The Phantom of the Opera took a final Majestic bow last night after a record-breaking thirty-five years on Broadway. Its 13,981th performance played out before a red-carpeted crowd in white tie and tails and network news cameras, but before that, more than 20 million people had bought $1.3 billion worth of tickets.
The Week in New York Theater Reviews
If “White Girl in Danger” were an actual soap opera, it would unfold over several years, which would give us time to savor Michael R. Jackson’s febrile intelligence and his subversive sense of humor. But it is hard to unpack all that Jackson crams into his second musical (after his award-winning “A Strange Loop”): crazed soap opera storylines, parody videos, loud rock numbers, showstopping solos, satiric sketches and a pointed climactic metatheatrical monologue
Sure, “Fat Ham” won the 2022 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, and the play is inspired by “Hamlet,” loosely adopting the plot and even using some verbatim soliloquys from Shakespeare’s tragedy. But I could forget about the expectations that were raised (and dashed) by these prestige signifiers the first time around and now relish the silly, sexy and surreal moments that director Saheem Ali make pop in James Ijames’s raunchy, freewheeling comedy.
There are bright shining moments aplenty in the latest Broadway revival of “Camelot… mostly found in the tuneful score…But, as entertaining as the musical numbers are, it’s hard not to be disappointed by this production. That’s largely because it’s too easy to expect too much from it…. on balance, it’s hard for me to see what Aaron Sorkin has done as an improvement. Full Review
I easily understood the bilingual play, which is in Bangla and English… when the characters were speaking in Bangla! But there was a gap between what I experienced during the three hours in which the play unfolded in front of me and what I later grasped by reading the script and various articles. Contemplating that gap in this unusual and often remarkable play has suggested some lessons for theater. Full Review
The Week in New York Theater News
Ariana DeBose will be the host of the 76th Tony Awards on June 11, as she was the 75th. Check out my New York Theater Awards 2023: Guide and Calendar
Complete cast for “Days of Wine and Roses,” a new musical adapted from the 1962 film and original 1958 teleplay about a couple who struggle with alcoholism, featuring a book by Craig Lucas, music and lyrics by Adam Guettel, and direction by Michael Greif .In addition to the previously announced Kelli O’Hara (The King and I)and Brian d’Arcy James (Into the Woods), Days of Wine and Roses will feature Steven Booth (Tina: the Tina Turner Musical), Sharon Catherine Brown (Caroline, or Change), Bill English (Anything Goes), Nicole Ferguson (Merrily We Roll Along), Olivia Hernandez (Plaza Suite), Byron Jennings (Harry Potter and the Cursed Child), David Jennings (Tina: the Tina Turner Musical), Ted Koch (To Kill A Mockingbird), Ella Dane Morgan (Waitress), Scarlett Unger (Off-Broadway debut), and Kelcey Watson (The Oresteia). “Days of Wine and Roses” will begin performances on Friday, May 5th and will open on Monday, June 5th for a limited engagement, now extended through Sunday, July 9th Off-Broadway at Atlantic’s Linda Gross Theater
The Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment (MOME), in partnership with New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA), has awarded $2 million to 96 projects through the NYC Women’s Fund for Media, Music and Theatre. Including 18 theatrical productions. Full list
The President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities (PCAH), re-established in 2022 (after being disbanded by the former president), announced its membership: It is co-chaired by Bruce Cohen and Lady Gaga. Among its members is Anna Deavere Smith, “credited with having created a new form of theater.”
Time100 Most influential people of 2023 features several past and present people of the theater, including these two actively on stage :
Sterling K. Brown on Suzan-Lori Parks: “Working with her was an absolute joy—she’s an artist of the highest passion. She puts everything of herself into everything that she does.Suzan-Lori is a playwright who thrives on collaboration…The theater world knows Suzan-Lori exceptionally well, but the world at large should recognize the genius that she is. She should be a household name.”
Ryan Murphy on Lea Michele: “Funny Girl is my favorite musical of all time, and for over a decade I flirted with reviving it on Broadway. Ultimately, I couldn’t commit for one reason: the long shadow of Barbra Streisand, who originated the role of Fanny Brice. I was afraid of it. Lea Michele wasn’t afraid…Her acting: impeccable and nuanced. Her voice: full of joy and despair.”