Around The Town

Jamie deRoy & friends

Sheldon Harnick

August 4, 2020: Jamie deRoy & friends presents CREATING MUSICAL THEATER OFF-BROADWAY from the Archives of Primary Stages Off-Broadway Oral History Project.  

Utilizing previously taped interviews with Daryl Roth, Don Scardino, Dr. Glory Van Scott, Fyvush Finkel, Gretchen Cryer and Nancy Ford,  Jerry Zaks, Jo Sullivan Loesser, Joe Hardy, Maryanne De Pury, Micki Grant, Richard Foreman, Richard Maltby, Jr., Rita Gardner, Sheldon Harnick, Tom Jones and Tony Walton.

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Around The Town

BroadwayHD’s August Slate

BROADWAYHD debuts a slate of Popular Titles in August with, Sam Shepard’s “True West,” Ibsen’s “A Doll’s House” and “Summer Stock” starring Judy Garland and Gene Kelly.

August 2, 2020:  BroadwayHD, the premiere streaming service for theater fans, announced its hot new August lineup with popular comedy and musical titles to watch all month long! Leading the way this month is Summer Stock, the 1950’s movie directed by Charles Walters, which stars Judy Garland, Gene Kelly and Eddie Bracken, on August 1st. The film follows the story of a small-town farmer, down on her luck, who finds her homestead invaded by a theatrical troupe invited to stay by her ne’er-do-well sister. Next are Digital Theatre’s live captures of Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House, at London’s Young Vic Theatre, on August 6th, followed by Sam Shepard’s True West, at the Tricycle Theatre in London, on August 11th.

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Hamptons Life

ARF’s Bow Wow Meow Ball @home

Sophie left ARF for a foster home as the shelter prepared for COVID-19. She was adopted by her foster family in a matter of days. Photo: Francine Fleischer

Saturday, August 15 at 6:30 PM

July 31, 2020: Celebrate ARF and honor their staff with the Champion of Animals award for their selflessness and dedication to the animals and ARF’s mission throughout the COVID-19 crisis. No tent. No bar. No menu. 100% for the animals. Join ARF from the comforts from your own couch for an online tribute including the Parade of Animals at 6:30 PM followed by entertainment from Isabel Rossellini, Robert Wilson and Christopher Mason.

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Around The Town

On This Day in New York Theater: July 27 in the 1920’s, 1930’s and 1940’s

By: Samuel L. Leiter

(No. 11 in the series)

July 27, 2020: Again, few midsummer days in the three decades comprised by this column offered more than a handful of openings. For late July, we’ll have to go with the 27th, despite its output of a mere five shows in thirty years. And, of those five—The Teaser, The Morning After, a double bill of “Trial by Jury” and H.M.S. Pinafore, The Bohemian Girl, and Too Many Thumbs—three were new and two were revivals. Assuming most readers are familiar with at least one of these offerings, how many others have you even heard of? 

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Reviews

The Weir ****

Amanda Quaid

By: David Sheward

July 24, 2020: Five lonely people swap ghost stories in a secluded Irish country pub in Connor McPherson’s touching play The Weir. This woes of this disheartened quintet are strikingly relevant for the COVID-19 era. They are attempting to make human connection despite the psychological barriers that separate them. Shuttered along with all other Broadway and Off-Broadway theaters because of the pandemic, the Irish Repertory Theater has adapted its 2013 staging of the play for remote streaming, subtitled “A Performance on Screen,” and created a hybrid between theater and video, emphasizing the isolation of the characters. Each of the five actors filmed their roles in different states from Vermont to North Carolina, performing against green screens (set designer Charlie Corcoron created the atmospheric, homey environment). Director Ciaran O’Reilly has seamlessly woven together the bits and pieces into a cohesive whole, creating the illusion they are all together in the same space.

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Around The Town

Summer Vibez

Ryan Johnson

Queens Theater presents SUMMER VIBEZ,  a 60-minute dance experience, July 25 at 1pm LIVE @ https://queenstheatre.org/

By: Paulanne Simmons

Of all the art forms, the most difficult to pursue in times of pandemic may be dance. But Queens Theatre has met the challenge. This premier performing arts venue in Queens has partnered with the D.C. based SOLE Defined and local dance companies from Queensboro Dance Festival to create a 60-minute dance experience, Summer Vibez, that will stream on Queens Theatre’s website, YouTube and Facebook channels on July 25, 2020, at 1:00pm.

