Wicked at 10. Rachel Weisz Betrays Daniel Craig. Baseball on Broadway. The Week in New York Theater

RachelWeiszDanielCraigRafeSpall“The world is a better place when people are doing things rather than having things.“~Damian Bazadona, founder of Situation Interactive

“Art is dangerous….” ~ Duke Ellington

From Wicked’s tenth anniversary celebrations to the opening of a show about adultery where Broadway newbie Rachel Weisz betrays husband Daniel Craig, to the news that The Mutilated by Tennessee Williams will star Warhol and John Waters cult actresses; from one-minute plays and 24-hour plays (plays conceived, written all in one day) —  New York theater has it all.

And it’s always changing — not always a good thing. (See “What’s so great about innovation” below) Baseball’s moving to Broadway, Mamma Mia’s making room for Rocky, King Kong is scouting theaters in New York, a brand new theater opens in Brooklyn.  Les Miz has found its man — men and women leads. Mary-Louise has return to Broadway (see review of The Snow Geese below), Nina Arianda announces her return to a New York stage, Isabella Rossellini is going to BAM for a show about sex.

The Week in New York Theater

Monday, October 21, 2013

Lou Gehrig, played by John Wernke, in Bronx Bombers, a play about the Yankees
Lou Gehrig, played by John Wernke, in Bronx Bombers, a play about the Yankees

The Bronx Bombers, about the New York Yankees, is transferring to Broadway in January.


The mayor invited New Yorkers to “move up town and enjoy the pure, clean air.”  This was in 1836, and he meant 42nd Street. From Spotlight on Broadway, the new website from New York City.

What’s so great about innovation?

Todd London of the New Dramatists was one of the speakers in something called the National Innovation Summit for Arts + Culture

“I’ve come to bury innovation, not to praise it,” he said, decrying donors’ obsession with the word.

“We make home for fifty playwrights in a world of their words. Words discovered and discarded, considered, blown apart, and put back together. Maybe this explains the deep offense I take at the jargon of corporate America that floats the innovation boat….

“We’ve learned to talk about marketing as though it were community engagement. And now we are challenged to add innovation to the list of empty phrases to live by.…

“Why fetishize innovation? Why not excavation, elaboration, celebration? Not all artistic enterprises, not all historical moments, demand radical departure. More often than not, the new is actually something old, something other, that we’ve previously refused to hear …”

His full speech is in this video starting at 33 minutes. An edited transcript is here.

 Foundry Theatre partners with social justice organizations to effect change in New York, writes RJ Maccani, who explains how

King Kong in New York? Not on the Empire State Building this time. The Australian musical, aims for Broadway within 2 years

Michael Kimmel ‏‪(@mkimml): I was waiting for a joke about bringing him to NYC!!

‪Jonathan Mandell: And did I deliver? Or are you still waiting?

Michael Kimmel: It hit all the notes I was looking for!

Jonathan Mandell: Any Australian pals who’ve seen ‪@KingKongStage? As good as we’ve been told?

King Kong ‏‪@KingKongStage  We think so! 🙂 But don’t take our word for it – check out



They raised $10,000 at benefit for Spider-Man performer Daniel Curry, who made his first appearance since accident


The principal cast has been hired for the revival of Les Miserables on Broadway:

Ramin Karimloo

Ramin Karimloo as Jean Valjean

Will Swenson

Will Swenson as Javert


Caissie Levy as Fantine

nikki james

Nikki James as Eponine


Jeffrey Horowitz, artistic director of Theater For A New Audience

Congratulations to  Theater for a New Audience for its building opening in Fort Greene,  Polonsky Shakespeare Center I’ll miss them in MY neighborhood though.

Theater For A New Audience (‏@TheatreforaNewA) Thanks!  We hope you’ll visit us in Brooklyn!

I love Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowtiz’s corny speech welcoming them: “To be or not to be in Brooklyn was never a question.”

Kimberly Olstad ‏‪@kolstada:  It looks stunning. Can’t wait to visit!

Cody ‏‪@candrus68:  Saw it under construction. It is awe-inspiring.

Will trend towards broadcasting live performances wipe out small/regional arts organizations, Michael Kaiser of the Kennedy Center asks.

Sing a song, sing out loud,sing out….Broadway!

