October Surprise: Broadway in Court. Week in New York Theater

NYC Mayors Race WeinerDangerous Liaisons indeed.

In American politics, an October Surprise is an unexpected event that could well influence the outcome of the Presidential election; we’ve had more than one this month.
In New York theater, there have been several October surprises recently, few of them any more welcome – but some of them delightful.

Week in New York Theater Reviews



Quan and Tong meet in a refugee camp in Fort Chaffee, Arkansas in 1975, after the fall of Saigon. He wakes her up from a nightmare about the fate of her loved ones back in Vietnam.
But the scene of her bad dream, which doesn’t occur until the end of Act I, is one of the few directly dark ones in “Vietgone.” Playwright Qui Nguyen and director May Adrales find such richly inventive and entertaining ways to tell the story of these two refugees that the play feels wiped clean of the clichés of both the “immigrant experience” and “the hell of war.”

A Life 2

A Life

For the first half of Adam Bock’s “A Life” — before its life-changing coup de theatre — David Hyde Pierce as Nate sits on his Eames sofa and seems to be taking stock of his life….But then something happens….It’s the charming, credible, comical and ultimately chilling performance of David Hyde Pierce that makes ‘A Life’ memorable.”

The Week in New York Theater News

Josh Groban and Denee Benton from Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812
Josh Groban and Denee Benton from Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812

Ars Nova, the off-Broadway theater that developed Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812, announced that is filing a lawsuit against Howard Kagan, the musical’s lead Broadway producer, for denying the agreed-upon credit to the theater in the program. (If you look online, you’ll see that Ars Nova is listed 31st out of 32 producers.)


Indecent, Paula Vogel’s play about  acontroversial 1920s lesbian/Yiddish play, opens April 18 on Broadway!  Although Vogel is a much-admired Pulitzer Prize winning playwright, this will mark her Broadway debut. (Indecent delay!)

After a lifetime of being told, and believing, that she's ugly, Celie as performed by Cynthia Erico sings out I’m beautiful, yes I’m beautiful, and I’m here” – which provokes the audience to rise up, tear up and cheer.

The Color Purple, which won the Tony for best musical revival this year, is closing January 8, 2017, after 449 regular & 33 preview performances. Then it goes on tour


It’s official: Glenn Close returns in Sunset Boulevar at The Palace on Broadway for 16 weeks, with a 40-piece orchestra. It opens February 9


NBC has announced its fifth live musical, which will be broadcast in 2017:  Bye,Bye,Birdie, starring Jennifer Lopez.


Harold Prince in Bloomberg

Hal Prince’s advice to producers: Think art and ideas, not stars and holograms

Playwrights Realm Theatre production of “The Wolves” by Sarah DeLappe returns to Duke on 42d St. Nov 29-Dec 24

Zachary Levi and Laura Benanti
Zachary Levi and Laura Benanti

Roundabout Theater’s She Loves Me will be on movie screens nationwide December 1, via Fathom Events & Broadway HD

Lea Salonga and George Takei
Lea Salonga and George Takei

Fathom Events screening of Allegiance with George Takei, Lea Salonga and Telly Leung will be in movie theaters throughout the U.S. on  December 13.


The Public Theater’s Under The Radar Festival will feature Will Swenson and Laura Osnes in Frank Loesser’s lost World War II musicals

Brad Oscar, who refers to the over-the-top number “A Musical!” in Something Rotten as “my 10 minutes of gay cardio,” explains the right way and the wrong way to be told your show is closing. (Something Rotten is closing January 2017)

Tour of The Players Club, where actors hang out since 1888.


Hamilton’s Mandy Gonzalez on lessons learned from Bette Midler, idina Menzel and Lin-Manuel Miranda.

Stephen Adly Guirgis continues: You’re going to be teaching, writing for film or TV, or serving burgers.Nobody makes a living from playwriting

How he overcomes his”discipline problem” writing:
1 Just sits down and does it
2 Stays sober.”That keeps me alive too”

Bus ad for NYC Marathon, Sunday, November 6
Bus ad for NYC Marathon, Sunday, November 6

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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