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Broadway at the Oscars. Week in New York Theater

Seven of the 20 performers up for Academy Awards have been – or are about to be – on Broadway:

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Actor in a Leading Role

Bryan Cranston, nominated for Trumbo, won the Tony Award for his role as Lyndon Johnson in All the Way in 2014. He is also a producer of Finding Neverland.

Eddie Redmayne, nominated for The Danish Girl, won a Tony Award for his role in Red on Broadway in 2010.

Actress in a Leading Role

Cate Blanchett, nominated for Carol, is scheduled to make her Broadway debut in a play called The Present at the end of 2016.

Saoirse Ronan, nominated for Brooklyn, is about to make her Broadway debut in The Crucible.

Actor in a Supporting Role

Mark Ruffalo, nominated for Spotlight, performed on Broadway in Awake and Sing in 2006.

Mark Rylance, nominated for Bridge of Spies, has performed in five Broadway productions: Boeing-Boeing in 2008 (for which he won his first Tony Award), La Bete in 2010, Jerusalem in 2011 (his second Tony), and Richard III and Twelfth Night (his third Tony) in 2013. He will be appearing on stage this month in a new play entitled Nice Fish at St. Ann’s Warehouse in Brooklyn.

Sylvester Stallone, nominated for Creed, has not performed on Broadway, but he did produce and write the book for the 2014 musical Rocky.

Actress in a Supporting Role

Jennifer Jason Leigh, nominated for The Hateful Eight, has performed in three Broadway productions: Cabaret (1998), Proof (2001), and The House of Blue Leaves (2011).

NoblackorAsiancharacterschart

Some say they won’t be watching the Oscars this year, because #OscarsSoWhite. April Reign, who came up with that Twitter hashtag and is the managing editor of Broadway Black, weighs in on diversity in Hollywood and Broadway.

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The Week in New York Theater Reviews

THE HUMANS 5 _Sarah_Steele_and_Reed_Birney._Photo_by_Brigitte_Lacombe

The Humans

The Humans, Stephen Karam’s nuanced slice-of-life drama that unfolds during a family’s Thanksgiving dinner, has transferred intact to the Helen Hayes, in a production that has become even more timely in its expression of middle class anxieties, but remains most noteworthy for the exquisite performances by some of New York’s finest stage actors.

Bill Irwin in his iPad routine

Bill Irwin in his iPad routine

Old Hats

There are two main differences between the candidate debates on TV and the one in Old Hats, in which Bill Irwin and David Shiner don too-white teeth and try to one-up each other: 1. These clowns do it wordlessly, with mallets. 2. Unlike their real-life political counterparts, that isn’t their whole act.

Old Hats is back on a New York stage, little changed from the production at the Signature in 2013, and, for that matter, steeped in traditions that were dismissed many decades ago as….old hat. But the encore production of this cleverly designed and flawlessly executed show turns out to be irresistible, an antidote for nasty times, alternative medicine for flu season, a reminder that nearly anything done well enough – even mime – can feel new and hip.

Brian Hutchison and Zachary Quinto as Fetus One and Fetus Two

Brian Hutchison and Zachary Quinto as Fetus One and Fetus Two

Smokefall

‘Smokefall,’ feels influenced by the work of Thornton Wilder, with its mix of the homespun and the metaphysical…If ‘Smokefall’ is a self-consciously poetic effort that winds up less engaging emotionally or dramatically than the modern classic it evokes, the play along the way has offered a number of funny, strange or strangely alluring moments; an effective metaphor or two; and some fine acting

Angel Reapers

Angel Reapers

There is an unintentionally funny sign posted at the Signature Center outside “Angel Reapers,” a show by Martha Clarke and Alfred Uhry about the 18th century religious movement known as the Shakers:

“This production of Angel Reapers contains NUDITY. Please silence your cell phones.”

(Do cell phones make catcalls?)

A more useful sign would be:

“Warning: Angel Reapers is primarily a dance piece.”

Her Requiem 1

Her Requiem

“Her Requiem,” Greg Pierce’s improbable if skillfully acted new drama, now at Lincoln Center’s Claire Tow Theater, is supposedly about a 17-year-old high school student’s decision to take a year off from school to compose a requiem. But it could just as easily have been called “His Obsession,” because it largely focuses on her father’s well-meaning but ultimately wrong-headed responses to that decision. We don’t even meet daughter Caitlin (Naian Gonzalez Norvind) in person until almost an hour through the 90-minute play.

