Fall Theater 2013: Too Much Theater?

They have their new Rocky

RockyBwayThey have their new (19th?) Sally Bowles.


Betty Buckley takes Manhattan -- Off-Broadway!
Betty Buckley takes Manhattan — Off-Broadway!

Michelle Williams and Il Divo are making their debuts; Neil Patrick Harris has set the date; Harvey Fierstein has a new play about straight cross-dressing males.

And that’s just on Broadway.

Off-Broadway is generating even more excitement -evidenced by my Off-Broadway Fall 2013 Guide — including new plays by August Wilson and Horton Foote, who both have been dead for years

There’s a world premiere by Terrence McNally — NOT the one on Broadway — at Pearl Theatre Company, about the entire history of theater. Heard of it?



Off Broadway ticket giveaway –

– still time to enter — and win TWO pairs of tickets to your choice of two plays Off-Broadway out of more than 40 available.


Good writing is supposed to evoke sensation in the reader—not the fact it’s raining,but the feeling of being rained upon ~Chekhov

Most common misperceptions about writing: 1.Anybody can do it. 2. It makes you happy-Theresa Rebeck

The Week in New York Theater

September 2, 2013

Making theater news in August, from left: Julie Harris, Zachary Quinto, Eric Anderson and Amber Iman of Soul Doctor, Spider-Man, Zachary Levi and Krysta Rodriguez of First Date, Carole King
Making theater news in August, from left: Julie Harris, Zachary Quinto, Eric Anderson and Amber Iman of Soul Doctor, Spider-Man, Zachary Levi and Krysta Rodriguez of First Date, Carole King

New York Theater August 2013 Quiz

Answer these ten questions to find out how well you were paying attention



Roundabout’s 19th Sally Bowles?

cabaretsallybowles1Michelle Williams (Brokeback Mountain My Year with Marilyn) reportedly picked to play Sally Bowles in Roundabout Theater Company’s revival of Cabaret.

How many Sallys were there in the last Roundabout revival?

Rob Kendt @RobKendt It ran for six years, I lost count.

Jonathan Mandell: Wow, by my count, there were 18 Sally Bowles in the Roundabout’s last Cabaret. Is that possible?
Natasha Richardson,Jennifer Jason Leigh,Susan Egan,Molly Ringwald,Katie Finneran, Joely Fisher,Brooke Shields + 11 more

Diep Tran ‏@diepthought So I guess judging from the inclusion of Alan Cumming and Roundabout, we should expect a 6-year run with 18 Sallys?

Jonathan Mandell: That’s a new Sally Bowles on average every four months.


Hollywood movie to Broadway musical

The 2013-2014 Broadway theater season so far includes six shows – five of them musicals, one a play – that were movies.  Click on the link for a listing in the order of their planned openings on Broadway, with summaries from the original films

Jose S Piano ‏@JoseSPiano Keep in mind that both “Big Fish” and “Bridges…” were books first – which you mention in your annotations.
So was “A Time To Kill”. -Would they have eventually been adapted for Broadway if they had not been turned into films first?

Jonathan Mandell: That’s the question, isn’t it? Is it that these stories are strong or that the shows are brands? (Both? More of one?)

Nick Bailey ‏@NicholousBailey Bridges of Madison County  is based on the RJW novel, and has little to nothing to do with the film, new characters, structure, focus

Howard Sherman ‏@HESherman  Let’s remember that one of the greatest film musicals, SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN, is actually a jukebox movie musical.

London revival of Sondheim’s Merrily We Roll Along will be “broadcast” in U.S. movie theaters Oct 23 (in NYC: Regal Union Square)

Comet6SooandSteeleIt lives! Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812 starts new 14-week run Sept. 24 in Kazino tent set up on 45th between 8th and Times Square

Will Swenson will be replacing Will Chase in Second Stage’s Little Miss Sunshine. (Chase is leaving for a movie) #WhereTheresAWillTheresAPlay

The first SIX pages of this week’s New Yorker magaizne are ads for: 1. Raisin in the Sun, 2. @Betrayal 3. The Book of Mormon.

Jesse Oxfeld ‏@joxfeld  Look at current New York, too.