Lin-Manuel Miranda, Jason Robert Brown and Tom Kitt are among the Broadway composers writing music for Sesame Street

“When I got the recording of Elmo,I could not have been more excited if it had been Frank Sinatra” — Jason Robert Brown.



Broadway veteran  Joel Grey, 81, (best-known as MC in Cabaret) will publish a memoir entitled Master of Ceremonies

Clever casting of “trans-genre artist” Justin V Bond (Kiki & Herb On Broadway) in Brecht’s A Man’s A Man at Classic Stage Company starting January 10, 2014.

Angela Lansbury,Tyne Daly and many more to celebrate  thelife of theater publicist Shirley Herz (1925-2013) 1:30, November 4 Samuel J Friedman Theater

DevinMojicaNineteen-year-old Devin Mojica is becoming a Broadway playwright! Winner of a competition, he’ll write for 24 Hour Plays on Broadway, mentored by Craig “muMs” Grant.
The six plays,  put together in one day and starring such luminaries as Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Zachary Levi, will be presented  on November 18th at American Airlines Theater.

NBC’s Sound of Music Dec 5 “like going to a Bway show, but you’re in your living room,” says star ‪Carrie Underwood ‪#ButNoPlaybill

Andrea Diaz ‏‪@Drea7886 Certain things can’t be remade… The Sound of Music is one such thing !

Two days before ‪NBC broadcasts Sound of Music December 5,‪ Sony Masterworks will release cast album, with Underwood, Auda McDonald, etc.

Kathryn Lurie ‏‪@kathrynlurie‬ 

I am not ok with this. ‪#purist
David Hyde Pierce stars in The Landing by his nephew Greg Pierce (music by John Kander of Cabaret and Chicago fame), opening tonight at the ‪Vineyard theatre. ‪
‘Never touched the diapers,” David Hyde Pierce. But he has been touching the plays, as mentor,show doctor, star


Dish from 15 who’ve played  the witch Elphaba in 10 years of ‪Wicked (eg Aaron Tveit best kisser)

Warhol’s ‪Penny Arcade and John Waters’ ‪Mink Stole star in Tennessee Williams’ The Mutilated, ‪at New Ohio Theatre November 1-24

Nina Arianda (Venus In Fur/BornYesterday) will play World War I widow in David Grimm’s Tales From Red Vienna. Opens March

Spike Lee on TV today: We might do Broadway musical of ‘Do the Right Thing.’ I’ll write and direct it but I’m too old to play Mookie


Christopher Fitzgerald (great as leprechaun in Finian’s Rainbow) assumes role of Mr. Cellophane in ‪Chicago as of October 28

Yes, ‪WICKED is turning 10, and has made billions of dollars. But now it’s hit the big time: On Monday, it’ll be an entire category on ‪Jeopardy

Ed Harris, Glenne Headly in The Jacksonians
Ed Harris, Glenne Headly in The Jacksonians

It doesn’t even begin performances until tomorrow, but ‪The New Group’s The Jacksonian, by Beth Henley, directed ‪by Robert Falls, starring Ed Harris Glenne Headly, Amy Madigan, Bill Pullman, extends to December 22

Isabella Rossellini’s 1-woman show “Green Porno” about mating rituals of insects (adapted from TV series) ‪Brooklyn Academy of Music, Jan 16-25

What is Audience Engagement?

‪ What is “audience engagement” and how does it differ from engaging audiences with, um, a good theater piece? ‪

Aaron Carter ‏‪@TechneMorph I define it specifically as interaction with audience outside of performance. You?

Erin Hopkins ‏‪@Hoppicans I think of lobby displays, audience activities; being aware of zeitgeist in communities

L. Nicol Cabe ‏‪@nicolthegreat‬ Yeah, “audience engagement” seems like extension of idea that we have to train audiences to view art. I find that a little insulting to audiences. If they “don’t get it” then maybe WE’RE doing it wrong. ‪

Aaron Carter ‏‪ Is it less insulting to think about offering multiple access points to art?

Jonathan Mandell: The best kind of audience engagement outside of performance is arguably online, e.g. ‪New York NeoFuturists and New Paradise Labs Nobody would mistake the weekly “Twitter plays” from ‪@nyneofuturists as nothing more than marketing.