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Around The Town

Broadway Update

The Cast of Lynn Nottage ‘s “Floyds” Photo T. Charles Erickson

Broadway Update: Second Stage and ‘Funny Girl’

By: David Sheward

July 24, 2020: The future of Broadway is still in doubt. In an interview with Billboard, a respected music producer whose credits include shows for Lady Gaga and Nine Inch Nails, predicted live concerts would not return until 2022 (so live theater would also be included in that forecast.) Broadway League president Charlotte St. Martin has been more optimistic, but she has said that while theaters may open next year, tourism might not come back in full force until 2024.

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Around The Town

On This Day In New York Theater: July 15 in the 1920’s, 1930’s, and 1940’s

By: Samuel L. Leiter

(No. 10 in the series)

July 15, 2020: Before we move to July 15, the next day in our rambles through the sluggish summertime offerings of the twenties, thirties, and forties, note should be made that the heat must have affected my reflections my last time out, when I reported on shows that opened on July 6. I refer to my having omitted a 1920 musical offering, Buzzin’ Around. I knew of it but it must have melted from my notes before I began to write. Alan Gomberg, however, who manages the Vintage New York Theatre Facebook page, added some comments about it there for those who might wish to give it a buzz.

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Around The Town

Bay Street Theater

Wednesday, July 22nd, 8pm  7:30 Red Carpet Pre-Show

July 14, 2020: Bay Street Theater is paying comedic homage to celebrity telethon specials of the 1970s… a groovy celebration of Broadway musicals with special stars you won’t want to miss!

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Reviews

The Line ****

Lorraine Toussaint, Santino Fontana, and John Ortiz in “The Line” Credit: The Public Theater

By: David Sheward

July 14, 2020: The COVID-19 pandemic has forced the closures of theaters and reinforced the feeling of being in suspended animation. With no live dramatic reaction to this national crisis which has brought all of our lives to a near screeching halt, it feels as if there has been scant considered reflection or introspection—just talking heads endlessly pontificating on cable news shows and a disconnected chief executive engaging in magical thinking. We have had Richard Nelson’s Apple Family Zoom plays give us some perspective through an artistic lens, and now the Public Theater has commissioned documentary theater-makers Jessica Blank and Erik Jensen to assemble the heart-breaking real-life stories of first responders in a unique, interwoven series of monologues called The Line, available on the Public’s YouTube channel through Aug. 4.

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Around The Town

Neo-Political Cowgirls (NPC) Arts & Advocacy Fundraiser

Kerry Kennedy, Blythe Danner, Joy Behar, Catherine Curtin, Roberta Kaplan, and more will join NPC’s Annual Fundraiser on two evenings.

July 12, 2020:  Andromeda’s Sisters: An Arts and Advocacy Forum in Two Parts, takes place remotely via Zoom on Friday, August 14 and Thursday, September 3, 2020. The Neo-Political Cowgirls’ annual fundraiser will feature its signature event in two evenings: one of monologues written by female identifying playwrights, and another of social justice and advocacy.  Joining the trio The fundraiser is an opportunity for not-for-profit social justice organizations and leaders to speak about their work; for audiences to network and get engaged in advocacy and creative exploration; and for female-identifying playwrights and actors to be celebrated through their stage work. Andromeda Sisters is a fundraiser for the dance theater company, The Neo-Political Cowgirls, an organization created for women in theater to help increase the female voice in the narrative of our society’s stories. 

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Around The Town

Yiddish Classes with Folksbiene

By: Paulanne Simmons

July 7, 2020: During this extended shutdown, many of us are discovering unexplored talents or learning new skills. If you’ve always wanted to learn another language or forge a closer connection with your own or a different culture, help Is on the way. Throughout the summer, National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene is offering 15-minute Yiddish lessons every Tuesday at 1pm. The lessons can be accessed live and in archived form via Folksbiene’s website or on YouTube.

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Reviews

And So We Come Forth****, Les Blancs ***

And So We Come Forth: The Apple Family: A Dinner on Zoom, Les Blancs

By: David Sheward

July 7, 2020: As the hiatus from live theater continues with no respite in sight until at least 2021, we draw what sustenance we can from Zoom plays, archival broadcasts, benefit readings, and Hamilton on Disney Plus. Richard Nelson’s fictional Apple family is experiencing a similar sense of depravation and loss. In And So We Come Forth, the second piece about the middle-class clan in Rhinebeck, NY, since the coronavirus lockdown began, the four adult Apple siblings plus one romantic partner, sit down to a remote dinner and commiserate over the devastating effects of the pandemic. Each expresses a sense of emptiness and futility. Though not much happens and there is a minimum of activities such as game playing or political discussion which propelled action in the previous plays, this hour-long rumination on our fractured state between quarantine and normalcy resonates with sorrow and empathy. 

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