Theatre News: Vaccine Requirements, Drama Desk Awards, Patti LuPone, Dead End the Musical and Paradise Square
Several Broadway shows are dropping vaccine requirements in May, however mask mandate have been extended to at least May 31st.
The Shubert Organization, which operates theaters for popular shows like Come From Away, Dear Evan Hansen, Mrs. Doubtfire, Chicago, The Phantom of the Opera and To Kill a Mockingbird, no longer require proof of vaccination to enter its theaters in May. Theatergoers will not be required to be vaccinated to attend a performance of Aladdin after May 1, according to the show. The Nederlander Organization, which has Hamilton, Wicked, SIX and The Lion King hasn’t yet decided about its policy going forward. The other theatre’s have also not decided. Roundabout Theatre Company will maintain the vaccine mandate at its American Airlines Theatre for the run of Birthday Candles, which is currently set to close on May 29. The theater owner is allowing its other tenants to decide whether to require proof of vaccination after April 30. Mrs. Doubtfire, playing at the Stephen Sondheim Theatre, will drop its vaccination requirement.
The nominations for the 66th Annual Drama Desk Awards will be announced on May 2, 2022. The year’s cutoff for Drama Desk Award consideration is May 1. The ceremony will return this year, and further details will be announced at a later date.
The Drama Desk Awards are the only major New York City theater honors for which productions on Broadway, Off-Broadway and Off-Off Broadway compete against each other in the same categories.
“The Drama Desk Awards are a celebration of what’s outstanding at all levels of professional theater in New York City,” said David Barbour and Charles Wright. “The awards show honors the variety, creativity, and sheer talent that New York City theater offers; and after an uncertain time in the industry, it’s exciting that live theater is back and thriving.”
The Drama Desk Awards, which are presented annually, honor outstanding achievement by professional theater artists on Broadway, Off Broadway, and Off Off Broadway. What sets the Drama Desk Awards apart is that they are voted on and bestowed by theater critics, journalists, editors, and publishers covering theater. The Drama Desk Awards reflect enthusiasm for all aspects of New York’s professional theater.
On Monday, May 9 at 7:30pm two-time Tony and Olivier Award winner Patti LuPone will return to the Vivian Beaumont Theater to sing Songs From A Hat, a concert to support Lincoln Center Theater’s productions and education programs. The Gala evening will honor LCT Board Chairman Eric M. Mindich and will be co-chaired by Brooke Garber Neidich & Daniel Neidich and Laura Speyer & Josef Goodman.
Accompanied by Music Director Joseph Thalken, Ms. LuPone will perform an intimate evening of songs, with the titles randomly chosen from a hat. The concert will include performances of her signature songs as well as a few surprises along the way.
Benefit tickets (starting at $2,500) and tables, which include a post-performance dinner at Lincoln Center, can be purchased by contacting Karin Schall at email@example.com or Dana Jones at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A limited number of seats to the performance only, priced at $75 and $150, are now available at the Lincoln Center Theater box office, on telecharge.com and at lct.org. In addition, a limited number of $30 seats will be available via a digital ticket lottery, which will open Monday, May 2. For details visit lct.org.
A creative team of New Jersey natives have adapted the landmark Broadway stage play, Dead End, as a musical and produced it as a concept album available for digital download on May 1st 2022. Neil Fishman (Music), Harvey Edelman (Lyrics), and Peter C. Palame (Book), began this dream project years ago and after a saga worthy of a Broadway musical of its own, have brought it to fruition..
The play, Dead End was written by the legendary playwright Sidney Kingsley, a Pulitzer Prize winner, and member of the Theater Hall of Fame.
Dead End the Musical, set amongst the East Side tenements of Depression era New York, is a powerful and entertaining show that shines a light on the social ills of a time and place that still resonate today: hunger, poverty, crime, class struggle, and economic and social inequality. Based on the landmark 1935 play, subsequently made into an Academy Award nominated film starring Humphrey Bogart, Claire Trevor, Joel McCrea, and Sylvia Sidney, Dead End was also the genesis for the iconic Dead End Kids, spinning off a hundred movies and serials.
The concept album of Dead End the Musical, to be released on a digital platform, has a cast of 16 Broadway performers. The cast includes Lisa Livesay, Michael Isaac, Michelle DellaFave, David Edwards, Chelsea Lynne Myers, Claire McPartland, Jeff Essex, Michael Coppola, Barrett Leddy, and John E. Brady, as well as Nick Williams, Declan Skaggs, Jake Stabinsky, Marco Velasquez, Tre Moore, and Aidan Perkins, as the Dead End Kids. The show features twenty fully-orchestrated musical numbers, dramatic scenes, sound effects, and musical underscoring.
For more information, see www.deadendmusical.com
Paradise Square is getting an original Broadway cast recording, The cast and Broadway orchestra are gathering at Power Station at BerkleeNYC for four days of sessions during the weeks of April 18 and April 25. The recording will receive a digital release in May and a physical release this summer.
