Telly Leung Hopes to Inspire Social Change With His Work

When Telly Leung auditioned for the play “In Transit,” he viewed the play as a sincere and straightforward “love letter” to New York.


“In Transit” has been named the first-ever a cappella musical on Broadway. The show is about 11 individuals from Manhattan whose lives intertwine on the New York subway system. Leung stars in the play as Steven, whose fiancee Trent (played by Justin Guarini) is having a hard time telling his Christian mother about his relationship with Steven before their wedding.


Since musical theater has recently embraced queer theme in plays like “Hedwig and the Angry Itch” and “Fun Home,” the love story between Trent and Steven seems pretty conventional. A day before “In Transit” was set to preview (Nov. 9), the future of LGBTQ rights became pretty uncertain following Donald Trump’s announcement to run for president. Leung said that this event made “In Transit” even more necessary.


Leung shares that the entire show is about individuals who are attempting to reach a destination but feel stuck and helpless. He also states that New Yorkers are quite driven and often in a hurry. It’s also not uncommon for New Yorkers to get frustrated when they can’t get to their destination on time for any reason.


Leung also explains that the queer aspect of the play is not why it’s so important right now. The diverse cast, which have to work very closely together, is a shining artistic example of what the world needs to see right now.


“In Transit” is also increasing in popularity as Leung’s previous works are becoming popular again. “Allegiance,” the story of a Japanese-American family thrown into internment camp during WWII hits the screen at the same time “In Transit” is on stage. The show hit the Broadway stage in November 2015 to mixed reviews, and starred “Star Trek” alum George Takei.


Leung states that both of these artistic works are a reminder that art “doesn’t exist in a vacuum.” He emphasizes that the messages of hope, togetherness and human decency are more important now than ever, and that there are several lessons to be learned from the characters in these works.


Denee Benton Heads to Broadway

Denee Benton is known to “UnREAL” fans as Ruby, the Black Lives Matter activist and “Everlasting” contestant who has unapologetically been herself and made a huge impact in the season 2 finale of “UnREAL.” Benton is now heading to Broadway to show the world even more of her talent.

In October, Benton will star with Josh Groban in the musical “Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812,” and she will play Natasha. The play is adapted from a section of the literary work War and Peace. Composer Dave Malloy has taken 70 pages from the novel that focuses on Natasha’s affair with Anatole, a handsome officer. The fact that Natasha is newly engaged makes the story even more interesting. Pierre, played by Groban, watches as Natasha and Anatole from being friends to something more. The show is already proving to be a success.

This isn’t the first time “The Great Comet” has made an appearance on stage. The play debuted at Ars Nova theater back in 2012, and Philippa Soo played the role of Natasha. The show had a sold-out run. The play was in a number of New York locations before moving to the American Repertory Theater in Boston–the place where Benton took over as Natasha. During the play’s Broadway production, theatergoers can see the masterpiece at the Imperial Theater in New York, where Rachel Chavkin will direct the show once again.

“The Great Comet” also has an impressive stage design. Playbill states that the 2012 production featured platforms and runways that were positioned among members of the audience. Some of the audience members were seated at tables in the center of the action. The Imperial Theater will incorporate this innovative staging as well. There won’t be traditional seating with an orchestra and mezzanine. Variety even reported that the play feels like a wild and crazy night in the city of Moscow, which is yet another reason why people are excited to witness this creative theatrical experience.

The 2016-2017 First Half of the Broadway Season

In the 2016-2017 first half season, celebrities like Cate Blanchett, Diane Lane, Josh Groban, and Liev Schreiber will attend. Besides the celebrities, there will be old writers like Anton Checkov and Leo Tolstoy.

According to The Seattle Times, some of the 2016-2017 first half highlights include;
1. Old School Magic
The illusionists are coming back with eight magicians amongst them a female character who will help appraise the theatrics of the Golden Age of Magic. Theatre lovers should be prepared to see card tricks, surreal illusions, and violent episodes. Previews will start on November 25 at Lunt-Fontane Theatre.

2. Watch the Closing Doors
Some characters who acted the film titled Frozen and Pitch Perfect have come together to form a musical known as In Transit. The musical is an acapella comedy that features New York City subway. Besides the great musical, there is a book, music, and lyrics that are written by Kristen Anderson- Lopez. The vocal codes are directed by Deke Sharon. Previews will be available as from 10th November at the Circle in the Square Theatre.

3. Hey, Taxi!
Broadway will feature taxis in August Wilson’s plays. The show previews will begin on December 28th at Samuel Friedman Theatre.

4. Cult favorite
Finn- James show is a musical that was written about ten years ago. The musical features Marvin, a gentleman who struggles to settle despite his messy relationship with his ex-wife, a new boyfriend, his adolescent son and his doctor. The main actors are Christian Borle, Stephanie J. Block, and Andrew Rannels. Previews on the revival will start on 29th September.

5. New Media
There will be two shows featured; The Front Page will celebrate old school media while the musical, Dear Even Hansen will celebrate the digital era. It will feature Ben Platt and some great songs from Benj Pasek and Justin Paul. The musical narrates a story of a teen who writes a letter to himself, and it goes Viral. The new media previews will start at the Belasco Theatre as from November.

6. Old Media
The show will be cast by Nathan Lane, John Slattery, John Goodman and Sherry Rene Scort. Previews will begin in 20th September at Broadhurst Theater.