News

Returning shows give Broadway a happy glow

Robert Feldberg and Matthew Van Dusen
The Record (Hackensack N.J.) (MCT)

NEW YORK -- They weren't brushing up their Shakespeare, but Broadway's actors were very busy Thursday honing their other theater skills.

After the 19-day stagehands strike finally ended late Wednesday night, producers were eager to get going again - and start making money - and they reopened all 26 struck shows Thursday night.

The musical "Chicago" offered a special deal: All seats that had not been previously sold went for $26.50. After the house was sold out by Thursday afternoon, the deal was offered again for Sunday's matinee.

Broadway's performers had little time to prepare for their return, and they spent varying amounts of time Thursday getting back into the swing of things.

All shows had rehearsals. "Grease" had a call for 2:30 p.m. "Wicked" scheduled a brief run-through at 7 p.m., just an hour before curtain time.

"I'm so happy to get back to the theater; after all, there's no place like home," said Annaleigh Ashford, who plays Glinda in "Wicked,"` a quasi-prequel to "The Wizard of Oz."

Around Times Square, the scene was chaotic as thousands of theater fans milled outside TKTS, the discount ticket outlet on the ground floor of the Marriott Marquis hotel.

Dori Scallet, 22, of Chicago planned to see a preview of Aaron Sorkin's "The Farnsworth Invention," a play about the beginnings of television that will debut Dec. 3.

Scallet, an actress herself, made do during the strike by watching off-Broadway shows, but was happy to see a big production.

"It's still the mecca of theater, though it's very commercial," Scallet said.

Moraima Hamue, 47, and her daughter, Kristen, 17, of Weehawken, N.J., made last-minute plans to attend Thursday night's performance of "Chicago" after reading about the strike's resolution on the Internet on Thursday morning. Hamue asked her husband, who works in Manhattan, to pick up a pair of $26.50 tickets. She had assumed - incorrectly, it turned out - that there was a two-ticket limit.

"We met him, he gave us the tickets, and he went home," she said.

Before the curtain went up for the "Chicago" performance at the Ambassador Theatre, producer Barry Weissler thanked audience members for their patience.

"We're sorry if we frustrated you for a short while," he said. "We're back where we belong, and you're back where you belong."

Karen Garcia of Cherry Hill, N.J., and her friend Chris Westhaver of Boston hoped to see the show "Jersey Boys" now that the strike was over. On Thursday, however, they were off to see "Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas," which resumed its limited holiday run last week after a court order cleared it to reopen.

"We wanted to get seasonal," Garcia said.

Long-running shows were able to pick up where they left off, but things weren't so simple for productions that had had to cancel their openings because of the strike.

They scrambled to announce new dates, not wanting to wait too long, yet needing at least a few preview performances before welcoming the critics. The result is a fairly jammed schedule of openings.

"August: Osage County," a domestic comedy-drama written by Tracy Letts, will follow on Wednesday. ("I'm delighted. I'm ecstatic!" was Letts' reaction to the strike settlement, which allows him to make his Broadway debut.)

Next up, on Thursday, will be "The Seafarer," an Irish drama by Conor McPherson.

"Is He Dead?" a rediscovered comedy by Mark Twain, will debut Dec. 9.

The revival of Harold Pinter's drama "The Caretaker" has put off its opening from Dec. 13 to Dec. 16.

Disney's "The Little Mermaid" canceled its planned Dec. 6 opening during the strike, and has now pushed it back to Jan. 10. It will continue to perform in previews.

Music


Books


Film


Recent
Love in the Time of Coronavirus

Street Art As Sprayed Solidarity: Global Corona Graffiti

COVID-19-related street art functions as a vehicle for political critique and social engagement. It offers a form of global solidarity in a time of crisis.

Music

Gretchen Peters Honors Mickey Newbury With "The Sailor" and New Album (premiere + interview)

Gretchen Peters' latest album, The Night You Wrote That Song: The Songs of Mickey Newbury, celebrates one of American songwriting's most underappreciated artists. Hear Peters' new single "The Sailor" as she talks about her latest project.

Music

Okkyung Lee Goes From Classical to Noise on the Stellar 'Yeo-Neun'

Cellist Okkyung Lee walks a fine line between classical and noise on the splendid, minimalist excursion Yeo-Neun.

Film

Alastair Sim: A Very English Character Actor Genius

Alastair Sim belongs to those character actors sometimes accused of "hamming it up" because they work at such a high level of internal and external technique that they can't help standing out.

Music

Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith's New LP Is Lacking in Songcraft but Rich in Texture

Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith's The Mosaic of Transformation is a slightly uneven listen. It generally transcends the tropes of its genre, but occasionally substitutes substance for style.

Music

Buzzcocks' 1996 Album 'All Set' Sees the Veteran Band Stretching Out and Gaining Confidence

After the straightforward and workmanlike Trade Test Transmissions, Buzzcocks continued to hone their fresh identity in the studio, as exhibited on the All Set reissue contained on the new box-set Sell You Everything.

Books

Patrick Madden's 'Disparates' Makes Sense in These Crazy Times

There's no social distancing with Patrick Madden's hilarious Disparates. While reading these essays, you'll feel like he's in the room with you.

Music

Perfume Genius Purges Himself and It's Contagious

You need to care so much about your art to pack this much meaning into not only the words, but the tones that adorn and deliver them. Perfume Genius cares so much it hurts on Set My Heart on Fire Immediately.

Love in the Time of Coronavirus

Confinement and Escape: Emma Donoghue and E.L. Doctorow in Our Time of Self-Isolation

Emma Donoghue's Room and E.L. Doctorow's Homer & Langley define and confront life within limited space.

Books

Political Cartoonist Art Young Was an Aficionado of all Things Infernal

Fantagraphics' new edition of Inferno takes Art Young's original Depression-era critique to the Trump White House -- and then drags it all to Hell.

Music

Folk's Jason Wilber Examines the World Through a Futurist Lens in 'Time Traveler' (album stream)

John Prine's former guitarist and musical director, Jason Wilber steps out with a new album, Time Traveler, featuring irreverent, pensive, and worldly folk music.

Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews

Features
Collapse Expand Features
PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.