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.
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.
ASTORIA Adapted by Chris Coleman at Portland Center Stage
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
A phenomenal all star local cast (plus @keikogreen down from #SEAthtr) generates more heat than the at times meandering script (and under air conditioned space) can handle. But there is plenty of promise in evidence. We need to hear more from Copeland – and see a lot more of Tiffany Groben.
When SWEAT, the new play by Lynn Nottage getting its world premiere at Oregon Shakespeare Festival, is gone, Reading (pronounced “red-ing”), Pennsylvania will still be there.
And then what?
Nottage has spent several years visiting Reading gathering material for her play. But she did not want that to be the end of a heightened focus on de-industrializing American towns.
To continue the dialog and also give something back to the town, Nottage has created The Reading Project (again pronounced “red-ing as in the town), a collaboration between Market Road Films, which is run by Nottage and Tony Gerber, and New York’s Labyrinth Theatre Company.
So far you can see a few videos on Market Road Films’ Vimeo that feature some of the voices Nottage heard on her trips to Reading.
But there’s more coming up. And you know with Nottage and Labyrinth involved, you’re going to want to see what they come up with. So watch this space.