April 2, 2013 1 Comment
How well were you paying attention to what was happening in New York theater in March? Find out with these ten questions
The questions are all based on posts from this blog in March, 2013.
February 10, 2013 Leave a comment
New York City was lucky this time. The blizzard that the Weather Channel dubbed Nemo saved the worst of its ire for other regions, allowing all Broadway and most Off-Broadway shows to remain open. Whether or not the theaters were affected anyway because people stayed home will be clear within the next couple of days.
But there was plenty this week to keep the New York theater lover occupied — including news of the discovery of Richard III in a parking lot in England, and the debut of the second season of Smash. Also below: American Idol’s Crystal Bowersox has big Broadway news; Broadway and big bucks; a Broadway show drops out; brilliant theater makers David Yazbek and Dave Malloy separately offer their manifestos on what’s wrong with New York theater.
Richard III’s remains found in Leichester parking lot. He really was a hunchback. Shakespeare wrote 100 years after the king’s death
Suzi Steffen (@SuziSteffen):
“Where’d you leave the Mini Cooper, honey?”
Katha Pollitt @KathaPollitt
Richard III not a hunchback — he had scoliosis of the spine from about age 10
Jonathan Mandell: Pardon me Dr. Pollitt
Katha Pollitt: Medieval chiropractor, if you will.
‘Richard III’ actors react to discovery of king’s remains: “Shakespeare was a dramatist, not a historian”
Disinterred Richard (@RichardNumber3 You would not believe what I owe to get out of this car park
Jonathan Mandell: This was inevitable
Anne Margaret Daniel (@venetianblonde) Yes it was
Disinterred Richard: The secret mischiefs that I set abroach I lay unto the grievous charge of others. Know what I’msayin?
Anne Margaret Daniel
I do, dear. Welcome back to the light of day
Disinterred Richard: The voice isn’t bad but the hair has GOT to GO.
Despite mixed reviews, The Heiress has recouped its $3 million capitalization (translation: made $). It closes February 9th.
CNBC presented a half-hour show, “Betting Big on Broadway,” about investing in theater.
Producer of Spider-Man Turn Off The Dark: “I think we’re somewhere between idiots and true believers…and lucky.”
Jujamcyn Theaters run by Jordan Roth grosses $200 million a year. Roth gambled early on a show called The Book of Mormon
“The Lion King” has grossed $5.2 billion in 17 years. It’s toured 96 cities worldwide, seen by 55 million people
71% of Disney stage shows have made a profit. (industry average: 25%)
Disney shows Tarzan and Little Mermaids bombed: “I got it wrong,” says Disney theater honcho Thomas Schumacher.
The first three weeks of Newsies on stage outgrossed the entire run of the original movie.
Despite star draw, in the end, Grace recouped only 90% of its investment. Mixed reviews and Sandy didn’t help.
(from documentary “Broadway, The Golden Age”)
Andy Mientus (@AndyMientus): Last night’s sleep before I’m on TV. What will tonight’s dreams hold?
Smash, Season 2 — Critic’s Reviews: They are mixed
San Francisco Chronicle: Smash is back and again ready to become the hit it deserves to be.
Jonathan Mandell: Wrong about Smash, or wrong about Broadway?
David Yazbek: Both
Jonathan Mandell: So which adjectives would you select for Broadway, and which for Smash?
During the two-hour premiere of season 2, many people “live-Tweeted” about Smash -
Jonathan Mandell: The villain of
#Smash, Eileen’s ex-husband, is Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Michael Cristofer.
But this time around, the cast of Smash was Tweeting during the show as well.
Ahh it’s starting!!! Pay attention if you didn’t watch last year! If you’re watching for me, you have about 50 minutes to kill — Andy Mientus (@andymientus) February 6, 2013
Tom Hanks will be making roughly $100 per minute in Lucky Guy on Broadway! (He is reportedly worth $300 million; his pictures average more than $100 million)
Tom Hanks last performed on stage in 1979, in NYC, in a production of Machiavelli’s The Mandrake, in Columbia Universty’s Casa Italiana
Can’t believe I didn’t know this. Peter Scolari is in LUCKY GUY with Tom Hanks? BOSOM BUDDIES ARE BACK!
