Broadway Beefcake. Elephant Man. #PeterPanLive. The Illusionists. Broadway Bolting. Week in New York Theater

Almost every one of the performers pictured here was in the news this past week — this is not just a naked scheme for ratings, as some might accuse Peter Pan Live of having been.

Below find the list of nominees for the musical theater album Grammy award and for the Clive Barnes awards, announcements of new shows and new casts, a video introduction to Larry David’s Fish in the Dark, and links to my reviews of Elephant Man and The Illusionists, and to the entire Peter Pan Live, now no longer live.

The Week in New York Theater Dec 1 – 7



December openings

Sarah Ruhl essay book cover

The New York Times list of 100 notable books in 2014 contains only one by a  playwright, and it’s Sarah Ruhl’s book of essays, not one of her plays.

Can’t plays be “notable books”? Some are surely literature, no — as pleasurable to read as to see staged (sometimes more so.)

284,569 people attended a Broadway show last week, the highest number for any Thanksgiving week in history, says The Broadway League.


Richard Thomas (The Waltons) and Anna Chlumsky (Veep) to join You Can’t Take It With You in January (replacing Mark Linn-Baker & Rose Byrne)

Actually, Comden & Green live on, with FOUR shows this season: On The Town, Bandwagon, On The Twentieth Century #PeterPanLive

Among Adolph Green’s contributions to musical theater was his fathering songwriter Amanda Green and critic Adam Green.

It’s a weird year for comedy. We lost Robin, we lost Joan, and we kind of lost Cosby.~Chris Rock. Q&A 



Nina Arianda (Venus in Fur) returns to Broadway in MTC’s revival of Sam Shepard’s “Fool for Love, with Sam Rockwell. September 2015



Anthony Edwards,Elizabeth Franz, Annabella Sciorra join Peter Dinklage,Taylor Schilling in CSC’s A Month in the Country by Turgenev.

Illusionists, The: ? Witness the ImpossibleMarquis Theatre

The Illusionists Review

The seven magicians in “The Illusionists” perform tricks we’ve all seen before, but a kinder way of saying this is that they deal in classical magic.  What they do is hyped up with a live video cam (essential for the card tricks), the live rock/rap band Z, some dozen dancing “magician assistants” and about the same number of volunteered audience members, as well as dramatic lighting, and the sort of suspenseful music we’re used to hearing from “So You Want To Be A Millionaire.” The show is reminiscent of the big-arena magic show as presented in last year’s film Now You See Me, but without anything close to a bank heist as a payoff.

Full review of The Illusionists


Sing along to Peter Pan Live (lyrics)

Watch the entire show on Hulu



2015 Musical Theater Album Grammy nominations:

Aladdin, Beautiful, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, West Side Story with Cheyenne Jackson and Alexandra Silber.

Matilda 10

Almost 20 month after it opened, Matilda has recouped its $16 million investment.

The way to grow an audience is to take more risks, writes Lyn Gardner,not fear alienating the audience you have.

Taking immersive theater to the next level, via technology. Q&A w/ Bertie Watkins of CoLab Theatre

Seeing the Klinghoffer opera led arts consultant  to ponder the ethics and politics of art and fundraising




You’ll notice enough similarity among the performers that they could star in a musical about sextuplets.


Congrats to the four #CliveBarnesAward theater nominees:

1. Jay Armstrong Johnson (On The Town)

2. Alexander Sharp (The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time)

3. Will Pullen (Signature Theater’s Wayside Motor Inn. Pullen is currently giving splendid, scary performance in Punk Rock.)

4. Collin Kelly-Sordelet (The Last Ship)

Recipients of the award and its $5,000 prize will be announced during a ceremony at the Walter Reade Theater on Jan. 26.


Sydney Lucas and Michael Cerveris
Sydney Lucas and Michael Cerveris

The Broadway production of Fun Home has earlier dates than originally announced – previews now begin March 27, opens April 19

Rita Wilson Ben Shenkman, Lewis J Stadlen join Larry David in his Fish In TheDark, comedy about a death in the family, which begins February 2 at the Cort

Elephant Man, TheBooth Theatre

My review of The Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is shirtless and in boxer shorts when we first see him on stage as John Merrick in director Scott Ellis’s competent production of Bernard Pomerance’s play “The Elephant Man” that has opened tonight at the Booth Theater. There is Cooper, a movie star with impeccable pecs, People Magazine’s Sexiest Man Alive in 2011, portraying a historical figure who was so grotesquely deformed that he was at first exhibited as an “elephant man” in freak shows…. Cooper, contorting his body and speaking haltingly out of the side of his mouth,  offers a fine performance as Merrick, one likely to satisfy those who got their tickets specifically to see him in the flesh. But it did not strike me as an extraordinary performance, which comes as something of a surprise…

Full review of The Elephant Man

Broadway Bolter –> Banned on 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.

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