Broadway Celebrations! Digital Debate. Curbside Marquees? #Stageworthy News This Week

The ads for Broadway have started to appear this week on digital screens and posters in the subway, as promised, recreating a 1977 campaign that intended to boost sales, and morale, at a similarly precarious moment in New York City history.

The aim is: celebration.
“Chicago” is celebrating its 25th anniversary today with a marching band playing Kander and Ebb on the TKTS Red Steps, while The Lion King celebrated its 24th anniversary over the weekend with a performance dedicated to the original Mufasa, Samuel E. Wright. The cast of the 2007 Tony-winning production of “Spring Awakening” held a reunion concert at the Imperial Theater last night, which, HBO announced, will be the subject of a documentary to be released in 2022.

StageTEXT, a British nonprofit that tries to make the arts more welcoming, is also celebrating, with its Captioning Awareness Week, twenty-one years after the first captioned live, in-person performance in the UK. A survey has found a greater interest in such captioning, “following a surge in the use of captions during lockdown when performances were streamed online.”

Capitalizing on that  interest, AMC, the world’s largest movie chain, recently announced that about 40 percent of their movie houses – some 240 throughout the U.S. – would offer open captions.

Will legitimate theater in New York capitalize on it too?

Pictured in top photograph Stephanie Torns and Maiesha McQueen from “Waitress”; Adrianna Hicks and Andrea Macasaet from “Six”; Avery Sell and Rob McClure from “Mrs. Doubtfire”; Jordan Fisher from “Dear Evan Hansen”; Mary Claire King and Arian Keddell from “Chicago”; Paul A. Schaefer and Julia Udine from “Phantom of the Opera”; Bahiyah Hibah and Danny Burstein from “Moulin Rouge.” In second photograph: Adrianna Hicks, Andrea Macasaet Maiesha McQueen, .

The Week in Theater Reviews

Morning’s At Seven

One of the pleasures in this latest revival of “Morning’s At Seven,” a quietly funny and surprisingly astute evergreen comedy about four aging sisters and their families who live cheek by jowl but don’t always see eye to eye, Is how many of the nine cast members could fit one of those “where are they now” features….Such casting is surely a draw in and of itself, but it makes sense in several ways for the play. These familiar faces from stage and screen,  who might look a bit different now… are portraying characters who couldn’t be more familiar to one another, yet over the course of the play they begin to see each other, and themselves, in a new light.

Assassins

Assassins” is certainly clever…The historical figures, largely obscure, remain fascinating. The new revival at Classic Stage Company features a pitch-perfect cast overflowing with talented, hip New York stage actors…[But it’s] more unsettling than entertaining… When the Republican Party is full of would-be assassins and their elected enablers, is this the moment for a show that turns these past national traumas into a clever pastiche musical revue

The Ding Dongs and Is Edward Snowden Single?

“The Ding Dongs” and “Is Edward Snowden Single?” are two of the three plays being presented in repertory at the New Ohio Theater through November 20th by The Pool, which is described as a “pop up theater company”…The two I saw both strike me, coincidentally or not, as trickster plays. They start one way, and swerve into something unexpected – which offers some pleasure and some confusion…

Book reviews:

Pick A Pocket Or Two: A History of British Musical Theatre

When The Lights are Bright Again

The Week in Theater News

After shutting down for 10 days because of COVID-19 infections in the cast, “Chicken and Biscuits” will resume performances Nov 19 — and then close Nov 28, some 5 weeks earlier than planned, because of “significant financial impact of the show cancellations.”

A day after opening, “A Turtle on a Fence Post”, a musical by political consultant and convicted felon Hank Morris taking revenge on Andrew Cuomo (who prosecuted him), announced it would close next Sunday, November 21, some six weeks earlier than originally scheduled

The 52nd and 53rd shows in the 2021-2022 Broadway season this week announced their opening nights

Billy Crystal will star in Mr. Saturday Night, a new musical with music by Jason Robert Brown, based on 1992 movie about over-the-hill comic, will open March 31.

Led by director/choreographer Camille A. Brown, the first Broadway revival of “for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf” will open March 24, 2022

Joshua Henry and Tyrone Davis Jr. to star opposite at Waitress, starting Nov 29th.

Conrad Ricamora will replace Jeremy Jordan as Seymour in “Little Shop of Horrors” starting January 11. Ricamora had starring roles on Broadway in The King and I and Off-Broadway in Soft Power and .Here Lies Love.

Rush tickets for Company, priced at $43, will be sold in person at the Bernard Jacobs Theatre box office on the day of the performance. The revival of Sondheim’s musical resumed previews yesterday, and is scheduled to open on December 9.

“Annie Live!” set to air on NBC on December 2, has announced several new cast members: Jane Krakowski had to drop out after she was diagnosed with a breakthrough case of Covid-19. Megan Hilty will replace her as Lily St. Regis,  Alan Toy will become the first polio survivor to take on the role of FDR. They join a cast that includes Celina Smith (Annie), Harry Connick Jr. (Daddy Warbucks), Nicole Scherzinger (Grace), Taraji P. Henson (Miss Hannigan), Tituss Burgess (“Rooster”)

“Caroline or Change” will release a Broadway cast recording, on Broadway Records’ new imprint Roundabout Records, on December 17 digitally and on CD January 14

Ma-Yi Theater’s digital studio

A survey by American Theatre magazine of 64 leaders of regional theaters found that, with few exceptions, their digital offerings during the Covid period “failed to deliver at the box office…. this box-office disappointment was typically offset at least somewhat by reduced budgets for digital productions…. Still, several respondents saw upsides to virtual theatre that outweighed or balanced out paltry box office returns…Many landed on a hybrid, best-of-both-worlds model”

Author: New York Theaterh

Jonathan Mandell is a 3rd generation NYC journalist, who sees shows, reads plays, writes reviews and sometimes talks with people.

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