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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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On This Day in New York Theater: July 6 in the 1920’s, 1930’s and 1940’s

By: Samuel L. Leiter

(No. 9 in the series)

July 6, 2020: A survey of the most active days for New York theater openings in the steamy days of early July during the torrid twenties, thermal thirties, and fiery forties reveals just how sluggish theatre business was in the good old summertime. Over a span of thirty years, the most prolific date between July 1 and 10 was July 6, which provided a mere eight titles, with three on the same day in 1927. Still, some interesting items can be discovered among those eight, which include a revival of Julius Caesar, one of Lombardi, Ltd., the reopening of a recent play called One for All, the reopening of Orson Welles’s “Negro Macbeth,” a musical called Yokel Boy that introduced Phil Silvers to Broadway, a minor revival of No Exit with Bea Arthur, another minor revival of No Exit, and, most interesting, Gertrude Stein’s Yes Is for a Very Young Man in an Off-Broadway rendering starring some soon-to-be heavy hitters from the Actors Studio.

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Nick Cordero

Update: July 5, 2020

After a More than Three-month Battle, Tony-nominated Actor Nick Cordero, 41, Dies from Complications Due to the Covid 19 Virus.

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‘Town’ and ‘Out’ Set for B’way 2021

Patrick J. Adams, Jesse Williams and Jesse Tyler Ferguson in “Take Me Out”. Credit: Catherine Wessel

By: David Sheward

July 3, 2020: Announcements continue for the (projected) Broadway reopening in 2021. The Broadway League announced on Monday, refunds and exchanges will be granted up until Jan. 3 of next year. Broadway and Off-Broadway theaters have been closed since March 12 due to the corona virus pandemic. Several productions announced previews and openings beginning in March. The League also said there would be “rolling” openings in early 2021 but so far, the earliest show with a specific date is Tracey Letts’ The Minutes which begins previews at the Cort Theater on March 1.

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Hamilton to Premiere on Disney

Lin-Manuel Miranda is Alexander Hamilton and Leslie Odom, Jr. is Aaron Burr in HAMILTON, the filmed version of the original Broadway production.

Hamilton’s journey from the stage to living rooms across the world.

By: Alex Simmons

July 2, 2020: Tomorrow, July 3, Lin Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton will premiere on Disney+, Disney’s video streaming service. Hamilton could be one of the most hotly anticipated releases on a ‘streaming service’ since the term first entered pop culture vernacular. With Disney’s sudden decision to stop offering the familiar ‘free for the first week’ promotional model, it would appear the prolific media company thinks so as well.

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Broadway Officially Closed through 2020

A scene from a 2014 production of Trouble in Mind at Two River Theater in Red Bank, NJ Photo: T. Charles Erickson

Roundabout Announces Dates for ‘Trouble,’ Etc.

By: David Sheward

June 29, 2020: It’s official. No Broadway for the rest of 2020. The Broadway League has announced all productions will remain shuttered through at least Jan. 3, 2021. Broadway and Off-Broadway theaters were all closed on March 12 due to the coronavirus pandemic. In an official press release, the League states, “Some of the logistics being currently reviewed for audience members and employees include: screening and testing, cleaning and sanitizing, wayfinding inside theatres, backstage protocols, and much more.” There is no mention of social distancing or reduced seating. Producer Scott Rudin and League President Charlotte St. Martin have both stated in previous interviews, social distancing will not work with the Broadway economic model. In other words, reduced seating capacity would not be profitable enough for the producers. The press release goes one to state “Returning productions are currently projected to resume performances over a series of rolling dates in early 2021. Tickets for performances for next winter and spring are expected to go on sale in the coming weeks.” Whether the theatergoing public will feel safe enough to return to New York theater without a vaccine to protect them remains to be seen.

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Broadway 2021

New Opening Dates for Broadway 2021

By: David Sheward

June 26, 2020: While New York City is slowly reopening from the lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the return of Broadway and other stages is still far in the future. But there is a glimmer of hope. Several Main Stem productions have announced new dates for previews and openings, all in 2021 and the earliest dates are March 1. The Minutes by Tracey Letts will begin previews at the Cort Theater on next March 1 with an opening set for March 15, one year after its originally projected premiere. The dark comedy about a secretive town council meeting has had a bumpy road to Broadway. After its Steppenwolf Theater Company debut in Chicago in 2017, the play was set to open on Broadway in 2018, but was delayed. The 2020 production was to have been directed by Tony winner Anna D. Shapiro (Letts’ August: Osage County) and feature the playwright, Armie Hammer, Ian Barford (Letts’ Linda Vista), Blair Brown, Cliff Chamberlain, K. Todd Freeman, Danny McCarthy, Jessie Mueller, Sally Murphy, Austin Pendleton, and Jeff Still. 

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