Lin-Manuel Miranda Goes Hollywood. Hamilton Too? The Week in NY Theater

Lin-Manuel Miranda is making his film directorial debut in a movie version of “Tick,Tick…Boom!” an early, semi-autobiographical musical by “Rent” composer Jonathan Larsen about a struggling musical theater writer. Miranda performed in a production of the show at City Center’s Encores! in 2014 (pictured above with his Hamilton co-star Leslie Odom, Jr.). Listen to him comment on the gig in the video below (at around the 10:20 mark)

But that’s not the only film news involving Miranda. We already know about his starring role in “Mary Poppins Returns,” which will be in movie theaters in December, and the plans to turn his musical “In The Heights” into a film, aiming for completion in 2020.

Then Variety has reported that Miranda is one of the executive producers on a TV series for FX about the life of Bob Fosse and Gwen Verdon, starring Sam Rockwell and Michelle Williams

Now there is a report in  the Wall Street Journal,that “Hamilton” may also be coming to the local cineplex: “Hollywood studios are currently bidding for the big-screen rights to Lin-Manuel Mirandas hit musical…But in an unusual twist, the ‘Hamilton’ movie won’t be a filmed adaptation. Instead, it is a recording of the show made in 2016 with its original cast, including Mr. Miranda in the lead role.”

Bidding could go as high as $50 million, which seems reasonable considering that the show reportedly has grossed nearly $400 million in New York alone since opening in 2015.

Meanwhile, the composer, director and actor prepares to take “Hamilton” to Puerto Rico, as he explains in this interview on the Today Show.

Below more news about filmed theater, involving Bruce Springsteen and Jennifer Hudson, among others, as well news as about staged theater — the latest theater awards, the closing of an Andrew Lloyd Webber show, the new seasons at Lincoln Center, The Flea, The Bushwick Starr, a “critic’s corner” that features some (more) sad news and some controversy; and an unusual break for the over-40 theatergoer.

The Week in New York Theater Reviews

Stephen Payne, Josh Charles, Armie Hammer, and Paul Schneider in Straight White Men

Straight White Men “Straight White Men,” a thought-provoking play by Young Jean Lee with a terrifically entertaining cast of Broadway newcomers including Armie Hammer, Josh Charles and Paul Schneider as rowdy brothers, might to some theatergoers seem designed initially to mislead, and ultimately to befuddle. By its title alone, one could assume – incorrectly – that the play will be an acid satire. This impression is fortified by an unusual prologue….What follows, though, is more or less the same play that I saw at the Public Theater in 2014, a sympathetic and straightforward look at a family of four adult men, gathered together to celebrate Christmas. Each has adjusted to the world, and their privileged place in it, in different ways.

Jelani Remy, Shavey Brown, John Edwards, Dwayne Cooper, and Max Sangerman.

Smokey Joe’s Cafe Near the beginning of “Smokey Joe’s Cafe: The Songs of Leiber and Stoller,” the new Off-Broadway revival of the long-running Broadway musical revue, performer Jelani Remy does a double back flip while singing the Elvis hit, “Jailhouse Rock.” It is the most memorable example in the show of what we can call The Bergasse Workout, which I’m naming after the production’s inventive and obviously demanding director/choreographer Joshua Bergasse…Five men and four women deliver 40 musical numbers in 90 minutes – no time for idle chat…or any dialogue whatsoever.

