Broadway at the Grammys! Leslie Odom Jr’s Victorious Return! George Santos, Superhero Broadway Producer?? #Stageworthy News of the Week

“In the Woods” won the Grammy for best musical theater album, producer Sean Patrick Flahaven accepting the award as a tribute to the memory of Stephen Sondheim (who during his lifetime was nominated for 17 Grammys, and won eight.) Lin-Manuel Miranda won his fourth Grammy (for the song “We Don’t Talk About Bruno” from Encanto.) Two time Tony winner Viola Davis won her first Grammy (for the audio book of her memoir), thus becoming the 18th-ever competitive EGOT winner (those who have won Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony awards)  At the afternoon award show (the one online, not on TV) Randy Rainbow was the host and “MJ’s” Myles Frost was a presenter. 
And if Beyoncé broke the record for the most Grammy wins by a single artist ever, at 32; Lizzo won the Record of the Year, and Harry Styles won the Album of the Year Grammy,  it is Brandi Carlile (winner of three 2023 Grammys) who is the one among the ten Album of the Year nominees this year who (so far in my poll) you most want to see write a Broadway musical.
Complete list of 2023 Grammy winners

February 2023 New York Theater Openings

Theater Quiz for January 2023

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The Week in New York Theater News

Among  the first announcements about the 2022-2023 season from the Tony Award Administration Committee, Tony voters will not be required to have seen every show. “The rule change, put in place for the 2022-2023 season only, will allow a voter to still vote in a category if they have missed one nominated show, one performance by a nominated actor or actress and one creative element (i.e. lighting or scenic design) per category.” (Hollywood Reporter) This is likely put in place because so many shows (Ain’t No Mo, KPOP, and Ohio State Murders) shut down abruptly with little notice.

Philippe Arroyo and Justin David Sullivan in “& Juliet”

Justin David Sullivan, who is debuting on Broadway in the role of May in “& Juliet,” has withdrawn from consideration for the Tony Awards because the categories for performers are distinguished between male and female. Sullivan is trans nonbinary and uses the pronouns he, she and they. “I hope that award shows across the industry will expand their reach to be able to honor and award people of all gender identities,” Sullivan said in a statement.

In separate but related news, the Outer Critics Circle board of directors, without consulting the full membership of theater critics from out-of-town, national and digital publications, has voted to remove gender specifications from acting categories.  But the award will now distinguish between Broadway and Off-Broadway; performances from Broadway and Off-Broadway shows were previously considered together.
So among the nine categories of acting awards will now be: Outstanding Lead Performer in a Broadway Musical, and Outstanding Lead Performer in an Off-Broadway Musical.
This year’s nominations will be announced on April 25 and winners on May 16. (Don’t know the difference between the Outer Critics and Drama Critics and Drama League awards? Check out my New York Theater Awards 2022: Guide and Calendar, which is now out of date.)

Leslie Odom Jr. will return to Broadway for the first time since his Tony-winning role as Aaron Burr in “Hamilton” as the star and co-producer of a revival of the 1961 “Purlie Victorious: A Non-Confederate Romp Through the Cotton Patch”  a play by Ossie Davis, to be directed by Kenny Leon. The play, which is expected to run this summer (the start of the 2023-2024) has few specifics yet, such as theater, date and other cast members, is a satire a preacher trying to acquire a church in his hometown while challenging a local segregationist. The play was adapted into the 1963 movie, “Gone Are the Days!,”  starring Ossie Davis, Ruby Dee and Godfrey Cambridge, and the 1970 musical, “Purlie,” with Cleavon Little and Melba Moore.  

They want to start spreading the news: Colton Ryan (who was in “Girl from the North Country”) and Anna Uzele (who was in “Six”) will star in the Kander and Ebb (+ Miranda) musical “New York, New York), opening April 26 at Broadway’s St. James Theater.
They will be joined in the cast  by Clyde Alves (On The Town) as Tommy Caggiano, John Clay III (Choir Boy) as Jesse Webb, Janet Dacal (In The Heights)as Sofia Diaz, Ben Davis (Dear Evan Hansen) as Gordon Kendrick, Oliver Prose as Alex Mann , Angel Sigala  as Mateo Diaz, and Emily Skinner (Side Show) as Madame Veltri. The ensemble features Wendi Bergamini, Allison Blackwell, Giovanni Bonaventura, Jim Borstelmann, Lauren Carr, Mike Cefalo, Bryan J. Cortés, Kristine Covillo, Gabriella Enriquez, Haley Fish, Ashley Blair Fitzgerald, Richard Gatta, Stephen Hanna, Naomi Kakuk, Akina Kitazawa, Ian Liberto, Kevin Ligon, Leo Moctezuma, Aaron Nicholas Patterson, Dayna Marie Quincy, Julian Ramos, Drew Redington, Benjamin Rivera, Vanessa Sears, Davis Wayne, Jeff Williams, Darius Wright. 

Another state of Broadway article, this from Gordon Cox in Variety: “the hits are still boffo but the misses tank quicker than ever, and even successes are complicated by fast-changing trends in post-lockdown economics.” One example: “For years the best indicator of a show’s health has been its advance sales, with productions in the past racking up massive advances for upcoming performances across several months. Now the average timeline, which had already begun to contract when COVID hit, has dwindled even further. The most popular shows still have sturdy advances, but for many titles, the average window of advance sales is down to four to six weeks — and for others, it’s narrowed to just seven to ten days.”

Black Theater in New York

Black American theater began in New York City two centuries ago. In honor of #BlackHistoryMonth, a photo timeline: (eg: great Shakespearean actor Ira Aldridge, 1853; Paul Robeson, 1924; Swing Mikado 1938; Audra McDonald, 2022.)

On his 58th birthday, Tony winning actor and producer Alan Cumming gave back his OBE (Officer of the Order of the British Empire), which he accepted in 2009, as he tells the BBC, to highlight what he saw as the more enlightened policies of Great Britain than the United States toward the LGBT community. times and laws in the US have changed, and the great good the award brought to the LGBTQ+ cause back in 2009 is now less potent than the misgivings I have being associated with the toxicity of empire.

If You Want to Live Here, You’ll Have to Audition
A great story about the revival of the Rehearsal Club, a residence for women in the arts that inspired the play and movie “Stage Door”

George Santos told a donor in 2021 that he was a producer of Spider-man Turn Off the Dark. (Perhaps needless to say, the actual producer said this is not true.) (Bloomberg)

This Week’s Theater Videos

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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