Scenes at Broadway Flea. Immigrants Get Their Own Theater, and a Voice. Billy Porter Wins at 50. #Stageworthy News of the Week


The city has announced plans  to build a performing arts center dedicated to Immigrants. The proposed Immigrant Research and Performing Arts Center will go up in Inwood, the northernmost neighborhood in Manhattan

Meanwhile, Waterwell theater company and the Broadway Advocacy Coalition launched the  Flores Exhibits, now available online, part of a national campaign to establish legal protections for immigrant children held in U.S. government facilities. Named after the  1997 Flores Settlement Agreement that set a limit on the length of time a child can be detained — an agreement that the Trump Administration wants to rescind — the exhibits are a series of videos read by about a dozen actors from David Schwimmer to Elizabeth Rodriguez and theater artists such as playwright David Henry Hwang and costume designer Clint Ramos, along with  lawyers and advocates. They each read aloud the sworn testimony of experts and also of young people detained at the Clint and Ursula border detention facilities that were collected in June of this year by a team of immigration lawyers.

“Many of the detainees were teen mothers, already being exposed to tremendous trauma in their home countries,” Kathleen Chalfant reads the testimony of  pediatrician Dr. Dolly Lucio Sevier, who examined the detainees…The conditions in which they are being held could be compared to torture facilities….extreme cold temperatures, lights on 24 hours a day, no access to medical care, basic sanitation, water or adequate food….To deny parents the ability to wash their infant’s bottles is unconscionable, and could be considered intentional mental and emotional abuse.”

Scene at Broadway Flea Market

Broadway Live on Netflix and Audible and…

currently on Netflix

Thoughts on the new era of Broadway streaming on the occasion of the death of Betty Corwin, 98, the founder of Theater on Tape and Film (TOFT) at the Lincoln Center library.


The Week in New York Theater Reviews

Dimitri Moise and Brandon Gill. Photo by Gioncarlo Valentine.

As Much As I Can

“As Much As I Can,” a show that illustrates the continuing AIDS crisis among African-American men, exists on two different planes, which are not in complete alignment with one another.
It is a work of theater, running for just five days at Joe’s Pub (two final performances this evening.) The 14-member cast is largely comprised of professional New York stage actors.

But it is also an effort at outreach. The script, credited to Sarah Hall, is based on interviews with hundreds of men in two communities hard hit by HIV — Baltimore, Maryland and Jackson, Mississippi

Ken Barnett, Justin Genna

Novenas for a Lost Hospital

How do people care for one another in dangerous times? That’s the still-relevant question underlying this beautiful, sad, enraging, uplifting, and awesomely staged theater piece that sweeps through the 161-year history of St. Vincent’s Hospital in Greenwich Village, dwelling on two traumatic periods – the cholera epidemic, during which four nuns from the Sisters of Charity founded the hospital in 1849, and the AIDS epidemic that surrounded it in the 1980s and 90s….There are many personal reasons why I considered “Novenas” a must-see…

Madelyn Rose Robinson, Susan Ly, Mirra Kardonne, Alice Marcondes, Drita Kabashi, Ana Semedo, Macy Lanceta, Sophia Aranda, Zoe Zimin | Photo by Hunter Canning

The Invention of Tragedy

“The Invention of Tragedy,” a 70-minute excursion into a puzzling world of word play, cat ears, and synchronized neon footwear, is the third of the five plays in the Mac Wellman festival at The Flea. What I like best about it is the title. This would not be the work I would personally choose as the ideal introduction for a first-time Wellman watcher. Yet there are three ways of looking at “The Invention of Tragedy” that offer some satisfactions – as a political parable, as a metaphor for Western theater,  or as entertaining nonsense full of such surface pleasures as colorful design, pleasing music and an appealing cast.

Book: Discovering the Clown

Christopher Bayes, founder of the Funny School of Good Acting in Brooklyn and professor and head of physical acting at the Yale School of Drama,…offers  many zany Zen-like observations and instructions in “Discovering the Clown,” a brief, off-beat book that attempts to translate Bayes’ teaching to the printed page, but is more effective as a tease for his classes.

