President Obama has nominated a new head of the National Endowment of the Arts, Sky the winner of the Westminster Dog Show was cast in Kinky Boots, and Elaine Stritch has started to Tweet. Yes, that all counts as theater news, and it all happened this past week. Also: new plans for a Performing Arts Center at the World Trade Center site, a new Cosette in Les Miz, the return of Hugh Jackman, the return of Titanic with the original cast, dates for Sting’s The Last Ship, and my review of the Pulitzer-winning play Dinner With Friends. Below is a video to mark the death of Shirley Temple, and a photo essay on the theater festival inspired by the death of Trayvon Martin.
Plus, answers to important questions: Is it OK to mock older theatergoers? Should a non-profit theater charge $162 for tickets? Has nudity ever salvaged a bad play? Can you buy talent for $80,000?
Why do the wrong people travel, travel, travel…? Because I’m in a New York state of mind, kiddos! pic.twitter.com/CI3xzRlalZ
— Elaine Stritch (@ElaineStritch) February 15, 2014
The Week in New York Theater, Feb 10 – 16
Monday, February 10, 2014
Shirley Temple, child star turned ambassador, has died at age 85. She will always be 7.
Facing Our Truth: 10-Minute Plays on Trayvon, Race and Privilege
A half-dozen brief, commissioned plays at the National Black Theater inspired by the shooting of Trayvon Martin, were intelligent, non-polemical takes on the issues raised by the case. In Dominique Morisseau’s “Night Vision,” for example, Ayana has called the police to report that a black man was beating a woman in the street. How did you know he was black, her husband Ezra asks; it was dark out and he was wearing a hood. Both Ezra and Ayana are themselves African-American.
For the fourth time, Hugh Jackman will serve as host of The Tony Awards. June 8.
Maggie Gyllenhaal will make her Broadway debut co-starring with Ewan McGregor in Roundabout’s revival of Tom Stoppard’s The Real Thing set to open Oct. 30. Gyllenhaal’s role, originally played by Glenn Close, is Annie, who is having an extramarital affair with a playwright. Because of this part, Gyllenhaal has dropped out of MCC’s Off-Broadway production of “The Village Bike”
@NewYorkTheater Yes, “I Can’t Give You Anything but Love,” “Stormy Weather,” “Zah Zuh Zaz” and “On the Sunny Side of the Street.”
— After Midnight (@AfterMidnightNY) February 11, 2014
Dramatists Guild award for lifetime achievement: John Guare. Other DG awardees include Chris Durang, Lisa Kron, Viola Davis. Special award to Larissa Mark, the Trumbull H.S. student who led successful campaign to reverse ban on Rent.
The indefatigable (67-year-old) Andrea Martin will star in Roundabout’s revival of Noises Off, Jan 2015
Why do so many theater people think it’s ok to dismiss and ridicule the most loyal audience, theatergoers over 50? (asked after listening to a podcast scoffing at the reaction of “old people” to various recent productions.)
Beverly Baker @TheatreAddict That’s so true. Without us over 50 people, nonprofit theatres wouldn’t have their much needed support.
Miles Lott @mlottjr A reflection of a good portion of society.
Margarette Connor @mrc0201 Cult of youth in this country perhaps. Of course, after 50, who is still viable? asks the 53 year-old with tongue firmly in cheek
Jonathan Mandell Viable enough so that, without them, a lot of theaters would go under.
Margarette Connor There really is no respect for age and “age” is getting lower all the time. Sad
Sting’s The Last Ship is coming to Broadway in the Fall, after a run in Chicago: Performances start Sept 30, show opens Oct 26, at the Neil Simon Theater
Pres. Obama has nominated Jane Chu of The Kauffman Center in Kansas City, Mo to be the new chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, a position that has been empty for a year, ever since Rocco Landesman left. Chu is a pianist who led construction of the $400 million Kauffman Center, which helped revitalize Kansas City, Mo
Remember plans for the Performing Arts Center at World Trade Center? Trying again, with all-British team.
Frank Gehry will design it. Young Vic Theatre’s David Lan will run it. When it’s completed, no earlier than 2018, it will feature theater, music, dance, opera. (The sketch above is simply one suggestion, not at all definitive.)
Kicked out as Cosette in Les Miserables
Unfortunate things happen. But its the hardships in life that make you stronger, better, and more resilient.
— Charlotte Maltby (@cmalts) February 12, 2014
Heather Clough @gypsysmiles Seriously???
Nicole 🙂 @FightOnNicole Seriously? What happened?!?
Jonathan Mandell: Les Miz won’t say why or what happened, only that Samantha Hill (Phantom) is now playing Cosette.
Zena @scarletseas At least it wasn’t the entire cast like years ago when CamMac fired them all! <3 LesMis
Sky, wire fox terrier crowned top dog at Westminster Dog Show, joined the cast of Kinky Boots (for 1 show) #woof
— Kyle Metzger (@KyleMetzger_11) February 12, 2014
Shakespeare in the Park 2014:
1. Lily Rabe, Hamish Linklater in “Much Ado About Nothing”
2 John Lithgow in “King Lear.”
Cup of Noodles mascot forced to shovel snow (in Japan). Seems like a good summing up of today.
