Heating Up. Oskar Eustis’ Strange Email. #Stageworthy News of the Week

During last week’s heat wave, theater continued to heat up, with the official opening night of Pass Over pushed up to this Sunday, August 22nd (which may confuse people who thought that the much-noted first preview on August 4 was the play’s opening); Beanie Feldstein getting one of Barbra Streisand’s first gigs; Off Broadway’s Public Theater and Signature announcing the details of their 2021-2022 season; and enough play and theater festival openings to keep a critic busy every night.

The Week in Theater Reviews

Merry Wives: The Bard’s Comedy, Black And Back Where It Belongs

International Puppet Fringe Festival NYC opening night….plus

Puppets of New York: Theater Pioneers and Downtown Virtuosos

NYC Free Festival: Cannabis, Ali Stroker

Here Is Future. Theatre for One’s Must-See Micro-Plays.

2021 Edinburgh Fringe Festival: 8 NYC Shows Online

The Week in Theater News

Off Broadway 2021-2022 Season Preview:

  1. The Public Theater’s newly announced 2021-22 season is FULL of goodies: new musicals by Shaina Taub and Tom Kitt; plays by Suzan-Lori Parks, Mona Mansour, Erika Dickerson-Despenza, James IJames, partnerships with NAATCO and the National Black Theater, and MORE
  2. Signature Theater is now providing the specific dates for its new season, including newly renamed “Infinite Life” written & directed by Annie Baker, plays by Anna Deavere Smith, Dominique Morisseau and Samuel D. Hunter.

Broadway 2021-2022 season

Beanie Feldstein has been cast to play Fanny Brice in a Broadway revival of Funny Girl (a role originated by Barbra Streisand), aiming for Spring 2022, directed by Michael Mayer, with a revised script by Harvey Fierstein.

The 2019-2020 (!) Tony Awards will be held September 26 at the Winter Garden Theater in front of an audience

With Hamilton, Lion King, Wicked ticket sales slow, Broadway isn’t back (CNBC)

“With the New York theatre industry closed for over a year and theatregoers hesitant to return to crowded indoor spaces amidst a substantial increase in Covid cases associated with the delta variant, producers have cause for concern. Ticket sales are not booming back.”

Six Important Things to Know About Breakthrough Infections (Smithsonian)

Breakthrough cases don’t mean that the vaccines aren’t working.
The Delta variant is probably driving more breakthrough infections.
Breakthrough infections typically cause mild to moderate symptoms.
Individuals with breakthrough infections can possibly spread the virus.
Some individuals are more at risk for breakthrough infections.
Masks provide another layer of protection against breakthrough infection.

Joe Allen’s restaurant (without Joe Allen, who died in February) will re-open on August 18

The Museum of Broadway, originally scheduled to debut in 2020 at 145 West 45th Street, next door to the Lyceum Theater, is now aiming for next summer.


The email:

The Public logo

When the Shuttered Venues Operating Grants (SVOG) passed Congress in the very last week of 2020, it was a huge win for the American theater. We had been pushing and lobbying and working to get it passed for the last six months of 2020, and were thrilled when it passed. The $16.25 billion dollars provided by Congress through the 2020 end-of-year COVID relief bill and American Rescue Plan in March 2021 was, by far, the largest amount of money the federal government had ever put into the theater; indeed, it was more money than had ever been invested in the theater from any source. The Bill was a lifeline: literally thousands of theaters would have folded without it, and here at The Public it was, and is, enormously important to our ability to come back strong.

The bill would never have passed without the leadership, commitment, and drive of Senator Charles Schumer.

Senator Schumer and his brilliant staff worked tirelessly on the bill: staying in almost daily contact with The Public for months, agonizing over language making sure all of the non-profit theaters were covered, fighting to make sure there was enough money in the bill to save and support our field. He was completely committed to its passage and, once it had passed, continued to work hard to make sure the grants were actually awarded and the theaters received their due.

I have never seen an elected representative work harder for his constituents, and for the good of the theaters of the whole nation.

Perhaps the most dramatic example: on January 7, the day after the coup at the Capitol, the Senator had scheduled a half hour call with some of New York’s non-profit leaders. After the horrific events of January 6, I just assumed the call would be postponed.

It wasn’t. In the midst of trying to save our Republic, Senator Schumer spent more than half an hour with us, going over the fine points and language of the bill, making sure he heard and responded to all our concerns. It was extraordinary. Talk about serving his constituents!

I hope that you will express your gratitude for Senator Schumer’s leadership: SVOG benefited the non-profit theaters as well as Broadway, the museums as well as independent movie theaters. As you return, remember what we all owe the Senator. We wouldn’t be here without him.

Oskar's signature

Oskar Eustis


The Week’s Theater Video

The organization NYCNext, dedicated to building New York City into a more equitable place for all, is honoring the city with a special performance of Billy Joel’s classic, “New York State of Mind.” The video features performances and cameos by Zeshan B, Sara Bareilles, Victoria Clark, Cautious Clay, Andy Cohen, Stephen Colbert, Chloe Flower, Alexa Ray Joel, Joseph Joubert, Tom Kitt, The Klezmatics, LaChanze, Anaïs Reno, Idina Menzel, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Brian Newman, Kelli O’Hara, Joan Osbourne, Peppermint, Angie Potani, Mark Rivera, David Rosenthal, Bobby Sanabria and Suzanne Vega. 

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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