Shia LaBeouf Taken From Cabaret in Handcuffs. Social Media Unleashed.

ShiaLaBeoufNYPShia LaBeouf was handcuffed and removed by police during intermission of a performance of Cabaret,and charged with one count of criminal trespassing and two counts of disorderly conduct.

He was reportedly talking and smoking during the first act.

The story first came to public attention through Twitter and Facebook posts, and commentary continues there. (It’s a slow news day in summer.)

Shia LaBeouf after being released from jail this morning.

Shia LaBeouf after being released from jail this morning.


Top (and Weirdest) Theater Stories of 2013

SirPatElmoSirIan2013 was the year of Shakespeare, and cross-dressing, and people getting naked in tubs on stage. It was a year full of solo performances and celebrity Broadway debuts and shows that sound on paper so inert as to be self-parodies:

Ten people try to keep one of their hands on a truck for four days.

Three people work in an old movie theater over the summer, mostly sweeping the aisles

A group of archaeologists dig up artifacts in Illinois

Below are some of the top New York theater stories of 2013 – many of which turn out to be the weirdest theater stories of 2013. They are offered chronologically, and paired with my favorite articles I wrote this year.

January: Disabling Discrimination

Settlement in Attorney General suit against Theatre Row for discriminating against disabled in ticket purchasing

Mark Lindberg in Nerve Tank's The Attendants at the World Financial Center in New York City, one of the theatrical experiments that put social media on stage.

Mark Lindberg in Nerve Tank’s The Attendants at the World Financial Center in New York City, one of the theatrical experiments that put social media on stage.

My story:  Social Media On Stage: Theater Meets Twitter,Facebook,Youtube, Tumbler, Soundcloud…

February: LaBeouf Orphaned

Shia LaBoeuf has left "Orphans" which was to being previews in four weeks. They'll have to take down or modify this marquee

Shia LaBoeuf has left “Orphans” which was to being previews in four weeks. They’ll have to take down or modify this marquee

Shia LaBeouf, who was to make his Broadway debut, departs “Orphans,” the production announces, ”due to creative differences.”On Twitter, Shia LaBeouf (‪@thecampaignbook) publishes e-mails that imply that his “creative differences” were with Alec Baldwin
In fact he was fired.
Ben Foster replaces LaBeouf.
(When Orphans opens in April, critics are largely unimpressed with the results.)

My story: Adele, Rufus Wainwright and Lady Gaga: Wanted on Broadway

March: Flick You

ouisa Krause and Aaron Clifton Moten in an awkward touching and funny moment in Annie Baker's "The Flick" at Playwrights Horizons

Louisa Krause and Aaron Clifton Moten in an awkward touching and funny moment in Annie Baker’s “The Flick”

Playwrights Horizons Artistic Director Tim Sanford writes a letter to subscribers after many walkouts and complaints about the three-hour plus length of Annie Baker’s “The Flick”
*He said he didn’t know the play was going to be so long, and didn’t expect it to be so polarizing.
*He applauded those who disliked the play, saying he preferred a work to evince passionate dislike than a dispassionate shrug.
*He said the theater would not cut a single second out of the play.

My story: Alan Cumming says he’ll say “Macbeth” in the theater, despite the curse of “The Scottish Play.”

April: Disgraced…Not a Disgrace

Disgraced wins the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for Drama in April. It was Ayad Akhtar’s first play


My story:  Theater Access for the Deaf, Blind, and Autistic: New Technology, Changing Attitudes

May: Smash, Bash

Smash cast says goodbye

Smash cast says goodbye

Smash is canceled

Actors Equity turns 100

National Review contributor and theater critic Kevin D. Williamson is kicked out of “Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812.”Williamson snatched a cell phone from another theatergoer and threw it on the floor.

Producer Scott Rudin Attacks Patrick Healy of the New York Times IN the pages of The New York Times


My story: Our Town in Sing Sing Prison

June: TONY, Weirdness

NeilPatrickHarrisTonyhostThe Tony Awards are presented. The Tonys may finally include Off-Broadway, because starting in 2014, for the first time the regional theater Tony award can now be given to a theater in New York City.

June was a month for weird theater news:

In a comment at the bottom of an online review, playwright Neil LaBute called drama critic David Cote a portly eunuch for not liking his play “Reasons To Be Happy.”

The NYC Department of Transportation told Shakespeare in the Parking Lot, now in its 17th season, that from now on it would have to pay a parking fee to use the municipal parking lot for its performances, and also get auto insurance.

