NYC’s Theater Building Boom. Broadway at the Oscars. #Stageworthy News of the Week

The launching of The Robert W. Wilson MCC Theater Space, with the opening tonight of “Alice By Heart,”  is the latest “new, state-of-the-art complex” (as MCC is calling it) — with several more expensive, built-from-scratch arts centers and complexes scheduled soon.

Not everybody can be happy with this theater building boom

But this is New York, and New York means real estate. Next up:

The Shed as seen from the High Line

The Shed at Hudson Yards scheduled to open on April 5 “New York’s first multi-arts center designed to commission, produce, and present all types of performing arts, visual arts, and popular culture

The new Irish Arts Center building, scheduled for completion at 726 11th Avenue  in 2020, “will bring together the old and the new in a dynamic, inclusive, sustainable flagship destination for New Yorkers who love great art, for visitors seeking an authentic cultural experience, and for the global Irish Community.”

The Ronald O. Perelman Center for the Performance Arts, a home for theater, dance, contemporary chamber opera, music and film (a venue for the Tribeca Film Festival), is scheduled to open at the World Trade Center in September, 2021 – the twentieth anniversary of 9/11. I interviewed Bill Rauch, who was hired a year ago to be the artistic director of the Perelman.

How much, I asked Rauch, will 9/11 inform the Perelman Center?

“There’s no way you can start up on that sacred ground, and not have it inform every choice. That doesn’t mean it will be relentless 9/11 art. The whole notion is a response to 9/11. It’s about building community and building hope, and bringing people together. It’s about creating work that contributes to the discourse as a society. It’s about expanding what we mean by world trade. That’s the point. And that’s certainly what attracted me to the job…”

Full interview here

Old Broadway buildings with new marquees:

Broadway at the Oscars

There wasn’t a lot of trophy love going to  Broadway veterans at the 91st Academy Awards, but the Broadway presence was palpable, starting with the red carpet:

And then on the stage

which was designed by Tony nominated scenic designer David Korins (Hamilton, War Paint, the forthcoming BeetleJuice) making his Oscars debut.

Broadway veteran Bette Midler (Fiddler on the Roof, Hello, Dolly, etc.) sang “The Place Where Lost Things Go” from “Mary Poppins Returns” by Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman (Hairspray, Catch Me If You Can, etc.)

A lesson for the Tonys? No host = better ratings


The Week in New York Theater Reviews

Marys Seacole

Mary Seacole, though little known in the United States, was almost as celebrated in her time as Florence Nightingale, and for much the same reason – for nursing the sick and wounded during the Crimea War….Playwright Jackie Sibblies Drury made the title of her play plural: “Marys Seacole.”  In this challenging, disorienting, and powerful collage of a drama on stage at Lincoln Center’s experimental LCT3 Claire Tow Theater, Drury (best known for “Fairview”) seems to be using this one remarkable woman’s biography to try to say something larger – about race and gender; about what it takes, and what it takes out of you, to be a caregiver. Full review

My Fair Lady

Ten months after the opening of Lincoln Center’s fourth Broadway revival, the musical itself has been transformed, with the replacement of four of the principal roles – especially Laura Benanti as Eliza.

Full review

Merrily We Roll Along

With what’s billed as its re-imagined production of “Merrily We Roll Along,” Fiasco Theater Company has taken on their second Sondheim in four years. Fiasco, a ten-year-old ensemble that gained acclaim for their inventively bare-bones interpretation of Shakespeare, is just the latest company to try to fix the flaws in Sondheim’s famous 1981 Broadway flop about three old friends who start off cynical and estranged and go backwards in time to their idealistic, collaborative youth. Full review

Fiddler on the Roof

There’s one way that the Yiddish language “Fiddler On The Roof” directed by Joel Gray and starring Steven Skybell is strikingly different now that it’s moved uptown to the Shubert’s Off-Broadway house, Stage 42. The production by the National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene (NYTF) debuted downtown near Battery Park at the 375-seat Edmond J. Safra Hall on the first floor of the Museum of Jewish Heritage, downstairs from the exhibitions that recall the people and communities destroyed during the Holocaust. Right outside the 499-seat auditorium of the new theater on 42nd Street, by contrast, a concession stand sells merchandise (with the word “merchandise” crossed out and replaced with the Yiddish word “Tchotchkes”) featuring such items as a baseball cap printed with the words “Oy Vey.”

I wish they hadn’t done this, but neither the commercial context nor the larger stage and theater substantially alter what is essentially the same glorious show that I saw last year… Full review

The Price of Thomas Scott

The Price of Thomas Scott,” Elizabeth Baker’s play about a small shop owner struggling with his conscience, marks the launching of the Mint Theater’s ambitious “Meet Miss Baker” series. With a plan for three full productions, numerous staged readings and a publication of her scripts, the theater company is devoting the next couple of years to Elizabeth Baker, a largely forgotten English playwright whose plays focused on working women and their navigation through the constraints of class, gender, and social convention…The Mint’s choice to introduce this project, “The Price of Thomas Scott,” might indeed have been greeted as forward-looking in 1913 – the year it was last produced on any stage until now. But, for all the playwright’s thought-provoking explorations and the Mint’s as usual first-rate production, the play is dated in a way that hampers its effectiveness. Full review

The Week in New York Theater News

Terence McNally’s 2002 play ‘Frankie and Johnny in the Claire de Lune’ will be revived starring Audra McDonald and Michael Shannon
at the Broadhurst Theatre, May 4 – August 25th, opening May 20th.

Complete casting announced for Ink, the story of Rupert Murdoch’s rise, which opens April 24 at MTC’s Samuel J. Friedman Theater.
Two-time Olivier Award winner Bertie Carvel (Matilda) will reprise his Olivier Award-winning performance as Rupert Murdoch and Olivier Award winner Jonny Lee Miller (“Elementary,” Frankenstein) will play the editor of The Sun, Larry Lamb.
Other cast members: David Wilson Barnes (The Lieutenant of Inishmore), Bill Buell (The History Boys), Andrew Durand (Head Over Heels), Eden Marryshow (Broadway Debut), Colin McPhillamy (The Ferryman), Erin Neufer (Broadway Debut), Kevin Pariseau (Legally Blonde), Rana Roy (Broadway Debut), Michael Siberry (Junk), Robert Stanton (Saint Joan), and Tara Summers (The Hard Problem).

Public Theater Sues Ian Schrager’s Public Hotel, Alleging Trademark Violation

New musical Broadway Bounty Hunter from Be More Chill composer Joe Iconis will get its New York premiere Off Broadway this summer with  Annie Golden (Hair, Orange is the New Black) reprising her role. Opens July 23 at Greenwich House theater.


Rest in Peace

Jean Cinader, 96, star of 1945 comedy, ‘Dream Girl’


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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