3 Broadway shows closing. Alanis Morissette. Il Divo. Thursday matinees. The Week in New York Theater

“Before something can be brilliant, it first has to be competent” — from list of lessons learned in Song of Spider-Man, newly published memoir by Glen Berger, book writer of Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark

They say bad things come in threes, and indeed three shows on Broadway this past week announced a closing date. But good things come in multiples as well. Mark Rylance is playing two different roles — and two different genders — in the two Shakespeare plays that just opened at the Belasco, and he is not the only actor playing multiple roles on New York stages this season. There are the two Knights — Sir Ian McEllen and Sir Patrick Stewart playing Beckett’s Waiting for Godot and Pinter’s No Man’s Land, which open November 24. Jefferson Mays plays so many suspects in “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder,” opening November 17th, and Jeff Blumenkrantz plays so many suspects in “Murder for Two,” I can’t even fit them all on the page (This is from a larger graphic in the New York Times)

What has been your favorite multiple-role performance? Answer for a chance to win a multiple number of free tickets (two, actually) to Murder for Two. Enter the Murder for Two contest here — you have just one (1) day until the contest ends.


The Week in New York Theater

Monday, November 4, 2013

Clockwise from top left: Wicked, The Lion King, James Franco, Bryan Cranston, Les Miz all made theater news in October.
Clockwise from top left: Wicked, The Lion King, James Franco, Bryan Cranston, Les Miz all made theater news in October. Answer 10 quiz questions.

New York Theater October 2013 Quiz

Exciting season ‪at the 92nd Street Y’s Lyrics & Lyricists series: Faith Prince, Rob McClure,Christiane Noll, Rachel York.MGM Musicals

 What I learned about labor issues in the arts by Alexis Clements

e.g. A lot of work we do is illegally treated as contract work.


Happy Birthday to Andrea McArdle, the original Annie (“The sun will come out tomorrow”) who today turns a fabulous 50.

Kathleen Chalfant will join Nina Arianda in cast of ‪MTC’s Tales from Red Vienna. Two of my favorite stage actresses.


TimeToKill3A Time To Kill is closing November 17, less than a month after opening on Broadway.

Joel Peterson ‏@livetweetably already????

Douglas Otero ‏@dstylemakeup  really?

Shannon Leigh ‏@LVShannyLeigh what a shame!! 🙁 I was really looking forward to seeing it 🙁

Julie Havercate ‏@CriticalConfab I object! And declare a mistrial! We’ll appeal! Etc etc.

First Date

First Date is closing January 5, after having played 34 previews and 174 regular performances

The American theater lacks diversity at the top, Lily Janiak writes, and nobody’s sure what to do about it.

But there has been some progress: In 1985, 9 percent  of the students at the Yale School of Drama were people of color.

1995: 14 percent

2005: 22 percent

2013: 29 percent

Incoming class: 40 percent


Guys and Dolls with Nathan Lane, Patrick Wilson, Megan Mullally, Sierra Boggess. Dream cast, but for real April 3 only at Carnegie Hall.

As the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, there are three new theater pieces in New York, at Symphony Space, 59 E 59, and The Public Theater.


Starting up again tonight Three Day Hangover’s Romeo and Juliet, best-reviewed of three currently in NYC.

How Diversity Helps Art

Cara Mía Theatre Co. ‏‪@CaraMiaTheatre‬ Critical question. Also, what are the advantages organizationally?

Jon Jon Johnson ‏‪@DCJonJon A better representation of a community demographic. More culture and experience from which artists can draw.

Elaine Avila ‏‪@ObrigadaAvila  New Ideas. New Perspectives. Everything. Every time I have had it as a core value, secretly or not, the artistry is much better.

N. Temesgen @cafeaulazy  If we had a very clear answer to this, it would be harder to shrug off on a $ issue.

Zakiyyah alexander‏‪@model_minority diversity means creating an artistic world that looks like the world we live in – class + race equally important. It also means that white people don’t have ownership of ‘universal story’ while people of color have ownership of poor/disenfranchised story

Kayhan Irani ‏‪@KayhanIrani Artistic advantages of ethnic diversity: fresh worldviews, new aesthetic traditions, and smarts! ‪#newplay

Kelvin D.‏‪@kbd217 I think it’s reductive to say “better” or “quality”. art should be effective at reaching its aud. ‪#newplay

(This is an excerpt from a Howlround Twitter chat about diversity)

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

My review of The Jacksonian

The Jacksonian” by Beth Henley (Crimes of the Heart) is the second  play debuting in New York this season to feature a murder taking place in Mississippi….It is also the second play starring a married couple well known for their separate screen roles – in this case Ed Harris and Amy Madigan — portraying an unhappily married couple….But Beth Henley’s play, produced by The New Group and set for a limited run through December 22 at Theatre Row, is the first this season – and in memory – to mix unhinged Southern Gothic, film noir, Pinteresque inscrutability and macabre humor…For all the spot-on acting and theatrical craftsmanship,  “The Jacksonian,”with its odd mix of tones, elusiveness, and truly repellent characters, will not be everybody’s cup of chloroform.

