2024 Tony Award Winners


The Outsiders Wins Tony for Best Musical & Stereophonic is Best Play.

June 17, 2024: The 77th Annual Tony Awards recognizing Broadway shows from the 2023-2024 season were held at Lincoln Center last night hosted by Ariana DeBose. The Outsiders won the award for Best Musical. Stereophonic won Best Play and 5 awards, the most of the evening. Stephen Sondheim’s Merrily We Roll Along was named best musical revival, and Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’s “Appropriate” won best play revival.
Photography: Barry Gordin


The Outsiders Wins Tony for Best Musical & Stereophonic is Best Play.

June 17, 2024: The 77th Annual Tony Awards recognizing Broadway shows from the 2023-2024 season were held at Lincoln Center last night hosted by Ariana DeBose. The Outsiders won the award for Best Musical. Stereophonic won Best Play and 5 awards, the most of the evening. Stephen Sondheim’s Merrily We Roll Along was named best musical revival, and Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’s “Appropriate” won best play revival.
Photography: Barry Gordin

The Outsiders Producers -Winners

Best Musical

Hell’s Kitchen
Illinoise

The Outsiders – WINNERS
Suffs
Water for Elephants

Stereophonic – Winner.

Best Play

Jaja’s African Hair Braiding
Mary Jane
Mother Play
Prayer for the French Republic

Stereophonic – WINNER

Merrily We Roll Along Producers – Winners

Best Revival of a Play

Cabaret at the Kit Kat Club
Gutenberg! The Musical

Merrily We Roll Along – WINNER
The Who’s Tommy

Brandon Jacobs-Jenkins – Appropriate -Winner

Best Revival of a Musical

An Enemy of the People
Appropriate – WINNER
Purlie Victorious: A Non-Confederate Romp Through the Cotton Patch

Jonathan Groff – Merrily We Roll Along – Winner.

Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical

Brian d’Arcy James, Days of Wine and Roses
Brody Grant, The Outsiders
Jonathan Groff, Merrily We Roll Along – WINNER
Dorian Harewood, The Notebook
Eddie Redmayne, Cabaret at the Kit Kat Club

Maleah Joe Moon – Hell’s Kitchen – Winner.

Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical

Eden Espinosa, Lempicka
Maleah Joi Moon, Hell’s Kitchen – WINNER
Kelli O’Hara, Days of Wine and Roses
Maryann Plunkett, The Notebook
Gayle Rankin, Cabaret at the Kit Kat Club

Daniel Radcliffe- Merrily We Roll Along – Winner.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical

Roger Bart, Back to the Future: The Musical
Joshua Boone, The Outsiders
Brandon Victor Dixon, Hell’s Kitchen
Sky Lakota-Lynch, The Outsiders
Daniel Radcliffe, Merrily We Roll Along – WINNER
Steven Skybell, Cabaret at the Kit Kat Club

Kecia Lewis, Hell’s Kitchen – Winner.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical

Shoshana Bean, Hell’s Kitchen
Amber Iman, Lempicka
Nikki M. James, Suffs
Leslie Rodriguez Kritzer, Monty Python’s Spamalot
Kecia Lewis, Hell’s Kitchen – WINNER
Lindsay Mendez, Merrily We Roll Along
Bebe Neuwirth, Cabaret at the Kit Kat Club 

Jeremy Strong An Enemy of the People. Winner

Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Play

William Jackson Harper, Uncle Vanya
Leslie Odom, Jr., Purlie Victorious: A Non-Confederate Romp Through the Cotton Patch
Liev Schreiber, Doubt: A Parable
Jeremy Strong, An Enemy of the People – WINNER
Michael Stuhlbarg, Patriots

Sarah Paulson, Appropriate – Winner.

Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Play

Betsy Aidem, Prayer for the French Republic
Jessica Lange, Mother Play
Rachel McAdams, Mary Jane
Sarah Paulson, Appropriate – WINNER
Amy Ryan, Doubt: A Parable

Will Brill, Stereophonic – Winner.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play

Will Brill, Stereophonic – WINNER
Eli Gelb, Stereophonic
Jim Parsons, Mother Play
Tom Pecinka, Stereophonic
Corey Stoll, Appropriate

Kara Young – Purlie Victorious: A Non-Confederate Romp Through the Cotton Patch – Winner.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play

Quincy Tyler Bernadine, Doubt: A Parable
Juliana Canfield, Stereophonic
Celia Keenan-Bolger, Mother Play
Sarah Pidgeon, Stereophonic
Kara Young, Purlie Victorious: A Non-Confederate Romp Through the Cotton Patch – WINNER

Best Book of a Musical

Kristtoffer Diaz, Hell’s Kitchen
Bekah Brunstetter, The Notebook
Adam Rapp and Justin Levine, The Outsiders
Shaina Taub, Suffs – WINNER
Rick Elice, Water for Elephants

Shaina Taub –Suffs – Winner 

Best Original Score

Adam Guettel, Days of Wine and Roses
David Byrne and Fatboy Slim, Here Lies Love
Will Butler, Stereophonic
Shaina Taub, Suffs – WINNER
Jamestown Revival (Jonathan Clay and Zach Chance) and Justin Levine, The Outsiders

David Zinn- Stereophonic – Winner.

Best Scenic Design of a Play

dots, Appropriate
dots, An Enemy of the People
Derek McLane, Purlie Victorious: A Non-Confederate Romp Through the Cotton Patch
David Zinn, Jaja’s African Hair Braiding
David Zinn, Stereophonic – WINNER

Tom Scutt – Cabaret at the Kit Kat Club – Winner.

Best Scenic Design of a Musical

Amp featuring Tatiana Kahvegian, The Outsiders
Robert Brill and Peter Nigrini, Hell’s Kitchen
Takeshi Kata, Water for Elephants
David Korins, Here Lies Love
Riccardo Hernández and Peter Nigrini, Lempicka
Tim Hatley and Finn Ross, Back to the Future: The Musical
Tom Scutt, Cabaret at the Kit Kat Club – WINNER

Dede Ayite – Jaja’s African Hair Braiding – Winner.

Best Costume Design of a Play

Dede Ayite, Appropriate
Dede Ayite, Jaja’s African Hair Braiding – WINNER
Enver Chakartash, Stereophonic
Emilio Sosa, Purlie Victorious: A Non-Confederate Romp Through the Cotton Patch
David Zinn, An Enemy of the People

Linda Cho- The Great Gatsby – Winner.

Best Costume Design of a Musical

Dede Ayite, Hell’s Kitchen
Linda Cho, The Great Gatsby – WINNER
David Israel Reynoso, Water for Elephants
Tom Scutt, Cabaret at the Kit Kat Club
Paul Tazewell, Suffs

Jane Cox – Appropriate – Winner.

Best Lighting Design of a Play

Isabella Byrd, An Enemy of the People
Amith Chandrashaker, Prayer for the French Republic
Jiyoun Chang, Stereophonic
Jane Cox, Appropriate – WINNER
Natasha Katz, Grey House

Best Lighting Design of a Musical

Brandon Stirling Baker, Illinoise
Isabella Byrd, Cabaret at the Kit Kat Club
Natasha Katz, Hell’s Kitchen
Bradley King and David Bengali, Water for Elephants
Brian MacDevitt and Hana S. Kim, The Outsiders – WINNER

Best Sound Design of a Play

Justin Ellington and Stefania Bulbarella, Jaja’s African Hair Braiding
Leah Gelpe, Mary Jane
Tom Gibbons, Grey House
Bray Poor and Will Pickens, Appropriate
Ryan Rumery, Stereophonic – WINNER

Cody Spencer – The Outsiders – Winner

Best Sound Design of a Musical

M.L. Dogg and Cody Spencer, Here Lies Love
Kai Harada, Merrily We Roll Along
Nick Lidster for Autograph, Cabaret at the Kit Kat Club
Gareth Owen, Hell’s Kitchen
Cody Spencer, The Outsiders – WINNER

Best Direction of a Play

Daniel Aukin, Stereophonic – WINNER
Anne Kauffman, Mary Jane
Kenny Leon, Purlie Victorious: A Non-Confederate Romp Through the Cotton Patch
Lila Neugebauer, Appropriate
Whitney White, Jaja’s African Hair Braiding

Best Direction of a Musical

Maria Friedman, Merrily We Roll Along
Michael Greif, Hell’s Kitchen
Leigh Silverman, Suffs
Jessica Stone, Water for Elephants
Danya Taymor, The Outsiders – WINNER

Justin Peck – “Illinoise” – Winner.

Best Choreography

Annie-B Parson, Here Lies Love
Camille A. Brown, Hell’s Kitchen
Rick Kuperman and Jeff Kuperman, The Outsiders
Justin Peck, Illinoise – WINNER
Jesse Robb and Shana Carroll, Water for Elephants

Best Orchestrations

Timo Andres, Illinoise
Will Butler and Justin Craig, Stereophonic
Justin Levine, Matt Hinkley and Jamestown Revival (Jonathan Clay and Zach Chance), The Outsiders
Tom Kitt and Adam Blackstone, Hell’s Kitchen
Jonathan Tunick, Merrily We Roll Along – WINNER

Alex Edelman  Special Tony Award for his work in Just For Us. – Winner.
David Adjmi Stereophonic – Winner.
Billy Porter The 2024 Isabelle Stevenson Tony Award in recognition of his outstanding dedication and contributions as an activist and spokesperson for the LGBTQ+ communities, including his work with The Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation (ETAF) and the Entertainment Community Fund, among other organizations.
Niklya MathisSpecial Award Hair and Wig Design for Jaja’s Hair Braiding. – Winner.
George C. Wolfe – Lifetime Achievement Award.
C Jay Philip – 2024 Excellence in Theater Education – Winner.

Broadway Update

The Last Five Years, Redwood

By: David Sheward

June 17, 2024: Jason Robert Brown’s The Last Five Years will have its Broadway premiere in a new production starring Tony winner Adrienne Warren (Tina: The Tina Turner Musical) and Nick Jonas (The Jonas Brothers, How to Succeed) directed by Tony and Drama Desk nominee Whitney White (Jaja’s African Hair Braiding, On Sugarland), set to open in spring 2025. The two-character musical premiered at the Northlight Theater in Skokie, Illinois. It opened Off-Broadway at the Minetta Lane Theater in 2002 with Norbert Leo Butz and Sherie Rene Scott, winning Drama Desk Awards for Brown’s Music and Lyrics. A 2013 revival at Second Stage starred Adam Kantor and Betsy Wolfe. The 2014 film version directed by Richard LaGravenese was headlined by Jeremy Jordan and Anna Kendrick.

The Last Five Years, Redwood

By: David Sheward

June 17, 2024: Jason Robert Brown’s The Last Five Years will have its Broadway premiere in a new production starring Tony winner Adrienne Warren (Tina: The Tina Turner Musical) and Nick Jonas (The Jonas Brothers, How to Succeed) directed by Tony and Drama Desk nominee Whitney White (Jaja’s African Hair Braiding, On Sugarland), set to open in spring 2025. The two-character musical premiered at the Northlight Theater in Skokie, Illinois. It opened Off-Broadway at the Minetta Lane Theater in 2002 with Norbert Leo Butz and Sherie Rene Scott, winning Drama Desk Awards for Brown’s Music and Lyrics. A 2013 revival at Second Stage starred Adam Kantor and Betsy Wolfe. The 2014 film version directed by Richard LaGravenese was headlined by Jeremy Jordan and Anna Kendrick.

The plot follows the five-year relationship between author Jamie Wellerstein and actress Cathy Hiatt. The unique structure follows Jamie’s story moving forward chronologically and Cathy’s moving backwards. The two did not directly interact except for the wedding scene when the meet in the middle of each other’s story. 

Adrienne Warren and Nick Jonas will star in The Last Five Years on Broadway..

The musical is based on Brown’s real-life marriage to Theresa O’Neill who sued her ex-husband for violating a non-disclosure agreement in their divorce proceeding. Brown countersued O’Neill for interfering in his creative process. In the settlement, Brown altered certain parts of the script to lessen Cathy’s resemblance to O’Neill.

The Last Five Years is one of the greatest original American musicals in the canon. I could not be more excited to bring it to Broadway for the first time with Nick and Adrienne, two powerhouse performers and lovers of theatre,” said director Whitney White. “I fell in love with this musical many years ago when I was a student at Northwestern. I found it then, and still consider The Last Five Years to be such a human portrait and a beautiful exercise in making time– the one thing we are all bound to– feel consequential. The songs are iconic, and the vibes are very two-thousand-and-now because this is a story about artists falling in and out of love and what happens when something has to come to an end. There is no place in the world that can rip people apart and bring them together like New York City.  I think we all understand how hard it is to leave something behind; a lover, a job, a country, a relationship that doesn’t serve you anymore. But for me, the heartbreak at the center of the show walks hand in hand with abundant love and possibility. I know that audiences will be blown away, once again, by the brilliance of Jason Robert Brown’s one-of-a-kind composition, orchestration and musical vision, and that they will see themselves in Jamie and Cathy– two young people trying to figure it all out.” 

Sherie Rene Scott and Norbert Leo Butz in The Last Five Years. Credit: Joan Marcus

“On June 15, 1999, I wrote the first song of a new project,” said Jason Robert Brown on June 14, 2024. “It was the first time I had started a project without knowing where it was going to end up, without a producer or collaborators, just me very much on my own needing to find the music and words that would tell a story that was twisting my heart into impossible shapes every day. For twenty-five years, I have let The Last Five Years lead me on its journey, through our very first production in Skokie in 2001 to our Off-Broadway premiere a year later, a thrilling film version, a record-breaking revival at Second Stage, and thousands of productions spanning every continent.  I have always believed that when the time was right, The Last Five Years would make its way to Broadway. To have Nick and Adrienne taking on these roles is a composer’s dream come true, and to have Whitney’s extraordinary guidance and vision is the hope of every playwright. It has taken twenty-five years, but the time is right.”

