Category Archives: Events


(Bard [Gemini], the large language model from Google AI, and Perplexity AI, the innovative AI search engine and knowledge discovery platform, provided information, insights, and materials for this article.)

This week saw a single captivating production grace the Broadway stage, while Off-Broadway welcomed a thought-provoking play that garnered critical acclaim. Let’s delve into the shows that premiered between February 24th and March 2nd, 2024:

On Broadway:

  1. Water For Elephants

(Opened at: The Shubert Theatre (225 West 44th Street, New York, NY 10036) on Tuesday, February 20th.)

About: This captivating musical adaptation of Sarah Gruen’s bestselling novel takes audiences into the world of a 1930s circus, following the story of a veterinarian who joins the troupe and finds unexpected love amidst hardship.


  • Positive:“Spectacular visuals, soaring score, and a moving story create a magical theatrical experience.” – Charles Isherwood, The New York Times
  • Mixed:“Impressive production values, but the emotional depth of the novel gets lost at times.” – Roma Torre, New York Post


  1. Cost of Living

(Opened at: The New York Theatre Workshop (79 East 4th Street, New York, NY 10003) on Thursday, March 1st.)

About: This Pulitzer Prize-winning play explores the interconnected lives of four individuals facing various challenges in different regions of the United States, offering a poignant and insightful look at contemporary American life.


  • Positive:“A beautifully written and deeply affecting play that captures the complexities of human connection and resilience.” – Marilyn Stasio, Variety
  • Mixed:“Compelling characters and strong performances, but the interconnected story elements feel somewhat disconnected at times.” – David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter

Looking Ahead:

Mark your calendars for exciting upcoming productions like the revival of the iconic musical “Rent” returning to Broadway on March 7th and the world premiere of the highly anticipated play “The Skin of Our Teeth” on March 15th at The Lincoln Center Theater. Stay tuned for further updates!


Austin Pendleton and cast of “Orson’s Shadow.” Photo by Jonathan Slaff.

The Theater for the New City proudly presents the 25th Anniversary production of “Orson’s Shadow” by Austin Pendleton, and, for the first time, the play is directed by the author himself (the first time he has directed his own work).  The favorite show is a poignant exploration of the complex interplay between theatrical luminaries Orson Welles, Laurence Olivier, and Vivien Leigh.

Performances run from March 14 to 31 at TNC, offering audiences a window into the tumultuous world of theatrical icons.  Set in 1960s London, the play delves into the backstage turmoil during a theater production, unraveling the intricate tapestry of egos, insecurities, and artistic pursuits.

Critically acclaimed since its inception, “Orson’s Shadow” examines the clash between stage and screen, the complexities of artistic ambition, and the profound impact of interpersonal dynamics on creative endeavors.

Featuring a stellar cast including Brad Fryman, Ryan Tramont, and Natalie Menna, supported by a talented creative team, this production promises to captivate audiences with its insightful portrayal of theatrical history and human drama.

WHERE AND WHEN: March 14 to 31, 2024; Theater for the New City, 155 First Ave. (at E. 10th Street) Presented by Theater for the New City in association with Oberon Theatre Ensemble and Strindberg Rep. Thursdays through Saturdays at 8:00 PM, Sundays at 3:00 PM. Wednesdays at 7:30: March 20 & 27. $25 general admission, $15 seniors & students. Pay what you can Thursdays. Box office (212) 254-1109, Runs two hours with intermission. Opens March 17.

Press: Jonathan Slaff

(Written with ChatGPT)


On February 28, 1896, Giacomo Puccini’s opera “La Bohème” debuted at the Teatro Regio in Turin, Italy. This poignant tale of love and loss among struggling artists captivated audiences with its lush melodies and heartfelt drama, establishing itself as one of the most beloved operas in the repertoire. Puccini’s evocative score, coupled with a stirring libretto by Luigi Illica and Giuseppe Giacosa, transported audiences to the bohemian streets of Paris, where the joys and sorrows of young love unfolded in vivid detail.

In a contemporary twist, “Rent,” Jonathan Larson’s reimagining of “La Bohème,” will grace Broadway once more on March 7th, carrying forward the themes of love, friendship, and artistic pursuit to a new generation. “La Bohème” remains a timeless classic, reminding us of the enduring power of love and the struggles faced by artists throughout the ages.

