Theater awards season is heating up, with four of the major annual theater awards announcing their winners or nominations this past week; favorite shows are coming into focus. I won’t call this moment in late May “awards fever” as I have in the past — because I’m not sure about the level of enthusiasm, but mostly because there is a more literal fever happening in New York.
Week in Theater Awards
2022 Outer Critics Circle Awards: Six, Lehman Trilogy, Kimberly Akimbo, Prayer for the French Republic
The Week in Theater Reviews
Sanaz Toossi, California-born daughter of immigrants from Iran, has racked up awards for her two New York debut plays this season, “English” and “Wish You Were Here.”* Both are set in Iran, both are comedies about loss. Each focuses on intimate moments between the characters (portrayed in each by a splendid cast of five) that only subtly allude to the complicated world around them. Together they offer characters we haven’t gotten to see with any frequency on a New York stage, and they do so freshly, yet in a way that makes New York theatergoers feel somehow as if we know them already. Full reviews
A play billed as exploring “the chaos and complexities of living through an uprising,” There are a few lovely scenes between the two actresses in which the characters are getting to know one another, and some striking moody visual moments. But most of “Will You Come With Me?” was hard for me to follow….This was not the chaos I expected. Full Review
The story that seems to be struggling to emerge from “The Karpovsky Variations” concerns Julia Karpovsky, an American Jew who spent her childhood abroad and is trying to connect with her family and their traditions…or, more specifically, with her emotionally distant father. She is also an aspiring musician— like her father and grandfather before her — who is trying to find her sound. There is some suggestion that her two efforts are related. Or perhaps in conflict.
But playwright Adam Kraar is not content to focus on Julia in “The Karpovsky Variations.” The play, which is being given a minimalist production with an uneven cast at A.R.T./New York through May 29, features just as many scenes about Larry, Harry and Barry. Full review
There is no question which side playwright Margaret Vandenburg favors in her play “Roe v. Wade 2.0,” which is inspired by the Supreme Court’s oral arguments in the case Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, about the Mississippi law prohibiting abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy. For one thing, the money from the tickets for “Roe v. Wade 2.0,” which are pay-what-you-wish, will be donated to the Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the only abortion clinic remaining in Mississippi…The 75-minute play, which is being presented online through July 1, is labeled a satire, and is in part a polemic. But it is also a less taxing — dare I say more entertaining — way of understanding the arguments that are more drily present in the transcript of the event.
The Week in New York Theater News
Here’s more on Angela Lansbury who’s now 96, veteran of 14 Broadway plays and musicals, and now six-time Tony winner.
“Kimberly Akimbo” , which has been singled out repeatedly during awards season, will play the Booth Theater, with a first preview on October 12, and a scheduled opening of November 10. The cast from the Off-Broadway run of this musical by David Lindsay-Abaire and music by Jeanine Tesori will remain intact.
A Beautiful Noise, The Neil Diamond Musical starring Will Swenson will open on Broadway December 4,2022 at the Broadhurst Theater, with a first preview on November 2.
An exciting 2022-2023 season at Signature Theater, with dates not yet announced:
If Time Magazine doesn’t have the cachet it once had (who even owns it these days?), it’s gratifying to see some theater folk included among its annual feature, Time100: The 100 Most Influential People of 2022, with brief appreciations by other theater folk. Clockwise from upper left: Cynthia Nixon on Sarah Jessica Parker, Billy Porter on Michael R. Jackson, Kristin Chenoweth on Ariana DeBose, and Lynn Nottage on Elizabeth Alexander, a poet and the president of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the largest funder of arts and education in the U.S.
Excerpt from Porter’s essay:
“When I saw Michael R. Jackson’s musical A Strange Loop off-Broadway, I saw myself in the lead character of Usher. It was the first time I had ever seen a contemporary musical investigate this particular human being—from his feelings of unworthiness to his relationship with his Tyler Perry–loving, churchgoing mother. I felt so inspired.”
TEDx Broadway 2022 Talks:
Rest in Peace
Bruce MacVittie, 65, ubiquitous character actor, co-founder of the Naked Angels troupe in New York, and a familiar face in Off Broadway theater
Kenneth Welsh, 80, who appeared on Broadway in Tom Stoppard’s “The Real Thing” and acted with Glenn Close in Lillian Hellman’s “The Little Foxes,”
Rosmarie Trapp, 93, whose family inspired The Sound of Music
This Week’s Theater Videos
Marc Shaiman shares news about Smash on Facebook:
So, this past Friday, we had a reading of “SMASH -The Musical”, a new Broadway show that takes place, well, to be au courant, in a SMASH “multiverse”. Surrounded by a hysterical script by Bob Martin & Rick Elice, Scott Wittman & I got to hear our songs for BOMBSHELL (the Marilyn Monroe Musical we wrote for SMASH) come alive again, with a brilliant gathering of performers. Who knows if we’ll ever get a cast like the one we had on Friday, but let me tell you, if you wanna hear if your script is working, get Brooks Ashmanskas, Beth Leavel, Daniel Breaker, Krysta Rodriguez, Nicholas Rodriguez, Kristine Nielsen, Christian Thompson, Maddie Baillio, Bonnie Milligan and, yes, Megan Hilty to read it for you. …See more
Taking over NYC’s Times Square billboards with my creatures! 📺🦜“Critically Extant” will be featured from 11:57pm to midnight as part of Times Square Arts Midnight Moment every night, during the whole month of May https://t.co/0WBqggeMH1 pic.twitter.com/wUl0GHXDvC
— Sofia Crespo (@soficrespo91) May 4, 2022
This three-minute nightly exhibition in Times Square flashes Sofia Crespo’s paintings of flora and fauna based on real, critically endangered species like the Perote Deer Mouse, the Mekong Giant Catfish, or Parakaempferia synantha