Fall 2014 Theater Excitement. The Week in New York Theater

 

A look at the Broadway Fall 2014 Season Preview Guide and especially the Off-Broadway Fall 2014 Season Preview Guide show promise of a rich and varied season.

Starting tomorrow — Broadway Week, two tickets for the price of one.

 

The Week in New York Theater, August 25-31

 

25

Sideshowposter1

Poster for Side Show, which is lead vote-getter in Broadway Fall 2014 Poll

 

New season at SoHo Rep includes “10 Out of 12″ by Anne Washburn (“Mr. Burns“) based on her notes during tech rehearsals.

Absolutely Filthy, winner of Overall Excellence at 2014 New York Fringe

Absolutely Filthy, winner of Overall Excellence at 2014 New York Fringe

2014 New York International Fringe Festival Excellence Award Winners

Fringe Festival Encores series – September schedule of the best Fringe shows you missed in August.

 

AndIAndSilenceSamanthaSouleRachelNicks

My review of And I And Silence

In “And I And Silence,” a challenging play by Naomi Wallace, two women, Dee and Jamie, one white, the other black, meet in prison when they are teenagers, and after they are released years later, struggle to survive together in a Southern town in 1959 – a struggle that ends in tragedy…

For those theatergoers in the right mind-set – the patience to treat this piece the way they would a poem, uncertain of its meaning at times, content with its rhythms – “And I And Silence” is dark but beautiful. The rest of us might find it intriguing for about 15 minutes, and shocking for the final five, but spend the bulk of its 90 minutes working hard to pretend it’s not a bore.

Full Review

26

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GeoffreyinFreshPrinceYet another King Lear: Shakespeare’s Globe will present its touring production of the Bard’s tragedy at the Skirball Center, September 30 to October 12. It stars Joseph Marcell –  who was Geoffrey,the English butler on the NBC sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.

2014 Communal Spaces Play FestivalBillyandRaycast – next 3 weekends, 4 community gardens in Brooklyn, 8 original plays FREE.

Vincent Kartheiser (Pete Campbell in “Mad Men” on AMC) will portray Billy Wilder, with Larry Pine (most recently on stage in Casa Valentina) as Dashell Hammett in Billy and Ray at the Vineyard Theater, a comedy about the making of the noir film Double Indemnity.

Patti LuPone, Sting, Billy Porter, Laverne Cox and many more in Uprising of Love benefit concert for LGBTQI rights September 15 Gershwin Theater

27

 

HarlemFirehouse

The 1889 firehouse on 125th Street will become a new cultural center, the Caribbean Cultural Center-African Diaspora Institute. Groundbreaking for renovations will be on September 16. (Marta Moreno Vega is the founder of the Caribbean Cultural Center.)

There’s a “Bard in bar” boom. Companies in New York City alone: Three Day Hangover, Shotspeare, the Drunk Shakespeare Society, the New York Shakespeare Exchange’s Shakesbeer Series (Do they make bad puns because they’re drunk?)

Research: We are happier buying an experience (e.g. theater) than a thing, especially if we buy the tickets in advance.

 

28

Some dozen UK actors give advice to beginning actors:

“Treat directors (and writers) as innocent until proven guilty.”

“You need to be nervous. You’d be the walking dead if you weren’t. Acting is a frightening job”-Antony Sher

Debate over Sopranos ending years later indicates dissatisfaction with ending. What show/play ending have you found most satisfying?

 Actors Equity and theater artists: What’s their relevance – a Howlround chat

29

How can Scott Ellis be directing THREE shows on Broadway at once? (You Can’t Take It With You, The Elephant Man, On The Twentieth Century.)  “After raising twins,you get organized”

First annual September 26-28 kicks off a year of nurturing lyricists at Bucks County Playhouse.

What’s the difference between “devising theater” and playwriting? Nothing, says three “new avant garde” playwrights.

Nobody can predict what Broadway shows become hits? Nonsense, says mathematics graduate student at Cornell: I can.

30

LIndsayMendez

Interview with Lindsay Mendez:

“There are a lot of stories to be told for women and by women.”

There are challenges to being a “Mexican-Jewish girl who’s not tiny” – an opportunities too.

 

31

MalloyandBent

A Romance in Several Acts – How two theater artists, Dave Malloy (Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812) and playwright/journalist Eliza Bent met, mingled and married.

“Who is this mysterious Bohemian-sounding composer,” she recalled thinking.

“I thought she was out of my league. She was so beautiful and charming and everything, and I was a poor, schlubby composer.”

richard gere in GreaseHere is Richard Gere, who turns 65 today, in the Broadway production of “Grease,” in which over the course of the run he played eight different roles in the musical.

August 2014 Quiz

New York Theater August 2014 Quiz

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August 2014 New York Theater Quiz

How well were you paying attention to the theater news in August, some of which was quite silly, some quite sad. Answer these 11 questions and see.

Off Broadway Fall 2014 Preview Guide

Lin-Manuel Miranda in front of quick summary of Public Theater's 2014-2015 season, including his "Hamilton"

Lin-Manuel Miranda in front of quick summary of Public Theater’s 2014-2015 season, including his “Hamilton”

Lin-Manuel Miranda, eating a banana, posed in front of a succinct summary of the 2014-2015 season at the Public Theater – including (fifth from the top) “Hamilton,” an original hip-hop musical created by and starring Miranda, who will portray the American Founding Father Alexander Hamilton.

It’s one of the most anticipated Off Broadway shows –  along with…

Taylor Schilling and Peter Dinklage (CSC)

Taylor Schilling and Peter Dinklage (CSC)

- Nathan Lane and Brian Dennehy in Eugene O’Neill’s “The Iceman Cometh” directed by Robert Falls at the Brooklyn Academy of Music starting in February.

- “Scenes From a Marriage,” starting in September at the New York Theatre Workshop, based on Ingmar Bergman’s compelling TV series.

- Stage adaptations of Jonathan Lethem’s “The Fortress of Solitude” (The Public Theater) and James Dickey’s “Deliverance” (59E59), and a comic behind-the-scenes look at the making of the film noir classic “Double Indemnity” (Vineyard.)

New plays by Ayad Akhtar, Katori Hall, Samuel Hunter, Suzan Lori-Parks, Bruce Norris, Sam Shepard

And yes, some familiar faces from movies and television as well as the stage.

If only the entire Off-Broadway season could be summed up as simply as that poster for the Public Theater. Broadway is much easier – 40 theaters, about 40 new shows a year. Off-Broadway is more chaotic,

Richard Chamberlain (New Group)

Richard Chamberlain (New Group)

more spread out, more numerous (some 200 theaters/theater companies, depending on how you count) less publicized. As most serious theatergoers will tell you,  Off Broadway also has far richer, more adventurous and more diverse offerings, at a lower price. (Dozens of shows from September 9th to 28th will charge just $20 if you get tickets 20 minutes before the show begins as part of the 20at20 promotion.

Once again, I find the best way to preview what’s coming up Off-Broadway is to group the shows within the producing theaters that are presenting them, ranked roughly in order starting with my favorite theaters (determined by such factors as their recent track record, the promise of the new season, and by the overall experience I’ve had with the theater.) All offer season subscriptions or memberships. Of course, there is never a guarantee, and some terrific shows pop up in unlikely places.

 

Jesse Eisenberg , Billy Porter, Cynthia Nixon - actors turned playwrights, director.

Jesse Eisenberg , Billy Porter, Cynthia Nixon – actors turned playwrights, director.

PLAYWRIGHTS HORIZONS playwrights horizons logo

416 W. 42nd St. Twitter: @PHNYC

One of the plays from last year’s season, Annie Baker’s “The Flick,” won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, but this theater consistently over the past few years has had some of the most original and most satisfying works of theater.

PlaywrightsHorizonsFall2014

Booty Candy

August 22 – October 12

Writer and director Robert O’Hara presents “a kaleidoscope of sketches that interconnect to portray growing up gay and black”

Grand Concourse

October 17 – November 30

“Called to a life of religious service, Shelley is the devoted manager of a Bronx soup kitchen, but lately her heart’s not quite in it. Enter Emma: an idealistic but confused young volunteer, whose recklessness pushes Shelley to the breaking point.”

