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AHEAD OF THE TONYS, WATCHING EVERYTHING ·

(Michael Paulson’s article appeared in The New York Times, 6/10; via Pam Green.)

Sunday, June 11 is the biggest night of the year for Broadway: the Tony Awards, when the industry honors the best work of the season. Just as important to Broadway producers: the millions watching on television who are potential ticket buyers.

For those of us on the theater desk — The New York Times has six theater staffers, including an editor, two critics, a photographer, a digital specialist, and a reporter (that’s me), as well as several invaluable freelancers — the Tony season began weeks ago, early on the morning of May 2, when this year’s nominations were announced.

(Read more)

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/10/insider/tony-awards-theater-desk.html?_r=0

CLAUS PEYMANN, BERLINER ENSEMBLE DIRECTOR:  “ART IS ALWAYS RESISTANCE” ·

(from dw.com, 6/7; photo: Berliner Zeitung)

Theater director Claus Peymann has been at the head of major German theaters since 1974 and director of the Berliner Ensemble since 1999. He turns 80 just a few weeks before leaving Bertolt Brecht’s famous institution.

REVOLUTIONARY THEATER DIRECTOR CLAUS PEYMANN TURNS 80

Little Klaus – the name at that time spelled with “K”

Klaus Eberhard Peymann was born on June 7, 1937, into a middle-class family in Bremen. His father was a teacher and a Nazi; his mother opposed National Socialism. Klaus, for his part, rebelled by changing the spelling of his name: “When did ‘Klaus’ turn into ‘Claus’? I don’t know! At some point, it was just easier to write in school,” said Peymann.

It will not be a farewell of his own choice when Claus Peymann leaves the Berliner Ensemble at the end of the season – after 18 years of regency and 190 theater productions. Berlin politicians pushed for his abdication. “I feel like a theater monarch without an empire,” said the theater director, who turned 80 on June 7. “The Berliner Ensemble is my body, my imagination, my mind. I will not go without feeling pain and despair,” he said.

His life and career have been composed of a series of dramatic stations, marked by major rifts, scandals and the determined insistence that theater should be a forum for the humanistic critique of society.

(Read more)

http://www.dw.com/en/art-is-always-resistance-theater-directing-great-claus-peymann-turns-80/a-39143706

‘MY HEART IS IN THE EAST’ (LA MAMA)—NEXT SHOW ON THE STAGE VOICES CALENDAR ·


My Heart is in the East

June 8, 2017 – June 25, 2017

The Downstairs | 66 E 4th Street

Thursday to Saturday at 7PM; Sunday at 2:30PM

$25 Adult Tickets; $20 Students/Seniors; Limited $10 Tickets

 Written & Performed by Jessica Litwak

Inspired by Ancient CordobaMy Heart is in the East is a duet between a Jewish American woman and an Iraqi Muslim man. Bound together by circumstance, these two people from such different walks of life confront their insecurities, fears, and desires. Exploring these tensions through puppetry and poetry, the play is a humorous, passionate and poetic exploration of history as a model for peace building.

Each performance will be followed by an opportunity for the audience to try their hand at poetry composition and a dynamic guided discussion about interfaith issues, featuring noted scholars, journalists, and cultural and civic leaders.

