Around The Town

Drama Desk Awards Postponed

Breaking News

May 31, 2020: Due to breaking news in New York City and across the country, Spectrum News NY1 and Broadway Brands/Broadway Briefing have just postponed tonight’s Drama Desk Awards celebration. The Awards were to have aired as a special edition of Spectrum News NY1’s “On Stage” at 7:30 pm.

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Around The Town

2020 Drama Desk Award Predictions

By: David Sheward

May 29, 2020: Normally at this time of year, I would be making Tony and Drama Desk Award predictions. But the Tonys have been indefinitely postponed due to the Coronavirus pandemic and the subsequent shuttering of all 41 Broadway theaters. In all likelihood, Broadway’s top honor will not return until 2021 since the Main Stem will probably not be open again until next year at the earliest. If so, they might expand the eligibility window to combine the truncated 2019-20 season with whatever opens next spring. Voters will no doubt be invited back to returning shows such as West Side Story, Girl from the North Country, Moulin Rouge and Tina: The Tina Turner Musical. Shows that have closed such as The Inheritance and Grand Horizons will be out of luck, because they will have to rely on the memories of the voters who saw them. Closed productions are usually shut out of the Tonys even in “normal” times.

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Features

Larry Kramer

Larry Kramer, Tony-winning Playwright, Oscar-nominee, and Outspoken AIDS Activist, Dies at 84

By: Ellis Nassour

April 28, 2020 — The death of Tony-winning playwright, Oscar-nominee, Pulitzer Prize finalist, author, and outspoken AIDS activist Larry Kramer brought to an end a tumultuous life. He was more often than not outraged, and outrageous. In his case, however, his yelling, screaming, protesting saved no telling how many lives. As the scourge of HIV AIDS swept the world, he brought attention to the lack of government commitment to finding a cure. Kramer also co-founded two quite historic organizations: Gay Men’s Health Crisis (GMHC), which operated clinics for discrete testing, counseling, and medical advice; and his controversial protest group ACT-UP [AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power].

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Around The Town

On This Day in New York Theater: May 29 in the 1920’s, 1930’s and 1940’s

ON THIS DAY IN NEW YORK THEATER: MAY 29 IN THE 1920’S, 1930’S, AND 1940’S

By: Samuel L. Leiter

(No. 4 in the series)

May 29,2020: The last two days in May were decidedly fallow for New York theatre production during the twenties, thirties, and forties. Over those three decades, only seven shows opened on May 29; even worse was May 30, with a mere three. And of them all, regardless of the day, only one had even a smidgen of importance. Here’s what opened during those years on May 29.

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Reviews

A Streetcar Named Desire ****, Mad Forest ***

Ben Foster in “A Streetcar Named Desire”

By: David Sheward

May 24, 2020: There is one upside to all the theaters being closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Through streaming, YouTube, Zoom and other digital platforms, we get a chance to catch up with intriguing productions we may have missed. One such is the Young Vic’s innovative 2014 revival of A Streetcar Named Desire which was shown in cinemas through HD Live and played a limited engagement at Brooklyn’s St. Ann’s Warehouse in 2016 following an extended run in London. NT Live at Home will play the production for free on YouTube through May 28. Though Tennessee Williams’ classic clash between the faded Southern belle Blanche DuBois and her brutish brother-in-law Stanley Kowalski has been interpreted numerous times for stage and screen since its 1947 premiere, director Benedict Andrews has found new insights as well as invigorating the essential conflict and message. 

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Around The Town

Drama Desk Honors Harold Prince

Harold Prince

The late great Harold Prince will be celebrated on Sunday at the 65th Annual Drama Desk Awards.

May 22, 2020: The 65th Annual Drama Desk Awards will celebrate the life and legacy of American theater producer and director Harold “Hal” Prince with the Drama Desk’s newly established lifetime achievement honor. The Harold Prince Award will be bestowed annually for outstanding contributions to theater, and the posthumous award will be given in his honor this year. Prince passed away on July 31, 2019, at the age of 91.

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Interviews

Conrad Ricamora

Conrad Ricamora

Conrad Ricamora Reflects on a Season That Said Good-Bye to Power and Murder 

By: Iris Wiener

The Public Theater’s Soft Power closed in 2019, but David Henry Hwang and Jeanine Tesori’s story left such an impact on its audiences that it has now been nominated for eleven Drama Desk Awards. Conrad Ricamora, a beloved performer known for his award-winning turn as Aquino in Here Lies Love and his ground-breaking, heartfelt work as Oliver on ABC’s How to Get Away with Murder, nagged one of the Drama Desk’s nods for Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical. As Soft Power’sChinese movie producer Xūe Xíng, Ricamora’s talent was on full display; he sang, danced, and even charmed Hilary Clinton in the farcical yet poignant “play in a musical.” On the eve of How to Get Away with Murder’s final episode, Ricamora spoke with Theaterlife about saying goodbye to the show that made him a television star, and Soft Power’s continued resonance and emotional impact.

