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by Elyse SommerVisit CurtainUp's Friends. . . Short Term Listings
A Last Hurrah to Summer by the Public Theater. Seeing two hundred New Yorkers perform a musical adaptation of The Winter's Tale at Central Park's Delacorte Theater is nothing short of spectacular. Conceived and directed by Lear deBessonet for the Public Theater's Public Works program, it was on the boards for three days only (from 9/05/14 to 9/07/14) but became a festive Last Hurrah to summer.
While other Delacorte productions can boast big name stars in their leads, this was simply Shakespeare writ large and performed by New York community members drawn from all five boroughs. Teamed up with professional actors and a first-rate creative team, this community-based venture really made the Bard's bittersweet romance about a mad tyrant and his redemption hum.
One of the advantages of the al fresco Delacorte stage is its spaciousness. And it surely accommodated the colossal cast who sprawled across its boards for this civic event. Smartly, deBessonet fluidly blocked his scenes and alternately populated them with any number of actors, from a handful to two hundred strong. The show was bolstered by cameo group performances by Sesame Street, New Theatre Ballet, Capoeira Kuanda, Rosie's Theater Kids, Shinbone Alley Stilt Band, Staten Island Lions, Megha Kalia's NYC Bhangra Dance Company—to mention just a few.
With deBessonet's resourceful direction, Todd Almond's original music and lyrics, and Chase Brock's choreography, alongside veteran actors in key roles, this became an authentic piece of musical theater tinged with the rich multi-cultural mélange of New York talent.
The Public Works program gives a genuine hat's off to the community-at-large, and meaningfully harks back to founder Joseph Papp's original impulse that Shakespeare is for everybody to enjoy, and even participate in. Here's hoping it remains an annual event. — Report by Deirdre Donovan
An exciting initiative will bring some fine Off-Broadway plays from organizations like the Mint and Public Theaters to Public Television. For details see our movie and tv news page for details
Rodgers + Hammerstein's Cinderella won't meet her prince on Broadway after January 3rd, but before she finds herself dealing with a new stepmother (as of 9/09) — NeNe Leakes of The Real Housewifes of Atlanta. The musical was intended for a limited run but ended up selling tickets for 2 years making it a star turn for both the title character and the stepmonter. It will be launching a road tour in Providence, R.I., on Oct. 10.
The Off Broadway Alliance will again sponsor 20at20 fro Sept. 9-28. The promotion makes $20 tickets available for 45 Off Broadway plays and musicals 20 minutes prior to curtain. Offerings include long-running hit musicals like Avenue Q and The Fantasticks, event shows like Fuerza Bruta WAYRA,STOMP, as well as a bunch offamily-friendly shows. All 20at20 ticket sales are cash only. For a complete list of participating shows and venues visit www.20at20.com.
Three New offerings from Labyrinth Theater Company during the 2014-15 season: September brings A Sucker Emcee, written and performed by by Craig "muMs" Grant, directed by Jenny Koons, and featuring hip-hop, slam poetry, and personal recollections. In 2015 Lear deBessonet directs Lucy Thurber's new play, The Insurgents aboutSally Wright, a woman who has traveled across the country searching for something to believe in, only to find herself home again. Next up will be Nice Girl by Melissa Ross and directed by Labyrinth Theater Company's Artistic Director Mimi O'Donnell. It's about 37-year-old Josephine Rosen, who has settled into the uncomfortable comfort of an unintended spinsterhood when a chance flirtation gives her hope for the possibility of change.
A New Home and 2014-2015 Play Schedule
The New Group's 2014-2015 20th Anniversary season will see it moving to the Pershing Square Signature Center at480 West 42nd Street. First ups will be the first major New York revival of Sticks and Bones, the Tony Award-winning play by David Rabe, directed by Scott Elliott, and featuring Holly Hunter and Bill Pullman; next up will be the New York premiere of Rasheeda Speaking by Joel Drake Johnson, helmed by Cynthia Nixon in her directorial debut, and featuring Tonya Pinkins and Dianne Wiest; finally, there will be the world premiere of The Spoils, a new play written by and featuring Jesse Eisenberg, directed by Scott Elliott. See our Off-Broadway listings for TBA detals.
Here's a line-up of what the Pearl Theater Company has in store for you nest Fall:
SEPT. 9 - OCT. 12, 2014 UNCLE VANYA by ANTON CHEKHOV directed by HAL BROOKS
NOV. 4 - DEC. 14, 2014 co-produced by GINGOLD THEATRICAL GROUP MAJOR BARBARA by BERNARD SHAW directed by DAVID STALLER
FEB. 10 - MAR. 15, 2015 THE WINTER'S TALE by WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE directed by MICHAEL SEXTON
MAY 5 - JUNE 7, 2015 DON JUAN by M. de MOLIERE directed by HAL BROOKS
For a preview of what to expect from Hugh Jackman's next Broadway appearance, see our London critic's review of The River. Butterworth is a playwright who's become almost as "hot" as Jackman with plays like Blue Heron and Jerusalem. The MCC Theater 2014-15 Season includes the following:
Sept 3 – Oct 12. World Premiere of THe Money Shot by Neil LaBute, directed by Terry Kinney. What it's about: Karen and Steve are glamorous movie stars who haven't had a hit in years. Karen, her partner Bev, Steve, and his aspiring actress wife Missy meet in order to make an important decision as to how far will they let themselves go to keep from slipping further down the Hollywood food chain?
Oct 29 – Dec 7. New York Premiere of Punk Rock by Simon Stephens, directed by Trip Cullman. What it's about: In a private school outside of Manchester, England a group of highly-articulate seventeen year-olds flirt and posture their way through the day while preparing for their A-Level mock exams. With hormones raging and minimal adult supervision, nothing can mask the underlying tension that becomes increasingly pronounced as the clock ticks towards the ultimate dismissal.
