Tom Hanks on Broadway, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf, Classics vs. Revivals: New York Theater Week Oct 9-15

Top: Tom Hanks, Elmo, Amy Morton in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf,
Bottom: Estelle Parsons, Emilia Clarke, scene from Positions

The fourth Broadway production of  Edward Albee’s “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” opened this past week to the first full-throated raves of the season. (See my review below). There is still time (if you’re reading this on Monday) to enter the contest for two free tickets to the show.


Jonathan Mandell (@NewYorkTheater) If you say “break a leg” to a performer, what are you supposed to say to a producer? “Break a contract”?

William Akers ‪(@ouijum): “Break an actor”?


“Truman Capote’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s” by Richard Greenberg set for Broadway in February, 2013, starring Emilia Clarke (Game of Thrones) as Holly Golightly.

Danger after dark in Times Square


Tom Hanks to make his Broadway debut in Lucky Guy,Nora Ephron’s play about New York newspaper columnist Mike McAlary. Opens April 1 at the Broadhurst. Both Ephron and McAlary are dead.

The Velocity of Autumn set for Broadway in Spring,with Estelle Parsons as a woman violently refusing to go to nursing home, Stephen Spinella as her son


Play  marking Jake Gyllenhaal debut If There Is I Haven’t Found It Yet was supposed to end Nov 25. It’ll now also run Dec 8-23

Did you miss Patti LuPone, Andrea McArdle, or Norbert Leo Butz at ‪54 Below? All three will be “live” albums from Broadway Records.

Brooke Shields to aspiring actors, via Backstage “Don’t let ‘no’ deter you because you’re going to hear it a lot.Just keep going,”

Mike O’Neil and Michelle Gagliano as the married couple trying a different sexual position every week for a year in “Positions”

My ‪Backstage review of ‘Positions’, a sex comedy from Linda Lavin’s theater

“Positions,” by Owen Dunne, is most noteworthy as being the first original play to move to New York from Red Barn Studio, a 50-seat community theater in Wilmington, N.C., founded half a dozen years ago by the actor Linda Lavin and her husband, Steve Bakunas. Bakunas not only directs this production; he has also designed its sets, lighting, and sound and written the incidental music. Lavin and Bakunas are reportedly leaving Wilmington, where they have lived for 17 years, and giving up stewardship of the theater they created. Judging from “Positions,” I’d say this is just in time.


Philadelphia Inquirer is getting rid of full-time theater critic position, despite vibrant Philly theater scene. Depressing. New Inquirer owners reassigned critic Howard Shapiro, 42-year veteran of the paper, to the South Jersey bureau.He took a buy-out

Should all theaters do this?

Dani Guitelman ‏‪(@bookworm455):  It’d sure be nice. One can only dream. ‪#GettingHomeOnTime

Brian DeVito ‏‪(@bdevit):  Not a bad idea — I think a small line in playbill near running time (as opposed to slide-out signage) would be better.

Robert Falls ‏(@RobertFalls201): Absolutely. Eases anxiety. Babysitter, dinner, parking. Audience is more focused knowing running times of acts and show.

Emily Owens ‪(@emilyowenspr): That’s kind of awesome. But with live theatre, isn’t it hard to nail down such a precise running time?

Tyler Moss ‏‪(TylerJMoss)  Add the word: “approximately”?

Kate Foy ‪(@Dramagirl): Tends to be quite commonplace in Australia.

(And from Instagram)


But what if an act run a little longer than planned?

Yes, absolutely.

No! You’re going to the theatre disconnect a little!!!

October is Arts and Humanities Month. Have you been artful in showing your humanity?

Johnny Depp‘s production company Infinitum Nihil to create a TV series offering a “modern take” on Shakespeare (using his plots)

The cast of “Inside/Out,” disabled people telling their stories on the stage, one of 40 productions from Ping Chong & Co’s “Undesirable Elements” series.

My TDF Stages article on the amazing 20-year documentary theater series Undesirable Elements from Ping Chong & Co 

Ping Chong, the theatre artist who created the documentary theatre series Undesirable Elements, knew what it felt like to be an outsider even before he was the only Asian student in his high school.

A son of immigrants, he says he “didn’t quite understand how to use a fork and knife for a while because it wasn’t in my culture.” But even within his culture, as a child growing up in Manhattan’s Chinatown, he had also felt like an outsider, because he had wanted to be an artist.

