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2016 Olivier Award Winners and 10 Lessons for the Tonys

August Wilson, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Stephen Sondheim and Arthur Laurents, Cyndi Lauper and Harvey Fierstein were among the winners in the UK’s 40th anniversary Olivier Awards, named after Sir Laurence Olivier. Complete list of winners below.

It’s possible that Americans are always big winners, but this is the first time it’s been broadcast in the United States (Watch it on YouTube. Click here to see it on my page)

Best Revival

Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom at National Theatre, Lyttelton

Best Entertainment and Family

Showstopper! The Improvised Musical at Apollo Theatre

Best Costume Design

Gregg Barnes for Kinky Boots at Adelphi Theatre

Blue-i Theatre Technology Award for Best Set Design

Anna Fleischle for Hangmen at Jerwood Theatre Downstairs at the Royal Court Theatre and Wyndham’s Theatre

White Light Award For Best Lighting Design

Mark Henderson for Gypsy at Savoy Theatre

Best Sound Design

Tom Gibbons for People, Places And Things at National Theatre, Dorfman

Best New Opera Production

Cavalleria Rusticana/Pagliacci at Royal Opera House

Outstanding Achievement in Opera

English National Opera Chorus and Orchestra for The Force Of Destiny, Lady Macbeth Of Mtsensk and The Queen Of Spades at London Coliseum

Best Actor in a Supporting Role

Mark Gatiss for Three Days In The Country at National Theatre, Lyttelton

Best Actress in a Supporting Role

Dame Judi Dench for The Winter’s Tale at Garrick Theatre

Outstanding Achievement in an Affiliate Theatre

Pat Kinevane and Fishamble for Silent at Soho Theatre

Virgin Atlantic Best New Play

Hangmen at Jerwood Theatre Downstairs at the Royal Court Theatre and Wyndham’s Theatre

Best Actor

Kenneth Cranham for The Father at Wyndham’s Theatre

Best Actress

Denise Gough for People, Places And Things at National Theatre, Dorfman

Magic Radio Audience Award

The Phantom Of The Opera

Best New Comedy

Nell Gwynn at Apollo Theatre

Best New Dance Production

Woolf Works by Wayne McGregor at Royal Opera House

Outstanding Achievement in Dance

Alessandra Ferri for her performances in Chéri and Woolf Works at Royal Opera House

Autograph Sound Award for Outstanding Achievement in Music

In The Heights – Music and Lyrics by Lin-Manuel Miranda, Orchestrated and Arranged by Alex Lacamoire and Bill Sherman at King’s Cross Theatre

Best Theatre Choreographer

Drew McOnie for In The Heights at King’s Cross Theatre

Best Director

Robert Icke for Oresteia at Almeida Theatre

Best Actor in a Supporting Role in a Musical

David Bedella for In The Heights at King’s Cross Theatre

Best Actress in a Supporting Role in a Musical

Lara Pulver for Gypsy at Savoy Theatre

Best Musical Revival

Gypsy at Savoy Theatre

Best Actor in a Musical

Matt Henry for Kinky Boots at Adelphi Theatre

Best Actress in a Musical

Imelda Staunton for Gypsy at Savoy Theatre

 

MasterCard Best New Musical

Kinky Boots at Adelphi Theatre

 

Ten Lessons The Tony Awards Could Learn From The Olivier Awards

  1. The Oliviers described nominated straight plays and also presented scenes from each one of them.  (The Tonys just describe nominated plays.)
  2. The Oliviers have TWO awards for best sound. (The Tonys have eliminated the sound category entirely.)
  3. The Olivier Awards are not limited to productions of plays and musicals on the West End. (The Tonys are limited to Broadway plays and musicals, with just one exception.)
  4. The Oliviers offered a tasteful In Memoriam where pictures of those who died filled the screen, and Michael Feinstein’s musical accompaniment (he sang George Gershwin and Ira Gershwin’s “They Can’t Take That Away From Me) did not dominate.
  5. The (fine) orchestra was not used to cut off winners’ speeches.  Best Actor winner Kenneth Cranham for The Father gave a lengthy, somewhat rambling acceptance speech that was all the more affecting for being un-canned.
  6. There was no (or at least very little) cutesy patter between the presenters.
  7. They created a musical medley out of Shakespeare’s sonnets, in honor of the 400th anniversary of his death.
  8. The Olivier Awards included an intermission.
  9. There were no commercials (except embedded in the names of the individual awards — an idea one hopes that Tonys will NOT borrow.)
  10. The Olivier Awards is not solely a creature of television (at least not yet.)  It began before “prime time” and ended at a civilized hour — 9 p.m. in London.
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Broadway Revealed, From Wicked to Kinky Boots: NYPL Exhibition

