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The Revolving Cycles Truly and Steadily Roll’d Review: A Black Kid Missing, and Who Cares?

Karma, a “dirty little hood rat” of 17, is looking for her missing former foster brother Terrell, though she didn’t know him long and he didn’t like her much. He was, however, all she had. The first place she looks is the funeral parlor of Madam Rose Profit, 65, who insists her last name is pronounced Pro-fee, but she indeed profits from the tragedies in her community.
The two women, both portrayed by extraordinary actresses — Kara Young as Karma, Lynda Gravátt as Madam Profit — more or less compete to dominate the play by Jonathan Payne, who is making an arresting New York debut as a professional playwright.


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2018 Theater Hall of Famers. RIP Marin Mazzie. Lear and Mockingbird Casts Complete. The Week in NY Theater

2018 Theatre Hall of Fame inductees:
Actors Rene Auberjonois, Christine Baranski, Cicely Tyson

Playwrights Maria Irene Fornes, David Henry Hwang, Adrienne Kennedy

Director Joe Mantello

Producer James Houghton, posthumously.

Below: Complete casting for Glenda Jackson’s King Lear and To Kill a Mockingbird; highlights reel from Marin Mazzie’s career.
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Stars in the Night Review: A Vague “Immersive” Show in Dazzling DUMBO

Although billed as “an intimate immersive production,” what “Stars in the Night” actually offers, at its best, is the exact opposite — a spectacular public setting. An audience of no more than a dozen at a time are led through several locations indoors and outdoors in DUMBO, a Brooklyn neighborhood that feels inherently theatrical: It has its own dramatic Chiaroscuro lighting, a backdrop of magnificent bridges and distinctive, gentrified 19th century buildings, and a colorful cast of passersby who, on a night with good weather, crowd the cobbled streets and newly green parkland on the river’s edge.
Unfortunately, most of the show’s characters, portrayed by eight members of the Los Angeles-based company Firelight Collective, are not much more developed during the show than those passersby. The story they act out is vague, arty, clichéd  and confusing – so much so that some 90 minutes after the show began and a cast member deposited us on Jay Street, the other theatergoers and I stood around waiting for the next performer to come along and lead us somewhere, not realizing “Stars in the Night” had come to an end.

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Lulu The Broadway Mouse: Backstage Book for Kids

When Jenna Gavigan made her Broadway debut at age 16 as a member of the ensemble in the 2003 revival of Gypsy, she shared the stage at the Shubert Theater not just with stars Bernadette Peters and Tammy Blanchard, but with Tim Federele, who was also making his Broadway debut – and also, presumably, with a family of mice. Federle has since become the author of the Nate series of young adult novels peering backstage at Broadway.
Now Gavigan has made her own contribution to the genre with “Lulu the Broadway Mouse” (Running Press Kids), a book geared to readers age 9 to 12, about a young mouse named Lucy Louise who wants to be a star on Broadway.

Author and actress Jenna Gavin

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Trump Fatigue? These 3 Shows Hope Not

“I think there has been a growth in Trump fatigue,” says Tony Stinkmetal, who admits that he himself shares it — which is why it’s surprising that he has created a show called “SlashR” that’s  been promoted as an “outrageous, sexy, and bloody political satire that massacres Trump and the current era of American politics.” It is one of at least three Trump-related satires currently on New York stages with brief or sporadic runs.

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Collective Rage A Play in Five Betties Review

The full title of “Collective Rage,” Jen Silverman’s playful, bawdy, and episodic genderqueer/feminist/lesbian comedy about five women named Betty, is 47 words long. Only once does it include the word “pussy.”  That’s not true of the play as a whole. In 19 scenes over 90 minutes, the characters say “pussy” far more than they say, or express, “rage.”

Silverman has a lot of fun with this word. Each of the scenes also has its own title, which is projected line by line on a built-in screen that is as wide as the stage, and looms above it. These projections are reminiscent of the comically prolix and pompous chapter titles in an 18th century picaresque novel, except the scene titles in “Collective Rage” often include the word “pussy.”
For example: “6. Bettys 3 and 4 Discover That Highbrow Things Are Just Things That Seem To Be About Other Things When They’re Actually About Pussy”

But “Collective Rage: A Play in Five Betties” etc. is not (just) out for some schoolyard impudence. The five good actresses playing the  Betties deliver some memorable moments of oddness and hilarity.

