Posted in #Roundabout, Manhattan Theater Company, Playwrights Horizons, The Flea Theater, The Mint Theatre, The Pearl Theatre Company, theater, theater lovers

Happy New Year

Black Moon Theatre presents Bliss based on the Tibetan Book of the Dead September 8-25, 2016 Photo by Steven Pisano
Black Moon Theatre presents Bliss based on the Tibetan Book of the Dead
September 8-25, 2016
Photo by Steven Pisano

The moment between December 31st and January 1st so widely celebrated, and especially so at the hub on Broadway’s Times Square, is not the real new year.

Every summer-tired kid can tell you that the new year starts in September when school opens. Theater nerds will likewise say that this is the beginning of the year. Broadway will have two openings on the 20th with The Encounter at the Golden and The Front Page at the Broadhurst. Manhattan Theatre Company also starts previews for Heisenberg, a Broadway transfer to the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre on the 20th. Holiday Inn started previews at Roundabout’s Studio 54 on September 1st, while their The Cherry Orchard previewed on the 15th at The American Airlines.

Off-Broadway has already been perky this season. Playwrigths Horizons opened its first show of the season, Julia Cho’s Aubergine. PH’s second show, A Life, which begins previews on September 30th, and features David Hyde Pierce in the cast, has already extended its run to November 27th. The Mint has  A Day By The Seaplaying since July 22nd and through October 23rd. The Pearl’s A Taste Of Honey began previews on September 6th and has already extended the run through October 30th. Starting on September 29th, it will be running in repertory with David Harrower’s Public Enemy, an adaptation of Ibsen’s Enemy of the People.

Further off the great white way, there is also a good deal of action, too. The list is too long to include every production, but we’ll sample a few here:

Black Moon Theatre Company presents Bliss based on the Tibetan Book of the Dead with performances on September 8-25, 2016, at The Flea Theater.
Core Creative Productions presents an updated version of ariveting and award-winning drama about police brutality called Chokehold at the 14th Street Y Theater from September 16th through October 8th.
Playwrights Realm started their 2016-17 season on August 29th with the world premiere of The Wolves by Sarah Delappe, and will also present a collab with (and at) the New York Theatre Workshop when it shows Mfoniso Udofia’s Sojourners & Her Portmanteau later in the Spring.
Meanwhile, currently playing at the New York Theatre Workshop is Nathan Alan Davis’ provocative new play Nat Turner in Jerusalem.
A musical with illusions promises to be a happy ride when On The Rails opens on September 29th, at The Actor’s Temple where it will continue through November 20th.
On The Rails is part of the Lady Liberty Theater Festival, as is Missed Connections, playing sporadically (aka check the scheds) from September 27th through the end of November at the Kraine.
A cinematic and live dance/theater work combines in Geoff Sobelle’s Pandaemonium, directed by Lars Jan with music composed and performed by Brooklyn musician Xander Duell looks to be a unique experience at New York Live Arts from September 28th through October 1st.
The no-holds barred comedy about race and American history, Underground Railroad Game began previews at Ars Nova on September 13th for an opening on September 26th and running through October 15th.  extended to October 29th! now in a final extension to November 11th!
Followung up on the introduction they made in 2014New Light Theater Project  is featuring playwright Ross Howard, a Brit indie sensation, in rep from October 19th through November 12th at the Access Theater.
In other festival news, the Flea is presenting a pair of A.R. Gurneys, Squash and Ajax, beginning October 10th.
EDWIN, The Story of Edwin Booth is at Theatre at St. Clement’s through September 18th, so hurry. The musical is about the most famous American actor of the nineteenth century, and, famously, brother to Abraham Lincoln”s assassin.
This list could go on and on, but you don’t want to hear that. Check out Soho Rep, and MCC, for example, and the Ensemble Studio Theatre.The Vineyard Theatre deserves a visit, too, especially for their kid-friendly productions. Lincoln Center’s The Claire Tow Theater deserves a visit if for nothing but its view, but its productions have been spectacular, too. Downtown, there’s also the Classic Stage Company, the Public, and for Off-Broadway in the heart of Broadway, the Signature Theatre Company and the resident New Group. Just to name a few theatrical companies waiting to entertain you.
Posted in #newShakespeareanplay, dance, drama, theater, theater for the common good

