Awards Update: Lortels, Bistros, Macs Set Dates.

By: David Sheward

February 24, 2024: The 39th Annual Lucille Lortel Awards—honoring excellence in the Off-Broadway theater—will be handed out in the annual ceremony on Sunday, May 5, 2024, at 7PM at NYU Skirball. Special Award recipients for 2024 have also been announced. The Lortel Awards are produced by the Off-Broadway League and the Lucille Lortel Theatre, with additional support provided by TDF.

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Sally Mayes

Sally Mayes

Now and Then/Jazz Standard Time

By: Alix Cohen

February 23, 2024: Sally Mayes erupts on stage in full clarion voice, all cylinders firing. “Cloudburst” (Hendricks/Kirkand/Harris) is gladiatorial in its rhythmic dexterity. The artist enunciates every tongue-twisting phrase while imbuing lyrics with vivid expression. A glass mountain for most vocalists, the song tells us with whom we’re dealing. She’s fearless.

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Broadway Babe

Chita Rivera and Dick Van Dyke.

Four Notable Nostalgic picks from Broadway Babe include Chita Rivera & Dick Van Dyke, together in 2006.

February 21, 2024:  Broadway Babe, Randie Levine-Miller, has four notable nostalgic finds from yesteryear to share this week including: The original “Bye Bye Birdie” stars, Chita Rivera and Dick Van Dyke performing songs they did decades earlier; a show stopping event for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS saluting the 50th anniversary of “West Side Story”; the American Film Institute salute to Fred Astaire; and Ethel Merman and Dinah Shore performing together. This is a perfect group of videos to watch while staying indoors during the wintry weather.

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Christine Jorgensen

Mark Nadler and Jesse James Keitel.

By: Alix Cohen

Background: Who Was Christine Jorgensen?
“We didn’t start the sexual revolution, but I think we gave it a good kick in the pants!” Christine Jorgensen

February 15, 2024: George W. Jorgensen, Jr., aka Christine Jorgensen (1926-1989), was assigned male at birth, but self identified as a female. In her late 20s, she became aware of medical sex reassignment, began taking estrogen, then followed up with hormone replacement therapy in Denmark. Her parents were Danish. It was easy to mask the trip as a family visit. Operations in Scandinavia and the United States completed transition. “Remember the shy, miserable person who left America? Well, that person is no more,” she wrote friends. “You have lost a son, but gained somebody new,” she told her parents. The Jorgensens were supportive.

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Broadway Update

Michael Esper, Corey Stoll and Sarah Paulsen in “Appropriate”. Credit: Joan Marcus

Appropriate Moves; News of Kristin Chenoweth, Amy Ryan, etc.

By: David Sheward

February 13, 2024: The Second Stage revival of Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’ Appropriate will be moving from the Hayes Theater (to make room for Paula Vogel’s Mother Play) to a limited run at the now-vacant Belasco Theater (after How to Dance in Ohio closed) from March 25 to June 23. The entire company will repeating their roles, except for Elle Fanning who has a scheduling conflict. Her replacement for the role of River will be announced in the coming weeks. The transfer will increase the play’s chances at the Tony Awards. There still has not been a ruling if the production is a revival or a new play since the work was previously seen Off-Broadway at the Signature Theater in 2014 where it won an Obie Award. The Tonys only consider Broadway shows.

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Broadway Update

Drama Desks and Theater World Awards on the Same Day

By: David Sheward

February 13, 2024: Two major NY theater awards will be held on the same date. It was announced the 78th annual Theater World Awards will be held on Mon. June 10. The day before, the Drama Desk Awards had announced the same date for their 69th annual accolades. However, the Theater Worlds which are given for outstanding Broadway and Off-Broadway debut performances, listed 7PM as their start time. Last year and the year before, the DDs were held in the afternoon, so things may work out for winners who wish to attend both ceremonies. Neither event has listed a venue. Hopefully they will be close to each other so double attendees will have a short trip and time for a bite to eat.

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Broadway Babe

Chita Rivera

Historic Flashbacks from Broadway Babe include West Side Story, Carol Burnett, Donna McKechnie & the original Sandy from Grease, Carol Demas.

February 3, 2024:  Broadway Babe, Randie Levine-Miller has found some entertaining and historic videos, which include the 50th anniversary reunion of the original cast of “West Side Story”;  Carol Burnett starring in “Once Upon A Mattress”; Donna McKechnie at Joe’s Pub; as well as Carol Demas, the original Sandy in the Broadway musical “Grease”, singing a song she introduced over 50 years ago. How is it that so many of these women look so great in their 80s?

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Obie Awards

Francis Guinan and K. Todd Freeman in “Downstate”.