In Times Square one night, the guy with the “I Need Money for Weed” sign stabbed his rival with the “I Need Money for Beer” sign in the head with a pen.

In a lawsuit being tried in federal court, a woman was demanding millions of dollars because she suffered loss of income and a diminished sex life after 25 pounds of light blue M&Ms fell on her in the Times Square Toys R Us.


My story: Girls Just Want to Have Fun — and So Does Raymond J. Lee, Broadway Actor, Music Video Director

July: Sucks To Be Me + 10


Avenue Q celebrates its 10th anniversary

My stories:

She Loves Me productions

She Loves Me, The Musical That Changed Our Lives


Broadway’s Best Dance Numbers

August: Julie Harris, 1925-2013


Julie Harris, sometimes called the first lady of the theater, dies at the age of 87

My stories: First-ever recording of August Wilson’s entire American Century Cycle 


Broadway’s Answer to Justin Bieber and One Direction: Smells That Sell

September: State of New York Theater

New York theater is struggling, or vibrant, or both.  (depending on which study you believe)

My stories:

Too Much Theater? The New Epic Theater Experiments

The Verdict, a movie starring Paul Newman, written by David Mamet. Would this make a good Broadway play?

The Verdict, a movie starring Paul Newman, written by David Mamet. Would this make a good Broadway play?

Courtroom Dramas on Broadway: This season…and in the future

October: Opera Over;  TV Takes Over; Sirs Pose

New York City Opera, the people’s opera created 70 years ago by Fiorello LaGuardia, announces it will shut down. It goes out with a bang, presenting an opera about Anna Nicole Smith.


On the curb in front of NYC's famous black plastic garbage bagsSir Patrick Stewart and Sir Ian McKellen conduct among the savviest marketing campaigns ever for two difficult modernist plays, posing for a series of photographs in front of New York City landmarks.

For its tenth anniversary, Wicked is an entire category on Jeopardy! — the first Broadway show to be so featured…but not the last: Cinderella was next.

Mr. Burns, a post-electric play Playwrights Horizons/Mainstage Theater

My stories:  8 Ways Television is Influencing Theater


Theater Geniuses, TV Drones: Eric Bogosian, Cherry Jones, Anna Deavere Smith

November: Too Dreamy? Too Kinky?


Theatre for a New Audience’s Polonsky Shakespeare Center opens in the happening downtown Brooklyn Cultural District with Julie Taymor’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream

kinkybootsatThanksgivingparadePeople on social media objected to the broadcast of a number by the 2013 Tony Award winning best musical Kinky Boots at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, because it included a few male performers dressed as females, saying it was inappropriate for children.

My stories: The National New Play Exchange — putting every play in a national database

Tony Winner Chuck Cooper on What It Takes

December: Sound of Television


The Sound of Music, a live broadcast of the stage musical starring Carrie Underwood, attracts 18.5 million viewers, more than any non-sports event at NBC in a decade. The theater critic at the Associated Press puts it on the his list of the top ten theater in 2013.

My story: Sigourney Weaver Breaks Ground Off-Off Broadway With The Flea Theater

Of course, this is nowhere near an exhaustive list, though some of the ongoing stories are too exhausting to mention: The Rebecca saga continues; more and more theater critics are taking it on the chin; and there was news nearly every month about Spider-Man Turn Off The Dark, including that it will be closing at the beginning of 2014.

More important to most of us who care about the theater is not the news – what happens behind the scenes, or before or after the show – but the magic that happens on the stage. (Here are my 2013 reviews )

Sign up for the New York Theater Weekly E-mail Newsletter

Orphans Review: Alec Baldwin Without Shia LaBeouf..But With Tom Sturridge

Orphans on Broadway with Alec Baldwin, Ben Foster and Tom Sturridge Orphans on BroadwayUpdate: Orphans will close on May 19, 2013

In the much-publicized fracas over “Orphans,” when Shia LaBeouf was fired after clashing with co-star Alec Baldwin and replaced by Ben Foster, the one actor in the cast barely mentioned was Tom Sturridge. Sturridge’s performance turns out to be the best reason to see the first Broadway production of Lyle Kessler’s 30-year-old play about the confrontation between two brothers and a fatherly Chicago gangster.

