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Women on the March. Bernadette Begins. Lorraine Hansberry Rediscovered. Week in New York Theater

There was a touch of theater in the Women’s March over the weekend, with protesters’ signs adapting “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” from Mary Poppins to fit current events, and the return of those pink pussy hats. Women dominated actual New York theater as well, with Bernadette Peters beginning her performances in Hello, Dolly; a new documentary about Raisin in the Sun playwright Lorraine Hansberry (watch in full below), and the announcement of a forthcoming book (in April) of photographs chronicling early Barbra Streisand, 1963 to 1966, her Broadway era.

The Week in New York Theater Reviews

Dan Domingues in The Undertaking

The Undertaking

Death is well-suited to the stage, according to a philosopher quoted in “The Undertaking,” a play about death and dying written and directed by Steve Cosson, the artistic director of The Civilians. Actors playing Lear or Hamlet allow us to “practice” death, the philosopher explains; they are “ventriloquising” death for us. Death is such a common theme and occurrence in live dramas that theater might as well be called one of the fatal arts.

Given this prominence of death in theatrical life, and The Civilians’ own track record,  “The Undertaking” winds up an underwhelming undertaking.

The Fire This Time Festival

A white police officer shoots a black driver five times after pulling him over for a minor traffic violation. But things are not what they seem in “Black, White & Blue”by William Watkins, one of the six 10-minutes plays in the ninth annual Fire This Time Festival.
Watkins’ play is the most overtly political, and one of the most effective, in the evening of short plays that is the centerpiece of this year’s Fire This Time Festival, which showcases the work of early-career playwrights of African and African American descent, running through January 28, 2018.

Watch Lorraine Hansberry: Sighted Eyes/Feeling Heart

For those outside the coverage area, here’s the trailer:

 

The Week in New York Theater News

The 63rd annual Obie Awards, presented on May 21, 2018, will have a new host — John Leguizamo — and a new venue — Terminal 5, which is on W 56th St. , far from the Village, but close to a new center of theater in Manhattan.

Sam Shepard at La Mama in 1971

Weekend With Sam, Feb 3-4 at La MaMa ETC: Readings of the work of Sam Shepard including two unpublished works from LaMaMa Archive Cast: Matthew Broderick, John Slattery, J Smith Cameron, Peggy Shaw, Erin Markey, Gia Crovatin, Frederick Weller FREE but reservations required.

Protest, an evening of Protest songs at Merkin Concert Hall, February 27:
Stevie Wonder’s Big Brother • Fats Waller’s Black and Blue
Guastavino’s Pampamapa • María Elena Walsh’s Como la cigarra
Randy Newman’s Political Science • Woody Guthrie’s Old Man Trump

Deaf activist, actor, reality competition winner (@ANTMVH1 AND @DancingABC) and really hot model Nyle DiMarco is now one of the producers of @LesserGodBway, opens Ap 11

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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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