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Donna Summer

Last update: June 17,  2018

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Donna Summer: She could sing anything, anywhere, with anyone, at any time.

 


[JUN 17] Happy Sunday all! And Happy Father's Day to all the Dads out there no matter your age, marital status, or gender! Anyone can be a father - it takes someone special to be a Dad (or Pop or Papa or any other term of endearment you can think of.  :-)

[JUN 17] OK, so the Tonys happened last week. Unfortunately, Summer didn't win any (And The Band's Visit won everything - even categories that don't exist LOL). But Here is the clip you al want to see -  Mimi, Brooklyn and Amanda introducing the performance by Summer: The Musical. It's on Facebook - the YouTube clip cuts off the intro and I KNOW you guys want to see Donna's girls!  :-) I should mention that Last Dance was staged differently for the Tony's that it is for the actual show owing to the different stage setup and the need to play to the cameras. (Other non-Donna highlights - for me anyway - were the kids from the  Margery Stoneman Douglas High School drama club singing Seasons Of Love. It brought the house to tears!. And  believe it or not - the performance from Spongebob Squarepants.  The guy was tap dancing with 4 feet!  No matter what you think of the idea of a Spongebob musical, you HAVE to see the 4 footed tap dance! ) Getting back to  the Summer part of the Tonys - I was thrilled to see a commercial for Summer: The Musical on CBS shortly before the Tony broadcast started.  Entertainment Tonight did a Facebook live from the red carpet. Skip to about 1:02 for some familiar faces. (That's 1 hour and 2 minutes.) Also, I listened to the SiriusXM On Broadway broadcast Tony night while the Tony's aired, and the deejays there couldn't say enough nice things about the musical! They called it a hit (which I think is a big deal coming from Broadway people) and one of the hosts said she cried when she saw the show. When the cast album comes out - they will be playing it. I guarantee it.  :-)

[JUN 17] I also found out from the On Broadway hosts that there is a  2018 Tony Awards Season compilation CD out with songs from many of the shows that were on Broadway this season.  It includes She Works Hard For The Money from the cast of  Summer.  :-)  On Broadway played that track Tony night and they played it again yesterday afternoon.  The album is available at Amazon - but only as a CD.

[JUN 17] While we are talking musical news, The NY Post just published an article about Diva musicals on Broadway.  (We have Summer of course, there is a Cher musical coming later this year, and a Tina Turner musical currently playing the West  End in London that may be looking to come to Broadway too.) Keep in mind that the Post was one of the newspapers that trashed the show and now they are saying:  "Critics threw rocks at “Summer: The Donna Summer Musical,” but so far the dents are minor. The production, starring LaChanze, is grossing more than $1 million a week and has racked up advance ticket sales of $12 million.

Add to that the (expensive) sippy cups of wine that women in the mood to party are buying before, during and after the show, and “Summer” is shaping up to be a nice little earner for its backers." 

Hamptons-Magazine.com also had a favorable blurb about the show. (I'm linking to the Google cache of the page because for some reason I couldn't get the regular link to load tonight.)

[JUN 17] So let's talk grosses. For the week of June 10, sales for Summer The Musical are up to 1,097,434 making that week the 3rd highest grossing week for the show. You can compare it to the other shows currently on Broadway here.   :-)

[JUN 17] Moving on to the real Donna Summer, let's see where Hot Stuff 2018 is. When I left you last week, it was #4 for the June 16 Billboard Dance Club Songs chart and #37 for the June 9 Billboard Hot Dance/ Electronic Songs chart.  For the week of June 16, the song climbs to #30 on the Hot Dance/Electronic Songs chart.  And on the June 23 Dance Club Songs chart, we have a #2 hit!  :-)

[JUN 17] I think that brings us to YouTube.  First up is a fan video by our own Suecase Hall celebrating the musical. Then let's do some of the longer interviews. So we have the 2004 Lifetime Intimate Portrait, 1996 A&E's Biography, 1999 VH1's Behind The Music, a 1978 interview with Rona Barrett, 2008 On Time TV,  and a 1994 VH1 interview parts one and two.

[JUN 8] Happy Friday all! This update is early because I have plans for tomorrow and because I want to give the Tony Awards my full attention Sunday.  :-)  Speaking of which - the show airs Sunday at 8PM on CBS from 8 to 11 PM Eastern AND Pacific. (Pacific will be on a tape delay so if you are planning to watch and want to avoid spoilers - stay away from social media in the house before broadcast.  LOL) There will also be coverage on TonyAwards.com. If you have SiriusXM Radio, On Broadway (ch 72) always does something on Tony night before and during the telecast. Internationally, check out this partial list of viewing options from TonyAwards.com. I'm sure Playbill and BroadwayWorld will also have some sort of coverage that night as well.  At the very least they will have coverage the next day. And I strongly suspect that I will have Facebook open while I watch, so I might have things to say during the night too.  I'm going to try to listen to SiriusXM as I watch, so we'll see how that goes.