Jeremy Jordan and Anna Kendrick in the film version of
The Last Five Years.

Idina Menzel in Redwood: Tony winner Idina Mezel will return to Broadway in Redwood, a new musical she co-conceived. The original musical which premiered at the La Jolla Playhouse this past February is slated to open sometime in 2025. Written and directed by Tony Award nominee Tina Landau, with music by Kate Diaz, and lyrics by Landau and Diaz, Redwood is conceived by Landau and Menzel, with additional contributions by Menzel. Landau will also be directing the Broadway premiere of Floyd Collins, set to open next April at Lincoln Center’s Vivian Beaumont Theater.

“I’m so thrilled to be returning to Broadway, and the fact that I get to do it with Redwood, a musical that means so much to me, makes it even more special,” Menzel said. “This show has lived in my bones for fifteen years, from the very first time Tina and I discussed working together. Finally getting to do it on Broadway is really a dream come true.” After her Tony-winning performance in Wicked, Menzel’s last Broadway show was If/Then in 2014.

Redwood is a transportive new musical about one woman’s journey into the precious and precarious world of the redwood forest. Jesse (Menzel) is a successful businesswoman, mother and wife who seems to have it all, but inside, her heart is broken. Finding herself at a turning point, Jesse leaves everyone and everything behind, gets in her car and drives… Thousands of miles later, she hits the majestic forests of Northern California, where a chance meeting and a leap of faith change her life forever. With its deeply personal story, refreshingly contemporary sound, and awe-inspiring design, Redwood explores the lengths –and heights– one travels to find strength, resilience and healing.

Menzel will launch a career-spanning North American tour this summer, which will give fans an opportunity to hear a few songs from Redwood ahead of the show’s Broadway premiere. 

2024-25 Broadway/Off-Broadway/Awards Calendar 

Summer 2024

June 18–Pre-Existing Condition (Connelly Upstairs)

June 20–Cats (Perelman Performing Arts Center)

June 23–N/A (Mitzi Newhouse)

June 29–From Here (Signature Center)

July 11–Oh, Mary! (Lyceum)

July 29–Six Characters (LCT3/Clara Tow)

July 30–Job (Hayes)

Aug. 12–Once Upon a Mattress (Hudson)

Fall 2024

Sept. 12–The Roommate (Booth)

Sept. 12–Counting and Cracking (Public Theater/NYU Skirball)

Sept. 12–Forbidden Broadway: Merrily We Stole a Song (Theater555)

Sept. 24–Vladimir (MTC/City Center Stage I) (previews begin; opening TBA)

Sept. 29–The Hills of California (Broadhurst)

Sept. 30–MCNEAL (Vivian Beaumont/LCT)

Oct. 1–Yellowface (Roundabout/Todd Haimes)

Oct. 1–Good Bones (Public)

Oct. 9–The Counter (Roundabout/Laura Pels)

Oct. 10–Our Town (Barrymore)

Oct. 10–Deep History (Public)

Oct. 17–Maybe Happy Ending (Belasco)

Oct. 20–Sunset Boulevard (St. James)

Oct. 24–Romeo and Juliet (Circle in the Square)

Nov. 8–Gatz (Elevator Repair Service/Public)

Nov. 11–What a Wonderful World: The Louis Armstrong Musical (Studio 54)

Nov. 14–Tammy Faye (Palace)

Nov. 14–King Lear (Kenneth Branagh Theater Company/The Shed)

Nov. 21–Death Becomes Her (Lunt-Fontanne)

Nov. 21–The Blood Quilt (LCT/Mitzi Newhouse)

Nov. 25–Eureka Day (MTC/Samuel J. Friedman) (previews begin; opening TBA)

Left on Tenth

Swept Away

We Live in Cairo (NYTW)

Winter 2024-25

Dec. 19–Gypsy (Majestic)

Jan. 23–English (Roundabout/Todd Haimes Theater)

Feb. 20–Liberation (Roundabout/Laura Pels)

The Antiquities (Playwrights Horizons/Vineyard Theater)

A Knock on the Roof (NYTW)

Sumo (Ma-Yi Theater/Public)

2024-25

My Son’s a Queer (But What Can You Do?)

Romeo and Juliet w.Tom Holland/Francesca Amewudah-Rivers (?)

Smash

Wine in the Wilderness (CSC)

Spring 2025

March 10–Ghosts (LCT/Mitzi Newhouse)

March 25–Old Friends (MTC/Samuel J. Friedman) (previews begins opening TBA)

April 21–Floyd Collins (LCT/Vivian Beaumont)

April 24–The Pirates of Penzance (Roundabout/Todd Haimes Theater)

Bowl EP (Vineyard Theater/National Black Theater)

Glass. Kill. What If If Only. Imp. (Public)

Good Night and Good Luck

The Last Five Years

Lights Out: Nat “King” Cole (NYTW)

Othello

The Picture of Dorian Gray (???)

Show Boat (Target Margin/NYU Skirball)

2025

Redwood

Summer 2025

Twelfth Night (Public Theater/Delacorte)

Fall 2025

Initiative (Public)

2026

Hello, I’m Dolly

Future–Ain’t Supposed to Die a Natural Death; Beaches the Musical; Beat Street; Black Orpheus; BOOP! The Betty Boop Musical; Come Fall in Love–The DDLJ Musical; Crazy Rich Asians; The Devil Wears Prada; Ella: An American Miracle; Everybody’s Talking About Jamie; Frida, the Musical; Game of Thrones; The Griswolds’ Broadway Vacation; High Noon; Imitation of Life; The Interestings; Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat; The Karate Kid; La La Land; Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil; The Mousetrap; Nancy Drew and the Mystery at Spotlight Manor; Pal Joey; Purple Rain; The Queen’s Gambit; Rear Window; The Nanny; The Normal Heart/The Destiny of Me; The Queen of Versailles; The Secret Garden; Sing Street; Soul Train; Stranger Things: The First Shadow; Working Girl.

2024-25 Broadway Season Breakdown

New Plays

Good Night and Good Luck

The Hills of California

Job 

Left on Tenth

MCNEAL

Oh, Mary!

The Roommate

New Musicals

Death Becomes Her

Maybe Happy Ending

Old Friends

Smash

Swept Away

Tammy Faye

What a Wonderful World: The Louis Armstrong Musical

Play Revivals

English

Eureka Day

Home

Othello

Our Town

Romeo and Juliet

Yellowface

Musical Revivals

Floyd Collins

Gypsy

The Last Five Years

Once Upon a Mattress

The Pirates of Penzance

Sunset Boulevard

The Welkin ***1/2

By: David Sheward

June 17, 2024: According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, The Welkin is “the vault of the sky or firmament, the celestial abode of God or gods.” But the characters in Lucy Kirkwood’s ironically-titled playnow at the Atlantic Theater Company after a run in London, are more concerned with matters on the Earth. Set in 1759 Suffolk, England, at the time of the earliest recorded observation of Haley’s Comet, the main action concerns a murder trial. Town disgrace Sally Poppy (feral and ferocious Haley Wong) has been convicted of slaughtering a young girl but claims she is pregnant. A makeshift jury of twelve “matrons” is quickly empaneled to determine if Sally is indeed “quick with child” and therefore saved from the gallows. During deliberations, secrets are revealed, hypocrisies  and injustices are exposed, and the plight of being a woman in a dangerous time and place is examined. Kirkwood takes a page from Caryl Churchill by not strictly adhering to the rules of setting and chronology. All eagerly anticipate citing the comet and what it means, glimpses of the future (our present) are inserted in odd places, and fantasy demonic figures appear in this disturbingly arresting work.  

By: David Sheward

June 17, 2024: According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, The Welkin is “the vault of the sky or firmament, the celestial abode of God or gods.” But the characters in Lucy Kirkwood’s ironically-titled playnow at the Atlantic Theater Company after a run in London, are more concerned with matters on the Earth. Set in 1759 Suffolk, England, at the time of the earliest recorded observation of Haley’s Comet, the main action concerns a murder trial. Town disgrace Sally Poppy (feral and ferocious Haley Wong) has been convicted of slaughtering a young girl but claims she is pregnant. A makeshift jury of twelve “matrons” is quickly empaneled to determine if Sally is indeed “quick with child” and therefore saved from the gallows. During deliberations, secrets are revealed, hypocrisies  and injustices are exposed, and the plight of being a woman in a dangerous time and place is examined. Kirkwood takes a page from Caryl Churchill by not strictly adhering to the rules of setting and chronology. All eagerly anticipate citing the comet and what it means, glimpses of the future (our present) are inserted in odd places, and fantasy demonic figures appear in this disturbingly arresting work.  

Sandra Oh (Lizzy Luke); (around table) Mary McCann (Charlotte Cary), Glenn Fitzgerald (
Mr. Coombes), Ann Harada (Judith Brewer), Dale Soules (Sarah Smith), Jennifer Nikki Kidwell (Ann Lavender), Simone Recasner (Peg Carter), Nadine Malouf (Emma Jenkins), Susannah Perkins (Mary Middleton); (standing) Emily Cass McDonnell (Helen Ludlow), and Paige Gilbert (Hannah Rusted
).

Kirkwood also admirably juggles the story arcs of the dozen ladies as well as Sally who is brought into the sequestered room by the bailiff Mr. Coombs (conflicted and emotive Glenn Fitzgerald), who has a turbulent backstory of his own involving the local midwife, widowed Elizabeth Luke (passionate and intense Sandra Oh). Elizabeth is the central figure, defending the guilty-looking Sally for reasons beyond a thirst for fairness and serving as a voice of rationality in an irrational and sexist society. Director Sarah Benson and a sterling cast balance the various roles and motivations so that we’re never confused as to who is who and what their objectives are. In addition, at the performance attended, Benson stepped in for an ailing Ann Harada and did a credible job with script in hand.

Haley Wong (Sally Poppy), Dale Soules (Sarah Smith), Susannah Perkins (Mary Middleton) and Ann Harada (Judith Brewer).

That script is not without flaws. Sally’s ultimate motivation for her actions is unclear and the number of surprises pile up in Act Two, like the final episode of a soap opera. But the theme of oppressive misogyny over the centuries is powerfully rendered.

There are numerous admirable performances in addition to those already mentioned. Hannah Cabell gives a devastating account of Sarah Hollis, who has not spoken a word in 20 years and finally begins articulating the vision which has haunted her. Her revelation is truly hair-raising as delivered by Cabell, believably struggling to emit sounds not uttered in two decades. Dale Soules adds spicy sage wisdom as Sarah Smith. She’s never left the town in 80 years but is eager for new views. Emily Cass McDonnell has a memorable outburst as a jealous Helen Ludlow, unable to conceive a child and outraged that the “immoral” Sally might be pregnant. Mary McCann and Nadine Malouf admirably sneer with righteous indignation as unsympathetic scolds. Tilly Bosford, Susanna Perkins and Paige Gilbert provide sharp comic relief with snappy putdowns of husbands and male authority figures. Jennifer Nikki Kidwell is a strong presence as the practical Ann Lavender and Simone Recasner has fun as the flighty, bacon-loving Peg Carter. Danny Wolohan delivers contrasting portraits of Sally’s confused and infuriated husband and a sympathetic doctor.

Haley Wong (Sally Poppy), Dale Soules (Sarah Smith), and Susannah Perkins (Mary Middleton.

The design team of dots created the gloomy interiors with poetic lighting by Stacey Derosier shifting from earthy to other worldly and frightening when appropriate. Kaye Voyce’s costumes are a fascinating panorama of social station and period commentary.

The premise may call to mind Reginald Rose’s Twelve Angry Men, but The Welkin stands on its own as a searing indictment of male oppression, brilliantly acted and directed.

The Welken ***1/2
Atlantic Theater Company at the Linda Gross Theater
330 W. 20th St., NYC.
Running time: two hours and 30 mins. including intermission. atlantictheater.org.
June 12—July 7, 2024
Photography: Ahron R.Foster

Celebrating The Tony Awards

Celebrating 77 Years of the Tony Awards, But Have You Ever Asked “Who’s Tony”?

By: Ellis Nassour

June 12, 2024 – You’re not alone. Sunday’s Tony Awards mark 77 years of excellence on Broadway and 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?”

Celebrating 77 Years of the Tony Awards, But Have You Ever Asked “Who’s Tony”?

By: Ellis Nassour

June 12, 2024 – You’re not alone. Sunday’s Tony Awards mark 77 years of excellence on Broadway and 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?”

Tony, originally Toni, was Antoinette Perry, an amazing overachiever, an actress of some renown, and an early female producer and director. In the 1940s, at the start of WWII, she also was one of the Broadway luminaries who created an ongoing treat to GIs, and later, on their return home, the opportunity for an education. It’s an interesting story, deep into the mystique of New York theater – and one that would be lost if the awards weren’t named in tribute to this aptly-named leading lady.  

Born in Denver in 1888, Antoinette Perry, a petite blonde nicknamed Toni, grew up aspiring to replicate the thespian artistry of her aunt and uncle, respected touring actors. At 15, she joined their company. “I watched and learned,” she wrote friends, “doing everything from wardrobe to selling tickets. It didn’t take long for me to graduate to playing the ingénue.” Eventually, sensing promise, her uncle trained her in Shakespearean male roles.

In 1905 she came to New York and auditioned for the play The Music Master, a long-running melodrama about a Viennese conductor in America searching for his daughter. She was cast. Miss Perry’s “father” was David Warfield, one of theater’s most popular actors. During the run, he suggested his friend, impresario David Belasco audition her for the female lead in his play A Grand Army Man. She got the role and helped openhis Stuyvesant Theatre (now the Belasco).

