Michael Shannon and Audra McDonald in “Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune”
By: David Sheward
June 4, 2019: Breaking the metaphorical walls between disconnected people is the common theme of three new NYC productions. On Broadway, Terrence McNally’s Frankie and Johnny in the Claire de Lune is a tender romance between unlikely lovers, while Off-Broadway Donald Margulies’ Long Lost and Jesse Eisenberg’s Happy Talk are more abrasive accounts of manipulation and dysfunction with self-loathing antagonists seeking support in twisted ways. All three provide absorbing portraits of the quest for love and comfort with the more experienced authors McNally and Margulies succeeding in creating believable and moving evenings.
Adam Driver, Robin Dearden, Bryan Cranston, Jeff Daniels, Kathleen Rosemary Treado
PRESENTING THE 2019 TONY HONORS FOR EXCELLENCE IN THE THEATRE AND HONORING THE 2019 SPECIAL AWARD RECIPIENTS
June 4, 2019: The Tony Awards held its annual Tony Honors Cocktail Reception at the Sofitel New York. This year’s Tony nominees gathered to celebrate recipients of the 2019 Special Tony Awards and Tony Honors for Excellence in the Theatre. The evening opened with a moving performance by Broadway Inspirational Voices.
Australian Ainsley Melham in Broadway Debut Returns to Rub Aladdin‘s Magic Lamp
By: Ellis Nassour
June 8, 2019: Disney’s Aladdin recently celebrated its fifth anniversary on Broadway at the historic New Amsterdam Theatre importing hot Australian Ainsley Melham to rub the magic lamp. He’s done it before: starring Down Under in the first Australian national tour, where he received a Best Actor in a Musical nomination. His Broadway debut is also a reunion — an aligning of the stars, so to speak. On the Australian tour, he co-starred with Michael James Scott, the current and absolutely irrepressible, wisecracking Genie, and Arielle Jacobs, the current Jasmine. [Trivia: her brother Adam was the original Aladdin.]
June 7, 2019: Like Ben Vereen, you may have wondered how the Tony Awards got their name. When Vereen was co-starring in Jesus Christ Superstar, he received a letter by messenger. It was from the American Theatre Wing. He asked the stage doorman what that was and the gent had no idea. He opened the letter. “It read: ‘Congratulations, Ben Vereen. You have been nominated as Best Featured Actor in a Musical for your performance.’” It was signed, The Tony Awards. He asked, “Who’s this Tony?”
June 7, 2019: It’s been another good year for one of the most talented and most cherished actresses working today, Mary Testa. But for the three-time Tony nominee, who describes herself as a character actress, every year seems to be a good one. Since coming to New York right out of college, Testa has appeared in over 30 Off Broadway and 12 Broadway productions and recorded a dozen albums.
75th Annual Theatre World Award Honorees Announced. Nathan Lane Receives John Willis Lifetime Achievement Honor
By: Ellis Nassour
June 4, 2019: Well, there are Tony’s, the blacktie gala event to honor Broadway shows and creatives, but undoubtedly the awards most looked forward to are the TWAs – the Theatre World Awards, and not just because of the after party at the Copacabana. It’s one of the most anticipated events of end-of-theater season because of the joy of seeing established stars – most former TWA honorees, come to the stage and honoring in glowing and, more often than not, hilarious terms actors – young to older – standing out in their Broadway and Off Broadway debuts.
June 6, 2019: The Irish Repertory Theatre’s revival of Sean O’Casey’s 1926 play, The Plough and The Stars, the conclusion of his Dublin Trilogy, evokes the madness and absurdity of war. As the play opens, on a darkly realistic drawing room (Charlie Corcoran), we meet the inhabitants of a Dublin tenement, characters drawn of sharply contrasting nature and sensibility.
A young actor rescues legendary actress, who can’t remember her lines, in World Premier of affecting comedy, The Prompter at Bay Street Theater.
June 2, 2019: By popular demand, The Prompter, a new comedy by Wade Dooley that was the audience favorite at Bay Street Theater’s New Works Festival last season, opened the Bay Street Theater’s Mainstage Summer Season in Sag Harbor. The world premiere of Dooley’s heartwarming tale about the relationship between a legendary actress and the prompter, she desperately needs after a 40-year absence from the stage, is deftly helmed by Scott Schwartz, Artistic Director of Bay Street Theater.
Eva Noblezada, André De Shields and Reeve Carney in “Hadestown.” Photo: Matthew Murphy
By: David Sheward
June 1, 2019: Once again the Tonys (presented June 9) and Drama Desk Awards (given June 2) will have significantly different results. In previous seasons, the two accolade-dispensing organizations would honor almost the same recipients and the DDs were seen as a theatrical equivalent to the Golden Globes with the Tonys playing Oscars. The essential difference between the two prizes is the Tonys, given out by the American Theatre Wing and the Broadway League, are only for Broadway shows while the Drama Desk, composed of New York-based theater critics, journalists and editors, includes on, Off- and Off-Off-Broadway productions in their celebration of the best of Gotham stages. Because of this discrepancy, if a show moves from Off-Broadway to Broadway in separate seasons, it would be up for a Tony but ineligible for a DD award since it was in contention previously.
June 1, 2019: English superstar Amy Winehouse died of alcohol poisoning in 2011 at the age of 27. In honor of her memory and her own charitable endeavors, her family established the Amy Winehouse Foundations to help organizations that work with at-risk young people and their families. What’s more, the organization works to inform young people of the dangers of drug abuse and help those who are being rehabilitated. On May 29 and 30, Amy’s Father, Mitch, and Alexis Fishman appeared in a joint program at City Winery to benefit the foundation.