[JUN 8] Now for the IMPORTANT part of the Tony telecast. As you all know both LaChanze and Ariana DeBose are up for Tonys for their work in Summer: The Donna Summer Musical.  But guess what?  The Tony people have selected the cast of Summer to be performers on the broadcast AND (hold on to your hats!)  they will be introduced by Donna's three daughters!  Yes, you will see Mimi, Brooklyn and Amanda on stage together at some point during the show!!!  Now the only remaining question is, which song will the cast perform. My money was on MacArthur Park, until the NY Post said this: “Summer: The Donna Summer Musical,” though not a Best Musical nominee, will have a spot on the telecast. Critics slashed the show, but audiences love it, and there’s not a Tony viewer out there who won’t be dancing around the TV when LaChanze sings “Last Dance.” I might add that I'm sure one of the reasons they picked Last Dance is that all three Donnas get to sing it. Spoiler Alert (although not really because I'm sure you figured this out ages ago) : Last Dance is the song that closes Summer: The Musical.  So you don't have to worry about how it falls in the storyline of the show - it's just a good time after the story has been told. And of course, the entire cast gets to take part - the audience too! They are usually dancing in the aisles at that point !  :-)

[JUN 8] Let's keep going with musical news.  In the land of Tonys promotion we have the Hollywood Reporter's joint interview with LaChanze and Ariana DeBose. Billboard has an interview with LaChanze, and Variety has in interview with Tommy Mottola about the show.  (I bet a normal week of just doing 8 shows a week will feel like a vacation to everyone on Broadway after all the Tonys hoopla.  ;-p )

[JUN 8]  Looking at the grosses for the week of June 3, Summer took in $1,008,391.50. (I love that Playbill brings it out to the penny.  LOL) Unfortunately that is a significant drop from the previous week, but it looks like most of the other shows currently running also had decreased sales.  It will be interesting to see how the Tonys affect sales across the board.   :-) And of course we are moving into the summer season so there will be lots of tourists heading to NYC who will see shows.  (That should mean increased sales and more pedestrian traffic in Times Square - which means I will walk a different way to the theater on my next trip!  LOL) Oh by the way, if you are looking to see the show, tickets are on sale for all dates through April 7 2019.  So make those plans now!

[JUN 8] On to the real Donna herself! Last time the Billboard charts had Hot Stuff 2018 at #42 on the June 2 Hot Dance/Electronic  Songs chart. For June 9 it moves up to #37. The same song was at #6 for the June 9  Dance Club Songs chart and for June 16 it climbs again to #4! Hello Top 5! :-) (Just rename the chart to the Donna Summer chart already, ok?  LOL)

[JUN 8] We have a "new" Donna Summer interview out there.  Long Island Weekly interviewed Donna in 2008 as part of the Crayons promotion and for whatever reason, it was not published.... until now.  So put yourself in a 2008 mindset and go take a look.  And don't forget to check their link at the end of the article for Donna's  5 favorite songs that she recorded.

[JUN 8] I think that brings us to YouTube.  Since we're going to see Donna's girls at the Tonys, let's do some clips that feature the girls.  :-)  First up is  Bruce and the girls at the Rock Hall Of Fame ceremony.  Then we have Donna and Mimi on State Of Independence,  Donna with a very young Mimi on Mimi's Song, the video for This Time I Know It's For Real (wait until the very end - there are 2 pretty small dancers  :-)  ), a fan video for Donna with Brooklyn and Amanda on Part Of Your World,  Donna doing Hot Stuff on the Sharon Osbourne Show with a special appearance by Brooklyn,  Johnnyswim talking about Donna in the Rock Hall Of Fame,  and the acoustic version of Let It Matter by Johnnyswim - a song that was written (at least partly) about the grief they felt when Abner lost his dad and Amanda lost her mom.

[JUN 3] Happy Sunday all and Happy Pride Month to all my LGBTQ friends out there.  It's a new month so let's start off with the new Summer Fever Pick.  This time it's back to 1979 to dance with those Bad Girls.  :-)

[JUN 3] We will start off with the Summer: The Musical.  As you may know, the Tony Awards will be handed out a week from today on June 10.  It will be broadcast on CBS from 8 to 11 PM (ET and PT). For those of you on the West Coast, the show will be on a time delay so if you want to be surprised when winners are announced, you may want to stay off social media (and maybe this site too) until after you see the show.  :-)  No word yet on if the cast of Summer will perform. I'm not really expecting it since the show as a whole isn't nominated - but you never know.  I think the only other awards we are waiting to hear about are the Drama Desk Awards. That is streaming online right now and we are looking at a nomination for LaChanze for Outstanding Actress In A Musical.  I am listening to the webcast as I update, so I will jump in with the results when they are announced.

[JUN 3] Oh - I almost forgot! Since it is Pride month, Playbill is recognizing the month with rainbow colored Playbills for all the Broadway shows. So if you are heading out to see Summer this month, you will get a special Playbill.  :-) OK on to the play grosses. For the week of May 27  the total was down a little to $1,073,066. But it looks like a lot of the top shows were down too - it probably has to do with the holiday weekend and people spending time at the beach instead of in the theater.

[JUN 3]  Of course Tony week means lots of publicity for all the nominated shows. You can see LaChanze on New York Live from the other day.  Ariana DeBose was interviewed for WomenAndHollywood.com. And Vogue has a feature on the costumes of Summer: The Musical.

