1960s Revival on Broadway: Janis Joplin, Woody Allen, LBJ. Gay Pride. Week in New York Theater

A Night With Janis Joplin, starring Mary Bridget Davies, is coming to Broadway
A Night With Janis Joplin, starring Mary Bridget Davies, is coming to Broadway, one of several shows recalling the Sixties 

The week in New York theater seemed full of news about the 1960’s. With a musical officially scheduled for Broadway about Janis Joplin and another by Woody Allen, and the cast announced for the stage adaptation of “The Bridges of Madison County” (which takes place in the 1960s), the 2013-2014 Broadway season is shaping up into a revisit of that tumultuous decade: There are also shows promised about the Beatles (two, in fact), Carole King, and Shlomo Carlebach, the “rock star rabbi” of the 1960s.

Gay Liberation Monument

Of course, the feeling of a return to the 1960s wasn’t limited to the stage:  The two Supreme Court decisions advancing same-sex marriage were in some ways the next step in a movement that began in the 1960’s. The Court’s ruling the day before gutting the Voting Rights Act makes more relevant the announcement that two different plays about Lyndon Baines Johnson, who pushed through the landmark civil rights law, were aiming for Broadway.

Other shows announced this week for Broadway: “After Midnight,” with the music of Duke Ellington, and the first-ever stage adaptation of a John Grisham novel. Others are still aiming for the Rialto, but haven’t yet booked a theater or announced an opening date.


There is still time to enter the ticket contest for Forever Tango. Simply describe your favorite dance number on a New York stage.

For more on dance, see Tommy Tune (scroll to “28”)

The Week in New York Theater

June 24, 2013

After Midnight Logo“Cotton Club Parade,” which debuted at New York City Center, has been renamed “After Midnight,” and will open at Broadway’s Brooks Atkinson theater on November 3

Matthew Morrison wants to create real-life Glee
Matthew Morrison wants to create real-life Glee

He doesn’t just *play* Mr. Shue on Glee: Matthew Morrison is planning to open a string of real Glee schools. 

“I’m trying to create an accredited school programthat would go nationwide and hopefully global eventually,” he told The Guardian. “I am the product of a public arts education & I wouldn’t be where I am today if I hadn’t found that passion at a young age.”

“Holler If Ya Hear Me,” featuring the music of Tupac Shakur is still aiming for Broadway this season, helmed by Kenny Leon.

Second Stages forthcoming season features “The Happiest Song Plays Last,” the third play in the trilogy by Pulitzer-winning playwright Quiara Alegría Hudest, and Laura Eason’s “Sex with Strangers,” with David Schwimmer directing


My Fair Lady featured Audrey Hepburn's face, and Marni Nixon's voice
My Fair Lady featured Audrey Hepburn’s face, and Marni Nixon’s voice

A Time To Kill logoFirst-ever stage version of any John Grisham novel, A Time to Kill, is set to open on Broadway’s John Golden Theater October 20, 2013

Delighted  that “Tony bump” includes plays, especially Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike (which had gotten a 30 percent spike in sales since The Tony Awards) although the broadcast short-shrifted straight plays.

Spike Lee will be filming Mike Tyson’s stage show, which Lee directed, Undisputed Truth, for HBO next month.

The rich (arts administrators) are getting richer,the poor (artists) getting poorer,writes Susan Jones. http://bit.ly/19yobcx 

Marni Nixon’s voice was dubbed in films for Audrey Hepburn,Monroe,Deborah Kerr, Natalie Wood, and Rita Moreno.  Dubber  Nixon,83, on Les Miz: “Certain people that they hired were questionable vocally. I would have rather had it dubbed.”

Theater artist Lisa Schlesinger, inspired by Slow Food Movement, calls for a Slow Theater Movement. “In the commercial world, time means money but in a creative world time means possibility.


Cory Michael Smith, rising young star known to theatergoers for his roles in "Breakfast At Tiffany's," "Cock" and "The Whale," stands in front of the Stonewall Inn celebrating the rulings by the Supreme Court on gay marriage.
Cory Michael Smith (“Breakfast At Tiffany’s,” “Cock” and “The Whale,” celebrates Supreme Court gay marriage decisions in front of the Stonewall Inn

Janis Joplin logoA Night With Janis Joplin will be on Broadway! Opens at Lyceum Oct. 10, starring Mary Bridget Davies  (she was also in Love,Janis Off-Broadway). It’s fascinating to me that Todd Gershwin, great-nephew of George and Ira (whom I interviewed at 22) is producer of the show. The Gershwin estate reportedly sent Porgy and Bess director Diane Paulus a recording of Janis Joplin’s ” Summertime ” recording witha  note: “Be bold.”

