I'm pleased to report on Lynn Nottage's keenly observed play, Sweat, which focuses on blue collar workers in Reading, Pennsylvania. We begin in 2008, with Jason (Will Pullen) and Chris (Khris Davis) talking (separately) to a social worker, Evan (Lance Coadie Williams). We then jump back to 2000, when most of the action takes place. In a neighborhood bar, we meet Cynthia (Michelle Wilson), Chris's mother; Tracey (Johanna Day), Jason's mother; Jessie (Miriam Shor), Cynthia and Tracey's colleague; bartender Stan (James Colby); and barback Oscar (Carlo Alban). Chris and Jason figure in the 2000 plot line, as well.

Everyone except Stan and Oscar work at a factory, as is the tradition in their part of town. (Cynthia's ex, Brucie (John Earl Jelks), has also worked in a factory, though a different one from the women and their sons.) It's 2000, and times are getting tough. Factory work is no longer the sure thing it used to be. Times are changing, and these people …

Week in Review 3.24.17

Ticket Updates
Dear Evan Hansen tickets are now on sale through March 18, 2018. Visit to learn more and purchase tickets.The Broadway bow of Oslo, the new play by J.T. Rogers, will have an online lottery. Audience members can go to to enter for their chance to up to two $39 tickets to a performance. Playbill has more.There will be a digital lottery for War Paint, which is in previews and opens April 6. Beginning March 28, fans can visit to enter for a chance to win up to two $40 tickets to a performance. The production's previously announced rush and standing room policies remain in effect. Playbill has more.Tickets for Anastasia, which just began previews and opens April 24, are now available through January 7, 2018. Playbill has more.Casting News
Zainab Jab (Eclipsed, Homeland), John Ellison Conlee (The (curious case of the) Watson Intelligence, Murder Ballad), and Kevin Mambo (The Fortress of Sol…

Week in Review 3.17.17

Hamilton on Tour
A second Hamiltonnational tour will launch in February 2018. Beginning with a six-week sit-down production in Seattle, the tour will also hit Portland, Salt Lake City, Costa Mesa, Las Vegas, Des Moines, Cleveland, and Minneapolis. The first national tour just began in San Francisco. It'll be there for several months (through August 5) before heading to Los Angeles for another multi-month run, beginning August 11. After the Los Angeles engagement, the company will make additional tour stops, including stints in Washington, DC, Ft. Lauderdale, New Orleans, and Memphis. has more, and the Hamilton tour page has a more detailed itinerary.

Tony Awards
The calendar of events for the 2017 Tony Award season has been announced. Herein the timeline:  (Visit Playbill for additional information about each event.)
April 27—Tony eligibility cut off May 2—Tony nominations announcedMay 3—Meet the Nominees press receptionMay 23—nominee luncheonJune 5—Tony Honors cocktail…

The Price

I have to admit: I was exhausted when I saw the Roundabout revival of Arthur Miller's The Price, and was fading in and out during the first act. It's possible I missed something but I think this just isn't a great play. In the program notes, Roundabout artistic director Todd Haimes acknowledges that this is not one of Miller's oft-produced plays (like Death of a Salesman or A View from the Bridge). There's a reason for that. While this has the classical elements of a well-made play (fidelity of time and location), those elements don't necessarily translate into riveting drama.

The action of the play revolves around two estranged brothers, Victor (Mark Ruffalo (Spotlight)) and Walter (Tony Shalhoub (Act One)), coming together to settle their father's estate. Victor's wife, Esther (Jessica Hecht (Stage Kiss)), has her own point of view regarding the brothers' relationship, and interloper Gregory Solomon (Danny DeVito) is on hand as an opinionated appra…

Joan of Arc: Into the Fire

Nothing disappoints quite like high expectations. I've been an Alex Timbers acolyte since I first saw Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson off-Broadway, and that fandom only grew with Peter and the Starcatcher. After seeing the immersive disco-set musical Here Lies Love, his collaboration with David Byrne, I became a fan of their creative partnership. So when it was announced that the duo was bringing Joan of Arc's story to life on stage, I was pumped. When I left the theatre, I was deflated.

I'll admit that I didn't know much about the titular heroine, now saint; there was, however, a handy timeline in the Playbill. This provided enough context that I was easily able to follow along (though they tried fitting a lot into just 90 minutes). I was able to understand everything, but Byrne and Timbers didn't make me care.

The show starts off well, with Joan's transformation from poor farm girl into impassioned warrior a powerful moment (Jo Lampert is giving a strong perfo…

The Light Years

A brief note about The Light Years, created by The Debate Society and being presented at Playwrights Horizons.

This play, though engaging enough throughout, didn't elicit a strong reaction from. (Based on the tepid applause at the end of the performance, I wonder if my fellow audience members felt the same way.) It is clear that this tale of two families chasing dreams, 40 years apart, was created out of and with passion, and there is a sense of romance to the overall story arc. (A few details about that below.) Yet I think what kept me engaged throughout the performance was the desire and hope that there would be something to engage with, something potent, some kind of pay off. That pay off never came.

The action of The Light Years is centered around the 1893 Chicago World Fair and the subsequent 1933 edition. In 1893, Steele MacKaye (Rocco Sisto) a renaissance man with an entrepreneurial spirit, dared to harness the power of the new utility, electricity. The centerpiece of his 1…

Week in Review 3.10.17

Casting News
Deadline first reported that Brian d'Arcy James will return to Hamilton. The Tony-nominated actor originated the role of King George III in the off-Broadway production of the mega-hit musical, but left the production shortly after the off-Broadway opening to open Something Rotten on Broadway. In the interim, he was seen in the Oscar-winning film, Spotlight, and has a few projects coming up. A later report by Playbill stated that he will join the Broadway company on April 14.

Tony and Academy Award nominee Patricia Clarkson will join Amy Adams in the HBO limited series, Sharp Objects, based on the eponymous Gillian Flynn novel. Deadline has more.

Stage and screen veteran Paul Sparks (House of Cards, The Night Of) has joined the cast of Greatest Showman, the musical biopic about P.T. Barnum starring Hugh Jackman. (Pasek and Paul are writing the score.) Sparks will also be seen in the upcoming Spike TV miniseries, Waco. Deadline has more.

Tony nominee and Emmy winnerBobby Ca…

Sunday in the Park with George

"Art isn't easy," but when everything comes together just right, the results are sensational. Such is the case in the sumptuous revival of the Pulitzer Prize-winning musical, Sunday in the Park with George.

The Stephen Sondheim–James Lapine musical follows the artistic endeavors of two Georges, the late-19th century painter, Georges Seurat, and George, an American artist (whom we meet in 1984) who, in this story, is a descendant of Seurat. Both artists (played by Jake Gyllenhaal) struggle with "putting it together," balancing (not always successfully) the different parts of their lives that ultimately make up their art. Both must contend with the continual push and pull of competing forces; Seurat's main contention is between his personal life (making room for his lover, Dot (Annaleigh Ashford), and his art) while George is consumed with the tension between commerce and art.

In "Finishing the Hat," on of the show's most famous songs, Seurat si…