Beware the Ides of March? No, Celebrate! The Week in New York Theater

idesofmarchtwentiethcenturyKristin Chenoweth may have paused at the new opening date for “On The Twentieth Century” – the Ides of March. Her co-star Peter Gallagher had been out sick, and Chenoweth herself had cracked a rib. But, as it turns out — in my view, anyway — the March 15th opening must have been a good omen. Scroll down for a summary and link to my review of the musical, as well as of The Audience and The Nether.

More good news: Although the much-praised solo musical by Benjamin Scheuer is closing in two weeks, you can enter a contest to see The Lion for free.

The Week in Theater News

Audra McDonald accepts her sixth (record-breaking) Tony Award, in June
Audra McDonald accepts her sixth (record-breaking) Tony Award, in June

Audra McDonald will return to Broadway in Spring, 2016 in “Shuffle Along, Or, The Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed,” a new backstage musical directed by George C. Wolfe and choreographed by Savion Glover, that looks at the making of the 1921 Broadway musical that marked the debut of Josephine Baker. This is the THIRD new show involving Josephine Baker, who’s been dead for 40 years. (McDonald will star as Lottie Gee, the actress who played the female lead in the original.)

Allegiance Lea Salonga George Takei Telly Leung

Lea Salonga and Telly Leung will co-star with George Takei in Allegiance, set to open on November 8 at Broadway’s Longacre Theater.

James Houghton (Founding Artistic Director, Signature Theatre Company)

James Houghton, founding artistic director of Signature Theater, says he’ll step down at the end of the theater’s 2015-16 season, the Tony-winning Off-Broadway theater’s 25th season. Houghton was recently diagnosed with stomach cancer, will continue as the director of the drama division at Juilliard.


The Honeymooners, a musical based on the old Jackie Gleason TV series, has dropped out of the Goodspeed Opera House season, telling the Connecticut theater they are aiming for Broadway instead

Smash "Opening Night" 6

Bombshell, the Marilyn Monroe musical from the Smash TV series, will be presented as a concert June 8th at the Minskoff Theater with many of the original cast members — Megan Hilty, Katharine McPhee, Debra Messing, Christian Borle and Will Chase.


T.R. Knight will play whiz kid British director (the Rupert Grint role) in It’s Only A Play starting March 31

This is a golden moment for political theater (in UK) writes Charlotte Higgins in The Guardian. (In the U.S. too?)

Marin Ireland

Her costar gave her a black eye; now Marin Ireland campaigns for better handling of misconduct in theater “Many actors don’t know what to do when behavior — physical, sexual, harassment, bullying — crosses a line.”

Differing reactions:

The Week in Theater Reviews

Audience11aMy review of The Audience

“The Audience,” a middle brow British export starring the quick-change artistry of Helen Mirren as Queen Elizabeth, imagines what happens during Her Majesty’s private weekly meetings with England’s prime ministers over the course of her six decade reign. By the end of Peter Morgan’s play, we have learned that Queen Elizabeth

  • suffers from Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder.
  • hates Buckingham Palace
  • has a wry sense of humor and dry wit
  • grew up with a Scottish nanny who slept in her bedroom until she was 15, which made her identify with ordinary, middle class people
  • is politically liberal

What we don’t learn is whether any of this is true….While it was a hit on the West End, “The Audience” is likely to appeal on this side of the Atlantic primarily to Anglophiles, Monarchists and fans of Helen Mirren

Full review of The Audience


My review of The Nether

In playwright Jennifer Haley’s cleverly imagined, disturbing future — just a step or two ahead of our present — people lose themselves in a virtual world.

“Your login records indicate you spend a great deal of time online,” a detective says while interrogating a (craftily named) Mr. Sims.

“You have a lot of work on your hands if that’s become a crime,” Sims replies.

But is having sex with a young girl a crime; is hacking her to death with an axe a crime – if the young girl is no more than an avatar in the online world that Sims has created for himself and his paying guests?

Full review of The Nether

On the 20th Century Gallagher, McGrath, Chenoweth, Linn-Baker, Karl

My review of On The Twentieth Century

Kristin Chenoweth and Peter Gallagher in On The Twentieth Century
Kristin Chenoweth and Peter Gallagher in On The Twentieth Century

Train travel is hot again, at least at the (ironically named) American Airlines Theater, where “On The Twentieth Century” turns out to be one of the funniest and most entertaining shows on Broadway – something not everybody would have predicted for this revival of a 37-year-old musical comedy adaptation of an 83-year-old play about two people who take a train from Chicago to New York.

… kudos must go especially to Peter Gallagher and Kristin Chenoweth, and not just because they provide the central spark that ignites the comic chaos. The opening of “On the Twentieth Century” was delayed a few days because a sinus infection forced Gallagher to miss performances. Due to an injury, Chenoweth has been cracking her jokes while nursing a cracked rib. Together, they prove themselves old-fashioned troupers in this old-fashioned entertainment – turning “old-fashioned” into a compliment.

Full review of On The Twentieth Century


The Week in Theater-Related Developments


Sondheim: Lady Gaga’s Sound of Music “semi-operatic” medley at the Oscars was “a travesty..She had no relationship to what she was singing”

The 2015 Jonathan Larsen $10,000 grants from the American Theater Wing for promising musical theater talent go to:  Max Vernon; Sam Willmott; Tim Rosserand Charlie Sohne. Congratulations!

Francesca Primus Prize for emerging woman playwright: $10,000 ! Nominate yourself by April 30



NYC landmark interiors exhibition at the New York School of Interior Design features many saved, gorgeous theaters

The Week in Theater Previews and Promotions


In honor of π day/ pi day (3.141592653589793238462643383279502884197169399 etc.) on March 14th,  the Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time offered a lottery for tickets costing $3.14


Double dose of Wolf Hall: The six-part TV series begins April 5 on PBS. The play begins April 9 on Broadway.


Robert Fairchild and Leanne Cope
Robert Fairchild and Leanne Cope


Rush tickets for American in Paris: $32

Cast descriptions for Hamilton:

Hamilton: Eminem meets Sweeney Todd

Aaron Burr: Javert meets Mos Def



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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