Does Theater Matter? Do Spoilers? Can Sondheim Win A Sondheim? New York Theater Tweets 80
The opening of a play about the dark side of the iPhone; an Occupy Wall Street demonstration at Lincoln Center and news of the first theater company to bring Occupy Wall Street to the stage; the use of theater in schools to stop bullying — all help establish the theme for this week in New York theater. Is theater engaged in the issues of the day? The question is asked, and answered, in various ways below, including the sometimes eloquent responses (on Sunday) to the simple Tweet: Does theater matter?
There was also news this week about Anne Hathaway, Dule Hill, Adolf Eichmann, Peter Pan, Patti LuPone, and lots of puppets.
Follow Jonathan Mandell at @NewYorkTheater
Monday, October 17, 2011
Standing On Ceremony: The Gay Marriage Plays, by nine playwrights including Moises Kaufman, Neil LaBute and Paul Rudnick opens Minetta Lane opens on November 13. Stars include Craig Berko and Polly Draper.
Anne Hathaway will sing “I Dreamed a Dream” as Fantine in the filmed version of “Les Miserables,” Cameron Mackintosh told the BBC.
Latest celebrity involved in anti-bullying “It gets better” efforts? William Shakespeare. In Denver schools
Tuesday, October 18, 2011
Israeli agents vs. Adolf Eichmann in Argentina, in Evan Wiener’s “Captors,” a play debuting at Huntington Theater and aiming for Broadway this season
West Side Story (the film has just turned 50) was going to be East Side Story, about Catholics and Jews on the Lower East Side
Wednesday, October 19, 2011
Peter and the Starcatcher, the Disney-produced play billed as a prequel to Peter Pan, which ran at the New York Theater Workshop last season, will open in Spring on Broadway, say its producers
Nicky Silver’s The Lyons at the Vineyard Theater with Linda Lavin has been extended again, to November 20. I loved it:
John Russo (@johnarusso): I’d see anything here. They’re on quite a roll!!
Patti LuPone will get the third annual Stephen Sondheim Award from Signature Theater of Washington D.C.
Jonathan Mandell: Is Sondheim eligible for a Sondheim Award?
Peter Marks (@petermarksdrama, Washington Post theater critic): Snicker. He’s consulted over recipient.
Back Stage Barbie (@barbiebackstage) We must assume Mandy Patinkin is next in line
Peter Marks: Doesn’t it feel a teensy bit as if LuPone cut in line in front of Patinkin?
BackStageBarbie: it does….but don’t tell Patti I said so, I value my life too much
Jonathan Mandell: Is the award for being a good musical theater performer, or specifically for performing in Sondheim’s stuff?
Peter Marks: I think essentially award is for distinguished career in musical theater, demonstrated by sterling work in a Sondheim show.
The first annual Ellen Stewart Award winner Sam Shepard has picked Matthew Paul Olmos of the Lark Play Development Center to get produced at La Mama
Isaac Butler (@Parabasis) is “deeply skeptical” of “no spoiler culture” such as that in The Mountaintop
Jonathan Mandell: In my review of the Mountaintop,I put in spoiler but surrounded the paragraph with boldface ‘spoiler alert.’
Josh Wilder (@MrWildah) You rebel. lol.
Donalda McCarthy (@MissDonni):Well, I must say that it took me 3 years to get to America to see “Wicked” and I am SO glad no one spoiled the ending twist!
Jonathan Mandell: Some expressed anger at my “spoiling
“, in passing, something from LAST season’s True Blood. Plots should remain secret forever?
Cory Squires (@ CoryDeanSquires I say give it a week and then discuss if it’s something like TV/movies.
Linda A. Flournoy (@lindaatherbest):
I follow and enjoy you, but agree with the producers. I want to experience each nuance in The Mountaintop for myself, with no spoilers.
Jonathan Mandell: You seem committed to plunking down the $100 + to see the show. Some want a glimpse of what they’ll get
Linda Flournoy: I agree with you, Jonathan some want a heads-up on what they’ll see. Honestly? The price of tickets IS steep! Still for me: No spoiler.
