresses, the relationships start to unravel. And taking a page out of the Frank Ocean guide to album promo, Smith reveals that the object of his affection is actually another man.

“Pack up and leave everything/Don’t you see what I can bring/Can’t keep this beating heart at bay/Set my midnight terror free, I will give you all of me/Leave your lover, leave him for me,” Smith hauntingly croons while hoping that the man chooses him over his boyfriend.

While Smith has yet to publicly discuss his sexual orientation, it has long been the subject of gossip across the Web: A few weeks ago, he denied rumors that he was dating Lowe: “No, she’s not [my girlfriend]. Daisy is one of my closest friends at the moment. ”

Whether or not “Leave Your Lover” is an official coming-out statement, it’s a gorgeous song with an incredibly moving music video. We can’t wait for In The Lonely Hour to drop Stateside on June 17.

Originally published on NewNowNext