Valentines Day Talk with Significant Other Cast

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significant-other-poster-croppedBelow are brief videotaped interviews with Barbara Barrie, Gideon Glick, Rebecca Naomi Jones, and Lindsay Mendez — four of the cast members of “Significant Other,” a play by Joshua Harmon about dating, which begins previews today (St. Valentine’s Day) at Broadway’s Booth Theater, and opens on March 2, 2017.

 

 

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Love and Kisses Onstage

In honor of Valentine’s Day, here are 1. 25 photographs of kisses on stage over the past century, and 2. videos of five of Broadway’s most romantic love songs,

Click on any photograph to see it enlarged and read the caption.

Watch: Actors on Activism

 

It’s best to start your activism young, advises Celia Keenan-Bolger, an actress nominated three times for Tony Awards, who grew up in a family of activists. That way, “it’s like your daily routine in the morning. You brush your teeth, you call your congressman, and go to work.”

Keenan-Bolger was speaking at the 2017 BroadwayCon panel entitled Actors and Activism, one of four Broadway actors – along with Hamilton’s Okieriete Onaodowan, Shuffle Along’s Amber Iman, In Transit’s Margo Seiberg – and director Tina Landau.

Yes, they acknowledged, there are obstacles to activism. Some people are afraid that producers and directors will blacklist them, Amber Iman said. It’s a challenge,  said Tina Landau, for non-profit theaters to get around the requirement to keep out of electoral politics in order to maintain their 501(c)3 status. It’s not easy, Margo Seibert pointed out, to be truly inclusive.

There also can be peer pressure to become an all-out activist — loud and proud, and all that — even if that does not fit your personality. To which Landau replies: “The personal is political. The political is personal. It’s your heart. You will find your way to activism, however big or small.”

Below are four videos from the panel.

Performer Amber Iman explains how, looking for “a real purpose in my life,” rather than just waiting for my next show, founded Broadway for Black Lives Matter, which has become the ongoing organization Broadway Advocacy Coalition.

 

Director Tina Landau explains how she overcame her shyness about street activism to help found The Ghostlight Project.

 

Actress Margo Seibert explains Racket, the organization she co-founded that battles the same women feel about menstruation.

 

Keenan-Bolger, Iman, Landau, Seibert and Hamilton’s Okieriete Onaodowan offer advice on how to become an activist.

Operate always out of love — Okieriete Onaodowan

 

Watch BroadwayCon 2017. Visa Ban vs. Artists. Hamilton at Super Bowl, Week in NY Theater

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Scenes from BroadwayCon 2017

Previews of Anastasia, Amelia, Come From Away, Significant Other etc.; A surprise Q and A with Lin-Manuel Miranda via live video from London, followed by the introduction of the new Hamilton cast; a panel on actors and activism. These were among some 200 activities at BroadwayCon 2017, the second annual theater fan convention, held over the long weekend at the Javits Center. There’s no summing up,(except maybe the comment from an organizer who said: “It’s been a tough week. This is a safe space.”) Here are some snippets, including videos of Josh Groban (Great Comet), Jordan Fisher (Hamilton), Broadway for Black Lives Matter founder Amber Iman, and Broadwaycon fans beating up fighting directors.

I learned everything I could (about Zero Mostel in Fiddler on the roof) then threw it all out — Danny Burstein

I grew up naive in the South. Theater has helped me grow up in so many ways. My favorite role has been South Pacific; I became this blonde white girl vessel for what racism can look like  — Kelli O’Hara

“The best thing about theater is that it teaches empathy” – Laura Dreyfuss, Dear Evan Hansen panel,

“It’s your heart. You will find your way to activism, however big or small”~ Tina Landau, co-founder of The Ghostlight Project

Director Diane Paulus’s advice to other directors: Follow your passion. Ask big questions. Break the rules. Change the form.

As a performer, I'm more comfortable when a cast is diverse. But I have no power to make it happen - Bebe Neuwirth, Broadwaycon panel on diversity

As a performer, I’m more comfortable when a cast is diverse. But I have no power to make it happen – Bebe Neuwirth, Broadwaycon panel on diversity

Week in New York Theater Reviews

Kelly Hutchinson and Carson Elrod

Kelly Hutchinson and Carson Elrod

The Liar

In The Liar, the title character wonders whether, given his disposition, he should become a politician. But, if David Ives’ version of Pierre Corneille’s 1644 verse play may benefit from new relevance (what I call the Trump Effect), its main strength lies not in its timeliness or plot but the subversive whimsy of its language….

In his 21st century take on iambic pentameter, Ives rhymes “exit” with “sexted,” “idea” with “diarrhea,” and “muck” with “schmuck.” And he deliberately mangles Shakespeare: “But soft! What light on yonder sidewalk cracks!”