Dule Hill (The West Wing, Psych), soon to be on Broadway in Stick Fly
Jonathan Mandell: You debuted on Broadway in Bring in Da Noise, Bring on Da Funk! I didn’t know this! Were you originally a dancer then?
Dulé Hill (@DuleHill) My Broadway debut was “The Tap Dance Kid” understudy to Savion Glover in ’85
Jonathan Mandell: Wow ten years earlier. What were you, about 9 years old?
Dulé Hill: 10
Thursday, October 20, 2011
Want to rent a space for music, dance or theater. Fractured Atlast (@FracturedAtlas) has a cool website to make this easier: New York City Performing Arts Spaces
Like Trekkies, they know that space is the final frontier.
NYCPA Spaces (@nycPASpaces) : We wanted to name our announcement “spaces: the final frontier” but we thought that would be too dorky. We stand corrected!
Can theater address current public crises?
The Civilians are the first theater company to put Occupy Wall Street on the stage, “Let Me Ascertain You: Occupy Wall Street Cabaret.”
When is this happening?
The Civilians (@Civilians): The show is on Friday, October 28 at 7:30PM at Joe’s Pub.
According to the Washington Post, “The Civilians are now formulating theater — normally a process that occurs in the dormant aftermath of tumultuous events — in essentially the same time frame that a newspaper or magazine publishes an article. And as the Civilians’ artistic director, Potomac native Steven Cosson, sees it, there is a chance here for theater to be an active rather than an academic participant in the most heated topics of the day.”
Theaters that attempt to address immediate public concerns: The Flea (@thefleatheater), The Civilians (@civilians), sometimes The Public Theater (@publictheaterny). Which else?
TADA! Theater (@TadaTheater): Theater can definitely address current events! We hope to do that this year with our season about kids and effecting change.
Howard Sherman (@HESherman): You should also be aware of the work of InterAct Theatre Company (@InterActThtrCo) in Philadelphia, for politically oriented work
Peter Marks: Anyone mentioned London’s Tricycle Theatre?
(The brought The Great Game: Afghanistan, a theatrical marathon, to New York)
Tricycle Theatre (@TricycleTheatre): Thanks for mention. Please let people know “A Walk in the Woods,”-Lee Blessing’s Cold War play, is on now!
Magic Futurebox (@magicfuturebox )
Hybrid Theatre Works (@HybridTheatreWk) in New York City does great sociopolitical work.
Carl Conway Maguire (@ccmaguire): I think the spirit of change might help generate some of that relevant theatre you were asking about.
Jonathan Mandell Anybody agree, disagree?
Marc Andrew Hem Lee (@SuperMarcKyo): It often has; looking back at various theatre movements around the world, they’ve formed from a need for a different truth.
Jonathan Mandell: Can you give me two specific examples?
Marc Andrew Hem Lee: The Mystery plays were developed as theatre that thematically still taught a moral, but were bred of rejection of the formulaic plays produced by the church. The action moved away from church steps and into the streets via trade guilds.
Another example can be of Russian Avante Garde theatre, developed after WWI and the Russian rev. It flourished as Russia…floundered politically and economically and helped spark an approach to acting, a version of the ever elusive truth… hat was then ousted, along with Meyerhold, by Stalin under the rule of the iron fist and resurfaced later in the decade….
I love @NewYorkTheater’s posed question today. It made me call into question my own experience at drama school currently. Now off for a run.
Friday, October 21, 2011
“If you consider having a father like him, these girls have been only taught to be abusive, to watch their back. It was unheard-of in the time period for a father to come live with you, never mind bringing a hundred knights.” Kelli O’Hara on why Lear’s daughter is not completely evil.
