New York Theater February 2015 Quiz

How well were you paying attention to the New York theater-related news in February? Answer these 11 questions to find out. Some are theater-related questions involving the Grammys and the Oscars.

Howell were you paying attention to the New York theater-related news in February? Answer these 11 questions to find out. Some are theater-related questions involving the Grammys and the Oscars.

Meryl Streep Sings New Stephen Sondheim Into The Woods Song, Deleted From Film

into-the-woods-streep
“Into the Woods” director Rob Marshall introduces “She’ll Be Back,” the new song Stephen Sondheim wrote for the film adaptation of his musical — and explains how it was deleted from the final cut. The video is a one-minute snippet of the song, which will be included in the DVD of the movie.

Brooklynite Review: Superheroes in Brooklyn

Brooklynite1 Matt Doyle and Nicolette RobinsonIf and when future theater nerds recall “Brooklynite,” the musical about superheroes in Brooklyn that has now opened at the Vineyard Theater, my bet is that we’ll see it as an early vehicle for several (future) major stars.

Oh look, we might say, there’s Nicolette Robinson in her Off-Broadway debut as Astrolass, the superhero who wants to be a regular Brooklyn girl;

or Matt Doyle, solidifying his musical theater cred after stints on Broadway in Spring Awakening, The Book of Mormon and War Horse, as Trey Swieskowski, the Brooklyn hardware clerk who wants to become a superhero;

Brooklynite2 Nick Corderoor Nick Cordero, who in his Tony-nominated performance as the gangster Cheech was by far the best thing about Bullets Over Broadway, as the snubbed superhero Avenging Angelo, who becomes the villain.

Or maybe even, here was an early musical by composer/lyricist and co-bookwriter Peter Lerman, who even then showed a talent for beautiful ballads, and a knack for an occasional clever turn of phrase.

The extraordinary talent of the 13-member cast is the main reason to see “Brooklynite,” which grafts some lovely singing onto a show that mixes together gentle jokes about Brooklyn and mild spoofing with a less-than-original story involving characters dressed in off-putting chintzy spandex costumes. The whole package managed to remind me at various times of The Toxic Avenger, The Fortress of Solitude, and even (alas) Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark.

With a book co-written by the show’s much admired director Michael Mayer (Spring Awakening, American Idiot) “Brooklynite” is based on characters created by the married couple novelists Michael Chabon and Ayelet Waldman, and therein lies something of an inside joke.  Chabon and Waldman are volunteers for the Brooklyn Superhero Supply Company,  the jokey name of a Park Slope storefront that houses fellow novelist Dave Eggers’ non-profit  826NYC,  which “supports students ages 6-18 with their creative and expository writing skills.”

Trey Swieskowski is a clerk in a hardware store in Park Slope that will, by show’s end (I guess this is a spoiler alert) wind up with the same jokey name.  As the musical begins, Trey’s parents were killed in a robbery attempt. He is now supported by his neighbors, by buying paint when they don’t need it. Something of a mad (but friendly) scientist, Trey spends all his spare time trying to re-create the substance “Brooklynite” (as in kryptonite) that fell to earth a decade earlier in the Gowanus Asteroid, and turned six ordinary Brooklynites into The Legion of Victory: A short-order cook became El Fuego (Andrew Call) – “I put the wick in Bushwick.” A marine biologist became Blue Nixie (Grace Mclean), who makes waves. A messenger became Kid Comet, the fastest man on earth (Gerard Canonico). An unemployed gamer from Bensonhurst became Avenging Angelo (Nick Cordero), who can find an empty parking spot (He was the furthest away from the asteroid and so got the least of its powers.) “And if that doesn’t save the day, I also have a gun,” Avenging Angelo says. (Captain Clear is invisible, and so just a voice-over.)

