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Moose Murders Revived, Broadway’s Best Defined, February Defied

NeverMissedAPerformanceWhile it is true that there is not a single Broadway show scheduled to open in the month of February, and there will surely be more new commercials broadcast during the Super Bowl than stage shows opening in New York City this month, there is still enough happening to keep devoted theatergoers busy — even if it means taking a trip somewhere else:

Betty Buckley ‏‪@BettyBuckley “Dear World” is opening in London on Feb. 13. We start previews this Monday, Feb. 4! Very exciting! : )

Broadway this past week offered both the best of times and the worst of times: a conference on “the best that Broadway can be” and induction into the Theater Hall of Fame of its eight new members at the beginning of the week,” and a first-ever revival of the notorious “Moose Murders” at the end.

This week in New York theater:

January 28, 2013

“Who’s Afraid of Virginia” will close on March 3rd, three weeks earlier than previously announced

TedXBroadwaywelcome

GeorgeTakeiatTedXBroadwayWhat is the best that Broadway can be: TEDx Broadway conference

Randi Zuckerberg:  In a world freed by innovative technology, why should Broadway be limited by ticket prices, physical space, or fear of risk?

George Takei: Broadway has not boldly gone where no one has gone before,

Terry Teachout: The one terrible fact about Broadway”  is that 75 percent of all Broadway shows lose money..So why do it? “Because it’s fun….Don’t start out settling for safe. Gamble on great.”

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BenSprecherRebeccaproducerRebecca, next chapter: Producer Ben Sprecher is suing his publicist Marc Thibodeau for scaring away investor

Peter Marks ‏‪@petermarksdrama: The REBECCA story only gets wilder. Gerard Alessandrini: vet it with your lawyers before you parody it.

Sean Bryan ‏‪@seanjbryan Why do I hear the Spider-Man theme song every time I read news about the Rebecca debacle?

Kristine Nielsen, Sigourney Weaver and David Hyde Pierce in Christopher Duran's Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike at Lincoln Center

Kristine Nielsen, Sigourney Weaver and David Hyde Pierce in Christopher Duran’s Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike at Lincoln Center

Christopher Durang’s Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike is moving to Broadway! Golden Theater beginning March 5. Opens March 14

AntonChehkovThe announcement is being made, coincidentally or not, on Chekhov’s birthday.

Anton Chekhov’s Rules for Civilized People: (eg value their talent;have compassion for more than just cats)

Christopher Durang is one of the eight theater artists inducted this week into the  Theater Hall of Fame

The others: Andre Bishop, Betty Buckley, Michael Kahn, Trevor Nunn, Paula Vogel, Sam Waterston, the late Martin Pakledinaz

Theater Hall of Fame medallionEllen Burstyn on Betty Buckley: If any of you ever need to have the top of your head blown off, you should hear her sing ‘Memory’ in a small space. … One note and Betty disappears, her hands turn to paws. It’s one of the most magical things I’ve ever seen a performer do.”

Sarah Ruhl on Paula Vogel: “she laughs at terrible things.” In the process, “she changed the culture of silence” over sexual oppression.

Andre Bishop defined producing as “simply the intelligent exercise of one’s own best taste.”

(ARTS à la Mode ‏I define producing as getting people to do what they say they are going to do)

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Jessie Mueller, Kate Burton, Shuler Hensley, John Cullum join the cast of Carousel at the New York Philharmonic Feb 27-March 2. (It will be broadcast on PBS)

Though inherently undramatic, Web life is increasingly a subject on stage,

At the Red Room,closing after 15 years,”you could always expect the unspeakable onstage”~‪Clay McLeod

Reynaldo Piniella ‏‪@ReynaldoRey Sad day for me. The Red Room was a second home to me

 Do spoilers really spoil? Surprise has its pleasures,but people still go to Hamlet

Steven Bogart ‏‪@Stevenbogart Mostly in recorded sporting events.

LeslieOdomJr‏Leslie Odom Jr. ‪@leslieodomjr Artists, resist the urge to anesthetize. Power in your pain.