O’Hara (South Pacific) is playing the normally-thought-of-as-evil Regan in The Public Theater’s King Lear
Charles Isherwood explains his choices for five best theater books on The Browser (@TheBrowser). His favorite: Moss Hart’s Act One
Goldman’s The Season; Sondheim’s Finishing the Hat; Rich’s Hot Seat; and Mandelbaum’s Not Since Carrie:40 Years of Flops
Cheryl Henson, daughter of Muppet inventor and head of the Jim Henson Foundation (@JimHensonFound, honored by New Victory @NewVictory She and the foundation have much to do with prominence of puppetry, says the Associated Press: “Puppets are clearly pulling the strings in entertainment for both adults and kids, from the off-Broadway shows “Avenue Q” and “Arias With a Twist” and “The Little Prince” to the Broadway shows “The Addams Family,”"The Lion King,”"Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark” and “War Horse.”
More is coming up:
Brooklyn Academy of Music puppet film festival in November
Theater for the New City puppet festival Dec. 8-19.
Saturday, October 22, 2011
Music theater lovers gathered at the Lincoln Center Library for the Performing Arts for “Wikipedia! The Musical!” — an “editathon” to beef up the encyclopedia’s theater entries, using the libraries immense theater resources. Sat.
Doug Reside, Digital Curator of Performing Arts for the library, puts together a blog post on the Musical of the Month.
This month, listen to tracks from “The Black Crook,” the first-ever American musical,
My review of The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs
Whatever discomfort you may feel about Mike Daisey’s pokes at Steve Jobs so soon after the Apple founder’s death cannot compare to the queasiness at the horrors this chronicler of the digital age reveals in “The Agony and Ecstasy of Steve Jobs”
It is not an uneasiness that extends to the show itself, a monologue that is as hilariously entertaining as it is pointed and thought provoking.
Sunday, October 23, 2011
“Zanna, Don’t” fairytale play in which being gay is the norm, is being used to teach anti-bully tolerance in Hartford High School.
(The play was performed Off-Broadway starring Jai Rodriguez (@jairodriguez) , who was later the “cultural counselor” for “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy”)
Does theater matter?
Andrea Shockling (@andreashock) Of course!
Karin Gehm Barrett (@montauksunset) Hellz Yeah!!
Marek Krawczyk (@MarekKrawczyk): Yes. It does and always will. Next question.
The Observationalist: (@ObsrvatnlstNYC): Where did THAT question come from? Of course it does! Although, depending on the project, I may change my opinion…
James Sims (@SimsJames): It certainly matters to the NYC economy.
Kathy Perry: (@krperry2): YES theater matters! I wouldn’t want to live without it…
Erin Leigh Peck (@BroadwayWorldJr): It better or I’m in for a lot of back pedaling.
Billy Flood (@Bflood28): I think we’ve been trying to answer that as a society for a long time
I would say yes, simply because nothing seems to kill it, and children naturally play act. It’s instinctive & a need
Karen H. (@purplgrl): Theater and the arts in general are the glue which keeps society civil!
Geoffrey Greene (@Elder_Greene):Theater is where I come to recharge my spiritual batteries.
Steven Bogart: (@Stevenbogart): It changed my life, and I’ve watched it change others. It doesn’t matter if it matters, because we can’t help it.
Indira Satyendra (@hudsonette): It does to me! And it does to many, as a collective experience of empathy, reflection, joy. . .
Antoinette: (@zegrandduchess): Of course it matters, sometimes to me it’s ALL that matters.
Katelyn Collins (@KCinNYC): Done well it does: Anything that causes audiences some sort of internal unrest, provokes thought, moves to action.
LabRats Theater Company (@LabRatsTheatre):
“I regard the theatre as the greatest of all art forms, the most immediate way which a human being can share with another the sense of what it is to be a human being.” Oscar Wilde
The week in New York Theater Tweets is a selection and enhancement of Jonathan Mandell’s Twitter feed, and is posted every week, usually on Monday.
For up-to-the-minute theater news, views and reviews, follow Jonathan Mandell on his Twitter feed at @NewYorkTheater
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