Miss Perry was the recipient of rave reviews, and bachelors of the day took notice and arrived at the stage door with flowers and dinner invites. But it was a hometown beau, Frank Frueauff, vice president of Cities Service (now CITGO), who won her attention and devotion. They became engaged in 1909 and soon married. He stipulated she would give up the stage. 

For 10 years, the couple traveled the world and led a life of abundant luxury. However, Miss Perry couldn’t get theater out of her blood. She discretely approached Brock Pemberton, a flamboyant press agent turned producer, and became an investor in his production of Zona Gale’s comedy Miss Lulu Bett, which became a hit and went on to win the Pulitzer Prize.

When Miss Perry’s husband discovered his wife was a theater “angel,” he caved and gave his blessings. In 1922, he suddenly took ill and died after a major heart attack. He left a $13-million estate. Miss Perry went into a deep depression.

“Mother thought the remedy would be a return to the stage,” said her late daughter Margaret Perry, an actress and director, “but she relished the extravagant life the inheritance gave. Soon, she was actors’ best friend, lending money with no expectation of repayment and bailing actors and playwrights out of overdue hotel bills. The summer of 1923, we set we set off on a seven-week European tour. It was my sister Elaine and I, our governess, Uncle Brock, as we were instructed to call him, his wife Margaret, and 10 others. On coming home, Brock kept tempting mother. It didn’t take long for her to hear theater’s siren call again.”

But, inspired by actress/playwright Rachel Crothers, who directed her own plays, Miss Perry decided to direct. There were few women directors, but her money, which she doubled playing the stock market, and the relationship with Pemberton gave her entree. “They joined forces, professionally as well as romantically,” Margaret revealed, “and had modest successes. Then, they struck pay dirt!”

It was with Preston Sturges’1929 Strictly Dishonorable, a cynical play about virtue and Prohibition. Scalpers were getting $30 a ticket. A critic praised Miss Perry “for doing a man’s job.” Movie rights were sold. They were on their way to easy street. A month later, the stock market crashed.

Miss Perry awoke $2-million in debt. “It took seven years to recover,” her daughter stated. “Somehow, probably because of the success of the play, she secured a bank loan and it was soon business as usual.”

Pemberton and Miss Perry shared a office in a theatre (adjacent to the Imperial Theatre), and lunched daily at Sardi’s, where they fueled lots of gossip. However, at the end of their business day, she’d go home to her children and he to his wife.

Miss Perry’s biggest success as director came in 1944 when she staged Harvey, Mary Chase’s play about an affable man with an unseen friend he describes as a six-foot, three-and-one-half-inch tall rabbit It became a runaway hit, and a film followed (with James Stewart starred).

In spite of her theatrical credentials, Miss Perry is best remembered for her generosity and leadership in World War II as a co-founder of the Theatre Wing of Allied Relief, subsequently, the American Theatre Wing. She was also instrumental in cofounding the Stage Door Canteen in the basement of the (now razed) 44th Street Theatre, where stars worked as dishwashers, waiters, waitresses, and entertained the armed forces. The sale of film rights for a story about the canteen, and a six-figure check from Miss Perry along with support from Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein, provided USO tours to overseas troops.

Margaret confided that her mother was an inveterate gambler. “The seed money for many a Wing activity or investment came from her track winnings. Even during board meetings, mother played the horses. She’d have her secretary tip toe in and give her the odds, then she’d place a wager with a bookie.”

Miss Perry was president of the National Experimental Theatre and financed, with Actors’ Equity and the Dramatists Guild, the work of new playwrights. During and after the war, she underwrote auditions for 7,000 hopefuls. Her dream of a national actor’s school was realized in 1946.

By the mid-1940s, Miss Perry was $300,000 in debt and living on $800 a week from her Harvey royalties. Once a reporter questioned her support of things theatrical: “Why do you devote so much of your money and time to such thankless activities?” She replied, “Thankless? They’re anything but that. I’m just a fool for theater.”

“True,” said Margaret. “It was what she lived and breathed. Her outstanding trait was that she cared. It didn’t matter if you were a janitor, maid, cab driver, usher, or, on that pedestal of pedestals, an actor.”

In the mid-40s, a Minnesota company introduced their Toni brand of home permanents. Miss Perry quickly became Tony to friends and loved ones.

“Mother developed heart problems,” Margaret explained, “but, as a devout Christian Scientist, she refused to see a doctor. Her directorial duties and her dedication to Wing took a terrible toll. She gave up café society and stayed home with us. But every night, from wherever he was, Uncle Brock would call. Often his calls were the only thing that alleviated her intense physical pain.”

On June 28, 1946, as Margaret and Elaine, who became an actress, stage manager, and producer/director (she died in 1986) made plans for their mother’s 58th birthday the next day, Miss Perry suffered a fatal heart attack.

Pemberton memorialized her as “an individualist who met life head on, dramatized life, and gave of a generous nature.” He proposed an award in her honor for distinguished stage acting and technical achievement. At the initial event in 1947, as he handed out an award, he called it a Tony. The name stuck. 

Lina Koutrakos

The American Songbook Association/Cabaret Scenes Honors Lina Koutrakos

By: Alix Cohen

June 16, 2024: Lina Koutrakos is the perfect recipient for the Darrell Henline award due to her commitment to the art of cabaret as a performer, director, songwriter, and producer. Her forty-year career was launched with her own rock band in decades-long residencies at the legendary venues. Koutrakos garnered multiple pop songwriting awards while simultaneously presenting her cabaret shows at the Metropolitan Room, 54 Below, and the Waldorf Astoria.

The American Songbook Association/Cabaret Scenes Honors Lina Koutrakos

By: Alix Cohen

June 16, 2024: Lina Koutrakos is the perfect recipient for the Darrell Henline award due to her commitment to the art of cabaret as a performer, director, songwriter, and producer. Her forty-year career was launched with her own rock band in decades-long residencies at the legendary venues. Koutrakos garnered multiple pop songwriting awards while simultaneously presenting her cabaret shows at the Metropolitan Room, 54 Below, and the Waldorf Astoria.

She has had extensive tours in both genres in St Louis; Chicago; Washington, DC; Paris; Las Vegas; and more. Her awards began with the Village Voice‘s Best Rock Newcomer and continued to include Best Director and Best Vocalist from the Manhattan Association of Cabarets (MAC), the Backstage Bistro Awards, and France’s Le Petit Piaf. (Frank Dain)

Green Room 42 overflowed with family feeling Thursday night on the occasion of ASA/Cabaret Scenes presentation of The 2024 Darrell Henline Award to multifaceted Lina Koutrakos. The artist is admired, respected, and loved; her spirit, savvy, talent, and sense of humor recognized through testimonials preceding performance. The community has turned out as much to salute Koutrakos as to support the venerable institution bestowing an award.

“My relationship with Lina can be summed up in three words she just said to her husband: Patrick knows everything… I have laughed through almost three decades with her…” Patrick DeGennaro opens the show infectiously grooving with Al Green’s “Let’s Stay Together.” Right leg pumps, arms go wide. Notes are massaged. Performance is expressive and fun. (Lenny Babbish-piano)

Patrick DeGennaro; Beckie Menzies

Chicagoan Beckie Menzies (also at the piano) has conducted international workshops with the honoree. She shares an anecdote about Lina’s wisdom and sense of responsibility. A unique version of Joni Mitchell’s “Free Man in Paris”  arrives lively and emphatic, yet with balladic undertone.

Shawn Moninger has known Lina since meeting at Don’t Tell Mama in 1985. “We both always had great shoes, a good foundation for friendship.” The vocalist shares a song by husband of six weeks David Friedman at the piano:  I never thought that there could be a love like yours and mine/And now the only thing we really need is time…“We Live On Borrowed Time” should become a cabaret (and wedding) staple. A great song delicately rendered by one who clearly understands.

Shawn Moninger; Charles Busch

Charles Busch tells us he and Lina shared mentors. They got to know one another further at a St. Louis workshop to which he was invited. “She’s lovable, fun, and a glorious person.” Busch’s rendition of Joni Mitchell’s “Both Sides Now” is a theater piece, a scene in one. Part spoken, part sung, the song emerges buoyed by a lifetime’s experience. Its tender wisdom is immensely moving. Busch is very like Fred Astaire in that interpretation of any song gets to its roots and heart.

John McDaniel met Lina at The fabled Metropolitan Room. “Her unique style captured me and we’ve been friends ever since.” The performer sings (and plays) Stephen Sondheim’s “Anyone Can Whistle” in tremulous, unfussy style perfectly suited to its lyric.

John McDaniel; Sally Mayes

Sally Mayes and MD/pianist Tedd Firth apparently whipped up an original tribute song minutes before the show. These two should write together more. The witty ditty begins by grousing: Nothing “fucking” rhymes with Koutrakos/ The name just seems to lie there on the page and mock us… She’s talented, she’s smart/Now here’s the gooey part, Lina Koutrakos is my darling friend…A nifty segue takes us into Gretchen Cryer’s “Old Friend.” Mayes exudes warmth and the bonds of joint history. (Yasuhiko Fukoka- piano) Nancy Timpanaro-Hogan, who couldn’t be present, celebrates 40 years of friendship and cites those who have passed upon whose shoulders they stand.

Bowing to Lina’s request, Marcus Simeone offers “Lay Me Down.”  (Sam Cooke) Beginning a capella, eyes closed, with only an occasional guitar chord, the vocalist kneads notes – as Dot says in Sunday in the Park with George – “You know, like bread…” squeezing out emotion as if the song courses through him. If only his eyes weren’t closed. ( Sean Harkness- guitar)

Marcus Simeone; Sean Harkness, Kathleen Turner

Actress Kathleen Turner notes that Lina sang with her ex-husband’s band. The surprise guest decides a water song was appropriate as the celebrant is Greek. “William Finn’s “I’d Rather Be Sailing” …and then come home to you…is both vocally sandy and invested. (Mark Janus – piano/Sean Harkness – guitar)

“In my mind, Lina is a kindred spirit and a rock star – she can’t help it,” comments Sean Harkness. The artist then presents original composition “Nastishe” with pristine, finger work and successive rhythms embodying some of the multitude of genres at which he excels.

Sean Harkness

Darrell Henline (1928–2003) was founder of Cabaret Scenes Magazine, editor and publisher until he passed. Presenter Keith Meritz, a board member, was his life partner and the publisher after Henline died, stepping down when Peter Leavy took over.

“My first recollection of Lina was at 88s with her artistic director the late great Dick Gallagher,” Meritz recalls. “When we heard that sultry voice, we knew we were in for a treat. She cast a wider net in many directions and exemplifies the goals of ASA’s mission.” Meritz then presents Lina Koutrakos with her award.

Keith Meritz; Keith Meritz and Lina Koutrakos

“When Carolyn (Montgomery) called to tell me about this, I thought, shit, I’m old,” Koutrakos quips. “Who am I kidding? I always wanted to be the little girl at the center of attention…My whole life all I’ve ever wanted to do is sing… Not unlike George Bailey (It’s a Wonderful Life), the older I get, the more I think I’m incredibly lucky. My entire life has been filled with voices…I don’t want to die because I’m afraid I’ll come back and in my next lifetime, I won’t get to do this…Thank you for the gold watch.”

Lina Koutrakos

The performer’s “I’m Glad There is You” (Paul Maderia/Jimmy Dorsey) prefaces a deeply memorable Interpretation of “God Bless the Child.” Back of throat vibrato and blues timbre create an on-ramp for gospel. Wrenched phrasing, including growl, is very much her own. Arms seemingly move of their own volition. Talent is a vessel. (Gregory Toroian – piano)

An encore of “Diggin’ My Grave” (Bradley Cooper/Lady Gaga) is unleashed by the trio Clearly Now – Lina Koutrakos, Marcus Simeone, Sean Harkness: Every little lie you tell can’t keep it hid/You’re just another nail on the coffin lid/ Someone else is gettin’ all the love you never gave/Woo (Yeah)/And you’ve been out all night/Diggin’ my grave, yeah…The iconoclastic choice rocks hot and hard eliciting chair dancing.

Lina Koutrakos, Marcus Simeone, Sean Harkness

A cornucopia of talent and devotion.

The American Songbook Association Salutes Lina Koutrakos
Yasuhiko Fukoka – MD/Piano
Executive Director Carolyn Montgomery – Announcer
Michael Kitk Lane – Stage Manager
The American Songbook Association

Performance Photos by Conor Weiss
Opening Photo – Gene Reed

The Green Room42 
570 10th Ave  in YOTEL

Home *****

By: Samuel L. Leiter

June 14, 2024: To paraphrase the old song, no matter where you’ve been searching for it, someday you’ll find that happiness lies, right under your eyes, right in your own backyard. It’s a maxim that, at least for a Black North Carolina farmer named Cephus Miles, certainly holds true. Cephus is the hero of Samm-Art Williams’s Home, a spirited 1979 play now being given its first Broadway revival—a deeply affecting one—at the Roundabout’s Todd Haimes Theatre.  

By: Samuel L. Leiter

June 14, 2024: To paraphrase the old song, no matter where you’ve been searching for it, someday you’ll find that happiness lies, right under your eyes, right in your own backyard. It’s a maxim that, at least for a Black North Carolina farmer named Cephus Miles, certainly holds true. Cephus is the hero of Samm-Art Williams’s Home, a spirited 1979 play now being given its first Broadway revival—a deeply affecting one—at the Roundabout’s Todd Haimes Theatre.  

Williams (whose real name was Samuel Arthur Williams), died only a month ago at 78, just before this production was scheduled to open. The original, produced by the Negro Ensemble Company, premiered under Douglas Turner Ward’s direction at Off-Broadway’s St. Mark’s Playhouse before it moved to Broadway’s Cort Theatre (now the James Earl Jones Theatre) in 1980. Raves followed and it went on to enjoy an active life in regional theatres, but it’s taken 44 years to return to the Main Stem. 