Smash season 2 premiere had only 4.47 million viewers — down SEVENTY-ONE % in viewers aged 18-49 from season 1 premiere. However, the Joe Iconis song in the show,” Broadway, Here I Come,” is on the Top 100 on iTunes.
Friends of ailing playwright Maria Irene Fornes help bring her closer to home
The “Pippin” marquee at the Music Box is animated. How do people feel about this?
I don’t like them at all. Takes all the class away from Broadway. It isn’t Vegas.
I love it. It was animated for Dead Accounts too. Gives you a chance to share more info & the movement grabs your attention
no matter what anyone thinks of it, its representative of where so much of Broadway is at…
Will Smith’s daughter Willow drops out of doing film remake of Annie: “Daddy, I have a better idea, how about I just be 12.’”
Script for “Motown” is “still in flux,” producer tells Michael Riedel of the New York Post. Original writer Berry Gordy Jr. himself now has two “consultants”
“Jersey Boys” plays its 3,000th performance on Broadway tonight:
Oh what a night!
Doo dit doo dit dit doo dit doo dit dit
All “Book of Mormon” seats #31.43 — in London, first preview Feb 25 at Prince of Wales Theatre (20 pounds actually)
Edward Watt (the husbands in Scandalous) will play Superman in New York City Center’s Encores’ concert of Charles Strouse’s It’s A Bird ..It’s A Plane…It’s Superman Mar 20-24
Given up on your Broadway dream, and too young to be a stage mother? You can audition your cat next week for a role in the forthcoming “Breakfast at Tiffany’s“
League of Independent Theater to hold Meet The Candidates on arts issues March 12 at the Players Club
Blizzard warning in NYC for tomorrow through Saturday. Unclear yet how this will affect theatrical performances.
There’s nothing more eerie yet magical than an empty Times Square
Bobby Lopez (
@lopezbobby): I guess Nemo is finally coming to Broadway (laughs weakly)
Did you know Daniel Craig is married to Rachel Weisz? Well,did you know they want to star on Broadway in Harold Pinter’s Betrayal?
Will they get Hugh Jackman to play the other guy?
No Broadway shows were canceled. Some Off-Broadway and Broadway shows are offering snow deals.
“Pump Boys and Dinettes” was scheduled to open on Broadway April 8, but it has been “postponed indefinitely”
Closing tonight: The Heiress, with Jessica Chastain.
My reviews of the Spanish plays, “Fuenteovejuna” and “The Mark of Zorro.” Zorro a Spanish play, you say? Well, in a way.
“Always…Patsy Cline” on Broadway this summer? So says American Idol runner-up Crystal Bowersox to The Hollywood Reporter. No firm dates or theater
Benny Berry (@TheBennyBerry) Wouldn’t she be better in “Always… Janice Joplin”?
Crystal Bowersox (
@crystalbowersox); That aughta be next!!
The brilliant theater artist Dave Malloy (Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812) explains why he was completely silent for 90 minutes in a panel discussion on the future of theater: The many “crises of American theatre” are self-imposed and imaginary, based on a desire for more money.
Once beat out Newsies, Follies, The Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess, and Nice Work If You Can Find it to win the Best Musical Theater Album Grammy
February 9, 2013 1 Comment
Some theaters are offering snow deals
Roundabout Theater: Picnic and the Mystery of Edwin Drood, as well as Tally’s Folly at the Roundabout’s Off-Broadway Laura Pels Theater, will cost only $20 if you show a Metro card at the box office.
The Classic Stage Company’s revival of Sondheim and Lapine’s “Passion” is offering last-minute tickets for $35.
