Cinderella, Carousel, Passion. Vanessa Redgrave by Jesse Eisenberg. Seth MacFarlane Sacred?

Couples in shows that opened this week, clockwise from left: Cinderella, Carousel, Passion, The Revisionist, Belleville
Couples in shows that opened this week, most who wind up smooching. Clockwise from left: Cinderella, Carousel, Passion, The Revisionist, Belleville

Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “Cinderella” opened this week for the first time on Broadway, marking the end of fallow February and the start of March and April madness. Over the next two months, 18 shows are scheduled to open on Broadway – 11 of them between April 14 and April 25.
Off-Broadway has heated up as well, with the first-ever New York revival of Stephen Sondheim’s Passion at the Classic Stage Company, a theater that normally focuses on classic plays; a new play by Jesse Eisenberg starring Vanessa Redgrave; a revival of one of David Henry Hwang’s first plays; a debut of a new Amy Herzog play — all reviewed below — as well as a glorious weekend staging by the New York Philharmonic of another Rodgers and Hammerstein musical, “Carousel.”

The Week in New York Theater

Monday, February 25, 2013

Was Ted's joke about Jews "edgy" or the exact opposite?
Was Ted’s joke about Jews “edgy” or the exact opposite?

When did Seth MacFarlane’s – and America’s – bigoted humor become sacred?

Humor is the greatest weapon the powerless have against the powerful. When the powerful use it against the powerless, it’s evil.

Russell Warne ‏‪@Russwarne
Good post, but there’s an elephant in the room: it’s written by a person who gave BOOK OF MORMON a positive review.

Jonathan Mandell ‏‪@NewYorkTheater
Please re-read my review: Mormons are “a cheap & easy target.” Show works because of its heart, not its vulgarity.

Russ Warne: I did re-read it. More nuanced and sensible than most. But anti-Mormon humor is still as ugly, even with “heart.”
The same society that sanctions MacFarlands misogyny also sanctions anti-Mormon, anti-Islamic, and anti-Semitic humor.

Is the Living Theatre Alive?

LivingTheatresHereWeAreLast night was the last night of legendary avant-garde ‪Living Theatre , at least at its current location. Will it go on?

The Living Theatre ‏‪@LivingTheatre Yes we will go on. We already have a new space and an encore performance of Here We Are in March! Details soon.

So what to make of this article in Playbill:

The Curtain Comes Down on The Living Theatre, a Crucible of Experimentation.
“But with co-founder Judith Malina’s announcement that she would retire from the theatre after 66 years, the writing was on the wall. The Living Theatre was, indeed, dead.
The week of Feb. 25, Malina moved to the Lillian Booth home for retired artists in New Jersey, having been forced to give up the lease on The Living Theatre’s Clinton Street space, the company’s home for the past eight years”

Tom Wopat, Dukes of Hazard star who’s become a Broadway regular, joins Cicely Tyson and the rest of the 14-member cast of ‪The Trip to Bountiful


Today, during its 100th anniversary year,  the 49,000-member ‪Actors Equity became part of (“received a charter from”) ‪the AFL-CIO

Can you explain what your affiliation with ‪AFL-CIO means (and why it’s happening now rather than 50 years ago?)

‪Actors Equity (@ActorsEquity) We got a 1st charter in 1919 as one of several unions with equal standing, We now have our own direct ‪AFL-CIO charter

The Dance and the RailroadThe Pershing Square Signature Center/Alice Griffin Jewel Box Theatre

My review of The Dance and the Railroad

David Henry Hwang was barely older than his two characters when he wrote “The Dance and the Railroad,” …which I had the pleasure of seeing – for a ticket that cost me $1.50!…f Hwang’s dialogue – spare and often droll in “The Dance and The Railroad” — has become more persuasive and sophisticated over the past three decades, it is the exquisite use of movement here that gives the play much of its appeal

Full review

Macbeth — Family Friendly

‪Classic Stage  will present “Macbeth” abridged to 90 minutes and “geared to students and family audiences” March 8-22. How do you make Macbeth family-friendly?

Catherine ‏‪@Ladybirdplane: Nobody dies in the end. If they bleed they bleed a rainbow

James Sims ‏‪@SimsJames Stab characters with a Nerf knife?

Daniel Bourque ‏‪@Danfrmbourque Lady M is a relentlessly cheerful Mary Poppins type, orchestrating murder with a spoonful of sugar.

Katha Pollitt ‏‪@KathaPollitt Instead of killing Duncan, the Macbeths persuade him to adopt a puppy.

Chrisx5x5 ‏‪@Chrisx5x5 Bad dog, damn’d Spot!”

Classic Stage Co ‏‪@classicstage
It’ll be friendly for families with older children. Performances of MACBETH will be best suited for kids in grades 6-12.