An honor student from Prospect Heights Middle School was given supreme powers,and became Astrolass (Nicolette Robinson.) But after ten years, Astrolass is tired of being a superhero, and quits the league. Avenging Angelo wants to take her place as the leader of the league, but is not elected to the position, at which point he vows to create his own group and wreak havoc over Brooklyn. Meanwhile, Trey winds up being successful in creating the Brooklynite…but Avenging Angelo steals it. Will Trey become Astrolad and team with Astrolass to rescue Brooklyn from the Avenging Angelo, who renames himself Venge, and dons a slightly less repulsive costume?

There are romantic plots and subplots, laced with some corny cracks and in-jokes. With all the extra work he has to do caused by the thinning of the Legion’s membership, Kid Comet fears he’s slowing down: “I used to be the 4 train, now I’m the G.” Blue Nixie resists the amorous come-ons from El Fuego: “I’ve seen how you burn through girls and I will not be another Shish on your Kebab.”

In a town hall meeting with the members of the Legion of Triumph, Trey asks them what it was like to mutate into superheroes.

“It was weird,” replies Astrolass.

“Cool weird or weird weird?”

“Weird weird,” they all reply.

“Brooklynite,” by contrast, tries hard to be cool weird.

 

Brooklynite

at the Vineyard Theater

Book by Michael Mayer and Peter Lerman
Music and Lyrics by Peter Lerman
Based on characters created by Michael Chabon & Ayelet Waldman
Choreography by Steven Hoggett
Directed by Michael Mayer

Cast: Andrew Call, Gerard Canonico, Max Chernin, Nick Choksi, Nick Cordero, Matt Doyle, Carla Duren, Ann Harada, John-Michael Lyles, Grace Mclean, Tom Alan Robbins, Nicolette Robinson, Remy Zaken

Brooklynite has been extended to run through March 29, 2015

Rasheeda Speaking Review: Office Racism, Directed by Cynthia Nixon

1-164-Tonya-Pinkins-Dianne-Wiest-c-Monique-Carboni1“Why can’t white people and black people just get along?” Jaclyn asks her boss, who is secretly trying to get her fired. That this question remains so current surely explains how “Rasheeda Speaking” was able to attract such a first-rate team — it marks Cynthia Nixon’s directorial debut and stars two other remarkable actresses, Tonya Pinkins and Dianne Wiest.

Rasheeda4They play two office workers for a Chicago surgeon, Dr. Williams (Darren Goldstein, who also portrays the schmucky diner owner in Showtime’s “The Affair.”) As the play begins, Dr. Williams is enlisting Ilana (Wiest) to spy on Jaclyn, so that he can build up a case to convince Human Resources at the hospital to have her fired. Why does he want to get rid of her? “I don’t think she fits in, I don’t think her work is very good.” and “She seems unhappy.” And: she has an attitude problem.

Ilana, mousy and loyal and easily intimidated, clearly feels she has no choice but to comply, even though she likes Jaclyn, who is much more outgoing. But Jaclyn quickly figures out what’s going on, and executes a plan to protect her job and exact her revenge.

That, at least, is a description of how the play is surely supposed to unfold. But the characters’ actions are not as crisp and their reactions are not as credible as they are clearly intended to be.

Playwright Joel Drake Johnson, who is white, was reportedly inspired to write “Rasheeda Speaking” after an unpleasant encounter he had with an African-American receptionist at a hospital; he wrote a letter of complaint about her, and she was fired. He wanted to bring to life a story from her point of view, and presumably to explore the latent racism that plays a part in everyday encounters.

