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#Hamildrop 2, with Lin-Manuel Miranda: Wrote My Way Out

Nas, Dave East, Lin-Manuel Miranda and Aloe Blacc perform “Wrote My Way Out” the second of the promised monthly #Hamildrop series, which replace the initially proposed second volume of The Hamilton Mixtape.

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Brit Crits love Hamilton, but what about King George?

“Hamilton” opened on the West End Thursday night. If it should come as no surprise that London critics, as much as New York ones, give largely ecstatic reviews of the hip-hop musical about one of America’s Founding Fathers, what I was curious about is: How would they react as British subjects to the subject of the American revolution? And specifically, what would they feel about the comic caricature of King George III?

Below are relevant excerpts, and links to the full reviews.
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Lin-Manuel Miranda et al Almost Like Praying

Theaterlovers will recognize the sample from the song “Maria,” from West Side Story,” — “Say it soft and it’s almost like praying.” Puerto Ricans will recognize the names of all 78 municipalities on the island of Puerto Rico. On Friday, Lin-Manuel Miranda’s “Almost Like Praying” paid tribute to the island devastated by Hurricane Maria.

Proceeds go to  Hispanic Federation Unidos Disaster Relief fund.

Vocals performed by Marc Anthony, Ruben Blades, Camila Cabello, Pedro Capo, Dessa, Gloria Estefan, Fat Joe, Luis Fonsi, Juan Luis Guerra, Alex Lacamoire, John Leguizamo, Jennifer Lopez, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Rita Moreno, Ednita Nazario, Joell Ortiz, Anthony Ramos, Gina Rodriguez, Gilberto Santa Rosa, PJ Sin Suela, Tommy Torres, Ana Villafañe

Lin-Manuel Miranda Pleas for Puerto Rico

By Lin-Manuel Miranda

Puerto Rico—my family’s island, America’s island—is in desperate need of supplies and resources.
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Lin-Manuel Miranda Surprise Q & A at BroadwayCon: “Astounded by the ripples”

Lin-Manuel Miranda Bring It On

Lin-Manuel Miranda appeared at BroadwayCon 2017, via FaceTime from London.

Do you have any advice for people pursuing theatre in college?
Lin-Manuel Miranda: The answer is this: Study all the things that you don’t want to go into in theatre. Study lighting. Do all the things. For my theatre major, I did makeup, I ran lights, I did sound design, I sewed costumes, and that stuff comes in incredibly handy when you work with other people. Theatre is all about collaboration, so you have to actually understand a bit of the job your collaborators are doing, so that you can speak to them fluently. And then the other thing is take, like, whatever you’re interested in—I promise it will come in handy. Tommy Kail was an American History major; it came in pretty handy when we had this idea. So that’s my advice. Do what you’re passionate about.

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What are you up to next?
I’m here in London through June, shooting this movie. It’s a long shoot. It’s going to be a big ole movie! And then I have no idea. I think I have to start writing the next thing. That’s all I got.

Is there any tap dancing in Mary Poppins, and would you like to do a tap-off if there is?
Can my answer be yes and no? I don’t have any tap dancing in this movie, but I have a lot of dancing in this movie. I am dancing for days, which is exciting and terrifying, but it’s really fun. Think of the first Mary Poppins; I’m doing that much dancing.

Being in London and putting on Hamilton in the West End, how can that be different from here because it’s not their history? They’re the enemy.
I guess we will find out!
I wanted to know what your favorite part of Hamilton is—putting it together, what has your favorite part been?
Right now, my favorite part is seeing the ripples across the pond. It’s seeing people in costume, it’s seeing Hamilton quotes at the Women’s March last weekend, it’s people [embracing] immigrants this weekend. It’s the way that people have taken this thing into their hearts and used it to reflect their lives. That’s what part of it is supposed to do, and I keep getting astounded by the ripples that come back and am humbled by them.… Whether that’s the aforementioned things or seeing Pippa [Soo], Jas [Cephas Jones], and Renée [Elise Goldsberry] sing at the Super Bowl. I just started planting seeds with artists for Volume Two of the Mixtape. Some crazy things are gonna happen. [Laughs.] That’s all I can say because nothing is really in stone yet, but we’ve got some really exciting artists lined up, who are just—again—inspired by the thing at making their own things. That’s all you can hope for.

If you could play a different role in Hamilton, would you, and what would it be?
I would play Angelica. I don’t know that I could do it eight times a week.

