Traveling from Binghamton to see a Broadway show in midtown Manhattan is often out of reach for many local students — but the Broadway Theatre League (BTL) has provided a way for musical theatre fans in the Binghamton area to easily satisfy their cravings without traveling to New York City. The BTL brings touring companies of famous Broadway plays and musicals to a stage in Downtown Binghamton.
Located on Washington Street, the Forum Theatre has hosted the BTL in its various performances of award-winning shows for the past four decades. Albert Nocciolino, Tony Award-winning producer of “Kinky Boots” and president of local acting agency NAC Entertainment, has worked to bring the best talent to the Southern Tier since 1976. Shows performed have included everything from “Mamma Mia” to “Spamalot” and “Annie,” catering to every age group and presenting diverse options for any theatre fan to choose from.
Functioning on a season-based performance schedule, the theatre company puts on a different show roughly every two months.
Proudly wearing the tagline “Broadway Has Never Felt So Close,” the BTL is in the works of bringing six famous shows to the city of Binghamton this season: “Pippin,” “Cinderella,” “The Illusionists,” “RENT,” “Once” and “STOMP,” a U.K.-original percussion group performance that began in 1991 and has since undergone various renditions.
“STOMP,” a 90-minute production without intermission, will be performed on Oct. 26 and 27 by the BTL. The percussion sensation utilizes unique and provocative rhythms paired with choreography through the use of objects found in daily life, including match boxes, brooms, wooden boards, trash cans, lighters and hubcaps. “STOMP” is known for finding beautiful sounds in places seldom thought of and has brought its routine to New York, both on- and off- Broadway and in London.
Later in the year, on Dec. 11, the BTL is offering the city of Binghamton their own version of the original Broadway show “Once.” The show’s story, revolving around two lovers — one a struggling street musician and the other a beautiful young woman who falls in love with his songs — will be transported from Dublin to Binghamton in a remake of the award-winning production.
“Pippin,” a comedy which tells the story of a prince on his quest for the meaning of life, will be brought to the stage in February and March, the first performances of the new year. “Cinderella,” the classic tale of an ignored princess and her Prince Charming, will be performed at the end of March.
Touted as “Broadway’s biggest-selling magical spectacular,” “The Illusionists” will be coming to the city of Binghamton in April. Lastly, “RENT,” on its 20th anniversary tour, which tells the story of artists struggling to reconcile their work with the pressure of selling out as part of a rewriting of Giacomo Puccini’s “La Bohème,” will round out the BTL’s season with its showings in May.
The shows put on by the BTL make cultural events more easily accessible to many students and community members. Instead of a hefty ticket price and a long trip, you’ll be able to catch classic musicals only a few minutes away from campus.