Spider-Man Turn Off The Dark is offering two tickets for the price of one through Sunday night. Use Code: WEATHER
(As always, a limited number of rush tickets are offered each morning at the Foxwoods Box Office for $39 each. Tickets are limited to 2 per person, and are subject to availability.)
Annie: Check out our “Snowday” discount this weekend! Use code SAVE23. Prices: Sat/Sun evenings: $39/$59/$79
A reminder that Off-Broadway Week runs until tomorrow: Buy one ticket, get a second for free.
You should also check out what’s available at the TKTS ticket booth.
February 9, 2013 Leave a comment
‘Lucky Guy’: From left to right: Christopher McDonald, Peter Scolari, Tom Hanks making his Broadway debut, Maura Tierney, Richard Masur, Courtney B. Vance and Peter Gerety.
The late Nora Ephron’s look at the late columnist Mike McAlary, “Lucky Guy” begins previews on March 1 and opens April 1 at the Broadhurst Theater.
January 19, 2013 1 Comment
The producers of the new Broadway play “Lucky Guy” have listened to the criticism, and changed the marquee at the Broadhurst Theater, getting rid of the billboard (left) with the red squiggly graffiti that some likened to lipstick, and now prominently featuring a photograph of Tom Hanks — who is, after all, the biggest selling point of this play by the late Nora Ephron about the late newspaper columnist Mike McAlary. Performances are scheduled to begin March 1, with an opening date of April Fool’s Day.
December 15, 2012 5 Comments
There are several great pleasures in “Golden Boy,” the play by Clifford Odets about gifted Italian-American violinist Joe Bonaparte who gives up his art for the life and quick fortune of a boxer, which has returned to the Belasco Theater 75 years after it debuted there.
*Some of the playwright’s dialogue brings us back to the heyday of snappy repartee, but each rich, slangy line contains what Odets devotee Arthur Miller called “word-joy,” demonstrating why Miller considered Odets “the only poet….not only in social protest theater but in all of New York theater.”
*Director Bartlett Sher’s staging, which takes some time to get used to, becomes riveting in its details, and powerful in its impact.
*There are some stand-out performances – Tony Shalhoub as Joe’s music-loving father, Danny Burstein as his trainer, Yvonne Strahovski as the self-declared “tramp from Newark” for whom he falls, and, in a small but delightful role, Jonathan Hadary as the intellectual Jewish neighbor, Mr. Carp. But nearly every actor in this huge cast of 19, including Seth Numrich as Joe, has at least one moment to savor.
*Catherine Zuber’s costumes are sharp, spot-on, and cleverly add to the meaning of the story.
For all the glories of the Lincoln Center production, there is no disguising that “Golden Boy” is also an old-fashioned melodrama that does not transcend its era the way other works written in (if not necessarily about) the 1930’s have done: Our Town, Porgy and Bess, Grapes of Wrath, Life With Father, Of Mice and Men.
Even if you have never seen the 1939 movie of “Golden Boy” that made William Holden a star, or never heard of the 1964 musical version starring Sammy Davis Jr., you can more or less guess how the play ends from the start.
Odets wrote “Golden Boy,” unlike his earlier work, expressly to be a commercial hit, which it was. It is also a stand-in for his own career, begun with such political calls to action as “Waiting for Lefty” and “Awake and Sing” but then swerving to answer the siren call of Hollywood. His “Golden Boy” might have seemed more directly relevant today had he written more specifically about his own compromises, rather than relocating the art vs. commerce conflict to violin-playing vs. boxing, which, however realistic in the 1930’s, is unlikely to the point of absurdity in 2012.
This is not to condemn “Golden Boy,” but to provide the key for appreciating it. It is a work of anthropology, a spoken-word opera, a vehicle to another era.
For a play whose plot is as obvious as this one, the Lincoln Center production has wonderful moments of subtlety, feeling and allusion.