Rasheeda2This is a worthwhile subject, and there are both funny and thought-provoking moments in the play:  Dr. Williams complains to Ilana that Jaclyn doesn’t look him in the eye, for example, and later Jaclyn has the same complaint – that Dr. Williams doesn’t look at her.  Setting it in an office is an especially smart choice; it’s in the workplace where people of different races are most likely to interact with one another on something approaching an equal basis.  But the exaggerated Rasheeda3attitudes and behavior of all four characters count as a missed opportunity to explore the more usual, more subtle, if no less insidious dynamics of race relations. A patient (Patricia Conolly) reacts against Jaclyn’s rudeness towards her by citing without rancor her son’s belief that this is part of Jaclyn’s culture – “your way to get revenge for slavery.”  Jaclyn is not just rude; she’s also weirdly mean and manipulative (she deliberately rearranges the contents of all of Ilana’s desk drawers, trying to make her believe that she herself has simply forgotten she’s done this.) She is also herself a bigot against her Mexican-American neighbors. Ilana becomes so frightened of Jaclyn that she brings a gun with her, on the advice of her husband.

These characters could be dismissed as not just implausible, but cloddishly drawn, if it were not for the stellar cast.

 

Rasheeda Speaking

The New Group at Pershing Square Signature Center (480 West 42nd St.)

By Joel Drake Johnson; directed by Cynthia Nixon; sets by Allen Moyer; costumes by Toni-Leslie James; lighting by Jennifer Tipton; music and sound by David Van Tieghem.

Cast: Patricia Conolly (Rose), Darren Goldstein (Dr. Williams), Tonya Pinkins (Jaclyn) and Dianne Wiest (Ileen).

Running time: 95 minutes with no intermission.

Rasheeda Speaking is scheduled to run through March 22.

Big Love Review: Soothing, Sexy, Shocking

BiglovesetEven before it begins, the astonishing revival of “Big Love,” one of Charles Mee’s most popular plays, surrounds us with a soothing and soaring beauty. The set by Brett Banakis is, per Mee’s instructions, more like an art installation, with an alluring video projection of a rippling ocean beneath a glorious blue sky; a ceiling hung with hundreds of upside down floral bouquets; a rack of glowing, gleaming champagne glasses; random videos on the side walls of the theater, such as a humming bird shown slowed down in mid-flight; a clean white stage empty save for an old-fashioned ceramic white tub.

Into this restful scene storms a woman in a filthy, torn wedding dress. She strips naked, and climbs into the tub. She is Lydia (Rebecca Naomi Jones), one of 50 sisters escaping on what was to be their wedding day from forced marriage to 50 cousins they do not love. But the men are not so easily dissuaded, dropping from helicopters in a reconnaissance mission like so many Navy SEALS – if Navy SEALS dressed in sharp black designer duds with a white wedding carnation in their lapels. And so the women decide the only way to get rid of these grooms is to murder them.

What unfolds on stage over the 90 minutes of “Big Love” is, in turns, playful, funny, sexy, chaotic, bloody, and shocking.

This modern adaptation of a quartet of plays by Aeschylus (only one of which has survived intact) follows Mee’s classic approach to classic texts, as he laid out in his 1999 memoir, “A Nearly Normal Life,” published about a year before Big Love’s premiere – “smash it to ruins, and then, atop its ruined structure of plot and character, write a new play, with all-new language, characters of today speaking like people of today…plays filled with song, dance, movement, beauty, heartache….” This is the sort of theater piece where the ancients break into Lesley Gore’s 1960’s hit “You Don’t Own Me,” there’s  abrupt startling bloodshed, and the sudden extensive use of a trampoline…and all three seem a natural fit.

Director Tina Landau, Mee’s longtime collaborator, has assembled a design team and an 11-member cast that couldn’t be better, made up of such familiar faces as Jones (American Idiot, Passing Strange), Lynn Cohen and Bobby Steggert, and such relative newcomers as Stacey Sargeant and Ryan-James Hatanaka whose credits include, not surprisingly, an MTV show entitled “Eye Candy.”

Click on any photograph to see it enlarged.

