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Straight White Men: Review and Pics

“Straight White Men,” a thought-provoking play by Young Jean Lee with a terrifically entertaining cast of Broadway newcomers including Armie Hammer, Josh Charles and Paul Schneider as rowdy brothers, might to some theatergoers seem designed initially to mislead, and ultimately to befuddle. By its title alone, one could assume – incorrectly – that the play will be an acid satire. This impression is fortified by an unusual prologue….What follows, though, is more or less the same play that I saw at the Public Theater in 2014, a sympathetic and straightforward look at a family of four adult men, gathered together to celebrate Christmas. Each has adjusted to the world, and their privileged place in it, in different ways.

Full review on DC Theatre Scene.

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Broadway Photographs from the Museum of the City of New York

The Theater Collection at the Museum of the City of New York contains over 190,000 objects that document theatrical performance in New York City from 1785 on. These include more than 30,000 photographs, documenting over 5,000 Broadway production, which are currently in the process of being put online. Below is a sample, including Sarah Bernhardt in an 1880 production of “Adrienne Lecouvreur,” and “New Faces of 1952” featuring Eartha Kitt and Paul Lynde, as well as Lunt and Fontanne, Katharine Cornell and Basil Rathbone, Fanny Brice and a Fanny Brice female impersonator, Paul Robeson, Patty Duke, Celeste Holm, Lillian Gish, Tallulah Bankhead, Glenda Jackson. Click on any picture to see it enlarged, and read the caption.

Mary Page Marlowe by Tracy Letts: How Six Actresses Portray One Ordinary Woman

Six actresses — from Tatiany Maslany of “Orphan Black” making her New York stage debut, to Tony winner Blair Brown — play the title character in “Mary Page Marlowe.” The play by Tracy Letts, opening tonight at Second Stage’s Tony Kiser Theater, presents 11 moments over 70 years in the life of an ordinary woman.

As I explain in an article on “Mary Page Marlowe” in TDF Stages, the play presented director Lila Neugebauer with a challenge: how to get the audience to accept six actresses as one character. A dialect coach helped, but one unusual move was encouraging all the Mary Pages to sit in on one another’s rehearsals and share feedback. “You were allowed to comment on other people’s scenes because it was actually your character as well,” says Susan Pourfar, who portrays Mary Page at ages 40 and 44. “Together, as a community, we created the backstory of this woman.”

Click on any photograph by Joan Marcus showing the different Mary Page Marlowes. Not shown: Mary Page Marlowe as an infant (portrayed by a baby doll.)

Carmen Jones: Pics and Review

When Carmen Jones opened on Broadway in 1943, one critic hailed it as “something more than a major theatrical event.” Seventy-five years later, the Classic Stage Company is presenting what it bills as the show’s first major New York revival since its Broadway debut. If it may no longer be “more than” a theatrical event, it’s still pretty damn exciting, thanks to a cast led by Anika Noni Rose and the show’s fascinating history.
Between Oklahoma! and Carousel, Oscar Hammerstein II took a break from Richard Rodgers to collaborate with Georges Bizet, the long-dead composer of Carmen, the 19th century French opera that features two of the most familiar tunes in all of Western music – Habanera and the Toreador Song. Hammerstein kept intact both the opera’s music and its spicy story of a tragic love triangle in which a fiery seductress brings down a naïve soldier. But he changed the locale from Spain to the American South during World War II, and turned the Spaniards and Romani into African-Americans.

Full review on DC Theatre Scene

Click on any photograph by Joan Marcus to see it enlarged.

Log Cabin: Pics and Review

Near the beginning of Log Cabin, four old LGBT friends are so struck by their sudden societal acceptance that one of them jokes “It’s here, the gay takeover we’ve been plotting all this time.” But, as we soon realize in Jordan Harrison’s thought-provoking new play, there are some downsides to their entry into the mainstream.

Full review on DC Theatre Scene

Click on any photograph by Joan Marcus to see it enlarged.

Ramin Karimloo, Keira Knightley, Hamilton 1.0 and 2.0: Six Years of New York Theater

On the sixth anniversary of NewYorkTheater.me, a look at the six most popular photographs to be posted on the site since it began, and the most popular posts in each of the past six years.

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Hats Off to Royal Couple

Harry and Meghan got married this morning. Prince Harry is now the Duke of Sussex, Earl of Dumbarton and Baron Kilkeel. Meghan Markle will be known as Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Sussex. Many guests and spectators wore hats.

Me and My Girl Review: Wonderful and Disappointing, Like Encores

Christian Borle clowns like an old-time vaudevillian, Laura Michelle Kelly sings like a classic chanteuse, and director Warren Carylyle choreographs the topnotch cast like a 1930s showman; they’re tap-dancing on tabletops!  “Me and My Girl,” closing out the 25th anniversary season of Encores!, shows off what’s most wonderful about this “concert series,” but also what’s disappointing about it.

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Long Day’s Journey Into Night at BAM with Jeremy Irons: Review, pics

By the end of the Broadway revival of Long Days Journey Into Night two years ago, when Jessica Lange as mother Mary Tyrone rejoins her family, she is an ethereal ghost, her mind and body numbed by the morphine to which she is addicted. Now, at the same moment on stage in Brooklyn, Lesley Manville’s Mary practically does a jig. Hers is one of the unusually physical performances in the Bristol Old Vic production of Long Day’s Journey into Night at the Brooklyn Academy of Music this month. Eugene O’Neill’s domestic dance feels like a literal dance at times in this version directed by Sir Richard Eyre in a cast led by Jeremy Irons. The four members of the Tyrone family, stand-ins for O’Neill’s own, jostle each other violently; pounce and push, hug and jab; raise their arms in the air in drunken triumph; stretch their bodies oddly, as if the play’s long running time has caused a few cricks…

The distinctive touches of the production, some at variance with the playwright’s conception, don’t wind up seriously detracting from what most matters about Long Day’s Journey into Night. In the Bristol Old Vic’s version as in every other I’ve seen, the play is a powerful and insightful tragedy…

Full review on DC Theatre Scene

Click on any photograph by Richard Termine to see it enlarged.

2018 Tony Nominees Meet The Press: Photographs

Some of the 2018 Tony Award nominees who spoke to (or at least pose for) the press. The winners will be announced on June 10th.
Click on any photograph to see it enlarged, and find out who they are.