Thursday, April 25, 2019

Drama Desk Nominations Announced

2019 DRAMA DESK NOMINATIONS:

Outstanding Play
Fairview, by Jackie Sibblies Drury, Soho Rep
The Ferryman, by Jez Butterworth
Lewiston/Clarkston, by Samuel D. Hunter, Rattlestick Playwrights Theater
Usual Girls, by Ming Peiffer, Roundabout Theatre Company
What the Constitution Means to Me, by Heidi Schreck, New York Theatre Workshop andBroadway
 
Outstanding Musical
Be More Chill
The Hello Girls, Prospect Theater Company
The Prom
Rags Parkland Sings the Songs of the Future, Ars Nova
Tootsie
 
Outstanding Revival of a Play
Fabulation, or the Re-Education of Undine, Signature Theatre
Henry VI: Shakespeare's Trilogy in Two Parts, National Asian American Theatre Company
Our Lady of 121st Street, Signature Theatre
Summer and Smoke, Classic Stage Company/Transport Group
The Waverly Gallery
Uncle Vanya, Hunter Theater Project

Outstanding Revival of a Musical
Carmen Jones, Classic Stage Company
Fiddler on the Roof, National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene and Off-Broadway
Kiss Me, Kate, Roundabout Theatre Company
Merrily We Roll Along, Fiasco Theater/Roundabout Theatre Company
Oklahoma!, Bard Summerscape/St. Ann's Warehouse and Broadway
 
Outstanding Actor in a Play
Jeff Biehl, Life Sucks
Edmund Donovan, Lewiston/Clarkston
Raúl Esparza, The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui
Russell Harvard, I Was Most Alive With You
Jay O. Sanders, Uncle Vanya
 
Outstanding Actress in a Play
Midori Francis, Usual Girls
Zainab Jah, Boesman and Lena
Elaine May, The Waverly Gallery
Laurie Metcalf, Hillary and Clinton
Heidi Schreck, What the Constitution Means to Me
 
Outstanding Actor in a Musical
Brooks Ashmanskas, The Prom
Andrew R. Butler, Rags Parkland Sings the Songs of the Future
Damon Daunno, Oklahoma!
Santino Fontana, Tootsie
Steven Skybell, Fiddler on the Roof
 
Outstanding Actress in a Musical
Stephanie J. Block, The Cher Show
Beth Leavel, The Prom
Rebecca Naomi Jones, Oklahoma!
Anika Noni Rose, Carmen Jones
Stacey Sargeant, Rags Parkland Sings the Songs of the Future
 
Outstanding Featured Actor in a Play
Charles Browning, Fairview
Arnie Burton, Lewiston/Clarkston
Hampton Fluker, All My Sons
Tom Glynn-Carney, The Ferryman
Brandon Uranowitz, Burn This
 
Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play
Harriett D. Foy, The House That Will Not Stand
Megan Hill, Eddie and Dave
Celia Keenan-Bolger, To Kill A Mockingbird
Ruth Wilson, King Lear
Alison Wright, Othello
 
Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical
Corbin Bleu, Kiss Me, Kate
André De Shields, Hadestown
Sydney James Harcourt, Girl from the North Country
George Salazar, Be More Chill
Patrick Vaill, Oklahoma!
 
Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical
Stephanie Hsu, Be More Chill
Leslie Kritzer, Beetlejuice
Soara-Joye Ross, Carmen Jones
Sarah Stiles, Tootsie
Ali Stroker, Oklahoma!
Mary Testa, Oklahoma!
 