Eventually, Chong enlisted other bilingual people he knew who felt like outsiders to tell their own personal stories on the stage. What is extraordinary is what has happened since that first theatrical experiment: “Twenty years and more than 40 productions later, it’s still going,” Chong says.

Full article


New study asks:Are nonprofit theaters too much in bed with commercial producers,losing sight of mission, values?


Broadway is revival-crazy this Fall: Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf, Cyrano de Bergerac, The Heiress, Enemy of the People, Glengarry Glen Ross.

The L.A. Times article to which I link above doesn’t say revival-crazy, though”
“Broadway this season has gone, well, a little classics-crazy”

Question: When do you call a show a classic, when a revival? Is there a rule of thumb?

Kate Foy: Can’t you can use both – ‘A revival of this classic play … ‘ Hinges on definition of ‘classic’ I guess.

Patrick Maley (‏‪@PatrickJMaley): Maybe after x number of major revivals, then “classic.” It seems: Time + Socially Agreed Value = “Classic” And popular sentiment about value evolves. For several hundred years, Tate’s LEAR was an indisputable classic. No longer. The term seems shorthand for “A play we all agree we really like”

Jonathan Mandell: Nobody calls a Shakespeare production a revival. Does anybody call Hello, Dolly production a classic?

Stu Hamstra ‏‪(@stuhamstra )We will know in 100 years or so, I suppose.

‪@BroadwaySpotted: Absolutely we do. Hello, Dolly is considered classic musical theatre.

Howard Sherman (@HESherman): I think there are many musicals called classics and I imagine most people would put DOLLY in that category. With Shakespeare, calling works revivals is unnecessary, as from schooling, most people know these are 400 yr-old-plays. Classic can have many connotations. Ironically, many movie reviews declare films to be “instant classics,” an oxymoron. “Classic” denotes work that has withstood the test of time. Impossible to assess at its launch.

‪StageElf:   I don’t think the two terms mutually exclusive…I’d say a new production of “Dolly” was a revival of a classic musical…

Todd ‏‪(@roadwarrior07):  Classic is a qualification of standards. A play/musical that has a certain relevance to the genre & time-test is a Classic. Whereas a Revival is the “verb” of the play/musical. You can use both “A Revival of a Classic…”

Jonathan Mandell: Yes, I get that you *can* say “revival of a classic.” but if you *do* say that, it’s unlikely everybody agrees it’s a classic.

Calling something an “instant classic” is like calling a news event “historic.”

Only time (and Superman) can turn coal into diamonds, and only time determines what’s “a classic,” and what’s “historic.”

In an age of Instant Messages,where instant gratification’s too slow,is it surprising we’re too quick to label something classic?

Labels like classic and genius have become marketing terms, used so promiscuously as to lose their meaning.


The secret to humor is surprise– Aristotle (seen on a subway billboard)

Cast of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf on Broadway 2012

My TFT review of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?  — a hit…palpably, to the guts. But it is not Albee’s best play.

“You’re all flops,” Martha says drunkenly to her guest in “Who’s Afraid Of Virginia Woolf?” the first full-length play by Edward Albee, which has proven once again to be the opposite of a flop. Its fourth Broadway production, which opened on Saturday – 50 years to the day after the first Broadway production – is a hit…palpably, to the guts.

The original “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” caused a sensation, and that is true as well of the Steppenwolf Theater Company’s production, transferred intact from Chicago, directed by Pam MacKinnon (Clybourne Park) and starring Tracy Letts and Amy Morton, the Pulitzer-winning playwright and Tony-nominated star, respectively, of “August: Osage County.”  It is sensational.

I mean that in at least two ways. There is something of the tabloid-sensational in the story of two married couples descending into alcohol-fueled, vicious late-night mind games. But there is no denying that Albee’s words, full of wit and fury, can make for crackling good theater.

Full review

The FBI this morning arrested infamous Rebecca “middleman” Mark Hotton, accusing him of perpetrating “stranger-than-fiction frauds”

Anne Margaret Daniel: (@venetianblonde) somehow this all feels like Mrs. Danvers’ revenge
Twitter Badge (.gif)

Author: New York Theater

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

Leave a Reply