POETRY COMPOSITION & GUIDED DISCUSSION LEADERS

Stay after each performance for an interactive special poetry composition

Thursday, June 8
David Diamond
Theater Professional | More Info

Friday, June 9
Cindy Cooper

Saturday, June 10
Yonit Freedman

Sunday, June 11
Catherine Filloux
Playwright on Human Rights | More Info

Friday, June 16
Raymond Scheindlin
Expert on Cordova & Poetry Translator

Saturday, June 17
Esther Farmer
Jewish Voice for Peace Member

Thursday, June 22
Lana Povitz
Jewish Voice for Peace Member

Saturday, June 24
Tom Block
Author

Sunday, June 25
Stacey Linnartz & Karen Malpede
Theatre Professionals

ABOUT THE ARTISTS

Jessica Litwak (Playwright, Actor), Ph.D., is a playwright, actor, educator and activist. She is a Registered Drama Therapist, a trained practitioner of Playback, Psychodrama, Sociodrama and Theatre of the Oppressed. She is the Artistic Director of The H.E.A.T. Collective (www.heatcollective.org) and the New Generation Theatre Ensemble, (www.ngte.org) Litwak’s written work has been published by Applause Books, Smith and Krause, No Passport Press and The New York Times. She has taught theatre and performed at Many theatres and universities in the U.S. as well as in Iraq, Lebanon, India, Palestine, Israel, Turkey, Hungary, Eqypt, the U.K. and at La MaMa Umbria. Litwak is a core member of Theatre Without Borders and is a Fulbright Scholar.

Jen Wineman (Director) is a director/choreographer based in Brooklyn. Her work has been seen at theaters in New York and across the country. Off Broadway: F#%king Up Everything. New York: Fable (NYMF), The King’s Whore (Walkerspace); Estrella Cruz [The Junkyard Queen] (Ars Nova). Touring Productions: Twelfth Night, A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Asolo Repertory Theatre). Regional: The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity (Asolo Rep) Sweeney Todd (Playmakers Rep); The 39 Steps, Shipwrecked (Triad Stage); The Hunchback of Seville (Washington Ensemble Theatre); Bubble Boy (American Theater Group); Aloha Say the Pretty Girls (Theatre Vertigo). Jen is a co-founder and the former co-artistic director of Studio 42, a New York City-based company that from 2001-2015, produced “unproducible” plays by emerging playwrights. She has taught at Vassar College, Ithaca College, SUNY Purchase, and is on the faculty at Primary Stages Einhorn School of Performing Arts in New York City. Up next is Ken Ludwig’s Baskerville for the Dorset Theatre Festival. Education/Training: B.A. Vassar College, M.F.A. Yale School of Drama.

Visit LaMama: http://lamama.org/east/

ARTHUR MILLER: ‘A VIEW FROM THE BRIDGE’ WITH ALFRED MOLINA (LISTEN NOW ON BBC RADIO 3—LINK BELOW) ·

Listen at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b06h93s1

Martin Jarvis directs Arthur Miller’s 1955 award-winning masterpiece. Recorded in the US for Drama On 3. Alfred Molina won the BBC Drama Awards Best Actor accolade as Eddie Carbone. He leads an all-star American cast. Universal themes: family, guilt, loyalty, sexual attraction, jealousy – and love. A timeless reminder as immigrants from Syria, Eritrea, Libya currently seek new lives, new dreams. Here, it’s the American one. 

Setting. An Italian-American neighbourhood near the Brooklyn Bridge, New York. 1950s.

Lawyer Alfieri (our narrator) confides to listeners there are cases where he can only watch as they run their bloody course.

Longshoreman Eddie Carbone lives with his wife Beatrice and her orphaned niece, Catherine, in a Brooklyn tenement. He has a love of, almost an obsession with, 17 year-old Catherine. Beatrice’s Italian cousins are being smuggled into the country. The family hide the illegal immigrants, Marco and Rodolpho, while they work on the docks. Eddie’s increasing suspicion and jealousy of Rodolpho’s developing relationship with Catherine eventually leads to betrayal and a tragic confrontation.

Sound design: Wesley Dewberry and Mark Holden
A Jarvis & Ayres Production.

***** KUSHNER/TESORI: ‘CAROLINE, OR CHANGE’ (SV PICK, UK) ·

(Claire Allfree’s article appeared in the Telegraph, 5/12.)

A singing washing machine? A crooning night bus? Tony Kushner and Jeanine Tesori’s 2003 musical set in Civil Rights-era Louisiana remains one of the most innovative modern examples of the form: a giddy marriage of fierce social observation and a gospel- and Motown-inflected score delivered by a cast that includes kitchen appliances and a rising moon. Daniel Evans may have made a bold choice in programming this exuberant musical fantasia as part of his inaugural season at Chichester, but it’s thoroughly vindicated by this pocket-sized staging from Michael Longhurst, which emphatically drives home the show’s social currency 10 years after it premiered at the National.