Broadway Revealed: Behind the Theater Curtain, an exhibition at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center through January 31, offers an odd glimpse of what goes into shows, through the 360-degree photographs of Stephen Joseph, as well as costumes from the library’s collection and lent by such shows as Wicked and Kinky Boots.

Click on any photograph to see it enlarged, then scroll down to “view full size,” click on that — and be patient.

 

Debra Messing, Bradley Cooper, Glenn Close on Broadway! Broadway Responds to Gay Ban. The Week in New York Theater

Debra Messing, Bradley Cooper, Glenn Close, Jeremy Jordan and Jonathan Groff

Debra Messing, Bradley Cooper, Glenn Close, Jeremy Jordan and Jonathan Groff

It’s that time of year: trees thrown out, critics on overseas trips, snow covering cityscape, few shows opening – and ticket bargains! Now through Feb 6 — #BroadwayWeek.  Now through Feb 9: @20at20 discounts. Off-Broadway shows for just $20.

The week in New York theater included news of celebrity returns, and debates over “underwritten plays” and directors or actors changing a playwright’s script. The theater community responded to Russia’s ban on “gay propaganda” with a satirical video (see 23 below) and to a possible hate crime with a candlelight vigil (26)

The Week in New York Theater, Jan 20-26

Monday, January 20, 2014

Human salvation lies in the hands of the creatively maladjusted.” ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

Live From Lincoln Center schedule:

Patina Miller – March 28

James Naughton Songs of Randy Newman April 4

Jason Isbell – April 11

Oscar Wilde’s first play, “Vera; or, The Nihilists” about Russian female assassin, will receive its first NYC revival since 1883 at Here Arts February 12 to 16

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BradleyCooper

BradleyCooperin1998FringeShowIn the award-winning tradition of beautiful people playing ugly, Bradley Cooper says he’ll star in the Broadway revival of The Elephant Man. The last time he performed on Broadway (and the first time) was in 2006, in Three Days of Rain opposite Julia Roberts. But he debuted on the New York stage at the Fringe Festival, when he was 23.

GlennClose

Three-time Tony winner Glenn Close says she’s returning to the stage after 15 years, but she won’t say in what, just “a very complex play”

RealisticJoneseslogo

JanisJoplin6a“A Night With Janis Joplin” ends in February at the Lyceum (with hopes of starting up again the following month) to make room for The Realistic Joneses.  Will Eno’s maiden Broadway play now has an opening date (April 6th) AND a theater, the Lyceum, as well as a Twitter feed:  ‪@RealisticBway. It starts performances March 13, 2014.

Rebecca producers extend rights to musical through 2014 and aim for a “winter 2014” start. (Isn’t that..now?) ‪#zombiemusical

UNDERWRITTEN PLAYS

New trend: industries fund plays about themselves: ‪Bronx Bombers (Major League Baseball), now  Craving for Travel (travel industry.) Let’s call this trend #underwrittenplays — because the plays are sponsored (underwritten) and because they so far tend to be poorly written.

Mark Kennedy ‪(@KennedyTwits) Also that play about AA funded by The Hazeldon Foundation kicking around

Timothy Stewart-Winter  (‏‪@timothysw) What’s  old is new again: industrial musicals were common in ’50s-70s & employed top talent

 Jonathan Mandell (@NewYorkTheater): But audiences for them were industry professionals, not  general public

Timothy Stewart-Winter: Yes – but is that a distinction without a difference? Given travel agencies buying blocks of tickets

Jonathan Mandell: These shows are in theaters with long tradition of legitimate plays, not #underwrittenplays. It potentially misleads public.