Kelli O’Hara and Steven Pasquale, currently unhappy couple in BridgesofMadisonCountylogoFar From Heaven, will star in The Bridges of Madison County, opening sometime in February

Fast Company: How to manage creative people. Harvard Business Review: How to manage creative people who are difficult.  who are difficult

King Kong musical producer eyeing Broadway, but big enough theater is not available. (Why not just do it on the Empire State Building?)

Broadway dimmed its lights in honor of James Gandolfini, Tony nominee, who died last week of a heart attack at 51.


zachbraffwbulletsoverbroadwaylogoBullets Over Broadway opens April 10 at St. James, starring Zach Braff, making his Broadway debut.

‏Zach Braff @zachbraff: Woody Allen asked me to star in his first Broadway Musical

“All progress is reversible,but I think …we’ve moved to a new place”~Tony Kushner on Supreme Court rulings


Entertainment Weekly’s List of the Best 50 Plays – and 10 Greatest Musicals – Of the Past 100 Years

Smash will air on Ovation every Friday night starting July 19th. (The two seasons that were on NBC, not new ones) Are we allowed to rerun our snarky Twitter comments too?

Murder Ballad will close July 21, more than two months earlier than scheduled, having played 17 preview & 70 regular performances


Who’s playing Miss Hannigan in the new Annie movie? Naturally, Cameron Diaz. #huh?

The Unavoidable Disappearance of Tom Durnin

My review of The Unavoidable Disappearance of Tom Durnin:

There’s something that seems innately decent about actor David Morse —  best-known to TV viewers for his roles on St. Elsewhere and Treme, and for portraying George Washington in the John Adams mini-series on HBO – which may be why he was so effective as the (somewhat) sympathetic child molester in Paula Vogel’s powerful and nuanced play “How I Learned To Drive.”

Director Scott Ellis employs Morse in an attempt to induce similar dissonance in Steven Levenson’s new play, “The Unavoidable Disappearance of Tom Durnin,” with less success.

Morse portrays Tom, a once-affluent, now disbarred lawyer who has just been released from prison, where he served five years for what we eventually learn is a Bernie Madoff-like scam on a much smaller scale, betraying his friends and acquaintances, and turning his family into pariahs.

Complete review of The Unavoidable Disappearance of Tom Durnin


Tommy Tune won NINE Tonys (1 for “Nine”) but has not been on Bway for 15 years. Now he may return, with either Top Hat or Fifty-Four Forever, about the Studio 54 days.

David Harewood, CIA chief blown up in Homelss, will play King Oberon in Julie Taymore’s Midsummer Nights Dream at Theater for a New Audience.


Sen. Charles Schumer will introduce ‪The Stage Act of 2013, giving the same tax break to theater producers that TV and film producers currently receive


TWO  plays about LBJ are aiming for Broadway, one, All The Way by Robert Schenkkan, starring Breaking Bad’s Bryan Cranston.



Closing today:  Ann, I’ll Eat You Last, The Comedy of Errors.

David Rogers, who died at the age of 85 earlier this month, made a career out of creating musical theater out of unusual works “Flowers for Algernon,” Aldous Huxley’s “Brave New World,” “The Sting,” “The Hobbit.”

The Internet has had a great impact on artistic legitimacy, prestige, status, say those in Howlround chat.

David Lawson @DTLawson Twitter has hipped me to tons of theater I wouldn’t have known about. 

Leah Nanako @leahnanako  The internet has had a tremendous impact on branding for young artists. Don’t think it gives us legitimacy though

Raymond McNeel @RaymondMcNeel Prestige comes from being able to attract the attention of the infinitesimally small yet influential theater press

Author: New York Theater

Jonathan Mandell is a 3rd generation NYC journalist, who sees shows, reads plays, writes reviews and sometimes talks with people.

Leave a Reply