On The Town with Found, Sting, Emily Dickinson, Leslie Odom Jr. Week in New York Theater


Eugene O’Neill, Oscar Wilde, Arthur Miller and Angela Lansbury and Linda Lavin all had birthdays last week, “On The Town” was reborn on Broadway to the biggest raves since The Book of Mormon, Stephen Adly Guirgis’s Between Riverside and Crazy is getting a new life Off-Broadway. Shia LaBeouf spins his arrest at Cabaret, while Emma Stone reveals her arresting look as the new Sally Bowles. Sting answers questions online (Have you enjoyed the collaborative nature of theater? “Even so-called solo artists have to collaborate; you can’t make art in a vacuum.”)

They all ignored the warning signs of theater.

Week in New York Theater, October 13-19, 2014


Dance professor Anusha Kedha interprets the hands-up gesture at Ferguson protest rallies.


Anne Hamburger founded avant-garde En Garde Arts, then left for Disney, is now back with show at BAM, Basetrack Live http://bit.ly/1sCJyEY


My review of Found musical

Davy Rothbart was having a weird day – his boss fired him; a mugger took his wallet and shoes; he couldn’t get his car to start – when he found a slip of paper that changed his life….and the world.

That anyway is what happens in “Weird Day,” the opening number of “Found,” the lively and tuneful, if not entirely successful musical based on Rothbart’s sudden revelation more than a decade ago. He realized he could publish discarded notes, memos, letters, lists, postcards, posters, classified ads, showing the treasure in other people’s trash. This led him to found Found magazine…The note itself and dozens upon dozens to follow in the show are projected onto the stage of the Atlantic Theater, and simultaneously recited or sung by a young, appealing and greatly talented cast of 10, to a rocking score by Eli Bohn.

Full review of Found


Neil Patrick Harris has been asked to be host of the Oscars. He has been host of both the Tony and Emmy Awards (and won both as well.)  Will he be an #EGOT soon?


Sting and Michael Esper Chat about The Last Ship

What was the first Broadway show you saw?

Michael Esper: “One of the first shows I ever saw was “Passion” by Sondheim.”

What has been the biggest change in the show since you began working on it?

Sting: “We wrote 40 songs, and half are in the play. It’s been about paring away to get to the heart of the story”

What’s it like to watch the cast sing your songs and story?

Sting: “It’s an out of body experience without being dead.”

Have you enjoyed the collaborative nature of theater?

Sting: “Even so-called solo artists have to collaborate; you can’t make art in a vacuum.”



Al Pacino in The New Yorkers

Al Pacino is returning to Broadway October 2015 as a billionaire in David Mamet’s new 2-character play, China Doll. Pam MacKinnon will direct.


Between Riverside and Crazy  by Stephen Adly Guirgis will be remounted, with same cast, in different theater, Second Stage, in February

Elegant Elaine Stritch

Star-studded tribute to Elaine Stritch, Monday, Nov 17, 4pm, Al Hirschfeld Theatre. Open to the public first-come, first-serve.


My interview with Leslie Odom Jr

Two months after Leslie Odom Jr. saw Act I of “Hamilton,” a work in progress by Lin-Manuel Miranda, Miranda sent him an e-mail, asking for help with the show. This is what one could call a coincidence, or connections (“We knew each other casually.”), but Odom looks at it differently: “It took ten years of backbreaking hard work to get an opportunity like that. One thing leads to another. You find yourself in these rooms.”

How can other theater artists get into these rooms? Spontaneously, he comes up with three rules he lives by:

1.) Never wait for permission to practice your art. You cannot wait to get a job to be an artist.

2.) Study your art. Never stop studying.

3.) Find a spiritual practice that works for you.

Full article on Leslie Odom Jr.

On the Town 1

My review of On The Town

The audience at “On The Town,” the thrilling Broadway revival of the 1944 musical that brought us“New York, New York, it’s a helluva town,” doesn’t wait until the end to give a standing ovation. They stand before the show begins.
That’s because, before the curtain rises on the story about three sailors meeting three dames while on shore leave for 24 hours in New York City, a 28-piece orchestra plays the national anthem in front of a curtain festooned with a giant American flag — one with just 48 stars.
This is how the original musical started, during wartime, a show that marked the Broadway debuts of four now-legendary musical theater artists – composer Leonard Bernstein, choreographer Jerome Robbins and book writers Betty Comden and Adolph Green.

If “On The Town” does not hold the kind of sacred place as the flag or the Star-Spangled Banner, it is part of its own American tradition – an early American musical comedy classic: The show opened on Broadway just a year after Oklahoma and six years before Guys and Dolls. Not every production has been able to rekindle the original excited reaction to this savvy mix of silken song, dazzling dance and silly story – high-brow art in a pas de deux with middle-brow entertainment. This fourth Broadway production does.

The full review of On The Town


Here Lies Love 4

Here Lies Love will close at The Public Theater January 3, but plans to “go global.”

The Shubert organization, which owns 17 of the 40 Broadway theaters, has bought 20,000-sq. ft ex warehouse on W 48th near 11th Ave. #Newtheater?

Alice Ripley to star in A Christmas Memory, amusical based on Truman Capote’s autobiographical short story, November 25 to January 4 at Irish Rep.


20 Musicals That Won The Tonys: Ken Davenport’s Infographic

Theater producer Ken Davenport looked at the shows that won the Best Musical Tony over the past 20 years, sliced and diced facts about them, and produced the info graphic in the link. Most interesting to me:
*Almost half of the Best Musical winners were based on movies.
*The vast majority did not feature stars.
*All but one (“Rent”) were written by a team, rather than a single individual.
*Three-quarters of them made money. (Three-quarters of Broadways overall don’t make money.)


Joelly Richardson in The Belle of Amherst
Joelly Richardson in The Belle of Amherst

My reviews of The Belle of Amherst and Excuse My Dust

Whatever else the great American writers Emily Dickinson and Dorothy Parker have in common, they are each by coincidence the subject of solo stage plays that are opening tonight, “The Belle of Amherst” in which Joely Richardson portrays the 19th century poet and wit; and “Excuse My Dust,” in which Jennifer Engstrom portrays characters created by the 20th century wit and poet.

Jennifer Engstrom in Excuse My Dust
Jennifer Engstrom in Excuse My Dust

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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