Outstanding Director of a Play
Sarah Benson, Fairview
Stephen Daldry and Justin Martin, The Jungle
Sam Mendes, The Ferryman
Tyne Rafaeli, Usual Girls
Taylor Reynolds, Plano
Jeff Wise, Life Sucks
 
Outstanding Director of a Musical
Noah Brody, Merrily We Roll Along
Rachel Chavkin, Hadestown
Scott Ellis, Tootsie
Daniel Fish, Oklahoma!
Joel Grey, Fiddler on the Roof
 
Outstanding Choreography
presented by LaDuca Dance Shoes
Camille A. Brown, Choir Boy
Warren Carlyle, Kiss Me Kate
Denis Jones, Tootsie
Lorin Latarro, Twelfth Night
Rick and Jeff Kuperman, Alice by Heart
David Neumann, Hadestown
 
Outstanding Music
presented by Music Theatre International
Andrew R. Butler, Rags Parkland Sings the Songs of the Future
Joe Iconis, Be More Chill
Peter Mills, The Hello Girls
Mark Sonnenblick, Midnight at the Never Get
Shaina Taub, Twelfth Night
David Yazbek, Tootsie
 
Outstanding Lyrics
presented by Music Theatre International
Chad Beguelin, The Prom
Andrew R. Butler, Rags Parkland Sings the Songs of the Future
Joe Iconis, Be More Chill
Peter Mills, The Hello Girls
David Yazbek, Tootsie
 
Outstanding Book of a Musical
presented by Music Theatre International
Scott Brown and Anthony King, Beetlejuice
Andrew R. Butler, Rags Parkland Sings the Songs of the Future
Robert Horn, Tootsie
Bob Martin and Chad Beguelin, The Prom
Dominique Morisseau, Ain't Too Proud
 
Outstanding Orchestrations
Larry Blank, Fiddler on the Roof
Simon Hale, Girl from the North Country
Daniel Kluger, Oklahoma!
Charlie Rosen, Be More Chill
Daryl Waters, The Cher Show
 
Outstanding Music in a Play
Paul Castles and Jongbin Jung, Wild Goose Dreams
Justin Ellington, Mrs. Murray's Menagerie
Justin Ellington, The House That Will Not Stand
Nick Powell, The Lehman Trilogy
Jason Michael Webb and Fitz Patton, Choir Boy
 
Outstanding Set Design of a Play
Miriam Buether, The Jungle
Es Devlin, Girls & Boys
Maruti Evans, The Peculiar Patriot
Mimi Lien, Fairview
Matt Saunders, "Daddy"
 
Outstanding Set Design for a Musical
presented by Hudson Scenic
Rachel Hauck, Hadestown
Laura Jellinek, Oklahoma!
Laura Jellinek, Rags Parkland Sings the Songs of the Future
David Korins, Beetlejuice
Rae Smith, Girl from the North Country
 
Outstanding Costume Design for a Play
Dede M. Ayite, By the Way, Meet Vera Stark
Dede M. Ayite, If Pretty Hurts Ugly Must Be a Muhfucka
Ásta Bennie Hostetter, Mrs. Murray's Menagerie
Toni-Leslie James, Bernhardt/Hamlet
Nicole Slaven, Henry VI: Shakespeare's Trilogy in Two Parts
 
Outstanding Costume Design for a Musical
William Ivey Long, Beetlejuice
William Ivey Long, Tootsie
Bobby Frederick Tilly II, Be More Chill
Michael Krass, Hadestown
Bob Mackie, The Cher Show
Paloma Young, Alice by Heart
 
Outstanding Lighting Design for a Play
Amith Chandrashaker, Boesman and Lena
Amith Chandrashaker, Fairview
Jiyoun Chang, Slave Play
Jon Clark, The Jungle
Simon Cleveland, Spaceman
Yi Zhao, The House That Will Not Stand
 
Outstanding Lighting Design for a Musical
presented by Production Resource Group
Adam Honoré, Carmen Jones
Bradley King, Hadestown
Jamie Roderick, Midnight at the Never Get
Barbara Samuels, Rags Parkland Sings the Songs of the Future
Scott Zielinski, Oklahoma!
 
Outstanding Projection Design
Peter England, King Kong
Katherine Freer, By the Way, Meet Vera Stark
Luke Halls, The Lehman Trilogy
Alex Basco Koch, Be More Chill
Peter Nigrini, Beetlejuice
Joshua Thorson, Oklahoma!
 
