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Hair Hits 50. Lin-Manuel Asks Sondheim. The Boss Extends. Week in NY Theater

Fifty years ago, Hair was the very first show to play in the old Astor mansion, which was transformed into Joseph Papp’s first year-round Public Theater. (even though it feels like the Public has always been with us)

An assistant director of the original production recalls the new “love-rock musical” at the old Astor Library that Joseph Papp had convinced New York City to rent him for $1 a year

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Annie Baker, Taylor Mac win MacArthur Genius Awards. Is Acting Dangerous? Week in New York Theater

Playwright Annie Baker and multidimensional theater artist Taylor Mac are among the 24 winners of the 2017 Macarthur Foundation “Genius” Grants.

Baker, 36, whose “The Flick” won the 2014 Pulitzer Prize, was recognized for “mining the minutiae of how we speak, act, and relate to one another and the absurdity and tragedy that result from the limitations of language.”

Mac, 44, whose 24 Decade History of Popular Music  took place over a continuous 24 hours and was a Pulitzer finalist, was recognized for “engaging audiences as active participants in works that dramatize the power of theater as a space for building community.”

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Broadway Rockers: Cher. Springsteen. Mraz. Week in New York Theater

Three performers who have collectively waited 179 years to make their Broadway debuts haven spent the time getting pretty well-known outside the Great White Way. For those unacquainted with these singer/songwriter/musicians, below are a few videos of them in performance, followed by Broadway news about each one, plus a Hamilton photo show, blockbuster blues, and new tech that makes theatergoing easier for the hearing impaired. Oh, and watch Aaron Tveit sing the national anthem in Yankee Stadium.

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Idina Gets Married; Soo Too. Top 10 Plays. Fall Awards. Week in NY Theater

Late September is a time for…..weddings, apparently. Idina Menzel married her “Rent” co-star Aaron Lohr; Steven Pasquale married Phillipa Soo; and Andrew Keenan-Bolger announced his engagement to Daily Beast editor Scott Bixby

This is also the time for a raft of theater awards, a new stage adaptation of a Julia Roberts movie aiming for Broadway, a raft of new openings – and the top 10 plays and playwrights of the new season. Read more of this post

Broadway on TV. Another Audra Award. Week in New York Theater

The nominees for the 69th annual Emmy Awards include, as usual, many whom theatergoers like to claim as our own. All the Emmy-nominated performers pictured above are Broadway veterans, although (let’s be honest), how many can we say are committed theater artists?

Still…

In any case, PBS will be broadcasting recordings of recent Broadway shows every Friday in the Fall. (See schedule below.)

This week in New York theater, Audra McDonald and Tommy Tune each got yet more theater awards; Hillary Clinton told of the healing power of Broadway; John Lithgow and Condola Rashad announced new starring roles on stage; Mandy Gonzalez dedicated a new Lin-Manuel Miranda song to Dreamers, and Barry Diller killed his dream of a floating theater in the Hudson.

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Coming to Broadway: Angels in America, Mean Girls, To Kill A Mockingbird. Week in NY Theater

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This is a time of natural disasters, which dwarf everything else, including the steady assault of man-made disasters (even major anniversaries), if only for the moment. Of course, people are debating how much of the natural disasters ARE man-made.

Kristen Bell sings from Frozen to a group shelter full of evacuees from Hurricane Irma

1984 2 Photo Credit: Julieta Cervantes

In Dramatizing Dystopia, I list how much popular literature of oppressive societies has been adapted for the stage – not just 1984, currently on Broadway, but The Handmaid’s Tale, Brave New World, A Clockwork Orange, and more – and wonder why this trend exists. The easy and most common answer is that it’s a response to American political events. One commenter perhaps unintentionally raised a provocative thought: Are more and more people viewing stories like 1984 as an increasingly plausible reality, the fear and threat of such an outcome causing more of us to embrace us-versus-them extremism and eschew nuance?

A Clockwork Orange at New World Stages 1

A production of “A Clockwork Orange” is opening this month Off-Broadway, one of the several September New York theater openings that feature sex and violence — also sex, drugs and rock n roll.

Angels in America is coming back on Broadway, with Andrew Garfield, and Nathan Lane as Roy Cohn. It opens March 21 at Neil Simon Theater, a transfer from the UK’s National Theatre.
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Diva Additions: Bernadette! Phillipa! The New Season for Cheap. Week in NY Theater

 

The New York theater season is officially underway  (Check out my Broadway 2017-2018 Preview Guide, and my Off-Broadway Fall 2017 Preview Guide) – and there are incentives to get our butts in their seats for the traditionally slow month of September:

Broadway

Broadway Week – September 4 – 17,  offering two ticket for the price of one,

Off-Broadway

20at20 – September 4 to September 24 — $20 tickets to shows Off-Broadway

Off-Off Broadway

This summer, there was no 21st New York International Fringe Festival, but there IS a 12th annual Fringe Encores, from September 5 – October 22, with shows from other fringe festivals — Hollywood, Edinburgh, Adelaide, Brighton and Winnipeg, all at SoHo Playhouse

The Flea’s new $18 million theater complex has opened with its first play, Inanimate (my review), about the love that one character feels for an inanimate object – in her case, a Dairy Queen sign. This seems apt because of the feelings theatergoers have for the many buildings that house the shows we’ll be seeing in the 2017-2018 season.

The new Flea theater

August 2017 New York Theater Quiz

Week in New York Theater News

Bernadette Peters will take over the title role of Hello, Dolly! from Bette Midler, whose final performance will be January 14.  Ms. Peters will begin on January 20, 2018, and get an official opening on February 22. Victor Garber will join the cast as Horace Vandergelder, the man Dolly is trying to snatch as her second husband.

Bernadette Peters has had a remarkable 60-year career in show business.

 

 

“Carousel” will open at the Imperial Theater April 12, 2018 with Betsy Wolfe, Margaret Colin and Alexander Gemignani joining the already announced cast of Joshua Henry, Renee Fleming and Jessie Mueller.

Alison PIll joins Glenda Jackson and Laurie Metcalf in “Three Tall Women,” by Edward Albee, Opens March 29, 2018 at the Golden Theater

Phillipa Soo (Great Comet, Hamilton, Amelie) will be joining Uma Thurman in the cast of The Parisian Woman, a new play written by Beau Willimon (“House of Cards”) and directed by Pam MacKinnon (“Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?”). Marton Csokas will be making his Broadway debut. It opens November 30 at Hudson Theater.

 

Springsteen on Broadway has been extended more than two months! Now October 3 through February 3, 2018. Opening Oct 12 at Walter Kerr.