New Show Announcements! Spring Show Excitement (Hamilton! Fun Home!) Theater Wisdom. Week in New York Theater

Is it better to be dramatic than theatrical? That’s what the thesaurus seems to be saying:

Synonyms for “theatrical” in online thesaurus: affected, artificial, campy, exaggerated, hammy, mannered, pompous, showy
Synonyms for “dramatic”: affecting,breathtaking,effective, electrifying,expressive, impressive, powerful, striking…and theatrical

Some dramatic/theatrical developments in the week in New York theater:

Theater wisdom from Tommy Tune and Mark Twain and Henry Winkler, as well as Spring 2015 show excitement (Hamilton! Fun Home!), and new show announcements (Falsettos! Allegiance! Patti LuPone at Lincoln Center!), Awards and Achievements (Beautiful! Bobby Lopez! Hal Holbrook! the FBI goes Broadway!), Deals and Delights and Theater-Related Developments (new affordable housing for artists!), culled from the theater news between February 4 and February 15, 2015

Excitement for Spring 2015 Shows


Hamilton extended through May 3, (its third extension.) It opens February 17th.

MirandainNewYorkerFrom Lin-Manuel Miranda profile in the New Yorker:

At age 7, Lin-Manuel cried when Fantine died, then fell asleep until Javert’s suicide – “a great way to experience” Les Miserables.

Now 35, Lin-Manuel is awed by what “Hamilton accomplished by that age. Or Paul McCartney. Or Sondheim. Or Gershwin. Or OutKast.”

In Hollywood,”I get to be the best friend of the Caucasian lead. If I want to play the main guy…I have to write it.”

An Aaron Burr who’s not the enemy: Leslie Odom Jr.:

LeslieOdomJrbyMandell“They’re asking me to do things I never thought I could do. What’s being asked of me is so high it’s exciting.” Plus: the three rules he lives by for career success.

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.


 Fun Home


Alison Bechdel on her journey with Fun Home (the cartoon above, animated — and much easier to follow.)

A ‘Bad’ Play, Anti-Lynching Revivals, American in Paris

Sheila Heti wrote a novel about her failed play “All Our Happy Days Are Stupid” – which revived interested in the play. It will opens at The Kitchen February 19 for a six night run.

Part of the season-long #ForwardFerguson series at Jack Arts Center in Brooklyn: anti-lynching plays revived.

New Show Announcements:

Patti Lupone to star as crazed community theater star in Douglas Carter Beane’s new play Shows for Days, at Lincoln Center starting June 6, 2015

The musical Allegiance, about Japanese-American internment camps starring George Takei, is finally scheduled to begin on Broadway October 6, 2015

What are Tom Kitt/Brian Yorkey (Next to Normal, If/Then) working on next? Reportedly a musical version of Freaky Friday

Falsettos, the 1992 musical by William Finn and  James Lapine that helped redefine family, is aiming for a Broadway revival Spring 2016

Next Playwrights Horizons 2015-2015 season: plays by Taylor Mac, Anne Washburn (Mr. Burns), Danai Gurira (who is also an actress currently starring in Walking Dead), Lucas Hnath

2015-2016 MCC Theater includes a new work by Matthew Lopez (“The Whipping Man”)


Gotta Dance, musical based on 2008 documentary about elderly hip-hop dancers, directed by Jerry Mitchell with music by the late Marvin Hamlisch music, aims for Broadway 2016.

FREE readings of three plays from The Kilroys list by women playwrights via The Lilly Awards Mar 9,16,23. Duke Theater.

brandy-clarkYes, Hee Haw has been made into a musical, by Nashville (the city, not the TV show) songwriters Brandy Clark (pictured) and Shane Mcanally. Moonshine:The Hee Haw Musical” set for Fall 2015 at Dallas Theater Center, which is also premiering a new Samuel Hunter play.  But there are no explicit plans to bring it to Broadway (yet?)

Disney Theatrical’s Thomas Schumacher responds to Frozen rumors: Yes,  married songwriting team Bobby Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez are working on the Broadway adaptation, composing several new songs. (see below)  But no dates have been set

Awards and Achievements

Winner of The Grammys for Best Musical Theater Album: Beautiful


Bobby Lopez and Kristin Anderson-Lopez have won a Grammy for Frozen soundtrack – and a second for their song Let It Go

Congrats (I think) to Bobby Lopez and Jeff Marx: FBI director James B. Comey quoted Avenue Q in speech on race 

“Much research points to the widespread existence of unconscious bias. Many people in our white-majority culture have unconscious racial biases and react differently to a white face than a black face. In fact, we all, white and black, carry various biases around with us. I am reminded of the song from the Broadway hit, Avenue Q: “Everyone’s a Little Bit Racist.” Part of it goes like this:

Look around and you will find
No one’s really color blind.
Maybe it’s a fact
We all should face
Everyone makes judgments
Based on race.

You should be grateful I did not try to sing that.”


Hal Holbrook will be performing “Mark Twain Tonight” at The Bushnell Feb 17th – the actor’s 90th birthday!
Holbrook has been performing as Mark Twain for 61 years! He’s brought it to Broadway,TV,50 states, 20 countries.

“To succeed in life, you need two things: ignorance and confidence” ~ Mark Twain


AnikaLarsen1Anika Larsen — A “Beautiful Life…and a Changed One.

Although she had already performed in four Broadway shows before she joined the cast of “Beautiful,” Anika Larsen says that, without the Carole King musical, she would not now be 1. Pregnant, 2. Still an actress, 3. A new recording artist, and 4. About to make her New York cabaret debut.

Deals and Delights

Offer from The Heidi Chronicles with Elisabeth Moss as art historian: Buy 2 full-priced tickets, get free one-year membership to the Museum of Modern Art.

50 years of fighting for justice Teatro Campesino, forum w/ Luis Valdez Lemon Andersen and Maria Hinojosa at the Public Theater April 13

New Theater-Related Developments

In his State of the City address, Mayor Bill deBlasio promised 1,500 units of affordable housing for artists and musicians.
NYC no longer has the highest rents in U.S. (That’s just because San Francisco is even higher.) Median rent for one-bedroom in NYC: $3,000


Inspired by success of Comiccon, Anthony Rapp has co-created BroadwayCon, a convention for fans. 1/22-24/2016

Howard Sherman has found a home for his anti-censorship work in New School for Drama’s new Arts Integrity Initiative

Theater Wisdom

Todd London’s love essay on wife Karen Hartman, and impassioned plea for other post “emerging” playwrights

Henry Winkler on longevity in the entertainment world:

“Tenacity and gratitude. Tenacity gets you where you want to go and gratitude doesn’t allow you to be angry along the way. “

One should compromise in life, George Hunka writes, but not in art:

“Art itself is larger than the artist”


Tommy Tune:

“My feeling is that if we had a healthy balance of new shows and revivals, that would be good. But everybody gives their money to revivals—they’re like a sure bet. It makes it very hard for those of us that want to have new musicals to compete with producers who are doing revivals”.

On the other hand:

“I’m a fool for Gershwin. I did 1,500 performances of My One and Only, which was a Gershwin musical, and it just sits with my voice and my body for dancing. I can’t resist it. As rock and roll come on when I was in high school—Elvis Presley and all of that—I just didn’t get it, because I was so infused with that earlier time. I always wished that I had been born in the ’20s…”


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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