Broadway Under Ice. Fall Picks. Lear Alot. Week in New York Theater

These are supposed to be the dog days of August, but too much is going on — maybe because so many theater people are pouring ice water on their heads, or because we’re looking at the Broadway Fall 2014 season


and then picking our favorite in the Broadway Fall 2014 Poll — which show are you most looking forward to.

We’re also excited that we’ll be able to see the shows we missed at the Fringe, thanks to the Fringe Encores Series.


News about Gloria Estefan, Emma Stone, Andrew Rannells,Adam Chanler-Berat, Peter Dinklage, Taylor Schilling, Motown

Lin-Manuel Miranda on what Broadway musicals say about justice,
a chat among theater critics about King Lear,
theater artists discuss the purpose of theater and why so many theater artists are unpaid.
We also consider: What should the 41st theater on Broadway be called.

The Week in New York Theater, Aug 18-24



On Your Feet, a new musical based on the life of Gloria Estefan and her husband Emilio Estefan Jr, set to open on Broadway Nov 5, 2015. (Notice: 2015, not 2014.)  First they have to find the performer to portray Gloria Estefan. (Submit audition video here)


André de Shields, Kyle Beltran, sand Adam Chanler-Berat are among the 18-member cast of the musical adaptation of Jonathan Lethem’s Fortress of Solitude,  written by composer/lyricist Michael Friedman (Love’s Labour’s Lost, Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson) and bookwriter Itamar Moses (The Four of Us.) It begins at the Public Theater on September 30th.

Here is a talk de Shields gave years ago about how he has always stayed employed:



“Depression is an illness shared by about nine percent of adults,including me. It is frequently fatal,” says actor Patrick Page

Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Twitter riff on Broadway lyrics about justice



Peter Dinklage (Game of Thrones), Taylor Schilling (Orange in the New Black) will star in the Classic Stage Company’s production of A Month in the Country by Ivan Turgenev in January.

Lear Alot

Why so many Lears lately? George Hunka rejects L.A. Times critic Charles McNulty and Wall Street Journal critic Terry Teachout’s theory that baby boomers identify; saying it’s because stars want to play Lear and people want to see the stars.

A long conversation about Lear ensued on Twitter. Here’s an edited version:

Charles McNulty: Most capacious tragedy in the canon would be another cogent reason obviously

Terry Teachout: One problem with George’s interesting theory is that I’m also seeing lots of non-star “Lears.”  I’ve reviewed/will review eight “Lears” since 2010, four of them starless regional productions.

George Hunka: On the other hand there’s the regional “pileon” effect — if NY is doing it, so must we.

Terry Teachout:  That’s not quite true, either–some do, but as many go their own way.

Ron Rosenbaum: This will be heretical but I think more important to read it again than see it again.

Terry Teachout: I don’t, Ron. Reading it only takes you so far–seeing it deepens penetration.

George Hunka: That surely depends on the production.

Terry Teachout: Up to a point, I learn almost as much from bad stagings.

George Hunka: That said, the best productions I’ve seen were films: Kozintsev, BrookOlivier and Kurosawa.

Ron Rosenbaum: Agree on Brook/Scofield. I’d add the Gielgud audio. and maybe Michael Horden’s BBC

Terry Teachout: I just heard a fascinating audio–Donald Wolfit!


Iain has been a theater critic since March. He recently turned 6. He’s reviewed some 20 shows on Broadway and in D.C. Here he reviews Les Miserables

(He is the son of actor Euan Morton and producer Lee Armitage)


Molly Stoller, Alison Scaramella, Taryn Wisky (also the producer and co-adaptor), and Yvonne Roen in "Abortion: A Race Redux"
Molly Stoller, Alison Scaramella, Taryn Wisky (also the producer and co-adaptor), and Yvonne Roen in “Abortion: A Race Redux”

My review of Abortion by Eugene O’Neill

Eugene O’Neill wrote “Abortion” exactly a century ago, shortly after he had decided to become a playwright. Director Heather Lanza and producer Taryn A Wisky have chosen to “adapt” O’Neill’s text to create what they call “an original theater piece that aims to put race in the forefront and start a society-wide conversation.” “Abortion: Race Redux” runs through Sunday, August 24, as part of the2014 Dream Up Festival at the Theater for the New City.

If it’s not a production I can recommend, it is nevertheless a thought-provoking experiment .

 Full review



Emma Stone will succeed Michelle Williams as Sally Bowles in Cabaret, November 11 – February 1.

The purpose of theater is NOT to change the world/give back to community, argues playwright Richard Nelson



Andrew Rannells begins in Hedwig


The Winter’s Tale, directed by Lear deBessonet, with great pros (eg Lindsay Mendez) + 200 New Yorkers. September 5-7, Delacorte FREE

Lear deBessonet

Profile of theater director Lear deBessonet, who fuses art with activism, the attentive with  the playful

Interested in teaching theater, but not ready to get a degree? Here are courses you can take at the City College of New York Educational Theatre Program.

How we stopped clobbering and started collaborating,by candid theater artists artists Ashley Laverty and Rivka Rocchio

“Getting Paid for Your Work in a Culture of Unpaid Labor.” – Howlround chat. Excerpt:


"Kunstler' - by Jeffrey Sweet

My review of Kunstler

In “Kunstler,” a fascinating play at the New York Fringe Festival about radical lawyer William Kunstler’s most significant cases, playwright Jeffrey Sweet strives to present a balanced portrait, albeit not mightily. Set in a university lecture hall in 1995, just a few months before Kunstler’s death at age 76, the play pairs the lawyer (portrayed by Nick Wyman) with a skeptical black student (Gillian Glasco), who has been tasked with introducing him, although she voted against his being invited. We also hear protestors outside the auditorium shouting “Kunstler is a traitor!” The character even quotes a few negative remarks that were made about him in the press (far from the worst ever said), done in a way to show that he relished his notoriety.
But let’s face it, this is an unmistakably admiring portrait of William Kunstler as he tells the stories, chronologically, of most of his best-known – and most dramatic – cases

 Full review



Michael Jackson (Raymond Luke Jr.) and the Jackson 5
Michael Jackson (Raymond Luke Jr.) and the Jackson 5

Motown will close on Broadway January 18. BUT it plans to return to Broadway in July 2016.

The Shubert Organization,which owns 17 of the 40 Broadway theaters, reportedly plans to build a 41st, between 45th & 46th Streets

What should the Shuberts call their new, 1500-seat theater, the 41st Broadway house? #Broadwayname

Allison Taylor@Typical__Taylor: The (Hal) Prince.
Beverly Baker@TheatreAddict: The Edward Albee

Scott McQ@Satyr69: Based on the ticket prices, call it The One Percent

Jonathan Mandell: I see you have your cynical hat on today. What would YOU name it if you were in charge?

Scott McQ: The Elaine Stritch.



Fringe Encore series – for New York International Fringe shows you missed


Alton White as Mufasa_photo_by_Joan_Marcus

Today, Alton White plays Mustafa in The Lion King for the 4,000th time!


How would you answer this poster from Playwrights Horizons: I go to the theater because..



Ending today:

"Don't Speak!" Marin Mazzie shuts up Zach Braff in Woody Allen's Broadway musical Bullets Over Broadway
“Don’t Speak!” Marin Mazzie shuts up Zach Braff in Woody Allen’s Broadway musical Bullets Over Broadway

Bullets Over Broadway



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