The Giant Mystery of Scandalous Performers, And Spike: The Week on Broadway

Performers from “Giant,” “The Mystery of Edwin Drood,” “Scandalous,” “The Performers,” and “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike”

It was a giant week in New York theater, or at least a “Giant” week — one of the shows that opened in this busy week. Three shows opened on Broadway – and one has already closed.  “Giant” was one of several Off-Broadway with better prospects. I review all below, and present the New York theater news for the week from November 12 to 19th. Also, link to my article about theater subscriptions: Does anybody subscribe anymore? What are theaters doing about that?

November 12

Anne Hathaway in Vogue. She is about to play in the film of Les MiserablesAt age seven,Anne Hathaway saw her mom play Fantine & is now finally playing the Les Miz character,on film.Vogue

The British company Digital Theatre is expanding what theater it offers online. (If it’s online, is it “theater” anymore?)

Tarell Alvin McCraney (The Brother/Sister Plays) will be directing and “editing” Antony & Cleopatra for The Royal Shakespeare Company and, in 2014, for the Public Theater.


After 20 years as The New York Magazine’s chief theater critic John Lahr is giving up regular reviewing; he will just do profiles

The Public Theater is holding a forum December 3rd on imprisoned artists with Liev Schreiber, Carl Bernstein, Salman Rushdie, and playwright Nathan Englander,  author of “The Twenty Seventh Man,” a play about a group of Jewish writers under Stalin.  Entitled “Thought Is Free,” the forum costs $20.

My review of ‪The Mystery of Edwin Drood

“The Mystery of Drood” is not really a mystery. And, though the original Broadway production won the Tony as best musical in 1986 (along with four other Tony Awards), and some of the songs are wonderful, “Drood” is not exactly a musical either. Call Drood an entertainment, and a clever game…. The effect of all this playing around in “Drood,” whether intentional or not, is to keep the audience at a remove from Dickens’ story. This is not a show for serious consumers of mysteries, even though the man who created it – he wrote the book, music, lyrics and orchestrations – changed his name from David Goldstein to Rupert Holmes in honor of Sherlock. Full review of Edwin Drood


Annie’s on Broadway, and the original Annie, Andrea McArdle, is now Off-Broadway, in Newsical the musical, through Dec. 2

Vincent D’Onofrio, Zoe Kazan join Ethan Hawke (who is also directing) in The New Group’s production of “Clive,” about dissipated songwriter. Opens Feb.

“Ruined” playwright Lynn Nottage creating a site-specific piece in Reading,PA based on interviews with members of the poverty-stricken community

The cast of The Performers on Broadway, clockwise from top left: Henry Winkler, Jenni Barber, Ari Graynor, Cheyenne Jackson, Alicia Silverstone, Daniel Breaker

My review of The Performers

I was not shocked because of the subject matter or the story – a gathering in a Las Vegas hotel during the annual Adult Film Awards. Rather, as I watched “The Performers,” I wondered how writer Read and director Evan Cabnet, who had previously collaborated on the affecting drama about grief “The Dream of The Burning Boy,” could have produced a work so devoid of substance, taste, or authentic feeling, and why such a stellar cast had agreed to participate in it. The performers are by far the best thing about “The Performers.” Their delivery saves many a gag-worthy gag. Cheyenne Jackson in particular turns in a performance that’s nearly a miracle of alchemy, transforming a collection of bawdy jokes into a palpable character. Full review of The Performers


All 10 plays of August Wilson’s American Century Cycle will be recorded live at The Greene Space  next year, and streamed live online!

2013-2014 calendar of the 14 men in cast of  Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark who play the Superhero, including (the departed) Reeve Carney, will benefit Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.

During Alien films, “because…I didn’t really want to do science fiction,”Sigourney Weaver pretended she was doing Henry V

‪@twitziller By  the time of Alien Resurrection, the alien – and indeed the franchise – had become Richard III.

Adam and Eve scene from "Scandalous" on Broaday

My review of Scandalous: Kathie Lee Gifford’s Broadway term paper about evangelist Aimee Semple McPherson

My review of Giant at The Public Theater: This time,the eyes of Texas are not on Elizabeth Taylor or James Dean


“At dramatic rehearsals, the only author that’s better than an absent one is a dead one.” -George Kaufman (born November 16, 1889)

Forur new autism-friendly performances via TDF: Elf, Jan 5; Spider-Man, April 27; Lion King & Newsies, sometime in fall of 2013

Now at 54 Below: Student rush, 30 minutes before shows, 50% off the cover charge price

Bad news for staff at Variety: layoffs. Good news for (potential) readers: Paywall is coming down. Online reading to be free


Theater Subscriptions: Does anybody subscribe anymore? What are alternatives?

The worst-reviewed restaurant in the theater district — and THAT takes some doing  


Angels in America was born 20 years ago this week. Could it have happened today? Its playwright Tony Kushner: I would hope yes

My review of Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike

he audience applauded David Hyde Pierce and Sigourney Weaver but not the other four cast members when they first entered the stage at the performance I saw of Christopher Durang’s new play,  which is simultaneously a send-up of and an homage to the plays of Anton Chekhov – a loopy exercise in hilarity with moments of real feeling. The practice of celebrity entrance applause had never seemed ruder, but the audience made up for it; by the end of “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike,”  each of the actors had performed at least one scene apiece for which they were wildly applauded. Full review

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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