I can’t remember a play in which the playwright so obviously enjoyed his own cleverness, while at the same mocking his efforts

Alexander Flores as Tono and Lisa Ramirez as Mami

Alexander Flores as Tono and Lisa Ramirez as Mami

Tell Hector I Miss Him

Love puzzles, and messes up, the dozen characters in Tell Hector I Miss Him, a play wonderfully acted by a cast that includes veterans of Orange is the New Black. If the play itself sometimes puzzles, and shocks, it also marks a remarkable playwriting debut by 28-year-old Paola Lazaro.
Lazaro’s work is reminiscent of that by Stephen Adly Guirgis and August Wilson in its ability to turn street language into stage poetry, and to shine a warm center spotlight on people who are usually pushed to the edge.

Week in New York Theater News

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Trump visa ban complicates plans for Waterwell’s English/Farsi ‘Hamlet’ starring Arian Moayed

Via @PsychToday, the health benefits of the arts & the NEA’s role in wellness efforts. #NEA #artsheal #ArtsCEOLynch https://t.co/hAqKZsiWgp

— AmericansForTheArts (@Americans4Arts) January 30, 2017

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Phillipa Soo, Renée Elise Goldsberry and Jasmine Cephas Jones, the actresses who originated the roles of Eliza, Angelica and Peggy Schuyler in “Hamilton,” will reunite to perform “America the Beautiful” during the televised pre game show at the Super Bowl on February 5

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Beginning Tuesday, Hamilton will double the number of $10 daily digital lottery tickets to 46. Enter the lottery 

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Four terrific playwrights have become new Signature Theater playwrights-in-residence, two of them Pulitzer winners: Stephen Adly Guirgis (Between Riverside and Crazy), Dave Malloy, Dominique Morrisseau (Skeleton Crew) and Lynn Nottage (Sweat.). The presence of Dave Malloy (Natasha Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812) means that Signature is delving into musicals

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A musical of Meryl Streep/Ann Hathaway film “The Devil Wears Prada,” with music by Elton John and book by Paul Rudnick, is  planned for Broadway. Perfect! (no details yet.)

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Abby Mueller will play Carole King in Beautiful, starting March 7, a role her sister Jessie Mueller originated on Broadway.

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I interviewed her about the budding Mueller dynasty in 2015. Both her parents are actors. Abby and her three siblings all became actors. At one point recently, Abby was in the Broadway cast of Kinky Boots while her sister Jessie Mueller starred in Beautiful, and her brother Andrew was in the Off-Broadway cast of Peter and the Starcatcher. (Abby’s twin, Matt, was back in Chicago performing in a production of The Merry Wives of Windsor.)

Our whole life, we’ve gotten, ‘Oh, it must be in your genes.’ But it’s probably a mixture of nature and nurture. There are families of doctors and of lawyers and of plumbers. We’re a family of actors.”

Speech & Debate

Speech & Debate, the film version of Stephen Karam’s first hit play will be in movie theaters (and available from iTunes) on April 7th. It features such Broadway luminaries as Lin-Manuel Miranda and Roger Bart and up-and-comers Sarah Steele (The Humans), Darren Criss (Hedwig), Austin P. McKenzie (Spring Awakening), Gideon Glick (forthcoming Significant Other) .

Blind theatergoer sues Hamilton for violating the Americans with Disabilities Act, because the musical offers no performances at all with live audio narrative available on headphones. The lawsuit calls for one performance a week.

Ellen’s Stardust Cafe fired 15 more employees (total: 31), including activist in the newly formed union. The owner is being sued for wage theft

The International Human Rights Art Festival at Dixon Place March 3-5

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RIP acclaimed British actor John Hurt (Elephant Man, A Man for All Season, Naked Civil Servant, Midnight Express, Harry Potter),77

Watch: #GhostlightProject

My 101-second video of the Ghostlight Project, in which people gathered in theaters in all 50 states to create light for dark times ahead. I focus on the small, moving ceremony outside the Cherry Lane Theater in Greenwich Village, which ended with the recitation in both Spanish and English of “The New Colossus,” the Emma Lazarus poem (inscribed at the Statue of Liberty) that ends:

Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!

