Monthly Archives: November 2015



Openings and Previews

China Doll


Al Pacino returns to Broadway in a new play by David Mamet, directed by Pam MacKinnon, as a man with a large fortune and a young fiancée. In previews. Opens Dec. 4.

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The Color Purple


Jennifer Hudson, Cynthia Erivo, and Danielle Brooks star in a revival of the 2005 musical, based on Alice Walker's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel and directed by John Doyle. In previews. Opens Dec. 10.

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Fiddler on the Roof

Broadway Theatre

Danny Burstein plays Tevye, the shtetl patriarch, in Bartlett Sher's revival of the 1964 musical, based on the stories of Sholem Aleichem. In previews.

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Vineyard Theatre presents a new musical by Matthew roi Berger, Randy Blair, and Tim Drucker, about a boy who goes to weight-loss camp in Pennsylvania. In previews. Opens Dec. 3.

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Invisible Thread

Second Stage

Diane Paulus directs Matt Gould and Griffin Matthews’s musical, in which a young New Yorker volunteers in Uganda. Opens Dec. 2.

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New York Theatre Workshop

Ivo van Hove directs a new musical by David Bowie and Enda Walsh, inspired by “The Man Who Fell to Earth" and starring Michael C. Hall, Cristin Milioti, and Michael Esper. In previews. Opens Dec. 7.

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Marjorie Prime

Playwrights Horizons

In Jordan Harrison's play, directed by Anne Kauffman and set in the near future, an elderly woman uses artificial intelligence to review her life story. In previews. Opens Dec. 14.

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Once Upon a Mattress

Abrons Arts Center

Jackie Hoffman and John (Lypsinka) Epperson star in the Mary Rodgers musical about the princess and the pea, revived by Transport Group and directed by Jack Cummings III. In previews. Opens Dec. 13.

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School of Rock

Winter Garden

Alex Brightman plays a rocker who poses as a substitute teacher, in this new musical based on the 2003 movie, with music by Andrew Lloyd Webber, lyrics by Glenn Slater, and a book by Julian Fellowes. In previews. Opens Dec. 6.

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Take Care


Niegel Smith directs a participatory work by Smith and Todd Shalom, about our responses to imminent danger, systematic racism, and climate change. In previews. Opens Dec. 6.

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These Paper Bullets!

Atlantic Theatre Company

Billie Joe Armstrong and Rolin Jones wrote this musical adaptation of “Much Ado About Nothing," reset in Beatles-era London and directed by Jackson Gay. In previews. Opens Dec. 15.

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(Martin Chilton’s article appeared in the Guardian, 11/30.)

Oscar Wilde was 27 when he arrived in New York in January 1882. The playwright and poet, who was born in Dublin on October 16th 1854, visited 150 cities during his talking tour. When he arrived at the Hudson River dock, so the legend goes, a federal customs agent asked him whether he had anything to declare. "Nothing . . . nothing but my genius". Here are some of the best quotes about the United States from the author of The Importance of Being Earnest and The Picture of Dorian Gray, who was the subject in 2015 of a book called Wilde in America. Wilde died in Paris, aged 46, on November 30 1900.


(Susannah Clapp’s article appeared in The Guardian, 11/19.)

Henrik Ibsen is routinely described as the father of realism and the father of modern drama. It is not always easy to test these claims. Most years see several Chekhov plays on stage. It is often surprisingly difficult to find an Ibsen.

This is one reason for being grateful for Richard Eyre, the country’s foremost illuminator of the dramatist. In the past 10 years he has produced what amounts to a boxed Almeida set of Ibsen. He directs his own adaptations, working from literal translations. A flinty Hedda Gabler in 2005 was followed two years ago by a glimmering Ghosts. Now he has staged the later and trickier Little Eyolf. The result is uneven, but the impact is decisive. Eyre reveals the play as a masterly study of how unhappiness corrodes us.

(Read more)

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(Michael Paulson’s article appeared in The New York Times, 11/20; via Pam Green.)

“Doing what?” Sheldon Harnick asked, seemingly startled by the suggestion.

The 91-year-old lyricist, a musical theater luminary best known for “Fiddler on the Roof,” was sitting on his couch at the Beresford, the stately Upper West Side apartment building where he has lived since 1965, and trying to explain why, after more than six decades working in New York theater, including 31 Broadway productions, he is not interested in retirement.

“Writing is too much fun,” he said. “What comes after you write can be agonizing — getting things on, or having them done badly, or not getting them done at all — but the writing is fun.”


(Andrew Dickson’s article appeared in the Guardian, 11/16.)

In September, Patrick Barlow’s zany, DIY adaptation of The 39 Steps left the West End for a national tour after nine years of sterling comedic service – having got through 3,000 pairs of stockings, 38 pairs of handcuffs and 530 OS maps of Scotland.

Having so superlatively skewered the Hitchcockian spy thriller, Barlow is back in time for Christmas with a bigger target in his sights: General “Lew” Wallace’s Roman-cum-biblical epic, famously turned into a lumbering MGM vehicle featuring a muscle-rippling Charlton Heston and enough extras to populate a small country.

