Julie Harris RIP. Tyne Daly Back on Broadway. Macbeths vs Peter Pans. Week in New York Theater

“God comes to us in theater in the way we communicate with each other…”~Julie Harris (1925-2013), often called the first lady of the American theater, who died on Saturday at the age of 87.

A sad and busy week. News about Tyne Daly’s return to Broadway, Cuba Gooding Jr.’s odd exit from it, and Kenneth Branagh’s debut on a New York stage;  yet more Peter Pans and Macbeths!  Weird and wonderful conversations with the cast of The Glass Menagerie, who all told me they didn’t like the play; Lin-Manuel Miranda, who tried to give me the time of day; Diana DeGarmo, who replied to a snarky comment with elegance; Mark Ruffalo, who told me his favorite lines from Awake and Sing, which he performed on Broadway in 2006.

I reviewed the new revival of Clifford Odets’ Jewish family drama with an Asian-American cast, as well as an overstuffed children’s musical called Timmy The Great, and a comedy about the life on stage, Waiting for Waiting for Godot, one of the 185 shows at the Fringe.

The Brooklyn Academy of Music mailed me something lewd. I videotaped the best male dancer on Broadway. And more, below. If this is the dog days of August, they’re barking.

Week in New York Theater

Monday, August 19, 2013

DalyandMcNallyTerrence McNally’s 20th Broadway play, Mothers and Sons, about a mother confronting the lover of her long-dead son, is slated for Spring. Tyne Daly is set to star, as she did when the play had its debut at Bucks County Playhouse in June

David Leopold ‏@Pknot:  Saw Mother & Sons this summer and liked it. She gave a good performance in good production. Worth seeing.

Let It Be 3Let It Be will close Sept 1, four months earlier, having played 46 performances and nine previews.

Best Theater Casting Directors: 2013 Artios Award Nominees 

ShakespeareDid Shakespeare really invent all those words? A PhD candidate in English says probably not.

A new book argues Hamlet is about love, and “helped Freud understand, perhaps even invent,psychoanalysis”

If “Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812” married “Vanya, Sonia, Masha and Spike,” what would you call their kids?

Isaac Butler ‏@parabasis:  Expensive.


Can a show offer too much entertainment? Yes. My review of Timmy The Great


BridgesofMadisonCountylogoThe Bridges of Madison County with Kelli Ohara and Steve Pasquale opens at Broadway’s Gerald Schoenfeld on February 27.


Kenneth Branagh will make his New York stage debut in Macbeth at  the Park Avenue Armory June, 2014. #AnotherMacbeth
PatB ‏@patbky: Have heard raves about this production from people that have seen it. Will be booking tix for sure!

Will Kenneth Branagh say ‘the Scottish play” in The Park Avenue Armory. The armory is not technically a theater,so is superstition waived?

Lillian Bikset :  The world’s a stage. So I keep wondering if it’s safe to say the title of the Scottish play in social media.

Park Avenue Armory ‏@ParkAveArmory We’re tempted to yell it from the rooftops, so we admire your restraint.

Crime novelist Elmore Leonard, whose books fed Hollywood insatiably, has died at 87

SallyStruthersasDollyandGloriaGOLDENGLOBES/Sally Struthers (All in the Family), now 66, will star in a 70+-city tour of Hello, Dolly!, launching in Somerville, NJ, in Oct.

Melanie Griffith, 56, on being too old in Hollywood. “You just have to keep biting and pushing your way through, doing theater.”

(Theater as rehab for aging Hollywood actresses?)

CeliaKeenanBolgerasLauraThe Glass Menagerie
The cast didn’t like the play


Zachary Quinto on Stage Acting vs. Screen Acting



New Work Now, FREE reading series by the Public Theater, of new plays (plu one old AIDS play) in September Schedule:

In TODAY’s New York Times (not from 1920s): Cops raided House of Yes, Brooklyn space for clowns & comics, as a speakeasy

(Perfecting the art of stunt casting): LaToya Jackson  joins the Off-Broadway cast of Newsical in Sept

FREE  CherryLane Theater Master Class:
David Henry Hwang  9/9
Playwright Kia Corthron, 9/16′
“Roseanne producer” Matt Williams 11/18

Phantom of the Opera

Most Romantic Theater:

Many pick “Once” or “Phantom of the Opera” as their most romantic theatrical experience, but Lourdes Pagan picks Pippin and, after hearing her story, most would surely agree.

Lovely, heartwarming stories about romance on the stage, and in the seats.


My review of Clifford Odets’ Awake and Sing

The National Asian American Theater Company’s solid if unexceptional production of Awake and Sing, Clifford Odets 1935 drama of a struggling immigrant Jewish family in The Bronx, is opening just a few days after the 50th anniversary of the death of Odets, whose heyday as a playwright was almost 80 years ago. He has been experiencing something of a renaissance in New York…. Awake and Sing is often considered his best play…For those of us who saw Awake and Sing at Lincoln Center in 2006, the new production in the more intimate Walker Space  is unlikely to set off any great sparks.