Change takes on many meanings in Caroline, from the winds of revolution blowing through 1963 to the nickels and dimes that form the bedrock of the American dream. In a hellishly overheated basement in Lake Charles, Sharon D Clarke’s eponymous black maid Caroline is impervious to the former and – it soon turns out – tormented by the latter as she sweats out her days laundering clothes for the Gellman family.

(Read more)

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/theatre/what-to-see/exceptional-caroline-change-minerva-theatre-chichester-review/

 

TONY AWARDS 2017: THE FULL LIST OF NOMINATIONS ·

(Erik Piepenburg’s article appeared in the 5/2 New York Times; via Pam Green.)

Best Musical

Come From Away

Dear Evan Hansen

Groundhog Day

Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812

Best Play

A Doll’s House, Part 2

Indecent

Oslo

Sweat

Best Revival of a Musical

Falsettos

Hello, Dolly!

Miss Saigon

Best Revival of a Play

Jitney

The Little Foxes

Present Laughter

Six Degrees of Separation

(Read more)

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/02/theater/tony-awards-nominations-list.html?_r=0

RICHARD MAXWELL: ‘SAMARA’ (ONLY THROUGH MAY 14–REVIEW FROM NEW YORK) ·

By Bob Shuman

Richard Maxwell, a two-time Obie winner, has written a new drama—an anti-Western, set in deli milk crates (the imaginative scenic design is by Louisa Thompson)—that seems to miss home and identity.  Cultures have been taken away—and are mourned–in this piece—which has a poetry reading-, outside concert-like feel, especially given the inclusion of music by Steve Earle (and the mesmerizing uilleann pipes of Ivan Goff). Here, rain is being awaited, murders have taken place, and Maxwell finds himself meditating on being a father and raising children—he’s wiser, finding different ways to consider masculinity now.  Sam Shepard and Faulkner come to mind as reference points, but this really is more spiritually minded than its violence would indicate, and it could only be American, Americana.  So much is owed to the playwright Irene Fornes, in terms of the short scenes and unconscious inspirations, that one might suspect Maxwell was working with her workshop exercises. Maybe this hip, but less up-tight Maxwell, also owes something to his director, Sarah Benson (another Obie winner), and her clean direction, yet both have worked on harsher pieces, unrelenting ones: Samara, which could be referring to “tranquility,” stands in contrast to a similarly titled Maxwell play, The Good Samaritans—recently shown at Abrons Arts Center in February–a cold European-like concept work, important and brutal.  Here the lights are colored (Matt Frey designed them)—and even blink, while the other work showed the dead light of fluorescent tubes. 

The impulse of this reviewer is to say that Maxwell might be working artistically with the country’s return to nationalism.  As long ago as 2008, Split Britches wrote Miss America, in which they knew the nation was changing.  Today, an election has emphasized that it has.  The notion of thinking about this country’s past, earlier than the twentieth century, may be on the artistic mind, especially of course, given the success of Hamilton.  Instead of plays examining paralysis, new worlds of picaresque adventure may be inviting the imagination.  Maxwell might be hoping to make America remember itself again.

SAMARA

by Richard Maxwell
directed by Sarah Benson
with original music by Steve Earle

featuring:  Becca Blackwell, Vinie Burrows, Steve Earle, Roy Faudree, Ivan Goff, Modesto Flako Jimenez, Matthew Korahais, Paul Lazar, Jasper Newell, and Anna Wray

Set Design by Louisa Thompson; Costume Design: Junghyun Georgia Lee; Lighting Design: Matt Frey; Sound Design: Palmer Hefferan; Props: George Hoffmann and Greg Kozatek; Fight Director: J. David Brimmer; Choreographer: Annie-B Parson; Production Stage Manager: Rachel K. Gross; Assistant Stage Manager: Joanna Muhlfelder; Design: Studio Usher

Press:  John Wyszniewski, Rachel Shearer | Blake Zidell & Associates

Presnted at: Mezzanine Theatre
A.R.T./New York Theatres
502 West 53rd Street
New York, NY 10019

Visit Soho Rep: http://sohorep.org/samara

Photo Credits: Julieta Cervantes

Top: Vinie Burrows and Becca Blackwell; BottomL Jasper Newell 

‘THE NEW YORKER’ THEATRE LISTINGS, 5/1 PLAYDECK ·

Openings and Previews

In previews. Opens May 9.

