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Broadway Season Ends, Awards Season Begins

NYTheaterWeekofAp22The Broadway season has ended and the awards season begun, when theater people turn from the art of theater to its mathematics.

Here are the shows I reviewed last week, starting with my favorites:

Here Lies Love

The Trip to Bountiful

Buyer and Seller

I’ll Eat You Last

The Testament of Mary

(You’ll notice two are Off-Broadway)

Here are the awards coming up:

Outer Critics Circle

Drama League

Drama Desk

The Tony Awards

There are more theater awards — a new one seems to pop up every year — but the first three announced their nominations already; the last one is announcing Tuesday, and has already announced  the 2013 Tony Honors.(See April 24, below) and the 2013 Regional Tony (See 26)

There was some news for next season too — announcements of a revival of “The Glass Menagerie” and a musical version of “Rocky.”

The Week in New York Theater

Monday, April 22, 2013

outercriticscirclelogoOuter Critics Circle nominations are announced.

OUTSTANDING NEW BROADWAY PLAY

Grace

Lucky Guy

The Nance

The Testament of Mary

Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike

 

OUTSTANDING NEW BROADWAY MUSICAL

Chaplin: The Musical

A Christmas Story

Hands on a Hardbody

Kinky Boots

Matilda the Musical

 

 Full list

The Testament of Mary opens

Fiona Shaw in The Testament of Mary By Colm TóibínMy review of The Testament of Mary

It seemed like a stunt at first, inviting the audience on stage to see the set of “The Testament of Mary” – the live vulture (we’re told his name is Pinhead)…and then Fiona Shaw as the Virgin Mary…Testament director Deborah Warner has been her frequent collaborator over the past quarter century.The track record of their collaboration, the care with which scenic designer Tom Pye chose all those objects on the stage, the awe-inspiring lighting by Jennifer Tipton, all suggest that “The Testament of Mary” should be a deeply resonant work of theater. But I’m afraid at some point in this play I came back full circle to my initial impression, that this production was something of a stunt; all the attention-getting theatricality started to cause my attention to drift.

23

He was a man. Take him for all in all. I shall not look upon his like again.” (Hamlet) Shakespeare, born 439 years ago today.

The two new leads in Once, taking over today: Arthur Darvill and Joanna Christie

Nominations for the 2013  ‪Drama League Awards  (which include 60 nominations for ONE “Distinguished Performance Award”

There were five Broadway shows last week with MORE than 100% attendance: The Book of Mormon, Pippin, Motown, Lucky Guy, I’ll Eat You Last. 

Here Lies Love 7

My review of Here Lies Love

Imelda Marcos, the former First Lady of the Philippines, was known for two things in America –owning 3,000 pairs of shoes and dancing in discos.  “Here Lies Love,”  David Byrne’s inspired musical about her, ignores the shoes – the actress playing her wears just one sturdy pair for the entire show, and there is no mention at all of her vast collection of Gucci and Prada and Pierre Cardin  – but, as if to compensate, has turned her life story into a night at a disco.

The third-floor LuEsther Hall  of the Public Theater has been transformed into a dance club — complete with silver disco ball — for a thrilling production directed  by Alex Timbers, best-known for mixing revisionist history, politics, snark and rock in “Bloody, Bloody Andrew Jackson.”  Here the snark has been turned off and the rock ramped up — 25 original songs that take us through some 40 years of biography and history.

Full review of Here Lies Love

The Trip to Bountiful 1

My review of The Trip to Bountiful

Cicely Tyson has come home….At age 88, she has taken on a part first portrayed on the stage by Lillian Gish (then just 60), in a performance in 1953 that the critic Brooks Atkinson called “a triumph of skill and spirit.” That seems exactly right for Cicely Tyson as well. Hers is a vibrant performance – very far from the arthritic old maid she portrayed in the 2011 film “The Help” – and a fresh interpretation…Having Vanessa Williams portray Jessie Mae is the second smart casting choice of this production…
It is a testament to his skills as a director that Michael Wilson — who helmed one of my all-time favorite productions, Horton Foote’s three-part Orphan’s Home Cycle at the Signature — has created an ensemble of persuasively plain everyday characters out of an A list cast ..

Full review of The Trip to Bountiful

24

‪”Nice Work If You Can Get It”  will close June 15 after 27 previews & 478 regular performances. National tour planned for 2014

The new Elphaba in Wicked starting May 28th is Lindsay Mendez, who was so good in “Dogfight” and “Godspell”

Anne Hathaway may be making her Broadway debut opposite Alan Cumming in a revival of Cabaret in September, according to The Daily Mail. This has not been confirmed.

