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  • Posted 2/27/17 at 12:45 PM
  • Casting

Imagining the Glass Menagerie Dream Team

The Glass Menagerie offers four plum roles, attracting stellar casts. Of the seven previous Broadway productions, which foursome would be the all-time greatest? Consulting reviews and experts, we investigate.

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At 70, Sally Field Gets Her Dream Role

Really, what else is there to talk about? This blustery winter evening, as Sally Field arrives at a quiet restaurant in Greenwich Village, thousands of Yemeni bodega owners are gathered on the steps of Brooklyn’s Borough Hall to protest President Trump’s immigration order. Field turned 70 two days before the election and spoke at two protests on Inauguration Eve, and she’s feeling weird not being out there with them. “Not just weird, but is it wrong?” she wonders. She sheds a black coat, black backpack, and black velour scarf to reveal a mood-appropriate all-black outfit, and locks eyes with the waiter: “I’d like a glass of Chardonnay — ASAP.”

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  • Posted 2/26/17 at 2:51 PM

Australian Children’s Books Author Recounts Aggressive Detainment by U.S. Immigration Officials

One of Australia’s most popular children’s book authors, Mem Fox, has gone on record to share a terrifying experience that she underwent at LAX earlier this month. Speaking to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Fox recounted how after landing at Los Angeles from Australia en route to a literary conference in Milwaukee, she was detained for over two hours and aggressively interrogated by the airport’s border-control agents, who claimed she was traveling with an incorrect visa. “I have never in my life been spoken to with such insolence, treated with such disdain, with so many insults and with so much gratuitous impoliteness,” Fox said. “I felt like I had been physically assaulted which is why, when I got to my hotel room, I completely collapsed and sobbed like a baby, and I’m 70 years old.” Fox, who likened her experience at the airport to being “a prisoner at Guantanamo Bay,” blames President Donald Trump for creating an environment that encourages this type of behavior. “This is what happens when extremists take power,” she explained. “I am old and white, innocent and educated, and I speak English fluently. Imagine what happened to the others in the room, including an old Iranian woman in her 80s, in a wheelchair. The way I was treated would have made any decent American shocked to the core, because that’s not America as a whole, it really isn’t.”

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A Book Publisher Has Really Committed to Trolling Sean Spicer on Twitter

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer has been hazed pretty hard since taking over his role in Donald Trump’s administration. His combative, impatient behavior with the media makes him seem prone to tantrums, which resulted in the damning send-up of him on Saturday Night Live by Melissa McCarthy, and now he’s got a book publisher relentlessly trolling him on Twitter. Lately, things have escalated toward the absurd. Below, a selection of the book publisher’s comments:

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Matthew Weiner on His Upcoming Novel, Mad Men Reunions, and Answering Questions From Fans

On Thursday, the Taschen bookstore in Beverly Hills hosted a Mad Men reunion. The cast — including Jon Hamm, January Jones, Christina Hendricks, Kiernan Shipka, Jessica Paré, Kevin Rahm, and Ben Feldman — along with writers and designers came out to fete the show’s creator, Matthew Weiner, for the launch of the commemorative, two-volume Mad Men book set. As Hamm joked, “Both of my wives are here, so it’s a little awkward for me.”

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Cary Fukunaga Hung From the Ceiling to Shoot Jake Gyllenhaal Singing Sunday in the Park With George

Weeks before last night’s premiere of Sunday in the Park With George, the Stephen Sondheim musical’s star Jake Gyllenhaal and director-auteur Cary Fukunaga got together to make a backstage teaser featuring Gyllenhaal performing the show-stopping number “Finishing the Hat.” Maybe because of Fukunaga, maybe because it showed off the newly renovated Hudson Theatre, but probably because of Gyllenhaal’s vocal chops, the video went viral, to the tune of more than a million views.

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Theater Review: Jake Gyllenhaal in Sunday in the Park With George

A 98-year-old woman named Marie sits in a wheelchair surveying the Georges Seurat painting A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte at the Art Institute of Chicago in 1984. She is, she insists, the artist’s daughter by a model named Dot who appears at the front of the composition. “The child is so sweet and the girls are so rapturous,” Marie sings of the characters Seurat has gathered in perpetuity. “Isn’t it lovely how artists can capture us?”

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Shia LaBeouf’s Anti-Trump Installation Shut Down Following Reported Gunshots

A few days after relocating his anti-Donald Trump art installation, HE WILL NOT DIVIDE US, from New York City to Albuquerque due to the original museum bowing to “political pressure,” Shia LaBeouf has once again been forced to shut down the installation’s livestream, but this time by his own volition. “We have taken the stream down after shots were reported in the area,” LaBeouf wrote in a tweet. “The safety of everybody participating in our project is paramount.” The Albuquerque police department have yet to comment on the reported gunfire, and it’s also not clear how close to the installation site it occurred. However, this isn’t the first time LaBeouf’s four-year interactive project has faced problems in the city — on Tuesday, the site was vandalized with spray paint that read: “Reject False Idols. Do It!” And previously, while still in New York, LaBeouf was arrested for allegedly assaulting someone at the exhibition site. He’s due back in court for that in April.

