Monthly Archives: April 2023


Pasadena, CA – March 31: Danny Feldman, artistic director of Pasadena Playhouse, sits for portraits backstage at the Pasadena Playhouse on on Friday, March 31, 2023 in Pasadena, CA. (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

(Charles McNulty’s article appeared in the L.A. Times,  4/5.)

“It’s a radical act to ask someone to go to the theater these days,” Pasadena Playhouse Producing Artistic Director Danny Feldman said over breakfast in a Beverly Hills eatery on a recent weekday morning.

These are tough times for artistic directors of nonprofit theaters, which are struggling to rebound after the pandemic. Venerable performing arts venues, bereft of purpose and patrons, are in danger of becoming ghost malls.

One local leader is proving that growth is still possible in a time of spiraling crisis. Against seemingly impossible odds, Feldman has revitalized Pasadena Playhouse, which is finally living up to its official designation as the state theater of California.

We were meeting to discuss his theater’s ongoing Sondheim Celebration, the six-month festival exploring the legacy of Broadway composer and lyricist Stephen Sondheim. But first he wanted to broach the elephant in the cultural room — our society’s shattered attention span.

“When I say turn off your phone, it sounds like I’m crazy,” Feldman said. “Turn off your phone? No one turns off their phones. They leave them on vibrate. I do it too. Theater asks us to focus together, to think about something collectively. I don’t think we have the capacity. I’ve lost the capacity, and I’ve been intentional about not losing it.”

So how do you plan a season in an age of distraction? One solution would be to scale back programming, say, with a menu of easily digestible 90-minute plays. Why overtax the stamina of theatergoers who are still getting back into the habit of leaving their homes for entertainment?

Feldman, however, decided to do the opposite. He came up with the largest, unwieldiest and financially nuttiest proposal in the history of Pasadena Playhouse.

“I started wondering: What if a regional theater didn’t just do five shows a year?” he recalled. “What if we asked our community to do something longer than one night together? What if we explored an idea, a theme, a person? That’s where the Sondheim festival idea came from.”

The notion of a retrospective, a staple of museum programming, is less common in the theater, where audiences have been trained to think of theater outings as one-night-stands — wham, bam, thank you Mamet. Feldman wondered if a deeper intimacy might enhance our interest. Would the prospect of exploring “a body of work through a kaleidoscopic view,” as he put it, reignite a passion for theater that has understandably faded through pandemic disuse?

The idea was to present not just a cross-section of an artist’s output but a range of interpretations and creative responses. Central to Feldman’s vision was the desire to introduce a younger generation to the genius of Sondheim and to open his oeuvre to communities that may have felt outside it.

But something unfunny happened on the way to the festival: Sondheim died. The maestro had given his approval for an even more ambitious plan, but after his death, the playhouse was limited to two main-stage productions.

Feldman decided to go with “Sunday in the Park With George,” which received a majestic revival that closed last month, and “A Little Night Music,” which has its official press opening April 30 in a production directed by the reliably inventive David Lee. These are multimillion-dollar stagings with full orchestras — a sound rarely heard outside of big-budget Broadway or philanthropically spoiled opera houses.

(Read more)



(David Smith’s article appeared in the Guardian, 4/15; via Pam Green; Photo: The Phantom of the Opera has been seen by more than 140 million people worldwide. Photograph: Angela Weiss/AFP/Getty Images.)

Andrew Lloyd Webber’s hit musical is set for its final performance in New York, leaving behind an intense fanbase

He is used to having the worst seat in the house. Playing trumpet in the orchestra pit, Lowell Hershey has heard by Broadway audiences for decades but seldom gets to see the show himself. When The Phantom of the Opera opened in 1988, however, the Fomo became too much.

“I had never seen the show – I can’t even see the stage,” he says. “So about six months into the show I bought a ticket, hired a sub and and I sat the audience to watch because I was curious to see what the heck was such a big deal about this.

As of last Saturday, by Hershey’s count, Phantom had run for 13,973 performances, and he had played trumpet in 10,059 of them. When the production closes on Sunday after 35 years, an all-time Broadway record, he will be in his usual spot at the Majestic Theatre for its swansong.

Phantom superfans are sure to be scrambling for tickets for a last chance to hear songs such as Masquerade, Angel of Music, All I Ask of You and The Music of the Night. Based on the 1910 French novel Le Fantôme de l’Opéra by Gaston Leroux, the story revolves around a mysterious and disfigured phantom who haunts the Paris Opera House and falls in love with the young soprano, Christine Daaé.

The musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber has been seen by more than 140 million people worldwide and grossed more than $6bn in revenue. The British actor Michael Crawford was the original phantom in both the West End and Broadway productions (Gerard Butler played the part in a 2004 film adaption).

But the show has also left critics cold. Some regard it as a gaudy spectacle, the vanguard of a “British invasion” of New York theatre that put style over substance, commercial smarts over high art. In the prosecutor’s case against “the blockbuster musical” and all that implies, it may well be Exhibit A.

Don’t tell that to Hershey, who took up the trumpet when he was nine and has played in many Broadway shows including Nicholas Nickleby, Big River, Rockabye Hamlet, Fiddler on the Roof, A Little Night Music and Follies. When the job on Phantom came up, he instantly warmed to its lush, romantic score.

