“Gratitude” — Urban Stages

Montreal's Mainline Theatre has brought “Gratitude” by Oren Safdie to New York's Urban Stages, and it is quite a strong premier for the show. Set in a private school in Canada in a disused locker room, the play explores teen sexuality (quite vividly), gender and consent. Throw in the clash between Canadian and the more traditional societies from whence some of its immigrants have come, and you have a play that is tense and uncomfortable to watch in places. The discomfort is deliberate. Indeed, it could be the whole point for some. “Gratitude” opens up a lot of topics that make

BroadwayCon Reveals Star-Studded Line-Up

BROADWAYCON REVEALS STAR-STUDDED LINE-UP OF TOP BROADWAY SHOWS AND PERFORMERS FOR ITS HIGHLY-ANTICIPATED IN-PERSON RETURN TO NEW YORK CITY  Performers from A Strange Loop, POTUS, CHICAGO, Dear Evan Hansen, Hamilton, Disney Princess - The Concert, and Beetlejuice among many others, are confirmed to appear at this year’s event, July 8-10, 2022   NEW YORK, NY – June 2, 2022 – BroadwayCon, the premiere fan convention for all things Broadway, today announced the programming lineup, featuring performances and appearances from some of Broadway’s biggest shows and influential names in theater.  Taking place, July 8-10, 2022 at the Manhattan Center & The New Yorker Hotel,

How I Learned to Drive – Samuel J. Friedman Theatre

The Manhattan Theatre Club has revived Paula Vogel's “How I Learned to Drive,” using the same two main actors who performed it back in 1997, David Morse (Uncle Peck) and Mary-Louise Parker (Lil Bit) with the same director Mark Brokaw. While a quarter of a century has passed since its award-winning run at the Vineyard Theatre, the subject matter (a noxious mix of incest, misogyny and pedophilia) remains sadly relevant. Told in a non-chronological series of reminiscences, the story details years of abuse, using the metaphor of driving and driving lessons for control and sex. The relationship is not the stereotypical

To My Girls – Second Stage Theater

In mid-2020 with the theaters closed and the pandemic raging, Second State Theater;s President and Artistic Director Carole Rothman checked in with playwright JC Lee to see how he was doing and if he was writing. He told her about a play he was considering, about a group of gay male friends gathering when the pandemic had subsided. “He was pretty sure he wanted to write something that would be healing and laughter would be a means to that end,” she writes in the Playbill. The result is “To My Girls.” Despite getting a little lost trying to find the ending,

Karl Mansfield: A Broadway Piano Man, and More

David Byrne's American Utopia has had an interesting, pandemic-interrupted run on Broadway, and it will be closing at the St. James Theatre April 3. This seemed an appropriate time to reflect on the way the show has developed and played. Karl Mansfield, the show's musical director, has been kind enough to talk to Stagebiz.com about the project. Stagebiz: How did you get involved in the development of American Utopia? KM: I was conductor, keyboardist, and synthesizer programmer for David’s Joan of Arc at the Public Theater, in 2017. When he needed someone to perform those same duties for his 2018 American Utopia

American Utopia at St. James Theatre

David Byrne is far from your typical rock star. The fast car, fast women, drug-addled stereotype just doesn't fit him. It should not be a surprise, therefore, that his show on Broadway is not a typical musical. America Utopia is more of a deconstruction of a rock show than anything else. From the grey set and grey suits the cast wear to Byrne's remarks between songs, this is a different entertainment and philosophical experience. Rock 'n' roll has always had a theatrical side to it. From Elvis and his hips to Alice Cooper's snakes and guillotine to David Bowie's characters and

Recent and Upcoming Openings in New York

Here are some of the new shows opening this fall in New York (not an exhaustive list): Pass Over Open now and running through October 10 at the August Wilson Theatre. Lackawanna Blues Previews from September 14, opens September 28, for a limited run through October 31 at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre. SIX Previews resume September 17 for an opening October 3 at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre. American Utopia From September 17 through March 6 at the St. James Theatre. Chicken & Biscuits Previews from September 23, opens October 10 for a limited run through January 2 at Circle in the Square Theatre. The Lehman

New York Theatre is Back!

New York Theatre is reopening! Here are the shows that were running when the pandemic shut us down that are returning: Hadestown From September 2 at the Walter Kerr Theatre. Waitress From September 2 (for a limited run through January 9) at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre. Chicago From September 14 at the Ambassador. Hamilton From September 14 at the Richard Rodgers Theatre. The Lion King From September 14 at the Minskoff Theatre. Wicked From September 14 at the Gershwin Theatre. Come From Away From September 21 at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre. Moulin Rouge! The Musical From September 24 at the Al Hirschfield Theatre. Aladdin From September 28 at the

Adapting a Theater to the New Normal

This letter arrived in my email inbox late last week, and I think it bears sharing with the readers of Stagebiz.com. Erez Ziv is in charge of both the Kraine Theater and Under St. Mark's as well as being the managing artistic director of the Frigid New York festival. He has undertaken significant and expensive changes to the physical layout of the Kraine, and it is the kind of thing most theater and performance spaces need to do. Remember, performances in New York City are coming back April 2. After a year of shuttered venues, streaming performances, and lots of planning

“The Motherf**ker with the Hat” — Denizens Theater Company

The premise of the play is simple enough. Jackie (David Feliz) is a former drug dealer freshly out of prison and determined to go straight. His girlfriend Veronica (Jillian K. Waters) is thrilled about this, but she is still using. Just before they get into bed to celebrate his successful job search, he sees a hat that doesn't belong to him. He suspects her of cheating; he goes off to meet his parole officer and AA sponsor Ralph D (Gregory Marlow), who is having trouble with his own wife Victoria (Lara Ruth Smith). Jackie gets a gun, is convinced to

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