Sources: The Metropolitan Opera –, BroadwayWorld – ; written by ChatGPT.


(Michael Billington’s article appeared in the Guardian, 2/19;  Photo: Jeremy Irons and Lesley Manville.  Photograph: The Guardian.)

Eugene O’Neill’s mighty drama, returning to the West End with Brian Cox and Patricia Clarkson, has drawn generations of stage greats and casts its spell with a story we can all recognise

How to approach Eugene O’Neill’s Long Day’s Journey Into Night? “At our very first reading,” wrote Michael Blakemore, who directed a famous National Theatre production in 1971, “I encouraged the cast not to regard the play as some great tragic Everest waiting to be climbed.” Those are wise words that I hope Jeremy Herrin, directing a new production with Brian Cox and Patricia Clarkson, opening at Wyndham’s theatre in London, takes to heart.

Of course, it is a great play. But, having seen half a dozen productions, I would suggest that it works best when you realise that, within a classical structure, it contains all the anguish of family life. You could argue that O’Neill’s characters are exceptional: the father is a miserly actor who has wasted his potential, his wife is a morphine addict and their elder and younger sons are, respectively, a cynical barfly and a consumptive poet. But Blakemore again hits the nail on the head when, in his book Stage Blood, he praises the play’s democracy of spirit and claims that all you need to understand it is “the experience of being a member of a family”.

While the play is essentially realistic, there is also a calculated symbolism in its progress from bright, confident morning to a final fogbound descent into midnight despair. The clue lies in the title. It is a long day’s journey and the one production that short-circuited that element was Jonathan Miller’s in 1986. It boasted fine performances from Jack Lemmon as James Tyrone and from Kevin Spacey as his wastrel elder son. But, by cutting the running time to under three hours through the use of overlapping dialogue, it fractured the play’s rhythm and blurred key plot points: it was never clear that Mary Tyrone’s addiction was prompted by her husband’s engagement of a cheap doctor when she was giving birth to her second son.

In the main, however, local productions have done rich justice to this landmark play often by an astute mix of British and American actors in the leads. In the National’s 1971 version, Olivier was an unforgettable James Tyrone: what I especially remember was his evocation of the character’s wasted talent so that when he sweetly crooned: “We are such stuff as dreams are made on” you suddenly believed this old matinee idol could have been an American Kean. But Olivier was matched by an authentically American Constance Cummings who movingly suggested that the convent-educated Mary had sacrificed her religious faith to her devotion to a touring actor.

(Read more)


Eddie Izzard’s portrayal of Shakespeare’s Hamlet is poised for a seamless transition from Greenwich House Theater to New York’s Orpheum Theatre. From March 19 to April 14, audiences will continue to have the opportunity to experience this timeless classic in a fresh, thought-provoking light–at a new home.

Tickets for this highly anticipated production are available via A Ticketmaster pre-sale will commence on Feb 26 at 10 AM (code: OPHELIA), followed by public sales on Feb 27 at the same time.

Renowned for his Tony and Emmy Award-winning performances, Izzard brings his unparalleled talent to the role of Hamlet for the second time in New York, following the success of Great Expectations.

Under the direction of Selina Cadell and with creative contributions from Mark Izzard, the production promises an intimate yet captivating experience, earning accolades from critics and audiences alike. 


London’s Telegraph called Hamlet “Absorbing and intimate. An impressive sweeping performance. ★★★★

NBC-TV’S Today Show said “To be or not to be 23 different characters, that is the question. And Eddie Izzard’s Hamlet is the answer.” said Izzard “makes each verse crackle.”

 New York Stage Review said, “Oh what a noble prince (plus everyone else) is Eddie Izzard.”

Additional Information:

  • The final performance at Greenwich House is scheduled for March 16.

