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Lobby Hero Review: Chris Evans, Michael Cera in Modest Comedy of Moral Quandaries

Chris Evans and Michael Cera in Lobby Hero, at the Helen Hayes

“Lobby Hero,” which presents a quartet of characters (two security guards and two cops) in the lobby of a high rise apartment building in Manhattan, is more than just the modest comedy it initially seems to be. It is less, though, than what we were promised.

Brian Tyree Henry

When Second Stage announced it had bought itself a Broadway home, the Helen Hayes, the non-profit theater company declared it would use it to present new American plays by living American playwrights. For the inaugural production at the newly renovated Hayes, however, Second Stage has chosen to revive “Lobby Hero,” an old American play (which debuted at Playwrights Horizons in 2001), by Kenneth Lonergan, a playwright (“This Is Our Youth”) whose greatest successes have been in Hollywood: He wrote and directed the Oscar-winning “Manchester by the Sea.”
That “Lobby Hero” also co star Chris Evans (“Captain America”), in his Broadway debut, and Michael Cera (“Juno,” “Arrested Development”) make the Hollywood connections feel more than an accident. It follows the recent formula for mounting a straight play on Broadway: Get screen stars. That usually doesn’t mean the playwright too.
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This Is Our Youth Review: Michael Cera and Kiera Culkin Far From Avenue Q

ThisisOurYouthSaraKrulwich

Is this OUR Youth? His sister was murdered six years ago, his rich, abusive father has just kicked him out of the house, and 19-year-old Warren, portrayed by Michael Cera in the crackling Broadway debut production of Kenneth Lonergan’s 1996 play, drags a suitcase full of his vintage toy collection and $15,000 in cash that he has stolen from his Dad to the Upper West Side apartment of Dennis (Kieran Culkin), his 21-year-old drug dealer. Warren asks Dennis whether he can stay with him for a couple of days. Dennis tells him to go somewhere else, but there’s nowhere else to go. “Everyone’s parents are home,” Warren says. “I’m not allowed in their houses.”

“Nobody can stand to have you around. And you can’t get laid,” says Dennis, who calls Warren his friend.

This is far from Avenue Q, although both plays focus on bewildered people navigating the unnerving transition between childhood and life as an independent adult. Given the harshness of the characters’ attitudes and their recklessness, the title can sound admonishing – as if the playwright is asking us to join him in tut-tutting the anomie, aimlessness and self-destruction of an entire generation. But one monologue offers a clue to what the title, and the play, is really about. In a long self-justifying (and, one suspects, partly self-parodying) speech, Dennis defends to Warren his making a profit off his friends through his drug dealing. “I’m providing you schmucks with such a crucial service…Plus I’m providing you with precious memories of your youth, for when you’re fuckin’ old…. You’re going to remember your youth as like a gray stoned haze punctuated by a bunch of beatings from your Dad and, like, my jokes.” The title, in other words, is a statement from the characters.

The beauty and wonder of Lonergan’s play is that it depicts with unblinking specificity a group of foul-mouthed, pot-smoking, hyper-articulate but clueless rich kids on the Upper West Side in 1982. But the playwright somehow brings us inside those characters, with lots of humor and little judgment, so that the audience can freely identify with them – not “What have our youth come to?” but “Yeah, I’ve been there.”

Director Anne D. Shapiro, who won a Tony for “August: Osage County,” and did wonders with “The Motherfucker with the Hat,” here again teams up with scenic designer Todd Rosenthal to present a production of this three-character play suitable for an 1,100-seat Broadway house like the Cort, with largely positive results.  Rosenthal’s set, like that with Hat, opens up to suggest a wider city — there is an impressively realistic backdrop of the post-war apartment buildings that loom behind and above Dennis’s apartment. The characters’ rough-housing seems designed to fill up the stage.

All three performers are making their Broadway debuts, with little to no previous stage experience. Those who know and like Michael Cera from “Arrested Development” and “Juno” will be happy getting just about the same poker-faced, man-boy character in “This Is Your Youth,” although he is projecting his voice in a way that makes clear he is new to the stage. His interpretation seems narrower in range than Mark Ruffalo, the original Warren Straub (a role that began Ruffalo’s collaboration with Lonergan, which led to one of my favorite films, “You Can Count On Me.”) But Cera contributes a comic timing that lands every laugh, and a final touching moment that feels devastating.

