When the ball dropped in Times Square, signaling the start of a new year, it took a while for the smoke and the confetti and the fireworks and the rain to clear before we could even make out the “2019” and the “Happy New Year” — and in that, there is a metaphor. It will be a while before we’ll be able to make out what the new year will bring.
Luckily, for theatergoers, there are at least some guides:
I offer Theater Books of 2018 to Read in 2019 — with recommendations in four categories: 1. Scripts. 2. Coffee Table Books. 3. History, Criticism and Memoir/Biography. 4. For Fans, For Fun, For Kids.
Then there’s my Spring 2019 Broadway Preview Guide: A Season of Theater Geniuses Making Their Broadway Debuts
Still ahead later this week: a preview of Off-Broadway; a monthly calendar for January that includes lists for the January theater festivals.
The Best of 2018 in Theater, Sliced and Diced.
New York Theater Year-End Quiz: A Look Back at 2018
Best Posts of 2018: A Broadway Fixer, The Fall of Rise, Actors’ Bodies, Immersive Pioneer Re-Emerges, Life Without Theater.
2018 in Theater News: 5 #Stageworthy Trends on Broadway and Beyond
Watch Top 10 New York Theater Videos of 2018: Be More Chill, Anastasia, John Leguizamo, Lin-Manuel
Memorable Moments on Stage in 2018
Celebrating the New Year
Ring IN The Old: Saluting Broadway Stars, Age 91 to 104
New Year Tweets
I got through all of last year
And I’m here.
Lord knows, at least I was there,
And I’m here!
Look who’s here!
I’m still here! pic.twitter.com/4TnkSUoxN9
— New York Theater (@NewYorkTheater) January 1, 2019
Not sure which I prefer. Happy ‘78! https://t.co/39VkYnJxGS
— New York Theater (@NewYorkTheater) January 1, 2019
WELL💋HERE WE GO AGAIN🤞🏻. WISH US ALL HEALTH💃🏻, HAPPINESS❤️,& HOPE🕊 WE HAVE THE BEST YEAR EVER✨🌟✨.IF 2018 WAS AMAZING👑,I HOPE 2019 IS EVEN BETTER🙌🏻.IF 2018 WASN’T ALL YOU🙏🏻FOR, YOU’RE IN LUCK🍀.I CAN SEE 😎DOWN THE ROAD,& YOU’RE HAVING THE TIME OF YOUR LIFE👻
— Cher (@cher) January 1, 2019
Me walking into our lobby:
We haven’t been home ALL YEAR!
(He kept holding my hand. Bad jokes and love last all year long!)
— Jennifer Mudge (@JenniferMudge) January 1, 2019
Happy New Year! May 2019 be joyful and prosperous for you all. May kindness, joy, love and happiness find their way into your homes and hearts, and please God, give us the will to stand up to tyranny in all its forms.
— Bette Midler (@BetteMidler) January 1, 2019
2018… you were one of the best/worst, exciting/disappointing and INSANE years of my life. I’ve decided I love you because you really stuck the landing! 👶🏻👶🏻👶🏻Here’s to a more boring 2019! HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE! 🎊🎆😘
— Rory O’Malley (@RoryOMalley) January 1, 2019
Many folks are posting that 2018 was one of the worst years ever. But as the Buddhist saying goes, “Wisdom is like rainwater. It gathers in low places.”
I will look back on 2018 as the moment we began to take back our country. We rejected Trumpism and our values were reaffirmed.
— George Takei (@GeorgeTakei) December 31, 2018
My simple unadorned #Newsyearsresolutions 1. Lead w/ love (A major hurdle in times like these) 2. I won’t let fear dictate my choices 3. Do one thing that scares me, but challenges me to grow. 4. Take a few mindful breaths each morning 5. As always replace judgment w/ curiosity
— Lynn Nottage (@Lynnbrooklyn) January 1, 2019
Meanwhile en 🇵🇷… pic.twitter.com/jgM5P2ZpH1
— Lin-Manuel Miranda (@Lin_Manuel) January 1, 2019
The Week in New York Theater News
Watch the 41st annual Kennedy Center Honors in its entirety (or just individual clips)
Closing Sunday, January 6, 2019: On Broadway: Head Over Heels, Once On This Island, The Play That Goes Wrong (though it’s moving next month Off-Broadway), Torch Song, Off-Broadway: The Hard Problem
Closing Sunday, January 13: On Broadway: The Lifespan of a Fact, Off-Broadway: Fabulation, Slave Play
Closing Sunday January 20: Mike Birbiglia’s The New One, School of Rock
Closing Sunday January 27: American Son, The Waverly Gallery
Starting today, all works first published in the United States in 1923 will lose their copyright and enter the public domain. What that means, according to George Fleishman writing in the Smithsonian: “After January 1, any record label can issue a dubstep version of the 1923 hit “Yes! We Have No Bananas,” any middle school can produce Theodore Pratt’s stage adaptation of The Picture of Dorian Gray, and any historian can publish Winston Churchill’s The World Crisis..And we can quote.Robert Frost’s “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening,” in its entirety.
What about plays? Howard Sherman addresses this question in his latest blog post with a charming description of some dozen old plays, few of which seem likely to be revived, even without having to pay royalties. A couple of exceptions may be Elmer Rice’s The Adding Machine and George Bernard Shaw’s Saint Joan. (However, the latter, as he was informed, debuted in 1923, but was not copyrighted until 1924.)
Feel like screaming? Head to the theater
“Space always exists in a theater season for works of conscience, but this year feels different,” writes Peter Marks, citing The Jungle, Slave Play, American Son (the links are to my reviews), as well as What to Send Up When It Goes Down, and, with a sweeter approach, The Prom.
Rest in Peace
Norman Gimbel, 91, lyricist
Don McKay, 93, an American actor who was the original star of ‘West Side Story in London
Liza Redfield, 94, Broadway’s first full-time female conductor
Sono Osato, 99, barrier-breaking Japanese-American ballet dancer who created the role of Ivy Smith in the 1944 Broadway premiere of On the Town
Members of the theater community who died in 2018