Sound of Music Snark. The Laugh Police. Off-Off Broadway Groundbreaking. The Week in New York Theater

LauraBenantionTVSoundofMusic2Let’s face it, the live TV broadcast of The Sound of Music overshadowed whatever exciting news about Broadway itself this week–  new leads for Bullets Over Broadway and Act One; the Grammy nominees for Best Musical Theater Album; firmed up dates for several shows — and even some literally groundbreaking news about Off-Off Broadway.

Below: recap (review) and some of the snarky Tweets during the show. Also: a spirited debate about theater etiquette.

Week in New York Theater Dec 2 to 8, 2013

Monday, December 2

Tyne Daly returns to Broadway in Terrence McNally’s Mothers and Sons, at John Golden Theater. Previews begin Feb 23; opens March 24. Daly plays a mother who, 20 years after her son’s death from AIDS, travels from Texas to New York to see her son’s former lover.

Are you bored by whole passages of Shakespeare plays? Don’t feel guilty. That might be part of what makes them great.

Is this a Golden Age of Shakespeare? Or is the Bard a bully, crowding out others?

Aladdin marquee

Opened today: The New Amsterdam Theatre box office, for tickets to Aladdin, which arrives on Broadway Feb. 26

Pippin 9

Pippin recoups its  $8.5 million investment


Postscript to Kinky Boots attack: It had its best week ever, with more than 100% attendance & record-breaking $1.9 million at the box office.


In the documentary Six by Sondheim: James Lapine, Stephen Sondheim,  Jackie Hoffman, America Ferrera, Darren Criss, Laura Osnes, and Jeremy Jordan
In the documentary Six by Sondheim: James Lapine, Stephen Sondheim, Jackie Hoffman, America Ferrera, Darren Criss, Laura Osnes, and Jeremy Jordan

Six By Sondheim debuts on HBO Monday. Watch video excerpt: Darren Criss, Jeremy Jordan and America Ferrera sing “Opening Doors” from Merrily We Roll Along.

Mark Rylance as Olivia in Twelfth Night on Broadway
Mark Rylance as Olivia in Twelfth Night on Broadway

Producers, please note: Twelfth Night and Richard III did great at the box office even though they sell 2,000 seats per week at just $25.


Most of the stars of Kinky Boots will be departing the show early next year but Billy Porter will remain at least through July 2014.

The Supremes
The Supremes

All evening performances of Motown the Musical will now be at 7:30.

Alexandra Silber, so terrific in Caramoor’s She Loves Me, will play a GI’s wife in new musical Arlington at the Vineyard Theater, opening in March.

Feel shut out of 700 Sundays on Broadway by its high prices? HBO is planning to film it.

MarySchmidtCampbellArts education makes a difference, says NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts departing dean Mary Schmidt Campbell: If you put well-designed arts programs into the schools… you can raise the performance in reading, math & science.

Good news: Twelfth Night and Richard III extended to Feb 16.

More great news: Fun Home, top of my top 10 list, extends once again at the Public Theater, to Jan 12.

The Rockettes in the "Parade of the Wooden Soldiers" in the Radi

Christmas Theater

Christmas cheer is a cut-throat business, something I learned from the composer of Rudolph the Rednosed Reindeer, Johnny Marks, who pointed out to me that the success of his little ditty and others such as Jingle Bells filled the airwaves every December, making it nearly impossible to get airtime for new Christmas songs, including his own.

Does this work the same for Christmas theater?

Full article, listing the shows

Do the theater etiquette police ever make you wish you had stayed home?