“I thought the music sounded good,” the 75-year-old says by phone from New York. “The parts that we play were beautifully orchestrated. If you don’t understand the instrument, it’s possible to sit and write down a trumpet part that is impossible to play, even though it might be within the range of what a trumpeter is capable of playing.

“The orchestrator that did Phantom clearly understood all the instruments. There aren’t too many orchestrators that know how to write for harp but he did, so the harp part is just beautiful and not incredibly difficult. He made it playable. My first reaction was: oh, this is going to be pleasant!

Phantom’s instant success on Broadway did not entirely take Hershey by surprise because it had already been playing to packed audiences in London. “When it was announced that it was going to be opening in New York, there was no doubt in anybody’s mind that this was going to be a pretty big hit, that regardless of what the reviews in New York said, it was going to run for maybe a couple of years at least. There wasn’t anybody that would have thought that it could go 35 years. There has never been anything like that.”

After three and a half decades, Hershey must know every line off by heart? “Certainly there’s nothing that surprises me except when somebody delivers the wrong line or something goes wrong. Every once in a while there is a little snafu and that wakes me out of my reverie.”

At one show, he recalls, the celebrated chandelier drop at the end of the first act could not take place for safety reasons because an absent-minded stagehand had accidentally left some sheet music on it. “I remember walking by the stage door on the way out and hearing a voice inside saying: ‘Tell me again how the music ended up on the chandelier.’”

Phantom runs in the family. His daughter performed in the roadshow version of the musical for two years. So the end of Phantom’s run – widely seen as an aftershock of the coronavirus pandemic that reduced tourism – will inevitably be a moment of reflection, although he has no intention of retiring.

“It’s sad. There’s no doubt about it because I’ve had this family that I hang out with. Musicians are always at the theatre well before the show starts. Some people may come in only 10 minutes before, but it’s not the kind of job where you can just walk in, walk to your desk and do your work.

(Read more)


(Clare Brennan’s article appeared in the Observer, 4/9; Photo: Conor O’Kane as John Hume and Naiomh Morgan as his wife, Pat, in Beyond Belief. Photograph: The Playhouse Derry-Londonderry)

 Guildhall, Derry
This musical drama about the lives of Northern Ireland peacemakers gives a familiar story a new dimension

Beyond Belief, written by Damian Gorman and composed by Brian O’Doherty, centres on two of the prime movers in the Northern Ireland peace process, SDLP leader John Hume and his wife, Pat. Commissioned to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday agreement (in partnership with the Hume Foundation), it is the second musical drama in Derry Playhouse’s peace-building trilogy, following on from last year’s The White Handkerchief, which marked the 50th anniversary of Bloody Sunday, widely regarded as the start of the Troubles.

The thrust-stage floor is piled with rich brown earth. The gnarled trunk of an ancient oak rises from a grassy knoll, young twigs sticking out from its broken branches spattered with green leaves: “doire” is an Irish word meaning “oak grove”, which is what the place where the action is set was before it became a walled town (Tracey Lindsay’s design). Over 32 scenes, the action progresses chronologically from the late 1950s to the 2020s. Rooted in facts, it has an emblematic quality that suggests a connection to universal struggles for peace and justice.

John’s younger, fiery self is played by Conor O’Kane; his older, more weary but tenacious self by Gerry Doherty. Pat, almost always the more sure and solid, is played throughout by Naiomh Morgan. Vignettes of family life (a summer by the sea; a flight from home following a threatening phone call) are intersected by intense dialogues (a near-verbatim reproduction of John confronting a British army colonel; him telling an incredulous Ian Paisley that one day he will talk peace with Gerry Adams; Pat engaging in a coded conversation with Martin McGuinness that results in a life being saved). Violence erupts; the horror is not shirked but tempered, under Kieran Griffiths’s direction, by stylised movement. Always, the emphasis is on talk.

(Read more)


The words and wisdom of Constantin Stanislavski:

The organic bases of the laws of nature on which our art is founded will protect you in the future from going down the wrong path. Who knows under what directors, or in what theatres, you will work? Not everywhere, not with everyone will you find creative work based on nature. In the vast majority of theatres the actors and producers are constantly violating nature in the most shameless manner. (AP)


(via Angela Yamarone,

Atlantic Theater Company Announces

Complete Casting and Extension for

Exclusive World Premiere Musical Event


Book by Craig Lucas

Music and Lyrics by Adam Guettel

Choreography by Sergio Trujillo & Karla Puno Garcia

Directed by Michael Greif

Based on the play by JP Miller and the Warner Bros. film

Produced by special arrangement with Warner Bros. Theatre


As previously announced starring

Kelli O’Hara and Brian d’Arcy James


Steven Booth, Sharon Catherine Brown, Bill English, Nicole Ferguson, Olivia Hernandez,

Byron Jennings, David Jennings, Ted Koch,

Ella Dane Morgan, Scarlett Unger, and Kelcey Watson

Performances begin Friday, May 5th, 2023

Opening Monday, June 5th, 2023

Extended through Sunday, July 9th, 2023 

at Linda Gross Theater

Tickets on Sale Now

Atlantic Theater Company (Neil Pepe, Artistic Director; Jeffory Lawson, Managing Director) is proud to announce additional casting for the world premiere musical Days of Wine and RosesAdapted from the 1962 film and original 1958 teleplay, the new musical will feature a book by Tony Award nominee Craig Lucas, music & lyrics by Tony Award winner Adam Guettel, and direction by Tony Award nominee Michael Greif. 

