Mad Men vs Theater. Summer Festivals. Fugard’s Final Play? Week in NY Theater

série américaine (2007)
série américaine (2007)

“Even though success is a reality, its effects are temporary,” Don Draper tells Dow Chemical in season 5 of Mad Men, the TV series that is ending tonight in its seventh season. It’s a lesson the theater knows well (with the exception of Phantom of the Opera):  Shows come to an end. But theater does not, despite endless pronouncements to the contrary.  “The theater is the only institution in the world which has been dying for 4,000 years and has never succumbed,” John Steinbeck liked to say (and I like to quote him saying it.)

Elisabeth Moss
Elisabeth Moss

Elisabeth Moss (Peggy Olsen) who made her Broadway debut a year after Mad Men began, in Speed-the-Plow, starred this season in The Heidi Chronicles.

John Slattery (Roger Sterling) is a three-time Broadway veteran. If he has no announced plans to perform on the stage, he will be playing a theater director in Netflix’s  “Wet Hot American Summer.”

Vincent Kartheiser (Pete Campbell) recently appeared Off-Broadway in Billy and Ray.

Jon Hamm, Christina Hendricks, January Jones? They’ll come around, eventually.

The Week in New York Theater: Looking Ahead


15 Summer Theater Festivals in New York


The Public Theater 2015-2016 Season

The New Group 2015-2016: Mercury Fur Steve, directed by Cynthia Nixon Sam Shepard’s Buried Child, with Ed Harris and Amy Madigan


2016 New York City Center Encores: Cabin in the Sky, Feb 10-14

1776, March 30 – April 3

Do I Hear a Waltz (Sondheim/Rodgers), May 11-15

Tuck Everlasting,  set for Broadway April 2016. Book by Claudia Shear (Dirty Blonde) direct Casey Nicholaw(Something Rotten, Book of Mormon.)

The Week in New York Theater Reviews

Painted Rocks at Revolver Creek.
In what he says may be his last play, South African playwright Athol Fugard explores his characters’ fear, humiliation and desperation, as he has in such well-known anti-apartheid works as Blood Knot and MASTER HAROLD … and the Boys. But this time, a white woman, post apartheid, shares those emotions.
The Painted Rocks at Revolver Creek, directed by Fugard at the Pershing Square Signature Center through June 7, is a modest, almost oblique but ultimately explosive look at the new South Africa. It begins as the story of real-life “outsider artist” Nukain Mabuza, who spent decades painting flowers on boulders on the farm on which he worked as a laborer. But Fugard’s play only borrows some elements from the actual life of Mabuza, who reportedly committed suicide in 1981. Fugard has told interviewers that he put the script in a bottom drawer a few years ago, until (prodded by a deadline from Signature), he realized recently how he could refashion it with a second act.

Full review of Painted Rocks at Revolver Creek


Queen of the Night review

“Queen of the Night” is marketed as “a decadent fusion of theater, cuisine, circus, and nightlife that welcomes guests into a wholly interactive entertainment experience.” But the only thing I found truly decadent about it were the ticket prices — as high as $475, no lower than $140 – and the modern caste system that it suggests…It is a stretch to call “Queen of the Night” a work of theater at all….“Queen of the Night” can work as a splendid night out for some people – best suited, perhaps, for a group of (flush) friends to celebrate a birthday.

Full review of Queen of the Night

Scene from The Civilians "The Way They Were" -- here considering Washington Crossing the Delaware, by Emanuel Leutze (1851)
Scene from The Civilians “The Way They Were” — here considering Washington Crossing the Delaware, by Emanuel Leutze (1851)

The Way They Live, The Civilians at the Met

What does it mean to be an American?

The Civilians, the first-ever theater-in-residence at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, finished their year-long residency with a flourish by addressing that question with their last show at the Met, “The Way They Live.”

The title comes from the first of more than a dozen works of art that the theater troupe selected from the Met’s American Wing,  projecting them one by one on the screen of the museum’s Grace Rainey Rogers Auditorium, and putting each cleverly at the center of its own scene or song.

Full review of The Way They Live

The Week in New York Theater News

Drama League Awards

Airline Highway, nominated for 4 Tony Awards, will close on June 7 (Tony Day!), a week earlier than planned

The Rebecca Saga continues. Legal strike against publicist who calls himself a whistleblower, in Broadway story

Two different heartthrobs host separate student fests one day apart Andy Karl presides over the Roundabout Theater’s Student Theatre Arts Festival May 18, Darren Criss  over Broadway Junior May 19. Both feature performances by students of New York City public schools.

What ups the odds of staying sharp? Mental stimulation, physical exercise, healthy eating…and making art
Protect Wireless Technology for the Performing Arts, Performing Arts Alliance urges

The $179 Million Picasso That Explains Global Inequality

Take note of these four musicals for a Tony, then vote for ‘Fun Home
By Charles McNulty

Crowdfunding reconsidered


Amiri Baraka’s Play About W. E. B. Du Bois, via Woodie King Jr.

Jerry Adler
Jerry Adler — in the cast of Fish in the Dark, and a regular on The Good Wife — has been in show business for 65 years – but didn’t start acting until he was retirement age

The Love and Struggle of Producing a Left-Wing Circus: Circus Amok

Falling asleep at the theater by Mark Shenton

Steve Guttenberg will do Shakespeare in Riverside Park this June

Tony Luncheon slideshow


Nine ways to survive as a theater artist with kids, by Melissa Hillman (1. Make sure your partner is wealthy)

On this date in…

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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