Broadway at the Grammys. Hadestown Wins! BroadwayCon 2020. #Stageworthy News of the Week

All these Broadway veterans participated in the 62 Grammy Awards, where “Hadestown” won Best Musical Theater Album.

The other nominated albums were “Ain’t Too Proud: The Life And Times Of The Temptations, “Moulin Rogue! The Musical,” “The Music Of Harry Potter And The Cursed Child – In Four Contemporary Suites” and “Oklahoma!”


Full list of Grammy nominees and winners

The Week in New York Theater Reviews

David Alan Grier, Blair Underwood and Billy Eugene Jones

A Soldier’s Play

Charles Fuller’s murder mystery, finally on Broadway in a fine production directed by Kenny Leon some four decades after it won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, is so good that even if you’ve seen the 1984 movie adaptation “A Soldier’s Story” (which marked Denzel Washington’s major movie debut) and remember who done it, the play is still riveting. That’s because, while Capt. Richard Davenport (Blair Underwood) has been sent to a segregated Louisiana army base in 1944 to investigate the murder of black Sgt. Vernon C. Waters (David Alan Grier), the playwright is investigating a much larger crime – racism.

Grand Horizons

“I think I would like a divorce,” Jane Alexander as Nancy French says to her husband of 50 years, played by James Cromwell. “All right,” Bill replies. Blackout.
That’s all the dialogue in the first scene of Grand Horizons, which has the rhythms of an old-fashioned comedy in the remaining two hours of the play, after their two alarmed sons rush to Grand Horizons, which is the name of the sterile “independent living community” for older people where Bill and Nancy live.
In different hands, this play about old age, marriage, infidelity, sex and the possibility or impossibility of love might come off as just amusing and superficial entertainment.
But the inventive playwright Bess Wohl, making her Broadway debut, and the starry cast, turn Grand Horizons into an amusing and superficial entertainment that’s also clever, engaging and at times even thought-provoking.

The Transfiguration of Benjamin Banneker

In this gorgeous, enlightening and ambitious — if over-stuffed — hour-long theatrical collage, Theodora Skipitares uses the eerie visual splendor of puppetry to illuminate a serious subject, as she’s done in some 30 plays over the past 40 years. But “The Transfiguration of Benjamin Banneker” stands out, in two ways. First, it tells the fascinating and surprisingly little-known story of Benjamin Banneker, an 18th century free black man, independent farmer, self-taught astronomer, mathematician and civil rights advocate, who corresponded with Thomas Jefferson in 1791 arguing for racial equality.

And then, there’s the use of the teenage drummers from the Soul Tigers marching band of the Benjamin Banneker Academy, a public high school in Brooklyn.

When a play leaves you speechless:
1. Cezary Goes To War
2. As Long As It Lasts
3. Must Go On

The Week in New York Theater News

 

First look videos of the six shows above, opening this season

Scenes from the fifth annual BroadwayCon (click on any photograph to see it enlarged)

 

#ApolloOpenHouse: Celebration of Cool FREE February 1st from 1 – 6.p.m., to celebrate and explore the rich history of the theater. Details

 

Protests against Amar Ramasar

After protesters picketed the theater, complaining about the casting of accused “abuser’ Amar Ramasar as Bernardo, a fellow cast member from West Side Story anonymously expressed objection to his having been cast: “I hate that I have to share the stage with him. I hate seeing him smile or laugh backstage. I hate seeing him reap rewards of adoration from audiences who don’t know or who haven’t bothered to look up what happened.”

There is also an online petition at Change.org with more than 23,000 signatures.

At BroadwayCon Industry Day, New York Magazine drama critic Helen Shaw said his presence will affect her reviewing of the musical. “The choice to cast this person is not insignificant,” she said. “How will I keep that choice out of my head? It will be impossible.”

While a dancer with New York City Ballet, Ramasar was accused of sharing sexually explicit photos of female dancers

Smart Caption Glasses, pioneered at the National Theatre in London, have made it to a theater in Pennsylvania, but not to New York. One audience member was thrilled: ““Wearing the glasses, I could turn and follow [a peformer], and I didn’t have to make a choice between the captions on the stage, the content, or the action. I could view them all together seamlessly and organically. That was the moment I thought this would be a sea change in how captioning is delivered.”

The Roundabout’s Underground 2020-2021 season:

“English” by Sanaz Toossi
Fall 2020
“English Only” is the mantra that rules one classroom in Iran, where four adult students are preparing for the TOEFL — the Test of English as a Foreign Language. Chasing fluency through a maze of word games, listening exercises, and show-and-tell sessions, they hope that one day, English will make them whole. But it might be splitting them each in half.

The Year to Come by Lindsey Ferrentino
Directed by Justin Martin
Fall 2020

Ferrentino (Amy and the Orphans, Ugly Lies the Bone) depicts the annual December gathering of a fractured family.

The Wanderers by Anna Ziegler
Directed by Barry Edelstein
Winter 2021

Orthodox Jews Esther and Schmuli are newly married, and their future is written in the laws of the Torah. Secular Jew Abe is a famous novelist who believes he can write his own future…until an unexpected email from a movie star puts his marriage to the test and threatens to prove him wrong.

Tina Fey is planning to turn Mean Girls the musical, which was based on Mean Girls the movie, into Mean Girls the movie musical. (Should they borrow the song “bad Idea” from Waitress?)

Rest in Peace

Margo Lion, 75, Independent producer. Lion was the main producer for Hairspray and Jelly’s Last Jam, and she also played a major role in bringing Angels in America to Broadway.

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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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