Danny Burstein, a trainer with much wisdom and compassion, watches as his boxer breaks down crying, and then slowly, tentatively, gives him a pat on the head, as if soothing a horse. Tony Shalhoub offers his son a gift of a violin that he has spent years of his wages to buy for him. The son, already committed to the life of a boxer, nevertheless takes it in his hand with near-reverence – and magically Shalhoub produces the violin bow, and then puts the violin pad on Joe’s shoulder, silently encouraging his son to play…a funny, touching moment.
It’s not just the acting. Michael Yeargan’s set focuses our attention on the backdrop of a tenement building, which looms over the actors performing in an island in the middle of the stage — as if to say that they can never escape their poverty.
Donald Holder’s dramatic lighting trains dramatic spotlights on the actors and keeps everything else in the dark – apparently looking to recreate the chiaroscuro of the Ashcan School (no coincidence that George Bellows’ painting of a boxer is use as the show’s poster and Playbill cover)
It’s been a long time since anybody thought of Clifford Odets the way Arthur Miller did in his youth: “An Odets play was awaited like news hot off the press, as though through him we would know what to think of ourselves and our prospects.” If “Golden Boy” no longer helps us to know about ourselves, the Lincoln Center Theater production at the Belasco helps us to know about Clifford Odets – and that, it turns out, is a good thing.
Belasco Theater (111 West 44th Street)
By Clifford Odets
Directed by Bartlett Sher; sets by Michael Yeargan; costumes by Catherine Zuber; lighting by Donald Holder; sound by Peter John Still and Marc Salzberg; fight direction by B. H. Barry;
Cast: Michael Aronov (Siggie), Danny Burstein (Tokio), Demosthenes Chrysan (Lewis), Anthony Crivello (Eddie Fuseli), Sean Cullen (Drake), Dagmara Dominczyk (Anna), Ned Eisenberg (Roxy Gottlieb), Brad Fleischer (Pepper White), Karl Glusman (Call Boy), Jonathan Hadary (Mr. Carp), Daniel Jenkins (Barker), Danny Mastrogiorgio (Tom Moody), Dion Mucciacito (Sam), Seth Numrich (Joe Bonaparte), Vayu O’Donnell (Driscoll), Lucas Caleb Rooney (Frank Bonaparte), Tony Shalhoub (Mr. Bonaparte), Yvonne Strahovski (Lorna Moon) and David Wohl (Mickey).
Running time: 2 hours 45 minutes, including two ten-minute intermissions.
Golden Boy is scheduled to run through January 20. It seems likely to be extended.
December 3, 2012 1 Comment
just a wearying lecture~The Hollywood Reporter
strangely gassy~New York Magazine
feels as sterile and lifeless as an interrogation, which it basically is~Associated Press
short, dense and dry drama at the Golden Theatre is often a head-scratcher-Daily News
heavily embroidered slip of a play….where ideas on eschatology, etymology, phenomenology and, yes, criminology are exchanged by intellectual (if not moral) equals~New York Times
LuPone and Winger are restrained to the point of somnambulance-Bloomberg News
a bewildering exercise in audience exclusion~NorthJersey.com
…the characters have no credible stage life; they exist only as puppets for Mamet’s ideas~The New Yorker
He does no favors for the thesps in this two-hander by enabling Debra Winger to drone on and on and Patti LuPone to swallow half her lines~Variety
More needlessly opaque debate than drama~Newsday
the writing, repetitive and blunt, falls short of the lofty aspirations~New York Post
sluggish and inert~Boston Globe
Meandering and academic debate that’s hard to follow~AM-NY
brusque badinage between opaque symbols~Entertainment Weekly
a droning, pompous essay brought to unnatural life~Backstage
Note: There were some mixed to positive reviews, most notably USA Today, and I have no opinion until I see it later this week.
November 14, 2012 2 Comments
As Chuck Wood, the aging porno star in “The Performers,” a Broadway comedy about the adult film industry featuring an A-list cast, Henry Winkler becomes sentimental when accepting an award from his peers: “You’ve opened your hearts and your legs to me.”
