What happens when a great new play touches down in the world capital of theatre? | THE FERRYMAN at Royal Court goes nuclear

The Ferryman Royal Court
Sure, they’re British. But still. Londoners have lost their minds over Jez Butterworth’s new play, THE FERRYMAN.

Hark! It’s a rock concert, it’s a world cup soccer match, it’s a – play?

If now and then you forgot just how insanely popular theatre can be when a play connects with the audience in a real theatre town, well, we’d understand.

I mean, outside of HAMILTON and a few other shows, how often is it that an old-fashioned theatre play sets a city on fire?  It happens.  But way less frequently than it should.

Too often it’s the opposite end of the spectrum – begging and pleading with people to shell out $8 for a show.  And still they won’t come.  That’s not how it should be.

Well, hello London.  Jez Butterworth’s new play THE FERRYMAN started previews this past Monday at the Royal Court, and it appears we have a Nantucket sleigh ride on our hands.

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For Oregon: All the world’s a stage

And the envelope says…

Lynn Nottage wins her second Pulitzer for SWEAT, a play commissioned and premiered by the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.

We’ve known for a few years now, but this really drives it home:  Oregon (Ashland, Oregon, to be specific) has become one of the great theatre centers of the world.

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Back to Broadway – Third new play in two years from Tracy Letts premieres at Steppenwolf in November 2017

With current goings on in Washington, the theatre has been crying out for a big new play on politics.  And who better to do it than Tracy Letts.

THE MINUTES will open at Steppenwolf in November 2017 and then transfer to Broadway.

This is the third new play in two years for Letts.

Meanwhile his LINDA VISTA opens March 30, 2017 at Steppenwolf.

The show is always on with L.A. Theatre Works

If you like theatre, you should know about L.A. Theatre Works.  But I’m betting you don’t.  So here’s a heads up to get the new year rolling.

L.A Theatre Works has been producing plays for audio in front of a live audience for over 25 years. They started off with CD’s in the mail and now distribute via all the usual channels, including Audible.  Their catalogue has grown to over 400 titles.  And many of these are blindingly good, must-listen shows.

L.A. Theatre Works

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New York’s Second Stage Theater to produce A PARALLELOGRAM by Bruce Norris in summer of 2017

New York’s Second Stage Theater is on a roll.

Not that they weren’t on a roll before. But now they are REALLY, REALLY on a roll.

After acquiring the Helen Hayes Theatre in April of 2015, this upstart Off Broadway producer has moved stoutly onto the Great White Way.  Even more impressive: the new Broadway space is dedicated to only contemporary playwrights.  That’s right.

The company now has three (count ‘me) spaces around Manhattan. And from the looks of it, new productions are lining up in the queue like planes at EWR.

You can see the exciting lineup for next year here.

But one to call out right now is the rarely staged A PARALLELORAM by Bruce Norris.

And another is THE MAN FROM NEBRASKA by Chicago double threat Tracy Letts.

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INCOMING: New York Theatre Blitz | 6 days, 9 plays

In most American cities, you can wait and wait for a show to come along that you’re really excited about seeing. Maybe once or twice a year you get lucky. But in America’s theatre capital, you’ve got the opposite problem.

In New York, there are always more good shows on than you have time to see. Being an avid theatregoer on “The Main Stem”, as Erie Smith in Eugene O’Neill’s HUGHIE called Broadway, involves no small amount of white knuckle drama. And that’s before the curtain even rises. The art of play selection is fraught. If you select a dud, not only do you have to absorb the body blow of that experience, you also squander a slot you could have used to see something good. So pick carefully, people.

I’m on a #NYCtheatreBlitz right now. So far every single pick has been dead on. Note that seeing theatre in New York does not have to be expensive. In fact, if you know how to work all the various specials, email lists and that juggernaut of theatre discounts, TDF, you can see theatre here for far LESS than in the hinterlands. Which really makes no sense when you think about it. But so it goes.

Full reviews to come once the dust settles.

Tuesday 11.10.2015 8:00P Soho Rep – FUTURITY $55
Wednesday 11.11.2015 2P Broadway – KING CHARLES III by Mike Bartlett $37
Wednesday 11.11.2015 7:30P Signature Theatre – NIGHT IS A ROOM by Naomi Wallace $31.50
Thursday 11.12.2015 8:00P MCC Theater – LOST GIRLS by John Pollono COMP
Friday 11.13.2015 7:00P LCT3 – KILL FLOOR by Abe Koogler $34
Saturday 11.14.2015 1:30P Roundabout Theatre – UGLY LIES THE BONE by Lindsey Ferrentino COMP
Saturday 11.14.2015 8:00P Lesser America – THE BACHELORS by Caroline V. McGraw $22
Sunday 11.15.2015 2P Public Theater – ECLIPSED by Danai Gurira $97
Sunday 11.15.2015 7:00P Playwrights Horizons – HIR by Taylor Mac $75

Here here for Taylor Mac’s HIR at Playwrights Horizons

Taylor Mac is having a mainstream moment. The New York artist’s new play HIR opened last night at Playwrights Horizons to an industrial strength NYT rave. I’m seeing the show Sunday.  Glad I got tickets a while back before the sell out whoosh kicked in.

When you’re done with the NYT piece, roll over to this New Yorker review by Hilton Als.

The morning after a NYT rave.  SOLD OUT!
The morning after a NYT rave. SOLD OUT!