amBroadway | Putin drama ‘Patriots’ coming to Broadway, ‘How to Dance in Ohio’ closing and more

Will Keen in the West End production of "Patriots".
Will Keen in the West End production of “Patriots”.
Photo: Marc Brenner

Putin drama ‘Patriots’ will play Broadway with Michael Stuhlbarg

Just when you think the spring season on Broadway could not possibly get more crowded, along comes another announcement of a show that will officially open in the nick of time to be considered for this year’s Tony Awards. The London production of “Patriots,” a new drama by British playwright Peter Morgan (“The Crown,” “Frost/Nixon”) about billionaire Boris Berezovsky and Vladimir Putin immediately following the fall of the Soviet Union, will play the Barrymore Theatre (where “Harmony” will close on Sun.) beginning April 1. Michael Stuhlbarg, who has not appeared on Broadway since “The Pillowman”  back in 2005, will play  Berezovsky alongside Will Keen, who won an Oliver Award for his performance as Putin. The production is directed by Rupert Goold (“Ink,” “King Charles III”).

‘How to Dance in Ohio’ posts closing notice

“How to Dance in Ohio,” the new Broadway musical based on a 2015 HBO documentary about a group of autistic teens (who, in a major achievement of authentic representation, are being played by seven autistic actors) as they prepare for a formal dance, will play its final performance on Sun. Feb 11 following 99 performances including previews.  “Developing new work is always a risk, but producing this show was an endeavor we eagerly accepted,” the producers said in a statement. An original cast album was recently released and is available for streaming.

‘Gutenberg!’ recoups investment costs

“Gutenberg! The Musical!,” which played the final performance of its limited Broadway run on Sunday, managed to recoup its $6.75 million investment costs, officially making it a hit by traditional Broadway standards. The two-hander musical comedy, in which Andrew Rannells and Josh Goad played two clueless but well-meaning musical theater writers trying to get their bizarre bio musical about printing press inventor Johannes Gutenberg to Broadway, featured cameos from numerous celebs as the “famous Broadway producer” who unexpected offered to produce their show at the very end. The “producer” at the final performance was none other than six-time Tony Award winner Audra McDonald, who starred in the Broadway premiere of Adrienne Kennedy’s “Ohio State Murders” at the same theater last season. An original Broadway cast album will be released in the spring.

Trump parody ‘Five’ follows in the footsteps of ‘Six’

Given the success of “Six,” it was almost inevitable that another musical with a similar title and concept would arrive. Now comes “Five,” which will begin performances Off-Broadway at Theater 555 beginning Feb. 15. Whereas “Six” features six actresses playing the six wives of Henry VIII, “Five” revolves around five women linked to Donald Trump, including Ivana Trump, Marla Maples, Melania Trump, Stormy Daniels, and Ivanka Trump. “The lightbulb moment came right after we saw “Six,’” the show’s creators, Shimmy Braun and Moshiel Newman Daphna, said in a statement, describing the show as a “primary held by the women in the life of our loathsome 45th President.”

Annual Obie Award winners named

Cancel the party, save the cash, and give it to the artists instead: so goes the new ethos of the Obie Awards, which recognize achievement in Off-Broadway and Off-Off-Broadway theater. In pre-pandemic years (back when the awards were still administered by The Village Voice), the Obies were held at a party at a downtown venue such as Webster Hall or NYU Skirball.  However, in a post-pandemic environment in which nonprofit theater companies and artists are struggling to survive, the American Theatre Wing (which now handles the awards) has decided to forego the annual ceremony and use the money instead for artist grants. As such, this year’s winners were simply announced over the weekend on NY1 and via press release. Award recipients included playwrights Ryan J. Hadded (“Dark Disabled Stories”), Hansol Jung (“Wolf Play”), and Bruce Norris (“Downstate”).