Matilda Returns with Multi-Cultural Cast and Big Surprises
By: Ellis Nassour
December 5, 2019: Tim Minchin and Dennis Kelly’s West End and Broadway hit musical Matilda returns for a limited engagement at A.R.T. New York Theatres [503 West 53rd Street, between Tenth and Eleventh Avenues], following more than 1,500 performances [March 2013-January 2017] for a revival with a multi-cultural cast of adults and children and more than a few surprise twists. There are five weekend performances Friday-Sunday, December 7 – 22.
December 3, 2019: Bedlam’s production of Arthur Miller’s The Crucible directed by Eric Tucker at the Connelly Theatre in the East Village is a generally strong and stimulating rendering of Mr. Miller’s stunning drama of witchcraft in Salem, Massachusetts in 1692. There is something to admire in its clean, honest excitement and it is so very different from Ivo van Hove’s opaque controversial Broadway revival back in 2016. The Crucible was originally titled Those Familiar Spirits, a vivid reverberation of the McCarthy 1950’s anti-Commmunist doings that stimulated Mr. Miller turning it into a theatrical witch hunt.
Samuel H. Levine, Kyle Soller and Andrew Burnap “The Inheritance”
By: David Sheward
December 2, 2019: Every generation or so since the late 1960s, a new play encapsulating the gay experience opens in New York. The Boys in the Band, Torch Song Trilogy, Love! Valour! Compassion!, and Angels in America have defined their respective gay moment and how the general society is reacting to it. Matthew Lopez’s The Inheritance isthe latest theatrical chronicle of the American gay journey. The massive work checks all the right boxes for a certifiable hit. A smash production in London complete with Olivier Awards, glowing reviews and snob appeal, an epic two-evening running time of over seven hours, a fluid, funny, clever production from director Stephen Daldry, and moving, intense performances. The play itself, inspired by Howard’s End, E.M. Forster’s classic novel of connection and redemption, is a mixed bag of brilliant moments of pathos, insight and observation, as well as extraneous, melodramatic and forced scenes.
Campbell Scott and LaChanze in “A Christmas Carol”
By: David Sheward
November 26, 2019: The holiday cheer begins at the Lyceum Theater before the latest incarnation of Dickens’ classic A Christmas Carol even commences. The holiday outing arrives on Broadway after a hit run in London. Lighting designer Hugh Vanstone has created a warm 19th century glow aided by lit candles throughout the theater. Patrons are greeted by cheerful staffers dressed in period costumes offering free cookies and clementine oranges. Cast members and musicians stroll onstage and play traditional yuletide favorites. The atmosphere is comfy and cosy for the beloved tale of the cold-hearted Ebenezer Scrooge and his redemption by a gaggle of benevolent ghosts, told with new shadings and vigor.
Guests toasted the season and rediscovered the gardens at this special time of the year.
November 30, 2019: LONGHOUSE, 133 Hands Creek Road in East Hampton, hosted a festive gathering with holiday music. Guests toasted the holiday season with hot apple cider rum toddy’s, Kaluah & coffee, and hot chocolate while touring the gardens and mingling with neighbors. Many people left personal wishes on the Yoko Ono Wish Tree, near the entrance to LONGHOUSE, when they departed.
November 20, 2019: Alan Lightman is an American physicist who has served on the faculties of Harvard and Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His research has focused on relativistic gravitation theory. He’s even studied what causes that mystery of mystery, the black hole.
Big Apple Circus: Explodes with WOW! Acts and a Latino Beat
By: Ellis Nassour
November 20, 2019: The Big Apple Circus is back with its blue and white Big Top planted in Damrosch Park at Lincoln Center, playing through February 2. This 42nd edition is also one of the best ever, crammed with acts that will elicit howls, WOWs, and gasps – and one act that will not only have you on the edge of your seat but also gasping in disbelief.
November 18, 2019: Singer and musical theater veteran Rosemary Loar says she was “raised in musical theater.” Her mother would escape New Jersey (and her seven children) for Broadway and return refreshed, with a cast album in hand. It was surely those cast albums that gave Loar her love of musical theater. That affection is on melodious display in Loar’s new cabaret act, Everything’s Coming Up Rosie, which debuted this fall at Don’t Tell Mama.
A Raisin in the Sun, a classic play by Lorraine Hansberry, at Bay Street Theater in Sag Harbor through December 1, 2019.
November 17, 2019: Bay Street Theater in Sag Harbor is presenting a searing production of Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun, directed by Lydia Fort. Literature live, now in its 11th season at Bay Street Theater, is staging the classic, which is celebrating the sixtieth anniversary of the play’s first production on Broadway. Literature Live brings classic works to middle and high school students for free. Since the program began 11 years ago over 30,000 students have seen live theater at Bay Street, many for the first time.
November 17, 2019: A trio of the most iconic and sought-after male title roles in world theater are currently being tackled Off-Broadway in a variety of productions ranging from wickedly sublime to well-intentioned but wrongheaded. The Irish company DruidShakespeare sets the Bard’s Richard III in a comic abattoir while CSC offers a tepid Macbeth and The New Group musicalizes Cyrano with lukewarm results.
By the time this is posted, it will be too late to see the Japan Society’s interesting program, Taiten: Noh and Kyogen, since it was around for only three days (November 14-16). Japan’s classic theatrical forms, noh and kyōgen, may have some interest among Theater Life’s readers, so what follows is for the record.
Jennie Garth Previews New Tour and Chats All Things 90210
By: Iris Wiener
November 14, 2019: Jennie Garth & Tori Spelling Live: A Night to Remember promises to live up to its title. On November 19th, the ladies of 90210 will make a stop at Long Island’s Theatre at Westbury as part of a multi-city tour to share an evening filled with laughs and memories. Garth spoke with Theaterlife about her latest venture, reflected on the Beverly Hills 90210 reboot, BH90210, and contemplated taking a try at Broadway.
November 14, 2019: Given the state of political gridlock, and partisan politics we’re in, Robert Schenkkan’s The Great Society – Part II of The LBJ Plays, is a timely production, currently at Lincoln Center’s Vivian Beautmont Theater. Set during LBJ’s administration, Schenkkan expounds on Part I of his work, All The Way, which played on Broadway starring Bryan Cranston in 2014.
Broadway dynamo brings For The Girls to Nederlander for 8 performances.
By: Patrick Christiano
November 12, 2019: The curtain rises on Tony and Emmy Awarding winning dynamo, Kristin Chenoweth’s Broadway show For The Girls, to reveal the petite star dressed in only an oversized promotional t-shirt for her show, inside out. It’s a staged moment that Kristin calls the prologue. In hardly a flash she is back and bedazzling, in a bedded mini dress, with her dynamic two co-stars for the, evening, Crystal Monee Hall and Marissa Rosen, who the star shares much of the spotlight with, for a rousing rendition of Helen Reddy’s “I Am Woman.” For The Girls is a celebration of powerful women and features songs by women, some of which are on Chenoweth’s recently released album of the same name. These three women are superb and form the heart of the evening, backed by five musicians and the renowned Mary-Mitchell Campbell on piano, providing musical direction as well.