Orphans Gerald Schoenfeld TheatreSturridge plays Phillip, the younger brother of Treat (Ben Foster), orphans who live in a run-down row house in North Philadelphia. Treat is a violent petty criminal who supports the two of them by holding up people with a switchblade. Phillip never leaves the house, because Treat has told him that his allergies will kick in and he’ll die. In truth, Treat is keeping Phillip as little more than his prisoner.

Phillip spends his day hiding in the closet with their dead mother’s clothing, or watching television and memorizing the brand name products, or looking out the window at passersby. When the play begins, we see him in the darkened living room, leaping from couch to stairs to ledge like a cat. When Treat comes home after a day of petty thievery, Phillip mimics the people he’s seen out the window, imitating the way they stride or stroll or hop quickly on tip-toe like a cartoon character.

It is a masterful physical performance – funny and touching, and slightly reminiscent of Leonardo DiCaprio’s character in “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape” – mentally incapacitated, but more open than the average person to the everyday wonders of the world. Phillip repeats words like “bouillabaisse” as if he’s tasting the word, not just the soup.

One day, Treat brings home Harold, an older drunk man (Baldwin), who wears expensive clothing and carries an executive briefcase. It is Treat’s idea that he has kidnapped Harold, and will hold him for ransom, and so he ties him up. As it turns out, Harold is a gangster on the lam in Philadelphia, and he is actually the one in control.

Orphans Gerald Schoenfeld TheatreA play that seems derived in equal parts from Sam Shepard’s violent Western-tinged dramas and Harold Pinter’s absurdist exercises in role reversal, “Orphans” ran for eight months Off-Broadway in 1985 after productions in L.A. and Chicago. It was then made into a 1987 movie starring Albert Finney and Matthew Modine. It continues to be performed theatrically with some frequency.  It is a slight play, most charitably seen as a parable. It depends for its power on the intensity of the three performances.

There is nothing outright wrong with the acting by Alec Baldwin or Ben Foster, but neither turn in must-see portrayals.  Baldwin handles his character’s comical philosophizing like a pro, a criminal Jack Donaghy (his character on “30 Rock”), although Harold could surely do with a greater sense of menace. Foster could probably do with a little less menace, or at least more variations of it.  As Russell, Claire’s art-school classmate in “Six Feet Under,” Foster had a role that allowed a range of disturbing behavior. Foster’s Treat hides his hurts by playing the bully with little nuance.  This is sometimes funny, more often too obvious. It is only in the second act when the circumstances change, and especially events expose Treat’s vulnerability, that Foster’s characterization becomes more varied and interesting, even moving. It’s not Foster’s fault that I several times started picturing what it would have been like for Shia LaBeouf to have played Treat in “Orphans.” I concluded it would probably not have made much difference, except that there might have been more adolescent girls in the audience.


Gerald Schoenfeld Theater

By Lyle  Kessler

Directed by Daniel Sullivan, scenic design by John Lee Beatty, costume design by Jess Goldstein, lighting design by Pat Collins, sound design by Peter Fitzgerald

Cast: Alec Baldwin, Tom Sturridge, Ben Foster

Running time: One hour and 50 minutes, which includes a 15-minute intermission

Tickets: $67.00 – $132.00

Orphans is scheduled to run through June 30, 2013

New York Theater February 2013 Quiz

Jane Lynch, Moose Murders, and Shia LaBeouf are all in either the questions or the answer to February's New York Theater Quiz

Jane Lynch, Moose Murders, and Shia LaBeouf are all in either the questions or the answer to February’s New York Theater Quiz

This month’s theater quiz is a special TV edition (Half the 10 questions have something to do with both television and theater.) See how well you were paying attention.

Hollywood Broadway Debuts: Shia LaBeouf Shooed From, Tom Hanks Lured To, Robert DeNiro Promised For, The Great White Way.

top to bottom: Shia LaBeouf, Tom Hanks, Robert DeNiro, Jane Lynch: Broadway DebutsIs Shia LaBeouf’s sudden departure from what would have been his Broadway debut a boost for Broadway in what would normally be a fallow February?  But this week actually has been fertile for theater folk – and, fittingly, considering this is Oscar week, much of it can be fit with Hollywood, such as the announcements that Les Miserables will return to Broadway, and the report that Robert DeNiro may be making his Broadway debut — as a director of a Broadway musical! Tom Hanks is talking about not just his Broadway debut, but his first stage role since 1981.

Also making her Broadway debut: Jane Lynch of Glee.

Speaking of TV: the auxiliary entertainment industry that has built up around Smash. And: What IS a dramaturg, and why are they always ridiculed on television?