The Ethan Hawke Macbeth cast at Lincoln Center will include John Glover, Daniel Sunjata, and Brian D’Arcy James



Simon Cowell’s hot opera quartet Il Divo will be singing Broadway tunes with Heather Headley for one week only, November 7 to 13 only, at the Marquis Theater.

New Romeo Julian Cihi
New Romeo Julian Cihi

Japanese-born Julian Cihi, recent graduate of the Tisch School of the Arts at NYU, is the new Rome in the Classic Stage Company’s Romeo and Juliet, replacing Finn Wittrock (Death of A Salesman) who left for a role in the film of The Normal Heart.

Meanwhile The Old Globe is doing a new musical version of Romeo & Juliet, The Last Goodbye, with Jay Johnson and  Talisa Friedman

What does it say about the world that the two hot Shakespeare plays this season are Macbeth and Romeo & Juliet?

Billy Flood @Bflood28 What does it say about #postracial myth that both casts of R&J needed 1 white actor in the pair…

Jonathan Mandell Why not see it positively? Both casts of R&J have people of color. The whole point of Bway prod. is mixed race conflict

Billy Flood: Not the point. They couldn’t cast both leads of color in either production… Very telling. Mixed race conflict has been done before. Casting both Romeo and Juliet as People of color on Broadway…hasn’t

Jonathan Mandell: So do that in your new theater in Buffalo. Race conflict is the choice by Romeo and Juliet on Broadway, so they need two races

Billy Flood: Nice side step. I will

Katie Labovitz ‏@klabovitz What does it say when the R&J tv commercial uses a quote from Perez Hilton to promote it?
“Tragically hot”

“Becoming Dr Ruth,” new play about sex therapist @AskDrRuth, w Debra Jo Rupp, (“That 70’s Show) Oct 11 – Jan 12, Westside Theater

They have little money and high unemployment but, thanks to autonomy, artists have high job satisfaction — in Europe anyway

Q&A with Kenny Leon on The Raisin in the Sun he’s directing on Broadway, and new Tupac Shakur musical, also heading (he hopes) to Broadway


Too Much Theater? The New Marathons

At a time when commercial theater is moving increasingly toward productions of ninety minutes with no intermission, adventurous theater artists seem to be experimenting with elaborate works of moment and circumstance, requiring endurance..


MikeDaisey*In All The Faces of the Moon at the Public Theater, Mike Daisey will deliver a different new monologue starting on September 5 every night for twenty-nine nights, each on the secret history of New York City. “Night after night he will strive like Scheherazade to tell the largest story ever attempted in the American theater,” the Public Theater says. Russian artist Larissa Tokmakova will paint a different painting each night to illustrate Daisey’s stories. There will also be a live, free podcast.

*Lucy Thurber’s The Hill Town Plays, also opening on September 5, tell the story of the pivotal moments in a woman’s life from age thirteen to her thirties in five different but related plays (Scarcity, Ashville, Where We’re Born, Killers & Other Family, and Stay) in five different theaters—Rattlestick Playwrights Theater, Axis Theater, New Ohio Theater, and b

From August 26 to September 28, artistic director Ruben Santiago-Hudson is gathering together some sixty performers to do staged readings of August Wilson’s entire American Century Cycle of ten plays at WNYC’s studio and theater, The Greene Space, in front of a live audience.

Full article on The New Marathons in Howlround

Marathon Theater Chat


Terry Teachout: @terryteachout Remember my Drama Critic’s Prayer: “Dear God, if it can’t be good, let it be short.”

Jessica Franken  @jes3ica I am drawn to excess. I binge-watched Orange Is The New Black on Netflix, and will binge-watch Aditi Kapil’s trilogy at Mixed Blod

Paul Hufker @PaulHufker the trend in modern theatre is in keeping w the trend in modern attention spans: far too short. #newplay

Tesseractt Theater @TesseractTheatr I’ve had playwriting teachers flat out say “keep it short if you want to get produced”

Trish Causey @MusicalThtreMag I’ve been told to keep it to as few characters as possible. Big casts cost too much. Grrrrr! #newplay

Jonathan Mandell: Some of the marathons might be deliberately thumbing nose at “requirement” to be short. #newplay

Tesseract Theater Sometimes a thumbed nose loosens us to start a new artistic age… i hope to see more long form

Brian O’Neal @ArtsJunkieTC On any production, I’m thinking to create an event as much as a play. A play is the protein in event sandwich


Annie is to close January 5, 2014, after just 487 regular performances.
The original Annie on Broadway ran for six years (1977-83) and 2377 performances. This second revival is ending after 14 months.