Watch Tony Kushner, Stephen Schwartz et al talk about their work

Below, ten major theater artists are interviewed by their peers as part of the Dramatist Guild Fund’s Legacy Project

TONY KUSHNER Interviewed By Michael Friedman

GRETCHEN CRYER & NANCY FORD Interviewed By Georgia Stitt

MICKI GRANT Interviewed By Charlayne Woodard

LARRY KRAMER Interviewed By George C. Wolfe

JAMES LAPINE Interviewed By Lisa Kron

ALAN MENKEN Interviewed By Kristen Anderson-Lopez

STEPHEN SCHWARTZ Interviewed By Jeanine Tesori
Released later this month

JOHN PATRICK SHANLEY Interviewed By Stephen Adly Guirgis

JOHN WEIDMAN Interviewed By J.T. Rogers

Dear Evan Hansen on Broadway: Review, pics, video

“Dear Evan Hansen” has changed now that it’s on Broadway, in ways that make it an even more affecting musical. Ben Platt’s performance, impressive from the get-go, is even better. But what’s changed the most is the world outside the theater, turning the story of a lie that gets out of hand into something more realistic and unfortunately more relevant.

Click on any photograph by Matthew Murphy to see it enlarged.

The plot’s trajectory seemed fanciful to me half a year ago, before the subject of “viral fake news” itself went viral. It is also bracing to realize that I omitted an important and relevant matter with which the musical deals…how much Evan and his mother Heidi (Rachel Bay Jones) are struggling financially, and how resentful Heidi is..

Full review on DC Theatre Scene

Watch Hamilton Mixtape Concert Live, Then Buy It.

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Live from the Hamilton stage at the Richard Rodgers Theatre in New York City, some of the recording artists in the Hamilton Mixtape — songs directly from, or related to, the Hamilton musical — perform at 1 p.m. December 1st. It was live-streamed here. (Click to the middle to see the concert)

Buy The Hamilton Mixtape , released December 2, 2016.

Songs and Artists in Hamilton Mixtape
1
No John Trumbull (Intro)
by The Roots

2
My Shot (feat. Busta Rhymes, Joell Ortiz & Nate Ruess) [Rise Up Remix]
by The Roots

3
Wrote My Way Out [Clean]
by Nas, Dave East, Lin-Manuel Miranda & Aloe Blacc

4
Wait For It
by Usher

5
An Open Letter (feat. Shockwave) [Interlude] [Clean]
by Watsky

6
Satisfied (feat. Miguel & Queen Latifah)
by Sia

7
Dear Theodosia (feat. Ben Folds)
by Regina Spektor

8
Valley Forge (Demo) [Clean]
by Lin-Manuel Miranda

9
It’s Quiet Uptown
by Kelly Clarkson

10
That Would Be Enough
by Alicia Keys

11
Immigrants (We Get The Job Done) [Clean]
by K’naan, Snow Tha Product, Riz MC, Residente

12
You’ll Be Back
by Jimmy Fallon & The Roots

13
Helpless (feat. Ja Rule)
by Ashanti

14
Take A Break (Interlude)
by !llmind

15
Say Yes To This
by Jill Scott

16
Congratulations
by Dessa

17
Burn
by Andra Day

18
Stay Alive (Interlude)
by J.PERIOD & Stro Elliot

19
Cabinet Battle 3 (Demo)
by Lin-Manuel Miranda

20
Washingtons By Your Side
by Wiz Khalifa

21
History Has Its Eyes On You
by John Legend

22
Who Tells Your Story (feat. Common & Ingrid Michaelson)
by The Roots

23
Dear Theodosia (Reprise)
by Chance The Rapper & Francis and The Lights

Fences directed by Denzel Washington: Second Trailer

Pictured: Denzel Washington (Troy Maxson) & Viola Davis (Rose)

Denzel Washington’s movie adaptation of “Fences,” August Wilson’s 1987 play, will be in movie theaters nationwide on December 25, 2016. Below is a first movie trailer from Paramount Picures

Click here for the first trailer and for my review of the play when it was on Broadway, directed by Kenny Leon, starring Denzel Washington and Viola Davis (the same stars as in the movie.)

Thanksgiving, the Broadway Way

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The cast of The Humans posed for this photograph, which pays homage to Norman Rockwell’s painting Freedom From Want:

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The Humans takes place on Thanksgiving. I don’t think it’s ironic that the cast is not working on Thanksgiving Day; it seems fitting to me. There are only six Broadway shows performing on Thanksgiving Day. most shows are adding matinees on Friday.  (See schedule here; scroll to bottom)

But several casts were performing at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade — or, more precisely, were performing for the CBS or NBC broadcasts. Hairspray Live, which will be broadcast on NBC on December 7th, didn’t even make a pretense of being at the parade itself; they presented their musical number on their set.

Snippets from the performances of Holiday Inn, Paramour, School of Rock, Waitress, Cats and the Radio City Rockettes:

Buy tickets to see the shows glimpsed at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade broadcasts.

Irving Berlin’s Holiday Inn

Cirque du Soleil’s Paramour

School of Rock

Waitress

Cats

Radio City Christmas Spectacular, featuring the Rockettes