Tag Archives: Sunday in the Park with George

Friday, February 23, 2018

Bette Midler vs Bernadette Peters With The Critics: In The End It Just Boils Down To Personal Preference – Stop Comparing!

Mister D: I know some of you don’t want to see any comparison reviews because it pits two beloved stars and friends against one another, but you knew it was going to happen. So I picked out some that said the same thing as the others, and what it really boils down to is personal tastes and fandom. The Peter’s fans are going to pick her and the Midler fans will pick Midler. Midler will win of course because she is an international star where Bernadette is basically a favorite of the Broadway crowd. It’s just a fact. So I see no reason to even argue with one another. Neither side is going to listen. And don’t feel sorry for these ladies. They are both at the top of their game, they have made it in an industry that is callous and cruel. Believe me both women can handle what is thrown at them. Yes, I’m sure they still get hurt feelings, but by now they have learned to say “fuck it, I’m a star!!!” Daily Beast Bette Midler Is a Better ‘Dolly’ Than Bernadette Peters: Review of ‘Hello, Dolly!’ As Bernadette Peters officially opens in ‘Hello, Dolly!,’ the question is, who played it best: Peters or predecessor Bette Midler? Our critic prepares to have his gay card revoked. Tim Teeman 02.22.18 7:30 PM ET It’s a gay Sophie’s Choice, and it’s happening on Broadway right now. Prepare for friendships to be torn asunder, loud street arguments in Hell’s Kitchen (“At least Bernadette Peters knows how to walk down a staircase”), and vodka sodas being flung in anger. Are you ‘Bette’ or ‘Bernadette’? (Or, kind, warm soul, do you love them both equally? They are both different performers, and shouldn’t be compared etc.) Sadly, if you saw Midler and are also seeing Peters, comparisons are inevitable. On Thursday night, Peters officially takes over the mantle–or giant, deep pink, feathery fascinator—of Dolly Gallagher Levi from Midler, in Jerry Zaks’ handsomely mounted Broadway production of Hello, Dolly! The Midler production of Jerry Herman’s musical (with book by Michael Stewart) which opened last April was, as I wrote at the time, a barnstorming, all-cylinders-rocketing joy, for which Midler won a Tony. It would be tough for any actor to follow her. Peters obviously has the stage stature, but she is a very different Dolly. Midler exuded a flirty, knowing, audience-winking warmth in her Dolly. Peters, the night this reviewer attended at least, seemed more distant and (even if this means my gay card being immediately revoked) more nervous and tentative in the role. Some in the audience would disagree with this—loudly. They whooped and applauded Peters as they had with Midler. Your preference, if you see both actors in the role, will come down to personal taste. Peters’ first appearance in Act One still brings the show to a hollering halt in its infancy. For Broadway devotees, Peters equals, even outstrips Midler in the icon stakes. But in this role, Peters’ Dolly feels more skittish and scattered, and less focused than Midler’s eccentric mistress of all that she surveys and seeks to benevolently manipulate. We do not, for a moment, believe that Peters’ Dolly has a crush on, and desires to have a relationship with, Victor Garber’s Horace Vandergelder, the gruff Yonkers store-owner. Both performers have no chemistry whatsoever, and do not even attempt to magic some up. Peters’ Dolly seems a little too outside the universe of the musical around her, and Garber’s performance compares poorly to David Hyde Pierce’s engaging incarnation—he was both a match and foil for Midler—in the earlier production. Hyde Pierce captured Vandergelder as a grouchy eccentric, whose perfect mugging when singing “Penny In My Pocket” burrowed into the song’s ridiculous schematics. Garber singing the same looks puzzled, and makes us feel puzzled watching him. Garber’s Vandergelder is more loopy eccentric—he reminded me of Charlie Bucket’s Grandpa from Charlie and The Chocolate Factory—than scowling, world-rejecting widower awaiting reawakening. His first song, “It Takes a Woman,” sung with the men of the company about women’s roles in domestic patriarchy, suddenly sounds creepily sexist rather than just charmingly hokey as it did before. In evoking Dolly’s own widowhood, and her occasional soliloquies to her dear departed Ephraim, Peters locates some scratchily profound emotional notes that Midler did not, and this seemed to me to reflect her Dolly as less assured and less commanding. Others may think it is simply a more restrained performance, and good on her, but is Dolly Levi best played as restrained? There is no sense why Peters’ Dolly and Garber’s Horace would get together, and no sense of them operating together when sharing a stage. Everything is said and played by both actors directly to us rather than between them. At the end, their coupling is purely ceremonial. ‘Dolly’ fans will not be disappointed by the key scene of our diva descending the Harmonia Gardens restaurant stairs, and the show’s title number striking up. The visuals of Dolly in her deep pink dress and crowning fascinator and the queenly acceptance of the waiters’ “Hello, Dolly, it’s so nice to have you back where you belong,” are as richly sung and visually satisfying as ever. (This is even more impressive when you consider that the ‘waiters’ have, for the previous few minutes, been performing the demented “Waiters’ Gallop,” choreographed by Warren Carlyle, with wobbling mountains of plates.) Just as memorable as Peters’ Dolly, center stage and sparkling right in front of us, are the men’s wonderful voices, singing their devotion to Dolly in perfect unison. Midler offset this goosebump-raising, bracing men’s chorus with her own perfectly judged campy theatrics and soft, lilting voice; Peters’ Dolly seems a little overwhelmed by the attention and unsure of who’s who. In its Midler iteration, the show was a smooth, big-voiced, big-colored joy; now it feels workmanlike. It is not terrible, but you can see the joins and hear a little creaking. If this sounds harsh, there are other joys left intact. Peters, like Midler, makes the best kind of meal out of eating a meal. The orchestra, led by conductor Justin Hornback, is so lushly controlled you dream that one day you could march down a New York street with them playing “Before The Parade Passes By” beside you. The chorus is glorious, from their first collective sortie singing “Put On Your Sunday Clothes,” dressed in Santo Loquasto’s suits and dresses in maxed-up sherbet colors, through to the men’s dazzling serenade of Dolly herself. Remaining from the original are the formidable presences of Kate Baldwin as hat-shop owner Irene Molloy, who is not only very funny but whose honeyed meticulousness when singing “Ribbons Down My Back” underscores so perfectly the longing of that song. Like her, a stay-on from the Midler production, Gavin Creel (now out of the show, recovering from back surgery; Santino Fontana will replace him) provides strong and charming support as store clerk Cornelius Hackl. Charlie Stemp as his sidekick Barnaby is appositely goofy, and as delightfully light on his feet as he needs to be as the pair search New York’s streets for a woman to kiss. Molly Griggs as Minnie Fay, Irene’s assistant, is a zingily hilarious scene-stealer, and—some things never change—the worst parts are for young lovers Ambrose Kemper (Will Burton) and Ermengarde (Melanie Moore), whose desired union is the impetus for the musical’s plot and who are soon forgotten, reappearing only occasionally for her to wail in misery. Peters fans will not be disappointed (their devotion would mean that