The current president of the United States did not attend the 2018 Kennedy Center Honors last night (which will be broadcast on CBS on December 26). But the first U.S. president performed, Christopher Jackson reprising his role in “Hamilton” as George Washington, along with Lin-Manuel Miranda as Alexander Hamilton, the first person in the 41-year history of the annual show to perform as part of his own tribute.
The evening celebrated the creative team of Hamilton, and honored the lifetime achievements of Cher, who is the subject of the Broadway musical “The Cher Show,” opening tonight. Also honored: Reba McIntire, saxophonist Wayne Shorter, composer Philip Glass.
Below in the week in New York theater: Watch videos from Be More Chill, Springsteen on Broadway, and Miranda on Broadway slang. Bad news about Once on This Island and Summer; good news about Hadestown and Burn This. Rita Moreno cast as a new character in the remake of a familiar film. A reason for Jackie Hoffman to kvell, not kvetch.
December Ticket Deals
Week in NY Theater Reviews
What the Constitution Means to Me
She says she’s been working on it for ten years, but you could argue that Heidi Schreck’s extraordinary show about the United States Constitution – funny and infuriated, analytical and confessional, erudite and heartbreaking — began some three decades ago. That is when, as a 15-year-old from Wenatchee, Washington, Schreck competed in oratorical contests about her personal connection to America’s founding document, sponsored by American Legion halls across the country, in order to win enough prize money to pay for her college education.
The Hard Problem
The hard problem in Tom Stoppard’s latest erudite play, his first full-length work in nearly a decade, is the challenge facing those who study the brain: How do scientists account for the mind – for consciousness or morality? But there’s also a hard problem for theatergoers who attend (study?) a Tom Stoppard play: How do you take in the playwright’s impressive intellect, dazzling verbosity, and intricate plots without being intimidated or confused by it all?
All Is Calm
“All is Calm” revolves around the powerful true story of the unofficial ceasefires during World War I among British, French and German soldiers in the trenches along the Western Front around Christmas of 1914. Defying orders, the enemy combatants simply left the trenches for No Man’s Land and exchanged greetings, tobacco and chocolate, photographs… and songs.
The greatest thrill of Theresa Rebeck’s thriller is seeing Tyne Daly (Cagney and Lacey) and Tim Daly (The Sopranos, Madame Secretary) act together on stage for the first time. Rebeck wrote “Downstairs” specifically for the siblings, who portray brother and sister — Teddy, who may be crazy, and Irene, who may be terrorized.
Videos of the Week
Loser Geek Whatever from Be More Chill
Lin-Manuel Miranda teaches Broadway slang
(The theater terms Lin-Manuel Miranda defines on his video:
Thank you 5,Money note, Mugging, Going up, Cheating out, Ingénue, 2 Dow Shay, off book, Showmance, Booked and blessed, The Scottish Play, OBC, Park and Bark, Corpse, screlting)
Netflix Trailer for Springsteen on Broadway
The Week in NY Theater News
Once On This Island, which opened a year ago today, has announced it will close January 6, 2019, after 29 previews and 458 regular performances — exactly one performance less than the original 1990 Broadway production.
Summer: The Donna Summer Musical will close December 30, after 27 previews and 289 regular performances. A production of the jukebox musical will go on tour next September.
Hadestown, Anais Mitchell’s pop opera version of Orpheus and Eurydice myth, will start previews March 22, 2019 and open at Broadway’s Walter Kerr Theatre on April 17.
Dear friends, what can I say? A dream comes true today. The crazy amount of work it’s taken to get here, on the part of so many people over so many years, does not make it feel any less miraculous. @hadestown is going to Broadway! Wondrous love, and gratitude https://t.co/1XW9yZpkIo
— Anaïs Mitchell (@anaismitchell) November 27, 2018
Revival of Lanford Wilson’s1987 play “Burn This” opens April 16, 2019 at Broadway’s Hudson Theater, starring Adam Driver, Keri Russell, Brandon Uranowitz and David Furr. In the play, a quartet of friend of a young, gay dancer who drowned in a boating accident gather to mourn and reassess their lives.
National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene’s Off-Broadway production of Fiddler on the Roof in Yiddish, directed by Joel Grey,will be releasing a cast album. The show is transferring to Off-Broadway’s Stage 42 in February.
Don’t kvetch. Kvell!
Mazel Tov, @folksbiene! https://t.co/9h1AN5qkpl
— New York Theater (@NewYorkTheater) November 29, 2018
To celebrate the legacy of its founding company member
Michael Friedman, who died of AIDS last year at the age of 41, The Civilians will begin recording cast albums of his unrecorded music in partnership with Ghostlight Records. Titles include The Great Immensity, The Abominables, This Beautiful City, (I Am) Nobody’s Lunch, and In The Footprint.
John Leguizamo has a new musical, an apt follow-up to his Latin History for Morons. “Kiss My Aztec” is a satire that depicts the fight in the 16th century between would-be colonizer Spain & the Aztec resistance. It begins next May at Berkeley Rep, then La Jolla Playhouse. . (Then Broadway?)
Kristine Nielsen joins the Broadway cast of Taylor Mac’s ‘Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus,” which is set to open on Broadway on April 11. The 11-time Broadway veteran was the story of Mac’s groundbreaking Off-Broadway play, “Hir”
Rita Moreno will return to West Side Story, the film that won her an Oscar, in Steven Spielberg’s remake. In the original film she portrayed Anita. In the remake, which will be filmed next year, Moreno, now 86 years old, will portray Valentina, a new character that replaces Doc, the owner of the corner store where Tony works
Judge Allows ‘Harry Potter’ and ‘Evan Hansen’ in San Francisco
A judge has refused a request by one of the nation’s largest theater owners to block San Francisco productions of “Dear Evan Hansen” and “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.”
The ruling.. pauses, at least for the moment, a bitter dispute between two prominent theater families, the Nederlanders and the Shorensteins, that were once allied and are now at odds.
Aaron Sorkin on his stage adaptation of To Kill A Mockingbird. (“I’m an accidental writer of movies and television shows. And while it’s been a very happy accident, what I love most is writing plays. Not just writing them, doing them. My last play was 11 years ago.”)
The 250 best-run U.S. companies of 2018, according to the Wall Street Journal’s latest listing of its annual Top Management 250, includes two categories that might include theater companies — “leisure/arts/hospitality” and “media/entertainment”– but it doesn’t, unless you count Walt Disney (ranked 48th.) Those categories mostly contain hotel and restaurant chains. But, ask Theater Communications Group, and theaters are doing ok, according to TCG’s latest annual survey just released, Theatre Facts 2017 (pdf format). American Theatre magazine explains.
The Bushwick Starr’s tenth anniversary season continues with:
The Infinite Love Party, a “barefoot potluck, dance party, and sleepover” performer by Diana Oh, Jan 11-Feb 2,
Suicide Forest written by Kristine Haruna Lee.In 1990’s Japan, a teenage girl grapples with her sexuality in a nightmarish, male-defined society as a salaryman desperately tries to escape his masochistic psyche.
Ninth annual Big Green Theater April 26-28
Cabin by Sean Donovan, May 22 – June 8
Dancing in Times Square: Full Circle Souljahs’ Behind The Groove
REST IN PEACE
Stephen Hillenburg, 57, cartoonist, animator, and former marine biologist and teacher, who created the beloved animated series SpongeBob SauarePants in 1999, and lived to see it turned into a Broadway musical.
John Wulp, 90, a Tony winning producer and scenic designer, who spent the last 30 years of his life in Vinalhaven, Maine turning fishermen into actors for plays he directed and wrote.