[JUN 3] For those of you who like silly quizzes, the site for Summer: The Musical has added a "Which Donna are you?" quiz.  One cool thing about it - after you get your answer, it's pretty easy to figure out which answers to change to become a different Donna - just in case you want to see what they have to say about each.  ;-)

[JUN 3] Moving on to the real Donna Summer. I last left you with Hot Stuff 2018 at #9 on the Billboard Dance Club Songs chart for the week of June 2. If you sneak ahead to June 9 - it climbs to #6.  :-) On the Hot Dance/Electronic Songs chart, Hot Stuff 2018 peaks at #42 for the week of June 2.

[JUN 3] Bruce Sudano fans - Bruce has been performing live on his couch again. This time it's a new song called Whisper and you can see it on Facebook. (And he's still rockin' his Johnnyswim hoodie.  :-) )

[JUN 3] I think that brings us to YouTube.  Let's go back to 1979.  We have the concert in Japan,  a promo live video for Bad Girls, Hot Stuff live on Dinah Shore,  Dim All The Lights from the 1980 TV Special,  and Sunset People from the 1980 TV Special.

[JUN 3]  AND FINALLY! The Drama Desk Awards got to the Outstanding Actress in a Musical Award.  The award goes to  Jesse Mueller from Carousel.  Congrats to her and fingers crossed that Summer does better at the Tonys.  :-)

[MAY 27] Happy Sunday all!  Here in the US it is Memorial Day weekend - the official start of the Summer season. And more importantly a time to remember all the people in all the branches of the service who made the ultimate sacrifice in all the various wars and skirmishes since the country began.  They died to defend the country, the Constitution, and the freedoms we all enjoy (including our right to squabble about any or all of the above - because let's face it, it's not the USA if we aren't squabbling about  SOMETHING.  LOL) May those sacrifices never be in vain and may we never forget the men and women who made them.

[MAY 27]  We'll start with Summer: The Donna Summer Musical.  the grosses for  the week of May 20 are out. The show took in $1,160,299 which is a new high!   :-) To go with those great ticket sales, the musical staff has announced a digital ticket lottery.  The way it works is this. Starting May 25 a limited number of $40 tickets for select performances will be made available. The lottery opens at 8 AM and closes at 11 AM for matinees or 3 PM for evening shows. Winners are notified within minutes of the drawing and have 1 hour in which to pay for their tickets online via credit card.  The number of tickets available and the seat locations are subject to availability - so you might get great seats, or not so great seats.  For all the details (or to enter) head over to Broadway Direct.

[MAY 27] Last week the cast of Summer made an appearance on Jimmy Fallon.  You can see the performance here, or you can watch the whole episode here.  (Jimmy had really nice things to say about the musical at the top of the show.

[MAY 27] As you know both Ariana DeBose and Sergio Trujillo picked up Chita Rivera Awards for their work in Summer.  You can see a little of each of them in Broadwayworld.com's video from the event. And check out Storm Lever in Broadwaybox.com's series on the 2018 breakout stars.

[MAY 27] Moving on to the real Donna Summer, Albumism has come up with its 50 greatest live albums of all time.  First up is Live & More!   And the second one up is Live & More Encore.  :-) If you have time, check out the whole list. It's very eclectic!

[MAY 27] And in chart news,  Hot Stuff 2018 debuts on the  Billboard Hot Dance/Electronic Songs chart at #49 for the week of May 26. On the Dance Club Play chart, Hot Stuff is #15 and for the week of  June 2 it climbs to #9.

[MAY 27] Well since it's officially the summer season here, I guess we should go find some good Summer songs on YouTube.  Let's start slow with Sand On My Feet.  (As a Long Island girl I can't think about summer without thinking about beaches and sand.  :-) )  Then we'll pick up the beat a bit with Summer Fever.  And of course the summer of 79 wouldn't have been nearly as much fun without Hot Stuff and Bad Girls to keep us dancing.  Summer of 99 was special to me with I Will Go With You,  and the live VH1 special.  And then there was the last concert I ever saw at at Jones Beach...  :-)

[MAY 20] Happy Sunday all!  First let me attend to some personal business - my MS Walk was yesterday. It was cold and wet, but we raised some nice money thanks to your generosity. And for the first year, I was not the only one in Donna gear. I had to load a hat to a teammate and it just happened to be a Donna Summer one. (She's going to go see the musical later this week too!)  I have goodies to send to all my donors and I will be working on that soon.  :-)

[MAY 20] On to the musical! I was there again on May 17 - and they have  some more merchandise! There is a keyring that is a blue tassel with a silver letter S. It reminds me  of the graduation hat tassels. And there are diva sunglasses! ($30). There is also a feather boa,  a mug , a shoulder bag, a hat, and a pouch. Still no sign of the merchandise being online yet, but it's still early days. I also noticed something about the show that I couldn't see from where I was sitting when I first saw it.  There is a LED sign that hangs over the audience probably about halfway back in the orchestra section. On it they identify where a particular scene is taking place - for example: Grant AME Church in Boston, Musicland Studios in Munich, etc. The only times I saw it say anything other than a location was right at the top of the show where it simply said "Summer" and later it identified the song White Boys as being from Hair.  It was a nice little feature, but not essential for following the story. I haven't been to the mezzanine yet so I don't know if they have a similar sign.

[MAY 20] Oh wait - stop the presses! Before I forget, the cast of Summer will be performing on Jimmy Fallon tomorrow night. If you can't catch the show, it will probably be on their website the next day. 

