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Pride and Prejudice Review: Jane Austen as Stage Farce

Readers who cherish Jane Austen’s 1813 novel “Pride and Prejudice” can certainly enjoy Kate Hamill’s stage adaptation, now at the Cherry Lane, as long as they accept that the tone has been rewired from witty comedy of manners to boisterous farce.

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Dear Evan Hansen: Through the Window book published as Platt departs Broadway musical

In his dressing room at “Dear Evan Hansen,” Ben Platt has kept an anonymous letter from a fan: “You stopped me from letting go.” That letter kept him going when “I don’t want to cry, and sing, and scream” in the title role of Evan Hansen in the Tony-winning Broadway musical.

Platt is leaving the musical today, two days before the official publication of “Dear Evan Hansen through the window” (Grand Central Publishing, 2017, 224 pages) the latest coffee table book that offers a behind-the-scenes look at the making of a Broadway musical and also contains the entire libretto of the show, annotated.

The new book is similar to last year’s Hamilton The Revolution and The Great Comet of 1812: The Journey of a New Musical to Broadway Like the others, the Evan Hansen book is geared for fans such as that anonymous letter-writer, the most fanatical of whom call themselves “Fansens,”   It is an elaborate souvenir book with lots of photographs, individual profiles of each member of the cast and creative team and a tinge of self-congratulations. (It is also printed on paper dyed blue or black, which is dramatic and keeping with the the musical’s color scheme, but makes the words less easy to read.)   But the book also offers intriguing details of the years-long process of putting together a musical from scratch, without even, say, American history or a famous novel to guide its creators.

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What to See on Broadway Thanksgiving Week 2017

Scroll below for the Broadway schedule for Thanksgiving week.

On Thanksgiving Day this year, theater lovers will be able to see “SpongeBob SquarePants”  twice — both as a balloon and as the Broadway musical in the 91st annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. What we won’t be able to see on Thanksgiving Day is the Broadway musical on Broadway. It’ll be dark that day.

BUT

A number from that show, along with one from Tony-winning musical  “Dear Evan Hansen” and “Once on This Island” will be on NBC and Telemundo.

That’s a cranberry pie on her head.

“Waitress” WILL be performing on Broadway that day — AND you can also watch its cast during the parade, on CBS.

And Thanksgiving WEEK is full of performances — extra ones on the Monday before and the Friday after turkey day.

Below is the Broadway schedule for Thanksgiving Week, and my recommendations for new shows that have opened this season so far, and for evergreens suitable for young children.

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School Girls Or The African Mean Girls Play Review: Beauty As Deep as White Skin

MaameYaa Boafo as mean girl and beauty pageant wannabe and Zainab Jah as Miss Ghana 1966

Paulina is the most popular, the most ambitious and by far the meanest girl in the Aburi Girls Boarding School at the outset of Jocelyn Bioh’s often unsubtle but ultimately stimulating new play. Paulina is confident that she will be crowned Miss Ghana of 1986, until Ericka enrolls in the school. Ericka effortlessly wins over the beauty pageant recruiter because of an advantage with which Paulina can never compete – lighter skin.
“School Girls, or The African Mean Girls Play,” whose title is almost longer than its running time, was inspired by a true story. Read more of this post

Hot Mess Review: Bisexual Meets Standup In Slight Romantic Comedy

For some theatergoers wondering whether to see the hour-long romantic comedy bravely entitled “Hot Mess,” it might be enough to know that Max calls his girlfriend “Poopy Pants.” Or that his girlfriend Elanor calls Max “Jive Turkey.” Others may drop off after learning that an earlier version of this play, written a decade ago by married couple Dan Rothenberg and Colleen Crabtree and reportedly inspired by their courtship, was entitled “Regretrosexual.”

Those who ignore such warning signs will discover an innocuous play performed by an appealing three-member cast that has the slightest of plots. Read more of this post

John Leguizamo’s Latin History for Morons on Broadway: Review, Pics, Video

The ushers are wearing “Ghetto Scholar” sweatshirts in Studio 54, where for his sixth solo show John Leguizamo stands in front of a blackboard and lectures on the history, politics, culture and demographics of the 70 million Latinos in the United States. But Leguizamo is too much of an anarchic comic spirit, master mimic and candid memoirist to be merely erudite. “Latin History for Morons” exists on three planes – fascinating nuggets of actual history mixed with political commentary, eclectic comic shtick, and a funny, tender story of the performer’s efforts to connect with his family.

Full review at DC Theatre Scene

Leguizamo gives the keynote speech at the Immigration Arts Summit, July 17, 2017

The Migration Review: The African-American Exodus In Painting and Dance

Millions of African-Americans moved from the rural South to industrial cities in the North in the decades after World War I, one of the largest migrations in the history of humanity, ignored by most newspapers (except the black press), but famously captured by a 23-year-old painter named Jacob Lawrence. In 1941, he created The Migration Series, 60 paintings that depict the mass exodus of African-Americans from the South. The series caused a sensation. In 2011, a dance company called Step Afrika! created The Migration: Reflections on Jacob Lawrence, turning visual art into dance theater. The 80-minute show — it, too, in its own way sensational —  is now on stage through November 26 at New Victory Theatre.

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