In addition to the previously announced Kelli O’Hara (The King and I) and Brian d’Arcy James (Into the Woods), Days of Wine and Roses will feature Steven Booth (Tina: the Tina Turner Musical), Sharon Catherine Brown (Caroline, or Change), Bill English (Anything Goes), Nicole Ferguson (Merrily We Roll Along), Olivia Hernandez (Plaza Suite), Byron Jennings (Harry Potter and the Cursed Child), David Jennings (Tina: the Tina Turner Musical), Ted Koch (To Kill A Mockingbird), Ella Dane Morgan (Waitress)Scarlett Unger (Off-Broadway debut), and Kelcey Watson (The Oresteia).

Days of Wine and Roses will begin performances on Friday, May 5th and will open on Monday, June 5th for a limited engagement, now extended through Sunday, July 9th Off-Broadway at the Linda Gross Theater (336 West 20th Street).

Kelli O’Hara and Brian d’Arcy James star in a searing new musical about a couple falling in love in 1950’s New York and struggling against themselves to rebuild a family.

Adapted from JP Miller’s 1962 film and original 1958 teleplay, composer & lyricist Adam Guettel (Floyd Collins) and playwright Craig Lucas (An American in Paris) reunite in their first collaboration since their acclaimed The Light in the Piazza. A world premiere musical directed by Michael Greif (Dear Evan Hansen).

Days of Wine and Roses will feature choreography by Sergio Trujillo & Karla Puno Garcia, scenic design by Lizzie Clachan, costume design by Dede Ayite, lighting design by Ben Stanton, sound design by Kai Harada, music direction by Kimberly Grigsby, music contractor Antoine Silverman, orchestrations by Adam Guettel, additional orchestrations by Jamie Lawrence, hair and wigs by David Brian Brown, and casting by The Telsey Office; Craig BurnsCSAJudith Schoenfeld will serve as the production stage manager. 

In association with Alchemation and Mark Cortale.



KELLI O’HARA (Kirsten Arnesen), star of stage and screen, has established herself as one of Broadway’s greatest leading ladies.  Her portrayal of Anna Leonowens in The King and I garnered her the 2015 Tony Award for Best Leading Actress in a Musical, along with Grammy, Drama League, Outer Critics, and Olivier Nominations.  She reprised the role while making her West End debut and performed a limited engagement at Tokyo’s Orb Theatre. Kelli received an Emmy Award nomination for her portrayal of Katie Bonner in Topic’s hit web series, “The Accidental Wolf,” and can currently be seen as Aurora Fane on HBO’s critically acclaimed series, “The Gilded Age.” Other film and television credits include: “13 Reasons Why,” All the Bright Places, “Peter Pan Live!,” Sex & The City 2, Martin Scorsese’s The Key to Reserva, Showtime’s “Master of Sex,” “The Good Fight,” “Blue Bloods,” “N3mbers,” and the animated series “Car Talk.” Other Broadway credits include Kiss Me Kate (Tony, Drama League, OCC nominations), The Bridges of Madison County (Tony, Drama Desk, Drama League, OCC nominations), Nice Work if You Can Get It (Tony, Drama Desk, Drama League, OCC nominations), South Pacific (Tony, Drama Desk, OCC nominations), The Pajama Game (Tony, Drama Desk, OCC nominations), The Light in the Piazza (Tony, Drama Desk nominations), Sweet Smell of Success, Follies, Dracula and Jekyll & Hyde. The Times has hailed her as “Broadway musical’s undisputed queen”. She was awarded the prestigious Drama League’s Distinguished Achievement in Musical Theatre Award in 2019. In 2015, she made her Metropolitan Opera debut in Lehar’s The Merry Widow opposite Renee Fleming and in 2018 returned as Despina in Mozart’s Cosi Fan Tutte. She was last seen at The Metropolitan Opera in the world premiere of Kevin Puts’ The Hours as Laura Brown. Her concerts have gained international acclaim, spanning from Carnegie Hall to Tokyo.  She is a frequent performer on PBS’s live telecasts, The Kennedy Center Honors, and performs often alongside The New York Philharmonic and The New York Pops. Along with her two Grammy nominations, her solo albums, Always and Wonder in the World, are available on Ghostlight Records. Season 3 of “The Accidental Wolf” is now streaming on Topic. Upcoming, season 2 of “The Gilded Age” on HBO. 