would take a lot anyway). Hello, Dolly! is still a pleasure to watch. You will hum the songs for days. If you didn’t see Midler, Peters won’t suffer by comparison. If you did see Midler, it will come down to taste. Peters doesn’t perform the role badly, but, for this critic at least, the sense of fun and mischief that should orbit Dolly is missing from her. It was the heady perfume of the 2017 Midler production. Suddenly, Hello, Dolly! feels like a company of individual performers working hard, rather than a company of performers in smooth, collective command of the material. Before the parade passes by, Hello, Dolly! would benefit from a reset. Hello, Dolly! is at the Schubert Theatre, 225 West 44th Street, NYC. Booking through July 30. The Hollywood Reporter ‘Hello, Dolly!’: Theater Review 2/22/2018 by Frank Scheck You experience many things while watching the Broadway revival of Hello, Dolly! at the Sam S. Shubert Theatre. Laughter at the broad, hysterical comedy. Joy upon hearing Jerry Herman’s gorgeous score. Wonderment at the eye-popping costumes on constant display. But now that Bernadette Peters has taken over the title role, for the first time you’ll also shed tears. That’s because the veteran, two-time Tony Award-winning performer has brought a poignancy to the production that wasn’t quite in evidence with her predecessor, Bette Midler. Midler was a powerhouse presence to be sure, bringing to the part all of her star wattage and formidable comic chops. Her starring turn, which resulted in sell-out performances and huge box-office grosses, became instantly iconic. But you never felt as much concern and tenderness toward her Dolly as you do for this one. Peters, of course, is no slouch when it comes to being an iconic presence herself, considering that her career as a theater star has lasted a half-century since her breakout performances in 1968’s George M! and off-Broadway’s Dames at Sea. Since then she’s delivered acclaimed turns in such musicals as On the Town, Mack & Mabel, Sunday in the Park with George, Song and Dance, Into the Woods, Annie Get Your Gun, A Little Night Music and Follies. If anyone could be considered musical theater royalty, it’s her. She pulls off another triumph here, infusing her Dolly Gallagher Levi with a pathos that, while making the character less a force of nature, makes her far more relatable. When her Dolly speaks to her dead husband Ephraim, such as when she implores him to let her go so she can get on with her life and be happy, it’s not just a prelude to the big, first-act closing number “Before the Parade Passes By” but also a tearful plea from the heart. Which is not to say that she falls short of the role’s comedic demands. Her performance is less vivacious than Midler’s, but no less hilarious. With her deadpan comic line readings and subtle bits of physical business — the latter especially shown off in the riotously farcical hat shop scene in which she does not just a double, but a triple, take — she gets all the necessary laughs and more without lapsing into excessive shtick. Her vocals are equally stellar, and she looks sensational slinking down those Harmonia Gardens Restaurant stairs in that fabulous red dress and feathered headdress. Victor Garber, another Broadway veteran whose musical theater credits include Sweeney Todd and Damn Yankees, has taken over for David Hyde Pierce as Dolly’s comic foil Horace Vandergelder. Garber doesn’t get nearly as many laughs as his predecessor, but few actors could, since Hyde Pierce is a finely tuned comedy machine. But if Garber’s more restrained performance is less gut-busting, it’s also less of a caricature. His Horace is more emotionally vulnerable, making us care more deeply about him and Dolly getting together. The other significant cast changes (Gavin Creel and Kate Baldwin continue in their Tony winning and nominated roles respectively, and have only gotten better with time) are Charlie Stemp as Barnaby Tucker and Molly Griggs as Minnie Fay. Stemp, a 24-year-old British actor who won raves for his London performances in Half a Sixpence and Dick Whittington and here makes his Broadway debut, is a revelation. Effortlessly charming and displaying pitch-perfect comic timing, the charismatic performer is also one hell of a dancer. So much so, in fact, that he’s been given a dazzling solo in the “Dancing” number that wasn’t there before. Catch him now, and you’ll be able to say that you saw a star in the making. Griggs, who’s replaced Beanie Feldstein, proves no less an adorable laugh-getter than her predecessor and has excellent chemistry with Stemp. You’ll be seeing a lot more of her in the future as well. Jerry Zaks’ perfectly tooled staging hasn’t lost a step, dancing or otherwise, since the show opened 10 months ago. Gower Champion’s original 1964 Broadway production — starring Carol Channing followed by a host of luminaries including Ginger Rogers, Martha Raye, Betty Grable, Pearl Bailey, Phyllis Diller and Ethel Merman — played 2,844 performances. Assuming that it can keep up this level of star casting, there’s no reason not to think that this revival can’t match it. Newsday ‘‘Hello, Dolly!’ review: Well, hello, Bernadette Peters! By Barbara Schuler Updated February 22, 2018 9:00 PM It’s been just a month since the “Hello, Dolly!” hats (and magnificent hats, they are) were passed from the Tony-winning, seriously adored Bette Midler to Broadway legend Bernadette Peters. Time to invite the critics, who for the most part will be inclined to compare the two performances. But you won’t get that here. For a variety of reasons, I never saw Midler in the role. We’re starting fresh. “Bette, who?” is all I have to say. Peters electrifies the Shubert Theatre stage with her warm, finely nuanced take on matchmaker Dolly Gallagher Levi, the multitasking widow who decides to rejoin the human race, with a perfect mix of heartfelt vocals and impeccable comic timing. True, her voice is on the raspy side (she is playing eight shows a week, where Midler got most Tuesday nights off with Donna Murphy stepping in) but it takes nothing away from the many magical moments — among them the renowned title song, of course, but also the life-affirming “Before the Parade Passes By” — that this lavish confection offers up. And never have I seen an audience so primed to love a show, with the applause starting the minute the lights went down and crescendoing at Dolly’s famed strut down the Harmonia Gardens staircase. Some of that applause was saved for Victor Garber, another newcomer to the production, replacing David Hyde Pierce as the penny-pinching half-a-millionaire Horace Vandergelder, the man Dolly has her sights on. Lacking the musical chops of Peters (or the rest of the cast for that matter), Garber, all rumpled hair and grating New York accent, sells his wonderful material, especially the song “Penny in My Pocket” that’s often cut from the show, with a heavy dose of curmudgeonly charm. A word, too, for Charlie Stemp as Barnaby Tucker, taking over for Taylor Trensch, now breaking hearts over at “Dear Evan Hansen.” A wonderful dancer, Stemp is delightful as the befuddled sidekick to Gavin Creel’s Tony-winning Cornelius Hackl. Broadway statistics have noted a marked revenue drop following Midler’s departure, attributed both to the stratospheric prices she was commanding and the typical post-holiday slump. But this production has good bones — Santo Loquasto’s gorgeous costumes and artistic scenery and Jerry Herman’s well-loved score. When the time comes, a way off we hope, for Peters to move on, director Jerry Zaks will surely find another Dolly (one survey says fans want to see Dolly Parton in the part), and in all likelihood, my next question will be, “Bernadette, who?”

