Around The Town

On This Day in New York Theater: January 16, 1924 (The Miracle)

By: Samuel L. Leiter

January 16, 2021: Today is the 57th birthday of my daughter, Bambi, which I’d like to celebrate by choosing January 16 for this installment of “On This Day in New York Theatre.” A number of important shows have opened on January 16 over the years—including Hello, Dolly!, which opened in 1964 on the day Bambi was born—but this series focuses on the twenties, thirties, and forties of the last century. And since, like all births, Bambi’s was a miracle, what more appropriate work to write about than one actually called The Miracle. The Miracle had much about it that was, indeed, miraculous, so, unlike my other postings in this series, which cover multiple shows opening on a particular day across one or more decades, what follows is  devoted to The Miracle alone. 

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Around The Town

The Museum of Jewish Heritage

Museum of Jewish Heritage

Virtual tribute from The Museum of Jewish Heritage commemorates International Holocaust Remembrance Day and the 76th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz.

January 15, 2020: The Museum of Jewish Heritage, A Living Memorial to the Holocaust will present on Wednesday, January 27 at 8:00 PM “18 Voices: A Liberation Day Reading of Young Writers’ Diaries From The Holocaust”. The virtual event commemorates International Holocaust Remembrance Day and the 76th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, which is the subject of the Museum’s award-winning exhibition Auschwitz. Not long ago. Not far away., currently on display through May 2, 2021.

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Reviews

Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom ****

Chadwick Boseman, Viola Davis

By: David Sheward

January 9, 2020: In the 20th century, the number of African-American playwrights who have had financially successful, non-musical productions on Broadway can be counted on the fingers of one hand—Lorraine Hansberry (A Raisin in the Sun) and August Wilson (Fences, Joe Turner’s Come and Gone, etc.). The situation has not improved much in the 21st. The record of transferring the plays of these authors to the screen has been even spottier.

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Around The Town

BroadwayHD Kicks-Off 2021

Dazzling and diverse new titles debuting in January include the comedy hit,  Peter Pan Goes Wrong from Mischief Theater, Sam Harris’ Ham and Rogers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella.

January 6, 2021: BroadwayHD, the premier streaming service for theater fans is kicking off 2021 with a dazzling lineup, including the comedy hit Peter Pan Goes Wrong from Mischief, Sam Harris’ HAM: A Musical Memoir, and Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella starring Lesley Ann Warren, Ginger Rogers, and Celeste Holm.   

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Around The Town

Broadway Remembers

BROADWAY REMEMBERS, an in memoriam video, honors the memories of those the Broadway community has lost since June 2019.

January 1, 2020: “Broadway Remembers,” a just released in memoriam video tribute, honors the memories of some of those the Broadway community lost between June 2019 and December 2020. Directed by Raúl Esparza, music direction by Mary-Mitchell Campbell, and produced and conceived by Mike Karns and Steven Tartick, the approximately 8-minute video features original vocal performances by Sierra Boggess and Esparza and celebrates the lives of more than 100 people from all areas and disciplines within the theatrical community.  

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Around The Town

On This Day in New York Theater: New Year’s Eve from the 1920’s through the 1940’s

By: Samuel L. Leiter

(No. 20 in the series)

December 31, 2020: For this column’s last entry in the horrific year of the pandemic, I thought it might be interesting to see what opened on New York’s stages on New Year’s Eve, December 31, during the three decades covered in this series. What with all the tumult normally associated with that date in the theatre district, it would seem an unlikely time to venture forth to see a show, much less to open one. For the record, the celebration of New Year’s Eve in Times Square began in 1904, although it wasn’t until three years later that the first version of the ball drop was inaugurated. You can read the fascinating story here

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Features

Remembering Two Great Talents: Ann Reinking and Rebecca Luker

From Associated Press and other sources. Compiled and notated by Ellis Nassour

December 24, 2020: This is a year which could not have been sadder: more than 335,000 deaths from COVID-19. And now comes the disheartening news of the deaths of two giant, radiant, and very generous Broadway talents: actress and Tony-winning  choreographer Ann Reinking on December 12; and Tony-nominee and crystal-voiced Rebecca Luker on December 23. 

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Around The Town

Godspell 50th Anniversary

Broadway HD celebrates the 50th anniversary or Godspell with the return of a special award winning concert that will debut on their platform December 22.

