From Breaking Bad To Broadway. Big Fish. Off-Off Broadway Love. The Week in New York Theater.

Bryan Cranston as LBJ in All The Way heading for Broadway
Bryan Cranston as LBJ in All The Way heading for Broadway

Bryan Cranston, who just died as Walter White in Breaking Bad, will be making his Broadway debut this season reborn as President Lyndon Baines Johnson in the play All The Way. We know this because the playwright Robert Schenkkan told us on Twitter:

It took several days before it was confirmed – by the publicist for the American Repertory Theater, where the play just had a run, then by the director Bill Rauch, followed by one of its Broadway producers, Jeffrey Richards.

And this is why there is enough New York theater news to fill up an overstuffed column every week. Bryan Cranston is not the only cast member from Breaking Bad about to perform on a New York stage (see “4” below.)

There’s also a day left to enter my latest ticket giveaway contest, my review of Big Fish, lists of the chosen by the New York Independent Theater Awards and the Theater Hall of Fame, why Tony Kushner doesn’t think playwrights are good storytellers, and too much news that reminds us of the precarious health of art and artists. There’s also a video showing Broadway performer Ryan Steele in bed, but he’s not sick.

The Week in New York Theater

Monday, September 30, 2013

Winners of the 2013 Innovative Theater Awards — Off-Off Broadway’s Best

Why We Love Off Off Broadway

RomeoBloombGlassMenagerie3After many disappointed reviews, attendance at Romeo and Juliet on Broadway plummeted almost 14 percent. (Just 57 percent of seats sold)

Whitney Egbert ‪@whitneyje it was really empty Saturday afternoon. When $40 tickets are available for a Friday night show … It’s not going well.

After many positive reviews of ‪The Glass Menagerie attendance increased six percent. Now, 95 percent of seats are sold

The average ticket price for Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark is now about $70. By contrast,average price for ‪@BookofMormon is $194. (top price $477)

Laverne Cox on ‪Orange Is The New Black proves there are good trans actors.‪ MJ Kaufman argues in ‪Howlround why to cast them ‪

October 1

New York City Opera has announced it has filed for bankruptcy, ending the 70-year-old “people’s opera” founded by Fiorello LaGuardia.

Ruth Maleczech
Ruth MaleczecNew York City Opera has announced it will file for bankruptcy, the end of the 70-year-old company.

Theater Hall of Fame 2013 inductees
Actors Cherry Jones, Ellen Burstyn
Directors Jerry Zaks, George C. Wolfe, Lynne Meadow.
Producer Cameron Mackintosh, designer David Hays, and, posthumously, playwright Lorraine Hansberry.

Ruth Maleczech, who with Lee Breuer founded the seminal avant-garde theater company Mabou Mines in 1970, has died at age 74. An iconoclast in an age of “icons” — though live long enough and even avant-garde outcasts are called “legendary” —  she relished being different. Maleczech on her Lear: “We got the worst reviews of any play Mabou Mines ever did..That’s something I’m very proud of.”

It’s Oct 1:”The great work begins” — affordable health insurance for artists who’ve gone without it. Go to ‪
New York residents, learn about the health insurance marketplace that begins today here

The God Projekt will explore morality and monotheism, at La MaMa Nov 14 – 24 from the always intelligent ‪Edward Einhorn.


On The Town With Sir Patrick Stewart and Sir Ian McKellen

On the curb in front of NYC's famous black plastic garbage bags

New York Theater September 2013 Quiz

This month's quiz includes questions about left to right: Romeo and Juliet, Cherry Jones of The Glass Menagerie, Sir Patrick Stewart and Sir Ian McKellen, Sheryl Crow, Breaking Bad TV series.
This month’s quiz includes questions about left to right: Romeo and Juliet, Cherry Jones of The Glass Menagerie, Sir Patrick Stewart and Sir Ian McKellen, Sheryl Crow, Breaking Bad TV series.