First preview of The Glass Menagerie tonight (Opening Sept 26). Student rush tickets: $35.

First preview tonight for Big Fish with Norbert Leo Butz and Kate Baldwin. Here are some of the songs

ONeill Center: Submissions to the 2014 National Playwrights Conference open Sept 20-Oct 25 http://bit.ly/n9Qn5T

Cutting-edge theater St Anns Warehouse will get a permanent home in pre-Civil War “Tobacco Warehouse” building in Brooklyn Bridge Park

To do Hamlet and Shaw’s Saint Joan in repertory with just four actors would be bedlam. Theater Bedlam begins it November 8 at the Lynn Redgrave Theater


The new Brooklyn theater housing Theater for a New Audience has a new name: Polonsky Shakespeare Center, (Polonsky Foundation gave $10 million)

Find a tiny snippet of Jason Robert Brown’s score on new Bridges of Madison County website .

Adultery’s been big in theater (Oedipus?) & in his life, says Mike Nichols, 81, directing Betrayal on Broadway

Barron B. Bass and Austin Trow in The Recommednation at The FleaMy review of The Recommendation

From the moment he saunters on stage wrapped only in a towel and asks a member of the audience to hold his clothes so he can get dressed, we have the character Aaron Feldman pegged. He is a son of privilege, charming and friendly but used to getting his way, always having people do things for him.

When we first see Dwight Barnes, he’s sitting in a jail cell, with a mean stare – and he too is a familiar figure, although more from TV and the movies.

How the two characters clash, and what it means, is more or less the subject of Jonathan Caren‘s The Recommendation, a play at The Flea through September 22 that considers the nature of friendship and attempts to offer us a glimpse at the class system in America.

Full review of The Recommendation


.Joel Grey made his theatrical debut in On Borrowed Time. 72 years later,he’s directing play for New Jersey’s Two River Theater 9/14-10/13

Sondheim on PBS News Hour


I don’t think you choose your material. I think it finally chooses you – Horton Foote


Armed with a small sign offering Shakespeare by request (“Cheaper than Broadway,” it says), Will Barnet, 23, performs regularly as Hamlet, Prince Hal, Richard III, Romeo and even Juliet. for hours in Greenwich Village and on the High Line, as well as in Central Park and at farmers’ markets, where he often gets food in addition to tips

Why aren’t there better aps for Broadway?

Recommended minimum age for Shakespeare Theatre Company’s Measure for Measure: is 18.  However, I think some shows should have a maximum age. e.g. Recommended for theatergoers under 20 (uber hip fare). or under 11 (juvenile)


AndyKarlThe revival of Hedwig and the Angry Inch  is opening a the Belasco Theater April 22, 2014

Casa Valentina, Harvey Fierstein’s new play about straight crossdressers in ’60s Catskills resort,opens April 23 on Broadway.

They have their Rocky. It’s Andy Karl, six-time Broadway vet (Jersey Boys, Drood) .

Broadway on Broadway, annual outdoor concert in Times Square, is canceled this year, says The Broadway League, though they don’t say why

EdwardAlbeeQ & A with Edward Albee, 85, great playwright, difficult interview subject.

Park Ave. Armory

My review of The Machine

In telling the tale of the 1997 chess match between Man and Machine – Garry Kasparov, the world’s top ranked chess player, and the IBM chess-playing computer Deep Blue — playwrightMatt Charman, director Josie Rourke (artistic director of London’s famed Donmar Warehouse) and the rest of the creative team hose a nearly mechanical bio-drama masquerading as a modern gladiator sport, staged with great flash in cavernous Drill Hall of the Park Avenue Armory, complete with arena (in-the-round) seating, mock Jumbotron video projections, TV sports commentators, a logo that looks like something that would be used for the Super Bowl. Once or twice Garry Kasparov even stands up on the table and does the kind of dance a wide receiver does on a football field after scoring a touchdown….This is presumably a fantasy, not meant to be taken literally, and it is actually a welcome relief from the little, leaden scenes of flashback biography that are threaded throughout The Machine.

Full review of The Machine

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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