Category Archives: Events

THE IRISH TIMES IRISH THEATRE AWARDS 2022: ALL THE WINNERS REVEALED ·

(Sara Keating’s article appeared in the Irish Times, 6/12; Photo: Best actress: Bríd Ní Neachtain won for her role in Happy Days. Photograph: Andrew Downes/Xposure.)

Six months ago Ireland’s theatre world was in lockdown. Tonight felt like a big win for the entire creative community

It felt like a big win for the entire theatre community at the 23rd Irish Times Theatre Awards ceremony on Sunday at the Irish Museum of Modern Art, in Dublin. Six months ago, venues, artists and producers across the country were still in lockdown, wondering when the live-performance sector might return to normality.

On paper, the artists shortlisted in the 15 categories, for productions staged in 2020-21, may have looked like competitors. Who was the better actor: Domhnall Gleeson playing a psychologically unstable patient in Enda Walsh’s Medicine or Matthew Malone playing an HIV-positive man in his dying days in Phillip McMahon’s Once Before I Go? But in the courtyard of the Royal Hospital Kilmainham the rivals came together as colleagues.

It seemed especially fitting, then, that the judges’ special award was presented to the National Campaign for the Arts for its “exceptional dedication to advocacy and political engagement on behalf of the arts, particularly during Covid”, an award that recognised the collective endeavour involved in keeping the lamps lit during a period when creating live performance was almost impossible.

In the end, neither Gleeson nor Malone was triumphant in the best-actor category, although Helen Atkinson, Teho Teardo and Seán Carpio won the best-soundscape award for their support of Gleeson, and Katie Davenport won best costume for dressing Malone, who was gloriously clad in celestial wings for his final scene in the Gate Theatre production. (Davenport’s costuming for Michael Gallen’s opera Elsewhere was also recognised in the award.) Instead the honour for best actor went to Stanley Townsend for his performance as Marcus Conway, the middle-aged protagonist of Solar Bones, adapted from the Mike McCormack novel by Michael West.

Solar Bones also saw Lynne Parker named best director; the Rough Magic Theatre production premiered at the Watergate Theatre as part of the Kilkenny Arts Festival in August 2020, marking the reopening of theatres after the first lockdown; the play’s themes of isolation, grief and anxiety chimed uncannily with Covid times.

The best-actress award went to Bríd Ní Neachtain for Laethanta Sona, the first Irish-language production of Samuel Beckett’s Happy Days, which was performed in the extreme environment of Inis Oírr last August as part of Galway International Arts Festival. Buried up to her waist and then her neck in the inhospitable landscape, it was a performance of physical endurance and a psychological challenge.

A big winner tonight was a sleeper hit of Galway International Arts Festival: Volcano, created by Luke Murphy’s Attic Projects, won four of the seven categories in which it was nominated, including best movement for Murphy and best lighting design for Stephen Dodd (who was also commended for his work on the Abbey Theatre’s production of The Long Christmas Dinner). Alyson Cummins and Pai Rathaya won best set for their claustrophobic reconstruction of Nun’s Island Theatre, in which audience members sat alone in booths to watch Murphy and Will Thompson perform a disturbing but life-affirming postapocalyptic tale that unfolded in four instalments over four nights. With any luck, a bigger audience will get the opportunity to see the remarkable work—which took the best-production honour—in the future.

As theatre artists reminded us as they advocated for each other over the past two years, the essence of theatre is its liveness, its ephemerality, its unrepeatable nature. Perhaps the most felicitous honour, then, was the award of the special-tribute prize to the photographer Ros Kavanagh, who has played a key role in preserving the artistic process and output of hundreds of theatre artists over the past two decades, including much of the work being celebrated at the awards. Selina Cartmell, director of the Gate Theatre, called Kavanagh a key collaborator who has a rare ability to “make you understand your role as a director”; the choreographer David Bolger highlighted the beauty of an archive of images that “will last forever when the show is gone”.

The Irish Times Irish Theatre Awards 2020/21: The winners

Best actor

Stanley Townsend, Solar Bones (Kilkenny Arts Festival in partnership with Rough Magic in association with Watergate Theatre)

Best actress

Bríd Ní Neachtain, Laethanta Sona, (Company SJ and Abbey Theatre in association with Dublin Theatre Festival and Galway International Arts Festival)

Supporting actor

Bosco Hogan, One Good Turn (The Abbey Theatre) and The Enemy Within (An Grianán Theatre)

Supporting actress

Bláithín Mac Gabhann, The Seagull After Chekhov (Druid) and Our New Girl (The Gate Theatre)

Best director

Lynne Parker, Solar Bones (Kilkenny Arts Festival in partnership with Rough Magic in association with Watergate Theatre)

Best set

Alyson Cummins and Pai Rathaya, Volcano (Luke Murphy’s Attic Projects)

Best costume

Katie Davenport, Once Before I Go (The Gate Theatre) and Elsewhere (Straymaker and the Abbey Theatre in association with Miroirs Étendus and Once Off Productions)

Best lighting

Stephen Dodd, Volcano (Luke Murphy’s Attic Projects) and The Long Christmas Dinner (Abbey Theatre)

Best soundscape

Helen Atkinson, Teho Teardo and Seán Carpio, Medicine (Landmark Productions and Galway International Arts Festival)

Best movement

Luke Murphy, Volcano (Luke Murphy’s Attic Projects)

Best ensemble

Mojo Mickeybo (Bruiser Theatre Company)

Best production

Volcano (Luke Murphy’s Attic Projects)

Best new play

Mark O’Halloran, Conversations After Sex (thisispopbaby)

(Read more)

 

 

TONY AWARD WINNERS 2022: LIST ·

 

(from The New York Times, 6/12, compiled by Rachel Sherman; Photo:  Ben Power accepting the Tony for best new play for “The Lehman Trilogy.”Credit…Sara Krulwich/The New York Times.)

