Politics and Theater! Hamilton and Money! Broadway Ensemblists. Week in New York Theater

Politics has invaded New York — and New York theater — even more so than usual this week.

The Stop Cats movement is a prank – as (Andrew Briedis) Annoying Actor Friend explains. 

InnerCircle rebuttal
“Shamilton,” on the other hand, actually happened, at the 94th annual Inner Circle Dinner, a tradition in which reporters covering City Hall try to demonstrate theatrical talent by satirizing the mayor, and the mayor tries to prove he has a sense of humor, by enlisting actual Broadway talent to “rebut” the reporters. Mayor Bill de Blasio shared the stage with Leslie Odom Jr., who plays Aaron Burr in Hamilton – a weird choice by the mayor if you think about it (the politician who killed Alexander Hamilton?) — and the mayor “rapped” (Sample: I make Bernie Sanders look like Trump/
I’m down with Sandinistas and The Donald’s a chump

While columnists declared this a terrible week for Mayor de Blasio, the mayor himself was immersing himself in the theater — the “performer” in the first live #Ham4Ham of Spring 2016, introduced by Lin-Manuel Miranda

(From now on, the producers have told us, there will be only one live Hamilton lottery every week — Wednesday matinees; the rest will remain as digital lotteries.)

The mayor also Tweeted what he called the Broadway Emergency Alert System:


Most of the politics in New York this week tilts towards national — the April 19th New York Presidential Primary might actually make a difference, for the first time in many years. (Usually the candidates have all but sewn up the nomination by this point in the primary season.) Which makes this a good time for my HowlRound article:


Could a play stop a demagogue? Theater and Electoral politics — in which I talk about the effort of three New York theaters — the Peccadillo Theater Company, the Public Theater, and Theater in Asylum — to bring the presidential election home.

The Week in New York Theater Reviews


Joel Grey’s Master of Ceremonies

Joel Grey, he tells us in “Master of Ceremonies,” is “one of only eight people to win both the Tony and the Academy Award for the same role” – in his case the Emcee in “Cabaret.” It’s the role that made him famous, and it is also the only role for which many people know him.

But Grey has more than one story to tell. He is a performer who got his first professional gig, in a straight play at the Cleveland Play House, at age 9, and is still at it as he approaches his 84th birthday… He is also a man who was married for more than two decades, and a father of two (including actress Jennifer Grey), who came out in People Magazine as a gay man just last year. His career and his struggles with his sexuality are the two major threads of his memoir… I found it disappointing as a theatrical memoir.


Antlia Pneumatica

Anne Washburn’s new play sounds like the premise for the movies The Big Chill and The Return of the Secaucus Seven – a group of old friends reunite in a bucolic ranch house in the Texas Hill Country after one of them dies – but if it were a movie the producers would surely have insisted that it not be called “Antlia Pneumatica.” The title is named after a constellation, and it’s the first clue that Washburn’s play will take an other-worldly turn..Anne Washburn’s sometimes unnerving imagination and her eagerness to experiment with form and theatrical effect help make her a playwright whose work stands out even when you can’t quite stand or understand it.

The Week in New York Theater News

In The Heights Oliviers

August Wilson, Sondheim, Cyndi Lauper and Lin-Manuel Miranda among the many winners of the UK’s Olivier Awards – plus 10 lessons the Oliviers can teach the Tony Awards.


Diane Lane to star in Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard, adapted by Stephen Karam. Opens on Broadway October 16, 2016. She will play Ranevskaya Thirty-nine years ago, Lane, then 12 years old, made her Broadway debut in the ensemble of a Broadway production of The Cherry Orchard,

Oscar Isaac

Oscar Isaac (Star Wars, Show Me A Hero) will play Hamlet, directed by Sam Gold at Theatre for a New Audience, in 2017.

James Monroe Iglehart
James Monroe Iglehart

Another Broadway show converts its live lottery to a digital lotteryAladdin. Tickets for winners of the lottery will be $30.

