(By Bob Dylan; via Pam Green; listen to Dylan give the speech using the link below; photo: Rolling Stone.)

When I received this Nobel Prize for Literature, I got to wondering exactly how my songs related to literature. I wanted to reflect on it and see where the connection was. I’m going to try to articulate that to you. And most likely it will go in a roundabout way, but I hope what I say will be worthwhile and purposeful.

If I was to go back to the dawning of it all, I guess I’d have to start with Buddy Holly. Buddy died when I was about eighteen and he was twenty-two. From the moment I first heard him, I felt akin. I felt related, like he was an older brother. I even thought I resembled him. Buddy played the music that I loved – the music I grew up on: country western, rock ‘n’ roll, and rhythm and blues. Three separate strands of music that he intertwined and infused into one genre. One brand. And Buddy wrote songs – songs that had beautiful melodies and imaginative verses. And he sang great – sang in more than a few voices. He was the archetype. Everything I wasn’t and wanted to be. I saw him only but once, and that was a few days before he was gone. I had to travel a hundred miles to get to see him play, and I wasn’t disappointed.

(Read more)


(Adam Hetrick’s article appeared in Playbill Online, 6/17.)

Dear Evan Hansen and the Bette Midler revival of Hello, Dolly! were among the night’s biggest winners.Dear Evan Hansen, the original Broadway musical that tells the story of an “invisible” high school outsider whose desperate longing for acceptance leads him to an unimaginable lie, was the most-awarded production of the 71st Annual Tony Awards, which were presented June 11 at Radio City Music Hall.

(Adam Hetrick’s article appeared in Playbill Online, 6/17.)

Nominated for nine awards, Dear Evan Hansen won in six categories, including Best Musical. Ben Platt took home the Tony Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical for his emotionally raw performance in the show’s title role, while Rachel Bay Jones won for Best Performance by an Actress in Featured Role a Musical for her performance as his mother Heidi. Oscar winners Benj Pasek and Justin Paul also took home their first Tony Award for Best Original Score. Alex Lacamoire won his third Tony for Best Orchestrations, having previously won for Hamilton and In the Heights.

The celebrated Broadway revival of Hello, Dolly! starring Bette Midler took home four Tony Awards, including Best Revival of a Musical and Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role a Musical for Midler. It was also awarded Best Performance by an Actor in Featured Role a Musical for Gavin Creel, as well as Best Costume Design of a Musical for Santo Loquasto.

Best Play was awarded to Oslo, the new work by J.T. Rogers, who made his Broadway debut with the political drama about high-level meetings between the State of Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization, which culminated in the signing of the historic 1993 Oslo Accords. Michael Aronov’s performance as Israeli diplomat Uri Savir earned him the Tony for Best Performance by an Actor in Featured Role a Play.

Additional honors went to Laurie Metcalf, who won her first Tony Award for her performance as Nora in Lucas Hnath’s A Doll’s House, Part 2, and Kevin Kline, who won his third Tony Award for Present Laughter. August Wilson’s Jitney—the last of his plays to receive its Broadway debut—won for Best Revival of a Play.

Click here for a full list of nominees.

The complete list of winners follows:

Best Musical
Dear Evan Hansen

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical
Bette Midler, Hello, Dolly!

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical
Ben Platt, Dear Evan Hansen

Best Revival of a Musical
Hello, Dolly!

Best Play
Oslo by J.T. Rogers

Best Revival of a Play
August Wilson’s Jitney

Best Choreography
Andy Blankenbuehler, Bandstand

Best Direction of a Musical
Christopher Ashley, Come From Away

Best Direction of a Play
Rebecca Taichman, Indecent

(Read more)


(Kate Feldman’s article appeared in the Daily News, 6/11; via the Drudge Report.)

Delta Airlines and Bank of America pulled out of their sponsorship of New York’s Public Theater on Sunday over a production of “Julius Caesar” that reimagines the main character as President Trump.

Shortly after Delta, who was a four-year sponsor, made its announcement, Bank of America yanked its support as well.

The Shakespeare in the Park play tells the story of the leader assassinated by Roman senators over the fear that he’s becoming too tyrannical, but rather than the original setting, the production stages Caesar (Gregg Henry) and his wife, Calpurnia, (Tina Benko) with Donald and Melania Trump lookalikes.