Brittany Inge (Woman One / Pattie Mae Wells), Tory Kittles (Cephus Miles), and Stori Ayers (Woman Two).

Driven by Tony-winner Kenny Leon’s (Purlie Victorious) electrically charged direction, this modern folk play, written in rhythmically crafted dialogue and spoken at lightning speed, transpires before a set by Arnulfo Maldonado allowing for considerable flexibility in locale. Little more is used than a small wooden platform, supplemented by a pair of wooden crates and a white rocking chair, and all hand props are mimed. Upstage are quickly transformed backgrounds ranging from lushly fertile farmland to a prison cell to the fire escapes and alleyways of a big city ghetto; on occasion, black drops appear forming differing shapes, like a house, to frame the action. 

Leon’s imaginative, choreographic staging, enhanced by the perfectly timed lighting cues of Allen Lee Hughes and the deceptively simple yet cleverly deployed costumes of Dede Ayite, mingles distinctively stylized, energized behavior, backed by Justin Ellington’s sound design and beautifully sung snatches of gospel tunes, with heartfelt histrionics. The result is a vividly theatrical, frequently funny, and never less than pleasurable portrayal of Cephus’s story. Even if you find its necessarily sentimental conclusion contrived, you’ll appreciate it all the more for its all too rare ability to wring tears of joy.

Tory Kittles (Cephus Miles), Brittany Inge (Woman One / Pattie Mae Wells), and Stori Ayers (Woman Two).

Home’s narrative stretches from “the late 1950s to the present” to tell the tale of Cephus, a young land-loving farmer from a hardscrabble background, in Cross Roads, NC. His erratic churchgoing piety goes only so far, as seen in his fondness for unholy pleasures, like gambling. “He ain’t a whole Christian yet,” laments the local preacher. Cephus’s faith, like Job’s, is tested by a string of disasters, including the girl he loves, Pattie Mae Wells (Brittany Inge), going off to college and marrying a successful lawyer. Refusing to be drafted because he believes “thou shalt not kill,” Cephus is incarcerated in Raleigh, after which he becomes a laborer in “a very, very large city.” 

A running gag stems from his Tevya-like seeking of guidance from the Lord, whose failure to respond he takes to mean that God is vacationing in Miami. Ultimately, Cephus returns home, having learned that his mortgage has been paid off and he now owns his home. His bus ride colloquy with the driver (Ayers) is one of the show’s unforgettable highlights (I still remember Charles Brown doing it in the 1980 original). Once back in Cross Roads, and settled in, he receives a surprise visit explaining who paid for the house, and why, now that Cephus is back home, the Lord’s “vacation” is finally over. 

Stori Ayers (Woman Two), Tory Kittles (Cephus Miles), and Brittany Inge (Woman One / Pattie Mae Wells).

Home proves thoroughly diverting in the hands of a memorably versatile three-member cast led by the outstanding Tory Kittles as Cephus. In support are the equally gifted Brittany Inge and Stori Ayers providing Greek chorus-like duties while covering over three dozen female characters of all ages and dispositions, each sharply captured with a few perfect brush strokes of voice, gesture, and posture. If ever the word “personality” could be used to define acting that projects a performer’s dynamism, it’s now. Kittles, Inge, and Ayers are the very definition of personality; blended with intelligence, emotion, and technique, it makes for a refreshing histrionic slushy. 

Welcome home, Home.

Home ****
Todd Haimes Theatre
227 W. 42nd Street, NYC
Through July 21, 2024
Photography: Joan Marcus

White Room Gallery

Through the Looking Glass @The White Room Gallery June 18th – July 14.

June 14, 2024: The White Room Gallery at 3 Railroad Avenue in East Hampton will present THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS from June 18th Through July 14. The exhibition will feature Italian Vogue Photographer Gregg Lotus. The Back Room will feature pop artist John JosephHanright. There will be an opening reception on Saturday June 22 from 5-7pm.

Through the Looking Glass @The White Room Gallery June 18th – July 14.

June 14, 2024: The White Room Gallery at 3 Railroad Avenue in East Hampton will present THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS from June 18th Through July 14. The exhibition will feature Italian Vogue Photographer Gregg Lotus. The Back Room will feature pop artist John JosephHanright. There will be an opening reception on Saturday June 22 from 5-7pm.

Greg Lotus Photography – Giraffe.

FROM THE CURATOR

When Lewis Carroll sent Alice through the looking glass, she entered a fantastical world replete with an engaging ensemble of characters and everything including logic, in reverse.  

In our ‘Through the Looking Glass’ exhibit the viewer is also transported and there is also an engaging ensemble of characters, but nothing is in reverse.   Unless, of course, you back up to get a closer look. 

Featured artist Italian Vogue fashion photographer Greg Lotus creates a world where it is perfectly normal for a sophisticate to be across from a large, perfectly coiffed poodle enjoying a champagne lunch or to witness a giraffe striking a pose or to come upon a woman disguised as a peacock lounging on a crimson divan.   

Greg Lotus-Photography – Spaghetti.

Drawing inspiration from classical paintings and a wide array of sources and life experiences, Lotus reinterprets in his own evocative way the use of light and shadow, playing with angles and composition to enhance the graphic quality of his images. 

Lotus is a master of allure.  All his narratives draw the viewer in.  Why did that woman dive through the front window of that ’58 corvette? Are those two lovers or does he work for her or both?  Why is that woman eating an enormous egg?  And what’s up with the spaghetti?

Greg Lotus – Photography – Champagne Poodle.

In The Black Room, another world presents itself only now with words telling a story alongside the characters as mixed media artist John Joseph Hanright presents a heart asking who is the victor and vivid pink lips questioning what is fabulous and Mickey Mouse as a possible bruiser.  

John Joseph Hanright – Mixed Media on Panel Bombshell.

Hanright is a painter and assemblage artist who brings together a combination of vintage pieces from the 40s, 50s, and early 60s alongside contemporary imagery to form paintings that reflect on history while commenting on current times. 

Though Hanright’s work mixes paint and collage while Lotus is all seen through the lens the two artists come together beautifully in this exhibit with vibrant and engaging creations and unlike Alice, you don’t have to climb through a mirror to see them.’

Other artists include: Taylor Smith, Josh Mayhem, Rafaelle Ferrari & more.

THE WHITE ROOM GALLERY 3 Railroad Avenue East Hampton, NY 11937
OPEN from Noon till 5pm, Wednesday through Sunday 

www.thewhiteroom.gallery 

John Joseph Hanright – Mixed Media on Panel – Time To Play.

2024 Drama Desk Awards

June 11, 2024: Photos from the 68th Annual Drama Desk Awards held at the NYC Skirball Center on Monday, June 10 hosted by Sutton Foster and Aaron Tveit. 
Click Here For a Full List of Winners
Photography: Barry Gordin

June 11, 2024: Photos from the 68th Annual Drama Desk Awards held at the NYC Skirball Center on Monday, June 10 hosted by Sutton Foster and Aaron Tveit. 
Click Here For a Full List of Winners
Photography: Barry Gordin

Aaron Tveit and Sutton Foster.
Charles Wright and David Barbour (Co-Presidents Drama Desk).
Cole Escola (Sam Norkin Off-Broadway Award).
Debra Messing
Sarah Paulson, Jessica Lange and Celia Keenan-Bolger.
Brian D’Arcy James
James Monroe Iglehart.
Ensemble Award The Cast of Stereophonic.
Nikiya Mathis (Outstanding Wig and Hair (African Hair Braiding).
Nathan Lane (Harold S. Prince Award).
Brooke Shields
Mathew Broderick
Mark William
Lorin Latarro
Ricky Ibeda
Giauco Araujo
Timo Andres
Irene Gandy
Rebecca Frecknall
Peter Charney and Brendan George.
Steven Valentine
Walter Trabach
Eli Gelb
Dylis Croman and Robert Montano.
Jacob Karr
How To Dance in Ohio – Liz Weber, Jeremy Wein, Ava Xiao-Lin Rigelhaupt, Nicole D’Angelo, and Becky Leifman.
Camille A. Brown
Paul Tazewell
Nikki M.James
Lena Hall
Daisy Prince
David Adjmi
Patrick Christiano and Patrick Page.
Robert Pickens and Katie Geil.
Jacelyn Bioh

2024 Drama Desk Awards


Stereophonic & Dead Outlaw win Best Play & Best Musical at the 68
th Drama Desk Awards.

June 11, 2024:  The 68th Annual Drama Desk Awards were presented yesterday at the NYU Skirball Center near Washington Square Park in lower Manhattan. Stereophonic, which originated at Playwrights Horizon, and is now playing on Broadway won Best Play, along with 7 additional awards including a special ensemble award.  Outstanding Musical was David Yazbeth’s Dead Outlaw directed by David Cromer, which had a short Off-Broadway run last year, and also won best book and lyrics. Water For Elephants nabbed 4 Awards including Outstanding Director of a Musical for Jessica Stone’s impressive work.
Here is a Complete List of Winners.


Stereophonic & Dead Outlaw win Best Play & Best Musical at the 68
th Drama Desk Awards.

June 11, 2024:  The 68th Annual Drama Desk Awards were presented yesterday at the NYU Skirball Center near Washington Square Park in lower Manhattan. Stereophonic, which originated at Playwrights Horizon, and is now playing on Broadway won Best Play, along with 7 additional awards including a special ensemble award.  Outstanding Musical was David Yazbeth’s Dead Outlaw directed by David Cromer, which had a short Off-Broadway run last year, and also won best book and lyrics. Water For Elephants nabbed 4 Awards including Outstanding Director of a Musical for Jessica Stone’s impressive work.
Here is a Complete List of Winners.

Outstanding Play Infinite Life, by Annie Baker, Atlantic Theater Company Jaja’s African Hair Braiding, by Jocelyn Bioh, Manhattan Theatre Club Mother Play, by Paula Vogel, Second Stage Theater***Stereophonic, by David Adjmi, Playwrights HorizonsSwing State, by Rebecca Gilman, Goodman Theatre The Ally, by Itamar Moses, The Public Theater  

 Outstanding Musical ***Dead OutlawIllinoise, Park Avenue Armory Lizard Boy, Prospect Theater CompanyTeeth, Playwrights Horizons The Connector, MCC Theater The Outsiders  

Outstanding Revival of a Play ***Appropriate, Second Stage TheaterDoubt: A Parable, Roundabout Theatre Company Philadelphia, Here I Come!, Irish Repertory Theatre Purlie Victorious: A Non-Confederate Romp Through the Cotton PatchUncle Vanya, OHenry Productions   

Outstanding Revival of a Musical Cabaret at the Kit Kat Club  Gutenberg! The Musical!*** I Can Get It for You Wholesale, Classic Stage Company  

Outstanding Lead Performance in a Play Nicole Cooper, Macbeth (an undoing), Theatre for a New Audience, Rose Theatre, and RoyalLyceum Theatre EdinburghWilliam Jackson Harper, Primary Trust, Roundabout Theatre Company***Jessica Lange, Mother Play, Second Stage TheaterRachel McAdams, Mary Jane, Manhattan Theatre ClubTobias Menzies, The Hunt, St. Ann’s Warehouse and Almeida TheatreLeslie Odom, Jr., Purlie Victorious: A Non-Confederate Romp Through the Cotton Patch***Sarah Paulson, Appropriate, Second Stage Theater A.J. Shively, Philadelphia, Here I Come!, Irish Repertory TheatreJuliet Stevenson, The Doctor, Park Avenue Armory Michael Stuhlbarg, Patriots  

Outstanding Lead Performance in a Musical *(There are 3 winners in this category as it includes a tie)*Andrew Durand, Dead OutlawSantino Fontana, I Can Get It for You Wholesale, Classic Stage CompanyBrody Grant, The Outsiders***Brian d’Arcy James, Days of Wine and Roses, Atlantic Theater Company***Maleah Joi Moon, Hell’s Kitchen*** Kelli O’Hara, Days of Wine and Roses, Atlantic Theater Company Liam Pearce, How to Dance in Ohio Gayle Rankin, Cabaret at the Kit Kat ClubBen Levi Ross, The Connector, MCC Theater Ricky Ubeda, Illinoise, Park Avenue Armory  

Outstanding Featured Performance in a Play Brittany Adebumola, Jaja’s African Hair Braiding, Manhattan Theatre ClubMarylouise Burke, Infinite Life, Atlantic Theater CompanyMichael Esper, Appropriate, Second Stage TheaterMarin Ireland, Uncle Vanya, OHenry Productions Will Keen, Patriots***Celia Keenan-Bolger, Mother Play, Second Stage Theater Conrad Ricamora, Oh, Mary!Sheila Tousey, Manahatta, The Public Theater Bubba Weiler, Swing State, Goodman Theatre***Kara Young, Purlie Victorious: A Non-Confederate Romp Through the Cotton Patch  

Outstanding Featured Performance in a Musical Shoshana Bean, Hell’s KitchenNatalie Venetia Belcon, Buena Vista Social Club, Atlantic Theater CompanyDorian Harewood, The Notebook Leslie Rodriguez Kritzer, Monty Python’s Spamalot***Kecia Lewis, Hell’s Kitchen ***Bebe Neuwirth, Cabaret at the Kit Kat ClubSteven Pasquale, Teeth, Playwrights Horizons Maryann Plunkett, The NotebookThom Sesma, Dead Outlaw Emily Skinner, Suffs  

Outstanding Direction of a Play ***Daniel Aukin, Stereophonic, Playwrights HorizonsRupert Goold, The Hunt, St. Ann’s Warehouse and Almeida TheatreKenny Leon, Purlie Victorious: A Non-Confederate Romp Through the Cotton PatchLila Neugebauer, Appropriate,Second Stage TheaterCiarán O’Reilly, Philadelphia, Here I Come!, Irish Repertory Theatre  