Tavi Gevinson, who became a celebrity at age 12 because of her fashion blog, Style Rookie, is at age 18 (born the year “This Is Our Youth” debuted), impressive as a stage presence, holding her own with two movie veterans as Jessica Goldman, the object of Warren’s desire.  She has a horn of a voice, and a clear-cut future as a performer if she wants it, and her duet of attraction and anxiety with Cera certainly holds our attention, even if there is less in her character of an apparent interior life that a more experienced actress might have brought to the role.

As Dennis, Culkin delivers striking arias of bullying and bravado that mask the vulnerabilities he shares with his cowed pal.  It is a performance that makes you hope he will return (again and again) to the theater.

Not much seems to happen on stage in the course of the 48 hours when “This Is Our Youth” is supposed to take place. But the characters would consider what happens off-stage during that time cataclysmic- nothing less than the end of their youth.

 

This Is Our Youth

At Cort Theater

By Kenneth Lonergan

Directed by Anna D. Shapiro; sets by Todd Rosenthal; costumes by Ann Roth; lighting by Brian MacDevitt; sound by Rob Milburn and Michael Bodeen

Cast: Michael Cera (Warren Straub), Kieran Culkin (Dennis Ziegler) and Tavi Gevinson (Jessica Goldman).

Running time: 2 hours 20 minutes including one intermission.

This is Our Youth is scheduled to run through January 4th.

This Is Our Youth Broadway Reviews and Photos

All three stars – Michael Cera, Kieran Culkin and the 18-year-old fashion blogger Tavi Gevinson –   are making their Broadway debuts, as is playwright Kenneth Lonergan, in the revival of “This Is Our Youth,” opening tonight directed by Anna D. Shapiro at the Cort Theater through January 4.

When the play was first produced, Off-Broadway in 1996, it was already an exercise in slacker nostalgia. Taking place in an apartment on the Upper West Side in 1982, it focuses on hip Dennis, nerd Warren, who has just stolen $15,000 from his abusive father, and Jessica, the fashion student Warren hopes to seduce. When the revival ran at Steppenwolf in Chicago this summer, Chicago Tribune critic Chris Jones called it a shrewdly cast, “strikingly funny and textured production,” but wondered how it would play in the less intimate setting of a Broadway house.

What do the New York critics think of it?

Jonathan Mandell, New York Theater:  The beauty and wonder of Lonergan’s play is that it depicts with unblinking specificity a group of foul-mouthed, pot-smoking, hyper-articulate but clueless rich kids on the Upper West Side in 1982. But the playwright somehow brings us inside those characters, with lots of humor and little judgment, so that the audience can freely identify with them – not “What have our youth come to?” but “Yeah, I’ve been there.” Director Anne D. Shapiro, who won a Tony for “August: Osage County,” and did wonders with “The Motherfucker with the Hat,” here again teams up with scenic designer Todd Rosenthal to present a production of this three-character play suitable for an 1,100-seat Broadway house like the Cort, with larger positive results….As Dennis, Culkin delivers striking arias of bullying and bravado that mask the vulnerabilities he shares with his cowed pal.  It is a performance that makes you hope he will return (again and again) to the theater.

Click on any photograph to see it enlarged.

 

Ben Brantley, New York Times: “The acrobatics being performed in Anna D. Shapiro’s sensational, kinetically charged revival of Kenneth Lonergan’s “This Is Our Youth,”which opened on Thursday night in a marijuana haze at the Cort Theater, aren’t anything like those you’d find at the Cirque du Soleil. But they’re every bit as compelling, and probably (painfully) a whole lot closer to your own experience….[The director] knows how to scale up intimate confrontations to Broadway dimensions without losing nuance. Under her direction, “Youth” becomes more explosively physical than I recalled it, a ballet of gracefully clumsy collisions.”

Linda Winer, Newsday: “Thanks to the playwright’s meticulously hand-picked insights and Anna D. Shapiro’s tight yet seemingly easygoing direction, we somehow feel we have spent a couple of amusing and ultimately painful hours with an entire world of offstage parents, drug dealers and friends of friends….Ultimately, each of the [three] lost children has a monologue that asks questions so interesting that we wish we could watch them grow up.”