The New York Times Review: The ‘Dolly’ Parade Marches On, Now With a New Star HELLO, DOLLY! NYT Critic’s Pick Broadway, Musical, Musical 2 hrs. and 35 min. Open Run Shubert Theater, 225 W. 44th St. 212-239-6200 By JESSE GREENFEB. 22, 2018 ...  Read More

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Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Bernadette Peters: The Broadway legend on her Hollywood problem, using theater as therapy, and replacing Bette Midler

Vulture The Broadway legend on her Hollywood problem, using theater as therapy, and replacing Bette Midler By David Marches February 5, 2018

Fabulous fan art from @heidschoetter! ???? #HelloDolly

A post shared by Hello, Dolly! (@hellodollybway) on

Since coming to theatrical prominence in the mid-’70s and attaining even shinier status the following decade (thanks largely to her work in the original production of Stephen Sondheim’s Sunday in the Park With George), Bernadette Peters has occupied an unusual dual position. She’s both a very particular type — a bona fide Broadway star, one of the few remaining — and in her warmth, humor, and vulnerability, utterly unique as a performer. “I understand that other people might see something special in what I do,” says Peters, dressed all in black, her famous red curls flowing over shoulder, and speaking (graciously, cautiously) from a meeting room in her publicist’s office in midtown Manhattan, “but I don’t think I’m the one who can say what that is.” Peters, 69 years old and a three-time Tony Award winner, is currently starring in an acclaimed Broadway revival of Hello, Dolly!, having taken over the title role from Bette Midler, as well as the new season of Amazon’s Mozart in the Jungle. “I never think about things like legacy,” she says. “I don’t think that’s how you should think about what you do. For me, the thing is always the work I’m doing now.” She twists the chunky black ring she’s wearing. “That’s why I love the theater so much — the only thing that matters is that night’s show.” Though, as she’ll explain, a few other things matter too.  

You’re stepping into the lead role of Hello, Dolly! in the middle of its run, which is relatively rare for a performer of your stature. But this isn’t the first time you’ve made that move. Do you think other stars’ reluctance to do it is just about professional competitiveness? ...  Read More

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Monday, January 22, 2018

Hello Dolly! Wins An ATRIOS Award

The annual Artios Awards (named for the Greek word meaning “perfectly fitted”) are given to Casting Society of America members using the criteria of originality, creativity and contribution of casting to the overall quality of a project. CAA’s Kevin Huvane, filmmaker Barry Levinson and casting director Victoria Thomas also were honored at the event. The awards were handed out in simultaneous ceremonies in Los Angeles and New York, with Tig Notaro hosting at the Beverly Hilton and Bridget Everett serving as host at New York’s Stage 48. Feature Film Big Budget – Drama Dunkirk (WINNER) John Papsidera Baby Driver Francine Maisler Meagan Lewis (Location Casting) Detroit Victoria Thomas Richard Hicks (New York Casting) Carolyn Pickman (Location Casting) Scotty Anderson (Associate) The Post Ellen Lewis Rori Bergman Kate Sprance (Associate) Karlee Fomalont (Associate) Wonder Woman Lora Kennedy Kristy Carlson Lucinda Syson Jeanette Benzie (Associate) Feature Film Big Budget – Comedy The Greatest Showman (WINNER) Bernard Telsey Tiffany Little Canfield Rori Bergman (Additional Casting) Patrick Goodwin (Associate) Beauty and the Beast Lucy Bevan Bernard Telsey Tiffany Little Canfield Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Sarah Halley Finn Tara Feldstein Bennett (Location Casting) Chase Paris (Location Casting) Logan Lucky Carmen Cuba Tara Feldstein Bennett (Location Casting) Chase Paris (Location Casting) Charley Medigovich (Associate) Wonder Deborah Aquila Tricia Wood Kara Eide (Location Casting) -+Kris Woz (Location Casting) Feature Film, Studio or Independent – Drama Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (WINNER) Sarah Halley Finn Meagan Lewis (Location Casting) Hannah Cooper (Associate) Gifted David Rubin Jackie Burch (Location Casting) Melissa Pryor (Associate) The Florida Project Carmen Cuba Mark Mullen (Location Casting) The Shape of Water Robin D. Cook Jonathan Oliveira (Associate) Split Douglas Aibel Diane Heery (Location Casting) Jason Loftus (Location Casting) Henry Russell Bergstein (Associate) Feature Film, Studio or Independent – Comedy ‘Lady Bird’ ‘Lady Bird’ Courtesy of A24 Lady Bird (WINNER) Jordan Thaler, Heidi Griffiths Battle of the Sexes Justine Arteta Kim Davis-Wagner Get Out Terri Taylor Elizabeth Coulon (Location Casting) Sarah Domeier (Associate) Girls Trip Mary Vernieu Michelle Wade Byrd Elizabeth Coulon (Location Casting) I, Tonya Mary Vernieu Lindsay Graham Tara Feldstein Bennett (Location Casting) Chase Paris (Location Casting) The Disaster Artist Rich Delia Feature Film Low Budget – Comedy or Drama ‘Beach Rats’ ‘Beach Rats’ Courtesy of Sundance Beach Rats (WINNER) Susan Shopmaker Crown Heights Avy Kaufman It Comes at Night Avy Kaufman My Cousin Rachel Fiona Weir To the Bone Rich Delia Feature Film Animation Coco (WINNER) Keven Reher Natalie Lyon Carla Hool Cars 3 Kevin Reher Natalie Lyon The Nut Job 2: Nutty by Nature Linda Lamontagne Rock Dog Jen Rudin Television Pilot & First Season — Comedy Atlanta (WINNER) Alexa L. Fogel Tara Feldstein Bennett (Location Casting) Chase Paris (Location Casting) Kathryn Zamora-Benson (Associate) Better Things Felicia Fasano Tara Nostramo (Associate) Dear White People Kim Coleman I Love Dick Eyde Belasco Insecure Victoria Thomas Television Pilot & First Season — Drama The Handmaid’s Tale (WINNER) Sharon Bialy, Sherry Thomas, Russell Scott Robin D. Cook (Location Casting) Jonathan Oliveira (Associate) 13 Reasons Why Kerry Barden, Paul Schnee, Barbara Fiorentino Nina Henninger (Location Casting) Joey Montenarello (Associate) Terese Classen (Associate) The Crown Nina Gold, Robert Sterne This Is Us Bernard Telsey, Tiffany Little Canfield, Josh Einsohn Ryan Bernard Tymensky (Associate) Stranger Things Carmen Cuba Tara Feldstein Bennett (Location Casting) Chase Paris (Location Casting) Wittney Horton (Associate) Westworld John Papsidera Deanna Brigidi (Associate) Television Series — Comedy Veep (WINNER) Dorian Frankel, Sibby Kirchgessner Marlise Gunzenhauser (Associate) Black-ish Alexis Frank Koczara Christine Smith Shevchenko Crazy Ex-Girlfriend Felicia Fasano, Venus Kanani Tara Nostramo (Associate) Girls Jennifer Eustons Transparent Eyde Belasco Silicon Valley Jeanne McCarthy, Nicole Abellera Hallman, Leslie Woo Television Series — Drama Black Mirror (WINNER) Jina Jay Henry Russell Bergstein (Location Casting) Bloodline Debra Zane, Shayna Markowitz Lori Wyman (Location Casting) Marie-Therese Verbruggen (Associate) Erin Fragetta (Associate) Homeland Judy Henderson Kimberly Graham (Associate) The Affair Ross Meyerson, Julie Tucker The Americans Rori Bergman

