Smash Ends. Summer Theater Begins. Broadway Beckons.

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The 27 shows currently on Broadway, plus three soon to open.
There are 27 shows currently on Broadway, plus three soon to open.

Summer has unofficially begun. By its end, nine of the 27 shows currently on Broadway will have closed, several of them next month. But summer also means a city full of theater festivals (See May 25 below for a list of 20 of them.)

Meanwhile, the Outer Critics Circle held their annual awards ceremony twice this past week – once at Sardi’s, which is where it is always held, and then again in a fictitious restaurant called Table 46 on the series finale of “Smash.”  The two-hour episode of the NBC TV show — which aired on the 100th anniversary of Actors Equity Association — was all about awards season, climaxing at the Tonys, and allowing for one final snark-fest among TV-watching theater people, a weekly ritual that I for one shall miss.

With less than two weeks until the actual 2013 Tonys, I include a debate below over whether they should finally include Off-Broadway shows — and offer my Tony picks for all 26 categories this year.

The Week in New York Theater

May 20, 2013

FirstDatewithzacharyleviandKrystaRodriguezHis first date on Broadway: Zachary Levi of Chuck  makes his debut opposite Krysta Rodriguez in First Date.  Opens Aug 8 at Longacre

British  theater owners ATG have bought The Foxwoods theater, home of Spider-Man, their first foray into Broadway. Let’s hope they change the name! (The Olivier?)

melissaerricoasElizaDoolittleMelissa Errico: Happiest (sunny!) ‘Liza Doolittle Day!

Why is May 20th ‘Liza Doolittle Day? In the song “Just You Wait” in “My Fair Lady,” when she’s mad at Henry Higgins, Eliza Doolittle sings:

One day I’ll be famous, I’ll be proper and prim

Go to St. James so often I will call it St. Jim

One evening the king will say, “Oh, Liza, old thing

I want all of England your praises to sing”
Next week on the twentieth of May

I proclaim Liza Doolittle day

All the people will celebrate the glory of you

And whatever you wish and want I gladly will do
“Oh thanks a lot” king says I, in a manner well bred

But all I want is ‘enry ‘iggins ‘ead

Melissa Errico: Eliza herself envisions all of England celebrating her glory- a relevant message/symbol 4 today…#alanjaylerner genius

education, upward mobility, not being oppressed, self realization, knowing when you’ve not been treated kindly and saying NO.

“The difference between a lady and a flower girl is not how she behaves but how she is treated.” Eliza Day 2013


OBA (Off Broadway Alliance Award) winners: Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812; Vanya, Sonia, Masha and Spike (when it was Off-Broadway); Closer Than Ever; The Piano Lesson; Buyer & Cellar’ Bunnicula

The Brooklyn Academy of Music’s next Next Wave Festival: Anna Nicole Smith opera; Fiona Shaw poem; Rube Goldberg inventions animated

2014  Encores! schedule:

Little Me with Christian Borle, February

Most Happy Fella with Shuler Hensley, April

Irma La Douce, May

Here Lies Love 6

Here Lies Love has been extended yet again, until July 28th, but then that’s it, they say.

Robert Falls201 ‏@RobertFalls201 MY favorite new musical in a VERY long time …


The Tonys have been broadcast on CBS for 35 years, and, thanks to new agreement, for at least another five years, through 2018.

Clint Eastwood will direct the movie adaptation of the Jersey Boys musical, filming to begin this summer.


.@realleadelaria, so terrific in On The Town, comes back to NY stage, in Brecht’s Caucasian Chalk Circle @classicstage Jun 9-23

OuterCriticsawardwinnersOuter Critics Circle Award winners pick up their prizes at Sardi’s

EarlickedHarveyFierstein(Who’s that licking Harvey Fierstein’s ear?)


TomHankscaricaturewithsignatureThe producers of “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” were rapped for breaking Tony rules, sending voters brochure with EXCERPTS of reviews instead of the whole reviews.

Requiring full review, not just excerpts, is a great rule. Maybe the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs should require the same for a show’s ads/billboards etc.