Written by Heidi Schreck and directed by Kim Fagan, the play features a four-member cast that includes Bobby Moreno, who was so amazing in The Year of the Rooster.

Pocatello

November 21 – January 4

“Eddie manages an Italian chain restaurant in Pocatello—a small, unexceptional American city that is slowly being paved over with strip malls and franchises.”

Written by Samuel Hunter, whose past efforts (e.g. The Whale) I have loved, this play features a nine-member cast including T.R. Knight.

In 2015:

Placebo by Melissa James Gibson

Iowa, a musical by Jenny Schwartz and Todd Almond

The Qualms by Bruce Norris

 

publictheaterlogoTHE PUBLIC THEATER

425 Lafayette Street. Twitter: @PublicTheaterNY

 

Public201415season

Public Works’ The Winter’s Tale

September 5 – 7, 2014

With music and lyrics by Todd Almond, conceived and directed by Lear deBessonet, this Shakespeare in Central Park is presented as a happening, with a blend of professional performers like Lindsay Mendez and some 200 regular New Yorkers up on the stage.


Rock Bottom 

September 9 – October 11, 2014

Created and starring Bridget Everett, who “barrels through life tip-toeing toward disaster, wine bottle by wine bottle and man by man.” It features original songs by Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman (the team that brought us Hairspray and Smash), as well as Adam “Ad-Rock” Horovitz and Matt Ray

FortressofSolitude1

The Fortress Of Solitude 

September 30 – November 2, 2014

Jonathan Lethem’s coming-of-age novel about 1970s Brooklyn is adapted by songwriter  Michael Friedman (Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson) and bookwriter Itamar Moses, and features an 18-member cast that includes  Kyle Beltran, Adam Chanler-Berat, and André De Shields.

Father Comes Home From The Wars (Parts 1, 2, & 3)

October 14 – November 16, 2014

Suzan-Lori Parks (Top Dog/Underdog) has written three plays set during the Civil War presented in a single performance. In Part 1, “A Measure of Man,” Hero, a slave who is accustomed to his master’s lies, must now decide whether to join him on the Confederate battlefield in exchange for a promise of freedom. Part 2, “The Battle in the Wilderness” follows Hero and the Colonel as they lead a captured Union solider toward the Confederate lines as the cannons approach. Finally, in Part 3, “The Union of My Confederate Parts,” the loved ones Hero left behind question whether to escape or wait for his return.

StraightWhiteMen

Straight White Men

November 7 – December 7, 2014

Young Jean Lee, an innovative downtown playwrights, “defies expectations with a conventionally structured take on the classic American father-son drama….When Ed (Austin Pendleton) and his three adult sons come together to celebrate Christmas, they enjoy cheerful trash-talking, pranks, and takeout Chinese. Then they confront a problem that even being a happy family can’t solve….what is the value of being a straight white man?”

In  2015

 

Hamilton

January 20 – February 22

Written and starring Lin-Manuel Miranda, and directed by Thomas Kail — the same team that brought us “In The Heights” —  this new musical uses hip-hop to tell the story of the “political mastermind” who began life as a “bastard orphan.”

 Stew And Heidi Rodewald’s The Total Bent

Toast By Lemon Andersen

 

 

new_york_01NEW YORK THEATER WORKSHOP

79 East 4th Street. Twitter: @NYTW79

Scenes from a Marriage

Scenes from a Marriage

Scenes From A Marriage

September 12 – October 26

Innovative Flemish director Ivan van Hove (who is also directing “Angels in America” in BAM this season) directs McCarter Theater artistic director Emily Mann’s adaptation of Ingmar Bergman’s popular 1974 TV mini-series that traces a complicated (which is to say, normal) marriage. “Audience members will move from room to room to experience an intimate look into the marriage of Johan and Marianne.”

The Invisible Hand

November 19 – January 4

Ayad Akhtar, whose play Disgraced won the Pulitzer Prize and is opening on Broadway this season, pens a play about an American stockbroker who is kidnapped and tortured in a remote area of Pakistan, and negotiates to save his life.

 2015

The Events

Forever

 

vineyard_01VINEYARD THEATER

108 East 15th Street Twitter: @VineyardTheatre

BillyandRayposter

Billy and Ray

October 1 – November 9

That’s film director Billy Wilder and novelist Raymond Chandler: The play, written by Mike Bencivenga and directed by Garry Marshall (Happy Days, etc.),  is about their contentious collaboration on the noir film based on Chandler’s novel, “Double Indemnity”

The four-member cast includes Vincent Kartheiser (Pete Campbell in “Mad Men”) as Wilder and Larry Pine as Chandler.

2015

Brooklynite

January – February

This musical directed by Michael Mayer (Spring Awakening, Hedwig) is about a hardware store clerk who meets “Brooklyn’s most celebrated superhero” and together they try to save Brooklyn

Gloria by Branden Jacobs-Jenkin

 

CLASSIC STAGE COMPANY (CSC)


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136 East 13th Street Twitter: @ClassicStage

 

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Allegro

November 1

This revival of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s least known musical, written after their success with Oklahoma and Carousel, follows the life of a physician named Joe Taylor, Jr.

2015

AMonthInTheCountry

A Month in the Country

January 9 -

Peter Dinklage and Taylor Schilling star in Turgenev’s play about unrequited love.

Hamlet

Dr. Faustus

 

RATTLESTICK PLAYWRIGHTS THEATER


rattle_01
Address: 224 Waverly Place (though frequently also at the Cherry Lane)

Twitter:  @RattlestickNY

Rattlestick’s 20th anniversary season began in the summer with The Long Shrift, James Franco’s debut as a stage director, and Phoenix, co-starring Julia Stiles. 

Juarezpic

Juarez

September 4 – October 5

As part of the second annual Theater: Village Festival – whose theme this year is “E Pluribus” –  this play conceived by Theater Mitu’s Artistic Director Rubén Polendo (a native of Juarez) is  based on hundreds of interviews, is meant to “an artistic and emotional map” of the Northern Mexican city.

Pit Bulls

November 6 – December 13

Keith Josef Adkins, a playwright best-known as the founding artistic director of New Black Fest, writes about a pariah named Mary in a small black community in rural Appalachia — pitbull country – who is viewed suspiciously when a pitbull is killed on the Fourth of July.

In 2015

Shesh Yak Written by Laith Nakli; Directed by Bruce McCarty

Everything You Touch Written by Sheila Callaghan; Directed by Jessica Kubzansky

The Undeniable Sound of Right Now Written by Laura Eason; Directed by Kirsten Kelly

Hamlet in Bed Written by Michael Laurence; Directed by Lisa Peterson

Afghanistan, Zimbabwe, America, Kuwait Written and Directed by Daniel Talbott

 

The New Group

at The Pershing Square Signature Center
480 West 42nd Street

Twitter: @TheNewGroupNYC

Sticks and Bones

October 21 – December 14

Richard Chamberlain, Holly Hunter and Bill Pullman star in this revival of David Rabe’s “savagely comic” look at a family torn apart by the Vietnam War.

In 2015

Rasheeda Speaking

Cynthia Nixon makes her directorial debut with this tense workplace thriller starring Dianne Wiest and Tonya Pinkins as co-workers. Written by Joel Drake Johnson, the playexamines the realities of so-called “post-racial” America.

The Spoils

By Jesse Eisenberg.

MCC Theater

Address: The Lucille Lortel Theatre, 121 Christopher Street. Twitter: @mcctheater

MoneyShotposter

The Money Shot

September 4–October 12, 2014

Neil LaBute’s play about “Karen and Steve, glamorous movie stars with one thing in common: desperation.”

Punk Rock

October 29 – December 7

Simon Stephens (who adapted The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time) writes about 
a group of highly-articulate 17-year-old British private school students preparing for their A-Level mock exams, while hormones rage.

