Ryan Spahn, Julia Randall, Playwright Vivian Neuwirth
Off- Broadway Premiere of an inspirational new play by Vivian Neuwirth opens at 59E59 Theaters
March 5, 2020: Mr. Toole, written by Vivian Neuwirth and directed by Cat Parker, opened at 59E59 Theaters. The play, produced by Articulate Theatre Company, in association with Lagniappe Productions, will play a limited engagement through Sunday, March 15.
Will Pomerantz (standing center) and Nancy Harrow (seated center)
with the company
of “About Love”
By: Samuel L. Leiter
“Summer of ‘33”
March 4, 2020: In 1860, the great Russian writer Ivan Turgenev wrote a semiautobiographical novella called First Love that beautifully captured the agony and ecstasy of a teenage boy’s sexual and romantic coming of age. While on vacation with his parents, a boy falls in love with a beautiful, older woman only for his heart to be broken. Even after he grows up, the memory of that first rush of longing and its poignant outcome remains with him so indelibly he’s compelled to put it down in writing.
March 1, 2020: For many people, the most significant fact about the 1962 musical, No Strings, is that it has the only Broadway score for which Richard Rodgers wrote both the music and the lyrics. In fact, the book was written by Samuel A. Taylor (more famous for screenplays for films such as Vertigo and The Eddy DuchinStory), and was arguably the first Broadway musical to address the Civil Rights movement that was about to coalesce in the 1963 March on Washington.
February 23, 2020: When it was announced controversial director Ivo van Hove would be staging a revival of the beloved West Side Story, you could practically hear the screams of musical theater purists. While many classic tuners have undergone significant reinterpretation—My Fair Lady and Oklahoma! being the latest—the classic street-gang remake of Romeo and Juliet has never been altered in a major way. Since its 1957 opening, all four of its previous Broadway revivals, as well as numerous touring companies, have featured Jerome Robbins’ original choreography. Robbins also directed all of those revivals expect for the one in 2009 (he died in 1998). That last one was staged by Arthur Laurents, the author of the book and his staging retained most of Robbins’ concepts. Van Hove has turned such non-musical classics as The Little Foxes, A Streetcar Named Desire, A View From The Bridge, and The Crucible inside out, so a radical reimagining of this firmly established favorite was in the offing. Then news leaked during rehearsals that there would be no intermission and the charming “I Feel Pretty” and the “Somewhere” ballet would be cut, eliciting further moans of despair from the traditionalists. Something was coming but would it be something good?
Rob Demery, J. Alphonse Nicholson, McKinley Belcher III
By: Isa Goldberg
February 20, 2020: Charles Fuller’s 1982 Pulitzer Prize winning drama, A Soldier’s Play, finally makes its Broadway debut. An intense murder mystery that digs deep into the racism in our country, has found its day.
February 20, 2020: An unusually engaging piece of theater, Boom, at 59E59 St Theaters takes on the older generation from a Gen Xer’s point of view. That is the perspective of the Writer/Director/Performer Rick Miller.
Michael Urie presents Drew Droege’s hysterical solo show, Happy Birthday Doug, at the SoHo Playhouse.
February 16, 2020: Happy Birthday Doug, a very funny and frequently insightful new one man-show by Drew Droege, RuPaul’s “AJ and the Queen” on Nexflix, opened at the SoHo Playhouse on Sunday. Happy Birthday Doug is a follow up to Droege’s 2018 hit, Bright Colors and Bold Patterns directed by Michael Urie, which The New York Times hailed as “hilarious” during its five-month run at the SoHo Playhouse in 2018. The show was captured by BroadwayHD for its streaming platform. That time the setting was a gay wedding in Palm Springs, this time it’s a gay birthday celebration in the back room of a wine bar in the Silverlake section of Los Angeles.
MAC Award-winning Variety Show, Jamie deRoy & Friends, returns to Birdland.
February 17, 2020: Jamie DeRoy, a seven- time Tony Award winning producer, brought her multi-MAC Award-winning Variety Show, Jamie deRoy & friends, back to Birdland last night. The entertaining evening, part of the Broadway at Birdland concert series, benefited The Actors Fund: Jamie deRoy & friends Cabaret Initiative which assists those in the cabaret industry who have medical needs and concerns. The Actors Fund annual gala will honor Matthew Broderick and Sarah Jessica Parker, along with Brian Stokes Mitchell, chairman of The Actor’s Fund, and producer philanthropist, Steve Tisch at the New York Marriott Marquis on April 6th. Photography: Barry Gordin
February 17, 2020: Several times a year, British chanteuse Barb Jungr comes to New York City. On those occasions she lights up the cabaret stage like few other performers. You can fall in love with Jungr because of her tremendous talent as a raconteur, her wicked sense of humor, and her insightful jazz and blues inflected interpretations of familiar and not so familiar songs. Or you can just thrill to her beautifully expressive voice that can be tender, vulnerable or furious.
February 16, 2020: There’s a moment in the Gate Theatre of Dublin’s production of Hamlet (at St. Ann’s Warehouse in Brooklyn through March 8) when one realizes there are some very different, very unorthodox, things going on in this play.
Ben Newman, Olivia Khoshatefeh, Ben Katz, Julia Greer, Olivia Abiassi
Lily Akerman’s The Commons directedby Emma Miller makes World Premiere at @ 59E59 Theaters.
February 12, 2020: The Commons, a tale about living with strangers by Lily Akerman, opened at 59E59 Theaters under Emma Miller’s steady hand. The play commissioned and produced by The Hearth, a group that develops new plays by women, is making its World Premier at 59E59 Theaters for a limited run through February 23rd. The opening marks the NYC debut of Akerman, a recent Hunter MFA grad, who is part of the Clubbed Thumb’s emerging writers.
Unmasked: The Music of Andrew Lloyd Webber Premieres at Paper Mill Playhouse
By: Ellis Nassour
February 14, 2020 – In Unmasked: The Music of Andrew Lloyd Webber, the jukebox revue having its world premiere at New Jersey’s Paper Mill Playhouse [22 Brookside Drive, Millburn] through March 1, the composer — one of the most successful of all time, isn’t physically present. However, via video feed in a way that could feel immensely intrusive but isn’t, he chats away in various settings, playing piano, and adding background to his and his lyricist collaborators’ thought process. As Lloyd Webber hovers over his vocally-gifted cast, often denigrating himself, he reveals a rarely-seen charm and sense of humor.