The Tony Awards were back at Radio City Music Hall for the first time since June 2019. The awards ceremony, which honors the plays and musicals staged on Broadway and resumed its traditional calendar after a long pandemic disruption, honored work that opened on Broadway between Feb. 20, 2020, and May 4, 2022. (“Girl From the North Country” opened on March 5, 2020, just a week before theaters shut down for the pandemic.)

Ariana DeBose, the former Broadway understudy turned Oscar winner, hosted the three-hour broadcast portion of the Tony Awards on CBS, which was preceded by a one-hour segment hosted by Darren Criss and Julianne Hough on Paramount+. “A Strange Loop” won best musical and “The Lehman Trilogy” was awarded best play at a glittering ceremony celebrating Broadway’s comeback. Myles Frost won his first Tony for best leading actor in a musical for “MJ,” his Broadway (and professional acting) debut. And there were performances from some of the past year’s most prominent musicals: “Company,” “Girl From the North Country” and “Paradise Square,” among others.

A complete list of winners is below.

 

Best Musical

“A Strange Loop”

Best Revival of a Musical

“Company”

Best Play

“The Lehman Trilogy”

Best Revival of a Play

“Take Me Out”

Best Book of a Musical

Michael R. Jackson, “A Strange Loop”

Best Original Score

“Six: The Musical,” music and lyrics by Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss

 Best Direction of a Play

Sam Mendes, “The Lehman Trilogy”

 Best Direction of a Musical

Marianne Elliott, “Company”

Best Leading Actor in a Play

Simon Russell Beale, “The Lehman Trilogy”

Best Leading Actress in a Play

Deirdre O’Connell, “Dana. H”

Best Leading Actor in a Musical

Myles Frost, “MJ”

Best Leading Actress in a Musical

Joaquina Kalukango, “Paradise Square”

(Read more)

PAAPA ESSIEDU ON GRIEF, DOUBT AND FURY AT BORIS JOHNSON: ‘BIGOTRY IS THE BACKBONE OF HIS CHARACTER’ ·

(Simon Hattenstone’s article appeared in the Guardian, 6/11; via Pam Green; Photo: Paapa Essiedu: ‘Before the first day on a job, I have a nervous breakdown.’ Photograph: Elliott Wilcox/The Guardian. Clothes: Fendi. Necklace: Alighieri.)

The I May Destroy You star talks about politics; his great friend Michaela Coel; dealing with drama school racism; and why even as a leading man he still struggles with self-confidence

Paapa Essiedu greets me at his local caff in London. He has a cold drink in his hand, and a bag featuring Basquiat-style daubings hangs over one shoulder. Essiedu is wearing huge shades, black nail varnish, a designer T-shirt that translates Jamaican patois into the Queen’s English, an open shirt and the coolest two-tone raincoat you’ve ever seen. He seems eye-poppingly confident.

And so he should be. Essiedu is establishing himself as one of the finest actors of his generation. His punk, graffiti-artist Hamlet for the Royal Shakespeare Company was unforgettable, not least for his astonishing, tearful delivery of the “To be or not to be” soliloquy. He was heartbreaking as the hook up-addicted rape victim Kwame in Michaela Coel’s brilliant TV drama I May Destroy You, and complex in Jack Thorne’s Kiri, which dealt with the abduction of a black child from her white adoptive family in Bristol. As reporter Ed Washburn in the TV series Press, he constantly kept you guessing – is he too noble for the scuzzy world of the tabloids or the most unscrupulous of the lot? Essiedu has a rare suppleness as an actor, both verbal and physical, that keeps him one step ahead of his audience. Now he’s starring in Sky’s existential sci-fi thriller series The Lazarus Project as a regular fella who discovers he has the ability to turn back time. Essiedu gives another beautifully nuanced performance. As George, he is bewildered, soulful and utterly believable, anchoring both the premise and the series.

Well, you’re a very good actor, I say. “Do you really think so?” he asks. I assume he’s fishing for compliments. Well, don’t you? “Erm … I don’t know. I honestly don’t know. I just started a job yesterday and on the day before the first day on every job, I have a nervous breakdown, thinking: this is the one where people will find me out, see that what’s underneath the car bonnet doesn’t work.” Genuinely? “Genuine!” he says fiercely.

Essiedu in The Lazarus Project

When you say nervous breakdown, how bad are we talking? “Like, really bad. I need a lot of support from the people who are close to me to drag me into the car to go to work on that first day. It’s generally only the first day or the first week.” You really don’t want to go? “Yes. I’m like: I’m going to fuck it up. I read, ‘What are you doing here?’ on everybody’s face. Or, ‘Oh my God I’ve made a huge mistake in inviting you to be in this’ in their body language. You know that thing when you project what your brain wants you to see on somebody who is probably just having a cup of tea? I read things into them that they are hopefully not thinking.” He comes to a stop. “Maybe they are thinking it.” Blimey, I think – we’ve only been talking for a couple of minutes.

He tells me he’s starving, and always has Colombian eggs when he’s here. “But I’ve got a real phobia of people watching me eat.” I tell him I won’t watch, and can’t see anyway because the sun’s so strong. “Do you want to borrow these?” he says, pointing to his shades.

Essiedu, 32, was born in London to Ghanaian parents. His father, Tony, a lawyer, returned to Ghana when he was a baby. His mother, Selina, who taught fashion and design at adult education colleges, was a single parent; he was an only child. They were a team, adored each other, relied on each other, and couldn’t be closer. She struggled for money, but Essiedu won a scholarship to a private school. She encouraged him to work hard, and he did – for himself and for her.