[MAY 20] Speaking of TV, Thalia (who is a co-producer of Summer: The Musical) was on the Wendy Williams Show the other day to promote the musical. You can watch that segment on YouTube.  (You can probably find the entire show online too, but everything before Thalia was just about the royal wedding.)

[MAY 20] The New York Times has a new article looking at disco musicals.  In it they admit that while critics are not fans of Summer: The Donna Summer Musical, audiences ARE! (When I was there Thursday, EVERYONE - that I cold see anyway - was up on their feet dancing for Last Dance!)

[MAY 20] In awards news, the Drama League announced it's winners the other day.  Summer did not pick up any trophies there which is not overly surprising. The Drama League Awards have a different structure than just about anything I have seen.  The fact that they have so many nominees with plays and musicals together and make and female together plus the fact that once a person wins, they are not eligible to be nominated ever again means that the Drama League Awards are not going to be easy to win. The Chita Rivera Awards are being handed out as I write this. So far they haven't reached any of the categories Summer is nominated for. And of course the Tonys are coming up on June 10. WAIT!! STOP THE PRESSES - they just announced the winner for  Outstanding Female Dancer in a Broadway Show - ARIANA DEBOSE!  And for Outstanding Choreography in a Broadway Show - SERGIO TRUJILLO! Congrats guys! You earned it!

[MAY 20] The grosses for the week ending 5/13 are out. Summer took in $1,125,078 - the best week it's had so far!

[MAY 20] Ariana DeBose (Disco Donna) has been busy. She's done an interview for BUILD series, and another one for Backstage.

[MAY 20] On to the real Donna Summer. Hot Stuff 2018 continues to climb the  Billboard Dance Club Play charts for the week of May 26, it moves from #19 to #15.  :-)

[MAY 20] Harpers Bazaar posted a slideshow of 10 iconic hairstyles that endure the test of time. Slide #1 is Donna's Once Upon A Time cover photo.  :-)

[MAY 20] Bruce Sudano fans - he's been live on his couch again.  :-) This one is called You Know What I Like.  (And check out the Johnnyswim hoodie - think he's a fan?  LOL)

[MAY 20] I think that brings us to YouTube.  Up first, Suecase Hall has made a fan video for Bad Girls to go with the new Original Hits CD.  Then we have a tribute video by Jesus, a Motown Medley video by Suecase Hall,  and a video for The Queen Is Back that has enough footage of Queen Elizabeth II to make me wonder how funny it would  be to hear her try to sing the song.  (Seriously - how ridiculously funny would that be?  LOL) And Stor Dubine's video for I Got Your Love.  (I have to tell you - I was thinking about this video after I saw the musical. The way they use LED screens with Donna's pic on them in some of the scenes reminds me so much of how Stor decorated cartoon Donna's house with her pictures. )

[MAY 13]  Happy Mother's Day to all the mothers out there! I guess Mother's Day is the best day to share this - Johnnyswim's new baby girl has a name now. She is Luna Bird Ramirez and she is adorable! I'm sure we can all look forward to seeing her on tour with the family when she gets a little bigger.  :-)

[MAY 13] On to the news.  When I left you last week, Hot Stuff 2018 had debuted on the Billboard Dance Club Songs at #43 (week ending May 5).  For the week ending May 12, the song climbed to #31. And for those who have early access to chart info (or who found a sneaky back door into that info  lol), we see it climb again to #19 for the May 19 chart.  What can I say? Deejays LOVE Donna!!!

[MAY 13] In musical news, the grosses for the week of May 6 are out and Summer: The Donna Summer Musical is still holding its own.  :-)  It's still doing better than quite a few of the longer running Broadway Shows.

[MAY 13] If you are going to the musical and are looking for something to do afterwards, Bond 45 now hosts an after party after every performance of Summer: The Musical. Now if you are wondering how to get there from the theater - just look to your own 2 feet. Bond 45 is next door to the Lunt-Fontanne. :-) Just dance your way out of the aisles, out on to the street and into the restaurant!  LOL

[MAY 13] You can listen to book writer Colman Domingo talking about the musical on YouTube.  Among other things he talks about when it's like seeing audiences dancing and singing along.  :-)

[MAY 13] I think that brings us to YouTube. Later this week we mark the 6th anniversary of Donna leaving us. So I'm going to start off with one of my favorite clips ever because it really shows Donna's playful side, and I can't watch it without smiling.  It's Donna and Barry playing around with Could It Be Magic.  And another of my favorite clips is MacArthur Park from Live & More Encore - and that's because of my very happy memories of being there that night. (And yes I cheated on both clips since neither is actually on YouTube!  LOL) Moving on to some more serious clips, we have Suecase Hall's video for Netherlands, the audio for Omega Red (featuring Donna) on Angel Sand On My Feet  and Be Myself Again live (other favorites of mine),  the  amazing symphonic version of I Will Live For Love,  and because I feel like I need to leave you with something fun a stampyourfeet video for That's The Way It Is - how can you not smile at a bouncy song that features Donna's name in the lyrics.  :-)

[MAY 6] Greetings all and Happy Sunday.  Let me start off with the new Summer Fever Pick since I'm a few days late with it. This month practice shouting "more, more, more" as we celebrate Live & More. (Good god, I just realized that album is 40 years old this year.... How is that even possible?  LOL)

[MAY 6] I'm going to go a little out of order this week and start with Johnnyswim because they have 2 new releases out now. The first is their EP, Goodbye Road with Drew Holcomb & The Neighbors.  That just came out May 4 and is for sale at all the usual music places.  :-) The other release was a huge surprise that Amanda and Abner have been working on in secret for quite awhile now - 9 months to be exact.  The pair have welcomed a new baby girl into the family! So congrats to the Ramirez clan - she's adorable!

