BAM’s The End of Eddy and St. Ann’s History of Violence Collide and Enliven
I never heard of these books or the writer before the press releases arrived, I’m ashamed to say, but the celebrated young French writer, Édouard Louis (2018’s Who Killed My Father) is a star already in the making. He wrote his first, The End of Eddywhen he was 21 years old, which immediately become a best seller with 300,000 copies sold so far in France. He followed his debut soon after with the History of Violence, a tense look at rape and seduction, connection and internalized homophobia. Both have been adapted to the stage, and oddly enough, Brooklyn has been gifted with them both at the same time. Presented at two different theatrical spaces by two very different theatre companies from two different countries in two different languages, other than the French that the novels were written in, the singularity of truth and passion resonate, as they both attempt to transport us to a French countryside that is both poor and industrial and then drive us forward through a world that spits and tries to strangle us with its oppressive rage. It is as if Paris “might be in another country“, giving us a view inside the poverty of violence that exists within a town and within the mind, where the type of man one should be is as far removed from Eddy as Paris is from us and him, and then see how he tries to survive.
The End of Eddy, presented by Untitled Projects/Unicorn Theatre (London) and adapted by Pamela Carter (National Theatre of Scotland’s Them!), is an autobiographical summation of Eddy’s upbringing in that poor industrial wasteland. Configured around a glass factory and a bus stop, the play and town fill in the convoluted structure of the young man who will grow up to be Édouard. As directed with sharp focus for psychological detail and familial deconstruction by Stewart Laing (Untitled Projects’ blind_sight), the technology stands out front with four video screens that will help put formulations on the family dynamics. They sometimes get in the way, but they also assist in a tour of the foundations by two young men who play different aspects of Eddy, as well as all those that surround him in his family and his school life. The two very game actors, Oseloka Obi (HBO’s “Avenue 5“) and James Russell-Morley (Theatre503’s Gone), speak directly to us with passion and engagement after emerging from the one structural element on the stage, the dingy bus shelter, that lurks behind the four monitors, courtesy of set and costume designer Hyemi Shin (Malthouse’s Solaris), with straight forward lighting by Zerlina Hughes (Citizen’s The Father), and solid sound design by Josh Anio Grigg (The Yard’s The Crucible). You can almost smell the stink and staleness that must hang in the air around and in that bus shelter, although the four screens distance us from the intimacy of that dynamic enclosure.
It’s a truly instructional and fascinating drive down into the town with these two very compelling versions of Eddy as our confidants. And with the video design by Finn Ross (Donmar’s Sweet Charity, Broadway’s Mean Girls), Eddy’s “girlie ways” are dissected and explored like a societal and familial archeologist. Violence is the norm, he states, as they taunt him by calling him “a girl, as if that’s the worst thing in the world” to be called. The two years of bullying and the four-in-the-barn scenarios all ring shockingly true and sadly standardized. Regardless how many times he states, “Today, I’m going to be a man“, his unruly body and the toxic masculinity of the town, and society, if you want to expand the narrative, always seems to get the best of him. They appear to win out, but not in the end, thanks to an out of town opportunity and a drive with his dad and the beautifully included Celine. The End of Eddy is nothing close to the end of Édouard, but just the beginning, as we soon find out a few days later when we wander over to St. Ann’s Warehouse and get smacked down by part two.
History of Violence, brought over to St. Ann’s by Schaubühne Berlin, the wonderfully inventive theatre company who did something amazingly compelling with the similarly themed Returning to Reims back in February of 2018, has expanded the scenarios that stalk and torment the young man we recently encountered in The End of Eddy. He’s grown, and escaped, living his somewhat more polished life (much like this play as opposed to the other) as a pseudo-bourgeois intellect and writer far from the dirty dismal streets of his hometown. Dynamically embodied by the hypnotic Laurenz Laugenberg (Theater in der Josefstadt Wien’s Spring Awakening), he sits, much like the two other Eddys did in the background, watching and waiting, but this time around, others in white pantsuits emerge from the back, placing down numbered markers with gloved hands, pinpointing the exact contactual areas of violence that has unfolded with police precision. The pink shirted young Édouard stays watching, stressed and agitated like an abused creature, reliving the events that brought us all to this moment. It’s a place where lying is the only power over authority, and recovery is based solely on denying that heart-breaking reality that exists most deafening all around. It’s a far more disturbing beginning than the one I witnessed at BAM, and a prelude to the tense attack on our senses that will come later upon us, sneakily and seductively. The drumming undercurrent, thanks to musician Thomas Witte and music by Nila Ostendorf, teases and bleeds out the History of Violence that is on its way. We watch, in tense curious silence along side the young man, as the fingerprint is dusted and recorded, and the smell of sex and fear hang heavily over the bare raw set designed most beautifully by the expert witness to trauma, Nina Wetzel (who also did the costumes).
