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November 2017 New York Theater Openings

In the five Broadway shows opening in November, Amy Schumer and Uma Thurman are making their Broadway debuts; playwrights Ayad Akhtar and Steve Martin are delivering new plays; and two shows that were acclaimed Off-Broadway are transferring intact. Off-Broadway plays are taking place in China and Ghana and Ireland and the mythical Mount Crumpit.

Below is a selection of openings in November on Broadway, Off-Broadway and Off-Off Broadway, organized chronologically by opening date. Each title is linked to a relevant website.

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Antigone in Ferguson. Uma! Euan! Emmy! Week in New York Theater

“I am a foolish man…I am crushed, I have been crushed by fate,” cried out Reg E. Cathey as King Creon, at a climactic moment in  the free Saturday performance of “Antigone in Ferguson,” an adaptation by Theater of War of Sophocles’ 2,500-year-old tragedy.
Earlier, upon first assuming office, Creon had preened: “A leader is nothing without his advisors, and I will have the best,” which brought a laugh from the audience in the Howard Playground in Brownsville, Brooklyn. Things turned ugly when Creon went through with his threat to execute his niece Antigone (Sonja John) for burying her brother, in defiance of  his explicit order — a decision that  led to Creon’s own destruction.

“I was surprised that I felt bad for Creon,” an audience member said in the extensive conversation after the show. “As a schoolteacher, I know how important it is to try to calm things down. That’s what he was trying to do. Clearly, he was doing it in the wrong way.”

“Antigone in Ferguson” — which was performed by cast members from the HBO TV series “The Wire,” as well as a gospel chorus made up of residents and activists from Ferguson, Missouri — was the first of some 60 productions over the next two years that Theater of War will bring to some 60 locations in New York City — classic plays that address current issues.

These Broadway veterans have been nominated for Emmy Awards
Complete list of nominees.

Week in New York Theater Reviews

Pipeline

As “Pipeline” begins, we learn that a black teenager has gotten into a physical scuffle with his teacher and is in danger of being expelled, and arrested. Morisseau masterfully upends the tired assumptions that might attach to such a drama, in a play that is not just smart and engaging; it is also the most literate of any I’ve seen this year

Matthew McConaughey vs. The Devil, An American Myth

(New York Musical Festival)

How did so many talented people produce a show so pointless, derivative and mean? Its worst sin may be that it is rarely funny…Matthew McConaughey vs. the Devil” doesn’t make much sense from the get-go. It is not, however, completely damnable….The real salvation is in the production values.

Oscar Isaac in Hamlet at the Public Theater

Hamlet

for all this fiddling around, and despite too many moments of director-engendered incoherence, Sam Gold’s “Hamlet” ultimately worked for me. This is largely because of Oscar Isaac’s performance…Gold’s radical interpretation of the play did not for me undermine the power and clarity of Isaac’s Hamlet

Opening Skinner’s Box

There are two kinds of questions posed by the Improbable Theater Company’s production of “Opening Skinner’s Box,” a stage adaptation of the 2004 book by Lauren Slater that describes ten famous and often flabbergasting psychology experiments. The show opens the 2017 Lincoln Center Festival.

There are the intriguing questions about human behavior that the experiments themselves attempted to address…Then there are the questions about the show itself:…What does one get out of this stage piece that one cannot get out of Slater’s book?

Amerike: The Golden Land

This musical revue surveying 50 years in song of Jewish immigration to New York has some stirring moments. One longs for more of them….the creative team, who first put the show together in 1982, works hard to unearth period songs intelligently and present them authentically. There is also much loveliness in the production,

Will on TNT

a speculative TV series about William Shakespeare’s early career in London…a series that features, among other attributes, a cast of soap opera-level hunks and beauties in some extremely graphic scenes of torture, slightly more demure humping, and the first rap battle in iambic pentameter.

Week in New York Theater News


Uma Thurman to make her Broadway debut in November in The Parisian Woman, political drama by Beau Willimon (House of Cards) in a theater yet to be determined.

The Parisian Woman, which was commissioned by The Flea Theater Off-Off Broadway and debuted at @SouthCoastRep in 2013, is derived from a 19th century French play by Henry Francois Becque, and focuses on a socialite in Washington D.C.

The new theater critic at New York Magazine — Sara Holdren (@swholdren) an accomplished theater director .

Here’s her take-down in culturebot of Joan of Arc:Into The Fire

excerpt:

“If I believed in Joan’s god, I’d pray for a world in which all artists could tell any story, no matter its distance from their personal experience — a world in which radical imagination, real empathy, and respect and care for one’s material and one’s collaborators lay at the heart of every process. I am not taking issue with the team that created Joan of Arc: Into the Fire for being men, but I am taking issue with what they made, which is, at its heart, retrogressive and patriarchal.”

Euan Morton becomes the new King George III in Hamilton starting July 28

Grand Central Publishing, publisher that of Hamilton The Revolution, will publish “Dear Evan Hansen: Through the Window” in November.

Broadway in the Boros FREE

First up: Noon,Fri 7/21 Anastasia and Great Comet, at the Socrates Sculpture Park in Queens

The Bronx, July 24:

Staten Island, July 28:

l.

2017 Edgerton Foundation New Play Awards of $359,00 to 13 shows; four of them in NYC

This Ain’t No Disco, music & lyrics by Stephen Trask & Peter Yanowitz,
book by Rick Elice, at Atlantic Theater Company

This Flat Earth by Lindsey Ferrentino at Playwrights Horizons

The Treasurer by Max Posner at Playwrights Horizons

Skintight by Joshua Harmon at Roundabout Theatre Company

James Franco

James Franco shuts down Off-Off-Broadway’s ‘James Franco and Me’

“James Franco and Me,” a play set to run next month at the Peoples Improv Theater on E. 24th St., has been cancelled after getting a cease and desist letter from the 39-year-old star’s lawyers.

“We’re just going to remove any mention of James Franco….We’re calling it ‘______ and Me’