#Ham4Ham Expands. Hedwig Halts. #Desnudas Daunt. New Season Stings. Week in New York Theater

SpringAwakeningHam4Ham#Ham4Ham, the name for the five-minute performances during the lottery drawings for the Broadway musical Hamilton, began last month with Lin-Manuel Miranda rapping, and roping in other cast members. Now, cast members from other Broadway shows are guest starring – Les Miz, Spring Awakening, Fun Home. Is this the birth of a new theatrical…genre?

In the Heights Reunion

Les Miserables

Spring Awakening

Fun Home

(#Ham4Ham is hip shorthand for the lottery because the winners pay only ten dollars — Hamilton is the face on the ten dollar bill — to see the musical Hamilton.)


Broadway Week

Week in New York Theater Reviews

"Informed Consent" at Primary Stages
My review of Informed Consent

At a time when it seems that every other new TV series (Extant, Humans, Mr. Robot, Fear the Walking Dead) can be read as a cautionary tale about the dangers of science and technology, “Informed Consent” offers a more sophisticated look at a whole host of issues raised by its specific scientific focus. The play makes an impressive attempt to present each side of the dispute with respect. It also gives us a glimpse into the implications of the extraordinary advances in genome research — what our DNA can tell us about our history and, increasingly, our future….But for all the fascination inherent in the subject, playwright Deborah Zoe Laufer and director Liesl Tommy’s approach undermines the story in two major ways.

Full review of Informed Consent


My review of Mercury Fur

The horrific future conjured in “Mercury Fur” – a world piled high with atrocities ranging from the killing of zoo animals to random decapitations to child torture – is clearly meant to shock. But what is unexpected in the New Group’s revival of Philip Ridley’s 2005 dystopian fantasy is how tedious it is.

Full review of Mercury Fur

Week in New York Theater News

‪Hedwig and the Angry Inch is‪ closing September 13, after 22 previews,506 regular performances, and six Hedwigs ‬

The Painted Ladies of Times Square


Although there is more nudity on Broadway stages than on Broadway, the mayor and the police commissioner, goaded by several days of front-page headlines in the Daily News, are determined to do something about the dozen or so women who call themselves #Desnudas and parade around in the Times Square plazas wearing little more than body paint.
“I’d prefer to dig the whole damn thing up and put it back the way it was”-NYPD Commissioner Bratton on Times Square pedestrian plazas

New York Theatre Workshop will offer tickets for $25  for the first two performances of every show, starting September 11 with Elevator Repair Service’s Fondly Collette Richland.



It’s conquered Vegas and the world, now Cirque de Soleil plans to take over Broadway’s Lyric (where On The Town is running until September 6), with a new show called “Paramour,” which opens in June. Cirque’s description of its show, in true carnival barker tradition:



Hold On To Me Darling, a new Kenneth Lonergan play about a country-western star who tries to give up his fame, will be at the Atlantic Theater in February.


Six playwrights, including John Guare and Beth Henley,  dramatize Tennessee Williams short stories in Desire, the first play of ‪the 59E59 season. It opens September 10.


Joining the cast of A View from the Bridge on Broadway: ‪Looking’s ‪Russell Tovey as Rodolpho. It opens Nov 12.

New MTC Season Provokes Protest

Fool For Love by Sam Shepard, October 8 to December 6
Sam Rockwell and Nina Arianda
Two lovers holed up in a seedy motel on the edge of the Mojave Desert (

Ripcord by David Lindsay-Abaire, opens October 20
Holland Taylor, Marylouise Burke, and Rachel Dratch. David Hyde Pierce directs
Two rivals vie for a choice room in an assisted living facility

Important Hats of the 20th Century by Nick Jones, opens November 25
Directed by Moritz Von Stuelpnagel (Hand to God)
a cutthroat rivalry between milliners in 1930s New York.

Our Mother’s Brief Affair by Richard Greenberg, opens January 20
Linda Lavin. Directed by MTC artistic director Lynne Meadow
A woman makes a startling confession on her deathbed.

Prodigal Son by John Patrick Shanley, opens February 9
Robert Sean Leonard. Shanley directs
A brilliant, troubled young man from the Bronx at a New Hampshire private school.

The Father by Florian Zeller, opens Apr. 12
Frank Langella. Directed by Doug Hughes
A trip through the mind of a man who may be a retired dancer or an engineer, and who may be visited by family or by strangers

Incognito by Nick Payne, Opens May 24
The stories of a pathologist, a seizure patient, and a neuropsychologist intertwine mysteriously.

When this season was announced, there was much criticism on social media about its lack of diversity



– which was picked up by the New York Times.

“These are really respected artists,”Zakiyyah Alexander, a member of the Kilroys, was quoted as saying. “It’s not their fault that they have been put in the position to only be surrounded by white male playwrights.”


MTC added an eighth show to their season:
The Ruins of Civilization by Penelope Skinner, with Lila Neugebauer slated to direct.


I’d like to end on a personal note


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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