Theaters have been bursting with announcements of future shows during a week that would normally be one of the busiest of the theater season. Thanksgiving on Thursday may be reduced this year for many of us to what we can watch on screens, but that happens to be a lot — and there is much reason for theater lovers to be grateful, both in celebrations of the past and contemplation of the future.
The Week in Theater Reviews
“The Burdens” is a dark comedy starring William Jackson Harper and Ali Ahn as a brother and a sister who plot to kill their grandfather. But it’s also a play on words, and that makes it funnier…and deeper.
Neil LaBute’s surprisingly faithful adaptation of Chekhov’s 1899 play nevertheless feels forged in the present day – even in this very moment: The proceedings remind me of a Thanksgiving dinner, with years of regrets and seething resentments suddenly bursting out into confrontations; also of a Christmas office party, with misplaced, awkward declarations of love…But it’s most of the moment because it’s a Zoom play..and doesn’t always escape the downsides of the new platform,
I was riveted whenever in this 75-minute solo piece, Irwin offered his own words – his insights, his explanations — about the work of Samuel Beckett, whom he called “the famous Irish writer of famously difficult writing.”
In this nine-minute video, Billy Porter imagines how he would adapt and direct the 1997 Broadway musical “The Life,” which told the story of Black sex workers in Times Square in the 1980s
The Week in Theater News
Opinion by Terry Teachout in the Wall Street Journal: A new agreement between two actors unions has loosened the restrictions on webcasting that inhibit theaters’ ability to survive during the pandemic. But it should have gone further.
“Ever since America’s theaters shut down in March, I’ve been reviewing streaming webcasts of theater productions. Not only have I been consistently impressed by the artistic and technical quality of these performances, but I quickly realized that they were and are good for theater in all sorts of ways: putting a company back in touch with its patrons; putting unemployed actors back to work; and providing theaters with an income stream that is small but potentially significant . It can also give a regional theater a national profile that would be impossible to get in any other way. Every regional artistic director to whom I’ve spoken wants to continue
webcasting after the pandemic is over, for all these reasons and one more: It will make their shows accessible to older patrons who find it increasingly difficult to go out.
“But I’ve also noticed that only a small proportion of American theaters are putting their shows online. When I ask their artistic directors why, they typically say the same thing: “Actors’ Equity….”
In these trying times, the Public Theater had to rethink its Under The Radar Festival. But it’s on – January 6-17 2021 – and digital, and free.
The Best of Broadway, Dec 10, 8 p.m. on NBC
André De Shields will play host to Remember The Ribbon: A Tribute to World AIDS Day December 1 on Playbill’s Storytellers site
Aiming for Broadway Fall 2021:
1. Thoughts of a Colored Man, produced by Brian Moreland and Samira Wiley et al. Over a single day in Brooklyn, the hopes,sorrows, fears, & joys of 7 men reverberate far beyond their community’s barbershops & basketball courts
2 Caroline or Change by Tony Kushner
3. Trouble in Mind,the 1955 play by performer & pioneering Black playwright Alice Childress, which is about the troubled Broadway production of a fictional anti-lynching play
The latter two are part of Roundabout’s newly announced season:
New York City Center has announced that its #Encores series is adding “beloved musicals” to their longstanding repertoire of “hidden gems” (usually meaning pleasing music, bad books) First up (date to be announced): Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine’s Into the Woods
The New Group is launching a new online venture, The New Group Off Stage, that will present access to past online productions, plus a slate of original projects that will being production and filming in early 2021 and will be available as they are completed throughout the year.
Among the new offerings: a new production of “Waiting for Godot,” a new musical co-written by Brandon Victor Dixon called “The Dinner,” “Lypsinka Must Be Destroyed…Again” written and performed by John Epperson; “I Need Space,” written and directed by Donja R. Love. (Complete list)
Signature Theater’s 2021-2022 season, is scheduled to feature new plays by Annie Baker, Samuel D. Hunter, and Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, as well as revivals of Dominique Morisseau’s “Confederates,” and Anna Deavere Smith’s “Twilight Los Angeles 1992.”
#opioidcrisis has gotten even worse during #COVID19 pandemic. New @NEArts study shows how the arts can help in a number of ways.
eg engaging young people in the arts can build psychological protections to prevent opioid usehttps://t.co/Z4uDuItOTS
— New York Theater (@NewYorkTheater) November 18, 2020
The Week in Theater Videos