Kavanaugh Hearings as Theater. Welcome to the New Fringe. Ansel Elgort is Tony. The Week in NY Theater

What stage show could compete with the drama of the Ford/Kavanaugh hearings?

Below: What theaters are doing for the midterm elections; Fringe NYC preview; October openings; September quiz; Kinky Boots announces closing; Birbiglia on Broadway. Spielberg has found his Tony for West Side Story.

4 Ways Theatres Are Getting Out the Vote for the Midterms

Fringe Begins

After a year’s hiatus, the New York International Fringe Festival has returned for it 21st year, much changed. It now take place in October (not August), offers 100 shows (not 200), and has split into two  and spread to three boroughs; in Manhattan, the shows are all presented in the West Village (not the East Village.) For details, see my preview on TDF Stages, What’s New at the Revamped Fringe


October Openings


September Theater Quiz


Week in NY Theater Reviews and Previews

Girl From The North Country

Using 20 songs that Bob Dylan composed over half a century, playwright Conor McPherson has fashioned a slow, sad, elliptical and occasionally exquisite theater piece set in a run-down boarding house in Duluth, Minnesota, Dylan’s hometown, in 1934, seven years before Dylan was born.
The stories in “Girl From The North Country,” are not about Dylan. They focus on the desperate family that runs the boarding house, and the many struggling people around them

The Nap

How, one wondered, would British playwright Richard Bean, whose hilarious farce One Man, Two Guvnors made a star out of James Corden, create something as funny for Americans out of the British game of snooker? He hasn’t, as it turns out…For every joke that lands, two don’t – because they’re too silly, or unfathomable, or hackneyed or offensive


Bernhardt/Hamlet, a new play on Broadway by Theresa Rebeck about Sarah Bernhardt deciding to perform as Hamlet, is being given a first-rate production, with a winning cast led by Janet McTeer as Bernhardt, lively direction by Moritz von Stuelpnagel (Hand to God) , and a sumptuous design, especially the grand rotating set by Beowulf Boritt and the glorious costumes by Toni-Leslie James. But we don’t leave the American Airlines Theater with any clearer understanding than when we entered of whether or not Hamlet is (as one character says) “the greatest part ever written” or Sarah Bernhardt “the greatest actress ever born” – and if so, what makes them so.

Because I Could Not Stop: An Encounter With Emily Dickinson

The latest odd hybrid by the Ensemble for the Romantic Century, combining a one-woman show about the poetry and life of Emily Dickinson with a chamber music concert of composer Amy Beach,  is self-consciously tasteful and inadvertently tacky.

Intractable Woman

Journalist Anna Politkovskaya was murdered on Vladimir Putin’s birthday in 2006, as if the assassins were giving him a present for getting rid of this woman deemed an “enemy” of the state — the 13th journalist to have been murdered in Russia since Putin had come to power. Her story is now being told in “Intractable Woman: A Theatrical Memo on Anna Politkovskaya,” an unconventional drama that marks the New York debut of Italian playwright Stefano Massini

Playing to the Gods

Sarah Bernhardt remains the most famous stage actress of all time, the subject of the play Bernhardt/Hamlet on Broadway. But during her lifetime she had a rival, Eleanora Duse. The two didn’t just compete; they represented opposing views of what acting, and the theater, should be, according to “Playing to the Gods: Sarah Bernhardt, Eleonora Duse, and the Rivalry that Changed Acting Forever” (Simon and Schuster, 277 pages) by Peter Rader.

The author makes much of the two divas’ contrasting acting styles, Bernhardt with her extravagant flourishes, Eleanora spare and still, willing to turn her back to the audience, and have moments of silence.  Or as Rader at one point succinctly describes the difference: Sarah posed. Eleanora paused.

Week in NY Theater News

Billy Porter as Lola

Kinky Boots, which opened in April 4, 2013, will close on April 7, 2019, after 2,507 performances. I admit I didn’t think it would last this long Here’s waiting for Cyndi Lauper’s next musical

Mike Birbiglia’s The New One is transferring to Broadway’s Cort Theater, Oct 25, 2018 to January 20, 2019

Ansel Elgort has been cast as Tony in Steven Spielberg’s new film of West Side Story. Justin Peck (Carousel) is choreographing; Tony Kushner has written the revised screenplay.

Follies at Astoria Performing Arts Center

2018 NYIT Award Winners– Off-Off Broadway’s Finest

Tony Goldwyn and Frank Wood join Brian Cranston and Tatiana Maslany in “Network”, opening December 8 in Broadway’s Belasco Theater.

Almost Famous, a new musical adapted from Cameron Crowe’s movie, is in the works. The musical will feature a book by Crowe , music by Tom Kitt, and lyrics by Tom Kitt and Cameron Crowe

Broadway Impact Report 2018

For the third year in a row, “The Dead, 1904, based on James Joyce’s short story, will return to the same location at 991 Fifth Avenue, New York, where it will run November 17–January 13, 2019.

Women in opera: The Met has asked Missy Mazzoli to write an opera based on George Saunders’s ghostly novel “Lincoln in the Bardo,” and is planning to stage Jeanine Tesori’s opera “Grounded.” The two are the first female composers to be commissioned by the Met since its founding in 1883.

Shonda Rhimes (Grey’s AnatomyScandal and How to Get Away with Murder) and actress Jada Pinkett Smith have joined the producing team of American Son, starring Kerry Washington, Steven Pasquale, Eugene Lee and Jeremy Jordan., which is scheduled to open at Broadway’s Booth Theater on November 4th.


Merle Debuskey, 95, a longtime theater press agent and one of the most significant players in providing free Shakespeare in the Park.

Joe Masteroff, 98, librettist for Cabaret and She Loves Me; Tony winner 

Author: New York Theater

Jonathan Mandell is a 3rd generation NYC journalist, who sees shows, reads plays, writes reviews and sometimes talks with people.

Leave a Reply