Jeanna de Waal in Diana: The Musical
Credit: Little Fang
By: David Sheward
August 13, 2020: Another COVID-postponed Broadway musical has announced plans for reopening, but with a twist. Diana, the bio-musical about Great Britain’s beloved late princess, will now premiere on Netflix before opening on Broadway on May 25, 2021. The show will be filmed in the Longacre Theater next month without an audience and premiere on the streaming service sometime in early 2021 (no specific premiere date has been announced.) Diana began preview performances at the Longacre on March 2 and was to have opened on March 31, but all Broadway theaters closed on March 12. Diana will be the first production to return to Broadway since the closure, if only for one filmed performance. (A current production of Godspell at the Berkshire Theater Group in Pittsfield, Mass., was the first professional regional production to open. The show is playing in an outdoor tent in the theater’s parking lot and features socially distanced actors and attendees.) Actors Equity has approved safety procedures for Diana, including initial and recurring testing, isolation protocols for the actors and stage managers, and adjustments to the theater’s air-conditioning system to insure proper ventilation.
TEACH IT RIGHT OR RIGHT TO TEACH — An administrator witnesses the struggle of public school students and a teacher against privatization in “Teach It Right, or, Right to Teach,” Theater for the New City’s 2015 street theater production, which will tour City streets, parks and playgrounds throughout the five boroughs through September 20. L-R: Libby Del Campo, Lily Fremaux, Michael David Gordon, Justin Rodriguez. Photo by Jonathan Slaff.
By: Paulanne Simmons
August 14, 2020: For over four decades New York City summers have been blessed with Theater for the New City’s annual Street Theater tour, which visits all five boroughs and entertains while it raises social awareness. This year, street theater has become virtual theater as Crystal Field and her band of troubadours embrace technology to bring their latest creation into the homes and hearts of New Yorkers.
“Diana” A New Musical will premiere on Netflix ahead of its 2021 Broadway Opening Night which is set for May 25, 2021.
August 13, 2020: In a joint statement, the Diana producers said, “We speak for the entire company when we say that we couldn’t be more excited to finally be able share our show with theater lovers everywhere. Though there is no substitute for the live theater, we are honored to be a part of the quality entertainment that Netflix provides its subscribers worldwide.”
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.