Timothy Stewart-Winter: But all produced plays are underwritten. Arguably these plays are *less* misleading.

Jonathan Mandell: Arguably by you. Do you believe corporate underwriting of Signature would persuade Tony Kushner to change a play? But a play about an industry developed in partnership with that industry, and funded by it, is beholden to it, and WOULD change if asked

 Jason Zinoman (@Zinoman): All plays are not sponsored by groups that the play is directly about. This is different. In a free market, people with money can do it. And people with voices can criticize. In the case of Lombardi, the NFL turned a good book into a commercial. So the evidence is not this is good for art.

BleeckerStreetBlizzardof2014

Broadway and “the Blizzard” of 2014, Take 2

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Billy Porter, performer, now playwright

Billy Porter, performer, now playwright

For its 30th season, Primary Stage will move to The Duke on 42nd St, with plays by David Ives, Theresa Rebeck, and Billy Porter.  Yes, Billy Porter has written a play: “While I Yet Live,” a coming-of–age tale set in Pittsburgh

Most cast recordings don’t make back their $400,000 cost. Without an album, though, a show dies Some cast albums do hit it big: Phantom of the Opera, 30 million copies sold!  Wicked, three million; Mamma Mia, 1.7 million; Jersey Boys, 1.5 million.

AngelaLansburyAngela Lansbury on how’s she still getting parts at age 88: Other actresses were cast because they were beautiful. She started playing older “when I was still terribly young.” (Angela Lansbury was only 37 when she played Laurence Harvey’s mother in Manchurian Candidate. Harvey was 34.) From four-minute interview with Angela Lansbury on BBC radio with brief audio clips from her career. 

Neurological studies: Great works of art trigger part of brain that shapes our sense of identity.

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JeremyJordanandJonathanGroffBroadway Responds to Russia’s ‘Gay Propaganda’ Ban

What's it All About? Bacharach Reinagined 2

 What’s It All About? Bacharach Reimagined has been extended  through February 16

 Spring 2014 schedule of  National Theater Live:  Corialanus, War Horse, King Lear, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night, etc. 

The debate over broadcast/streaming of live theater, a thorough (long!) blog post.  

Why comic actors break character so much. “Villainous,” said Shakespeare,but modern audiences love it.  Breaking character, known in UK as corpsing, is a specialty of Jimmy Fallon; fellow sketch actors hate him for it.

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Disney’s Hunchback of Notre Dame,music by Alan Menken (Newsies), lyrics by  Stephen Schwartz (Wicked) at La Jolla Playhouse, 2014-15. Then Broadway?

At 89, Sheldon Harnick (Fiddler on the Roof) is working on FOUR new shows. “We writers never want to stop.”

Christopher Durang’s 1981 Beyond Therapy to be revived on Theatre Row, March 11-April 19



SCRIPT CHANGES BY DIRECTORS, ACTORS

Asolo Rep changed  Brian Friel’s Philadelphia, Here I Come without telling him. He demanded they restore it.

How free should theaters feel in changing the work of playwrights?

J. Holtham ‏ @Jholtham The guy thought he could get away with it. He knew it wasn’t right.

Taylor Mac ‏‪@TaylorMacNYC  I feel pretty conservative about this & think they shouldn’t feel free 2 change anything unless given permission.

Stephen Spotswood ‏‪@playwrightsteve If they have the conversation with the playwright beforehand and s/he is fine with it, than go to town. If they aren’t comfortable having that conversation with the playwright, maybe they shouldn’t be working in a collaborative art form

Raymond McNeel @‪RaymondMcNeel  Often theaters make cuts knowing most writers won’t risk offending their producer or can’t afford a lawyer.

 Stephen Spotswood: Let us make a list of those theaters and nail it to a post in the town square…Or put it online.

Raymond McNeel: I again make my plea for an online Yelp for playwrights to post their experiences with theaters and fests.

Peter Marks: How do you react when actors tinker with a line, because, for example, it sounds better to them? Let it slide?

