Frozen Breaks The Ice. Indecent Lives On, With Pride! Week in New York Theater

Indecent, which announced it would close on Broadway today, suddenly reversed itself this week, and will play on until August 5.
It seems a fitting Pride Day gift for this backstage play about the first Broadway show to feature a kiss between two women.

Khris Davis and Will Pullen

Sweat is closing today, but TCG is publishing Lynn Nottage’s script. The play, which won Nottage her second Pulitzer Prize for Drama, will surely have a life after Broadway.

Sunset Boulevard also closes today.

Ticket Giveaway

What play has most moved you? Answer here to win two ticket to Horton Foote’s The Traveling Lady

Online Archives – 1

The Brooklyn Academy of Music has a new online archives.


Online Archives – 2

The Royal Shakespeare Company has a new online archives with 3,000 photographs from 200 RSC productions
(eg Hamlet, 1936-2016)

Week in NY Theater Reviews

In A Word

Lauren Yee’s “in a word” is, on one level, about a married couple whose seven-year-old son has been missing for two years, the mother’s grief and guilt causing a breakdown in her relationship with her husband, and also in her relationship with reality. But what most distinguishes this intriguing puzzle of a play is the playwright’s concerns with the concomitant breakdown in language.

The Traveling Lady

Like much of the rest of the body of Horton Foote’s work, which numbers some 60 dramas, “The Traveling Lady,” is poignant, gently amusing, and peopled with believable small-town characters who struggle and strive to be decent, not always successfully.


The stage version as written and directed by British theater stars Robert Icke and Duncan Macmillan is certainly an intense and disorienting experience, with a fine cast featuring a spot-on Reed Birney, a stirring Tom Sturridge and Olivia Wilde in a memorable Broadway debut; as well as some attention-grabbing stagecraft executed with technically impressive precision….or all the ample reminders in “1984” the play of why “1984” the novel is so unsettling, fans of the horror movie genre might find more to appreciate here than those theatergoers who have come to the Hudson Theater expecting some special intellectual, emotional or contemporary political illumination of George Orwell’s dystopian novel.

Week in New York Theater News

CATS will play its final performance a Dec 30, after 16 previews & 593 regular performances

(l-r) Tony Shalhoub and Katrina Lenk in The Band’s Visit

The Off- Broadway cast of The Bands Visit will stay intact when the musical opens on Broadway on November 9 — including Tony Shalhoub, Kartina Lenk and John Cariani.


As usual, Powerhouse Theater at Vassar College is offering an intriguing summer of developing shows, including a musical adaptation of The Secret Life of Bees with book by Lynn Nottage and score by Duncan Sheik; and a reading of  Diana, a musical about Princess Di




Tony Fallout. Bard Targeted. The Boss on Broadway? Week in NY and San Francisco Theater

Tony Epilogue

Within days of the Tony Awards (List of winners. Best moments) and the triumph of Dear Evan Hansen, three plays announced they were closing in June. Two of them – Indecent and Sweat (both closing June 25) – marked the Broadway debuts of two acclaimed, Pulitzer-prize winning women playwrights. (Sweat did not win any of the Tony for which it was nominated, but Indecent won two!)
Indecent playwright Paula Vogel blamed the co-chief critics of the New York Times

Sweat playwright Lynn Nottage seconded

I put some blame on the Tony Awards broadcast: If they would give straight plays the attention they deserve, Sweat, Indecent etc could find their audience.

Whatever the reasons, something is amiss.

New Broadway Season

If the Broadway season had a bittersweet epilogue, we are already in the prologue to the new season, which officially launches Thursday with the opening of 1984:

Broadway 2017-2018 Preview Guide


After hammering criticism on social media by advocates on the political right, both Delta and Bank of America rescinded their funding for the Public Theater’s production of Julius Caesar at Shakespeare in the Park, for depicting a Trump-like Caesar. Protesters subsequently interrupted the play.
The Public’s Julius Caesar ends its run today, but this is unlikely to stop the attacks. According to news reports, Shakespeare companies across the country are being targeted on social media for the Public Theater’s production of Julius Caesar. Are the attackers confused, or doesn’t the distinction matter to them?

More on the Julius Caesar flap – photos, news reports, commentaries, reviews.


Week in New York Theater News

Preliminary rating for the Tony broadcast shows steep 31% decline from 2016 – a 4.7 rating, way down from 6.8 in 2016. The number of viewers will wind up being about six million.

