Theater Celebrating Women’s Suffrage. Unconventional Convention Theater. #Stageworthy News

#Stageworthy News of the Week.

There’s a surprisingly robust schedule of theater  coming up for what’s usually the dog days of August, including three separate live, in-person plays happening this week in New York City — “Beast Visit” and “Quince,” both outdoors in Bushwick, and a pair of one-acts indoors in Theatre 80 — as well as some starry new online plays, such as Silver Foxes, billed as the gay Golden Girls starring George Takei; online versions of Theatre for One and the 10th annual 48 Hours in Harlem, and theatrical celebrations throughout the nation of the centennial of the 19th amendment, giving women the right to vote – The 19th: Whose Vote is It Anyway at Baltimore Center Stage, The 19th Amendment Project of Burning Coal Theater in Raleigh, N.C., The Suffragist Project of Florida Studio Theatre in Sarasota — and several presented virtually in New York: Finish The Fight presented by the New York Times, 100 Years 100 Women at the Park Avenue Armory, and next week, Playbill’s “Women in Theatre: A Centennial Celebration,” and “Talking Statues,” a nine-minute “dialogue” (or 11 minutes in Spanish) to accompany “Monumental Women,” a 14 foot tall statue being unveiled in Central Park that depicts three pioneers in women’s rights, Sojourner Truth. Susan B. Anthony and Cady Stanton — starring Jane Alexander, Viola Davis, America Ferera, Rita Moreno, Zoe Saldana and Meryl Streep!

A different kind of political theater begins tonight — the 2020 Democratic National Convention. As L.A. Times theater critic Charles McNulty astutely observes, both parties national conventions are facing the same problem that theater has been facing since March: “how to simulate the look, sound and feel of live performance.” His essay doesn’t have the answer, but his exploration is fascinating, including a summary of the various ways that great thinkers like Susan Sontag and artists like Peter Brook and Jerzy Grotowski have addressed the question: What distinguishes the stage from the screen? He
“The fundamental unit of the theater,” he concludes, “isn’t the performer alone but the performer in physical proximity to an audience”
That is surely why Democratic convention organizers are reportedly attempting to provide a virtual audience of sorts. According to the Washington Post, “dozens of speakers…have been mailed video-production kits, with basic equipment such as microphones, lighting and advanced routers, so they can produce and transmit their own shots. Other homebound delegates will be dialed in to quick feeds of the live speeches, so their real-time reactions can be broadcast to the country as if they were in the same room as the speakers.”

The  convention will be presented from 9 to 11 p.m. Monday through Thursday at as well as on all the usual outlets (which don’t promise full coverage.)

Speaking of politics: Would we be living in a different America, if “Paris Is Out” had been a success on Broadway? It was written by Richard Seff…and produced by Donald Trump.

Q and A with Bobby Steggert, actor turned therapist: Advice for Suffering Theater Artists

Are there issues specific to theater artists during this time of pandemic and unemployment,

The most devastating thing about this crisis for theater makers is that there is really nowhere to turn for alternative employment in live performance.

Words of comfort?

The irony is that so many artists buy the line that they have “no real world skills” and yet they are the most creative, adaptive, and flexible people around. They are made for shifting and unexpected circumstances. They understand the vicissitudes of a highly inconsistent industry, which uniquely prepares them for a highly inconsistent time

Complete interview

The Week in Reviews

Songs from An Unmade Bed
BD Wong has made brilliant use of his months in quarantine, creating a witty and inventive entertainment from a 15-year-old solo show about a gay man in New York reviewing his life of loneliness, lust, loss and love…what Wong has done, working with his husband videographer Richert Schnorr, and enlisting some starry accomplices, suggests a new way of approaching adaptations for online theater.

Book review: Pal Joey: History of a Heel
The Rodgers and Hart musical “Pal Joey” is surely best-known these days for its most recorded song “Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered” and for the stars who played Joey — Gene Kelly in the original 1940 Broadway production, Frank Sinatra in the bowdlerized 1957 movie — but the title character is depressingly relevant in 2020: A liar, a womanizer, a hustler, a heel.
“Pal Joey…marked a first in musical comedy history. Its title character was a louse,” author Julianne Lindberg writes in Pal Joey:The History of a Heel (Oxford University Press, 272 pages.)

The Week in New York Theater News

Then She Fell: Rachel I. Berman (as Alice)

Third Rail Project’s “Then She Fell,” a popular immersive take on Lewis Carroll and Alice in Wonderland, will not reopen. It ran 4444 performances over 7 1/2 years

Museums can reopen in New York City starting August 24. The Metropolitan Museum of Art has scheduled an opening date of August 29, the Whitney (above) September 3.
Institutions will be required to keep the buildings at 25 percent occupancy and to use a timed ticketing system, Still no word on indoor dining or Broadway.

Andrew Lloyd Webber volunteers for vaccine trial
On August 12, he Tweeted: I am excited that tomorrow I am going to be vaccinated for the Oxford Covid 19 trial. I’ll do anything to prove that theatres can re-open safely. – ALW

New theatre collective #Theatre5Alliance has tapped over two dozen Broadway stars to create short vignettes in support of regional American theatres. The lineup includes Tony winners André De Shields, Judith Light, Laurie Metcalf, Bryan Cranston, Priscilla Lopez, John Lithgow, Judd Hirsch, John Larroquette, Hal Linden, Joe Mantegna, and Tony Shalhoub.

Lost Broadway: Photos from the Archives

Rest in Peace

Howell Binkley, 64, lighting designer for more than FIFTY Broadway shows over the last 25 years, Tony winner for Hamilton and Jersey Boys.
Our beloved friend and collaborator Howell Binkley passed away today. He painted with light and took us to places and times we could only dream of going. One of the finest lighting designers in the business and an even better human being. We will miss him terribly.

Billy Goldenberg, 84, a busy Hollywood composer, who was also an eight-time Broadway veteran.

Salome Bey, 86, the singer-songwriter, composer, and actor, veteran of Broadway, Obie-winner Off-Broadway, known as Canada’s First Lady of the Blues

The Week in Videos

Randy Rainbow to the tune of “Camelot”

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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