His speech is full of such show business clichés turned upside down, reflecting pornographers’ skewed world view, as imagined – and milked for humor — by David West Read, a young playwright making his Broadway debut. It was a play I found shocking, but not in the way you might assume.
To help me keep an open mind about “The Performers,” I invited along David Lawson, who is himself a performer, although not that kind. His one-man show, “VCR Love,” tells the story of his teenage experiences with pornography and ponders how much the creation and consumption of pornography has changed since then. He has performed the show several times at Dixon Place, and will do an abbreviated version of it again this coming Friday, with free admission. It is modestly but genuinely amusing, illuminating, almost wholesome – everything, as it turned out, that David West Read’s “The Performers” is not.
David Lawson didn’t like “The Performers” either. He considered it “outdated” and “a vehicle for punch-lines” rather than a look “at actual people who work in a $57 billion worldwide industry.”
I’m not sure I would want to get to know actual porn people, but his reaction was mild compared to mine.
I was not shocked because of the subject matter or the story – a gathering in a Las Vegas hotel during the annual Adult Film Awards. Rather, as I watched “The Performers,” I wondered how writer Read and director Evan Cabnet, who had previously collaborated on the affecting drama about grief “The Dream of The Burning Boy,” could have produced a work so devoid of substance, taste, or authentic feeling, and why such a stellar cast had agreed to participate in it. The performers are by far the best thing about “The Performers.” Their delivery saves many a gag-worthy gag. Cheyenne Jackson in particular turns in a performance that’s nearly a miracle of alchemy, transforming a collection of bawdy jokes into a palpable character.
Jackson plays Mandrew, who has been nominated for Best Male Performer and is in the host hotel with his wife Peeps (Ari Graynor), who is up for an Adult Film award or two herself. Mandrew’s childhood friend Lee (Daniel Breaker) is also in the hotel. Lee is a reporter for the New York Post, and he is doing a story about Mandrew. The play opens with Mandrew in effect posing for Lee during an interview in his hotel room, his buff body nearly naked in a leather caveman outfit.
Mandrew: What is a porn star? Good question. That’s the first good question you’ve asked all day.
Lee: I didn’t actually ask that question
Mandrew: A porn star is somebody who excites you sexually but not emotionally. Ipso facto, I am not a porn star. I am a love star. I make love.
It is the only scene containing beefcake in the play (there is no cheesecake), and an exchange that one could see as establishing something of a theme.
In service to that theme, the playwright stretches credulity even further than the friend-interviewer setup by having Lee bring along to this pornographers’ gathering his childhood sweetheart, Sara (Alicia Silverstone), a high school teacher who recently became Lee’s fiancé.
Henry Winkler’s Chuck, who has a smaller role in the play than the publicity would have you believe, is competing with Mandrew for the award, but winds up being a benevolent father figure, dispensing wisdom and advice. Chuck’s scene with Mandrew, ruing his life’s choices and urging his young rival to do better, comes closest to a touching moment, thanks to the skill of the two actors.
Rounding out the cast is Sundown LeMay (Jenni Barber), who recently had breast-enhancement surgery, something that greatly annoys her friend and colleague Peeps for reasons not worth explaining.
There is a plot of sorts: The porno couple and the straight couple both have spats and then make up, learning in the process what love really means. But (as David Lawson pointed out) “The Performers” is in reality just a vehicle for David Read’s gags, which seem to fall into three categories.
One category of jokes offers variations on how dumb the performers are. One of the running gags in the play, for example, is that Mandrew and his fellow porn stars keep on mistaking Lee’s place of employment as the New York Times, not the New York Post, but think the New York Times is a television show or a magazine with a centerfold. Making dumb funny was something done far more artfully in “Boogie Nights,” the 1997 movie by Paul Thomas Anderson, which starred Mark Wahlberg and looked with more depth and understanding at the porno industry of the 1970’s.