As adapted with finesse and skill by Thomas Ostermeier, Florian Borchmeyer, and Édouard Louis, this History, not to be confused with the similarly titled 2005 Cronenberg film, as portrayed in a late night horny mouse and donkey dance on the dark streets of Paris, bite down and hold tight to our flesh. It’s triumphant in its execution and pace, showering down aspects of societal posturing, hate, and negativity against humanity, morality, and race, layered on the condescending voices of the police (Aline Stiegler, Christoph Gawenda) and the fascinatingly incorporated warnings of his difficult sister, dynamically portrayed by Stiegler (2013’s ‘Flights of Fancy‘). She’s the perfect embodiment of their hometown, that hangs over the escalation asking the questions that need to be asked, caring most desperately for a better outcome, frustrated by the blindness of her naive brother, but rarely getting answered by him in the moment. It’s one of the strongest bits of posturing and commentary, as it rings solidly true, and horrifically honest.
Directed with clarity and an emotional vision by Ostermeier (Schauspielhaus Hamburg’s Disco Pigs), the performers wait and rewind, saying it again, and slowing it down, in order to stop, reverse, and repeat, all thanks to the collaborative choreography of Johanna Lemke and the strong video presentation by Sébastien Dupouey, accentuated by the dynamically tight lighting by Michael Wetzel. The sister sits on the sidelines knowing and seeing, as the seduction by Reda, cleverly portrayed by the enticing Renato Schuch (Schauspiel Köln’s Iphigenia) rises and falls into intimacy, engagement, and attack. The categorized man is filled with intent, but for what? He needs to take, and to hit back, at himself for his lust, and at the object for its mistaken power. He rages outward with a fierce and unmanageable fire, and inward with confused blind simplicity. Atonement for his sinful desire is understood, even with a scarf wrapped tightly around the neck, but the horror of what almost transpires bruises and scars our own, leaving us worn out and as unsettled as the young man himself.
The End of Eddy is just the primer to the main event. It’s inside the perfectly orchestrated History of Violence where Édouard gets pulled apart and exposed for all he believes and fully stands for. He was brought up rough, but his recovery from seduction is more layered with difficulty. It and he are scratched with internalized shame and disturbance, in a way that lingers and twitches. The English-adapted Eddy sets us up, but it’s the German-languaged (with English subtitles) History of Violence that pushes us over the edge. The power structure of the police forces him to lie, causing the complicated truth to slip out of reach with each question answered. But the personal wound is scarred into his soul and ours as we walk out of St. Ann’s after a grueling but magnificent two hours. Their seduction of our senses is complete, and entirely successful.
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Theatre News: Smash, I Need That, Good Night, Oscar, Funny Girl, This Beautiful Lady and In The Trenches: A Parenting Musical
The NBC television series Smash is coming to Broadway for the 2024-2025 season. Robert Greenblatt, Neil Meron and Steven Spielberg will produce. The musical will feature a book co-written by three-time Tony Award nominee Rick Elice and Tony winner Bob Martin. Tony and Grammy winners Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman (Some Like It Hot). The team earned three Emmy nominations for their songs from the “Smash” series will pen the score, which will feature numbers from the TV show.
Five-time Tony winner Susan Stroman (New York, New York) will direct and Tony nominee and Emmy Award winner Joshua Bergasse will choreograph.
The series was created by Theresa Rebeck and Spielberg, launch the series. Spielberg is also one of the co-producers of Good Night, Oscar, which begins performances at the Belasco Theatre on April 7.
Official dates, theater, creative team and casting for the “Smash” stage musical will be announced at a later date.
Speaking of the Pulitzer Prize finalist playwright Theresa Rebeck, Danny DeVito and Lucy DeVito are set to star in her new play I Need That at the Roundabout. The new comedy will be directed by Tony nominee Moritz von Stuelpnagel which will open at the American Airlines Theatre in October. The cast will also include Ray Anthony Thomas. … Also newly announced for Roundabout’s new Broadway season is a spring 2024 revival of Samm-Art Williams’ 1980 Tony-nominated play “Home.” Tony winner Kenny Leon will direct
Speaking of Good Night, Oscar, Doug Wright’s play was named finalist for 2023 new play award by The American Theatre Critics Association. The other six finalists for the 2023 Harold and Mimi Steinberg/ATCA New Play Award include: Born With Teeth by Liz Duffy Adams, the ripple, the wave that carried me home by Christina Anderson, Sally & Tom by Suzan-Lori Parks, Spay by Madison Fiedler and
Swing State by Rebecca Gilman.