Limited Series ...  Read More

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Thursday, December 21, 2017

The Year When Bette Stormed Broadway, and Trump ‘Died’ in Central Park: NYC Theater in 2017

Daily Beast The Year When Bette Stormed Broadway, and Trump ‘Died’ in Central Park: NYC Theater in 2017 TIM TEEMAN 12.19.17 5:00 AM ET The best NYC theater of 2017 spanned Bette Midler in ‘Hello Dolly,’ Jake Gyllenhaal in Sondheim, and Tony Kushner telling The Daily Beast he was planning a play about Donald Trump. It is rare for theater to make the news. CBS may give one Sunday a year over to the Tony Awards (and here is what won what this year), but these celebrate the best of Broadway; theater made as safe and glittery as possible. Any edge is left to the winners’ speeches and hosts’ japing. 2017’s year in New York City theater was not notable for a fairly mild Tonys ceremony (and Kevin Spacey’s now especially lame and grotesque joking about coming out of the closet), but rather for the controversy that raged over The Public Theater’s Shakespeare in the Park production of Julius Caesar. The play featured a Trump-like version of Julius Caesar, played by Gregg Henry, being assassinated. A few years previously, a Barack Obama-like Caesar had been killed. But oh, the fury that rained down on the Public in 2017. Future performances featured right-wing picketers, who would stand up to disturb the performances. Theater companies with “Shakespeare” in their titles faced death threats.

“Julius Caesar”

The fulminating conservative critics had missed the point of the production: The death of the Trump-like figure happened midway through the production and was hardly celebrated. Caesar’s death opens the door to social chaos throughout the kingdom and more bloodshed. The death of Caesar is the death of democracy in the play; the death itself is far from cheered by characters or audience. Then there were the media reports of fainting and other horrified audience responses to the graphic violence in 1984, a stark adaptation of Orwell by Robert Icke and Duncan Macmillan that came with its own inevitable Trumpian overtones. That’s if you could get past the unsparing torture scenes. To lighten the mood, in feathers, extravagant outfits, and a crowd screaming every time she merely nodded, the glorious Bette Midler fully deserved the Tony she won playing the title role in Hello, Dolly! The production, directed with full-bodied exuberance by Jerry Zaks, was a beautifully performed blast of joy—a joy only a smidge tainted by Midler not performing at the Tonys. But the best… well, Jake Gyllenhaal and Annaleigh Ashford reopened the beautifully recast Hudson Theatre with Sunday in the Park With George, finding the perfect way to navigate through Sondheim’s complicated lexicon of love, loss, and artistic fulfillment.

“The Little Foxes”

There was more divine Sondheim at the Barrow Street Theatre—re-outfitted for a delirious and tasty production (it’s true, you can order your own pies) of Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street by London’s Tooting Arts Club. Sit amid the action, and if you have a beard, prepare for the attentions of the terrifying barber himself. A more innocently joyous musical surprised the critics who went to see Spongebob Squarepants on Broadway and were utterly won over by the brightly surreal sets, fantastic singing and choreography, and utterly charming acting. However, the most charming musicals were the ones that surprised you also with their brave and inventive takes on thorny topics or epic Russian works of fiction. Come From Away, which landed on Broadway in time for Tonys consideration (its main rival was Dear Evan Hansen—this is how it turned out), is a rollicking show about the many foreigners who suddenly landed in Gander, Newfoundland, when planes were forced out of the sky. The Band’s Visit, my favorite new Broadway musical, follows what happens when a Egyptian band ends up in an Israeli town for an enforced stay. It is a joy to watch and beautifully written, and beautifully performed, particularly its two leads, Katrina Lenk and Tony Shalhoub.

“The Band’s Visit”

Way away from Broadway was Town Bloody Hall, the Wooster Group’s characteristically oblique and arresting interpretation of what happened when Norman Mailer and a group of feminists including Germaine Greer held a fiery debate in New York in 1971—or an interpretation of the famous documentary that recorded it. Of every piece of music heard on Broadway this last year, everything paled before Bruce Springsteen. His Broadway residency was one of the most stunning shows of the year. Do all you can do to see it; Springsteen takes the audience through the story of his life, and he does it with speech and song, with him playing piano and guitar. It is spell-binding.  Of the plays of the year on and off Broadway, Osloan intelligent and nail-biting examination of a peace process—was a deserving Tony Award winner. Sarah DeLappe’s The Wolves also arrived at Lincoln Center, a fizzing drama about a teenage girls’ football team. The excellent playwright Annie Baker returned with her most challenging play to date. The Antipodes was set in a modern office, with all kinds of threats, real and existential, baked into the relationships. The meeting around the table was unlike any other meeting, apart from its sense of endlessness.

“Oslo”

In Zoe Kazan’s After the Blast, a cute robot became the balm and bane of a young couple’s lives. The farcical and madcap Play That Goes Wrong features collapsing sets, actors on hyperdrive, and will make you laugh even when you’re not sure why you are laughing so hard. Charm was the true story of a “charm” school for LGBT-identifying young people in Chicago. 

A Doll’s House, Part 2 ...  Read More

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Wednesday, December 20, 2017

‘Come Far Away,’ ‘Groundhog Day,’ And ‘Hello, Dolly’ Lead Entertainment Weekly Top 10 Theater of 2017

EW ‘Come Far Away,’ ‘Groundhog Day,’ And ‘Hello, Dolly’ Lead Entertainment Weekly Top 10 Theater of 2017 By Jacob Elyachar Entertainment Weekly gave its regards to New York City’s Great White Way as the entertainment news magazine named its top 10 theater shows of 2017. The Entertainment Weekly staff picked out some of the best musicals and plays that captivated Broadway audiences throughout the year.

Bette Midler’s ‘Hello, Dolly’ Wins Top Spot

Entertainment Weekly crowned Hello, Dolly, starring the legendary Bette Midler, as their number 1 musical of 2017. The Hocus Pocus actress took Broadway by storm this year as matchmaker Dolly Levi in the show’s latest revival.  The Tony-winning Midler earned rave reviews for her interpretation of the classic character and continued to entertain audiences despite reliving Geraldo Rivera’s sexual assault.

