September 18, 2020: East Hampton, N.Y., The Animal Rescue Fund of the Hamptons, Inc. (ARF) announces that its annual “Stroll to the Sea” Dog Walk presented by Chaser and The Corcoran Group will be a VIRTUAL walk this year due to COVID-19. The event, now in its 27th year, will still be a fun, family outing that is intended to promote responsible dog ownership and awareness of ARF while raising important funds for the cats and dogs.
September 19, 2020: Unique Flea Market finds, one-on-one video meet-and-greets with stars, stars, stars, and prized items and one-of-a-kind experiences will be available to Broadway fans everywhere when the annual Broadway Flea Market & Grand Auction, goes live online for the first time Sunday, September 20, 2020 The event is produced by and benefits the multitude of programs of Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS not only in New York but across the nation.
Incidental Moments of the Day: The Apple Family: Life on Zoom
By: David Sheward
September 15, 2020: Dr. Anthony Fauci recently predicted we may not be able to sit safely in theaters until the end of 2021. If that is the case, we’ll have to make due with the new hybrid form of theater, the Zoom play of which Richard Nelson has become the main practitioner. His latest piece Incidental Moments of the Day: The Apple Family: Life on Zoom is his deepest and most profound of a Zoom trilogy, examining the impact of national social currents without descending into political propaganda or overt symbolism. We are listening in on the achingly real dialogue of believable people wrestling with the overwhelming polarization of their country, with no concrete solutions, only questions and anxiety.
As readers of “On This Day in New York Theater” know, this series seeks to survey the most productive days for theatrical production for our inclusive decades. Our last installment having looked at August 31, we now rush into September, which, with summer’s heat gradually backing off and milder temperatures arriving, has always signaled a natural increase in the number of new openings. While that was true, overall, for the twenties, thirties, and forties, it wasn’t the mad rush of shows one might have expected. Still, September 12, the most prolific of days during those three decades, provides us with 17 openings, too many too cover here. Thus, what follows remains rooted in the twenties, with a brief overview at the end of the next two decades.
“Fear and Loathing in The Creative Process” Marty Grabstein and Isa Goldberg
By: Isa Goldberg
September 10,2020: While I’m a veteran contributor to theaterlife.com, many moons have passed since I’ve covered live theater or experienced it. Pandemic-wise, it’s been quite a change of life for all of us.
Fortunately, I had the fun of joining a theater troupe, The 68 Cent Crew Theatre, that I discovered a couple of years ago. Currently we’re performing our 9th Annual One-Acts Festival (www.youtube.com/68centcrewtheatre) with a wham bam burst of boldness and creativity.
Hilarious Off-Broadway Comedy, Happy Birthday Doug, begins streaming on BroadwayHD September 24th.
September 2, 2020: BroadwayHD, the premier streaming service for theater fans, announced that they are bringing Happy Birthday Doug, from producer Michael Urie, exclusively to their platform. The hilarious hit comedy had a brief, but successful run at SoHo Playhouse that ended prematurely due to the Pandemic. The acclaimed production was written and performed by Drew Droege (the Internet’s “Chloë,” “Drunk History,” “Bob’s Burgers,” RuPaul’s “AJ and the Queen” on Netflix) and directed by Tom DeTrinis. The comedy was filmed during quarantine in an effort to bring theater to audiences during this unprecedented time. Jim Hansen directed and edited the film that was produced in association with Zach Laks.
August 31, 2020: A survey of the most active dates for theater openings in late August during the twenties, thirties, and forties turns our attention to the last three days of the month. As noted in previous installments of this column, August was the weakest of each season’s months during our focal decades, July being a close second. In fact, there were years, like 1938, 1939, and 1947, in which only one show opened in August; even more shockingly, not a single August show opened in 1940, 1941, 1945, or 1946. Wherever people were spending their sizzling summers—traveling, the country, or the beach—it wasn’t at un-air-conditioned theaters.
