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Broadway at the Oscars 2017: What to Watch for.

Theater fans can watch the 2017 Oscars just like sports views view the World Series. Three examples:


1. If Lin-Manuel Miranda wins an Oscar tonight for his song “How Far I’ll Go” from Moana (which he’ll also be performing on the broadcast), he will be just the 13th person ever to win competitive Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony Awards, and only the third (after Richard Rodgers and Marvin Hamlisch) to win an EGOT plus a Pulitzer.
2. If Denzel Washington and Viola Davis win the Oscars for their roles in the 2016 film Fences, they will be the tenth and 11th performers to win both Tonys and Oscars for the same role. They both won the Tony Award in the 2010 Broadway production of August Wilson’s play. (The first to win both was Jose Ferrer for the title role of Cyrano de Bergerac)
3. If Emma Stone and Michelle Williams win in their respective Oscar categories (best actress and best supporting actress), that will mean two Oscar winners who both starred on Broadway as Sally Bowles in Cabaret.

The connection between Broadway and Hollywood is always dizzying, but it seems especially dazzling at this year’s Oscars.

2017 Oscar Nominated Performers With Broadway Pedigrees

Nine of the 20 actors nominated for Oscars this year have performed on Broadway. Here is the breakdown:

Actor in a Leading Role

Andrew Garfield for Hacksaw Ridge (Death of a Salesman 2012)
Denzel Washington for Fences (Checkmates 1988, Julius Caesar 2005, Fences 2010, A Raisin in the Sun 2014)

Actress in a Leading Role

Natalie Portman for Jackie (The Diary of Anne Frank, 1997)
Emma Stone for La La Land (Cabaret, 2015)
Meryl Streep for Florence Foster Jenkins (Trelawny of the “Wells”, 1975; A Memory of Two Mondays/27 Wagons Full of Cotton, 1976; Secret Service, 1976; The Cherry Orchard, 1977; Happy End, 1977)

Actor in a Supporting Role

Michael Shannon for Nocturnal Animals (Grace 2012, Long Day’s Journey Into Night 2016)

Actress in a Supporting Role

Viola Davis for Fences (Seven Guitars 1996, King Hedley II 2001, Fences 2010)
Nicole Kidman for Lion (The Blue Room, 1998)
Michelle Williams for Manchester by the Sea (Cabaret 2014, Blackbird 2016)

2017 Oscar Nominated Actor Currently Performing on a New York Stage

Stefania Lavie Owen and Lucas Hedges

Stefania Lavie Owen and Lucas Hedges

Lucas Hedges, nominated for best supporting actor for Manchester by the Sea, is currently starring in Yen Off-Broadway.

2017 Oscar Nominated Songwriters

benj-pasek-and-justin-paul

Lin-Manuel Miranda is not the only musical theater composer nominated this year for an Oscar for a song. Benj Pasek and Justin Paul (Dear Evan Hansen) are nominated as lyricists for “City of Stars” and “Audition (The Fools Who Dream),” both in La La Land.

Stage to Screen — to the Oscars . . .

moonlight-movie

Two of the best-film nominees, Fences by August Wilson and Moonlight, are adaptations of plays by August Wilson and Tarell Alvin McCraney, both of whom are Oscar-nominated this year (Wilson posthumously) for adapted screenplay.

The list of films adapted from plays goes back to before the Oscars existed, even before the Hollywood studios were built. As early as 1900, the great theater actress Sarah Bernhardt appeared in a two-minute movie version of Hamlet, playing the title character, and in 1912, she portrayed Queen Elizabeth I in a screen adaptation of a play that marked the first full-length commercial film shown in America; the producer rented the Lyceum, then and now a Broadway theatre, in order to lend class to the new art form. Fifteen years later, in 1927, The Jazz Singer, often credited as the first talkie (some historians dispute this designation), was indisputably the first movie musical to be based on a Broadway show. The most beloved include Best Picture winners West Side Story, My Fair Lady, The Sound of Music, and Chicago. Some of the least beloved — alas, not Best Picture nominees — include A Chorus Line and The Producers (which is a movie musical based on a Broadway musical that was based on a movie).
The adaptations have not been limited to musicals. Two of the three films nominated for the very first Oscar for Best Picture, in 1928, were adapted from Broadway plays. (The winner, Wings, was not.)