Outstanding Sound Design in a Play
Tyler Kieffer, Plano
Fitz Patton, Choir Boy
Nick Powell, The Ferryman
Jane Shaw, I Was Most Alive with You
Mikaal Sulaiman, Fairview
 
Outstanding Sound Design in a Musical
Simon Baker, Girl from the North Country
Drew Levy, Oklahoma!
Brian Ronan, Tootsie
Nevin Steinberg and Jessica Paz, Hadestown
Mikaal Sulaiman, Rags Parkland Sings the Songs of the Future
 
Outstanding Wig and Hair Design
Campbell Young Associates, Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus  
Cookie Jordan, Eddie and Dave
Paul Huntley, Tootsie
Charles G. LaPointe, Beetlejuice
Charles G. LaPointe, The Cher Show
 
Outstanding Solo Performance
Mike Birbiglia, The New One
Carey Mulligan, Girls & Boys
Liza Jessie Peterson, The Peculiar Patriot, National Black Theatre/Hi-Arts
Erin Treadway, Spaceman, Loading Dock Theatre
Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Fleabag
 
Unique Theatrical Experience
All is Calm: The Christmas Truce of 1914

O'Neill Announces Summer Season

The Eugene O’Neill Theater Center announced today the 2019 summer season of plays, musicals, and other works in development at theNational Music Theater ConferenceNational Playwrights ConferenceCabaret & Performance Conference, and National Puppetry Conference
“This summer in Waterford, CT, the O'Neill, the Launchpad of the American Theater, will continue our work with exciting new musicals, plays, puppetry, & cabaret. I'm delighted to welcome audiences from around the world to experience these vital new works during our 55th anniversary season.”  O’Neill Executive Director Preston Whiteway continues, “I am grateful to each of our Artistic Directors for their bold vision in selecting these pieces and artists that will impact the field for decades to come.”

National Music Theater ConferenceAlexander Gemignani, Artistic DirectorReadings: June 22 - July 12> More Info
Since its founding in 1978, the National Music Theater Conference has developed more than 125 new musicals, including early works of award-winning writers and composers such as Lin-Manuel Miranda, Tom Kitt, Andrew Lippa, Tan Dun, Robert Lopez, Duncan Sheik, Kirsten Childs, Adam Gwon, Steven Sater, Kristen Anderson-Lopez, Maury Yeston, Michael R. Jackson, and Jeanine Tesori.  Each musical will undergo the O’Neill’s signature development process, employing professional creative teams including acclaimed directors, dramaturgs, actors, and musicians.. Selected from 320 submissions, the following three new musicals will be developed:
Borderline
Book by Aryanna Garber
Music & Lyrics by Benjamin Velez
JEANNETTE
Book by Lauren M. Gunderson
Music & Lyrics by Ari Ayesha Afsar
Undesirables
Book & Lyrics by Hansol Jung
Lyrics & Music by Brian Quijada
NMTC Artistic Director Alexander Gemignani shares this about his second season: “The three musicals we’ve chosen exemplify the idea of innovation and serve as a reminder of how powerful the art form of music theater can be. I am thrilled that the O’Neill will be ushering these pieces along on this step of their journey. I cannot wait to get started with these groundbreaking and brilliant writers.”
National Playwrights ConferenceWendy C. Goldberg, Artistic DirectorReadings: July 3-27> More Info
The O’Neill’s founding program will present eight new works this summer season by a broad mix of brand new, mid-career, and established writers. Each play will undergo the O’Neill’s signature development process, employing professional creative teams, including acclaimed directors, dramaturgs, actors, and designers to bring new plays to life.  NPC has developed more than 750 new plays, including early works of award-winning writers such as Edward Albee, Lee Blessing, Adam Bock, Kia Corthron, Christopher Durang, John Guare, Quiara Alegría Hudes, Samuel D. Hunter, David Henry Hwang, David Lindsay-Abaire, Martyna Majok. Dominique Morisseau, Lynn Nottage, Robert O’Hara, Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, Wendy Wasserstein, August Wilson and Lanford Wilson.  The plays were chosen from 1,416 plays received through the O’Neill’s open submissions process. Isaac Gomez (The Way She Spoke) joins as writer-in-residence.
Craig Lucas - Death of the Republic
Zayd Dohrn - The Humanities
Charly Evon Simpson - it's not a trip it’s a journey
George Brant - Tender Age
Anna Ziegler - Antigones
Tearrance Chisholm - Black Dick
Kimber Lee - Untitled F*ck M*ss S**gon Play
Laura Neill - Winter People
NPC Artistic Director Wendy C. Goldberg shares this about her 15th season: “I am excited to welcome these artists to the O'Neill community this summer. These storytellers are visionaries and sages for our culture and speak with great relevance to this moment in our nation's history. It is an honor to collaborate with them as we move these plays into the world."

