Ruthie Ann Miles. Rise is Not Glee. Bard Bombshell. Week in New York and Cincinnati Theater

In the week since the horrendous car crash in Park Slope that killed two young children, including the four-year-old daughter of Broadway actress Ruthie Ann Miles, and put her in the hospital, almost 8,000 people raised more than $400,000 to help her family.

The driver who ran the red light has chronic illnesses, and was “cited on four previous occasions for running red lights and another four for speeding through a school zone.”

Here she is in 2015 singing Something Wonderful from The King and I, a role for which she won a Tony Award.

This week in New York theater: The Prom gets a date; Hamilton breaks another record, playwrights Lucas Hnath and Suzan Lori Parks get rich. A preview of “Rise”, the new TV series about a high school drama class. And two startling revelations from Shakespeare scholars in Cincinnati.

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Broadway at the Oscars. Drama Club Kids vs. the NRA. TEDxBroadway. Defending Kumbaya. Week in NY Theater

Theater lovers tend to look for members of our tribe in whatever’s happening in the world. That means in Hollywood, of course, but it also means in Parkland, Florida.

The theater veterans nominated for the 90th Academy Awards, include Laurie Metcalfe (returning this season to Broadway in Three Tall Women), Denzel Washington (this season on Broadway in Iceman Cometh), as well as Frances McDormand, Christopher Plummer, Sam Rockwell, Saoirse Ronan, Meryl Streep (of course, nominated for the 21st time)…and newcomer Timothée Chalamet

What I wrote about Chalamet in Prodigal Son in 2016: “Chalomet’s performance strikes me as the sort of magnetic stage debut that marked young actors in the past as stars of the future – actors like John Garfield and Marlon Brando.”

We also find them among the eloquent survivors at Marjory Stoneman Douglas H.S. leading renewed mass movement for gun control, many of whom are members of the school’s drama club. “All these kids are drama kids,” says leader Emma Gonzalez (she’s one of them)

Michael Schulman points out in an article in the New Yorker that several of the school’s students are performing in a production of the musical “Spring Awakening,” which was written in response to the 1999 Columbine school shooting!

(Some of the students from the school, members of the Stoneman Douglas High School Wind Symphony, are in town this week, to see shows, and to  perform at Carnegie Hall on Tuesday among the high school bands performing at the 2018 New York Wind Band Festival.)
Below: March openings, New York Theater Quiz Winter 2018, the best lines and licks from TEDxBroadway 2018, Women’s Day on Broadway, and a defense of Kumbaya
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Torch Song, To Kill a Mockingbird Coming to Broadway. Can Theater Matter? Week in New York Theater

The announcement of forthcoming Broadway productions of Torch Song, a pioneering play about a gay character, and a stage adaptation of “To Kill a Mockingbird,” a drama about a case of racial injustice, comes in a week when most news seems at best discouraging —

NEA Gives Grants to Dozens of NYC Theaters. Then Trump Proposes Eliminating It

— and at worst, horrific.

Can theater make a difference?

Mass Shootings on Stage: Healing or Titillating?

It’s worth noting that Glenda Jackson left acting for 23 years after she became a member of Parliament to fight Thatcherism. “There’s no way you could do both,” she says in an article linked below, hooked to her return to Broadway in “Three Tall Women”

On the other hand, “I think my work is always at its best during Republican administrations,” Tony Kushner says in an article, also linked below, about the forthcoming Broadway revival of “Angels in America.”

Also below: Katharine McPhee makes her Broadway debut; a new August Wilson award; the World Trade Center performing arts center gets an artistic director; playwrights Lynn Nottage and Terrence McNally get a new honor; a million dollars will be given away for good ideas about using technology to help the arts.

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Broadway for Everyone: Coming Soon? Week in New York Theater

Remarkable changes are underway to make Broadway more accessible – hastened by technology, hindered by public attitudes as I explain in an article in HowlRound based on the Broadway Accessibility Summit and a similar panel at BroadwayCon:

For example: By June 1, 2018, every show on Broadway will have on-demand closed captioning in real time for every performance, in one of two ways—through a dedicated device called iCaption, or with an application called GalaPro that you can install in your own smart phone.

“We’re heading in the right direction,” a hard-of-hearing person in the audience told me. But…there’s still some ways to go.

This week: Oral history of Angels in America, ugly drama in New York high school, a new Evan Hansen, a new Jez Butterworth on Broadway, a new artistic director for BAM.

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Life After Hamilton! Week in New York Theater

It’s always sad to have to say goodbye to an artist whom we’ve loved, so how thrilling to welcome one into the world.

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BroadwayCon! Broadway at the Grammys, Oscars, and Empire State Building! Week in NY Theater

The third annual BroadwayCon demonstrated that theatergoers can be as creative as theater makers — witness above the trio of cosplay artists as (left to right) Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet, or the winner of the Cosplay Fashion Show, dressed as Squidward Tentacles from Spongebob Squarepants, complete with a homemade costume with four legs.

But this week in theater was also a series of showcases for the professionals — with Broadway’s distinct presence at the Grammys (Watch below Patti LuPone sing in tribute to Andrew Lloyd Webber and Ben Platt in tribute to Leonard Bernstein), and at the Oscar nominations, the Phantom at 30  celebration, and sneak peeks of forthcoming Broadway shows BroadwayCon. At its tenth reunion, original cast members of “In The Heights” sang songs that didn’t make the final cut.

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Women on the March. Bernadette Begins. Lorraine Hansberry Rediscovered. Week in New York Theater

There was a touch of theater in the Women’s March over the weekend, with protesters’ signs adapting “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” from Mary Poppins to fit current events, and the return of those pink pussy hats. Women dominated actual New York theater as well, with Bernadette Peters beginning her performances in Hello, Dolly; a new documentary about Raisin in the Sun playwright Lorraine Hansberry (watch in full below), and the announcement of a forthcoming book (in April) of photographs chronicling early Barbra Streisand, 1963 to 1966, her Broadway era.
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