. . . And From Screen (to Oscar) — to the Stage

It took a few decades for theater and film adaptations to go in both directions. It wasn’t until 1970 that a Broadway show based on a movie won the Tony for best musical. Fittingly, the musical was Applause, inspired by All About Eve. Now every major Hollywood studio has a theatrical division, looking to create shows for Broadway, and every Broadway season includes a number of musicals that are based on movies — or that use the same name, basic story, and source material (such as a book or a play) as a well-known movie.
Looking just at this season’s openings , there are seven shows on Broadway based on (or “inspired by” or with the same name and story as) a movie: Holiday Inn, A Bronx Tale, Sunset Boulevard, Amelie, Groundhog Day, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Anastasia. Five more still running on Broadway opened in previous seasons: Aladdin, Kinky Boots, School of Rock, The Lion King, Waitress.

Unique Stage to Screen to Oscars Story

the-salesman

The Salesman, a film from Iran by Asghar Farhadi nominated for Best Foreign Language Film, tells the story of Emad and Rana, a young couple from Tehran performing in a local theater’s production of Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman.

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Spring Guides. Golden Globes as Theater Awards. Meryl Streep’s Speech. Week in NY Theater

goldenglobe-collage“Theater Nerds Everywhere”: Among the winners of Golden Globes Sunday night were a movie based on a play; a musical; and a stage full of theater people.

Viola Davis won a Golden Globe for portraying the same character in the film of “Fences,” for which she won a Tony when Fences was on Broadway.
meryl_streep_071116_florence_foster_jenkins_4c_0“Moonlight,” based on Tarell Alvin McCraney’s play “In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue” and featuring Andre Holland, who is on Broadway current in August Wilson’s ‘Jitney,’ received the award from the Hollywood Foreign Press Association for Best Motion Picture – Drama.

Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, songwriters of the current Broadway hit Dear Evan Hansen, shared a Golden Globe as the lyricists for the song “City of Stars” in LaLa Land, dedicating their award to “musical theater nerds everywhere.”

Meryl Streep made a pointed speech criticizing the President-Elect, and ending with an homage to her friend Carrie Fisher. (Scroll to the bottom for the complete transcript of Streep’s speech, and Viola Davis’s introduction of Streep.)

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Guide to 2017 Winter Theater Festivals

Off-Broadway Spring 2017 Guide

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Broadway Spring 2017 Guide

January Openings

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Tickets on sale for Broadway Week

 

Week in New York Theater Reviews

Richard Roxburgh and Cate Blanchett

Richard Roxburgh and Cate Blanchett

The Present

About halfway through The Present, an adaptation of Chekhov’s first play, Cate Blanchett, as a Russian general’s widow celebrating her 40th birthday, shoots off a shotgun, dances atop a table, and pours vodka on her head. It is an attention-grabbing moment in Blanchett’s Broadway debut performance – and one of the show’s few unmitigated pleasures…

There are those who are fans of the two-time Oscar winner who will find her performance entertaining enough to obliterate any other concerns, or who have the patience and curiosity to appreciate the production’s complex texture and thought-provoking themes of loss, regret, paralysis, desire, loneliness, fear of change — who will feel good for having experienced Quality Theater.  And then there are the rest of us, who wish it were shorter.

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Lula Del Ray

In this opening show at this year’s Under the Radar festival, a Chicago-based theater company with the completely apt name of Manual Cinema allows the audience at the Public Theater to watch a silent film about a lonely, star-gazing girl in the American Southwest of the 1950’s, and simultaneously to watch the making of that film….The essential charm of the show rests in the marvel of ingenuity on display, the rushing around of the actors and puppeteers and… overhead projector operators, to reproduce manually, on a simple screen placed on stage, the catalogue of modern film techniques – long shots of beautiful sunsets, extreme close-ups of Lula’s expressive face, panning, fade-outs, Dutch angles, tracking shots….Somebody at Manual Cinema clearly went to film school.