Joy Meads ‏@capnjoy4  I regularly get glared at because I have a loud laugh. (Never disrespectful, in the wrong place, just loud.) I hate it.
I had one woman tell me I didn’t know how to attend theater. I said “ma’am, I’m the literary manager of Steppenwolf Theatre”
For the record, I’m a very respectful audience member. I think it’s about perceived class
 Jonathan Mandell: How did she react?
Joy Meads: just huffed and walked away. What could she say? Drove me crazy because she and her husband talked during the play. Come on.
Zena ‏@scarletseas4 no bc I’m usually one of them!
Jonathan Mandell: I hope you’re at least polite police. Rudeness is its own violation of theater etiquette
Zena: agreed – remember in cinema man shushed me when I was telling MD sis what happened as she had gone out to answer her pager!
Iana Brownstein ‏@bostonturgy Surly British woman waited til quiet moment of ART in West End, turned & yelled at me: “You have the MOST annoying laugh!”
Raymond McNeel ‏@RaymondMcNeel  The second most important reason the under 30 crowd stays home.
Danielle Pashun ‏@DanielleP3214  I think we need more of them! Ppl think when a scene ends that means “commercial break” which means “lets have a convo” :/
KatieGonzo ‏@KatieGonzo Depends. Are they quietly raising a hand to still the water-torture of someone unwrapping a candy?
On the other hand, some old biddy subscribers once chastised my students for “laughing too much”- *at the jokes*.

Joy Meads: Down with the laugh police!


Marin Mazzie cast in Bullets Over Broadway’s much-sought role of drunk leading lady Helen Sinclair (played by Dianne Wiest in the film)

The arts and culture contribute $500 billion to GDP, more than travel & tourism, in first-ever (!) measure of their economic value. The new index meets longtime challenge… of determining the arts’ value, says National Endowment for the Art research director.

The problem with putting a dollar figure on the arts and culture is that no matter how high, dollars don’t get at the arts’ full value.

Details on Big Fish’s album: released digitally Feb. 7, 2014, in stores, Feb. 11 from Broadway Records.

Why Spider-man move to Vegas isn’t sign of failure: Defensive rant about NY snobs from Las Vegas Weekly. “Vegas can do NY theater successfully, but NY still hasn’t figured out how to do much that’s Vegas-worthy.”
Nella Vera ‏@spinstripes And thank god for that!
Terry Teachout  Is that a good thing or a bad thing
Kate O’Phalen ‏@KateOPhalen Man, does that article miss the mark *and* reek of the same snideness it accuses NY of. Just because you can import watered down bway show, doesn’t mean you can do NY theatre.
Sierra Rein ‏@SierraRein Author writes “I don’t know if Spider-Man is crap. It might be” = ignorance. It was a mess.
Kate O’Phalen: Also agreed on that. I’ve seen Vegas-style shows, and Spider-Man was not up to par.

“When is it censorship, and when is it simply saying no thanks?”Clayton Lord writes about Mormon love of art and the Trumbull high school principal’s banning of the musical Rent in order to conclude: Some works of art “might just not fit into the values, mores, and beliefs of a particular group of people” Interesting to read the comments at the bottom.

The Sound of Music

SoundofMusicMariaandkidsI wrote what I called a recap of The Sound of Music (really a review) but there was a whole different entertainment going on during the show – “live-Tweeting it.” One person’s sample:

Author: New York Theater

Jonathan Mandell is a 3rd generation NYC journalist, who sees shows, reads plays, writes reviews and sometimes talks with people.

1 thought on “Sound of Music Snark. The Laugh Police. Off-Off Broadway Groundbreaking. The Week in New York Theater

  1. I loved keeping up with Twitter during the show. What I found most interesting is that there was a distinct difference between the reactions I saw on Facebook and Twitter. I use Facebook to keep up with my friends and family, who mostly live in South Louisiana and have extremely limited access to the wonderful productions we have in NYC at our fingertips. I use Twitter to follow my interests, which include Broadway aficionados. As you can imagine, Twitter was extremely critical. It was nice to see Facebook people thoroughly enjoying the show … and I don’t think they would have tuned in if there wasn’t a headliner or two.

    Also, how fantastic is it that three TONY winners trended nationally on Twitter? We can thank Carrie Underwood for that.


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