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Nathan Lane in Taylor Mac Broadway debut; Andrew Lloyd Webber makes EGOT. RIP Burt Reynolds, theater visionary. The Week in NY Theater

Nathan Lane and Andrea Martin will star on Broadway in “Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus,” a new comedy marking the Broadway debut of acclaimed theater artist Taylor Mac (A 24-Decade History of Popular Music, Hir.)  Directed by  George C. Wolfe, “Gary” is set just after the blood-soaked conclusion of William Shakespeare’s first tragedy, Titus Andronicus. Civil war has ended and the country is in the hands of madmen. Casualties are everywhere; two Lane and Martin portray servants charged with cleaning up the corpses. The play is set to open at the Booth Theater April 11, 2019

Andrew Lloyd Webber

With the 2018 Emmy® Award win in the Outstanding Variety Special (Live) category for “Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert,” Andrew Lloyd Webber joins a distinguished list of artists who have won Emmys, Grammys, Oscars and Tonys — EGOT —  as do John Legend and Tim Rice

Below: News about Be More Chill, Beetlejuice; Al Roker and Tatiana Maslany make Broadway debuts. Lin-Manuel Miranda celebrates his friends and neighbors in a TV commercial Also: Remember public funding for the arts? And: how Burt Reynolds made a mark on live theater.

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Heartbreak House Review: Shaw’s Dark Comedy of British Boobs Set in A WWII Bomb Shelter

Singing morale-boosting songs during World War II: Karen Ziemba, Derek Smith, Raphael Nash Thompson, Tom Hewitt, Kimberly Immanuel, and Lenny Wolpe,

Sandbags and British flags abound in the air raid shelter where we have gathered, in the basement of London’s Ambassador Hotel in 1940, in the midst of the Blitz of London. This is a fine setting for a morale-boosting sing-along,  and indeed we are occasionally guided through such songs as “Pack up your troubles in your old kit bag, and Smile, smile, smile,” with a handout that prints all the lyrics.

Unfortunately, that’s not the main reason we are here in the audience at a ground-floor theater in Theatre Row for nearly three hours.  The bomb shelter is just the odd framing for the Gingold Theatrical Group’s production of “Heartbreak House” by George Bernard Shaw.

“Let’s do a Shaw play,” announces one of our fellow shelter inhabitants, and so a cast of veteran New York stage actors pretends to be spontaneously portraying a group of British eccentrics who gather in a villa in the English countryside on the eve of World War I.

Acting foolishly right before World War I: Derek Smith, Raphael Nash Thompson, Karen Ziemba, Tom Hewitt, Lenny Wolpe, Kimberly Immanuel, Jeff Hiller, and Alison Fraser

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THE AЯTS: The beautiful, bold and Constitutional case for public funding

The Culture Wars in America began on May 18, 1989, according to a new show entitled “THE AЯTS” that launches the new season at La MaMa, when Senator Al D’Amato of New York ripped up an art gallery catalogue on the floor of the Senate, and Senator Jesse Helms of North Carolina called artists jerks.

They were attacking individuals such as performance artists Karen Finley and David Wojnarowicz, and photographers Robert Mapplethorpe and Andres Serrano, because the National Endowment for the Arts had funded their provocative work.

“Something happened to us after that,” says Kevin Doyle.  “We’ve forgotten the bold, beautiful arguments that created the NEA and the NEH [National Endowment for the Humanities] in the first place.”

Doyle is the playwright and director of “THE AЯTS,”  a theatrical documentary collage that makes the case for public funding for the arts by looking at its history and the lasting effects of the attacks.  The “R” in the title is backwards, Doyle says, “because we’re talking about the precarious position artists are in, and how we got here.”
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Gospel at Colonus Review: Sophocles as Rousing Black Church Service

Lee Breuer and Bob Telson’s glorious gospel musical, an inspired retelling of Sophocles’ “Oedipus at Colonus” as if it’s an African-American Pentecostal church service, debuted at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in 1983, and has been performed somewhere in the world ever since. It is now at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park for free, only through this Sunday. Beneath the open sky, a huge and hugely talented cast – including several who were in the original production —  give a soul-scorching delivery of the blissful score, composed of gospel and blues, with a little doo-wop thrown in and some heavenly jazz riffs.
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