Black and Russian on Broadway. Arabs On Stage. Broadway Panorama Spring 2013

Click on pics to get the full Broadway Panorama Spring 2013

“Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike” has opened on Broadway, a move nearly universally applauded. See my review below. Other shows opened this week that I reviewed: Lanford Wilson’s The Mound Builders at Signature, Annie Baker’s The Flick at Playwrights Horizons, and Strindberg’s “Easter” with an all-black cast.  I talked to Alia Jones-Harvey, who has produced shows on Broadway with all-black casts — including the forthcoming “The Trip to Bountiful” — about non-traditional producing.”  I also discovered Arab theater in New York.

What would you say about a show you think is bad to somebody who already has tickets to it? Responses below, including from several who tell people about bad shows for a living.

The Broadway marathon. Opening this week:

Breakfast at Tiffany’s

Hand’s on a Hardbody

The Week in New York Theater

Monday, March 11, 2013

Wouldn’t it be loverly? Music impresario Clive Davis, in his first gig as a Broadway producer,reportedly asked Bartlett Sher (South Pacific) to direct My Fair Lady in 2014

Work for “exposure” (ie no money), says Adam Thurman, if it concretely advances your career.


Forbidden Broadway: Alive and Kicking will be dead and kicked April 28, to make room for another show.  Gerald Alessandrini promises new edition later in 2013

2013-14 Roundabout revivals: Sam Gold will direct  Tom Stoppard’s The Real Thing; Pam Mackinnon will direct Dinner with Friends by Donald Margulies

Playwright Joe Gilford on FINKS, based on blacklisting of his parents Jack & Madeline.


Lessons of Non-Traditional Producing by Alia Jones-Harvey, producer of the forthcoming “The Trip to Bountiful.”

ouisa Krause and Aaron Clifton Moten in an awkward touching and funny moment in Annie Baker's "The Flick" at Playwrights Horizons
Louisa Krause and Aaron Clifton Moten in an awkward touching and funny moment in Annie Baker’s “The Flick”

My review of The Flick

Those who have seen the previous gently-paced, meticulous, near miraculous collaborations between playwright Annie Baker and director Sam Gold — “Circle Mirror Transformation,” “The Aliens,” their adaptation of “Uncle Vanya” – may be similarly entranced by “The Flick,” which has now opened at Playwrights Horizons, focusing on three employees of a run-down movie theater in Worcester County, Massachusetts…But it also runs longer than their other plays, much longer…

“The Flick” is a play about movie-lovers that theater-lovers can love, if they’re patient enough. (It would have been better an hour shorter, though.)

Full review of The Flick


cast of "Easter" by August Strindberg
My Backstage review of Strindberg’s “Easter” features an all-black cast & timeless themes: disgrace,redemption

How can a family redeem itself in the aftermath of a scandal? What does it take to forgive and be forgiven? What is it like to suffer for another’s sins? Those are the timeless themes of August Strindberg’s “Easter,” which the playwright wrote at the turn of the 20th century and set in a coastal town of Sweden and which the August Strindberg Repertory Theatre has chosen as its second production, moving it to Harlem in 1958.


Bad news for fans of Smash,already getting poor ratings.On April 6, NBC moves its time slot to Sats at 9 pm (TV’s graveyard)


My review of Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike

If everyone took antidepressants, Chekhov would have had nothing to write about,” Sonia tells her brother Vanya in Christopher Durang’s hilarious yet improbably moving play, now bumped up to Broadway. The truth, though, is that even today when everybody IS on antidepressants,  Chekhov would still have plenty to write about. The proof is “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike,” Durang’s simultaneous spoof of and homage to the work of the Russian dramatist. With its first-rate cast intact, I like the play even better on seeing it a second time, in its new home at the Golden Theater – and I loved it at Lincoln Center.

Full review of Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike


Caesar:Who is it in the press that calls on me? I hear a tongue shriller than all the music
Soothsayer: Beware the ides of March.

“Beautiful: The Carole King Musical”  is set for Bway in Spring, 2014. (That’s “so far away. Doesn’t anybody stay in on place anymore”)

Sondheim’s Passion, a Classic Stage Company production, will be a 2-disc cast recording by PS Classics to be released in June.

Yusef Bulos as Jidda comforts his granddaughter  Rania, played by Mariel Suriel in the world premiere of "After" at York College
Yusef Bulos as Jidda comforts his granddaughter Rania, played by Mariel Suriel in the world premiere of “After” at York College

Is there Arab Theater In NY? Yes


“I get paid for what most kids get punished for.” -Jerry Lewis, who today turns 87. (He was on Broadway in Damn Yankees.)

Today, Jenna Fischa 1. says bye on The Office series finale. 2. makes her stage debut at MCC Theater’s”Reasons to be Happy” by Neil LaBute.

DeniseSchneider ‏@deniseschneider No.

Megan Ruskey ‏@Megan315 yes.

Jeffrey Miele ‏@jffmiele no.. I would tell them what I thought and that different things mean different things to different people

Ran Xia ‏@rhinoriddler it’s rare that a show is ubiquitously agreed as bad. You might hate something another person loves.

Sam Payne Garland ‏@SamPayneGarland Upfront. My feeling is even bad theater can be interesting. Also, best to bring non-theater types. Their standards are lower

Jonathan Mandell: Or hardcore theater people who want to see everything no matter want, to learn from.

Sam Payne Garland: That’s probably the category I fall under.

Daniel Bourque ‏@Danfrmbourque: I try, but not easy. First thing I want to do when I see a bad show is yell loudly. So I say, “Go! We’ll talk afterwards!”

Peter Marks ‏@petermarksdrama: If they hadn’t read my review, I’d keep my mouth shut.

Terry Teachout ‏@terryteachout: Alas, that’s not an option for me!

Jonathan Mandell ‏Why not a option? They haven’t necessarily read your review. You could say “I’d prefer you find out for yourself.”

Terry Teachout: The people I know who see shows normally keep up with what I write. If they were to ask, though, I’d tell them.

Isaac Butler ‏@parabasis As a non-reviewer, I always say “let me know what you think!”

Terry Teachout: I think that’s a good way to do it.

Jonathan Mandell: Is there a theatrical Heisenberg Principle:Does my pan prevent somebody from liking what they would have otherwise?

Terry Teachout: Isn’t that part of why we do what we do? I think of myself as a teacher first and foremost.


Cinderella cast to record album for Ghostlight today

Scenic Design: Neil Patel<br /><br /><br /> Costume Design: Theresa Squire<br /><br /><br /> Lighting Design: Rui Rita<br /><br /><br /> Sound Design: Darron L West<br /><br /><br /> Projection Design: Shawn Sagady<br /><br /><br /> Dialect Coach: Deborah Hecht<br /><br /><br /> Production Stage Manager: Lori Ann Zepp<br /><br /><br /> Casting: Telsey + Company, William Cantler

My review of The Mound Builders

A person isn’t happy unless they’re building something,” says Dr. Dan Loggins, junior archaeologist,  trying to explain why the people of a lost ancient Native American civilization built mounds of earth in Illinois.

“There’d be people perfectly willing to tear something down,” says Cynthia, the wife of his colleague, chief archaeologist Dr. August Howe.

The late Lanford Wilson seemed to be exploring the two conflicting impulses — searching for the meaning of civilization —  in  “The Mound Builders,” his dark, cerebral 1975 play that the Signature Theater is reviving. It is less accessible than Wilson’s later and most popular play, “Talley’s Folly,” which the Roundabout is currently reviving a few blocks away.

Full review of The Mound Builders

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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