August 30, 2020: One of the promising developments in the entertainment industry during the pandemic is the many creative ways companies have met the challenge of not having a live audience in a theater. Not least of these innovations is Live in Theater’s series of interactive Zoom experiences. The series uses Zoom technology to bring interactive theater into the homes of audiences. The first show in the series is Murder at River Crossing Book Club. created by Carlo D’Amore, Collin Blackard, Phoebe Dunn, Natalia Yandyganova; and written and directed by D’Amore.
August 23, 2020: Such great news, as excellently reported here by our David Sheward, that Fall will bring a televised 74th annual Tony Awards, honoring the 2019-2020 season, which was sadly cut short by Covid 19. The American Theater Wing and Broadway League — co-presenters of the Awards, announced that 18 of the 20 shows that opened before the March 13 shutdown will be eligible for nominations. Additional details will be released soon.
Theater Update: 2020 Digital Tonys; NBC Special; New Apples
By: David Sheward
August 22, 2020: Like a child late to a birthday party, the Tony Awards are finally arriving at the accolade-dispensing festivities. The 74th annual Tonys will be presented digitally in the fall. There were no specific dates or details on the platform in the press release issued by the Broadway League, the organization of theater owners and producers which co-presents the ceremony with the American Theater Wing. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, all Broadway and Off-Broadway theaters closed, cutting short the season and the number of shows eligible for prizes. While all the other NYC theater awards including the Drama Desks, Outer Critics Circle, Obies, and New York Drama Critics Circle Awards, presented their trophies either online or by press announcements through May and June, the Tonys stayed mum.
The Theater Community mourns a beloved colleague, Howell Binkley, the Tony Award winning lighting designer of Hamilton and Jersey Boys.
August 16, 2020: One of Broadway’s most prominent and well liked lighting designers, Howell Binkley, a two-time Tony winner died on August 14 at the age of 64 after a long battle with lung cancer. His wife, Joyce Storey, confirmed the news. His designs included the Broadway productions of Jersey Boys and Hamilton, both of which earned him Tony Awards. The first award came in 2006 and the second 10 years later in 2016. He also won the Olivier Award for Lin-Manuel Miranda’s staging of the musical Hamilton in London’s West End. The awards were merely the icing on an illustrious Broadway career that was already well established by the mid1990s. In total Mr. Binkley designed lighting for 52 Broadway shows.
August 14, 2020: Round and round she goes, and where she stops for this installment of “On This Day in New York Theater” is August 14, the most active August date over the course of the three decades covered by this series. For the thirties and forties, August beat time on the doldrums, sometimes nearly standing as still as the ship in Coleridge’s “Rime of the Ancient Mariner,” with theatres, theatres everywhere, but very few that blinked.
August 13, 2020: The intimate environs of cabaret will probably be the last aspect of the entertainment industry to return to normal in this COVID world. Patrons squeezed shoulder to shoulder at tiny tables, mere inches away from performers projecting potentially infectious air particles is a scary atmosphere these days. Until a reliable vaccine becomes available, we will probably not be enjoying this unique, direct art form. Fortunately, the Irish Repertory Theatre has translated a delightful gem of a cabaret piece to the digital medium for a brief stay. Love, Noel: The Songs and Letters of Noel Coward, devised by Barry Day, assembles a sparkling sampling of the witty correspondence and the 300 songs by the brilliant polymath Coward. One of the great entertainers of the 20th century, Coward wrote some of the most durable light comedies of the repertoire (Blithe Spirit, Private Lives, Hay Fever, Present Laughter), composed heartfelt and fizzy songs, and dazzled audiences as an actor and singer on stage, film, television, and the cabaret and concert stage. Pianist Steve Ross and singer KT Sullivan are the amiable hosts of this marvelous party. Director Charlotte Moore smoothly paces this delightful pastiche of Coward’s martini-dry wit and throbbing sentiment in the elegant Players Club amid the memorabilia of centuries of show business.