BRIAN D’ARCY JAMES (Joe) is a three-time Tony nominated actor (Into the Woods, Something Rotten!, Shrek the Musical, and Sweet Smell of Success) who just completed star studded run of the Broadway revival of Into The Woods as The Baker. He is nominated for a 2023 Independent Spirit Award in the category of Best Supporting Performance for his work in the critically acclaimed independent film The Cathedral currently available on MUBI. He stars opposite Anne Hathaway, Peter Dinklage, and Marisa Tomei in the upcoming Rebecca Miller film She Came to Me, that will open the 2023 Berlin Film Festival in February. Other upcoming film and television projects include Pain Hustlers, opposite Emily Blunt and Chris Evans; Devil’s Peak, with Billy Bob Thornton, Robin Wright, and Jackie Earle Haley; the HBO Max’s miniseries “Love and Death” with Elizabeth Olsen produced by Nicole Kidman and David E. Kelley; and as Bruce Adler (Edward’s father) on Apple TV+’s “Dear Edward,” premiering on Feb 3. In 2015, he originated the role of King George III in Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton Off-Broadway and reprised the role on Broadway in the summer of 2017. Other Broadway and Off-Broadway credits include: The Ferryman directed by Sam Mendes; Time Stands Still with Laura Linney, Christina Ricci and Eric Bogosian; the Lincoln Center production of Macbeth opposite Ethan Hawke and directed by Jack O’Brien; the Pulitzer Prize–winning musical Next to Normal; Conor McPherson’s The Good Thief (OBIE Award winner); The Wild Party; Port Authority (Lucille Lortel Winner); The Lieutenant of Inishmore; The Apple Tree; Dirty Rotten Scoundrels; Titanic; Carousel; Blood Brothers and others. Brian starred in the Best Picture Oscar®-winning film Spotlight (2016), the Oscar nominated West Side Story (2021), among many others. 

STEVEN BOOTH (Understudy). Broadway: Tina: the Tina Turner Musical (Phil Spector/Terry Britten), School of Rock (Ned), Glory Days (Will), Avenue Q (Princeton/Rod u/s). Off-Broadway: Dogfight (Gibbs). National tours: Kinky Boots (Charlie Price). Recent Regional: Elf the Musical (Buddy). Film/TV: “Modern Love” (Craig). Much thanks to my manager Steve Maihack. All my love to Molly, Maezie, and Sawyer.

SHARON CATHERINE BROWN (Mrs. Nolan) is the daughter of two former Broadway performers. The native New Yorker was last seen as Marilla Cuthbert in the world premiere of the Broadway bound Anne of Green Gables. Broadway: Caroline, or Change; Head Over Heels; Dreamgirls; Joseph…Dreamcoat; Maggie Flynn. TV: “The Good Fight,” “A Different World,” “Generations.” Film: Introducing Dorothy Dandridge, Sister Act II. Sharon was the first black woman to be cast as Lucy in Frank Wildhorn’s Jekyll & Hyde and recently played Madame Millet in the workshop of his new musical, Song of Bernadette. Sharon is a frequent guest performer with Seth Rudetsky at the prestigious Cafe Carlyle. Sharon is overjoyed to be reunited with Michael Greif, her director in Rent (Benny Company!). Sharon’s heart is her son, Elijah.

BILL ENGLISH (Texan) is thrilled to join this incredible company and make his Atlantic Theater debut! Broadway: Anything GoesTwentieth Century (Roundabout). NYC/Regional: The Shaggs (NYMF); Streamers (Roundabout); Into the Woods (Flint Rep); Borderland (BAM); The Music Man (ATC); The Full MontyA Christmas Carol (NSMT); While We Were Bowling (CCTP), and others. TV: “The Good Wife,” “Elementary,” “Person of Interest,” “Outnumbered,” “Cavemen,” “Family Guy,” “Melrose Place.” Training: BFA, University of North Carolina School of the Arts. Much love and thanks to Mom, Dad, John, Alicia, Pam, and my KMR team!

NICOLE FERGUSON (Understudy). Roundabout: Merrily We Roll Along. National Tour: My Fair Lady, The King and I, Sister Act. OCU graduate. Thanks to DGRW, Telsey, and all mentors. Love to family, friends, and her partner in crime, Eric Chambliss. @nikki_fergie

OLIVIA HERNANDEZ (Betty) made her Broadway debut last year in Plaza Suite, directed by John Benjamin Hickey. Her regional credits include Elizabeth Bennet in Austen’s Pride (The 5th Avenue Theatre), Sarah Brown in Guys and Dolls (The Guthrie), Mary Poppins in Mary Poppins, Laurey in Oklahoma! (Theatre Under The Stars), Guenevere in Camelot (Gulfshore Playhouse), and Songs For A New World (The Cape Playhouse and Paper Mill Playhouse). Olivia appeared as Susan on the Grammy-nominated world premiere recording of Stephen Schwartz’s Snapshots (Broadway Records). She is a graduate of The University of Michigan’s Musical Theatre Department.

BRYON JENNINGS (Arnesen)Broadway: Harry Potter and the Cursed ChildShe Loves Me, You Can’t Take It With You, Macbeth, Arcadia, The Merchant of Venice, Inherit The Wind, Noises Off, Is He Dead, Accent on Youth, Heartbreak House, A Touch of the Poet, Twelve Angry Men, The Man Who Came To Dinner, A Month in the Country, Henry IV, Dinner At Eight, The Invention of Love, Carousel, Sight Unseen. Off-Broadway: Plenty, Waste, Don Juan, The Foreigner, Dealer’s Choice, Stuff Happens, Pericles, The Merchant of Venice, On the Open Road, The Twenty-seventh Man, Ten Chimneys. Television: “Tommy,” “Fosse/Verdon,” “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” “Blacklist,” “The Good Fight,” “Boardwalk Empire,” “Elementary,” “Billions,” “Difficult People,” “Deadbeat,” 
“Damages,” “White Collar,” “Kings,” “Gossip Girl.” Film: The Greatest ShowmanThe Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, True Story, Lincoln, Julie & Julia, Hamlet, Civil Action, The Ice Storm, A Time to Kill, Quiz Show, A Simple Twist of Fate, I’m Losing You.