Hu Yang as Confucius

Hu Yang as Confucius

Confucius

The strength of Confucius, a 90-minute dance piece featuring 60 performers from the China National Opera and Dance Drama Theater, is not found in its efforts to present Confucian philosophy and biography, nor even Chinese history and culture, none of which is especially illuminating. The show’s strength lies in its visual splendor and gymnastic choreography.

The Week in New York Theater News

mark-ruffalo

Mark Ruffalo has been cast in the Roundabout’s revival of Arthur Miller’s “The Price,” replacing John Turturro, who is said to be leaving due to a conflict in his filming schedule. Ruffalo joins Tony Shalhoub and Jessica Hecht in the play, opening March 16.

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“Escape to Margaritaville,” with the songs of JimmyBuffett songs, starts its pre-Broadway tour in May at the La Jolla Playhouse, and aims for Broadway in 2018

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Jenny Schlenzka, current curator of performance MoMAPS1, has been appointed the artistic director of PS 122, the third person in the post, the first woman.

TaymorAs part of the second annual BroadwayCon, Julie Taymor will discuss The Lion King, on its 20th anniversary year on Broadway, with Whoopi Goldberg, who voiced the character of Shenzi in the film. The conversation happens January 27th.

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Nathan Lane

Nathan Lane

The Front Page, after just 15 weeks, recouped its entire $4.875 million capitalization during the week ending, Sunday, January 1, the first Broadway production of the 2016-2017 theater season to do so

Apple’s next iPhone (iOS 10.3) reportedly to have “theater mode” — button to dim screen/mute audio SO YOU CAN USE IT IN A THEATER

Javier Munoz as Eliza Hamilton and the cast

Javier Munoz as Hamilton

Hamilton’ Hits $105 Million in 2016 as Broadway Rings in $1.37 Billion

The Humansl

Closing January 15th, The Humans was the best-selling straight play on Broadway in 2016, with $22.2 million worth of tickets sold.

 

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Broadway dimmed its lights, Friday, January 6th at 7:45pm in memory of Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds.

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“Thank you very much. Thank you. Please sit down. Please sit down. Thank you. I love you all. You’ll have to forgive me. I’ve lost my voice in screaming and lamentation this weekend. And I have lost my mind sometime earlier this year. So I have to read.
Thank you, Hollywood foreign press. Just to pick up on what Hugh Laurie said. You and all of us in this room, really, belong to the most vilified segments in American society right now. Think about it. Hollywood, foreigners and the press. But who are we, and what is Hollywood, anyway? It’s just a bunch of people from other places. I was born and raised and educated in the public schools of New Jersey. Viola was born in a sharecropper’s cabin in South Carolina, came up in Central Falls, Rhode Island. Sarah Paulson was born in Florida and raised by a single mom in Brooklyn.
Sarah Jessica Parker was one of seven or eight kids from Ohio. Amy Adams was born in Vicenza, Italy, and Natalie Portman was born in Jerusalem — where are their birth certificates? And the beautiful Ruth Negga was born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, raised in — no, in Ireland, I do believe, and she’s here, nominated for playing a small-town girl from Virginia. Ryan Gosling, like all the nicest people, is Canadian. And Dev Patel was born in Kenya, raised in London, is here for playing an Indian raised in Tasmania. So Hollywood is crawling with outsiders and foreigners. And if we kick ’em all out, you’ll have nothing to watch but football and mixed martial arts, which are not the arts.

“Hollywood is crawling with outsiders and foreigners. And if we kick ’em all out, you’ll have nothing to watch but football and mixed martial arts, which are not the arts.”

They gave me three seconds to say this, so. An actor’s only job is to enter the lives of people who are different from us and let you feel what that feels like. And there were many, many, many powerful performances this year that did exactly that, breathtaking, compassionate work. There was one performance this year that stunned me. It sank its hooks in my heart. Not because it was good. There was nothing good about it. But it was effective and it did its job. It made its intended audience laugh and show their teeth. It was that moment when the person asking to sit in the most respected seat in our country imitated a disabled reporter. Someone he outranked in privilege, power and the capacity to fight back. It kind of broke my heart when I saw it. I still can’t get it out of my head because it wasn’t in a movie. It was real life.
And this instinct to humiliate, when it’s modeled by someone in the public platform, by someone powerful, it filters down into everybody’s life, ’cause it kind of gives permission for other people to do the same thing.
Disrespect invites disrespect. Violence incites violence. And when the powerful use their position to bully others, we all lose. Okay. Go on with that thing.

