Rocky Rocks. Aladdin Awaits. RIP Man of La Mancha. Week in New York Theater

TheaterWeekMarch162014Has an actor ever actually chewed the scenery? Is there a company that makes edible backdrops?
Something tells me we’re going to find out in the next six weeks, where a new play opens nearly every day, 16 of them on Broadway. Coming up next: Aladdin on Thursday, Les Miserables next Sunday.

But a show needn’t be new to be newsworthy. Below: videos of Julie Andrews rehearsing My Fair Lady in 1956, Luther Vandross singing The Impossible Dream from Man of La Mancha

Inspired by the opening of Rocky this past week, consider it a word of caution to Sylvester Stallone:

10 Worst Broadway Sequels

The Week in New York Theater

Monday, March 10, 2014

New Encores Off-Center schedule:

Jonathan Larson’s tick, tick… BOOM!  Starring Linn Manuel Miranda and Karen Olivo June 25-8

Randy Newman’s Faust July 1

Pump Boys & Dinettes July 16-19

List of Oliver Award nominees. The of the four director nominees are women, eg Susan Stroman for Scottsboro Boys.


The inspiration and mechanics behind putting together 9 of the 57 scenes in  Love and Information

(My review of Love and Information)

Remember that World Trade Center performing arts center they recently said they’re reviving?Well,maybe not.
Construction cost estimate: $469 million. Money feds promising: $155 million.

The playwright’s first Tweet


The Public Theater launches “Public Studio,” plays by emerging playwrights for just $10. First 2, May 15-25

By A. Zell Williams
Directed by Liesl Tommy

By Mary Kathryn Nagle
Directed by Kate Whoriskey

Are there psychological consequences to good acting?

In musical theater,Tweets not critics create hits,says Phil Willmott, basing this only on his show Lost Boy 


Shakespeare Not on Broadway

How many of Shakespeare’s plays have never been performed on Broadway? Name one of them.

Tucker Weinmann ‏@corsairstw  Julius Caesar
Jonathan Mandell ‏@NewYorkTheater   Julius Caesar was last done on Broadway in 2005, starring Denzel Washington as Brutus
Tucker Weinmann ‏Wish I could have seen that one. I bet Denzel was great.

Scott McQueen ‏@Satyr69  Timon of Athens
Jonathan Mandell ‏Timon of Athens was performed on Broadway in 1993, starring Brian Bedford
Scott McQueen: Coriolanus
Jonathan Mandell: Coriolanus was on Broadway in 1938, although it ran only four performances, so you’re close.

Andrew Hungerford ‏@hungerf9 Oh, I bet 2 Noble Kinsmen. (If you consider that part of the canon.)
Jonathan Mandell ‏You’re right it hasn’t, but I don’t.
Andrew Hungerford It definitely feels like Fletcher tried to write something “Shakespearey” and then old Will was brought in to do a polish.

Mark Paul Schulz ‏@MarkPaulSchulz  Double Falsehood
Jonathan Mandell: Two Noble Kinsmen and Double Falsehood do not count. (but, yes, they haven’t been on Broadway)

Jeff Heimbrock ‏@jheimbrock   Pericles, Titus Andronicus, King John, and none of the Henry VI’s?
Jonathan Mandell King John was last performed on Broadway in 1915.
You are correct, however, in everything else. I see no record of these five Shakespeare plays ever having been on Broadway:
Henry VI, parts 1, 2 and 3
Titus Andronicus

The actual Pericles (not the one in Shakespeare’s play) “worked to democratize the fine arts by subsidizing theater admission for poorer citizens” in the 5th Century BCE, according to a history of Athenian democracy.

Heather Clough ‏@gypsysmiles   I suppose RENT did the same thing and revolutionized broadway with $20 rush tix & having rush or lotto is standard now!


Playwright Jeffrey Hatcher has been hired to adapt John Kennedy Toole’s novel “A Confederacy of Dunces” for the stage,aiming at Broadway.

Today, Edward Albee turns 86; Liza Minnelli 68; Courtney Vance 54. (Proof astrology is nonsense?) Les Miz opened today in 1987.

Garry Marshall, director of film Pretty Woman, is in town to interview composers etc to make it into a Broadway musical, says the New York Post. Pretty Woman made $500 million. It’s about a prostitute (Julia Roberts) and a ruthless financier (Richard Gere) who fall in love.

Janet Somerville ‏@janetsomerville  Can Nina Arianda sing?

Jules Odendahl-James ‏@naturalreadhead  Sweet Charity isn’t enough?


