New York Theater Week: Chaplin, Enemy of the People, Sam Shepard, Jason Robert Brown

New York Theater, clockwise from upper left: Rob McClure in "Chaplin," spoof of Ghost in "Forbidden Broadway," Rebecca Lenkiewicz adaptor of Ibsen's "An Enemy of the People," comedian Lewis Black coming to Broadway in "Running on Empty," composer-lyricist Jason Robert Brown at Below 54, Lois Smith in Sam Shepard's Heartless, Spider-man at Broadway on Broadway concert, scene from Adam  Szymkowicz's Off-Off Broadway play, The Why Overhead
New York Theater, clockwise from upper left: Rob McClure in “Chaplin,” spoof of Ghost in “Forbidden Broadway,” Rebecca Lenkiewicz adaptor of Ibsen’s “An Enemy of the People,” comedian Lewis Black coming to Broadway in “Running on Empty,” composer-lyricist Jason Robert Brown at Below 54, Lois Smith in Sam Shepard’s Heartless, Spider-man at Broadway on Broadway concert, scene from Adam Szymkowicz’s Off-Off Broadway play, The Why Overhead

“The theater is not so much a profession as a disease, and my first look at Broadway was the beginning of a lifelong infection.”

So writes Moss Hart in “Act One,” a memoir that, we’re told, is being adapted for the stage.

The Fall 2012 New York theater season has begun – here is my  Broadway Fall preview —  and is about to intensify. In the meantime, to catch up, some highlights from the past few weeks of  my @NewYorkTheater Twitter feed, including a poll, a quiz, and my reviews of “Forbidden Broadway,” Sam Shepard’s “Heartless” at the Signature, “Chaplin,” and Broadway composer-lyricist Jason Robert Brown’s gig at Below 54.


Karen Allen will star Off-Broadway 21

Howlround’s weekly #newplay chat was on self-producing for playwrights. Here is James Camtois’s guide

Little Jimmy’s Guide to Self-producing


Karen Allen, best-known for Indiana Jones, now Bard College theater professor, will star in Jon Fosse’s “A Summer Day” at Rattlestick Playwrights Theater beginning October 10th.


Congratulations David Henry Hwang for the $200,000 Steinberg Playwriting Award. That’s four times more than he earned for three years work on Chinglish


Profile of  Tom Stoppard at age 75


Sony Pictures signed five-year deal with Broadway producer Scott Sanders (Evita) to adapt its films for Broadway. First up: Tootsie. Disney has been doing for 20 years.(Beauty and the  Beast opened in 1994)


Broadway Fall 2012
The 19 shows set to open on Broadway between September and the end of December.

Take my poll: Which Broadway Fall 2012 Shows Are You Most Looking Forward To?\


Jake Gyllenhaal in rehearsal Off BroadwayMovie star Jake Gyllenhaal is in an Off-Broadway play, Nick Payne’s “If There Is I Haven’t Found I Yet,” hoping to feel “I’ve torn my heart out from acting” Unlike his Hollywood hunger days, Gyllenhaal sees acting as “building little delicate cricket cages, with care and more thought” (Huh?)

Berry Gordy Jr. will be played by Brandon Victor Dixon in "Motown" the musical“Motown” will star Brandon Victor Dixon (best-known as the original Harpo in The Color Purple on Broadway, and the star of The Scottsboro Boys) as Berry Gordy Jr. The musical by Gordy, the founder of Motown studios, will open at the Lunt-Fontanne on April 14, 2013

My review of Heartless, Sam Shepard’s new woman play.


A golden time for New York non-profit theaters this fall: Golden Age at Manhattan Theater Club; Golden Child at the Signature Theater; Golden Boy at Lincoln Center Theater.


Ricky Martin is cutting his performances of Che in Evita down to seven a week.

The part will be played on alternate Mondays by Max von Essen and Daniel Torres.


First-ever stage adaptation of a book by Jonathan Franzen. House for Sale , Oct 13-Nov 18 Transport Group


Jeremy Jordan, Gore Vidal, Woody Harrelson, Marvin Hamlisch

Take the  New York Theater August 2012 quiz. Sample Q: Which Broadway show has the advertising slogan “It’s everything Broadway….and more”



Lyricist Hal David (Promises, Promises on Broadway) has died at age 91. Long-time collaborator with composer Burt Bacharach.


Closing today: Clybourne Park, Voca People, One Man Two Guvnors

Best of the Twitter hashtag #FailedMusicals

Out of the Woods, Papa Mia, Next to Nothing, Legally Blind, Legally Bland, Not Very Much Jazz, Joseph and the Beige Housecoat, Greece, A Bank Line, Violinist in the Living Room, 41st Street, 1789


Should government fund the arts? Debate in The Economist


War Horse is closing at Lincoln Center on January 6. (It will continue in London and on U.S. tour)

Broadway Week begins today. Two-for-one tickets to 19 Broadway shows, & a free dessert from 25 area restaurants. Through September 16


“Theater exists all around us and it is the purpose of formal theater to remind us this is so”-John Cage, born 100 years ago today (died in 1992)

A stage version of Nobel Laureate Gabriel García Márquez’s 1985 novel “Love in the Time of Cholera” is opening at Repertorio Espanol October 15

Revival of the late Lanford Wilson’s lovely cross-cultural love story, Tally’s Folly, opens March 5, 2013 Off-Broadway at the Roundabout Theater Company’s Laura Pels Theater.

billboard for Matilda the musical, coming to Broadway in March, 2013

A Matilda billboard is up already, even though it’s not on Broadway until March


“Flashdance,” the 1983 movie about female welder-dancer, will be adapted into a Broadway musical in Aug. 2013, its producers say.