Mark Kennedy Associated Press: “….directed by Anna D. Shapiro, who knows her way around onstage arguments (“August: Osage County”) and movie stars (James Franco in “Of Mice and Men”). She keeps this revival fresh and electric, crackling with energy even as the stoned get more stoned.…Cera’s Warren is gloriously unpolished, a guy with his hand permanently stuffed into a pants pocket and a collection of toy memorabilia. He moves jerkily, as if he’s uncomfortable in his own skin…Culkin, with his flippy haircut and polo shirt, is smarmy ’80s perfection….Gevinson walks into this drug-fueled morass with an innocence, integrity and sincerity that’s refreshing.”

David Cote, Time Out New York: “The word plot should be used loosely. As always with Lonergan, the murky-jerky inner worlds of his articulate, life-stalled characters drive the action….Anna D. Shapiro’s clear-eyed and tight staging brings out earnest, honest performances from the young trio. Cera’s facial deadpan and vocal drone have the curious effect of deepening, not lessening, our sympathy for Warren. Culkin gets to shine in the flashier role, and Gevinson toggles amusingly between prim ingenue and panicked urbanite. They’re nice kids; I think they’ve got a bright future ahead of them.”

Thom Geier, Entertainment Weekly: B+ “Culkin is sensational as Dennis, a talkative schemer whose occasional stumbles in no way impede his innate sense of self-confidence. Cera is nearly as strong as Warren, a willfully quirky boy who collects action figures and vintage toasters and who endures Dennis’ poetic rants of invective against him like a pound puppy who craves attention no matter what form it takes….At 18, Gevinson is closer to her character’s age than her castmates—but she can seem less at ease on stage for reasons that have nothing to do with Jessica’s natural discomfort hanging out in a strange apartment with a virtual stranger”

Robert Kahn, WNBC:” In spite of it all, I walked out of the two-acter curiously unfulfilled. The play rarely feels relatable, and I’m afraid it’s mostly an issue with Cera, the talented “Juno” and “Superbad” star who here steps into a role quite similar to that of George Michael, the awkward man-boy he played on “Arrested Development.” That’s the rub—I think Warren would be better cast with an actor who’s got more range….This Is Our Youth” comes to life whenever Culkin—31, but playing a character a decade younger—is on stage.”

Robert Hofler The Wrap: “How much does Judd Apatow owe to Kenneth Lonergan’s 1996 play, “This Is Our Youth”…The play has so many elements that were to become Apatow hallmarks: the awkward teenage sex (“Freaks and Geeks”), the vintage toy collection (“The 40 Year-Old Virgin”), the slacker abode (“Knocked Up”), and, of course, the drugs (all of the above). Lonergan was there first to document that odd, unnamed territory between school and a real life, which for his 25-year-old-ish character Dennis (Kieran Culkin in a Broadway debut that’s a career breakthrough) may never arrive despite such remarkable potential….”

Matt Windman, AM New York:  “Chekhov meets Gossip Girl…There’s no escaping the fact that Cera is giving a performance that closely mirrors his nervous nice guy persona from “Arrested Development” and “Superbad.” Even so, it suits his character and he brings plenty of laughs. The 18-year-old Gevinson, who has terrific rapport with Cera, vigorously conveys Jessica’s suspicious nature. Culkin displays greater range as Dennis, who embodies cocky 1980s materialism, seeing himself as an entrepreneur.”

 

Broadway Fall 2014 Preview Guide

Listed below, chronologically by opening dates, are the shows officially scheduled so far on Broadway in the 2014-2015 season, with basic information and my two cents for the Fall shows. Both the schedule and my opinions are tentative and will be revised and updated as the season progresses.

You want stars, pick your favorite: Hugh Jackman, Glenn Close, Harry Potter’s Rupert Grint, Carol Burnett even, etc.  You want revivals, you got them – nine of the 15 set to open from September through December.  But there is also here the promise of a quality season.

( Click for a rundown on long-running Broadway shows)

(Click here for the Off-Broadway Fall 2014 Preview Guide)

September:

ouryouthlogoThis is Our Youth

#NewYorkTheaterpicks

Cort Theater

Playwright: Kenneth Lonergan

Director: Anna D. Shapiro

First preview: August 18, 2014

Opening: September 11

Closing: January 4, 2015

Principal cast: Michael Cera, Kieran Culkin, Tavi Gevinson.

48 hours in the live of three teenagers in 1982, one of whom has stolen cash from his father.

