First Date. Fringe Begins. Free Tickets. The Week in New York Theater

Theater people have more fun: First Date star Krysta Rodriguez and friends.
Theater people have more fun: First Date star Krysta Rodriguez and friends. First Date, co-starring Zachary Levi, opened on Broadway this past week. See review below.

This week features two ticket giveaway contests —  one ending today, the other beginning.

      1. BreakfastwithMugabelogoWhat is your favorite play or musical about a political figure? Why
        What current or historical political figure would make a great stage show? Why?

Enter here to win  tickets to Breakfast With Mugabe. Last day to enter.


What was the most romantic experience you’ve had at the theater — either because of what was happening on stage or in your seats? 

Enter here to win tickets to Romeo and Juliet with Orlando Bloom and Condola Rashad.

A third chance at free tickets — Scroll to 7.

The Week in New York Theater

Monday, August 5, 2013

Amy Winehouse
Amy Winehouse

Trevor Nunn’s stage version of Samuel Beckett radio play “All That Fall,” with Michael Gambon and Eileen Atkins will be presented at 59E59 Theater Nov 5-Dec 8

Broadway Sings Amy Winehouse (Rehab, Back to Black, etc) performed by Keala Settle and 20 more Broadway veterans at Le Poisson Rouge on  September 9

Bravo to Rockaway Theater Company for your comeback after Superstorm Sandy and your musical  Rockaway Cafe: The Comeback

Fascinating profile in  of Mennonite playwright Merle Good who has written 40 plays and will finally have one in NYC 

“Facing Our Truth: Ten-Minute Plays on Trayvon, Race and Privilege,” six plays by seven playwrights, will be featured at The New Black Fest in the fall.


AddisonODonnellAddison Odonnell wrote his first musical at age 17. Now 21,he has enough theater music for a concert at Laura Beechman Theater  Aug. 17.

(And you thought this was all in the past?) Spiderman: Turn Off The Dark canceled tonight’s performance “due to a technical difficulty.”

Harbor0008_0My review of Harbor

In Harbor,  Chad Beguelin’s uneven but ultimately rewarding comedy at Primary Stages, Kevin (Randy Harrison) and Ted (Paul Anthony Stewart) have a nice life together in a big house in Sag Harbor, a life considerably happier than that of his sister Donna (Erin Cummings), a single mother who lives in a van with her 15-year-old daughter Lottie (Alexis Molnar). Donna is pregnant again, but this time she has a scheme; she will give the child to Kevin and Ted to raise. They don’t know it yet.

The set-up evokes such television shows as “Modern Family” or “The New Normal” or, for that matter, “Queer As Folk,” the series for which Randy Harrison is still best-known.

But…“Harbor” can’t lay full claim to the tone or quality of any of these shows. The play’s humor is too often closer to that of “Two and a Half Men.”

Full review of Harbor



Orlando Bloom as Biker Romeo? Condola Rashad as Graffiti Juliet?

photo (op) essay and video.

kristin-chenoweth-photosCarolChanninginHelloDollyA lottery for 20 free tickets to Once Aug 20-23. (Show up at box office 2 1/2 hrs before show) #OnceWeek

YouTube Personality Sophia Grace Brownlee (@PrincessSGB) is confirmed as Little Red Riding Hood for the “Into the Woods” film (based on the Sondheim/Lapine musical)

“Youtube personality?” Next challenge for Into The Woods film: Which of Youtube’s very popular farting dogs to cast.

Nederlanders courting Kristin Chenoweth to star in a revival of Hello, Dolly! directed & choreographed by Warren Carlyle (Chaplin)


Karen Black has died at age 74. Known for films Easy Rider, Five Easy Pieces & Nashville, she was also a Broadway vet.

There are 2,871 shows at this years Edinburgh Fringe Festival but only 25 captioned/signed for hearing-impaired. (Same lack of accessibility in the U.S.)

"Dead Cat Bounce" interpretive dance from "Money Lab"
“Dead Cat Bounce” interpretive dance from “Money Lab”

Money Lab review: Money as Games, Religion…and Theater.



Fringe begins: 185 shows in 18 downtown venues through August 25th

A Fringe preview

we-will-rock-youWe Will Rock You, based on music of Queen, after more than a decade in UK begins US tour Oct 15 in Baltimore, aiming for Broadway. I saw “We Will Rock You” in Toronto a few years back. What I remember of it is: “We will, we will rock you. THUMP.” Not much more.

She starred in Golda’s Balcony.Now Tovah Feldshuh is on Andrea’s trapeze. (while Andrea Martin is on vacation) Tovah plays Berthe — Andrea Martin’s part in Pippin — from Aug. 9-11 and Aug. 20-25. Martin returns to role full-time Aug 27.