“Disrespect invites disrespect. Violence incites violence. And when the powerful use their position to bully others, we all lose.”

This brings me to the press. We need the principled press to hold power to account, to call them on the carpet for every outrage. That’s why our founders enshrined the press and its freedoms in our Constitution. So I only ask the famously well-heeled Hollywood foreign press and all of us in our community to join me in supporting the Committee to Protect Journalists, because we’re going to need them going forward, and they’ll need us to safeguard the truth.
One more thing. Once when I was standing around on the set one day whining about something, we were going to work through supper, or the long hours or whatever, Tommy Lee Jones said to me, “Isn’t it such a privilege, Meryl, just to be an actor?” Yeah, it is. And we have to remind each other of the privilege and the responsibility of the act of empathy. We should all be very proud of the work Hollywood honors here tonight. As my friend the dear departed Princess Leia said to me once, “Take your broken heart, make it into art.”

As my friend the dear departed Princess Leia said to me once, “Take your broken heart, make it into art.”

(Viola Davis’s introduction to Meryl Streep:

“She stares. That’s the first thing you notice about her. She tilts her head back with that sly suspicious smile, and she stares for a long time. And you think: Do I have something in my teeth? Or does she wanna kick my [expletive] — which is not gonna happen?

And then she’ll ask questions. “What’d you do last night, Viola?”

“Oh I cooked an apple pie.”

“Did you use Pippin apples?”

“Pippin apples, what the hell are Pippin apples? I used Granny Smith apples.”

“Oh. Did you make your own crust?”

“No, I used store-bought crust. That’s what I did.”

“Then you didn’t make an apple pie, Viola.”

“Well that’s because I spent all my time making my collard greens. I make the best collard greens. I use smoked-turkey chicken broth and my own special sauce.”

Silence. I shut her down.

“Well, they don’t taste right unless you use ham hocks. If you don’t use ham hocks it doesn’t taste the same. So how’s the family?”

And as she continues to stare you realize that she sees you. And like a high-powered scanning machine she’s recording you. She is an observer and a thief. She waits to share what she has stolen on that sacred place, which is the screen. She makes the most heroic characters vulnerable, the most known familiar, the most despised relatable. Dame Streep. Her artistry reminds us of the impact of what it means to be an artist, which is to make us feel less alone. I can only imagine where you go, Meryl, when you disappear into a character. I imagine that you’re in them, patiently waiting, using yourself as a conduit, encouraging them, coaxing them to release all their mess, expose, to live. You are a muse. Your impact encouraged me to stay in the line.

Dame Streep, I see you. I see you. And you know all those rainy days we spent on the set of “Doubt”? Every day my husband would call me at night and say, “Did you tell her how much she means to you?”

And I said, “No, I can’t say anything, Julius, I’m just nervous. All I do is stare at her all the time.”

He said, “Well, you need to say something. You’ve been waiting all your life to work with this woman. Say something.”

I said, “Julius, I’ll do it tomorrow.”

“O.K. you better do it tomorrow because when I get there I’m going to say something!”

I haven’t said anything. But I’m gonna say it now. You make me proud to be an artist. You make me feel that what I have in me, my body, my face, my age, is enough. You encapsulate that great Émile Zola quote that if you ask me as an artist what I came into this world to do, I, an artist, would say, I came to live out loud.”)

Fences directed by Denzel Washington: Second Trailer

Pictured: Denzel Washington (Troy Maxson) & Viola Davis (Rose)

Denzel Washington’s movie adaptation of “Fences,” August Wilson’s 1987 play, will be in movie theaters nationwide on December 25, 2016. Below is a first movie trailer from Paramount Picures

Click here for the first trailer and for my review of the play when it was on Broadway, directed by Kenny Leon, starring Denzel Washington and Viola Davis (the same stars as in the movie.)