Outstanding Direction of a Musical David Cromer, Dead OutlawRebecca Frecknall, Cabaret at the Kit Kat Club Daisy Prince, The Connector, MCC Theater***Jessica Stone, Water for Elephants Danya Taymor, The Outsiders 

 Outstanding Choreography Camille A. Brown, Hell’s KitchenGraciela Daniele and Alex Sanchez, The Gardens of Anuncia, Lincoln Center TheaterRick Kuperman and Jeff Kuperman, The Outsiders(includes fight choreography)Lorin Latarro, The Heart of Rock and Roll ***Justin Peck, Illinoise, Park Avenue ArmoryJesse Robb and Shana Carroll, Water for Elephants(includes circus choreography)  

Outstanding Music Jason Robert Brown, The Connector, MCC TheaterJustin Huertas, Lizard Boy, Prospect Theater CompanyJamestown Revival (Jonathan Clay & Zach Chance) and Justin Levine, The Outsiders***Shaina Taub, Suffs David Yazbek and Erik Della Penna, Dead Outlaw   

Outstanding Lyrics Rachel Bloom, Eli Bolin, and Jack Dolgen, Rachel Bloom: Death, Let Me Do My ShowJason Robert Brown, The Connector, MCC TheaterMichael R. Jackson, Teeth, Playwrights HorizonsJamestown Revival (Jonathan Clay & Zach Chance) and Justin Levine, The Outsiders***David Yazbek and Erik Della Penna, Dead Outlaw   

Outstanding Book of a Musical Justin Huertas, Lizard Boy, Prospect Theater CompanyMichael R. Jackson and Anna K. Jacobs, Teeth, Playwrights HorizonsMichael John LaChiusa, The Gardens of Anuncia, Lincoln Center TheaterRebekah Greer Melocik, How to Dance in Ohio ***Itamar Moses, Dead Outlaw  

Outstanding Orchestrations Timo Andres, Illinoise, Park Avenue ArmoryWill Butler and Justin Craig, Stereophonic, Playwrights HorizonsAndy Evan Cohen, The Greatest Hits Down Route 66, New Light Theater Project***Marco Paguia, Buena Vista Social Club, Atlantic Theater CompanyErik Della Penna, Dean Sharenow, and David Yazbek, Dead OutlawMichael Starobin, Shaina Taub (vocal arrangements), and Andrea Grody (vocal arrangements),Suffs  

Outstanding Music in a Play Michael “Mikey J” Asante, The Effect, The ShedS T A R R Busby and JJJJJerome Ellis, (pray), Ars Nova and National Black Theatre***Will Butler, Stereophonic, Playwrights HorizonsDionne McClain-Freeney, The Harriet Holland Social Club Presents The 84th Annual Star-BurstCotillion in the Grand Ballroom of the Renaissance Hotel, New Georges and The Movement Theatre CompanyBen Steinfeld, Pericles, Classic Stage Company and Fiasco Theater   

Outstanding Revue***Amid Falling Walls, National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene 

 Outstanding Scenic Design of a Play Es Devlin, The Hunt, St. Ann’s Warehouse and Almeida Theatredots, Appropriate, Second Stage TheaterDerek McLane, Purlie Victorious: A Non-Confederate Romp Through the Cotton PatchScott Pask, Grey House ***David Zinn, Stereophonic,Playwrights Horizons  

Outstanding Scenic Design of a Musical AMP featuring Tatiana Kahvegian, The Outsiders***Paul Tate dePoo III, The Great Gatsby(includes projections) Riccardo Hernández, SuffsArnulfo Maldonado, Dead OutlawGrace Smart, Good Vibrations: A Punk Rock Musical, Irish Arts Center  

Outstanding Costume Design of a Play Alex Berry, Macbeth (an undoing), Theatre for a New Audience, Rose Theatre, and RoyalLyceum Theatre EdinburghKaren Boyer, Warrior Sisters of Wu, Pan Asian Repertory Theatre***Enver Chakartash, Stereophonic, Playwrights HorizonsLux Haac, Manahatta, The Public Theater Rodrigo Muñoz, Sally & Tom, The Public Theater  

 Outstanding Costume Design of a Musical Dede Ayite, Buena Vista Social Club, Atlantic Theater CompanyMárion Talán de la Rosa, The Connector, MCC TheaterLoren Elstein, Once Upon a One More Time David Israel Reynoso, Water for Elephants***Paul Tazewell, Suffs   

Outstanding Lighting Design of a Play*** Jane Cox, Appropriate, Second Stage Theater Stacey Derosier, Uncle Vanya, OHenry Productions Natasha Katz, Grey HouseLizzie Powell, Macbeth (an undoing), Theatre for a New Audience, Rose Theatre, andRoyal Lyceum Theatre Edinburgh Eric Southern, Swing State, Goodman Theatre 

Outstanding Lighting Design of a Play*** Jane Cox, Appropriate, Second Stage Theater Stacey Derosier, Uncle Vanya, OHenry Productions Natasha Katz, Grey HouseLizzie Powell, Macbeth (an undoing), Theatre for a New Audience, Rose Theatre, andRoyal Lyceum Theatre Edinburgh Eric Southern, Swing State, Goodman Theatre 

Outstanding Projection and Video Design Eric Dunlap, Our Class, MART Foundation and Arlekin Players TheatreJared Mezzocchi, Russian Troll Farm: A Workplace Comedy, Vineyard Theatre***Peter Nigrini, Hell’s Kitchen Olivia Sebesky, Melissa Etheridge: My WindowJeanette Oi-Suk Yew, The Connector, MCC Theater   

Outstanding Sound Design of a Play Adam Cork, The Hunt, St. Ann’s Warehouse and Almeida Theatre Tom Gibbons, Grey HousePalmer Hefferan, The Comeuppance, Signature TheatreBray Poor and Will Pickens, Appropriate, Second Stage Theater***Ryan Rumery, Stereophonic, Playwrights Horizons 

Outstanding Sound Design of a Musical *(3-way tie)* Jason Crystal, SuffsKai Harada and Joshua Millican, Dead Outlaw***Nick Lidster for Autograph, Cabaret at the Kit Kat Club ***Cody Spencer, The Outsiders***Walter Trarbach, Water for Elephants   

Outstanding Wig and Hair J. Jared Janas and Cassie Williams, Sally & Tom, The Public Theater Charles G. LaPointe, Suffs***Nikiya Mathis, Jaja’s African Hair Braiding, Manhattan Theatre ClubNikiya Mathis, The Harriet Holland Social Club Presents The 84th Annual Star-Burst Cotillion inthe Grand Ballroom of the Renaissance Hotel, New Georges and The Movement Theatre Company Robert Pickens and Katie Gell, Stereophonic, Broadway Production  

Outstanding Solo Performance Michael Cruz Kayne, Sorry for Your LossMadeleine MacMahon, Breathless, Theatre Royal PlymouthWade McCollum, Make Me Gorgeous!, The True Story of Kenneth “Mr. Madam” Marlowe,triangle productions!Robert Montano, SMALL, Penguin Rep Theatre***Patrick Page, All the Devils Are Here: How Shakespeare Invented the Villain

Unique Theatrical ExperienceA Eulogy for Roman, Through the Tollbooth Co.A Simulacrum, Atlantic Theater CompanyADRIFT: A Medieval Wayward Folly, Happenstance TheaterI Love You So Much I Could Die, New York Theatre Workshop***Grenfell: in the words of survivors, St. Ann’s Warehouse, National Theatre, and KPPL Productions

Outstanding Fight Choreography Michael G. Chin, Warrior Sisters of Wu, Pan Asian Repertory Theatre***Cha Ramos, Water for Elephants Steve Rankin, The Who’s Tommy 

Outstanding Adaptation***An Enemy of the People, by Amy Herzog Macbeth (an undoing), by Zinnie Harris, Theatre for a New Audience, Rose Theatre,and Royal Lyceum Theatre EdinburghThe Comedy of Errors, by Rebecca Martínez and Julián Mesri, The Public Theater Mobile UnitThe Doctor, by Robert Icke, Park Avenue Armory The Hunt, by David Farr, St. Ann’s Warehouse and Almeida Theatre The Whole of Time, by Romina Paula, Joben Studios   

Outstanding Puppetry Matt Acheson, Hotel Happy, Houses on the Moon Theater CompanyAdrian Kohler and Handspring Puppet Company, Life & Times of Michael K, St. Ann’s Warehouse,Baxter Theatre Centre, and Düsseldorfer Schauspielhaus***Ray Wetmore, JR Goodman, and Camille Labarre, Water for ElephantsDavid Valentine, Poor Yella Rednecks, Manhattan Theatre Club     

SPECIAL AWARDS

Ensemble Award The cast of Stereophonic– Will Brill, Andrew R. Butler, Juliana Canfield, Eli Gelb, Tom Pecinka, Sarah Pidgeon, and Chris Stack – who execute David Adjmi’s hypernaturalistic text with extraordinary care and precision, while also performing Will Butler’s music with the freshness and life that makes us believe we are witnessing, first-hand, the creation of a new American classic.   

Sam Norkin Off-Broadway Award Cole Escola, who both wrote and stars in one of this season’s biggest hits Off Broadway, Oh, Mary!Following in the long legacy of queer artists who write themselves into American history, Escola’s new “gay fantasia on national themes” is a hilarious reminder of why we must continue to interrogate our past.   

ADDITIONAL SPECIAL AWARDS

How to Dance in Ohio Authentic Autistic Representation Team– Sammi Cannold, Nicole D’Angelo, Becky Leifman, Ava Xiao-Lin Rigelhaupt, Liz Weber, and Jeremy Wein – for their steadfast support of autistic theatermakers, and their strides toward true accessibility for neurodiverse individuals both on and offstage. 

Lighting designer Isabella Byrd, whose self-described technique as a “darkness designer” has earned her a cache of nominations and awards in the United States and abroad. During this season, Byrd illuminated two Broadway shows done in the round, An Enemy of the Peopleand Cabaret at the Kit Kat Club. Off Broadway, her spotlight on quiet, small-scale stories both enchanted us in Primary Trustand mesmerized us in Infinite Life, with a parking-lot sky that marked the passage of time. 

Lady Irene Gandy, for career achievement. A press agent extraordinaire for over five decades, Lady Irene has always demonstrated her passion, dedication, and love for theater. A Broadway producer and Sardi’s honoree, she is a zealous advocate for inclusion, diversity, and equity in the arts. 

SHOWS WITH MULTIPLE WINS
(*notates a show that received a special Drama Desk Award, which is part of the win count) 
 7  *Stereophonic   
4   Water for Elephants   
3    Appropriate
*Cabaret at the Kit Kat Club
Dead Outlaw
Hell’s Kitchen
 2  *An Enemy of the People
Days of Wine and Roses
Mother Play
Suffs
The Outsiders

David ***1/2

By: Paulanne Simmons

June 11,2024: Michelangelo is quoted as saying, “The sculpture is already complete within the marble block, before I start my work. It is already there, I just have to chisel away the superfluous material.” The same could be said of the new Musical, David, now making its premiere at AMT Theater. Martha Rosenblatt (book and lyrics), Gary Glickstein (book and lyrics) and Albert Tapper (book, lyrics and music) have created a real gem. All they need to do is chisel away the superfluous material. And there’s certainly a great deal of it.

By: Paulanne Simmons

June 11,2024: Michelangelo is quoted as saying, “The sculpture is already complete within the marble block, before I start my work. It is already there, I just have to chisel away the superfluous material.” The same could be said of the new Musical, David, now making its premiere at AMT Theater. Martha Rosenblatt (book and lyrics), Gary Glickstein (book and lyrics) and Albert Tapper (book, lyrics and music) have created a real gem. All they need to do is chisel away the superfluous material. And there’s certainly a great deal of it.

David has many plotlines. Some of them, such as David’s relationship with his son Solomon (Caleb Mathura) and the matter of how Solomon will take the reins after his father dies, go nowhere. Indeed Solomon soon leaves the scene and the play, never to return. Other plotlines, such as the possibility that Young David (Ethan Zeph) and his best friend Jonathan (Jacob Louchheim) may have a gay relationship, are silly and unproductive.

Olivia Vadnais, Ethan Zeph (center), and Timothy Warmen (rear right).

Other plotlines are more promising: David’s relationship with King Saul (Danny Arnold), who is jealous and suspicious of the young upstart; David’s love for and betrayal of his wife, Michal (Olivia Vadnais); David as an old man facing death, with the help of the prophet, Nathan (Kenny Morris). One wants to see them better developed and tied together.

Adding even more plot twists, David’s story is told as a series of flashbacks, as the aged David (Timothy Warmen) looks back and tries to justify his past acts to the skeptical Nathan. Oddly, David’s scenes with Nathan provide much of the play’s humor as  Morris proves to be an excellent comedian.

Despite the unfinished and unedited quality of the musical, it benefits from Kyle Pleasant’s excellent direction and a cast that is uniformly terrific, from the principals to the ensemble. Vadnais is a particularly lovely and lyrical soprano. And Arnold is a powerful and moving baritone. The ensemble numbers are vigorous and amusing, as choreographed by Pleasant.

Timothy Warmen and Ehan Zeph.

The score is filled with songs that have catchy tunes and clever lyrics. Mical’s “Something Was Ending” and Saul’s “I Do Not Hate Him” are outstanding ballads. Young David’s “Touch My Dreams” is an eloquent “I Want” song. But there are a total of seven reprises in David.

After watching this musical for two and a half hours (there’s one intermission), one is left with several very basic questions. Why is this story being told? What is the arc of David’s life? What has David learned as he faces death?

Impressive performances and a formidable score can go a long way to making a successful musical. But they cannot make a hit.