The Week in New York Theater

Monday, February 18, 2013

New Memoirs

Rita Moreno,	Sachi Parker, Clive Davis

  1. Rita Moreno reveals that she was impregnated by Marlon Brando, who insisted she have an abortion. She also dated Elvis
  2. Sachi Parker, only child of Shirley MacLaine, writes in “Lucky Me” how Mom sabotaged her daughter’s acting career
  3. In The Soundtrack of My Life, Clive Davis writes he’s bisexual and currently living with a man. He details his efforts to get Whitney Houston off drugs.

Oddly, Clive Davis tells USA Today he plans to ask Anne Hathaway & Colin Firth to star in his planned 2014 Broadway revival of My Fair Lady

(Shouldn’t he tell the press AFTER he asks them?)

Sex in movies? Often great. Sex on Girls on HBO? Immersive. Sex on stage? Rarely works, says Chicago Tribune drama critic Chris Jones

Michael Urie (Ugly Betty, the canceled “Partners”) stars in Rattlestick Playwright’s Theater’s” Buyer and Cellar,” about a struggling actor who bonds with a Streisand-like superstar while cataloguing her collection. Opens April 3.

Tina Landau (‏‪@TinaLandau, director of “Old Hats” at the Signature Theater ): Directing in previews is a lot about making lists. I need lists. I love lists. Lists save me.


Yes, it’s happening; Les Misérables is returning to Broadway, its third run, set to open in March of 2014, producer Cameron Mackintosh announces

Boosted by ‪the Les Miz film, the Les Miz U.S. stage tour is doing $1 million a week. That’s what’ll be coming to Broadway

Should anybody from the ‪#LesMiz film do the Broadway version next year?

LesMizSamanthaBarksAaronTveitAndrew Marcinak (‏‪@Droid_boy): Hands down Samantha Barks and Aaron Tveit
Laura (@LauraBethD): Samantha Barks & Aaron Tveit!

Suzanne Du Charme (@SuzanneDuCharme): Hugh Jackman, Colm Wilkinson, some if the townspeople who already work in theatre
Kerri (what_a_dream) I say none of the leads in the Les Mis movie should be in the broadway production but the secondary cast should be

Andy Scott ‏‪@AndyDirects Perhaps Tom Hooper can also direct it so that there is nothing but religious symbols and water onstage

Jonathan Mandell (@NewYorkTheater) You forgot the giant noses

ShkBoom Records (@ShKBoom) Big news! We’re recording Pasek and Paul’s DOGFIGHT  with Lindsay Mendez and Derek Klena and the rest of the Second Stage Theater cast!

Adele Rufus Gaga

Which singer/songwriters do people most want to see writing for Broadway? Adele, Rufus Wainwright and Lady Gaga, according to the contest entries for tickets to “Kinky Boots,” Cyndi Lauper’s Broadway songwriting debut.

Ann window display

The window display at the Drama Book Shop for “Ann,” the solo show about the late Governor Ann Richards, starring Holland Taylor

(After first preview of “Ann”)


SmashPataphysicalSciMemorable lines
Tom (Christian Borle): “Art without torture. I don’t think it’s possible”

Dan Mason ‏‪(@djdan1033): Very true. Ask most of us who watch the show every week.

Producer Eileen (Anjelica Huston): He’s a professional dramaturg.
Tom: A dramaturg, are you joking?
Librettist Julia (Debra Messing): Laughs.
Eileen: It’s a common practice these days.

Peter the dramaturg (Daniel Sunjata): Dramaturgs are like dentists;no one wants to see them but you’re glad you went once the pain wears off”

(Why do dramaturgs get so little respect?)

Julie Felise Dubiner ‏‪(@jfdubiner): Too many of us expect it instead of earning it.

What IS a dramaturg?

A dramaturg is a murderer in “Icarus,” the episode of “Law and Order: Special Victims Unit” in which everybody thinks Cynthia Nixon playing a Julie Taymor-like figure was the perpetrator.  A dramaturg is a handsome man who lives in a very expensive New York apartment but who hurts the now-scarfless Debra Messing’s feelings in “The Dramaturg,” the latest episode of “Smash….But what is a dramaturg on stage rather than on the small screen? Answer

Broadway Abridged Smash

Smash – theater bloggers weigh in, from Broadway Abridge’s condensed episode scripts to the Smash Reality Index

Will we have “Smash” to kick around any longer? Whatever else the backstage Broadway TV show has been, it’s been an inspiration for many in the theater community – creating what you could almost call a subsidiary entertainment industry


Shia LaBeouf, who was to make his Broadway debut, has departed “Orphans,” the production announces, “due to creative differences.” No more details at the moment.