Dark Disabled Stories and Downstate Among 67th Obie Winners

By: David Sheward

January 31, 2024: Dark Disabled Stories, Downstate, and The Comeuppance were among the winners of the 67th annual Obie Awards, presented by the American Theater Wing on Jan. 27 for excellence in Off and Off-Off-Broadway theater. The official 67th Obie Awards season includes shows that opened between September 1, 2022 through August 31, 2023. 

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Broadway Update

The cast of “How to Dance in Ohio” Credit: Curtis Brown

Patriots to Open; Ohio Closes; OCC and Chita Rivera Dates.

By: David Sheward

January 24, 2024: One closes and another opens. How to Dance in Ohio will join the soon-to-shutter Harmony and play its final performance at the Belasco Theater on Feb. 11 after 27 previews and 72 regular performances. The musical inspired by Alexandra Shiva’s documentary on autistic young adults preparing for a dance at their center, opened on  Dec. 10. Meanwhile, Peter Morgan’s Patriots about Vladmir Putin’s rise to power will be going into the Barrymore (where Harmony is about to close) for a limited, 12-week engagement starting with previews on April 1 and opening April 22. This will make for an extremely crowded final week before the Tony eligibility cut-off of April 25. The Heart of Rock and Roll, the Huey Lewis jukebox musical, will also be opening on April 22.

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Love ‘N Courage

Penny Arcade

Theater for the New City Honors performance artist, Penny Arcade at their 21st Annual Love ‘n Courage Benefit Gala.

January 25, 2024: Theater for the New City’s Emerging Playwrights Program will be the beneficiary of the theater’s 21st annual Love ‘n Courage Gala on Monday, February 12, 2024 at The Players, 16 Gramercy Park South.  The evening honors actress, performance artist and playwright Penny Arcade.

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The 1/52 Project

Support The Next Generation of Theater Professionals.

By: Alix Cohen

January 23, 2024: During the Pandemic, a We See You manifesto was written by non-white theater artists and signed by prominent creatives. It struck a chord with set designer Beowulf Boritt. In the last few years, he tells me, twice as many men as women designed a Broadway show.  Additionally, “I had long thought that people of color were not really trying or discouraged. I myself had a safety net coming up and assumed if one didn’t, it was less likely to be pursued, but that’s not necessarily true.”

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Broadway Babe

Julie Andrews


Nostalgic finds from Broadway Babe include the original “Merrily We Roll Along,” Julie Andrews, Rock Hudson and mor
e.

January 21, 2024:  Broadway Babe, Randie Levine-Miller, has come up with some nostalgic theatrical finds including a reunion concert from 2002, with the original cast of “Merrily We Roll Along”; some terrific footage from a gala Chorus Line event; The American Film Institute tribute to legendary star, Julie Andrews; and a TV special from 1959 with Rock Hudson and Tallulah Bankhead… Now how’s that for a combination?

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Stephen Flaherty

By: Alix Cohen

January 20, 2024: The Alumni Tribute and Benefit for University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, was one of the best musical theater presentations I’ve seen this year. A sparkling cornucopia of predominantly CCM alumnus – now musical theater professionals – performed material from a wide roster of shows by Stephen Flaherty and his long time collaborator, lyricist Lynn Ahrens. Intermittent video excerpts of the composer, deftly written/curated by CCM alumnus David Goldsmith, cast light on the honoree and his work.

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Broadway Update

Jeremy Jordan, Eva Noblezada, and Samantha Pauly in in “The Great Gatsby” at Paper Mill Playhouse. Credit: Jeremy Daniel

Stereophonic Transfers, Harmony Closes, Gatsby Musical

By: David Sheward

January 17, 2024: As reported in an earlier update as a rumor, the Broadway transfer for Stereophonic, David Adjmi’s acclaimed play about a Fleetwood Mac-like rock group’s struggles to make an album, is confirmed. The play which had a hit Off-Broadway run at Playwrights Horizons earlier this season, will begin previews at the Golden Theater on April 3 with an opening set for April 19 for a limited 14-week run. The cast, reprising their highly lauded performances, will include Will Brill as Reg, Andrew R. Butler as Charlie, Juliana Canfield as Holly, Eli Gelb as Grover, Tom Pecinka as Peter, Sarah Pidgeon as Diana, and Chris Stack as Simon.

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Mateo Lizcano @ 54 Below

Mateo Lizcano

Those Who Have Found Me

By: Iris Wiener

July 18, 2024: “If I keep coming back here I may make myself an A-list celebrity,” joked Mateo Lizcano as he returned to 54 Below with his second solo show on Thursday, January 11th. One can only hope that his sentiment foreshadows what’s to come, as the concept and talent behind his set were remarkably refreshing and heartwarming. 

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