3/Fifths

James Scruggs conceived and wrote this interactive piece, which transforms the theatre into a dystopian theme park called SupremacyLand, celebrating white privilege.

READ MORE »

3LD Art & Technology Center

Downtown

In previews. Opens April 24.

Anastasia

Darko Tresnjak directs this new musical, by Terrence McNally, Stephen Flaherty, and Lynn Ahrens, drawn from the 1956 and 1997 films about the Russian Grand Duchess.

READ MORE »

Broadhurst

Midtown

 

In previews. Opens April 23.

The Antipodes

The playwright Annie Baker (“The Flick”) returns, with a piece about storytelling, directed by Lila Neugebauer and featuring Josh Charles, Phillip James Brannon, and Josh Hamilton.

READ MORE »

Pershing Square Signature Center

Midtown

 

April 27. Closing soon

Babes in Toyland

Kelli O’Hara, Bill Irwin, Lauren Worsham, and Christopher Fitzgerald appear with the Orchestra of St. Luke’s in the 1903 musical, conducted by Ted Sperling.

READ MORE »

Carnegie Hall

Midtown

Opens April 26.

Bandstand

Corey Cott and Laura Osnes play a war veteran and a widow who team up to compete in a radio contest in 1945, in this swing musical by Robert Taylor…

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Jacobs

Midtown

 

In previews. Opens April 23.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Christian Borle plays Willy Wonka in this musical version of the Roald Dahl tale, featuring new songs by Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman and a book by David Greig.

READ MORE »

Lunt-Fontanne

Midtown

 

In previews.

Derren Brown: Secret

Brown, an Olivier-winning British performer known for his feats of mind-reading and audience manipulation, presents an evening of “psychological illusion.”

READ MORE »

Atlantic Theatre Company

Chelsea

 

In previews. Opens April 27.

A Doll’s House, Part 2

Lucas Hnath’s play, starring Laurie Metcalf, Chris Cooper, Jayne Houdyshell, and Condola Rashad, picks up years after Ibsen’s classic leaves off, with the return of its heroine, Nora.…

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Golden

Midtown

 

In previews. Opens May 7.

Ernest Shackleton Loves Me

In this new musical by Joe DiPietro, Brendan Milburn, and Valerie Vigoda, a put-upon single mother (Vigoda) embarks on an Antarctic adventure with the famous explorer.

READ MORE »

Tony Kiser

Midtown

 

In previews. Opens May 4.

Happy Days

Theatre for a New Audience stages James Bundy’s Yale Rep production of the Beckett play, starring Dianne Wiest as a chatterbox half-buried in a mound of sand.

READ MORE »

Polonsky Shakespeare Center

Brooklyn

 

In previews. Opens April 20.

Hello, Dolly!

Bette Midler stars as the turn-of-the-century matchmaker Dolly Levi, in the Jerry Herman musical from 1964, directed by Jerry Zaks and featuring David Hyde Pierce.

READ MORE »

Shubert

Midtown

 

Opens April 19.

The Little Foxes

Laura Linney and Cynthia Nixon trade off roles night to night in Manhattan Theatre Club’s revival of the 1939 Lillian Hellman drama, directed by Daniel Sullivan.

READ MORE »

Samuel J. Friedman

Midtown

 

In previews.

The Lucky One

The Mint revives A. A. Milne’s 1922 play, directed by Jesse Marchese, about two brothers whose enmity erupts when one of them lands in legal trouble.

READ MORE »

Beckett

Midtown

 

Opens May 3.

Mourning Becomes Electra

Target Margin stages Eugene O’Neill’s dramatic trilogy, which resets Aeschylus’ “Oresteia” in New England just after the Civil War. David Herskovits directs.