Old Friends Return To Broadway

In addition to Hello, Dolly, several revivals of signature shows found themselves on the Entertainment Weekly countdown. The off-Broadway revival of Sweeney Todd was placed in the eighth spot on the list. Jake Gyllenhaal’s memorable performance in Sunday in the Park with George helped the show earn its spot on the list (number 6). Before Laurie Metcalf earned nominations for her work in Lady Bird, she earned a Tony for her impressive performance in A Doll’s House, Part 2, which came in third place.

Building Bonds On Broadway

The remaining shows on Entertainment Weekly’s list all have something in common. At the heart of their respective shows, the productions showed how people came together to support one another. The off-Broadway play The Wolves, which placed at number 10 on the countdown dealt with the relationships between players of an indoor soccer team. Oslo, which placed at number 9 on the list, took audiences back to Oslo, Norway, to the 1990s, where the leaders of Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization tried to come together to find common ground. Entertainment Weekly’s seventh entry was the uplifting (and soon to be a motion picture) Come Far Away, which earned critical acclaim for telling the story of how a small town united to welcome travelers who were stranded there due to the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks. The Band’s Visit, which found itself in the magazine’s top 5, focused on a group of Egyptian musicians who were forced to spend the night in a small Israeli town. Throughout the show, several of the townspeople bonded with the musicians as they experienced emotional pitfalls. Other theatrical productions that made the Entertainment Weekly list included Indecent (number 4) and Groundhog’s Day (number 2).
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Tuesday, December 19, 2017

David Rooney: The Best New York Theater of 2017

The Hollywood Reporter David Rooney: The Best New York Theater of 2017 12/13/2017 by David Rooney

Jitney

Joan Marcus
Every major production of an August Wilson work is a stinging reminder of the loss of one of American drama’s most uniquely resonant voices. But this belated Broadway debut of the play that launched his magnificent 10-part chronicle of African-American experience in the 20th century — directed by Ruben Santiago-Hudson with penetrating emotional depth and irrepressible humor — was something extraordinary. Gritty and lyrical, joyful and sorrowful, the play examines black struggle through the prism of a Pittsburgh gypsy-cab company in 1977, its denizens portrayed here by a peerless ensemble that found music in every note.
From left: Michael Potts, John Douglas Thompson, Anthony Chisholm, Keith Randolph Smith and Andre Holland in 'Jitney'

The Wolves

Courtesy of Julieta Cervantes
Vibrant ensemble work also is key in Sarah DeLappe’s subtly crafted study of young women navigating the tricky precipice of adulthood. Lila Neugebauer directs the nine fearless performers playing members of a girls soccer team with a palpable connection to their deeply felt experiences — good and bad — providing unfiltered access to the raw volatility and fear of adolescence. Deceptively loose in structure and yet skillfully shaped, the play’s observations shift with uncommon grace from funny to heartbreaking, forming both a group portrait and a highly individualized series of revealing snapshots.
A scene from 'The Wolves'
 

Springsteen on Broadway

Rob DeMartin
The solo stage memoir is perhaps the most over-trafficked subgenre in the contemporary theatrical landscape — far too often by writer-performers whose stories fail to justify the self-scrutiny. But with his unerring instinct for illuminating detail and ability to reframe his superstar experience as that of an everyday, working-man American, Bruce Springsteen combines spoken excerpts adapted from his autobiography, Born to Run, with corresponding song selections in a narratively robust concert-confessional notable both for its thrilling intimacy and its sense of communal celebration.
4

Sunday in the Park With George

Courtesy of O&M Co.
No musical delves deeper into the painful difficulties of the creative process than this 1984 dramatic diptych by Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine, which leaps from the clubby art world of 1880s Paris to the corresponding scene in America a century later to explore the transcendent birth of harmony out of chaos. Expanding on their work in an earlier concert staging, Jake Gyllenhaal and Annaleigh Ashford led a superlative cast, bringing startling emotional candor to Sarna Lapine’s exquisitely sung production.
Jake Gyllenhaal in 'Sunday in the Park With George'
 

A Doll’s House, Part 2

Courtesy of Brigitte Lacombe
What could have been merely a deconstructionist gimmick turned out instead to be a wickedly spiky consideration of marriage and gender roles across the centuries in Lucas Hnath’s playful “sequel” to the classic Ibsen drama. In Sam Gold’s bracingly lithe production, from the moment the incomparable Laurie Metcalf walked through the door that Nora Helmer had slammed shut behind her, this was timeless sociocultural debate elevated to the championship theatrical leagues. Quite unexpectedly, it was also one of the funniest plays of the year.
Chris Cooper and Laurie Metcalf in 'A Doll's House, Part 2'
 

Sweeney Todd

Joan Marcus
How do you extract fresh chills from a musical masterwork that has been produced in seemingly every possible size and shape from Industrial Age epic to stripped-down spookhouse chamber piece? Originally staged in a traditional South London pie shop, faithfully recreated off-Broadway, this immersive production of the obsessive revenge tale by Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler stuck us smack in the middle of the throat-slashing action with a Grand Guignol glee that made us feel the cold steel of the razor and smell the blood.
Siobhan McCarthy and Jeremy Secomb in 'Sweeney Todd'

Mary Jane

Joan Marcus
Carrie Coon followed her breakout TV work on The Leftovers and Fargo with a riveting return to the stage in this infinitely moving yet rigorously unsentimental portrait by Amy Herzog of a mother caring for a chronically ill child while struggling to remain a vital individual beyond that all-consuming role. Anne Kauffman’s lucid, unfussy production gracefully sidestepped the conventions of the medical drama to explore questions of life, death and sacrifice with rare humanism and gentle spirituality.
Liza Colon-Zayas (left) and Carrie Coon in 'Mary Jane'

Hello, Dolly!

Courtesy of Julieta Cervantes
Who would have guessed that the old girl still had so much life in her? I’m talking about the 1964 musical warhorse, adapted by composer-lyricist Jerry Herman and writer Michael Stewart from Thornton Wilder’s The Matchmaker. As a triumphant vehicle for Bette Midler’s return to the musical-theater stage after a half-century’s absence, this was sheer perfection, flanking the indomitable star with a top-drawer cast that includes a never-funnier David Hyde Pierce. Jerry Zaks’ lovingly revitalized restoration was no less delightful with Midler’s divine alternate, Donna Murphy. The show rejoices in the uplifting values of popular Golden-Age Broadway entertainment, and will no doubt continue to do so in January, when Bernadette Peters and Victor Garber step into the lead roles.
David Hyde Pierce and Bette Midler in 'Hello, Dolly!'