Theatre for the greater good

Well, yes, of course the purpose of theatre is to entertain, but also as a platform to educate and elevate.

doublefalseThe projected HeForShe Arts Week that kicks off March 8th in support UN Women’s mission for gender equality arts and cultural institutions in New York City will coincide with International Women’s Day on March 8th. UN Women will partner with cultural and art institutions, like The Public Theater which is taking a lead role. The Public’s Artistic Director Oskar Eustis says “The theater is a collaborative form, and the core of collaboration is solidarity. The Public is proud to stand in solidarity with HeForShe and the United Nations as we fight together for a better world.”
During the inaugural arts week in March,  venues for ballets, operas, Broadway shows, concerts, as well as other theatres, galleries, and museums will enjoy the opportunity to join the HeForShe Initiative and spotlight the work of UN Women as the global champion for the rights of women and girls. These other partner institutions will also donate a percentage of proceeds to UN Women to support its efforts in advancing women’s empowerment and gender equality globally.
Emma Watson, British Actor and UN Women Global Goodwill Ambassador adds “… it makes perfect sense for HeForShe to partner with arts institutions like The Public Theater to evolve the behaviors, norms, and perceptions that shapes our cultural view of gender.” The goal for HeForShe is gender parity, to be achieved as Planet 50-50 by 2030. (See how the League of Professional Theatre Women are awarding gender equality in the theater, here.)

The stories of three very different women merge in The Hundred We Are, by the famous Swedish novelist, playwright and activist Jonas Hassen Khemiri. In The Hundred We Are, Khemeri conflates the lives of a young radical, a middle-aged housewife, and a discerning world-traveler in his innovative new memory play. The Hundred We Are, is at the cell from March 16th through April 8th, in an Origin Theatre’s production. For information on Origin and The Hundred We Are, visit

From February 25th through April 6th, LAByrinth Theater Company presents the New York premiere of The Way West by Mona Mansour, directed by Mimi O’Donnell, and featuring in its ensemble Deirdre O’Connell. The comedy treats the serious subject of debt and dependencies in a funny and poignant way. To learn more about The Way West, please visit

Abrons Arts Center & New York City Players (NYCP) present a world premiere of Jackie Sibblies Drury’s Really, directed by Richard Maxwell and designed by photographer Michael Schmelling, from March 16th – April 2nd. Really concerns itself with grief, and intimacy. In the play, a woman takes photographs of her boyfriend’s mom, and they jockey to a claim on him. To learn more about Really, please visit and also

In the world of Shakespeare, there is always something to celebrate and often something to learn. It is the 400th year of William Shakespeare, and Letter of Marque Theater Company has uncovered a “new” play by the Bard. Double Falsehood, at the Irondale Center  March 5th through April 9th, 2016, has many elements usual in a Shakespearean work. The action in Double Falsehood is propelled by a sexual assault, which Letter of Marque is using to create an important dialogue. During the run, there will be additional programming and panels to discuss rape culture in our country. To learn more about Double Falsehood and Letter of Marque Theater Companyvisit To learn more about the panels and programming discussions, please also go to

Starting in April, in Revolt. She Said. Revolt Again., Alice Birch explores the thorny questions of gender supremacy and how inequality is sustained through the politics of language. Playing at Soho Rep, April 5–May 1, extended to May 15th the production,  presented in association with John Adrian Selzer, and marking U.S. debut of the award-winning U.K. playwright is directed by Lileana Blain-Cruz. To learn more about Revolt. She Said. Revolt Again., please visit

Edward R. Murrow contributed mightily when it came to doing good. He brooked no nonsense even from the scary likes of Senator Joseph McCarthy. Joseph Vitale looks at the man and his career in Murrow, starring Joseph Menino, and directed by Jeremy Williams. Murrow, produced by Phoenix Theatre Ensemble, is in a limited engagement at The Wild Project from May 4th through May 22nd. To learn more about Murrow and about the Phoenix Theatre Ensemble, please visit and



Posted in equality, gender equality, women directors, women playwrights

Women’s work

This “Seal of Approval” is being raised for equality.


