The Outsiders on Broadway. Fall Theater Seasons. #Stageworthy News

Best to think of a Fall full of theater during these final summer days wracked by climate change disasters, indictments and dubious debates. It’s not too early to get two-for-one tickets to Broadway Week, which will run September 4 to 17, nor to look over the Broadway 2023-2024 season, which ends the summer with a week of magic (see my review.)

Some Fall culture previews are already posted, such as one on theater by Helen Shaw in The New Yorker recommending  “Barn-Burner Sondheim, Irish Drama, Antic Musicals

Below is a look at the forthcoming seasons as recently announced by three stalwart Off and Off-Off Broadway theaters who deserve the attention: La MaMa, Ars Nova, and Playwrights Horizons.

The Week in New York Theater Reviews

El Mago Pop

This latest magic show to land fleetingly on Broadway stars Antonio Diaz, a boyishly charming 37-year-old Spaniard who we’re told was “born into a humble family in a small town on the outskirts of Barcelona” and is now “the most successful illusionist the continent of Europe has ever produced.” 

Hype of course is a standard tool in the magician’s trade, but it’s a tad out of whack in “El Mago Pop.” Before we even get to any of Diaz’s entertaining mix of sleight-of-hand, disappearing acts, and dizzying illusions of flying, levitating or going backwards in time,  we get ten minutes or so of self-promotional video – this, in a show that ran only about seventy minutes at the performance I attended… Full Review 

Theater Season Announcements

La MaMa Fall 2023:

–BIG TRIP by Krymov Lab NYC, directed by Dmitry Krymov. Explores American and Russian cultures past and present through unique theatrical adaptations of such iconic writers as Hemingway, Pushkin and O’Neill. (Sept. 23-Oct. 15)

–HELEN, written by Cailin George, directed by Violeta Picayo. A SuperGeographics and En Garde Arts production of a funny, feminist riff on a familiar myth, (Oct. 12-29, 2023)

–HEBEL by Palissimo Company, directed and choreographed by Pavel Zustiak. Hebel – from the ancient Book of Ecclesiastes with its various translations from vanity to absurdity – asks “What do you take from all your work?” and draws us into a charged exploration of our life’s quest for meaning. (Oct. 19-22, 2023)

–LA MAMA PUPPET FESTIVAL curated by Denise Greber. This international collection of puppet works includes shows by Tom Lee, Dan Hurlin, Maria Camia, Maiko Kikuchi, Les Sages Fous, Aaron Haskell, Jump Start: puppet works in progress by four resident artists: Charlotte Lily Gaspard, Evolve Puppets, Tristan Allen and Marcella Murray. Other events include: La MaMa Kids family programming with The Gottabees (Bonnie Duncan) and Puzzle Theatre; and the La MaMa Puppet Slam curated by Jane Catherine Shaw. (Nov. 2-18, 2023)

–IN HELL WITH JESUS by Ivo Dimchev. The U.S. premiere of the Bulgarian choreographer/singer/songwriter’s performance about six people who are resurrected after having been gunned down in a gay bar.  A visual artist as well, Dimchev is known for his works Facebook Theater, X-On And Lili Handel. (Nov. 16-26, 2023)

— UNISSON, RUSH, DISTANCES A TRIPTYCH by choreographer/performer Ashley Chen, founder of dance company Kashyl. Mr. Chen has set his newest work – a triptych – with 8 dancers in an exploration of how movement can be a tool to forge a sense of sharing and unity as part of Villa Albertine’s 2023 Dance Season. (Nov. 30-Dec. 10, 2023)

–A STARLESS DEEPa new music-theatre work by Dane Terry.  Dane Terry is a multi-media story-maker, performer and composer. He has made stories and music for all sorts of rooms and situations and with all sorts of people.(Dec. 1-10, 2023)

–CHRISTMAS IN NICKYLAND, curated and hosted by Nicky Paraiso. A downtown holiday favorite with Nicky Paraiso as the master of ceremonies. Each night there will be a holy host of characters singing, dancing, gender-bending, and merry making, all to get you into the East Village spirit of the season. (Dec. 16-17, 2023)

–ROSE: YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT written and performed by John Jarboe, directed by MK Tuomanen. A theatrical co-world-premiere with Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company and Cultural DC. Described as a true story – told to Mr. Jarboe, a twin, by his aunt – of fetal cannibalism and gender feasting, set to music. (Jan. 5-15, 2024)