What parts in Hamilton or In the Heights do you think could be played by the opposite gender?
That’s a great question. The challenge is always keys and making it singable, depending on where your voice is, but I think that we’re going to see anything and everything, and I think that’s great. That’s going to be the fun of watching the show evolve over the course of many years. It’s exciting. We’re at the beginning of Hamilton, you guys. It’s just starting. That’s what’s crazy about the life of a show. I went to see one of the first high school productions of Les Miz. My buddy had a little brother in the show. It was near D.C., and I will never forget one of the parents saying, “My daughter is the third prostitute from the left.” It was amazing to see. That was the first Broadway show I ever saw, and then to see these kids take ownership, it was like the most inspiring thing I’ve ever seen. It takes on a whole other level when it’s your own show, and I think we’re going to see lots of permutations in years to come, so have at it!

Lin-Manuel Miranda as host of Saturday Night Live

 

As the host of Saturday Night Live, Lin-Manuel Miranda appeared in some half-dozen sketches (see photo collage below with links to the videos.) None were more satisfying than his  opening monologue. (link to video below.)

“It takes seven years to write a show, so I don’t know when I’m going to be back here.”

“Hamilton is one of the biggest hits ever on Broadway so that means most of you at home have no idea who I am.”

 The monologue segued into a rap that included a confrontation with the photograph of Donald Trump in the SNL hallway.

There were references during the show to The Music Man. Rent. Footloose. Hamilton. Grease 2. and Godspell.  And there were commercials for The Lion King, Aladdin, Hello Dolly, The Book of Mormon,The  Front Page, Les Liaisons Dangereuses, The Encounter, Hairspray Live coming to NBC, andHamilton’s America, the PBS documentary that will be broadcast October 21st.

 

Click on any photograph to see it enlarged, and to find the link to the video. (The most worthwhile are Wells Fargo Wagon and Diego Calls His Mom.)

 

Grumpy and Light on Stage. #IdentityWeek Pioneering Artists. Week in New York Theater

Theater has been represented for thousands of years by the tragedy and comedy masks — and this week, by Grumpy the cat’s one-night gig in Cats and the opening of Judith Light’s solo turn in a new Neil LaBute play.

grumpyandlight

 

The analogy is inexact, since the Light play is largely dark.

To Larry Kramer, there isn’t enough darkness on stage.  “It’s a terrible place, the world. Where are our tragedy writers? I don’t see them,”  Kramer said in the Pioneering Artists Identity Week panel discussion this week, sharing the stage with Anne Bogart, Ntozake Shange and George C. Wolfe,  (Scroll to the bottom.)

Grumpy, on the other hand, seems content:

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OCTOBER OPENINGS

SEPTEMBER NY THEATER QUIZ

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WEEK IN NY THEATER REVIEWS

 Phillip James Brannon as Nat Turner

Phillip James Brannon as Nat Turner

Nat Turner in Jerusalem

Nat Turner in Jerusalem, a new play by Nathan Alan Davis at New York Theatre Workshop, is yet another retelling of Nat Turner’s 1831 slave insurrection, a story that has been told and retold for nearly two centuries – and will be told again in The Birth of a Nation, a film by Nate Parker opening October 7.…The experience of actually sitting through the 90 minutes of Nat Turner in Jerusalem is not as rewarding as one would hope.

Elliot Hadly, Adi Chugh, Cesare Scarpone

Elliot Hadly, Adi Chugh, Cesare Scarpone

5 Guys Chillin’

here are two ways to take “5 Guys Chillin’,” Peter Darney’s play in the Fringe Encore series that takes place among five half-naked gay characters at a drug-fueled sex party. One is as a seductive entertainment in which fit young performers are dancing and smiling and snuggling and generally seem to be having fun, at least initially…The other is as something of a public service announcement by writer and director Peter Darney, who, like the Larry Kramer of his generation, is warning members of the gay community about self-destructive excess.

Judith Light 3

All The Ways to Say I Love You

Those of us who have followed her splendid career since Judith Light returned to the New York stage in 2010 welcomed the news that she would be appearing in a new solo play written by Neil LaBute. As expected, Light is the best thing about it. What’s less expected is how slight the play is.

“All The Ways To Say I Love You” is a monologue less than an hour long by a high school English teacher named Mrs. Johnson, standing in her drab office telling the audience about her experiences with one of her former students. Having been manipulative and deceitful with both the boy and her husband, Mrs. Johnson is in large measure trying to justify her actions to us, and to herself, in the name of love

trial-2-michael-rogers_tony-carlin_photokennahoum

The Trial of an American President

President George W. Bush was convicted of war crimes at the International Criminal Court in the Hague, on the night I attended The Trial of an American President, an earnest, informative and flawed mock trial. The jury voted 5-4, which is not bad, considering the circumstances.