Once on This Island

Courtesy of Joan Marcus
In his second Broadway production, actor-turned-director Michael Arden works magic with his environmental staging of the 1990 musical fairy tale by Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty. Enhanced by visual suggestions of real-world natural disasters from Haiti to Puerto Rico, this rousing hymn to community and resilience is performed by a superb cast of 20, all equally invested in the transformative power of storytelling and the healing energy of song. It also announces an instant star in enchanting discovery Hailey Kilgore.
From left: Mia Williamson, Alex Newell, Hailey Kilgore and cast in 'Once on This Island'

Pacific Overtures

Courtesy of Joan Marcus
Perhaps the most adventurous work in the Sondheim canon, this 1976 musical about the Westernization of Japan, written with John Weidman, unfolded with haunting narrative simplicity in John Doyle’s elegantly streamlined, modern-dress production, featuring a statesmanlike George Takei as the narrator figure known as The Reciter. The staging’s calligraphic delicacy revealed new emotional shades in one of the composer’s most idiosyncratic scores, drawing out both ongoing relevance and understated poignancy in themes of globalization, cultural isolationism and bullying foreign policy.
From left, Steven Eng, Megan Masako Haley and Ann Harada in 'Pacific Overtures'
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Friday, December 8, 2017

Broadway in 2017: box office records broken under the shadow of Trump

The Guardian Broadway in 2017: box office records broken under the shadow of Trump Alexis Soloski Thursday 7 December 2017 07.00 EST In 2017, Broadway broke record after box office record. But inside the theaters the faces were long and so were the running times. Though rich in new American plays and gussied up revivals, Broadway this year often felt like a letdown, taking fewer risks and reaping fewer rewards. The Laura of Sam Gold’s deconstructed The Glass Menagerie wouldn’t blow out her candles, yet elsewhere the lights seemed dimmer, the costumes less spangled, the orchestra mildly depressed. Blame these blues on the presidential election? Tempting. But most projects secured funding before last November. A handful of pieces were explicitly political to begin with and became even more political after the inauguration, like Lynn Nottage’s Sweat, a deeply researched meditation on what happens to factory workers in a swing state small town when the factories shutter. The finale of JT Rogers’s Oslo, about a back channel for negotiations between Israel and Palestine, also struck a melancholy note, as the promise of peace receded out of reach of its characters. If one wanted to escape grim news alerts and social media feeds, other plays offered even less quarter. The London import 1984 provided a violent dystopia that might have resonated more had its leads not been miscast. (Who thinks of Tom Sturridge as humdrum or of Olivia Wilde as drab?) Less violent though often just as frustrating was Michael Moore’s self-congratulatory solo The Terms of My Surrender, notable mostly for baiting the president into a Twitter war. Add “limited run” to the concepts Donald J Trump has failed to grasp. Like Moore’s show, Beau Willimon’s Beltway play, The Parisian Woman, name-checked cabinet members and railed against venality, though the president has yet to tweet a response. Themes of conflict and disenfranchisement extended throughout other works, like August Wilson’s Jitney, superbly acted, in which unlicensed livery drivers struggle in a changing Pittsburgh, and Arthur Miller’s The Price, in which a beat cop must reckon with his sacrifices. And there were uncomfortable echoes of the people and forces that had put Trump in power in everything from the enjoyably vicious and appetitive antiheroine of Lillian Hellman’s The Little Foxes to the less enticing machers of Ayad Akhtar’s Junk, set in the unregulated Wall Street of the 1980s. Disillusionment and dashed hopes stalked the characters of The Present (Andrew Upton’s adaptation of Chekhov’s Ivanov), Joshua Harmon’s Significant Other, JB Priestley’s Time and the Conways, Sunset Boulevard, Miss Saigon, M Butterfly, Six Degrees of Separation, even the poignant revival of Sunday in the Park with George. Groundhog Day, despite its clever lyrics and imaginative stagecraft, seemed freighted with more than its share of existentialist dread and even Bruce Springsteen, in his soloish show Springsteen on Broadway, has reportedly tamped down his customary fire. He wouldn’t allow handclaps in the dark, let alone dancing. (Tickets were so rare and so expensive – another sort of a downer – that my knowledge of these stifled claps is admittedly secondhand.) Some shows meant to cheer up an audience didn’t fully succeed, like Present Laughter, which boasted a Kevin Kline soigné perfection from the tips of his moustache to the hem of his dressing gown, yet seemed to struggle for hilarity, though it never struggled quite as hard as The Play That Goes Wrong, which couldn’t seem to go quite nearly enough. The musical adaptation of Amélie couldn’t shake its air of preciosity or the pall of its passive heroine and Steve Martin’s iterative Meteor Shower was its own falling star, a comedy in search of a situation. Several of the more successful shows struck bittersweet notes, like Paula Vogel’s Indecent, an excavation of a forgotten theatrical scandal, and Come From Away, a wispy tearjerker and smile-tugger about a Newfoundland town that housed thousands of travelers in the days after September 11. (Some might add The Band’s Visit and Once on This Island, which I will see in the coming weeks, to this list. The final Broadway shows of that fall, The Children and Farinelli and the King, have yet to open.) But even a downbeat season has its pleasures and compensations, like the joyful and sumptuous revival of Hello, Dolly! starring a dumpling gobbling Bette Midler and a soaring chorus who make the most of heart-lifters like Put on Your Sunday Clothes. Though its story and characters barely register, the gonzo visual pleasure of SpongeBob SquarePants: The Broadway Musical is extreme, particularly a curtain call of confetti cannon excess and full-bore surreality. New plays like Indecent, Oslo, Sweat and Lucas Hnath’s brainy A Doll’s House, Part 2 provided an embarrassment of American riches. Performances to treasure included Laurie Metcalf’s devastating, mercurial Nora in A Doll’s House, Part 2, Andy Karl’s dangerously charming Phil in Groundhog Day, Laura Linney’s blissfully avaricious Regina opposite Cynthia Nixon’s heartbreaking Birdie in The Little Foxes, Jake Gyllenhaal’s poignantly distant George and Annaleigh Ashford’s vibrantly present Dot, as well as the expert, responsive ensembles of Jitney and Indecent. And there were smaller moments, too, like the orgiastic dance party of The Present or the inky black evening gown that Cobie Smulders wore in Present Laughter. Or the brilliant beauty of Sunday in the Park’s Chromolume, a reminder that even in grim times there is color and light.
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Thursday, December 7, 2017

The Top 10 Plays and Musicals of 2017

New York Times The Top 10 Plays and Musicals of 2017 By EBEN SHAPIRO December 6, 2017 The stupefying boredom of forgotten hamlet in the Israeli desert, where the residents are jolted out of their trance-like existence by a visiting band of Egyptian musicians. The inhabitants of a remote rocky island off the coast of Canada warmly embrace the passengers of 38 jets stranded there in the wake of 9/11. A working class bar in a failing factory town is the backdrop for a shocking act of violence and an equally dramatic reconciliation. In this most polarized of years, a number of the best productions celebrate man’s shared humanity and the possibility of even the most entrenched enemies finding common ground and a path forward.