Full review of The Jacksonian

Robert Falls ‏@RobertFalls  Oh, really who wouldn’t like a nice cup of chloroform once in a while? I’m having one now – nice review. Thanks.


Broadway shows Cinderella, Mamma Mia and Phantom at the Opera will offer Thursday matinees starting April 3, 2014

AlanisMorissetteJaggedLittlePillAlanis Morissette is adapting into Broadway-aiming musical “Jagged Little Pill,” her 1995 album, written after she was robbed at gunpoint

Mike Tyson has turned Undisputed Truth, his one-man show, into a book. “Working on this book makes me think that my whole life has been a joke.”

 Has it become too expensive to pursue the arts in this country? Six essays. Now’s “exciting time to be a dramatic writer,” writes playwright Thomas Bradshaw. And the cost? Cheap rent and a side job help.

David Loehr @dloehr Depends on where you’re an artist. I’m doing fine, but I live in farm country, low cost of living.

Jonathan Mandell ‏@NewYorkTheater IS it possible to make a living as a theater artist in NYC? If not, how come there are so many of them here?

Tlaloc Rivas ‏@TlalocRivas The ones with trust funds.

college theatre dork ‏@theTheatreDork  didn’t realize how big a budget is needed for a quality – or is it needed? I’m just trying to figure out a living post-grad


Il Divo reviews In sum: Il Don’t

(Philosophical question: If performers spend a week in a Broadway theater, but not eligible for awards, & few critics are invited, is it a Broadway show?)


Mamma Mia has just moved into its new Broadway home, the Broadhurst — in time to clebrate today its 5,000th performance on Broadway.


My review of Domesticated

“Domesticated,” Bruce Norris’s comedy about the aftermath of a political sex scandal, stars Jeff Goldblum as the politician and  Laurie Metcalfe as his wife, but the clue to assessing this play is the casting of Mary Beth Peil as the philandering politician’s mother  — the exact same role she plays in The Good Wife, a television series that began as the aftermath of a political sex scandal, but has moved on to more complex and interesting issues.

“Domesticated” sticks to sex. It is apparently Norris’s attempt to offer what he sees as the kind of inconvenient truths about our attitudes towards sex as he did about our attitudes towards race in Clybourne Park, his clever riff and update on the classic Lorraine Hansberry play “A Raisin in the Sun.”….Domesticated” offers us nothing all that new, interesting or complex about the battle of the sexes, but it presents it in the gift-wrapping of some first-rate performers.

Full review of Domesticated


BigFish11Big Fish will play its final performance December 29, after 34 previews and 98 regular performances.

cyd ‏@cydneychilders WHAT NO NO NO NO…this is illegal no stop

David tennant_and_tchaikovsky?A “bioarchaeologist” riffs on the skull as a prop and symbol of theater.

Productions of Hamlet almost always use just a cranium, not a full skull.

At least nine major nineteenth-century actors who portrayed Hamlet at the Walnut Street Theater signed a cranium donated to the theater for use in their productions.

“The most famous use of human remains as a stage prop is the case of the skull of concert pianist André Tchaikovsky. Tchaikovsky was evidently so moved by a performance of Hamlet at the Royal Shakespeare Company that he legally bequeathed his skull to the theatre.” (pictured above)

“(I)n 2009 Jude Law insisted on employing a 200-year-old human skull as the key prop in his portrayal of the scene, suggesting that both artist and audience remain fascinated by the use of authentic human remains to this day.”

Foreground, Angus Wright as Duke of Buckingham, Mark Rylance as King Richard III; background, John Paul Connolly as Ratcliff, Joseph Timms as Anne

My review of Twelfth Night and Richard III

After a Romeo on a motorcycle,Macbeth in an insane asylum, andJulius Caesar in a women’s prison, Mark Rylance decided to bring his own high concept to  Shakespeare’s plays – presenting “Twelfth Night” and “Richard III” the way the Bard intended.

The Shakespeare’s Globe productions that opened tonight are best-known for having a cast entirely comprised of men. But that is far from the only aspect of the two plays in repertory at the Belasco Theater that re-create the experience of Elizabethan audiences –  and that make for electrifying theater.

Full review of Twelfth Night and Richard III

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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