Leopoldstadt Opens a Window Into The Past And Sheds Light, But Will We See?
Tom Stoppard’s masterpiece, Leopoldstadt, all
We start in 1899 and finish in 1955. We follow the Merz family, headed by Hermann (David Krumholtz), a prosperous textile manufacturer and a Jew, who is married to Gretl (Faye Castelow), a Catholic. From the beginning cultural identity is at stake, as Hermann now sees himself as Catholic, much to his family’s dismay. His parents fled the pogroms and that trauma still haunts them. As the family gathers for Christmas, Zionism and Viennese arts and culture are discussed. Hanna (Colleen Litchfield) has asked Gretl to chaperone her on a date with Fritz (Arty Froushan), a non-Jewish cavalry officer, who has caught her eye. Also in the family is Ludwig (Brandon Uranowitz) a mathematician and his wife Eva (Cassie Levy), whose son Pauli wants to be a soldier.
A year later, we learn Gretl has been having an affair with Fritz, who brags about it to the men in his social circle of which Hermann is a part. Offended, Hermann extracts a letter from Fritz as an apology.
In 1924 Hermann and Gretl’s son Jacob fought alongside Pauli. Pauli died and Jacob has had his arm amputated. As the family gathers for a circumcision, politics, the burgeoning hatred of Jews and Bolshevism are discussed. Hermann, feeling the unrest, transfers the family business to Jacob.
As 1938 arrives, the prosperous family has been given one room in which to live. They discuss escape plans, obtaining visas to England and the politics of the time. Kristallnacht (Jewish homes and businesses in Austria and Germany were smashed up) happens. The Nazis enter to harass the family, seizing their belongings and their home as they methodically evict the family who are told they must leave the next morning. Hermann is forced to sign the family business away to the Nazis, but they do not know that Jacob has the legal ownership. It is at this point we learn Jacob is the legal son of Gretl and Fritz. Hermann had planned the whole affair so that Jacob would not face antisemitism and would be legally recorded as a gentile.
In the final chapter, in 1955, the three remaining survivors of the Holocaust gather in the family home. Leo (Arty Froushan), who left at age 8 for London, sees himself as British; Rosa (Jenna Augen), who moved to New York before the Holocaust and Nathan (Brandon Uranowitz), who survived Auschwitz, cling to their heritage so it will not be lost. Nathan resents Leo, who has repressed his memories of his life in Vienna and of being a Jew. We hear how America refused Jewish refugees entrance, claiming the quota had been met. They lied and at least 10,000 Jews were killed due to this atrocity.
For me, the two standouts are Brandon Uranowitz, as Ludwig and then as Nathan and David Krumholtz as Hermann. Both capture their roles with such a passion we feel as if we know these characters. The same can be said for the terrific Faye Castelow as Gretl, Jenna Augen as Wilma and Rose and Arty Froushan as Fritz and Leo.
With a cast of 38 actors, director Patrick Marber keeps this two hour and ten minute drama moving and interesting. Each scene is like a tableau come to life. Richard Hudson’s set is cinematic and lets us in on the era’s in a subtle way.
Who you are born as assimilation, antisemitism, collective responsibility and hiding one’s head in the sand to avoid what is in front of you are all variations of themes discussed and shown in Leopoldstadt. In the end, it is a family photo album which connects people who have been are lost in time but who now live only in the photograph.
This play has much to say. The question I, will the audienc see the parallels to today and wake up?
Stoppard has stated this is his last play, although word has it he may have changed his mind. I hope so!
Leopoldstadt: Longacre Theatre, 220 W. 48th St., until March 12.
League of Professional Theatre Women’s 10th Annual Women Stage The World March
The League of Professional Theatre Women (LPTW) will hold its 10th Annual “Women Stage the World March” — a Suffragette-inspired project to educate the public about the role of women in the theatre industry — on Saturday, June 17. The march will begin at noon, at Shubert Alley and weave through Times Square and the Broadway Theatre District, wrapping up at about 2 p.m.
“The event is FREE and LPTW invites all theatre women and allies to join us as we increase awareness, lift our voices, and advocate for more opportunities for women in theatre,” said Ludovica Villar-Hauser, Co-President of LPTW.
“The Women Stage the World March is designed to educate the public about the role women play in creating theatre and the barriers they face as men continue to outnumber women by 4 to 1 in key roles such as playwright, director and designers. Women buy 67% of the tickets and represent 65% of the audience, yet 80% of the storytelling on stage is shaped by men’s voices,” said Katrin Hilbe, Co-President of LPTW.
Handouts during the March will prompt ticket-buyers to ask three questions as they make buying decisions: (1) Who wrote, directed and designed this play? (2) What is this theatre’s track record in giving opportunities to women? (3) How can you spread the word and promote women’s voices?
“All participants are encouraged to dress as their favorite historical theatre woman, or dress all in white. March participants will gather at Shubert Alley starting at 11:30 AM, in preparation for the start of the march at noon. Women Stage the World sashes and signs will be provided, as supplies last,” noted Penelope Deen, LPTW member and organizer of the event. Those interested in participating in the event please R.S.V.P. at: https://www.theatrewomen.org/women-stage-the-world or contact Penelope Deen at: Womenstagetheworld@Theatrewomen.org
LPTW Co-President Ludovica Villar-Hauser added: “The League of Professional Theatre Women stands alongside the Writers Guild of America (WGA) as they demand fair wages and take action to ensure more protections for artists. We encourage LPTW members to find a time to join the WGA on the picket lines this month as the strike continues. Women writers are the future of the film and television industry, just as they lead the way in theatre. LPTW supports the women on the frontlines of this movement as they call for long overdue change. We are stronger together.”