In 2015

The Nether

Permission

Lincoln Center Theater*

The shows at Lincoln Center’s Off-Broadway venues are inexpensive (especially at the Claire Tow theater, where initial-run tickets cost $20) and often rewarding: Disgraced, the Pulitzer Prize winning play that is opening on Broadway October 23, began here.

brownsville song (b-side for tray)

October 4 – November 16

The play by Kimber Lee “moves fluidly through time as the family of Tray, a spirited 18 year-old whose life is cut short, navigate their grief and find hope together.”

The Oldest Boy

October 9 – December 28

In this new play by Sarah Ruhl, Celia Keenan-Bolger (The Glass Menagerie)  portrays an American mother who lives with her Tibetan husband and their three-year-old son, whom Tibetan monks suddenly tell her is the reincarnation of an important Lama — and want to take him away for training.

2015

Verity

The Mystery of Love and Sex

 

ROUNDABOUT* LAURA PELS THEATER

Indian Ink

September 4 – November 30

Rosemary Harris stars in a revival of Tom Stoppard’s play about a free-spirited English poet in India, and her sister 50 years later.

 

In 2015

Into The Woods

 

MTC THEATER* At City Center

131 West 55th Street

Twitter: @MTC_NYC

They seem to have a water theme this season.

Lost Lake

Opens November 11

Written by David Auburn and directed by Daniel Sullivan (the team that brought us Proof and The Columnist), this play focuses on two strangers who meet at a rundown lakeside rental.

By The Sea

Opens November 18

In Sharon Rothstein’s play, Hurricane Sandy has just ravaged the lifelong home in Staten Island of Marty and Mary Murphy, who are determined to rebuild; then their sons return home.

In 2015

The World of Extreme Happiness by Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig

The Swing of the Sea by Richard Greenberg

 

SIGNATURE

signature_01

480 West 42nd Street. Twitter: @signaturetheatr

As the first New York theater to win the Regional Tony Award this year, the Signature now has some solid proof of what has been clear to its patrons for years.  What has distinguished this theater is not only its track record, but its commitment to keep the price of all tickets for initial runs to $25.  This used to be my favorite theater, and I’m hoping it will become so again, but despite the new recognition, the offerings have been uneven recently, and my interaction with the theater has not been positive.

This season’s “Residency One” playwrights are A.R. Gurney and Naomi Wallace

 

And I And Silence by Naomi Wallace

August 5 to September 14

Two women who met as teenagers in prison struggle to make ends meet in 1959.

 

The Wayside Motor Inn by A.R. Gurney

August 12, 2014 – September 28, 2014

Five stories told simultaneously in a motel room outside Boston.

StephenReainAParticleofDread

A Particle of Dread (Oedipus Variations) by Sam Shepard

A “dark, fragmented, modern-day take on Oedipus Rex” starring Stephen Rhea

Our Lady of Kibeho by Katori Hall

ln 1981, a village girl in Rwanda claims to see the Virgin Mary. Ostracized by her schoolmates and labeled disturbed, everyone refuses to believe, until the impossible starts happening again and aga

In 2015:

Big Love by Charles Mee

The Liquid Plain by Naomi Wallace

What I Did Last Summer by A.R. Gurney

OTHER (POTENTIAL) HIGHLIGHTS

the iceman cometh

The Iceman Cometh, the production with Nathan Lane and Bryan Dennehy that originally appeared to extreme acclaim at the Goodman in Chicago, will be at the Brooklyn Academy of Music February 5 to March 15, 2015 (which means I really should just put it in my Spring 2015 Preview Guide, but by then it will be sold out.)

AngelsInAmerica_613x463

Angels in America at BAM

Always worth checking out: Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Next Wave Festival which focuses on avant-garde experimental and European works that are sometimes hard to categorize.

This year the 17 theater pieces include Ivan van Hove’s reimagining of Tony Kushner’s Angels in America, Samuel Beckett’s radio play Embers and Luigi Pirandello’s Six Characters in Search of An Author.

 

 

There are worthwhile theaters I do not attend regularly enough to list as my favorites, with at least one production each this season that sound promising, or at least intriguing:

Barrow Street Theater – Waiting for Godot in Yiddish (with English subtitles)

Irish Repertory Theater – Port Authority by Conor McPherson

Primary StagesWhile I Yet Live by Billy Porter (Kinky Boots star turned playwright)

Second Stage Theatre – revival of Terence McNally’s Lips Together, Teeth Apart; stage adaptation of Bret Easton Ellis’s novel American Psycho

59E59 -  James Dickey’s Deliverance, based on his acclaimed novel, adapted by Sean Tyler, October 10 – November 9

Lift, novelist Walter Mosley‘s first full length play, about two workers stuck in a skyscraper elevator. October 17-November 30

Then there are theaters that actively discourage my coverage:

The Atlantic – Found

There are also commercial shows put together by independent producers that appear in theaters for rent, such as:

Cherry Lane Theatre
Daryl Roth Theatre
Gym at Judson
Lucille Lortel Theatre
New World Stages
Orpheum Theater
The Players Theatre
Snapple Theater Center
Theatre Row – The Acorn
Union Square Theater
Westside Theatre

 

*THE ASTERISK: Off-Broadway AND Broadway

*Just to complicate matters, several of the resident theaters also present shows on Broadway –  Lincoln Center, Manhattan Theater Company (MTC), and the Roundabout Theater Company. Their Broadway offerings are listed in my Broadway Fall 2014 Preview Guide

What Is Broadway, Off-Broadway, Off-Off Broadway?

Off-Broadway theaters, by definition, have anywhere from 99 to 499 seats. If a theater has more seats than that, it’s a Broadway house. If it has fewer, it’s Off-Off Broadway.

There are some terrific Off-Off Broadway theaters, sometimes confused for Off-Broadway. These include (but are not limited to) The Flea, Labyrinth Theater, and LaMaMa ETC.

Because there are so many shows Off-Off Broadway, and their runs are so limited, I will include them in my monthly theater preview posted near the beginning of each month.

NEW YORK THEATER CALENDAR BY OPENING DATES

New York Theater Opening Night Calendar

FOR MORE INFORMATION

For more information about Off-Broadway, go to  The League of Off-Broadway Theatres and Producers (aka The Off-Broadway League).  This should not be confused with the Off-Broadway Alliance, which is a separate organization (though they should probably merge, no?)

Summer Theater NYC 2014 – Looking Back

Here’s what you missed if you went away all summer

And I And Silence Review: An Interracial Friendship in the 1950s, Poetically

AndIAndSilenceSamanthaSouleRachelNicks

Dee (Samantha Soule) and Jamie (Rachel Nicks) in And I And Silence

In “And I And Silence,” a challenging play by Naomi Wallace, two women, Dee and Jamie, one white, the other black, meet in prison when they are teenagers, and after they are released years later, struggle to survive together in a Southern town in 1959 – a struggle that ends in tragedy.

That is a more or less accurate summary of the plot in this first of Naomi Wallace’s plays to be presented this season at the Signature. But it doesn’t really get at the play, which isn’t so straightforward. Wallace has two actresses portray each character. Scenes of the Young Dee (Emily Skeggs) and Young Jamie (Trae Harris) in prison alternate with scenes of the older Dee (Samantha Soule) and Jamie (Rachel Nicks) in the room that the two wind up sharing. Both scenes take place on the same spare set, on a kind of narrow catwalk that runs down the center of the Linney Theater, splitting the audience in two.

The abstract quality of the set reflects the language of the play. A respected theater artist who won a MacArthur “genius” fellowship, Wallace began as a poet, and her love of poetry strongly influences her approach to storytelling on the stage. The title of this play comes from a line from Emily Dickinson’s poem I felt a Funeral, in my Brain; some of the dialogue is in rhyming couplets. The playwright’s feel for language can be rewarding:

“Soup for weeks now,” Dee complains to Jamie. “I hate soup.”

“Well, I don’t think it likes you either, Dee, ’cause you always disrespect it. But after the rent it’s all we can afford.”