(Read more)


(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)


(from, 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.


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)


(Stuart Emmrich’s article appeared in The New York Times, 6/3; via Pam Green.)

On most Wednesdays, in the roughly three-hour break between the matinee and evening performances of “Dear Evan Hansen,” the Tony-nominated musical playing at the Music Box Theater, the actor Mike Faist usually slips out for a walk down to the Hudson River. (“It’s nice to get outside and maybe get some semblance of nature,” he says.) Then he grabs a light snack and a quick nap back in his tiny fourth-floor dressing room.

“We’re just constantly tired,” Mr. Faist said of the eight cast members, seven of whom have been with the show since its out-of-town tryout in Washington in 2015. “We try to live like nuns as much as possible and save our energy for the show.”

But this past Wednesday, Mr. Faist had a more pressing matter: A fitting downtown for the suit he planned to wear at the Tony Awards next Sunday. For his role as the troubled high school senior Connor Murphy, Mr. Faist, 25, has been nominated as a best featured actor in a musical, one of three cast members to earn a nomination. The show itself is up for nine awards.

So around 4:45 p.m., Mr. Faist quickly changed out of his onstage outfit of a zippered hoodie, skinny jeans and a well-worn pair of combat boots and into a baggy, Japanese-made T-shirt, a different pair of skinny jeans and a well-worn pair of Merrell boots. He then tied his shaggy, shoulder-length hair into a ponytail, tucked it under a hat and put on his sunglasses. “My disguise,” he said, explaining that he hoped to get out of the theater without being recognized by any fans waiting by the stage door. He needed to get downtown fast, to make sure he would be back in time for the 8 p.m. performance.

(Read more)

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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.


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

Sunday, June 25
Stacey Linnartz & Karen Malpede
Theatre Professionals


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 ( and the New Generation Theatre Ensemble, ( 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:


After 33 seasons performing the great stories of theatre with its resident company of actors, The Pearl Theatre Company has ceased operations today upon the close of its 2016-2017 Season.

Despite this company’s continuing critical acclaim, record-setting audiences, and landmark institutional support, the efforts of the artists, staff, and Board of Trustees simply could not outpace the economic reality of operating a mid-size theatre company in Manhattan amid a crowded field of worthy causes.

Since losing its home at Theatre 80 on St. Mark’s Place nearly a decade ago, The Pearl has fought to keep theatre, arts education, and a resident company of actors thriving in its performance venue on Manhattan’s far West Side. But, as with many of its peers in the arts community, the continuing pressure of maintaining real estate as a 160-seat non-profit theatre proved to be an insurmountable challenge for the company and its steadfast community of supporters.

For three decades, The Pearl has enjoyed dedication, commitment, and support from its audience, its donors, its partners, and its artists. The company deeply thanks those who helped The Pearl realize the creative visions of so many talented artists.



(Aidan McLaughlin’s article appeared on Mediaite, 6/6; via the Drudge Report.)

Shakespeare in the Park, an annual summer program by The Public Theater that puts on plays by William Shakespeare in Central Park, kicked off May 23 with a performance of Julius Caesar.

But this rendition of Shakespeare’s tragedy comes with a twist — Caesar is played by a character that bears a striking resemblance to President Donald Trump.

(Read more)

Photo: Public Theater


(Jennifer Schuessler’s article appeared in The New York Times, 6/2; via Pam Green.)  

In 2009, a cache of letters from the young Edith Wharton to her governess caused a stir when they turned up at auction. Now, an archive in Texas has yielded another startling Wharton discovery: an entirely unknown play.

“The Shadow of a Doubt,” Wharton’s only known finished play and the first full work by her to surface in 25 years, was set to be staged in New York in early 1901, before the production was abandoned for unknown reasons and forgotten. It survived in two typescripts held at the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas, where it was discovered by Laura Rattray of the University of Glasgow and Mary Chinery of Georgian Court University in New Jersey. Ms. Rattray and Ms. Chinery unveiled their discovery in the recent issue of The Edith Wharton Review.

(Read more)