Cabaret & Performance ConferenceJohn McDaniel, Artistic DirectorPerformances: July 31-August 10> More Info
The conference brings some of the biggest names in Cabaret Theater to perform at the O’Neill each summer, providing valuable development and performance training for select Cabaret Fellows (up-and-coming performers on the cabaret scene) as well as middle and high school students through the Junior Fellows program. Headliners for 2019 include:
Storytellers - Brad Simmons, with special guest Lennie Watts
Thirsty! - Tori Scott
Barb, Brel and more! - Barb Jungr
Carole Cook Tonight!
The Jam: Only Child - Daniel J. Watts
Artistic Director John McDaniel shares this about his seventh season: “This summer we are featuring everything from an old-school Broadway legend to an incredibly modern & hip sensation, with some downtown hilarity thrown in for good measure. It promises to be a season to remember!”
Atlantic Broadband is the premier sponsor of the 2019 Cabaret & Performance Conference.

National Puppetry ConferencePam Arciero, Artistic DirectorPerformances: June 14 & 15> More Info
The National Puppetry Conference welcomes artists from around the globe to explore the range and power of the puppet, with rehearsals and workshops in puppet and mechanism building, writing, music, marionettes, and more.  As previously announced, artists leading Conference intensives this summer include: Tyler Bunch, Melissa Dunphy, James Godwin, Alice Gottschalk, Kurt Hunter, Jim Kroupa, Bobbi Nidzgorski, Jim Rose, Richard Termine, Fred Thompson, and Derron Wood. Guest artists include Polina Borisova (Body - Object - Space), Tracy Broyles (Unsettling: Unsettling: An Expulsion of Breath), Dan Hurlin (Reading/Misreading Action), and Hansol Jung & Lexy Leuszler (Little Red Writing Hood), The Conference concludes with  two public performances featuring an extraordinary mix of devised work from throughout the Puppetry Conference, led by guest artists, artists-in-residence, and a vast array of performance styles.
Artistic Director Pam Arciero shares this about his 17th season: “This summer our Conference is full of an international mix of creative artists who give our conference it's unique spark. We look forward to featuring works that explore the extraordinary range and power of the puppet.”

National Theater Institute - TheatermakersRachel Jett, Artistic DirectorFREE Performances: Mondays, June 17 - July 22> More Info
One of six programs from the O’Neill’s flagship educational program the National Theater Institute. Theatermakers Summer Intensive trains students in a credit-earning curriculum of acting, directing, and playwriting alongside the O’Neill’s professional artists. Join us each week as students share their works-in-progress with the public.