Fences Movie Trailer, Play Review: Denzel Adapts August Wilson

Denzel Washington’s movie adaptation of “Fences,” August Wilson’s 1987 play, will be in movie theaters nationwide on December 25, 2016. Below is a first movie trailer from Paramount Picures — and below that my 2010 review of the Broadway production, starring Denzel Washington and Viola Davis (the same stars as in the movie.)

Fences Review: Denzel Washington Bats It In

Troy Maxson, the character played by Denzel Washington in the must-see revival of August Wilson’s “Fences,” is greeted by foot-stamping cheers from the audience in the Cort Theater, surely the most ecstatic whoops of delight ever for a Pittsburgh garbage collector.

There was a time, though, when Troy was himself a star. “Ain’t but two men who ever played baseball as good as you,” his best friend Bono tells him. “That’s Babe Ruth and Josh Gibson.” Bono might just be telling Troy what he wants to hear, but, however good he actually was, he lived at a time when people of Troy’s race were barred from major league baseball – and from much else in American life. But Troy did play in the Negro Leagues, and hit seven home runs off the great Satchel Paige. “You can’t get no better than that,” he tells the youngest of his two sons. He says this proudly, defiantly, but also angrily, and in resignation.

It is a phrase that, perhaps unconsciously, he means literally. It is 1957, he is 53 years old, and however hopeful others might be about the change that will be coming for African-Americans, Troy is convinced that things will in fact never get any better.

Denzel Washington is not as physically large as the actor who, to great acclaim, originated the role of Troy on Broadway in 1987, James Earl Jones. But through the magic of his performance, Washington sometimes seems as big as a bear, whether giving a tremendous hug to his wife (the incomparable Viola Davis) or growling warning at his son. Other times, he seems both small and small-minded. Troy is a compulsive storyteller (“you got more stories than the devil got sinners”), an expansive charmer, and also an embittered, limited and illiterate black man; orderly, hard-working, dutiful; stubborn, unreasonable, irresponsible — a complex and believable human being, and Washington embraces this character in all his mercurial contradictions.

It is a different interpretation than the original one of a giant fenced-in by circumstances, but it is one of the many things that work in a production that does justice to August Wilson’s deeply moving play.

“Fences” is part of what is sometimes called the Pittsburgh Cycle, 10 plays, one for each decade of the 20th century, that was August Wilson’s singular achievement, written over more than two decades and completed the year of his death in 2005. They all offer specific details of time and place and character and yet, individually and taken together, provide nothing less than a portrait of the African-American experience. “Fences” was only the second he wrote in the cycle, and is not the best of them – although good enough to have won every big theater award, from the Tony Award for Best Play to the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, and for Frank Rich to have written: “’Fences’ leaves no doubt that Mr. Wilson is a major writer, combining a poet’s ear for vernacular with a robust sense of humor (political and sexual), a sure instinct for crackling dramatic incident and a passionate commitment to a great subject. “

Wilson’s later work more smoothly integrates the turns in the plot so that they seem to spring from the characters rather than feeling imposed by the author. In “Fences,” Troy makes a sensational revelation to his wife in the second act that seems to come out of nowhere. (A careful reading of the script shows that Wilson had actually planted clues in the first act, but it still feels abrupt). In a lesser production, the play might from then on have felt derailed, veering into domestic melodrama.

Viola Davis, best-known on stage for her Tony-winning performance in Wilson’s “King Hedley II” and on screen for her Oscar-nominated performance as the mother of the (possibly) abused student in “Doubt,” seemed to me almost single-handedly responsible for keeping the play on track, her feelings shaded, moving, and not melodramatic. She and Washington are well-matched. I am not sure I have ever witnessed two actors angrily yelling at each other with such clarity and control.