In industry and big business, women are obliged to break the glass ceiling to reach the top ranks. In theater, the League of Professional Theatre Women is looking at not-for-profit companies who are helping women burst through the glass curtain.

On February 23rd, LPTW awarded theaters in which 50% of playwrights or directors are women with a Seal of Approval for promoting gender parity in their productions. 4 of the 12 New York theater companies honored have gotten the Gold Seal for their efforts and hiring practices over the past 5 seasons.

These include Playwrights Horizons for its hiring of women playwrights, Ensemble Studio Theatre (playwrights and directors parity), and Soho Rep and LAByrinth Theatre Company (directors).

The remaining 8 awards, simple Seals, are for equality in hiring practices for the 2014-15 season. Those being so honored are  Lincoln Center Theater (playwright and director parity); MCC Theatre, Manhattan Theatre Club (playwrights); The Flea, The New Group, Rattlestick Playwrights Theatre; Roundabout Theatre Company, Signature Theatre Company (directors).

LPTW is a not-for-profit organization promoting visibility and increased opportunities for women in the field which celebrates and encourages the hiring of women in the theatre and the producing of work by women. LPTW’Seal of Approval is designed to be a recognizable symbol that its recipients may display in all their promotional materials and point to with pride for putting gender equality into practice.


Posted in comedy, dance, drama, theater

Game theory

Photo by Simon Hayter for "Winners and Losers"
Photo by Simon Hayter for “Winners and Losers”

Challenging each other in assessing who is successful and who is not, their game soon devolves into name calling. The two friends become abusive about each other and their families. In Winners and Losers, every choice either of them has made is scrutinized in light of the eponymous appraisal. Marcus Youssef and James
Long have created a satirical and acerbic view of how we judge ourselves and others.

At Soho Rep in its New York premiere from January 2nd through February 6th, Winners and Losers is produced in conjunction with John Adrian Selzer, and Theatre Replacement and Neworld Theatre. The play, written by Youssef and Long is directed by Chris Abraham.

More at

Over at the New Ohio, the New York Neo-Futurists are playing the dating game. Dylan Marron found people willing to share their on-line dating experiences. From these first hand accounts of love in the age of internet, he has woven The Human Symphony.

If you have never seen a Neo-Futurist production, expect the unexpected.The Human Symphony is set in four movements and performed by a cast randomly selected from the audience.

The Human Symphony begins performances on Thursday, January 22 for a limited engagement through Saturday, February 14


Dating leads us not so directly to a marriage gone awry with Marc Palmieri’s The Groundling is performed by the Axis Company from February 11 through March 8, 2015. In The Groundling, landscaper Bob Malone is inspired by a production of “Love’s Labour’s Lost” to write and stage a play about his failing marriage.

Please go to

At the COIL 2015 Festival, where there are soem 13 productions in 15 days, we go back to dating again. This time with the darkly funny, The Blind Date Project (Jan 7–17) from Groundbreaking Theater Productions, at the Parkside Lounge. Starring Australia’s Bojana Novakovic (Rake, Shameless); The Blind Date Project is a real event in a real bar on a real blind date between two people in need of a real connection.

See video at

Space 122’s tenth annual festival of contemporary dance, theater, and performance works runs from January 2 through the 17th in venues all over town, from the Vineyard and the New Ohio Theatres.  It is kicked off with a free installation at Times Square with the world premiere of Sebastian Errazuriz’s A Pause in The City that Never Sleeps, running daily from 11:57pm to midnight the entire month of January. A Pause in The City that Never Sleeps,co-presented by Times Square Arts, the Times Square Advertising Coalition, is a video of a giant and contagious yawn.