Making it as a Writer: MFA vs NYC

Beau Willimon’s Breathing Time opens March 21 Off-Broadway. He also created House of Cards. He’s not alone. Playwrights writing for television.

19th Summerworks from Clubbed Thumb:

1-DERFUL by Jenny Schwartz


16 WORDS OR LESS Peggy Stafford

May 30 to July 5 at The Wild Project (195 East 3rd Street)

Bert Berns wrote Hang on Snoopy; Twist & Shout; Piece of my Heart. “Piece of My Heart” is the name of new musical about him that opens in July at the Signature Theater.

7 CinderellaNYC4141r Carly Rae Jepsen as Cinderella

Carly Rae Jepsen and Fran Drescher will continue to perform in Cinderella until June 8th.

How do directors and designers collaborate? Sean Mathias and Derek McLane in FREE chat March 24, 6:30pm.

Even better: Cynthia Nixon joins Maggie Gyllenhaal & Ewan McGregor in Roundabout’s revival of Tom Stoppard’s The Real Thing. Opens October 30

Rocky 7 Andy Karl

My review of Rocky

“Before something can be brilliant, it has to be competent.”

“Rocky” is competent. Nearly everything about it works.  The direction by Alex Timbers is smooth and professional, if not as innovative as some of his previous work. The songs by Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty have vitality if not originality nor especially memorable melodies, The story is credited to Thomas and Sylvester Stallone, the original screenwriter and star of the film. No fan of the original movie is likely to object.  The performers — some two dozen strong — do a fine job,.

Above all, the eye-catching, detailed design and complicated stagecraft provide a uniquely theatrical form of entertainment, without obviously undermining or overwhelming the story.

Is “Rocky” brilliant? I wouldn’t say so, no. It’s fun. And fun, if you can afford Broadway prices, can be enough.

Full review of Rocky


Yes, there ARE public intellectuals, more than ever, says Professor Corey Robin, who credits the Web.

redler_cooperShaina TaubCongratulations to Zach Redler, Sara Cooper and Shaina Taub  for winning the 2014, $12.5K Jonathan Larson Grants from The American Theatre Wing

The key to Sir Tim Rice’s success was failure, says the memoirist and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s lyricist.

The mathematical symbol piPi Day
Oodles of #piday #maththeatre.

All My Sums (@dyanysus1116)]

How I Learned to Derive (@Hudsonette)

I Got Logarithm (@HESherman)

How about real theater involving math, in honor of #piday.

The obvious one: Proof by David Auburn about a math prodigy.
Betsy ‏@studio_gal Arcadia by Tom Stoppard
Scott W Carter ‏@ScottofSCOTT The Adding Machine, Copenhagen (a lot of math involved in the physics discussion), The Producers (bad math)
Tamara Winters ‏@tamaraneo  Théâtre de Complicité’s “A Disappearing Number.”
Howard Sherman ‏@HESherman BREAKING THE CODE about Alan Turing.
Luciana Maia-Corrêa ‏@LuMaia_ The Farnsworth Invention!
The Seeing Place ‏@TheSeeingPlace Copenhagen? More physics then math, but still pretty math-y
Matt Super ‏@MrMattSuper Don’t forget about The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time!


Ides of March: not great for Caesar, better for Broadway. My Fair Lady opened on this date in 1956. Here’s Julie Andrews


How did two rock stars start doing musical theater? Cyndi Lauper and David Byrne explain at lunch.

Rocky movie marathon on AMC

“If you guys could sing or dance, I wouldn’t be doing this” boxer Rocky to his turtles in original film,

(She plays Gloria the pet shop owner in the Broadway musical, Rocky)


Competition on Broadway makes shows less interesting, argues Anthony Francavilla


To dream the impossible dream...Mitch Leigh, composer of Man of La Mancha, has died at age 86.

I like him, I really like him. 
Tear out my fingernails one by one, I like him! 
I don’t have a very good reason, 
Since I’ve been with him, 
Cuckoo-nuts have been in season… 
But there’s nothing I can do, 
Chop me up for onion stew, 
Still I’ll yell to the sky 
Though I can’t tell you why, 
That I like him! 

Don’t ask me for why or wherefore, 
‘Cause I don’t have a single good 
“Because” or “therefore!” 
You can barbecue my nose. 
Make a giblet of my toes, 
Make me freeze, make me fry. 
Make me sigh, make me cry. 
Still I’ll yell to the sky, 
Though I can’t tell you why. 
That I like him!

Author: New York Theater

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

Leave a Reply