Theater Awards Up The Wazoo. Avatar on Stage? RIP Tony Nominee Maya Angelou. The Month of May in New York Theater

Somebody should launch the New York Dramamine Awards — for shows that put us to sleep?

That’s about the only *theater award that hasn’t been thought up yet — most of them having had announcements or ceremonies or parties this month — or, in the case of the Tonys, whose ceremony will take place on June 8th, one promo after another.

It’s enough to twist some people out of shape — a weak segue to this truly disturbing dance sequence from a movie musical. (Could they do that eight times a week on Broadway?)

Meanwhile, Hugh Jackman, Glenn Close, Kristin Chenoweth all announced in May their return to Broadway next season.

Plenty of shows opened in May, but none on Broadway.

LucilleLortellogoThe Month in New York Theater

May 4

*Lucille Lortel Awards  Best of Off-Broadway: Fun Home; sweet revenge by both Will Eno and Alex Timbers.

What a terrific idea: The Civilians will become the first theater in residence at the Metropolitan Museum of Art


Jonathan Larson’s sister and parents will discuss his life, in lobby before his autobiographical tick…tick BOOM!. New York City Center, June 25.

That’s just one of the many “Lobby Projects” this summer as part of #EncoresOffCenter.

NY Drama Critics Circle*2014 NY Drama Critics’ Circle Award Winners:

The Night Alive, Best Play

All the Way, Best American Play

Fun Home, Best Musical

“Special Citations” to Twelfth Night/Richard III and Richard Nelson’s Apple Family Plays

Alex Timbers to direct “Up Here” by Bobby Lopez and Kristin Lopez-Anderson, boy-meets/loses/gets back-girl musical for La Jolla Playhouse in 2015



*2014 Theatre World Award Winners: Bryan Cranston, Nick Cordero, Ramin Karimloo, Zachary Levi + 8

*2014 Astaire Award Nominees: Broadway Dancers, Choreographers

Peter Maloney (Outside Mullingar) Mare Winningham (Casa Valentina) win *Actors Equity Foundation’s Richard Seff Award. (Seffies?)
Whitney Bashor (Bridges of Madison County) and Steven Boyer (Hand to God) win *Actors Equity Foundation Award for most promising performances

“Critics should write for readers — not artists, not funding bodies, not advertisers, not their pals”

“The two things you cannot do effectively on stage are pray and copulate”-Orson Welles, 17-time Broadway veteran, who would have been 99 today. “The enemy of art is the absence of limitations” ~ Orson Welles



Hugh Jackman at Tony's

After he’s host of the Tonys in exactly one month, Hugh Jackman will return to Broadway in The River by Jez Butterworth (Jerusalem), beginning October 31 at the Circle in the Square.

Why hasn’t Fun Home transferred? “Sometimes, shows take time to get to Broadway,” says its composer

New degrees from Boston Conservatory: teaching music to the autistic; arts criticism; contemporary theater.


The New York Philharmonic production of Sondheim’s “Sweeney Todd” with  Bryn Terfel and Emma Thompson will air Sep. 26 on PBS, Live from Lincoln Center

Jonny Orsini and Nathan Lane
Jonny Orsini and Nathan Lane

The Nance with Nathan Lane will air on PBS next year, also as part of Live on Lincoln Cener. Date uncertain)


Jay Armstrong Johnson, Tony Yazbeck and Clyde Alves in ‘On the Town’

The revival of the Leonard Bernstein/Comden and Green musical On The Town will open October 16 at (newly renamed) Lyric Theater

It will star Jay Armstrong Johnson, Tony Yazbeck and Clyde Alves.


Tony Awards Statuette

*2014 Tony Awards Winners — YOUR Pick (Poll)

Our Picks (Results of poll — AND my preferences)


“I discovered what it is to be an American through the theater”~Pulitzer-winning playwright Ayad Akhtar

Will Mayor DeBlasio be good or the arts in NYC? 



*2014 Outer Critics Circle Award Winners
Steve Bakunas will interview AND paint the portrait of Linda Lavin (his wife) over 90 minutes on stage at Vineyard Theatre June 16

What’s the next live musical on NBC after Peter Pan (set for December 4th)? The Music Man, NBC honchos announced today. (no date yet)

“Hamilton,” Lin-Manuel Miranda’s new musical, at the Public Theater in January (and Broadway after?) gets terrific buzz


kristin-chenoweth-photosKristin Chenoweth is coming back to Broadway in a revival of “On the Twentieth Century.” Opens March 12 2015 American Airlines Theater


How The Velocity of Autumn ran into the ferocity of Broadway. Well-received in DC, it closed quickly in NYC.

Marcyliena Morgan, head of the Hiphop Archive writes about Tupac Shakur and new musical Holler If Ya Hear Me. Tupac Shakur is remembered as a rapper. But he was also an actor (debuting in Raisin in the Sun as a child) and a lover of Shakespeare.


Fran Drescher will remain the wicked (or maybe just misunderstood?) stepmother in Cinderella through June 29th.

Patti LuPone, Joshua Luke Johnston


Sondheim and Lloyd Webber have long wanted to write a song together. Riedel suggests: Next James Bond theme

How live theater is learning from the movies how to evoke “the unseen off-screen” (by using video, etc.)