[MAY 6] On to Summer: The Donna Summer Musical! First up a little explanation - Ariana DeBose injured her ankle recently, so if you were at a show recently and saw her using a cane - that's why.  Now I think I mentioned last week that the Tony nominations were coming this week. Well they did and we have nominations for Diva Donna LaChanze for Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a musical, and another for Disco Donna Ariana DeBose for Best Performance by an actress in a Featured Role in a musical. Congrats to both!

[MAY 6] In the land of reviews, we have a new one written by a fan named David Messineo. It's a very good review (and a fair one!) that you may have seen on Facebook. I will warn you though that there are a few spoilers, so read it at your own risk if you haven't seen the show yet.  Now for those still smarting from the less than stellar reviews from main stream media, the Wall Street Journal says "Forget the Bad Reviews; Donna Summer Musical Is Doing Well On Broadway." In a nutshell, the article says that ticket sales are good, the show is a crowd pleaser,  Donna's global popularity is a draw for foreign tourists, and there hasn't been a musical to truly tap into the disco craze since Saturday Night Fever ran 20 years ago. If you want to read the article for yourself and find yourself stuck behind a pay wall - try clearing your browser cookies. (Or try a browser that you don't usually use.)

[MAY 6] Speaking of sales - Summer: The Musical grossed over $1 million opening week.  :-)  (The Wall Street Journal article says that they probably could have made even more money that week,  but they gave out quite a few free tickets for the opening night show.  You know the press all got in for free!  LOL) If you look at Playbill's website, you can see how Summer's grosses compare to the other shows currently on Broadway.  (Hint - if you click on any of the column headings - like "this week's gross" - you can reorder the list so you can make better comparisons.)

[MAY 6] And speaking of Playbill, their store has the first musical merchandise to be seen outside the theater. It's the opening night Playbill. It can be yours for $15 or for an extra $30 you can get it framed.

[MAY 6] Moving on to the real Donna Summer - guess what? We have some chart action!  For the week ending May 5, Hot Stuff 2018 debuts on the Billboard on the Dance Club Songs chart at #43!

[MAY 6] And we have release news too. On The Radio is coming out again - IN VINYL. Not just in any vinyl either. This will be pink swirl colored vinyl.  :-)

[MAY 6] I think that brings us to YouTube. In honor of the new Summer Fever Pick, let's do some live stuff from about that timeframe. So first up is the 1977 concert from Italy. Then we have what they are calling a commercial for Live & More, but it's actually 2 and a half minutes of clips from the Live & More concert.  Then we have MacArthur Park live in concert 1978, Heaven Knows live in 1978,  Last Dance live,  Donna in the studio working on the Live & More album (with some interview footage),  Mimi's Song from the Tonight Show,  and the TV commercial for the album as it aired on TV.

[APR 29] Happy Sunday all! Let's start with Summer: The Musical again.  We'll start with the one thing you are all wondering about - a cast album. Guess what? They are recording it tonight and tomorrow according to a tweet from LaChanze. So we shouldn't have to wait too long for it.  :-)

[APR 29] On to awards.... yes, there are some award nominations to talk about.  The Drama Desk Award nominations are out and LaChanze is up for best actress in a musical for Summer: The Donna Summer Musical. Those awards will be handed out  June 3.  Then we have the Chita Rivera Awards which honor dance on stage and screen.  Summer: The Donna Summer Musical picked up nominations for Sergio Trujillo for Outstanding Choreography in a Broadway Show, Summer: The Musical for Outstanding Ensemble in a Broadway Show, and Ariana DeBose for Outstanding Female Dancer in a Broadway Show.  Those awards will be handed out on May 20.  And then we will be looking to the Tony Award announcements on Tuesday, so stay tuned.  And of course - congrats to all the nominees!

[APR 29] This should make you smile. Both Whoopi Goldberg and Jimmy Fallon caught performances of Summer: The Musical last week and both mentioned the show (FAVORABLY!) on their talk shows. This was Whoopi at the end of The View the other day. And here is Jimmy Fallon having fun with Donna's songs (and glitter from the show  LOL) on the Tonight Show.

