To mark the six months of Broadway’s shutdown this past weekend, we could look back, as I did — The Best Theater in Six Months of No Theater — or we could compile suggestions for a changed theater of the future, as the New York Times did (see below.) But we couldn’t answer the question everybody has had from the start of this unprecedented moment: When will Broadway reopen?
This past week, Dr. Anthony Fauci weighed in, in an interview with the actress Jennifer Garner. The first article I read about his remarks quoted him as saying it won’t be safe to return to theaters until “almost a year” after an effective vaccine was widely distributed. But later in the day, the publication “updated” (i.e. corrected) the article: The government’s infectious disease expert had said not safe without a mask. That reassured some people for some reason.
Andrew Lloyd Webber reportedly wants the British government to “give us a date” when theaters will reopen, telling a committee of Parliament “We simply have to get our arts sector back open and running … We are at the point of no return, really,”
But of course the coronavirus doesn’t care about human deadlines and timelines.
Still, we look to the future with hope. At Miscast20, the twentieth anniversary of MCC Theater’s popular annual gala, which for the first time was presented online, the last two singers Joshua Henry and Heather Headley, sang about the sun coming up, “Tomorrow” (Henry from “Annie”) after an “Endless Night” (Headley from “The Lion King.”)
For some, the sun is already out, as Hannah Grannemann chronicles, from museum-goers in New York to theatergoers in Tokyo…and the Berkshires.
Week in Reviews and Previews
Incidental Moments of the Day, the final Apple Family on Zoom play. (Watch the video and read my review)
Update: Due to popular demand, extra late-night performance times have been added through September 24 and performances have extended through October!
Paul Rudnick On Coastal Elites, Trash-Tweeting Ivanka, and How Bette Midler and Theater Give Him Hope
Week in Theater News
Ben Brantley will no longer be a theater critic for the New York Times, starting on October 15. “This pandemic pause in the great, energizing party that is the theater seemed to me like a good moment to slip out the door,” He’s been a critic there since 1993. we plan to take our time during this pause selecting Ben’s full-time successor.
The Pulitzer Board had changed its eligibility requirements for its Drama award. Eligible plays for Pulitzer Prizes will include those “that were scheduled to be produced in theatres in calendar 2020 but postponed or cancelled due to the pandemic, as well as plays produced and performed in places other than theater” (ie online or outdoors)
Theater artists and activists will gather September 21 for Lights Up on Voter Mobilization, a virtual town hall, will be presented by the Broadway Green Alliance September 21 at 8 p.m., to share “actionable steps to mobilize and register voters, break down candidates’ positions on climate issues, and explore the intersection of environmental and racial justice issues.”
“Bulrusher” announces its swoon-worthy cast, the next livestream of Paula Vogel’s Bard at the Gate, starting September 17.
32nd Annual Festival of New Musicals from the National Alliance for Musical Theatre
will occur online November 19 and 20th, with
video excerpts of eight new musicals
Director Lavina Jadhwania
loves watching plays with captions, hopes such access continues post-pandemic
Director Jay Stull suggests universal basic income/medical insurance from a pool created by artists who make it
A new Federal Theater Project – director Lear deBesonnet
Works that span traditional theater venues, digital media and the streets – artistic director Niegel Smith
Eliminate unpaid internships – dramaturg Lauren Halvorsen
institutionalize media production departments- #Psalmayene24
Five New York Times critics on what must change
Open up the canon – Maya Phillips
Embrace streaming – Jesse Green
Make affordable tickets available for essential workers – Laura Collins-Hughes (how about for everybody?)
Pool resources among for-profit and non-profit theaters (the way sports leagues do) – Elizabeth Vincentelli
Relax theater etiquette – Alexis Soloski
Congratulations to Lloyd Suh for winning the Horton Foote Prize + $50,000 for his play at
MaYi Theater, “The Chinese Lady,” based on the true story of the first female Chinese immigrant to the U.S.
The filmed version of the Broadway musical The Prom will make its Netflix debut December 11
Ayad Akhtar novelist and Pulitzer-winning playwright (Disgraced, The Invisible Hand, Junk) will be the new president (starting Dec 2) of Pen America,, the literary and human rights organization.
“I’m not convinced that literature is the best way to form political opinions. It’s the great form of nuanced intellectual discourse. We can have profound conversations about literature, but I’m not sure that political opinions — like who to vote for — are the purview of literature. But increasingly everything has become politicized, and I think an organization like PEN has to acknowledge that.”
Tonya Pinkins among an all-woman cast for Moliere in the Park’s School for Wives, which will be live streamed at 2pm and 7pm on October 24th
Xavier Rubiano is the last in the Broadway Alphabet series — not as well known as most of the previous 25. But he represents the many behind-the-scenes folk who have always made Broadway possible.
Rest in Peace
Diana Rigg, 82, memorable for her performances on Broadway (Medea, My Fair Lady), TV (The Avengers, Game of Thrones) and for her witty book of bad reviews through the ages, “No Turn Unstoned”