Paolo Montalban and Anne L. Nathan are joining Lea Michele in Funny Girl as Florenz Ziegfield and Mrs. Strakosh. Montalban and Nathan will replace original cast members Peter Francis James and Toni DiBuono, who take their final bows on March 26th.
Elizabeth Swados’ This Beautiful Lady will play at La MaMa this May. Previews will begin May 5 for the Off-Broadway run ahead of the May 8 press opening, with performances set through May 28 in the Ellen Stewart Theatre.
In The Trenches: A Parenting Musical, with book, music, and lyrics by Graham & Kristina Fuller, will receive industry readings on Friday, March 24th at 11am & 3pm at Ripley Grier Studios. The readings will be directed by Jen Wineman (Dog Man: The Musical) and will feature music direction by Rebekah Bruce (Mean Girls) and arrangements by Dan Graeber, Graham & Kristina Fuller.
The cast of In The Trenches features Amanda Jane Cooper (Wicked), Jelani Remy (The Lion King, Ain’t Too Proud), Christine Dwyer (Wicked), Caesar Samayoa (Come From Away), Max Crumm (Grease, Disaster!), and Vidushi Goyal.Join two bleary-eyed young parents as they trudge through the trenches and discover their new post-baby identities. In an evening of new-parent greatest hits, a foul-mouthed toddler zeroes in on “the most dangerous thing in the room”, tap dancing towards bleach, knives, and tide pods; a chronically-overlooked younger sibling sings the “second child blues”; a mom trio celebrates yoga pants in an R&B love song to the “official mom uniform”; dad discovers he’s not the “ice-cream and movie-night cool parent” but rather the “do your homework real parent” amid a kiddo sugar-crash; and mom retrieves a sticky, hair-covered pacifier from the floor of a LaGuardia bathroom while her baby screams bloody murder and her flight boards without her.
Jason Robert Brown, Chuck Cooper, Janet Dacal, Sutton Foster, Lillias White and More To Perform at TheaterWorksUSA Spring Gala
TheaterWorksUSA, currently presenting the hit family show Dog Man The Musical at New World Stages, will host its annual Spring Gala on Monday, April 24 (cocktails begin at 6 PM) at The Current at Chelsea Piers.
100% of the net proceeds from the event will support our mission to create exceptional, transformative theatrical experiences that are accessible to young and family audiences in diverse communities across New York City and North America.
This year TWUSA will honor Lisa Chanel (TWUSA Board Chair 2019-2022), Andréa Burns (Award-winning Broadway actress & educator), Peter Flynn (TWUSA alumnus and award-winning director, writer, and educator), and Holly McGhee (Founder and Creator of Pippin Properties, New York Times best selling author). The event will feature appearances by some of Broadway’s biggest stars, including Jason Robert Brown, Chuck Cooper, Janet Dacal, Kevin Del Aguila, Sutton Foster, Lillias White and more.
On behalf of TheaterWorksUSA’s Board of Directors, we are thrilled to celebrate the people who have generously supported our mission, making it possible for us to bring high-quality theater to young audiences of all backgrounds throughout the country. We look forward to recognizing Lisa, Andréa, Peter, and Holly publicly at this very special event. – Tracy A. Stein, Board Chair
It’s a privilege to honor these individuals for playing such an important role in the work we do. Their vision, creativity, and ongoing commitment to our mission is truly something to celebrate. They are very much a part of our TheaterworksUSA family.- Barbara Pasternack, Artistic Director
TheaterWorksUSA (Barbara Pasternack, Artistic Director; Michael Harrington, Executive Director) has led the Theater for Young and Family Audiences movement in New York City and across North America for over half a century. At TWUSA, we believe that access to art—and theater, in particular—is vital for our youth. Since 1961, the 501(c)3 not-for-profit has captured the imaginations of 100 million new and veteran theatergoers with an award-winning repertoire of over 140 original plays and musicals. Acclaimed alumni include Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez (Disney’s Frozen), Daphne Rubin-Vega (Rent), Jerry Zaks (The Music Man), Benj Pasek and Justin Paul (Dear Evan Hansen), Miguel Cervantes (Hamilton), Kathleen Chalfant (Angels in America), and Chuck Cooper (Tony award-winning actor, The Life). WWW.TWUSA.ORG
Theatre News: Bob Fosse’s Dancin’, Parade, The Shubert Organization Donates to ECF and Millennials Are Killing Musicals,
Tovah Feldshuh, Huma Abedin, Hillary Clinton at Opening Night of Bob Fosse’s DANCIN’. Photo by Emilio Madrid
The curtain was raised last night at The Music Box Theatre (239 West 45th Street) as Bob Fosse’s Dancin’, the American showbusiness legend’s landmark musical tribute to the artform that defined his life, opened on Broadway 45 years after the original smash-hit production premiered. The production’s direction and musical staging is by Tony Award-winner Wayne Cilento, one of the stars of the original Broadway production, and is produced in cooperation with Nicole Fosse.