Hugely profitable NFL gets big tax breaks. So why the bitching about the arts,asks critic Philip Kennicott
On 1st day of rehearsal for #ACTONE, the company shared the #FirstBroadwayShow they ever saw.
Jonathan Mandell: What were theirs?
Lincoln Center Theater: There was quite a mix! The Sound of Music, Phantom of the Opera, Death of a Salesman, Cats, Hair, Into the Woods…
Susan Shay @susanmshay I end up paying more for daycare than I make in any acting gig..but if I stop now hard to get back in game.
@yinzerspielen There are Brooklyn Arts Exchange residencies designed specifically for parents.
So many young NYC theater artists support themselves by nannying. What if they did so for artist parents
Cody @candrus68 never done it, but my actor friends’ best gigs were for artists- dancer moms, actor couples
Near the end of “Dinner With Friends,” an insightful comedy that restores the word “adult” to its rightful meaning, Gabe confesses to his wife Karen that he’s fallen out of love – not with her, but with his best friend.
In the Roundabout’s satisfying revival of Donald Margulies’ Pulitzer Prize winning play, Marin Hinkle and Jeremy Shamos portray Karen and Gabe, a happily married couple who learn that their best friends, the couple Tom and Beth, are decoupling.
…“Dinner With Friends” offers more than an exploration of marriage. It is a subtle exploration of the tensions between characters who think they know one another long and well, and learn that maybe they don’t. The play asks us to look at the way that one’s perceptions can shift, even if only slightly – and how that can be enough to upend one’s basic assumptions. This works for the characters…but also for the audience.
Full review of Dinner With Friends
Hello Twitter! Hold on to your hats. I’m ready to tweet everything from anywhere to anyone who gives a damn!
— Elaine Stritch (@ElaineStritch) February 14, 2014
Ralph Waite, known to TV viewers as the father on The Waltons but a veteran NY stage actor as well, has died at age 85.
At the curtain call for the first preview of @RockyBroadway last night, a surprise
This photograph was taken by David Gordon
Is there love theater the way there are love songs? Yes, but it’s different. Actors, playwrights and informed theatergoers explain the plays that defined love for them, including Aida
@NewYorkTheater It has been like going to heaven where you see the people you love and sing songs with them.
— walkinglife (@walkinglife) February 15, 2014
At rehearsal for Titanic, Ryan Silverman and Jill Paice, who were to star in Rebecca on Broadway, talk about what it was like to watch their show sink so spectacularly in public.
For its new “Cabaret”, Roundabout is charging top price of $162. This is non-profit?!! And they’re not alone
The New Group’s The Jacksonian charged $125
PublicTheaterNY’s Fun Home: $105
MTC ‘s The Commons of Pensacola: $105
Roundabout, Patrick Healy writes, had a $5.5 million deficit last year on a $60 million budget.
Jonathan Mandell So maybe, scale down,not price up!
Erica McLaughlin @EricaTWNY ugh.
Daniel Bourque @Danfrmbourque But there’s the problem. Non-profits CAN’T scale down, they have to keep expanding and getting bigger to attract funding. This of course led to what has become so classic: the building boom where theatres keep building new spaces and the like. more orgs should look towards endowment. Very few theatres do it on a large scale; much more common with museums, etc.
Dom DeGaetano @DomDeGaetano The next great movement in theater will be open rebellion against the non-profit business model.
Neighborhoodr EV @NHEastVillage Scale down, sure, plus sponsorships? And more premium tickets/packages?
Dom DeGaetano It’s less a matter of getting smaller than of getting lighter.
Cole Horibe, Virgil Gadson and Jess LeProtto are among the contestants on So You Think You Can Dance who are now in shows on Broadway or Off-Broadway — Coribe in Kung Fu, Gadson in After Midnight, LeProtto in Newsies.
Is it a good or a bad development that TV shows like American Idol and So You Think You Can Dance? have become farm teams for Broadway?
Steven Tartick Fresh talent and a new audience sounds like a win.
In your experience, has nudity ever salvaged a bad stage show?
(asked after seeing The Correspondent at Rattlestick)
Adam Green @Adam___Green Yes, for the duration of the nudity & 20 seconds after
Philip Vonada @PhilipVonada No. Because it bad shows, nudity tends to be used as a device instead of honoring the story.
After Ever After @AEA_Musical No, but with Spider-Man I would have been willing to try.
Audiences dread idea of verse plays (plays w/poetry) which is why producers don’t advertise the verse part.
“I just don’t think you’re very talented.”
“What?! Are you kidding me? I spent $80,000 on a theater BFA. Of course I am talented, Gerald.” ~ from Girls, on HBO.