Broadway at the Oscars. Rent Live Preview. The Stages of Life. Super Bowl LIII Commercial on Stage. #Stageworthy News of the Week

The same week that Carol Channing died at the age of 97, Steven Spielberg announced that 17-year-old Rachel Zegler, a high school student in New Jersey, would be the new Maria in the film remake of West Side Story to Ansel Elgort’s Tony. This news was followed by a feature about the babies seven to ten months old who play Bobby Carney in The Ferryman.

If the point isn’t clear, consider that David Alvarez is one of the other cast members announced for the new West Side Story film, along with six-time Broadway veteran Ariana DeBose as Anita, and Josh Andres Rivera (Hamilton) as Chino.

Now 24, Alvarez (he’s the one in the middle) will play Bernardo in the new West Side Story film. At the age of 14, he won a Tony for Billy Elliot.

Which is to say: the Stages of Life are well-named.

The Week in New York Theater Previews

The Mortality Machine

Days before ticket holders descend into a Lower East Side basement to experience The Mortality Machine, they’ve already been emailed homework. A mystery about five people who died in an illegal medical experiment, the show sends attendees articles about the tragedy, obituaries of the victims, a lawyer’s letter explaining how the scene of the crime is being unsealed just for them and, most importantly, information on the characters they’ll be playing.
Because in The Mortality Machine, the audience members are asked to act. Welcome to LARP theatre.

The Week in New York Theater News

Among the list of Oscar nominees, were several Broadway veterans: Leading Actor Bradley Cooper; Supporting Actor Sam Rockwell and Adam Driver (who will return to Broadway this season in Burn This); Leading Actress Glenn Close, Emma Stone, and Rachel Weisz;  Musical score Marc Shaiman, best song Shaiman and Scott Wittman for their Mary Poppins song “The Place Where Lost Things Go”; best adapted screenplay Jeff Whitty (Avenue Q) for Can You Ever Forgive Me.

Other stage to screen news:

Rent Live will be broadcast on Fox this Sunday, January 27 at 8 p.m.



Kerry Washington, Steven Pasquale, Jeremy Jordan

American Son will be adapted for Netflix, cast intact, produced and directed by Kenny Leon, who directed the play.

In lieu of a 30-second Super Bowl commercial, Michael C. Hall will appear in “Skittles Commercial: The Broadway Musical,” a 30-minute play written by Will Eno that will be performed at The Town Hall live at 1 p.m. on February 3, which is the afternoon before Super Bowl LIII. I’m wondering if this is an early April Fool’s Day joke.


While Spielberg’s movie has its cast, the revival of the West Side Story musical on Broadway directed by Ivo van Hove will be holding casting calls in Los Angeles for the roles of Maria, Anita and Bernardo

Playwrights Realm announces Beyond the Realm, a festival of works in progress February 10-28, for FREE, by MJ Kaufman, Nia Witherspoon, Michael Yates Crowley and Asiimwe Deborah Kawe

Kyle Jarrow, who wrote the book for SpongeBob SquarePants the musical,  is developing a new musical with skate choreography by pro-skater Tony Hawk — a musical version of the 2007 Nick Hornby novel Slam. The novel features Hawk as a character.



Critics Corner

Winners of the 2017-18 George Jean Nathan Award for Dramatic Criticism: John H. Muse for his book “Microdramas: Crucibles for Theater and Time,” and Helen Shaw.

The Art of the Pan: What’s the Point of a Bad Review in 2019?

A.O. Scott: “The secret of the bad review is that you can get a lot of pleasure out of it. It is a kind of a dopamine rush. First of all, editors—especially editors at The New York Times—love it. They love bad reviews. And they’re fun to do because they give you access to a lot of writerly tools that are fun to use. You can be funny. You can be clever. What you’re doing is, you’re demonstrating your superiority to a thing that you’re writing about.” But positive reviews are “a lot harder, and a lot more valuable.”

Dave Eggers: “I was a critic and I wish I could take it all back because it came from a smelly and ignorant place in me, and spoke with a voice that was all rage and envy. Do not dismiss a book until you have written one, and do not dismiss a movie until you have made one, and do not dismiss a person until you have met them. It is a fuckload of work to be open-minded and generous and understanding and forgiving and accepting, but Christ, that is what matters. What matters is saying yes.


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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