David ***1/2
AMT Theater, 354 West 45 Street
Runs Through July 13, 2024
Photography: Russ Rowland

Olivia Vadnais and Jacob Louchheim (center) and cast.

Broadway Update

LCT Season; Dolly Parton Musical

By: David Sheward

June 10, 2024: Lincoln Center Theater has announced its 2024-25 season for its Vivian Beaumont, Mitzi Newhouse and Clara Tow Theaters. LCT’s Broadway season at the Vivian Beaumont begins with the previously announced MCNEAL by Pulitzer Prize winner Ayad Akhtar and starring Robert Downey Jr. in his Broadway debut. (previews Sept. 5 and opens Sept. 30). 

LCT Season; Dolly Parton Musical

By: David Sheward

June 10, 2024: Lincoln Center Theater has announced its 2024-25 season for its Vivian Beaumont, Mitzi Newhouse and Clara Tow Theaters. LCT’s Broadway season at the Vivian Beaumont begins with the previously announced MCNEAL by Pulitzer Prize winner Ayad Akhtar and starring Robert Downey Jr. in his Broadway debut. (previews Sept. 5 and opens Sept. 30). 

Christopher Innvar, Jason Danieley, and Theresa McCarthy in the 1996 production of Floyd Collins at Playwrights Horizons Credit: Joan Marcus

The Broadway premiere of Floyd Collins follows with an opening of April 21 and previews beginning March 27. The musical about the real-life story of the titular cave explorer had its world premiere at the American Music Theater Festival in Philadelphia in 1994. It was followed by the off-Broadway debut at Playwrights Horizons in 1996 where it won the Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Musical. Music and lyrics are by Adam Guettel whose Light in the Piazza also played the Beaumont. Tina Landau provides the book, additional lyrics and direction, as she did for the PH production. 

Floyd Collins is based on the true story of a cave explorer in Kentucky, 1925. While chasing a dream of fame and fortune by turning Sand Cave into a tourist attraction, Floyd Collins himself becomes the attraction when he gets trapped 200 feet underground. Alone but for sporadic contact with the outside world, including his brother Homer, Floyd fights for his sanity – and, ultimately, his life – as the rescue effort above explodes into the first genuine media circus. Reporters and gawkers from across the country descend on the property, fueling the hysteria and manipulating the nation into holding its collective breath.

The Blood Quilt at Arena Stage,  Washington, DC. C. Stanley Photography

LCT’s Off-Broadway season at the Mitzi Newhouse opens with Katori Hall’s The Blood Quilt, previews begins Oct. 30 and opens Nov. 21. Lileana Blain-Cruz will direct. Gathering at their childhood island home off the coast of Georgia, four disconnected sisters meet to create a family quilt to honor their recently deceased mother.  When their reunion turns into a reading of their mother’s will, everyone must grapple with a troubling inheritance.  Stitched with history, ritual, laughter and tears, will their “blood quilt” bind the family together or tear them apart forever?  The Blood Quilt had its premiere at Arena Stage in Washington, DC.

Ibsen’s Ghosts at BAM in 2015. Credit: Stephanie Berger

A new version of Henrik Ibsen’s Ghosts is next, previews Feb. 13 and opens March 10. After several years abroad, Helena Alving’s son has returned home. He carries with him a terrifying secret. Ibsen’s Ghosts is a devastating moral thriller in which ideas of love, duty and family are mercilessly put to the test. This new version, is written by one of Ireland’s leading playwrights, Mark O’Rowe, and directed by Tony winner Jack O’Brien. Ghosts has been seen on Broadway 15 times, most recently starring Liv Ullman in 1982. The most recent Off-Broadway production was at BAM in 2015 with Lesley Manville and directed by Richard Eyre.

Ibsen’s Ghosts at BAM in 2015. Credit: Stephanie Berger

Six Characters will play LCT3’s Claire Tow Theater, previews July 13 and opens July 29. When some trifling citizens storm a renowned cultural center where they’re not meant to be, all hell breaks loose. Wigs go flying. Wounds get opened. An archive explodes. Will the audience make it out alive? Directed by Dustin Wills, abolition takes on fresh meaning in Six Characters, Phillip Howze’s new play on power, belonging, and the institutions we build.

Paulo Szot and Kelli O’Hara in the 2008 LCT production of South Pacific. Credit: Joan Marcus

On Monday, December 9, Bartlett Sher will direct a one-night-only reunion concert of LCT’s Tony Award-winning 2008 production of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s South Pacific, starring original cast members Kelli O’Hara, Paulo Szot, Matthew Morrison, Danny Burstein, Loretta Ables Sayre, Sean Cullen, Victor Hawks, Li Jun Li, Skip Sudduth, and Noah Weisberg, and additional cast members to be announced.  The concert will take place on the stage of the Vivian Beaumont Theater, followed by a cocktail party with the South Pacific company at the Metropolitan Opera House.  The evening will support Lincoln Center Theater’s productions and education programs. Further details about the evening, including ticket prices, will be announced shortly. 

Well, Howdy, Dolly: Country superstar Dolly Parton will follow fellow pop music divas Cher, Tina Turner, Gloria Estefan and Donna Summer with a musical based on her life and career. Hello, I’m Dolly (not to be confused with Hello, Dolly) will feature new songs by Parton along with her hits and a book co-written by Parton and Maria S. Schlatter, who worked with the singer on TV projects like the Emmy Award-winning Christmas on the Square. The production is slated for Broadway with a target of 2026. Parton made the announcement at the CMA Fest in Nashville. The title is taken from Parton’s first solo album released in 1967. Parton’s career trajectory resembles that of Cher and Tina Turner. All three began their singing paths under the wing of a domineering male–Cher with Sony Bono, Tina with Ike Turner, and Dolly with Porter Waggoner. Eventually, they all emerged with vibrant solo careers and established themselves as bigger stars than their former mentors.

In a statement, Parton said, “Hello, I’m Dolly, and I lived my whole life to see this show on stage. I’ve written many original songs for the show and included all your favorites in it as well. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll clap, you’ll stomp, it truly is a Grand Ol’ Opera. Pun and fun intended. Don’t miss it!”

“I first had the pleasure of working with Dolly Parton in 2019,” producer Adam Speers for ATG Productions (Cabaret at the Kit Kat Klub) said, “when she trusted us to develop a new version of her musical 9 to 5 for London’s West End. I had always heard she wanted to do a musical based on her life, so when she asked if I would be interested in producing it, I was bowled over. As the world knows, Dolly is a magical blend of talent, hard work, intelligence, charm, wit, and a gigantically big heart. I’m thrilled we’re going to bring her inspiring story to Broadway.”

2024-25 Broadway/Off-Broadway/Awards Calendar 

Summer 2024

June 10–Drama Desk Awards (NYU Skirball)

June 10–Theater World Awards (Marquis Theater)

June 12–The Welkin (Atlantic Theater Company)

June 12–Titanic (Encores/City Center)

June 16–Tony Awards (David Koch Theater/Lincoln Center)

June 18–Pre-Existing Condition (Connelly Upstairs)

June 20–Cats (Perelman Performing Arts Center)

June 23–N/A (Mitzi Newhouse)

July 11–Oh, Mary! (Lyceum)

July 30–Job (Hayes)

Aug. 12–Once Upon a Mattress (Hudson)

Fall 2024

Sept. 12–The Roommate (Booth)

Sept. 12–Counting and Cracking (Public Theater/NYU Skirball)

Sept. 12–Forbidden Broadway: Merrily We Stole a Song (Theater555)

Sept. 24–Vladimir (MTC/City Center Stage I) (previews begin; opening TBA)

Sept. 29–The Hills of California (Broadhurst)

Sept. 30–MCNEAL (Vivian Beaumont/LCT)

Oct. 1–Yellowface (Roundabout/Todd Haimes)

Oct. 1–Good Bones (Public)

Oct. 9–The Counter (Roundabout/Laura Pels)

Oct. 10–Our Town (Barrymore)

Oct. 10–Deep History (Public)

Oct. 17–Maybe Happy Ending (Belasco)

Oct. 20–Sunset Boulevard (St. James)

Oct. 24–Romeo and Juliet (Circle in the Square)

Nov. 8–Gatz (Elevator Repair Service/Public)

Nov. 11–What a Wonderful World: The Louis Armstrong Musical (Studio 54)

Nov. 14–Tammy Faye (Palace)

Nov. 14–King Lear (Kenneth Branagh Theater Company/The Shed)

Nov. 21–Death Becomes Her (Lunt-Fontanne)

Nov. 21–The Blood Quilt (LCT/Mitzi Newhouse)

Nov. 25–Eureka Day (MTC/Samuel J. Friedman) (previews begin; opening TBA)

Left on Tenth

Swept Away

We Live in Cairo (NYTW)

Winter 2024-25

Dec. 19–Gypsy (Majestic)

Jan. 23–English (Roundabout/Todd Haimes Theater)

Feb. 20–Liberation (Roundabout/Laura Pels)

The Antiquities (Playwrights Horizons/Vineyard Theater)

A Knock on the Roof (NYTW)

Sumo (Ma-Yi Theater/Public)

2024-25

My Son’s a Queer (But What Can You Do?)

Romeo and Juliet w.Tom Holland/Francesca Amewudah-Rivers (?)

Smash

Wine in the Wilderness (CSC)

Spring 2025

March 10–Ghosts (LCT/Mitzi Newhouse)

March 25–Old Friends (MTC/Samuel J. Friedman) (previews begins opening TBA)

April 21–Floyd Collins (LCT/Vivian Beaumont)

April 24–The Pirates of Penzance (Roundabout/Todd Haimes Theater)

Bowl EP (Vineyard Theater/National Black Theater)

Glass. Kill. What If If Only. Imp. (Public)

Good Night and Good Luck

Lights Out: Nat “King” Cole (NYTW)

Othello

The Picture of Dorian Gray (???)

Show Boat (Target Margin/NYU Skirball)

Summer 2025

July 29–Six Characters (LCT3/Clara Tow)

Twelfth Night (Public Theater/Delacorte)

Fall 2025

Initiative (Public)

2026

Hello, I’m Dolly

Future–Ain’t Supposed to Die a Natural Death; Beaches the Musical; Black Orpheus; BOOP! The Betty Boop Musical; Come Fall in Love–The DDLJ Musical; Crazy Rich Asians; The Devil Wears Prada; Ella: An American Miracle; Everybody’s Talking About Jamie; Frida, the Musical; Game of Thrones; The Griswolds’ Broadway Vacation; High Noon; Imitation of Life; The Interestings; Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat; The Karate Kid; La La Land; Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil; The Mousetrap; Nancy Drew and the Mystery at Spotlight Manor; Pal Joey; Purple Rain; The Queen’s Gambit; Rear Window; The Nanny; The Normal Heart/The Destiny of Me; The Queen of Versailles; The Secret Garden; Sing Street; Soul Train; Stranger Things: The First Shadow; Working Girl.

2024-25 Broadway Season Breakdown

New Plays

Good Night and Good Luck

The Hills of California

Job 

Left on Tenth

MCNEAL

Oh, Mary!

The Roommate

New Musicals

Death Becomes Her

Maybe Happy Ending

Old Friends

Smash

Swept Away

Tammy Faye

What a Wonderful World: The Louis Armstrong Musical

Play Revivals

English

Eureka Day

Home

Othello

Our Town

Romeo and Juliet

Yellowface

Musical Revivals

Floyd Collins

Gypsy

Once Upon a Mattress

The Pirates of Penzance

Sunset Boulevard

Broadway Update

Drama Desk, Pre-Tonys, Hills of California, Etc.

By: David Sheward

June 5, 2024: The 68th Drama Desk Awards, held on Mon. June 10 at 6:15 pm at NYU’s Skirball Hall and hosted by Sutton Foster and Aaron Tveit of Sweeney Todd, have announced presenters: Brooke Shields, Laura Benanti, Matthew Brodereick, Andrew Rannells, Nikki M. James, Debra Messing, Brian d’Arcy James, Montego Glover, Lena Hall and Ruthie Ann Miles. Kelli O’Hara (nominated for Days of Wine and Roses) will perform a musical tribute to William Wolf Award recipient Andre Bishop. Nathan Lane will receive the Harold S. Prince Award for Lifetime Achievement. Lane has previously won six Drama Desk Awards, three Tonys, six Outer Critics Circle Awards, the Drama League Award, a Lortel and two Obies. 

Drama Desk, Pre-Tonys, Hills of California, Etc.

By: David Sheward

June 5, 2024: The 68th Drama Desk Awards, held on Mon. June 10 at 6:15 pm at NYU’s Skirball Hall and hosted by Sutton Foster and Aaron Tveit of Sweeney Todd, have announced presenters: Brooke Shields, Laura Benanti, Matthew Brodereick, Andrew Rannells, Nikki M. James, Debra Messing, Brian d’Arcy James, Montego Glover, Lena Hall and Ruthie Ann Miles. Kelli O’Hara (nominated for Days of Wine and Roses) will perform a musical tribute to William Wolf Award recipient Andre Bishop. Nathan Lane will receive the Harold S. Prince Award for Lifetime Achievement. Lane has previously won six Drama Desk Awards, three Tonys, six Outer Critics Circle Awards, the Drama League Award, a Lortel and two Obies. 

There are balcony seats available for the general public and may be purchased at https://tickets.nyu.edu/dramadesk2024/15422

Julianne Hough and Utkarsh Ambudkar will host the Tonys’ pre-show on Pluto.

Tony Pre-Show: Emmy Award winner Julianne Hough and star of CBS’ Ghosts Utkarsh Ambudkar will host The Tony Awards: Act One, a live pre-show with exclusive content that is available to viewers for free on Pluto TV beginning Sunday, June 16 at 6:30-8:00 PM, ET/3:30-5:00 PM, PT. Hough, who starred in the hit Broadway play POTUS, and Ambudkar, who made his Broadway debut in Lin-Manuel Miranda’s improvisational hip-hop show Freestyle Love Supreme, will kick off Broadway’s biggest night with the presentation of the first round of Tony Awards during the exciting pre-show telecast. 

