The news of a new Kander and Ebb musical with Lin-Manuel Miranda added to a thrilling Broadway 2022-2023 still in formation. But equally tantalizing were the full season announcements last week from several Off Broadway theaters. Among the highlights: Ping Chong’s final theater piece after fifty years and a new musical by the late Elizabeth Swados (La MaMa), the stage adaptation of the recent memoir by Quiara Alegría Hudes (Signature), Rajiv Joseph’s riff on NBA legend LeBron James (MTC), and, with St. Ann’s Warehouse as host but other theaters involved, the 17-day, 55-event sojourn in all five boroughs of New York City of Little Amal, the 12-foot-tall puppet of a Syrian refugee girl that’s already traveled over 5,000 miles across Europe.
Details below. More announcements to follow.
The Week in New York Theater Reviews
The Off-Broadway revival of “Kinky Boots” at Stage 42 comes just 40 months after the end of the show’s run on Broadway, and is so little changed from the original that it’s unlikely to make many people reconsider their view of the musical. That means that fans will probably not be disappointed by this new production. It also means that there’s little reason for those who weren’t fans to give it a second look.
My second look didn’t bowl me over; I still don’t think it’s kinky enough. But I get why people find it so entertaining, and I like the same two things I liked best about the musical when it opened on Broadway in 2013: the performer who portrays Lola the drag queen (then Billy Porter, now Callum Francis), and Cyndi Lauper’s catchy score. And revisiting “Kinky Boots” nine years later does give me a chance to reflect on an aspect of the show that I didn’t sufficiently appreciate the first time around.
” Robot Infidèle” is a nearly-wordless, hour-long show presented for just three night, at Little Island, the odd new pier and public park with two outdoor theaters that has one month left in its second delightful season — the kind of outdoor entertainment that is absolutely the best thing about late summer evenings in New York City.
Jim McCarthy’s short, slight primer has two explicit aims and a third implicit one:
- to convince the naysayers that live online events are worthy, profitable, and here to stay
- to offer general, practical advice for producers to get started
- to promote Stellar, the platform for livestreaming events that McCarthy developed during the first year of the pandemic. It is the latest endeavor by this serial entrepreneur who co-founded Goldstar, a twenty-year-old online seller of tickets to live entertainment, and TEDx Broadway, a ten-year-old annual conference that features innovators envisioning the future of Broadway.
A new musical inspired by Martin Scorsese’s 1977 film New York, New York with a rewritten storyline, directed and choreographed by Susan Stroman, is aiming to open on Broadway in April 2023, with songs from the movie by Kander and Ebb (Chicago and Cabaret) AND additional songs by Kander and Lin-Manuel Miranda.
La MaMa’s 61st season will feature more than 40 productions from eight countries. Lazarus 1972 – 2022, by Ping Chong, Last Gasp: A Recalibration, by Split Britches, Peggy Shaw and Lois Weaver, two icons of lesbian feminist theater, Underneath the Skin by John Kelly, a dance-theater piece about queer rebel Samuel Steward (1909-1993), The Beautiful Lady by Elizabeth Swados, a world-premiere musical by the composer best-known for Runaways directed by Anne Bogart set in an artists’ café during the Russian Revolution; The first-ever revival of “Evelyn Brown A Diary” by the late Maria Irene Fornés, a meditation of the nature of women’s work; “Radio 477!”, inspired by songs by the Ukrainian composer Yuliy Meitus. Full season announcement
Signature Theater 2022-23:
My Broken Language written and directed by Quiara Alegría Hudes. A stage adapation of her memoir of growing up in West Philly (my review of her memoir)
A Bright New Boise Written by Samuel D. Hunter Directed by Oliver Butler
Letters from Max by Sarah Ruhl Directed by Kate Whoriskey
Grass written and directed by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins
Full season announcement
St. Ann’s Warehouse will feature, in addition to the Little Amal walks,Wuthering Heights, adapted and directed by Emma Rice (who a dozen years ago brought her adaptation of Brief Encounter to Broadway), The Patient Gloria by Gina Moxley, and a return of The Jungle, a re-creation of a real if surreal refugee camp (my review of 2018 production of The Jungle ), and Mira Nair’s musical stage adaptation of her movie Monsoon Wedding (my review of Monsoon Wedding when it was at Berkeley Rep in 2017.
Manhattan Theater Club added two new plays to its already-announced season: The Best We Could (A Family Tragedy) by newcomer Emily Feldman, directed by Daniel Aukin; King James by Rajiv Joseph (Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo) directed by Kenny Leon, about the unexpected friendship between two men whose intertwined fortunes are tied to those of their idol, LeBron James.
Fiasco Theater: Pericles, The Knight of the Burning Pestle by Francis Beaumont, and Hamlet in collaboration oration with Deaf West (this last maddeningly not open to the public.)
Previously announced season: National Black Theatre
Other Theater News and Features This Week
The Broadway Flea Market & Grand Auction has been scheduled for Sunday, Sept. 25. 10am to 7pm, with Broadway-related booths and tables lining West 44th and West 45th Streets.
“Ella: An American Miracle,” a new musical written by Anna Deavere Smith and featuring music from the Ella Fitzgerald songbook is in the works (Deadline)
Profile of Milky White, the cow in Into The Woods (Washington Post)
Rest in Peace
Robert LuPone, 76, co-founder of MCC Theater, older brother of Patti LuPone, and Tony-nominated actor for originating the role of Zach in A Chorus Line, one of 11 Broadway shows in which he performed.