Curtainup Founder & Editor Elyse Sommer's Epilogue -- I've passed the torch for reviewing and editing new theater productions on and off-Broadway and elsewhere. However, I'll continue to sound off here with my take on Live and Onscreen Entertainment. As for Curtainup's extensive content since 1996-- it's all sill available at

Monday, September 12, 2022

Blogspot Blog Update: September 12, 2022

Shakespeare Gets The Last Word In King Charles' Farewell To His Mama, The Queen

In his first speech as Queen Elizabeth II's successor, her son gave Shakespeare the final words for his  mother with "May flights of angels sing thee to thy rest (Hamlet)." But while Shakespeare's plays  about historic royals were full of violence and power-seeking political machinations, the legacy of her  70-year spanning reign was that she remained a consistently neutral head no matter how societal changes affected even her own family. As one reporter about her death at 96 so aptly put it, this left her life "an  outline" open to interpretation.

 No wonder so many outstanding actors have put their own stamp on that "outline" in stage and screen  dramas like The Crown and The Queen, both still streaming at Netflix, with a highly anticipated new  season of the former due soon. It's a sure bet that the never-ending fascination with the British royals  will continue the flow of dramas about past and present royals.

 While Shakespeare continues to be a steady presence on our cultural landscape and his texts remain  favorite sources for apt comments at the right time and place, plenty of other plays have entered the  cannon of  stage-and-screen classics. They've thus also been ripe for brand-new presentations. One of  the most interesting examples coming up on Broadway next year is the musical 1776, about the   contentious forging of the document that would establish a new nation. Diane Paulus and Jeffrey Page  are presenting it with a cast haggling about that document's details that is all female, and in some roles transgender.

A Christmas Carol Also Gets a New Casting Twist

 For millions of people, it wouldn't be Christmas without Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol. This  year, the beloved classic gets a new casting twist. Jefferson Mays, who gave the solo play new status  with his Pulitzer Prize-winning I Am My Own Wife, is taking on all the characters on Broadway during the coming holiday season.  It will run at the Nederlander Theater from November 8 to January 1.  

Even with more conventional casting, annual productions have been off-Broadway. In the same vein, Cost of Living would not extend its 2017 off-Broadway life (when  I  reviewed  it) before the current aims to make Broadway more diverse. It's therefore now premiering at MTC's Samuel J. Friedman Theatre with an official opening on October 3rd.

An Off-Broadway Theater's Attempt to Attract Audiences With Affordable Tickets

The Off-Broadway incubator Ars Nova on West 54th Street will allow audience members to pay what they wish for theater tickets in a new initiative called "What’s Ars Is Yours: Name Your Price"  for its 2022-23 season. Tickets will start at $5 and increase in $5 increments up to $100 per ticket. The season includes the world premiere of Hound Dog (Oct. 6-Nov. 5), and the world premiere of (Pray) from March 9-April 15. On Broadway, casting plays by proven playwrights and with stars is still the best way to sell tickets. Case-in-point: Laura Linney will return to Broadway next spring in Summer 1976, a new play by David Auburn about a friendship that arises between two women during America’s bicentennial.

 Series Continue To Hang In Longer Than They Should

Only Murders in the Building hopscotches cleverly between farcical humor and its trio of amateur  sleuths' darker sides. Steve Martin plays a once-famous TV actor, Martin Short is a down-on-his-luck Broadway director, and Selena Gomez is a young artist with her own issues. All live in an elegant   historic Manhattan apartment house (the interiors shot in one of the more renowned of these Upper West Side buildings). The amateur Sherlocks also manage to turn their crime-solving efforts into a popular podcast. Obviously, very timely. And, obviously, encouraging Hulu to let the series overstay its welcome to cash in on its success. The second season just wasn't as funny, but given the terrific acting and clever filming, the fan base did hold and yet another season is on the streaming horizon.

Working Girl, a 1988 Movie Gem, Becoming a Broadway Musical 

Working Girl, a  delightful 1988 movie that starred Melanie Griffith and Sigourney Weaver, is now being brought to the stage as a musical (music and lyrics by Cyndi Lauper; directed by Christopher Ashley; scripted by Theresa  Rebeck). But why wait?  You can catch the movie if you're a Hulu subscriber or rent or buy it at Amazon Prime.

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