The Pearl Theatre Co. filed for bankruptcy, and is closing after 33 years.

2017 summer schedule for free Broadway in Bryant Park lunchtime concerts (including Come From Away, Great Comet, Groundhog Day, and Anastasia.)

Cast completed for Frozen, headed to the St. James Broadway in Spring 2018

Week in San Francisco Theater

I spent the week in San Francisco, attending the annual American Theatre Critics Association conference.

I reviewed two shows aiming for Broadway:

Stephanie Styles and Drew Gehling

Roman Holiday

“Roman Holiday,” a musical running briefly at San Francisco’s Golden Theater in a traditional pre-Broadway tryout, grafts more than a dozen songs by Cole Porter onto the 1953 movie that turned Audrey Hepburn into a star….It’s tempting to call “Roman Holiday” an inefficient delivery system for Cole Porter’s hits. There’s [little] rationale for its existence.

(foreground) Kuhoo Verma (Aditi Verma) and Michael Maliakel (Hemant Rai); (background) Mahira Kakkar (Pimmi Verma), Rohan Gupta (Varun Verma), and Sharvari Deshpande (Ria Verma).

Monsoon Wedding

Mira Nair…is directing a musical adaptation of her 2001 film Monsoon Wedding that is currently on stage at the Berkeley Repertory Theater, with plans to move to Broadway.

Let’s hope it does. The story of the many family members who converge on Delhi for an arranged marriage is lively, colorful, and tuneful. It also has something to say

From this week’s American Theatre Critics Association panel discussions:

Bay Area designers

Choreographer Kimberly Richards: Choreography is not just the dancing; it’s all the movement. That’s often overlooked.

Scenic designer Nina Ball’s advice to critics: “Get to know what we work with — scale, harmony, line, space.”

Costume designer Abra Berman: My aim in modern dress shows is for costumes to so subtly enhance the characters that they’re not noticed –

Shakespeare: The Second 400 Years with five artistic directors of Shakespeare theater companies in the Bay Area.

William J. Brown, Arabian Shakespeare Festival; Leslie Schisgall Currier, Marin Shakespeare Company, , moderator Philippa Kelly, L. Peter Callender, African-American Shakespeare Company, Eric Ting, California Shakespeare Theater, Rebecca Ennals, San Francisco Shakespeare Festival

John Simon said black people couldn’t do Shakespeare. I wanted my life to prove him wrong — L. Peter Callender, founding artistic director of the African-American Shakespeare Company.

There’s a distinction between theater and museums. We can’t separate what’s on stage from the issues affecting a present-day audience – Eric Ting, California Shakespeare Theater

We start teaching Shakespeare too late. We should be teaching it when kids are five and learning new words all the time. -Rebecca Ennals of San Francisco Shakespeare Festival

Perspectives on Criticism

Bay Area critics: Robert Hurwitt (retired from the San Francisco Chronicle), Karen D’Souza (San Jose Mercury News), Lily Janice (new critic at San Francisco Chronicle.)

Birth of a critic:”I was poor, I was in grad school, I couldn’t afford to go to theater” (free tix!) – Karen D’Souza

A lot of my career was pushing for more arts coverage –  Robert Hurwitt retired recently after ~40 years as a critic

I didn’t consider myself a journalist, but reporting is an important part of every review I write – Lily Janiak



A play is not complete until somebody weighs in who’s not part of the production. That’s part of theater – Lily Janiak

The Play’s The Thing: Critics and New Work.

Panel with five Bay Area playwrights: Aaron Loeb, Stuart Bousel, Christopher Chen, moderator Amy Mueller (director and producer), Michael Gene Sullivan, Lauren Gunderson.

Aaron Loeb sees critics as useful for “blowing on your ember” — which becomes a catchphrase for the hour. Loeb advice to critics: “Engage with what the thing is, not what you wish it was.” One critic said of one of his plays: “This should have been a musical.”

Critics are supportive of new plays because I think they have stake in establishing theater identity – Chris Chen

“Theater is the anti-technology. You have to show up at the same time, and listen to live human beings. It’s the opposite of our devices and computers.” – Lauren Gunderson.