But Wallace’s lyrical approach (the less tolerant would call it arty or vague)  sometimes seems to work against the play’s apparent purpose. Originally commissioned by the London company Clean Break to perform in women’s prisons, “And I And Silence” seems meant to depict a “turbulent era” in American history, and expose what Wallace calls “one of the most oppressive economic systems in the world.” The quotations are from an interview with Wallace in a Signature publication; in that same publication, director Caitlin McLeod is more explicit:

“The play re-examines and challenges the 1950s, a period often looked back on with nostalgia for its slick, ‘Mad Men,’ consumer-boom brightness. Yet Naomi writes about those who were present but invisible…in a society that was still very oppressive, segregated, and rife with inequality.”

Jamie and Dee are two women who never had a chance. Jamie was in jail because she helped her brother commit a robbery, with a piece of wood made to look like a gun; the storeowner used a real gun to kill her brother, the last of her living relatives. Dee stabbed her father after he pushed her mother (yet again) down a staircase.

We see the young women in prison playfully but seriously practicing to be maids, the only job they believe they have a chance of getting after their release. Once on the outside, we glean from their conversation that even maids jobs are difficult both to get and to keep; that they are subjected to physical and sexual abuse at these jobs; and, because of their interracial friendship, they can’t walk together in public without getting things thrown at them. They role-play bad experiences they have had on the outside, and talk about their dreams, which are mostly nightmares.

The entire production takes on a dream-like quality, the dialogue rarely sounding like the way two people would actually speak to one another, the scenes not always clearly offering a linear progression. The actors, unmistakably pros,  subtly project a range of feelings, from unspoken love to suppressed frustration. But they are seldom convincing as flesh-and-blood human beings.

European critics have been big on this play, one comparing it to Genet’s The Maids except “a truly American tragedy….  completely grounded in the harshness of the real world.” But perhaps they know as much about what’s truly American as British director Caitlin McLeod knows about “Mad Men,” a TV series that is set in the 1960’s, not the 1950’s – an admittedly petty and unfair snipe. But to me her misstatement is a clue to the lack of interest in the concrete, accurate details that make up a credible reality on stage.

For those theatergoers in the right mind-set – the patience to treat this piece the way they would a poem, uncertain of its meaning at times, content with its rhythms – “And I And Silence” is dark but beautiful. The rest of us might find it intriguing for about 15 minutes, and shocking for the final five, but spend the bulk of its 90 minutes working hard to pretend it’s not a bore.

And I and Silence

Pershing Square Signature Theater

By Naomi Wallace; directed by Caitlin McLeod; sets by Rachel Hauck; costumes by Clint Ramos; lighting by Bradley King; music and sound by Elisheba Ittoop; dialect coach, Charlotte Fleck; fight director, Unkledave’s Fight-House;

Running time: 90 minutes with no intermission.

Tickets: $25

Cast: Trae Harris (Young Jamie), Rachel Nicks (Jamie), Emily Skeggs (Young Dee) and Samantha Soule (Dee).

And I and Silence is scheduled to run through September 14th.

2014 Fringe Excellence Award Winners

Absolutely Filthy, winner of Overall Excellence at 2014 New York Fringe

Absolutely Filthy, winner of Overall Excellence at 2014 New York Fringe

Winners of the Fringe Excellence Awards, 2014:
Overall Play:
Absolutely Filthy
The Three Faces of Dr. Crippen
This is Where We Live

Overall Musical:
Jump Man: A Mario Musical
King of Kong
Urban Momfare

 

Jump Man, This is Where We Live, and Urban Momfare will all be presented at the Fringe Encores series in September

Acting:

Bedroom Secrets

Bedroom Secrets

Janet Prince – Murder Margaret & Me
Stephen Wallem – Bedroom Secrets
Gwendolyn Kelso – Interior: Panic
Brendan Hunt  – Absolutely Filthy

Playwrighting:
Briandaniel Oglesby – Halfway, Nebraska
Catherine Yu – The Sun Experiment
Sara Cooper – Things I Left on Long Island
Daniel McCabe – The Flood
Jacob Marx Rice – Chemistry

Solo Performance:
Gary Busey’s Hamlet
Hoaxocaust
Magical Negro Speaks
No Static at All
The Mushroom Cure

 

Gary Busey’s Hamlet, Hoaxocast, Magical Negro Speaks, and Murder, Margaret & Me will all be presented again at the Fringe Encores series.

Music & Lyrics Composition:
Elliah Helfetz – Dust Can’t Kill Me

Ensemble:
The List
No One Asked Me
Freaks: A Legend About Growing Up
Vestments of the Gods
The 8th Fold

Costumes:
Ashley Soliman – Fatty Fatty No Friends
Directing:
Bronwen Carson – April’s Fool
Gregory Kowalski – Crave

TheaterMania Audience Favorite:
Absolutely Filthy

Broadway Under Ice. Fall Picks. Lear Alot. Week in New York Theater

These are supposed to be the dog days of August, but too much is going on — maybe because so many theater people are pouring ice water on their heads, or because we’re looking at the Broadway Fall 2014 season

15showsonBroadwayFall2014

and then picking our favorite in the Broadway Fall 2014 Poll — which show are you most looking forward to.

We’re also excited that we’ll be able to see the shows we missed at the Fringe, thanks to the Fringe Encores Series.

Below:

News about Gloria Estefan, Emma Stone, Andrew Rannells,Adam Chanler-Berat, Peter Dinklage, Taylor Schilling, Motown

Lin-Manuel Miranda on what Broadway musicals say about justice,
a chat among theater critics about King Lear,
theater artists discuss the purpose of theater and why so many theater artists are unpaid.
We also consider: What should the 41st theater on Broadway be called.

The Week in New York Theater, Aug 18-24

18

Estefan

On Your Feet, a new musical based on the life of Gloria Estefan and her husband Emilio Estefan Jr, set to open on Broadway Nov 5, 2015. (Notice: 2015, not 2014.)  First they have to find the performer to portray Gloria Estefan. (Submit audition video here)

FortressofSolitude1

André de Shields, Kyle Beltran, sand Adam Chanler-Berat are among the 18-member cast of the musical adaptation of Jonathan Lethem’s Fortress of Solitude,  written by composer/lyricist Michael Friedman (Love’s Labour’s Lost, Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson) and bookwriter Itamar Moses (The Four of Us.) It begins at the Public Theater on September 30th.

Here is a talk de Shields gave years ago about how he has always stayed employed:

 

PatrickPage

“Depression is an illness shared by about nine percent of adults,including me. It is frequently fatal,” says actor Patrick Page

Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Twitter riff on Broadway lyrics about justice

 

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SchillingandDinklage
Peter Dinklage (Game of Thrones), Taylor Schilling (Orange in the New Black) will star in the Classic Stage Company’s production of A Month in the Country by Ivan Turgenev in January.

Lear Alot

Why so many Lears lately? George Hunka rejects L.A. Times critic Charles McNulty and Wall Street Journal critic Terry Teachout’s theory that baby boomers identify; saying it’s because stars want to play Lear and people want to see the stars.

A long conversation about Lear ensued on Twitter. Here’s an edited version:

Charles McNulty: Most capacious tragedy in the canon would be another cogent reason obviously

Terry Teachout: One problem with George’s interesting theory is that I’m also seeing lots of non-star “Lears.”  I’ve reviewed/will review eight “Lears” since 2010, four of them starless regional productions.

George Hunka: On the other hand there’s the regional “pileon” effect — if NY is doing it, so must we.

Terry Teachout:  That’s not quite true, either–some do, but as many go their own way.

Ron Rosenbaum: This will be heretical but I think more important to read it again than see it again.

Terry Teachout: I don’t, Ron. Reading it only takes you so far–seeing it deepens penetration.

George Hunka: That surely depends on the production.

Terry Teachout: Up to a point, I learn almost as much from bad stagings.

George Hunka: That said, the best productions I’ve seen were films: Kozintsev, BrookOlivier and Kurosawa.

Ron Rosenbaum: Agree on Brook/Scofield. I’d add the Gielgud audio. and maybe Michael Horden’s BBC

Terry Teachout: I just heard a fascinating audio–Donald Wolfit!