In attendance on opening night were Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton, Nicole Fosse; original A Chorus Line cast members Baayork Lee, Donna McKechnie, Priscilla Lopez; Chita Rivera; Erich Bergen; Jordan E. Cooper; Tovah Feldshuh; J. Harrison Ghee; Jane Krakowski; Adam Lambert; Ralph Macchio; Abby Lee Miller; Audra McDonald; Casey Nicholaw; Justin Peck; Tiler Peck; Bernadette Peters; Tonya Pinkins; Tony Roberts; David Rockwell; Krysta Rodriguez; Christopher Sieber; Jennifer Simard; Will Swenson and more.
Dancin’is Fosse’s full-throated, full-bodied celebration of dancers and dancing. Utterly reimagined for the 21st century, this Dancin’brims with a level of warmth, emotion, and color seldom seen in modern interpretations of Fosse’s influential style and features some of his most inventive and rarely performed choreography. With New York’s hottest cast performing wall-to-wall dance, including Fosse classics such as “Mr. Bojangles,” and “Sing Sing Sing.” Dancin’ delivers the quintessential Broadway experience for Fosse fans and first-timers alike. You think you’ve seen dancing, but you’ve never seen Dancin’like this.
The cast, consisting of some of the best of Broadway’s elite dancers includes Ioana Alfonso (Hometown: Miami via DR/PR), Yeman Brown (Hometown: Tallahassee, FL), Peter John Chursin (Hometown: San Francisco, CA), Dylis Croman (Hometown: Dallas, TX), Jovan Dansberry (Hometown: St. Louis, MO), Karli Dinardo (Hometown: Melbourne, Australia), Tony d’Alelio (Hometown: Roanoke, VA), Aydin Eyikan (Hometown: Fairfield, CT), Pedro Garza (Hometown: Abilene, Texas), Jacob Guzman (Hometown: Brockton, MA), Manuel Herrera (Hometown: Charlotte, NC), Afra Hines (Hometown: Miami, FL), Gabriel Hyman (Hometown: Chesapeake, VA), Kolton Krouse (Hometown: Gilbert, Arizona), Mattie Love(Hometown: Layton, UT), Krystal Mackie (Hometown: Brooklyn, NY), Yani Marin (Hometown: Miami, FL), Nando Morland (Hometown: Colombia / Denver, CO), Khori Michelle Petinaud (Hometown: Centreville, VA), Ida Saki (Hometown: Dallas, TX), Ron Todorowski (Hometown: Pittsburgh, PA), and Neka Zang (Hometown: Scottsdale, AZ).
Bob Fosse’s Dancin’ is produced by Joey Parnes, Hunter Arnold, Kayla Greenspan, Rodger Hess & Michael Seago, Jay Alix & Una Jackman, Bob Boyett, The Shubert Organization, James L. Nederlander, Tim Forbes, Carson Gleberman, Park West Productions, McCabe Ventures, Fran Kirmser & Jodi Kaplan, Greg Young, The Fabulous Invalid, Julie Hess & Tommy Hess, and The Old Globe in cooperation with Nicole Fosse.
Bob Fosse’s Dancin’ originally opened on Broadway at the Broadhurst Theatre on March 27, 1978 and later transferred to the Ambassador Theatre. The production ran for 1,774 performances. Dancin’ was nominated for seven Tony Awards, including Best Musical, and brought Fosse his seventh Tony Award for Best Choreography.
This production of Bob Fosse’s Dancin’ premiered at San Diego’s Old Globe Theatre from April 19, 2022, to June 5, 2022.
Interscope Records is proud to announce the cast album for the “brilliant” (Variety) 2023 revival of Parade — Alfred Uhry and Jason Robert Brown’s award-winning musical, which opened on March 16 at New York’s Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre to rave reviews. Parade (2023 Broadway Cast Recording) features the vocal talents of Tony, Grammy, and Emmy Award® winner Ben Platt and Micaela Diamond and conducted by composer Jason Robert Brown, and will be released on Thursday, March 23. Pre-order it HERE.