Joe Zarrow ‏‪@jzarrow When an actor gets a line wrong over and over, and they’re not just being lazy, I find it’s usually because the way I originally wrote it was awkward. And besides, seeing my work filtered through actors’ instruments is the fun part!

Terry Teachout @terryteachout I listen VERY closely whenever John Douglas Thompson wants to reword a line in my play. ‪#scriptchanges Even if he accidentally misreads a line, I consider the possibility that his way is better. ‪ Most of the time I either say yes or come up with a mutually satisfactory alternative. He’s the actor–it’s got to sit comfortably on his tongue or it won’t work onstage

David J. Loehr ‏‪@dloehr It’s a matter of clarity. If a change improves it, I’m all for it. If it changes or obscures the story, then no.

Lucia Frangione ‏‪@LuciaFrangione  I spend seven years on a play and you “tinker” with a line after reading it three times? I fire your ass. Each country is different. In Canada, the U.S. and the U.K, it’s illegal. In Poland, the writer has no rights.  In Germany I think it’s commonly 20% allowed to change lines to suit director.

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RomeoandJuliet1

Ticket Giveaway: What play/scene has most defined love for you? Answer here   for two ticket to the movie of Orlando Bloom in Romeo and Juliet

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Outside Mullingar Samuel J. Friedman Theatre

My review of Outside Mullingar 

If you didn’t speak English, or could somehow turn off the sound of
“Outside Mullingar,” John Patrick Shanley’s charming, wonderfully acted and overly weird romantic comedy, the final scene between Debra Messing, making her Broadway debut, and Brian F. O’Byrne, reliable Broadway veteran, would be a hugely satisfying mime show about two shy middle aged people finally revealing their love for one another: awkward squirming turning to tense confrontation melting into relieved embrace.

But, alas, we have to listen as well to the last 10 minutes of this otherwise carefully crafted 95-minute play. If Shanley’s premise is a wee implausible, his resolution is as loony as his characters are supposed to be, and far less appealing

Full review of Outside Mullingar


candlelightvigilforRandyGener

A candlelight vigil was held  for theater critic, journalist and artist Randy Gener on 54th Street and Seventh Avenue, where he was attacked on January 17 on his way home late at night. He is still at Roosevelt hospital, reportedly conscious and in stable condition, recovering after the first of two brain surgeries. Police are investigating and suspect it is a hate crime.

Campaign to raise funds for Randy Gener’s medical expenses. A remarkable $49,000 has already been raised for Randy, who has limited health insurance. (The Canadian Theatre Critics Association contributed $1,000 of that.)

RandyGener

Suspect:

SuspectinRandyGenerAttackSuspect’s description: Hispanic male, 20’s, approximately 6’0″ tall, weighing 160lbs., with short black hair. He was last seen wearing black jeans and a black jacket

Anyone with information in regards to this incident is asked to call Crime stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime stoppers website atWWW.NYPDCRIMESTOPPERS.COM

Update: Article in the New York Times:  Midtown Attack Investigated as Hate Crime

“Ten days after being attacked, Randy Gener can talk again. He also now recognizes his husband and his sister, seated at his hospital bedside. But Mr. Gener, an openly gay Filipino journalist, remembers little of how he ended up there: the swift and vicious punch to the face as he walked home through Midtown Manhattan in the predawn hours.”

Wednesday, January 29 update:

WNBC News: “A 24-year-old Queens man has been accused of knocking a veteran arts journalist unconscious last week near Times Square, police say.  Leighton Jennings of Jamaica was charged with second-degree assault after Randy Gener was punched in the face at 53rd Street and Seventh Avenue while walking home from the after-party for a play Jan. 17, police say.”

The Daily News report says Jennings is from St. Alban’s, Queens

Best Musical Theater Album #Grammy: Kinky Boots.

Billy Porter: @TheeBillyPorter I got a Grammy Y’all. God is good!!.

Other nominees were Matilda and Motown

Cyndi Lauper at the Grammys, where her Kinky Boots won Best Musical Theater Album.

Cyndi Lauper at the Grammys, where her Kinky Boots won Best Musical Theater Album.