10. Hello, Dolly

David Hyde Pierce and Bette Midler in 'Hello Dolly' on Broadway during a curtain call, New York David Hyde Pierce and Bette Midler in ‘Hello Dolly’ on Broadway during a curtain call, New York Gregory Pace—REX/Shutterstock Did the world need another revival of Hello, Dolly? Apparently, yes. Bette Midler won a Tony for her giddy performance. The Divine Miss M’s connection with her fierce tribe of followers is both extreme and two-way; the frenzied fans bestow highly vocal love on her and the star feeds off the their worship and beams it right back. Her chemistry with co-star David Hyde Pierce is also excellent. The night I saw it, Pierce broke character and burst out laughing when Midler doused his face with salt in a seemingly improvised move. (Bernadette Peters and Victor Garber take over in January.) The show also won a Tony for Santo Loquasto’s Technicolor costumes, and for scenic design geeks, the painted backdrops of turn-of-the century New York are practically worth the steep price of admission.

8 and 9. Sunday in the Park With George and Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

Left: Hugh Panaro as Sweeny Todd. Right: Annaleigh Ashford during the opening night performance curtain call bows for 'Sunday in the Park with George' Left: Hugh Panaro as Sweeny Todd. Right: Annaleigh Ashford during the opening night performance curtain call bows for ‘Sunday in the Park with George’ Joan Marcus; Walter McBride—WireImage/Getty Images Jake Gyllenhaal can sing! It was bumper year for Sondheim revivals in New York. Gylllenhaal was intense and tuneful in Sunday in the Park With George, opposite the wondrous Annaleigh Ashford. Also first-rate was the Barrow Street Theater’s off-Broadway rendition of Sweeney Todd. Barrow Street gets bonus point for transforming itself into a pie shop and serving meat pies before the performance.

7. Hamlet

Peter Friedman and Oscar Isaac in Hamlet, directed by Sam Gold, running at The Public Theater through September 3. Peter Friedman and Oscar Isaac in Hamlet, directed by Sam Gold, running at The Public Theater through September 3. Carol Rosegg Oscar Isaac is one of the most intelligent, charismatic actors of his generation, a Pacino for our time. But unlike Pacino, who can get a bit hammy when doing Shakespeare, Isaac’s Hamlet in director Sam Gold’s production at the Public Theater was a subtle, probing performance that mesmerized audiences with his pristine delivery of some of Shakespeare’s most stirring soliloquies.

6. Oslo

Oslo Oslo T Charles Erickson J.T. Rogers’s gripping new play Oslo ran the awards table, winning the Tony and most of the New York theater world’s other prizes for best play. A remarkable accomplishment given that the it’s subject is the seemingly dry secret, behind-the-scenes diplomacy that led to the 1993 peace accords between Israel and the PLO. Yet it’s a highly dramatic, big, ambitious play, nearly three hours in length. Audiences responded strongly to the notion of shared humanity and common ground sought between antagonists. (For those that missed it in New York, it moved to London this fall.)

5. Doll’s House, Part 2

Chris Cooper and Laurie Metcalf in A Doll's House, Part 2. Chris Cooper and Laurie Metcalf in A Doll’s House, Part 2. Brigitte Lacombe “From below, is heard the reverberation of a heavy door closing.” That most famous bit of stage direction, of a door being slammed shut, ends Ibsen’s Doll’s House, a blistering meditation on marriage and the high cost of personal fulfillment. The audacious sequel by Lucas Hnath’s begins with a knock on the same door and proceeds to explore those same questions, which unsurprisingly, persist, with verve, a stellar cast and a surprising degree of humor.

4. Come From Away

The cast of Come From Away The cast of Come From Away Matthew Murphy In the history of musical theater, air traffic control post-9/11 has to be one of the most unlikely topics for a feel-good hit show. Yet ripped from history’s footnotes, Come From Away is set in Gander, Newfoundland, immediately following the 9/11 attacks, when 38 jets were grounded on this remote island. The local town folk were initially overwhelmed by the diverse, visiting hordes, but then rally and show remarkable compassion in caring for their stranded, anxious guests. It’s a deeply moving, optimistic show about helping each other that arrived on the scene at exactly the right moment.

3. Indecent

Max Gordon Moore, Adina Verson, Richard Topol, Katrina Lenk, Mimi Lieber and Steven Rattazzi in INDECENT. Max Gordon Moore, Adina Verson, Richard Topol, Katrina Lenk, Mimi Lieber and Steven Rattazzi in INDECENT. Carol Rosegg Paula Vogel’s Indecent is a profoundly moving exploration of intolerance, the power of art, love and sex, and the cruel march of history. Based on a true story, the complex play within a play, follows the fate of a controversial Yiddish play involving prostitution and a passionate lesbian love affair. It was brilliantly staged, with a large splendid cast which fluidly played mutiple roles. A filmed version of the Tony-nominated production recently aired on PBS’s Great Performances series.

2. The Band’s Visit

Tony Shalhoub and Katrina Lenk in The Band's Visit Tony Shalhoub and Katrina Lenk in The Band’s Visit Matthew Murphy The Band’s Visit was a film, an off-Broadway show and now a full-fledged Broadway delight. Starring Tony Shalhoub and one of New York’s most exciting new(ish) actors, Katrina Lenk (she was also excellent in Indecent), it’s an enchanting musical about an Egyptian band getting stranding in a remote Israeli town. The presence of the outside artists stir and awakens both the deeply bored residents and the traveling musicians. Showing how art wells up when it’s needed, it was yet another of this year’s best shows that rejoices in the shared humanity of strangers and even foes.

1. Sweat

Michelle Wilson, James Colby and Johanna Day in "Sweat," at the Public theater in New York, Oct. 16, 2016 . Michelle Wilson, James Colby and Johanna Day in “Sweat,” at the Public theater in New York, Oct. 16, 2016 . Sara Krulwich—The New York Times/Redux In awarding Lynn Nottage the Pulitzer prize this year, the board called Sweat, “a nuanced yet powerful drama that reminds audiences of the stacked deck still facing workers searching for the American dream.” Set in a bar, the gritty story was deeply informed by Nottage’s research in Reading, Pa., and was widely hailed for its sympathetic portrayal of the working class. Where a lesser writer might have gotten preachy, instead Nottage presciently explored of the forces that led to the election of the 45th president in a welcome demonstration of the power of art to elucidate sesmic historical shifts as they unfold in real-time.
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Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Mark Shenton’s week: Bette Midler, Amy Schumer and Uma Thurman show that stars still shine on Broadway