Big Love

At the Pershing Square Signature Center, 480 West 42nd Street

By Charles Mee; directed by Tina Landau; sets by Brett J. Banakis; costumes by Anita Yavich; lighting by Scott Zielinski; sound by Kevin O’Donnell; projections by Austin Switser; fight direction by Rick Sordelet and Christian Kelly-Sordelet; production stage manager, Lori Lundquist

Cast: Emmanuel Brown (Oed), Lynn Cohen (Bella), Ellen Harvey (Eleanor), Ryan-James Hatanaka (Constantine), Christopher Innvar (Piero), Rebecca Naomi Jones (Lydia), Preston Sadleir (Giuliano), Stacey Sargeant (Thyona), Nathaniel Stampley (Leo), Bobby Steggert (Nikos) and Libby Winters (Olympia).

Running time: 100 minutes

Tickets: $25

Big Love is scheduled to run through March 15, 2015

The Insurgents Review: Connecting Harriet Tubman to the Oklahoma City Bomber to Today

Insurgents11(c)Monique_CarboniThe first thing we know about Sally is that she likes guns. She also likes to read books about four figures in American history with whom she identifies — John Brown, Nat Turner, Harriet Tubman…and the Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh. In Lucy Thurber’s “The Insurgents,” which has opened at the Labyrinth Theater Company, these people spring to life for Sally – but not, despite an exemplary cast, for us.

Ever since she had to drop out of college because of an injury that made her lose her athletic scholarship, Sally has been traveling the country, with her dead mother’s Bible, feeling lost, and discovering others who feel the same. But Sally has returned now to the rural town of her childhood in New Hampshire, surrounded by her gun and books, feeling trapped.

“There’s no work, there’s no money, and everybody knows everybody’s business,” she describes her hometown. “And you are the same person you were in first grade forever.”

Thurber is best known for the ambitious five-part cycle The Hill Town Plays that inaugurated the Village Theater Festival in 2013, which more or less chronologically tell the story of the pivotal moments in the life of a woman who is trying to escape the economically and psychologically impoverished world of the rural blue-collar town where she grew up.

Sally could be a classmate of the Hill Town Plays’ protagonist, one less lucky. Cassie Beck (The Whale, By The Water) portrays her as a likable, down-to-earth blonde. The four other cast members do double duty as people in Sally’s life, and in her imagination. Dan Butler (Bulldog on Frasier!) plays both Sally’s racist, misogynist father Peter, and John Brown. Craig ‘mums’ Grant (Poet on OZ!) portrays both a friend named Jonathon, and Nat Turner. April Mathis (Elevator Repair Service’s The Sound and the Fury) plays her coach and Harriet Tubman. Aaron Roman Weiner is both her concerned brother Jimmy, and the Oklahoma City bomber, Timothy McVeigh. Including McVeigh in Sally’s list of heroes is bizarre (like an S.A.T. question: “Which of these four do not belong with the others?”) and by far the most provocative aspect of the play, something that Thurber seems to realize. “It’s such a thin line between hero and terrorist, especially in America,” Sally defends McVeigh, pointing out elements of his biography to try to redeem him (he was a decorated soldier in Iraq). “In his mind he was at war.”

Is Thurber trying to argue for a direct line between the violent abolitionists of the 19th century and the violent extremists now?

“If the far right and the far left could actually listen to each other, they’d realize they sound a lot alike,” Timothy McVeigh says to Sally at one point.

Sally: That’s not true. I wish it was.

McVeigh: But they both want to decentralize big government-they both want personal freedom-they both-

Sally: There is no center-there is no action-we are fucked-we are so fucked-it was clear-clear slavery and torture are wrong-evil-wrong-but now-Now nothing in this fucken country is clear- What’s our great cause? What can we fight against?

The problem with “The Insurgents” is that it seems a work in progress, neither fully developed as drama nor as political argument. Each of the “insurgents” gets at least one long monologue, recounting an anecdote from their biography or restating familiar views, which are interesting but don’t especially add up to anything. We seem to be meant to see them as speaking inside Sally’s head, but nothing much comes of this dramatically either, nor of her interaction with the characters in her life. The only remotely fleshed out is Sally’s friend Jonathon, whom Sally met when she visited Detroit, where he tried to make the most out of his bombed out neighborhood by establishing a food store, using fresh produce from a garden he planted in the backyard rubble.