Watch the Cast of Broadway’s Anastasia Perform New Songs From the Musical

The wistful Russian dreams of ’90s kids will soon be alive again, as a new musical inspired by 1997’s Anastasia comes to Broadway this spring. The new Anastasia is a more grown-up affair than the film. Rasputin and Bartok the talking albino bat are gone, and the show, which played in Hartford before moving to New York, focuses more intently on the Russian Revolution. Plus, the musical simply has more music. Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens, who contributed the music for the animated film, added a slew of new songs to this production and reworked the plot with Ragtime’s Terrence McNally. The musical doesn’t begin previews until March 23, and it opens on April 24, but to hold you over, Vulture has an early look at some of the numbers added to the show.

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  • Posted 2/23/17 at 8:45 AM

The Great Gallerist Andrea Rosen Has Decided to Close Up Shop. This Is a Major Loss.

At 6:36 p.m. Tuesday I — along with many others in the art world — got a form-letter email from one of the better gallerists in New York, Andrea Rosen. It was signed simply Andrea. And it was long — two printed-out pages, 11 paragraphs. Thinking it was gallery news or information about a new artist or exhibition I read the top few paragraphs. It started with “I’m writing to you about some important information regarding Felix Gonzalez-Torres and the gallery.” She went on to say that she’d approached David Zwirner Gallery about co-representing the late great Felix Gonzalez-Torres — Rosen’s amazing debut 1990 show. I stopped reading, pondered the news, and wondered why she’d write so long and personally about this fairly standard co-representation. It was pretty effusive: “My greatest gift in life after having a daughter, is the ongoing honor to work with … Felix.” She also wrote that she’s “extremely interested in collaboration.” Cool.

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  • Posted 2/22/17 at 11:37 AM
  • Media

Why Was Times Theater Critic Charles Isherwood Fired?

Charles Isherwood woke up on the morning of February 3 with one of the best jobs in the country: second-string theater critic for the New York Times. Around noon that day, he was summoned to the Times’s 40th Street office, along with representatives of his union, the NewsGuild of New York. They were called into a room with two senior editors and two other executives. Isherwood was confronted with nine of his own emails, which the paper claimed as evidence that the critic had violated ethical rules. Shortly afterward, he was escorted out of the building. In the two weeks since, no one who knows the details has spoken publicly, and those Times-watchers and Broadway people who don’t know can hardly talk about anything else. It’s not every day that a Times employee — never mind one of the most prominent theater critics in the country — is so publicly given the boot.

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Glenn Close Is Ready for a Second Turn in Sunset Boulevard

“Norma Desmond is one of the great characters ever written for a woman, certainly a woman of a certain age,” says Glenn Close, dressed for comfort in all black as we walk to lunch at Cafe Cluny after dropping off her loyal white Havanese, Pip, at her apartment. Pip was wearing a collar that read BAD TO THE BONE, and he coordinated well with Close’s short, wig-friendly natural coif; they go most places together, it seems. “And now,” Close says, “I’m a woman of a certain certain age.” And she’s back playing Desmond on Broadway.

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  • Posted 2/21/17 at 9:00 PM

Theater Review: Branden Jacobs-Jenkins Brings a 600-Year-Old Play Up to the Moment With Everybody

Branden Jacobs-Jenkins — a MacArthur genius, a Pulitzer finalist, and a recipient of Yale’s Windham–Campbell Literature Prize — gets my award for most restless playwright. Five of his works have been produced in New York since 2010; none seem to come from the same universe. Gloria, which horrified me (and not in the good way), was an office satire about magazine menials that turned into a Grand Guignol; An Octoroon, which thrilled me (is there a bad way to be thrilled?), reclaimed plantation melodrama as racial inquiry. I don’t know what Appropriate was, except a mess, albeit one that got its share of praise and nominations. Neighbors was suburban minstrelsy done in blackface. Jacobs-Jenkins seemed to be making a beeline to everywhere.

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  • Posted 2/21/17 at 2:20 AM

Long Lost Walt Whitman Novel Has Been Found 165 Years Later

Walt Whitman might be best known for his genre-defying poetic masterpiece Leaves of Grass, but the 19th-century writer was far from a one trick pony. Last year, graduate student Zachary Turpin discovered a long lost Dickensian serialized novel written by Whitman that was last seen in print 165 years ago, reports the New York Times. The 36,000-word story Life and Adventures of Jack Engle, is a first-person narrative following an orphan on his journey through New York, which included a full cast of colorful, diabolical money-and-power-hungry characters, as well as “virtuous Quakers” and a “sultry Spanish dancer.” Researchers believe that the work was never reprinted after it was published anonymously in the New York–area newspaper The Sunday Dispatch.

