Broadway at the Oscars Cheat Sheet. Hamilton Reviewed. Presidents on Stage. The Week in New York Theater

Eleven of the 20 performers nominated for 2015 Oscars have performed (or will soon perform) on Broadway, one of the many ways that Broadway connects with Hollywood this year, as it does in all years.

Broadway at the 2015 Academy Awards

Actor in a Leading Role

Bradley Cooper for American Sniper (currently in The Elephant Man, formerly in Three Days of Rain, 2006)

Eddie Redmayne for The Theory of Everything (Red, 2010)

Actress in a Leading Role

Felicity Jones for The Theory of Everything (Metamorphoses, 2002)

Julianne Moore for Still Alice (The Vertical Hour, 2006)

Actor in a Supporting Role

Robert Duvall for The Judge (Wait Until Dark, 1966; American Buffalo, 1977)

Ethan Hawke for Boyhood (The Seagull, 1992; Henry IV, 2003; Coast of Utopia Parts 1 to 3, 2007; Macbeth, 2013)

Mark Ruffalo for Foxcatcher (Awake and Sing, 2006)

J.K. Simmons for Whiplash (A Change in the Heir, 1990; Peter Pan, 1991; Guys and Dolls, 1992; Laughter on the 23rd Floor, 1993)

Ironically, the only supporting actor nominee this year who has not performed on Broadway is Edward Norton, who portrays a Broadway actor in “Birdman.”

Actress in a Supporting Role

Keira Knightley for The Imitation Game (Therese Raquin, scheduled to open in October)

Emma Stone for Birdman (Cabaret, 2015)

Meryl Streep for Into the Woods (Trelawny of the “Wells”, 1975; A Memory of Two Mondays/27 Wagons Full of Cotton, 1976; Secret Service, 1976; The Cherry Orchard, 1977; Happy End, 1977)


The Bad Actor of Broadway: Jeremy Shamos in Birdland


The Week in Theater Reviews (Hamilton!)


My review of Hamilton

“Hamilton,” Lin-Manuel Miranda’s groundbreaking new musical about the life and times of the Founding Father whose face is on the ten dollar bill, is thrilling on at least three levels – as a series of exciting performances, as an entertaining history lesson, and as the first-ever hip-hop opera.
Now, the Public Theater, where the show has opened, would object to the phrase “hip hop opera”; it even avoids using “hip hop musical”, for two solid reasons:
1. There is much more than just rap in “Hamilton,” with Miranda composing a range of sparkling music, from R&B to jazz to Beatles-like pop to beautiful Broadway ballads, and even a snatch of light opera.
2. “Hip hop” is not good for marketing, since it could turn off regular theatergoers.

But “hip-hop” fits, and not just because of how much rapping there is in the show. Hip hop represents a culture that goes beyond just a specific meter in song, or identifiable physical movement. If the Hip Hop Nation is full of young outsiders, so was the budding American nation. Most of the cast of “Hamilton” are people of color – performers, many descended from slaves, portraying the 18th century founders, many of whom were slave-owners. “Hamilton” signals in effect a new generation saying: We’re America too. That alone is stirring.

Full review of Hamilton

The Subtle Body

My review of The Subtle Body

The Subtle Body is inspired by the actual historical figure of British physician John Floyer, who  came up with a method of taking a patient’s pulse that is still standard practice hundreds of years later.

But playwright Megan Campisi’s main interest in him is clearly the good doctor’s fascination with China and Chinese medicine. The Subtle Body, now at 59 E 59 Theater through March 1, uses his visit to China, and his interaction with a Chinese physician, as an opportunity to explore differences between the East and the West in medicine – and the contrast as well in culture, in language and in love.

Full review of The Subtle Body


My review of Kill Me Like You Mean It

The leggy dame who has hired private investigator Ben Farrell wants him to find a missing person — Tommy Dickie, the chief writer for Murder Monthly, a crime magazine. But there are complications, as there always are in the kind of film noir detective stories that inspire Kiran Rikhye’s play “Kill Me Like You Mean It,” a stylish but silly production by Stolen Chair that is scheduled to run through March 8 at the Fourth Street Theater.

The most intriguing complication is that Tommy Dickie has been writing the private detective’s murder cases — except that the murders have been occurring after Dickie has written about them.

This suggestion of the supernatural offered a promising twist to a show that seems to be a part of a mini-trend in New York theater — stage noir.

Full review of Kill Me Like You Mean It



The Week in Theater-Related Developments

“Very fond of drama,” Alexander Hamilton & wife “were frequently habitués of the Park Theater on lower Broadway.”~Ron Chernow

Audience Participation —  Tickle or terrify? A Fad or the future? Transcript of an online chat

Presidents on Stage 

Television is crowded these days with fictional presidents, on shows like House of Cards, Scandal, Madam Secretary, and State of Affairs, but nearly every one of the 43 actual U.S. presidents has been portrayed by name on Broadway.

Most recently, Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad) played President Lyndon Baines Johnson last season in All the Way, but even such obscure historical figures as presidents John Tyler and Rutherford B. Hayes have gotten their moment on a Broadway stage — both portrayed by Gene Wilder in a 1964 play entitled The White House that crammed in 24 of the presidents between John Adams and Woodrow Wilson.

With Broadway this season focusing on royalty (The King and I, The Audience, Wolf Hall), the presidential action on stage is happening Off-Broadway: Clinton the Musical, opening in March, and Hamilton, which features three presidents – George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison,

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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