Hardworking Holiday Week in New York Theater

Of the Broadway shows still to open this season, four will do so by the end of next week:

Dead Accounts, this Thursday, November 29

The Anarchist, December 2

Golden Boy, December 6

Glengarry Glen Ross, December 8

But, Thanksgiving launched the holiday season, and so the past week in New York theater included: the opening of  A Christmas Story, and suggestions for Holiday Shopping for Theater Lovers.  There were also conversations about actor audition mistakes, and ill audience members. It was Turkey Lurkey Time, and theatergoers predicted which  play or movie their Thanksgiving would resemble…

Monday, November 19, 2012

 My review of A Christmas Story:

“A Christmas Story,” a musical based on the beloved holiday movie about a Midwestern family during the Depression, does “Annie” one better: It features TWO actual dogs rather than one, and maybe twice as many talented kids. It also has more elves than “Elf,” more child gangsters than “Bugsy Malone,” and a chorus line that has more kicks than the Radio City Music Hall Rockettes –  or at least theatergoers are just as sure to get a kick out of it.  But, if it more than holds its own with the other entertainments vying for the family dollar during the holiday season, “A Christmas Story” is more than just a Christmas story.

Full review of A Christmas Story

 Jonathan Mandell: Ok, did Charles Isherwood really use the word “Weltanschauung” in a review of A Christmas Story? Do you think that was on a dare?

Christopher Rawson ‏(@cchrawson): Yeah, yeah, but “Never even saw ‘It’s a Wonderful Life'”?!


R Kelly’s Trapped in The Closet on Broadway?

Singer R Kelly began work on his Trapped in the Closet song series in 2005. Now he reportedly plans to turn it into a Broadway musical

 Giant, ambitious Texas musical at the Public Theater, has been extended 2 weeks, through Dec 16th.

Former Broadway producer Rocco Landesman, 65,is leaving the National Endowment for the Arts, which he’s chaired since 2009. His plan: to retire to Miami Beach


My Twitter Interview with Book of Mormon Swing

Jonathan Mandell:  As a swing for The Book of Mormon, how often are you actually in the show? Must you be backstage during it even when you’re not performing?

Matthew Marks ‏(@matthew_marks): Sometimes I’m not on all week and sometimes I’m on all 8 Shows. Just depends on who’s out. And yes, I’m there every show!



Mistakes actors make at auditions, according to T.S. Schreiber Studios:

1. Socializing,

2. Ignoring the reader,

3. Fighting your type. 

Josh Lamon, currently in Elf
Josh Lamon, Broadway veteran (Hair, now Elf), gives advice to actors about auditions. Above all, “be kind. You are always being watched.”

Josh Lamon (@JoshLamon): Interesting article but I disagree with half of it. Actors must do what works for them. 

Jonathan Mandell: Which half?

Josh Lamon:

1. There is nothing wrong with socializing as long as you aren’t being disrespectful of those around you. For some, it can even calm those pre-audition nerves.

2. This isnt the readers audition. I often work part time as a reader for different casting offices. The readers job is to keep up the pace of the scene. The reader making acting choices causes a disservice to those auditioning who have prepared and made choices already.

I would say the bigger mistake for actors to make is attitude. Be kind. You are always being watched. I worked one audition where at the end of the day, the director handed me the ‘callback’ pile. Told me to go through them and point out the ones who were rude to me and others around them.

Jonathan Mandell: That sounds like a folk tale, with a moral and everything.

Josh Lamon:  I do agree with the don’t fight your type bit. Its important to know what you are marketable as & present yourself as such.

I could write a book about shit I’ve seen at auditions. But I don’t feel like getting sued. Lol.

Nella Vera ‏(@spinstripes): On public relations/marketing  side, we try not to highlight/get press for “problem” actors, but do for actors we love working with.


The Whale at Playwrights Horizons has been extended a final time until December 15th. See it! (Since it is about a 600-lb man, maybe you shouldn’t see it until after Thanksgiving)

What scene will your Thanksgiving resemble? It it’s a movie, will it be

The Ice Storm? The Big Chill? Broadway Danny Rose? Trains, Planes and Automobiles?

Alana Rader ‏@alanaenchanted I’m hoping it doesn’t resemble August Osage’s eat the fish scene.