AR Gurney


Tony Awards Worldwide! SpongeBob on Broadway! Cyndi Lauper, Working Girl. Brendan Urie gets Kinky. Week in NY Theater

The 71st Annual Tony Awards will be shown on four continents, though not all will get to see it Sunday evening, June 11th.
Will this put extra pressure on Tony voters, whose ballots are due Friday at 5 p.m.?

The nominees don’t look pressured

Meanwhile, life, or at least theater, goes on:

June 2017 New York Theater Openings


Theatre World Awards

Broadway newcomers sum up the season

Drama Desk Awards

Tony Awards


Week in NY Theater Reviews

The End of Longing

“I would rather drink alcohol than do just about anything there is to do on the face of the planet,” Matthew Perry as Jack says to a woman he’s just met in “The End of Longing,” Perry’s debut play. “I drink for every occasion, both bad or good. I like it more than sports, more than family, and — present company excluded — I like it more than women. “
That line is the most intriguing in Perry’s play, preparing us for what in retrospect seems inevitable — Jack’s struggle to overcome his alcoholism… MCC’s production of “The End of Longing” comes off as better than the script deserves.

Ernest Shackleton Loves Me

“Ernest Shackleton Loves Me” may not be the only musical ever set in Antarctica or the only one that tells the story of a real-life polar explorer; it’s surely not the only musical about a struggling musician and single mother in Brooklyn. But it has to be the only musical that combines the two, when the early 20th century Arctic explorer Ernest Shackleton enters the studio of early 21st century composer Kat through her refrigerator. This charming, kooky, playful, tuneful, toe-tapping, original musical probably shouldn’t work as well as it does.

Week in NY Theater News


Playing at the Palace starting in November: SpongeBob SquarePants the musical


Cyndi Lauper soon to pen songs for a Broadway-aiming musical based on Working Girl, 1988 Melanie Griffith film


Behold @PublicTheaterNY’s 50th season! new work by @Lynnbrooklyn @ERSTheater takes on the Bard much more


Broadway Season Summed Up. Week in NY Theater


The 2016-17 Broadway season’s statistics, according to The Broadway League:

Shows that opened during season: 45
(eight of them not eligible for Tony Awards)

Attendance at all shows: 13,270,343 visitors
(down about .3 percent from 2015-16)

(up 5.5 percent from 2015-16)

Average ticket price: $109 (up from $103)

Revenue made a big jump, even though attendance has dipped slightly. The reason is primarily increased ticket prices

The hit musicals have shown no restraint in what they charge their customer

Top ticket price for

Hamilton: $849
Hello, Dolly: $748
Sunday in the Park with George (now closed): $499
Book of Mormon: $477

(Unmentioned in the Broadway League report: The top ticket price for a Broadway show has gone up 78 percent. It was a year ago, in other words, that Hamilton started charging $849. Before that, the Book of Mormon’s $477 was the top ticket price.)

The spin on this, from such as Broadway producer Barry Weissler, quoted in the New York Times: “It’s not about us charging more, it’s about the public wanting to see something they’re willing to pay for, and it’s an amazing credit to the work being done on Broadway.”

Such an argument absurdly absolving producers from any responsibility for their price gouging, will do nothing to bring Broadway back as a popular art and entertainment.

Amber Gray as Helene

But the numbers, of course, don’t get at what makes a season special. By any measure, Natasha, Pierre and The Great Comet of 1812 is doing fine with almost 100 percent attendance, 90 percent of “gross potential, and 12 Tony nominations, more than any other show. But the show is especially exciting to me because it has brought the concept of “immersive theater” to the proscenium stages of Broadway, thanks to its designers, primarily set designer Mimi Lien. How can you quantify the pleasure that Amber Gray gives by singing “Charming” in that musical? For that matter, how can you assign a number to Significant Other, a show that closed quickly, when it featured the memorably hilarious scene of Gideon Glick’s elaborate dance of indecision as he struggles with whether to click the key on his computer that will send the love e-mail?

Week in Awards

Katrina Link, of A Band’s Visit and Indecent, performing at the Obies


Better Midler accepts her OCC

Week in NY Theater Reviews

The Boy Who Danced on Air

In 2010, an Afghan journalist produced an hour-long documentary for PBS’ Frontline entitled The Dancing Boys of Afghanistan , about the illegal revival of an ancient tradition called Bacha Bazi (literally “boy play“), which involves wealthy men buying boys as young as 11 from their poor families, and training them in traditional dance, which they perform at all-male parties wearing women’s attire. The boys are often expected to gratify their masters sexually, and sometimes their masters’ friends as well.