Jonathan Mandell: But how far should you go

Leslie Odom Jr.: Up to the individual. What do I know? Seen & heard some incredible work recently from friends-the product of difficult times

Fiorello2

My review of Fiorello

“Fiorello,” a musical about the beloved LaGuardia’s pre-mayoral  career and love life, might be close to the perfect musical for the Encores! series, although it is far from the perfect musical. The good match is not just because “Fiorello” launched the series or because Mayor LaGuardia is the reason why City Center still survives – he saved it from the wrecking ball by turning it into the city’s first performing arts center. (As the “Fiorello” program explains, with unintentional irony: “The goal was to bring the performing arts to all New Yorkers – at a fraction of Broadway ticket prices.”) Actually, “Fiorello” is close to the perfect musical for Encores! in partbecause it is far from the perfect musical — something that wouldn’t really work as a long run on Broadway anymore.

Full review of Fiorello

Leslie Odom Jr.: Just a spectacular ordinary day. Felt so long. Loved it.

Jonathan Mandell: No Pain?

Leslie Odom Jr. Plenty. But I USED it all. 🙂

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Alan Cumming's Macbeth is coming to Broadway

Alan Cumming’s Macbeth is coming to Broadway

Did you see ‪Alan Cumming‘s “Macbeth” at Lincoln Center? It’s coming to Broadway’s Barrymore Theater April 7 -June 30.

Jessica Chastain will star opposite Colin Farrell in a film adaptation of August Strindberg’s Miss Julie.

The piece floating around about “what went wrong with Smash” from Fuzzbleed doesn’t explain what went wrong with Smash. Here it is anyway

Clockwise from top left: Phantom of the Opera, Scarlett Johansson in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Daniel Day-Lewis as Lincoln, Barry Manilow, scene from Picnic, Rebecca producer Ben Sprecher

Clockwise from top left: Phantom of the Opera, Scarlett Johansson in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Daniel Day-Lewis as Lincoln, Barry Manilow, scene from Picnic, Rebecca producer Ben Sprecher

New York Theater January 2013 Quiz: Test how well you were paying attention in January by answering these ten questions.

February 1, 2013

Ed Koch, my former neighbor and the mayor of New York City from 1978 to 1989, has died at age 88.

TV musicals,long flops (eg Cop Rock), are now in a golden age: Smash,Glee, Nashville, Treme, says Boston Globe TV critic ‪Matthew Gilbert

JonRuaEvery week, the show “Hands on a Hardbody” offers up a cast member to answer questions on Facebook. This week it was Jon Rua, who was on Broadway in “In The Heights” and Off-Broadway in “The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity.” He said he didn’t decide to become a performer until after he graduated from college. So, on Twitter, I asked:

What inspired you? Was there a specific moment?

‪Jon Rua (@JonRua): I went backpacking Europe at 21. When I returned,I said if I can do that, I can do anything. Love and Imagination led the way.

I thought you might enjoy a clip of my choreography as well:

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Annie Palace Theatre

Today Annie delivers its 100th performance. Will it last forever?

Mathew deGuzman ‏‪@mathewdeguz: Saturday morning auditions or callbacks are just rude… Does nobody have respect for drunch anymore!? ‪#priorities ‪#messedup cc: ‪@nesbizzle

What’s the point of recent theater that’s excessively loud  or excessively long? More is less,says ‪George Hunka

Howie and Snooks in revival of "Moose Murders"

Howie and Snooks in revival of “Moose Murders”

My review of Moose Murders

By the end of the first scene of the first-ever revival of “Moose Murders,” which attained legendary status as the worst flop in Broadway history, I thought to myself: This is really not any worse than many shows you can see in the neighborhood. Playing at the John Connelly Theater in the East Village near Avenue B, The Beautiful Soup Theater Collective’s production of this arch comedy/mystery features outlandish characters doing outrageous things, sprinkled with pop culture references.  Doesn’t this describe many of the shows at the Fringe Festival?

At the end of the first act, however, I walked out – the first show I’ve left during intermission literally in decades….

Full review of Moose Murders

Holland Taylor was in Moose Murders on Broadway

Holland Taylor was in Moose Murders on Broadway

Soon to be in “Ann,” her one-woman show about Gov. Ann Richards, actress Holland Taylor last performed on Broadway thirty years ago – in Moose Murders. She is best-known for her roles on such TV shows as “Bosom Buddies,” “Two and A Half Men” and “The Practice.”

Was the experience on Moose Murders the reason why she didn’t return to Broadway for 30 years?

Holland Taylor@HollandTaylor:  1 of the hard things re being an American actor is the 3,000 miles between being on stage or in TV & films.

Jonathan Mandell: Good point. How do you look back at Moose Murders? Do you see it as a turning point of any sort?

 Holland Taylor: I don’t look back.

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About 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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