Hot Mess Review: Bisexual Meets Standup In Slight Romantic Comedy

For some theatergoers wondering whether to see the hour-long romantic comedy bravely entitled “Hot Mess,” it might be enough to know that Max calls his girlfriend “Poopy Pants.” Or that his girlfriend Elanor calls Max “Jive Turkey.” Others may drop off after learning that an earlier version of this play, written a decade ago by married couple Dan Rothenberg and Colleen Crabtree and reportedly inspired by their courtship, was entitled “Regretrosexual.”

Those who ignore such warning signs will discover an innocuous play performed by an appealing three-member cast that has the slightest of plots. Read more of this post


John Leguizamo’s Latin History for Morons on Broadway: Review, Pics, Video

The ushers are wearing “Ghetto Scholar” sweatshirts in Studio 54, where for his sixth solo show John Leguizamo stands in front of a blackboard and lectures on the history, politics, culture and demographics of the 70 million Latinos in the United States. But Leguizamo is too much of an anarchic comic spirit, master mimic and candid memoirist to be merely erudite. “Latin History for Morons” exists on three planes – fascinating nuggets of actual history mixed with political commentary, eclectic comic shtick, and a funny, tender story of the performer’s efforts to connect with his family.

Full review at DC Theatre Scene

Leguizamo gives the keynote speech at the Immigration Arts Summit, July 17, 2017

The Migration Review: The African-American Exodus In Painting and Dance

Millions of African-Americans moved from the rural South to industrial cities in the North in the decades after World War I, one of the largest migrations in the history of humanity, ignored by most newspapers (except the black press), but famously captured by a 23-year-old painter named Jacob Lawrence. In 1941, he created The Migration Series, 60 paintings that depict the mass exodus of African-Americans from the South. The series caused a sensation. In 2011, a dance company called Step Afrika! created The Migration: Reflections on Jacob Lawrence, turning visual art into dance theater. The 80-minute show — it, too, in its own way sensational —  is now on stage through November 26 at New Victory Theatre.

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The Lion King Turns 20 on Broadway

Today is the 20th anniversary of the opening of “The Lion King.” Now the third-longest running show in the history of Broadway, the musical is worth celebrating.


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Lin-Manuel Miranda Back in Hamilton. King Kong Meets Harry Potter. Week in New York Theater

Lin-Manuel Miranda’s efforts to aid Puerto Rico in recovering from Hurricane Maria took the logical next step during his visit there this past week, when he announced his return to his starring role in Hamilton, in a production in Puerto Rico, scheduled to run from January 8 to 27, 2019 at the University of Puerto Rico’s Teatro UPR. “I have a year and a bit to remember the words.”

Hamilton’s costume designer Paul Tazewell will also have time to make him a new outfit. His original was donated to the Smithsonian, and will be on display there starting in March.

If any number of stars, directors and producers might be described as Broadway’s proverbial 800-pound gorilla (they can sit wherever they want), that odd phrase is getting a literal meaning, with the announcement that King Kong the musical is finally scheduled for Broadway, featuring a very heavy puppet. Below, details on this and other announcements — about Kelli O’Hara, Daphne Rubin Vega, Mabou Mines, Stephen Sondheim’s long-remembered advice, and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s next and “most boring” project.


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Veterans Day: GIs and the Arts

Today is Veterans Day, a day that’s always been special to me because my father was not only a U.S. military veteran; he was born on Veterans Day,  which was originally called Armistice Day, a day set aside to celebrate the end of World War I; the armistice was signed on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918. Congress named it Veterans Day in 1954, intended to honor all U.S. military veterans.

There is a strong connection between theater and the military, as actor and U.S. Marine veteran Adam Driver pointed out last year (and I put in my Veterans Day post last year):
“The birth of theater was from a military environment. The Greeks — Aeschylus, Euripides, all these elected generals…wrote plays for a culture that was at war.”

It’s why the theater artist and Greek scholar Bryan Doerries began performing the Greek tragedies for modern military audiences, out of which he created a theater company, now called The Theater of War, and a book with the same title.

Also see terrific series on Howlround by Stephan Wolfert, Shakespeare Through The Lens of a Military Veteran

Non-profit groups that help veterans pursue  the arts either as a vocation or an avocation, for healing and for sustenance:

Arts in the Armed Forces,

United States Veterans’ Artists Alliance (USVAA)

Veteran Artist Program (VAP)

Society of Artistic Veterans (SocArtVets)

“Broadway 2017” on Jeopardy: Test Your Knowledge

Jeopardy boardJeopardy had the following answers in a “Broadway 2017” category during the Double Jeopardy Round of the Tournament of Champions earlier this week. Guess the questions:

$400 – COME FROM AWAY tells how Gander, Newfoundland hosted 7,000 airline passengers stranded due to this tragic event.

$800 – CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY features Christian Borle singing the following [“The Candyman”] as this character.

$1200 – Revived in 2017 and set during the final days of the Vietnam War, MISS SAIGON was inspired by this Puccini Opera.

$1600 – Ben Platt won the 2017 Tony for his performance as a high school senior coping with a classmate’s death in this musical.

$2000 – WAR PAINT stars Christine Ebersole as Elizabeth Arden and this legendary performer as Helena Rubinstein.

Questions: Read more of this post