This is a revival. There were productions Off-Broadway in 1996 and 1998

One Chicago critic liked this production when it was in try-outs there, but wondered if the Cort will be too big for it. Lonergan wrote one of my favorite movies, “You Can Count On Me,” but find the plays of his I’ve seen (The Starry Messenger) painfully meandering.

Twitter: @YouthBroadway

My review: Michael Cera, Kieran Culkin Far From Ave Q

Love Letters

#NewYorkTheaterpicks

loveletterslogoBrooks Atkinson Theater

First preview: September 13

Opening: September 18

Closing: February 1, 2015

Playwright: A.R. Gurney

Director: Gregory Mosher

In a revival of A.R. Gurney’s play, two people write one another love letters over a period of 50 years.

The play features a star-studded rotating cast on the following schedule:

Brian Dennehy and Mia Farrow (September 13-October 10)

Carol Burnett and Brian Dennehy (October 11-November 7)

Alan Alda and Candice Bergen (November 8-December 5)

Stacy Keach and Diana Rigg (December 6-January 9)

Anjelica Huston and Martin Sheen (January 10-February 1).

This is a charming play, that I’ve seen in previous productions. (It was on Broadway in 1989.) If this production can be said to indulge in stunt-casting (and what else would you call it?) it’s stunt casting of the very highest order. My only regret is that they didn’t cast just one pair of younger performers, like, say, Robert Downey Jr. and Scarlett Johansson

Twitter: @LoveLettersBway

My review: Mia Farrow and Brian Dennehy Over 50 Years

canttakeitwithyoulogoYou Can’t Take It With You

#NewYorkTheaterpicks

Longacre Theater

First preview: August 26

Opening: September 28

Closing: January 4, 2015

Playwrights: George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart

Director:  Scott Ellis

Cast: James Earl Jones, Kristine Nielsen and Elizabeth Ashley lead a cast of nearly two dozen.

Two families (one deeply eccentric) collide when their children become engaged.

First produced on Broadway in 1936, this comedy (by the writing team that was the subject of the play Act One last season), is now on its fifth revival.

Twitter: @CantTakeItBway

My review of You Can’t Take It With You

October:

CountryhouselogoThe Country House

Samuel J. Friedman Theater

First preview: September 9

Opening: October 2

Closing: December 9

Playwright: Donald Margulies

Director: Daniel Sullivan

Principal cast: Blythe Danner leads a six-member cast.

An adaptation by Margulies (Dinner With Friends) of Chekhov’s The Seagull focuses on a family of thespians who gather in a house in the Berkshires during the Williamstown theater festival.

@MTC_NYC

My review of The Country House

dognighttimelogoThe Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night

#NewYorkTheaterpicks

Ethel Barrymore Theater

First preview: September 10

Opening: October 5

Playwright: Simon Stephens adapting the novel by Mark Haddon

Director: Marianne Elliott

Fifteen-year-old Christopher, clinically awkward and brilliant, is suspected of killing the neighbor’s dog. He sets out on a life-changing journey to find the culprit.

This stage adaptation of a peculiarly-written novel I loved by Mark Haddon was well-received in London, winning 7 Olivier Awards (equalling the previous record-breaking Matilda.) It was especially praised for its design. The director and the designers are the same on Broadway, it is still a Royal National Theatre production, but the cast is different.

@CuriousBroadway

My Review of The Curious Incident

onlyaplaylogoIt’s Only A Play

First preview: August 28

Opening: October 9

Closing: January 4, 2015

Playwright: Terrence McNally

Director: Jack O’Brien

Cast: Nathan Lane, Matthew Broderick. F. Murray Abraham, Stockard Channing, Rupert Grint, Megan Mullally and Micah Stock.

Running time: 2 hours and 35 minutes, including one intermission.

The cast of a show called “The Golden Egg” await the reviews in this revival of Terrence McNally’s 1982 comedy, which is likely to be most appreciated for its cast — especially the reunited duo Matthew Broderick and Nathan Lane, as well as the Broadway debut of Harry Potter veteran Rupert Grint.

@ItsOnlyAPlay

My review of It’s Only A Play: Nathan Lane, Selfies, and Sniping

onthetownlogoOn The Town

#NewYorkTheaterpicks

Lyric Theater (formerly Foxwoods)

First preview: September 20

Opening: October 16

Lyrics by: Betty Comden and Adolph Green

Music by: Leonard Bernstein

Book by: Betty Comden and Adolph Green

Director: John Rando

Principal cast: Clyde Alves, Jay Armstrong Johnson, Tony Yazbeck

Three sailors spend a day on leave in New York City, meeting some great dames.