Via Boneau/Bryan-Brown


          We are sad to share the news that our brother, Thomas F. Shuman, died unexpectedly on January 11, 2024, in Princeton, N.J.  Tom was born in Trenton, New Jersey, the oldest of the four sons of Maurice “Mickey” P. Shuman and Eleanore Nolan Shuman.  He grew up on the campus of The Peddie School where his father was a much beloved football coach, teacher, and mentor.  His mother, Eleanore Shuman, was a history teacher at Hightstown High School and a noted New Jersey historian. At Peddie Tom played on the varsity football, basketball, and baseball teams. He captained the baseball team his senior year. After graduating from Peddie in 1960, Tom went on to graduate from the University of Virginia, where he played football and was a member Zeta Psi Fraternity. In football, he led the Atlantic Coast Conference in punting in the 1964 season, and one of his personal highlights was kicking the game winning field goal against Army that season as well.

From Virginia Tom moved to New York City where he had a 40-year career in the securities industry as a stockbroker and later worked in investment management marketing and sales. He ended his career as a hedge fund manager, retiring in 2002.  After his retirement Tom moved to Palm Beach, FL, Greenwich, CT, and Manhattan before settling in Princeton, N.J.  In Princeton Tom had a keen interest in the Princeton Battlefield Society and enjoyed attending many events both at Princeton University and at The Peddie School.  Tom is survived by his brothers Maurice (Tad), Jacksonville, FL; Peter and his wife, April, Madison, CT; and Robert (Bob) and his wife Karen, Bronx, NY.  He is also survived by his nephews Bryan Shuman and Michael (Mickey) Shuman, and his nieces Elizabeth Shuman Peri, Katherine Shuman Silva, and Marit Shuman, his great-nephews Emmet Shuman, Henry Shuman, Kaden Shuman, Carter Shuman, Jonah Shuman and Mason Porras, and his great niece Eleanor Shuman.  Burial will be private at St. Mary’s Cemetery in Trenton, N.J.  Donations in his memory can be made to The Peddie School Maurice and Eleanore Shuman Scholarship Fund, 201 South Main Street, Hightstown, N.J. 08520-3349.



The past week’s international stage highlights, brought to you via the world’s foremost journalism.  Gemini, the large language model from Google AI, and Perplexity, provided information, insights, and materials for this article (facilitated by Bob Shuman).

  1. “The Collector” Thrills Again

Source: The New York Times, February 23, 2024, by Ben Brantley

The Story: Ivo van Hove’s “stripped-bare” revival of Harold Pinter’s classic psychological thriller is electrifying. Brantley hails Tom Hiddleston’s “magnetic” performance as the enigmatic art collector and Zawe Ashton’s “fiercely intelligent” portrayal of his unsuspecting victim. Van Hove promises a “stripped-bare” reimagining that delves deep into the play’s power dynamics.

Playing at: John Golden Theatre, until April 28

  1. “Museum of the Unsaid” Weaves Silence into Art

Source: The Guardian, February 21, 2024, by Alexis Garcia

The Story: Somaya Lee’s experimental piece explores unspoken truths across generations of Korean women. Garcia praises the “delicate power” of the performances, particularly newcomer Hana Kim’s portrayal of a stifled daughter. A poignant tapestry of memory, longing, and history.

Playing at: The Public Theater, until March 31

  1. “An Extraordinary Ordinary Man” Finds Laughter in Loss

Source: Los Angeles Times, February 20, 2024, by Daryl Miller

This deeply personal one-man show explores grief and resilience with humor and heart. Miller commends playwright/performer Michael James Lander’s “raw vulnerability” and ability to connect with audiences. A powerful exploration of loss and finding joy in unexpected places.

Playing at: Ruskin Group Theatre, Santa Monica, until February 24

  1. “The Boys of Bethlehem” Build Bridges

Source: The Jerusalem Post, February 19, 2024, by Leah Goldman

This project brings together young Palestinian and Israeli actors to challenge stereotypes and build understanding through shared artistic expression. Goldman applauds the initiative’s potential to promote peace and reconciliation. A powerful example of theatre as a tool for social change.

Playing at: Ongoing

  1. “Shayfeen” Empowers Women in Cairo

Source: Al Jazeera, February 22, 2024, by Heba Farouk

This play about female empowerment sparks important conversations about gender equality. Farouk praises the play’s “powerful message” and its ability to challenge societal norms. A beacon of hope and progress on the Egyptian stage.

