Diva Additions: Bernadette! Phillipa! The New Season for Cheap. Week in NY Theater


The New York theater season is officially underway  (Check out my Broadway 2017-2018 Preview Guide, and my Off-Broadway Fall 2017 Preview Guide) – and there are incentives to get our butts in their seats for the traditionally slow month of September:


Broadway Week – September 4 – 17,  offering two ticket for the price of one,


20at20 – September 4 to September 24 — $20 tickets to shows Off-Broadway

Off-Off Broadway

This summer, there was no 21st New York International Fringe Festival, but there IS a 12th annual Fringe Encores, from September 5 – October 22, with shows from other fringe festivals — Hollywood, Edinburgh, Adelaide, Brighton and Winnipeg, all at SoHo Playhouse

The Flea’s new $18 million theater complex has opened with its first play, Inanimate (my review), about the love that one character feels for an inanimate object – in her case, a Dairy Queen sign. This seems apt because of the feelings theatergoers have for the many buildings that house the shows we’ll be seeing in the 2017-2018 season.

The new Flea theater

August 2017 New York Theater Quiz

Week in New York Theater News

Bernadette Peters will take over the title role of Hello, Dolly! from Bette Midler, whose final performance will be January 14.  Ms. Peters will begin on January 20, 2018, and get an official opening on February 22. Victor Garber will join the cast as Horace Vandergelder, the man Dolly is trying to snatch as her second husband.

Bernadette Peters has had a remarkable 60-year career in show business.



“Carousel” will open at the Imperial Theater April 12, 2018 with Betsy Wolfe, Margaret Colin and Alexander Gemignani joining the already announced cast of Joshua Henry, Renee Fleming and Jessie Mueller.

Alison PIll joins Glenda Jackson and Laurie Metcalf in “Three Tall Women,” by Edward Albee, Opens March 29, 2018 at the Golden Theater

Phillipa Soo (Great Comet, Hamilton, Amelie) will be joining Uma Thurman in the cast of The Parisian Woman, a new play written by Beau Willimon (“House of Cards”) and directed by Pam MacKinnon (“Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?”). Marton Csokas will be making his Broadway debut. It opens November 30 at Hudson Theater.


Springsteen on Broadway has been extended more than two months! Now October 3 through February 3, 2018. Opening Oct 12 at Walter Kerr.


Harry Potter Kicks Out Paramour. The Trump Effect. Lin-Manuel Inc. Week in NY Theater

The world may feel as if it’s coming to an end (see The Trump Effect, below), but the future looks promising for the theater, even in the few weeks remaining of this year, with several intriguing shows still to open (December theater openings) – and that doesn’t even count Hairspray Live on Wednesday.

Or La La Land, which opens in movie theaters on Thursday

Or the 1966 rediscovered Glass Menagerie starring Shirley Booth on TCM on Thursday (See New York Theater News below.)

Did you take the November New York Theater Quiz yet?



The Trump Effect

It’s been almost four weeks since Election Day, but those who didn’t support the winner – including much of the theater community – remain in shock. One manifestation of this, as I write in an essay for HowlRound, is in a changed perception of what’s happening on stage at nearly every show since then, from “Master Harold….and the boys” to “Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812,” and even “Sweet Charity.” (Also included in the article are links to reactions by a variety of critics and theater artists.)

Theater artists have begun to mobilize, such as the newly formed Broadway Advocacy Coalition which on Sunday night held a combination concert and conference entitled “The Invitation: The American Hangover.”

Here is Brandon Victor Dixon’s appearance at the event, which was held in an auditorium at Columbia University:

Also presenting at the event were performers Ben Vereen and Condola Rashad, and Fun Home composer Jeanine Tesori, who revealed that she’s taking courses at the law school.

