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.

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

THE FERRYMAN by Jez Butterworth opens April 24 at the Royal Court

There are a lot of exciting things in the theatre these days. London’s Royal Court Theatre is one of them.  Jez Butterworth is another.  And a new play by Jez Butterworth at the Royal Court?  It doesn’t get much more exciting than that.  THE FERRYMAN opens April 24.

Continue reading “THE FERRYMAN by Jez Butterworth opens April 24 at the Royal Court”

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.

Review: ASTORIA at Portland Center Stage is a wooden, pre-modern melodrama about heroic white men battling the wilderness – minus Eugene Levy

ASTORIA Adapted by Chris Coleman at Portland Center Stage

3-stars

Thru February 19, 2017

If you’re setting sail on the perilous journey of adapting a long historical drama for the stage, particularly one that tries to deal with the glorious (or not) story of America’s early days, you should be very familiar with two examples from the genre that define a spectrum of possible outcomes.

On one end, HAMILTON, the international juggernaut that breathes life into history by using forms and multi ethnic bodies of the present.  On the other, RED, WHITE AND BLAINE, the show staged inside of the film WAITING FOR GUFFMAN that has become a defining reference for amateur community theatre and (more subtly) oblivious historical white washing of what life on the merry frontier was like.

Astoria at Portland Center Stage
“How high a ridge I could not tell.” Eugene Levy could make ASTORIA really fun.
Continue reading “Review: ASTORIA at Portland Center Stage is a wooden, pre-modern melodrama about heroic white men battling the wilderness – minus Eugene Levy”

Curious Theatre to produce Robert Schenkkan’s BUILDING THE WALL in April 2017

When real world events move fast and furious, it can be hard to get new plays out there that address what’s happening.  It takes a while to write a play.  And many theatres plan their seasons years in advance.

For Denver’s Curious Theatre, the recent elevation of an orangutan-maned lunatic to president was reason enough to move fast and furious.  They’ll be producing BUILDING THE WALL by Robert Schenkkan April 4-19, 2017.

Building the Wall by Robert Schenkkan

Double threat Tracy Letts prepares another world premiere for Steppenwolf

He can act, he can write.  And he has won big awards for both disciplines.  For all we know, the man can also sing and dance and is readying his musical debut.  Any way you look at it, Steppenwolf Theatre ensemble member Tracy Letts is a force on the American stage and screen.

And he’s got another new play comin’ at you.  Soon.

Running March 30 – May 21, 2017, Letts’s Linda Vista hits the boards at Steppenwolf.

Looking for a destination theatre trip to put some spring in your step?  This promises to be one worth traveling for.

BLOOD ON THE BOOKS by Nick Zagone at Shaking the Tree

There are compelling dramatic threads and several strong performances here. But the central scaffolding does not always hold up. Perhaps too much direct address to audience, and not enough interaction between the characters. One thing that’s prescient though: One day Powell’s will go under. You heard it here first. Poof.

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

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!