Theatre season starts off with a bang this September. Here is what to look for on Broadway and Off Broadway this month.
Rebeck’s Bernhardt/Hamlet at the American Airlines Theatre. Rebeck’s new play is set against the lavish, late-19th-century production of Hamlet starring Sarah Bernhardt in her make-or-break role. Janet McTeer, last seen on Broadway in Les Liaisons Dangereuses, will bring the legendary leading lady to life. Opening: September 25th.
The Nap: is by the author of the rollicking, award-winning Broadway comedy One Man, Two Guvnors. This comedy about the world of snooker – the British version of pool, follows Dylan Spokes, a fast-rising young star arrives for a championship tournament only to be confronted by the authorities warning him of the repercussions of match fixing. Before he knows it, Dylan’s forced into underhanded dealings with a cast of wildly colorful characters that include his ex-convict dad, saucy mum, quick-tongued manager and a renowned gangster, to boot. It’s a fast-paced comedy thriller where, in an exciting twist, the tournament unfolds live on stage. This American premiere is by Richard Bean, directed by Daniel Sullivan, with Alexandra Billings, John Ellison Conlee, Johanna Day, Ahmed Aly Elsayed, Ethan Hova, Heather Lind, Max Gordon Moore, Bhavesh Patel, Thomas Jay Ryan, Ben Schnetzer. Previews start September 5th at Samuel J. Friedman Theatre, with an opening: September 27th.
**The Lifespan Of A Fact stars Daniel Radcliffe, Cherry Jones, and Bobby Cannavale, directed by Leigh Silverman. Written by: Jeremy Kareken, David Murrell, and Gordon Farrell, Jim Fingal has a small job: to fact check articles for one of the best magazines in the country. Jim Fingal’s boss has given him a big assignment: apply his skill to a groundbreaking piece by legendary author John D’Agata. And now, Jim Fingal has a huge problem: John made up the majority of his article. What starts professional quickly becomes profane as one question rises to the surface: Can Jim Fingal ever just shut the fact up? Previews start September 20th, at Studio 54, with an opening October 18th.
Kenneth Lonergan’s The Waverly Gallery stars Elaine May, Michael Cera, Lucas Hedges and David Cromer. A feisty Greenwich Village art dealer must give up her beloved gallery due to her advancing years. As time rearranges her world, she must rely more then ever on her family’s love, loyalty, and devotion. The show is directed by Lila Neugebauer and starts previews September 25th at John Golden Theatre, with an opening set for October 25th.
Collective Rage: A Play in 5 Betties: Lucille Lortel Theatre, 121 Christopher Street. Meet five different women named Betty: one rich, one lonely, one charismatic, one lovelorn, and one who keeps working on her truck. Oh, and one has decided to stage a production of that play-within-a-play by… that old English guy, what’s his name? Ah, forget it. In Collective Rage: A Play in 5 Betties, five women collide at the intersection of rage, love, and the “thea-tah,” provoking each other to take a look in the mirror and face the person they didn’t know they could be. This New York premiere comedy invites us all to be a little braver, live a little louder, laugh a little harder, and unleash our inner Betty. Written by Jen Silverman, directed by Mike Donahue and staring Dana Delany (Betty 1), Lea DeLaria (Betty 4), Adina Verson (Betty 2), Ana Villafañe (Betty 3), and Chaunté Wayans (Betty 5). Opens September 12th.
