Broadway at the Oscars. Drama Club Kids vs. the NRA. TEDxBroadway. Defending Kumbaya. Week in NY Theater

Theater lovers tend to look for members of our tribe in whatever’s happening in the world. That means in Hollywood, of course, but it also means in Parkland, Florida.

The theater veterans nominated for the 90th Academy Awards, include Laurie Metcalfe (returning this season to Broadway in Three Tall Women), Denzel Washington (this season on Broadway in Iceman Cometh), as well as Frances McDormand, Christopher Plummer, Sam Rockwell, Saoirse Ronan, Meryl Streep (of course, nominated for the 21st time)…and newcomer Timothée Chalamet

What I wrote about Chalamet in Prodigal Son in 2016: “Chalomet’s performance strikes me as the sort of magnetic stage debut that marked young actors in the past as stars of the future – actors like John Garfield and Marlon Brando.”

We also find them among the eloquent survivors at Marjory Stoneman Douglas H.S. leading renewed mass movement for gun control, many of whom are members of the school’s drama club. “All these kids are drama kids,” says leader Emma Gonzalez (she’s one of them)

Michael Schulman points out in an article in the New Yorker that several of the school’s students are performing in a production of the musical “Spring Awakening,” which was written in response to the 1999 Columbine school shooting!

(Some of the students from the school, members of the Stoneman Douglas High School Wind Symphony, are in town this week, to see shows, and to  perform at Carnegie Hall on Tuesday among the high school bands performing at the 2018 New York Wind Band Festival.)
Below: March openings, New York Theater Quiz Winter 2018, the best lines and licks from TEDxBroadway 2018, Women’s Day on Broadway, and a defense of Kumbaya

March New York Theater Openings

New York Theater Quiz Winter 2018



Edward Albee’s At Home At The Zoo Review: His First Masterpiece, Vandalized But Vibrant


The Amateurs Review: Actors Escaping the Black Plague; Artists Contemplating Art

An Ordinary Muslim Review

Black Light Review: Jomama Jones Makes It Alright


Is God Is Review: Relentless Afropunk Revenge

Jerry Springer The Opera

Two plays about Harvey Weinstein

Black Pain on Stage



Michael Riedel is leaving his full-time job as the theater columnist at the New York Post, to work at radio station 710 WOR as the co-host of a morning talk show with Len Berman. He may be the last of the New York theater columnists, but he won’t be giving up theater entirely. He may continue to write about theater freelance for the Post; he’ll talk occasionally about it on the radio; he’s writing a sequel to his theater book Razzle Dazzle.

Tatiana Maslany (Orphan Black) and Blair Brown are in the cast of Tracy Letts’ “Mary Page Marlowe” at Second Stage Theater.

Rattlestick Playwright Theater’s 2018-19 season kicks off w/ a double bill by Samuel Hunter,  Lewiston & Clarkston At a failing fireworks stand in Lewiston, Idaho, & across the river at a big box store in Clarkston, Wa, 2 descendants of Lewis and Clark struggle to find a way forward

Outside New York, Chicago and Los Angeles – Central Florida and Washington D.C./Baltimore. New Orleans is the greatest growing theater city, according to a survey by Actors Equity.

Scott J. Campbell, who most recently starred on Broadway as Gerry Goffin in Beautiful, has died, at age 33, reportedly taking his own life.

Tom Jones and Harvey Schmidt (right)

RIP Harvey Schmidt, 88, composer of 110 in the Shade, I Do! I Do! and, most famously, his very first musical, with lyricist Tom Jones, The Fantasticks.

…Try to remember, and if you remember,
Then follow.follow, follow, follow


TEDxBroadway 2018


Patricia Ione Lloyd



Two plays this week mocked the song Kumbaya

In “An Ordinary Muslim,” Azeem, the character of the title, says to his (Caucasian) boss at the bank: “Maybe America will start another war bombing Muslims, then liberals will like my people again, take to the streets, and we’ll all be marching together, holding hands, singing Kumbaya. But till then, we’re not on the same side. So I have to make sure my side wins.”

In “Relevance,” the long-famous feminist Theresa rants to her agent David:


Tough because I have to be. Because contrary to what people who grew up under Hope-y Change-y kum ba yah bullshit like to think, the way you win these fights is to take them on bluntly. Together. And for her and to stand ahead of what people like me and Erica Jong and Susan Faludi and other women I came up with accomplished..

First, I don’t think we can say “kum ba yah” anymore…


It’s a goddamned Rabbi Schlomo gospel song.

My daughter said, something about Native Americans…

THERESA That doesn’t  even make sense!


Kumbaya, a spiritual first recorded in the 1920s, was initially a soulful cry by black people in the South suffering from lynch mobs and other Jim Crow oppression. So, stop the mockery please.

Someone’s singing Lord, Kumbaya

Someone’s crying Lord, kumbaya

Someone’s praying Lord, kumbaya

So buzz off, Kumbaya haters



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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