Feb 4 – Mar 15. New York Premiere of The Nether by Jennifer Haley, directed by Anne Kaufman. What it's about: A young female detective begins an investigation to determine if there is a point at which thought or intention may actually constitute a crime.
Apr 29 – June / World Premiere of Permission by Robert Askins. What it's about: Eric and Cyndy decide to follow the lead of their friends Zach and Shelley and make Christian Domestic Discipline the foundation of their marriage. But restructuring their lives and their union according to role play and a new moral code upends everything they knew.
Classic Stage Company's Upcoming Season.
Classic Stage Company's upcoming season begins in October with Rodgers & Hammerstein's Allegro, directed by John Doyle, the second installment of CSC's Musical Theater Initiative. In January Peter Sarsgaard returns to CSC starring in Shakespeare's Hamlet. The season concludes in April with Chris Noth starring in Christopher Marlowe's DOCTOR FAUSTUS, directed by Andrei Belgrader.
Playwrights Horizons 2014/2015 Season
BOOTY CANDY.New York premiere written and directed by Robert O'Hara. From August 22, 2014 Mainstage Theater.
GRAND CONCOURSE. World Premiere by Heidi Schreck, directed by Kip Fagan October to December 2014 atPeter Jay Sharp Theater
POCATELLO. World Premiere of a new play by Samuel D. Hunter. Directed by Davis McCallumNovember 2014 – January 2015. Mainstage Theater
PLACEBO. World Premiere of a new play by Melissa James Gibson. Directed by Daniel Aukin. February – April 2015Peter Jay Sharp Theater
IOWA. World Premiere of a new musical play by Jenny Schwartz. Music and lyrics by Todd Almond. Oratorio lyrics by Jenny Schwartz. Peter Jay Sharp Theater,
A new to be announce play by Bruce Norris. May – July 2015 Mainstage Theater Primary Stages will present their 2014-15 season in its new home at the Duke on 42nd Street. The lineup includes: POOR BEHAVIOR A New York premiere of a new comedy by Theresa Rebeck Directed by Evan Cabnet July-September, 2014. . . WHILE I YET LIVE A world premiere of a new play by Billy Porter Directed by Sheryl Kaller September-November, 2014. . . LIVES OF THE SAINTS A new collection of short plays by David Ives Directed by John Rando February-March, 2015
Ars Nova's 2014 Season includes Four Featured Events: Game Play: January 29 – February 8 An evening of short plays written by the Ars Nova Play Group, featuring Live Music. . . Charlatan: March 18 – April 12 A night of mind-bending illusion from professional deceiver Vinny DePonto. Written by Vinny DePonto and Josh Koenigsberg Directed by Andrew Neisler. . . ANT Fest 2014: June 2 – 28 Ars Nova's 7th annual Festival of All New Talent. . . Jacuzzi: October 1 – November 1. The premiere of a brand new play by The Debate Society. Written by Hannah Bos and Paul Thureen. Directed and Developed by Oliver Butler
For more information on Ars Nova's programs, visit www.arsnovanyc.com.
Target Margin Theater continues its exploration of Yiddish culture from Feb. 12th to 22nd at Abrons Arts Center (466 Grand Street). Tickets are priced at $15 for details: www.TargetMargin.org or (212) 352-3101.
They conclude their 2013-2014 season with a new work adapted from a central play of Yiddish history: Uriel Acosta: Doubt is the Food of Faith, created and directed by TMT Artistic Director, David Herskovits. Performances are set to begin March 14, 2014 for a limited engagement through April 5, 2014 at The Chocolate Factory (5-49 49th Avenue, Long Island City, Queens). For additional information, www.targetmargin.org
A look at Broadway audiences courtesy of The Broadway League's 16th annual demographics report: Tourists accounted for 66% of all Broadway tickets, up from 63% in the 2011-2012 season. The number of attendances by domestic tourists has grown from 3.4 million in 1999 to 5 million in 2013. International visitors comprised a w high ofalmost 23% of tickets sold. Attendance by suburbanites was the lowest on record, at 17% or just under 2 million tickets. The average age of the Broadway attendee was 42.5 years old, slightly younger than the past few seasons, with the highest ever percentage of theatregoers age 18 – 24 (14% or 1.6 million admissions) in the history of this analysis. Kids and teens accounted for just over one million admissions. 78% of admissions were made by Caucasian theatregoers, the same as the previous year. That said, there is an increase the diversity of audiences, particularly with Hispanic audienceswhich at 8% wasthe second highest in the history of this analysis. Forty-one percent of respondents said they purchased their tickets online, with telephone sales declining accordingly. Females accounted for 68% of the audiences. Playgoers tended to be more frequent theatregoers than musical attendees. The typical play attendee saw seven shows in the past year; the musical attendee, three. Word-of-mouth was the most influential factor in show selection.
The London hit The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time is headed to Broadway's Barrymore Theater next Fall. Marianne Elliott will again direct but count on a new Christopher rather than Luke Treadway. The London production which came to a halt after the Apollo Theater collapsed will resume in the Gielgud Theater late in June. For an idea of what to expect see our London Review.
Eugene O'Neill's The Ice Man Cometh comes to New York again in 2015! It will be at the Brooklyn's Academy of Music. It's a reprise of Chicago's Goodman Theatre production that starred Nathan Lane and Brian Dennehy. The six-week engagement will run 2/05/15 to 3/15/15. The epic drama last big New York production was in 1999 at the Brooks Atkinson Theater and starred Kevin Spacey as Hickey.