Answer: This long-time Broadway costume designer is getting entire category on Jeopardy Friday. Question: Who’s William Ivey Long?

If Miss Saigon gets good reviews when it opens next week in UK,producer Cameron Mackintosh reportedly will bring it to Broadway 2015

Daphne Rubin-Vega, singer-actress from Rent to Streetcar Named Desire
Daphne Rubin-Vega in her dressing room at “Streetcar Named Desire,” showing a picture of her mother, who died when the actress was ten. “I’m older now than she ever was.”

Original Rent-er Daphne Rubin-Vega is joining in June Eve Ensler’s Spanish-language Los Monologos de La Vagina, Westside Theater

Here’s TV ad for cryptic The Realistic Joneses that makes it look like a roly-poly sitcom

My review of The Realistic Joneses — which is a bit more…realistic…about the show



Glenn Close returns to Broadway in revival of Edward Albee’s A Delicate Balance. Also starring John Lithgow,Martha Plimpton. It’s set to open November 20 at The Golden

Power Plays, with new short works by John Guare, David Henry Hwang, Neil LaBute,etc TBTB Theater (disability advocates) June 12-29, Theater Row

New Andrew Lloyd Webber musical,  adapted from Jack Black film “School of Rock,” may debut on Broadway,because child labor laws are looser in th US than UK


 The Mysteries at The Flea extends through July 14

LaChanze, Widowed on 9/11, Sings Amazing Grace At Memorial Opening


*2014 Drama League Winners: Neil Patrick Harris, Gentlemen’s Guide, All The Way.

Pace University has announced a new School for the Performing Arts, first new one in Manhattan in nearly 50 years.


STAGETEXT is developing automated captioning. Cheaper, more accurate for deaf audiences.


Winnie Holzman, book writer for the musical "Wicked," is among the 2014 Lilly Award winners.
Winnie Holzman, book writer for the musical “Wicked,” is among the 2014 Lilly Award winners.

*2014 Lilly Award Winners, Honoring Women in the Theater


*2014 Obie Award Winners: Fun Home, Branden Jacobs-Jenkens


TimesSquareMay.jpgThe 5 best things to do in Times Square while waiting to see a show, according to, um, me. 22


A comedy tonight! James Corden “in talks” to return to Broadway in 2015 as the slave in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum


Carrie Robbins designed the costumes for the first play that Meryl Streep performed on Broadway, for the original production of Grease, and for more than thirty other shows on Broadway. But there came a time, shortly after her husband died, when she felt costume designing just wasn’t enough.

“Sometimes,” she thought, “the most important decision I make as a costume designer is: ‘Should I make this out of silk charmeuse or should I make it out of silk crepe?’” Now she says, “I began to see that what my husband did was better than what I was working on.”

Her husband was a physician, then a writer. Carrie Robbins decided to adapt his short stories for the stage. Robbins, who began working as a costume designer on Broadway nearly half a century ago, is now making her debut as a playwright at HERE, with two one-act plays entitled Sawbones and The Diamond Eater, running May 21 through June 7.

Full story


Playwright Karla Jennings suggests anonymous submissions of plays as a way to broaden theater’s reach


Cameron Mackintosh bought UK’s The Ambassadors and will re-name it after Sondheim, who already has a NYC theater named after him.



I’ve never been sick a day in my life,Grandma says in Tony and Tina’s Wedding. But the actress playing her, Annie Lanzillotto, has been  “a cancer person” for the last 33 years.




*2014 Off Broadway Alliance Award Winners: Fun Home, Hand to God 


Kelli O’Hara,Julie Andrews, Raul Esparza,Jan Maxwell, Danny Burstein,Stephen Schwartz have all NEVER WON a Tony, although each has been nominated multiple times.


Broadway supports 87,000 jobs and generates $500 million in taxes annually to NYC. Kiss a Broadway tourist: Their ticket buying etc. contributed $9.6 billion to the NYC economy in 2012/13, according to a new economic report from the Broadway League.


Director Jim Cameron is teaming with Cirque de Soleil to develop an “Avatar” stage show.  (Coming to NYC? Would you go?)

ElizabethMoss in Mad Men

Elisabeth Moss of Mad Men is in talks to star in a Broadway revival of Wendy Wasserstein’s The Heidi Chronicles next season


In what is shaping up as a trend, the US arena tour of Jesus Christ Superstar has been canceled at virtually the last minute.

Maya Angelou in Look Away

Maya Angelou, the well-known poet and memoirist, died on May 28th at the age of 86. Few recalled that she co-starred on Broadway in 1973 with Geraldine Page in a play about Mary Todd Lincoln entitled “Look Away.” Although the play closed on opening day, Angelou was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Featured Actress.

Still I Rise
by Maya Angelou

You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.

Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
‘Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.

Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I’ll rise.

Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops,
Weakened by my soulful cries?

Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don’t you take it awful hard
‘Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines
Diggin’ in my own backyard.

You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.

Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I’ve got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?

Out of the huts of history’s shame
I rise
Up from a past that’s rooted in pain
I rise
I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.

Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise
I rise.

“You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.”

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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