Broadway heats up. The Week in New York Theater

On Broadway soon, clockwise from top left: Fantasia, Debra Messing, Idina  Menzel, Anne-Marie Duff
On Broadway soon, clockwise from top left: Fantasia, Debra Messing, Idina Menzel, Anne-Marie Duff

Several new shows for Broadway were announced this past week, and new roles on Broadway for Jeff Goldblum, Debra Messing, Fantasia Barrino, Anne-Marie Duff, Idina Menzel. There was even news about Smash, the show that will not die.
But of course that’s not what most New Yorkers meant about heating up.
The heat wave was turning New Yorkers so crazy that we conjured up really cool plays:
– A Raisin in the Moon
– The Glace Menagerie
– February: Osage County.
– Spider-Man, Turn On The Refrigerator

Lots of news as well about a vanishing species, the American theater critic.


Still a day left to enter contest for two free tickets to see “The Two Character Play” by Tennessee Williams. Just answer the contest question: What is your favorite Tennessee Williams play?

The Week in New York Theater


oduye_aActress Sylvia Miles dumped a plate of steak tartare on critic John Simon’s head in 1973. Now the badly-reviewed can just Tweet When artists attack critics — a look at the colorful battles, including the most recent.

Condola Rashad is moving to Romeo and Juliet on Broadway, so who’s playing her role in The Trip to Bountiful? Adepero Oduye, making her Broadway debut. She is best-known as the star of the independent movie “Pariah.”


On Shakespeare’s 450th birthday in 2014, Shakespeare’s Globe Theater will  begin the first-ever world tour of Hamlet – 205 countries!


Rain is suing Let It Be for 50 percent of its revenue: one Beatles show is suing another Beatles show for copying their copy of the Beatles.

The best things in life are free
But you can keep them for the birds and bees
Now give me money
That’s what I want
That’s what I want, yeah
That’s what I want

(sung by the Beatles; written by Berry Gordy)

ShiaLaBeoufNYPTechnology has changed who makes art, maybe what art is. Will technology change how art is taught?

“Greetings, Prophet! The great work begins! The Messenger has arrived!” Happy 57th birthday, Tony Kushner.

“It isn’t easy,it doesn’t count if it’s easy.. Forgiveness.Which is maybe where love and justice finally meet.”
~Angels in America

Shia LaBaeouf filed a grievance with Actors Equity over his firing from Orphans.Settlement announced today.No details.

The best thing about the contretemps involving Shia LaBaeouf is that I learned the key to spelling his name. Just think of the vowels of the alphabet — aeiou — and leave out the i.

Canadian authorities have reportedly concluded Glee actor Cory Monteith died from “a lethal combination of heroin and alcohol.”

Horton Foote’s The Old Friends, with Veanne Cox and Betty Buckley at Signature Theater Center 8/20-/9/29. All tickets just $25. I LOVE Signature


If:Then logo Opening March 27th at Broadway’s Richard Rodgers: If/Then, by Next to Normal team Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey, starring Idina Menzel, returning to Broadway for the first time since she left Wicked eight and a half years ago. On the verge of turning 40, Elizabeth moves back to NYC, ultimate city of possibility,intent on a fresh start. “If’/Then” will be performed at The National Theater in Washington, D.C. before its Broadway run.

Ethan Hawke and Anne-Marie Duff
Ethan Hawke and Anne-Marie Duff

Ann-Marie Duff,most known for Shameless and The Virgin Queen and as James McAvoy’s actual wife, will play Lady Macbeth for Lincoln Center Theater, opposite Ethan Hawke.

The Bluest Ink, a concert of Stephen Sondheim’s music accompanied by original animations and sung by live singers, exploring its roots in NYC,  will be one night only at Poisson Rouge on August 26th.


KinkyBootsbootsbyKennethColeFantasia Barrino  cast for limited engagement in Duke Ellington musical After Midnight, which opens on Broadway November 3.

Does David Mamet still have things to say worth listening to? Mamet’s memo to writers of now-canceled The Unit, which he served as executive producer:
“Drama is the quest of the hero to overcome those things which prevent him from achieving a specific,acute goal…”

“We, the writers, must ask ourselves of every scene these three questions
1) Who wants what?
2) What happens if [they] don’t get it?
3) Why now? ~Mamet

Can a good director/actor mask a play’s weakness? Are some good plays bad-actor-proof?

This is the 23rd summer of Broadway Theatre Project.  Students from around the world study with Broadway’s finest, such as Tonya Pinkins. The catch? It is held in Tampa Florida in the middle of the summer! (A good deal now, since it’s cooler than NYC)

Inevitable: Kinky Boots and Kenneth Cole partnering on limited edition kinky boots for sale $150-$400, profits to charity. My question, Jerry Mitchell: Will the kinky boots be on sale at the Al Hirschfeld (ie  “Kinky Boots” ) Theater?


Brían O’Byrne and Debra Messing will star in MTC’s “Outside Mullingar” by John Patrick Shanley (Doubt, Moonstruck), which begins on Broadway on January 2, 2014. The play is a romantic tale of two middle-aged “introverted misfits” who are neighbors in rural Ireland.

StephanieZadravecStefanie Zadravec has won the $10,000 Primus Award for emerging women artists from the American Theatre Critics Association for her play The Electric Baby. Francesca Primus Prize was established in 1997. Past Primus winners include Julia Jordan, Lynn Nottage, Caridad Svich

"H20," the best of the five productions at the Contemporary American Theater Festival this summer, its 23rd season, in Shepherdstown, West Virginia.
“H20,” the best of the five productions at the Contemporary American Theater Festival this summer, its 23rd season, in Shepherdstown, West Virginia.

(Sad) State of Theater Critics

JasonZinomanatATCAThe American Theatre Critics Association (ATCA) held our annual meeting at the Contemporary American Theater Festival in Shepherdstown, West Virginia

Would some theater people prefer that their show not be reviewed at all? Yes, Signature Theatre (of D.C.) managing director Maggie Boland said in a panel discussion.
There is some danger that this will soon happen. When the 50 members present at this only national organization of theater critics was asked how many work as full-time theater critics, the answer was: three. Philadelphia and Atlanta are just two of the latest major metropolitan areas whose main newspapers have eliminated their full-time drama critics.

“Theater criticism is the only job where if you really stick at it, you will become broke AND hated.” ~ Jason Zinoman, New York Times critic, in keynote speech at ATCA


Did you know BBC puts scripts of its radio & TV dramas & films online?   (HBO should too!)

Longrunningplays“Broadway isn’t what it used to be.”

“No, and it never was.”

Wall Street Journal drama critic Terry Teachout explains, by looking at the ten longest-running plays ever on Broadway and concluding: Broadway was never highbrow


Smash songwriters Marc Shaiman and Scott Whitman are talking with a charity to do live benefit concert of ‘Bombshell’, The Hollywood Reporter reports

Jeff Goldblum joins Laurie Metcalf in Domesticated,‪ Lincoln Center Theater play by Bruce Norris (Clybourne Park) about political scandal. Opens November 4

A Place to Be Somebody


AshtonSpringerRIP Ashton Springer, who died July 15th at age 82. Spring was the first high-profile African-American Broadway producer of nearly a dozen shows, beginning with No Place to Be Somebody in 1971, which won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama (the first time an African-American playwright won this award), and including the musicals Bubbly Brown Sugar and Eubie!, and the Tony-winning play by Athol Fugard, A Lesson From Aloes.


Patti LuPone sings Irving Berlin’s Heatwave

Ella for good measure

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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