The recording will be produced by Jason Howland and Billy Jay Stein, who won the 2015 Grammy Award for the Original Broadway Cast Recording for Beautiful: The Carole King Musical. Three-time Tony Award winner Garth H. Drabinsky serves as Executive Producer, with Craig Haffner, Sherry Wright, and Jeffrey A. Sine as Co-Executive Producers.
Howland composed the show’s music, with lyrics by Nathan Tysen and Masi Asare. Additional music is by Larry Kirwan, inspired by the songs of Stephen Foster. Musical direction, musical supervision and orchestrations are by Howland, with arrangements by Howland and Kirwan.
Paradise Square will resume Broadway performances on Tuesday, April 19 at 7:00 pm at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre (243 West 47th Street), after pausing performances from April 7 due to positive COVID cases in the company.
Tony Award nominee Joaquina Kalukango leads a cast that also stars Chilina Kennedy, Tony Award nominee John Dossett, Sidney Dupont, A.J. Shively, Nathaniel Stampley, Gabrielle McClinton, Jacob Fishel, Kevin Dennis and Matt Bogart.
Ken Fallin’s Broadway: Sondheim
Stephen Sondheim birthday was March 22nd and somehow I missed it. His masterpiece Sweeney Todd opened on Broadway originally March 1, 1979, at the Uris Theatre (now the Gershwin). His newest revival opened Sunday, March 26th at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre. So here’s to you Steve.
Broadway’s Parade, a Masterpiece and Master Class, Not to be Missed.
With a blast of bright white light, the Broadway revival of Parade marches itself forcibly onto the stage, surging from the sidelines once the love-making center stage comes to an end. It’s a compelling beginning, one that, as it turns out, doesn’t really add a whole lot to the proceedings. But the show finds its strong footing soon after. No doubt about it. I didn’t really understand the full need for the sexual interaction between the young soldier (Charlie Webb) and his pretty young companion (Ashlyn Maddox) that takes place in those first few moments, as well as the consistent reappearing of that same soldier, 50 years later, as an old man (Howard McGillin) throughout, other than to remind us that the old Confederate way of thinking still flies its flag strong and true. Even if the flags they are waving in this production of Parade make us feel uneasy and unsure.
Overall, the compounding effect is captivating and intense, as this musical, with a book by Alfred Uhry (Driving Miss Daisy), music and lyrics by Jason Robert Brown (Songs for a New World; The Last Five Years), and originally co-conceived by Harold Prince (West Side Story), stands strong, taking on race, antisemitism, and prejudice in “The Old Red Hills of Home” South. It dutifully dramatizes the disturbing but true story of a 1913 trial of a Jewish factory manager who was wrongly accused and convicted of raping and murdering a thirteen-year-old young girl and employee of the factory. The musical revival is as timely as can be, and as surefooted as one could hope for. And as directed carefully and artistically by Michael Arden (Broadway/Deaf West’s Spring Awakening), Parade delivers on all fronts.
After a well-received short run as part of New York City Center’s Encores! series, this tense and sharp musical finally has made its way back. I didn’t really know much about this musical, but I was surprised to hear that it first premiered on Broadway in December 1998 starring Brent Carver and Carolee Carmello in the two lead roles. It won Tony Awards for Best Book and Best Original Score (out of nine nominations), not surprisingly, and six Drama Desk Awards. And I’m guessing the accolades will come pouring in once again when the Tony Award nominations are announced.
Portraying that doomed factory manager, Leo Frank, Ben Platt (Broadway’s Dear Evan Hansen) once again finds power and passion in abundance, striding back onto the Broadway stage both sheepishly and strongly. He grabs hold of the part, demanding justice and the truth for the man who tried his imperfect best to live a dutiful life. Married to his loving wife, Lucille, played spectacularly by Micaela Diamond (Broadway’s The Cher Show), the pair seems well-matched, both in their characterizations and their vocal expertise. Their singing and emotionality soar, especially in Lucille’s “You Don’t Know This Man” and Leo’s captivating Statement, “It’s Hard to Speak my Heart“, as the piece gets darker and darker, breaking apart our collective hearts as it marches to the end. We all know this is not going to end well for this innocent man, but we are drawn in completely as the two begin, quite quietly, finding a simple and tender, yet complicated connection in their marriage.
We feel their bond as Leo gets ready and makes his way to the office on this odd day of celebration in Atlanta. He sidesteps the parade, which is oddly celebrating the confederacy and a war lost, leaving his wife to picnic alone. We collectively wish he’d stay home, giving in to the gentle pleas of his wife. Things might have turned out so differently if he had. But this is the tale that must be told, to be witness to, as we are simultaneously given a glimpse into the soon-to-be shortened life of Mary Phagan (Erin Rose Doyle), being flirted with by a young boy (Jake Pedersen) about “The Picture Show“, as she rides a trolley car on her way to the factory to collect her wages, at ten cents an hour. The white balloon floats above her head, just like her spirit, simple and buoyant, until it escapes her hand, and floats away from her into the heavens above.
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.
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