Michael Rosen, Marjorie Johnson

Michael Rosen, Marjorie Johnson

Dot 

“Dot” is the fourth play that has opened recently that includes an elderly character suffering from Alzheimer’s – the others are The Humans, Her Requiem,  and Smokefall. But Colman Domingo’s funny and compassionate play at the Vineyard is the only one that puts the character with dementia at its center, detailing the effect of the disease on Dotty and on her family as well.  Thanks to this focus, “Dot” is Domingo’s most successful play so far, helped along by some wonderful performances, especially by Marjorie Johnson as Dotty. The play stumbles, however, when it strays from that focus.

Hughie 3 Frank Wood, Forest Whitaker Dice - Photo by Marc Brenner

Hughie

The character’s self-delusion seems obvious, the stories he tells not especially vivid, the relative slightness of O’Neill’s effort tilting it towards a theatrical exercise. The audience is in danger of identifying too closely with the night clerk, who stops listening, his mind drifting, while Erie prattles on…I’m reluctant to blame all this on Whitaker…He has his moments…’Hughie’ is more effective as a work of literature than a star vehicle, at least based on the current production of it.

The Week in New York Theater News

Falsettoslogo

The Broadway revival of Falsettos has a date: The Finn/Lapine musical is set to open October 27 at the Walter Kerr

NerdsMusicalstars

Rory O’Malley (The Book of Mormon) will play Bill Gates and Bryan Fenkart (Memphis) will play Steve Jobs when Nerds opens on Broadway April 21.

 

Fiddler on the RoofBroadway Theatre

When Broadway Records releases the Fiddler on the Roof  album on March 18th, it’ll have “Dear Sweet Sewing Machine,” a song cut during 1964 tryout, as a bonus track.

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Marin Ireland  (Reasons to be Pretty) will play an immigrant over 20 years (replacing Gina Gershon) in Ironbound by Martyna Majok, scheduled to open March 16 at Rattlestick

HarveyFiersteininHairspray

Following The Wiz Live, NBC will air Hairspray Live December 7, with some of the same team — Kenny Leon as the director,  Craig Zadan and Neil Meron as executive producers, Harvey Fierstein who will adapt the script for TV – plus Jerry Mitchell as the choreographer. (Fierstein, who worked on the original Broadway script,  won a Tony for playing Hairspray‘s Edna Turnblad on Broadway.) Cast has yet to be announced.

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Lynn Nottage has won the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize for women playwrights and $25,000 for “Sweat,”about the laid-off people of Reading, Pa. It has not yet received a New York production.

The finalists were:

Sarah Burgess (U.S.) -Dry Powder

Rachel Cusk (U.K.) – Medea

Sarah DeLappe (U.S.) – The Wolves

Sam Holcroft (U.K.) – Rules for Living

Anna Jordan (U.K.) – Yen

Dominique Morisseau (U.S.) – Skeleton Crew

Lynn Nottage (U.S.) – Sweat

Suzan-Lori Parks (U.S.) – Father Comes Home From the Wars (Parts 1, 2 & 3)

Bea Roberts (U.K.) – And Then Come The Nightjars

Noni Stapleton (Ireland) – Charolais

 

hamiltonmain60Minutes

Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton is the 2016 winner of the Edward M. Kennedy Prize for Drama Inspired by American History, which includes a $100,ooo cash award.

The finalists were
An Octoroon by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, produced by Soho Rep
Hamilton by Lin-Manuel Miranda, produced by The Public Theater
Indecent by Paula Vogel, produced by Yale Repertory Theatre and La Jolla Playhouse
Sweat by Lynn Nottage, produced by Oregon Shakespeare Festival
Vietgone by Qui Nguyen, produced by South Coast Repertory

EmilyBluntMaryPoppins

Lin-Manuel Miranda is in talks to co-star with Emily Blunt in Disney’s “Mary Poppins” sequel, and write songs for it, says Variety.

20at202016

Through March 13: 20 at 20 $20 discount tickets to some three dozen Off-Broadway shows

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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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