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Around The Town

ON THIS DAY IN NEW YORK THEATER: MAY 24 IN THE 1920’S AND 1930’S

ON THIS DAY IN NEW YORK THEATER: MAY 29 IN THE 1920’S, 1930’S, AND 1940’S

By: Samuel L. Leiter

(No. 3 in the series)

May 24, 2020: This series aims to offer a new column every four or five days, describing shows that opened in New York on a particular calendar day between June 1920 and the end of May 1950. As a result, the days selected are more or less random and may not always have been the most theatrically productive. Late spring was not a particularly active time, as witness the opening of only around 19 shows on either May 24 or May 25, combined, during all of those 30 years. Today, we’ll go with May 24. Since the overall total is small, what follows ignores my original intention to cover only a single decade in an entry and will instead cover two, with some notes on the third.

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Around The Town

On This Day In New York Theater: May 19 in the 1930’S

ON THIS DAY IN NEW YORK THEATER: MAY 29 IN THE 1920’S, 1930’S, AND 1940’S

By: Samuel L. Leiter

(No. 2 in the series)

May 19, 2020: During the 1930s, six Broadway shows opened on May 19, the years being 1931, 1932, 1935, 1936, 1937, and 1939. These were, in order, a revue called Crazy Quilt; a revival of the great musical Show Boat; a politically-slanted revue titled Parade, which introduced Eve Arden; The Dance of Death, a poetic, W.H Auden-written satire with music on the middle class; a hit farce, Room Service; and Life and Death of an American,a propagandistic, labor-themed drama with music. Two were products of the Federal Theatre Project.

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Reviews

In- Zoom ***, Macbeth (Shakespeare’s Globe) ****, MacBeth (Stratford Festival) **

Bill Irwin

By: David Sheward

May 16, 2020: “We’re heads now. We talk in windows,” cries one of two nameless characters in Bill Irwin’s touching, ten-minute play In-Zoom, presented by the Old Globe Theater of San Diego. The cry of frustration sums up our current lockdown status. This short two-hander addresses our lack of connection and the attempt to reach each other, literally breaking the barrier of cyberspace. The premise is simplicity itself and like a Samuel Beckett playlet, In-Zoom captures the comic and tragic conundrum of daily life. 

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Around The Town

Free on BroadwayHD

Heather Velazquez, Namir Smallwood in “Pipeline”

Pipeline, Lincoln Center’s acclaimed 2017 production, will be steamed free on BroadwayHD from May 15-22.

May 13, 2020: BroadwayHD, the premiere streaming service for theater fans, is bringing special viewings of fan favorite productions from New York’s Live from Lincoln Center and Roundabout Theatre to viewers at home, an addition to their already sumptuous selections.

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Around The Town

On This Day in New York Theater: May 14 in the 1920’s

John Barrymore as “Hamlet”

By: Samuel L. Leiter

May 14, 2020: It’s hard to believe that, for the moment, almost all theatre in the world has come to a screeching halt. Some of us whose lives are inextricably entwined with writing about the theatre (I even have a polo shirt that says: EAT, SLEEP, THEATRE, REPEAT) can’t keep our rubber-gloved hands off the Fabulous Invalid, and hope to share news of it, even if the news is decades old. That’s become my own beat during the pandemic. 

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Around The Town

Outer Critics Circle Awards

Special honors recipients for the 70th Annual Outer Critics Circle Awards, commemorating the 2019-20 Broadway and Off-Broadway Season, were announced today.

May 11, 2020: The Outer Critics Circle (OCC), the official organization of writers on New York theatre for out-of-town newspapers and national publications, presented the recipients of this year’s special honors for the 2019-2020 Broadway and Off-Broadway season. Past OCC Award honorees Kristin Chenoweth, Bryan Cranston, Patti LuPone, Lin-Manuel Miranda, and Patrick Stewart, announced this season’s honorees by video feed today.
Watch The Announcements Here:

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Around The Town

Remembering Those Lost to Corona Covid-19

Remembering Those Lost to Corona COVID-19 with Tributes and The Rise Up NY! Fundraiser.

By: Ellis Nassour

May 8, 2020: Cellist Yo-Yo Ma and direct from Broadway and 98th Street and select appearances to entertain the masses, Tony-winner Brian Stokes Mitchell, also chairman of the Actors Fund, will, respectively, lead the second and third interfaith collaboration Memorial for Us All broadcasts Sunday, May 10 and Sunday, May 17 at 6 P:M. E. These weekly broadcasts honor those lost during this COVID-19 pandemic.

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Interviews

David Alan Grier

David Alan Grier

David Alan Grier Dishes on His Drama Desk Nod for A Soldier’s Play

By: Iris Wiener

May 7, 2020: David Alan Grier prides himself on variety; he has left no genre or medium untouched, ranging from theater (both plays and musicals) to television and film (comedy, drama, and everything in between), to stand-up comedy and improv. His long career has even afforded him three opportunities to work on A Soldier’s Play, which is currently nominated for a Drama Desk Award for Best Revival of a Play.

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