Thirty-three Broadway shows are on offer this Thanksgiving Week (see schedule), and there’ll be eight more Broadway openings before the new year, but the theater industry enters the normally cheering (and lucrative) holiday season feeling anxious and frustrated, with COVID-caused cancellations still occurring with some frequency, higher costs due to inflation and the need for extra understudies, and the unpredictable behavior (and size) of the theatergoing public. Two headlines in The Hollywood Reporter give a glimpse: Rising Costs, Changing Audience Behavior Hold Back Broadway’s Rebound, and Actors’ Equity Members Rally for Better Understudy Coverage, Sick Leave on Broadway.There are also a couple of federal investigations of Broadway-adjacent organizations (See The Week in New York Theater News below.
But to Broadway lovers, the future looks bright, especially with the news this week of these stars soon on Broadway The Bard takes a back seat to the Backstreet Boys and Britney Spears in “& Juliet,” a jukebox musical that is being billed as a sequel to Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet,”. The plot winds up more busy and berserk than that description, and, in any case, the show is primarily a vehicle for the hits of Max Martin…sung by a cast with glorious pop voices and fine comic chops.
Bruce Norris manages to find moments of comedy in this play about four men, formerly imprisoned for sex crimes against minors, who live in a group home not far from Chicago, in downstate Illinois. It’s part of his larger project, aided by a superb cast and fine direction by Pam MacKinnon, to change the audience’s perspective about people viewed universally as repugnant. In Alfred Hitchcock’s 1959 film “North by Northwest,” Cary Grant is mistaken for the spy George Kaplan…[which] apparently inspired French playwright Frédéric Sonntag a decade ago to write a play entitled “George Kaplan”…There’s certainly humor in “George Kaplan,” but it’s often dark. Two of the scenes are explicitly violent…. If I were to guess the point of “George Kaplan,” I would say that it’s an attempted critique of the cynical use of invented narratives in modern politics and culture…
The Patient Gloria” is inspired (if that’s the right word) by a film that some see as a breakthrough; others as a betrayal….”Three Approaches to Psychotherapy.” …The Patient Gloria” offers its own three approaches: 1. A dramatization of the film… 2. A funny, crude, loud fringe show… 3 A thought-provoking, meditation on, and personal memoir of, misogyny. This pairing of the serious and the silly, the pointed and the profane might not work for everybody. But there is a moment near the end..that casually sneaks into view and then hits you like a hammer.