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Love and Bridges. Lin-Manuel Miranda Meets Rita Moreno In The Heights. The Week in New York Theater

Lin-Manuel Miranda briefly danced with Rita Moreno, and interviewed her about her Oscar-winning role as Anita in “West Side Story” before a screening Sunday of the 1961 movie at the United Palace of Cultural Arts in Washington Heights, attended by some 1,600 people!  At 82, Moreno, who published a memoir last year, is still working; she told Miranda she is making a TV pilot for Amy Poehler. 

The United Palace began life in 1930 as an improbably elegant vaudeville house and movie theater.   It is one of the few surviving gems of its era, and Manhattan’s fourth largest theater, just blocks from the George Washington Bridge.  It was turned into a non-profit cultural center in 2012, and what they’re doing there, helped along by “Sunday Movies at the Palace with Lin-Manuel Miranda,” feels like an effort to create a few bridges — between screen arts and live performing arts, between uptown and downtown.

This is a week for bridges, I suppose. A musical adaptation of The Bridges of Madison County opened on Broadway. James Franco, who is about to debut on Broadway, wrote an essay in the New York Times defending the recent erratic antics of Shia LaBeof, who was going to debut on Broadway last year — trying to create a bridge between actor and audience? Bronx Bombers, a play about the New York Yankees, announced it will close after only 29 performances on Broadway, its producers yet again unsuccessful in their attempt to create a bridge between sports and theater fans.

Off-Broadway Week, 2-for-1 tickets, runs now through March 2.

The Week in New York Theater

Monday, February 17, 2014

TitanicatLincolnCenterWhile well-meaning, Gwydion Suilebhan has some very scary suggestions for using tech to measure theater audience’s response.
Gwydion Suilebhan (@GwydionS) Boo
Jonathan Mandell: Hey I don’t want to be wired for “galvanic skin response” when I go to see a show, thank you very much.
Howard Sherman (@HESherman): I’d submit, for test purposes. Just so long as you don’t force my eyes to stay open, as in A CLOCKWORK ORANGE.

Jonathan Mandell @NewYorkTheater Intermission at Titanic, at Lincoln Center. They’ve just hit the iceberg. This is SO well done

18

SidneyPoitierNew exhibition at the Main Library on 42nd St. on Raisin in the Sun, including Hansberry’s manuscript, pictures of cast, Tennessee Williams telegram

Digital technology in service of the arts has kinks to work out, as this grouch points out unsupportively

AngelaLansburyAngela Lansbury, with a career spanning 70 years, will be honored by the American Theatre Wing at its annual gala September 15th.

Lin-Manuel Miranda:
How writing works
1.Think of something that doesn’t exist but should
2.Don’t stop until it exists
3.Make it better

19

Vanessa Williams will be the “Special Guest Star” vocalist in After Midnight from April 1 to May 11.(after Toni Braxton and Kenny Edmonds)

A revival of Edward Albee’s A Delicate Balance “is in the works for next season,” says Michael Riedel, starring Glenn Close.

Free  Barn Series readings by LAByrinth Theater (Philip Seymour Hoffman’s old company) Feb 25 – March 9

???My review of Love and Information 

Sleep/ I can't sleep/ Hot milk/ I hate it now/ Book?/ I don't have one I like./ Just lie there and breathe./ My head's too full of stuff. Are you asleep?/ No, no, what it's fine. You can't sleep?/ I think I'll get up and go on Facebook.

Sleep/
I can’t sleep/
Hot milk/
I hate it now/
Book?/
I don’t have one I like./
Just lie there and breathe./
My head’s too full of stuff. Are you asleep?/
No, no, what it’s fine. You can’t sleep?/
I think I’ll get up and go on Facebook.

At the end of Caryl Churchill’s dazzling experimental play “Love and Information,” theatergoers have spent two hours watching 15 actors portray 100-plus characters in more than 60 scenes, some as short as a few seconds, none longer than a few minutes — each scene, no matter how brief, with its own costumes and props: Two characters elaborately dressed as Elvis Presley impersonators, both looking as if they stayed up too late and drank too much, slouch silently in their seats, until one says: “The difficulty of getting the Israelis and Palestinians to…” Blackout. That’s the whole scene….At around the point where the intermission would have been, I started feeling “Love and Information” overload. I loved it anyway.

