Richard Greenberg’s Our Mother’s Brief Affair is going to hit home with most women and most men will not understand this deeply prolific play.
The plot has Seth (Greg Keller) describing his relationship with his dementia, chronically ill mother Anna (a brilliantly wonderful Linda Lavin). Anna is witty, cold, stinging, sophisticated with an underlying layer of guilt. She confesses to Seth and Abby (Kate Arrington), her gay twin children, that she once had an extramarital affair (John Procaccino). In a intimate moment her lover confesses that his real name is David Greenglass, Ethel Rosenberg’s brother, who gave his Communist sister up to the FBI to save his own hide. Seth and Abby stop the show to explain who David Greenglass is. To Seth the revelation of Anna’s lover being Greenglass, is worse than the affair itself.
But it is Anna’s secret where the play really lives. Without giving away this piece, makes it a little harder to describe why I found this quiet play so moving. Secrets no matter how big or small effect our psyche to the point that instead of embracing the good that enters our lives, we race to the bad. Some even lie to make the truth seem worse than what has really happened, because they feel as if they deserve nothing worthwhile. That is the crux of this play.
Ms. Lavin, is so layered in her portrayal of Anna. She is like a scorpion in her lines with Seth. She blindsides her daughter in the niceties she says about her. Her layers peel until she is a soul ravaged by the pain of a young adult selfish choice. Mr. Keller makes you buy Seth as a person and you feel for this man who is so afraid of commitment because he has never seen a healthy one. Ms. Arrington has some kind of weird accent and Mr. Procaccino is just there.
Mr. Greenberg play is not perfect, but it is thought provoking and contains one terrific performance by Ms Lavin. Santo Loquasto’s beautiful set is wonderfully lit by Peter Zaczorowski.
Guilt creates illness, miscommunication and plots for plays that can be quite moving.
Our Mother’s Brief Affair: Manhattan Theatre Club, Samuel J. Friedman Theatre, 261 W. 47th St.
And The Winners of The 2023 Drama Desk Awards Are ………
The 2023 67th Drama Desk Awards, honoring artistic excellence on Broadway, Off-Broadway and Off-Off-Broadway, will take place on June 6 at Sardi’s Restaurant. Today the winners were announced.
Outstanding Play: “Leopoldstadt,” by Tom Stoppard
Outstanding Musical: “Some Like it Hot”
Outstanding Revival of a Play: “The Piano Lesson”
Outstanding Revival of a Musical: “Parade”
Outstanding Lead Performance in a Play: Jessica Chastain, “A Doll’s House” and Sean Hayes, “Good Night, Oscar”
Outstanding Lead Performance in a Musical: Annaleigh Ashford, “Sweeney Todd”
and J. Harrison Ghee, “Some Like it Hot”
Outstanding Featured Performance in a Play: Miriam Silverman, “The Sign in Sidney Brustein’s Window,” Brooklyn Academy of Music and Brandon Uranowitz, “Leopoldstadt”
Outstanding Featured Performance in a Musical: Kevin Del Aguila, “Some Like it Hot” and Alex Newell, “Shucked”
Outstanding Direction of a Play: Max Webster, “Life of Pi”
Outstanding Direction of a Musical: Thomas Kail, “Sweeney Todd”
Outstanding Choreography: Casey Nicholaw, “Some Like it Hot”
Outstanding Music: Brandy Clark and Shane McAnally, “Shucked”
Outstanding Lyrics: Scott Wittman and Marc Shaiman, “Some Like it Hot”
Outstanding Book of a Musical: Matthew López and Amber Ruffin, “Some Like it Hot”
Outstanding Orchestrations: Charlie Rosen and Bryan Carter, “Some Like it Hot”
Outstanding Music in a Play: Suzan-Lori Parks, “Plays for the Plague Year,” The Public Theater
Outstanding Scenic Design of a Play: Tim Hatley, “Life of Pi”
Outstanding Scenic Design of a Musical: Beowulf Boritt, “New York, New York”
Outstanding Costume Design of a Play: Emilio Sosa, “Ain’t No Mo’”
Outstanding Costume Design of a Musical: Gregg Barnes, “Some Like it Hot”
Outstanding Lighting Design of a Play: Natasha Chivers and Willie Williams (video), “Prima Facie”
Outstanding Lighting Design of a Musical: Natasha Katz, “Sweeney Todd”
Outstanding Projection and Video Design: Andrzej Goulding, “Life of Pi”
Outstanding Sound Design of a Play: Ben & Max Ringham, “A Doll’s House”
Outstanding Sound Design of a Musical: Scott Lehrer and Alex Neumann, “Into the Woods”
Outstanding Wig and Hair: Mia M. Neal, “Ain’t No Mo’”
Outstanding Solo Performance: Jodie Comer, “Prima Facie”
Unique Theatrical Experience: “Peter Pan Goes Wrong”
Outstanding Fight Choreography: B.H. Barry, “Camelot”
Outstanding Adaptation: “A Doll’s House,” by Amy Herzog
Outstanding Puppetry: Nick Barnes and Finn Caldwell, “Life of Pi”
Shows with multiple wins
Some Like It Hot: 8
Life of Pi: 4
A Doll’s House: 3
Sweeney Todd: 3
Ain’t No Mo’: 2
Prima Facie: 2
Harold Prince Lifetime Achievement Award
Stephen McKinley Henderson has been bringing in-depth, gripping portrayals of memorable characters to the stage for over four decades. With his return to Broadway this season as Pops in “Between Riverside and Crazy,” which the Drama Desk previously nominated in 2015, this year’s Harold Prince Lifetime Achievement Award marks Henderson’s role in this powerful production as a celebration of his brilliant career.
The cast of Soho Rep’s “Public Obscenities” – Tashnuva Anan, Abrar Haque, Golam Sarwar Harun, Gargi Mukherjee, NaFis, Jakeem Dante Powell, and Debashis Roy Chowdhury – embodied the transnational world of Shayok Misha Chowdhury’s bilingual play with memorable authenticity, remarkable specificity, and extraordinary warmth.
Sam Norkin Off-Broadway Award
From his standout performance in american (tele)visions, to writing and performing the autobiographical “Dark Disabled Stories,” Ryan J. Haddad’s work this season has expanded on and interrogated what the idea of “accessibility” really means. Whether riding a shopping cart like a throne, or relating his experiences on a “gay, pink bus,” Haddad shared with audiences an unabashed queer fabulosity that was both unforgettable and deeply human.
Ken Fallin’s Broadway: Remembering Angela Lansbury in Sweeney Todd
On Sunday look for a brand new charcuterie of Josh Groban and Annaleigh Ashford in Sweeney Todd.. I loved the new production, and it’s two leads.
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.
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