The Gilded Age, Broadway Employment Agency. Susan Smith Blackburn Finalists. #Stageworthy News of the Week

“The Gilded Age,” the HBO series that began last week, employs an army of Broadway veterans to make a 19th century New York City version of “Downton Abbey” (both series were created by Julian Fellowes.) Below are photographs of 26 cast members, starting with those playing principal (fictional) characters and ending with historical figures from the period. (Click on each photograph to read the captions),

New York Theater Quiz for January 2022: Unprecedented!

New York Theater Openings Scheduled for February 2022

(Opening night re-redefined for “The Music Man”: Critics will not be invited before the February 10th opening

The Week in Theater Reviews

Skeleton Crew 

 four Detroit auto workers full of struggles and secrets…share a workplace about to be shut down in “Skeleton Crew,” a play by Dominique Morisseau that is set during the Great Recession of 2008.The script, full of dialogue that is both streetwise and lyrical, is unchanged from the original Off-Broadway production six years ago. The play still unfolds as an increasingly revealing portrait of four decent if flawed people depicted with humor and affection. The director, Ruben Santiago-Hudson, who also helmed the original, has gotten largely effective performances out of a new ensemble cast that includes a down-to-earth Phylicia Rashad, shedding all traces of Clair Huxtable, and featuring some terrific two-character scenes…But this first Broadway show to open in 2022 arrives at a time that differs not just from the year in which it is set, but even more markedly from  the year it debuted. And that difference, to my surprise, affected my reaction….

5 Exponential Festival 2022 Videos and Reviews

At the link are five entries in the sixth annual Exponential festival, which has gone completely digital this year and largely loopy.  I’ve written brief reviews, but I try to be gentle because these are experiments, and free, and short – all under an hour….What’s most striking about what the organizers explicitly bill as a theater festival is how digitally savvy all these emerging artists are, even the ones whose pieces were initially planned to be in-person works on a stage in Brooklyn;

The Week in Theater News

Finalists for the 44th annual Susan Smith Blackburn Prize, given to a woman playwright.
Top row: Benedict Lombe, Zora Howard, Lauren Whitehead
Middle row: Amanda Wilkin, Chiara Atik, Sonya Kelly, Sarah Hanly
Bottom row: Kae Tempest, Joanna Murray-Smith, Daniella De Jesús

The Kleban Prize in Musical Theater: The award for the most promising musical theatre lyricist goes to César Alvarez; for the most promising musical theatre librettist to Isabella Dawis. The Kleban Foundation will present the 2022 prizes in a virtual ceremony streaming online at Broadway On Demand starting Monday, February 21 at 7PM, and available on demand through February 28. Free and open to the public, 

Winter Storm Kenan dropped snow throughout the Northeast, but not enough in New York City to cancel any theater.

Broadway Grosses Fall, but Average Attendance Rises, as Shows Close (NY Times)
Seventy-five percent of all seats on Broadway were occupied during the week that ended Jan. 23. That’s up from 66 percent the week ending Jan. 16, and 62 percent the week ending Jan. 9. The average ticket price was $108. In January of 2020 (before the pandemic) average ticket prices were as high as $123.

“for colored girls who have considered suicide when the rainbow is enuf” has moved its preview and opening date to almost exactly a month later: Now, April 1 preview, April 20 opening. “The Little Prince” is moving its opening from March to April: First preview now March 29; opening April 11.
There are now just two shows scheduled to open on Broadway in March, both late in the month. (but 13 in April!) Broadway 2021-2022 Season Calendar

The Classic Stage Company’s production of “Assassins” closed four days earlier than planned last week, “due to positive COVID-19 tests within the company.”

Chip Zien and Sierra Boggess to star in National Yiddish Theater Folksbiene’s production of “Harmony,” a musical by Barry Manilow and Bruce Susan about the Comedian Harmonists, a German singing group of both Gentiles and Jews whose popularity lasted into the Nazi era. Opens April 13

Auditions are under way for a Broadway transfer of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “Cinderella,” aiming for a run in the Fall.

Chita Rivera, 89 — 18-time Broadway veteran, 10-time Tony nominee, three-time Tony winner is recapping her career in a memoir, as yet untitled, written with arts journalist Patrick Pacheco, scheduled to be published next year. “I’ve never been one to look back…until now.”

Sir Ian McKellen, 82, told the BBC he “doesn’t have much to prove anymore” but being in a musical is “one of the few areas left.”

This Week’s Theater Videos

New trailer for Phantom of the Opera

Lin-Manuel Miranda talks about his film Tick, Tick… Boom!, Andrew Garfield, and writing songs for Encanto; his score is number one on the Billboard charts.

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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