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The Lin-Manuel Miranda Weekly Chronicle. Brantley vs. Them. The Week in New York Theater

Soon after this…

…this was announced

Also: Lin-Manuel Miranda has been cast, along with James McAvoy and Ruth Wilson, in the BBC’s forthcoming series “His Dark Materials,” based on the bestselling fantasy novels by British author Philip Pullman.

And:

Miranda sets up arts fund for Puerto Rico, the Flamboyan Arts Fund

The Week in NY Theater Reviews

The Damned

There are three major historical events in the early timeline of Nazi horrors that figure as personal turning points in the story of the corruption, perversion and destruction of the wealthy German industrialist family presented in “The Damned,” Ivo van Hove’s intense, extraordinary stage adaptation of Luchino Visconti’s 1969 film. Van Hove directs a remarkable cast from the 338-year-old Comédie-Français, who perform in French with English subtitles in the cavernous Wade Thompson Drill Hall of the Park Avenue Armory. But the three events from 1933 feel like varied lessons in stagecraft from the avant-garde Belgian director – stagecraft that is ferociously inventive, unrelenting, and unsurpassed.

Peppermint (center) as Pythio, The Oracle of Delphi and the ensemble

Head Over Heels

“Head Over Heels” is a mash-up that sounds weird and unworkable: It’s a jukebox musical using 18 songs by the 1980s all-female L.A. punk band The Go-Go’s. But it’s also a loose adaptation of Arcadia, a 1580s work of literature by Philip Sidney, a contemporary of Shakespeare…. the show fashions something of a political message for these times: Head Over Heels is a witty endorsement of  love and acceptance in all its contemporary forms, especially  gay/queer/gender-fluid. Its messages are reinforced by some of its casting decisions. The most evident (but not the only) example: Peppermint, the one-named veteran of RuPaul’s Drag Race, is billed as the first trans woman to create a role on Broadway.

Don’t Bother Me I Can’t Cope

..as directed and choreographed by Savion Glover, whatever the talented cast is performing at any given moment —  whether the blues, soul, funk, jazz, rock, calypso or spoken-word poetry – “Don’t Bother Me, I Can’t Cope”  is entertaining enough to feel like a near-religious experience…This musical revue about the African-American experience has a moral center too…

NYMF ‘68

The New York Musical Festival program bills “’68” as “inspired by the volatile events of the 1968 Democratic Convention and their place in history and our future.” It’s a smart choice and in itself an ambitious undertaking.

This Ain’t No Disco

For all its high-energy hedonism featuring handsome half-clad bodies, “This Ain’t No Disco,” the rock opera at the Atlantic Theater set in the New York City club scene of the 1970s, doesn’t elicit desire or delight or nostalgia so much as it does confusion…The confusion starts with the title…This Ain’t No Disco” mostly takes place in a disco, the notorious Studio 54.

Critic’s Corner

Two lines in Ben Brantley’s review of Head Over Heels elicited outrage:

This comment is at best, unfunny, and worst, transphobic. We’ve got to do better, folks! Haven’t seen @HOHmusical, but this problematic @nytimestheater review just made it jump to the top of my list! pic.twitter.com/ope6e3vb5P

— Andrew Keenan-Bolger (@KeenanBlogger) July 27, 2018

The New York Times changed those two sentences and issued an apology from Brantley:

“I feel horrible about having offended transgender and nonbinary communities. I was trying to reflect the light tone of the show, as well as a plot point in which one character learns to acknowledge another not as a “she” but as “they” — this was meant to be a reference to the character of the Oracle, not Peppermint, the person who plays the role. This unfortunately read as more flippant than I ever would have intended, especially with regard to a performance that marks a historical first.”

The Week in NY Theater News

 

Diane Paulus, who directed the 2011 Broadway revival of Hair (pictured above), will direct NBC’s “Hair Live!” along with TV director Alex Rudzinski. The broadcast is scheduled for May 19, 2019 in front of a live audience.

More on the suicide of “Chicago” cast member Jeff Loeffelholz:

A Rough Rehearsal, a Suicide and a Broadway Show in Turmoil

“Since Jeff’s tragic death, we have heard from a new round of Equity members that bullying is still far too common in the theater, despite our work on harassment prevention” – Mary McColl, the executive director of Actors’ Equity

The Mint Theater is reviving Lillian Hellman’s second play, Days to Come, August 2-Sept 30. It’s a family drama set against the backdrop of  labor strife in a small Ohio town. “Audiences had no chance to appreciate Days to Come when it premiered on Broadway in 1936; it closed after only a week. Hellman blamed herself for the play’s failure. “I wanted to say too much,” she wrote in a preface to the published play in 1942—while admitting that her director was confused and her cast inadequate…”

Kristina Newman-Scott, director of culture for the State of Connecticut, is to join BRIC as its president in September.

The 2018 Broadway Flea Market and Grand Auction will now be held September 30

Bill Irwin will bring his new show On Beckett to the Irish Repertory Theatre opening October 3

Audra McDonald, Rachel Brosnahan, Keala Settle, and More Stars Will Sleep Out for Covenant House August 20

Shubert Theater by Laura Waller at Elizabeth Moss Galleries

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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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