What happened last week at “Girl from the North Country” and “for colored girls…” might not be miraculous, precisely, but they’re the kind of stories in the face of adversity that people can point to and say: See, that’s why I love the theater.
Anthony Edwards singlehandedly replaced the Actors Nightmare — being on stage and not knowing your lines — with the Producer’s Dream — having a famous actor (who doesn’t know the lines, but is given the script) suddenly perform in your show, saving it.
With no understudies to replace an absent cast member, “Girl from the North Country” was going to cancel the night’s performance, but non-cast member Anthony Edwards agreed to step in. To be clear, this was not entirely random: Edwards is cast member Mare Winningham’s husband. Still! Quite a way to make your Broadway musical debut. The Bob Dylan musical, which reopened April 29th after a hiatus, has extended its Broadway run by one week and will now close June 19.
The producers had announced that “for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf” would close May 22, 2022, nearly three months before its scheduled closing date.
But then Ayanna Prescod went to work. It began with a single Tweet from the producer and writer.
Theater Twitter responded in kind – and how! – and theater institutions such as the Shubert Organization and the Situation marketing agency partnered in the effort, generating thousands of dollars in donated tickets. A week into the campaign, “for colored girls…” announced a two-week extension; it’s now playing through June 5.
These are not the only “miracles” in theater lately. Marjan Neshat has had a “kind of a miraculous season” according to a headline (see below), and “A Case for the Existence of God” just won an award (and my personal kudos.)
The Week in New York Theater Reviews and Previews
There seems at first a large gap between the cosmic title of this play and the mundane situation it dramatizes: A factory worker named Ryan (Will Brill) is meeting with a mortgage broker named Keith (Kyle Beltran) in hopes of getting a loan to buy twelve acres of land near the small town of Twin Falls, Idaho. For most of the ninety-minute play, they sit talking in Keith’s small, cluttered office, rarely even leaving their chairs.
But this is a play by Samuel D. Hunter, in a production directed by David Cromer. For at least a decade, the subtlety and seeming simplicity in their separate works of theater have produced some of the most sublime moments on a New York stage that I’ve ever experienced. In “A Case for the Existence of God,” they’ve done it again, this time together.
Sublime doesn’t mean religious….. what I take the title to mean – what the play is trying to say – is that there is always hope.
Signature is extending A Case for the Existence of God by Samuel D Hunter through May 29.
Read full review
Extraordinary women, portrayed by first-rate actresses, figure most prominently in this inspiring, instructive and entertaining sing-through musical that tells the sweeping story of the final seven-year push to win Ameican women the right to vote, culminating in the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment in 1920. ..…After the leak of the draft of the ruling overturning Roe … it felt more urgent and relevant now. Even Mimi Lien’s set design hits harder: The steps and Corinthian columns look like the exterior of the Supreme Court, except it’s (appropriately?) painted black. Read full review
If all goes as planned, Gregg Mozgala will be making his Broadway debut in the Fall, in “Cost of Living,” three decades after the theater first “made me feel like a full human being” — not always the way somebody is allowed to feel who is born with a disability.
More immediately, Mozgala has been instrumental in the programming for the first-ever Forward Festival for the Arts, at Queens Theater, which is presenting a range of theater, dance, music and circus performances from across the country from Deaf and disabled artists. Read full interview
The Week In Theater News
Mrs. Doubtfire to close May 29. Its torturous path began 3/9/20, shut down 3/12 because of COVID-19, restarted 10/21/21 and opened 12/5/21 to lukewarm reviews, went “on hiatus” 1/9/22, reopened 4/14. Producer Kevin McCollum: “Even though New York City is getting stronger every day and ticket sales are slowly improving, theatre-going tourists and, especially for our show, family audiences have not returned as soon as we anticipated. “
People in performing arts twice as likely to have depression, Equity finds (Guardian)
What Makes a Great, or Terrible, Audiobook Performance? The case for doing less. (NYMag)
Marjan Neshat on Her ‘Kind of Miraculous Season’ Onstage (NYTimes) She’s starred in three plays this season: “Selling Kabul,” “English,” and “Wish You Were Here.”
Here he is dressed up for Purim. This kid was destined for the theater.