October 7, 2017
The Latest News About "Broadway & Me"
Regular readers may have noticed that I haven't been posting as often as I usually do. But that doesn't mean I haven't been seeing shows and having thoughts about them. In fact, I seem to be doing more of that than ever. It's just that I've been doing it in different places and now I want to share some of that with you.
I didn't get the chance to write about Suzan-Lori Park's The Red Letter Plays, which are now coming to the ends of their runs at Signature Theatre. Both plays were inspired by "The Scarlet Letter," Nathaniel Hawthorne's classic novel about a woman ostracized by her 17th century Puritan community for having a child out of wedlock, and by the more contemporary disgrace of income inequality. Director Jo Bonney's production of Fucking A, a Brechtian piece in which the letter stigmatizes the local abortionist, worked best for me largely because of its brilliant cast which included Christine Lahti, Brandon Victor Dixon, Joaquina Kalukango and Marc Kudisch. But there are also moments to recommend in Sarah Benson's more absurdist take on In the Blood, in which the letter is the only part of the alphabet recognized by a poor illiterate mother struggling to care for her six illegitimate children. You can hear my thoughts about both on the Sept. 17 episode of "This Week on Broadway" in which I filled in for podcast regular Peter Filichia by clicking here.
I'm a longtime fan of Amy Herzog's work and her latest play Mary Jane is running at New York Theatre Workshop through Oct. 29 with Carrie Coon giving a quietly devastating performance as a single mom caring for a severely ill child. The production is directed by Anne Kauffman who collaborated for the sixth time with the up-and-coming designer Laura Jellinek to create a set that captures the hermetic world in which the mother and child exist—and which I discussed with Jellinek for a story that ran in "TDF Stages" and which you can find here.
And just this week, I saw Too Heavy for Your Pocket, an affecting new play set against the backdrop of the Freedom Rides in 1961. It opened in the Roundabout Theatre's Underground space Thursday night and marks the New York debut of Jiréh Breon Holder, who won this year's Laurents/Hatcher Foundation Award for emerging playwrights. I also got to interview Holder and my conversation with him marks the debut of the new BroadwayRadio podcast "Stagecraft," in which I'll be talking to playwrights and muscial book writers about their shows. I'm really excited about this new venture, already have some other fascinating writers lined up and hope you will listen in, which you can begin to do here.
Finally, you may have heard that I've also been invited to be one of the guest co-hosts on the long-running TV series "TheatreTalk." It's all adding up to a busy and exciting theater season for me and I hope to continue sharing it with all of you in all those places and, of course, right here.