10 Most Beloved Theater of 2013 That Baffled, Bored or Bugged Me

Belove Theater Baffled, Bored or Bugged Me

From least baffled, bored or bugged to most:
Kinky Boots 610. Kinky Boots

StageGrade: B+

This show has become more beloved since yahoos condemned it during Thanksgiving. I always found it entertaining, in a Busby Berkeley sort of way, but it’s too by-the-numbers safe and familiar for me.

Waiting for Godot Cort Theatre

9. Waiting for Godot and No Man’s Land

StageGrade: A-

One hesitates to apply the word “beloved” to these two difficult modernist classics, but most critics certainly gushed at the current Broadway productions running in repertory. I suspect this was primarily because of how charming (and beloved) their two stars, Sir Patrick Stewart and Sir Ian McKellen. They were a pair of muppets compared to the actors in other productions I’ve seen of Waiting for Godot, which were far more haunting, and, one feels, more true to a play written shortly after World War II during a period of increasing fears of nuclear annihilation.

As for No Man’s Land, it just baffled me.

TheLastFiveYears8. The Last Five Years

StageGrade: B-

While this musical about the unraveling of a marriage told backwards has never been a critical favorite, it is deeply beloved by many people whose judgment I respect. I didn’t hate it; there were a couple of lovely songs, some startling stage moments. It just didn’t move me the way it did the sobbing theatergoers seated around me.

DisasterMusical7. Disaster

StageGrade: A-

Way too long for what it is, which is a self-consciously campy one-joke spoof, albeit partially redeemed by first-rate performers singing 70’s pop songs

I'll Eat You Last: A Chat with Sue Mengers6. I’ll Eat You Last: A Chat With Sue Mengers

StageGrade: B+

I loved that Bette Midler wants to do theater again, but too many people made excuses for  this clunker of a vehicle that brought her back to Broadway.

MurderBallad5. Murder Ballad

StageGrade: B+

This deafening musical about a violent love triangle was so hip I nearly choked.

Pippin 4

4. Pippin

StageGrade: A-

Yes, turning this musical into a circus makes it more entertaining. But, not having seen Pippin previously, I was shocked by its insipid story, an un-refreshing mix of child-like lessons about finding yourself with childish insertions of foul language and bawdy insinuations.

Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder, AWalter Kerr Theatre

3. A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder

StageGrade: A-

Targeting out-of-touch British aristocrats from the early twentieth century, is not just easy. It becomes tiresome — and at times disturbing.

Small Engine Repair MCC - Lortel Theatre

2. Small Engine Repair

StageGrade: B+

I am puzzled by the excitement for this 70-minute acting exercise on such dramatically wobbly legs that it comes crashing down during its ludicrous ending.

Lucky Guy 4 Broadhurst Theater

1. Lucky Guy

StageGrade: B+

Having worked at the newspapers depicted in Lucky Guy, I was personally offended by this love-fest for journalists who are depicted as sexist, reckless drunks. As with I’ll Eat You Last, this lame play got a free ride because of the excitement that greeted its star. Lucky Guy marked the Broadway debut of Tom Hanks, who is — yes — beloved.

Note: StageGrade is a site that aggregates critics’ reviews of New York theater, coming up with a consensus grade for each show. I list the StageGrade grades here to indicate how I deviated from the consensus.

Cyndi Lauper Gets A Caricature At Sardi’s…and Changes Hair Color

Cyndi Lauper Gets A Caricature At Sardi's...and Changes Hair Color

Cyndi Lauper, a pop star whose first big hit was Girls Just Want To Have Fun 30 years ago, has been embraced by Broadway, undergoing the ritual known as posing with your caricature at Sardi’s. Lauper made her Broadway performing debut in “The Threepenny Opera” seven years ago, but has now written a musical — “Kinky Boots,” up for 13 Tony awards, more than any other show.

In case you’re wondering why her new caricature at Sardi’s presents her as having blonde hair, while the actual Lauper is clearly sporting red (to match the Sardi walls?) — Cyndi Lauper has had pink, red, salmon, green yellow, blonde, and black-colored  hair, sometimes all at once.  The original color of her hair is reportedly blonde.