 

Iain has been a theater critic since March. He recently turned 6. He’s reviewed some 20 shows on Broadway and in D.C. Here he reviews Les Miserables

(He is the son of actor Euan Morton and producer Lee Armitage)

 

Molly Stoller, Alison Scaramella, Taryn Wisky (also the producer and co-adaptor), and Yvonne Roen in "Abortion: A Race Redux"

Molly Stoller, Alison Scaramella, Taryn Wisky (also the producer and co-adaptor), and Yvonne Roen in “Abortion: A Race Redux”

My review of Abortion by Eugene O’Neill

Eugene O’Neill wrote “Abortion” exactly a century ago, shortly after he had decided to become a playwright. Director Heather Lanza and producer Taryn A Wisky have chosen to “adapt” O’Neill’s text to create what they call “an original theater piece that aims to put race in the forefront and start a society-wide conversation.” “Abortion: Race Redux” runs through Sunday, August 24, as part of the2014 Dream Up Festival at the Theater for the New City.

If it’s not a production I can recommend, it is nevertheless a thought-provoking experiment .

 Full review

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emmastone

Emma Stone will succeed Michelle Williams as Sally Bowles in Cabaret, November 11 – February 1.


The purpose of theater is NOT to change the world/give back to community, argues playwright Richard Nelson

 

AndrewRannellsinHedwig

Andrew Rannells begins in Hedwig

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The Winter’s Tale, directed by Lear deBessonet, with great pros (eg Lindsay Mendez) + 200 New Yorkers. September 5-7, Delacorte FREE

Lear deBessonet

Profile of theater director Lear deBessonet, who fuses art with activism, the attentive with  the playful

Interested in teaching theater, but not ready to get a degree? Here are courses you can take at the City College of New York Educational Theatre Program.

How we stopped clobbering and started collaborating,by candid theater artists artists Ashley Laverty and Rivka Rocchio

“Getting Paid for Your Work in a Culture of Unpaid Labor.” – Howlround chat. Excerpt:

 

"Kunstler' - by Jeffrey Sweet

My review of Kunstler

In “Kunstler,” a fascinating play at the New York Fringe Festival about radical lawyer William Kunstler’s most significant cases, playwright Jeffrey Sweet strives to present a balanced portrait, albeit not mightily. Set in a university lecture hall in 1995, just a few months before Kunstler’s death at age 76, the play pairs the lawyer (portrayed by Nick Wyman) with a skeptical black student (Gillian Glasco), who has been tasked with introducing him, although she voted against his being invited. We also hear protestors outside the auditorium shouting “Kunstler is a traitor!” The character even quotes a few negative remarks that were made about him in the press (far from the worst ever said), done in a way to show that he relished his notoriety.
But let’s face it, this is an unmistakably admiring portrait of William Kunstler as he tells the stories, chronologically, of most of his best-known – and most dramatic – cases

 Full review

 

22

Michael Jackson (Raymond Luke Jr.) and the Jackson 5

Michael Jackson (Raymond Luke Jr.) and the Jackson 5

Motown will close on Broadway January 18. BUT it plans to return to Broadway in July 2016.

The Shubert Organization,which owns 17 of the 40 Broadway theaters, reportedly plans to build a 41st, between 45th & 46th Streets

What should the Shuberts call their new, 1500-seat theater, the 41st Broadway house? #Broadwayname

Allison Taylor@Typical__Taylor: The (Hal) Prince.
Beverly Baker@TheatreAddict: The Edward Albee

Scott McQ@Satyr69: Based on the ticket prices, call it The One Percent

Jonathan Mandell: I see you have your cynical hat on today. What would YOU name it if you were in charge?

Scott McQ: The Elaine Stritch.

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MurderMargaretandMe

Fringe Encore series – for New York International Fringe shows you missed

 

Alton White as Mufasa_photo_by_Joan_Marcus

Today, Alton White plays Mustafa in The Lion King for the 4,000th time!

 

How would you answer this poster from Playwrights Horizons: I go to the theater because..

Igotothetheaterposter

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Ending today:

"Don't Speak!" Marin Mazzie shuts up Zach Braff in Woody Allen's Broadway musical Bullets Over Broadway

“Don’t Speak!” Marin Mazzie shuts up Zach Braff in Woody Allen’s Broadway musical Bullets Over Broadway

Bullets Over Broadway

Newsies1

Newsies

Newsies Ends on Broadway

It wasn’t supposed to be on Broadway at all. Then it was only going to run for five months. But “Newsies” lasted more than 1,000 performances over two and a half years. And after every performance, a huge crowd gathered at the stage door.

Cast members changed over the years, but the adoration remained.

Curtain speech at the closing performance by Disney theater head Thomas Schumacher

Here is my review of Newsies after it opened on March 29, 2012:

Wider than the gap between the one percent and the 99 percent, or between labor and management, is the one between those who grew up adoring the film “Newsies” and those who found it unwatchable.

The 1992 Disney musical, based on the true story of a strike in 1899 by New York’s newspaper boys, starred an 18-year-old Christian Bale as strike leader Jack. (Bale apparently now lines up with the unwatchable group; he has never appeared in another musical: “I just don’t like musicals, that’s all.”)

“Newsies” was a clear-cut flop: Made for $15 million, it grossed under $3 million. Movie critics were fairly unanimous in their assessment:
“Joyless, pointless”- Janet Maslin, New York Times
“All left feet, noise and clutter”- Desson Howe, Washington Post
“Warmed-over Horatio Alger”-Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times.
“I’ve loved the movie since I was five years old,” a woman in my row at the Nederlander Theater told me.
That adoration was apparently widespread. “Newsies” not only got a second life on video; schools and amateur theaters across the country were reportedly staging their own live productions based on the film. Its cult-like popularity convinced Disney to mount its own stage version. “Newsies The Musical” was put on last year at Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn, N.J.
It is that production that now has arrived on Broadway. So loyal are the fans of the film that Jeremy Jordan, who plays Jack, recently apologized to them in an interview for the changes made in the adaptation.
Newsies, the musicalYes, there are some changes: Five of the film’s songs by composer Alan Menken (The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Sister Act, Leap of Faith) with lyricist Jack Feldman have been cut, replaced by five new ones from the same songwriting team. Harvey Fierstein (“Torch Song Trilogy,” “La Cage Aux Folles”), who was brought on to write the book, has moved around some scenes, spruced up the dialogue, and turned the seasoned male reporter who covers the strike (played in the movie by Bill Pullman) into a rookie female journalist (Kara Lindsay) – a love interest for Jack.
The good news about “Newsies” is that the musical works far better on a stage. Even Tobin Ost’s set, with its three massive three-tiered skeletal metal towers moving around compulsively, is far more effective than the Hollywood backlot used as pretend-New York in the film. Menken’s dozen songs, spiced with some undeniably catchy tunes, get the treatment they deserve, backed by a live 12-piece band and put forth by a splendid cast (of young-looking adults playing children) that is not only as attractive as those in the movie; these performers can actually sing.

And dance. The choreography by Christopher Gattelli is dazzling. The vigorous tap routines and acrobatic moves – leaps and kicks, back flips and mid-air somersaults – put “Newsies” up there with “Memphis” and “Anything Goes” for the most thrilling dancing currently on Broadway.

Why they’re dancing is not always clear. At several moments in “Newsies,” I found myself asking: What exactly does this chorus line have to do with the plot? But perhaps this is just as well. “Newsies” may be based on a true story, but the story here feels largely synthetic.