The best that can be said for “The Insurgents” is that it is one of the few new plays to acknowledge that people are still suffering an economic recession and a recession of hope — that, for many, there’s been no recovery.

The Insurgents

Labyrinth at the Bank Street Theater (155 Bank Street)

By Lucy Thurber; directed by Jackson Gay; sets by Raul Abrego; costumes by Jessica Ford; lighting by Paul Whitaker; sound by Broken Chord; technical director, John L. Simone;

Cast: Cassie Beck (Sally Wright); Dan Butler (John Brown/Peter); Craig Grant, also known as muMs (Nat Turner/Jonathan); April Matthis (Harriet Tubman/Coach); and Aaron Roman Weiner (Timothy McVeigh/Jimmy).

Running time: 100 minutes with no intermission

The Insurgents is scheduled to run through March 8

Update: Extended to March 13

“The Spirit of This Bridge”: Glory Song Acceptance Speeches by Common and John Legend

Common_Legend_SpeechBelow is a transcript of the speeches by the writers of the Oscar-winning song “Glory,” from the film Selma:

Lonnie Lynn (Common):

First, I would like to thank God, who lives in us all. Recently, John and I got to go to Selma and perform “Glory” on the same bridge that Dr. King and the people of the civil rights movement marched on 50 years ago. This bridge was once a landmark of a divided nation but now is a symbol for change. The spirit of this bridge transcends race, gender, religion, sexual orientation and social status. The spirit of this bridge connects the kid from the South Side of Chicago dreaming of a better life to those in France standing up for their freedom of expression, to the people in Hong Kong protesting for democracy. This bridge was built on hope, welded with compassion and elevated by love for all human beings.

John Stephens (John Legend):

Thank you. Nina Simone said it’s an artist’s duty to reflect the times in which we live. We wrote this song for a film that was based on events that were 50 years ago but we say that Selma is now because the struggle for justice is right now. We know that the Voting Rights Act that they fought for 50 years ago is being compromised right now in this country today. We know that right now the struggle for freedom and justice is real. We live in the most incarcerated country in the world. There are more black men under correctional control today than were under slavery in 1850. When people are marching with our song, we want to tell you we are with you, we see you, we love you, and march on. God bless you.

 

Lyrics to Glory:

One day, when the glory comes
It will be ours, it will be ours
Oh, one day, when the war is one
We will be sure, we will be here sure
Oh, glory, glory
Oh, glory, glory

Hands to the Heavens, no man, no weapon
Formed against, yes glory is destined
Every day women and men become legends
Sins that go against our skin become blessings
The movement is a rhythm to us
Freedom is like religion to us
Justice is juxtaposition in us
Justice for all just ain’t specific enough
One son died, his spirit is revisitin’ us
Truant livin’ livin’ in us, resistance is us
That’s why Rosa sat on the bus
That’s why we walk through Ferguson with our hands up
When it go down we woman and man up
They say, “Stay down” and we stand up
Shots, we on the ground, the camera panned up
King pointed to the mountain top and we ran up

One day, when the glory comes
It will be ours, it will be ours
Oh, one day, when the war is one
We will be sure, we will be here sure
Oh, glory, glory
Oh, glory, glory glory

Now the war is not over
Victory isn’t won
And we’ll fight on to the finish
Then when it’s all done
We’ll cry glory, oh glory
We’ll cry glory, oh glory

Selma’s now for every man, woman and child
Even Jesus got his crown in front of a crowd
They marched with the torch, we gon’ run with it now
Never look back, we done gone hundreds of miles
From dark roads he rose, to become a hero
Facin’ the league of justice, his power was the people
Enemy is lethal, a king became regal
Saw the face of Jim Crow under a bald eagle
The biggest weapon is to stay peaceful
We sing, our music is the cuts that we bleed through
Somewhere in the dream we had an epiphany
Now we right the wrongs in history
No one can win the war individually
It takes the wisdom of the elders and young people’s energy
Welcome to the story we call victory
Comin’ of the Lord, my eyes have seen the glory

