He Says: MCC’s Seared Sizzles Seductively
The stove is fired up as the lights come up on MCC Theater’s new play, Seared, and the chef is working his magic with intense finesse, slicing and dicing the ingredients together with just the right balance and edge to achieve coordinated appeal. The genius is in the precision and the passion of the collaborators when MCC serves up this spicy and delectable treat starring the phenomenally talented Raúl Esparza (Encores! Off Center’s Road Show) as the chef god, Harry. It’s his scallops that are his delicacy, but also his downfall. They’re too tasty to recreate, and with that impossibly complicated conundrum, the struggle between the culinary arts and commerce come crashing together, particularly with the arrival of consultant Emily. Perfectly portrayed by the gorgeously clever Krysta Rodriguez (Broadway’s First Date), she’s a brilliant catalyst and a solid unfazed manager of hot tempered geniuses, who has been brought in by the financial strapped restaurant partner, Mike, played strongly and with great emotional detail by David Mason (59E59’s Trick or Treat). He needs some non-combative sanity in his life, but more importantly, he needs this enterprise that he started with his pal Harry to succeed; for him, for Harry, and for the loyal and utterly ‘pure’ waiter Rodney, deliciously portrayed by W. Tré Davis (Public’s Hamlet). But this consultation thrown seemingly haphazardly into Harry’s kitchen is not going to be added into the mix without a hot tempered fight by the chef, mainly because Harry, who holds his eccentricity close to his heart, demands a certain purity of heart and authenticity of ingredients. Or is that what this is really about, or is it some other ingredient that we will need to savor the bite for a bit to uncover?
As written with wildly-appealing aggression and a zest for the psychologically twisted by the strategic Theresa Rebeck (Primary Stages’ Downstairs), the escalating drama sizzles as only a play about cooking could. It’s clear and determined, although not reinventing any sort of wheel. The seasoning is exact and appealing though, with Raúl shining in a part made perfectly for his energy and intensity, It’s a surprising balancing act by one and all, feeding off the flavors given with clarity of vision and focus, thanks to the sharp-edged vision of director Moritz Von Stuelpnagel (RTC/Broadway’s Bernhardt/Hamlet written by Rebeck) who keeps the action searing forward like a well coordinated kitchen should. I’ve worked in enough restaurants in my twenty’s to know that inside the flammable tense restaurant kitchen set, designed by the equally magical Tim MacKabee (RTC’s The Last Match), with exacting costumes by Tilly Grimes (Red Bull’s The Government Inspector), strong lighting by David Weiner (LCT/Broadway’s The Great Society), and clearly flavored sound by Palmer Hefferan (Broadway’s The Lifespan of a Fact) the feast is ‘fired’, and the meal served, divine.
“Every night I go to bed wishing I could cook like that.” An understandable statement made by a fan and a dreamer, one that I’m sure resonates with all spectators, theatrejunkies, wanna-be artists, and dreamers alike. The play surprises us in the end with a spectacularly well-versed assessment, delivered with spark and fire by the phenomenal Davis who has been patiently waiting in the wings for his moment to shine. And boy does grabbing hold of the reins and making us wish we could all cook just like that on stage, or more likely, that every production seen could have that same kind of sizzle. This is a particularly true sentiment, especially when you get to witness such genius creations happening right before your very eyes. Esparza has obviously trained hard for this venture, moving around the space like a true culinary professional in the kitchen, but also as an actor on that stage. It looks effortless, but we know it’s because of some finely tuned skill at work, making us believe the meal served has just happened by magic. But it’s talent, working together, with vision and focus, that makes all those flavors come together in the end.
For more, go to frontmezzjunkies.com
Broadway’s A Doll’s House Meticulously Stunning Revival Soars Like a Birdie Above That Clumsy Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
For a revival to find its footing, it has to have a point of view or a sense of purpose far beyond an actor’s desire to perform a part, whether it suits them or not. It needs to radiate an idea that will make us want to sit up and pay attention. To feel its need to exist. And on one particular day in March, I was blessed with the opportunity to see not just one grande revival, but two. One was a detailed pulled-apart revolutionary revival of Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House that astounded. The other, unfortunately, was a clumsy revival of Tennessee Williams’ Cat on a Hot Tin Roof that fell lazily from that high-wired peak – not for a lack of trying, but from a formulation that never found its purpose.
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
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