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The drama, the laughter, the tears just like pearls”: lyrics to the song “Let Me Be Your Star,” yes, but also what we’ve come to expect from the theater itself, onstage and off. New York CIty’s theater industry is often dazzling, absurd, cruel, heartbreaking, and ridiculous all at once. For every show that becomes a sensation, so many others flop, and even ones that seem like hits might not actually be making money. It’s a baffling tangle, but good news for us: Behind the scenes or in the footlights, there’s always something interesting to talk about.

I’m Jackson McHenry, a senior writer at Vulture. This spring, as New York theater works through its mid-pandemic state of being and Broadway revs up for an overstuffed April, I’ll be covering all the highs and lows in a new weekly newsletter, Stage Whisperer. Starting Monday, April 11, we’ll talk about the onslaught of shows that are opening as the Tony Awards approach, the chatter about what’s working and what isn’t, the promising (or potentially disastrous) productions that you likely haven’t seen yet, and what’s exciting about the ones you already have.