On This Day in New York Theater: June 3 in the 1920’s, 1930’s and 1940’s

ON THIS DAY IN NEW YORK THEATER: JUNE 3 IN THE 1920’S, 1930’S, AND 1940’S

By: Samuel L. Leiter

(No. 5 in the series)

June 3, 2020: A survey of shows that opened in New York on either June 3, 4, or 5 in the twenties, thirties, and forties reveals that, over the three decades, the first decade saw 14 openings, the second 12, while only five arrived on June 5. Not only did June 3 have the most shows, it also offered two historically important ones, since it was on that date in 1931 that The Band Wagon, starring Fred and Adele Astaire, opened, while the same date 11 years later presented Rodgers and Hart’s musical, By Jupiter, headed by Ray Bolger. Space—and your time—is limited, however, so the meal that follows focuses only on the twenties and thirties, with a few details on the forties added for a light desert. 

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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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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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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: JUNE 3 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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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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ON THIS DAY IN NEW YORK THEATER: MAY 24 IN THE 1920’S AND 1930’S

ON THIS DAY IN NEW YORK THEATER: JUNE 3 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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On This Day In New York Theater: May 19 in the 1930’S

ON THIS DAY IN NEW YORK THEATER: JUNE 3 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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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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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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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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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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Broadway Cares

Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS Launches Emergency Grants for Pandemic Relief with $1 Million Gift from Gilead Sciences  Donate at broadwaycares.org/relief2020 Your Donations Will Be Matched up to $500,000

May 6, 2020: Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS launched Emergency Grants for Pandemic Relief, a one-week fundraising initiative to provide $2 million in grants to vital organizations across the country whose resources are stretched dealing with immediate needs heightened by the COVID-19 crisis.

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Lucille Lortel Awards

35TH ANNUAL LUCILLE LORTEL AWARDS RECIPIENTS ANNOUNCED

May 4, 2020: The 35th Annual Lucille Lortel Awards for Outstanding Achievement Off-Broadway were presented in 19 categories, and two honorary awards were bestowed. Award recipients were announced during a special livestream broadcast hosted by Mario Cantone as a benefit for The Actors Fund, with the Lortel Foundation pledging $50,000 to their Emergency Grant Program, and an additional $50,000 to TDF.

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Theater Awards and Streaming in the Age of COVID

Performers in Take Me to the World: A Sondheim 90th Birthday Celebration Credit: Broadway.com

By: David Sheward

April 29, 2020: Theater and the performing arts continue despite the coronavirus pandemic. Stephen Sondheim’s 90th birthday was commemorated with Take Me to the World, a spectacular web-based quilt of performances presented by Broadway.com on April 26 and now available on YouTube. Though live performances on or Off-Broadway may not return for months, the annual award-dispensing free-for-all goes on, in different forms.

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Take Me To The World

Raul Esparza

A VIRTUAL CONCERT CELEBRATING SONDHEIM’S 90TH BIRTHDAY.

April 27, 2020:  Video highlights from last night’s all-star special virtual concert celebration of Stephen Sondheim’s 90th Birthday, “Take Me To The World: A Sondheim 90th Birthday Celebration” have been released for viewing. The concert, a fundraiser for ASTEP (Artists Striving to End Poverty), broadcast on Broadway.com and the Broadway.com YouTube channel.

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