News: 7 star-studded plays — streaming only on TomorrowTix

Spotlight on Plays from Broadway’s Best Shows is the virtual theatre experience you’ve been waiting for. It’s Morgan Freeman, Patti LuPone, Laura Linney, Paul Mescal, Alan Cumming, and more of the world’s top actors performing their hearts out in a series of must-see plays, live from their living rooms — while you watch from yours.

Right now, get pay-what-you-can tix to 7 upcoming virtual productions by some of the most popular playwrights ever. These tickets are available only on TomorrowTix and every single purchase supports The Actor’s Fund.

Continue reading “News: 7 star-studded plays — streaming only on TomorrowTix”

Nominations for the 2020 Drama Desk Awards

Outstanding Play
The Inheritance, by Matthew Lopez
Heroes of the Fourth Turning, by Will Arbery, Playwrights Horizons
Cambodian Rock Band, by Lauren Yee, Signature Theatre
Greater Clements, by Samuel D. Hunter, Lincoln Center Theater
Halfway Bitches Go Straight to Heaven, by Stephen Adly Guirgis, Atlantic Theater Company/LAByrinth Theater Company

Outstanding Musical
A Strange Loop, Playwrights Horizons/Page 73 Productions
Octet, Signature Theatre
The Secret Life of Bees, Atlantic Theater Company
Soft Power, The Public Theater
The Wrong Man, MCC Theater Continue reading “Nominations for the 2020 Drama Desk Awards”

Album Review: The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess (2012 New Broadway Cast Recording)

“Old man sorrow’s

Come to keep me company”
In terms of advance publicity, you couldn’t really ask for more than Stephen Sondheim bringing your show to the world’s attention before it has even got near a stage. True, you might prefer him to be in favour of your work rather than ripping you a new one but it does raise interesting questions about how we expect musical theatre classics to be treated in the modern age – recreated faithfully time and time again, radically revised at directorial whim, or somewhere inbetween.
The vociferousness of Sondheim’s critique would lead you to believe it was the middle of these options but though Diane Paulus’ production does indeed have substantial differences from those that have done before, they’re not so wholesale as to be so easily dismissed. Suzan-Lori Parks’ reworked book feeds in much more backstory for the characters through dialogue in place of recitative and the operatic (in length as well as in nature) scale has been stripped back, a Broadway sized orchestra plays this abridged set just fine.

Yes there are changes. Right from the start, the iconic ‘Summertime’ has been reshaped into a striking duet, thrillingly sung by Nikki Renée Daniels and Joshua Henry and from then on, the leads soar into their roles. Audra McDonald’s Bess is predictably stunning as the pivotal Bess in all her wrenching beauty, Norm Lewis’ Porgy is perhaps a little in her shade but still honeyed charm personified and David Alan Grier’s Sporting Life is seductive and slick and more nuanced than usual as the charismatic villain of the piece. NaTasha Yvette Williams also stands out as Mariah.
Sondheim’s criticisms were clearly well-reasoned but it’s hard to feel that the intention behind them not so much. The notion that musicals shouldn’t be adapted coming from someone who has reshaped so many of his own works time and time again is frankly baffling, writing should never be considered inviolate and whilst the proviso should be added that adaptations won’t always successful, there always has to be room for artistic experimentation. Personally, I rather enjoyed this take on Porgy and Bess, it’s not the only version I will listen to in years to come but it certainly won’t be consigned to the scrapheap either.

66th Tony Award nominations

Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Play 
James Corden – One Man, Two Guvnors as Francis Henshall
Philip Seymour Hoffman – Death of a Salesman as Willy Loman
James Earl Jones – The Best Man as Art Hockstader
Frank Langella – Man and Boy as Gregor Antonescu
John Lithgow – The Columnist as Joseph Alsop

Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Play
Nina Arianda – Venus in Fur as Vanda
Tracie Bennett – End of the Rainbow as Judy Garland
Stockard Channing – Other Desert Cities as Polly Wyeth
Linda Lavin – The Lyons as Rita Lyons
Cynthia Nixon – Wit as Vivian Bearing

Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical 
Danny Burstein – Follies as Buddy Plummer
Jeremy Jordan – Newsies as Jack Kelly
Steve Kazee – Once as Guy
Norm Lewis – Porgy and Bess as Porgy
Ron Raines – Follies as Ben Stone Continue reading “66th Tony Award nominations”

64th Tony Award nominations

Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Play 
Jude Law – Hamlet as Hamlet
Alfred Molina – Red as Mark Rothko
Liev Schreiber – A View from the Bridge as Eddie Carbone
Christopher Walken – A Behanding in Spokane as Carmichael
Denzel Washington – Fences as Troy Maxson

Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Play
Viola Davis – Fences as Rose Maxson
Valerie Harper – Looped as Tallulah Bankhead
Linda Lavin – Collected Stories as Ruth Steiner
Laura Linney – Time Stands Still as Sarah Goodwin
Jan Maxwell – The Royal Family as Julie Cavendish

Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical 
Kelsey Grammer – La Cage aux Folles as Georges
Douglas Hodge – La Cage aux Folles as Albin
Sean Hayes – Promises, Promises as Chuck Baxter
Chad Kimball – Memphis as Huey Calhoun
Sahr Ngaujah – Fela! as Fela Kuti Continue reading “64th Tony Award nominations”