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The Week in New York Theater: All-Female Mamet. Snoop Dogg in a Play. Bryan Cranston Is Mad As Hell.

With two Broadway shows opening this week — “Gettin The Band Back Together” and “Pretty Woman” — it’s hard to say we’re in the Dog Days of August. Yet, these hot and humid days do encourage thoughts of the Dogg Days of October: See below for details about Snoop Dogg’s theatrical debut in Brooklyn.

Also below: news of Bryan Cranston’s return to Broadway, Michael C. Hall’s to Off-Broadway, a Maria Irene Fornes festival for free; a Tony-winning actor (Christian Borle) turning into a director, and a Tony-winning director (David Cromer) returning to acting; a musical turning into a novel; and an all-male macho Mamet play turning all-female. I guess theater really is transformative!

The Week in New York Theater Reviews

 

Be More Chill

To outsiders, “Be More Chill” is a hyper-energetic pop-rock musical opening tonight Off-Broadway, starring Will Roland (“Dear Evan Hansen”) as a high school student named Jeremy Heere who sees himself as a loser but then swallows a pill containing a supercomputer and becomes cool.
Jeremy’s journey is of course a sci-fi fantasy. But thanks to its fans, the odyssey of the musical itself is also fairly far out…You don’t have to be 15 to be thrilled by the best moments in the Off-Broadway production of Be More Chill, a musical about high school, presented by a terrifically talented cast, that is too quirky and clever to be dismissed as the standard high school musical bestiary. But it might help to be a teenage fan in order to enjoy all two and a half hours of Be More Chill…
Be More Chill was extended a week through September 30 …and was sold out within nine hours of the announcement.

Shakespeare in the Theater at the Brick: Dreamers Often Lie

Dreamers Often Lie: Esaú Mora as Juliet

Shakespeare in the Theater” is the not-quite-clever title of a festival at the Brick Theater that presents itself as an alternative to New York summer staples, Shakespeare in the Park and Shakespeare in the Parking Lot. It’s different because it takes place inside an air-conditioned theater, rather than outdoors, and, more importantly, because it offers new takes on the Bard’s plays.

To get a taste of the festival, which runs through August 27th (see schedule below) I attended the first performance of the first of the eight productions. The hour-long show, produced by the Neon Nature theater company, is entitled “Dreamers Often Lie,” which makes it different from any of the other adaptations in the festival: Writer Lukas Papenfusscline supplied his own title, rather than using Shakespeare’s. Given what I witnessed, this seems an honorable choice.

Shame or the Doomsday Machine

For the 42nd summer in a row, the Theater for the New City’s touring Street Theater Company is presenting an original show for free in the streets and parks throughout New York City. (see schedule below.)

This year’s hour-long musical, “Shame! or The Doomsday Machine,” presents a tuneful and anarchic mix of rock, rap, physics, politics, satire and vaudeville, featuring scenes as varied as a classroom in New York City, a Black Hole in the Universe, and Club Mad, 2000 feet below Mar-a-Lago (Trump’s Florida estate,)

Week in New York Theater News

“Network,” the NationalTheatre stage adaption of Paddy Chayevsky’s 1976 film, will open December 6th at Broadway’s Cort Theater, starring Bryan Cranston as network anchor Howard Beale who declares: “i’m mad as hell and i’m not going to take it anymore”

Amar Ramasar and company in “Blow High, Blow Low.” in Carousel

“Carousel” is closing on September 16,  some five months after it opened on April 28.

The rumors turned out to be true. Amy Morton, in her Broadway directorial debut, will helm an all-female revival of Glengarry Glen Ross by David Mamet, coming to Broadway in May, 2019. The play is about an office full of macho real estate salesmen. The production has not yet been cast.

 

Snoop Dogg will star in his first stage play, “Redemption of a Dogg,”  about a Snoop-like character who “is faced with choosing fame and fortune over faith and family.” Written by Je’Caryous Johnson, with music from the rapper’s recent gospel-inspired album Bible of Life, and co-starring Toni Braxton, the show will tour the US in October and November, coming to Brooklyn’s Kings Theater on October 14.

Tootsie  starring Santino Fontana with music by David Yazbek will open at the Marquis Theatre April 23, 2019. It’s based on the 1982 film about an actor who pretends to be a woman to win a role.

A new Songs for a New World cast recording will be released this fall featuring the stars of Encores! Off-Center’s concert.

David Cromer is returning to acting this season in “The Waverly Gallery.” Cromer will play the role of Howard Fine, completing the cast of Elaine May, Lucas Hedges, Joan Allen and Michael Cera in the play by Kenneth Lonergan opening at the John Golden on October 25th. Cromer, who won a Tony for his direction of “The Band’s Visit,” last appeared as an actor on Broadway in the 2014 revival of “A Raisin in the Sun.”

The Public Theater will present a 12-hour Maria Irene Fornes marathon on Aug. 27. The free event will be presented in partnership with “The Rest I Make Up,” the award-winning documentary about the prolific avant-garde playwright and beloved writing teacher that will be screening at the Museum of Modern Art Aug. 23-29.

Christian Borle will make his New York directorial debut with James Hindman’s Popcorn Falls, opening at the Davenport Theatre on October 8th.

Michael C. Hall (“Dexter,” “Six Feet Under,” The Realistic Joneses) will play the title role of Will Eno’s “Thom Paine (Based on Nothing)” at the Signature Theatre Oct 23-Nov 25

Rosie leads Broadway protest at the White House, singing truth to power.

What can theater do to make a difference? Help Get Out The Vote. That’s what theaters are doing across the country, including at Playwrights Horizons, which is staffing a voter registration table this month. #PlayOurPart is a nonpartisan effort to increase voter turnout.

 

Longtime HERE Arts producing/executive director Kim Whitener will step down from her position this fall. Current general manager Meredith Lynsey Schade will be the producing director and current director of advancement Brenna Thomas will be the director of external affairs.

Dear Evan Hansen has been turned into a novel, co-written by composers Benj Pasek, Justin Paul, and librettist Steven Levenson, as well as novelist Val Emmich. Unlike most novels, this one will be accompanied by a  ten-city book tour  (including New York) that will feature performances of some of the musical’s songs.

NYU launches Broadway Orchestra training program strumental performance course and ensemble designed to train the next generation of Broadway musicians, launching in fall 2018. Students will learn industry-specific skills—such as sight reading Broadway books, recording skills, and how to land a job in musical theater—and present a season of performances, beginning with a fully-staged production of Guys and Dolls

Theater Mitu, a company that has done such terrific shows as Juarez/ has renovated a former glass recycling facility in Gowanus for a new theater, “intended to intersect the fields of performance, installation art, new-media, and design.”
Their first show in the new space will be “ Remnant” — part performance, part art installation, the new show combines audio interviews with performance, found text, technology, and images, to investigate how loss, grief, and death inform the lives and choices of those who are left behind.
August 24 to September 14th at 580 Sackett St, Brooklyn,

Actors’ Equity Association has announced that Once on This Island will receive the Extraordinary Excellence in Diversity on Broadway Award for the 2017-18 season. The award, now in its eleventh year, recognizes a Broadway show that exemplifies and promotes the union’s values of equity, diversity, and inclusion.

From Broadway to Big Screen: The Musicals Getting the Movie Treatment


RIP John Glines, 84, pioneering gay Broadway producer of Torch Song Trilogy and As Is, first person to thank his same-sex partner at the Tony Awards

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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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