Josh Lamon as Prince and Lesli Magherita as Princess

Emojiland “Emojiland,” an entry in the 2018 New York Musical Festival, is set inside a smart phone, with the resident emojis facing a “textistential” crisis —  the phone is due for a software update. That’s in the first act. In the second act, they face a virus. A dozen talented performers, including Broadway stalwarts Lesli Margherita and Josh Lamon portray Smiley Face 😀 and Angry Face😠 and Worried Face 😟 and Weary Face 😩 and a whole raft of icons I’ve never used before, nor knew they existed — 📻🙄💂‍♂️💀ℹ🤓😎👷‍♀️🤴👸👮‍♀️🤰🏽😘, including 💩 pile of poo. The result is a hilarious entertainment, mostly — though one is greatly tempted to call it two-dimensional. If Sand Were Stone Billie has Alzheimer’s. “If Sand Were Stone,” an entry at the 2018 New York Musical Festival, presents Billie’s deterioration over a span of two years, and its effect on her husband Marvin and daughter Margaux. The title of the musical comes from a quote by Jorge Luis Borges, reprinted in the program: “Nothing is built on stone; all is built on sand. But we must build as if the sand were stone.” I can’t recommend this musical. There’s too much that doesn’t work…Yet it’s hard to dismiss Fire in Dreamland

The Week in Awards

New York Innovative Theater Awards 2018 nominations for the best Off-Off Broadway Third Annual Samuel French Awards: The Secret Garden  (writing team Lucy Simon & Marsha Norman), Award for Sustained Excellence in American Theatre Doug Wright, Award for Impact & Activism in the Theatre Community for his work as president of the Dramatists Guild Antoinette Nwandu, the Next Step Award, support for a playwright, composer or lyricist working toward the next level of their career.

The Week in New York Theater News

School of Rock will end on Broadway on January 20, 2019, having played 1,307 regular performances, just over three years.

Bruce Springsteen reminiscing at the Tony Awards about his hometown while accompanying himself on the piano, before singing “My Hometown.”

Springsteen On Broadway will be shown on Netflix Dec 15, which is also the final night of its 236-show Broadway run at the Walter Kerr. CATS is being made into a film. Jennifer Hudson, Taylor Swift, James Corden, and Ian McKellen will star. Lisa Brescia, six-time Broadway vet (Elphaba in Wicked, Donna in Mamma Mia) takes over from Rachel Bay Jones as Heidi Hansen in Dear Evan Hansen starting August 7   Here’s a twist. During previews, Gettin The Band Back Together will offer 40 tickets per performance for $40 each for people 40 years of age and older. “because we know 40-year-olds have responsibilities and bad backs that may prohibit them from sleeping on sidewalks.” Use code BT40440. The musical opens on August 13th.

New Seasons Off and Off-Off Broadway

At Lincoln Center: 1. A new play by Tom Stoppard “The Hard Problem,” about a young psychology student facing difficult questions. eg. Is altruism possible without self-interest? Directed by Jack O’Brian. Opens Nov 19

2. “Plot Points in Our Sexual Development” a contemporary queer love story Oct 6-Nov 18. Written by Miranda Rose Hall, direccted by Margot Bordelon

The new Flea theater

The Bushwick Starr’s Tenth Anniversary Season

Ugly by Raja Feather Kelly Sept 5-8

The Things That Were There by David Greenspan  Oct 10-Nov 4

The Infinite Love Party by Diana Oh January 11 – February 2

Suicide Forest by Kristine Haruna Lee February 27 – March 16, 2019

The 9th Annual Big Green Theater Festival April 26 – 28, 2019

CABIN by Sean Donovan May 22- June 8 Details

Critics Corner

1. Another Theater Critic – and Newspaper — Erased

Joe is one of many at the Daily News who’ve been laid off. The Daily News will cut half of its newsroom staff…The paper was sold to @tronc Inc. last year for $1, with the owner of @ChicagoTribune assuming liabilities and debt.



Smokey Joe’s Cafe: Emma Degerstedt, Nicole Vanessa Ortiz, Dionne D. Figgins and Alysha Umphress

3. Fat Shaming Review? In Laura Collins-Hughes’ review of Smokey Joe Café: “Ms. Umphress, by the way, is bigger than the other women onstage, and the costume designer, Alejo Vietti, doesn’t seem to have known how to work with that, dressing her in an unnecessarily unflattering way.” https://


RIP Gary Beach, 70, nine-time Broadway veteran, a Tony winner for his role as flamboyant theater director Roger De Bris in The Producers


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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