Week in New York Theater Reviews

The song "You Will Be Found" from "Dear Evan Hansen"

The song “You Will Be Found” from “Dear Evan Hansen”

Dear Evan Hansen

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…

The Illusionists


For its third annual holiday appearance on Broadway, The Illusionists, a variety showcase for a rotating group of magicians and stunt performers, has a new subtitle, “Turn of the Century,” which may be an attempt to spin overly familiar acts as vintage classics…Luckily, The Illusionists also includes Justo Thaus, aka The Grand Carlini — who executes some equally antediluvian tricks involving a little red ball but at least does it using marionettes — and Jonathan Goodwin, who is dubbed The Daredevil.

Emily Rohm

Emily Rohm

Ride The Cyclone

“Ride the Cyclone” begins with six teenagers from the high school choir of a small Canadian town dying on a roller coaster called the Cyclone. Then, one by one, we hear their stories – or, more accurately, we get a show-stopping musical number out of each one of them. If the musical feels largely derivative, it features an appealing, talented cast, a dozen witty, energetic songs in a variety of popular styles, and a spectacular design for such a small-scale show. Although the characters are dead, that doesn’t stop them from being fun and funny, albeit in a familiar way. Viewers might immediately think of “Glee,” or any number of peppy musical comedies. But I thought of Thornton Wilder….

Week in New York Theater News


lyric-marquee-with-paramourAlthough there was some confusion due to a misleading press release put out by Cirque de Soleil, the real story is that the owners of the Lyric, Ambassador Theatre Group, aka ATG, plan to renovate the Lyric in hopes of its housing in 2018 “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child,” now playing to sold-out audiences at the Palace in London’s West End. ATG is therefore kicking out “Paramour” in April, 2017.

It’s unclear whether Paramour will be able to find another Broadway theater that’s open and suits its needs. Paramour was critically panned when it opened in May, and, while it often grosses close to a million dollars a week, that represents little more than half of its potential, and it has among the lowest percentage of seats filled; the Lyric, as presently configured, is the largest house on Broadway, with more than 1,900 seats. (The second largest is the Gershwin, where Wicked consistently ranks among the highest attended Broadway shows.) The aim of the renovation is in part to reduce the number of seats.

Jersey Boys Drew Seeley Nick Dromard Matt Bogart Mark Ballas

“Jersey Boys” creators found guilty of copyright infringement in lawsuit brought by widow of ghost writer.


The Humans will close on Broadway on January 15, 2017. Come From Away had already announced that it will begin performances at Schoenfeld (where The Humans is playing) on February 18. The Humans will launch a national tour next November.


New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law a “ticket bot bill” making it a crime for scalpers to use computer software to purchase tickets


Fifty years to the day after it was first broadcast, the famously “lost” 1966 TV production of  The Glass Menagerie starring Shirley Booth as Amanda, Hal Holbrook as Tom, Barbara Loden as Laura and Pat Hingle as the gentleman caller has been found and restored, and is scheduled to air Thursday, December 8 on TCM. Of note, it was directed by British director Michael Elliott, who is the father of Marianne Elliott, the director of “War Horse” and “Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.
The first TV version of Tennessee Williams play was in 1950, starring Jane Wyman as Laura, Kirk Douglas as the Gentleman caller, Gertrude Lawrence as Amanda, and Arthur Kennedy as Tom.

Lin-Manuel Miranda Is Busy

Good news/bad news. Good news: Hamilton grossed a record-breaking $3.3 million (Take that, #BoycottHamilton!) Bad news: The top ticket price was $998


The Hamilton Mixtape was released this past week.

The day before, there was a Hamilton Mixtape concert livestreamed  from the Richard Rodgers Theater, featuring QuestLove of The Roots


and his bandmate Tariq “Black Thought” Trotter; Joell Ortiz (who sang “My Shot” with Black Thought), Regina Spektor (“Dear Theodosia”)


Andra Day (“Burn”)


Ashanti with Ja Rule (“Helpless”)


Three observations about the  concert

1. longest #Ham4Ham ever

2. shortest #rapconcert ever

3. More women proportionally than in the musical

(To learn more about the books, and/or buy them, check out 3 Book Set of The Kingkiller Chronicle Series (The Name of the Wind, Wise Man’s Fear and The Slow Regard of Silent Things))


Click here for discount tickets to the Christmas Spectacular Starring the Radio City Rockettes


Bette! Sutton! Patti! August Wilson At Last! John Leguizamo! Week in New York Theater

“What we do deeply, deeply matters,” George C. Wolfe, director and book writer of Shuffle Along, told a group of out-of-town theater owners and presenters in another week focused on the season just passed — even as we learned some exciting news about the season to come.