I have high hopes for this production, which features great choreography by Joshua Bergasse (based on the glimpses we’ve been given, in videos, in reports from pre-Broadway tryouts, and at Broadway in Bryant Park), and such standards as “New York, New York (It’s a Wonderful Town)” “Come Up to My Place” and “Lonely Town,” as well as some jazzy surprises like “I Can Cook Too.”

@OnTheTownNYC

My review of On The Town

disgracedlogoDisgraced

#NewYorkTheaterpicks

First preview: September 27

Opening: October 23

Playwright: Ayad Akhtar

Director: Kimberly Senior

Cast: Hari Dhillon, Gretchen Mol, Karen Pittman and Josh Radnor.

Running time: 90 minutes with no intermission.

Pakistani-American lawyer Amir and his white, artist wife Emily gives a dinner party that starts off friendly and turns ugly.

The play, Akhtar’s first, was produced at Lincoln Center in 2012, winning the Pulitzer Prize for Drama.

@DisgracedBway

My review of Disgraced

lastshiplogoThe Last Ship

Neil Simon Theater

First preview: September 30

Opening: October 26

Lyrics and Music: Sting

Book: John Logan and Brian Yorkey

Director: Joe Mantello

Gideon leaves his hometown to travel the world, returning 14 years later to discover that the love he left behind is engaged to somebody else, and the town’s shipbuilding industry is endangered.

The show is said to be inspired by Sting’s own childhood experiences.

@LastShipMusical

My review of The Last Ship

realthingpiclogoThe Real Thing

American Airlines Theater

First preview: October 2

Opening: October 30

Closing: January 4

Playwright: Tom Stoppard

Director: Sam Gold

Cast: Ewan McGregor, Maggie Gyllenhaal and Cynthia Nixon

Henry is a successful writer who is attempting to balance his professional and personal lives in this comedy about marriage and betrayal.

McGregor and Gyllenhaal are both making their Broadway debuts in this second Broadway revival of Stoppard’s play.

@RTC_NYC

My review of The Real Thing

November:

theriverlogoThe River

Circle in the Square Theater

First preview: October 31

Opening: November 16

Closing: January 25

Playwright: Jez Butterworth

Director: Ian Rickson

Cast: Hugh Jackman, Laura Donnelly, Cush Jumbo

Running time: 80 minutes with no intermission

A trout fisherman in a remote cabin tries to hook a woman into some night-time fishing.

Two words: Hugh Jackman.

@TheRiverPlay

My review of The River

sideshowlogoSide Show

#NewYorkTheaterpicks

St. James Theater

First preview: October 28

Opening: November 17

Lyrics by: Bill Russell

Music by: Henry Kreiger

Book by: Bill Russell with additional material by Bill Condon

Director: Bill Condon

Principal cast: Erin Davie, Emily Padgett

The Hilton twins, Daisy and Violet, were in real life conjoined twins who were trained by their guardians to become performers, and became the highest paid performers on the vaudeville circuit. “Side Show” purports to tell their story.

This “reimagined” revival of the 1997 musical was well-received in D.C., and is one of the most anticipated shows of the season, hugely leading (as of this writing) my Broadway Fall 2014 preference poll

@SideshowBway

My review of Side Show

delicatebalancelogoA Delicate Balance

John Golden Theater

Playwright: Edward Albee

Director: Pam MacKinnon

First preview: October 20

Opening: November 20

Closes: February 22

Running time: 2 hours and 55 minutes, including 2 intermissions

Cast: Glenn Close, John Lithgow, Lindsay Duncan, Bob Balaban, Claire Higgins and Martha Plimpton.

A long-married couple must maintain their equilibrium as over the course of a weekend they welcome home their 36-year old daughter after the collapse of her fourth marriage, and give shelter to their best friends who seek refuge in their home, all the while tolerating Agnes’ alcoholic live-in sister.

The Edward Albee-Pam MacKinnon match-up, which brought us the priceless recent Broadway production of “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf,” promises to do justice with another one of the playwright’s caustic Pulitzer Prize-winning masterpieces (despite the ugly poster.)