CyndiLauperhair

 

Lucky Guy. Kinky Boots. Broadway Beasts

Tom Hanks in Lucky Guy, Billy Porter in Kinky Boots, Porridge the dog in Pippin.

Tom Hanks in Lucky Guy, Billy Porter in Kinky Boots, Porridge the dog in Pippin.

BroadwayOpeningsApril2013Lucky Guy and Kinky Boots opened on Broadway last week, Matilda is opening this week — one of a dozen Broadway shows still to open this month, to finish the Broadway Spring 2013 season, a season marked by an unusual number of non-human cast members. Below: a poll to choose your favorite Broadway beast.

Orlando Bloom and Rachel Weisz will both be making their Broadway debuts — Weisz in a cast that includes her husband Daniel Craig.

New York theater is not just Broadway — not even in April.  Nominees for Lucille Lortel Off-Broadway were announced. The League of Independent Theater (aka Off-Off Broadway) held its first-ever political candidate forums to address the issues facing some 50,000 independent theater artists in New York.

All that was good news. This was also a week of bad news, if you care about arts criticism.

The Week in New York Theater

April 1, 2013

orlando-bloom-romeoOrlando Bloom and Condola Rashad will star on Broadway in “Romeo and Juliet.” The production, which will also feature Jayne Houdyshell and Joe Morton, opens September 19 at Richard Rodgers. Bloom (“Lord of the Rings,” “Pirates of the Caribbean”) will be making his Broadway debut. Rashad, the daughter of Phylicia Rashad, made a splash in “Stick Fly” and is about to performer in “The Trip to Bountiful”

Sutton Foster and Jesse Tyler Ferguson will announce the nominees for the Tony Awards on April 30th at 8 am from the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center. 

Lucky Guy 1 Broadhurst Theater

My review of Lucky Guy

“Journalists aren’t nearly as interesting as they think they are,” David Eisenhower once said, a quote that Nora Ephron cited favorably in her final media column for Esquire in 1977. This was before Ephron became a movie director and screenwriter, and long before she wrote “Lucky Guy,” her play about the late tabloid columnist Mike McAlary. “Lucky Guy” is now opening at the Broadhurst starring Tom Hanks in his Broadway debut.

Ephron, whose play is being produced posthumously,  obviously changed her mind about journalists, for “Lucky Guy” depicts New York City newspaper columnists and editors who find each other fascinating.  Theatergoers are likely to find them less so.

That is why “Lucky Guy” is luckiest in having snagged Tom Hanks to return to the stage after an absence of decades.  He is certainly the reason why this script made it to Broadway. The production is also lucky to have George C. Wolfe directing, for he almost redeems what is otherwise a largely thin, plodding endeavor full of boozy sentimentality. He does this by injecting some clever stage business and a few well-orchestrated moments — and by having hired a first-rate cast.

Full review of Lucky Guy, including photo gallery

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March 2013 Theater Quiz

March 2013 theater quiz — test how well you were paying attention.

Sample question: Who are Smith and Clarke?

  •  A new song-writing team
  •  The law firm representing Julie Taymor in her continuing lawsuit against the producers and composers of Spider-Man Turn Off The Dark
  •  The producing team trying to get new investors for Rebecca
  •  18th century New World explorers who are the subject of a forthcoming musical
  •  The stars of Breakfast At Tiffany’s

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof Richard Rodgers TheatreStars are no guarantee:  “Cat On A Hot Tin Roof” starring Scarlett Johansson did not recoup its $3.6 million capitalization during its 15-week run.

Astoria is a growing center for the arts

Duet between Bernadette Peters and Megan Hilty in Smash

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Milo O’Shea, classic Irish-born character actor, veteran of 10 Broadway shows, has died at age 86. (Loved him in The Verdict)

RichardGreenbergplaywrightBreakfast At Tiffany’s, Assembled Parties, Far From Heaven…all by Richard Greenberg

— and all opening within a few weeks of one another in New York.

