Around The Town

Broadway Update: Mattress Transfers and Swept Away Sweeps In.

Sutton Foster in “Once Upon a Mattress” at Encores. Credit: Joan Marcus.

By: David Sheward

May 18, 2024: Tony winner Sutton Foster will headline a revival of Once Upon a Mattress this summer on Broadway. The production is a transfer of the Encores presentation of the 1959 satirical fairy-tale musical which launched the career of Carol Burnett when she took on the lead of role of Princess Winifred the Woebegone. Mattress will begin previews at the Hudson Theater on July 31 with an opening set for Aug. 12 for a limited run through Nov. 30. The beloved musical 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). 

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Around The Town

Theater World Award Winners

A.J. Shively and David McElwee in “Philadelphia, Here I Come”.Credit: Jeremy Daniel.

By: David Sheward

March 15, 2024: Theater award season is in full swing. The Lortels, Outer Critics Circle and New York Drama Critics Circle Award winners have been announced. Joining them are the 78th annual Theater World Award winners for outstanding Broadway or Off-Broadway debuts. The awards will be presented on Mon. June 10 at 8:08pm at the Marquis Theater on the set of The Wiz. In addition to the honorees, A.J. Shively of Philadelphia, Here I Come will receive the 15th Annual Dorothy Loudon Award for Excellence in the Theater. As previously announced, Tony Award winner Len Cariou will receive the 11th Annual John Willis Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre, and a 2024 TWA Special Award will be presented to theater journalist Peter Filichia, who has hosted the event for many years.

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Around The Town

Broadway Update: “Death Becomes Her”.

Megan Hilty and Jennifer Simard in “Death Becomes Her” in Chicago. Credit: Matthew Murphy and Evan Zimmerman

By: David Sheward

March 15, 2024: Death Becomes Her, the musical version of the 1992 film comedy starring Meryl Streep and Goldie Hawn as deadly frenemies, will be coming to Broadway after a run at Chicago’s Cadillac Palace where it is playing until June 2. Previews begin Oct. 23 at the Lunt-Fontanne prior to a Nov. 12 opening. Directed and choreographed by Tony Award winner Christopher Gattelli, Death Becomes Her features a book by Marco Pennette, and an original score by Julia Mattison & Noel Carey. 

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Around The Town

Broadway Update

George Clooney in the film version of “Good Night and Good Luck”. Credit:Warner Bros./Allstar

George Clooney, Robert Downey, Jr. to Make Their B’way Debuts; Plus More News.

By: David Sheward

March 15, 2024: Film and TV stars including George Clooney, Robert Downey, Jr., Sarah Snook and Darren Criss are announcing their Broadway debuts or returns. Oscar winner Clooney will make his first Broadway appearance in a stage version of Good Night and Good Luck, the 2005 film about pioneering TV journalist Edward R. Murrow and his crusade against the red-baiting tactics of Senator Joseph McCarthy in the 1950s. The script is by Clooney and Grant Heslov, based on their screenplay. Clooney directed the film and played Fred Friendly, the president of CBS News, and Murrow’s boss. David Strathairn played Murrow in the film and was nominated for a Best Actor Oscar. In the play Clooney will be playing Murrow and Tony winner David Cromer will direct.

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Around The Town

Stereophonic and Dead Outlaw Win Top NYDCC Awards

“Dead Outlaw” was voted Best Musical by the New York Drama Critics Circle Credit: Matthew Murphy

By: David Sheward

March 14, 2024: Stereophonic and Dead Outlaw were named Best Play and Best Musical by the New York Drama Critics Circle during its 88th annual meeting on May 13 to chose the top productions of the season. The awards, which will be presented during a private ceremony on Tuesday, May 21, include a cash prize of $2,500 for best play, made possible by a grant from the Lucille Lortel Foundation.

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Around The Town

Off-B’way Update

Cara Ricketts, Joel Ashur, and Johnny Ramey in “Good Bones” at the Studio Theater in Washington, DC. Credit: Margot Schulman

Public Theater’s 2024-25 Season Announced

By: David Sheward

May 14, 2024: Yet another Gatsby, a new play by Pulitzer Prize winner James Ijames, four short pieces by Caryl Churchill, and the reopening of the Delacorte in Central Park are among the offerings in the Public Theater’s 2024-25 season. 

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Around The Town

Outer Critics Circle Awards 2024

March 13, 2024: The Outer Critics Circle(OCC) announced the winners of the Outer Critics Circle Awards, honoring the 2023-2024 Broadway and Off-Broadway season. AND THE WINNERS ARE …

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Around The Town

Paulanne Simmons Unscripted

More About Mary

May 12, 2024: Cole Escola’s new comedy Oh, Mary! has great fun picturing Abraham Lincoln as a closeted homosexual and Mary Todd Lincoln as an alcoholic, an unloving mother and a frustrated cabaret performer. I don’t know much about Lincoln’s sexuality, but I do know Mary Lincoln was a loving mother who was devastated by the untimely death of three of her four children. Although that might make many people turn to drink, Mary does not seem to have succumbed.

