Prima Facie, Peter Pan, Thanksgiving Play open on Broadway. The Home Stretch! #Stageworthy News of the Week

Three shows opened on Broadway within the last four days, four more will officially open within the next four days, and then the Broadway 2022-2023 season will officially end, and the theater awards season will be well underway, with nominations announced for at least four New York theater awards by the end of the week, including the Outer Critics Circle Awards and the Drama Desk Awards, the two that this year have eliminated gender for their acting categories.

The Week in New York Theater Reviews

Plays for the Plague Year

It might feel jarring initially that “Plays for the Plague Year” is being presented at a cabaret…But presenting this year-in-review as a revue proves surprisingly effective – entertaining, evocative, provocative. The informality and intimacy make the production feel at times like a gathering where together we are reliving the memories. At its best, “Plays for the Plague year” offers the opportunity for a sense of community and, for some, of catharsis. Full Review

The Thanksgiving Play

Larissa FastHorse, whose often hilarious play is reportedly the first on Broadway by a Native American woman, sends up well-meaning white liberals, mocks the vanities and pretensions of thespians, and generates chuckles about identity politics, veganism and the public school system,  while suggesting uncomfortable truths about the annual American holiday marking the Pilgrims’ seventeenth century meal with the Native Americans who helped them survive the winter….FastHorse, a member of the Sicangu Lakota nation of South Dakota, surely doesn’t mean to communicate the message that the effort to be sensitive to Native American culture is political correctness run amok.  But that would be an almost understandable misinterpretation of a play that casts such a wide net in pursuit of laughs and traffics in such merciless caricature. . Full Review 

Peter Pan Goes Wrong 

Sure I laughed. I laughed when Tinker Bell is electrocuted, and when Neil Patrick Harris’s Masterpiece Theater-like chair somehow attacks him. But, after two hours watching an implausible pile-up of mishaps, mayhem and actor injuries, I found “Peter Pan Goes Wrong” an oddly dispiriting experience.

I suppose it was unrealistic to hope for something more than just the theater comedy equivalent of a demolition derby. After all, these practiced professionals have been extracting silly laughs from pretend amateur gaffes for fifteen years.  Full Review 

Prima Facie

if “Prima Facie” (a legal term meaning “on the face of it”) is a polemical play,  what unfolds on the stage of the Golden Theater is an effectively directed, sleekly designed production that is, above all, a golden vehicle for the actress Jodie Comer.

In her remarkable Broadway debut, Comer gives an emotionally raw and physically demanding performance that drives home the humiliation, betrayal, and feelings of helplessness that accompany sexual assault and its aftermath. Comer’s bruising portrayal of Tessa goes a long way towards persuading us to accept a set of circumstances that seem deliberately chosen to test our level of enlightenment about the issue.  Full Review 

The Week in New York Theater News

After a decade as a commercial cabaret, 54 Below (so-named because it occupies a space below Studio 54) is now a non-profit, 501(c)3. What does this mean? They can fundraise. They hope to offer discounted tickets to people under 35, find new ways to support artists, and attract new audiences.

The Drama Desk Awards are the second New York City award (after the Outer Critics Circle) to remove gender from its acting categories. Both did so without consulting their membership. The updated categories for the Drama Desk Awards are: Outstanding Leading Performer in a Play, Outstanding Leading Performer in a Musical, Outstanding Featured Performer in a Play and Outstanding Featured Performer in a Musical. Each of these categories will have twice as many nominees as the former categories (and) will have two winners each. The nominations will reportedly be announced this Thursday.

See my Guide and Calendar to New York Theater Awards 2023.

Judge Dismisses Garth Drabinsky Defamation Suit Against Actors’ Equity (The Hollywood Reporter)
The producer sued after the union placed him on the “Do Not Work” list, alleging thousands in owed payments and a hostile work environment at the musical “Paradise Square”

 Playwright Realm’s 2023 INK’D Festival of New Plays, April 24-27: Andrea Ambam’s Fragile State, Jesse Jae Hoon’s Somebody is Looking Back At Me, , Alyssa Haddad-Chin’s The Ancestry Dot Com Play, and Alex Lin’s LASTHUNTER.

Elizabeth Irwin’s Support, April 26 – May 20 at A.R.T./New York. The site-specific production follows the eight-week journey of a domestic violence support group who “all want to heal but are conflicted about how to make that happen”

 Orietta Crispino’s Let Me Cook For You, April 28 – May 28 at NYC’s Theaterlab. Directed by Liza Cassidy and performed by Crispino, the “collage of inherited myths and apocryphal histories, melding the intoxicating act of storytelling with the ritual of preparing food” features a home-cooked meal designed for an audience of 15. 

In Memoriam

Todd Haimes, 66, the artistic director of Roundabout Theater for 40 years, from the basement of a grocery store in Chelsea to a major NYC, w/ 5 houses on Broadway and Off Broadway

Barry Humphries, 89, the Australian comedian behind the character Dame Edna Everage, star of three Broadway shows: Dame Edna the Royal Tour, Dame Edna Back with a Vengeance, and All About Me. Before his Dame persona, Humphries performed in the original Broadway production of the musical Oliver)

Pierre Lacotte, 91, a French choreographer and dance historian who was known for researching and restaging 19th-century ballets — and also for playing a modest role in helping the dancer Rudolf Nureyev defect from the Soviet Union in 1961, which made headlines around the world 

The Week’s Theater Video

Chita Rivera on CBS Sunday Morning

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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