That documentary “set us on  a half-decade journey of researching and writing,” composer Tim Rosser and wordsmith Charlie Sohne write in a program note for “The Boy Who Danced on Air,” their musical that uses the complex and unsettling context of the Bacha Bazi to tell a love story between two 16-year-old boys.

Building the Wall

“Building The Wall,” Robert Schenkkan’s chilling two character play that imagines the consequences of President Donald Trump’s anti-immigrant policies, is clearly meant to help rally the resistance…it is comparatively modest, even restrained. Yet it is also an intelligent, well-played and ultimately potent drama.

Can You Forgive Her?

By the end of “Can You Forgive Her?”, it’s not clear which of the five characters in Gina Gionfriddo’s latest comedy is the “You” of the title, and who is the “Her.” All the characters in one way or another are grappling with debts either financial or emotional, or both.

The Week in NY Theater News

(l-r) Tony Shalhoub and Katrina Lenk in The Band’s Visit

The Band’s Visit is moving to Broadway’s Ethel Barrymore Theater, set to open ons Nov 9, 2017. Although it closed at the Atlantic Theater Off-Broadway in January, it has been sweeping most theater awards this season. The musical, based on a 2007 independent film of the same name, will not necessarily have the same cast on Broadway.


New York City Opera will present the U.S. debut of the opera Brokeback Mountain in 2018

Michael Bloomberg donates $75 million to the new New York City arts center called The Shed.

What IS The Shed?

Glenda Jackson in Albee! Idina Menzel! King Kong! Summer Theater Begins. Week in NY Theater

Countdown to the Tonys is 20 days, but there is plenty  happening in New York theater right now — other theater awards, news of forthcoming Broadway attractions — and the summer theater season has already begun, with both Shakespeare in the Park and Club Thumb’s Summerworks underway.



2017 Drama League Awards
At 23, Ben Platt of Dear Evan Hansen is the youngest Drama League distinguished performer winner in the organization’s 83 years


The 8th Annual Lilly Awards Ceremony, which celebrates women of distinction in the American theater, will honor director Julie Taymor, Denée Benton (of Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812), Micki Grant, Toni-Leslie James, Mandy Greenfield, Madison Ferris (of “The Glass Menagerie”), and Beanie Feldstein (of “Hello, Dolly!). Stephen Schwartz will be this year’s Miss Lilly.  Cynthia Nixon, Ruben Santiago-Hudson, andDavid Henry Hwang are set to be presenters at the ceremony tonight at Playwrights Horizons


Also tonight: the 62nd Annual Obie Awards, which promises to be live streamed starting at 7 p.m..


Week in New York Theater Reviews

Chinas Ogbuagu

Sojourners and Her Portmanteau

When a young playwright is audacious enough to commit publicly to a nine-play cycle, the most appropriate response is encouragement. Mfoniso Udofia plans to follow four generations over 40 years of a single, Nigerian-American family, the Ufots. Two of the plays in the cycle, “Sojourners” and “Her Portmanteau,” are now playing in repertory at New York Theatre Workshop, with separate admissions and only one shared cast member. If these two plays are uneven, they offer the promise of an eventually enlightening and binge-worthy family saga that updates the story of Immigrant America.

John Ellison Coulee and Zainab Jah


Zainab Jah, who made an impressive Broadway debut as a sex slave turned soldier in Eclipsed, is back on a New York stage with another vivid portrayal of an exploited but strong African woman in Venus. Her performance is the best thing about director Lear deBessonet’s highly stylized, colorfully designed revival of this 1996 play by Suzan-Lori Parks — part of Signature Theater’s year-long look back at the work of the Pulitzer-winning playwright of Topdog/Underdog that began in November with The Death of the Last Black Man in the Whole Entire World.

The Whirligig

Julie is young, pretty, literate and dying. At its best, “The Whirligig,” a new play by Hamish Linklater, explores with humor and bite how her terminal illness affects the seven people around her….Linklater…manages to  salvage the play’s odd mix of the forlorn, funny and fanciful, by creating appealing and playable characters, who are portrayed, under Scott Elliott’s careful direction, by a fine eight-member cast.

Week in New York Theater News

After 30 years, Glenda Jackson  will return to Broadway in Edward Albee’s Three Tall Women, costarring Laurie Metcalf.
Three Tall Women, one of Albee’s three Pulitzer winning plays, is scheduled to open on March 29, 2018.

