Hair Hits 50. Lin-Manuel Asks Sondheim. The Boss Extends. Week in NY Theater

Fifty years ago, Hair was the very first show to play in the old Astor mansion, which was transformed into Joseph Papp’s first year-round Public Theater. (even though it feels like the Public has always been with us)

An assistant director of the original production recalls the new “love-rock musical” at the old Astor Library that Joseph Papp had convinced New York City to rent him for $1 a year



Stephen Sondheim,Theater’s Greatest Lyricist by Lin-Manuel Miranda

Lin-Manuel Miranda speaks to the man
who has consistently remade the American
musical over his 60-year career — and
who is trying to surprise us one more time.


Miranda: How do you clear your desk and write the next thing?

Sondheim: Well, I collaborate with people. My spark often comes from collaborators. You know, I go to John Weidman and say, “Let’s write something else, you got any ideas?” Whatever it is. I mean, I’m a collaborative animal.

Miranda: I’m the same way, except my collaborator is Tommy Kail.

David Henry Hwang has reworked M Butterly his gender-blurring, career-launching Tony-winning play to assure that it feels “resonant with the culture today.”


Week in New York Theater Reviews

Androboros Review. America’s First Play: Political, Satirical, Scatological

It was America’s first published play, printed in 1714, yet there is no record it has ever been publicly performed until this production by the Peculiar Works Project.

The playwright, Robert Hunter, ruled as Governor of New York, and his play is reportedly rooted in stories that are true, bizarre and occasionally scatological.

Springsteen on Broadway Reviews: Simple, Intimate, Profound

Springsteen will extend its run past February, possibly even until June.

Tickets to Bruce Springsteen’s Broadway show hit $12,500 EACH on StubHub

Elizabeth McGovern, Charlotte Parry and Anna Baryshnkov in 1919, in Time and the Conways

Time and the Conways Review: Elizabeth McGovern And Her Uninteresting Family

It took five minutes into the revival of “Time and the Conways” starring Elizabeth McGovern to realize this was no “Downton Abbey,”  the TV series that for six seasons featured McGovern as Lady Grantham; it took another ten minutes to support a city ordinance that would ban American actors from affecting upper-class British accents, especially shrill trills, on a Broadway stage; and after the 35 minutes of the first scene, I wondered why anybody would bring J.B. Priestley’s play back from the dead.  The Roundabout production is the first time it’s been on Broadway since its debut in 1938, when it got mixed reviews (“a tenderly wistful play” Brooks Atkinson wrote, but “most of his characters are uninteresting people”), and closed after just 32 performances

Faisal Abualhayjaa and Hassan Taha

The Siege Review and Pics: Palestinian Theater about Bethlehem Standoff

The Siege is Palestinian playwright Nabil Al-Raee and his co-director Zoe Lafferty’s ground-level look, from a Palestinian point of view, at a half dozen of the people who were holed up in the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, one of the holiest sites in the Christian religion, for a 39-day standoff with the Israeli Army in 2002.

Café Play Review: At the Cornelia Street Café, Overhearing Fellow Diners and Inanimate Objects

Café Play is a site-specific work of theater that’s being held at four different times of day in the back dining room at the Cornelia Street Café, with different food choices depending on whether you attend for breakfast, lunch, tea or late-night snack (all frankly paltry, though I did like my crème brulee). Put together by the endlessly innovative theater company This Is Not A Theatre Company (who’ve previously offered a play in a swimming pool, another in a private apartment, and “pod plays” to listen to on the subway and the Staten Island ferry), the conceit of the show is that we the diners are overhearing the conversations of fellow diners, and waiters, and one unwanted intruder (“Please don’t step on me!”)

The Week in New York Theater News

Patti LuPone needs hip replacement surgery so War Paint will close November 5 (almost two months early)


In “Home for the Holidays,”  Candice Glover, Josh Kaufman and Bianca Ryan  will sing 25 holiday songs, August Wilson Theater November 17–December 30

Rocktopia comes to the Broadway Theater, March 20 to April 29, with music  of “Mozart, Queen, Beethoven, Journey,Handel, U2” (ie rock & classical)


Nikki Blonsky is no longer in Stuffed, whose opening is delayed to Ocobert 31. Reason given: Her Illness during rehearsal period.


Gwyneth Paltrow refused Harvey Weinstein’s money for her Broadway project.  “Head over Heels,” the musical she’s producing about the 1980s girl band the Go-Gos.


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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