Hamilton Begins on Broadway, With A Gift. Roger Rees RIP. Not So Smart Phones. The Week in New York Theater

It didn’t seem possible to like Hamilton more than I already do — until they announced that there would be a ten dollar lottery for front-row seats at every public performance on Broadway, starting with the first preview, July 13th.


If “Hamilton” can do this, why can’t every other show on Broadway?

Ticket prices were a subject of debate between Deadline’s Jeremy Gerard and Jujamcyn Theater’s Jordan Roth.  But, although prices are normally the number one topic of conversation and complaint among theatergoers, it got eclipsed this month in what has been in effect a discussion of theater etiquette.


The attention in social media and the mainstream press to 19-year-old theatergoer Nick Silvestri’s attempt to charge his cell phone in the fake electrical outlet on the set of Hand to God was so great that he held a press conference to apologize:

“I don’t have a very good answer for the question that many of you are probably wondering: What was I thinking? I guess I wasn’t really thinking. I don’t go to plays very much, and I didn’t realize that the stage is considered off limits. I’ve learned a lot about the theater in the past few days – theater people are really passionate and have been very willing to educate me.”


Patti LuPone is famous for “educating” errant theatergoers, and this past week was no exception; in the middle of her performance, she snatched a phone from a audience member who was texting.

“I am so defeated by this issue that I seriously question whether I want to work onstage anymore,” she said in a statement released to the press.

Cell-phoned theatergoers have done more to publicize Broadway in the last couple of weeks than all the publicists combined.


Patti LuPone was not the only veteran stage performer who talked about quitting this week. Jan Maxwell, who has been nominated for five Tony Awards, told an interviewer she was retiring after the current production:

“The kinds of roles I was being offered were just…I’d been there and done that, and I just didn’t want to do that anymore. If I could do television and film just to keep the health insurance going, that would be great. But I don’t know if that will happen.”

The Week in New York Theater News

Roger Rees

Roger Rees, MAY 5, 1944 – JULY 10, 2015

The new season at Theater for a New Audience: Trevor Nunn (Nicholas Nickleby, Cats,Les Miz) directs Shakespeare’s Pericles, and John Douglas Thompson stars in A Doll’s House

Spring Awakening will be holding open auditions for deaf actors at Telsey and Company casting (311 West 43rd) Thursday July 16, starting at 10 am

Aaron Tveit, who will star in Grease on TV
Aaron Tveit, who will star in Grease on TV

Aaron Tveit will play Danny Zuko in GREASE LIVE!, also starring Julianne Hough and Vanessa Hudgens,  airing on Fox in January

Why columnist Elizabeth Day doesn’t like the theater: too many boring shows, expensive tickets, uncomfortable seats, pretentious audiences

Critic Lyn Gardner responds smartly to Day’s dismissal of theater, defending theater: “she has a point” but

The Week in New York Theater Reviews

Sayonara 1a Ya Han Chang is Hana-Ogi with ensemble in Pan Asian's SAYONARA photo by John Quincy Lee

My review of Sayonara

In some ways, the Pan Asian Repertory Theater’s wonderfully choreographed and beautifully designed production of “Sayonara” could not be better timed. The 1987 musical, adapted from James Michener’s 1954 novel (which was also made into the 1957 movie starring Marlon Brando), tells the story of an American fighter pilot stationed in Japan during the Korean War who falls in love with a Japanese woman, at a time when the law discouraged them from marrying; U.S. military personnel were actually banned from bringing their Japanese brides back to the United States…Yet…there’s something obvious and old-fashioned about “Sayonara,” a fact perhaps tacitly acknowledged by its director, Tisa Chang…Her production, she writes, is a “re-imagining” of the musical…this strikes me as not re-imagined enough.

Full review of Sayonara

The Week in New York Theater Videos

Watch: Matt Shingledecker on Spring Awakening, West Side Story, Rent and Wicked – and with Caroline Bowman as Elphaba, singing “As Long As You’re Mine” from Wicked:


Watch Bernadette Peters Sing to a Pooch in Broadway Barks 2015. (and Andy Karl cuddle a canine up close, and the cast of Fun Home sing Happy Birthday and watch their dogs run wild, etc.)

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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