After all, the jurors were selected at random from an audience at Theatre Row on the liberal West Side of Manhattan. And if first-time playwright Dick Tarlow and co-author Bill Smith do attempt to provide the 43rd president with a defense, it’s not an especially vigorous one

WEEK IN NY THEATER NEWS

Soho Rep abruptly shut down its theater at 46 Walker st, where it has operated since 1991, and is looking for a new home.

The 71st annual Tony Awards is set for June 11, 2017.

kevin-kline

Kevin Kline returns to Broadway after a decade, in revival of Noel Coward’s Present Laughter. Opens April 5 at St. James Theater.

Garth Drabinsky,Broadway producer once jailed for fraud, plans comeback with “Sousatzka,” a musical about piano teacher and a prodigy, aiming for October 17. The musical is based on a novel that also was adapted as a movie starring Shirley MacLaine.

kateburton

Kate Burton will star in “The Dead, 1904” described as “an immersive adaptation of Joyce’s The Dead.” Irish Rep November 19-January 7

sarahruhl

Sarah Ruhl (Stage Kiss, Clean House) wins the 2016 Steinberg Distinguished Playwright Award (the Mimi), and $200,000.

Ruhl has a new play at Lincoln Center – “How to Transcend a Happy Marriage,” opening March 20

elizabeth-lecompte

The $300,000 Gish Prize awarded to Elizabeth LeCompte, artistic director of The Wooster Group,  for her contribution to the world’s beauty

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“Lin-Manuel Miranda is ready for his next coup”

Lin-Manuel Miranda will be the host of Saturday Night Live on October 8

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$40 online lottery for Falsettos (up to a week before performance)  Show opens October 27

frozen_film_still_billboard

It’s official: Michael Grandage (Tony winner for Red) to direct Frozen on Broadway, which is aiming to open Spring 2018

jewvsmalta

“Jew vs. Malta” at LaMaMa ETC October 28 to November 6, is based on Christopher Marlowe’s “The Jew of Malta”, the political theater of Bertolt Brecht and Kanye West’s album “yeezus.”

Disney to make live-action ‘Lion King,’ Favreau directing 

Broadway comes out for Hillary Clinton in #StrongerTogether fundraiser Oct 17,St.James Theater

stronger-together-pro-hillary

 

 

Who gets to write what? (If you’re Chinese-American, can you write about a black person who’s about to be lynched?

 

A Celebration of Pioneering Artists.

Playwright and director George C. Wolfe, playwright and poet Ntozake Shange, playwright and novelist Larry Kramer before the Identity Week panel.

Playwright and director George C. Wolfe, playwright and poet Ntozake Shange, playwright and novelist Larry Kramer before the Identity Week panel.

identityweekpanelWatch hour-long video of Identity Week panel with Larry Kramer, Ntozake Shange, George C. Wolfe and Ann Bogart

Tweetable excerpts:

Larry Kramer (“The Normal Heart”)
“I think anger is a very healthy emotion. But it’s good to nurture & learn how to express.”

“It’s a terrible place, the world. Where are our tragedy writers? I don’t see them.”

“If you believe enough in your work, keep going.”

Ntozake Shange (“for colored girls who have considered suicide when the rainbow is enuf”)
“I realized I liked working with myself better than working with other people.” – Dr. Shange. Cue all the laughter. #identityweek
“I want to open a character up so much that the audience feels like it is walking in their shoes.”
“You find out what’s wrong with your work when you do it in front of people.”
“Theatre work has to have room for sweat, tears and laughter. It’s not meant to be perfect.”

Anne Bogart, artistic director of SITI, Saratoga International Theater Institute
“I went through the back door to make theatre. Quite often the front door isn’t available to all of us.”
“Take the elixir of anger, and use it to create and move forward.”
“I think theatre is the most important art form right now. Because it asks, How are we getting along?”
“You get embarrassed by how people react. And then you correct yourself from those embarrassments.”

“If theatre were a verb it would be ‘to remember.'”

George C. Wolfe (“Shuffle Along,” “Jelly’s Last Jam”)
All these “no’s” make you say “yes” to yourself. Then you start the journey.

“When a film has power, you lean back. When a play has power, you lean forward.”

“When you encounter failure, don’t walk away. Walk through the failure. Figure out what you did wrong.”

“One of the core responsibilities as an artist is empowering an audience to change the world.”