 Broadway’s ladies rooms are terrible, says the New York Post. The best is at the Music Box. Worst: Cort, Shubert

For the next 10 days ‪A Christmas Story is holding auditions — online — to find its young lead Ralphie

Cast of 2012 Elf announced: Beth Leavel, Mark Jacoby, Valerie Wright, Adam Heller and Michael Mandell (no relation)

Emerging Broadway Players: Actress Nina Arianda; playwrights Annie Baker, Katori Hall and Quiara Alegria Hudes; director Thomas Kail; "Once" producer Oren Wolf
Emerging Broadway Players: Actress Nina Arianda; playwrights Annie Baker, Katori Hall and Quiara Alegria Hudes; director Thomas Kail; “Once” producer Oren Wolf

From actor Nina Arianda to producer Oren Wolf, 25 under 35 years old Emerging Broadway Players from  Art Info


My review of  Forbidden Broadway: Alive and Kicking.

Forbidden Broadway: Alive and Kicking” is the 21st edition of the revue that Gerard Alessandrini created 30 years ago, using the actual songs from Broadway musicals, but supplying his own affectionately caustic, witty lyrics, and hiring talented performers who could sing, dance, mimic and make funny faces….

No figure no matter how hallowed on the Great White Way is safe from “Forbidden Broadway”: Among the current no-holds-barred targets are Stephen Sondheim, Manny Patinkin and Patti LuPone, Bernadette Peters, and Audra McDonald.  But each of these are rendered in such exact imitation – with an amusingly demented twist just a few degrees away from reality — that, like the caricatures in Sardi’s, Forbidden Broadway is more homage than assault, and just as much a theatrical tradition.

Full review

In honor of tonight’s Props Summit, the fourth annual gathering of prop masters: When has the absence of a prop stopped a show?

In Play it Again Sam,  says director Daniel Bourque, “we almost stopped performance when phone was misplaced. Whole scenes won’t work without it.” In 12 Angry People, says director Robert Falls,  “no coffee machine or cups killed only possible blocking for actors”

Anthony LaPaglia to star as Richard Nixon, Kathryn Erbe as Pat Nixon in Checkers. (Anybody as dog?) Opens Oct 28


Not again! The opening of Rebecca is being delayed because one of its major investors has died. ‪ 

Jason Robert Brown (‪@MrJasonRBrown): Having had 2 Bway shows postponed this year because of funding problems,I’m acutely sensitive to Rebecca delay

Wondering if such delays in coming Broadway shows are more common these days because of tough economy, or has it always been hard?

My Backstage review of The Eyes of Others. An absurdist comedy by a young Bulgarian Beckett


Broadway on Broadway, a concert in Times Square sampling  11 Broadway shows, including two opening this season, Scandalous and Motown

Spider-Man performance at 2012 Broadway on Broadway

These Spider-Men in Times Square are actually part of the show (not hanging out for tourists)

My Backstage review of ‪Adam Szymkowicz’s The Why Overhead, comedy about office life, at Zootopia Theater 


Michael John LaChiusa’s Giant,based on the James Dean/Elizabeth Taylor/Rock Hudson film,opens at The Public Theater November 13, with a cast including Brian d’Arcy James and Bobby Steggert. 

Chaplin opens on Broadway at the Ethel Barrymore

 My review of Chaplin

Rob McClure as Charlie Chaplin walks a tightrope, plays the violin, roller skates with a blindfold on, does backflips into a handstand,  and — most dexterous of all — carries “Chaplin: The Musical” on his twitchy shoulders….Despite the time, talent and experience that went into the making of “Chaplin,” there are some startling stumbles, cringe-worthy missteps. But there are several smart choices as well – the smartest being the casting of Rob McClure.

Full review of Chaplin


Fun Home, new musical by Jeanine Tesori (Caroline or Change, Shrek) Sam Gold, dir, will open ‪@PublicTheaterNY Lab. Oct 17-Nov 4


My TDF Stages article on the art of adaptation. How Rebecca Lenkiewicz transformed Ibsen’s Enemy of the People

“If you’re going to adapt something, you have to dive in and get under the skin,” she says. “Presumably you love the work you are adapting, so you don’t want to distort it. But you want to inhabit it. Your job is to find your own rhythm and a truth in the psychology.”

 Full article

The National Theatre has been “HDcasting” its plays in US moviehouses for years. Now Shakespeare’s Globe ‪will do so too  


NYC benefits from Broadway, which supports 86,000 jobs, injects $11 billion  into local economy. NYC gov has launched ‪ 

For the first time in their 20-year marriage, Boyd Gaines & Kathleen McNenny are performing together, playing Mr & Mrs in Enemy of the People

Invitation-only Marvin Hamlisch celebration Sep 18 Peter Sharp Theater with Barbra Streisand, Aretha Franklin, Minnelli, Itzhak Perlman etc


My review of  Jason Robert Brown at Below 54


Michael Jackson, Tommy Tune shopped there. Now Colony Records, 64-year-old sheet music store on Broadway and 49th Street, is closing today.

Lewis Black on Broadway: My Playbill interview with him


Broadway Week 2-for-the-price-of-1 tickets ends today, Use code BWAYWEEK

Off-Broadway Week,2-for-1 tickets begins tomorrow.  Sept 17-30 ‪ 

Author: New York Theater

Jonathan Mandell is a 3rd generation NYC journalist, who sees shows, reads plays, writes reviews and sometimes talks with people.

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