Around Broadway

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Every Wednesday morning, Jeff Spurgeon finds out what's new on Broadway and beyond from Charles Isherwood, theater critic for The New York Times.More from Around Broadway »

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Rhythm Is Gonna Get You To Broadway

A Broadway season just wouldn't be complete without a jukebox musical it sometimes seems. This year's model comes courtesy of the 1980s pop star Gloria Estefan. "On Your Feet!" charts the story of her rise, alongside her husband and collaborator Emilio Estefan. Sprinkled throughout this bio-musical are familiar hits like "Conga" and "Rhythm Is Gonna Get You." New York Times theater critic Charles Isherwood lets us know what he's seen and heard in this new production directed by Jerry Mitchell at the Marquis Theatre.

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A.R. Gurney's 'Sylvia' Comes to Broadway

In his 1995 play "Sylvia," A.R. Gurney threw a couple of curve balls at the theme of a man dealing with a mid-life crisis. Instead of the man threatening his marriage by falling in love with a younger woman, he falls in love with (curve ball No. 1) a dog, who is (curve ball No. 2) played onstage by a woman. The play gets its first Broadway production at the Cort Theatre with a cast that stars Matthew Broderick, Julie White and Annaleigh Ashford. New York Times theater critic Charles Isherwood shares his impressions of the production and of where "Sylvia" stands in A.R. Gurney's substantial body of work.

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'Dames at Sea' Sails On To Broadway

A show most famous for putting Bernadette Peters in the spotlight is getting a bigger spotlight of its own. The musical "Dames at Sea" started in a tiny café Off-Off-Broadway in 1966 and helped launch the career of a show business legend. Now the show itself is most definitely on Broadway at the Helen Hayes Theatre in a production choreographed and directed by Randy Skinner.

New York Times theater critic Charles Isherwood takes a look at this new production of an old hit that pays tribute to an even older kind of entertainment — movie musicals of the 1930s.




Hardships and Humanity at the Holidays

The holiday season is approaching ... or looming, you might say, depending on how you feel about holidays and family get-togethers. A middle-class family Thanksgiving in lower Manhattan is the setting for Stephen Karam’s “The Humans,” another play in a long line that finds its springboard in domestic tensions tightened to the breaking point at ritual gatherings.

But New York Times theater critic Charles Isherwood says Karam’s work has several, mostly good, surprises in store in this "flawless" production. “The Humans,” directed by Joe Mantello in a Roundabout Theatre Company production, runs through Dec. 27 at the Laura Pels Theatre.




Ugly Lies the Bone

A new play on a tough topic is part of this season’s Underground season at Roundabout Theatre Company. The play is “Ugly Lies the Bone,” written by Lindsey Ferrentino. The topic is the struggle of U.S. military veterans to return to civilian life while healing from the wounds of their overseas experiences. The play has a perhaps surprising element: Jess, the veteran at the center of the play, is a woman.

New York Times critic Charles Isherwood offers a review of this latest production from Roundabout Underground, now in its ninth season of nurturing and presenting new artists to New York audiences.




Returning the 'Razzle Dazzle' to Broadway

Razzle Dazzle is the jazzy title of a new book about the history of Broadway by Michael Riedel, the New York Post theater columnist and co-host of the show "Theater Talk." The book, which was published this past Monday by Simon and Schuster, concentrates on the near death of Broadway in the 1960s and its gradual recovery.

New York Times theater critic Charles Isherwood joins us to talk about what Riedel suggests were the prime factors in the sagging fortunes of the commercial theater during the '60s. And he asks, how did it begin to recover?




'Spring Awakening' Returns to Broadway With Deaf and Hearing Cast

The Tony-winning musical "Spring Awakening," a coming-of-age musical about teenagers and sex, has returned to Broadway. The original production of the musical by Steven Sater and Duncan Sheik closed only in 2009, and thus might seem to be making an unusually quick return.

However, the new production on stage at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre takes a very novel approach. It’s from the Los Angeles-based company Deaf West Theatre and the cast features a mixture of hearing and deaf actors.

Casting deaf actors in a musical may seem like a challenging prospect. New York Times theater critic Charles Isherwood explains the mechanics of the production and whether or not the show merits its quick return to Broadway.




Keeping Faith in America

Playwrights Horizons kicks off its fall season with "The Christians," a play by Lucas Hnath about a schism in an evangelical church. In the production, directed by Les Waters, Andrew Garman portrays a pastor who causes an uproar among his flock when he decides that church policy will no longer recognize the existence of a literal hell.

New York Times theater critic Charles Isherwood offers his review. 

“The Christians” can be seen through Oct. 11 at Playwrights Horizons.




Funny Off Broadway Show Shakes Off the Summer

The new Off Broadway show "The Legend of Georgia McBride" by Matthew Lopez is a comedy about a young Elvis impersonator named Casey who’s barely making a living performing in a Florida Panhandle bar. With an empty bank account and pregnant wife, during the course of the play Casey makes a rather surprising career switch from struggling Elvis impersonator to successful drag queen.

New York Times theater critic Charles Isherwood lets us know if "The Legend of Georgia McBride" is something to get all shook up about.

The MCC Theater production directed by Mike Donahue with choreography by Paul McGill runs through Oct. 11 at the Lucille Lortel Theatre.




A Fall Theater Preview

Labor Day, the semi-official end to the summer, is now in the rearview mirror. Which means that theater-watchers will be eagerly getting ready for the fall season. Broadway already has seen one smash musical open, the hotter-than-hot ticket “Hamilton,” but there’s much more to come, both on Broadway and Off.

New York Times theater critic Charles Isherwood takes a look at the new fall crop of shows and suggests some highlights.



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