Stage Kisses! Oprah on Broadway? Diahann Carroll Not on Broadway! Oscar Wilde on Russia. The Week in New York Theater

Photos of the most memorable stage kisses stories told to Playwrights Horizons

Theater exists only for a moment, but it also goes back for thousands of years.  This week, Oscar Wilde and the Group Theatre come back to life; Almost, Maine makes a triumphant return to New York; Oprah Winfrey reaches back for her Broadway acting debut.  Details below.

Also below: My reviews of Bronx Bombers on Broadway, and Charles Busch’s latest cross-dressing farce, The Tribute Artist.

The Week in New York Theater, February 3 – 9, 2014

Monday, February 3

New Wicked cast members

New cast members for Wicked on Broadway starting February 25: Christine Dwyer as Elphaba, Jenni Barber as Glinda, Justin Guarini as Fiyero,  Mary Testa as  Madame Morrible

The third winter storm of 2014 -- and, like the others, no canceled shows.
The third winter storm of 2014 — and, like the others, no canceled shows.


Carly Rae Jepsen, soon to be Cinderella
Carly Rae Jepsen, who has taken over the title role in Cinderella, from a photo spread in Paper Magazine

Is filmed theater a new art form, asks Rachael Castell of Digital Theatre.

If a playwright writes outside his or her race/gender, is it “cultural appropriation”? Jacqueline E. Lawton considers


Bilingual screening of West Side Story on February 23rd at the United Palace of Cultural Arts will feature an introduction by Lin-Manual Miranda interviewing Rita Moreno!


My review of Almost, Maine

Almost, Maine, returning triumphantly to New York City for the first time since it flopped here in 2006, is one of those plays that has reached such legendary status that it’s a must-see for the theatrically inclined regardless of its actual content.

Full review of Almost, Maine


NeilPatrickHarrisas Hedwig“We can separate artistic pain, the experience of feeling deeply, from leading a painful life.” ~ writer Dorthe Nors.

Do the arts favor the rich? NO, says this report.

 Instead of using arts research to prove our work is valuable, let’s use it to improve our work, says Nina Simon.

Neil Patrick Harris is returning to Broadway in Hedwig and the Angry Inch — which is why he says he’ll be too busy to be host of the 2014 Tony Awards.


OprahinTheButlerOprah Winfrey (seen at left in her role in “The Butler) is in talks to make her Broadway acting debut in a revival of Marsha Norman’s “’Night, Mother,” opposite Audra McDonald, as a mother who tries to stop her daughter from committing suicide.

George C. Wolfe would direct the production, which is aiming for the 2015-16 Broadway season.  The playwright was the book writer on “The Color Purple,” which Winfrey produced — a musical that she is talking about reviving.

Mare Winningham and Reed Birney join Patrick Page and John Cullum in the cast of Harvey Fierstein’s Casa Valentina, which opens on Broadway April 23rd.

Yannick Vézina @BroadwayVez:Can’t wait for this show !!

An artist’s humanity,not race/gender, qualifies them to tell ANY character’s story, says Anjali Bhimani, an actress who appeared in Mary Zimmerman’s The Jungle Book.

Vaclav Havel’s final play, The Pig, a “performance feast” (including dinner) translated by Edward Einhorn, will run at 3LD Art & Technology Center, March 6th to 29th.

Top Hat, Astaire/Rogers film turned UK musical, coming to NYC in March, helmed by Chris Gattelli (Newsies), as “developmental lab”

 Theater artists fear to speak out about anything. Why?

Jon Jon Johnson ‏@>DCJonJon  My guess is that we’re taught that we’re ‘replaceable’ because ‘the show must go on’. Why endanger our positions?
walkinglife desperateforwork
garliacornelia we want to keep our jobs. They are few and far between, so we will out up with a lot.
Jamil Khoury@KhouryJamil This is where self producing comes in but not replicating the bad behavior of others when in power.
Jonathon Hunter ‏I agree job loss is a concern, but also within an organisation the behavior can run deep. Complaining doesn’t solve it.

Bronx BombersCircle in the Square Theatre

My review of Bronx Bombers

You almost have to admire the chutzpah of the producers of “Bronx Bombers,” a dramatically inert play about the Yankees that was poorly received when it ran briefly Off-Broadway but nevertheless now has opened in Broadway’s much larger Circle in the Square Theater. They apparently aim to make their show not just critic-proof, but immune to the opinion even of regular Broadway theatergoers.

Full review of Bronx Bombers on Broadway


HouseofConnelly by ReGroupTheatre

The Group Theatre, Revisited

Eighty-three years after the first play presented by the Group Theatre debuted on Broadway, it has debuted again, Off-Off Broadway, produced by the ReGroup Theater, which aims to bring back the 23 plays that the Group ensemble performed in its ten years of existence.

The House of Connelly by Pulitzer-winning playwright Paul Green remains a shocking play—indeed, it is in some ways more shocking now than it was in 1931, when Group co-founder Lee Strasberg directed a cast that included Stella Adler, Franchot Tone and Clifford Odets (who had exactly one line.)  Strasberg and Adler became famous acting teachers, Tone a movie star, Odets a major American playwright and then a Hollywood burnout, and the Group Theatre became…”legendary”—for having developed “Method acting” in America, and for believing theater should make a difference in the world.

Full article in Howlround about ReGroup’s production of The House of Connelly

Most beautiful building in the theater district, restored. (The statue is of Ethel Barrymore)
Most beautiful building in the theater district, restored. (The statue is of Ethel Barrymore)


Does it matter that a white guy wrote a play about black guys, asks Andrew White (!) of Looking Glass Theater.

Natasha, Pierre and The Great Comet of 1812, at Ars Nova through November 17, 2012
Natasha, Pierre and The Great Comet of 1812, at Ars Nova through November 17, 2012

Producers plan to launch a Kickstarter campaign to raise $500,000 in order to make Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812 into a movie.


diahanncarrollDiahann Carroll has withdrawn from Raisin in the Sun “due to the vigorous demands of the rehearsal and performance schedule.” (?)

Her statement: “The pace of filming movies and TV projects is quite different than the extensive amount of time preparing and appearing ‘live’ on Broadway eight times a week. I enjoyed working with Scott Rudin, Denzel Washington, Kenny Leon and an amazing cast and I wish them well.” Carroll, 78, has performed on Broadway in three productions, the last one “Agnes of God” in 1982.  LaTanya Richardson Jackson will take over the role of Lena Younger. Jackson, wife of actor Samuel Jackson, was last on Broadway in the 2009 revival of August Wilson’s “Joe Turner’s Come and Gone.”


Oscar Wilde’s first play, “Vera, or The Nihilists” is being revived by an all-male cast at HERE — for the first time, say Femme Fatale Theater, in 131 years. My preview

CharlesBuschinTheTributeArtistMy review of The Tribute Artist

Don’t call him a drag queen. “I’m a celebrity tribute artist,” Charles Busch says, in the role of his latest creation, Jimmy, who has lost his job at the Flamingo Hotel’s Boys Will Be Girls Revue in Las Vegas, because nobody is interested anymore in impersonations of Julie Andrews or Pearl Bailey…..  Jimmy puts on his dead landlady’s dresses and assumes her identity, in order for Rita to sell the house. The plan is supposed to be make them both rich. Busch thus sets into motion the mechanics of an old-fashioned farce, which becomes increasingly busy…As crafty as he is as a writer, and spot-on in his comic timing as a performer,  two hours of a silly, convoluted plot may be too much to ask of an audience aging along with him.

Full review of The Tribute Artist

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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