Broadway Half Empty. Funny Girl Past Present and Future. #Stageworthy News of the Week

Broadway Week will return September 6-25 after a three-year hiatus, offering 2-for-1 tickets. Such efforts to return to 2019 normal have not yet succeeded, as the New York Times reports: “Fewer than half as many people saw a Broadway show during the season that recently ended than did so during the last full season before the coronavirus pandemic.” 

The article includes graphs of 15 Broadway shows, indicating the percent change in weekly gross sales in 2021 and 2022, compared with the same week in 2019. (The grey represents weeks in which some or all performances were canceled)

A representative sample:

The lackluster attendance doesn’t seem to have eroded the optimism on Broadway, with an encore production added this week to the Fall 2022 Broadway season, or Off-Broadway: Rock star Melissa Etheridge announced her off-Broadway debut, and two separate sets of entrepreneurs have announced two new Off-Broadway theaters:

AMT, a 99 seat theater at 354 West 45th Street (formerly the Davenport.)

Midnight Theater, a new 160 seat theater at 75 Manhattan West Plaza, an address not yet widely known, which is located roughly at 10th Avenue and 33rd Street, part of the eight-acre Manhattan West, a development by Brookfield Properties built as part of Hudson Yards.

The Week in New York Theater Reviews

Patience: Solitaire as Metaphor for Black Achievement and Isolation

Daniel is the world professional champion of Solitaire, which feels apt, because “I only feel like myself when I’m alone,” as he admits to Jordan, his fiancé. Daniel wants to end his solitude. Although only 25, he plans to retire from the solitary card game, in order to focus on his relationship with Jordan…But his mother, who is also his manager,  wants him to compete in one more championship contest…It’s hard to think of any sport that would be more challenging to dramatize on a stage than Solitaire. And “Patience” doesn’t try very hard to do so. At the same time, though, the game is a useful metaphor for individual struggle and isolation…The playwright seems most interested in exploring, obliquely, the unintended consequences of the pressure on African Americans to achieve.

Book Review: Shy: The Alarmingly Outspoken Memoirs of Mary Rodgers

Sondheim enthusiasts might know Mary Rodgers primarily as the married friend he consulted to learn about marriage so that he could write the musical “Company.” Knowledgeable fans of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s musicals (or Rodgers and Hart’s) would certainly know her as the daughter of composer Richard Rodgers. It probably takes true aficionados to recognize her as the composer of “Once Upon The Mattress,” the Broadway musical that made Carol Burnett a star, or as the author of “Freaky Friday,” the novel about a mother-daughter switcheroo whose sequels and movie adaptations kept her busy for twenty years.
Each of these aspects of her life – and much more — is told in fascinating detail…”Shy” is an entertaining read, and something more.

The Week in New York Theater News

“Take Me Out” is returning to Broadway for fourteen weeks starting October 27th (this time at the Schoenfeld Theater), starring the two Jesses from the Tony-winning revival, Jesse Tyler Ferguson (who won a Tony) and Jesse Williams (Tony nominated.) (My review of the production in April.)

Rattlestick Theater’s 2022-2023 season will include both in-person and streaming productions, and will be previewed in “Season Jam” on September 14 in an event hosted by Jesse Eisenberg

The 2nd Annual Antonyo Awards, which honors Black theatre artists during the 2021-2022 season, will be held on Monday, October 10 at the Apollo Theater in Harlem. The nominations were announced in June.

“Melissa Etheridge Off Broadway: My Window – A Journey Through Life,” a solo show by the Grammy and Oscar winning performer will launch October 13 at New World Stages for 12 performances.

Jonathan Groff and Lindsay Mendez join Daniel Radcliffe in the Off-Broadway revival of Sondheim’s “Merrily We Roll Along”  at New York Theatre Workshop, set to open on December 12, 2022, for a limited engagement through January 8, 2023.

This Week’s Theater Videos

Watch Funny Girl Julie Benko: “I’m The Greatest Star”

Watch 1776, A Beautiful Noise Sneak Previews 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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