[APR 29] New York Theater Guide covered opening night at Summer and they have a bunch of red carpet photos.  They also have nice things to say about the show - they seem to have avoided that instant hatred of jukebox musicals.  LOL They also posted the House Capacity figures for Broadway shows.  For the week ending April 22 (the last week we have numbers for so far),  Summer: The Donna Summer Musical had the highest gains in attendance.  And of course, THAT means more than reviews - it's all about filling the seats.  :-) And on a side note, someone in NY checked the TKTS booth the other day to see if they has any tickets for Summer.  They did NOT.  :-)  Let me explain for those who don't know about the TKTS booth.  That is a place (well actually 2 places) in Manhattan where you can grab discounted tickets for that day's shows. You never know what they will have available until you get there because it all depends on which shows have unsold seats. If they had nothing for Summer, then that means that there were no unsold seats - which is a good thing.  :-)

[APR 29] Moving on from the musical to the Diva herself, Vogue has posted a slideshow of Donna's 11 best beauty looks.  (Let the fighting over the best wig begin!  LOL) And 39 years ago this week - Bad Girls was released.  Feel old now?  LOL

[APR 29] I almost forgot - the 40th anniversary Blu-Ray edition of Thank God It's Friday is due out Tuesday.  Extras are not listed and frankly, I don't expect there to be any extras.  They are only charging 8 or 9 dollars as of this writing which is less money than the regular DVD release.

[APR 29] I think that brings us to YouTube.  Let's have some fun! The musical picked up some dance award  nominations, so in honor of that, let's show off the Diva's dance moves.  So of course we have to start with the famous robot dance in I Feel Love.  Then we have the skirt flipping moves of Hot Stuff, the music video moves in Dinner With Gershwin and Love's About To Change My Heart, the young choreographed moved of Meglio Stasera, and my favorite clip ever - the playful and fun moves of Donna with Barry Manilow in Could It Be Magic.

[APR 24] Happy Tuesday all. I thought I'd jump in to share some of the opening night festivities.  And fair warning - there may be potential spoilers mixed in. We'll start with some video. First up is a compilation of show clips, then there is Facebook live from the red carpet, final bows after the show, red carpet celebs with questions for the cast, and Broadway World live at the red carpet.  Also check out  the twitter feed for Summer: The Donna Summer Musical for photos and videos from opening night. (They even have a clip of Bruce.)

[APR 24] Congrats to cast member Afra Hines who received the Gypsy Robe on opening night.  For those who don't know, the Gypsy Robe is a Broadway tradition where the member of the ensemble of a show who has the most Broadway credits receives a special robe to "bless" the show.  You can read the whole history of the tradition here.  Personally I think it's a pretty cool idea.   :-)  Here's an interesting bit of trivia for you - they are planning to change the name of the Gypsy Robe to something else for next season. So Summer: The Musical will be the last show to receive the robe under the name "Gypsy Robe."

[APR 24] The grosses for last week are out. You can see them on Broadway World. Sales are up! (Keep in mind that the cut off for these figures is April 22.  So those are all still figures for the previews.)

[APR 24]  Reviews are out.... there are a ton of them, and before you read any of them be aware that some may have spoilers.  I'm going to make it easy for me and link you to a Playbill page that has most of the reviews. And I will also give you this Broadway World link with highlights from the reviews. (And they will update that page as more come in, so return to it every so often.)  Now for the not so fun thing to report - a lot of the reviews are not good.  But don't let that put you off from seeing the show. There are a lot of things at play here - number one being that things that critics like and things that audiences like can be two VERY different things.  And frankly, what I am hearing from people who have been seeing the show is that they are having a GREAT time. The audiences have been extremely enthusiastic and really THAT'S the thing that will make a show a success.  Also, the vibe I am getting from the critics is that they are not overly fond of the whole jukebox biographical show genre anyway. (I might have gotten that impression from this opening quote from the New York Times review: "The biographical jukebox musical — of which “Jersey Boys” provides a shining example, thanks to all the Brylcreem — is the cockroach of Broadway."  LOL) But I would also like to point out that even though critics are not fond of the show overall, they do seem to like all 3 leading ladies (as well they should!) and there have been some positive nuggets in there as well.  My favorite quote comes from the Chicago Tribune: "But I’ve sat in enough shows to say this: On Thursday night at the Lunt-Fontanne, the audience did not just respond to the music, it craved it, and the feeling it hoped it might bring, with an intensity of a force I don’t recall ever seeing before. It wasn’t so much a desire for “Mamma Mia!”-style fun as something more existential, an elixir that might help you forget you’ll never have that recipe again."  In other words - this guy thinks that the audience will make this show a success.   :-)  And let me throw one more thing at you. I've been saying this all along here and there (probably mostly on Facebook) that the musical Wicked was hated by critics when it came out. And yet it found its audience and is still running over 10 years later. (Plus one of its leads picked up a Tony.) There is an article on The Daily Beast on exactly how such a critically panned show became a hit.  And what it boils down to is that it found its audience. So critics be damned - if Summer finds its audience, it will do well. :-)

[APR 22] Happy Earth Day all! We're gonna start with the musical again.  :-) As you know, tomorrow is the official opening day.  And that means we can expect to see reviews starting on Tuesday.  We can also expect to see lots of activity on the various social media pages: Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.  They will have coverage of the red carpet starting at 6. And I  would imaging the cast members may chime in as well during the day if they find a free moment or two.  :-)

[APR 22] Summer: The Donna Summer Musical has already picked up a couple of award nominations. The Drama League has announced their list of nominees and included are Summer for Outstanding Production of a Broadway or Off-Broadway Musical, and both Ariana DeBose and LaChanze for the Distinguished Performance Award. Now these awards are a bit different than you may be used to. In the case of the Distinguished Performer Award, there are about a billion nominees because it's not broken up by musical and play or by male and female. Also, once someone wins that award once - they can never win it again. So it's a big deal to win it.  :-) I know you will be wondering about other awards too - such as the Tonys.  The musical has officially opened up just in the nick of time to be eligible for this year.  Tony nominations are scheduled to be announced on May 1. Those are usually webcast early in the morning. Other key awards to look out for are the Drama Desk Awards.  Those nominees will be announced April 26 and we MAY have missed the cutoff for that.