I ask if he has a photo of her. He brings out his phone. “Do you think I look like her?” He does, and it’s obvious he wants me to say so. His eyes burn with emotion. What made her so special? “She was just an amazingly loving, strong, resilient and, for me, inspiring person.”

(Read more)

 

DRAMA DESK AWARDS 2022: WINNERS ANNOUNCED (LIST) ·

(via Scott Klein,  Keith Sherman & Associates)

 

WINNERS ANNOUNCED

 

Awards will be presented Tuesday, June 14 at Sardi’s Restaurant

 

 www.DramaDeskAwards.com

 

 

Winners for the 66th Annual Drama Desk Awards were announced today.

 

This year’s Drama Desk Awards will take place at Sardi’s Restaurant (234 W 44th Street) on June 14th from 3:00 – 6:00pm. The full list of winners is available at the website www.DramaDeskAwards.com, and below.

 

In keeping with the Drama Desk‘s mission, the nominators considered shows that opened on Broadway, Off-Broadway, and Off-Off Broadway between July 2, 2021 and May 1, 2022 for this year’s Awards. Only live performances were eligible – if performances were also available for streaming, 21 or more unique live performances were required. 

 

The Drama Desk Awards are produced by Tony Award winner Scott Mauro/Scott Mauro Entertainment and the show is being written by six-time Emmy Award winner Bruce Vilanch.

 

Limited tickets to the ceremony are available at: www.DramaDeskAwards.com and to purchase an ad in the virtual program, please email Dustin Fitzharris at dfitz.geo@yahoo.com.

 

 

About The Drama Desk

The Drama Desk Awards, which are presented annually, honor outstanding achievement by professional theater artists on Broadway, Off Broadway, and Off Off Broadway. What sets the Drama Desk Awards apart is that they are voted on and bestowed by theater critics, journalists, editors, and publishers covering theater. 

 

The 2021-2022 Drama Desk Nominating Committee is composed of: Martha Wade Steketee (Chair; freelance, UrbanExcavations.com), Peter Filichia (Broadway Radio), Kenji Fujishima (freelance: TheaterMania), Juan Michael Porter II (TheBody.com; freelance: TDF Stages, Did They Like It?, New York Theatre Guide), Ayanna Prescod (freelance: Variety, New York Theatre Guide, Today Tix), Zachary Stewart (TheaterMania), and Diep Tran (freelance: Backstage, American Theatre, Broadway News, New York Theater Guide).

 

 

 www.DramaDeskAwards.com 

 

 

Follow the Drama Desk Awards 

@DramaDeskAwards 

on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook for updates

 

 

2022 DRAMA DESK AWARD WINNERS

 

**Winners are highlighted and starred

Outstanding Play

Cullud Wattah, by Erika Dickerson-Despenza, The Public Theater

English, by Sanaz Toossi, Atlantic Theater Company

**Prayer for the French Republic, by Joshua Harmon, Manhattan Theatre Club

Sanctuary City, by Martyna Majok, New York Theatre Workshop

Selling Kabul, by Sylvia Khoury, Playwrights Horizons

The Chinese Lady, by Lloyd Suh, The Public Theater

Outstanding Musical

Harmony, National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene

Intimate Apparel, Lincoln Center Theater

**Kimberly Akimbo, Atlantic Theater Company

Six

The Hang, HERE Arts Center

 

Outstanding Revival of a Play

for colored girls who have considered suicide/ when the rainbow is enuf

**How I Learned to Drive, Manhattan Theatre Club

Lackawanna Blues, Manhattan Theatre Club

Skeleton Crew, Manhattan Theatre Club

Trouble in Mind, Roundabout Theatre Company

Twilight: Lost Angeles, 1992, Signature Theatre

 

Outstanding Revival of a Musical

Assassins, Classic Stage Company

Baby, Out of the Box Theatrics

Caroline, or Change, Roundabout Theatre Company

**Company

 

Outstanding Actor in a Play

Brandon J. Dirden, Skeleton Crew, Manhattan Theatre Club

Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Take Me Out, Second Stage Theater

Jacob Ming-Trent, Merry Wives, The Public Theater (Free Shakespeare in the Park)

**Ruben Santiago-Hudson, Lackawanna Blues, Manhattan Theatre Club

John Douglas Thompson, The Merchant of Venice, Theatre for a New Audience

 

Outstanding Actress in a Play

Tala Ashe, English, Atlantic Theater Company

Ruth Negga, Macbeth

Andrea Patterson, Cullud Wattah, The Public Theater

**Phylicia Rashad, Skeleton Crew, Manhattan Theatre Club

Shannon Tyo, The Chinese Lady, The Public Theater

Michelle Wilson, Confederates, Signature Theatre

 

Outstanding Actor in a Musical

Billy Crystal, Mr. Saturday Night

Myles Frost, MJ

Rob McClure, Mrs. Doubtfire

**Jaquel Spivey, A Strange Loop

Chip Zien, Harmony, National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene

 

Outstanding Actress in a Musical

Kearstin Piper Brown, Intimate Apparel, Lincoln Center Theater

Victoria Clark, Kimberly Akimbo, Atlantic Theater Company

Sharon D. Clarke, Caroline, or Change, Roundabout Theatre Company

Jeanna de Waal, Diana

**Joaquina Kalukango, Paradise Square

 

Outstanding Featured Actor in a Play

Joshua Boone, Skeleton Crew, Manhattan Theatre Club

Chuck Cooper, Trouble in Mind, Roundabout Theatre Company

Daniel K. Isaac, The Chinese Lady, The Public Theater

Billy Eugene Jones, On Sugarland, New York Theatre Workshop

**Ron Cephas Jones, Clyde’s, Second Stage Theater

 

Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play

**Francis Benhamou, Prayer for the French Republic, Manhattan Theatre Club

Stephanie Berry, On Sugarland, New York Theatre Workshop

Sonnie Brown, what you are now, Ensemble Studio Theatre

Page Leong, Out of Time, NAATCO and The Public Theater

Kenita R. Miller, for colored girls who have considered suicide/ when the rainbow is enuf

Kara Young, Clyde’s, Second Stage Theater

 

Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical

Justin Austin, Intimate Apparel, Lincoln Center Theater

Justin Cooley, Kimberly Akimbo, Atlantic Theater Company

**Matt Doyle, Company

Jared Grimes, Funny Girl

Tavon Olds-Sample, MJ

 

Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical

Judy Kuhn, Assassins, Classic Stage Company

Tamika Lawrence, Black No More, The New Group

**Patti LuPone, Company

Bonnie Milligan, Kimberly Akimbo, Atlantic Theater Company

Jennifer Simard, Company

 

Outstanding Director of a Play

Knud Adams, English, Atlantic Theater Company

Saheem Ali, Merry Wives, The Public Theater (Free Shakespeare in the Park)

**Rebecca Frecknall, Sanctuary City, New York Theatre Workshop

Taibi Magar, Twilight: Lost Angeles, 1992, Signature Theatre

Whitney White, On Sugarland, New York Theatre Workshop

 

Outstanding Director of a Musical

John Doyle, Assassins, Classic Stage Company

**Marianne Elliott, Company

Lucy Moss and Jamie Armitage, Six

Bartlett Sher, Intimate Apparel, Lincoln Center Theater

Jessica Stone, Kimberly Akimbo, Atlantic Theater Company

 

Outstanding Choreography

Ayodele Casel (tap choreography), Funny Girl

Carrie-Anne Ingrouille, Six

**Bill T. Jones, Garrett Coleman, and Jason Oremus (Irish + Hammerstep), Gelan Lambert and Chloe Davis (associates), Paradise Square

Liam Steel, Company

Christopher Wheeldon, Michael Balderrama (associate), Rich + Tone Taleuega (Michael Jackson movement), MJ

 

Outstanding Music

**Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss, Six

Jason Howland, Paradise Square

Matt Ray, The Hang, HERE Arts Center

Carrie Rodriguez, ¡Americano!

Jeanine Tesori, Kimberly Akimbo, Atlantic Theater Company

 

Outstanding Lyrics

Amanda Green, Mr. Saturday Night

Taylor Mac, The Hang, HERE Arts Center

**Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss, Six

David Lindsay-Abaire, Kimberly Akimbo, Atlantic Theater Company

Lynn Nottage, Intimate Apparel, Lincoln Center Theater

Shaina Taub, Suffs, The Public Theater

 

Outstanding Book of a Musical

Billy Crystal, Lowell Ganz, and Babaloo Mandel, Mr. Saturday Night

Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss, Six

Lynn Nottage, Intimate Apparel, Lincoln Center Theater

**Bruce Sussman, Harmony, National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene

 

Outstanding Orchestrations

Tom Curran, Six

Greg Jarrett, Assassins, Classic Stage Company

Mark Hartman and Yasuhiko Fukuoka, The Streets of New York, Irish Repertory Theatre

**Jason Michael Webb and David Holcenberg, MJ

 

Outstanding Music in a Play

Te’La and Kamauu, Thoughts of a Colored Man

**Bill Sims Jr., Lackawanna Blues, Manhattan Theatre Club

Michael Thurber and Farai Malianga (drum compositions), Merry Wives, The Public Theater (Free Shakespeare in the Park)

 

Outstanding Scenic Design for a Play

Beowulf Boritt, Merry Wives, The Public Theater (Free Shakespeare in the Park)

Wilson Chin, Pass Over

Marsha Ginsberg, English, Atlantic Theater Company

**Takeshi Kata, Clyde’s, Second Stage Theater

Junghyun Georgia Lee, Kristina Wong, Sweatshop Overlord, New York Theatre Workshop

 

Outstanding Scenic Design for a Musical

Emma Bailey, Six

**Beowulf Boritt, Flying Over Sunset, Lincoln Center Theater

Bunny Christie, Company

David Zinn, Kimberly Akimbo, Atlantic Theater Company

 

Outstanding Costume Design for a Play

Linda Cho, The Chinese Lady, The Public Theater

Gregory Gale, Fairycakes

Tilly Grimes, The Alchemist, Red Bull Theater

Qween Jean, On Sugarland, New York Theatre Workshop

**Jennifer Moeller, Clyde’s, Second Stage Theater

 

Outstanding Costume Design for a Musical

Machine Dazzle, The Hang, HERE Arts Center

Susan Hilferty, Funny Girl

Santo Loquasto, The Music Man

**Gabriella Slade, Six

Catherine Zuber, Intimate Apparel, Lincoln Center Theater

 

Outstanding Lighting Design for a Play (tie)

**Christopher Akerlind, Clyde’s, Second Stage Theater

Reza Behjat, English, Atlantic Theater Company

Isabella Byrd, Sanctuary City, New York Theatre Workshop

**Amith Chandrashaker, Prayer for the French Republic, Manhattan Theatre Club

Jeanette Oi-Suk Yew, Cullud Wattah, The Public Theater

 

Outstanding Lighting Design for a Musical (tie)

Natasha Katz, Diana

**Natasha Katz, MJ

**Bradley King, Flying Over Sunset, Lincoln Center Theater

Jennifer Tipton, Intimate Apparel, Lincoln Center Theater

 