The raved-about American Repertory Theater’s production of Glass Menagerie wit Cherry Jones, Zachary Quinto, and Celia Keenan-Bolger is in talks to open on Broadway.

Robert DeNiro plans to direct a Bway musical of Chazz Palminteri’s  A Bronx Tale. So claims ‪Showbiz411

Jane Lynch will replace Katie Finneran as Miss Hannigan in ‪”Annie” starting May 16


FREE concert March 28 with the casts of Chicago, Phantom of the Opera, Avenue Q and others to celebrate the landmarking status given to Town Hall.  Tickets distributed first come, first served starting at noon on March 25 at the box office

Shia LaBeouf replaced by Ben Foster in Orphans

Shia LaBeouf replaced by Ben Foster in Orphans

On Twitter, Shia LaBeouf (‪@thecampaignbook) publishes e-mails that imply that his “creative differences” were with Alec Baldwin

Ben Foster will replace Shia LaBeouf

The Rascals: Once Upon a Dream,new concert written by Steven Van Zandt (E-Street Band,Sopranos) Ap 15-May 5 Bway’s Richard Rodgers

Terrific project by ‏ the New York Philharmonic to put its 170 years of history online. Check out its archives 


Shia LaBeouf Fired, NOT a feud with Alec Baldwin , says Michael Riedel in the New York Post

Last year’s Kennedy Center revue, “First You Dream,” renamed “Kander and Ebb’s Sing Happy,” is reportedly aiming for Broadway this Fall. Cast unclear.

It didn’t catch on on Broadway, but Kander & Ebb’s Scottsboro Boys will open at UK’s Young Vic,Susan Stroman director/choreographer again

Daughter of All That Jazz screenwriter recalls going to the Oscar ceremony without him. (He had died) 

Jeremy Jordan and Anna Kendrick to to star in film of Jason Brown’s musical about a frayed marriage, “The Last Five Years”


I reach 10,000 Twitter followers — and how I built that following

Joyce Carol Oates  (@JoyceCarolOates): Twitter makes of loneliness something rich & unexpected.But you must choose your travel-companions with care.

Tina Packer in Women of Will (Shakespeare)

Tina Packer in Women of Will (Shakespeare)

My review of Women of Will

Consider Marina – saved by pirates, who then sell her into a brothel, “but she had such a healing spirit that she convinced every man not to have sex with her,” Tina Packer says to us, greatly amused, near the end of “Women of Will,” a fascinating if flawed work of theater about Shakespeare’s female characters, created and performed by a woman who has been studying them for decades – and is, incredibly, making her New York stage debut.

Full review of Women of Will


Matt Cavenaugh made his Broadway debut in "Urban Cowboy" shortly after graduating college

Matt Cavenaugh made his Broadway debut in “Urban Cowboy” shortly after graduating college

New and Once-New Faces of Broadway ‪

Valisia LeKae is portraying Diana Ross this season in "Motown The Musical"

Valisia LeKae is portraying Diana Ross this season in “Motown The Musical”

The Times as usual features fresh faces of Broadway in its Spring preview. This year that includes performers in “The Nance,” “Pippin,”  “Motown The Musical,” “Kinky Boots” and  “The Flick”

But what has happened to the new faces of a decade ago. Good things, as it turns out. I catch up on actors Anthony Mackie and Matt Cavenaugh,  director Kenny Leon and playwright Kate Fodor.


Tom Hanks talks about his Broadway debut in “Lucky Guy” which begins previews on March 1 and opens on April 1:

“I still feel sometimes that I’d like to be as good as so-and-so actor…I see some other actors’ work, and I think I’ll never get there. I wish I could.”

Tom Hanks was last on stage in 1981, and never on Broadway.

“I lived around the corner from Broadway, but I couldn’t even get arrested,” he recalled. “I didn’t know how to dance, I hadn’t taken a voice lesson, and I wasn’t feeling confident.”