[APR 22] When I left you last weekend, we were expecting the cast of Summer to appear on the Today Show. Well, they were on as scheduled and you can watch the clips online.  First up is She Works Hard For The Money.  In the play, this song is performed as Donna has realized she's been screwed by Casablanca and she is trying to regain control of her career.  It is sung by Diva Donna as Disco Donna acts out (through dance) the whole taking care of business thing. It will make sense when you see it. The other performance is MacArthur Park - this is where Donna gets to show off that she's a real singer and not just a disco queen.  It starts with Disco Donna and then Diva and Duckling join in.  (Can I just say here that I love the way the costumes are handles - all 3 Donnas in the same colors but in styles that are suitable for the ages they are playing.) On and speaking of the 3 Donnas - I recommend you follow them all on Instagram because you sometimes get some good behind the scenes stuff from them. You can find them at Storm Lever, Ariana DeBose and LaChanze. Ariana DeBose tends to post the most (she's also very active on Twitter),  but all 3 were pretty active when they did the Today Show.

[APR 22] We have articles! BroadwayBox.com has a list of questions the stars and creators of Summer would ask Donna if they could. The Boston Globe has a story about the show, Playbill has a short article with some new photos, Dance Magazine has an article on the show, and The Ensemblist has an article by Aurelia Michael who is the swing for Summer: The Musical. (For those who don't know, the a swing is an actor who covers multiple roles in a production.) We also have a video review from someone who attended the show.  I agreed with some of what he said, but not with everything. But hey, everyone is entitled to an opinion...... as long as it agrees with mine!  LOL  (Only kidding.) AND - I have a special surprise article for you. Ken Allan is back from a long sabbatical with his van of drag queens, and he has seen Summer: The Musical. So we have a new Ken's Korner that I have relegated to a separate page because there are SPOILERS. So if you haven't seen the show yet, read it at your own risk. You have been warned! Oh! And as I write this, Playbill just added another article called "& Things You Might Not Know About Donna Summer."  Let me take a quick peek.  OK - different people from the musical each state one thing they didn't know about Donna.  There's nothing there that will surprise a diehard fan and nothing that will spoil the musical for you.

[APR 22] I think that's all I have on the musical. Let's move on to the new compilation Summer; The Original Hits. It's out now and most people are finding that Target only has a few of their special copies with the extra tracks.  One of the posters on the forum picked up a copy and he very kindly photographed the CD and the booklet so you can see what it looks like.  You can see it here.

[APR 22]  I have a random interview for you from 2012. If you recall, Donna dis a duet with Darwin Hobbs for one of his albums, and after she passed he talked about her a little on the radio.

[APR 22] Let's move on to Bruce for a minute. He recently appeared on the Songcraft podcast. In it he talks about songwriting and Donna. You can listen to it here.

[APR 22] I think it's time to head over to YouTube.  What should we do this week? How about Donna as a blonde - the Mistaken Identity clips?  First up is a 1991 concert from Yokahama (the whole thing - and yes, the only clip here with actual blonde hair.  LOL.) Then we have the Work That Magic video,  Say A Little Prayer live in Brazil, a liveandmore video for Fred Astaire,  and Friends Unknown live.

[APR 22] And finally, I an still fundraising for Multiple Sclerosis. Thank you to all who have donated so far and for those who would still like to, it's never too late.  :-)  My link is here.

[APR 15]  Happy Sunday all! Let's start off with a special announcement for tomorrow morning. The cast of Summer: The Donna Summer Musical will be performing on NBC's Today Show twice. The first time will be at  approximately 8:50 AM and the second time will be in the 10 to 11 AM hour. Presumably the clips will show up later on the Today Show website.  While this is going on, cast member Afra Himes (ensemble, understudy for Disco Donna) will  take over @DonnaSummerBway Instagram stories for some behinds the scenes stuff.

[APR 15] As long as we are talking musical - Ariana DeBose (Disco Donna) did a Facebook live session where she answered a few questions. You can watch it here, but a couple of things that came out of her session were that there is definitely a cast album planned (but she doesn't now the exact timeline yet) and that they are still making changes here and there to the show. She doesn't say specifically what has changed - just that the changes that have been made so far are "smart" and they "clarify the story telling". At some point the show will be "frozen" and then no more changes will be made.  Storm Lever (Duckling Donna) did one for Instagram, but I can't find that one archived on the site anywhere, and unfortunately when I watched, my stream was so bad that I missed a lot.

[APR 15] The magazine "Where" (usually found at NYC hotels) is a guide to the stuff going on in New York for visitors looking for things to do. The April edition has Summer: The Musical on the cover.  Now if you don't happen to be hanging around any NYC hotels, you can see the magazine online here  - you can even download it if you want to.