The real plot in “Fences” is in the artful revelation of character, not just Troy’s but the people who surround him — his wife Rose, his long-time friend Jim Bono (Stephen McKinley Henderson, a veteran and exquisite interpreter of Wilson’s work); his brain-damaged brother Gabriel (Mykelti Williamson), the older son Lyons whom he all but abandoned (Russell Hornsby), the teenage son Cory (Chris Chalk) — ensemble acting at its finest. Their characters come through in the niggling little arguments (humorous to outsiders) that families repeat endlessly, and in the many stories told to one another of past events and future dreams. Much of what’s happening, as told through incidents on stage but also through recollection, is a tale of fathers and sons, battling one another, escaping one another and becoming one another. Cory wants to play football and has been recruited by a college football team; Troy wants him to work at the local supermarket:

“The white man ain’t gonna let you get nowhere with that football noway. You go on and get your book-learning so you can work yourself up in that A&P or learn how to fix cars or build houses or something, get you a trade. That way you have something can’t nobody take away from you.”

Times have changed, more than one family member tells Troy, his son is just trying to be like him. Times haven’t changed, Troy says; the last person I want him to be like is me.

In addition to Santo Loquasto’s solidly realistic set, Brian MacDevitt’s lighting, and spot-on costumes by Constanza Romero (the playwright’s widow), Branford Marsalis has composed bluesy music for the beginning of each act. It’s nice, but it’s not necessary. This production of “Fences” fills the Cort Theater with music.

Fences by August Wilson at the Cort Theater (138 West 48th Street) Directed by Kenny Leon Original music by Branford Marsalis Set design by Santo Loquasto, costume design by Constanza Romero, lighting design by Brian MacDevitt, sound design by Acme Sound Partners Cast: Denzel Washington, Viola Davis, Chris Chalk, Eden Duncan-Smith, Stephen McKinley Henderson, Russell Hornsby, SaCha Stewart-Coleman, Mykelti Williamson Running time: 2 hours and 30 minutes with one 15 minute intermission Ticket prices: $61.50 to $131.50. Premium seats as high as $326.50. There are apparently no rush or student tickets available. Recommended for age 13 and older. Under 4 not permitted. Through July 11th, 2010.

Kyle Jean-Baptiste Memorial Service. Forest Whitaker Debuting, Daniel Craig Quitting Broadway. Week in New York Theater

kyle-jean-baptiste2

An informal memorial service will be held in Central Park Monday afternoon for Kyle Jean-Baptiste, 21, the youngest actor and first African-American to portray Jean Valjean in Les Miserables on Broadway

Jean-Baptiste died on Aug. 29 after falling from a fourth-story fire escape in Bedford-Stuyvesant.
The gathering will be held August 31, 2015 at the Bethesda Fountain at 2 p.m.

Jean-Baptiste was an ensemble performer and an understudy for the role of Valjean. He first appeared on stage in the role on July 23rd.

The actor, who was active on social media, Tweeted before and after his performance:

Three days ago, on Instagram he made his farewell to Les Miserables, showing himself with and without the Les Miz makeup.  He was going to join the cast of The Color Purple on September 6th.

Baptistekyle1onInstagram

Some videos of his remarkable singing:

Week in New York Theater Reviews

Love and Money Maureen Anderman Gabriel Brown Joe Paulik

Love and Money
Maureen Anderman
Gabriel Brown
Joe Paulik

My review of Love and Money

“Love and Money,” A.R. Gurney’s latest comedy about WASPs, is as deep as dust, and no more solid, but as dust goes, it’s a fine light powder, ground by a craftsman who’s been at it for some four decades, and it’s more likely to tickle than to irritate…In a brownstone on the Upper East Side, Cornelia Cunningham (Maureen Anderman) is packing up for a move to a fancy retirement community that she insists on calling a nursing home. At the same time, she is writing checks with a lot of zeroes; she has decided to give away all her considerable wealth to charity…A young African-American man suddenly appears at the brownstone, claiming to be her grandson.

