Torch Song, To Kill a Mockingbird Coming to Broadway. Can Theater Matter? Week in New York Theater

The announcement of forthcoming Broadway productions of Torch Song, a pioneering play about a gay character, and a stage adaptation of “To Kill a Mockingbird,” a drama about a case of racial injustice, comes in a week when most news seems at best discouraging —

NEA Gives Grants to Dozens of NYC Theaters. Then Trump Proposes Eliminating It

— and at worst, horrific.

Can theater make a difference?

Mass Shootings on Stage: Healing or Titillating?

It’s worth noting that Glenda Jackson left acting for 23 years after she became a member of Parliament to fight Thatcherism. “There’s no way you could do both,” she says in an article linked below, hooked to her return to Broadway in “Three Tall Women”

On the other hand, “I think my work is always at its best during Republican administrations,” Tony Kushner says in an article, also linked below, about the forthcoming Broadway revival of “Angels in America.”

Also below: Katharine McPhee makes her Broadway debut; a new August Wilson award; the World Trade Center performing arts center gets an artistic director; playwrights Lynn Nottage and Terrence McNally get a new honor; a million dollars will be given away for good ideas about using technology to help the arts.

Week in New York Theater Reviews

Kings

”There is one thing about which we all agree, left, right, center: Money has corrupted our politics,” says Rep. Sydney Millsap (Eisa Davis), summing up the point and the plot of “Kings,” a new play written by Sarah Burgess (“Dry Powder”) and directed by Thomas Kail (“Hamilton”) at the Public Theater. The Congresswoman, a Gold Star widow newly elected as the first black woman to represent her district in Dallas, Texas, learns the bitter lesson of money and politics while fighting to resist the moneyed interests and do what’s right on a particular bill.

Terminus

Eller (Deirdre O’Connell) is losing her mind, and thus lives in two worlds on stage in “Terminus,” a lyrical, Southern Gothic stew of a play by Gabriel Jason Dean running through March 10 at Next Door at New York Theatre Workshop. In one of her worlds, it is 1994, and Eller, 65, resides in a soon-to-be-condemned shack by the railroad tracks in rural Attapulugus, Georgia with her biracial grandson Jaybo (Reynaldo Piniella), 17, who takes care of her as best he can. The other world is in Eller’s head, populated by family long gone — people whom she abandoned or who abandoned her – a ghastly past full of racism, stifled love, hidden homicide, chanting ghosts, a train-flattened nail in the shape of a cross, a gold-leafed Bible opened to a prophetic page, and a noose.

Week in New York Theater News

Roxanna Hope Radja, Ward Horton, Michael Urie and Michael Rosen

Torch Song with Michael Urie is moving to Broadway. The production, which ran at Second Stage Theater’s Off-Broadway house last Fall, is set to open on November 1, 2018 at the Helen Hayes, the same theater (then called the Little Theater) where the original Broadway production (then called Torch Song Trilogy) appeared in 1982.  Second Stage Theater recently bought it, to have a Broadway presence;  their first production at the theater, Lobby Hero, is scheduled to open on March 26.

“To Kill A Mockingbird” is coming to Broadway!, Adapted by Aaron Sorkin, directed by Barlett She, it is set to open December 13 (the theater yet to be selected), starring Jeff Daniels, Celia Keenan-Bolger, Gideon Glick, Stark Sands, and LaTanya Richardson Jackson

Tony Yazbeck (On the Town) and Peter Friedman (The Treasurer) will star in John Kander’s new musical adaptation of Henry James’ novella “The Beast in the Jungle.” Susan Stroman will direct. It is scheduled to open May 23 at the Vineyard Theatre.

Warren Carlyle (Hello Dolly etc) will be directing and choreographing the first Broadway revival of The Secret Garden, which aims for “next season” on Broadway

Congratulations to playwrights Lynn Nottage and Terrence McNally for being among the 12 new members of the prestigious American Academy of Arts and Letters. Historian Ron Chernow (Hamilton, Grant), artist Jenny Holzer, and novelist Maxine Hong Kingston are also among the inductees.

Congratulations to the winners of the 2018 Jonathan Larson Award winners. Ten thousand dollars each to:

 

Jay Adana (music and lyrics),

Andrew R. Butler and Andrew Farmer (music, lyrics, and book)

Emily Kaczmarek & Zoe Sarnak (music, lyrics, and book),

and Mark Sonnenblick (music and lyrics).

A new August Wilson American Century Cycle Award honors theater companies that have staged all ten Cycle plays.
The award is the creation of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and co-sponsored by the August Wilson House

Glenda Jackson on Quitting Parliament, Playing Lear and Returning to Broadway

Jelani Alladin as Kristoff and Patti Murin as Anna

$30 lottery tickets begin today for first preview this Thurs February 22 of Frozen. Enter at http://www.luckyseat.com/frozen .

Charles Busch will return to Theater for the New City in The Confession of Lily Dare  April 4 -April 29

Actress Katharine McPhee is heading to Broadway.  She will assume the lead role in “Waitress,” April 10 through June 17. This marking the Broadway debut for the runner-up in American Idol and the  former cast member of NBC’s “Smash.” “People come up to me all the time and say, ‘You’ve done Broadway, right?’ And I’m like, ‘Nope, I’ve never done it,’” McPhee told the A.P. “I did a show about it but I was never, in fact, on Broadway.” She currently co-stars in the TV series Scorpion

David Korins, set designer for Hamilton and Dear Evan Hansen, has been added to the roster of speakers at the seventh annual TedXBroadway on February 27th.

Billy Crudup will reprise his performance in the title role of Harry Clarke, moving to the Minetta Lane Theater, opening March 18.

 

Angels in America’: Inside Broadway’s Big Bet, Led by Andrew Garfield With Renewed Relevance (Variety)
Playwrights Horizons 2018-2019 season:

 

“I Was Most Alive With You” written and directed by Craig Lucas
the New York premiere of a new play written and directed by Craig Lucas, with Lisa Emery, Russell Harvard and Lois Smith.  Previews begin August 31, 2018. He has a blessed life, thankful every day for the gifts of his family, his addiction, and his son’s Deafness. But on one fateful day, everything’s taken from him. Performed simultaneously in English and ASL by two casts.

 

“The Thanksgiving Play” by Larissa Fasthorse, directed by Moritz Von Stuelpnagel.
October 2018
A troupe of terminally “woke” teaching artists scrambles to create a pageant that somehow manages to celebrate both Turkey Day and Native American Heritage Month.

“Noura”, written and performed by Heather Raffo.
November 2018
Eight years ago, Nouraand her family fled their home in Iraq. Today, she plans the perfect Christmas dinner to celebrate their new life in New York. But when the arrival of a visitor stirs up long-buried memories, she and her husband are forced to confront the cost of their choices,

“If Pretty Hurts Ugly Must Be a Muhfucka” written by Tori Sampson, directed by Liesl Tommy.
Feb 2019
In the village of Affreakah-Amirrorkah, no one questions that Akim is the one true, perfect beauty – not even her jealous classmates. But they’ll be damned before they let her be the leading lady in this story.

“The Pain of My Belligerence” written and performed by Halley Feiffer.
April 2019
The play charts the spiky relationship between brilliant young journalist Cat and magnetic Guy  over eight years and a rapidly changing America.

“A Stange Loop,” a musical by Michael R. Jackson, directed by Stephen Brackett
May, 2019
Usher is a black, gay writer, working a day job he hates while writing his original musical: a piece about a black, gay writer, working a day job he hates while writing his original musical.

 

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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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