Advertisements

The Boss on Broadway. RIP Barbara Cook. Bye Great Comet, Bandstand. Welcome Back Steve Martin, Lea Salonga.Week in NY Theater

 

This has been the week from Hell both in the larger world and in the world of New York theater, but for theater fans also a little bit of Heaven, with the announcements of new shows, new casts, Broadway debuts, some welcome returns — and a community standing together.

Enter contest here  to win two free tickets to Bandstand by answering: What was the most underrated show you’ve ever seen on a New York stage? 

Week in New York Theater Reviews

The Terms of My Surrender

“The Terms of My Surrender” is not just an anti-Trump screed. It is also an oddly eclectic mix of sharp stand-up comedy routine, sketchy sketch comedy, memoir, parody political rally, activist exhortation, parody game show, actual talk show, prank call show, even a strip-tease (don’t ask, I won’t tell – except to say that Moore has an un-credited supporting cast.)

In format, Michael Moore’s live show has little in common with his funny but focused documentaries about specific issues,…It’s more like a scattershot variety show…But the puckish sense of humor will be enough for most of his fans

The Government Inspector

The vain, reckless son of a rich man is suddenly thrust into power by a venal group of citizens marked by their “ugliness, stupidity, greed, cowardice, corruption and sheer unpleasantness.” That’s the premise, more or less, of Nikolai Gogol’s 1836 play “The Government Inspector,” as interpreted by Red Bull Theater’s broad, bawdy production.

What saves this play from a depressing relevance is the phenomenal physical clowning by Michael Urie

Week in New York Theater News

Barbara Cook, 89

 

Bruce Springsteen will make his Broadway debut this fall with “Springsteen on Broadway,” a solo show at the Walter Kerr Theater, for five performances a week from October 3 through November 26.

“I wanted to do some shows that were as personal and as intimate as possible. I chose Broadway for this project because it has the beautiful old theaters which seemed like the right setting for what I have in mind. In fact, with one or two exceptions, the 960 seats of the Walter Kerr Theatre is probably the smallest venue I’ve played in the last 40 years. My show is just me, the guitar, the piano and the words and music. Some of the show is spoken, some of it is sung. It loosely follows the arc of my life and my work.”  He will read from his recently published autobiography, “Born to Run.”

Tickets for “Springsteen on Broadway” will go on sale August 30 at 10am ET exclusively through Ticketmaster Verified Fan®. “This unique fan-first technology levels the playing field to combat bots and get real tickets into the hands of fans who intend to go to the event.”

The Great Comet to Close September 3. Could it have been saved?

.

Amy Schumer and Keegan-Michael Key will be making their Broadway debuts in a new play by Steve Martin, “Meteor Shower,” which will also star Laura Benanti and Alan Tudy, and open November 29th.

“It’s a hot night in Ojai, California, and Corky (Amy Schumer) and her husband Norm (Alan Tudyk) are having another couple over for dinner. But Laura (Laura Benanti) and Gerald (Keegan-Michael Key) aren’t looking for a casual evening of polite small talk with new friends. Eventually, the two couples find themselves in a marital free-fall matched in velocity and peril only by the smoldering space rocks tearing through the sky.”

Bandstand to Close September 17

Errol And Fidel

New York Musical Festival Awards for Excellence 2017

Freedom Riders

“Time and the Conways” will star Elizabeth McGovern as “Mrs. Conway,” Steven Boyer as “Ernest,” Anna Camp as “Hazel,” Gabriel Ebert as “Alan,” Charlotte Parry as “Kay,” and Matthew James Thomas as “Robin,” with Anna Baryshnikov as “Carol,” Brooke Bloom as “Madge,” Alfredo Narciso as “Gerald,” and Cara Ricketts as “Joan.”

In “Escape to Margaritaville,” the Jimmy Buffett musical, Paul Alexander Nolan will lead the company as Tully, and will be joined by Alison Luff as Rachel, Lisa Howard as Tammy, Eric Petersen as Brick, Rema Webb as Marley, Don Sparks as J.D, Andre Ward as Jamal, along with Matt Allen, Tessa Alves, Sara Andreas, Marjorie Failoni, Steven Good, Angela Grovey, Albert Guerzon, Keely Hutton, Justin Keats, Mike Millan, Justin Mortelliti, Ryann Redmond, Ian Michael Stuart, and Brett Thiele.

Theater for a New Audience presents Adrienne Kennedy’s first new play in 9 years, He Brought Her Heart Back in a Box, Jan 17–Feb 11 2018

Set in Georgia & NYC in 1941,
this new work braids together
the indignities of Jim Crow,
rising Nazism, sexual hypocrisy,
Christopher Marlowe,
and the lingering shadow of
a terrible crime.

 

 

 

Watch Bette Midler interview

 

 

 

Advertisements

Tony Fallout. Bard Targeted. The Boss on Broadway? Week in NY and San Francisco Theater

Tony Epilogue

Within days of the Tony Awards (List of winners. Best moments) and the triumph of Dear Evan Hansen, three plays announced they were closing in June. Two of them – Indecent and Sweat (both closing June 25) – marked the Broadway debuts of two acclaimed, Pulitzer-prize winning women playwrights. (Sweat did not win any of the Tony for which it was nominated, but Indecent won two!)
Indecent playwright Paula Vogel blamed the co-chief critics of the New York Times

Sweat playwright Lynn Nottage seconded

I put some blame on the Tony Awards broadcast: If they would give straight plays the attention they deserve, Sweat, Indecent etc could find their audience.