Newsies was the nickname for street urchins – mostly homeless children– who made a living in the late nineteenth century by purchasing copies of newspapers from the publishers, and then hawking them on the streets. In the musical, newspaper mogul Joseph Pulitzer (yes, that’s who the Pulitzer Prizes are named after) decides, in order to increase his profits, to start charging the newsboys more for their batch of newspapers each morning.
Jack organizes a strike, which has its ups and downs, its turns and twists.
“Newsies” touches on some of the deplorable conditions of the day. Thugs beat up the strikers, for example, with the collusion of the police. Jack, played persuasively by Jeremy Jordan (who played Clyde in Frank Wildhorn’s short-lived “Bonnie & Clyde” on Broadway) is given speeches like: “For the sake of all the kids in every sweatshop, factory, and slaughter house in this town, I beg you… throw down your papers and join the strike.”
But nobody would mistake “Newsies” for Clifford Odets or even Mike Daisey. This is Disney, after all. And by that, I don’t mean it is a big corporation that itself has been accused of engaging in questionable labor practices – even, as recently as last year, benefiting from child labor.
Twitter Badge (.gif)The Newsies team seems to be attempting a synthesis of “Oliver!” and “The Bowery Boys.” The characters speak with toy New Yawk accents – Orphans have no muddahs, but they still have bruddahs — and say cute things that no children really say. (“Fame is one intoxicatin’ potion,” says the character Les, supposedly nine years old.) The twists in the story (which I won’t give away, and which are not of course what actually happened) are so pat as to be nearly incoherent.
“Newsies The Musical” retains from the movie the burlesque star who is friends with Jack and the other Newsies – in the movie played by Ann-Margret, here by Capathia Jenkins, just as incongruously, if not more so. She sings a new song full of sexual double-entendres. She also greets the newsboys with: “Welcome to my theater and your revolution!”
The newsies feel as revolutionary as the munchkins in “The Wizard of Oz.”
A legitimate response here would be: Oh, lighten up; it’s an entertainment. But it also may be a missed opportunity.
When little Les is astounded that he can see a showgirl’s legs, the burlesque star says to Les’s brother:
“Step out of his way so’s he can get a better look. Theater’s not only entertaining, it’s educational.”
But how educational is “Newsies”?

NewsboysLodgeJacobRiis

It is obvious that the team did some research, and that that research included Jacob Riis’ “How The Other Half Lives,” which includes a photograph Riis took – captioned “Getting ready for supper in the Newsboys’ Lodging House” – that surely inspired the morning waking-up scene at the beginning of the musical.

As Riis explains, the Newsboy’s Lodging House was set up by the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children – “the good it has done cannot easily be overestimated.” The lodging houses were an alternative to the boys’ normal abode, which included a boiler room in the sub-basement of the Post Office and, when that was raided by police, “the shore-end of one of the East River banana docks, where they had fitted up a regular club-room that was shared by thirty to forty homeless boys and about a million rats…

“Whence this army of homeless boys?” Riis asked. “Some are orphans, actually or in effect, thrown upon the world when their parents were ‘sent up’…A drunken father explains the matter in other cases, as in that of John and Willie, aged ten and eight, picked up by the police. They ‘didn’t live nowhere,’ never went to school, could neither read nor write….Grinding poverty and hard work beyond the years of the lad; blows and curses for breakfast, dinner and supper; all these are recruiting agents for the homeless army. Sickness in the house; too many mouths to feed.”
Riis’s work helped shock the nation into enacting a raft of reforms, including the outlawing of child labor.
“Newsies The Musical” is under no obligation to do anything but entertain. But one wonders what a musical theater composer like Adam Guettel (“Floyd Collins”) or Stephen Sondheim might have done with this story.

 

Newsies The Musical
At the Nederlander Theater
Music by Alan Menken; lyrics by Jack Feldman; book by Harvey Fierstein, based on the Disney film written by Bob Tzudiker and Noni White
Directed by Jeff Calhoun; choreography by Christopher Gattelli; music supervisor/incidental arrangements by Michael Kosarin; orchestrations by Danny Troob; sets by Tobin Ost; costumes by Jess Goldstein; lighting by Jeff Croiter; projections by Sven Ortel; sound by Randy Hansen; hair and wig design by Charles LaPointe; fight director, J. Allen Suddeth; production stage manager, Thomas J. Gates; dance music arrangements by Mark Hummel
Cast: Jeremy Jordan (Jack Kelly), John Dossett (Joseph Pulitzer), Kara Lindsay (Katherine), Capathia Jenkins (Nun/Medda Larkin), Ben Fankhauser (Davey), Andrew Keenan-Bolger (Crutchie), Lewis Grosso and Matthew J. Schechter (alternating as Les) and Kevin Carolan (Governor Roosevelt).
Running time: 2 hours 20 minutes.

2014 Fringe NYC Encore Series, for New York Fringe Shows You Missed

Some two dozen of the most popular shows from the 2014 New York International Fringe Festival will be presented at the 10th annual Fringe Encore series,September 4 to October 5, which (like last year) is split in two. Solo in the City at the Baruch Performing Arts Center will present eight solo performances that were hits at the festival. The other eight Fringe shows will be at the Soho Playhouse. Tickets are $18 to $20.

The descriptions come from the productions. This is a work in progress. The schedule is not complete for every show, and more shows will be added to the series before it begins.

Solo in the City: The FringeNYC Encore Series

September 4 to 27 at Baruch Performing Arts Center. 

John Clifton, Joan Shepard in Confessions

John Clifton, Joan Shepard in Confessions

Confessions of Old Lady #2

Joan Shepard’s sparkling account of 74 years on Broadway and on TV. Laced with side splitting stories and witty songs, this musical memoir won four stars from the London Times.

Sept. 18 at 7 PM & Sept. 22 at 2 PM

Fearless at Fringe

Fearless

The story of one man’s broken engagement (not his fault), failed suicide attempt (definitely his fault), the relationships that followed (probably his fault) and the misguided attempts to teach his students how to take risks and become fearless.

Sept. 20, 27 at 9 PM

GaryBuseysOneManHamletasperformedbyDavidCarl14-2648

Gary Busey’s One Man Hamlet (As Performed by David Carl)

In this absurdist romp through Shakespeare, pop culture, and life in the theater, iconic actor Gary Busey (played by comedian David Carl) will perform all the parts in “Hamlet”, using homemade puppets, videos, live music, and poetry.

Sept. 19, 26 at 9 PM & Oct. 3 at 9 PM

Hoaxacaust

Hoaxocaust! Written and performed by Barry Levey, with the generous assistance of the Institute for Political and International Studies, Tehran

Ever wish the Holocaust hadn’t happened? Some say it didn’t! Join Barry’s journey to find deniers from Illinois to Iran, meeting engineers and ex-presidents, dodging a brother in Hungary and a boyfriend back home to discover the truth.

Sept. 11, 18, 24 at 7:30 PM & Sept. 21 at 3 PM

magicalnegrospeaks

 Magical Negro Speaks

Jamil Ellis gives voice to the Magical Negro — one of Hollywood’s favorite tropes — and examines what images in entertainment mean for future generations.

Sept. 19 at 8 PM & Sept. 20 at 7 PM

MurderMargaretandMe

Murder Margaret and Me

Margaret Rutherford became a global legend playing Miss Marple. Originally she didn’t want the part, and Agatha Christie didn’t want Marple played by “the funniest woman alive.” This British sell-out sensation sees Christie playing detective, unearthing Rutherford’s terrible secrets.

Sept. 13 at 3 PM; Sept. 19 & 20 at 7 PM

ThePawnbrokerLiesLoversandBertoltBrecht The Pawnbroker: Lies, Lovers, and Bertolt Brecht

What price would you pay for love? Your dignity, your sanity, your place in history? Discover the lies behind Brecht’s legend – and what five women lost to create it. If you think you know the truth, you don’t know Brecht.

 

Sex Lies

• Sex, Lies & Earl Grey

How do you take your tea? Georgina likes it hot with good manners, bad behavior and a pianist. Her crash course in etiquette reveals more than she, or you might expect.

Sept. 13 at 2 PM ; Sept. 20 at 8:30 PM; Sept. 28 at 7:30 PM

_________________________

The FringeNYC Encore Series

September 4 to October 5 at SoHo Playhouse.

Chemistry play

• Chemistry

Steph is a recovering depressive. Jamie overachieved himself off the deep end. When they meet in their psychiatrist’s office, they can’t deny their chemistry, but can they survive it? A pitch black and piercingly insightful comedy about being crazy in love

Sat 9/13 @ 5:30, Fri 9/19 @ 9:30, Sat 9/20 @ 7, Sun 9/21 @ 5, Sat 10/4 @ 7

 

Fatty Fatty No Friends

As the fattest kid in school, Tommy lives a lonely, living nightmare. When the skinny kids’ taunting goes too far, Tommy takes revenge without amends. A dark spoken-word Tim Burton-esque musical diving into the lunchtime of life, where bullies are delicious.