Jackson’s illustrious, Oscar winning career as an actress — blunt broads,  sexy sirens, and grande dames —  paused for 20 years as she became a successful British politician. She retired as a Member of Parliament in 2015.

Speaking of Albee:

Direct from Australia to Broadway Theater, Fall, 2018: the musical King Kong

Idina Menzel to star in Skintight by Joshua Harmon (Significant Other), in Roundabout’s Off-Broadway Laura Pels Theater, May 31-Aug 26.

Plot: Reeling from her ex-husband’s engagement to a much younger woman, Jodi Isaac (Menzel) turns to her famous fashion-designer dad for support. Instead, she finds him wrapped up in his West Village townhouse with Trey,who’s 20. And not necessarily gay, but probably an adult film star.

Broadway casting directors fight to unionize. They say they are the least protected workers in theater.  

Live Musicals on TV

ABC to broadcast live/animated mashup of The Little Mermaid on October 3, thus joining two other television networks in broadcasting live versions of musical theater. Recently announced:

Fox: A Christmas Story, Rent

NBC: Jesus Christ Superstar)

Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again!, a sequel to the hit film adaptation of the Broadway musical, with the film’s original cast (Meryl Streep, Amanda Seyfried, Pierce Brosnan and Colin Firth), aims for July, 2018 release.

25th anniversary Encores City Center season:

Hey, Look Me Over (scenes/song from various musicals that Encores! has not yet revived. “Look for the likes of Mack & Mabel, Greenwillow, Wildcat, and others of their ilk.” Feb 7—11, 2018

Grand Hotel, Mar 21—25, 2018, May 9—13, 2018

Me and My Girl



RIP William Brohn, one of musical theater’s top orchestrators, who worked on more than a dozen Broadway shows and won a Tony in 1998 for “Ragtime,” 84.

One dead, 22 injured after 26-year-old driver Richard Rojas  (with history of drunken driving) plows into Times Square.

Alyssa Elsman, 18, a recent high school graduate, was visiting New York  from Portage, Michigan

Award Fever! Rylance! Rent! Aaron Tveit in Summer Sondheim! Week in NY Theater


Four major New York theater awards announced their winners this past week — and Oslo is doing very well, as is The Band’s Visit, even though it closed Off-Broadway in January.


Jennifer Ehle and Jefferson Mays in Oslo

(l-r) Tony Shalhoub and Katrina Lenk in The Band’s Visit

Lucille Lortel: Oslo, The Band’s Visit

Outer Critics: Oslo, Come From Away, The Band’s Visit

New York Drama Critics Circle: Oslo, The Band’s Visit

2017 Theatre World Awards

2017 Tony Awards – Who YOU Want

Week in New York Theater Reviews


With his new play “Arlington,” playwright and director Enda Walsh presents an unusual love story set against a future dystopian society, which might shock New York theatergoers who know Walsh only as the Tony-winning book writer for the charming Broadway musical “Once.” It will be less shocking to those who attended “Lazarus,” Walsh’s collaboration with David Bowie at the New York Theater Workshop in 2015, with which it shares a general theatrical approach. “Arlington” invests more attention on sensory stimulation than clarity or coherence.

Happy Days

Another happy day,” Dianne Wiest exclaims as Winnie in Samuel Beckett’s bleak, comic and compassionate play, written decades before Groundhog Day, but similarly focused on somebody who is trapped in an endlessly repeated day. But Winnie is also buried up to her waist in a mound of dirt. And then, in Act 2, it gets worse for her.

It’s a role, Wiest has said, that is “the ‘Hamlet’ for women….I had wanted to do ‘Happy Days’ for 30 years — I was terrified of it.”

Lindsay Mendez (Helen) and Barton Cowperthwaite (Paris)

The Golden Apple

The Golden Apple, a 1954 Broadway musical, got the Encores! treatment at its most glorious over the weekend – with a sonorous 31-piece orchestra directed by Rob Berman, and a splendid 40-member cast including such go-to musical theater talents as Lindsay Mendez and Ryan Silverman, as well as two thrilling newcomers. It’s hard to picture a more apt musical for the long running “concert series”

Week in New York Theater News

Mark Rylance returns to Broadway in “Farinelli and the King, ” a new ,play by Claire Van Kampen about famed castrato, from Shakespeare’s Globe Theater, running at the Belasco December 5 to March 25
Rylance is portraying King Philippe V of Spain, not the castrato singer who enchanted him.

