This Week on Broadway – 05.01.17

Broadway Theatre in NYC

Here’s a quick glance of some notable happenings on the Great White Way this week:

Reviews:

Anastasia

Anastasia, the new stage musical featuring several beloved songs from the 1997 animated film, officially opened on Broadway last week at the Broadhurst Theatre. Reviews were mixed, with some championing the classic story elements, high production values and central performance by Christy Altomare: Variety – “Sumptuous…Director Tresnjak, together with [a] first-class design team, weave an enchanting spell.” Time Out NY – “…the richest and fullest family show to hit Broadway in years.”  NY Times – “Altomare commits herself to her part with melodramatic focus and a soaring pop voice.” But some critics found the new musical far from charming, finding the material inconsistent and bland: NY Daily News –  “The show…suffers from its own identity crisis. It’s got a split personality and is torn between whether it’s serious drama or frothy musical comedy.” Newsday – “Pretty but dispiritingly predictable… a vapid story that has absolutely no context for a revolution that, in this version of history, only turns out paupers and bureaucratic puppets.” Read more review excerpts and purchase tickets.

Six Degrees of Separation

The Broadway revival of John Guare’s Six Degrees of Separation, starring seven-time Emmy Award winner Allison Janney, opened last week at the Barrymore Theatre. Critics were mostly unanimous in their praise for the new production, emphasizing the strong performances and still relevant issues the play explores: Time Out NY – “Guare’s elegant and elegiac social dramedy actually seems startlingly prophetic in the age of data mining, catfishing and avatars.” NY Daily News – “Surrounded by a crack ensemble of Broadway vets and newcomers, the three leads shine.” However, a few critics found the material a bit dated: Variety – “Today, with social barriers considerably more fluid, the con seems quaint. Were sophisticated New Yorkers ever that gullible?” NY Magazine – “…at the edges, the play has been softened by time and by a production that gets a few things wrong. But even softened slightly as it is in this production, the play’s brutal message comes through.” Read more review excerpts and purchase discount tickets.

Bandstand

Following a world premiere at New Jersey’s Paper Mill Playhouse in 2015, the new musical Bandstand opened on Broadway last week at the Jacobs Theatre. The new musical received a mixed response from critics, with several reviews noting the conflict between its lighthearted elements and the more serious subject matter:  Entertainment Weekly – “‘Bandstand’ offers plenty to entertain in the moment, but despite its weighty theme, little lingers.” Time Out NY – “‘Bandstand’ dances a delicate line between nostalgia and disillusion. What it seems to promise, and often delivers, is Broadway escapism.” But most felt the production did not reach the heights of its lofty ambitions: NY Times – “Openhearted, indecisive…an undercooked slice of apple pie, served with a dollop of anguish.” Newsday – “The concept is more ambitious, darker and more sophisticated than its name invites theatergoers to enjoy. It is also more than a little shapeless and overly long.” Read more review excerpts and purchase discount tickets.

A Doll’s House, Part 2

The Broadway premiere of Lucas Hnath’s new play, A Doll’s House, Part 2, starring three-time Emmy Award-winner Laurie Metcalf, opened last week at the Golden Theatre. Reviews were unified in their acclaim for this contemporary and comedic follow-up to Henrik Ibsen’s classic drama, as well as the standout performance given by Metcalf: NY Times – “Smart, funny and utterly engrossing…and features a magnificent Metcalf leading one of the best casts in town.” Newsday – “Dazzling theatrical fireworks…The play – a psychologically serious, deliciously amusing tragicomedy – extends Ibsen’s three-act masterwork …in an intense but surprisingly breezy 90 minutes.” Variety – “Hnath’s dialogue, slangy and vulgar and brightly idiomatic, is full of zingers. Metcalf is amazing, uncovering so many facets to Nora…while retaining the humor to laugh at her idiocies.” Entertainment Weekly – “Hnath’s script is an irreverent yet respectful take on the source material. It may rely a little heavily on wink-wink, nod-nod references to the future…but it becomes clear that this is not your grandmother’s Ibsen.” Read more review excerpts and purchase discount tickets.

News and Notes:

Tony Award Nominations Announced Tuesday

  • Nominations for the 2017 Tony Awards will be announced Tuesday morning, May 2. Hamilton Tony nominee Christopher Jackson and Tony winner Jane Krakowski will announce the nominations live from the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center. Kevin Spacey, the self-described “fifteenth choice” for host, will preside over the ceremony itself on June 11th at Radio City Music Hall, which will be televised on CBS. The announcement event will be live-streamed at TonyAwards.com beginning at 8:30 AM. More details here.

Hello, Dolly! Leads Drama Desk Nominations

  • The mega-selling revival of Hello, Dolly! led the pack of nominations for the 2017 Drama Desk Awards, racking up 10 nods in categories including outstanding revival, lead actress (for Bette Midler) as well as featured actor and actress. Anastasia, the new musical with its own promising box office headwinds behind it, scored nine nominations, including best musical, lead actress (Christy Altomare), music and book, while Come From Away also notched nine. The Drama Desk Awards, celebrating the best in Broadway and Off Broadway, are the last to be presented each theater season before The Tony Awards. Drama Desk Award winner and former show host Michael Urie will emcee the awards ceremony June 4 at Town Hall in New York City. More details here. See a list of all nominees here.

Tony Awards to Reinstate Sound Design Categories

  •  In 2018, the Tony Awards will be bringing back the two sound design awards – best sound design of a play and best sound design of a musical – that it created in 2008 and then eliminated in 2014. The decision, which was announced Monday by Tony Awards organizers, follows an 18-month review of all categories by the Tony Awards Administration Committee, which was “conducted in consultation with industry professionals including several sound designers,” according to a press release.  Concerns about the adjudication of these two categories, in part, led to their demise, and also threatened the continued existence of the best orchestrations Tony. Consequently, the Administration Committee created “a new voting process” that will apply to all three categories. More details here.

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