Eight Theater Openings Today: The Return of Broadway’s The Encounter. Dominique Morisseau. Caridad Svich. And, ok, CATS.

Below are eight “theater openings”* today, including acclaimed plays from Broadway (Simon McBurney’s The Encounter), Off-Broadway (Dominique Morisseau’s Pipeline),  Off-Off Broadway (Mabou Mines) and, yes, ok “CATS” (but the film of a 1998 West End production.) There is also the chance to see future Broadway (or more likely Hollywood) stars in a showcase of students from Manhattan’s performing arts high schools.

Theater I recommend that opened recently and you can still see (as of this writing): Frankie and Will (MCC), Love, Loss and What I Wore (92y);   Selected Shorts (Symphony Space) and COVID and Incarceration (Viral Monologues, especially the plays by Lynn Nottage, Shakira Senghor and Lemon Anderson) — and the return of the Public Theater’s“What Do We Need To Talk About?”

For more listings check out my Calendar of May 2020 Theater Openings.
and my overview of ongoing series and platforms, Where To Get Your Theater Fix Online

Prelude to Death in Venice; Sister Suzie Cinema
Mabou Mines
The latest dip into the archives of this famous avant-garde company. “Prelude to Death in Venice” about a demented ventriloquist, and “Sister Suzie Cinema,” a 20-minute “doo-wop opera,” both by Leu Breuer. Starts at 11 a.m. on their Vimeo page, and is available until next Friday.

The Shows Must Go On
The film of the 1998 stage production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical, starring Elaine Paige and Sir John Mills. Lloyd Webber will provide live audio commentary during the show. Starting at 2 p.m. on the YouTube channel and for the following 48 hours.

Never in NY Festival
The title means “end” in Portuguese, and the four sections of Felipe Hirsch’s 2019 play dramatize the end of borders, the end of art, the end of nobility and the end of history. Staged in São Paulo, it describes the relationship between art, money and politics in contemporary Latin America

The Encounter
St. Ann’s Warehouse
A revival of the audio-heavy one-man play by Simon McBurney that tells the eerie true story of National Geographic photographer Loren McIntyre’s encounter with the elusive Mayoruna tribe while lost in the Amazon rainforest. The show had a run on Broadway in 2016. (My review) It will be presented through May 22.

Jane Eyre
Acting for a Cause
Christina Calvit stage adaptation of Charlotte Brontë’s novel about a governess who falls for her employer. The cast is led by Natalia Dyer (Stranger Things), Alexander Hodge (Insecure) and Sophia Lillis (It). Live on their YouTube page.

In its second collaboration with BroadwayHD, Lincoln Center presents Dominique Morisseau’s “Pipeline,” a play about a schoolteacher (Karen Pittman) whose son (Namir Smallwood) got into a scuffle with a teacher at his boarding school and is in danger of being expelled, and arrested. As I wrote in my review in 2017, Morisseau masterfully upends the tired assumptions that might attach to such a drama, in a play that is not just smart and engaging; it is also the most literate of any I’d seen that year. Starts at 5:30 p.m., available through May 22.

Turning the Lights Back On
Manhattan high schools
Students from four NYC public high schools specializing in the performing arts (Fiorello H. LaGuardia, the Professional Performing Arts School, Talent Unlimited and Repertory Company High School for Theatre Arts) will act and dance and sing. Starts at 5:45 p.m.

The Way of Water
A reading of Caridad Svich’s drama about two fisherman struggling in the wake of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Tickets start at $5, and benefit the Lark and Repertorio Espanol. At 7 p.m., one-time only.


*I put “theater openings” in quotation marks as a sign of respect for those theatergoers who don’t consider a show to be “opening” if there is only one performance, and for those who don’t consider anything online to be theater. But in our third month in lockdown, this is our new normal right now, and, whether or not everybody adjusts to it, those quotation marks will sooner or later disappear.

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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