Immediately following, the 77th Annual Tony Awards, with Academy Award winner and Tony Award nominee Ariana DeBose, will air live from the David H. Koch Theater at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, from 8:00-11:00 PM, live ET/5:00-8:00 PM, Live PT on the CBS Television Network, and streaming on Paramount+ in the U.S. (live and on-demand for Paramount+ with Showtime subscribers, or on-demand for Paramount+ Essential subscribers the day after the special airs).

No word yet on which awards will be presented on Pluto and which on CBS.

Jez Butterworth’s The Hills of California. in London Credit: Mark Douet

Hills of California: The Hills of California, the latest play from Jez Butterworth (Tony winner for The Ferryman), will transfer from London’s West End to Broadway this fall. Previews begin Sept. 11 at the Broadhurst Theater prior to a Sept. 29 opening. Oscar winner Sam Mendes who staged The Ferryman will reunite with Butterworth, repeating his London staging. Broadway casting will be announced at a later date.

The synopsis reads: “In the sweltering heat of a 1970s summer, the Webb sisters return to their childhood home in Blackpool, an English seaside town, where their mother Veronica lies dying upstairs. Gloria and Ruby now have families of their own. Jill never left. And Joan? No one’s heard from her in twenty years… but Jill insists that their mother’s favorite won’t let them down this time.

“The run-down Sea View Guest House is haunted by bittersweet memories of amusement park rides and overdue bills. Back in the 1950s, each night the girls rehearse their singing act, managed by their fiercely loving single mom. But when a record producer offers a shot at fame and a chance to escape, it will cost them all dearly.”

Chris Collins Pisano (left) and Jenny Lee Stern (right) will be featured in Gerard Alessandrini’s new “Forbidden Broadway: Merrily We Stole A Song” at Theater555 Credit: Carole Rosegg

Forbidden B’way Is Back: Forbidden Broadway is back on the boards. The latest edition of Gerard Alessandrini’s long-running satirical revue, subtitled Merrily We Stole a Song had been announced as playing Broadway’s Hayes Theater this summer, but the engagement was postponed indefinitely. Now, the production will open Off-Broadway at Theater 555 on W. 42nd St. on Sept. 12 with previews beginning Aug. 23.

Created, written and directed by Gerard Alessandrini, with musical staging by Gerry McIntyre, Forbidden Broadway: Merrily We Stole a Song skewers the latest deluge of Broadway offerings including Hell’s Kitchen, Stereophonic, The Outsiders, The Great Gatsby, Back to the Future, The Wiz, and of course, Merrily We Roll Along. In addition, there will be sendups of Roger Bart, Patti LuPone, Daniel Radcliffe, Ariana DeBose and Jeremy Jordan, among others. This up-to-the-minute version will also poke fun at the 2024 Tony Awards, and will include some of the most popular numbers from Alessandrini’s recent Forbidden Sondheim.

Gerard Alessandrini says “I am thrilled that this latest incarnation of the show that I had been preparing for more than a year, can now open Off-Broadway, where Forbidden Broadway has felt at home for over 40 years. The exciting new Broadway season has inspired me to create a barrage of theatrical zingers, and I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to present this edition in New York after all.”

The company will be headed by Chris Collins-Pisano and Jenny Lee Stern with musical director Fred Barton on piano.  The remainder of the cast and creative team will be announced. 

Michael Urie. Credit: Jenny Anderson

Urie Confirmed for Mattress: In other news, Michael Urie will repeat his role of Prince Dauntless the Drab opposite Sutton Foster as Winifred the Woebegone in the revival of Once Upon a Mattress, opening at the Hudson Theater on Aug. 12. Direct from its record-breaking, sold-out run at New York City Center’s Encores! earlier this year, the show returns to Broadway in a new adaptation by Emmy Award winner Amy Sherman-Palladino (“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”, “Gilmore Girls”), directed by Tony Award nominee and Drama League Award winner Lear deBessonet (Into The Woods). 

2024-25 Broadway/Off-Broadway/Awards Calendar 

Summer 2024

June 5–Home (Roundabout/Todd Haimes)

June 6–The World According to Micki Grant (New Federal Theater/WP Theater)

June 10–Drama Desk Awards (NYU Skirball)

June 10–Theater World Awards (Marquis Theater)

June 12–The Welkin (Atlantic Theater Company)

June 12–Titanic (Encores/City Center)

June 16–Tony Awards (David Koch Theater/Lincoln Center)

June 18–Pre-Existing Condition (Connelly Upstairs)

June 20–Cats (Perelman Performing Arts Center)

June 23–N/A (Mitzi Newhouse)

July 11–Oh, Mary! (Lyceum)

July 30–Job (Hayes)

Aug. 12–Once Upon a Mattress (Hudson)

Fall 2024

Sept. 12–The Roommate (Booth)

Sept. 12–Counting and Cracking (Public Theater/NYU Skirball)

Spet. 12–Forbidden Broadway: Merrily We Stole a Song (Theater555)

Sept. 24–Vladimir (MTC/City Center Stage I) (previews begin; opening TBA)

Sept. 29–The Hills of California (Broadhurst)

Sept. 30–MCNEAL (Vivian Beaumont/LCT)

Oct. 1–Yellowface (Roundabout/Todd Haimes)

Oct. 1–Good Bones (Public)

Oct. 9–The Counter (Roundabout/Laura Pels)

Oct. 10–Our Town (Barrymore)

Oct. 10–Deep History (Public)

Oct. 17–Maybe Happy Ending (Belasco)

Oct. 20–Sunset Boulevard (St. James)

Oct. 24–Romeo and Juliet (Circle in the Square)

Nov. 8–Gatz (Elevator Repair Service/Public)

Nov. 11–What a Wonderful World: The Louis Armstrong Musical (Studio 54)

Nov. 14–Tammy Faye (Palace)

Nov. 14–King Lear (Kenneth Branagh Theater Company/The Shed)

Nov. 21–Death Becomes Her (Lunt-Fontanne)

Nov. 25–Eureka Day (MTC/Samuel J. Friedman) (previews begin; opening TBA)

Left on Tenth

Swept Away

We Live in Cairo (NYTW)

Winter 2024-25

Dec. 19–Gypsy (Majestic)

Jan. 23–English (Roundabout/Todd Haimes Theater)

Feb. 20–Liberation (Roundabout/Laura Pels)

The Antiquities (Playwrights Horizons/Vineyard Theater)

A Knock on the Roof (NYTW)

Sumo (Ma-Yi Theater/Public)

2024-25

My Son’s a Queer (But What Can You Do?)

Romeo and Juliet w.Tom Holland/Francesca Amewudah-Rivers (?)

Smash

Wine in the Wilderness (CSC)

Spring 2025

March 25–Old Friends (MTC/Samuel J. Friedman) (previews begins opening TBA)

April 24–The Pirates of Penzance (Roundabout/Todd Haimes Theater)

Bowl EP (Vineyard Theater/National Black Theater)

Glass. Kill. What If If Only. Imp. (Public)

Good Night and Good Luck

Lights Out: Nat “King” Cole (NYTW)

Othello

The Picture of Dorian Gray (???)

Show Boat (Target Margin/NYU Skirball)

Summer 2025

Twelfth Night (Public Theater/Delacorte)

Fall 2025

Initiative (Public)

Future–Ain’t Supposed to Die a Natural Death; Beaches the Musical; Black Orpheus; BOOP! The Betty Boop Musical; Come Fall in Love–The DDLJ Musical; Crazy Rich Asians; The Devil Wears Prada; Ella: An American Miracle; Everybody’s Talking About Jamie; Frida, the Musical; Game of Thrones; The Griswolds’ Broadway Vacation; High Noon; Imitation of Life; The Interestings; Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat; The Karate Kid; La La Land; Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil; The Mousetrap; Nancy Drew and the Mystery at Spotlight Manor; Pal Joey; Purple Rain; The Queen’s Gambit; Rear Window; The Nanny; The Normal Heart/The Destiny of Me; The Queen of Versailles; The Secret Garden; Sing Street; Soul Train; Stranger Things: The First Shadow; Working Girl.

2024-25 Broadway Season Breakdown

New Plays

Good Night and Good Luck

The Hills of California

Job 

Left on Tenth

MCNEAL

Oh, Mary!

The Roommate

New Musicals

Death Becomes Her

Maybe Happy Ending

Old Friends

Smash

Swept Away

Tammy Faye

What a Wonderful World: The Louis Armstrong Musical

Play Revivals

English

Eureka Day

Home

Othello

Our Town

Romeo and Juliet

Yellowface

Musical Revivals

Gypsy

Once Upon a Mattress

The Pirates of Penzance

Sunset Boulevard

Let’s Put On A Show!

By: Alix Cohen

Let’s Put On A Show! 35 Years of Irish Rep Musicals – Comhghairdeachas!

June 10, 2024: As well produced as anything on Broadway, Irish Repertory’s 35th Annual Gala reflected not only the theater’s history of recognizing and collaborating with extraordinary talent, but a feeling of family repeatedly expressed and filling the hall. The theater’s 200 productions, 800 readings and 30 Gala Concerts bring it to 2024 with bells on.

By: Alix Cohen

Let’s Put On A Show! 35 Years of Irish Rep Musicals – Comhghairdeachas!

June 10, 2024: As well produced as anything on Broadway, Irish Repertory’s 35th Annual Gala reflected not only the theater’s history of recognizing and collaborating with extraordinary talent, but a feeling of family repeatedly expressed and filling the hall. The theater’s 200 productions, 800 readings and 30 Gala Concerts bring it to 2024 with bells on.

Charlotte Moore, Ciarán O’Reilly

Actors Charlotte Moore and Ciarán O’Reilly met on a production of Hugh Leonard’s Summer at Hudson Guild Theater. Discovering unusual like mindedness, they decided, picturesquely chatting at a kitchen table, to found an Irish theater. He had arrived from Ireland so steeped in its dramatic traditions he’d performed in Gaelic. She started with broad appreciation that grew enthused with exposure. “We made it up as we went along.” (O’Reilly) My  2016 piece on the origins of Irish Rep.

This year’s Artistic Honoree, choreographer Barry McNabb, is affectionately introduced by actor Maryann Plunkett as a consummate connector and cherished collaborator since he choreographed Hal Prince’s production of Grandchild of Kings 33 years ago. “I look forward to as much as the legs will hold out,” the celebrant proclaims.

Maryann Plunkett and Barry McNabb; Tom Cashin

Tom Cashin, introduced by his partner of 50 years, Jay Johnson, receives the Irish Repertory Theatre’s Visionary Leadership Award in recognition of his stalwart service to our community and stewardship of the Rep as a member of its board of directors. The partners dance off stage!

A spirited overture arranged and lead by Musical Director Gary Adler opens the the entertainment portion of the evening. “Frank McCourt sat on our Board of Advisors for years and we never listened to one piece of advice…” O’Reilly begins. McCourt mentioned he had a play in a bottom drawer, but it wasn’t until the success of Angela’s Ashes that Moore and O’Reilly asked to disinter it. Now abashed, we’re told the play was 1997’s The Irish and How They Got That Way.

Original cast member Ciarán Sheehan performs its opening medley. The lyrical tenor enhances songs with authenticity. “Kathleen” (“I’ll Take You Home Again, Kathleen”) rhymes with “been.” Town Hall collectively sighs.

Ciarán Sheehan; Shareen Ahmed

“We never stopped working during the Pandemic,” O”Reilly reminds us. Actors all over the country came together for a green-screen production of Meet Me in St. Louis (Hugh Martin/Ralph Blane). The video was innovative as well as entertaining. We watch Esther Smith (Shareen Ahmed) and John Truett (Max Von Essen) kiss onscreen from two different states. He even catches her when she faints at one point. Ahmed and the chorus offer a rich, robust “Trolley Song.”

Ben Davis; Jon Peterson

Ben Davis performs the title song of 2018’s On a Clear Day You Can See Forever as if convinced by lyrics. Unlike most theater actors, he reaches out, sharing with audience, not looking over heads. Jon Peterson, sings and taps his way through a medley from 2006’s George M. Cohan Tonight! (by Chip Deffain which he starred. Moore is convinced he’s a reincarnation. Revive this one! The performer is terrific; distinctive tight tapping and vocal alike.

Nicholas Barasch and Kerrry Conte

2022’s The Butcher Boy (Asher Muldoon Based on the novel by Patrick McCabe) “about a murderous small town boy whose best friend was The Virgin Mary,” is represented by Nicholas Barasch and Kerry Conte. “I want anything and everything that I have never known” the redhead sings. Lovely and sympathetic.

“Who hasn’t heard of The Quiet Man (Maurice Walsh), a story that symbolized Ireland?” Moore notes. In 2013, the theater produced Johnny Burke’s musicalization Donnybrook. Stepping in at the last moment, DeLaney Westfall sings from the piece with feisty sparks. “Couldn’t ya spare a kiss?” says he. “Out of my way,” says I… Danielle Ferland delivers “Old Friend” (Merrily We Roll Along) from 2017’s gala, Sondheim at Seven. She’s fully in character and easy to imagine in the role of Mary.

DeLaney Westfall; Danielle Ferland

Having the great Bill Irwin twice on stage at Irish Rep was a great privilege,” Moore comments. Irwin will once again grace the 22nd Street stage July 10 to August 4 with his brilliant On Beckett. Sporting vaudevillian attire, the clown/actor tells us, “The thing about soft shoe is that it occupies a different emotional space…Oh tell me what the stars do shine…” A little song, a little dance, a deft flip of cane and derby- embody unique grace and wit.