December 21, 2020: Following a successful online run in the summer, the award-winning digital concert rendition of Stephen Schwartz and John-Michael Tebelak’s Godspell will be returning due to popular demand when it launches on BroadwayHD, the premier streaming service for live theater, on December 22nd. The Godspell 50th Anniversary Concert features unmissable performances from theatrical legends Ruthie Henshall (Chicago; Billy Elliot) and Darren Day (Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat; Priscilla, Queen of the Desert) – reprising their roles from the 1993 cast recording – alongside Sam Tutty (Dear Evan Hansen), Ria Jones (Sunset Boulevard; High Society), Jenna Russell (The Bridges of Madison County; Fun Home), and other popular West End performers. 

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Reviews

The Prom ***, Meet Me in St. Louis ****, Estella Scrooge **

James Corden, Nicole Kidman, Andrew Rannells, Meryl Streep in “The Prom”

By: David Sheward

December 21, 2020: With Broadway shut down at least until June of 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic, one must rely on streaming services and the occasional broadcast network special for a musical theater fix. The holiday season is usually rife with new shows and we have had to make due with filmed versions of Broadway hits such as Netflix’s The Prom. Directed by Ryan Murphy of Glee and American Horror Story fame, this adaptation of the 2018 tuner attempts to capture the snarky bite of Bob Martin and Chad Beguelin’s original book, but comes up short. Nevertheless, this is a fun, if overlong, romp for theater fans and might win over non-Broadway fanatics.

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Around The Town

More Holiday Cheer from BroadwayHD

BroadwayHD continues the Holiday Celebration with debut of the incredibly popular British hit A Christmas Carol Goes Wrong, as well as exciting , exclusive events including Forever Plaid 20th Anniversary Special and Christmas Concert in Strasbourg. Revelers are Invited to fete the New Year Garden State-Style with the “Jersey Boys” movie directed by Clint Eastwood Arriving on the Platform January 1st

December 14, 2020: Theater lovers are in for a treat as BroadwayHD gifts viewers with an extra helping of new holiday-themed titles leading into the Yuletide season.  Fans of the “Goes Wrong Show” British comedy series developed by Mischief Theatre will be excited to see A Christmas Carol Goes Wrong arrive on the service on December 14th.  Christmas Eve has everyone feeling nostalgic so why not spend the evening paying musical homage to the close-harmony ‘guy groups’ of the 1950s with the Forever Plaid Anniversary Special.   In the mood for a beautiful choral performance? Then you’ll want to check out the Christmas Concert in Strasbourg on December 22nd.

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Reviews

A Christmas Carol in Harlem ****

The Cast of “A Christmas Carol”

By: Paulanne Simmons

December 13, 2020: With the pandemic surging, many theater companies are celebrating the holiday season by steaming shows from previous years. So, if you missed The Classical Theatre of Harlem’s 2019 A Christmas Carol in Harlem, you now have the chance to watch a video of the live performance.

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Around The Town

On This Day in New York Theater: December 13 in the 1940’s

By: Samuel L. Leiter

(No. 19 in the series)

December 13, 2020: December 13 may have provided only four openings in the 1940s, but all of them are worth revisiting. Two were revivals, one of recent vintage, the other a classic. The first was Rachel Crothers’s 1937 hit, Susan and God. The classic was Maurice Evans’s newest rendering of Hamlet. The remaining shows were Norman Krasna’s Dear Ruth, one of biggest hits of the war years, and Wandering Stars,a Yiddish show borrowed from Sholem Aleichem (the source of Fiddler on the Roof).

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Around The Town

The Prom

Ryan Murphy’s Adaptation of The Prom Premieres with Starry Cast on Netflix

By: Ellis Nassour

December 10, 2020: Ryan Murphy brings Chad Beguelin, Matthew Sklar and Bob Martin’s big-hearted, quick-witted, and boisterous 2018 Tony-nominated Broadway musical The Prom to Netflix beginning Friday, December 11. 

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Features

The Actors Fund

Tis the Season to (Try) Be Merry and Give Thanks to The Actors Fund

By Ellis Nassour

December 7, 2020: The not-for-profit Actors Fund of America continues to be a vital resource for all members across the spectrum of the entertainment profession. There’s a vast array of programs, supported by people like you. With other fundraising events stymied by the pandemic, a godsend has been the numerous virtual events by so many talented industry members.

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