The True: Pershing Square Signature Center, 480 West 42nd. Street. When it comes to Dorothea “Polly” Noonan – a blunt, profane, decades-long defender of Albany’s Democratic Party machine – politics is only personal, especially now that her hero, “mayor for life” Erastus Corning II, is battling for party control while at the same time fighting the fiercest primary challenge of his life. The True is an intimate portrait of the bounds of love, loyalty, and female power in the male-dominated world of 1977 patronage politics.Written by Share White, directed by Scott Elliot and starring. Austin Cauldwell (as Bill McCormick), Edie Falco (as Dorothea Noonan), Glenn Fitzgerald (as Howard C. Nolan), Michael McKean (as Erastus Corning II), John Pankow (as Charlie Ryan) and Peter Scolari (as Peter Noonan). Previews start September 4th, opens September 20, 2018
**Girl from the North Country: Public Theater, 425 Layette Street. The Public Theater presents the North American premiere of Conor McPherson’s Girl from the North Country, featuring the songs of Bob Dylan. Girl from the North Country originally premiered at London’s Old Vic. The show stars Todd Almond (as Elias Burke), Jeannette Bayardelle (as Mrs. Neilson), Stephen Bogardus (as Nick Laine), Sydney James Harcourt (as Joe Scott), Caitlin Houlahan (as Kate Draper), Robert Joy (as Dr. Walker), Marc Kudisch (as Mr. Burke), Luba Mason (as Mrs. Burke), Tom Nelis (as Mr. Perry), David Pittu (as Reverend Marlowe), Colton Ryan (as Gene Laine), Kimber Sprawl (as Marianne Laine), and Mare Winningham (as Elizabeth Laine), with Matthew Frederick Harris, John Schiappa, Rachel Stern, and Chelsea Lee Williams. Previews start September 11th, opens October 1, 2018
Final Follies: Cherry Lane Theatre, 38 Commerce Street. To honor A.R. Gurney, Primary Stages kicks off its 2018-2019 season with a uniquely curated selection of three one-act plays: The Love Course, The Rape of Bunny Stuntz and the titular Final Follies. The Love Course, an observation of the culminating meeting of an undergraduate romantic literature course, co-taught by two of academia’s most eccentric professors; The Rape of Bunny Stuntz, an enigmatic story of an overburdened woman anxiously trying to keep her personal life from the throes of chaos while leading a rowdy community meeting; and the titular Final Follies, the last chapter in Gurney’s oeuvre of short plays examining WASP life in America, about a forlorn Manhattanite searching for the key to adulthood in the most truly, and literally, adult place imaginable. Directed by David Saint, starring Betsy Aidem (as Professor Carroway/Wilma), Colin Hanlon (as Nelson/Mike), Mark Junek (as Walter), Piter Marek (as Professor Burgess/Howie), Greg Mullavey (as Grandfather), Rachel Nicks (as Tanisha/Sally), and Deborah Rush (as Bunny Stuntz). Previews start September 12, opens October 2nd.
On Beckett: Irish Repertory Theatre, 132 West 22nd Street. Bill Irwin can’t escape Samuel Beckett. He has spent a lifetime captivated by the Irish writer’s language. In this intimate 90-minute evening, Irwin will explore a performer’s relationship to Beckett, mining the physical and verbal skills acquired in his years as a master clown and Tony Award-winning actor. Irwin’s approach to the comic, the tragic, to every side of Beckett’s work – including Waiting for Godot, Endgame, and Texts for Nothing – will allow audiences to experience the language in compelling new ways. Whether you’re encountering the Nobel Prize winner’s writing for the first time, or building on a body of Beckett knowledge. Staring Bill Iriwn, with Finn O’Sullivan. Previews start September 26th, opens October 3rd.
**Popcorn Falls: Davenport Theatre, 354 West 45th Street. Two-time Tony Award winner and Broadway favorite Christian Borle makes his New York directorial debut in James Hindman’s comedy about a small town with two actors playing over twenty roles in under ninety minutes. Welcome to Popcorn Falls, a small American town, whose only claim to fame – their namesake waterfall – has dried up. Now bankrupt, their last chance is a large grant that can only be used if the town produces a play in a week. Led by the Mayor and the local handyman, the enterprising townsfolk try to rise to the challenge and prove that art can save the world. Staring Adam Heller and Tom Souhrada. Previews start September 14th, opens October 8, 2018
Black Light: Barrow Street Theatre, 27 Barrow Street. We loved Black Light at Joe’s Pub from February 12 to March 25, 2018, the Public Theater production of Black Light, created by Daniel Alexander Jones and starring his alter ego Jomama Jones, returns to off-Broadway for a limited engagement at the re-christened Greenwich House Theater. Previews start September 24th, opens October 10th.
Fireflies: Atlantic Theater Company – Linda Gross Theater, 336 West 20th Street. World premiere of Donja R. Love’s Fireflies, directed by Saheem Ali. Somewhere in the Jim Crow South, the sky is on fire. A pregnant Olivia’s fierce speech writing is the sole force behind her charismatic husband Charles and his successful Movement to galvanize people to march towards freedom. When four little girls are bombed in a church, Olivia and Charles’ marriage is threatened – as this tragedy and years of civil unrest leave Olivia believing that “this world ain’t no place to raise a colored child.” Starring Khris Davis (as Charles) and DeWanda Wise (as Olivia). Previews start September 26th, opens October 15th.
