Julius Caesar: Tina Benko, Gregg Henry, Teagle F. Bougere, Elizabeth Marvel (Photo: Joan Marcus)
By: Samuel L. Leiter
January 21, 2021: (This is the second of a two-part essay on the presence of ex-President Trump in New York theatre during his tenure. It picks up where the other left off after discussing 1984.)
Not long after, that reality became less metaphorical and distinctly more palpable when the above-mentioned provocateur Michael Moore took up residence at the Belasco in a production I saw on September 6, 2017.
Me the People: Mia Weinberger, Richard Spitaletta (Photo: Joan Marcus)
By: Samuel L. Leiter
January 20, 2021: Ever since the presidential election of 2016, the media have been unable to resist the temptation to satirically eviscerate the winner, Donald J. Trump. TV, of course, has been relentless in its barrage of comical treatments, including shows like “The President Show” and “Our Cartoon President.” And who can forget the frequent appearances of Alec Baldwin pursing his lips beneath a teased blond wig on SNL. Nor can we ignore the many Trumpian imitators and lip-synchers amusing us on TikTok and Instagram, among other platforms. Sarah Cooper’s huge success mouthing Trump’s words catapulted her to stardom. And, of course, any stable genius can predict that Trump’s visage, voice, and mannerisms (as well as those of his family and enablers) will prove a perpetual source of material for writers and performers in the years to come. Love him or hate him, he’ll be circulating like the coronavirus in the media bloodstream forever. Just think: has the Fuhrer ever gone away?
January 20, 2020: We are living in tragic times. But singer/songwriter Audrey Appleby is adding an optimistic note, or rather many notes, to this troubled moment with her new song “Dancing with Tragedy.” Set to be released on Spotify on January 29, the song laments the time when “life was juicy, wrapped up in a bow,” but insists “I know I’ll be alright.”
January 16, 2021: Today is the 57th birthday of my daughter, Bambi, which I’d like to celebrate by choosing January 16 for this installment of “On This Day in New York Theatre.” A number of important shows have opened on January 16 over the years—including Hello, Dolly!, which opened in 1964 on the day Bambi was born—but this series focuses on the twenties, thirties, and forties of the last century. And since, like all births, Bambi’s was a miracle, what more appropriate work to write about than one actually called The Miracle. The Miracle had much about it that was, indeed, miraculous, so, unlike my other postings in this series, which cover multiple shows opening on a particular day across one or more decades, what follows is devoted to The Miracle alone.
Virtual tribute fromThe Museum of Jewish Heritage commemorates International Holocaust Remembrance Day and the 76th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz.
January 15, 2020: The Museum of Jewish Heritage, A Living Memorial to the Holocaust will present on Wednesday, January 27 at 8:00 PM “18 Voices: A Liberation Day Reading of Young Writers’ Diaries From The Holocaust”. The virtual event commemorates International Holocaust Remembrance Day and the 76th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, which is the subject of the Museum’s award-winning exhibition Auschwitz. Not long ago. Not far away., currently on display through May 2, 2021.
January 9, 2020: In the 20th century, the number of African-American playwrights who have had financially successful, non-musical productions on Broadway can be counted on the fingers of one hand—Lorraine Hansberry (A Raisin in the Sun) and August Wilson (Fences, Joe Turner’s Come and Gone, etc.). The situation has not improved much in the 21st. The record of transferring the plays of these authors to the screen has been even spottier.
Bob Avian: Dancing Man, A Life in Theater as Choreographer/Director; Tales of Collaborating with Michael Bennett in New Autobiography Part One
By: Ellis Nassour
April 6, 2020: Tony-winning scenic designer Robin Wagner, credited with over 50 Broadway shows, says, “Bobby, in addition to being an extraordinarily nice guy, is an absolutely brilliant director/choreographer. He and Michael Bennett was a pair. They knew each other inside out. Everything Michael did, Bobby contributed at least half. Michael trusted his instincts. Bobby was more collaborator than assistant.”
Dazzling and diverse new titles debuting in January include the comedy hit, Peter Pan Goes Wrong from Mischief Theater, Sam Harris’ Ham and Rogers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella.