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Reviews

Cabaret at the Kit Kat Club **1/2

Eddie Redmayne

By: David Sheward

May 8. 2024: When Cabaret, the musical based on Christopher Isherwood’s Berlin Stories and I Am a Camera, John Van Druten’s straight-play adaptation, opened on Broadway in 1966, it was considered shocking but would probably be seen as tame today. Harold Prince’s original staging of the nightclub numbers were sleazy but charming, letting the audience feel loose, relaxed and entertained. Then the introduction of swatiskas and the growing menace of Nazism in the second act came as a brutal shock. Adorable Joel Grey as the master of ceremonies was now a grim symbol of the Third Reich. As audiences have been anesthetized to the horrors of the Holocaust through numerous movies and TV shows (principally NBC’s 1978 mini-series on the subject), subsequent productions of Cabaret have become more gut-wrenching, but not necessarily more effective. 

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Around The Town

Small Acts of Daring Invention

By: Alix Cohen

May 8, 2024: Windows are so filthy, only shadows show beyond. Everything inside is concealed by dirty drop cloths. There’s an old shopping cart piled high with – what? Only a desk lamp, some children’s chairs and diminutive table remain uncovered. Paper debris blankets a part of the linoleum floor. There’s a low hum. A woman tenuously enters. She wears a scarf, plastic rain hat, soiled trench coat over a blue nightgown and a single pink slipper. Overhead lights buzz and flicker. One comes on.

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Reviews

Hell’s Kitchen ****

The cast of ‘Hell’s Kitchen’ on Broadway.

New York. Broadway. Hells Kitchen.  Manhattan Plaza – it’s apocalyptic. 

By: Isa Goldberg

May 7, 2024: From The Public Theatre to Broadway, Alicia Keys’ new musical celebrates pop music, and the creative culture which breeds it.  A coming of age story about a singer-musician, Ali (short for Alicia), who lives in Manhattan Plaza with her mother, the show famously stars Maleah Joi Moon.

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Around The Town

Shimmer and Herringbone – A Whirlwind Hoot

By: Alix Cohen

May 7, 2024: “The clothes we choose to wear — and how we choose to wear them — send out messages that reveal many aspects of personality and emotional health. A number of leading psychiatrists and psychologists talk about the ways that clothes may be considered keys to the psyche.” Nancy Beach The New York Times 1976

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Reviews

Cabaret at the Kit Kat Club ****

Eddie Redmayne (center) in “Cabaret at the Kit Kat Club”.

By: Isa Goldberg

May 6, 2024: Bawdy, entertaining, grotesque at times – this revival of Cabaret on Broadway focuses on those elements that have made it a beloved musical for a half century. Hot bodies, great songs, raunchy entertainment explode those elements in a pre-show nightclub act that draws the audience into the Kit Kat Club of today.

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Reviews

Uncle Vanya ****, Patriots ****

William Jackson Harper as Astrov in “Uncle Vanya”.

By: David Sheward

May 5, 2024: Lila Neugebauer’s laugh-filled, all-star revival of Anton Chekhov’s classic Uncle Vanya, at Lincoln Center’s cavernous Vivian Beaumont Theater, removes the play from its original setting of the pre-Revolutionary Russian countryside and places it in a non-specific, presumably American 2024. (Mimi Lein’s set appears to be somewhere in the rural heartland. The characters play jazz on a turntable. Costume designer Kaye Voyce has clothed them in casual modern dress. We hear the sound effects of automobiles offstage after they exit.) With a contemporary, idiomatic adaptation by Heidi Schreck, this production stresses Chekhov’s universal themes of despair and alienation and their comic aspects. Yes, the master playwright saw the humor in the drab and everyday. This approach largely succeeds. The melancholy characters laugh at themselves heartily to stop from constantly weeping. Too many Chekhov productions make the mistake of playing bored people in a boring way. Not here, thank goodness.

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Around The Town

Broadway Babe

Marilyn Maye, Harry Connick—Here’s to Life.

Fabulous Finds from Broadway Babe feature Alan Menken, Sammy Davis, Jr., Marilyn Maye & Harry Connick, Jr.

May 8, 2024:  Broadway Babe, Randie Levine-Miller has come up with a plethora of riches: A not to be missed star studded concert of “Follies”; Alan Menken performing with his cast of “Little Shop of Horrors”; Sammy Davis, Jr. in concert; and Marilyn Maye appearing on the Harry Connick, Jr. TV show.

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