The second category of Read’s humor borrows from pornography’s own practice of giving a lewd twist to familiar mainstream names and titles. Mandrew once traveled to Germany to do a movie called Das Booty.
The third plays with the pornographers’ perspective on reality. Chuck Wood’s sentimental acceptance speech is only one of a slew of examples.
Much is made of Peeps being outraged because Mandrew kissed Sundown – they weren’t even shooting a sex scene together.
Mandrew: Baby, she was going through some shit. Her mom was in the hospital.
Peeps: My mom’s fucking dead. Where’s my fucking kiss on the lips?
When shortly afterwards Peeps tells Mandrew that she’s pregnant, he asks whether the baby is his. Of course, she replies indignantly. “Baby, you’ve fucked a lot of guys,” Mandrew defends himself. “I’ve been careful,” Peeps replies. “They always cum on my face.”
It is a testament to the skill of Ari Graynor’s delivery that this line brings down the house.
But it is instructive to point out that Graynor most recently performed on Broadway last year in “Honeymoon Motel,” the third and most disappointing of the ghastly comic triptych “Relatively Speaking.” Like that play, which was written by Woody Allen, “The Performers” ends with the characters one by one knocking on the door and entering the same hotel room, a pale imitation of some tired burlesque routine; you can almost hear the gears moving – and the result is mechanical, an empty exercise. (It’s fitting that even the set changes mechanically – a different pillow flips up, a new picture turns over on the wall — from one dull hotel room to one only slightly different and equally dull.)
Like Woody Allen, David West Read unmistakably has the gene for comedy, but that clearly doesn’t stop either of them from occasionally…mutating. In his short career as a dramatist Read has also shown the kind of feel for human beings that one can hope he’ll recover for his next play.
November 15 Update: The Performers is closing this coming Sunday, November 18, 2012, after 23 previews and 7 regular performances, the producers announced.
Written by David West Read
Directed by Evan Cabnet
Set design by Anna Louizos, costume design by Jessica Wegener Shay, lighting by Jeff Crouter, sound by Nevin Steinberg
Cast: Cheyenne Jackson, Ari Graynor, Daniel Breaker, Jenni Barber, Alicia Silverstone, Henry Winkler
Running time: 90 minutes without intermission
Buy tickets to The Performers
November 9, 2012 4 Comments
You could not count me an “Annie” aficionado before I saw its third Broadway production, which has opened tonight. “Annie” to me conjured up nothing but “Tomorrow” sung badly by generations of cloyingly precocious girls. But then again Sandy meant something different then as well.
Now, when Annie tells a cop that weather doesn’t bother her and then she sings to Sandy (!) that the sun will come up, well…as a nearby theatergoer Tweeted during intermission: “I can’t believe some sentimental clown kept crying during the first act of Annie, or that it was me.”
“Annie” is so old that its original star, Andrea McArdle, is 49 years old, yet it has never had a chance to fade away into nostalgia: It’s been done not just on Broadway (1977-1983; again in 1997), not just in Hollywood (1982 movie; 1999 TV movie) but this year alone there are more than 100 licensed productions, everywhere from Sao Paolo to Denmark to Wilson West Middle School in Sinking Spring, Pennsylvania… including three “Annies” in New York and five in New Jersey.
Still, the timing does seem ideal for its Broadway revival, and director James Lapine is attempting a timely approach to this story of optimism triumphing in a bleak era. Lapine’s “Annie” is as always shamelessly sentimental but it is also actually affecting; dopey but endearing; full of Broadway razzmatazz but also blunt in its depiction of tough times.
“Annie” begins now with a black-and-white newsreel that shows the musical’s time and place – New York City in 1933, with its unemployment and breadlines and housing foreclosures, some of it feeling uncomfortably close to the present day. A curtain made up of clotheslines rises to reveal a tenement, and the orphans all asleep in one bed, including Annie, whose sole possessions are the dog-eared note her parents left 11 years ago when they left her at the doorstep, and the half-locket that she wears around her neck; her parents promised to bring the other half when they came back for her.