National Critics Institute
Chris Jones, DirectorJune 30- July 14> More Info
Chris Jones, critic and columnist at the Chicago Tribune, helms America's only boot camp for arts writers. NCI is a two-week residential workshop and conference, designed for writers and critics looking to strengthen their skills in an increasingly competitive and fast-paced industry. Past faculty members include: Mark Blankenship, Ben Brantley, Sarah Kaufman, Peter Marks, Michael Phillips, Tejal Rao, and Dan Sullivan.
Commercial Theater InstituteTom Viertel, CTI Executive Director & O’Neill Board ChairJuly 10-12> More Info
The Commercial Theater Institute’s three-day summer intensive focuses specifically on the producer as a creative force. CTI provides aspiring producers the unique opportunity to get close to the development process as it unfolds at the O’Neill. In this hands-on intensive, teams of participants develop plans for a several of the O’Neill’s plays and musicals through a mixture of sessions with working producers and theater professionals, interaction with writers and directors, and group discussion. The workshop culminates with the teams presenting their strategies to a panel of industry professionals. The program is led by Tom Viertel — CTI Executive Director, O’Neill Board Chair, and Tony Award-winning Broadway producer — along with an all-star faculty from the New York theater community. Applications for 2019 are due June 17. 

The O’Neill Box Office opens to the public June 5. Advance ticket sales are available to O’Neill members May 20.  For more information, visit www.theoneill.orgor call 860-443-5378.

The 2019 Summer Season is made possible by: The Shubert Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust, Burry Fredrik Foundation, Connecticut Office for the Arts, Geraldine Stutz Trust, The Jerome Robbins Foundation, The Jane Henson Foundation, The Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation, The Edward and Mary Lord Foundation, The Mohegan Tribe/Mohegan Sun, Dramatist Play Service, Foundation of the American Theatre Critics Association, The Joseph C. and Esther Foster Foundation, The Rodgers & Hammerstein Foundation, Actors' Equity Foundation, Chester W. Kitchings Foundation, New London Education Foundation/Karl Kelly Fund, Electronic Theatre Controls, Inc. and the support of individual O’Neill donors.

About the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center: Founded in 1964, the O’Neill is the country’s preeminent organization dedicated to the development of new works and new voices for the American theater, and named in honor of Eugene O’Neill, four-time Pulitzer Prize-winner and America’s only playwright to win the Nobel Prize in Literature.  The O’Neill has been home to more than 1,000 new works for the stage and thousands more emerging artists. Scores of projects developed at the O’Neill have gone on to full production at theaters around the world. O’Neill programs include the National Playwrights ConferenceNational Music Theater ConferenceNational Critics InstituteNational Puppetry ConferenceCabaret & Performance Conference, and National Theater Institute – which offers six credit-earning undergraduate training programs. In addition, the O’Neill owns and operates Monte Cristo Cottage as a museum open to the public. The O’Neill is the recipient of two Tony Awards and National Medal of Arts. www.theoneill.org.

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

National Book Critics Circle Awards Coming


The National Book Critics Circle (I am a proud member) will announce winners of its 2019 awards at a ceremony March 14 at The New School in New York City. The ceremony at 6:30 pm is free. Tickets to the reception following are available at http://www.bookcritics.org/awards.

Look for more reviews of  arts and theater-related books coming to this site soon!

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

CT Theater Review: Working -- ACT of CT

By Lauren Yarger
ACT of CT, (A Contemporary Theatre of Connecticut) bursts onto the scene as one of the state's finest professional theaters with its first offering of the 2019 season: an updated version of Stephen Schwartz's Working.

The show, conceived, adapted and directed by Artistic Director Daniel C. Levine, presents a montage of interviews and slices of life from various types of people working to make a living.  The original musical, based on Studs Terkel's book of the same name with music by Schwartz and Nina Faso, has gotten an update including video projections (with excellent media design by Caite Hevner) and new music by Craig Carnelia, Micki Grant, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Mary Rodgers, Susan Birkenhead, James Taylor and Schwartz. 

A talented cast of six, all with strong vocals, portrays some 26 workers including a waitress, a financial manager, a project manager, a health care provider. a telephone customer service representative and a house wife, among others. The ensemble of Brad Greer, Andre Jordan, Cooper Grodin, Monica Ramirez, Zuri Washington, Laura Woyasz easily switch roles with the help of costume designer Brenda Phelps and Wig and Hair Supervisor Liz Printz) and entertain with choreography by Chip Abbott., who makes good use of the small stage. 

