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Broadway’s Battle of the Sexes. More Awards! Week in New York Theater

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There is one odd and persistent lapse in a Broadway season just ended that is being touted as the most inclusive in memory. Many of the Broadway shows that opened this season focus on what used to be called the “battle of the sexes,” a battle that evidently isn’t over.

Morgan Weed, Alex Michael Stoll, Benjamin Walker, Dave Thomas Brown, Jordan Dean and Heléne Yorke.

Take the musicals American Psycho and Waitress, which opened within three days of one another, and are performing two blocks apart. They can be characterized as: edgy versus homey, snidely satirical versus warmly whimsical, and elusive versus clear. Waitress 4

Would it be fair or accurate to sum these up as male versus female? Until recently, this question would have struck me as so reductive as to be absurd. Then late last month, after he won the Indiana primary, all but guaranteeing that he will be the Republican candidate for president, Donald Trump said at a press conference at Trump Tower: “Frankly, if Hillary Clinton were a man, I don’t think she’d get five percent of the vote. The only thing she’s got going is the woman’s card.” It’s jolting that a character in American Psycho refers to Donald Trump as the main character’s hero.

See my survey of how some dozen Broadway shows reflect this dichotomy in  Men vs. Women on Broadway This Season.

Check out my Hamilton Quiz.

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Week in New York Theater Reviews

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Daphne’s Dive

Daphne’s Dive, a play about a family of regulars at a North Philly bar, is put together by a family of exciting artists:  Samira Wiley (Poussey in Orange is the New Black) and Daphne Rubin-Vega (Rent) are in the cast.  Playwright Quiara Alegría Hudes (In The Heights)  reunites with director Tommy Kail (Hamilton.)

As we follow the seven street savvy and warm characters as they age over the course of 18 years, Daphne’s Dive is at its best when it’s letting them have fun – and letting the audience have fun with them. But if it’s at times playful,  it is also a play full of misery. The characters struggle to suppress their traumas, not always successfully.  The play itself – although well-acted and largely well-designed — is least successful when it piles on one too many sorrows.

Melissa Errico and ensemble

Melissa Errico and ensemble

Do I Hear A Waltz

Rodgers and Hammerstein wrote 11 Broadway musicals; five remain among the most popular ever written. Rodgers and Hart wrote some three dozen. Rodgers and Sondheim wrote only one, which neither of them liked. Do I Hear A Waltz? is a perfect selection of the Encores! concert series at New York City Center…The truth is, the late Rodgers score has some of his characteristically tuneful melodies, and the early Sondheim lyrics are characteristically clever.

Week in New York Theater Awards

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Outer Critics Circle winners

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Henry Hewes Design Award winners include three from Hamilton:

Costume: Paul Tazewell
Lighting: Howard Binkley
Sound: Nevin Steinberg

 

 

Tony Awards: Who YOU Want As Winners (survey results)

Week in New York Theater News

Audra McDonald is going on maternity leave from Shuffle Along starting July24.

Fifty-third Street between Broadway and Eighth Ave to be proclaimed “Harnick and Bock Way,” for creators of both Fiddler on The Roof and She Loves Me.

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It might be hard to be the Bard, but it’s apparently easy for Christian Borle to get cast on Broadway. In October, he will star in Falsettos, then in October, he will originated the role of Willy Wonka in the Broadway adaptation of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Also hired: puppeteer Basil Twist.

MCC 2016-17 season: Judith Light in a new Neil Labute play Ride The Cyclone (a musical!) Matthew Perry’s play “End of Longing.”

Encores! 2017:

Big River 2/8-12
Cole Porter’s The New Yorkers 3/22-26
The Golden Apple (based on The Iliad and the Odyssey) – 5/10-14

In a letter responding to a critic’s dismissal of the book writer in a sing-through musical , 6 big musical book writers  explain what they do.

What does an orchestrator do, and why does nobody know?

Tony Tidbit: Unlike previous years, all five Tony Award musical nominees – Bright Star, Hamilton, School of Rock,Shuffle Along and Waitress – take place in the United States (or what would soon be the U.S.)

 

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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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