The Broadway Blizzard That Wasn’t. Smash 2. Richard III. Grammy:Once

Losing Nemo: The Times Square theater district on February 9, 2013, after the "blizzard"
Losing Nemo: The Times Square theater district on February 9, 2013, after the “blizzard”

New York City was lucky this time. The blizzard that the Weather Channel dubbed Nemo saved the worst of its ire for other regions, allowing all Broadway and most Off-Broadway shows to remain open. Whether or not the theaters were affected anyway because people stayed home will be clear within the next couple of days.

But there was plenty this week to keep the New York theater lover occupied — including news of the discovery of Richard III in a parking lot in England, and the debut of the second season of Smash.  Also below: American Idol’s Crystal Bowersox has big Broadway news; Broadway and big bucks; a Broadway show drops out; brilliant theater makers David Yazbek and Dave Malloy separately offer their manifestos on what’s wrong with New York theater.

The week in New York Theater

February 4, 2013:

Richard III Unburied

Richard III's skeletal remains
Richard III’s skeletal remains

Richard III’s remains found in Leichester parking lot. He really was a hunchback. Shakespeare wrote 100 years after the king’s death
Suzi Steffen ‏(@SuziSteffen):
“Where’d you leave the Mini Cooper, honey?”


Katha Pollitt ‏@KathaPollitt
Richard III not a hunchback — he had scoliosis of the spine from about age 10

Jonathan Mandell: Pardon me Dr. Pollitt

Katha Pollitt: Medieval chiropractor, if you will.

‘Richard III’ actors react to discovery of king’s remains: “Shakespeare was a dramatist, not a historian”

Disinterred Richard (@RichardNumber3 You would not believe what I owe to get out of this car park

Jonathan Mandell: This was inevitable

Anne Margaret Daniel ‏(@venetianblonde) Yes it was

Disinterred Richard: The secret mischiefs that I set abroach I lay unto the grievous charge of others. Know what I’msayin?

Anne Margaret Daniel ‏
I do, dear. Welcome back to the light of day

Disinterred Richard: The voice isn’t bad but the hair has GOT to GO.

I love this: Drilling Company’s Shakespeare In The Parking Lot (longtime series on Lower East Side) will be presenting Richard III this summer.

Despite mixed reviews, The Heiress has recouped its $3 million capitalization (translation: made $). It closes February 9th.

Broadway and Bucks

CNBC presented a half-hour show, “Betting Big on Broadway,” about investing in theater.

Some highlights:
Producer of Spider-Man Turn Off The Dark: “I think we’re somewhere between idiots and true believers…and lucky.”

Jujamcyn Theaters run by Jordan Roth grosses $200 million a year. Roth gambled early on a show called The Book of Mormon

“The Lion King” has grossed $5.2 billion in 17 years. It’s toured 96 cities worldwide, seen by 55 million people
71% of Disney stage shows have made a profit. (industry average: 25%)

Disney shows Tarzan and Little Mermaids bombed: “I got it wrong,” says Disney theater honcho Thomas Schumacher.

The first three weeks of Newsies on stage outgrossed the entire run of the original movie.

Despite star draw, in the end, Grace recouped only 90% of its investment. Mixed reviews and Sandy didn’t help.

In 1949, it was more expensive to see a first-run movie in Times Square than a Broadway play. Movie: $2. Play: 85 cents.

(from documentary “Broadway, The Golden Age”)

Andy Mientus (@AndyMientus): Last night’s sleep before I’m on TV. What will tonight’s dreams hold?




Smash, Season 2 — Critic’s Reviews: They are mixed

San Francisco Chronicle: Smash is back and again ready to become the hit it deserves to be.

New York Times: “no good right from the start…Broadway is a vicious, thrilling, glamorous place. Smash…has been small, wan & polite.”

David YazbeckDavid Yazbek ‏@DavidYazbek: Wrong on all counts.

Jonathan Mandell: Wrong about Smash, or wrong about Broadway?

David Yazbek: Both

Jonathan Mandell: So which adjectives would you select for Broadway, and which for Smash?

David Yazbek: Broadway=90% shit. Smash=99% shit.

Considered assessment by esteemed theater artist and musician David Yazbek (The Fully Monty, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown)
David Yazbek: Understand that those percentages are basically in the range of all popular arts and media.

During the two-hour premiere of season 2, many people “live-Tweeted” about Smash –

brief example:

Jonathan Mandell: The villain of #Smash, Eileen’s ex-husband, is Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Michael Cristofer.

