EXCLUSIVE: Broadway actors have a long history of moonlighting – sunlighting? – on daytime soaps, at least they did in decades past when New York City still had soaps. With theaters now dark, what better time to resurrect the tradition? Tune in today to…As The Curtain Rises.
An ongoing fiction podcast set in backstage Broadway, As The Curtain Rises has recruited a stellar cast from top Broadway productions past and, well, more recently past: Alex Brightman (Beetlejuice), Ariana Debose (Hamilton, Netflix’s upcoming The Prom film), Andrew Barth Feldman (Dear Evan Hansen), Tony-winning James Monroe Iglehart (Aladdin), Ilana Levine (You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown), Lesli Margherita (Matilda The Musical), Mauricio Martinez (On Your Feet!), Ashley Park (Mean Girls, Netflix’s Emily in Paris), George Salazar (Be More Chill), Sarah Stiles (Tootsie, Hand to God), Michael Urie (Grand Horizons) and Tony-winner Lillias White (The Life).
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The first episode is available today, with three already-finished installments to be released on subsequent consecutive Thursdays. More are coming.
Directed, produced and, with Mark Peikert, written by The Prom producer Dori Berinstein, As The Curtain Rises was created by both and recorded entirely under quarantine, and supports The Actor’s Fund and the BPN Frontline Worker Initiative. It’s produced and released by Broadway Podcast Network, which Berinstein co-founded.
“One of the reasons I came to NYC is because As the World Turns and Guiding Light filmed here,” says cowriter Peikert, the former Editor-in-Chief of Playbill. “So to be able to go back to my first passion, soap operas, with the industry I spent the last 15 years reporting on is a dream come true. Too bad the real-life stories are so over-the-top we couldn’t include them.”
Billed as “Broadway’s first digital soap opera” and “a never before behind the scenes look at the drama behind the most dramatic business in the world,” the series is available on, among other streamers, Apple/iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, iHeart, TuneIn and the podcast’s website.
Here’s the sudsy plot, as described in the official synopsis: “After the ‘Broadway Disher’ leaks news of a top secret, in-the-works, new megamusical, the Broadway community goes off-the-charts batty. Top-of-their-game Broadway Producers Cheryl Philips and Steve Jones, arch enemies, pounce. Who will get the rights? Will way-out-of-their-comfort-zone creators Kaye and Bobby manage to deliver a draft of the show before their marriage implodes? Will Director/Choreographer Zoey Taylor send the show’s budget into a free fall with her wildly ambitious vision? Will Broadway Diva Emma-Olivia get a Schmackery’s cookie (with Sprinkles) named in her honor? Will newbie Agent Maxwell Fernsby step into his new big shoes? And will Science Consultant Andrew Barth Feldman protect the integrity and authenticity of the in-the-works mega musical, before he needs to leave this top secret show to star in a new Broadway musical? The drama on stage pales in comparison to the drama behind the curtain….”
In addition to the Broadway-pedigree cast, the soap includes special appearances by industry stalwarts including Jujamcyn Theatres president Jordan Roth, playwright/lyricist Lynn Nottage, set designer David Korins, lighting designer Natasha Katz, music director/arranger Alex Lacamoire and Broadway Briefing CEO Matt Britten. Writer Peikert has a featured role, as do actors Danny Marin and Jacob Smith.
Director/writer Berinstein is a four-time Tony winning producer with credits including Fool Moon, One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, Thoroughly Modern Millie and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Legally Blonde and, for television, the Ryan Murphy/Netflix adaptation Broadway’s The Prom. She is the Co-Founder and CEO of The Broadway Podcast Network, home of As The Curtain Rises.
As The Curtain Rises is directed by Dori Berinstein, produced by Dori Berinstein and Alan Seales and the Broadway Podcast Network (Brittany Bigelow, Yoanna Nikolova, Katie Rosin, Cyndy Schatz, Beatriz Westby) and Executive Produced by Liz Armstrong. The series is edited and sound designed by Bart Fasbender, with music by Matthew Sklar and sound engineering by Alan Seales. And banshee wrangling by Bill Berloni.
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