Week in New York Theater Awards

Astaire Awards – Hamilton, On Your Feet and Shuffle Along in three-way tie for choreographer!

Our bodies are instruments and we are able to change lives through dance~Judith Jamison


Drama League Awards


Week in New York Theater Reviews

Indecent 2 The cast of Indecent photo by Carol Rosegg


While Broadway is reacquainting audiences with Shuffle Along, Off-Broadway is opening our eyes to another landmark Broadway show from the 1920s – this one an all-Jewish, lesbian-themed drama that led to a criminal prosecution.Indecent is both a fascinating history lesson written by Pulitzer-winning Paul Vogel, and a cleverly staged entertainment directed by Rebecca Taichman.


Turn Me Loose

One leaves this 90-minute play about comedian and activist Dick Gregory thinking of it as a stand-up comedy routine more than a biographical drama. This is in part because the play doesn’t emphasize the biography, going into few details.  But it’s mostly because of Joe Morton, an accomplished stage and film actor best known now as Olivia Pope’s father in the TV series Scandal, who turns out to have terrific comic delivery.



Half Moon Bay

The beginning of “Half Moon Bay”…. does not promise a great romance. But it winds up delivering something almost as sweet – a charmingly-acted, quirky, subtly comic, touching look at the tentative, fumbling effort by two characters to make a connection.

Week in New York Theater News

Santiago-Hudson and August Wilson

“Jitney,” the only one of the ten plays that make up August Wilson’s American Century Cycle that has never been presented on Broadway, will finally get there in December (opening January 19, 2017), at MTC’s Samuel J. Friedman Theater, directed by long-time Wilson interpreter Ruben Santiago-Hudson.

Here are Santiago-Hudson, Stephen McKinley Henderson, Clarke Peters and others explaining the continuing appeal of August Wilson at the opening three years ago of the stage readings of all ten plays.



2016 NYC Summer Theater Festivals

2016-17 Public Theater season features
Sweat by Lynn Nottage
Latin History for Morons by John Leguizamo
Saint Joan by David Byrne
Harvey Fierstein in a new play by Martin Sherman (Bent)



Sutton Foster will star in 1966 Fosse/Gwen Verdon musical Sweet Charity with  new choreography by Josh Bergasse, November 2016 The New Group

Full New Group season

2016 2017 New Group season


Jaime Camil

Jaime Camil (of Jane The Virgin) is the next Billy Flynn in Chicago, May 31-July 3


Director Evan Cabnet (Do I Hear A Waltz, Gloria, Therese Raquin) named artistic director of Lincoln Center’s LCT3,  which focuses on experimental works at the Claire Tow Theater.

Neil LaBute’s new play Reasons to Be Pretty Happy (third in trilogy), one-night-only benefit reading, June 20


Returning as Wicked’s Elphaba August 1: Jenny DiNoia, Elphaba veteran on Broadway, in Chicago, Korea, and Australia.

Grand Paradise 16-+(photo+by+Darial+Sneed)

Grand Paradise has been extended to September 4.

Week in New York Theater Quotes

“I start writing from a place of outrage. Hope and love are found along the way.” –
Danai Gurira, Eclipsed

“I aspire to be the role model that I was looking for at 7 years old.” – Ali Stroker, cast member of Spring Awakening

“It’s our job as theater-makers and theater-producers to say we all belong.” –
LIesl Tommy, director of Eclipsed

“What we do deeply, deeply matters.” -George C. Wolfe, director, book writer of Shuffle Along

“When you make a path, you have to bring a sister behind you.”– Jeanine Tesori, composer of Fun Home.