Ran Xia ‏@rhinoriddler Into the Woods. it’s a time for me to introspect and imagine all that is impossible

Raoul Bhaneja ‏@raoulbhaneja Hopefully not a dinner like Disgraced

Bronny ‏@StBerryKlaine Does Home Alone count

Jonathan Mandell: You’re expecting two clownish burglars?

Bronny Yes. My friends..

Meg McSweeney ‏@megmcsweeney  “Home For The Holidays.” Best last line in a Thanksgiving movie: Charles Durning says, “I can’t wait for goddamn Christmas.”

Stephanie J Block as Edwin Drood. She had three two-show days over Thanksgiving weekend.

The Observationalist ‏@ObsrvatnlstNYC  Hopefully no one will reply with Sartre’s No Exit.

Susan Graham ‏@jane_heir I’m anticipating a Sunset Blvd kind of day.

Stephanie J Block (of Edwin Drood): First of 3 “2 show days” this week. Body doesn’t want to get off the couch. Can we do show in my living room?


Thanksgiving means Turkey Lurkey Time – and, ok Adam Sandler’s Thanksgiving Song

Wise men speak because they have something to say;fools because they have to say something~Plato

Actors because they’re paid to


Broadway Holiday Gifts: Wicked Calendar, Annie t-shirt, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf poster, Broadway Cares clock, Book of Mormon mug, books by Stephen Sondheim and Ben Brantley, Newsies cup, etc.
Broadway Holiday Gifts: Wicked Calendar, Spider-Man Calendar, Broadway Barks Calendar, Annie t-shirt, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf poster, Broadway Cares clock, etc

Holiday Gifts For Theater Lovers — from tickets (and gift cards for tickets) to Shakespeare Insult Gum 


Broadway legend Mary Martin with her son, TV star Larry Hagman, many years ago.

Larry Hagman, who played J.R. Ewing on “Dallas” and the genie’s master on “I Dream of Jeannie” — but was known to theater people as the son of Mary Martin — died today at age 81.

Mary Martin (1914-1990) was a top Broadway star, a veteran of 11 shows, most famously “South Pacific” and “Peter Pan.”

Hagman (1931-2012)  was also a Broadway veteran. The first of his six productions on Broadway was The Taming of the Shrew in 1951, a bit part when he was still a teenager. His last appearance on Broadway was in a 1962  comedy by  S. J. Perelman called “The Beauty Part.” That lasted only three months, but it was the longest run Hagman had on Broadway.

By contrast, “I Dream of Jeannie” ran from 1965 to 1970, and “Dallas” from 1978 to 1991.

First written version of Cinderella story was a Greco-Egyptian one 2,200 years ago — proving she IS a brunette, lately Laura Osnes.

Today, I’m told, is #SmallBizSat Small Business Saturday. A reminder: Theaters are small businesses (most of them.)

Terry Teachout ‏@terryteachout  And most of the good ones.

Laura Murphy ‏@MurphyBrockett Season tickets and/or memberships make great gifts!


A theatergoer threw up in “Grace,” prompting Paul Rudd to go on David Letterman. What if the person was not drunk, but ill?

They stopped the show for an ill performer at “Sorry” prompting my question, your answers, and a blog post: Should ill theatergoers stay home?


Rebecca fiasco not typical,but Broadway financing HAS changed. 1971,most expensive show: $0.8 million. Now: $75 million

Jason Zinoman @zinoman  One damn helicopter, and then everybody has to fly.

Tina Packer’s marathon “Women of Will” (about Shakespeare’s female characters) Jan-June ’13 at Gym at Judson

Son of The Hollywood Reporter publisher Billy Wilkerson apologizes for his part in Hollywood blacklist in 1950s. 

2012 election’s lessons for the arts: Don’t ignore shift in US demographics. Micro-target 

“Sorry” at the Public Theater with Jay O. Sanders and Maryann Plunkett at the table puzzling over a puzzle and politics. (Laila Robins in the background)

Why (and how) theater should be more like television. My review of Sorry at the Public Theater

Which work of art are you most grateful for, the National Endowment for the Arts asks.Answers so far:Hamlet, No Exit,Les Miz, Guernica,Monet’s Water Lillies

Monet's Water Lillies

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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