He is starring as the late newspaper columnist Mike McAlary, in a play written by Nora Ephron, who died while she was writing it.
“We’re just resorting to imagining the headlines for bad reviews — ‘Lucky Guy, Unlucky Audience!’ ‘Yucky Guy!’ ”

Shia LaBeouf Replaced by Ben Foster in Broadway’s Orphans after ‘creative differences’ with Alec Baldwin

Shia LaBeouf replaced by Ben Foster in Orphans

Shia LaBeouf replaced by Ben Foster in Orphans

Shia LaBeouf, the movie star (“Transformers”) who was to make his Broadway debut, has left Orphans, the three-character play co- starring Alec Baldwin and Tom Sturridge which was to start previews on March 19 and open April 7 at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre.

Update February 21: Ben Foster will replace Shia LaBeouf in the role of Treat. Foster, 32, best-known (at least by me) as Claire’s sexually-ambiguous classmate and boyfriend Russell in “Six Feet Under,” will be making his Broadway debut. He reportedly has never done a professional stage play.

Shia LaBoeuf has left "Orphans" which was to being previews in four weeks. They'll have to take down or modify this marquee

Shia LaBoeuf has left “Orphans” which was to being previews in four weeks. They’ll have to take down or modify this marquee

The show’s official announcement: “Due to creative differences, the producers of Orphans and Shia LaBeouf will be parting ways, and he will not be continuing with the production. An announcement on the replacement for the role of ‘Treat’ will be made shortly.”

LaBeouf, 26, was to star as the older of two brothers who kidnaps an older man (Alec Baldwin). “Orphans,” by Lyle Kessler, debuted in 1983 and was made into a movie in 1987 starring Albert Finney, Matthew Modine and Kevin Anderson.

There are more questions here than answers yet. Did he quit? Was he fired? Was it  mutual? Was it “amicable”? (not possible) What are “creative differences” and are they limited only to performers?


Shia LaBeouf on his official Twitter account, @thecampaignbook, more or less explains what the problem was. He did not get along with Alec Baldwin.

This is most obvious from the e-mail he reproduces from “Dan” –obviously Orphans director Daniel Sullivan addressed to LaBeouf:

“I’m too old for disagreeable situations. You’re one hell of a great actor. Alec is who he is. You are who you are. You two are incompatible. I should have known it.

This one will haunt me. You tried to warn me. You said you were a different breed. I didn’t get it.”

The other is LaBeouf’s e-mail to Alec Baldwin, which is less direct but eventually gets to the point (I’ve left out a lot in the middle):

“My Dad was a drug dealer. He was a shit human. But he was a man.He taught me how to be a man. What I know of a men Alec is—

A man is good at his job. Not his work, not his avocation, not his hobby. Not his career. Hs job.

A man can look you up and down and figure some things out. Before you say a word, he makes you. From your suitcase, from your watch, your posture.

A man owns up. That’s why Mark McGwire is not a man. A man grasps his mistakes. He lays claim to who he is, and what he was, whether he likes them or not.

…He can apologize, even if it’s sometimes just to put an end to the bickering.

Alec, I’m sorry for my part of a dis-agreeable situation.”


Broadway Marquees: Macbeth, Orphans, The Nance, The Trip to Bountiful

Alan Cumming accompanied the installation of the marquee for “Macbeth”


The stars were not present when Orphans went up

Orphans marquee picturing cast Alec Baldwin, Shia LaBeouf and Tom Sturridge





All four shows are opening in April:


“Orphans” is opening at the Gerald Schoefeld on April 7th.

“The Nance” is opening at the Lyceum Theaater on April 15th.

“Macbeth” is opening at the Ethel Barrymore on April 21st.


“The Trip to Bountiful” is opening at the Stephen Sondheim on April 23rd.


Shia LaBeouf Debuts on Broadway, Breakfast at Tiffanys, Moose Murders and Pump Boys Return, Evita Ends. Phantom, Les Miserables Offer Contests

Shia LaBeouf, Emilia Clarke, Bo Bice, Les Miz poster

Shia LaBeouf, Emilia Clarke, Bo Bice, Les Miz poster

One day remains to enter my contest for free tickets and merchandise to Les Miserables, the movie opening on December 25.

A week left to shop for holiday gifts for theater lovers

I’ve got two weeks left to complete my list of the Top 10 lists of Top 10 theater of 2012. So far, I have seven such lists – by theater critics from the New York Times (2),  The New Yorker, New York Magazine, Time, Entertainment Weekly, and the Associated Press.

It may take longer to get over what was a miserable week for reasons having nothing to do with theater.  Below a focus (mostly) on reasons to be happy about New York theater . Or at least attentive: There were announcements this past week of the revival of the two most notorious flops in the history of Broadway.

