The Changing Face of Broadway. #Stageworthy News of the Week

At age 91, Adrienne Kennedy will be making her Broadway debut, when Audra McDonald stars in “Ohio Murders,” directed by Kenny Leon, opening December 8th at the newly renamed James Earl Jones Theater. Four icons of the American theater converge in this latest addition to the Broadway Fall 2022 season.

These are hardly young faces (Jones is also 91), but they represent the promise of a changing face of Broadway. Of the 15 Broadway shows scheduled so far for the Fall, more than half are comprised of casts that you would not have seen on Broadway in the past, including one composed entirely of female, non-binary and trans performers (“1776”); another of Asian-Americans (“KPOP”), a third featuring characters and performers with disabilities (“Cost of Living”), and five with African American casts.

Cast of 1776: Crystal Lucas-Perry, Gisela Adisa, Nancy Anderson, Becca Ayers,
Tiffani Barbour, Carolee Carmello, Allyson Kaye Daniel, Elizabeth A. Davis, Mehry Eslaminia, Joanna Glushak, Shawna Hamic, Eryn Lecroy, Liz Mikel, Patrena Murray, Oneika Phillips, Lulu Picart, Sara Porkalob, Sushma Saha, Brooke Simpson, Salome B. Smith, Sav Souza, Jill Vallery, Ariella Serur, Grace Stockdale, Imani Pearl Williams
Principal cast of fifth Broadway revival of Arthur Miller’s “Death of a Salesman” at first rehearsal: Khris Davis, Sharon D Clarke, Wendell Pierce, Andre De Shields, McKinley Belcher III. Standing: Director Miranda Cromwell

The face of audiences will look a bit different every Friday at one currently running Broadway show. “The Kite Runner” will reinstituted a mask mandate every Friday – recognizing the reluctance of a sizeable number of theatergoers to venture forth unprotected during a still-present pandemic.

(The show will also now offer $35 rush tickets.)

Perhaps the rest of Broadway will also see that attention to public health makes sense – as well as cents.

The Week in New York Theater News

Arrivals

Starting September 13,  Lillias White will portray Hermes in “Hadestown,” a role that earned Andre DeShields a Tony – a bold and welcome choice of casting. 

Starting September 6, the new cast of “Into The Woods” will feature  Stephanie J. Block as the Baker’s Wife, Sebastian Arcelus as the Baker, Krysta Rodriguez as Cinderella, Katy Geraghty as Little Red Ridinghood, Jim Stanek as the Steward, and Montego Glover will share the role of The Witch with Patina MillerGavin Creel and Joshua Henry extend as the Wolf/Cinderella’s Prince and Rapunzel’s Prince, respectively. Andy Karl will play the role of the Wolf/Cinderella’s Prince from September 6 through September 15, as Gavin Creel fulfills a prior commitment. Creel returns to the production on September 16. The show is scheduled to run through October 16.

Departures

Jane Lynch is leaving “Funny Girl” August 14th, earlier than originally scheduled.

Producing Director Meredith Lynsey Schade is leaving HERE (Playbill)

Daniella Topol, the artistic director of Rattlestick Playwrights Theater and a career-long theater director, is leaving to become a nurse. It is worth explaining, especially since it was sparked by a play “Novenas for a Lost Hospital” and by the pandemic. She told the New York Times:

“A seed was planted and then we continued forward — a pandemic happened six months after that, and there was a lot of reflection around, ‘Where are we as a field?’ ‘Where are we as a city?’ ‘Where are we as a country?’ ‘Where are we going?’ ‘What role do we play or not play?’ ‘How do I as white woman hold power and privilege?’ ‘How don’t I?’ ‘Where do I fit in a constellation in a way that is productive?’” she said. “I have been doing, obviously, a lot of reflection about my own personal life, and meaningful and challenging experiences that I have had, on a very personal level, and many of them have centered inside of maternal care complexities, and so it sort of felt like it was aligning with the stars.”

Same day $55 digital rush tickets will be available for Broadway’s A Strange Loop at strangeloopmusical.com/lotteryandrush, until 30 minutes before the performance time.  This is separate from the $47 in person rush.

The playwright Tom Stoppard, will speak about his new play “Leopoldstadt” at the 92nd Street Y (rebranded 92NY) on September 18 in conversation with the German author and playwright Daniel Kehlmann.

Vineyard 2022-2023 season

Sandra 
World Premiere 
By David Cale
Directed by Leigh Silverman

Sandra (Marjan Neshat) seeks to get to the bottom of the mysterious disappearance of her closest friend, a young pianist and composer, who went on a trip to Mexico and never returned

This Land Was Made 
World Premiere 
by Tori Sampson
Directed by Taylor Reynolds

Oakland in 1967 is a powder keg of social activism ready to boil over into radical action. For the patrons of Miss Trish’s bar, it’s all just talking points — until… 

Rest in Peace

Anne Heche, 53, after a car crash. The actress was a two time Broadway veteran, a Tony nominee for On The Twentieth Century

This Week’s Theater Videos

Watch Hadestown in Bryant Park

Watch Chicago, Dear Evan Hansen, Phantom Etc at Broadway in Bryant Park

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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