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Andrew Rannells in Hamilton. Kathleen Turner in Transgender Drama. Live,um, Cinema? Week in New York Theater

The October avalanche continues, with ten theater openings this coming week, including one on Broadway, The Gin Game.


Check out October theater openings

The Week in New York Theater Reviews

OldTimes12

My review of Old Times

Given both his acting talent and his love of Pinter, director Douglas Hodge surely deserves some credit for the sophisticated and seductive performances by the three members of the cast…They have mastered Pinter’s tricky rhythms

But there’s no getting around Pinter’s deliberately cryptic text, and several of Hodge’s choices, rather than working to ground the goings-on in some recognizable reality and thus orient the audience, instead seem to revel in the play’s weirdness.

33. S. Follies (c)Richard Termine

My review of Basil Twist’s Sisters Follies

“Basil Twist’s Sisters’ Follies: Between Two Worlds” is visually spectacular  making full use of Twist’s inspired craftsmanship and that of his design team.

But it is otherwise oddly awful, and awfully odd; such an eccentric way to celebrate the Abrons legacy that it feels like a deliberate self-parody.

Barbecue2

My review of Barbecue

“Barbecue” manages to roast its raw characters, while at the same time basting the audience in juicy observations about race and class, truth and “authenticity,” and modern addictions, including to fame.

Would You Still Love Me If for summary

My review of  Would You Still Love Me If

Now that Would You Still Love Me If… has opened at New World Stages, the decision by Kathleen Turner, a Tony- and Oscar- nominated actress, to invest her time and talents in this unskilled play is baffling. Would You Still Love Me If…is decently directed, professionally performed and certainly well intentioned. But John Anastasi’s script, while earnest and enlightened, is so flawed as a drama that it would be put to better use as reading material for a transgender friend and family support group.

The Week in New York Theater News

Andrew Rannells

Andrew Rannells

Andrew Rannells will play King George in Hamilton Oct 27-Nov 29. (Jonathan Groff returns Dec 1)

BobSagetposter

Bob Saget (Fun Home, America’s Funniest Home Videos) will play Pastor Greg in Hand to God from Novemaber 3 until the play closes January 3

LazarusLazarus, by David Bowie and Enda Walsh, which sold out its initial run in three hours (before opening!), is extending through January 17 at New York Theatre Workshop.

The full cast of Fondly, Collette Richland, minus the plant who was kicked out.

The full cast of Fondly, Collette Richland, minus the plant who was kicked out.

Fondly, Collette Richland is extended to October 24.

3C original production

3C original production

Reading of David Adjmi’s 3C followed by panel discussion of his legal triumph over Three’s Company producers, FREE. Oct 26 at New School for Drama. A look at the copyright fight

2015-16 Irondale Center season: puppet King Lear 1599 Project, smushing together Henry V,Julius Caesar,As You Like It & Hamlet

Sydney Lucas as Small Allison and Beth Malone as Allison

Sydney Lucas as Small Allison and Beth Malone as Allison

Ex Fun Homer Sydney Lucas to star in Manhattan Concert Production’s concert of The Secret Garden, February  21-22 at Lincoln Center

In “Pike St.”, solo artist Nilaja Sun (“No Child…”) will bring the Lower Eas Side to life. Nov 10-Dec 6 at Abrons Arts Center

Rush tickets to Sylvia will cost $32 “with a maximum of 2 tickets per person.”

LACKEY023_078

The indestructible Fiddler on the Roof

Lisa Ryder and Haley McGee in
Lisa Ryder and Haley McGee in “Helen Lawrence.” (Photo by David Cooper)

All the World’s a Screen, and All the Men and Women Digital Players

Going beyond just projecting videos, new hybrid works like ‘Helen Lawrence’ and ‘The Return’ are live events mediated by digital technology.

Lisa Ryder has acted on screen, and she has acted onstage, but never before has she acted onstage and onscreen at the same time. “It’s very, very tricky,” she says with a laugh. “It’s the weirdest thing; it’s hard to describe.”

Ryder portrays the title character of Helen Lawrence, a work from the Toronto-based Canadian Stage that has been touring North America and Europe since 2014 and will stop at the Brooklyn Academy of Music Oct. 14–17. Ryder and the other live cast members perform onstage while their images simultaneously appear much enlarged on a screen. Even the person who conceived and directedHelen Lawrence has problems describing it. “It’s not the same as theatre; it’s not the same as film. It’s a third thing,” says director Stan Douglas. “For now, I’m calling it live cinema.”

Director Reid Farrington is not searching for a new name for what he does. “It’s certainly new, and it’s incredibly hard to do, but I’ve never thought of it as anything but theatre,” said Farrington. His latest piece, The Return, was presented this past summer at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. In a man-sized video monitor, placed into a gallery of the museum, a cartoon-like image of Adam, the first man, talked to museumgoers about a few falls he took (both mythical and literal). Simultaneously, in an auditorium in another part of the museum, visitors could watch how this cartoon Adam was being made to move and talk, as a live actor stood on a stage generating “Digital Adam’s” speech and movement.

Both Helen Lawrence and The Return are experiments in a pioneering theatrical genre, or perhaps subgenre: the effort to integrate live filmed images into live theatrical performance. Whatever the genre is called, Douglas believes it “has great potential for storytelling.”

“It’s an exciting time for this kind of technology,” says Farrington, who thinks of it as “the natural evolution of the traditional theatrical tools like lighting, sound, and video design.”

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About 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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