 December 11, 2012

PumpBoysandDinettesPump Boys and Dinettes, a Broadway hit 30 years ago about a roadside diner and gas station, is officially opening on Broadway at Circle in the Square Theater April 8, starring Bo Bice (from American Idol)

Bo Bice (‪@OfficialBoBice): I’m excited to be a part of ‪@PumpBoysMusical . It’s going to be a blast!!

Making his Broadway debut, Shia LaBeouf will kidnap Alec Baldwin in Lyle Kessler’s 1983 Orphans. Opens April 7 at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theater.

Mustaches on Broadway: Ricky Martin as Che, Christian Borle as Black Stache, Rob McClure as Chaplin

No, they’re not replacing the cast: The producers of Evita have decided instead to close the musical revival on January 26, 2013 after 26 previews and 337 regular performances

Rebecca Chu @rebeccahxp We’ll have fewer mustaches on Broadway now that both Evita and Peter and the Starcatcher are closing in January.

 Jonathan Mandell (@NewYorkTheater): Any left?

Karen Wilson ‏‪@akakarenwilson Chaplin, Drood, Golden Boy, coming up: Hands on a Hardbody.

Jonathan Mandell: Chaplin and Golden Boy are also closing in January. (And I don’t remember any mustaches in Golden Boy)

David Cromer next directs Really, Really, a play about “vicious sexual politics” with hot young cast at MCC Theater. Opens Feb 19

Reason to love NYC from New York Magazine–because the state of playwriting is strong: young,diverse,collaborative,adapting.  

Did David Mamet and Arthur Miller’s estate veto ‪Christopher Shinn out of an anthology because he wasn’t famous enuf?

Doug Jeffery photographed 30,000 shows over 50 years.Pics now at Victoria and Albert museum in UK. e.g. Oh What A Lovely War

1963 production of Oh! What a Lovely War


Emilia Clarke as Holly Golightly in the new Broadway adaptation of Truman Capote's Breakfast At Tiffanys

Emilia Clarke as Holly Golightly

Trying again:New stage version of Capote’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Richard Greenberg set to open March 20 at Broadway’s Cort

The last Broadway stage version of Breakfast at Tiffany’s, in 1966, was one of the theater’s most notorious flop; it never even opened.

This new play will star Emilia Clarke (Game of Thrones) and Cory Michael Smith (Cock, The Whale)

Tribes, directed by David Cromer at Barrow St. Theater, has been extended yet again, but for the final time, until January 20th.

Back to the past: Christopher Lloyd will star in the Classic State Company’s production of Brecht’s The Caucasian Chalk Circle in May

Holly Hunter (The Piano, Broadcast News) has quit The Flea Theater’s “The Vandal by Hamish Linklater; “scheduling conflicts”

PaulaVogelStaronPlaywrightsSidewalkPlaywright Paula Vogel on Bathroom Breaks

Paula Vogel ‏‪(@VogelPaula): Why must we use the bathroom after an hour in the theatre but can watch a three hour movie? Why do we feel theatrical time so differently?

Mike Daisey (‏‪@mdaisey): Because we don’t spend as much time in the theater.

Jonathan Mandell: You can leave mid-film w/out dirty looks

Andy Germuga ‏‪(@andytgerm):  Theatres tend to be less comfortable. Smaller leg room, more packed in seating. Makes you more aware of your need to pee.

Moose Garrett ‏‪(@tweetsforjackie): The wine. I don’t usually down a glass before the movies, but I do before the theatre. Just cuz it’s fun and it’s there.

Ran Xia‏‪ (@rhinoriddler): The break is for the actors and crew too. Imagine THEM without break???

How does Guy Fieri plan to keep his Bway restaurant going despite worst-ever reviews? He had a cameo in Rock of Ages last night

Members of 32BJ union of Bway theater cleaners, porters etc. have voted to authorize a strike if necessary

Working Musical at 59E59

My review of Working:

hen did it become unfashionable for Americans to call ourselves “workers”? Certainly, it goes back way before 1978. That was when “Working” opened on Broadway, a musical co-conceived by the pre-Wicked Stephen Schwartz based on the book of the same name by Studs Terkel. Despite a score including the only songs James Taylor ever wrote for the stage and a 17-member cast including the pre-Evita Patti LuPone and the pre-Glengarry Joe Mantegna, “Working” closed on Broadway after just 12 previews and 24 regular performances.