Outstanding Projection Design

**59 Productions, Flying Over Sunset, Lincoln Center Theater

David Bengali, Twilight: Lost Angeles, 1992, Signature Theatre

Stefania Bulbarella and Alex Basco Koch, Space Dogs, MCC Theater

Shawn Duan, The Chinese Lady, The Public Theater

Sven Ortel, Thoughts of a Colored Man

 

Outstanding Sound Design for a Play

Tyler Kieffer, Seven Deadly Sins, Tectonic Theater Project & Madison Wells Live

Hidenori Nakajo and Ryan Rumery, Autumn Royal, Irish Repertory Theatre

**Ben and Max Ringham, Cyrano de Bergerac, The Jamie Lloyd Company at Brooklyn Academy of Music

Mikaal Sulaiman, Sanctuary City, New York Theatre Workshop

Lee Kinney, Selling Kabul, Playwrights Horizons

 

Outstanding Sound Design for a Musical

Ian Dickinson for Autograph, Company

Paul Gatehouse, Six

Kai Harada, Kimberly Akimbo, Atlantic Theater Company

**Gareth Owen, MJ

 

Outstanding Wig and Hair

Matthew B. Armentrout, Paradise Square

**David Brian Brown, Mrs. Doubtfire

Paul Huntley, Diana

Charles G. LaPointe, MJ

 

Outstanding Solo Performance

Alex Edelman, Just for Us, The Cherry Lane Theatre

Arturo Luís Soria, Ni Mi Madre, Rattlestick Playwrights Theater

**Kristina Wong, Kristina Wong, Sweatshop Overlord, New York Theatre Workshop

 

Unique Theatrical Experience

**Seven Deadly Sins, Tectonic Theater Project & Madison Wells Live

 

Outstanding Adaptation

**Merry Wives, by Jocelyn Bioh, The Public Theater (Free Shakespeare in the Park)

The Alchemist, by Jeffrey Hatcher, Red Bull Theater

 

Outstanding Puppet Design

Amanda Villalobos, Wolf Play, Soho Rep.

**James Ortiz, The Skin of Our Teeth, Lincoln Center Theater

Rockefeller Productions, Winnie the Pooh, The Hundred Acre Theatre at Theatre Row

 

Harold S. Prince Lifetime Achievement Award

In four decades as playwright, novelist, actor, and director, Alice Childress (1912-1994) challenged racism with engrossing stories and memorable characters. When a New York producer demanded revisions to soften the impact of Trouble in Mind, after an initial run Off Broadway and prior to its Broadway debut, Childress withdrew the script. Sixty-five years later, the Drama Desk celebrates the long-delayed Broadway premiere of this timeless masterpiece and salutes Childress as a towering figure in contemporary theater history.

 

Ensemble Award

In Six, Adrianna Hicks, Andrea Macasaet, Brittney Mack, Abby Mueller, Samantha Pauly, and Anna Uzele bring to musical life the women who married England’s King Henry VIII. The fanciful result is a buoyant dramatization of their individually purposeful and collectively empowering journeys.

 

The Sam Norkin Off-Broadway Award

This season, as a woman hiding her brother from the Taliban in Sylvia Khoury’s Selling Kabul and an English instructor straddling two very different cultures in Sanaz Toossi’s EnglishMarjan Neshat embodied disparate characters so fully that it was hard to recognize the single actor in the two roles. Whether in drama or comedy, Neshat mines the playwright’s text for a vast panoply of emotions that yield vivid, intricate portrayals of the parts she undertakes.

 

Additional Special Awards

Dede Ayite seems to have costumed half the actors of this theater season with her designs for Merry WivesSeven Deadly SinsThe Last of the Love LettersChicken and BiscuitsSlave PlayNollywood DreamsAmerican Buffalo, and How I learned to Drive. Whether dressing working-class Marylanders of the 1960s, amateur criminals of the 1970s, or West African immigrants in today’s Harlem, Ayite has a knack for conveying characters’ means, values, and aspirations before the actors utter a word.

 

Adam Rigg enhanced storytelling through wildly varying scenic designs this season including: a house in wood, shadow, and reflective glass that draws the audience into the Flint, Michigan water crisis in Cullud Wattah; a community cul-de-sac where trauma and history are celebrated in On Sugarland; and the falling walls, flower-covered hillsides, and functional seaside fun ride of The Skin of Our Teeth.

 

With the category-defying Oratorio for Living ThingsHeather Christian aims to encompass all human existence in a single inventive and startlingly beautiful work. In times of pandemic, war, and social upheaval, Christian’s work (directed by Lee Sunday Evans and brought to life by a superb cast and creative team) is an awe-inspiring reminder that, even in the darkest times, there will always be artistic peaks to scale.

 

Final tally of Awards

 

4 Wins

Clyde’s

Company

Six

 

3 Wins

Flying Over Sunset

MJ

Prayer for the French Republic

 

 

2 Wins

Lackawanna Blues

Paradise Square

 

1 Win

A Strange Loop

Cyrano de Bergerac

Harmony

How I Learned to Drive

Kimberly Akimbo

Kristina Wong, Sweatshop Overlord

Merry Wives

Mrs. Doubtfire

Sanctuary City

Seven Deadly Sins

Skeleton Crew

The Skin of Our Teeth

 

 

 

 

Follow the Drama Desk Awards 

@DramaDeskAwards 

on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook for updates

TOM STOPPARD IN NEW YORK, ON BROADWAY: ‘LEOPOLDSTADT’: 2020 OLIVIER AWARD “BEST NEW PLAY”–OPENING SUN., OCT. 2 ·

(Via Michelle Farabaugh, BBB, Adrian Bryan-Brown; Photo: The Original West End Company of Leopoldstadt (Credit: Marc Brenner)

 

★★★★★

“Magnificent!

Tom Stoppard’s masterpiece.

GO!”

