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Hair Live! Broadway’s Summer Surprises. In Memoriam 2018. Week in New York Theater

Yes, there are several theater awards still to be given out for the season just past – Drama Desk, June 3; Theatre Worlds, June 4; Tonys, June 10 – but summer theater in New York is pushing its way into view, and not just summer theater festivals (two of which have already begun. ) There are some half dozen shows beginning on Broadway during the summer months. Scroll below for details, right after the week in NY theater awards, and before the week in NY theater reviews and news about Andy Karl , Katharine McPhee, Alex Newell, and John Kander’s great nephew. Also: a list of those who have died.

Week in New York Theater Awards

2018 Obie Winners

Acceptance speeches of winners of 2018 Outer Critics Circle Awards:

Intro to Broadway’s Summer Fare

Each title is linked to the show’s website.

 Head Over Heels
First preview: June 23
Opening: July 26
Set to the music of the Go-Gos – “an unpredictable Elizabethan romp about a royal family that must prevent an oracle’s prophecy of doom”

Straight White Men 
First preview: June 29
Opening: July 23rd
Armie Hammer and Josh Charles star in this play by Young Jean Lee, the first play on Broadway by an Asian American woman
On Christmas Eve, Ed and his three adult sons are forced to confront their own identities

For news about casting, see The Week in New York Theater News, below.

Gettin’ The Band Back Together
First Preview Date: Jul 19, 2018
Opening Date: Aug 13, 2018

Mitch, who’s lost his job as a banker, gets his high school rock group back together.

Pretty Woman: The Musical

First Preview Date: Jul 20, 2018
Opening Date: Aug 16, 2018

Adapted from the Julia Roberts/Richard Gere movie. For news about casting, see The Week in New York Theater News, below.

Bernhardt/Hamlet

First Preview: Sep 01, 2018
Opening Date: Sep 25, 2018

A new play by Theresa Rebeck. In 1899, the international stage celebrity set out to tackle her most ambitious role yet: Hamlet.

The Nap
First Preview: Sep 04, 2018 Total Previews:
Opening Date: Sep 27, 2018
Funny look at the world of snooker – the British version of pool.
First Preview: Jun 23, 2018
Opening Date: Jul 26, 2018

Week in New York Theater Reviews

The Beast in the Jungle

Reaction occurs in three distinct stages to “The Beast in the Jungle,” an unusual new show at Vineyard Theater, inspired by a novella by Henry James, with music composed by John Kander. The production is directed and choreographed by Susan Stroman, and stars Tony Yazbeck and newcomer Irina Dvorovenko, engaging in a frustrated dance of love over 50 years.
The first reaction is excitement…second bafflement…third acceptance, for those willing to consider “The Beast in The Jungle” as an experiment in hybrid form, appreciating the creative effort as a whole, while overlooking the awkward fit and occasional whiff of the ludicrous.

Natalie Gold and Lois Smith

Peace for Mary Frances

An interesting play might have been fashioned from the specific circumstances of reluctant/incompetent caregivers for a dying woman who doesn’t want any medical intervention to prolong her life.  But “Peace for Mary Frances” is an awkward slog of a play that is full of wrong moves — including a little lighthearted Anti-Semitism at its start – and largely wastes the talents of its extraordinary cast.

EPIC Player’s The Tempest

“Oh brave new world that has such people in’t,” declares Miranda toward the end of The Tempest. For the EPIC Players, who are performing the Shakespeare classic at the Flea Theater, that line has a special resonance. Of the 20 cast members, 16 have developmental disabilities, mostly autism.

Week in New York Theater News

Andy Karl will portray Edward the corporate killer opposite Samantha Barks as Vivian the prostitute in Pretty Woman, opening on Broadway in August. He replaces Steve Kazee who departs the production “for family reasons.” (His father’s house burned down earlier this month)

#HairLive will be the next NBC live musical on TV, aiming for the spring of 2019. But, since they’re unlikely to have the nudity scene or the “fellatio” song, maybe they should rename it #Haircut (or even #Hairloss?)

Paul Schneider from Parks and Recreation will round out the Broadway cast of Young Jean Lee’s Straight White Men, joining, among others, Josh Charles and Armie Hammer.

Once On This Island’s Alex Newell will play host at the 2018 Stars in the Alley on June 1 in Schubert Alley. Katharine McPhee and Melissa Benoist are among those in some 19 current musicals on Broadway who will perform.

Although her nine week Broadway debut run in Waitress is ending June 17, Katharine McPhee will now return to the role from July 5 – August 19.

Dance Nation, at Playwrights Horizons, has been extended once again, until July 1. See it — it’s delightful.

Our Lady of 121st Street by Stephen Adly Guirgis has been extended by a week, to June 17

Three Younger Veterans Stake a Generational Claim on the Democratic Party

One of the three (the one pictured) is Jason Kander, who is composer John Kander’s great nephew.

 

A memorial service for acclaimed theater actress Jan Maxwell will be held on Monday afternoon, June 4 at @MTC_NYC ‘s Samuel Friedman Theater. She died in February at age 61.

The Broadway League and the American Theatre Wing has put out its list of some of those Broadway people who died since the last Tony Awards, complete with photographs, and request for memories in the comments section.

In Memoriam

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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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