One day, when the glory comes
It will be ours, it will be ours
Oh, one day, when the war is one
We will be sure, we will be here sure
Oh, glory, glory
Oh, glory, glory glory

When the war is done, when it’s all said and done
We’ll cry glory, oh glory

 

“Stay Weird, Stay Different” moving speech from Oscar winner Graham Moore

Graham Moore

Graham Moore, 33,  in accepting the 2015 Oscar for adapted screenplay for The Imitation Game, gave the following acceptance speech:

“Thank you so much to the Academy and to Oprah for this. I need to shower my love and kisses on everyone who’s a part of our Imitation Game family. Morten, Nora, Ido, Teddy, Keira, Benedict, Billy, Alexandre, our entire cast, Maria, who’s back there somewhere. I love you guys so much. Thank you for this film. I’m so indebted to you for it.

“So, here’s the thing: Alan Turing never got to stand on a stage like this and look out at all of these disconcertingly attractive faces and I do. And that’s the most unfair thing I think I’ve ever heard. So, in this brief time here, what I want to use it to do is to say this:

“When I was 16 years old, I tried to kill myself because I felt weird and I felt different and I felt like I did not belong. And now I’m standing here and, so, I would like for this moment to be for that kid out there who feels like she’s weird or she’s different or she doesn’t fit in anywhere. Yes, you do. I promise you do. You do. Stay weird. Stay different. And then when it’s your turn and you are standing on this stage, please pass the same message to the next person who comes along. Thank you so much.”

2015 Oscar Winners

Birdman1

Birdman, big 2015 Oscar winner

 

Below in red with an asterisk, are the winners of the 87th Academy Awards. Broadway looms big in the Oscar wins, with the best picture about a fictional Broadway play, and three of the four best performance Oscars going to Broadway veterans (Eddie Redymayne, Julianne Moore, and J.K. Simmons.)

(See details of the Hollywood-Broadway connection at Broadway at the Oscars)

 

Birdman

Birdman

Broadway at the Oscars Cheat Sheet. Hamilton Reviewed. Presidents on Stage. The Week in New York Theater

Eleven of the 20 performers nominated for 2015 Oscars have performed (or will soon perform) on Broadway, one of the many ways that Broadway connects with Hollywood this year, as it does in all years.

Broadway at the 2015 Academy Awards

Actor in a Leading Role

Bradley Cooper for American Sniper (currently in The Elephant Man, formerly in Three Days of Rain, 2006)

Eddie Redmayne for The Theory of Everything (Red, 2010)

Actress in a Leading Role

Felicity Jones for The Theory of Everything (Metamorphoses, 2002)

Julianne Moore for Still Alice (The Vertical Hour, 2006)

Actor in a Supporting Role

Robert Duvall for The Judge (Wait Until Dark, 1966; American Buffalo, 1977)

Ethan Hawke for Boyhood (The Seagull, 1992; Henry IV, 2003; Coast of Utopia Parts 1 to 3, 2007; Macbeth, 2013)

Mark Ruffalo for Foxcatcher (Awake and Sing, 2006)

J.K. Simmons for Whiplash (A Change in the Heir, 1990; Peter Pan, 1991; Guys and Dolls, 1992; Laughter on the 23rd Floor, 1993)

Ironically, the only supporting actor nominee this year who has not performed on Broadway is Edward Norton, who portrays a Broadway actor in “Birdman.”

