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Showing posts from March, 2017

Week in Review 3.17.17

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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. Broadway.com 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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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"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…

Week in Review 3.3.17

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Encores! Off-Center
The Encores! Off-Center season, which celebrates rarely produced or under appreciated off-Broadway fare, has been announced. First up, July 12-15, is a production of Assassins, the Stephen Sondheim–John Weidman musical about the people who have attempted to assassinate US presidents. That will be directed by Anne Kauffman (Marjorie Prime). Next, Robert O'Hara (Barbecue) will direct Kirsten Childs's Bubbly Black Girl Sheds Her Chameleon Skin, which runs July 26 and 27. Closing out the season is the whimsical Really Rosie, written by Maurice Sendak (book and lyrics) and Carole King (music). The musical in which kids play pretend will run August 2-5. Theater Mania has more.

Playwrights Horizons 2017-2018 Season
The venerable off-Broadway company, which has produced works like the Pulitzer Prize-winning The Flick, has announced its 2017-2018 season, and it includes five world premieres, three plays by women, and one play by a person of color. The season will beg…

Significant Other

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I had the pleasure of seeing Joshua Harmon's Significant Other in summer 2015, when it premiered off-Broadway. I loved it. I had never laughed and cried so much in a single show. Just like in his breakout play, Bad Jews, Harmon beautifully fused humor with pathos, making for a thoroughly entertaining and moving work. It has lost nothing in its transfer to Broadway, and, in fact, gained the terrific Rebecca Naomi Jones (American Idiot, Marie and Rosetta) as a cast member.

Significant Other deals with how relationships change over time, as seen through the eyes of Jordan (an affecting Gideon Glick (Spring Awakening, Speech and Debate)), a 29-year-old single gay man whose three best girlfriends are beginning to marry off and develop their own lives. (Jordan also has regular visits with his grandmother (Barbara Barrie), whose age, of course, comes with wisdom.) We begin at Kiki's bachelorette party. Kiki (a hilarious Sas Goldberg) is the first of the crew to wed. It's at this …