–OF THE NIGHTINGALE I ENVY THE FATE by Motus and directed by Daniela Nicolò, Enrico Casagrande with Stefania Tansini; dramaturgy Daniela Nicolò.  A contemporary exploration of the Oresteia by Italy’s Motus (MDLSX, Nella Tempesta at La MaMa) with Stefania Tansini as the prophetess Cassandra. (Jan. 10-14, 2024)

–CHORNOBYLDORF: ARCHEOLOGICAL OPERA IN SEVEN NOVELS part of thePrototype Festival, Composed and directed by Roman Grygoriv and Ilia RazumeikoLibretto by Yurii Izdryk, Publii Ovidii Nazon, Ivan Kotlyarevskyy, and Ilia Razumeiko Chornoblydorf is a Ukrainian post-apocalyptic fantasy, which combines folk and classical singing with physical theater, dance, unique musical instruments and cinematic video-novels. (Jan. 11-21, 2024)

Ars Nova’s season of more than 50 events includes two world premieres

(pray), Created by nicHi douglas with Music by S T A R R Busby, JJJJJerome Ellis, Directed & Choreographed by nicHi douglas,
Channeling the joy and vitality of a Sunday Baptist Church service through a surreal and Afrofuturist lens September 23–October 28

Travels, by James Harrison Monaco, Directed by Andrew Scoville, 
Using synthesizers with storytelling to share accounts of modern-day travel – from vacation to work trips, border-crossing, asylum-seeking and long-distance relationship
March 15–April 13

Digital Streaming Platform Ars Nova Supra Continues With Mix of Live Broadcasts & On-Demand Content

Playwrights Horizons offers a new season of six new plays — from David Adjmi and Will Butler, Michael R. Jackson and Anna K. Jacobs, Abe Koogler. it also announced commissions from Agnes Borinsky, Jordan E. Cooper, Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, Antoinette Chinonye Nwandu and Vera Starboard.

The Works & Process season at the Guggenheim museum will feature such theater-related evenings as a look at Gutenberg The Musical (Sept 10) Josh Gad, Andrew Rannells, Scott Brown, Anthony King, and Alex Timbers and Chita Rivera in conversation with Patrick Pacheco (Nov 6)

The Week in New York Theater News and Views

“The Outsiders” is a coming to Broadway. The new musical is based on the 1967 novel written by S.E. Hinton when she was a teenager and the 1983 movie by Francis Ford Coppola that introduced several future movie stars. It will begin previews Saturday, March 16, 2024 ahead of a Thursday, April 11, 2024 opening night — the first announced Broadway show for the always-crowded month of April. More details at the Broadway 2023-2024 season preview guide. (The cast for the musical has yet to be announced.)

The third-annual free Curtain Up Broadway Festival outdoors in Times Square September 8 to 10, culminating in a concert that Sunday morning.

Peter Schumann’s Bread and Puppet Theater is going strong and, at 89, so is he. But what will happen to his company when he is gone? (NY Times)

Rock & Roll Man will play its final performance Off-Broadway at New World Stages September 1. 

“Sweeney Todd” star Josh Groban has contracted COVID, and will be replaced by understudy Nicholas Christopher during the duration of his illness.

An argument for more captioning in theater?

In the streaming era, as video consumption shifts from movie theaters toward content shrunk down for televisions, tablets and smartphones, making dialogue crisp and clear has become the entertainment world’s toughest technology challenge. About 50 percent of Americans — and the majority of young people — watch videos with subtitles on most of the time, according to surveys, in large part because they are struggling to decipher what actors are saying. (NY Times)

On earplugs (Wirecutter)

In his slyly entitled essay Cancel Shakespeare, Shakespeare dramaturg and lecturer Drew Lichtenburg gives examples of how “one can no more take out the dirty parts of Shakespeare than one can take out the poetry” in response the news that school district officials in Hillsborough County, Fla., said that they were preparing high school lessons for the new academic year with some of William Shakespeare’s works taught only with excerpts, partly in keeping with Gov. Ron DeSantis’s legislation about what students can or can’t be exposed to.

In Memoriam

Ron Cephas Jones, 66, a poet and actor best known for his role in the TV series “This is Us,” (and for his daughter Jasmine Cephas Jones), but also a mainstay of Off-Broadway, a lauded interpreter of the plays by Stephen Adly Guirgis and August Wilson, a Tony nominee for the Lynn Nottage play Clyde’s.

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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