“Rebecca” producers were awarded $90,000 from publicist Marc Thibedeau, far short of $10.6 million they sought.Both sides claim victory

The Glass Menagerie with will end May 21, some six weeks earlier than planned.

Elizabeth McGovern, best known now for her role in Downton Abbey, will be back on Broadway after 25 years in Roundabout’s “Time and the Conways” Sept 14-Nov 26, 2017. Written in 1938 by J. B. Priestley, the  time-traveling play begins in 1919 Britain, when “Mrs. Conway is full of optimism during her daughter’s lavish twenty-first birthday celebration. The Great War is over, wealth is in the air, and the family’s dreams bubble over like champagne. Jump nineteen years into the future, though, and the Conways’ lives have transformed unimaginably.” The production, the play’s first Broadway revival, will be directed by  Rebecca Taichman (Indecent.)

Rent, original cast

Fox announced it will broadcast two live musicals, A Christmas Story the musical in December, with composers Benj Pasek and Justin Paul writing additional songs, and Jonathan Larsen’s Rent (date as yet undetermined)


FREE concert in Shubert Alley, (west of 7th Avenue between 44th and 45th Streets) June 2, 1 pm of these Broadway shows (so far!)
Aladdin, Anastasia, Bandstand,
Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, A Bronx Tale, Cats,
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Chicago, Come From Away,
Dear Evan Hansen, Groundhog Day the Musical, Kinky Boots,
Miss Saigon, Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812,
On Your Feet! The Story of Emilio & Gloria Estefan,
The Phantom of the Opera, School of Rock the Musical,
Sunset Boulevard, Waitress, War Paint, Wicked
With additional appearances from*: Falsettos, Jitney, The Little Foxes, The Play That Goes Wrong, Six Degrees of Separation, Sweat

Past Stars in the Alley




Playwright Paula Vogel and director Rebecca Taichman will be at talkbacks after Indecent May 16-18

Vogel will also offer a free playwriting workshop at the Vineyard Theater May 22

Summer season at Barrington Stage will feature Aaron Tveit (Next to Normal, Catch Me If You Can, Grease Live)  as Bobby in Sondheim’s Company (as well as Kunstler, Speech & Debate, Ragtime etc)

Ghostlight Records will release War Paint’s Original Broadway Cast Recording in digital formats on May 26.

Harry Potter Sets Date. Amelie Ends.Telly Leung’s Back. Awards Up The Wazoo. Week in NY Theater

The Tony nominations announced last Tuesday set off what will be five weeks of prediction, debate and suspense. But the suspense ends this week for many of the other major New York theater: Lucille Lortel Award winners will be presented at a ceremony tonight (Sunday); both Outer Critics Circle and New York Drama Critics Circle award winners will be announced Monday, Theatre World Awards later this week.

Guide to 2017 New York Theater Awards

Week in Awards

Tony nominations

Tony nominees collages
Tony nominees – a closer look

Watch videos of four Best Musical nominees

Tony Award Winners – YOUR Picks?

Week in New York Theater News

Shut out of Tony nominations, “Amelie” will close May 21 after 27 previews and 56 regular performances.

The play “Harry Potter And The Cursed Child” will open at Broadway’s Lyric Theater Sunday, April 22, 2018. New Twitter – @HPPlayNYC

Telly Leung (last on Broadway in In Transit and a  veteran of five other Broadway shows, including the lead male role in Allegiance) will take on the title character of Aladdin beginning June 13. He’ll be the fourth Aladdin. The original Broadway Aladdin, Adam Jacobs, left in February after three years.



Power Struggle on Broadway: Escapist vs. Socially Conscious Shows in the 2016–17 Season

Can Socially Conscious Theater Make A Difference?



Countdown To Tonys. Michael Moore on Broadway. The Week in NY Theater

The nominations for the Tony Awards will be announced at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday, making it the major event of the year that turns night people into morning people.

Other things are happening –

April theater quiz (Notice the Broadway sign is misspelled. How well can YOU spell Broadway celebrities?)

May theater openings

Guide to New York Theater Awards



(Crafty because the Tonys eliminated sound design awards in 2014, but they’ve been restored… for 2018)

Congratulations to The Dallas Theater Center, recipient of the 2017 Regional Theatre Tony.