Full review of Love and Money

Daniel J. Watts, Derrick Baskin and Ryan Quinn

Daniel J. Watts, Derrick Baskin and Ryan Quinn

My review of Whorl Inside a Loop

Sherie Rene Scott’s new play at Second Stage Theater, about an actress teaching a class of murderers at a men’s prison, has much that is admirable and even heart-warming. Yet, the creative team more or less manages to turn the inmates into supporting players in what should be their story…What’s good about ‘Whorl Inside a Loop,’ especially the acting, would make its self-indulgent aspects matter less, if the show weren’t entering a theatrical landscape already dotted with well-done prison dramas, most notable among them plays created and performed by ex-inmates.”

Full review of Whorl Inside a Loop

ADelicateShipDellapina,Silverman,Westrate

My review of A Delicate Ship

‘A Delicate Ship’ is a lyrical play with some of the rich intricacy and circumlocution of a poem. To appreciate Ziegler’s play, theatergoers should be open to spending time with the kind of characters who philosophize about suffering over glasses of wine on Christmas Eve…Director Margot Bordelon treats us to a lively pace for such a contemplative piece, and the actors are so good I never once had the urge to yell out ‘Oh, get over yourselves and go bowling.’ (Well, maybe once.)”

Full review of A Delicate Ship

Week in New York Theater News

Theater openings in September

BroadwaySpringseason

Broadway Poll: Which Fall 2015 Show Most Excites You?

15th-Line-Twitter_opt

Starting Monday: a Twitter play – which is a revival because nobody does Twitter plays anymore.
My piece in American Theatre about The 15th Line.

The first tweet is alarming: “Breaking News – Subway accident at 15th St. Station. 21 believed dead, 17 injured. Cause is not yet known.”  It comes from Patrick Hearson (@patcitypress), a journalist at City Press.

Actually, Hearson is not a real journalist—he’s a character in The 15th Line, a play by Philadelphia-based playwright Jeremy Gable written specifically for Twitter. Beginning on Aug. 31, 2015,  and for every day following for eight weeks, the drama will take shape as a total of some 300 tweets by Patrick and three other characters.

“The idea came during a time in which I was working from home and spent a lot of time on Twitter,” Gable explains. “I was struck by how certain events were being covered first or more comprehensively on Twitter than on other news sources. I came to realize that this simple platform was combining the personal with the global, taking huge events and showing us an up-close view.”

That’s exactly what The 15th Line does: A reporter character gives the overview, and the other characters tweet about how they are affected. But in an irony of our digital age: The show is actually a revival. Gable first wrote and tweeted The 15th Line in 2010, when it unfolded every day over some two months. Now director and teacher Erin Mee will be doing the tweeting.

Full article 

Update: To follow the Twitter play online without having to follow each character on Twitter, go to this page.

Forest-Whitaker

Forest Whitaker will make his Broadway debut in Eugene O’Neill’s two-character play Hughie in Spring 2016.

Downstairs_lamama

The Downstairs,La MaMa ETC’s fourth theater, will open in Nov at 66 E 4th St basement.150 seats, classroom,exhibition space,new media focus.

How do you get stars like Nathan Lane and Debra Messing to do a reading of your plays? Be Wesley Taylor. Oct 26 at New World Stages

Pictured: Denzel Washington (Troy Maxson) & Viola Davis (Rose)

Pictured: Denzel Washington (Troy Maxson) & Viola Davis (Rose)

A film version of August Wilson’s Fences to star Viola Davis, directed by Denzel Washington. (It’s unclear whether Washington will play Troy, the part he played on Broadway with Davis.)

Daniel Craig in Betrayal on Broadway. This is the last time he'll be on Broadway, because the audience is his age.

Daniel Craig in Betrayal on Broadway. This is the last time he’ll be on Broadway, because the audience is closet to his age, which is 47.

Daniel Craig, interviewed by Martin McDonagh
“I’d like to do some theater in New York. I’ve done Broadway and I was happy with that, but I don’t want to do Broadway anymore.”
Why?
“The audience is all over 50, on the whole, and I think new faces and cheaper tickets are the only way forward. And it’s never going to happen.”

David Lawson: Daniel Craig should put his money where his mouth is and do a show with $18 tickets.
J Adrian Verkouteren:  He could try holding a lottery for less expensive seats the way Hamilton does.

Why are so many creative people neurotic? Study: on neurotic and creative Both marked by high levels of “self-generated thought.”