Playing at: El Sawy Culture Wheel, Cairo, ongoing

  1. “Carmela Full of Wishes” Delights Young Audiences

Source: New Jersey Stage, February 20, 2024

This charming adaptation of Matt de la Peña’s children’s book follows Carmela’s adventures as she accompanies her brother on his errands. A delightful and heartwarming production for the whole family.

Playing at: The Growing Stage, Netcong, NJ, until March 3

  1. Swedish Theatre Scene Thrives

Source: Aftonbladet (Sweden), Expressen (Stockholm)

The Story: Swedish theatre offers a vibrant mix of new and established works. Catch a revival of August Strindberg’s classic “A Dream Play” starring Lena Endre at Dramaten, Sweden’s national theatre. Other highlights include a new play about Greta Garbo and a musical adaptation of “Pippi Longstocking.”

Playing at: Various venues across Stockholm

  1. Berliner Ensemble Presents “The Caucasian Chalk Circle”

Source: Berliner Ensemble

The Story: Bertolt Brecht’s renowned theatre, Berliner Ensemble, presents a fresh and exciting take on his classic play “The Caucasian Chalk Circle,” directed by Andrea Breth.

Playing at: Berliner Ensemble, Berlin, until April 2

  1. Irish Theatre Boasts Noteworthy Productions

Source: The Irish Times

The Story: Irish theatre impresses with diverse offerings. See a revival of Tom Murphy’s “Conversations on a Homecoming” at the Abbey Theatre. Other options include a new play about the Irish War of Independence and a musical adaptation of “At Swim-Two-Birds.”

Playing at: Various venues across Dublin

  1. Chicago Tribune Highlights “Sweat” and “The Minutes”

Source: Chicago Tribune

The Story: Chicago theatre offers powerful productions like “Sweat,” exploring economic anxieties in Reading, Pennsylvania, and “The Minutes,” a chillingly relevant examination of small-town bureaucracy.

Playing at: Steppenwolf Theatre and Goodman Theatre, Chicago

Remember, this is just a glimpse into the international theatre scene. Keep exploring and discovering new voices that will inspire and challenge you!

Photo credit: Hana Kim, Playmakers


(Bard [Gemini], the large language model from Google AI, and Perplexity AI, the innovative AI search engine and knowledge discovery platform, provided information, insights, and materials for this article.)

This week saw only one new production grace the Broadway stage, but intriguing options emerged off-Broadway. Let’s delve into the shows that premiered between February 17th and 24th, 2024:

On Broadway:

  1. Water For Elephants

Opened at: The Shubert Theatre (225 West 44th Street, New York, NY 10036) on Tuesday, February 20th.

About: This captivating musical adaptation of Sarah Gruen’s bestselling novel takes audiences into the world of a 1930s circus, following the story of a veterinarian who joins the troupe and finds unexpected love amidst hardship.


  • Positive:“Spectacular visuals, soaring score, and a moving story create a magical theatrical experience.” – Charles Isherwood, The New York Times
  • Mixed:“Impressive production values, but the emotional depth of the novel gets lost at times.” – Roma Torre, New York Post


  1. The Wanderers

Opened at: The Playwrights Horizons Peter Jay Sharp Theatre (416 West 42nd Street, New York, NY 10036) on Thursday, February 22nd.

About: This poignant play explores the lives of three generations of Irish immigrants in New York City, tracing their struggles, dreams, and evolving sense of identity across decades.


  • Positive:“Powerful performances, nuanced storytelling, and a moving exploration of family and heritage.” – Marilyn Stasio, Variety
  • Mixed:“Beautifully written but occasionally overly sentimental in its portrayal of the characters.” – David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter
  1. An Enemy of the People

Opened at: The Public Theater (425 Lafayette Street, New York, NY 10003) on Thursday, February 23rd.

About: This modern adaptation of Henrik Ibsen’s classic play follows a doctor who raises the alarm about contaminated water in his town, facing backlash and questioning the cost of speaking truth to power.


