Coronavirus invades Broadway
In light of escalating concerns over the transmission of the coronavirus, it comes as no surprise that weekly grosses on Broadway sharply declined last week. The combined weekly gross of every show running on Broadway, $26.7 million, represents a 12 percent decline compared to the same time last year. In response, mega-producer Scott Rudin announced that all remaining tickets for performances of “To Kill a Mockingbird,” “West Side Story,” “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” and “The Book of Mormon” from March 12 to 29 would be sold for just $50. As of this time, no Broadway shows have canceled performances, but that could change quickly. Meanwhile, shows are expected to temporarily eliminate encounters between cast members and fans at stage doors.
Hillary Clinton headlines Women’s Day
Hillary Clinton became a last-minute addition to the lineup of speakers at Women’s Day on Broadway 2020, held on Tuesday afternoon at the New Amsterdam Theatre. In a closing keynote address, Clinton highlighted the diversity and inclusivity of recent Broadway seasons and emphasized the role of live storytelling in encouraging more opportunities for women in society. “Nothing is more important than imagining and then inventing the future that we want,” she said. Clinton also spoke of the personal relief that going to Broadway shows has provided for her since the 2016 election.
Classic Stage announces new season
Classic Stage Company has unveiled its 2020-21 season, which will include “Ten Cents a Dance,” an actor-musician revue of songs by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart directed by John Doyle, a new production of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” also directed by Doyle, and two 1970s prison dramas that will be performed in repertory: “The Island” and “Kiss of the Spider Woman” (which was subsequently adapted into a film and a Broadway musical). The company will conclude its current season with a starry revival of the dark Stephen Sondheim musical “Assassins.”
‘Boys in the Band’ playwright dies
Mart Crowley, author of the landmark 1968 gay drama “The Boys in the Band,” died on March 7 at age 84 following a heart attack. “The Boys in the Band” was the first American drama about openly gay men to achieve major commercial success, creating a pathway for plays like “Angels in America” and “The Inheritance” and musicals like “Falsettos” and “Fun Home.” It received its first Broadway production in 2018. A film version of the production (which starred Jim Parsons, Zachary Quinto, Matt Bomer and Andrew Rannells) will be released later this year by Netflix.
Kushner and Tesori to be honored by New Dramatists
Playwright Tony Kushner and composer Jeanine Tesori (who together wrote the 2003 musical “Caroline, or Change,” which is now receiving a Broadway revival) will be honored on May 21 by New Dramatists (a well-known support organization for playwrights) at its 71st Annual Spring Luncheon at the Marriott Marquis. The event always draws a large number of well-known industry professionals and Tony nominees, virtually all of whom receive shout-outs from the dais.
O’Hara joins ‘Ragtime’ concert
Tony winner Kelli O’Hara will play Mother in the sold-out one-night-only concert performance of the musical “Ragtime” to benefit The Actors Fund. She will join many members of the original 1997 Broadway cast including Audra McDonald, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Peter Friedman and Judy Kaye. It will be held on April 27 at the Minskoff Theatre. The event is dedicated to the memory of Marin Mazzie, who originated the role of Mother and recently died from ovarian cancer.
Pete Buttigieg at “The Inheritance”…Christopher Walken at “Hangmen”…Gerard Butler at “Six”…Tony Shalhoub, Jesse Eisenberg, Claire Danes and James Van Der Beek at opening night of “Girl from the North Country”…Gabriel Byrne at “Riverdance.”