Hamilton Streaming! Indie Theater Screaming. Summer kaput.

Stageworthy News of the Week:

Quickly following last Tuesday’s announcement that Broadway will remain shut down until at least Labor Day,  Disney announced that “Frozen” would not return once Broadway resumed (“Three Disney productions will be one too many titles to run successfully in Broadway’s new landscape,” said Disney Theatrical president Thomas Schumacher, making it clear that “The Lion King” and “Aladdin” plan to be back.) The producers of  both the revival of “Plaza Suite” and “MJ the Michael Jackson Musical” also rescheduled their planned Broadway runs to Spring, 2021.  Shortly thereafter, the Hollywood Bowl then canceled its summer season for the first time in its 100-year history, followed by the announcement that  Tanglewood, the summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra since 1937, would move its music festival online.

If Summer’s live entertainment seems to have gone the way of Spring — kaput — online arts have stepped up. Disney had better news this week for theatergoers: its online channel Disney+ will show the “live capture” of the original Broadway production of “Hamilton” starting on July 3rd,  which is 15 months earlier than initially scheduled. This is the show I found breathtaking and groundbreaking when I reviewed the Off-Broadway production in February, 2015 and in some ways appreciated it even more four years later.

Maybe the streaming of “Hamilton” will change theatergoers’ view of online theater (and increase their viewing of it)

A Call for Rent Suspension

Alarmed by the permanent closing of Shetler Studios and Secret Theatre on the same Day, The League of Independent Theater, an advocacy group, is calling for a virtual town hall May 28 at 1pm ​ to call upon elected officials to suspend commercial rents.  On the page in which one can register to attend, the league further explains:

“Since the beginning of the PAUSE in New York, small arts venues have been at a standstill, unable to generate any revenue while public events remain on hold for the greater good. Meanwhile, rents are due each month with no relief. As theater space after theater space announces permanent closures, the League of Independent Theater and IndieSpace are calling on elected officials to take action and protect small businesses and performance venues throughout the city.”

The Week in Theater Awards

The 70th Annual Outer Critics Circle Awards featured for the first time honorees, rather than nominees. (There will be no subsequent selection of winners.)

The American Theatre Critics Association (of which I am a member) also announced its awards, which are given to playwrights with professional productions anywhere in the United States EXCEPT “the five boroughs of New York City” (although the winners often subsequently get a production here)

Remaining awards calendar:

May 19: Off Broadway Alliance Awards, whose nominations were announced April 28, will announce winners at 11 a.m. via Facebook, with a reception planned for sometime in the Fall.
May 31: The 65th annual Drama Desk Awards, whose nominations were announced last week, will announce its winners on NY1 TV program On Stage at 7:30 p.m

The Week in Online Theater Reviewed

To Master The Art Review: Julia Childs Again, This Time Online

Frankie and Will, a comedy about Shakespeare during the Plague

Symphony Space Selected Shorts

COVID and Incarceration Review: Viral Monologues Goes to Prison

Significant Other

The Week in Other News

Broadway on Demand, another new online platform, launched on Sunday. “Currently free to all Basic Subscribers,” there will be “paid events” (including forthcoming streaming of the Broadway musicals “Allegiance” and “Bandstand”) and a paid subscription for “premium content.”  There is a daily live schedule, which features such new programs as a daily ballet class with Tyler Peck and incorporates some theater-oriented shows that already exist elsewhere, such as Stars in the House, and The Producer’s Perspective interviews. There are some glitches yet to work out, such as requiring that you sign up having read the terms of use, but when you click on the link to “terms of use,” it says “page not found.”

For a list of ongoing online theater platforms and new series, please check out Where To Get Your Theater Fix Online

What’s Ahead

Please check out my May 2020 calendar of theater openings for details on some thrilling shows this week, including The Bombshell concert, A Streetcar Named Desire, Our Lady of 121st Street, Love Letters….and

The Homebound Project, second edition.
Following up on its impressive first edition, this collection of original plays to raise funds for No Kid Hungry, is on the theme of “sustenance,” will run from May 20 to May 24th and features:
Uzo Aduba in a work by Anne Washburn
Utkarsh Ambudkar in a work by Marco Ramirez
Nicholas Braun in a work by Will Arbery
Betty Gilpin in a work by Lily Houghton
Kimberly Hébert Gregory in a work by Loy A. Webb
Hari Nef in a work by Ngozi Anyanwu
Mary-Louise Parker in a work by Bryna Turner
Christopher Oscar Peña in a work by Brittany K. Allen
Taylor Schilling in a work by Sarah DeLappe
Babak Tafti in a work by David Zheng
Zachary Quinto in a work by Adam Bock

Playground Zoomfest

The nation’s largest fully digital new play festival, based in San Francisco, continues through June 14, with a total of 25 real-time live streamed performances .

Lincoln Center Dance Week

5/30 Ballet Hispánico
New York City Ballet, A Midsummer Night’s Dream,
5/31 American Ballet Theater
6/1 School of American Ballet
6/2 New York City Ballet, Coppélia
6/3 NYC Ballet, Tribute to Balanchine
6/4 Alvin Ailey, Chroma, Grace, Takademe, Revelations

The Week in New Videos

“Stubb Kills a Whale” from the original A.R.T. production of Dave Malloy’s Moby-Dick, directed by Tony winner Rachel Chavkin

Ramin Karimloo plays Eidelweiss from The Sound of Music

A new look, a new kid. A funny finish

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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