DAVID JENNINGS (Jim Hungerford). Broadway: Tina: The Tina Turner Musical (Richard Bullock); Once On This Island (Armand); After Midnight (Standby for star lead); Hands On A Hardbody. Off-Broadway: The Secret Life Of Bees (standby). West End/London: The Genius Of Ray Charles (Lead). National: Ragtime (Coalhouse); Miss Saigon (John); Kinky Boots (Simon Sr.); Waitress (featured); Porgy & Bess (Porgy); Freaky Friday (Mike); Dreamgirls (Curtis) with Jennifer Holliday; Ain’t Misbehavin’ (Grammy Award nominee for 30th Anniversary Recording). Television: “Law & Order: SVU” (NBC), “Blue Bloods” (CBS); “The Shield” (FX); “The Sinner” (USA); “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver” (HBO). IG: @djmusicbiz

TED KOCH (Rad). Broadway: To Kill a Mockingbird, JUNK, The Pillowman, Death of a Salesman, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Elling. National Tours: Frost/Nixon, Death of a Salesman. Off-Broadway and Regional credits include: The Gravediggers Lullaby and Abundance (TACT); The Seagull (Huntington Theatre); Strange Interlude (Shakespeare Theatre); Donnybrook! (Irish Rep); God of Carnage (Pittsburgh Public); Snow Falling on Cedars (Hartford Stage); Sweet Bird of Youth (Williamstown Theatre); True West (Arena Stage, Helen Hayes nomination Best Actor); A Streetcar Named Desire (Buffalo Arena); All’s Well That Ends Well (Goodman Theatre). Television credits include: “Dear Edward,” “FBI Most Wanted,” “Succession,” “New Amsterdam,” “Bull,” “The Get Down,” “The Path,” “Blindspot,” “Elementary,” “The Americans,” “Punisher,” “Person of Interest,” “The Good Wife,” “Gossip Girl,” “The Sopranos,” “The West Wing,” “Law & Order,” “Ed.” Films include: Cold Souls, Ratter, Hannibal, Englishman In New York, Death of a Salesman, Love to Leenya, Autumn in New York, Dinner Rush. 

ELLA DANE MORGAN (Lila), 11 years old, is thrilled to be returning to the stage in Days of Wine and Roses. Ella first appeared on Broadway at the age of 4 in Waitress (2016-2017). During her year in Waitress, she could also be seen performing with the cast in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade and on “Good Morning America.” Ella has since performed in many local productions through Playhouse Stage Company and Saratoga Children’s Theatre. While theater is Ella’s first love, she has also enjoyed working on films (Girl Clown, Columbarium, Ellie, Impossible Choice), TV (“Diabolical”), and voiceovers for several upcoming projects. Ella can often be found at a dance studio training in ballet, en pointe, tap, lyrical, modern, or musical theater. She also trains in taekwondo and enjoys rock climbing. In her free time Ella usually has a Rick Riordan book in hand or an art project in the works.

SCARLETT UNGER (Understudy) is thrilled and so grateful to join Days of Wine and Roses, her Off-Broadway debut! Scarlett is a singer, actor, and dancer from Chapel Hill, North Carolina. She absolutely loves performing and has competed in regional singing and dance competitions since she was a tater-tot. She also really enjoys improv, traveling with her family, shopping, hanging out with her doggies, and playing Roblox with her friends. National tour: Waitress. Regional Theatre: A Christmas Carol and Evita. TV: “Welcome to Flatch” (FOX) and “Ordinary Joe” (NBC). Voice Over: BebeFinn (Netflix, YouTube) and Pinkfong Sing-Along Movie 2. Huge thanks: The Telsey Office, Lil Angels Unlimited, Stewart Talent, KUTalent, her family, and her amazing, wonderful coaches and teachers. 

KELCEY WATSON (Understudy) makes his debut at Atlantic Theater. He started out doing theater in his hometown of Omaha, NE, where he would meet and study under the tutelage of John Beasley for nearly a decade at the John Beasley Theater and Workshop. Focusing mainly on the works of August Wilson and African American renditions of American plays. His theater credits include: The Oresteia (Shakespeare Theater Company D.C.); Six Degrees of Separation (Blue Barn Theater); Minstrel Show! Or The Lynching Of William Brown (NJ Rep); The Piano Lesson, Joe Turner’s Come and Gone, Two Trains Running, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Fences (John Beasley Theater and Workshop); Hollywood In The Hood (Watts Village Theatre Co.); Radio Golf – understudy (A Noise Within); Sweat (Boise Contemporary Theater). TV credits: “Mad About You,” Ryan Murphy’s “Hollywood,” “It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Murder..,” “East Of La Brea,” “Snowfall.” Film: The Way. Education: American Academy of Dramatic Arts (NYC) and ‘The School’ at Steppenwolf Theatre Company (Chicago).