Dan Mason ‏@djdan1033: Awesome. Can they recruit him to start writing the scripts?

But this time around, the cast of Smash was Tweeting during the show as well.


Lucky Guy castTom Hanks will be making roughly $100 per minute in Lucky Guy on Broadway! (He is reportedly worth $300 million; his pictures average more than $100 million)

Tom Hanks last performed on stage in 1979, in NYC, in a production of Machiavelli’s The Mandrake, in Columbia Universty’s Casa Italiana

James Carter ‏@jdcarter

Can’t believe I didn’t know this. Peter Scolari is in LUCKY GUY with Tom Hanks? BOSOM BUDDIES ARE BACK!

Pippin MarqueeSmash season 2 premiere had only 4.47 million viewers — down SEVENTY-ONE % in viewers aged 18-49 from season 1 premiere. However, the Joe Iconis song in the show,” Broadway, Here I Come,” is on the Top 100 on iTunes.

Friends of ailing playwright Maria Irene Fornes help bring her closer to home 

The “Pippin” marquee at the Music Box is animated. How do people feel about this?

Natalie ‏@n2natalie
I hate the digital marquee with every fiber of my being.
Jeffrey Miele ‏@jffmiele

I don’t like them at all. Takes all the class away from Broadway. It isn’t Vegas.

Stephanie Warren ‏@warrens4

I love it. It was animated for Dead Accounts too. Gives you a chance to share more info & the movement grabs your attention

Samuel Wilson ‏@samuel_james_w

no matter what anyone thinks of it, its representative of where so much of Broadway is at… #ridiculous


Will Smith’s daughter Willow drops out of doing film remake of Annie: “Daddy, I have a better idea, how about I just be 12.’”

Script for “Motown” is “still in flux,” producer tells Michael Riedel of the New York Post. Original writer Berry Gordy Jr. himself now has two “consultants”

Jersey Boys” plays its 3,000th performance on Broadway tonight:

Oh what a night!

Doo dit doo dit dit doo dit doo dit dit

All “Book of Mormon” seats #31.43 — in London, first preview Feb 25 at Prince of Wales Theatre (20 pounds actually)

Edward Watt (the husbands in Scandalous) will play Superman in New York City Center’s Encores’ concert of Charles Strouse’s It’s A Bird ..It’s A Plane…It’s Superman  Mar 20-24

Given up on your Broadway dream, and too young to be a stage mother? You can audition your cat next week for a role in the forthcoming “Breakfast at Tiffany’s

League of Independent Theater to hold Meet The Candidates on arts issues March 12 at the Players Club

Blizzard warning in NYC for tomorrow through Saturday. Unclear yet how this will affect theatrical performances.


The "blizzard" in Times Square, February 8, 2013, at 9:30 p.m.
The “blizzard” in Times Square, February 8, 2013, at 9:30 p.m.

Broadway and the Blizzard of 2013

CandiceElyse ‏@CandiceElyse

There’s nothing more eerie yet magical than an empty Times Square

Bobby Lopez@lopezbobby): I guess Nemo is finally coming to Broadway (laughs weakly)


Did you know Daniel Craig is married to Rachel Weisz? Well,did you know they want to star on Broadway in Harold Pinter’s Betrayal?

Miles Lott ‏@mlottjr

Will they get Hugh Jackman to play the other guy?



No Broadway shows were canceled. Some Off-Broadway and Broadway shows are offering snow deals.

“Pump Boys and Dinettes” was scheduled to open on Broadway April 8, but it has been “postponed indefinitely”

Closing tonight: The Heiress, with Jessica Chastain.

MarkofZorroNewVictoryMy reviews of the Spanish plays, “Fuenteovejuna” and “The Mark of Zorro.”  Zorro a Spanish play, you say? Well, in a way.

0bba454ff6033417848bff7ff41786dc“Always…Patsy Cline” on Broadway this summer? So says American Idol  runner-up  Crystal Bowersox to The Hollywood Reporter.  No firm dates or theater

Benny Berry (@TheBennyBerry) Wouldn’t she be better in “Always… Janice Joplin”?

Crystal Bowersox (@crystalbowersox); That aughta be next!!

The brilliant theater artist Dave Malloy (Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812) explains why he was completely silent for 90 minutes in a panel discussion on the future of theater: The many “crises of American theatre” are self-imposed and imaginary, based on a desire for more money.


Once beat out Newsies, Follies, The Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess, and Nice Work If You Can Find it to win the  Best Musical Theater Album Grammy

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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