The Tony Honors for Excellence in the Theatre :

Career Transition For Dancers,  agent Bill Craver, stage manager Peter Lawrence,  The Lost Colony (a play by Paul Green that has become an North Carolina performing arts institution) and the four girls playing Matilda.

The first musical about fracking?  The Marcellus Shale ‪at LaMama, May 24-June 9

I'll Eat You Last: A Chat with Sue Mengers

My review of I’ll Eat You Last: A Chat With Sue Mengers

In “I’ll Eat You Last,” Bette Midler reads the phone book, to great laughter and applause.

This particular phone book belongs to Hollywood agent Sue Mengers, and contains only the names of the famous, the near-famous, or the once-famous who were Mengers’ clients or party guests, or the celebrities she wanted to be her clients or party guests.
I speak metaphorically about the phone book, but it’s  apt for many reasons. Dressed in a caftan and seated on a couch throughout the entire 80 minutes of this thinnest of scripts, Midler as Mengers drops about 50 such names, telling extended anecdotes about a half dozen or so of them…Her delivery is the only reason to see this show. She finds the laugh in the lamest of lines…But here’s a question I’m not sure anybody asked: Would Sue Mengers have advised Midler to take this particular role?

Full review of I’ll Eat You Last

25

The American Repertory Company’s production of Tennessee Williams’ “The Glass Menagerie” starring Cherry Jones  and Zachary Quinto is transfering to Broadway  in September for 17 weeks

Zachary Quinto ‪@ZacharyQuinto: Dear Broadway: i simply simply cannot wait to be on you for the first tim

Director Timothy Douglas did Trip to Bountiful with an all-black cast first, and now wants credit from the Broadway production 

26

The four Matildas —  Sophia Gennusa, Oona Laurence, Bailey Ryon and Milly Shapiro —  will NOT be eligible for The Tony Awards leading actress, but have been awarded a special Tony Honors for Excellence

A smart move, in my opinion.Where would it end? “Charlie Bit My Finger” musical with babies in lead?

The Tony committee deemed Kristine Nielsen of  “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike” eligible for lead actress, not supporting, which diminishes her chances of winning, and changes the dynamic of the supporting actress category.

No surprise – Here Lies Love has been extended again

Cast of Keen Company’s s production of Sondheim’s Marry Me A Little in recording studio today, for an album produced by ShKBoom. 

The Huntington Theatre Company to receive 2013 Regional Tony Award, as recommended by members of the American Theatre Critics Association. (ATCA)

Theaterandthedisabled1

Theater Access for the Deaf, Blind, and Autistic: New Technology, Changing Attitudes

27

Ending today: The Revisionist, with Vanessa Redgrave in a play written by and co-starring Jesse Eisenberg

Near-certainty Smash will be canceled after season 2 finale airing Sun,May 26th. I’d like to see Bombshell staged for real

28

It’s official: Rocky, a musical based on Sylvester Stallone’s Rocky movies, will open in March 2014 at Broadway’s Winter Garden.

The stage version of novel The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time has won seven Oliviers, a tie with Matilda as the most ever.

Daniel Bourque @Danfrmbourque:   Just wait. This is a preview of the Tony Awards in a year or so when the National transfers it to Broadway.

Michael Urie as Barbra Streisand's employee Alex (and Streisand's hand running through Alex's hair) in "Buyer and Cellar"

My review of “Buyer and Cellar”

Buyer and Cellar,” which imagines a man (played by Michael Urie)  hired to work for Barbra Streisand at her Malibu home,  is no more important than the lacquer on Streisand’s fingernails, certainly no deeper. But it seems to sum up the Spring 2013 theater season in New York in several ways…1. It’s a solo show…2. It’s based on a book.the first play based on a coffee table book ..3. It features Barbra Streisand….4. It’s about celebrity obsession.

The 2013 Drama Desk Awards Nominations

DramaDesklogo

Outstanding Play
Annie Baker, The Flick
Christopher Durang, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
Joe Gilford, Finks
Richard Greenberg, The Assembled Parties
Amy Herzog, Belleville
Deanna Jent, Falling
Richard NelsonSorry

Outstanding Musical
A Christmas Story: The Musical
Giant
Hands on a Hardbody
Here Lies Love
Matilda
Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812
The Other Josh Cohen

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About 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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