CRAIG LUCAS (Book) wrote the plays Blue Window, Change Agent, The Dying Gaul, God’s Heart, I Was Most Alive with You, The Lying Lesson, Missing PersonsReckless, Prayer for My Enemy, Ode to Joy, Prelude to a Kiss, The Singing Forest, Small Tragedy, Stranger; books for the musicals Amélie, An American in Paris, Days of Wine and Roses, The Light in the Piazza, Marry Me A Little, Three Postcards; screenplays for Blue Window, Longtime Companion, Prelude to a Kiss, Reckless, The Dying Gaul, Secret Lives of Dentists; the opera libretti for Orpheus in Love, Two Boys; and the ballet libretto for Christopher Wheeldon’s Cinderella. He directed world premieres of The Light in the PiazzaI Was Most Alive With You, Ode to JoyChange Agent This Thing of Darkness (co-author David Schulner) and Harry Kondoleon’s plays Saved or Destroyed & Play Yourself & the movies The Dying Gaul Birds of America. He received the Excellence in Literature Award from the American Academy of Arts & Letters, Drama Desk, Obie, L.A. Drama Critics, Laura Pels/PEN Mid-career, LAMBDA Literary, Hull-Warriner, Sundance Audience, Flora Roberts, Madge Evans-Sidney Kingsley & the Steinberg/ACTA Best Play & the Hermitage Greenfield Prize among other honors.

ADAM GUETTEL (Music, Lyrics and Orchestrations) is a composer/lyricist and teacher living in New York City. He was nominated for the 2019 Tony Award for Best Original Score for To Kill a Mockingbird. Other theater credits include The Light in the Piazza (2005; Tony Awards for Best Original Score and Best Orchestrations; Drama Desk Awards for Outstanding Music and Outstanding Orchestrations; Grammy Award nomination for Best Musical Theater Album; cast album on Nonesuch Records), Floyd Collins (1996 at Playwrights Horizons; Lucille Lortel Award for Best Musical, Obie Award for Best Music; cast album on Nonesuch Records), and Saturn Returns (1998 at The Public Theater; recorded by Nonesuch Records as Myths and Hymns). Other awards include the Stephen Sondheim Award (1990), the ASCAP New Horizons Award (1997), and the American Composers Orchestra Award (2005). He received an honorary doctorate from Lehman College in 2007 and was made an honorary member of the Royal Academy of Music in 2019.

MICHAEL GREIF (Director). Notable productions on and off Broadway include: The Low Road, Fucking A, Dogeaters, Giant, The Intelligent Homosexual’s Guide, Romeo and Juliet, Machinal at The Public and Delacorte; Our Lady of KibehoA Few Stout Individuals, Landscape of the Body, Angels in America at NY’s Signature Theater; Dear Evan HansenNext to Normal (also Arena Stage and Broadway), A ParallelogramMake Believe at Second Stage; Grey Gardens (also Broadway), Far From HeavenSpatter Pattern at Playwrights Horizons; Street SceneTherese Raquin, The Cherry Orchard at Williamstown Theater Festival; and Rent at the New York Theater Workshop and Broadway. Most recently, he, along with Schele Williams, co-directed the critically acclaimed musical adaption of The Notebook at Chicago Shakespeare Theater.

ATLANTIC THEATER COMPANY (Neil Pepe, Artistic Director; Jeffory Lawson, Managing Director). At Atlantic, our aim is singular—to empower simple and honest storytelling that fosters greater understanding of our shared world. We are a family of artists dedicated to exploring essential truths onstage, be it a show at Atlantic Theater Company or a class at Atlantic Acting School. As a producer, presenter, and educator of theater, we are driven by the belief that theater can challenge and transform our ways of thinking and urge us to reflect on our role in society. From our Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize-winning productions to our community-based education programs, we are committed to uncovering and celebrating the stories of our varied human existence. Founded as an ensemble of impassioned artists in 1985, Atlantic Theater Company has grown into a powerhouse Off-Broadway company. We challenge, inspire, and awaken audiences with truthful storytelling presented across our two venues, the Linda Gross Theater and the intimate Stage 2 black-box. As a producer of compelling new works, we are committed to championing the stories from new and established artists alike, amplifying the voices of emerging playwrights through our deeply collaborative programs and initiatives. We have produced more than 200 plays and musicals including Tony Award-winning productions of The Band’s Visit (David Yazbek, Itamar Moses), Spring Awakening (Steven Sater, Duncan Sheik), and The Beauty Queen of Leenane (Martin McDonagh); Pulitzer Prize recipient Between Riverside and Crazy (Stephen Adly Guirgis); New York Drama Critics’ Circle winners for Best New Play The Night Alive (Conor McPherson) and Best Foreign Play Hangmen (Martin McDonagh); Obie Award winners for Best New American Play Guards at the Taj and Describe the Night (Rajiv Joseph); Obie Award Special Citation recipient Skeleton Crew (Dominique Morisseau); Outer Critics Circle John Gassner Award and Lucille Lortel Award winner English (Sanaz Toossi); and New York Drama Critics’ Circle, Drama Desk Award, and Lucille Lortel Award winner for Best New Musical Kimberly Akimbo (David Lindsay-Abaire, Jeanine Tesori).



Tuesday and Thursday at 7pm, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday at 8pm, Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday at 2pm.

Monday evening performance on 6/19, 7/3 at 7pm.

Sunday evening performance on 6/7, 6/14, 6/21, 6/28 at 7pm.

No Wednesday matinee performance on 5/17, 5/24.

No Saturday matinee performance on 5/6.


Regular tickets are on sale now. Order online at or by calling AudienceView at 646-989-7996.




(Dan Bilefsky’s and Jeremy Fassler’s  article appeared in The New York Times, 4/7; via Pam Green; Photo: Dmitry Krymov, one of Russia’s most important theater directors, has remained in the United States since signing a letter opposing Russia’s war in Ukraine.Credit…James Estrin/The New York Times.)

