Lin-Manuel: We’re buying The Drama Book Shop. Actors Equity: Strike! #Stageworthy News of the Week

Lin-Manuel Miranda, director Thomas Kail, theater owner James L. Nederlander, and producer Jeffrey Seller are saving the Drama Book Shop — by buying it, according to an announcement this morning by the NYC Mayor’s Office of Media & Entertainment (MOME). The 101-year-old theater bookstore will close as planned on January 20th at its West 40th Street location, but then reopen somewhere in the theater district in the Fall. For its part, the city has pledged to find the store an affordable space in Midtown.

The current owner Rozanne Seelen, whose husband, the late Arthur Seelen, bought it in 1958, said she sold the store for the cost of the remaining inventory, some rent support in the store’s final weeks, and a pledge to retain her as a consultant. “It’s the chronic problem — the rents were just too high, and I’m 84 years old — I just didn’t have the drive to find a new space and make another move,” she told the Times. “Lin-Manuel and Tommy are my white knights.”

“My first experiences directing in New York City were at the Arthur Seelen Theater in the basement of the Drama Book Shop,” MOME quotes Thomas Kail as saying.  “Thanks to the generosity of owners Allen Hubby and Rozanne Seelen, I had a small theater company that was in residence there for five years.  I was lucky enough to be there the day the shop opened on 40th Street on December 3, 2001, and I am delighted to be part of this group that will ensure the Drama Book Shop lives on.”

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The Week in New York Theater News

The call is a culmination of the union’s  campaign, demanding a raise for its members who participate in any developmental stage work with commercial producers. (Some current shows that have been developed this way include The Cher Show, To Kill a Mockingbird and Waitress.) More details:Broadway Actors to Refuse Development Work Over Profit-Sharing Impasse

Brian d’Arcy James will lead a new cast of The Ferryman starting February 19. He will portray Quinn Carney. Other new cast members include  Shuler Hensley as Tom Kettle,Jack DiFalco (most recently in TorchSong) as Shane Corcoran, Collin Kely-Sordelet as JJ Carney; Holley Fain as Caitlin Carney; Emily Bergl as Mary Carney, with Fred Applegate  as Uncle Patrick Carney, Ralph Brown as Muldoon, Sean Delaney as Michael Carney, Ethan Dubin as Oisin Carney.

The Third Annual Chita Rivera Award s will take place on Sunday, May 19 at @nyuskirball. Nominees for this theater dance & choreography award will be announced April 26

Ishmael Reed has written a play called “The Haunting of Lin-Manuel Miranda,” about inaccuracies & omissions in Hamilton (eg. he wasn’t an abolitionist.) (Both Reed and Miranda are MacArthur Foundation Award “geniuses”) The readings took place at Nuyorican Poets Cafe over the weekend

Several Broadway veterans won Golden Globes —  Ben Whishaw, Patricia Clarkson, Darren Criss, Rachel Brosnahan, Glenn Close — and Carol Burnett, six-time Broadway veteran, was given the Globe’s first annual Carol Burnett Award. (Complete list of nominees and winners)
Several more were nominated, including Lin-Manuel Miranda and Billy Porter, who amply represented the community with an an outfit that featured (as he helpfully pointed out on Twitter) custom couture by Randi Rahm, iconic gardenia lapel pins and ballerina ring by Oscar Heyman Brothers, shoes by Gucci and tights by Wolford Fashion.

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Author: 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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