First  Date Krysta Rodriguez and Zachary Levi

My review of First Date

Over the course of the evening that unfolds in “First Date,” a slight but often charming musical about a blind date, the more experienced Casey (Krysta Rodriguez) offers Aaron (Zachary Levi) a number of Do’s and Don’ts for first dates:
1. Don’t talk about other people you’ve dated
2. Don’t talk about religion
3. Don’t look up your date on the Internet

All these rules, and many more, will be broken by the time they leave the restaurant. Aaron and Casey will also try to ignore the many voices in their heads — best friends and family, exes, sundry imagined characters, as well as the waiter. The audience can’t ignore them, though, since they are played by the five other cast members and make up the bulk — and much of the appeal — of the 90-minute running time and of the 15 or so songs.

Full review of First Date


Fox TV says a stage musical of #Glee is in the works.

My first Fringe show is phenomenal. I lucked out:


My review of Gertrude Stein Saints

ressed all in white, singing like angels and dancing like the devil, the 13 performers of “Gertrude Stein’s Saints” are young, energetic, talented, and, let’s face it, hot enough to be cast in Glee. (One of them, Jordan Phillips, has already appeared as a guest star on the TV series.) What’s most remarkable about this ensemble, all of them drama students at Carnegie Mellon University, is that, instead of covering songs by Journey or Rihanna, they have composed original music and turned two inaccessible avant-garde operas by Gertrude Stein into a rousing entertainment.

Full review of Gertrude Stein Saints

 Phantom actor Jeremy Stolle (@JeremyStolle): On Saturdays, you’re tired for 1st show because it’s early, then tired for 2nd because it’s late.

With Splash closing, XL Nightclub  (512 W 42) is inaugurating #MondayMusicals with host Billy Porter, the star of Kinky Boots.

DenzelthenandnowRaisin in the Sun producer Scott Rudin defends Denzel Washington’s taking on the role of Walter Younger, a character half the actor’s age:  “When a great artist wants to do a great American play, people want to see it. I don’t think age matters…Denzel feels a huge, huge responsibility to the play…Denzel came to us. He has a clear idea of how he wants to do it. Classics stay alive because a great actor or a great director wants to do them.”

WoodyAllenWoody Allen on Greek theater, in Esquire

The_Acropolis_Hill“We took a tour of the Acropolis late in the morning, and I looked down upon the theater and felt a connection. I mean, this is where Oedipus debuted. It’s amazing for someone who’s spent his life in show business or worked in dramatic art to look down at the theater where, thousands of years ago, guys like Mike Nichols and Stephen Sondheim and David Mamet were in togas, thinking, ‘Gee, I can’t get this line to work. You know, I’ve been working on it all night. And that actor, he doesn’t know how to deliver it.’ Sophocles and Euripides and Aristophanes. ‘The costumes are late, and we gotta go on’!”

My review of The Great Society

Two plays about President Lyndon Baines Johnson are aiming for Broadway. One, “All The Way,” is opening next month at the American Repertory Theater in Cambridge, starring Bryan Cranston of “Breaking Bad” as the 36th President of the United States, and written by Robert Schennkan, who won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama for “The Kentucky Cycle.”

The other LBJ play, “The Great Society,” written by Alexander Harrington and directed by Seth Duerr, has now opened at The Harold Clurman on Theatre Row.

Let’s hope that the one with Bryan Cranston is better.

This is not to say that everything about “The Great Society” is bad. Harrington has created a three-hour history lesson about the Johnson Presidency, from the shot that killed JFK, giving Johnson the office he’d always wanted, to LBJ’s televised speech five years later announcing that he would not run again. The play focuses on two major threads – LBJ’s greatest accomplishment, the passage of civil rights legislation, and his greatest failure, his escalation of the war in Vietnam – and how one affected the other.

Full review of The Great Society in Broadway World


The Nance ends today


Eydie Gormé, singer, actress, Broadway veteran,partner with Steve Lawrence in love and on stage for 55 years, has died at age 84

ShirleyHerzShirley Herz, a theater publicist for nearly 65 years,working on 100 Broadway shows from Gypsy to Oh Calcutta, has died at age 87.

Theater, Profiling and Terrorism

Good take on the tumultuous to-do over Chicago Sun Time drama critic Hedy Weiss’s review of Silk Road’s production of “Invasion” by The Chicago Reader. Weiss argued that racial profiling was necessary in these terrorist times. Some reacted angrily, complaining about her view, or arguing that she had no right to express it in a theater review.

Ethan Fishbane, 23 put on his play American Suicide Bomber Association at Dixon Place then the cops visited. He had thrown out “suicide bomb” prop from the show, and his Super thought it was the real thing, nervously calling the police.

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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