For the past 10 years LPTW members, affiliated union members, theatre artists and their allies have hit the streets in a March reminiscent of the Suffragette parades of the early 20th Century, with some marchers dressed in traditional suffrage garb and colors. Like the Suffragettes before them, participants in the Women Stage the World March empower women and men to become aware, take action and influence others.
The League of Professional Theatre Women (LPTW) is a membership organization championing women in theatre and advocating for increased equity and access for all theatre women. Our programs and initiatives create community, cultivate leadership, and increase opportunities and recognition for women working in theatre. The organization provides support, networking and collaboration mechanisms for members, and offers professional development and educational opportunities for all theatre women and the general public. LPTW celebrates the historic contributions and contemporary achievements of women in theatre, both nationally and around the globe, and advocates for parity in employment, compensation and recognition for women theatre practitioners through industry-wide initiatives and public policy proposals. LPTW is celebrating its 40th Anniversary in 2023.
Ken Fallin’s Broadway: Chicago
John Kander & Fred Ebb / Bob Fosse musical Chicago is now the longest running show playing on Broadway. Having played 10,338 performances, Chicago is the Tony Award-winning, record-breaking hit musical playing at the Ambassador Theatre, 219 W. 49th St., NYC.
Ham4Ham: Some Like It Hot, Parade and Shucked With Special Guests
Lin-Manuel Miranda brought out a. special edition of Ham4Ham outside the Richard Rodgers Theater yesterday and it was a star studded afternoon.
First up Leopoldstadt stars Josh Molina and Brandon Uranowitz introduced Some Like It Hot‘s J. Harrison Ghee, who performed “You Coulda Knocked Me Over With a Feather” accompanied by the show’s composer, Marc Shaiman. You can watch the beginning of this and the whole performance of that song here.
Then Nikki Crawford and playwright James Ijames from Fat Ham, introduced composer Jason Robert Brown and performers Ben Platt and Michaela Diamond who perform the duet “This Is Not Over Yet” from the must see revival of Parade.
The Thanksgiving Play stars D’Arcy Carden and Chris Sullivan introduced book writer Robert Horn and the Tony-nominated cast of Shucked recreated new lyrics for “We Love Jesus” and a parody of Hamilton‘s “The Story of Tonight.”led by Ashley D. Kelley, Grey Henson, Andrew Durand and Kevin Cahoon
This was a spectacular afternoon that can only be had in NYC.
T2c would love to thank these three ladies who gave us a chair to sit on.
The Outer Critics Circle Awards and You Are There Part 2
Yesterday the 72nd Annual Awards honoring achievements in the 2022-2023 Broadway and Off-Broadway season were presented at the Bruno Walter Auditorium, New York Public Library for the Performing Arts.
Here are highlights from the show.
Outstanding New Score: Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman – Some Like It Hot
T2c interviewed the fantastic duo.
Outstanding Lead Performer in an Off-Broadway Play: Bill Irwin –Endgame
Outstanding Featured Performer in a Broadway Musical: Alex Newell – Shucked
Outstanding Lead Performer in a Broadway Musical: J. Harrison Ghee
Outstanding Featured Performer in a Broadway Play: Brandon Uranowitz – Leopoldstadt
T2c talked to this amazing performer before the ceremony.
Special Achievement Award:To B.H. Barry, one of the world’s foremost fight directors.
Outstanding New Broadway Play: Leopoldstadt and Outstanding Director of a Play:Patrick Marber – Leopoldstadt
Outstanding New Broadway Musical: Some Like It Hot Robert E. Wankel and Neil Meron
Broadway’s Samantha Pauly and Reeve Carney Come To Chelsea Table and Stage
On May 29th catch Samantha Pauly for Memorial Day. Best known for originating the role of Katherine Howard in Broadway’s smash hit SIX the Musical, and her captivating performance as Eva Peron in Jamie Lloyd’s critically acclaimed revival of Evita on London’s West End, Samantha Pauly has carefully crafted an evening that reflects the last few years of her life. Join this Grammy nominee and Drama Desk Award winner as she revisits some career highlights, Broadway classics, pop/rock favorites, and all the fun stuff in between.
Grammy-winning singer-songwriter and actor Reeve Carneyreturns to Chelsea Table + Stage June 4th to perform a night of music honoring the artistry of the legendary rock n’ roll supergroup Led Zeppelin. Carney is best known for his portrayal of Dorian Grayin on Showtime’s Penny Dreadful, Riff Raff in Fox’s Rocky Horror Picture Show Reimagining, as well as originating the role of Peter Parker in Julie Taymor/U2’s Spider-Man Turn Off The Dark. He is currently starring in the Broadway blockbuster, Hadestown. Reeve Carney delivers a one-man-show cabaret that feels more like an invitation-only after-party than a traditional concert performance. Don’t miss this special performance from one of Broadway’s leading actors!
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