The opening date of four new Broadway productions were announced this week, bringing the number to 32. See details in my Broadway 2021-2021 Season Preview Guide, organized chronologically by opening date: Lehman Trilogy, the history of the three Lehman brothers and their firm (opening Oct 14); Skeleton Crew, Dominique Morisseau’s look at struggling Detroit workers, which will star Phylicia Rashad (Jan 12); Paradise Square, a musical about the New York draft riots of 1863, starring Joaquina Kalukango (March 20); How I Learned to Drive, Paula Vogel’s Pulitzer winning play about child abuse (April 19)
But I have personal proof that Off-Broadway has already reopened – a movie (my review “Oslo,” which began Off-Broadway), an in-person, indoor live play (Worlds Fair Inn), an outdoor theater by an Off-Broadway company (Glimpse) and cutting edge digital theater (chekhovOS)
And several more soon on the way (See Week in Theater News below) Several of these shows, as I write in my reviews, are helping to expand the definition of “reopening.”
Week in Theater News
National Black Theater is partnering with Russian-American Dasha Zhukova’s new real estate firm and others to construct a 21-story, $184 million building in Harlem that will include a mix of housing, retail, a “communal living room”…and a new home for the theater.
“Federal regulators have cited the Shubert Organization for four serious workplace safety violations and proposed a fine of $45,642 in connection with the death of an employee who fell from a ladder while working at the Winter Garden Theater last fall.” (NY Times)
Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS’ 35th annual Broadway Flea Market & Grand Auction will return in person to the streets of Theater District, October 3.
There is no question that smaller theaters in New York have been hit hard. The League of Independent Theaters says 14 theaters have closed permanently because of Covid. But many have announced new shows, some of which have already opened . Check out my calendar of theater openings for June
Merry Wives, the Public Theater’s adaptation of the Shakespeare’s Merry Wives of Windsor by Jocelyn Bioh (who’s having a busy Fall) will run in Central Park from July 6 to September 18, with a huge cast including Jacob Ming-Trent as Falstaff; Susan Kelechi Watson (“This Is Us”); Pascale Armand (“Eclipsed”); and Kyle Scatliffe. Fewer than a quarter of the seats for each performance will be filled, which is why there is only one show at the Delacorte this summer, and why it’s been extended into September. The play is now set in South Harlem, amidst a vibrant and eclectic community of West African immigrants.
Stomp will resume performances on July 20,
The Play That Goes Wrong resumes at New World Stages in October
MCC Theater’s 2021-2022 in-person season, launching in October, will feature plays by Jocelyn Bioh, Ana Noguiera, Donja R. Love and the MCC Youth Company, and a musical by Van Hughes and Nick Blaemire.
Rest in Peace
Clarence Williams, III, 81, best known as the hip detective in the TV series “The Mod Squad,” but he was not only a four-time Broadway veteran (Tony nominated for Slow Dance on the Killing Ground in 1965), he was the grandson of two Broadway veterans — composer Clarence Williams, and performer Eva Taylor.