Full review of Awake and Sing


Rebecca Luker (veteran of eight Broadway shows, including Phantom) is taking over temporarily for Victoria Clark as Fairy Godmother Marie in Cinderella Sep 6 – Jan 19.

Laura Benanti, Cheyenne Jackson, Shuler Hensley to play love triangle in Frank Loesser’s The Most Happy Fella, City Center Encores April, 2014

Peter Pan (vs. Macbeth)

PeterPanfrom Belvoir St TheaterNew adaptation of Peter Pan, by Belvoir St Theatre, , set entirely in a kid’s bedroom in 1980s suburban Australia, is coming to  New Victory Theater October 4 to 13

There may be FOUR Peter Pans in NYC this coming season. Maybe Peter Pan can duke it out with Macbeth for dominance of NY theater

Speaking of Macbeth, Pia Catton asks professors and directors WWHY there are so many Macbeths (coming up: Ken Branagh and Ethan Hawke) http://on.wsj.com/12sy3mI

All the explanations for Macbeth mania — a time of terrorism, obsession w/fame, Weiner-like inapt behavior — seem lame to me.)

Theaters are given tax-exempt status, Linda Essig,  points out, because of their role as educators.

Richard Dreyfus tried to retire from movies 10 years ago and pursue theater, but, the way he tells it, theater didn’t want him.

 How is the Internet affecting your career and work as a theater artist?

(my contribution to Weekly Howlround online chat)

The Internet has

1. made research easier for theater artists, especially dramaturgs

2. Social media, especially @Twitter, has strengthened the theater community, and enlarged it (eg to include critics.)

3. Theater news and views are more quickly and more widely available. “Word of mouth” has become world-wide.

4 Internet gives artists terrific excuse to procrastinate yet feel productive:”I’m marketing/networking/whatever”

But how much has the ubiquity of social media and the Internet in real life become incorporated on stage/in plays

Monica Byrne ‏@monicabyrne  I saw a supposedly contemporary realist play recently that made no mention of any of it… .which felt all the more strange because Internet access would have solved a lot of plot points :/

Several plays r explicitly about effect of social media — eg Facebook Me. Not sure it’s fully incorporated on stage yet.

Waiting For Waiting For Godot

My review of Waiting for Waiting for Godot, funny comic riff on the life of an actor, part of the Fringe Festival



Cuba Gooding Jr. gets his face on Sardi’s — and then leaves BroadwayJ

Broadway Idiot, a documentary following Greenday’s Billie Joe Armstrong as he created American Idiot, will be in New York movie theaters in October.

Class war theater from the 1930s is getting revived, says Michael Feingold, because class war has been revived.

Clockwise from top left: Fantasia Barrino (in After Midnight), Diana deGarmo, Clay Aiken, Justin Guarini (in Romeo and Juliet), Constantine Maroulis, Frenchie Davis
Clockwise from top left: Fantasia Barrino (in After Midnight), Diana deGarmo, Clay Aiken, Justin Guarini (in Romeo and Juliet), Constantine Maroulis, Frenchie Davis

Elizabeth Vincentelli’s blunt take on six American Idol-ers on Broadway

Clay Aiken: likely to return “but few will care”

Fantasia Barrino (in “After Midnight” this season): ” Has the charisma and chops to date a little dude named Tony.”

Justin Guarini (in “Romeo and Juliet” this season): “Can look forward to a solid career as a character actor. Who would have thought?”

Diana De Garmo: “Let’s hope she likes bus travel — road tours are in her future.”

future holds so let’s just take it a day at a time shall we?

“I’m a better actor now than when I was an actor”playwright Mona Mansour tells American Theatre Magazine.”I like writing moments I can feel”

Videos from the Dramatists Guild of America National Conference. Includes:

New Media: Dramatists in the Age of Twitter, Facebook

Writing Wicked

A Conversation with Doug Wright

A conversation with Lin-Manuel Miranda

Lin-Manuel Miranda: At 5!



MandyPatinkin1Mandy Patinkin on portraying a character: “It helps tremendously if I can write my own play under what the writer has written.” Profile of Mandy Patinkin, star of stage and Homeland  (reads like a therapy session) There are two Mandy Patinkins, says author — the “Do Less Mandy” (when he underplays, he’s terrific) and the “Too Much Mandy” (“oy”)

McKellen Stewart Feature

How do Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart make sense of enigmatic “Waiting for Godot” and “No Man’s Land.”?  By focusing on the concrete.

Acting career in a nutshell via IanMcKellen:

Start in Hamlet as Bernardo–>Rosencrantz–>Horatio->

Hamlet–>Claudius→Polonius–>the skull


Eric LaJuan Summers, the best dancer on Broadway

Julie Grega ‏@j_grega1920h Brings the house down every time!


Both the Fringe and Vanya, Sonia, Masha and Spike come to an end.

Brochure in the mail from the Brooklyn Academy of Music, promoting Anna Nicole the Opera. (The inside flap says "...a kiss.' -- but still)
Brochure in the mail from the Brooklyn Academy of Music, promoting Anna Nicole the Opera. (The inside flap says “…a kiss.’ — but still)

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