Dmitry Krymov, one of Russia’s most eminent directors, is among the dozens of artists who have left their homeland since Russia invaded Ukraine.

Dmitry Krymov, one of Russia’s most important theater directors, has remained in the United States since signing a letter opposing Russia’s war in Ukraine.Credit…James Estrin/The New York Times

If Dmitry Krymov, the celebrated Russian director and playwright, were directing a play about his life, the third act would begin, he mused, in a cramped, art-filled apartment on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. It is winter, nearly a year after Russia invaded Ukraine, turning his brief visit to the United States into an open-ended exile after he spoke out against the war. And his living room has suddenly burst into flames.

So much brownish-black smoke is filling the apartment that he can’t see his arms, and he’s gasping for air. The computer containing drafts of his plays is burning. He is struggling to stamp out the flames with a blanket. Then darkness. His lungs are so badly damaged by the fire, which was apparently caused by a wire that short-circuited, that his doctors keep him in an induced coma for nine days.

But this third act, Krymov stressed later, is not meant to be the final one.

Surviving a fire, he added wryly, had been a baptism of sorts for his new life in the United States. “A fire brings you closer to a country, when you burn,” Krymov, 68, said recently as he recovered at a friend’s apartment and reflected on his self-imposed displacement, which he sees as a banishment of sorts, but also as a rebirth. “My life as a play needs to end with something, and I hope that we’re not at the end,” he added.

Krymov, who scaled the heights of Russian theater during a storied career, left Moscow last year, the day after the invasion of Ukraine, for what he thought would be a six-week trip to the United States to direct a production of Chekhov’s “The Cherry Orchard” at the Wilma Theater in Philadelphia. He packed only one small suitcase.

Before getting on one of the last Aeroflot flights to New York, he became one of the first prominent Russian cultural luminaries to sign a public letter criticizing the war. “We don’t want a new war, we don’t want people to die,” the letter said.

The reaction was harsh. In the months that followed, he said, the authorities closed seven of his nine plays, which were playing at some of Moscow’s most vaunted theaters, and his name was erased from the posters and the programs of the two that continued. The cancellations were crushing, he said, but he had no regrets about signing the letter.

“Sometimes,” he said, “you are facing something that is so obvious there is no other way.”

During President Vladimir V. Putin’s first two decades in power, Russians in many walks of life — including the arts — were sometimes forced into compromises as the space for free speech narrowed. But with the war, that space has slammed shut almost entirely. As Putin has introduced some of the most draconian measures against freedom of expression since the end of the Cold War, Krymov has become part of a growing exodus of Russian artists, writers and intellectuals who have left the country, dealing a heavy blow to Russian culture.

(Read more)


(Andrew Dickson’s article appeared in the Guardian, 4/7; via Pam Green; Photo: Tom Varey and Madeleine Mantock as William and Agnes, the characters based on Shakespeare and Hathaway.Credit…Manuel Harlan.)

A Royal Shakespeare Company adaptation of Maggie O’Farrell’s hit novel gives voice and agency to a historical character we know little about.

Reporting from Stratford-upon-Avon, England

Of the numerous puzzles about William Shakespeare, those concerning his love life are the most tantalizing. Why did he marry a local woman, Anne Hathaway, have three children with her, then decamp to London for a life in the theater? What was their relationship really like? And why do we know so little about Anne herself, whom one scholar has called a “wife-shaped void” in the playwright’s story?

This year, the 400th anniversary’s of Anne death, might be the year we finally hear about this other Shakespeare. A volume of celebratory poems, “Anne-thology,” is being published later this month. A small bust of her has been unveiled at Holy Trinity church in Stratford-upon-Avon, where her body has lain next to her husband’s since 1623. And, most strikingly, a Royal Shakespeare Company production devoted to her story opens next Wednesday at the company’s Swan Theater in the town.

“It’s about time,” said Erica Whyman, the show’s director, in an interview after a recent rehearsal. “This is her town; she was born just outside Stratford and lived here all her life, as far as we know. She deserves to be back here.”

The play, an adaptation of Maggie O’Farrell’s best-selling 2020 novel “Hamnet,” is named for the Shakespeares’ only son, who died at age 11 in 1596, for reasons unknown. His father apparently began work on the death-haunted “Hamlet” not long afterward, something that has driven biographers into frenzies of Freudian speculation.

But in the script, which has been adapted by Lolita Chakrabarti, there is little doubt who is the star: Shakespeare’s wife, the mother of his children and the head of his household, who brims with spirit and practical intelligence, and runs rings around her partner and everyone else. In the play’s first scene, we see the 17-year-old William gawkily trying to woo her while she flies a pet hawk. (She, too, will never be tamed, we surmise.) Later, we see her industriously baking bread and mixing folk remedies while he dreams of poetry and the theater.

“She’s so alive,” said Madeleine Mantock, who plays the role based on Anne for the Royal Shakespeare Company. “She has all this knowledge, all this capability.”

(Read more)


(Jack Thorne’s article appeared in the Guardian, 4/7; via Pam Green; To thine own self be true … John Gielgud directs Richard Burton in rehearsals for Hamlet. Photograph: Bettmann/Bettmann Archive.) 