Some of the later scenes as well are grittier than you might expect, showing people down on their luck, living in Hoovervilles beneath a bridge that looks like the one in “In The Heights” and talking like the street urchins in “Newsies.”
This is an “Annie” that has traveled some ways from its feel-good tap-dancing origins, and even further from Little Orphan Annie, the comic strip that inspired it.
Is it an “Annie” for adults? Not really. It’s still largely a fantasy for little girls – though their parents are offered the mild social commentary as a reward for their guardian duties. The story remains in the heightened colors of a fantasy: Annie is rescued from the orphanage by a billionaire industrialist Daddy Warbucks (were there any billionaires in the 1930′s?), who brings Annie along to a meeting with FDR, where the red-headed orphan teaches the President and his cabinet to be optimistic and inspires them to come up with the New Deal.
The songs by Charles Strouse and Martin Charnin are sturdy, tuneful and familiar: Besides “Tomorrow,” there are ”It’s the Hard-Knock Life,” (a favorite of Jay-Z), “Easy Street,” “Maybe” and “You’re Never Fully Dressed Without a Smile.” The production values are pleasingly expensive-looking, especially David Korins’ big inventive sets, such as the lush interior of Warbucks mansion. Andrew Blankenbuehler’s choreography is at its best not during the conventional numbers, but in what amount to mute intervals telling their own stories in-between the major scenes – when Annie goes from apple seller to hobo in search of her parents, for example, or when she’s buying a coat at Bergdorf Goodman with the help of the staff.
The little girls in the show are still cute and sassy, or (depending on your W.C. Fields quotient) a gaggle of polished pre-pubescent performers whose memoirs I do not plan to read in 20 years. The adults are largely one-dimensional, by design. The apparent attempt to make them more than that doesn’t get much traction. Others with a background in Annieania are sure to explain how Katie Finneran, who plays the drunken slut of a orphanage mistress Miss Hannigan, differs from the Miss Hannigans of Dorothy Loudon or Carol Burnett or Nell Carter. I don’t get what she’s doing, other than reprising the drunken slut of a barfly in “Promises, Promises,” where she was the best thing about that revival. She is not the best thing about this revival, though her drunken pratfalls are still funny.
The stand-out in a cast that largely doesn’t stand out is Anthony Warlow, an Australian opera singer making his Broadway debut as Oliver Warbucks, who has a deep voice and a winning manner; despite his name, he is such a warm, kind killer industrialist that anybody would want him to adopt them.
Lilla Crawford, who plays Annie, has a strong voice, and seems smart, confident and grounded, and that’s as far as I’m going in critiquing an 11-year-old. Sandy the stray male dog whom Annie adopts is played by a female terrier who, according to her bio in Playbill, was rescued from a dog pound 24 hours before being euthanized, and whose name is Sunny. Now, a cynic might suspect this story. But who living in New York City these days wouldn’t prefer a Sandy who turned out to be Sunny?
At The Palace (1564 Broadway at 47th Street)
Book by Thomas Meehan; music by Charles Strouse; lyrics by Martin Charnin; based on the comic strip “Little Orphan Annie” by Harold Gray; directed by James Lapine; choreography by Andy Blankenbuehler; sets by David Korins; costumes by Susan Hilferty; lighting by David Holder; sound by Brian Ronan; projections by Wendall K. Harrington; hair design by Tom Watson; animal trainer, William Berloni,
Cast: Katie Finneran (Miss Hannigan), Anthony Warlow (Oliver Warbucks), Lilla Crawford (Annie), Brynn O’Malley (Grace Farrell), Clarke Thorell (Rooster Hannigan) and J. Elaine Marcos (Lily).
Running time: 2 hours 25 minutes