Fringe Rules. Spring Awakening Sneak Peek. Disney Snags Lin-Manuel Miranda. Week in New York Theater


After 19 years of the New York International Fringe Festival, which runs this year until August 30, certain Rules for Fringing have emerged (or are they just habits?)
1. First, see shows your friends are in (or wrote.)
No matter how bad the show, it isn’t a waste: You’ve shown support and created goodwill.
2. Avoid anything longer than an hour
I’ve seen worthwhile theater at the Fringe that was longer, but not often. This may be in part because theater artists who go longer are misreading the tone of the festival; if they can misread that, what else are they clueless about?
3. Rely on the kindness of strangers. Ask people on line with you for one Fringe show to recommend at least one other they’ve seen and liked.
4. Go to one of the free Fringe previews, brief scenes from some half dozen shows
5. Angie Fiedler Sutton says: Pick something out of your comfort zone: you may end up surprised.
6. Be on time. There is no late seating. They really mean this.

Watch video previews of seven of this year’s shows.

The Week in New York Theater Reviews

Georgia Engel as Mertis Katherine Graven, Christopher Abbott as Elias Schreiber-Hoffman & Lois Smith as Genevieve Marduk
Georgia Engel as Mertis Katherine Graven, Christopher Abbott as Elias Schreiber-Hoffman & Lois Smith as Genevieve Marduk

My review of John

Christopher Abbott and Hong Chau in a darkened bed and breakfast in Gettysburg
Christopher Abbott as Elias Schreiber-Hoffman Hong Chau as Jenny Chung in “John”

A couple visits a dark, possibly haunted bed and breakfast in Gettysburg, Pa. in “John,” an exquisitely acted puzzle of a play that features some familiar TV faces — Georgia Engel (Georgette in The Mary Tyler Moore Show) and Christopher Abbott (Charlie, Allison Williams’ boyfriend, in HBO’s Girls.) But “John” also marks the sixth collaboration between playwright Annie Baker and director Sam Gold, and that’s the source of its star power for serious theatergoers. Their new play, which serves as opener for the Signature’s 25th season, shares some of the characteristics of Baker and Gold’s previous work together, beginning with “Circle Mirror Transformation” in 2009 and including last year’s Pulitzer-winning “The Flick.” An accumulation of seemingly random scenes — deceptively casual, slyly amusing, leisurely paced — yields precisely observed moments of clarity and insight. In an Annie Baker/Sam Gold production, texture trumps text, and vivid, fully credible characters slowly emerge before our eyes.
Unlike her previous work, however, “John” seems to be aiming to be some kind of ghost story, but winds up falling short of any kind of fully realized drama. It comes off instead like an exercise in theatrical pointillism – like George Seurat focusing on the small dots that make up such paintings as his “A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte” – without as much concern that the dots add up to a clear and satisfying overall picture.
Full review

The Week in New York Theater News

Jessie Mueller in Waitress
Jessie Mueller in Waitress

Waitress, a musical currently at A.R.T. in Cambridge, will open at Broadway’s Brooks Atkinson Theater in April 2016‬. Starring Jessie Mueller (Beautiful), directed by Diane Paulus (Hair, Pippen), with music and lyrics by Sara Bareilles, Waitress is based upon the motion picture written by Adrienne Shelly: Jenna, a waitress and expert pie maker, is stuck in a small town and a loveless marriage. When a baking contest in a nearby county offers her a chance at escape, Jenna must choose between her commitments and her dreams


Dear Evan Hansen, a hit in D.C., will open at Second Stage Theater in the Spring.
The original musical tells the story of a lonely teenager who, through a misunderstanding, is embraced as the only friend of a classmate who has committed suicide. With music and lyrics by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul (A Christmas Story, Dogfight), Dear Evan Hansen has a book by Steven Levenson, (“Master of Sex,” “The Unavoidable Disappearance of Tom Durnin” and “The Language of Trees”)
and direction by Michael Greif (“Rent,” “Grey Gardens,” “Next to Normal”) Specific dates or casting have not been announced.

‪Radiohead‪’s Thom Yorke will compose original music for Roundabout’s Broadway production of Harold Pinter’s play Old Times, which opens October 6‬

Robert Sean Leonard (House) will return to the New York stage in ‪John Patrick Stanley’s Prodigal Son, with Timothee Chalamet as the gifted bad boy. It opens February 9

Billy Porter will depart ‪Kinky Boots on November 20, to be replaced by Wayne Brady, an actor, comedian and game show host who was previously on Broadway for two months in 2004 as Billy Flynn in Chicago.

Disney hired Broadwayites for two animated films
Gigantic (Jack & the beanstalk plot) –  the husband-wife “Frozen” team Bobby Lopez ‪and Kris Anderson-Lopez.
Moana (“a spirited teenager who sails out on a daring mission to fulfill her ancestors’ unfinished quest. She meets the once-mighty demi-god Maui (voice of Dwayne Johnson) – ‪Lin-Manuel Miranda


Joining ‪The Wiz on ‪NBC Dec 3: Common (as the Bouncer, the gatekeeper of the entrance to Emerald City) ‪Ne-Yo (as the Tin Man), and Elijah Kelly (as the Scarecrow)

The Week in Sneak Peek Videos


Spring Awakening

DAMES AT SEA - three ladies

Dames at Sea


Once Upon a Mattress – Jackie Hoffman singing “Shy”


Daddy Long Legs

The Week in Miscellaneous

Uggie at the Academy Awards
Uggie at the Academy Awards

Coy obituary for Uggie the actor/dog

Yet another article about the curse of the cell phone – this time backstage as well



Watch three videos from The King And I


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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