Already taken over the US, @HamiltonMusical poised for world domination:UK in 2017,then Europe,Australia, says producer @jseller

Jeanine Tesori and Lisa Kron, of Fun Home
Jeanine Tesori and Lisa Kron, of Fun Home

Micki Grant, Jane Cox, Ari Laura Kreith, Lisa Kron, Jeanine Tesori, Lear deBessonet, and Elsa Rael have won the League of Professional Theatre Women’s 2016 Awards. Ceremony at Signature May 2.



Julie Taymor reportedly has been asked to consider creating a new Broadway musical using Beatles songs.

BroadwayCon confetti at opening musical
BroadwayCon confetti at opening musical

BroadwayCon 2017 to move to the Jacob Javits Convention Center and plans for 15,000 attendees – three times the number who went to the first BroadwayCon this past January.

Broadway performers and directors or choreographers lined up already include: Anthony Rapp, Kelli O’Hara, Cynthia Nixon, Christopher Jackson, Christine Ebersole, Santino Fontana, Norm Lewis, Ana Gasteyer, LaChanze, Des McAnuff, Seth Rudetsky, Jonathan Groff, Celia Keenan-Bolger, Lena Hall, Lisa Howard, Lorin Latarro, Laura Osnes, Lesli Margherita, Alex Brightman, Jenn Colella, Christopher Gattelli, Marc Kudish, Geneva Carr, Beowulf Boritt, Kathleen Marshall, Max von Essen, Tony Yazbeck, Rob McClure, Ann Harada

How actors deal with rejection


My interview with Tim Federle

Nate Foster, newly cast in E.T. The Musical on Broadway, wasn’t sure what to write for his bio,having previously appeared onstage only as a piece of broccoli. “I’m allowed 50 whole words to describe a life spent hiding from bullies in bathroom stalls,” laments 13-year-old Nate.

By contrast, Tim Federle, the writer who created Nate, has plenty to put in such a bio:  A professional musical theatre performer by the age of 12, Federle sang and danced in theatres around the country, from his hometown of Pittsburgh to North Carolina; shimmied in a Tina Turner wig behind Christina Aguilera in the Super Bowl halftime show in Atlanta at age 19; made his Broadway debut at 22 as a member of the ensemble in the revival of Gypsy starring Bernadette Peters, the first of five Broadway productions and national tours. By 28, he had worked his way up to dance captain and associate resident choreographer for Billy Elliot.

Then he quit at age 31 to become a novelist. Five years and seven books later, he is back on Broadway, this time in his debut as a librettist. Federle is serving as cowriter with Claudia Shear of Tuck Everlasting, a musical adaptation of a children’s book by Natalie Babbitt, opening at the Broadhurst Theatre April 26. Why this book? As Federle puts it, “It was one of the only books assigned to me in school that I read.”


Talk with Hamilton ensemble members. interviewed by Josh Ferri
What was the show that changed their life?

Voltaire Wade-Greene: Aida
Kamille Upshaw: West Side Story
Seth Stewart: The Alvin Ailey Company, and Ben Vereen
Carleigh Bettiol: A Chorus Line
Andrew Chappelle: Boy from Oz
Ariana DeBose: Mary Poppins (“#Judgeifyouwant”)

The Hamilton Empire

Hamilton, which has already entered American pop culture in a big way, is poised for is poised for world domination: the Chicago production later this year, the U.S. national tour, followed by a UK production in 2017,then Europe and Australia, says producer Jeffery Seller in the New York Times profile of him below.


The average ticket price for “Hamilton” on Broadway is $161.82, which is the highest-priced ticket on Broadway. Premium tickets sell for $549. An eye-opening report by The Hollywood Reporter, reveals that the musical “has grossed $61.7 million at the box office since its Broadway previews began last July,” that the show has probably completely recouped for its investors, and that Lin-Manuel Miranda may be making as much as $100,000 a week in royalties — on top of his salary for starring in the show.

Buy Master of Ceremonies

Buy Hamilton the Revolution

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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