First staged in 2012 in Newbury, though now slightly tweaked, the play’s setup is familiar. A multitasking cast of four, led by strutting, cliff-jawed actor-manager Daniel Vale (John Hopkins), do the work of thousands, as Judah Ben Hur is betrayed by a Roman soldier, Messala (a pouting Ben Jones), then sold into galley slavery. To help them on their way (“help” is probably not the word) they have a rack of moth-eaten costumes and more quick changes and tomfoolery than an entire run of Monty Python. Sight gags, prop gags, backstage rivalry gags, collapsing scenery gags: no meta-theatrical joke is safe. How do they do the chariot race at the pocket-size Tricycle? Well, that would be telling.


RTKids and Michelle Obama

  White House Award

(via Marcia Callender)

ACT II (Rosie's Theater Kids) was one of 12 Arts and Humanities programs–from around the nation–to receive this year's National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award, presented by Michelle Obama on November 17. 

Malcolm Callender, one of the honorees (top photo, fifth student from the left), attends Christ Church Riverdale (Bronx) and is a friend of Stage Voices!



(Angelique Chrisafis’s article appeared in the Guardian, 10/27.)

In wheelchairs or on hospital trolleys, draped in black blankets to keep warm against the bitter cold, one in a baseball cap, another in forces uniform, wounded survivors of the Paris terrorist attacks watched from the vast military courtyard of Les Invalides as the president paid homage to the 130 killed.

At the solemn national ceremony to remember the victims of France’s worst-ever terrorist attacks, more than 2,000 family members and survivors gathered. But many more wounded survivors were still in hospital, several in intensive care, unable to attend.



(Michael Gioia’s article appeared in, 11/26; via Pam Green.)

As Broadway casts and characters make their back through Herald Square from this year's Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, we look back at years past — with exclusive memories from Kelli O'Hara, Laura Osnes, Annaleigh Ashford, Ryan Steele and more.


Actress Brynn O'Malley (Honeymoon in Vegas, Annie) 
I performed with the cast of the 2012 revival of Annie on the parade telecast. As an adult, it's very easy to be overwhelmed by the lack of sleep (you have to get up in the middle of the night!) and heat (it's FREEZING!), but I remember getting on the bus to Macy's and sitting next to little (at the time) Taylor Richardson and seeing how excited she was…and then looking around and seeing all the other orphans COMPLETELY FREAKING OUT, and suddenly their energy and enthusiasm was better than any space heater or cup of coffee a girl could ask for. I squealed with them all the way to 34th Street.


(Written by Van Driessen who writes about health and consciousness from the perspective of the practice of Christian Science. He is also the spokesperson for Christian Science in New York.)

Why aren’t we all grateful all the time? Perhaps, some of us have felt at times like the cartoon character Bart Simpson, who, when asked to say grace said, “Dear God, we paid for all this stuff ourselves, so thanks for nothing.” Bart wasn’t looking very far beyond the mashed potatoes in front of him.

But maybe we should look farther because–to name a few reasons–gratitude gives us more happiness,  more feeling of being loved and cared for, more motivation to help others, and even better sleep, according to lots of  research.

Abe Lincoln looked higher and gave his sense of why we should be grateful. He said:

“We have grown in numbers, wealth and power as no other nation ever has grown; but we have forgotten God! We have forgotten the gracious Hand which preserved us in peace, and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us; and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own.”

Lincoln’s attitude must have been part of the reason, in addition to recent victories by the Union in the Civil War, that he formally established a national day of thanksgiving that year, 1863. His proclamation said that the Thanksgiving holiday was to be “a day of thanksgiving and praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in heaven.”

Perhaps I had some of Bart Simpson’s attitude in me, because it had been a while since I’d spent much time being consistently grateful. But  then I learned a lesson about the importance of gratitude to our health and wellbeing.

I was experiencing pain after eating, which had caused me to lose weight and feel weak a lot.  It didn’t seem I had much to be grateful for. I was in the habit of reading the Bible for both inspiration and healing, and at one low point I opened it to a verse that really caught my attention. It’s from Psalms and says: “I will praise thee (God), for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” What struck me was that if God made me and God is good, then health had to be part of the package. This message was like a command to me to be grateful in recognizing that God made me and that everything that God made worked for good.

So, I began to persistently thank God for making me so wonderfully. Over the next few weeks, the pain lessened and then disappeared, my eating returned to normal and shortly after that so did my weight and strength. To me, this kind of healing is not explainable as just mind over matter. I’ve found that the regular discipline of deepening my conviction of God’s reality and goodness replaces the fear that I believe contributes to sickness.

That healing happened six years ago now. And I guess you can say that I’ve replaced any vestige of a Bart Simpson attitude with daily gratitude for my health and for all the blessings Lincoln noted were the gifts of a beneficent Father.

© 2015 by Van Driessen.  All rights reserved.