Levine's expert direction stunningly creates storytelling as scenes appear  seemingly out of nowhere (assisted by Jack Mehler's rotating and moving set). He creates the illusion one moment of being in a bustling city,  then switches to a quiet moment highlighting one worker's intimate story. It's some of the best direction I have seen on a Connecticut stage.

The updates, including interviews with local Ridgefield workers, help make the work (the book was published in 1974) a bit more relevant.  One criticism: the sound (design by John Salutz0 is too loud for the small theater, especially for this show, where you need to relate to the workers, not feel that they are yelling at you.

Working runs through March 10 at ACT, 36 Old Quarry Road, Ridgefield. Performances are Thursday at 7 pm, Friday at 8 pm, Saturday at 2 and 8 pm and Sunday at 2 pm. Tickets: www.actofct.org; 475-215-5433.

Additional credits:
Music Direction Dan Pardo; Musica Supervision Bryan Perri; Orchestrations: Alex Lacamoire; Lighting Mehler.

Some additional information about the theater since this is the first review included on this site:

ACT of Connecticut (A Contemporary Theatre) is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) Equity theater located in Ridgefield, CT. Founded and led by three accomplished theater professionals (Executive Producer Katie Diamond, Peri and Levine), ACT of CT presents limited engagement runs of well-known Broadway plays and musicals, as well as world-premiere plays and musicals by the next generation of writers and composers. The theater company produces three shows per season, including one show in the “Presenting Stephen Schwartz” series, honoring ACT of CT’s Artistic Advisor, Stephen Schwartz. 

Each show features both Broadway stars and local Fairfield and Westchester County talent. In addition to fully produced main stage productions, ACT of CT hosts new productions, Broadway Unplugged, youth education classes, master classes, camps, workshops, and a conservatory program for high school students. ACT of CT is located at 36 Old Quarry Road, in the beautiful village of Ridgefield, CT. Visit actofct.org for further information.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Be in the Room Where it Happens!

Joseph Morales and Company - HAMILTON National Tour - (c) Joan Marcus 2018
Single tickets for the Connecticut tour stop of Hamilton will go on-sale to the public on Saturday, Sept. 8 at 9 am at www.bushnell.org and at The Bushnell Box Office, 166 Capitol Ave., Hartford. Tickets will be available for performances Dec.11 –  30, 2018.       

There is a maximum purchase limit of four (4) tickets per account for the engagement.  When tickets go on sale, prices will range from $68.50 to $198.50 with a select number of $498.50 premium seats available for all performances (plus applicable service fees).  There will be a lottery for forty (40) $10 seats for all performances. Details will be announced closer to the engagement.

Tickets will NOT be available for purchase by phone.  Additional seats will be made available for sale closer to the engagement. 

Hamilton, inspred by Ron Chernow's bestselling biographyis the story of America's Founding Father Alexander Hamilton, an immigrant from the West Indies, who became George Washington's right-hand man during the Revolutionary War and was the new nation’s first Treasury Secretary. Featuring Lin-Manuel Miranda's score that blends hip-hop, jazz, blues, rap, R&B, and Broadway, the musical is the story of America then, as told by America now. It won the Tony Award for Best Musical n 2016 and continues to be one of Broadway's hardest-to-get tickets -- with people willling to pay hundreds and even thousands of dollars to be in the room where it happens.

Miranda wrote the book, music and lyrcis. Direction is by Thomas Kail, choreography is by Andy Blankenbuehler and musical supervision and orchestrations is by Alex Lacamoire, This ceative team previously collaborated on the 2008 Tony Award Winning Best Musical In the Heights.

Other credits: scenic design by David Korins, costume design by Paul Tazewell, lighting design by Howell Binkley, sound design by Nevin Steinberg, hair and wig design by Charles G. LaPointe.
C O N N E C T I C U T
--- A R T S ---
C O N N E C T I O N

Lauren Yarger with playwright Alfred Uhry at the Mark Twain House. Photo: Jacques Lamarre)

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