New York Theater Week, September, 2012: Scarlett Johansson, Vanessa Redgrave, Sexypants Walker Return. Others Abandon Broadway For TV.



Marvin Hamlisch Memorial (Clockwise from upper left): Barbra Streisand, Liza Minnelli, Aretha Franklin and Brian D’Arcy James

Details of that invitation-only Marvin Hamlisch memorial tonight with Barbra Streisand, Aretha Franklin and Liza Minnelli

Soshana Greenberg (@Vmarshmellow) I sang in the chorus of women/high school students. We opened the concert with Hamlisch’s choral piece Anatomy of Peace.

Blake Ross (@PlaybillBlake): Streisand’s lovely memory of meeting Hamlisch: “He was assigned to get me a chocolate donut…he brought me two… and so our love affair began”


Who will be the most produced playwright throughout the United States in 2012-2013? According to Theatre Communications Group, surveying its member theaters: David Lindsay-Abaire, with 19 productions, 17 of them productions of the play Good People, which is more than any other play (not counting the Bard & Christmas-related productions)

This is followed by Bruce Norris’s Clybourne Park and Matthew Lopez’s The Whipping Man. 

David Lindsay-Abaire (@LindsayAbaire): That’s news to me. I hope it’s true.

My review of Detroit at Playwrights Horizons, with David Schwimmer and Amy Ryan. Life among the 47 percent.

My review of Job, stage adaptation of the Biblical Book of Job: Why good people suffer, at The Flea Theater


Scarlett Johansson returns to Broadway as Maggie in Cat on A Hot Tin Roof., with Benjamin Walker as Brick, Ciaran Hinds as Big Daddy and Debra Monk as Big Mama, Opens Jan 17 at Richard Rodgers

This will be the sixth production of Tennessee Williams’ play on Broadway.


Jesse Eisenberg has snagged Vanessa Redgrave to star opposite him in his play The Revisionist, opening February 21 at Rattlesnake Playwrights Theater

Jake Gyllenhaal making his American stage debut

My Review of If There Is I Haven’t Found It Yet

Julia Roberts made her Broadway debut in “Three Days of Rain,” Daniel Craig in “A Steady Rain,” and now Jake Gyllenhaal is making his U.S. stage debut in a play that begins in a steady downpour and ends in a flood.

If there is a special connection between movie stars and watery stages, I haven’t found it yet. But I do see the fresh connections that young British playwright Nick Payne makes in the play in which Gyllenhaal is appearing at the Laura Pels, entitled “If There Is I Haven’t Found It Yet.”


Sergio Trujillo (Jersey Boys) will replace current choreographer in Hands on a Hardbody musical aiming for Broadway this season


Some of the current Broadway cast members of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf first saw the movie version of Edward Albee’s play, starring Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton

My interview with the cast of Edward Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf

As a child, Tracy Letts found it “very scary” to think adults behave as they do in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf, which he is now starring in on Broadway.

“My adult life,” he told me, “has only confirmed to me that this IS how adults behave”


The Tonys won an Emmy, beating out The Grammys, Oscars, George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker  and Louis C.K. in the category of best director of a variety show. Winner Glenn Weiss is in fact director the Emmy broadcast where he received his Emmy for the Tonys.


Ann, a new play written & performed by Holland Taylor, about Texas Gov. Ann Richards, opens on Broadway  March 7, 2013

New York Independent Theater Awards 2012 list of winners: TDF, Ajax in Iraq, Advance Man, LoveSick, Conni’s Avant Garde etc

“I’ve never won an award in my life,” says Joe Osheroff, who just won 3, including Best Director for Homunculus: Reloaded

“Turning the cacophony of daily life into a coherent narrative is the job of the sound designer”- Jill duBoff, sound designer


August Wilson’s Piano Lesson will be revived at Signature Theater with Brandon Dirden (Clybourne Park),Chuck Cooper. Opens Nov 18

David Cromer to direct new play by Richard Nelson, Nikolai and the Others, about Balanchine & Stravinsky, at Lincoln Center Theater. Opens May 6


On Theater and Suffering



Columbia University  Jean Kennedy Smith have created new $100,000 Edward M. Kennedy Prize for Drama Inspired by American History. The first “EMK Prize” will be given in Feb 2013. Columbia University Libraries will also set up extensive website of the winning playwright’s work

An Enemy of the People with Boyd Gaines and Richard Thomas

My review of ‪An Enemy of the People with Boyd Gaines. Not a real enemy — but not quite a hero.

A day before the opening on Broadway of “An Enemy of the People,” which is a play about the efforts to silence a difficult man, Wikileaks founder Julian Assange lashed out at Obama in a video presented at the U.N. General Assembly, for what Assange said was the president’s attempts to deny him his freedom of speech.  Henrik Ibsen’s play may be 130 years old, but it proves timely time and time again.


Peter and the Starcatcher will close on January 20, 2013. A national tour of the Peter Pan origin play will begin in Aug 2013.

Show vs. Album

Debate proposition: Some original cast recordings are better than the shows they’re supposed to be a memento of. True? Example?

Rob Weinert-Kendt (‪@RobKendt) A lot of Sondheim, frankly.

Isaac Butler (@Parabasis): Company is a great example. The album is better: You don’t have to hear the book.

 Michael Granoff (‪@mikejgr) Merrily We Roll Along

 Leehee Kanne (@Leeheek): Women on the Verge is a good example. The score is glorious,  the show was a jumbled mess. (still saw it 3 times though)”

 Linda Buchwald (‪@PataphysicalSci) Thoroughly Modern Millie

 Joe Thomas (‪@JoeThomasNYC ) Can we flip it to better shows than albums?  First up: Ragtime. Then: Next to Normal.

Karen Wilson (@akaKarenWilson): The Producers (available for a penny on Amazon).


Should audiences applaud celebrities when they first appear on stage?


Sara Ramirez won a Tony for her role in Spamalot. Now she’s on Grey’s Anatomy, and has not been back to Broadway. Will she ever?

Broadway Stars Lost to Television?

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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