Bill Irwin

In 2010, Shubert Theater hosted Irish Rep’s gala production of Brigadoon (Frederick Loewe/Alan Jay Lerner). Ali Ewoldt’s “Waitin’ For My Dearie” with signature back of throat hum arrives lilting. Kerry Conte and the chorus complement. From 2021/2022The Streets of New York (Don Boucicault with adaptation, songs and direction by Charlotte Moore), we hear Emma Camp’s wickedly animated “Oh How I Love Being Rich!”: Oh how I love being rich/Entitlement is so much fun!

Ali Ewoldt; Emma Camp

Melissa Errico has starred in four versions of Finian’s Rainbow (Burton Lane/Yip Harburg) including 2016’s at Irish Rep. “This next song about bequeathing the optimism of life could so easily be about Charlotte and Ciarán,” she muses. “Look to the Rainbow” and “How Are Things in Glocca Morra?” exude the actor’s innate warmth. Audience is encouraged to join the chorus. We sway.

Melissa Errico; Angela Grovey and Kyle Taylor Parker

Also from Finian’s Rainbow, Angela Grovey and Kyle Taylor Parker perform a vibrant, gospel tinted “Necessity.” Grovey’s smooth vocal goes out and returns like a boomerang, while Taylor Parker’s hovers. Two part scat is grand. 

“Maybe Woody Guthrie never claimed Irish heritage, but his work transcends all cultures,” introduces David Lutkin with a song from 2017’s Woody Sez that was written he tells us, 84 years ago a block from Town Hall. “All you can write is what you see,” he quotes Guthrie. “This Land is Your Land,” accompanied by the performer’s guitar and harmonica, resonates. Authenticity is unfussy. Lyrics appear on screen; audience sings the chorus.

David Ludkin

Ciarán Sheehan and Gary Troy dedicate “Wild Mountain Thyme” to the recently deceased Malachy McCourt. An image of McCourt’s children and grandchildren at his memorial fills the screen: And we’ll all go together/To pull wild mountain thyme/All around the blooming heather/Will you go, lassie, go? The flag is proffered.  It feels as if we’ve just been treated to a gourmet meal, though many will now retire to a dinner.

Ciarán Sheehan and Gary Troy

Vocals are so consistently splendid, I refrain from calling out every one. Screen clips are excellent

Photos by James Higgins

Be aware of this worthy theater! Attend, subscribe, perhaps help. I look forward to everything I see there. Charlotte Moore and Ciarán O’Reilly, a mutual admiration society, remain infectiously impassioned. The pair have created one of the city’s most vital and venerable theaters. We reap the benefits and will for years and years to come.

Ciarán O’Reilly and Charlotte Moore (back then) described as “fearless leaders” by Kathleen Begala, Chair of Irish Repertory Theatre

All proceeds support Irish Repertory Theatre and our mission to provide a context for understanding the contemporary Irish-American experience through evocative works of theater, music, and dance.

  • Comhghairdeachas!  (Congratulations!)

Let’s Put On A Show! 35 Years of Irish Rep Musicals
2024 Irish Repertory Theatre Gala
Directed and Arranged by Charlotte Moore
Full Orchestration & Music Direction– Gary Adler
Music Consultation- John Bell

At Irish Rep through June 30, a superb revival of Brian Friel’s Molly Sweeney.

The Town Hall June 3, 2024
Irish Repertory Theatre

Home **** What Became Of Us ***

By: David Sheward

June 5, 2024: In Home (on Broadway at Roundabout Theater Company’s Todd Haimes Theater) and What Became of Us (Off-Broadway at Atlantic Theater Company’s Stage 2), the protagonists serve double duty as narrators. Both plays deal with returning to your roots after journeys of alienation. The plays’ structure could put audiences at a distance since we are being told what happens instead of being shown directly. Such plays usually work better as novels, but thanks to polished performances and insightful direction, the action is immediate and relatable. Home is more effective than What Became of Us, but both works are heart-warming and full of home truths. 

By: David Sheward

June 5, 2024: In Home (on Broadway at Roundabout Theater Company’s Todd Haimes Theater) and What Became of Us (Off-Broadway at Atlantic Theater Company’s Stage 2), the protagonists serve double duty as narrators. Both plays deal with returning to your roots after journeys of alienation. The plays’ structure could put audiences at a distance since we are being told what happens instead of being shown directly. Such plays usually work better as novels, but thanks to polished performances and insightful direction, the action is immediate and relatable. Home is more effective than What Became of Us, but both works are heart-warming and full of home truths. 

Brittany Inge (Woman One / Pattie Mae Wells), Tory Kittles (Cephus Miles), and Stori Ayers (Woman Two) in Home.

Home by Samm-Art Williams who passed away at 78 just days before previews started for this first Broadway revival, was originally produced by the Negro Ensemble Company Off-Broadway in 1979 and transferred to Broadway for a run of 278 performances in 1980, receiving a Tony nomination for Best Play. As he has done with Purlie Victorious and A Soldier’s Play, director Kenny Leon rescues another neglected, vital work of the African-American theatrical canon with a fresh, exciting production.

The main narrator here is Cephus Miles (charismatic and multifaceted Tory Kittles) who relates his adventures from land-loving North Carolina farmer to idealistic conscientious objector to urban drifter to returning to the soil of his home town. All the other roles of both genders are played by the versatile Brittany Inge and Stori Ayers who narrate as well. 

Stori Ayers (Woman Two), Tory Kittles (Cephus Miles) and Brittany Inge (Woman One / Pattie Mae Wells) in Home.

Cephus is a spinner of tales, delivered by Kittles with spice and splash, which punctuate Williams’ poetic narrative entertainingly. After being rejected by his first love Patti Mae Wells (a bubbly Inge) and serving five years in prison for refusing to participate in the Vietnam War, Cephus sells his land and moves to NYC with dreams of making it rich. Instead, he encounters discrimination for his criminal record and plunges into a whirlpool of drugs, alcohol and homelessness. Disillusioned and aged beyond his years, he returns to North Carolina to find redemption amid the simple rural pleasures of farming and family. Kittles exquisitely charts Cephus’ journey, seamlessly transitioning from enthusiastic, fun-loving young man to shattered, recovering alcoholic. Inge and especially Ayers take on a galaxy of diverse characters, giving each distinct body language, accent and attitude. Ayers’ barroom floozy Nora is especially funny as she quickly flies the scene when Cephus runs out of money. 

Leon’s staging is smooth, detailed, and fast without sacrificing depth. All three actors speak Williams’ densely poetic lines rapidly, but every word is intelligible and conveys reams of subtext on the characters, the social and economic background and the setting. Speaking of which, Arnulfo Maldonado’s versatile but suggestive sets along with Allen Lee Hughes’ painterly lighting and Justin Ellington’s evocative sound design, convey the lush bucolic atmosphere of Crossroads, NC and the stark concrete jungle of NYC. 

Home is like a filling comfort-food meal, savory and sweet, full of tasty tales and tangy poetry.

BD Wong and Rosalind Chao in What Became Of Us.

Shayan Lotfi’s What Became of Us also employs narration to tell a story of wandering and reclaiming the idea of home. The two-character piece is performed by two separate casts portraying siblings Q and Z. I saw Rosalind Chao and BD Wong (the other ensemble is Shohreh Aghdashloo and Tony Shalhoub). Lofti’s script follows the lives of the siblings from birth and the journey from the “old country” through old age and death in “this country”—presumably the USA. The playwright omits specifics on the characters’ national origin so that actors of any ethnicity can play the roles. As in Home, both characters narrate much of the action, occasionally directly addressing and engaging each other. 

The story is fairly familiar. Q and Z’s have a hardscrabble upbringing as their parents struggle to establish a new life after leaving an unstable home nation. Q, the sister, works hard in the family-owned store, makes sacrifices in her education and personal life while Z, the brother, rebels, striking out on his own to establish a separate identity from his immediate circle. After years of alienation and a trip to the home country by Q, the two reunite and reconnect.

Rosalind Chao in What Became Of Us.

Lotfi’s story is endearing but too much of the play has Q and Z describing the events of their lives rather than living them in front of us. Some of Lotfi’s dialogue is striking and detailed, such a frightening store robbery endured by Q. Both Chao and Wong deliver flavorful, layered performances but are hampered by the static script as is director Jennifer Chang who does her best moving the two about on Tanya Orellana’s stark white set with a mobile bench-like piece as the sole piece of scenery. Reza Behjat’s lighting does most of the work to shift the scene and suggest setting. What Became of Us has charming and warm moments, but lacks the imagination and spark of Home.

Stori Ayers (Woman Two), Tory Kittles (Cephus Miles) and Brittany Inge (Woman One Pattie Mae Wells) in Home.

Home ****
Roundabout Theatre Company at the Todd Haimes Theater
227 W. and St., NYC.
Running time: 90 mins. with no intermission. roundabouttheatre.org
Photography: Joan Marcus

Rosalind Chao and BD Wong in What Became Of Us.

What Became of Us ***
Atlantic Theatre Company Stage 2
330 W. 16th St., NYC.
Running time: 75 mins. with no intermission. June 4—29. atlantictheater.org
June 4—29, 2024
Photography: Ahron R. Foster

BD Wong in What Became Of Us.

Broadway Babe

Gems form Broadway Babe include No Way to Treat a Lady, My Fair Lady, and Man of La Mancha.

June 9, 2024:  Broadway Babe Randie Levine-Miller has come up with some real gems, including Julie Andrews and Rex Harrison doing excerpts from “My Fair Lady”; from 1965, Richard Kiley star of “Man of La Mancha”, with the original cast performing showstopping excerpts on the Ed Sullivan Show ; Mary Rodgers in an up close and personal interview, courtesy of the Dramatists Guild; and Randie‘s personal favorite, excerpts from Douglas J. Cohen’s musical, “No Way To Treat A Lady”, performed by an All -Star cast at 54 Below six years ago.

Gems form Broadway Babe include No Way to Treat a Lady, My Fair Lady, and Man of La Mancha.

June 9, 2024:  Broadway Babe Randie Levine-Miller has come up with some real gems, including Julie Andrews and Rex Harrison doing excerpts from “My Fair Lady”; from 1965, Richard Kiley star of “Man of La Mancha”, with the original cast performing showstopping excerpts on the Ed Sullivan Show ; Mary Rodgers in an up close and personal interview, courtesy of the Dramatists Guild; and Randie‘s personal favorite, excerpts from Douglas J. Cohen’s musical, “No Way To Treat A Lady”, performed by an All -Star cast at 54 Below six years ago.

“No Way to Treat a Lady”

These are highlights from a concert at 54 Below of one of my most favorite musicals of all time, “No Way To Treat A Lady” which I always believed could be a hit on or off Broadway. I first saw a workshop in 1987.  Triple threat composer, lyricist, and book writer Douglas J. Cohen crafted a brilliant piece of musical theater, based on William Goldman‘s book. I optioned it because of my great passion for the show. This delicious show was presented in concert at 54 Below six years ago with some incredible performers, including: Tovah Feldshuh, Adam Grupper, Brad Oscar, Cheryl Stern, James Judy, Jill Paice, Karen Ziemba, Klea Blackhurst, Kevin Chamberlain, Jack Noseworthy, Peter Marx, Stephen Bogardus, Barbara Tirrell, Paul Schoeffler, Christianne Noll, Maureen and Bobbi Kotula. I adored it, as did the sold-out enthusiastic audience!

Sidebar: Douglas J. Cohen authored a book called “How to Survive a Killer Musical: Agony and Ecstasy On the Road to Broadway,” which is a must read for theater aficionados. I’m in the book, as is my mother.  The first time I’ve ever been in an index!  I’m still in love with this show which is certainly longer than I’ve ever been in love with any man!

My Fair Lady Rehearsal

Fourteen incredible minutes of musical history—Re-creating a rehearsal of “My Fair Lady” for the TV show “The Fabulous Fifties” is a young Julie Andrews and Rex Harrison (original cast).  Julie, who is from London, does a scene where she has a voice coach (Alfred Dixon) teaching her how to do a Cockney accent, which is so ironic because he’s an American teaching a Brit. She sings “Just You Wait.” Rex Harrison does his showstopping “I’m An Ordinary Man.” Oh how I long for those glorious Golden Days of Broadway.

Breaking Barriers 

The Dramatists Guild Foundation Legacy Project is up close and personal with composer, screenwriter, children’s fiction writer, Mary Rodgers.  Playwright/screenwriter, Marsha Norman interviews Mary, who made a name for herself composing for theater, a rarity for a woman of her time. It’s an intimate look into the life and creative process of Mary, as well as stories about what it was like growing up as the daughter of Richard Rodgers. Her candid memoir, “Shy” was a bestseller. Her musical, “Once Upon a Mattress” is opening on Broadway in August, after getting rave reviews at this past season’s Encores at City Center. (Sutton Foster will be repeating her extraordinary performance).  She also discusses her parents’ marriage and claims that her father was not such a terrific guy.  Mary is also noted for writing children’s books and is known for writing “Freaky Friday” which she adapted as a screenplay. Marsha Norman is a great interviewer. because she doesn’t interrupt and really gives Mary Rodgers center-stage, which she so richly deserves, and she certainly dishes and sometimes shocks in this fascinating conversation.

Man of La Mancha on The Ed Sullivan Show

Eleven exciting minutes of Richard Kiley and the original cast of “Man of La Mancha” on the Ed Sullivan Show in 1966.  Kiley performs “I, Don Quixote” along with costar, Irving Jacobson. Leading lady Joan Diener dramatically sings, “What Does He Want of Me?”  And Richard Kiley ends the segment with his triumphant and definitive interpretation of “The Impossible Dream.” Then Joan Diener and the entire cast do a reprise as a dramatic finale of this mesmerizing segment. A must not miss piece of musical theater history.