Broadway Reviews: The Nance, Big Knife, Assembled Parties, Jekyll and Hyde, Orphans, Macbeth

Six shows opened on Broadway in the last week. In the order in which I would recommend them, they are:

The Assembled Parties
The Nance
The Big Knife
Jekyll and Hyde

Four more openings this coming week and then the 2013 Broadway season is over, the race to the Tonys commenced.

The Week in New York Theater

Monday, April 15, 2013



Winner of the ‪Pulitzer in Drama: “Disgraced” by Ayad Akhtar, who wanted to write something “that would have audiences gasping.”  After 10 years, he finally came up with the idea for the Pulitzer-winning play by asking himself: “What am I avoiding?

Finalists: Gina Gionfriddo’s ‘Rapture, Blister Burn,” and Amy Herzog’s “4000 Miles.”


New York Loves Boston


CharlesSpencerChaplin“To truly laugh, you must be able to take your pain, and play with it” – Charlie Chaplin, born 4/16/1889

The Big Knife with Marin Ireland and Bobby Cannavale
The Big Knife with Marin Ireland and Bobby Cannavale

My review of The Big Knife

Question: When is the last time a movie star abandoned his lucrative Hollywood career because his wife asked him to?

Answer: More recently than a violinist gave up his music for the chance at being a boxing champ.

…Yet despite a more up-to-date topic and a buzz-worthy cast, “The Big Knife” winds up at best a victim of bad timing, for it suffers in comparison to the Lincoln Center Theater’s production a few months ago of “Golden Boy.”

Full review of The Big Knife

Motown's Ephraim Sykes as member of The Temptations, Berry Gordy Jr.'s brother, member of the Jackson 5
Motown’s Ephraim Sykes as member of The Temptations, Berry Gordy Jr.’s brother, member of the Jackson 5

I didn’t mention him in my review of Motown, but I love watching Ephraim Sykes  (Newsies, Memphis, Rent) playing four characters in the show.

Ephraim Sykes‪ @ephsykes  OMG thank you so much. I really appreciate you saying that!!  ‪#daymade

Jonathan Mandell:  It must be fun to be a member of both the Jackson 5 AND The Temptations (not to mention the Contours)

Ephraim Sykes: Literally a dream come true.  

Disney’s NEWSIES ‏‪@Newsies: We are so proud! Congrats


DressedBalletDancerbyDegasPlaywright John Guare,75, to play himself in his “Three Kinds of Exile” May 15-June 23 at Atlantic Theater. It’s his first time acting in 53 yrs

Gayfest 2013: The Loves of Mr. Lincoln; revival of Gross Indecency: 3 Trials of Oscar Wilde May 23-June 16

“Little Dancer,” Ragtime team’s new musical inspired by this Degas sculpture, to debut at the Kennedy Center in 2014.

Two-disc cast album of Classic Stage Company’s production of Sondheim’s Passion scheduled for release on July 2 by PS Classics

The Assembled Parties Samuel J. Friedman Theatre

My review of The Assembled Parties

“The Assembled Parties,” an original new play that is funny, sad and lovely – and above all, superlatively acted, by an eight-member cast led by Judith Light and Jessica Hecht, portraying an extended Jewish family celebrating two Christmases 20 years apart.

Full review of The Assembled Parties


‪The Drama Bookshop: @dramabookshop: John Logan (I’LL EAT YOU LAST, PETER AND ALICE, RED) book talk, Q&A and signing at The Drama Book Shop, May 2

 Channel 13 @ThirteenNY: Rogers and Hammerstein’s Carousel: Friday 4/26 at 9 p.m. Live at Lincoln Center.

Saw it at the New York Philharmonic. Made me a fan of Stephanie Blythe

Is there a German word, Rob Kendt asks, for not liking a show as much as everyone else? That’s how he feels about Matilda.

