Around The Town

On This Day in New York Theater: July 6 in the 1920’s, 1930’s and 1940’s

By: Samuel L. Leiter

(No. 9 in the series)

July 6, 2020: A survey of the most active days for New York theater openings in the steamy days of early July during the torrid twenties, thermal thirties, and fiery forties reveals just how sluggish theatre business was in the good old summertime. Over a span of thirty years, the most prolific date between July 1 and 10 was July 6, which provided a mere eight titles, with three on the same day in 1927. Still, some interesting items can be discovered among those eight, which include a revival of Julius Caesar, one of Lombardi, Ltd., the reopening of a recent play called One for All, the reopening of Orson Welles’s “Negro Macbeth,” a musical called Yokel Boy that introduced Phil Silvers to Broadway, a minor revival of No Exit with Bea Arthur, another minor revival of No Exit, and, most interesting, Gertrude Stein’s Yes Is for a Very Young Man in an Off-Broadway rendering starring some soon-to-be heavy hitters from the Actors Studio.

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Around The Town

‘Town’ and ‘Out’ Set for B’way 2021

Patrick J. Adams, Jesse Williams and Jesse Tyler Ferguson in “Take Me Out”. Credit: Catherine Wessel

By: David Sheward

July 3, 2020: Announcements continue for the (projected) Broadway reopening in 2021. The Broadway League announced on Monday, refunds and exchanges will be granted up until Jan. 3 of next year. Broadway and Off-Broadway theaters have been closed since March 12 due to the corona virus pandemic. Several productions announced previews and openings beginning in March. The League also said there would be “rolling” openings in early 2021 but so far, the earliest show with a specific date is Tracey Letts’ The Minutes which begins previews at the Cort Theater on March 1.

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Around The Town

Hamilton to Premiere on Disney

Lin-Manuel Miranda is Alexander Hamilton and Leslie Odom, Jr. is Aaron Burr in HAMILTON, the filmed version of the original Broadway production.

Hamilton’s journey from the stage to living rooms across the world.

By: Alex Simmons

July 2, 2020: Tomorrow, July 3, Lin Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton will premiere on Disney+, Disney’s video streaming service. Hamilton could be one of the most hotly anticipated releases on a ‘streaming service’ since the term first entered pop culture vernacular. With Disney’s sudden decision to stop offering the familiar ‘free for the first week’ promotional model, it would appear the prolific media company thinks so as well.

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Around The Town

Broadway Officially Closed through 2020

A scene from a 2014 production of Trouble in Mind at Two River Theater in Red Bank, NJ Photo: T. Charles Erickson

Roundabout Announces Dates for ‘Trouble,’ Etc.

By: David Sheward

June 29, 2020: It’s official. No Broadway for the rest of 2020. The Broadway League has announced all productions will remain shuttered through at least Jan. 3, 2021. Broadway and Off-Broadway theaters were all closed on March 12 due to the coronavirus pandemic. In an official press release, the League states, “Some of the logistics being currently reviewed for audience members and employees include: screening and testing, cleaning and sanitizing, wayfinding inside theatres, backstage protocols, and much more.” There is no mention of social distancing or reduced seating. Producer Scott Rudin and League President Charlotte St. Martin have both stated in previous interviews, social distancing will not work with the Broadway economic model. In other words, reduced seating capacity would not be profitable enough for the producers. The press release goes one to state “Returning productions are currently projected to resume performances over a series of rolling dates in early 2021. Tickets for performances for next winter and spring are expected to go on sale in the coming weeks.” Whether the theatergoing public will feel safe enough to return to New York theater without a vaccine to protect them remains to be seen.

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Around The Town

Broadway 2021

New Opening Dates for Broadway 2021

By: David Sheward

June 26, 2020: While New York City is slowly reopening from the lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the return of Broadway and other stages is still far in the future. But there is a glimmer of hope. Several Main Stem productions have announced new dates for previews and openings, all in 2021 and the earliest dates are March 1. The Minutes by Tracey Letts will begin previews at the Cort Theater on next March 1 with an opening set for March 15, one year after its originally projected premiere. The dark comedy about a secretive town council meeting has had a bumpy road to Broadway. After its Steppenwolf Theater Company debut in Chicago in 2017, the play was set to open on Broadway in 2018, but was delayed. The 2020 production was to have been directed by Tony winner Anna D. Shapiro (Letts’ August: Osage County) and feature the playwright, Armie Hammer, Ian Barford (Letts’ Linda Vista), Blair Brown, Cliff Chamberlain, K. Todd Freeman, Danny McCarthy, Jessie Mueller, Sally Murphy, Austin Pendleton, and Jeff Still. 

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Around The Town

On This Day In New York Theater: June 26 in the 1920’s, 1930’s and 1940’s

By: Samuel L. Leiter

(No. 8 in the series)

June 26, 2020: Judging by the dearth of shows that opened in the last days of June during the twenties, thirties, and forties, it almost looked like there would be barely anything to record in this week’s installment or, for that matter, in the weeks to come. Summertime has always been a time when theater activity slowed down, even after the advent of a/c. Just considering June 26 to June 30 in our chosen decades, we find only 13 openings for those four days across 30 years. 

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Around The Town

The Music Man

Hugh Jackman, Photo: Barry Gordin

Hugh Jackman as Professor Harold Hill in Meredith Wilson’s Quintessential Broadway Musical Comedy ” The Music Man” set to start Previews on April 7, 2021 with an Opening Night set for May 20, 2021.

