Broadway vs. The West End. Phantom at 12,000. Week in New York Theater

curtain-up-1-lion-king-detailYes, they say interval what we say intermission, they call stalls what we call orchestra seats, they eat ice cream in the theater and we certainly do not.  But audiences on Broadway and in the West End see many of the same shows. Indeed, 19 individuals have won both Tony and Olivier Awards for the same role in the same production, according to Curtain Up, an exhibition at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts. That’s one of the several tidbits at the exhibition exploring the similarities and differences between the New York and London commercial theater districts. The excuse for the exhibition is that this year marks the 70th anniversary of the Tony Awards and the 40th anniversary of the Oliviers, but, really, any excuse will do to see up close, for example, the costumes for The Lion King, which was Disney’s second theatrical adaptation both in New York and London. The free exhibition runs through June 30, 2017.

Click on any photograph to see it enlarged.


Thanksgiving, the Broadway way


Holiday gifts for theater lovers


Week in New York Theater Reviews

Emily Padgett, Sutton Foster, Asmeret Ghebremichael
Emily Padgett, Sutton Foster, Asmeret Ghebremichael

Sweet Charity

This musical about a “dance hall hostess” who is always looking for love but never finding it has a book by Neil Simon is dated and improbable, with a series of comic set pieces that only occasionally land. But its score by Cy Coleman holds up. The choreographer Joshua Bergasse, the spot-on five-piece band, and the design team all work together to scale down this big Broadway musical appropriately. Best of all, the performances are terrific. Few regular theatergoers would be surprised by the charmingly daffy portrayal of Charity by Sutton Foster..


This Day Forward

Nicky Silver’s new play… we’re back again in Silverland — a gay man who has trouble with relationships must deal with his selfish, acerbic mother, who regrets her unhappy marriage and resents her children…the playwright once more creates a play that deftly mixes funny and dark.

Michael Urie and Robin de Jesus
Michael Urie and Robin de Jesus

Homos, or Everyone in America

It might seem as if the creative team behind “Homos, or Everyone in America,” a fabulous and fragmented look at six years of a gay relationship, has put up barriers between the audience and the story…But as it turns out, the experiments in form, language and design do not get in the way of appreciating what’s strongest about the play: The central relationship is believable, and engrossing. This is in large measure because Michael Urie and Robin De Jesus are terrific actors, and also because the playwright is bluntly honest in exploring the range of emotions involved in any relationship.

Week in New York Theater News

Janet McTeer as La Marquise de Merteuil Liev Schreiber as Le Vicomte de Valmont

Les Liaisons Dangereuses with Liev Schreiber and Janet McTeer, is closing January 8, 2017, two weeks earlier than scheduled.


Phantom of the Opera marks its 12,000th performance tonight, November 28 at 8:00 PM at The Majestic Theatre. It has been the longest-running Broadway show for more than a decade, drawing an audience of some 17 million people and grossing more than $1 billion.

Retailers are entering into partnerships with Broadway shows for mutual promotion.

Bloomingdale’s has outfitted the dressing room for Dear Evan Hansen

Brooks Brothers dressed the male actors of Falsettos on opening night.

Ann Taylor featured the creative team of Waitress in photos, video interviews and a panel discussion in its store

Scandalous: The Life and Trials of Aimee Semple McPherson, by Kathie Lee Gifford

Betsy DeVos, appointed Secretary of Education, was lead producer with her husband of Kathie Lee Gifford’s 2012 musical Scandalous: The Life and Trials of Aimee Semple McPherson


From obituary

She grew up in poverty on a tobacco farm near Owensboro, Ky. By the time she was 4, “my mother would send me to the store to get groceries, and they’d give them to me if I would sing.” At 17, she moved to New York to study acting and singing, and was cast in her first Broadway show a year later.


Fritz Weaver, 21-time Broadway veteran, dies at age 90. A Tony-winning actor and a Shakespearean, he was also a familiar face in movies and on TV — not, apparently, happily. “When you play the great roles, you get spoiled and think you’ll have a whole career playing nothing but great roles, and of course you can’t…You play a lot of junk most of the time.”


“..I remind myself Vincent van Gogh died without having sold a single painting. Art is not measured by the trappings”~ Lin-Manuel Miranda, in interview when asked about his score for the Disney film Moana, about his possible EGOT (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony. He so far has all but the Oscar.)

(Actually, although it doesn’t take away from Miranda’s point, van Gogh did sell at least one painting during his lifetime — The Red Vineyard. van Gogh didn’t start painting until he was 27, and died when he was 37.)


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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