READ MORE »

Abrons Arts Center

Downtown

 

In previews. Opens May 4.

Pacific Overtures

John Doyle directs Stephen Sondheim and John Weidman’s musical from 1976, which recounts the opening of nineteenth-century Japan, starring George Takei as the Reciter.

READ MORE »

Classic Stage Company

Downtown

 

In previews. Opens April 30.

The Roundabout

As part of the “Brits Off Broadway” festival, Hugh Ross directs J. B. Priestley’s 1932 comedy, in which a man juggles his business foibles, his mistress, a…

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59E59

Midtown

 

In previews.

Seven Spots on the Sun

In Martín Zimmerman’s play, directed by Weyni Mengesha, a reclusive doctor in a town ravaged by civil war and plague discovers that he has a miraculous healing touch.

READ MORE »

Rattlestick

Downtown

In previews. Opens April 25.

Six Degrees of Separation

Allison Janney, John Benjamin Hickey, and Corey Hawkins star in Trip Cullman’s revival of John Guare’s play from 1990, about a young black con man who enters…

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Ethel Barrymore

Midtown

 

In previews.

Sojourners & Her Portmanteau

Ed Sylvanus Iskandar directs two installments of Mfoniso Udofia’s nine-part saga, which charts the ups and downs of a Nigerian matriarch.

READ MORE »

New York Theatre Workshop

Downtown

 

In previews. Opens April 27.

Twelfth Night

The Public’s Mobile Unit performs the Shakespeare comedy for free at its home base, after touring prisons, homeless shelters, and other local venues. Saheem Ali directs.

READ MORE »

Public

Downtown

 

In previews.

Venus

Suzan-Lori Parks’s play, directed by Lear deBessonet, is inspired by the life of Saartjie Baartman, a South African woman who became a nineteenth-century sideshow attraction because of her large…

READ MORE »

Pershing Square Signature Center

Midtown

 

 

O’NEILL: ‘EMPEROR JONES’ (SV PICK, NY) ·

(Laura Collins-Hughes’s article appeared in The New York Times, 3/24; via Pam Green.)

The unbounded fury of Emperor Brutus Jones blasts into the room before he does. It is the sound of a powerful man in a dangerous fit of temper. “Who dare wake up the emperor?” he roars.

That would be the director Ciaran O’Reilly, who has revived his gorgeous, astonishing production of Eugene O’Neill’s “The Emperor Jones” at Irish Repertory Theater, with largely the same creative team but an almost entirely new cast. Revelatory in 2009, when it starred the commanding John Douglas Thompson, it’s now both ferocious and blindsidingly affecting with the British newcomer Obi Abili in the title role.

The play, from 1920, unfolds into a fractured dark night of the American soul, but it begins in daylight in the palace of the West Indies island that Jones rules. A black American with a murderous past and an avaricious present, he’s a former Pullman porter. Reckless and mercurial, a bully when he wants to feel his own strength, he luxuriates in the perks of the office he’s grabbed for himself: the throne, the golden crown, the money he is milking from it.

(Read more)

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/24/theater/review-emperor-jones-fearsome-and-fearful-in-a-roaring-revival.html

WELL, HELLO, DOLLYS! ·

(Eric Grode’s article appeared in the New York Times, 3/22.)

Carol Channing, who created the title role in the 1964 smash hit musical “Hello, Dolly!,” has been called many things: “a walking alarm clock,” “a moon-mad hillbilly,” “an Al Hirschfeld caricature in the flesh,” with “a vocal range from deep foghorn to squeaky hinge.”

But one thing she has never been called is a type.

“Everyone is unique,” said Carole Cook, who in originating the Australian production in 1965 became just the second woman to play Dolly Gallagher Levi. “But some are uniquer than others.”

So what happened when the irreplaceable Ms. Channing said, “So long Dearie” to the role?

She was replaced. Again and again and again.

(Read more)

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/22/theater/hello-dolly-bette-midler-carol-channing.html?_r=0

Top photo: NewNowNext