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Shia LaBeouf’s Anti-Trump Art Project Relaunches in New Mexico After Original Museum ‘Bowed to Political Pressure’ and Shut It Down

HE WILL NOT DIVIDE US will not, in fact, be divided much longer. Shia LaBeouf’s anti–Donald Trump half-livestream, half-performance-art-project will permanently move to the El Rey Theater in Albuquerque, New Mexico, a week after it was shut down over public-safety concerns at the Museum of the Moving Image in New York City. (It culminated in LaBeouf getting arrested for allegedly assaulting someone at the exhibition site.) LaBeouf and his collaborators, Rönkkö & Turner, announced the cross-country move on their website, using the majority of their statement to harshly criticize the original museum for abandoning their project. “Their evident lack of commitment to the project is damning,” the statement reads. “From the outset, the museum failed to address our concerns about the misleading framing of our piece as a political rally, rather than as a participatory performance artwork resisting the normalization of division. In fact, the museum demonstrated a spectacular lack of judgement.”

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  • Posted 2/17/17 at 10:50 AM

The Golden Girls Proved Its Fearlessness Yet Again When It Tackled the AIDS Epidemic

When The Golden Girls debuted earlier this week on Hulu, scores of fans — most of us no doubt wearied by the constant worrying news out of Washington — turned to the streaming service in search of some comforting, familiar slut jokes and St. Olaf stories.

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  • Posted 2/16/17 at 9:47 PM

Theater Reviews: Evening at the Talk House and Escaped Alone

For at least 30 years, Wallace Shawn has been warning theatergoers about totalitarianism: how near it is, how easily we might acquiesce in it. I have to admit I’ve sometimes found his alarm to be a little, well, alarmist. In plays including Aunt Dan and Lemon (1985) and The Designated Mourner (1996), which were set in dystopian versions of our own society, intimations of strongmen with final solutions materialized within genre frameworks that barely seemed able to support them. Aunt Dan and Lemon begins as a family drama and The Designated Mourner as an academic satire; I wanted them to stay that way. Still, something always stuck with me about the nervousness and dawning horror of those plays, the way they suggested that our comfortable world is always just a series of smallish blunders away from disaster. Even dear, cosmopolitan New York, in Shawn’s vision, could turn unresistingly into a post-Soviet or South American–style nightmare. Like the playwright himself, who makes his living impersonating cute gnomes in movies and television, these works were adorable in précis but tremendously darker upon inspection.

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Mick Jagger Wrote a Crazy Memoir, and We’re Likely Never Going to See It

You can’t always get what you want, especially if that thing you want is a tell-all memoir written by a certain man named Michael Philip “Mick” Jagger. In a piece for Britain’s Spectator, publisher and rock historian John Blake has revealed that despite Jagger being vocal throughout his entire life about not having a desire to write down his extraordinary life experiences, he had, in fact, written a “75,000-word manuscript” in the early 1980s that Blake is currently in possession of. As the story goes, Jagger was approached in the 1970s to write a memoir with a massive monetary advance, but his interest gradually waned and he walked away from the project. In the 1980s, though, Jagger ultimately decided he wanted to pursue the memoir, and wrote a “pristine typescript” that has still not seen the light of day. “So far as I have been able to ascertain, a publisher rejected the manuscript because it was light on sex and drugs,” Blake explained. “In the early 1980s, when it was written, shock and awe was a vital part of any successful autobiography. Read now, however, it is a little masterpiece. A perfectly preserved time capsule written when the Stones had produced all their greatest music but still burned with the passion and fire of youth and idealism.”

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  • Posted 2/16/17 at 10:04 AM
  • Theater

Sara Bareilles in Talks to Join Broadway’s Waitress in the Lead Role

After receiving Grammy and Tony nominations for writing the music and lyrics for Broadway’s Waitress, Sara Bareilles will star in the show herself. The New York Times reported today that Bareilles will replace Jessie Mueller in the lead role for ten weeks, starting on March 31. Billboard first reported that Bareilles was in talks to join the musical in January. This will be the pop star’s Broadway debut, and yes, you’re already crying over her rendition of “She Used to Be Mine.”

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Hamilton Star to Replace Josh Groban in The Great Comet of 1812

How do you replace a name as recognizable as Josh Groban? Broadway’s Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812 is going with a man who needs no introduction, Hercules Mulligan. The show announced today that Okieriete “Oak” Onaodowan, who originated the role of Mulligan and James Madison in Hamilton, will replace Groban in the role of Pierre starting July 3. He’ll star alongside Denée Benton, who currently plays Natasha, meaning that the show, which is based on sections of Tolstoy’s War and Peace, will have two black actors playing lead characters not specifically written to be black. Also, we hope this means that Onaodowan follows Josh Groban’s footsteps elsewhere and releases a whole Christmas album, preferably all in a Hercules Mulligan voice.

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