Theater Highlights at the Oscars. Week in New York Theater

It was a theater kind of movie night. (List of winners )

The best picture Oscar winner, Moonlight, was based on the play, Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue, by Tarell Alvin McCraney (playwright of Head of Passes, the Brother/Sister Plays, etc.), who also won for adapted screenplay. Another playwright, Kenneth Lonergan (This is Our Youth), won in the original screenwriting category, for Manchester by the Sea. Pasek and Paul, the songwriting team behind Dear Evan Hansen on Broadway, won an Oscar as lyricists for the best song, from La La Land.. “This is dedicated to all the kids who sing in the rain,” Benj Pasek said, holding his trophy, “and all their moms who let them”
Viola Davis won an Oscar for her “supporting” role in Fences, a role she first played on Broadway. With her first Oscar, Davis last night became the first black actor to win an Oscar, Emmy and Tony – and the tenth performer in history to win both Tonys and Oscars for the same role.
The other best actress Oscar winner, Emma Stone, made her Broadway debut as Sally Bowles in Cabaret.
Lin-Manuel Miranda performed his Oscar-nominated song, “How Far I’ll Go,” from Moana.

And after that, back in his seat next to his mother, Miranda was accosted by Oscar host Jimmy Kimmel, who told him “It’s weird to see you in a theater without having to pay $10,000” – then told his mother “your son is an American treasure.”

Derek McLane, veteran designer of 36 Broadway shows, designed the much-praised Oscar set.


Sara Bareilles, the composer of Waitress who will soon star in it, performed Joni Mitchell’s “Both Sides Now” during the In Memoriam.

Even the winner of the best foreign film, The Salesman, has a theater connection.It’s the story of a young Iranian couple who perform a classic American play, Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman.
And presenter Seth Rogen sang the Schuyler Sisters song from the musical Hamilton, explaining that it completes his bucket list.


And, since it’s what everybody’s talking about here’s a minute-by-minute account of the best picture announcement goof up


Take the February theater quiz

Week in New York Theater Reviews


Kid Victory

There is one song by John Kander in Kid Victory that recalls the composer’s collaboration with Fred Ebb in both Cabaret and Chicago – “What’s the Point?” a jaunty, satiric tap-dance. It’s one of the few such moments in Kander and Pierce’s somber, often harrowing musical, now Off-Broadway, about the aftermath of a kidnapping….In Kid Victory, his second collaboration with playwright and lyricist Greg Pierce, a half century his junior, Kander employs his arsenal of blues and hymns, ballads and dirges to tell a story that might work without any music, but stays with you all the more because of it.



With “Everybody,” Branden Jacobs-Jenkins adapts “Everyman,” the 15th century morality play, for a modern secular New York audience. The idea here is inspired, and the world premiere production at the Signature can be inspiring…But both the playwright and director Lila Neugebauer seem hell-bent on deliberately “destabilizing” the story, making it less accessible….The playwright also gives his characters too much to say that is digressive, repetitious or overlong

Week in New York Theater News

Jake Gyllenhaal in Sunday in the Park with George
Jake Gyllenhaal in Sunday in the Park with George

Sunday in the Park with George opens in the newly rechristened 41st Broadway theater, the Hudson.


Signers include theater artists Stephen Sondheim, David Henry Hwang, John Lithgow and (pictured) Patrick Stewart

A 24-Decade History of Popular Music
A 24-Decade History of Popular Music

A 24 Decade History of Popular Music by Taylor Mac and Matt Ray win the 2017 Kennedy Prize for Drama Inspired by American History and $100,000. Citation:

“A vast, immersive, subversive, audacious and outrageous theatre experience, Mac’s and Ray’s piece employs a variety of performance techniques to illuminate and explode our country’s history as seen through the lens of its popular music. This piece shows, in Mac’s words, how ‘in America, the oppressor is forgiven but the outsider is vilified.’”

August Wilson
August Wilson

Patti Hartigan, a former theater critic for the Boston Globe, has been signed to write the first major biography of August Wilson,

Fences had a good night at the Oscars last night, and his Jitney is currently on Broadway.

New York City Center’s Encores Off-Center will present staged concert revivals this summer of “Assassins” by Stephen Sondheim, “The Bubbly Black Girl Sheds Her Chameleon Skin” by Kirsten Childs and “Really Rosie” by Carole King and Maurice Sendak.

A commercial during the Oscars: Zachary Quinto reads from Orwell’s 1984:

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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