The Broadway 2021-2022 season ended last week with five shows opening in a row (two on the same day!), a taxing finish to a both trying and triumphant return to live, in-person theater. And the awards season began, with announcements from five different annual New York City awards, including two sets of nominees, and one slate of winners.
With Broadway openings over until the Fall, Off-Broadway and indie theater steps into the light this month: May 2022 New York Theater Openings
The Week in Broadway Reviews
Shakespeare didn’t write the very beginning and the very end of this generally wan and inscrutable production of “Macbeth,” starring Daniel Craig and Ruth Negga. The aggressively inventive director Sam Gold has added an opening monologue and a closing song…Gold seems to be using “Macbeth” to celebrate the return of live, in-person theater. In one way, this feels appropriate, even lovely…But this apparent subtext, admirable as it is, doesn’t have much to do with this particular play. In general, Gold’s approach in this production doesn’t seem to serve the specifics of “Macbeth,” certainly not with much force or clarity. Read full review
In “POTUS,” seven female characters save the president of the United States from himself during a series of scandals and crises on a single day in the White House – at the same time that the starry all-female cast that portrays these women saves “POTUS” from itself.
Playwright Selina Fillinger’s Broadway debut is much less a political satire with a feminist message than an increasingly out-of-control farce marked by gross-out humor, an obsession with bodily fluids, and a steady stream of hardcore expletives that would make David Mamet blush (which might be the point of them.)…There are enough moments in “POTUS” that I could select to make the case that the play is both funny and pointed, but just as many (more, to be honest) to demonstrate how off-putting and puerile it is. Read full review
Billy Crystal stars as a very funny comedian who decades ago self-sabotaged, and is now trying to make a comeback. The show itself is also very funny, and also something of an attempt at a comeback; and it too suffers from some self-sabotage. “Mr. Saturday Night” can be viewed as three shows in one. …There’s something engaging about each of the three basic layers, although Crystal’s comedy far more so than the story or the music. But they exist uneasily together, and wind up undermining one another, not least because the running time of about 170 minutes (including intermission) — way longer than the movie — is too long for a light, sentimental comedy that gets its juice from quick-hit Borscht Belt humor. Read full review
“A Strange Loop,” Michael R. Jackson’s “Big, Black and Queer-Ass American Broadway Show,” as the characters in the musical itself repeatedly call it, has changed since I saw it Off-Broadway three years ago. This dazzling and dizzying musical about a big, gay Black guy who is struggling to write a musical about a big, gay Black guy who is struggling….has since won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. And now, it actually IS a Broadway Show…part of what makes the show’s arrival on Broadway so welcome is that it means that there is now another strange loop in “A Strange Loop”: The show offers a satisfying Broadway musical even as it skewers Broadway musicals. Read full review
Lincoln Center’s wonderfully over-the-top production of “The Skin of Our Teeth,” Thornton Wilder’s weird play about a modern-day American family in suburban New Jersey who live through the Ice Age, Noah-era floods, and the Napoleonic wars….could not be better timed. We’ve been living through apocalyptic-level catastrophes – the pandemic, disasters provoked by climate change, war…and, yes, almost two years without in-person theater. And we’ve survived, if only by the skin of our teeth (an expression that has its origins in the Book of Job, one of the many allusions in the play to the Bible.) Read full review.
The Week in New York Theater News
The 66th annual Drama Desk Awards nomination announcement has been postponed two weeks to May 16th.
Robert E. Wankel, the head of the Shubert Organization, will receive the Isabelle Stevenson Tony Award for his involvement in numerous charitable endeavors on behalf of the theater community. He serves, for example, as president of Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, chair of the board of The Actors Fund Housing Development Corporation
Don’t know the difference between the awards of the Drama League and the Drama Desk and the New York Drama Critics Circle? Read my 2022 New York Theater Awards calendar and guide
April 30th was the last day that the Broadway League, the trade association for Broadway producers and theater owners, required theaters to check that patrons are vaccinated. (Masks are still required until at least May 31st.)
The Little Prince, which was scheduled to run through Aug 14 at Broadway Theater, will now close May 8. It opened April 11.
“Circle Jerk,” the first ever digital theater to be designated a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, is returning as a hybrid — in-person and livestreamed — June 8 to 25, opening June 14 at Connelly Theater
“Cost of Living,” Martyna Majok’s 2018 Pulitzer winning play, is coming to Broadway sometime this Fall, via Manhattan Theater Company. It’s a smart, tart eye-opening play about people with disabilities and their caretakers
Hillary Clinton visited “Suffs,” then discussed the play about the suffragettes in a talkback with the playwright Shaina Taub and Lin-Manuel Miranda. “She called the show ‘an incredible performance of one of the most amazing stories in American history that is only now being told.’ She praised the depiction of the tension between the old-guard suffragist Carrie Chapman Catt and the upstart Alice Paul, with its obvious resonances today. ‘They both were right,’ she said. ‘And they both were limited in their understanding.’” (NY Times)