Chita Rivera Award Nominations, for dance and choreography

Drama Desk Award Nominations

Week in New York Theater Reviews

A Doll’s House Part 2




Hello, Dolly


Corey, Hawkins, Allison Janney, John Benjamin Hickey

Six Degrees of Separation

Jake Ryan Flyn and Christian Borle

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory


The Week in New York Theater News

Michael Moore will make his theatrical debut in “The Terms of My Surrender.” July 28-Oct 22, Belasco


Frozen Cast. Sound Tonys Restored. Rebecca Saga Returns…in Court. Week in NY Theater

The Broadway season is not over until the end of this week, but the awards season has already begun.

The Week in Theater Awards

Sound design Tony categories reinstated for next year


Among her many other accomplishments, Lee founded the National Asian Artists Project, which does fully staged New York productions of classic musicals like Carousel, Oliver!, and Hello, Dolly!, cast mainly with Asian actors.

2017 Outer Critics Circle Nominations – Anastasia, Hello, Dolly; The Band’s Visit lead

2017 Drama League Nominations

The Week in New York Theater Reviews

(l-r): Katrina Lenk as ‘Manke,’ Adina Verson as ‘Rivkele’ in INDECENT,


There are many reasons to find deep satisfaction in the arrival on Broadway of the play “Indecent,” a fascinating tale wondrously staged about a century-old Jewish drama that featured a scandalizing kiss between two women, whose Broadway cast was prosecuted for obscenity.
It marks the long-delayed Broadway debut of Paula Vogel, who at 65 is one of the theatre community’s most admired playwrights…”Indecent” is also something of a homecoming and even vindication for “God of Vengeance”…”Indecent” is further proof that a play can explore a range of frighteningly relevant issues – threats to the arts and an entire culture, anti-immigrant bigotry, homophobia, even genocide – and do so in a production that is not only enlightening, and moving, but entertaining.

Laura Linney as Regina (left) and Cynthia Nixon as Birdie (right)

The Little Foxes

Now we call it racism, sexism and domestic abuse, but it’s just everyday life in “The Little Foxes,” Lillian Hellman’s 1939 play about a rapacious Southern family, which is being given an engrossing Broadway revival with a superb cast at MTC’s Samuel J. Friedman Theater.

The production, finely directed by Daniel Sullivan, is getting the most attention because of a gimmick, but it’s a smart, appealing gimmick: Laura Linney and Cynthia Nixon take turns portraying either Regina or Birdie at alternate performances.

I saw it with Laura Linney as Regina and Cynthia Nixon as Birdie, which was the cast on opening night, and thus how the two will be considered by the Tony nominating committee – Linney for best actress in a leading role, Nixon in a supporting role. And they surely will be nominated


In dramatizing the legend surrounding the youngest daughter of the last Czar, the show has created a new villain, a Soviet official named Gleb….Anastasia winds up promoting nostalgia for the last reign of the Romanovs, those elegantly attired autocrats who sponsored pogroms against the Jews and violently suppressed popular Russian calls for democracy.
..the real strength of this production – its beautiful design and its wonderful cast…Given the pleasures in this escapist fare largely geared to children, few parents will probably care that we have to endure lines like “Anya survived for a reason: to heal what happened or Russia will be a wound that never heals.”

Andy Karl

Groundhog Day

Andy Karl gives an inventive, energetic and wholly winning performance that is the main reason to see this musical adaptation of the 1993 movie starring Bill Murray.

Ryan Spahn as Daniel and Matthew Montelong as Mitchell in Daniel’s Husband

Daniel’s Husband

Given Mitchell’s explicit arguments against gay marriage in the first half of the play, the turn of events becomes an implicit refutation of Mitchell’s beliefs, a one-sided argument for the necessity of gay people getting married. “Daniel’s Husband” becomes an odd and simplistic cautionary tale. Only the acting under Joe Brancato’s direction saves us from utter authorial strong-arming

Gabriel Ebert and Harvey Fierstein

Gently Down the Stream

Playwright Martin Sherman seems to believe that same-sex marriage is important, and that there is some resistance to it from within the gay community that he finds regrettable. But Sherman’s approach is less an argument than a simple explanation for attitudes like those of Beau, portrayed by Harvey Fierstein.