Jonathan Mandell: But how is the text altered to make Macbeth suitable for an 11-year-old?

Classic Stage Co ‏:  The text is abridged to accommodate a 90-min run time, but the content is not altered. and we think MACBETH offers a thrilling intro to Shakespeare for young audiences.

Smash will fix up school theaters it selects.


Jason Robert  Brown’s new musical Honeymoon in Vegas will reportedly debut at ‪the Papermill Playhouse in September before it hoped-for Broadway opening in 2014

Michael Feinstein’s American Songbook on ‪PBS:

Show Tunes with Sondheim, then Ode to Fred Astaire with Liza Minnelli April 5;

Radio’s heyday April 12

Judith Light, a young “theater snob” who became a “soap opera genius” & sitcom star,is finally big on Broadway


Carousel preview

Kelli O’Hara first learned about Carousel when she performed in it in high school. “I fell madly in love with it. It remains a very favorite.”
John Cullum had heard songs from Rodgers and Hammerstein’s musical – it includes such hits as “You’ll Never Walk Alone,” “June is Busting Out All Over,” and what many consider the most romantic Broadway love song ever, “If I Loved You” – before he put it together as all belonging to what Time Magazine called the best musical of the twentieth century.

Carousel continued


Idina Menzel  returns to Broadway in 2014 for the first time since ‪Wicked  in “If/Then,” a new musical by the  “Next to Normal” team Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey

New dates for re-cast ‪Orphans: first preview, March 26; Opening April 18.

Happy Birthday Bernadette Peters,  Broadway veteran of 16 shows. Today she turns 65. May she NEVER retire.

Vanessa Redgrave and Jesse Eisenberg in Eisenberg's play, The Revisionist

My review of The Revisionist

s Jesse Eisenberg not just a movie star (“The Social Network”) but his generation’s Arthur Miller or Tennessee Williams or Alfred Uhry or Wallace Shawn? That is what Vanessa Redgrave implies in her bio in the program for “The Revisionist,” the second play by Eisenberg….certainly shows his promise as a playwright…

Full review of The Revisionist

Passion<br /> Classic Stage Company

My review of Passion

It is easy to see Stephen Sondheim’s musical as a series of problems to overcome: The plot seems unlikely,  almost creepy;  the main character is deliberately overbearing; the music is opera-like but with a minimal of catchy arias; and much of the “action” consists of the reading aloud of letters. But CSC has done right by “Passion” in the show’s first full production in New York in almost two decades, thanks to intimate staging and first-rate vocal performances, especially that of Judy Kuhn.

Full review of Passion

March 1

“I’d like to go and do theater. It seems like a more reasonable job,more manageable.”~Bruce Willis, (60+ films, 0 Bway shows)

Jane Lynch, Moose Murders, and Shia LaBeouf are all in either the questions or the answer to February's New York Theater Quiz
Jane Lynch, Moose Murders, and Shia LaBeouf are all in either the questions or the answer to February’s New York Theater Quiz

New York Theater February 2013 Quiz

Jesse Eisenberg’s ‪Revisionist with Vanessa Redgrave now extended to April 21, thanks to reviews like mine:

A play about the Pope retiring? How preposterous. Tom Attea’s “Benedictus,” May 30-June 16 ‪Theater for the New City. (He wrote it 2 years ago)

Cameron Mackintosh likes ‪#LesMiz formula so much – Big Film–>Bway revival – that he’s announced plans to do the same for Oliver!


What does “fully staged” mean? Was ‪the New York Philharmonic’s Carousel? Was ‪Fiorello at Encores!

Carol ‏‪@busywriting‬ 
‪ Fully staged is with full sets, costumes, blocking, etc., as in a regular musical.

J. Kelly Nestruck ‏‪@nestruck‬ Once you figure that out, tell me how long a full-length play is.


The good news is ‪that the Metropolitan Opera is reducing ticket prices next season. Bad news: average cost still $156 (albeit down from $174)

Chutzpah via ‪Nieman Reports:John Lahr distinguishes between critic & reviewer to put down former colleagues

Entire Winter 2013 ‪Nieman Reports is about criticism (not just of theater) ‪

My review of Cinderella

In this telling of the fairy tale, “Ella” has a political motive for going to the ball; she wants to… alert the prince to what’s really happening to the people in his kingdom…. The problem with the new material is not that it complicates “Cinderella” but that it doesn’t add up to a coherent whole.

Full review of Cinderella

Belleville<br /> New York Theatre Workshop

My review of Belleville

“Belleville” is nothing if not expertly executed,…The track record of the theater artists involved in “Belleville” is exactly why the turn that Herzog’s play takes is disappointing. The play travels from what promises to be an un-blinkered look at a complex relationship to the makings of a melodrama or even a horror story.

Full review of Belleville

Playwright Kristoffer Diaz at TedX Broadway

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