Actress in a Supporting Role

Keira Knightley for The Imitation Game (Therese Raquin, scheduled to open in October)

Emma Stone for Birdman (Cabaret, 2015)

Meryl Streep for Into the Woods (Trelawny of the “Wells”, 1975; A Memory of Two Mondays/27 Wagons Full of Cotton, 1976; Secret Service, 1976; The Cherry Orchard, 1977; Happy End, 1977)

JeremyShamos

The Bad Actor of Broadway: Jeremy Shamos in Birdland

 

The Week in Theater Reviews (Hamilton!)

Hamilton7

My review of Hamilton

“Hamilton,” Lin-Manuel Miranda’s groundbreaking new musical about the life and times of the Founding Father whose face is on the ten dollar bill, is thrilling on at least three levels – as a series of exciting performances, as an entertaining history lesson, and as the first-ever hip-hop opera.
Now, the Public Theater, where the show has opened, would object to the phrase “hip hop opera”; it even avoids using “hip hop musical”, for two solid reasons:
1. There is much more than just rap in “Hamilton,” with Miranda composing a range of sparkling music, from R&B to jazz to Beatles-like pop to beautiful Broadway ballads, and even a snatch of light opera.
2. “Hip hop” is not good for marketing, since it could turn off regular theatergoers.

But “hip-hop” fits, and not just because of how much rapping there is in the show. Hip hop represents a culture that goes beyond just a specific meter in song, or identifiable physical movement. If the Hip Hop Nation is full of young outsiders, so was the budding American nation. Most of the cast of “Hamilton” are people of color – performers, many descended from slaves, portraying the 18th century founders, many of whom were slave-owners. “Hamilton” signals in effect a new generation saying: We’re America too. That alone is stirring.

Full review of Hamilton

The Subtle Body

My review of The Subtle Body

The Subtle Body is inspired by the actual historical figure of British physician John Floyer, who  came up with a method of taking a patient’s pulse that is still standard practice hundreds of years later.

But playwright Megan Campisi’s main interest in him is clearly the good doctor’s fascination with China and Chinese medicine. The Subtle Body, now at 59 E 59 Theater through March 1, uses his visit to China, and his interaction with a Chinese physician, as an opportunity to explore differences between the East and the West in medicine – and the contrast as well in culture, in language and in love.

Full review of The Subtle Body

KillMe4

My review of Kill Me Like You Mean It

The leggy dame who has hired private investigator Ben Farrell wants him to find a missing person — Tommy Dickie, the chief writer for Murder Monthly, a crime magazine. But there are complications, as there always are in the kind of film noir detective stories that inspire Kiran Rikhye’s play “Kill Me Like You Mean It,” a stylish but silly production by Stolen Chair that is scheduled to run through March 8 at the Fourth Street Theater.

The most intriguing complication is that Tommy Dickie has been writing the private detective’s murder cases — except that the murders have been occurring after Dickie has written about them.

This suggestion of the supernatural offered a promising twist to a show that seems to be a part of a mini-trend in New York theater — stage noir.

Full review of Kill Me Like You Mean It

LauraBenantiandJeremyJordan

 

The Week in Theater-Related Developments

“Very fond of drama,” Alexander Hamilton & wife “were frequently habitués of the Park Theater on lower Broadway.”~Ron Chernow

Audience Participation —  Tickle or terrify? A Fad or the future? Transcript of an online chat

Presidents on Stage 

Television is crowded these days with fictional presidents, on shows like House of Cards, Scandal, Madam Secretary, and State of Affairs, but nearly every one of the 43 actual U.S. presidents has been portrayed by name on Broadway.

Most recently, Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad) played President Lyndon Baines Johnson last season in All the Way, but even such obscure historical figures as presidents John Tyler and Rutherford B. Hayes have gotten their moment on a Broadway stage — both portrayed by Gene Wilder in a 1964 play entitled The White House that crammed in 24 of the presidents between John Adams and Woodrow Wilson.

With Broadway this season focusing on royalty (The King and I, The Audience, Wolf Hall), the presidential action on stage is happening Off-Broadway: Clinton the Musical, opening in March, and Hamilton, which features three presidents – George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison,

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