NY Theater Blog Roundup: Responding to COVID-19 in unexpected ways

This month’s roundup of some of the latest posts from the few still active theater bloggers offers varying reactions and responses to COVID-19, from practical (Broadway & Me, JK Theater Scene) to newsworthy (Broadway Journal) to star-studded (The Producer’s Perspective) to curmudgeonly (George Hunka) And a couple of bloggers go on with their work,  almost as usual (Terry Teachout and Szymkowicz) though there are clear signs even in their work that nothing is usual at the moment.
We start with Bitter Gertrude, who has one of the most original responses.

Bitter Gertrude logo

In the post “You’re Not Ok? Glad to Hear It,” on Bitter Gertrude, Melissa Hillman explains why she hasn’t blogged for eight months, detailing a truly horrendous pile-up of personal catastrophes.
“That’s not even everything, and this was all before the virus. Today is Day 11 of shelter-in-place with no real end in sight.“ She uses her experience to make a point about how the culture is “awash in “Never Stop,” “No Excuses” propaganda, and I am clearly as susceptible to that as anyone else…Even in the midst of this horrific pandemic, there’s pressure to ACHIEVE….When we refuse to accept our limitations, we prop up an ableist culture that sees any physical, mental, or emotional limitation as a moral failing.
…What we need is cultural acceptance of limitations.”
So happy to have her back blogging


In Created Unequal, on About Last Night, Terry Teachout excerpts his Wall Street Journalreview of a webcast of the Syracuse Stage’s revival of Peter Shaffer’s Amadeus.

He also writes a thank you note. Over the last few weeks, his blog has been chronicling the health issues, surgery and recovery of his wife, whom he calls Mrs. T’

Adam Szymkowicz interviews his 1084th playwright, David Hanson

Q: Tell me about your short play project.

A: The Short Play Project is a social distance art experiment, in which people are invited to make videos from my short play scripts which I then post on social media.

In “Theater Life in These Uncertain Times” on Broadway & Me, Janice Simpson details some of the many ways theater continues, mostly online, and theater people persist.
One big comfort in these uncertain times is knowing that we’re all in this together and that there’s no finer company with whom to see the tough times through than the people who make and love theater

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In Broadway Journal, Philip Boroff has been covering the effects on the theater community of COVID-19 with a series of breaking news post. His latest: Broadway League Creates Financial Relief Info Sites
He also reports on his Zoom interview with another avid blogger, Ken Davenport: A Broadway Maverick Contemplates a Post-Covid Future

Is this the end of the Broadway boom?
Oh yeah, it’s going to take a massive bite out of the business. I think the boom is definitely over. The question is, is how quickly it bangs back. And it will, and then some. One day we’ll look back at this like we look back at the dark period of the ’80s, or post-9/11, or the financial crisis in 2008, and say, ‘Can you believe where we are now compared to where we were then?’
And I’m doing everything I can, including getting producers like Kevin McCollum [on April 5] and writers like Jeanine Tesori [April 4] and actors like Jason Alexander [April 13] on my live stream, to make sure they say to every theater maker out there, ‘don’t give up the fight.’

George Hunka offers A Toast to Self Isolating

“Self-quarantine and self-isolation are not new to me; I’ve been self-isolating since 1962, but instead of prudent caution I do it more because I hate people.”
He recommends some authors of black humor.
This was posted on March 13 before the stay-at-home orders. He followed post-shutin with A Toast to Misanthropy

JK Theatre Scene offers 5 Broadway Things We’ve Done to Pass The Time : 1. Reliving fond memories of Broadway through my Playbill Collection. 2. Dusting off original cast recordings. 3. Seeing Broadway stars in their homes! (online) 4. Recreating the theater experience through video. 5. Theater books!

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Ken Davenport is using his Producer’s Perspective blog to promote his https://www.theproducersperspective.com/LIVE Producer’s Perspective Live page (which links to his Facebook page) – nightly interviews with celebrated Broadway composers, producers, performers, publicists (no playwrights yet; I guess Adam Szymkowicz is on top of that.)

NewYorkTheater.me, my contribution: Where To Get Your Theater Fix Online, Old Favorites and New Experiments, which I’m trying to keep updated — an impossible task.

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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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