Whatever the reasons, something is amiss.

New Broadway Season

If the Broadway season had a bittersweet epilogue, we are already in the prologue to the new season, which officially launches Thursday with the opening of 1984:

Broadway 2017-2018 Preview Guide

#FreeShakespeare 

After hammering criticism on social media by advocates on the political right, both Delta and Bank of America rescinded their funding for the Public Theater’s production of Julius Caesar at Shakespeare in the Park, for depicting a Trump-like Caesar. Protesters subsequently interrupted the play.
The Public’s Julius Caesar ends its run today, but this is unlikely to stop the attacks. According to news reports, Shakespeare companies across the country are being targeted on social media for the Public Theater’s production of Julius Caesar. Are the attackers confused, or doesn’t the distinction matter to them?

More on the Julius Caesar flap – photos, news reports, commentaries, reviews.

 

Week in New York Theater News

Preliminary rating for the Tony broadcast shows steep 31% decline from 2016 – a 4.7 rating, way down from 6.8 in 2016. The number of viewers will wind up being about six million.

The Pearl Theatre Co. filed for bankruptcy, and is closing after 33 years.

2017 summer schedule for free Broadway in Bryant Park lunchtime concerts (including Come From Away, Great Comet, Groundhog Day, and Anastasia.)

Cast completed for Frozen, headed to the St. James Broadway in Spring 2018

Week in San Francisco Theater

I spent the week in San Francisco, attending the annual American Theatre Critics Association conference.

I reviewed two shows aiming for Broadway:

Stephanie Styles and Drew Gehling

Roman Holiday

“Roman Holiday,” a musical running briefly at San Francisco’s Golden Theater in a traditional pre-Broadway tryout, grafts more than a dozen songs by Cole Porter onto the 1953 movie that turned Audrey Hepburn into a star….It’s tempting to call “Roman Holiday” an inefficient delivery system for Cole Porter’s hits. There’s [little] rationale for its existence.

(foreground) Kuhoo Verma (Aditi Verma) and Michael Maliakel (Hemant Rai); (background) Mahira Kakkar (Pimmi Verma), Rohan Gupta (Varun Verma), and Sharvari Deshpande (Ria Verma).

Monsoon Wedding

Mira Nair…is directing a musical adaptation of her 2001 film Monsoon Wedding that is currently on stage at the Berkeley Repertory Theater, with plans to move to Broadway.

Let’s hope it does. The story of the many family members who converge on Delhi for an arranged marriage is lively, colorful, and tuneful. It also has something to say

From this week’s American Theatre Critics Association panel discussions:

Bay Area designers

Choreographer Kimberly Richards: Choreography is not just the dancing; it’s all the movement. That’s often overlooked.

Scenic designer Nina Ball’s advice to critics: “Get to know what we work with — scale, harmony, line, space.”

Costume designer Abra Berman: My aim in modern dress shows is for costumes to so subtly enhance the characters that they’re not noticed –

Shakespeare: The Second 400 Years with five artistic directors of Shakespeare theater companies in the Bay Area.

William J. Brown, Arabian Shakespeare Festival; Leslie Schisgall Currier, Marin Shakespeare Company, , moderator Philippa Kelly, L. Peter Callender, African-American Shakespeare Company, Eric Ting, California Shakespeare Theater, Rebecca Ennals, San Francisco Shakespeare Festival

John Simon said black people couldn’t do Shakespeare. I wanted my life to prove him wrong — L. Peter Callender, founding artistic director of the African-American Shakespeare Company.

There’s a distinction between theater and museums. We can’t separate what’s on stage from the issues affecting a present-day audience – Eric Ting, California Shakespeare Theater

We start teaching Shakespeare too late. We should be teaching it when kids are five and learning new words all the time. -Rebecca Ennals of San Francisco Shakespeare Festival

Perspectives on Criticism

Bay Area critics: Robert Hurwitt (retired from the San Francisco Chronicle), Karen D’Souza (San Jose Mercury News), Lily Janice (new critic at San Francisco Chronicle.)

Birth of a critic:”I was poor, I was in grad school, I couldn’t afford to go to theater” (free tix!) – Karen D’Souza

A lot of my career was pushing for more arts coverage –  Robert Hurwitt retired recently after ~40 years as a critic

I didn’t consider myself a journalist, but reporting is an important part of every review I write – Lily Janiak

 

 

A play is not complete until somebody weighs in who’s not part of the production. That’s part of theater – Lily Janiak

The Play’s The Thing: Critics and New Work.

Panel with five Bay Area playwrights: Aaron Loeb, Stuart Bousel, Christopher Chen, moderator Amy Mueller (director and producer), Michael Gene Sullivan, Lauren Gunderson.

Aaron Loeb sees critics as useful for “blowing on your ember” — which becomes a catchphrase for the hour. Loeb advice to critics: “Engage with what the thing is, not what you wish it was.” One critic said of one of his plays: “This should have been a musical.”

Critics are supportive of new plays because I think they have stake in establishing theater identity – Chris Chen

“Theater is the anti-technology. You have to show up at the same time, and listen to live human beings. It’s the opposite of our devices and computers.” – Lauren Gunderson.

 

AR Gurney