Summer Theater Heats Up: NYMF, Encores Off-Center, Broadway Barks, Broadway in Bryant Park. The Week in New York Theater

“A life in the theater is. a way of life….a passion…a spiritual choice. It’s not a rational choice .” –  Sarah Benson of Soho Rep

Yes, New York theater is heating up for the summer. This week alone:

nymusicaltheatrefestivalThe 10th annual   New York Musical Theatre Festival begins, one of some 20 summer theater festivals in New York.


The first-ever New York City Center’s new Encores! Off-Center series, begins with The Cradle Will Rock

Carol Kane in Broadway Barks 14
Carol Kane, currently on Broadway in Harvey, pitches that you adopt the cute little dog on her shoulder

Bernadette Peters’ and Mary Tyler Moore’s 15th annual Broadway Barks on Saturday pairs Broadway celebrities with pets up for adoption.


Broadway in Bryant Park, the free lunchtime concert series, begins this Thursday with performances from

Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella
Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812
iLuminate: Artist of Light

and will continue every Thursday through August 15

Soul Doctor, free tickets
Soul Doctor, free tickets

Still a day left to get free tickets to Soul Doctor by answering this question:

Whose life story would you like to see turned into a Broadway show?

The Week in New York Theater

Monday, July 1, 2013

Christopher Durang’s “Vanya, Sonia, Masha and Spike” has recouped its $2.75 million capitalization. Yes, straight plays can be profitable.

One of  two LBJ shows dueling for Broadway is first opening Off-Broadway. The Great Society, by Alex Harrington, Theater Row  Aug 3-24, 2013.

Amazing cast to read all 10 of August Wilson’s American Century plays ‪at The Greene Space Aug 26-Sep 28. Sched:

Woman suing Times Square Toys R Us for loss of income and diminished sex life after 25 lbs of M&Ms toppled onto her. (Who says the theater district isn’t dangerous?)



June New York theater quiz: How well were you paying attention to theater news during a month that featured the Tonys — and some very strange occurrences.

As both New York City mayor and as a private philanthropist, Michael Bloomberg has donated much money to many New York City arts groups. What happens both to his personal donations and to the city’s budget when Bloomberg leaves office?‪

Why does some art feel dated, and others timeless? Hithcock deliberate eschewed period details. But others?


Broadway’s Best Dance Numbers: 11 videos, from Anything Goes to Spring Awakening.


“I  always have ‘Mame’ in the back of my mind…but I don’t think I have eight shows in me. I’m too old”~ ‪@BetteMidler DO IT BETTE


Anthony Rapp is starring in a show in the New York Musical Theatre Festival, now in its tenth year.
Anthony Rapp is starring in a show in the New York Musical Theatre Festival, now in its tenth year.

New York Musical Theatre Festival preview

Rob Kendt‪@RobKendt Good piece on UK vs. US WAR HORSE mentions my pet peeve: slim dramaturgical/program info. There is so little information about shows even on Broadway. Playbills usually tell you about every show but the one you’re seeing.

Born on the Third of July

Alexandra Silber
Birthday girl Alexandra Silber

Alexandra Silber ‪@alsilbs : Happiest of birthdays to Audra McDonald, Betty Buckley, Patrick Wilson, Douglas Peck.

And you, Alexandra!

Also Diane Paulus, Tom Stoppard.

A big day for theater birthdays.

Musical Theater and Social Activism

On her podcast, Trish Causey chats Peter Filichia on the connection between musical theater and social activism 

“Yes, some Broadway shows just entertain. But it’s impressive how many have gone to bat for social issues” A Chorus Line made audience like a character BEFORE revealing he was gay. West Side Story was seen as shocking social activism:3 people die in it. It took years to be seen as entertainment too

4th of July


.                10 Patriotic Songs sung so that they’re inspiring not overbearing. Videos and lyrics.

You haven’t LIVED until you’ve heard Hail to the Chief played by lone acoustical guitarist “Old White Man”  You MUST hear Rosemary Clooney sing God Bless America and Judy Collins, Battle Hymn of the Republic. Confused between My Country Tis of Thee, Stars & Stripes Forever, Star-Spangled Banner? Now you can sort them out.

Born on the Fourth of July:

Malia Obama, president’s daughter (15), Neil Simon (86), Eva Marie Saint (89

(Also Born on the Fourth of July: Calvin Coolidge,Mike The Situation Sorrentino, George Steinbrenner,Leona Helsmley #Americaisnotperfect)


KUSHNERTony Kushner to get a National Medal of Arts for “marrying humor to fury, history to fantasy & the philosophical to the personal.”

Others to get the award from the White House: George Lucas, Elaine May, Herb Alpert, Lin Arison, co-founder of the National Young Arts Foundation and the New World Symphony; Joan Myers Brown, dancer, choreographer and founder of the Philadelphia Dance Company; opera singer Renée Fleming; author and teacher Ernest Gaines; painter, sculptor and printmaker Ellsworth Kelly; landscape architect Laurie Olin; composer, producer and performer Allen Toussaint; and the Washington Performing Arts Society.

National Humanities Awards recipients will include Joan Didion and theater artist Anna Deavere Smith

Happy Fifth of July, aka Lanford Wilson Appreciation Day

Broadway productions are currently performing in more than 240 cities across North America ‪ 


Broadway 2012-13 season had 26 straight plays (a record!). Variety tries to explain why five of them made money. 

Interview with Soho Rep artistic director Sarah Benson who found the theater wonderful, but acting torture.

From Stage To TV


Leslye Headland’s play Assistance, at Playwrights Horizons last year, is becoming a NBC TV series. When previously has a play become a sitcom?

Miles Lott‪ @mlottjr The Odd Couple, of course, but there was also a very short lived sitcom based on Lanford Wilson’s Hot l Baltimore.

David J. Loehr‪ @dloehr  Steambath was very briefly a series on Showtime in the early 80s.

William Akers ‏‪@ouijum Though created in print, Columbo became fully-formed in a stage play: Prescription Murder

Miles Lott ‏‪A really obscure one I had to track down: Apple Pie based on the play Nourish the Beast by Steve Tesich. Two episodes aired.

Raymond McNeel ‏‪@RaymondMcNeel. Not a sitcom, but Everybody Comes to Rick’s became Casablanca TV series with David Soul


Far From Heaven 2

Ending today Playwrights Horizons Far From Heaven with Kelli O’Hara and Steve Pasquale, who will reunite in the Broadway musical. “The Bridges of Madison County.” 

Matilda Sam S. Shubert Theatre

How does illusionist ‪Paul Kieve achieve magic in Matilda, Pippin and Ghost? You don’t expect a magician to give away his trade secrets do you? But, he says, it’s all low-tech.

Pippin Music 2

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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