Sat 9/13 @ 5:30, Fri 9/19 @ 9:30, Sat 9/20 @ 7, Sun 9/21 @ 5, Sat 10/4 @ 7

 

The Imbible: A Spirited History of Drinking

Join world-renowned mixologist and raconteur Anthony Caporale (Art of the Drink TV) for a boozy romp through the history of alcohol. Cocktails and comedy combine for an utterly unique musical theatre experience! “An absolute must-see!” raves The Huffington Post. 21+ only

Fri 9/5 at 8, Fri 9/12 at 8, Fri 9/19 at 8, Fri 9/26 at 8

Erik DeCicco, Jeff Essex, Michael Armstrong-Barr in Jump Man

Erik DeCicco, Jeff Essex, Michael Armstrong-Barr in Jump Man

Jump Man

A musical parody of the Mario Brothers world. When a crime wave hits their Brooklyn neighborhood, Mario and Luigi have their heroism tested. Jump Man addresses age-old questions like “What defines a hero?” and “Do plumbers love to sing?”

Sat 9/6 @ 7, Fri 9/12 @ 7, Sat 9/13 @ 3 & 8, Sun 9/14 @ 7

No One Asked Me

No One Asked Me

Illegal. No papers. They are not supposed to be here, yet for thousands of undocumented children, the U.S. is the only home they know. They face an uncertain future, fearing deportation. Based upon stories of “illegal” NYC students.

Fri 9/26 @ 9, Sat 9/27 @ 4, Sun 9/28 @ 7:30, Mon 9/29 @ 7, Tue 9/30 @ 8

Opera in Tap performing at Freddy's Bar

Smashed: The Carrie Nation Story

A beer-soaked, absurdly comic opera loosely based on the hatchet-wielding temperance leader Carrie Nation. Raise your frothy brew high!

 

ThisisWhereWeLive

• This is Where We Live

Two teenagers collide like a modern day Orpheus and Eurydice in a dead-end Australian town. A dark, moving comedy infused with the rhythm of beat poetry. Australia’s Paperbark Theatre Company presents this US premiere, which won the 2012 Griffin Award.

Thu 9/4 @ 8, Fri 9/5 @ 8, Sat 9/6 @ 9:30, Sun 9/7 @ 5, Mon 9/8 @ 8

 

Urban Momfare

Why don’t we ever hear songs about moms not actually liking their kids? This romp through motherhood on Manhattan’s Upper East Side spans 17 years: “Music For Gifted and Talented Babies” to bra straps and Bellinis. Sling on your stilettos!

Sun 9/21 @ 7, Wed 9/24 @ 2, Thu 9/25 @ 7, Sat 9/27 @ 7, Sun 9/28 @ 5

lessthanfiftypercentatFringe

• <50%
Gianmarco and Laura star in a completely factual play about the end of their five-year relationship. Everything is exactly as it happened, is happening, and will happen.
Mon 9/15 @ 9, Fri 9/19 @ 7, Mon 9/22 @ 8, Mon 9/29 @ 9:30 , Sat 10/4 @ 5

Held Momentarily

Held Momentarily

• Held Momentarily
Trapped on a stalled New York subway, seven strangers realize it’s not just the train that’s stuck. A poignant musical comedy about making connections, living in the moment and moving on in life… and a woman just went into labor.
Thu 9/11 @ 7, Fri 9/12 @ 9:30, Sun 9/14 @ 5, Thu 9/18 @ 9, Sun 9/21 @ 3

MosesTheAuthorFringe

• Moses, The Author
Meet Moses. He has family problems (gay son, rocky marriage), God problems (existential), and career problems (writer’s block, a hellish deadline). To make a better Bible he must become a better man. A love story, with scrolls. Don’t miss it.
Fri 9/26 @ 7, Sun 9/28 @ 3, Wed 10/1 @ 3, Sun 10/5 @ 3 & 7

 

Mothers Day

Mothers Day

• Mother’s Day
Acid-tongued New York drag queen Helen Back incites a nuclear family meltdown when she comes home to New Jersey for Mother’s Day. The debut of a pitch black comedy/drama that explores the rules of engagement for a family at war.
Thurs 9/4 @ 9:30, Fri 9/5 @ 9:30, Tues 9/9 @ 8, Thurs 9/11 9:30

WarmEnoughforSwimmingFringe

• Warm Enough For Swimming
Mom drowned years ago. Grandma died yesterday. Eddie fled his wedding. And Bridget can’t make coffee. Can estranged siblings clean the living room when the bride arrives with a post-recession pyramid scheme and a Russian Mafioso stalks their childhood home?
Sat 9/20 @ 9:30, Tue 9/23 @ 8, Thurs 9/25 @ 9:30, Sat 9/27 @ 9:30, Thurs 10/2 @ 8

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Broadway Fall 2014 Preview Guide

Listed below, chronologically by opening dates, are the shows officially scheduled so far on Broadway in the 2014-2015 season, with basic information and my two cents for the Fall shows. Both the schedule and my opinions are tentative and will be revised and updated as the season progresses.

You want stars, pick your favorite: Hugh Jackman, Glenn Close, Harry Potter’s Rupert Grint, Carol Burnett even, etc.  You want revivals, you got them – nine of the 15 set to open from September through December.  But there is also here the promise of a quality season.

( Click for a rundown on long-running Broadway shows)

(Click here for the Off-Broadway Fall 2014 Preview Guide)

September:

ouryouthlogoThis is Our Youth

Cort Theater

Playwright: Kenneth Lonergan

Director: Anna D. Shapiro

First preview: August 18, 2014

Opening: September 11

Closing: January 4, 2015

Principal cast: Michael Cera, Kieran Culkin, Tavi Gevinson.

48 hours in the live of three teenagers in 1982, one of whom has stolen cash from his father.

This is a revival. There were productions Off-Broadway in 1996 and 1998

One Chicago critic liked this production when it was in try-outs there, but wondered if the Cort will be too big for it. Lonergan wrote one of my favorite movies, “You Can Count On Me,” but find the plays of his I’ve seen (The Starry Messenger) painfully meandering.

Twitter: @YouthBroadway

Love Letters

loveletterslogoBrooks Atkinson Theater

First preview: September 13

Opening: September 18

Closing: February 1, 2015

Playwright: A.R. Gurney

Director: Gregory Mosher

In a revival of A.R. Gurney’s play, two people write one another love letters over a period of 50 years.

The play features a star-studded rotating cast on the following schedule:

Brian Dennehy and Mia Farrow (September 13-October 10)

Carol Burnett and Brian Dennehy (October 11-November 7)

Alan Alda and Candice Bergen (November 8-December 5)

Stacy Keach and Diana Rigg (December 6-January 9)

Anjelica Huston and Martin Sheen (January 10-February 1).

This is a charming play, that I’ve seen in previous productions. (It was on Broadway in 1989.) If this production can be said to indulge in stunt-casting (and what else would you call it?) it’s stunt casting of the very highest order. My only regret is that they didn’t cast just one pair of younger performers, like, say, Robert Downey Jr. and Scarlett Johansson

Twitter: @LoveLettersBway

canttakeitwithyoulogoYou Can’t Take It With You

Longacre Theater

First preview: August 26

Opening: September 28

Closing: January 4, 2015

Playwrights: George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart

Director:  Scott Ellis

Cast: James Earl Jones, Kristine Nielsen and Elizabeth Ashley lead a cast of nearly two dozen.

Two families (one deeply eccentric) collide when their children become engaged.

First produced on Broadway in 1936, this comedy (by the writing team that was the subject of the play Act One last season), is now on its fifth revival.

Twitter: @CantTakeItBway

October:

CountryhouselogoThe Country House

Samuel J. Friedman Theater

First preview: September 9

Opening: October 2

Closing: December 9

Playwright: Donald Margulies

Director: Daniel Sullivan

Principal cast: Blythe Danner leads a six-member cast.

An adaptation by Margulies (Dinner With Friends) of Chekhov’s The Seagull focuses on a family of thespians who gather in a house in the Berkshires during the Williamstown theater festival.

