Tom Stoppard’s nineteenth play to open on Broadway, and the Fall 2022 season’s first, launches a busy and exciting theatrical month in New York — eight shows just on Broadway, including two more this week (“Cost of Living” and “1776.”) But the excitement goes way beyond Broadway. (See my calendar of October openings.)
It even goes beyond conventional stages.
A year after the reopening of in-person theater, digital theater projects continue — among them Paula Vogel’s Bard at the Gate (now in its third season), Roundabout’s Refocus Project (now in Year 2; see “Sarita” below.) Theater of War Productions, which went full on digital during the lockdown, tonight is performing a hybrid “The Suppliants Project: Ukraine” both at the football stadium of the University of Notre Dame and online. HERE Arts Center’s newly announced URHere, a virtual platform set to begin in November “to provide access to innovative outdoor and digital premieres.” It is funded by the Digital Accelerator Program. which is trying to build on the digital experimentation begun during the depth of the pandemic.
(Color key: Broadway: Red 🟥. Off Broadway: Blue 🟦. Off Off Broadway: Green 🟩. Digital or Hybrid Theater: Yellow 🟨 Theater festival: Orange 🟧. Immersive: Silver ⬜️ . Puppetry: Brown 🟫 Opera: Purple🟪)
The Week in New York Theater Reviews
“Leopoldstadt,” a play by Tom Stoppard inspired by the death of his own extended family in the Holocaust…presents four generations in a single grand apartment in Vienna over fifty-six years, starting on Christmas Day, 1899.. bustling with characters, bristling with debate, packed full of facts, it is less a collection of distinct portraits or plot points than a rich tapestry of twentieth century Jewish life, and then the frayed threads of Jewish loss. Full review
“300 el x 50 el x 30 el” is a visually arresting theatrical installation. It’s a communal experience, much as in the Public Theater’s Public Works projects; the cast is comprised of about a half dozen core performers, some dozen “guest artists” and more than sixty “local ensemble performers.”
“300 el x 50 el x 30 el” is also something of an intriguing experiment in aesthetics and technology. The interplay between the haunting, dark and often empty set on stage and the cramped, weirdly busy space on screen creates a tension that’s central to the piece. Full review
In María Irene Fornés’ 1984 musical “Sarita”, presented in a rare staged reading free online through October 16th as part of Roundabout’s Refocus Project…. desire and betrayal lead to frustration and depression and anger, and ultimately to tragedy. This year, Refocus refocuses on Latino playwrights, in partnership with Pregones/PRTT. The idea is to bring attention to works that the Project believes belong in the canon as classics, but have been ignored….Full review
The Week in Theater News
Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “Bad Cinderella” will open at the Imperial Theater on March 23rd — and begin performances on February 17 — one day before the closing of The Phantom of the Opera,” which will mean he won’t break his streak of having at least one musical on Broadway continuously since 1979. Linedy Genao will have her first lead Broadway role (she’s been in both “On Your Feet” and “Dear Evan Hansen”) in this modern reworking of the Cinderella story, which opened (with a different name) in London in 2021.
“President Biden on Friday issued an executive order re-establishing the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, an advisory board that was dissolved five years ago after its members resigned in protest over President Donald J. Trump’s reaction to the deadly white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Va.” (NY Times)
Netflix has settled a copyright lawsuit that it had filed against the creators of “The Unofficial Bridgerton Musical.” The streaming service dismissed the suit on Friday against Emily Bear and Abigail Barlow, the creators of the musical. (Variety)
Scott Rudin, Broadway Ad Agency Spotco Drop Dueling Legal Claims Over $6 Million in Allegedly Owed Payments (The Hollywood Reporter)
Across the U.S., regional theaters are starting to transform. Here’s why (NPR)
“Many in the theater world argue that [opening up to more diversity] should be just the start, that stages should also consider things like leaping into digital experimentation the way sports leapt into television; overhauling fundraising models developed in the 1960s; and reworking labor practices, fellowships, and internships that require artists to sacrifice for their art. And there’s more…..”
The Week’s Theater Video
Lea Michele sings People