January 6, 2021: BroadwayHD, the premier streaming service for theater fans is kicking off 2021 with a dazzling lineup, including the comedy hit Peter Pan Goes Wrong from Mischief, Sam Harris’ HAM: A Musical Memoir, and Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella starring Lesley Ann Warren, Ginger Rogers, and Celeste Holm.
BROADWAY REMEMBERS, an in memoriam video, honors the memories of those the Broadway community has lostsince June 2019.
January 1, 2020: “Broadway Remembers,” a just released in memoriam video tribute, honors the memories of some of those the Broadway community lost between June 2019 and December 2020. Directed by Raúl Esparza, music direction by Mary-Mitchell Campbell, and produced and conceived by Mike Karns and Steven Tartick, the approximately 8-minute video features original vocal performances by Sierra Boggess and Esparza and celebrates the lives of more than 100 people from all areas and disciplines within the theatrical community.
December 31, 2020: For this column’s last entry in the horrific year of the pandemic, I thought it might be interesting to see what opened on New York’s stages on New Year’s Eve, December 31, during the three decades covered in this series. What with all the tumult normally associated with that date in the theatre district, it would seem an unlikely time to venture forth to see a show, much less to open one. For the record, the celebration of New Year’s Eve in Times Square began in 1904, although it wasn’t until three years later that the first version of the ball drop was inaugurated. You can read the fascinating story here.
From Associated Press and other sources. Compiled and notated by Ellis Nassour
December 24, 2020: This is a year which could not have been sadder: more than 335,000 deaths from COVID-19. And now comes the disheartening news of the deaths of two giant, radiant, and very generous Broadway talents: actress and Tony-winning choreographer Ann Reinking on December 12; and Tony-nominee and crystal-voiced Rebecca Luker on December 23.
Broadway HD celebrates the 50th anniversary or Godspell with the return of a special award winning concert that will debut on their platform December 22.
December 21, 2020: Following a successful online run in the summer, the award-winning digital concert rendition of Stephen Schwartz and John-Michael Tebelak’s Godspell will be returning due to popular demand when it launches on BroadwayHD, the premier streaming service for live theater, on December 22nd. The Godspell 50th Anniversary Concert features unmissable performances from theatrical legends Ruthie Henshall (Chicago; Billy Elliot) and Darren Day (Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat; Priscilla, Queen of the Desert) – reprising their roles from the 1993 cast recording – alongside Sam Tutty (Dear Evan Hansen), Ria Jones (Sunset Boulevard; High Society), Jenna Russell (The Bridges of Madison County; Fun Home), and other popular West End performers.
James Corden, Nicole Kidman, Andrew Rannells, Meryl Streep in “The Prom”
By: David Sheward
December 21, 2020: With Broadway shut down at least until June of 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic, one must rely on streaming services and the occasional broadcast network special for a musical theater fix. The holiday season is usually rife with new shows and we have had to make due with filmed versions of Broadway hits such as Netflix’s The Prom. Directed by Ryan Murphy of Glee and American Horror Story fame, this adaptation of the 2018 tuner attempts to capture the snarky bite of Bob Martin and Chad Beguelin’s original book, but comes up short. Nevertheless, this is a fun, if overlong, romp for theater fans and might win over non-Broadway fanatics.
BroadwayHD continues the Holiday Celebration with debut of the incredibly popular British hit A Christmas Carol Goes Wrong, as well as exciting , exclusive events including Forever Plaid 20th Anniversary Special and Christmas Concert in Strasbourg. Revelers are Invited to fete the New Year Garden State-Style with the “Jersey Boys” movie directed by Clint Eastwood Arriving on the Platform January 1st
December 14, 2020: Theater lovers are in for a treat as BroadwayHD gifts viewers with an extra helping of new holiday-themed titles leading into the Yuletide season. Fans of the “Goes Wrong Show” British comedy series developed by Mischief Theatre will be excited to see A Christmas Carol Goes Wrong arrive on the service on December 14th. Christmas Eve has everyone feeling nostalgic so why not spend the evening paying musical homage to the close-harmony ‘guy groups’ of the 1950s with the Forever Plaid Anniversary Special. In the mood for a beautiful choral performance? Then you’ll want to check out the Christmas Concert in Strasbourg on December 22nd.