Summer theater means festivals, many outdoors, and many presenting William Shakespeare.
But it also means lounging on the grass to listen to free music, including the music from Broadway musicals. Below are video excerpts from The Phantom of the Opera, Avenue Q, Piece of My Heart (a new musical that I also review), Cinderella, and Bullets Over Broadway, which announced this week it will close. Nick Cordero, the only performer to escape Bullets indisputably better off, reacts to the announcement.
The Week in New York Theater
The Cripple of Inishmaan closes
As part of Summer Stage, John Leguizamo reprises his one-man show Ghetto Klown (which played on Broadway in 2011), July 28.
Almost half a century after his death, Bronx-born songwriter and record producer Bert Berns, the subject of the new Off-Broadway musical “Piece of My Heart,” is getting the kind of buzz he never got during his lifetime:
“Bert deserves to be elevated to his rightful place in the music industry,” Paul McCartney is shown saying in a trailer to a forthcoming documentary about Berns, who co-wrote the song “Twist and Shout,” which the Beatles recorded.
“His name may be lost, but his music is everywhere,” writes Joel Selvin in his new biography, “Here Comes the Night: The Dark Soul of Bert Berns and the Dirty Business of Rhythm & Blues,” the first-ever book about Berns.
“The best songwriter you’ve never heard of,” Time Magazine recently declared.
All of this advance publicity sets up two expectations about “Piece of My Heart,” the musical that has now opened at Signature Theater. First, we’re promised a kind of solo “Jersey Boys” – a previously obscure and fascinating real-life tale of a regular guy revealed as a musical genius. Second, we anticipate a jukebox’s worth of golden oldies to sing and (since it’s Sixties music) to swing along to.
But, as it turns out, “Piece of My Heart” falls short of both implicit promises
Shakespeare is King of Outdoor Summer Theater
— Jonathan Mandell (@NewYorkTheater) July 22, 2014
From his first day of rehearsal for Lear, John Lithgow has been writing a blog for the New York Times.
Shakespeare is being done outdoors all over the US this summer (as every summer) Here’s a map of it
But WHY is Shakespeare king of outdoor summer theater? Rhona Silverbush offers some answers, e.g.
1. Many of his plays are set outdoors
2. Theaters don’t have to pay him royalties.
What playwright after Shakespeare is done the most often during the summer? Is there an obvious runner-up?
— Ramon Bub Esquivel (@Bub1974) July 22, 2014
Garry Marshall (Happy Days) to direct Billy & Ray, comedy about Billy Wilder & Raymond Chandler, at the Vineyard Theatre Opens Oct 20
Bullets Over Broadway will close Aug 24, having played 156 regular and 33 preview performances.
Constantine Maroulis is returning to Rock Of Ages, August 4 through October 26.
Lisa McNulty, artistic line producer of the Manhattan Theatre Club, has been named artistic director of Womens Theater Project, replacing Julie Crosby, whose June departure was abrupt and acrimonious. Five new board members have been added as well.
During its last week, NTLive will be taping Of Mice and Men, starring James Franco HD-cast it in movie theaters, marking the first Broadway show that’s been broadcast by National Theater.
— Jonathan Mandell (@NewYorkTheater) July 22, 2014
A phenomenal-sounding season coming up at New Victory, including Taylor Mac, Civilians, Dead Puppet Society
Kudos to Theatre for a New Audience for $136,000 National Endowment for the Humanities grant to teach 25 school teachers about politics and persuasion in Shakespeare’s plays. That grant was one of $34 million worth of grants by the @NEHgov for 177 humanities projects throughout the U.S.
Bill T. Jones, the Brooklyn Academy of Music and John Kander are among the 11 winners of the National Medal of Arts this year.
Playwright/hip-hop artist Idris Goodwin responds to the closing of Holler If Ya Hear Me (and I respond to him,in the comments)
Opening tonight “The Lightning Thief,” musical FREE from Theatreworks USA about a 12-yr-old who battles monsters and dyslexia. How Rick Riordan’s ‘The Lightning Thief’ became a stage musical
NYC mayor asks cultural groups to include arts benefits and discounts for holders of id card meant to help the undocumented.
Broadway in Bryant Park
Piece of My Heart cast sings ‘Piece of My Heart”
Jeremy Stolle sings Music of the Night from The Phantom of the Opera
Paige Faure sings from “A Lovely Night” from Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella
Veronica Kuehn and Kate Monster sing A Fine, Fine Line from Avenue Q
Nick Cordero, Zach Braff and the cast sing Ain’t Nobody’s Business If I Do from Bullets Over Broadway. In an interview, Cordero talks about the closing of Bullets, how he prepared for his star-making role, and what’s in his future.
Wallace Shawn: I wish people knew me as a radical playwright instead for “The Princess Bride” Q and A.
Patrice Miller rails against the Actors Equity Showcase Code
A huge discussion about this article and the showcase code on Facebook
“Tis cool beneath thy willow trees” is the last line of which play?
The Iceman Cometh.
The Amen Corner.
Death of a Salesman.
That’s one of 10 questions from The Guardian quiz: Can you identify these last lines of plays?
@NewYorkTheater Great question! When a show feels unified to audience–acting, design, story–the director often brought it all together.
— Stephen Kaliski (@stkaliski) July 25, 2014
Or Mice and Men – tomorrow
Violet – August 10
Rocky – August 17
Bullets Over Broadway – August 24
Newsies – August 24