The Independent

Opening on Broadway

Sunday, October 2, 2022

 

Performances Begin Wednesday, September 14

at the Longacre Theatre

In a Limited Engagement

 

Tickets On Sale Soon

American Express Pre-Sale Begins June 15

Audience Rewards Pre-Sale Begins June 22

General On-Sale Begins June 29 at Telecharge.com

 

“A momentous new play.”

Financial Times

 

“Tom Stoppard’s new masterwork.”

Evening Standard

 

“There is something momentous about Leopoldstadt.

It’s a grand, contemplative historical sweep across six decades.”

The Guardian 

LeopoldstadtPlay.com

Sonia Friedman ProductionsRoy Furman, and Lorne Michaels have announced that Tom Stoppard’s Olivier Award-winning Best New Play, Leopoldstadt, directed by two-time Tony Award nominee Patrick Marber, will open on Broadway in a limited engagement at the Longacre Theatre (220 West 48th Street) this fall. Performances will begin Wednesday, September 14, 2022 ahead of a Sunday, October 2, 2022 opening night.

Perhaps the most personal play of Stoppard’s unmatched career, Leopoldstadt opened in London’s West End to rave critical acclaim on January 25, 2020. A planned extension due to overwhelming demand was curtailed due to the COVID-19 lockdown seven weeks later. In late 2021, the play returned for a further 12-week engagement. Both runs completely sold out and Leopoldstadt received the Olivier Award for Best New Play in October 2020.

Leopoldstadt will mark Tom Stoppard’s 19th play on Broadway since his groundbreaking Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead opened 55 years ago. Stoppard has won four Best Play Tony Awards, more than any other playwright in history.

Casting for Leopoldstadt will be announced at a later date.

Set in Vienna, Leopoldstadt takes its title from the Jewish quarter. This passionate drama of love and endurance begins in the last days of 1899 and follows one extended family deep into the heart of the 20th Century. Full of his customary wit and beauty, Tom Stoppard’s late work spans fifty years of time over two hours. The Financial Times said, “This is a momentous new play. Tom Stoppard has reached back into his own family history to craft a work that is both epic and intimate; that is profoundly personal, but which concerns us all.” With a cast of 38 and direction by Patrick MarberLeopoldstadt is a “magnificent masterpiece” (The Independent) that must not be missed.

Sonia Friedman said, “Any new Stoppard play is something to treasure, but Leopoldstadt is truly a gift and our greatest living playwright’s most intensely personal piece. Leopoldstadt is a passionate drama of enduring love and familial bonds that asks us to bear witness to our pasts, no matter how painful that might be.

I so look forward to bringing Patrick Marber’s epic and truly extraordinary production to North America at a moment when it feels more necessary than ever.”

Patrick Marber said: “It was my great pleasure to direct a revival of Tom’s early play Travesties on Broadway in 2018. At the time he mentioned that he was just beginning to write something new. And here it is, his mighty Leopoldstadt.

I’ve loved Tom’s plays since boyhood. I studied his work at university, he inspired me as a fledgling playwright. To be the director of his new play is one heck of an honour.  

We are so thrilled to be bringing this moving and beautiful play to life once more.”

Leopoldstadt’s creative team includes scenic design by Tony Award winner Richard Hudson (The Lion KingLa Bête), costume design by Brigitte Reiffenstuel, lighting design by three-time Tony Award winner Neil Austin (Harry Potter and the Cursed ChildCompanyTravesties), sound and original music by Tony Award winner Adam Cork (RedTravesties), video design by Isaac Madge, and movement by Emily Jane Boyle. Casting is by Jim Carnahan and Maureen Kelleher, and UK casting is by Amy Ball CDG.

TICKET INFORMATION

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BIOGRAPHIES

Internationally award-winning writer TOM STOPPARD’s plays include Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, The Real Inspector Hound, After Magritte, Jumpers, New Found Land, Dogg’s Hamlet, Cahoot’s Macbeth, Travesties, Every Good Boy Deserves Favour (a play for actors and orchestra written with André Previn), Night and Day, The Real Thing, Hapgood, Arcadia, Indian Ink, The Invention of Love, The Coast of UtopiaRock ‘n’ Roll and The Hard Problem. His radio plays include Albert’s Bridge, Artist Descending a Staircase, The Dog It Was That Died, If You’re Glad I’ll Be Frank, and most recently, his dramatic imagining of Pink Floyd’s Darkside of the MoonDarkside. Stoppard is also a writer for film and television and received the Academy Award for the screenplay of Shakespeare in Love.

PATRICK MARBER was born in London in 1964. He is a playwright, screenwriter and director. He directed his own play Closer on Broadway (Music Box) in 1999 and then Tom Stoppard’s Travesties in 2018 (Roundabout/American Airlines). These productions received Tony nominations for Best Play, Best Director and Best Revival. Directing credits of his own work include Dealer’s Choice, Closer, Howard Katz, Three days in the Country at the National Theatre, After Miss Julie for BBC TV and Don Juan in Soho at Wyndham’s Theatre.  Other directing credits include The Room as part of the Pinter at the Pinter Season, Venus In Fur at the Theatre Royal Haymarket, The Caretaker at the Comedy Theatre, Blue Remembered Hills at the National Theatre, ‘1953’ at the Almeida and The Old Neighborhood at the Royal Court Theatre. Marber’s plays, which have received multiple awards both in the West End and on Broadway, also include The Red Lion and versions of Hedda Gabler and Exit The King. He received an Academy Award nomination for his screenplay Notes on a Scandal.  