The Doris Duke Performing Artist Awards  @ddpaa: Having audiences feel ownership/invested is key. Social media creates opportunities for direct participation with an organization.

NY Neo-Futurists ‏‪@nyneofuturists Theater functions best when it is a communal experience. Online forums broaden the community. That said, there is no substitute for being in the room where things happen.

New Paradise Labs ‏‪@NewParadiseLabs: Online engagement also invites in digital natives who may not be experienced with darkened room. We love the darkened room. We love the translucent room as well. Where things are not so medieval.

Jonathan Mandell: Whose idea was the Twitter feed of Next to Normal, which got about a million followers
Alli Houseworth ‏‪@AlliHouseworth It was ‪Situation Interactive, an interactive agency in NYC

Holly L. Derr @hld6oddblend Theater isn’t an app, It can’t always be configured to users’ tastes.

Eric Pfeffinger ‏ ‪@epfeffin Idea of spring boarding from theater’s mission & plays’ content into relevant community action is actually exciting.

(This conversation was an edited excerpt from a weekly Howlround chat on Twitter.)

The Snow GeeseSamuel J. Friedman Theatre

My review of The Snow Geese

Mary-Louise Parker, whose performance in White’s play marks her sixth time on Broadway, has said that “The Snow Geese”  feels like “a lost Chekhov” – and that’s about right, although not in the way she surely meant. It loses in the Chekhov competition to last season’s far more lively Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike. Yes, that play was ridiculous in some ways, a spoof as much as an homage. White’s play is more elegant, the allusions to the masterful Russian dramatist (slightly) more subtle. The snow geese of the title are a more useful recurring metaphor (for waste, for example; the family kills more than they can retrieve or eat) than Sonia’s “I am a wild turkey” refrain. But, despite Daniel Sullivan’s polished direction, an extraordinary cast, especially Danny Burstein and Victoria Clark; a beautiful and inventive set design by the reliable John Lee Beatty; Jane Greenwood’s as-usual spot-on costumes; and Japhy Weideman’s strikingly atmospheric lighting, “The Snow Geese” leaves you feeling at a loss as to what to make of the play.

Full review of The Snow Geese


Mamma Mia NY

Mamma Mia began after 9/11 and wasn’t expected to last. Five thousand performances and $622 million later, it’s moving ‪http://apne.ws/19E0dxp

industrialmusicalMusicals about tractors, utility companies, insurance firms? A new book explores the industrial musical . Kander and Ebb (Chicago, Cabaret) did one called “Go Fly A Kite” for electrical companies convention.

A drama degree is a waste of time and money for actors, says Paul Roseby, the artistic director of the National Youth Theatre of Great Britain. The head of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts ‪disagrees ‪

What effect do period costumes have on actors? The Stage Directors and Choreographers Foundation ‪has given JoAnn Yeoman a George C Wolfe Fellowship to find out.

Marcia Polas ‏‪@polaspilates It would be interesting to look at this in relation to movement patterns and how they impact natural patterns.


Stephen Sondheim is getting ‪the Louis Auchincloss Prize from the Museum of the City of New York on November 19, given annually to an artist or writer whose work is inspired by and enhances New York City.

at the Gay Liberation statue by George Segal In Sheridan Square
at the Gay Liberation statue by George Segal In Sheridan Square

Been waiting for Godot? ‪Beckett’s Waiting for Godot and Pinter’s No Man’s Land start performances in repertory today today. No more ‪more Sir Pat and Sir Ian on the town pics?

AfterMidnightArtisDangerous‪Dule Hill @DuleHill
“ART is Dangerous…It’s one of the attractions” – Duke Ellington, After Midnight

The Rascals: Once Upon a Dream
will reportedly return to Broadway’s Marquis Theater for 3 weeks starting December 16

Blythe Danner, Amanda Peet, Sarah Jessica Parker
Blythe Danner, Amanda Peet, Sarah Jessica Parker

Sarah Jessica Parker and Blythe Danner in Amanda Peet’s The Commons of Pensacola 16-second video

Rocky Marquee

This weird anybody out?


L.A.-based casting directors want to boycott the new Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in Beverly Hills because they hired a NYC casting director,  to cast its first play play

Lou Reed, 1942-2013


Betrayal with Daniel Craig, Rachel Weisz and Rafe Spall opens tonight. Here are nine photographs

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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