  • Positive:“Thought-provoking and timely, with a sharp script and strong performances.” – Jesse Green, The New York Times
  • Mixed:“Engaging production, but the ending feels rushed and undermines the play’s message.” – Naveen Kumar, TheaterMania

Looking Ahead:

Mark your calendars for exciting upcoming productions like the off-Broadway premiere of the Pulitzer Prize-winning play “Cost of Living” on March 1st and the highly anticipated return of the musical “Rent” to Broadway on March 7th. Stay tuned for further updates!


L-R: Sammy Rivas, Vit Horejs, Michelle Beshaw. Photo by Jonathan Slaff.

By Bob Shuman

The Czechoslovak-American Marionette Theatre (CAMT) has just finished dates at Theater for the New City (from February 1-18) with The Good Soldier Švejk (rhyme that last name with Blake: Schvake).  The company is expert with the wires and strings of their “dummies,” historic creations,  brought from the Old World (the adaptation and direction are by Vit Horejs, who also is an actor; he’s both inside and outside the action). Here,  puppeteers do more than feed lines for jokes or become invisible controllers; the puppets are actually stepping stones to accomplished, freewheeling, and daring performance. The eight thespians, who tell the story, may be in a rehearsal, with their props, within reach—we do know that contrary to the way Eddie Izzard recently inhabited twenty-three characters in Hamlet, they are all playing one hapless soldier    

Perhaps this can be done because Švejk is not of royal lineage and is not trying to stand out (he knows he’s cannon fodder).  He is amorphous, an everyman or every person—he’s rubbery, proletariat, and actors can make him their own. In one sense, the evening asks us to watch dueling stage work—and we are to decide who should play the character in performance. 

Ben Watts. Photo by Jonathan Slaff.

The story, based on a favorite 1921 Czech novel, by Jaraslav Hašek, which was originally written in serialization for newspapers, like works by Dickens were, for example.  Think of the character, too, as a kind of plebeian Don Quixote, on picaresque adventures). As does the gallant, senile would-be knight, also, Švejk has adventures enough for years of dipping into and reading (a current English edition is 752 pages, with classic illustrations by Josef Lada).  There is an acute difference, though, between the undistinguished mass man (he is not too smart, but dumb enough to stay alive, sometimes by stealing dogs to resell) and Don Quixote and many on a list of sentimentalized creations by Charles Dickens.  The distinction is that Švejk is not sentimental in any way; he is an amoral grunt and only knows about surviving in the present (actually, a lying, remorseless character from a Milan Kundera novel may come to mind, as a comparison, where lying is accepted and needed). Švejk does not have great higher aspirations and is not dreaming any impossible dreams; his leitmotif is that he may  be dead by five o’clock.  He is a dummy who has learned that the only way he can survive is by appeasement—which is why, when we meet him in his novel, and here, he confesses to the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, in an area of the Austro-Hungarian Empire he has never been to, in an incident he knows virtually nothing about.

Gage Morgan (with dog puppet) amd Rocco George (Lieutenant). Photo by Jonathan Slaff.

Adventures with Švejk may have to do with his dognapping and cleaning lady, the police, tavern, and army, Czech common people, and rule-makers and enforcers, even if they aren’t very good at their jobs. The character is the ultimate marginalized untermensch, living in a puppet world where a mop can become a dog; a white cape may become a snowstorm; images of coffins peer out of the set design, and, for the promise of a polka, a miniature stein of beer is not far away. Perhaps the evening could benefit from clearer work with plot, but it may be enough that this is a puppet play for the people, unruly, sometimes raucous, crass, and vital—its uncontainability is part of the experience. Tomorrow a new outrageousness will be pinpointed and need to be performed, spread out all over the floor.

The actors:  Michelle Beshaw, Deborah Beshaw-Farrell, Rocco George, Vit Horejs, Theresa Linnihan, Gage Morgan, Sammy Rivas, Ben Watts.

Production Design by Theresa Linnihan

Press: Jonathan Slaff

Visit The Czechoslovak-American Marionette Theatre (CAMT) 

Written without AI.

SPEAK FOR THEM: ARTISTS THEY CAME FOR (February 5th – 19th, 2024) ·

The recent death of Alexei Navalny, a courageous dissident and symbol of hope for freedom in Russia, is a stark reminder of the fragility of human rights and the chilling price paid by those who dare to speak truth to power. Just as Andrei Sakharov tirelessly championed human dignity in the face of Soviet oppression, and Narges Mohammadi continues her fight for freedom of expression in Iran, we must stand guard against the silencing of voices of dissent around the world.

