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Showing posts from August, 2016

Aubergine

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I come from a family that talks about food. A lot. Whenever we eat, we talk about what we're having for the next meal, making dinner plans during lunch, talking about the next day's breakfast menu at dinner. So many of my memories are tied to food, to the meals I've had, and the pomp and circumstance surrounding them. So I was instantly captivated when the lights came up and Aubergine began.

The play begins with Diane (Jessica Love) directly addressing the audience, recounting the best thing she ever ate. (These direct addresses season the play, serving as little noshes in between scenes.) She takes great care to get the specifics of the meal (a pastrami sandwich) right, including a vivid description of browning the butter so as to properly toast/fry the bread. As Diane continues, it becomes clear that this sandwich is not the best thing she ever ate because it tasted amazing, because the umami was wonderfully overwhelming her senses. It's the best thing because of …

Week in Review 8.26.16

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Coming Up
The Barrow Street Theatre will be turned into a working pie shop this winter for an off-Broadway revival of Sweeney Todd, the Stephen Sondheim–Hugh Wheeler musical. Performances will begin February 14, 2017, with opening night set for March 1. The production comes via London, where the show was performed in Britain's oldest continuously operating pie shop. Broadway.com has more.

A new comedy series is coming to Netflix. Created by Nick Stoller (Forgetting Sarah Marshall) and Francesca Delbanco, the series, Friends from College, focuses on (you guessed it) a group of people who've been friends since college (Harvard, to be specific). The cast includes Keegan-Michael Key (Key and Peele), Cobie Smulder (How I Met Your Mother), Annie Parisse (The Layover, Vinyl), Nat Faxon (The Descendants), Fred Savage, and Jae Suh Park. The series will shoot in New York this fall. Variety has more.

Restless Creature, the Wendy Whelan documentary, will debut at the New York Film Festival…

The Layover

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The last time I saw "theatre noir" I was thoroughly turned off. (It was Mike Bencivenga's Billy and Ray.) In the hands of the talented playwright Leslye Headland (Bachelorette, Assistance), though, the genre is interesting and provocative.

The Layover begins with two strangers on a plane, Shellie (Annie Parisse) and Dex (Adam Rothenberg). Their flight is delayed, and they start chatting. In the next scene, they are in the airport terminal, their flight having been canceled. I noticed how easily they spoke to each other, how easily they told each other what I consider intimate details of their lives. I thought, "How interesting that they can open up like that." I supposed that since they were strangers, with little to no risk of seeing each other again, they felt comfortable being honest, being themselves. I was sure of where this was going.

But then Headland introduced a gear shift (as she called it in a post-show discussion), and the play moved decidedly into …

Week in Review 8.19.16

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Casting News
Tony nominees Tony Shalhoub (Act One, Golden Boy) and Jessica Hecht (A View from the Bridge, Fiddler on the Roof), as well as stage and screen veteran John Turturro (The Cherry Orchard, Zorba) will lead Roundabout's revival of Arthur Miller's The Price. Previews begin February 16, 2017, with opening night scheduled for March 16. The limited engagement will run through May 7. Playbill has more. (For news about Turturro and The Big Lebowski, scroll down.)

SNL alumnus Jason Sudeikis will lead the world premiere of the Dead Poets Societystage adaptation. The Classic Stage Company production begins previews October 27. Broadway.com has more.

Nia Long (House of Lies) will star opposite Idina Menzel in the Lifetime remake of Beaches. Long, who you might remember from her Fresh Prince of Bel-Air days, will play Hillary, who was played in the movie by Barbara Hershey. Deadline has more.

Oscar winnerJared Leto (Dallas Buyers Club, My So-Called Life) has joined the starry cast o…

Week in Review 8.12.16

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Erivo and Henry Set for The Last Five Years Benefit
Tony winnerCynthia Erivo (The Color Purple) and two-time Tony nomineeJoshua Henry (The Scottsboro Boys, Violet, Shuffle Along...) will star in a one-night-only benefit concert of Jason Robert Brown'sThe Last Five Years, which was last seen in New York in 2013. Proceeds from the September 12 Town Hall concert will go to the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence. (Brown has been a vocal support of gun safety measures.) Though Erivo and Henry are African-American performers, nothing about the show—dramaturgically speaking—will change. (The Last Five Years is specifically about a Jewish man, Jamie, and his shiksa goddess, Cathy.) Tickets go on sale Wednesday. Visit The New York Times for more.

Television Critics Association Awards Nominations
The TCA Awards nominees have been announced. The Hollywood Reporter has the full list of nominees. Herein, some notable nominations:
Rami Malek (Mr. Robot) and Sarah Paulson (The People v. OJ Simp…

Week in Review 8.5.16

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Hamilton Casting News
Two-time Tony nomineeJoshua Henry (The Scottsboro Boys, Shuffle Along...) will originate the role of Aaron Burr in the Chicago company of Hamilton. He'll be joined by Jonathan Kirkland, who'll take on the role of George Washington. The Chicago company began rehearsals this week, and their first performance is scheduled for September 27. Meanwhile, on Broadway, Mandy Gonzales (In the Heights) will take over as Angelica this October. A date for her first performance, as well as the date for departing Tony winner Renee Elise Goldsberry's final performance, will be announced later. Broadway.com has more.

Casting News
Tony winnerKelli O'Hara (The King and I) will appear in a recurring role on the fourth season of Masters of Sex. Season four premieres Sunday, September 11. TV Line has more.

Casting change at The Cherry Orchard: the memorable Kyle Beltran (Fortress of Solitude, Head of Passes) will take on the role of Trofimov. It was previously announced t…

Engagements

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According to the definition posted in the lobby, "engagements" has three meanings:
Formal agreements to get marriedArrangements to go somewhere or do something at a fixed timeBattles between armed forces In her play, Engagements, playwright Lucy Teitler explores all three meanings, showing the ever-blurring line between them.

Set mostly at a series of engagement parties, Engagements begins with Lauren (Ana Nogueira) speaking into a microphone, telling us her inner monologue. She is admiring her best friend, Allison (Jennifer Kim), and remarking that Allison's beau, Mark (Michael Stahl-David) is unremarkable. He's just average, she bemoans.

But sometimes, as the sage Paula Abdul notes, opposites attract, and all's fair in love and war, so, wouldn't you know it, Lauren and Mark end up sneaking off to a gazebo for a (maybe dangerous) liaison. The rest of the play (which includes a visit from Lauren's cousin, Catherine (Brooke Weisman), and Catherine's bo…