The Motive and the Cue depicts John Gielgud’s struggle to direct Richard Burton in Hamlet on Broadway. Its writer describes the task of putting his words into such celebrated mouths

I have spent most of my life avoiding writing about real people. In fact, as a screenwriter, I’ve made half a career out of avoiding it. I wrote pieces that were almost about real people, but not quite. With my Channel 4 dramas National TreasureKiri and Help, out of necessity I wrote towards the truth but didn’t embrace it utterly. With National Treasure I wrote about historic sex crimes and referenced famous sex offenders, but didn’t write of them because to do so was very legally and ethically complicated and might involve upsetting or worsening the damage already done to victims. With Kiri we risked disrupting ongoing legal cases. With Help I wanted to write about care homes during the pandemic without exposing any one of them to unwelcome scrutiny.

As a dramatist this puts you in a difficult position: how do you make something feel true, but not be true? But it also gives you latitude to find a way into the story from an angle of your choosing. You talk to people, you uncover things, you try to represent stories as best you can.

Recently, however, I have been drawn to real events. I find myself writing about real people. Some historical, some current, all complicated. That dual obligation, which better writers than me have struggled with, of telling something that is engaging and true. Having an obligation to your subjects that goes beyond your obligation as a storyteller and perhaps even your obligation to the truth as you understand it is terrifying, for me at least.

With real people you have to feel their breath as they tell their story to you, and you have to feel their breath as you (later) tell them the way you will tell their story. Last year I co-wrote a drama with Genevieve Barr called Then Barbara Met Alan about the disabled rights movement. Alan and Barbara are heroes to both of us, but in order to tell their story properly we had to show the raw reality of them. Did they like that exposure? Not all of it. But we adjusted our story and ended up with something that represented them in a way they were brave enough to be comfortable with.

Later this month, we begin previewing a play I’ve written for the National Theatre about Sir John Gielgud directing Richard Burton playing Hamlet on Broadway in 1964. The idea first came from Sam Mendes and he directs it. The play contains, by necessity, Gielgud, Burton, Elizabeth Taylor, Hume Cronyn, Eileen Herlie, William Redfield and many, many more. Figures that are iconic, figures that lots of people have a history with, either in person or in passion.

How do you do justice to these incredible figures? How do you feel able to do justice to them? Particularly in a single evening. These are questions I’ve really struggled with.

There are two accounts of that original rehearsal period. Both are very interesting works. One by Redfield, the actor playing Guildenstern, which takes the form of letters he wrote to a friend detailing the process. The other by Richard Sterne, a “Gentleman” in the show, who went to extraordinary lengths to get accurate recordings of the rehearsals as they took place. There are also numerous biographies and written materials about all the major figures, as well as Burton’s diaries and Gielgud’s letters.

It was a very difficult production. Burton behaved badly because he didn’t get the direction from Gielgud he felt he required. Or perhaps because he got more direction than he expected. The two, who were prior friends, couldn’t work out how their Hamlet might work. What was Burton trying to do playing him? He was the most famous actor in the world by this point – he and Elizabeth Taylor literally invented the paparazzi with their glamour – so why put on a hair shirt when he could be earning millions doing something less taxing?

Gielgud, in contrast, was on his uppers: Laurence Olivier was running the National, the Royal Shakespeare Company weren’t much interested in him, and the Royal Court and “modern theatre” was increasingly dominating the West End. He took the job because he didn’t have many other offers. The easy thing to do would have been to allow Burton to dominate. But Hamlet mattered to Gielgud, he’d played him quite definitively more than 300 times, and he wouldn’t let it go. Disaster quickly loomed.

Sam Mendes said two things in particular that really stuck with me as I tried to write the play. The first was that he wanted it to be something which took people inside a genuine rehearsal process. This was the height of lockdown and both of us were desperate to be back inside a rehearsal room; he wanted to explain the process of making a play and make it feel dynamic. How do you reflect on a process which aims to reflect life? The second was that this was to be about classical theatre meeting modern ideas. Gielgud was the epitome of tradition, looking back to his aunt Ellen Terry and her theatrical partner Henry Irving; Burton was bursting to be modern, while paradoxically yearning for ideals of classical theatre.

(Read more)



(Jesse Green’s article appeared in The New York Time, 4/4; via Pam Green; Photo:  John Kander at home on the Upper West Side. His latest Broadway production, “New York, New York,” is scheduled to open April 26.Credit…Vincent Tullo for The New York Times.)

The 96-year-old composer of “Chicago” and “Cabaret” is making a brand-new start of it with “New York, New York,” his 16th Broadway musical.

It’s not that John Kander wasn’t touched by John Kander Day. The composer of the song “New York, New York” — played at every Yankees home game and known worldwide from its first five notes — was obviously moved when the city’s mayor handed him a framed proclamation in front of the St. James Theater in Midtown Manhattan. Nor was he jaded, he later said, about having that block of West 44th Street, from Broadway to Eighth Avenue, christened Kander & Ebb Way in recognition of his work and that of Fred Ebb, his longtime lyricist, who died in 2004.

Still, of Kander’s thousands of songs, seven movie scores and 20 major musicals, including “Chicago” and “Cabaret,” not one bar was written with the idea of getting a piece of pavement named for him. If Ebb, with his brasher, needier personality, would have eaten up the honor, Kander seems at best to withstand it, embarrassed by too much attention or praise. He is so militantly unassuming that the highest compliment he will pay himself is the one his mother used to offer: “A horse can’t do any better.”