#Stageworthy News of the Week: Diahann Carroll (1935-2019) Broadway Groundbreaker. DeNiro, Pacino, Cannavale in Broadway’s Belasco….for Netflix.

Diahann Carroll, who died Friday at the age of 84, is best known as the first black woman to star on a TV series, “Julia” in 1968, but she was a barrier breaker on Broadway too. Born in the Bronx, she made her Broadway debut way back in 1954, at the age of 19, in Truman Capote and Harold Arlen’s “House of Flowers,” the only debutante in an illustrious company led by Pearl Bailey and Alvin Ailey. The famous Harlem photographer Carl Van Vechten captured her here in color.

Carroll was the first black woman to win the Tony Award for Best Actress for a musical, for “No Strings” in 1962.She returned to Broadway in 1982 to portray Doctor Martha Livingstone in “Agnes of God” and even this was reportedly a first — the first black actress to replace a white actress in a play on Broadway (Elizabeth Ashley had originated the role.)

 

Her experiences on Broadway were in sharp contrast to her experience on television. As a black female” surrounded by white supremacists and chauvinists, she once said, “I had to learn how to tap dance around the situation”

Martin Scorsese’s  “The Irishman”, featuring an all-star cast including DeNiro and Pacino and Cannavale, will be presented at Broadway’s beautiful Belasco Theater from November 1 to December 1. It is not a play, but a film — the first movie screening in the theater’s 112-year-old history.  The film, about a mob hitman recalling his possible involvement with the slaying of Jimmy Hoffa, will then be shown on Netflix. The director had hoped to put the film in movie houses, but major movie chains balked at playing host to a Netflix film.

Though Netflix will be installing equipment to allow for state of the art screening,  it will maintain the normal schedule for productions at the Belasco  — eight screenings a week, including Mondays dark and matinees on the weekend.

The Week in New York Theater Reviews and Previews

Preview: Linda Vista on Broadway
Ian Barford realizes that some audience members may view the 50-year-old divorcé he portrays in Tracy Letts’ Linda Vista as “despicable, a misanthrope, a narcissist and probably a nihilist.” He feels that way about him too. But the actor also sees his character, Dick Wheeler, as “incredibly articulate, and hilarious,” even “noble.”
“He has so many dimensions and contradictions: He’s lovable and he’s hateable,” Barford says. “I’m scared many people will love to hate him — and I’m sure that many people will hate to love him.”

Heroes of the Fourth Turning

Conservatives don’t all think alike; some of them hate Trump; some don’t see Liberals as evil (some do.) Some are deeply weird.

It is a sure sign of the political divisiveness in America that these observations may well seem like revelations to some theatergoers attending  Will Arbury’s new play at Playwrights Horizons. “Heroes of the Fourth Turning” allows us to eavesdrop on what feel like astute and authentic conversations at a gathering of  former classmates at a conservative Catholic college in Wyoming.   Terrifically acted and intellectually stimulating,  “Heroes” is also eerie, at times confusing, too long and too dark. And I mean dark literally; it takes place during nighttime in the dimly lit backyard of Justin’s house.

 

Chalk

“Chalk,” a 40-minute comedy in which silent comic Alex Curtis creates an entire world for the audience using little more than a piece of chalk, is exactly the sort of show I always hope for at the Fringe Festival — inventive, entertaining, and short.

Unmaking Toulouse-Lautrec

“Moulin Rouge” on Broadway has several things in common with Bated Breath Theater Company’s low-budget show about the same people, place and period, especially in my reaction to them both. As with “Moulin Rouge,” I found “Unmaking Toulouse-Lautrec” thrilling from the moment I entered the West Houston bar where it takes place…until a few minutes after it began. That’s because the environment on the second floor lounge of the Madame X bar is spot-on in look and feel….a show about the life and times of French artist Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec that is at best inventive, at worst amateurish, and overall a mishmash.

The Week in New York Theater News

Year 2 of “To Kill A Mockingbird,” which begins Nov 5, features some intriguing replacement casting:

Ed Harris as Atticus Finch, Nick Robinson as Jem Finch,
Eliza Scanlen as Mayella Ewell, Kyle Scatliffe as Tom Robinson,
LisaGay Hamilton as Calpurnia, Nina Grollman as Scout Finch,
Taylor Trensch as Dill Harris, Manoel Felciano as Horace Gilmer,
Russell Harvard as Link Deas and Boo Radley,
M. Emmet Walsh as Judge Taylor

The 2019 New York International Fringe Festival: What happened?!

The short answer is: They ran out of money.

Lauren Gunderson

The Half-Life of Marie Curie, starring Kate Mulgrew of Orange Is the New Black, will open at Minetta Lane Theater November 19, produced by Audible. It is written by Lauren Gunderson, who is yet again this year the most produced playwright in America – but has never been produced on Broadway.

Is America’s Favorite Playwright Too Much for New York?

“Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough,” the show will now be known as “MJ.” It’s currently in a multi-week development phase in New York City and is scheduled to hit Broadway in the summer of 2020.

Seventy-nine artist have been granted MacDowell Fellowships, which enable them to attend fall residencies. These include composer Jeanine Tesori and theater artists: Sarah DeLappe, Lisa Dring, David Mallamud, Stevie Nemazee, Terry O’Reilly, LaDarrion Williams, Gary Winter, and Zack Zadek.

What is immersive theater? The six elements that define it at its best

Foundry Theatre to Close After 25 Years

Uta Hagen centennial

The history of modern celebrity

Study shows viewers want more representation for those with disabilities

Spielberg: “We filmed West Side Story all over New York, from Flatbush to Fort Tryon Park” — and finished at Steiner_Studios
in the Brooklyn Navy Yard.
“The city lent us its beauty and its energy….” Movie’s coming out Dec 18,2020.

Martin Scorsese’s film “The Irishman” will be screened at the Belasco Theater on Broadway from Nov. 1 through Dec. 1

Elsiefest

 

 


Rip Taylor, 88, mostly known as a TV game show panelist.
But he also starred in a Broadway show in 1981, Sugar Babies. also wrote and performed an autobiographical one-man play called “It Ain’t All Confetti.”

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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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