@MTC_NYC

dognighttimelogoThe Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night

Ethel Barrymore Theater

First preview: September 10

Opening: October 5

Playwright: Simon Stephens adapting the novel by Mark Haddon

Director: Marianne Elliott

Fifteen-year-old Christopher, clinically awkward and brilliant, is suspected of killing the neighbor’s dog. He sets out on a life-changing journey to find the culprit.

This stage adaptation of a peculiarly-written novel I loved by Mark Haddon was well-received in London, winning 7 Olivier Awards (equalling the previous record-breaking Matilda.) It was especially praised for its design. The director and the designers are the same on Broadway, it is still a Royal National Theatre production, but the cast is different.

@CuriousBroadway

onlyaplaylogoIt’s Only A Play

First preview: August 28

Opening: October 9

Closing: January 4, 2015

Playwright: Terrence McNally

Director: Jack O’Brien

Cast: Nathan Lane, Matthew Broderick. F. Murray Abraham, Stockard Channing, Rupert Grint, Megan Mullally and Micah Stock.

Running time: 2 hours and 35 minutes, including one intermission.

The cast of a show called “The Golden Egg” await the reviews in this revival of Terrence McNally’s 1982 comedy, which is likely to be most appreciated for its cast — especially the reunited duo Matthew Broderick and Nathan Lane, as well as the Broadway debut of Harry Potter veteran Rupert Grint.

@ItsOnlyAPlay

onthetownlogoOn The Town

Lyric Theater (formerly Foxwoods)

First preview: September 20

Opening: October 16

Lyrics by: Betty Comden and Adolph Green

Music by: Leonard Bernstein

Book by: Betty Comden and Adolph Green

Director: John Rando

Principal cast: Clyde Alves, Jay Armstrong Johnson, Tony Yazbeck

Three sailors spend a day on leave in New York City, meeting some great dames.

I have high hopes for this production, which features great choreography by Joshua Bergasse (based on the glimpses we’ve been given, in videos, in reports from pre-Broadway tryouts, and at Broadway in Bryant Park), and such standards as “New York, New York (It’s a Wonderful Town)” “Come Up to My Place” and “Lonely Town,” as well as some jazzy surprises like “I Can Cook Too.”

@OnTheTownNYC

disgracedlogoDisgraced

First preview: September 27

Opening: October 23

Playwright: Ayad Akhtar

Director: Kimberly Senior

Cast: Hari Dhillon, Gretchen Mol, Karen Pittman and Josh Radnor.

Running time: 90 minutes with no intermission.

Pakistani-American lawyer Amir and his white, artist wife Emily gives a dinner party that starts off friendly and turns ugly.

The play, Akhtar’s first, was produced at Lincoln Center in 2012, winning the Pulitzer Prize for Drama.

@DisgracedBway

lastshiplogoThe Last Ship

Neil Simon Theater

First preview: September 30

Opening: October 26

Lyrics and Music: Sting

Book: John Logan and Brian Yorkey

Director: Joe Mantello

Gideon leaves his hometown to travel the world, returning 14 years later to discover that the love he left behind is engaged to somebody else, and the town’s shipbuilding industry is endangered.

The show is said to be inspired by Sting’s own childhood experiences.

@LastShipMusical

realthingpiclogoThe Real Thing

American Airlines Theater

First preview: October 2

Opening: October 30

Closing: January 4

Playwright: Tom Stoppard

Director: Sam Gold

Cast: Ewan McGregor, Maggie Gyllenhaal and Cynthia Nixon

Henry is a successful writer who is attempting to balance his professional and personal lives in this comedy about marriage and betrayal.

McGregor and Gyllenhaal are both making their Broadway debuts in this second Broadway revival of Stoppard’s play.

@RTC_NYC

November:

theriverlogoThe River

Circle in the Square Theater

First preview: October 31

Opening: November 16

Closing: January 25

Playwright: Jez Butterworth

Director: Ian Rickson

Cast: Hugh Jackman, Laura Donnelly, Cush Jumbo

Running time: 80 minutes with no intermission

A trout fisherman in a remote cabin tries to hook a woman into some night-time fishing.

Two words: Hugh Jackman.

@TheRiverPlay

sideshowlogoSide Show

St. James Theater

First preview: October 28

Opening: November 17

Lyrics by: Bill Russell

Music by: Henry Kreiger

Book by: Bill Russell with additional material by Bill Condon

Director: Bill Condon

Principal cast: Erin Davie, Emily Padgett

The Hilton twins, Daisy and Violet, were in real life conjoined twins who were trained by their guardians to become performers, and became the highest paid performers on the vaudeville circuit. “Side Show” purports to tell their story.

This “reimagined” revival of the 1997 musical was well-received in D.C., and is one of the most anticipated shows of the season, hugely leading (as of this writing) my Broadway Fall 2014 preference poll

@SideshowBway

delicatebalancelogoA Delicate Balance

John Golden Theater

Playwright: Edward Albee

Director: Pam MacKinnon

First preview: October 20

Opening: November 20

Closes: February 22

Running time: 2 hours and 55 minutes, including 2 intermissions

Cast: Glenn Close, John Lithgow, Lindsay Duncan, Bob Balaban, Claire Higgins and Martha Plimpton.

A long-married couple must maintain their equilibrium as over the course of a weekend they welcome home their 36-year old daughter after the collapse of her fourth marriage, and give shelter to their best friends who seek refuge in their home, all the while tolerating Agnes’ alcoholic live-in sister.

The Edward Albee-Pam MacKinnon match-up, which brought us the priceless recent Broadway production of “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf,” promises to do justice with another one of the playwright’s caustic Pulitzer Prize-winning masterpieces (despite the ugly poster.)

December

illusionistslogoThe Illusionists

Marquis Theater

First preview: November 26

Opening: December 4, 2014

Closes: January 4, 2015

Cast:

The Manipulator, Yu Ho-Jin

The Anti-Conjuror, Dan Sperry

The Trickster, Jeff Hobson

The Escapologist, Andrew Basso

The Inventor, Kevin James

The Warrior, Aaron Crow

The Futurist, Adam Trent

Seven illusionists perform magic and illusion. Broadway is a stop on their world tour.

@Illusionists7

The Elephant Man

theelephantmanlogoBooth Theater

First preview: November 7

Opening: December 7

Closes: February 15

Playwright: Bernard Pomerance

Director: Scott Ellis

Cast: Bradley Cooper, Patricia Clarkson, Alessandro Nivola, Anthony Heald, Scott Lowell, Kathryn Meisle, Henry Stram

Running time: one hour 55 minutes, including intermission.

Based on the true story of John Merrick, a horribly deformed man in the 19th century who was treated abominably.

This second Broadway revival of the 1979 play gives movie hearthrob Bradley Cooper a chance to show his inner beauty. (The deformity is not actually depicted. The audience is asked to imagine it.)

@ElephantMan

A peek at Spring 2015, which is even more tentative than the fall. I’ll flesh it out in the future. This is, as they say, a work in progress:

January

Constellations

Samuel J. Friedman Theater

Playwright: Nick Payne

Director: Michael Longhurst

Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal

First preview: December 16

Opening January 13, 2015

Closes: March 15

honeymooninvegaslogoHoneymoon in Vegas

Nederlander Theater

Music and Lyrics: Jason Robert Brown

Book: Andrew Bergman

Director: Gary Griffin

First preview: November 18

Opening: January 15

Cast: Tony Danza, Rob McClure, Byrnn O’Malley

Jack Singer, a regular guy with an extreme fear of marriage, finally gets up the nerve to ask his girlfriend Betsy to marry him. But when they head to Las Vegas to get hitched, smooth talking gambler Tommy Korman, looking for a second chance at love, falls head over heels for Betsy.

@HoneymoonBway

March

Fish in the Dark

Opening March 5

The Audience

Opening March 8

On The Twentieth Century

Opening March 12

Finding Neverland

Opening March 22

April

An American in Paris

Opening April 12

The King and I

Opening: April 16

Fun Home

Opening: April 22

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