SOLD OUT: David Byrne’s latest at Public Theater is already gone

Off the charts demand is a beautiful thing.  That’s the way it should be for theatre – not begging people to come support you, but rather battening down the hatches to control a wait list line that stretches around the block for a sold out show.

At the Public Theater, JOAN OF ARC: INTO THE FIRE, an exciting new show from David Byrne, opens next week.

But unless you have a ticket, it’s already gone, gone, GONE.

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Great email is how the audience knows the show is great

Let’s be brutally honest.  Most theatre email marketing sucks.  It looks like it was designed by your 65 year old Uncle Charlie, who’s not big into – you know – design.  It’s boring and dull.  And it’s ineffective.  It simply assumes that the audience cares – vs. telling them WHY they should care.  It doesn’t display on mobile.  It’s one of the reasons your seats are empty and tickets are going for half off fire sales at the online equivalent of Rocco’s 24 Hour Pawn.

Here are a few examples of theatre email that go straight in the trash.

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Continue reading “Great email is how the audience knows the show is great”

Why you need a graphic designer

Most of the time, most days in every month, your audience is not in the theatre seeing shows.  They’re out there in the world, doing what they do: swimming at The Dock, fastening miniature horses to sidewalk rings, dodging below crane-a-palooza.  Maybe that’s only in Portland.

And when they’re not physically present in the theatre, which is most of the time, how do they experience your brand?  It happens internally.  Any time you come to mind, they replay a mental news reel that sums up all the various memories and associations they have.  And other than the quality of your shows, probably nothing influences what they think as much as your graphic design.

Continue reading “Why you need a graphic designer”

CAREER SUICIDE by Chris Gethard at Culture Project

CAREER SUICIDE by Chris Gethard

Culture Project at Lynn Redgrave Theater

Thru Jan 8, 2017

3-stars

Stand up comedy seems to have its share of substance abuse and extreme emotions. From the smoking craters of several career directions, Gethard weaves a personal story about how he finally figured out the right dosage and made a life on stage and off. Now we know: NJ is crazy.

THE DEATH OF THE LAST BLACK MAN… by Suzan-Lori Parks at Signature Theatre

THE DEATH OF THE LAST BLACK MAN IN THE WHOLE ENTIRE WORLD AKA THE NEGRO BOOK OF THE DEAD by Suzan-Lori Parks

Directed by Lileana Blain-Cruz

Signature Theatre

Thru Dec 18

4-stars

When in the theatre – do what can only be done in the theatre.  Color, costume, words. The avant garde language of Parks is framed and filled out by masterful direction from Lileana Blain-Cruz. This talented new director keeps her streak of utterly theatrical experiences going strong.

MATILDA by Dennis Kelly and Tim Minchin at Shubert Theater

MATILDA by Dennis Kelly and Tim Minchin (via Ronald Dahl)

Shubert Theater on Broadway

Thru January 1, 2017

4-stars

#JoyAlert. Even while many ingredients are well known and commonly used, the combination here connects deeply.  That’s what arch types do.  Willow McCarthy mesmerizing as our little reader and revolutionary.  Bryce Ryness crucial as the iron-breasted Miss Trunchbull.  Though it must be said he simply channels the great David Thewlis.

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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NIGHT IS A ROOM by Naomi Wallace at Signature Theatre

NIGHT IS A ROOM by Naomi Wallace at Signature Theatre

Directed by Bill Rauch

4-stars

Stunning piece of modern art. Like a glittering shard of glass. But as soon as you stop to pick up this jagged jewel you’re going to get cut. One of the best plays I’ve seen in a long time. With a dark, unmentioned Irish back story careful viewers will see.

Thru Dec. 20

ECLIPSED by Danai Gurira at the Public Theater

ECLIPSED by Danai Gurira at the Public Theater

Immaculately crafted and accurately rendered. But what is missing is theatre magic – something to take the story into another level of resonance, impact, meaning. The gaze of the offstage men is chilling. After we get the setup, there’s little significant development or change. Inevitably a comparison to RUINED comes up.

Thru Nov. 29

Then headed to Broadway.

HIR by Taylor Mac at Playwrights Horizons

HIR by Taylor Mac at Playwrights Horizons

Taylor Mac’s disruptive and often gripping play is 3/4 of the way to being something great. But problems of physical pacing, plot and setting hold it back. Laundry lists of acronyms serve as unintentional parody of our own self-obsessed present. Mother’s bright demeanor does not ring true. Still quite an achievement.

Thru Dec. 20