The Stage Mark Shenton’s week: Bette Midler, Amy Schumer and Uma Thurman show that stars still shine on Broadway by Mark Shenton – Dec 4, 2017 Broadway has always been a place where the name on the marquee is a prime seller. It’s what is propelling Bette Midler’s current return to the Broadway boards, for the first time in a musical role rather than as herself in nearly 50 years, to record box office takings in Hello, Dolly!. It opened to the largest pre-performance advance sale in Broadway history, and week after week it has been breaking the Shubert Theatre’s house record for its weekly take. The week ending November 26 brought takings of $2,468,174.59, breaking its own record for the 10th time. Last week it was also announced that her final performance in the role on January 14 will be a benefit for the Actors Fund – with tickets priced from $250-$10,000. So that will be another record broken in terms of prices charged. But although Midler is unquestionably the biggest star on Broadway right now, star power is also what meant that Meteor Shower, which opened there last week and I reviewed here, had a $7.5 million box office advance before it did so, thanks in part to the fact that it stars comedian Amy Schumer. Schumer was warmly received (even if the play didn’t get universally acclaimed). On the other hand, there’s always a risk for a well-known screen actor to take on Broadway. Last week, Uma Thurman also made her debut there in The Parisian Woman, and the play and star received this stinging appraisal from Deadline’s Jeremy Gerard: “The dialogue is stilted and delivered haltingly even by the pros in the cast, and they move about the stage as if in fear that Steve Bannon will show up any minute looking for a dance partner. This is especially true of the star, who has been weirdly, unflatteringly dressed by the great Jane Greenwood (that’s the problem with flops: pretty much all involved come out looking their worst). Thurman strikes one pose, then swans to the next pose, embellishing each move with a limpid gesture that would be catnip to the Forbidden Broadway crowd. The amateurism defeats both the director, Pam MacKinnon and the more experienced actors onstage.” Theatres inviting audiences to go bare Nudity in the theatre is nothing new. Just last week La Soiree pitched camp in a West End theatre for the first time, instead of the usual Spiegeltents, Roundhouse or Hippodrome in which it has previously played – and of course there were bursts of full-frontal nudity. That’s no longer a frontier to be breached. But I wonder if or when it will invite the audience to go starkers, too. After the current London production of Hair did a “clothing optional” performance last month, an Off-Broadway play I saw yesterday also offered an all-nude performance on the same day. (Full disclosure about my own lack of exposure: I went to the 2pm dressed matinee; the nude performance followed at 6pm). As Time Out New York wrote in a preview of the event: “In the ever-escalating battle for immersive theatre authenticity, gay menage-a-trois drama, Afterglow is looking to step up its game by stripping off its clothes. The show features three gay men involved in a tempestuous relationship – one that involves a lot of stripping, showering and crying with the occasional presence of clothing.” Theatre often invites us to leave our inhibitions at the door – now it is inviting us to leave our clothes there, too. The Time Out preview also stated, “Hosted by Go Naked, an events and travel network for male-identifying adventurers looking to undress in social environments, the event features a free clothes check and a nude Q&A with the cast after the show.” Musical re-runs One of my favourite quotes of all musical theatre is in Sondheim’s Move On (from Sunday in the Park with George) about what an artist should strive to achieve: “Anything you do, let it come from you. Then it will be new. Give us more to see…” It’s about the authenticity of artistic expression. And of course, it isn’t just groundbreaking new art that can give us more to see, but groundbreaking ways of looking at established things. ??It’s why I never frown at the prospect of another revival. One of the greatest musical productions of anything I’ve ever seen in my life was Nicholas Hytner’s 1993 revival of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s 1947 masterpiece Carousel at the National Theatre. But even that isn’t a now-and-forever production: I’m now looking forward to seeing the next Broadway incarnation of the show, which opens at the Imperial Theatre in April with a cast that will include Jessie Mueller as Carrie Pipperidge, Joshua Henry as Billy Bigelow and Metropolitan Opera diva Renee Fleming as Nettie Fowler. I’m also looking forward to the revival of My Fair Lady, opening at Lincoln Center’s Beaumont Theater in April, which will be directed by Bartlett Sher who previously did such revelatory work on the same stage with South Pacific and The King and I (the former was subsequently seen at London’s Barbican and the latter will transfer to the London Palladium next summer). But the revivals season has already begun on Broadway with last night’s opening of Once on This Island, a show originally premiered at Off-Broadway’s Playwrights Horizons in 1990 before transferring to Broadway later that year. I saw it in both incarnations originally (and also its subsequent London premiere at what was then the Royalty in 1994), and have always loved this effervescent score by Ahrens and Flaherty, whose first Broadway outing it was and who have become Broadway regulars since. Michael Arden’s vivacious new production at Circle in the Square turns it into an immersive theatre event, with the audience seated all the way around the sandpit beach it is staged on. ??It gives us a lot more to see.
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Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Vote Today: Dear Evan Hansen, Stephanie J. Block, Christian Borle, Laura Dreyfuss, Bette Midler Lead Broadway.com Audience Choice Awards

Times Square Chronicles Dear Evan Hansen, Stephanie J. Block, Christian Borle, Laura Dreyfuss, Bette Midler Lead Broadway.com Audience Choice Awards By SUZANNA BOWLING MAY 9, 2017 2017-03-19_7-55-15 Nominations in 22 competitive categories for the Broadway.com Audience Choice Awards were announced today by actress Cobie Smulders on the hit Broadway.com daily series “Live at Five.” The nominees were selected by fans who voted for all eligible candidates in a comprehensive Broadway.com survey. Nominated candidates will have the opportunity to be voted for online by fans celebrating the “People’s Choice Awards” for Broadway. This year, Dear Evan Hansen and Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812 top the list of the most nominated musicals while Significant Other and The Glass Menagerie were among the most nominated plays. Broadway newcomers Cobie Smulders and Denée Benton received nominations in addition to Broadway vets including Patti LuPone, Christian Borle, Kristin Chenoweth, and Nathan Lane.  For the ninth year in a row, Wicked has been nominated as “Favorite Long Running Show,” defending the eight-year title it currently holds. =&0=& In its 17th year, the Broadway.com Audience Choice Awards celebrates the fan favorites of the season by giving the vote to the people.  The voting period begins Monday, May 8th at 5pm and will conclude on Wednesday, May 17th at 11:59pm.  Voting is open to everyone and can be completed by visiting Broadway.com/awards.  Winners in each category will be announced on May 19th. Voting takes place from May 8th at 5pm – May 17th at 11:59pm at: www.Broadway.com/awards Nominations for the 2017 Broadway.com Audience Choice Awards=&1=&

Favorite New Musical

Amelie

Anastasia

Bandstand

Come From Away

Dear Evan Hansen

Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812

Favorite New Play

A Doll’s House, Part 2

Indecent

Oh, Hello on Broadway

Oslo

The Play That Goes Wrong

Significant Other

Favorite Musical Revival

Cats

Falsettos

Hello, Dolly!

Miss Saigon

Sunday in the Park with George

Sunset Boulevard

Favorite Play Revival

An Act of God

The Front Page

The Glass Menagerie

The Little Foxes

Present Laughter

Six Degrees of Separation

Favorite Long-Running Show

The Book of Mormon ...  Read More

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