December

illusionistslogoThe Illusionists

Marquis Theater

First preview: November 26

Opening: December 4, 2014

Closes: January 4, 2015

Cast:

The Manipulator, Yu Ho-Jin

The Anti-Conjuror, Dan Sperry

The Trickster, Jeff Hobson

The Escapologist, Andrew Basso

The Inventor, Kevin James

The Warrior, Aaron Crow

The Futurist, Adam Trent

Seven illusionists perform magic and illusion. Broadway is a stop on their world tour.

@Illusionists7

The Elephant Man

theelephantmanlogoBooth Theater

First preview: November 7

Opening: December 7

Closes: February 15

Playwright: Bernard Pomerance

Director: Scott Ellis

Cast: Bradley Cooper, Patricia Clarkson, Alessandro Nivola, Anthony Heald, Scott Lowell, Kathryn Meisle, Henry Stram

Running time: one hour 55 minutes, including intermission.

Based on the true story of John Merrick, a horribly deformed man in the 19th century who was treated abominably.

This second Broadway revival of the 1979 play gives movie hearthrob Bradley Cooper a chance to show his inner beauty. (The deformity is not actually depicted. The audience is asked to imagine it.)

@ElephantMan

A peek at Spring 2015, which is even more tentative than the fall. I’ll flesh it out in the future. This is, as they say, a work in progress:

January

Constellations

Samuel J. Friedman Theater

Playwright: Nick Payne

Director: Michael Longhurst

Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal

First preview: December 16

Opening January 13, 2015

Closes: March 15

honeymooninvegaslogoHoneymoon in Vegas

Nederlander Theater

Music and Lyrics: Jason Robert Brown

Book: Andrew Bergman

Director: Gary Griffin

First preview: November 18

Opening: January 15

Cast: Tony Danza, Rob McClure, Byrnn O’Malley

Jack Singer, a regular guy with an extreme fear of marriage, finally gets up the nerve to ask his girlfriend Betsy to marry him. But when they head to Las Vegas to get hitched, smooth talking gambler Tommy Korman, looking for a second chance at love, falls head over heels for Betsy.

@HoneymoonBway

March

The Heidi Chronicles

Opening March 1

Fish in the Dark

Opening March 5

The Audience

Opening March 8

On The Twentieth Century

Opening March 12

 

April

Skylight

Opening April 2

Hand to God

Opening April 7

Finding Neverland

Opening April 8

Wolf Hall Parts 1 and 2

Opening April 9

An American in Paris

Opening April 12

It Shoulda Been You

Opening April 14

The King and I

Opening: April 16

Dr. Zhivago

Opening April 21

Fun Home

Opening: April 22

Airline Highway

Opening April 23

Bullets and Billie Holiday on Broadway. Tax Help for Artists. Spring Beefcake. The Week in New York Theater

WeekinNewYorkApril13Eight Broadway shows are opening in the next ten days. Two opened last week, Bullets Over Broadway and Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill.
It’s tax time, which may be why there is a special section on artists and money (see 13 below)

Also below: News about Michael Cera, Taylor Mac, Tommy Tune, Spring is Here beefcake section (shirtless Zac Efron, Neil Patrick Harris, James Franco)

The Week in New York Theater

Monday, April 7, 2014

Anthony Rapp, James Snyder, Idina Menzel, and LaChanze at  the If/Then recording session. Album will be out June 3

Anthony Rapp, James Snyder, Idina Menzel, and LaChanze at the If/Then recording session. Album will be out June 3

Mayor Bill de Blasio names Queens Museum’s Tom Finkelpearl to be commissioner of NYC Department of Cultural Affairs

 

Gertrude Lawrence and Yul Brynner in the original Broadway production of The King and I

Gertrude Lawrence and Yul Brynner in the original Broadway production of The King and I

The King and I will be on Broadway (at Lincoln Center) for the fifth time in 2015, says Rodgers and Hammerstein Organization’s Ted Chapin. They are in talks with Kelli O’Hara to star

Morgan Saylor (Dana Brody in Homeland) will play Cherry Jones’s daughter in MTC’s When We Were Young & Unafraid.Opens June 17

The disabled are US’s largest minority, yet invisible on our stages, says Christine Bruno of Inclusion Arts.

8This is our Youth Media Call

 

Michael Cera (Juno, Arrested Developmnet), Kieran Culkin (Igby Goes Down.) to co-star in Kenneth Lonergan’s This Is Our Youth on Broadway. Opens Sept 11, Cort.