Now it has returned at 59 East 59,th Street Theater, for a limited run even shorter than its tenure on Broadway. Well-acted, entertaining, funny and touching, it is worth catching, not the least because “Working” has been smartly updated, with wonderful new songs by Lin-Manuel Miranda (“In The Heights”), and new characters, based on new interviews, that reflect how dramatically the world of work has changed just in the past three decades.

Full review of Working


George Wendt (‘Norm’ in “Cheers”) has joined the cast of Breakfast at Tiffanys.

Fans of  Phantom of the Opera on Broadway: January 26th, the 25th anniversary, is bytinvitation only BUT:  the show is holding a sweepstakes for 100 pair of tickets:

Margarette Connor‏‪@mrc0201 I enjoyed your review of Glengarry Glen Ross. Wanted to see it for Cannavale. Track down The Station Agent DVD if not seen.

My pictures of shows coming up, a poster and two marquees:

Water by the Spoonful, Matilda, Lucky Guy

Water by the Spoonful, Matilda, Lucky GuyDFo


Guess what show this is from:

SetofShowOffBway‪Todd @roadwarrior07 A discounted version of Sunset Boulevard?

Kathryn Lurie ‏‪@kathrynlurie Dead Accounts?

Sam Payne Garland (‏‪@SamPayneGarland) Looks like Brighton Beach Memoirs from a few years back…

Reynaldi Lolong ‏‪(@Reynaldi) The Piano Lesson

You are correct, Reynaldi


Michael Riedel calls Foxwoods,Spiderman’s theater up for sale, a white elephant,dud,flop house,barn begun by a crook

Giant ends at The Public Theater in two days but the Michael John LaChiusa musical will live on as an original cast recording

Terrence McNally’s play about opera Golden Age extended at  through Sun, Jan 13

Reviews of ‪Les Miserables on Metacritic range from stirring and striking to ugly and inept. The critics seem to agree: 1. Anne Hathaway will be Oscar-nominated. 2. Russell Crowe’s singing sounds more like barking ‪#LesMiz

A new “multi-week retreat” for composers/writers to create new musicals about to be announced by Goodspeed.

Lizzie Simon (‪@TheLizzieSimon) The budget for the National Endowment for the Arts is $150 million. In France (about 1/5th US pop) the arts budget is $9 billion.


GoldenBoy1My review of Golden Boy:

For all the glories of the Lincoln Center production, there is no disguising that “Golden Boy” is also an old-fashioned melodrama that does not transcend its era the way other works written in (if not necessarily about) the 1930’s have done: Our Town…

This is not to condemn “Golden Boy,” but to provide the key for appreciating it.   It is a work of anthropology, a spoken-word opera,  a vehicle to another era.

For a play whose plot is as obvious as this one, the Lincoln Center production has wonderful moments of subtlety, feeling and allusion.

Full review of Golden Boy


My ‪Backstage review of “Soldier,”

Soldier at Here Arts CenterJonathan Draxton conceived of “Soldier” while he was an undergraduate at Williams College, after his professor assigned the students to write a theater piece on a subject that bothered them….Somehow his assignment led to a solo show at Here focused on a character named Heinrich Weiss, a Nazi officer. In “Soldier,” Draxton, as Obersturmfuhrer Weiss, enters the theater in full S.S. uniform speaking German, later sings “Deutschland Uber Alles” and gives the Nazi salute, and eventually tells us of the “many Jews, Jewesses, Communists, Bolshevists, and their kinder” that he killed when he was alive. He is dead now, you see, and seeking coins from us to secure passage for him and his men across the River Styx.


The Last Five Years by Jason Robert Brown is back in NYC after 10 years.It opens April 2  at Second Stages with Betsy Wolfe (Drood) Adam Kantor (Rent)

Strike averted: The Broadway League and the 32BJ union of Broadway porters, cleaners, etc. have reached a tentative deal on a three-year contract

MooseMurdersBreakfast at Tiffanys wasn’t enough?! Revival of an even more notorious flop, Moose Murders, is set for Jan 29-Feb 10, Connelly Theatre (220 E 4th St).

From the publicist (as if boasting): “When Moose Murders opened on Broadway in 1983, it played one single official performance and received disastrous reviews. Critic Frank Rich called it “A show so preposterous that it made minor celebrities out of everyone who witnessed it”. John Simon, writing for New York magazine, said it seemed as if the play were staged by “a blind director repeatedly kicked in the groin”.”

Playwright Arthur Bicknell has “significantly rewritten and reworked the play.”