Peter and the Starcatcher New York Theatre Workshop

Peter and the Starcatcher will close at ‪New World Stages, January 12. 2014. It opened on Broadway April 15, 2012, moved Off-Broadway March 13, 2013

Kinky Boots 8

‪Kinky Boots has recouped its $13.5 million capitalization (translation: has broken even) in just 30 weeks.

GlassMenagerie4The Glass Menagerie, originally scheduled to run through Jan 5, 2014, has been extended until Feb 23. My review ‪

TonyKushnerbyJoanMarcusTony Kushner is working on another screenplay for Steven Spielberg AND a new HBO series. He won’t say what either is about. (Kushner makes no mention of working on a play)
Playwrights are not..the world’s greatest storytellers.I don’t think that’s what playwriting’s about… …In playwriting, the argument, the dialectic, is the key. The narrative follows from that, supports that”-Tony Kushner
~Kushner ‪

Any opera performance, even if you sell out, always loses money, so it’s how much you can afford to lose-‪
Conductor George Steel, who took over ‪New York City Opera in 2009 to try to save it. “And it almost worked” ‪

Elizabeth Scott, ‪Lincoln Center’s chief digital officer, welcomes a future with audience members all wearing Google glasses. At present,  Lincoln Center and arts institutions like it have “poor digital hygiene” and will have “zero relevance” unless it changes


The Laramie Project and Ole Miss: Homophobia and the Theater Requirement


TV Man vs MachineIs there life after Breaking Bad death? YES. David Costabile (Gale, the other chemist) co-stars in THE (curious case of the) WATSON INTELLIGENCE, a new play by Madeleine George Nov 15-Dec 29, at Playwrights Horizons.  There are four Watsons in play, including Sherlock’s, Alexander Graham Bell’s, fictional techno-dweeb, and the machine that beat the humans on Jeopardy.
Professional theater artists are often asked to work for love (not $), says ‪Denise Rosvally, a slippery slope.


Ryan Steele is leaving the cast of Matilda at the end of the week. Meanwhile, he’s made this video of dancing in bed in his underwear. 

What do you call actors who dance/dancers who act? Dactors, says ‪the Brooklyn Academy of Music. (thus “Dr.” ‪Ryan Steele?) Why not just “performers”?

Banksy’s in New York!

The famous/anonymous British graffiti artist is here for a month, and already gets how important the theater is in this city.

Click on any photograph to enlarge



What would you like to see spoofed on a New York stage? Answer to enter contest for free tix to ‪Seth Rudetsky’s musical Disaster

Update: Cast of ‪Big Fish creates a video supporting harassed cast of ‪University of Mississippi Laramie Project ‪

Yes, it’s true: All The Way is coming to Broadway


R+J: Star-Cross’d Death Match  (a frat party version of Romeo & Juliet by ‪Three Day Hangover just three blocks from the Broadway Romeo and Juliet, returns! Thursdays-Saturdays, November 7-23. It was sold out during initial run.

Kate Baldwin’s toddler Colin won’t allow her to sing: “He says, ‘No, mama! No sing!'” She is currently singing in Big Fish.


My review of Big Fish

BigFish7“People want to see things beyond their imagination: Bigger than life,” the carnival barker who’s a werewolf tells the cave-dwelling giant who becomes a titan of industry in “Big Fish,” a whopper of a new musical about whoppers.

The musical has a wondrous production design — courtesy of scenic designer Julian Crouch, costume designer William Ivey Long, lighting designer Donald Holder, and projection designer Benjamin Pearcy working in concert. Watch while gnarled tree trunks transform into whirling witches and back again; and when a campfire turns into a sexy dancer. The musical also starts off on the right foot — literally — with a song in which Edward introduces most of his adventures to his son, concluding with a rousing bluesy “Alabama Stomp,”  a terrific dance number that wakes up the fish in the river and makes them fly up on the shore.

…But he musical doesn’t effectively integrate its disparate elements into a seamless whole. The surprising consequence of so much elaborate staging is the increasing perception that the big numbers are too similar;  the eventual result comes close to tedium

Full review of Big Fish

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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