SONIA FRIEDMAN PRODUCTIONS is an international production company responsible for some of the most successful theatre productions in recent years. Since 1990, Sonia Friedman OBE has developed, initiated and produced over 180 new productions and won a combined 58 Oliviers, 34 Tonys and 3 BAFTAs. Current productions include: The Book of Mormon, West End and UK & Europe tour, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, London, New York, Melbourne, San Francisco, Toronto, Tokyo and Hamburg, Mean Girls US tour; To Kill a Mockingbird, London; Jerusalem, London; Oklahoma! London; Funny Girl, New York and Dreamgirls UK tour. Forthcoming productions / co-productions include: Hamlet, New York; Oresteia, New York; Merrily We Roll Along, New York; The Doctor, UK tour and London and The Piano Lesson, New York. In New York SFP has produced previously three Tom Stoppard plays, Rock ‘n’ Roll, Arcadia and Travesties. Other notable Broadway shows include Boeing-Boeing, Jerusalem, Farinelli and the King and King Richard the Third/Twelfe Night, all with Mark Rylance, as well as The SeagullA Little Night Music, The Norman Conquests, La Cage aux Folles, The River, Mean Girls, The Ferryman and The Inheritancesoniafriedman.com

REAGAN REMEMBERS D-DAY—PART OF THE BOOK ‘REAGAN’S COWBOYS’ BY JOHN B. ROBERTS II ·

Reagan’s Cowboys is something of a memoir of Roberts’s career with the 40th president, and as such, it’s a time machine back to the days of typewriters, hard-line telephones, and Marlboro cigarettes. .. Be grateful to Roberts for giving us history as it actually happened, uncensored and un-politically corrected. … [He] gives us glimpses of a huge cast of characters in Reaganworld.”―James P. Pinkerton, Breitbart  

(View on Amazon)

JAMMING WITH JOKERMAN: HOW BOB MARLEY AND BOB DYLAN’S SONGS POWERED HIT MUSICALS ·

(Ammar Kalia’s article appeared in the Guardian, 5/31; via Pam Green;  Photo:  Arinzé Kene in Get Up Stand Up! The Bob Marley Musical and Shirley Henderson with Adam James in Girl from the North Country. Composite: Tristram Kenton.)

Olivier award-winner Simon Hale on the thrill of orchestrating two legends’ tracks on Get Up, Stand Up! and Girl from the North Country

It’s not often you get the green light from Bob Dylan to run riot with his songs. But for composer Simon Hale and playwright Conor McPherson, a call from the Old Vic theatre in 2017 was just that: an invitation to rework Dylan’s songbook into a musical, with the blessing of free rein from the artist.

The ensuing show, Girl from the North Country, opened that year to rave reviews for its deft transformation of 19 of Dylan’s journeying songs into a story set in 1930s Minnesota. Following runs in the West End and on Broadway, the show is now embarking on a UK tour and Hale is back in the rehearsal room.

“This is an unusual piece. We don’t deliver songs in the way that musical theatre generally does,” he says. “We don’t play for applause, we go from one song to another and sometimes they drift off as something else happens. I worried about representing such an iconic songbook this way but Dylan followed his instinct and so I did the same.”

Hale, 58, has spent most of his career traversing genres. Cutting his teeth as a touring keyboard player for Seal in the early 90s, he went on to arrange string sections for early Björk and Jamiroquai albums. He has since arranged Sam Smith’s 2015 Bond theme, Writing’s on the Wall, and recorded with George Michael and Céline Dion. But it was a call to write orchestrations for a US production of Spring Awakening in 2006 that established a lasting relationship with the theatre.

“Collaboration is very visceral in theatre and that’s what has kept me coming back,” he says. “Everyone’s in the same room, whereas making a record or film, you’re in and out in a few hours and you don’t have the same human connection.”

The role of an orchestrator might facilitate human connection but it can also be a tricky mediation. Typically, you work with existing songs or demos that need the addition of extra instrumentation. “You have to create a new character in that story, one that has to fit seamlessly but that also adds to the essence of the song, so that when it’s taken away it’s missed,” Hale says. “It’s a challenge but you have to trust yourself, otherwise you get swallowed up in trying to copy other people’s visions.”

Hale, who realised as a child that he had perfect pitch, initially composes his music in his head before he commits pencil to paper. “I’m always thinking in my own time, visualising the music,” he says. “The first time anyone ever hears what I’ve done is in the recording session. There is a fear in anticipating that first note being played but the shock of those black and white dots being turned into sound never gets old. The sense of danger is good.”

Trusting that connection between his mind’s eye and the performers bringing his work to life has paid off. In April, Hale won an Olivier award for his orchestration of another Bob’s songbook for Get Up, Stand Up! The Bob Marley Musical, directed by Clint Dyer. The two projects were markedly different. “Girl from the North Country is set in a period where the composer of our show wasn’t born, so we’re entirely reimagining the music, whereas in Get Up, Stand Up! we’re trying to faithfully represent the brilliance of what Bob Marley did in his life,” he says. Working with arranger Phil Bateman, Hale’s role was to take his selections of Marley’s songs and realise them with the band. “It’s all about detail – providing that sense of rhythm and melody that means any talented musician can turn it into exactly what we’re trying to convey, night after night,” he says.

(Read more)

LOUIS LOVETT AND THE DARK HEART OF CHILDREN’S DRAMA ·

(Chris McCormack’s article appeared in Irish Times, 6/6/22; Photo: Louis Lovett weighs up the challenge of The Tin Soldier: `What a child knows is their own world. So we like to bring in aspects of things they don’t know.’ Photograph: Ruth Gilligan.)

`Every child arrives hard-wired to imagine, to pick up an object and play with it’

Looking back on the past decade, it is tempting to ask Louis Lovett, an actor dedicated to making plays for young audiences, why he started getting spooky.

