Theater in Politics. Broadway Backwards and Forwards. #Stageworthy News of the Week.

The longest battle for Speaker of the House since 1859 was filled with drama last week, but also with theater, enough to inspire observations by at least two theater critics — about Hakeem Jeffries’ alphabetical monologue and American politicians’ “sad compulsion to applaud.

Two different shows I saw this past week go backwards and forwards (see reviews below), which somehow seems to fit where New York theater is right now. It’s also up and down: So many shows closing, so much to see. Broadway grosses last week at least momentarily recalled a more lucrative (pre-pandemic) era.

January 2023 New York Theater Openings. A Month of Theater Festivals!

Broadway Poll: Spring 2023 Show You Most Want to See

Top 3 choices so far: Sweeney Todd, Camelot, Prima Facie

The Week in New York Theater Reviews

Merrily We Roll Along Pre Broadway Review

… “Merrily We Roll Along” is now an undeniable hit…Just a few days after its opening, its producers announced a Broadway transfer for Fall, 2023, its first-ever Broadway revival. Does this popularity prove that the “flaws” in this former flop have been “fixed”? It’s a question that everybody seemed to ask… which to me says as much about this specific cultural moment as about this particular production. Full review

Under the Radar Review: The Indigo Room

 I had a whale of a time for much of “The Indigo Room,” which is part of this year’s Under the Radar theater festival, and can certainly count as theater. But it is more than that – maybe too much more. “The Indigo Room” features a fun, hip American carnival, some beautiful Native American rituals, an icebreaking social experiment, serial swag handouts, and a disorienting art installation, as well as a long monologue by Timothy White Eagle, the show’s co-creator, performer, and production designer,  whose stories sometimes bring us into uncharted waters, involving a whale —  which is where, I’m sorry to say, I got lost. Full review.

Under the Radar Review: Are we not drawn onward to new erA

an odd if impressively-executed exercise.,, In the second half, everybody and everything goes backwards… The man who cracked the pot puts it back together, the woman uneats the apple, etc. The reversal is meticulous, clever, at times visually spectacular…. but the set-up for it doesn’t always flow. I won’t call it tedious, but at times I was sorry I wasn’t home watching the votes for Speaker of the House. Full review

Exponential Festival Review: The Complaint Society

Barnett Cohen’s entertaining hour-long theatrical poem is offering back to us recognizable aspects of our daily lives, put together in a heightened way.

The Week in New York Theater News

“Peter Pan Goes Wrong” is coming to Broadway, opening April 19, created by the same team that brought us “The Play That Goes Wrong.” It is the fourteenth full scheduled show on Broadway in Spring 2023.

“Ohio State Murders” will close January 15, 2023, about a month earlier than initially planned. The Broadway debut play of 91-year-old playwright Adrienne Kennedy starring Audra McDonald opened December 8.

David Binder, who was appointed artistic director of the Brooklyn Academy of Music in 2019, will step down in July to return to commercial producing, an unusually short tenure (his immediate predecessor Joseph V. Melillo spent 35 years at BAM, and before that Harvey Lichtenstein, 32 years) “as the venerable institution faces ongoing turnover and the challenge of pandemic-era rebuilding after decades of stability in its leadership team.” (NY Times)

A strange loop indeed! Michael R. Jackson, the big Black gay musical theater composer of “A Strange Loop,” portrayed the character he created, Usher, who is a Big Black Gay musical theater composer who is writing a musical about a Big Black Gay musical theater composer. He is repeating the performance on Saturday.

Zavier Sabio, Black, Deaf DASL (direct of artistic sign language)

How These Sign Language Experts Are Bringing More Diversity to Theater (NYTimes)
Interviews with several American Sign Language interpreters for the theater, most Deaf and people of color, about the need for more diversity among sign language interpreters. Although obviously inspired by the lawsuit by ASL interpreter Keith Wann whose employment was rescinded because he is white,  it doesn’t talk to him, or include his point of view.

A bid goodbye to Stomp, Almost Famous, 1776, Into the Woods, Beetlejuice

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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