The Week in New York Theater News

Rebecca logo

“Rebecca” will never open on Broadway, according to the  attorney for its producers, who admits during the trial against the show’s former publicist that the producers have lost the rights to it.

Some history on The Rebecca Saga:

Rebecca Producer: I was duped, I was raped

The Weirdness of Rebecca

The (would-be) stars of Rebecca speak out



“Orange is the New Barack” Capitol Steps’ new political vaudeville, June 18th only at Symphony Space

For the Helen Hayes Theater, their Broadway house, Second Stage Theater is commissioning new works by Lynn Nottage, Paula Vogel, Will eno, Lisa KRon, Robbie Baitz, and Young Jean Lee.

Disney has cast Caissie Levy  as Elsa, Patti Murin as Anna, Greg Hildreth as Olaf in the stage musical “Frozen” — which is coming to Broadway an Aug-Oct run at the Denver Center

If I Forget, Steven Levenson’s Jewish family drama, to be taped by BroadwayHD for on-demand viewing the Fall.







Stage Injuries. New Broadway Every Day. Carousel Returns. Week in NY Theater

Over the next ten days, nine shows will open on Broadway – four new musicals (plus one musical revival), two new plays (plus two play revivals.)

How to Get Discount Tickets to Broadway’s Newest Shows 

The Week in New York Theater Reviews

War Paint

In “War Paint,” Patti LuPone and Christine Ebersole are sharing a Broadway stage for the first time in their careers, portraying rival cosmetic industry pioneers Helena Rubinstein and Elizabeth Arden. If I might have preferred they be given a rivalry as grand as the talents of these extraordinary performers – say, Queen Elizabeth and Mary, Queen of Scots, whom she beheaded – they do much to help make this new musical both entertaining and fabulous. No, they can’t make it great.

Daniel Oreskes, Michael Aronov, and Anthony Azizi (foreground) with Daniel Jenkins and Jeb Kreager (background).


Last year, “Oslo,” a fascinating if talky play about the surprising story behind the first peace accord between the Israelis and Palestinians, ran for a couple of months Off-Broadway. Now it is on Broadway — it’s moved  from the Mitzi Newhouse in the street level of Lincoln Center theater one flight up to the larger Vivian Beaumont on the plaza level, with cast and creative team intact…and a top ticket price 50 percent higher.

The Week in New York Theater News

Andy Karl is injured three days before the opening of Groundhog Day in which he is starring. He will perform during the opening night, according to the producers. Karl’s injury is the latest in a long line of Broadway injuries.

Andy Karl at Groundhog Day curtain call Friday night after his injury forced a halting of the show. he returned to finish it with a cane.

History of Infamous Broadway Injuries

Sweat receives Pulitzer Prize in Drama.

Finalists were Taylor Mac’s A 24-Decade History of Popular Music and The Wolves by Sarah DeLapp

The New Yorker’s Hilton Als won the Pulitzer in criticism, just the second theater critic to do so.

The original Broadway cast recording of “Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812,” with Joshua Groban to be released by Reprise Records  May 19.

In Transit, Broadway’s first cappella musical, closed on Sunday, after 181 performances

On Oslo’s opening night on Broadway, they announced that the show written by J.T. Rogers will be turned into a film by Marc Platt, producer of LaLa Land (and Ben Platt‘s Pop) and directed (as is the play) by Bartlett Sher

Spamilton is moving June 2 to 47th Theater,down the street from Hamilton, the musical it spoofs. Versions exist in Chicago and will soon in L.A.

Alex Brightman, Broadway’s original Dewey Finn in School of Rock, takes back the role from April 14 to April 30 (while Eric Petersen is on vacation.)

CapsLockTheatre’s #Pussypersists, “111 artists,48 monologues about the body” Access Theater April 20-23

A middle school puts on Legally Blonde, The Musical in this Saturday Night Live spoof

Their actual names:
Andy Blankenbuehler, director and choreographer of Bandstand
Okieriete Onaodowan, actor who originated Mulligan/Madison in Hamilton, soon in The Great Comet
Adam Chanler-Berat, male lead in Amelie
Phillipa Soo, star of Amelie
Moritz von Stuelpnagel, director of Present Laughter
John Wyszniewski, theater publicist

RIP Linda Hopkins, 92, show-stopping Tony-winning singer, actress and writer. Black & Blue; Me & Bessie