Matilda. Motown. Marathon on Broadway.


Ten shows will be opening on Broadway within the next ten days. The consensus on the two that just opened, “Matilda” and “Motown,” were starkly different — and my take on both strayed from the mainstream. (See 11 and 14 below)

The Week in New York Theater:

Monday, April 8, 2013


Hands On A Hardbody is closing April 13, after 28 previews and 28 regular performances. BUT three predictions…

Russell Warne ‏‪@Russwarne  I’ll expect a production of ‪Hardbody in Utah within the next 18 months.


Cast album of ‪Pippin by ‪ShKBoom ready in June. Show opens April 25th.


Billy Elliot after Margaret Thatcher (and Avenue Q after Gary Coleman, Ghost after Whitney Houston)

Twelve Broadway shows grossed more than $1 million last week, including newcomers ‪Cinderella, ‪Lucky Guy, and ‪Motown: The Musical

Adam PascalAdam Pascal – bohemian in Rent, MC in Cabaret, DJ in Memphis, now slick lawyer in ‪Chicago starting tonight.
‪Robert Falls: @RobertFalls201 Hey, Adam Pascal was also a brilliant Egyptian Soldier in the long-running AIDA dontcha know…
Elvan McMillen ‏‪@elvanmcm Adam Pascal was also brilliant as Freddie in Chess! (albeit not long running, brilliant nonetheless!)
Sylvia W. Sankey ‏‪@FisherSylvia Ever since I saw ‘Rent’, I have *loved* Adam Pascal.

Bombshell is “opening” April 20th – an episode of Smash entitled “Opening Night,” which might not be long before Smash’s closing night. The number of viewers have fallen from 11.44 million for the pilot to 1.88 million for the latest episode 14 months later.

Megan Hilty as Ivy playing Marilyn in "Bombshell" on Smash
Megan Hilty as Ivy playing Marilyn in “Bombshell” on Smash

Wicked sold 14,290 seats last week, which was higher than any other Broadway show. (If all 1.88 million Smash viewers saw Bombshell on Broadway, it’d be a hit!)


Murder Ballad, praised when at ‪MTC, returns, this time to Union Square Theater April 29-May 22,with ‪Caissie Levy ‪and Will Swenson.


Matilda Mania – Even Google is in on it.


The Julie Taymor vs. Spider-man trial is not going forward. They just announced they have settled. Terms not publicized.

Mary Louise-Parker returns to Broadway as a World War I widow in The Snow Geese by Sharr White (The Other Place) ‪Opens October  24

Two new Broadway cast albums coming in May: ‪Cinderella and Kinky Boots

Andrew Lloyd Webber ‪ has acquired rights to Jack Black’s 2003 comedy film School of Rock to adapt for Broadway.

Christina Crawford, author of 1978 Joan Crawford memoir, will perform “Surviving Mommie Dearest” May 8-12 Snapple Theater Center

A “crowd-sourced” musical adaptation of The Tempest at the Public Theater’s Delacorte Theater — with 200 New Yorkers on stage — Sept 6-8.

Quiz: Which grossed more money in ticket sales in 2012? London’s West End or Broadway?
Answer: In 2012, Broadway grossed $1.1 billion in ticket sales; London’s West End 530 million pounds ($830 mil)
Are Broadway grosses higher than the West End’s just because the tickets are more expensive?

Jeremy Bennington ‏‪@MrProducer: The answer is simple: YES

The 25 best songs about the theater

Boldly includes a Smash song

Louis Peitzman ‪@LouisPeitzman: Two, actually.

Jonathan Mandell ‏‪ How are these “Broadway songs”?

Louis Peitzman ‏: I made an exception. They’re good songs.

Jonathan Mandell ‏ Maybe you’re prescient, and those Smash songs will indeed get to Broadway, or at least to a live stage somewhere.


Jason R. Brown’s The Last Five Years has been extended until May 18 at ‪Second Stages.

Katie Labovitz ‏@klabovitz11  YES! Now we have more chances to get sucker punched in the feels by JBR and this show 🙂

Kenny Leon will direct NYC workshop this summer of Holler If Ya Hear Me, rap musical using music by the late Tupac Shakur

Ryan Silverman, Melissa Errico and Judy Kuhn in Sondheim's "Passion" at CSC
Ryan Silverman, Melissa Errico and Judy Kuhn in Sondheim’s “Passion” at CSC

He directed Passion for The Classic Stage Company. Now the theater has made John Doyle an associate director. Less Strindberg, more Sondheim?

Greg Reiner ‏@gregreiner11 (executive director of Classic Stage)  His background is actually just as much in classics as in musicals- just not as well known for it in the US.

Jonathan Mandell ‏ Which begs the question: Is Classic Stage planning to do more musicals?

Classic Stage Co ‏@classicstage11 We do plan to! More info on our Musical Theatre Initiative

Greg Reiner ‏@gregreiner11 Probably every other year, given the scale and planning involved.

Matilda opens

Matilda 2

My review of Matilda

How do you solve a problem like “Matilda”? How do you handle the juggernaut it’s become? ..Loving this musical has become the default reaction; theatergoers can’t help but have heightened expectations… And in a way, that’s too bad.

There is much to like in what is unquestionably one of the best new musicals of the Broadway season (its major competition to my mind is “A Christmas Story.”) “Matilda” offers dazzling stagecraft overseen by director Matthew Warchus,  a faithful and intelligent book by David Kelly, and Tim Minchin’s clever lyrics. The production also, however, sometimes feels in need of a translator.

Full review of Matilda


playwrights horizons online auction

For its online auction, Playwrights Horizons has come up with dozens of items to bid on — some great; some elaborate; one a really, really bad idea.

Actors dance in the Stonewall In in the play "Hit The Wall" by Ike Holter

Hit The Wall will play its final performance at Barrow Street Theater on April 28.


Dance first. Think later. It’s the natural order.” – Samuel Beckett, born April 13, 1906

On the front door of the Ethel Barrymore Theater

Brian ‏@frontrowcenter514 “Oh, MacB-” *usher smackdown*

Odd contrast to the view of the star Alan Cumming


Cicely Tyson visits Wharton,Tex.home of “Trip to Bountiful” playwright Horton Foote for her first Broadway role in 30 years
CicelyTyson’s childhood home in Manhattan just torn down:”I used to walk by & feel like I could still see my mother in the window”

Michael Jackson (Raymond Luke Jr.) and the Jackson 5
Michael Jackson (Raymond Luke Jr.) and the Jackson 5

My review of Motown

It is easy to see “Motown: The Musical” as Motown Records founder Berry Gordy Jr.’s affectionate tribute to himself…in a script that takes chutzpah to new heights….But…If you love the music of Motown, nothing will stop you from enjoying this musical. If you don’t – and I love it so much, it’s hard for me to fathom people who don’t – “Motown: The Musical” can still offer you an array of exciting performances. If you are unfamiliar with the music or the story behind it, this musical with its greatest-hits approach is as good an introduction to it as you are likely to get, despite Berry Gordy Jr.’s attempt at self-canonization.

Full review of Motown (and picture gallery)

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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