Queens drive-in to launch with ‘Phantom’
While we unfortunately can’t see “The Phantom of the Opera” on Broadway right now, how about a screening of a previously filmed performance at a socially-distanced drive-in movie theater in Queens, with a few live performances thrown in for good measure? Radial Park, described as “an interactive, theatrical drive-in experience,” will launch on Sat. Sept. 26 at Halletts Point Play, a 50,000 square-foot open space in Astoria. Spectators can sit in individual cars or at picnic tables. On Saturday, along with a screening of “The Phantom of the Opera at the Royal Albert Hall,” Broadway performers Derrick Davis and Ali Ewoldt will lead a pre-show concert with an 11-piece orchestra. Opening night on Oct. 1 will include both “Phantom” and a late-night screening of “Purple Rain.” Personally speaking, I think a screening of “Grease” (which has a scene at a drive-in) might make more sense.
Met Opera cancels upcoming season
The Metropolitan Opera, which had hoped to begin its new season at Lincoln Center on New Year’s Eve following an earlier delay, announced on Wednesday that its entire 2020-21 season has been cancelled due to the ongoing pandemic. The company simultaneously revealed the makeup of its 2021-22 season, which will open with Terence Blanchard’s “Fire Shut Up in My Bones,” which will mark the first opera at the Met by an African-American composer. Two other contemporary operas, Matthew Aucoin’s “Eurydice” and Brett Dean’s “Hamlet,” will also be presented. “Rigoletto,” “Lucia di Lammermoor” and “Don Carlos” will receive new productions.
Theater artists make TIME 100 List
Theater artists who made the 2020 TIME 100 List include Anaïs Mitchell (songwriter of “Hadestown”), Billy Porter (“Kinky Boots”) and Phoebe Waller-Bridge (“Fleabag”). In honor of Mitchell, André De Shields (who won a Tony for his performance in “Hadestown”) wrote that “Anaïs has the aura of an oracle, the prescience of a blind poet and the skill to tease rhymes from consonants. Cyndi Lauper (who wrote the score of “Kinky Boots”) praised Porter as “living proof of talent, perseverance, tenacity, resilience, (and) dedication to craft.”
‘What the Constitution Means to Me’ to be screen on Amazon
A filmed version of Heidi Schreck’s acclaimed one-woman autobiographical drama “What the Constitution Means to Me,” which transferred to Broadway in 2019 shortly after premiering Off-Broadway, will be made available on Amazon Prime beginning Oct. 16. In this freewheeling and politically-charged piece, Schreck revisits her teenage hobby of delivering speeches about the U.S. Constitution in American Legion Halls. In an interview with amNewYork during the show’s Broadway run, Schreck made a point of mentioning how much it meant to her when the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg attended the show.
Encores! to stage ‘The Life’ and ‘Tap Dance Kid’
City Center was only able to present a single Encores! production (Jerry Herman’s “Mack and Mabel”) as part of its 2020 season before the shutdown occurred. Opening night of Kurt Weill’s “Love Life” was just a week away, and Ashley Park was going to star in a revised version of the Tony-winning musical comedy “Thoroughly Modern Millie.” City Center has now confirmed that there are no immediate plans to bring back “Love Life” or “Millie.” Instead, as part of its next season, Encores! will present “The Life” (a 1997 musical about prostitutes and pimps in 1980s Times Square) and “The Tap Dance Kid” (a 1983 musical about a 10-year-old African-American boy who dreams of becoming a dancer). New artistic director Lear deBessonet also advised that future Encores! seasons will include two rarely-seen musicals and one classic title, instead of three rare works.
This week’s streaming recommendations…
“Fame the Musical” (stage musical adaptation of the 1980 film about teens at the High School for the Performing Arts), Fri. Sept. 25 at 2 p.m., “The Shows Must Go On!” Channel on YouTube…”Caesar & Cleopatra” (reunion of Gingold Theatrical Group’s 2019 production of Bernard Shaw comedy), Sun. Sept. 27 at 2 p.m., starsinthehouse.com.