Around The Town

Pipeline Free on BroadwayHD

Piercing drama, Pipeline by Dominique Morisseau, free on BroadwayHD beginning today.

June 9, 2020:  Live From Lincoln Center, in partnership with BroadwayHD, starting today is bringing Dominique Morisseau’s strikingly powerful work Pipeline, originally staged at Lincoln Center Theater in 2017, to audiences at home. This intimate play depicts a mother’s hopes for her son and their clash with an educational system rigged against him. To view for free (87 minutes) Click Here: http://ow.ly/cE7b50A1Nfl

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Around The Town

Drama Desk Awards

June 8, 2020: The 65th Annual Drama Desk Awards will air Saturday, June 13th, at 7:30pm ET. The special presentation will air on Spectrum News NY1’s and stream on NY1.com, and DramaDeskAwards.com. (If for any reason the telecast is unable to air in that time slot on Spectrum News NY1, it will still be made available at that time on DramaDeskAwards.com.)

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Around The Town

The David Desk Awards

By: David Sheward

June 7, 2020: Today normally would have been one of the best days of the year, Tony Award Day! But because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Broadway theaters have been shut down since March 12 and are not likely to reopen until January 2021 at the earliest. In a May 25 interview with Tim Teeman of the Daily Beast, Broadway League president Charlotte St. Martin was cautiously optimistic about the Main Stem lights being relit. But she stressed social distancing and playing to half-empty housing would not fit with the Broadway economic model which requires packing in as many bodies as possible for maximum profit. A few shows such as Plaza Suite, MJ: The Michael Jackson Musical and 1776 have announced opening dates for the spring of 2021, but those may be aspirational like Trump saying he wanted packed churches on Easter.

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Reviews

Bleeding Love *****

Cast and Team. Photo: Broadway Podcast Network.

By: Paulanne Simmons

June 4, 2020: Bleeding Love, a musical about romance in catastrophic times, might seem to be the brainchild of someone living in 2020. However, book writer Jason Schafer, composer Arthur Lafrentz Bacon and lyricist Harris Doran (who also directed and edited) began the creative process nine years ago.  What’s more, Bleeding Love is based on “The Nightingale and the Rose,” a fairy tale found in Oscar Wilde’s 1888 collection, The Happy Prince and Other Tales. And“The Nightingale and the Rose”wasWilde’s answer to Hans Christian Anderson’s “The Nightingale,” published in 1843.

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Around The Town

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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Around The Town

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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Around The Town

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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Features

Larry Kramer

Larry Kramer, Tony-winning Playwright, Oscar-nominee, and Outspoken AIDS Activist, Dies at 84

By: Ellis Nassour

April 28, 2020 — The death of Tony-winning playwright, Oscar-nominee, Pulitzer Prize finalist, author, and outspoken AIDS activist Larry Kramer brought to an end a tumultuous life. He was more often than not outraged, and outrageous. In his case, however, his yelling, screaming, protesting saved no telling how many lives. As the scourge of HIV AIDS swept the world, he brought attention to the lack of government commitment to finding a cure. Kramer also co-founded two quite historic organizations: Gay Men’s Health Crisis (GMHC), which operated clinics for discrete testing, counseling, and medical advice; and his controversial protest group ACT-UP [AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power].

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Around The Town

On This Day in New York Theater: May 29 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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Reviews

A Streetcar Named Desire ****, Mad Forest ***

Ben Foster in “A Streetcar Named Desire”

By: David Sheward

May 24, 2020: There is one upside to all the theaters being closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Through streaming, YouTube, Zoom and other digital platforms, we get a chance to catch up with intriguing productions we may have missed. One such is the Young Vic’s innovative 2014 revival of A Streetcar Named Desire which was shown in cinemas through HD Live and played a limited engagement at Brooklyn’s St. Ann’s Warehouse in 2016 following an extended run in London. NT Live at Home will play the production for free on YouTube through May 28. Though Tennessee Williams’ classic clash between the faded Southern belle Blanche DuBois and her brutish brother-in-law Stanley Kowalski has been interpreted numerous times for stage and screen since its 1947 premiere, director Benedict Andrews has found new insights as well as invigorating the essential conflict and message. 

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Interviews

Conrad Ricamora

Conrad Ricamora

Conrad Ricamora Reflects on a Season That Said Good-Bye to Power and Murder 

By: Iris Wiener

The Public Theater’s Soft Power closed in 2019, but David Henry Hwang and Jeanine Tesori’s story left such an impact on its audiences that it has now been nominated for eleven Drama Desk Awards. Conrad Ricamora, a beloved performer known for his award-winning turn as Aquino in Here Lies Love and his ground-breaking, heartfelt work as Oliver on ABC’s How to Get Away with Murder, nagged one of the Drama Desk’s nods for Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical. As Soft Power’sChinese movie producer Xūe Xíng, Ricamora’s talent was on full display; he sang, danced, and even charmed Hilary Clinton in the farcical yet poignant “play in a musical.” On the eve of How to Get Away with Murder’s final episode, Ricamora spoke with Theaterlife about saying goodbye to the show that made him a television star, and Soft Power’s continued resonance and emotional impact.

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Around The Town

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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Around The Town

ON THIS DAY IN NEW YORK THEATER: MAY 24 IN THE 1920’S AND 1930’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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Around The Town

On This Day In New York Theater: May 19 in the 1930’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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Reviews

In- Zoom ***, Macbeth (Shakespeare’s Globe) ****, MacBeth (Stratford Festival) **

Bill Irwin

By: David Sheward

May 16, 2020: “We’re heads now. We talk in windows,” cries one of two nameless characters in Bill Irwin’s touching, ten-minute play In-Zoom, presented by the Old Globe Theater of San Diego. The cry of frustration sums up our current lockdown status. This short two-hander addresses our lack of connection and the attempt to reach each other, literally breaking the barrier of cyberspace. The premise is simplicity itself and like a Samuel Beckett playlet, In-Zoom captures the comic and tragic conundrum of daily life. 

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