Orphans on Broadway with Alec Baldwin, Ben Foster and Tom Sturridge Orphans on Broadway

My review of Orphans

n the much-publicized fracas over “Orphans,” when Shia LaBeouf was fired after clashing with co-star Alec Baldwin and replaced by Ben Foster, the one actor in the cast barely mentioned was Tom Sturridge. Sturridge’s performance turns out to be the best reason to see the first Broadway production of Lyle Kessler’s 30-year-old play about the confrontation between two brothers and a fatherly Chicago gangster.

Full review of Orphans


My review of Jekyll and Hyde

Me: Ponytailed Jekyll and wild-haired Hyde  are both played by Constantine Maroulis this time around, which would be reason enough to stay home — if Frank Wildhorn’s music and Leslie Briscusse’s book and lyrics didn’t already provide ample motivation to do that.

Me: Who are you to judge Frank Wildhorn’s “Jekyll and Hyde,” which got four Tony nominations and lasted on Broadway for nearly four years, and has been a popular album for two decades?  OR, for that matter, Constantine Maroulis, who from sixth-place finalist on Season 4 of “American Idol,” has fashioned a respectable recording and stage career, earning a Tony nomination for originating the lead role in “Rock of Ages” on Broadway?

Me: He was fine as a rocker in “Rock of Ages.” He is no more convincing as a physician in Victorian England than is the doorman in the Jekyll and Hyde restaurant a couple of blocks away from the Marquis Theater…

Full review of Jekyll and Hyde

Alejandro Melendez ‏‪@A_lay_HAHN_dro I couldn’t agree more. Just came back from Opening Night and…the singing was great but very underwhelmed by the production

conssrtfan ‏‪@conssrtfanLong-time follower but I’m completely befuddled….Were you even at the same show??? ‪#jekyllandhyde Amazing, Soaring, ‪#TONY

View conversation


Bullets Over Broadway,musical adaptation of Woody Allen’s 1994 film, will reportedly open at The St. James in April 2014

 Lucky Guy was supposed to close June 16,but has been extended through July 3.

Mamma Mia will move later this year from Winter Garden where it’s been since 2001 to smaller Broadhurst. (Ushers rejoice?)

Rocky the Musical, based on Stallone flick w/music by Ragtime team, reportedly eying Winter Garden when Mamma Mia leaves it

 Harold Prince,85, will debut Prince of Broadway in Tokyo, and working on NEW musical based on film The Band’s Visit

Glee will have at least two more seasons, Fox announced.  Why? 8.7 million viewers and 13 million Glee albums sold.

Depressing thought of the day: Glee has had more singles chart on Billboard than James Brown, Elvis Presley or The Beatles.


Jekyll and Hyde: A Tale of Two Views

Now through April 30th: Left Out Festival celebrating emerging LGBT theater.

Nearing end of non-stop reading of all 37 Shakespeare plays at Facing Page Productions:

Jonny Orsini and Nathan Lane
Jonny Orsini and Nathan Lane

My review of The Nance

In the New York City of 1937 re-created in “The Nance,”  Douglas Carter Beane’s fascinating new play starring Nathan Lane, eating at the wrong restaurant could get you arrested — the charge loitering but the crime being gay…In a structure reminiscent of “Cabaret,” “The Nance” alternates scenes of Chauncey’s life with the authentic bawdy comic routines and songs of old-time burlesque

Full review of The Nance

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

Opening tonight: Bombshell (on Smash)


Closing today: Breakfast at Tiffany’s, and Hit The Wall

Macbeth 5


My review of Macbeth

When bloody, shirtless Alan Cumming recites the “Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow” soliloquy on the stage of the Ethel Barrymore, I was floored: He would be great in “Macbeth” I thought. But of course, that was what this was supposed to be —  albeit a solo “Macbeth” with a high concept: Cumming is a patient in a psychiatric ward – probably criminally insane – who is reciting/reliving the entire play, portraying all the characters.

Full review of Macbeth


Valisia LeKae  ‏@ValisiaLeKae

I’m Sentimental..This is my 1 week anniversary of when I met #DianaRoss.


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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