Broadway A to F. #Stageworthy News of the Week

Julie Benko last week began her month-long run as Fanny Brice, each night singing and dancing in 15 songs while wearing four wigs and 21 costumes. The former standby to Beanie Feldstein have the part to herself until September 4th. Lea Michele assumes the role September 6th, after which Benko becomes the alternate, performing every Thursday. Wanting to avoid an impersonation of Streisand, she researched the actual Fanny Brice, studying her quirks. “Benko read biographies of Brice and excerpts from her diaries. She worked with an archivist at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts to watch old footage of Brice doing goofy dances and contorting her face into silly expressions.” (NY Times)

Broadway Alphabet Series, Round 2:

A is for Ariana DeBose
B is for Billy Porter
C is for Christopher Fitzgerald
D is for Denzel Washington
F is for Fanny Brice

The Week in New York Theater Reviews

The Nosebleed at Lincoln Center 

“Who here loves their father? Who here hates their father?” Aya asks  the audience each time for a show of hands, and then volunteers: “I hated my father.”

 Aya Ogawa’s “The Nosebleed” at Lincoln Center Theater  is much the same offbeat, intimate autobiographical play I saw ten months ago at the Japan Society, but I noticed one difference, which changed the way I reacted to it. The play still focuses on Ogawa’s long-dead father and their failed relationship, telling the story in an oblique and inventive way…

Teacher! Teacher! P.S. I Love You

Once again, Theater for a New City is touring a free, original hour-long musical through New York City streets, playgrounds and parks, as it has nearly every summer for almost half a century. As in the past, “Teacher! Teacher! Or PS I Love You” fuses a jazzy eclectic score (by Peter Dizozza), with a makeshift mix of dance, song, silly costumes, painted backdrops, satire in sometimes questionable taste and scattershot social consciousness. In this year’s show,  the focus (to the extent there is one) is on the U.S. Supreme Court’s rulings on abortion, on toxic emissions from power plants and on gun regulation in New York City

The Week in Theater News

The current cast of Into The Woods will remain intact through Sunday, September 4th (The show itself, with some cast changes, is running through October 16th)

You Will Get Sick. This is true, but it’s also the name of a play running 10/14-12/11, opening Nov 6 , at Roundabout, starring Linda Lavin, Daniel K Isaac and Marinda Anderson  (Playwright Noah Diaz wrote it BEFORE the pandemic)

James Monroe Iglehart, Phillipa Soo, Steven Pasquale & Jessie Mueller will lead “Guys And Dolls” at the Kennedy Center, October 7 – 16, 2022. 

A Texas church illegally performs “Hamilton,” changing the script so that it includes anti-LGBT message. (OnStage Blog)

In the third essay in his series, The Reformation, Jesse Green questions “the pervasive and pernicious maxim: The show must go on. “The idea that theater is a calling, not a job, and that the two categories are mutually exclusive, is so ingrained in the industry’s ethos — not to mention its business model — that demands for shorter working days, more understudies, intimacy coordinators, mental health stipends, child care reimbursements and other accommodations are often met with doubt or derision. Caring for actors, some say, is coddling. Suffering is a badge of honor, and the theater is properly a purple-heart club.”

Rest in Peace

George Bartenieff, 89, a fixture of downtown theater, a founder of both Theater for a New City and Theater Three Collective. “He was on Broadway before he was 15 and in the 1960s appeared there in plays by Edward Albee and John Guare…But ‘more than fame or fortune, he wanted to make a difference with his art,’ says his widow the playwright Karen Malpede.
Oral History interview with Bartenieff in 2015.

The Week’s Theater Videos

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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