Leo and Lucille Frank (Ben Platt and Micaela Diamond) are a newlywed Jewish couple struggling to make a life in the old red hills of Georgia. When Leo is accused of an unspeakable crime, it propels them into an unimaginable test of faith, humanity, justice, and devotion. Riveting and gloriously hopeful, Parade reminds us that to love, we must truly see one another.
The current revival of Parade, which is directed by two-time Tony Award nominee Michael Arden, has received overwhelming acclaim since its debut. Entertainment Weekly called it “a phenomenal production that feels more poignant and powerful than ever,” while Variety said, “Ben Platt stuns in a powerful Broadway production of an essential American musical.”
Platt (Dear Evan Hansen, The Book of Mormon) and Diamond’s performances (The Cher Show) were singled out for praise. Deadline gushed “Ben Platt has no trouble reminding us just why he’s become one of Broadway’s most beloved performers. His vocals here are stunning in a pitch-perfect performance,” while The Guardian raved that “Micaela Diamond’s singing voice is luminous.” “Micaela Diamond, as Lucille Frank, breaks your heart with no affectation whatsoever, and a voice directly wired to her emotions,” wrote The New York Times in its Critic’s Pick review. Tickets are available now at www.paradebroadway.com.
Parade (2023 Broadway Cast Recording) showcases their voices, as well as other members of the all-star cast, while capturing the essence of a musical that, Entertainment Weekly writes, “is the most gorgeous production on Broadway.” Viewers will get a special preview of the musical on March 23 when Platt and Diamond perform its signature ballad “This Is Not Over Yet” on NBC’s Today accompanied by Jason Robert Brown on piano.
Out of the Box Theatrics (Elizabeth Flemming, Founder and Producing Artistic Director; Ethan Paulini, Associate Artistic Director) is pleased to announce that Grammy and Emmy Award winner Kristolyn Lloyd (Dear Evan Hansen) will star in the Off-Broadway developmental production of Millennials Are Killing Musicals, written by Drama League songwriting contest and NAMT Challenge winner Nico Juber. The production, to be directed by Ciara Renée(Waitress, Frozen), will play a limited engagement from May 7-28, 2023, at Theatre 71 at the Church of the Blessed Sacrament (152 West 71st Street). Opening night is May 15. Tickets are on sale now at Ovation Tix.
The Entertainment Community Fund, formerly The Actors Fund, the national human services organization supporting the needs of those working in the entertainment and performing arts industry, today announced that The Shubert Organization has made a $5 million gift to the Fund to support expansion of The Samuel J. Friedman Health Center for the Performing Arts in New York City, the Actors Fund Home in Englewood, New Jersey, and affordable housing and a community arts center at The Hollywood Arts Collective in Los Angeles.
The $5 million gift will be used to expand doctors’ offices and services at The Samuel J. Friedman Health Center for the Performing Arts in New York City, with additional support to the Actors Fund Home in Englewood, NJ. Funds will also be used to bolster the construction and programs of The Hollywood Arts Collective, a new affordable housing and community arts center located in the heart of Hollywood where the Central Gardens will be named in honor of The Shubert Organization.
The Shubert Organization has long supported the Fund’s ongoing work to help people in performing arts and entertainment. In 2017, The Shubert Organization unveiled The Shubert Pavilion: an expansion to the Actors Fund Home, an assisted living and skilled nursing care facility located in Englewood, New Jersey. The Shubert Pavilion houses a 25-bed short-stay rehabilitation center available to the general public and intended for people who are recovering from illness or surgery, as well as 14 assisted living beds. The facility also includes a fully equipped gym for physical, occupational and speech therapies.
Robert E. Wankel, Chairman and CEO of The Shubert Organization, also serves as Chair of The Actors Fund Housing Development Corporation Board of Directors, a role in which he supports and guides the development of affordable housing for the performing arts and entertainment community to improve lives, create jobs, foster economic development and revitalize communities. In 2022, Wankel received the Entertainment Community Fund’s Medal of Honor, an award presented at the Fund’s annual gala that recognizes individuals who have had a profound impact on the entertainment community.
“The Entertainment Community Fund is honored by the long-standing commitment of The Shubert Organization and the countless ways it supports our work to provide a safety net for people in the performing arts community,” said Fund Board Chair Brian Stokes Mitchell. “A special thank you to Bob Wankel for his continued leadership not only at The Shubert Organization, but also with the Actors Fund Housing Development Corporation Board of Directors.”
“The Shubert Organization is proud to strengthen the Entertainment Community Fund’s ability to provide affordable housing, medical care, emergency financial assistance and so much more to those in our industry,” said Robert E. Wankel. “We look forward to all that’s to come in our ongoing collaborations, from Englewood to Times Square to Hollywood and beyond.”
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