**Apologia: Roundabout Theatre Company – Harold and Miriam Steinberg Center for Theatre, 111 West 46th Street. Following an acclaimed run in London’s West End in 2017, Tony & Emmy Award winner Stockard Channing stars in Roundabout Theatre Company’s off-Broadway premiere of Alexi Kaye Campbell’s Apologia, directed by Daniel Aukin. You do not mess with Kristin Miller. In the 1960s, she was a radical activist and political protester. Now a celebrated art historian, the publication of her memoir threatens to split her family apart. But Kristin has never been one to shy away from a fight. Apologia is a passionate, human and humorous clash of generations and beliefs—a lively look at yesterday’s rebels living in today’s reality. Stockard Channing (as Kristin Miller), Hugh Dancy (as Peter and Simon), Megalyn Echikunwoke (as Claire), Talene Monahon (as Trudi), and John Tillinger (as Hugh). Previews start September 27th opens October 16th.
**Mother of the Maid: Public Theater, 425 Layette Street. New York premiere of Jane Anderson’s Mother of the Maid, directed by Matthew Penn and starring six-time Academy Award nominee and three-time Tony & Emmy Award winner Glenn Close as the mother of Joan of Arc. Mother of the Maid tells the story of Joan of Arc’s mother, a sensible, hard-working, God-fearing peasant woman whose faith is upended as she deals with the baffling journey of her odd and extraordinary daughter. This riveting play is an epic tale told through an unexpected and remarkable new perspective and is a deeply moving drama about the glories and challenges of raising an exceptional child. Previews from start September 25th, opens October 17th.
Jessica Chastain Strips Down Bare A Doll’s House and is Luminescent
In watching Jamie Lloyd’s version of Ibsen’s A Doll’s House, it feels like a scene study class. The set is stripped bare, there are no props, no costumes, no curtain, no children except their voices and no touching. On the wall is written 1879 and what was three acts is now one hour and fifty minutes, no intermission.
Jessica Chastain, is Nora who enters and sits on a wooden chair as the turntable circles about 15 minutes before the play starts. Slowly the other characters enter and sit with their backs to Nora.
The play starts as her husband Torvald (Arian Moayed), has been given a promotion at the bank where he works. At first Nora seems frivolous spending money they do not have yet for Christmas presents, for everyone but herself. She is scolded, then indulged as her husband controls her world, as do all the men around her. When Kristine (Jesmille Darkbouze), an old childhood friend returns needing a job, she makes Nora also feel like her life is trivial, until Nora confesses she secretly borrowed money years ago when Torvald was sick and has been paying it off. Torvald is about to fire Krogstad (Okieriete Onaodowan), but we find out he was who loaned Nora the money and that she forged her father’s name on the promissory note, which is a crime. If this secret gets out it will ruin the whole family.
Nora turns to her her husband’s best friend Dr. Rank (the wonderful Michael Patrick Thornton) for help. Their chemistry is undeniable, but he tells her he loves her breaking the boundries and she can not confess to her indiscretion with the signature. Dr Rank sees Nora for who she is and tells her he is about to die pushing her to the edge.
Trying her best to stop what is inevitable Nora decides to commit suicide. She is sure Torvald will give up everything due to his love for her. Instead she learns and wakes up to the truth. She has and will always be controlled by men. The pattern started with her father and when Torvald learns the truth, instead of being on her side, he berates her with hate. When Krogstad has a change of heart and decides not to blackmail the family, Torvald turns back to wanting his wife, but the truth has opened up her eyes to a world she does not and can not live it.
Chastain starts off low key and like an onion, peels down to the core. She subtly steals your heart and has you cheering for her. She is seriously one fabulous actress, with her face conveying everything. She should win the Tony for this performance. Moayed as Torvald comes off as weak and ineffectual. You never understand why Nora has given everything to this man. Onaodowan gives off villainy vibes until he shows us Krogstad pain and heart. Thornton as Dr Rank, steals nearly every scene.
The language feels too contemporary and Lloyd’s directing choices are not always effective, but Amy Herzog’s adaptation really made me feel the power of the text.
The end made me want to break out and sob. Men, still really do not see us or the small sacrifices we make or the large ones done in secret to better their lives. We love them, but we need to start loving ourselves.
A Doll’s House: Hudson Theatre, 141 West 44th Street until June 10th
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.
Foul Play on Broadway
Photo by Bruce Glikas/wire image
According to Page Six a serial pooper has been leaving presents in the aisle of the Shubert Theater. The last incident happened near Hillary and Chelsea Clinton during a performance of Some Like It Hot.
According to a theater staff member other presents have appeared.
I am thrilled to announce that the show has been attracting VIPs including Steven Spielberg, Martin Short, Debbie Allen, Bo Derek, Eddie Izzard, Hank Azaria, Kristin Chenoweth and more.
Some Like It Hot, has some of the best songs, choreography, direction and performances on Broadway, so I am thrilled the audiences are finally noticing.
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