Exhibition: Harold Prince at Lincoln Center Library

The Week in Awards

New York Independent Theater Awards

Multiple-winning shows include “Eight Tales of Pedro” by The Secret Theater; “Shinka” by Ren Gyo Soh, “Electronic City” by New Stage Theatre Company. Special awards went to Magie Dominic, one of the founding members of the Off-Off Broadway movement; playwright Barbara Kahn; La MaMa curator and long-time downtown figure Nicky Paraiso,  and TOSOS – The Other Side of Silence, the first professional gay theatre company in NY

Broadway at the Emmys: Billy Porter wins 

74th Annual Tony Awards will be held once again at
Radio City Music Hall —  on Sunday, June 7, 2020. The eligibility cut-off date will be Thursday, April 23, 2020 — earlier than in the past (which may mean a very crowded schedule of openings.) Nominations will be announced April 28th.

LaTanya Richardson Jackson and Leslie Uggams at the 9th annual Salute Her Awards

Black women of Broadway were honored at the 9th annual Salute Her awards:  Leslie Uggams (Legend Award), LaTanya Richardson Jackson (Director’s Award), Lynn Nottage (International Playwright Award), Alia Jones-Harvey (Broadway Producer Award), Dominique Morisseau (Playwright Award), Dr. Indira Etwaroo(Theater Community Award), Cookie Jordan (Woman of Style Award), Linda Stewart (Trailblazer Award).

The Week in New York Theater News

NYC Off-Broadway Week

Beginning today, 33 participating shows, 19 of which are new to the program this season, offer 2-for-1 performances through October 6

Added to my Broadway 2019-2020 Season Guide

“Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf,” the fifth Broadway production of Albee’s 1962 play about George and Martha (& Nick and Honey) w/ Rupert Everett, Laurie Metcalf,
Patsy Ferran, Russell Tovey. It opens April 9th at the Booth

Laurence Fishburne and Sam Rockwell will star in the fourth Broadway production of David Mamet’s rat-a-tat 1977 play about three low-level crooks conjuring up a get-rich-quick scheme. It opens April 14, though no theater yet (nor website nor Twitter!)

This apparently takes up the slot planned by the same producers for the all-female production of David Mamet’s Glengarry Glenn Ross? Its producers say it has been delayed until the 2020-2021 season.

Sara Holdren is leaving her post as the theater critic at New York Magazine in early October to go back to directing.  She was hired in July 2017.

Top 14 Most Produced Plays in 2019-2020…and 22 most produced playwrights in America

“A Doll’s House, Part 2” by Lucas Hnath and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Simon Stephens have tied as the most produced plays scheduled for the 2019-2020 season, according to the annual compilation of Top 10 Most Produced by American Theatre Magazine.

Cast for Public Theater’s revival of Tony Kushner’s A Bright Room Called Day: Michael Esper, Grace Gummer, Nikki James, Crystal Lucas-Perry, Mark Margolis, Nadine Malouf, Michael Urie, Max Woertendyke added to the previously announced Linda Emond, Jonathan Hadary, Estelle Parsons.

Terrific cast announced for Stephen Adly Guirgis’s
new play “Halfway Bitches Go Straight to Heaven” at
Atlantic: Victor Almanzar, Quincy Tyler Bernstine, Elizabeth Canavan, Sean Carvajal,
Molly Collier, Liza Colón-Zayas,
Esteban Cruz, Greg Keller, Kristina Poe, Neil Tyrone Pritchard, Andrea Syglowski, Benja Kay Thomas, Pernell Walker, and Kara Young.

What a pairing – playwright Young Jean Lee
and director/choreographer Raja Feather Kelly in a new production of Lee’s rock concert/confessional “We’re Gonna Die” performed by
Janelle Mcdormeth at Second Stages
Feb 4 – March 29

The difference between understudies, swings and standbys

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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