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Mike Nichols RIP. Side Show. Punk Rock. Straight White Men. Week in NY Theater

A week full of openings, Great Britain celebrated #LoveTheatre Day,  Elaine Stritch remembered, Mike Nichols mourned, and I’ve given into the promotional fever and include trailers for both Peter Pan Live (on NBC on December 4th) and Into The Woods, which opens December 25th.

The Week in New York Theater Nov 17-23

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Barry Diller envisions a $170 million park and performance space off 14th St.,Pier 55.

Elegant Elaine Stritch

“She was a volcano of ferocity, on a pillar of vulnerability.”~Cherry Jones about Elaine Stritch, at Stritch’s memorial yesterday.

Congratulations to Steven Adly Guirgis  on receiving the $200,000 “Mimi” (Steinberg Distinguished Playwright Award) tonight

Side ShowSt. James Theatre

My review of Side Show

Daisy and Violet Hilton, twin sisters permanently connected at the hip by a ribbon of flesh, were spectacularly popular entertainers in the 1920’s, so it seems fitting that “Side Show,” a musical about them that lasted just a few months on Broadway when it debuted in 1997, is back on Broadway in a spectacularly entertaining production….Those less in thrall to the musical’s legacy are more likely to see that the “freakery” is itself largely but a side show. Yes, “Side Show” is a story about being an outsider, and about finding love…But “Side Show” is also at heart a conventional show about show business,  a stars-are-born musical that doesn’t dig very deep. It does, however, allow for one musical number after another that are both visually splendid and wonderfully performed.

Full review of Side Show

Colby Minifie and Douglas Smith

Colby Minifie and Douglas Smith

 

My review of Punk Rock

Several years before Simon Stephens adapted “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time” for the stage (now on Broadway), the playwright wrote the far more in-your-face “Punk Rock,” about a group of troubled English private school students, which has now opened Off-Broadway in a scorching production by MCC at the Lucille Lortel Theater… If “Punk Rock” offers little special insight or education about the problems of adolescence, there is no denying that it is a lesson in how to make theater riveting.

Full review of Punk Rock

 

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Rock of Ages will close on Broadway on January 18, 2015

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Half of all Broadway shows this season are set in specific NYC neighborhoods. There are Off-Broadway set in all five boroughs.  Why? Actor Tony Danza, “Disgraced” playwright Ayad Akhtar and “Grand Concourse” playwright Heidi Schreck ,  “This Is Our Youth” set design Todd Rosenthal, “On The Town” choreographer Joshua Bergasse and others explain.   Broadway’s Muse: New York City Neighborhoods

Straight White Men

My review of Straight White Men

The rowdy brothers of Young Jean Lee’s stimulating “Straight White Men,” which has now opened at the Public Theater, play a board game called Privilege, where Jake draws a card that says:

“What I said wasn’t sexist/racist/homophobic because I was joking. Pay fifty dollars to The Lesbian and Gay Community Services Center.”

Drew’s card says: “I don’t see race. Pay two hundred dollars in reparations.”

A scene like this seems to confirm what we suspected from the provocative title –that Lee, a Korean immigrant known for her avant-garde downtown theater pieces, has written and directed an acid satire of America’s de facto ruling class. But “Straight White Men,” as it turns out, is nothing of the kind. Rather, it is a sympathetic, intelligent look at a family of four men, and the different ways they are adapting to a changing world.

Full review of Straight White Men

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#LoveTheatre

MT @FringeNYC #NYC didn’t provide funding for FringeNYC this year. Let’s prove we’re here to stay! http://bit.ly/11Elvfg

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My review of Allegro

Move over, Encores! In their second musical restoration after Sondheim and Lapine’s Passion last year, the Classic Stage Company now brings us Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Allegro, billed as the first fully-staged production in New York City since the musical debuted on Broadway in 1947, shortly after the Rodgers and Hammerstein hits Oklahoma! and Carousel, shortly before their South Pacific and The King and I.

The CSC revival is pared-down, lasting 90 minutes with no intermission. There is minimal scenery; the stage is nearly in the round. The fine cast of 12 – led by Claybourne Elder at Joe Taylor Jr and Elizabeth Davis as his wife Jenny –  plays its own musical instruments.

Aficionados will likely be in heaven, even if they nitpick. Those previously unacquainted with “Allegro” might come to understand why this is the least known of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s musicals.  It’s best to think of it as an educational experience.

Full review of Allegro

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Mike Nichols

Mike Nichols dies at 83 – director, performer, writer, one of only 12 EGOTs (winner of Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony.)

My last lunch with Mike Nichols by John Lahr.

Playwrights Horizon’s artistic diretor Tim Sanford,  playwright Lynn Nottage and Sundance theater head Philip Himberg met with the New York Times theater editors over  the Times policy of reviewing non-New York shows

Tommy Tune

Tommy Tune Joins the Cast of ‘Lady, Be Good’ for Encores!

A Delicate Balance 6 Lithgow and Close

Reviews and pics of A Delicate Balance

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The Heart of Robin Hood, a play by David Farr, will run at Broadway’s Marquis Theater March 10-August 23 2015

(Chris Miller writes the music. Nathan Tysen writes the words.)

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Should arts be pure and covered apart from worldly issues (re: Cosby allegations?) Philip Kennicott in the Washington Post says no

Musicals that strive for justice are the ones that last, says Dallas News theater writer Nancy Churnin

Trailers for Peter Pan and Into The Woods which, if nothing else, are the most promoted stage-to-screen shows this year.

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About 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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