Broadway Summer Surge. Mormon’s Andrew Rannells and Josh Gad Reunite. #Stageworthy News of the Week

Three Broadway plays are closing next Sunday, July 2:

Fat Ham
Prima Facie
The Sign in Sidney Brustein’s Window

 – and four more Broadway shows are closing during the summer:

Life of Pi and Peter Pan Goes Wrong on July 23
 Parade on August 6.
Good Night, Oscar on August 27 

But an unusual number of shows are opening early in the Broadway 2023-2024 season. Two have already done so, a third is opening tonight, and there will be five more before September.  That’s eight Broadway openings before the Fall, compared to two in each of the previous two seasons. Of course, those were immediately after the pandemic lockdown, still scrambling to recover. But even the pre-pandemic seasons rarely offered more than four.

The Week in New York Theater Reviews

Once Upon a One More Time 

One more time indeed!  Like “& Juliet,” this jukebox musical features songs made popular by Britney Spears; like “Bad Cinderella,”  its central character is a rebellious version of Prince Charming’s one-shoed love interest;  like “Six,” the show is a high-energy spectacle with a rock concert vibe, featuring a multicultural group of colorfully-costumed performers portraying female figures from the past (in this case fairy tale princesses) who loudly proclaim a frilly type of feminism — less fourth wave than sonic wave.

If “Once Upon a One More Time,” opening at Broadway’s Marriott Marquis Theater tonight, is clearly not strikingly original, the story does have a few distinctive touches, and the production Broadway-level pleasures


John Rubinstein’s performance as Dwight Eisenhower, which quietly and effectively brings out what’s funny and what’s poignant in the script, is in most respects as welcome as all the other performances I’ve seen of his…But “Eisenhower: This Piece of Ground” seems intended as a history lesson in defense of the 34th president, and perhaps a lesson about historians. As history, it gave me pause.

The Week in New York Theater News

Gutenberg The Musical, the spoof of a bad Broadway musical, is coming to Broadway, reuniting the original stars of The Book of Mormon, Josh Gad and Andrew Rannells, opening October 12 at James Earl Jones Theater. Two aspiring musical theater writers, Bud and Doug, are putting on an investor’s reading of their new work about the invention of the printing press, which takes many liberties to make it more Broadway-worthy, adding a love interest, fabricating a villain, and getting everything wrong. The musical was irst presented twenty years ago at the comedy club Upright Citizens Brigade by the duo who went on to dramatize Beetlejuice, Scott Brown (former theater critic at New York Magazine) and Anthony King, 

This makes twelve shows in the Broadway 2023-2024 season with official opening dates and theaters

Alex Brightman and Colin Donnell join Ian Shaw in ‘The Shark Is Broken’”  about the making of the movie “Jaws,”  Brightman portraying Richard Dreyfuss and Donnell Roy Scheider. The show’s co-writer Ian Shaw portrays his father Robert Shaw.

Sara Holdren will return as theater critic for New York Magazine/Vulture. She previously served as New York’stheater critic from 2017 to 2019, then left to resume her directing career. She was replaced by Helen Shaw, who was then hired by the New Yorker. Jackson McHenry, who succeeded Shaw, will continue to review theater alongside Holdren.

Tony Awards Give a Box Office Boost to Prize-Winning Shows (NY Times),  especially best play “Leopoldstadt” and best musical “Kimberly Akimbo.

Life of Pi , even though it won three Tony Awards, and offers astonishing stagecraft, hasn’t benefited from the “Tony bump,” and announced that it will close July 23rd

Olivier Award-winner Hiran Abeysekera will play his final performance as Pi Patel on Sunday, July 9th.  Cast member Uma Paranjpe, in a gender flip, will be playing the role of Pi beginning Tuesday, July 11,

Broadway in Bryant Park in July: Back to the Future, Disney, Wicked…Moulin Rouge (pictured)

Philippe Arroyo as Francois Justin David Sullivan as May in & Juliet

Happy Pride: LGBTQ characters in 8 current Broadway shows

The 46th class of Kennedy Center honorees (the first three of whom have Broadway credits)

actor and comedian Billy Crystal

Opera star Renee Fleming

Bee Gees’ Barry Gibb

Hip hop pioneer and actress Queen Latifah

Singer Dionne Warwick

The ceremony will take place Dec. 3 and be broadcast at a later date

In Memoriam

Sheldon Harnick, 99, lyricist with Jerry Bock of “Fiddler on the Roof,” “Fiorello!” “She Loves Me,” and many more.
Harnick was one of the three great lyricists of musical theater in his era (the others were Stephen Sondheim and Fred Ebb.) Only Harnick’s work on Fiddler “was widely known outside the world of theater lovers. But within that world, his subtle craft and character insight were universally acknowledged. Sondheim called his lyrics ‘impeccable.’”

Paxton Whitehead, 85, actor and writer best known for playing stuffy characters on TV shows like Friends but also a 17-time Broadway veteran, including a Tony nominee for his role in Camelot.

Jack Goldstein, 74, former TDF executive director and, before that, head of Save The Theaters, which pushed to have 27 Broadway theaters landmarked after five were destroyed by real estate developers.

This Week’s Theater Video

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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