Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time ~ Thomas Merton
Spider-Man was back in the news this past week several times, and not, on balance, in a good way. “Soul Doctor” opened on Broadway, and “Love’s Labour’s Lost” the rock musical in Central Park, and a lesser-known musical, Timmy The Great, billed as intended for “revolutionaries of all ages,” opened at The Theater for the New City — check out my reviews of all three shows below.
Theater news as well involving Carole King, Oprah Winfrey, Tom Skerrit, Michael Urie, and Mae West.
The Week in New York Theater
Monday, August 12, 2013
Jessie Mueller will star as Carole King in Beautiful, opening in Broadway’s Sondheim Theater on Jan 12, 2014
Mueller first wowed Broadway audience in On A Clear Day, You Can See Forever, co-starring with Harry Connick Jr. She went on to The Mystery of Edwin Drood, then Nice Work If You Can Get It.
Carole King, now 71, wrote her first big hit at age 18. The Beatles covered her songs in their first album (in the UK)
So the musical Beautiful now has an opening date (Jan 12), a star (Jessie Mueller) AND a Twitter feed: @BeautifulOnBway
The team behind Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson has turned Shakespeare’s Love’s Labour’s Lost into a rock musical, now opened at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park, and if you have to turn one of Shakespeare’s plays into a pop musical, Love’s Labour’s Lost is not a bad choice, if for no other reason than for a long time it was one of the least-loved of Shakespeare’s comedies — so who cares if it’s toyed with?
Of course, you don’t have to turn any of Shakespeare’s plays into a pop musical – but even that’s covered in this production. In some ways, Alex Timbers and Michael Friedman have fashioned their own entertainment — well-performed, enjoyable, busy and somewhat baffling.
“Broadway is definitely in my future. Nothing is set as of yet, but it’s there,” Oprah Winfrey, who is in a movie (“The Butler”) for the first time in 15 years, tells the Daily News http://nydn.us/1eHFDfE
Oprah was a producer of “The Color Purple” on Broadway, which ran from 2005 to 2008, but she has never performed there.
The search for a new Spider-Man is not just for Broadway. The settlement with Julie Taymor means the show is launching in Las Vegas, on tour, and in Germany
Using the example of the call on the Metropolitan Opera to support LGBT rights, Douglas McLennan reflects on the difference between art and culture, between politics and values, and asks “Are Arts Leaders Cultural Leaders?”
Damon Intrabartolo, who co-wrote cult favorite musical bare & was working on a new one, Ride, has died suddenly at age 39
Stings musical The Last Ship about unemployed shipbuilders trip around world aims to open on Broadway in the Fall of 2014
The Nance with Nathan Lane, which just ended on Broadway, will be broadcast next year on PBS.
Tom Skerritt ( “Picket Fences” M*A*S*H etc.) will be making his Broadway debut in A Time To Kill
The playwright Larry Kramer (The Normal Heart) has won “master dramatist” award and $7,500 from the Pen American Center
@NewYorkTheater yessir!!! So excited!
— Justin M. Sargent (@justinmsargent) August 14, 2013
TALE OF TWO BLACKOUTS
Ten years ago to the day, NYC and entire Northeast had a blackout (which inspired Lin-Manuel Miranda to create “In The Heights”)
Lin-Manuel Miranda (@Lin_Manuel): Incorrect. I was inspired by the Washington Heights Blackout 2 years prior.
Jonathan Mandell (@NewYorkTheater): You found the 2003 blackout uninspiring?
Lin-Manuel Miranda: I found the 2003 Blackout to be when producers finally stopped saying “This is unrealistic.”
Broadway lights dimmed at 8 p.m. for theater publicist Shirley Herz,who died Sun at 87.
Buyer and Cellar, starring Michael Urie, extends through January 5 at Barrow St Theater.
The original *Broadway* cast album of Matilda will be on sale a thet Shubert Theater starting Sept 27 and in stores Oct 22
Venus in Fur, Vanya and Sonya and Masha and Spike, and Tribes are among the most scheduled plays in regional theater for the next season, says Diep Tran of American Theatre Magazine.
e.g. Success is getting what you want. Happiness is wanting what you get.
My review of Soul Doctor
What “Soul Doctor” gives to you, besides the music, are two compelling performances — Eric Anderson (a veteran of Kinky Boots and South Pacific) as Rabbi Carlebach, and Amber Iman, making her Broadway debut, as Nina Simone. If this bio-drama can at times seem too pat to be credible or fully engaging, and too familiar — sparking unbidden flashbacks to everything from “The Jazz Singer” to “Hair” to (Heaven forbid) Kathie Lee Gifford’s “Scandalous” — Anderson and Iman reel us back to earth…or, rather, to someplace nearly spiritual….
Perhaps it is not desirable, or even possible, to fit the full measure of a complicated person such as the real Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach within the narrow form of musical theater. But it is possible, and desirable, to bring his beautiful, spirited music to Broadway.
The new leads of the musical Once, Arthur Darvill and Joanna Christie, sing three songs in the final lunchtime concert this summer of Broadway in Bryant Park.
Mae West was born 120 years ago today — and they’re doing her most famous play tonight, “Diamond Lil”
Hello! My name is Elder Price And I would like to share with you the most amazing book~ The Book of Mormon’s 1,000th performance today!
Theater’s unsung heroes: translators, says Terry Teachout. Otherwise, who would know Chekhov,Ibsen,Molière?
Joe Dziemianowicz, the theater critic of the Daily News, calls himself The Joe D Show on Twitter. But he actually hated being part of Murderfor Two; he was pulled up on stage to play a dead body — an example of what seems to be an accelerating trend of involving the audience.
Hard to believe only two more weeks left for Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812.
Timmy The Great, which is playing at Theater for the New City through September 1, bills itself as “a madcap musical for revolutionaries of all ages.” One could easily interpret this as meaning: It’s for children from the Upper West Side.
Actually, there’s much here that anyone could enjoy. The show, based on a 1999 children’s book about a kingdom where the adults and children switch roles, is stuffed full of lively dancing and inspired clowning, as well as tuneful songs by Gary Kupper, the same composer who turned Julianne Moore’s children’s book Freckle Face Strawberry into a hit stage show.
… Two hours — 25 musical numbers! — turned out to be more madcap entertainment than I wanted. Much like the child-like characters in the story, the creative team seems to have given in to every whim.