Kyle Jean-Baptiste Memorial Service. Forest Whitaker Debuting, Daniel Craig Quitting Broadway. Week in New York Theater


An informal memorial service will be held in Central Park Monday afternoon for Kyle Jean-Baptiste, 21, the youngest actor and first African-American to portray Jean Valjean in Les Miserables on Broadway

Jean-Baptiste died on Aug. 29 after falling from a fourth-story fire escape in Bedford-Stuyvesant.
The gathering will be held August 31, 2015 at the Bethesda Fountain at 2 p.m.

Jean-Baptiste was an ensemble performer and an understudy for the role of Valjean. He first appeared on stage in the role on July 23rd.

The actor, who was active on social media, Tweeted before and after his performance:

Three days ago, on Instagram he made his farewell to Les Miserables, showing himself with and without the Les Miz makeup.  He was going to join the cast of The Color Purple on September 6th.


Some videos of his remarkable singing:

Week in New York Theater Reviews

Love and Money Maureen Anderman Gabriel Brown Joe Paulik
Love and Money
Maureen Anderman
Gabriel Brown
Joe Paulik

My review of Love and Money

“Love and Money,” A.R. Gurney’s latest comedy about WASPs, is as deep as dust, and no more solid, but as dust goes, it’s a fine light powder, ground by a craftsman who’s been at it for some four decades, and it’s more likely to tickle than to irritate…In a brownstone on the Upper East Side, Cornelia Cunningham (Maureen Anderman) is packing up for a move to a fancy retirement community that she insists on calling a nursing home. At the same time, she is writing checks with a lot of zeroes; she has decided to give away all her considerable wealth to charity…A young African-American man suddenly appears at the brownstone, claiming to be her grandson.

Full review of Love and Money

Daniel J. Watts, Derrick Baskin and Ryan Quinn
Daniel J. Watts, Derrick Baskin and Ryan Quinn

My review of Whorl Inside a Loop

Sherie Rene Scott’s new play at Second Stage Theater, about an actress teaching a class of murderers at a men’s prison, has much that is admirable and even heart-warming. Yet, the creative team more or less manages to turn the inmates into supporting players in what should be their story…What’s good about ‘Whorl Inside a Loop,’ especially the acting, would make its self-indulgent aspects matter less, if the show weren’t entering a theatrical landscape already dotted with well-done prison dramas, most notable among them plays created and performed by ex-inmates.”

Full review of Whorl Inside a Loop


My review of A Delicate Ship

‘A Delicate Ship’ is a lyrical play with some of the rich intricacy and circumlocution of a poem. To appreciate Ziegler’s play, theatergoers should be open to spending time with the kind of characters who philosophize about suffering over glasses of wine on Christmas Eve…Director Margot Bordelon treats us to a lively pace for such a contemplative piece, and the actors are so good I never once had the urge to yell out ‘Oh, get over yourselves and go bowling.’ (Well, maybe once.)”

Full review of A Delicate Ship

Week in New York Theater News

Theater openings in September


Broadway Poll: Which Fall 2015 Show Most Excites You?


Starting Monday: a Twitter play – which is a revival because nobody does Twitter plays anymore.
My piece in American Theatre about The 15th Line.

The first tweet is alarming: “Breaking News – Subway accident at 15th St. Station. 21 believed dead, 17 injured. Cause is not yet known.”  It comes from Patrick Hearson (@patcitypress), a journalist at City Press.

Actually, Hearson is not a real journalist—he’s a character in The 15th Line, a play by Philadelphia-based playwright Jeremy Gable written specifically for Twitter. Beginning on Aug. 31, 2015,  and for every day following for eight weeks, the drama will take shape as a total of some 300 tweets by Patrick and three other characters.

“The idea came during a time in which I was working from home and spent a lot of time on Twitter,” Gable explains. “I was struck by how certain events were being covered first or more comprehensively on Twitter than on other news sources. I came to realize that this simple platform was combining the personal with the global, taking huge events and showing us an up-close view.”

That’s exactly what The 15th Line does: A reporter character gives the overview, and the other characters tweet about how they are affected. But in an irony of our digital age: The show is actually a revival. Gable first wrote and tweeted The 15th Line in 2010, when it unfolded every day over some two months. Now director and teacher Erin Mee will be doing the tweeting.

Full article 

Update: To follow the Twitter play online without having to follow each character on Twitter, go to this page.


Forest Whitaker will make his Broadway debut in Eugene O’Neill’s two-character play Hughie in Spring 2016.


The Downstairs,La MaMa ETC’s fourth theater, will open in Nov at 66 E 4th St basement.150 seats, classroom,exhibition space,new media focus.

How do you get stars like Nathan Lane and Debra Messing to do a reading of your plays? Be Wesley Taylor. Oct 26 at New World Stages

Pictured: Denzel Washington (Troy Maxson) & Viola Davis (Rose)
Pictured: Denzel Washington (Troy Maxson) & Viola Davis (Rose)

A film version of August Wilson’s Fences to star Viola Davis, directed by Denzel Washington. (It’s unclear whether Washington will play Troy, the part he played on Broadway with Davis.)

Daniel Craig in Betrayal on Broadway. This is the last time he'll be on Broadway, because the audience is his age.
Daniel Craig in Betrayal on Broadway. This is the last time he’ll be on Broadway, because the audience is closet to his age, which is 47.

Daniel Craig, interviewed by Martin McDonagh
“I’d like to do some theater in New York. I’ve done Broadway and I was happy with that, but I don’t want to do Broadway anymore.”
“The audience is all over 50, on the whole, and I think new faces and cheaper tickets are the only way forward. And it’s never going to happen.”

David Lawson: Daniel Craig should put his money where his mouth is and do a show with $18 tickets.
J Adrian Verkouteren:  He could try holding a lottery for less expensive seats the way Hamilton does.

Why are so many creative people neurotic? Study: on neurotic and creative Both marked by high levels of “self-generated thought.”

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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