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The Best Of Broadway (And Beyond) In 2016

Josh Groban and the company of 'Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet Of 1812.'

Looking back on a year that offered an extraordinary range of shows, from intimate (Heisenberg, Blackbird) to spectacular (Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet Of 1812), it’s the performances by some of our most dazzling artists that stand out in the memory: Maryann Plunkett anchoring the Gabriel family, as she did the Apples, in Richard Nelson’s second Hudson Valley trilogy. Leon Addison Brown quietly compelling a schoolboy to confront his own demons in “Master Harold”…and T… Read

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Zero Pay For Some L.A. Stage Actors As Minimum Wage Rule Kicks In

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As new Actors’ Equity rules go into effect today that require small theaters in Los Angeles to begin paying their union actors at least minimum wage, some small non-union venues, it turns out, aren't paying their actors anything at all. Last week, a federal judge dismissed a lawsuit filed by for SAG president Ed Asner that would have prevented Actors' Equity from requiring small Los Angeles-based theater companies that sign its contract to pay their actors at least… Read

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David Oyelowo & Daniel Craig Lead A Modern-Dress ‘Othello’ – Review

David Oyelowo and Daniel Craig star s Othello and iago in the New York Theatre Workshop presentation of the Shakespeare tragedy.

David Oyelowo and Daniel Craig bring exceptional technical skill and at times riveting commitment to the roles of Othello and Iago in the off-Broadway revival  of the Shakespeare tragedy, which opened tonight at the New York Theatre Workshop. That should not surprise anyone familiar with the fact that the two actors famed for their screen work (Craig as James Bond; Oyelowo as Martin Luther King Jr. in Selma and currently seen as chess coach Robert Katende in Queen Of Katwe… Read

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‘The Band’s Visit’, Based On The 2007 Israeli Film, Is The Season’s Best New Musical – Review

Tony Shalhoub and Katrina Lenk in 'The Band's Visit.'

Some shows are so full of heart and so overflowing with integrity — of talent, of skill and of purpose – that a critic is torn between singing its praises from the rooftops and wanting to protect something rare and fragile. Even when, truth to tell, a great show is usually a tough one as well, able to withstand the pressure of raves and the demand to sacrifice a little bit of proximity to reach a wider audience. That was true of Rent, and Spring Awakening and, of course, H… Read

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Judge Dismisses Ed Asner Suit Vs. Actors’ Equity; Small L.A. Theaters Must Pay Minimum Wage

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A federal judge in Los Angeles has dismissed a lawsuit that would have prevented Actors’ Equity from requiring small L.A.-based theater companies that sign its contract to pay their actors at least minimum wage.   The suit, whose lead plaintiff was former SAG President Ed Asner, argued that forcing small companies to pay minimum wage will put many of them out of business, thus reducing opportunities for local actors. Actors currently make as little as $7 a day at some… Read

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Elizabeth Reaser And Josh Radnor Ride Richard Greenberg’s ‘The Babylon Line’ – Review

Josh Radnor and Elizabeth Reaser in 'The Babylon Line' at Lincoln center Theater.

Josh Radnor (Liberal Arts, Mercy Street) and Elizabeth Reaser (The Twilight Saga, Hello My Name Is Doris) play a writer and his student in Richard Greenberg’s new drama The Babylon Line, which opened Monday at Lincoln Center Theater. Fine as these actors are, each with a growing presence on New York stages, my focus was pulled elsewhere in this provocative but maddening play. The introduction is as familiar as the descending chords in an eight-bar blues. In a classroom… Read

TV

Trump Deletes Angry Tweet Attacking ‘Hamilton’ Actor

APTOPIX Obama Trump

It’s a day ending in “y”, and so it is that President-Elect Donald Trump continues to demonstrate the gravitas and presidential restraint for which he is well known. Today’s example, the former host of The Apprentice fired off a series of angry tweets in response to the hostile reception that greeted his VP Mike Pence last night at a performance of Hamilton. At first limiting his comments to defending Pence, who was booed by the crowd but was only implored politely not to… Read

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Jason Sudeikis Charms The Boys Of Welton Academy In Live ‘Dead Poets Society’ – Review

Jason Sudeikis as John Keating with his students in the staged versoin of 'Dead Poets Society.'

Jason Sudeikis has enough mischief in his eyes to make John Keating a credible non-conformist hero in Dead Poets Society. You’ve heard of this secret club of pubescent prep-school pishers, who meet in a cave near “the finest preparatory school in the United States,” according to its headmaster. That was the club and this the fictional setting of the 1989 film starring an atypically sedate Robin Williams as Keating, the prodigal alumnus who has returned to snooty Welton to… Read

International

Charlotte Riley To Play Kate Middleton In ‘King Charles III’ For BBC, Masterpiece

Charlotte Riley

Peaky Blinders alum Charlotte Riley is set to play Kate Middleton in BBC/Masterpiece co-production, King Charles III. Adapted by Mike Bartlett (Doctor Foster) from his own Olivier Award-winning and Tony-nominated stage play, the future-history story is produced by Drama Republic. Shooting begins this month on the 90-minute drama in and around Leeds for air in 2017. BBC Two carries it in the UK. Written in blank verse, the one-off telefilm is an imagining of Prince… Read

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Tributes Set For Edward Albee, Circle Repertory Company

A Delicate Balance

Who’s Afraid Of Virginia Woolf? playwright Edward Albee will be remembered December 6 beginning at 1 PM at the August Wilson Theatre (245 West 52nd Street), according to a group of Albee's friends and associates who are organizing the memorial. Albee died at age 88 on September 16. A limited number of seats will be available to the general public, on a first-come, first-served basis. Doors will open at 12:30 PM. Albee wrote more than 30 plays, including The Zoo Story; The… Read

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Athol Fugard’s Searing ‘ “Master Harold” … And The Boys’ & Charming ‘Finian’s Rainbow’ – Review

Leon Addison Brown, Noah Robinson and Sahr Ngaujah in "'Master Harold' ... And The Boys" at the Signature Theatre.

Great performances are rare, great ensembles even more so. One brilliant turn can salvage an otherwise mediocre evening, but when a company of actors clicks, as do the three men who make up the entire cast of Athol Fugard’s “Master Harold” … and The Boys, a great play becomes ineffable, or nearly so: transporting, transfixing and transformative, all at once. That was the impact of this South African playwright’s devastating roman à clef when it opened on Broadway in 1983… Read

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Don’t Get Trump’s Appeal? See Riveting ‘Sweat’, About The Human Cost Of Downsizing – Review

Khris Davis and  Will Pullen  in 'Sweat' at the Public Theater.

Yes, I thought long and hard about the headline above this review. But no play in recent memory has  shed more light on the crises and tribulations of America’s great retrenched working middle class than Lynn Nottage’s new play, Sweat, which has opened at the Public Theater after previous productions in Oregon and Washington D.C. And here’s another anomaly to chew on: It’s a brilliant play from the author and director of the Pulitzer prize-winning Ruined, spectacularly… Read