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Gypsy No More. West Side Story Up The Wazoo. Jeremy Jordan Back on Broadway. The Week in NY Theater

Starting today, your public library card gives you free admission to some three dozen cultural institutions  through “Culture Pass.” It’s mostly museums now, but the list will grow.  Check out culturepass.nyc

In New York theater this week, below: Reviews, including the first Yiddish-language production of  Fiddler on the Roof in the United States,and the first couple of shows from the 2018 New York Musical Festival. News about West Side Story, Jeremy Jordan, innovative choreographers. Bobby Steggert on quitting acting. Theater moves by medical students and the DC City Council.  And what Actors Equity has done about the Gypsy Robe Ceremony.
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SpongeBob Closing. Broadway Bullying Investigation. Summer Escapes From Netflix in NYC! Week in NY Theater

There’s more to life than online binging, and plenty to do in New York now that summer is here in full force:

Free outdoor movies every day of the week
Free Broadway concerts
New theater books summer reading
Summer theater festivals, four of which begin today.

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Broadway Gender Benders: Glenda Jackson as King Lear; Santino Fontana as Tootsie. The Week in NY Theater

 

Summer’s here, it’s time for theatergoers to take stock of the 2018-2019 Broadway season line-up taking shape; to attend NYC summer theater festivals or to plan theatrical weekend trips out of town; to pick some theater books to read, or to avoid reading (here are two new Broadway biographies); and to express our patriotism by protesting the latest Trump administration outrages, which is what many did this week at the End Family Separation rallies, including Lin-Manuel Miranda. “We’re here because there are parents who can’t sing lullabies to their kids,” Miranda said, before singing the lullaby “Dear Theodosia” from Hamilton.

See the video of his singing below, along with Broadway United’s “We Are The World” video, and theater reviews and news of the week: Glenda Jackson and Santino Fontana switch genders; RIP two fabulous theater artists, Liliane Montevecchi and Gillian Lynne.

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Visions of Pride. Michael Jackson on Broadway. The Week in NY Theater

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There ARE Straight Plays on Broadway. Ask Kerry Washington and Daniel Radliffe. Tony Recap. The Week in NY Theater

Daniel Radcliffe will star in Lifespan of a Fact

There ARE straight plays on Broadway, contrary to the impression left by the 2018 Tony Awards, which showcased only the musicals. Maybe not a Scandal exactly, but Kerry Washington can set them straight. She is in one of the two new plays that were announced this past week for the new Broadway season, both with starry casts and intriguing premises. (See The Week in New York News, below)

But it’s hard to complain too much about an awards show that hono43e the drama teacher at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School who had shielded her students from the mass shooter on Valentine’s Day, and then featured her students singing “Seasons of Love” from Rent. At the same time (and perhaps not coincidentally), the Tony voters ignored a flashy musical that stereotyped high school students.

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The Tonys also went big for a little show. The day after, three different people told me that they had never heard of The Band’s Visit. Here are seven photographs, three videos and my rave.    Read more of this post

Tony Award Class of 2018. Broadway Summed Up. Performers with Disabilities Speak Out. THE Week in NY Theater

Do the Tony nominees feel like best friends from high school you’ve never actually met, given all the photographs and interviews and….celebrations over the past six weeks? It feels just like the last few weeks as a Senior. Graduation is this Sunday.

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Hair Live! Broadway’s Summer Surprises. In Memoriam 2018. Week in New York Theater

Yes, there are several theater awards still to be given out for the season just past – Drama Desk, June 3; Theatre Worlds, June 4; Tonys, June 10 – but summer theater in New York is pushing its way into view, and not just summer theater festivals (two of which have already begun. ) There are some half dozen shows beginning on Broadway during the summer months. Scroll below for details, right after the week in NY theater awards, and before the week in NY theater reviews and news about Andy Karl , Katharine McPhee, Alex Newell, and John Kander’s great nephew. Also: a list of those who have died.

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Defining Excellence in Theater. Drama League and Chita Rivera Awards. Week in NY Theater

The winners of the Drama League Awards and the Chita Rivera Awards were announced this past week (see results below), and the Obies will be held tonight.  But they and all the other awards this season prompt a question: How does one define excellence in theater?

“I’ve become increasingly convinced that as a field we do not have a cohesive definition of excellence,” writes Chad Bauman,  the managing director of Milwaukee Repertory Theater, in an article in American Theatre.

So he asked his colleagues across the country, and got some 50 responses – but the question he asked was about excellence in a theater as a whole (regional theaters in particular), not about individual shows. So the answers about excellence in individual shows didn’t get much more specific than “artistic quality.” All did agree that courage counts – such as not being afraid to play with form.

Four years ago, in an article titled Divining Artistic Excellence ,  theater artist and historian Lynne Connor pointed out that, while the concept of excellence can refer to something semi-tangible such as “the sophistication of a play’s dramatic arc,” more often people conflate excellence with taste, “something far less tangible and thus far less quantifiable.” And what determines taste? “Personal taste in everything from beer to Shakespeare comes about through a combination of biology, past experience, cultural norms, and individual predilections.”

She concludes: “We need to find productive ways to invite audiences of all tastes (and all economic and ethnic backgrounds) to join in the conversation about (the struggle over) meaning and value.”

Below: Summer theater festivals 2018.  A Sondheim show closing, and another opening. A new play about Gloria Steinem, a new musical about a Marilyn Monroe film. The new seasons at BAM, Atlantic, and City Center. Also: tapped out on Broadway, tripped up at Harry Potter.

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Rise Canceled. Boy in the Band Injured. Marathon Running Times. Week in New York Theater

With the sudden countertrend of shows with long running times — “Light Shining at Buckinghamshire” at New York Theater Workshop (180 minutes),   “Long Day’s Journey Into Night”  at BAM starring Jeremy Irons (200 minutes),  “The Iceman Cometh” with Denzel Washington (230 minutes), Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (315 minutes)  “Angels in America” (450 minutes) — is it surprising that there have been reports of theatrical snoozing? (See below for the answer to the question: Do people have a moral obligation to the performers to try to stay awake?) Now comes news that NYU Skirball’s 2018-2019 season will offer several marathon shows, including a revival of Elevator Repair Service’s “Gatz” (480 minutes) and “Mt. Olympus: to glorify the cult of tragedy” (1,440 minutes.)

Below: This week’s awards; “To Kill a Mockingbird” back on; “Rise,” “Unmasked” canceled, “Children of a Lesser God” closing, “The Boys in the Band” cancels a single performance due to “minor injury.”

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Broadway Honors Off-Off Broadway, and other Theater Award Surprises. Hamilton Expands. Week in NY Theater

Among the surprises during this intense theater award week is the awarding of  the 2018 Regional Theatre Tony Award to La MaMa, “for celebrating diversity and helping to introduce the Off-Off-Broadway movement!”

For the first time, Broadway honors Off-Off Broadway

Below: All about the 2018 Tonys:  Nominations, Quiz, YOUR Picks, Photo Essay, the Impact of a Tony. Plus: winners of New York Drama Critics Circle, Outer Critics Circle, and Lucille Lortel Awards. Also: Spring Awakening gets a new song,  Angels in America gets a new full-time angel, Hamilton gets a new exhibition.

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