amBroadway: ‘A Strange Loop’ brings home awards, ‘American Utopia’ to air on HBO and more

American Utopia. (Photo: Matthew Murphy)

‘A strange Loop’ dominates Drama Desk Awards

Following a last-minute cancellation in late May, the Drama Desk Awards went forward last weekend with a livestreamed one hour ceremony that honored the Broadway and Off-Broadway productions of the past theater season. The more prominent winner was the Off-Broadway musical “A Strange Loop,” which won five awards including Outstanding Musical. (Plans are currently in the works for “A Strange Loop” to be remounted regionally and then transfer to Broadway.) Multiple awards also went to “Moulin Rouge!” and “The Inheritance.” Needless to say, the awards would have been extremely different had the theater season not been disrupted by COVID-19 and numerous other new shows were able to open as scheduled. 

‘American Utopia’ to air on HBO

David Byrne’s mega-concert “American Utopia” is still scheduled to return to Broadway’s Hudson Theatre for a 17-week run beginning in September. But even if the return engagement is postponed or canceled, HBO will broadcast a previously shot film version of the concert directed by Spike Lee in the coming months. The postponed Broadway revival of Neil Simon’s “Plaza Suite” with Matthew Broderick and Sarah Jessica Parker will play the Hudson Theatre in March 2021. 

Jesse Eisenberg does stage acting out of necessity

Several new plays by Jesse Eisenberg have been produced Off-Broadway in recent years – and he has appeared in most of them (including “The Revisionist” alongside Vanessa Redgrave). However, in an interview with UK’s The Times, Eisenberg confessed that he is uncomfortable with stage acting and he appears in his plays in order to entice theater companies to produce them. However, Eisenberg also said that under the best circumstances, stage acting can be relaxing “because you’re distracted from your own mind in a beautiful way…I always think of the example of a cell phone. When you’re on stage, you never once think of checking your phone.”

Platt to star in ‘Evan Hansen’ film, Dever in talks

Ben Platt, who originated the title role in “Dear Evan Hansen” in 2016, is slated to star in a film adaptation of the Broadway musical directed by Stephen Chbosky (“Wonder”), as per Variety, which also reported that Kaitlyn Dever (“Last Man Standing”) may play love interest Zoe Murphy. When Broadway went on hiatus, “Dear Evan Hansen” was still doing strong business at the box office. 

Bob Dylan praises ‘Girl from the North Country’

In an interview with the New York Times, Bob Dylan confirmed that he has seen the new musical “The Girl from the North Country,” which uses both rare and well-known selections from his extensive songbook. It opened on Broadway right before the shutdown occurred. “I saw it as an anonymous spectator, not as someone who had anything to do with it,” Dylan told the Times. “I just let it happen. The play had me crying at the end. I can’t even say why. When the curtain came down, I was stunned. I really was. Too bad Broadway shut down because I wanted to see it again.”

This week’s streaming recommendations:

  1. Small Island (National Theatre’s large-scale adaptation of Andrea Levy’s novel about Jamaica and England during the 1940s), June 18-25, nationaltheatre.org.uk.
  2. Akhnaten and Satyaghara (Met presents back-to-back operas by Philip Glass about historic figures), June 20-21, metopera.org at 7:30 p.m.
  3. Cuttin’ Up (reading of Charles Randolph-Wright’s play celebrating black barbershops with Joe Morton and Blair Underwood), June 21 at 6 p.m., playbill.com.