Cast your mind back to 2010′s adventure fantasy The Girl Who Forgot to Sing Badly, and you’ll remember Lovett arriving colourful and light-hearted, in a striped swimsuit, as a young girl on a mission to save her family. You could easily divide the plays made by his company Theatre Lovett into two camps, one characterised by such narratives that are original and consoling. The other camp, containing adaptations of fairy tales and popular stories, is boldly sinister.

“Very often with theatre for young audiences, the rainbow colours and the brightness are what you come to expect. That wasn’t our thing. We went towards those darker colours,” says Lovett. Ahead of his new play, The Tin Soldier, a version of Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale, he shares his experiences of what happens when you make children’s stories dark.

For instance, a few years ago Theatre Lovett toured the chilling play A Feast of Bones – a tonal turning point for the company. During one post-show discussion, young members of the audience voiced their strong disagreement with the ending. The play had served up something that was fascinatingly morbid and difficult to resist: the possibility of revenge.

A retelling of the folk tale Henny Penny, A Feast of Bones found something very serious in that story of a chicken who, believing the world is ending, recruits a group of animals to alert the king, only for her to lead them into the deathly clutches of a fox. The foolishness and violence held historical echoes for Lovett. “I saw a parallel with the march towards war in 1914, and with this mob mentality. It was an obsessive drive based on an idiotic assumption of something falling on someone’s head,” he says.

He gave the idea to playwright Frances Kay, who set the narrative in wartime France, in a dimly lit cafe where folk musicians play songs containing subtly murderous lyrics. Henny Penny is now disguised as a waitress, and is wracked by survivor’s guilt after the death of her friends. Her customer is the fox, a war profiteer who gains from other people’s suffering. Henny Penny brings plates in and out of the kitchen, and, with each course, there are hints that the fox, unbeknown to himself, is being served his own family to eat.

Atmospheres of menace

Lovett has a talent for creating atmospheres of menace, but what if it sways children to mistake the hero for an avenger? “One of the key elements of these plays is the responsibility you have for young audiences. You can’t go around saying vengeance is a dish best served cold,” he says. After Henny Penny leads the fox to the horrifying conclusion that he devoured his own loved ones, she reveals that it has all been a masquerade, and reunites him with his family. The fox has learned the horror of his actions but that wasn’t enough for Lovett’s audience. “The children wished she didn’t let him off the hook,” he says. They wanted blood.

That puts Lovett in a complex position, where the demands of being an artist often resembles the responsibility of an adult setting an example for young people. Since A Feast of Bones, there haven’t been as many instructive lessons about how to contemplate the consequences of someone’s actions. Instead, he went down the path of presenting uneasily reconciled, real-life issues in ways that were easily recognisable.

(Read more)

‘OTVETKA’ BY NEDA NEZHDANA (THEATRE OF PLAYWRIGHTS IN KYIV/ POPDIPINGDI PRODUCTIONS IN ASSOCIATION WITH THE FINBOROUGH THEATRE—VIEW NOW) ·

(Chris Wiegand, 5/31, the Guardian; Photo: of Neda Nezhdana, Litgazeta.com.ua)

Neda Nezhdana’s urgent exploration of war is a collaboration with the Theatre of Playwrights in Kyiv. Otvetka had its premiere in Ukraine weeks after Russia invaded. Kate Vostrikova performs the tale of a pregnant woman in a study of war’s psychological impact.

Presented by Popdipingdi Productions in association with the Finborough and available on YouTube. (Read more)

 

‘GIRL ON AN ALTAR’ REVIEW – COOL AND DEADLY VISION OF THE IMPACT OF MALE POWER ·

(Arifa Akbar’s aicle appeared in the Guardian, 5/26; via Pam Green; Photo: A terrible, startling drama … Eileen Walsh (Clytemnestra) and David Walmsley (Agamemnon) in Girl on an Altar. Photograph: Peter Searle.)

Kiln theatre, London
Family dynamics and toxic masculinity are explored in Marina Carr’s riveting version of the story of Agamemnon and Clytemnestra

The story of Clytemnestra is not quite as we know it from the blood-drenched texts of ancient Greek tragedy here. In those, she is a powerful figure, plotting a murderous revenge on her husband, Agamemnon, for sacrificing their daughter.

In Marina Carr’s audacious version, the power lies squarely with Agamemnon, who consents to the ritual killing of their 10-year-old, Iphigenia, for his advancement in the war against Troy. Yet Clytemnestra is certainly not voiceless in this co-production with the Abbey theatre in Dublin.

Carr tells the story of Clytemnestra (Eileen Walsh) and Agamemnon (David Walmsley) through a series of internal monologues with revisions that make us see the shocks of this story afresh. Innovatively directed by Annabelle Comyn, the production brings a deadly coolness to the searing revelations – unlike the frenzy we saw in Ivo van Hove’s recent retelling of the same story in Age of Rage. The characters here feel larger than life as opposed to in van Hove’s version, where the humans seemed so small and insignificant amid the large-scale set.

It is a counterintuitive venture with riveting results for the most part. A few moments feel static but these are brief and there is a terrible, startling drama inside the stillness. Carr’s story is so intimate in its telling, with so many off-stage scenes painted in words, that it verges on novelistic and makes it necessary for us to imagine much of what it is described. The lighting and sound take on a stupendous force, with an interplay of black and white as doors open suddenly and shafts of light reveal new figures on stage (lighting design by Amy Mae; video design by Will Duke). The sound of lapping waves or cawing birds is crisp and beautiful (composition and sound design by Philip Stewart). With Tom Piper’s spare set design, the combined effect is astonishingly atmospheric.

The script itself has an epic quality – Homeric in its vivid detail and oral splendour – but it is at heart a pointed study of a marriage, profoundly unequal in its power. The bed on stage drives home the point that this story is about marriage, love, sex and childbirth.

(Read more)