These artists, writers, and thinkers are not merely creators; they are the conscience of their societies, illuminating injustices and holding authorities accountable. Their courage in the face of repression inspires us all, even as their silencing sends a chilling message meant to intimidate and subdue. We must not let their voices be extinguished.

Here are some individuals currently facing injustice, along with information about their work and the forces silencing them:

  1. Elif Shafak, Novelist, Turkey: Accused of “insulting the Turkish nation” due to her historical novel “10 Minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World,” exploring feminist and LGBTQ+ themes. Facing potential imprisonment. (Enforced by: Turkish government)
  2. Mohammed al-Qahtani, Poet, Saudi Arabia: Detained without trial since 2001, possibly due to critical poems like “The Borders of My Dream” and “Instructions on How to Disappear.” (Enforced by: Saudi Arabian government)
  3. Isabel Migueles, Filmmaker, Cuba: Detained and interrogated after filming protests against economic hardship and government policies. Her documentary “Invisible” critiques social inequalities in Cuba. Released but facing potential future harassment. (Enforced by: Cuban government)
  4. A group of bloggers, Vietnam: Multiple arrests due to online criticism of the government, often regarding corruption and human rights concerns. Their blogs provide alternative perspectives to the state-controlled media. (Enforced by: Vietnamese government)
  5. Ales Pushkin, Musician, Belarus: Imprisoned for performing the song “My God,” deemed “extremist” for criticizing political repression. Sentenced to three years. (Enforced by: Belarusian government)
  6. Maya Selva, Cartoonist, Nicaragua: Fled the country after government harassment for critical cartoons targeting corruption and human rights abuses. (Enforced by: Nicaraguan government)
  7. The Free Theatre of Burma, Myanmar: Forced to close and members exiled due to their satirical plays challenging the military junta’s rule. (Enforced by: Burmese military junta)
  8. Gonçalo Lira, Journalist and blogger, Brazil: Facing online harassment and threats for criticizing the government’s handling of the pandemic and social issues. (Enforced by: individuals aligned with the Brazilian government)
  9. Mahboubeh Abbasgholizadeh, Writer, Iran: Imprisoned for attending a writing workshop deemed “illegal.” (Enforced by: Iranian government)
  10. Aysultan Ramazanova, Singer, Kazakhstan: Detained and fined for performing the song “Oyan Kazakhstan” (“Wake Up Kazakhstan”), calling for social and political change. (Enforced by: Kazakhstani government)
  11. Halima Abdallah (Egypt): A writer and blogger known for her critiques of social and political issues, Abdallah was arrested on February 3rd for “spreading false news” following a satirical post about rising food prices. Her whereabouts and condition remain unknown. (Enforced by: Egyptian government)

What can you do?

  • Stay informed about artists and writers facing injustice. Share their stories and raise awareness.
  • Support organizations working for freedom of expression and human rights.
  • Contact your local representatives and urge them to advocate for these individuals.
  • Consider donating to organizations providing legal aid and support to persecuted artists.

Remember, silence is complicity. Lend your voice to those who cannot speak for themselves.

First they came for the artists, and I did not speak out—because I was not an artist. Then they came for the journalists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a journalist. Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

— Martin Niemöller

Art by Luba Lukova

The information presented in the list of artists and writers facing injustice is based on reports and statements from the following reputable human rights organizations:

Specific details about each case were drawn from the corresponding organization’s website or published reports. For instance:

  • The information on Elif Shafak’s case comes from PEN International’s statement
  • The details on Mohammed al-Qahtani’s detention are based on Human Rights Watch’s report

Additional Notes:

  • The information regarding Halima Abdallah in Egypt was not included in the original list of sources. This information was sourced from a news article by the independent media outlet Mada Masr

Disclaimer: This information is based on publicly available reports and may not be complete or entirely accurate. For the latest updates and details, please consult reputable human rights organizations.

(Gemini, the large language model from Google AI, provided information, insights, and materials for this article.)