Full review of Love and Information

20

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

Bronx Bombers will play its final performance on Broadway March 2, less than a month after opening Feb 6.
The producers’ first sports play, Lombardi, (about football) ran seven months, the second, Magic/Bird (about basketball) 37 performances. This one about baseball will be closing after 29 regular performances.

ChristopherJHankeBroadway vet Christopher J Hanke  (Rent, Cry-Baby,etc) will be replacing Michael Urie in Buyer And Cellar starting March 18th.
And what will Michael Urie be doing? He’ll be touring with Buyer and Cellar — Chicago in May, DC in June, LA in July.

james-franco and Shia LaBeoufJames Franco in defense of Shia LaBeouf, whose “performance art” is trying to “reclaim his public persona”

As an actor, you’re often the most visible part of a project while having the least amount of say over its final form~James Franco

In his will, Philip Seymour Hoffman asks that his son be raised in a city so he can enjoy “the culture, arts and architecture”

Apollo Theater, amateur no more: On its 80th birthday, “the legendary Harlem theater doubles programming and plans to launch its first international tour.”

Theater and Politics – Howlround chat

(Sample:)

Jonathan Mandell: “Politics” is like “community.” It seems to mean different things to different people. In danger of losing meaning

@MrSamuelFrench: Do playwrights set out to make a political statement with their work? Or does it happen naturally in it?

Zena ‏@scarletseas: Of course they do – what is The Crucible after all. Playwrights are intellectuals who think, devise, create

Tiffany Antone @LadyPlaywright Have to walk a fine between storytelling and preaching. Audiences don’t like to be talked AT. Tell the story

Kelli O'Hara and Steven Pasquale

Kelli O’Hara and Steven Pasquale

Bridges of Madison County reviews

21

Click to enlarge

The costs of running a theater.  Cape May Stage turns their budget into a scene.

Opening tonight at Quad Cinema: The Standbys, a documentary film about performers like Merwin Foard, the current standby for Aladdin,  who never perform.

“Unlike understudies or swings.. standbys only get onstage if there’s been a disaster” Announcements of their performance are often greeted by boos

Arts Education and Theater Attendance

Mike Lew @MikeLew4 Arts Education Won’t Save Us from Boring, Inaccessible Theater

Well-argued, but I disagree.
Anybody here have personal experience of arts education making a difference in your theatergoing or theater-making? #artsed

What do you get when you combine Snoopy w/ climate science? #DontbeSadFlyingAce FREE play by @SuperheroCH NYU’s Kimmel Center 3/4 7:30

23

Lopez-Anderson family
Happy 39th Birthday Bobby Lopez, father of two daughters, and of Avenue Q, The Book of Mormon, Frozen…and much to come.

Q and A with Lopez about Frozen.

MariaVanTrapp
Maria von Trapp, the last surviving member of the Trapp Family Singers that inspired the Sound of Music, has died at age 99.

“Before you have any resources, before you have anyone who’s willing to give you a shot, you have your own gut of what you think is good…
I was enormously frustrated as a young director by the fact that I am a very visual thinker; I always had design ideas and I had no money, and so it was very frustrating. It was like this wants to be 4,000 feet of snow, but we’ll settle for this paper bag.” ~ director Lear deBessonet

The Glass Menagerie: There is one magical moment in The Glass Menagerie that I don’t want to talk about since the surprise of it is part of what makes it magical. (For those of you who’ve seen the show – the couch moment.) The rapport between Laura and the gentleman caller is a sustained magical moment, thanks to the performances of Celia Keenan-Bolger and Brian J. Smith.

The Glass Menagerie: There is one magical moment in The Glass Menagerie that I don’t want to talk about since the surprise of it is part of what makes it magical. (For those of you who’ve seen the show – the couch moment.)
The rapport between Laura and the gentleman caller is a sustained magical moment, thanks to the performances of Celia Keenan-Bolger and Brian J. Smith.

The Glass Menagerie comes to an end today.

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About 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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