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Roger-red-seats

Roger Ebert, 6/8/1942 – 4/4/2013

Film critic Roger Ebert has died at age 70. ‪@ebertchicago is no more. His last film review was five days ago. His last Tweet was yesterday. He died on the day after his 46th anniversary as a film critic! Here’s what he wrote yesterday.  The optimism makes you cry.

LucilleLortelplaynominees

Nominees for 2013 Lucille Lortel Awards for Off-Broadway

Giant, just nominated for a Lucille Lortel award, is getting a cast album in May

Kinky Boots 8

My review of Kinky Boots

Is it a shock to say that “Kinky Boots” just isn’t kinky enough?

It could have been. Harvey Fierstein wrote the book, he who began his career as a 300-pound teenage drag queen on the Lower East Side. Cyndi Lauper is making her Broadway songwriting debut, she who began as the girl with the tie-dye colored hair who just wants to have fun…..

The stage version delivers a couple of stand-out performances; a few touching moments; several catchy melodies presented with verve and panache in a diverse score of genuine pop tunes — one of which, “Sex Is In The Heel” is already a certified hit in the clubs — flavored by funk, disco and even a tango.

“Kinky Boots” is professionally put together, it’s entertaining…and it’s both safe and familiar.

Full review of Kinky Boots

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Rachel Weisz and Daniel CraigIt’s official: Daniel Craig will star with wife Rachel Weisz in Broadway revival of Harold Pinter’s Betrayal, at the Ethel Barrymore Barrymore opening November 3. Weisz (The Bourne Legacy, The Constant Gardener) will be making her Broadway debut.  Craig (best-known as James Bond) appeared on Broadway in 2009 in “A Steady Rain.”

Remember Rob McClure from Chaplin? He joins Tony Danza in Jason R Brown’s “Honeymoon in Vegas” at the Papermill Playhouse, aiming for Broadway

On American Songbook with Michael Feinstein on PBS, ‏Stephen Sondheim said his favorite composers are George Gershwin, Jerome Kern, and Harold Arlen.

A brief history of applause — Nobody is sure how applause began, or when — babies applaud; applause is mentioned in the Bible — but we all know where it wound up: In the theater.

Speaking Theater to Power

 

John Clancy, executive director of the League of Independent Theater, which conducted its first ever political candidate forums.

John Clancy

The League of Independent Theater held its first political candidate forums last month, and is planning to make endorsements in New York City political races. With some 50,000 independent theater artists in New York City, roughly 86 percent of them regular voters, the league’s executive director John Clancy says he is convinced that an organized voice can make a difference

Backstage is laying off its theater critic and eliminating all theater reviewing in the publication by the end of the month.

Howlround dedicated the week to essays on theater criticism.

Last words of Matilda author Roald Dahl. He was not afraid of dying: “It’s just that I will miss you all so much…Ow, fuck!”

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New, wonderful-sounding series from New York City Center: “Encores! Off-Center.”  Great musicals for $25

The Beasts of Broadway

Best Broadway Beast Poll

How to keep old shows feeling like new:

“Hands down, when you’re in a long-run show, the best thing that happens is there’s turnover in cast,” says Wicked stage manager Meredith Abel. “….those influxes of difference make everybody, like, step up.”

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All The Way by Robert Schenkkan , about LBJ,wins 2013 Steinberg/American Theatre Critics Association Award for Best New Play produced outside of NY

The New York Shakespeare Exchange’s Sonnet Project, Shakespeare’s 154 sonnets filmed in NYC locations, kick-off party April 26 at  The Drama Bookshop. 

Closing today: Annie Baker’s The Flick, at Playwrights Horizons, which sparked complaint and controversy

15 Hunks ON Broadway NOW

Yesterday, Buzzfeed posted The 33 Hottest Hunks of Broadway, but whether or not they are “of” Broadway, more than half of them aren’t  on Broadway anymore. They’ve moved on to movies or TV or the concert hall or a stage show that isn’t on Broadway, or they’re waiting for the next gig. Below are those who are on Broadway currently (or, in one case, will be there in a few weeks). Only one of these photographs is of the actor on stage in his current show on  Broadway .

Click on any photograph to see it amplified in a slide show