June 24, 2020: Producers Scott Rudin / Barry Diller / David Geffen announced today that the start of preview performances and the opening night of the highly-anticipated revival of Meredith Willson’s The Music Man have been rescheduled. Starring two-time Tony Award®, Grammy Award®, and Emmy Award®-winning star Hugh Jackman as Professor Harold Hill, and also starring two-time Tony Award winner Sutton Foster as Marian Paroo, preview performances of The Music Man are now set to begin on Wednesday, April 7, 2021, with Opening Night scheduled for Thursday, May 20 at the Winter Garden Theatre (1634 Broadway).  As a result of New York State’s ban on large gatherings, rehearsals (which were to have begun June 29), will now commence on Monday, February 8.

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Around The Town

Falsettos Sing-A-Long

The Cast of “Falsettos” Photo: Joan Marcus

BroadwayHD and Lincoln Center celebrate Pride with the first ever FREE SING-A-LONG WATCH PARTY of Lincoln Center’s 2017 Tony Nominated musical Falsettos.

June 22, 2020: BroadwayHD, the premier streaming platform for live theater, is planning a jammed packed pride celebration, kicking things off with a special free sing-a-long watch party of Live From Lincoln Center’s broadcast of Falsettos – a Lincoln Center Theater production – on June 25th at 8PM, in association with Jordan Roth’s Jujamcyn Theatre.

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Around The Town

On This Day In New York Theater: June 20 in the 1920’s, 1930’s and 1940’s

By: Samuel L. Leiter

(No. 7 in the series)

June 20, 2020: Readers following this series must be patient as we wend our way, once a week, through the summer doldrums of New York theater in the twenties, thirties, and forties. It would be great to stumble across a few historically significant summer shows from those years  on the dates selected, but just finding shows—any shows—during June, July, and August is challenge enough. And finding any that have readily available photos to illustrate them is even unlikelier. For today’s list, in fact, I was able to turn up photos of only one production, John Ferguson, from my personal resources.

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Around The Town

The 86th Drama League Awards

Danny Burstein in Moulin Rouge!

Danny Burstein wins The Distinguished Performance Award at the 2020 Drama League Awards

June 19, 2020: Moulin Rouge! and Danny Burstein were among the winners for the 2020 Drama League awards. The musical won Outstanding Production of a Musical and Burstein The Distinguished Performance Award for his portrayal of Harold Zidler.

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Around The Town

Actors Fund Benefit

Step Forward Entertainment Celebrates the Music of the Legendary Neil Sedaka A Virtual Concert to Benefit The Actors Fund. Streaming on June 20th and 21st @ 7pm EDT / 4pm PDT.

June 16, 2020: To help lift spirits during the worldwide lockdown while providing a lively musical event, Step For- ward Entertainment is producing a special virtual concert celebrating the music of the legendary artist, Neil Sedaka to benefit The Actors Fund Covid-19 Relief efforts.

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Around The Town

The 65th Annual Drama Desk Awards

June 13, 2020:  The 65th Annual Drama Desk Awards hosted by Frank DiLella from Times Square went virtual and streamed on NY1.com and DramaDeskAwards.com.

The Drama Desk Awards featured appearances by Tituss Burgess, Drama Desk Award winner James Corden, two-time Drama Desk Award winner Kristin Chenoweth, Drama Desk Award winner Alan Cumming, Beanie Feldstein, two-time Drama Desk Award winner Santino Fontana, Drama Desk Award winner Renée Elise Goldsberry, two-time Drama Desk Award winner Jesse Tyler Ferguson, two-time Drama Desk Award winner Jane Krakowski, three-time Drama Desk Award winner Patti LuPone, five-time Drama Desk Award winner Audra McDonald, Drama Desk Award winner Cynthia Nixon, two-time Drama Desk Award nominee Ashley Park, Drama Desk Award nominee Andrew Rannells, Drama Desk Award winner Ali Stroker, and five-time Drama Desk Award winner Susan Stroman.

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Around The Town

On This Day in New York Theater: June 13 in the 1920’s, 1930’s and 1940’s

By: Samuel L. Leiter

(No. 6 in the series)

June 13 in the twenties, thirties, and forties had its theatrical ups and downs, mostly downs, of course, like the vast majority of summertime shows during those decades. Looking at what opened in the days right before and afterward, however, does make the thirteenth look good by comparison, even if, of the mere eight shows that opened that day over the course of three decades, only one had the cachet of popularity. 

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Around The Town

We Are Here

We Are Here: A Celebration of Resilience, Resistance, and Hope

By: Paulanne Simmons

June 11, 2020: At this time of protest and pandemic, not much attention has been paid to the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II and the 77th anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. Nevertheless, there can be little doubt both anniversaries speak to the challenges of the current moment. And several organizations are attempting to remind us of this.

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Around The Town

Pipeline Free on BroadwayHD

Piercing drama, Pipeline by Dominique Morisseau, free on BroadwayHD beginning today.

June 9, 2020:  Live From Lincoln Center, in partnership with BroadwayHD, starting today is bringing Dominique Morisseau’s strikingly powerful work Pipeline, originally staged at Lincoln Center Theater in 2017, to audiences at home. This intimate play depicts a mother’s hopes for her son and their clash with an educational system rigged against him. To view for free (87 minutes) Click Here: http://ow.ly/cE7b50A1Nfl

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