Tom Hanks gets his Sardi’s caricature

Tony Awards Statuette

1. 2013 Tony Award Picks

– who and what SHOULD win (not who and what will) in all 26 categories

2. Should The Tonys include Off-Broadway?

Jonathan Mandell (@NewYorkTheater): The Tonys are the only theater awards I know of that are open ONLY to Broadway, excluding the rest of New York theater. Why?

Adam Feldman (@FeldmanAdam): Because providing 1,500 free voter tickets to every show in New York is totally impractical. The end.

Jonathan Mandell: You’re saying Off-Broadway shows themselves don’t want it? Then why do they participate in Drama Desk, Outer Critics etc?

Adam Feldman Because the Drama Desks are actually just SIX people in a room. Et cetera. Logistics.

Jonathan Mandell: I’m talking about the Drama Desk Awards, Adam. There are hundreds of voters.

Adam Feldman: There are six people on the nominating committee. Most voters can’t see the shows, hence the Broadway winners every year.

David Gordon: Because the Tonys were created to exclusively honor Broadway, were they not?

Jonathan Mandell: When the Tonys were created, there was no Off-Broadway, and certainly no Off-Off Broadway. Times change

Adam Feldman And that’s why now we have many, many other awards to take care of that. The Tonys are for Broadway.

Jonathan Mandell: None of the others are televised.

Diep Tran ‏(@diepthought:) As if the Tony telecast wasn’t long enough. If we include Off and Off-Off, it would never end

Jonathan Mandell: The Drama Desk and Outer Critics have Broadway AND Off-Broadway, and they are shorter ceremonies than the Tonys.

You point out practical reasons for ignoring Off-Bway — as there were for ignoring regional theater. But the Tonys found a way to acknowledge regional theater, which is NOT Broadway at all. adjusted to new times by creating a regional award overseen by the American Theater Critics Association. Why not similarly include Off-Bway?

Why every year do the New York Times critics always pick Off-Broadway shows as “should have been nominated” for the Tonys?

Adam Feldman: They shouldn’t. It’s stupid of them, every year. And confusing.

Jonathan Mandell: It points to an unacknowledged but surely solvable problem.Why shouldn’t good Off-Broadway shows get the TV exposure too?

Tyler Bennett ‏@BurlingameT The TV piece is a huge one, CBS could do wonders for Off Broadway.

“It’s rotten that,after 67 years,the Tonys still exclude off-Broadway, yet claim to celebrate the best of American theater~”Jeremy Gerard


A list of all the lighting personnel (11) and pieces of equipment (953!) employed for Pippin 

Summer theater festivals in New York City 2013
Summer theater festivals in New York City 2013

Yes, summer is beginning, so here are: 20 Summer Theater Festivals in New York City 2013


PrintLet’s hear a shout-out to Actors Equity — 100 years old today! Brothers and sisters of the stage, united in the struggle

Let’s celebrate the stage managers, who are also members of  the union.Without fanfare or applause, they hold the show together


Are we allowed to make snarky remarks during the Smash finale or would that be in bad taste now?

Jesse Oxfeld ‏@joxfeld: Mocking it is not a choice; it’s who we are.

Dan Mason ‏@djdan1033 Snark and Smash go together like Kander & Ebb.

Jonathan Mandell: Wouldn’t it be great if Dev, Ellis, Leo, Rebecca and Frank return for the #Smash finale, like the end of Places in the Heart?

Or better yet, wouldn’t it be terrific if the whole #Smash cast murders Karen Cartwright, like Murder On The Orient Express?

Amelia Beamish ‏@ameliabeamish That would be a perfect ending.

Bettie Laven ‏@bettielaven Yes!

Beth Alfabeto ‏@dawiz88 Second that!

Hey Netflix, any plans to make a third season of #Smash in seven years?

Big Finish

Give em the big finish

And they’ll forget what came before

Give em the big finish

But always keep one eye on the door

Smash composer Marc Shaiman argues briefly what went wrong and gives the context and thinking behind 41 of his and Scott Wittman’s songs for the show: Goodbye, Norma Jean

Season 2 show runner Joshua Safran talks to Entertainment Weekly about  Smash past, and what the future would have been: “The plan for season 3 in my mind was a Hollywood movie musical.”

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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