Cera will play the character of Warren, a young man who has stolen $15,000 from his father, and Culkin will play his self-absorbed drug-dealing friend, Dennis. It will also feature the Broadway debut of Tavi Gevinson.

BkxzSEkCIAACIiT110 years ago today, Long Acre Square was renamed Times Square. (Pictures of Times Square through the years in Museum of the City of New York collection.)

Jane Greenwood, who’s been designing costumes for Broadway since 1963, will get a Special Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement

2014-15 New York Theater Workshop season will include: 1. Bergman’s Scenes from a Marriage, adapted. 2. The Invisible Hand by Ayad Akhtar (Pulitzer winner), about kidnapped stockbroker

9

JoanMarcus2014 Tony Awards for Excellence: The Actors Fund’s Joe Benincasa, photographer Joan Marcus, general manager Charlotte Wilcox

It was set to reopen tomorrow Off-Broadway, but A Night With Janis Joplin “will postpone its opening indefinitely due to production issues.”

Yes, accessible theater IS possible. third in Howlround series on disability. Q & A with Charles Baldwin of Wheelock Family Theater.

 

10

Even people who don’t care for a particular Broadway show give it a standing ovation, survey by Ken Davenport found.

Meh to show but standing ovations:

41 percent: “I liked the actors, just not the show.”

36 percent: “Everyone else was standing, so I did too.”

My reasons for standing during a standing ovation:

1. I can’t see the performers bowing otherwise

2. I need to put on my coat.

taylormac1

TaylorMac2

Theater should do what fashion does: Make avant-garde seem exciting, even if you don’t want to wear it ~  Taylor Mac in interview with Bomb Magazine. “My outsiderness gave me a way inside to something else.”

NINE-time Tony winner Tommy Tune in “More Taps,Tunes and Tall Tales” his #CafeCarlyle cabaret debut April 22-May 3

 

RyanMcCartan

11

PhyllisFrelich

RIP Phyllis Frelich,Tony-winning deaf actress (Children of a Lesser God), co-founder of the National Theater for the Deaf, age 70.

Those who love him forgive his syphilis jokes. Drama Desk panel on Shakespeare 

EstelleParsonsTheVelocityofAutumn

“Most of my plays begin as questions,” says Cleveland’s Eric Coble, making his Broadway playwriting debut with The Velocity of Autumn.

What are your dream roles?

Ben Platt: Bobby in Company.

Nic Rouleau: I’m playing mine right now. Book of Mormon #BOMCHAT

The Obamas attended A Raisin in the Sun. At intermission, Michelle Obama gave A Raisin in the Sun actor Stephen McKinley Henderson a hug: “I’ll never be the same”

12

 

Theater Artists and Money

Haven’t done your taxes yet? Tax guide for freelancers (e.g. artists) from Freelancers Union

The theater is “built on the backs of unpaid young people”  writes Greg Redlawsk, who was one of them. Why unpaid internships are wrong.

They are also illegal: For an unpaid internship to be legal, it must be “for the benefit of the intern” not the employer, says the Department of Labor.

“Real artists have day jobs..The biggest myth we’re fed is that we need to sustain ourselves solely on our art”~ Sara J. Benincasa

Instead of unpaid internships, Americans need more paid apprenticeships . U.S. Senator Cory Booker from New Jersey is co-sponsoring a bill to create them.

In Mexico, artists can pay taxes with artwork  Can actors pay with performances?

 13

LadyDay4

BHlast

My review of Lady Day At Emerson’s Bar and Grill

Audra McDonald is the same age as the Billie Holiday she is depicting in the first Broadway production of “Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill,” a remarkable performance that transcends the two singers’ differences…ust looking at the photographs of Holiday in the period of the play show the challenge that a clean liver and radiant beauty like McDonald would have in depicting her. McDonald meets that challenge successfully — but a question remains: Why?

Full review of Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill

 

Spring Is Here

Zac Efron at MTV Awards

Zac Efron at MTV Awards

Neil Patrick Harris with a snake, apparently promoting Hedwig and the Angry Inch

Neil Patrick Harris with a snake, apparently promoting Hedwig and the Angry Inch

 

James Franco promoting Of Mice and Men without ever leaving home.

James Franco promoting Of Mice and Men without ever leaving home.