BroadwayCon. Blizzard, Bette Back on Broadway. Week in New York Theater

Undeterred by the second biggest blizzard that New York has experienced since 1869 – which shut down the city and Broadway too — they came from Canada and Florida, Las Vegas and down the block, dressed in the Hilton Hotel as the Hilton Sisters from Side Show, or King George III from Hamilton (several of those) or Tracy Turnblad from Hairspray.

The nearly 6,000 theater fans who attended the first-ever BroadwayCon – which an organizer described as “like Comic Con but with more jazz hands and green face paint” – were treated over three days to some 36 hours of meet-ups, sing-alongs, panel discussions, theater celebrity signings and sightings, and an hour-long original musical about the origins of BroadwayCon, using jokey songs (“The Con Where It Happens” sung to Hamilton’s “The Room Where It Happens”) with a cast of Broadway professionals that included Rob McClure and Ann Harada, with a curtain call attended by Tommy Tune and Ben Vereen.

What’s the difference between a theater fan and a theatergoer? Andy Mientus, Ann Harada, and BroadwayCon co-founder Anthony Rapp weigh in, along with several costumed attendees, in the video below:



More on BroadwayCon from DC Theatre Scene

80 articles on BroadwayCon by Playbill, sponsors of the event.


Blizzard on Broadway

For the second January in a row, Broadway was shut down because of a blizzard — this time on a Saturday, and due to more than TWO FEET of snow.  Broadway and the Blizzard of 2016


snow in Times Square January 23, 2016

Times Square, January 23, 2016 at 12:30 p.m.

Broadway, January 23, 2016, at 4 p.m.

Broadway, January 23, 2016, at 4 p.m.

Times Square, Saturday, January 24, 2016 at 4:30 p.m.

Times Square, Saturday, January 23, 2016 at 4:30 p.m.

45th Street before January 24, 2016 Sunday matinees.

45th Street before January 24, 2016 Sunday matinees.


The Week in New York Theater Reviews

Adesola Osakalumi in Skeleton Crew

Adesola Osakalumi in Skeleton Crew

Skeleton Crew

Dominique Morisseau was moved to write Skeleton Crew, her compelling play about a group of Detroit auto workers, after the playwright met a woman who was reduced to living in her automobile – especially infuriating and heartbreaking in Motor City, where people are supposed to manufacture cars, not live in them.



Mother Courage and Her Children

Kecia Lewis is nearly heroic as Mother Courage in the Classic Stage Company’s production of Brecht’s anti-war epic – not the way she’s playing the character, but the actress herself, because she agreed to take over from Tonya Pinkins, who left two days before the show’s planned January 7th opening.

..As it turns out, in Kecia Lewis’s hands Mother Courage is indeed strong – both fierce and earthy as an itinerant merchant who tries to make a profit over whichever side is winning the war at the moment. She is also, as Brecht wrote her, delusional…

 Linda Lavin John Procaccino

Linda Lavin, John Procaccino

Our Mother’s Brief Affair

Our Mother’s Brief Affair begins with Linda Lavin in a mother’s deathbed confession to her grown gay twin children, but by the end two hours later playwright Richard Greenberg has sprung several surprises. The biggest surprise is how much the play feels like a first draft for a better play…or notes for several other plays.


The Week in New York Theater News


Bette Midler will return to Broadway as Dolly Levi in Hello,Dolly, scheduled to open April, 2017, with Jerry Zaks directing. It will be the fifth time for the musical on Broadway and the fifth time for the Divine Miss M (if you include her Broadway concerts.)


A revival of Cats by Andrew Lloyd Webber is set to open at Broadway’s Neil Simon August 2, directed by Trevor Nunn, and choreographed by Hamilton’s Andy Blankenbuehler


The Week in Endings


Bowie, Bogosian and Bobby Moreno

Flowers and other items honoring David Bowie outside the New York Theatre Workshop

Bobby Moreno and the rest of the cast of “Lazarus” performed it for the final time on Wednesday, January 20, 2016 at the New York Theatre Workshop, where,  every night, the flowers and other items in tribute piled up outside the theater doors.



Sun setting on Broadway after a long week.