[APR 15] The report for the weekly grosses on Broadway comes out on Mondays.  So last week's numbers won't be out until tomorrow. But the week ending 4/8 the show grossed 893,307 which is higher than it grossed the previous week( 569,993). Now of course, the first week wasn't a full week since the show didn't open until March 28. Tomorrow I will be eager to see a full week compared to another full week.  :-)  Number trackers can keep an eye on this link if you don't want to wait for my update.

[APR 15] BOSTON - guess what? You are having yet another Donna Summer Day.  :-) The 5th annual event is scheduled for June 22 in City Hall Square.  There will be the usual music and roller skating, but details on performances will be announced at a later date.  They always have members of Donna's family on hand for the festivities.  :-)

[APR 15] Disco fans, the BBC website has an article about why Disco should be taken seriously.

[APR 15] Johnnyswim fans - their new song, Ring The Bells is now available for sale at Amazon, iTunes and other music vendors. You can read a review of the song on AtwoodMagazine.com. Their upcoming EP, Goodbye Road with Drew Holcomb & The Neighbors,  is expected out May 4.

[APR 15] Bruce Sudano fans - he's Live On The Couch again with a new song called Anyway. You can see it on Facebook. (Hmmm  - maybe his next album should be "The Couch Sessions"?  LOL)

[APR 15] I think that brings us to YouTube.  Today I feel like going back to 1976.  So the clips we have are  Donna on American Bandstand for the first time (3 parts: Love To Love You, interview, Try Me), Spring Affair on Soul Train,  Could It Be Magic on German TV, and the Winter Melody video.

[APR 8]  Greetings all! Let's start off with Summer: The Donna Summer Musical again.  Ah, but where to start there... OK, first up there is a new (and BIG) ad up for the show on 42nd and Broadway.  Let's call that a prime selfie spot.  :-)  Other promotion is happening too. Playbill has an interview with LaChanze (Diva Donna) and Ariana Debose (Disco Donna) was on PBS's One On One With Steve Abubato the other night. If (like me) you were asleep when it aired, have no fear! It's already on YouTube.  And I am told that the cast of the show will be on NBC's Today Show on April 16.  Usually when a Broadway cast hits the morning shows, it means we get to see a performance. Now this is just a total guess, but I'm thinking they will either do MacArthur Park or Last Dance because all 3 Donnas get to shine together on both of those numbers.

[APR 8] In completely non-professional review news,  my aunt Rose went to the matinee of Summer: The Musical yesterday. She's not a diehard like us, she's just a casual fan. But when she left the theater, she emailed me one word to describe the show - "WHOA!" She enjoyed herself.  :-D  Oh and I saw on Facebook, there has been one update so far - but it's not to the show itself. It's to the drink menu. Now there is one called Hot Stuff.  (Yes, I find the drink menu entertaining.  LOL)

[APR 8] If you haven't been to TheDonnaSummerMusical.com in awhile, go check it out now. They've added tweets, cast bios, video from the press day and the tv ads. And I am sure they will keep adding things as the show gets rolling.  :-) Oh and if you are into tracking  the play's grosses, keep an eye on this link.  As I write this, they only show last week's numbers, but they should be updating again either tomorrow or Tuesday.

[APR 8] If you are in NY and are looking for discounted tickets to Summer: The Donna Summer Musical,  good news - they have announced their rush ticket policy. They will have $40 tickets available at the box office (as soon as it opens) for that day's performance. Patrons are limited to 2 tickets only. They are non-transferable, subject to availability, and they may only be partial-view seats.  So if you find yourself with a free evening sometime and want to take a chance - head over to the box office.

[APR 8] Moving on to the new compilation, Summer: The Original Hits. As I started  in a previous update - the extra mixes (and the song White Boys from Haare) are available on the deluxe digital release, and not on the CD.... UNLESS.... you go to Target. Yes, Target will have a special edition of the CD that includes the same tracks as the deluxe digital release.  So if you are a CD person, head to Target.

[APR 8] Moving on to Johnnyswim news. The duo has a new song coming out April 6 called Ring The Bells.  If you have Spotify you can presave the song now and hear it in its entirety.  If you don't do Spotify, you can hear a clip on Facebook.  You can even see the lyrics on Instagram.

[APR 8] Bruce Sudano fans, check out video of him at City Winery from March 14.  He sings It Ain't Cool, Analyzing  Stars, and With Angels On A Carousel.

[APR 8] I think that brings us to YouTube.  In honor of the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King's assassination, let's start with the New Radio Millennium Mix of State Of Independence.  (It's the one that includes part of the I Have  A Dream speech.)  Then let's keep going with some classic mixes. We have I Feel Love (MAW 86th St. mix),  Last Dance (MAW short version), the Jr. Vasquez long DMC mix if Melody Of Love Love Is The Healer (Thunder dub),  and the studio 54 mix of Love On And On.

 

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Quote Of The Week:

[JUN 17]

"Q. After all these years of singing "MacArthur Park," have you figured out who "left the cake out in the rain"?

DS: [Laughing] It was me. It was all my fault! I left it out in the rain! Seriously, though, people always ask me what does it mean. It's a metaphor for love. Don't leave your cake out in the rain and don't subject your love to something that is going to ultimately destroy that love.

- Donna Summer, Chicago Sun-Times, August 21, 2009

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