Week in NY Theater: Motown, Miss Saigon Returning to Broadway. Holiday Treats. Where Musicals Come From.

During Thanksgiving week, there is plenty to do besides travel and talk to your relatives.

Performing Thanksgiving Day on Broadway: Chicago, Dames at Sea, Finding Neverland, On Your Feet, and The Phantom of the Opera.

The 89th Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade - Season 89

Performing Thanksgiving Day at the Macy’s Parade: Fiddler on the Roof, Finding Neverland,The King & I, On Your Feet! and Something Rotten.


A whopping 28 Broadway shows have added a Friday matinee this week.

Check out the Thanksgiving week Broadway schedule

Week in New York Theater Views

In Once Upon A Mattress, Jackie Hoffman sings “Shy.” So I asked her – when has she been?

Theater Superstitions

The origins of “Break A Leg” and other common superstitions (it’s NOT what you think.)

Shakina Nayfack and the Musical Theatre Factory


Shakina Nayfack performing in Post Op, her solo show about her gender confirmation surgery
Shakina Nayfack performing in Post Op, her solo show about her gender confirmation surgery

The Musical Theatre Factory didn’t exist until March, 2014. Shakina Nayfack, who had moved to New York less than three years earlier, sent out an e-mail to 40 friends—“all making musicals, all strapped for cash”—suggesting they form what amounts to a mutual aid society. The aim was to centralize resources so they won’t feel so alone: “When you’re writing a musical, you’re on a boat in the sea trying to get people to swim to you,” adds Nayfack.
Until MTF’s existence, Nayfack didn’t completely exist either, as the director, choreographer, producer, and performance artist would surely tell you. Just a few months later, Nayfack traveled to Thailand to have what is popularly called a “sex change operation” (what the transgender community prefers to call “sex confirmation surgery”), a journey she has recounted in two solo shows with music,One Woman Show, and Post-Op.
“I’ve built myself as a woman while building the company,” says the woman who was born Jared Alan Nayfack. It’s no coincidence that the initials for Musical Theatre Factory—MTF—also stand for Male To Female.
/ Full story

Week in New York Theater Reviews



“Steve,” a play produced by The New Group at the Signature Center, begins and ends with its characters singing show tunes, which is a lovely and appropriate touch by director Cynthia Nixon, since three of the characters were once singing waiters together with dreams of Broadway. That’s how they all met, decades ago. Where they are now, as middle-aged gay men (and one lesbian), is the subject of Mark Gerrard’s play, equal parts funny and sad, and so steeped in musical theater references that one could be forgiven for suspecting that the title is in part in homage to Stephen Sondheim.

Kevis Hillocks and Arlene Chico-Lugo
Kevis Hillocks and Arlene Chico-Lugo

Mourning Sun

n “Mourning Sun,” a beautifully acted new play by Antu Yacob, two young teenagers in Ethiopia both love to sing and dance to Michael Jackson. The “sun” part of the title is clear from the get-go…The mourning part unfolds quickly: Biftu is 14 years old when she’s forced to wed the son of the wealthiest man in the community, who hits her in her head with a rock in order to consummate their marriage


Night Is A Room

The acting starts out so fine and nuanced that one feels excited and even comforted by the promise of an assured theatrical journey…we soon learn what it’s about: Liana has tracked down Dore because Dore is the mother of Liana’s husband Marcus – an unwed mother at age 15 who was forced to give up her child to adoption. Liana wants to surprise Marcus for his 40th birthday by having him meet his birth mother….Naomi Wallace devotes the first hour of her play to the set-up, and then the shock, letting the audience absorb what’s happened in a long, well-done dramatic scene. But after that, the playwright doesn’t seem to know where to go. The characters’ reactions are one-note; the remaining plot is uninteresting and pointlessly prolonged

Week in New York Theater News

Dames at Sea 10 John Bolton, Cary Tedder, Eloise Kropp, Mara Davi, Danny Gardner in DAMES AT SEA photo by Jeremy Daniel, 2015
Dames at Sea will close January 3, after 23 previews and 85 performances.

Michael Jackson (Raymond Luke Jr.) and the Jackson 5
Michael Jackson (Raymond Luke Jr.) and the Jackson 5

Motown the musical will return to Broadway starting July 2016 for an 18-week run.


The London production of Miss Saigon will come to Broadway in 2017, says Cameron Mackintosh, 40-person + helicopter intact.


After Allegiance, Lea Salonga will perform in Fun Home in the Philippines (her home country), portraying the mom.

After protests by playwrights & designers, @nytimestheater reportedly has agreed to restore full credits in its reviews and listings

A stage musical of movie Holiday Inn, with about 20 Irving Berlin songs (such Heat Wave), will open October 13 2016 at Roundabout’s Studio 54.


Motherstruck, Stacey ann Chin’s solo show directed by Cynthia Nixon that had been canceled, is back on track, set to begin at Culture Project December 4.

Clive Barnes Theater Award nominees:

Jack DiFalco, of Mercury Fur

Sandy Mae Frank and Katie Boeck of Spring Awakening

Austin P. McKenzie of Spring Awakening,

Dave Thomas Brown of The Legend Of Georgia McBride


In praise of playwright Caryl Churchill

Taylor Mac
Taylor Mac

For me, performance needs to be rigorous. I like the audience to see that I have worked for them. I like them to see that someone actually cared. That I gave them my time and energy –  Q and A with Taylor Mac, author of Hir

Bullying in the arts is more prevalent than in the armed forces in UK, writes @lyngardner. (True in US too?)

How Julian Fellowes went from Downton Abbey to School of Rock  “a nice change from ladies maids and footmen.”




George Takei spoofing Adele

Where Broadway gets its ideas


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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